I’m Back Baby!

Hello dear readers!

I’ve been pretty offgrid for well over two years now, and I thought it was high time to say hi.  HI!

I had an amazing journey in New Zealand.  It was exactly what I needed to help me process a massive life shift, and I will forever be grateful for my time there, and to all the people who helped me along the way.  It was truly magnificent. Winter in Vancouver:

I’m back in Vancouver!  I move into my new apartment in a few days and I couldn’t be happier.  I have a sweet job in an office; the days are long but that way my work week is 4 days, leaving me 3 days to tear into my creative projects. The view at work:

I’ve had a ton of creativity since I’ve been back.  There are so many things I want to work on, but, as always, I have laid out a plan to help me focus and get things done.  I’m living life in 3-month seasons, and it’s been an interesting exercise in sight-setting, adjusting course, and hurling myself full tilt towards my new life. It’s been so amazing to see my book on shelves:

The last three months have been: The Season of Re-Grounding.  My focus for that season looked like this:

  • Prosperity: make money at a stable job
  • Refuge: keep up a daily meditation practice, connect with local meditation sangha
  • Diligence: staying accountable to larger goals, working hard on creative endeavours

I have been mostly successful at staying on track. Life sometimes throws things at us that even the best-laid plans cannot account for, but that’s one of my strengths: I’m so damn adaptable that I can take it in stride, if only pausing for a bit to adjust course.

So I’m working up the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The last two-point-five years have been the base of the pyramid, addressing my basic psychological needs. The past three months have been the next tier up: safety. The immense safety that comes with a stable income is… overwhelming to feel again. Once I move into my new home, I hope my body and mind can settle down a bit as I get to feel like I’m safe and sound on the very basic levels. The next season of my year is going to be focused on social belonging. Doing things with friends, finding new social situations, and generally exploring some of the amazing things Vancouver has to offer. I’ll be reestablishing some of my hobbies and activities. (Such as [AKA Heidi Likes to Do THINGS]: archery membership can be renewed next month, I’m recording several projects at a sound studio, I’m looking for a musical partnership, learning photoshop and final cut, discovering my brain loves to do jigsaw puzzles, and we’ll see what I get up to once I have some disposable income! I can sense that there’s a lump of clay somewhere waiting for my hands to get into it for some sculpture work.)

A thing I had very much looked forward to having again: propper doughnuts! ❤ Harmony ❤

So that’s me for now. I’m very much looking forward to having some objects which I used to take for granted, things I haven’t had for a long, long time, little markers on the path of “this is a safe and stable life”. Like basically not having to keep my belongings down to what I can carry. Conditioner for my hair, which, get this Dear Readers, now has a few white strands showing up in it. I feel about 400 years old haha. But what an amazing thing, to feel reborn, to be on the edge of seeing what new life I am crafting for myself, to know that I have the strength and tenacity to get through any damn thing thrown at me, and come out the other side with my heart shining like a beacon.

And my mind is on fire! There is so much to do! I have so many projects! I am so, SO happy to be writing again.

Thanks for coming along and witnessing me. What a wild and precious life, eh?

Bells out.

What to Do in Vancouver: September

I love seeing the sights around Vancouver.  I had a lot of fun putting together my previous post about Tourism in Vancouver, so I thought I’d do another.  As the seasons change, so too do the activities around this beautiful city.

So where to begin!  How about Gastown: there’s walking tours, and if you can catch a break in the weather, it seems like the perfect time to be doing them!

You can go on ‘official tours’ like this one with a gothic feel, and this one, or, if you’d prefer something self guided (AKA free!), have a look at this- it’s architecture centric, but has a blurb about each stop, and takes you through the whole of Gastown in about two hours.

Here’s another guide (free) which will take you on a more standard walk around Gastown (to all the touristy places).

Once you’ve seen gastown, why not take a trip over to the North Shore?  The seabus is a lovely little ride across Burrard Inlet, and you’ll be let out at Lonsdale Quay (pronounced LONs-dale KEY) which has a bustling (though somewhat overpriced) market.

I can never resist the call of the fudge there though, one of the few temptations I allow myself to succumb to while there).

Now, moving on from Lonsdale Quay, you have many options.

You can go up Lonsdale itself and see what shops it has to offer.  You can catch a bus over to Deep Cove (about a 45 minute ride with one transfer) and see another side of Vancouver.

Or you can catch the 236 Grouse MNT bus up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge!

Another option from Lonsdale Quay is to catch that same 236 bus and stay on it until you reach the base of good ol’ Grouse Mountain, where I lived until I was 9 years old.  It’s beautiful there, and you can catch the famous gondola up the mountain for a view you will never forget!

