Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Here's Mrs. Ella Fitzgerald asking today's most asked question:

What are you doing new year's eve
By ELLA FITZGERALD



xo
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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

2008 wrap up

Something about the end of a year makes people want to reflect. Maybe it's the cumulation of events that lead up to the last days of December, or maybe it's the fact that Christmas - one of the most stressful holidays of the year - takes place just a week before January 1. Though it's meant to be a peaceful experience with friends and family, consumerism and a more messed up western value system has changed all of that.

Whatever it is, people (myself included) feel the need for some sort of cathartic experience leading into the new year.

Some spend time reflecting on the 364 days gone by, in hopes that the 365 days to follow will be filled with better moments and memories for them and their loved ones.

Today I find myself thinking of 2008 in a wholesome sense. A lot happened this year - trips, milestones... things that I anticipated back in December 2007, but never imagined possible.

Friends achieved goals that seemed far away; family members brought new additions into the world; some embarked on trips destined to change their lives, while others stayed in the status quo.

For me, 2008 was a melange of memories that will forever be stored in a happy place, and moments that I sometimes wish I could forget. I've gained a lot of momentum in a professional sense, and have learned about a lot of things I want to achieve personally.

A couple of birthdays ago, a friend of mine wished me and said, "I have a feeling this will be the year of the SC." I laughed when he said that because I thought he was being silly. I let it pass because I couldn't imagine giving myself that much attention. Instead, I spent the months that followed focused on school, work, and nothing else.

Well, I'm reverting back to that thought. 2009 is already presenting itself with a lot of changes, starting with two distinct opportunities that I hope will further myself professionally.

I promise to start taking more risks in '09. Someone once told me that life isn't worth it's value if we don't take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to us, just because they seem scary.

I remember a song that two good friends played on loop during a couple of car rides this past month. "Defying Gravity" is a song from the Wicked musical soundtrack. A verse in the song said:

Something has changed within me...
Something is not the same...
I'm through with playing by the rules
of someone else's game.
Too late for second guessing,
too late to go back sleep,
It's time to trust my instincts,
close my eyes.. and leap!

It's time to try defying gravity.

And in 2009, I hope to do just that. It's my time to try defying gravity.

Thanks for all the love in 2008. I look forward to writing for all of you in 2009. Best wishes and I hope you all are filled with peace and happiness in the new year.

I'll leave you with a song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The composer A.R. Rahman is a well known Indian musician, who has the ability to move people to another world with his compositions. Enjoy!



xo
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Saturday, 27 December 2008

The pre-dawn post

I've been spending a lot of time in my mind for the past few weeks. Thoughts that cannot be articulated. Words that can't seem to make their way from my heart to my mind and then out my mouth. I haven't been able to say the right thing for months. Me - at a loss for words. I guess the therapist has left the body?

This time it's different from the other times. This time, I see a definite need for change. I see my desire for peace and happiness stemming from one place and one person - me. It's been a hard thought process, which is probably why I haven't been able to articulate it. Maybe because this time, I know what I'm supposed to do.

I have the human right to be happy. I have the human right to live my life for me. I have the human right to break the cycle.

We live in the free world, and yet, here we are - prisoners - of our thoughts, our actions, our hopes and our sadness. How do we get away from the very things that pin us in place?

How do we break away unscarred? How do we pick up and start anew? If not anew, at least the way we want to.

I read somewhere that we can't change the past, but we can always have new beginnings. So, why is it so difficult to have a new beginning when there's so many (or a few particular) people's thoughts and emotions at stake?

I've always understood that we can only be responsible for ourselves - our decisions, thoughts, emotions, actions... our everything. In an ideal world, anyway.

Then why is it so hard to disconnect, when disconnecting would help on this journey of self discovery? Why is it so hard to be allowed an opportunity to figure out who we are, before our time is up?

I'm full of questions tonight. I can't answer these questions, and yet, they keep circling through my mind - as if on a spin-cycle of some sorts....

I'm not looking for the answers tonight. I'm just hoping for a chance.

xo
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Thursday, 20 November 2008

You might call me crazy

I've been talking to my computer a lot. Like, really talking to it.

Every morning when I open my laptop, I say, "Good morning, Macintosh! Tell me you have some interesting news today... please!"
... See? Crazy!

It's become a habit, though. You see, it started a few months ago, when I'd refresh my e-mail account about five times in a sitting, with hopes that if I stared at it long enough, someone would send me... something. Anything.

It began with sources for my stories. I'd pick a day and send out an arsenal of e-mails.

"Hi, I'm S. This is what I'm doing. This is why I'm e-mailing you and this is how you can help. Help! Sincerely, S"

I'd send out about 8-10 of these per sitting.

Then in the days that followed, I'd do the ritual. Open up my inbox and stare. Then, refresh, refresh, refresh! Usually, there would be nothing. Sometimes, there would be the odd message from Facebook... and sometimes, a bill statement (I really should have stuck to paper billing).

This soon ventured off into other aspects. Sources turned into dinner requests, dinner requests turned into internship applications and those turned into... well, nothing.

Which is why I've resorted to talking to Macintosh. Perhaps if I suck up to the machine from the moment I wake up to the time my eyes close before bed... something will give, right?

I figure, maybe it's not an e-mail-only thing. Maybe it's the karma I'm sending out through the wires(less) and clicks. Maybe if I'm nice to the machine, the Man will get back to me.

So until then, I've got nothing to lose, right?

Dear Macintosh,
I love you. Please tell them to e-mail me with some good news!

Thanks!

Sincerely,

Me

xo
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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Some notes

Today has been an incredibly long day. Maybe it's the fact that I'm running on two hours of sleep, or maybe it has something to do with my quest for self-discovery (again, I know...), but I made some observations over the past 22 hours.

- It is easier to fall in love, than it is to fall out of love. Falling in love can take a split second or a lifetime to achieve, but when it happens, you know... and when it does, it's easy. Falling out of love is a whole other experience that can forever leave us changed. Because we get out of it different than when we got into it... and the thought of going back to how we were, is a terrifying experience in and of itself.

- Sometimes you just need your friends to be your friends. Whether it is by telling you exactly what you want to hear, or even if it's telling you what you NEED to hear, sometimes your friends just make an experience more bearable to get through.

- I think I'll spend the rest of my life trying to answer some of life's unanswerable questions.... I can't help it!

- I've always been an observer, and I don't think that will ever change. There's something to be said about being able to place yourself in a situation and just watch those around you.... behaviours, body language, thoughts, ideas, opinions... everything, even a small word can trigger a thought process that maybe even you never imagined you could deal with before.

- I haven't lived the way I want to live. If i want to live the way I do, I need to embrace the risks that come knocking at my door.

- You can learn a lot about a person/people over a pitcher or two of beer.

- You can learn a lot about yourself over a pitcher or two of beer.

... the question now remains, do I like what I see... with myself? With everyone else?

xo
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Saturday, 15 November 2008

I find it funny...

... that as a writer, I barely ever have time to write for leisure.

I've had a lot on my mind lately. Some of it is school related, while other things stem from the personal aspect that I referred to in the post previous to this. Some experiences over the past few months have left me thinking and longing to reevaluate a few areas in my life.

For one thing, I am trying to appreciate where I am in time and place. I want to keep remembering that life is about the journey, not the destination. I've realized that it's so easy to get caught up in where I want to get to, that I tend to forget where I am. I keep telling myself that there's certain things that are out of my control and that there's only so much I can do without losing it. And this is a fact. I'm realizing quickly that I can't be in control of all the outcomes in my life (as much as I'd like to). It really does seem as though some things are just predetermined, and we just have to play along. This is because no matter how hard we fight for something, sometimes, it's just not destined to be ours.

I've also been talking to a very good friend of mine lately, about some experiences she's been having in the guy department. Though I tend to be an idealist, I must acknowledge that I haven't been too optimistic lately. But I thought, without a doubt, that what she shared with this guy was something special... and I guess I was wrong.

Sometimes even Peter Pan masquerades as a grown man, though he is fully aware that he wants to stay a boy forever. To this friend, please remember, you're worthy of a man who loves you just the way you are, no questions asked and no mind games required. You don't need Peter Pan, and you certainly don't deserve to be second to anyone else. I hope you always remember that. Also, I've shared this with you already, but just in case... no one can make you feel inferior without your consent...

Finally, I'd like to ask some (small few) people in my life who tend to call themselves my friends (you know who you are), please--without doing me any favours--please give me a little more credit than you do. I think I deserve that much.

four more weeks.

xo
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Monday, 6 October 2008

Eight weeks to go...

I was looking back at some of my older posts and realized how thankful I am to have the ability to archive them. It really helps to be able to go back and read over the progress (or regression, in some instances) made over time. In this case, just a few months over a year.

