March 30, 2009 · March: it’s a wrap

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whoa. March kinda flew by all on it’s own accord pretty much. I was swamped with work at the beginning of the month and finally got a bit of a break around the middle of the month… only to get whomped (hard!) by a lovely cold virus that Johnny Handsome brought home with him from work. I took to my poorly bed for a few days, knocked flat. Sniffles and a teensy bit of a cough still linger, but I’m well on the mend now. And good thing too, cuz work is picking up again and April’s looking busy.

Here’s my flickr faves for March. I’m actually quite enjoying doing these… it’s interesting to see what was occupying my brain that month and I think it’s clearly evident in my flickr faves. This month I was all about spring blossoms. There’s a magnolia tree down at the end of the street that busted out in buds about two weeks ago. Every day on the way to walk the woof, I swing by, watching for the pink wonder that will someday spring forth. I love magnolia trees. I want to get one for my back yard this year FOR SURE (I think this every year).

The bright orange and pink combo I was besotted with in Feb. has given way to pink and green, with cherry blossoms all over. And daffodils, great trumpeting, endlessly cheerful daffodils. And the simplicity of white. I’m consumed with sort of romantic, white washed cottage, English garden, fairy tale yearnings and imagine myself in dainty pin tucked blouses in soft luminous petal colors and feminine, strappy shoes (the kind I do not currently and likely will never own). I so long for true spring, i can’t even tell you. The little lilac bush I planted last year is showing lime green budlets, but that’s about it. I fantasize endlessly about stapling spritely green crepe paper leaves to the tree out front. Instead, I settle for surfing online about plants I want to plug into my life as soon as it is warm enough. Cosmos, dahlias possibly, flowering vines a plenty. Coneflower and buddliah to lure in butterflies. Hellebores and hostas for the shadier parts of the yard. Bleeding hearts like the ones my mom grew. O, spring! HURRY!



11 Comments so far
January 26, 2009 · here’s the deal

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okay, so here’s the deal: Maybe you have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a lot recently. There are reasons for that. December was kind of brutal for me emotionally as perhaps was to be expected. First birthday without my mother, first Christmas without my mother. And things started sliding sideways then rapidly downhill with my dad and his health. I’m hoping that things are on the upswing again, but the reality is my brother and I are having to confront some very hard realities and it’s not an easy thing to do in the wake of our mother’s death.

I’m dealing with loss on an hourly basis, trying to keep my wounds sewn up, keep myself whole, keep myself together. The threads binding me together at the moment are tenuous, easily tugged out, easily dissolved with tears. I soldier on. I keep working to mend the split seams, keep weaving that needle in and out, and I will keep doing it as long as I have to because I promised my mother I would not let this wreck me, that I would move forward, that I would live fully. But it’s hard work. It’s exhausting. There are lovely gracious people in my life who thread the needle for me sometimes, who patch me up when they can, as gently as they can, and I am so grateful for them and don’t tell them how much I appreciate it nearly enough. Ultimately, though, I’m the only one who can repair my gutted middles, heal my hurts.

But the thing is, my life, my woe, is not really something I want to share here. Recounting every stitch is not helpful to me right now. I don’t want to become all about my pain. That’s not really my nature. I’m a bit of a Pollyanna at heart. I’m the glass half full type, an optimist albeit a sort of left-handed optimist. At least I used to be. At least that’s how I remember myself. And I liked that about myself. I don’t want to become the antithesis of that. There is so much sad in the world already, so much sorrow.

And so I avoid this space when I’m coming all undone, unravelled. I avoid this space when I am in the process of trying to knit myself whole again. And on those occasions when I feel sufficiently patched up enough to move a little bit forward, to make some headway, I do just that… and only that. And again, this page lays untouched.

And yet I’m not willing to let it go right now. I’m not willing to shut down shop, turn out the lights. In a way this site keeps me in touch with my better self, the self I strive to be. It is my window on the world, the chink of light which falls to reveal that I have not disappeared all together, I have not evaporated into nothing. Not yet, anyway.

