Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 88: 2010: the year in review.

Ahhhh 2010. I’d like to call you the year of extremes. Up and down, and up and down again. Even the world experienced some yin/yang this year. The devastation from the terrible earthquake in Haiti, the disastrous BP oil spill, and then Canada kicking major gold medal ass at the Winter Olympics, and the exuberant, amazing rescue of the Chilean miners helped bring back some hopeful smiles to our faces. My personal year in review? Hmmm. Well, it was the year of happy (vibrant) highs and low (confusing) lows. It really couldn’t seem to make up its mind. It was a mish mash emotionally, spiritually, and physically for me.

Let's see...

I started the year off with terrible stomach problems that had me down to a scary 100 pounds. It magically cured itself by June in time for me to gorge on every type of food and gelato imaginable in Italy (thank you God) giving me back my curves. I really fell in love with food again and have a new found appreciation for healthy eating and proper digestion.

And Italy! Well, my vacation to this spectacular country was a part of the year that I will remember the rest of my lifetime. I met my soul mate and it wasn't a person; it was the city of Rome. It got me reacquainted with my happier self. And kindly introduced me to the world of opportunity that awaits us all if we just allow ourselves to let go and surrender to every new experience. "Come what may." This new catch phrase and attitude, later in the year, allowed fate to turn up at my door. And almost led me to make the absolute best/worst mistake of my life by exposing myself a little too vulnerably. Teaching me again that there is still so much I need to learn, and that heartache teaches the lesson...slowly. But I don’t regret it. Opening your heart is never something to regret. I would do it all again.

It was the 'summer of Arcade Fire concerts' with my nearest and dearest friends. Arcade Fire is the one common musical thread we share (in our very different musical tastes). I have wonderful friends; they're like extra sisters, really. I’m very fortunate for that, and for them. One of us moved away to Columbus, Ohio for a great new career. She got a new place, a new dog, and new boyfriend…new happiness. But she still met up with us in Toronto to dance to Arcade Fire for my birthday. And dancing to AF with my best friends in an ocean of fans (as if we were the only ones there)…well, not much tops that.

Now, I end this year with much of the same confusing duo of emotions. Happy and grateful for all that has happened, and sad to leave some of it behind. What can I say...I'm a dramatic Leo! A fire sign who feels and acts with everything I am made of. Super sentimental.  I do want to note that I’m delighted I took on this crazy 365 day challenge this year (that is 90 days in) because I am forcing myself to get back to the basics of everything I once wanted to be. Sooooo: Thank you, 2010, for this kaleidoscope year. Tomorrow I will discuss 2011. But for today, let’s just tally up 2010's wins.

**The more I think about it (and this is hard to state because there are many) this is my favorite Beatles song. It always lifts me up (must be my love for trumpets) and the words, as simple as they are, kind of blow me away everytime:  “There’s nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.”
Ain't that the truth.
(My vote is they play this song at midnight instead of the much too somber Auld Lang Syne).**

Happy New Year my sweet, sweet friends.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 87: Why we (still) care that Harry met Sally.

Harry: Wouldn't you rather be with Humphrey Bogart than the other guy?
Sally: I don't want to spend the rest of my life in Casablanca married to a man who runs a bar. That probably sounds very snobbish to you...
Harry: You'd rather be in a passionless marriage...
Sally: ...and the first lady of Czechoslovakia.
Harry: ...than live with a man you've just had the greatest sex of your life with just because he owns a bar and that is all he does?
Sally: Yes. And so would any woman in her right mind. Women are very practical--even Ingrid Bergman which is why she gets on the plane at the end of the movie.

When Harry Met Sally.  Still one of my all time favorite movies. I make it a point to try to watch it before New Year’s Eve, and partially blame it for getting so teary eyed at midnight when the ball drops and Auld Lang Syne plays.  But what is it that has me (and millions of other women) still thinking about Harry and Sally? And still opting to watch it again and again all these years later? Here, once more, to discuss and guest blog is my buddy sideproject.
Discussion: When Harry Met Sally
sideproject: WHMS set a standard for me. That standard was to always be able to have a good conversation with whoever I was dating.

365 attempts: And did you?

This is fiction right?

365 attempts:

The chemistry that exists between these two characters is one that has its foundation in being able to talk about anything and being able to go anywhere to do it. It’s the stripping of all superficiality to the bare bones of what makes a strong relationship- being able to talk.

365 attempts:
Yeah. The saying what you mean. The saying what crosses your mind. The exposing of your annoying habits. The being yourself. That’s golden. The other thing I love about these two. They laugh together.

More importantly he makes her laugh, and we all know that not only can laughter heal all wounds; laughter can also make a man more attractive than he actually might be. Case and point: Harry. Harry is no looker. Harry is a regular dude, made spectacular by his ability to make a good joke, and a sarcastic comment.

365 attempts: I had myself a Harry once. A friend I could have any type of conversation with. One who made me laugh. Who got me. One who I realized I loved a little too late. Thanks to WHMS I decided to tell him I loved him on Christmas Eve (years ago) in my car (because he had just met a great girl he was going to get serious with and suddenly the thought of losing my potential life mate was too much to bear). Let's just say, my "movie moment" didn't go as it does in the movies. I think he just chalked me up to being selfish and crazy. In retrospect, he was probably right. And now the friendship is over.

sideproject: Not everyone's WHMS plays out as it should. That is why we keep returning to these characters year after year. They get it done perfectly in just under two hours, and for some people it takes a lifetime. I love the line in the movie when Harry says to Sally: I've been doing a lot of thinking, and the thing is, I love you. Best line in cinematic history. It's like he just realized it or something.

365 attempts: Yeah. It's a really awesome, natural and honest evolution from friend to something more with the person who takes you exactly as you are. Annoying traits too. (Mind you, it took him 12 years...). Because they are all part of a package that makes it unique and real. Great film. Great dialogue. And great characters.

