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Funerals for the Living

September 5th, 2011 No comments

It’s been a very full week: rigorous rehearsals, moving from storage and sublet status to inhabiting a new space, trying to keep work flowing for the fall and getting news of a relative’s passing.

“I’ve always thought that funerals are for the living.” my dad says as he drives me to my new apartment with a van full of my attachments.  I am comforted to receive this, and his thoughts on what may inform my decision to abandon a week of critical rehearsals and meetings for the Siddhartha fringe project.

Agreeing with my father I say, “It’s like if I were watching people while I am dead I might think, why have you waited for me to die to visit?  You didn’t make the effort to visit me while I was alive but you’ll drop everything to come look at my dead body, what good is that?”

Still, it feels sad to be missing out on this ritual of saying goodbye to one who was a strong presence throughout my childhood.  It feels sad to me that I won’t be there for my aunt, and cousins and my parents; for whom, the loss is sad but also an opportunity to remember and reconnect with each other.  As adults, we no longer make the effort to gather in the same way when I was a child but I would like that to change.

Weddings and Funerals are the long-standing rituals that bring relatives and strangers together who would otherwise not spend as little as 10 minutes together.  Both weddings and funerals satisfy emotional cravings for communion and in most cases, a pain for the people being celebrated or producing the event.  Families often go into so much debt to put on these rights-of-passage rituals that they wish they were dead or work themselves out of any joy or vitality, such they might as well be dead.  Some people may have no plans to throw a wedding and one can be expected to be uncomfortably quiet at one’s own funeral, so let’s save the trouble and regret and make the effort now to be with each other.  It’s a matter of life and death.

While I will not be attending, I hope that my relatives at Uncle Ely’s funeral will appreciate their togetherness and be inspired to make efforts to create more opportunities to celebrate each other and reunite for any reason in between the weddings and funerals!  I feel my uncle’s presence and see his charming smile.  It’s okay with him.  I will find a way to be okay with it too.

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Peachy Keen

August 25th, 2011 No comments

I had an emotionally trying day yesterday. A morning meeting that challenged my patience, an audition that went horribly and a silent surge of insecurity that nagged inside like a dripping faucet, slowly but steadily draining reserves of happiness. Then, in the evening, I went to a dance rehearsal. I felt better. Much better! The irony is that the rehearsal was for the production that, earlier in the day, was challenging me. Wherever a shadow, somewhere near there is sun!

Today, while I have plenty of work to do, I am making time for the sunshine in life – preparing peaches and apricots to preserve for Winter’s supply.

First meal as a vegetarian abroad

August 9th, 2011 No comments

I’ve been a committed vegetarian for 8 months and without knowing what options there would be in the Yucatecean diet, I worried that my meals would be restricted to variations of refried beans and corn tortillas.  I was delighted to discover avocado cocktail at an eatery called Veracruz in Cuidad Cancun’s Market 28.

And that tall glass of coconut water?  It tasted heavenly knowing that its only packaging was a coconut shell!

The colourful pink is a refreshing pickled onion and the service was utterly engaging as our server, also the owner’s son, told us story after story about his beloved Canadian girlfriend in Victoria, BC.

Did I feel tempted to try the ceviche or pollo?  Sure I was.  Exploring a culture through its regional traditional cuisine is an essential part of satisfying my curiousity and a major reason for travelling.  Tender shredded chicken cooked the way it was in Mexico still smells good to me, but I knew that I would feel icky if I had it.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be to turn down meat in a foreign country.  After all, my body is still the only one I’ve got, no matter where in the world I bring it.

Did I feel deprived?  Only when I didn’t have fresh fruits or vegetables.

A couple great places to dine in Cancun for a vegetarian or vegan meal:

100% Natural and B.Org Deli & Boutique.  Both within walking distance of the main ADO bus terminal!

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baptism by breeze

July 16th, 2011 No comments

The first thing we do after unpacking, is put on our summer dresses and sun hats and we go for a walk with a cold drink in one hand cameras in the other.  Our room faces the beach and over looks the two swimming pools, a view that is symmetrically framed by palm trees. The beach is quiet, no people swimming or baking in the sun as one might expect at such a resort. There is a lonely volleyball net near a dock and the wind blows a warm refreshing breeze through the humid air.  It had the feel of a small fishing village rather than an all-inclusive resort, and I was grateful for it!

What happens next, I’m not terribly proud of but I’ll share it anyway because I think it is a genuine expression of me (like it or not).

We start taking pictures at the end of the dock. In typical “artista” fashion, we start posing for pictures. I indulge a little more than usual with the posing because I’m adoring my new sun hat, having fun with the new camera and I’m encouraged by my travel companion who is a model/actor who delights in such activity.  All is well as we believe ourselves to be looking good and feeling great.

all is well and perfect

A gust of wind comes along and offers me a couple alternatives to our quaint photo shoot.  At first we both just stared at the hat as it landed in the water, just beyond arms reach from the dock.  I thought for a brief moment about letting it go but then we started to see it sink and I could hear Kay Li wimpering sounds of lament, an expression of my attachment to this silly hat.  I thought, fuck, it’s only water! And then jumped in.  My first 2 seconds of being in the water, I thought, ‘YES! I got it!’ followed very quickly with, “How am I going to get out?” Swimming to shore looked very far away for a girl who does not swim well. But as soon as I started wading, I felt my toe touch the sandy bottom.   I look up and Kay Li is laughing hysterically, barely holding still long enough to take this photo.  She is also a former competitive swimmer, but she let me take the glory on this save.

then life happens

From that moment of baptism, I knew we were in for some fun and challenging adventures.

I managed to walk over to the tire that hung off a corner of the dock and pulled myself up.  My one and only boot-camp the weekend before departure came to mind.  I have a full appreciation of doing push-ups and pull-ups at the money bars now.

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Cancun Arrival – Day 1

July 16th, 2011 No comments

After 3 months of planning and negotiating over phone and emails, Kay Li and I arrive in Cancun, Q.Roo Mexico.  It’s much

When we left Toronto it was raining, and we arrived to a sunny humid warmth that quickly put smiles on our faces!

greener than I imagined Mexico to be.  The last time I was in Mexico, it was for a week-long vacation at an all-inclusive resort with a girlfriend from Kitimat.  It was April of 1998 and Sonora Bay, Mexico was a desert with an American singles resort.  On that trip I learned to scuba dive and water-ski, and fell head-over-heels for a boy who was the first person I had ever met from Manhattan.  A year and a half later, I moved to New York City.  I have no expectations for this trip.  On the eve of my departure from Vancouver I was feeling very anxious; completely irrational but very understandable.

We are greeted in Cancun by a patient and friendly man from the resort where we will be staying.  He holds a sign with my name and above my name is the name Jesus.  I didn’t catch the last name.  Wonderful, I think.  Jesus has finally arrived and he is staying at our hotel.  How convenient, my mother will be so pleased!  The driver of the van which transports us to our hotel speaks little English and I learn in these first 20 minutes that I can understand more Spanish than I thought.  He is friendly and offers us advice and recommendations on how to save money on a day trip to Chichen Itza.

As soon as we arrive, we are greeted by an American host who goes over information about all the facilities to which we have access.  Out of habit I go to take my own luggage to our room and I am gently remind that they have staff to do that for us.  “Sorry,” offering a classic Canadian apology, “I’m so used to always carrying my own bags.”  He seems not at all surprised by my response and smiles.  “Would you like to see our Mexican elevator?”  he asks as he guides us to our room.  “Oh, what’s a Mexican elevator?” I say with enthusiastic curiousity.  “Here,” as we turn the corner and approach the stairs.

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Whale shark warm-up

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

The journey towards my power animal clan of whale sharks has begun!  On June 21st I reunited with my friend Kay Li from Kuala Lumpur, and we spent the evening with my cousin in Toronto, walking along Bathurst, Spadina, and up to Queens.  We discovered the deluxe chocolate maker Soma on the eve of coming down to Mexico towards the origins of the Mayans who invented chocolate?

This is not a travel blog entry in a proper way because I do not have the facilities to properly upload the photos that are recent.  That will need to wait till I return home and am willing to spend time at a computer for more than a few minutes.  This really is a little note to say, tune in soon for the whale shark adventure post and pictures of whale sharks, mayan ruins, and other colourful Yucatecan delights. 

It is warm and humid, the way my body fondly remembers.  I love you, Vancouver, but you’ve been giving me the cold shoulder for a bit too long.  See you here again soon!

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When pretty shoes could use some pretty wheels.

May 15th, 2011 No comments

I had a terrific experience using zipcars these last two days.  Yesterday was a trip out to the Greater Vancouver Zoo and today was a day trip to Whistler.  If you’ve been thinking of getting a membership or trying it out, May 15th would be an excellent day to check that off your to do list because it happens to be International Fluevog Day and Zipcar is offering 60% memberships purchased on this day as the “Fluevog Special”.

Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

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Masculine and Feminine Peacemaking

April 11th, 2011 No comments

Moved by this video manifesto, Dear Woman, I felt compelled to share it and what it brought up for me.

Humility.  Respect.  Appreciation.  I am reminded to respect my own feminine energy, impulses and intuition.  I am one who has strong currents of masculine energy and know very well what unfortunate consequences come from ignoring the wisdom of my feminine.  I am reminded and inspired to commit to honouring my femininity as a woman, despite the judgments of others (especially myself); for intuitive guidance may not come with rational explanations, justifications and orderly plans.  And I continue to appreciate my masculine pulse that moves me outward and onward, seeking to expand Self with new experiences.  So to my masculine and feminine selves I say…

Dear Masculine Self:  Thank you for not giving up when I thought I wouldn’t have the strength to go on.  And thank you for giving up when you did, so that I could stop running away from my truths.  I understand that you want to protect me because you care.  You owe me no proof of your worth so be assured that your energy is grounding, appreciated and essential.

Dear Feminine Self:  Thank you for your patient, nurturing beauty.  Your guidance is effective and important in its gentle and inclusive ways.  I’m sorry that I have often forced you into commitments without consent and failed to respect your beauty.  You inspire me to grow, dream and weave a world of peacemaking miracles.

Just Imagine music video

April 4th, 2011 No comments

Here is a lovely video that reminds us, inspite of our fears, doubts and skepticism, we need only allow ourselves to imagine…the universe receives and responds and possibilities can be found where we least suspect them.

On this rainy cold April Monday, just imagine the sun shining behind the clouds…just imagine!

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Lady Laluna lives on in Scene + Heard Scored

February 21st, 2011 No comments

In 2008, Puente Theatre and Cinevic commissioned storytellers and filmmakers in Victoria to collaborate on a project called Scene + Heard. The project takes traditional oral storytelling and pairs it with the art of film to produce a theatrical event that has sold out in both 2008 and 2010. This year’s run gets the enhancing addition of the musical stylings by Oliver Swain who will be playing an original score live.

When I wrote the short story, Lady Laluna, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would find the life it has in the series of Scene+Heard events. A note of gratitude to Lina de Guevara, Paulina Grainger, Bryan Skinner and Kemi Craig for the production, and the audiences who have supported us each year!

Here is a little video clip about the project.

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