Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bedtime


Mundanities

Ahhh. I have just sat down after being go-go-go all day today. I was at 8am to meet my Godparents for breakfast. They're my surrogate parents, so I can't really complain about getting my ass out of bed for them. After some delicious pancakes at Route 99 they dropped me off (I seriously would have walked, but it was snowing and my Auntie Carol and Uncle Bob refused to let me brave the elements!) and I took care of some things around the apartment while waiting for Josh to call me for our date today. Then, he monopolized my time for the next few hours, my favourite part of which was our lunch at the Upper Crust Cafe. Yum yum yum!!!! I love it there so much! Thanks for treating, Joshie ;)

Then, after I got home, I REALLY went to work. I cleaned up the entire apartment (save for my brother's room), INCLUDING the bathroom (ugh), and the kitchen. Everything is spotless, which makes me feel ridiculously pleased with myself. How domestic of me! Maybe I WOULD make someone a good wife after all ;)

Then, once my surroundings were cleaned, I set to cleaning myself in preparation for departure tomorrow. The whole grooming process took me a couple of hours and a LOT of water. If I am single-handedly responsible for Edmonton running out of hot water, I would not be surprised. Tee hee. So now I am fully smoothed and lotioned and pinked and buffed! Woot. :)

Now, I just have to pack! *lol* Sigh. If only I could stop listening to the Hoedown Throwdown over and over again I might be able to remove myself from the computer...


I Dream of Genie

My friend/coworker Marisa has a page-a-day calendar that features fun little activities. Sometimes, when she takes a particular liking to one, she photocopies it and passes it out to the rest of us to do. This is one we did a couple of weeks okay, that I never got around to posting, but that seems particularly fitting today:


I suppose that since I AM going to Vegas (Las Vegas, not that other one) tomorrow I should be asking the genie for safe flights and hitting the jackpot, but I still wouldn't change a single wish.

Farm Town

So, I joined this adorable new application-slash-game on Facebook called Farm Town. You get a patch of land on which you can plow little gardens and plant things like grapes and tomatoes and rice. So, my potato fields are 98% done, which means in another 2% I need to harvest those potato fields, and then either store the potatoes in my storage shed thingie, or sell them at the marketplace. If I DON'T harvest those potato fields in time, then they go to waste.

I'm sitting here, waiting for my imaginary potato fields to finish growing, before I let myself carry on with my un-imaginary day. This is either quirky and adorable, or just plain sad.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Geography Lesson

"My hands are so dry the backs of them look like the Safari Desert."
Dani Desjardines

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Las Vegas

Top 5 Things I Want to do in Vegas

1. Spend an entire day suntanning by the pool!

















2. Enjoy a soft pretzel from New York New York!








3. Spot a celebrity!








4. Attend the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur!





5. See the fountains at the Bellagio!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No Words

I first read about the Baiji dolphin, nicknamed the "Goddess of the Yangtze", in Douglas Adams' book "Last Chance to See" a couple of years ago. The book, published in 1990, follows Mr. Adams and a zoologist named Mark Carwardine as they seek out five or six different endangered species. It's hilariously written, as everything else by Douglas Adams is, but it is also incredibly sad, as while Adams shares several amusing stories of his fish-out-of-water experiences in foreign countries, he also shines a floodlight on the effects of human civilization on the wild.

I've been re-reading Last Chance to See for the past week or so, and have such a deep appreciation for Douglas Adams for what he accomplishes with it. He had such a very honest way of looking at things. I admit that given the graveness of the subject matter, I tend to prefer focusing on the lighter bits in the book, as my friends and coworkers can attest to after being inundated with facts about my favourite creature, and quotes and anecdotes from the writer that I find particularily funny. But, it becomes really hard to look at things with any sort of humour when I come to the chapter about the Baiji. This creature's story is so heart-breaking that I can hardly bear it, so I'm not going to go into detail.

Just now, as I've done with the other birds and animals that are featured in the book, I looked up the Baiji to see how it is doing. It has been 19 years since Last Chance to See was published, and in it Douglas Adams describes the conservation efforts happening to save the Baiji from becoming extinct. Since my favourite fat and flightless parrot is doing a little better now than it was, with a population that has more than doubled in the last two decades, I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, I'm now a wee bit devestated as in 2006 the Baiji was declared functionally extinct after a six-week search by scientists resulted in no signs of any surviving dolphins. The last confirmed sighting of one was in 2002. Though there is some footage of what might be a Baiji was recorded in 2007, according to the definition of 'functional extinction', there is no hope for the species. No hope.

