Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 178: Baggage

That was never my suitcase, it was yours. But I loved it, I really loved it.

I used to pretend it was mine, so many times. I don’t even remember when it started, it feels like forever ago. I would picture myself at the luggage carrousel of exotic airports, waiting to see it come down the ramp. I would survey the imaginary scene there; lovers reunited, business men chatting seriously, taxi drivers soliciting passengers. It would all momentarily distract me until suddenly, I would see it. Cognac brown Italian leather amongst all the boring black samsonites.

But it was never mine, and that’s what made me want it more. The places it had seen, the ground it had touched, it all seemed intoxicatingly glamorous. I never really thought it was your style, not something you would have ever chosen.

I said to myself, if it were my suitcase, I would have engraved my initials into the golden buckle on the front pocket. I can’t believe you never did.  You never let the world know it was yours. You didn’t even personalize it by attaching a silk scarf to the handle, the way you had done with so many of your bags in the past.

You thought it foolish when I shrieked at the idea of you sending the bag home in the crate of parcels for mother. I begged you to keep it with us, saying I needed it to hold my party dress and diaries (as my own bag was getting rather tight). You humored me, thankfully, and I got to carry it to the hotel in Paris. I was so proud that day, to lay it on the hotel bed, open it up and see my prettiest party dress and every secret thought I had ever recorded on paper inside there. Such a sight!

You never packed your party dresses in this suitcase, or anything of value in fact. Only extra scarves, and newspapers. 

Then that day. You had returned from another of your countless weekend trips. You were sitting in the lounge talking on the phone with a friend. As I passed you, and made my way into the hallway, I heard you casually say that you had lost your luggage on the train. I recall stopping dead in my tracks.

“Yes,” you said into the phone, “It’s a shame I lost it, everyone always made such a fuss about the brown one. Well, maybe it’ll turn up, only rubbish in there anyhow.”

My hands clasped my mouth. You had lost it! Just like that. I couldn’t believe it. Something so lovely and you let it slip away so carelessly. You should have kept it close to you. Always. You didn’t even sound upset. I never told you, but it really bothered me that you never found it, and that I never got to see it again.

It was never my suitcase, it was yours. But I loved it. I really loved it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 177: It was sunny.

We were sitting in the tall grass on the mountain checking out the view.
There were signs cautioning us of black bears.
But we were too busy talking and being silly.
I showed him how to play ‘chicken or rooster’ with the weeds.
We played a few rounds.
I remember he laughed really hard at something.
It was infectious.
So I laughed too.
And I thought to myself how much I could love him.
If only he’d let me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 176: walking in the snow

Hey there.
Yes... you.

Put down the compass.
Be still.
Open your eyes.
Take a glimpse.
It’s unfamiliar?
You’re unsure?
You feel you should know this place?
That’s OK.
Because look at your feet.
They are exactly where they need to be.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 175: the escape route

An unrecognizable reflection in the mirrors you cross.
Your own impulsiveness has made you feel like a stranger.
You’re not even sure why.
But you look away.
For now.
And until you can properly articulate what you need to say, you choose to stop talking.
Because it’s a bundle of contradictions in your mind.
And how do you explain feeling lost pacing your own corridors?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 174: what cannot be replaced

