Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Send Off

Hi! I've missed you. It's been a fun few days. My sweetie took me away on Tuesday for two nights to a surprise destination. We ended up at a wonderful resort, in an ocean view... hmm that doesn't do it justice... an ocean front suite with kitchenette. I'm told the trip derived out of a plan to help me check the first thing on my life list. Hydropath! This is the most indulgent water based spa treatment I have ever partaken in. And my sweetie said, after finishing, that it was the nicest thing he had ever done for himself. Wow! Plus two nights to ourselves in luxury, with sunrise and sunset mountain views, and tons of relaxing time. What a gift, to me, to us and to him.

Then... we got talked into a big group (14 of us) New Year's trip, pretty close to where we were already staying. Which meant driving home yesterday, unpacking, repacking and driving back up today. Though it may not sound like it, it's all completely worth it. I'm going to be bringing in 2011 with amazing and energetic people. In an incredible log house right on the water. Okay, so maybe I'm hiding out a little now that I'm here, as I settle in to the energy and wait out the dinner prep in the kitchen. And still, it's completely worth it.

2011, I'm ready! Give me what you got.

(This video was shot in one take!!!)

reverb 30 - Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable.
What's the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

Jigsaw puzzles are a part of my history. It didn't feel like a Christmas holiday unless someone was bent over one, reassembling the fractured pieces into a comprehensible, cohesive picture. I excelled at them, because I could pick up on tiny details, patterns and connections.

Shortly after my breakdown in the late spring, when all the thoughts and memories that lived in the back of my brain, (swept under a rug called "I've dealt with this") came tumbling back to the front, jigsaw puzzles kept me from falling to further pieces. When I'd get home from work (why/how was I still going?), or after my pysch appointments when I finally went on leave, I would park myself in front of my Venetian scene. The thoughts that would dance and jeer incessantly would be quieted, as my attention completely focused on deciphering flowers from hedges.

In October, I gave my sweetie a puzzle for his birthday. Things were pretty stressful at work for him, and it was a way for us to quietly work on something together. I think it was a Napa inspired scene, reminding us of our relaxing time in Northern California. My mom and step-dad were here visiting from out east around that time, and I was still struggling to maintain energy and balance. One of the days that we had planned as an exploration day, I suggested we stay in. We ended up piecing together the border for that puzzle, the three of us. It felt like home.

Last night, it rained. We vetoed the idea of Christmas lights and skating, and opted instead for watching Amelie, curled up in front of the fire. And then we cracked open my sweetie's Christmas present puzzle. George Seurat's La Grande Jatte. Simply because it was the Christmas holidays. No other reason than that. How wonderful.

This was from the very first "Very Special Christmas" album... since I'm feeling a little nostalgic :) Two other favourites from this disc, and my childhood memory, can be found here and here. Aren't the hairstyles just fabulous?!

reverb 27 – Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments.
What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Alphabet Soup - F is for Festive

Thought I would sit down this afternoon and share with you some of the highlights of the festivities the past few days. This has been possibly the best Christmas ever :)

