Well, here I am! I’ve arrived at the little house in the big woods today, not too far from Lake Superior. I’ve graciously been invited by Kathy to be a guest here this afternoon, so I’m wearing my Visiting Clothes: polite shoes (not too flashy, definitely not my tall red boots), dark denim (a cross between casual and business-like attire), a long, black wool coat (the one with the nice brass buttons), and freshly combed locks (instead of my usual hot mess of tangled triangle hair).
I’m nervous as I wait for the front door to open.
You’ve all been hanging out here for a while. You lounge around Kathy’s place freely and comfortably—old friends gathered around the wood stove, sipping tea, and chatting together easily. Kathy is a superb hostess, and visiting with her is always a treat. You know that there will constantly be sage words served here on platters—words that nourish your spirit and pepper your thoughts with exactly the right amount of zest. Tantalizing images are inevitably offered up here as desserts, too—profoundly simple photographs with perfect composition and colour saturation. You’re quick to confess that your days don’t feel complete without a quick trip to Lake Superior. What will she feed us today?, you wonder when you come inside, shrugging off your jackets and stacking your shoes by the door. What does Kathy have on the menu this afternoon?
Ahem. That’s where I come in.
The winter wind nips at my cheeks as I wait for Kathy on her doorstep. It’s probably overcast in Victoria today. Definitely not below freezing. I shift my weight from foot to foot on the stoop– anxious, fretting a little. For a moment, I seriously consider turning around and heading back up to Canada. Am I underdressed? Am I overdressed? Will the other guests like me? What if they don’t? Is it too late to go home and pretend this whole thing never happened?
I’ll wait just one minute more.
When I was first invited to be a guest around Kathy’s virtual hearth, I confess that my heart did cartwheels of joy before awkwardly stumbling back down to the ground, more than a little bent out of shape. Part of me was ecstatic to have the opportunity to meet some of Kathy’s friends. I could be social! And (maybe) popular!
The other part of me was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in—like that time in junior high when my Phys. Ed. group was supposed to do a choreographed backwards somersault routine, only my body plain refused to crouch into the requisite ball shape and ruined the intended “cascading rolls” effect. Shouldn’t everybody know how to do a somersault?, my group mates sneered afterward, furious with me for spoiling the grand finale of an otherwise majestic stuntnastics routine.
I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to properly execute a somersault, forwards or backwards. I felt like such a failure! Now I would never fit in!
The last thing I wanted with this guest post was to revert back to my 12-year old self, desperately wanting to be accepted by the cool kids but finding myself physically incapable of completing the requisite Somersault Test of Likeability. Writing this guest post would require some leap-of-faith risk-taking, yes, but I plied myself into doing it by believing that the catty days of junior high were over and that Kathy’s trusted companions were a much more friendly and welcoming bunch. Was I right?
The door swings open and Kathy is there, beaming and beckoning me inside. Don’t worry!, she assures me. Just be yourself! Nobody will begrudge your age, your occupation, your relative lack of sageness, your love of run-on sentences, or your liberal sprinkling of Canadian ‘u’s throughout your prose! Come! Come inside and be my guest!
So here I am.
I am a 30-year old recovering academic who grew up in frigid Calgary, Alberta but now calls gorgeous Victoria, British Columbia home.
I am an Almost Vegan who doesn’t want to give up eating eggs or honey, let alone knitting with wool or wearing sturdy leather boots.
I am a consumer and appreciator of both sage words and new-agey nuggets of wisdom, but I don’t usually feel like I have my own original thoughts to contribute to the conversation. (I am, after all, but young and green.)
I am blissfully partnered with an artistic and athletic man, a person I refer to as a “creative genius” to horrify his humble sensibilities.
We work for 6-7 months each year selling his artwork at an outdoor booth along Victoria’s bustling Inner Harbour.
I have lived a mostly ordinary existence, but I like to find humour in everyday experiences and blog about them at my own virtual hearth: http://zonapellucida.wordpress.com Making friendships and creating supportive communities are the two biggest reasons why I blog.
Yes. I am more relaxed now.
I pour myself a cup of tea and take a seat at the wood stove beside you, technically forging a new friendship but laughing with you like I’ve known you for years.
After all, we’re at Kathy’s little house in the big woods, where all are welcomed and treated with respect. So nice to meet you! Thank you so much for having me by! (Just don’t ask me to somersault, please.)
(Note from Kathy–Dana is off on an unknown Mystery Adventure all day today. She’ll stop by to say hello to you lovely commenters when she gets home, she promises. She doesn’t want you to think she’s ignoring you if a few hours pass before she responds. She’s a conscientious one, Dana is. Please visit her lovely blog and get to know her better.)
