Sunday, February 29, 2004

I've been answering emails for two hours. I love having the time. I feel as if my little house is a refuge and that I am a "real" writer here. Strange in the morning, my writing flows whether it's in response to others or simply for myself. When I went to a writing workshop in Dublin many years ago, an American journalist gave a talk in which he said that a writer should try writing at different times of day and night, that the hour affected the pen. I think this true. Again, many years ago, I used to write in the evening after a glass of wine loosened my tongue. I find my tongue doesn't need the wine these days.

I realize, at this moment, that I have become more courageous in regards to my writing. What scared me almost to death in the past now seems banal. I wonder how far I can go? Am I challenging myself?
Now that's a scary thought.

Again, in regards to writing. I received an email from Vaughan in which she quotes Pat Schneider: "If we refuse to write the truth of what we see and what we remember, we have to work hard to keep the door closed. We call that refusal "writer's block."

I think it more than writer's block. I think it a betrayal of self and life. Does that sound too grand? The wonderful part of writing is that it shows life as grand. It can turn the simplest gesture into a metaphor.

Last night we had dinner with our neighbours. We have lived beside them for over twenty years and last evening was the first time we dined together. Imelda is Irish. Ken is English. I asked Imelda if she knew what a "hooley" is and she took my arm and swung me round the room. The food was amazing. I will slip down to Capers soon and buy her some tulips and buy us some fancy sausages.

This is Academy Award day. I will go to store with Gill. Walter will go with his three offsprings and we will count every item in store. After, we will all return here, order pizza, and watch the awards although I admit, the only time I watched them all the way through was when I was actually in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Now it has moved to a larger fancier facility.)

February is a drab drab month. I'm glad this is the last day.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Friday night. I'm wasted. Was supposed to finish work at 1 and go help my baby sister move. She told me that she has it all under control. Can do without me. Come tomorrow.

I worked till 6:30. Grrr... not fit company for any creature. Rob had the car. Took a bus home with three valises (my computer in one) and walked up the steep hill growling. Rob lost track of time in conversation with another sound person.

When he finally arrived, we heated up some stew, ate, talked, and he went to his computer and me to mine. Modern times.

I forgot to say. My dentist called yesterday and he wanted to see me this morning. I went. My dentist called me today and wants to see me tomorrow morning. I will go. All these verb tenses are getting on my nerves. I want to write a tale that happens in the present. Not the past and future. I must be wasted. Missed a Jungian lecture tonight because I thought I'd be helping my sister. Not.

Today, some friends of friends were to be arriving in our French house. I wish I was there.

Margaret, my cousin in Northern Ireland sent me an email saying they'd be enjoying an hooley with my namesake aunt soon. I had to ask, after living in Northern Ireland a year, what a "hooley" is. She responded "A 'hooley' is dancing and singing and having a good time."

Auch I'd love to have a hooley with Barbara and Eddie. They loved drinking and dancing and laughing.
I wish I could fly over for their 40th anniversary. But I can't. Too much money. Too much work to do.

I'm wasted. Think of Kate. How is she and Brian doing on North American soil? If money were no object, I'd fly to Toronto and see her and him. But it is, it is. Think I'll go to bed.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Today I am restless. Woke too late and had a meeting with Walter re store. It is taking too much time and I do not love it enough to give it what it needs. I know it is only a woman's fashion store but it was also Leslie's life and dream. She was a sensualist. She loved the feel of fine fabrics and the look of vivid true colour. I am mimicking her in a way. But Walter speaks of getting rid of the high end stuff. I think the store would become ordinary and lose its boutique quality. I don't have the time or energy to fight him. I handed him some ideas but he'll have to implement them.

I need to get back to my own life. If one has dreams of a retail business, I'd warn him or her that it'll sap energy and not pay well.

Yesterday afternoon, I went with Marlene to hear Sheila Martineau (a writer who attended the French workshop) give a lecture called "Passionate Acts" about four women artists - Kate Collie, Lucie Lambert, Yukiko Onley, and Rina Pita. Sheila spoke at length about this project of hers that began with visiting art galleries and keeping an "art journal." She discussed her passion and the passionate involvement of these four women who work and live in Vancouver. She found a key word to describe each one. For Collie, a painter, it was "complexity"; for Lambert, a print-maker/publisher "synchronicity"; for Onley, a photographer, "simplicity"; and for Pita, a multimedia print-maker, "ambiguity." What remains with me today is the idea of time - to have a passionate involvement with art takes time - and a desire to do-it-right.