Christmas Eve Eve
  • All the chores were done, there were fresh sheets on the bed, and there was a sense of calm readiness for the events of the next two days. (Which we had spaced out nicely). We were curled up together on the couch watching our childhood favourite Christmas specials. Claymation Christmas for me, and the original, narrated How the Grinch Stole Christmas for him. We were like giddy kids watching them again. This was probably one of my top three "it's all good" moments of 2010.
Christmas Eve
  • I carried that calm into the next day. Dropped the mister off at work and sought out a mailbox to send off my (very first!) finished art trading cards. From there I was headed to the country market to get stocked up on lovely meats, and groceries for the holidays. I decided to take the extra long way along the water. It was super windy and the waves were throwing themselves against the shore and clawing at the breakwater. There was one spot where you would get hit with water, like the ill aimed sprinkler you have to dodge on the sidewalk in the summer. Except I thrilled in the sound of the water spraying the truck as I drove through. On the drive I was rewarded with beautiful views of snow capped mountains, quiet roads, and a deer meandering through a residential neighbourhood.
  • Finished making my sweetie's hand made presents, and we had a secretive wrapping party when he got home. Speaking of secretive, found out that we're spending a couple of nights away this week. All I know is that the place has a hot tub, possible water views, and a kitchen of course.
  • After dinner, had a lovely time visiting and exchanging presents with the mister's dad and step-mom, and then curled up and watched Christmas Carol when we got back home. Found an email of pictures of a freshly made snow angel beforing retiring to bed, very happy. (More please :)
Christmas Day
  • Had trouble sleeping in... wonder why? ;P Enjoyed a lazy Christmas morning in pjs, just the two of us, mmm... Made the Best baked French toast I have ever made for brunch!!! The first time I had this was at a B&B in California many years ago. I've been fiddling with an allergy safe version this year, and I finally nailed it! (Recipe below).
  • Shared Christmas cheer with my family back east, via phone.
  • Went to the park and played tourist at home, photographing peacocks, squirrels and ducks
  • Enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner hosted by the mister's sister. If you're wondering how I did dinner, I brought a lidded casserole filled with roast chicken from the night before, steamed broccoli, and baked potatoes topped with carmelized onions. Warmed it in their oven and it was delicious. This way I still able to enjoy the company of family coming together for a meal.
Boxing Day
  • Slow get up this morning :) Woke up thinking it was Monday. Wow, the realization that my sweetie is still on holidays for five more days was delicious. Had a wonderful chat with my bestie back east, and I'm feeling much more resolved about my plans for the New Year. Swapped out the Christmas cds with some weekend jazz, and made pancakes for breakfast, drool...
  • Plans for the day hopefully include a walk at the lake, and a skate tonight on a refrigerated rink under a spectactular Christmas light display (it's on my list!) :)

reverb 24 -
Everything's OK.
What was the best moment that could serve as proof
that everything is going to be alright?

And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

reverb 26 - Soul food.
What did you eat this year that you will never forget?
What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

Baked French Toast
*gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free

In a 9x13 glass baking dish mix:
  • 2tbsp grape seed oil,
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup and
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
Arrange 6 slices of thawed Kinnikinnick Candadi bread in the dish.
Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl:
  • beat 3 eggs,
  • add 6 tbsp of water and
  • 2tbsp of pure maple syrup.
Pour over bread and poke a few holes with a fork in each slice.
Cover with foil and let stand for at least an hour in the fridge.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Six Words

Six Word Saturday
It's been a beautiful two days.
Hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas.
Made the best french toast ever!

reverb 25 - also in Six Words

New portfolio! Proudly displaying creative discovery.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


The reverb prompt came in last night, and I vetoed it. It's not that I'm too busy, or avoiding. It just took me a long time to feel like I belonged to my name, and I don't want to change that.

So, as a part of my first Thursday 13, I'm going to share some other fun names with you :) Towns or cities that are named after Christmas or some part of the holiday! Ready?
  1. Christmas, Florida
  2. Christmas Island, Australia
  3. Elf, North Carolina
  4. Eggnog, Utah
  5. Holly, Michigan
  6. Humbug, Arizona
  7. Mistletoe, Kentucky
  8. Noel, Missouri
  9. North Pole, Alaska
  10. Santa Claus, Indiana
  11. Snowflake, Arizona
  12. Stocking, Austria
  13. Tannenbaum, Arkansas
How fun is that, right?

And if you're in the mood for some more winter fun - check this out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Photo Challenges!

I've been inspired! Firstly, by Jodi at Living Life Photographically who has gotten my head filled up with the idea that anybody can host a photo challenge. Secondly, by my lovely friend Rita who's realization of her essence has made me aware of my own! So there will be a photo challenge to celebrate it! All of that will be revealed January 1st... oh the suspense.

Now, thirdly, I would like to thank Emily at Broke Down Artist (who is always in my corner). Today I made a winter wish. To be able to make a snow angel this season. We're not sure if it's going to happen, because I will have to get to somewhere with enough snow. Emily, bless her sweet heart, stopped by and offered to make one for me. And with everything else already rolling around in my noggin, the light bulb went on!

So here's my idea, to anyone who can. If you make a snow angel between now and 11:59 on New Year's Eve, and send me a picture of it, I will post it on New Year's Day. That would make me SO Happy!

Who knew a day in bed, exhausted, could be so productive and exciting!

