Anyone who is, or has, a mother can relate to this brilliantly hilarious poem and laugh! In honour of Mother’s Day (a bit belated, but if your Mother’s Day was anything like my mother’s day, you deserve a little more celebration, or a lot…), I bring you a poem by former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, “The Lanyard.” Enjoy!
I originally heard this poem in one of Michael Stone’s lectures over here. Now was the perfect time to share it. Or, erm, yesterday was, but, you know, life….
By the way, look what our artist Cathy sent me in the mail the other day, in honour of my (now-quite-ghastly-but-sighh-TEMPORARY) lack of top front tooth….
On the back of the painting, it says “ONE TOOTH WONDER”! She’s too funny and talented for her own good — I’ll have to get her back somehow….
As you may have noticed in my last post, I’m on a bit of a spiritual kick. And, I know, that doesn’t explain a thing about WHAT THE HELL that post was, but that’s the point (or the non-point). Maybe “spiritual” isn’t the right word. And hopefully this isn’t a “kick.” Because, as I said in that last post, I’m happy — happy not trying to be happy. Because trying to be happy presupposes that I’m not happy. And if I step outside my bumbling brain for a bit and look at things as they are, I’m damn happy. Yeeaahh.
“Spiritual” is definitely not the right word either. I’ve sort of been-there-done-that, and it didn’t stick. It was definitely a “kick.” I don’t even really care if the psychic across the road from the big bookstore I frequent is really psychic or not, or even if I have a “spirit guide,” and what his name is, or if my dead cat is communicating with me when I’m sleeping. Because, at least for me, it doesn’t matter. Matter.
Regular yoga practice is teaching me this. How good practicing yoga makes me feel doesn’t matter. Matter. What matters is what’s here, what’s clear. My cat sitting on my lap, purring, now turning to me with stinky wet kisses, the click-clicking of the keys under my fingertips, my daughter upstairs serenading her dad: “it’s not my fault, the police gave me a ticket once because it’s not catching up to you, na-na-na-na-na” (#wtf?). Time passes quickly, and I’m done squandering my life.
So there are things to let go of. Me, the clinger. Addictions, fears, desires, anxieties. This doesn’t mean I plan on repressing or transcending these things, or never-ever-having-a-Starbucks-soy-no-water-tazo-chai-ever-again-EVER. It just means watching, noticing, observing the patterns, the wanting, the cravings — human stuff that we all get sucked into, stuck in. Not caring where it all comes from or why.
This is all a little something I’m learning from him (ignore the old caption — try)…
…and through him (who happens to have been my best friend when I was around 4-6 years old — so, kind of kismet)…
One day, I’ll have the guts to go to Michael Stone’s studio, maybe take a class, maybe let him know the impact he’s had on my life and, so, the lives around me….
Don’t worry, I’m still loving The Real Housewives. Just dancing more to the beat of my own drummer. And maybe even to a little Alicia Keys, because…
…because that’s what my girls are playing because we’re going to NYC — Blogher ’10 — this summer with a whole bunch of other fabulous people whom I genuinely love. Come with us!? God help me, my family’s coming, too! But they’ll be staying with Josh’s sister and husband in Brooklyn. Yes, it will be quite the roadtrip. And I expect to overhear many a backseat conversation, such as this little nugget from today:
All that matters: my amazing family, good friends, authenticity (but not the cliche kind), the world, this earth, “this ground.” What doesn’t matter: “big bloggers,” stats, twitter followers, fame, what-if’s, what so-and-so thinks of how my kid behaved in the restaurant, or what so-and-so thinks of what I’m wearing (again)…. None of it matters. Too much squandering. Squandering.
So, basically, while I’m not going to give up squandering altogether (you’d have to PAY me to give up Housewives right now, and, hmmm, twitter), I’m a little more focused on what matters, on what’s real, here, and now, on this earth.
One more tweet for the road – because it came out of nowhere last week and is, dare I say, très apropos….
It’s about being here and now and balanced within an extremely unbalanced society, ecology, economy, etc., etc….
Kind of like this wonderful boy, my blog friend (and fellow T-Dot book clubber) Sandra Diaz‘s eight-year-old son Zachary, raising thousands of dollars for assaulted women, and volunteering any way he can for other important charities. He was honoured at Disney on Ice the other night. That’s yoga — as opposed to “blissing out” in hot pink lululemons. I got to take a picture….
Though it’s a fabulous workout and great for the nervous system, the heart of yoga is in the here and now. In not escaping but being present and active anywhere that you’re needed. Most people don’t realize it. Most people don’t realize how enlightening it is to really be in the here and now — through yoga, meditation, and even just reading (maybe even a blog post?) about it.
Bottom line in 140 characters or less? I don’t care about small stuff anymore. Dunzo. (Okay more than 140 characters.) I will continue to wear my flaws on my sleeve. But I’ll let them be. I’ll go with the flow and focus on what matters. Really matters.
It’s a work in progress…, of course.
People ask me about yoga and yoga books/dvds all the time. So, basically: Michael’s books (he has three of them now) — Cheaty RECOMMENDS.
So he’s walking around with his father’s iTouch now. And he’s talking. A lot. Unfortunately, he likes to start most of his words with “f.” This is only really a problem when he’s yelling words like “cracker” over and over again in the grocery store — which has been known to happen. “F*CKER!!! F*CKER!!!” Nice, Rascal. Nice.
So I have a cold — again. Because I don’t take care of myself: I don’t do enough yoga, I don’t eat right (despite what everyone thinks for some reason), I don’t take my vitamins, and my sniffly kids and smelly cat constantly cover me with sloppy kisses. I am so loved. Loved enough that I don’t care that I have the sniffles right now.
So I don’t care about a lot of things I used to care about. Including getting out a decent blog post every time (ahem)…. The internet can suck you in and spit you out and suck you back in again. It spit me out yesterday — and I quite like it here, all spit out. I’m in a good place. I think I’ll stay here. Covered in spit.
So I just wrote three freelance pieces. Yes, I’m freelance writing, like professional for, like, here and here. And I have very little writing steam left in me tonight because of the hours of writing, the sore eyes and sniffles. I really wasn’t going to blog this evening. But the internet spit me out yesterday, so you know….
So now that I’ve written something here, I DO have to go to bed and attempt to read this month’s book club pick (450+ pages!): The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.
So far, it’s excellent. I can easily say I’ve never read anything like it. Deep into the heart of the Mississippi, the Internet spit me out, 1962….
So I remember a while back, this blogger I used to read. She said she loathed when people started sentences with “So.” And so ever since then I’ve been a little self-conscious about my “So”s at the beginning of sentences. But, you see, I don’t care so much now because the internet spit me out. It had to, you know. I wanted it to.
We’re leaving tomorrow afternoon, and we’re ALREADY packed — which, if you know me, is nothing less than astounding….
Just as astounding is the fact that my daughter — MY DAUGHTER — packed her own bag! See that there (above)? SHE did all that. And if you saw what MY bag looks like, you’d be astounded that any spawn of mine could pack such a bag. SURE, she packed a few two many pairs of flip flops, and forgot socks and underwear, and pants, but the presentation — LO…! I’m very proud. I left it to Josh to tell her we can’t actually take that bag with us….
So, off we go on a much-needed vacation. A much needed rendezvous with the ocean, palm trees and TARGET….
Seriously, I’m beyond excited to reconnect with the ocean. To breathe in and out in sync with the waves. My naturopath (Jennifer Baer) couldn’t have prescribed a better remedy for all my restlessness…. (Except maybe a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, or something, but this’ll do!)
In the meantime, someone’s ALREADY missing his mama….
And someone else is PRETENDING she could care less (and reminds me, as we pondered in this week’s yoga class, “do cats have collar bones?”)….
Okay, back to packing. The monkey’s in bed now, and Josh and I are laughing hysterically about what she’s packed in her carry-on………
OH! And check my vacay reading….
First, Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia (which I’ve already started and am LOVING, even though am a vegan — the book is about so much more than food, of course)….
It’s hard to write a blog post with a cat on your lap. I think that’s one of the reason’s I blog less often than I used to. That, and twitter, and my seasonal anti-socialness. Yes, beloved Macbook, I know “socialness” is not a word but, according to you, either is “macbook.” There’s such a thing as poetic license, you know. And thank you for helping me spell “license.” It’s one of those words I never know how to spell. That, and “exercise” and “occasion,” and “judgment.” Reminds me of how it took me the longest time to notice the spelling of “schedule” — why not “schedual”?
I so think I’m Aristotle right now — ruminating on the little particulars in life and in the mind…. Because I just read this FABO (I know, not officially a word but whatevs) novel all about Aristotle and his student Alexander the Great….
Yes, I read Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean. It was my T-Dot blogger bookclub choice. Aside from the animal experimentation and dead-soldier dissection — Alexander the Great was a wee bit CRAZY (crazy but HOT, apparently) — this was the most relaxing, enjoyable book I’ve read in a long time.
If you loved The Tudors and Rome TV series (LOVE LOVE LOVE), you’ll love this book. Lyon takes you RIGHT out of the 20th century, and into Aristotle’s mind — an insatiably curious, innocent, self-questioning, seeking and apparently bi-polar mind.
If you love ancient philosophy, you’ll love this book. Lyon’s (historical-fictional) contextualization of Aristotle’s works makes his theories so much more accessible than your philosophy professor ever could. If only this book were around when I was taking philosophy exams. I had so many “AHA!” moments — or, should I say, “EUREKA” moments!
If you love ancient history, you might, as the author puts it in her acknowledgments, “turn purple” when you read this book. But I was okay with that.
If you love a little erotica in your reading, you’ll love this book. I’m not sure I ever needed to imagine Aristotle’s sex life. But, it was cool to learn how his second wife taught him that there is, indeed, such a thing as a female orgasm. EUREKA!
At Book Club last night, we didn’t talk much about the book. Probably because we all had different levels of interest in Aristotle and his philosophy. I wanted to talk about the significance and treatment of TRAGEDY and CATHARSIS in the book — but I was once a post-graduate philosophy major. AND WE WERE TIRED. AND WE WANTED TO CUPCAKES…. Check ‘em out!
I set them up in my fancy cake plate. Ooo, did I mention I entertained? I ENTERTAINED. I never entertain at my house. EVER. I chose the book; I hosted the SOIREE. But, I think I did ok! What do you think? Check out the table….
Fresh veggies and hummus….
Chips and dips, and fancy NUTS — total HIT — from my fave food store, Organic Abundance — presented in a GORJ clay bowl handmade by BFF Jenifer-Lyn Terner….
And various grains and bean dishes, etc., etc….
And I dressed up my 5-pound LIGHTER bod….
Getting there…! (I’m getting my haircut TOMORROW, woohoo!). And I wore my fancy slippers….
And I had a great time with my bloggy buddies — like the fabulous and brillers KAREN….
And, of course, the “unwonted guest”…. The Monkey LOVES Mamalooper…. Here she is trudge-trudge-trudging BACK upstairs for the fifth time (I saved her a cupcake, of course)….
It was a FAB party, if I do say so myself. Several peeps in the club couldn’t make it, so it was low key. We drank mint green tea, instead of wine. I turned on the fireplace and gave Mamalooper a blanket to cozy up in. They left after 11pm. I went to bed happy.
Then, today, the Monkey barged in on me when I was in the shower, yelling, “THAT’S MY MAMA!” Let’s just say her playdate, Jill, got an eye full….
If you’ve been following me on twitter, you know I’ve been suffering from an OCD/Anxiety relapse. Yes, the INSANE kind I had in my pregnancies. Just ask the TDot Book Club Bloggers. I’m afraid of my blackberry right now — terrified. And I probably shouldn’t have gone to Book Club last night because I was all, “Hi, how are you? I have ANXIETY! I have OCD! I’m CRAZY! I’m CRAZY like when I was pregnant and was, like, calling the FARMERS who produced the cheese that was in the ravioli I’d eaten at a restaurant the week before to see if it was actually pasteurized [this was before I went vegan, of course], and if the farmer said ‘I don’t know,’ then I was convinced I destroyed my baby.” Remember that, Gorgeouses? The TDots were, of course, SO understanding and supportive. It was a good thing I went. LOVE.
I think my favourite “obsessive thought” EVER was The Weevil Incident. I was about 20 weeks pregnant with the Monkey. I was at work, eating a pack of almonds, and I suddenly realized there was a hole in one of the almonds I’d eaten. It was a perfect hole. Too perfect. So, I went up to my colleague at work and told him about the hole in my almond. It’s a “weevil and a mouse,” he said (we’d been working on a book about weevils and flees and such other GREAT subject matter for me and my morning sickness). “A weevil and a mouse did that,” he snickered, “those almond factories are infested.” Of course, in my MESSED UP, clinically prenatally depressed preggers mind, this was a real possibility. SO I called the assistant director at Motherisk (I had her direct phone number, of course), and I called my family doctor: “Hello!” I gasped, “I just ate an almond and I think there was a hole in it that was made by a weevil and/or a mouse, IS MY BABY OKAY!?” Yes, this is TRUE. TRUE TRUE.
And here we are again. At this time EACH year, it seems, the doom and gloom and freakish obsessions that characterized my pregnancies RETURN. And here I am crazy.
Last night, I was so crazy I couldn’t blog. And, then there was this morning…. I had to go to the office. They have no idea what EXACTLY it took for me to make an appearance there this morning. It’s bad, Gorgeouses. It’s bad. But, I’m getting some help. My doctors are helping me, and CAROLINE DUPONT.
