Thursday, May 28, 2009

Want to Help Global Poverty? Walk it Off!


Current Mood: vascillating.

Current Song: Just Dance by Lady Gaga

I wanted to take some time out today and tell you folks about the World Partnership Walk taking place this weekend at Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park (Vancouver). It's the largest walk dedicated to helping alleviate global poverty. Put on by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the walk helps to raise awareness about programming aimed at solving problems related to poverty as well as raise funds. The funds are then matched by the Canadian International Development Agency. The cool thing about the walk is that every single dollar raised goes towards the programming.

It's a very cool event that my family and I (barring any unforseen circumstances) have been attending for many years. It's usually a fabulous day weather-wise, that we get to spend by the beach, eating, and watching the entertainment. Not to mention walking with friends.

So here are my top 5 reasons why you should come out and support:

1. It's a great cause. What better cause then to help some of the world's poorest better their lot. You'll feel really good about making a difference. We all say we want to make a difference. This is your chance!

2. You'll get some exercise. Trust me, you need it (kidding!). We all know the grim spectre of beach season is upon us. So get out there, and walk with your pals, family coworkers (or enemies if that's what you like). Your heart will love you. Your legs probably won't, but it's worth it!

3. We have food! And it's really good! Nothing like a honking burger after a trek around the Sea Wall :) You know you're down with it.

4. Get out and enjoy the sun, poindexter! You look kinda pale. It's going to be great weather and so you should get out there and get some vitamin D into that skin of yours. Not to mention, enjoying the awesome seabreezes. Don't forget sunscreen!

5. Come out and enjoy the entertainment. I'm not talking little old ladies in tracksuits with coiffed hair. We have music and stuff too!

So there, I've made my case. I hope you'll come out and join us for an awesome day. If you're not a vancouverite (my condolences), then check out the website to find out where your city will hold their walk.
Oh, and don't forget to visit for Toronto's social media superheroes helping to fight global poverty one tweet at a time!

See you all soon after some very sore legs and some very full bellies :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What If...


Current Mood: Contemplative

Current Song: Dream by The Everly Brothers (?)

I've had a strange week. As a result I've been thinking a lot about fate and all such matters all over again. I'm in my own head a lot these days (it's sometimes not a good thing). Today I happened upon that old movie (well, from the 90's I think), called "Sliding Doors" with Gwenyth Paltrow. Got me to thinking about how many decisions we make in one day about our own fates. And regardless, we still end up exactly where we're supposed to be.

Last week I was talking to one of my wise virgo friends about various goings on, and she said that the moment you relent to what's going to happen to you, things work out. You'll end up exactly where you're supposed to be. When you fight it, you end up there anyway, so there is really no use in trying to control things.

For those of you who know me, I give myself various timelines and work within them to achieve my goals. It's a tough life lesson for me to learn to just surrender to fate. I think I take the fact that we are the purveyors of our own futures rather seriously, and so I pretty much try to make things happen as I'd like. Clearly, as this week has shown me, it is not the case at all.

It's another thing I have to work on for myself is to let go of control. It's tough because I don't like uncertainty. But I suppose that's the only real thing in this world. uncertainty. that, and the fact that monday will always show up.

Okay, I'm done being a depresso. I shall talk to you all when I'm of a sunnier disposition. Or perhaps when I have started to live again in the outside world. Shan't be a couple of days. Enjoy the sunshine everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Transitions: Guest Post by Isabella Mori


Current Mood: Fretting

Current Song: Talk by Coldplay (1 month until the concert!)

Hey folks, a special treat for you today. Fellow blogger Isabella Mori has written a post on transitions. As you know I've been thinking a lot about them. Some sound and insightful words on the matter below. Thank you Isabella :)

Transitions - to go (that's the "it" - from the latin "ire", used in the word "itinerary", for example) from here to there (from the latin "trans" - across, or between).

In the early to mid eighties, I lived a double life. Weekdays I worked as a marketing manager of a software company downtown Toronto, and on the weekends I'd trek up to the boonies near Bancroft, Ontario, where we were doing the "back to the land" thing. It felt like I was traveling between two different planets. Hard-edged, leading-edge, hard-concrete Toronto during the week, lots of people coming and going, little greenery, loud, fast-paced during the week; and on the weekends I'd be in one of the least-populated counties in the province, on our 100-acre farm, where the neighbourhood store was a five-minute drive away, and population density meant the barn was overflowing with the results of our rabbits' enthusiastic sex drive.

It was weird, to say the least. And very stressful. The best part was when I took the bus back and forth, a 4-hour ride. It gave me time to adjust quietly but more than that, it held me in a pleasant sort of suspension.

