Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas wish*list

In the midst of my week of craziness I received some good news... it seems that my student loan woes have FINALLY been sorted (only 5 days before the end of the semester... lol). Gigantic *S*I*G*H* of relief... Thank you money-gods!

It put me in such a buoyant cheer-full mood that I decided to daydream about stacks of brightly coloured packages sitting in jumbles under a fir tree strung up with lights and twirly decorations, cheerful santas and dancing snowmen.

So just in case you were wondering, here is my "little" wish list : )

* Little Dee volume 2

* Anything from Treehouse28... especially this and these!

* This sequel.

* Any old digital camera would do...

* A bucket full of acrylic paints... (I have a few new canvases that are mocking me with their blank-ness).

* Anything from this fabulous company (especially body butter!), this Lush place, this local place or this man called Burt.

* Yoga blocks and straps.

* Good enough to eat lip balm from this place my mom told me about mmmmm coconut cream...

* Candles of any kind, as long as they are made of bee's wax.

* This cookbook.

* A coupon for some kind of day at the spa or massage.

* Funky handmade jewelry, especially necklaces or rings and especially the super juicy magical jewelry over at Superhero Designs ... I like champagne the best, but it is pretty darn hard to decide. They look good in photos but I bet they are even more twinkly and pretty in person.

* A print from this photographer, especially this one and this one. Gorgeous, lovely, soft.

* Some big blank scrapbooks with lush purple or green covers for journaling and creative spilling.

* Pottery... chunky mugs and tea pots with swirly blue*green*purple*chocolate coloured glazes.

* Unexpected hand*made artwork from kindred spirits.

*Throw pillows or curtains or bed covers made from jewel-bright fabrics, sewn-on beads and bits of thread.
What do YOU want for Christmas*Yule*Solstice???

*Photos: Plate of cookies and "dear santa letter" from Getty; Little Dee cover from Chris Baldwin; Champagne necklace from Andrea Sher; and gift of giving lady-package from Patience Brewster.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The eye of the storm is winking at me

Greetings from the not so calm center of a crazy storm.
Ok, so I have stuff due every single day next week, including three oral presentations (not exactly my favorite thing to do), two group projects, two big papers and one research proposal for an enormous paper thats due next April. A kindred blogger posted recently about being ostrich-like and that made me think about how I deal with these stressfull times... not like an ostrich, more like a snail. I retreat into my snail-shell where I have a cozy nest of a space to sit and look out the window, practice seeing the world from my cat's point of view, go on bookish adventures and just generally shut myself away from the nasty outside world.
The outside world sure doesn't feel like my friend a lot of the time. It is nearly December and my student loans have still not been properly assessed ... even though I started the application procedure in July (well actually they keep stringing me along, saying I am refused then saying that no not really, but they are still missing documents before they can make a decision and of course they never actually SEND me this information, I have to keep calling them and getting the red tape run around). I am a little concerned that all of my schoolwork stress will be for naught, if in the end I can't actually pay my tuition. I am also trying to sort out some income tax shenanigans from 1998, that I just found out about recently, which meant that the tax refund I was counting on the help get me through this semester is being held for ransom.
Arg! Money is kind of a weird taboo thing to talk about. I've actually been meaning to write a post about it since this summer, but never get around to it. I think I am avoiding it because I am still not sure how I feel or what I want to say, just that I feel like money really messes with me. I have been making little steps towards being less afraid of dealing with money issues, I got a book (not that I've had time to read it!) and a "money tree" to inspire me. But it is so very hard to pull myself out of a money-victim mentatlity when I continually find myself in these terrible money situations. Of course it could be argued that I create those situation by thinking of myself as a victim... but that seems so unfair and cruel! And if that is so, then I am stuck in a nasty catch-22... the more it feels like the universe is toying with me, the harder it is for me to have a positive attitude about it. I really do try to be a trouper and, after the tears and the foot stamping, I find it in myself to laugh at the whole situation. I mean, it is pretty funny. Sad funny, you know. Just almost too ridiculous to be real. And so then I try to approach the situation anew, with more lightness and the attitude that "this too shall pass". It doesn't seem to matter though, the universe just keeps on sending these big kicks-in-the-teeth.
I know I will get through, I have always gotten through. I had my astrological chart done when I was young and apparently Jupiter being where it was at the moment of my birth, means that I will always be taken care of, material-needs-wise. Astrology is one of those things that I love/hate... I love the poetic notion that we are connected to the stars and the planets and the sun and the moon, in such an intimate, personal way. But I hate how goofy it can be, and how it is associated with the very worst of New Age hooey. Anyway. I have none the less always had this idea in the back of my mind, that Jupiter is SUPOSED to be looking out for me somehow, but that he is just barely doing his job. I mean, it's true, my material needs have never really gone unmet. However. I have worried about them, and my bills, debt, and finances in general every single day of my adult life. And I have mostly only been able to get by with help from those around me. If it werent for Adrien, I would be in rough(er) shape for sure. Which is a rotten blow to my idealised independant (Aquarian?) self.
So obviously this is a big part of what I am going to have really work on in this lifetime. It is one of my obstacles/opportunities to grow. I'm learning to be ok with it, I'm learning to be curious and open instead of scared and closed off. I'm learning not to simply hate the machinery of capitalism and be angry all the time that it is even an issue. I'm learning not to see money as evil or my enemy or inherently anything at all except what we make of it. I'm making friends with people who have a way healthier perspective about money. I'm facing up to my ugly tendency towards jealousy and comparison ("why don't I have that!?? It's not fair!"). I am nurturing a feeling of "plenty" rather than one of "not enough!". I am working on being a lot gentler with myself as I navigate this stormy, pirate-ladden sea of money-learning.
And all the while I am still trying to get my homework done, go to work, volunteer at the local library, eat well, find time to do the stuff I like, spend yummy quality time with Adrien (bicker-free of course), day-dream, get a good night's sleep and get some excercise once in a while. No wonder I am so stressed out.
Where's my shell again?

Ok, come on Jupiter... do your stuff!!

*photos: money tree from random google image search, astrology wood cut and Jupiter dwarfing Earth from Wikipedia.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Itsy bitsy flurries

This is from Little Dee by Chris Baldwin. It is my favorite comic!
Or one of them anyway. Check it out!!

It started snowing today! Just teeny tiny little baby snow flakes, but still. It is kind of exciting. I love the begining of winter, the pulling out of scarves and mittens and woolen hats. I love making tea and getting cozy by the window, and I love love love getting ready for yule * winter solstice * christmas (though I don't generally start that until December - shame on all the stores who haul out all their decorations right after Hallowe'en!). Talk to me again in March however, and you might get a different story! : )

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Red is the new Purple

Ok, not really. Purple still reigns supreme in the palace of colour, but I am starting to adore a fair few shades of red lately too. In fact, more than any other colour, RED keeps popping up to make itself known.
I think, even though I eschewed red in my younger days, I still secretly craved it. I have certainly collected a number of bright red friends over the years (opposites attract?). I am thinking here of Megan's super hot, and very stylish Crimson Queen St pants (do you still have them?). And Andrea's fiery red energetic personality! A lot of my nearest and dearest girl (and some guy) pals would have proudly proclaimed red as their favorite colour. I always thought they were strange for this, but I kept on being drawn to them anyway.
year I turned 30, which for some is kind of devastating. For me it was actually wonder*full. Seriously! My 20s were a bit... rough. A lot of the time anyway. Some crazy bad stuff happened right before my 20s even got started, and I feel like even though I was all stoic and pulling "I am way stronger than this" faces, in reality I was pretty crushed. Well it's not really a big surprise, but anyway it was sort of a relief to be done with that mixed up decade of me. So I saw 30 as a fresh start, a whole brand new pilgrimage. I have (almost) never seen 30 as "old", which of course it isn't. Being in your 30s, to me, means being way more self-assured, being more self-loving, patient, thoughtful and kind. It means knowing yourself better. It means just a little bit more wisdom. It also means expanding my idea of who I think I am. Being less afraid of (blushing red-faced) embarrassment. Letting in things I didn't think I ever would. Which brings us back to red.
I didn't go directly from only liking bluey purples straight to loving carnation red. I started slowly. I started with pink. But then slowly some deeper, darker reds crept in, and surprisingly (to me) I let them stay. I got a red purse. I got my first pedicure, and they used red polish (they even put funny little swirls on my big toes!). I got a red car. More recently I got this Red Book,which has a very sparkle-y red message.

