Thursday, August 06, 2009

Moving blog sites

I moved everything else -- might as well upgrade the blog quarters too. Have migrated all of my old posts from here to:

(Wave when you show up?)

Monday, August 03, 2009

The ferry in the moonlight

I had a really magical weekend, with the longest first date ever. Very much about letting what was in front of us unfold.

The plan was for me to pick M up at the ferry late afternoon, to have a walk and some food, and then for me to drive him back for he las crossing.

(damn, my key I use mos is NO WORKING -- I spilled coffee bu hough i was okay

compuer OFF

Recursive random

I have one reader on this blog (that I'm aware of) that I haven't had any contact with in some other context. I like this. It's about the level of OUT THERE ness i'm comfortable with ;-). Thanks for delurking, Donigan.

So this is going to be random in response to your comments on my random.

A country nobody ever paid attention to before ... try Slovakia; lived there for seven years in the 90s, and everyone thought I was either in Slovenia, Yugoslavia, or somewhere in the Baltic or the Balkans. Oddly, Bratislava is about 25 miles from Vienna, on the same river. You could try there.

7 years? Interesting. I love this mystical mythical hidden country idea. Although the guy I had the longest-first-date-with-ever on the weekend grew up in Moldavia. Definition by what it is not (not romania, not ukraine). Like my friend from Montenegro.

I think there might be more DOGS in slovenia than in Iceland. And dogs are not the friends of cyclist.

What is a slut in the Victorian sense?

A bad housekeeper. A woman of questionable virtue because DIRTY.

Isn't internet dating kind of dangerous? What's wrong with readings, cafes, and nice bars?

It's pretty isomorphic -- it's what people do now, so it's what you do to meet a pool of single people. It's how I met F, and my friend Shay, and other people whom I dated brieflyYou get a good sense of who a person is from how they communicate online or on the phone before you meet them, and for the most part, you meet them in public. . I realize as I write that that I've violated my own "only in public" principle for the last two dates, by picking them up at the ferry, but we'd talked on the phone and I had their professional credentials.

It's always interesting to me that it has this reputation of "danger" -- IME, no more so than someone you meet in real life. When I think about it, I had more scary experiences with drunk people I knew in my late teens/early 20s than with people I've come to know online in one way or another.

As for readings and the like, see upcoming post on the poet I met at a reading a few months ago.

What is a CMM community?

"CMM" is the shorthand for the communication theory I work with -- coordinated management of meaning. The work that my mentor (the one who is sick) started. The community is the gang of us who were taught by him and who are carrying on his work.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Random random random

1. Can I just say how annoyed I am that Iceland is so much in the news because of the economic collapse, all when I was quietly plotting to go off to a country nobody ever paid any attention to ever before?

2. I bought my first pair of gardening gloves ever today. I still have no clue what it means to do yard maintenance, but my little yard is a jungle. Also, there are dandelion fluffs in my kitchen.

3. There seems to be a tall ship out in Semiahmoo Bay.

4. I can't figure out how to make my camera do what I want it to do, so I can't capture any meaningful colour in sunsets. Is it churlish to think that the very nice camera F gave me for my birthday isn't the one I would prefer?

5. I've been hanging my organic white cotton sheets on the line, and they smell AMAZING. Unfortunately, they also now have some sort of clothesline schmutz on them. Does it make me a slut in the Victorian sense to put them on my bed anyway?

6. I've been on (counting) five internet first dates since I moved here. One lunatic whose profile I should have read more critically before I drove to town to meet him, one philosophy prof who will become a friend, one pissy former physicist I thought might be interesting but who didn't deal at ALL well with my trying to change subsequent plans, one guy who was promising but became clingy rilly rilly fast, and one guy I like but who has revealed to me that yes, it is WAY possible for someone to be far more driven by the carnal than I am. A girl could get discouraged. What on earth does tomorrow, with the Russian guitar-maker, hold?