After looking back over the months gone by in a professional and personal sense, I'm starting to notice a pattern that I think is a testament to my life: I make waaaaay more progress professionally than I do personally. I've been able to achieve all that I've wanted to over the past year, in terms of photography and bylines and also in terms of a full-time job. I'm grateful and very thankful for all of that. But I'm starting to realize that it's coming at a high cost in terms of my personal life.

I spend so much time in front of a computer on a daily basis, that I just discovered I need reading glasses (heartbreaking stuff). By the time Fridays roll around, my idea of excitement stems from me vegging on the couch till 10 p.m. and then passing out till mid-morning the next day. I haven't been able to keep up with a routine at the gym (I took on a membership in june and I was so proud of it...) because my day changes from one day to the next, without so much as a warning. And to top all of this off, I barely see my friends, family and four-legged critter... with them thinking I've got something against them.

I really hope you all know that this isn't the case. I can barely keep up with my own life, let alone try to march to the beat of someone elses. I'm hoping that all of this work will pay off in due time (eight weeks)... but I guess I won't know until then.

I'm tired of walking around with a lump in my throat. It has no appropriate reason to be there. I'm not sad or anything. I think it's just on standby in the off chance that something makes me want to burst into tears spontaneously.

I guess it goes back to a post I wrote in the middle last year... and then again at the beginning of this year... and then, once again, in the middle of this year -- I want balance -- literally, theoretically, figuratively and indefinitely.

It sucks to sit on one side of the scale.

xo
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Monday, 22 September 2008

The space in between

As I straightened the mass of curls that live on top of my head this evening, my thoughts drifted down a strange direction. I began wondering about all the milestones that have occurred in my life and in the lives of those I care about. There have been births, deaths, baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, vacations and so forth... Each of these moments have, at some point or another, been highly anticipated in each of our lives.

We anticipate the birth of a baby, for about nine months. We start thinking about birthdays at least a month to a few weeks ahead of the actual date. There's a countdown clock to almost any event we look at as a milestone.

My thoughts today headed down this direction: I recognized that people looked forward to milestones - setting them apart as corners in our otherwise routine-filled lives. In some capacity or another, we all have them. For some, these milestones may occur more frequently than for others... but the idea is still the same. When one comes by, it causes a shift in our lives - even if only momentarily.

So this evening, as I straightened curl after curl after curl, I started thinking about the moments in between these milestones.

"What about them?" you may ask.

Well, I wondered if people paid attention to the hundreds of unrecognized moments that make up our lives from the minute we wake up, to the time our eyes shut at night. I wondered if we spent our lives so caught up in anticipating future milestones, that we failed to recognize present... presents.

For instance, I thought about something that happened to me this weekend. I spent my Saturday at a conference filled with journalists at one of the local universities downtown. It was an amazing weekend because it got me excited about the future. Since most of the people attending this conference were already in the field, it allowed me to anticipate a day when I too would be "one of them." I came home feeling excited about the future and about all the possibilities.

But it wasn't until I consciously thought about it this evening, that I remembered the older gentleman (an editor, from what happened to be a "small-town paper") who smiled at me in one of the seminars. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but I realize now that he acknowledged my presence at a conference where I did not feel I deserved to be, as a student. He talked to me and asked about my plans and aspirations. In a room where everyone was trying (not so subtly) to out-word one another, he gave me a few minutes of his time. he recognized that I was at the very beginning stages of what looked to be a very "exciting career," according to him.

Soon after this brief encounter, we turned to the front of the room, listened to the lecturer talk for an hour and a half, smiled at each other as we exited the room and headed down separate hallways... I forgot about this encounter very quickly as I became enraged at the lady who made me feel very inadequate, about half an hour after this experience. Somehow, a woman looking down her nose at me for not being an alumnus of her own university trumped the encounter with the older man.

Anyway, I guess I wondered why I didn't give the moment that made me feel good about myself more thought. Shouldn't we hold on to moments like those to get us through the times when we become our own worst critics? I know I should. My conversation with that man was no more than friendly banter between two strangers who ended up sitting beside each other in a lecture hall built for 30.

However, it was a moment... a small token... something that I will treasure as I move forward. It will be something I shall look back upon and smile. There will be no photos to mark the occasion, nor will I be celebrating the anniversary of that conversation a month or a year from now. But it will be one of the hundreds of 'unforgettable moments' that will make me smile during the dark days.

And I think those moments deserve more attention than they get. Those moments are continuous. They don't occur at a specific time or in a specific place. Those moments are the ones that sneak up on us when we least expect them to. The least we could do is pay attention when they happen.

xo
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Saturday, 20 September 2008

What I was I doing at 11?

I just found an 11-year-old I know...


... on Facebook.


Question: Um... why?

xo
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Friday, 19 September 2008

Affirming some things

I'm on another lyrical kick. This tends to happen from time to time. Again, I credit this post to YouTube and its ability to constantly distract me while I'm at work. The other day I managed to visit my 14-year-old self... and I reconnected with these lyrics by Savage Garden. My goal through this is to be inspired to develop my own affirmation code. I want to know what I believe in... Look for an update in a future post.

Oh, one more thing- to my dear readers who are laughing right now... just remember, I know who you are :o)

Luv ya!

xo
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Affirmation

I believe
-the sun should never set upon an argument
-we place our happiness in other people's hands
-that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
-your parents did the best job they knew how to do
-that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
-I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe
-in Karma what you give is what you get returned
-you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
-the grass is no more greener on the other side
-you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe
-you can't control or choose your sexuality
-that trust is more important than monogamy
-your most attractive features are your heart and soul
-that family is worth more than money or gold
-the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
-the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe
-forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
-that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
-that God does not endorse tv evangelists
-in love surviving death into eternity

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Rush of blood during rush-hour

I was furious. I couldn't believe that these grown men in suits and slacks were actually behaving like cavemen. I mean, isn't that supposed to be some sort of cliche? Men, acting like cavemen?

But here they were, at 2 seperate subway stops -- showcasing the manners of apes.

I was heading downtown for work today, which meant that I had to battle the daily rush-hour in the morning. I didn't mind this and didn't give it another thought, after having experienced the routine daily over the past summer. However, as I boarded the train, I was ambushed from the side by this fedora-wearing-forty-something who felt the need to elbow me in the ribs in his rush to get on, even though the train was clearly not going anywhere.

I chalked this up to my imagination, even though the sting in my side clearly assured me that that had actually happened.

Then, as I stood in my spot, coffee mug in one hand while the other balanced the files I needed to take back to the office, Mr. Fedora decided that he wanted to occupy the seat that became vacant right in front of me.

Literally, as the lady vacated her seat, Mr. Fedora came running in from about five feet away, and squeezed himself between my foot and the seat. "Really?" I thought to myself. "This guy cannot be serious."

It became apparent to me very fast that he knew what he was doing and in some respect, he knew how shady it was of him as well. He couldn't look at me for the rest of the ride.

I let this go as well and continued on, while trying my best to not shoot daggers through his fedora with my dirty looks.

About three stops later, another man boarded the train. This one was clearly a student, as he toted a backpack and a venti-denti-moccha-skinny-beluga-latte. Classic. Apparently originality is dead as well. After standing for a stop, a seat a few people away from him became vacant. Three people stood around him. Another suit and tie shmuck, a pregnant lady and myself.... you can clearly see where this is going. Did Backpack Joe step aside and offer the seat to the pregnant lady? Did he offer it to me? After making eye-contact with me, he swaggered over to the seat and continued to look at the floor. He proceeded to stare at the floor all the way to Yonge&Bloor.

Honestly, this was something right out of a Seinfeld episode. I remember that the pregnant lady looked at me and we shared a knowing "Chivalry.is.officially.dead" smirk.

Ok, maybe I should back track. Lets just say that in the 21st century, there's no room for cavemen and there's certainly even less room for gallant knights, (come on, ladies... you really don't want a man in steel armour reciting sonnets to you on a daily basis, do you?) But, is common kindness and consideration lost in our society as well?

A couple of stops after BackPack Joe took his seat, an elderly LADY who had witnessed the entire thing, got up and asked the pregnant lady to sit down -- and she graciously accepted. It was an obvious struggle to stand.

I got off at my stop clearly fumed. I was furious. What's wrong with our society when these bursts of common sense no longer even fly through one's mind?

It's times like these when I am thankful for StraightFromTheCurls. I find happiness in knowing that there is, even perhaps in the smallest sense, a chance that I am drawing negative attention to these individuals in Cyberspace. Maybe, just maybe, they might come across StraightFromTheCurls and realize how royally they've pissed me off. Maybe they'll do right next time.

Maybe.

xo
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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I'm cleaning out my...

... Network.

It was cool back when I was in high school. Even during those few years in university. I enjoyed seeing my list of friends grow and span across my various classes. I loved seeing my social circles crisscross. I loved seeing how many mutual friends I had with each person. I'll admit that sometimes I even secretly enjoyed that the random guy who sat quietly at the back of the class took the initiative to look me up on the Internet, and add me as one of his very own friends.

