Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No to Yes

This morning there has definitely been a noticeable pattern. At first sight, obstacles stood in the way of my tasks. But if I just tried and tried again, the obstacles came down.

It started at the bank. I went in to discuss my accounts and my investments and I had made an appointment last week. When I checked in with the secretary and she tried to find my appointment, she started frowning and looked puzzled. It seemed I didn't have an appointment. I gave her more information and she asked if I had had an appointment last week. No. I made an appointment last week. With a bit of discussion she informed me that the man I had made an appointment with had made my appointment for the day I had come in. He was new. But there was no problem, I saw the bank representative nonetheless, without too much fuss, and a little bit of a wait.

Then I was off to vote. Do my civic duty. Outremont is one of the hot ridings in which the Liberals really have to fight to get their seat. We elected an NDP candidate in a by-election and now they put in a new Liberal candidate. The NDP encumbent has much experience at the provincial level with the environment and finance while the Liberal is a strong proponent of the arts. We'll see what happens. Anyways I showed up at the polling station but soon realized that there must be something wrong. My polling station number wasn't represented in the building. Perhaps because it was before 10am on a Tuesday, I had just gone on autopilot to the polling station of the last election. My polling station was actually somewhere else. So I walked down the road and finally figured it out and I voted.

After these two obstacles I thought a coffee would do the trick and headed to a Caffe Olimpico for a latte. Latte pour ici, I said to the barista. Caffe latte?, he asked. Oui, I reponded. I just said that, I thought. He followed up, Pour ici? Oui, I responded again. I said that too, I thought, what is going on with my morning....

And I thought about these little moments. Appointments and plans and communication not going as ahead as planned. But with a bit of thought, plenty of breath, and calm, the goal was accomplished nonetheless. Maybe it's a pattern of my life at the moment? I am waiting to hear about jobs, waiting to hear about details, and have heard nothing. By the end of the week, I was told... last week. Deep down I knew that it would maybe be this week. I hope. So with a bit of thought, plenty of breath and calm, maybe I'll get the positive responses I want. The path isn't what I thought it would be, but the goal remains the same. Patience et courage, overcoming obstacles can only make you stronger...

Monday, October 13, 2008

shifting focus, changing seasons, giving thanks

Whether I like it or not, summer is over. This past weekend Montreal has been blessed with lovely warm weather and I was lucky to spend my afternoons wandering the city. And although some were still in flip flops and shorts (or barefoot dancing to the drumbeat at the Tam Tams), it was definitely scarf-light-jacket weather.

Yesterday morning I went to the Jean Talon market and saw the local harvest in full color: cranberries, butternut squash, peppers, corn, brussel sprouts, cabbages, potatoes, onions... A busy local market in the first chills of autumn. We were doing our shopping for the Canadian Thanksgiving meal today.

In the past, when I was in the States, the Canadian Club at college would put together a meal and my American friends would ask, What are you celebrating? As far as I know, Canadian Thanksgiving is not tied to any historical event but to the change of the season, the gathering of the harvest. But really, who really needs something to celebrate or commemorate? It's more than enough to just give thanks. So often in our lives we focus on the negative; we bitch and moan and complain. There is at least this one supper where we sit back and reflect on what we HAVE, what we are thankful for, focus on the positive instead of the negative. Health, love, family, stability, food, shelter, friends. There is so much that we have, we should really take more time to take tabs. Every day should be thanksgiving. We would lead such fulfilled lives.

For now, the turkey is brining in a massive pot (ironically made in Turkey), we're planning our supper, inviting our neighbours, and coming together. And for that very simple communion, I give thanks.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

More Quotes for Thought

I am right now in the midst of Living with the Himalayan Masters. But I finished Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body and Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last week and have some quotes that resonated with me. Bauby's memoir which was turned into the movie by Julian Schnabel had such delicacy, vividness and evocation. It's a quick read and very much worth the time and attention. I had read Winterson before (part of the myth series from Knopf) but never really delved into the rich poetic prose that I discovered in Written on the Body. Both such rich reads, enjoy the snippets.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly...

Meticulous people never go wrong: they scrupulously note down each letter and never seek to unravel the mystery of a sentence before it is complete. Nor would they dream of completing a single word for you. Unwilling to chance the smallest error, they will never take it upon themselves to provide the “room” that follows “mush,” the “ic” that follows “atom,” or the “nable” without which neither “intermi” nor “abomi” can exist. Such scrupulousness makes for laborious progress, but at least you avoid the misunderstandings which impulsive visitors bog down when they neglect to verify their intuitions. Yet I understood the poetry of such mind games one day when, attempting to ask for my glasses (lunettes), I was asked what I wanted to do with the moon (lune).

I have known gentler awakenings. When I came to that late-January morning, the hospital ophthalmologist was leaning over me and sewing my right eyelid shut with a needle and thread, just as if he were darning a sock.

Written on the Body...

You didn’t answer. Why do human beings need answers? Partly I suppose because without one, almost any one, the question itself soon sounds silly.

‘Hello Louise. I was passing so I thought I might pop in.’
Pop in. What a ridiculous phrase. What am I, a cuckoo clock?

All these jewels were escorted by amply cut grey suits and dashing spotted ties. The ties twitched when Louise walked by and the suits bulled themselves in a little. The jewels glinted their own warning at Louise’s bare throat.

I cut a slice of fruit bread. If in doubt eat. I can understand why for some people the best social worker is the fridge.

I am drowning in inevitability.

What of that other characteristic prevalent in human living things, the longing to be loved? No, it doesn’t come under the heading Reproduction. I have no desire to reproduce but I still seek out love. Reproduction. Over-polished Queen Anne style dining-room suite reduced to clear. Genuine wood. IS that what I want? The model family, two plus two in an easy home assembly kit. I don’t want a model, I want the full-scale original. I don’t want to reproduce, I want to make something entirely new.

The bolts of the collar bone undo me.

Shuttered like a fan no-one suspects your shoulder blades of wings. While you lay on your belly I kneaded the hard edges of your flight.

In the very early morning the hours have a different quality, they stretch and promise.

I’ve though a lot about death recently, the finality of it, the argument ending in mid-air. One of us hadn’t finished, why did the other one go?

What do the dead do at night? DO they come forth grinning at the wind whistling through their ribs.