Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NOSTALGIA

Photo by Shayne Gray

I'll get to the nostalgia in a little bit, but first I just have to say thanks to those of you who check this little site sometimes. I was on a roll there with February's 'story a day' goal, which I almost completed perfectly. During that month, I know (and am still finding out about) people who began checking in here regularly. I finally started building up a teeny tiny little readership of friends, and then March rolled around and I stopped writing.

Photo by Shayne Gray

I thought today about beginning 'story a day' again tomorrow, being that it's a new month, but I'm daunted by that thought. I understand that that's the point of creating something for yourself, nothing comes easy or falls into your lap from a flowery tree. These things take time and effort (tons of effort). Reaching into my mind and pulling out a story every day is painfully hard at times.

Photo by Shayne Gray

I went through the same agony over and over: 'I don't have a story in me right now, I'll write when I get home from work' Then I'd get home from work, and want to relax for a moment, but if I relaxed the story wouldn't happen, so I had to get to it right away while my mind was still in GO mode. Wine helps though, wine always helps.

Photo by Shayne Gray

Anyway, again, I just wanted to say thanks to those of you who diligently traveled the writing journey with me, and those of you who still pop by, only to be disappointed as I seem to write only once every couple of weeks now.

Photo by Miguel Jacob

Now for the nostalgia. I suppose there isn't too much to be said on this topic, or rather, there is SO much to be said about it that I don't think I can tackle it. While out with some of my oldest girlfriends last night, we got onto the topic of nostalgia for a bit. I have realized that I am absolutely hyper-nostalgic, so much that it nearly prevents me from doing anything at times. All it takes is one song on the ipod and I'm shuttled back in time so deeply that it exhausts me. Some days I get to work completely beat, and it's simply because my 45 minute commute felt like a 20 year travel through my brain. I can recall insane amounts of detail, such as the tile on my bathroom floor on Broadview, and the bath mat (which was not a true bath mat) that lay on top of it. Memories of tile and grout are among the detailed things which pop into my head at the drop of a tune, and this is merely the surface.


While I agree that it seems I live in the past too much, it's not all exactly living in the past. I can be presently in the moment, while remembering the way my skin couldn't breathe in the shiny purple coat I wore when I was 21, walking down Eglinton to my first apartment, listening to the same song as now, only on a discman.


This feeling of nostalgia can actually bring a true smile to your face, though it may at times feel bitter-sweet (the passing of time becoming all the more obvious). I pose a little challenge to you tonight. When you are sitting on your couch at home, close your eyes and think of one of your livingrooms of long ago. Imagine yourself being back there again. Dig deep, and open your mind's eye, look around that room of old, in your memory, what does the floor look like? The carpet? What does the couch feel like under your bum? Take in the room, and then if you like, take a little walk down the hallway and into your old bedroom. It's surprising how many memories may shine bright, and you may be surprised at how many are still there. Every moment you have lived has brought you to this one, so from time to time, give some of those seemingly inconsequential moments their due, hold them, and cherish them. And then, feel the present moment you are currently in, because this very moment will one day too, bring you to where you will stand.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Weekend


What a quick little week it was! Last weekend, we stayed in for the most part as it was pissing rain. This weekend, pretty low key also. Friday night I got hooked into finally building my own website, something I've been meaning to do for years but like everything else, didn't get around to. It is SO easy now to make your own site, if you have a mac, just launch iWeb and there you go. Website. Ok, it's quite a bit more involved then that, very easy to create, but lots of work too. I haven't even hit on the prettiness yet, just trying to get it built and get all the stuff on it, and it's page after page after link after link.... will be launching soon so stay tuned for art and story madness.