So I’ve been in a mild dither about what to do with it. What can I do that says in a friendly way I’m still here, I’m still trying, I’m still breathing in and out every day, I’m still sewing, I’m still hoping… and yet doesn’t tax my sore brain, my strained seams, my flagging energy?

I’ve decided to give this a go: I’m not going to try to write in a personal way any more. For the time being at least. I’m not going to attempt to journal what is going on with me, where I’m at. Instead, I’m going to post here the little things that make me feel a tiny bit better, prop them up here like a bright pot of flowers on my windowsill. And hope that that is enough to encourage the sun to seek me out sometimes.



14 Comments so far
December 22, 2008 · Have yourself a really cool yule…

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Yes, Darlings… time to fold in the blog for some merry making and stuff. I may be back before the New Year… then again, maybe not. Regardless, I wish you a season of good cheer, health, love, laughter, friendship and cookies. And mayhaps also some really nice stripey sox. Merry, Merry!



5 Comments so far
December 5, 2008 · candlelight

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It’s been a long, fantastic, frenetic, unusual week for me and I’ve skittered from one thing to another, almost manic with excitement. I feel like a helium balloon with an untied end. I let go at the beginning of the week and have been spinning wildly, and now, out of gas, I am flopped lifelessly in a random corner. I’m not deflated exactly, but I am tired and need to refill. Good things loom on the horizon, shining opportunities, stuff that’s too early to talk about. Boring things too, stuff that needs to get taken care of… laundry for example. Piles and piles of laundry. Certainly, I am done talking and thinking about politics for awhile. It gives me a headache.

We’re getting our tree this weekend. Early for us, but I need it more this year, the twinkle of lights and scent of pine needles. I need candlelight and red red berries, clementines and a lazy day. That stuff.



5 Comments so far
December 4, 2008 · my fellow Canadians…

Apologies to my American friends and readers, and those of you who live overseas… you’re likely completely oblivious that this morning, Canada is neck deep in a Constitutional crisis and none of this is gonna make much sense to you. And apologies in general to all… I usually try to avoid politics here, but you know? I built this soap box and I’m gonna stand on it. Because I’ve got something to say.

Dear fellow Canadians…

In less than an hour, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to take a jaunt over to ask Governor General Michaelle Jean to suspend Parliament so that he can avoid a vote of non-confidence (and I’m sorry, but I have to say this… a measure that HE himself provoked!) next Monday, a vote that will witness the fall of his Conservative minority government if it is allowed to progress.

The truth is that I’m not sure what to hope for here. I’m not sure what’s best for the country at this time of economic crisis. I’m not sure whether I want the Governor General to grant Harper his “time out” or whether I want her to turn to the majority government and offer them the chance to put forward their coalition. I’m twisting in the wind as I’m sure many of you are, unsure whether a coalition government will be able to steer us clear of economic disaster or whether it’s better just to swallow hard and stay the course. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place, on that we can all agree I’m sure. What I am clear about however – CRYSTAL clear about – is that the Conservative party (and Stephen Harper in particular) is deliberately muddying the waters here and feeding the Canadian public a whole special brand of twisted propaganda. And I’m afraid too many of you are buying it.

So time for a little Canadian Government 101.

1) We have a PARLIAMENTARY system of democracy here folks, not a Presidential system like they have in the States and further…

2) We did NOT elect the Prime Minister in the election on Oct.14th, we elected a Parliament. Our system does not allow us to directly elect the leader of the country. It only allows us to elect the representative in the specific riding in which we reside. That’s all. That’s it.

3) Stephen Harper’s government is a MINORITY government. 65 percent of Canadians voted for representatives from other parties, primarily the Liberal, NDP, Bloc and Green parties.

4) The coalition government being proposed now is NOT a “Separatist” party as Harper has repeatedly characterized it, folks. It is a coalition between the Liberal and the NDP parties ONLY, with support from the Bloc on a few specific issues. Together, these are the MAJORITY parties currently sitting in our Parliament. The Bloc will have no more influence over our country and its unity then it did before.

5) The NDP-Liberal coalition government being put forward now is unusual, but fully and completely LEGAL within our Parliamentary system of government.

