Happy Second Half of the Year!

Greetings my sweet little bjournal. I know. I know! It’s been ages. I know. I’m sorry. No need for yelling. Yes, I still love you. Yes, I’ve missed you. I know I’ve been neglectful of all the stuff half formed in my mind that wanted to be written down here. It’s not you, it’s me. I just needed a bit of space I guess. A little bit of breathing room to explore some non-desk related activities.

But I’m back now. I’m not making any promises. But I’m back at least for now.

So, let me catch you up:

  • Last time, I let you know that I was getting together this little thing called The Actor’s Intensive. Well holy cow. Like 1800 hits in the month of April. Over 30 applications and 10 more after the deadline. I’ve currently got a list of like 30 people that want to be notified when/if we run it again. So, yeah, some interest there.
  • I was in a play. Yes, a little something called Nine. Very cool to work with a new group of people. Plus, my middle child got to be part of it with me. I’m not sure his circadian rhythms have yet returned to normal, and I may have inadvertently given him the theatre bug. Whoops. But it was kind of cool to share the experience with him.
  • My baby turned 6. My baby! I have to adjust my eyes sometimes, because I don’t recognize this big kid who’s taken over my baby’s body. We had great fun at his 6th birthday party playing laser tag with his kindergarten buddies.
  • I’ve shed 16 pounds. Currently working through some mental resistance so I’m a little stalled weight-wise. But hey, 16 pounds!
  • Totally missed the sostice. But I’m enjoying the long days and nights even though the West Coast has been like an England summer this year. Lots of cold and wet.
  • I’m on a two-month layoff from work. Which means that I’m now trying to cram 10 gallons of doing into 2 gallons of capacity. Big plans!
  • Renovations going on at the office. Renovations going on next door to us. Don’t come near me otherwise you’ll find people jackhammering right beside you within minutes.
  • And yes, we will mow the lawn soon. The lawnmower is in the shop okay?

I think that’s the most of it.

What have you been doing in my absence?

Posted in Mothership, Stardust, summer solstice, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Introducing the Actor’s Intensive

I know I’m about 1.5 steps away from perfection, but I simply can’t stand it anymore and I have to announce my big thing.

The THING!

You read about it here first.

Then I sent out that little teaser a couple of weeks back.

And now, I can finally announce it’s actually happening in pretty much exactly the form I imagined.

I have through some miraculous conspiracy of micro-steps managed to pull together a 4-week refresher course for actors for this August. Voice, acting, movement, taught by working pros, 3 times per week, a showcase with invited directors — it’s all there.

You can find out all about it here.

And that’s not even the most fantastic part. It’s the people that have somehow let me sweet talk them into being part of it that has advanced me from just happy to ridiculously giddy. With the Arts Club hosting, program direction by Dean Paul Gibson, and head instruction by Scott Bellis I just could not have asked to put together a better team of co-conspirators.

Now if I could ask a tremendous favour: please spread the word. I know this course’s right people are just waiting for this and I want them to be able to find it.

Posted in Stardust, Wonderment | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aren’t they (ah…ahh..choo!) lovely (sniffff) ?

A little picture of spring to celebrate today’s vernal equinox.

Taken along the walkway to Granville Island

Even though today I’m going to put a rib out with all my sneezing from said cherry tree blossoms, I couldn’t be more happy to welcome the Equinox. I love this side of the pendulum.

Posted in Leaves, Vernal Equinox | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Let the Great Limerick Begin

Today is my birthday! And since I’m the same age as the site, I’ve now posted the beginnings of my 43 Things. It is still a work in progress.

I had a super stupendous weekend. On Friday at 7:30 pm my dear sweetest of all husbands told me that I had to go to the airport to pick up my dear friend Silvie whom he’d flown in from Los Angeles unbeknownst to me. Well, he didn’t do the flying himself, but he did purchase the ticket.

We spent the next day gallivanting around Vancouver, shopping, taking in some paralympic sights, eating cupcakes, and as is tradition with us, getting caught in a rainstorm.

I also bought my first pair of Fluevogs.

Well, the Grand Day Out could be a post all on its own. Suffice to say it was glorrrrrrrious.

