33) It’s Magic!

October 31, 2010

Niagara Falls, Ontario

On this Halloween Sunday I thought I’d make a mini-list about some of the magical moments in my life.

List 33 – Magical Moments:

  • Staying at the house of a recently met friend in Ubud, Bali with my sister and two blokes from the U.K back in 1990. I had never seen a place so lush and beautiful before, wedged on the hillside of paradise. We stayed up all night as two bats dance by a light in the corner of a wide veranda and watched the sunrise over the rice fields in the morning.
  • Performing a scene in one of my acting classes about 3,000 years ago (or so it seems), becoming completely lost in my character (Rita, from Educating Rita), then snapping out of it at the end of my scene to a round of applause by the fellow classmates and instructor – something that didn’t happen much in that class. I’m not sure who was more shocked by my performance them or me?
  • A particular moment at a Joni Mitchell/Bob Dylan concert (which, according to a quick scan of the internet occurred in 1998 – gasp!) when, during Dylan’s set at The Maple Leaf Gardens, he and his band strummed a tune with such mighty connectedness I felt like I was floating on air. The way they hit those strings sent a shiver up my spine and seemed to pluck from the crowd setting me on a smooth, cool wave of sound and spirit. It might have been Gordon Lightfoot cover, I’m not sure, but whatever it was added up to 100% pure beauty.
  • Laying in bed one night after moving into my sister’s house following a particularly painful break up. That night, instead of falling asleep with the drone of the television as my soundtrack, or distracting myself by writing in my journal or reading a book, I decided to lay in my bed of sorrow, missing him and his cat and our time together. At that moment I felt the earth shift when I realized that even though he had ended it, despite how angry and sad and even humiliated I felt, he was right. It hadn’t been working. Neither of us had been happy at that time and much of the pain I was feeling about it was the bruise my ego received from the blow. It was the first time I remember crying real tears. Tears that are less about omgomgomgwhatamigoingtodo and more about ouch that hurt. I could almost feel the sorrow attach itself to those plum, salty tears and fall on my pillow which left a slight stain once they dried up and evapourated but disappeared after a good wash.
  • In Paris, in 2000, B and I went on a guided walk out of a book call, Paris Walks (how clever), based on the life of Samuel Beckett. The walk lasted for hours, winding us through city streets and cemeteries. We talked about life and death and stopped on the way to sip on a beer or café noisette (mmm). It was the kind of day where unusual things were happening – like when B was telling be about a book (by Beckett) he was reading just as we passed by a bookstore and someone was placing that very book in the window. Freaky. By the end of the walk, night had fallen. B and I sat on a bench along the spine of the Seine and I’m pretty sure that was the moment B fell in love with me (I had already fallen), with the lights of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background.

I am happy to say I find many of life’s moments to be miraculous and magical.  The way the human body functions. Taking off and landing in an airplane. Traveling across the country in a matter of hours. The varying shades of the blue sky. The way a flower opens. Thinking of someone and then the phone rings and there they are. Numerous natural phenomena from the wonders of the world to the leaves changing colour in autumn, to a tree shooting leaves out again at springtime. So many of the things we take for granted on a daily basis can make me dizzy with fascination.

Tah-Dah…

And, now I’m off to work. Talk about scary.

Happy Halloween.

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More Illusions

October 30, 2010

And speaking of illusions…

I over heard a conversation , on the streetcar, the other day involving two early twenty-something year old dudes, that went something like this:

Dude A: You know the real way to keep a girl interested in you is to be mean to her.

Dude B: Huh?

Dude A: I’m serious. All the girls I know seem to be only interested in the guys that are treating them really badly.

Dude B: Hm, now that you say it…

Dude A: Yeah. I’m always nice to the girls I’m interested in and sure enough, the next thing I know, they’re either avoiding my phone calls or they’re going out with someone else who’s treating them like dirt. The nicer I treat them, the farther they run. And, as soon as I do something that’s not so cool they can’t return my calls fast enough.

Dude B: Really?

Dude A: Yeah. So if your interested in somebody it’s better to be mean to her – but it’s definitely not an easy thing to do.

Dude A doled out that last sentence with such a heavy heart it pretty much broke mine. Me, the one who actually fell for the load of crap that young fellow was spewing until I was a bit older than old enough to know better. Sitting here, knowing what I know now, which is – run like bloody hell away from anyone, man or woman, boy or girl, who is not treating you the way you deserve – with love and kindness, might seem incredibly obvious to someone who does indeed knows better. But this way of being will fall on deaf ears to someone caught under the zero-or-less self-esteem spell. A spell I was most certainly pinned under in my younger days. It is not so much difficult but embarrassing to admit to some of the less than worthy ways I allowed myself to be treated. I do not have an extensive history of love affairs but can say my heart was crushed on more than a few occasions by guys just like those mashers Dude A described while he was flipping out relationship advice to his buddy like a bad hand of poker. I could not help but feel bad for everyone involved. It was clear that these to young men felt sick about the prospect of having to be assholes in order to win a girl’s heart and doubly vomitous to think that they were probably right to a certain degree. I know I wasn’t the only gal pining for the bad boy while steering clear of those thoughtful and kindhearted blokes who showed an interest in me (a miracle in itself in those days). Why on earth I chose to wait by the phone for some guy to call me, my heart racing whenever it rang, then feeling it sink when it wasn’t the person I hoped it would be, even though he said he would call, I will never know.

