Archive for ‘Words + Ideas’

May 15, 2017

After Images from DOXA

For the fourth year, I volunteered at DOXA: Documentary Film Festival. Contributing 24 hours of volunteer time, one gets a pass to see as many screenings as you can possibly fit in.  In my case, that was 20. More if you count the “shorts” as separate films. I’m sure the film makers would want them counted separately, so make that 30.

On Sunday, the final day, I went home after my volunteer shift. I’d planned to stay for Manifesto, but felt “psychic overload” and possibly a cold coming on as well, because of a 12-hour film viewing/volunteering day on Saturday. Last night I slept 12 hours (off and on) from 6 to 6.

And now I’m trying to process aftershocks or after images. I’ve always been an active dreamer – and as a child couldn’t separate my dream life from waking life. I regularly visited my Auntie Elsie in Denmark and to my sisters’ embarrassment would give people an update on playing jelly bean games and eating orange sandwiches if asked how was I?

So perhaps I overdid it. I’m experiencing post-documentary stress syndrome. Some specific “stills” keep flashing on my interior screen.

The yellow markings on the asphalt from “For My Mother.”

Rita stuffing chocolate into her apron from “The Grown-ups”.

The man who’d previously yelled, “Nein! nein! nein!” to the woman trying to learn to use her computer, then weeping with frustration when he couldn’t make his own work (“Digital Immigrants”)

The young man who wore a suit to school and inspired by Regis switched from white shirt to red from “Swagger” dancing down the street and considering being a drug lookout.

So many more.

Enhanced by hearing filmmakers and panels talk about the issues and the people and the footage left for, for example, “Mermaids 2” or sequels. The audience members often had ideas for follow-up films. We wanted to know: what happens next? We wanted to know more about individuals we were fascinated by. The little girl who voices her fear of Mickey Mouse and Barbie. Sabrina who unsuccessfully ran for office in West Virginia.

We can follow up on some – The students who successfully get past the rigorous admission requirement of La Femis – in Claire Simon’s Le Concours – will undoubtedly produce films that might arrive at DOXA in future years.

On the sidelines of the films themselves, I met some interesting global citizens. Young people in Vancouver for limited times find DOXA a possibility for a volunteer experience, since many other organizations require a four-month commitment. Several fellow volunteers I met could easily have a documentary made of their experience and the context of their being in Vancouver.

Has anyone done a documentary about DOXA volunteers? Perhaps volunteers from years past have gone on to be more involved in documentary film making.

Is anyone filming for a documentary on what the Green Party holding the balance of power in the upcoming (probable) minority government may mean for democracy in BC?

What now? I’ll go to the volunteer party next Sunday. I’ll volunteer again next year. I’ll share my enthusiasm for the impact of documentary films with friends. In Le Concours one of the applicants said they’d considered politics or was it law, and decided that film making could change the world.

I’d love to hear comments or corrections …  Did you do DOXA this year? What was your experience?





February 23, 2017

Next Playdate series starts March 9

My next mixed-media basics workshop starts March 9. Thursday evenings 7-9:15pm

We have fun together making art.


October 6, 2016

Make a Skeleton; Dance With Your Skeleton

SkeletonI made my first skeleton several years ago, just after we put PETE the Polyethylene Bird to rest 9RIP, PETE).

The second milk jug skeleton will be easier, but this guy has gotten thumbs up from my neighbours. When the wind blows, he’s particularly charming, I think.

Hoping my neighbours are giving out treats for Hallowe’en as I’ll be at the Cemetery for All Soul’s and I do think it’s a little misleading to decorate and then not be home to answer the call of “Trick or Treat”.

Hmmn. Maybe I could put a pillow case out by the skeleton to invite donations of treats!

Now I invite you, your friends (and your milk jugs) to a workshop to learn how to make your own.

Register here for the Tuesday, October 25, FREE workshop at Kits House.

You need 7 milk jugs to make a whole skeleton, but if you have only one, you can make a skull. Come along and help others and learn how to do.

Tip: If you have a favorite coffee shop, they might put aside their milk jugs for the day and you’d have enough just like that!

(That’s what Tammy did. Thanks Arbutus Coffee.)


And then, bring your skeleton along to out Post-Hallowe’en/Samhain Circle Dance at the Unitarian Church, 49th & Oak, on Tuesday, November 1st.  At this time of year, the veil between the worlds is thin and we honour our ancestors. We’ll  have a table for an ancestors’ shrine, if you’d like to bring a photo or object of remembrance.


Here are some detailed instructions:

A Milk Jug Skeleton is a Fun Recycled Craft Decoration for Halloween




September 6, 2016

Nice article about the labyrinths at the Unitarian Church

Just got an email from a friend saying they’d seen the article about my role with the two new labyrinths at the Unitarian Church.

Here’s the link to the Vancouver Courier article.

– See more at:

The church’s family program “Messy Church/ Make Dinner” is going to be focused on tending the “Living Labyrinth” this Friday night. I’ll be at the Fringe, so can’t attend, but I’m delivering calendula seeds and bulbs to our program director, Kiersten.

Open to all – families with young kids but also elders and singles often join in the fun.

Here’s a description of the monthly program:

And a link to the event, if you’d like to come along.

Questions? call 604-261-7204 and ask for Kiersten or send an email to

And yes! your bulbs for fall planting are very welcome!






May 7, 2016

Art and Philosophy at DOXA Documentary Film Festival

Compared to some of my Unitarian friends who prioritize the (overtly) social justice films at DOXA, I always feel like a little bit of a light-weight as I go to the schedule and click “art” and “philosophy” to select my top picks. That said, I was volunteering last night with a first-time volunteer who was of the social justice priority type, affirmed that “art is about social justice.” I so like nice people.

