Saturday, January 29, 2011

crazy, redux

I'm watching Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time tonight, which of course reminds me of my lovely time in Manhattan oh so forever ago now, which in turn reminds me of the other things I meant to say in this morning's post. 

I know those of you who've been around a while have already heard/read this story, but indulge me just one more time, there's newness at the end: one of my favourite memories of my time in the Big Apple was standing in the MOMA soaking up an exhibition of the BrontĂ« sisters embroidery (seriously), when a lovely, if petite,  man spoke earnestly to me in French. I apologized and said I only speak English, and through the course of a few sentences he proposed marriage and invited me to return with him to live in Paris where he was a diplomat for his homeland (I can never remember if it was Mauritania or Chad or ... well, it was some former French colony in Africa) and I blushed and declined and allowed him to kiss me gallantly on the hand and cheeks ... 

I thought of him again this morning, reflecting back on the Oprah couple. And as I sat at China Beach today I wondered, what would life be like if I'd thought then that someone could just say yes and make something work because they said it would. 

Of course it couldn't really have happened. I had the BBs and their dad wasn't about to say 'hell ya, take them to Paris to live with strangers' (partly because he didn't swear much, and partly because we were already fighting for custody) and well, there's crazy and then there's crazy. But what if I'd at least had dinner with him? What if we'd stayed in touch? What if when things were settled and I had my MA in hand I'd gone there instead of here? It's fun to think about. To speculate on those roads not traveled. I'd have made a great diplomat's wife. Or a great diplomat. Maybe I still will, what with not being dead yet and all. 

But that's not the point. It's just, that we never know how things are going to go until we say so. And also, I still love New York ... I need to get back there. Soon would be good. Sooner would be even better. 


After a busy busy week I chilled out for a bit last night unwinding in front of the TV. It turns out there's not much on Friday evenings about 9, so I ended up watching a bit of Oprah. *shudder* They were revisiting some of her 'most memorable' couples from over the years: an over the top harpy who couldn't stand a thing her husband said or did. A cretin who felt justified cheating on his wife because she'd gained weight having his three kids. And a guy who was so determined to get married by a certain date that he had put ads out, had his friends interview women, and married a stranger at the Mall of America. 

What was craziest about all of this though, we that the last couple - the ones who had been strangers when they married, are still married 12 years later, have four lovely children and self-report being happy. When the Oprah minions asked their secret, he responded, we have agreed to be happy and to have this work, whatever it takes. 

I can't stop thinking how easy that could be - to make the choice to be happy and have a relationship work because you said you would - and that the real insanity is how often we choose not to. And by we I pretty much just mean I. What's crazy is that I think I can have my life work the way I want OR I can have a relationship. Or that I think my life is this pile of activities and connections over here, and a relationship would be somehow distinct. And I'm only putting all this out there because I KNOW some of you think the same crazy things. You've told me. And I was crazy enough to agree. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

remnants & remembrances

Lots of little things have been popping up this week. Memories of Mexico - the good and the bad. Snippets of songs. Silly pop culture references. And this ... 

Romeo:Well, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. 

Juliet: Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. 
Romeo: Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. 
Romeo: [They kiss] Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged. 
Juliet: Then have my lips the sin that they have took? 
Romeo: Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again. 
Juliet: [they kiss again] You kiss by the book

How do our brains retain all this? Why do we remember some things completely, some through a fog, and some not at all? How do we pick and choose which things we maintain the access to and which we let the path grow over?

Maybe it's because it's a new year and my birthday and there's been so much change in the last 12 months that I can't help wondering about all the steps that have gotten me here. And maybe it's nothing at all. The solution feels like more change, but ... maybe it's time to sit still for a while. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Speak No Evil

Glassboat has said to me, on more than one occasion of lamentation, that life would be easier for me if I didn't have such a big brain. He means it in the most loving 'look at reality' kind of way that's designed to pull me back from fighting imaginary dragons. And as wacky as it sounds, I often wonder if he's right to some degree. 

Photo by Tracie Taylor Photography: 
I do have a relatively big (though perhaps not in evenly developed) brain. Unfortunately, I also have a relatively big mouth. And today I offended someone I like and respect. As a writer and communications professional I know and value the power of words; it disappoints me when I sling words about like they don't matter. It's immature and unthinking. 

