After therapy on Thursday mornings, I go out for lunch before work. I could go home for the four hours between, but I live down a steep hill, and I work at the top, and it’s been so hot. I go out for lunch, I write in the food court, I browse the library, and then I go to work.

Lately, I’ve been going to the same restaurant, around the same time, and today my server said, “Nice to see you again.” It was a little moment that surprised me, a genuine recognition that so rarely happens in the world.

It had me thinking about why the baristas at Starbucks don’t seem to recognise me, though I’m there often enough. It’s the difference in the interaction. A server at a restaurant is with you through a meal, which is longer than a coffee. The time of day is more structured, too. There are breakfast customers, lunch customers, dinner customers, but people stop in for coffee at all hours.

I go to the same Starbucks, but I don’t always order the same drink. I’ve never worked food service, but I used to work in an alterations shop, which means I saw the customers when they dropped off and when they picked up. I recognised them because I associated them with their pants or dress. My mom’s Starbucks knows her because she orders the same thing every time (except when she gets a frappucino with her rewards).

Even with my ever-changing coffee, when I go to Starbucks, I usually get a mug to stay and write a while. I get my free refills. I do the crossword in the paper. Maybe I just need to be better at small talk while I wait for the app to load. Because some days I really feel invisible.

Because I was going to be downtown to meet some friends, I went a little early so I could visit Emily Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery. That’s the benefit of being a member–sometimes I go to the gallery to see just one floor, even one painting. They’re in a transition period right now, so 2/4 floors was all there was to see on Saturday.

The VAG holds the largest collection of Carr’s work. The fourth floor is usually hers. Until December, it’s an exhibit of her forest paintings, my favourite paintings. I haven’t seen Scorned/Beloved on a wall in years. That tree trunk up above is an early painting, as Emily was putting aside her totem pole project to explore the BC wilderness. That tree trunk below is a photograph by Karin Bubaš, a Vancouver artist in the second floor exhibit, Pictures from Here.

I only did a quick walk through the second floor (I’ll be back), but Bubaš’s photos struck me as I had just come out of Emily’s forest. It’s the same forest. They’re the same trees. Bubaš placed women in all of her photographs, faces obscured, like my own reflection in that selfie above.

We’re all making the same art, but in different ways.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #9

  1. The French Open is messing with my resolution to keep the TV off in the mornings. But my PVR helps. I only have a few shows set to record (Private Eyes is back!), but it means I’m not compulsively flipping the channels, looking for something to watch. I watch a show after work, and then I delete. I watch less TV, but I watch what I want.
  2. This Wednesday, I biked out to Crescent Beach. It was my first bike ride of the year. I wasn’t sure that the weather would hold for the whole day, and it turned out that it didn’t. It was overcast, and later it got windy. But just the chance to spend an afternoon on the beach, in the sun, in the ocean, made my week better.
  3. My new steno notebooks are working out pretty well. I filled the first one in two weeks. The thing I like most about them is the two columns. It means that the daily log I write at the back of my book takes up far fewer pages. The thing I like least about them is the paper. It’s rather thin and gets caught up on the spiral binding a lot.
  4. The inventor of the Hawaiian pizza died today. Hawaiian has always been my favourite pizza. But now that I’m vegetarian, I don’t eat ham. On my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a can of pineapple tidbits, pizza mozzarella (on sale!), some mushrooms, and a tomato. When I got home, I made some dough. It wasn’t exactly the pizza Sam Panopoulos invented. But I made it on a whim, and I have leftovers for tomorrow.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #7

