Sunday, March 12, 2017

Exploding head ass kicking

I realize it's been a while since I last posted here. I'd like to say that's going to change and I'll write more frequently but I've been busy posting pictures of my cat on Instagram.

Since my last post, my entire life basically blew up. Ok wait, I should be more specific: my entire professional life. I best word this carefully for legal reasons. The Universe decided I needed a good kick in the ass in the right direction, and surprised me with a new life. How's that for equanimity?

So now, probably for the first time in my life, I'm pursuing what I really want to do: teach yoga and write plays, like, full-time. It's scary as shit, crazy fun and I've never been happier. Every day is different and I'm fully in charge of my destiny which is daunting at times but it's really forcing me to focus my energy where it needs to go, and trust that everything will work out, hence my renewed obsession with social media.

Whereas sloth used to be my biggest challenge, now I have to learn how to turn off my brain and take some time for myself because I'm so stimulated all the time with shit that I love and am totally passionate about. It's like being on life crack. It's an adjustment and I have to be careful not to OD. I was living in black and white, and now everything is in full f*cking technicolour. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Yesterday, I got hooked up with Bryan Kest's Online Power Yoga classes. What does this mean? Yoga, every f*cking day. Yeah, I'm still learning not to take a puff of that life crack pipe too often. My head's about to explode.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Keeping it Veal

My boyfriend and I recently returned to Spain for a couple weeks after a short first visit back in December. He’s got a work project developing over there and had a few business meetings. I was tagging along for the ride. I basically hadn’t given this trip any thought once the flights were booked. His Spanish colleague was booking our hotel. I didn’t even know where exactly in Spain we were going. The only details I had were: somewhere along the northwest coast in the region of Galicia. So naturally, I assumed we were headed to a small fishing village with a hotel, a café and a bar, and maybe a beach due to the close proximity of the ocean.

We ended up in a place called Cangas de Morrazo and it was considerably larger than the remote town I had envisioned. However, it was breathtakingly beautiful, sunny and hot. We were off to a good start. After checking in at the hotel and having the requisite nap after losing six hours on the way over from Canada, we decided to venture out for sustenance of the food and beverage kind. It was approximately 5:30 pm. We were hungry, thirsty, and although partially rested, I still felt like I had been run over by a truck due to jet lag. How hard could it be to find to find a restaurant?  

Lesson number one: the Spanish take what is called a “siesta” ranging anywhere between 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm. Some businesses close for the duration and others, such as restaurants, serve alcohol and light snacks but no food… not until about 9 pm or later. That’s right: don’t even think about dinner until around 9:30 pm, and even that’s on the early side. Tired and desperate, we finally found a patio and resigned ourselves to deriving much needed calories from beer. Luckily, they’re very generous with the snacks when you’re drinking so we feasted on olives, peanuts and roasted corn nibblies. Also, the beer was cold and delicious.

The Spanish, it seems, are generally on a later schedule. As a non-morning person, this suited me just fine, and I believe, also proves a theory I have that Spain is in the wrong time zone. They should be in the same zone as Great Britain and Portugal, and yet they’re an hour ahead. I believe an entire culture was built around this mistake. The sun rises and sets later, and dinner doesn’t usually wrap up until midnight. I would even venture, based on this map, that at least half of France is also in the wrong time zone.

While exploring a local tourist site with my boyfriend's Spanish colleague and his wife, I asked about the whole time zone thing, and it immediately sparked an animated discussion among a group of nearby visitors. Of course, they were all speaking Spanish so I didn’t understand a word but I could tell I’d caused some controversy, and my work here was done.

After a few days, a daily schedule was emerging: breakfast, beach, lunch at beach, chill time at hotel, dinner, bed. The biggest decision we had to make on any given day was which beach to go to since there were plenty to choose from. 

Yeah, this is a little bit of alright.

Of course, we had to limit our exposure to the Spanish summer sun for the first few days, having nearly translucent, white skin. I was somewhat troubled when, upon returning from our first beach venture and contemplating a shower, the boyfriend says to me: “Go wash the cancer off.” Even slathered in SPF 60 sunblock, returning from that first day on the beach, my skin was eerily red. In response to my boyfriend’s inquiry about the exact shade of crimson, I replied: “It’s not of emergency room proportions but it is aesthetically troubling.” However, with repeated daily exposure to harmful UV rays, my pasty white Canadian skin was browning like a finely basted Christmas turkey.  

