Tag Archives: Vancouver

Traffic noise amidst the winds of change

The life was sucked out of me on 12th Avenue. The incessant traffic noise I wrote about on more than one occasion in my journal. It didn’t ebb and flow there but rather marched no cannon balled and madly screamed back and forth along that magnificent tree lined East Vancouver Street.

I remember mere moments of stillness when the traffic did stop for a light or for a pedestrian brave enough to cross through Continue reading

Seasonal Kaleidoscopes or Why I Like Winter

Each Winter I seem to migrate no hibernate into my dreams, put paint brush to hand and begin painting floral and embellished little artworks. Stroke after stroke I load the paintbrush and simply paint. I think it dawned on me that much of my recent angst was due to not letting my mind flow freely and for me that means creating sometimes anything.

While living in Vancouver I dearly missed Winter and the quietness it brought about. The seasons their blend into each other with Winter being but a blip of minor cold and incessant rain in December and January. There is no distinct separation of Fall to Winter and then Winter to Spring. And this really affected my psyche, as for 30 years I was acclimatized to distinct seasonal separations and time lapses. That first year I remember thinking when does Winter start or end for that matter? And when does Spring arrive? Yes, the Magnolia’s and Cherry tree blossom’s bloomed but the grass was green in February when I arrived, and it was 11º Celsius when I a stepped off the plane in a bulky Winter coat thinking I’ve arrived in paradise. Is this really Canada? Continue reading

Napping and dreaming about bubbled artwork and ANGRY vintage kitchen tables

I am waking from a nap.


Work. Well, work is work. I’ve filed last Friday in a place that won’t be disturbed ever. I find myself holding out for the new manager to arrive. Hopefully when she arrives things will begin to turn around. Until that day comes, because I do not have other steady employment I will stay put, keep to myself and watch as co-workers quit, become frustrated and more unhappy. I work every day this week. My next day off is Sunday. There is not much I can do at work but work. I’ve resolved myself to do just that and since doing so my mind is quiet. There are things taking place that are way beyond my control. So be it.

November felt akin to mental concentration camp on my part. I went 40-50 days without a day off between Custom Framing, Design Contract work, Opening my online Art shop and writing for this Blog.

I managed to save enough money to ship the remainder of my things from Vancouver to Saint John. And the balance owing on my student loans is lowering month to month as I vigilantly place half of my income on the outstanding balance. Another few (plus) years to go.

Wednesday of last week I spoke to my ex-boyfriend who just happened to give my vintage kitchen table away, that I had painstakingly refinished bringing it back to it’s original luster, to his brother. Fuck you! Sad thing is if you get to angry at this man he withdraws and DOES NOTHING. When he does do something it’s pretty big and has a lasting effect on your pschy. I calmly told him to retrieve my kitchen table from his brother (who in no way shape or form gives two shits about me) repack and ship it to me immediately. He knew I NEVER planned on leaving it there and more than that would never give it to his brother.

Thus far only one oversized box has been shipped to me. That box contains four oversized original paintings and a hoola hoop which just happened to get wet because *dumbass didn’t place a tarp over the box in the rainiest city of Canada while transporting them to the shipping company from my friend’s house. Then he left while the company was on the phone with me. He just left. The company tells me on the phone that the box is wet. They ask me what is inside the box. I answer ARTWORK! They ask for my permission to open the box and offer to repack the 5 by 6 foot by 12 inch box at an extra cost mind you, to inspect the artwork for damage. So $332.00 later my box will arrive this Thursday.

Two of the four paintings were bubbling. I am four thousand miles away. It is all I can do to remain calm over the phone with the shipping company as he details the damage. The shipping company offered to crank the heat over night before repacking and shipping them the following morning.

When my friend Tomoko had gone out to her garage last Tuesday to inspect the boxes early last week she noticed one of them had disappeared and that all it’s contents including my CD’s, expensive software for my computer, handwoven blankets and a very cool IKEA step stool were on the garage floor. The vintage kitchen table was no where to be seen. She was flabbergasted.

I’m a tad pissed. Tomoko is pissed.

How is to possible to still be in love with someone that makes you so furious!

*That is my theory. Tomoko’s garage is dry. The shipping guy told me it was raining all day.

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Happy Halloween! Power Puff Girl Style

This year I’ll be working during the day and later handing out candy to kids in the neighborhood. We expect 200-300 trick or treaters to come knocking on the door this year.

The pics below are from a party I attended, at the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver, in 2005. We created our own patterns and sewed the dresses up a few days before the event. We jaunted down to Chinatown, frantically searching for china flats which we found and purchased. We later found decent wigs from a crazy shop (I can’t remember the name…?) on Main St.