The Start:

The End (and the beginning):

When Harry Met Sally- Directed by Rob Reiner 1989

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 86: Waiting in line.

The sound of her boots clicking down the hall captures his attention.
She has an unmistakable walk. I know it’s her just by the sound of it.
She turns the corner, sees him and smiles. Without realizing he is grinning back like a school kid. Get yourself together, man. Don’t be so obvious.
“Hi there, handsome!” They exchange two cheek kisses.
“Hi. How are you?” he says, and laughs. Why am I so nervous?
“I’m good,” she says a little breathless, “had a hard time finding parking, but here I am!” Her eyes dart about the room. She loops her arm into his and leads him down the hall to the museum entrance where they take their place in the lineup that has formed.

“I have been so excited to see this exhibit. I’m such a nerd, huh?” she flashes him a smile.
“I think nerdism is underrated,” he says to her. Oh man, she smells good. Stop it. Stop it!
She giggles, “HA! I like that. Nerdism. Good word. I have been waiting and waiting. Mitch tells me, that as a girl, I am a little too into Vargas. He hates that I've plastered paintings of pin-ups all over the house,” she says reaching into her bag for a tissue. “I guess it is a little much, really. But I just love the way Vargas captured the woman. Real women, you know? With curves. Very sensual.”

“How is Mitch doing?” he half asks her. Please say things are falling apart.
“Mitch?” she replies smiling wider, “Oh, he is great. Awesome actually," she pauses slightly, “he is getting a job transfer to Barcelona."
“What?” he swallows hard. What the fuck?
"Oh God, it’s so amazing! I’m not really supposed to tell anyone. So shhh!! It hasn't been officially announced yet.”
“Barcelona?” He braces himself for what she will say next.  Oh no, oh no...
“Yes! Can you imagine? I have always wanted to go. Always. And now…”
“Wow. You're going too? This wow!” I can’t lose you again.
“Of course! Strange, I’ve always felt I was going to live in Paris, and instead it's Barcelona. Funny, huh?”
“Yeah,” he exhales, “but what about your job?”
“Well, I’ve decided to take an indefinite sabbatical. His company is setting us up with an apartment there, and Mitch wants me to take a break from work and just immerse in the culture, learn better Spanish and write...”

She looks at him. “Hey...are you OK?”
“Yeah. Yes, of course,” he replies trying his best to smile, “Just caught me by surprise, that’s all. This is wonderful news for you. For you both. I’m just gonna miss you.” Shit. Shit!
She smiles and puts her arm around him, “Yeah, but it won’t be for another few months, so you still have to put up with me a little while longer. And obviously you'll come visit!” She notices the doors opening to the exhibit, “Oh! They’re letting people in. I'm just gonna run to the ladies room. Be right back.”
She rushes off, glancing back at him.
“No problem. I’ll wait here.”
I’ll wait for you. Fool that I am. I'll wait.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 85: from the heart

Yesterday my godmother Maria got me the most thoughtful Christmas gift I have ever received. A gorgeous silver paperweight of an early propeller plane along with a clipping of Amelia Earhart’s bio.  In the card she wrote: It is meant to compliment you above all and perhaps continue to inspire and motivate you to be the unique, special, groundbreaking woman that you are. Be all that you can be, your way.

I was really touched. Because in a sea of family always asking:“You don’t have a boyfriend?” or “Still living alone?” she (someone I have always looked up to and admired) decided to discuss the woman I am trying to be outside of a man or a job.  And to celebrate who I am as an individual.  I needed that.

The first line of the bio says: “Amelia Earhart was the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.”  I don't consider myself groundbreaking in the least, but I am attempting to take flight in different ways. And now I have a lovely daily reminder sitting on my desk encouraging me to take the risk.

"Everyone has ocean's to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?"
Amelia Earhart

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 84: Dream Architecture

Ever wonder what would happen if you actually got what you wanted in life?
If things went the way you imagined them?
I do.
All the time.
I have taken the habit of pretending all I want has finally occurred.
I allow myself the luxury of feeling thrilled, satisfied and grateful about it.
The Goosebumps.
The butterflies.
The sheer contentment…
I try them all on for size.
I paint an extravagantly detailed picture of it in my mind.
It’s the trick to happiness, me thinks.
To be clearly present in the moment that you want more than anything.
To feel it and know that it can be-- no will be yours.
To tell yourself you are deserving of all this incredible, overwhelming gladness.
And then lose your frustration and feel content with today.
Even if nothing particularly special happens today.
Because the best is yet to come.
Just allow yourself to visualize having it all.
Do it.
Dream a dream.
See every colour.
Taste it.
Make it so crazy awesome that when it happens, it takes even you by surprise.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 83: Moons and Junes and ferris wheels.

I have a really great view of the moon from my living room right now.
Half of it is big and bright and half of it is hiding in darkness.
Such a lovely thing to look at.
Such a thing of wonder.
But it makes me sad.
I always think of this nursery rhyme I came across years ago:
On the far side of the moon
Lives a girl named Lola June
And she sings a lullaby
That makes the world go to sleep.
Lola June sings her tune
On the far side of the moon

As the stars go sparkling by
With a tear in her eye
Lola June croons her tune
All alone
On the far side of the moon.
It’s sweet, simple and heartbreaking.
Because I understand Lola June.
I get why she remains impossibly perched up there on the moon.

And why it makes her sing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 82: Must. Have. Coffee.

Christmas Day.
I told you we overdo it on the Eve. I got home at 4:30am.
Karaoke is fun, but I forgot about the possibility of people singing Bon Jovi.
Yeah. I heard lots of Bon Jovi.
My skull feels a little fragile today.
Some people project without microphones, if you catch my drift.

But the funniest, most hilarious part of the evening came from my dad.
He gave each of us kids a riddle to solve in order to figure out what our gifts were.
In his mind, they were straightforward, easy-to-solve riddles.
Ahhh poor dad.
We gave up after 20 minutes.
But I almost peed laughing.
Who knew the clue "cloned from the sea" could wind up being memory foam for my bed.

