Friday, August 24, 2012

Alberta bound

Views from the road- Calgary to Drumheller to Red Deer to Edmonton, (so far!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Okanagan Valley

I just spent a few days in the okanagan valley swimming, hiking, looking for rocks and feathers and looking at deer. It's beautiful out there, see:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sneak peek

Here's a little preview of the cross stitch sampler I am currently working on. The text is from a song by my pal Andy Swan, good dude. The pictures are not the best, you get the idea.


So I have the means to post again but you will have to wait for pictures from all my stops. I'm in Vancouver about to leave for the okanagan and now that I've safely made it over the border I was admiring all the ephemera I have collected. Here it is:

Portland- A chicken feather and fiber from all the different goats who have lived at Project Grow, which is an urban farm and drop in centre for adults with disabilities. A magic place.

Seattle- I met a boat carpenter, Jacob,  who gave me a knot book, a knife and some rope to practice. That's a Napoleon knot I made. And a book of Flannery O'Connor novellas, and an assortment of stones and shells from Discovery Park. 

San Fransisco- A sand dollar, a unicorn paper cut from my friend Emily, and a notepad sent from Toronto by Martina.

Vancouver- three crow feathers, and a knot I made in Stanley park. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Carefree Highway

There was absolutely an anticipation leading up to leaving LA, starting my adventure, seeing new things, leaving some things behind,letting go and starting fresh. There has been a real recurring theme of loss with my visit to Los Angeles and so as not to let me off too easy, a few days before I was to leave for San Fransisco, the apartment I was staying in, was broken into. My friends were at work and I had been gone only four hours when someone got in and took my computer and phone, two computers and an iphone belonging to my friends. Hannah the cat, we assume, slept through the whole thing, (or else expressed her dissatisfaction in not being petted to the intruders. Her life is a travesty.) Suffice to say posting may be scarce from here on out. But I've counted myself lucky. It can be important to consider that when one thing is taken away perhaps another thing has been spared. So it frames travel in this interesting way, a letting go. So as I was riding the 8 hours between Los Angeles and San Fransisco by bus and watching the painterly landscape flit by I thought about Gordon Lightfoot, Carefree Highway let me slip away on you.... He has all these stories of continous loss, lost love, lost railway tickets, lost opportunities. There are all songs about moving around and leaving parts of yourself behind. Well, I'll meet you at Massey Hall Gordy- it seems so far away now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Echo Park

Yesterday I made a visit to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. An essential stop for any traveller.

The shop is a storefront for the Los Angeles chapter of the 826 writing and tutoring centres, a Mcsweeney's invention. The mission for all the 826 centres is just to provide tutoring and writing help for young people, plus each one is a supply shop of some kind wherein all the proceeds go to the centre. I plan on checking out the Pirate Supply store in San Francisco, and the Space Travel Store in Seattle.

Items of note at the time travel store include any number of robot related supplies, disguises from various time periods, Caveman scents, Viking Odorant, and you can even purchase a wormhole- for a reasonable price I might add!

My favourite feature was the community bulletin board, here's some highlights-

To top it off I also attended a dodgers game- those who know me know that I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I love baseball stadiums. And Dodger's stadium is really strange, you can't see the stadium itself from anywhere in the city because its on a hill, but sunk in. And the parking lot alone was a sight to see!

 So the Dodgers won, for anyone who is interested. And there were fireworks! Hot Dog!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Griffith Park

Who wants to look at more pictures from mountain tops?!?! You do!
I did the hike up one of the many trails in Griffith Park yesterday, and I have a weird backpack strap sunburn to prove it! This hike started off Vermont Ave, just past where the Greek theatre is. And it ends with a sideways view of the hollywood sign, and Griffith Observatory. It took me about two hours to get to the top. And it was hot, and high, but worth it!
Here's some highlights, the rest are on my flickr:

Joni Mitchell Summer

Made up my mind to make a new start going to California with an aching in my heart...

I came to California to do a six month residency. I loved the idea of leaving Canada to go to southern California for many reasons but I can't deny that one of those reasons was Joni Mitchell.

