Dumb Kats

Dumb Kats

I own the dumbest kats in the world.  Harsh you say? Oh, not really. Let me tell you stories …

Let’s set the12705560_10154036934663825_1560319551105318945_n way-back machine for five years ago. We had just finished setting up and cycling the beautiful big fish-tank in the living room and now all the pretty little fishes were swimming around and around.  This thing is better than Kat TV, my eldest dolt purred. She curled up on the tank cover and watched the little lunchables swim in and out of view for hours.  A few days later, in an unwonted fit of romanticism, the man of the house lit a few beautiful candles and set them on the fish tank lid.  I fit in between, the dolt thought, bending her spine into a perverted ‘S’ shape to get between the lit candles to watch the fishies, all the fascinating little fishies. Then there was a smell, a god-awful smell, wrinkling her nose right back to her whiskers. But the fishies were on tv. so she didn’t move.  It was only when I attacked her with a wet cloth, dousing the charred remains of her tail that she noticed she was on fire…. Dumb Kat!

Now lets go to today. In the middle of February, in the middle of Calgary, in the mi12308550_10153864705858825_6872415319750730580_nddle of Cold. Naturally our furnace dies and the installers come to drag it out and replace it.  While the dead furnace was being hauled out by the plumbers crack brigade our young dolt, the four year old tween-ager Kat decided that skulking off down the vent hole would be an adventure. The technicians came back, the new furnace was installed, the house began filling with blessed heat and a smell, a familiar smell, hot kat.  The quick ears of my hobbit located the missing dolt, sitting in the, now very hot, vent duct, mewing pitifully and trying to push up on the venting.  Vents were pulled up and the Kat was pulled out, checked for injuries and released to sulk under the sofa…… DUMB KAT

I own the dumbest kats in the world.  Harsh you say? Oh, not really.




Merry Crashmass

perfectChristmas is over, and so soon will be the New Year festivities. So, in honour of me, and in recognition of my need to recuperate. I declare the first week of January 2017 to be Crashmass!

Crashmass is that week when the expectations of what Christmas should be run face first into the exhaustion caused by what Christmas really is.

Television teaches us that Christmas should be tidy, fun filled, wrapped, sparkled and picture perfect. Well that’s not my house. By the end of the season my house is inhabited by a very cranky woman. She is Over-cooked, Over-tired, and Over-budget. She feels like she hasn’t done enough to make the season beautiful for her family and at the same time bemoans her own inability to let it go and stop trying to keep up.

So, this year,  we will celebrate Crashmass and the legacy of the Retreating Goddess.

…. Here are the hallowed traditions of Crashmasschaos

  •  Paper plates, cups, cutlery will be used wherever possible.
  • Formal meals will not be cooked. There is a fridge -use it.
  • Reading time will be inviolate.
  • Leftover wine, chocolate or baked goods are all considered suitable offerings to the “Retreating Goddess.”

Only when energy levels have been restored and the bitchy goddess has crawled back into her cave will Crashmass be over and January commence.

So, from my cave to yours.. happy Crashmass. May your coffee be strong, your wine be red and your family happy with just being.

Coming out in Faith

Last night a dear friend of mine took me to the “Coming out in Faith Monologues” at Hillhurst Community Church. I’d thought about going to see the monologues last year. But thinking about going and actually going through the doors are two completely separate things.

Going to the Monologues took everything that I had come to accept intellectually about the LGBTQ community, and put doddering feet to it.

The very human stories I heard are the kind that will whisper in my mind. Strangely, none what impacted me had to do with sexuality or gender. It had to do with acceptance, inclusion, just being an honest person in a sometimes frightening world.

Here are some of the words I’ll carry on my heart from the monologues last night. If I’m in any way misquoting, please excuse me:

–        “I’m nothing special, just a gentle man on the long road home” by a young man who struggled to hide himself by being a ‘mega Christian’.  This spoke very strongly to me. I did the whole ‘mega Christian’ thing and came out emptier than I went in, God was not in the actions.

–        “Lean into the push” – by a lovely lady who learned that if you aren’t open to the whisper, sometimes God will shove.  God has to shove at me a lot, I need to learn to lean in and let him push.

–        “Carry the words on your heart”  One gentleman spoke of a rabbi who was asked why the disciples were told to carry the Torah on their heart, why not in their hearts? “our hearts are closed.” The rabbi said. “It’s only when something happens that breaks them open that the words can fall in.” – I carry a lot of things on my heart – maybe some of those need to be in the throwaway bag so the good things can fall in.

