A Perfect Ten – 2017

Previous years, HERE.

Because the 27th of September falls so near by Birth Day (30th Sept) I’ve noticed a trend of the nearby posts being variations on that theme. Who’da’thunk! … and while those are important to me, I’ve chosen to skip along to the nearest post that isn’t about my Birth Day.

Case in point, this one, on the 1st October 2017, in which we build our garden shed.

Storage has always been a premium here on Widder Island, because as I mentioned in the 2017 post we have a large farmhouse’s worth of equipment stored in a little two-bedroom cottage … and moreso now that we’ve shifted our ‘Wunder-Luster’ gears to focus on finding our ‘forever’ home and then travelling in our trusty travel trailer, rather than the other way around as we initially planned. Thank you Convid-19.

I’ve often thought throughout my three-score years (mostly during the second one-score of ’em anyway) that the fact that I didn’t have, nor need, many possessions to be a mark of independence.

Given my upbringing, it’s not surprising I felt that way. Permanence and security, safety and trust, were illusions that were inherently dangerous to my young self. It was best to carry as little with me as possible … a survival strategy that made for a quick getaway, when and if necessary.

But, that kind of ‘independence’ relied on the stability of a whole lot of social conditions which are no longer secure (if they ever were) Thank you, again, Covid-19

However, in order to live my life the way I yearned to do, (Mrs Widds too, by-the-way. That’s one of the reasons we get on so well together) which was to live sustainably and comfortably, it would require the gathering of certain possessions. Tools and equipment to be precise.

Since we’ve been on Widder Island (8 years, at last tally) we’ve been accumulating what we needed, when things came on sale, or good quality 2nd-hand or thrift-store purchases.

By the time September 2017 came around we just didn’t have enough room for storage and live our lives at the same time.

Hence the shed.

By the end of 2019 we were ready, finally.

2020 was going to be our year … we were going to put almost everything in storage, hitch up our travel trailer and head  off into the wild blue yonder. … and, recording it on our Wunder-Lusters YouTube channel, we would seek out strange and wonderful new places, meet all sorts of strange and wonderful new people, and if we came across our ‘forever home’ that was all the better … well, we all know how that turned out don’t we? … for everyone.

T’was a bitter pill. One that I still joust with on occasions … but then what’s life without a few jousts?

I don’t know when we’ll get there now. I’d like to think we will, but, there’s a giant gap between then and now. It’s funny isn’t it? I thought this series would be a bit of a celebration of my ten years blogging on WordPress.

Going back in time is enabling me to clarify going forward … which isn’t a bad thing at all.

A Perfect Ten – 2018

Continuing my countdown to this blog’s 10th Anniversary on the 27th September by revisiting what I was posting at that time each year. (here’s the post forA Perfect Ten – 2019)

Today we hit 2018.

The nearest post to the date was 30th September – my Birth Day, my 60th in fact! The post itself is a little bit of a celebration, but in it I referenced a post I’d written about five months earlier, wherein I ponder the upcoming event and what, if anything it meant to me.

At sixty-one I still feel much the same about the passing of years, but I want to add a bit more about the Days themselves.

If you’ve announced your birth day on the interwebs (and we’re connected in some way), you might’ve noticed that I respond with’Happy Birth Day’, and not the more traditional ‘Happy Birthday’.

There’s a reason for that.

I’m rather fond of ritual celebrations, the ones that are connected in some way to Mother Earth or the deeper substance of our lives, and the day we’re born is probably the most important one. Although recognised in our diverse cultures, I thought it deserved its own upper-case ‘H’, and ‘B’, and ‘D’. … just like Summer Solstice, (coming up soon here in the Northern Hemisphere) the Queen, (there can be only one) and the Fraser Valley. (where I live)

Language, (particularly the English language) is a very fluid entity, and although there are occasional ‘fluidations’ that gets up our noses, (we all have our pet peeves … or several … or many. Go on, admit it) that fluidity is a good thing. It stops us, and our culture, from stagnating. And while a little stagnation is OK every now and then, if we do it for too long we end up smelling like bog-gas.

I also talked about getting into the final rounds of editing ‘Prelude’, (for those who are new to my blog is the tale of how I gained some rather fascinating wisdoms) which led me into a bit of a blue funk about my writing efforts of late.

“What writing,” I hear you ask. “Exactly,” I respond.

Along with our proposed Wunder-Lusters adventures, I feel like every other project I had in the planning stages was torpedoed by the Plague of the 21st Century, (the first one at least. I have a sneaky suspicion that these kinds of global events are just getting started) including my writing, fiction that is.