But now, it's gotten out of hand.

I can't stand that there's so many people who know my business! Before (and I'm still talking about my generation, not my mothers), there were times when people actually had to e-mail or pick up the phone to find out what was going on. It took effort and it took initiative. It meant that you actually gave a damn about the person you were taking the time to talk to.

Now, if you go on an adding spree and add every person you've know from grade school and high school and university and college and work and the street and even from that shady club you don't want to admit ever having been to.... if all these people become your "friends" in social-networking-land... they're all going to know everything that you're up to... without you even so much as batting an eyelash in their direction.

Kind of creepy, isn't it? I think so.

So I continued on my cleaning frenzy. It took me over two hours to do it and as a result I probably have carpal tunnel syndrome... but I managed to delete every public message written to me on my "wall," since 2006. There were over 2,500 in total. I can't believe I let it add up to so much. What was I thinking? Anyway, it's all gone.

Then, as soon as I could bring myself back to my computer, I worked on the "friends list."

Now, I've been shortlisting this one since the summer. But I go back to it every few weeks and continue to shorten it. I just don't see how people I haven't even talked to in 4-5 years should have any right to know what's happening in my life. Unless of course, either they or I make the decision to get in touch. I don't want my life to be one for voyeurs. Not that it's anything fabulous or anything. I don't have a crazy glamourous life or one that's filled with cricket sounds either. My point is that I use this network to keep in touch with the ones I want to stay in touch with -- friendships, networking people, work people and others. I have my reasons for the ones I want to keep in touch with and I am sure that those who stay in touch with me (past silently creeping in on my albums and "wall") have their reasons as well.

Other than that, I think everyone else has had their chance at peeking in on my life without knocking on the door to say hello! To you people, I say "time's up!" Before you know it, you're going to be cut as well... not because I don't like you or because I think the worst of you... but simply because of the fact that if we haven't talked to each other in 4-5 years, chances are we won't talk for another 4-5 years. And in that time, things might change in my life.... or they may not. But I don't want to think about that, knowing you're being a creep, keeping tabs on me, and not saying one word. It's not cool.

My reasons for it are also simple: When I come online, I am innundated with numerous updates - photos, status updates, postings and so forth. I don't need reasons to stay online longer than I already do. I spend enough time in the computer anyway, because of school and work. The last thing I need is to spend time going through Susy Q's latest baby album, when I didn't even know she was on baby number three. Ya? Waste of my time. And usually, I only realize it when it's too late and 1/2 an hour has passed with me getting updated on Susy Q's life -- when I didn't care to begin with. Her damn update made me care.

Ok.

Anyway, if you're reading this, don't worry, I won't cut you out. Yet! ;)

I kid. Luv ya!

xo
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Sunday, 7 September 2008

This Magic Moment

A recent chat with a friend helped oil the squeaky wheel that doesn't cease to stop turning in my head.

We were talking about living life in moments... rather than by the events and milestones that we anticipate. By this, I'm referring to the obvious.... births, birthdays, graduations, firsts (kiss, dance, job, child, etc..), and so forth.

Instead, we discussed the joy and beauty that stems from the simple moments that remain understated. They can slide into our lives spontaneously -- a walk through a park or a drive through the countryside. Or perhaps the moment can be captured even when we're doing nothing at all -- the peace that comes from sitting on your front porch with a book, or while having a chat with someone you really enjoy.

I remember thinking that if we lived our lives from one happy moment to the next (not thinking in terms of grandiose things... those are just the anchors to this cake that we call "life"), then everyone would perhaps be more content.

I mean, don't get me wrong... I know that all moments aren't happy... there's deaths, illnesses, accidents, poverty, world hunger and a thousand and one people just waiting to see you fall down and crush your own dreams...

... but really though... we learn from those experiences and we take away from them. They drive us and (should) make us into better human beings.

So, in honour of that conversation, I took some measures.

Last week I went through my closet and cleaned it out (throwing away clothes isn't something i do easily). I emptied out about a third of it. It felt symbolic. In my mind I figured that if I couldn't get rid of things I was holding on to because they meant something at a certain point and time, then there was no way I'd be able to move on and live from one moment to the next.

Now my goal is to try and live by moments.

Whether a smile creeps up to my mouth when I sit outside and smell the last of the summer rains... or whether my mind captures a moment where I'm sitting down for dinner (for probably the 100th time) with the same friends I've had for years...

I want to bask in those moments and enjoy them for what they are: the points in my life that will eventually link together and define who I am. And as I look back, I probably won't remember with clarity about how mundane the activity or moment may have been... but I will remember how I felt while I lived it. That will be the best and most important part.

xo
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Dear Readers

I've really been struggling with my writing for the past few weeks. I've already spoken about wanting to feel inspired... but that's not the issue this time around.

I guess I've been wondering (on my own accord) about whether or not StraightFromTheCurls is self-indulgent. I wonder if perhaps writing about my life and the thoughts that stem from it is almost... perhaps, narcissistic? I don't want it to be. My goal with this blog was simple: to have a corner of the WWW where I'd be able to just vent. I don't usually vent a lot to the people in my life... so this would be a way for me to get things off my chest, without the pressures of picking someone to confide in.

Anyway, over the course of the past year or so, StraighFromTheCurls turned into a weekly/monthly musings blog. Events and happenings in my life would lead to random rants and thoughts that you, my readers actually paid attention to... and some would even leave comments. I loved how that happened. And I guess I want it to continue. But by no means do I want it to be a selfish thing. If you're reading StraightFromTheCurls, I hope you're reading it because you want to and because you're interested in my thoughts (whether for amusement or insight... I'll leave that up to you).

With that said, I'll continue on.

xo
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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Rhythmic Gymnastics



I love the beauty of this sport.

Aside from the diving shenanigans... I don't think I've ever seen anything more elegant among all the Olympic sports.

Happy Saturday!
xo
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Monday, 18 August 2008

I cave!

I'll write about it ... if only for therapeutic purposes.

I was doing so well over these past couple of months. I even shared this fact with my friends who were worried that I may have left what little sanity I had remaining, 10,000 miles away... buried in the tropical sands of a life gone by.

But here I am... three months later... I'm going to write about it. Not because I think the topic needs attention... but because my soul needs to be set free from the cramping pressure that's been weighing it down for weeks.

I figure, there's some experiences in life that liberate us from oppression. Not literally, but in every figurative sense of the word. Then there's others, which, under the guise of freedom, lull us into this fall sense of security and comfort... only to leave us feeling pained, exhausted and beaten in the end.

This is one of those experiences.

Happy moments short-lived, have a purpose. They stand as beacons in our dark nights... reminding us that it is possible to feel bliss and contentment. It is very easy to believe that negativity is all that we're inclined to receive in this lifetime, because there's enough of that to circle the world countless times around. But happy moments... they twinkle like stars... every time we think of one, or pull one out of our mental filing cabinet... we can't help but smile or be drawn back through a memory where everything seemed perfect.

About four months ago... I experienced perfection. In every sense of the word. Not here. There. My environment, my state of mind, my breath, my physical being.... for once in my life... everything seemed aligned.

I went on to hold on to that moment because it reminded me of possibilities... things that I never allowed myself to even consider. It allowed me to feel... to get past my own fourth wall and experience sensations brought on by life, circumstance and even perhaps... fate.

But in the months that followed... that solitary moment in time became my own worst enemy. Thinking about it no longer made me happy... it made me sad and anxious. It made me crawl out of my skin and lose focus... it made me ache and sob.

And as time passed, I soon realized that I was alone in my agony. A mental and emotional state of anguish that I had created for myself.

About a month and a half ago I realized that I had had enough and decided to fold the memory up and cling-wrap the life out of it and tuck it away into a filing cabinet titled, "learn from these lessons." Literally, I deleted that folder from my e-mail inbox and figuratively, I piled a whole bunch of new memories on top of it.

It worked perfectly... up until exactly four hours ago.

Four hours ago, I allowed myself a little peek into the triggers of the moment. I just wanted to glimpse through the window and see what was happening across the world. There. I knew I shouldn't have... but I am a slave to my thoughts and a fool when it comes to my heart...

And I saw it all. I saw the beauty and I saw the sincerity and I saw the honesty... I saw life... going on... moving forward.

And it crushed me.

I felt as though a huge elephant had jumped through my computer screen and sat square on my little band-aid-ed-up ticker.

I heard voices in my head saying, "here we go again... all this effort... down the drain..."

And I rolled my eyes... and pushed back the tears... but I allowed myself to continue to feel.

Because I'm human. I don't know how people do it...(disconnect... push away emotions), but I can't. I need to feel. These emotions whether painful or blissful... these emotions remind me that I'm real... and alive.

And I'm on this ride of life through the ups and downs, through the spins and flips... I'm on this ride and I'm not letting go. Not for an African safari or a tropical rendezvous.

