Day 265-272 – Ode to Autumn

I have been sick.  For a whole week now.  And I am Not Happy about it.

Still.  I’ve tried to make notes of small beauties throughout the week.

So, here I am.  In bed with my laptop and a fever, finally updating the blog.  Apologies for the delay.


Day 265 –

I swear this tree had green leaves the day before. How does nature work so frickin fast?

Day 266 –

What's more beautiful than leaves changing color?

Wet leaves changing color!


Day 267 –

With this change of season comes the inevitable return back to school.   I see a lot of beauty in this because I have two amazing teaching jobs that bring me loads of joy.  Being a professor at the University of Ottawa, lecturing in the same classrooms I learned theatre theory in is a great honor.  On the flipside, I also get a huge amount of joy from teaching at Orleans Young Players Theatre School.  I had my first day back recently and I felt more nervous than the kids.  That anxiety went away the minute I sat down with 6 kids (ages 5 and 6) and worked on creating our own story.  It involved lots of falling down, running and fixing things.  We all physically re-enacted the story with great gusto, causing me to break out in a sweat trying to keep up with these little balls of energy.  They are so beautiful sometimes.


Day 268 –

"Time-outs" can be a beautiful thing.

Day 269 –

This has absolutely nothing to do with autumn, but the video was posted on Facebook recently and I am a sucker for great dancing.

Day 270 –

With the colder comes an urge to do more baking.  I think it’s a real toss-up.  I’m not sure what’s more beautiful:  Fully-baked brownies, or being able to lick the brownie batter off the spoon?


Day 271 –

Lil B, belly-laughing in her sleep.  That is all.

Day 272 –

Waking up from a nap to find that your husband completely tidied up the once-chaotic basement… including re-labelling the rubbermaid containers.  I’m a sucker for good organisation.

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Day 240 – 245 – Where did It go?

When I started this blog, I got so much enjoyment out of finding special bits of beauty where I least expected it.  Right now, I feel so drained most days that writing even this small blog seems like a chore.   It really isn’t though.  It’s kind of like exercise.  Sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but once I start I really enjoy it.  And I find the results really rewarding.

I feel like I’m a very modern (though often whingy)  woman.  I have a lot to be proud of and happy about.  I’m a (relatively) young adult with a B.A. and an M.F.A.  I own my home and car.  I’m married and have two fantastic kids.  I work anywhere between 1 and 5 jobs at a time, all in my chosen field.    I have amazing friends that I don’t see nearly enough.  I have a Twitterverse full of interesting people to talk to.  I’m healthy (minus the chronic migraines… bleh.)  I am what some other people aspire to be.  But we’re never 100% happy with what we have are we?

With all of this responsibility comes a huge amount of stress and I really hoped that having this blog would help me focus my negative energies on something good… or maybe give me a 5 minute break in my day that would boost me.   I’m almost 3/4 of the way trough my test year for this project and finding daily doses of beauty and joy is still a struggle.  Why is that?

I don’t have the answer… but I’ll keep looking for it.

Day 240- A good friend of mine suggested I take a look at this person’s artwork. You should too.


Day 241- I spent almost the entire day taking care of my finances.  I’d gone from balancing my books every week to ignoring them completely for months.  Well not anymore.  Today, I balanced my accounts perfectly.  I’m completely up to date.  And yes, this is a supremely geeky beautiful thing… don’t judge me!

Day 242 – Spoiler Alert!!!  If you haven’t seen the movie BABIES and don’t want it ruined for you (ha! it’s a bunch of babies being cute… there I ruined it for you) skip to the next day.

There is a scene about 3/4 of the way through the movie where Mari (from Japan) and Bayar (from Mongolia) are playing.  Stewart and I laughed out loud at the way the two babies were playing because it was absolutely fascinating and more than a little true.  Mari is trying to do the simple task of placing a tubular wooden block into a donut shaped block.  Frustration and a complete tantrum ensues, with full-on leg kicking and wailing.  Bayar, tethered to a bed with a rope to keep him out of “harm’s way” somehow gets his hands on a roll of toilet paper.  The sheer glee on his face is contagious as he unrolls the paper which gets caught on a nearby post.  He eventually gets the full roll close enough to him so he can have a good munch on it.  Mouth full of toilet paper, he couldn’t be happier while Mari has all of the modern toys at her disposal and is losing her mind.    So funny and so beautiful.

Day 243 –

Wearing bright red lipstick and no other makeup while hanging out at home... because I can.

Day 244 – I’m almost positive I’ve told this story on my blog before, but I can’t find a sign of it anywhere.

When I was a kid and had nightmares, I’d quietly sneak into my parents’ room for comfort.  Nothing strange there.  The strange part though is the only thing that would calm me down enough to go back to sleep was a drink from my Mom’s bedside table water glass.  I can’t really describe it, except for it always tasted of relief.  (Then again, I was probably dehydrated at the time!)

AJ crawled into my bed recently, quite late at night.  For the first time, she asked to have a sip of my water.  I walked her gulp the room-temperature drink down like her little life depended on it.  She settled right down after that.

Like mother like daughter.

Day 245 – Many of my posts have been about food because, let’s face it, I’m a total foodie.  If I had more time and lots more money, I’d be cooking up a storm every day.  I’ve love to go to culinary school just for the fun of it.

But food isn’t my beautiful thing for today – sharing is.  My Jam Experiment (Blueberry Apple Caramel) is quite a tasty success.  I don’t have a ton of it, but the first person to request a sample through the comments below, Twitter or Facebook will get a small jar of it delivered by yours truly.

Day 233-235 – Crafty Things.

Day 233 –

We had AJ’s birthday party and the concept was simple: being crafty.  I left coloring books and markers and crayons and paper on the dinning room table so the kids could color if they wanted to.  Though, most of them chose to duke it out over the two mini-strollers we have.  The best part though was the “cake”.  Being a lazy, I mean, creative Mom that I am I decided to let the kids decorate their own cupcakes.  It was awesome.

To be honest, I don’t know who was happier… the kids or the adults.

Day 234 –

My sis is in town with my two nieces who are fantastically adorable.

Three smiling cousins and a snarky baby.

When my sister is around, she is a pillar of amazing support and care.  She’s no lounging around the house type of gal.  She’s cleaning, doing laundry, cooking and putting the girls in time out… sometimes all at the same time.  She wanted to roast a chicken for dinner the other night, but Stewart came home with a turkey instead (?).  Well, it was a blessing in disguise.  There’s nothing quite like a turkey dinner to make you feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.

Day 235 –

I adore this building on Elgin/Queen/Sparks.  It always looks like something out of a comic book to me.  The contrasting colors… the geometric patterns.

Day 202-205 – My Vacation (Part 1)

Day 202 – Being plan-less and clock-less is enough to drive me insane.  I try to know where my iPhone is at all times so I can instantly access information that will keep me on track, focussed and on deadline.  It makes me feel safe.

But there’s something about being on holiday that changes all of that.  Other than making sure I was on the right flight at the right time, I barely looked at my watch.  I didn’t care where I went.  I wasn’t bothered by what I saw or didn’t see.  I went where the Manitoba breeze (or lack thereof) took me.  It was great.  Nobody depending on me.  No one to answer to.  No commitments.  Proper ME time.  Bliss.

 

Day 203 – Have you ever been to a restaurant and had a meal so good that you remember is vividly years later?  Almost like you can taste it?  The Mondragon in Winnipeg is that place for me.  So needless to say I was keen on going back there after a four year hiatus.  I was pleased to notice that not much had changed.   It still had the same quirky, mismatched decor.  The menus were still printed on recycled paper.  The menu items themselves hadn’t changed much, but they did expand their book/bulk foods/fresh foods section which looked amazing.

I ate there twice while at the Winnipeg Fringe.  The veggie burger (packed with flavour) and Twister wrap (with beautifully seasoned tofu) were just as amazing as I remembered.  Super fresh.  Great service.  Excellent value for money. 

 

Day 204 – One of the perks of going to a Fringe Festival is that there’s so much going on and you have a huge selection of plays to choose from.  I was only there for 2.5 days (plus travel time) so it was difficult for me to plan what I was going to see, which left me wide open.  I had many dates with (my now even better friend than before) Cat who had heard lots of buzz about shows having arrived at the festival much earlier than me.  She suggested we check out The Bike Trip, because she’d heard good things about it.  I knew absolutely nothing going into it.  Not the performing company.  Not the running time.  Not the genre.  Nothing. 

It was a trip all right.  Martin Dockery has got a performance style all his own, with rapid fire delivery combined with crystal clear storytelling skills and an organic, simple-yet-effective, way of inhabiting the stage space.  The show is a series of short monologue recounting important moments in his experimentation with LSD.  There are no frat-boy or adolescent “easy” jokes here, but more an honest and often hilarious series of observations on the human mind’s dance with drugs and how it can bring enlightenment in ways you least expect.    I thoroughly enjoyed my trip… and I didn’t have to destroy any brain cells in the process!

 

Day 205 – For those of you who have never toured the Fringe circuit, I’d like to introduce you to the Fringe Family Phenomenon.  If you wish to truly turn your show into a tour, the Fringe Festivals in Canada are (for the most part) schedule so you can go across the country from June to September.  One version of it could include Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver.  You’re on the road for 5 months and even though you’re moving from Fringe to Fringe, it’s like starting anew in each city.  What works for an Ontario audience might not read in the Prairies.  You can get 4 stars reviews in one place and 2 star reviews the next.  There’s all of the media calls, postering, flyering, publicising, re-rehearsing… it goes on and on.  But there’s one constant – Your Fringe Family.  Touring artists have a way of becoming really close.  They give you a shoulder to cry on when your van gets broken into in Winnipeg.  They buy you a drink when you forget your wallet at home.  They do brunch, go to movies, promo your show, come see your performance at your crappy timeslot.  These people become your sisters, your brothers, your collaborators and, in some cases, your lovers or best friends. 

I had the pleasure of touring from 2003-2006 in various capacities.  It was always with known companies which meant they had a built-in Fringe Family.  They wouldn’t see each other or even send an email for the other 7 months of the year, but once the tour started it’s like it had never ended. 

I was a bit nervous to come to Winnipeg because I felt that my Fringe Family was gone.  Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I was looking forward to some alone time.  But I wasn’t looking forward to that “Hey super-cool person I had martinis with all of the time four summers ago, remember me? No?  Ok.  That’s cool.  … walk away crying” moment. 

As it turns out, I was worrying for nothing.  Every single person I saw from my past Fringe Family greeted me with open arms.  Some even carried on our conversation from where we left off.  Many assumed I had a show in the Festival and wanted to see it.  Others were just tickled at my surprise appearance.  Even at my favourite local haunt, the King’s Head’s bartender recognised me and threw his arms around me like I was his long lost daughter.  It was amazing to feel so connected to that again. 

The only problem with it all though is that the Fringe Family Phenomenon is a fantasy (and also a serious alliteration I’ve just realised).  It feels very real in the moment, but it’s not actually real.  If you’d move all of us into the same town, we might find each other terribly boring/obnoxious/exhausting/etcetcetc,  Very few Fringe friends truly translate into future project collaborators or year-long friends.  Very few Fringe romances look so idyllic when all is said and done.  The 9-5 grind comes back into the play.  The bills still have to be paid.  And everyone looks drabber in the fall and winter months without the summer flush and glow. 

But still, I got to feel it again… The Fringe Family Love.  So to all of my friends from Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, Australia, England, Winnipeg and Seattle, thank you for taking such good care of me and making me feel like I was home.  I will miss you.

Day 162 – Grapes

After a long day of work, I picked up my little ladies from daycare and brought them home.  My hopes of throwing myself on the couch were dashed when my cell phone rang alerting me to an imminent phone interview.  Such is the life of a festival producer.

But there was beauty in all of this.  After the phone interview, I was treated to a backyard picnic dinner made by my husband.  Sipping Corona, eating a veggie burger and watching the kids play with dirt was just the end to the day that I needed.   And it was made even better when Lil B spontaneously decided that she was going to share her grapes with me.

She quietly sat on my lap, gently feeding me every second grape from out of her bowl with such a sweet smile on her face.  Just lovely.