Water, Water, Everywhere And …

… not a drop to drink. At least not potable water, and we live on an island, in the middle of a lake!

When we moved here in 2012 the water, straight from a well, tasted divine. Certainly nothing like the city-water we were used to drinking in Vancouver.

In fact, when we drove out here to check out the place before we signed the lease, our prospective landlord at the time, offered us a glass of water, and it was probably one of the main things to convince us to move here.

Not so any more.

We’ve experienced a slow decline in water quality, but the stressors on the water-table this past year have been the final nail in the coffin – metaphorically speaking.

Population pressure: Since the farmers sold off their acreage this little island has been sub-divided, and sub-divided until there are far too many houses for the land to sustain. The older houses have septic sewage systems and the newer ones have pump-out ones.

The small creeks upstream of the lake are surrounded by commercial greenhouses. More and more are being built every day as people are finally starting to realise that food security for decades to come will have to be sourced as locally as possible – a legacy of the collateral damage from the last two years. And no matter how stringent their safety protocols are for their waste water something always gets past the system

This last summer heated up the lake and raised bacteria levels until swimming was a health hazard.

Our well water has been treated with chlorine to combat unsafe levels of bacteria four times, so far. It’s reasonable to expect we’ll be receiving ‘boil-water’ advisories next summer. (if we’re still here)

We don’t drink water straight from the tap anymore.

One of the things we were saving up for to buy next year as part of our preparations to head off for parts north-west of here, (and become the ‘Wunder-Lusters’ we’ve been hoping to be for the last two years) was a Berkey water filtration system.

With a little rearranging of priorities, we had the rather large, for us, sum of money to buy it now instead of next year.

Having a glass of water is a pleasure we cannot take for granted again.

 

‘… Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink …’

From ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

3 Bits And A Piece

I had my first vaccine last week with no nasty side effects, only a sore arm for a few days and feeling a bit seedy but that was it. Mrs Widds had hers two weeks before that so we’re good to go on that front until our second shots in a couple of months.

We’re still taking all the same precautions when we go out into the world, of course. Only the willfully ignorant-by-choice believe that this pandemic is in any way shape or form, over.

-oOo-

We’ve hit a bit of a plateau with our packing stuff into storage plan. Although we’re nibbling away at it, we’ve acknowledged that we may not be able to do a permanent move this year.

It’s a fine balance between leaving everything until the last minute and having far too many ‘oh shit!’ moments, and getting everything into storage and living out of boxes and sitting on the floor. (OK, that last bit was an exaggeration, but you get the picture)

Although we can live a minimalist lifestyle for a few months, the prospect of another year without certain items, that are already in storage, isn’t attractive. So, as usual, we’ll see.

-oOo-

Editing is coming along swimmingly. I feel a bit like Data in the movie Star Trek: Generations, when I sit down to work on another chapter, of which there currently are, thirty-nine.

Speaking of Data …

The Terrifying Art Of Becoming

Freek Week downgraded itself to mere Freek Hours, thence to Freek Minutes. These minutes are, however, just as overwhelming as the hours and weeks. The only good thing about them is that it takes less time to overcome them but their ability to come seemingly out of nowhere, is disconcerting, to say the least.

Today’s Freek Minute comes to us directly from the Storage Locker …

Empty ... un-full-filled

Empty … un-full-filled

I know what I have become living here on our island in the middle of a lake. I have become a cancer survivor, a self-published author, (Prelude – which I am inordinately proud of) … I have become too overweight, too sedentary … I have become older, by eight years, and wiser, I hope … a survivor of 2020 … I am closer to my physical death than my birth, and I am far too fond of my habits.

… but what will I become if I stay here? The answer to that lies in a deep level of self honesty … which says I will become invisible, even to myself, with the passing of days … I will eventually disappear into the illusion of safety and security, the comfort of familiarity and routines, and a spirit-death of a thousand fear-filled thoughts.

What will I become, though, when I leave?

-oOo-

We have a leave date, the 31st May, and we have started to fill our storage unit with ‘stuff’.

Other ‘stuff’ is bound for the thrift store. Boxes, half-filled with ‘stuff’ are littered throughout the house, and we wonder, every day, how we managed to not only accumulate so much ‘stuff’, but how we’ve lived with it for this long.

The answer to that last bit is, of course, we’ve been gathering ‘stuff’ for this very outcome.