Lesson number two: when ordering seafood in Galicia, be aware that you will get the whole enchilada, including the face. After a sojourn on yet another pristine beach, we stumbled onto an elegant restaurant, and as luck would have it, they had a patio. So, we plunked our sandy asses down and ordered some beer and food. When the waitress said “prawns”, I immediately thought: “Hey, that’s shrimp. I love shrimp. I’ll have shrimp.” So I ordered the shrimp. This is what I got: 

As you can see, that’s an entire animal: face, shell, spindly little legs. I was Anthony Bourdain-ing it in parts known to most, but not to me. I’m not (yet) a vegetarian or vegan but trying to eat something that still has little beady eyes staring at me is almost enough to turn me into a full-fledged herbivore. Below is the prawn refuse I generated once I'd extracted the edible meat. Well, edible according to me:

After a few days, we also noticed something was different about this place. Apart from the Shell gas station, there was no corporate presence whatsoever. No Golden Arches, no Forever 21, no forced homogeny of the masses. We were surrounded by small, local businesses and completely immersed in another culture. No double Quarter Pounder with cheese to soothe my homesickness; no retail therapy at whatever hipster-poser chain store is hot right now. I felt this lack of Western influence was also apparent in the people, who were very relaxed and comfortable with themselves. I saw plenty of bare boobs in two weeks, and I can honestly say not one of them was fake. These were real people on the beach, and bikinis weren’t just reserved for skinny model-types.

Lesson number three: there were only the two lessons mentioned above.

Apart from not speaking a word of Spanish, I felt at home here. The people were friendly and welcoming, and I knew we had truly begun integrating when the boyfriend turned to me one evening and said: “ Well, it’s bedtime, so it must be time for dinner.” We made it our mission to do as little as possible, every day. We went from sitting on our asses in our hotel room, to lying on our asses on the beach, to sitting on our asses on patios and in restaurants, moving as little as possible while slowly fattening up. We were keeping it veal.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Baby turtles eat raspberries

My brother-in-law recently posted a video on Facebook about how young adults today seem to lack basic life skills like cooking, sewing, personal finances, etc... As I watched this video, I realized that, to some extent, this was me. I mean, I can do my laundry and make an omelette, but I'm by no means a domestic goddess. I have the ability to cook but I just don't want to. So maybe it's not that I don't have the skills, it's that I'm lazy which I guess is an entirely different problem.

It's become clear to me today that instead of working on my latest play, I will piss away my time on social media and other general time-wastage activities. Watching a baby turtle eating a raspberry may cause me to have my next big idea. I think I entered into a meditative state while watching a toddler scale a rock-climbing gym wall. I mean, that's when I'm open to the muse, when my subconscious can rise to the surface due to my tremendous focus on a singular thing, like videos of cats destroying Christmas trees. Yeah, I know it's July. Don't tell me you don't get nostalgic for Christmas come month seven of twelve.

I just impressed myself there with a semi-Star Trek reference. If you didn't catch it, you're a loser. Get caught up. Wiki Jeri Ryan. Or ask your boyfriend. So we finally got hooked up to Netflix, because the boyfriend and I were tired of being losers too. So now when someone says: "It's on Netflix", I promptly reply: "Seen it, bitch" because I have no life.

Remember Amanda Peet? She was almost famous for a while... like maybe a decade ago. She's the Rom-Com pretty young girlfriend, think opposite Jack Nicholson in Something's Gotta Give. I figured she was an average actress at best. Until I watched HBO series Togetherness, in which Ms. Peet plays one of the main characters and proceeds to blow my f*cking mind. She's absolutely brilliant in this show, making bold choices as an actress and completely unafraid to play someone who's kind of messed up. She's the real deal, friends. Watch this show. Of course, you'll need Netflix, or Apple TV or whatever's not available on your regular cable subscription.

This girl ain't no poser. She's for real.

