Monday, May 16, 2011

A wake for Serenity.

Greetings Bloggies.

I did something big this week. I became car free.  It was a long time in the making andit was the natural thing to do.  I had owned a 1999 Subaru Legacy for four years.  In April of 2007 I had cash from my North West Territories gig and was needing mobility in a bad way.  I was splitting my time between Nakusp and the Okanagan and the north. The car was needed to get me around and back to the airport.  In those days I was effectively homeless but had lots of places I visited.   I named it Serenitybecause well that was also the year I fell in love with Firefly.

I was never a car person. I came to driving late, not getting my license till I was 26.  A car is a black box fossil fuels go in momentum and green house gasses come out.  I was bad at taking care of it.  My values never placed putting money in to its up keep a priority.  Though a few things played out against it.  In October 2008 I got laid off and repairs slipped in my priority list as I clamped down on spending.  I also never took the time to find a shop.  I was absent minded about simple things like checking the oil.  Three times I drove into things costing me money to fix the bumper.  The third time cost me my signal light which I never fixed, I taped it up and it still worked, but I figured why fix it I will ding it again any way. Countless times I completely over revved when shifting and made burnt car parts smell.

In the country I loved driving that car.  Between the springs of 2008 and 2009 I made many trips over the mountains from Nakusp to Nelson and Castlegar. I enjoyed those drives, the zigs and the zags.  Put me in traffic and I my attitude goes down hill quickly.  After I moved to Burnaby to attend BCIT I used Serenity a lot less.   Once a week became the normal mode.  Then Twice a month.  Burnaby was big enough and I was far enough from things to make using make some sense.   Last august after using Serenity to drive a way from the worst job EVER, I moved in to the Hobbit hole in East van.  This move saw a major drop in usage.

Moving in to the Hobbit hole lead to a spike in driving as repeated trips to IKEA were need to make the hole livable.  That period passed and usage dropped to once a month or less.  I still live in the Hobbit hole and am planning to stay there for some time.  I know of more neighborhoods where I can find a pedestrian lifestyle and I have no desire to change that.  In some ways this is a return to my families roots as most of us have been dutch city dwellers.

After the moving in phase I knew getting ride of Serenity was a goal.  I knew from my time in Burnaby that I did not drive much in the city.  I also knew that my location was better then I had in Burnaby, I am closer to the trains and right out on two major bus routes. At first, I thought about selling it online, but got distracted by work or looking for work.  I also held the belief that once I had a steady income I would fix it up.  Time when on and I realized thats not my game.  Its sad to say but the truth is my car declined in condition because I could not be bothered.  Perhaps I would have used it more over the winter if I had not left my snow triers in the Kooteneys but thats speculation.  More recently I made a half hearted effort to sell it.  I did not want to pass a lemon on to honest people.

I reached a compromise this week.  I donated it to a Kidney charity.  It got transported from here for free.  They will make an effort to sell it and I get a tax receipt which will help me out with my plans for this year.  I was a little saddened to see the thing go.  4 years is a while.  It played a huge role in my personal life in the Kooteneys, with many a good and a few bad memories attached.  It was something I proud of at first.  It was a grown up thing to have gotten, but I stopped being proud of it as my neglect added up.  The last few times I drove it the exhaust system was getting really loud and I felt ashamed to be in it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gardening or How to meet your Neighbors

Greetings Bloggies.

And Sow it begins.
So it came to pass that on Wednesday evening I was at loose ends.  Work had left me tired and a little stressed.  The job is good, I am learning every day.  Deadlines, technology and using my brain all day do add up. So as it has become some what routine, I watched the previous nights Colbert Report and made some dinner. I need to veg out a bit.    After dinner I watched an other 20 minutes of tv before asking well now what.  Not feeling too energetic I chose a walk over a bike ride. I did not make it very far.

Five meters past the back gate is about as far as I made it.  I spotted a neighbor I had not seen tending the never tended garden plot in the back yard of the house opposite mine.  Not being shy I said hi.   She was cute.  

Dar She Grows. 
Honestly I had nothing better to do nor could I think of a better thing to do.  I took off my good jacket got my hands dirty pulling weeds.  Notes were compared in the smallness and remoteness of the towns we came from.  I believe my neighbor was from Fort Saint something.

An apparent side effect of country living is the chance to learn a thing or two about dirt.  Though I never had the slightest interest in tending the soil when I lived in the country.  It happened that I had at least a half informed notion of what was food and what was foe.

The plot thickens
The I don't know what I want feeling went away.  My hands got dirty, small talk was had.  The garden cleaned up.  It went from a over grown patch that I did not even know was a garden to a blank slate ready to make food and pretty flowers.  That simple act of doing reset my brain.

Open the pod bay doors HAL 
In my mind Gardening is slowly becoming foods little brother.  Though I had always cooked in some capacity I did not approach it as obsessively till I had lost control of it for some time.  The lose  of control came from camp life.

Out there, in places remote enough for the notion of "The Outside World" meaning, you are fed.  They cook for you in exchange for a very long days and what was to me dull work. Returning to civilization drove me to express the creativity I was denied out there.

Long garden is long. 
The same places where I was fed are also places where the ground is white more of the year then it is bare.  Places where the soil is an after thought if there is any.  Now back in a place where there is green I want to add more too it.  It also happens that you can grow food which makes the whole thing double-plus-good.

So this may come a bit late for mother's day but the thanks has go out there.  I have to thank my mother for teaching me the basics of cooking and gardening.  Cooking was a more deliberate act of teaching.  The knowledge of gardening was haphazard.  I learned about gardening because if it was between May and September/ October, if I wanted to talk to her I had to come to her and that place was the gardens.  Weather you want or not you learned to tell some plants a part, how to transplant thing and how to weed things.
The BBQ might become a planter. 

 It has come to pass that the arts of making and growing food are slowly enriching my social life.   I have said more to my land lady since I have planted my peas then I have since last summer.  Of coarse the friends that hate me for my facebook food posts will hate me even more once I start posting the dinners with the home grown greens but thats their troubles.