Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Well, I've found a studio. Paid for the first month's rent today, got my keys, the code. Twenty-four hour access. A skylight. And as far as I know, Carlie still wants to share... come to think of it, I forgot to ask the landlord if that was acceptable... I was SO FOCUSED on getting the studio that I probably forgot to ask a few important questions!

You know that feeling you get when you are really very busy, and your time just seems to unspool; every moment is used up. And when someone asks you, "what have you been up to?" you have no answer for them. Not that the things you have been doing are pointless, or useless, or even not worth mentioning; it's just that you are so full of the DOING that you don't have time to process what it is that is being ACCOMPLISHED. That's my life right now. I am cooking and cleaning and preparing to move into a new apartment and into the studio; I have been working long days. I have been studying. I have been preparing myself mentally to launch myself into a new realm of serious creativity and playful business. I have been teaching and playing wallyball and watching movies and walking and dreaming and scheming and wishing that I just had a few more hours every day to write letters and keep in touch with people and be the friend I wish I had.

I'm not saying I don't have friends. I have wonderful friends. But I don't seem to have the time to be a really good friend; I still have the 'Welcome, Baby Girl!' card for my oldest friend's baby (born last October) in my closet. I'm not sure that I have my priorities straight. I am in the process of evaluating, rebalancing. Figuring out what it is in life that I REALLY want. I'm being open to opportunities, serendipitous events (to find out more about this, look up Krumboltz's Planned Happenstance Theory). Being curious, flexible, and optimistic. Being ready.

Good things are happening; I won't get into it. In fact, I think I'm really ready to retire this blog. Not because I'm fed up, or because I don't have time to write, or because I don't think I have valuable things to say. But because I'm ready for it to be done, for it to leave my life and to open up new avenues of creativity. It's been wonderful. I suppose if I ever start travelling again, living abroad again, I'll take it up once again. But for now...

It's been a slice.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I asked my students to write about their Christmas vacations or their new year's resolutions... it wouldn't be fair if I didn't do the same. Here I go...

My New Year's Resolutions for 2010

Be patient and secure in the thought that the universe is unfolding as it should.

Find more purpose and passion in my life.

Eat more colourful foods.

Go back to Maui during the summer, and paint, paint, paint.

Paint, pant, paint... all the time.

Find a studio to share with Carlie.

Uphold my creative dreams as sacred and vital.

Respect my need for rest as much as I respect my need to work and my right to play.

Really understand all of the English verb tenses.

Manage my resources (time, money, food, relationships, inspiration) wisely, gratefully, and joyfully.

Finish more than 50% of what I start.

Defend my choices. Even against my own bitterness and doubts. Defend them!

Continue to be grateful for the goodness and gifts in my life.

Move forward.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Yesterday was mom's 62nd birthday. It was snowing like crazy-- big wet flakes that stuck and weighed down branches and became glued in gobs to my heels as I made my treacherous way from my car to the Hooded Merganser to celebrate. Dave wore a black suit jacket and an unpressed white collared shirt; he looked gorgeous. Mom looked great too. She did a lovely job of her makeup and she wore a glittery black top. She's lost quite a bit of weight lately, and finally seems to be finding her feet again after the last few tumultuous years (leaving Port Edward, trying to sell the house up north, health issues, etc.) Dad was wearing a sweater; I couldn't see much of him across the table, as it was crowded with flowers mom had received for her birthday.

The snow fell and fell; it was dark and we couldn't see much of the lake outside the window. From where I was seated I had a view of the park that ends in the pier, so at least I could view the trees, sticky and weighted down with blobs of Betty Crocker's double-thick vanilla icing.

Dinner was nice. Just the four of us. Champagne. Mom ebullient with the attention, the joy of teasing the waiter, with the phone calls she had received over the course of the day from friends far and wide. We told jokes and read the horoscopes that I had printed out at work for all of us.

After dinner, I went home to get out of my heels and into my snow boots, my play clothes. I met Dave and Carlie back at their house. I drove and Dave and Carie took turns skitching-- a new term to me. (It means that they strapped on their snowboards and I towed them behind the car as they skimmed across lawns and driveways and over snow-shovel piles.) Then we built a family of four snow people, a snow bunny named Gobby, and a giant boosh-face snow man shaking his fist at the Wal-Mart parking lot. Then I went to bed.