Power Puff Girls 2
From left to right – Me (Jessica), Michael, Leah, unknown guy #1 and guy #2

Power Puff Girls 1
From left to right – Leah, Lala, Junko and me (Jessica)

…and from last year, and more scary…

Have a great, fun and safe Halloween everyone!

•Photo credits – Darren Lee
•Mini opening photo credit – me

The last day of letting go is not for the faint of finger movements

It’s the final countdown!
dne ne neuhhhhhh
ne ne ne ne neeuhhhh

Everything is half price today at the Moving BACK-EAST Sale!

Today for 4 hours *I aim to sell everything I have for sale.

*All remaining items are being donated to charity; specifically women’s shelters and mental and/or addiction treatment center’s for womyn. One of the toughest things for a woman recovering from addiction is a sense of self in how you appear to the rest of the world. In the beginning stages of recovery you feel atrocious in both mental and physical ways. Everything you own becomes gross, nothing appears as it is and worse you begin to feel vulnerable. And having nice things, i.e. clothing in various sizes is a must as your weight will fluctuate during an undetermined length of time while recovering.

Nothing fits for months years. Your skin changes. Nothing you used to use for cleansing works. IT REALLY doesn’t. And when recovering you usually don’t have a lot of money to buy a continuous stream of cosmetics, beauty supplies or clothing to suit your daily varying size and skin texture.

I think I’ll split between the women who live in my building and charity, the clothing i am not taking. That feels right. For over three months all I wore were two pairs of jeans and one pair of stretchy pants. I had found the two pairs of jeans in the front lobby. I bought the stretchy pants from the Salvation Army. They were nice, they fit, they worked. I have since lost 20lbs and am holding my weight. A small goal achieved over time something I am proud of.

This week has been anything but awful. I cried watching the sun set over the Vancouver cityscape with mountains and water and ships in harbor. Friends (René, Darren, Junko, Tomoko) have surprised me with visits and food. I love you guys so much.

I’m still in shock about moving a 14 foot high Japanese Maple Tree down four flights of narrow stairs in an East Van apartment on a dolly, bouncing one step at a time with a man named Loui. Then moving an apple tree down the same way and unraveling a concord grapevine entwined meshed into a iron fence is not for the faint of finger movements.

I didn’t break a branch.
quarter inches at a time
while Tomoko breastfed Kai and Junko cooked Japanese
I peacefully removed
life from death
and sold it for 50 bucks.

I’ve been running half marathons every day for the past 2 weeks.

Up and down and UP and down.
Lift and carry lift and carry
tell a story

Anywho I fly out late Tuesday evening.
I’ll post the final ad link on Craigslist in the comments of this post.

Money – Migration – Median

I ended having written “Hence, the Canadian Migration to Vancouver” in my last post. Yes, the Greater Vancouver Regional District is a beacon to Canadians looking to escape long cold winters and hot, humid, smoggy summers. In fact many people move here as I have in search of more. More being, in the way of housing, experience, lifestyle or job choice. Many people are searching for a greater acceptance of every walk of life than where they had lived before, regardless of where they migrate to or from. The GVRD’s slogan is “Building a Sustainable Region”.

I read an article in the Georgia Straight this evening entitled “Real Estate Sticker Shock”. It hit home with me. Charles Smith states that from the air, Vancouver is simply planned better with high rises located in central communities with transit access and are not, to quote “…all over the place in a disordered jumble of development” as in Toronto.


Vancouver has international appeal. With the Olympic Games coming in 2010 Vancouver development and promotion are at an all time high. Adbusters and Greenpeace are going to have a field day! Hooray!

Why then can’t the middle class afford to buy a home of any kind in Vancouver? Smith mentions in the last paragraph that Vancouver could begin to resemble Whistler in that none of the people who work there can afford to live there. To me that is all to true and a question my boyfriend and I are contemplating seriously. Can we afford to live in Vancouver? We rent currently at $1000 a month, heat and hot water in, a 600 square foot dwelling with 400 square foot deck. It’s a nice place. We don’t need to worry about maintenance and have a gorgeous view with ample room on the deck to garden in huge pots.

My Brother, on the other hand just purchased a 30 year old home in Saint John, New Brunswick for $85 grand. That same home here would have sold in the vicinity of $550 grand! Yes, they are two different areas of Canada but it makes one contemplate. Truth be told, both my boyfriend and myself, as far as wages are concerned would earn the same income on the East Coast as we do here in Vancouver.

The question becomes why do we stay? Love. Beauty. Ocean. Mountains. Culture. Health care. Opportunity. I could also ask myself why not go? The answer would be the same. The mountains are not as magnificent but NB has just as many striking natural beauties as well. I made the choice to stay in Vancouver. Forever? That is like saying never. It’s all about choice.

Over the next four years as Real Estate booms I ponder ahead to 2011 when the excitement of the two week advertisement bonanza is gone, done, no more. What will happen to all those condos being built? Who will live in them? Will there be culture? A condo culture? Will there be any Children? Will ALL the middle class just pick up and move East to populate smaller towns and cities to raise families because there will not be enough daycare here to look after the children while both parents work to afford a condo? And what about single parent families? What if this all happens before the 2010 Games? Who will manually labour to build all the condos for the planned Southeast False Creek Development located between Science World and Cambie Street? We won’t be able to live there either because of the recent changes. 80 percent of it will be sold at market value with the remaining 20 percent being affordable housing as mentioned in City’s Axe Falls on Kids by Pieta Woolley in the Georgia Straight.

Asking questions, pondering possible outcomes or solutions to these questions and above all gaining awareness. Being aware gives one the ability to make informed decisions. Being too aware could cause anxiety or mental breakdown. KISS – keep it simple stupid.

Be yourself – within yourself you will find the median.

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Snow – Vancouver – March?

Having lived in Vancouver for three years now, there has, on rare occasion, been white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. Mainly in January though! But, being from New Brunswick and having endured/enjoyed almost 30 some years of six month long winters seeing snow today/tonight was/is beautiful.

The city is calmer. Noise is reduced as snow acts as an insulator. And, living one block off of a main thorough fare in east Van; getting a break from the incessant traffic noise is welcome. Having another form of precipitation other than rain, drizzle, fog, mist or showers during the winter here is a nice change. The snow brightens everything up. The clouds are orange and purple hued reflections of city lights rather than grey, dark grey or black. This forces most folks here to stay home (lack of snow tires and skill to drive in 5cm of snow – haha). Good day to take off of work or to stay home from school.

Snow in Vancouver in March

On the flip side my boyfriend Eric’s irises, tulips, hyacinth’s and croci had popped up a little over a month ago during a warm spell and are now rather confused as to what to do. Yesterday it was warmer in New Brunswick than here. It more than likely has to do with global warming. Hooray! Global warming takes the blame again. Maybe it was all the Atlantic hurricanes this past season that Hrhum… were caused by GLOBAL WARMING. The phrase “Global warming” does not sound threatening enough. Perhaps a more catastrophically inhumane phrase such as “GLOBAL DEATH” would get the idea across to all of us. “Global Warming” just sounds so warm and fuzzy to a Canadian.

Why wouldn’t we want warmer weather up here north of the equator?

Hence, the Canadian Migration to Vancouver.

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This afternoon I went to Daytox here in Vancouver to attend the Benzodiazapine support group and receive acupuncture. Odd thing was today, I happened to be the sole one in acupuncture and thereafter in the support Group. LOL. Yes, it was funny but on rare occasions at Daytox you could end up being the only client/patient with the nurse/councilor or acupuncturist in a group setting. Today I happened to be that only one. There has in the past been two or three of us but today was a first.

One needle in the crown, one needle in my forehead just where your hairline begins then five needles in each ear are the standard treatment for addiction and withdrawal. Today the third eye located just between the eyebrows was pierced also.

Quiet buddist chants eminated from the CD player. I sat back in one of 30 or so High backed black chairs, resting my feet upon another and closed my eyes. Colours began to appear softly on my eyelids. Indigo, Purple, and light green yellow being predominant. When I’m unable to close my eyes during treatment I write or draw in my journal to clear my mind. After 45 minutes it was time for the benzo support group.

I’m on a Benzodiazapine named Diazapam better known as Valium. Many people are in this world. This is a legal addiction. I began at 10mg’s per day and now I am down to taking 3mg’s per day. YAY! During a taper (when the dose is reduced) a person can have many withdrawal symptoms; hallucinations, tinnitus, trembling, insomnia and gastrointestinal upset to name a few. Upon stabilizing on your newly reduced dose the side effects diminish and the body and brain begin to function normally again. It’s best to taper off a benzo slowly – “listen to your body”. Each benzo user is unique and each user uses various benzos and their subsequent reactions to tapering are often quite different.

After Acupuncture I sat waiting to see if any others were coming… do dee doo dooo. The councilor walked in 15 minutes late. Acupuncture had been quiet and the acupuncturist opened the door to the treatment room late. That made me late. Late, smate – it doesn’t really matter. I hadn’t seen this councilor in some time. We had a great one on one talk about design, the WWW and recovery from addiction.

I came home. I ate. I took a nap with my cat. Naps after acupuncture are the best. And now well, I will continue researching into WordPress, maybe paint and see where this evening takes me.


Above is Missy sitting on one of my paintings.

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