(I bet Mulder never forgot it…)

There are many beautiful sights to see in North Vancouver.  If you have use of a car, a drive up to the top of Mount Seymour can yield spectacular views of downtown Vancouver, the Georgia Straight, and the whole of the Fraser Valley.

For some specific events to check out closer to downtown Vancouver, let’s see what we’ve got.

If you’re into the music of Tom Petty, than you’ll want to put September 18th on your calendar!

There’s poetry slams, improve, and open mic nights every week (on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday respectively) over at Cafe Deux Soleils. These get pretty busy!

And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is opening their season at the end of September, with this fabulous concert, featuring an epic piece of music I guarantee you will recognize.

“Rising-star pianist Inon Barnatan, recently appointed as the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Association, performs the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in his VSO debut. The season-opening concert also featuresRichard Strauss’s famous Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra), an epic tone poem presented as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.”

Thus Spake Zarathustra is code for “the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey” by the way!

The OMNIMAX theatre at Science World is always an option.  The world’s largest domed screen?  5 stories of amazing, entertaining, and educational films?  A Projectionist who dancing when she thinks no one is watching her thread up?  This month, check out “Rocky Mountain Express” (about building Canada’s Railroad), “Journey to the South Pacific” (about life and love in the islands of Papua), and “Rescue” (a film about rescuing people and rebuilding after the major earth quake in Haiti).

I haven’t seen Journey to the South Pacific yet, but I have the other two.  It depends on what you like; Rescue kind of gave me a propaganda-y vibe, but had some pretty neat things in it none-the-less.  Rocky Mountain Express was a little methodical, but had beautiful footage and was very informative.

Oh and I almost forgot, there’s this up-and-coming musician playing here on September 13th.  Elton something?  John Elton?  🙂

So there you have some things to do in September around Vancouver.  I hope you enjoy!

Days Off, Tourism in Vancouver, and Botanical Gardens

This round of major revisions is done, and it went really well.  I got caught up on one of the chapters for a few days and went through several drafts of it until I got one that worked.  But it’s done and it’s off to a spectacular agent.  Here’s hoping they dig the draft!

So I’m taking a few days off.  My brain is mega tired from the past 3 weeks of work; 3 weeks of injecting jeopardy, pain, peril, and raising the emotional stakes for every character in my novel.  It’s been a good exercise, but a long time to be mentally sprinting.

Time to do something else and have a break!  Like do a critique on my friend’s screenplay!  And write a blog entry!  (NO!  Bad Heidi!  Go watch some cartoons or eat some ice cream or something non-writing related!  okay okay okay.)

Speaking of my yearly Tourism Passport Challenge…

Every year, anyone that works in the tourism industry in Vancouver has a chance to participate in a wonderful program, aimed at getting everyone in the industry familiarized with everything there is to do in Vancouver.  The idea is that then we can tell people where to go after they visit us at our tourist destination.

So the month of May is when we spend time going from destination to destination, getting to know museums, galleries, and attractions of every kind imaginable.

Here’s my passport, a little worse for wear:

And a typical page (the stamps need to be collected as proof of visit):

15 stamps gets you a Privilege Pass, which is basically a key to the city as far as tourism goes.  I picked mine up on the first day I could.  It gets me into anything in the passport, plus a guest.  Man it’s awesome!

The attractions I visited to earn this privilege are below.  It’s all clickable, in case you’re interested in going to any of them!

The Vancouver Lookout (a must-visit for someone arriving in Vancouver for the first time; an incredible view of the city, and a great way to get your bearings!)

The Vancouver Art Gallery (and I’ll be going back soon to see their Douglas Copland exhibit!)

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens (absolutely beautiful- I go to the free portion of the gardens all the time, just to sit and relax and look at the lilies and turtles and koi.  Their tour (paid admission to a private part of the gardens) is well worth it, and is quite informative.)

Science World (a landmark of the Vancouver skyline.  Be sure to check out a film at the OMNIMAX theatre inside that awesome dome!  wink wink)

The Bill Reid Gallery (probably Canada’s best known First Nations artist- my favourite piece is his “Galaxy” necklace)

FlyOver Canada (a ride- I haven’t been on it yet but I went to scope it out so I knew what it was all about)

Canada Place (walked the Walk and looked at all the place names- my goodness we have some weird town names in this country!)

False Creek Ferries (boating around false creek, delivering people from downtown to Granville Island, from several docks)

Museum Of Vancouver (oh man that place is awesome!  I love learning about Vancouver, and MOV sure was a treat)

H.R.MacMillan Space Centre (AKA The Planetarium!  With some of our astronauts achieving rock-star status it’s no wonder that space exploration is seeing a resurgence in the public awareness.  To the future!)

Vancouver Maritime Museum (I love me some nautical history, and this was an interesting visit.)

