Sunday, December 17, 2006

ponderings before flying

If I was to have a theme song for the past little while it would have been, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by John Denver. I'm off at 5:00am tomorrow morning for another journey across the pond. I am not complaining one bit but holy cow, I have only just gotten over the cold I got from the LAST plane I was on!

I woke up this morning feeling a bit worse for wear. It's been a hectic couple of weeks (as it has been for everyone everywhere) and I woke up feeling grouchy and tired so I decided to go for a walk. I wish with all of my heart I could transport some of you who I know read this to walk on my beach with me on a sunny winter morning. It was incredible. I had it all to myself and the tide was going out so the beach grew as I walked along it. There were some seagulls enjoying a breakfast and a bath at the edge of the sea and I wandered along searching for sea glass (the quest continues for a piece that is red) and just breathing.

Sometimes I like to be reminded of the time-fullness of the world I live in. As I walked I glanced up at the cliffs behind the beach. About three quarters of the way up there is a line of white that is made up of shells and stones. Uncountable years ago that was the sea bed. Talk about perspective! I looked up at the headland that you can see in the photo. At the top there is the remains of what was probably an iron age fort. A little farther along there are rings in the grass where settlements once were. Walking on the beach this morning made me and all of the grumpy problems that brought me outside shrink back down to know our place. I am a small, small part of the history of this place. It will be going long after I am gone. I love that.

So tomorrow I am off to the land of maple syrup and moose! My ipod is charged and full, my suitcase is packed with clothes and goodies, my hair has been cut, my parents know the flight details and at 4:00am the alarm will go off to begin the journey. I'm going to get to see some people that I haven't seen in years. I'm so excited. I feel like the stress of the past few weeks is all worth it now! So the next time I post it will be from my homeland. Keep a happy flight thought for me and I'll see you in a different time zone!

Monday, December 11, 2006

a whole lot o' ho-ho!

So yesterday was 'Meg's Christmas!' Seriously. Because I am going to be in Canada for Christmas I had it with Mark and his family while I am still here! We went out for a divine lunch at a pub and then we came home and ate baklava and mince pies and drank what was left of the Canadian Ice Wine with Brandy that we brought back last year. I also got to open all of my presents! It was a little bizarre because I was the only one opening presents as they are all waiting for the actual day to open theirs - so I was a superstar! It was awkward. But it's also kind of neat getting pressies before the day.

I was lucky enough to get Danny Gregory's book from Mark's sister and brother-in-law! I've been deeply intimidated by his talent and his website for ages so when I saw that he had a book that could teach ME how to get drawing I stalked it for a little while. Every time I was in a bookstore I looked for it and then would put it back and run away to the safety of the self-help/ motivation section. So I had to get someone else to buy it for me so I wouldn't be afraid of it anymore. I am happy to say that it worked!

I read twelve pages last night before bed. (I had to sleep, I started a four-day First Aid course this morning. It meant a 6:00am start. Ugh.) I felt a familiar fizzle in my creative core as I took it in. I have felt that feeling before - the first time I read Spilling Open by Sabrina Ward Harrison and the first time I read Inspiration Sandwich by Sark, and a few other times - like the universe had shifted a little and I could actually sense my own possibilities changing. My very favorite page so far was page 5. When I read, "Pure creativity is all around us" I shivered with excitement for the rest. In a week I will be going home again and I am excited about the train- train- airport- plane journey because it is just going to be me and this book. Just wait - you won't believe what I come out with!

I've been asked what sort of things I write. I'll admit to something here: I really don't write any one thing. I have written a fantasy novel, a young adult novel, a non-fiction book about living a real life, and I have six books haunting me - three non fiction, and three fiction. So I write a little of everything. I can't seem to write anything short that is fictional. And now I am opening up another creative window - or at least I hope to!

I'm off to read some more of this book and to relax in a bath (I'm frozen after a day being nervous in First Aid! If anyone has access to a 'Lush' store - try a bath with BOTH a Black Pearl and a Jingle Spells bath ballistic in it - pure, complete and total BLISS!) I'm hoping to come back a little more talented just from pure osmosis!!

"Do you dare to be creative?" - Danny Gregory

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's here! It's here!

A Happiest of Holidays to YOU!!!

It's time! It's happening! It's sleigh bells and reindeer and children with big eyes and decorations and cookies and stockings and gatherings and glitter and tinsel and bows and trees and magic and did I already mention cookies...?

I love Christmas. I love Christmas so much that I get like a little child when it begins. When I was younger I used to decorate my bedroom door with wrapping paper. I love wandering the streets as it gets dark, warm beverage in one hand, shopping bags in the other, watching the lights twinkle. I am blessed to be a part of a large family so I love the excitement of going to someone's house and being together for dinner.

A few years ago I was stricken with a very serious case of Mono at the beginning of December. (That's Glandular Fever to those of you from this side of the pond!) I came home from the doctor's, got on the couch and stayed there pretty much until the end of February. When you are bedridden in December in North America you watch a lot of Christmas specials! I watched "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," and "The Year Without a Santa Claus," and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," and "The Muppet Christmas Carol," and many, many, many more. It wasn't long before I realized that every single one of them had the same message: keep Christmas in your heart all year long.

It makes me sad to hear that there are people who don't like Christmas. They cite the pressure and the commercialism and many other reasons. I feel like giving the whole world a little shake. Whether or not you believe in Christ or the Nativity or even in Santa, I think that there is something to be learned in this season: be nice to each other, take care of each other, spoil each other a little. The Muppets sing that "wherever you find love you will find Christmas," and I believe them. So I hope that in the next few weeks you will find some peace and goodwill towards men (and women) along with your twinkle lights and shortbread.

Ho - Ho - Ho!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What a MONTH!!

"Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore, now I will you to be a bold swimmer, to jump off into the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout! and laughingly dash with your hair." - Walt Whitman

I think that in the future I will look back at November of 2006 as a point where my life really changed. What a month I have had. This morning I sat and read through Michelle's lovely post about her creative dreams and I became nearly frozen in a deep reverie. I feel so different now. I left blogging for a month hoping to sit at this computer and work my ass off. I hoped to get big leaps towards one of my dreams. I hoped that by today things would be different. BOY are they - but not in the way that I'd thought.

At the beginning of the month I went to Seattle. I came back from that reeling with potential and connection and friendship. I came home ready to get on with the business of writing. Then two weekends ago my Grandmother died. Within 24 hours Mark and I were on our way to Heathrow airport and a day and a half later I was at her funeral. I held my niece (and Goddaughter!) on my lap through much of the service, and was held in the tight circle of my family. My Grandmother would have been proud. Both she and my Grandfather gave us all the gift of knowing how important family is. She was an incredibly - almost unbelievably - positive person. I learned a lot from her and I will probably write more about her in the future. In the meantime, we've lost her and she will be deeply, deeply missed.

Between these two trans-Atlantic journeys I have been working and sick in nearly equal amounts. I seem to stumble between the deep desire to sit on the couch watching television and spending hours at my desk spilling my ideas and desires onto the page. It seems deeply unfair to me that I am so inspired and so snotty at the same time. I feel tingles in my writing fingers. I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do all of the reading/ writing/ journaling/ creating/ connecting I want to do, but by the time I come home from work all my body wants to do is curl up in a ball and be sick. As I write this I wonder how to look at the illness as a part of my metamorphosis... but maybe it's the cold medicine talking.

I used to wonder if I would ever get where I wanted to be. I think this month, more than any other time in my life, has let me see clearly where that actually IS. I have a vision of what I want my life to look like and what I want to look back on and be proud of when it is over. I know two things now that I didn't really know then. I know that the only thing holding me back from everything I want is me. And I know that I am not alone on this journey. I thought I knew all of that before. But now, thanks to the lessons of this past November, I think I might actually understand it too.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be." - Douglas Adams.

Friday, November 10, 2006


WARNING: this is a big post - almost as big as a Portland Pancake!!

Okay, I know that I said that I wasn't going to post until Dec. 1, but I couldn't let the week I just had go by without some mention.

If you take a media studies course they will often tell you that when it is raining in a movie it means that a profound change is taking place. Well it poured in Seattle last week and I indeed came home deeply altered.

I have been reading the posts that some of the other women I shared this journey with have written and have cried a little bit more each time I have read them. What a weekend. I am a bit aware of the weirdness of sharing such an intense and personal time on such a public forum, but I need to say this: Several months ago I was reading about another group of women and another gathering that happened. I was so happy for them and also jealous of their connection. Within a few days I started my own blog and my own journey. It has been an incredible adventure.

I went to Seattle hoping that I would make some friends and that we would be able to help each other along our various paths. What I received was so much more than that. We watched each other open and grow and ache in many ways. We cried and we laughed and we fought and we struggled and we listened and we danced and with each moment the bonds between us grew and deepened. It wasn't easy and at times it wasn't fun, but the result is time and friendships that have changed me for the better. I feel so honoured and blessed to have been a companion and a witness on this journey that we are all on. (And yes - they are as gorgeous and creative and brilliant and charming and full of life and fiesty as they seem on their blogs - more so even!)

But my trip didn't end there!! On Sunday night Liz and I went to see the Indigo Girls in concert. (Sigh!!) I truly have loved them since I was 15. Every time I listen to them I have the experience of a certain line or lines speaking directly to who I am right then. This time was no exception. I sang right along with them as loud as my tired voice would allow and I am sure that if you were to have seen me you would have seen that my face was shining as I thought about my soul sisters.

And then the week was still not over!! On Monday Liz and I got back in the car and drove to Portland to hang out with Alexandra and Laini!! Alexandra and Laini (along with Jamie and Claudia) were my very first blogging friends. We connected right away and I have loved them since our very first email. Soon after that Laini and I started Sunday Scribblings together so it was absolutely wonderful wonderful to meet them in person! We went out for sushi and then hung out in Laini and Jim's house (which is amazing - it oozes creativity and inspiration and magic from every corner!) then the next day we went out for the biggest pancakes I have ever seen (They were bigger than the plates! I picked chocolate chip - MMMmmmm MMmmm!!!) and then they took me to the mother ship: Powell's City of Books. (a whole city block and four floors of BOOKS - new and used mixed up together!!!) I walked around it feeling overwhelmed. I needed six hours and another pancake to have done it justice! WOW. (And yes - Laini and Alexandra and Jim are all even more wonderful and fiesty and creative and gorgeous and full of life as they are in their blogs!)

So here I sit. I am back home, incredibly exhausted, but filled with the joys and the memories of an entire week of incredible connection. I was so nervous to meet these people but there was never any weirdness with any of them. As soon as our grins met we were chatting like old friends. I miss them all deeply. I feel strange - like there is a hole in my heart because I am missing them so much, but at the same time my heart feels more full because I know that they are in my life. I felt them all today as I went about my job - like an invisible force field of cheerleaders and defenders - not present in body but there nonetheless.

You have altered me, my friends. I promise to be braver and more creative and fiercer in my dream chasing. Thank you.

(This photo was taken by Thea. They all scolded me for having so few pictures of myself on my blog so I am starting with a small picture that is all me!!)

And now I mean it - no more posts again until December first. I have a dream to chase.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've got to get some work done!

"I don’t know what inspiration is, but if and when it comes, I hope it finds me working…" - Pablo Picasso

Well, to make a long story short - I DID IT!!! It was truly the hardest thing I have ever done. I did it in a very slow 3 hours and 11 minutes. I have been hobbling around ever since, but I have the medal and the t-shirt and I can now say that I have done a half-marathon! YAY! (and the very best part is that it is done!)

A strange thing happened to me as I made my way along the course of the race. After running a few miles and then stopping for a 'comfort break' I found myself towards the back of the crowd. I am not really an athlete, and I often needed to stop and walk. At around mile 7 I started paying attention to what was going through my head. (I had to pay attention to something other than my screaming hips!) I was shocked by how negative my thoughts were. All that was going through my head was how I wasn't going fast enough or how I wasn't running enough or that I was going to be the last person to cross the line. I was worried that the people along the route were judging me because I wasn't going quickly enough. Finally I forced through my head that I was DOING A HALF-MARATHON and that I needed to be proud of myself. The whole process really showed me how I think and how I need to change the way that I speak to myself. Lots of lessons learned.

I also have realized in the past few weeks that I have been stretching myself too thin. I have so much that I want to do and need to do that I haven't been doing any of it. I realized that in order to make my dream of a book-lined writing room a reality I need to get myself focused. We are getting close to getting our website up and running but I have been shamefully neglecting my portion of the work. Right now that is the work that needs to take priority in my life. So I have made a difficult decision. I am taking a blogging break. Actually I am taking a writing break. No writing allowed that isn't website-related. I hope that this means that I will be able to come back to writing and blogging refreshed and energized and ready to get this chick's words published!

So I am taking a blogging break until December 1. Between now and then I am going to turn 32 (on October 25th,) go on a journey to the States to meet some incredible women, see the Indigo Girls in concert, start a new part of my job, and hopefully get a large amount done. So I'll have lots of stories to tell, and I'll be looking forward to catching up on yours.

Keep safe and well, take care of you and I will see you in just over a month. (I should be walking normally by then...)


Friday, October 13, 2006

If I could stop time.

This week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt is: "If I could stop time." This is so incredibly topical for me right now. OH, if I could stop time I would use my power to freeze everyone else so that I could have several more months of training for the half-marathon I am attempting on Sunday. I would stop time in Canada so that my wee niece (and Goddaughter!!) wouldn't grow up any more while we are away. I would stop time so that we could get our website sorted out before Google spends all of its money on other people's wacky ideas.

If I could stop time I would spend an eternity on a canoe trip with my family. I would write all of the books that are lining the drawers of my brain and then start time again so that I could be one of those phenom writers who can put a book out once a year. To be honest I would try very hard to accomplish everything I could towards my new years resolutions. Because you know, it's nearly that time again and I haven't quite got there. Like Bill Murray towards the end of Groundhog Day I would learn as much as I could and fill myself with skills and talents. I could learn Italian and Dutch, and teach myself to knit and I'd lose weight and I could figure out how to write a million-dollar screenplay.

I'd spend as much time with the people I love as I possibly could.

The second part of Sunday Scribblings was if you could choose any superpower out of the basket what would it be? That's a tough one if you get too deeply involved in the process. My gut instinct is that I would fly. That one is obvious as it would save me a blooming fortune on airfare. As for a fighting-evil superpower, I really enjoyed Elastagirl's powers in the Incredibles. That would be handy no matter what you were doing.

Okay, so please please send us your positive vibes this weekend. Mark and I are running (I use that term loosely when it comes to me!) the Cardiff Half Marathon this Sunday morning. I am so nervous I feel sick. I have knee braces (sexy!) and Powerade and a fully charged, fully loaded ipod. All I need now is some courage and Divine help. I'll be back Monday (hopefully) to tell you how it went.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I miss...

The last few times I have posted I have done it with a lump forming in my throat. It's not that I am sad, or even very unhappy, it's more that I have felt like I was lying a little bit. I've been trying to write about other things when all I want to say is how much I am missing at home. I'm actually boring myself going on about how homesick I am, so I am going to get it all out right here, right now.

