Sunday, 6 November 2011

The power of a song

I'm trying something new. I have found with my schedule this semester that I don't make time for the coffee shop/writing lifestyle that I enjoy so much. So my plan is to get up early one weekend morning each week and fit it in then. It brings me joy, it makes me happy, it brings me peace; therefore, I must do it!

There is a website that I have been using sporadically for the past two years that lets you build a playlist of music that others can go listen to. My playlist isn't long, maybe 25 songs is all, but they are songs that inspire me to write. I have always plugged in headphones, added a new song and started writing while listening to my playlist.

It's been ages since I've been on that website and I am sad to report that most of my songs are now listed as 'unavailable' which means I've turned elsewhere for my musical inspiration.

A friend of mine had recommended a song for me to listen to and (as I do) I put off listening to it for a while. It might be because of why he wanted me to listen to it...

My high school sweetheart was a bit of a troubled soul. He'd had a rough childhood though when I met him in grade 8, you never would have suspected it. He was full of happy energy. We didn't really become friends until our grade 12 year when a new girl at our school ended up befriending both of us and bringing us together. He made me laugh and I found myself completely drawn to him.

We had a year-long, whirlwind, tumultuous relationship and I loved him deeply and painfully. The end came when he wanted to start experimenting with drugs and I wanted nothing to do with that kind of lifestyle. We split but stayed friends (also tumultuous and painful). I watched as he smoked pot, dropped acid, took ecstasy, drank heavily and dated a slough of other women. He got tattoos, piercings, brandings and even tried scarification in front of a live audience. He danced in a cage for money at a couple different clubs (gay and straight) and did a variety of other odd jobs.

We didn't see each other often but I was invited to his wedding. I had the flu at the time but didn't want to miss it. I think I must have fooled myself into thinking that we were truly friends. The truth probably being closer to me just being a glutton for punishment. I stayed for the ceremony and left. He was divorced within the year. We saw each other once or twice after that, the final time being a dinner out. Three of us went for dinner and he announced that he was moving to Toronto. Recognizing this as a opportunity, we hugged goodbye at the end of dinner and my friend and I watched him walk away. I never expected to hear from him, let alone see him, ever again.

Two years ago he found me on facebook. We wrote short, simple messages back and forth as a quick catch up. He was living in Australia, married and owned a tattoo shop. Two months ago he came to Vancouver to see his family and friends.

I saw him a few times while he was in town. It was an interesting experience. Emotions I weren't expecting, popped up. I didn't have any lingering feelings for him, it was more the trigger of the memories and a sadness for the passing of time. We are 20 years older than when we dated and 12 years older since the last time we saw each other. He has more tattoos, more scars, more lines on his face and more sadness behind his eyes. I never saw him without a drink or a cigarette in his hand and he very unabashedly told me about his life. I heard about his heavy drug use, his arrest, his divorce, remarriage, infidelity, money problems, business partner problems and family problems. He was dirty, stinky, unkempt and strangely carried a briefcase everywhere he went. He had a manic air about him. He moved constantly, never sitting still and his memory was full of holes. And yet, his overall attitude was positive. Life was going to keep on trucking and so was he.

While he was in town we arranged a bbq. He wanted to see some of his other friends that I am still friends with. Friends that I actually met through him when we dated. Friends that had stayed in touch with him well past the time that I had let go. One friend in particular was excited to see him and the feeling was mutual. They had been the closest in high school and through the following years had kept in touch as much as they could.

They ended up spending a fair bit of time together while he was in town and at the end of the visit my friends and I debriefed the visit. We'd all had a similar reaction to him. My friend who had spent the most time with him said to me

"Do you know Pearl Jam's song Off He Goes?"
I didn't.
"You HAVE TO listen to it. It is heartbreaking in how much it is Tim."

I listened to it this morning for the first time when my playlist on the other website came up as unavailable. Not only did it inspire this entire post but it did break my heart. It is Tim.

