Monday, June 29, 2009

I Am a Digital Fiddler

I've often written about my great ability to procrastinate when it comes to sitting down and writing something of quality. In fact, i think i'm so great at procrastination that i should be considered an absolute genius.

My original plan today was that, after dinner, i would write some intelligent posting here. But instead i found myself browsing around the Internet and wasting precious time.

Ah.. low and behold i come upon a perfectly intelligent posting...but it's not on my blog...nope.

The article is titled "How to Stop Digital Fiddling and Start Writing".

Eureka! I've found myself...the true writing inactivity has been documented and i can no longer hide from my procrastination. So what, exactly, is digital fiddling and do i really have it?

  1. Do i avoid writing by reading my e-mail? Better believe it.
  2. Do i check my blog stats? Well, no...but i do check to see how well my cat Lillian is doing in the Top Animal Twitterer contest. And then i go back to check e-mail again.
  3. Do i tune my blog to make it visually more appealing? Well, sometimes. Or i'll change my Twitter background, or add a new application on Facebook. And then check Lillian's stats again. And one more quick look at one of my three e-mail addresses to make sure nothing new has come in that i really should attend to.
  4. Do i surf the Internet? Absolutely. And with my coming trip to Tuscany, i heartily justify this surfing...after all, i need to do my travel research, don't i? I know i could make specific time for this travel research...but once i get started i can't stop and so i happily flit here and there.
  5. Do i focus on social networking? Certainly....i have to maintain my social image on Facebook and Twitter...and then i have to make time to comment on the blogs that i regularly read.
Is it any wonder that i NEVER get anything done?? I am...most definitely...a Digital Fiddler of the worst kind.

Good thing the article goes on to suggest ways to stop fiddling and start writing, the first suggestion being to disconnect my computer from the Internet. Seriously? The article says that at first it will feel strange, but shutting off the computer is the only way i can re-connect with myself. I get that concept.

Next, i should turn off all the programs that i'm not using to write with. This would leave either Open Office or Microsoft Word the only place i can no chance of time wasting.

The last suggestion to stop digitally fiddling is to....write the first sentence. Which i know holds a lot of power. Which i rarely utilize.

Now that my identified problem of procrastination has been disected and much easier will it be for me to stop all this fiddling and stand up, pay attention, write write and write?

Note to many more Monday mornings like today do you want to have as you trudge to work?

You can ready the full article on Digital Fiddling here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mammogram Sunday

Seriously, they are now booking mammograms in Vancouver for Sunday appointments. What better way to spend a Sunday morning than waking up early for an 8:00am appointment? At least it's done for another year. And the technician was nice enough to keep me distracted by telling me all about the homemade poultice she had made out of wholewheat bread for an infection she'd had on her leg.

Onward at noon for an optometrist appointment to have my eyes dilated and check eye health. I could start to like Sunday appointments since it means i don't have to take time off work to get things checked and probed.

The rest of the day was lazy...went for lemon gelatto...finished a book, started another one.

Perhaps the most interesting thing i got out of this day, besides the information about wholewheat poulices, came from my own father. Who is now also on the bandwagon that is pushing me towards publishing my writing and making a "decent living out of it, not getting rich".

Though rich would be nice...the decent living will do. The ability to be here in Vancouver with Caitlin for as long as i wanted...then traveling to Kelowna to spend time with my parents and friends...then down to SF to see my sister, my favourite and only brotherinlaw, and Toadie nephew...then off to Paris for a week of strolling and sitting in cafes...then...then....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Away We Go

Went to the 12 noon showing of "Away We Go"...which was ridiculously cute and thought provoking at the same time.

"A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time."

Go see this one if you go see's well worth it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writing With Censors

Censorship has always been a big issue for me. I firmly believe that we all have the right, no matter who we are or where we live, to read what we want. And of course this makes me a firm believer that we all have the right to write what we want, without censors of any kind. So what censors are holding me back?

My current focus for getting published is children's literature. I'm a kid at's easy for me to make up characters and stories in my head and bring them into reality. I've always given voices and lives to stuffed creatures. What i seem to lack is the honest to goodness discipline to get published, but i've discussed that topic before and it's not the focus of this posting.

The point of this posting is that i often feel i'm writing with censors when it comes to some of the writing i post here as well as the non-children's writing i hope to publish one day.

One of the authors i greatly admire for her style of writing is Ali Smith. When i read her books, i'm reading myself. That is the way i want my first adult fiction book to flow. Her books are filled with sentences that would never pass a grammatical exam. "The Accidental" was the first Smith book i read...and i was blown away to find an author that put words down on the page in such a similar way to my own style.

So why have i never progressed deep enough with my own writing to get close to publication? The censoring of words, the censoring of thoughts....these things hold me back.

Sure...i get it...that style of writing...but will any publisher "get it" enough to say sure, let's go with this one. I'm a cynic, a procrastinator, a disparager, a doubter. My fiction is reflected in these characteristics. I'm also a romantic, an anticipator, a dreamer...traits that are also reflected in what i write.

I would love to get to the point where i can write without censors and not worry about anything else but being able to publish what i "get" whether anyone else will ever get close to getting there.

My biggest problem is that when i read back what i might have spent hours seems too steeped in poetical metaphors...or too honest...or too close to make me think it's any good. I don't need to discover myself at this point in my life. The issue is....though i know who i am, how i think, that i'm stubborn, and eccentric, and think off the grid....i lack the confidence to present that person to the world through my writing.

Reality check: what better way though, to remain hidden behind a wall that lacks confidence, than through the written word?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Power of Negativity

I've been thinking a lot about negativity and how much power it has, how all-consuming it can be.

I don't think i used to be as negative as i am today...i'm sure i wasn't. Regardless, i'm trying to be conscious of negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Awareness isn't always easy i picked two quotes that make sense to me:

"Negativity is an addiction to the bleak shadow that lingers around every human form ... you can transfigure negativity by turning it toward the light of your soul."
~~ John Donohue

"The cycle of God, the good, is broken by a single act of negativity. The cycle of negativity is stopped by choosing the good -- not just once, but again and again until it is goodness that prevails in your life and in our world altogether. "
~~ John Morton

Monday, June 22, 2009


When my sister was here a couple of weeks ago...she brought this most amazing chocolate with her...Valrhona...deep, dark, rich...perfect with a cup of coffee.

This wonderful chocolatier is based in Tain l’Hermitage, France. We indulged in the dark chocolate...and it wasn't around for very long...not a day, not an hour...minutes.

Indulgence #2: Wine from the Lang vineyard in the Okanagan. The Pinot Gris was crisp, clear, and highly refreshing at the end of a hot day in Vancouver.

The Marechal Foch brought on some speechlessness on my part...relaxing, soothing, sloooow and deep.

It was great to find two great wines from home...the Okanagan doesn't get enough credit for the fantastic wines they produce.

(photocredit West Coast Wine)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Heart in Europe

I have always seen myself as living in a villa in France, a hillside town in Spain, a small city in Germany. And now perhaps, in Tuscany. It really doesn't matter where, the point is that i have always seen myself there.

The books i read when i was barely in my teens set the stage for my wanting to live somewhere other than where i was living...suburbia in Canada.

My European parents and the culture they brought from Germany made me long to go there. And when i did, only ten years old, i feel in love with everything European...fresh bread every morning, bustling streets while just around the corner i could some find some old church that demanded a hush of reverence, the smell of coffee wafting out of small cafes. Put me over there...and i'm in heaven.

I try to duplicate the "European feel" here in Vancouver but something is always missing. My memories of my travels over the ocean are my constant reminder of what i should be doing, need to do.

Dream image: Living part time in Paris.

