Thursday, December 30, 2010

Used up

sucked dry like an empty husk that once held life.
i have nothing left to give
i want to give nothing more.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I am planning a trip to India. The thing I love about going to a country like this is that not only is it so different from where I am from but it is also because there are less rules. You can actually breathe. Maybe it is because I live in one of the most over beauracritized places in Canada, but I get so tired of faceless government people telling me how to live my life. I moved to the Yukon because twenty years ago it still had that frontier feel of letting people just do their thing. Of course all the government types are doing their level best to make sure we have lots of rules and regulations to live by so they can control our every move. They are quickly ruining what was once a very cool place to live.
I think there are two types of people; those that love the rules because life is too frightening to contemplate without a blueprint to go by and those that like to just live it, maybe fucking up on occasion but still living their life in a free way. It is the difference between living with the volume turned up or turned down.
So I look forward to India where they ride their motorcycles with four members of the family hanging off of it and !gasp! without helmets. It's a place where smokers can smoke where ever the hell they want without getting a fine. It's a place where you are not "ruled" to death. That is my kind of holiday. It renews the spirit so I can come back home and deal with all the bullshit and minutiae that has become part of our lives here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The One Thing

This is a story of how one small change can have a huge impact on one town and can change it forever. The town in question was a small mining town, one of those one industry towns where everyone worked for that one industry. The miners worked 12 hour shifts in four day rotations so it gave everyone a lot of recreation time. This town was one of those places where everyone came out and participated in the activities. There were hockey games and curling matches in winter and softball games and bowling league in summer. The men played hockey while the wives watched and chatted and drank beer. It was a community minded town that shared in everyone’s joys and shouldered everyone’s sorrows.
            This story was told to me by the town doctor. He was a guy who knew everyone intimately. He had seen most of the people naked at one time or another and he had delivered almost all of the babies born in recent years. He said that one thing that came to the town changed that town irrevocably. After its arrival no one came out to the hockey games anymore. The rink stood silent. The bingo games at the community center were no longer attended. At night you could have shot a gun down the center of the road and hit no one. Even the kids weren’t around anymore. The town stood silent and quiet every night. The people were inside their houses with the doors locked. This is a true story. Can you guess the one thing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Losing One's Ambition