Here's the song

Here are the lyrics

I know a man, his face seems pulled and tense
like he's riding on a motorbike in the strongest winds
so i approach with tact
suggest that he should relax
but he's always moving much too fast
said he'll see me on the flipside
on this trip he's taken for a ride
he's been taking too much on
there he goes with his perfectly unkept clothes
there he goes...
he's yet to come back
but i've seen his picture
it doesn't look the same up on the rack
we go way back
i wonder about his insides
its like his thoughts are too big for his size
he's been taken... where, i don't know?
off he goes with his perfectly unkept hope
and there he goes...
and now i rub my eyes, for he has returned
seems my preconceptions are what should have been burned
for he still smiles...
and he's still strong
nothing's changed, but the surrounding bullshit that has grown
and now he's home
and we're laughing like we always did
my same old, same old friend
until a quarter-to-ten
i saw the strain creep in
he seems distracted and i know just what is gonna happen next
before his first step
he's off again

Friday, 29 July 2011

A whole-food lifesyle!

I am in the process of starting up a website dedicated to a whole-food, plant-strong lifestyle. One of the pages on my website is an 'about me' page. I have been writing (in longhand) what I will put on that page but I often find that I need to see it in typed and posted form to really be able to make the edits that I need. So this is my practice space. I am going to type up my about me and post it here and then revisit and rework it.

*update - I started typing this at least an hour ago and found myself rambling on. It will definitely need some editing and tweaking but will do for a jumping off point.*

Here goes....

June 15th, 2011 will go down in history; The Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins in game 7 of an epic playoff series; Hoodlums and hooligans rioted on the streets of Vancouver, flipping cars, setting fires and looting stores; And I ate a smokie hot dog smothered in mustard.

June 16th, 2011 was a healing and reparative day. It was a lot quieter and received far less media attention than the day before; Vancouverites came out in droves and lovingly cleaned up the mess the rioters had left behind. Part of that clean-up included messages written on the wooden boards covering the holes where shop windows had been less than 24 hours earlier; And I made the choice that day to heal and repair my own body. I decided to clean up the mess I had left behind after years of neglect and poor food choices. I made the decision to stop eating meat and to begin the process of leaning into a plant-strong lifestyle. It would be my love letter to myself.

My love letter isn't written with a pen or a keyboard. It isn't written on paper or a computer screen. It is written with beautiful, colourful, natural, whole foods. It is written on me. On my senses; my eyes, my nose, my palette, my stomach, my heart, my body, and my soul.

What I didn't expect was that this love letter to myself turned out to also be a love letter to the world. A whole-food, plant-strong lifestyle is better for the earth, better for the people and better to the animals. It is a kinder lifestyle. And one that I never thought I would choose.

I have always loved meat. I tried being a vegetarian years ago and lasted about 9 months. I missed meat and I had no idea how to actually eat healthfully. I just avoided things with faces but stuck with cheese, dairy and processed foods to make up the bulk of my diet. At the end of 9 months I was tired, lethargic and hungry for something with substance.

This time around the things that I am cutting down on in my diet are those things that are processed, refined, or made from animals. I am instead eating whole, natural and real foods - fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, beans, lentils, brown rice, tofu, almond milk.

As I write this, I just passed the 6 week mark of my new lifestyle and by and large I feel pretty fantastic. There have been some bonuses that I expected and others that I had no idea would happen. For instance, my dishes are always easy to clean - no grease! I can`t help but think of what that animal fat was doing inside my body if just the residue of it was making my dishes that greasy. Another notable and unexpected side effect is that almost immediately after I stopped eating animal products, I felt lighter and happier. I think of the suffering animals that I am no longer ingesting and it seems like there is an obvious connection. Other benefits - my skin has never looked better or felt more smooth. I`ve lost weight. Food tastes better and is more colourful and appealing to me.

I should clarify that I am not a vegan. I am allowing some flexibility in my lifestyle. It isn't plant-based, it is plant-strong. My goal these days is to have a diet of 90% plant-based proteins with an allowance of up to 10% animal-based proteins. The numbers are somewhat arbitrary since I'm not figuring out the math on everything I eat but, I find that I rarely end up dipping into the 10%. When I do it is mostly when I am out and there are absolutely no vegan options - something will have an egg cooked in it or it has butter or cheese in it. If at some point I am desperately craving a chicken wing, a piece of bacon or a bite of steak, then I will weigh my craving carefully and make a decision in the present.

So why did I do it?

