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!
truth be told, my friends, I have been feeling rather Grinchly. As cuddly as a cactus, As charming as an eel… my heart an empty hole. My brain was full of spiders, I had garlic in my soul… Mrs. Grinch.
I was not at all my usual bright and beamy self. Things kept going wrong, I was bumped all out of alignment, heavy and sad and Christmas? was coming upon me like a great rumbling garbage truck full of muck and gunk. I was so not prepared.
and then we got snowed in on Sunday.
and it was the best, most delightful thing that happened to me in a long long time. First thing, we bundled up and took a family waddle up the snow choked street, the snow coming down so fast and furious we could barely make out the houses around us. Down to the little park at the end of our street we went, dropping to make snow angels and watch Finny gnaw merrily on a stick. We waddled back, waving at neighbours, home to steaming mugs of coffee. I whipped up a batch of butter tarts and we ate them warm, savouring every bite, me breaking of little bits of pastry to feed to the drooling woof. We lounged around in our long underwear, listening to a John Mayer concert on the radio. I made up the bedroom for Christmas, adding berry red pillowcases and a merry little wreath (pictured above), listening to my neighbours, recently transplanted from New Zealand, toss their two year old into the snowbanks in their backyard. Katie would land with a pillowy thump and a rippling peel of giggles would ring out, again and again. The snow continued to hurry down for hours, about two and a half feet of frosty icing when all was said and done. A long winter’s nap, a hot bath scented with a new essential oil blend (orange, cinnamon, and spruce) I just purchased from my yoga instructor, aptly called Christmas Spirit. Lolling on the bed with Finn and two new magazines, another stroll around the block. A couple of hours spent painting, leisurely and free. Fresh mushroom soup and hot buttery bread for dinner, capped off with jasmine tea and gingerbread flavored Snowballs, a last minute purchase from the liquor store the night before. Candlelight.
And I’m merry and bright, fresh again.
Fa la la la la… la la la la!
it’s grey and raining this morning. They are promising snow tonight. Not much and it will vanish on Friday when the sun reappears. But I can feel the snow coming in the hush of this wet morning. I am tired. I am worn clean out. But it’s the pleasant sort of tired that comes of hard work. I have been going non-stop for five days now. Installing my new iMac, all new software, backing up and retrieving everything off my old hard drive and then a flurry of new jobs demanding to be done before my American clients take off for Thanksgiving has just about done me in. But it’s good. It feels like a fresh start. A new page. Alas, new beginnings are exhausting and the learning curve is steep. And I’m not even at the half way point yet. I’m not yet at the top of the hill, preparing for the coast down the other side. My thighs are screaming, my breath is fast and shallow, but I’m getting there. I’m trudging along determinedly and the top of the hill is in sight.
Whilst (whilst!) cleaning out my old hard drive, I came across a series of ink trees I did eons ago. If I remember correctly, I got the idea out of an old Martha Stewart Kids Magazine. Blobs of india ink blown to branches with a straw.
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.
Here I am again, struggling to find my balance. Winter has a way of wonking me out of alignment, derailing me with carbolicious cravings and unwanted pounds and a brain that feels more like a gaping maw of unbrushed, unthinking moss-covered teeth. Spring arrives (slowly), and I wake up, squinting owlishly, look around and realize I’ve been letting things slide. My joints feel creaky, my limbs feel leaden. My skin is dry and scaly and I just don’t feel quite right.
But I do feel motivated.
So I’m taking steps to get back to my fighting weight. This generally involves a lot of fiber, a lot of berries, and a lot of yogurt. I’m not thinking about how to lose the extra five pounds wrapping their blubbery arms about my middle just yet, I’m just concentrating on nutrition. Fewer simple carbs, more fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m stretching out my walks bit by bit as weather and Finny J. allows. And this evening I will attend my first ever yoga class.
I’m a fiddlehead unfurling.
Spring will start officially in about an hour or so. finally! It really should be trumpeted in by angels or something, don’t you think?!! the whole of the earth should give it up Enya style with chirping birdies and the poof of blossoms suddenly sprouting and the green ping of new leaves unfurling all at once. It won’t, of course, but it should.
No one ever asks me what my favourite season is (though they should, because I have a lot to say on the subject), but if they did, I would instantly reply autumn and then I’d wax all poetic about indigo bottomed clouds and scuttling leaves and crisp sunshine and trees the color of flames. But when I stop and think about it, no season is as welcome a relief as spring. Real, true, pink tipped spring.