There was much more. I laughed until I thought I’d embarrass myself. Sang along to ‘It’s raining men’ while  one of the speakers waved a Canadian Flag and a rainbow. Was brought to tears by stories of isolation and strength.

Where is this going you ask? I’m not sure. Just that people who I had accepted intellectually now have faces and stories and are no scarier to me than I am to myself.  There is no other, we are the same

Just people on a long road home.  14883684_1204960806209064_6952876528859562658_o.jpg



Erato, Muse of erotica; I think you’ve been short changed.
Hidden behind all the oohing and ahhing, your
greatest seductions go unnoticed.
Like the day he woke up feeling like shit
and went to work anyway.
When he texts at midnight just to make sure I’ve gone to bed,
like a good little insomniac.
Four days in a row on 12 hour shifts, yet he stays awake long enough to
make sure I have my tea to get up to.
Kissing me and rolling over, because no matter how he feels;
I sound tired.
These are the ingredients that make a man,
It has nothing to do with the wallpaper; and
I can buy my own damn chocolate.
One Sleepless Night

One Sleepless Night


Tell me the difference between up at 2am, mind full of intemperate fears

and fractious words, and rolling over with mental earplugs intact?

8 square inches.


What turns a night full of noises; when the house breathes in

my ears like a B-grade movie villain, into home and comfort?

8 square inches.


Plans that won’t, fears that can’t, friends who call – just out of reach

all of these can be melted into the warmth of your back against mine.

8 square inches.



Listening to the silence.

Straining for all the things I can’t hear at 3am.

The noises that keep the mixmaster in my mind racing at full volume.

Hearing instead the purring of a cat, content with nothing more than a hand

The metronome floop of the fish tank, keeping air flowing in their little world.

I’m not comfortable in silence. It is naked, self aware.

Self aware – isn’t that a thing to hear at 3am



I hear the house breathing, little cat sighs and big man groans, convincing me that time has not stalled around me.

My mind likes to wander at 4am, in that in-between, unconnected time;

Too late for late, too soon for early.

Down anxious alleys of when, and if; past the gate labeled, ‘Don’t go there –  it hurts’;

Through the empty halls of memory and silence; all I see are the me’s I thought I was, and am not.

I can tell you better than anyone what I’m not; neither a lady, nor a dancer; not a rockstar; not a model of good housekeeping, parenting, wifery or business acumen.

I’m the dessicated shell of my dreams, dried up remains of what happens when dreams die and the human field is allowed to become fallow.

The relentless inhale/exhale of the house is the only thing alive now; but soon the day will dawn, the world begin again.

Hope is eternal, nights are not.

This is a good thing.


We learned this in Grade 5 social… why are we forgetting it now?

We learned this in Grade 5 social… why are we forgetting it now?

Canada’s unique type of cultural form has been known since the start of the 20th century as a ‘mosaic’; in opposition to the American ‘melting pot’ form of homogeneous culture. Several parties in the current Canadian election are hoping we’ve forgotten this. They are hoping that by playing on our fears and rattling the cages of the ever present lunatic fringe, they can push us away from what made Canada our country, why all our parents, grandparents, great grands no matter how far back decided that this rough, beautiful land was worth the risk.  We are all the children of immigrants.

Each person or cultural group that has been added to Canada has added a new unique gem to our national identity. Each gem has it’s own shape, colour, and voice. Each gem found its way into the Canadian Mosaic and shines there making the whole picture a bit brighter. This is the way our country earned a reputation as one of the most admired examples of tolerance and diversity in a harsh world. We learned the ‘Cultural Mosaic” theory in middle school. It isn’t time to forget it now.

We need each voice, each history, each story. They only make our nation richer, denser, more fully Canadian. We cannot not force them all to become white circles or red stars – Its not the Canadian Way.

It’s Real.

It’s Real.

The fog on the north ridge seemed much thicker than it had been when I walked out of the village with my berry bag. The afternoon had faded and now the quick dusk of the spring night was falling, my shawl was pulled tight around my shoulders as the warmth of the day slowly subsided. I could hear crickets in the bush rubbing their legs together their chirps slowing with the fog and wind.
There would be a campfire tonight, and hopefully it would keep my mother busy enough not to notice my absence. They were going to read the scroll of the Ut’laak to the village tonight, reminding themselves of the great danger of long ago. Uncle Pey’t would scowl at the ring of young faces around the campfire; they would stare back at him; half scared – half fascinated as he told the tales of the enemy that came from Below.