I don't know if that is an appropriate title for this blog but I am now seeking out permanent employment in eeek can I say this out loud? the government or in one of the big employers like Northwestel. It kind of feels like I am giving up but I no longer have the will to go out and try to make a business for myself. I had a store in Carcross for a few years that was seasonal and did well but I gave it up to run a restaurant there instead. My father asked me why I didn't do both but it was impossible to find reliable staff for one business let alone two. The lack of staff made me walk away from the restaurant even though it was a big money maker. I wanted to have a life and my kids were always saying they never saw me. Then I opened a store in Whitehorse and everyone said what a great idea it was. It was a learning experience. Private retail is doable but you have to be committed to putting in years and to working long hours to get established and I realized that kids clothing just did not interest me enough. So now I am thinking about retirement and how I will acheive that and it certainly won't be by being an entrepreneur. The taxes and fees and labour stuff a private business person has to pay out makes it too difficult and on top of that you have no benefits and the risk of losing it all is too great. It is too bad that this is what we have become. It is kind of pathetic that the most sought after jobs in Yukon are with the government. I remember a conversation I had at my store with a customer just before I closed and she was saying how it was too bad I was closing since my store was the only option besides Walmart for this age group. I said Yes, it was too bad but the locals don't want to support it. Her response was that since she travelled outside 3 times a month (with her government job) she did all her shopping outside. Then she looked appropriately embarassed that she had actually admitted that to me. I can't hold it against people, most of my friends with kids in the age group I catered to never came in either. If you can't get your friends to come in you have a problem.
So, I guess I am going to join the others who have gone into the public sector. Most of them seem to hate their jobs or find them boring but the big paycheck and stability and benefits outweigh the cons.
Now the big hurdle is to see if anyone will hire me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Late summer 1973 found us on a train in the middle of rainy England. My father had been posted, once again, overseas. The countryside was bleary but verdantly green. I was ten and I knew I was going to hate it here. We had left all of our good friends behind on the air force base in Canada to come to this wet boggy country. I was going to hate it.
We finally made it to what would be our new home for the next two years. My father had said he had found an unusual house to rent. We pulled up in front of a grey stone castle. The house was huge, octagonal in shape and over three hundred years old. We raced through the house checking every room. The foyer was a huge room itself and the living room had a great stone hearth that I could lie in comfortably. We each had our own bedroom for the first time in our lives. The upstairs hallway was not a straight line but curved so that you could never see what was around the corner. The best part though was in the back yard. The yard itself covered over an acre and the stone steps leading down to the cellar also led to tunnels that skirted under the lawn and came out several hundred yards later at the end of the yard. The tunnels had been built hundreds of years ago to hide fleeing nuns and priests who were being persecuted. The original tunnels had run all the way to the Abbey, which was miles away but they had been blocked off when rats had become a problem. What a boon this was for a ten-year-old kid. We had to crouch down to walk through the tunnels and they were claustrophobic and smelled moldy. Summer was quickly coming to a close. We had to enroll in school. My parents heard that the local school had its problems so they decided to put me in Catholic school. I wasn’t catholic and had no idea what that meant. We were given the name of a shop where we could buy our school uniforms. We went in and an old man greeted us. My mother told him which schools we were going to and he brought out the appropriate uniforms.
“And for the lad,” he said looking at me.
“But I’m a girl,” I said for the thousandth time in my life.
“Oh,” he said looking embarrassed. He silently went and found the skirt and sweater that I needed. I took it hating the fact that I had to wear a skirt. I wished for the thousandth time that I had been born a boy. Instead of the runners that I always wore we were required to wear proper shoes. For some reason I will never understand I chose platform shoes, they were awkward and I felt like I was walking on stilts.
School started and everything about it was weird. First of all we had to stand every time a teacher came in the room. I was a newly minted catholic so I had to get my own rosary beads and I started learning all the prayers and chants that catholic’s did. The other kids looked at me like I was from Mars. They had never met a Canadian before and they must have been delinquent in Geography because one kid told me when they heard a Canadian was coming to their school, they thought I would be black.
I took an early dislike to the Headmistress. She was a pinched faced old lady; at least she looked old. I heard after I left that she had married the Vicar and had a baby, so she was not as old as I thought. I liked defying the myriad sets of rules the school had. My favourite was to wear my runners instead of my proper shoes. This got me the punishment of having to run laps around the schoolyard in my platform shoes. This may be the genesis of my on-going ankle issues.
  I made a friend called Lizzie Hopgood. She was blond like me but her hair was long and golden like a sheaf of wheat and mine was always short and boyish. She was a rebel too. We would leave school and go into the village and buy cigarettes from the vending machine. Those were the days before you needed four different ID’s and a blood sample to buy a pack of smokes. We would head down to the Avon River and smoke. They tasted like shit but we knew we were super cool so it didn’t matter. On one particular day, we were sitting on the riverbank when we heard splashing. We stood up and peeked through the reeds and saw a naked man walking into the river. It was the first naked man that either of us had ever seen and we were fascinated and horrified at the same time. We were astonished to discover that men had pubic hair too. We thought only women and pubic hair. We always assumed that men’s parts hung down nakedly like a hanged man without any protection. Pubic hair had been on my mind a lot that year. I had grown my own, and although it was sparse and fair, it was a fascination to me. I was what my mother called an early developer. My chest was already sprouting small mounds of flesh, which I hated. My mom kept warning me that it was just about time to get me a bra. It was like I was being summoned to execution. In a way it was a death. It was death to my tomboyness. I didn’t want to give up my undershirts. I did not look forward to that girly rite of passage. Buying a bra was a terrible prospect. Again I wished I had been born a boy. I wanted to pee standing up and wear t-shirts with a pack of smokes rolled up in the sleeve.
The bra ordeal was nothing though in comparison to the morning I woke up to find the red stain on my underwear. I was just eleven and I had my period. I wadded toilet paper into my underwear and went downstairs for breakfast. I looked at my mother fussing over breakfast and I couldn’t tell her. I sat there trying to choke down my toast with this hideous secret gnawing at me. Finally I summoned the courage. She looked at me and exclaimed in a cheery Mrs. Cleaver voice, “Oh all my girls now.” I followed her morosely up the stairs where she showed me the life raft sized pads and the belt they hooked onto. She asked if I needed help. I shook my head in mortification. I just wanted her out of the damn bathroom. I put the contraption on. I could barely walk properly it was so big. I can’t remember when some genius decided that getting rid of the belt and putting adhesive strips on the pads was a better plan but I do know that most of that school day was a horror of trying to move this thing to pee and trying to walk without looking like I had just dismounted a horse. The worst part was swimming class. I had to tell the teacher and then all the other girls knew. They whispered. I was the first to get my period. I wish I had been born a boy.
In my second year in England the school organized a ski trip to Scotland. I was an avid skier and was missing that part of my Canadian life badly. I wasn’t old enough to go on the trip but somehow my mother convinced them that all my “acting out” was because I missed Canada so much. That wasn’t true at all but if it got me on the ski trip I wouldn’t argue; and it did. We took the train up to Scotland and I reveled in the fact that I was the only one who could ski. I got to go in the advanced class and whiz by my classmates with superiority. I discovered something truly great while I was in the country. I discovered that I could go into the bar and order a shandy. It was beer with lemonade and I could legally order it. We ordered big pints and set about playing pool.
I spent two years in England. I spent most of those two years getting into trouble and then getting away with it. All because my parents thought that it was because I missed Canada. Except for the beer swilling ski trip, that annoyed me. I didn’t want their understanding. I was a rebel.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Happiness

