Hello from Mountain Mecca & Hippy Heaven!
Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, fresh air! Sorry, couldn’t help myself, I’ve been gulping in the clean, mountain air since we arrived at our latest home – Nelson, BC. For the next month we will be residing at “Chalet Ripple” – I just love saying that word, “chalet”, chalet, chalet, chalet – while we explore the possibility of living and working here.
The chalet (ooooh, I said it again!) is beyond cool and I’m still pinching myself over our great fortune. It was built, many moons ago, by our dear friends, Tim “The Ripster” and his wife Becky aka “Supreme Mountain Goddess”. The land it sits on is a tiny pie at the edge of a huge swath of park land – meaning there will be no condos or McDonalds anywhere near here in our lifetime (hopefully), yippee!
Although the chalet (fun!) now functions as a vacation rental, it was the Ripple’s home for years and their presence permeates the log walls. There are photos everywhere of the Ripster, Becky & friends climbing, trekking and skiing around the world. My favorites are the ones of the Nepalese people that Tim and Becky have cultivated a loving relationship with. On the kitchen cupboards, climbing rocks (the ones you find on the indoor climbing walls) function as handles and there is even rock climbing finger-board mounted on one of the overhead beams if you want to test your climby-ness. Railings are made from smoothed saplings and branches, tap water comes from a stream, river rocks line the paths, and Tibetan prayer flags criss-cross the property, waving welcome to guests and friends. This is a very tranquil place.
We haven’t told our hosts yet but, we are actually never moving out. They’re reasonable people, I’m sure they’ll understand. Right?
Emily, our pot-bellied, North American Carpet Panther, is in her glory. I was worried how she’d take the move from her position as chief of Security at the Kozak Mansion (we miss you guys!) but here she has acres of wilderness to patrol and the extra responsibility doesn’t even seem to faze her. It helps that she has cozy rugs to sleep on and huge windows to look out of. Believe me when I say there are some very nervous mice around these parts!
Come on, say it! It’s fun huh?
The drive here was interesting. Well, I should say packing for the drive was interesting. Seeing as our main priority was tools for work, tools which already take up most of the truck, we had to be quite creative with the rest of our gear. There was a bit of a tense moment when the Prez looked at my pile of shoes and said, “So which ones are you bringing?” and I, timidly, replied, “Um, all of them?” And I am by no means a shoe hound, but space was limited.
We had a lovely sunny day for the trip east. Unfortunately, the section from Manning Park to Osoyoos was so choked with smoke from the Tatoosh forest fire that there wasn’t much sight seeing. It was incredible, and frightening, really how much smoke there was. Even with our windows rolled up and the A/C on, we were all coughing at points along the way. I hope the recent rain has helped out.
So here we are (in the chalet!), settling in and waiting to see what kind of response we’ll get to our newspaper ads. We’ve already got two potential jobs and if the market for handy people is even half as good as it is in the city we’ll do just fine. I’m taking advantage of the quiet time to get some edits done on the novel. The feedback I’ve gotten on my baby from my test readers, so far, has been insightful and helpful. Now I’m frantically making the changes I want so that I can have a semi-polished manuscript ready for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference at the end of October.
And speaking of test readers, one of that much appreciated bunch, Terri Casey, will be coming to visit us, with her beau Gary…at the chalet (tee hee)…this Sunday. Terri is not just a beautiful woman with a great attitude; she is also a professional freelance writer and author of the book, “Pride and Joy – The Lives and Passions of Women Without Children” which I am pages away from finishing. Wow. Great book. As a woman without children (not counting cats and husbands) it was wonderful to hear my thoughts echoed by so many other women of all different ages, races, and cultures.
One of the most profound comments in this book was made by Terri: “What would it mean for our society, I wonder[ed], if women without children were as valued and celebrated as mothers are?” That’s a good question. Most of the women I read about make tremendous contributions to society on both a large and small scale. They are educated, hard working, creative women who feel an urge to give back and make life better for others – many work, in some form, with children. Yet, the overwhelming opinion out there seems to be that a woman is not ‘complete’ until she gives birth to a child. I know, I’ve heard about it for thirty-seven years.
“Oh, you’ll change your mind!” “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re older?” “How can you say you don’t want children?” These are just some of the comments that have been made to me over, and over, and over throughout my life. Trust me; you don’t have to tell what a beautiful thing motherhood is, how unique the bond is between mother and child, how important a role mothers play in society. I know and respect the whole deal 100%. I love kids. I just don’t want to look after them 24/7.
Men don’t get those comments made to them. An older childless man is not considered less than a man. Dads are every bit as important as moms so why don’t we harass guys like we do gals? I think it all comes down to choice. Men have always had a choice. Even if they knocked a girl up they could always take off. Socially acceptable? No, but doable. Not so easy for the knocked-up-ee. Thanks to accessible birth control and legal abortion, women can now choose if and when they want to bear children. I celebrate this choice.
Another common thread that runs through these women’s stories is the role of education and role models. Regardless of their economic background, books, school, museums & art, were like windows to other possibilities for these women. Through these windows they could see that they didn’t have to simply get married and have babies like they were expected to, like everyone else did; the world outside these windows was overflowing with wonders for them to experience. And that mirrors my experience exactly. My bookcase was my “pride and joy” as a child. I read voraciously and loved the worlds the writers took me to. As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted more from my life than what was expected of a middle class girl growing up in the ‘burbs. My mom burst into tears the day I announced I was never having kids (I think I was about fourteen). “Haven’t I given you a good life?” she cried, “How can you say you don’t want children??” I wish I had the presence of mind back then to say, “Yes, you’ve given me a fabulous life and that’s why I’ve made this choice! Thanks to you I have a thirst for discovery and a passion for exploring the world and myself. You’ve given me more than having children ever could. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” But, instead, I think I just mumbled something about how she didn’t understand.
I recommend this book to all women. For those who are deciding between motherhood or not, it’s a good way to examine a point of view that is not the majority. If you’ve already made the “not” choice, these tales will give you the sense of community and support that mothers get and the rest of us seem to miss out on. For women with children, this book will help you understand that crazy friend of yours who just won’t settle down and have kids. And for parents with intentionally child-free children, the stories in this book may help enlighten you about why your offspring has made this choice.
I know I’ll miss out on a lot of things by not having kids but, hey, if I did have kids I probably wouldn’t be sitting in this fabulous CHALET right now!
Anyway, I’ll be happy to lend out my copy of “Pride and Joy” – right after I get it signed this weekend! Yes, it will be a very authorly weekend as one of our other guests – at the chalet (love it!) – will be Sue Carlson, aka Miss Sue (and hubby “All-in-Jim”), who wrote the Children’s book I Chronicled about a ways back, “Why Do Donuts Have Holes?” You will find a link to both Terri and Sue’s books on the left side of this screen. And soon you will find a link to my book, “Why Building a Lego Bridge to the Moon is Less Work and More Fun Than Editing Your first Novel”.
Well, speaking of editing, sigh; I must get back to it. Next week I will put on a ton of pictures featuring…
Question: What book are you reading right now?
Until next week, I hope this finds you all healthy, happy & lovin’ life!