I'm travelling in some vehicle, I'm sitting in some cafe...

I have loved Joni since I was about 16, and hers is the archetypal story of loss and desire, over and over. I loved all those stories, Blue, Court and Spark, For the Roses, The Hissing of Summer Lawns,

All good dreamers pass this way someday, hiding behind bottles in dark cafes....

I came to Hejira a few years ago and I return to it again and again. There's this story there, a woman who has to leave because of a hostile situation. A pilgrimage. The refuge of the roads. A journey, a lesson, a distance.

I tried to run away myself to run away and wrestle with my ego, and with this flame you put here in this eskimo...

The place I was taking the residency in was not right for me for reasons that needn't to be discussed, So I found another place. I  was a person with no ties, no commitments, no plans. I found a room in a building that was one hundred years old, it was built my the International Order of Oddfellows, which I'm told, was the first masonic fraternity to allow women to join. And so I thought- well, that's something.

No regrets coyote, we just come from such different sets of circumstance...

If your feeling contempt well then you tell it, if you're tired of the silent night jesus, well then you yell it....

It was essentially an empty building, there were artists and designers coming and going, but it lacked what I wanted in a living space, so I left there too.

I'm a wild seed again let the wind carry me...

I'm now house-sitting for two wonderful people, Wendy and Carey, (check out their band- Dzian!). Their cat Hannah who is named after Hannah Arendt, keeps me in constant conversation. She had a brother, named Karl Marx, who lived a riotous life I hear, but he was hit by a car before Wendy and Carey moved to Los Angeles from Virginia. After Wendy and Carey return from Taipei, I'm going to start my long journey home (taking the rest of the summer).

People will tell you where they've gone they'll tell you where to go but till you get there yourself you never really know...

So I'm going from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the 21st of July. Then San Francisco to Portland on the 30th of July, Portland to Seattle on August the 6th, Seattle to Vancouver August 13th. Once I'm in Canada I have a number of options, and I still have to sort it out, but I may also be visiting Victoria, interior BC, Calgary and Edmonton, before returning to Ontario for my cousin's wedding on the labour day weekend.

If your head says forget it but your heart's still smoking call me at the station the lines are open...

This is my pilgrimage, and I'm really excited about it, let me know if you have any tips or advice or things you think I should see on the west side. I'm really hoping I can find someone to take me out to North Bend WA for a damn fine cup of coffee and slice of cherry pie.

See you soon!

I met a friend of spirit. He drank and womanized, and I sat before his sanity, I was holding back from crying. He saw my complications and he mirrored me back simplified and we laughed how our perfection would always be denied. "Heart and humor and humility" He said "Will lighten up your heavy load" I left him for the refuge of the roads...

Sunday, July 8, 2012


On Sunday I took a four hour introduction blacksmithing workshop at Adam's Forge in Los Angeles. This place is such a jem, wonderful teachers and volunteers who love blacksmithing more than anything on this earth, and being able to try your hand at a skill that is not commonly made available to try. I know I would be concerned about the logistics of letting strangers into my workshop to handle obscenely hot metal and to hammer with heavy objects. It takes a certain type of folk. But I'm so glad to have had the experience, everyone in the class, (which the discovery day classes tend to be quite full because its a prerequsite for any other classes at the forge) made a barn hook, here's mine-

I'm quite pleased with it actually. There's a wonderful solid permanence to working in metal, using your body and energy to shape it into something and knowing that when it cools, that's the shape it will be until darn near forever. I'm so used to working in delicate emphermal materials that can rip, or break, or smash, or just plain dissolve in your hands that seeing the other end of the spectrum is interesting. And to take the material to the extreme in order to work with it- using brute force on hot metal- its a journey! You can certainly feel it too. Hopefully when I get back to Ontario I can continue practicing metalworking.

If you ever make it to Los Angeles, I highly recommend taking a class at Adam's Forge, it was incredibly afforadable and very rewarding. The forge was started by the California Blacksmith Association as a memorial school dedicated to blacksmith artist Adam Leventhal.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

These are the cats I know I know

No shortage of cute here that's for sure!
The Cat with no name


Stingray and the cat with no name