Pics and thoughts

May 24, 2011

May in Vancouver

making balloons

the white peaks are the tents where Cavalia takes place

more balloons last week and there will be more this coming week

Beowulf cleaned up and "sans" luggage : spiffy

a view of Downtown at Spanish Banks

a classic view

even my jacket is hanging out in the sun

Beowulf got to meet a grand son, he still holds his own!

at Prado, cafe for the ubercool on Commercial Drive

The office

Vancouver way back in time

Been here almost 2 months now. It was going to be 2 weeks… Life has a way to happen. It’s still cold. It stays around 50 degrees and I still use the heated vest almost daily. I’ve been staying in a neat little apartment for a couple of weeks, that runs out for the 30th. I will have to find new digs in the next 5-6 days.

But there is the Good Stuff too : Thanks to Ted’s generosity I’ve been able to record some harmony vocals for my CD. I’ve been reviewing the mixes we had at the end of March and Perry and I both felt we could use a few more accents here and there. I’ll be doing some more of that likely on this coming Thursday. Ted also offered the use of the computers there, so I can get some graphics stuff started. Another possible good thing if not HUGE thing : Perry made connections in Muscle Shoals Alabama and it might be that we can get some really, really big name guitar GODS to play on a couple of songs. That feels good. Despite my unexpected detour and delay here, things are still happening.

Oh and another good thing : I bought new underwear today. A new shirt, a new pair of pants and tomorrow I will go out to look for some shoes other than my boots, as I can’t walk with them, they hurt my feet. They were the same brand and model than the last pair I had; Millwaukee’s that first pair was outstanding… but the new ones are nowhere near the same comfort… I suspect the manufacturing went to the cheapest bidder, so now the boots look the same but they are nowhere near what they were… So by tomorrow night I’ll have a brand new outfit. It feels outrageously indulgent. Wow.

I also got a bit of work for this coming Wednesday, balloons, dunno what colors yet. I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for all the friends I saw this week end. I am a bit ashamed to be so all over the place emotionally, as if I can’t rise above the feelings of the moment. There are some of those moments where I feel utterly lost, like I don’t belong and I feel like my dream is so out of reach… Fear… And I get mad at myself for being so weak.

So after the shopping tonight I decided to go downtown and just walk around. As I was going down Granville street I met a person I had not seen in years, Brock Tully. A very spiritual guy, beautiful soul. I knew him from the days I used to live in Kitsilano, he owned a bookstore and was way involved in community events. He still is. He told me he did a 12 thousand miles trip around the US…. On a bicycle… he did 7 major trips like this over the years for various causes. We talked some. I felt elevated when we parted ways.

I walked a little longer. Can’t wait to get the new shoes. The night was sweet. A calm end of long week end night, everyone gearing up for the new week. I got back to Beowulf, put on gloves and helmet, zipped up the jacket and hooked up the vest. The heat started immediately. Ahhh… It will be a new week for me too. Need to find a place to stay and try to figure out which way I should aim that front wheel.

Angels

May 21, 2011

Well, it could be easy to just dwell on what did not work, does not work, isn’t what we wanted… I was just talking to a friend on the phone and I was suddenly marveling at the amount of love and help I have gotten over the last couple of months…

Receiving help is hard for me. I was raised to be self-reliant… I usually consider it a personal failure if I require help. I had arrived here with basically the shirt on my back, the bike and the guitar and not much else expecting to swiftly deal with the sculptures and get back to “my life” but Life (with a capital L) decided otherwise. Strangely, the need for sleep, food and warmth and showers and all that jazz became a daily quest. But through this whole adventure some people became my personal angels…

Here are some of the ones who have saved my butt in a major way since March.

Erika :
Hummingbird, sister girl, gilded soul. Thanks for the roof, the love, the laughter and for being you.

Erika in full bike regalia

Russ:
Genius mechanic, heart of gold, giant of a man and… motorcyclist! Thanks for all you’ve done for me with the van, and for saving my butt at the last minute for Aircare!

Russ is the best. Period.