Think about it for a minute. Think about where and how you’re living right now. I know that for most of you, your life is set. There are routines you follow. The future, although as yet unwritten, is fairly well defined.

I know my life was.

This adventure of ours feels very much like we’re throwing all that out the window.

Imagine leaving all your familiarities behind, taking with you only what you can carry. What goes with you? What stays?

Mrs Widds’ grandmother came west, through the Canadian prairies, in a covered wagon. Everything she knew, everything she owned, was within that wagon. The rest, was, perhaps a few lines drawn on an old map that led to the hope of a new life.

In my more sleep-deprived moments, because some nights sleep is hard to come by when lists loom so large, I feel as though that’s what we’re doing too.

-oOo-

So, what will I become?

We shall see.

Freek Week!!!

Things are moving along a little faster than we expected.

Just before the pandemic closed down the world last year, Mrs Widds started working at a temp job that, luckily for us was in an essential industry.

Through a series of circumstances, that ‘temporary’ job extended and extended and extended, until we arrive here at the first couple of months of a new year.

At the beginning of February I did a wee Wunder-Lusters update, wherein we were planning to initiate the new and revised plan by the middle of this year-ish.

As the song goes, ‘t’aint necessarily so,’ folks.

Mrs Widds discovered today (Monday) that the company she’d worked for all through the pandemic pandemonium of 2020, was taking applications to fill the temp job she’d been working for the last year, with a permanent employee. Interviews for which got underway today, and Mrs Widds will be cleaning out her desk by the end of the week.

We were thinking that the job would wind down by May/June-ish anyway so we were ramping up our preparations with that timeframe in mind.

I understand the company’s position about the costs involved in hiring a temp versus paying an employee, but for fucks sake they could’a held off for another month or two.

So, money’s tight again, and the curve of our adventure has edged closer to vertical by about six weeks.

Are we freaking out right now?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

In honour of our, hm, let’s call it , ‘enhanced’ timetable we have declared the rest of this week to be, FREEK WEEK … where all manner of squeaking, shrieking, weeping, freaking-out, procrastinating, denying, and assorted other coping mechanisms and stress release vocalisations are encouraged.

After that our motto is going to be, ‘It is what it is’, and we’ll get on with it.

I encourage you to take advantage of this burgeoning international movement and embrace your inner and outer FREEK WEEK, and then get on with it too.

A New Dawn, A New Day – The Wunderlusters: Plan B

When last we met our intrepid lesbians in the waning days of yesteryear, they planned to head out, in their trusty little travel trailer, into the wild blue yonder that is Canada.

Their motto,’ Two women, Eight Wheels, Coast to Coast to Coast’, would’ve taken them to such diverse places as Tyuktoyaktuk, which shakes hands with the rather chilly Arctic Ocean, Peggy’s Cove, nestled up against the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and catch a few waves off the shores of Ucluelet, brought in by the hemisphere-spanning Ocean that is the Pacific, just to name a few.

… … yeah … … about that … …

2020 – The Year That Changed The World!

We may yet get to visit all those places, but our priorities have changed … and who among us hasn’t had to rearrange a few things here and there over the last year?

Here’s the new plan.

We still do all of the above, but first, we get ourselves settled on a piece of land that’s not on a flood plain (here on Widder-island we’re barely above seal level as it is), or a major earthquake zone, or one of the battlefronts of the effects, social, environmental, economic, and political, that the climate crisis has wrought, and will continue to wrought (anyone know the present and future tense of ‘wrought’?) for decades to come. Decades that Mrs Widds and I, in our 70’s and 60’s respectively, hope to live long enough to survive.

What, I hear you ask, are a couple of middle-aged biddies going to realistically do to change their circumstances? Why don’t they just stay where they are? It’s comfortable, if a little small, all the services they need are nearby, and let’s face it they’re not getting any younger, and who knows if all the above mentioned crises will pan out as ‘worst-case scenario’s’ predict.

Yes, in the present moment, our lives are ‘secure’, but all we have to do is lift the veil and peer out from it’s comforting obscurity and see the world as it really is, and what it really will become in our lifetimes. (assuming, of course, we both make it happily and healthily into our 90’s and beyond)

That’s the thing with a slow moving crises, it’s really difficult to see any movement until the damn thing is breaking down your door.

