Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ah the truth of it all...

Writing has always been a part of me.
But I have always rather felt that if I write it, it is meant to be read by someone other than just me.

The truth is, some of my current truths are not quite ready to be read. One day they will be. But just now, some of the things I might say might hurt other people, so for now they have to remain in stasis.

It is funny, isn't it? Some things I have no issue being honest about, sometimes brutally so. But other times, like now, I keep it under a little shell.

My friend Peter, whom I have referred to before here, has told me to just do it. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, let the chips fall where they may... that sort of thing. And part of me agrees with him.

This is a strange little conundrum. Things tend to build to a tipping point, and at some point I think I will explode (in a literary sense) and just put it all down and put it out there.

I don't mean to sound dramatic, and certainly do not mean to tease or worry anyone. And I know you all will get it. My blog clan.

Thank the Goddess you are still here. My constants. I have never stopped thinking of you all. Never stopped knowing you are there. Peter is another of my constants. A friend I know I can always count on to listen, or kick me in the ass, but never judge me.

And I am so grateful for you all.

Back again soon,

Much love,

Stevie

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kicking and screaming... or embracing and rocking it?

Aging.

I know it is a blessing. I have lost friends younger than I am now, have watched more go through tremendous battles with life threatening illness.

And I am blessed.

But I am also resisting it. Most especially, my true hair.

I don't know why my hair has always been such a tender spot on my self esteem, but it has been, and is.
I was a salon-assisted redhead for so long that when I started to transition away from it, people were shocked I had changed my "natural red" for anything else. My skin colouring loaned authenticity to my auburn locks I suppose. It looked right.
But I turned away from the red because my new natural silver highlights (or as my hair stylist likes to refer to it, my "mature blond") was making the roots far too obvious.
Now, with a medium brown base and dark copper highlights, I am still battling the roots. And frankly, I am tired of it. Not just the expense, though that is a serious consideration, but the feeling like I am cheating somehow. Like I am lying to all and sundry. I am tired of it. And if I am to be frank, I don't want to wander about in between dye jobs with half an inch of roots showing. I would cost hundreds to keep it perfect all the time, and I can think of far better uses for that money. How freeing it would be to just let it grow.

Walking away from red hair last year was a shatteringly difficult thing to do. I was not prepared for how emotional I was going to be, how strongly I identified myself with my red hair. It was like I had given up a piece of my identity. A piece of my soul.

Now, in deciding to go even further and have my hair lightened to what is apparently my natural colour (dark ash blond, I am told, though I have not seen it other than in a half inch of roots for decades) with a healthy dose of silver, I am rocketing between a feeling of freedom and absolute panic.

And why? I suppose it is society, that expectation that you will not age, or that you will fight it tooth and nail. And while there is a definite trend towards embracing our grey and white and silver hair, I still think it will be a sign I have given up, that I am getting older, not trying, or some other such tripe.

And it is tripe, isn't it?

I have heard people, men mostly, state they are "not ready to have a wife with grey hair."
That statement in and of itself angers me, yet I have allowed it to sway me. Greatly, it seems. It is fine for a man to have silver or grey, but Goddess forbid a woman let it happen.

I love when I see other women say to hell with it and let their natural colours free. I laud it.

But do I have the courage?

I have decided I need to do it. This summer I think. My stylist James has suggested we take out the dark colour, get it as close as possible to my natural hue, and add a couple of blocks of startling silver near the front where it is already the heaviest concentration. I can always add a little purple or bright blue to funk things up. And a new sassy cut, a little shorter than I am now, one that will not take forever to grow out the hair damaged by all the chemical intervention.

Hair. My damned hair. I have threatened a time or two to just shave it all off and let it grow out as it pleases. But I know I would regret that, and I have been there, done that.

I don't know just why I am so tender about it. But in the end, it is just hair. And I am nearly 50, dammit. I think I have earned the right to do as I please without regard for anyone else's thoughts on what MY hair should look like.

And still I teeter between those emotions.

Poor James. The hysterics that have occurred in his chair when I have made drastic changes before must have him almost breathing in relief at the thought of me deciding to go natural. Or mostly natural. We will see what the summer brings!



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring!!

And a blessed Ostara to all.

I have discovered I despise winter. At first it is ok. And if it was bracketed by set dates, say Dec. 1 to Feb. 15, I could be be more accepting of it. But this dragging on to an unknown and arbitrary date is just not cricket.

Of course the skiers, like our darling Dale, have a totally different take on this. Well, there is no accounting for some people!

It has been ages since I have written. I could blame Facebook, and I am sure that has something to do with it. But I think it really has more to do with certain things in my life that I cannot be totally frank and public about so it has hindered my writing somewhat. There are those who will spill all the beans and damn anyone and anything that it might affect, but I do not feel that way.

That is not to make anyone worry... I am fine. There are just things, you know?

I am still home on the range, so to speak. Desperately awaiting those warm winds and sunny days that will melt all the snow and allow for gardening and lawns and tree work and all the lovely warm weather things I love to do!

