Thursday, September 29, 2011

About to Erupt

There. Unpacked. Now it is official.  My vacation is over.  Ugh.  It took me 4 days to finally empty my suitcase.  It was an admission of an ending. Not unpacking allowed the memory to linger somehow.  It is always such a mental adjustment coming back from holidays, particularly one that really takes you away from the norm.  The kind that makes you really question your present existence.  City life vs country life.  Cold climates vs warm ones.  Simple vs complicated.  Priorities. Perspectives. The re-examining of one's life choices.  Holidays can really push the envelope for me.
There was a cottage perched on a big rock slab (see below) on the shore of Mabel Lake that we boated past every day.  It was very simple, white siding, a large rectangular deck, a sloped roof, nothing exciting from an architectural perspective, but it stood there calling my name day after day.  It was all alone, nestled amongst a few trees, the location being the most appealing thing about it really.  I could see myself sitting there, at a table near the window, looking out at the lake and mountains, writing, writing and writing.  It fit this vision I have had for so long now. 

My life would be simple, basic, quiet, uncomplicated.  I used to wonder if I would go stir crazy living like that.  Now I don't wonder that so much.  I would need a few things.  I am too used to having contact with the world now - so I would need Internet access, a phone and a car.  There is no cell phone service there, so I  might need to do without that.  When I talk to  people about it, they look at me and think I have lost my mind.  They probably think I just want to take a break.  Maybe they are right.  Maybe that is all I need.  But more and more, when I examine and re-examine, I feel more and more sure that it is what I want. 

Being back here in the city just further emphasizes my desire.  The noise, the traffic, the constant "doing".  A sabbatical.  I think that's what most people call it.  Those fortunate enough to take a year away from their regular lives and go off and write their novels or their thesis, or compose music, or paint or sculpt or indulge in some form of creative expression.  A whole year to just vomit it out.  That's what I need.  And that is what it feels like.  Like I am about to vomit it all out. Like some ancient, lurking, primitive word vomit that is ready to erupt like a volcano if I could only find the time and space to let it out.  Words pouring out of my mind like hot lava covering the past forever and creating an entire new path.

Re-inventing moi.  Phase 2.

Coming Soon.

Writer's retreat of choice

Monday, September 26, 2011

Back from Paradise...for a time.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.  Truer words were never spoken.  Leaving our most western province on Sunday was exactly that.  It happens to me every time.  I fall in love with the beauty that is British Columbia over and over again.  The mountains fill me with awe, the smell of pine and spruce needles drying on the forest floors, the pristine waters of the lakes and rivers and that west coast attitude never cease to grab me. 

And then I start to question why.  Why do I live in Ontario?  Why don't I move back to B.C.?  Please don't take this as a criticism of Ontario.  There is much to love about it.  I was born in this province.  It is home to me, but the first time I cast my eyes upon the Rockies when I was a young woman of 20 or so, it was love at first sight and I don't think I have ever gotten over that first crush.

I lived in Banff for a time, Vancouver on two occasions and have spent a bit of time in Kelowna and Mabel Lake where my brother lives and summers.  I don't think my association with B.C. is over yet.  This last trip left me with a deep yearning to return.  It almost feels like running away.  Maybe that is part of the appeal.  It is vastly different from Ontario - like another country really.  I miss my brother and he is there for life - no question about that. 

At this stage in my life, it is almost a question of "why not?".  What difference would it make to me now?  In less than a year, my daughter will be off to university.  Does it matter where I live?  Between air travel and skype and all the other instant access technologies, what difference does it make if I am here or there?  I would even consider taking up skiing again - something I gave up a few years ago when a knee issue was plaguing me - but it seems much better now - maybe it could take it. 

I have some choices to make over this next year.  And as they say, change is good.

And inevitable.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shine on "Pirhana Bitch"

My astrologer was right.  Today's full moon in Pisces conjunct my natal moon exact is having some sort of major effect on me.  Not quite what I had hoped for, but noticeable nonetheless.  She told me that "all of my demons" would come out today and in retrospect now as I sit here reviewing my day, she may be on to something.

Demons, eh?  Hmmfff!  What demons? OH, THOSE demons.  She also said I might let out my "pirhana bitch" and want to "rip off someone's head and piss on their brain."  When I read that, I thought it sounded a bit dramatic and overly exaggerated, but I took it with a grain of salt and waited.  