Barbara and tribe :
Goddess, giant hearted woman, warrior and believer! You gave me a roof, fed me, allowed me to meet your unbelievably awesome girls, your family. You opened horizons and doors and gave more than you’ll ever know. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
.

bella Barbara

Norman
Fellow road warrior, you are one in a million, straight arrow, generous soul. Thanks for having been there in the past and for being there now and for being a true friend.

Norman and his steel steed

Ted and the Bear crew.
Family is what you always referred to when you talked about what Bear was about. Family is what I found when I landed. Thanks for your help, wisdom, support and for believing in my dream too.

Ryan,
Calm, cool and collected, efficient, the quiet force that keeps the wheels turning at Bear. Thank you for helping me with these recordings… keep the music flowing. That keeps me alive…

Bruno
I probably looked like a frazzled wet cat when we saw each other after over a year and you opened your doors to me and gave me a place to land and even downloaded a whole season of 24 for me! Thank you.

Regis
The art warrior, the crusader for what is best, I’ve known you for years and you have always been at the heart of all things culture and art. Thank you for the peace and quiet of the 6th Avenue.

Colette
thanks for the meditation circle… and all it’s beautiful souls.

Karen and Pat
Thank you. For all that you have done since before I took the road last year and all that you have done since I have been here. Thank you for being so real. There is a kind of purity about you Karen. I love you very much.

Karen shining on

Bruce
Thanks for your hospitality. For the booking. For the friendship.

Bruce carrying my guitar... and making faces, but it was hockey night so he can be forgiven

Chris
I feel I owe you right now. You are, have been so generous. Have a wonderful trip. You are gold.

David
thanks for the help with the sculptures, getting them in a safe place and supporting me with all that. Thanks for the friendship, thanks for fighting for your life. I love you very much.

David, Chela, Svetlana, hugs to you all

Chela, Svetlana, Kathy
Thank you for allowing me to store my sculptures at the studio temporarily. Thank you Chela for what you and David did. Thank you Svetlana for hosting one of my works. It is all priceless.

Joey
Thanks for being you. Thanks for the connection with the balloons. Be safe on that bike, I wish you sun for the rest of your journey.

such a smile...

Mary
For being so strong, beautiful and thoughtful. For being such a friend, for the meals…

Others?… Oh yeah…

There was this policeman, one fateful night… I was completely vainquished. The day had taken everything out of me. I had held on all day. Had not cried or lost my temper or mind… I was “dealing” with it. But this was hours later. In a cold deserted shopping mall parking lot, my facade, courage, bravado had utterly left me. The best way I can describe how I felt was “crushed” decimated … I had put on my helmet, straddled the bike when those big sobs started to shake me. I couldn’t stop. You know when they rake you from deep deep inside kind of like a little personal earthquake… and they would not stop.

I had nowhere to go. I was exhausted. Utterly conquered. At this hour I was supposed to be miles and miles down the road towards the sun and my new world but there I was, in a dismal, dead place, and my courage had left the premises.

Suddenly I heard :

“Are you OK?”

… Oh no. I can’t talk, don’t wanna talk… to anyone….

“I”m fine”

“Yeah, you look fine” he replied with a bit of sarcasm.

I could not see who it was. I didn’t even want to turn around and look. From the sound it came from slightly behind me. I did have the full face helmet on so my peripheral vision was already reduced.

“… I’m OK… …just had a rough day.”

“I’m the police”

Crap. That is all I need now, being arrested for public display of unacceptable behavior or something of the sort…
“I’m fine, I’m OK, had a rough day. I’ll be on my way…” all the while those big sobs kept pulsating in large unstoppable tremors.

“Well, can you tell me what happened?”

Silence. What the hell do I say? That all my dreams were crushed this afternoon? That I was pulled over like a freaking criminal at the Canadian border because I had a bike with US plates when they had let me through previously without a word? That I had nowhere to sleep tonight? That not only I had nowhere to sleep but I had no address and not much more than the clothes on my back this bike and a guitar? That I was a complete idiot. That I had failed myself utterly today? That it looked like rain so I could not really consider sleeping outside in a local park? That I really, really did not want to be here, now, in this place… that I really didn’t know what the hell to do from here on out… So I shut up.