I LOVE your guest blog, Dana! You are so popular in my book. (Heck, I don’t care if you’re popular or not–I love you just as you are. Now, what kind of tea would you like? What kind of snack? You get to choose. You’re the guest of honor!)
Huzzah! I’m back from my Mystery Adventure now, and a hot cuppa rooibos chai would be fabulous. Do you have almond milk? Maybe a swirl of honey? (Oopsies… am I overstaying my welcome by ordering a ridiculously specific tea at your place? Just hand me a bag of Red Rose and I’ll stop while I’m still ahead…) Thank you SO MUCH for hosting me today! It was exhausting being in two places at once, but somehow I managed. 🙂
Ha ha, you’ll never believe the message WordPress just emailed when I clicked “Like” on this post. They said, “You’re so vain–You probably think this post is about you.” Laughing hysterically! Well, at least that broke the ice. Have another cup of tea…
LOL Kathy!! TOO funny!! 😀
Awesome, Kathy! I should try liking my own posts one day, too. 😉
Ah, Dana, I love seeing you here at Kathy’s. Other readers of Lake Superior Spirit should definitely visit your blog. It’s one of my favorite! Hope Kathy is getting a good break, as well.
Hugs to both of you,
Thanks for the kudos, Kathy! It was my honour to be here today. I, too, hope that (Lake Superior) Kathy can get a bit of a rest while I’m holding her place. If anybody deserves a wee respite from the wonderful world of blogging, it’s her!
Your outfit rules! Those socks are it!
Haha, thanks! Those are actually a little kids’ pair of tights that I bought for 25 cents at a thrift store. I think they were intended for a 2-3 year old girl, but I lopped off the feet and the crotch and voila! Perfect cabin socks. 🙂
Hi Dana – and Kathy! Friendly and fun – love it! No worries about the whole “popular” thing, although I know we’ve all had that OMG what if I don’t fit in kind of feeling. (Secretly I wonder if I have EVER gotten over that, haha!) Will certainly stop by your blog, Dana. Kathy, thanks so much for introducing us!
Much appreciated, SuZen! Growing up, I always felt like the odd one out, but as I “matured” (literally if not-so-much figuratively), I learned to embrace my uniqueness and attract friends to me who could appreciate me for the non-somersaulting self I was. 😉
I still have occasional moments of panicking over whether I’ll fit in with a new group of people (as we ALL do, like you said), but for the most part, people who can’t love and respect us as we already are usually aren’t worth keeping as friends, anyway. Life’s too short!
Thank you so much for the warm reception. I’m tickled to be Kathy’s guest blogger today!
Dana – Forget the somersault, you came in with the most gorgeous front flip I’ve ever seen! It’s lovely to get to know you in Kathy’s little house in the big woods, but now I’m heading straight over to your home to see what’s cooking in your neck of the woods!
I’m the best darn (pretend) front flipper you’ll ever meet, Laurie! 😉 Let’s see– what’s cooking in my neck of the woods lately? Homemade vanilla extract, shiitake stew, and a whole lotta MYSTERY and INTRIGUE! (As Kathy alluded to at the end of the post, I just got back from a top secret adventure and will be blogging about it as soon as I upload about a zillion photos and pare it down to 10 or so for the purposes of my poor readers.)
Fabulous to have your acquaintance!
Dana your home isn’t so far from my own on Mayne Island – the one with the lighthouse as you come through active pass. I am so glad you are visiting with Kathy and I was able to connect up with you over virtual tea. Pleased to meet you!
Mayne Island! I’ve passed by that lighthouse many times on my way to the mainland or Galiano, but I have yet to actually get off the ferry at Mayne and have a look around. I’ll have to check out your blog and get my virtual fill in the interim! 🙂 Pleased to meet you as well– enjoy the virtual cuppa tea!
Hi Dana, it’s a pleasure to meet you!! We lived on Vancouver Island (Nanaimo and Campbell River) for many years and hope to end up back in that beautiful part of the world, eventually. You almost feel like a next door neighbor and I, for one, really appreciate your wisdom and sage’ness. We will be looking for you and your partner’s waterfront booth next time we are in Victoria 🙂
It’s amazing how many “locals” I’m meeting through the magic of the internet! Who knew we were all hanging out in Upper Michigan these days…
I’ve been loving Vancouver Island since moving here 5-ish years ago. Where are you living now, Colleen? If you do happen to come to Victoria in the summer months, please come by and say hello. I met one woman last year who reads my blog, and it was an amazing and surreal experience (also a wee embarrassing) to have her recognize me from my goofy online photos… (Maybe after this post, I’ll have people recognizing my so-bad-they’re-good cabin socks. HA!)