I have always wanted to live in this neighborhood.  There is so much history here.  Personal history, especially. Both sides of my family immigrated to Canada and settled in this neighborhood in the early 60’s. My late uncle still has a grocery store down the street from me with the family name proudly displayed.
So I was thrilled to find an apartment here that fit my budget. The location is perfect. I’m so close to the mountain I can be jogging in the forest after a short 5 minute walk through the city. This neighborhood feels like home to me; I couldn’t imagine living in Montreal and not living around here. The problem is, all these buildings are old. Very old. Some could even be heritage sites.  The good landlords renovate to code, but a lot of others will do the bare minimum just so that it’s livable.
When I found this place I was happy. I saw the potential. It was a ‘fix-me-upper’.  And what had me sold was that it had two balconies; one in the back and one off the bedroom closet.  It’s a wasted closet, really. I soon discovered that in the winter it’s so cold because of the draft from the balcony door. So last year, I couldn’t take it anymore, and asked my landlord to seal it off.  I sacrificed a balcony for a warmer living space.  However, when winter came this year it was still ridiculously cold in that closet. 
I made the fateful decision to transfer my everyday clothes to the living room closet and put a bunch of storage things in the bedroom one (summer clothes, spring jackets, bags, shoes and a lot of paperwork). Things I wouldn’t need on a daily basis.  I avoided opening that door all winter unless necessary as it would let in so much cold air.
Until last week, when I ventured in to get a lighter jacket. I was disgusted at the stench in there. Mildew, I thought.  But when I put my jacket on I discovered green mold on the sleeve. This weekend I decided to take everything out and assess the situation. I was horrified to discover that everything was covered in green, mossy mold. Everything.  Apparently it was from condensation build up, ice crystals that melted and re-froze, etcetera. And because I had the outside door sealed shut and never opened the inside door, humidity grew and grew.
The walls need to be cleaned and half my things need to be thrown away.  The landlord is taking care of the situation today and getting a professional company to clean before he re-insulates the walls. But he cannot fix the things that have been damaged.  I don’t even care that my clothes and shoes are ruined (I used to work in high end fashion so many Valentino suits, Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton bags are covered in moss) and that thousands of dollars are going in the trash. What broke my heart today was seeing my drenched journals. I have been writing in them since I was 12. They are green and wet now.  I also have a keepsake box, filled with photographs, newspaper clippings, and letters accumulated over my lifetime. My grandfather's favourite fedora...  I'm not sure they're salvagable. I’m overwhelmed and very, very sad.
Some things are so valuable to the heart and cannot be replaced. You know? My favorite neighborhood and my charming apartment betrayed me.
I need a vacation.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 173: failed attempt

I've been writing and rewriting.
To no avail.
I can't think.
It doesn't help that the teenage couple at the table next to me are making out.
Like see-strands-of-saliva-when-they-pull-apart kind of making out.
Then they start talking like babies, laugh loudly and knock shit over.
Not cute.
It's too much.
Truth is, it's not them.
I just had some really shitty luck today.
And I'm not myself.
I'm tired.
Very tired.
And rather than babble on about it, feeling sorry for myself, I will ask for a night off.
I need it.
So I'm gonna cop out and make this my post.
Because I can't filter my thoughts properly to write about something else.
And anyway it is almost Earth Hour.
Shut off your lights.
And I'll try to shut off my thoughts.
Good night!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 172: Place your bets: tractor vs. alarm clock

I was awoken at 6am this morning by the sound of the world coming to an end.  

This is not a sci-fi post; road construction has hit my neck of the woods. (I knew that monstrous tractor taking up 5 parking spots next to my building was going to somehow bite me in the ass). I checked my phone and realized how early it was for the world to be exploding. I groaned and threw a pillow over my head. There was no escaping it. It felt like they were in my apartment. In bed with me.  

Shit! So unfair! I still had a full hour to sleep before I would inevitably (and begrudgingly) make my way to the shower, undress and wait for the water to bring me to life. Nope. No extra hour for me today. This tractor had my number. I stayed in bed trying desperately to find an escape back to my dreamland… No such luck. Men shouting orders, street coming apart, apartment rumbling, me sobbing quietly (OK, not sobbing, but swearing in every language I could--eight to be precise).

I made a mental list of city officials to write letters to. Road blasting at 6am seemed a little extremist. Minutes ticked by and my frustration grew. Defeated, I told myself: just get out of bed and face the day already! But I can be pretty stubborn with myself. I may not be sleeping, but my body will stay horizontal for as long as it can! 

Then the horrid chimes from my alarm clock rang, signalling 7am had arrived. 

I threw the pillow off my head, frowning like a giant baby. No sooner had I stepped into my slippers and begun walking down the hallway towards the washroom when-- silence. Complete silence! The work had stopped. I stood there waiting for the rumbling to start again. Nada. I walked back to my bedroom window…the tractor was gone. 

You’ve got to be kidding me! 

Yep. Gone.
And they were still gone at 8am when I walked to my parked car.

Ahhhh, Murphy. You’re really a douchebag, you know that? 
You and your law, too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 171: Shuffle –A Musical Education Revisited