She and I got to go in to see “Love Bite” about the art of Laurie Lipton. Filmmaker Scott James was there and we got to tell him afterwards that we were both going home to google “Laurie Lipton”.

Her current work is commentary on the negative side of the U.S. culture and society, especially technology and greed.  She calls the series Techno Rococo.

She comments in the film that when she was speaking to a group of high school students about her critique of how the country is going, she was asked: But what are you DOING besides complaining?

Her answer: I draw.

She draws about 12 hours every day.  To see what she produces (currently very large pieces, approximately 6′ x 9′) go to her website or facebook page (where close to 150,000 people LIKE.

Lots more films at DOXA – If art is your thing, The Final Escape on Tuesday night is about the cave drawings in France. It’s my top pick. I begged to move my book club in order to attend (They complied.) #doxa2016




May 7, 2016

Walk a Labyrinth today – for World Labyrinth Day

FremlinLabyrinth2016-03-19Yes, there really is a World Labyrinth Day. And it’s today–May 9th.

I’ll walk the labyrinth at the Unitarian Church tomorrow because today I’m caught up with DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

The 49th and Fremlin lawn/flower labyrinth is doing well and attracting neighbours. Yesterday we planted some spring bulbs a friend gave me – leftover from her best intentions last fall when they didn’t get planted. The “Just Kissed” tulips felt a little soft but the White and Yellow “Cheerfulness” daffodils seemed in good shape. Hopefully they’ll settle into the ground, enjoy the summer and be ready for next spring to share their cheerfulness.

Plants, especially bulbs, are very welcome – seeds too. Just no invasives please and nothing that’s likely to grow beyond 24″.

December 30, 2015

Is 16 too many resolutions? May increase chance of attaining one or more…

Sometimes I use some kind of a structure to make my New Year’s resolutions. Long ago I used the 8 polarities on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which, among other things, had me pursuing matching towels (check!) and spiritual development (well…)

16Strivingsbook 16desiresbookThis year I’ve decided on the 16 Desires outlined in Steven Reiss’ book: Who Am I?

Since the idea is that we all have all 16 but some are more emphasized than others, it seems good to honour the ones that come naturally to me, like curiosity and social contact, while tending a bit more to the ones I need a reminder about, like tranquility and order.

It will be an interesting model to examine in any event. The friend who introduced me to this work just recently saw that he has a new book out called  16 Strivings for God. Here Reiss develops the theory that people embrace religion because it provides them with opportunities to satisfy all 16 basic desires both in strong form and in weak form.


December 28, 2015

Freecell is *not* one of the F’s in the 5-F goal-setting plan.

I make new year’s resolutions. It helps me to review where I’m spending my time and energy and adjust things. I’ve never resolved to lose 10 pounds or work out in a gym. Although maybe I should!

I’ve had a goal buddy for almost a full year — a result of thinking about how to achieve the resolutions I made last year. We talk every Monday morning for 2-10 minutes, review what we said we’d do and set new weekly goals.  It’s a good thing. So one of my goals for the coming week is to make a year’s worth of goals/resolutions. My goal buddy has a system with various categories of resolutions and goals, and I thought I should do the same. So here are some of the things I’ve found on the web, in case you might be interested too.

I like this 5-F one, partly because it’s reminscent of a time I had a group of Friends who met for Food, Friendship and Fun.  (Hi, there, Jackie, Jack, Lynn, Sheila…)

I think it’s good to have a mnemonic to keep on track.

I have to remind myself that my bad habit of having a few games of Freecell whenever the computer is open is not a sixth F!

But if you need 10 categories, here’s another approach:

This came with no explanation other than “explore the honesty circle”, so I guess it’s an evaluative method, but seemed it was a nice mandala approach to goals.

After a search and two games of Freecell, I’ve decided to make my own categories that will include:

Food – growing, cooking, sharing

MY environment – gardening, my apartment, the co-op

THE environment – what can one person do?

FAMILY – esp kids, grandkids and siblings and also niblings

visual art – making, showing, selling, lending – getting it in circulation

DANCE – more dancing at the Unitarian church with more Unitarians dancing

Art workshops – more playdates with Mary – come join me

Health and fitness – more walking, stretching, massage

FRIENDS – I am blessed and pledge to nurture my friendships.



October 25, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 – I’ll spend a bunch of time writing for November 1-30 50000 words coming up

I’m going to give National Novel Writing Month a go again this year. Tried it twice – once I was a (self-proclaimed) winner and once I didn’t get very far at all.

I’m heading downtown for my first ever NaNoWriMo social event – a Vancouver kick-off.

Here we go…

March 14, 2015

20 Things I know a lot about – a writing exercise

At the Grind Writers’ group today, we were asked to take five minutes and write a list of 20 things we know a lot about. To my surprise, it was then suggested we introduce ourselves by reading our list.  Oh, well, as they say, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” What do you know a lot about?

1. identifying west coast weeds (as opposed to vegetables or flowers)

2. the smell of the Pacific Ocean

3. mixed media techniques

4. Myers-Briggs personality type

5. how to visit someone in hospital

6. planning workshops, leading meetings

7. labyrinths

8. cooking soup from whatever you have around

9. bglttti2sqqa issues (and, yes, I know what all those letters stand for)

10. being friendly

11. Unitarian churches

12. Kitsilano

13. the smell of a boy-child’s scalp after sweating

14. how to set up a googlegroup

15. pagan rituals

16. ecological despair

17. housing co-ops—plus, minus and interesting

18. great arts and culture opportunities in Vancouver for free or cheap

19. traffic circle gardens

20. being Mary/merry


%d bloggers like this: