Living in Vancouver, I wasn’t particularly excited about the Olympics coming to our city, especially with all of the subsequent cuts to arts funding (slashed by 92%) and the serious lack of affordable housing. (And when I say “affordable housing”, I mean reasonable for middle class families with 2 working parents. The homeless problem is a whole separate issue.) It’s a beautiful city, but also the most expensive city in the world. We also have the highest Canadian rate of child poverty for 6 years running. It seems crazy to host what amounts to basically a big sporting event plus after party in the face of these serious issues. That being said, once it actually got here? It was hard not to be swept up in the fun.
My mister and I couldn’t afford tickets for most of the events, but we did get to attend one hockey game (not USA or Canada!) and one of the medal ceremonies, which was great. Mike Robertson was presented with the silver medal for snowboard cross that night – extra nice to see a Canadian on the podium. They made each night into a cultural event featuring one of the provinces, so there were lots of performances and music, and then the band Barenaked Ladies wrapped it up. A good time was had by all.
Well, sort of good. The last couple of weeks have been crazy exhausting & not just because of the Olympics. I’ve had a nasty cold for the last 18 days. Seriously – 18 days. It’s not like I’m bedridden, but I’ve got a sinus bug that means I’m constantly snorting Dristan, coughing loudly (& phlegm-ily) & generally grossing people out.
I’m also in the midst of the biggest painting deadline of my career – I have my first solo show opening April 9th. It’s at the Massey Theatre and Plaskett Gallery in New Westminster, which means a lot of space to fill. I tend to paint on the small side – canvases that are easy for me to ship – so this is a tremendous undertaking in a very short period of time. I have two canvases going right now and find myself getting more and more stressed by the day. Painting? Not something you can rush!
If I’m prepping for a craft market and have a bunch of Scrabble tile pendants to make, I can power through a cold or flu bug by taking lots of cold meds, drinking coffee & staying up late. Unfortunately creativity can’t be forced like that, at least for me.
To top it all off, the universe decided it would be extra funny if I fell down the stairs too. I was carrying the white dog outside (she’s getting old & starting to have trouble with the stairs), in my pajamas & slippers (ha!). Our backyard has a deck with a bunch of wooden steps leading down to the yard and since it’s in Vancouver, the steps are always slick with rain. After a while, the raindrops give way to a slimy green…stuff. I don’t know what it is exactly, but if you think about rocks near the ocean, that’s the stuff I’m talking about. I’d say it’s algae, but it seems weird for algae to be growing on my back steps. Anyway…slippery as hell.
I hit the bottom step, my feet slipped out from under me and, just like in a cartoon, the dog shot up in the air, my slippers flew off and landed in the middle of the yard, and I landed flat on my back. On the stairs. YOWTCH!!!
I’m a mess of bruises and got wicked whiplash in my neck, but fortunately nothing else was hurt, including the dog. I lay there for a few moments wondering if I had broken my back since, you know, I LANDED ON THE STAIRS. Motherjumper.
Fortunately I did recover in time to celebrate the gold medal hockey game and venture into the belly of the beast – Robson and Granville. It was so wall to wall people that it took us close to 30 minutes just to walk the 12 feet to get around the corner on Granville. There were so many people pushed up against each other that you literally could. not. move. It was insane! I’ve been to really packed concerts like that where everyone was pushing to get closer to the stage, but this was *outside*. Crazy!
Everyone was well-behaved (that I saw), so there was plenty of high-fiving going on, but no trampling. This was a very good thing, indeed. With that many people, you just need one jackass to throw a rock or start a fight and the whole scene erupts into chaos. I’m sure the VPD will be happy to bid farewell to the Olympics. And I’m happy to get back to painting. And not falling down stairs.