Monday, August 22, 2011

Something Canadian

This morning I got into work, turned on my computer and got slapped in the face with the news that Jack Layton had died. At first I was just shocked, and then I started reading facebook posts. I seem to be unable to stop crying. This has only happened to me twice before with public figures. The first was John Lennon but even then I think I was just joining mass hysteria as my elementary school brain could just conceptualize him as a Beatle, not as a voice of peace and dissent. The second, and perhaps more profound, was Jim Henson. In some small way I felt my childhood died with him. I still remember watching the memorial muppet show they made for him and Kermit came out in the end to say goodbye to his "friend Jim" and his voice was not right and I had to go upstairs to my room and bawl.

So why this reaction to Jack? I did not love him the way some did. Secretly I prefer the characters of Trudeau and Chretien with their crafty fuck you attiudes. Jack was too folksy, too sincere. Yet. Yet he spoke to something Canadian in me. He managed to be that reasonable Canadian that would point out that we should take care of people who have less and are in need. That corporate profits were not the holy grail. That we did not AGREE. And people responded. The NDP gave me hope that there were other people in the country who gave a fuck.. and enough of them to make those other assholes get worried. I poked my head out of the sand for a bit to catch the glimmer of hope that was passing by.

After the election, I buried my head right back down into its sandy hole of denial and put the news on blackout again. I stopped watching it a few years back, as its constant screaming was starting to turn my thoughts black. I returned to my blissful ignorance over the summer, popping only briefly on google news to catch glimpses of London riots and imminent world financial implosion. Bombarded this morning by facebook RIPS I started to cry.

Am I crying for his death or am I crying for that sinking feeling that Mordor is winning and the Ents are soon to be no more? Not that Jack and Gandalf are cut from the same cloth, but somehow the image of hope plummeting into a carveruous abyss comes to mind. So melodramatic, I know, but it is the knowledge that Jack will not rise from the pit in glimmering white robes to come save us all which weighs heavy on my heart. I guess it is still up to us hobbits and elves to rally together and do something, but for today I mostly feel like taking stock, feeling sad and trying to figure out how to re-ignite that feeling I had when I first heard news that the Orange Crush was giving the Dark Lord a run for his money.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It is in the cards

Recently I have been getting into tarot cards again. I was sitting outside the hospital on my break a few weeks back and there were some nurses with a deck and I had to impose myself. I have impositional tendencies. Pretty please will you do me? She agreed and gave me the most astounding reading. For once I am at a loss of words to describe, except to say, I was hooked. More please. Tell me what to do cards. Tell me how lovely things will be for me please. Illuminate my insecurities and divest me of the responsibility of decision making. They are tarot, their ancient magic KNOWS.

So I went online. Googling "free tarot" brought me to site after site where at the click of the button, my reading was spread out before me. Love readings, Celtic crosses, goddess decks and Rider decks beckoning me with their absolute insight into my inner psyche. The swords keep haunting me, telling me that all is struggle and love is frought which is mostly pissing me off. Why can't you give me shiny cups brimming over with promise rather than your heavy dead staffs?

Do I think there is magic at play here? Is there some force in the universe that can see all my mistakes and insecurities and can lead me to an enlightened and virtuous path? No. Instead it is my reaction to the cards that I am iterested in. Each time that card telling me I have to make choices comes up I groan. No more choices please. I wouldn't be consulting you if I truly wanted to make any. These days I feel innundated by choice. Should I stay in school? Am I allowed to rest? Chala bread or whole wheat? Love or independence?

The thing is when I think of these binaries. These "either/or's" , I realize they are not real choices. Choice implies one and the exclusion of the other, but in all the ones facing me, I cannot exclude. Maybe this is why I keep going to the cards. In some way I am striving to include all possibilies. I am trying to combine options. I am trying to mix white flour with whole wheat. Is this a recipe for disaster? Let me turn a card and find out..
(readers note.. this it the actual card and reading I got the moment I finished writing this

Your card is "Death"
Contrary to it's dire appearance the Death card is usually a card of empowerment. Rather than doom and gloom, think endings and transformation. When this card comes up, an area of concern for you is facing a "death" or ending, but this opens you up to new opportunities for growth in new directions that could not have happened otherwise. When a caterpillar "dies" it transforms into a butterfly. This process involves some struggle - but it's struggle with a purpose. Without this "fight" to break free from the confines of the coccoon, the newly formed butterfly can't strengthen its wings. Now is a time to look at ways you may need to accept a "death" so that you can find new purpose in your life. Find the courage to spread your wings and fly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moist bags

I may have an unnatural relationship with bagels. Not all bagels, just a specific bagel from a specific place at a specific temperature and freshness. There is a debate in my city about which bagel is the "best bagel" and I confess to forming preconceived opinions about people who choose the "other" bagel place. I can't help but have a small distrust about their quality of taste and discretion, much the way i feel when someone announces that they don't "like animals". I can accept that there is a difference of opinion, but somewhere deep inside I may be thinking, if they err on this, what other bad decision making are they capable of? I can be their friend, put away the disdain, but I think it will always be there gnawing at me until one day they do something stupid and then it will leap to the surface with the thought.. makes total sense.. look at their choice of bagel.

I think I know where this love of bagel comes from. When I was a kid my mum used to take us to Arahovas for souvlaki (for you Montrealers, you now know which bagel side I am on). Many years ago Arahovas was just a hole in the wall, you had to wait at least half an hour for a table, which may or not be shared with people you may or may not have known. The garlic was intense. Every time my sister and I would clamour at the end of the meal. BAGELS!

We got along really well as siblings except for two points, whose turn it was to dry or wash the dishes and who got to hold the bag. Holding the bagel bag was the ultimate prize. We would wait for the dozen sesame seeds to be thrown into the paper bag, warm and steamy. It was the smell really. The smell of freshly baked bagels. I would sit in the back of the car, cuddling the warm moist bag, nose deep, sniffing. We would drive over the mountain, look at the city lights and head back to the west end of town and to bed. The smell was delicious and comforting and to this day transports me back to the magic of being 7 and out late for a special family meal.

There is a franchise of said bagel place in my neighborhood now. I go there on a weekly basis to pick them up, fresh from the wood burning oven. I tried to go whole wheat for a while, but my daughter, now almost 7, insists on the "good" ones, the white warm bag dampening ones. She is right so I comply. The thing is, I often find myself burying my nose into the nape of my daughter's neck, moist and warm and sniffing in the very same way as that fragrant paper bag, and it does the same thing for me . Makes me feel like home.