The good news is I did eventually figure it out and have found myself a kind heart to share mine with. Sure, relationships are supposed to be about compromise but when you discover you’re having to negotiate who you truly are, or what you sincerely want, in order to accommodate that special someone’s existence in your life, my advice to you is run away. Run hard and keep running until you find the closest mirror to gaze into and then repeat these words over and over again until the grimy sludge of self-loathing slides of your glowing skin: I love you. I love you. I love you. Yes, keep staring into your own eyes and chant those words until it is impossible for you to be drawn towards bad behaviour. This might require a bit of effort but it works. Other ways to achieve this goal include doing nice things for yourself, avoiding so-called friends that make you feel bad, treating others the way you deserve to be treated (see above), treating yourself the way you think your friends should be treated (we would never allow our friends to put up with or do some of the shit we allow ourselves to go through, so take your own advice) and so on.

I hope those guys on the streetcar stay true to themselves by continuing to treat the girls they’re interested in a way they feel comfortable because in doing so they will not only be honouring their potentially future girlfriends, they will be honouring themselves which is the most important part of the game.

Since Halloween is just around the corner I thought I’d share a clip or two of one of my favourite illusionists, David Blaine. To be honest with you, I’m not really into the whole magic thing. I’ve got nothing against it but I don’t expend much of energy following it around. But, several years ago, I stumbled on one of Blaine’s specials on television and was spellbound for the duration. What can I say, the dude brings tears to my eyes. I have no idea what kind of person David Blaine is but watching his work makes me think he’s a very special person.

Here’s a clip from the show I caught that day. Check out the little boys face at around the 5:06 mark as he’s having his mind blown.:

Since the last bit got cut off I added the next segment.:

David B gives a speak on TED about how he held his breath for 17 minutes.

Wha?!!! This dude is something else. Or, maybe that’s just an illusion – but I don’t think so.

A Little Perspective

October 24, 2010

 

World Press Photo 10 Exhibit

 

And, another perspective

 

 

And, another one...

 

I stumbled upon The World Press Photo 10 Exhibit at The Allan Lambert Galleria, in Brookfield Place, yesterday and managed to check out some of the winning photographs on display. I will definitely make my way back before it closes on October 28th to see the photos I had to skip due to lunch hour induced time limits. This is a very strong exhibition featuring photojournalistic photography in its many forms. I recommend checking it out, although, I warn you, some of the shots are difficult (very difficult) to digest. That being said, I feel it is important to bear witness to life outside our personal viewfinders (and possibly comfort zones) which is one of the reasons why an honest representation of daily living around the globe has such great significance. It really does put life into perspective, reminding us of many things including: how beautifully amazing life can be, how complicated and confusing it is at times and certainly how very fucked-up it can and, indeed, has become.

 

I think I will take this opportunity to rain a whole lot of Peace, Love, Good Health and Happiness aplenty to all. Also, a big shout out to all those folks who put themselves in risky situations to let us know what’s going on.

 

Rocky

October 23, 2010

I am a rock.

Word of the day.

(yesterday’s word. I’m a day behind.)

Crepuscular – \ kri-PUS-kyuh-lur \  , adjective; 1. Of, pertaining to, or resembling twilight; dim. 2. (Zoology) Appearing or active at twilight.

I sat alone with my back pushed against a coarse and wide tree trunk, during that quiet and thought provokingly crepuscular time of day, trying to make sense of what he had just said.

 

Coruscate and Shine

October 21, 2010

One version of sanity.

I took this shot at Taylor Creek, on Monday. It’s looking pretty mighty there these days. Most days actually.

Word of the day.

Coruscate – \ KOR-uh-skayt \  , verb; 1. To give off or reflect bright beams or flashes of light; to sparkle. 2. To exhibit brilliant, sparkling technique or style.

(As I wrote in response to a Facebook friend’s “status update”, this morning, after he posted this word. By the way, I have the best friends in the world:)

Perhaps I shall try to coruscate today but it is really too early to tell if I’m up for the task.

His response:

Body glitter would help!

I like his way of thinking.

