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March 30, 2010

Ganesha & Dating

Ganesha, Hindu God widely revered as the remover of obstacles. And, honestly, who couldn't use that? This photo of this version of Ganesha was taken at The Salt Spring Centre. There's a wonderful garden, waterfall, and somewhere on the property this sculpture exists as well.

I took this photo last summer when I was there with the photography Meet-up group but I now can't recall exactly where on the property I saw it.  What I'm about to say has absolutely nothing to do with Ganesha although may have something to do with obstacles - self-created and otherwise.

I was reading The Globe & Mail's book section on the ferry on Sunday night and came across a reference to a new book called: Undateable: 311 things guys do that guarantee they won't be dating or having sex.  I wonder what Ganesha's dating tips would be?

I can't help but notice that even though women have (since the printing press was invented) 15 billion articles, books, magazines, tips, urban myths, advertisements, pornography, boyfriends, girlfriends and husbands to guide them on what they can do to be more desirable to men, that when two women write one jesting book about what men sometimes do to turn off women, you inevitably get the guys who just can't handle it and complain about being so tired of "man bashing." Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that those poor guys are exactly who the book is referring to. They're undateable. No sense of humour? Undateable! Can't laugh at oneself? Undateable!

I've never really liked the word "dating". It seems so 1950's Doris Day, Rock Hudson Beach Blanket Bingo-like. I have a weird habit of never even thinking of a "date" as a date.  A very astute friend of mine said it so well when she said, that's because you only think it's a date if you like him, not the other way around. She's right. And, I have no doubt it works that way for guys as well.

The other night I went on what might be considered a date. He got dressed up. I made some minor effort. We met. We danced. Not once did he offer to buy me a drink! My definition of undateable! Unless you're homeless, if you're a guy and you are interested in a female then not offering to buy even one drink is in my terms undateable.  If you offer, women might say, no thanks, I'd prefer to buy my own but if you don't offer, you're just clued out. And, by the time you get to be over 20, if someone needs to tell you this, you're too far gone to really put the effort out for.

I've been on a lot of "dates" which I haven't considered dates but in the definition of the term were in fact dates. And, there are a couple of things that stand out for me as things that, if they aren't already in the book, probably should be.

My Red flags include:
  • Not offering to buy coffee or a drink (if you can't do that, you're not interested), especially if you're the one who asked me out. Cheapness. My number one undateable!
  • Make me do all the work when it comes to communication and if I stop asking questions of you and your life there's silence. Kill me now!
  • Thinking that inviting me to a sado-masochistic film fest as a first date is a good idea.
  • Excessive swearing, cynicism and general anti-social behaviour.
  • Addictions
  • No sense of humour and no ability to have insight about your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Hypochondria (especially when it's just a common head cold).
  • Picky eaters (Real men eat just about anything don't they?)
  • Not ever being able to take responsibility for any issue when we all know it takes two people...
  • Talking about your ex-wife more than once or twice on our first date.
  • Pretending to be straight when you're gay.
  • Staring at my boobs (excessively).
  • Telling me within 15 minutes of meeting me that I'm exactly the kind of girl you're looking for.
  •  Calling yourself a "healer" or "a psychic" and actually believing it. Real ones don't talk like that.
  • Telling me that you have to go meet your son at your grow-op in a house in Capilano Canyon.
I'm depressing myself. When it comes to dating, I need a Ganesh to remove the obstacles - the ones I create and the ones my energy has attracted to me.

March 24, 2010

The Great Victoria Teascape

Isn't this lovely? It's a purse that I saw in the Venus Sophia Tea Room where we had a wee spot of the heavenly liquid when I was there about a month ago with the girl friends. It was a combination tea shop, cafe with all sorts of romantic pleasantries, bits and bobs as the saying goes, or does it?  But this tea shop is relatively new I suspect, and it's in the heart of Victoria's Chinatown on Fisgard street. 

Sitting at one of the white tables is like drinking in a Chic flic. It's a lovely escape whether you're with friends or on your own. It's so civilized and aesthetically pleasing you expect to find Vanessa Redgrave sitting quietly in the corner with a big, floppy hat and large white sunglasses.

I came across a list of the 10 best tea rooms in Victoria and thought I'd pass it on. I've been to exactly one of them. The oldest.

Something about the large decorated room and this purse took me back to a memory of my mother when she must have been in her mid 40s and I was a child. She had this beautiful sterling silver mirror, brush and comb set always on her dresser on a lace doiley.

Some days before my father would come home from work, she would often take the time to go to her bedroom and use that sterling silver set to brush her hair, powder her face, put on lipstick and then take a quick assessment of herself. I remember this as an observer, not a participant.

I can see her in a dress she used to wear in the summer. It had a large, white sailor-like collar and it was coral-coloured with big flowers on it and lots of lightweight fabric that swished when she walked. She'd be carrying a large white leather bag with a clasp. It was the early 1960s.

