June 30, 2009

The documentary I mentioned earlier today puts into mind two other docs you might enjoy with a similar theme. One is called, My Architect, directed by Nathaniel Kahn about his father, the architectural giant, Louis Kahn. And the other is called, Capturing the Friedmans, directed by Andrew Jarecki. Depending on what kind of movies you like you might want to check these out. I personally liked them both… a lot.


A Recommendation

June 30, 2009

Last week I stumbled upon a documentary by Doug Block called, 51 Birch St. The film, shot in 2005, came to fruition when Block started shooting footage of his family as a personal record of the home where he grew up. But when his mother dies suddenly, during the process of his filming, his family movie takes some interesting turns. Basically, the film focuses on his parents’ relationship and the filmmaker’s quest to understand who these people he’s known all his life really are. It certainly provokes one to think about our own families, our own lives and what we’re willing or able to settle for.

I salute Doug Block and his family for sharing themselves so honestly with an audience, even though at the time they had no idea the film would be included on the roster at numerous film festivals and shown on the big screen to critical acclaim. I found the film riveting and I highly recommend it. If you happen to get your hands on a copy, I suggest you watch the extra in the bonus features too. You can visit his website here.


June 29, 2009

knittingOnly a few days have passed, but so far I’ll admit, I enjoy this process of dropping a few lines here. I can’t say it’s always easy, though, trying to sort through the tangle of ideas in my head, hooking onto a single strand then trying to stay with the line of thought to see where it leads me. It’s a bit like knitting without a pattern. Or, having so many patterns I have no idea which one to choose.

That’s the thing about me. I have so much I long for sometimes I don’t know where to begin. The size of my list overwhelms me. Am I sure what I’ve chosen to jot down on my list are the things I really want? And when I chose one to strive for, what if I make a mistake or can’t pull it off?

A few years back I knit a sweater. It was the first time I attempted such a complicated project and once finished I impressed myself at how good it actually looked. As soon as I went to put it on, though, I realized I had a problem. The sweater fit me well enough but the wool I finally decided on weighed too much. I could barely lift it over my head. After all the time and effort I put into the project, I decided to unravel it and save the wool for some other creation I could actually hold up and enjoy. Surprisingly, it felt kind of good to admit I’d made a mistake and to start over again with something more suitable. I had put a lot of energy into making that sweater (then pulling it apart) but I hadn’t wasted my time. The process made me a better knitter. And, sometimes you just can’t tell if something will work, or not, until you see the final result.

It will be interesting to see how this blog and the rest of my list unravels. Which of the jumbled mass of ideas woven together inside of my head I’ll snag on to and where each one will lead me. There’s so much to choose from. The trick is to decide which strand to grasp on to… then pull.

June 28, 2009

Think I’ll keep the word count low today. Didn’t sleep so well last night (more on that topic some other day and, no, wine consumption can’t be blamed). So, despite the fact that it’s Sunday and the forecast predicts rain (perfect day to lay on the couch and watch a load of movies or read a book) I must drag my sleep deprived butt out of this chair and tackle the mounting piles of housework I’ve tried to avoid all week. The list is gigantic and includes (among other things): reorganizing the pantry and cupboards (my stomach just knotted, maybe I’ll do that one tomorrow), figuring out how to make my room work with me and not against me (as serene as my space can be in the morning the rest of the day can be a challenge – desk too small, too much clutter, etc.) and all the other general duties around here needed to keep me sane. I can put up with the disarray for only so long (and it ain’t that long) before I start to get edgy.

At times, an overwhelming list of duties can paralyze me. You might be surprised to know how long I’ve been sitting here. I need to get moving…

A Good Year

June 27, 2009

vinoThis morning I lingered in bed a little longer than usual while a low grade, red wine fog cleared from my head. Thankfully it didn’t take too long.

I don’t know a lot about choosing wine. I usually look for a Cabernet Sauvignon in a particular price range. If I’m daring enough to stray from a label I’m familiar with, when I pop the cork I can only hope for the best. I prefer wines that are at least two years old since rumour has it, allowing one to sit at least this long helps settle the tannins, making it easier on the noggin. But I know some of the best wines improve with age.