Worst of all, according to what I read, the extinction of the Baiji is the first of a well-studied cetacean species to be directly attributable to human influence. Which really, really breaks my heart.

Big Sky

I took this while I was waiting for the bus after work today. I love those days when the sky just seems huge and robust, full of whatever it is a sky can be full of.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Addition to the Family

This is Toitle, the turtle. He was a gift from my good friend Dani, and is pretty much the most adorable inanimate object EVER. I was feeling very sad and woeful yesterday, but some retail therapy with Double Deuce and her Easter/Yay its Spring! gift to me brightened my spirits exponentially. Thanks, D!

Sweet Confetti!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raining on Sunday

Sundays are probably the one day of the week where I feel the most, I dunno, out of sorts, I guess you could say? It is usually the day where I have little to nothing to do, and while that can be a good thing - especially today, as I feel like warmed-over poo - it can also work against me. A restless mind doesn't need so much time on its own!

The morning didn't have a great start as I woke from a dream that stirred up some old emotions. You know, the kind that are better off avoided until you can afford the therapy you'll need to get through them? I'm not sure where the dream came from - possibly the peanut butter sandwich I had just before bed. Regardless of it's origin, these old memories and feelings and possible regreats have managed to stick with me since I first opened my eyes, and has weighed a little heavy on my heart.

Then, after getting up, I bid a quick farewell to my brother as he left to meet up with his new sweetie before heading in to work. The whole 'my brother having a new sweetie' thing is definitely not the problem... she sounds great, he deserves to be happy, and I selfishly hope I get to meet her before she leaves the city for the summer. What does make me sad, though, is that he gets to meet up with this girl, sit across from her at a table in a coffee shop, talk with her, hold her hand, kiss her good-bye... he gets to be with the girl who makes his heart swell and spin, and, well, I don't. And the four-year-old inside of me who wants what everyone else around her has stamps her foot and says "not fair!"

This would be the part of the lamentation where Kelley would say, "That's what you get for liking someone who lives in a different city." She'd also have a few other choice things to add to that, but she's still working on the FULL lecture so I shant get too far ahead of myself.

The point IS, I get lonely on Sundays. And I don't like being lonely.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Windy Day


Video II: The Science of Skin

The other night I was just about ready for bed, but wanted to do another video first. So, I combined the two and made a video while in bed! Tee hee. I thought maybe I would read another piece of my writing, so I chose a poem that I wrote in my first year of college.

I can remember the act of writing "The Science of Skin" so clearly - I was sitting in the cafeteria at the Center for the Arts campus, taking up time before a class, just sitting there in one of those uncomfortable plastic chairs and trying to avoid the distraction of table-top graffiti while doodling words on a fresh clean sheet of paper. I don't know which particular combination of vowels and consonants sparked the creative wave that tossed the flotsom of the poem ashore. I do know that it is one of my favourites. It is also the poem that my teacher, Jannie, made me read to my poetry class, after which she firmly rebuked me for doing such a shoddy job of it. Hopefully I did the rhymes better justice this time - and that my inexplicable lisp doesn't reappear!

video

Friday, April 17, 2009

John William Waterhouse


This was the first painting I saw by John William Waterhouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Waterhouse). It was featured in a medieval romance calendar and, true to form, I completely fell in love with it. Then, while working at Chapters I came across a coffee-table art book of all his works, and went through a period where all I could do was rhapsodize about the beauty he created. I much prefer realist art to abstract art (MUCH) so the fact that each of his subjects seems as if he or she could step right out of the canvas appeals to me greatly. I love that he uses such lush imagery, so much beautiful colour... his paintings are so passionate, but elegant. I also adore that most of his works are based on either mythological characters and stories or characters from epic poems and other forms of literature. His paintings of Ophelia are soul-stirringly gorgeous.