Reality work: get those cover letters for editors written.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Proposal

Spent the afternoon in the theatre watching "The Proposal" with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

Cute and fun. A no brainer...and of course Mr. Reynolds is quite easy on the eyes. A fellow Canadian too.

Recommended when you want to believe in the power of love and attraction.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Little Italian "pick me up"

Tiramisu translates from Italian to "pick me up" perhaps the Italian women are in need of some uplifting divine dessert after a meal...or when having coffee...or even for breakfast. Now that would be ideal.

I always thought of Tiramisu as being some classic Italian sweet that has been around for a hundred years...but that's not so at all. While the research varies, the consensus is that Tiramisu was invented in the 1970's in the northern region of a town called Treviso, which is just a short distance from Venice.

The main ingredients of this sweet include Mascarpone cheese, Espresso coffee, Savoiardi cookies (we know them as Ladyfingers), and Zabaglione cream. Every ingredient on its own is yummy...together they melt in your mouth and have always been a favourite dessert of mine.

Needless to say i'll be sampling a piece or two of Tiramisu while i'm in Italy. And oh yes, you have to know that i have a list started of the foods and drinks i'm going to indulge in while on vacation in September. List to be posted in its entirety at a later time.

(photo borrowed from the Citrus Blog)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flourishing Clematis

Amazing...the way the clematis on my balcony is winding its tendrils around the railing, adapting to the unnaturalness of my un-garden garden, making the most of what it has to work with and flourishing despite its inability to be root deep in unbound soil.

Me...i'm not nearly as adaptable nor do i flourish in situations that aren't ideal for my sense of protection.

I'm easily flustered, as i grow older...easily knocked out of the protective sphere i usually surround myself with when not in the safety of my home. I have to think about change when it happens and talk severely with myself, tell myself that change is growth and growth takes courage...and then i often think of Winnie the Pooh and how he dealt with the "things"...

“You find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

.....and i totally relate to my great desire to just hide away and not take chances....hide my "things".

It was once easy to believe that i was fearless.

But i suspected i wasn't and proved it to myself when i went alone to Paris a couple of years ago. Although it was a great trip, and i would go alone again, i was forced to face multiple fears and anxieties. You spend two weeks alone in a foreign country without speaking a word of French and you're sure to grab the horns of any fearful beast and deal with it.

I came back from Paris no longer hmming and hawing about some of the things i MIGHT be afraid of. I adapted, i admitted, i understood...and most of the time i still remember to understand.

The reason for this posting...self talk perhaps. I'm not flourishing where i am today, doing what i'm doing. I feel uncreative, stifled, down trodden. And oh yeah...look at the years on that age clock...going up all the time...hello Monica...

I need to make some changes, smart changes. Like that balcony adapting clematis...i need to take what i've been given, acknowledge it...and flourish. Time to let the writing muse take over and believe in what she can do...and that what she can do will sustain me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuscany Apartment Booked

After the relief of the flights being booked....comes the relief of the apartment being found, booked...ours.

Go take a our Florence apartment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reading Muse is on Vacation

I am going through a reading dry spell...which i very much detest. Every once in a while i just can't seem to focus on anything long enough to grab my interest and continue. This is the time when i have to reach for a "non-thinking" book to get the wheels and the words and the paragraphs flowing.

However, that philosophy isn't working this time....and i've attempted to read three books now....with no success at all.

Perhaps my mind is deep in Tuscany. Dreaming of walking in the autumn sun, indulging in coffees and chocolates and pastas.

Or perhaps my mind was so focused on my family visiting last week and the excitement of their arrival kept me from reading.

And perhaps now it's that i'm feeling sad and out of sorts that my family is gone again to their own corners of the world and i'm left here without them. And then my daughter, my link to feeling connected, disappears to Vancouver Island for her own little adventure.

Another attempt...i'll give this mystery a try, see if it boosts me into reading mode: A Necessary End by Peter Robinson.