I keep getting home 'flashes.' I'll be going about my day and I will suddenly get a vivid picture in my head of somewhere in Canada. It's unusual for me because I have real problems with visualization. If you asked me to picture somewhere in my head, I can't do it. I can feel a place, smell a place, or know a place but I can't make a visual image in my brain. But it's that brain that seems to be determined to make me 'see' home.

Last week I had a flash of a sushi restaurant I have been to a few times with my friend Karen. I was absolutely there for a moment. Other times it has been the intersection at Lansdowne street, my Mom's office, a bookstore, a coffee shop. I will be there for a moment and then I'll be back here again, filled with longing for home and sad that I can't capture that moment again on my own. I wish I could figure out what my brain is doing to me.

So please humour me while I make a list - a partial list - of the things and places that I am thinking of and missing. I'm not putting many people in it because then I'll cry and that won't be productive at all.

* a Tim Horton's 'everything' bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese
* driving through Peterborough and going to Chapters (and the attached Starbuck's)
* the fall colours that I know are happening
* my niece who is being Christened next weekend in the dress that I was Christened in
* Thanksgiving this weekend & the big family dinner
* anything and everything cooked by my Mom (today my hankering is for a Dutch dish I can't pronounce on here involving mashed potatoes and huge meatballs!)
* the feeling of space around you
* a coffee shop on every single corner of every single road
* convenience stores (yes, it's a weird thing to miss but I do.)
* sushi with friends
* fitting in (not being asked, "So where are you from?")
* shopping malls - big ones (is that shallow?)
* my family & friends (and several babies of friends who are growing up quickly!)
* Wendy's hamburgers
* my VERY favorite band is playing in concert in Toronto in October. (amended later - I might get to see them afterall somewhere else!)
* having breakfast with my parents
* time alone in office supply stores (we live in a very small village here!)
* t.v. series that start in October and finish in the spring
* a restaurant in Peterborough called, "Hot Belly Mama's" that makes the best sweet potato french fries!
* my books - although I am slowly ferreting the collection over here it's still pretty massive over there
* the slightly northern southern Ontario landscape
* trees

There's lots more but I will leave it there. I don't want to sound like I don't like it here, because I do - I'm just missing where I am from.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Skin

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is 'Skin.' I was sitting last night trying to decide what I was going to write and I was really struggling. I thought about writing about my favorite skin and how warm it is and how it smells, but I got quite shy and nervous. So I started thinking about my own skin and what a problematic relationship we have.

"Skin: The skin is the body's outer covering. It protects us against heat and light, injury, and infection. It regulates body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D. Weighing about 6 pounds, the skin is the body's largest organ. It is made up of two main layers; the outer epidermis and the inner dermis."

When I stop and think about my skin I think about how unhappy I sometimes am in it. It is the outer layer of a body that I have felt disconnected with for some time. When I stop and take a look at it I can see that it has its own personality. I have lots of moles, a tattoo, and a number of scars. If I don't sleep well I get wrinkles beside my mouth. If I don't eat well or if I have peanuts or milk I get bad eczema on my hands. I burn pretty easily across my nose and I have a funny bump under my skin on my back.

And yet up until now I haven't loved it for its quirkiness. Instead of seeing it as an extension of me, I've poked and prodded it. I've looked at it with distaste because of the bulges it holds. I've spent many hard-earned pounds (and dollars) on creams and lotions to keep it from wrinkling and drying out so I wouldn't look like I was aging. I've forgotten to put on sunscreen and left it to turn red and crispy in the sun. I've hated it for its fragility. I've hated it for its lack of ability to hide the fat. I've been ashamed to be seen in it in changerooms. I've become disconnected to the point that it was Mark who noticed that ten minutes after I'd eaten peanuts I had an allergic reaction. I had never paid attention.

Recently I have been trying to climb back into my skin again. I've been trying to remember to dry skin brush to help it eliminate toxins. I've been trying to have the time to moisturize straight out of the shower. I've been trying to stop eating things that my skin clearly doesn't like. I've been trying to be happier naked, to pay attention to the moles and the texture and the feeling of my skin. I've found that if you do pay close attention, your skin is talking to you all of the time. It's telling you the state of your insides, whether you understand the language or not. I'm trying to listen. I'm trying to be a gentle owner. It's been very forgiving so far. I'd like to begin to return the favour.

"My whole life, I've wanted to feel comfortable in my skin. It's the most liberating thing in the world." - Drew Barrymore

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I haven't posted for Poetry Thursday for ages, but there has been a poem playing in my head this week. I'm not following the prompt, but this is the poem that wants me to share it today:

Birdfoot's Grampa

The old man

must have stopped our car

two dozen times to climb out

and gather into his hands

the small toads blinded

by our light and leaping,

live drops of rain.

The rain was falling,

a mist about his white hair

and I kept saying

you can't save them all,

accept it, get back in

we've got places to go.

But, leathery hands full

of wet brown life,

knee deep in the summer

roadside grass,

he just smiled and said

they have places to go, too.


Joseph Bruchac

Monday, September 25, 2006

is this wrong?

According to my blog counter you have not all completely given up on me. I can't believe that I haven't posted anything in a week. My excuse is that Blogger and my computer got into a fight and I couldn't open a single site for more than three days! I thought it was Blogger because I could get onto a few other unconnected blogs but as it turns out it was my browser playing funny games.

But that only excuses me from three days. I've no good excuses for the other four.

I've been working through the book, "Everything I've Ever Done That Worked" in my spare moments. (Sensational book!) The rest of the time has been spent either: a) going to/ being at/ coming home from work or b) madly scribbling notes for the SIX books that have set up camp in my brain (none of which I am writing yet, mind) or c) socializing or d) vegetating in front of the television.

It's my biggest guilt - t.v. It makes me feel guiltier than chocolate or chocolate chip cookies (my very favorite sweet thing to eat at the moment!) or not exercising or not cleaning my house or not emailing or anything. While I am watching it I enjoy the emptiness of vegetation. I need to be on the go all day long, making decisions for a number of people and making sure that everything is going well. When I get home I know that I should be sitting down at my desk and listening to the characters that are telling me their stories. I know that I could be working on our website. I could be building my own website, working on Sunday Scribblings, writing blogs, cleaning my house, spending time with my boyfriend, the list goes on and on. But sometimes I really like not doing those things too!

How many hours of people's lives are wasted in front of the t.v? Lots of it is wasted time, I know, but is any of it not wasted? Is it okay to want to know what happened to Walt (Lost) or whether or not they found the missing person (Without A Trace) or whether the Diet Doctors can sort someone out before their weight kills them? Should I feel guilty spending time being still like broccoli? Is switching off, enjoying mindless entertainment while cuddling with my beloved a very bad thing?

Does anyone else find the pressure of 'living to the fullest' exhausting?

Monday, September 18, 2006

my comfort blanket

On Saturday I spent the day in Kingsbridge. Mark's show was finishing so I went in to steward with him. As I write this I realized what a crap steward-backup I was. I was there for about five minutes and then I left him to it. I think I owe him an apology!

As I set off into town I asked my angel-book-therapist to lead me to something inspiring. I've been kind-of in a hibernatingy-homeiscky-odd mental space and I wanted some clarity. As I rarely get into town alone, I was determined to make my way up one side of the road and down the other. (Not all of these shops sell books, but I managed to bring back an absurd amount of printed material with me. I think I have a real problem.)