Lately, I have taken to listening to my iPod in the car instead of the radio. I start my day in traffic and end my day in traffic, so why not listen to music I actually have an attachment to instead of the concerning amount of drivel that I’m bombarded with on the FM dial.  Just last week, I took a good look at my iTunes collection and did a major Spring cleaning.  I have collected quite an eclectic array of songs over the years. Sifting through it song by song, album by album, I had a chance to really see my personal musical journey from adolescence to present day. What I wasn’t prepared for was the crazy trip down memory lane.
I started to buy CD’s in high school.  Before that, I’d sing along to whatever my dad or older sister bought. Basically anything a musically curious kid could get their hands on.  My dad (a closet musician) listened to The AnimaIs, The Byrds, The Beatles, Elvis, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, etc… and my sister listened to R&B infused pop.   It wasn’t until I met my friend Angela, in grade 7, that my real introduction to a musical crowd of people with an ear to the ground began.  We bonded right away with The Beatles and all the oldies in my dad’s collection. It was such a relief to meet someone who wanted to just hang out and sing harmonies. The world became a friendly battle of who was going to sing ‘the high part’.
Angela, originally from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, introduced me to bluegrass and country music. She came from a very musical family. Her brother was the guitarist in a popular band at our school, and we were such groupies. They were gods (not really, but it felt like they were).  Whatever they started to listen to we eventually gobbled up, too. We became big fans of the blossoming Canadian indie band scene of the early 90’s. Bands you’ve probably never heard of like The Waltons, Moxy Fruvous, the Grapes of Wrath, Pursuit of Happiness, Fall Down Go Boom.  My God, just typing the band names, has me shaking my head and smiling. Instant nostalgia. Hazy memories of lining up outside the Rialto theater, (the original) Club Soda or the Medley waiting (our bellies full of poutine or some other fast food commodity) and giggling under our breath when the band would stroll into the venue.
When we weren’t going to shows or catching up on these ‘hot’ new bands, we continued to explore the vast musical talent from the 1960’s and 70’s. We had a Doors phase. A Velvet Underground phase. An Eagles phase.  Then we switched gears and got completely seduced by R.E. M.  You never met bigger Michael Stipe fans.  We caught up on their entire 80’s catalogue and just ‘phased it’ (as we called it).  Stipe would name drop other Georgia acts like the B-52’s and the Indigo Girls.   That was momentous.  I remember hearing our first Indigo Girls song: Kid Fears. Michael Stipe delivered a haunting cameo at the end of the song.  We were sold. We started to sing a lot of their songs from that point on. It was perfect for us--already built in duet harmonies to a style of music and songwriting that felt a little more intricate and grown up then the early Beatles stuff.
We ate up the material, worked out specifics and set them in stone: I’d sing the low part and she’d sing the high part.  We got confident enough to play at family gatherings, CEGEP battle of the bands and our very first club gig in Montreal (as the opening act for her brother’s band at the old Jailhouse Rock). I remember we did one original song, some Everly Brothers and three Indigo Girl songs.  It was a big deal for us back then.  To perform to an audience of strangers.  To take it seriously.
So, last week, while clearing the cobwebs off a lot of this music I realized I still knew all the words to all the songs. I parted with some, quite honestly, that didn’t stand the test of time for me. And the others went on a very special playlist that I called: Traffic.  Now, every morning and afternoon, I play it on shuffle and have a little more fun remembering the details of an earlier version of myself. The girl who didn’t go out drinking because she was far too engrossed in trying to learn how to play guitar well enough to sing along. Or because she would rather hang out with her best friend writing songs, and singing at the top of our lungs in our parent’s basements.  Life was music (and pining over the cute musician boys…ha!…some things don’t change, I’m afraid).  In the midst of it, I suppose I was too young (and filled with teenage angst) to ever fully comprehend the musical awakening that I had. I guess that's what growing up is for. And hindsight. And iTunes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 170: replaced by every day

They take it with them.
They steal away into the night and never look back.
They move in reverse.
So you can never catch them.
And they can see through the black.
While we remain asleep.
They don’t pay attention to you.
Or to me.
They just take possesion of it.
And then sell it to the next high bidder.
Laughing to themselves.
At how much profit they made.
At our cost.
And how we will never know just how much it was worth.

Because we never opened our eyes in the dark.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 169: Bring in the dog and put out the cat. Yakety Yak.

I’m trying to write in this cafĂ© and there is doo-wop music blasting overhead.
Makes it very hard to write anything serious, not gonna lie.
I was going to attempt to write a movie scene.
Just for fun.
Just to try the formatting of it.
(Mostly because I watched the latest Woody Allen movie last night and loved the writing).
But now...even if I set the scene in a remote convent in Lourdes, it will inevitably turn into Grease 4.


INT. Remote convent- NIGHT

Mother Superior is walking down a dimly lit corridor for evening rounds. Her footsteps echo through the serene convent silence. She is clutching her rosary, reciting the prayers under her breath. As she passes the 7th door down the hall she is stopped by Sister Fatima.
Holy Mother, may I bend your ear about a troubling matter?
I have been having difficulty with my evening prayers. I’m
afraid I do not feel the Lord’s answer in my heart when I retire. I
wondered if you might have some sacred wisdom to share so I
may rest in peaceful slumber with our Lord’s blessing?