He persevered for a while. He was now facing me, he’s a tall young guy in his late 20’s early 30’s. He asked about the bike.

“Nice bike”

in another place, but the "nice bike" loaded...

“Yeah” I thought how I almost lost that bike today… I put my hands on the shiny red tank in a kind of protective, loving gesture . It’s all I own in this world… I’m thinking I should say something and if I sound calmed enough he’s going to go away.

He said something to the effect that I was dressed for a serious ride. I told him about how this bike landed in my life, the other dead bike, the trip. He said he had that dream of going on a motorcycle trip. To go on the road.. He had grown up in rural Alberta, he used to ride dirt bikes but he went for the career with the RCMP. He’s on the canine unit. Trains his dogs, got one in his truck, do I want to see it?

I finally removed my helmet. Figured it would be better for him to see my face… I very likely looked like shit.

He kept asking, what was going on… He was the police but he wasn’t going to come after me… Finally I explained. How crushed I was. The reversal of everything I was going for. What I wanted more than anything… I don’t know if he can actually understand what I am talking about. Today was so intensely upsetting to me on so many levels… I said something about the border services wanting to seize the bike because they did not believe that someone gave it to me… He says “hmm hmm” but he still went ahead and checked the bike’s plate.

“… yeah, the plate number is…” he calls on the radio.

“….”

“OK thanks” he replies to the radio, Then he says to me :

“This plate belongs to a Harley Davidson”

“WHAT! No. No way! Not this, not now… this is not right… I DO have all the papers…” I started to frantically dig in my bag to retrieve the official papers…

“No, no, it’s OK, don’t worry, I’m not going to…”

“No way, this is wrong, I got the papers” I spitted back, riffling in my stupid black bag in the black night.

The radio came to life.

“Yeah, the number is…” he recitated the plate numbers again.
“OK.” then he tells me : ” We had the wrong number, an 8 instead of a 9″

Holy stress. How quickly things can go nuts. From one second to the next you are a law abiding citizen then a freaking criminal. All that without having to do a single thing.

We chatted for a while, he introduced the dog to me. A gorgeous black gigantic German shepherd. I calmed down some. He just about invited me to go out on his shift. I wasn’t really up to it and it was a bit weird. But the talk had helped. He gave me his number and wished me luck. He had to go, just received a call to go out to UBC with the dog. Duty.

He left. I sat there for a while longer. It’s just so quiet. The typical “wet air” look of a Vancouver night that makes a halo around the lights in this parking lot. An orangish halo. I called Erika. I didn’t want to at first because she had already been so generous to me. I didn’t want to be a burden… to ask for help… She immediately invited me over. I hung up. Took a deep breath. Started the bike and headed out of the parking lot unto the road. I got there quickly. 22:24 the clock says. It really is an hour later, my clock is still on the winter hours. It was cozy, warm, the lights were low, gentle. We talked for a while. She had all the right words. She had set up bedding on the couch for me. and the green velvety blanket seemed to have been put there with so much care. There was going to be much to face tomorrow but right now I was warm, in a loving place with a loving friend. I fell asleep.

So the cop? Dunno. I called to thank him, he never returned my call. I guess that is all right. Somehow I figure there is some sort of fateful thing with this meeting. I’m not sure what I would have opted for if he hadn’t showed up. Maybe I owe him more than I know.

I guess the big obvious thing is : I am not alone. We are never alone. There is all this love and support that pours out. Makes me wonder what the hell I did to deserve so much? I am so incredibly grateful for all my friends. For all the people who have gone way beyond the call of duty to make sure I was OK.

Really.

Truly.

Thank you.

Limbo

May 18, 2011

Intersection. Crossroads.

One stops. Looks right, left, ahead, behind.

If there is no one behind, one can take a few more minutes to decide which way to go.

Some roads take you back to where you came from. Some take you to unknown places, never before travelled. Some look familiar. Some, plain wrong.

But in the end, everything is fundamentally what one thinks he sees or wants to see.

We have the power to create heaven or hell. Good or bad. Simple or complicated.