Merry Christmas y'all.
I hope you savour this time with the people you love.
And I hope you laugh.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 81: Merry Wacky Christmas!

Christmas Eve.
We are big Christmas Eve celebrators. 
We let the celebrations run into the wee hours and spend most of Christmas Day nursing indigestion. 
But last year was a bust, not gonna lie.
Everyone was tired, cranky and kind of boring.
So this year, I rented a karaoke machine for the festivities!
My brother in law’s parents will be celebrating with us and they both (can you imagine) got bad cancer news this year.
He is an only child, and has been taking them to doctor appointments every other day.
He is so strong.
I want to try to make it as wacky a Christmas as possible.
For him.  And for them.
So that’s my Christmas gift to the family this year.
Everyone needs cheer.
Everyone needs to celebrate togetherness a little bit more than last year.
Everyone needs music and laughter.
And my niece and nephew will love it.
I had such awesome Christmases growing up.
Where all the grownups danced in the living room and played board games afterwards.
I want them to remember crazy, funny times too.
So don’t say it. Sing it.
Be happy.
Be merry.
Be thankful.
Pick a song and be a lil’ bit wacky.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 80: gibberish

Home. Finally.
And off for a few days to be with family and eat.
And eat.
And probably eat.
I am half Italian and half Portuguese. So we eat a lot.
It’s what we do best.
I am typing away (to you) at my tiny bistro table (I really should buy myself a decent desk) and I am eating chocolate covered almonds while sipping some brandy.
I’m letting the work month dissolve away.
Oy! It was a dramatic one. Unnecessarily so.
Some people are their own worst enemies, you know?
And now some people are out of a job right before Christmas.
Not me. Them. But it wasn’t fun to take care of. I felt shitty.
Shitty until more crazy drama ensued. Then I felt decisive.
I’m learning that managing people is 89% dealing with their emotions, 1% having to do these ‘not so fun’ things and 10% (or 11% for good measure and because I love the number) developing an ulcer and a sleeping disorder.
But when I can’t sleep, I write.
That’s a major development.
I’m not writing a novel or anything, but I'm writing. Period.
That feels good.
The TV has not been turned on in a week. I’m happy about that.
I have even picked up the guitar a few times. Rusty. Sooooo rusty.
I’m happy.
Things are changing.
I can’t explain how, but I feel so much closer to the girl I intend to be.
She’s surfacing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 79 (2nd post): awake.

She feels the chilly draft of morning hit her shoulders and pulls the sheets up to her neck.
Damn it. The duvet fell to the ground. Brrrrrrrr.
Shivering, eyes closed, her foot sleepily searches for his legs under the sheets.
She finds him and huddles closer, placing her legs onto his.
There is nothing better than the warmth of his sleeping body in the morning. Nothing.
She opens her eyes to look at him.
He is so peaceful. He isn’t searching like when he’s awake.  He is just breathing dreams.
She kisses his arm, and he stirs.
He opens his eyes for a second, and automatically pulls her in tighter, kissing the top of her head.  Then his breathing gets heavy and he is fast asleep again.
How does he do that?
The room is bright for 6 am. And cold.
Maybe we can stay like this all day. Nice and warm. Together.
Maybe we don’t have to be part of the world for 24 hours.
Can’t we just remain exactly as we are?
His hand moves and runs through her hair, as though he can hear her thinking. 
Isn’t he sleeping?
She closes her eyes, and breathes him in.  
He smells like rain. Dewy, sweet and salty… all at the same time.
He has to leave, and she doesn’t want him to.
Stay. Hide. With me.  
His hand stops moving. Again he sleeps.
And so she decides to join him.
Her mind searching for the dream he is dreaming. Hoping it includes her.
When I am with you, I am always awake.

Day 79: Just like ping pong.

The flip flopping in your stomach because that particular guy smiles at you after crossing the ever subtle line between nicety and attraction with a carefully crafted sentence.
The art of flirting, when it’s done right, is pretty spectacular.
The ping pong plays of ‘saying it without saying it’.
It’s all about clever innuendo and nuance for me.
I hate bad flirters. The ones who cut to the chase and just make it feel cheap.
That’s not boldness, that’s laziness! Put some effort into it man, I say.
Throw some wit into the flirt bait and I’m hooked.
Seriously hooked.  
Subliminally seduce me, basically.
Build up that tension, and throw me off course only to covertly reel me back in again. Don’t game play (let me know you’re interested) but keep me guessing a little.
I love when I read what you write or hear what you say and find myself smiling slyly.
Keep me on my toes.
And I promise to return the favour.  
Your serve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 78: will it not come undone?

what of this life?
what of all this?
if everything’s gone
what can be missed?
if the road is not built,
who can then come?

If nothing was made
will it not come undone?
if the rules are all changed
is the game still the same?
if the loser can’t win
will the winner feel shame?
who is at fault,
when there’s no one to blame?
what is the cost
when nobody gains?
if moments are lived
why do they die?
if people are free,
why do they hide?
what of this world, then?

what of all this?
if everyone leaves,
what can exist?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 77: The ice parade is on parade. Pretty and sharp.

Ugh. Drama. Drama. 
I'm not a fan of avoidable dramatic episodes.
I'm not big on people who thrive on them like the rest of us do air and water. 
Energy Vampires who find something negative to say about every situation.
Who are petty. 
Who are mean. 
Who are rude.
Who aggravate other people needlessly. 
And push their buttons. On purpose. 
Everyone else is the problem. 
Isn't that always the case?
And the world owes them some monumental apology for carrying this chip on their shoulders all their lives.
Poor, poor things.
Let's all stand in line to apologize, shall we?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 76: No reason to Sunday Spiral.

