Archives for the month of: November, 2010

Excerpts from a real conversation:

Me: You! are twiddling your thumbs!

Friend: Is that what I’m doing?

Me: Yes! I haven’t seen someone twiddle their thumbs in YEARS! I love twiddling my thumbs!

I’m not sure, but seemed more exciting when I was having the conversation…

Rainy Tuesday. In celebration of the awful weather – I wore my grey dress! Last day of November and it rained. I thought the phrase “November Rain” all day. By home time, the rain started up again and I had a lovely drive in the rain.

Perfect weather for blowing off the gym, coming home to a comforting meal and drinking cup after cup of hot tea and eating – wasabi peas! Yay – wasabi peas!

I’m not sure why some people dislike the rain, sure it kind of sucks to drive in, poor visibility, people doing dumb things, having to double-check your stopping distance, getting wet if your umbrella turns inside out, not having an umbrella, forgetting to put up the hood on your jacket/coat, your jacket/coat not having a hood, wearing a leaky shoe or boot, getting splashed by some jerk-driver who doesn’t know how to go drive into a puddle without being all messy and gross…

But, rain! I love the rain! I have a hood on my coat! I remember to put it up! If my hair gets wet, it just gets curlier and looks better! My boots don’t leak! I go smoothly through puddles when I drive! I drive appropriately! And I don’t complain about the weather!

The best part about the rain – when it is rainy out and I come in all wet, I say to people “I got wet in the rain! I need a hot bath and some hot tea right away! After that – straight to bed, don’t want to get sick, no time to talk!” no one questions me!

Rain = perfect permission for cuddles too…

Couldn’t figure out a polite way of asking if I could come to the hospital to see the new baby, so came straight home after – caught the express train too. The express train! I love the express train!

It is quiet, it is fast, it is filled with people reading. It. Is. The Express Train!

Made it in two minutes to spare too. I was pretty impressed with myself.

No climbing today, with sucks…rocks.

Upside: We booked our winter vacation!

Yay!

We are off on Xmas day, after the festivities, to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

For 7  fun-filled days.

Ok.

7 book-filled days!

My climbing partner and I did some serious negotiating and agreed that I would go on one day trip with her, eat breakfast and dinner with her every day and she would allow me to read at all other times. I offered to not read at meals, which she accepted.

You know what this means – time for a new reading list.

I think I will include “Anna Karenina” and “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas”, but I’m in serious need of ideas this time round. The other books that I was saving I either read or am currently reading.

So.

Read any good books lately?

Morning = rough start. Cleaning was on the agenda, but got totally side-tracked. Michael Enright has a show about Euthanasia with a very interesting panel. Comment that caught my attention was about compassion and about how the issue is less about us having a right to a “good death” or being legally permitted to choose how we die and more about the compassion we extend to others who are suffering, in pain and dying.

Riveted by the different points of view and the thoughtfulness of the panelists.

Didn’t help me at all get any closer to the answer, about what we should do, about what the law should be. As always, raised more questions in my brain.

Sometimes, most times, I just wish to be a more intelligent person, filled with more compassion, with an ability to love more to have these answers. Unfortunately, these are my personal limits.

I should be more compassionate.

Compassion definition, from www.dictionary.com:

“compassion

–noun

1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

–verb (used with object)

2. Archaic . to compassionate.”

It sounds a little painful, but I’m willing.

I think that as my heart grows, as I become happier that I will also become sadder as well, it is like the heart needs to go as deep down as it goes up. Depth of sorrow for heights of happiness?

Phone rang – suddenly I found myself with a challenge. Friend of mine (hello! yes, look I’m writing about you!) told me about a party she found herself at last night and holding an elephant bag.

(I note that what I heard was “Elephant Bag.” I thought the design of the bag was called “Elephant” – I imagine a baggy, slouchy kind of bag in light grey, a little tough, wearable, rugged, with a bit of distressed/worn finish. I am dumb.)

My friend clarified – it was made of elephant hide.

I need a moment.

*deep breath*

Ok.

The material the bag is made of is elephant hide, like elephant skin.

I really thought that Canada had laws against the import of elephant hide, elephant tusk (AKA ivory) for sure (?), but hide? Who knows?

So, she asked me to do some research for her, find out if elephant hide is legal in Canada and what is the moral stance on this. And share it with her. I accepted and told her I would write about it, here.

Morally, I’m no use. I can barely get my brain around the basics.

So, legality.

