Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fore The Love of It

Here I am with three of my favourite people in the golfing buddies. From the left is Anne, and myself, Crystal and Elaine. In the spring and summer, and even a little bit into the fall, we like to golf about once a week together.

We are not "good"...sometimes we hit good shots, sometimes we hit worm burners. If you're not a golfer, just imagine a gutter ball :-)

We laugh. A lot.

My favourite moments these days seem to be when I'm on the course with my buddies. There's nothing like a warm summer evening when the sun is low in the sky and the air is still and you're leaning over your putt, ready to hit it in. Sometimes I stand a little longer and take a deep breath and let every other thought go. Very Zen.

I hit a Canada Goose once. And another time I hit a squirrel. The Canada Goose was pretty big, but he still hobbled off to the side, squawking all the way. I felt terrible. The squirrel was a lot smaller, of course, so he did about a half-a-dozen flips before coming to rest. I stood in horrified silence, and then I finally saw him get up and run off up into a tree. Phew.

Anne hit a groundskeeper once. He was sitting in his lawnmower contraption waiting for us to hit. And she wacked her ball right into his machine. He wasn't very happy, I don't know why! No sense of humour. Crystal hit the same tree twice. Well, I've done that too. Same tree...the shot bounced back and I hit it and it bounced back again. That's called negative yardage.

I don't know if Elaine has hit anything yet, but when she does, you can bet I'll report it right here.

I had to miss a couple of golf games recently because of a family emergency. I thought of those three ladies playing for every moment I knew they were out there. I realize, of course, that the game is kind of incidental. Sure, it's great when you hit that tee shot with a fabulous crack, or when your ball rolls crisply and decidedly into the hole. And there's nothing like being out on the fairway and catching an eagle soaring above or a family of deer nibbling on the grass. But the company is what really counts.

And the nice glass of wine at the end of it all :-)

(PS...for the record, since this picture was taken, Crystal is skinnier, and I am fatter. She'd want me to point that out.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hi Ted

One day, a few years ago, I was watching the local news on BCTV in Vancouver and they did a story on an AIDS Memorial that was being constructed on Sunset Beach, not very far from where I used to live in the West End in Vancouver.

I wouldn't have paid much attention but for the fact that I used to live in the West End, and remembered how there was a growing gay community there at the time. This was the late 70's, when homosexuality was only beginning to become a political and social issue. "Coming out" was not as common an expression as it is now. In the apartment block I lived in I knew several gay men, not by name, just in passing.

I worked at the Vancouver Public Library then, on the corner of Burrard and Robson. I was able to walk to work every day, three or four blocks from my apartment on Haro Street. It was a kind of lonely time for me, but I met so many wonderful and influential people at the library, people who literally changed my life. I wish I could tell them that now. And one of the most important things I learned is that libraries are not as dry and boring as you think!

The people I met there introduced me to the arts, fine wine, culture, and exotic cuisine...librarians are a lot wilder than you might imagine :-). It was an eye opening and mind expanding experience at the Vancouver Public Library and I still smile when I think about it.

And I fell in love there. Or in lust, I guess--with the security guard who worked there. He was tall, he wore a uniform and he was Swedish. What more could a person ask for? I lusted after him for four years, doing the stupidest, most juvenile things all in the hopes of getting him to notice me. Hell, I even followed him all the way to San Fransisco...

We talked a lot. I worked in the Sociology Department on the main floor of the old library, and he usually sat on his stool at the front entrance, carefully watching everyone as they checked their books out. I could see him sitting there from my desk and I spent many hours just watching him. Several times a day he would make his rounds on the other floors, ending with a sweep down the stairs of the mezzanine floor, right beside my desk. I waited and watched for that walk down the stairs, every day. Sometimes he would stop just to chat and I was in heaven.

I tried to take my coffee break around the same time he did. I didn't always time it well, but on the days I did, I brazenly walked over and sat at his table. We chatted about a lot of things...but thinking back now, I suppose he was the one who did most of the talking. He talked about his travels to Australia, Europe, and India. He was about 16 years older than I was and everything about him seemed so mature and interesting and exotic. He talked about the music he liked (I followed him to a Harry Chapin concert once), and the books he liked (I never did get into The Hobbit the way he did, but I bought the books), and astrology and religion. One time, he revealed that he was a Tibetan Buddhist and then began to pull out a necklace from under his shirt...for some reason he had second thoughts about showing it to me and put it back. I just let the incident go because I was too polite to push him. But I was desperate to know everything about him.

