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!
up above: photo composite from my latest obsession, photographing bubbles trapped in ice. And my latest Flickr Faves as we move into Spring and I yearn for pops of color and blossoms. Am once again completely and utterly swamped with work and stuff. send cupcakes.
I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m not particularly looking forward to going out there this morning. It is bright and shining, but oh my word, so so frosty! With 70 km/hr wind gusts and a windchill of -29 degrees or something ridiculous. Ouch.
I’d much rather stay indoors and obsess about feng shui which is what I’ve been doing for much of the weekends. I borrowed a couple of books from the library about Chinese Feng Shui last week and I’ve mapped out the whole house. I am eternally grateful that Johnny WestGroup and I have the exact same Kua number even though we were born in different years. This means we have the same auspicious directions and makes this whole feng shui thing much easier. I think my head would have exploded by now if our auspicious directions had been different because this feng shui thing? Holy confusing Batman! But the thing that thrills me most is that even though Finny J.’s Kua number is different from ours, her directions are exactly the same! How fortuitous is that?! How often does THAT happen, that all the members of the household have the same auspicious directions?
So that’s the good news. The bad news? Those four auspicious directions are the four most neglected corners of our house. Oy! Balance must be restored forthwith!
I’m in the process of decluttering and I’ve got to say, it’s kinda painful. I’m not really a material girl, so how is it I’ve accumulated so much junk that I’m ridiculously attached to for no apparent reason? sigh. I suspect this is gonna be a long process… but already the house is starting to feel lighter, brighter, better.
tons of snow. lots and lots of snow. two winters’ worth so far, according to the radio. and more on the way. we wade through it slowly, me scouting for the tracks of skiers, Finny scouting for squirrels. yesterday the sun was high and bright, setting things a dazzle. From the deep cover of a row of tall, tall pines, I snapped at the shadow prints cast across the snow while Finny gnawed the snowballs off her fringes and feathers.
So I know you have been tossing and turning late into the wee hours, wondering why why why I never manage to update more than once a week despite my best efforts and I think it’s about time I told you the real truth.
The truth (which in fact is not so much the truth as it is an outright flaming blue lie) is that I am hard at work on my first novel titled Me by The Sea. It’s a dark and gothic tale about a bitter, brooding, blonde, navigationally challenged Canadian-American illustrator who journeys to the sea to investigate mysterious goings on of the sort which are mysterious and also, unnervingly, going on. Aided by her one and only friend, a one-eyed, one-legged, two-armed, six-toothed, half-witted sea captain named Phil, she discovers the true meaning of life, love and friendship and also that the big body of water she thought was the sea? Is actually a lake. A big lake to be sure, but not big enough to be called a sea. And further? That it is fresh water and that smell she was sure was all salt air and gull poop and therefore naturally curative of all that ails? Is actually ordinary lakeside air, tainted with the sweet tang of factory emissions from Buffalo, New York.
It’s sure to be a best seller, don’tcha think? And win all those fancy literary awards… the Booker, the Giller, the Nobel Peace Prize…. speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, I loved this shot of a staggered Doris Lessing learning the news that she had won it from reporters gathered at her home. She had been out grocery shopping when the news broke and simply sagged to her stoop with the shock of it, groceries still in sacks. This is not the picture I liked best, but the only one I could find on the net (courtesy of The NY Times).
Hello chick-a-peas! um, so… how ya been? I’ve been swell. Truly. Well, mostly. When I’m not tearing my hair out over technical issues and decisions. The time has come, alas, for me to get a new computer and I’m currently engaged in the painful process of transferring over my hard drive contents to a newly purchased external hard drive so that when I finally do make the leap to a new computer, I will have all the stuff I need at my fingertips. Woo-hoo.
I’ve been waiting for the new Leopard OS to come out, and now that it’s officially out, I find I’m really torn between getting a new iMac and having to bite the bullet and get a ProMac. I would prefer to get the iMac because it’s more compact, cheaper and plenty powerful enough for me to do all the stuff I need to do and then some … but I’m concerned about the glossy interface. Why why why did Apple go glossy? Sure, it looks all super sleek and stuff, but it’s much more reflective then I had anticipated (finally went and looked at it in 3-D this past weekend) and I’m concerned about eyestrain and such.
Any new iMac users out there?!!! Is the glossiness a problem? Any words of wisdom?!! Calling all Mac geeks…. I need your input!!!
And man, this has been one busy fall. Tons of work, lots of deadlines, and then two evening classes a week (yoga and the life drawing studio)… it’s all playing havoc with my schedule. But it’s all good. It’s been a productive time creatively and I’m feeling good. Just a little winded. I like to take things at a leisurely pace most of the time. I’m a dawdler by nature. I don’t like to be rushed about. I like to savour. But this tortoise has been compelled to pick up the pace these past couple of months, make hare-like haste. Which makes for one tired tortoise. And a much neglected blog. I’d make apologies and stuff, but really… examine the content of this most recent post. Look at the header on this little post, for example. Autumn Leaves. How original. How stunningly creative. How staggeringly evocative and engaging. (mm… NOT!) Do you really need to hear more of this?! yeah… no. That’s what I thought. So really… let’s look on my lack of posts as a good thing. Let’s look on it as a public service!!! I should be sainted.
