November 2008

I draw cards for fun sometimes.  I have rune cards and medicine cards, there’s a million different kinds of cards but for me the bottom line is, if you ask for information you’ll likely get it.  Anyhoo, I drew a medicine card that talked about being more playful in my life.  Um, ok, point taken.  Although I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about it.  I’m probably not going to become a mime anytime soon.

So the next day I’m doing some Xmas shopping and there’s a bin of gloves on sale at the cash register while I wait my turn.  Being a Canuck, you simply can’t have too many gloves because they’ll sometimes get into a fight and one will run away. Or they get eaten by monsters while you sleep.  It’s like socks.

It was the electric blue gloves that caught my eye.  And *immediately* the Editor or Mom voice or maybe it’s the Uber-Practical-Alien-That-Lives-In-My-Head said, “nope you should get black because they’ll go with everything”. 

And I thought, “Screw that! I’m going to be more playful, i’m getting these electric blue babies.”  And I *love* them.

So on the weekend I was digging through the closet to get Angus decked out for playing in the snow. I found 4 pairs of black gloves that I own that haven’t yet been eaten by monsters.  I think I need to put the uber-practical alien in it’s place more often.


I was talking to a woman who has grown kids and she had a bunch of them and their friends over for dinner one night.  Her son is a serious introvert and she being an extrovert sometimes, ok all the time, has a problem understanding it. 

She tells me how he spent most of the dinner quiet and she knew he was ok being there and was taking it all in but, “you know, he didn’t really say anything”.  The undertone was a *bit* like he had leprosy and dropped a finger into the gravy.

And I wanted to say – maybe he didn’t say much because everyone else in the room was talking nonstop.  But she was talking non-stop so I really couldn’t fit that in.  And then I wanted to remind her that it’s really ok to be introverted, but by the time that thought gelled she was a topic or two past the dinner and there was no point.

It’s funny cause I’m not hardcore introverted so I sometimes forget.  If I’m comfortable with a group I can dredge up an amusing story to tell and feel comfortable telling it.  But get me in a room full of strangers and it’s like – right!  I *am* introverted!  I suddenly feel like Neo in the Matrix movie where his lips get stitched together.  Only he’s fighting it and I’m not. 

I’m trolling for someone I can chat with one-on-one.  We introverts love the one-on-one ;-)  And I’ll tell you a secret – when introverts tell you something?  It’s probably not a cute story we’ve told to 50 people before you – it’s just for you.

I stayed with an extroverted friend once and had to explain to her that I just can’t do a day-long conversations.  I’m an introvert, at some point I’ll explode if I don’t take some space for myself.  Sometimes extroverts don’t get that.  

Extroverts get energy from other people.  Introverts get the life sucked out of them by other people.  Extroverts need to talk stuff through to understand it.  I only understand stuff by thinking about it.  *Then* I have the words to talk about it.  When extroverts don’t get it and see you take some space for yourself they think you lost all your social skills or that you hate them.  But take this from me. We don’t hate you.  We’re just getting our thoughts together.  And trying not to explode. 

CBC Radio 2 has stopped playing classical music 24/7 because they realized their audience is going to start kicking off soon and playing classical for 5 people is simply not a good use of taxpayer dollars.  So now they play good stuff and I sometimes listen to it on the way to work. 

They’re always careful to tell you the performer, name of the song *and* the album it comes from – often before and after they play it.  They’re poster children for polite Canadians.  It’s also ad-free and there are no annoying you’ll-never-guess-what-I-imbibed-with-my-coffee Kenny, Tina and Ron-type morning show people….ewww…..

I don’t mean to hack on classical, but for me it’s just not the kind of music I want to listen to in the car.  It’s either subtle violins I can’t appreciate over the roar of my 6 cylinder or it’s in-my-face Gustav Holst designed to send me  into a telephone pole.  Thanks, I’ll save that genre for home.

Anyhoo, they played Sarah Harmer’s “Basement Apartment” this morning.  Yes, this is another fan-girl post, obviously I’m in a mood.  I love that song, and I’ve played it in yoga class too.  I thought, if I could write lyrics like that I would be a more happy and fulfilled person – I know, hard to imagine that’s possible.  But until then, I’m so glad we have Sarah:

Basement Apartment

You live out where the street ends
In a basement apartment with one of your friends
And the tap drips all night
Water torture in the sink
The furnace is burning
But it’s still cold i think

I can smell the bleach
That they use in the hall
But it can’t clean the dirt off of me
It’s seeping under the door
In across the floor
It’s starting to hurt

Everytime I breathe
Everytime I try to leave
Everytime I breathe

Now the toaster sticks
And the empties are piled
I haven’t been up the stairs in awhile now
I gotta wash the sheets on my bed
Gotta watch the things that go unsaid
God I wish we’d leave it at this

And every evening you open the door
You come down
There’s nothing like watching tv
all night underground
And no one is watching me slide
Below street level
Barely alive

Now we live out where the street ends
In a basement apartment just like our friends
We always said that we were different
But you know now that we weren’t
‘Cause there’s holes in all the bottles
And my lungs hurt

A friend gave me this recipe in the summer and I looked at it and thought – hey if you take out the feta and olives, it’s detox friendly!  One of the challenges with detoxing with Wild Rose is that you need to *a lot* of veggies to stay within the 80% allottment.  So that means cooking veggies (thats work) or eating a lot of green salads (which don’t thrill me when it’s not summer-hot out).  And when you’re detoxing you’re guaranteed to be hungry again on a green salad lunch in a half hour. 

This salad, on the other hand, has a bit more heft shall we say, has great flavour *and* it’s big and it’ll keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.  It’s a winner all around:

Greek Chickpea Salad

  • 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 of an English cucumber, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and chopped
  • 10-15 grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

(add 1/2 cup of pitted chopped black olives and 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese when you’re not detoxing)

1. Put the drained chickpeas in a large bowl. Add the peppers, onion, cucumber, tomato, basil, dill, and garlic – mix well. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.  Toss to mix. Cover and chill before serving.
2. When you’re ready to serve, adjust seasonings and drain off any excess liquid.
Makes 8 servings.   

I have to get all fan-girl about Abigail Thomas.  A friend turned me on to her writing. A Three Dog Life was good and I bought Safekeeping and dip into it only every once in a while because I just don’t want to finish it.  It’s made up of short memoir-ish vignettes.  She’s a grab-the-big-complex-picture-in-minimal-words kind of writer.  I just love it.  I’m going to drop one of my faves from it here:

I Ate There Once

She never thought he’d get old this way.  Never thought his defenses would come down one by one, dismantled, she realizes, by children.  She imagines a split-rail fence coming apart over the years.  He wasn’t wise, she understands now, he was depressed.  They had both mistaken depression for wisdom.  She has married again, the third time, and she sits up front with her new husband, the nicest man in the world.  Her old husband sits in back, bundled in blankets, blowing his nose in his old red kerchief, wearing his brown hat.  He has gotten so gentle.  Especially since she has remarried.  He treats her like a flower.

They have their own language.  It isn’t secret, but it is their own.  Certain sights carry weight for them.  They remember everything.  She once told him she remembered the exact moment when she knew it wouldn’t last.  That they weren’t going to stay together, that their little vessel had not been made very well, that it had sprung too many leaks and then in anger both of them had gouged holes in the bottom.  Sink, damn you, they thought.

“I know when i knew it, but I didn’t say anything.  We were standing under that tree,” she said. “I forget the name.”

“It was a mimosa,” he said. “The mimosa tree on the corner.”

Today they are driving upstate to see their daughter graduate.  Her new husband is driving.  She loves his kind profile, the way he keeps asking her former husband if he is warm enough. It was he who remembered the extra lap rug.  They are like three old friends, companionable, everybody on their best behavior.  They pass a sign for a Mexican restaurant, coming up on the right.  It is the only place to eat on the parkway.

“I’ve always wondered what kind of place that is,” says her new husband, slowing down for a look as they approach. “Unlikely spot for a restaurant.  The food must be terrible.” The restaurant, only barely visible through trees, vanishes behind them.  As it happens, it was here that she and her second husband had eaten their wedding supper, twenty-five years ago.  They were by themselves and had been married about an hour.

“I ate there once,” she says.  Her expression doesn’t change.  She doesn’t turn around.

“So did I,” says a voice from the back.

I was browsing an art magazine and found these photos by Callie Shell.  She started taking pics of Obama when he was an almost-nobody during the Kerry run.   Just keep clicking “more images” at the bottom of the page.

The one of the little boys with their upturned faces just kills me.  And I love the one of him and Michelle on the bus.  And the one of him in the stairwell waiting to do his third speech of he day.