Monday, February 27, 2006

I have felt at peace with myself over the past few months and I wonder why. I am still the same scattered restless person. What has shifted in my psyche?

I think about a recent conversation with my father who said a person is nothing if she or he does not believe in God. I responded, "I am a good person." I do, for lack of a better label, call myself an agnostic, still I am not nothing.

More than one friend has told me in the last few days that she loves me...

My precious daughter sent me some lines in response to a past entry: "If Marion Woodman is right, do I feed myself gourmet and spices, because my mother offered me such a spicy, rich life?"

And the man I have lived with so long, after standing on the street with me in the early hours of the morning, said that he felt such a rush of love for me...

I am even receiving kind words at work. Last week, a stranger called me and asked if I would consider a career change. She had been in the store and liked my style and manner.

Such a rush of compliments - is this why I am feeling so at peace with myself? Do I/we need others to tell us that we are lovable? And is it a sin to repeat their words? I was taught that one must not have an inflated sense of self. I don't believe I have but I am on tricky ground.

Kate, in her live journal, spoke about promoting herself and how interior voices started taunting, asking if she wasn't "being more than a little egotistical."

I pause here, in this entry, and wonder why I am writing what I am writing. I reread from the beginning and see my father's statement and feel this pain in my heart. Am I writing this to prove that I am not nothing? Is there a child in my heart who wants her parents to think that she's somebody? And I think of the old Frank Sinatra song, "You're nobody till somebody loves you."

So is it God or Love that makes the world go round? Or are they one and the same thing?

Here, I think myself a bit of an idiot for thinking in songs. Am I going to be hit by an enormous complex that will drag me into some bottomless pit of despair? Am I abetting her/him by writing this entry?

I have no more time for thought. I have to leave for the courthouse in half an hour. I have been called for jury duty for the fourth time. Doesn't seem fair.

Monday, February 20, 2006

After a week of not posting an entry, I feel I must especially for those who live far away and check regularly for a new post. The only problem is that I have little to say and think, these days, that I have little to write about that's of any interest to anyone but myself. I have just read Gill's last entry and am a little envious. She is always on the run, meeting new friends, eating and drinking up a storm.

What did I eat this weekend? Although I like eating well enough, it is not a passion. Often, I grab anything for the sake of filling my belly. (I think of Marion Woodman who said something to the effect that we treat our bodies as our mother treated us.) Oh to be like Gill who will throw spices into anything and come up with something extraordinary. She is like her father. Rob loves cooking. On Saturday, after I worked all day, I came home to a meal of spiced red snapper, tiny potatoes, and asparagus cooked on the barbeque. On Sunday, after working again, I came home to a meal of turkey burgers, cooked again on the barbeque, with a baby leaf salad. And I did moan and groan with pleasure as I ate. I do appreciate good food. But Rob and Gill are passionate about the cooking and the eating. They love taking cooking classes, learning new techniques, and aren't afraid to improvise. I am not a bad cook but I follow recipes exactly. I am not creative in this area.

Where does my passion lie? Passion. I love the word. I love the feeling. I look at this sentence and dare myself to describe the feeling of "passion." (Interesting that passion comes from the Latin "passio" and "pati" meaning "to suffer".) I feel passion, excitement in the pit of my stomach - like the old cliche, I feel butterflies fluttering. My heart beats faster, louder. Sometimes my fingertips hum. I smile. Sometimes laugh. I feel good in my skin. I want to dance. I often add a twang to my speech. I feel alive.

Where do my passions lie? A little devil whispers in my ear "in beauty. You love beauty. You love beautiful paintings, rich colours, sensual fabrics. You love abundance and exuberance and flamboyance. You love those who love with spirit, with joy, with laughter, with excitement. You love being stimulated by a good book, kind words, kisses and hugs. You love music that makes your feet tap and your body sway. You love to be alone where you can sing your heart out and not feel a fool. You love vast amounts of time and space to play. You love writing and playing with words. You love feeling light and unencumbered. You love conversation. You love editing another's words. You love ideas. You love giving and receiving compliments but only those that are sincere. You love truth and pushing boundaries."

Interesting what switching to second person can bring up. Might be kinda silly but I love silly too. Often I try too hard to sound intelligent when really truly all I want to do is say what I want and not worry what others think.

That's it. I'm alive.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I wrote the following in my journal Sunday but then found my time was tight and couldn't type it into my blog: I had to be at work by noon. I don't know what's happening to me. I stay up late and rise late and I hate it. I miss my wee morning hours when I can think at length and not worry about time.