Hmm… if I was really clever I’d lie to you and tell you I’m part of the Writers’ Guild and therefore out on strike with all the other writers of the world. Only I realize that you’re clever enough to realize that this blog has been less than stellar for going on like eleven months or something and the Writers’ Guild has been on strike for what? Three days or something officially? And less than 24 hours practically.
Oh well, at least the pictures are pretty.
O, I had the most fabulous week last week full o’ vacationy autumnal goodness and love, but no time to tell you about it today. I know. You’re crushed. To make up for it, let me just point out that at long last I have secured a Flickr account. You can either find it via the sidebar over there to the right or by clicking here. You’ve probably seen most of the photos uploaded there at the moment, but I’ll be adding more, more, more as soon as time allows.
Wandering around the park last week, it occurred to me that spring really arrives from the ground up. Other seasons, fall, winter… they arrive on the wind, are bourne of denim-bottomed clouds. Not spring. Spring begins as a green, underground tickle, yawning and poking up though the detris of all the seasons before, crinkled with sleep, but fresh and rested all the same. The forest bottoms are awash in curls of green, ground cover spreading up and over and completely, nibbling away the brown, seeping through the rough bark of the trees and being slowly piped upward to emerge as tiny trembling buds of chartreuse on the ends of tired branches.
the trilliums are popping up everywhere, but so far I’ve found only one in bloom… this one. By the end of the week though, the woodsy parts of the park will be carpeted completely in three lobed blooms. The trout lilies are already shyly nodding and I have become newly besotted and fixated on may apples. But more on that later. Now i must go snuggle with my doggity on my bed, all arrayed in new linen, and watch the sun sink to pink over the houses across the street.
heheh. Total departure today, but somehow it aptly applies to my day which was fun and zippy and light. This is for my dear friend Otter. . She’s all like super scientist-y and stuff. I turned to her page and saw this image of her little burrito boy and burst out laughing. Look at his expression of intrepid derring do! It’s so Buzz Lightyear! So Paige… I have no idea who has been stealing your IQ points, but if you’re wondering who has been swiping your photos… well. um. guilty.
Yesterday evening at the grocery store, there was a little boy, about 7 or so, standing in line behind me, trying to wrestle a big orange box of Tide up on the conveyor belt.
“Chrissy is really good at imaginating, ” he said to his mother, following the remark with a great grunt of effort as he managed to heave the box onto the counter.
“Chrissy is good at what?” his mother asked. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her brow furrowing as she tried to puzzle out what he was saying.
“Chrissy is really good at imaginating,” he repeated again.
“Chrissy is really good at imaginating,” he repeated a third time, with no trace of the annoyance I was anticipating.
There was a pause and I turned to glance at her and saw that her face was still a mass of baffle. “Imagining! Imagining!” I silent screamed at her, trying to communicate myself telepathically. “Chrissy is good at imagining!” I got it the first time, why couldn’t she?!
“oh,” light dawning. “You mean Chrissy has a good imagination.”
I swear I felt the little guy’s relief shimmer right off him, like heat off the back of a refrigerator.
“Yeah,” he said.
The thing is I personally prefer “Imaginating.” It seems so much more authentic.
I’ve been ruminating on this little exchange ever since. Is it just me or does it seem like an odd thing for a child to observe about a playmate? Do kids really notice those kinds of qualities in other kids? I mean, it’s been a long long time since I was a kid, but the way I recall it, I just sort of assumed that every kid was good at imaginating and that it was hardly a trait that I would single out in another. Granted, I was always pretty good at imaginating too, so maybe it’s just the way I viewed the world. Or maybe he had overheard a teacher congratulating Chrissy on her good imagination and thought that it was a grown up thing to say and so he was trying it out on mom.
And then I got to thinking all about imagination and how fabulous it really, really is and how nice it would be if everyone had one as brilliant and remarkable as Chrissy’s. And then I started thinking about what to have for dinner, and I totally lost that particular train of thought.
But it came back to me this morning while I was out walking Finny J.
I was listening to the rain tapping on my hood, weaving between these narrow saplings in a place I call “the horseshoe”, looking for deer, when I started pretending I was an old man with a long white beard and an elaborately carved walking stick who was wandering the woods looking for inspiration. It was part of his (my) daily routine… he would spend hours out there, wandering with his Great White Pyrenees mountain dog, Bo (Finny J.’s alter ego for the sake of this particular pretend) and all the creatures of the forest knew him by scent and the sound of his shuffle and would come out to visit, the deer and the birds taking seeds from his palm (he carried a special pouch tied to his belt just for this purpose) and while they fed he would quietly stroke their heads and memorize their every feature and later, in the evening, in front of a roaring fire with Bo at his feet, he would carve exquisite likenesses remarkable in their expression and romantic accuracy and find a special place for them in his little stone cottage with the thatched roof and the perfect curl of smoke coming out the chimney.