Real true pink tipped spring hasn’t arrived yet here. Today was blindingly bright, but cold. There are no real buds on the trees yet, none of those fat sassy numbers all plump and pouty with promise, though I think I spotted a shy, silvery slip of pussy willows peeking out from beneath an underpass this morning on the way home from the train station. The photo above is from last spring. But it’s just around the corner. I can feel it. It’s almost here. Just have to hang on a little bit longer….
In other news, I got gleefully chomped by the fattest, wriggliest, goofiest bulldog puppy named Frank today and have the pink pinprick scars all over my hands and wrists to prove it. Frank has black rings around each of his eyes and a perfect fawn colored oval on the very top of his head and when you press it gently with your fingertips, his whole face squinches with delight. It like an easter egg shaped joy button. swoon. I wuv Frank. Dogs are just the very best thing in the whole wide world.
Real true pink tipped spring would rank a solid second with me right now.
oh man. we got dumped on but good on wednesday… over 50 centimeters. Being snowed in was sort of lovely at first… it was a sweet slow valentine of a day. I was overcome by the warm nesting feeling of being snowed in and having Johnny Commuter home all day, unexpectedly, was kinda delightful . In the afternoon, the sun came out and the light slanting into the house was all vanilla infused, warm and golden. like something you pour atop pancakes. I ignored my staggering workload and we just sort of lolled around.
But now, the plows have long since been thru the streets and snow is piled over my head around the neighborhood yards, making everyone look like they spent all week building fortresses. Part of me wants to go out and tunnel thru the ones in our yard like I did when I was a kid, carving out little niches to store emergency snowballs to fire at the other neighborhood kids, hunkered down in their own forts. And the rest of me just wishes it to be gone already.
sigh. As a December baby, I sort of feel this burdensome obligation to love winter, but the thing is… I don’t. Had this dump of snow come before Christmas like it was suppose to, I would have embraced it. I would have done that mad cavorting thing, made snow angels and snow critters aplenty. But by the end of January? I have had it up to here with winter and I’m all battle weary and worn. I think I suffer moderately from S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and though this year hasn’t been that bad in the grand scheme of things, I’m feeling it big time this month. **
But worry not… I will waddle on and come out the other side. Need to soon start weening myself off all things carbilicious though… I’ve been packing away the chocolate and the muffins and the everything yum in an effort to stave off the winter blues and while my clothes still fit, they’re beginning to have that tight, fresh from the dryer feeling. I’ve implemented a new coping strategy… firing myself up with relentlessly upbeat, sorta embarrassing, super cheesy anthems like (and I’m so not kidding) Baby Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini, The Banana Boat Song by Harry Belafonte and Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra. Yeah… I know! Scary!
Please, please… I beg you! Please share your favorite coping strategies. I need all the ammunition I can get!
** Despite the photo above, Finny J. does not share my loathing of the winterness. She thinks it’s all fun and frolic, though I must say the minute the temperature plunges below zero, she becomes the most ravenous of creatures, scarfing down everything in sight and behaving like she hasn’t been fed in months. She’s packed on five pounds in the last month… eekkk. We’re both gonna have to start South Beaching it again like pronto.
I know, I know. Another picture of frosty berries and it’s not even a recent one. But it is all too apt, my friends. It is so so c-c-c-c-cold out there! Holy penguins! Wrapping up for the waddle round the park with the wolf requires hours and many, many, many layers. I’m beginning to feel like Randy in A Christmas Story (you know, Ralphie’s little brother), unable to bend my limbs for all the stuffage or put my arms down. If I tip over out there, I’m done for. I’ll be stranded on my back like a turtle forever.
Finn, on the other hand, thinks it’s all delightful and frolic worthy. She LOVES the cold and can’t understand why I insist on keeping our walks to under 30 minutes these days. But she WILL NOT wear a doggie coat or doggie boots (just rips them off within seconds) and I’m afraid she’s gonna get frostbite out there. So 30 minutes maximum until it warms up some. Which is just as well lately as omigawd PEOPLE!!! I am just swamped with work lately! Swamped! Oy vey. I actually have a great and wordy post with great wordy words and mention of cats and head cheese that I have been composing in my spare time for over 6 days now, but the spare time? Turns out there’s not enough of it to complete a major post. And I’m a speedy writer, people. SPEEDY!!! I think I might get a little time this evening and hope I can post it then.
