Monday, January 26, 2009

To Inspire; to breathe life into

I've been listening to We-haaay too much cbc radio lately with all my freeee time (note that free time doesn't come free). As a result of this I have been hearing some down right inspiring stuff. Some weeks the cbc really nails it on the head (we won't talk about the other times at this juncture). Anyway, if you need some inspiration check these links out.

Musicians for World Harmony: This incredible organization founded by this incredible individual recently had a project in refugee camps in the Congo with children who were forced to become soldiers and commit unspeakable crimes, many times against their own families. Girls forced to become sex slaves of the military. Through the use of music, musicians and music therapists help the children heal and give voice to their stories through song. You can hear the cbc radio dispatches interview with the founder here. Just scroll down until you see the heading 'Mending Lost Hearts'.

Joy Apparel: This Toronto based guy makes T-shirts with YOUR face drawn onto it...Here is part of his Mission -
Every face on a Joy T- Shirt has been inspired by a real person. When you wear your shirt you are encouraged to think about that person and how your everyday actions can affect others and the world we live in.

After you buy a t-shirt of some random stranger (who suddenly isn't so random!), then you send in a photo of yourself and someone else will be eventually wearing YOU! He started this company, in part, based on an encounter with a stranger, Mr. Frank Joy, who ended up having a major impact on his life. How inspiring is that??


Jenn Hadfield, A girl living on the Shetland islands and working as a shop-keeper wins the TS Eliot award for poetry - one of the most prestigious of it's kind. She is the youngest person ever to win it.
Here is a poem she wrote in collaboration with artist Douglas Robertson entitled Daed-traa. (I want to write this poem on my ceiling it inspires me so much.)


Hope that helped!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

note to myself:

music to pick up (at some point soon):
1) Sigur Ros
2) Hawksley Workman - new one
3) Leonard Cohen - specifically - "Famous Blue Raincoat"

Friday, January 23, 2009


These are the photos I took of myself in my apartment in the the beginning of the Black out that occurred not long ago in Toronto. The power was out in my apartment for 24 hrs on the coldest day of the year (so far) ! These photos were taken between the hours of 10:30pm and 3am. Hope you enjoy the brief play by play.

First Hour: "Yay, this is fun...I love candles!"

Third hour: " All shall be well all shall be well all shall be well..."

Fourth hour:"O mi goodness...I wish I had a Coleman stove...."

fifth hour: "Pretty candles that I wish were electric"

In conclusion, Here is a list of things to have on hand in the case of a blackout in -28 degrees:
  1. candles
  2. a flashlight
  3. a lighter
  4. a big fuzzy hat or toque
  5. flannel Pyjamas and a big wool sweater
  6. a hot water bottle
  7. double socks
  8. a Coleman stove
  9. a book to read by candlelight
  10. a fire safety handbook
  11. long underwear
  12. a bottle of Shiraz
  13. a camera
  14. knitting needles and wool

The end.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

10 more till 100!

So - it is midnight and I can't sleep. And here I am in blog land.

I just realized now that 10 more posts and my blog will have reached 100 posts total! That is since I started in 2005 (I can't believe I started this thing that long ago....seems like decades ago now). There were a couple of years there where I didn't write much at could say I abandoned blogging in a way. But anyway, I look forward to post number 100!

Some random notes on my life lately and life in general.

- All Obama all the time!! I feel like it's been 24/7 Obama land lately which is kind of weird. I didn't catch the inauguration speech unfortunately, but that morning, I have to admit I did get a tad emotional about the whole affair. Regardless of whether everyone's out-of-control hopes are not lived up to (mine included), it was a bright and beautiful day in the history of the world.

-Guelph, Ontario: Land of white crunchy snow and friendly folks!
I have spent the last 3 days in Guelph as I have been trying to feel it out more and make a decision about taking the plunge and leaving the big smoke for a little city with big heart. This trip has convinced me that Guelph definitely is the place I want to be at this point in my life. It's a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively). I've already spent quite a bit if time here in the spring/summer and it has been neat seeing it in the winter. I love how strangers say hello, people randomly smile at you, the streets are narrow with old stone houses, and the parks make me want to buy snowshoes! I feel oddly at home here. I am really excited about this change. Hooray!

-I left Facebook! Yes - it's true. I went AWOL. I abandoned ship. I am no longer on Facebook. (Gasp!). I had been thinking about it for awhile, and then, one day as I was looking at photos of a complete strangers New years Eve party, I thought to myself "This is sheer madness". The funny thing about leaving Facebook is that you can't really soon as you "reactivate" (by logging in again) your account everything is there exactly as it was. It's creepy. What is interesting, too, that almost immediately after I did it I felt a gigantic sense of relief, which I still feel! That's almost embarrassing to admit and I'm not exactly sure what it means. I think, for me, it's the desire for more authentic communication in my life - as bad as I am at it. It's all good...just not for me.

-School application process begins. I am applying for a program offered by Ryerson and The RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) as an Early Childhood Music Educator. It is a bit precarious as i am technically not qualified...on paper anyway, but have a very good reference backing me up. I feel pretty confident that I can get in the program...but a little nervous about it as we shall see. This also marks a concerted effort, on my part, this year, to make my creative life the major priority. It has been too many years of not doing that.

OKay...hopefully I can sleep now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Diving Bells and Butterflys and it's COLD.

Is it ever COLD!! My feet are like ice cubes inside my rubber boots!!