Unfortunately, for me, a quick search of this issue lead me to sites endorsing the hunt of large game (read: big, wild animals) and taxidermy. I will not give links to these sites as I do not wish to be seen as endorsing the hunt of animals as trophies. I clarify: I do not endorse the killing of animals for the purposes of trophies.

It looks like, from what I found, that elephant hide import to Canada is a-ok.

And that makes me feel…disappointed. And a little sad. And hoping that someone can tell me I’m wrong.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Perhaps it is because I feel in love with three elephants?

First love – Babar. Green suit, wisdom, manners and deportment me = growing-up to marry Babar. We would rule the elephants together. I would be the perfect step-mom to his children – Alexander, Flora and Pom. It was destiny. I would become an elephant.

Note: this was after I thought I would become a cat but before I decided I would marry Kermit the Frog instead – sure Babar was royalty, but Kermit was in show biz!

Additional note: Probably explains some of my relationships-gone wrong, how can anyone compete with a green-suit-wearing-King-of-the- Elephants?

Then I discovered Jumbo. Wow! A real elephant of wild imaginings. Jumbo died long before I was around, but wow! Imagine a mammal that big! Wild animals indeed. And we created a new word just for him – how sexy is that!

Of course, the last elephant is Dumbo. How cute! How could I not fall in love with that?

I fail at this challenge.

What I can say is this – just because something is legal, does not make is moral. Just because something is legal and economically acceptable does not mean that you have to be ok with it.

Yes, when we are unsure about things we should ask questions. If we find behaviours and actions questionable, we should ask, regardless of who it offends. We need to challenge things outside of our comfort zone.

Just because I found no evidence that Canada is not-ok with elephant hide, doesn’t mean personally that I am ok with it. Having loved elephants and having wanted to become an elephant I am not ok with it.

I think these questions – how we treat other animals, other beings on this earth, in this universe, how we define “beings” and “humans” and “animals” is important.

I wish I was smarter for you, more intelligent, so I could prove that this was morally bad or at least “not good”, that elephants and all animals deserve special consideration in our actions and behaviours.

I’m not.

I’m sorry, I’m not.

Rough start to the morning.

Up-side: Yoga was really good. It is changing me. My deep tissues are changing. My heart is changing.

Sometimes I feel like I’m becoming something else. A cat. A frog. A plough. A crescent moon.

Today I am becoming an elephant.

Climbing today = an excuse to socialize, get caught up and agree on some things. Me = embarrassed-red, 4 climbs! 1 x 5.7, 1 x 5.8 and 2 x 5.9. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy…

News flash – our brunch place has new menus! The items are the same, the menus are prettier. Smoothies as good as ever, slightly less good than the ones my friend makes. Does it taste better ‘cuz my friend makes it? Or becuz I can have it in my pjs while standing around her kitchen?

And where exactly was the caviar that should have been on the poached eggs? No biggie, but if I’m supposed to get fish eggs on my chicken eggs, then that is what I want. I didn’t even ask – too hungry.

(What is this “eggs on top of eggs” thing anyway? This is probably a sign of societal decay.)

Checked out the Tim Burton exhibit at the Bell Lightbox. Whoa.

First – the building. Loved the open space, windows, looking in, looking out, looking up, looking down! So many places to look! So much to look at! Soooo. Many. People.

Commence deep breathing.

I’m well-fed and bit mellow from climbing, I can do this.

Finally figure out which line I’m supposed to be in – choice of 5? What is up with that? And find out my line is…me! I’m the line! Polite gentleman was absolutely there next for service allows me to go before – I like this place, it shows signs of civilization!

Check my coat and backpack, what a load off! and check out the gift shop. Little small and I can’t move around much. All kinds of things that I could buy! I buy nothing. Not even a Tim Burton-designed toy for my niece. I hope she will forgive me when she’s older. If they only had a Tim Burton-designed rubber duckie, I would have been so all over that!

Note to Tim Burton: Please design my niece a rubber duckie. She would love it! So would I.

The exhibit.

Haha – there is a video showing two earlier films of Burton’s “Frankenweenie” and “Vincent”, both of which I’m familiar with – odd. I’m never familiar with anything.

Whoa.

What an exhibit. Sketches, drawings, storyboards, models, puppets, costumes, notes, more notes, more videos, clips, sketches. Mr. Burton’s brain overfloweth.

Diving into Tim Burton’s brain. I stopped thinking and just absorbed – I became “SpongeGrrl”.

