December 2014 Archives

25 Words

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Our 25th anniversary. Eyes opened in Ireland and India to a new life together. More adventures, independence, inventiveness, alliances. Yes, yes! The ayes have it.

Here are all the 25 word summaries since I started this annual project in 2001:


Running away to the circus confused me. Spent ten months wondering "What next?" Tried resting, contests, midwifery - not my things. Travel, teaching, performance? Yes. Circus.


Hooping took me up to Tohoku, down to Niijima, and around the world on tour. Ukulele, yoga, improv, songwriting, skating, visiting, & fundraising filled the gaps.


Mother Earth trembled and futures fell apart. Uncertainty ruled us for months but in the end I'm still in Japan, married, hooping, and feeling happy.


Lived my hoop dreams, wheeee! Connected, created, collaborated, choreographed, costumed, capered, camped, coordinated, but then crashed hard. Ouch. Healed and found my truth. Full circle.


Rose petals in blue sky and the scent of muddy elephants conducted me to presence. An intense upwelling of joy revealed the universe inside me.


I made dresses, meals, 100 necklaces, friends. Grew food. Witnessed a birth! I am greying, wrinkling and fading, but I started hooping, so who cares?


Food ruled 2007: went almost vegan, developed recipes, and lost 10 kilos. Also sewed Morsbags, made political statements with robots, and explored Tokyo real estate.


Forty was a pleasure/pain year - a roiling emotional sea. Heartbreaking anguish half drowned me but also un-dammed a flood of patterns, photography and creativity.


This year, a lesson in

How to bear pain and loss.

Travel doesn't cure heartache;

Friends ease the agony.

Healing and peace flow like water.


Did more, finished less.

Strengthened friendships and traveled.

Constructed 18 videos, knitted scarves,

Shared my pencils and my love.

Still seeking realisation of my principles.


Hello Tokyo finally done

Neon Chopstix now begun.

'Twas mostly work but also fun.

Hosted friends from far away.

Another visa for three years' stay.


Celebrating four years in Japan, I exercised my right brain and my poetic voice. I filmed then procrastinated. I waited for the axe to fall.


Spent seven weeks on holiday in Maui, China, mainland US. Wrote lots, taught many, earned little. Saw the inside of my head. Didn't do enough.

Explore 2015

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Explore is my guide word for 2015

Choosing a word this year was tough. We are about to embark on some changes in our lives, and taking into account those plans & dreams, I ended up with over 50 candidate words. I want a word to inspire me, a theme that supports my life but doesn't limit it. It's good if it has multiple meanings. Tod suggested explore and it beat out unfold, enjoy and make

Explore is the right word, even though it has limited definitions. I will explore every aspect of my environment, my talents and skills, and my inner self, too. I will spend my year journeying, researching, seeking, delving, trying, travelling, examining, scouting. And at the end of it, I am going to have one terrific map.

Here are my guiding words and themes for previous years:
2010, connect:

Christmas 2014

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Another year, another Christmas.

Tod treated me to a fancy lunch at JIMI in Ginza where we ate 50 different vegetables in 6 courses. Then we enjoyed shopping for art supplies at Itoya. The floor of colored pencils had us enraptured for about half and hour, but we didn't buy any!

We came home and unwrapped gifts, had a lovely pasta dinner from one of Tod's best and simplest recipes, then enjoyed our Christmas cake and toddled off to bed.


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"What would it be like if we had no electricity?" I asked at the dinner table when I was 12 or so. I'd just finished reading some history or science fiction book that had sparked the idea. We had an interesting discussion and Dad agreed that we could try turning off the power to the whole house for a weekend to see how we'd go. In the spring, when the weather was warm.

A few weeks later, a freakishly early blizzard knocked the power out for three days. Be careful what you wish for! We had a chance to learn just how dependent we were on electricity. We built a fire for warmth and cooking (Mom even made French toast over the fire); we collected water from the spring and melted snow; we played games and read books. We checked in on the neighbours. Dad shovelled and plowed snow. We lit candles at night and everyone went to bed early. It was fun. We knew this outage would be over in a few days and so a lot of household tasks were set aside to wait until the lights came back on. 

I wonder what would happen now if the power went out for a day or two? Our place in Tokyo isn't really set up for survival living but I'm sure we'd be fine for a little while. We have a grill and plenty of food in the pantry. We have blankets. We have bicycles. Water is an issue; I'm not sure how sanitary the nearby rivers and ornamental streams are. But for just a couple of days, we'd drink whatever liquids we had, dip into our emergency supplies, and we'd not bother to wash.

If the power went out permanently, that's another story entirely and one I think about with some frequency. I believe I may see this happen in my lifetime. For a permanent outage, a grill on the veranda isn't going to do it. Different rules would apply. Everyone would have to share skills and resources. It makes me consider what I can share. 

My skills that do not require electricity:
  • mcgyvering - figuring out how to make do with supplies on hand
  • entertaining - stories, singing, theatre, etc. not survival useful, but at least distracting
  • documenting - writing and drawing so we can repeat successes
  • teaching
  • organising and planning
  • sewing, mending, weaving, spinning, knitting
  • cooking from scratch
  • fire building and safety
  • basic construction with hand tools
  • nursing, first aid, and natural remedies

And then I think about what sort of people I'd want on my team in a power-apocalypse. I for sure need to cultivate friendships with farmers/ranchers/hunters and strong youth. And I'd probably get out of the city to a place where there's some flowing water and garden space.

Yes, I guess I am a prepper. Even though I am not actually prepping...

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