But now, let’s move on to what has become my favourite annual tradition. To celebrate my birthday here, I would like a bevy of limericks to appear in the comments. Extra points if you use any word that appears in the 100 most Beautiful Words in the English Language (my vote is for ‘dulcet’).

Keep it PG.

AND…(Wait there’s more)

since my bjournal now has ratings, the highest rated entry will share in my birthday and get a little present from me. It will not be Fluevogs. Sorry.

Let the Great Limerick of 2010 begin!

Posted in Rainbows, Sun, Vernal Equinox | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Good-bye Trees

So, when I said daily, clearly what I meant was I would THINK about posting daily and ACTUALLY post just every few days. Sheesh. Hey, at least I made it two days in a row.

In my defense, I had a hard day yesterday. Remember way back when I told you that the lot next to us was going to be made into a neighbourhood of 11 houses? Well, the recession must be over because it’s happening. Fences are being torn down, ground is being dug up, pipes are being put in, the flag people are out. This morning during breakfast a big digger was picking up dirt and then swinging around within I swear 10 feet of our second story dining room window en route to dropping the dirt in another pile for God knows what reason. There is lots and may I emphasize the lots part again of { { P O U N D I N G } } as they try to force all the air and water out of the dirt for firm house foundations. Why this process should necessitate the rattling of glass in my cupboards and general upheaval of my own foundation is just idle philosophical musings at this point.

And yesterday they took out the trees.

The beautiful bank of 10 or so birch trees, the ancient 3 alders, a pine, and an apple tree.

We went from this:

The view from our dining room window until Wednesday

 and this:

View from the sidewalk

To this:

Mass Birch Grave

And this:

The Fallen

All in matter of hours.

I’m only a part time tree hugger. But I loved those trees, particularly the birches. I loved the way the leaves rustled in the wind; the way they’d turn over their leaves in anticipation of the rain; their glorious yellows in the fall. They were my view, a little protection from the mundane suburban landscape. Now they’re gone, and I am profoundly sad at their loss.

Of course once the new neighbourhood arrives, we’ll get properly behaved trees. The kind that grow in a straight lines up and down and do not crack their cement boundaries. They won’t be too messy or too big or too wavy. These trees will know their place.

The truly sad part is that all the trees except for the pine were on the property’s borders. All it would have taken is a little bit of extra creativity on the part of the developer to preserve them. Even the pine could probably have sat in an island in the middle of the future cul-de-sac.

But this is the cost I guess of assuming that others felt the same way as me. I could have looked at the plans. I could have raised a tree-hugging stink about losing the trees, written letters to the editor, chained myself to the trees in protest. But I did nothing.

Lesson learned.

But time to look for another home — this time with some widly tall ecstatic trees that have been there for a century and are actually on the property we own so no one can take them down at their whim.

Posted in Leaves, Minor notes in the celestial chord, Observatory, Twilight | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Watch This Space

Remember this post?

Well, watch this space because in the next couple of weeks I will have something to announce.

I know! The Thing! The Thing and Reality being somehow intertwined?!

Whoah.

And that’s all I can say.

Except that if you know anything about the “Vancouver Theatre Scene” your jaw is going to drop once I tell you the who of the what.

Okay, now that’s really all I can say.

But I had to say something because I’m so excited at how this has all came together that I’m about ready to pop.

Wheeeee!!!!

And dear reader, be gentle with my baby. She’s just learning to walk on her own and any comparisons to Richard on Slings and Arrows will render her lame.
Posted in Stardust, Sun | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Redemption of the 20-Somethings

It would be easy for me to fold up this little laptop and decide there are much more productive things to do be doing with my day. After all, there are a hundred more ways I could be more productive. But I’ve let myself forget how much I enjoy writing and I believe it’s time to make this a more regular practice. Because my silence no longer feels meditative but muted.

So, I’m going to write here every day for at least a while, until well, I don’t know until. Until I feel more flow-y I think.

I also feel bad that I’ve left my *ahem* little rant at the top of my page for over a month. I feel especially bad about it, because two weeks ago, I found myself with my teenaged daughter in the changing room area of American Eagle Outfitters.  She in tears with a day of unmet expectations, having to go clothes shopping with her uncool mother, and a mirror that didn’t reflect back the reality she wanted to see. 