We have been living in California, the East Bay area of San Francisco, for the last 5+ years. We’re here with Rick’s work but try to get back to the Island one or two times a year to visit friends and family. I also grew up in Alberta (quite a few years before you) in the Stettler/Red Deer area. It’s a small and wonderful world 🙂
It certainly is, Colleen! 🙂
I knew I loved you from the moment I saw that you spelled “colour” correctly. 😉
Somersault ? Heck, most of the visitors here are impressed if you can get out of a chair without help !
OK. Off to visit your blog.
All the best from the “far east”.
Eastern Passage, NS.
Yay, Canada! If only *everyone* could be impressed by an extra letter in a word instead of by complicated gymnastics moves– I’d be set!
So pleased to meet you, and looking forward to checking out your blog as well. 🙂
Hi Dana. Don’t know what else to say, I’m one of those shy outsiders here too.
PS to Kathy, I thought you were going to stay off the computer – Ha ! That’s okay, we all understand how tempting it is sometimes, to just peek in. Great excuse though, delivering a message for Dana.
Hi Deborah– thank you for poking your head in and saying hello! I think we all have a little shyness in us, if only because we’re in awe of Kathy’s superb blogging skills and moments of zen… 😉
(PS: I was also amused to see Kathy’s avatar in the first two comments of this post. “Taking a break from the computer”, my foot! Hahaha.)
Nice to meet you, Dana. Don’t feel too bad about not being able to do a somersault – I can’t wink which can be an enormous social handicap at times! 🙂 You’re the same age as my daughter and I’m an “almost” vegan, too. Strictly vegan at home but when out and about, if there is no other option, well, when in Rome do as the Romans do… Looking forward to visiting your blog!
Agreed: not being able to wink can be as debilitating as not knowing how to somersault. (On second thought, perhaps a winking deficiency is even MORE debilitating, because people could easily misinterpret a half-wink– is she flirting with me? Does she have something in her eye? Is she secretly trying to tell me something urgent and time-sensitive in body language code?, etc., etc. The list is pretty much endless.)
😉 <– At least an emoticon winky-face is pretty fail-proof. Technology has saved you from having to attempt a real wink, so can somebody please create a somersaulting emoticon so I don't feel so left out?
Once I recover a bit from our Mystery Adventure, I'm looking forward to visiting all of my new friends online, too. Thanks for commenting and for sharing on this guest post.
Hey everyone! I have very spotty internet access right now, but I’ll respond to all of your comments when I’m back in town. Thank you for the warm welcome! 🙂
So nice to meet you, Dana!! 🙂 I am always happy to make a new friend online – it’s amazing how the internet has practically brought the world to our doorstep! I will definitely stop by your blog to visit now – and you are always welcome at mine!! 😉
Thank you, Holly! I can’t agree more– the internet has brought the most amazing people from around the world into my humble little rental cabin. Looking forward to checking out your blog as well. 🙂
Dana, I love this. I love that you honestly think you have nothing to offer, when you offer so much. Kathy, thank you for providing such a welcome environment for other people to share their thoughts.
I’m blushing, Lisa– thank you for your kind words. One of the things I enjoy most about Kathy’s blog is that she continually reminds us (in the most fluid and elegant of prose) that we are all equals– different, yes; unique, of course– but equal and valued just the same. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Welcome Dana 🙂 I am so happy to meet you! No worries about somersaults…I’m the one Sybil was referring to about feeling lucky about getting out of the chair without help…lol…dang knees. And oh my…I love your long black wool coat with brass buttons! But I think your tall red boots would have been perfect too! I love how Kathy invites her friends here so we can meet them one on one…she is a special lady and has a knack for opening doors to new adventures for all of us to experience. I will be checking out your blog real soon…probably over the weekend if I can’t get to it tonight…it will be a busy few days helping my Dad in his new apartment. But I will definitely be stopping over for a visit 🙂 You’ll have to let us know if you see fabulous northern lights tonight in your land of the north..♥
Haha, Brenda– thanks for outing yourself as one who needs help getting out of her chair! My lack of somersaulting skills aren’t so bad after all… 😉
A confession: the red boots would probably have been fine to wear here, but I bought them recently and am still a little worried about getting them too snowy or exposed to the elements. They are mostly indoor, “for show” boots right now, but once I relax a bit, they will be perfect “going to Upper Michigan” shoes! 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and commenting, and best of luck helping your dad over the next few days. I haven’t seen the Northern Lights since I lived in Alberta, but I can always hope to see them on the island, too. (We’ve all gotta dream, right?)
No wait…I thought it was ME that couldn’t get out of the chair without help! 🙂 Regardless, very happy to meet you Dana, and later this evening I will pop over to your blog to visit! Your outfit is PERFECT with or without the tall red boots!