I'm on this ride for me.

xo
SC

Friday, 15 August 2008

Get it together...

... you want to heal your body.

"I need to feel inspired again."

Those six simple words have been playing on loop in my mind for at least a couple of months now. I don't know why, but I feel as though I've been in this lull ever since the summer started. It's not that I haven't felt like doing things, because believe me, I have. I guess it has more to do with options.

There's a ton of stuff happening in the city on any given day. Toronto is never lacking in festivals, performances, shows or even entertainment on a strict budget. So undoubtedly there's no problem there.

I guess I've been missing this element in my life that makes me want to do things out of the norm. Colourful, things that make me feel more... content, for lack of a better word.

Perhaps this feeling stems from the uncertainity about my future over the next few months. School is almost coming to an end and I am anticipating what is in store for me. Will things be different? Will I be doing the things I want?
What? Who? When?

And with all this, comes inspiration.

Someone broke it down to me the other day, that there's something wrong if you have to keep reminding yourself about the beauty and the basics.

"It's really simple."

And I know it is. I mean I preach it everyday to anyone who's down or willing to listen. Life is beautiful... living is a gift!

But I want to bring the colour back. More than anything. It's ok to live in black and white for some people. Some even venture into shades of grey. But I've always loved colour. I don't want that to ever change.

I had a sense a few days ago... a feeling that seemed familiar and trusting. It made me relax and made me curious all over again.

I guess it's moments such as that, that I need to capture in order to get it together and start painting with a colourful palette once again.

xo
SC

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Jazzy weather chases away the blues...

In my opinion, there is nothing quite like listening to a nice selection of easy-listening lounge music, on a rainy, lazy weekend.

I often wondered why I enjoyed chick flicks... aside from the obvious, of course. But I realize, that I usually go in search of the soundtrack, after I've finished watching the movie. Most of these movies are accompanied by a beautiful set of songs that play while scenic displays of old world avenues, lit up with soft lighting and beautiful trees set the scene for the love affair about to take place.

It is during these moments that I find myself lost... and happy... and a lot of it has to do with the soundtrack. The soothing, easy tunes that hum and croon along to the story-line are what get me every time.

So it is not shocking to say that I found myself in my cozy and most comfortable clothes, sitting on our old lounge chair on the balcony, listening to the smooth sounds of Norah Jones, Bebel Gilberto and Michael Buble, on a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon. I know... I am such a suck!

But as I looked around me, I thought of how picturesque (and kinda cute) this was:

Me on a lounge chair... in my jammies (again, I know!)... cup of tea in my bright yellow mug, sitting on the little table... and on the other chair sits Miss Ginger herself, listening with her eyes closed, while Gilberto sings of tranquility in far away places.

***

Outside, the rain poured... softly. And it added to the relaxing serenity that the soft music brought to my overactive mind. I've been craving quiet moments... and this was all I could ask for in this time and in this place.

I've always liked August. The weather, the smells... there's something "cozy" about this month. Perhaps it has something to do with the harvest. August does remind me of the harvest season. In Goa, people are peparing to celebrate the harvest feasts, as the monsoons draw to an end. There will be masses, street festivals... and food. All of this, pulled together in a wonderful, rich feast for the senses.

Perhaps my biological clock is set to anticipate these feelings. And as I sit here, 10,000 miles away... I'm draw in this euphoric sense of longing. But because I can't be there... I continue to sit here, on my balcony... with my eyes closed... thankful for the smells, sounds and quiet that surrounds me, in this place and on this side of the world.

xo
SC

Sunday thoughts

Instead of sunshine, Toronto has been experiencing heat of a different kind for the past couple of months...

Last month there was the explosion at 2 Secord Place, which forced the evacuation of a 30-storey building ... with no word still as to whether or not the residents can go back.

Today I woke up to news of a different explosion... this time to the north of the city. Apparently this one was caused by explosions at the Sunrise propane tank facility. According to the news, there's about 12,000 people affected by this, 18+ injured, one person unaccounted for and one firefighter who died as a result of the blast.

What's happening to this city? And usually on Sundays! It's kind of ironic, isn't it?

I really feel terrible for all those people affected by these tragic events and my heart goes out to them. I can't imagine the feelings of displacement, loss and confusion that they must be experiencing.

I read that the force of this explosion was so strong, that it pushed people out of their beds ... one woman even had the roof of her house collapse in on her.

To say this summer has been uneventful would be an understatement.

I really hope those people affected by the explosions will be able to get back to their lives soon enough and that they are safe.

xo
SC

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Boiling Frog Theory

... I'm starting to believe there might be some truth to this.

Poor Frogs.

xo
SC

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Jammie Wednesdays

Today's post comes to you from my desk ... at home!

Yes, readers -- I finally took the day off. I've been saying that I wanted to do this since May but never had the chance to, for some reason. But It's almost 10 a.m. and I'm still in my pajamas... this ... is ... awesome!

I've honestly gained a new sense of respect for people who work office jobs... I know I could never do this as a permanent thing. For one thing--as I feel my rear end expand to the size of a small house--I don't think I could stand packing on the pounds. I have always worked at jobs that have required me to stand and be mobile for an extended period of time. Therefore, this is new. The only thing I work out when sitting at the desk is my brain. And let me tell you, even that tends to go on a vacation more often than it should.

With that being said, I'll write more, later!
I have a bed and an alarm clock that's not turned on, asking me to get some shut-eye!

xo
SC

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tattoo my being


I've been thinking a lot about my uncle over the past few days. He passed away unexpectedly in 2004 due to a massive heart attack.

But in the time I knew him, he managed to impact my life in so many ways that it would take words upon words upon words to express. To honour him, I feel as though I need to share a little snippet of my (and my brother's) relationship with him. The reason for this is because our experiences with him will forever be embedded in our beings. He was one in a million and we miss him terribly. However, when little things and minor events in our day to day remind us of him, we realize that he will never be forgotten and that his memory will move on with us for as long as we are alive.

Something triggered this blog post... I'll get into it as you read on... but let me give you a little bit of a backgrounder on him.

When I was born, he was still unmarried.
My mum was one of seven siblings. She was number three and he was number six. The 10-year gap between the two of them made them have a relationship that was almost suited to mother and son. He was a rambunctious child who preferred playing and getting into trouble over studying, and she was the stern older sister who showed her love by trying to get him to abide by the rules.

This followed suit even after I was born. My brother was two by the time I came along and from what I hear, he had turned into my uncle's tail -- following him everywhere... even to the top of the roof over grandma's house.

My uncle was the first person to carry me... the first person to bring me home from the hospital. I guess it was predetermined that he and I would always share a special bond. He was always forward in his ability to keep up with trends, in terms of music, dressing and technology.

Therefore you can imagine that my brother and I received most, if not all our exposure to music from him. He, along with my mother's four other brothers, used to have a field day by getting my brother and me to dance to music that they would listen to.

For just as much as my brother was his tail... I was his parrot. While he followed him around, I mimicked every word, phrase and comment that he made. You can imagine that this wasn't always a good thing. He never censored himself around me... which, as bad as it was, was actually quite funny. I can accredit my first swear word to him. I can accredit my first threat (fist clenched at age two, and everything) to him as well. I can say he taught me my first dirty joke and had me run around and tell every adult in the room... even though I didn't understand it at the time. In fact, I can thank him for corrupting my mind before I could even speak.

He was a big guy. in his short life, he acquired every bad habit from swearing to smoking to drinking to eating all things bad... but one thing that no one could ever match or take away from him, was his ability to love. He was, and probably always will be one of the most loving individuals I ever had the chance of knowing.

Everyone thought he was hard headed and stubborn. I don't disagree with that. But he was also the most warm and caring person I knew. When someone hurt him, he would present a stone cold exterior... because he was hurt... not a lot of people realized that and took it as a bad sign.

I didn't get a chance to physically say goodbye to him. That fact has always haunted me. It still does.

But something happened a couple of days ago.
I was sitting on the couch and watching TV with my mother, when suddenly a song came to my mind. One that I hadn't heard, sung or thought of, since the time I was a little girl.

It was a song by this 80s band named, Modern Talking. When he moved to the Middle East to work after getting married, he had sent my brother and me a music tape of their album. Mum used to play it for us every night as we went to sleep, on the small cassette player in our room.

The point is, the song came out of nowhere. So, automatically, I ran over to YouTube and found a list of songs by this group.... I couldn't believe the memories (good ones) that came flooding back to me. Memories that made me smile... and even dance a little bit.

At one point my mother walked into the room as the music was playing and looked at me with eyes wide open and said, "I was thinking about him too..."

... and I think that was his way of saying that he's still with us... but that God willing, he's at peace.

Memories of you are cherished and your life will forever be honoured, Uncle Roy!

xo
SC

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Shake your hips...

It's your Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday, Marzipan!!! I hope this year will be an amazing one for you.

Just remember these few pieces of "notes" I've picked up from some wise therapists:

* It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser

* The first rule of holes: stop digging if you're already in one

* As your memory gets shorter, expect your complaining to get longer

* You will find that your patience is getting better... but you then realize that you just don't give a crap about crap anymore

* Finally, remember that growing older is a matter of mind over matter. Provided you don't mind... it doesn't really matter!

Luv ya!

xo
SC

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Define 'Blog-worthy'?

This was a Facebook message exchanged between myself and a couple of friends who've been galavanting around Europe for the past three months...

SC says:
Dear N & V,
I hate your status updates. Please stop... I've been crying for 3 months now. Luv you and hope you're having a great time. ♥ SC

N's response back:
SC!!!!!!!!!!!!
i love you and i miss you andf i cant wait to see you
you are the greatest pers0on ever

ive been drinking
so my tpyoing is horrinble
i applogise
qahahaha
SC
2 weels
we need to catch up
i love you



..... Definitely Blog-worthy!

xo
SC

To love you for you

Courtesy of my SATC quote of the day:

Carrie:
Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic; those that are old and familiar; those that bring up lots of questions; those that bring you somewhere unexpected; those that bring you far from where you started; and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all, is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you YOU love, well, then that's just fabulous.

Feel empowered, ladies and gents... love yourselves!

xo
SC

Monday, 28 July 2008

Five things I learned today

1. Stock upper right-hand drawer with fruit.

2. Don't restock bag of m&m's in drawer, after it's finished.

3. Green tea: do not steep for more than 3 minutes if you want that "sushi restaurant green tea" taste to it.

4. After two and a half months at this job, I realize I STILL hate politics...

5. When you're riding on a crowded subway at 7:30 in the morning, coffee mug in hand, bag on shoulder, one foot placed firmly on the ground -- if the train suddenly brakes, and you fall sideways ... there will ALWAYS be a creepy 40-something-year old, who will go out of his way to catch you (feel you up!).

xo
SC

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Friday, 25 July 2008

Step One is Admitting You Have a Problem

Hi. My name is SC and I am a YouTube-a-holic.

I find myself coming into work every day, logging on to my computer, opening up my Outlook, checking my e-mail (from the boss lady and friends), opening up my Gmail, checking my e-mail (from school, friends, lovers and other strangers), opening up Facebook, etc.. etc... etc... (wash, rinse and start all over...)

*ahem*

And then...

once I'm well settled in, with Word and Excel opened up to the appropriate documents of the day, I log onto... (any guesses here??) YouTube.

This wasn't a real problem before because I never really familiarized myself with the site. I would go on to check out music videos or clips from some of my favourite shows. But lately, on my daily quests for music to help me ignore everything else around the office, I've been encountering some stuff that I'd pushed away in the filing cabinet that occupies a third of my brain, (the other two thirds have other purposes, don't worry!).

And with these songs, there are magnificent videos that capture the essence of the lyrics or scores. I spoke about "Stardust" earlier, in how it's a very visually stimulating video that you can watch as you listen to the words...

Today, I was listening to scores from The Godfather, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Love Story. The common factor? 10 points to the person who guessed, Andy Williams.

It started out with Frank Sinatra, but one thing led to another and... you know... (I know, I'm such a YouTube skank, jumping from one artist to the next without so much as a second click!).

ANYWAY, I found this video. Someone created it to go with the Piano theme of Love Story. I honestly think this should be on the Harlequin Romance website ...

The creator of this video must either be a very hopeful individual or an eternal optimist. Either that or this person is truly, madly and deeply in love...

In either case... good job. You managed to get a border-line cynic like myself to not only get all mush-yucky watching your video, but you also made me post it on my blog.

Well done. Jerk.

xo
SC

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A perfect example of the wonders of Globalization

Meet Che'Nelle.

A native from Malaysia, she moved to Australia when she was 10. She's an up and coming singer, who just got signed to Virgin in the States...

Her music genre?

Well, just have a listen and tell me what you think!

xo
SC

Stardust Melody

... I don't know how I would survive work without YouTube... (Thank you, for keeping me in mind when creating your site, YouTube creator!)

I just listened to Bob Marley not too long ago, while compiling contact lists upon contact lists... and now? Beautiful... soulful... soothing... enchanting... Nat King Cole.

Yes, you can make fun of me. I've already had 2 people walk by my desk, asking me why I had a goofy "sappy" look on my face. Thankfully they can't hear what I'm listening to because I don't have speakers and have to plug my headphones into the computer.

I watched this video on YouTube with images captured from the Hubble telescope, while "Stardust" by Nat King Cole played in the background. It's funny how these visuals can have such a profound impact on your mood, emotions, senses... I watched the video, maybe about three times in a row. I kept thinking about the reality of how tiny I actually am in the grand scheme of things. I'm a literal speck among billions... It's good to keep things like this in mind when I find I'm overwhelmed or getting ahead of myself.

My aunt was right when she said that the best way to get to some one's emotions is to capture the senses...

If played well, I've caught myself teary-eyed while watching commercials (those people at Hallmark know what they're doing, targeting people like me...).

xo
SC

I thought I liked running into people...

... who I thought I'd left in my past.

But I'm starting to think that's not such a brilliant thing after all. Let me explain:

I was at the Tim Horton's just around the corner from my work and ran into a police officer. I looked at his face and realized that I knew him. I was friends with his brother when I was in high school. We had become really good friends over a period of time and seemed to enjoy each other's company a lot. Then one day, he mentioned that he thought a friend of mine was cute... someone who he hadn't spoken to... someone who used to make fun of him and his friends when we all waited for the bus to school. But, Cupid in me kicked in and I figured why not introduce them? So I did.

The girl was someone who was in my larger circle of friends... but I noticed that over the course of that summer, she too started getting close to me... but the common factor was, well, the guy. Being 17 and all, I didn't think much of it.

As the summer drew to a close, I realized that the two were getting closer and we in fact, dating... I remember thinking at one point that I should have considered a career in matchmaking, because this was the third couple that I'd managed to set up, successfully. (Go me...)

Anyway, as the days turned to weeks, the weeks to months, I noticed that these two people had gradually stopped talking to me. I wasn't sure why, at first... but I soon realized that they, like peas in a pod, had both gotten all they had wanted from my friendship... each other. I was simply the medium.

I haven't seen the guy in about seven years. The girl was in one of my classes in university ... but let's not talk about the servings of awkward sauce involved in that.

Fast-forward to 10:30a.m. this morning... I run in to the brother of the guy of topic (who is now a proud serving officer of Toronto's Law Enforcement, mind you). The brother is also a police officer.

And this is what he says to me:

Hey! Did you hear about X and Y? Yea, they're engaged now. Did you know that? They belong together, it's so cool how it all happened! They're searching for houses together...

... Did I hear? No. Was I supposed to hear?

Needless to say, I saw this coming. I knew it would happen eventually but I guess I never prepared myself for it. My automatic impulse was to run back up to the office and call someone and say, "Ohmigosh, did you know??" because she would probably appreciate this kind of news... But I didn't. I needed therapy... and I figured this was the best way to get just that.

I might delete this post if I read it again. Then again, maybe not.

I also wondered if I was perhaps missing something. Am I missing an element in my life that should make me want to have a marriage or a strong relationship before 25? Maybe it would be nice but... I wouldn't know where to fit a relationship into the roller coaster that is my life right now.

But the news did strike something. I just can't figure out what it is quite yet.

xo
SC

Monday, 21 July 2008

Lyrically Abstract...

A reader sent me an exercise, asking if I could summarize an idea, a thought or a feeling in a few (he's given me a lot of room, here) pieces of lyrics from some of the songs I listen to. He's given me 5 minutes to do it... I'm not one to turn down a challenge, so here goes nothing...

... I am not my hair, I am not my skin... But I've still got sand in my shoes, and I can't chase the thought of you... I'm still dancing to the music of the sun...

... while I try to keep my conversation clean... I know words can't bring me down... but words can break your heart... so here I go again...

... no, I don't like living under your spotlight, still, if you treat me right, you won't have to worry... You are the raindrops, I am the sea... and I won't let you fall... but I need to trust my voice, like my oldest friend...

... if I can dream... somewhere out there... I am only the soul that lives within...


xo
SC

P.S: That was a lot harder than I thought it would be... still, it was pretty exciting to do in 5 minutes!

Broken Hearts have no Spare Parts...

This post was originally written last year... but I felt like resurrecting it because of new readers.
Please, check it out!

xo
SC


I am suggesting that people go to this site and read some of the messages for 2 reasons:

1. It shows the range of love that is felt throughout the world. There are 14 year olds writing messages to their lost loves, the ones whom they can never be with, the ones who they have known for 24 hours, or the ones who they think they are going to marry. Similarly, there's 70 year olds, who are writing messges of love that have spanned decades and lifetimes. I got this gooey feeling in the pit of my stomach when I read some of these messages. Though I try to hide it, my romantic bone still exists, and it's findings like these that make "jaded me" take a vacation.. if only for a little while.
It shows that though the world seems like it's going to hell in a hand basket, there's still tons of love out there to give and take. Different degrees of love, no doubt... but we can't deny that it exists.