Afterwards, we ate at Green College with Sheila and the artists. When someone asked me about my own work, I followed Marlene's lead, and pretended I was really truly a writer.

What I also found inspiring was that Sheila gave these women a more cohesive view of the passion they bring to their life and art.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I was up at 3:40 a.m. How delicious. I love the long uninterrupted hours. I had time to answer emails. I had time - a miracle - to sort out all my bills from France and insert them into excel so I now know what I spent last summer. I sent all via email to our accountant. I'm feeling lighter.

Today I will try to sort out and finish store orders - a dream, I know but I intend to be finished by the end of the week and move on to my writing. Hallelujah.

And Rob is finished working for a while. He's so happy. When Marlene called yesterday, he told her he was writing. (She said she could have kicked him.) She struggles to find time to write amid her course preparation and teaching. I try to find time to write amid the store and account crap. And Rob sits down and does it. He said ideas have been brewing too long. He's also taken over the kitchen. I love not having to worry about meals. Not that I worried. If Gill didn't cook, I usually didn't eat.

He called me "eccentric" last night. I wonder why. (I thanked him. Oh, "times they are a changing.")

Mid-morning I visit the dentist. It's difficult to sustain a good mood in this crazy world.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I'm up early again. I love it but am a little worried that 3 a.m. is a mite early and I won't make it through the day. Also that I'll look like an old hag. Gill and I had our passport pictures taken on Saturday. I look horrible, like an old worn woman, saggy skin, lifeless hair. How did I get this old, I wonder. Where is that damn fire in me? I know that chronological age is rubbish, that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, that true beauty is something that somehow erupts from a person's interior, that the one who finds pleasure in life shows it. Shouldn't that be my goal, I ask myself - to find that which pleases me, gives me pleasure? The trouble is that nothing is all pleasure or all pain, that everything is work, and one has to forecast in the beginning if the payoff is worth the process.

I'm so close to finishing the books, I can feel the relief. I did a meticulous job. Our accountant should be pleased. He should in fact be able to do our company year-end with little bother or so says I. We'll see.

The store is also wearing me down, stealing my energy. Rob says "Leave it, get back to what you should be doing - your writing." What an amazing individual. Gill says "Listen to your husband." The little brat. But oh how both their comments are good for my soul. I wish I had as much faith in my writing as they did.

Shirley and Vaughan encouraged me as well at our Plum meeting on Saturday. I read them the beginning pages of my "really shitty first draft" of my novel. They want more! This morning, I received an email from Vaughan speaking of the ease of writing a practical letter, something one knows about. And questioning why writing fiction isn't so easy. I keep thinking one has to alight on a subject that flows, that is easy to get down, that one is passionate about, that one has endless thoughts on, to write well, to sell. Oh, I don't know. Just do the damn work I tell myself. Who was it that said - "Take care of the quantity and "God" will take care of the quality" explaining that "God" can be whoever - the "muse" for instance. In the book that Vaughan gave me at Christmas the writer speaks of a group of potters (have I told this before?) who are divided into two groups. The first are told to produce in quantity - create as many objects as they can in a set amount of time. The second group are told to produce quality - something, anything of beauty. In the end, it was the group aiming for quantity that produced the best work.

Since it is only four in the morning, I'm going up to the big house to clean up the rest of the paper work and will bundle it and courier it to our accountant, then I will shower and dress for work.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I am pleased. I woke at 4 this morning - the first time I've risen early in a long time and I've spent some hours preparing for the Plum meeting this morning. Rob went to work at 8:30 last night and is still working (poor fellow) but this is the last night of shooting. Next week he can take it easy.

I received writing news of sorts yesterday from the Writer's Union of Canada. My short story made it to the second cut. It won no awards or honorable mentions but the good part is they critiqued my story - told me what they liked and what they didn't like. The ending was the problem. I left my audience in the air. How many stories have I read that leave the reader to guess what happens? Many. And I too am frustrated so I see that I must follow my instincts and my own likes and not take the easy way out. Part of the problem was word count. Most literary contests allow a limited number of words.