There is hope in the world. Scientists are on the case, huge numbers of individuals, smaller numbers of corporations, governments, etc, are making changes to how they live their lives, conduct their business, make policy. I believe these efforts will be sufficient for the continuation of our species, but as to the quality of life for the greater percentage of eight billion-ish humans? That I think is where the dark might days lurk.

I have no wish to live out the remainder of my life in dark times if I can, in the immediate future, take steps to change that fate.

We have time, we don’t need to rush.

… back to the plan …

First, we’ve rented a storage space, sufficient to hold all our worldly goods. Then, after judicious sorting and taking of sorted stuffs to thrift stores, over the next couple of months, we’ll pack up everything into boxes and deposit them, (after carefully considering the order in which we will need to unpack) into storage.

In the meantime, we will set up all sorts of searches for land in our chosen area, that of the Kootenays, a mountainous region of the British Columbian Rockies, along the Columbia River, going both north and south.

In the meantime of that meantime, our trailer will be out of storage and I will be finishing off the last of the renovations so it will be livable for us both in the long term if necessary.

In the meantime of meantimes, our province has scheduled the covid-19 vaccinations for our age-groups in May-June-ish (all things being relatively equal-ish, and travel restrictions lifted) at which point all our meantimes should be aligned and we’ll be off.

We’re not foolish enough to believe that we won’t encounter any hiccups along the way, after all, this was our plan, with a few new tweaks, at this time last year, but without taking action all we’ll be doing is sitting here stewing in our own regrets … and I’ll be damned if I let that be my epitaph.

A Potpourri-ish List

1 – my CT scan came back clear, so I know another thing that isn’t causing my vertigo. I’ve learned to live with the sensations, it helps living in a small cottage, there’s always a wall nearby to lean on if required. The ’tilt factor’ hasn’t actually lessened but I tell myself that the world is right where I left it and to not succumb to the aural illusions. It mostly works, most of the time.

2 – It’s raining. The Autumn Tree outside my window has thrown off her green summer chapeau and has wrapped herself in a snug shawl of reds, and oranges, and yellows. Droplets of rain plink from leaf to leaf almost like notes being played on a piano. The tiny birds who frequent her dappled branches this time of year have returned and are probably busy collecting all sorts of wee beasties for supper, but they do look like they’re dancing to the tune of the raindrops.

Dancing in the rain

Dancing in the rain

3 – A hundred years ago, in 2019, I wanted to start making videos for our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ adventures but my poor old computer wasn’t up to the task. Mrs Widds needed an upgrade too, (her computer that is) so … fast forward to today where the first component of our new system has arrived. It’s Mrs Widds new monitor.

The hard-drives and other assorted ‘peripherals’ should arrive today too, but you never know with these things. The fact that we bought everything together, at the same place, on the same day, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all be delivered on the same day.

I’ve had enough time to shift from, ‘Emegherd! Setting up a new computer is HELL!!!’, to ‘this is rather exciting’. Mind you, that might not last past the fifteenth snafu though. We’re planning on doing all that fun stuff this weekend, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

4 – The kitchen sink cold-water tap came off in my hand the other day. I wish I could say that I had a grip of iron, but it ain’t so. The bastard has been leaking for a while so it was just a matter of time. Also, the shower hot-water tap leaks, and the vanity taps, also in the bathroom, are corroded beyond redemption.

All that is to preface a plumber coming tomorrow, somewhere between the hours of midday and 2pm, to amend the above. Oh, you can guffaw, but plumbers have been known to turn up on the day they’re supposed to. (expecting them at the time of day they say, is a tad utopian)

There’s a catch, there’s always a catch. Two sets of replacement taps have been delivered, the third (and most important, the shower taps) are due to arrive today, at some point, they haven’t yet.

5 – the up-side (down-side? … depends on your point of view, I suspect) of getting a new computer is I have to go through ALL the old documents and files stored on my current computer, (as well as the masses of stuff saved to my external drive, some of which I haven’t set eyes on for most of the last decade) and delete and/or cut-and-paste, onto my external drive. I regularly back-up my current work, (a writer only forgets to back-up her files once. ‘Tis a painful but well-learned lesson) but some of this stuff originated last century!

6 – I was going to publish this post yesterday, but our computers arrived and I got a wee bit distracted … and today the plumber turned up, EARLY! … my head is spinning!