7. In all of this, as I sit knitting a sweater that's at my edge of knitting competence, thinking about the work with the CMM community and so much else I have in front of me, I'm realizing I pretty much have everything I need. It's a remarkably sweet spot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ducklings (and #300)

My friend Paula asked me if I'd started to establish community out here. Not really, unless you count my shouting "SHUT UP" at the ceaselessly yapping dog behind me yesterday as a way of connecting to the neighbours. I do feel like I have enough people in the region to be able to scare up someone to do something with if my need to be alone wanes, but for the moment, the combination of recovering from such a busy time and the amount of connectivity I have via phone/wifi pretty much fills all of the space I have right now.

I'm trying to make sense of all of the different strands of work, and in some ways, it feels like I am really living two or three lives, even more than when I was doing my phd and working. A pile of Toronto-based client work, an enormous amount of energy right now in the CMM sphere, and then this untended BC-based project. Emails slurping in constantly, with new leaps in the conversation before even I -- multitasking queen of the universe -- can tend to them.

I had an experience about 12 years ago that's kind of a metaphor for how I feel about my work these days... I had gone to Regina for a work meeting, and I had a long stretch of empty time before my flight left. There is not really a whole lot to do in Regina on a spring day ("you could go to the Mountie museum," suggested the visitor person), so I chose to go walk around the provincial legislature building. (Experiencing it geekily as a shrine to Tommy Douglas).

So there I was, walking around the sparkling white leg building, through winding roads with little lakes and trees, and I came across this little family of squawking ducklings. They'd run out of this lake/pond and hopped down a fairly high curb, and couldn't get back up. They kept hurtling themselves against it but couldn't hop up, couldn't get back to the water.

So of course I decided I needed to help. I scootched down to try to pick one of them up... and he slithered away. Hand clench -- slither. Clutch - slither. The little ducklings were hopping all around, squawking, as I repeatedly tried to grab them and found the edge of feathers and then empty air.

I was starting to get frustrated and worried (and I looked like a crazy person, hopping all around), and another woman walked up. She instantly assessed what I was trying to do, bent down and scooped up five of them at once.


I fluttered around behind her, finally caught one more, and we returned them to the pond and their oblivious mother.

Yesterday, I felt like the competent duckling-grabber... today, not so much.

(And PS -- this is blog post #300... possibly the most consistent thing I've ever done, writing-wise. And now that I don't have someone in my immediate life to process my days with, sometimes a really useful place to work out what I'm trying to do. Waving at my few consistent readers -- appreciate all of you ;-)).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grace II

Yesterday was a day of Travel Unpleasantness. I was traveling back from TO to BC, and everything minor that could go wrong did. I left in a torrential downpour, and my cab navigated sheets of water pouring off the gardiner and axel-high floods on the lakeshore. The first plane was broken, then there was a gate change, gnarly children, delays. I ended up with a squishy middle seat next to a trembling vodka-sucking man because a family with tiny children had been split up and I gave the mom and baby my seat. My little seatback tv didn't work. I lost my debit card, at a time that my bank account holds ALL MY WORLDLY goods, in the form of the proceeds from my loft sale. My online community was having a meltdown, a kind of aftermath of an intense-supporting-someone time that sort of ... dissolved... in a kind of unsatisfactory way.

And. I had a transforming day. I was working up quite a head of irritability when we were sitting on the hot tarmac waiting for fuel, and I decided that instead of aimlessly flicking through podcasts and knitting grumpily, I should read a chapter that KP had written for our book, on CMM as a spiritual practice.

The piece is magnificent, and it instantly elevated me. K was exploring our transforming communication work as "spiritual" practice, through a very personal reflection of identifying moments of grace through the aftermath of BP's cancer diagnosis. It shunted me immediately to my higher self-concept as "person who seeks complexity and can therefore metabolize complications easily," and I was able to relax into the rest of the trip... and toast my arrival with some ahi tuna and a glass of chardonnay down at the waterfront.

I'm happy to be back here, and things seem so much more possible.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Last day in TO for a while. It was a busy errand day (waxing/polishing/haircut/colour/coffee with kat/late lunch with B) kind of day, punctuated by torrential rain, navigated mostly on my bike, until B took pity on me and drove me home.

Then it was a puttery early evening, laundry, packing, cleaning my wee place so I can leave it for 5 weeks. And while I was cleaning and poking about, Josh Ritter came on my itunes. All of the songs from Animal Years, which I so associate with my sojourn in portland three and a half years ago, sitting in the coffee crutch coffee shop beavering away on my human development knowledge area, trying to make meaning of my shifts in identity.