Many MEs, Traveling, and Wishing

From: Me, 2015

To: Me, 2010

Hey there little lady. Hope you're enjoying the lead up to the holidays. And getting enough rest! I know how much you like to take on. You're taking the right steps, and you will figure it out. The taking care of yourself. Just breathe and know that everything will work out the way it needs to. And remember to appreciate that man of yours, you make such a great team. That's all I can say about that, without letting on too much of what's to come ;) It's been great these past five years watching all the unconnected pieces fall together, weaving into a cohesive tapestry. Rich with detail and experience.

Enjoy the rest of reverb,

Be gentle to yourself,

Big hugs,

Love, Me


From: Me, 2010

To: Me, 2000

What fun you're having in your life right now! Wasn't the turn of the century so anti-climactic? Those 2000 shaped fireworks were pretty cool though, hey? I can't tell you where I'm at as I write this, because I don't want anything to change. Be patient with yourself. Enjoy what you're learning. There are no wrong turns, because every one will lead you here. Some of them may hurt, and you will survive. Please hold on to that tenacious hope of yours, and that belief that everything will work out. Because it does. I want to tell you that you're beautiful and smart and talented. And you won't believe me. And that's okay. The journey getting to know these things is an incredible one. I want you to have it.

Here waiting,



P.S. Enjoy that lovely skin of yours while you have it!

reverb 21 - Future self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?
(Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Though I would love to tell my past me about so much more. Like running the marathon in San Fran this summer, and then driving up through Napa so that my sweetie could visit some amazing wineries, and then spending a couple of nights in a cabin in the Redwoods. Oh, that was so lovely. Restful and recuperating. Napping in that giant bed and reading and hot tubbing under the stars. Mmm, and the drive down the Sonoma coast on the way back to San Fran. Stunning.

Or the road trip to the Oregon Coast for my birthday/our anniversary. Falling in love with Oregon. Listening to the pounding waves from the hot tub. Amazing home cooked meals. Stunning views along the water in Arch Cape, Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park. Seeing one of my fave duos play at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. And all the synchronicity around that. Sleeping in a heated platform tent in Washington, and finally having a fire. Gratitude for amazing weather at the end of September and the feeling of making up for summer.

Not to mention the surprise trip to the Washington pacific northwest coast in the spring, the many visits with a friend after she moved out of town and two fab hotel stays in Vancouver. One for a spring wedding, which happened to coincide with a visit from a friend from out east. And a combo trip that included a fun filled visit with a friend returning back to the west.

Wow, what a year. 2011 - To you I say "more please"! And more planes too please :) So far we're planning a New York City, Montreal, Toronto loop in the late spring/early summer. San Diego might be checked off my list in August (Fingers crossed). Somehow, I'm not sure how yet, I would really like to get to Mexico or somewhere lovely and tropical this year too. Also, I need to find a way to get back off this continent really soon. Maybe not this year, though I wouldn't say no if something came up :)

reverb 22 - Travel
How did you travel in 2010?
How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

Now, one more order of business until this meeting is adjourned. Wishcasting Wednesday. I had no trouble with this one this week.

What is your winter wish?

Simple, I want to make a snow angel. It used to be a tradition for me. Kind of like HeadTheGong's leaf catching. It didn't feel like winter until I had got down in the snow and waved my arms and legs with glee, making the perfect angel. I was kind of a pro at it. I still have photos somewhere I took of the ones I made with a dear friend in high school. This may not be possible, since I no longer live in the land of snow. However, if the opportunity presents itself I will take it. Hopefully, I won't be in a dress and heels...

Monday, December 20, 2010

reverb 20 - Making Music

The reverb prompt came in and I could feel myself making a sour face. The word "should" really irks me. There were a lot of big things I "needed" to do this year, and I did them: left my job, changed my degree studies, etc. On a lighter note though, (rewriting the prompt in my head) there is something I did "less of" in 2010 that I would like to do "more of" in 2011. Play guitar.

My excuse is that I want a new one. I've been playing a classical guitar, that was passed down to me and I cherish it dearly. However, my sweetie plays a steel stringed acoustic and playing his has spoiled me. The narrow neck makes the transitions faster and allows me to challenge myself with tougher chords. Now, we can't both play his guitar when we sing together, so I haven't been playing at all. Makes sense right? No, not really! I'm getting a big laugh out of this right now :)

I guess I can play his when it's just me, for the joy of it, and simply sing with him when he's playing. And play mine for those pretty songs that need a classical guitar. Maybe even learn some songs designed for a classical. Perhaps, down the road, the two of us can jam together, on two guitars. In the meantime, I will dust off these rusty fingers, grab that steel string and nurture another creative aspect of myself.

reverb 20 - Beyond Avoidance
What should you have done this year but didn't because you were
too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?
(Bonus: Will you do it?)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alphabet Soup - E is for Edible

2010 has brought me much healing. I've spoken often about the work I've been doing since The Breakdown, the reawakening of my creativity, and the transformation happening as a result. The healing I want to talk about today though, happened much earlier in the year.

This was the year that I put the final pieces into the puzzle that is my hypersensitive digestive system. I stopped eating out, even when traveling, and realized that corn is hidden everywhere. Even in the Vitamin C added to the pure, unsweetened apple juice I would drink gallons of when my energy was low, because I had reacted to something I had eaten! Healing my digestive system made a huge difference. My energy and mood finally stabilized. And, I truly believe (along with the creation of a comfortable home) that this is what made the breakdown and the transformation possible.

In honour of this healing, I will now share some of the recipes I have come to love - because they create freedom and choice for me, and it would make me so happy if they brought the same to someone else :)


(I made this recipe myself, adapting a milk free recipe and a gluten free recipe)
**gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut free**

In a large bowl mix

2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tsp baking powder (allergy safe)
1/4 tsp salt

Add 3/4 cup water to the dry ingredients

In a separate bowl mix
2 eggs
2 tbsp PURE maple syrup
2 tbsp grape seed oil

Add to the other ingredients, and away you go!

*We usually heat up a cup of blueberries and add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup and top them with that, and a sprinkle of hemp seed too


Same as above, except I use 1/4 cup of each of the three flours and 2/3 cup of water.

We like to peel, slice and bake apples, with cinnamon, to fill ours with. You can use them with savoury stuffings too... goat cheese, salmon, spinach... mmm

Chicken Curry

(How long have I been promising this one now?!)

This recipe is adapted from a "Morrocan Chicken" recipe in More From The Gluten-Free Gourmet.

It is adapted by my sweetie, who patiently dictated it to me this morning, even though he usually just wings it and it's different every time :D

  • Skin and rinse 9 chicken thighs. Brown in a heavy pan with grape seed oil. Set aside
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water to that pan adding 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 tsps of sage and 1 tsp of thyme. Bring it to a boil, making sure you get all the goodness off the bottom of the pan from the chicken :) Set aside.
  • Brown a diced, medium yellow onion in that pan. (Make sure they are cooked right down to get rid of all the acid). Add 4 carrots, roughly chopped, and 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • In a heated large, deep pot warm 2 tsps cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander for about a minute. Add 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 tbsps maple syrup. Add in the broth, vegetables, and chicken. Top up with enough water to cover the chicken, if necessary.
  • Add in a yellow pepper, julienned, 10 brown mushrooms, coarsely chopped, cilantro (stalks about the diameter of a nickel), finely chopped. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Taste and flavour - more salt, sage, thyme, coriander, cumin? We usually know it's done when the chicken is almost falling off the bone.
  • Serve over rice

Recipe can easily be doubled :)

reverb 19 – Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution?
How would you like to be healed in 2011?

Six Word Saturday/reverb 18

Joyfully, stylishly, danced the night away!

Bring on the parties of 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

reverb 17 - Learning about Laughter

Laughter. One of the greatest things I have learned about this past year. It is a gift, that you can give yourself.

I tried laughter yoga for the first time this past summer. I can remember walking into the first intro class, feeling miserable, and not wanting to let that misery go. It was protecting me. By the end of the class I was beaming and sweaty. I picked my misery back up shortly after the class, but oh did it feel good to put it down for an hour. A respite.

I registered for a summer class and here's what I learned.

I have an incredibly contagious laugh! It was often tough just getting there, and some days I didn't - and the other group members would be sure to tell me how missed I was, the next time I was there.