I have loads more I could say. I have many vehement opinions about this and about Stephen Harper in particular, and very few of those are positive. I understand that many of you, many of the people I love and treasure, hold completely different political views and I respect that. Further, I don’t really think voicing my decidedly left-leaning opinion is useful to my purpose here. My purpose is only to say this much:

We are in a very difficult time in our country and I’m sure we can all agree that we want what’s best for our Canada’s unity and economic strength. We want what’s best for our economic lives, for the protection of our families and livelihoods and freedoms. And we are incredibly blessed to reside in a strong and peaceful democratic country. Just, please! Please understand that we live under a parliamentary system of government and don’t be misled by the Prime Minister’s desperate (and one could argue irresponsible) distortions of this system and the completely legitimate option of a coalition government being but forth by the majority government.

Be smart, Canada. Listen carefully. Listen wisely. Don’t just blindly buy the rhetoric being spewed by all sides here. Our future depends on our ability to remain calm, united and open minded to all options. I’m crossing my fingers, hoping for the best, and wishing you all peace and love and the kind of Canada we deserve.

Peace,
Melanie

UPDATE: so the Governor General granted Stephen Harper’s wish and dissolved the Parliament. There will be no opposition coalition government and he will avoid the non-confidence vote. So now we get to wait to see what the Conservatives come back with in late January and hope that they opt to provide true economic stimulus and a real plan to guide us through these rocky economic times. I’m in total wait-and-see mode now.



6 Comments so far
November 5, 2008 · President

Yes! He did!!!



7 Comments so far
October 21, 2008 · marmalade and raspberry jam

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I’m trying. I really am. Every morning I get up. I brush my teeth. I put on my face. I frown at CNN. I tug on clothing. I drive Johnny Handsome to the train station. I get coffee from a drive thru window, every day vowing that next week I will start making coffee at home, will save both money and the environmental cost of going through a drive thru, drinking from a disposable cup. Every day I walk Finny. Every day I fall more in love with my dog, my park. Every day I tote up the lists of things I should have done eons ago and every day I fall more behind myself.

Every day I wonder where the time went. Every day I try to claw it back, claw it all back. There should have been more time. There is never enough time.

The park. It is where I feel closest to her, closest to the self I used to be, closer to the self I yearn to be now.

Every day there is some new marvel, some new reason to be grateful. The smell of fallen pine needles, crushing softly underfoot. The crimson bloom on a fallen apple, the way it contrasts against yellow leaves. Thirty blue jays, at least that many, startled at once, a blue squalling rush bursting from the autumn flamed brush. The light coming all sherbet colored through the leaves, palest pink and raspberry, tangerine and lemon. The tender ruin of ferns, curling upon themselves, bronzed with age and the summer now past.

I’m trying. I am. I’m trying as hard as I can.



18 Comments so far
September 30, 2008 · and so it goes

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At last… Autumn is here. The wolf and I have been enjoying long rambling walks thru old orchards heavily laden with apples. The goldenrod is thick and abundant these days and every day I note a deepening of hues, a ripening of color in the trees. That warm, earthy caramel smell is in the air now and pumpkin pie is becoming increasingly more appealing. I am besotted with deep merlot colors, with chartreuse and orange. I can’t wait for true sweater weather… it’s been cooler around here, but somewhat humid. I long for that crisp snap in the air. I take my camera everywhere. It’s been my favourite mode of expression lately.

I don’t seem to have a lot of words or wisdom to share just now, but I do have some photos. The Handsome Guy and I went to The Royal Botanical Gardens this weekend and took some snaps of odd and wonderful sculptural things…

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There was a group of these extraordinary stick figures… a good 12 feet high… they looked like super models or other worldly warriors. Very Beetlejuice. We dubbed the one above Stella and the one below Gertie.

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and I finally got my hair cut. I’ve been meaning to do it since May. She cut it a wee bit shorter than I wanted and sometimes it looks kinda weirdly matronly and other times it looks rather too manly or something, but it’s just hair, you know? It grows. If there is one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s not to sweat the small stuff. Below are some snaps of me and my evil twin taken with my webcam (I just discovered I could do that!) Doesn’t look too mumsy in these pix, but trust me, a little too much humidity and it all kinda scrunchs up into an uber-attractive round helmet.