On Sunday, I was restless, tried to find a poem to calm me. Every one I found - I opened poetry books at random and read the lines - were tales of blood and murder. This happened three times and so I stopped.

A long time ago I went to a lecture on sexuality and the woman professor said that the only real sin is taking another life, stopping it in its tracks.

On Thursday evening, I met my plums, writing group, downtown SFU, to hear Rachel Rose, a poet speak. When she began to write poetry, she said, she believed that anything that happened to her was hers to tell - no matter if it hurt another or not. Now, she is finding it more difficult to tell her truths as she wants to be kind.

I have written this public journal for around three years. Sometimes I dare myself to tell that which I don't really want to tell. But I close my eyes and push the "publish" button because I want to become a better writer. I want to tell those things that others don't tell... I don't know if non-writers understand the pain that comes from pushing boundaries.

I continue to think about returning to my novel, allowing myself the title of writer. Sometimes I think I am too attached to the title and not ready to earn it, not ready to dedicate myself to the work involved in taking my shitty first draft and bringing it to life. Am I lazy or overwhelmed?

Last night (Saturday night) Rob and I went to a friend's birthday party (another 50 year old) where I spoke to two women who I have seen rarely in the last dozen years. We all precised our stories, what we'd been up to, since we last met. I spoke of my work at the store, then my writing. Afterwards I wanted to flog myself. Why did I mention my nearly non-existent writing? Did I want to impress them? (This is not who I want to be.) Or is it me who is more impressed with the writing than retail? Or/and do I think that speaking about writing will take me back to it?

Another interesting thought came from the conversation. I said that I must work, must earn, to feel autonomous. One woman understood. The other did not. The former works and feels somewhat the same as me. The latter does not. Who is happier? I don't know.

This whole past week, during quiet moments, I have thought about tolerance and about the quote I mentioned in last Sunday's blog about respecting another's choices "not agreement or admiration but an honoring of choice" . This drove me to search the internet and I found a Harvard University site that tests for unconscious biases:
Project Implicit. There is a number of different categories and I have done two tests so far. One says that I unconsciously favour young people over old people. I would not have thought this and, of course, it may not be true but I will watch myself in this area in the future. The other said that I have no unconscious biases involving straights or gays. I didn't think I would.

I have just finished reading "The White Rose" - the only novel that I have started and finished in weeks - and I'll give you the Amazon link. I enjoyed it. Light reading but filled with interesting information about roses, history, specially Jewish, and I find I like such novels where I am not only given a good story but also information on subjects that I know little about . I choose novels by unknowns to me for various reasons. I chose this one because the author is wife of Paul Muldoon, the Irish poet, who I heard read at UBC and who I liked very much. Yesterday, while sneaking a read - I felt guilty as I could have been doing something "productive" - I found a passage where the author used her husband's name "Muldoon" as an example of the type of man a good Jewish girl should not marry. I liked her playfulness and this caused me to write in my journal: "Who do I have to be to proud of myself?" Food for thought.

Now I shall begin my week, still in my pjs at nearly noon.


Sunday, February 05, 2006


Gill, Karyna, Nancy, and I write about food. Gill in Paris. Karyna in Montreal. And Nancy and I in West Vancouver. Every Sunday, we take turns choosing a food, a sweet morsel, and describe the experience. Today, Nancy suggests (or what I understand from her opaque words,) that we push our boundaries, and taste "the sweetness of unexpected kindness".

Marlene, in her live journal, writes of working with fairy tales on a symbolic level and quotes Gertrud Mueller Nelson: "We always think that we have to be superhuman and then berate ourselves for failing that expectation. So that's why we have symbols and rituals... They are there to remind us and help us and ground us... As always, the Word must be made flesh - our sterling gestures turned to human, loving acts..."

And Mahala sent me a photograph of her father and herself, when she was young and "felt loved."

My mind skips to another blogger, Sky, who a few weeks back wrote about her mother: "Sometimes we must let go and let those we love live the lives they choose, silently and with respect for the choices they make. Respect - not agreement or admiration, but an honoring of choice... "

I have no idea where I am going with this entry.

Yesterday, at around 5 or so, in the morning, our house went black. The electricity was gone. And I, in my little house in the garden, luckily had a flashlight. I went into our big house (in comparison to my little as it is far from grand) and had a shower with the flashlight, on the counter pointed towards the bath. Rob woke.

