Monday, August 20, 2012

24 Hours of Laughter and Learning

For the past eight years my girlfriend and I have been planning a trip.  One would think that after all that time the planning would be elaborate and the destination would be some exotic locale.  Nope.  In fact we basically threw some stuff into the back of my van and drove for 3 hours to a little mill town just north of Vanderhoof to spend the night camping at the Ft. St. James National Historic Park.   

Every spring we say that we are going to go even for a day trip.  It’s almost become a ritual harbinger of summer to discuss this short journey that never happened.  Until last weekend.

Murray House - part museum, part B&B
And it's haunted!  Anyone up for an
over-night stay? 
The catalyst for this epic voyage was actually the recent spectacular auroras that were caused by sun spots on July 13th.  I missed them.  And, of course, I whined about it on Facebook, which lead to another friend mentioning that there was going to be a Star Party held at Ft. St. James.  I’d missed the eclipse on May 20th and Venus transecting the sun on June 6th as well.  I was determined to have some kind of cosmic interaction this year and decided that the Star Party was going to be it.

Thus it was that my friend, my daughter, my daughter’s friend and I finally finalized the plan to go to.  And went.

For a mere $30, we got admission to the park,  two camp sites, admission to the Star Party and a pancake breakfast served outside next to the spectacular view of Stewart Lake.  It was, to say the least, great value for the money!  And we killed several birds with one stone.

This grand willow tree is at least
120 years old.  
I haven’t actually gone camping for over 30 years.  I used to love to camp.  Pitching a tent, roasting wieners over a fire, flash-light illuminated trips to the outhouse in the middle of the night, skinny dipping in whatever lake was nearby, the occasional canoe rental, often opting to sleep outside under the stars…  this was fun.  This was what I embraced as a vacation – a few nights at a time!  I’ve missed it.  I’m now adding camping equipment to my wish list!

The last time I visited a museum was five years ago in Prince Rupert when another daughter and I went to the cannery at Port Edward.  Poking about in the past was something else I’ve always enjoyed, so the opportunity to experience the Hudson’s Bay Company post (very nearly) exactly how it was in 1896 would have been worth the trip even without the Star Party as a lure.
And the Star Party!?  Well, it was just the coolest thing I’ve done in a long time. 

Several members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada from Prince George kindly set up their amazing telescopes and shared their knowledge of the cosmos with us (and about 40 or 50 other people).

Two of the telescoped we got to
gaze at the stars through
Another amazing gazing instrument!

We gazed at star clusters and double stars and the Andromeda galaxy.  We watched a few satellites drift by and a few people even saw some shooting starts – residual meteors from the Perseids meteor shower that peaked on August 12th.  One of the amateur astrologists brought a home-made star-gazing chair that swivelled a full 360 degrees.  It was equipped with binoculars attached to a fully adjustable bar.  It was too dark to get pictures of it, unfortunately.

Clouds prevented us from seeing the International Space Station as it passed overhead, but we were quite content to sit in on an impromptu lesson in basic astronomy on the Big and Little Dippers as well as a few of their neighbouring constellations (none of which I can recall at the moment). 

This beast tried to attack us.
Astronomy has long been on my list of things to learn.  I love looking up at the sky, day or night.  But the stars, the planets and especially the moon have always held me in thrall.  When, as a kid, I learned how long it takes the light to get to us from some of the stars, I was amazed.  Looking up at the night sky is literally seeing the past.  I often wonder how many of the stars are even really still there.  I guess we won’t know unless we see their dying light – and then work backward. 

Gorgeous sunset over Stewart Lake

As I sit here, recalling the weekend’s events, I am surprised at how many activities we took part in besides the Star Party, camping and museum exhibits.  We went geocaching.  (My companions even found a night cache while I opted to get a head start on sleeping in the tent.)  We danced on an outdoor stage.  (An improvised and not well executed rendition of the Can-Can!)  We tried our hands (well feet actually) at stilt walking.  And we got chased by goats that were really sheep.  (Essentially, we thought we were being chased, but , to be honest, our imaginations did all the chasing!)  All this was packed into a less-than-24-hour mini-vacation.  We even had a picnic!  Now that’s something that I haven’t done in a long time either.

But the best part of this whole weekend was, without contest, the three beautiful women who shared it with me.   L, B & M are pretty amazing people and it’s such an honour to have them in my life. 

