It's Christmas

My feet are too hot because they're covered in a blanket on top of which is a large, fluffy, snoring cat. I've just been back to Mumbai thanks to Kevin McLeod's Slumming It. I've been watching clips on YouTube, reminding me of what I didn't really want to remember in any detail because it's Christmas and I'm on holiday at home in a house that's too big for two people and one cat with too much food in the cupboards and in my stomach. And now I have to break off because it's time to go skiing with my husband so we can get our stomachs empty enough to accommodate the next digestive delivery.

We went to India last month. I keep having to write thoughts down in my notebook. Chards of experiences. Broken pots that may have been poems once but even if I glue them together, the cracks will always show.

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction comes in many forms. For me, I'm happy if I can save the organization I work for from the public humiliation of a misplaced apostrophe ("NGO's" is a popular one) or the embarrassment of not knowing that "comprised of" is wrong and "comprises" is right. If only there were such straightforward rules to follow for how to write poems.

Who hid the cinema?

Perhaps it's easier to blog (is that really a verb?) when away from home. I'm in Edmonton for work and and am having some quality time with my laptop in a cosy hotel room. Yes, cosy. Having one corner knocked off the usual prefab rectangle seems to make all the difference.

Edmonton has a scruffiness that I realize I like because it makes the city feel older and more worn, like a book that's become dog-eared because it's been read so much. That was my impression through the bus window on the way downtown from the airport. The downtown area isn't scruffy though; it's shiny and tall, and litter-free at least at night.

Actually, downtown Edmonton is really just one vast parkade. When I went for a walk earlier this evening, I felt as if I'd been turned inside out. Everyone here parks their cars indoors and all the shops are inside too. It took me ages to find the cinema, not least because the friendly Starbucks staff were a bit vague with their directions and perhaps assume that everyone, not just Canadians, has an innate ability to spot entrances to shopping malls, even at night when everything is closed. I didn't know people were allowed inside closed shopping malls. Evidently plenty of others know this, mostly small men on their own wearing baseball caps and carrying plastic bags, circling the empty food courts and riding the empty escalators.

By the time I managed to find the cinema, the box office staff had closed up shop and handed over their bundles of tickets to the candy and pop staff. The next screenings were too far past my start-watching-a-film time so I've decided that was a reconnaissance mission for the real thing tomorrow night.

Really? A vegetarian restaurant in Whitehorse?

I once tried to start a blog about being vegetarian in the Yukon, the Mecca of hunting. But it's an emotive topic for me and it tends to take a long time for me to be able to write about what matters to me most, at least overtly. The news is that Whitehorse has a new vegetarian restaurant, Ruby's. It would be vegan but for a few egg whites in some of the recipes, particularly the desserts. I don't know how many chickens are needed to keep Ruby supplied in egg-whites or what happens to the yolks or, indeed, where they get their eggs from but I would hope they'd be free range. The menu relies a little too much on soy for me but it's bliss to be able to enter a building and know no blood is being spilt inside. Whitehorse now has two vegetarian eateries: Ruby's and the egg-free Alpine Bakery and cafe. Thank heavens.


The Banff workshop only lasted one week but the benefits are life-long, I can tell. Over a month later, I am managing to keep the momentum going. It's been rather like freewheeling downhill on a bicycle so far but I will need to start pedalling for myself any day now. In the meantime, the house is grubby and I'm not keeping up with my emails to friends. But I am writing down at least one new writing thought every day. Mostly a great deal more than this but sometimes not even a sentence. It all counts. I'm hoping my friends will forgive my slower communication pace. At least I email my friends more often than I blog. If I were a tweeter, I'd probably manage one squawk a year.

Is this Banff?

I'm at the Banff Centre this week, pretending I'm a full-time poet. It's wonderful. If only it paid as well as my day job. This is one of the best presents I've ever given myself (and I've given myself a lot of presents). It's been raining a lot this week and there are rumours of snow today. The way the clouds are smoking out the mountains, I sometimes wonder if I'm in Banff at all. When you see a glimpse of mountain, it's more like being inside a Japanese print.

I could say the weather is helping to keep me indoors, fingers tapping on the laptop. But to be honest I've never had a problem staying inside when the sun is shining. I feel a decadent thrill when I go to the cinema on a sunny afternoon; even at my age I can still hear my mother forbidding visits to the local fleapit when the sky is blue.

Things I can't write about

Stop UBC Animal Research launched its new website the other day at Be careful if you hover over any of the images of sweet animals. It makes the point but it's not pleasant.

Animals are the hardest thing for me to write about. You're supposed to be cruel to your characters, so they say, but that must mean I have to cruel to my animal characters too. I don't know if I can do that.

Talking to no one

One of the problems I have with facebook is that I feel I don’t know who I’m talking to. I prefer talking to one person rather to a roomful of people already chatting amongst themselves. I don’t like to butt in. And yet I have this blog which scarcely even gets picked up by Google. It seems I prefer to talk to no one.

No news

There's no news at weekends in the Yukon. All the local reporters like to take weekends off as much as the rest of us who live here. We therefore do our best to make sure nothing happens on Saturdays or Sundays.


The doctor tells me
I’m a detective,
that the body in the case
I have to solve
is mine

That which doesn't kill you

The cat doesn’t care
the space on the bed you left behind
is second-hand
but I sleep badly
skin itching from rash decisions
I’ve got two hands
so I’m scratching in two places at once