Usually in the morning, we say good morning, kiss, make coffee, and go to our respective rooms and computers, but without electricity, we could not follow this ritual so we dressed and went out for coffee and talked... and Rob, in his new cute, funny, little "Smart" car dropped me at work. I was warm but Rob spent the day at coffee shops and the library as, without electricity, our house grew colder by the hour. At 5 p.m., he came to the store and I finished my work and we went out for Indian food. We picked up a couple of logs for the fire and went home. The lights were on. The house was warm. We laughed and curled up on the sofa and watched a movie though a part of me was disappointed...

The night before, we went to our brother-in-law's fiftieth birthday bash at a rich man's club downtown. Rob ran a slide show of Bill's life. We ate from a table, filled with hot and cold appetizers, and I danced and danced. Now sometimes, more often than not, I feel self-conscious when I dance in public but not this night. I felt wonderful. Afterwards, I wondered what were the magic ingredients - why did I not care if I made a fool of myself or not. My parents were there and usually when they are around, I am more guarded, more my childhood self... but on this occasion, it didn't seem to matter.

For some reason, I felt beautiful, full of life and wit. I wore my fancy Christmas clothes - velvet and silk. I had had my haircut and streaked that day. And this verges on embarrassment. This is my third haircut in a six weeks. I want to feel good when I look in the mirror... And I did that night.

Oh February, February... I am not too fond of this month that seems, in my memory, to be always dark, wet, and dreary though there are signs of spring - green shoots in our garden. And as always, I must do a load of paperwork for the taxman, and complete summer orders. Meanwhile, our house shows signs of real neglect. And I do like order... and this blog is as scattered as my head.

Marlene ended hers with another quote and I think, I'll steal from her: "Freedom... is not being rid of responsibilities; it is being free of random shoulds and oughts. Freedom doesn't dwell in randomness but in conscious choice."

So today, though I work for five hours and my parents are coming for dinner, I chose to write this entry. I now choose to clean my dirty house a little while I ponder Nancy's request that I taste the "sweetness of unexpected kindness." I don't think myself unkind but I am a woman who likes her words simple (don't laugh), and clean and true, and her coffee with only a few granules of sugar... my mind flips to a quote from this summer by Mary Oliver - something to the effect - "as common as a field daisy... I don't want to end up, simply having visited this world."


Thursday, February 02, 2006


A lot of women, probably more so than men, love shopping. I don't. I jokingly said to a friend that's it's strange I have the work I have when clothes have never been my passion. She said that's probably why I am good at my job. I don't have to own everything. And I have discovered that when I really love some item, when I want it - and surprisingly these items aren't many - they inevitably sell the moment they're in the store. I wish there were more sure bets. I tried this coat on, designed by a young Japanese designer who flys to Hawaii to have her fashion produced, and liked it well enough. Ethnic is in for summer but I probably won't order it as I can't imagine a particular customer coveting it.

Seattle Market

So this is what I'm up to at the moment - pouring over photos and colour swatches and trying to decide what women want for summer and with every line, every item, trying to imagine a customer, usually more than one who will want the style. And then I have to choose colour. I drive myself crazy, trying to decide.

So the traveling to market is finished until the end of March. Thank goodness. I want to stay home for a while. This past weekend was spent in Seattle. Helen and I drove down and my mother tagged along. While the two of us when to the Trend Show, my mother shopped. Now's here a woman who loves shopping. She tells me she had a wonderful time. And I loved having her with us. My parents are in town until next Tuesday and I want to spend time with them but a lot of the orders I have to write, have to be faxed before this weekend so I feel a little frantic.

Long Time Ago

I am the sweet young child, sitting on my mother's lap. My older sister sits on my father's. During the trip, my mother said that nothing is or has been as important, to her, as her children. This surprised me for some reason. Not that I doubt my mother and father love their large brood, but that we were the most important thing in their lives. When I was growing up, they often seem distracted by politics - both were passionately involved at the municipal and federal level - and we their children often felt sorely neglected. But is this just the egotism of the child?

How do Rob and my children feel? A friend once said that I must do what I want without regard to my children's wants, as this is my life. They will have their own. And I set a better example catering to my own needs than catering to theirs and neglecting myself. This gives them permission to do the same as adults...

Oh dear, no more time to think on this. I must run, am taking a friend for a radiation treatment and then back to the orders and then, I think, my parents are coming for dinner.