My best friend
My baby girl!
Is that a bottle of whiskey!?

One of the kindest, sweetest people
you could ever hope to meet!

 Thank you, ladies, for a wonderful weekend and for all the fantastic memories I now hold in my heart.

Everybody wave your hands... uh, feet... up in the air!

Saturday, August 11, 2012



Growing up, that was my mother’s way of not swearing in front of us kids, a practice my father didn’t always cotton on to.  When I heard her say it, I knew that something had gone terribly wrong.  I never adopted the phrase for my own use and I admit that I do take after my father in the use of profane language more so than I do my mother with her conservative constraint.  Other than the relatively rare “damn” and – when I was a bit older – “shit,” Mom expressed her annoyance and frustration with these four syllables.

This morning I heard those same four syllables escape my lips.  I must have been in shock or something, because there are so many four-letter words that are so much more apt for the circumstances that I found myself in.  It was bizzare and frightening and puzzling and appalling and when I actually shouted aloud, “Criminently!  Someone’s hacking my computer,” I don’t really know what surprised me more.

I’ve been using computers, both personally and professionally, for over 20 years.  At one time, I was the go-to person among my friends, colleagues and acquaintences when computer issues arose.  That was the days of DOS, when computers were stupid expensive AND easy to understand.   Well, easier than they are today.  I’m afraid that the technology has far exceeded my capacity to fathom and I now happily leave the inner workings to experts.  I can still turn a computer on and efficiently utilize lots of different software, but  other than a few basic tricks, I’m as helpless as a baby when things go wrong.

Thankfully, things don’t often go wrong on my home computer.  Generally speaking, I’ve had enormous amounts of good fortune when it comes to them over the last 2+ decades.  In all that time only two hardrives have crashed on me, the latest being last week when my laptop, Alistair, gave up the ghost.  It was my fault.  He had been giving me signs for several weeks.  I guess I just got complacent and let myself believe that he would pull through – trooper that he was!  I did, however, manage to save all of my files and photos onto a flash drive before he finally collapsed into computer oblivion.

Alistair is scheduled to see the IT guy for a diagnoses next week.  Depending on what he finds, I’ll make a decision as to how to proceed:  repair or replace?  That will be another blog, maybe.

In the interim, I have been using the library’s laptop.  It’s a bit frustrating because I can’t save anything on it permanently, it doesn’t have all of my programs on it and not all of my passwords are saved on it.  At the moment, that is something else that I am extremely grateful for.   There were a few, but the biggies are being pulled from my memory banks on an as-needed basis.

This morning, coffee resting close at hand, I was editing a blog (See A Mid-summer Night Dream, posted earlier) preparing it for posting.  When I went to save it temporarily to the hard drive, I noticed two documents that I know I did not save in the folder.  Curious.  I hadn’t noticed them last night, but that doesn’t mean anything; I didn’t notice Willow in the hallway on my way to bed either and nearly stepped on him.  It occurred to me that one of the staff members may have been doing something the other day when they were using the laptop and forgot to delete them. 

I opened the first document up and it was about a half a page of this:  slkemjrepoibu0b9833j4’qj boub09u344….  Weird.   The second document was about a quarter of a page of the same thing.  When I went to delete them, I noticed that they had both been modified this morning  while I had been editing my blog.  I was alarmed.  But weird things do happen with computers and so I simply deleted them and carried on.

I resaved my blog  and then went into Facebook to play a turn in a Scrabble game I have going on with a friend.   I intended to post the blog right after.  Of course I got distracted.   I needed to warm up my coffee and that led to puttering in the kitchen.  While was  puttering, I heard an alert on my phone indicating that I had just received a new e-mail.  I glanced at the clock and surmized that it was probably a work e-mail – either the over due notices or the back up – and made a mental note to delete them when I was finished in the kitchen. 

With the kitchen tidied, I returned to the computer to post my blog.  The flashing light on my phone reminded me that I had an e-mail and so I picked it up.  Yes, there was the over due notices and the back up summary.  There was also another notice on my hotmail account.  “Your account has just been updated.”  My what?

I logged into my hotmail account and re-read the message.  Searching the nether-regions of my memory, I tried to recall having set up this account.  I tried logging into it, but of course I could not access it without the password.  I was about to give up when I decided to try a recent password that I have been using and, to my surprise and subsequent horror, it worked. 