This morning once the fog had pretty much rolled out of my brain a thought came to me.  Maybe I’m like one of those bottles that have been sitting in the cellar all these years waiting for the right time to be opened. I feel as if I’m twisting that cork slowly, carefully, tightening my muscles and pulling upward. There’s a slight hesitation. I don’t want any to spill or go to waste. I don’t want to accidentally break the bottle. I want to start pouring when I feel sure I’m ready. But how can I  know for sure until I take a taste? I’ve never met a sommelier able to predict the best year to pop one’s cork in life (although I have met a few whiners…) I think pulling the cork out of a bottle that’s been maturing to reach the perfect vintage can be risky. You might open it before it hits its peak. But wait too long you might find it’s spoiled, turning bitter or sour. Too bad people aren’t as predictable as grapes.

When I finally decide to give a steady yank I hope what I discover spills out freely. I hope it swirls with a rich, even tone, deep in character, bursting with flavour. And, I hope I don’t wait too long. I’m pretty sure when it comes to uncorking the essence of life now is the right time to pour.

A Blank Page

June 26, 2009


I think morning must be my favourite time of day. For a moment after I wake up it feels like the new day is a blank page waiting to be filled and it’s up to me how I’m going to fill it. Some days I write a poem or fill the page with my dreams. On other days I scribble with a trembling pen, leave the page blank or don’t bother to open the book at all.

On an ideal morning I wake up at 6 or 6:30. I make a short espresso adding to that a dollop of frothed soy, then grab my small cup and head upstairs to my room. I suppose you could call it an office but I tend to think of it more as my space. It’s that place in the house where I can spend time on my own. As much as I love this time of day, it takes me a little while to want to share it. So, sitting at my desk while the sun streams through my window, the air filled with calm and the birds’ chirp playing in the background can be music to my ears.

Not every day fits this blissful description to be sure.

But this morning does. It’s almost 9 now. My coffee cup has been washed and put away and the sun’s 6:30 dance across my desk has waltzed on. But the birds are still singing and I’m still gazing out my window trying to figure out how to fill the page.


June 25, 2009

Twenty (gulp) five years ago today, yes you heard that correctly, 25 years ago in 1984, I graduated from high school. And there are only two words I have to say about that… Holy Crap. Actually, I have more than two words to say but the aforementioned pair sort of sums things up.

It’s amazing how quickly time flies.

Graduating, for me, is a mark of completion and achievement. A journey from there, the place where you lay down your goal, to here, that place of accomplishment. Back in ’84 I felt a bit like an impostor. I knew that when I reached the podium and held out my hand to accept the plump, brown manila envelope mine would be empty. The one credit needed to fulfill the amount required to receive my diploma, eluded me. I hadn’t failed any courses. I just felt it was more important to have a spare each semester. And what difference did it make anyway? I planned on taking a year off to find myself (still looking). But a year later, when I cluelessly hit the campus at the University of Manitoba, I handled my course load as if it was a game of hot potato, dropping classes faster than you can say, “Ouch, that burns”. I never had a plan. I didn’t know how to make one. And, after twenty some odd years have passed I still don’t quite know what I want to do.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking over my shoulder. I’ve let a few dreams go because I’ve worried how I might appear. I’ve let doubt cloud over my ability and fear get in the way of moving forward.

But I know… I know I can spread my wings at anytime. I can stand at the top of the growing mountain of goals I hope to one day achieve, bend down to grasp one firmly in hand and step forward.

In some ways it feels as if I graduated from high school yesterday while at the same time, since then, many lives have been lived. But, I’ve never stopped learning. I’ve never stopped evolving into this person I’ve become, although at times it’s hard to see.

Twenty five years from now when I’m scanning the inventory of all I’ve wanted to achieve against a list of those  accomplishments I acquired, I hope I’m left with a satisfied sense that instead of time I was the one to fly.

A New Day

June 24, 2009

Room for one more

I wanted to create this space years ago but have been putting it off for just as long. I hope I can figure this blog thing out and make this a place that illustrates my character.

Speaking of which, I have no ideas what I’m doing.

Today seems as good a day as any to break a pattern. So, instead of over thinking  (or, over thinking  more) I’ve decided to take the plunge. I admit, I’m a bit nervous at the thought of putting myself out there (which is one of the reasons I want to put myself out there) but I can’t seem to figure out what I’m waiting for.

I’ve come across a few blogs that have inspired me to lay down some roots. And, even though those said blogs seem like flowers, to me, blooming out there in cyberspace I figure there must be room for one more.

Here I go…