And it is starting to seem like having let in red, I now have to let in all kinds of other new things. Like cottage cheese. When I was little, just the thought of cottage cheese made me gag! Now, I love it. With pineapple. Yum. And spinach! How stomach-churning it used to be.
Now my freezer and crisper are both stocked with leafy greens. Other stuff too... like whole new worlds of music. And prayer. In fact I am doing a big project for school all about prayer/meditation (fyi I may be writing to some of you out there for interviews and input, but that is for another post). Prayer is a totally new thing for me. Quite an alien concept. But I find myself approaching it all of sudden with a lot more openness and curiosity than ever before. I don't know who I am praying to exactly... well I have some ideas. My own higher god-self. Some kind of vague universal consciousness concept. The buzzing, snapping, electric totality of life on our homey planet. Also, Ganesh. His elephant head makes him somehow a lot more approachable than other gods. Anyway, I am doing it. In my own snail-hearted, skeptical way, but I am doing it. I am warming up to Red and I am praying. I wonder what other unexpected turning me upside-down twists are to come in my 30s? I wonder what crazy adventurous things will happen in my 40s???

*Note: Who else out there thinks that vermilion should totally be a shade of wormy caterpillar green and that chartreuse sounds more like a purpl
ey, burgundy red? What happened there?

Photos: red lantern paper from Studio Paggy; ruddy kelp by Jeff Foott; nettle au rouge by Craig Knowles; ladybug party by John Grant; floppy poppies by Johner Images; two red pedicures by Andrea; Ganesh with crimson blossoms behind his flappy ears by Johner Images; red prayer by Stockbyte. All images (except the pedicures of course) found at Getty Images.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Seasick on the ship of wisdom

"The Ship of Wisdom" by Charles Van Sandwyk found here.

Arg. Homework crunch time. Why do I always leave it to the last minute??

Monday, November 5, 2007


I was looking through some old photos on my not-often-used laptop last night and discovered this. It's from 2001 and I am in a lush garden in Sevilla, Spain, where the street are lined with orange trees. It sure makes me feel like putting on my traveling shoes again...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gratitude parade

Oh Griffin. Photo by Adrien.

I would like to say Thank You for:

*Public libraries. I wrote a paper for a class on economic anthropology last year and here is what I said about libraries:
"The library! This is my salvation in a consumer-oriented world. Besides lip balm, the only other consumer good that makes me positively weak in the knees is a book. But I don’t have to buy it to have it. I get the same high from roaming the shelves of plenty at the local public library. I get to make my selections in peace (no Chapters assembly line here!) and then bring them to the counter for “check out”. No money is exchanged, but none the less I get to leave with an armload of books. They simply trust me not to run away with my booty. What decadence! I get to enjoy them in my own time. I can open the pages and climb right in amongst the words. I can let the prose soak into me… eat it, breathe it, dream it. And when I am done, I take the books back so others can do the same. Where else can you do something this subversive? In a free market economy the public library must surely be headquarters for the revolution."

*The internet. There was no such thing as the internet when I was young (not even in high school), so when it started to become this common-place miracle, I was stunned by the magic. As soon as was possible I found myself web-pen-pals in Manila and Liverpool (I wonder where they are now?). It totally blew my mind. It still kinda does. Go wikipedia! Not to mention the plethora of blogs I read everyday and all the access to information, art, music, movies... the internet is my bff.

*Green eyes. My eyes are green, and I think they're pretty cool.

*Sugar. Yum. Honey. Chocolate. Spice cake. Snickerdoodles. Apple pie. Fresh doughnuts. Milkshakes. Fruit! Sugar is tough, being balanced about it is a real struggle for me (and um... millions of other people). But that doesn't mean that I am not thrilled to the bone that it exists. And the fact that you can now purchase Fair Trade sugar is also nice.

*French immersion. (Ok so that really means I am grateful to my parents who put me in it in the first place...) I grew up in BC so the chances of me spontaneously learning French on my own were quite slim. Being fluent in a second language has allowed me to travel and work in Quebec and France with very little trouble. Plus, I agree with Sapir and Whorf; language is deeply connected to perception. It is much easier to perceive and contemplate something if you have the language to do so. Every language is different and so offers a whole new way of seeing and being in the world. So, obviously, the more languages you speak, the better are your chances of having a multi-faceted world-view. One of the most moving examples I can think of is the Spanish (and I think the Italian one is also similar) expression for giving birth: "dar a luz" which has a literal translation of "to give to the light". Imagine if everything you said was poetry?

*Farmer's markets. Is there anything nicer than seeing table after table of fresh local produce? I dare you to find something better than home-made red pepper jelly, a loaf of soft apple-cinnamon bread, some gooey cheese and a basket of juicy raspberries.

