Wednesday, December 31, 2008
There is so much good that has come from this year. And one of the most important lessons was taught to me about regret, right at the end. I feel like I squeezed the most out of this year. I think I'm ready for 2009. One toe in the water, the rest of the foot on the shore, balancing. Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this year so wonderful, you will never all know who you are or how much you touched my life.
Back in October or November, iMan announced that we (our son and myself) could accompany him to New Zealand for a three week stay in January where he would be working for a stretch. His employer would pay our airfare and hotel. This is a place I have always wanted to travel to but considering the cost and the time, it just never was a true opportunity for me. I was excited and of course a little nervous about leaving my life behind for that long. Then just as suddenly as the trip came up it was cancelled. Not for him, but for me and our son. I was disappointed but took it in stride, not going meant not leaving a job I had only started a few months ago. A job I am grateful to have found in these economic times. But nevertheless a job and not a career. Then shortly before Christmas the opportunity was back and I had to decide quickly as plane and hotel reservations had to be made. It was my last day at work before the holiday break and when I flew the idea by my boss he was, needless to say, not thrilled. Not only is he embarking on a new working partnership himself in the new year which means a lot of PR but it also leaves him in the lurch work-wise since I was giving him virtually no warning. I wasn't surprised but I was hoping he would say how he understood that I couldn't turn down this marvelous opportunity. Well, he didn't exact say that either. So having to make a quick decision, I turned down the trip.
Just yesterday I took my son and a new friend of his and that friend's mom skating. She's a wonderful woman (hi Sally!) I only recently met despite living a block away from each other and having sons the same age. She's also a New Zealander and she mentioned in the car that it is quite likely she and her small family will be moving back there come October. I was floored partly because a new friend I've made might be leaving my life but she's moving exactly where I want to be! I don't begrudge her anything, for goodness sake it's her homeland and where her family is. All the same I felt, well gypped.
I spent a turbulent afternoon and evening letting all the feelings come and overwhelm me and trying to figure out how I churned myself up into the proper little mess that I was. I was actually jealous. I felt trapped here in a city and a climate that doesn't make me happy. And I realized that I had made the wrong choice about my trip. I should have chosen to take the trip, taken my chances with leaving the job and my boss in a pickle. Which is where the regret comes in. It is said that people only regret the things they didn't do, never the things they did. I made my decision based on fear. Apparently I read somewhere that the largest fear women have is becoming a bag lady. On the other side of the gender spectrum, I'm sure the largest or one of the largest fears men have is being homeless. And it was this base and basic fear that guided my decision.
I think I learned a lesson in all this. I am still enormously sad about not going. And I hope that next time I have such a decision to make, even if it's under the gun like this last one, that I'll choose so that I won't have regrets.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I managed to polish off, "October" by Richard B. Wright in about a week. An easy read but intelligent prose. It doesn't come close to his, "Clara Callan" which I thought was brilliant but it was better than the rest of him that I read after Clara Callan. You know how it is when you discover a fabulous book then run out and try to get your hands on everything else he/she has written? This book is about death, a popular subject since, as they say, no one gets out of this alive. But in all it wasn't really depressing, considering. Not much else to say without giving the premise away.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
THE 99 THINGS MEME
Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font
1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars. But I wasn't happy about it. It was on the beach and the tide came in, waking me up with wet feet, luckily only wet feet!
3. Played in a band.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Plenty of them, they are very popular here in August.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. A couple of times, always around Christmas to animal shelters.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. Once in
8. Climbed a mountain. Nothing like Everest or Kilimanjaro but I live in a very mountainous area, so plenty to climb.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. Not on stage, I sing all the time with my son.
11. Bungee jumped. I’d have to be sedated and bound and gagged.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. So much I want to learn with art(s).
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. Can’t prove it but….
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in
20. Slept on an overnight train. We used to travel every summer to
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked. Once, during a bus strike. I was foolish and very lucky.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Yeah, but not in a long time – who wants to waste a good sick day when you’re sick?
