Another Friday, another contribution to the Scattered Life Collective. If you ever want to get a sense of how quickly time passes, start a weekly practice like this one. I swear, I feel like I was compiling my lists just yesterday, and here we are again.
Current time: 8:57 a.m. I'm getting a late start this week.
Out the window: Sun, sun, and more sun. And the projected high for tomorrow is 32°C (90°F). I am over the moon happy.
On the menu: I'm craving spring rolls with peanut sauce.
Reading: The followup to Chocolat by Joanne Harris - Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé. I literally just started this one, so I can't speak to whether or not it is good, but I am intrigued by the first chapter, which is comprised of only two sentences:
"Someone once told me that, in France alone, a quarter of a million letters are delivered every year to the dead.
What she didn't tell me is that sometimes the dead write back."
Watching: Re-watching old episodes of Numb3rs. I love the geek factor of this show - Charlie the genius helps his brother Don, an FBI agent, solve crimes using mathematical principles. Although I like all of the principal characters in the show, played by David Krumholtz, Rob Morrow and Judd Hirsch, my favourite is Larry Fleinhardt, played to perfection by Peter MacNicol. A sample snippet: Larry is asked if he is banging on a drum in his office for any particular reason or just for fun, to which he replies, "I never percuss for pleasure."
Listening: This one falls into the Sarah-is-feeling-her-age category. Last week was the 20th anniversary of the release of Definitely Maybe, Oasis's debut album. Sigh.
I downloaded the remastered reissue and I would have to say that the music has held up well over the years. True to form, Liam Gallagher recently took to Twitter to encourage fans NOT to by the re-release, saying: "How can you remaster something that's already been mastered. Don't buy into it. Let it be." Cheeky devil.
I know that other good things happened, but all I can think about is flowers. As I mentioned yesterday, I went on my first trip to the garden centres to shop for annuals, and I can't wait to get planting. I wish that I could send scents over the internet, because the jasmine plant (pictured below, on the left) smells so heavenly it's almost intoxicating. Yay for Mother Nature.
"The earth laughs in flowers."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts."
"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."
Just a brief post today, because my mind is elsewhere. In an hour or so I'm setting off to do one of my very favourite things - shop for flowers. I'm making my yearly pilgrimage to the garden centre for annuals to brighten up my back deck. And after the looooong, coooold, impossibly snowy winter we had, I'm practically giddy with anticipation.
I'm enthralled by the magic of gardening. The explosions of colour, the unique, artistic forms - all derived from tiny seeds? Divine. And if you ever get a chance to grow vegetables, do it. Trust me on this one - the first time you eat something you've grown yourself it will blow your mind. And digging in the dirt is such good therapy. I highly recommend it.
Until next time I will leave you with my photos of my favourites from last year - lantanas. Aren't they gorgeous?
This little dude became an overnight internet sensation this week. His name is Carter, and his claim to fame is that banana he's eating. As the story goes, Carter was outside playing and suddenly felt hungry. So he knocked on a neighbour's door and politely asked for a banana, you know, as you do. The neighbour complied, snapped this photo, and then posted it to Reddit. The story of the unusual exchange became an instant hit, and suddenly, a hilarious new meme was born. Check it out here.
Another Friday, another contribution to the Scattered Life Collective.
Current time: 7:43 a.m.
Out the window: Spring is progressing soooo slooowly this year. I'm ready for some heat.
On the menu: Pulled pork sandwiches
Reading: A recent instalment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith - The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. The series is set in Botswana, and follows the life of Precious Ramotswe, the country's first female private investigator. I return to these books when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the harshness of reality. They are gentle stories about charming characters, and although there are mysteries involved, they involve manners and morality more than murder and mayhem. A TV series was based on the books, featuring the brilliant casting of Jill Scott as Precious, but unfortunately the director, Anthony Minghella, passed away after the first season. Filmed on location in Botswana, the few episodes that do exist are definitely worth a look if you ever have a chance.
Watching: I'm doing my civic duty as a Canadian and watching the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Listening: Aretha Franklin performing Think in the Blues Brothers movie. Because everybody needs a bit of Aretha once in awhile. She's good for the soul.
Out and About:
That's all for this week.
I'm on a quest to find a new philosophy for daily life. I'm in a bit of a rut and I feel like I need a guiding principle to help me make some changes.
First and foremost, I want to get excited about my life and how I live it. As they say, life isn't a dress rehearsal, and I want to feel like I'm the star of my life, not the understudy.
Despite its popularity, I've never been a proponent of the "live each day as if it was your last" theory. Mainly because it's just not feasible. Presumably, I would want to spend my last day on earth doing something pleasurable and meaningful - so how would I ever get any menial, undesirable tasks done if I lived by this motto? If it really was my last day, I wouldn't need to worry about the consequences of any of my actions, and that's certainly not realistic.
So I've been wondering what would happen if I took the adage and flipped it on its head? What if I started to live each day as if it was my first? What would that look like?
I think I might be onto something here.
Kate Fridkis is the voice of Eat the Damn Cake, a blog about "being a woman in a strange, sometimes hostile, sometimes subtly weird, often mysterious and always fascinating world."
This week Kate wrote a fabulous post entitled "Stop Analyzing Your Single Friends." My favourite nugget: "For people in relationships to stop analyzing our single friends, we need to admit that what happened to us maybe had a lot to do with randomness and luck." Amen to that.
The Honest Toddler is the brainchild of Bunmi Laditan and is based entirely on her own experiences as a mother of two. There is now a book, as pictured above, and a website, but it all began back in 2012 when Laditan, after a "long, difficult week with my then 2-year old who had just started finding her toddler voice," started a Twitter account. Her wry, hilarious observations on life through the eyes of a toddler struck a chord with frazzled parents worldwide, and the Honest Toddler empire was born. Here is a series of tweets posted recently - the Honest Toddler's reaction to asparagus.
It's Friday, so it's time for me to contribute to the Scattered Life Collective.
Current time: 6:56 a.m.
Out the window: Soft rain. The browns and greys of late winter have now been replaced with the greens of new life.
On the menu: Not sure what the main course will be, but socca bread will definitely be involved somehow.
Reading: The Up Side of Down - Why Failing Well is the Key to Success, by Megan McArdle. McArdle argues that if you want to succeed in business and in life, you need to learn how to harness the power of failure - if you're not failing, you're not learning. From the preface: "Learning to fail well means learning to understand your mistakes, because unless you know what went wrong, you may do the wrong things to correct it."
I've only read the first chapter, but so far, so good. I did read one review, however, that panned the book because it is based on previously published writings (McArdle is a business blogger and journalist) and is therefore a little disjointed. McArdle was also criticized for focusing too heavily on economic and political failures that don't apply to the average reader. Maybe it's a good thing that I borrowed this from the library.
Watching: The Glades. This one's kinda' cheesy, but I really like the characters. Matt Passmore plays Jim Longworth, a Chicago cop who is (wrongly) accused of an affair with his captain's wife and decides to pack up and start over working for the state police in a small community in the Florida Everglades.
Of course, his plans to kick back and live a simpler life go horribly awry when he discovers that the murder rate in southeast Florida is higher than he anticipated. Secondary characters include Jim's love interest, Callie; his colleague and forensic pathologist, Carlos; and a nerdy intern named Daniel.
Listening to: Undoubtedly one of the coolest bands on the planet, The Roots. Here's a sample from a few years ago - The Seed (2.0), featuring Cody ChesnuTT.
Good stuff: This week all of my good stuff revolves around spring. I've been:
Out and about:
That's all for this week.
My friends, I want to tell you about a new obsession I have. I almost can't believe that I'm about to say this, but... I've been drawing. Not that that's a bad thing. I'm just surprised because up until now my forays into drawing have involved nothing more than rudimentary doodles - stick figures, smiley faces, flowers. I've always believed that I couldn't draw, so I didn't. Simple as that.
But now, things are changing. I'm learning that just because I don't have a natural talent for something doesn't mean that I can't learn how to do it, and that I can't enjoy it even when I'm just starting out.
Two people have been instrumental in my process of discovering this new interest, even though they don't know it. The first is Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator. She posted a simple tutorial on her site for how to draw mandalas and her enthusiasm for them drew me in. (Pun intended.) She emphasizes that you don't have to be good at drawing to draw mandalas and her instructions are ridiculously easy to follow. I can't thank her enough for introducing me to this art form. I find that I get lost in the repetitiveness of forming the circle, and it becomes almost meditative.
The second person to inspire me is Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios. Every day Jamie posts a YouTube video called Behind the Scenes in which she talks about what's on her plate both professionally and personally and shares the things that inspire her creative life. She has been exploring her artistic side and most recently has become enamoured with drawing. (Like me, much to her surprise.)
Thanks to Jamie's recommendation, I have now discovered a fascinating series of books that is changing how I think about drawing. Each book has a different focus - nature, animals, fashion, etc., and is called, simply, 20 Ways to Draw a (fill in the blank), as in 20 Ways to Draw a Tree, 20 Ways to Draw a Dress, etc. The books are designed to be sketchbooks, and each two-page spread features 20 illustrated examples of 45 themes, with blank space for you to draw your own.
The books are marketed to "artists, designers and doodlers," but I would say some of the examples are simplistic enough to be attempted by kids... or me! The idea is that all drawings are made up of a combination of lines, shapes and patterns, and once we identify these, we can break down pictures into more manageable elements. Start with the big shapes and lines first, and then fill in the details.
And let me tell you, it works. I bought 20 Ways to Draw a Cat, and I am pleased (and amazed) to report that even my first attempts do look like actual animals. (There are 44 other animals included in addition to cats - everything from flamingoes to whales.) I never thought that I would have any affinity for drawing, but now I find that when I have spare time I have a hard time deciding between reading and drawing, and believe me, that is saying something.
The moral(s) of my story? It's never too late to try something new. You don't have to be an expert at everything. It's okay to have hobbies that have no real purpose. If someone you admire tells you that something is worthwhile, believe them and give it a try. You'll be so glad you did.