Until then, stay warm and admire my frosty berries!
Monday morning, the sky wept icy tears into the break of day and glazed my world with a slick veneer of glittering ice. In the last three days, I have taken well over 400 photos and not one of them accurately captures the magic left behind. The park is full of glimmers and twinkles and dazzles. Absolutely everything is fluted in ice, every blade, every branch, every berry. Some times it appears roundly, soundly beaded. Other times serrated, branches lined with crystal viper teeth. Glittering straws of glass encase every shaft of winter wheat, bubbles encapsulate tiny leaves. The trees are dripping like chandeliers, coated over with streams of tinsel. It’s a fairy tale and it leaves me breathless.
As Finn and I carefully pick our way along the path, it shimmers and tilts in the most magical way. It’s the shimmer, the tilt, the phenomenon of light that I can’t manage to snap my shutter around. It completely eludes the camera lens. And after a while, the endless stream of adjectives stringing themselves across my brain slowly begin to tumble into silence. None of the words are adequate. The sun breaks from the clouds for a moment and I feel like a character in an English children’s book, transported into some magic realm inhabited by ice queens and winter pixies and stitched all over with silver. Hello, January.
I have spent the last fifteen minutes trying to will myself into the silken sunset center of one of these roses, but to no avail. Alas, I am a grumpy girl. I should have known better than to count all the ways in which I do not look anything like Audrey Hepburn, because that can only lead to no good very sad places and grievous discontent.
I am most very definitely having a not-pretty-at-all day today. My hair is dirty (which I hate more than anything in the world. Well, almost) and has those weird sleep bumps that are still present despite the fact I have my hair secured in a ponytail so tight that the skin over my temples is screaming, I cut my bangs too short last time I trimmed them (in the usual fit of desperation and pique) and now I’m all forehead and unkempt eyebrows. My face is all pouchy with sleep even though I’ve been up for hours now, I have a zit festering on my chin that even though you can’t really see, you can FEEL! and I’m all mingy and unshowered because I didn’t get the chance to do it before the wolf walk and now it is after 1:00 and any minute now … or possibly 3 hours from now… there will be a delivery van full of burly guys pulling up to my house to deliver a giant armoire and I know from experience that even if I rush thru my ritual ablutions as fast as humanly possibly and even though i know that they will likely stretch this large delivery window to the nth degree the way they always do, the second I disrobe and soap up, they will be banging my door down and I’ll get shampoo in my eyes and be all wet and cussing and the only way I could possibly be less attractive than I am right now is if I was all wet and cussing and squinty with misplaced shampoo. And somehow I have to sweet talk the burly guys into heaving the giant arsed teevee that was displaced from the living room by another giant arse teevee (but this one flat screened and LCD and HD and BFD and all sorts of acronymed wonder that the hubby cannot live without) into this armoire. Just so you know, sweet talking is easier when one has clean and lovely locks.
All this is further amplified by the hideousness of my wardrobe. I dug out the box of sweater things last week but as I went thru it all, I remembered how last spring I was holding off and holding off and holding off…. not wanting to buy desperately needed woolens when spring was at the doorstep. Everything is stretched and stained and ugly as sin. Unwearable and unbearable. blah.
The only redeeming items I own right now are a robin’s egg blue hoodie and yoga pants which I bought after an excruciating visit to the dentist on Tuesday this week, a pinky peach sleep t-shirt and a brown deep-v sweater which cuts practically to my belly button underwhich I have nothing to wear. I do not even have a single t-shirt acceptable for wear in public. Or private for that matter. Also, I need shoes. And underwear. And bras. And I hate hate hate shopping for all those things.
Truth is, I suck at shopping. I just get all prickly and hot and discouraged in the changing room and i buy items I never wear, simply because I refuse to go thru all this pain and come out the other side empty handed. And I shop for a life I don’t have. A life wherein I’m meeting members of parliment and attending teaparties and D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution) functions or something. I buy flouncy skirts and tailored jackets and blouses you have to iron when what I really need are t-shirts and socks and everyday, moping about the house gear.