Laughter is healing. Not just in the way you think. Laughter can change the brain, and I can attest to this. I used to have a really bad startle response. Spice jars would come tumbling out of the cupboard unexpectedly (my sweetie is a very enthusiastic cook) and I would freeze. Like a deer in headlights, heart racing - incapable of words, or movement. I learned to laugh when I was startled. A bit forced to begin with, and then it became more natural. It helped to diminish the flight or freeze response drastically. And everything became funnier!

Laughter taught me to be more patient, and forgiving. If the traffic is bad, or someone cuts me off, I laugh. If I make a mistake, I laugh. This was huge for me. Everything became more manageable and I was being much less tougher on myself. Yogurt all over the floor? hahahahhaha

One of the best parts is that laughter is like a muscle, the more you use it, the less stiff it is, and moves more freely. The other is that it is incredibly contagious. Especially if you have a laugh like mine :)

Lesson learned.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year?
And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

reverb 16 - Friendship

weathering the unknown of who you might be

dissolving the walls made of ice and snow

learning to lay lines in the sand

melting, exploding, you stand

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year?
Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - Soar

I took a peak at the Wishcasting question today, and turned the other way. For some reason I am more vulnerable sharing my wishes and dreams for the future, than sharing the challenges and misadventures of my past. I gave it some more thought and returned to it, deciding to push on.

How do I wish to soar?

The biggest thing on my mind right now is the New Year. The new term. The return to school and work land. I wish to soar in my classes. I wish to always feel afloat, aloft. I wish to avoid the feeling of being weighted down, dragged under, overwhelmed. I wish for balance. I wish to maintain my creative endeavours and exploration, and good grades. I wish to find work that will be flexible, and support the energy needed to absorb new learning. I wish to be excited, inspired, successful.

reverb 15 - Five Minute Flashback

Can you feel my giddy, nervous anticipation? It's like Christmas morning, with a side of Marathon race day. You just can't wait for the day to start, and yet as soon as you do it will be quickly over. Padding out to the Christmas Tree, or standing on the start line, wondering if it will go as well as you hope? Why?

Patti Digh of #reverb10 offered us up a challenge today. Five minutes to write out everything we would want to remember about 2010 if we were just about to lose all of our memory. Exciting! So my running watch is set. On your mark, get set... Go!
  • the gorgeous views of the Oregon Coast
  • the road trip there and the fun of the trip
  • the first time I put my hands on clay on the potters wheel
  • the visits from my parents
  • tubes at the lake in the summer
  • big laughs
  • crying on the floor
  • my sweetie getting down on the floor with me
  • finding my creativity
  • realizing that I deserved things, just because
  • dreaming bigger
  • letting myself become an accepted part of my sweetie's amazingly large group of friends
  • the moment in the marathon when I shifted from I don't think I can do this to I will Finish!
  • standing in the lovely icy waters of the San Fran bay after I finished
  • becoming more open
  • finding my more gentler side
And time! I stalled out with a minute to go and I'm sure I will start thinking of a million things now that the pressure is off :) Regardless, I think that sums up the year quite beautifully!

reverb 15 - 5 minutes
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes.
Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

reverb 14 - More than shelter

What a wonderful time I've been having since the reverb prompt came in last night. My head has been full as I unearth, and pile up, all of the things that I would count myself grateful for this past year. The obvious would be my amazing mister, to whom I've already written a tear-inducing tribute. And all the dear people who have offered me support and understanding since The Breakdown. And my new found creativity, which I speak of often, and cradle closely to me like a baby deer on wobbly legs. I am so very grateful to have had two visits from my parents this year, one from each set :) The excitement of a new career path, this blog and the inspiring people I have met as a result... the list just keeps going on, and on... and on :)

Now let me tell you what I decided on for the top of the heap, that which I am most appreciating. Something I haven't talked about repeatedly, yet. My apartment. My home. My safe haven.