I started my book-browsing in the Oxfam shop. I sincerely hoped for a second-hand book of Mary Oliver's poetry (ha! no such luck) but ended up leaving with a 99p copy of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and two other enticing paperbacks. Inside one of the books I bought was a receipt that someone had used as a bookmark. I was deeply interested in this seemingly ordinary item. I think I will use its contents as a writing prompt. Other people's grocery bills say a lot about them.

From there I kept browsing. I went into every shop hoping for inspiration. I bought another book that I think will be a Christmas present, a newspaper, and a women's magazine. Despite now owning millions of words to read I was feeling despondent over my lack of an enlightening moment. Then I went into the only actual Bookstore in Kingsbridge. Silently I passed the shelves, picking up a book here and there, searching for the Oliver book, and hoping for something wonderful. I was drawn to a shelf far in the back. Sitting on the top was a small white book called, "Everything I've Ever Done that Worked" by Lesley Garner. I have only climbed three short essays into it, but I think I found the inspiration I was looking for - it's fabulous!

But I don't know how many people go to town and only come back with 5 books, one newspaper and a magazine. I have serious problems. When Mark laughed at me I said to him, "but they are like my security blanket. I don't feel right unless I have books around me." I hadn't thought about it like that before. I love the smell, the feel, the taste of books. I love the possibility, the potential, the wisdom, the worlds, the friends, the tenseness and the drama. I don't just love books, I NEED them. It's past addiction. Books as an entity in my life are as natural and necessary to me as breathing.

What would I spend my last $5.00 on? Food? No. Shelter? No. It's gotta be something to read. Is that wrong?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

I'm finally doing a Sunday Scribbling. This week's topic is 'Google Magic.' I'm kind of ashamed to admit to you all that I am a Google addict. I am Google mad. A while ago I wrote a Sunday Scribblings post about Googling exes. I admit that I don't Google people very often, but I do Google just about everything else.

I live in two places. One is the middle of nowhere and the other is a fantasy land where I have enough money to buy whatever I want. In the last week I have used Google to look for the perfect: boots, scents, flower delivery, and flights, books of poetry, silver jewellery-making courses, and much MUCH more. I have also looked up recipes, song lyrics, quotations using the word 'audacious,' Laini's name to see if I could buy her book in the UK, what houses look like north of Lakefield, Ontario (for my book) and most recently I Googled 'Sunday Scribblings.' (It is mentioned 313,000 times!!!!!)

And so for my own health and that of my relationship I will not be doing any more Googling in the next 24 hours. But I am under no illusions that I won't be participating in my addiction again soon. I think I need help.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Words to Live By!!

"No matter how upside-down it all may temporarily appear, we will have no fear because we know this secret: Life is crazily in love with us—wildly and innocently in love with us. The universe always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it." - Rob Brezsny

Friday, September 15, 2006

Each Life Has its Place

"Each life has its place." - Indigo Girls' song - "Virginia Woolf"

I have had the most unusual day. Usually I get up early, do some exercise and have some breakfast with Mark and then I go off to work. On my days off we try to sleep in a little and then we either work here or we go off and have an adventure. This week, though, Mark is stewarding his show and I am on my own on my day off. So today I got up, had breakfast and went for a walk. I walked to work and back. I think I walked more than 10 miles.

It was a stunning day. No matter what mood I am in when I begin walking along the cliffs I am usually shaken into one of gentle awe. When I started walking it was still becoming morning. As I moved farther up away from the sea the clouds began to shift and break up until it seemed like it was just me under a vast expanse of sky. The beginning of a walk like that always starts out well. I felt strong and virtuous and healthy. By the last three miles I was feeling sore and tired and finished. The miles in between were a combination of all of those feelings filled in with a soundtrack provided by my trusty Shuffle.

When I got home I stumbled into the shower and then to the couch where I set up camp with a big glass of water, a fried egg sandwich, my pillow and the movie 'The Hours.' I hadn't seen it before and for two hours I allowed myself to feel drained and moved and inspired. If you haven't seen it it's sort-of about Virginia Woolf but it is basically about women's lives. Sigh. A very estrogen filled day. Any time spent with Virginia Woolf creates the need in me to write. So I am writing.

It's been a crazy week. I was so up and then so down and then so lifted back up again. I have been overwhelmed with my life and disappointed in myself. Finally when I was walking today I felt back in control again. I know what the problem is. I haven't been writing. I haven't been listening. I haven't been recording things as they go by. It took a day off and time alone to let me hear that voice again. Why do I keep forgetting the answer when it is so simple? I'm off now to show up at the page. I'm off now to write. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

thank you.

I was so nervous to write my last post. It kind of felt like walking out of a changing room into a public place wearing my underwear. I am a firm believer in being honest on my blog as I think that that honesty is what is creating the kind of friendships I never thought I could make 'on-line.' But there is a line of sharing that sometimes feels scary. How much do you want to be naked? How much do we want to share?

But you made it safe. You met me more than half way. You made me feel so much better and so much stronger. I wanted to get out my Wonder Woman belt (yes, I own one) and use your words to make a force-field around myself so that I could ignore any other unkind remarks. I wanted to print all of those comments out so that I could carry them around with me and read them whenever the chocolate beckons.

You have made me believe in my good stuff again. Thank you.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

another rough post

Here I am again sitting at my computer NOT writing for Sunday Scribblings and apologizing for not being here (or at other people's sites) more this week. Actually, I feel like this post is sort-of going to be Sunday Scribblings-y because this week's prompt is to write about something you'd never thought you'd be writing about and I am about to write about something deeply embarrassing. There are a few things that I was sure that I would never write about. One is sex. I know that my parents and other family members read this and besides that I think I am kind-of shy and defensive when it comes to sharing that part of my life. There are things that are too personal to share.

The other thing I never thought I would share is a really embarrassing story. Even now I wonder if I won't post this or whether I will go back and delete it in a day or two. Last night I went to an Ann Summers party. My friend hosted it. It's kind of like a filthy tupperware party. I was actually really excited to go because there are a FEW things that aren't trashy in their catalogue. I am also really trying to have more confidence in myself and my appearance. (Besides, I was intrigued to see their.... merchandise up close without having to go to a store.)

I need to write this very small so that I feel less nervous telling the story. They were passing a pair of sexy knickers around and one of my coworkers was sitting on the floor beside me. She and another friend were commenting on how huge they were. As she passed them to me she said, "There you go, these are about your size." I said, "Thanks a lot, weren't you just saying how huge they were?!" And she said to the other friend that she hadn't realized that I could hear her. I felt sick for the rest of the party.

So today I'm feeling rubbish and crap and the sick thing about my hardwiring is that all I want to do is eat my weight in chocolate. I have lost 30 lbs in the past year or so. I have been getting up early every single day for the past few weeks to work out. I have signed up for a half marathon - and all of that confidence can be completely destroyed with one off-hand remark. I wish I was the kind of person who could get furious and use it to keep strong but instead I am the kind of person who feels shattered and thrown off course.

All I want in the world is to never have to think about my weight ever again.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

ahhh Autumn.

"Autumn... asks that we prepare for the future - that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go - to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness." - B.W. Overstreet

I have always been an autumn baby. Perhaps it is because I was born in October, but unlike most people who moan about the end of summer, I begin to feel a different sort of excitement in my body when the days begin to cool. My season is arriving. My time is coming. I feel bewitched by the feelings that come with the fall.

I could never understand why January the first was created as the beginning of the new year. The beginning of September always felt like that sort of time to me. Although nature was beginning to get ready for a season of rest and replenishment, autumn always brought new beginnings and a heightened feeling of things to do. With the heat of the summer gone, people always seemed to have more energy to get on with things. Like the grasshopper that played all summer, most people get to September and think about all of the things that they need to still get done. Students and teachers go back to school, holidays are over, farmers work hard to get crops in and fields emptied (or planted) before the snow flies; museums, summer camps, and other seasonal places begin to wind down for their winter rest. It always felt to me like this would be the right time to get on with the business of new resolutions.

