Monday, July 28, 2003

Pirates are plying the peanut butter sea of my mind.

I am concentrating on yoga and meditation lately. And I had a long massage this morning. Why do most people not understand that studying buddhism is not the same as becoming a buddhist? I suppose that posing such a question is a poor example of tonglen, and so I will let it go. But don't ask me again! :-)

Went to the library today, as if the tower of book by my bed (and in the closet, and on the bookcase downstairs) weren't sufficiently decadent. But I found Martin Sloane — yay! — and Angle of Repose — lots of long O's in tonight's blog — and am already devouring them. On the pick list for next week are Jane Urquhart, Roddy Doyle, and Bill Bryson, but if you have a recommendation please let me know. In the meantime I have lots to keep me busy. I could get used to summers like this, although I believe the bank is hoping that I won't.

We showed the yard to some neighbours yesterday, and the lovely Mrs couldn't get over two features: the size and the vegetables. The Mr neighbour was apparently more taken with all the blooming things, especially the mass of the 'Adelaide Hoodless' roses (which are truly impressive right now, with literally hundreds of blooms on them). I was only slightly taken aback by the assumption that I was the "foreman" on the front-yard renovation project. :-( Perhaps planting trees in a skirt isn't such a good idea.

Oh, but I picked the first Evans cherries of the season today — still a bit tart! The raspberries are almost finished, which timing I find strange. There are more than a hundred flowers or young fruits on the strawberries and we've been harvesting a small bowl a day since the beginning of July. Of course the blueberries and saskatoon didn't flower this year, but I am hopeful for next summer. I am also still lobbying for a Nanking cherry to complement the raspberry patch and lead into the fruit trees. Maybe next year?

Something beautiful to do is to sit on the deck and enjoy the flowers. The scent of the sweetpeas is strong in the late afternoon, and after supper the perfume of the evening-scented stock starts to rise. It's quite intoxicating actually — perhaps that explains a few things!

Anyway, it's late. The i-Tunes (like i-ching, but different) says: "When the silence starts to haunt you, just scream: let the voices out ..." My mother's holistic chart says that pain in the shoulders signals sadness and repressed fear. Arrgh, where's my irony shovel?

(with slight bow and modest praying hands)

laVermeer, the marxist buddhist wanna-be-hippie-chick

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Life is good. The sun is warm. Small fruit are in season.

Have you heard about produce co-ops? Such an anti-millennium concept, communalism. But it's intriguing. Of course, I have trouble keeping up with my own garden; I don't need to pay someone for the trouble of delivering compost-to-be to my door each week.

I enjoy reading other blogs. The other day I stumbled across an interesting one (while looking for the lyrics to the Nina Hagen song "Smack Jack," incidentally), called cowpunkmom. It was a series of recollections from someone who sounds to be about my age. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since May, so perhaps she's done remembering. Too bad. I also enjoy one written by a woman named Hillary from California. She's into cats, poetry, and crafting. Yes I know that sounds rather dull, but she's an appealing writer. And on and on.

Sometimes I think we write only to remind ourselves that we have voices. (Other than the ones in our heads, of course.)

Today I like: Dim sum. Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus. Pretending I'm 37. Things that bump and snuffle.

Today I dislike Evasion! Confusion! Repression! Fitting-room mirrors. Inglewood Second Cup on weekend nights. Long-distance plans.

Now reading: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Firewing by Kenneth Oppel. Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron. Lots of textbooks for potential adoption.

Enough enough enough. Something inspiring though tardy.

Bread and Roses (c. 1910)

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!


PS: Happy birthday, Dad! (not that he's reading) on July 25.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Harrumph! One day the eagle has to land...

The recent depiction of your earnest scribe as a tight-fisted, taste-impaired despot is little short of slander! Not to mention that I'm not the smith living in the 32-percent tax bracket. No, me, I'm an honest jones. Who happens to own quite a few CDs. All perfectly tasty. Except for Mitsou.

