About Me, Travel

Travellin’

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The first time I went to summer camp I was so excited. I read over every scrap of paper in the welcome package they sent (the first piece of mail I ever got). I packed my bag according to the checklist they included. I studied maps of each site and memorized the names for each age group of kids. I was ready… and this was before school had even finished. Camp wouldn’t begin for another 2 weeks.

I haven’t been excited like that for a very long time. After a certain age I think we all stop reaching that level. I don’t know why that is. Does it come from a place of apathy and laziness, do we become embarrassed to show true pure excitement?

Well, I am not embarrassed… I am going to Ontario for the first time in 2 years in 10 days and I am half way packed. In part because we’re going to a wedding and my fancy stuff stays in a garment bag, but the bigger part is that I am so dang happy to be going home.

Ontario is far from being my home anymore. I can’t ever really see myself living there again. My parents don’t live there anymore. Its no longer my home, but it’s my hometown. There is something so fun and nostalgic about being back there. Every time I go so much has changed, but a lot doesn’t. Its a world I can navigate without google maps.

I’m so excited , I may not be able to sleep the night before.

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About Me

Sex and the not so single girl…

From this title I am sure you are expecting some kind of Carrie Bradshaw monologue… well, I’ll try not to disappoint.

I come from a family where I am considered a prude. My mom always told me to put on more make up or show off a bit more of what I was given. (in a loving and endearing way) My parents will be the first ones to tell you that the best vacation of their lives happened at Hedonism. Through the lens of my life, I am downright puritanical.

I have friends, female friends, who are open about their love for pornography. Who use their favourite porno as an icebreaker at parties… I have never been that girl. As a woman with more curiosity than I can manage, I have explored that world. I have looked at images and films meant to arouse and I feel that my imagination along with the real stories I have read from the porn production world do not allow me to disassociate enough to enjoy such an enterprise.

I prefer my eroticisim in long form.  I love the story. I want to see the hesitation and intimacy of holding hands for the first time… the slow lingering first caress of hidden flesh. I want a story that I can close my eyes and imagine my self in. With the written word as opposed to something that is image based… It’s possible.  I am able to imagine MYSELF, instead of a busty blonde in cake face makeup and a neon g string… Reality, is sexy.

I have a healthy sexual appetite, (sorry to the family reading this who still see me as a blonde 7 year old obsessed with free willy, but honestly lets free that willy, amiright?)  I am  NOT a prude or a puritan. I have seen the buzzfeed posts of pornstars before the make up and prefer those women. I understand the want for beauty, but the narrative needs to change… The moments I feel sexiest to myself and my partner are when I feel the most like ME.

I just spent a decent amount of time arguing the merits of erotic fiction and why it has mass appeal to women and I think a huge contributing factor is the freedom of imagination. I feel that with the written word we are more able to imagine ourselves as the protagonist in the story. I feel that if we saw more blank slates or at least a version of ourselves and our wants  in erotic content there would be a much larger audience.

I am a white, straight woman in Canada. I am privileged. There are so many more important things for people to fight for…  I feel that accurate representation of all women in all our forms is a small thing that can lead to a greater understanding. Right now we see only a few facets… lets seek more, less lacquered versions. There are thousands upon thousands of women who marched today wanting more… there are many battles, both big and small that are still waging for woman in every kind of world the earth provides. Let’s stand together and ask for more.

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About Me, Books

January Reading List

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I am in a very strange place in my life. We own our adorable home, we own our truck, we’re getting married and we live in a place we’ve been wanting to live for more than 4 years. So much is working out but the one thing that really isn’t is my work life.

I truly loved my last job. It was close to my house, the work was rewarding, I liked my co-workers, and I got to hold puppies and kittens all day. I’m finding it so tough to take on a job that I don’t love as much.

I am in a position where I am so unsure of what I want to do… I am applying to a workshop program with SFU but I may not get in and its not for something that would make me money right away or at all.

With my all of this confusion I’ve decided that January will be a month of inspirational and educational books.Not necessarily self help books, but books that had in the past lit a small fire somewhere inside me.

So we have Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. A.K.A the book I give people they are going through something. “Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you. Start here.”

Treasure Island by Sara Levine is a book about a well educated woman who has held a string of hapless dead end jobs and then decides out of blue to live her life by the core values of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Boldness, Resolution, Independence and Horn Blowing.

Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear… I am literally afraid of this book, so I hope that means it can give me some guidance. I have a lot of fear about writing and putting it out there.

Writing About Literature, yes this is a text book. I would like to be able to write more cohesively about what I am reading rather then just EXPLODING disjointedly.

 

 

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About Me, original writing

On death and dying…

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My earliest memory is of a funeral. They say the constants of life are death and taxes… I spent a lot of time in funeral homes before I had even began to pay taxes.

That first funeral was my Uncle Tommy’s, my mothers brother. I remember playing in the basement of the funeral home, and being looked after by my Aunt Karen. I remember how uncomfortable the wool kilt I wore was. I was only 2 years old.

I grew up with stories of an uncle I never knew. I know that he was fiercely loved by everyone whose life he touched. Everyone says he was a lot fun . I know that he was scared to hold me as a baby. And I know that he scaled an apartment building to break in to my parents unit after my dad had locked my mother out… with me still sleeping in my crib. I’ve been told that after he died I accused him of stealing balloons and kites that flew away from me.  So much of my upbringing was coloured by his loss. My imagination runs wild when I think of the role he would have had in my life. Is it possible to miss someone you never really knew?

And then we lost more family members. I lost my grandma’s father who would chase me around the hospital in his wheelchair, and then her mother who would hid money in your purse if you paid for coffee, and who could always be counted on to sniff out a bargain or give you slippers for Christmas.

 

Our family has suffered a great amount of loss. If feels like more than any other family but I know thats not true. We have learned to face it with humour and a remembrance of all the joy that person has brought us.

There was no clearer celebration of life than my grandmothers funeral. She was an unwaveringly kind woman with a tendency to take in strays and treat them as her own. At her core she was a mother. She was as a mom to all of the Scouts in my Grandpas troop, she was a foster parent to countless kids, she insisted that all of my friends call her grandma. She was a supportive and generous friend. I know that people say a lot of kind platitudes about someone when they die but for her they were all true. She was an incredible source of strength and quiet force of nature.

I’m not to sure where I was going with this… In a fit of holiday nostalgia I was looking through photos and  I realized that although I have ever reason to be incurably sad , I’m not. Every loss has made me a stronger, more resilient person. But it has also made me more vulnerable. Something I needed to become in order to open myself up to the world. It’s given me a baseline by which to measure the worst and taught me that everything is survivable eventually.

I feel like that sounded like an inspirational quote you see over a beach landscape. Which I totally made it into …

 

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About Me, Music, Wedding

I’ll be a Sadie…

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I’m getting married in October. We have booked a venue, I think I found a dress. But now the hard part begins. The music. Apparently you should have 3 songs for the ceremony… the processional, the signing, and the recessional. I’ve know for a while what I’d like to walk down the aisle to, but what about the others?

I saw Max for the first time about a month before I met him. He was passing through Lake Louise and stopped in to my work to catch up with one of my co-workers.

The next time I saw him he was sitting on a bench in front of Laggens Bakery. I was behind my till when my friend poked her head into the market… she looked at him then at me and said… “you should hook up with that guy, he looks like your type.” I didn’t know I had a type, and he didn’t look like anyone I had dated before. Ho Hey was playing.

We had a party that night, to say goodbye to some friends and to welcome Max who moved in next door. I drank more Gin then was strictly necessary. We walked home from the bar holding hands, he gave me the dessert from his microwave dinner. Give Me Everything By Pitbull was on repeat.

