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Archive for November, 2012

I’ve decided to go with it.  It’s gotta get done. Whether or not, I’m the one. So, ‘if I can’t beat ‘em, I join ‘em” and all that merry, ho ho fun.

I don’t know when it happened, but, over the years, slowly, surely, dreading Christmas has become second nature for me.  I don’t quite have custom “Grinch” tags sewn into my long johns, but do I jump up and down, fitfully clapping my hands upon the first sighting of halls decked with festive balls?  Umm, no.

So, the other day, I took a blowtorch to the Abominable Snowman shrouding my slowly melting heart, cranked the carols and flew my sleigh off to that magical place that has all things Christmas.  I shopped ‘til I dropped a wad of dough, drank my fair share of Peppermint Mochas and developed the shakes due to a lack of social media couch time.

And you know?  It wasn’t all that bad.  In fact, it was kind of empowering.  I took Christmas by its jingle bells under my wing and forced, err welcomed it to do things my way ease on into the stocking parked next to mine.

Make no mistake – when presents are wrapped, cards are sent out, my pen is capped and gone is my pout, I enjoy nothing more than a naughty ‘nog by the fire where I can dream big dreams of all I desire.

After all, the honor of putting the star on the tree, is not entirely lost on me.

Abominable Snowman

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The paths are littered with boulders, rocks and large, fallen branches. Some are blocking my way and moving them is difficult. I push and pull, tug and tear, all the while; aware I’m not alone.

I make my way up and over the many big rocks, each one cutting, bruising and scraping my skin. I shimmy under branch after branch; their leaf laden twigs, poking at my torso.

I am famished.

Gales gust through the forest and whip debris up into my face. My eyes sting with the biting force and my hands fumble at the clasped satchel strapped across my chest.

Seeking shelter behind a large trunk, I lift my meager loaf as red eyes stare out from the darkness above and paralyze me. Frozen from the cold moments before, I am now crippled with terror.

I regain my composure but realize it’s coming for me. Many more red reflections materialize in the woodland’s black backdrop and I understand the brute is not alone. The group starts to emerge from the deep and their mangy fur, glistening lips and cloth-like tongues draped over razor teeth become clear to me.

They are ravenous.

I look down, knowing the food I have will distract them, but not for more than a mere wisp of time.

I decide to run.

Holding my satchel to my chest, I bolt out into the lashing rain and flee the pack. I sail up and over rough terrain and dash past gigantic trees, their low-hanging branches narrowly missing my head. Brush slices at my cheeks but the blood is washed away by torrents pelting from the sky. The creatures snarl and snap at my heels, their teeth snag and shred the fabric of my clothes.

They are relentless.

Muscles scream and my body aches. I sense I’m reaching the end and fear the battle is lost. My journey has been long and my heart close to exploding as I climb what I believe will be my last crest. Weary, I grow, as I turn to face what will be my maker, but I see their lowered heads and tattered tails drifting back down the trail.

It’s then that I know – If I had fed them at the bottom, they would not have driven me to the top.

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His hand, light as a feather and thin as paper slides off his chest onto the sheets beside him.  Blue veins press at waxy skin, somehow still managing to pulse pointless life-giving blood through his withering form.

So yellow, yet so pale.

Stiffness in every joint, I shift my chair to face the side table.  The bottom drawer becomes a resting place for my feet and I allow my head to idle, just for a moment, on the back of the vinyl chair.  The once unwelcome din of the lights overhead has become a comfort in these last silent days.  I touch his arm, ever so slightly.  He is still.

The hand so effusive, the body so hollow.

The walls are littered with drawings, cards…photographs.

“Get well soon, Grandpa.  We love you!” and  “If anyone can beat this, it’s you, Paul.  Stay strong!” 

A picture Kaylee insisted I take when his visits were finally limited to only me.  Standing in front of the hospital entrance, she was sporting a gap-toothed smile and waving; “Tell him I can still love him all better from here,” she’d said.

Composed in the midst of hope, reading them now is painful.  They had been beacons of light, splashes of color in the face of a dreary disease, now, months later, they’ve waned alongside him.

Sixty-seven years of life, laughs, labors and love all coming to an end.  Our lifetime within a lifetime.  Over.  Just like that. 

I turn on the soft lamp I’d brought from home and get up to quiet the bright overheads.  He stirs, ever so slightly as I walk to the switch near the door.

“Abi?”

His voice shocks me.  It’s been so long, days and days since I’ve heard it.  It’s dry and haggard, breathy.

“I’m here, honey.  Right here.”

“Abi.”  His eyes are the only sign of life on his dormant body, fluttering and frantically searching for my face.

“It’s okay,” I tell him.  “Rest now, love.”

“I haven’t…” he stops, unable to catch his breath.

I cup his hand in both of mine and squeeze each finger soothingly.

“No, not now, Paul.  Please, you need sleep.”

“Abigail.”

“Shh, quiet now.  There’s plenty of time for talking,” I fable, turning him into a child being told the tooth fairy is real.