Seeing the documentary Forks Over Knives and reading The China Study were pretty major catalysts for changing my behaviour. Learning that there is a protein in animal products that acts as a fertilizer for the big 3 diseases in North America (heart disease, diabetes and cancer) let alone a legion of smaller (but no less devastating) ailments was perspective altering to say the least. I am a candidate for all of the big 3 as well as some of the other diseases like macular degeneration and arthritis. If I can take control of my health, my body and my future through my diet and lifestyle then take control I must. The timing was right for me. The information clicked in my brain. I knew it to be true and I knew that I had to get on board.

Since making the switch to a whole-food, plant-strong lifestyle I have discovered new foods, new recipes, new energy and a new passion! It is my goal to continue living this great lifestyle and through my energy, excitement, and improved health, I hope to inspire others to want to look into trying it out too.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


I am having some kind of moral or existential crisis! It's almost like I have no idea how to behave. With everything that has happened around the world, I feel as though I should be focusing on the planet, and prayer, and what I can do to help or prepare in case something like this happens in Vancouver. And yet, life goes on and if I give into the fear of something happening here, I am likely to become paralyzed in that fear.

I finished work early today and headed out to Richmond Center. I have been in desperate need of a good spring coat for years now. I have winter coats and hoodies but nothing really classy or nice for a spring coat. I have been watching a lot of What Not to Wear lately and it makes me want to update my look and wardrobe with a few key pieces. I found a fantastic coat for a great price. I am thrilled and at the same time I feel somewhat shallow that that is important to me.

I know it's pointless to feel bad about it, since feeling bad never made anyone feel good. (except people who enjoy feeling bad - but if it makes them feel good then are they really feeling bad??) I want to focus on positive vibrations and on calling positive things into my life and the world.

So here is to positivity and focusing on good things for the world, for Japan, for all of humanity. And to looking good while we do it!

Monday, 28 February 2011

The downside to tweeting!

Twitter has ruined my capacity for writing paragraphs. I used to be able to write perfectly good blog posts and now I find myself thinking in 'tweets' of 140 characters or less. I think that I need to committ to writing blog posts on a regular basis just so I can practice writing longer ...things. Yikes! I didn't even have a better word than 'things' to describe what I meant. Not good for someone who likes to think of herself as a writer.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Second guessing!

I am second guessing my Oscar predictions. I am starting to think that The King's Speech might take the best picture win and that Hailee Steinfeld might take best Supporting Actress over Melissa Leo. And I've wavered on best original and adapted screenplay over to The King's Speech and The Social Network.


Ok. I've officially changed my ballot for the two screenplays but have left them as is for best picture and supporting actress.

Committing my Oscar predictions to the interweb!

Here is my official list of predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards.
The hardest one for me to finally choose was best original screenplay. I was completely torn between Inception and The Kids are All Right. And as for Best picture, it was a tough call between The Social Network and The King's Speech,but I finally had to go with my gut. I'll update tomorrow with the actual winners and see how my predictions fared.

*update - I have made two changes to my predictions. Best original screenplay from Inception to The King's Speech and Best Adapted Screenplay from 127 Hours to The Social Network

*update #2 - I am adding the winners to the list now

Best Picture
The Social Network
winner - The King's Speech

Best Actor
Colin Firth

Best Actress
Natalie Portman

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo

Best Director
David Fincher
winner - Tom Hooper

Best Original Screenplay
The King's Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network

Best Animated Movie
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Film
winner - Civilization

Best Cinematography
Black Swan
winner - Inception (obviously!)

Best Editing
127 Hours
winner - The Social Network

Best Art Direction
The King's Speech
winner - Alice in Wonderland

Best Costume Design
The King's Speech
winner - Alice in WOnderland

Best Makeup
The Way Back
winner - The Wolfman (obviously!)

Best Original Score
The Social Network

Best Original Song
Toy Story 3 "We Belong Together"

Best Sound Mixing

Best Sound Editing
Toy Story 3
winner - Inception

Best Visual Effects

Best Documentary Feature
Exit Through The Gift Shop
winner - Inside Job

Best Documentary Short
Strangers No More

Best Animated Short
Day & Night
winner - The Lost Thing

Best Live Action Short
God of Love

Monday, 7 February 2011

a fresh start

Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. I feel like I should probably feel far more mature than I do. But there I go arguing with what is again. I find myself doing this a lot lately - arguing with what is.

