Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rubber bands round my soul

For Christmas one of the gifts I wanted and got (thanks Geena!) was a memoir called "Hurry Down Sunshine" by Michael Greenberg. Thanks to some car "trouble" at the lake Christmas Day I got trapped out in the wilderness (or warm cottage with a crackling fire) for an extra day (a christmas miracle, really), giving me lots of time, in between marathon games of Trivial Pursuit with the fam, to read read read.

The book is written by a 15 year old girl's father about her sudden psychosis, how it all unravelled, and how they tried to piece things back together. Mental health has always intruiged me, how someone can be ill without any outward signs. Even the experienced doctors in the book have no real answer as to why these things happen. Brain chemicals, neurotransmitters... but no one seems to know what sets things off down the road to some mental illness. It sounds like it may be a depressing book, and it kind of is, but I can't stop reading it...

As I was out for a run yesterday I went past the psych ward at St. Boniface and thought about people spending their holiday there. Personal experiences make my heart break when I think of things like this. It is a horrible feeling to love people and see them sick, yet not be able to fix it with a cast or antibiotics. At the same time I sometimes wonder what's the fine line between any of us breaking down. Ane Brun sings: "I wear rubber bands round my soul... they keep me from falling". When I think about it this way it makes me want to treat everyone with a little more kindness, a little more love, and a little more gently. A rubber band can easily snap, and although we are strong and hardy folk (to see people bustling about in -40 windchill proves this), we are also a delicate mix, our hearts pumping through hundreds of tiny vessels, keeping our souls held together.

Ane Brun: Rubber and Soul- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF92Q884ezE

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sweet Lil Gal

I know that right now I should be probably be discussing Christmas or some holiday-related topic. But between working 7 days a week and staving off a cold I haven't had a whole lot of time to get into the spirit of the season, besides the rushing around part of it all. The most Christmasy thing I did was sing in a small choir at a Christmas concert at church... Amy Grant...Breath of Heaven.. if you know who she is I needn't say more, because that moment made up for the lack of other festivities going on!

Yet I am still getting quite excited that tomorrow is Christmas eve, family gathering, swedish meatballs, family broomball showdown after dinner. Plus, the 25th is a day off... try to wrap that under the tree, Santa!

Totally off-topic, and what was on my mind when I began writing this entry was a song that made my morning. Not that I'm complaining, because I do sound like quite the whiner right now... trust me, it's all good, but I haven't had time or made the effort to crack out the Christmas cds this year either. Apart from some Elvis Christmas (which, by the way, is a fantastic album!) and Sarah McLachlan at work I haven't heard much. So this is just a song that is not related to anything, but is still wonderful, as Ryan Adams always is.

(Still trying to figure out how to link, you'll just have to copy and paste if you really care enough to hear the song).


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Popsicles on my nose

I have been a fairly neglectful blogger in the last while. Considering it's been -40something outside and my eyebrows freeze into a very attractive icicle unibrow when I spend more than ten minutes outdoors, it seems I should have lots of time to sit at the computer and share my brilliant thoughts with the 2 people who actually read this blog...

But alas, I have been taken in by season 7 of Gimore Girls on DVD. For the last week every spare minute has been taken over by my obsession with watching this show. I ignored the bank, grocery shopping, and possibly even personal hygiene. And today I finished it... hence, the reason I am sitting here typing, trying to distract myself from the gaping hole the end of the show has left in my heart.

I'm just not ready. I still have at least 3 months of winter left... I have decided the only cure for this is to find a new show I have never seen, preferably one with at least 5 solid seasons, which I will rent one by one, and watch non-stop while consuming copious amounts of banana bread and tea.

That, or I could shower and sweep the layer of dust off the floor...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

one of those days

it's one of those days... and not in a bad way.

a morning full of people i love telling me they care for me.

hugs from sweet old ladies i hardly know (i'll take a free hug anyday!) followed by hardy handshakes from their husbands.

buffet lunches full of german meat (even i can appreciate this every now and then) and a dessert to my dessert.

snow that makes me feel cozy and safe driving in the car across the city with d.

sitting in a dark apartment with my craft sale heating pad, a grey sky outside and ipod singing me the songs i love on shuffle.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Go Team Go!

The rest of the world is parked on their sofa, eyes glued to the Grey Cup, nachos, dip and beer filling the coffee table. I am sitting at home, the sound of Mark Kozelec filling the apartment, pumpkin seeds toasting in the oven, sipping tea.

Part of me wishes I was one of those people who paints their face with team colours, who jumps up, chip crumbs flying out of my mouth as I scream for the touchdown, full of wings and booze. To be part of a society which is joined by the love of one team, a football family. Tomorrow at the water cooler the plays will be dissected one by one, and I will have nothing to say. (well, there is no water cooler where we gather at my work...)

Being part of a community, whether it be football or otherwise, gives a sense of comfort. It gives me a sense of purpose, and when I feel I am active in my community and contributing to our puropse (like cheering on a team) I feel most happy. To be part of a community is to feel needed, and that you belong. I think most of us are driven by this desire. To have someone to gravitate towards when we enter a new situation, to find like-minded strangers who easily become friends through our common interest. Being accountable to a community also keeps us in line when we feel ourselves begin to flounder. Sometimes we are more involved, sometimes less, but just the act of showing up and sitting amongst people we know think the same way we do is huge for me, and can take me out of myself and see the bigger picture.

So if anyone else out there is not watching Team A kick Team B's butt tonight, maybe we can start our own little club. I've put on the kettle and I'll be waiting for your knock at the door anytime.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

hooray, hooray

Today I took the technological leap (okay, baby step) of getting a new cell phone. After 3 years I have gotten pretty used to my scratched up ol' Samsung- no camera, no ringtones, just a phone. But mesmorized mostly by the nice colours (and $0 price) I've made the leap to a "fancy" phone (well, in my eyes). I even learnt how to load mp3s onto it. Me and new phone are off to a good start. I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Here is the first song I downloaded and set as my ringtone. Everytime you call me I will do a little dance...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Accomplishment of the Day

Today I decided to tackle one of the things that has always eluded me- baking with yeast. And, thanks to the tropical heat situation that happens in my apartment in the winter, my dough actually rose, and it turned out! (Normally my bread comes out as a dense little rock.) Whole wheat rye bread accompanied tonight's dinner, and was a hit (at least with Danika and me...), and a bonus of baking at home is the lovely smell that, mixed with some sort of onion concotion my downstairs neighbour must have been frying up, made my apartment smell like: (in the word's of D) "Kingsford Haus". That's pretty much the best compliment a gal could get!

Walking in a winter wonderland....

Winter has officially arrived in Winnipeg.
I'm still finding it a bit hard to believe, because fall was beautiful and warm, and suddenly one day it rained and snowed and it was instant winter. Normally we're eased into it by snow that falls, then melts away, then falls again and melts again. Not this year. It is here, and it is here to stay... at least for the next 5...? 6....? months....
This morning I woke up, a Sunday feeling on a Tuesday morning. Remembrance Day is not really a holiday I "celebrate" in any way, and so basically it's a day off in the middle of the week. The sun was shining, and I bundled up and decided to go explore the river walk since I haven't been since it snowed. Surprisingly, I was overdressed, and pulled off my toque five minutes out of the door.
Lots of people were out enjoying the day, particularly lots of old men... but I dig it. Had a few little conversations with some of them, always a good time. We were all just out for the same reason, to enjoy this sunny, winter morning (although this isn't really Winnipeg winter yet...) and take the day off to relax.
These are just a few impressions of this lovely morning I took to share with you...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gone Huntin'

Today I went hunting- house hunting that is. I'm slowly trying to get a feel for what's out there in the hopes of eventually committing to a place.

In every home I go into, I immedietly want to do two things.

1) Critisize in my mind why it wouldn't be fitting, and how it wouldn't work for me

2) Totally fall in love with the place and picture my furniture in all the rooms

It seems a little contradictory, and it kind of throws me off that every place I see I love and I hate at the same time. I think there's the "rash Rachel" who likes to make split second decisions without thinking, who can committ passionately to something in a matter of seconds. This is the Rachel that has up to this point been my biggest influence. Then there's the new Rachel I'm trying to cultivate. Let's call her "responsible Rachel". She thinks things through, and looks at flooring and wonders what resale values may be. The only problem is that right now the two Rachels don't know how to co-exist, and this causes such conundrums as the one listed above.

