Archive | April, 2014

Catching Up a Little on 2013- 14

29 Apr

I moved into a yurt the weekend before Easter, mid-April 2014. You may or may not be aware but my initial motivation for launching this blog happened when I moved into a derelict cabin in August of 2013. I lived there for 2 months, committing to a heroic nightshift commute (finish work at 4am, wait 2 hours for a bus to the ferry terminal, then ferry, hitch, hike, up to my cabin). I ended up in the most logical place- worn down and sick. Additionally, the owner of the farm that the cabin is on left the country for the winter. She encountered compounding costs in traveling and felt she could no longer afford to allocate finances toward materials for renovating said cabin. Thus, worn down from my unsustainable commute, potentially having to fund my own cabin renos, I backed off, recuperated and re-evaluated. Admittedly it was deflating and I had to give my depression dragon another (yes another!) kick in the chops. That dragon is pretty relentless but as it turns out, so am I. My only problem is I forget this dragon is not totally extinguishable, only suppressable. That temporary amnesia can sometimes derail me a bit  , even still. Sometimes, admittedly, alot. So that is a paragraph written to describe a big gap in blog posts- it’s sometimes tough to take up battle with the depression dragon and attend to… work schedules, setting up home, entertaining daughters,  blog posts, recovering from illness, celebrating birthdays, on and on. No excuses, just descriptions.

I ended up sharing an apartment on Bowen Island near the cabin through the winter, frequently visiting the farm and cabin to luxuriate in the forest. I also eliminated my commute by staying in the city with the best, meaning most tolerant, friends around. I am able to do a weekend couch surf with my daughters in the city if necessary, and can also drag a bunch of kids out to Bowen Island for the recalibration necessary after too much frequency interference from the urban vibrations. Or just for a break.

The owner of the cabin is back. She is hiring someone to replace the roof and she might live in it- I’m concerned she may end up with a rathole with a really nice roof, but that’s not my issue. The cabin is overrun with rat feces (little shudder even just writing this). I grabbed a tote 3 weeks ago and 2 rats jumped out and did a duck and roll. I made another unmanly noise (humiliating vermin).

So that’s my location- fortuitously a new friend put me on to this yurt on Bowen Island. It’s still a place to embark on some homesteading dreams, and it has hydro, water, a composting toilet already set up. And some arable land, although it’s a little steep. The yurt hasn’t been lived in for a while so it needs some scrubbing, and the water systems need some figuring, but I’ll be working on coops and fences before you know it.

Twitter is @ironnieg



Action Time

1 Apr

Many people have asked how they can help. I have some tangible and important ways that I feel would be helpful.

Harm reduction as it relates to the addict has been described as allowing the person in our care to stay alive for one more day. One more day provides another opportunity for recovery, health, and the work of wholeness to begin.

The first action is education. As it relates to the harm reduction model of the Portland Hotel Society here are 3 media links that I would encourage people joining or viewing:

The first, the Friends of the PHS facebook group.

The second, the Insite twitter feed

The third, the vimeo group has a bunch of beautiful mini-docs featuring some of the great work done in this community

The second action is my request for support for the speakers speaking to Vancouver City hall Tuesday April 1, hearing begins at 6pm Pacific. I’m one of a few speakers, number 10 in fact. We are  speaking to the amendments of the recently implemented developer friendly  plan intended to guide development of this neighbourhood for the next 30 years. A link to an explanation from the Carnegie Community Action Project is here. There were over 150 speakers who spoke at the original Council hearing a couple of weeks ago. I intend to emphasize the critical importance stable, affordable housing plays in the delivery of harm reduction services. Also, how the current developer climate steamrolling this neighbourhood threatens a global legacy that many in this city, not only the PHS, have laboured to establish.

This can be supported in two ways.  By coming to the gallery at City Hall. Make it fun. Make some noise. Bring 5 friends. Or 10.

The second way is a 24 hour twitter campaign. In a little less than 24 hours the hearing starts. Send tweets to city hall @CityofVancouver with hashtag #Vancouverharmreduction and express your value of Vancouver’s place in the harm reduction realm. I would love City Council to have a broader sense of Vancouver’s place in the advancement of harm reduction globally, and that anything but advancing this model has detrimental effects on people’s lives globally. This is a leap for me- I’m not that savvy with the twitter. Nor with the speeches but I got up there 2 weeks ago to give it a kick at the can and I’m doing it again. Some of the feedback I received from my original essay about the PHS (which I’ll only reference for a year or so, promise) caused me to realize that the de-stabilization of the PHS isn’t only a local problem. I received feedback from harm reduction workers in other cities who expressed their dismay over our destabilization. The establishment of effective harm reduction models globally is greatly affected by the success or failure of Vancouver’s model. This model is grounded in #housingfirst (another hashtag you can feel free to include).

Thanks so much for any support you can muster

@ironnieg on twitter