Two fundamental emotions : Love. Fear. Those two color what is or seem to be, in front of one. I have been dwelling in fear lately. But really, and I know it, fear is not an option, it seems to be, but it is not as it chokes the life out of life.

The fear births confusion and now the choices are harder as the images are blurry, misshapen, misleading.

No one has showed up behind me yet. So I sit at the cross roads. The bike is clean, the load is light, the sun shines for a change, but I ponder clouds and storms. I ponder vague questions and half seen visions. There are no trees or shelter around. It’s an open field, I am a sitting duck.

It’s already May, almost June, this year is not turning out like I expected. Plans foiled at every turn. OK, then so I’ll have no plans…. or should I have more plans? Harder edges and firm forward motion?

Yeah… forward motion. A good concept.

I ask the Gods “what is indeed my next move supposed to be?”

I am doubting. I try to sleep on it but wake up weary. Limbo.

Balloons

May 8, 2011

rainy morning breakfast at Emelle's

Monday was balloons day. I found work for a day, I need to work. I am here floating in the wind with not much more than a few things, the bike and the guitar. A friend of mind had offered the job, I didn’t really know what it was all about, only that there was going to be balloons involved.

I got up early Monday morning, went to vote as it was the Canadian federal elections that day, the 4th in 7 years.

It was pounding, pouring rain. I rode from Steveston to Vancouver wearing all the rain gear I owned. The destination was “Inflated Ideas” a small shop on 6th Avenue. We loaded a cargo van with plastic bins and gigantic helium tanks and were heading to the PNE. We were to fill over 2000 balloons and make them into towers and bouquets for a large corporate event.

They had asked me to follow the van on the bike as there were not enough seats in there for the four of us. So I followed in the rain.

early in the day

I learned a few things about balloons, about High Float goop, about mixing air and helium balloons, how to tie them. Balloons have this erratic tendency to blow up unexpectedly and with the High Float in them they have the capacity to cover us with slime.

the towers of balloons we were making

more and more towers

All around us were workers building this huge event from the ground up. Sound, lights, restaurants, stage, booths, pinball machines and all sorts of stuff to entertain. Cables were laid down for the whole length and width of the venue. All of us working there to set up a party we were not going to take part in.

games

cars

giant TV

But the joy was in working with Joey, Xandra and Leigh. The hours went by fast and the day was over. We had achieved our goal having built up 30 giant bouquets and 30 some towers of red and white balloons.

Joey

the tools of balloon making

My feet ached as my boots are not made for standing up all day. I put all the rain gear back on and headed back to the office where we unloaded the van and I was let go.

It’s an interesting thing to go and work this way, a bit of mercenary, doing what was required. Teaming up with whomever is there and getting things done.

I wasn’t sure where I was going to sleep that night. I had yet to call a friend to see if I could stay there. I went to Starbucks to write and make calls, my mobile office… I finally got an answer, I had a place to sleep for the night. the cafe was closing early. We all picked up our things and laptops and exited. The day was ending. Vancouver was basking in some stray rays of the setting sun. Everything is wet, washed and getting cold.

Vancouver evening

I took some photos and got back on the bike heading for the West End.

One day to the next. Hoping for sun, for smiles and for the answers to appear.

Sold!

May 6, 2011

Saturday. The day started early. I had plotted a course of action and a timeline the night before.
7:45 first order of the day : Get up! And eat.

I Jumped in my clothes, brushed my teeth and started to grab all my things. I had packed everything the night before as I know I am pretty much brainless on early morning.

I had a quick breakfast, said goodbye to everyone and headed out. The first step was to get on the bike and go to where the van was parked, which was about 15 miles away. I got there, started the engine, let it warm up, affixed the temporary insurance paper in the window, pulled out of the driveway, drove in the bike in the spot where the van was, covered it up and jumped back in the van.

The bike sits where the van was, tucked for the day.

Destination : back to Barbara’s to drop off a last box of family photos sitting in the van.