I was so insanely in love (or in lust) that I would do the stupidest things...on several occasions I left notes in the pocket of his shirt down in the stacks where I knew he kept his street clothes. One time I convinced him to meet me at a local restaurant after work. I was so anxious to tell him how I felt. It was the most nerve-wracking experience I'd ever had, but I confessed. He told me that he was still holding a torch for a woman who couldn't marry him because he wasn't Jewish. I was crushed but it didn't deter me for long. I was convinced I could get him to love me.

And then there was the time that I followed him to San Fransisco. He liked to go there often...he had good friends living in the city who he would stay with whenever he travelled there. The summer that I turned 21, I had vacation time around about the time that he did and I knew he was going there, so what did I do? I booked a flight to San Fransisco. All by myself. I told him I was going and where I was staying...all in the hopes that he would decide to call me and we would get together and ???

I was there for a week, staying in a motel in Palo Alto, which is quite a distance from San Fransisco as I found out. I would go out and do some kind of excursion every day, and then come back to my motel and check for messages. I never found one. I stayed in the motel at night because I didn't feel too comfortable about the idea of going out by myself. Only a few months before I was there, a San Fransisco City supervisor, Dan White, shot and killed the mayor and another supervisor who was a gay rights activist. He was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder, and every night, the local news was full of images of riots called the "White Night Riots" in response to his sentence. It was a scary time to be there, but there I was.

I was booked to travel back home via the Amtrak to Vancouver. On that day,  I had to take the bus into San Fransisco to get to the train station, so I decided to go a little early and walk around the city a bit. Then I ran into the strangest event...a gay rights parade. In the late 70's, San Fransisco was one of the first cities to hold such an event--and it was something I had never experienced before--kind of freaky, colourful, sort of wild and completely shocking to a naive goof like me. I stood at the corner of a street and stared at the outrageous one point, I heard a very deep voice behind me saying "Hi"...I turned around to see a transvestite in sequins on roller skates. He handed me a pamphlet. I'm sure my jaw dropped right to the sidewalk. There were dozens of floats with wild men (women too, but not very many), dancing and gesturing and showing their oiled, tanned bodies in skimpy leather and lace and whatever else they could find to barely wear. Y.M.C.A. I had never seen anything like it. For years after, I held onto a coin that I caught when it was tossed from a float into the street--"Bulldog Massage Parlor". Wish I still had it. My train trip back was quite an adventure too, but that's for another story. I got home safe and sound, having never made any contact with the security guard.

Somehow or another he and I lost touch over the next couple of years. He left the library and moved on to other things. And then I left the library to move to Victoria to live with Michael, where I still am, of course.

I got a call one day from an old acquaintance from the library...she was trying to find me because of someone else who was looking for me. And then she told me that she had heard that the security guard had passed away.

Well, I was sad of course, but so many years had passed. I was happily married with my two little girls, and Ted seemed like a long time ago. Ted..that's what I called him. But his real name was John Theodore Erickson. And that's what I saw on that news story, a number of years later. I was watching as they told the story of the Aids Memorial being built in Vancouver. They showed footage of one of the first panels to be erected. And right in the middle of the frame, I saw his name.

I'm sure I did a double and a triple take. It was as if it jumped right off the screen, like a message from somewhere, telling me something. And then it was gone. My heart leaped. And then I started to put the pieces together. Ted was gay. And he died of AIDS. How dumb can a blonde be?

Lately, I've been listening to Steely Dan, to a song that I think I was listening to around the time that I had my mad crush on him. And I Googled him...and found the memorial, which is how I came across the photo I've attached above. If you look at it again, right about in the centre of the list, you'll see his name.

I heard once that almost everyone in their lifetime will be touched by someone who has AIDS. I guess I'm now one of those.

Hi Ted.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

All Good Things Must Come To an End

Well, I had to turn the Mustang back in depressing!

But I had one heck of a birthday. Many, many lovely wishes, emails, cards, flowers and gifts came my way. As my Dad would say, I'm a lucky dog! Thank you to all of you who made it a special day (week/month!) for me.

I started off my birthday with the gift of a bottle of Dom Perignon from my wonderful husband. After I was up and ready, we took a drive to the Empress Hotel, the Willowstream Spa, more precisely. If you arrive early, you can try out the steam room and sauna and then take a dip in the mineral pool, which is what I did. I don't think I've been in a steam room before. I was sitting there, soaking wet with little drips from the sweaty ceiling splashing my nose, thinking this must be the Amazon. All that was missing were the monkeys hooting "ooooh, ooooh, ooooh, aahh, aahh, aaahh". Okay, and the jungle. That was missing.

