Sunday, December 29, 2013


I posted this before and three people saw it - two of them mentioned it to me. I decided to post it.

There are a dozen other things to write about right now. There's Christmas, walking, Tobbit, the joys of Seattle but what's in the front of my mind in this very moment is that...

Even when frustrated, I still use apostrophes.

I don't get it.
I don't.

I want to forget and erase and leap ahead and magically not be affected at all. How do people do it?
Stupid, stupid mistake.
Fell so easily, so fast, and so pathetically.

Foolishly, just went though old messages and came across the very, very first one this human sent me:


I think you might be the coolest friend for a day I've ever had in my life. And I had me a lot of those. Thanks for the photos. They're great and brought back a lot of good memories. You're so wonderful and I think Haines Alaska needs you.



It arises so, so much frustration in me. I feel ashamed.
Each time I think I've take a few steps forward, moved on, it's like my feet let me down.
I can logic it all out but that doesn't turn my heart off.

Since then, I still don't trust this heart of me. I detest it. I don't let it feel and try and keep running.

In other words....

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Poached Eggs

Thoughts feel like my first and only attempts at poached eggs.

I first made poached eggs for Ellen.
They never became poached eggs.
So, perhaps I've never made poached eggs.

But I remember, with frustration, chasing down egg whites that had solidified....

Which (oh man, this is going to be an awful analogy) is like these thoughts I have. First, it takes something for them to emerge into my mind. It takes hard times, boiling water, and moments of clarity for them to solidify and turn from goo to something I can see.

But then, once I have these present thoughts, I can't do anything with them yet. Some of them,sure, I can easily manipulate, just like the cynchy yolk. But with others, it's just not going to work. I chase after them, trying to wrangle them up, but they're content to swirl about in the hot water on their own terms for a while longer.

If I take the time to get these thoughts out, they're underdeveloped and useless, like soggy poached egg whites that are all stringy and wet.

I don't know.
Is it worth thinking about or could I go back to the routine. I can do that. I can go through the motions.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Farewell Haines V.4

For the fourth time in my life, I'm leaving Haines, Alaska. For the second time, I'm not in a position where I can tell or say when I'll be back. For the first time, I couldn't help but cry as I boarded the ferry. I've pretty much gotten over crying for farewells - I started numbing myself to the process back when I was 17 and learned how painful it could be. As a result, I decided not to care. And, despite how much I tried not to care this time around, I did.

I don't want to leave this place.
There is so much love here.
I feel so safe here. After months of going through the desire of wanting the rug to be pulled out from under my feet, I feel a odd sense of pleasure in this illusion of security.

These past two months in Haines have meant even more to me than the year I spent in Haines in 2012. I felt connected and rooted. My focus, this time in Haines, wasn't just on my job or cash, it was on the humans that make Haines what it is.

In this short amount of time, I went through a few seasons. I went through the honeymoon phase, I went through the phase of not having much to do, I went through the phase of having every minute filled with activities, I went through the phase of feeling at home and the phase of getting itchy feet that drove me into strong desires to go elsewhere, I went through the phase of feeling utterly wonderful and the low times that lasted day after day.

But, overall, this time meant a lot to me. It was so precious.

During this time in Haines, I got to build stronger relationships with the folks I had known before or merely brushed shoulders with. There was a core group of families that especially welcomed me into their homes. Last time when I left, there were certain people I felt like I had barely even begun to get to know, this time, I got to meet up with them again and that was beautiful.

It was a season of being blessed and being given the opportunity to bless others.

Over and over again, people welcomed me into their homes which meant so much to me. As a solo traveler, I crave connections with other people and need that daily encouragement to keep myself in a healthy mental state. I need those families that will casually have me over all morning as the kids chip away at their school work or the families that invite me over to make music or curl up in a blanket for a good film.

There are two things that will keep drawing me back to Haines – and I know, I know I'll keep coming back.

See that red building down there? That was my home.
I'll always come back for the mountains. Haines is surrounded by majestic mountains that dare you to not believe in God. They loom over us, demanding awe and admiration. Haines is like living in a set of postcards. There are views that I've seen hundreds of time and still can't get over their beauty.

It's also those humans that call me back to Haines. I was planning on not coming back to Haines for a while, but, after saying those good-byes, I don't know if I can stay away that long. There are a lot of folks that I like having in my life and, in share, I've been told they don't mind having me around. I like watching the kids grow up – I love them so much.

I was prompted to come back to Haines with the birth of Pearl. It all began with a culmination of reminisces and relationships, but it was her birth that stirred me to buy my ticket home back when I was in Ukraine this summer. She could get her own blog post as I write about how honoured I am that her parents have allowed me to be a part of her life. I could write for hours about daily snuggles with the tiny little muppet. I can't stay away and miss watching her grow up, can I? And she's one of many children I've fallen in love with in Haines.

How did I end up falling for this place? Will I forever be coming back here? I suspect so.

But,  for now, it's time to leave again. Maybe I'll be back in a month and a half, maybe in half a year, maybe in a year – I can't even guess anything older than that because a year would be much too long although, with the way my life tends to pan out, you never know. I do, know, that I'll be back.

Farewell, Haines, Alaska.

This Post Has Nothing to Do With Christmas

Sometimes my whole perspective flip-flops for a minute and I wonder if that is my one brief moment of true clarity.

I went to my folk's church twice today and heard the same sermon twice. During the second time, I certainly had a bit of brain-meandering going on. I'm not too comfortable writing out exactly what I was pondering and which side I was on, but it was a matter that had been on my mind a lot lately.

The situation involved a lot of hurt and over a decade of time and no reconciliation to soothe the unexpected pain that had come of it. I looked at the situation in a new, but simple, way and it made me wonder if I had been getting it wrong the entire time. It didn't make anything feel better, perhaps it was all even worse as I mourned the confusion of 14-year-old me, but it did trigger some more thoughts.

I wondered how much I get wrong.
How many of my beliefs are delusion?
How many cognitive distortions have I woven into unstable representations of a false reality that I treat as concrete truth?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December to April

"Where are you going after Haines?" asked folks.
"Well... I'm not sure exactly."
"I thought you were coming back."
"So did I."

I don't know.

I originally thought I was going to be coming back to Haines post-Christmas but I'm sort of scratching that plan. Work isn't going how I thought it would and due to a couple of things, I'm not thinking it's the best fit for me to try and work out for next season.

Which is sort of good - because I don't think I was meant to be in Haines (for now) beyond these two months. So much of me wants to stay here and continue with the rhythm I so comfortably slip into when living here - but that's not what I think I'm supposed to be doing for too much longer.

This season in Haines isn't what I thought it would be, but it is what it is and I'm grateful for it.

If you want to know what's up....

December 22 - Haines -> Juneau :: via ferry
December 23 - Juneau -> Seattle :: via aeroplane
December 25 - Christmas
December 27thish - January 12thish - work on Tobbit with Alex
mid-January to February 19 - do the rounds of visiting the folks I visited last January and other folks in communities I desire to see (Froelichs, Portland, Lopez Island, Olympia, Cle Elum)
February 19 - April 7 - Bowen Island, British Columbia :: L'Abri

Guess I better get my driver's license and start gearing up Tobbit for the road.
And here's a wishlist if you've ever thought, "Hey --  I feel like getting Margaret hanging bag dehumidifiers!" but wasn't sure if I needed 'em.

December Get Down

Been in a funk this week.

It's the sort of funk I keep waiting to be shaken off, but it doesn't. I imagine this is a slight, small  hint of what depression is like - a never-ending weird pit feeling in your stomach and a dullness that seems to coat every bowl of beans.

Part of it is, no doubt, hormonal.
Part of it, I've started to wonder, might be the lack of sun.