“There was a time,” he chokes, “a time when…I failed you.  I failed myself.  Not a day passes…if I could change it, Abi.” 

I stroke his face, remembering the many moments he’d done the same for me, his skin cool, clammy…expiring.  Tears course over his temples and darken parts of the blue fabric covering his pillow.

“Paul, you’re upsetting yourself.  There’s no need, sweetheart.  Close your eyes.”  With the tip of my finger, his lids are gently drawn shut one at a time.

I climb up onto the bed, pull him in and lay whispering sweet nothings and savory somethings, his sharp hip poking my belly.  While recounting the first years of our courtship I laugh and cry, the silly card we’d had a fight over, the night Paula was born, the day we’d gone on a shop and ended up stuck in the snow for hours.   We ate through the groceries we’d thankfully had in the trunk while waiting for the tow truck.  Breaking off cheese and ripping chunks of bread, we sang all the songs we knew the words to and some that we didn’t.

I talk about how he patiently taught me to swim when I was terrified of the water and convinced me I was good enough to go to art school.  I tell him that he’s been an incredible father and that I’ve been so very thankful to have him in my life.  I tell him all these things, but I save one.

I make sure the intermittent beeps have become one long and uninterrupted strike piercing the room with finality before I say; “I know about her, Paul.  I’ve always known.  She just didn’t matter to me as much as you did.”

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A nice, open and very honest post from my pal over at Renew Moon (Yoga Discovery).

Renew Moon Yoga Discovery

The easy and self loathing answer to this question is no. No I don’t practice what I teach… all the time, or in all aspects of my life. Every single day I give into various forms of temptation, pass judgement onto others, identify with the ego, and don’t give love as I could. I make mistakes at my job, I lack balance and confidence in my voice, and I’m not honest with others in how I feel. I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t claim to be in my own mind but sometimes when you are in the business of sharing yoga and health there is a sort of pressure you put on yourself to be a certain way because hey… I don’t want to be a hypocrit.

When I have financial stress or feel insecure in my work environment I get particularily hard on myself in this regard. Thinking……

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There are things no one knows and never need know.  They’re merely splintered shards that have been scattered like chicken feed under the sofa, behind the door…deep in the woods at the back of the house.

And there, they should stay.

Plucking them out of obscurity, chancing their sharpness will cut my thickened skin is needless.  No one knows they’re there.  Leave them.

Stare at the stars.  Stay perfectly still.

I tell myself that I believe the things I don’t know won’t hurt me.  That I believe what I didn’t see can’t cry out.  I leave the unknown to weaken and wither, trusting the sharp edges will dull and diminish in hiding.

I once thought my shards were secrets, but I’ve learned that secrets are soft lips pressed against matted hair and light, breathy whispers in curious ears.  They are flighty things meant to be shared by children on gravel fields and women huddled in coffeehouses.

There are no screams, only choked murmurs I can barely make-out, suspended in the air and like dead falling leaves they cover the ground in cracked fragments all around me.

No, I don’t have secrets.  My shards slither in from the trees and my heart-racing, sweat-waking terror will be whispered to no one.

Silence.

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Well, it’s pouring.  No, let me change that to bucketing.  For some, a depressing downer of a wet day, but for me, a perfect opportunity to hole up fireside and delve into post number fifty-one.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to come to this place and point for inspiration.  After all, I love this lady, her story, her blog and her wonderful book.  She came highly recommended by a friend of mine a few years ago and let me tell you, one taste and I was hooked.

A ‘foodie’ I am not, but I do eat the stuff and I find it’s much, much better when delicious.  (Simply picturing me winking here is sufficient because when I actually do it, I look a bit like my back just went out)  I digress…

This Superwoman does it all; blogs, cooks, writes books, snagged a husband is a wife, runs businesses, grows babies, photographs all of the above and looks fabulous while doing it.

I’d like to say I adore this (insert one specific thing about her here) the most, but I can’t.  The whole package is just crazy palatable.  Her writing style is seducingly smooth; her subject matter, quite literally devourable.

Spending endless hours in the scullery, or simply eating what comes your way, this master of many trades will arrive at your heart’s doorstep whether she journeys there mentally or digestively.

The site: Orangette, the heroine: Molly Wizenberg.

Molly started her blog in 2004 and published her book in 2009.  Her blog is still going strong and her book is a must-read.  She connects food, dishes and recipes with reflections and her descriptives will have you salivating.  The cuisine is undeniably delectable but honest accounts of her days in Paris, her father and his passing will have your heart aching.

Her very first blog post is here and a glimpse into her book can be found here.

This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t acknowledge her grace and generosity.  In March 2011, I emailed Molly, asking if she’d meet in an alley at Delancey (which she happens to own) during one of the nights I’d be in town.  I never expected an answer, but thought it would be a good story, me explaining the nutty thing I’d attempted to pull off.

As luck would have it, she replied.

Within an hour…maybe less…I had an email from Molly Wizenberg saying; “Sure.”