I can’t even explain or understand what I saw and how it moved me. Wasn’t it odd to remember that Burton did “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”? Batman? Batman Returns?

I love the sense of dark whimsy – there are truly creepy and scary things everywhere in our lives, some of us are ok with that.

Lost track of time and things just fell away for a while. Couldn’t recall if I was there with someone or came alone or if someone was wondering where I wandered. Felt connected to others too – we were all there, seeing the same things and becuz we paid, it was like, we all wanted to be there. Sharing these moments with strangers.

I don’t think I was the only one. People kept bumping into each other, in a friend way, atoms in a gaseous cloud, bumping around, keeping it real, that sort of thing.

Chatting with the woman at the coat check after, after breathing fresh air again and coming out of Tim Burton’s brain, and after hearing the time we both had a moment of “Whoa! You/I was in there for a while.”

Getting my head on straight for the trip home, shifting perspective and stopped seeing bones, red noses, skulls etc. and saw the line. Wow! Very happy I went when I did – slow time – rather than waiting around and fighting my way through the crowd – I would have been a salmon going upstream!

Laundry in process now. Too mellow for words – what an incredible day.

 

 

Used to think “Black Friday” was some sort of goth celebration, so always made sure to wear all black until one year my dad explained that it was really a consumer celebration. That is what you get for having confusing titles for things. They should be a little more precise about these things.

Silence at exactly 4:30 am woke me – power coming back on. Stumbled around, glaring at the flashing clocks and re-setting them before settling back into my warm cocoon. This Friday felt a bit different – put on a new little dress – the hounds’ tooth one – and that black necklace I like so much.

What a start to the morning – crawling around on my hands and knees looking behind desks, paper and bookshelves for labels of computer connections. Seriously? This is how I’m being asked to spend my time. I had to laugh. At me for trying to look professional and cute and the task at hand for being so…bizarre.

Up-side: One of my fav colleagues phoned just before lunch and said “Thank you!” for the super quick turn around we did on this. Special props for my manager who was extremely helpful. And shout out to my knees who didn’t complain too much…

I told him that I expected a replacement for my now-broken necklace, which snapped when it caught on a part of the desk and dry-cleaning for my dress as it is now covered in dust from crawling on the floor.

We both laughed.

I guess I should have been clearer that I was serious?

Other hilarious activities included a brief meeting with a gentleman from Microsoft about doing simply surveys from CRM Dynamics 2011. I’ll spare you the suspense – it is possible, but for the amount of customization that we need for our surveys, it isn’t going to work out of the box.

Whenever someone says “out of the box”, I always want to say “There is no box.”

Up-side: Dude from Microsoft sent me a link for a company he thinks can meet our needs in a financially responsible way.

Flip-side: When I did become the person who knows how to do this?

Down-side: I have to re-evaluate my old thoughts about Microsoft – dude was completely helpful and totally charming.

Thinking about Strindberg again today, mainly A Dream Play.Strange how some things haunt us? Leitmotifs of my life.

Speaking of leitmotifs – now Love Shack is playing on the radio. Oh, and I didn’t check that link to YouTube, so sorry if you end up watching something completely gross…I guess I should have checked…

So, yes, strange how things haunt us, follow and lead us.

I can’t get A Dream Play out of my head. I think about Agnes’ shawl, carrying all the sorrows of the world.

Imagine how heavy it would be.

But what if you had a shawl like this and you could gather people’s sorrows up and carry them for the people around you. And what, you could take this shawl, when it got too heavy and you could put it in your new washer and use the right kind of detergent and wash all the sorrows out and they would go down the drain and they would travel into the water system, go through the water filtration  plant and then out to the lake.

I don’t think that the fish would get sad, ‘cuz fish are such happy creatures. And the seaweed would be ok too – ‘cuz seaweeds are aliens and human sorrows don’t harm aliens.

So, I think that maybe we should get our hands a shawl like Agnes had and we could gather up other people’s sorrows.

At the very least, we could make other people’s burdens a little lighter.

Climbing, at last, in the morning. What a week! Will the body even remember which way to go? Hint for the body: go up!

My Black Friday purchase: lunch.

I guess I’m not doing my part to support the economic recovery.

 

 

Subject of radio show while driving home from work – giant mammals that appeared after the dinosaurs were all gone and the world was well into “the Rise of the Mammals.”  Feeling very connected to those ancient mammals – I salute you, my mammalian brethren! Wait to grow!