There was such a YEARNING in that music, especially Here at the Right Time. It fixed itself on F, but in some ways, the free floating anxiety I've had as long as I can remember has been counterpointed by a free-floating yearning. I felt it again today, in this music, and couldn't even figure out what I was yearning FOR. I remember once buying a card that had a fragment of a poem on it -- I think sappho -- I yearn and I seek (google is a help here: kai` poðh'w kai` ma'omai -- I yearn and I seek). I think I bought this years ago, while I was still with B; thought about sending it when I was adoring K; ended up, I think, sending it to someone I had a mad online flirtation with that didn't sustain into actual meeting. But it's something I've been carrying for so long that I know it doesn't really have a lot to do with F. There are things we did together that I keenly feel the absence of, and aspects of who we were together that I'll always miss, but the real heart of it is losing the *possibility* of intimacy... and today, I think I'm sad that I've lost sight of myself in a way as a hopeful person about that.

Renee pointed this out, and I think in some ways it's true -- building myself the perfect transitional life where I try to balance and bridge my grounded, open west coast self with my dynamic, busy, successful TO self, where I plan trips to africa and iceland, co-edit books and position myself as part of a broad theoretical community -- all of these are things I want, AND they are tropes for a life structure to essentially compartmentalize and fragment intimacy, to close off the likelihood of meeting someone whose day to day can fold around mine. I can't quite figure out if this is a substitution that I'm not truly comfortable with, or whether it's genuinely grabbing a brass ring of claiming full life. And of course, it's both. Some days the ersatz nature of it has a stronger aftertaste than anything else. Which, maybe, means it's time to go back to BC.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Nearing the end of my first sojourn in TO in my new place, and I really do love this perch up in the sky, this 15th floor nest with the amazing sunsets.

I had dinner with Shay the other night, and I brought her up here to see it, and she crowed about the cosiness. It is cosy. I like it. It's pretty tiny, but it doesn't have that sense of echoing, untapped vastness that my loft did. And I don't think I'll ever want to live in a place ever again that doesn't have access to the outside -- even the little balcony here makes a world of difference.

I left my loft in good shape, with flowers for the incoming girls, as I posted before.

I feel a tiny bit wistful about it, but I've really taken to this condo life. I like having a concierge, I like feeling far away from the ground and its many noises, but still being in touching distance of shops, NICE restaurants, plush gelato, good theatre, should I want it. I like the pool and the gym and the sauna, even if I don't use them. I like having 15 flights of stairs to walk up to try to force off a tiny bit of the plumpness that's taken over in the high moving, high stress time.

There are a lot of milestones here as I finish up my move and hie myself off out west for august. I went to Pages today, for the last time, I think. It's closing at the end of August. It's funny -- it was never my favourite bookstore, exactly, but it always made me feel *smarter*. I bought stuff there that I aspired to read, that made me think, rather than tripe.

And over the past 25 years, I've bought an endless supply of notebooks there. I always loved these Clairefontaine ones with the plaidish covers -- again, talismans of hope that I'd write something, do something, make something meaningful, worth recording. Tracey was the one who introduced me to Pages and to these notebooks, and it's a funny little synchronicity that so many of the journals and notebooks I threw away last week in my first purge of all of that stuff were these books.

It doesn't make me wistful, exactly -- although I don't know who else would be such a meticulous buyer of cultural theory, the tables of books that made me think and aspire. But it does feel like another closing point, another click pointing me to the recognition that any aspirations I have aren't really nested here, anymore. Like the realization that I didn't have a single qualm tossing my high school yearbooks down the chute, or unloading a whole bunch of these notebooks. They were me then, moment in time that don't mean much in the preservation. I know what I'm drawing on and taking with me, and holding onto them is more of a weight than an anchor.

I did buy one thing today that I hope will push me forward -- an uncategorizable book called The Importance of Being Iceland. A book that has the inexplicable symbol on the cover. My hare-brained plan to hie myself off there next year needs some kind of shape, and maybe I really need to start to learn something about it. Read in bed for a while instead of yacking online.