I was pretending so hard that I could tell you exactly what he smelled like (like wool and pine boughs with a faint whiff of campfire lying underneath) and what his favorite meal was (old fashioned Irish steel cut oatmeal with dried blueberries and walnuts on top) and how he was mute and yet could whistle any bird call with absolutely amazing recall. And then a twig snapped and I looked up in time to see a big buck leap over a fallen tree and melt into the woods and it suddenly occurred to me… how many adults still do this? Pretend. Pretend hard and completely and all the time, like you did when you were a kid. How many women about-to-turn-forty-in-two-weeks are out in the world, weaving between saplings, stuffing their pockets with pinecones, and imagining they are white bearded, mute wood carvers with a passion for animals?
Sadly, I don’t think it’s nearly enough. Sadly, I don’t think it’s too many. Sadly, I think I may be one of a very few. And one of fewer still who would blithely admit it directly to you, not caring that it probably sounds a little insane.
And I think that’s just the saddest thing about being a grown up. I think it is criminal that when you’re an adult, some part of you is so squashed flat that you either forget entirely how to pretend to be a pirate or a woodcarver or a fairy in a toadstool village or… you feel kind of shy and/or ashamed to admit you still pretend stuff.
Don’t you think that’s sad?! Isn’t it sad that being a grown up means you’re suppose to stomp around thinking about taxes and furniture polish and quarterly reports instead? Isn’t it sad that as you grow up you’re suppose to give up pretending and march around in the “real world” all the bloody time? Not pretending to be anything other than whatever it is you are?
And I mean PRETENDING, not imagining. Because I think there’s a difference. First of all “imagining” is kind of a grown up phrase. You never hear a kid saying “let’s imagine we’re pirates and we’re being chased by a really angry octopus!” No. What they say is “Pretend we’re pirates! You be the girl pirate with the peg leg that shoots poison darts and I’ll be the girl pirate with the pink eye patch and the skull hat!”
You can “imagine” the worst. You can let your “imagination” run away with you. You can “imagine” the grief of losing your husband, you can “imagine” the horror of war, you can “imagine” what it’s like to be homeless, or hungry, or abused or whatever but one rarely shouts out with great rollicking enthusiasm “Pretend we’re suffering the horror of war!” “Pretend we’re abused!” “Pretend you have cancer!”
Although, on second thought, I guess kids do yell out stuff like “Pretend I just shot you and you’re dying!” “Pretend I’m Darth Vader and I just lightsabered you in half!” But it’s different somehow.
Pretending is less serious business than “imagining”. Pretending is more playful, happier, and more detached from all the weighty stuff that sits in our bellies and makes us fearful and unhappy. Pretending is good stuff, man. Of course, imaginating is pretty rocking too, when done right. But there’s more room for error there, I think.
I think everyone in the world would be so much happier if they spent a good fifteen minutes a day pretending to be something happy and gentle and outside themselves. I really, really do.
Do you still pretend?! You can tell me. I swear I won’t tell another living soul. And if they have you committed because of it, you’ll find me in the straitjacket right next to you, pretending I’m a talking rabbit with a penchant for fine wine and chocolate.
Today, I laid back in a field of bleached grass and watched the weighty, denim bottomed clouds of November chase away the last of the October hues. The leaves have been shrugged off or snatched by the ice edged wind and the newly stripped trees look vaguely awkward and embarrassed. Not yet accustomed to the lack of cover, they stretch their skeletal fingers to the sky, yearning, scratching, pleading as they bend to the iron will of the season. The beauty of it is less brash, less obvious, but it is there if you know where to look… and I do.
Three days into the month and I’m deep in my mittens, shrugged into my puffy ski jacket, and the light is different, less forgiving. It never fails to amaze me how the landscape shifts with the light at this time of year. For awhile everything appears brittle, washed with the dry, rusty, dusty patina of age, as if left too long in the attic. And then a cloud scuttles overhead and suddenly everything is gossamer edged, backlit and magical. My eyes tearing in the cold, I watch Finny diving through the grass, hunting the mad scurry of meadow voles while milkweed “wishes” parachute overhead and I feel like we are the only two living beings on this planet. But the solitude of the moment seems tranquil and true, not sad. Like surrendering to long sought sleep.
Fog in November, trees have no heads,
Streams only sound, walls suddenly stop
Half-way up hills, the ghost of a man spreads
Dung on dead fields for next year’s crop.
I cannot see my hand before my face,
My body does not seem to be my own,
The world becomes a far-off, foreign place,
People are strangers, houses silent, unknown.
- Leonard Clark, Fog in November