Monthly Archives: February 2008

Adventures in writing…

On one of the online boards I participate on, we are doing a collaborative writing project where each participant gets the last sentence of the previous person’s piece and then continues the story in their own words. Here’s the one I received:

    I start to run, calling her name but she disappears and only the cold wind blows around my head…

      And here’s how I continue the story:

        I come to a halt beneath the strange yellow cloud that had been hovering above the spot where she’d vanished. I gaze up to see that at its center is an inverted funnel from which a stream of tiny leaves issues forth, gently floating down to greet my upturned face. For a moment, time stands still and but for the sound of my heart beat echoing in my ears, the silence is so great that I wonder if I’ve gone deaf. Bending down onto one knee, I scoop up a handful of leaves and carefully deposit them into the pocket of my jacket.

          Standing up, my gaze shifts to the houses down the street. I see a red brick chimney jutting out in the distance and recognize it to be mine. My neighborhood. My house. As if of their own volition, my feet begin to move toward the houses, the cloud slowly receding behind me as I make my way home.

            Much later I look out the window and note that the cloud has drifted further down the road and away from town, stalling over a dip in the hills. The pervasive smell of sulphur is disconcerting. After returning home I’d stripped out of my clothes as soon as I’d closed the door behind me. Removing the leaves from my pocket and carefully storing them in a plastic baggie, I’d placed my clothes in the washing machine, set the wash and rinse water temperature to hot and threw in twice the normal amount of detergent. Padding into the bathroom I stepped into the shower. Beneath the stream of hot water I lathered and scrubbed my body’s surface and watched copious amounts of soapy foam spiral down the drain as I rinsed off.

              Still, the acrid odor persisted nevertheless. Searching for relief from the smell, I grab a handful of incense, lighting them all at once using the stove’s gas burner. Silently moving around the inner perimeter of my little house, I strategically insert a stick into the tiny crevices of the walls. With each insertion I mouth a silent prayer to the gods for protection from whatever it is that is happening to me… to us all.

                Returning to the vantage point of my front room window, I gaze out once again at the inky blue of the late evening sky. The cloud remains strangely illuminated, pale and yellow, sparkling from within as if tiny particles were igniting like stars and shooting off erratically in all directions within its limited expanse, streaking little comet trails and then blinking out just as suddenly as they’d alit.

                Happy Valentine’s Day!

                What a day it’s been… looooong… but I was so tickled this morning when I got a call to go down to the lobby to pick up a vase of red roses from Steve. I can’t remember when the last time it was that he got me a dozen red roses… and the card moved me to tears. A busy day ensued at work and then I left to pick up some things at the store for a very special Valentine’s day feast I was planning… by the time I got all of the shopping done and dinner cooked, it was very late… like 10 o’clock late. *sigh* I tried… but it was all delish, and the photo above is the aftermath, replete with empty dessert plates.

                Oooooommmmm… excuse me!

                Oh my… what a time I had at my first yoga class last night. I invited a couple of my coworkers to join me in a beginner class over at The Yoga Shakti Wellness Center. I managed to follow along with the asanas quite well, and then, in the child pose, I passed gas. I was mortified, but when the giggles started, first from my two friends and then the fellow who was next to us, I collapsed in gales of laughter and it took about ten minutes to recompose myself enough to attempt the asanas again. The fellow came over at the end of the class to thank me for making him laugh so hard… he said that it had been months since he’s laughed. The teacher also reassured me that this was an entirely normal occurrence, and it meant that the yoga was doing its job. *phew!* Next time let it be someone else providing the comic relief to the back end of the room. (pun intended)

                I really enjoyed the very last part of the class, when we got to zone out and then end with a meditation. The instructor chanted a mantra (that I didn’t recognize) but I’m now curious about how they select the mantras to use during the meditation portion.

                Oy! I’m muscle sore today, a little, but I think I’ll be able to return for a follow up session on Thursday… hopefully my bowels will not betray me! Namaste!

                Glittery goodness…

                All that glitters is not gold, so the song says, but the sparkling stuffs never cease to give me warm fuzzies and make my heart skip a beat.

                Let me elucidate…

                As a youngster, I’d follow my mom around during her forays into fabric stores. My favorite one was Marshall’s Fabrics on Ste-Catherine Street in the heart of downtown Montreal, which was a several story shop filled with all kinds of head-reeling fabric splendor. My mom sewed a fair amount, and she would purchase cuts of fine fabrics and make her own designer dresses. Back in the “old country” she and her sister Irene had their own dressmaking shop… she’s designed and sewn clothes for the likes of wealthy Hungarian society women as well as Russian officers’ wives, and everything in between.

                In any case, the purpose of the visit to the fabric store was for my mom to find wonderful fabrics at a reduced price. So through the store she’d go, ambling from floor to floor, up and down the aisles amongst the bolts of fabrics, with me trailing behind her with both hands out, my fingers languidly rubbing the fabrics between my fingers as I passed. My favorites were the ones made from natural fibers… cottons, linens, silks, wools, or even a combination of these, but I didn’t like how the synthetics felt when the fibers were rubbed against each other. However, what finally pulled me out of the tactile tour was the floor that had all of the bolts of fabric destined for evening wear… sequined, bugle beaded, gold and silver embroidered laces of all colors… my eyes would gleam as brightly.

                Of course my mom didn’t like most of these, as her taste and style were of a more conservative, tailored variety. She’d gaze down at my soulful expression with a mixture of disdain and amusement, and tell me that the black with the gold and silver embroidery reminded her of coffin linings and brought to mind not elegance but mourning. But still, I was nonplussed. Nothing could sway me from the sparkles that entered through my eyes and illuminated my insides… my imagination.

                Now I am a bit more subtle while in pursuit of my glittery penchant… I opt for interference colors and metallic leafs instead of glitter glue, but I have my share of powdered glitters that I picked up at the craft store simply because I couldn’t resist their sparkling charms… and as I gaze intently at the contents within, I shift back into my childhood self and remember the glow…

                Graduations… celebrations…

                Tonight was the last telecon class of my Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching training. What a cool bunch of women I’ve met, all extremely talented in their own right.

                  I had a breakthrough this week on some concepts I’ve been lugging around with me, that didn’t serve me well. I’ve been in the habit of limiting myself with the use of negative self-talk, one of the many self-sabotaging “tools” if you will, and find that I am not the only one afflicted. In fact, it’s so rampant that I’m amazed any of us get anything done.

                    I’ve found that I get the most done when I simply ignore limitations (whether real or imagined) and plod through to reach the other side. Worrying about something accomplishes nothing… except perhaps putting off the task at hand for that much longer. Many of us are so busy worrying about how NOT to do something, to wiggle out of a responsibility, that the task would most likely be completed within the time period we spend on avoidance.

                      While researching “looks” of successful websites/blogs, Jill (Badonsky, the author of Nine Modern Day Muses and a Body Guard, and co-creator of the Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program) suggested we take a look at this site. During my perusal, I came upon this article, which I wanted to share with you, because it strikes a deep chord for me and I suspect (since I am not very different from most creative types) it will in you as well. I especially like the Yoda quote from Star Wars… because that line was like a sucker punch when it came whizzing at me during a recent re-watching of this movie… and it sounded like something my father had said to me… “Don’t try… do!” Makes sense. It is somewhat akin to another quote, this one attributed to Henry Link: Those who hesitate because of the fear of making mistakes are being passed by those who are busy making mistakes and perfecting themselves.

                        There are many times I’ve asked people to do something, and I’ve received the “I’ll try” reply… which I have found translates into, “Nice try… I don’t think I’ll be trying to do this anytime soon, suckah!” and amounts to absolutely nothing, but they’ve managed to tell you no without really telling you no (thinking they have also avoided to hurt your feelings, when really all they have done is piss you off because they’ve fallen short of your expectations).

                          Well… I’ve rambled on plenty long on the subject, and will cap this post off with a short “suggested reading” list having to do with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming):

                            Magic of NPL Demystified by Byron Lewis & Frank Pucelik (ISBN 1-5552-017-0)

                              NLP: The New Technology of Achievement NLP Comprehensive by Steve Andreas & Charles Faulkner (ISBN 0-688-14619-8)

                                Mental Coaching-Utilizing Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Better Quality of Work Life, Job Performance, and Lasting Behavioral Change by Trygve Roos (ISBN 1-55395-469-6)

                                  Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis by John Grinder (ISBN 0911226230)

                                    Reframing: Neuro-linguistic Programming and The Transformation of Meaning (Paperback)by Richard Bandler & John Grindler (ISBN 0911226257)

                                      And… happy Chinese new year! Be well and prosper!

                                      Who is that masked man?

                                      My pink and black postcard is ready to go out. I started out with a sketch of a Venetian Carnivale masquerader and worked a pink background on watercolor board with US ArtQuest’s watercolor palettes. They’re glittery and fun and when I need to take myself a bit more lightly, I pull them out. I layered on several coats of the stuff through a paper doily. I love the resulting texture. Then I transferred my sketch onto the board with graphite paper and added dark paint and texture on my masked man as well. I’m grateful that I only have one (as opposed to nine) to do.

                                      I’ve been thinking on a lot of things lately. I picked up Doreen Virtue’s Divine Magic (Hay House Classics) last week, and have been reading it since mid-week. Interesting stuff, this… not new, per se, but neatly, concisely packaged, along with a “meditation” CD. It’s inspiring, in the least… whatever it takes these days.

                                      Everything about my professional life, lately, seems to be ill-fitting, except perhaps the regular paycheck. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the corporate world, working as what can be equated to a servant position… that of secretary, though nowadays the term administrative assistant is by far a more politically correct designation. And as with all positions of servitude, the degree of palatability is entirely dependent upon the person you serve, and to a lesser extent the nastiness of the other wenches in your household, so to speak. Some days they behave, other days not so much.During a rather philosophical discussion with one of my co-workers, I was advised to “rise above it” (as opposed to wallowing in the slop of the pig sty). Some days this is easier to accomplish than others. I truly feel that my calling is not amongst these ranks, though it does provide a steady and dependable flow of income. I’ve most always picked the easier route in my life, choosing not to rock the boat even though every ounce of me was screaming that I should tip it over. Other times, when I’ve done just that, after the dust settled and the other passengers in the boat smoothed out their disheveled hair, I always found that I was in a better place (at least on a soul level).

                                      But it’s always good to have a plan…I’ve almost completed my Kaizen-Muse coaching program and can now officially be called a “Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach.” As with any new clothes… shoes… titles… this one will take a while to feel comfortable in, but I’m sure I’ll adapt. That… and I’m just about convinced that I’ll be winning not one, but TWO very big lottery draws… I’ll keep you posted… maybe even throw a party.