Wishing safe and happy travels to all day international diplomatic renegades who are bringing their beautiful energy to this pleasant corner of Japan. Also, sending my very finest thanks for all the good wishes coming in from so many wonderful people throughout my life. So grateful you have stuck with me through these turbulent years and are able to witness this life reinvention from wherever you abide.
My frequent collaborator and co-conspirator on many adventures Kris Krug has a new website. KK is a Vancouver-area based photographer (he lives on idyllic Galiano Island) with creds ranging from conferences to rare bird docs on remote islands to sojourns in distant countries spreading goodness.
We’ve done many projects together over the years including Frederick Varley Vancouver-address photo essay, trip to Jamaica, several SXSW and Gnomedex geekfests and all sorts of goofing around in unusual circumstances.
Kris Krug’s Flickr archive is majestic and his new website is a replacement for his previous iterations which were hijacked via an SMS hack in 2018. So frustrating and a reminder to solid up your security (including SSL) and ensure you are working with a reliable host and domain registration provider (i use Laughing Squid and Gandi for the record).
There are many posts in this archive under the Kris Krug tag as well including lots of Olympic social documentation stuff around the True North Media House project, TEDx events at which we were the “official” documentation squad, longboard hockey for Heads Magazine and a panel about Rock n Roll photography with legend bev. davies.
Included are photos of us for the record.
Oh Mom, there are so many thing to tell you about this last year… the short is: for the first time in a loooong time, i have hope, optimism and a bit of peace.
Last year included a trip to Logan to deal with the rest of your items including the missing Agatha Christie books (still missing), green glass (duly distributed) and various bins of letters, treasures and papers. Long weeks at Anders’ place sorting it all as best as possible. Had hoped to scan, inventory etc everything but gave, as you’d say, “a lick and a promise”.
Assembled boxes for sons, brothers, and Lonnie Gee, Doug and Dan et al to spread memories around the world. Learned so many things about you! Flight attendant job applications, letters from Grandpa and Lorayne, records from your college days (so many colleges), oh made office supply kits for the Grandkids, and loaded up all your stationery/letterhead/letraset/postcards stash for me. And using it all too.
Also (almooooosssstttt) finished dealing with the conundrums with Service Canada (a true bureaucratic nightmare of nonsense) and your headstone should be arriving anyday from India (thans Uncle Bob) – i designed it and am so proud to do so. Also your ashes are well on their way around the world with stops in Pacifica, Logan, North Van, Pe ELL, Olympia, Nusa Ceningan, Sarpsborg and so on. Anders did a great job getting little vials filled up.
Big news: your wedding dress is getting altered and put into service for dear Ryoko (you’d love her) and, i ordered (finally!) my own kilt. Royal Stewart with Cape, formal sporran, Prince Charlie jacket and socks etc. April 20-21 will keep your ashes with me to feel your energy in some weird (totally not macabre way).
No doubt this week is tough every year as the anniversary of Dad’s death/funeral and your birthday all at once. So i write and make documentary art. So much more to tell you but must be careful of my energy and screen time.
So, in doing this all, i did photo-inventory many of your travel treasures. Sharing here to keep your story alive.
Speaking of “your story”, got your blog and Flickr and Ancestry all backed up. Learned a lot about impermanence of the internet. Frustrating as i want to be meticulous but also realize perfection is entirely overrated.
On to the treasures.
When going through my late Mom’s archive of documents, ephemera, photos, letters etc, came across this beautifully executed resume for my late Dad. The two were divorced after this time and very different people in general.
This document shows the collaboration from my parents as my Mom’s fingerprints are all over the layout and design. I would thing that this is well before digital desktop publishing but the typefaces and precise layout make me wonder the workflow. Anyhow…
Notably the multi-page dossier took me back to a time when the family was intact, before the rather tumultuous times which followed: Dad is smiling, has a Ed.D (Doctorate of Education which begat his nickname “Dr. O”) to his credit, and was fresh out of a few notable university gigs at Michigan State University (Lansing) and University of British Columbia (Vancouver) after earning his degrees at University of Oregon (Eugene) and BYU (Provo).
I see out last family address and phone number and the names of my brothers which allow me to date-stamp to probably 1981-3.
As it goes, he soon switched careers going into real estate sales (as Mom had recently done) at which he was diligent and successful by most any measure except some emotional categories. He also taught real estate licensing classes relying on his education education.
My ole pal Dr. Trevor “Trauben” Erikson shared a few musings about healing and kindness on his channel the other day. I am significantly moved by his reflections about my erstwhile wisdom and stashing this Thanks Trauben. Thanks so very much. ‘
Was thanked by an aging grandmother yesterday. She looked me in the eyes, hugged me and said she was grateful to me.
I was reminded of a friend’s advice to me, that somehow stands vivid amongst the fog of my adventurist past, travelling the globe in search of the better present moment.
It was either during a hike on some wilderness trail, or while dancing to some groovy tunes in the desert, or sunning on a sandy sub-tropical beach, or during a transatlantic flight from Europe, or perhaps a coffee shop in Amerstadam, or in our tent in the grape fields along the Rhine in Germany, it was certainly much before I knew it being HH the Dali Lama’s declared religion. Now this was probably gleaned from a Grateful dead lyric, I would think, although I knew my friend’s mom was definitely a walking example of this, which would have predated any travelling rock band’s lyric from entering into his head.
Anyways, it was 1992-ish, and Dave Olson looked over at me, in the lovingly charming way that he does, and said, simply, and matter-of-factly, ‘Always be kind’.
