Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 119: A letter for W.S.

Dear William,
I write to you with a very late confession:  I think I might have fallen in love with you.   
It all began so innocently.  People told me about you. I found you alluring, but I couldn’t quite comprehend all the fuss they made over you.  I was very young, and I thought you spoke rather strangely. I liked you, but you intimidated me.  So I dismissed you as complicated and dull.

Thankfully, Fate was wiser than me. It persistently made us cross paths again and again.  And in spending time with you, I found myself genuinely interested in what you had to say.  Your knowledge of human nature intrigued me. There was something profoundly unique about the way you expressed yourself. But still I kept my distance.
One dewy midsummer night, you countered my resistance.  You led me by the hand and showed me the sweet and na├»ve vulnerability of love’s first kiss.  I was charmed by your romantic and colorful eloquence. Everything sparkled!  And just as I was basking in your brightness, you lured me down a shadowy path and seduced me with the deepest, darkest side of passion.  There I witnessed bold love transformed into something fierce; a madness that was hauntingly lovely and dangerously fragile. I was enraptured by it all. But, I had other courters claiming my time. And although you had made quite an impression, I was overwhelmed and walked away from it all.
Now I am much older, and I find myself remembering you.  Searching for pieces of you. Because I understand you better...Your depth. Your inimitable wit. And I wonder how I could have ever let a mind as special as yours slip through my fingers.  
I know I am very late, but I wanted to tell you that I think you are magnificent.  I am ready to make up for lost time.
Sincerely and apologetically,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 118: The balance between choices.

Driving home tonight a sentence came to me.
Completely out of the blue, and as though someone whispered it into my ear.
Everything in life is a choice.

I’ve heard it many times before, but tonight I said it to myself.
I don’t know why I did, but it rang true.
Not just for me…
My friends, my family…
And so many others who have shared their stories with me.
If we are unhappy, that’s a choice.
If we stay, that’s a choice.
If we walk away, that’s a choice too.
There’s no one to blame.
There are only choices.
And our lives are built and shaped around every single choice we make.
From the day we first know how.
To now.
Nobody ever told us what to choose.
If they did, we chose to let them tell us.
Maybe it is time to own up to our choices.

Stop with the "woe is me" or "I can't catch a break".
You make your own breaks.
You construct your own happiness.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 117: I blame hair commercials.

I am at my mom’s house.
And snooping through her washroom (looking for face cream) I notice her hot rollers. 
Hmm...My hair is pretty long now. Wavy locks would be a fun change for dinner out tonight.
So even though I spent a good thirty minutes straightening my hair prior to coming here...
I decide to give them a whirl.
I plug them in, wait until they are scalding hot, and roll up my hair.

**Cut to an hour later.**

I am watching TV with my mom by the fireplace when she says,
“You better take those off; you’ve had them on a really long time.”

Shit! I completely forgot.
I jump off the couch and run back to the washroom and remove each curler, one by one.
Oh my goodness. 
There she is.
Little Bo Peep. 

This is not Jhirmack-bounce-back-beautiful hair!
This is tangled telephone wires!

Not glamorous, and definitely not sexy.
I hastily grab a fine tooth comb and begin to comb through each curl.
Within seconds I manage to transform Little Bo Peep into a very pale Diana Ross.
(With a bad case of winter static cling, at that).
Oh me.
Oh my.
Ponytail it is, then.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 116: The J Blues

This cold and dreary winter blandness... it’s too much!
I've had enough. 
I've had my fill of white and grey, thank you kindly.
I want red.
Candy apple red.
Incandescent red-hot red!
And I want a little adventure.
I want what I want.
You know?
I'm done with January.
Seriously done with it.
Bored to tears with it. 
What’s a girl gotta do to get a little July over here?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 115: Toss. Turn. Rinse. Repeat.

Insomnia hits, and here I am.
Pacing without moving.
At the mercy of sleep.
I flip my pillow over once.
Then twice. 
I reposition my hands and legs repeatedly, trying to get comfortable.
Hot with the duvet.
And cold without it.
Where do ‘happy mediums’ go?
I’d love to know…they always seem to escape me.
I check the time again.
I begin mentally subtracting the amount of hours before I have to wake up.
I curse.
I look at the pile of books on my bedside table. 
Three half read novels and one abandoned journal.
I grab whichever novel I can reach and flip it open to any page.
I read aloud (to no one) the first line I see:
"When you start to live outside yourself, it's all dangerous." — The Garden of Eden.
Hmmmm. Ain't that the truth.
I continue to entertain myself with randomly picked sentences from Hemingway, Chekhov, and Marquez until I realize I should be sleeping.
I sigh.
I curse, again.
I throw my hands up in frustration at the irony of my life.
When I can’t sleep, I can’t dream.
And when I can’t allow myself to dream, I can’t sleep.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 114: The One About Google Searches

My buddy sideproject has guest blogged with me here a few times. Usually we get on MSN Messenger to write about our topic together and then I copy/paste the entire conversation into a WORD document before posting it here. Well today, she opened up a Google Document online that we could both view/write on simultaneously. AND (get this) see eachother’s keystrokes live! Too freaky! The conversation that ensued is not thick with plot, but a live experiment with the many wonders of technology (and Google in particular).
**Please keep in mind (to better follow the conversation) that as sideproject is typing I am line editing, formatting, and fixing grammar.***
Discussion: Google Searches

sideprojectDid you just erase everything we wrote before this? That was the warm up.