Hahaha– it looks like we have several people around the wood stove who will need help getting out of their chairs when the visit is over. 🙂 Glad to hear that I have your seal of approval with the outfit, too– I decided to post a mortifying pic of myself near the beginning so that ANYTHING would sound great by comparison. Apparently it worked!
Hey, Dana, great to meet you! By a total, complete, but very happy coincidence, we just watched a travel DVD last night of Vancouver and Victoria! So a very warm welcome to northern Michigan, because I’m hoping to get out to the Pacific Northwest one of these days.
Thank you for the warm welcome to northern Michigan, P.j! I would *highly* recommend coming over to the Pacific Northwest if you ever have the opportunity. The scenery is gorgeous here and the people are great! (I have a soft spot for Victoria over Vancouver– obviously, seeing as I live there– but Van is pretty stellar for a large city, too.)
Happy to meet you! 🙂
So enjoyed reading your whimsical words and learning about you, Dana! What a delight! I laughed … a lot. You’d fit in anywhere, yes indeed! Thank you SO much for sharing with us, and I look forward to checking out your blog. Happy adventures to you 🙂
Aw, thanks! I’m still not sure that I’d fit in *anywhere*, but I’d certainly enjoy sharing a laugh over my painful lack of fitting in after the horror and awkwardness was out of the way. (Truthfully, laughing over my non-fitting-in is one of the main reasons why I blog, too.) 😉
PS: Our mystery adventure was MIND-BLOWINGLY GREAT!!!! I’m hoping to post about it on Sunday or Monday. It was truly an incredible experience.
Welcome! 🙂 I never could do a somersault. I think it is overrated anyway.
Can I get a witness, Irene? Overrated, indeed! 🙂
Thank you so much for the welcome. It is my honour and privilege to hold Kathy’s place while she takes a much needed break from entertaining all of us…
Thank you, Kiah! Your mom is the best! 🙂
What a fun read! Nice to meet you, Dana 🙂
Thanks so much! Nice to meet you as well. 🙂
You guys! I didn’t say I wasn’t going to be on the computer–I said “quote”: I wasn’t going to spend EXCESSIVE time on the computer. And wasn’t going to be BLOGGING. (Yesterday was on here maybe 15 minutes, it was great!) But am going to be reading other folk’s blogs and commenting on them over the weekend. For a short bit.
Dana, you are doing lovely. Look how you fit in! We’re loving your visit! (And we can’t wait to hear about the Mystery Adventure.)
Thanks, Kathy! I hope you are enjoying your time away from blogging (NOT time away from the computer, period). Looking forward to doing a Mystery Adventure wrap up post some time this weekend!
Any friend of Kathy’s is automatically welcomed and given a hearty virtual hug. As they say, first impressions are important and you did wonderfully,
Thank you for the warm reception, Scott! I trust Kathy’s taste in friends without question, but I’m happy to have made a good first impression independently of her sanctioned Friend Circle Approval as well. 🙂
Hi Dana, Great to meet you. Must say, you have composed this post well, I like your language – the selection of words. I’d definitely love to know more about you, and I shall jump off onto your blog right away. By the way, I’m Sonali from Goa, India. A software professional, dreamer, reader, and a BIG fan of Kathy’s blog. 🙂
Thank you so much for the kind words, Sonali! I’m really enjoying getting to meet and know some of Kathy’s friends a little better, too.
Awaits mystery adventure telling…watches from corner of room raising tea cup in greeting. Also, can be quiet with new things. Observing, observing…
Raises cup of tea back at you in solemn (but warm) greeting. Mystery adventure telling will take place either later today or tomorrow at the latest. 😉
Mystery Adventure Revealed!
Hi Kathy, as promised some photos of the forest around my house.
Love reading about you and your virtual visit with Kathy. It’s amazing how simple and easy it is to slip into one another’s homes!!!
Thanks, Marcie! It was no trouble at all to head over to Upper Michigan– I’m happy to have made your acquaintance while I was here. 🙂
Your guest blog was wonderful, Dana. I happen to think you ARE one of the cool kids. 🙂
(Not sure you’ll see this since I’m so late to the party.)
Oh, I’m still here Robin. 🙂 I’m one of those guests that apparently never leaves…
Thanks for the compliment– I’m flattered that you think I’m cool!
Hello Dana – how lovely to meet another one of Kathy’s blogfriends. I really enjoy reading these posts and getting to know more about all the friendly folk who like to cluster around Kathy’s hearth, drinking tea and chatting. 🙂
Thank you, Reggie. Kathy’s hearth is a pretty great place to be! 🙂
Good to meet you. Yes everyone is welcome at Kathy’s virtual place. Be very careful. She can be sneaky and appear in reality at times.
How intriguing! It makes Kathy sound like a forest sprite or something. Now I’m hoping she magically appears on Vancouver Island! 🙂 So nice to meet you!
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