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.