365Attempts: Yes. Yes I did.

sideproject: Anyway. I want to post about how when you Google ‘ac’ the first options that pop up are ‘acropolis’ and ‘acrylic nails’. This opens up a whole new world. You’re so detail oriented...

365Attempts: I’m a perfectionist. Sorry. Yes, OK fine. Let’s discuss Google and put more money in their pockets by doing so.

:”My attempt at searching for the word Acropolis. Chapter 1.”

365Attempts: You looked for Greece and ended up in Brooklyn getting your nails done.

: I guess. I just think it’s funny how we can write the first few letters of a word and... Wait...OK--it’s hard to write like this. I feel exposed.

365Attempts: No! It’s awesome writing like this. I’m amazed! Google is an anomaly. (Apparently I had to spell check ‘anomaly’, thank you Google spell check. You’re so smart!)

sideproject: Google is smart. Too smart. It takes sound bytes to a whole new level. I just googled the letters ‘ac’ again. The first two options are ‘access d’ and ‘acanac’. On a normal day I would be WTF about it, but today I want to expand my mind. I’m clicking. By the way, I love how, as I write, you are editing me. This is a whole new version of censorship. 

365Attempts: I’m so anal, you have no idea. While you articulate your thoughts, I'll spell check them. What’s “acanac”? 

sideproject: Let’s focus on the big picture here: “Acanac” has been brought into our lives.

365Attempts: OK, go ahead...

sideproject: What a disappointment. Acanac is a High Speed Internet company. I thought I was going to learn something. I really think you have a case of OCD that you should have checked out immediately. 

365Attempts:  You did learn something today. You learned that companies that pay top dollar will come up as the first option in Google search engines. 

sideproject: Let’s have another go. “mi” - ‘miniclip’ or ‘mind craft’. This one looks promising. 

365Attempts: And both could be great band names.

sideproject: Yes. Or one could be a free online gaming site. No luck with Mindcraft either. It seems to be an online game too. Maybe the Internet is telling me something.

365Attempts: I want to try one. ‘ta’ - Target or Taylor Swift.

sideproject: Ha-ha That's good. How long before you fix my apostrophe?

365Attempts: I’m holding myself back. You have no idea how hard it is.

sideproject: Go ahead.

365Attempts: Thank you.

sideproject: I wish I could have filmed that. Now that is an ad for OCD.

365Attempts:  Whatever! Eye Am What Eye Am!

Sideproject: Back to business...before I start to play Mindcraft. We are on the search for the most screwed up juxtaposition of word searches on earth. 

365Attempts: Maybe I should Google OCD? Hey, Isn’t it mind boggling in itself how the words ‘look up’ have somehow automatically switched to ‘Google’? OK: 'da’- Dawson College or Dancing with the Stars.

: No. I’m going the distance: 'xi' - Xittel or Xilinx?

365Attempts  Careful not to Google ‘xx’...just saying. You'll end up with a Jenna Jameson screensaver.

sideproject: OMG why do I keep stumbling upon technology solutions?

365Attempts And I seem to stumble upon celebs or TV. Interesting. Exactly what this blog post is not, incidentally.

sideproject: I’m sorry is that an insult disguised as something else?

365Attempts: Huh? I just mean: Is this discussion post worthy?

sideproject: Yes, parts of it are. We discovered a new way to write This is exciting! This is how we can write our screenplay!

365Attempts I was just thinking that, too. Thank you, Google Doc!

sideproject: I guess it wasn’t a waste of time afterall. OK post over. "And...scene." 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 113: Go ahead. Wait.

A four syllable word loaded with consonants, vowels, questions, and stop signs.
A word that will rob you of your chance.
Go ahead.
Think about the risk.
Play it out in your head for the millionth time.
Map out how it will be.
How it will feel.
Work out percentages.
Talk it over.
Or better still, write everyone’s lines.
Tomorrow and the day after are gift certificates that never expire, right?
So you can take your time and press pause all you like.
Walk in circles when you get to the red light.
And hope to God it turns green again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 112: Bring me your heat.

I’m looking out the window and I can tell it’s really cold.  I see smoke from a chimney top frozen in midair, before one sharp gust of wind carries it away.   And the trees look so frosty and spooked.  Branches bare and fragile. Jagged and spindly. Like frostbitten fingers reaching out to no one. They don’t sway. And they don’t dance.   

It’s sunny, sure.  The sun is just playing his sinful seduction game.  He knows I love his light, so he tries to trick me. But there’s no warmth this season.  I know from experience.  And I find myself wishing he would really follow through this time.

I wish he would bring me a hot day with prickly green grass underfoot. Or the quick burn of my bare toes on hot pavement.  And cover my skin with a thin layer of summer sweat.  Where the only cold is the ice in my drink that quickly melts away before reaching my lips.

No blankets or hot water bottles. Or spiked up thermostats. Tea kettles that work hard and rest little. Feet layered in socks and slippers. None of these. Please. I don't want cold. I want you to bring me your heat. Sun, be bold. Be kind.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 111: stop. start.

Her: What were you going to say?
Him: Nothing. I wasn’t going to say anything.
Her: Oh. It looked like you had something to say.
Him: I don’t think I have anything particular to say.
Her:  OK.
Him: OK.

