Monday, April 18, 2011

monday morning madness.

well, hello there! happy monday!
things are weird; i thought i'd share.

it was sort of mid to late morningish. i should have been up and functional like the rest of the world. i was not.

the dogs were in their beds on the floor in our room, i was slightly conscious. off goes our god awful sound of a doorbell. the hounds take off like bats out of hell, tripping over each other, yipping and yapping like lunatics, sliding down the hardwood stairs only to bark and jump at the window beside the door like the complete assholes they can be.

i'm up! my crazy ponytail's askew and my bedhead is out of control. i'm wearing a blue v-neck t-shirt and pj pants have roosters on them. no bra. omg.

the door bell goes again! off i go, not caring any longer what i'm wearing since i think i know what's going on; it's probably a kid from the school yard behind our house. i can hear it's recess. it must just be a ball in our back yard they need retrieved. this happens at least once a week in the spring and fall. i just need the dogs to stop! barking! already!

i crack open the inside door with the 2 maniacs trying to nudge open the outer glass door with their pointy little faces and see a man standing with 2 kids behind him. ok, teacher on recess duty and kids who lost ball. standard, here we go. i say through the glass, motioning to the backyard, "is there a ball in the yard?" and he says "no". oh geeze. i'm going to have to open the door and converse with this man. AND not let the dogs get out AND not him get a whiff of me AND keep my arm across my chest. awesome.
i manage to slide the dogs out of my path with one leg while cracking open the door with the other. i say hello, distracted by dogs. and so the conversation begins.

mumble mumble... i was trying to get into your neighbours house, he died and i can't get in.

my neighbour died? which neighbour? (struggling to comprehend, thinking of young father living beside us)

yah, two or three weeks ago, he lived 3 down, Mr.HP. i drove down to see about buying his land he had that i used to hunt on, he and his wife were up there last year. i guess he got prostate cancer. i'm trying to find someone who knows about it and i can't get in. do you know anything about it?

Mr.HP died? I didn't know that he had cancer.

yah, it was two or three weeks ago, you didn't know? he has a wife in one of the nursing homes over there (points). he lived here for like 35 years - how long have you lived here? um, 8 years? yah, well he lived here for 35 years.

(in my mind i'm thinking eaaaasy big feller, you can't even remember how long ago it was he died, don't know where his wife resides, and want to buy his land? BACK OFF.)
yes. i knew him, well, actually my ex did. he used to go flying with him. that was a long time ago, i haven't spoken to Mr.HP for years. i saw him out rarely but would see him drive by with his wife when he would take her out for a drive from the nursing home.

yah, well he died two or three weeks ago and i don't know who to contact about his land and can't get into his house.

(pause. i look to two kids standing behind him on my walkway. ???)\

have you talked to any other neighbours? the one who lived closer, they might know something more.

nobody else is home. (except me, the lazy kid, i think)

i'm sorry to hear he died.

thanks, well, i guess i'll try the neighbours on the other side then.

that's probably your best bet. they knew him, i think.

well, thanks.

no problem. thanks for letting me know.

off he goes, leather bomber jacket done up tight to combat the chill of this day. i think about Mr. PH and how i'm sad i didn't know for 3 weeks that he had died. he and his wife have no children, no relatives. we was from germany, she austria. they met at the university in the 60's when he was a recent immigrant doing construction and she a music teacher. he was quiet about his past, owned airplanes, could fix anything and his wife was in a home suffering from dementia.

that's about all i know.

i knew him briefly when my ex and i bought this place. he came down the street with questions about permits as we took on renovating our house. what started off as confrontation soon became friendship for us, more for my ex since the man did piss me off more than i like to admit. soon after my ex and i broke up we stopped speaking. he was still friends with my ex and remained in contact with Mr.PH as of the last time i ran into him, a few months ago at his workplace. (awkward)

look up to 2 kids faces: hi there!? is there a ball in my yard you need?

yah, a blue one. have you seen it?

let me get some clothes and shoes on. i'll check.

close door.

and so my day began. it was weird. there was a line-up at my door. 

so now i'm going to clean my house. my mom is on a school break and she is on her way over to help! and she's bringing coffee. *dance* have a great one, lovelies.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

an announcement of the amazing kind

*clears throat and twists rings nervously*

thank you for stopping by today! it's an exciting day for me, and i'm glad you stopped by to peek in on the official announcement i have to make.

let's go back a bit first: while i've known this little secret for a while, i was ever leary about uttering the words out loud until i knew FOR SURE that this was really happening. i mean, who wants to be the kid who says "hey guys, i made the team" only to find they were cut the day before the jerseys were even handed out? NOT THIS KID. also, i have lived and worked enough in life to know that nothing is done until it's actually DONE done. you know this. you get it.

so what's my news? well, to me it's kinda a big deal. i'm going to be in a book! well, not ME, but one of my creations and designs is! it's a style and home design book. it's coming out in the fall. it's authored by none other than her royal style majesty Grace Bonney, creater of the one and only Design*Sponge website, it's the Design Sponge at Home book!

can you stand it?!

so, there was a call a long time ago for projects, i replied with a couple of photos and a link to a blog post and now, one of MY Vintage Suitcase Tables (I won't tell you which one) is going to be in the Design Sponge at Home book. i am so flattered and excited and still convinced it's not really happening that it feels weird to even be typing this out. ANYWAY. the book comes out in September, Grace is heading out on a huge booktour very soon and can already be pre-ordered online.

here's some info from the publisher:

Grace Bonney created her daily Web site Design*Sponge as an antidote to the fussy (and expensive) shelter magazines of her mother’s generation. The New York Times has dubbed the site, with its 60,000 daily readers, “Martha Stewart Living for millennials.”