Leo ready for the day sits on the van's console

By the time this was done it’s about 9:45. I am ahead of schedule. the second errand entails White Rock, this time to pick up a drive to White Rock where the bought-unbought sculpture and 5 other of my works await me for pick up. That is also when I would give the buy-unbuy lady her money back and close this mad chapter of my life.

at the buy-unbuy lady's house, a row of identical homes that make me feel spinny

I arrived there early. I was supposed to meet her at 10:30. it’s 10 AM. I called and announced myself.
“Hi, I am here already, is that OK with you”
“Oh, I just got out of the shower, let me get dressed, I’ll be right there”

I sit in the van. I feel a bit of anxiety. Take a deep breath. I just hope she doesn’t freak out. I check in my wallet for the certified cheque for her.

“Danielle, you can come” She said from outside her door. I get out of the van, I was in the middle of rubbing my eyes when she called.
“You look tired… You are busy?” she asked.
“Well…” I didn’t know what to say. First I hate it when people say that you look tired. As if it helps anyone to let them know they look like shit.
“…Doing what I gotta do” I replied and smiled sideways.

I started picking up the sculptures that were in the garage. We then walked in the house and I grabbed War & Peace. What I feel is a strange emotion of asking forgiveness to the piece for having left it in a place where it wasn’t loved… My little one.

I came back in and handed her the certified cheque. And I could not help myself and said :
“Here is a certified cheque, just to make sure that I am not accused of anything.” It was a bit of a barb I guess… but I needed to express something after all that she put me through since this little story started.

“Oh I would never do that…” She replied.

“Hmrffftt” I thought.

It was done. The horses in the van, the money in her hands.

“I want to give you gas money” she pleaded.
“ No, I don’t want anything, it’s not necessary.”
“ No I have to” and she went upstairs to her office, where she had so happily written the cheque only a week ago. She came back down and handed me a folded piece of paper that I did not look at.

“I’m so sorry…” She says. She was sorry. I could tell.

“It’s all right, don’t be sorry. Things happen the way they should.”

“I have to go back to the hospital, they are doing tests… I’m so alone… I’m alone, I have no one, no family here… My mind is failing me… my emotions…” She is tearing up. She is falling apart. She looks frail as if she could break or float away like a wisp of smoke. And there it happens again. I am the strong one. The one who can console and comfort. I put my hands on her shoulders.

“You are not alone. You are never alone… You have to take a deep breath and go into your soul, not your body. You must take care. Take your time…”

It was strange, all those words coming out of my mouth. I kissed her on the forehead. I had the power to soothe. To grant some sort of peace. Purpose.

“I’m so sorry…” she repeated tearing up.

“I don’t want you to have one micro speck of worry about this. It’s all perfect. All as it should be. You hear me? I do not want you to worry about this ever again. Take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. Do what you have to do, be gentle to yourself.”

Soon after we waved goodbye and I hopped in the van and drove away. How strange that all was. I did not have an ounce of ill feeling. I was at peace with everything. I had ended this play with grace and had managed to get out of fear.

11 AM Next step, bring that sculpture to the mover. I got there and we packed it in a box. I saw it disappear in a sea of crunched up paper. See you in California where a greater fate possibly awaits you…

Now it’s on to stage three of the day : the sculpture studio. There was still a couple of pieces of gray alabaster, one piece of marble and one little brick of limestone that Alberto had given me still sitting in the van. Those will be gifted to the Steveston carvers. Everyone is there on the Saturday morning and it’s good to see them all. We chat a bit, but I gotta run. It’s time to go eat, check emails and stop to quickly see Erika.

At 1:15 PM I head out to Vancouver. Step 4 of the plan to go park the van in the Safeway parking lot and see if anyone that was interested enough in the van to come meet in in person. I get there at 1:40 PM . I go to the store and get a bottle of water, a banana and a chocolate bar. I clear up what is in the van, open the back doors to let the air in. As I open the door I notice this motorcycle with a weird home made set of cases.

Parked and ready for potential buyers

This thing looks so wild… I take pictures.

a side view

the rear view...

Then I go back inside the van and wait for the potential buyers to show up. A few minutes later I hear a voice coming from the back door.

“Is this for sale?” a grizzled man with the deep lines of someone who worked outside most of his life was poking through the back door.