                    MOTHER SUPERIOR
                   (serious expression)

                        SISTER FATIMA
Thank you, Reverend Mother. God bless you!

You see?
I’m a product of my environment.
Like a fish in a bowl.
Hey, speaking of fish...can you answer something for me?
Why the hell do sushi restaurants almost always have aquariums?
I mean, I know the menu is not swimming around in there...
And I’m not gonna have goldfish maki or anything.
But I don’t get the logic behind it.
I’m eating their kinfolk.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 168: It will leave you behind.

Like an out of body experience I lived yesterday completely outside myself.
I was moving, eating, listening but I was somewhere else.
Unable to get any vacation time, I took a holiday from me for the day.
Without choice in the matter.
It’s like my Self said, “That's it! Enough of you. I need a break!”
And I’d catch myself staring into space listlessly while friends were conversing or laughing.
I wasn’t thinking of anything.
I was blank.
I just floated above it.
I wasn’t there.
It was weird.
And my body felt heavy.
Like those dreams where you can’t seem to stop falling asleep.
So disconnected.
So dazed.
I didn’t like it.
I wanted the rest of me to escape, too.
I wanted to run after my spirit and apologize for being such a pain in the ass lately.
To ask it not to leave me here feeling so zombified.
But I didn’t have the energy to.
I just didn’t.
As I walked out of the restaurant we were in, I saw a flyer.
It read: Have you found your proper balance yet?

Sneaky Self…you take off without me and you leave me homework.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 167: left or right?

It’s exhausting to be truthful.
To be raw and open with another person.
Exhausting but necessary.
And yet I know so many people who don’t reach out.
Who internalize pain or anger or sadness or doubt.
And choose not to express it.
To anyone.
Let alone admit it to themselves.
Someone as forthright as me has a hard time understanding that.
How can that be easier?
To not speak out what you feel?
But I’ve grown to realize we all process life in whatever way feels natural to us.
At our own individual pace.
Personally, I need to be in the middle of it, live it and feel it… until I don’t anymore.
Until I figure out the source of it.
Until I talk it through.
Or (if you haven’t noticed) write it through.
And other people need to let it sit.
Let it swim around the corners of their brain and heart.
Or others avoid it all together.
Shut it out.
Not allow their thoughts to go there.
We each attempt in the way we know best.
I guess.
But what the hell do we know, really?
We wake up and try to be content with it all.
To be grateful for our life.
Even when the details don’t live up to our hopes and expectations.
We make due.
We make it fit.
We redesign.
We call it happiness.

p.s. Buy this album.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 166: build up

Assemble bricks and make a wall.
But drill a small hole to see through it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 165: At night.

The first time she was 7 years old.
Half asleep.
Half awake.
She saw a dark figure approach her bed and peer in close to look at her.
Frightened by this stranger’s face in the dark, she woke up and cried for her mother.
He was gone.
"Nobody was there," her mother told her, “it was just a bad dream."

The second time she was 23.
At the right side of her bed was an elderly man in a three piece suit.
He looked like he was from the 1800’s.
He seemed pleased that she could see him.
Again, noticing this person was in her room, she awoke.
Her bedroom was exactly the same as in her dream except he was gone.
Her heart beat fast.
Frightened and confused, she turned on all the lights.
That felt real.
Too real.
The next time it happened she was on vacation.
This time not just one person, but at least twenty children surrounded her bed.
Some stood behind the hotel patio door, too.
They were dark with
scraggly hair.
They looked sick.
Each of their faces looked at her intently.
As though they were trying to decipher if she could see them.
She woke up screaming.
The room as it was in her dream, but without them.
Her friend said, “Hey, are you OK? Did you have a really bad dream?”
She didn't know how to respond, so she nodded yes.
Over the years many more appeared.
Their faces burned in her memory.
Lucid details of strangers by her bed.
All leaning in to survey her face with that same questioning look.
Every single time her fear woke her up.
One night, while babysitting, she heard a cry.
She ran to her bedroom where her niece was sleeping.
She tried to soothe her.
"What's the matter sweetheart?"
Her niece looked up at her and through tears said, “They were playing with my hair.”
“Who was?”
“The people near the bed.”

The color drained from her face as she said, “It’s OK baby girl, it was just a dream." 
She said it as convincingly as she could.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 164: Kiss me, I'm Irish!