We moved to Banff and didn’t spend a night apart until I went home for Christmas. We were broke and living in a shitty shared house on Muskrat St affectionately nicknamed “The Crackden.” At the time I thought that Danny’s Song by Loggins and Messina really suited this period of our relationship.

I took the train from Jasper to Hamilton. I did not have a return ticket. A busker played Hallelujah in the station. The plan was for Max to join me in Ontario as soon as I found a job. A job didn’t materialize so he bought me a plane ticket back to him.

The soundtrack to our relationship is not ideal. And we don’t share a common musical sensibility.  I’m all nostalgia, and he prefers music with ZERO feeling. He just discovered Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears and it is the first overlap in our tastes in a while.

The reception will be an eclectic mix of our favourite songs, but the ceremony has me stumped.

Etta James, Penny and The Quarters, The Beach Boys, Tom Waits… the options are truly overwhelming.

The photo is from Funny Girl which is where the title of this post comes from… it’s also a Gilmore Girls reference.

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About Me, Books

3 Generations Are Only Together For So Long

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I was deeply saddened by the news that Stuart McLean will no longer fill the CBC’s airwaves with stories of Dave and Morley. All of Canada hopes that this will not be permanent, that Stuarts heath will improve and with it the Vinyl Cafe will return.

The Vinyl Cafe is something I discovered on my own in chapters bookstore in Ancaster Ontario. I bought a 2 CD set of Christmas Stories. I hoped it would bring some holiday cheer to my long bus rides from my home on the west mountain, to my grandmother’s house on the east. I put the CDs on my ipod nano and caught the number 43 bus. And I have never laughed louder in public than I did that day. Thank goodness I was the only one on the bus and that the driver was very understanding.

I got of the bus and walked into my grandmas house. She was sitting at the table with a crappy paper back mystery, secretly smoking, and cooking something. I ignored the smoking, opened the fridge as everyone in the family does when entering her house. There was always cold sodas, or delicious leftovers to be “nuked in the microwave.” I grabbed a sprite and pulled out the cd. I put the first cd on for her and together we listened to Dave Cooks the Turkey.

From that day on every car ride to the grocery store or trip to blockbuster was soundtracked by Stuart’s stories. She loved the one about Sam and the fish head, and the one where Stephanie goes tree planting.

The year before I moved away from home my grandmother, my mom and I went to see The Vinyl Cafe Christmas Show with Hawksley Workman. It was something my grandma talked about for years after it happened. She love seeing it live and was surprised by how wonderful Hawksley Workman was.

She is gone now, but every time I listen to Stuart’s stories I miss her a little less. I feel closer to the woman who helped raise me, who supported me in everything no matter how crazy, who told me I would move away and fall in love with a boy with an accent and never move back home.

I miss spending christmas eve with her and my grandpa. I miss getting dressed up in an elf costume  and surprising all the neighbourhood kids and cousins with Santa (Grandpa).

This year that boy with the accent and I are finally in our own home, with our own little family. We’re making our own traditions, but the most important tradition that we’ll carry on is listening to Stuart McLean’s Christmas Show…

“play a christmas album
the elvis christmas album
three generations sing blue christmas
all at once
and light another candle
come sit near the piano
three generations sing together
all at once.” – Hawksley Workman,  3 Generations

 

 

 

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About Me

Writing…Urg

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But I have always had a hard time keeping up with it, with making the time, with talking myself out of it. I’m not sure why, but it has always been this way. As I find myself unemployed at the moment, and I’ve read above my reading goal for the year (Hurray!) I’ve begun reading books and articles about writing in the hopes that I can develop some tools that will help me write more. I will try a few out and see where things go.

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My 100th book this year was Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham. In her memoir she writes about her struggles with writing. We have a lot in common in that particular area… and in her book she says that Don Roos (co-creater of Web Therapy, screenwriter of Marley and Me) told her his version of the Pomodoro Technique and that it changed the way she writes! So I will be trying to use Don Roos “Kitchen Timer” method and see what comes of it.