I have story ideas, I have outlines, (I’m mostly a pantser, but occasionally, when the mood strikes me, I do a serviceable rendition of a plotter) I have research, I have scenes – with dialogue and everything, I even have some fantastic mock-covers I created with Pulp-O-Mizer, (you’ve never heard of Pulp-O-mizer? Oh, it’s such fun, even if you’re not a writer, you need to go over there right now and have a play, I’ll wait) but what I don’t have is all the words lined up in the right order and formed into (coherent) sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters.

It’s a bit depressing really … and frustrating.

I was OK shifting gears away from my writing to focus on getting the Wunder-Lusters up and running, but I can’t seem to find the right combination of gears to get back to it. I keep on grinding the clutch. (which incidentally, is why I love that our truck has an automatic transmission)

Sometimes you just have to keep grinding the clutch until all those bloody little gears line up again.

A Perfect Ten – 2019

Here we go … as I mentioned in my last post, I’m doing a review of all my posts that published on or around the 27th of September going back over the last ten years.

Turns out I wasn’t very prolific last year and the closest to the date was this bit of absolute (video) cyootness, and what was probably the first of a string of ‘Have you ever’s’.

Here is the original … and because the link’s still live, I’m going to repost the video.

Having a bit of a read of other posts around this date, I see that I was focused on getting The Wunder-Lusters underway, and how we would be able to balance traveling in our little trailer and not lose our sense of personal space, that both of us value very highly. Underneath it all was the urgency to respond to the ongoing and ever-growing environmental crisis.

Alas, the vulnerabilities that the measures we’ve undertaken to keep ourselves safe in these first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic made it very clear, very quickly that our grand adventure was no more.

I have friends who are full-time Rv’ers, who’ve had to scramble for places to stay and wait out the shut-downs. Their stress-loads are terrible.

After much discussion, Mrs Widds and I agreed that to travel full-time without a home-base, even if it’s a bit of land that we can park our trailer on, would be the heart of folly now.

The fallout from this pandemic, both personal and global is literally unimaginable. no-one can imagine it, because there is no history to base such imaginings on. (the world was very different one hundred years ago during the last truly global pandemic so although there are similarities to be drawn on, they cannot, in any real sense be compared)

So, for the time being, here we will stay, on our little island in the middle of a lake. When our corner of the world opens up again, when there is a viable antibody test, when vaccines have been tested and not found wanting, then we shall see what we shall see.

And the Typhoid Mary Award for What-The-Fuckery in 2020 goes to …

… Naomi Davis… and Clea Shearer…, a couple of plucky gals who aren’t going to let a little thing like a GLOBAL PANDEMIC stop them from doing something BREATHTAKINGLY FUCKING STUPID, (yes, I’m SWEARING and SHOUTING) like getting into their big rigs and heading out on the open road in search of … well, in search of more communities to infect.

Clea, accompanied by hubs, his mum, and their two kids are going from California to Nashville.

Naomi accompanied by hubs and five children, all shining bright with that true frontier spirit, are already on their way from New York to somewhere west.

Here’s the article that inspired me to make this award, and after reading, I’m sure you’ll all agree they are truly worthy recipients of this particular award. (there are, of course, many other types of ‘what-the-fuckery’ awards and recipients to be had during this time)

The article has live links and screen shots of their social media posts in case you think I’ve finally been taken over by the Twilight Zone.

Apart from the incredibly valid concerns mentioned in the article, there are a few more than haven’t been considered.

Emptying out the grey and black-water tanks. (that’s waste water, from the sink and shower – grey, and toilet – black) The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to exist in feces, (poop) so I don’t care how big your tanks are, with that many people pooping and showering and washing dishes, you’re going to need to empty them with alarming regularity.

Believe me, no matter how clean the facilities are, no matter how careful you are, you are guaranteed at least one splash. Even if you aren’t carrying the virus in your innards, you have no idea who was emptying their tanks, and had their singular ‘splash’ before you, or what they were carrying in their innards.

The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to remain airborne for up to 3 hours. (because the virus itself if really, really, really tiny) It has been demonstrably proven to remain on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface.

(Dr John Campbell has all the proofs to back up the ‘demonstrably-s’ I’ve mentioned, scattered throughout the last few weeks of his videos, usually from various global CDC’s and medical journals, scientific papers, etc)

Plus, the nomad community, although gaining more and more acceptability is still seen by many to be the lifestyle of those ‘unfortunates’ who can’t or won’t get a mortgage and live in a ‘real’ house, and can’t or won’t get a ‘real’ job … so when this finally blows up in these idiots faces, and it will, the fallout won’t be just on them.

But they’re not considering the true impact of the consequences of their actions on others, are they?

Funnily enough, when you think about it, that’s how this whole mess started in the first place.

-oOo-

It’s not that there aren’t other people out there doing reprehensible things like this, it’s just that out of an abundance of common sense, Mrs Widds and I have cancelled our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ plans for this year, and these reprehensibly arrogant fuckwits really got up my nose.