It was here, that the last great battle in that war against the Utlaak, the under dwellers, had been fought. Here, where -when the tribe had lost its final warrior- that Surta, the Lord of the Waki’tani, the sky people who flew between the earth and the Sky-Lord’s Road, had appeared to drive the Utlaak back under the earth.

The Waki’tani knew this Village’s Road, Uncle Peyt would growl, there were even rumours that at times they walked here cloaked as warriors.

I was so tired of that story. I had heard it every spring camp since I was old enough to sit at the campfire. They came, we beat them, they came again.. we beat them again. Why did it have to be more than that. The old legends weren’t really necessary, I fumed, why is it important to keep retelling the same dusty story just to feed the imagination of the children and comfort the dreams of the rambling old men.

It was steeper now. The black boles of the aspen twisted and gnarled in the deepening twilight. I rubbed my arms as a chill breeze blew between the black birch and looked back down the valley at the camp below. I don’t remember coming so high or walking so far.

My eyes ached from squinting at the darkness at the top of the ridge, something didn’t seem to quite fit with the night. The fog carried the mouldy smell of the forest floor mixed in with the nose pinching smell from the sweetgrass in bloom. Grabbing onto a thick aspen trunk I pulled myself over the loose gravel scree on the hillside.

Pebbles skittered down the hill as I scrambled up the sandstone ridge, the sound much louder in the silent dark. I froze; hugging the grey mottled bark of a twisted aspen until the sound faded and the faint noises of the forest could be heard again. Hesitantly I looked up the ridge, yes..right there, between that boulder and the ridgeline. There was something that didn’t move, or should move, or something. It was just the wrong shape for a shadow.

The fog should have been thinner up here, I swallowed thickly, my feet feeling heavy and noticeably less willing to move. I continued to climb; the fog climbed with me. I don’t believe in legends I reminded myself, that’s why I’m here, I don’t believe that the Ut’laak wait in the dark or the Sky people steal you if you leave camp at night.

I finally reached the ridgeline, and lay down shivering in the early spring moss. The damp vegetation soaked through my thick hide robe and chilled whatever courage I had left. What was I doing up here! The fog flowed steadily toward the boulder where the black something hovered unmoving against the horizon. It wrapped around boulders, and over my shoulders like a clammy stream; not still and airy the way fog should be, but always moving towards its ocean.

A scratching noise disturbed the forest silence. The shadow seemed to detach itself from the rock, extend itself to twice the height of one of the People and great yellow eyes that seemed to come from about half-way up its body opened suddenly to swivel backwards and forwards across the gravel ridge. The fog was clammy, I was clammier, my face covered in sweat that stung my eyes as the creature carefully scanned my side of the ridge.

Breathing slowly just to keep from moving I tried to see a form in the darkness. The rocks and soil under my fingernails felt hard and wet from the fog as my hands dug in trying to find an anchor into the mulch; desperate for the reality of the cold frozen earth. Apparently unable to see anyone the fierce eyes turned upwards for a moment giving me time for a full careful breath. A breath that I lost abruptly as the amorphous shape seemed to split itself in two. Where the eyes had been was now obviously a head and ravens wings stretched out to each side .

The Wakatani, aren’t real, I boggled, this isnt real! I’ve hit my head on a rock or a tree stump and I’m really just lying in the dirt. Carefully pulling one arm to my side I ran it over my wet braids checking for blood or bumps on my head, then putting the hand on my own racing heart I looked again.

The raven creature stood looking down at the village, wings spread in the darkness, blocking out the stars that were twinkling everywhere else in the frosty sky. Overhead the Sky Road appeared, a million points of light showing the way to the elder stars, surrounded by curtains of green and gold like fireflies dancing in a summer dusk.

The Wakitani turned its head, I swallowed in fear as the great beak snapped at a passing thought and with a last look at the village, and a noise that seemed somewhere between a human sigh and a ravens caw, it soared into the sky. For a few seconds I could only watch as the creature soared away into the distance, then, noticing that that fog seemed to be evaporate when the creature departed; scramble from the ridge line into the cover of the lower bushes.

Clinging to the bole of a knotty pine tree I tried to rebuild the world. It was suddenly a much larger, much scarier place than it had seemed when I left camp a few hours ago. . It was real, how can I tell them it’s all real!