There's no point to it. It all is what it is and this post has very quickly gone from a post about my birthday to a post about something else entirely. This concept of accepting what is, is ancient. It isn't a new idea. I think it's probably been around since the beginning of time. It's just new to me and I am really really working on it.

There is this really fantastic section in the course (the entire course is fantastic but different parts jump out at me at different times) about accepting ourselves exactly as we are. It is in the section titled The Little Willingness and it says "The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be".

It goes on to say that God lives within each of us and that He "did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him".

My point in all of this is that I seem to be stretching and growing in ways that I am ready for but that are also brand new to me and a little (a lot) scary. Embarking on a relationship and opening my heart up, willing to be vulnerable and open - I'm treading on new ground and it's scary. But I am ready. I am as prepared as I can possibly be at this point. And for the past three months I just went for it.

The relationship didn't work out. I keep wanting to hold onto the details of it and why it didn't work but I can't, the details don't matter. If I can accept it for what it is and accept both he and I for who we are then I can let go and move forward. We both are exactly who we are meant to be and we will both be better matched with someone else out there.

I am sad about it though. It's still an ending and one I wasn't particularly ready for. The downhill began too soon and I held on for as long as I could because there had seemed to be potential for us. My breaking point happened in an instant and there wasn't any coming back from that. It was a moment of finally accepting that he is who he is and that it just wasn't going to work with who I am.

I am writing this post while I am feeling good. I could've written it yesterday and it would have been much less insightful and much more angry. Or I could've written it Saturday and it would have been sad. I am cycling through the typical emotions and I'm told this is normal and healthy, I still wonder how people do this as often as they do. I guess I'll find out because this has opened me up to really wanting a relationship and the only way to find one is to date.

So date I will.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The year in movies - 2010

I saw 45 movies in the theatre in 2010. This doesn't include the 26 that I rented and the 17 that I watched in my film courses. That's a lot of movies and fair number of good ones to boot!

I have a top ten and my breakdown here is going to be somewhat general. I have far too much trouble committing to an ordered list but I'll get as specific as I can with the top ten without making myself crazy.

Top ten
#1 The Social Network
#2 The Fighter
#3 The Kids Are All Right
#4 127 Hours
#5 Inception
#6 The King's Speech
#7 The Town
#8 A Single Man (technically this is a 2009 movie but I saw it in Jan)
#9 Shutter Island
#10 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Really Really good movies that didn't break into the top ten
in chronological order of when I saw them

The Young Victoria
Avatar (loved it in the theatre but over time the love waned and I have no interest in ever seeing it again - also it's technically a 2009 movie too)
A Serious Man
The Ghost Writer
Kick Ass
Date Night
Get Him to the Greek
The Other Guys
Easy A
Nowhere Boy
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Black Swan

Good movies (also in chronological order of when I saw them)
Leap Year
Law Abiding Citizen
Alice in Wonderful
Letters to Juliet
Twilight Eclipse
Eat Pray Love
The Switch
Fair Game
Love and Other Drugs
How Do You Know

Alright movies (same order)
Step Up 3D
Going the Distance

Almost terrible (no order)
Life as we Know it
Just Wright
Clash of the Titans

Fairly terrible (no order)
Sex & The City 2
Valentine's Day
Solitary Man

*Update - It has been pointed out to me that my memory might not be serving me entirely well when it comes to a couple of these movies. I received the following email today "Life as we know it - you thought it was fairly terrible? i thought we loved it! and solitary man was good? i thought we hated it!"

*Update #2 - Between A Single Man, A Serious Man and Solitary Man, I forgot which was which and rated Solitary Man far too high on the list. It actually needs to be in the fairly terrible category (which I am moving it to right now). It is definitely a contender for worst movie of the year.

1.1.11 and it's 1:11

Happy New Year! I have written that sentence in so many ways over the past 13 hours. I have handwritten it, texted it, facebooked it, tweeted it, blogged it...not to mention the countless times I have said it. And I'm not done yet. Over the rest of today and probably for the next week, I will write and say it many times more!

I told LDub earlier this week that I took the kindle to a coffee shop but ended up tweeting, blipping and blogging instead. We laughed and said that if 1992 me had heard me say that, she would have no idea what I was talking about.