Helloooooo Sunday.
Here we are again.
Proper lighting: check
Chamomile tea brewing: check
Computer whirring: check
Familiar "I don't want to go to work tomorrow" feeling: check
Cursor taunting me: not so much

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend, thanks to this blog.
If I may say so, maybe even the younger sister I never had.
Almost like going back in time and having a conversation with myself ten years ago.
It was uncanny. The similarities.
The love of words and writing. (The reason we met in the first place).
The searching. The constant searching for signs.
The wanting more out of life.
The wanting to step out of that box.
The wanting to be the best possible versions of ourselves, for ourselves.
For not settling for what doesn't feel like enough, because we have dreams.
Big dreams.
It was eye opening for me to remember that girl I was.
To see how much I have grown, and to realize the searching is still there.
It's just different now.
I think that's the point. To search continually.
Time and time again, I meet people who are eerily similar.
Who are like soul sisters and soul brothers. Cut from the same cloth.
And we are not family, we are strangers, really.
But we cross paths and something important is shared.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 75: dreamless sleep

It’s easier said than done.
All of it.
Have you ever had to stop yourself from dreaming?
I can't.
I was born a dreamer, it’s all I know.

And I love to dream of you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 74: Here I am, and there you are.

How's it going out there?
I gotta tell you, this post almost didn't happen.
I drove a friend home, got stuck behind the snowploughs, got every single red light, took the really, really far parking spot (no others in sight) ran down the street, and up three flights of stairs. I kicked my boots off, threw my coat on the floor, stubbed my little toe badly on the coffee table (that keeps happening!) and turned my computer on.
After 3 resets on the router (oy vey) here I am.
Here. I. Am.
You would think that I might have thought of something to say.
I did.
I actually jotted some notes onto my iPhone while my friend went to the washroom during dinner.
And again at the many red lights in the car.
I don't know why I even do that, I never end up using what I wrote.
I want it to be fresh. I like to see what transpires organically when my fingers hit this keyboard.
And tonight, I'm not sure what will.
So many things are floating around my head.
Mostly how I am here.
And how you are there.
And how different things would be if we were in the same room.
Having tea, perhaps.
I think about the body language. The word exchange. The facial expressions.
Would we laugh together?
Would there be heavy lulls in the conversation?
Would they be misinterpreted as having nothing to say?
Or would you know I babble and get quiet in spurts when I'm nervously taking in a moment?
(Because some moments happen much too quickly).
Would you put me at ease?
Would I be comfortable enough to be 'me' with you?
And if I let my guard down, would you ask to stay for a second cup of tea?
Would you say I was "special", instead of "sexy", "hot" or "pretty"?
Would you know that making me feel one of a kind, is the best way to make me feel beautiful?
Would you finally let me in?
If you were here, instead of there.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 73: My Own Silver Screen

I’ve been experiencing some striking cinematic moments lately. It used to happen to me sporadically every few months, but now it occurs on a daily basis. Moments where the everyday detail stands apart and amplifies itself into what feels like a quick minute of a charming short film. When I tune in, it’s like lucid dreaming; as though I’m a participant in a vivid dream sequence. But it’s real, and I’m in it.

Like when the angle is just right and I happen to catch a ray of light shining into my room, dust particles sparkling and gliding their way down to the ground in slow motion. Or the way rain, when you’re driving, can make everything slightly out of focus, transforming people and scenes into hazy shadows and paintings that move. How the crisp, crunchy steps of my boots in the snow echoes rhythmically into my ears like a brush on a snare drum.  Or the way snowflakes fall lush and large onto my cheeks and get trapped in my eyelashes when I throw my head back and look up. Or how I sometimes catch a large group of small birds taking flight at the exact same time; swooping in circles like synchronized swimmers, perfectly aligned, and perfectly in time. The domino effect of bubbles popping in the tub, one by one, until the water is clear.

All these things, for some reason or another, I am aware of now. I look for now.
Facets of beauty that I can feel and acknowledge wholeheartedly.
That I can attempt to put to words.
My own silver screen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 72: News from Rome and gratitude

I feel special today. For two reasons: 

1) I received news from Rome. It feels so good to hear from the friends I made in my few days there this past summer. Rome was a real awakening for me.  I can honestly say I was at my happiest. Luckily, I happened to meet with kindred spirits (the amazing staff at the Scaletta Restaurant). They fed me every night, hung out with me after work and made sure I was OK. Below is the lovely and descriptive holiday note from my friend there, who brought Rome back to me with his words. I had to share: 

Ciao Cara, come stai? Grazie per le foto,sono belle veramente. Spero che un giorno ne possiamo fare altre insieme,magari a Roma. Qua ha incominciato a fare un pò freddo. Però secondo me, è il periodo più bello. Le strade sono piene di luci di Natale e anche se ci sono ancora pochi turisti in giro, si vedono un sacco di famiglie che fanno i regali. C'è molto calore in giro... Alla Scaletta tutto bene, ti saluto sempre tutti.. Hai trovato la tua anima gemella? Adesso vado al lavoro. Una cosa che ricordo volentieri é il tuo sorriso. Sono quelle cose che fanno star bene chi ti sta vicino...Beh! Adesso ti lascio...Stammi bene
Hello dear, how are you? Thanks for the pictures, they are really beautiful.... I hope someday we can take more all together. In Rome, perhaps .. Here, it has become quite cold. But, in my opinion, it is the best time of the year. The streets are lit with Christmas lights and even though there are far fewer tourists, you see lots of families happily walking together, gifts in hand. There is a lot of warmth in the air around... The Scaletta restaurant is alright. They send greetings to you, as always. Have you found your soul mate? OK, now I must go to work .. One thing I remember fondly about you is the pleasure of your smile. It’s the kind that makes those around you feel goodWell! Now I leave you.  Take care.


