The Rabbit and the Tiger: A Short Story (For Tony and Terry’s Wedding)

MOVEMENT

The Rabbit and the TigerOnce upon a time, a Tiger and a Rabbit fell in love.

“Rabbit, I love you so much,” said Tiger. “I want to eat you up whole, so you will always be a part of me.”

“Tiger, I love you so much,” said Rabbit. “ I want you to chase me forever, so I will always feel wanted by you.”

And so around and around they ran, day and night, much to their own frustration and much to the frustration of the other animals of the forest.

After nine years of the ceaseless chase, the other animals of the forest begged the Jade Emperor to intervene.

“Tell me Tiger and Rabbit,” said the Jade Emperor, as the two animals quivered before him, after answering his summons. “Why, year after year, do you endlessly chase each other in noisy frustration, disturbing all the animals of the forest?”

“I love Rabbit so…

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An Eulogy for Apartment 601: The Incubating Paralysis of Freedom.

I really love the idea of reclaiming your hometown in the present tense. I also love any bittersweet love song to Ottawa. I myself struggle with the same demons, except I’ve never left at all….

MOVEMENT

Tree601Thursday evening, I dropped the keys to my former apartment through the mail slot of the building’s administrative office. The “former” was now official.

I moved into Apartment 601, 345 Clarence Street, almost seven and a half years ago. I have never lived in any one place any longer. Previously, the longest I had lived in one place was four, maybe, four and a half years — a childhood home. As a matter of contrast, in New Zealand, during the five years I lived there, I count seven different homes.

The punchline: Apartment 601 is my least favorite apartment I have ever lived in. The story of my stay in that apartment provides one summary of the story of my time in Ottawa.

In February 2007, when I arrived in Ottawa, with a couple of bags, a guitar, and some new suits, I had a one week hotel stay in which…

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Why every 20 some is just like Frances Ha.

Honestly, watch this movie. It’s a slow starter, and it’s a bit super painful, but it’s really moving and poignant and it makes you kind of sad for every expectation you have had to let go, and grateful for everything else you can be grateful for. So gorgeous. And awkward. Just like us!!

Sometimes things change, sometimes relationships change, friendships fade, careers take shape or don’t take shape, and this movie really captures the way the late 20s are the place to rail against this change, and inevitably accept it….

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Why I haven’t done anything on my bucket list.

Just had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about this leave time I’m taking. I’ll out myself: I have not yet tackled the harmonica, the canning, and I haven’t been exercising every day. SHAME!! Guilt!!

What have I been doing? well, I think I can sum it up quite quickly. I have been sitting outside on several decks and drinking cold white wine and laughing my ass off with friends. That’s really about it. And when it’s written down like that, it doesn’t seem quite as offensive and despicable as it can in my head, sometimes. Have I been exercising regularly? Not too shabby, actually. Have I been cooking and cleaning more? Yes, actually. Has it been to the standards that the blogosphere holds me to? Absolutely not.

My house is tidy, we eat healthy food, I can still see my toes and the dog is progressing, albeit very very slowly. Is it Instagram/Pinterest/tweetable? I would not go that far. I am surprised at how incredibly difficult it is to allow yourself to do nothing. When you’re on vacation it’s easy but at home I struggle to give myself permission to watch a few episodes of Downton Abbey. Not to say I don’t do it, but I struggle with it. And why? For what, exactly? It doesn’t change who I am and what it is that I hold in priority. There’s no magic wand that waves when you’re given more time and space that turns you into a domesticated, über healthy uber creative person with laser focus. In the summertime in Canada, which is at best 4 months long, sometimes you’re just gonna sit on a deck and drink cold white wine and enjoy the outdoor air.

So where does that leave my bucket list? Why did I create it? Do I just abandon such a thing because it is impossible to change and refocus? No, no, I can’t do that and that’s not really the attitude I mean to demonstrate. I guess I just need to add an item that expresses a need to enjoy a bit of summer vacation, without purpose or direction, as well.

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Mariposa Farms.

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Although publishing this post Mother’s Day, I had to pleasure of being invited to a charming brunch at Mariposa Farms in Plantagenet. The chef there works all week preparing foods that are distributed to many restaurants across ottawa and beyond, I am sure, and then Sundays he cooks a delicious 3 course brunch. The company was wonderful, the day was perfect and springy. I felt oh-so- refined and grateful to share a perfect morning with lovely food and friends. You could choose between a couple set options for each course, and I was thrilled with my beet salad (why don’t I make this for myself when I love it so much??) and I couldn’t resist the pannacotta, one of my favourite desserts. For the main, I had the duck , which is their specialty since it is a duck farm, among other things. Although I considered trying something that doesn’t appear each week, I had to go with what they are famous for and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. If anyone is looking for a little city escape it’s very much worth the drive. Yum yum.

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Top 10 reasons I love Buck Lake.

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In no particular order, since I think that would require too much trickiness.

1. Just the sweetest, prettiest kitties. There is something special about these sisters, don’t know why, but they are just real peaceful and quiet and remind you about what really matters in life.

2. It was the first time this year I had to wear sunscreen! 🙂

3. A personal chef that loves food, and allows you to love food unabashedly and without complication.

4. The open window over your bed, cool clean crisp white sheets, and the soft breeze rustling through the huge trees.

5. Reading a whole novel from cover to cover over two days.

6. Neighbours that feel like part of the landscape, that are generous, and genuine.

7. No tv, no internet.

8. Shopping in little towns where time stands still.

9. The drive up is almost as pretty as where you end up: horses, cattle, sheep, flowers, lilacs for miles.

10. The kind of company that you’ll reflect on at death, and understand how privileged you were to experience it.

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Training a rescue bulldog.