24. Built a snow fort. Two days ago was my last one.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping. I’m bashful
27. Run a marathon. Longest I ran was a 20 km race.
28. Ridden a gondola in
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. I’m not sure where that would be.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Of course there are various degrees of satisfaction. I don’t think I’d be any more satisfied with millions. Less stressed out but not more satisfied.
38. Seen the
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. I’ve been paid to not sing.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Yes, it was horrible.
47. Had your portrait painted. A caricature, as a child.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain. It’s over-rated.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the
57. Started a business. And gratefully, got out of it quickly.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. Girl Guide cookies (
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving. See number 11.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. Not a camp, but the
67. Bounced a check. I was young and foolish.
68. Flown in a helicopter. See numbers 11 and 65.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. My mother is very unsentimental and all my childhood toys went out the door one day.
70. Visited the
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt. I’d love to do this, when the time presents itself.
73. Stood in
74. Toured the
75. Been fired from a job. Once, then talked my boss into giving it back to me.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in
77. Broken a bone. One tiny one in my foot that had me in a cast from toe to knee for six weeks. Then on another occasion I broke my kneecap.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the
82. Bought a brand new car. Once, when I was young and foolish. The payments nearly crushed me.
83. Walked in
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. Yeah, and it’s not really white.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Not even a fish. Would a mosquito count if I fed it to a spider?
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. ??? Maybe indirectly, I’m sure we all have without knowing it. I’m sure I’ve saved my son’s life at least once a day since he was born.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. That’s over-rated too.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. My father then my husband within ten months of each other. A very difficult year that was.
94. Had a baby. I always wanted one. Then I thought it wasn’t going to happen, then when I was 42 and least expected it, but most wanted it.
95. Seen the
96. Swum in the
97. Been involved in a law suit. Stressful.
98. Owned a cell phone. But rarely use all my allotted monthly minutes, I’m a bit of an old-fashioned user.
99. Been stung by a bee. Once
Been there done that, got the t-shirt: 48
Wish I had: 19
No desire: 32
Friday, December 26, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Last weekend Santa told me I looked tired (gee, thanks Santa for the honesty)and I was struck by a certain crone-ness when I realized the last 5 or 6 CDs (almost typed "albums" there) were all greatest hits or best of. That kind of did me in for a few minutes. I have to wonder how I can feel so old yet so vulnerable at the same time.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I couldn't resist posting this lovely shot. I must have a suspicious nature because whenever Riley sits on Santa's lap I keep my eyes peeled for where Santa's hands might wander. Or maybe it's a sign of the times or my over-protective mother hen-ness. My son walked right up to the man today, whipped out the list he had been working on for some time and posed like a fashion model with the big guy. Lovely souvenir, dontcha think?
"Sharing Good Times" by Jimmy Carter was another book I bought iMan for last Christmas. The former president of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner is a man I admire. The cover of the book has a photo of him and his wife posing with fish they have caught in what looks like a lake with a mountain background. Early on in the book I had a good laugh when he talked about how his mother always thought his brother, Billy, was the most intelligent of her children. I guess that is something only a mother can know. But he is equally at home living and writing about running a presidential race as he is fishing and farming. One very interesting confession he makes is that when he was younger, he took little regard in his wife's opinion in how their life would run. It was over time and a few humorous incidents that he came to build a true mutual relationship with Rosalynn and grow to admire and respect what she brought to them as a team.
Here is a quote that sums up the main lesson of the book:
"...and really for the first time, I was beginning to consult with Rosalynn and to accommodate her ideas and preferences before final decisions were made. I learned that real sharing was much more than laboring together at the warehouse or even dancing all night with each other and with friends. It included planning in advance and later savoring our experiences. What was especially challenging but enjoyable was treating my wife - and even sometimes our boys - as equal partners, with mutual respect for their opinions and with special delight in their pleasure. This did not come easy for me."