This past year, Shayne and I have discovered a little secret to keeping a relationship interesting. This little secret is just one little way, and that is: answer craigslist ads. Seriously, there are people out there looking for all sorts of people to do things for them, and if you are willing, it can end up being hilarious fun. A few months back, we went to an open casting call for a modelling agency. No real desire to be part of an agency, but the people watching at the open call was insane. There is no end to the fame obsessed parents and their poorly (sadly) pushed children. We did a few interviews, had our picture taken then told them it wasn't for us and went for lunch, but we had lots to talk about for the rest of the day.

Shayne has volunteered his time for photographers who are building up their portfolios, and has had a great time! He has gone on mini experimental music retreats and met some enticingly strange folks. So I decided to answer an ad too (thank you Anca for sending me the link!), a local photographer looking for a couple to model for some wedding / engagement shots for his website. Off to the park we went yesterday morning for what turned out to be a great way to spend a morning! The photographer in question ended up being a practical neighbour of ours, and a really great guy! We had so much fun frolicking in the park all morning as he took hundreds of pictures of us!

Funny how timing works out, as I went from modelling for engagement pictures, and straight to meeting my girls for more bridesmaid dress shopping. So fun. Being in a room with your best girls, hilariously trying on chiffony gowns and posing for pictures truly is a fun way to spend an afternoon!


Good deed for the week: on our way to dinner last night, we passed by a furniture store (a very, very expensive one) and discovered 4 acrylic chairs with $200 price tags stuck on each of them, left outside! (that's $800 worth of chair on the sidewalk). The store was long closed up for the day, and there was no one in sight, so clearly someone fucked up and forgot to bring them back in. After debating and weighing the pros and cons (if we take them we'll have bad karma and if we leave them, someone will definitely steal them) we decided to carry them all back to my place, write a note saying we had done so, including my email address for contact and I taped it to the window of the store. So, if I hear back, the chairs will be returned. If I don't, well, I've got myself some snazzy new chairs!

Dinner: decided to try out a local Thai place and it was right out of a movie (a questionable B-movie) The food and service was great, absolutely adorable staff, it was the ambiance which had us laughing in stitches the whole time and wanting to bust out a ho-down. Tiki inspired everything with a soundtrack of uber-religious tunes reeking of Christmas carols, and giving way to a few Ave Maria's and then straight up country western knee slappers, all while sipping on electric green sour apple martinis (or as we decided martoonies or marthreenis) and chomping on mango chicken and curry pad thai. Just when I was about to burst, we were served a free fried banana and ice cream desert...I decided I wasn't full anymore as it was amazing. The rest of the evening was spent doing nothing but drinking and digesting.


Today I have the house to myself. Just been cleaning and singing my heart out, they're filming a movie around the corner so my street is closed off. Poor security guards have been standing on the corner doing absolutely nothing all day. I'm off to finish my wine, make the boy a glorious dinner and then to Kalendar to meet up with my farm-house crew for drinks!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meditation

Photo: Denise Grunstein

I love pictures like this. Why can't life just be one glorious, relaxing tea party?

Why are stress and anxiety so much a part of life these days? And I don't just mean my own personal stress, but the overall looming stress of the world today. Everything around us moves so fast, and there is such an insane pressure to live a certain way, and to be a certain way. It is now considered a disability to be introverted, children are so pressured to be outgoing that parents fret over a shy child. I was a shy child, but it was still somewhat acceptable to be so in the early 80's. Though, I did receive a lot of flack for it from various avenues, and was put into therapy when I was four years old for being different. My parents pulled me out of there super fast, and allowed me to be the normal, quiet child I was.

For all of these pressures, those of us who are not by nature extroverted, suffer more. We fight harder to be what we are not, simply to be accepted. But when it comes down to it, why fight for that at all? It seems to me that in this day and age, we are no longer able to just be ourselves, no matter how many mediums preach exactly that: be yourself. The problem is, if you happen to be introverted, and you are just 'yourself' then you can easily get lost in the dust. If you are ok with that, amazing, and more of us should strive to be just like you. Because yes, being oneself is absolutely imperative, no matter how hard it is.