OK I’m not really Irish, but what's a little white lie in exchange for a kiss?
Kissing. Is. Amazing.
Isn’t it?
I think it is.
It’s underrated.
A dying art in a world too quick to cut to the chase and cop a feel.
And if it’s done with the right physical appetite between the two kissers, well…
It can be transcendental.
The first kiss can be bliss.
Built up with a soft sexual tension.
Ample curiosity.
The shyness, the newness, the spark.
That first time you both lean in with intent.
Foreheads close.
Lips an inch apart.
Breath shared.
Hearts beating fast.
That second before your lips are introduced.
It’s so short, but it feels like time has stopped.
Just to prepare for what comes next.
Then the lips touch.
And you’re lost in it.
The discovery.
It’s soft.
It’s urgent.
It's timeless.
It’s a gateway.
Silent communication at its boldest.
Worth the little white lie.
Don't you agree?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 163: The one about the cat napping.

Almost two years ago my friends and I met up at a restaurant for Marcie’s birthday dinner. Well, I was waiting for them to arrive because as usual, half the crew was late. Really late. Like lose-your-reservation-if-they-don’t-arrive-soon kinda late. Here’s why:

Christina: We tried to save a pregnant ...

Marcie: ...toothless...

Christina: from having her child in the cold September rain. On our way rushing down the stairs, we spotted her meowing. And pacing uncontrollably. We knew something was wrong. Who paces like that if they’re not stressed?

Marcie: I initially thought it was an ironic joke, because my b-days are always so colorful. Remember the one when I got dumped via a short note?

365Attempts: I do, buddy.

Christina: The cat-napping was so much worse than that.

365Attempts: OK, back-story to the cat napping thing is that Marcie was volunteering at the SPCA around that time and suddenly had very sharp spidey senses anytime animals were concerned. So, that being said, she saw this cat and immediately thought it was pregnant and about to go into labour.

Marcie: I didn’t think it was pregnant! In fact I said, “Guys I have seen pregnant cats and that cat has dead babies, if it is!”

Christina: She’s right. I assumed it was pregnant because what else would it be! It was a pacing cat! I don’t know much about animals. I know that they need to be fed. And I know that cat’s look nervous when they are about to go into labour. That’s all I needed to go on. We needed to find this cat a bed. So I ran upstairs to grab a laundry basket. Made a make-shift foam mattress, and brought the contraption safely to the kitty so that it could relax and birth it’s (dead?) babies. That didn’t work.

Marcie: That’s when I said, “Let it out of the stairwell so it can find it’s way home.”

365Attempts: So what did you guys do next?

Christina: Obviously, we listened to Marcie.

Marcie: The cat kept getting into these hard to reach places, under the stairs, behind bushes, behind the garbage bins. So I made the girls get can of tuna and a towel. (Ahhh thinking about it now is cracking me up!) We put the tuna on the ground and waited for the cat to gobble it up. I mean, it must have been hungry, seeing that it was lost and in labor!

365Attempts: Right.

Marcie: That cat could not have cared less about the tuna...(another strange thing that still didn’t clue me in!) So here we are, four girls surrounding a fat orange tabby, who is starting to not look so stray, hungry and pregnant.

365Attempts: Bunch of good Samaritan dorks.

Marcie: Samaritan dorks, I like that! I decided I was just going to pick the cat up. Then Susy said, “I don’t think you should, it is a stray! What if it attacks?!” I did anyway. And the cat loved being picked up (another clue!). At this point I did interject, “Ummm guys, this stray/hungry/pregnant cat is really friendly!”

365Attempts: Cats in labour are not usually friendly?

Christina: I felt confident, at that point, that we were doing the right thing. Saving a friendly cat from death.

365Attempts: Hahaha it went from labor to death.

Marcie: We quickly placed her in the laundry basket, covered her in the towel and rushed her to the SPCA! Erica was driving that night, and she was very unimpressed by the entire situation. I think steam was coming out of her ears.

365Attempts: Oh my God, that’s a dire situation. A cat in labor and a pissed off Erica.

Marcie: When we got to the SPCA , I frantically explained the ENTIRE story to my supervisor (who I thought was gorgeous in a ‘I-plant-trees-have-sexy-french-accent’ kind of way) and he burst out laughing. He looked at me in a ‘you-are-absolutely-adorable-and-I-am-in-love-with-you’ kind of way...

365Attempts: (insert eye roll here)--->

Marcie: OK, no that didn't happen (I wish!) but he did look at me like I was an adorable good Samaritan dork! Then he announced, “This cat is not preggers because SHE is in fact a HE, and HE no longer has any of his teeth. Which is an extremely expensive procedure, so he couldn't possible be a stray.

