waiting on the front porch
she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco
- Name: bee
- Location: montreal, quebec, Canada
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
under the weather
i have a sneaking feeling something is up with my health, so i'm making an appointment to see the doctor. i haven't really bounced back from that fever/migraine combo of two weeks ago. i'm pretty tired; i've been sleeping 12 hours a night, and while that sounds luxurious, it's sort of scaring me, because my body just shuts off when it feels like it. i'm lucky to get to 9 pm. these days. and i feel foggy throughout the day - at work i'm getting the reputation of a well-meaning space cadet. (well, not really. but that's what i think.)
i'm also working a lot: they suckered me in for 6 days this week. the good thing about that is is that i'm rubbing up against all these health products so today i finally caved and bought some wheat grass juice. my boss keeps feeding me all these articles about health issues in hopes that she can fix me.
i'm contemplating doing a fast/cleanse once i eat a bit more of my groceries...(right around the christmas season! riiiight!) to see if that will clean me out a bit.
i've been watching "girl with a pearl earring" and getting really into art again. my god, i wish i was artistic. like, truly artistic, and not in the folk-arty kind of way that i am. i admire people who can use their hands to create art so much.
there's this part in the movie where griet and vermeer are sitting side by side crushing the tints to make paint, and i got such a visceral reaction from it...can you imagine creating a painting from every step? stretching the canvas, crushing the pigment, adding water to make paint, manipulating the brushes, and making something breathe underneath your touch?
i love art. i think i love all types of it. it lodges right into my solar plexus and makes me think, makes me ache to get my hands dirty, gives me a million ideas even as i focus slowly on one aspect...yum.
i'd love to trade inspiration with you. what inspires you? can we give each other new directions to follow?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
the coolest meme ever
"The first five people to respond to this post (via the comments section) will get some form of art made by me. The only catch, of course: as with most memes, if you sign up, you have to put this in your own blog as well."
C R E A T E
something for the first five. shoot me an email with your address. i got this from the fabulous ruby-cube, as well as the divine swamp grrl, as well as the luscious thea...
this is, quite literally, the most BRILLIANT meme i've ever seen. who doesn't want to get some arty love from her bloggie sisters? eggg-xactly. i am dying for the chance to love up five people...(most of you i was going to anyway...) so drop me a comment, and i promise you, i will get you something.
1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? mostly hot chocolate, but nothing quite beats a christmas-eve rum nog.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? see, i'm lucky in that i'm not expected to get gifts for the adults in my life, (ie: my stepfather or my godmother) because they know i'm poor, and my sister and i decided to stop buying each other "have-to" gifts long ago. so....neither.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? coloured. blinky-blink. but anything festive, really. they tend to stay up year round.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? i used to have some plastic mistletoe that i kept up year round, too, but i think i ditched it in the last move.
5. When do you put your decorations up? i have no idea where the box of "bee decorations" is at the moment. i hope my stepfather is keeping it in storage for me. but i haven't yet.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? my mom's orange coffee cake.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? every year, banane and i would have a "sleepover" on christmas eve. giggling like six-year-olds until we dropped off, spooning, has to take the cake, for sure.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? the year after i was 10. i really didn't want to let the magic go, and the 'grandmother' who lived down the stree convinced me that she'd seen him one year when i was wavering. that sustained me for a while.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? yes. usually - i don't get as many as i used to, but when gifts meant more to me, i did.
10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? i think it depended on the year...i can't remember.
11. Snow! Love it or hate it? love it. don't love it by february, but LOVE IT in december.
12. Can you ice skate? yes...but i can't exactly stop once i start. :)
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? i was 6. my mom made me a cabbage patch doll because we were too poor for her to buy one. her name was maggie. i loved that thing.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays to you? banane - family.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? i like fruit cake at this time of the year. don't ask me why or how.
16. Favorite Holiday tradition? see #7.
17. What tops your tree? it used to be a gold tinselly star - the most gaudy thing in all the land. now, i think it's an angel.
18. Which do you prefer--GIVING OR RECEIVING? GIVING. hands freaking down.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? o holy night used to make me cry. there's something about the progression of the notes.
20. Candy Canes? every so often, why not?
Tag! You're it....
p.s. on a completely unrelated note, i feel like i need to mention this. i don't know if y'all have heard of this, but my hackles shot through the roof. i was listening to the cbc yesterday (the canadian version of npr) and this guy was talking about how evil does exist in the world...it exists in the form of people who impose their will on the selves, whether physical or emotional, of others. this would qualify.
how can we stop this? how can we protect the world?
Monday, December 11, 2006
today i woke up late, and as it always does the odd time or two when i sleep past 10, it threw off my entire day. when i sleep in, i feel like i wander around in a perpetual fog, unable to kickstart myself into any sort of productive rhythm. i was still in my cat hair-covered bathrobe by 2, having made a stab at drinking a pot of coffee and eating a few bowls of oatmeal, trying to finish watching syriana for the third day in a row.
the morning blurred from its low, grey, damp state into the afternoon. after wandering from my computer in the bedroom through the living room to the kitchen a few dozen times, i finally shook myself and got dressed, and got out of the house.
i was going to get my hair cut, but the little middle-eastern place where i get it done is closed on mondays.
i was going to go buy some winter clothes so i could stop layering my tank tops, but the sign i saw for reitmans was actually just a bill board.
i went to my work to buy groceries and ended up getting scheduled for the rest of the week. it's good - i need the money, and my boss ended up telling me how much she likes me. job security is good.
money. funny what an insidious worry it is. i never thought, growing up, that i would be the kind of person who would worry about money, but i guess that's just part and parcel of being bad with it, living on your own, and trying to make sure there's enough of it to get by.
the past week i've come to realize how much i love my home. trying to think of why i love it so much is difficult to describe. it has hardwood floors (which i refuse to cover) and large windows (ditto) that face south, and get lots of light. i've stocked the window ledges with plants and crystals and candle holders. my sister's art hangs on the walls.
i've carried on some family traditions. my mother loved to listen to the radio in the kitchen because HER mother did, so i do too. (and love it.) i keep a rooster in there too, because in some tradition it's considered lucky. i have a chubby cat as my constant companion who sleeps on the $10 rug i got from ikea and who eats my leftovers without compunction.
in the past 8 years i haven't lived anywhere longer than 6 months. 8 if you count the last place i lived in, where the last 2 months were spent mostly in b.c. more than anything now, i feel like i need a home, and this place has been magical for me. it's allowed me to do a lot of healing within its walls - hardcore and sometimes uncomfortable healing, but healing nonetheless.
i feel safe here. safe in more than just the physical sense; something spiritual in me matches up with the energy of this place. i have lived here now for five months. in another four, my super is going to come and ask me if i want to renew my lease. i want to say yes, every fibre in my being wants to stay here, but the simple fact of the matter is i doubt i will be able to afford it, unless something drastic happens with my finances.
it makes me sad. i still don't feel like i've moved in completely, (the walls are still kind of bare, i haven't committed to the amethyst bedroom i dreamed of), and i'm already somewhat saying goodbye.
beyond this bit of melancholy, i know a few things: i know that what is meant to happen will happen; i know that my 'home' doesn't really matter, that my home is with my loved one; that i can take it all down and put it all back up again and the new place will be just as...new. as good.
the universe will take care of me, i know that, i just wish a miracle could happen.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
have you guys ever read this book? it's by kathy stinson, and i LOVED it when i was growing up. it's just a simple story about a little girl who can't explain it to the people around her why things are so much better when they're red. (juice tastes better when she drinks it from the red cup; her red mitts pack better snow balls; her red pajamas keep the monsters away, and on and on.)
it really is one of the cutest things i've ever read, and of course i thought of miss deb when i saw it again.
today i had a red day. what that means to me is, simply, that i had a blast, for no particular reason at all.
i went to work, and got to make signs all day. art always makes me feel happy, especially when i get to play with chalk. chalk makes me think of the blackboard that we had in the basement of our family's house. the weight of it in my fingers makes me happy - how you HAVE to make thick, heavy lines with it.
i bought some figs, and some extra coffee, and then i walked to the grocery store and on the way got lured in by a florist's shop. i did exceedingly well in there, considering, and only left with a fern, a jade plant, and one stem of gladiola. it's been forever since i bought some plants, and these were incredibly cheap.
i'm a bit tired but i still want to clean my apartment and watch a movie before i go to bed. it's funny, now that the pressure of school is off i don't really have any ideas for blog posts...well, i have one. i'll write that tomorrow.
this poem strikes me as a very "me" poem today:
WHAT WILL YOU BE?
they never stop asking me
"what will you be?-
a doctor, a dancer,
a diver at sea?"
they never stop bugging me:
"what will you BE?"
as if they expect me to
stop being me.
when i grow up i'm going to be a sneeze,
and sprinkle germs on all my enemies.
when i grow up i'm going to be a toad,
and dump on silly questions in the road.
when i grow up, i'm going to be a child.
i'll play the whole day and drive them wild.
-dennis lee, from "garbage delight", 1977
yes, so this is me today. a bit silly, a LOT sassy, a dash of bratty....just, basically, RED through and through.
p.s. for some reason, i can't comment on anybody's blogs today...i'm so sorry! i've been trying but nothing is happening.
Friday, December 08, 2006
i have this vase that sits in my cupboard - i painted it one year as a gift for my mother for mother's day. there's a black-eyed susan on it, and the words, mothers soothe the soul's garden, in blurred black on the bottom. i've always liked the idea of a person's inner space being living and dynamic, like a bed of soil where one can plant whatever they wish.
the other night, when i was struggling with my last assignment, i started googling images that were associated with the word "victory", (yes, i was already planning my 'i did it' post), and these pictures came up.
i like vintage things (movies, clothes, wines, deco), so i was struck by the graphics on the posters and had to learn more about what 'victory gardens' actually were. according to a teeny bit of internet research, they were a project the u.s. government undertook to encourage american citizens to grow their own produce so the agricultural production could be channeled directly to the allied troops overseas.
this idea sort of seemed like a no-brainer to me, in the 'take production back into your own hands, grow your own food' sense, but i quickly took it away from its original intention and re-appropriated it as my own.
and i thought - what does my soul need to feel replenished right now? what can i give to it that would be like leaving a field fallow for 3 years? what would restore the pH balance to my inner garden? and so i planned my first day off.
after i dropped off my essay, i bought myself a coffee, went to the library and borrowed 4 children's books:
and where the sidewalk ends
...basically because my brain has been filled with gigantic amounts of "adult" books lately, but also because immersing myself in children's things reminds me how much they spark a different side of creativity, a side that still lives within me, but that i neglect from time to time.
i came home and fell asleep for a dreamless nap that lasted 4 hours. i got up and made miso soup, went to the video store and rented american beauty, and bought myself a cheap tiramisu.
i don't think i've watched american beauty since it came out in 1999, and i've wanted to since, and i was so glad i did. what an exquisitely crafted, and written script. the actors are all so incredible, the cinematography was gorgeous, and it was superb. and i knew i was doing it for just me.
(which is, of course, fine every once in a while).
by then it was 10 and i was sleepy again (i'm still a bit sick) so i just went to my bed and curled up in it and fell asleep...and i woke up sprawled out in all directions.
i have a question for you: what can you do to water your 'victory garden'? what does your soul need to feel replenished? maybe you haven't done anything you feel is particularly noteworthy today - so what? life is here, happening, and you're an intrinsic part of this life, and you should celebrate your own existence. because you're lovely, and you so deserve a gesture of appreciation from the person who knows you best.
it feels really good. wholesome. healthy. holistic. sacred.
plant something within yourself...bead a new necklace, light candles when you make supper, and watch how the shoots that are inside of you unfold, welcome the warmth of that attention...it's a beautiful thing.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
guys. i'm DONE!!!
it is 12:57 am. i just finished my last assignment for the semester. the semester that almost killed me, yes, but taught me oh-so-much-more than just book-larnin.
i have a month off.
what the hell am i going to do?
ONE WHOLE FREAKING MONTH. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
you know what was weird right before i sat myself down for the final. bloody. time. to write this thing, i found a tiny, paper flower on my desk by the keyboard.
now, i don't do tiny paper flowers. i have NO idea how this tiny paper flower got to be in my apartment in the first place, let alone how it magically appeared on my desk, by my hand.
it looks like a chamomile flower. and because i'm a google-freak, i googled chamomile symbolism. apparently, it means wisdom, luck, and longevity. COOL.
i love everybody right now. i feel like i just won a war with one of the most uncomfortable parts of myself - the part that is afraid to succeed.
meme, meme, meme, MEEEEEEEEEMMMMMME
well, i'm having a hard time writing this damn assignment. my body's being a bit crabby (because i haven't really moved in a week, i still have a bit o'fever and my head's got this intermittent, nails-on-a-chalkboard thing going on) and i'm getting frustrated because..."really bee? it's two pages. and it's the last thing you have to do before a MONTH LONG BREAK. would you do it already, please?"
does anyone else have this problem??
...so, to "soothe the savage beast" i thought i'd do a meme. because they DO soothe me, for some ODD reason. i like quizzes. always have. remember MASH? loved that too. and mad libs. i just like filling out things.
here we go!
List ten things you want to say to people you know but you never will, for whatever reason. Don't say who they are. Use each person only once.
10. the only reason i'm keeping you in my life is for the money i might get from your death one day. i think you owe me that much.
9. i wish you had just told me the truth. it would have hurt still, but for a lot less. it would have showed me you respected me.
8. you changed my life in a really powerful, gentle way and i think about you a lot. thank you.
7. i'm sorry. there was a lot of stuff going on with me at the time, but it still doesn't excuse my behaviour.
6. marry me.
5. i was jealous of you for too long, but i understand why now.
