Monday, December 30, 2013

Phobia Visited

Today, whilst with 15 other people, the elevator I was in broke down between two floors. Being trapped in an elevator has always been a fear of mine, so today it was fabulous to discover I did not panic and how rescue works. The safety manager of the building was soon on hand and he kept us calm whilst the appropriate help was summoned. In the end, we climbed out onto a ladder and onto the floor of the building after being trapped for about half an hour.  The worst part: heat.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ceramic Zeotrope

How Mature am I?

Boogie Woogie

I feel an ecstatic reverence beauty. Colour, fabric and form can thrill me but nothing melts me like outstanding human creativity. I wait for the transcendence I felt watching Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dance and hearing Jesse Norman and Cecilia Bartoli sing to happen again. It is like a drug. It has happened to me watching a hockey player skate, reading skilled authors, seeing epiphany-inducing paintings and reading the biographies of genii.  

What gets me in this film of a dance competition, is the behaviour of the contestants who are not dancing—particularly the first couple on the left. I see a community here who seem to truly appreciate the performances of their "opponents." The spirit I see in this film inspires me; this competition feels like a celebration of a wonderful aspect of living—our capacity to be enraptured by music and to express our joy in movement.

It's a bit long, this film, but worth watching to the end, because while the judges decide on the winner, all the competitors dance—and not with their partners. They switch things up and—be still my beating heart—two men and two women dance together. 

Finally, is there any dance form more fun than Boogie Woogie?  
Click on the image to see the film.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Photographer Bertil Nilsson

Photographer Bertil Nilsson has created a breathtaking series featuring nude dancers alone in sweeping, natural landscapes. Twirling, pirouetting and balancing atop fallen trees and mountain peeks, the performers stand out in the stark contrasts of man and Mother Nature. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jessica's Photos from Sayulita

The house from the pool level.

Me, Hudson and his Dad, Todd.
Hudson and a baby sea turtle being released on the beach.
Washing our food in iodine.
I love Frani!
In San Poncho.
Hudson's poster for our show.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

 From Tom BetGeorge:
"This is my first year decorating and this is my first sequence ever. I built almost everything from scratch using wood and acrylic. I am a music/teacher director for a living (COVA Conservatory in Oakland and Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont) hence the massive instruments! The guitar is 17', the piano is 19' and the drums are standard. About 6,000 channels running around 70,000 lights. Come by and see it in person on the corner of Lafayette and Ruschin in Newark, California! Fair use for educational purposes. Merry Christmas everyone!

PS: The music is The Christmas Can-Can sung by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser.

Leslie's New Cat

The red clay, hand painted cat I got Leslie in Mexico.
The spots are birds.

Home Forever

That is how I feel: I am home forever. What happened to my sense of adventure and discovery? Maybe it's in Pastville with my hair and libido and my stamina and enthusiasm. The flight from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta is 4.5 hours; yesterday our driver picked us up at 10:30 am and it was 13 hours, some of them very trying, before I was home in my condo.

And now it is Saturday morning and there is no cat here and neither is there Frani, Chris, Jessica, Todd, Sahara or Hudson. I am good at being alone but not for a couple of days after being with the Humphrey/Jared clan. I am blessed to have them in my life and so willing to include me in some family vacations.

Sahara cannot talk. She can only walk short distances as she has an awkward walk. She cannot eat meals; instead, she eats tiny bits of things constantly. Neither can she void easily. Both swallowing and voiding involve peristalsis which is a form of muscularity that Sahara lacks. She has three expressions that I can see—happy, a furrowed brow and neutral. Neutral is, by far, her dominant expression and she is a pincher. For some reason, she pinches and likes to grab your clothes with a fierce determined grip. 

Sahara is a handful for her mother and grandmother because of their long hair and what they wear—especially if they wear any jewellery or other adornments. They attract Sahara's grip. Even Todd gets his hair grabbed, but he is strong and can break her grip. But her bald, grandfather and I enjoy an easy rapport. We spent hours in the pool together because there is nothing to grab.