  1. Weekends. Dude, they’re the best.
  2. A whole week off.  I went on a weekend vacation last week–Vancouver to Seattle on a cruise ship, then Seattle to Vancouver on a train. Because I knew I wouldn’t have internet, I decided not to worry. Then I came home and decided to keep not worrying for the rest of the week. Just take a few days off from making stuff. It was nice.
  3. What I ended up doing instead was a lot of thinking about what I want this website to look like. It was last May that I stopped making a zine a week. I liked doing it. I’m proud I did it. But in the end, it wasn’t working for me. I’ve been experimenting these last few months to figure out what’s going to work for me now. Even if it’s not what I’m doing now, none of this has been wasted. I have to do the thing to figure out if I want to do the thing.
  4. Last Sunday was the first time I’d travelled to the US since the election in November. Washington is literally right there across the bay, but the last time I walked around Blaine, I saw a man run across the street with a rifle.  And that was before the election. I wasn’t scared about being in Seattle. I was worried about being in this city I know well and finding it changed. I was worried that I would find a different America than the one I know from my friends, from my travels, from living in a border city. I was so happy to find that Seattle is well. Seattle is fighting. I took so many photos of the words RESIST, PERSIST, DEFY in shopfront windows: appliquéd on calico banners or written on cardboard in black Sharpie. It felt good to be there, instead of watching on the internet from afar. It helped me to know that we’re going to be OK.

I’ve had a fly in my house for three days. I don’t know how it got in. All of my windows have screens, and my door is only open when I leave the house or when I come home. So today, I left the door open for a few hours hoping to convince the fly to leave. It was a nice day–blue sky and sun–but when it started getting cold, I had to close the door. The fly had not left; it was in my shower. There’s a tiny window in there, but it’s frosted, and it wasn’t open.

There’s freedom through the open door, little fly. Go. Be wild. There’s nothing in here for you.

Yesterday, I hiked up the side of a mountain, and boy, are my legs tired. When we were kids, my family went hiking every Sunday. My two brothers and I took turns choosing the trail. We went hiking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking.

And then we stopped. I don’t remember being a very sullen teenager, but when I look at the photos from our last family camping trip, I see a kid who wasn’t having fun anymore. It makes sense that my parents started going on their own vacations. They’re cruise people now.

Five years ago, I started walking specifically for exercise and mental health, and three years ago, I started hiking again. Depression makes it hard to remember the things that used to bring you joy. The most important part of my self-care is a few hours in the wilderness every week.

Yesterday, I hiked a section of the Trans Canada Trail over Burnaby Mountain. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t know it would be straight up at a 20% grade. Because there are a lot of trails on the mountain, they have ratings. The TCT is rated intermediate; advanced must be evil.

I want to hike the West Coast Trail, a 7-day backpacking trail on the west coast of Vancouver Island. They say it’s hard. You have to get a permit and do an orientation. My mom says I shouldn’t do it alone.

My goals for this summer are all about getting to the WCT. I want to do at least one overnight hike. I want to complete all of the TCT I can reach by transit. I’ve been planning a trip to the Island to visit Emily Carr’s house, so I hope to do the bulk of the TCT there, too. I want to do the Coquitlam Crunch and then the Grouse Grind, both straight uphill trails.

The Grouse Grind is famous for being hard. People time themselves; they race the clock and each other. The unofficial record is 23 minutes. The rest of us need two hours.

As I took a break under the power lines, about two-thirds up Burnaby Mountain, I saw the same woman twice. Then I saw her again higher up. She was running up and down while I was just trying to make it to the top. I bet she can do the Grind in less than an hour.

Sitting, panting, on the ground and watching her run as easy as the breeze, I convinced myself I’m not ready. I’ve been telling myself this the last two summers. I have a bad ankle. I’m not in shape. If only I could lose another ten pounds.

But then I got up off the ground, and I kept hiking. I made it to the top of the mountain. It wasn’t easy, but instead of proving I’m not ready for the Grind, yesterday’s hike taught me how to do it.

A Toronto carnival masquerade band got in trouble for their appropriative costumes. This still happens. This still happens in Canada.

I am still thinking about this quote from Denise Stonefish, deputy grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians.

We don’t have a lot to really celebrate in terms of 150 years of Confederation.