2. I noticed that even while writing supposed messages of love to significant others, people refuse to take the time to complete full words or sentences. If I were to receive a love letter, you can be assured that if the person wrote "ur" instead of "you are" or "N" instead of "and", I wouldn't be moved. A letter, let alone a LOVE letter, is something precious and words have the power to move people ... but only in complete form.
That is why MSN needs emoticons to support TechSpeak.

Go to the site, leave them a message or tell me what you think about it.
-SC

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Scrabble

I get better and better at this game, every day! Although... I'm pretty sure there's about three people from J-Skool that I know I'll never be able to beat. They can create their own dictionary with the words they make up! ;)

I know I've written about words before -- Words about words!

But lately, I've been on a reading binge. More so than normal. I've been escaping the hours beyond work and the gym to spend a good portion of my evenings and weekends, lost in stories that transport me away from my reality. There's something to be said about a good book. This summer, there have been about four books that have put me in hiding from society.

Well, not really... I mean, I read in public. But what can be said about me, right now, when I'd rather spend time getting to know characters in books (fiction and non fiction) than the people at my local pub?

I mean, don't get me wrong... I love going out with my friends (most of whom I miss terribly... YOU KNOW who you are.. ahem!) but lately, it's just been the same ol' of the same ol'.

I told a friend the other day, that I was feeling restless. As in -- I felt this way in gr 11, third year university... and now. It's a pattern. The closer I get to where I feel I need to be .... the more antsy I get.

I don't know... it could be a bad habit... anticipating the future. I'm more of a 'live in the present and try to make the best of it' kind of person... but lately, I can't help but wonder what's in store beyond December.

Like a game of scrabble.... I feel as though I've made all the words that I've been able to make. Now, it's down to the last few consonants in the game ... it's difficult... but with the right vowel, it's do-able (messed up analogy, i know .... but it makes sense to me). I guess I need to find that right vowel to anchor myself on, so that I can continue building.

That, or a new scrabble game all together!

xo
SC

Monday, 14 July 2008

The story goes...

... that if you kiss enough frogs, one might eventually turn into a prince...

So, here I pose a question to my favourite Egyptian:

"Does your frog-prince ride a motorcycle?"

xo
SC

p.s. I love you!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Every once in a while...

... someone says something to me that really gets my wheels going. This time, it was something a coworker said to me, as we ate a very unhealthy lunch of burgers at the food court by our office.
The topic? Well, it was the usual subject of choice: men and issues surrounding... well, men.

She said, "Well, here's the thing... if I know I can have him, then I don't want him."

It was as simple as that.

But it got me thinking because for some reason, it made so much sense. Time and time again I have met women from all walks of life who have uttered the same phrase to me: "Why is it always the ones I'm not interested in?"

Could it be that it's all in the chase?

As my coworker and I discussed this (I was fascinated), I realized that it is in fact all about the chase. From both sides. It seems that if one party is more invested into it than the other, there's bound to be an unbalance that will eventually throw the relationship out the window.

If there is an attraction, then either both parties admit to it right away and lay an equal value of cards down.... or they start playing a game -- with each taking turns to either be the cat or the mouse -- only later admitting to being absolutely infatuated from the start.

Even for me, this statement rings true. I have never been attracted to the guys I knew I could get. I can't recall one single time. It's always been the ones that I knew were a challenge... and it seems as though I'm not alone in this.

So, readers.... what are your thoughts on this?? your experiences??

I'm really interested to see how this maps out. We all talk about how we don't like it when people play games... but in the end, if this is how it works... isn't it ALL one big monopoly board? Where if you over invest, you're screwed.... or if you don't ante up enough... you're out?

xo
SC

Thursday, 10 July 2008

On a Quarter of a Century...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY. BB!!!

Here's wishing you all the very best that life has to offer and that you find abundant happiness in all that you do!
xoxoxoxoxo

Me!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

"Gunna smile 'cause I deserve to..."

Happy Birthday, Gramps! xoxo

I felt as though I was losing my mind this morning. For some reason I couldn't find myself balanced with everything that's happening in my life. I'm usually very good at compartmentalizing different aspects of things that affect me on a day to day basis... but this morning, it just felt as though things were crashing into me like waves and I couldn't keep up.

So... I did some early "summer cleaning."

This started with me getting rid of old e-mails... forwards and otherwise. I also minimized myself down to one central social network... which, mind you, I would also like to get rid of at some point in time because it's getting hard to keep up. I'm absolutely enjoying touching base with friends whom I thought I would never speak to again because of the different journeys that life has taken us on... but at the same time, there's certain people I would rather not keep up with, to be honest... because it hurts. It's one of those things where you can't help but look... you know? sort of like a train-wreck... you know it's bad... but you stare anyway.

Facebook is fine though... It's worked for me for all these years... I guess I'm just reacting to being overwhelmed.

I also came THIS close to getting rid of StraightFromTheCurls! !!! I know... what?? Right after its first birthday too!! BUT I couldn't bring myself to do it... tis a labour of love, after all.... and some of the back-posts make me laugh.

Anyway, I've been spending the past few weeks making some pretty critical decisions for myself...

Someone once asked me what my 5-year plan was... and I told her I didn't have one. So here I am, making a one year plan. That's better than no plan right? There's a lot happening over the course of the next year, starting in September 2008. i guess it helps to have an idea and to have options.

I was on YouTube again... I found another Leona Lewis song that I didn't think I liked at first... but then I re-read the lyrics and thought - damn! Talk about empowerment!

Here's The Best You Never Had

xo
SC

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Once in a while...

... a song chooses to play on loop in my mind. For the past couple of weeks, it's been "Better with Time" by Leona Lewis.

She's a brilliant artist from the U.K. and in my opinion, she one of best singers I've heard in a long time. Her stuff is original and actually sounds like she's made an effort with her craft.

Here's her video for "Better With Time"

xo
SC

52 Blog Entries Later....

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
to StraightFromTheCurls!!!

One Year... Wow... I can't believe I've managed to keep up with this thing for so long.
This means, I've averaged at an entry a week.... hmm... not too bad! :)

I want to thank everyone who reads this source of daily/weekly ramblings. It really means a lot. Whether you're reading it because I made you... or because you accidentally stumbled across it... or because you're an amazing person and have the blog bookmarked and it's part of your daily log-in series (e-mail, facebook, lavalife, simi's blog...) [ ;) ]... Thank you!

I appreciate all the comments and food for thought. Here's hoping I'll be able to pull off another year, with thoughts that have a bit more flavour! :)

xo
SC


P.s. Click "first" under labels, if you want to read the very first post. :o)

Monday, 7 July 2008

"She'll be waiting in Kingston Town..."

I love this feeling!
It's the moment when you come out of something, after days and weeks of feeling as though there's no way you'll jump out from the abyss.
I really feel that everything happens for a reason.

I also realize that sometimes it takes being completely disconnected from a situation in order to be fully perceptive about it.

Honestly, I can't stress how often this happens to me! I find myself in a situation which at that given moment seems like perfection. Then, in the days that follow, it becomes frayed and does not match up to the feelings and experiences from said moment.

Then, I feel the need to make excuses and compensate... often imagining that I'm the source of that displacement.
I realize now, that I should always trust my instincts. They've never failed me till today. I need to stop blaming and second guessing myself when things don't go as I imagine. Sometimes, a situation really "is what it is" and people really "are who they are."

I need to stop trying to make allowances for people's behaviour. I don't think it helps me or anyone else.

I love figuring things like this out for myself. Now all I have to do is remember this in the off chance that I find myself in another situation like this.

xo
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Friday, 4 July 2008

Note to self...

Well, I guess I made one self-discovery today.

I don't know much about a lot of things, but I realized today, that if I ever get married, there is one thing (aside from the groom) that I'd like on that day...

During the ceremony (or at some point during it...), I want Bach/Schubert's version of "Ave Maria" to be playing on the piano/sax.

hmm... Maybe one, then the other?? Ok, I guess that's a decision yet to be made.

But really, This has to be the most relaxing, enchanting version of the song that I've ever heard. I think my uncle Roy had this song at his wedding waay back when. It seems familiar.

Ok, I'll stop talking about weddings. But... fyi. Or maybe... for my info. Ick!

xo
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****UPDATE****

Ok... last one, I swear!

One more discovery for today: I'm super excited about 2009. Super scared too... but excited, still! :o)

Ok, that's it!

xo
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Monday, 30 June 2008

A Monsoon Dream...