365Attempts: Oh dear Lord.

Marcie: Yep. That was the moment. The moment we realized we stole someone’s old-fart toothless male cat.

Christina: None of us thought to look for a penis. I wonder what that means?

Marcie: You can’t tell a cat’s sex like that anyway...You have to look at their bumhole.

Christina: Wow.

365Attempts: Bumhole. Is that the medical term? Ahhh, good times. Marcie, side note: if I ever have a fat, toothless, male, pregnant cat hiding under the stairwell, I hope it finds someone as kind as you to almost get it put down.

Marcie: Hey, that cat had a great adventure and he did end up back home where he belonged the next day. If he wasn’t claimed, I was ready to take him home.

365Attempts: Good Samaritan Dork AND thief.

Marcie: The next day there was a sign on the apartment building door with the cat’s pic that read Hello my name is Wilie. I am a bit of an escape artist. Should you ever find me roaming the halls, please bring me back to apt 28! 

365Attempts: hahahahaha whoops!

Marcie: Yeah. Thanks for the b-day fun, Willie!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 162: Insert 'MacBook Pro' Product Placement Here

Oh hellooooooo blank screen.
We meet again.
And we will for another 199 posts.
(Makes the sign of the cross).

So, how ironic is it that my keyboard is starting to burn my fingers?
Burn marks.
It gets so hot, it overheats.
(Stupid Dell).
Now, when I need it most, it is deserting me.
It has gone on strike: overworked and underpaid.

Maybe I understand something about that.
I spend a lot of time on this thing.
Too much time.
Twiddling words as I would my thumbs.
And what’s the payout?
Some type of creative center?
Yeah, I guess.

A part of my day that I carve out just to hang with my thoughts?
It’s definitely a release...

But do I really think this will lead to some type of writing venture?
A genius manuscript?
A hilarious and witty screenplay?
(Makes the sign of the cross again).
It’s time to buy a new laptop.
And maybe a rosary.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 161: Say it plain.

Imagine a place where you can speak your heart.
At all times.
With no risk of judgement.
Only the risk of truth.
And beauty at your fingertips.
Imagine that.
Imagine what you would say.
And then say it.
And look at how different the world becomes because you did.
And then wonder.
Have you said everything?
Are you comfortable with it?
Or are you still chained to an unanswered question?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 160: "so much past inside my present"

There are only 3 ways to know what time it is in my apartment:
my computer, my cell phone, and my cable TV.
I woke up and all these clocks had changed an hour ahead.
I didn’t have to think of it.
They did it themselves.
They were ready to move forward.
Ready to move on.
Without any hesitation.
They are wiser than me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 159: The Decision.

She said that she would come back.
That she would come back for them.
They were little children.
They wanted their mother.
They wanted their mother to never fathom the choice.
Of going without them.
They screamed and cried and ran after the car.
Until they couldn’t see the car anymore.
Until they were brought back to the house.
Confused and defeated.
They were children.
They were only children.
She cried too.
As the car drove away.
She cried and cried.
Biting her shaking lip.
But she still left them behind.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 158: I carry a soldier’s thought in my heart for safekeeping.

My mind flashed to a Roman soldier on a chariot.
I saw the road ahead of him.
I felt the steadfast tug of his hands on the reins.
I heard his horses breathing heavy as their hooves kicked hot dust onto his bare arms.
I saw his Rome on either side of him.
In all its glory.
I felt the pride in his heart at the beauty of this land.
I felt it.
And in the midst of a careless smile his face flinched.
A crease formed at his brow.
A vision flickered in his mind.
People running for their lives.
The earth below them shaking.
Thoughts hit him like spears to the heart, one after another.
What if the gods took it back?
What if this world that he was just discovering and conquering should crumble to pieces?
Or be drowned under an angry, possessive sea?
What if his people would see the end of days?
What if all this fighting was for nothing?

And then I was back in my car.
Driving home.
Avoiding potholes.
Watching the rain hit my windshield.
Listening to the news say unimaginable things about my land.
My people.
How it is crumbling.
And so desperately fragile.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 157: Yo quiero bailar.