While I don’t have any big plans (at the moment), I have been caught up in the excitement of Canada’s 150th birthday. I’m reading about Emily Carr. I’m hiking the Trans Canada Trail. I’m celebrating by reminding myself how lucky I am to be Canadian in the world today. I never want to take this life for granted.

But I know that I do. I only have this life because 150 years ago, 36 white men made the European colonization of Indigenous land official. As white Canadians, we must remember that we live on stolen land.

I live on Semiahmoo land. We stole the name for the library. We stole the name for the mall. The band lives on 312 narrow acres of land by the water; we live on the rest.

On July 1st, the city of White Rock is going to have a fireworks display. We’re going to crowd the beach and cheer for loud noises and bright colours. We’re going to take selfies in front of the big rock the city paints white to keep it clean.

Instead, this year, I want you to remember who lived here before us and lives here still. This story of the rock was written by Chief Bernard Charles:

The young man, by now more determined than ever, raised in his powerful arms a huge white rock which stood on the shore. He said to the Princess, “I will hurl this stone over the water! Wherever it falls, there we will make our home and establish our tribe.”

I bought a selfie stick the other day. I found one that folds up, only $10 at my grocery store. I had been looking at reviews online, comparing prices at Amazon, thinking about picking one up when the night market starts for the summer, but sometimes the thing you’re looking for just falls into your shopping basket. It’s pink. It’s small enough to carry in my backpack every day.

I probably should’ve checked the weather before I left this morning because it rained, but it wasn’t so bad. That’s why I also carry an umbrella. I definitely should’ve checked my phone before I left because I got home with 1% battery. I’ve been shooting a lot more video lately. I’m going to start a video blog, but I won’t make a promise when. I did a test with my laptop and QuickTime, and I love how it looks (with my wall of art as background), but the audio was terrible. I don’t have a mic.

I went hiking in Coquitlam today, putting together more pieces of the Trans Canada Trail. I’ve hiked as far as I can go towards Abbotsford before the bus routes disappear, and I’ve hiked all around downtown without boarding the SeaBus. Two more days, and I’ll connect the two sections through Burnaby Mountain. Then I can continue across the water to North Vancouver.

I have a lot of video of the trail now, and I’m really not sure what to do with it. Shooting is easy; editing is hard. It’s the same with writing, except I’ve been doing that forever. That we can make movies on our phones and show them to the world still feels like magic to me.

After I pulled the cord for the next stop, the woman sitting next to me asked, “You’re getting off here? I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get off here.”

We were on the Lougheed Highway, and I was getting off at the last stop before the Pitt River Bridge. The bus stop is literally on the side of the highway. It feels unsafe. You have to climb over a concrete barrier to get to the trail.

I explained that you can walk along the river here, but today I was walking over the bridge.

“Because it’s on your bucket list?” she asked.

“Not exactly. It’s part of the Trans Canada Trail,” I explained.

“Oh,” she said. “For 150.”

Not exactly. I started hiking the Trans Canada Trail with purpose last year, which was only Canada’s 149th birthday. It’s a thing I’m doing–a project–and whether I finish the Lower Mainland trails this year or the next, it’s OK. There’s no deadline in my mind.

The trail isn’t going anywhere.

Walking home late the other night, I spotted something red in the roundabout. I say that like I hadn’t previously noticed the flowers growing amongst the shrubs, but I’ve been watching spring pop up around the neighbourhood for weeks. It was the crocuses first–white, purple, and yellow petals breaking up the expanse of green lawn. Now the daffodils are taking over–show-offs. The plum and cherry blossoms are in first bloom, the rhododendrons are coming on, and the magnolia buds have started to drop their fuzzy outer leaves.

It’s finally spring outside, so I picked this red bud from the roundabout in the middle of the street and brought it inside with me. The next morning, it opened up into this red and yellow flame, a fiery greeting to the new season.