Of course. How simple. How profound.
I was reminded of this powerful declaration when this grandmother lovingly embraced me and said thank you.
My dear counsellor – who helped me so very much when “the wheels fell off” with sickness, death, career disruption, and finding new self with advice about letting go and floating – is travelling, writing, meditating, learning, giving… all over.
She wrote this gift and sent to me.
Onward, upwardLet the fresh airfloat away distractions, unnecessary cares.That tendency to carry sorrowsof others, in your heart, in your bones,need burden your spirit no more.No sense heaving that lore.Your bestwas,and is,all you need deploy.And giftthat inner critica swift kick,off the gentle path,irregardless of where it lands.Nature’s recyclingwill reliably,re-craft it into her hummocky soup.She handles erosion, far better than you.Let your sweateffuseforgiveness, toward you, from you.This life, these actsweren’t meant to be perfect, wise, exact.You’ve learnt vastlessonsfromendless folks of your past.Expend unwisely no more!Instead, embody yourfortitude,as we redwoods majestically do,Your bod grants you a naturalness,thisstyle of presence– to exude.Venture now,liberated of unwarranted strife,boldly stride,up nature’s steps of life,allowingsupportive connection,when you need or like,or when it’s most wise.You sweet soul,Onward, upward, lithely glideup, up to luxuriate in the sun’s inviting light.Retreat mediation room poetryMultiversity 1440Scripted by DebJoan Hall-BMarch 15, 2018
Well Mom, it’s your birthday.
Of course, you’re on my mind today, but also every other day. Of course I miss many things about you but mostly just the ability to call and catch you up on my life and have you cheer me along on my challenges and adventures. Your sing- songy voice going “oh son, that sounds fantastic, such fun!” So here’s your update…
Still, I’m trucking away at challenges and having adventures. I get Blue sometimes/often for sure… Missing the “old me” – even though I know its useless thinking and there’s many things about that part of my life that were not sustainable and decisions I could’ve made that would’ve been slightly more sensible – but I miss having energy to get up and face each day with optimism and enthusiasm. Instead I wake up confused, exhausted, anxious and in pain. However, whenever this happens, I remind myself that I’m off all medications, I’m still out here in the world, making friends and trying to make the lives of strangers a tiny bit better. Just like you taught me.
I knew Michael as Baloo (and/or DonM.), as that was his Cub Scout leader name, named after the big friendly bear in the classic “jungle book” story by Rudyard Kipling.
But, before he was a Cub Scout leader, I knew him from the neighborhood growing up in Guilford in the 70s. Gordon and I were childhood friends, involved in all sorts of little activities like making “secret club”, building tree houses and romping around “Guilford mews” condo complex.
Later, the family join the same church my parents belong to and so I was friends with Gordon both at elementary school and at church.
One of my favorite memories of Michael was when he took us to the PNE in an old Pinto car. After he loaded us up, he explained that the brakes were shot on the car. Somehow I wasn’t worried at all! I watched him as he drove a stick shift and explained to me carefully how he was downshifting to slow the car down to “save the brakes.” He expertly and gently used the stick shift and handbrake to get us there safely for a day of fun. Later on in life when I had an old Volkswagen bus with the same conundrum, I would think about him as I would downshift and expertly and gently slow my jalopy van safely through traffic.
As Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he took on the task of teaching us karate. Of course an unruly group of boys thought we would be breaking bricks after the first half an hour but, instead, he explained to us all that we had to learn to meditate. Imagine a room full of us “trying“ to sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t entirely successful! But then, to show that he was in charge and knew what he was doing, he challenged us to all punch him as hard as we could to see if we can make him flinch. All of us thought we were so tough as we would try to so I came out and land a solid punch in the gut and he just laughed heartily at us. It put us all in our place, and we were much more attentive after that.
He also often brought his guitar, especially on scout outings, and would lead sing-alongs. We were all amazed by his versatility and thought it was super cool that “we” had a leader who play guitar.
Maybe you’ve seen the photo of the whole gaggle of us, with my dear, recently deceased mother and third leg of their leadership tripod Mickey Gladstone, with Michael front and center with his guitar and mustache. I am leaning on his left shoulder with my glasses and goofy childhood grin. The whole pack of us looked at him as our protector and “bonus uncle” knowing that while he was a big friendly bear, he would protect us at any cost.
The measure of a man can often be judged in their children, and garden resurfaced in my life a few years ago and we realized we were at in similar industry and were able to “talk shop“. You could tell the big heart was passed on when he arrived at my 42nd birthday party with an entire roast beef wrapped in aluminum foil he cooked for the occasion. “Just in case there’s not enough food” he said. And dear Sherri, as I’ve gone through some health challenges of my own these past few years, she’s been there so very often with a kind word of support and encouragement. It means so very much to me. Truly his quality lives on through his offspring.
Indeed, diseases can be very cruel and seeing Michael deteriorate physically to a shadow of his former robust self was a bit shocking at first as he was such a robust and powerful man – I witnessed something similar with my own dad‘s journey with dreaded cancer though it was a six week or deal from news to death – however I was comforted to know that his mental faculties stayed intact and he was able to show his children affection until the end, spared the ravages of dementia.
Dear Michael, know that you were a “big fish” to a gaggle of us kids growing up in (rather rough and tumble) Guilford in the 1970s and your protective spirit will linger on and all of us for decades to come.
Gratefully and respectfully, Davey Olson, Cub Scout pack member