It’s amazing.
What music does.
It can really shake up your mood.
I have been listening to a lot of Lykke Li in the past 48 hours.
Her uptempo stuff.
Man, what a visceral reaction I’ve had to these songs.
Makes me want to find some trouble.
Get up to some mischief.
It’s kicking these winter blues and all this residual ghosts-of-autumn-past stuff.
It has also caused a lot of impromptu dancing around the apartment, not gonna lie.
A song has never had your head bopping and hips swaying until you full out dance around the apartment like a bad 80’s movie montage?
Oh, c’mon!
Dude, you’re missing out.
It’s fricken’ fun!
Liberating, even.
I dare you to listen to Ly Li's “Get Some” and NOT want to dance (or what not…wink, wink).
It’s hot diggity dog, that song!
But I digress...
You have no idea how many times I dance while house cleaning.
Almost always.
So what if my uptight neighbour sees me through her living room window with a confused expression on her face.
If my body likes the rhythm, and I feel it, I turn it up and let it move me.
I mean, sometimes you just gotta!

Photo by: Jonathan Clark

I used to get it out of my system on stage with the Cuban band I sang with.
I got to shimmy my hips to all that sultry percussion every Saturday.
It’s my Brazilian ancestry trying to catch up to me.
Or maybe I was a Cubana in my past life.
Either way, the point is: DANCE!!
Even if it’s just with the vacuum.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 156: Burn All The Letters.

Why do I read them?
They have the same effect on me everytime.
I always know that it’s a mistake to open that folder.
I know before.
And I definitely know after.
Words displaced in time still ring true.
Even when they’re not.
Better to delete.
To burn.
Or is better to burn, than to delete?
I’m not sure.
One thing is certain; it is time for a new distraction.
New ink.
Fresh page.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 155: Crush.

The persistent flutter of infatuation.
The lingering, lustful daydreaming.
The imagined conversations.
The cooked up scenarios.
The fill-in-the-blanks…

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you: The Crush.
You know what I’m talking about.
We’ve all had one.
You might have a crush on someone right this second.
You know, that particular person who makes you feel tingly all over.
That when you speak to them your words get all garbled.
And you wind up spitting out complete airhead nonsense.
You can’t get your ‘flirt’ on.
You can’t play it cool.

How can you, when you’re hot pink from blushing?
Pink skin is a neon sign that says, “I’m really attracted to you”.
Definitely not playing it cool.
You laugh nervously.
You blush deeper.
You avoid eye contact.
You are a shy beating heart.
Beating, beating, beating.
And then POOF!
They’re gone.
You can’t recollect a single word.
But you still feel the buzzing chemistry.

The sparkling sparks.
It’s heaven.
It’s limbo.

It’s silly.
It’s complicated.
It’s fantasy.
It’s exciting.

And you daydream the next encounter with profound anticipation.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 154: Voices

Guest Blogger: sideproject

Discussion: Voices.

sideproject: I’ve been thinking about voices. A voice can escape from your life. If it is ever granted a return, its singular existence becomes the access to memories, emotions…mistakes…laughter. A voice can make you cringe or make your heart start to race. It’s the only part of a daydream that you can’t actually replicate authentically. You can imagine being with a person, you can study their picture, or re-read their emails, but amongst all of the exploration of the past, the voice remains protected. It’s almost like the treasure chest of emotions. Once you hear the voice, the chest opens. Pandora’s box.

365Attempts: It’s true. It’s the vivid missing puzzle piece that breathes life into the fantasy. It’s the reason we save voice mails.  To remember the inflections, the accent, the enunciation, the turn of phrase, the familiarity. To make it real again. Otherwise, it’s just our voice doing a really poor impersonation.

sideproject: Yes. A voice authenticates the unknown. It can affirm thoughts into true feelings or it can introduce an element of realism into fantasy. My stomach turns into knots when I think that I might never hear a voice again. Not just a lover, but a parent, grandparent, or a friend. I need a drink. Where’s the scotch?

365Attempts: Yeah, I know. It’s hard to think about, isn’t it? I try not to let my mind wander there. Well, I say that, but at the same time I recently watched an old home video just to remember what my grandmother sounded like. The way she laughed. I had forgotten it. Hearing it again was completely heart wrenching, but I had her back for less than a minute. If I rewound, maybe two.

sideproject: That's the point. You had her back. You could have read one of her letters, or seen a picture, but it was the voice that brought her back to life.

365Attempts: Yeah, it was so bittersweet. Her voice was the consolation and the grief all at once. Even though I could hear the words coming out of her mouth, they were still words frozen in time. It wasn’t new words. The conversation remained over. But you’re absolutely right, the voice is the essence of the person. It was the only thing I couldn't summon to memory on my own.

sideproject: It’s the essence of the person that stands out in a grey area. It makes me wonder if hearing the voice of a past lover can act as a trigger for old emotions or if it can become the evidence of feelings that have stood the test of time. Does absence makes the voice grow stronger?

