photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dream a Little Dream...

So Fizzgig got out of the house yesterday. Flew out the door when I opened it and disappeared across the field. Since we all have sort of a love/hate relationship with the darling scruffy cuddly yappy little land shark, our reaction was a mild, "Shit. Oh, well" and we carried on with our morning. About an hour later, she was back on the deck waiting to be let in- covered in burrs and literal shit, so she got a bath.

Last night, we went to bed about midnight and about two-ish were woken up by Fizzgig. She was licking Ward's face and wagging in my face and when we woke up she went and laid back down. She did it again at about three. At four she curled up next to my tummy like she does and went to sleep. After a few minutes she started paddling and making little dog noises-she was dreaming. I have no idea what she did or saw while in "the wilderness" but it clearly gave her nightmares.

So from four till six I was wide awake. I hate that. About six I finally dropped back off to sleep and as is usually the case...that's when you get the most bizarre dreams.

Dreams are great. All sorts of weird shit can happen in dreams and your sleeping self takes them all in stride. Perfectly normal.

Therefore, it was puzzling to the point of alarming when my dream self looked down into my dream lap and said, "Why the hell is there a baby rhino in my lap?"

It wasn't a fantastical rhino- no mythical being of odd yet shimmering colors. This was just a run-of-the-mill ordinary baby rhino. In my lap. Looking up at me in a sort of cross-eyed manner. Probably from looking at his tiny little stub of a horn.

My dream self had stuff to do. I was aware that I needed to check on loved ones, I had responsibilities to attend to and places to go- none in a DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON manner and there was no aura of malice or fear in my dream; I just had a lot of things to do.

So I carried on, in the rain, driving and walking and doing the things that needed doing...with a baby rhino draped over me.

I worked my way through everything I needed to, except one part of the dream where I had to go to Oklahoma and there was a border wall in my way. They wouldn't let me into Oklahoma. Because of the rhino and all. So I didn't go to Oklahoma. Anywhere that doesn't accept baby rhinos isn't worth going to anyway (a sentiment I hold in my waking moments as well).

Relaying the above dream to the boys this morning, I realized that everything I've been trying to do lately- from home to hobby to work to health has had me running in seventy-leven directions for the last several months without letting up.

Last night, one of my bosses gave me an affirmative answer to a request I'd made with one caveat- he needed me to do him a favor that would require more of my time. And that. That right there. Was. The. Baby. Rhino.

"Oh, you've ferried your family to a million doctors' appointments in several different cities?"

"You've navigated the footwork and initial research to set up not one, but two brand new departments at work (one of which requires coordination with two additional and separate community entities)?"

"You survived one of the most drama-filled and aggravating weeks of your 20+ years on the job, human-resource-wise?"


Done. And I shall name him Paul. After that one boss...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In the Unlikely Event of...

That's what your airline host or hostess says.

They stand in front of you and smile reassuringly, stressing that you'll probably get to where you're going just fine. But just in case of an "unlikely event" there's oxygen masks and flotation devices and other things that really won't help at all if you're plummeting from thousands of feet in the air towards Earth.


We've been thinking about this election. And how the outcome may affect our family. Directly. Affect. Our. Family. Because if we end up with a President Trump (or similar) and all health care (including Medicare) ends up in the private sector, that's not acceptable and could be deadly. So for the first time in my almost 60 years, I'm looking outside the US for places to live.

Alec and his friends are already looking at Europe to go to college. I spent some time looking at Uruguay for the weather and its out-of-the-way location and its services and affordability. And I downloaded Duolingo for Spanish so I'm all set, right?

Here's the kicker and what gives me pause. It's really far away. Like..."you can't drive there" far away. And it's crazy expensive to fly there even IF I weren't paralyzingly horribly terrified of flying. You can fly to Denmark and back several times for one trip to Uruguay.

And then in a recent conversation, there it was. The Answer.

Remember when we went up to Washington state a few years ago and I said someday we WILL move there? Because the people, the climate and OH MY STARS the rainforest?

Washington state is smack-dab shoved up next to...Canada and ITS section of the same damn geography and climate!

Vancouver Island.