Her:  I feel paralyzed today.
Him: If you were paralyzed you'd feel nothing.
Her:  I just feel like everything has decided to stop. That's all.
Him: Why?

Her: I don't know. Why not?
Him: So start it up again.
Her: I can't.
Him: Then you have to think that you can, instead. Don't you?
Her: You’re so smart.
Him: Sometimes. Let’s go for a walk. I might find something to say.
Her: I knew you would. Yes, let’s go. Let’s go for a walk. I feel better now. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 110: After all is said and done...there is more to say.

The writing workshop wasn’t exactly what I had thought it would be. I had hoped for more theory on 'personal essay' writing from someone with experience in the industry.  And at least one in-class assignment of writing a story from memory… I didn’t expect it to be a one-by-one ‘feedback only’ class on the emailed written submissions. Attendees consisted of published authors, journalists, teachers, intellectuals, and a few beginners. A very odd bunch to mix together. As some read their stories, and others critiqued them, I sensed quite quickly that my ‘work’ was not going to go over well with this literary bunch.
It felt like McGill University all over again. I had, until now, blocked out the nightmare of haughtiness that greeted me as a first year student majoring in the (challenging) English Literature program and the one teacher who particularly stabbed at my confidence with a simply stated sentence: “Your writing is not up to McGill standards. It's quite poor.”With those lovely words (retrieved from memory) dangling overhead, I read my submissions to the class today.  I was instantly labeled a ‘blogger’ and not really taken seriously.  But that being said, I got some comments on what style was preferred, and how I should step back for clarity of thought and explore what I am trying to say.  One person commented that it felt “artless, and without much point”. That hurt my pride a bit. But I had to tell myself I was here to improve and not to be gutted like market trout.  I was going to take all comments constructively.
I am glad I experienced this workshop at this point of my 365 Attempt experiment.  Writing everyday is good practice, but today taught me that if I would like to take this seriously, I need to write more than the short posts I bang out here daily. I still need to find my niche.  I still need to figure out what I want to write about and the style of narrative to express it.  BUT, the difference now is that I am not scared to attempt. And that's something.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 109: how we live

We all live in fish bowls.
We just decorate them differently.
Some of us swim with great zeal.
And some of us tread water.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 108: Pet Peeve: The Uber-Questioner

You have all come into contact with this individual at one point in your personal or (more often than not) professional life. The Uber-Questioner seeks approachable and knowledgeable people in charge to satisfy their need to talk with a rising pitch intonation at the end of most sentences. NB: They can often be mistaken for another popular pet peeve character: Needs-A-Pat-On-The-Back Person.

Uber-Questioner Profile:

  • Asks random unimportant questions at importune moments when the idea strikes them
  • Asks specific (still random) questions about things/events way in advance just to satisfy their own curiosity
  • Interrupts you answering their first question with a new question (and so on...)
  • Is generally unsatisfied with the answer and needs further (detailed) explanation

Dream/Fantasy way to deal with said pet peeve person:
The acquisition of a wooden bat in the shape of a question mark that you can beat them with.

Semi-Realistic way to deal with said pet peeve person:
The purchase of ear plugs or use of the ever traditional “no hablo Ingles.”

Realistic way to deal with said pet peeve person (unfortunately):
Actually answering ALL their questions.
Because you have to.
Because that’s what you’re paid to do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 107: post script

I deleted the other post I had written for today because (at the end of today) it didn’t feel honest anymore.
And I wasn't comfortable with the idea of it being out there to be misinterpreted.
I’ve finally come to my senses about something quite personal.
And I feel done writing about it.
Quite honestly, I have given it way too much air time as it is.
I had to experience it all.
I had to taste both ends of foolishness, I suppose.
Took me long enough.
Took me rereading some things after many months of avoiding doing exactly that.
I wrote my way through it.
And I read my way out of it.
The irony doesn't escape me.
But I learned a few things.
1) Watch out for them pedestals.
2) Value yourself.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 106: Dear Apocalypse

Dear Apocalypse,

Hi there. You don’t really know me personally, but I felt the need to send you a letter to say hello and introduce myself. I’m a regular girl who lives on Earth, and I try to do good as much as I can. Try to stay away from the, you know, evil stuff. And I figured that now would be a good time to touch base with you and see how you’re doing these days. I’m kind of picking up on a ‘restless’ vibe from you.  Maybe it’s the whole dead-birdies-dead fishies combo and all the earthquakes happening lately, but I kind of get the feeling that you’re checking rates on Expedia to come a little sooner than any of us expected. And, Apocalypse, I was just wondering if you wouldn’t mind postponing your visit for at least another, I don’t know, 300 years or so?

I’ve been asking around, and folks are pretty much on board with me. Nobody is into the ‘last days’ stuff. People have been clear about staying alive as long as possible and are hoping that their offspring can too. We’ve all read about your plagues and famines and they’re quite well imagined and striking, but we don’t want to be the ones to see your masterful ways first hand. It kind of scares the shit out of us, actually. Hehe. (Ahem).  And as for me, I have places I’d like to see, and things I’d like to accomplish. I was planning on the ‘growing old’ thing. So, I’m sure you can appreciate how a giant cosmic cataclysm happening tomorrow or the next day would cramp my plans.