Also it is raining AGAIN and still, still, still. And I have no appropriate footwear for rainy walks. Why do I never remember to buy waterproof footwear? My big clumpy snowboots are waterproof, but I can’t wear them now. I will just get stuck in the mud somewhere out there, completely entrenched and unable to move and crows and various birds of prey will swoop down and pluck out my eyes and poop on my dirty head and make mocking caw-caw sounds and no one will ever find me because I lost my cell phone and haven’t replaced it and the other one lives in the bottom of Johnny Commuter’s back pack and Finny will just use my entrenchedness as an opportunity to hunt and eat all the meadow voles I won’t let her hunt and eat when I’m not stuck in mud. She will also delight in finding the most vile smelling deposit of weird ickness to roll in, like she has already done three times this week, knowing I can do nothing but flail at her pitifully with my bird pecked limbs and eyeless sockets.
Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore’.
ooo… gotta go. The delivery truck just pulled up.
(um… yeah. So if that last bit seems just a little too convenient, that’s because it is. I lie like a rug. They have already been and gone and didn’t seem to mind that I’m all unshowered and mingy and as I write this last part I am fresh from the shower, all sweet smelling and sunny again. I just didn’t know how to end this whole ranty thing so there you go.)
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
I know, I know! That promise about more frequent posts was kinda short-lived. whoops. There have actually been a few golden autumn days round here (and many not golden autumn days too) that I’ve been trying to capitalize on muchly. And there’s been some shopping… for ever so fetching coats with toggle buttons. Oh, how I loves me the toggle buttons!!! And some work. And some painting. And some… I dunno. Stuff!!! Time seems to be escaping me these days. I haven’t even carved a single pumpkin this year and I usually carve at least 3! I don’t know if it’s the cold, rainy fall we’ve been having or what, but my brain seems inclined to skip over Halloween this year for whatever reason. I’ve already jumped two months ahead and am thinking Christmas thoughts. So much to do before Christmas!!!
Regardless, I hope your Halloween is ghoulish fun and that many an adorable trick-or-treater alights upon your doorstep and brightens your evening!
P.S. Just so you know… Fester flails no more. But I didn’t have anything to do with it. He just upped and shuffled off this mortal coil all of his own accord, leaving my karma undented. Relief!
I am beginning to feel like that little girl in the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day” where the sun only shines for 6 hours every hundred years or something and the little girl gets locked in the closet by her cruel classmates and misses out on seeing the sun for her entire lifetime. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but all day yesterday it bucketed down with the grey grey rain and today the sky appears stuffed with steel wool. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for more of the same.
By nature, I am not one of those heat seeking summer lovers. I much prefer Spring and Autumn and even some Winter (in reasonable amounts. Reasonable in my book expires promptly on January 15th. ) And, in fact, I like summer too … just not the heat. Or the humidity. Or it’s affects on my hair and energy levels. When it comes right down to it, I do not like to sweat. Sweat is icky, sticky and really just unfun.
But I do like the sun. I can appreciate the occasionally rainy day, a good and stormy sky, but baby, this is OCTOBER! October! My favourite month of the year and I want my mellow yellow October sunshine, the crisp breezes, the azure skies and i want them now, now, now!!! If you could some how arrange for all that to happen now, now, now, I’d be much obliged.
Obviously the picture up above was not taken today, but I thought it sorta captured what I was thinking. I’ve also been thinking a lot about this whole blogging thing. I seem to have fallen victim to that virulent blogger’s ennui that seems to be sweeping the nation, particularly plaguing the blogs that are of smilar age to mine. I’ve been at this for almost five years now, and all the shiny newness has long sinced smudged off. A lot of things have changed. I think back on the days when I used to post something at least four times a week with a bemused kind of nostalgia. And frankly, a keen yearning to return to that sort of newbie joy.
I’m not so naive as to believe that I will ever recapture that, but you know what? It wouldn’t kill me to try. So I’m making a commitment to myself to try to post something, even if it is just a photograph, four times a week. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting in the habit again. Maybe it will all come back to me in a glorious rush of angels and whimsy. Don’t laugh. It could happen. It could!
But now I must go. The wolf is in a frenzy, poking me very deliberately with her nose and bumbing my elbow off the mouse. We’re late for the walk again and she’s determined she’s gonna nip this trend in the bud. And if there’s one thing I love more than the sun, it is my doggity.