2) Thanks to Google Blogger Stats, I am able to see the daily support I get from all of you awesome blog readers in different corners of this grand earth. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge each of you. I can't tell you how pleased and surprised I am at the regular readers. I offer you my sincere and heartfelt gratitude (and OK, a virtual hug) from the bottom of my heart.  It means a lot more than you know. I don't feel as though I'm placing words into an empty vault. Thanks for that. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 71: A door swings open, for a glimpse.

I got an accidental glimpse into a closed off section of my heart today.
What a storm in there!
A lovely, messy tempest.

With voluptuous clouds and unbelievable light.
Vivid pinks and intense orange hues staining the sky.
Wild winds scattering hundreds of letters around;
heavy, smeared and tired with the weight of the rain.

Dancing just the same.
Dancing and floating.

With time the sun will take over.
It always does, somehow.
And everything will be a clear blue.

But what a surprise to see a beautiful storm raging in there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 70: innocence and magic. amen.

Innocence. I see it in my niece and nephew and I wish I could bottle it up, gift wrap it and present it to them on their 25th Christmas. I babysat them the other night, and the plan was to trim the Christmas tree together. They were pretty hyper, so I decided to tell them a story to help them settle down.  (They are 6 and 4, and stories are their favorite).  
Me: Have you ever heard of the teeny tiniest Christmas elves?
They both shake their heads.
Me: Well, I’m not surprised. They’re a very big secret at the North Pole. But I can let you in on the secret if you promise to keep it. Can you?
They nod eagerly, eyes a little wider.
Me: These teeny tiny elves live in the boxes where we store our Christmas ornaments.  And at Christmas time, when we're not looking, they jump out of the box and hide in Christmas trees and poinsettias. (I point to a poinsettia). They're very nice, and adore children, but they hide because they are very timid.
At this point my nephew leaps from his chair to inspect the poinsettia.
Him: Zia, I can’t see it!!
(whispering) Shhhhh! You’ll frighten them! I haven’t finished telling you what the teeny tiny elves do for Santa.
He sits down beside me.
Me: Their job is to make sure children are in the Christmas spirit, so that they can properly welcome Santa when he arrives. When you hear a Christmas song playing, that means an elf was JUST there! So what we need to do now, is creep slowly and quietly up the stairs. When we get to the tree, we need to tell them very softly that we are very happy and excited that Santa is coming to town. 
Holding my hands, they follow me up the stairs on their tip toes and hesitantly walk towards the tree.
Me: It's ok. They're friendly!
I notice my niece is smiling as she whispers into the tree.
Her: I think I saw one, Zia!
Me: Did you?! You must have a little magic in you, if you saw one.
My nephew gets frustrated.
Him: I still didn't see one.
Look closely, and speak kindly to them. They're tricky little buggers, they move very fast.
While they were both inspecting and talking to the tree, I slipped a Christmas CD on, and pressed play. They both whirled around in sheer delight.
Them: They’re here!!! The elves are here! They played music!
Well, what do you know! They listened to you. That's fantastic. Now we can decorate the tree nice for Santa.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 69: Sunday's on the phone to Monday.

Why do I have such a hard time writing on Sundays?
Every Sunday it's the same thing: I'm never satisfied with what I write.
You have no idea how many pages I have written and deleted in the last two hours!
It's stupid really.
But I guess the point is to get me writing.
And write, I did...just nothing worth posting.(This post is for explanatory purposes only).
I'm tired now.
I need to clean up my place, and get to sleep.
If I would have posted what I just deleted, you would know the reason why my guitar sits on the floor beside me (along with a bunch of crumpled papers and a Beatles book).
Big mistake.
I'm feeling very frustrated.
Tired, non-creative, pessimistic and frustrated.
That's this Sunday evening in a nutshell.
Sorry folks.
I'll try to turn on the clever switch tomorrow.
Bonne nuit.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 68: "Then I saw his face, now I'm a believer..."

Oh, readers.

My friend and I were walking downtown after some Christmas shopping when she grabbed my arm and said, "Wow. Look at him. He is really hot." I look over and wow, indeed.

There. He. Was. A real specimen of a man. He was like a lumberjack Adonis. The kind of real manly man we don't see around this city very often (sorry to say). The kind of man you take real notice of (and find yourself writing a post about). Kind of like an Ed Burns meets Josh Hartnett with a little Ashton Kutcher thrown in for boyish charm. Yeah, he was not at all ugly. He had a nicely grown beard, he wore a tuque, a khaki jacket and navy dockers. He walked with his hands in his pant pockets (I love that) and I was completely transfixed by his amazingly thick thighs. (Sigh).  He wasn't beefy, he was athletic, developed and pick-you-up kind of strong. That's a beautiful thing.

We walked a few feet behind him, giggling and whispering to eachother, "Where is he going?!" What kind of place does a man like that have to go? Oh, please God don't bust our bubble and have us see him walking to meet a girlfriend." He stumbled into HMV and we followed him in there (trying to be nonchalant but grinning ear to ear). I needed to know what kind of music he liked...but he walked in and walked out the alternate exit and we lost him. "Oh well," we laughed.

Ahhhhh, he was something, kids.
Where does one find more of that?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 67: Indulge a little.

I am allowing lots and lots and lots (and LOTS) of indulgence tonight.
I got a manicure.
I slow roasted spaghetti squash with parmesan and used the ‘special occasion’ truffle oil from Italia.
I am drinking Brandy Alexanders. Yes. Plural.
I bought a $6 dollar Swiss raspberry chocolate bar and I’m eating all of it.
I am lounging on the couch in my jammies, my favorite silk vintage bath robe and bulky (but oh-so-soft-and-warm) possum socks.
I am watching Elizabeth Taylor skirt around the ever sexy Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
I am drooling over Paul Newman. (I just wanted to say his name twice for the sake of indulgence).
And after the movie’s over and I post this, I will tie my hair up and take a long, hot vanilla scented bubble bath.
Why? Because, sometimes you want what you want.
So, indulge a little.
Go ahead...
You’re welcome.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 66: word wizards are good with words.

we say a lot,
we use many words.
we think palpable thoughts,
we thicken the air with want and questions.
we breathe it in,
we chase it through a maze.
we get lost.
we dodge bullets.
we find our way out
through separate exits.
we exhale.
we move forward.
we move on.
we forget.
we forget?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 65: Pools of sorrow waves of joy.