I still have paper work to do but the bulk and the hard part are finished. I'm hoping this weekend that I can file it all away and spend some time and have some fun writing. I need to be more diligent. Or call it quits. So difficult. I know I can write and sometimes even write well but it's so much work I groan. But I know that once I take the time to move into a piece, I enjoy myself.

Time is passing so quickly. How many good years do I have left, I ask myself when I am in a moaning-groaning mood. Lots, I answer when I feel good. Many writers - especially women - come to writing later in life. I love Samuel Beckett's lines "Perhaps my best years are gone... but I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now."

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Rob just asked me if I wasn't do my blog anymore. I will soon. I'm still immersed in figures for our company's year-end and they're driving me round the bend plus we're missing a bill or two and I'm searching through stacks of papers trying to find them. This should teach me to do the books each month. I have an excuse last year as I was away but every year I do the books in one marathon. This year, I swear I'll mend my ways.

Health-wise I'm mending although I received an email from my ICBC adjuster and the young man in the accident is fine but he's accepting no responsibility for the accident. An engineer is looking into the matter and I'm not sure what that means. I'm at a loss at what to do. There were two people in my car and one in his. Mike told me he has drawn a storyboard of the account. (A storyboard is like a roll of film. Each square marks one move and is a play by play of a scene.) He was the only one not driving and so had a clear view of what happened. I'm hoping this helps.

I should be finished the accounting and orders for store by this weekend. Next week I should be back on line. I miss my daily musing.

Monday, February 16, 2004

I am very good at feeling guilt and I feel guilty about not writing much this past week. I have been accounting - a year's work in a few days, writing clothing orders for store (very difficult), and have not had much time left for my emails or other concerns.

Still there have been some pleasures. I held a party for my friend Helen on Friday night. Double Dave cooked a feast and after gorging, each guest read the poem or prose that best represented their idea of love for Helen.

Saturday night, Valentine's Day, I went to another party. The guest were to pretend to be survivors, stranded together for a number of years on a desert island. The host sent an invitation before the event that read:

"Long after you had ceased talking about such things as The Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Booker Prize, or indeed the latest Andrew Lloyd Weber, a Genie takes pity and says:

'For one evening, I will grant each of you anything that you miss from the civilized world, so that you can entertain yourselves with some of your favourite experiences.

'A sequence from a film, a text of a novel, autobiography or poetry, your favourite piece of music with performer/s of your choice, a painting, a musical instrument, a comb with toilet paper ? anything you want you shall have.'"

And so a dozen or so people gathered (most of whom I didn't know) and each spoke of what he or she would miss if taken away from the civilized world. It was a rare evening in which each person thoughtfully responded to the theme. We listened to music, heard poetry and prose, and saw a number of film clips.

For the last few days, during my rare few moments, I have been reading poetry. (So what else is new?) I found one that reminds me of Marlene - not all of it - but enough that speaks of her caring and love for other women, myself included. I quote the most meaningful part:

by Olga Broumas

"Did anyone
ever encourage you, you ask
me, casual
in afternoon light. You blaze
fierce with protective anger as I shake
my head, puzzled, remembering, no
no. You blaze

a beauty you won't claim. To name
yourself beautiful makes you as vulnerable
as feeling
pleasure and claiming it
makes me. I call you lovely. Over

and over... I call
you lovely. Your face
will come to trust that judgment, to bask
in its own clarity like sun. Grown women. Turning

heliotropes to our own, to our lovers' eyes


Laughter. New in my lungs still, awkward
on my face. Fingernails
growing back
over decades of scar and habit, bottles
of bitter quinine rubbed into them, and chewed
on just the same. We are not the same. Two

women, laughing
in the streets, loose-limbed
with other women. Such things are dangerous
Nine million

have burned for less.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The sun is shining with such warmth that I've taken my work out several times to bask. I had a moment of inspiration this morning.

On my fiftieth birthday, Rob gave me the perfect gift - every writer's dream or so I think. It is something that I never thought I'd own. A Mont Blanc fountain pen.

When I travel, I leave it at home, knowing that I am sometimes absent-minded when I write and may leave it on some bench or restaurant chair. So last year when I went to Northern Ireland and France, I left it behind. Today I rediscovered it.