My all-time favourite, though, is Boreas:


Every time I look at this painting (at least, the pixelated version) I can feel the brush of the wind across my cheek, the texture of the billowing fabric sweeping against my arm... I can hear the rush of the breeze through the long grass, and imagine the slight warmth from the overcast sun. I also find a little of myself in the melancholy expression on the woman's face - though obviously she's much prettier and as perfect as all of Waterhouse's subjects - because whlie she looks a bit sad and a bit lost, two emotions that I can relate to, she also looks like she feels an awful lot, and if there's anything I do, and do well, it's feel.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Song Love

"The Stars Just Blink for Us" by Say Hi. It's not a real video, just the song played over a picture of the album cover. The song is the important part, anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYyrJ3NCNX8

Oh and the stars, oh and the stars, they don't make no fuss...
Oh and the stars, oh and the stars, well, they just blink for us...

Budding

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday Wrap-Up

I'm rather in danger of posting a list of all the ways in which I am currently feeling sorry for myself... but am doing my best to resist! Instead, here are some pics from my walk from work to the bus stop last night:

Here we have an unusual sight... for the past week or so there have been these two teal bikes, attached to each other, and missing their rear wheels, just sitting here at the head of the path! I'd been meaning to take a picture of those alone, but then yesterday there was this NEW addition - a rainbow-coloured bike, missing it's FRONT wheel! I didn't look to see if it was still there this morning, but something tells me it was.

Random!!

So, I eventually move on and am walking further down the long path when a person merged on to it with their dog. I say person because I really couldn't tell if they were a man or a woman from my particular vantage point. The reason I mention this, though, is because as soon as the dog (a little Jack Russell Terrier, I think) caught a whiff of another human within a 30 foot radius he went on full alert! His human kept having to tug him along 'cause every few dancing steps that he took he would stop and turn around to look at me! It was so cute! I still had my camera in my hand so I zoomed in a HUGE amount (seriously, I was pretty far back - the zoom on my camera is AMAZING) and snapped this photo without even really looking to see what I was capturing (I had to be quick in case I got caught!)... and this is what I got:

I couldn't have timed it more perfectly!

Dogs are so great. Seeing this little guy made me think of a message I just received from someone very dear to me... she was saying how she wishes that people were more compassionate to others, more good to others, and I couldn't help but think that maybe people should be more like dogs. Loyal, endlessly loving, full of an almost physical sort of empathy and concern, bright, curious about the world around them, and eager to say hello to everyone they meet. Of course, I'm describing an ideal dog, but you get the idea. Ah, well. Maybe I just really really really want a dog.

Then, when I got home, I was surprised to find a package for me from my good friend David. He's the program director at the University of Victoria's campus radio station, and I had called in a month or two ago to donate to their yearly fundrive. Anyways, in lieu of a tax receipt I asked David to send me something from the station's 'Small Room of Big Prizes', anything that he thought I might like. And this is the first half of the treats he is to send:

I'm so excited to crack these open and listen to them! David has crazy taste in music, and we don't cross paths a lot in what we listen to, but he has a pretty good idea of what I like, so I can't wait to hear what he picked out for me!!

I will admit, though, I had this very infinitesmally small narrow sliver of hope that the package was from someone who had hinted she might have something to send me... but this is still pretty great. ;)

Wardrobe Malfunction

Yesterday, Matt had to spend the day in his socks after an unfortunate run-in between his truck and his work shoes. And by run-in, I mean he ran over them. Perhaps a Tuesday tradition in the UK? Admittedly there is much about British culture that we Canadians are unfamiliar with.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cute AND Funny - my favourite combination!

Someone at my work has a cat-a-day calendar... every once in awhile they pass around a chunk of of the past pages for those of us who get a kick out of that sort of thing. Normally they all end up in the recycle, but I had to keep this one 'cause it makes me laugh.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Music - Not Just for Listening To

I love this song, and love love love this video:

It's from The Acorn's album "Glory Hope Mountain" which was inspired by the lead band member's Honduras-born mother Gloria Esperanza Montoya. My friend Jill turned me on to these guys... it's amazing music. The above, though, is my absolute favourite.

Daydreamin'

Flutterby

Lorraine and Dylan drove in from Manning on Saturday for their very nice week-long Easter break. I'm totally jealous, but that's besides the point. So, we went out for a late dessert, just to the Boston Pizza on Whyte. I got the Chocolate Explosion, as is my usual. What wasn't usual, though, was it's presentation! When the server delivered our desserts she told me that the cook had had a little bit too much fun when putting mine together... isn't it amazing! I hated actually eating it. Well, before I took the first bite, that is...


And another pic, for good measure:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

How Dalmations Got Their Spots

Looking through my old elementary school yearbook, I found something that I'd completely forgotten about... my first piece of published literature, complete with random capitalization and a nine-year-old's creative theory of canine evolution.

Flashback to 1990

Okay, so obviously there is no scarcity of things to make fun of in this picture. Let me point out my favourite part of it: my tie-dyed hammer pants, which I probably a) tie-dyed in a basin in the back yard or b) picked out at the store myself. Can't quite remember. I did love my tie-dyed clothing products back then. Hey, at least I'm wearing an ecologically-conscious t-shirt! I was a little tree-hugger since the start!

This is my 4th grade class picture, in case you're wondering. The teacher is Mr. Miller. I actually ran into him about a year and a half, two years ago, when I was still working at Chapters. Naturally I had to say hi. Kinda crazy! Actually, there are 5 kids in this picture that I've also run into. I guess the world isn't as small as I once thought it was!

Below is Li's Grade 4 class picture. My class was totally way better, except her's had her in it! And somehow she scammed the prime spot! Can I just say that she was a waaaay better dressed kid? ;)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hawksley Burns for Isadora


In 2002, Hawksley published a book (see the picture I took of my copy, complete with grubby fingerprints, above) -- in it is a series of letters written to a woman he calls Isadora. The letters aren't exactly poetry, but aren't plain old prose, either. It's quite beautiful, and sensual, and full of real images that are somehow abstracted in the way he describes them. And, there are some spectacularly lovely phrases that just take my breath away. The following passage is one of those. The last line is my absolute favourite, and sums up my feelings on love rather nicely, I think.
Isadora, I'm your earth-bound candy treat. I'm simple. I'm the one who needs a snorkel to breathe underwater. I'm the one with a wagon-load of shoe polish and peas. I'm all appetite and envy. I'm all for you, strapped by tightly wound ropes to fire and stones. I'm brisk, winter, lemon icicles melting to drop on your tongue. I know the dance moves and destinations but long for the journey with you.
Another of my favourite passages:
You sleep underwater with the stones, making love in your perfect ways. I wish to be your favorite stone. So quiet I'm not there. A lover so dear, you would abandon all else. A quiet so quiet that you have never heard.
Such quiet it could lull a clumsy, ugly world to sleep in its arms.

My First Blogger Video

Okay, so I figured out how to do the whole video-y thing on my camera. The result is pretty wretched, but I am posting it anyways because... well... I'm not the best judge. I pretty much think anything involving the sight of my big head is wretched ;) Also, for some inexplicable reason, I appear to have developed some sort of lisp. Do I always have this? I don't know!

video

I hope I'm not entirely repulsive... or at least that I am so bewitching that my repulsiveness is quickly forgotten ;)

Friday, April 10, 2009

For Li

And if the earth has forgotten you
Say to the still earth: I am flowing.
To the rushing waters say: I am.
- Rilke

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sob Songs

As per Girl on the Corner's request, here is a short list of my all-time sobbiest sob songs/albums... I don't want to get into too much detail because then the songs on my CDs for Li won't be as much of a surprise, so here is just a small sampling:

Pretty much anything by Rascal Flatts that is even remotely love-related gets me bawling. I know, country sucks, but, trust me - nobody does love songs better than these guys.
I can't remember how I found Elbow, but I love love love this album. On it are two of THE most beautiful love songs I have ever heard in my life: Mirrorball, and Starlings. They make me cry.

I saw The Lion King in theatres for the first time by myself. About three seconds into the opening credits, when I heard "The Circle of Life", I started weeping silently. It's ridiculous! And don't even get me started on "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."
This man has a gorgeous, heavenly voice. I could sleep in it, wrap it around me like a foggy comforter and fall into slumber. There are a good four or five songs on this particular album that break my heart, then rebuild it.

Really, do I need to say anything? I was lucky enough to see Art Garfunkel perform at the Jubilee about a year and a half ago, and even though it wasn't quite the same hearing him sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" solo, it still made me cry pretty hard.

Lovely

Asia likes to keep me company when I am brushing my teeth. I don't mind. She's such a picture of loveliness 9 times out of 10 that just looking at her takes my breath away.

Not For the Faint of Heart (or stomach)

After I got home from work this afternoon I opened up all the windows and the doors on the balcony to let in some fresh air - I can't get enough of the stuff! I feel like the cool crisp spring breeze is cleaning out not only the musty pet smell in my apartment but also the musty ache of winter from my very insides. I was sitting in the sunny spot with Asia, the little kitty, watching Bagheera sniff his way around the living room, when I noticed something odd about his, ahem, rear area. I cooed at him and called him over, and when he was within arms reach, delicately arranged his feline body so that I could raise his tail and get a closer look. My stomach totally dropped when I realized he had what appeared to be a length of rubber band trailing out his little poop-shoot.

Bagheera is TERRIBLE for eating anything and everything. I think I've mentioned his affection for ribbon and its consequences in an earlier post. Anyways, I cried out for my brother who, thankfully, was home to assist. He had me pin Bagheera down as he commenced the removal of the rubber band, and it was NOT fun, for any of us! I hate physically restraining my pets, my brother certainly didn't relish removing something from someone's ass, and poor Bagheera... well, he wasn't enjoying himself much, either. Fortunately, it was over relatively quickly and all is well with the cat. But, just look at the wound he gave me! Little bugger.


Unexpected Pleasure

I love the sound of the wind rushing through the tangles of these when I pass.

Tea Anemone

For bookclub a couple of weeks ago we went to Steeps. I had to get that kind of tea that comes in a little wrapped bundle that, when it is steeping, unfurls like a flower blooming. I mean, how cool is that!? And then, when the little bundle is done opening up, that is when your tea is pretty much ready for drinking! It's like a rice cooker, but, instead of rice it is tea, and instead of cooking... well, you get what I'm trying to say ;) Anyways, the taste was okay, but the tea leaves kind of creeped me out.

Bad Ass Cat

It IS ridiculously difficult to take a photo of one's own tattoo.
Mine is on my ankle.
I got it when I was 15.
My mom took me. That's pretty much the coolest thing she's ever done for me, actually. Other than the whole giving of life thing.
It was not, I repeat - NOT - inspired by Scratchy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Granny Bar

I went through a phase where I had a granola bar for breakfast every day... much like I went through a phase where I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every day. Sadly, I got very very very sick of granola bars, and didn't think I could stomach the thought of eating another one ever again. But, these Nature Valley FibreSource bars are DELICIOUS. I like the honey & almond ones... they taste like a candy bar!

Gives Me Faith

Reading more Anne Lamott... well, re-reading, to be exact. I've already read every one of her non-fiction books. Maybe, just maybe, I will one day open up some of her fiction, but right now, I just love HER. I love how she looks at the world, and only want to hear her voice ringing clear and concentrated.

I think [my father] believed that our job, the job of a writer, is not to get up and say, "Tomorrow, in battle, most of you will die..." Instead, a writer must entertain the troops the night before. I think he believed that the best way to entertain the troops is to tell stories, and the ones that they seem to like the best are ones about themselves. You can tell sweet lies or bitter truths, and both seem to help, but it's like Czeslaw Milosz said when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, "In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot."
Kind of a weird week, so far. I had an emotional day with my brother on Monday, and an emotional night last night. Silly me... I was working on playlists for a special friend of mine, trying to make a mixture or two of songs that move and inspire me. During the selection process I played some songs that I haven't listened to in awhile due to my inability to appreciate their beauty without blubbering like an idiot. I certainly hope I'm not the only one who crumbles at the sound of certain songs, because then I'd feel more like a fool than I already do. Making mix CDs in one of my most favourite things to do, though. Giving someone a gander at the music I love is like giving them a glimpse right into the core of me. If you've received a CD from me, it means I really, really like you. It means I like you enough to trust you with something so very important to me - music. My music. The music that makes me cry, and sing, and lament, and remember, and dream. Strange to think about it, but I truly am intertwined with the contents of my iPod.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Josh Has Monkey Hands

To Have and To Hold

I was just going to post a picture of Earl's favourite stuffed animal, a cat named Jamie (or Jaime, or Jamey, we didn't really discuss the spelling), when I thought it would be fun to post a picture of my brother Stephen's favourite stuffed animal, too. Leo the Lion has been with us for a very, very long time. And then I thought, well, how can I refrain from posting a picture of my own favourite? Snowbell the Sheepdog has been my constant companion since I was about six, if I remember correctly. Leo and Snowbell look a little the worse for wear, but rest assured that they have been very, very loved.

Jamie

Leo

Snowbell