What is happiness? Is it brain chemistry? Is it some random cluster of neurons that fire in the right sequence to give us this illusion? or is it something we have to perceive or believe in to be real. I don't really know but I do know that a true state of happiness is pretty fleeting most of the time. People that profess to be happy all the time make we wonder, are they really happy or is it what they choose to believe.
I know that little kids are generally happy and often very old people are happy. Maybe because they don't have to fight the fight of life. Adults scurry around with all the adult worries and responsibilities. Kids and old people just play. It is something we seem to always be striving for yet I don't think we even know how to accurately define it. It is an odd illusion.

Friday, October 8, 2010

From Bingo Halls to Bangkok: A Fast Food Journey to Enlightenment

More than ten years ago I was in a state of existential crisis. I was in my late thirties and had no idea what the hell my life was all about. I was unhappily married with two young children and I was living a life of quiet desperation.
 I do believe that the universe provides whatever it is you seek, as long as you are open to receiving it. This is how it happened for me.
There was a trip being planned to Thailand around this time that I really wanted to go on. My ex and I could afford the ticket which was $1750 but I really felt the need to pay for it myself to somehow justify leaving him and my children for three weeks.
Around this time my sister-in-law who was an avid bingo aficionado asked me to accompany her to bingo. I was not a bingo player and had no interest but for some reason I felt compelled to go. We decided ahead of time to split whatever winnings equally. Well several hours later we had won, between us, three bingo games. When we went to do the split of monies, lo and behold the exact share was $1750.
Now people tell me this is just coincidence. I don't believe in coincidence. Coincidence is the universe showing you the way. Some call it synchronicity. Whatever it is, we all need to learn to pay attention to the signs. The universe was providing me with the money to go on this trip.
 Next time you have something coincidental happen don't just disregard it. Look at it and see what it is you are being shown. These are the lessons that we thick headed humans are being shown.
This trip at this time in my life was just what I needed and the universe knew this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cat Insulation

Tagish is a forest community of bush hippies, artists and drop outs with a sprinkling of retired people. It is the kind of place that attracts those people that just don't seem to fit into regular society. One such person was an old guy who lived quietly in his cabin in the woods. He passed away and when the family that probably never saw him came to deal with what was left of his life in this little cabin they were in for a surprise. When they set about fixing up the cabin for sale they pulled the boards off the walls and made an interesting discovery. The walls were filled with dead cats. I am not sure what the R value would be but maybe cats make excellent insulation.
When I first heard this story it piqued my interest because I am always fascinated by people's motivations. What would compel someone to line their walls with dead cats? I know Yukon winters can be long but how does something like this happen? The cat dies and it is too cold to bury it so he puts it in behind a board in the wall? Where do all the other cats come from? Did the neighborhood cats slowly start disappearing like some Feline serial killer was on the loose? I am sure he had a explanation that seemed rational to him. We will never know.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gay teen suicide....

