Thursday, July 28, 2011

The ring

Seven years and nineteen days ago,
it was placed on my finger with ceremony,
in joy and sanctity,
with promise and hope and belief that
this marriage would be different from all the rest.

But it seems it wasn't.

He stopped wearing his years ago.
But I continued, even though we have lived apart for three months,
even though the papers are filed.

I was going to wear it until the day the courts declared it over.
Because our hearts had not declared that fact, for 100% certain.

But tonight he tells me that to heal, he needs to fully let go. For good.

So I take off the ring,
and wonder when my finger will forget.

Because I know for sure: my heart never will.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Man bag

Hand made gifts for guys? Not so easy, as most of us know.

So when my son put out the call for a man bag to hold his iPad, I was pretty delighted. I was even more pleased when I came across a discarded pair of cargo pants with a pocket just the right size.

Man bag
Man bag
For the lining, I used the reverse side of a thrifted sheet. The polka dots were a bit too prominent on the 'right' side to be manly.
Man bag
Man bag
Not having the actual man handy to measure, I opted to make the strap adjustable. I could have used fabric, but I liked the heft and softness of this thrifted cotton webbing belt.
Man bag
So the loose end wouldn't flop about, I fashioned a little holder out of embroidery cotton to hold it snug, while still allowing it to slide.

I hope he likes it! I'll be delivering it in person in a couple of weeks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Missy Higgins

Missy Higgins
Missy Higgins
Kim Churchill
Filming the concert
Santa Monica Pier. Summer evening.

Missy Higgins.
Kim Churchill.
Andy Clockwise.


That's what I'm talkin' about.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

American Sign Language + Adele

I gave up my ASL studies four years ago, because my family needed me to earn a full time income. I was only 3 classes away from graduating with a degree in interpreting.

I watched this video tonight, and cried. Such a beautiful, moving language. I have to get back to it. I have to.

I will.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beginner's Mind

Setting moon
My day started in the cemetery, because who doesn't, on waking at 5AM, think "Sunrise shots in the graveyard sure would be cool"? I feel privileged to live so close to this peaceful hallowed ground. And glad that the gates are open that early.
Lunchtime walk
At lunch I walked for a bit. I would have gone further, but I had no hat. The slap part of Slip slop slap just wasn't happening.
Ballroom dancing
But the best part of the day, was ending it on the dance floor. How to express what these classes have brought to my life? I took a crappy photo and tried to infuse it with a sense of how they make me feel.

It's so different from what I imagine an Arthur Murray ballroom dance class would be like. This is a bunch of (predominantly) black people who have the music in them, and who are generous enough to welcome beginners into their midst. We all pay $5; the tuition goes for about 45 minutes for the benefit of the very few newbies. There are more than enough men to go around. Everyone keeps on eye on me and murmurs advice: "Stay on the balls of your feet", "Take smaller steps", "Don't bounce".

Soon it's free dance time, and man after man takes my hand and shows me how to be led, how to keep eye contact, how to stay in my 'lane', how to relax my hands. Everyone is a generous teacher to this baby beginner. I smile, I nod, I take it in. I do not protest or make excuses. I learn. I try to stay on the balls of my feet, despite my aching right ankle. I know that I have not become a superb ballroom dancer in three lessons, but I am not discouraged. I am buoyed.

These strangers have (literally) opened their arms to me. When I leave (way before the night is over) the women hug me and invite me to parties.

Can you tell I'm loving this?

And it's a lesson to me, in how to support a newcomer. My skin is a different colour. I have a different accent. I don't dress like they do. And although I was the Under 10 New South Wales Irish Dancing Champion in ... um ... 1969 ... although I can feel a beat and move to it ... I'm obviously not quite as fluid as the pros.

But nobody shies away. They approach. They are glad I returned this week. They take my hand. They look in my eyes. They hold me tight. They congratulate me on how fast I learn.

I am somewhat in awe of what I landed into here. Because it is JUST what I needed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Tea forté. Fancy. Enchanting. Delicious. Thanks Cris :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking for a roommate. With living room furniture.

We only lived together for 10 weeks, but I was so sad when she packed up her truck and left this morning. I wish her a lifetime of happiness in her new city with her new man.

But for now, it looks like I have myself a dance studio!

P.S. If you know someone looking to share a lovely house near Culver City, Los Angeles, let me know. Especially if they have living room furniture.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dance shoes

Dance shoes

A lunch time trip to DSW made it obvious to me that I was not going to find ballroom dancing shoes at a regular retail store. Wide fitting + large size + suede sole = specialty dancewear store.

was not offering any size 11 Wide Ladies ballroom shoes today. Neither was Freecycle.


I spent an hour in the dance wear store this afternoon, trying to find a pair of ballroom shoes that would fit my non-standard feet for under $100. Not easy. No kidding, I tried on 30 pairs. I ended up with these beauties, that are giving me blisters. But they cost $70, not $170 (for the pair that didn't rub at all).

I am a total beginner, so I just couldn't come at spending top dollar on a pair of shoes. It certainly occurred to me that I might never progress if my feet hurt too much to dance.

But tonight I managed another 90 minutes of cha-cha-cha-ing. And the leather will stretch, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cha cha cha

Ballrom dance class

I've wanted to take dance classes, oh, forever.

Yesterday afternoon I was checking out what appears to be the main shopping drag in my new town. It's kind of sad, with lots of empty shopfronts. The main things still sold are school uniforms and inexpensive clothing. But there was an art gallery of sorts, and I wandered in and chatted with the nice man, Sharif. He pointed out the adjacent room where they hold functions and teach ballroom dancing.

"I'm interested in dance classes," I told him.

"Then come back tomorrow night at 7."

So I did.

And I learned to cha cha cha.

And I loved it.

Now I just need some slippery-soled shoes.

A way to deal

I read this today over on Kal's awesome blog: "My Mom taught me a valuable lesson about dealing with emotional pain: JUMP INTO A BIG PROJECT. Go whole hog. That's her solution for everything. Long distance relationship? Paint your bedroom. Empty nest syndrome? Build a massive pergola. Anxiety? Re-tile your bathroom. Heartsick? Rip out the carpet!"

I was going to wait till after my Australia visit to repaint the bedroom ... but now I'm thinking this weekend, while the city is mired in Carmaggedon, might be the perfect time. Because I sure won't be going anywhere.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Show Up Hungry

I'm delighted and honoured to have a guest post on Unplugged Sunday today. Please click here to read my article about our year of open house Sunday dinners.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What is the colour of ...

Fung Kwok Pan has developed this nice piece of code that takes an entered search query, grabs 80 Flickr photos related to the query, then makes a composite of the photos, showing you the colour of whatever you entered. It's pretty neat. Try it yourself here.

I got more earthy

I got more earthy

Sometimes it's ethereal

Sometimes ethereal

Friday, July 01, 2011

July 1

The mothershipSee ya Tuesday, Chiat. I've got a long weekend to enjoy.
Ballona Wetlands
Ballona Wetlands