“Uh… yeah… did you see the ad on Craigslist…”

“ How much you ask for it?” he asks

“Uh.. $975.”

“How much did you want for it?” he asks again

“Well, I wanted $1200…”

“I’ll give you $1200 for it. Right now.”

“You… huh? Yeah?”

“Yeah, I’ll give you $1200 for it. I want it. I want this van. Been wanting a van.” He came towards the front of the van then saw my helmet on the front seat.

“You ride?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Oh, super. I ride too. This is my bike back there.”

“Really? The one with the boxes? I was looking at it… took a picture.”

“Can you open the hood”

“Yeah, of course!”

So he looked under the hood, sat on the passenger seat, asked me to start the engine.

“I want it! Lets go to the bank.” So we walked to the bank which was a few steps away. Somehow it was the right bank… I looked at him, he was slightly bent, light on his feet in a “blown by the wind” sort of way. But he was smiling. We walked in the bank and he went straight for the counter. I could hear him tell the tale of his finding of this van and how he was getting this money to pay for it. It was hard to grasp. He came back towards me waving the white money envelope with the cash in it.

“Lets go to the insurance place” he chirped as we walk out of the bank. We were heading towards the van and another man was looking at it. Someone from the Craigslist ad. He was the guy from Gibsons… on the island, a long ways away. I felt incredibly guilty, but I could not see how he would want to pay more and told him it was sold. He was disappointed. He had come a long ways… I’m so sorry…

Then we walked into the insurance brokers’ office. An asian lady was sitting there. She looked at Clint and looked apprehensive. When they started to talk I realized that he had been here before.

“How much is it going to be for this?” he said pointing to the van’s registration papers.

“Well, it depends, how long, what liability…” She had the look of one of the too many “Can’t Do Dat” people. She indeed started to list all the can’ts. I intervened.

“I am selling this vehicle to this gentleman, we just need to know what is required to make the transaction and insure the vehicle”

“Where is the Air Care certificate?”

“The van has pretty much been off the road for a year.”

“ Oh, you need Air Care or we can’t do this…”

I looked at Clint and said : “Lets go get the Air Care test then we’ll come back.”

We went out and headed for the van.

“Lets go to Richmond and do the test there, it will give us a stretch of highway to get the engine to run full out for a bit.” He agreed. He was still smiling. So we headed out. Got on the highway, pushed the motor a bit, then arrived to the testing center. We had a chance to chat a bit. Clint is a gambler. He goes to Vegas and to LA once or twice a year and gambles a set amount of money. He has a face lined like a high elevation mountain map. He looks part drinker, part scoundrel and part man who lived hard and part good hearted man.

Clint

He told me a bit of his story : fisherman, tug boat driver, drinker, gambler. Lost his wife because of the drinking, kept on going rambling around the world. He is 77 years old, says friends are the most important thing in your life and kept repeating how good life was.

We finally get to the test bay. Give the attendant the information and wait. I felt really confident as this van has always passed the test without a problem. I get the report : FAIL.

what I did not believe could be...

WHAT!??

I can’t believe it… I never failed that test… What are we going to do? We are informed that Clint could insure the van for 3 months but would have to come back when the van was repaired, pay again and redo the test. I am seeing my sale falling, slipping between my fingers… What to do?

Lets call Russ.

“Hi Russ, Danielle here.”

“Oh hi, how are things?”

“Well, I just went through Air Care and we failed. I got a buyer with me in the van… not sure what to do”

“Get over here.” He tells me the address which is very close and I head out. It’s almost 4 PM. I get there and Russ comes from the back yard. He was working on a motorcycle. He rides too.

“Show me the numbers.” I show him the test results. He peers over the numbers for about 5 seconds.

“Your idle is too low and the timing has to be set back. Is your idle low?”

“Yes it is”

In a matter of minutes the hood is open, the dog house over the engine is latched off and the engine is exposed. There is rodent shit over parts of the engine, rust, he pulls out the air filter and it is a disgusting black and rust piece of junk that should not be there.

“here is one reason why you failed… this truck needs a tune up… plugs… It’s been parked for years…”

But he keeps on working with the help of the fellow biker and they get the idle up and the timing changed.