Something about this purse, the colours and the femininity, unearthed for me that ritual of time my mother would sometimes take for herself  before dinner (but even then she couldn't have the time to herself because obviously I was there watching). 

I find this attention to herself for my father (and for herself) in a life that seemed quite devoid of romance, very interesting as I ponder it now.

I think everyone must have a memory of their mother standing before a mirror, applying make-up or preparing herself for a special evening that helped shape a sense of their own femininity or what that word might mean and it's quite a delicious visual.

Anyone have their own memories of such a ritual by their own mother you'd care to share?

March 22, 2010

Salt Spring Saturday Market Preparations

I've been busy getting ready for The Market which begins on Saturday, April 3. There have been trips to Victoria and trips to Opus and Value Village and Capital Iron. 

So much decision-making goes into selling your own photography or anything for that matter. Like everyone else, I'm trying to add to my "products" to make them unique in some way. Not an easy task when it comes to photography but I think I have succeeded. I have no idea whether my new little product will be a success but it will be fun to hope and see what happens. 

Pricing is always a challenge. I wrote a story on an artist lately and I felt very motherly telling him that he was underselling his talent and that the price should not be related to how long it took him and that he needed to honour his talent.

Umm. Say that again so I can hear it myself why don't I?  I want to price my stuff accordingly but I don't want to overprice it. Just about everything is overpriced here starting with the gas - which must be organic or something - because it costs between 120 and 126 which is probably more than anywhere else in Canada. Salt Spring used to be synonymous with sheep but now me thinks it's just synonymous with "show me the money!"

Lately I've been running into a lot of people whose Salt Spring dreams have run their course and as a result, they're done, they're packing up, they're moving on. I expect that's an ongoing phenomenon here and I wonder when something inside will tell me it's my turn.

But, back to photography, something about the above photo really appeals to me. I call it "Strength."

I was just sitting on the dock at Ganges and looked down into the water to see the light hitting the chain in a way that really drew me in. I hope you find it interesting in some way.

March 15, 2010

Savouring a Mimosa: A Metaphor

It has been a while. Lots going on. Trying to be positive. Not succeeding so well.

Therefore, tonight I am going to share with you something that is so loving and inspiring that I think no matter who you are you will pause and reflect a moment on how you're living your days, moment by moment. Maybe, just do a little checking in with yourself. I know I am.

Tonight I feel it would do my heart good to write about one of my dearest friends. She is a wonderful, loving person. Her name is Peggy. She's a mom of two fine daughters. She's a loving wife to Chris. Eight years ago she was my boss who quickly morphed into one of my dearest friends. In spite of a life-long challenge of living with arthritis that made its presence known when she was 13 years old, she is someone you can count on to focus on the positive and I have only ever felt unconditional acceptance from her even when, at times, it must have been impossible for her not to be thinking Gayle, what the hell are YOU thinking?

In her finest form she is sharing with me, via e-mail, the experience of her days as she is caring along with one of her sisters for a favourite aunt whom after a lifetime of vibrancy discovered around Christmas that what was thought to be a stroke, wasn't. In fact, her aunt's change in behaviour was determined to be the result of two malignant brain tumours. Her aunt is, I believe, 86 years old. Her aunt's name is Mary. She lives in West Vancouver. She's not actually Peggy's biological aunt. But, somehow, and I always forget the story, they adopted each other and they have, I gather, one of those relationships that just "clicked" right from the first meeting. Mary is a widow and has no children.

I've met Mary at least half a dozen times at dinners with Peggy and Chris. She's a straight-talking Prairie girl with a good sense of humour. I've always enjoyed seeing Mary and being around her presence at dinners.

The other day Peggy's e-mail began with the line, "Don't know why but these were the best mimosas I've ever had. I think I've figured out that the secret is in the proportion to champagne to OJ." As you guessed, she's no bartender.  But, wouldn't that always be the secret of all drinks?(Sorry, Peg!)

I'm getting these very short e-mails from her because she knows I'm not at my happiest at the moment and it's her caring way of touching base. Sometimes, she'll say, "we're trying the Port tonight with dark chocolate" or "we think we'll make it a  Hugh Grant movie week or"We've been watching an A&E epic version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth."

Chic flicks. Chocolate. Champagne. Port. Meaningful conversation. The way the light streams into the kitchen. The view from the deck. Silliness. And LOVE. The very best of what days should be made of. What else could be better when you're living your last days?

As I'm hearing from her about what's going on and how her and her sister are going about their days with Mary, all I can hear in her words and actions is love and the recognition that it's very possible to make each day as special as possible, finding uniqueness, seeking joy at least once in every 24 hours, if not more. Why does it seem so hard at times?

I'm sure, as is so often the case when people are sharing life with those whose life is nearing its conclusion, it's the small things that take on proportions of truth that so often seem out of reach in our regular dailiness. For a short while, as a result, we experience that tender, insightful, pithy space that's always right in front of us if we're paying attention. Somehow it becomes magnified as if in slow motion as if you've just been given a new pair of glasses that let you see with your soul, not with your eyes.

I felt it in all the grieving I have ever done. Over Mac. When my sister died. As I watched my mother in the last month of her life in hospital. Strangely enough, even at my most depressed. The soul of depression.

Even now, I know it as I'm experiencing watching what happens when people age and how they either become the best of who they are or not. Let's not romanticize it all too much. I hate to tell you folks but it's very likely that it would seem we all become a magnified version of ourselves- foibles and lovability - to an exaggerated degree in direct proportion to that which we were when we were younger.

Such times call up all life's most important questions. How can my spirituality help me with this? What is it that I can learn from this? How can I see this as a blessing? Why can't I forgive that one person? Why can't I let myself? When am I really going to have faith when the going gets tough? How will everything be said through my actions, and if I have the courage and the moment is right, through my words?

And, having said all that, it demands getting out of our heads and like my dear Peg has done, savouring every drop of the best mimosas ever, drinking in the moment, as if it truly was our last!

Love to Mary, Peggy and Peggy's sister. In Unity! :-)

March 03, 2010

From Almost One to 91

It was nice to see Konor and Lisa and Heather again on Saturday morning. Konor, who will be one on March 16, enjoyed sitting on my Dad's lap and my dad enjoyed being in the rare company of a baby. He's a quiet little one with the most intense stare and a good grip on the shirt. (The baby that is, not my dad.) My dad and him just took each other in for a while, the one year old and the 91-year-old. Cute!

March 02, 2010

Olympic Nationalism ... Enough Already!

Had enough of Olympic nationalism yet?
  • Remove the flag flanking your body like Superman's cape.
  • Remove the hockey jersey.
  • Remove those friggen mittens! (That means you, Gordon Campbell. Attention-seeking freak that you are!)
 I admit it. It WAS fun! I was treated like royalty by Meesh courtesy of the US State Department and I will remember the feelings of unity that spread through the crowd in the bar; a feeling I haven't felt since my highschool basketball days, as we collectively cheered, held our breath and banged our tables in unison. I really enjoyed watching THE GAME.
On average, I probably watch about three hockey games a year. No sense wasting time looking at anything but the best! Friday night's game (that I enjoyed immensely watching with my dear old dad)  and, of course, the final game on Sunday afternoon were definitely the best! Meesh and I had fun sharing the experience with two Americans, a mother and daughter from Idaho, camouflaged as Canadians, sitting next to our table in The Georgian Court bar.
When it was over we headed to Robson Square, not prepared for the outpouring of nationalistic fervour and testosterone that poured into the area. At first, it was fun but as we moved closer to Granville and more screaming, jumping, fist raising fans poured in, somewhere around the intersection of Sears, I began to get really uncomfortable and nervous.
My purse strap got wrapped around the front of Meesh and I could feel it pulling against my neck. Two guys were climbing the light standard post on the corner above us and someone had fallen on the plastic orange marker beside me to the right and he was having trouble getting up. I began to get really anxious as I could feel the energy and the movement of the crowd transporting me against my will a bit like a huge rogue wave that was going in a direction I didn't want to go. When we saw the open doors of Sears we moved step by step inching with arms and bodies pushing against us towards the door, bursting out of the crowd and into Sears with a sigh of relief. It felt as if we hadn't made that decision, we would have been caught up in that crowd for hours, without a way to reach a sidewalk shore.  It was really scary actually and I shudder to think what would have happened downtown had we lost. I've never been part of such a frenzied crowd before. Testosterone to the max!
I'm all for fun and I can appreciate where the National pride after such a rivalry comes from but I don't like nationalism or patriotism. It's an outdated mode of thinking. In today's world, borders make no sense.
One World people. That's where it's at.
I'm Canadian so the outpouring of nationalist pride made me cringe actually in the closing ceremonies and in the 12 hour freak-out of ego masquerading as joy that exploded downtown after the win. Okay, we get it!
It felt like being the host of a party, inviting the world and as the party wound down and our guests were getting ready to pack up and leave, we reminded them that they should kiss our ass because we are the king of the castle. I think it was a little rude actually.
As the closing ceremonies took place, we sat in Meesh's hotel room (thank you US State department) directly across from BC Place stadium. We could see SWAT team members with rifles on roofs around the stadium.
With the window open, we could actually hear the delay between what was happening in the stadium and the real-time broadcast of it. We could hear the crowd inside cheering. When the closing ceremonies ended, we were treated, from our hotel room to a fireworks display that few would have seen, colour bursting from around the Teflon roof of BC Place.

After it was over we wandered down to Yaletown for a meal of home made Italian fare at Amarcord and listened to the music of a blues band belting out lyrics from in front of Capones. After dinner we  wandered over to Robson Square and every inch of Granville street was packed with hockey-jersey-clad fans their shrieking and flag waving and honking punctuating the fervour.
I'd really hate to think what would have happened to downtown had we lost!