Because I myself suffer from introvertedness, I have struggled long and hard with basic things like happiness, friendships, stresses and anxiety. Over the past six months, I've begun a slow transformation process, because I want to be comfortable with who I am, and I want to accept everyone else for who they are (even if I do not know or understand them). I have learned so far that any mean-spiritedness which anyone directs at me, is simply their issue. People naturally, and constantly place their angers and stresses on others in an attempt to relieve themselves of it. So don't take it. If you allow their stresses to seep into you, then you take on their problems on top of your own.

This is not as easy as it seems, as taking things personally is a natural condition (or so I think). Even though I understand this concept, it's difficult to remember in the very moment a stranger calls you an idiot in the middle of the street for bumping into their elbow. My immediate reaction is that my back gets up, I get pissed and then I take it in and think "I am an idiot for doing that, and he deserved to be upset with me" Full stop. Not true. These are the thoughts we have to remove from our minds because it's just not worth it, and it's just not true.

In furthering my self-study, I have decided to fight my natural urge to stay home and vegetate with a book or a blog, and get out there and do the things that will clear my mind and open up my heart to myself.

I have begun to practice yoga again, though slowly. It's difficult to keep up when I do a four week intro class, once a year, and that's it. I'm left constantly feeling like I have to take another intro class, but not now. I'm just going to go for it and get myself into regular classes, and not be so damn afraid.

Secondly, I will get massages. I am in a position right now at work, that massages are covered under the company benefit plans, I'm missing out if I don't use them.

Lastly, I decided to finally take up meditation, and let me tell you, that massage plan is necessary if you are going to take up meditation! On the suggestions of a friend, who grew up in an ashram, I decided to begin with the weekly open meditation sitting at a local Shanga. Yesterday was my first attempt at full, sitting meditation and it was interesting, none the less.

Surrounded by many others, sitting in silence, I went through all the usual beginner meditator woes. The first twenty minutes were fine. No, I could not slow my mind, and in fighting my thoughts, my mind just flitted around more and more to more randomness until my mind was so full of thought, relaxation wasn't possible. In trying to be present in the room, all I could feel was presence with many other people in the room: breathing, swallowing and belly gurgling. Sitting in silence with sixty or so strangers is less then silent. You hear things you absolutely never hear brewing withing a stranger next to you. All this taught me (other than 'eeeww') was that I guess we are all the same. Everyone's belly gurgles. No matter who you are.

We then did a few minutes of standing meditation to break up the sitting. This was fine too, more like a standing mountain pose in yoga, though no balance was necessary as we were allowed to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground. Then we were told to sit back down again, and this is where it got difficult. After standing for a few minutes, my body was no longer rested, and that last half hour of silent, motionless sitting was torture. I was restless and bored, my back hurt, my head hurt and I wanted to scream over all those gurgling bellies. I wondered why so many people did not eat before class? Just as I thought I couldn't take another moment of it, it was time to relax and stretch and settle back down into our chairs for a last half hour dharma talk. And lo and behold, he spoke of the natural aversions we have to meditation, and how we may begin to improve on them. He listed every single feeling that I was feeling from the bored restlessness to the pain, and advised us to press on.

So press on I will. I will try my best to continue my weekly two hour meditation, and also try out some of the other centres my friend recommended to me. But let me tell you: my damn back aches!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Love!


I just now stumbled upon this gorgeous photo by Kerri-Ann Pink and it filled me with so many feelings! I love it when a piece of art can do this to you.

What do you see?

To me, this is what it feels like to grow up. You are still a child, but too old to be considered little, and yet you are too young to be considered big. Your dreams are still those of childhood, and you still wish to play make-believe, but you know you are too big now, so you imagine by yourself. You have not yet emotionally grown out of your toys, but you have grown too tall for your beloved rocking horse. You still have fun rocking away, and yet you are sad. You don't know exactly why you feel sad, but your feelings are changing. Your magical make-believe world is beginning to become slightly too real, but you hold on with all of your might, before you slowly start to admit defeat. You are growing up, and as excited as you are, it's a little scary, and different. Life is filled with change.

