The weekend is here and the week has been interesting.  The snow is gone, finally!  The parks are turning green and the trees are just about to leaf out.  It is a great time to live in Alberta.

WatchingRight after work yesterday Max and I went to the Velvet Olive to meet friends.  Just about everyone we know and like was going to be there.  So we sat at a table with Blaine and Leslie, Ron and Darold, Krista and Chad, and a few others.  People popped in and out the the conversation.  Then Erin Boake appeared, she is one of two tenants in suites in our home.  A few months ago, she had been on a trip and found herself a little short on cash at rent day.  So she joined the long line of artists that paint for money.  We commissioned her to paint for us.  Yesterday she brings it  to the lounge.  It is quirky and fun.  We absolutely love it.

Friday was also the deadline for my submission, that you have read so much about.  I managed to get the thing off after a lot of work this week.  Then I sabotage myself by sending the the wrong file and have to call and ask them to delete it and accept the the real file.  I felt like an idiot.  I wonder how often I do this kind of stuff to myself.

While I was trying to sort all of that out, I get a phone call from Alan the only tenant at 5201 Gaetz Avenue, that some drunk is kicking in the front door of the building.  He was pulling up right when it was happening.  He yells at the guy to stop who turns around a grunts at him.  The calls to a man sitting in a truck nearby to call the police.  Just then one drives up.  Alan flags the police down and tells them what has happened, points to the perpetrator.

The officer takes Alan’s name and number, and tells him that he can’t do anything because he is on another call, then he drives off, leaving him standing there on his crutches looking at the door smashed in.  He calls me angry and nearly in tears.

When I hang up from him I call Ed our downtown coordinator.  He is our direct connection to the City.  I respect and admire the work he is doing.  He and I felt that the police should have handled the request differently.  He calls the RCMP Superintendent.  We’ll see what comes out of this.

I go down and visit him after I am finish dealing with the manuscript fiasco.  We walk the streets around the building with him.  He tells me where people shoot up and the trouble they are having.  I watch a couple of drug deals take place.  I see that someone has set up a place to shoot up under the stairs of the building.  I wonder how to clean it up and board it closed.  I worry about dirty needles.  Most of the HIV cases in the city are users.

I think to myself that there must be more that can be done.  Must be something else I could do to help end the problem.  I walk back to Sunworks past ‘Potter’s Hands’, a supposed outreach and low income housing complex.  It is filthy on the streets near the front door.  There are old clothes laying around.  Cigarette butts everywhere.  The streets are stained with, piss, coffee, beer.  It stinks of stale beer as I pass.  On another day I watch a crack heads smoke up in the entrance in plain view.  I want to scream at them to look at their lives.

Policing is of course only half of the battle.  The property owner, the building manager, and the tenants need all to take pride in the corner.  Frankly I don’t know what to do.  The crime prevention people with the City tell us not to engage the addicts for our own safety.  I get that I’ve seen the desperation in the eyes of an addict.  Some would do anything.  Still it is hard to be 6 foot 5 inches and then not at least tell these people to move on.  Yet I can’t watch the down town deteriorate as this problem gets worse.  My life is full of paradox right now.

I hate that this is happening to our city.

So all of this happens the hour before I am suppose to meet our friends for drinks.  The Velvet Olive is off the same laneway as ‘Potters Hands’.  From the patio we can see what goes on there in the back of the building.  Thankfully we can’t smell it from there.  Max and I talk about the problem and have decided to carry our cameras with us.  We are going to take picture of every incident we see.  What we will do with the pictures we are not sure yet.

It occurs to me just now that with the main floor of our building empty until deconstruction that we might be able to lease for very little an office to the police, a community outreach place.  This corner and three blocks either way are some of the worst in the City.  The affordable housing ghettos are across the street.  Potter’s hands is one block down.

The evening was fun, a nice time after a hard week.  I have my writing done for the week and think that maybe I’ll finish  the painting that is here in the sunroom.  I look at it every day and I think I know know what I need to do.  So that will be a wonderful right brain activity.  I’ll be interested to see if once I get into the flow of it, if ideas and thoughts come for my writing project.  I suspect that my brain may be wired this way, and so I ‘ll keep the laptop on the table behind me just in case.

Life can be so fun sometimes.


Well here it is hours before the deadline to get my manuscript into the writers in residence program.  I sure hope I get a spot.  My good friends have been such a help.  Taking a serious look at the work and providing positive feedback and constructive comments that truly have helped.  I've worked at this all week.  It really feels like the piece is starting to get wings.  So tomorrow I will write some new sections to fill in the blanks and then off it goes.  I keep my fingers crossed and hope that I get a chance to discuss this with John Lent. 

Meanwhile, it doesn't really matter since the act of making the submission may be more important than the conversation that I may have with the author.  So thanks for all of you Max, Leslie, Aln, and Blaine.  Egg me on to keep writing.  I would love to get this short piece done and perhaps find a publisher — the next big challenge.

I have received information on the Appreciative Inquiry Summit and plan to attend.  It conflicts slightly with our travel plans this summer, and so I will see how to make this work.  It is something that I need to do, I must do.  It feels right.

It will lead me down a path I think that will help me actually get the non-fiction writing out.  I have a lot to say about community engagement and fostering change within organizations.  Aln and I are talking now about doing some joint writing and will look more closely at this when he gets back form Italy, lucky dog.  I love that man's brain.

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here we go

A London friend tells me the only way to get started on a blog is to start.  So without any background or history, welcome to my blog.

Today was an exciting day for me again, but then again most days are.  The fact that I open my eyes and have no idea what will happen for the next 24 hours makes me very happy.  That, and also I have such amazing friends all over the world and here in the city, who inspire me and help me to grow each day.  My best friends live in Red Deer and it is a joy to see them often.  Blaine and Leslie, I can’t imagine life without you.  My partner Terry aka Max stands beside me in anything I take on, even when he doesn’t necessarily agree.

Then I have this new group of friends coming together from all over the world via an online site called Second Life.  Mass collaboration is an amazing thing.  I am sure that you’ll hear more about these people.  Their talent is brilliant and their hearts are warm.

Most days start with the trip to the local gym with my friend and collegue, Lisa, from work.  I plug in the ipod. Climb Mount Everest — a phrased coined by my trainer, Gorn, in reference to the most difficult track on the cross trainer.  I listen to “Here we go”, a dance track from the CD Gatecrasher Red.

Thankfully I had few meetings today, unlike yesterday which nearly did me in that the end.  That resulted in my being able to attack a list of things that needed to be done in the office and the store (

Today we began to set up the sales office for Swerve Living ( — washing floors, hanging drapes, moving around furniture and drinking lots of espresso just for kicks.  My partner picked me up afterwork and we enjoyed a nice evening at home.