My lovely sons are all well, and my grandbeasties are truly the loves of my life now along with the my children. Who knew how amazing it would all be! They constantly amaze me, as does the rush of love and hope for the world when I look at them.

All in all, things are ticking along. I have to write more. Even if there are things that will need to remain unwritten for the foreseeable future, there are far more things that can be said. And it is a part of who I am, one I need to re-awaken.

Hope all of you are well, my darlings! I am off to have a peek at your blogs now.

xoxo



Sunday, October 01, 2017

-30-

I originally wrote this as a column, but in the insanity of summer, fires and everything else, it never quite made it. So here it is here.

Because it is too hard.
When I ask myself why I have not written a column about the passing of Sheila Tutty, or commented on the family’s posts, that is the only answer I can come up with.
Because it is too hard.
The words stick in my throat, they stick in my mind, my fingers don’t want to work.
Because it is too hard.
But sometimes we have to just take a breath, suck it up, and do the hard stuff.
So here goes.

Sheila. Dammit Sheila. You marked me, you know. With love, with stern moments when I messed up. With laughter, and hugs, and genuine warmth.
When I think of you, random moments come flying at me, moments from when you were my publisher, guiding The Valley Echo with deft strokes and strength, and moments of plain old friendship.

Like the morning you came in and I was in the editor’s chair while Ian was gone. I had made coffee, but some hallucinogenic malfunction had caused an eruption of coffee and grounds to flow over the basket, all over the counter, down the side and onto the floor. I was tired, grumpy, under deadline and the last thing I wanted was to deal with that mess. You growled, I growled back, then realized I had just lipped off to my boss and slunk out to clean up the mess and apologize. You gave me the look, but then you relented, smiled, and we got the job done.

The night you called from the BCYCNA awards to tell me I had won first place for community service writing. The plaque was accompanied by a carving. A large, silver beaver on a log. You’d had a few glasses of wine, I suspect, and you told me you were, at that moment, holding my beaver in your arms.
There was much giggling.

Late nights at The Echo. Late nights in the darkroom.

Eating schmeens, as you called corn nuts.

You bringing Graycen in to see us, him peeking around the corner and me saying, “you again?” For some reason that always seemed to amuse you.

Gleefully filling out forms for me because for whatever inexplicable reason you loved filling out forms.
Weirdo.

Staff parties, pirate gift exchanges (I really did always make those baskets with you in mind, and held my breath until you finally got them).

The article I had written about condom use, and waiting for you do strike out the term pre-cum as unpublishable, me prepared to argue it was a legitimate term that was relevant to the issue, but instead you shouting through the office, “Is THAT what it is called?” and letting it through.

Hellos and hugs and bum pats at the grocery store.

As Ian said, we were a family. And like a family, we had days when we bickered, days when we laughed, days when we cried.
And now, days when we say goodbye.
It just doesn’t seem possible. But I know it is. And while I am no stranger to death, to saying goodbye, this was not a goodbye I was ready for. You fought the fight with cancer for 10 years, and won battle after battle. But in the end, it was one battle too many. So, rest… rest, my dear friend. You did us all proud.
When a person marks you, as I said you did, it means you have become a part of them. Random moments when I would hear your voice in my head, or you snorting with laughter at some goofy thing I had just done. A moment when I would be feeling frustrated when writing, or editing, or anything along those lines, and see that look on your face, that sort of encouraging yet unrelenting “get it done” sort of look.
Like this. I didn’t want to write. Did not want it to be official. Like somehow, if I didn’t fully acknowledge it, you would still be around.
And yet, you are, aren’t you? Just over my shoulder. Just around the corner. Just over there, in your office. Telling me to get it done.
There you still are. Right there.
In my heart.

SS


Monday, December 26, 2016

My Christmas column on e-know.ca this year...







http://www.e-know.ca/regions/east-kootenay/always-room-one/

With love to you all...

Stevie

Sunday, April 10, 2016



So, five years ago this month, I did my level best to shuffle off this mortal coil. I contracted an infection, went septic, then into heart failure, all the while drifting about in lovely pain medication induced haze (my narcotically virginal body took to Percocet like a duck to water) and pretty much oblivious to how sick I was.

In the end, all was well that ended well, thanks to our wonderful hospital and staff. I lost a lot of hair (which is, as was pointed out to me, a minor detail) but gained a new respect for the fragility of life. I was reminded of this, and how often we take things for granted, yesterday during a visit with a friend I have been missing for far too long.

And my point is, you ask?

My point is this:

Hug. Love. Laugh. Cry, Get mad is you must, but don't stay mad. Grudges are useless. And no one will make the changes you need to make in your life but you.

Enjoy the sunshine today Neverland.

xoxo





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just... me. :)



For an awfully long time... much of my life, I suspect, I tried to be whomever "you" wanted me to be.
The identity of "you" changed from lifeline to lifeline, and I thought I always remained true to myself. But looking back, I see that I did not. 
I molded myself, changed myself in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways. 
I shake my head a little, and smile ruefully to think of it now.
But now, I can no longer be who "you" want me to be... I can be only myself. 
And I am good with that. 