I was ahh-mazed, ahh-stounded and ahh-bsolutely freaking out.

*Side Note: I am in no way encouraging anyone to follow my lead.  This was over a year ago and ‘Mrs. Wizenberg’ has since started a second book, had a baby and opened another bar/restaurant (named Essex, FYI) and is, presumably, much, much busier than she was way back then.

I was very touched by her kindness and will never forget the evening or the experience.  If you ever happen to read this, oh great one, I thank you from the bottom of my writer-reader heart.

By the way…the food just happened to be top-notch.

Molly and Hazy hangin’ Delancey style.

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liebster blog award

Awards…I’ll admit it here and now, in blood (or keyboard type and virtual paper as this case may be) for all to see; awards pinken my cheeks and ignite my very being with quivers of pleasure. It’s also kinda special that this comes alongside my 50th post.

I write this blog to satiate a passion for creativity and I get a somewhat insane rush from knowing people out there are so generously reading the words I have linked together on a shoestring budget of ability.

Much like my pal over at WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot4 (yes, that’s W…T…F…4 for those of you who are afraid to ask), I am tickled this platform exists to draw us all that much closer to knowing what makes one another tick.

I thank her for the nomination and will follow her lead in bestowing you with five, hopefully not sleep-inducing things about me:

1. I am a perfectionist and sadly, this gets in the way of me completing, umm…most things in my life. That, if you can’t do it perfectly er, right, don’t do it at all mentality is a real buzz kill.

2. I love hard work. Tough to admit, but I love doing things like cleaning the whole house and feeling the ache at the end of the day. (I have to do less and less to feel the same amount of ache with each passing year – score) I’m pretty sure I was a workhorse in another life. Or, maybe that’s this life – I might be confused.

3. I’m a Make-Up Artist by day and while I adore painting faces, I’d gladly pack up my colorful kit should someone hand me an advance and a book deal, only having the caboodle resurface for free family, friends and fun.

4. Contrary to my list of friends and often-full house, I am not a social butterfly. I’ll kick back with the best of them and have a darn good time while doing it, but I very much relish alone time and am rarely pining when hanging with me, myself and I.

5. I am a tough Irish girl. Everyone who knows me can attest to that. What they might not realize, and I can only hold myself responsible for this suppression, is that on the inside I’m as fragile as a twig bearing a heavy load of snow. I’m easily broken.

WTF4’s questions for me:

1-If you could for one day be the opposite sex, what would you do? I would enjoy being able to say whatever I want and have it not be the end of the world.

2-What is your favourite book of all time? No fair! There are too many favorites for too many different reasons! But ok, if you’re going to make me choose – “The Woman Who Walked Into Doors” by Roddy Doyle.

3-What is the one thing you least love about yourself and the one thing you most love about yourself? The fact that I’m a perfectionist and, the fact that I’m a perfectionist. And a bonus: the fact that I’m a perfectionist who rarely does anything perfectly.

4-IF you won ALOT of money, how would you use it? I’d pay off my massive debt and then see what everyone else needs. After that, I’d reinstall the bathroom that I ripped out two years ago and ah, never replaced.

5-Sadly, b/c we all die….cremated, buried or burned? Your choice is….? CREMATION. No way, no how I wanna be rotting in a claustrophobic box 8 feet under. Sorry folks!

As per being graced with a Liebster nomination, it is my pleasure to pass along the cheer. Here are my five nominees: (Some have more than 300 followers, but I’m a rebel)

1 Story A Week

www.1storyaweek.com

A blog for short stories – original, entertaining and written in that easy tone that is so very difficult to achieve.

lth0ms0n

www.lth0ms0n.wordpress.com

Self-described as a “neurotic twenty-something”, I admire this young man’s dedication to his passion and his desire to spread it through the written word.

Renew Moon Yoga

www.renewmoonyoga.wordpress.com

Not just Yoga, Renew Moon is a place to find comfort, inspiration and good reads.

Colored Brush

www.coloredbrush.com

Following her dreams, she paints with imagination, glorious color and the freedom of a creative mind.

Saige Wisdom

www.saigewisdom.blogspot.ca

Saige, (aka) Sara is funny, generous and downright clever. Her blog is entertaining, informative and, at times, heart-achingly honest.

The above five have now been officially nominated and it is their choice (all obligation forbidden here) to keep the party going. Should they choose to rock it, here’s the drill:

~ Write a post with a link to me for the nomination

~ List a few ‘facts’ about yourself to share

~ Answer my five questions

~ Nominate a self-chosen amount of your fave bloggers (with three hundred or less followers)

Here are their questions:

1 ~ What drives you to do whatever it is you do?

2 ~ What brings you the most joy in life?

3 ~ Are you where you want to be at this stage in the game?

4 ~ If you could change one decision you’ve made in life, it would be…?

5 ~ Sweet, savory or both?

Good Lord – I think that wraps it up!

Again, thanks to WTF4 for the vote of confidence and the motivation to write today.

Thanks to all of you for reading!

Hazy out.

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