Love is an amazing thing. The Beatles, at their most eloquent and insightful, sang often of love. And with someone like Sahara love is special or different. Perhaps it is because loving Sahara involves learning a new language. And Hudson, at nine, is a north magnetic pole to my south. He loves songs, singing, drawing, reading and acting and so we have a common language. 

I loved Chris and Frani first, then came the second generation Jessica and Jake. Not surprisingly at all, this fag fell heavily for Jessica. If you love the mother, you can't help but love the daughter. The Humphrey ladies are both tens. And Jessica met Todd, Chris II, and the third generation arrived.

Jake is a part of my heart too. He married Allie and they have three kids; Coral and twins Dylan and Cameron. I wish I saw them more and must do that soon. They are part of a remarkable family. Lucky me to know them. I am do grateful to my friends for the riches they bring to my life.

Losing Chris and Mike this month has me hyper aware of love and friends. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday in Sayulita

Dear Chris Adkins passed away at 5:30 am on Dec. 17th, two weeks two the day after Mike died. Mike I had known since the late 1960s and Chris and I met in the mid 1970s. All that keeps coming to mind are clich├ęs. At times, I have wanted to leave this paradise of ease in Mexico and come home and go to bed. But of course I have learned from these experiences of loss.

Remember those famous stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance)? I lived them when I was diagnosed with AIDS, but I find myself dealing with them again in response to the loss of Mike and Chris.

Chris and Mike are my private experience here. The fabulous Humphreys and Jarods are in a perpetual state of bliss like everyone else here in Sayulita. Every day is stunning so it is easy to slip out of sadness and join the party in the pool. Being here with Hudson and Sahara is the best therapy for sadness going.

Tomorrow we return home via Calgary. Back to fish and my wonderful kitty cat.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Yesterday we went to San Poncho (formerly San Francisco). It has changed a lot since we were here eight years ago. But we had a lovely day at a beach that is far less busy than Sayulita and with HUGE waves. It was a lovely day.

Then I came home to find out friend Chris is now comatose and his end is near. It is hard to be here but then perhaps I am very lucky to be with people I love so much.

 Hudson underwater.

  San Poncho north and south.

There is a bird show outside my window
every morning.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Today we are going to El Poncho, formerly San Francisco. It is the next village north and it is very different from Sayulita. There are no beach restaurants, no vendors, nothing. And all because of many rich home owners who surround the bay and do not want riff-raff on their beach.

(Above) Our house is the white one above the yellow one. This photo is taken from the street below ours. We are on a steep hill. When I am on my deck, I look down past our pool to the pool of this yellow complex, far below. (Below) You can see the many levels of out house in this close-up taken from the same street. On the top, you can see the palm leaf thatched roof on our roof-top deck.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Most of the Clan

Last night we went to a nearby beach to watch the sunset and eat salsa. Todd has taken to making salsa every day and he makes great salsa. Todd likes to cook and is doing virtually all of it. Last night, though, I made pasta and he cooked some marinated chicken on the bar-b-q to add to the sauce I made.

Saturday was a lazy day spent mostly around home after the morning walk to the desolated beach up north of here.
Frani, Chris and Sahara.

Sahara with candy.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

More About Saturday

The stunning yellow-winged Starling or Minah-like birds
come every morning.

Todd and I walked a trail to a deserted beach.

Our place; front view.

Beautiful 40-45 cm seed pods on our street.

Saturday in Sayulita

It is wonderful to be here but odd to have come immediately after hearing that Mike, a friend since the dawn of adolescence, had died and while dear friend, Chris, is in very serious decline. Given these realities, it is hard to write about sandy beaches, good food and fun times; my body is here but a lot of my heart is at home.

This house had Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris in its library. I have read things by him in the New Yorker, including one of the stories in this collection, and often been amused but at times he had me laughing out loud. What a gift, to be able to write like that.