The 20-something clerk came back to see how we were doing, unaware of the drama that was unfolding there. Once she got the gist of the situation, bless her heart, she went around the store and brought armloads of clothes in the correct sizes, better styles for my daughter’s body type, and even grouped things that could be layered. She told me how she had always resented her older sister for being thinner than her and gave my daughter a little side shoulder hug and “Aww, don’t cry sweetie.”

It was exactly what we needed. And although it still took a while for my daughter’s mood to lift, we found some clothes that worked. 

And I was just so touched to witness a stranger come to the aid when there was a need.

So, 20-somethings I apologize for painting you all with same broad strokes. That one clerk has redeemed you.

You see, I can also use my blog for good.

American Eagle Outfitters, give that girl a raise!

Posted in celestial beings, Comets of Kindness, Observatory, Rainbows, Sun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

I have a blog and I’m not afraid to use it

I turned a corner somewhere. Crossed a line. Went through a doorway. And I’m not sure it’s a good corner/line/doorway.

  • I hate 20-somethings.
  • I no longer keep quiet when something pisses me off.
  • I’m scaring the 20-somethings when they do something to piss me off which I’m no longer quiet about.

This creates a problem for me.

Now, when I say I ‘hate’ 20-sometings, hate might be a little strong. I just find them extremely irritating in a “Just shut up about who you got drunk with at the club on the weekend, because I could not care less,” kind of a way. And if that sounds to you like I might be jealous of the “excitement” of hanging out with named somebodies at a club, you could not be more wrong, because you would have to pay me, dress me, drive me, and pay for my drinks all night, to get me to go out to a club. Oh, and include ear plugs and some soft squooshy slippers and maybe a cone of silence.

(Note: unless it was some variation on a Victorian Gentlemen’s Club where I could just sit quietly in an easy chair and read. I would even smoke an occasional cigar if that’s what it would take.)

You see what I mean? I’ve become a curmudgeon. A misanthrope of the 20-somethings.

I prefer to think of it as a preference. As in I have an introvert preference. I prefer to connect with people in a more quiet, meaningful way where I don’t have to yelp and cry “SQUEEE!!! OHMIGOD, I LOVE YOUR NEW EARRINGS!!!” or variations thereof, at regular 5-minute intervals.

So, God help the poor 20-something working in retail who, through no fault of their own, finds me at their counter. Because I often always have an irrational query like “Why does nothing in this store have a price on it?” and “Why are you selling this crappy pantyhose?” or “The sign that says that you have this in petite sizes is lying then?” and “So, despite the fact that you list yourself as being a custom shop, you are really saying to me that My Particular Customization is so bizarre as to be Beyond Your Scope?” and my personal favourite to really get them into Angry Customer Mode and start them Quoting the Staff Manual and Mysterious Corporate Policy is not so much a question as any variation on the thematic statement “This is an outrageous price for that.”

Try it sometime. They are rendered quite mute for a moment or two, (Ahhh, sweet silence, how refreshing), and then they stumble around looking in the filing cabinet of their minds for the last staff inservice where they were taught how to deal with irrationally angry middle-aged women. However, they haven’t quite committed said passages to memory because they then start mumbling corporate-speak like an automaton with a crossed wire and an upward inflection at the end of their sentence “We’re sorry, your request cannot be completed as dialled? For your convenience, please go to another store and try your request again? Perhaps there you will find someone who’s making more than minimum wage and gives a crap?”

Oh, wait, that’s what I hear. Because being an actor, I excel at picking up on the sub-text. I can spot an eye-roll from 30 paces even if no eye was actually rolled.

Really, now that I look at it, written down, I think it makes me more angry that the corporate overlords have put these innocent (although still irritating) 20-somethings on the front line to take the bullet for their bad decisions. Or aren’t doing what they need to do to ensure that people working the front lines do give a crap about what’s going on in their store-front.

But you can’t get through to them. Oh no. They aren’t giving out that direct dial number I can tell you that.  They’re trying to discern why business is down using balance sheets and income statements. No one is asking me. Why is no one asking me? I could tell you if you would just ask.