I will never be a giant mammal myself. Truth be told, I’m actually a rather small mammal – but, I’ve been told I have a tall personality, so hopefully that counts for something.

For a mammal, I’m actually quite old, too. Not ancient, not like some mammals around here, but an age that is nothing to sneer at when compared to some other mammals.

The past few weeks a few people have questioned my exclusion of mammals from my diet. Morality and religion are what people first assume. It is odd to be questioned about this after so long of not questioning it myself.

Truth is, I don’t feel the need to explain why I don’t eat mammals. It is a decision that I’m comfortable with, it doesn’t cause me any harm, it doesn’t do harm to those around me or those I eat with. I don’t condemn anyone else for eating or not eating what they prefer and I don’t demand reasons for people’s preferences. Truth be told, for most people, I’m not all that interested in their eating habits, unless I’m sharing food with them or making them something to eat. I’m not exactly clear why people are keen to take an interest in mine.

I guess it is odd to hear someone say “Oh, I don’t eat mammals.”

Oh well.

I wore some of my new socks today! The grey and blue argyle ones. Very comfy. Warm, and soft.

I’ve a secret.

Rolling it around in my head and letting my hand and fingers remember.

Ready to share now.

During the Harry Potter movie on Sunday, my dear friend, sitting beside me suddenly grabbed my arm. Of course she started to twist it and I wasn’t sure what she was trying to do – why would she try to break my arm during the Harry Potter movie?

She realized what she was doing and probably how clueless I was and that my arm didn’t go that way, she switched tactics and grabbed the other arm, which did go that way.

She put my hand on her tummy and I forgot where I was and what I was doing. I forgot about Harry Potter and his quest.

I felt the baby kick.

I felt the baby kick!

Little spark of life kicked my dear friend’s tummy from the inside, hitting my hand on the outside and I felt the kick in my heart. My heart skipped a beat and it found a new rhythm. Reset.

Imagine me, years from now, explaining to this little person “You kicked your mummy’s tummy, I felt it and you stole a piece of my heart.”

Eventually, the details of the day will fall away, waiting for my friend to arrive, what we had to eat before the movie, where we sat in the theatre, what we saw, where we had dinner after, if anyone else was there – but I will hold dear the first time my friend’s baby kicked my hand.

Me, carrying this secret like a private piece of joy, re-living it, thinking about it, imagining it and looking forward to meet the person who kicked. Mulling it over, ruminating, tasting it and dreaming about it. This was the first time I felt it.

Me, filled up with wonder.

 

 

 

 

Ragged and sore around the edges – pain kicking around for days. Emotional soreness too = grumpy and short-tempered, a bit weepy.

Canceling climbing, me = sometimes you have to stop and let the body just feel, slow down, take some time to cuddle and coddle.

Are these sympathy pains from around the world?

No way to tell, truly.

Wrong turn find me at the shopping centre and the feet remind me = neglecting them. Bundle myself out of the car into the cold crispness that has finally settled on this November and went to face the music – yes, that is right, the dreaded Seasonal Music, cheery, bright and filled with subliminal messages of “Buy more”, “Spend more”, “Shop more”. A smarter person would invest in ear plugs…

I’m in luck! The holiday shoppers haven’t fully descended yet, so I am free to take my time and find some socks that suit me – knee socks, argyle. Yay! I am the proud owner of new socks that will go perfectly under my boots. Very happy.

New socks = washed, dried and folded in the sock drawer – ready to be called up for duty. Oh! Noble socks! How I love thee!

Tragedy – one sock, claimed as sacrifice by the new washer-dryer set.  It was a lovely example of sock-ness, modified argyle, so just the outline of the diamonds, not the solid diamonds, multi-coloured dashed lines. Blues, wines and greys. Very lovely and understated. Long live the sock!

Now, the trouble of what to do with the widowed sock. I am thinking that perhaps the other socks won’t mid very much if sometimes it is rotated in with them – it, after all could have been any of them, any of their mates that taken as sacrifice.

Survivor = tucked, safe and warm, with the others in my sock drawer, surrounded by friends.

I hope that where ever my missing sock went that it has found a sock paradise. It just saddens me that I never got a chance to wear it. It was a pure sock.

While in London about a year ago, I took the opportunity to order in dinner one night. On the delivery menu I saw that they would bring me crème brûlée! Of course I ordered it! What a treat,  crème brûlée to my door. This is truly the life.

Tonight in the grocery – I found a new product, crème brûlée you simply pour some pre-packaged sugar one, toss under the broiler and voila! Crème brûlée without any kind of effort other than making sure you don’t burn the house down.