Part of my love for this time of year comes from my love of new stationary. Last year I was walking by a Woolworths and I swear to you that I could smell that they had just put the new school supplies out. New pens and empty books and clean pencil cases and packages of lined paper beckoned me through the doors. Everything is new and clean and fresh in September. There are back-to-school clothes and supplies and sales. You can finally put your feet back into socks and shoes. My cozy fleece and sweatshirts are whispering to me from the top of my closet. I can't wait to put them on.

So unlike the cold, sometimes harsh and stark resolutions that are made in January, autumn allows us to make gentler ones. We can look at the bounty that is surrounding us, snuggle into layers of warmth, and feel alive with the nip in the air. We can easily see where we have come from and where we want to be as the nights close in.

We can finally exhale.

As soon as I have published this post I am going to sit down with a new pencil and a clean page and take stock of where I am and how I am doing. I am going to write a fresh 'Want List' and set myself some goals to see me through until the end of the year. Then I am going to try to enjoy my favorite season to the best of my ability - beginning with a cozy supper, a warm sweater and an early night.


P.S. The painting is "Ydelnesse" by Keith Henderson

Sunday Scribblings - Fortune Cookie

This week's prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "Fortune Cookie." This brings up all kinds of lovely memories for me. I used to love fortune cookies so much that I bought a huge bag of them from the bulk food store and kept them in my car. Whenever I had a passenger (which was a lot!) I would make sure that they took one and read their fortune. Most people thought I was a bit crazy. But then I was also the girl with a massive sunglasses collection who made people put on a pair as soon as they got into my car. (My huge silver Elton John glittery ones were the most popular.) They don't do fortune cookies if you get Chinese takeaway in the UK, so I haven't had my fortune told for a long time.

The last time someone told my fortune they didn't say a word about living in another country so I discounted most of the things that they said. The time before that a friend's boyfriend claimed to be a palm reader. He took one look at my palm, shook his head and refused to tell me what was there. He acted like I was going to die the next day. The time before that I went to see a proper 'psychic.' That was a more believable experience. He talked about other things - how I had a beautiful aura and about my past lives. Apparently I was a bit of a hell raiser in most of them. I wonder if that explains why I can be quite timid at times in this life. Interesting.

But back to the cookie. I think that they are an untapped resource in our quest for love, satisfaction and enlightenment. After all, most of the time when you eat fortune cookies you are with a group of people. How many times have you opened one to find that it is the same fortune as another person you are with? I think that the next time I am going to have fortune cookies I will make my own. I will make my own and fill them with laughter and wishes and joy and possibilities. Some people believe in fate and others believe that we make our own fate. This way they can both be right!!

Fortune Cookie Recipe
taken from here.

Fortune cookies can be tricky to make - it's important to make sure that the cookie batter is spread out evenly on the baking sheet. Instead of using the back of a wooden spoon to spread the batter, it's better to gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth as needed. Wearing cotton gloves makes it easier to handle and shape the hot cookies. This fortune cookie recipe makes about 10 cookies.


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water


1. Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 9-X-13 inch baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

4. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.

5. Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

6. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 - 15 minutes).

7. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Time

When I read this week's Poetry Thursday prompt I had two poems come into my head. Interestingly enough I was transported to the two ends of my education. I remembered a poem that I learned as a song when I was small and a poem that I had to dissect line by line and word by word in university.

The dissected poem was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I remember thinking what a fabulous name for a poem that was. On first reading I hated the poem. In fact, on first reading in university I hated most of the poems I had to read. I was thoroughly pissed off about having to rip them apart at the seams trying to understand every little nuance. I was idealistic and romantic. I wanted to let poetry, "drip from our tongues like honey." (Dead Poets Society) But I found that as I learned more and more about the poems, I liked them more and more. I liked knowing the references and understanding the era in which they were written. This was one of the poems that struck me. By the time we finished studying it, I could read it and hear the swishing of the gowns, the fading, the passage of time. I loved it because I understood it.

The second poem that came to my head was My Grandfather's Clock. The funny thing about this one was when we learned it in primary school, we didn't study it at all. We learned it as a song. Looking it up today I realized that we only learned the good-parts version. No tearing this poem apart to learn and understand. No looking to see what the poet was doing with the passage of time. Instead we sang exactly two verses and two choruses. We ignored the parts about servants and about him properly dying. As far as our young lives were concerned he got married and that was as far as it got. Oh sure in the chorus he died, but we were too preoccupied enjoying the 'tick tock tick tock' to pay any attention. It's funny how things change as you get older!

If you'd like to know what happened to the grandfather, you can follow the link I've provided. If you only want the 'good parts version,' here it is:

My Grandfather's Clock
by Henry Clay Work

My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor.
It was taller by half, than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride.
But it stopped short, never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short never to go again,
When the old man died.

2. In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood, the clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy,
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride.

Monday, August 21, 2006


It's a quiet morning. I can hear some traffic outside my window and it sounds like it has been raining. Last night we went out with a dear friend who is now sleeping on our living room floor. Mark is still sleeping beside me and I am alone with my laptop listening to the world.

Once again I have been lurking through the pages of other people's blogs. I haven't been leaving many comments or writing much of my own stuff. I'm not sure why. I'm feeling a bit shy and a bit edgy. I feel like every time I write it sounds like the same old thing. I am constantly writing about wanting more, needing to change, needing to become all of myself. This morning I think I am bored of myself.

Living in the UK for the first time I couldn't put my finger on what was so fundamentally different about it. I knew when I walked on the cliffs near where I live that it felt different. I finally figured out that there is a real history here. (I wrote about the difference between North America and the UK here.) The people here have a real sense of things being 'done' a certain way. They are blessed with thousands of years of history. No matter where you go in the UK it feels like someone else has been there before. They are forever having some treasure being dug up that has worked its way up from where it was dropped hundreds of years ago. That's a lot of good reasons to continue to sift through the dirt.

(I paused here for a walk down to the sea. I needed to think about where this was going.)

But is it worth it - the digging I mean - is it worth the dozens of deep empty holes? The dirt under your fingernails? Would it be easier to sit cross-legged on top of the earth and let the sleeping treasures lay where they are? Are they better off lying there in the dark? Would I be able to enjoy the wind on my face knowing that there was so much more to uncover under the layers? Am I happier learning about myself? Am I better off making leaps of faith and understanding even though I am often thrown back five steps shortly after making them? Would I be better off to just get on with my life on the surface? Should I stop digging?

For me there is no question. I can't help it. I am on a journey. Trying to figure it all out is a part of who I am. After reading this yesterday I have decided that I must continue in my excavation.

A quest, it seems to me, stems from the intuitive belief that the key to our wholeness lies in the expression of what we've glimpsed in ourselves but not yet touched. A quest is connected to the you that reaches beyond itself to the thread that connects one human being to another." - Geneen Roth

I am not on a dig it seems. I am on a quest. I like that a lot better.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Big is scary.

I know I haven't been posting again this week. After last week's Sunday Scribblings post I got really nervous. I mean, after you post something all big and bold and brash like that it's really difficult to:

a) write something ordinary again
b) live up to the post
and c) write something else when all you want to do is go on about what you were already on about.

So I wasn't able to do Poetry Thursday and I can NOT seem to post anything for Sunday Scribblings. (Although I do have a great Pigeon story for it when I can focus!!)