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In other news, have discovered Mad Men , the joy of drawing on manilla envelopes, that West Elm and Crate & Barrel are coming to Toronto, chocolate covered licorice and maple balsamic glazed parsnips (not together mind you). Am excited for tomorrow as the Farmer’s Market is open and America’s Next Top Model is on, offering me the opportunity to explore both my substantive and superficial sides. It’s all about dimensions, babies. All about balance.



10 Comments so far
July 2, 2008 · shea…bedazzling

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This is Shea, my parents’ Mahogany Sable Collie, and yes, he is aware of just how beautiful he is. This dog was born to be photographed, I swear. Just ask him. He loves to pose. He is like the Tyra Banks of the canine set. Swing the camera lens his direction and he immediately flops one ear tip down, holds the other one impossibly straight, knowing that it is this ear posture more than anything that makes him excruciatingly adorable. Then he’ll give you his elegant profile, the “noble beast” pose. He’s something, this dog. He’s a wonder.

Sending out the most positive, hopeful vibes for my mother this morning, and all the love and strength and courage I can muster. This is the day when better starts, Mom. Today we are turning a corner and things are going to start going our way. I just know it.



11 Comments so far
June 1, 2008 · a profusion of pretty and a prayer for healing

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O, lovelies. My parents are both going thru an extraordinarily tough time, each dealing with individual health problems and I am flying out on Tuesday to be with them for an indefinite period of time. I won’t have ready access to the internet for the time being, but I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to read over this Buddhist prayer, a particular favourite of mine, and send us hopeful, happy healing thoughts. Be well, all who pass this way.

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

Namaste,
Melanie



12 Comments so far
April 29, 2008 · rain forest

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I am tapped out. For the last three weeks I have been pretty much chained to my computer cranking it out as fast as I possibly can, working on custom graphics for the Target Tribeca Filmmakers Lounge (for the Tribeca Film Festival) and then the Target events at the NYC Grows Garden Festival (held this past weekend). In a matter of twenty days I have designed a couple of 90 foot tent backdrops, three different birdhouse shaped craft centers, lemonade cooler covers, signage of all sorts, wallpaper, vinyl record centers, lighting gobos, a series of movie star portraits (which worked out beyond my expectations… yay me… and made up a little bit for the few things that didn’t), and a million other little things which kinda escape me right now.

It was all rush rush rush and seven days a week and ten hours a day (minimum) and now it is not. I’m battling to regain my equilibrium as I always do after a big job like this. I am in that up and down period that always follows, feeling exuberant one moment and completely lifeless, utterly drained the next. By the end of the week, I’ll be back to normal. I know that. But in the meantime I tip too far one way, then too far the other, like a drunken lumberjack trying to negotiate a log jam. Just trying to roll with it.