Maybe you and God can rediscover the joy of Yahtzee or Scrabble and save the ‘Judgement’ discussions for a few more centuries. There’s no rush, really. Take an extended vacation. You deserve it!! 

Yours in Doom,


Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 105: you can't get a tan standing in the shadows

I am taking a personal essay writing workshop on Saturday, and today we had to email a piece of writing to the other students for class discussion.  I have been really excited for this and had a few ideas on what I would submit but as the emails started pouring in, I suddenly felt a little out of my element.  And well, a good deal intimidated.

As I announced in my very first entry, I started this 365 day experiment to find my written voice.  112 posts in, I feel as though I have been testing out a few stylistically and I’m hoping that this will lead me to the one that fits me best. 
I have built up some confidence here because I’m not following a format.  (I am following my thoughts, really).  But these soon to be classmates sent excerpts of chapters to the memoirs they are working on! With gritty, meaty subject matter!  And I was deflated. I felt like the much-too-colloquial fluffy kid in class. 
The next thing I know, I am calling my mom and emailing friends to shed some light on what they think I should submit. Every opinion was different, but they all said, “Listen, you have a style. Stay true to it. Follow your gut.  Show a few different colors of what you can do.” 
Follow my gut. Why am I not doing that? I am not a fan of indecision. And I’m pissed off that I have been second guessing my hard work all day long.  The truth is, I’m pretty tough on myself as it is. I write a post here, and the next day I have to talk myself out of editing it to shreds or deleting it altogether.  This whole 365 Attempt experience is a vulnerable one, creatively and personally. I have allowed open the floodgates to my heart and mind for whomever chooses to tune in on whatever day.
I hate looking or sounding insecure. I really want to convey confidence in my writing and in my life decisions but the fact of the matter is…I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! I haven't the slightest idea! What if I leave nothing to the imagination, and that turns people off? What if I get so used to writing one to two page essays (keep 'em short so as not to lose the attention of the reader) that I never delve into the waters of 'chapters' or 'memoirs'?  But then I think of all the supportive messages I have received about being honest, about not filtering too much and I feel lucky that people have related to that in whatever shape or form. And that gives me my much needed kick in the ass.
I went ahead and submitted a few pieces that I liked best.  And I will show up and stand behind them as best I can, without apology or self flagellation. It is a workshop after all. (Get a grip, girl!) It’s to get insight and to improve.  And to hopefully take this newfound passion of the written word to a new level.  Fingers crossed that I don’t get in my own way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 104: Small Victory

I got back from brunch with an old friend to find two e-mails waiting for me. One from my mother saying she was coming over this afternoon with my father and sister, and another from my friends saying they were coming over tonight to watch the Golden Globes.  So I sprang into action and started cleaning up the clutter that had accumulated throughout the week.

I pulled out my enormous vacuum and got to work. Halfway through, I noticed the bag was too full and it wasn’t picking up the dust and dirt properly. (This is a new vacuum so I never had to tackle getting the bag out). Well, let me tell you friends... I was not prepared for the battle that ensued. The latch, to remove the bag, was stuck and the next twenty minutes was me (literally) wrestling on the floor with a 3 foot vacuum to get it unstuck. I pressed, I pulled, I squeezed, I screamed in frustration, I even cut my finger until (finally) “BAM!”--out came the bag spraying half of its contents all over me.  Sneeze. Cough. Fuck! Shit! Good times.
Once I emptied the rest of it in the trash, I tried to attach the piece back to the vacuum. It wasn’t happening.  I screamed again.  I got up. Drank a glass of water.  Paced.  Not only did I have the original dust to pick up, but the rest of the vacuum contents needed to be cleaned now too. Tick tock, goes the clock.  Family would soon arrive.  I thought to myself: I guess I could wait for Dad to help me put it back into place--No!!  I can do this, damn it! It’s just me here. And I can do this. You’re not winning, Hoover. We are gonna get this place clean, you and me.  I am gonna put you back together, even if I lose a finger! (Which at this point, if you saw my mangled hand…wouldn’t be that big of an exaggeration).
I walked over to the vacuum (the wind howled and tumbleweed flew by) and with all my concentration and might slammed that friggen thing into into place. TADAAAAA!!!  I kid you not, I looked at the vacuum and triumphantly said: Who’s the boss? I’m the boss.
And I cleaned up the mess. And then I cleaned the washroom. I even had time to run to the grocery store to get some snacks, come home and type this. No one’s the wiser. I know it’s silly. But when you don’t have a man in the house to call frantically and say this to: Honey, I’m going to F%^&% throw this thing off the balcony…can you please come fix it?!  You gotta do it on your own.  And I did. I fought the Hoover today and won. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to attend to my broken hand (ahem).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 103: Love, have a seat.

I got a new loveseat today.
Isn’t that such a charming name for a piece of furniture?
It’s really handsome.
New, but antique...but new.
I was really heartbroken to see the old one brought down to the curb, though.
It was tattered, sure.
Needed reupholstering…
But my grandparents sat on it, once upon a time.
As well as many other people I love.
(Even John Lennon once, in a dream. Would you believe that?!).
Three hours later, when I realized it was snowing,
I went down to see if it was still on the sidewalk.
Someone took it home with them.
Or somewhere, else. Who knows.
I’m glad they did.
I sure hope they feel all the good energy.
Remember the old…welcome the new. Right?
And the new one really is handsome.
I am anxious to see who will sit on it.
This new loveseat.
Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
Yes, please.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 102: truth never lies

We get good at hiding things over the years, don’t we?
Hiding them in the back of closets.
Under the rug. 
Under the bed.
Hiding information from the people we care about.
Hiding it from ourselves. 
Out of sight. 
Out of mind.
For self preservation.
So that we don’t wallow.
To keep the peace.
To sleep at night.
Or for whatever reason we create to justify what we conceal.
But the heart remembers.
It knows everything.
The truth never hides.
The truth never lies.
Better to act in ways you can be honest about.
Better to close doors before opening windows.
Better not to collect skeletons.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 101: "...but you ain't no dancer."