There were no messages in the in-box, the trash or the junk folders.  But when I clicked on the account tab, my personal information was all complete and correct.  I was suddenly overtaken by a paralyzing knot of anxiety.  I don’t know how long I stared at the screen before…
“Criminently!  Someone’s hacking my computer!”

I was shaking so badly, I could hardly type. But I managed to cancel the account.  I immediately started logging into and changing passwords on a dozen on-line accounts that I maintain.  I felt sick to my stomach.  My brain was racing through all the things that the hacker might have done and the information he/she might have accessed.  I was horrified, stupified and completely jiggered.  (Whatever that means; its another of my mother’s expressions, but at the moment that’s exactly how I felt.)

Why would anyone hack into my computer and use my information to set up an e-mail account?  That just doesn’t make a lick of sense. 

I felt  - and still do feel – utterly violated.  And angry.  And, quite frankly, terrified.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have someone break into my home, but this must be at least similar.  This was an assault on my life.   My privacy had been invaded.  I wanted to rip the modem from the wall and cancell my Internet service right then and there.

I tried to calm down.  I was crying, though I’m not really sure why.  I paced the floor, sipped at my coffee, which I held in two hands to keep from spilling it all over the place, and tried to figure out…  How?  Why?  When?  What the hell for?

I finally cooled off enough to take some action.  I forced myself to go back and post my blog.  When I finished sharing it on Facebook, I noticed two apps on my home page that I didn’t put there.  The knot of nausea tightened even more.  I deleted them from my list.  Then I checked my security settings to see if there was another connection.  There wasn’t. 

I Googled Computer Hacking and started reading articles about how to be sure and what to do and how to check.  One link ( led me to a site that shows you if your e-mail has been hacked.  My hotmail account was.  I found it profoundly ironic that I was using the the very tools my virtual assailant did to try to stop him.  Fight fire with fire?  Not quite the same, but it’s all I had.  The Internet – both friend and foe!

The advice I found was somewhat sketchy.  Reset your IP address – didn’t work, will try again.  Change your passwords - done.  Back-up your files - done.  Scan your computer for spyware – done, only one threat found, now cleaned. 

I didn’t know who to turn to. It was still fairly early on a Saturday morning; I didn’t want to wake anyone up and I don’t know any local IT guys that I could call.  My guy is in Smithers.  Still in a bit of a panic state, I dashed off an e-mail to a friend who I think might have some advice for me, explaining what had happened.  I had to get it out of me.  Somehow.  Any how.  I was literally bursting from the pressure of fear and uncertainty. 

It’s been a few hours now since discovering the invasion.  I don’t know if I’ve solved any of the problems and I’m just a little bit afraid to log into any of my accounts.  I hope this passes.  I hope I’ve done the right things.  I hope the bastard drops a radio into the bath with himself. 

Seven years ago I witnessed a violent assault on someone that I care about very much.  The memory of that incident is forever etched on my mind.  The fear.  The abject terror.  It was such an ugly and horrifying thing to see, to experience.  This feels so similar.  My physcial being may not be threatened, but my mental, emotional and even my spiritual states are going through exactly the same things now as they did then.  I don’t feel safe.   

Then, I locked the door to my house and retreated as much as could from the world.  It took years before I started to feel safe again.  There’s no door here to lock.  I could turn off my computer and cancell my Internet service.  I could run and hide from this invisible monster.  But I don’t know how that will do any good.  I’m still going to have to go to work on Monday, where almost everything I do depends on the Internet.

I can’t figure out what this person wanted to accomplish.  Why me?  What right does this person feel he/she has to break into my accounts and use my personal information that way?  What did he/she do with that e-mail account?  Are there more violations yet to be discovered?  Has anyone else – my friends, my family - been affected by this creep’s actions?   It’s sick.
The adrenalin has stopped flowing.  I’m not so much on high-alert as I am tired.  I’m tired of the shitty things that people do to each other.  I’m tired of shitty people, period.   I still hope that something good can come of this.  It has to, because my faith in humanity has been shaken to its core – again.  I don’t know if I have the energy to build it back up – again. 

I'm documenting this now, while it's still fresh; before the emotional scars start to fog the memory and dull the sharp edge of disgust.  I'm hoping that the righteous indignation I feel right now at least alerts anyone who may read this, not just to take precautions, but to speak up and out and against this sort of crime.  We need to take a stand, take back our freedoms and turn society back into civilization!

Criminently, people.  May we all stay safely connected.  