Thirty years ago today John Lennon was senselessly shot and killed outside the Dakota building where he lived with his wife, Yoko Ono. I got really teary eyed hearing his music on the radio today, and from reading the tributes in the major newspapers. John has fascinated me since I was young, and has impacted me creatively in so many ways that I feel something really special for him.

Besides loving and collecting his music, I have read several biographies including one written by his first wife, Cynthia Lennon. The book, simply titled John, is an intimate recount of her time with him and after him. Cynthia knew and experienced life with John before and throughout the wild success of the Beatles. And she was left behind when that success surpassed its boiling point and destiny led him down a different path into the arms of Yoko Ono.

Her book made me see John through the eyes of someone who loved him, and who saw him as a special man and not this untouchable creative visionary. She recounts how he lived life with passion and inspiration coursing through his veins. He was witty, funny, honest, loving, and cleverly outspoken. But he was also insecure, needy, unfaithful, callous, and sadly craved a maternal comfort that he lacked in his formative years. She showed me he was human. He had shortcomings. He had broken bits like the rest of us. He just happened to have had immense talent. And he just happened to have been in a band called the Beatles.

I’m sad that he had to die the way that he did. A person who campaigned insistently for peace to have been gunned down so violently is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. I’m sad that he didn’t get to grow old. I’m sad that I don’t get to experience seeing him in the news today, heatedly discussing political matters or the wars that are still being fought out there.  But in my sadness of the world losing John 'the man', there's a comfort that we still have John 'the artist'. Words that he wrote, sang or spoke back then are still relevant today. And I have a feeling, they always will be.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 64: "Some snowstorm, eh?"

The word on everyone’s lips is: snow. There’s a whole lot of it in my city right now. Bucket loads sprinkled, sprayed and still barreling down on every single exterior surface, painting my world white. It’s been coming down steadily since yesterday afternoon. The highways got jammed up (as they always do) and the smaller streets were pretty treacherous (with not a single snow plough or salt truck in sight). But… something is different about this snowstorm. I feel like everyone is oddly jovial about it. I’m not quite sure…Maybe it’s because it’s the first snowstorm and it is right before the holidays. Or maybe it’s just because we’re Canadian and know winter. And we can have a good laugh when it decides to kick our ass.

While I was scraping the ice and snow off my car yesterday, a passing driver rolled down his window and said smiling, “Go back inside! Wait another hour! You won’t get anywhere now. Or make sure you got good music to listen to, the radio’s only playing Christmas stuff!” I laughed, nodded my thank you, and kept scraping. (That was nice, I thought). I realized, as I listened to the radio play 'Do they Know it’s Christmas' by Band Aid for the second time, that I was still smiling. We were all united in the misery of this snowstorm and realizing it was kind of funny. (Well, as long as you’re not freezing somewhere or having a car accident). My point is, laughing about it makes it so much easier to go through.

Still today, the unrelenting snow has become this catalyst for human interaction. All around me I see people acknowledging eachother and laughing. That doesn’t really happen in the summertime, ya know? Someone’s pushing another person’s car out of a compacted snow bank as they jokingly yell and curse at winter. Neighbours taking a break, leaning on their shovels, talking. Kids in snowsuits being dragged down the street in sleds. Passerby’s sharing sympathetic chuckles when I almost slip and fall in the middle of the street. I like it. I like what I see. I like this sense of community. I’m completely exhausted (and possibly having a flu relapse) but I gotta say it feels sincerely refreshing to share smiles and connect with so many strangers. So, thank you Mister Snowstorm. (Just a friendly hint though, as much as I love all this's never polite to overstay your welcome. Ya hear?).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 63: Let your mind be free...(turn off the sitar music and pass me a scouring pad)

Some people sit in the pretzel position to meditate. They wear loose clothing, relax their bodies and allow their minds to quietly drift downstream into nothingness. Yeah…Not me. I can’t do that. It’s not programmed into my genetic code. I sit, close my eyes and usually wind up mentally listing groceries I need to buy, words that are fun to say, and-- after about 4 minutes-- fall asleep.  Apparently (and I blame my Italian upbringing for this) what works for me is cleaning the oven. 

Old school styles. I got down on my knees and scrubbed the crap out of that oven. I’m telling you, I attacked that grime with such overzealous ferocity it looked brand new. (Well, as new as a circa 1972 oven can look, but you get the point). When I was done, my arms were sore (pathetic, I know) and I was pretty damn high from the Easy Off fumes (note to self: must open window when working with toxic cleaning agents). BUT I realized that I didn't think of anything for one whole hour!  One whole hour!! Can I hear an AMEN?! Do you know how big of an accomplishment that is for an over thinker like me? A big one--big enough to give myself a rubber gloved high five. 

I needed that. So did my oven. 
It was win-win.

** p.s.: I didn’t burn off the excess product long enough and subsequently got a wee bit sick from roasting toxic veggies. But that’s another blog post altogether. (Ahem).**

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 62: What are you reading?

Love has become an out of print book.
The lucky few who have it in their library, don’t even realize it’s now a collector’s item. 
I've heard some exclusive Doctoral Programs teach it as part of the lesson plan;
but the prerequisites are a Bachelor's degree in Heartache, and a Master's in Loneliness.
Who wants to be in school that long?
I'd rather take my chances perusing through antique book stores,
and happily stumble upon an early edition.
There has to be another copy still circulating the planet.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 61: Baby, it's cold outside.