When I was younger, I always found the monsoons to be a time when magic happened.
Sure, it rains torrentially for three months in a row, but the serenity and peace that comes with the rains, is something that I find unmatched even to this very day. Maybe it was the earthy smells -- the wet mud, fresh greens... wet everything. Maybe it was the scenery... the lush greens, reds, browns... everything as nature intended it to be. I remember sitting on the spiral staircase near our flat and just staring out into the world thinking, "This is where I come from ... this is who I am."

I have one distinct memory about the rainy season in Goa. My mum was driving us home from school one day, and it was raining uncontrollably. After we got home and she parked the bike, she went upstairs to get started on dinner. Instead of following her to our flat, I ran up to the terrace, in the rains, in my khaki school uniform and just stood there. Without my raincoat, without my shoes. I felt the water pour down on me, as I stood there, 6 storeys high. The water gushed over me like someone was pouring down buckets from the heavens. It soaked my clothes, making them cling to me... heavy. I still remember how my feet felt on the concrete. The water wasn't cold... but it wasn't warm either. I remember standing there and just breathing. I was 10. I was alive. I was one with the earth.

These days, I long for those feelings of being grounded. I long for days when I was forced to stay home on lazy afternoons and really appreciate life and beauty. Spring in Toronto cannot match the beauty of Goan monsoons. I remember literally going to bed one night and waking up the next morning to full blooms in the garden... dancing in the rain.

It's raining in Goa right now. I know this because I have the weather tuned to Toronto and Goa on my computer. Perhaps if I can make an even blend of the two temperatures, I can articulate how I feel at this very moment.

I still can't. I've been at a loss for words for about a week now. There's so much that I want to say and yet, I can't bring myself to do it.

Everyone can use some magic in their lives these days, you know?

xo
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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A fish out of water

For the first time in a very long time... I'm struggling for words.

It's strange how certain events in my life can make me lose focus of what really matters. For years I have been dedicated to my studies, career, family and friends... trying never to miss a step along the way.

It's been an odd path, but it's also been worth it. Because here I am... on the brink of a field I have waited my entire life to be part of.

I can't undo the mistakes I've made... and as most of you know, there have been a handful. But I can learn from them... and I am...
It's strange, processing these emotions. Some go through so easily and others just don't make sense -- creeping in on you when you least expect it.

I made a decison today.

I should have made this decision a long time ago, but as the war between my head, heart and physical state move into phase 4... it's gotten a lot harder. But this time, I'm sticking to it.

The thing about being a writer (not a journalist...just a writer) is that it's hard to seperate emotions from words. Especially when the words are drawn from emotions.

But I'm working on it. I really am.

xo
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Thursday, 19 June 2008

Serendipity or a Cruel Joke?

A fortunate accident...

... Do any of you believe in it?

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason, in specific times and places in our lives? Or is it a result of something we've created on our own - situations and circumstances that we consciously place ourselves in?

Or do you think these incidents come as a result of something we have no control or power over? That they just sort of... happen - and in the aftermath, we are left changed, thinking about what transpired?

My mum told me to pray for love the other day... and cynical me told her that if that actually worked, then there would be no divorces and that everyone in the world would be with the person they were meant to be with, because EVERYONE prays for love.

Sooo... I guess I'm a bit jaded...
xo
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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

One of those afternoons...


Sometimes I wonder if absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder. I thought about this recently, after my visit to Goa. I'm not a fan of feeling so nostalgic, but I guess sometimes it can't be helped. I came back refreshed from the trip, but now all I can think about is finding a balance between my two worlds once again.

When I moved to Toronto, I always realized how much I missed my family and life when I was a child. However, it wasn’t until I came back for a visit, that I fully became aware of how much I longed to be back there.

When I left Goa for the second time this past May, I was taken back to my 10-year-old self. I don’t recall another day when I cried as much as I did then. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what was in store for me. It was exciting in a sense, but I also felt as though I was heading into uncertainty. All I knew was that I had packed everything that I “held near and dear” to me, in one little red suitcase. That was it. 10 years of my childhood in the smallest suitcase in the bunch.

After being back here for a month, I started to play around with thoughts of absence. What do I miss from my trip? What do I want to go back to? What did I want to bring with me? What did I leave behind?

I realize that whatever material things I left behind in Goa will continue to stay in the place I left them. Just like the pair of shorts I found from when I was eight, left sitting in my mother’s cupboard.

The cups and saucers will be as I left them – sitting in a rack by the kitchen sink. The books will be by my bed – as I left them in May 2008.

But what about the people? Will those who I hold so close to my heart be as I left them? Probably not. My family and friends have changed a lot over the past decade or so. People have died, and there have been many young additions. Loved ones have moved away while others have gone back to Goa in search of something they thought was missing in their lives.

I understand that change comes as a result of time. Still, there’s a part of me that hopes not much will change before my next visit or stay.

I was given a small taste of something that means the world to me. But for now, reality shows that that is all it can be ... a taste.

I wonder... if I play around with destiny and go with the flow, will my reality eventually be what I’d like it to be?

Perhaps in this case, only time will tell.

xo
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Saturday, 14 June 2008

An Open Letter to My Girlfriends


Over the past few months, I have come to realize and truly value the relationships I have formed with my various girlfriends. I've gotten to a point in my life where I feel that the friendships which stemmed from different moments in my life, may be a reflection of who I am at this moment.
So I figured, in the spirit of all these emotions, that I better dedicate a good ol' blog post to the women who matter the most to me, in this crazy, unstable world!

Let me start off with my gals in Europe. Ladies, I know you're reading this because you're two of the only people who ever comment on everything that I write here. I hope you're having an amazing time, because I know how hard you two worked to achieve this well deserved break. I hope you come home with an arsenal of stories, photos, mementos and 2 amazing tans! I'll be measuring you up to my own skin. Thank you for finding me, no matter where you are in the world. I don't think you realize how much I appreciate you taking the time out of your itinerary to read my work. I love you and I hope you're staying safe. The thought of my posts reaching Italy, Croatia or Greece mean the world to me... literally!

I know that this trip will add to the wonderful women you already are. It will set you on the bigger canvas, making you into global citizens. Few people have that privilege, and I know it will do wonders to who you already are... I will be living vicariously through both of you... if only for now!

To the ones at home... well, you know who you are. You are the women who have steadied me when I couldn't find my legs... the ones who were my mouth-pieces when I couldn't speak and the ones who listened, when I was full of words and words and words and words.... (and repeat!)

I've come to value you in a way unlike ever before. I realize that a handful of girlfriends who know the way you function can be more deadly and lethal to troublemakers.... than pepper-spray, high heeled shoes, or even a big bad bouncer.

You are the ones who aren't afraid to point out reality when I get lost in the clouds.... and you're the ones who encourage me to dream, when I become weighed down with life.

I want you all to know how much I love you. Every word, every hug, every smile... everything!

xoxo
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Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Divided


Almost a month after my visit to Goa, I am left feeling as though I'm standing with a foot on either side of the world.

My visit to Goa was long overdue, to say the least. Although the trip to Goa itself was quite uneventful, (aside from the minor customs mishap, the nine-hour transit in Mumbai, the sketchy porters from the international airport to the domestic airport, and the questionable food on the domestic flight) the three-week experience is something I could write an entire novel on.

As our pilot announced our arrival into India over the intercom, I couldn't help but think of one of my favourite lines from Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Eat, Pray, Love... "People always arrive and leave India under the cloak of night."

It wasn't until the end of my trip that I realized how true that statement was. our transcontinental flight arrived in India around 8 p.m., touching down in Mumbai at 9:30 p.m. It wasn't until 6:30 a.m. the following morning that we were able to catch our connecting flight to Goa.

Now you have to understand, Goa is a 45 minute plane ride from Mumbai. So the idea of staying over at an airport for over six hours for a 45 minute plane ride is something a lot of people won't even hear of. However, short of going to a hotel for 3 hours, this was our only option. Goa only has flights from 6:30 a.m to about 8 p.m.

We arrived in Goa at about 7 a.m the next day, to no fuss at all. Although I should mention that I had left Toronto in a jean jacket, scarf and jeans... all of which came off by the time I found my suitcases in Mumbai... In a speed unknown to me, I fished out a pair of shorts and a thin t-shirt, that I subconsciously packed. Something told me this was going to happen. It was close to 40 degrees overnight when we landed.

At the Goa airport, we walked from our 50-seater flight to the terminal that overlooked the belt, which carried our luggage.

While I stood at the belt, waiting for what seemed like eternity, I glanced to the waiting area and passenger pick-up area, to see if any of my family had come.

With one look, I saw the only person that mattered at that moment. My aunt. The lady who was the source of all things wisdom and beauty to me. It was at that point I realized, that the exhausting 48-hour journey meant nothing at all, because it had led up to this single moment.

My aunt... 72, strong, beautiful and poised stood at the doorway to the airport all by herself - despite sickness and age, because she wanted to see my mother and me.