*The option to change my mind. I discover the need to change my mind a lot. I'm glad that it is so often a valid option.

*Absurdity. I really enjoy people with a healthy appreciation for the absurd. Especially those who also happen to be talented writers. With a good sense of humour. Like Douglas Adams (42!) for example. Or the movie Darjeeling Limited that we watched last night. Or Tori Amos. Lovely quirky creative.

*Other people. I'm a pretty introspective person, and it is easy to get lost in the navel-gazing. I am so glad that I bump into other people now and then and remember to look up.

*Flowers. Especially the ones I got totally by surprise this year on Valentines Day. Thank you Adrien ♥ Flowers sort of seem like a cheesy thing to be grateful for, but often the stuff that seems cheesy is just over-done. We see it so often that we don't actually see it at all anymore. Flowers are zany explosions of earth laughter.

*Holidays. I don't mean vacations, although I am grateful for those too. I mean those cyclical holy-day celebrations like solstices and equinoxes and the fabulous rituals that have grown up and evolved around them. Painting eggs, decorating pine trees in our living rooms, offering gifts, making lanterns out of squash, feasting with family and friends, lighting bonfires. That kind of stuff.

*YOGA. I ♥ yoga. I am not generally pro-excercise. I could resist doing excercise professionally. But then eight years ago or so I discovered yoga. Which doesn't feel athletic at all. I can totally trick myself into moving my body around and getting stronger! Ha! I am sure not everyone approaches yoga as a way to deceive themselves into getting fit but that truly was one initial draw for me. Since then I have found a whole wide world of other beneficial things about it, not the least of which is the spiritual side of the practice, but I do want to acknowledge my appreciation for the way yoga gets me off the couch again and again.

*sweet pea close up by Michelle Garrett at Good Ol' Getty

Friday, November 2, 2007


When I was little I used to love purple*. I had purple mary-janes, purple curtains, a purple teddy bear and a purple bedroom floor (thanks mom!). Everyone who knew me knew that gifts were most appreciated if they came in purple. If I had had my druthers, crayola would have made me one of those big boxes of 64 crayons filled with an array of PURPLE (each one a slightly different shade of course). I was fiercely loyal to that royal colour.

Almost as much as purple, I loved rainbows. I loved how the colours flowed into each other, how they folded together like a chromatic sky puzzle. I had a fabulous bathing suit in purple, with a rainbow on the front. Imagine how much I adored Ranbow Bright and Punky Brewster.

I still love purple, but I have since come to appreciate the rest of the spectrum as well. Even yellow and orange, which I had trouble with at first. I am also deeply in love with a much wider vision of purple than I used to be. I now thrill to eggplant, plum and wine every bit as much as bluey-violet. I have learned that I really like seeing colours together, watching them change with the amount of light and when they are alone or else paired with complimentary friendly colours and then with wildly clashing enemy colours.

I am still so affected by colour. I sometimes feel like a little kid (in a good way) when I go to someone's place for supper and they are dishing out the dinner plates. I ALWAYS have a preference (please please please pass me the teal plate with the pale blue edges!). Sometimes I ask for the one I want, but other times I just go with the flow, and learn to love the red plate that I am given.

When I was living in Ottawa I picked up a neat book called Colour: Travels Through The Paintbox (AKA Colour: A Natural History of the Palatte) by Victoria Finlay. Even though I've had the book for like three years now, and even though I am drawn to it and know I will enjoy it, I think I have only read up to red so far. Funny how that happens... sometimes it really takes a while to get through or even to get started on a book, even when you know you want to. Anyway, from what I read so far, it is great.

Sometimes, when I am trying to kick start my creative side, I try to imagine a new colour. It is almost impossible to do (nothing is totally impossible... right?). But how crazy would it be to encounter a totally unheard-of colour? What would it be called? Could I make a skirt out of it? Would it look good with Purple?

So... what is YOUR favorite colour?

*It is important to note that the flavour of purple I prefered tended towards indigo. I was not interested in any girly mauves or purples that were overtly pink. I wanted a heavy dose of blue in my violet.

Photos: Salsify flowers by Jutta Klee; sweet peas sitting on a book by Michelle Garrett; grizzly meditating on the rainbow by Johnny Johnson; upside-down sea stars by Fred Hirshmann; radiant red crown of thorns sea creature by Frank and Joyce Burek; beautiful bowl of figs by Yamini Chao; be-jeweled spider web by Ian Shive all found at Getty Images.