The day after I wrote this:

"Who else can I still be? I can be as big and wide and grand as I need to be. I can stop trying stay small and nervous. I can begin to live out to my own edges, to make big brave decisions and to not be so afraid of what I might find at the outer reaches of me. I can shift focus from my navel to my fingertips. I can be everything. I just have to be brave."

I got up in the morning and looked at myself in the mirror. What I saw there frightened me. It frightened me because I could feel a stirring deep in my belly. I could feel the stirrings of change. I could feel strong and bold growing up inside of me. Later that morning I received this in the post from the uncomparable Andrea. When I opened it up I was frightened all over again. I was frightened because the beads on this baby are BIG! I usually wear small necklaces so that I don't draw attention to my boobs
(HA! I laugh writing that because it sounds ridiculous. These girls don't need anything extra to draw attention to them!!!!) But it seemed appropriate that on this day I got my first piece of BIG jewelry. I put it on immediately even though I was just cleaning the bathroom. I felt fantastic.

But writing about being brave and living out to your edges is easy. Living with that notion is bloody painful at times. I started out on a BIG high and then had an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker that made me feel like
crap. (That's not only crap but it's very small crap.) And somehow I felt like I had taken ten steps backwards past where I had been on Sunday. I was back feeling small and scared and sorry for myself. WHY do we let other people dictate how and who we are? WHY do we let other people's stuff create stuff for us? And how was I to get back to feeling brave and bold and okay with TAKING UP SPACE??!

So here I sit one week later wondering what I can do to continue to be as much of myself as I can be. I wonder how to continue to embrace being Brave and BOLD and ALIVE in my own skin. If anyone would like to join me on my quest to find and be okay with our outer edges, I would love to have you. Here are a couple of things that have helped me this week. If anyone has any other suggestions, I would appreciate them heartily.

1. I have been reading some books by Geneen Roth about changing my relationship with my body and with food. I cannot tell you how much I love these books. If you have any body issues at all - she's your girl!

2. I bought an apron today. I bought it so that when I decide to be creative I will already have 'the outfit.' It reads, "You love me cos I'm gorgeous."

3. I've been looking into flights to visit some of my new and fabulous friends across the pond.

4. I am about to take myself to bed early. (It's harder to be your best self when you are tired, anxious and cranky.)

sweet dreams xo

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

They're REAL!!!

I've shamelessly stolen this photo from Madeleine's site. She and her three fabulous kids (you can just see the top of their heads in this photo!) and Susannah came to my little village for drinks last week. It felt so normal, so much like we'd known each other for years. I loved it!!! Yes, bloggers, Madeleine & Susannah do not just live in your computers. They are real! I've hugged them! (And yes, I have finally posted a picture with me in it.)

If someone had told me a year ago that by now I would have met people on line who I could consider friends, I would have told them that they were crazy. If someone had told me that I would be meeting amazing women and making strong connections through the internet, I would have laughed. In fact, some people I know are still quite skeptical about the whole thing. But I admit to you now that I am a computer nerd. And through this computer I have met people who have changed and are changing my life. I can't WAIT to meet more of you all as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #20 - "Who Else Can I Still Be?"

I am large - I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

When I first started thinking about what to write for today's prompt I went over a list of all of the things I still wanted to be - or that I think I might want to be - and pondered those things for awhile. I think I want to be a published writer, a mother (erm...) a wife, healthy, I'd like to be a world traveler, a better friend, an inspiration, a home owner, a dual citizen... my list grew and grew until I realized that I was spending too much time making my list.

Who else could I still be? What else could I still be? I've spent enough time in the past little while navel-gazing and wondering and thinking about what I want am who I am and who I intend to be when I grow up that I know the answers to most of these questions. I know already. I KNOW! So the question begs to be asked - then why aren't I DOING something about it? I know what needs to be done to get every single one of my dreams to come true. I know how much grit and determination and drive and WORK I need to be doing. I know how to be thin, I know how to be a better person, I know how to be a published writer. I have 40,000 books on my shelves to help me along the way. Every single deepest desire of my heart is possible. I know that. I can do it. If what you focus on appears in your life. Why aren't I shifting focus?

Laziness? No, I have come to know that I am not lazy. I am selectively lazy and I think that is an entirely different animal. Tiredness? Yes, I am often pooped at the end of the day but that is just an excuse. There are a lot of people a lot more tired than me getting on with the business of their dreams. Fear? Yes. I do sometimes think that I am afraid of what I might find when I get there. What if I do get thin and then I am just the same old me? What if I do get published and nothing really changes? What if people love me less because I am successful? I know what Now feels like. I can deal with Now quite easily. If I work towards Then I might not be able to handle it when I get there. I might be vulnerable Then, and that's really scary.

But it is all just more crap. More excuses. More not moving forward. I'd really like to go back in time and watch to see the exact place and moment in our lives where we learn that we need to be afraid. I would like to go back and smack the first person who made me feel small.

So I think that I am going to answer the question of 'who else I could still be' with the Walt Whitman quote at the top of this page: "I am large - I contain multitudes." And the one I used at the top of this post as well... Who else can I still be? I can be as big and wide and grand as I need to be. I can stop trying stay small and nervous. I can begin to live out to my own edges, to make big brave decisions and to not be so afraid of what I might find at the outer reaches of me. I can shift focus from my navel to my fingertips. I can be everything. I just have to be brave.

(Oh, and 40,000 books might have been a slight exaggeration!) For more Sunday Scribblings go here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Caution: Changing Priorities

On Monday I had the day off. Mark and I drove to Plymouth. It's about 45 minutes away. I love driving to Plymouth but I don't love Plymouth. It lacks the character of the other places we go in the UK. It was bombed heavily during the war and when they rebuilt it it was designed by 60s designers. It's ugly. They are trying very hard to regenerate it, but it's still ugly in places.

Still, a day out is a day out so I was loving the never-ending sunshine, uninterrupted time with my honey, the chance to people watch, and the opportunity to buy things from shops instead of from the internet! As it is summer, everywhere around us is crowded. Plymouth was no exception and we got stuck in some traffic jams. One-way systems are probably good for traffic flow when there isn't much, but on Monday we just seemed to sit a lot.

As we sat and waited at one intersection I noticed a traffic sign. It was bright red with white letters and it said: "Caution Changing Priorities." I have no idea what it means in a traffic jam, but it made me laugh out loud. I wished I could steal it and wear it around my neck! In the past few months I have changed so much. I am beginning to see small twinkling lights at the end of some of my tunnels. But in the process of moving towards these lights I have had to change some of the ways that I am thinking.

I think I have learned that in order to stop emotionally eating and in order to get outside and do some exercise and in order to be in love equally my priorities have had to change. We spend so much of our lives trying to be good and make other people happy. We try very hard not to be selfish or to appear self-absorbed. But in trying to be 'good' to everyone else we end up beating the hell out of ourselves. We ignore our own needs. We eat when we should be crying, we sit when we should be dancing, and we bite our tongues and swallow the words that would allow us to feel our own integrity. The saddest part of all of this is that by ignoring ourselves we make ourselves miserable and so we also fail at making everyone else around us happy. We become bitchy and tight and pinched. We sigh like martyrs and shut down the sparkling, full sides of ourselves. Eventually we forget.

So I would like to market a line of necklaces. They will be bright red pendants that read: 'Caution Changing Priorities.' We could put them on as a symbol to ourselves and to others that we are beginning to pay attention to ourselves. It would let people know that we were about to let go; about to begin to put ourselves and our needs before the needs of everyone else. We could smile and gently tell them that by taking care of ourselves that we are going to be much better mothers/ daughters/ sisters/ lovers/ partners, because we are going to be happier, more relaxed, and more in tune with who we are. We are not going to forget them, we are going to adore them - because we can finally adore ourselves.