Now if I could just finish reading the latest Jonathan Franzen novel I started six months ago. Thanks Netflix, and adult colouring books.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sloth-induced positive birth trauma

A colleague sent me this meme recently:

I've always had a natural affinity with felines.
My 11 years of yoga practice haven't really contributed to my evolution as a human being. I still feel like a spiritual infant because people, in general, still irritate me and I don't like to share. This could also be caused by my lack of empathy towards others, except when it comes to animals. Play a sad Sarah McLachlan song and show me abused animals and I wither in a river of tears. Show me an impoverished child with the face of an angel and... nothing. Sure, on some level, I know it's "sad" but I remain unmoved.

I'm beginning to realize I may lack sensitivity which is surprising since I consider myself a writer, and being such, qualify as an artist, who in theory, should have a "sensitive" soul, or something. All I really "feel" is bitterness and scorn, sprinkled with resentment. I know that, based on The Secret and the law of attraction and all that jazz, that negative thinking will land me in all manner of hell. However, positive thinking has brought me some messed up shit. So, WTF yo?

Is an attitude of gratitude helping or hindering me? How about a "f*ck it" attitude for 2016? If I didn't give a shit, then I wouldn't have to pour so much effort into being grateful all the time which is exhausting. Gratitude demands a positive outlook on life which is not my default setting so I'm constantly straining against my natural tendency towards misanthropy. My attitude is essentially this: despite basically being part of the world's one percent (upper middle class), things still happen to me on a daily basis that I consider "shitty", thus thwarting my attempts to be content.

To make matters worse, I'm an introvert, so it goes without saying that I'm misunderstood since I usually prefer the non-company of people. However, my f*ck it attitude would come in very handy for someone who generally prefers being alone. Do I want to do anything fun / positive / useful / productive? F*ck it. I want to get drunk and watch Girls reruns. I want to give up on my dreams and sink into the quiet despair of an unchanging daily routine. Pursuing goals is much too demanding and there's no guarantee of success. I'd much rather wallow in the safety of mediocrity.

Investing myself in anything worthwhile feels like a waste of time, and also highlights the harrowing depths of my sloth. One would assume that I'd be happy doing nothing, since it's essentially my chosen path, but one would be wrong. I would have to criticize and mock those who are doing something. How dare they tarnish me with their ambition and drive.  

Obviously, 2016 is starting off on a high note. I've become wary of even-numbered years. They don't have the same promising, cozy feel as uneven-numbered years. It's strange that I would feel this way since I was born in an even-numbered year. Although, it could explain my dread of the even-numbered year since I found out fairly recently that I suffered birth trauma upon my arrival, and was basically in need of a therapist within the first minute of being born. But that's another story.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Escapee Santa and palm trees - Christmas in Europe

How to be productive: travel to Europe from Canada. Lose six hours. Stay overseas for two weeks. Adjust to that time zone. Come home. Gain six hours. Wake up at 5 am because I'm still on European time. Get shit done. By 9 am, my day is done and I can justify watching Friends reruns for the next 8 hours.

How to eat guilt-free: go to France. Cheese, bread, charcuterie, creamy sauces and wine are plentiful; and you may want to pick up smoking, otherwise, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. For some reason, it feels like if you smoke in France, you won't get cancer because everyone is doing it and they make it look so cool. It's like eating bacon in North America. Don't fight it. It may give you cancer but a life without bacon is not worth living.

How to justify sleeping in: go to Spain in December. The sun doesn't rise until about 9 am. I got up for a bathroom break in the darkness of what I thought was the middle of the night. I checked my phone. It was 8 am. Also, there are palm trees in Spain. I didn't know this until very recently.

Can you spot them?

How to confirm North American food has been f*cked with by evil corporations: eat pretty much anywhere in Europe. The food just tastes better. I can't even say precisely what it is but the food there tastes more... real, and less like chemical soup with a strange aftertaste.

In France especially, I seemed to ignore my body's signals of "If you eat another bite, your gut will explode all over this table." The food was so good, I was willing to gestate a food baby on many occasions, hence the frequent wear of stretchy leggings and loose tops. In my defense, I did a fair bit of walking but it by no means seemed to equal my fitness regimen at home, as evidenced by my tight fitting clothes and rounder bod at yesterday's yoga class - my first in about a month.

Amusing discovery: the "Escapee Santa" seemed to be a very popular festive decoration overseas:

It's every make believe man for himself!

This was the first year ever I was away for Christmas. I didn't even bother decorating our house because we would barely see it, and also, our cat would have destroyed the tree by the time we got back, as evidenced by years past:

She doesn't yet know to leave the scene of the crime.