So I started looking (thank you, Hawaii via Toronto Jordan)and even chatted with a realtor up yonder. He asked when we'd be interested in making the move. I said, "Round about the second week of November---right after our election." He laughed and said, "Ya- you guys have a pretty crazy one going on, right?" I made sure he knew that we are NOT on the Trump-wagon and he seemed surprised and said, "Ummm...don't MOST people feel that way?" No. No they don't, Mr. Sensible Canadian Realtor.

I assumed that rural Vancouver Island would be pretty comparable to rural western Washington- still pretty spendy.

I assumed wrong. Oh, sure there are really expensive places that are close-into Vancouver or Victoria or on rocky promontories overlooking the ocean...but most are actually within reach of someone like us, especially someone like us who WANT to be out of the way and rustic.

So I'm looking at places on the northern third of Vancouver Island and found one on the Cape Scott Trail- the road that crosses the island from east to west and connects Port Hardy to the Cape Scott Provincial Park. It's gorgeous. The big trees, ferns, water, mountains,'s right there.

Ward said, "If it's on the road...the ONLY road to the park, it's gonna be really busy during the summer." He was thinking of that self-same trip when we did Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Arches- winding our way along bumper to bumper two lane park roads for literally hours before actually entering the parks. We're so used to doing things "off-season" with the freedom of home-schooling schedules, that crowded parks were a real and unusual annoyance and Ward and Alec voiced that often and until I had us stop for lunch one day (in July) in Death Valley National Park. We found a picnic table right away! And they never mentioned how crowded the other parks were again!

So I pulled up the flyer for the Cape Scott Provincial Park and immediately noticed a few things.

-I was reminded that every Canadian I know is sensible, easy-going and has a wicked sense of humor

-No. That's it. And that's enough.

Excerpts from the OFFICIAL provincial park flyer.

Under "Points of Interest" (Those things in US parks that highlight battles won, landmark discoveries, etc...)

As you hike along the trails and beaches of the park, watch for some of the following natural and cultural history points of interest:
9. Breakwater- the remains of an old sailing vessel sunk as a breakwater. Unfortunately it did not survive winter storms and was soon washed ashore.
10. Wooden cart- Located in a meadow off the north side of the trail near Spencer farm. Alfred Spencer farmed here till 1956
11. Caterpiller tractor- The first motorized machine used at Cape Scott is lodged between two trees on the north side of the trail.
19. Driftwood fence posts- Remains of a driftwood fence running east-west behind Guise Bay. Built by NP Jensen in 1910 in an attempt to stabilize the sand dunes for pasture.

And my favorite---

20. Cougar trap- in the sandneck is a wood a-frame structure used as a cougar trap by the Jensen children. A cougar was captured and held for 10 minutes much to the surprise of the children. (I'LL BET!)

Every single one is testament to how much puny humans suck next to Mother Nature. Our attempt at a breakwater? The ocean laughs. Albert Spencer thought he could FARM here? The wilderness kicked his ass so good he just up and left his CART for criminy's sake. So the humans brought a MACHINE to help them conquer the forest...and the forest grabbed ahold of it and hasn't let loose of it yet. Jensen wanted to make PASTURE out of BEACH? Not likely then and not likely now. And the only thing that would've been better than #20 is if #21 had been "Jensen family burial plot- where the Jensen children were buried after the encounter with the cougar."

And I don't think Ward has to worry about traffic.

Under "Caution"

Persons contemplating a visit to Cape Scott Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area without supplies or equipment of any kind. Most trails are primitive and very muddy. Hiking along the coastline can be dangerous. Holberg is the nearest settlement and visitors should be in possession of suitable maps.

Boil or treat all drinking water before consuming.

In case of emergency contact the RCMP in Port Hardy, the lighthouse station at Cape Scott or the Park facility operator at Nels Bight (MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THERE).

Not a gift shop or restaurant in sight, and damn few outhouses. I count seven in the entire park and only the one ranger station...which may or may not contain an actual ranger.

We'd already decided that when I'm able to retire, we'll be heading to the Pacific Northwest.

So, in the unlikely event that we need to Trumpvacuate...I'm downloading Duolingo Canadian today.

Photos of the actual property near the park. Can you stand it?