“How much do I owe you for this?” I asked.

“Nothing, I know your situation.” He said while putting all the stuff back over the engine and closing everything up.

“Now Go! And call me to let me know what happens!”

I run to the driver’s seat and Clint up on his seat. He looks a little ragged. It’s 4:30…

“Thanks Russ!!!” We head out. Drive back to the test facilities. Take 2. There is a lot of cars, I am a bit worried they are going to turn us around as it is past 4:30 and they close at 5 but as I think that, a bunch of cars turn around and leave. Only 2 cars ahead of us.

I cross my fingers and say : All right! Lets see what happens! And Clint crosses his fingers too, and grins a wicked grin and then says pointing to the sky : “We aint’ got nuthin’ to worry about, He’s with us!” All right, if you say so. We need all the help we can, I thought.

We get a different tester, he does things a little more thoroughly than the last guy. We get in the booth as they get in the van to run the tests. I really hope this works. I got to let that van go and he really wants it.

The test is done. We get back in the van and drive up to the area where they hand you the results. We look at each other and cross our fingers again. I look over the printer where our fate is being laid in ink right then and there.

“I think I saw a PASS!” I said

the attendant comes over. Here it is. You passed.

“WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! YEAAAAHH! “

YEAH!

We are both hooting and hollering in glee. It’s 5 PM. We did it. I am so elated. We drive out of the facilities and right there is an Autoplan insurance place. Lets go there I told Clint. He agrees.

I called Russ :

“We passed.”

“Good” he says.

“THANK YOU!!!” I said. And he responded saying it was nothing. But it was everything. This gigantic thorn of a vehicle that had stuck to me for the last 11 years. This old, musty, worn beast had found someone else to love it. Everyone was happy. It was the perfect fit in every way.

I took my plates off and put Clint’s on, while he was doing the paperwork. Strangely I wasn’t sad or anything. It feels good when things simplify and get lighter. It is a done deal.

I drove to Erika’s to drop off the few paintings and sculptures remaining in there, I will have to deal with that. I will. No worries. I will.

The sun shines, the deal is done. Clint called back a while later to tell me how happy he was. To celebrate Erika and I went for dinner at the Blue Canoe. It’s so incredible. The whole story. A scene out of a movie. The sun is setting. The place looks magical. To think how all the pieces of that puzzle fell into place the way they did, that Clint was there in that parking lot at that time… just amazing.

Erika the beautiful showing off our food

the view from the Blue Canoe's window as the sun sets

We ate and had a great time, but now I have to go back to Surrey which is almost 3 hours away on transit. I tell Erika :

“Gotta go pick up the bike, I want to do it tonight while I am still energized. I’ll take transit, Unless I find a ride!”

I called a cab to get to the sky train. That will save me a good 40 minutes of waiting and bussing.

I get in the taxi and tell the driver where I am heading. I asked him how long it would take to go to Surrey by bus and sky train. The driver then offers : I’ll take you to Surrey, I ‘ll give you a deal, $60 instead of 70 or 80 if you want. I thought for a minute. If I take transit I would ultimately come back around 1 AM.

“All right, I’ll take the deal” So he drove me all the way to Surrey. It’s a bit of money but it’s been a long day, a long week, a long month. We talk about all sorts of stuff. The skies are unbelievably beautiful. The scenery is astounding along highway 91, alighted by the sunset, the lights of Vancouver, New Westminster and Burnaby shine against the dark blue of the mountains. Again, it’s a symphonic array of colors, shades of blue, pink, pink, orange, black and grays. I am grateful. There was a message on my cell. Clint. He called to say how much he loves the van and how happy he is about this. It’s perfect.

I got to Surrey as night arrived. I put on the leathers over my jeans and started the bike. Last time at this parking spot that I had for the van for almost a year thanks to Barbara’s generosity. I rode peacefully, arrived in Steveston at 21:24.

I’m bagged, tired to the bone and marveling at how much got done today, wrongs righted and deeds done, failed test, Russ’s rescue and the passed test, van sold and back with the bike. All in one day. I am amazed.

Steveston at sunset