4. if i had been single at the time, i totally would have asked you out. you're really attractive.
3. authority figure or no, if you touch me again, i'll rip your fucking arm off.
2. i thought you were the most beautiful person i had ever seen when i was growing up.
1. teach me everything you know. i am ready.
a thoughtful thought
these bouncing babes are my cousins leif (the blond) and lakshmi (the brunette). they live in the yukon and are the children of my cousin, jay, a woman who by rights is more my sister than anything. when she adopted them, i became an aunt for the first time - and oh, my god, is anything better than being an aunt?
they were born in march, 2005, and had some of the problems that twins have upon birth. lakshmi was the fighting big sister, (wisely named after a tough indian goddess) and leif (named after leif ericksson - yes, the kids are destined to be great warriors)- well, it was touch-and-go for the little puff for a while. he was flown to the icu in a hospital in ottawa, where he stayed, incubated, for 6 weeks while his parents tried to deal with...everything. i was living in ottawa at the time and some of my most precious memories are of being suited up in the cap and mask, sitting in a rocking chair, and holding the newest member of our family - all 3.5 pounds of him.
his skin was translucent. he was covered in tubes. he snuffled and slept a lot and he smelled like a miracle.
out of the two, leif has always been the more accomodating. he's such a happy-go-lucky, sweet-tempered kid, who loves watching golf with his daddy or swinging in his mechanical swing set. lakshmi, on the other hand - is a FIRECRACKER. good LORD.
she was the one to roll over first, crawl first, walk first - and she knew her mind early and was NOT afraid to articulate her point of view. i remember, on my trip up to the yukon in august 2005, it took laker a while to trust me, but once she did, she wanted to be "up". "down" was NEVER an option. so i put on a solid five pounds of muscle carrying her precious weight around because...well, it was just easier on everybody that way.
they are both such miracles - completely different children (which i marvel at) but so so SO special.
imagine them in 17 years. it's their first day of their first year in college. they never stopped being each other's best buddy so they plan to take the bus together. they have different classes for the morning but agree to meet up in the cafeteria for lunch. lakshmi has geography all morning; leif has intro to architecture. they both doodle in the margins of their new notebooks.
when they meet up in the cafeteria it's with a burst of relief. lakshmi immediately starts up with the teasing, which leif counters by silently slipping french fries in her knapsack. they can see the other students looking at them - always the wondering, and lakshmi tells leif they should just print t-shirts saying "yes, we're twins" on the front and "twins can be best friends, too" on the back. leif almost chokes on his laughter.
someone comes up to their table. leif notices first, but thinks nothing of it - the guy could just be looking for a place to eat lunch, after all.
the guy has a gun.
in a deep voice that suddenly echoes through the whole cafeteria, the guy tells lakshmi and leif to separate. he digs the gun into her side. she panics a little and leif is panicking too, but he stays calm for her, and nods; he'll figure a way out. the guy starts screaming,
"boys on one side! girls on the other!" over and over, and the cafeteria explodes into chaos. all these young kids screaming and crying, but doing what they're told, thinking that it will save them.
once he has them separated, the guy starts shooting.
funny, how methodical death can be sometimes.
"doing what they're told" doesn't save 14 of the women in that cafeteria.
lakshmi is one of them.
i tell people two things about myself on a regular basis. the first is that i became a feminist when i was 11 years old, and the second is that montreal is so much my home because i chose it - i dreamed myself here.
these two facts about myself collided in an "oh my god" eureka moment a few days ago, when the tell-tale belly twitch (that lets my memory know an anniversary was coming) started twitching.
17 years ago TODAY, a man entered a room in a building of l'ecole polytechnique and separated the women from the men. shouting, "you're all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists," he opened fire on the women, and killed 14 of them. his reasons, beyond madness, were fairly 'simple' - they were women enrolled in engineering, (typically, a man's profession), and had 'ruined his life' by taking away his prospects.
i remember watching the news with my mother, and asking her what a feminist was. she told me that it was a person who believed in the equality of both genders, without discrimination.
"but there's nothing wrong with that." i said, puzzled, watching the stretchers get carried out of the school on the news.
"no," she said, "no, there isn't."
"can i be one?"
she looked at me, and smiled.
"it might make your life harder, but you can if you want to."
"i want to."
and my birth as a feminist took place.
and my love for a city was hatched.
a city that has seen so much, hurt so much, buried so much, and yet been the locus for so much healing. december 6 is now a national day of remembrance for violence against women.
i remember these women.
i work (peacefully) to ensure equality among everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.
i do it for lakshmi, and for leif. for their children, too.
(i took some poetic license with the story, but please read more about it here, or here, or here, or here.