A snow day. A happy birthday.
Today I have been teaching my students about blogs. One of them already has a blog, written all in her native language, so that she can share the trials and tribulations of her Canadian life with her family and friends back in her home country.

The lesson has brought up a lot of questions about the purpose of blogging. More than 70,000,000 blogs (and this is a 2007 stat) have been created since 2003. Everyone supposedly has their 'unique perspective', a potential audience out there just dying to know exactly what we have all been up to. A community of likeminded people just waiting to connect . I'm sure.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I think I have come to a strange place in the small history of my blog writing.

The writers write and write, and fill up their electronic lungs with vibrations from their egos and spirits, and spill syntax and hype and self-revelations into this glowing space.

Then comes the realization that the space we are spilling into is in fact, endless. Or as endless as the human mind is able to conceive of. I can never fill up this space. This 'book' will never be finished. And that depresses me a little. Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe I should be glad to have such an unfurling, endless, open forum for my ramblings. But the orderly side of me is annoyed that there are no clean boundaries. It won't end until I am dead, or until I say 'The End'. The first option is too uncontrollable. The second is too final.

And so I post only occasionally, and often (I feel) pointlessly.

I post to fulfill the need of my ego to be heard. Why? The ego is a selfish noisemaker.
I post to fulfill the demands of others. Why? They aren't paying me for my words.
I post because it has become a fading habit, a small echo of the grand times when I was living and working abroad. I guess that's the main reason why I continue this charade. Because I am hoping that my life still has as much meaning and colour and vibrance as it did when I was living in Japan. I am thinking that if I still talk about myself, about what I am learning, about my daily (monthly) struggles, that perhaps I can imbue these mundane behaviours with some sort of meaning.

It's all so existential. I want it to have a purpose, a point.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy my life. I have some pretty great things going on right now. I have a really fantastic condo that I share with a really fantastic girl. I have a fantastic job, a fantastic boyfriend, fantastic friends, and I occasionally have some fantastic fun. But I don't have a whole lot of passion, or discovery, or sparky-sparky-ness going on in my day-to-day grind. I feel like there are significant portions of joy that are stunningly absent from my life. And I don't know where to find them. And I'm not sure that talking about it here is going to help, you know?

Monday, October 26, 2009

When I think back to October last year, I feel like I am looking over the terrain of a foreign landscape. How-- in the space of a year-- can I have had five jobs, had a stint back in school, lived in five homes in four different cities, struggled through a failed engagement and found a new love?

I know how. I just did it. I just followed my heart and did it.

I still have my doubts from time to time; it seems to be an essential sort of suffering for me. But basically, I am happy. And that’s what I was after. That’s all I will always be after.

I don’t chase happiness; I inhabit it. And I inhabit it best by being true to myself, by being honest and brutal, by destroying and rebuilding, by (in the words of my fabulous new room-mate) firing off rockets of desire. By choosing only to attract that which serves me best. By knowing myself well, and by treating myself in the way that I wish to be treated. By sharing my time and energy only with those who are able to reciprocate in a positive manner.

I am learning. The learning busts my (figurative) balls half the time, but it is so, SO worth it.


Next weekend I will be heading to Kamloops to celebrate Halloween (and my little brother’s 28th birthday) WITH my little brother. I haven’t ever partied with my brother on his Halloween birthday; not unless you count the days when ‘partying’ meant a pumpkin-shaped cake and extra candy for the clever boy who declared “and it’s my birthday, too!” when we went trick-or-treating. I bought him a sweet toy submarine for his hot-tub. Hopefully he’s not reading my blog these days…

My job is super, I love my students. I just signed up four more today; it has been pretty quiet (classes of only two to six students typically), but now that the major apple-picking season is coming to an end, we can expect to see more of the agricultural workers filtering in. The students are from all over the planet; the only doubling-up I’ve had is with two Punjabi ladies… I had to give them different partners, they kept on giggling and whispering in Punjabi! It was pretty cute, but a bit distracting for the more ‘serious’ students.

I hope to get a sort of newsletter made up so that I can show all of the former students (who are not currently attending classes) what a blast we are having and entice them to come back. ELSA (English Language Services for Adults) provides free ESL to immigrants, so if I’m offering some cost-free educational fun, who is going to turn me down?