DESIGN*SPONGE at Home is Bonney’s definitive guide to home décor for her fellow design sponges—those house-proud young homeowners and renters who adore soaking up design ideas and using them as inspiration to decorate and personalize their own homes. This design compendium contains peeks of 75 real-life interiors, where the décor was culled from flea markets and the owners’ imaginations, as well as more than 100 projects (with detailed instructions) from a table made out of abandoned chair legs to a butterfly dome.

Packed with hundreds color photographs and illustrations, this beautiful book includes a decorating basics section with tutorials on everything from stripping and painting furniture to hanging wallpaper and doing your own upholstery. Along the way, Bonney—whose enthusiasm and joy in her subject is infectious—teaches the reader the principles of decorating and collecting, empowering them to create beautiful homes of their own.

Grace Bonney is the creator of Design*Sponge, a daily Web site dedicated to home and product design. A native of Virginia Beach, Grace has worked as a contributing editor at publications like House & Garden, Domino, and Craft Magazine. In 2006 Grace founded the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies series, a traveling event designed to connect women running their own design-based businesses with free legal, financial, and marketing advice.

so a big thank you to Grace, for including me in the book and teaching me my ideas are worth looking at, for answering every e-mail and tweet i sent asking if i had been edited out yet with a swift positive response, and for not editing me out in the end. thank you Grace. you have no idea what this means to me.

also, to my interweb tribe: the comments and feedback and e-mails on any thing i post here is what fuels me. i appreciate any glance at the site, your comments are gold. thank you. thank you. thank you.


not any nan.

when i say 'nan' i get quiet for a second. i usually smile. i don't quite know how to put my maternal grandmother into words. she was, as we all are, a true one of a kind. in my very biased opinion she was unique, she was of the top level of the best kind. you would have loved her. most did. she would have loved you too. she was like that.

when i think of my nan i think of laughing and smiling. and nice nails and chunky eclectic jewelery. her hands, she had lovely small hands. and elegant smoking. and eating. and books. and her sweet perfumey smell. and her hugs. fierce hugs. she would grab at me as i walked by the dining room table just to steal a hug and tell me how much she loved me. she was also independent. she separated from my grandfather in the late 60's. he was a musician and a binge drinker, but they remained best friends until the day his liver gave out in the 80's. that woman knew how to love properly, if there is such a thing. i learned how to love through her.

i don't know very much about her family, just random fuzzy names and waxy memories of stories she told about growing up in newfoundland back when she did. i don't even know when or why she left her home and made her way to new brunswick, my mom's home, our home for a long time. she went back for a period after retirement and renovated the house she was born in. she always was a proud newfoundlander and people soon learned to keep those oh-so-hilarious newf jokes to themselves. she had no time for that bullshit and would tell you. she was feisty.

it's rather odd to think of my grandmother in this way, her resounding influence on who i am. i mean, considering we never once lived in the same city. it's not like i grew up with her down the street, yet that never seemed to matter. for the first 10 years we all lived in the maritimes, we were always 3-7 hours away from each other. we saw her on holidays and any weekend she was nearby. her travelling job brought her into town often. once we moved to the middle (ottawa) it changed that frequency, but she was still on the phone with us and visiting us here for a few months in the winter or my uncle in toronto, so it wasn't like there was a huge lack of nan.

i always used the think the connection we had was normal, the way all grandchildren and grandparents interacted together. i soon learned what we had was special, not just from our own time together but the story of my grandmother and i as a unit. it was just another story among stories, yet it was ours and ours alone.

as an adoptee i've always had a bit of a different story of how i came into the world. i was told of being wanted, and waited for. 11 months my parents wait for me. in 1973 that was about the standard amount of time for a childless couple to wait for a healthy baby. my mom would tell me how the sun came out and sunshowers filled the bright air on the day she was told of my existence. how the day they brought me home was the day god's gift arrived, a baby made especially for them. i would hear of how they drove straight home and stripping me naked and just staring at my 7 week old toes and fingers, in utter fascination and awe. i was told of the next door neighbour coming over and pushing my mom out of the way to bathe me in the sink since she was so afraid i would slip and she'd drop me. i was, and still am, adored.