To all you wishy washy seductors:
We’re tired.
We don’t want to play your chase and hide game anymore.
We’re fed up of collecting all your vague words,
and turning them into comprehensible, meaningful sentences.
We’re done pretending your lazy quasi-efforts are honorable intentions. 
We don’t want to date you for months and still not be sure if we’re your ‘girlfriend’.
What's that about?
Be a man.
Do the work.
Decide for Christ’s sake.
And then tell us with the actual words.
Or show us, with concrete action.
And until you seriously step up to the plate,
we will refuse to accept this dance.
How 'bout them apples?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 100: Show the love.

This past weekend, while getting my nails done, I asked my awesome manicurist, Jenny, how she met her husband. She said she met him by chance at a friend’s wedding. They were seated at the same table, talked and danced all night and the very next day he called to ask her out again. She lived in Ottawa and he lived in Montreal, and he would drive every weekend to see her. She said to me, “He was so crazy. Some days, when I was in school, he used to drive all the way to Ottawa from Montreal just to bring me food for lunch.  And then he would drive back home right after!” (That made me smile). “One night, after I had driven to see him in Montreal, I was too tired to drive he drove me home with my car and then took the bus back home!”

I love hearing stories like that. It made me think back to one of my more romantic boyfriends. He was really something. He spoiled me as often as he could. He went out of his way to surprise me in crazy ways just to make me feel special and loved. On our 6 month anniversary, he had 180 roses delivered to my house--one for every day we were together. (You'd think I had robbed a florist, it was quite the sight). Another time, he surprised me with an overnight trip to NYC for a picnic in Central Park on my birthday. (It was such an awesome day, too. I still think about it).  But the most touching and memorable thing he ever did for me, was to find the only copy (in Canada) of an out-of-print book I loved as a child; and then gave it to me as a present for no particular occasion.  Was all this necessary? No, of course not. Did I feel like the luckiest girl in the world every time? Absolutely.  And it’s not like the guy was Daddy Warbucks or anything, he had a regular job like the rest of us. He just had a big heart and knew how to make me feel one in a million.

That kind of romance, is it dying away? That whole “let me show them I love them” stuff…do people still do that? I feel like I don’t hear about it as often as I used to. Instead, I hear about relationships falling apart, spouses fighting, new couples unsure if their partner wants to commit because they never talk about where it is leading to. Can romance come back in style, please?  I think we’re all a little due for some. Grand gestures, small gestures… Show the love! In whatever capacity you feel you can--whether it lands you on your ass, rejected or alone. Just show it! I can tell you first hand, it will be remembered forever. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 99: Oh dear...

Man, 365 days.
I’m afraid to say it folks, but I'm starting to worry the well will run dry.
I asked--in an open forum style-- what I should write about today.
Some fun answers were:

Nat: Giant Disneyworld pickles and the bastardization of common foodstuffs for mass consumption. That, or bunnies.

Carolyn: Sex toys as a vehicle for frank discussion between couples.

(Noted, ladies. Noted).

It’s friggen hard to write everyday, people!!
And now I'm smack in the middle of a funk.
It's hard to say anything interesting when you’re in a funk.
And I don’t want to write about how I’m in a funk.
Because why the funk would you care if I was in a funk?
Unless you like funk, cause it’s so damn funky.
And in that case, you go right ahead and play that funky music, white boy.
Or perhaps I can post about how I seem to be allergic to myself.
All I ate was friggen’ veggies tonight and now I have an itchy hive on my lower arm.
I know…. Soooo sexy, right?
Hey , have you ever noticed how the word ‘sexy’ is sexier than the word ‘sex’?
Think about it.
Are you thinking?
Or are you just transfixed on the word sex, because I put in in bold italics?
Yes, I wrote sex.  And I’ll write it again damn it!
Well, in reality, I’ve written the word four times in this post already, so just simmer down over there and listen to your funk!
OK, I am seriously allergic to something. My lips feel funny.
They’re swollen.
Like I made-out with someone ‘high school styles’.
Except I didn’t, sadly.
Ahhh man.
Remember kissing, and only kissing, for hours when you were in high school?
That was fun.
Shit. Two more hives on my arms, and some on my face. They’re multiplying.
Don’t worry.
This is a regular occurrence.
I seem to be allergic to something new every few months.
It’s just time for the Benadryl cocktail.
Stupid itchy hives.
I’m pretty sexy right now, you have no idea. 
Am I hallucinating?
Do I hear showtunes?
Oh...never mind, Glee is on the tube. They're singing some Babs.
I like Glee.
This show tends to make me burst into song around the apartment.
Does it do that to you?
Oh who am I kidding, I burst into song all the time.
You know what my favourite thing to sing is when I’m cleaning?
Gershwin standards.
I love Gershwin.
I think I was born in the wrong era.
Maybe I’m allergic to this one.
That would explain A LOT!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 98: "I'm feeling a little faklempt. Talk amongst yourselves...."