"Caution: Changing Priorities..." It could be a revolution!

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's Already Broken.

"I am larger and much better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness." - Walt Whitman (This quote has very little to do with this post - I just LOVE it and wanted to share!!)

A funny thing has been happening to me lately. I have been starting books and then putting them down in the middle. I had to force myself to finish a couple. The most recent was 'Secret Life of Bees.' Somewhere around the middle I knew that things were going to get stressful and I stopped reading it. (I forced a finish - FABULOUS book!!!) It even happened with 'Eat Pray Love.' I read it right up to nearly the end and then I just stopped reading it for some reason. Any psychoanalysts out there? What's going on in my brain?

But this week I read a book and I devoured every page. I bought it because I am completely fed up with worrying about my weight and yet I am still eating too much. What I found was not a book just about food issues. It was a book about body issues, friendship issues, boundary issues. She talks about living life so that you are more aware of yourself and the world around you. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

One of the chapters that I loved the most was called, "Remind Yourself that it is Already Broken." It is a concept that I have already been trying to work with for the past little while. Roughly translated it means that if you look at everything in your life as temporary you will begin to live differently. Everything and everyone in your life won't be there forever. Things get lost or broken or stolen or they fade and fall apart. People move away, get lost, get broken, and sometimes they die. We take everything and everyone so much for granted. Seeing everything in your life as already broken:

"...helps you fully appreciate what you've got while you have it. Instead of protecting it, being worried about losing it, or spending your time and energy devising ways to keep it safe forever, you place your attention and love right square in this moment, and you luxuriate in every last bit of it." - Geneen Roth

This is what I am going to try to work with today and what I wish for you - moments of pure appreciation. xo

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Who Else Might I Have Been?

This week's prompt for Sunday Scribblings is, "Who Else Might I Have Been?"

I can trace my life right now back through so many decisions. I've played the game of wondering where this part of my life started. If I hadn't come to England the first time I wouldn't be here with Mark. But I can go farther. If I hadn't stopped going to camp the year I did I would never have worked at the museum and met the boy who I had the dysfunctional relationship with. It was this relationship that helped to ruin a friendship. The friend and I were going to go to England together. When university, the relationship and the friendship were all over, I decided to get away to England without her. Without her I knew I couldn't live in London alone. I chose a tiny hotel in the middle of nowhere. All roads, all decisions, all movements from the time I was 19 conspired together to bring me here. I have to believe it was fate.

What would have happened if I had kept on going to camp? What would have happened if I had dumped that boyfriend's sorry ass when I first knew I should? What would have happened if I had been too afraid to move to England for the first, second, and third times? I don't know. Maybe I'd be a teacher now, and living in Ontario. Maybe I'd be married and having babies. Maybe I would be heading towards a Principalship, driving a VW and enjoying my summer vacation in Mexico. Maybe I would have done Outdoor Rec at university and I'd still be camping. Maybe I would have gone on to get my Phd and become a Professor. The possibilities are endless.

Who else might I have been? All of those lives might have been wonderful. Would I have been happy? Or would my decisions still have eventually led me to Mark? It's hard to say. But I often tell him that in the next life, he has to come and find me. It was a lot of work this time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Warning: a very grumpy post.

I was all set to write a wonderful, empowered blog post tonight. Mark met me after work and I went on my first 8ish mile run after work. The sun was shining, the sea was glinting and I was running! I was thinking about you all as I ran up a long hill, listening to Deb Talan's song, "Big Strong Girl." I thought about how far I had come in the last few years, and I was all excited to be 'in training.'

A few miles in I felt a funny twinge in my knee. Stupidly, I ignored it. I ran a bit, walked a bit, and ran a bit more. Then we walked up a big hill and when we were on the flat again we started running and the funny twinge came back but this time there was a definite 'poing.' That time I stopped. Duh. Little miss listen to her body should have listened the first time. I told Mark to run ahead of me and I would meet him at the beach but as I walked home it hurt more and more until I was seriously limping and now I am sitting with a bag of frozen peas on my knee.

GRRRrrrroooOOOOOooooowwwWWWWWWWlllllLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. All of this bloody training and I'm sitting here with 10 weeks to go until my run with a damaged knee. (There's swearing in my head right now but I will spare you the naughty words.) I'm not a very happy camper at all. Damnit. (Ooops, okay, ONE swear word is okay...) Sigh. Sorry for the unhappiness. Especially when it's my own darn fault.

Please tell me something nice...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Poetry Thursday

I have been fairly bad at posting Poetry Thursday entries lately. (In fact, I have just realized now that I am even a full week behind... sorry.) I think I am overwhelmed by all of the creativity that I am either trying to produce or that I feel like I want to produce or whatever. I worry sometimes that I am not blogging interestingly enough or that I am not blogging enough, but then when I am blogging I worry that I should be spending more time listening to my characters and Writing, but then when I am Writing I worry that I should be spending time sifting through the other things in my life's In Box. I can never just be in the middle of something, I always feel like I need to be worrying about all of the other things I have in the pan. I would really really love to know how to stop worrying full stop. Hmmm... yet another thing to put on my to-do list. Grrrrrr....

So I just can't seem to face writing any poetry right now. I suppose I could write a poem about not being able to write a poem. Or I could write a poem out of my to-do lists... One of my favorite poems ever is by William Carlos Williams. It's basically a fridge note. It's a good food poem so here it is:

This is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

But I also have my first ever poem that I ever memorized. It captures a family mealtime perfectly. It's by Dennis Lee and I think it's called:


When they bring me a plate
Full of stuff that I hate
Like spinach and turnips and guck.
I sit very straight
and I look at the plate
and I quietly say to it: "Yuck!"

Little kids bawl,
cause I used to be small
and throw it all over the tray.
But now I am three
and much more like me
so I "Yuck!" 'til they take it away.

But sometimes my Dad
gets terrifically mad
and he says, "Don't you drink from that cup!"
But he can't say it right,
cause he's not very bright.
So I trick him and drink it all up.

Then he gets up and roars
and he stomps on the floor
and he hollers, "I warn you, don't eat!"
He counts up to ten
and I trick him again,
and I practically finish my meat.

Then I start on the guck,
and my Daddy goes, "Yuck!"
and scrunches his eyes 'til they hurt.
So I shovel it in
and he grins a big grin
and then we have dessert!

Monday, July 31, 2006

another month gone!

"Once you’ve overcome inertia, it’s much easier to keep going." - Steve Pavlina

Can you believe that tomorrow is August!? I am flabbergasted and astounded that this year has gone by so quickly. That old cliche about life going faster and faster as you get older scares me. If life is moving this quickly in my thirties, what sort of speed will it go in my forties?? Urk!

I feel like I need to do something to mark the passage of time a little better. I feel like the weeks are rolling by and I have no real record of my days. I tried keeping a daily Gratitude Journal, but anything that I have to do before bed goes by the wayside eventually. I used to be an evening person - an owl - but in this third decade of my life I have realized that I am definitely a lark. I've been getting up at 6am to run (yes, me!!) and I have found that if I can write before lunch I get a lot more done. So perhaps a morning memorial to my days is a good plan.

A few days ago Jamie at Starshyne Productions wrote about keeping a Spell/ Prayer/ Magic book. I absolutely love this idea! I love it because it is very open in its brief. As someone who writes a lot, sometimes writing for personal pleasure outside of Getting Something Done is difficult. This book lets me free of that stress because I don't have to even put words in if I don't want to! So I am copying her (thanks Jamie!) and I am going to create my very own 'Spells and Prayers and Magic' book. And as tomorrow is August first, I am going to try to keep it up for a whole month. A month, says Steve Pavlina, is long enough to see how something is going without committing to anything forever. So I'd like to see where I will be after a month of spells and prayers and magic. Sounds intriguing doesn't it?