I have another poem, this one for Rob who overwhelmed me with this gift (and others I admit.) I find us creeping closer and closer this year and I am holding my breathe, not wanting to jinx it. Two notes to specific others before I type the poem.

Kate - my wayward thoughts are returning.

My children - don't read this poem if you think your parents are beyond sex.

by Gioconda Belli

"I want to taste
your salty, strong flesh.
Start with your arms as splendid
as the branches of a ceiba tree,
then your chest like a cave
in a dream I've dreamt,
chest-cave where my head plunges
unearthing the tenderness,
that chest sounding like drums
and life's never ending flow.
I want to linger there
letting my fingers tangle
the black and gentle forest
growing softly beneath my naked skin,
and move then to your navel
to that center where you start to tremble,
kissing and biting you
until I reach
the tight and secret core
welcoming me,
coming at me
with a male's hardened fire.
Slide then down to your legs
firm and strong like your certainties,
the legs that support your whole body,
and bring you to me;
the legs you use to hold me
and wrap at night around mine,
so different, soft and feminine.
I would kiss your feet, my love
- they still have so many roads to travel without me -
and then I would go back
to encircle your mouth
until I can possess your saliva, your breath
until you enter me
with the force of the tide
enveloping me with the ebb and flow
of a furious sea
that will wash us ashore
sweaty and spent
on linen sands."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It is evening and
I am frazzled.
Worked all day,
tired beyond measure
so I read poetry, avoiding
chores, swearing and
cursing at my inepititude
to compose myself.

I am all alone and have just been reading e.e. cummings. Gill loves his poetry
and I love Gill so this one is for her.


love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sand and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

I wonder what gives some writers the courage to break all the rules.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

It's the 10th of February and I've decided not to expose the woe-is-me and, in honour of St. Valentine, put love poetry on my blog. I dedicate this one to Mahala who emailed me last night and tells me she will buy herself a gift on the 14th. This wild wonderful woman is full of passion and lays her heart bare so often and so generously that "She Walks in Beauty" always. (by Lord Byron)

"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!"

Monday, February 09, 2004

I know I'm inconsistent about my blog these days but I can't seem to fall into any routine since the accident. I'm going easy on myself or as easy as a person with my restless personality can go.

As the doctor said that my high blood pressure was due to stress, I took Vaughan's advice and yesterday had CranioSacral Therapy. This is (according to the brochure) "a gentle method of detection and correction that encourages your own natural healing mechanisms to dissipate [the] negative effects of stress on your central nervous system."

This morning I had a shiatsu massage.

Doing such things for myself is unlike me but I don't feel like my tough self.

I'm feeling a bit better now.

Still, I don't feel like telling the story of my life, even of my day. Nor do I want to discuss how I'd like to change my ways because I don't know how to.

Shit, I'm at a loss for words. I sound like an idiot.

Friday, February 06, 2004

"Insuring Tomorrow" was published in The Vancouver Sun August 27, 1996. Eight years ago. I am having dreary thoughts. There is no insuring tomorrow.

Yesterday when I woke up, sat down, stood up, I felt dizzy. "Strange," I thought. I showered, dressed, and planned to go to work early but every time I sat and stood the dizziness returned. I decided to not risk driving. I called Walter and he drove me to work.

I thought I had one shipment to price and place. Two more arrived in the morning. The dizziness returned and I called my doctor. She wasn't working but a male colleague was. He could see me in the afternoon.

Shirley picked me up and we went to Delaney's for lunch. Am I stupid? I kept wondering why I felt so frail. We were going to write but I had no energy. She then drove me to the doctor's office and waited for me. (In France I played mother. We switched roles.) He checked my breathing and blood pressure. He said that it was too high but thought it was most likely stress (after I gave him a precised version of the past nine days.) Shirley didn't scold me but drove me back to work at my request. (Now I know I'm really a fool.)

I worked until 5:30 and called Helen to pick me up. (I had to ask for help three times this day - extremely difficult as I think I'm tough and capable of looking after myself.)

I was supposed to meet with Marlene to discuss important details of French writing workshop. The brochures need to go to press. But the night was miserable and wet. She told me to stay put. And still these crazy dizzy spells kept happening.