Moving is going all right as well. Dad, Dave and I made a run down to Chilliwack to attack the storage container this past Saturday. It was a long haul—dad saw it as just a ‘day’s work’ – four hours there, four hours back. I typically don’t like travelling anywhere without getting a chance to BE where I am, and I was a little resentful of Dave, who slept for most of the trip. I can’t blame him, seeing as he was pulling through the final stages of H1N1… awfully generous of him to come and spend his nominal amount of energy on sorting through the dross of my previous life, while dealing with the flu that is casually knocking off members of our generation. Anyway, we packed the two vehicles full (and I was sick with disgust that I own SO MUCH STUFF) and left the rest in the storage unit, which I will continue to pay for until… well, until I can figure out what to do with random kitchen items and art history books and other bewildering items that have no current relevance.

This evening I will empty the vehicles with dad and try to cram the stuff into the tiny condo and my tinier bedroom… despite my apprehension, I am deliriously happy to be out on my own (so to speak) again. The condo is within walking distance of work, and I will finally be living in town; no more morning commute. I will be good for the environment! Or better for it, anyway.

I just discovered this morning that my best friend Corrin had her baby, a little girl named Talia. She really is just gorgeous—from what I’ve seen from facebook photos, anyway! I can’t believe that another tiny life has entered the world. I am in awe of the amazing people who procreate. I guess I’m just not there yet. I’m OK with that. Everyone else seems to be doing a fine job of keeping the population levels steady! Way to go, baby-makers! (And I mean all of this sincerely; if you’re reading any sarcasm into it, that’s YOUR mind, not mine!) Anyway, welcome baby Talia of Corrin and Mike! Welcome baby Benjamin of Tamara and Brad! Welcome baby Arlo of Maggie Ann and Josh! Welcome, welcome babies everywhere!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hello, world. Is it September already?

What an amazing summer. I have been through so many changes and I have been engaged in the processes of change so thoroughly, that my usual perception of time seemed to simply... switch off.

When last I wrote, I scored a sweet job that ended up being a beautiful launching pad for an even sweeter job. I am now doing what I really wanted to do (teaching ESL) and more besides. I am teaching ESL in my own hometown in about the only place in town that has such a job available. Amazing, this is utterly amazing to me! That I could have fired off my rockets of desire and have so completely hit my targets!

Now, (as I do every September) I am working to re-balance my life; for most of the spring and early summer 'playtime' took precedence, then as I started working again, 'worktime' started to tip the scales. I want to work enough that I still have energy to play, and play enough that I still have energy to work. Actually, scrap that. I want my playtime to invigorate my worktime and vice-versa. Especially now that I am teaching (often) disheartened immigrants who believe that there is nothing fun in Penticton to do... I must prove them wrong! There is SO much to do, there really is. Tonight, for example, I will be at a networking event from 5-7pm, and then off to the opening of an art show my work is in from 7-9pm, and then from 9pm onwards I will be at the Legion, rocking out to some live music. Things are happening in this town, baby!

I am happening in this town!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I am a magnet! I am a fountain! I am a shooting star!

Positivity and optimism are wonderful seeds, and the rewards are excellent. Big juicy fruits of wonder and joy and abundance! I get good things, because I think good things. Because no matter what you think, you're going to be right. So wouldn't you rather be right about some good stuff?

I got the job. I do mean THE job, the one I wanted, the one that will serve me well in all of the wonderful ways I need. I'll be working as an employment facilitator (helping folks find work). This is ideal for me because of the opportunities I will have to connect with, and to help others in a meaningful way. Additionally, the staff are lovely people, empowered and full of hope and zest for service. I am excited. I start Monday. (The pay, the hours, and the benefits are nothing to scoff at either.)

Life continues to be sweet and full in the Okanagan Valley. I've had my fill of cherries; I do mean the real cherries, each one a mouthful, plump and full of black nectar. I went to the beach Blanket Film Festival last night; I watched the sunset on Okanagan lake as Ari Neufeld stunned the audience with his gorgeous music, and then settled with my friends into a bed of blankets and sand to watch some great Canadian cinematography. The air is hot, and the lake is warm. The air conditioning in the house is cool, and the invitations for fun and adventure stream forth.

And hey, that root canal I need isn't going to hurt too much, is it?