‘Common sense’ because until an antibody test becomes readily available, neither of us will know (unless we actually get sick) if we’ve even be exposed to the virus. (we’re both in the ‘vulnerable’ category. Mrs Widds is a disgustingly healthy 70, and I’m 61 with a compromised immune system) On top of that a viable vaccine won’t be readily available, probably until the end of the year.

About ‘Typhoid Mary’

Widdershins and The Wunder-Lusters

I’ve been through some evolutions in my life. Some of ’em I’ve mentioned in passing on my ‘About Me’ page, and a whole lot more of ’em are in ‘Prelude’ (which is half shaman-y Journeys and half autobiography)  but, apart from two highlights, (my motorcycle accident, and emigrating here to Canada from Australia) nothing comes close to what I, (along with Mrs Widds, of course) am about to undertake.

Our story begins in the back-yard of a cottage, on an island, in the middle of a lake.

(Note to self: remember that line for when Hollywood comes a-knocking to make a star-studded movie … no, a star-studded movie franchise, outta this!)

So, The Wunder-Lusters …

For the new kids in town, and I seem to get about half a dozen new subscribers every week, and for some unknowable reason, even more when I go through ‘dry spells’ where I don’t publish anything, (like the gap that was half of January and February) The Wunder-Lusters will be the name of our YouTube channel where we’ll be documenting our adventures … going from our little cottage, (on an island, in the middle of a lake) to living in our travel-trailer full-time, exploring the length and breadth of British Columbia, nay, the length and breadth of Canada, (we’ll see how far we get) whilst keeping a weather-eye out for our forever home, our Sanctuary.

That’s the big picture. The smaller picture is … smaller … so, we return to our back-yard.

It’s a small back-yard and at this time of the year the very tall fir-trees along our southern fence line leave their shadows across it all day long. Because we’re going to make some fairly significant modifications to our (8M/25′) trailer so that two women, who like their spaaaace, can live in it full-time and not kill each other, we needed a place to work that was protected from the elements.

We have a patio attached to the house that’s just a roof, so we covered the three exposed sides with plastic. (unfortunately we rent so we can’t do any major, nor obvious, nor permanent, renovations)

We knocked together a minimalist framework …

Minimalist framework (night-time photos because I forgot to take them during the day)

Minimalist framework (night-time photos because I forgot to take them during the day)

Then we duct-taped the edges of our plastic sheeting and stapled the lot to the framework, creating wide doors, for the goings-ins and the coming-outs of various projects in various states of completion …

Wide door #1 and assorted 'stuff'

Wide door #1 and assorted ‘stuff’

The other door - with slightly less stuff

The other door – with slightly less stuff

The patio has always had a few leaks so Mrs Widds scooted up the ladder onto the roof and took care of the ones we could find, but like typos, there’s always one that escapes even the sternest scrutiny.

Our next task was to create a workbench … out of … well, we didn’t have enough bits of timber left, but luckily I found this underneath a pile of junk a previous tenant had left behind …

As punishment for putting all those staples IN the plastic I now had to pull gazillions of the little buggers OUT of the frame

As punishment for putting all those staples IN the plastic I now had to pull gazillions of the little buggers OUT of the frame

Once the frame had dried out – this was during the four months of rain we had from November 2019 to … now really, (with assorted sunny bits of late) we plonked it down on a couple of bookshelves we ‘liberated’ from my books, threw a slab of plywood on top, and voilá …

Instant workbench - fully loaded with a pot of tea (for me) and mug of coffee. (for Mrs Widds)

Instant workbench – fully loaded with a pot of tea (for me) and mug of coffee. (for Mrs Widds)

And that’s where we’re currently at.

Our first official project involves this interesting little sketch I made. Lets see if you can guess what it is …

In the meantime – I continue to learn about the making of, and editing, videos, whilst being regularly startled at how broad my Aussie accent is. Just goes to show, you can take the woman out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the woman, even after nearly sixteen years … mind you, I also occasionally shift to a strange hybrid English accent as well, sometimes in the same sentence.

Ready for the toasting of toes, boiling of kettles, and relaxing of bones into chairs

Ready for the toasting of toes, boiling of kettles, and relaxing of bones into chairs

The Unmotivation Singularity

Sounds like a great title for a science fiction story, doesn’t it?

But first, a picture of some blue sky… because I haven’t seen any for far too long, and there might not be any tomorrow …

Be still, my beating heart

Be still, my beating heart

We’re actually between two rain-storms dropping enormous amounts of rain on already sodden ground. Landslides and flooding abound … Interesting Times.

Back yard - because you can't have too much blue sky ... with sunbeams!

Back yard – because you can’t have too much blue sky … with sunbeams!