A Mid-summer Night Dream

I never used to be able to remember the dreams I had while I was sleeping. I could remember dreaming. I could remember thinking while I was dreaming that I wanted to remember the dreams, but I couldn't remember what they were about. Only occasionally would a dream follow me into the waking state. Until, that is, I moved into Alegria. Since buying this house, I have remarkable recall of my dreams.

When I first moved in I had a series of nightmares. Now I'm not typically prone to nightmares, yet for the first few months they seemed to be all I had. I would wake up in the middle of the night filled with terror and not want to go back to sleep. Actually, this served me quite well, as I would get up and get stuff done. I was rather productive – if sleep-deprived – for a while.

After a couple of months, the nightmares stopped and I started dreaming about losing my shoes or getting lost in the wilderness. These dreams weren't scary as much as they were puzzling. I would wake up wondering what the heck was going on. Then I would go right back to sleep.

During the winter my dreams changed again. I started dreaming about finding treasure. In my basement. Under the carpet or in the walls. Once the treasure was in the downstairs bathroom sink drain. The worst part of these dreams was waking up to discover that I was, in fact, not suddenly stupid rich.

As the snow began to disappear, so did the treasure. I started dreaming about the library. I would go to work and discover that all the books were gone. Everything was exactly the way it should be, except the shelves were completely bare. The weird thing was that no one else seemed to notice. My staff, the board members and the patrons all behaved as if the books were still there. When I would say something to them about the fact that there were no books, they would just look at me like I had two heads and tell me not to be paranoid.

For a few weeks, I went on nocturnal, murderous rampages, killing people with a rusty pocket knife. But I wore the coolest costumes.

After that, I started dreaming about a certain someone standing in my back yard. My labyrinth was not there, but the yard was strewn with small boulders. I would ask this person to come in only to be told that he had to go somewhere, though he never left. The conversations were always the same – he would ask me to bring him things and I would invite him to get them, but he would just tell me that he had to go. So I brought him what he asked for and then go back inside and talk to him through the bedroom window. On one occasion he accused me of stealing his shoes, then told me that I was poisoning him and then cut my chest open so he could transplant my poisonous heart with a gold heart that my daughter had made and then disappeared into a burning building. It was weird.

For the last couple of weeks my dreams have been about my late husband. It's always the same: I get up in the morning and open the kitchen door to find him sitting on one of the chairs on my deck. I ask him what he's doing there and he tells me that he has something for me. When I ask him what it is, he just smiles and tells me that I'll like it and that it will be here soon. I then close the door and the dream ends.

Last night, I made a conscious decision that if the dream happened again I would not close the door. I've done this before and it usually works. I am often aware of the fact that I'm dreaming and can make choices during the dream, such as waking up if it gets frightening or ridiculous. This time I told myself to look out the window first and see if he was there.

He was. And he was reading a newspaper. The date on the newspaper was June 26, 2013; the day before my birthday next year, which, weirdly enough, happens to be a Wednesday, which happens to be the day that the paper comes out in Houston.

I opened the door, but instead of asking him what he was doing on my deck, I asked him what was in the paper? He tipped the paper so I could see it and there, in full colour, was a photo of me with my hair in an up-do wearing a....

wait for it...

… wedding dress!?

The good news was – if this is in any way a prophetic dream – I'm going to lose 20 lbs in the next 11 months.

“You're kidding, right?” I said.

“No,” he said.

“Who's the lucky fella?” I asked. There was no accompanying groom in the shot.

“Can't tell you,” he said.

“Is this the surprise you keep saying you have for me?” I really, really wanted to wake up.

“Could be,” he said.

Good grief!

I closed the door.

I don't put a lot of stock in dreams. I'm relatively sure that there is no real stock to put in them. Dream symbolism may be plausible, but I have never been able to associate anything in any of the dreams that I do remember with anything that is happening in my life in any way that makes any sense.

Now and then I do record my dreams and try to figure them out; look for patterns. I must not try hard enough, because, in the end, they are just dreams – odd and unfathomable images of events that are so far off the reality grid as to be... well, the stuff of dreams, I suppose. I mean I'm relatively sure that I will never don a fabulous medieval-style gown and stab people with a rusty knife. I can't see me tearing up my labyrinth and leaving rocks strewn around my back yard. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever be lost in the wilderness – with or without shoes. And I'm damn sure that I ain't getting married. Ever.