Just the thing a woman with vertigo needs - a spinning head

Just the thing a woman with vertigo needs – a spinning head

P.S. The third set of taps hasn’t shown up, so the 2020 effect is still in operation. The plumber will return when they do.

A Perfect Ten, Finale – 2010: Beginnings and Endings

Well, here we are, at the beginning.

It was quite a decade, and it’s been an interesting exercise revisiting it via, firstly, my Great Blog Post Emendation, and thence on to these ‘one-per-year’ posts.

In looking back, I’ve found my line-of-sight swinging towards, not only the present, but the future also. A future that is occluded by Covid-19 – as it is for all of us – but also has some threads weaving in and out of the mists that I can tug on and feel their energy pulling me forth.

Going on our trip-ette for ten days was the perfect way to end these last ten years, to give myself time to, as I said at the end of my last post, stare at the scenery and drink tea … which I did … both, in copious quantities.

I had fine ideas of doing some deep spiritual work, of writing down a few outlines (vague outlines, ‘cos I’m a dyed-in-the-wool ‘pantser’*) of the stories that are percolating underneath the attic stairs in the back of my mind, of brainstorming the, Covid-19-revised, future of ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and many other things too numerous to mention. To give myself credit I had allowed the first five days to do the ‘scenery and tea’ bit, but after that I’d planned to get to work.

Yeah … about that plan … it was obvious by the first weekend that none of the above list of things was going to happen. I didn’t even get my camera out until we were almost at the end of our time there.

The first three days were still smoke-raddled by the capricious winds blowing up from the fires in the U.S. The next couple of days were filled with glorious blue skies and brisk winds … which got steadily stronger, and stronger and blew in thunderous storm clouds and rain … and more rain, and still more rain … that had reduced itself to occasional showers by the time we left.

Since getting home, late on Sunday afternoon, we’ve had nothing but sunshine … ain’t life twisty like that?

However, herewith, as promised, some photos and first ever videos of the (also first ever) official, Wunder-Lusters Adventure …

This is the view from where I sat under the trailer awning, all bundled up, sipping my tea, and listening to the rain.

 

And this made me smile …

A Puff of Dragon's Breath Cloud - busy with things to do and people to see

A Puff of Dragon’s Breath Cloud – busy with things to do and people to see

A little white cloud that had far greater ambitions than I …

(A bit wibbly-wobbly because of a stiff tripod. I ‘hand-held’ the rest, but I’m going to have to work through my equipment list poste-haste)

We did go for walks along the beach in-between the rain-showers and rain-deluges.

Very fine silt sand drifted between an endless vista of the most, pick-up-and-put-in-your-pocket-river-tumbled stones, I’ve seen for a good many years.

 

I have a selection of very special ones with me as I write this. I also picked up a piece of driftwood that caught my Attention. I don’t know, yet, what the stones and the wood will do, but they’ll make their opinions on the topic known when they’re ready, of that I’m sure.

The transition between sunshine and stormclouds happened in a matter of moments. Not long after I filmed this, another deluge descended upon us …

 

It was cold that night. I even tucked myself into bed with an extra hot water bottle. (a few things, among many, to make sure you have when camping, whatever you’re camping in – duct tape, wire, and an extra hot water bottle)

The next morning, I spied my most favourite weather event in the entire world

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

Of course Cheam Mountain is over 2000 meters high, and our campground sat at 23 meters, but still … SNOW!!!

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

And this is what she looks like, from another angle, when she’s really got her groove on, courtesy of Wikipedia and the photographer, Jack Borno …

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

It turns out I did think deep thoughts about ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and Spirituality, and writing, and the Universe and Everything, but just not how I envisioned it before I started … life’s twisty like that.

-oOo-

We stayed at the Cheam Fishing VIllage and Campground (where the Stó:lō, the People of the River, have fished for 10,000 years) in Agassiz. They’re closed for the year now, but if you’re ever in the neighbourhood check them out.

* ‘pantser’ – a writer who writes her stories by the ‘seat-of-her-pants’, making it up as she goes along, as it were … as opposed to a ‘plotter’, who outlines the story ‘plot’ to varying degrees of detail before she starts in on the meat of it.

A Perfect Ten – 2013

Continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

Today we land precisely on the 27th of September 2013, wherein I bemoan my fate at losing the threads of a story I began the previous year which suffered from cancerous interruptous.