I didn't try the sauna, I was about the colour of a beet coming out of the steam room and thought it might not be the best thing for someone like me with high blood pressure (arrghh). So instead I wiped myself down and wandered off to the mineral pool. It was quite cool and I was by myself so I lounged around for awhile listening to the urns pouring continuous, streaming water...thinking about being in Greece. This would be like a Greek bath, without the olives. Oh, and no bouzoukis either. And of course, there were no Greeks.

Then it was time to wait in the lounge for my masseuse. It was a he. I've never had a massage by a male, so I admit I was a little apprehensive. If he was cute, I'd be in for it. If he wasn't cute, I'd be disappointed, but somehow relieved. What to wish for, what to wish for??

I forget his name. Is that bad??

He lead me upstairs into a room. On the massage table (well, it's more like a bed than a table!), with neatly folded sheets and puffy blankets, there was a little bouquet of dried lavender sprigs. He told me to get under the covers and take a good, long whiff of the lavender and let him know when I was ready. Out the door he was, and off came the big, white robe and under the covers I went rather quickly, and took my big whiff. Okay, I'm ready.

Over the next hour-and-a-half I was kneaded and pummeled and rubbed and rolled until I thought every cell and muscle in my body had been completely tenderized. I started on my stomach, and halfway through I had to flip over. He pulled up the sheet to give me room to turn. I gave him something too. A little flash. Not intentionally of course :-)

Ah well, how much harm can a 50-year-old do?? (Plenty I say!)

At the end of it, he told me to take it easy for 2 or 3 days if at all possible. He said not to do anything strenuous because I wouldn't have the energy. He was right! But I still had to go golfing later...

After I showered and dressed, I walked over to Milestones, which is right across the street from the Empress Hotel, in the Inner Harbour. There I met Michael and Dana and Gracie for lunch...they brought a whole bunch of birthday cards for me to open. We had a lovely lunch and I opened all of my cards, and then it was back into the Mustang for a drive all around Dallas Road where the hang gliders hang and the seagulls hang with them, where the Olympic Mountain range springs up dark blue against the light blue summer sky, and the dogs romp and the joggers jog. I sat in the back with Gracie as Michael drove so I could feel the wind racing around me...I stared up at the canopy of trees through the streets and smiled at everything and everyone. By the time we got home I was already exhausted!

After a bit of a snooze, Michael and I loaded up the Mustang with our golf clubs and headed to meet our friends Howard and Crystal and Elaine for a round of golf at Royal Oak. I couldn't play worth beans! I was still feeling the result of my meat tenderizing...but it was okay. We had a lot of laughs, especially with my 50th Birthday balloon hovering over my golf cart. Most of my shots were "worm burners", although I think I may have managed a good putt or two. After the game, we had a steak barbeque at the course, and then it was off to Howard and Crystals, where we had champagne and birthday cake, and they read verses that they had written for me and gave me more presents. It was so much fun. By 11pm I could barely keep my eyes open, so we drove home with the top down and then I finally crawled into bed.

It was over too quickly, but not soon enough. I guess that was the party girl and the 50-year-old girl having it out somewhere inside of me. The 50-year-old won that round...

Thanks again, to everyone who made it such a special day for me.
Now I start planning for next year!

(yes, I know I didn't tell you whether my masseuse was cute or not... :-)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cheez Whiz I'm Almost 50 :-)

Well, here it is folks...the birthday present I gave to myself. Only rented, of course. But I've got this to carouse in for a week or so and so far I'm just loving it! The colour took me a little while to get used to, but now I kind of like it. It sure turns a lot of heads anyway!

Last night I picked up my pal Crystal and we drove to the golf course to meet Elaine and Anne...we golf together almost every week while the weather is nice. It was a hoot! On the way home, wouldn't you know? We hit a road block...police checking for drunk drivers. Well, we hadn't had anything because we'd been golfing for 3 hours. As I drove up, the officer asked me "So how would you describe this colour?" I said "Why, it's Cheez Whiz!" He had a good laugh, checked us out (no, not THAT way), we started to pull away. Another small group of younger officers were standing there as we drove yelled "Whooo-hoooo!" Crystal and I enjoyed that tremendously.

I've noticed something...I seem to be attracting a lot of young males. After the car, of course, not the driver. :-(

Today, I drove Michael around Dallas Road and Cattle was beautiful. We pulled over and he took a few pictures of me and my Cheez Whiz. I'm loving it!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer of 1958

This is my favourite picture of my little was the summer of 1958 and I was a year old. I don't know who took the picture, but I just love it. I look pretty well-fed, eh? We were so happy!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Woloshen Family Barbeque July 14th, 2007

We were made to wear these silly hats all night as the Woloshens, including the "boys" from London, England, all converged upon my sister-in-law Joanna and her husband Casey's place in Richmond. In the first photo, we proudly display our birthday attire.