Maverick and I moved in together this past May. It was a lot of work weeding and packing two apartments, and then our first month here was, well, hell. It was all worth it. Though this may not be the first time that I have co-habitated with a partner, it's definitely the first place that has felt like "our" home. We have big comfy couches, a fireplace, Maverick's art collection, my arrangement of our combined furniture (a couple of pieces have been in our families for years) and my knack for organization of all things storage related. There was a recent addition of an art table/breakfast nook overlooking the balcony. There are no roommates, no-one living above us, and not much noise at all. Sometimes we meditate just by sitting and watching the leaves of the trees move, just outside the living room window. It feels cozy, and warm, and home.

The reason I am so grateful for this is because it has become my ground zero. After The Breakdown I came to appreciate having a safe space, where I could cocoon. A friend of ours helped us put up a black-out blind in the bedroom, and I took comfort in knowing that I had somewhere to go if I wanted complete darkness and silence. I worked with someone around my reluctance to leave the apartment at times, and came to understand that I was merely trying to protect my over-worked nervous system. Which brought forgiveness for myself, and a full embrace of this familiar place. It has become my place of healing. The base camp to return to after the adventures of the day.

How do you show an apartment your appreciation? How do you show it your gratitude for offering you more than just shelter? By sharing it. We have hosted our families for dinners and our friends for brunches. There has been guitars playing, singing, dancing, board game nights, a costume party, and whole lot of love and laughter. The bonus? All of these things make it feel even more like home.

reverb 14
What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year?
How do you express gratitude for it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

reverb 12 - To do or not to do

It's kind of interesting that a reverb post about action would fall on my one month blogiversary. I am the queen of action. My ideas become things very quickly.
  • Start a blog - done.
  • Have a post-traumatic breakdown - find a psychiatrist, get involved with an amazing specialized centre - done
  • Want to complete my first triathlon this year - join a tri-club that starts in the new year - done, and have already become their volunteer communicator before it even starts up the season.

However, there's a down side to this too.
  • Went on leave from work to get rest after breakdown - but took laughter yoga and water colour classes... and when those were finished, joined a choir and started pottery lessons - oh, while upgrading my math at the same time and volunteering once or twice a week.
  • Started a blog and wanted to break intensive tv habit - but joined in on intensive monthly projects: Art Every Day Month in November, followed by reverb in December.
  • Come January, step back into the waters gently after leave with two classes and flexible work only - but already signed up for year long Project 365 and Creative Every Day, an online experimental art course, plan to turn Drawing Lab's 52 assignments into a weekly project, oh, and I joined that tri-club.

See a pattern? It's clear that taking action is not an issue for me. Embracing inaction is what's proving to be more difficult.

I've had a little kick in the pants the past few weeks though. As some of you might know, my back has been a bit of a squeaky wheel lately. There's concern that I may have a stress fracture in my mid-back, gulp. I'm sure it's nothing, but it's given me pause, creating reason for me to slow down and take a look at how to fit more inaction into my day.

Thanks to daily book reviews by S. Krishna there is a pile of books now by my bed... novels, lovely, indulgent fiction. These types of books become easily forgotten when I'm in school, or getting too busy. So while I'm tending to my tender back, I'm reminding myself to spend lots of time curled up in bed doing nothing except reading a book for fun. And I will carry this into the new year, as I take on new busy-making projects (and hopefully not because I've been medically ordered to do so, fingers crossed). Here's to finding room in my day, every day, for inaction!

reverb 12
Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas.
It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alphabet Soup - D is for Done That!

Recently, I was comparing Life Lists with a very lovely friend (who inspired me to write mine in the first place), and I began to realize how many brave, adventurous, and unique experiences I have already had. A lot of things to which I can say, "I've done that!" Yet, they happened in the past, and they didn't have a place in this list of the future. So, I thought I would honour them here. :) (hmm.. and perhaps I will create a special spot for them in the back of my Life List book...) Away we go:

I was on Romper Room when I was a wee lass (I can remember wearing full on winter tights even in the middle of summer because they were filming ahead). My first career after high school was in the film industry. I started out, briefly, as a background performer and then quickly worked my way up the ladder and through the ranks of the Assistant Director department, and amassed some very interesting stories. My three favourite actors to work with were Craig T Nelson, Chow Yun-Fat, and Gerard Butler (who tried to convince me that I would be better off with him than my fiance at the time... wish I'd listened ;)

I have seen the sites of London, and experienced a pub crawl in Northern England. I have ridden the Tube in London, and the subway in New York City. I have the obligatory pictures of me in Times Square in New York and at Pike's Place Market in Seattle. I inadvertently mocked a police officer's accent in Harvard Yard. (I was just repeating back his directions, and I really thought he was telling me to take a left on "Godden" street... which I didn't remember seeing on the map...).