This guy is really challenging. I can’t pretend that he isn’t. Some things he is getting better and better at: crating during the day, walking most of the time (although the last couple days have seen a regression), ignoring the barking seems to be working…He is still gentle and kind. But he is stubborn and pretty much only listens when he wants to and only really performs properly for food. I am pretty much training him to eat. I expect I am doing it all wrong. I am probably ruining him.

I know I am hard on myself and want this to be a miraculous development but I also really had expected it not to feel like two steps forward and one step back… A gf of mine sort of said like what did you expect getting a two-year old rescue of the bullheaded variety, but I guess I expected it to be easier. That’s my confession. I expected it to be easier and I didn’t realize what getting a rescue dog would be like, how his personality would be so firm and how on top of things I would have to be.

But when he is good he is very very good. And when he is sleeping it’s the cutest thing. I don’t regret getting him and my life is better for him but I just needed to put it out there: it is hard! And I am doing my best.

I am sure some people don’t struggle at all with training an animal. I am sure for some people it’s like skiing: just snowplow and you’ll slow down, you know? You just gotta slow down and you will have more control…. Yes, I know that, but it’s the doing that is difficult.

One day at a time,
One step at a time. We’ll break his spirit one day.

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Talent, passion and duty.

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In my current state of ‘leisure’, I have the luxury of only taking on one thing at a time. I am balancing my home life with my school life, and this morning was able to focus exclusively on school life and its possibility and its great spreading wings of discovery and research etc etc. Totally uplifting, won’t bore you with the details, but yes, I am a nerd and yes, the Canadian Cooperative Association is letting me nerd out and is a fantastic place to get my toes wet.

Canadian Cooperative Association, mucho kudos.

Yesterday, one of my nearest and dearest posted an article by the New York Times that discussed our current fascination with all things individualistic and rejection of the collective. We feel that if we are blessed with certain skills, it is our duty to abandon all else and pursue that passion. Marino uses an example of a doctor who leaves his practice to skate…  what is the ethical interpretation based on a greater good? For myself, I find I have no specific all encompassing passion, so that doesn’t really worry me. What sometimes worries me is when someone says, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Really? Have you tried? could you be more happy or productive in a different life, even if it wasn’t what you considered your absolute passion (if you find yourself as one who has exactly this?) A challenging read, but in a way I think our 21st century brains ought to be challenged.

A Life Beyond Do What You Love, by Gordon Marino

There are some parallel questions that come up through my Social Innovation class. What does it mean to be a leader, what does it mean to follow? Are we really all destined to start our own vintage clothing shop, or radio station, or non-profit organization? What does it mean to choose the system?

I’m a desk jockey. I often find my work repetitive and the sector not too too innovative. I am part of the man, the machine, the bureaucracy. I also connect with cause, admire my leaders, and enjoy my peers. I am afforded space and opportunity to risk, risk-free. Does that make me less rebellious, maybe. Will that make me less effective, I’m not as certain. I asked my prof last week, if the options being an in-trepreneur vs. an entrepreneur were equal, would there not be better systems and less sector splits? He didn’t really answer me. If we can find people to challenge the dominant system and make a difference, wouldn’t the reach and spread of those changes be greater than a lil’ start-up? What are the responsibilities of the change makers to take on the hard and impermeable more than those who are not interested in effecting change? Is it even really change if it doesn’t alter a space, but creates a new one?

Duty is a neat concept. We don’t talk about it too too much anymore. I am not sure what its modern translation would be. I put it out into the ether to come back with an answer or a comment. What would a dutiful person look like in the 2010s, when family, career, country are all diluted concepts? Individually built and individually maintained?

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First day of leave.

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So the first day of leave was spent shopping and indulging my Lindsay Lohan fascination. My girlfriend made a signature cocktail special for the occasion. All in all I would consider it a pretty good first day.

Earlier that morning I had purchased rice protein powder and almond milk in preparation for healthy eating. I then followed that preparation with lots of Smartfood and Dillpickle chips with Lindsay. Again, all in all, a balanced day.

Tomorrow my intention is to work with Duke on his recall. I expect after one hour of a private session he should be close to perfect. That’s how it works right? I then plan to dive right into my first class but first I’ll have to play with my new computer which may or may not take most of the afternoon. Hard to say. But no hangover no hard feelings and a fair amount of focus on what has been important this weekend. The Lindsay was crucial.

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Bucket List: Summer 2014.

 

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I have only slightly entertained the idea that my summer may not be as carefree and wandering as I am currently imagining. DP has asked me repeatedly to approach this one step at a time, and not overwhelm myself with too many goals and objectives. I seem to have this uncanny way of overloading myself with intention and then spinning quickly into guilt when things aren’t perfect right away…

Nah, that doesn’t sound like me.

And like most things DP says, I will blissfully ignore and run madly into the summer (?) with great ambition.

1. North Bay trip

2. Toronto trip (these can perhaps be same trip)

3. Cottage garden, both flower and vegetable (why not?)

4. Harmonica

5. Turning Duke into a perfect beast

6. Exercising every day

7. Keeping spotless household

8. Refinish entry table

9. Stain both decks

10. Canning

11. Cooking copious recipes from my cookbook challenge (see entry )

12. Welland trip

13. Learn how to swim

14. Complete Masters.

 

Well that list was actually shorter than I thought it was going to be, and seems not so impossible, many things can run concurrently….right?

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