It’s snowing. Pretty speckled stardust kind of snow, that lazily floats down in no particular direction. Oh, Winter. You always find your way back to Canada, don’t you?  I finally get to walk around the neighborhood today to run some errands.  I feel my leg and thigh muscles coming back to life after almost a month of being sick and sofa bound.  The wind is surprisingly cold on my cheeks and the tip of my nose.  But I breathe it in like medicine.  People are shuffling about in their parkas, clunky boots, mittens and furry hats.  A new season, and we automatically and instinctively adapt to its arrival.
It’s actually really chilly today. But I don’t mind it…yet. Makes me walk faster, and with purpose. And besides, a good Canadian girl knows that if you brave the elements long enough, it is oh-so-sweet to come in from the cold.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 60: Was it real?

Have you noticed, that due to consistently developing technology, personal contact is evaporating? According to most people, I’m supposed to want to try to meet men online. Apparently it is the new way to ‘put yourself out there’. But today’s new dating reality is that couples primarily meet and communicate digitally. It is intimacy through Internet. It almost makes it fictitious in some ways, like it’s not happening in real time. That worries me.

I have no idea when it was that even I jumped the ‘virtual emotional’ bandwagon. All I know is that I’m uncomfortable with this realization. I love to express myself in writing, but is it the easier way out? Sure there are always specific circumstances to hide behind the choice of the written word (distance, secrecy, shyness) but if you have something important to say to another being, shouldn’t the words be spoken and not typed?  Does writing and reading it not dispossess the value and weight of the intended sentiment? 

Kind of like the whole ‘tree falling in the forest’ analogy: if I pour my heart out in an email, and the person decides to read and delete it, did I ever say it? Were the genuine feelings I attached to the email actually felt? Did any of it ever happen, really?  In a bizarre way, because of the digital medium, I’m not quite certain I’ve actually experienced any of it; which is confusing because my heart and inbox tell me otherwise. Essentially, it is a relationship with my laptop or smart phone that is evolving or dissipating, right? Ugh, I don't know... I guess I am sort of thinking out loud here. (Read that last sentence over. Ah, the paradox!).

No hypocrisy, folks, I am conscious that I am sharing these thoughts through the web. And yes, I’m an avid texter. I appreciate that technology has opened doors to communicate faster, more efficiently and to a far broader audience. But for emotional and relationship matters, it might just be too much. And after significant debate with myself, and others, I don’t think it’s for me. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 59: Tell the truth.

The trickiest person to be honest with is yourself.
Why is that?
Enough, now. 
See it for what it is.
Take responsibility.
Separate fact from fiction.

Show yourself some tough love.
And stop depending on angels to have your back.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 58: brighter

I am alight with possibility and hopefulness.
I am eager to dream.
And I dream thoroughly of all that is pleasing.
I thank intuition, and I welcome grace.
For feet in the mud that remind me of ticking clocks;
past, present and future tense.
Of what remains to be seen, heard, and touched;
I tingle and sparkle with intent.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 57: Dear November.

Dear November,

You sure tried your bestest to kick my ass in every way possible. But you didn’t win. You weren’t my favourite month of the year, but you sure gave me a lot to reflect upon. I am moving on from you tonight and making swift friends with lively December.

Thanks for showing me I’m stronger than I think. But I will ask you, kindly, to please take all your ‘leftover November flu’ and any lingering ‘bittersweet November heartache’ and be on your way. (Both those gifts are uninvited to Christmas dinner parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations, in case you were wondering).

Maybe next year, we can try to be friends again. Yes?
It’ll be 11/11. I’m usually pretty lucky with that number.


Ready to start over.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 56: Yes, I'm single. And no, it's not contagious.

OK. I’m gonna get something off my chest. In the past two days alone (and I’m not counting all the other incidents in the last few years) I have had the following said to me: “When are you going to find a nice boy and get married?”

Scenario 1 (yesterday) Funeral Home:

Tears still trickling down my face, my father introduces me to some distant family from out of town. They smile, nod and politely say (in Portuguese), “Ahhh what a pretty girl! She’s the unmarried one, right? But why?” (Sigh)
Go say hello to (black sheep) uncle and his wife (who says to me in French, not so politely): “Why are you still unmarried? What are you waiting for? You know Prince Charming doesn’t exist, right?” To which I smile tersely and say, “Being married does not automatically equate happiness. Right?” (She should know that better than anyone, trust me).

Scenario 2 (today) The Office:

I’m smack in the middle of a horrendous coughing fit, clutching my chest in pain and my classless (dumbass) coworker strolls over with a man who is at least 106 years old. He introduces me, puts his arm around me, and announces to the gentleman how I’m single and looking to meet a nice man who could take care of me. (Huh?!!) He proceeds to tell me how I should meet men as charming as this one (all the while I’m still coughing uncontrollably).

First of all, what is wrong with people? There’s a time and there’s a place. I mean, c’mon! At a funeral?! When I’m visibly upset? Or ambush me when I’m physically in pain to parade me in front of your rich clients? Second of all, there’s no mystery to figure out here. Being single is not a death sentence and it's not a a disease. Yes, I know I’m of European descent. I'm well aware of my culture and my age. Yes, I was the girl who had steady boyfriends for 10 years straight. And none worked out. That happens sometimes. But I’m OK. I enjoy my own company. Do you? I have creative passions, I have amazing friends (many of whom are in the same ‘predicament’ as me), I have goals, and I have substance. Maybe that’s incomprehensible to some people. Or threatening? That I am doing it without a husband?

Why do you have to make it a club I don’t belong to with your unanswerable questions? I’m not saying I don’t want to get married. I do. I really do want to spend my life with someone. But I’m just not allowing marriage to define when my life “starts”. I am pushing ahead building a life of my own, and getting to know myself. So when the right man comes along, I don't attach unrealistic expectations that happiness and fulfillment can only come from him.

Please stop saying I am being picky. It’s healthy to know what I want.
Yes, I want love. And no, it’s not easy out there on my own.
But it will happen when it happens.
So please, stop asking why.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 55: Just a dream. Happy Thoughts.