I observed and absorbed the scars of destruction and the re-birth in Berlin. (Ironically, right around the time that Iraq was being invaded). I have amazing photographs from the remaining length of the Berlin Wall and the area around Checkpoint Charlie.

I lived for a month in Bolivia. It is such a unique country - geographically stunning, fiercely protective of their culture, and so devastatingly poor in many areas (and yet so much simplistic happiness). I can say that I have traveled to the world's highest lake - Titicaca ;) - and biked down the world's most dangerous road!

I've been paragliding - in a massive field, pulled up by an atv and a 50 ft rope, which you have to release yourself once you're up! I've been dog sledding in Northern Ontario, which was an exhilarating experience I would love to have again. I completed a 5 or 6 day canoe/portage trip through the untouched beauty of the lakes and rivers of Algonquin Park - one canoe, two people, two packs. We even passed (quite closely) a moose grazing in one of the streams we ventured down. I have seen gray whales, and orcas on more than one occasion, in their natural waters.

I have stood on the glass floor in the CN tower. I've skated on the Rideau Canal, and I've seen the red sands of Prince Edward Island (ooh, and weathered the tail end of a hurricane in a tent. I think I slept through it actually... oh to be able to sleep like that again...). I stood in the Mississippi River, in Minnesota. I moved across this country to live where my heart wanted, and started completely fresh and completely on my own.

I haven't just seen the Golden Gate Bridge, or just driven on it, I have run across it, on the actual road bed, and back, during my first marathon. Yep, I can say that I have finished a full length marathon.

Most recently, I've been learning to paint, and I've been learning how to make pottery on a wheel. When I share this with people, they often remark that they've always wanted to do that - one day, especially pottery. Because of both I have, finally, experienced Flow. Which is what we've been asked to reflect on for reverb today. That moment when you become completely immersed in what you're doing, and the plug is pulled on the words and language part of your brain. When your mind is simply a part of your body. Every time I put my hands on the clay, or pick up a paint brush or sketch pad, everything else just falls away. I remember reading about Flow in a psychology class and, sadly, being completely stumped in remembering a moment when I had experienced this. Now I can! I've Done That!

Which brings us to the end of the list, and Wow! what a list! While 2010 itself has been a pretty quiet year, I am now reminded that it brought me my creativity, and the ability to be present, and both are gifts. And this reflection just now has re-energized me, and I am excited about more adventures to come, when it's time. There's no rush, because I know that I have already done some pretty amazing things, regardless of how long ago that was. Thank you again Rita, for the inspiration, and thank you Emily for reminding me about Flow, because it is something that no longer eludes me :)

reverb prompt 12
Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body?
Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Illustration Friday

The word of the week this week over at I.F. - phenomenon

(Does that Muppets song come into your head every time you say that word too?) :P

Here's my interpretation... something that is on my life list:

Water colours and water colour pencils, and salt... yep, salt
Inspired by Leah of Creative Every Day

reverb 9 & 10 - Mind the Gap

The year 2008 was the year of the party. I can think of three off the top of my head that were off the charts amazing. Each hosted at my then apartment, which was conducive to loud music, and filled with fabulous people dancing and having a great time. Among those three there might have been: themes, a massive game of random create-your-own twister, and people drawing on the walls (ok, so there was paper on them too).

2009 worked hard to keep up, coming in at a close second with a last minute surge, thanks to a ridiculously fun night out of birthday dancing and a Christmas Eve pajama party.

2010 comes in last with, an A for effort, and a participatory ribbon. It was definitely full of potential: the most beautiful outdoor, island wedding ever, and a joint birthday (one being mine) with a Jersey Shore costume theme. Now, keep in mind that this was also the year of (big echo) The Breakdown. As such, I have become very aware of the anxiety or disconnect that has been impacting me in social settings for many years.