6 Comments so far
April 9, 2008 · bits and snackerels volume 1

• For whatever reason, I just can’t do audiobooks. I’ve tried. Most of the time, they kinda creepy me out. Or make me extra fidgety.
• There is a particular reddy-pink color that appears to be hot this season (from what I’ve been able to discern via very hurried window shopping on the way to my dentist’s office*, which happens to be housed in a mall) that I am rather enamoured with. It’s a deep rosy color, sort of muted, and looks particularly fine with olive tones. I have to get me some of that. I’ve already got lipstick in that exact shade. And I’m not normally the type to be able to coordinate these things, so I ought to make an effort to capitalize on the cosmetic (and cosmic!) synchronicity.
• From my kitchen window this afternoon, as I stood over the sink simultaneously stuffing down a muffin and mixing up Finny’s lunch, I noticed that the peony bushes I planted last spring are sprouting rhurbarb colored nubbins. O, Spring! you are really and truly on your way.
• They swept the streets of my neighborhood this morning with one of those really raucous machines. I am both amazed and dazzled by the difference it makes.
• There seems to be a sudden influx of chipmunks in the park these days. I find that even more dazzling then swept streets… on par, I think, with the rhubarb hued nubbins.
• That reddish-pink color I was trying to describe earlier? It could be accurately described as rhubarb hued too.
• I’ve been compulsively doodling carrots whilst (whilst!) on the phone these days. I don’t know what I that means. I usually doodle eyes or birds. I don’t know what doodling birds means. but I’ve heard that compulsive doodling of eyes means you’re psychotic.
• I’m not. Psychotic. Or at least I don’t think so. I am a bit peckish, however.
• My Wordpress spellcheck did not recognize the word peckish so I looked it up just to be sure I spelled it right. Merriam-Webster says it is “chiefly British”. That phrase (”chiefly British”, not “peckish”) describes a good third of my life. Although, peckish might well describe another third of my life.
• My Wordpress spellcheck does not recognize “Wordpress” either, which I find odd. It doesn’t recognize “snackerel” either, but I don’t find that strange. I think I made that word up. Either me or Winnie the Pooh.
• Winnie the Pooh authored a surprising number of really good words and phrases. And yes, I know that it was actually AA Milne (and later, the good folks at Disney) that authored Pooh’s words, but I prefer to think that Pooh came up with them instead. Or perhaps Rabbit, as Rabbit is quite scholarly and capable.
• Whenever my energy flags lately, I’ve been playing the Rockford Files Theme song to revive myself. I purchased it on iTunes a couple of months ago with the intention of burning it to CD and popping it into our alarm clock so that Johnny Snacks could wake to it. Because Holy Awesome Song To Wake to Batman! But I can’t take credit for that idea. My friend Fiona came up with it years and years ago. She was so right… it does really get you going. Particularly the folksy bit with the harmonica. Seriously, give it a listen sometime when you’re feeling sluggish**. It just makes you want to stride about, pumping your arms purposefully as if you’re swinging a briefcase or something.
• an embarrassing number of songs I’ve purchased lately have been used in Apple product commercials. Just once, I’d like it to be the other way around. I like to live under the illusion that I’m a trend setter, not merely an early adopter.
• I was talking to another woman in the park the other day, another everyday regular, and I thought she said that people have been spotting long haired owls in the last couple of weeks. I just realized about 10 seconds ago that she probably said long eared owls. But I think long haired owls would be way kewl, don’t you? I like think about long haired owls. Long haired owls as drawn by S.britt. I bet S.britt could do a long haired owl justice.

* O! Just in case you were wondering, I am gingivitus free!! My gums are all pink and loverly.

** Someday I will make a compilation called “Songs for the Sluggish” and it will become a part of the Time-Life Library and I will make fortunes. I’m really good at finding songs that will thwart most episodes of sluggishness. It’s one of my most under-utilized talents.



4 Comments so far
April 4, 2008 · the Facts of Friday

• am enjoying the rain but not so much its affects on my ‘do. Or the mild hammer of a headache it’s creating in my temples.
• am oddly excited about new community composting program and am enjoying feeling extra virtuously eco-friendly. Kudos Halton Region
• am in midst of frenetically busy work period. Holy monkey I’ve gotta pile o’ work to do. But most of it is pretty fun stuff.
• have developed an addiction to Skor bars. One which may soon require intervention.
• found a broad patch of snowdrops in the park yesterday. Spring… it’s on its way, it really is!
• bought the prettiest book of peony stamps today. Was sad to have to use one on bill payment.
• am seriously in need of a good raincoat. A yeller one, or maybe a red one.
• am sleepy and wanting a nap. But probably won’t get one any time soon.
• am behind on the domestic scene. And correspondence. And just about everything except work… sigh.
• am still aware of the toast I burnt at lunchtime hanging in the air.
• am concerned about Gingivitis. More mine than yours.
• am anticipating a spring shopping spree for much required clothing items, but have no idea when I’m gonna get around to that.
• am going to get up and walk around the house for a couple of minutes as foot has fallen asleep and is all prickly and stuff
• am wishing for you the most lovely and relaxed of weekends, full of spring sunshine and dewy good stuff.



4 Comments so far
April 2, 2008 · a mermaid!

have you ever wondered what a kid of mine would be like? Wonder no more. If I had a kid she would be exactly like the little girl who says ” a mermaid!” in this commercial. And if I had a second one? She would be exactly the one who says seahorse. yup.



2 Comments so far
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