Yes, it seems my ego gets MAD and VENGEFUL whenever I make positive changes in my life. Pregnancy, meditation, yoga, green smoothies…. Ego is NOT happy because Ego is not the centre of attention. Ego is being silenced and Ego doesn’t like it. So, Ego is trying to TAKE OVER and MAKE IT STOP. It likes it when I’m stuck. It hates change. It likes repetition, addiction, certainty. But, screw it. I’m on to you, Ego. Moving on.
And I can tell you THIS BOOK did not help my anxiety. In fact, it may have triggered an episode or two….
I should not be reading books like this month’s TDOT Blogger Book Club Book of the month. Books about a TRUE murder of a 3-year-old “flaxen”-haired boy — OMG, the Rascal’s hair could not be more FLAXEN and his features more CHERUBIC…I SHOULD NOT BE READING THIS. I am NOT A CANDIDATE for books like this. And I should have KNOWN when I picked this book up in the TRUE CRIME section of the bookstore that I am NOT A CANDIDATE for this book. And, indeed, I flinched visibly when the computer directed me to the TRUE CRIME section of the bookstore.
Yes, so this was one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. Sure, it was brilliantly written in a very detached, exquisitely researched, resourceful, investigative way that self-consciously focused more on detective JONATHAN JACK WHICHER — the inspiration for some of the best 19th-century fiction from Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins (LOVE) — than on the poor FLAXEN-HAIRED boy who lost his life in the most violently disturbing way. And, see I can’t and couldn’t escape the FLAXEN-HAIRED boy because my mind is incapable of registering such a heinous, gruesome event in a detached way. MY MIND goes straight to FEAR.
Fear. The bane of my existence. My life’s challenge has to be to manage it, understand it, overcome it, teach my kids to overcome it. And so, Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr. Whicherremains in my basement until I can find a better home for it. Far far away. In fact, I may drive it out to some remote forest FAR FAR AWAY. I’ll put a blindfold over it so IT CAN’T SEE where I’m taking it and, THUS, can’t find its way back to my house ever! And I’ll find an environmentally-friendly way of disposing it forever. So it can’t haunt me like the GHOSTS of poor little SAVILLE KENT and his killers are said to haunt the house at ROAD HILL….
Ahh, good times. And OY! I had so much else to blog about. It’ll have to wait ’til next time. Very good sign that I’m writing tonight. Yay. Baby steps….
Sadly, a lot of that is VERY FAMILIAR…. Damn “What Ifs”!….
Next month’s book? It’s MY PICK: Annabel Lyon’s highly acclaimed The Golden Mean — so definitely not HORRIFIC, and apparently very SEXAY! Sweeeet.
I was the only person in my entire book club of 12 Toronto bloggers who liked, nay LOVED, Australian author Christos Tsiolkas’ latest tome The Slap.
Maybe it was the exhilaration of it all — the exhilaration I felt when I flipped the final 483rd page of the book exactly one hour before I had to drive 45 minutes to Denguy‘s house for the monthly meeting last night. Maybe it was the 483ish times the author used the c-word (or not, since I don’t think I’ve uttered the word in my entire life). Maybe it was the sexy-hot Hector, the icy cool Aisha, the sweet sympathetic Richie. Maybe it was that tiny detail, when teen-aged Connie gave her friend the stink eye for throwing a cigarette butt in the bushes: “It would end up in the sea. [Connie] got up from the bench, picked up the butt and put it in the side pocket of her backpack.”
Or maybe I’m just a dark and twisted horndog.
But the book won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. Are the Australian literati, then, also dark and twisted horndogs?
I don’t know. Why don’t you read it, and let me know what you think. THEY hated it. I loved it.
And yet I wonder if I would love ANY book right now. Because reading is such a LUXURY for me these days.
So, I suppose if there’s any time to read the new Tori Spelling book, NOW would be the time?
Yes, I’m so grateful just to be READING again — to relax and escape for a while, even into Tsiolkas’ dark and twisted world of horndogs, a world totally removed from my own. Maybe that’s why I loved it.
It was a good escape. And a good accomplishment. 483 pages. Unlike changing diapers and waking up in the middle of the night to get the monkey WATER, I didn’t HAVE to read it. But I did. And it felt GOOD.
On to our next book club book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher — chosen by Ms. Mamalooper, who has returned to blogging after, ohhh, 6 months’ hiatus. But, FIRST, a book of my own choosing (for, yes, my goal is to read TWO books this month). It’s a book by one of my favourite authors, highly recommended by my mother….
I can assure you there won’t be a single c-word in this one, and I will still love it.
And I can’t wait to get lost in it. Tonight. I hope. After I put the kids to bed, and wash the dishes, and write tomorrow’s bTrendie email alert, and write three articles, and answer 483 emails.