What does strike me about my dreams is that they do tend to repeat themselves over a period of time. Usually weeks, but sometimes months. And when I get tired of seeing the re-runs and decide to finish them off, they stop.

I did once have a series of recurring dreams that lasted for several years through my 20s about being back in high-school. They stopped when I went back to school and completed my dogwood. Okay, I can see a correlation there. But generally, the events and happenings in my dreams – recurring or otherwise – never add up to anything tangible. They don't lead me to some great discovery about my life. And they certainly don't come true. Though it wouldn't hurt my feelings to find diamonds in my drain! At least I could afford to pay the plumber. Unless he pocketed them, didn't tell me and billed me anyway. (Note to self: if you ever need a plumber to take apart a drain, watch him like a hawk.)

Well, it's my bed time. I'm going to crawl under the covers and spend a few pages adventuring with Ethan Gage in The Emerald Storm by William Dietrich. If, after that, I dream of my dead husband holding a picture of me in a wedding dress... well, I'll focus on how fabulous I look twenty pounds lighter and leave it at that.

Good night, all. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Single Point

Dating is not all that it is cracked up to be. After just a couple of them, I can now understand why it is the theme of so many sitcoms. It's funny.

Well, it's funny in a sort of sad and bizarre way. Laughing about it keeps you from crying, but you can always look at it as a social experiment if that helps.

Not only have I given it up, I've come to look at it like a job interview - with all the jangled nerves and little possibility of a better income. The questions are designed to be revealing, but the answers are more like a marketing campaign gone completely wild, because suddenly you find yourself selling yourself, not to the guy across the table, but to yourself. What's revealed is what you discover about yourself.

For example:

“So, how long have you worked at the library?”

“Four and a half years.”

“Do you like it?”

“I love my job.”

“Isn't it kind of boring?”


“What could possibly be exciting about working in a library?”

“Pretty much everything. The books, the people, the ideas. It's a very challenging and creative job.”

“How so?”

And here's where things get tricky. You already know that the guy thinks your job is stupid. You can be fairly certain that you are not going to convince him that managing a library is interesting. You want to tell him exactly how challenging and creative your job is, but how do you explain that buying books, scheduling, bookkeeping, budgeting, organizing, designing, planning, dreaming, building partnerships, solving problems, answering questions and interacting with a diverse range of people is in any way a great way to make a living?

So you say, “I know 307 ways to shush people.”

Okay, the date is pretty much over. If he catches the sarcasm, he'll be offended. If he doesn't, you'll fake an emergency call on your cell phone that is set to vibrate and make a hasty retreat. Having discovered that you are defensive about your career to the point of saying such an inane thing and that you really don't find the stereotype amusing, you blame him for being an idiot and call it done. (See? Revealing!)

My problem is that I really don't want to start from scratch. I don't have the energy or the desire to get to know someone, learn all their faults and foibles and try to blend that into my life. I keep imagining the toothpaste cap not being screwed on and the dirty socks left lying on the floor and having to cook. And my chest tightens and I can't breath and then I think about having to meet the family and little spots start floating across my diminishing vision... It isn't pretty.

My other problem is that my heart already belongs to someone who is – and probably always will be – very special to me. As crazy as he drives me, I cannot seem to cut the heart strings. There just isn't a knife big enough or sharp enough to sever the connection that I feel with this man. From the very first moment I laid eyes on him some 25 years ago, I've always known that we were meant to somehow be... Well, I don't know exactly what we are supposed to be. I just know that there's something there that, after 9 years of friendship, 14 ½ years in a relationship and 1 ½ years in a weirdly fascinating and frustrating state of limboship, can't just be turned off because he lives there and I live here and we don't see eye-to-eye on almost everything.

Some may call it co-dependence. He used to call it chemistry. I call it stubborn optimism amid dynamic, evolutionary personal and spiritual developmental coexistence. Our paths have diverged, but we can still wave at each other over the bushes. Who knows if they will ever converge again? I don't. What I do know is that, in spite of both of our faults and foibles, this guy still makes the butterflies in my tummy take flight every time I see him. And I'm good with that.

I have realized that I don't need a man. I want one (in particular), but I don't need one. What I do need is to be able to live my life, pursue my dreams, learn, grow, laugh, cry and be me. The way I want to be. And I'm doing that. And I'm good with that, too.

The other day I came across this quote:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Rick Warren.