My Wise Horse by Kerri-Anne Pink

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hungry!!!


The past few months I have been hungry! I don't know what it is, but all I want to do is eat and I dream of pizza, peanut butter, burgers, fries, pasta oh how I love thee! If I could eat a box of Kraft dinner every day, I would (and sometimes I do) I think KD is a north American delicacy which should be appreciated more.

But, and there is a but, these wonderful things are the direct cause of waist line loss. It creeps up on you slowly so you don't realize it at first, but then, when you're getting ready for a dinner party and you can't zip up your dress, you know there's a problem. I ignored the problem though because I just can't give up what I love.


So I thought, I'll exercise more, start going back to the gym I've been paying for all this time; but I hate it and it's not happening. Years ago, I was grossly under-employed with lots of daytime hours to fill, so I spent my time at the gym. Running on treadmills listening to Evanescence (it was 2003) I whipped that ass into shape. Now though, working 9 hour days, it's hard to find the time. When I do have the time, I'm not motivated; the gym and I have cut our ties.

So, with summer around the corner bringing tank tops and bridesmaid dresses, I'm getting worried. It's not to say that image is hugely important for me, and I'm not coming down on myself, but it comes down to how I feel. When the sun is shining and the leafy park is beckoning, you want to feel good no? I have a collection of pretty summer dresses which don't fit anymore, and I'd rather take the money saved on buying new dresses and go on a mini vacation.


This brings me to the point of this ridiculous post: I'm going new-agey for the rest of the week and I'm cutting out carbs. I've been on this "diet" for 4 hours now and I'm hungry. I just want a damn timbit. Why only a week? Goals have to be reached in small increments. If we give ourselves little milestones, we'll accomplish more and feel better about ourselves.

So it's decided, one way or another, I will be in shape this summer and I will be healthy, filled with energy and laughter!

Monday, March 1, 2010

When You Know its Spring


Its time to dream about how you're going to decorate your deck, you see flowers and billowy outdoor curtains, an outdoor chaise. You're sitting in your bay window, writing and dreaming, and the window is open, a cool night breeze sneaking inside. The sound of snow melting: that gurgle, drip and trickle of water pouring down gutters and spouts. Wet feet in leather boots. The smell changes, there is a smell, something new in the air, winter is ending, and birds are beginning to sing. Cleaning the house on a Sunday afternoon, cold air seeping through open windows, but the windows remain open because they can be.

I spent the afternoon playing in the park yesterday, as Shayne took photos. The sun was bright, and all around me was the sound of melting. Swinging on the swings, I remembered swinging on that same swing last spring. That magical evening, drunk on wine, music in my ears, swinging alone late at night, the shapes of buds emerging on the trees in the moonlight. Yesterday was sunfilled, children without hats. I ran through the snow, making giant snowballs with wet gloves, water seeping up inside my boots, dripping off rooftops. My old rooftop in view down the street, my old windows where Simon used to sit and watch the birds. The window into my little third floor studio where my "holy handbag" painting was painted, the namesake for this blog.


As soon as you hear that word "March" you know its coming. Springtime. Fresh air. The darkness begins to lift, you don't feel the cold so much anymore. Memories of childhood run free, those cool days when you were brave to wear a skirt and jelly shoes for the first time that year, you did not feel the cold because the sun shone bright. The grass was mucky but you didn't care, the approach of summer was akin to excitement of Christmas.

I no longer have a deck to decorate, or a garden to plant, but indoor flowers will do. I can play my cello by an open window, sitting on a real chair. I can smoke a joint and go for a pot-walk, taking in the cool sunshine. Shed the winter coat, shed a lifetime of old clothes, spring cleaning happens in our minds too. I may hang curtains simply to see them move in the breeze. I'll turn up the music on my stereo and I'll actually do my dishes.