Wow. Splendid.

My sincerest thanks to who ever thought this one up. I really needed some crème brûlée tonight. It was pretty tasty and fabulous.

The only problem – I’m unsure what to do with the glass ramekin it came in!

The best thing – they sell them in pairs! So, if you were here, we could each have two!

Crème brûlée on demand – someone = listening to me wish upon stars.

 

Nervy about traffic for this morning’s meeting, so let the house at half-past stupid this AM.

Dark – flow of traffic moving.

Across the top of the city, exits flying by, out on the other side of the city and then into unknown territory. For me, unknown territory for me.

Took a right when I should have taken a left and ended up going over a very, very small bridge.

Where I am? Where is my map? Where is the sunrise?

Find a forgotten, street-in-progress to turn around and I’m off! Back over the tiny bridge, back to the correct direction.

Two roundabouts without a worry and miss the turn for my destination. Turn around in the mall parking lot, go back and I’m there! Exactly 2 minutes past the time that map said I would be.

And exactly 2 hours before my meeting.

Go for a walk – the rain stopped and the sun looked like it would finally rise. Walked until I was chilly, but not cold, turn back. The restaurant isn’t open, but it looks like the lights are on where I’m going.

Lights are on, no one at work. A place for me to sit, take my coat off and read comfortably. So, an hour and half of reading. I’m making it through the book! It is so funny and insightful – I’m loving it.

Meeting went really well. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make any kind of valuable contribution, I expressed as much to a colleague last week. We briefly debriefed after and I asked her “Was it useful having me here?” She said “Yes. Did you feel useful?” I did. I really felt useful.

It also appears that I managed to come out with a few interesting tasks. So, I’m not sure exactly what that was about, I thought I was working on avoiding tasks.

Trip home was fast and furious, just on the cusp of bad traffic. Whew! Some days you’ve just got it.

Back to usual stuff on Wednesday and maybe…climbing?

And how about that lunch? Yum-yum!

I promised that I would give fair warning when I posted the review for this film. Seems like the film is not in world-wide release. Sorry! Sadly, it is not up to me to make these decisions…

I think I have provided a spoiler-free review and tried my best not to talk about anything story-related. You never know, so beware!

Quiet day at work today, both my colleagues somewhere else. Struggled with some parts of the computer program I wanted to try out before the big meeting in the morning. The Big Meeting.

After the sloppy-ness of Friday night, it ended up being a good, if odd, week-end. I was happy to see and spend time with friends – some planned, some happily last-minute.

I’m having some trouble with the differences between people and books. One of my friends drew my attention to a responsibility that I would prefer to shirk. I like to think of myself as a responsible friend, but why can’t I be the supportive, good-times sort of friend? Why do I have to be the person who asks the hard questions?

Today, I’m a whiner.

On the upside…on the upside…upside upside, upside…I think it is around here somewhere.

Ok, I’ve got it.

On the upside: I was saved from sending a very awkward email when a friend contacted me to invited me out in a couple of days.

The downside: I have to get speaking notes from a friend so I know what to say.

Yikes! Maybe I can write it down and let my friend it and then respond?

In other news – it is a lovely, rainy November evening. Warm. Great weather for a hot bath!

 

Oh! Finally.

I preface this by saying that I really disliked the book.

That being said – hello movie! Way better than the book.

I loved the starting sequences, completely set the right tone, the scenes were short and contained by conveyed a strong sense of narrative with fine acting by all concerned. Nice music too.

I think some people would challenge that the movie had a bit of uneven pace and look to it – I found that the look differed depending on moment in the story and the pacing was appropriate all times.

I loved the look of the installed government as much as I loved the look of the long moments of waiting. The use of shadow puppet-like animation was inspired. Stylistically the movie moved with great facility through a variety of looks and styles – this really worked. I think too that it referenced some great films as well – this is a film that realized it’s audience fully.

At this point, the story of Harry Potter is no longer a film about a child for children, it is story about a young adult for other adults. The film was true to this and gave the now grown-up actors some interesting and challenging moments.

I would be remiss if I did not say something about this story being divided into two parts. So far – it works. The closing scene of the movie is right, the timing feels right and has left us ready for the conclusion.

It will be very interesting to see if the Part 2 is able to sustain this great momentum.

Bravo.

I note that I saw the IMAX version of this film and it suited it beautifully – excellent, beautiful cinematography.