VanDusen Botanical Gardens (absolutely gorgeous- photos below)

I also visited the Vancouver Convention Centre, and Tourism Vancouver.  (And just in case you’re counting and noticed this only accounts for 14 stamps: I got two stamps from Science World, an extra one for visiting the magnificent OMNIMAX Theatre.)

So that’s what’s up with me lately.  Feels good to have a break.  Hope all is well with you, dear readers.  In finishing, here are some photos of my day at VanDusen Botanical Gardens.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full album here, if you want to see a TON more flowers!
 
Or, if you just want to see some more of that nifty BLOND Canada Goose! I’ve never seen one like that before.

Times When / Snowpocalypse

Times when I exclaim “What is this, the dark ages‽”
☐ When at a Renaissance Fair
☐ When India suspends its Polio vaccination program
☐ When the whole of Russia is in chaos over apocalypse fears
☑ When I am on a slow computer

Snowed a bunch here in Vancouver today.  I am continually amazed at how horribly the city handles it.  Traffic is a mess.  Whole intersections, like Cambie and Broadway today, turn into lakes.  Power was out to 50k people.  And the icing on the cake… our brand new bridge, the new Port Mann (2.46 billion dollar project), had to be shut down after it started raining down ice bombs on cars below, injuring 2, and causing 60 ICBC claims.

Thankfully I had the luxury of being inside for the day; I spent the morning at the cafe, leaving at 12:30 with a huge wordcount under my belt.  It’s going swimmingly.

Then I spent the afternoon doing Christmas present related things…  >:D  I love getting presents together.

Anyone playing Dragonvale (yes yes, I play Dragonvale) is likely just as excited as I am that currently *every dragon can be bought or bred*.  I can hardly decide which ones to try for first JK IT’S TOTALLY THE LEAP YEAR DRAGON GUYS.

Pictures today: what it looks like in an Amazon warehouse.

Hope everyone has a safe snowy time.  Stay warm and cozy, find something you love and get happy.

Heidi out.

King Tides to Swallow Us Up

In my travels to and from Gibsons recently, I’ve noticed that the high tides have seemed awfully high.  Like, really high.  Turns out I wasn’t imagining it:


Found on r/Vancouver.


Original post.


Source here.

Wow, right?

And it turns out the next King Tide is on my birthday!

In other news, my Secret Santa received the gifts I sent them!  Seems they liked them.  🙂

On the writing front, I had a tremendous day; hid the midpoint of my screenplay adaptation and wrote for five hours straight!

Cheers all.

Heidi out.

“Please Don’t”

It’s been a bitch learning how to type blind.  I was never the best at typing before; the homerow approach seemed lost on me, and I sort of invented my own waay.  I get the computer to read it to me, and if something sound off, I change it.  Anyway, that’s just a bit of introduction, so if something is off (spelling etc.) sorry (sometimes my friends or home-care worker will look over things for me, but I don’t want any of them reading this).  It’s only been half a year.

The day I lost my eyes was a sunny, crisp, fall day.

At first I tried to tell people what happened, but it was too weird, and it changed how they interacted with me.  Even I know it sounds cray.  Cray cray.  So I made up something else, something more plausible.  Everyone thinks I was attacked by a dog.

A dog, I said finally.  It was a dog.

But I don’t like lying.  It’s really terrible ,to know this, to know that someone else might be attacked, and not be able to stop it… because I sound crazy.

A sunny, crisp, fall day.

The seawall, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Anyone that’s been here knows it; a beautiful walk around the amazing Stanley Park.  Under the Lions Gate Bridge, around the point looking out at that huge island across the Georgia Strait.  I was out taking pictures of the fall colours.  They were beautiful.

Godamn, when I remember colour sometimes it makes me so damn mad.  And I want to cry, but I can’t anymore, so I scream.  Usually into a pillow, sometimes not…

It was magic hour, that golden sunset just lighting the autumn colours afire everywhere I looked.  There were a lot of people out.  The seawall is a popular place for joggers, bikers, people walking dogs, fellow photographers, all sorts of people out just enjoying the day.

I got a lot of good shots that night, I think.  My friends told me they were really beautiful.

It was getting dark, and I was still snapping away.  There were fewer people; I could see my breath.

There’s no lights along the seawall.  The ambient citty light makes it easy enough to see, and the stars were out.  And it was a full moon to boot!  I know I know, full moon, you’re thinking werewolf, right?  Well sorry to disappoint.  But I wish I had been a werewolf… then it maybe would have killed me.

This was something much worse.  Werewolves we’ve seen.  American Werewolf In London is one of my favourites.  Werewolves at least would be a known foe.  This was… so alien, so strange.

It started with a feeling.  That feeling that tells you something isn’t right.  That someone’s watching you.  That you need to leave, now.

