Posts Tagged: realia

where I’m at – because I haven’t been here

Happy New Year. Yeah, I know, it’s closer to February than it is to the new year swing over, but the break was intentional. Sort of. After the year of daily posting “rules,” which I didn’t stay true to in the end, I did what I have done upon being released from “rules” in the past –I revelled in the no more rules. The photo-a-day project was a good thing; don’t go thinking I’m regretting it. The exercise made me keep my eyes open, and I documented a year, and even if I didn’t manage the one-a-day in the end, I took lots and lots of photographs, a few of them decent. I’m just a natural rebeller against rules so I'd say I did pretty good. (Even better if I got the rest of December's photos back-posted!) Anyway, now that I’ve got those things expelled from my system I’m back. Here’s where I’m at.

Not Resolving
At the beginning of the year, everyone is thinking about fresh starts and resolutions. As a big fan of fresh starts, it is the same for me too. If I were to state some resolutions, which I’m not going to do because I didn’t make any, but if I did, they would revolve around writing and creativity and personal authenticity and cooking and getting more sleep. And revitalizing this blog.

Over the extended bloggerly break I’ve been working out ideas about where I’d like to go with this space now that the photograph project is over. I still don’t have that clearly defined in my mind, but I do know that my intent is to put the focus back on finding inspiration and making pictures with words. What those pictures will look like, I have no idea; I’m just soldiering on.

Finding Inspiration
I really loved writing people watching stories, but just I don’t have as many these days because I’m not trapped in subway cars with them for two hours or more a day any more. And this makes me very happy. I’ve always enjoyed the people-watching aspect of public transit, but doing it every day for several years took a piece out of me. For all the wonderful things a big city is, it is also filled with millions of people who aren’t looking beyond the ends of their noses in getting about their days and to an over-sensitive sod like me, the daily sea of rudeness was demoralizing. So I’m refocusing on the process of finding and developing inspiration in other ways, and my lovely, solitary walks to and from the office each day are the perfect times to meditate on that. That and, er, perhaps, some loving kindness toward the city full of rude people I’m still so quick to judge.

Picture Making
I will continue to use photos to enhance my blog space, but now I’m thinking about playing with photos creatively, and finally learning how to use my PhotoShop software to its full extent, and connecting them to the things I write.  I’ve got a brand new phone and now a number of new camera apps to try too.

Obsessing
It’s January, my annual nesting period; and I’m obsessed with food. Every day I’m searching for new recipes, looking at my cookbooks and food blogs and the good thing is that I’ve tried, with success, a number of new favourites to put on the table. This past weekend’s kitchen adventures included tomato-onion-red pepper frittata (eaten over two breakfasts), chicken enchilada soup, vegetable barley soup, crispy quinoa bake, balsamic roasted carrots, roasted tomatoes with parmesan and Ceri’s broccoli salad. I didn’t have homemade lunches a number of times in recent weeks and the thought of the restaurant/takeout options near work, though abundant in choice, grew increasingly unfavourable. I thought of taking up a challenge, say, to try a new recipe every week, but there’re those rules again.

image from flic.kr

Family Zen
My little family and I are in a really good place together.  Ceri and I have moved ourselves into a comfortable, though never fixed routine. We continue our quest to find something to do every weekend, and times at home are happy and relaxed and thank goodness he is amenable to one of the only channels I’m keen to watch on TV these days, Turner Classic Movies (through which I obsessively shut out the world time-travelled over my relatively quiet holidays). Both my girls have new homes and happy work and social lives filled with good people. We all meet every Friday night after work at our favourite local for “beer o’clock” and dinner where we decompress from the work week and catch up and laugh a lot. I’m so lucky.

Promoting Stories
I’ve started a new semester in my online creative non-fiction class and through it I continue to meet some really great people who seek to do what you and I do – tell our stories. Each new learner that comes to a class inspires me in one way or another; I learn so much from them. In return, I try my best to inspire them to tell their stories.

It’s January. My world is small. A good small – a beautiful thing.