Ah! A wee epiphany sprouted from this bit of wisdom and, like the fertile meditation it truly is, I gained a whole new perspective on relationships in particular and life in general. Crikey, but the mental head-slap almost left a bruise!

I am not a very compassionate person. I'm highly empathic, but my general philosophy is: Suck it up, Princess! Life is simple, but it isn't always easy. Happiness is a choice.

I don't really care if people like me or not. I am what I am and while I can usually accept differences between myself and others, I take great exception to not being accepted for who I am. It doesn't matter to me if you disagree with me. Just don't tell me I'm wrong. If I am wrong, I'm perfectly willing to concede the fact. But you damn well better have something to back up your position that holds enough water to be – at minimum - plausible. Make me curious enough to Google it at least. Give me something that I can sink my teeth into, because I'm gonna have questions and I need to care enough to look for answers. I don't take anything on faith. And when I do Google it (and by Google, I mean research. I don't just Google things.) there better be more than one reference and the references had better be credible. Credible is worth pondering, if not buying into.

So we come to the crux of things, albeit via a circuitous and somewhat winding route. I'm single because I'm not compassionate enough to let it go when someone springs a wowie on me. I'm too up-for-the-challenge. Tell me something that I can't quite wrap my head around and you might as well have thrown down a gauntlet I simply cannot resist picking up, examining, dissecting, theorizing over, studying, debating and analyzing – quite likely to death – not because I'm being difficult, but because I'm curious and I want to understanding it. It's the way I'm wired. I really do not mean any offense.

Some people find this intimidating. Some people find it exhausting. Some people think I'm a complete wing nut. I dare say that the object of my unrequited love could and would verify all of the above.

My minor brush with the dating scene has taught me a lot: A. It's not a gauntlet I care to pick up at the moment; B. I know what I want and I'm prepared for whatever outcome the Universe decides is in my best interest; C. I don't have to compromise my principles for anyone; D. I need to work on being more compassionate and; E. I really do need to get some more work done on my yard. (Okay that was a complete diversion and I do apologize for the lack of continuity, but I had to throw an E in there – just because sometimes I do enjoy being a little bit difficult.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A bit of twine and a bit of time...

Doing things for myself has become a sort of a life-style lately.  I’ve learned that with a little imagination and ingenuity I can accomplish a lot of stuff that I never really thought I could.  Or would.  It’s very empowering to face a challenge and find a creative solution. 

When I first moved into Alegria, I had little furniture.  Coincidently, a friend was moving out-of-province at about the same time and I was able to score a few goodies from her to help me get started.  One of the things she sold me was a set of six lawn chairs that served as my dining room chairs for nine months.   The weaving on a couple of them had started to unravel.  I gave duct tape a brief consideration, but decided to let nature take its course instead.  If and when they fell apart, I would figure something out.

A lawn chair in its original state.
They fell apart.  One by one, five of the six chairs unraveled to the point of being un-usable, so I retired them to the future-project section of the shed. 

Not too comfy any more!
Somewhere along the line I asked my daughter, Bizz, if she had any ideas on how to fix the chairs.  They really are nice chairs and it’s always good to have something for people to sit on around the fire pit.  Of course, she did!  (Was there ever any doubt!?) 

What would you do with
a giant ball of twine?
Last night Bizz arrived at Alegria with an enormous ball of twine.  Oliver thought he’d died and gone to cat heaven when he saw it!  But we had other plans for it.  A quick Youtube lesson on weaving chair seats ensued and we figured that we could easily manage the method demonstrated. 

The first step was to cut off the remains of the old chair seat.  That took mere minutes and what we were left with was a gaping hole that suddenly looked more daunting than I had expected.  No matter!  Bizz spooled off a swack of twine from the roll and tied one end to the chair frame.  Together we started weaving it back and forth and around, back and forth and around…  and soon the pattern started to reveal itself.  Bizz decided to get a second chair going and I continued with a solo effort to make the chair usable again. 

It was a slow process.  Two hours later the chair seat was still not done.  It was getting late, so, pleased with the results so far, we put away our supplies and called it a night.

The pattern is emerging...
Two hours of weaving got me this far.

After dinner tonight, I finished my first chair.  It took another good hour to complete the weaving, but just look at what we did:
The finished chair.
Top view of the new chair seat.

So the seat doesn’t match the back.  When you’re sitting on it, you can’t see either of them anyway.