When I lay down on my pillow the room started spinning. My vision returned. I shifted position and the spinning began again. I started having crazy thoughts like what if I die in my sleep.

Rob came home and massaged my sore back and I sat with him. I thought as long as I stay awake I'll be alright. But I was so tired that I risked death by lying down in bed.

I awoke alive. No dizziness when I sat and stood and it came to me that perhaps I am exhausted, perhaps I should stay at home for a few days and crawl not run.

Somehow I had it hammered into my bones when I was young that it was unseemly to be weak, frail, sick. If someone asked me how I was I was supposed to say "Fine, thankyou."

Well I'm not fine but perhaps if I behave myself and lie low, I will be. Can I do it is the thing?

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Before we were married, life was simple or so it seems now after twenty-five years. My love and I lived together in a third-floor bachelor apartment--a fancy name for what was actually one small room with a pull-out couch and a narrow partition hiding a sink, stove, and refrigerator that had to be unplugged each time we used the stove. The bathroom was down one flight of stairs and shared with three other tenants. We paid sixty-five dollars a month rent and spent five dollars a week on groceries.
After we were married, life became more complex. Slowly, we accumulated a house, furnishings, two vehicles, business equipment, and three children. With the purchase of the house came a mortgage, with the mortgage came a compulsory homeowner's insurance policy; with the vehicles came compulsory auto insurance policies; with the business equipment--precise and expensive recording instruments for the feature film industry--came the necessity for world-wide insurance protection; and with the birth of our children, who roused our protective instincts, came the need to insure our own lives.
Last year we paid $523 for house insurance, $1111 for van and $1266 for car insurance, $3192 for equipment insurance, and $1937.52 for life insurance--$8029.52 total. Although the insurance premiums, like income tax, are at times a financial burden, we tell ourselves that the cost is worth it for our peace of mind. If our home burns down or is leveled by an earthquake, we can rebuild. If a thief absconds with any of our personal property or business equipment, we can replace it immediately. If we crash our vehicles and survive, we can repair or replace them. If we don't survive, our children won't starve.
We thought we had completely covered ourselves when, several months ago, a thief crept down our driveway, broke into our car--parked directly under the living room window--and stole our eldest son's C.D. player and authentic New York Yankee's baseball cap worth $360 total excluding the $60 he had paid for the C.D. player's extended warranty. A small loss. Still I felt violated. After I had notified the police, I reported the incident to our insurance agent. She said that minus the $200 deductible, we are entitled to $160 but if we chose to claim, we would lose our no-claim rating. In her opinion, we should forget our loss.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), when we were forced to deal with yet another insurance issue, was more benevolent. One month after our eldest son received his driver's license, he skidded through a stop sign into the front wheel of a new Mercedes. The damage was $1100 but I.C.B.C. paid the repair bill and notified me, in writing, that my premium would not be affected because the car and insurance were in my name and I had driven five years accident-free. When my insurance came up for renewal, an I.C.B.C. representative recommended that I switch the vehicle ownership and insurance to my son's name. Even though it would cost $800 more, it would preserve my safe-driving discount if my son had another accident. The chance of this happening, according to the agent, was high. I took her advice. Four months later, we received a bill for an additional $1644--a surcharge because our son, a new driver, had not earned a safe-driving discount and was responsible for the accident. This brought the car's annual insurance premium to $3776. After several lengthy discussions, ICBC admitted that their representative did not understand that the accident follows the driver and shouldn't have suggested I put the car and insurance in my son's name. They dropped the surcharge.
If insurance agents don't understand their own company's policies, why should the general public? In How to Buy the Right Insurance at the Right Price, Bailard, Biehl, and Kaiser state that approximately eighty percent of all Americans are "either underinsured, overinsured, or simply have the wrong insurance for their needs." In Canada, a similar situation exists. Greg Hicks of Gregory M. Hicks Insurance Services Ltd. told me that few people comprehend property insurance because they don't read the seventy-page booklet that comes with every home ownership policy. They don't realize that making a claim for losses under $500 is self-defeating. If I had filed for the $160 to help my son replace his C.D. player, our premium would have gone up from three to twenty-five percent for five years before we would return to a no-claim rating. The $160 claim could have cost us, over time, $650.
Initially, I was angry. We have paid a lot of money over the years for insurance and when I ask for compensation, I am told we will be charged more--penalized. I didn't understand that insurance is based on the same risk sharing principle that it was when Lloyds of London was born in 1696. This is why Geoffrey Bromwich, author of Insuring Business Risks in Canada, maintains that "[i]nsurance is--or should be--mainly for catastrophes..." and why insurance companies do not insure against catastrophes that injure a great number of people simultaneously. I read the seventy-page booklet that accompanied our policy and found a list of thirty-seven perils including nuclear incidents, war, snow slides, landslides, and floods that our insurance does not cover.
Our policy has other limitations. If we vacate our home for over thirty days, without informing our insurance company, our policy will be useless. If our home burns down; is hit by lightning, an aircraft, or land vehicle; damaged by an explosion, smoke, a falling object, a windstorm, hail, or a riot, our policy would pay only a fixed amount on certain categories of belongings. For instance, we would be given only $2000 towards replacing our computer and software. If we wanted full replacement value, Greg Hicks said, we would have to insure each item separately.
We are not in a position to pay more insurance so we have had to readjust our thinking and recognize that if misfortune falls, our insurance policies might soften the blow but not completely eliminate the hurt: we will have to bear some or all of the cost. This has helped sort out our priorities. In many ways, I look forward to the time when our children are grown, when there is no need for life insurance, a four-bedroom house, two vehicles, and business equipment. Then we can live simply again.
Wednesday evening and I'm out in my little house, sipping wine, answering emails, organizing my thoughts - or trying to.