It’s a very frigid –18 (that is including wind-chill). I am sitting in the Timothy’s on Roncesvalles drinking my almost cold tea and trying to illegally connect to someone’s wireless connection with no luck – I am able to connect for about 4 minutes and then the blasted Rogers “hot spot” will take over and try to get me to pay 6 bucks for one hour of Internet use…yes you just read that correctly – I said “6 bucks for one hour”. That’s messed up. It makes me wonder why more coffee shops in this city won’t get a little more benevolent and provide some free wireless for their patrons. It seems to me that it would make sense on many levels. But nooooo…this is no Fogo Island, folks. This is Toronto. Where nobody is apt to meet you on the street and invite you in for tea and Hard Tack. No sireee, Bob. Unless of course you are willing to pay the big bucks. It occurs to me right now that this is a fantastic city for people who have a whole lot of money. Yay, Babylon!! Whoops….I mean…Yay, Toronto!!!!

Ummm…I sense this entry is taking a bit of a “down-turn”, to use a phrase that is being thrown around a lot lately. So I’ll change the subject…. to an amazing movie I rented last night called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It is based on the book by the same name, written by the (then) editor of Elle magazine, Jean Dominique Bauby, who had a stroke that caused a very rare condition called “locked in” syndrome. It left this highly successful, gregarious man completely paralysed, with the exception of the movement of his left eye. He was also left without the ability to speak or make any sound. The film is made almost entirely from his perspective, so the watcher feels what it might be like to be trapped inside ones own body. You can hear his inner dialogue as he struggles to communicate with the people around him. You would think that watching a movie like this might be completely depressing or morose, and it did have an element of sadness and discomfort, for sure….but it was surprisingly much more hopeful than it was anything else. You could describe the movie as an ode to the power of the imagination – which is the thing that enabled this completely paralysed man to write the book (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), with help, by blinking his left eye!!! It is truly inspiring in a very realistic, un-cheesy way. After seeing the movie I will be checking the good old Toronto Public Library (or TPL as I like to affectionately call it) for the book ASAP! You, whomever you may be, should see this movie.

Crappy. I just spilt my cold tea all over my leg here in the coffee shop. Classic. Now I have a very cold knee. And now I have cold tea pooled in the bottom of my precious rubber boots!! The nice man mopped it up for me, though. And a kind lady handed me a fist-full of napkins. Awww, maybe the people of Toronto aren’t so bad after all…(wink, wink).

Peace OUT,


Thursday, January 08, 2009

And now, a few words from Henri

Enough Light for the Next Step
Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, 'How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?' There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let's rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.

Living the Moment to the Fullest
Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

-Henri Nouwen
After reading these little snippets this week, I have to thank my lucky stars for Henri Nouwen. Especially in times like these where I feel overwhelmed with decisions and the temptation is there to be completely preoccupied with the past or with the future. Even if these readings remind me that I am probably the least patient person I know. I am so stinking impatient it is ridiculous. I am only now beginning to realize the deep affects of my impatience on almost every aspect of my life. I am notorious for not being able to wait in line-ups. I would throw full on fits as a kid in restaurants if the food wasn't delivered in 2 seconds. 20 odd years later and not much has changed. but it's not the surface impatience that is the's the sense in myself that I need to be in the perfect life condition now now now. I need to have some kind of comprehensive plan to fulfill all of my dreams and goals this second. I need to fix all of my weird personality quirks right away. It's only when I have completely burnt myself out by all of the self inflicted demands, that I realize that I'm doing the same thing I did in McDonald's when i was a screaming five year old and had to have that happy meal IMMEDIATELY, or else. So immature.

Sometimes I wish I were some kind of Zen master who knew how to be completely absorbed in the present. Either a Zen master or a three year old. There's got to be some kind of happy medium. Unfortunately I am one of those people Henri described - always trying to 'get away from' where I am.

Reminds me of a dream I had a dream about Henri Nouwen a couple of years ago at a particularly difficult time. He showed up in my kitchen and sat down. I remember in the dream being so relieved to see him and I remember asking him a question...something along the lines of "What should I do about this, Henri?" I remember he just looked at me smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Then I woke up.

So, this will be my mantra for the next couple of weeks until I'm out from under the haze:

Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

You've just lathered up and.....

..the hot water runs out!!!

That is what just happened to me....actually it happened about a half hour ago. Here is how it went: I'm in the shower, soap all over me and just about to wash the conditioner out of my hair when suddenly the water becomes very very cold. I turn the water off, hoping it is some kind of weird glitch, only to eventually find myself huddled in the bathtub, clutching my knees to my chest, turning the faucet on and off frantically and praying to the shower Gods to let the hot water please come back. It was not to least not yet. Before I continue, let me be clear: I have taken my fair share of cold showers and consider myself to be fairly adaptable to different or harsh environments in that department. I also fully realize that in most places in the world the idea of a hot or even warm shower is but a dream. Nevertheless, for some reason today I just could not bear it....I could not bear being under a freezing cold stream of water.

So, believe it or not, it is now 45 minutes later, the hot water has STILL not come on, and I am wrapped in 2 towels, practically dry, with soap residue encrusted in my hair and all over my body. that is the condition I am in as I am writing this. Sometimes if you don't see the humour in something you might just start crying about it....or throwing a full blown adult fit...which I almost did but then didn't. Yay me!

So for some reason, I felt inspired to blog about this. Maybe it was a good way to kill the time while waiting for the water to heat up (??!!), But i think it was more about an alternative to throwing a fit.

Happy Sunday...and may all your showers be forever hot!