The book has just a smattering of his political life and includes snippets about many of his varied interests such as birdwatching, fishing and travelling. It was heartening to see how a man who started off almost as a male chauvinist could evolve into an open minded man of this time. The true richness of his life came from sharing.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I spent the whole day in my art studio. From about 9:30 to 4:30, coming out for an hour break at lunch and then to pick up Riley at school. Once home I got another hour in. And this is all I have to show for it:
There is incredible detail that the camera doesn't do justice for because it's a night shot and I am still working with my focus-challenged camera (I have asked Santa for a new one, but I think he, too, might have been hit by the financial crisis). It is on a measly 5 x 7, 140 lb. watercolor paper. Actually there is nothing measly about the paper; it is holding up quite well, I'm impressed because I haven't worked much with watercolor paper. I have started another collage on acrylic paper, mostly to give it a test run before my next class starts in January to see if I have the right paper for the medium. But I've digressed. I still will work this a lot more, but was curious to chronicle the process and compare what it looks like two weeks from now or hopefully, a few days from now.
Early this week a necklace I ordered from Lisa Leonard arrived. It was a Christmas present to myself and is more lovely than I could ever have imagined. I first saw her work from a posting at Karen's website. I went over and looked at her jewelry and craved it. It is handmade, personalized and incredibly beautiful. I chose my two words "Be" and "Peace" because they represent the fruits of so many of my struggles that have lessened in the last year due to a lot of hard work and opening of my spirit. I can't say enough about how much I love this piece. It also makes a beautiful sound when I bend over (no snide jokes, please), there is just something about it's simplicity and clean lines. Lisa Leonard rocks.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Early in the morning on my way to work, I got off the subway and in the corridor lay a homeless man, sleeping. Someone before me had taken the sandwich they had made and brought for their own lunch, nicely packaged in a tupperware style container, and left it beside his head. It was so touching. If I had had my camera I would have wanted to take a picture but in a crowd of people it probably would have looked crass. Not that I would have cared. But I thought what a wonderful testimony to the kindness of strangers.
Later that night I was out walking my dog. I heard someone calling behind me and I stopped to turn around. On the other side of the street was a teenager, running and beside me was his dog. Not leashed and obviously not very obedient. I reached down to grab the dog's collar so its owner could reclaim it but it jumped away from me and ran into the street - right into an oncoming car. I screamed and screamed like a freaking banshee, as if it was my own dog. The crunching sound of the impact is something I'll never forget, the sound that kept me waking up last night over and over again. But this is a good news story so I will hasten to finish it. The driver of the car stopped immediately to make sure that the dog had not gone under the wheels (it hadn't), but had been kind of blind-sided. The dog kept running across the street and its owner was able to grab it. I crossed the street, realized the guy was pretty young, so I checked the dog over, making sure it wasn't bleeding (it wasn't) and that it didn't have any broken bones (it didn't). I was worried it might have internal injuries but there wasn't anything concrete I could do about that unless the owner took it to the vet. And it seemed spirited enough - it took off down the street again with the owner chasing it.
What a day.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Apparently this project originated over at Mindapples. The gist is for you to share with the world what five things you do that help keep you mentally fit. And then invite others to share with you.
Here are my five:
1) yoga and exercise, alternating days
2) creative expression
4) express gratitude
5) good sheets
6) Three Acres perfume stick in Amber scent (although I can't seem to find it anywhere anymore)
I've gone over by one and stopped myself because I would probably go much further and I think one of the ideas of this is to keep it simple. Some of these things sound strictly physical but they also give me a thought-thrill too so I left them on my list.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Now I often find myself simply giddy with being alive. I like waking up, even at the cold and dark hour of 5:00 a.m. which is when my alarm is set for on weekdays. I have an hour to myself before the rest of the humans in my house get up and it makes me feel drunk. Mostly between 5 and 6 I attend to my dogs' bodily functions then work out or do yoga. But I feel like laughing, like I have a secret or a private joke. Some aspects of my life right now are really in the toilet but I still get in the shower and get that same feeling my father must have had. It's unexplainable. I just want to sing. About having this moment, this one free wheeling ride. And lucky for me it lasts long past 11:00 a.m. At the end of the day I look forward to getting in a hot bath with my book, climbing into bed and journaling, taking some silent time before sleep. I'm still not sure how I got here, but I like it. I think I'll stay.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I bought this book for my significant other, iMan, last Christmas, kind of as a joke but also because it sounded interesting and if I read it, I might just learn a lot - a lot of what I don't know, tidbits? trivia? conversation starters? Coming in at just under 400 pages it took me two weeks to get through. The second week it was starting to wear on me, I think because it doesn't have a beginning, middle and an end. The story (although this is non-fiction) is about a 30-something male (married, Manhattan living) decides he is going to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A-ak to Zywiec. Each "chapter" is a Reader's Digest abridged version of the encyclopedia, or rather the best-of. It was laugh-out loud funny many times but like the author, I have to wonder just how much I will retain of all those facts. I'm glad I read it, I know I am never going to attempt the same feat as the author (A.J. Jacobs) but I'm just as glad to be finished with it. I'm looking forward now to some quick fiction.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Goldilocks was finishing her work day and knew she had to take a trip to the loo before heading out into the cold for a long and snowy commute home. With the pass key to gain admittance, she opens her usual stall door. "Oh no!" she says. "I can't use this loo. This loo is stinky AND has not been flushed!"