So, my impotent rage at the 20-something store clerk festers, until I can release the poison with a bjournal post.

This what I should do…before I ask my next irrational question of the irritating 20-something, I should hand the clerk a card, like a business card, except all that will be on it will be the statement:

Be very careful how you answer my next question; I have a blog and I’m not afraid to use it.

Posted in Aliens and uncharted planets, Meteor Shower, Observatory | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Danger of the Single Story

This is an engaging and insightful talk from Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie.

I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.

For me, this insight about the single story has implications beyond cultural stereotypes. Where she thinks of it on a macro global level in viewing media and power, I can’t help but also think of it on more micro level. What does this mean for my more pedestrian life? What are the single stories that I tell to myself about the people I don’t like? Maybe that crazy old lady is more than my label of crazy. Maybe her crazy is from an age old trauma. Maybe she’s raised her kids and misses her protector husband. Maybe she’s a good cook in addition to being crazy.

And what is the single story–the narrow lens–through which I present my own self at times? I’m more than my predilection for midday naps you know. You didn’t know that? You see, now you already have a broader understanding of me. Did you think today was going to be boring? What else can I tell you to expand your single short story of me into a groaning shelf full of the serial novels The Adventures of Me?

For instance, this morning my five-year-old told me his stomach was hurting. Since his older brother is often ‘sick’ when school stresses him out and lately the five-year-old has been stressing about learning to print his name, I figured the same thing was going on. That is, until he leaned over and barfed on the dining room floor.

I also had a mid-day nap.

Stay tuned for more installments in the edge of your seat series The Amazing Adventures of Me.

Posted in Big Bang, Observatory, Sun | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

May your Solstice be Dark

Original by Nellie Vin (via Flickr)

Welcome to the Winter Solstice. The sun, such as it is, here in Vancouver rose at 8:05 AM and will set at 4:17 PM. Just over 8 hours of wet grey and then 12 hours of wet black. That’s a lot of darkness. A lot of dreary. A lot of wet. A lot of ‘blah’.

I saw several people on Twitter wishing others “a winter solstice full of light.” “Here’s hoping your solstice is bright.” That kind of thing.

And that got me to pondering…

The Winter Solstice isn’t about the light is it? The winter solstice is by definition about the darkness.

And right away, let me digress, to assure you that I do understand the converse too, that we have a need to “rage against the dying of the light.” We crave the light, miss it, must have it. We’re scared of the dark. Aren’t we? From our childhoods when monsters could only crawl out of the closet when it was dark. To our adolesence when we watched The X-Files and Halloween in the dark to enhance the scariness. To our adulthood when we lock the doors and close the curtains to protect us from the darkness outside and then go ahead and stew up our internal darkness anyway, and always in that darkest time before the dawn.

But what could we learn if we would surrender to the darkness? If we would let go of our dependence on our own certainty, our sight sense for a moment? What if we could learn to walk peacefully with the wild animals in our dark forests? What can we gain from being outside of the light?

The darkness is a place of fallow. It’s creative composting. A place for roots to dig down deep seeking the warmth in the blanket of earth. It’s a place to shake hands and have those important conversations with our shadow selves.  There are words that can only be spoken in the dim light of a candle. It’s using our other senses to guide us. The darkness invokes a sacred space where spirit can enter.

So to celebrate the winter solstice: slow down, bundle up, lie down, snuggle up, write down what you dreamt about, get into some warm water, drink up some red wine or blueberry tea (tea, amaretto, grand marnier), take in Where the Wild Things Are, meditate under a blanket, invite your soul-mate to you for a dinner and conversation over candlelight, write things down by hand with a calligraphy pen on beautiful paper, compose poetry, read until you have a book hangover and then nap some more. If you are very brave, go for a walk in the darkness (maybe take your dog).

Listen, feel, smell — sense for the things you can’t see.

Or alternately, just let yourself be. After all, composting just happens. You don’t have to do anything to it. Things rot, stew and become fertile in the dark and cold all on their own without seeking or questing for it. Maybe we can too.

So, the darkness is fleeting and this year I am not wishing it away. This year, I am embracing the darkness — the ridiculously wet Vancouver darkness.

Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t’was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come

Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

Posted in Winter Solstice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment