Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

The Second Person Sin

There are days where the world stops.

And   it    stops    hard.

At least it does for you. Everyone and everything else, generally, marches on. You can almost feel them marching on. And you may keep in step, or look in step. But you’re much, much further away. At a distance that you just can’t recover.

It’s an affront. A powerful aftershock. Don’t they know? Isn’t it written on your face that you will never forget this date? That it is etched into you as few things can be?

(But it’s just another day. There’s humility in that, when it hits.)

On those days, relatively rare, there’s a drop of happiness in the sad. A sense of taking stock. A feeling of truly living. Without the distraction of gossip, advertisements, or fried chicken.  Just you, your thoughts, and those you are most inextricably linked to. If you’re lucky. But even then, lost in yourself, there is great solitude.

That drop of happiness makes it bearable. That tiny hope of better days that can well up from almost nowhere. Somehow, it may just be okay that you will re-enter the world behind. Changed.

They are big, heady days.


July 30, 2012 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Mr. Lonely, Photography, Self-reflection, Writing | , , , , | 6 Comments

California Part 3: lived myth

The trip from Yosemite back to the coast (Monterey) was mostly uneventful. Mostly:

Not an event exactly, but warranted u-turns and picture-taking

Once we reached Monterey, and thereafter, I was no longer in completely uncharted territory. I felt so veteran, so in touch with being a tourist in California.

Therefore, having spent a total of 12 days in California in my life I am qualified to write as a California know-it-all. In my presumptuous Canadian fashion, I’m about to tell you what California is. Conclusively. No really. I’m positive I understand it all. By “all” I mean the coastal portions along the remote, harrowingly winding roads of the number 1 highway, with grazing cattle, crazy post offices, and pavement known only by those who spent way more time in the car than, well, anywhere really. Ready to learn?

California stings

Monterey Bay Aquarium lion's mane jellies

California educates

California  mystifies

Seahorse magic

California emancipates

California inspires fashion

California thrills

Santa Cruz beach carnival along the boardwalk

California disappoints

In my carousel inexperience and excitement, I picked a dud horse

California nourishes

Yummiest store ever with reasonably priced foodie options of all kinds

California goes under cover

I promise, it's the Golden Gate

California glamourizes

California hollows

Drive through a tree? Check.

California ensconces

The hospitality of ancient wood

California awes

Looking up a lightening scar

California dominates

California ends

Finally someone else taking a picture of a state sign

I can’t say much for the urban pulls of California. Seascapes, rolling hills, rock formations, and endless remoteness bowled me over. For a state with so many people, there’s a heck of a lot of space to just be. I am grateful for the utter miracle that is the expanse of undeveloped, or little developed coastline. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.

October 6, 2011 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Minor American Roadtrip, Photography, Travel and intrigue | , , , | 4 Comments

California Part 1: the central coast

Being masochistic and heat-hating, we continued a lengthy drive from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas by driving all the way to the outskirts of Los Angeles. This meant we managed about 690 miles or 1,100 kilometres in a day. Next up? Coastal life was on the menu, from Lompoc to Salinas along the coast.

Still recovering from desert punishment, I was mildly perturbed (steaming mad) when I missed the “Welcome to California” sign and got only this:

I am Canadian. Cacti crack me up. Especially cacti that look like fraggles.

My interest in the law had little to do with how cool this courthouse in Santa Barbara was:

I can only dream that this light actually lights up when court is in session:

Thinking optimistically that I would be keen to cook vegetables on the road, I could not wait to hit the famous (overcrowded) farmer’s market in San Luis Obispo:

And who knew roasted corn had so many condiment (ewww) options?

Eventually we made it to William Randolph Hearst’s castle and ranch to see what it’s like to be rich, love art and cultural objects, and be crazy. These are just a couple of the dozens of ceilings he collected. L’il ol’ me didn’t know you could collect entire ceilings, walls, or fireplaces.

If I had my own movie theatre, I guess I’d have something like this lighting the way:

One of hundreds of statues contemplating nakedness:

or contemplating a visit to a roman bath:

Getting in touch with my Mediterranean roots, except not really:

Next stop, off the ranch, I managed to catch an elephant seal in something other than the “I’m dead” position. I wish you could see how they move. Imagine jello doing the worm.

One of the many views at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

And finally, the requisite crazy coastal bridge with fog coming in or out, as it did most of the day. This, of course, has nothing on the upcoming Golden Gate fog.

Next stop: Yosemite!

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Minor American Roadtrip, Photography, Travel and intrigue, Wild Animals | , , | 5 Comments

The Trials of Usedvictoria

I’ve blogged a couple of times about the joys of Freecycle (like here and here). There are of course trials as well. Not shockingly, Usedvictoria isn’t much different, except that there’s money involved.

I decided to peddle my 35mm slr camera (given with much love by my mother, sold to her by a local rip-off artist) after buying a digital slr in Kuala Lumpur.

Petronas Towers, KL

Abandoned, the camera was sent home without me, along with some presents for family. It arrived about a month after my return, or 2 and a half months after being sent to Canada. Maybe customs found something of interest, like cheap presents, but I digress.

Not long after moving to Victoria, I posted the old camera on usedvictoria. It has been there for about 2.5 years. For a year and a half I got no bites on usedvictoria. Hint to Rose: your price is too high, stupid. But there are some hardcore types on usedvictoria. As soon as I lowered the price someone who had been creeping on it emailed me and asked me if I would take $20 less. I said no, I could only go $10 less and buyer #1 faded into the woodwork.

I heard from buyer #2 in May of this year. He emailed asking for camera details. I responded. He made an offer. The type of offer that some of my more free-spirited friends would jump on, full of whimsy and trips to far-away lands. Me, I was mildly creeped out. He offered to trade the camera for a stay in a cabin/bunkhouse on his property (bad horror movie, anyone?) or some of his art, which he displays weekly at Salt Spring Island’s world famous farmers market. The cabin appealed to my whimsy, but only momentarily. I expressed interest in the art. I had visions of wee little paintings that I could use in some capacity in the new home. Granted, the value of the camera was not going to = much art. We agreed that I would bring the camera to the island in August, when I was scheduled to visit.

Now, being me, though I was excited by the devil-may-care nature of this arrangement, which I worked hard to map out to the degree possible, I was also very  nervous. What if I did not like the work (guilt)? Must I talk to him and tell him the trade wasn’t a go (awkwardness, confrontation, more guilt)? Could I walk away without saying a word (dishonesty, cowardice, even more guilt)? I batted this around in my brain for months. I googled him in the hopes of an image or two of his work, but to no avail. Such is my life.

In August, I went to Salt Spring. For some reason, this excursion is never as relaxing as I think it will be – especially not on the Saturday when I try to go to the market, get hungry, lose my compatriots, and wander around in crowds short, blind and lonely, unable to find anything I need. A perfect state of bliss: fright. I had emailed the artist/buyer #2 in advance of the trip. He told me to look for the table with carved trees growing out of rocks. Sigh.

I found him and his table. My camera safely and innocuously tucked in my bag. “No camera trader here, nope.” The trees were in fact beautiful, though not necessarily the sort of item I would have spent cold hard cash on. I liked them and thought they would make a great “conversation piece” (I vacillate between attraction to and repulsion with this phrase) as well as being aesthetically pleasing (can you tell I talk about art a lot? Me so sophisticated).

I found other hypothetical people who live in my house (eventually) and asked them if they liked the work. I received a short and definite “no”. That question resolved, I moved on to “what do I do now”? I did the only mature thing I could think of: I ran to the car and asked that we never speak about this again. TALLY – Catholic Guilt: 1. Rose: -2.

Buyer #3. I received a cryptic email on Monday. It asked condition, age and availability before 3 that day in one big long run on sentence. As I reread it I realize, it wasn’t all that cryptic, but for some reason, strangers emailing me in unpunctuated lower-case questions freaks me out. It sounds curt, grumpy and somehow disturbing. Lest you should think I am scared of everything, I am in fact usually quite  nonchalant about this sort of thing. But for some reason this time I had a bad feeling. I was the only one home. I was painting. It was very sudden and the email address included the words “dance” and “partay”. I am a pillar of rationality.

Anyway, we emailed back and forth a couple of times and arranged for Partay to come at 3:30. I found the camera and put it by the door. I forwarded someone the email thread in case I disappeared or died. I then continued with my painting. At 3:20, I started to get ready, depainting myself and waiting for the buzzer phone to ring. At 3:30 I realized that I had unplugged the buzzer for Paint-o-Mania December 2010. I ran downstairs with the camera and headed outside (to defend myself against any raid-the-building-use-of-force, which makes perfect sense, I must say). I waited for about 10 minutes and headed upstairs thinking that I had missed Partay. Minutes later, someone knocked at the door. I looked out the peephole fearful. Young man, alone. Hmm. I opened the door and he said, “there’s a mother and son downstairs talking about a camera. The buzzer’s not working, or something.” I thanked him (he seemed annoyed) and headed down with the camera.

I saw the mother and son and all my anxiety disappeared. They looked relieved to see me coming down holding camera-like things after being unable to get a hold of me. Partay was about 14, accompanied by his mother. They were kind, soft-spoken, and unassuming (i.e. I LOVED them and wanted to invite them in for cake, which I didn’t have. I restrained myself) The boy looked over the camera. He said he needed it for photography (heart melt). He was happy to see it was in good shape (you bet, I took care of that bad boy except for abandoning it to the Pacific Ocean for 3 months). He handed me the money and I skipped happily though somewhat shamefacedly (for assuming the worst) home. My bad feelings are often misguided. This was the “right buyer”.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Brackets, Consumption, Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Photography | , | 2 Comments

That’s What I Get

After arguing with myself and others about ordering personal photo Christmas cards, finding some options of where to order, sorting through possibilities, making phone calls and pouting, I had finally settled on what I was going to do.

Then what?

I realized that I have NO acceptable pictures to use for a card. One would think that I spent the year tied to a computer – oh wait – that’s why my back hurts. Right. To be fair though, I did in fact enjoy a trip to San Juan island, three weddings, a big hike and a bunch of camping. But still no pictures.

Reasons for this?

A. I hate asking people to take a picture of hypothetical individuals and myself. It’s an interruption. It bugs me. I often don’t like the photo. I’m  not confident they won’t dash may camera to the ground in an act of defiance.

B. I don’t have patience for timed shots either. Particularly when I am in the middle of my fun-having. This is me being unable to find a happy medium between being stuck behind my camera and being footloose and fancy free. Nicely done, Rose. Either I forgot to savour my moments, or I savoured to the point of forgetting I may want some evidence later, too.

C. I did less than  usual this year and felt rushed when doing it. I knew it was coming, I knew it while it was happening, and I knew it afterwards too, but I remain saddened.

D. I forgot there are good reasons for taking pictures of people – together. Myself and others may enjoy viewing them occasionally, such as during the holiday season.

Lesson learned. See for yourself:

Yummy moustache and swan-neck attempt

Well, we're both technically in the picture

Merry Christmas, I look stoned

We're the orange jacket sunglasses couple, don't you want to be just like us?


Our cat is cute, but you don't care

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Hypotheticals, Irritated | , | 3 Comments