There’ve been a lot of murders in the park over the years.  A serial killer once used it as his stalking ground.  Vancouver’s pretty safe, if you’re not a street worker or homeless.  But sometimes you get that feeling, and you know you’re not safe.  And I started to leave.  I was pretty much in the middle of the walk though; I could go all the way around the park, or cut through on the trails.  Nuts to that.  The woods at night, with that feeling… hell no.  I took the clockwise way around, under the bridge.

That’s when I heard the whispering.

Even with that feeling, if you hear someone in trouble, you stop and check it out.  At least, I did.

Whispering for help.

Please help.

In the woods, just in the bushes, still green, not yet covered by the fall leaves.

It wasn’t far.  I saw someone crouched on the ground, head turned down, whispering.  Whispering at something.  Someone.

The thing, how to describe it.  It was like… a child?  But wrong.  Its head was way too small.  Its back was all bent and bony looking under a really big t-shirt.  It crouched over someone- they weren’t moving.  Their eyes were gone, bloody holes in their head.

The thing whispered at the body.

“Help me, help me someone,” it said in this rasping voice that made my teeth hurt.

I was frozen in place.  When you see something unexplainable you think you’d run, but really you sort of want to keep looking, until it makes sense.  So you can see that it’s not really what it appears to be.  Until it’s not a monster eating someone’s eyes.

The thing looked at me.

It was dark in the trees, but I could see the glisten of blood on its too-small face.  Its eyes were gone.  Not bloody, just, black holes.

“Help me,” it whispered.

I backed up.  It stood.  Its legs were too long for its body.  It took frighteningly fast steps towards me.  I stumbled out onto the seawall and began to run.  It overtook me in seconds and leaped on my back, pulling me to the ground.  It flipped me around and crouched over me.

“Please, don’t, please,” I said, breathless.  It’s face was terrible to look at.  Without eyes, where should I look?  How could I plead for my life?

“Please, don’t,” I said again.

It whispered at me then.

“Pleeeese donnn’t,” it said slowly.

“Please don’t,” is said again.

I struggled.  Its head struck down at me with such force it made me see stars.  Then all of a sudden its face was pressed against mine, and I felt its hot tongue slip inside my eye lid, under my eyeball, probing… and then it sucked, and my eye was gone.  It nipped its teeth together and threw its head back to swallow- my eye.

“My eye!” I whimpered.  It brought its face back down to mine again.

“No!” I shouted, trying to push it away.  It was impossibly strong.

“Please, no!” I said as it opened that hideous mouth.

I wrenched my head to the side, trying to avoid that awful mouth.  It pressed into me and kept me still.  This one it had to fight for.  It ended up with more than just my eyeball, but hey, at least I tried.

My eyes.  Gone.

My face was wet with blood.  It started licking me.

I started to feel weak.  That hot, disgusting tongue lapping over my cheeks; sharp, rasping, licks that stung in spite of my greater injury.

And then I heard them- the sound of running; someone shouted.

It leaped away from me.  I only heard the first two steps it took into the woods, and then it was gone.

The people that came to my aid were mostly helpful.  One called 9-1-1.  One tried his best to comfort me, telling me everything would be ok, just lay back, help is on the way.

The sound of a third person vomiting is what made it hit home, just before I passed out.  And I knew it was real.  The hot blood on my cheeks smelled funny.  I’d never smelled my own blood before…

Anyway, ambulance, hospital, recovery, blah blah blah.  The expected, the boring.

Talking to the police was interesting.  That body in the woods… I wasn’t much help.  They referred me to a psychologist, who came to me in the hospital until I was ok to go home.  It was a dog, must have been a dog.  Yes yes, music, and the delicious smells of cooking, all these other wonderful things to experience without sight.  She was really helpful, but when I knew what I’d seen it was hard to ‘begin the healing.’

And then I went home.

I knew adapting to life without eyes was going to be difficult, and that was before I realised that my encounter with the thing was not limited that one, terrible night.

I woke up my first night back in my own bed.

Whispering.

“Please don’t,” it said.  It was at the corner of my room.

I’m not entirely sure about this part- see, no denying that I was attacked, and ,my eyes ARE gone, but this part, the part where sometimes I wake up in the night and hear it whispering- this part I don’t know is real.  I could be dreaming.  I hope I’m dreaming.

Because then, when I feel that awful tongue on my cheek I can just tell myself I’m dreaming, and in the morning it will be all ok.

But in the morning my cheek is raw.  It hurts.

I can’t stop thinking about the whispering.

“Please, don’t,” is all it ever says.

I’ve leapt out of bed and tried to go affter it before, but it’s too quick.  I always wind up back in bed, and it always comes back.

“Please, don’t.”

My cheek is raw.

“Please don’t.”