What is up with me today?
Twice my eyes brimmed over with tears.
Normally I would chalk this up to hormones, but I don’t think that’s the case. 
Both times I got emotional for the same reason.
I was reading an article in a magazine and then saw a separate unrelated news piece on TV about someone (each time it was a woman) overcoming some adverse situation and ‘making it’ in a big way.
And they were exclaiming how happy they are now.
Like, REALLY happy.
And suddenly there’s a lump in my throat and my eyes fill with water and I feel the need to compose myself.
Was I feeling it with them? For them?
Or was I jealous?
No.  I’m uncomfortable with the idea that I was jealous.
I hate jealousy.
I’m all for women making it on their own terms, really.
Their win is my win.
But for some reason today there seems to be a crack in my “move forward/think positive” outlook of late.
I just want to be THERE.
I want to be the one reveling in my own happiness.
And (mom, before you call me) that’s not to say I’m not happy. I am.
But I am searching for something in my life that I can’t quite define.
And that’s a bit scary.
And requires thicker skin.
I’m human.
It hits me sometimes.
I don’t feel like being Ms. Strong right now.
Or Ms. Independent.
Oh Jesus--it just happened again!  I can’t believe this!
As I’m writing this, a clip of Natalie Portman choking up on an acceptance speech for an award is on TV. She’s thanking her dancing partner from the film she was in who is now (she chokes up here) the father of her baby and soon to be life partner. And she is "very grateful and happy."
Eyes watery. Lump in throat.
(Paging Dr.Freud! Paging Dr. Freud!)
OK, maybe it's also an acute case of The Lonelies.

That happens. Right?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 97 (2nd post): bubble girl ...delete, delete, delete...

They met by accident.
He sent her a clever note.
And instantly, he was like a friend that she had always known.
But he was someone new,
with an oddly familiar mind.
He was a kind place to land,
when another had made her feel forgettable. 
His wit was sharp.
His charm was undeniable.
He had the knack of writing the words she wanted to read,
even before she had a chance to dream them or write them herself.
He lit a light,
and she felt that light burn brighter in his presence.
He made her feel desire.
He made her want to reach out and touch him
every single time she saw him.
He made her feel extraordinary.
She had never allowed herself to fully imagine
that someone like him could exist.
An answer to a question,
that gave birth to many more questions worth answering.

But then in one breath,
and one swift truth,
he burst the bubble.
And even as her hopes rained down upon her

she couldn’t allow herself to fully unimagine him.
She was still happy for the accident.

Day 97: The Architect

The architect was a man unlike others you’ve met.

He stood taller than most, and moved in local circles with charm and ease. He told us stories of the old country in ways we had never heard. He laughed with heart, and we joined him. He made grown men weep with regret at the lives they could have led, if only they had not doubted themselves. The architect didn’t believe in doubt.

"Belief and Doubt" he said, "each other’s lover and nemesis."

He had a way of making us see ourselves clearly, for the first time. I’ve often thought of how your life would have changed if you and the architect had the chance to be friends. He would have had a profound effect on you, I’m certain of it.

People still speak of what he built for her.  It’s a great misfortune that it’s not there any longer; I would have taken you to see it.  I was so lucky to witness the completion. It was glorious, far too glorious to be appropriately described.

Years later, after it was torn down, someone told me miracles happened near it; but I think the architect wouldn’t want me to state that as fact. He wasn’t conscious of how it was a sanctuary for every one of our hesitant imaginings. The garden alone…well, he was much too humble to notice its force. He simply perceived it as a labor of love; and the design, an extension of his heart.

The architect built her a home.
A real home. Solid and safe.

I sense you two would have had a genuine friendship. It really is a shame. I wish we had another lifetime to start over. Another lifetime to review every missed opportunity. I would introduce you to him. I would lead you by the hand, straight to his door. You would have been pleased by the warmth of his greeting.

I think you would have been very pleased.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 95: Remembering the night restlessness took a much needed rest.

When I drove up and saw him standing and waiting in his doorway, something came over me. I don’t know if it was the smell of the summer rain coming in through the open car window, or if it was his “hey, it’s you!” smile that somehow covered me in nostalgia. How could an acquaintance I barely know have a smile so familiar that it is as comforting as that of an old confidant?
He got into the car and the hellos were simultaneously sweet and cordial. The evening conversation started out with the nervous energy of new friends making small talk and gradually grew to “where the hell are our lives going?” I’m not quite sure why I told him so much about myself that night.  Was it the relief that someone cared to ask? Was it that I found him so easy to be around?  It felt pleasant to have a man sharing his thoughts with me. His take on love, relationships, family and life in general… I think I forgot what that felt like. An actual conversation. In retrospect, I probably did let too much about my restlessness out, he probably thought I was all over the place... I just didn’t see any reason to be anything other than my neurotic-quirky-constantly-wondering self.
We even spoke of books we read, he recommended a few. He’s very smart and engaging. It’s a bit intimidating, actually. But at the same time he has (what my friend calls) a “teacher personality”.  He has a way of patiently explaining things in an animated way. A good story teller. That’s so killer. Love that.
A couple of times, while I was talking, I noticed how his eyes looked when he was listening intently to something I was saying.  He was looking right at me. People don't really do that so much. It made it kind of hard to concentrate on my words coming out cleverly…and I fumbled and lost my train of thought a few times. I think it was that and the combination of suddenly realizing the close proximity of our faces as we spoke in the crowded pub. I found it to be rather disarming in the loveliest of ways. I remember it was an unexpectedly comforting feeling.
I have no clue what he thought of me that night, or what he thinks of me after it… He said it was a “nice hang” and that we should do it again soon. But when I left him I couldn’t stop smiling. Even thinking back to that goodbye, I smile. If nothing else, he was a wake up call to me that night. I felt like I had spent time with a real, open man. That bubbly effervescence of a new friendship. The amazing sensation of having spent a few hours with someone I genuinely admire for all the right reasons. For a change.
It showed me that, maybe, I needn’t be so restless?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 94: Right Brain vs. Left Brain? Or just Plain Dodo Brain?