The beautiful harvest moon just showed its orange glow over the lake about an hour ago and it was awesome, so much so, I grabbed my camera and took a photo.  Then I sat down and thought about her predictions.  Had my demons risen to the surface today?  Had my "pirhana bitch" reared her ugly head?  Hmmmm. Pondering here.  Oooooo, admittedly, yes.....and yes.  On both counts.  

I hate it when she is right.  So, on that note......sorry Tyler for the bitchy text I sent you about the useless washing machine installers, not  your fault, I know.  Sorry Emma for biting your head off for not wanting to eat the pasta dish I had lovingly made and unthawed for you - why wouldn't you want to eat some mass-produced plastic bowl of preservatives instead?  Also, sorry for scolding you for dropping your fork on the fragile glass coffee table and your food on the white carpet - I can always buy a new table when it breaks and have the carpet shampooed - no worries - I love spending money this way.

After nearly 4 weeks with a broken washing machine, I finally get a new one installed today, only to find out when I get home, that now the dryer won't be functional until Wednesday.  I will just ignore the mountain of laundry in my now impossible to "walk in" closet for a couple more days.  I will wash some delicates and hang them from every available faucet, shower rod or door knob for the next two days to dry - soooooooo attractive.  This "visual demon" that exists inside me - let's address her.  Why do I find it sooooooo hard to live with ugliness?  I walk in the door tonight after work and there is my clothes dryer sitting in the middle of the space between my kitchen and my living room resting on top of a piece of lopsided Styrofoam as though it believes it is some sort of sculpture.  I am not amused.....or  able to see it that way.  My millions of razor-sharp little teeth are really becoming visible now.

So, lets go back a few more hours - work was super busy and so I never really  had too much time to dwell on the email from a client who I had devoted an entire week of my life to a couple of weeks ago.  The email that told me they were not going to move forward with their project for now, "sorry."  Sorry.  They are sorry.  Not nearly as sorry as I am about not being able to meet all my expenses next month thank you very much.  (Insert sound of "pirhana teeth sawing through bones here.) 

Hold on - going to refill my drink cause I believe I am just getting started.  Long cool sip. "Ahhh, yum."  Ok, where was I?  Right - the full moon effects. My lunch.  Or rather the lunch I never got around to eating.  I had thrown a piece of what I thought was lovely aged cheddar in my lunch bag, only to discover when I finally got around to slicing into it at about 4 o'clock, that it was not cheddar at all but a stale piece of asiago that was really inedible.....gag. (I really need to clean out my fridge more often).  So I ate a power bar and some almonds instead and really never felt satisfied.  Hope the resident mice at my office are enjoying that old hunk of cheese in my waste basket right about now - that's where I left it.

I am leaving for vacation on Friday.  This is a good thing you would think, and you're right, it is, however, there are things to tend to before one heads off on holiday and my list is long.  Hair, nails, organize, pack, tie up loose ends at work, pull off miracle at work, drown plants, empty fridge, find time for workouts, sleep and pulling off miracle at work and lose five pounds by Friday.  No worries, got it all under control. 

Ahhhh, now there is that other demon.....Control.  Yes, we know her well.  She sort of goes hand in hand with "aversion to ugly" demon.  She has been around for decades.  She arrived on the scene around the age of 7.  She is really hard to shake.  Just when I think I have rid her forever, some sort of event rolls around and stirs her up.  A party, a gathering, an event - she thrives on these things.  This really revs her up.  She is a perfectionist.  And she will not quit until everything is under control.  Until every detail is tended to and every detail is picture perfect.  Someone once told me she would make a great art director - she sees the world in vignettes.  Perfect vignettes.  She even notices the perfect vignettes every where she goes.  In movies, in homes, in shops, in restaurants, in nature, hell, she can see it almost anywhere and when things are not aesthetically pleasing to her, she has a desire to fix it or change it or "direct it".  She is really scary and she needs to learn to relax.  Wine helps. (when all else fails), but she also likes to be in control of that too, so it never gets out of hand, just necessary sometimes.

Ok, there.  "Pirhana bitch" is just about done for the day.  The drink has finally mellowed me enough that I actually feel less bitchy.  Like I said, necessary sometimes. 