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Things Decadent

Once again i forget how lucky i am to live in Vancouver...a city that has everything...a city that is famous for its reputation of a laid-back and easy lifestyle along the Pacific coast.

Having my family here for the last parents from Kelowna and my sister and wee nephew from San Francisco...has gotten me out more than usual.

Today, being their last day here, we ventured over to English Bay and Stanley Park.

After walking along the seawall we ate dinner along Denman Street, stopping to take home some Cookies by George.

And who can resist cupcakes from Cupcakes! Blue Hawaii coconut, Lemon Drop, Caramella, and a mini Sweet 16 vanilla.

A finish to the day watching the sun start to set over English Bay. With a bold reminder of why i love living here so much and why i really should get out more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Domaine Tempier 2007 Bandol Rosé

I have at last tasted my Bandol rosé ...the bottle i sought out over a year ago while visiting my sister in San Francisco. Bandol didn't disappoint, and that $60 US dollar bottle of wine was everything i had painted it in my mind to be....smooth, rich, easy.

More please...yes please.

After reading the book "Alice Waters and Chez Panisse" not only was i fascinated with the foodie revolution that was instigated by Alice Waters, i also became fascinated with her restaurant, Chez Panisse, and her addiction to Bandol rosé.

I have yet, even after numerous trips to San Francisco, to dine at Chez Panisse, but i long for the day when i'm able to sit down and indulge in one of the week night dinner eat what is local, what is simple, and what has been simply transformed into something magnificent.

For instance, this would have been tonight's offering:

Thursday, June 11 $75
Grilled asparagus with breadcrumbs, garden lettuces, and farm egg
California sea bass a la plancha with all-i-oli
Roasted Red Wattle heritage pork loin with glazed Chino Ranch turnips, greens and fava beans
Pluot ice cream pavlova with peaches and berries

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Baby Beluga

It's been years since i've been to the Vancouver Aquarium...and having my family visit for a week was the perfect excuse for a trip to see the water creatures. Even more of a reason was the birth of the latest baby beluga on Sunday, June 7th at 3.39 pm.

It was crowded and noisy and full of elementary school age children...everyone wanting to get a look at the new baby....and what a thrill it was when i was able to watch her swim beside her mama, Aurora. And just as exciting to finally get a decent picture of the two of them.

Yes, i know....wild animals, whales no less, in captivity. And here in Vancouver...we hold these belugas captive, away from where they long to be. But hopefully the few in capitivity bring a greater good for those in the ocean.

Right now there is a 24 hour watch on the baby beluga, to be sure she and Aurora have a secure nursing pattern established...and to be sure they bond.

I'm a sucker for any baby i'm glad we planned this day...and i was able to see this little baby beluga.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tranquil Summerness

Those lazy days of summer are here, before summer officially makes its appearance on the calendar. Waking to the chattering and chirping of birds, that feeling of anticipation before you get out of bed, of another sun-filled day. Walking like a hamster around the track is made that much easier when the morning sun is claiming the day. The air smells different, bright and fresh, full of promise.

I’m reminded of living in Kelowna …summers when Caitlin was little…such languid days we would have…easy…”tranquil” might be a good way to describe those days and that time. Days like this take me back there…the heat, the smell of the air, the aroma of flowers and plants.

I also remember some amazing summer days I spent with my mom when I was young. I know all those days were different and culminate in the memories I have of that time…but in particular I remember the two of us hanging the laundry on the clothes line to dry, feeling the coolness of sheets and shirts against my face as I wove my way in and out and around the hanging laundry. Exploring the yard with her, looking at the flowers…those glorious Sweet Williams she would plant, filling the rock garden, so many colours. Lying on the grass on our backs, looking at the clouds, making stories out of shapes of white puffs. Those are precious days to me, days that have always been with me in one way or another in all the summers since that time. I think I have my mother to thank for this feeling of “tranquil summerness” that comes over me on days like this.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I can’t wait to take her to Tuscany …autumn sun and lazy days.