A few years ago, I went to a philosopher's cafe that left a lasting impression on me. The theme was "identity, hospitality and thresholds". As write about transitions, I'm thinking of the idea of thresholds again, and the idea of attractors in complexity theory arises, as well. This image here is of the transition of "strange attractors". lorenz strange attractors

Imagine a marble being thrown along a path, and there is an indentation (or basin, as they call it in complexity theory) to the left, and one to the right. The marble will come to rest in one or the other basin - or, if it has a lot of momentum, it will go back and forth between the two. Well, that was me, the marble that kept rolling back and forth between those two basins of Toronto and Bancroft. The bus ride was the threshold, the place in between, the mountain ridge between the two valleys.

The place in between is often a place of reflection. We usually don't give ourselves the luxury of reflection. Typically, we race from basin to basin and spend a lot of time fantasysing about the bottom of those basins, the "ultimate" spot of the strange attractor. "Oh, the wedding will be so fantastic!", "I can't wait until I get to Puerto Vallarta!" as well as "this job is so horrible" and "I can't stand living with my dad one more day." So we race from basin to basin, out of places we don't like, into places we dream about, on and on and on.

But the in-between places can be so good. For me on the bus, it was a place of daydreaming, writing poetry, doodling, meditating and thinking. It was a place where I was not beholden to anything or anyone. No boss was calling me into his office, no children were pulling on my apron strings.

I believe that when these places in between are not immediately obvious, or seem very short, we need to find ways to expand them, to linger on them. Know the idea that when you get angry, you should count to 10? It's the same concept. It's creating a space between the red rage you experience in your mind and body and reacting to it by smacking your fist in your mother-in-law's face. It's about heeding the idea to stop and think.

Linger on the threshold. Stop and smell the roses, take a moment to listen to yourself think.

Image by ethan hein

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Letter to Me + 15


Current Mood: awake, but a bit odd today

Current Song: Sunset by Nitin Sawhney

So I came across a website called Twentysomething Writers. It offers up prompts and ideas for writer's block (after 3 years of blogging, I know this is bound to happen). There was an interesting one this last week, where you had to write a letter to your future self, 15 years from now (I'd be 42). So I thought I'd give it a shot. Hopefully there are some laughs and insights. And maybe 15 years from now, I'll actually read it and see how much of it has actually transpired. Okay, here goes:

Dear me + 15,

First of all, congratulations! You survived 15 more years! And you look great. Your skin has never looked better and you are in great shape. You have continued to turn into your mother, so that's a bit scary, but overall good job on maintaining your health. Tough job, but you appear to still be tenacious as ever! Here are my few hopes for you.

1. I hope that you are happy in your work. I also hope that you're not working ridiculous hours like you used to. You always wanted to be intellectually relevant, and whatever path you've chosen, I'm sure you're there (that PhD perhaps?). You always commanded respect to a certain degree, and I hope that respect has been earned. After all, you still wear posh glasses I see.

2. I hope that you've had a chance to travel. For work or for fun. I know you loved London, but I hope you've seen some other places while you've been at it. After all, why do you work? To live I suppose right? I hope you haven't collected too many junky souvenirs and still have good taste. The odd thing from a Balinese village is fine, but if you have those little mexican straw creatures sitting on your mantle piece, then we're going to have to talk!

3. I hope you have a mantle piece. Inside a home, that you are somewhere in the process of owning. I hope it's in the city. I know how you love the hustle and bustle of urban life (Remember how much you used to make fun of Edmonton?). I hope you are living within your means. You used to be a big savings (more like hoardings) person when you were young. Hopefully that's stuck too!

4. I hope you found someone to share your life with. It's important to have someone who can reach the top shelves in the kitchen (you clearly can't) and to shovel the snow in the wintertime. It's also just important to have a sounding wall, and unconditional love. Hopefully he's a really good fellow and keeps you on your toes. If you have kids, you'll have to tell me what happened! You never wanted any, but something must have changed! If you do have children, I hope you're not one of those annoying people who talks about them constantly.

5. I hope you're still aspiring to write that novel. You're a decent writer, and you really should look into publishing something substantial. If you've got the time and the talent, then why the hell not?

6. Finally, I hope things have gotten easier. Things get more complicated the older you get. But hopefully you've outlived any ruts and are happier than ever with where things are. I hope that you keep on learning and growing (and if you've stopped reading, you'd better damn well start again). Perhaps in another 15 years there will be another letter for you and we'll see where you've gotten to at that point.