Here are the details:

KITCHEN TIMER

The principle of Kitchen Timer is that every writer deserves a definite and do-able way of being and feeling successful every day.

To do this, we learn to judge ourselves on behavior rather than content. (We leave content to our unconscious; experience will teach us to trust that.) We set up a goal for ourselves as writers which is easy, measurable, free of anxiety, and fail-proof, because everyone can sit, and an hour will always pass.

Here’s how it works:

  • Buy a kitchen timer, one that goes to 60 minutes.
  • We decide on Monday how many hours of writing we will do Tuesday. When in doubt or under pressure or self-attack, we choose fewer hours rather than more.A good, strong beginning is one hour a day.
  • The Kitchen Timer Hour:
  • No phones. No listening to the machine to see who it is. We turn ringers off if possible. It is our life; we are entitled to one hour without interruption, particularly from loved ones. We ask for their support. “I was on an hour” is something they learn to understand. But they will not respect it unless we do first.
  • No music with words, unless it’s a language we don’t understand.
  • No internet, absolutely.
  • No reading.
  • No “desk re-design/landscaping”, no pencil-sharpening.
  • Immediately upon beginning the hour, we open two documents: our journal, and the project we are working on. If we don’t have a project we’re actively working on, we just open our journal.
  • An hour consists of TIME SPENT keeping our writing appointment. We don’t have to write at all, if we are happy to stare at the screen. Nor do we have to write a single word on our current project; we may spend the entire hour writing in our journal. Anything we write in our journal is fine; ideas for future projects, complaints about loved ones, even “I hate writing” typed four hundred times.
  • When we wish or if we wish, we pop over to the current project document and write for as long as we like. When we get tired or want a break, we pop back to the journal.
  • The point is, when disgust or fatigue with the current project arises, we don’t take a break by getting up from our desk. We take a break by returning to the comforting arms of our journal, until that in turn bores us. Then we are ready to write on our project again, and so on. We use our boredom in this way.
  • IT IS ALWAYS OKAY TO WRITE EXCLUSIVELY IN OUR JOURNAL. In practice it will rarely occur that we spend the full hour in our journal, but it’s fine, good, and right that we do when we feel like it. It is just as good a writing day as one spent entirely in our current project.
  • It is infinitely better to write fewer hours every day, than many hours one day and none the next. If we have a crowded weekend, we choose a half-hour as our time, put in that time, and go on with our day. We are always trying to minimize our resistance, and beginning an hour on Monday after two days off is a challenge.
  • When the hour is up, we stop, even if we’re in the middle of a sentence. If we have scheduled another hour, we give ourselves a break before beginning again — to read, eat, go on errands. We are not trying to create a cocoon we must stay in between hours; the “I’m sorry I can’t see anyone or leave my house, I’m on a deadline” method. Rather, inside the hour is the inviolate time.
  • If we fail to make our hours for the day, we have probably scheduled too many. Four hours a day is an enormous amount of time spent in this manner, for example. If on Wednesday we planned to write three hours and didn’t make it, we subtract the time we didn’t write from our schedule for the next day. If we fail to make a one-hour commitment, we make a one-hour or a half-hour appointment for the next day.WE REALIZE WE CANNOT MAKE UP HOURS, and that continuing to fail to meet our commitment will result in the extinguishing of our voice.
  • When we have fulfilled our commitment, we make sure we credit ourselves for doing so. We have satisfied our obligation to ourselves, and the rest of the day is ours to do with as we wish.
  • A word about content: This may seem to be all about form, but the knowledge that we have satisfied our commitment to ourselves, the freedom from anxiety and resistance, and the stilling of that hectoring voice inside of us which used to yell at us that we weren’t writing enough — all this opens us up creatively.
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