I definitely think there is value to both aspects of the decision making process. On the one hand, you need to be careful, and realize what you're getting into, but on the other hand, deliberating forever could mean you miss out on a great opportunity, and it can make you go crazy because nothing will ever be good enough. So although I am trying to be more mature and responsible, I hope I never lose the other aspect that, although has often gotten me into trouble, keeps things exciting and balances out all this grown-up adult decision making.

That's all I have to say for now, because after a day of seeing the sign over and over again, the rest of my brain is preoccupied by the jingle:
"Com free, com free, com free dot coooooommmmm" So catchy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

night of the living dead

I know Halloween has come and gone, but walking home from the Forks today I felt like time should rewind and today should be October 31st. The real Halloween felt cute and happy, full of kids dressed as M&M's, hopped up on sugar, and overly eager at the prospect of free candy.

But today the air seemed to be buzzing with an energy that, despite the freakishly warm weather, sent a shiver down my spine. The sun, setting earlier now that the time has changed, seemed to me as if it was being pulled, against its will, down to the horizon. In its tracks it left a bloody orange streak across the sky. As a breeze blew off the river and through my hair it felt like it was carrying howls and messages from ghouls and ghosts. The bare tree branches, still uncovered in snow or frost, looked like gnarled hands, trying to grab at the passers by who were unknowingly about to be dragged into a dark underworld, beneath the rotting leaves on the muddy river bank. It seemed like just beyond my ability to see, a whole world of the dead was slowly waking up, and they were moaning and calling, begging to be heard. So beware, because although sugar highs and bite-size O'Henry Bars may have kept the spirits at bay October 31st, they are out and about tonight and ready to make themselves known.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

giddy up!

You know you have too much time on your hands when you randomly start looking through all the treasures for sale in the Facebook Marketplace.

Best thing I found: Child's 13" Western Rawhide Saddle, hardly used, excellent condition. Only $475 (Is this a deal? Only children's rawhide saddle afficionados would know.) Also available are a pony bridle and other pony-related gear. I wonder what happened. Some kid was living the dream of having your own pony, and something obviously went wrong.

As a kid I wanted a horse, and had dreams that I got one and it lived in the park in our backyard. In reality, the closest I got was a couple of hours a week learning to be a cowgirl. On Saturday mornings I would put on my boots and my parents would drop me off at Miracle Ranch for riding lessons. I would come home, sometimes after lunch at the Spud Stop with my dad, and my sisters would tell me I stunk like horse poo. I would sit in the backyard and scrape the manure off my boots, not really caring that I was stinky. I think many kids have this dream, to be a cowboy or girl, ridin' on the open prairie with your trusty horse, Rusty, as your companion. I don't really know what happened, I guess my interest sort of petered out, so it's probably for the best I never did get a horse, or Rusty would be grazing, neglected in a field, the kind of horse who has a matted mane and a little too much rib sticking through his coat.

It kind of makes me sad to see this little kid's dreams crushed and all that remains is a Facebook ad. But the saddest part is really that I spent time not only looking at this ad, but then deciding to spend my time writing about it...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

into the wilderness...

Day 3 into the "week of unemployment". Woke up this morning with a blank slate of a day ahead of me. Mid-week. Some people would revel in this opportunity to lay in bed and watch movies all day. Well, Day 1 and 2 did include those activities among other things. A trip to the mall, some basking in the sun at the Forks, hot tea and books in coffeeshops...

But this morning I woke up and needed a direction. And when I feel lost or aimless my back-up plan is usually to head out of the city and look for some clarity. I do love the city, and I love my busy neighbourhood, but sometimes even a city girl needs to feel sunshine on her face, unobstructed by tall buildings, and needs to see wind blow over tall grass across an open field. So after dressing in comfy, stretchy layers of clothing I got into the trusty Civic who has been sitting forlorn in the parking lot for a few days, and we hit the open road.... okay, we didn't make it far. But with the cost of gas and the fact that I am not actually making any money, the half hour drive to Bird's Hill Park was about as country as it was gonna get.

Mid-morning, mid-week, halfway to winter is a pretty dead time out there. So I had a nice trail all to myself. My Ipod set to shuffle somehow picked all the songs I needed to hear as I ran down trails, wandered through open, sunny fields and sat at the side of an ice-edged pond. Taking an unknown path I ended up in a little wooded area full of pines and chickadees flying everywhere. Someone had set up a milk carton birdfeeder, so I went over and scopped out a handful of seeds and sat down on a log. Soon little birds were landing on my hand and eating out of it. There is something comforting about the feeling of little bird feet gripping my fingertips as a little beak pecked the seeds out of my palm. It's like when little kids play with your hair or whisper secrets into your ear. It was then that my day felt validated. New job? Crazy lady who sits in the park and feeds birds? But maybe that's what we all need. A week of unemployment to test ourselves and our ability to be alone. A chance to test out new career options- explorer, photographer, writer, zoo keeper?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What to do this weekend

As the forecast calls for possible snow this weekend in Winnipeg and outside showers are occasionally falling, my forecast for this weekend calls for snuggling up under my afghan on the couch with my new craft sale magic bag, compliments of mom, all warm and toasty, rewatching a favourite movie.
I laughed, I cried, I searched Youtube for one of my favourite songs from the movie, shared here for you to enjoy on a cold, rainy, and possibly snowy night.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I miss the ocean

I miss walking on the beach barefoot, with a scarf wrapped around my neck, collecting smooth stones. I miss salty wind playing in my hair. I miss the sound of shells rubbing against one another as the waves push them ashore.

I want to go back to the east coast and sit on an endless beach and piece myself together under layers of blankets and beach towels pulled from the trunk of my trusty companion Honda Civic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In the futcher I will have a better attude

from http://www.foundmagazine.com/

Who doesn't love a good apology letter? It always feels better to tell someone you're sorry. In fact, I think it feels better to write it than to receive it, to know that you put it out there that you are sorry. It is hard to feel forgiven, even if someone tells you that they have forgiven you, how do you know if it is sincere? There are people in my life I feel I have had to apologize to and I'm still not sure if they have ever really forgiven me. Maybe the simplicity of this letter says it all. I like how the kid sums it up. In the "futcher" he will be a better little boy, because really, at least he learnt from his mistakes (although why is it wrong to ask what would happen if you shot a policeman?). And that's more than I can say for myself some days.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

currently reading...

... how to stay alive in the woods, by bradford angier

i don't know who this man is, but he is a genuis. so far i have learned that basically anything is edible, or worth trying to eat when lost in the wilderness... except mushrooms. stear clear of mushrooms!!! this must have a day to day parallel, some metaphor for us in the civilized world. something like: what are the mushrooms in your life?

goal for the next year:
-identify edible plants in the manitoba wilderness and eat them
-be wary of things that grow in piles of metaphorical manure

Sunday, October 5, 2008

never gonna fall for modern love

i'm just about ready to pack my bags and move. except that nothing is in boxes, and no truck has been ordered, no movers are aware of these plans i have. it's because even if i did make all the arrangements and stowed away all i own on to the truck, where would we go? the place i want to move to does not exist. at least, not outside my mind and a few great movie plots.

i want to move to a place where a guy plays the only guitar song he knows to a girl he wants, where someone shows up unexpectedly and sopping wet at your front door in the rain to tell you something unimportant they thought you would like to hear, where secret admirers send you cards in the mail with a mix tape and liner notes explaining why they love each song. where people go for walks and holding his hand makes her legs feel weak, where people know each other's favourite colours and want to know why you have that little scar on your knee.

if you find this place, please let me know, and can i borrow your truck on moving day?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

swirling mist and crystal balls

tonight i had my fortune told for the first time. as the tarot card reader was communicating with the spirit guides standing behind me half of me wanted it all to be true while the other half was laughing at how absurd it all was. well, maybe it was more like 60/40 with the 60 going to the spirit guides...
does this make me open to new experiences or just plain crazy? either way, i think the 60 % had more fun believing it all.

so here are the predictions:

-first of all, angie is my spirit guide. whoever she is, she likes me and apparently likes my energy so we hang out a lot. sweet, i always like a new friend!

-this is my 47th life, and my last life. (i have always said i have an old soul.)

-when i was charting my life i was very vague and left it open to many possibilities because i like things to be flexible and able to be changed. (true! score 1 for the fortune teller.)

-i charted myself to die at 77, but left it open that in case i didn't do everything i wanted to do i would wait until 94 to die. apparently i have lots planned for myself. (well this is yet to be determined, but if i do die at 77, someone please add another point for the fortune teller.)

-i will have either 4 kids or 2 kids. i will definitely have 3 kids. (or all of the above?) but i will be a good mom, and will make a very happy, comfy home because i need a stable, safe place. (well, i did learn from the best! and score 3 for the fortune teller on the home front)

- i will either marry once or twice, depending on who i marry the first time and what he does/does not do. but i will be married for almost 50 years. this means if i die at 77 i need to meet someone soon. (future suitors beware.)

- i am too serious for my age (score 4 for the fortune teller.)

-i will have a career in writing/journalism. (so read this blog carefully, someday i will be famous, but not too famous, because i was told i wouldn't want to be recognized. so somewhere between J.K. Rowling and -fill in the blank with the name of some unknown writer-?)

-i was told i am someone who takes care of her body, but it is important to listen to myself and i often have cravings. i should listen to those cravings because it's what i need. (well, in that case, i'm off to go eat the rest of the black bean brownies i baked this afternoon.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

as night falls...

lately my concept of bedtime is growing more vague. being someone who used to be vigilant in early to bed, ealry to rise, i am finding that the closer it gets to midnight the more i feel things that don't seem acceptable during daylight are suddenly okay. home feels safer and warmer to the darkness outside. music is more beautiful and lyrics more true. i feel, in my cozy apartment lit by lamp light, that i am somehow in on a secret with the moon. strangers across the street whose windows are still lit up are suddenly my confidantes in this new world, the darkness that surrounds all things bringing us closer together.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to be happy today

How to make your soul smile today.

Step 1: go to this website: http://www.myspace.com/littleboyboommusic

Step 2: click on the first song called "bird song"

Step 3: turn up the volume and let it fill up the room

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


sketchy: Unsettling or questionable.

sketchball: A weird guy who is socially inept, makes off-color remarks, does strange socially unacceptable things, and has strange interests. This is the guy at a party who talks to you and scares you, not intentionally, but he doesn't know any better, and you want to leave real quick. Example: Q. Did you see that guy dancing to Duran Duran by himself in the workshop? A. Yeah, what a sketchball.

definitions courtesy of: http://www.slangsite.com/slang/S.html

I prefer the term sketchbag to sketchball, but really, it's all the same. Sketchy is a good word, because so much in life is sketchy. Take for example a blind date one of my sisters recently went on. The guy asked her out at a cafe she works at, and she, wanting to please the dating gods, agreed to go. I told her, if nothing else it's a free meal. He shows up wearing a cowboy hat to a sushi restaurant, hits on the waitress, joked and lied to my sister that his father used to beat him... all within the first 5 minutes.... that set the tone. By the time he had told her he supplied the canadian forces with most of their weapons through an internet business he used to own, made some racist and sexist jokes, and told her he recently sold all his possesions because he was becoming to materialistic she was done her ice cream and ready to go. This guy is a sketchbag.

I met a guy this summer while I was working at a local fruit stand and he sold corn for my boss. He rode to work on a bike because he had no car or licence (even though he drove a truck for the job....), he told me he lived in a hotel in a shady area of the city because the house he used to rent had been seized by police in a raid of the grow-op he was running there. Not that he ever got caught. He took of his shirt and showed me his homemade tattoos of Bugs Bunny characters, told me how he had punched his mom and an uncle after he had heart surgery. He asked me if someone had stopped by my fruit stand that day and dropped off money for him, and when I said no, he told me he was going to go break this guys legs tonight. Then offered to go get me a coffee... only we were out in the boonies and he was on a bike... I guess it would have been more of an iced coffee by the time he biked back into the city, bought the drink and biked all the way back.... Okay... sketchy skecthbag.

But for some reason I love these odd and slightly insane characters. In the words of my mom : "That's what makes the world go round." And if nothing else, who doesn't need a good laugh recounting the experiences with the local sketchbags in your city.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

branches and leaves

summer changing into fall makes me prone to sadness. i want to sit at my parent's kitchen table as a seven year old on a cool fall day slurping a bowl of soup and a glass of chocolate milk. i want someone to hold me, and i want it to last- the holding and the season. maybe it's the fact that i know it won't last long that makes it easy to get lost in fall, and let myself feel crazy for a little while as the whole world transitions. i can easily say it's not permanent and soon it will be winter and i will be okay again. a long winter, time to be hardy and strong against rough winds and blowing snow. there is no time to waver then, not like now when the leaves are deciding every day whether they should hold onto the branch for one more hour or if they should let autumn take them down.