Christmas in Europe, or at least in Spain and France, was tastefully understated. You knew it was the holiday season but it wasn't shoved in your face at every corner. There seemed to be some kind of restraint, unlike the unbridled retail glee at home, complete with Black Friday trampling hoards and the like.

That being said, it's always nice to come home, especially when perfectly timed with the first snowstorm of the season and a record snowfall and continual shoveling of the driveway and...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No complaining for 30 days. And you thought the pepper and lemon juice cleanse was tough...

The boyfriend and I were out recently with a dear friend of ours who mentioned he had recently been on a cleanse. "Pepper and lemon juice?" says the boyfriend. "Not quite" says our friend, "No complaining for 30 days". "Whoa", I say, and the idea stuck with me, either because I was completely traumatized by it or I thought it was brilliant and I should probably try it.

Except that I'm a misanthrope, through and through. If I stopped complaining, I would basically stop speaking. I mean, what would I talk about? Our friend raved about this cleanse, claiming it transformed his thinking and writing (he's an actor and playwright). I wondered if my playwriting would improve if I attempted this cleanse. It's a daunting prospect. Complaining is my main mode of communication. If I can't ridicule, mock, cut down, berate or criticize, what do I have to live for?

But I can't shake the idea. It's a challenge and it's enticing. Would I be a completely different person if I never complained or would I just go stark raving mad, shouting "Serenity now!" while walking the streets in my underwear. It's only 30 days. I can stop after that if I don't like it, right? I suppose my biggest fear is that I'll become a happy person.

A trusted mentor told me recently that I falsely assume misery will make me a good artist, that happiness and creativity are not mutually exclusive, and that being happy (contentment and inner peace also apply here) actually generates creativity which would, in turn, make me a better artist. I had to ponder that for a while; I wasn't completely convinced.

Generally speaking, happy people annoy me. Maybe I'm envious. Maybe I want to be happy and don't know how. Maybe I like being in a constant state of mild misery. So I guess I'll try this cleanse which I assume also includes retraining the voice in my head that's constantly nattering away, feeding off its own negativity. Will that voice go silent, and if there's silence, will there be more space, and if there's more space, will there be more room for brilliant ideas? I shouldn't kid myself - I'll be going cold turkey in mental rehab. No complaining for 30 days. Maybe I'll start tomorrow...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yoga rage, Birkenstock rejection and ibuprofen

You know when you attend a yoga master class with a world-renowned teacher and you're really looking forward to it and then you're jam packed in a classroom with too many people and you've got someone's smelly feet in your face for most of the class which is highly irritating and taps into an endless supply of rage that then seeps out of every pore until you're just a big, badass ball of seething anger? Namaste.

Then, on our lunch break, I realize I can't go and gorge myself on gourmet donuts from my favorite shop next door to the yoga studio because I don't want to be puking all over my mat during the afternoon session. So I had to make a healthier choice. I balanced that out with alcohol by evening's end. Detox / retox, yin / yang... it's all about balance.

I'm a Birkenstock reject. I've tried to wear them and like them but they reject me. They tear at my flesh, sand and rocks somehow edge their way in constantly, and my feet just can't get comfortable in them. This surprises me since they're a product of German engineering which typically, one would assume is of superior quality. I see them everywhere. People seem to love them. Maybe it's me... I'm of too inferior quality for my sandals. Time for a trip to Dollarama for some flip flops.

Ibuprofen has become my new best friend. I've been getting frequent headaches, probably from an inoperable brain tumour, or inordinate amounts of rain we've been getting (those low pressure systems really f*ck with my head) or hangovers. I haven't forgotten who I am, used swear words at completely inappropriate times or spontaneously lost bladder control, so I can probably rule out a brain tumour. Although, my love of corn dogs and Cheetos remains unexplained.

I've always had a love of TV show intro songs but HBO's new season of True Detective takes the cake. As soon as I heard Leonard Cohen's haunting Nevermind, I was hooked. I had to watch the show because the intro was so creepy, it drew me in. Lera Lynn's My Least Favorite Life, performed in the very first episode, was also utterly mesmerizing. Thank you Shazam for basically revolutionizing how I find really cool music. Of course, marketers have figured this out too. They know people are gonna Shazam that shit. It's music video as television program. Brilliant.


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