Bang, goes the door to the stall next to her usual one. "Oh no!" she exclaims. "I can't use this loo. This loo has pee on the seat!"
Bang, goes the door to the stall next to the one that is next to her usual one. "Ah," she says with relief. "This loo is just right."
Honestly, I can not fathom why people leave toilets in such horrible states. Why not flush?! Do they want the next user to admire their fibre intake? Why not wipe the seat if they splatter? Did they grow up in a barn? I can understand an urgent need to get IN to the stall. I can not understand an urgent need to get OUT of one, leaving as if there is a fire in the building. And these aren't "public toilets" where just anyone off the street can wander in. These are locked down toilets in an office complex. I live and work amongst heathens.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I know there are people in the world with real problems and I shouldn't complain. But it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
After I dropped Riley off at school one day other parents were standing around talking about t.v. Most of them don't let their kids watch much. One said her t.v. was off Monday through Thursday and even after that it was heavily regulated. Another said he had definite time restrictions for his kids. I immediately felt like a television whore. And the biggest consensus was that they didn't like the behaviour of their kids when they watched what they felt was too much. They argued, threw fits, basically unpleasant stuff.
Ironically I rely on our television for some inner peace. I don't even hear it most of the time. But when I am one-on-one with my five-year old for months at a time I need some escape to keep my sanity. It allows me time to take care of the essential, have some time to think about something other than the non-stop (bless his curious soul) questions and attention. And frankly when I say we are going to turn off the t.v. and do something else (go outside, play a game or whatever) he easily agrees and is happy to do something else. It's not like he sits like a zombie, entirely mesmerized. He is always doing something else while sort-of-watching. And we do get out of the house other than school hours. He is enrolled in swimming and music. Weather permitting (above -20 C and not wet) we go to the park, down to the waterfront, walk the dogs - plenty of things that don't involve the boob tube. He goes over to friends houses and has them over to ours.
So why do I feel a little guilty that I am letting the t.v. run too much? I am a television whore. It has been two days since my last t.v. show.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
And another thing... awhile back, I think it was on Mir's blog that I discovered Wrap N Mats. They replace the lowly plastic sandwich bag so it's a no-brainer politically correct environmentally green thing to do. I ordered a couple from the Canadian distributor and they arrived within the week. Then I saw them over at Andrea's blog, who also gave them a great review. I figure I save putting about 16 plastic sandwich bags in the landfill every week, possibly more. I also ordered some from the US distributor only because they were offering different and more funky designs and they too came within 10 days. I like that the majority of them are made in the USA (some are made in China, I'm not sure why, but that's a choice you can make when you place your order) which gives it more points for buying locally. I can't kid myself and think that anything like this is going to be made in my own backyard anytime soon so buying something made on the same continent as me qualifies in my book. I've bought a number for Christmas presents (also inexpensive for me ship out because they weigh so little and pack down well). I'm doing my part to have a green Christmas.
Friday, December 5, 2008
"Ho, ho, ho," I say
Buy hand-made is all the rage
Time for reflection
And another because I'm feeling so prolific at the moment.
It's cold and rainy
Vancouver's standard forecast
I wish I lived there