And one last thing, one more apology.  I promised a friend I would do a favour for them today and I ran out of time and it will have to wait until tomorrow - please don't be mad - tomorrow, I promise! 

I really need a holiday. 


PS.  If you hear something strange and wolf-like coming from the north shore of Lake Ontario near Port Credit tonight, it is just the "pirhana bitch" howling at the full moon.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Table for One Please

That was fun.  OK, maybe fun is the wrong word.  It was interesting.  Nah, still the wrong word.  Let's see.  Liberating.  Yes, that might fit.  Or maybe just my new "normal".  Dining alone.  I have never really had a problem with it - well not since I turned 30 anyway.  Prior to that, I was not likely to seek it out.  My awesome amazing 17 year old daughter on the other hand does it regularly whenever the mood strikes her - she soooo impresses me with her independence and confidence that way - so unlike me at that age.

Anyway - back to dining alone.  I came home from work tonight, kinda tired, did not feel like cooking or going to the gym or anything that might be remotely good for me, so I cracked open a nice bottle of chardonnay and had a couple of glasses and enjoyed my view and some nice thin slices of parmigiana reggiano.  Well, that was a nice warm-up, so after reading a few passages from The Book of Awakening, I figured since I was still dressed, I would go out for dinner on my  own.  I was really craving some red meat.  I was pretty sure I could get a decent meal at this place near me as I have had some nice fish there and surely they could do a good grill job on some cow for me as well. 

So, I saunter over there - it's just kitty-corner to my building, a bit of a happening spot really, but on the Sunday night of  a long weekend - pretty quiet.  I am told it is wild there on Thursday nights, but knowing that, I will avoid that night.  Not into wild right now.  Anyway, I digress.  So the hostess seats me in a nice private quiet corner booth which is perfect since I wanted to read and as I got comfy, I read the menu (had to pull the candle over as it was so dim), was all decided and then I waited, and waited, and waited.  So then I start thinking no one was informed that I was there and I am getting impatient cause now I am really hungry and so I get this brilliant idea to phone the restaurant and tell them I am ready to order and could they please send a waiter over to my table.

Of course, I have to dial 411 to get the number and they don't understand me, so I have to wait for a live operator and by the time I go through all that, the waitress finally arrives at my table, whereupon I tell her I was just trying to call her.  She is not amused.  Hey, I thought it was pretty clever actually - so now I am getting a bit of a defensive attitude from her, but instead of giving it back to her, I say "hope you did not think I was being a bitch by saying that" and that sort of softened her up a bit, but not enough to bend on the prix fixe menu (I only wanted the main course, not the appy and dessert) so I said OK then - just bring me an appy, and I will have a taste and I will let you know later if I want the dessert.  I order a nice Australian Shiraz to go with my herb-crusted beef tenderloin and she departs.

I like my little dark corner.  It is almost too dark.  So I use the candle-light to read  my book while I wait for my wine to arrive and it works pretty well - not ideal, but doable.  I look up and take in the surroundings.  It is a newish place, so modern and minimalistic, 12 globe light fixtures hanging from a high ceiling at varying sizes and heights, sort of like a high school science project of the planets without Saturn's rings.  I wondered if the designer did 12 on purpose to emulate the zodiac.  Possible but not likely. 

My third glass of wine is kicking in nicely now - just about the same time it starts to pour outside.  I can see it coming down out the window next to me.  It is romantic and dark and wet and they  have some blue twinkly lights strung in the trees out on the patio and it makes me think of Christmas and that is one place I really do not want to go tonight, so I shift my gaze back to my book and continue reading Mark Nepo and his infinite wisdom and delicious philosophizing and think "this is the kind of book I would like to write."  The three glasses of wine convince me it would be a breeze and so I jot down a few things as I read his passages.

Some of them are so poignant, I feel a need to share them, so I text a couple quotes to some friends as they seem appropriate to their current situations. I also admit my dietary and financial irresponsibility to one friend as I decide to accept the trio of assorted gelato with fresh raspberries after all.  (It was included  - how could I say no?)  I savour every bit of this heavenly bowl of cool, creamy frozen Italian answer to joy and joke with the waitress when she picks up my empty dish telling her it was horrible and I want to send it back.  By now, she is warming up to me and she delivers my leftover dinner in a nice take-away container and this is how I justify my extravagant night out - it was two meals really.  Now I have lunch or dinner all ready for tomorrow.