I've just awoken from a really horrifying nightmare and my mind seems incapable of settling down to sleep again. My eyes are heavy but my heart is still pounding much too fast. I actually woke up gasping in the seated position, drenched in sweat. Movie styles. Felt like someone was choking me. Everything was dark and the shadows seemed thick and ominous, the after effects of a very vivid, disturbing nightmare. Where did that come from?

Turn on all the lights.
Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.
Wash my face.
Drink a tall glass of water, leaning against the kitchen counter.
Listen to the creepy creaking of the floors in my apartment (even though it's just me here).
Try not to let my mind flashback to what was just a dream.
Just a dream.
Turn the heat up a notch.
Get back into bed.
Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.
Write it down.
Just a dream.
Just a dream.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 54: Another day.

Another day, another blank page. I’m so lucky to have both. It seems so unreasonably unfair to me the amount of people who do not get that today. There are cancerous monsters roaming all the lands claiming countless victims in a variety of forms, stealing their days.
We each know people who have encountered this ugly, merciless beast and there is not much we can do to stop it from hurting others. With all the chaos and fighting going on in the world today, has the gravity of this war against cancer been underestimated? The casualties are much too high. Every creed, every race, every age has been targeted. Our governments send money and troops to fight wars abroad; but what about the mindless weapons of mass destruction that explode in our hearts and lives when a friend or relative dies from cancer AGAIN.  
It is rampant.
It is everywhere.
Is there nothing more that can be done by our leaders to help advance the necessary science to understand this silent, wicked enemy? So we can fight back with the same vigour we do wars in the Middle East?
Maybe I am too naive. But I have also been to too many funerals.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 53: Five W's (and one H)

What is the matter with me?
What did I expect?
What is it that I wanted, anyway?

Why is it carefully hidden away in the back of my mind some days and then unexpectedly floating in the foreground other days? Why does lingering there still feel nice?  Why do I seem to be the only one struggling with any of it? Why am I so foolish?

How do I get past it?
Who can be the antidote? Who can be good enough to even try?
Where is the place to lay down the heart without any apprehension?
When can it jump without the safety net?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 52: Ex's and...Oh's (a discussion)

You know the feeling. You get some news about the Ex.
You find out they are doing well--no, ridiculously well.
And you need to tell someone.

Because, well, you're not really able to be pleased about it (just sayin').
I'd like to introduce my guest blogger for this post: sideproject.

Discussion: The Ex.

sideproject: Ex’s are never supposed to be OK. They are supposed to wallow in sadness forever, contemplating what they did wrong to sabotage your relationship; usually resulting in them realizing that the whole break up fiasco was entirely their fault. They should feel guilty and never be able to love the same way again, right? Amen. Ex’s are not ever supposed to thrive, be successful, lose weight, look great, or god forbid- get over you. That would just be wrong.

365 Attempts: But why does it never play out that way? Why have most of my exes happily met "the one" soon after I broke up with them?  And why do they now own property when they were consistently broke when we were together? When you run into that particular Ex (you know the one, the one you think maybe was a mistake leaving) accidentally at a bar; you kind of want them to have those "I Miss You" eyes, and not the awkward glance in the direction of the pretty (younger) girl beside them and say, "Hi there, you! Let me introduce you to...”  Why do they get to ‘have it together’?

sideproject: True dat, true dat. It’s all about not being able to stay stuck. Dumpee’s are never allowed to be stuck in a rut after being dumped.  Society propels them to ‘move on’ and ‘get over it’ almost instantaneously. Dumpee’s have too much support around them, that’s why they end up being successful. The whole world feels bad for them and henceforth dedicates itself to boosting their confidence level with compassionate words about how great they are and destructive words about how horrible we are. Our society only supports the broken hearted. We have conditioned Dumpee’s to never look back. There’s no love for those who do the breaking. We- the Dumper’s- are loathed and banished to guilty conscience and second guessing for all of eternity. Murphy’s Law. We were the ones who made the first confident move, and they are the ones that reap the benefits.

365 Attempts: I bet you anything Murphy was a Dumpee.

sideproject: It's the only way it makes sense.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 51: Drama in the daytime.

Soap Operas. What a strange concept of narrative. A ridiculous blend of the mundane mixed with theatrical over-the-top shenanigans.  I have been home a lot of late, and between 1pm and 4pm the TV is hijacked by daytime drama.  Most of these shows have been running for over 50 years with no signs of stopping.  And people watch this stuff religiously (I used to as a teen, mostly because my mom and sister got me hooked) but was it always this bad
Here are some of my observations over twenty years later:
·         All the “big” stars who left the show to pursue a career in film, are all back at their daytime gig. Seriously, identical casts from 1987… Guess that didn’t pan out, huh?
·         How does time stand still for some and accelerate at triple speed for others? Kids who were kids back in my day now have adult children, while Auntie What’s-Her-Face is still dating. Who is doing the life math on the writing team?
·         Someone is still getting buried alive. (?!)
·         Love triangles now include long lost offspring. (Ewww.)
·         Why do they never know who the father is? Like, EVER?
·         People still wake up in their hospital beds with full makeup and coiffed hair. And why is it that most daytime drama scenes are performed in hospitals anyway?
·         Why is it always ridiculously sunny outside, everyday?
·         When is the last time you had an entire conversation with your back to the person you’re conversing with (while making constipated faces to an invisible camera in front of you)?
·         In case you don’t get the gist that someone is in trouble by the words being spoken, there is handy foreboding string music with heavy bass (just in case). And they usually cut to commercial right after (another handy hint).
·         They still do the sappy montage at the end of the show; with clips of each character looking out the window, or kissing their lover happily, or crying alone holding a picture frame, or fiendishly fishing out a gun from a locked office drawer…
Oy vey!
Well, at least I got some makeup and hair ideas.