my nan's story, i would learn later. i remember my grandmother being a traveller and woman on the go. she loved the beach (hello shediac!) and mexico. she was always fun to be with. that was the nan i knew. what my grandmother would share with me as i got older was her own take on my arrival. i can remember at some point being upset about something or feeling unloved or some bs you feel when you're mad at your parents and my grandmother taking me in her arms and telling me her side of my arrival story. she would stroke my hands or my hair and tell me of feeling lost and lonely in the world. her kids were gone, she travelled a lot, was stressed about family and her job. she found herself in the darkest point of her life, sitting in a hotel room in sidney, nova scotia. she would often tear up at this point, and smile at me. i never pressed for details. she told me of the phone ringing. of the clarity of that day, etched in her mind forever. of hearing from my mom that I was coming, of putting down the phone, packing up the car and heading to me - driving 12 straight hours - and how that day i saved her life. she spoke of her love for this brand new chapter, this new life, a rejuvenation and new found purpose for her. she was a grandmother. her love knew no bounds. she wasn't shy with her emotions and telling us how important we were to her. how important the life of a child is to an entire family.

my nan really did show me the meaning of love. her motto always was, you can never have too many people in the world that love you. i do my best to remind myself of that. when she died we all mourned losing her presence with us, but i really try and remember the amazing lessons my nan taught me while she and i were together. i'm lucky in that i get to see her love in action these days. if you saw my brother's boys with my mom, you would see what i mean. my nephew L., was born 1 month to the day after my father left my mother for another woman. my nephew's birth saved her life in that same way my grandmother's was with my arrival. that i know. she is now modelling her relationship with her own grandchildren on the one we had with our nan, with her mother. it's beautiful to see. history is so funny. the future is so possible.

so, today i am thinking of you nan, wherever you are. i'll look for the butterfly you sometimes appear as, the one that dives at the cat, or that bird i know you were that day. and i am thinking of love. amazing, unconditional love and possibilities.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

a preview: ♥ pinkie ♥

here is a little tidbit of a preview for your eyes: pinkie. i've been experimenting on a vintage suitcase table with a new type of paint application that doesn't require ventilation. i still have mixed feelings, but hey, i usually hit the point where i hate whatever i'm working on right about now, so no big deal. i know i'll be happy with the result once i finally make all the last few decisions on colours etc. so yes, fun! i have a pile of suitcases to work on, so let me ask. Any colour combo's you think might be superfun? what about another solid coloured one, like Bambi?


nothing ventured, nothing lost

i figured that since tomorrow would be the 4 month mark of not blogging that enough is enough, time to post. my absence doesn't stem from lack to tell, it stems from laziness and fear and all the bs that i find myself convinced is real. i'm in a strange head space. one i've never been in before. it's focus is failure, it's fuel fear. for the first time since i graduated from university and took a full-time job i have no idea what to do with my career. truly. i have 62 slivers of possibility, but nothing glaringly clear. it's all murk and fog and, as someone recently described, feels a lot like running in water.

my anxiety is humming at a high pitch, naturally. we all know i don't do change well. i resist and fight and fortune tell ridiculous outcomes and then laugh at myself later when i finally accept something new. i know this about myself. but still, i feel like i have slid back a few holes on the ole panic belt. i had a panic attack the morning of my departure for hawaii, calling my husband* and telling him i didn't think i could get on the plane. the thought of having to endure 3 flights alone, suddenly sent me into a tizzy. not pretty. yes, i got on the plane, thank you ativan, yes, i was fine, and yes, it was worth it. but it still happened and then yet again a few more times in hawaii. some more since we've returned. i don't think experiencing a tsunami evacuation helped much. so there's that.

in addition to or as a result of, i'm not sure, my confidence has taken a beating. i need to fix that. like, stat. i need a plan, stan. i used to be fearless when it came to jobs, taking on new challenges, being confident in my abilities, confident in my ability to write, lead a meeting, in my ability to talk to anybody. i feel very small and quiet right now. i guess i just imagined my career somehow more cemented by now, 15 years after graduating. not back at the beginning, disconnected from pretty much everyone, somewhere messed up in the middle. middle age is weird. or seems so right now, anyway.

but, it's spring. and i hold faith in spring, it's abilities to renew my depleted energy, turn my frown upside-down. i've started uncovering the gardens and looking at the returning growth, raking up all the deadness of last year and throwing it out of site. making it all new and fresh and full of new possibilities for the coming spring days and summer nights.

i'm officially exploring this whole career thing in an official way. getting some help defining my next steps. so that feels good. and yet, because i AM that girl, it seems scary and paralyzing and exhilarating all in one big fat hold-it-in-as-long-as-you-can breath. next comes writing out a plan, editing my resume and cleaning out the studio FOR REAL. I need to make some space for the magic to happen. it's coming. i can feel it.

but enough about me how are you?


*the bub was stuck in L.A. on his way to Hawaii. his initial response after hello: "what? i can't hear you? hey, wait a sec... hey, that's JERRY SEINFELD looking at an old porsche. JERRY SEINFELD bub!!! He's wearing a blazer and jeans and white running shoes and a baseball hat and sunglasses and looking at a porsche right outside the window from me!!! Holy shit!! (I had to yell at that point.) The end.


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