365Attempts: I’m not sure. It’s tricky. It depends on what the person still means to you today. In romantic situations, that voice is intricately attached to your time with them and your loss of them. It’s a heavy dose of nostalgia. The worst kind of nostalgia: “unfinished business nostalgia”.  And that conjures up all sorts of mixed feelings, as it struggles to find it’s place in the present.

sideproject: It can mix up emotions or it can clarify desires.  All I know is that a voice can take root somewhere inside you. And when it resurfaces, you realize that it never really left.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 153: A clear head.

I woke up to a not-so-fun March morning sight.
Heavy snowfall.
I know, I know.
I’m Canadian, I should know better.
It can snow up until May.
But does it have to?
I had slept until noon.
I hate doing that-- I never do that.
But I have constant headaches lately and I’d rather sleep them off then pop more pills.
The last time I had this many migraines and dizzy spells I found out I had a small lesion on my brain.
A cavernous malformation.
It wasn’t life threatening or anything.
But it did cause some weird spasms and it did require possible surgery.
“It went away,” said the neurosurgeon after the 3rd MRI.
Really?! Just like that? Wow.
He smiled at me.
Apparently it bled out, and now all was normal.
I was relieved and grateful.
It was a scary episode of life.
Afraid to drive in case my arm would go numb again.
Afraid to sneeze in case something might burst.
Afraid of the fogginess.
Afraid of a seizure.
That was 5 years ago.
It feels like much longer.
After remembering all that I decided to put on my coat, hat, some pink lipstick (it’s the new red) and go for a walk.
To shake it off.
The air did me good.
The exercise helped.
A nice brisk walk in the snow.
I even stomped a few slush puddles with my new rain boots.
Because I could.
Because stomping in puddles makes me smile.
I found my way to the video store and rented a bunch of classics.
Guys and Dolls, Jezebel, and (of course) Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.
I felt better.
I cleared my head.
Once I got home I cleaned a bit and looked for a pen to write something down.
As I was digging for one in drawer I found a my old MRI report and the DVD of the first scan.
I kid you not.
Complete coincidence?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 152: sweet freedom whispered in my ear

So green.
On the other side of that fence.
My side is still covered in snow, slush and mud.
But their side isn’t.
It’s a beautiful, luscious kelly green.
It’s lovely.
Isn’t it?
I want to walk on it, barefoot.
I want to lie down and feel the prickly blades of grass on my skin.
I want to feel it.
I just don’t get why they walk out of the house with shovels.
Don’t they see there’s no snow in their yard?
Don’t they see how bright and green their grass is?
Don’t they?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 151: a woman like her.

I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes reading the Wikipedia entry on Cleopatra. 
I’m awestruck by this woman.
I mean, I’ve always had an interest in her.
Her affairs with Caesar and Marc Antony, especially.
But it was something I read yesterday that turned this interest into full fledged intrigue.
In this article (the wonderful) Tom Ford stated the last book he read was Cleopatra: A Life Story by Stacy Schiff and said: “I found it fascinating. Cleopatra was not considered a great beauty, but she was captivating and intelligent, and that’s how she drew attention.”
That stayed with me.
I love that idea.
That a woman in those days could seduce and influence men, powerful men, with her mind.
And gain their respect and rank with her personality.
I think I want to go out and buy that book now.
And maybe even watch a movie adaptation on her life, too.
To immerse in the details a little bit.
To know more about her.
To understand the history attached to her.
A real groundbreaker.
A bona fide spitfire.
Hell, she even had my favourite haircut!
I’m inspired.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 150: A dream is a wish your heart makes...

I dreamed of Sammy the other night.
I was teaching him arpeggios and scales on the piano again.
Except in my dream he wasn’t sick.
Or emaciated.
He wasn’t dying.
He looked healthy and happy.
And chubby, actually.
He had hair again… long and wavy.
He was telling me jokes.
(Always the wisecracker, that one).
We were laughing.
I don’t remember what we were laughing about.
But it was silly and the laughter came from somewhere deep that we lost our voices.
I wish he was still around.
I miss him.
I miss those days by the piano.
They were special.
I really got to know him.
That was a gift.
And so was this short and vivid dream, because it felt like he was OK.
And that he missed me too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 149: attempt at life

life is... complicated.
it's so fucking complicated.
and the worst part of that is, we only get one.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 148: spring break landscape

If our emotions were countries, we would be on separate continents.
We don’t speak each other’s official language.
And our climates do not share a season.
But you make me happy to be a tourist.