11 days till Solstice and the shortest day of the year where Portlanders get three more hours of light than us folks in Haines!

Seasonal hormonal funk?

I've been trying to keep myself moving - that always helps. Fresh air and wiggling. Normally music helps, but lately, no dice.

I've really been relying on God, on my Bible, on rad friends, and on snazzy moments to push me through.

When I want to sulk in a corner, I whip out the Bible. I call on the Lord for my strength. I trust him.

When things go a muck, Dani is a rad person to hang out with - especially combined with snuggling her daughter, Pearl. If I want to growl and laugh, I always feel welcome at the Dani-Nik-Pearl residence - same goes with a few other homes in town I've been frequenting (Greens and H-fam).

When I just don't know what's up, there's this great crew of short kids who run up to me and give me hugs that make me feel a whole lot better.

Today I fought the funk by pouring out as much love as I could muster up and more (thanks, God) into Ellen, my "client" (really, just a rad friend I adore) and playing cello for the lovely old ladies at the Haines Senior Center. Dani shook things up by making a lentil casserole (no dairy or white flour - it was exceptional) that made me feel fuzzy.

I find it odd. I'm not used to this. I've felt it before, but not so extended.

I kind of wish I could kick it away, now. I feel bursts of cheer and lightweightness every once in a while, but then I sink back low.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mundane Friendships :: Success

Here's something that makes Haines feel like home more than any other place.

Haines is the only place in the world where I've got friends I can hang out with and do just about nothing with without any pre-planning arrangements.

Not sure if that makes sense.

I know mundane has negative connotations - but when I use it to describe a friendship, I intend to indicate the sort of times where nothing exciting has to or is happening. It's the golden moments of just hanging out without an occasion. It's sitting on their couch reading a book while they get something else done and a rambling conversation intersects it all.

In Haines, I've got a collection of houses that I can go to at just about any hour to simply hang out and exist and relish the joy of being around other folks. I can show up with a book and read by their fire, hang out, stay for a meal, play with their kids, and enjoy being in a home.

I don't have that in Seattle, at all. I can't think of any home (beyond my parents) where I can just go to "hang out" without calling first. There's no place where I can show up and exist for hours without an invitation.

Seattle is full of schedules and agendas. It's deadlines.
For me to see a friend in Seattle, I frequently have to plan days in advance around every other event.

Now, part of that, I know, is because I'm rarely there and am packing so many activities into each day.
But it feels like a game of Tetris, trying to make everything happen.

Here, I get to relish the community that's here because, chances are, there isn't really anything to do at any given moment. There are "things to do," but nothing to ferocious or nightly. There aren't weekly commitments beyond women's choir and bell choir (for which I perpetually substitute, since I'm not available for any of the performances but can make it to every practice).

In Seattle, I never feel like I get beyond catching up with people. I think this is the point where some would interject, "But you never stay in Seattle long enough.."

I was in Seattle for over a decade. I know Seattle. I've been in Seattle.

I've never had that friend you can just hang out with at any hour there.
You know those folks where you can knock on their door right before bed because you realize "being social" sounds like a good idea? And all they seem is thrilled to see you.
In Haines, I do.

For me, one of the joys of friends is that when you get stuck in your head, you can call on them and they'll be with you. They don't say, "How about next Tuesday at four." I mean, friends can say, "Next Tuesday at four," but by that point, the moment is finished and pass.

I love that all I have to do is put on my raincoat and show up. In Seattle, it's not just a stroll across town - it's two busses a few maps and maybe a bike ride.

I value my Seattle friends - I truly do. They mean a lot to me and I love them so much and know they love me - this isn't to diminish that.

But Seattle, with it's bus schedules and distances, can't do for me what Haines does.

Seattle has its purpose. There are a lot of beautiful friends there I value, but, for now, Seattle feels like a quick stopping point - a vacation - and Haines feels like home.
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