Damn you, Rubik!
You and your crazy cube, too.
Why the hell did I ever start playing with this Rubik’s cube, anyway?
It was so pretty when it was fresh out of the box.
All the colors matching up the way they did.
I should have taken a fricken’ picture of it.
Then I could have pretended I had solved it.
(What? Some people might have believed me, you never know…)
I made three sliding moves from the original completed cube, and couldn’t bring it back.
Three moves.  And it was game over.
Yeah, inadequacy becomes a fun verb when you play with this thing.
This is worse than how I feel when I try Sudoku puzzles.
 I really suck at that too.
(And, for the record, I am very weary of anyone who is too good at Sudoku…it's not normal, OK?!)
Wow, I just Googled  “Rubik’s cube solution”.
It gives you a play by play on how to solve it.
And STILL I can’t cheat my way to genius.
This is bad.
Anyone need a chew toy for their Rottweiler?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 93: the bride gene (some not-so-girly thoughts)

So tonight, I decided to go to my favorite chillout vegan restaurant (FYI I’m not vegan, it’s just tasty and healthy). I brought along my notepad and a pen.  A few sips into my rooibos tea (that's fun to say, try it) and I’m writing away like mad. It was great. Five pages written in long hand of just flushing out whatever was on my mind.  And after the waitress interrupted (politely) to take my order I suddenly found myself tuning into the conversation of the three girls at the table beside me.  They were discussing the upcoming nuptials of one of the girls at the table. 
Girl 1: So have you booked everything?
Bride to be: No, and I’m freaking out! It’s, like, next year! I should have this stuff figured out at this point. I still don’t have a photographer.
Girl 2: Oh my God, I totally understand. When we were planning that was my biggest stress! Everything and everyone just books up sooo fast.
I look over casually and see that they are three thin, gorgeous blondes with the average age of 23 years old. I'll say that again: 23.  (Why does this still surprise me?).
OK. I do not possess the bride gene. (Not to be mistaken with the marriage gene…it’s the “bride to be” gene we’re talking about here).  I tried it on for size in my very early twenties because my older sister was getting married and suddenly all talk at the house was about ‘the wedding’.  So I would find myself asking questions to my friends and family (and my boyfriend at the time, no kidding the poor guy thought I was gonna marry him) stuff like:
I wonder what we will choose as our opening dance song?
 Do we want classic wedding portraits or freestyle photography? Or both?
What Sandals resort will we honeymoon at?

(I think back and laugh. Who WAS that girl? Me?!)  As the fun/stress/drama of my sister’s 450 guest big fat Italian-Portuguese wedding took over all of our lives that year, I slowly got fed up of the whole wedding day fantasy.  Yawn-a-rama!
Singing at weddings as a side job around that time didn’t help matters much either. We’re talking Italian and Jewish weddings, if that gives you any idea of traditional ceremonial glitz.  The first few times I would look at the dresses and hairstyles and find it so nice. I would get teary eyed when the bride danced with her father as I sang some sappy song.  And after about a season (yes, there are wedding seasons) I was just muttering under my breath OK, just throw the fucking bouquet so we can all go home now, damn it.   It felt like the Groundhog Day movie. One cookie cutter wedding after another.  Sure there were some couples who really looked in love, and went out of their way to make their party original with bells and whistles…but there were also the times I got hit on by the drunken groom on my way to the ladies room.  Soooo…you see, it’s all a faded, sparkly mish mash of wedding nightmare to me.
The ironic thing about all this, is that people tell me (often) that I should become a wedding planner. True, I could probably plan a decent wedding with 5 phonecalls and one email… But I just don’t see myself asking the rhyming questions: What’s your wedding theme? And do you have a color scheme?  
When I worked in high-end fashion, I once tried on an elaborate evening gown.  It was this sexy beaded, floor length, white slip dress. It had a very daring low back.  And it fit me like a glove (that never happens).  I remember coming out of the change room and stepping onto the pedestal for the three-way mirror.  I really liked it. My two awesome Franco gay co-workers gasped: “Oh. My. Gahd! You AVE to get married in dis dress. It’s magnifique on you. Oh my gahhhhd! Buy it right now!”
See THEY thought: pretty white dress = wedding.
I thought: pretty white dress = wish I had a Hollywood party to attend.
I dunno. It’s just not something I think about. And I will (and do) get excited for friends and family who go through it. And if they ask me for input I give it (I know a lot of people in the wedding business).  I’m seriously not mocking it. I'm simply explaining that it is just not something I think about for me.  Hand me a bunch of peonies, a dress I feel pretty in, and have me wed to some amazing guy in some old house…that’s sounds great.  And that’s pretty much it. Even BBQ will suffice, really.  
Or not. Whatever.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 92: "I gotta have some of your attention."