Why, I want to scream to the heavens, can't I lead a simple life free of turmoil and accidents? Why, at the grand age of 54, can't I sort out my days and nights and find some peace? A friend once said that "a person's being attracts her or his life." Do I attract this crap?

Walter was so sweet on our business trip. He thinks I'm one of the "most together" people he knows. He thinks I do what I want. Northern Ireland. France. He didn't see me today raging at the car dealership over extended warranties and this and that and pay, pay, pay through the nose and sign your bank account away on the dotted line and your life will be easier. Rob says it's a warranty. I say it's insurance.

I wrote an article once on insurance that was published, believe it or not. Canadians are one of the most over-insured nationalities in the world. We insure against all mishaps as if this will ease all financial and psychological worries. It doesn't. I just may type the article out and insert it in my blog.

In the end, we bought a nearly new Jetta (one of the safest cars on the road - a 2003 - and now have it guaranteed to run well for seven years - or was it six?)

I am still traumatized from the accident. But I'm driving - even more slowly and cautiously than before. When I park, I sigh with relief at still being alive.

Oh I'll get over it. Someday.

I still haven't heard if the young man who rammed into us is alright.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I feel bad. I haven't had the energy to return to this blog and early Friday morning I left with Helen and Walter for a buying trip in Seattle.

Time has escaped me. On Thursday afternoon Mike and I went to ICBC and looked at the car. The whole front end is twisted and buckled. Mike's side of the car is the worst. The front windshield on his side is shattered. His window is missing. The front side end - just before the passenger door - took the impact and is the worst. I stop myself when I think what could have happened to my son if I had been moving any faster. The man there said we were lucky to be alive and handed me a cheque for 15,000 to replace the car. I am still in shock. Everything seems to be happening too fast.

That evening, I went to teacher/parent interviews. Several of Gill's teachers asked about my face. The others looked away. After, as I was leaving early in the morning, I went to the medical clinic, at Mike's request, to make sure it was alright that I travel. The doctor suggested I buy some topical cream for my face.

Seattle was a whirlwind. We had three full days of appointments to view summer clothing lines. The three of us work well together. I looked and wrote down information. Helen took photographs. Walter offered an astute comment here and there. The new colours are beautiful sunbursts of tangerines, reds, yellows, and blues. Dresses are back in vogue. There are frills and laces. We were all attracted to the soft linens, silks, and rayons.

We finished in record time and were able to leave yesterday afternoon. We thought we wouldn't be finished until today so I feel I've been given a gift of time. Today I can lie low and download the photographs and begin writing orders. Helen will come over and help.

At some time I must return the rental vehicle and buy a new car fast.