Now here's where the wisdom comes in. Now that I recognize this, I can make conscious preparations so that I can navigate my way through these gatherings with more ease. (Instead of trying to break up with an incredible man at the most beautiful wedding of the year, and then hiding out in our suite for the rest of the night. doh!) If I'm a guest I try know as much as I can about the event, and my exit strategies, before heading into it. If I'm hosting, it's all about managing my perceptions - experiencing things as they happen, not how I predict they will.

And occasionally it means chosing not to go, even it was an invitation I already accepted. The times I did were some of the wisest decisions I made this year. And a bit of a novelty too. Letting go of expectations, and the big old FOMO (fear of missing out) took a shift of mind - putting myself first. It saved me a lot of energy when I was really needing it.

The creative problem solving had to kick in at some point too, right? To bolster up my lacking social time, since not wanting to sit and watch people eat and drink seriously put a dent in it, I started an arts and crafts night with some of the friends I don't see enough. Once a month we get together at one of our cozy homes, and catch up and connect over glue and scissors :) It may not be dancing to the wee hours, but it fills my soul. 2010 gets an honourable mention for that!

Card made from a collage created at the first Arts & Crafts night in October

Dec. 9 - Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010?
Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, sheanigans.

Dec. 10 - Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year,
and how did it play out?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

reverb 8th - uniqueness

Beautifully different

I am cute and loud
Uncensored and so playful
What beautiful fun!

Big heart and arms wide
Ready to help, hug, or hold,
This is what I'm told

#reverb10 - Prompt 8 - Think about makes you different and what you do that lights people up.
Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

reverb 7 - Harmony

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?
What community would you like to join, create
or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I'm singing away as I write this. Little bits of tunes, that might sound a little off out loud because they're missing the harmony that accompanies in my mind. A harmony that comes from 50 or 60 voices, broken into four parts and joined in one song. One voice.

I joined a choir this fall, and this is one of the places I have found community. Unexpectedly. It was meant simply to be a creative outlet for me. A place to soothe my soul with song. But, as the choir leader put it today: "Harmony needs community, and harmony builds community".

So (almost) every Tuesday I show up to share my voice. I am greeted by a large group of familiar faces - warm people who make me feel welcome and offer encouragement. I've even gained a new friend, and she is pushing me outside of myself, further then I've ventured just in the act of showing up. And a fun-loving 68 year old grandmother who reminds me to settle for nothing less than what brings me joy.

Thanks to this prompt I am seeing myself as a part of many communities, and realizing how much harmony I am beginning to have within. I used to keep myself so guarded and locked away, careful and selective of who I would connect with, for fear of losing a piece of me. Instead I have found that when you connect more freely with others, you can connect more easily to yourself. One of the song verses really stood out to me today, because it honours this new awareness.

In darkness we cradled our sorrow,
And stoked all our fires with fear.
Now these bones that lay empty and hollow,
Are ready for gladness to cheer.
(Follow the Heron - Karine Polwart)

What's to come? I made the commitment to join in again with the choir in the new year, because it brings me joy, therefore I will find a way to make it work. And I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar AEDM faces with me on the Creative Every Day challenge of 2011.

Here's one of the songs that dances in my head during the week when I'm not at choir. It's just not the same without the a capella voices and harmonies of my little community choir. Maybe I will try to get a recording next week, at our last gathering before the holidays...

Monday, December 6, 2010

reverb 6 - make love (and art), not war

Make. What was the last thing you made?
What materials did you use?

Is there something you want to make,
but you need to clear some time for it?

Yesterday was supposed to be the most recent thing I made. It was five new uploads to my digital photography stash. You can see my two favourites here and here.

The thing that I've been meaning to make, I ended up making today, like the true over achiever I am. Here it is. A bookmark for a friend, who lent me a book I'm reading (so I get to keep the bookmark a little while longer). My lovely friend doesn't usually lend out her treasures, aka books. I felt quite honoured. She's also quite adamant that each book has its own bookmark, and this one didn't. Until now :) My way of saying thank you.

The front
The back - oh so sparkly :)

Something else I made today was a stand. I stood up for women on our National day for remembrance and awareness of violence against women. Maverick and I showed our support at a beautiful and moving candlelight vigil this evening. The numbers of women who have experienced violence is staggering. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world free from all violence! Dream big :)