All of a sudden gay teen suicide is getting a lot of press and attention from famous people. Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman and Lily Tomlin to name a few have made videos pleading with people to be less homophobic. Gay people have been killing themselves for decades, it isn't anything new. Mostly it is young gay men who have the hardest time dealing with their reality.
When will people especially the religious right just let gay people live their lives? Why this war on a group that is doing nothing except wanting to find love like everyone else. The religious right seems to think that part of "freedom of religion" entails enslaving and tromping on another group's rights.
It is truly scary what is happening in the States. There is a man running for the Senate who is campaigning on the belief that homosexuals should not be allowed to be teachers....oh and also women that have sex outside of marriage shouldn't be allowed to teach either (he makes no mention of single men who have sex). Another scary candidate is this Christine O'Donnell who believes that all of us gay folks just need to go and get cured at one of the bible thumping pray the gay away ranches. She even had an "ex-gay" man on her campaign trail extolling the virtues of these christian ranches. Unfortunately for her campaign this man didn't last long. He couldn't deny his authentic self and he defected back to gay land where he now campaigns against the homosexual cure saying..."IT DOESN'T WORK." Thank god for the very intelligent and witty and LESBIAN Rachel Maddow who has been dogging O'Donnell's campaign and showing the idiocy of this woman.
The politics to the south would be hilarious and entertaining if they weren't so damn scary. There are already States like Florida that don't allow gay couples to adopt or foster children. Even California the gayest Sate in the Union has declared war on the homosexuals. I just don't get it.

Crazy Cat Ladies

I watched a compelling documentary last night about how one becomes a crazy cat lady. It showed the progression from owning a few cats to owning hundreds. These women are socially isolated and they all had terrible childhoods. They cannot connect with people so they connect with cats. One woman was 35, attractive but had been raised by an abusive alcoholic father. She had 16 cats and she said they were her excuse not to have to reach out to people. It was kind of sad.

Monday, October 4, 2010


You scuttle around with your hard shell of black military clothing,
You stick needles of art and pins of defiance in your body,
Your body is a canvas to the distress of your soul,
You live in the streets and alleyways eating food from dumpsters,
You hate the rest of us with our mortgages and car payments,
You steal from us and feel no remorse,
You scuttle around like a cockroach.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Partisan politics

I am sick of the old and weary party system of left versus right. If the right does something the left will never support it and vice versa even if it is a good idea because of stupid ideological party politics. What about what is best for the country as a concept, regardless of right-wing vs left-wing ideology. The Green party purports to be neither left nor right but a whole new direction in politics so they get my vote and my money and anything else I can do for them.

Helping those in need....

I wanted to share an experience I had recently about helping others. My partner who runs the local animal shelter and who usually brings home stray dogs one day showed up with some stray people. They were a young homeless couple that had just landed in Whitehorse and the girl had started working at the shelter. They had piercings everywhere as well as tattoos on most areas of exposed skin including the face. They were supposed to be with us for a week but ended up staying for two months. Early on we fed them and got them clothing and helped them in anyway we could until they had some money. Even when they started earning we didn't charge them rent. We let them stay in our cabin for free. They turned out to be excellent workers and reliable people. They talked a lot about how they liked living a nomadic life and how they hated the thought of joining all the other working drones who worked to pay mortgages and bills. These people had the ultimate freedom. They worked for a while then set off travelling by mean of hitch hiking and jumping freight trains like the beat poets of 50 years ago. Jack Kerouac was their hero. I admired their independant view of life. We spent a few nights drinking and laughing and playing music. So why did I eventually have to kick them out? Why did it all have to end on a bad note.
We discovered we were missing some things of value and having looked everywhere we decided to look at their place. We found the items hidden away as well as some other things that they had decided they needed. I was beyond angry. We had treated these people well. We had given them so much and asked for nothing in return and we were thanked with this petty bit of thievery. Between them they were making over $3000 a month and living rent free yet they still needed to steal from us. I am still at a loss as to why. I am disappointed that yet another person that I thought had a certain idealism had failed to live up to it. It makes one really ponder whether it is worth it to stick out your hand in the spirit of giving. As a result, I have lately been in a very dejected mindset about people in general. I sit on my 15 acres and enjoy the company of the dogs over people. People always seem to disappoint.