You are most welcome in my life, but now, I am only "as is." 
Perhaps that is the greatest gift of growing just a touch older. I know who I am. And I am more than ok with that. 
What a lovely time to be alive. 

xo

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fear...

This is a link to e-know.ca, Ian's online newspaper I occasionally commit journalism for.
More specifically, it is a link to my column. :)

http://www.e-know.ca/regions/cranbrook/step-inward-and-recognize-the-fear/

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Straight from the horse's mouth

When I walked outside this morning, something looked... awry. 
I could see the horses. All three of them. But Hollywood, a handsome and lovable, if lazy, gelding, was once again on the wrong side of the fence. 
Tony piped up that I should just get a pail of grain and lead the horse down the fence line to the gate the way he does when this happens. 
No way, says I, am I going to reward that naughty horse for his bad behaviour by giving him grain. Besides, no matter which side of the fence I am on, I will either have Hollywood crowding me for the pail, or the other two, Molly and Joe, who are on the right side of the fence. 

So off I trudge, halter and lead in hand, squelching through the mud, climb through the barbed wire fence and get the halter on Hollywood. 

I will translate what I believe to be an honest recollection of the conversation that ensued. 

Me: How do you get through the fence? I can't see any spots where you could keep doing this. 

Hollywood: I am magic. 

Me: You are not magic. You are naughty, and if I find that spot I am going to fix it so you can't do this anymore. 

Hollywood: Am so magic. My great grand-dam was part unicorn.

Me: You are lying. Let's go. We have a walk ahead of us. 

Hollywood: Where's the grain? 

Me: You don't get grain. Grain is a reward. You are naughty. 

Hollywood: Tony brings grain when I do this. 

Me: Tony is also naughty. Let's go. 

About a hundred yards down, Hollywood stops. 

Me: Come on, let's go. 

Hollywood: Can't. The other horses are back the other way. Let's go back. 

Me: No, we have to go this way, there is no gate on that side.

Hollywood: I miss them. 

Me: Well then you shouldn't have done this. 

After a little encouragement, we walk another hundred yards or so. Hollywood once again stops. 

Me: What's wrong now? 

Hollywood: There is something in that bush. 

Me: It is just a bag. The wind must have caught it. I will pick it up while we go past. 

Hollywood: SCARY BAG. Not going. 

Me: Ok, I will tie you to this post and get the bag. 

I tie the horse, walk over the get the scary bag, shove it in my pocket and go back to get the horse. 

Hollywood: You are my hero. It could have killed us both. 

Me: It was just a bag. We are almost there, let's go.

Hollywood: WAIT WAIT WAIT. 

Me: Now what?

Hollywood: Gotta poop. 

Which he proceeds to do. 

Me: Are you ready now?

Hollywood, sighing heavily: I am so tired. Can't walk. I might be lame. Are you sure there is no grain? I am famished. Pity me.

Me: You are not tired. We barely walked a kilometre. And frankly, you are fat and you don't need any grain. A little exercise is good for you. 

We finally reach the gate, unlatch it, walk through and latch it up again.

I take his halter off. 

Hollywood: I am just going to do it again you know. 

And with that parting shot, the pitiful, famished, possibly lame and exhausted Hollywood snorts at me, turns and runs like the wind back to his buddies in perhaps a 10th of the time it took him to walk to the gate. 

Horses. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Of raisins and March snowfall.

No one is ambivalent about raisins.

Have you ever noticed that? I posted on Facebook once about enjoying my delicious raisin toast and the most interesting barrage of negative raisin comments appeared with lightning speed.

Everything from how they were nothing but sad little wrinkled grapes to a diatribe about raisins being the root of trust issues as an adult (something about that cookie they thought was chocolate chip really being raisin oatmeal).

But snowfall, that is something I do have mixed emotions about.

In a place like this, where our climate is semi-arid, and in a profession like my current one, that being a ranch manager, a good heavy snowfall means water in spring. Water for crops, water for trees, fields that are not tinder dry by August and therefore an interface fire threat.

Lots of snow means a rich water table.

We are not that part of BC that is rich and lush, though I would seriously consider a move there if it were not for wanting to stay where my children are, at least for the foreseeable future.

But even with that desire for a healthy ecosystem, waking up this morning to an inch of fresh, wet snow, I was sorely tempted to climb straight back into bed.

The cheery side of me says "well more moisture is better, even if it is just a little!"

The grumpy cat side of me shoved that little Pollyanna wretch aside, swore like a sailor, and thought of all the mud this will create in cow and horse pens, and pondered going back to bed for at least, say, a month.

And of course, true to March form, it is now about 5 degrees above zero, and the snow is melting, sinking into the ground, creating mud mud mud... no way I will be getting into the greenhouse until tomorrow.

In like a lion. Out like a lamb. One can hope.
Beginning to understand that raisin/trust connection...