Friday, March 03, 2006

Random Thoughts

#1 - The new Burger Kings ads are just plain creepy.

#2 - I've developed a dreadful habit of asking my 11 month old daughter questions as though she might actually respond. (What do you want for lunch? Should we have cheese? After lunch, do you want to read a story? Does your cheese taste yummy? Should mama have some cheese, too?) Ack, what have I become?!!

#3- This dude Steve has the funniest blog I've ever read. You absolutely must check out the post where he tastes breastmilk.

#4 - When Rowan is sitting on my lap nursing, Sean needs to stop doing over-my-shoulder puppet shows with her little yellow birdie puppet. Why, you ask? It distracts her. Besides, I don't want my little girl to grow up thinking her mama has a chirp on her shoulder.

#5 - That's all I got. Pathetic, I know.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Really Fantastic Day

I submitted my article/post "Guilty Pleasures" to the Winnipeg Free Press last week, and they will be publishing it on Thursday, December 22 in The Tab. Nice 35th birthday present for me!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

Tis the season to indulge. For some, this means eating three slices of apple pie despite already being stuffed full of two giant helpings of turkey and mashed potatoes. Others subscribe to the “one-for-you and two-for-me” approach to holiday shopping. Me? I eat lip gloss.

But let me explain.

On Sunday morning, after a weekend of food, drink and lethargy, I woke up with a familiar “what is the purpose of my life?” feeling. In search of spiritual enlightenment, I gathered with thousands of other shame-faced Winnipeggers in that sacred place where the true meaning of Christmas can always be found -- Walmart.

Let’s face it, nothing says “you’re doing just fine” like a bargain bin full of cotton panties.

While I drove down the road toward my destination, I scarfed down a large bag of peanut M&Ms, cranked up the radio and joined Bon Jovi in an enthusiastic rendition of “Shot Through the Heart.” When Jon and I were done giving singing a bad name, I learned something about myself -- I have a lot of guilty pleasures.

I began to take stock and came up with a top five list worth confessing:

5. Peanut M&Ms

Chock-full of monosaturated fatty acids, magnesium and folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine and fiber, peanuts can reduce your risk of -- Oh, who am I kidding, we all know I am in it for the chocolate! But this is no ordinary chocolate fix, so the time has come for me to tell my delicious, little secret.

Although most moviegoers enjoy a buttery bag of popcorn, peanut M&Ms are my treat of choice. According to movie etiquette, I should offer my companions a sample of my treat at least once every fifteen minutes. So when my company is not looking, I buy two bags of peanut M&Ms at the candy counter. This way, I always have what I like to call a “candy back up.”

One bag is for sharing and the other is all mine. (I keep mine in my jacket pocket where you cannot see it.) The truth shall not be candy coated -- I do not share my peanut M&Ms with my friends … ever.

4. Hair Products

I am a sucker for hair products: shampoos, conditioners, balms, waxes, muds, pomades and every variety of multi-textured, delicious-smelling lotions and potions known to gay men and straight women everywhere.

Despite numerous salon visits all over the city and hundreds of dollars spent in search of a miracle cure (I really do have dry, limp, unmanageable hair), my determination does not wane. Like King Arthur, I have a quest. Sure, it smells like watermelon and is available as a mousse, gel or spritzer, but, god dammit, this is my Holy Grail!

3. No Undies

On weekends, I like to declare my body an undie-free zone. Why ruin a good thing like baggy sweatpants, I say. Mothers everywhere are horrified. So what if I get in an accident. Does such a thing really bother a doctor? I’m sorry, ma’am, we’re going to have to throw this one back into the burning rubble, she seems to have forgotten her Fruit of the Looms this morning.

2. 80s Music

I have a special fondness for new wave synth-pop (Who didn’t love Yaz?), but the hair metal bands are fun too. Nothing is more amusing than sitting in your vehicle at an intersection and catching a fellow thirty-something in the next car fighting for his right to paaaaar-tay.

1. Eating Lip Gloss

They come in flavours like Tropical Berry, Vanilla Custard and Mocha-Fudge and are applied millimetres away from your palate. Can you really blame a girl?

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Moussaka Day, Everybody

I'm in a strange, sad mood tonight. Maybe it's because I put up our Christmas tree. You see, whenever big events in my life occur, I buy a Christmas ornament to mark the occasion. For example, when I was pregnant, I bought a cute, little squirrel wearing a toque and scarf. (Yes, Rhonda, I bought it to remind Sean never to downplay his love for squirrels, wives, or daughters!) Last year, I bought two angel ornaments at a craft show: one for Wendy and one for Dave. So, thanks to my tree, I've been reminiscing.

Last year around this time, Sean and I just moved into our new house. Our decorations were lost among piles of unpacked boxes, so we didn't put up a tree. My last memory of tree decorating was with Wendy, at her home in Morinville two years ago. It was my first trip to Alberta after learning that Wendy was dying and my first time meeting Alexandra who was just three months old.

I arrived at Wendy and Chris' home on November 27, 2003. They were out but left me a key. Wendy had written a note welcoming me and encouraging me to eat some of Chris' moussaka, which was left in on a plate in the fridge for me. I did, and it was delicious.

I remember those few days in absolute vivid detail: how startled I was by Wendy's frail appearance; the two of us laying in her bed, clinging to each other and crying our eyes out while Chris injected her with her Interluekin; sitting at her table eating curried chicken and discussing ideas for her funeral while Chris quietly sobbed into his plate; sitting on the floor watching a Baby Mozart DVD with Alexandra and falling utterly in love with her little face; and, of course, decorating the Christmas tree with Chris while Wendy, pale and gaunt, rested in the green easy chair.

Here's what is strange. I have some friends in Winnipeg who were also friends with Wendy and Chris. One of them, Jennifer, has been trying to organize a potluck dinner for over a month. Originally, it was set for mid-October. She decided to make the menu Greek, so I asked Chris to bring his moussaka. Then someone got sick, and the dinner was postponed. We rescheduled for early November, but someone else got sick. We were forced to postpone again. Last week, Jen sent out an email with the new date for our potluck dinner -- tomorrow, November 27, 2005.

Two years ago, when I arrived in Morinville to visit Wendy, she fed me Chris' moussaka for dinner. Due to a couple of fluke illnesses, tomorrow, exactly two years later, I will be eating that very same meal, once again prepared by Chris.

How weird is that?

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Crash

Last weekend, I watched the movie Crash ... twice.

Interestingly, I just read a review by a writing professor in Florida who hated this film. She argues, "If you enjoy a movie only in the moment—and the same with a book—there’s little chance of you returning to it, either to think about it or reread it." But, I enjoyed this movie. In fact, I enjoyed this movie in the moment and now, one week later.

I should preface this by saying that I am hardly a film critic. Sure, I took Film Studies 101 in university, and I hated Titanic as much as the next film snob. No doubt, our professor friend has me beat when it comes to smarts and credentials, but I think she has neglected to acknowledge a fundamental component of many excellent, lasting films -- sentiment. Sometimes movies (and books) leave me with a feeling that I just can't shake. When I take stock of all my favourites -- Annie Hall; Truly, Madly, Deeply; Secrets and Lies; Lost in Translation -- they share this quality.

I agree with many of the professor's statements but don't think they apply to this film. Our main difference is that I did not need Haggis to offer me any big or new ideas. Instead, the emphasis on race contributed as much to setting as to plot. Let's face it, cities are hostile environments where cars crash and cultures clash. Aren't we all scanning a harsh urban landscape for a soft place to land? Sure, the ideas about race were familiar. Maybe that's why they resonate. (Or maybe I don't get it because I'm Canadian.)

For me, Crash is as much a film about the human condition as it is about racial tensions. The characters were searching, longing, wanting, aching, fighting, surviving and, for the most part, I was rooting for them.

Because this film is structured around obvious dichotomies -- black-white, rich-poor, cop-thief, good-bad -- I did not mind the two-dimensional nature of many of the characters. Rather,Crash is a clever little package, carefuly crafted and tightly contained. I marvel and will continute to marvel at its beautiful simplicity.

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Oh, Mother Vol. 2


This one's even funnier. Please, don't call CFS on me!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh, Mother Vol. 1


Today, I took Rowan's Christmas picture. I stripped her naked, put a silly hat on her head and stuck her in a box. As you can see, she was not amused.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Home Ultra-Sweet Home


I'm feeling festive. I know what you're thinking. Where's Darla, and what have you done with her? And, last week, I baked a cake!

Relax, the motherfucker bombed. In fact, one might say it resembled a biscuit.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Huh?!



Apparently doggie strollers are a big ticket item this Christmas. Call me crazy, but I don't get this? Seriously, wtf?

Also, please note that "biscuit" is NOT a slang term for vagina. (However, honeypot, pleasure boat, yum-yum and hey-nonny-nonny are all recognized euphemisms.)

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Bulletholes and Bandages

Tonight I have been thinking about the human capacity to hurt and heal. I don't know about you, but I spend most of my time wounded and shooting. Sure, most of my bullets come from accidental misfires, the careless handling of hearts and tongues, but I'm guilty as charged nonetheless.

Rowan woke up crying a few minutes ago. I tended to her mysterious ailment with the tenderness and determination of a mother lion. I held her small body tight in my arms, stroked her damp, dark hair, whispered gentle sounds in her ear until sleep and wellness were restored. My perfect child.

Becoming a mother has made me painfully aware of three things: 1) My capacity to give and nurture transcends anything I could have ever imagined, 2) I should spend more time healing and less time hurting, and most importantly, 3) One day, my daughter will be old enough to possess firearms of her own.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Mindless Musings of a Mad Housewife

My mind is vibrating with a need to write something, but I live a quiet and ordinary life these days. My dear, sweet Rowan. We play with toys and giggle mostly. I sing. She coos. We smile. Yesterday, while she slept, I worked the soil in my flower garden. Something magical has happened to me, people. I'm thinking long and hard about that mini-van and I-told-you-so's are resounding all throughout the land.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's A Girl!

Since I intend to fire up this blog again someday soon, allow me to introduce the reason for my absence:


Rowan Mae McFarlane Gautama
Born April 14, 2005 9:20 am
Weight 7 lbs. 4 oz. Length 19.75 in.


Hello? Anybody out there? Hellooooo?

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mexico

 Posted by Hello


You have not lived unless you have ridden a Mexican bus from Puerto Vallarta to the small surf town of Sayulita. Let me paint you a picture:

The mode of transportation is an old, battered school bus, complete with an exterior of patchwork metal, cracked windows and an assortment of makeshift parts. Inside, the seats are stained and torn, some seat cushions, even the seats themselves, are missing entirely.

We are not really driving. Rather, the vehicle quite literally hops toward its destination, grunting and lurching, leaving behind a thick trail of smoke, noise and, on occasion, metal bits of some consequence, I think.

And so we bounce. Up and down. Side to side. Every limb and joint turning and bending to accommodate this frenzied beast.

The road is narrow and winding, but still we gain speed with each approaching turn. The tires are screeching. The engine is howling. Oncoming traffic misses us by mere inches. I bravely lift my eyes to peer out the window and notice that the ditches are lined with white, blurry crosses, memorials for those who travelled this fatal path before me.

Our driver smokes a cigarette. He is a captain at the helm. Calm, fearless, mighty, possessed. A picture of the Virgin Mary is mounted on the dash in front of him. Beside it, a black and white playboy bunny sticker -- no kidding! It is at this precise moment that I realize, I could die!

On my left, a beautiful senorita applies a third shade of polish to her fingernails. On my right, an old man casually sips his cerveza.
The young girl in front of me is sleeping in her lover's arms, her head rhythmically thumping against his bare, brown chest. I am white and wide eyed, witness to a sight more marvellous than the resurrection of Christ.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Great Canadians

Great Canadians

I was pleased to learn that Terry Fox, Tommy Douglas and Frederick Banting made CBC's top ten list of greatest Canadians. Truthfully, I don't even mind the inclusion of the always controversial Pierre Eliot Trudeau with such mighty company. Must say though, the idea of Shania Twain ranking higher on the list than Nellie McClung sends me into a bit of a tizzy.

Perhaps I fail to see the brilliance of philisophical contemplations like "Baby, whose bed have your boots been under?" Maybe I am too damn cynical to appreciate Shania's subtle nuances of feminist ideology craftily disguised as estrogen-sated anthemesque lyrics such as "Man! I feel like a woman" and "I'm gonna getcha good!"

Shania beats Nellie?! That don't impress me much.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Real Un-Canadian Superstore

I went grocery shopping at Superstore over my lunch hour today. As I scanned the aisles in search of tomato sauce, I heard a child's voice say, "Ask her."

In response, I looked down, way down, and saw two young, way young, waifish little boys standing in front of the fruit spreads in search of raspberry jam. I handed them a jar of Kraft and began my interrogation: "You boys sure must be big and strong to be shopping all by yourselves, etc." High school drama teachers have a knack for mock sincerity, so within minutes the boys were smitten, and I knew all about little Cody and his pal Jordan.

They were five years old. They were sent to the grocery store by one of the boy's mothers. They were given a list of ten items to locate and carry home (although neither child could actually read the words scrawled on the inside flap of a cigarette package.)

With all my questions answered, I watched as the boys moved to the produce section. They meandered from aisle to aisle, stopping occasionally to requisition the assistance of a more literate shopper. I was filled with sheer astonishment, with intense amazement, with absolute despondency. Yet no one else seemed to find the sight of two preschoolers shopping alone, dragging a basket full of groceries along the tile floor with the determination and might of a team of Clydesdales, unusual.

I notified an employee. He stopped to chat with the boys for a few seconds, patted little Cody on the head affectionately, then continued to build an impressive mountain of cantaloupes in the melon bin. I notified a second employee. "Oh dear, that's not right. I'm going on my break, but I will ask Shelly to call the police," she assured me.

I watched little Cody and Jordan haul their groceries to the cashier. She, too, remained unfazed by the sight of the two small boys peering over her counter: "Will you paying with cash or credit?" She said it, I swear, she did.

Then little Cody and Jordan left the store. They walked across the parking lot, jay-walked across Portage Avenue, and continued down the sidewalk toward, sigh, home.

I found Shelly and practically threatened her with death for not calling the police. "Kids younger than that come in here alone all the time," she insisted. "There's nothing we can do about it." The store manager's response was equally apathetic. And, apparently, I am a bitch.

My thought for the day: there is nothing real or Canadian about social irresponsibility.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

What comes first?

A Chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is leaning
against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on its face. The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabs the sheet, rolls over,and says, "Well, I guess we finally answered THAT question.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

The R Word

I should start with an apology because I should just keep this shit to myself. But lately I've been thinking a lot about regret. Celebrities are smug bastards. Everytime I see celebrities being interviewed on television, they feel compelled to describe their extraordinary lives, announce how lucky they are, insist that they have, gulp, no regrets.

"Well, Oprah, Sometimes life is damn hard, but (here's where they look straight at the camera and deep into my eyes) I wouldn't change a thing, not one single moment."

Excuse me?

See, the problem is I take people at face value. When they tell this to Oprah, I believe them. (This is also why I own every hair product ever marketed to gullible, frizzy-haired losers like me.) Then I come up with about one thousand reasons why I could never say this with a straight face.

I'm only 33 years old, but I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have regrets. Sure, I can take some comfort in the fact that I will never be on Oprah, but what if I am? I would look like an imposter, standing there all shame-faced and apologetic: "Well, Oprah, life has been okay, but there was this time when I ... sure wish THAT wouldn't have happened!

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Reflections

Undoubtedly, 2004 has been the biggest, most important year of my life. The only fitting analogy I can come up with is the notion of Clark Kent entering his little phone booth and emerging moments later in full Superman garb. Yup, 2004 has been my phone booth.

I find it incredibly moving that while learning the extent of my own vulnerabilities, I have found new muscle with which to wrestle this life. I may not wear a blue suit or cape. But, dammit, this girl can fly!

Don't believe me?! Check out my superhero life force

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Oh, Times, They are a Changing

I am pregnant. What can I tell ya? It's early. I feel bloated. My nipples are tingly. I wish the sun would shine so I can show off my new boobs in a bikini!

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Sucker

Posted by Hello


When I was a young girl growing up in rural manitoba, me and my pals would play a game known simply as Tree or Bush?

~~~~

She plucks a strand of tall prairie grass from the earth, holds it upright between her finger and thumb, and presents it to me like an offering. Suddenly, I stop. My eyes narrow and focus. My body straightens and strains. Alert. Poised. I am ready to face this perverse yet irresistible challenge.

She: Tree or bush?
Me: Um...
She: I said, tree or bush?

(Well, damn, if it doesn't look exactly like a little tree -- tall, narrow, with a sprig of foliage on top.)

Me: I don't know, give me a minute.
Her: Is it a tree or is it a bush?
Me: Bush. No, wait! It's a tree. Yes, it's a tree. Tree! Tree!
Her: You're sure?
Me: Tree. Definitely.
Her: WRONG!

She slides her finger and thumb across the trunk of my little tree, gathers the seeds into a cluster, and tosses the bare stalk to the wind. Now, the remaining seeds are pinched and perched between her devilish fingers. Well, damn, if it doesn't look exactly like a bush!

Me: Shit. Fuck. Shit.
Her: Ha. Ha.
Me: Well, I'll be jiggered ... you got me.
Her: Sucker!

~~~~

Sure, I could've guessed 'bush', but then what?

I must've played that game a thousand times only to learn this: you can't wrap your hands, heart or head around a lot of things, or people, but you try anyway. So love every minute of it.

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This or That?

My summer has been mostly disappointing. Nothing but "grown-up" decisions like fixed rate or variable? New or used? Sofa or sectional? Decisions, decisions, and more fucking decisions.

Even my pathetic one week holiday in Rushing River was spent deciding whether to stay or go: stay, despite the unrelenting cloud cover and rain? Or go home and do something useful like shop for appliances? We came home, which, of course, incited a hearty debate on the biggest metaphysical question of all: black or bisque?

I have locked my little friend 'Perspective' in the closet today. But, tomorrow I will let him out and all will be well again.

Until then ... fun and games, baby. Fun and games.

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Saturday, July 17, 2004


This one's for you, Hun Posted by Hello

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Leakage
 
Lisa has left.  I hope the Winnipeg Folk Festival was a scrumptious hors d'oeuvre before the the full meal deal that is the Ness Creek Festival. Ness: Featuring Ruthie Foster. Wish I could be there with her. Muddy toes. Sun-baked shoulders. Sore lungs. Ahhhhh, festival magic.
 
Leslie has arrived. My Brazilian Queen of Contemplation. I can count on her to provide some fodder for this much neglected blog. My synapses are humming in anticipation. Soon the noise and spark will burst into a glorious flame of intellect and creativity. I am ready. Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
I went down to the Fringe Festival site yesterday to pick up a program and check out some of the posters. It was an exercise in misery and self-loathing. The stream of consciousness debate goes something like this: you can. if only. why bother. you can. if only. why bother. you can. if only. why bother.  I know, I am a sad and sorry excuse for an artist. 

It's always hiding just below the surface. Demanding acknowledgement. Our lost loved ones. We put up a cross at Dave's accident site, planted some daisies and made a champagne toast to a life well-lived. Chris and Alexandra are coming for a visit in August. Alexandra will have her 1st birthday ...
 
I'm not much of a playwright, but I'm quickly becoming an expert in Death and Grieving. Who knows maybe I'll even earn my union card?!

... see how I've tucked it inside. Hardly there. Then every now and then the surface cracks, and out it comes until I can plug the damn hole.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Such Fun!

Lisa is here. In my home, in my town, in my life. I am giddy, and each day is fabulous. Today, especially. It is her birthday, which, of course, demands that I gather all the wonderful women in my life together to celebrate.

But, I'm going to need a month to detox my body before attempting to make a baby, or my eggs are going to come out all booze-soaked and groggy. Like the McFarlane gene pool doesn't pose enough challenges!
 
 


Mmmmm, Sexy Folkies.  Posted by Hello

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Confessions

#1 - I love Canada Day.

Yesterday, we were drunk on patriotism, real or imagined. We smiled at strangers. We danced in the streets. We waved our flags with pride and fervor.

Today, we crawl back into our basements, reattach ourselves to the lazy-boy and resume our tirade about high taxes and crooked politicians.

I find this incredibly amusing.

#2 - I did not love The Station Agent.

It has not been for lack of trying. I have been pondering and deconstructing all week. I have read a gazillion reviews and articles. Alas, it is hopeless. I cannot unveil the jewel within.

Sure, it had all the makings of a great film: clever dialogue, growth, discovery, pain, love, and, most importantly, a talented, little protagonist who looks a fair bit like my beloved Hawksley.

It comes down to this: well-crafted, brilliant character arcs are rendered motionless if they are not pushed forward by plot points, however subtle. It's like a dance. The whole effect is ruined if one person is standing still.

I love understated, character-driven stories, but this one came up, well, short.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Left and Leaning

Canadians have spoken. Apparently, disgust is easier to swallow than fear. Sure, it all tastes like shit, but let's celebrate the Liberal victory with a peace song by the lovely Sarah Harmer ... Coming soon to a Folk Festival near ME!


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Friday, June 25, 2004

My Voyeuristic Tendencies

Lisa is gallavanting around NYC like an ass-kicking freebird and, although I admire her independence, I am deprived of her daily dose of blog supremacy. The proverbial silver-lining will reveal itself when she shows up on my doorstep with a suitcase full of stories -- witty, adventure-laden narratives about brash, urban hipsters, drag queens, soup nazis, heroin addicts, porn stars, bedazzled tourists and crazy cab drivers. These days are long with the lazy tick-tock of anticipation. My daydreams are like scenes from a Woody Allen movie, involving love triangles, analysts, and hats. (Sometimes I hear clarinet music playing softly in the background,too.)

In my suffering, I have started to read blogs authored by strangers. Considering how much I hate reality television, I find this experience quite tantalizing in a naughty, voyeuristic kind of way. So far,Hun is my favourite. She is smart. And cute! She enjoys sex and regularly sleeps with her friends -- male and female. She lives in the beautiful city of San Francisco, works for only 1 hour a day, is currently experiencing a crises of 'patriotic' proportions, has a fondness for good, clean nudity and, most importantly, shares my desire to be a rockstar.

Me? I'm just a smalltown prairie girl from Canada. Sitting in a wheat field. Listening to Joni Mitchell wax melodic. Eating curly fries. And sipping soda from a straw ...

Geography is so much more than maps and plate tectonics.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Democracy for Dummies

Unsure who to vote for in the upcoming federal election? Try this quiz
Exercise your right to be completely apathetic and irresponsible in the face of party politics!

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Mission Accomplished

With sweet sentiments sent skyward and a few tears spent, we were desperate for a good laugh. So we decided to send Dave a beer. If it rains today, I'm catching a few drops on my tongue.


Cheers to DavePosted by Hello

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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Up, Up and Away

On Father's Day, we're having a family barbecue. Bradley made Dave a card at nursery school, so we're going to tie it to a helium balloon and send it up to heaven. I imagine, we'll all toss a few "coins" skyward. Ritual can be strangely comforting even for those of us with spiritual deficiencies.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Save or Spend?

Sometimes when I eat PBJ sandwiches at my desk, I am struck with unusual thoughts. Like this one: what would this world be like if words were our currency? On whom would you spend your earnings?

I'd have high risk investments, maxed-out credit cards and a constant twinge of buyer's remorse.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Cute

Sean and I love the television series Northern Exposure. Finally, the first season is out on DVD. We ordered it. Guess what? The DVD case comes wrapped in a little orange parka. With a zipper in front and everything. How adorable.

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In Search of Multi-Grain

The time has come to shed my slick, urban ways. I'm trading sushi and martinis at Wasabi for clubhouse sandwiches and free refills of sodapop at G'News family restaurant. Yes, it's true: Sean and I have purchased a home in the safe and lovely town of Oakbank, Manitoba.

Truthfully, I'm very excited. It's a fabulous house with a beautiful yard. Near my sisters and mom. Just down the street from Dana. Holy crap, I have a community!

I might have babies one day. I might buy a mini-van. I might even become a soccer mom. But,if you ever see me wearing a baby blue sweatsuit, rummaging through the discount racks at Walmart, please, please, PLEASE, shoot me!

Oh, the green green grass (and the white white bread) of home!

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Friday, June 04, 2004

When the Going "Gits" Tough ...

I never did get around to that lifting-of-the-chin ceremony. Ready. Heave. Trudge on.


Carson, Our Little Git Posted by Hello


It all starts with a smile, and what a smile it is.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Hill of Sad?

One sad, two sad, and so the story goes. Yup, the pile just keeps getting higher.


David Bradley Bate July 13, 1965 - May 23, 2004 Posted by Hello

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Friday, May 21, 2004

The Burial Ground

Under this blanket of silt and sky,
I am with you.

Peering over the horizon,
a sturdy witness to my own fruitless searches.

This slow unraveling is a wonder even to me,
who pulls the threads without care or responsibility

if only to say, I am moving.


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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Jiffy Yoga

I think I have adult attention deficit disorder. I can't be alone with my thoughts for one quiet moment, which explains why I've been neglecting my blog lately. (I'm ashamed to admit it, but these quips of mine take some mental muscle!)I've been on course most of this week (as a student, not the instructor)and while everyone else is blessed with insight and inspiration, I become increasingly irritated by how long each damn discussion and activity seems to take. I never used to be this way. Back when I was cool and smoked cigarettes, I could sit still for hours, reflecting and pondering with all my cerebral might! I need Yoga. Breathing, stretching, contemplation. Yup, yoga is going to fix me right up!

Is there a such thing as Jiffy Yoga? I want to pull up in my car, tunes blaring, and have someone named Sparky tweak a few nerves and joints, deliver me to Enlightenment in fifteen minutes or less, or my next meditation is free!


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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Cheese n' Beans

Check out my swanky new blog page. Look, I can add silly pictures!


Welcome to the Bean Hill. Santa hats, optional.  Posted by Hello

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Snow in May?

Has someone forgotten her place in the divine order of our universe, killed a king maybe? If life was a Shakespearean play, despite all the chaos and confusion of universal disorder and supernatural display, I'd be the clown in the corner, using vulgar language and passing gas.

Sure, I'm joking, but our world really is fucked up. We are so small and helpless. Did you see the news today? It made me cry. Snow in May, big hairy deal!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Last Straws

Here i am
tossing last straws to the wind
as if we did not know, mixed with a little mud,
we might shape these elements into something worth keeping.

tell me, if i build it with my own to hands,
will it be mine?

what's around the corner, hoola-hoop girl,
more edges to scrape our hearts on?


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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Television Windows

Going out for beers on a sunday night lights up all sorts of possibilities. Why spend another minute looking through television windows when Thailand awaits us. Or Indonesia. India. Africa. The world is our playground. If only I didn't have to work on Monday.

Today I learned 'choices' and 'possibilities' are not the same thing: 'choices' are shit. If it weren't 2 a.m. I'd write a sonnet to mark this pensive mood.

Someone write me a sonnet. Italian, preferably. Like Petrarch to his beloved Laura, I am wanting.

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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Toad in the Hole

I was at the toad last night. First time in two plus years. Wendy and I spent a lot of time there. We had a table. When I was leaving, I went up to our spot and rested my hand on the tabletop for a moment. Tapped it lightly with my palm. Then left, full of old jokes and stories.

I never dreamed my body could play host to such sadness. I am learning, Dear Dana, how to be sad and okay at the same time. It is a marvellous trick.

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Musician in the Family

I need a friend who can't sing, if only to send my confidence soaring. I can barely chirp my way through a round of Twinkle Twinkle, yet it seems everyone around me is a goddamn musical genius. I hate you all! My sink-hole-o-matic is going to take you down! Then it'll just be me, crooning in the moonlight, eyes closed, heartfelt and joyful despite all my imperfection.

Today someone phoned and asked to speak to the "musician in the family" and, without question, I handed the phone to Sean.


The Musician in the Family Posted by Hello

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Friday, April 23, 2004

Sink-hole-o-matic

I'm building an invention. It should be done soon. Then, I press a magic red button and all the space between Winnipeg and Saskatoon plummets into the Earth's centre, and Lisa is only a Sunday afternoon stroll away.

Yes, we'll lose Kamsack, Humboldt, Virden, but what have they done for us lately? And, Brandon? Perhaps, reason enough to fire up the sink-hole-o-matic. Just think of all the embarassing moustaches and gas guzzling pick-up trucks we could eradicate in a single moment!

So I sound like a maniac. But, it's only because I want more than anything to create Beautiful Things! Since Edmonton, my collection of colourful toe nail clippings has lost its artistic appeal. With Lisa by my side, I know I can do better. We might become the greatest creative team since John and Paul. (Get real, Darla.) Bernie and Elton (Still dreaming!) Sonny and Cher. (Ha!) Matt and Ben. (You think?) Ernie and Bert. (Now, we're cooking with gas!)


Ech, ve must proceed vith our plan anyway ...


Lisa and Sam in the Morning Sunlight Posted by Hello

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Pulling-up-of-Socks Ceremony

I know it's sandal season, but I have taken the day off work to participate in a private pulling-up-of-socks ceremony. Here I am. Standing. Ready. Bend. Pull. Higher. Good.

Tune in tomorrow for the lifting-of-the-chin ceremony. It shall be equally exciting.

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Saturday, April 17, 2004

What now?

Where do I put it all? Is there a top shelf or a bottom drawer big enough?

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Hawksley in the House

Tomorrow, I will be home, writing a eulogy for Wendy's funeral. Then I'm leaving for Edmonton on Thursday morning. I'll be home Saturday just in time for my date with Hawksley .Oh, sweet musical reprieve.


Hawksley Workman Posted by Hello

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Monday, April 12, 2004

The Light of Summer

Spring is in the air. I have been chasing memories and almost missed the shifts and groans of Earth's renewal. I emerge from this cruel winter with muddy shoes and wet lashes. There are marks on my body only I can see, even in the light of summer.

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Wendy


 Posted by Hello

Wendelyn Sue Sider Mihalchuk
December 29, 1970 - April 8, 2004

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Live From the Varscona Hotel, Edmonton, Alberta

Amazingly, Wendy is still hanging in there. She is mostly unresponsive, but was alert for a while this morning. It was quite an honour and privilege to be able to look her in the eyes (well, her one good eye!) and say a loving goodbye. After a few tender parting words, she made a joke about being too tired and stoned to cry, but encouraged me to sob away to my heart's content:" Cry more and you'll pee less, Dar!"

Because she is mostly unconscious and in hospital, my plans have changed. I've checked into a hotel to give her family privacy, and I am coming home tomorrow. There is no reason to stay.

No worries, I'm okay.

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Sunday, April 04, 2004

A Final Visit

Arrived Friday night, weary after a long trip. Wendy was cozily tucked into her bed by the time we got to the house, but we snuck in a short visit. It seems her tiny, useless frame serves only one purpose: to support her big, persistent smile. Despite everything, she is sassy and joyful; it is strength and courage beyond anything I ever could've imagined. After a long, exhausting search (Junos) we found a hotel room in Edmonton. Drank some beer. Ate some pizza. Stared at the ceiling until ...

Saturday. The most profound day of my life, simply indescribable. Words can't do it justice, so I won't even try.

Then by late evening, the infection in her foot was evident. She was taken to hospital by ambulance at 10 pm. I sat at her bedside for most of the day, taking shifts with her parents and sisters. She's asleep mostly, but at one point she opened her eyes, looked straight at me and said, "I'm glad you're here" and, believe it or not, SMILED that miracle smile.

The bad news is -- It won't be long now. I think, she might be gone by morning.

The good news is -- I'm not angry anymore.

I'm taking leave from work. So ignore the previous posting. I will not be checking my "forces" email. I've got to write a tribute speech worthy of the best person I've ever known.

Over and out from downtown Edmonton.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Happy Birthdays

Sister Lisa, Dana, Michelle - In case all hell breaks loose and I don't get a chance to talk with you: Happy Birthday!

And, I mean, damn happy - so happy you could burst kinda happy. Play with your kids. Make love to your men. Eat chocolate. Bask in the pring sunshine. En JOY! En JOY! En JOY!

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La Muerta

Forgive me
If you are not living
If you, beloved, have died
All the leaves will fall upon my breast
It will rain on my soul
all night, all day
My feet will want to march to where you are sleeping
But I shall go on living.

~ Pablo Neruda

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Here's to Friends

Two lovely phone conversations with two lovely friends reminding me I am loved by at least two lovely people no matter how many tantrums I muster.

Dana. Tracey. Thank you.

You, Dr. Paas, deserve a super dooper belated birthday greeting from the homeland. I still have the big metal Aries ring you gave me in high school. I'm going to wear it tomorrow. And, if I punch anyone, I think it's solid enough to draw a little blood.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Holy Tantrum Batman!

Consider this fair warning: from here on in, things are going to be dismal. If you don't like it, don't check in. These days, I'm black to the core. I suppose this is the anger phase. I am volatile. Pure rage. For seven months now, I've done an inventory of all my relationships, wasted energies, misplaced affections, royal fuck-ups and failures. From here on in, I plan on getting it right. Ah, Lisa, time in a bottle, indeed.

Cheers to you, Wendy Sider, my faithful and steadfast friend.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

That Evasive Little Bird Called Memory

I remember ... Wendy and I. 23 years old. A smalltown bar in southern Manitoba. Winter.

I remember ...She smoked Du Maurier lights kingsize and drank Molson Dry from the bottle.

I remember ... The shape of the room and tables. There was a strip of VLTs along the east wall of the bar; i'd never seen VLTs before.

I remember ...Getting caught in a blizzard. Our slow drive back to the bar. Singing Christmas carols to pass the time and calm our nerves.

I don't remember ...A damn thing we talked about!


last night, driving home from landmark, this is what i thought about. Pay attention, people. pay attention.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Leonids

it was november
i went looking for leonids but found holes instead.

and you.
but, i don't think it was really you.

you are smoke and wildfire burning down all that you need.

i am a gardener growing these spaces between.

november has come and gone
and i feel full

but, anger is an empty plate
when you're hungry for stars

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Sunday, March 07, 2004

Passion of the Prairie Girl

Tried to see The Passion of the Christ with Tracey and Jeff on Saturday night, but it was sold out. On a whim, we decided to go bowling. Yes, bowling. After two very exciting games, we followed up our adventure with ... well, sushi, of course.

Bowling. Sushi. Makes perfect sense to me.

Ladies, Jeff and I want to know how often you WANT sex? This is a very important question. I am compiling data. Writing a report. Anything to convince Jeff that he is wrong and I am right: SHE does not exist.

(she = woman or women with voracious sexual appetite equal to or exceeding that of the average male.)

Sorry, Puffer Boy, but it's all just a dream! Must get some sleep. Big workshop tomorrow.

Now, where's that vibrator ...

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Trilogies

yesterday, i did three things. i ate fusilli pasta with ground round sauce. i played a song on my guitar. i took a warm bath. i did three things yesterday. i bought some books at a book sale. i spoke with a friend on the telephone. i argued with sean about money. yesterday, three things: i shaved my legs. i played fetch with my cat. i dreamed about battleships.

i have no idea what it means either.

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Monday, March 01, 2004

All Work and No Play Makes Darla a Grumpy Bitch

I am buried in work. I know there's more to life, but I just happen to have one of those personalities that is completely prone to obsession. And I would know because I am currently developing yet another workshop based on personality type theory, known in consulting circles as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

This workshop is called Maximizing Your Communication Style. First, participants complete the indicator to determine their personality type -- for example, I'm an ENFJ. Then, I teach them all sorts of nifty little tidbits about their communication stylestrengths, pitfalls, etc.) until my psychology 101 dizzies and dazzles them into a complacent, albeit grateful, stupor.

This one is for all those who've asked, what exactly do you DO for a living, darla?

In other news ...

Rhonda and Dave threw one heckuva Hawaiian party on Saturday night. Pineapple rum, I think I love you ...

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Jonah-ha-ha

So yesterday I walked into a Zen burger joint and asked the guy behind the counter to make me one with everything.

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Beautiful Art

I saw the film Lost in Translation on Tuesday night. You know that loaded moment just before a first kiss? this film is that moment on film in 98 minutes.

I left the theatre reminded of everything and everyone I've ever wanted. And, what an ending! Language, tangled up in whispers and hair.

Hungry and full all at once.

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Just Shit

Today, I learned that another friend has cancer, breast cancer. Relativity is a peculiar thing. I am comforted because she has been given a fighting chance -- a battle Wendy will never know.

I remember when life was easy. Like Friday, for example: skating on the river on a delicious winter night, all frost-kissed and runny-nosed.

Hey girlfriend, don't let go. I'm not ready to be here alone ...

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Friday, February 20, 2004

Soul Patch

Sean has grown a soul patch. Men are so lucky.

Women, imagine owning a cute little tuft of chin hair -- deliberately grown! not to be plucked! With such a chichi little name ... soul patch.

I told him that I liked it, and he asked me if I wanted to hop on and take it for a ride. Naughty boy.

Oh, Sean Brightly, you make me smile all over.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Closing Time

The poetry closet is now officially closed. The well of imagination, depleted. I lost my entire hard drive last year and said "so long" to every word I've ever written: essays. plays. short stories. poetry. the works. The mindworks. Such disasters only happen to me. I'm cursed, you see. Any minute an army tank is going to veer off course and crash into my office. If not today, then tomorrow, or some monday morning in March. You wait and see!

Teresa, if you're out there. I received your Valentine's Day card yesterday. Lovely. It was a reminder of all you are and just how much i miss you.

Oh, dear tess-o-mine, when are you coming home?

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Monday, February 16, 2004

Casablanca Inspired Poetry

Some nights, the words are a bothersome hum in a windy and whirling corner of my mind. I want to write, but reach for old poems instead. Like this one. for lisa, written in 1999. Golly gee, I can be so damn sentimental sometimes.

iLsa
i chase you through Casablanca
kicking a stone toward the sound of song
the scene is small and black and white

piano keys

if you meet me in Rick’s cafe
a displaced (wishing I was misplaced)
character from an old and stubborn film
will you unnerve me with your Ingrid smile?
join Sam for a number to finish me off
how lovely it all sounds
in monologue even.


be a sweetheart
share a dance or a drink
a pint of French holy water is just what I need
to be baptized in colour brighter larger
truer truer truer
than this beaten hill of memory.


I come undone as time goes by.

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Bum Darts

I was introduced to the delightful game of bum darts on Saturday.

Bum Darts: Put a loonie between your butt cheeks. Clench so it stays in place. Walk across the room, still clenching and holding firm. Crouch over a cup. Release. If the loonie lands in the cup, you win!

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Babies Galore

Congratulations to Bart and Brandi. A baby boy on saturday. Quickly I move from death to birth. Such is the circle of life, folks.

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Waste Land

Apparently, my preoccupation with death and my own spiritual deficiency is a frequently visited theme in this little life of mine. Me and Eliot (Thomas Stern, that is), roaming through the waste land , looking into the heart of light.

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Monday, February 09, 2004

Preservation

if i had a god, i’m sure he’d be angry. a goddess might just wink and smile, shake her head in that knowing little way. but i have none. only this unforgiving humanity, anointed in bath-salt water and, if it’s been a good day, a dab of honest sweat and lust.

i spend a great deal of time thinking about preservation. dinosaurs and lucy and rocks. tools fascinate me, little chisels and brushes to dig and toil.

i don’t ask enough questions about my family history. and, if i did, they are all dead or have all forgotten, so the questions would just hang there, piled upon each other like bones, reminding me of mice running up clocks and empty cupboards.

when my grandmother died, we placed her in a hole and covered her with dirt. imagine.

i would like to pluck her body from the earth, lean her against a tree and open her stiff jaw with my fingers. peer into her lips, mouth, throat, deeper, deeper, deeper, and pull from her belly the jewel of my own existence.

keep it safe, she’d tell me. but, there are holes in my pockets and these clumsy hands will only betray me. i place the stone on my tongue so that I might know my flavour.

i taste thousands of years of dust and kisses.

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Food For Thought

Last weekend revolved entirely around food. The dining room table may be our sacred and ceremonial Telling Place, but god does not live there. Trust me, I looked.

There are tribes in south america that eat their dead, grind the bones and ash into soup. Methinks, western ritual lacks substance. We fill up on bread and talk, clink together a couple of wine glasses and call it a day. Meanwhile, some family sits under a tree in the Amazon Basin, chowing down on dear old dad.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Curried Thoughts

My turmeric-stained fingertips give me away. I've been in the kitchen pretending to be an Indian. An entire evening of cooking in preparation for tomorrow's dinner party with the dearest of friends. The menu: auntie Usha's delish chicken curry. Dhal. Chana Masala. Chapati. And beer, in copious amounts. Well, dip me in chutney and call me Madhumati, I am ready! It seems brain number one has accomplished its mission. But, wait! What's all that noise? Brain number two is a rebel bitch, and she refuses to cooperate. Damn, I forgot to buy lime pickle! Okay, both brains are out of commission. Arfghhh.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Two Minds

I am reinventing the phrase 'i am of two minds.'

It no longer implies ambiguity or indecisiveness. Instead, it is a state of being meant only for the deeply wounded. One mind is needed to function -- dress. eat. work. be. The second becomes fully engaged in the Act of Sadness.

Today, I am of two minds. Will tomorrow never come?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Insomnia = Urges

I'm full of urges today. Like I want to pinch fat people.

Or maybe I'm all mixed up because I've been listening to too much Tori Amos. It's enough to fuck the clearest of minds, and I'm fuzzy on the best of days.

My cat keeps me awake at night. Walking on my pillow. Digging in the blankets. That's what I get for naming him after an Argentinean dance.

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Friday, January 23, 2004

Peering into the Depths of My Soul

Yesterday I flogged my blog to the world! What's a blog, you say? Something sexy, you hope?

Sean says: "Smidgen. A good word that doesn't get enough use or credit! If only I had a smidgen of intelligence, wit, or pride, I'd be a better man. This shitty steak needs a smidgen of salt. Move over a smidgen, Darla."

Rhonda says: "I was expecting porn."

Vaughn says: "Nevermind your soul, take off your panties!"

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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Blessing Way

Sunday was Michelle's Blessing Way. I knelt at the altar with a community of fierce and loving women, our hands and voices mingled in solidarity and song. Dear dana leading us at least to clarity, if not some measure of true spiritual enlightenment. It was Sunday after all, and my goddess hides in long naps and good books saved for these lazy days.

Leslie, you were with us, and I will send you pictures to prove it. If you look closely, you will see your face reflected in the green of my eyes.

I have not written a smidgen since August. But find myself searching through desk drawers and folders to find old poems. Memories of me, pregnant with wonder. Where am i now? Here on this hill of beans, screaming Wendy's name to the world.

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Bean Hill

One bean. Two beans. Three beans. And so the story goes.

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