Where are you at?

gets uglier before it gets prettier

These days much of my world looks like this.  I have heard all kinds of grumbling about it, and I suppose if I had a car I might be grumbling too.  However, much of this is about transforming one of the best things about this city – the harbourfront, which has gotten kind of shabby.  If this is going to be a world-class city, then this jewel of a spot needs fixing up.  Bring it on, I say.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

a realm apart

I get as much pleasure looking at the objects in my window when they're reflected by the morning light onto the curtain as I do looking at them when the curtain is open. It's kind of otherworldly-like; secret goings on in that other realm just beyond the reach of this one.  Like when you're a little kid and you think all your toys come alive when you're sleeping, interacting in a toy community with toy concerns and toy traditions and toy conversations - all above the little non-magical world of mortals and thus never to be shared.

image from www.flickr.com

cavalcade of lights

In which we get up close and personal with thousands to watch the lighting of the tree and subsequent fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square (Toronto City Hall).

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

glass in street

Should I go suddenly from this life, I hope it's not by decapitation by glass falling out of the sky.

 

image from www.flickr.com

Shards of glass on Adelaide Street after workers dropped a window from the Trump Hotel across the street from my office. The dropped window crashed into another window and both fell to the street. People jaywalk across that spot all the time; amazingly, nobody was hurt.

image from www.flickr.com

Broken window. A source of mystery to us as we tried to work out what happened.

post-rain show

The rain intrudes on our rooftop picnic, so Mom, Cathy, Elaine and Mia and I take the party down to my apartment.  We still have a good time, and are joined by Kelsey later.  Anyway, you have to forgive rainy skies that can produce post-event shows like this.

image from www.flickr.com

cottage

 

image from www.flickr.com

Dad

 

image from www.flickr.com

Washing

 

image from www.flickr.com

Workshop

 

image from www.flickr.com

Window

 

image from www.flickr.com

Workshop

 

image from www.flickr.com

Rained

 

out walking: south baymouth

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
The moment you arrive here, that old grind sheds off your shoulders.  That's one of the reasons I've always called it my favourite place on the planet.  

South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island.

rest; evening light on canada day

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island.  Happy Canada Day.  Feeling blessed.

a long, long day and why I love americans

Today, attempting to embark on our roadtrip from Michigan to the Manitoulin Island, we encounter  a series of unfortunate events, culminating in a giant traffic stoppage due to an accident on the I-75 southbound.  It doesn't take us long to come to terms with the fact that we will not get to Tobermory to catch the last ferry to the island.  In the meantime, as we sit on the highway in the sweltering sun, the gas tank is dwindling, no highway exit in sight.  Trapped, we pull over to sit out the traffic jam on the side of the road with the car off.  It's more than an hour into the jam-up and we all get quiet and feeling dejected, wondering how many hours of this are ahead of us.  

Within 15 minutes, we're approached by no less than six different cars, offering gas, snacks and water.  One lady shares what she'd heard on the traffic report.  At one point, we see an older woman walking unsteadily on the side of the road with a wad of tissue in her hand, obviously seeking an gentler route into the ditch where she can relieve herself.  A woman who had minutes ago insisted we accept bottles of cold water from her cooler, gets out of her car to help the woman down the side of the ditch and behind some bushes on the other side.  She then stands there with her skirt spread to protect the woman's privacy.  After ten minutes or so she helps the woman back up to the road and sends her back to her car with a bottle of water and a hug.  I've always know Americans are kind people.  Today they proved it again.

Everyone's moods are heightened significantly, and our resolve to drive around to the island the long way, back north the other way through Michigan, through Sault Ste Marie toward Espanola and bridge access to the island, doesn't seem so bad.  We arrive at the cottage at 1:45 am, after more than 13 hours, bloody tired, but happy to be here.

 

image from www.flickr.com

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge, into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Ontario is within reach.

 

image from www.flickr.com

Stopped at a pub in Sault Ste Marie for some dinner and were happy to listen to some live blues by this excellent guitar player, with whom we shared some banter about our hometown of Windsor.

 

image from www.flickr.com

Twilight on the road. It's a long, long day.