Too hot to be profound. Maybe I'll go for a swim in the cool stream of consciousness. Watch out for the po-mo falls. And the dread master narrative. Don't feed the grizzlies. Or the buffalo.

... blue isn't red, everybody knows this ...

Finished Oryx and Crake. Have given up on The Polished Hoe. Will try again in the fall. Now reading The Sight — YA told from the point of view of Transylvanian wolves.

I need a life of noodle stories. Giggling madly. Indulging indulgently. Dreaming wakefully. Sigh and sigh again.

Gotta work now. More nattering later. Oh yes, and do remind me to write about the irony shovel.

Monday, July 14, 2003

At last...

I know that we've all been waiting breathlessly for my thoughts and so...

Hmmm, doo-dee-doo, cogito err... sum, zoom...zoom zoom, whoo hoo... doo-dee-doo. Ta-da!

Well.. I gotta haircut, no new job, Bill bought a new Volvo (drool), Jim denies ever having sped down Groat Road (as if!). Zak's back (see Vermeer, L. 14/07/03 I'll have to post some pictures of my yard soon... maybe I'll take the camera home this evening. Other than that nothing phenomenal is happening. Leslie is still not relaxing enough and I am still relaxing too much...

Oh ya, I discovered something. Though L and I share many similar music tastes and often praise the talents of many of the same artists (although admittedly she ranges farther from the mainstream than I do and she has this idiosyncratic quirk that makes her think that pianos make better primary instuments than guitars... I mean really!), I recently learned that she has no sense at all of what defines the good songs on a cd. I mean who would have thought that "See Forever Eyes" was worth rippin' and then leave out "Vladivostock" and "Take Me to the Kaptain"!

The story begins as I was making my playlist for the ipod (as some unknown evil-dooer had corrupted it with all sorts ofunworthy material) from the main library of ripped music and consistently - album after album - Leslie (she who is "in charge" of ripping cds) had managed (contrived?) not to rip the only good songs on them.

To truly understand how big a crime this is you have to understand that we have been chucking perfectly good software like crazy fools just to make room for more mp3's. Space is at a premium and every song must be made to count! So as I sat and tried to make the best playlist possible, my jaw kept dropping lower and lower. As each artist's album came up and lo I would discover barely a good track had been made available. At first I declared censorship! But it was soon obvious that her taste was actually impaired and that even she knew it. Not only were the good songs missing, but consistently, the weaker, less-worthy tracks had been meticulously added to the main library. Leslie's awareness of her own flaws was obvious as shame had driven her to deliberately set itunes to either sort by artist or song title, thereby hiding the fact that the albums had been horrifically vivisected with only the entrails left to besmirch the harddrive.

But alas even as I discover the shocking truth, there is still a conumdrum. As previously blogged, there is scant space available for the true worthy tracks and the only sensible solution (eliminating the chaff in order to store the wheat) fills me with such dread at the predictable reaction from the musical 'Big Brother', who iron-fistedly controls the access to all sources of music in the household, that I am forced to contemplate purchasing more harddrive space at great expense and personal danger, and to begin secretly adding the correct tracks to the play list. If only I can perform this action stealthily enough, then perhaps not only will taste and justice prevail, but there remains a faint hope to convert the 'uneducated ears of L' to a more soothiing and sensible aesthetic.

But alas, the danger inherent in this vision of the future is foreshadowed in Leslie's oft-quoted verse "The dream never dies, just the dreamer..." Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream... if you hear from me no more, know the truth... and now, farewell!


P.S. Has it ever occured to you, that in an electronic age the postscript is unnecessary and overly sefl-indulgent. Without the permanence of a pen there is no need for the afterthought... (I think?)

P.P.S. The trick is always (as previously noted) to sort the wheat from the chaff. After all there is often a grain of truth. Weeding it out can be onerous but such work can often blossom into new fields of endeavor and... aaargh, enough with the horticultural metaph....

Sunday, July 13, 2003


Zak is home tonight after more than a week on the wild Sunshine Coast. He seems about a foot taller and broader than when he left, but that's probably just a mom talking. I missed him very much.