And hopefully September first won't sneak up on me so quickly.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #18 - My 2 Cents

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is, "My 2 Cents." I wasn't sure what to write about because I am not feeling particularly full of beans tonight. But then I started read through some of the posts this week and I realized what I would like to give my 2 cents about.

A few months ago I sent out a question. I realized that there were lots of sites for artists but not very many (that I had found) for writers. So I asked if anyone would be interested in participating in something. I wanted to call it, "Sunday Scribblings" because there wasn't much going on in blog-land on the weekend. Laini quickly answered and said that she would like to help me do it. (In hindsight - thank GOODNESS!!) So between us we cooked up the site.

As our first week approached we emailed back and forth wondering if anyone would be interested. We thought we'd be lucky to have twenty people participate and instead thirty-three people answered the call. The site grew quickly and by week five we already had eighty or more people coming most weeks. It's been overwhelming at times, but the prompts have always been accepted, delays in linking have been humored, and a real community has been created.

It's that community that prompted me to write this post today. Many times over the past few months I have found myself shaking my head in heady emotion. People have responded to the prompts with bravery and honesty and clarity and strength. I am constantly inspired by the writers in this group. Sharing the kind of depth of experience that most people hide from each other, people have opened their lives and their hearts. Every week I am jealous of someone's writing skill and of someone else's ideas. Every week I wish I could go and visit someone for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Every week I am humbled by someone else's experiences.

My hope for this site was that we could inspire someone to begin to write. I wanted to read what other people had to say. I also selfishly wanted an excuse to write every week. Along the way Sunday Scribblings has taken on a life of its own. Friends and connections have been made, stories have been told, and words have been strung together in many ways. I get excited when I go to a new site and see the Sunday Scribblings link. What more could we do? Where else can we go? What piece of writing could be started here on a Sunday morning? The possibilities, I hope, are endless.

P.S. Having read the comments already left, I need to make it clear that I didn't write this post for thanks or for any accolades. I don't want you to think I was fishing. I wrote it because of how much I am enjoying all of this.... but thank you for enjoying it right back!!

P.P.S. Crazy, amazing news! Yahoo Picks has chosen Sunday Scribblings as their pick of the day!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

it's TOO HOT!!

I found these pictures in a newspaper and they made me grin so I thought I would share them with you. I just love that the zookeepers are making huge popsicles for the animals. Political views aside, it's nice to know that the animals are being taken care of in this heat!! (I think that the tiger looks particularly happy with his treat!) xo

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #17: "Thief!"

I've been struggling to write something for this topic until I realized that the reason I am struggling is because I am conspiring with a thief of my own!

I've not been reading any blogs or phoning anyone. I owe my brother and several friends a proper email. My house is quite shocking in its mess. My laundry is piling up. I can see my regular life being neglected. I was trying to write about a time when I have either been a thief (except for bar-stuff, the list is remarkably short) or been with a thief (again a short list!) but I just can't seem to focus.

The reason for all of this is that I have had a book enter my brain. I have written before about accepting book ideas from the universe. Well, some time ago I accepted a wonderful idea. I heard it whispered in my ear and I wrote it down in one of my notebooks. I left it to percolate and found that I thought about it a lot more than some of the others. I mentioned it to Mark last week but told him that I was thinking about starting to write a different book because I didn't feel like I was a good enough writer yet to do this idea justice. (Oooh, I am a textbook case, aren't I?!) He shook his head and told me not to wait and that I should just start. After all, the first attempt is only a rough draft, right? It doesn't have to be good right away.

Well, I mulled over that for a few days. In fact, I started making notes for a different book entirely. I ignored the advice and the whispers and went on with my days. (Why do we have such angst about being 'good'??) And then a few days ago the thieves completely entered my brain. It started with a name. I got the full name of a character. I knew immediately who she was. I wasn't sure about the name and tried to change it to something different. She stubbornly stayed strong. So I wrote her name down. From there my pen hasn't really stopped moving. She has told me her whole story. So has her next door neighbor, her landlord, her ex-lover, and a whole cast of other people who inhabit her world. They have stolen me and my time away. I have found myself scribbling when I should be working, being resentful when I am asked to do something else, and desperate for a pen when another voice begins to whisper in my ear.

I'm scared. I know what this means. This has happened to me twice before. This thief will continue to steal my time. There is a real love-hate thing going on here. I love this moment. I love knowing that if I just sit down at the page, a book will begin to emerge. But I hate it as well. I hate that I will question my ability, my talent, and my use of time. I will always either want to be writing or be dreading it. I will hear the voices in my head and I either won't know how to tell their story or I won't be able to get it down quickly enough. This is a jealous and demanding thief. But I am afraid I have no choice.

For more Sunday Scribblings that have stuck to the topic much better, go here!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Poetry Thursday

This Week's Poetry Thursday topic is... Sex.

Now, I am not a prude, but I am not very brave. So I would like to share my favorite all-time sex poems with you, but I will make you go somewhere else to read them. I found them in high school when my teacher read 'Carrots' to us. They are absolutely hilarious - I can't wait to hear what you think!!

I had to do some searching to find this poetry on the web, but another blogger has posted them before, so here they are. (scroll down a little bit on her post to find them. They are called, 'The Sex Lives of Vegetables' by Lorna Crozier.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

a bunch of good stuff.

It's been a funny blogging week! I keep on thinking, "ooh, that would make a great blog post!" Then I go about my day and when I get to my computer I can't remember a thing. Sigh. There's a heat wave here this week so maybe the heat is frying out my memory systems. So as I have nothing intelligent to say, I will share the intelligence of others.

Things I wish I had said/ done/ written this week:

1) This post by the remarkable Liz.

2) "When you act out of fear, your fears come true" - David Bayles & Ted Orland

3) "Just get up and do your thing and speak your truth. It's as simple as that." - Lamar Harrington

4) And two quotes by my constant favorite, Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

"Like wolf pups, women need a similar initiation, one which teaches that the inner and outer worlds are not happy-go-lucky places. Many women do not even have the basic teaching about predators that a wolf woman gives her pups, such as: if it's threatening and bigger than you, flee; if it's weaker, see what you want to do; if it's sick, leave it alone; if it has quills, poison, fangs, or razor claws, back up and go in the other direction; if it smells nice but is wrapped around metal jaws, walk on by."


"We find lingering evidence of [the Wild Woman] archetype in the images and symbols found in stories, literature, poetry, painting, and religion. It would appear that its glow, its voice, and its fragrance are meant to cause us to be raised up from contemplating the shit on our tails to occasionally traveling in the company of the stars."

(That quote is one of my all time favorites. Since I read it the first time, it's become like a refrain in my life's song. It pops up in my head a lot when I am feeling stuck or sorry for myself. When it appears in my head I realize that I must be contemplating the shit again... time to look at things differently. Funny... it's been poking its nose in this week.)

5) "We do not grow absolutely. Chronologically. We sometimes grow in one dimension and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cell, constellations." - Anais Nin.

6) And last but not least: This past week saw so much bravery and courage from Jamie at Starshyne Productions. YAY to her for leaving a job that didn't fit and moving farther into the realm of following her dreams! If you don't read her blog yet, do go there and have a look. If you read back only a few posts you will watch this brave woman make that leap! Thank you for the inspiration Jamie!!!

Hope that you have a wonderful day wherever you are. xoox