The rain has eased a bit as I head for the exit and the waitress thanks me and refers to me as "my good lady" and for a moment I wonder if I am actually living in medieval England, or if Jack the Ripper will be waiting outside for me in a dark alley, but it is just a passing thought and I step out into the mist, the rain has stopped and the warm late summer night has the tiniest hint of cool to it and a hint of autumn in the air, and I feel content and OK, really OK.

I can do this. I really can.  I just did.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Bruno Mars Day

Up here in the clouds this morning - thick as mud. I can see the sun trying to break through, but it still has a bit of work to do. I love the ever-changing moods from my perch up here on the 16th floor and I am glad now that I did not get the same unit 10 floors below when I was deciding which one to live in. The lower floor was a little less expensive, but the view was not as stellar and for once, I did not let money dictate my decision - I let my heart and the universe decide for me. Those two are always right by the way.
My kitchen island where I am sitting right now is where I practically live as the windows that surround me here allow me a bird's eye view of everything going on around me. The street below, the lake, the surrounding hood and on a day like today, even a feeling of floating on a cloud. I initially had a little vertigo, but it did not take long to get over that. There is constant movement below. Cars, people, delivery trucks, sailboats, motor boats, yachts. We are always going somewhere. Doing something. We rarely sit still when you think of it. Yesterday I sat still. Every now and again, I find it necessary to do that.
Women understand this. This is a day where you don't care how you are dressed. You don't put on any make-up. You might throw a brush through your hair quickly. I ate what I felt like without thinking about what it was. A carb? A protein? Organic? I did whatever I felt. I went with the flow of my mood. I napped. I watched an old favourite movie (Good Will Hunting), I cooked a bit, I read a bit, I made a couple of phone calls to people I needed to reach out to. I tried to remain guilt-free about my lazy day and I think I actually succeeded. I did not work out. I did nothing taxing. It was great.
Today I will resume my usual pace. I will eat better. I will engage socially. I will work out. I will play tennis. I will shop. I will join the throngs 16 floors below me in the daily dance of "doing". But I will do it refreshed. My day of rest behind me. But for the moment, I will sit here in the remaining fog, sipping my coffee, gathering up the momentum to "get out there". I think foggy rainy days are a gift to us sometimes. They give us permission to recharge. It is almost impossible to have a lazy day when the sun is shining. Those are "do" days.
OK, the gym beckons. I'm off. Grateful for having the choice.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tomorrow can be too Late

It's my first day off after working 14 in a row and so it should not surprise me that I am a bit pooped. In addition to that, it is one of those gray hazy days, almost foggy from where I sit up here on my perch and it seems almost suitable for some shitty news I got just a little while ago.
My brother's best friend from childhood and young adulthood passed away this morning. He would have been about 51. A stroke apparently snatched him away and now he's gone, just like that. When these things happen, especially these sudden, surprising deaths, it really causes one to pause. I am always struck with the finality of death. Like I can't or don't want to accept it. We say things to ourselves like, "no, it can't be true, surely someone made a mistake, not him (or her), they were too young." And then we start to think about the last time we saw that person, or someone from their family, or why we had not seen them for so long, or could we have made a difference in the outcome of their lives if we had been more present.
In this case, it was not really "my" friend but it was someone meaningful to my brother and I am sure he will be taking his own introspective journey over the next little while as he comes to terms with his old friend's dying. We are all faced with it sooner or later.
It is also usually a time when we become especially grateful for the people who are still alive and a part of our lives and maybe even nudges us to make that phone call, arrange that meeting, stop and give an extra hug, think before we do something that does not promote good health or contribute to our own longevity. Remind us yet again that this ain't no dress rehearsal.
Cliches abound at these times - but the truth is, they exist for a reason. Sometimes something or someone has to die in order for something or someone to live.....or start living. I just took a quote off my blog the other day, so I will say it here once again. Not sure who said it originally, but it is part of a lyric now by Drake - "Everybody dies, but not everybody lives."
If you are waiting for something in your life to change before you start to "live", I suggest you re-think that plan. Take the leap. Jump in. Move forward. Don't look back. Conquer your fear. You never know when you will never get another chance.