There are three of us in the Woloshens celebrating our 50th this year: my sister-in-law Donna, Michael and myself...we'd be the ones in the hats. We were treated to a sing-a-long and were well fed and teased all was great!

The second picture is myself and Richard on the left and Mike on the right -- the "Brits". They showed us pictures of their new flat outside of London...beautifully decorated and right on the river with a nice balcony to watch the world (and the cruise ships!) go by. They keep trying to convince Michael and I to go and visit them before they come back to Canada for good in 3 years or so.

The next photo is of my lovely in-laws, Andy and Bea Woloshen -- eating again. Sshhh -- don't bother them when they're eating!

Then there's my gorgeous brother-in-law Casey, firing up the barby.

It was hot under that hat...Donna kept sneaking her's off all night, but we kept our eyes on her! I got to the point where I couldn't take it off.

Hat head.

It's worse than pillow head.

It was the first time all of the Woloshen siblings had been together for quite awhile, so we enjoyed ourselves very much.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Happy Canada Day 2007 :-)

These images are from today, July 1st, 2007. Gracie and Michael and I spent some time at Fort Rodd Hill, which was an actual fort built in the late 1890's to protect and defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. It's one of many national historic sites across the country, and every Canada Day there is a big celebration there with a military band, 21 gun salute, a huge birthday cake and lots of festivities.

Gracie and Michael and I wandered around the fort after the ceremonies, and Gracie and I took a few pictures. Gracie made those shirts that Michael and I are wearing, a few years back when she was taking Textiles 12 at Vic High. We wear them every year and always get lots of compliments. One year a lady came up to us and offered Gracie money if she would make her one!

The giant flag you see is actually attached to the lighthouse out in the harbour...I thought it was a cool shot :-) In another shot you can see the lighthouse which is actually on a very small island called Fisgard Island. The walkway was built out the lighthouse and you can go inside and tour around it.

You'll also see a shot of the crowds taken from on top of the gunnary. In one shot, if you look carefully, you can see a big puff of smoke and Michael and Gracie plugging their ears as the 21 gun salute begins. I swear I didn't plug my ears once :-) I'm not skeerd! You can also see Michael and Gracie exiting one of the many gun batteries and underground magazines that visitors can view at the Fort.

It was a nice, mild day, not too hot and not too crowded this year. Finally as we were driving away from the Fort, we spotted this beautiful deer on the side of the rode. I grabbed my camera, but I'm a goof and had it on another setting, so Gracie got a lovely shot. Oh, Canada!

Friday, June 22, 2007

2007 - A Year of Special Birthdays

Michael turned 50 on May 9th of this year. I created an invitation to send to a few of our good friends using a picture of him on his birthday last year, and we surprised him at the 5th Street Bar & Grill with a nice dinner together.

My Dad, John Jackson, turned 85 on April 9th of this year. This shot is one I took of him in Beaverdell last summer. Beaverdell is in the interior of B.C. about 70 kilometers from Kelowna. Dad spent a few happy years there when he was little and talks about that period of his life quite often. It had been awhile since he had been there, so we took the trip together so he could reminisce.

My daughter Dana turned 21 on Feb.18th and my other daughter Gracie turns 19 on July 23rd. It's been an amazing year of special birthdays for all of us this year. And I'm the last to have my "special" birthday :-) Woo hoo...

My plan is to rent a Ford Mustang convertible (either that or a Chrysler Sebring convertible, whichever is available) for a week, and to drive around playing my favourite music and have a ball. I also have a certificate for a full body massage at the new Willow Stream Spa at the Empress Hotel here in Victoria which I will use on my birthday. Mmmmmm...can't wait for that!

And last, but certainly not least, I plan to buy myself a bottle of Dom Perignon, my favourite champagne and one I only allow myself to have on significant occasions.

So, a convertible a massage and a bottle of Dom. What could be better than that?


Second Day of Summer 2007

Well, I thought it would be appropriate to start a blog leading up to my 50th birthday, which is July 27th of this year (2007). E-cards and celebratory emails gratefully accepted on that date :-).

Maybe a few of you will read this blog...maybe it'll only be me! But that's okay.

The picture to the right was taken last year by my daughter Gracie. I needed some more recent photos for updating my songwriting webpage. If you're interested in songwriting, or just want to know what the heck I mean, you can find my main website here. From there you just click on the Songwriting Tips link. I'm also working on another project, but more of that later...