Grace

October 19, 2010

Today is one of those days where I find it difficult to avoid reflecting on my life. In the same way that, say, the new year, the beginning of September or even a birthday can have me scanning my internal inventory, in order to assess where things are at. Today is like one of those days – but more profound. Seven years ago (seven? really?!) at this moment I was gathering up the remnants in a room on a palliative ward: a bath robe, slippers, newspapers and toiletries, the personal effects my father had just left behind after sailing away, although I felt as if he was still with me. And, I guess he was. He always will be.

If I were to thrust a fist into my brain and pull out a few random memories from that morning, my unfurled palm would reveal: Butterfly kisses my eye lashes planted on my father’s hand while he was sleeping. Me watching him inhale then exhale then inhale – for hours. Then afterward, making dreaded phone calls to siblings and relatives. Sitting with my father’s partner (who had spent almost every night with him while he was in palliative care) and feeling so close to her. I remember meeting my mother (they had divorced close to thirty years earlier) in the parking lot of the facility. I can still almost feel that cold, crisp, October morning, Winnipeg air on my skin. I can still almost see, when I close my eyes, how incredibly clear and blue and, yes, even breathtaking the sky appeared through my blurry eyes and foggy, sleep-deprived and heavy head. I remember how good it felt to see my mother walking towards me and then putting my arms around her and pulling her warmth in. And, I recall, so vividly, saying good-bye to my dad while mom waited outside his room. It felt as if he was still there with me except for the absence of movement, save for that tsunami sized tear stain spreading on his gown.

Anyway.

Days like today make me think about the past and how you can never change it. How pointless it is in trying. Have you ever done something you regret?  When after the deed is done, or, isn’t done, you wish you had – or hadn’t? If only you could hit rewind, then record again, and see what outcome might unfold. I have. Who me? But regrets are so pointless. Our lives are not pieces of film we can wind back and do over. We can’t hit select all, or some, and then delete and retype. We are human and a part of life is about fucking up and then, hopefully, learning from our miss-takes. I can not say I am proud of all of the choices I’ve made in my life or that at times I’ve not strayed from the path of who I want to be. I continue to grow daily and I continue to fumble along and then brush my bruised knees off and try again, gracefully at times, and not so gracefully at others. I can beat myself up and pat myself on the back, as well as saying and doing the wrong things and then feeling as useless as a piece of old driftwood. But even a piece of driftwood can be used as a buoy at times. If need be.

Sometimes my gut churns over past events I could have handled differently. Why did I say that? Do that? React that way? Allow that to happen?And I can find if hard to recognize the person responsible for those things even though it is into my own eyes I am glaring. But these things do happen. I am certain the amount of energy I expend (is the word waste too harsh here) in making those churning motions could serve be better elsewhere. I cannot erase the past nor should I bother trying. But I can recognize when I have behaved a way contrary to my true character and I must adjust myself accordingly time and time again. All I can do now is learn, grow, move on, move forward.

By the way, this morning I read via my friends blog, here, a coincidentally related piece which can speak to all of us about “perfection”.

My father was not a perfect man (neither and I nor I have ever claimed to be – although I still get the point of that shared link above) but I loved him deeply. I wish he had said more and/or that I had asked more but none of that can be changed now. I suppose we all need to decide what we want to hang on to and what are the things that we need to let go.

Effin’ Ineffable

October 16, 2010

Word of the day.

Ineffable – \ in-EF-uh-buhl \  , adjective; 1. Incapable of being expressed in words; unspeakable; unutterable; indescribable. 2. Not to be uttered; taboo.

I stood there dumbfounded and disappointed, after all that we had agreed upon, in the ineffable way she was treating me.

Smithereens

October 15, 2010

 

 

City Hall's Podium Green Roof @ Nathan Phillips Square (Nuit Blanche)

 

Word of the day.

Smithereens \ smith-uh-REENZ \  , noun;  1. Small pieces; bits.

(a tale from a previous existence.)

He clasped my face between his hands and pressed his lips against mine. Then, he spread my ribs, reaching straight for my heart and ripped it to smithereens.

 

Cloudy

October 14, 2010

 

Nathan Philips Square, Toronto, during Nuit Blanche

 

This shot is one of my first attempts at night photography, with my Rebel T1i, without using a flash. It’s a wee but blurry but, in this case, I don’t really mind it.

Word of the day.

Hopscotch \ HOP-skoch \  , verb;  1. To journey quickly and directly from one usually far place to another. noun: 1. A children’s game in which a player tosses or kicks an object into one of several numbered sections of a diagram marked on the ground. verb: 1. To move or pass through something, as a geographical area or a field of endeavor, making many brief stops.

I played hopscotch in the sunshine on my driveway, when I was a child, and afterward I’d lay my back on the cool concrete while unraveling the mysteries in the clouds.