Such a fascinating phenomenon.
Don’t you think?
Because you never really know what, in particular, will draw you to another person.
I don’t, anyway.
It’s different every time.
And if you grouped together every guy I have ever been attracted to in a police line-up, well… you’d be scratching your head trying to find the common thread.
I’m a bit all over the show, where attraction is concerned.
Is it physical appearance?
Is it the way their brain works?
The way they articulate their thoughts?
Is there an instant comfort level?
Easy laughter?
Is there incredible sex appeal?
Is it because they’re mysterious?
Or is it because they’re very open?
I guess, for me, the answer is that it’s all those things at different times.
Which has led to many hellos and goodbyes.
Because it's a crapshoot to seek out the triple threat: a mind/body/heart connection.
To find all that at once...
It's a friggen' crapshoot.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 91: Dear Universe...

I have this big, beautiful coffee table book all about Europe.
And I have been reading it before falling asleep.
(It’s one of the many half started books lying on every possible surface in my apartment).
What an amazing continent. I want to see it all.
I want to flip through haphazardly and transport myself to whatever page I land on.
And then stay for a good, long while.
I’ve seen so little of it, sadly.
Only parts of Portugal and parts of Italy.
The two countries that my parents are from.
And my family roots seem to call out to me more than ever before.
Because there are so many incredible places to see in this wide world, but most of the places I dream of visiting are in Europe.
I have this strong feeling (that seems to intensify the older I get) that I will one day live in some country there indefinitely.
It’s like I just know it will happen and that certain life events are slowly drawing me toward that destiny.
I like that idea.
I like to see that I wrote it here.
And I like to read it out loud to myself.
How wonderful that would be for a girl like me.
Someone who loves to people watch.
Who can easily strike up conversations with strangers.

Who likes  to learn about how they live.
And befriend them.
The feeling of being somewhere rich in history and culture feeds my spirit in unimaginable ways.
Rome taught me that. I didn't know it before.
I want to be immersed in stories that are thousands of years old by walking the streets of Europe.
I want folklore music.
I want ancient architecture.
I want to ride a bike through vineyards in Tuscany.
To read in a very lush and fragrant garden in Provence.
To visit very old cemeteries in Spain.
To chat with people in a cafe in Paris.
To touch the stone walls of castles in Scotland.
To hike to the Giant's Causeway on the Antrim Coast.
To sunbathe in Croatia.

To pic-nic in England's Lake District.
To eat fresh and well in Rome.

And this is just where I want to go today...there's so much more.
I want to slow down and feel life as it’s meant to be felt.
To take a really good look at it.
To be lucky enough to write about it.
Because I only get one lifetime.
So yeah...

Tall order Universe.
I sure hope you’re listening.

I'll think positively on my end, and dream big.
And I know you'll help me with the "how".


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 89: 2011--The Year of the Project.

Happy New Year.
Eleventh year of the millennium and the first year of a new decade.
New being the key/operative word here.
And eleven.
Because eleven, for me, is very special.
If you know me well enough, you know that I see 11’s everywhere.
If you dated me, you are now afflicted with the 11 sightings too. (Sorry).
I gave up trying to convince the many skeptics who say I look for them.
Think that if you will, but I promise you, the 11’s find me.
It has just always happened.
And being born on the 11th at 11:22 has nothing to do with it.
Over my lifetime the phenomenon has come and gone.
Meaning, I’ll spot 11’s everywhere for a while then it will stop. Full stop.
So now I have come to the conclusion that 11’s are a sort of ‘heads up’ for me.
Heads up ‘something-great-is-about-to-happen’.
Or heads up ‘brace-yourself-for-a-rough-ride’.
It sounds superstitious but it has proven completely accurate.

Case and point: On my first day in Rome I meandered down a random street and saw this sign on a wall. I felt it a good omen of my trip there. And I got goosebumps. If I didn't take the photo myself, I wouldn't believe it. Everything is Italian in Rome, why the hell would I see the only English sign on a random street? And why did it say, "I will never forget the Eleventh"? There was no explanation anywhere for it. So I made my own, that 2011 would be an unforgettable year.

So since
 I will be seeing the number 2011 everywhere (and since I am 33 years old now--a multiple of 11, and just because I think it would be good for me to do so) I am declaring this year: The Year of the Project.
Creative projects.
Lots of them.
This 365 day writing project being at the forefront, but... I want to attempt other mediums too.
I want to attempt a photography montage (of an idea I have at the back of my mind).
I want to attempt to record at least one musical collaboration.
And I want to attempt to write and create a short film with my friend sideproject. (I haven’t told her yet).

Normally I would hate writing this kind of thing down for fear that I don’t actually do it…
But this year, I am making non-action unacceptable.
What do you learn if you don’t at least give something a try? Right?
And I urge you all to take on the Year of the Project with me.
Even if the project is YOU.
Test yourself in some way.
And expect greatness in this New Year. Because, why not?