I had thyroid cancer. In July of 2013 I had surgery to remove my entire thyroid. (and thereafter had radiation therapy to destroy the rest of those nasty little immortal cells – they can be killed, they just refuse to die on their own – who escaped the scalpel)

So, by the end of September I was starting to feel like I could pick up the threads of my life again.

But, after such a momentous interlude the pieces of my life were scattered hither, thither and yon. (the irony of currently searching hither, thither, and you, for bits and pieces of my dreams and plans here in 2020 is not lost on me either)

Back then, it was a bit of an excruciating joust between my brain, exhaustion, my computer, and the very sparse notes I’d made prior to my interlude.

Today, I’m jousting with drills and wood-stain, and hammers and foam underlay, screws and staple-guns, as I work on finishing up the renovations to our travel trailer that we started … hmm … probably they had their genesis after our 2015 cross-Canada trip.

Storage and ventilation and paneling, oh my!

Storage and ventilation and paneling, oh my!

We’re planning on having a bit of a holiday (more like a Retreat for me, really) at a campground not far away from here, in the very, very near future – hence my jousting to get everything, if not finished, then at least travel-worthy and livable.

I’m looking at it as a trial run for next year, when we really get going with our plans.

Covid-19 may have cost us a year, (which at our age feels a whole lot more important than it might’ve when we were in the first few decades of our lives) but I’ll be damned if it costs us more than that.

The world, most of the world, has a handle on how to live with this virus now, (we certainly do) and within this new paradigm, barring the Unforeseen, we’ll be able to move ahead with a new-and-improved version of our Dream.

Dream Machine

Dream Machine

A Perfect Ten – 2014

Hey there. I took a break from just about everything ‘widdershins-y’, I was starting to get way too squirrelly for my own sanity … one of those times when ‘whelmed’, which is the global default these days, tips over into ‘overwhelmed.

 The squirrels are now back where they belong, and my sanity is … well, back where it belongs too.

Onwards and forwards, I say!

So … continuing my countdown to my blog’s 10th Anniversary on 27th September this year, I’m revisiting what I posted on or around that date each year.

First, my only post for September 2014 (I may or may not have deleted any others in the ‘Great Blog Post Emendation’ of July 2020) was on my Birth Day (not unsurprisingly) and the nearest other one was on the 12th October, which was the only one for that month too. (looks like posts were suspiciously thin on the ground that year, my ‘Emendations’ not-with-standing)

The September one focuses on a certain rodent, so we’ll avoid that one entirely, shall we?

The other refers to our first jaunt into the ‘Interior’ (as any parts of British Columbia not fronting the Pacific Ocean are referred to) that started the cement-ation of where we wanted to make our ‘forever’ home, off the Lower Mainland (think coastal temperate rainforest – emphasis on the ‘rain’) where we currently reside. (that we were finally going to set forth and discover this year – best laid plans of mice and lesbians, eh?) … anyway …

We had lots of adventures on our 2014 trip, but the two highlights, (well, three really, but I’ll get to the third one in a moment) were getting to walk out onto a real live glacier …

There’s something wonderfully uplifting and heart-wrenching at the same time at being in the presence of awe-inspiring manifestations of Mother Nature, in my case the Athabasca Glacier, as they not-so-slowly reach the end of their life. At best we can only bear witness, and change our behaviours accordingly as we go forward from that moment.

… the second highlight was Lussier Hot Springs, a natural hot spring that rises next to the Lussier river and flows through a few natural pools (with a few additional carefully placed rocks) right into the river itself.

I have to tell you, I could’ve stayed, wallowed, in that gloriously hot mineral-y water for ever.

The third highlight, more of a realisation really, was that throughout the entire trip both Mrs Widds and I felt so much more energised at the higher, much higher, elevations. (Lussier hot springs is about 1000 meters (3,600 feet) above sea-level. Here on Widder Island we average out at 3 meters (9’10”), on a good day)

Knowing that we both wanted to get off the coast was the first step toward our ultimate ‘Wunder-Luster’ adventure … which is a perfect segue into …

… a bit of good news on the Wunder-Lusters front. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but it is forward movement. After a long hiatus we’re now able to get on with the renovations to our travel trailer. Parts and materials are becoming available, and if all goes well, we may even be able to have a bit of a pootle to a local campground and ‘road-test’ all the new bits.

Lussier Hot Springs – photo by Jim Clark. Pool hot, river cold, very cold!

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.