I can't even begin to describe the emotions that passed through me in those few moments. I took it all in... her frailty, her shinning eyes, my mother's sadness/joy, my aching back... everything.

Aunt was holding flowers that looked like they were clearly plucked from a garden.

"These are for you," she said. "St. Anthony's flowers - the smell of Goa."

My aunt later explained that she was looking for something significant to give me, when she first saw me after over a decade. Then, being true to herself, she realized that the best way to touch on anyone's emotions was to play with the senses.

I remembered the first time I inhaled the heady scent of these simple white flowers (I was 4)... I remembered the feasts where we adorned the altars with these flowers (every year)... I remembered the garden in my grandmother's house where there was one bush of St. Anthony's flowers, strategically placed in the centre...

And it was in that moment that I realized... I had actually come home.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Chubby Cheeks


Well, it's finally here.

As I sit here on the eve of one of the biggest trips I'll probably ever taken in my adult life, I am bombarded with just about a million thoughts, flying at me in every direction.

This trip has been over a decade in the making. I can't help but wonder how drastically different things may be. I know they are, but I feel as though I'm not prepared enough for it. On the other side, I have my entire family freaking out, as if to say that me going down to Goa is some sort of big deal. They seem to be making it a bigger deal than I ever could and I have to admit that I don't like that aspect of it.

If it were me, I would simply go down, check into our flat, sleep, eat and hit the beach while losing myself in the local market places. I don't like this hoop-a-lah! It just seems like too much.

I'm nervous about seeing my relatives. I know they have expectations and I don't know if I can ever meet them. I guess I shouldn't worry about that but I do worry about the fact that I had to dig pretty deep into my pockets to pay for this trip and the last thing I want is to spend three weeks freaking out about the fact that I'm not their poster-child of perfection.

On the other side, I look forward to taking some solitary walks on the beach and following the various paths I took to school as a child. I want to see the effect that time has had on some of my favourite haunts. I want to see the different colours, smell the familiar scents and breath the tropical air. It's funny, after all these years if I will myself enough, I can actually place myself in a moment as a child and sense everything that I experienced at that time.

Anyway, I hope to keep a detailed account of the trip. I plan to take more pictures than I can store. But before all that, I need to survive this 32 hour trip to my past.

In the meanwhile, stay safe and keep smiling!

xo
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Friday, 18 April 2008

When the Motherland ignores you

... This trip is driving me nuts and it hasn't even happened yet!

April has been such an awful month... and it's only the 18th. First I was bombarded with a cart full of work at school.... then Ginger decides to get a fever/cold/allergies/constipation... all at the same time... Then I get working on this damn visa to get to the motherland!

Yes.

The Indian consulate decided to "upgrade" their system, deciding that only people going to India for emergencies need to show up at the consulate. Everyone else gets to nervously mail in their application form and visa to the consulate and meditate in fear, hoping that it will show up in time before their trip.

So what did I do? Tuesday of this past week I filled out the paper work and said a silent prayer while I mailed in the documents... all the while tracking the package as it arrives at the consulate the next morning at 10 a.m.... Thank God for CanadaPost, as I now have proof that it got there with a signature, and time stamp. The standard is to apparently mail out the visas by the end of the week... however, something inside me made me question that. So I had some free time after work on Thursday and decided to stroll over to 365 Bloor to see what was going on.

I get there to a somber room of panicked faces and people who looked like their cat had just died... come back to life, only to die again. Yes. I soon understood why.

I went up to the man and asked what the status of my visa was. He asked for my name and disappeared into a room, only to emerge back 20 minutes later. He asked me if I was sure I sent my visa in. (ummm.. YES!) He then proceeds to tell me that there is a good possibility that they didn't even get around to dealing with it. Translation... it's sitting in the express post envelope, unopened.

So... what to do?

I ask him what my options are, seeing as how this epic trip that has me drained before I even set foot on a plane ride garunteed to turn my sleep cycle into a nightmare... is happening next weekend....

He says... come in on Monday, because tomorrow is a holiday. We're closed.

Yes, it's Mahavir Jayanti in India... so these guys get the day off!

Great. So I have to go in on Monday, around 8:30 a.m. and pray to God that my visa hasn't left the building without me. And that it will leave with me after 4 p.m. ... Oh ya... you can only pick up your documents after 4 p.m. ... even if you talk to them at 8 a.m.

SIGH!!!!

Oh, so I also figured out why no one answered my 101 calls to the consulate between Monday and Thursday morning. Turns out... "reception" is an empty desk with a phone.... that rings consistently.... while everyone ignores it.

If I ever get to Goa.. they better lead me straight to a hammock in a mango grove.

That is all.

xo
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Sunday, 6 April 2008

It's times like these...

... That I remember my grade eight teacher's response to my weekly friday journal.
I remember going through some 12-year-old crisis of sorts at the time ... not sure if it was an emotional or morality one... maybe it was a bit of both. He just said, "remember the Serenity Prayer."

So here goes:

God,
Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Amen


As Sophia Loren once said, "I want to be left in peace, not in pieces."

xo
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Saturday, 15 March 2008

...It's as if I'm playing with fire...


A lot of people have been asking why my upcoming trip to India has me so nervous.

I'm just over a month away from visiting all that I left behind as a young child. I find that no matter how much I try to explain the feelings of displacement, confusion and cultural isolation that have taken over my life in the past 12 years or so, no one will fully be able to understand the extent of it, unless they have experienced it themselves. And to date, I can only think of a handful of people in my life with the exception of my family, who can relate.

I've been reflecting on the manner in which my life has changed since I left India all those years ago. I've been lucky enough to have received an education in a post secondary institution and post grad institution. I don't think I would have been as fortunate were I still living in India. This is simply because of the fact that there's no such thing as student loans there. And besides, the dollar carries you a lot further here than a rupee carries you in India.

There's a lot more advantages to having moved to this country. Although, at times I wish my parents had decided to make the move when I was much younger. Maybe then the transition wouldn't have been as difficult. Then again, I don't really know. All I can vouch for is the fact that over the past decade or so, life has dealt us a lot of curve-balls... and I think any immigrant family can relate. It isn't easy for the child and it certainly isn't easy for the parent.

However, I think it is harder for the child who has lived half their life in another country and is forced to adapt to a new culture. I know for me, it was very difficult because I had been brought up on a very different value system for the first 10 years of my life. When I moved here, I was forced to abandon all that I had learned and take on a new system of beliefs - one that would help instead of hinder me in this society. And I realized quickly that my accent wasn't the only thing standing in the way of complete integration into Canadian society.

I can't say that I have fully grasped it yet. I don't think I ever will. I find that everytime I do anything in this world, I am constantly drawn back to my 7, 8, 9-year-old self and am left second guessing my moves. I think it can't be avoided simply because we're catering to so many different aspects and people in our lives.

We have our parents who see things one way... our siblings; who take on different aspects of our society's culture in an effort to survive or simply fit in... our friends; who may or may not know what you've been through and don't understand your manner of thinking unless you sit down and reflect or explain it to them.

I find that I'm constantly having to defend the fact that I can't go out every weekend because I can't afford to spend 10-15 dollars to get into a club and then top it off with 8-10 dollar drinks... without feeling absolutely guilty. Usually the guilt comes on after the fact though.

I am learning these days (and I was wondering when it would happen) that a night in with a boardgame and bottle of wine is a lot more satisfying than going to a club where the odds are, I won't even meet anyone interesting, will probably come home with blistered feet, have to cough up an extra $60 for a cab and so forth.

I miss my childhood in India terribly. I saw how my older cousins and their friends spent their time. Value was put more into dinners, drives around the country, walks around town and indoor activities that bonded people for longer periods of time than simply one night.

I don't regret the few years when I went out every weekend. I think everyone has that period in their life. Maybe it will surface again when I'm older and get into... well, older clubs. But for now, I'm content with reverting back to my peaceful weekends that don't include wondering how I'm going to make it back home at 3 a.m. Maybe this too might change when I am more financially secure.

All I can think about when I spend money is the fact that there's a great amount of student debt waiting for me once I finish off with school... and that terrifies me.

Still, I have friends that I made upon moving to this country who could be in the same boat as me in terms of finances. However, unlike me (a basket of nerves at the thought of having to pay it all back... and fast!) they are able to move on through life without a single worry, anticipating that a day will come when their loans will be paid off. But because that day isn't today... why worry?

Somedays I wish I was like that. But as I said... I'm not built that way.

Anyway, so I guess after all this... it comes down to the fact that I'm terrified of going on this so called vacation. I fear that this trip will either reinforce the fact that I miss the pace, the smells, the summer laze, the fact that no shops are open on sundays and that traffic literally means competing with the stray dogs and cows on the roads.

On the other hand I also fear that all that I remember from my childhood might just as easily be an illusion as nothing will be the same as it was.

XO
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** Please click the "home" tag at the bottom of this post to see a related post I wrote last July!**
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