Keep it up and say hi to the family :)

Little M

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Disappearing Act


Current Mood: Awake
Current Song: Lauren and I by Keith Harkin

Hey, I have a question for you today. I'm just curious really to hear from my male readers (all two of you). I have been talking to some girlfriends of mine and they seem to have similar issues with their men. And I'd like some insight please.
I call it the disappearing act. It's when the guy disappears for a span for five to ten days with no contact whatsoever. It usually precedes some kind of "talk", whether it's the breakup or some kind of "run away to the circus" talk. It's happened more than once to some people I know and we've tried to understand over many a plate of cake, what the deal was here.

Now I understand the whole idea of needing time to think and process. No problems there. As an introvert, I take lots of time to process something before I can talk about it or come back into contact with people. The difference with me is that I usually will let people know that i need some time to myself and that I will eventually come back after I've had the time. What I don't understand is the clear dropping off the face of this earth. Anyone?

As women, you men should know that it worries us half to death having this happen to us. We have any number of scenarios running through our heads, usually having to do with fatalities, accidents and possibly death. It's not good to worry us like that. Some of us, are not phone people, but a little note might help diffuse our impending nervous breakdowns.

All I want to know is why it happens, so that i have something to tell my very worried girlfriends.

In honour of the disappearing act, here is a photo of a dandelion that I took at the first barbecue of the summer. Comment away!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lesson 2 for 2009: Let It Go


Current Mood: Pretty alright. Can't complain I don't think.

Current Song: Birdland by Miles Davis

As part of my ongoing and sporadic series of telling you how to live your life, I present lesson number 2. This one's been a pretty giant one for me in recent years. Let it go. Just. Let. It. Go.

I hold grudges. I'm never apologetic about it, because if I feel like I've been wronged, someone will forever be in my black books (unless they apologize of course, and mean it). It's not good, I admit, but I do it. The hardest thing to learn is to know when to let things go. I'm not only talking grudges here. I'm talking all kinds of memories that we hang on to for the sheer fact that they offer us some kind of consolation, perhaps it's just the thought of how things could have been different.

This is not a healthy thing. Despite the fact that those memories can run as deep as your veins, you need to know when they are just memories and need to be put aside. We often give things meaning above and beyond what they actually deserve. Things turn out the way they do for a reason. It's a good way of exonerating yourself from ties that have been untied long ago. Plus fate will determine if they are things that will always be there or not.

I think it partially comes down to your own value. Being present enough in the now is a way of valuing your own existence and your participation in this world. Be here instead of being in yesterday.

So, if you've got something to let go of, today would be a good day to do it. I know I'm slowly exonerating myself from things I should have put aside a long time ago.

Write soon! Happy Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Bucketful of Memories


Current Mood: Pretty good (despite having slept at 1 AM)

Current Song: inteha by Jagjit Singh.

Hey folks. Sorry I haven't blogged for a while. Too many blog entries in April. Thought to take a small break for a few days. not that I have no ideas brewing in that brain of mine. I had an amazing weekend.

Yesterday, the mom, the aunt, the sister and I went to the Jagjit Singh farewell concert. For those of you who have known me for a while, you'll know that I am an avid fan (almost to creepy status). I have every single recording (aside from a few of the religious ones). I have been to one concert before but this one definitely blew everything out of the water for me. We didn't stay for the autograph session afterwards, because we would have been there until next tuesday, but if anything, this was totally worth the 4 hours.

You probably all know that I sing as well. I know how music can be an extension of life. I think pretty much every milestone in my life is somehow associated with a Jagjit Singh ghazal. I mean everything from our move to Canada to the boy that I had a huge crush on in highschool, all the way to my graduation. I think if my life had a soundtrack, it would mostly be compoosed of his songs (I told you, super creepy fandom status right here). So aside from the horrible lady in front of me passing snacks and smelling like a whole field of vanilla, the concert was amazing. I understand how sound is an extension of the body. As singers, our music is within us and is a part of us. What blows me away is that an instrument is the same for the flautist and violists who accompanied jagjit singh. There are no words. You'd have had to be there in order to fully understand why half the time I was gobsmacked sitting there.

So far, it's been a pretty dim year, but this is probably the shining beacon of my year so far (and ColdPlay is yet to come!). I'm pretty sure I'll explode by the end of the year!

Okay, I have to stop acting like a raving lunatic. Look below for some pics from the concert.
I shall hopefully write later this week. Adios!
The man himself!

For some reason Gordon Campbell (the premier of BC) showed up. Can we say South Asian community vote for the upcoming elections in a couple of weeks? sheesh.

Of course he brought his long-time violinist, Deepak Pandit. And the flautist whose name I can't recall. If there is anything in this world that will ever signify the epitome of love, it's the pairing of a violin and flute. Sigh. (I HAVE gone soft...bleh)