What did we do while he was gone? Had semi-hols. AM = work; PM = play. Kinda fun to do things that way, methinks me. We went to the downtown library one day. I took out a huge stack of 70s CDs and found a Happy Rhodes disc. Amazing. Went to see lots of art — even went to the Art Walk on Whyte Avenue. Had dinner with friends. Braved the new IKEA as well as lots of other shops, but didn't buy. Worked in the garden. Sat on the deck. Read books.

I dream of blackberries. And raspberries.

Still working a little. I have a small bit of work from the College, so that's reassuring. Got the key to my office. Dance of joy! I should probably take more time off but there's that pesky mortgage to consider. Oh, did I mention I got the official notice about my degree? I will be invited to convocation in November. But I'm not going until I get my Elmer.

Now reading: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. The Polished Hoe — yes, still. Sigh. Various small magazines in preparation for my courses in the fall.

Today I like: Morning. Roses. Alcohol too much.

Today I dislike: Too much alcohol. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

After 11. Must sleep. Cheers!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

"I've got a proverb for you. It's from the Spanish. Goes something like this: Take what you want. And pay for it." —Martha Brooks, True Confessions of a Heartless Girl

The blog as commonplace book. Oh my. Time and its funny elastic ways. Thinking.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Thursday. Feeling happy I'm a Canadian. Lots happening. Went to the Centre for the Arts today and saw my new office. My very own office! It has six tiny glass-brick windows. Yay! My boss asked me to evaluate a portfolio, which wasn't bad but wasn't great either. Felt I was getting dragged into someone else's argument. Very odd. Slept and slept. Stupid body.

... hyperactive when I'm small, hyperactive now I'm tall, hyperactive as the day is long ...

Buddhist lesson to work on ... "Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom. Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy; that energy is what's so juicy about him or her. That's the reason people love that person. The idea isn't to try to get rid of your anger, but to make friends with it, to see it clearly with precision and honesty, and also to see it with gentleness. ... The gentleness involves not repressing the anger but also not acting it out. It is something much softer and more openhearted than any of that. It involves learning how, once you have fully acknowledged the feeling of anger and the knowledge of who you are and what you do, to let it go." — Pema Chodron

Do you remember "Empty Garden", Elton John's song about John Lennon? I heard it today for the first time in years. It reminded me of the summer I was nineteen. Hmph.

Who remembers these singles? (I do! I do!)

• What Have I Done to Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield
• Brand New Lover - Dead or Alive
• Letting Go - Straight Lines
• Tiny Thing (Things Aren't Funny) - Jensen Interceptor
• All Touch - Rough Trade
• Twist in My Sobriety - Tanita Tikaram
• Straight from the Heart - Rosetta Stone
• Real Contender - The Wildroot Orchestra
• The Lover in Me - Sheena Easton
• The Love of a Woman - Klaatu
• Affair of the Heart - Rick Springfield
• Lead a Double Life - Loverboy --> plus Queen of the Broken Hearts by Loverboy!
• One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
• Ball of Confusion - Love and Rockets

Just digging through the 45s ... you remember what those were, right? Ah, another lovely trip down amnesia lane ... Now if only I could find another person on the planet who remembers Larry Evoy's single "Goodbye" and anything by the Cooper Brothers ... Oh the contest we could have!

iTunes reminds me "you're the blood of me". Let me never live in silence. Falling through the stars. Want to talk all night. A purple ring of fierce love. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. " ... " she says. She hopes he doesn't hear "save me." She means "reality." Means "sometimes difficult." Means "listen." Listening and listening and listening until the sounds dissolve into air and meaninglessness again.

Nicole and Dave are both on their way, Nicole to Newfoundland and Dave to New York. Zak is on his way to Sechelt. And I, and I ...

... you know I won't hold you back now ...

Drat! My computer's speakers would seem to be dying rapidly. Prob'ly too dusty. I really should clean this place once in a while. But now it's late and there are books calling my name. Their voices are so lovely and melodic: they've come to take me home.

with love from the obscure fearless girl...