Hudson, age nine, and Sahara, age twelve, are constant companions; it took just a couple of days. I find this pattern repeats; at first there is distanced acceptance and then, suddenly, there is a rush of warmth and affection for "Uncle Chris." I love three generations of this family.

I turned 66 ten days ago and now it doesn't hurt to say I failed completely at loving. I never learned how to do it or feel it due to the failure of my (no-fault) adoption. Loving, in fact, became an intolerable experience.

If you made a word cloud out of the comments on my report cards from elementary school, the only big words would be EXTREMELY SENSITIVE PERSON. An emotion can overtake me completely. Emotions cause me to lose control so it is convenient to live life at a distance. No, it is essential to live life at a distance so as not to hurt myself or anyone else. The closest I can get is what I feel with this Humphrey family and other close friends. Three generations of them have opened their hearts and homes to me.

But whereas I cm crap at loving, I can be a good friend (I think and hope). I met Chris, the Humphrey patriarch, in my father's office. Handsome as sunrise, he was out of his element doing fine finicky work (well) for my Dad, so I lured him away to build the theatre I designed for Presentation House in North Vancouver where he lived. Through him I met Frani, his wife and Jessica, his daughter. I took immediately to Frani and not at all to Jess. Then came Jake, and adorable and very loving little boy.

When Jessica became a young woman, I melted. And when she started travelling and writing to me, I fell deeply for her. And when, after years of working and travelling, she came home with Todd, he went straight into the core of my heart. As with my friend Dwight, it was like at fist sight.

Sahara was Todd and Jess' first born. She is severely disabled and she has changed us all for the better. Then came Hudson who is, right now, my favourite human being on the planet. He and I are planning a "show" for the family and he is more excited about that than the beach.
Stunning eh?! And huge!

This Hibiscus was on the side of the road!


Not Frani.
On the night of the 12th there we took in an evening parade and celebration for St. Guadalope who popularized Christianity in Mexico. The music and beer flowed and so did wonderful Mariachi music.
Mr. Guadalope.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Birds, Wednesday Morning

 Above is a bird that sounds like a staccato air raid siren. It creates a loud sound like a peacock and it was in the tree beside our house. Below is, I think, a Mynah that is gorgeous with its bright yellow plumage. It barely stops, so taking a photo is hard to do.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday @ Sayulita

The long story: beach walk, lunch, swimming, walk to town, shopping for dinner, cooking, eating and to bed.

 One of six iguanas that sunbathe in the tree across from our balcony.

Huge amazing bird.


Todd and Chris made dinner and I had brought some Thomas Hass chocolates for desert and champagne for a toast to the Humphrey/Jared clan for including me.

Oh my God… I am up early and the sun has just risen over the hill and I can see the glorious golden sun on the hills across the bay. Our bedrooms face the setting sun. We are in paradise and I couldn't be happier, especially after a great night sleep in a bedroom with wide open French doors that look out over the ocean. Bliss.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Vancouver - Sayulita

What a blast.

Chris and Frani arrived late Sunday afternoon to stay at my place. We went to the fabulous Banana Leaf for dinner and then to bed early. We got up at 3:00 am and were at the airport by four for a painless check-in. The flight went quickly and easily for all seven of us and when we arrived Marin, our driver was waiting.

Eight of us and all our luggage in the van to the grocery megastore to buy $270 worth of groceries and then we got here, to the incredible house we have here.

When you enter, you are on the main floor with the living room, dining room and kitchen. There is no wall on the side of the house facing the ocean. (We are a five minute walk up the hill from the beach.) Upstairs are two fabulous bedrooms, one for me, the other for Chris and Frani. And downstairs is a self-contained 2-bedroom suite.

Then there is the roof deck with bar-b-q and fridge and panorama view. We are in heaven. It could not be better for a 10-day holiday. (Click on images to enlarge.)

My room.
The main floor.

Us on the roof.

The roof.