A big brain and a big mouth can rarely be used in unison. And I really hope that in the future I'll use my brain  more and save my mouth for  saying what I really mean to say. Some people might think that sounds like censoring myself, and maybe it is to some degree. But at worst it's censoring a persona I could do without, not my real self - my real self doesn't insult people as a cheap and easy joke. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I Didn't Say

"It's not that I believe your lies, it's just that they sound so pretty dripping from your round lips," she murmured into his shoulder. 
He wanted to be offended, but there was too much truth in what she said for any such response to be believable. 
"At least I speak," was all he could come up with. "All you do is consume  words." 
She sighed and kissed him again. Knowing that the lies would continue for as long as she was there to listen. And sometimes some truth would creep in. 
If only I was as brave as my characters. And as willing to call a spade a spade, a lie a lie, and a beautiful lie a magnificent slight of tongue.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bel Canto: Review

Another suggestion from Dad, and another home run. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett combines opera and love and armed revolution to create a dance of a novel. Although I was frustrated by the frequent and unsubtle foreshadowing, I was completely drawn in by the gradual and elegant unveiling of the characters. 

View on Amazon
I forget, sometimes, that what I love most about a great read is great characters, and Patchett doesn't fail to deliver them - though not fully born. These are characters you come to know. Who open up to you slowly, which is only appropriate given that the central players are a Japanese businessman, his interpreter, a young female revolutionary, and an opera star ingĂ©nue whose years on display have left her somewhat weary. None of these are characters we would expect to fling wide their arms and welcome us in, and so the reward of getting to know them is all the richer. 

The plot winds slowly as well, and rewards as richly. But Patchett gives enough away - you don't need me to do that for you. 

Read Bel Canto. Savour the exotic local and rich description. And note without analysis the hints of what's to come - you'll be the more pleased for it. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ahhhh, Friday

Sometimes the week is not what you think it's going to be. Sometimes there are happy surprises. And sometimes there are crap disappointments. Sometimes people remind you of the love and affection and commitment they have to be in your life. And sometimes people prevaricate and dodge and act as though it's possible you're not going to notice their evasive maneuvers. 

And then it's Friday. Daily stressors are left behind and there's nothing ahead but time to take care of me and what matters to me. I'm excited this weekend to have a nice balance of social time - group and one-on-one - and some BB time - and some me time. Some time out and about in the city, and some time in the restoring quiet of nature. 

It's been the kind of week that has me a bit swirly. I think walking through the rainforest with my BB and my camera will be the perfect antidote. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

As I've mentioned a few times now, I had intended to wrap up 2010 during my time off between Christmas and New Years, and there was just something I was hanging on to. This evening I did some organizing of my Facebook photo albums and I realized a little something - I had been looking at 2010 for all the blips and issues, but I had forgotten that for every downturn, there was at least one upturn. 

So here's to 2010 as seen through its highlights: 
  • January - my first tropical resort-style vacation, including side-by-side beachfront massages, and sailing with pirates on my birthday
  • February - attending an Olympic awards ceremony (& Great Big Sea dance party!) with 8 of my favourite people 
  • March - A weekend in Seattle - oh how I love that town!
  • April - An Easter road trip to Tofino ... it's been far too long since I walked that beach & smelled that air
  • May - (I honestly can't think of a good thing that happened in May. That's okay though; there are 11 other months)
  • June - my first new home in 7 years. I had never lived anywhere as long as I lived in that townhouse, and it was well past time to move on
  • July - You say dream job, I say YES PLEASE!! 
  • August - Art shows, beach picnics, companionship, laughter
  • September - GLASSBOAT! Nothing like a surprise visit from one of your favourite people to really make a month
  • October - Calgary may not be my number 1 destination choice, but I sure love getting to see Freckles and my cousins
  • November - Escaping to Vancouver to visit dear friends and sweet family
  • December - Christmas full of family love, and a New Years full of incredible romance and luxury
Yes, there were struggles. Relationships that ended or that failed to begin. And health scares. BB issues. And through it all there were amazing people old and new, and learning to put the mask on me first, and losing 28 pounds and a foot of hair, and making money and exploring and adventuring and learning. 2010 definitely had more packed into it than the average year, but I wouldn't change a thing. 

Or, at least not very much. ;-) 

Another Post, Another Layer

I had ten days off at the end of 2010. Ten days in which I intended to get out all the vestigial effluvia of the year. Ten days to write and read and create and dream of 2011. Ten days to have the conversations I've been avoiding, to lament the losses and celebrate the wins and to blog about it all. 

I didn't really do that. I didn't read a lot. And I wrote even less. I thought a lot. And had one or two (mostly incomplete, mostly text) beginnings of conversations. 

And since then. Since 'the big beginning' of 2011, I've been even quieter. Partly it's because I stirred up some stuff that I wanted to sit with. And partly it's because I'm still sorting through what I want 2011 - and this blog - to be. But it really has occurred to me like I haven't quite got my head in the game and I'm not sure why. 