Back to this singularity …

Good old Vernor Vinge,  (he of the great ‘Vernor’s Law’ (for writers)  which states that ‘all scenes need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things: 1 – Provide background information, 2 – Develop the Characters, and 3 – Advance the plot’) first popularised the concept of ‘the singularity’ in a 1993 essay, (definitely worth a read if you’re interested in such things) wherein he posited that it signaled the end of the human or ‘Anthropocene’ era where human interaction with technology advances far enough that what we currently understand as ‘being human’ will cease to exist. (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it)

My singularity was a little less … hmm .. grandiloquent. I have been singularly unmotivated to do anything, writing, blogging (just look at the last date I posted anything here) working on the Wunder-Lusters, cook, clean, or, on occasions, get out of bed.

I’m blaming it on the weather. Rain, to be precise. Four  months of unrelenting rain, broken only by momentary spells of not-rain.

See that photo of the Winter Tree at the top of this post? All that green stuff isn’t just grass, it’s grass sitting on top of ankle deep mud just waiting to suck down the unwary into it’s watery, sludgy depths.

As much as my intellect understands that living through extreme weather events is now an irreversible fact, my ability to engage with their subtler consequences dug in its heels and refused to budge.

My world became smaller and smaller, old habits, old expectations, based on decades, generations even, of ‘knowing’ what the weather was supposed to be like at this time of year, clung to me even as they were being scoured away by abrasive realities.

It didn’t help, of course, that what we’re planning to do with the Wunder-Lusters will turn just about every single aspect of our lives upside down as well. There was some serious digging in of heels there, let me tell you.

So there I was, circling the drain of ennui, inertia, and false expectations. Slowly, inexorably moving toward that point, that unmotivation singularity, where I’d … well, to put it bluntly, disappear up my own bum.

I didn’t, thankfully. And it wasn’t as though I was struck by some magical mystical bolt of cosmic goo, or a great revelation lit up the inside of my skull.

It was just… a moment, in time … that stayed with me for no longer that a single breath … and then, I was on the other side.

More blue sky, from the end of our road, and SNOW (If only we were three or four hundred meters higher - le sigh)

More blue sky, from the end of our road, and SNOW (If only we were three or four hundred meters higher – le sigh)

Upon re-reading, I see that I’ve confabulated my past and present tenses (bad writer) but really, it’s the singularity’s fault.

P,S, I’ll be waffling on, with more detail, about what we’re up to with the Wunder-Lusters in my next post.

The Hardest Thing On Earth

I have a quote by Katharine Mansfield up on my wall above my computer desk where I write all this stuff. It goes like this …

‘Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.’

It’s a pretty wild quote don’t you think?

Every time I get freaked out about this whole Wunder-Lusters thing,(and believe me it happens a lot, sometimes they’re small freak-outs and sometimes they’re, not) I read that line I’ve used as the title of this post.

You wanna know what the hardest thing for me is? What the hardest thing has been for me for my whole goddamn life? Doing the hardest thing.

I’m good at a whole lot of things. For a high-school dropout I’ve managed to build an impressive skill-set. I can draw you up a set of houseplans, I make a mean spaghetti bolognaise sauce, I’m a pretty damn good writer. I can fix just about anything with a piece of coathanger wire, duct tape and a crochet hook. I can talk knowledgeably on a list of things from A to Z, and a just as many things I know nothing about, like … hmm, there’s a whole list of ’em but that’s not my point.

My point is that of all those things I’m good at not one has ever risen above the level of ‘really good’. Well, some of ’em have got as high as ‘really, really good’, but nothing has ever … shone, bright enough to qualify for having accomplished that ‘hardest thing’.

I have no idea where Wunder-Lusters is going to take me, us, or how we’re going to pay for it, or what I’m going to become, but I do know this, I’m going deaf, I wear three strengths of glasses, (for different things, not all at once) I’m down to half a working knee, and arthritis is starting to kick in everywhere else. Sometimes the future scares me so much I can hardly breathe.

I’m 61 years old, it’s time to do the hardest things.

Mrs Widds Goodie Basket Seasonal Baking Begins

Mrs Widds rose a little earlier than I yesterday and put her nefarious plans in place.

Because we live in such a little cottage I awoke to a tantalizing toffee-and-melted-butter aroma that gently lifted me from my recumbancy.

Although I’m not at my best before my first cuppa tea, I hastened to the kitchen to be greeted by this …

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

She waved her magic rolling pin, and in a great act of alchemy transformed these base elements into ….

BUTTER TARTS!!!

BUTTER TARTS!!!

I quelled my beating heart for I was about to face my greatest test ..

Quality control ...

Quality control …

I girded my spleen, also pancreas, and bravely hoisting my tea, sallied forth to do my duty …

Going ...

Going …

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory ... if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory … if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

One of the ‘playlists’ on our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ video channel is going to be about cooking these sorts of things with a propane oven, dutch oven, campfire, all sorts of RVcooking in general really, because we do love our food, we does.