I think my hero blogess at Redhead Writing may have nailed at least a part of the puzzle today though when she wrote: 
We’re richer and more complex than our protective outer layer, the one we let people see each and every day.
I often feel like I pour my guts out in this venue in the hopes that someone out there will read and see and that maybe I'll touch something in them and they'll similarly want to reach out and touch something in me. But, honestly, it's not really exposing all that much of a soft underbelly for me to admit that as a 42 year old woman living alone I'm lonely. I think you probably know that without my writing about it over and over and over again. 

Which is why Erika's statement resonated for me. What I've been letting people see - not just on my blog but across the broad spectrum of my life - is just the outer protective layer. I remove a mask, become familiar with what's underneath, and find eventually that it too is a mask - perhaps more refined, or thinner, but still a mask. They are like the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, and no matter how angry the king gets, I can't seem to get to the end of them. 

I'm richer and more complex than the SCWInk you see here. More capable. More satisfied. And more fulfilled. Somewhere along the way, just as Bartholomew's final hat is one of surpassing beauty, I hope to find the prize. And, in the meantime, here goes another mask. Thanks, Erika, for the reminder. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who Can Turn the World On With Her Smile? (A TI♥T Special)

I had a little glitch in an otherwise ordinary day that made me wish for a great many things, momentarily. And then I remembered that deep down inside, I've kind of always been a Mary Richards kind of girl - the kind who might be bawling her eyes out one moment, but then has a chat with her girlfriends, gets out into her city, throws her hat up in the air and gets on with living the life she created.

And, as a little reminder, I found the opening credits & theme song on YouTube to share on my Facebook (social media addict that I am) ... only the theme song I found wasn't the one I always sing to myself. Oh no, the first video I came across was this one from the first season, which has very different lyrics indeed:

These lyrics say ...

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big
And girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving
Love is all around
No need to waste it
You can never fail
Why don't you take it
You might just make it after all
You just might make it after all
And as much as I love being the girl who can turn the world on with her smile, and as much as I love taking a nothing day and suddenly making it all seem worthwhile, today these are the lyrics I needed to hear, and to share. I hope they make you smile too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The SCWink Step

It's a funky little rhythm, entertaining, though not entirely efficient - 2 steps forward, about turn, 1 step back.

I haven't blogged much since ending the Advent Alphabet because I had thought that it's about time I turn my blog into something ... more. That I develop a theme, some consistency, something bigger than my angsty sporatic navel-gazing. I had ten days off in which to come up with something, and here I am with the same blog and the same me writing it. I have some ideas for other projects, but all I could think of for this one was to shut it down. And I'm not quite ready for that either. 

For the record, the wedding on New Years Eve was amazing. I had a fantastic time with people I love. Yes, I was lonely - full on non-stop romance will do that to a girl. But I was also happy and acknowledged and having fun. I don't know when I've cried as much. But I also don't know when I've laughed so much or been so loved. 

Since then there's been a chirping at the back of my mind, a little squeaky voice I can't quite make out, that is reminding me that I am not done until I get the lesson. And I haven't yet. There are several things I can pretend the lesson is, but nothing that makes me want to yell EUREKA! 

CinderRita, Miss Lady and some of our other friends have recently taken on saying 'Hell Yeah' to life. I was resisting it until I read something that said that 'Hell No' is just as powerful. It gave me permission to say both/either as appropriate, to be clear in my choices instead of just seeing what happens. 

But I seem to be racking up more Hell No's in the days since then. And that's not really the point I'm quite sure. 

Anyway. I just thought I'd send a little post out into the world before I head to bed. There are some conversations for me to have tomorrow - some I meant to have last week, and some that just came up, but all that will shed some more light on my crackle-finished heart. Who knows - one of these days I might even learn a two-step. 
This pendant is from the Etsy store 'Wickedly Good'
feel free to order it for my birthday. ;-) 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that I weigh less than I have since 1999. It doesn't matter that I lost 6 pounds in December. It doesn't matter that I danced in 4 inch heels and wore a golden gown. It doesn't matter that I provided the champagne and pasted on a smile. It doesn't even matter that I made a brilliant toast or taught myself to do my hair in a messy updo.

I'm still sleeping alone in my beautiful hotel room. And there's still nothing I can do to change that or to stop caring about it. Tonight is supposed to be my me time, and I can't stop wishing someone was here.

I read something recently that said tears are the best love potion. If so, tonight I should have had men all over me. I've never cried at a wedding before. And tonight it was hard to stop until I got on the dancefloor. To witness the weddding of someone I coached, with the belief that I can never have what I coached her to create ... Well, it hurt. I'm left feeling like 'those who can, do; those who can't, coach.

Of course it may just be that it's 3 am and I've had a lot of champagne. But I sure wish there was someone here with me instead of just wondering if someone is on the other side of this blog.
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