Archive for October, 2009

I’m tired of the limbo years and the overly dramatic events that stretch over weeks and sometimes months.  I miss, me!  I locked in my holiday time for the spring. 3 weeks. Ahhh, it’ll be s nice.  I just need to make it until then!  My plan?  To return to Asia.  This time I WILL get into Tibet for a few days, and I’ll fly into Siem Reap to spend about 4 days exploring Angkor Wat.  Other than that, I’ll be visiting Chengdu, Hong Kong, Emei Shan and Leshan.  It will be an amazing trip and one that I have been dying to take for years.  But before I can go I need to do some prep work!

  1. Emei Shan- I want to walk as much of the mountain as I can.  That means I need to start roaming the hills of Calgary some more to get my knees and legs up to speed.
  2. Gear- Christmas is coming!  It’s the perfect time to get my gear list ready and be able to give “suggestions”, plus watching for those holiday sales.
  3. Photography-  I’ve owned my Nikon D60 for about 2 months now and I’m still trying to figure stuff out. I need to find some tutorials or maybe a class or two that I can attend before I go.  I know I’ll be taking a gazillion photos on this trip.
  4. Visas- Ok, I just need one, China.  Come January I’ll pop over to the embassy and slap down enough cash for a multi-entry visa that’s good for a year (just in case 😉 )
  5. Money!- Now is the time to buy Travelers Cheque’s in USD.  The rate is low and could climb before my trip.  So I’ll be buying TC’s every payday until go time!  I’ll also buy enough HKD for the first 2 days of my trip.

Aside from travel plans and aspirations, 2010 is the year I’ll transfer to my dream city, Vancouver (this is me doing the whole positive thinking thing).   I’ve wanted to live in Vancouver for years now and 2010 will be my year.  I’ll be emailing HR when I get to work today and letting them know I want to transfer out in the summer.

If I’ve learned anything after my Grandmother’s illness, its that I need to start LIVING my life.  It’s time to do the things I love to do and the things that I enjoy doing.  It’s my life and nobody is going to live it for me.


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Have you ever traveled to a place that has captured your heart in a way that makes all other places pale in comparison? I have. China.  I know, you’re asking yourself “China? Really?”.  Yes. China. Really.

When I booked my first trip to China in January of 2008 I had no idea what I was going to experience when I arrived. My job stress was escalating with each passing day and I desperately needed the escape.   Maybe that’s why China had an effect on me? Maybe, maybe not.

The flight from Calgary to Beijing was an easy one. I managed to sleep a little, chat with the seniors tour guide sitting beside me and read.  I was nervous, but excited.  I was blown away by Beijing’s airport. It was huge! I’ve never seen an airport that big before. I’ve certainly never taken a train to collect my baggage.  My hostel was located in a Hutong.  They lost my booking, but found me a bed anyway.  Beijing was dusty. My chest hurt and I struggled to breathe. But I was in China. I became the relaxed happy traveler.

Xi’an was an interesting time. Met new friends. Enjoyed jasmine tea and steamed buns with a few Chinese Muslims at the Great Mosque. I attended a Tang Music and Dance dinner theatre. I was frisked by an old lady who was fascinated with the size of the “twins” and I was miserable during my guided visit of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Chengdu’s Tibetan quarter was fabulous. I spent hours wandering the grounds of the Wenshu Temple. I tried to get into Tibet, but the boarder was still closed to tourists. I opted for a lovely 4 day cruise down the Yangtze River instead.

China was full of experiences, people and moments of self reflection. I found myself on that trip. I was happy. I was content.  I actually cried the day I had to fly back to Canada.

Every since that trip my mind has often wandered back to those times.  I remember them like they were yesterday.  I still chat with friends I met there.  I think about moving there for a year and embracing it as much as I can.  I look at pictures and my heart longs to return.

It’s no wonder that I’ve chosen to go back in 2010 and visit a couple more cities.  This time my trip will require a multi-entry visa as I’ll be making trips to Tibet and Angkor Wat as well.  The budget is set, as well as my travel dates.  China, I have missed you, but I’m coming back soon!

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I absolutely LOVE this!!

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“THE SLEEPERS” (First published version, untitled fifth poem in 1855 Leaves of Grass)

I wander all night in my vision,

Stepping with light feet . . . . swiftly and noiselessly

stepping and stopping,

Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers;

Wandering and confused . . . . lost to myself . . . .

ill-assorted . . . . contradictory,

Pausing and gazing and bending and stopping.

How solemn they look there, stretched and still;

How quiet they breathe, the little children in their cradles.

The wretched features of ennuyees, the white features of

corpses, the livid faces of drunkards, the sick-gray faces

of onanists,

The gashed bodies on battlefields, the insane in their strong-doored

rooms, the sacred idiots,

The newborn emerging from gates and the dying emerging

from gates,

The night pervades them and enfolds them.

The married couple sleep calmly in their bed, he with his

palm on the hip of the wife, and she with her palm on

the hip of the husband,

The sisters sleep lovingly side by side in their bed,

The men sleep lovingly side by side in theirs,

And the mother sleeps with her little child carefully


The blind sleep, and the deaf and dumb sleep,

The prisoner sleeps well in the prison . . . . the runaway

son sleeps,

The murderer that is to be hung next day . . . . how does

he sleep?

And the murdered person . . . . how does he sleep?

The female that loves unrequited sleeps,

And the male that loves unrequited sleeps;

The head of the moneymaker that plotted all day sleeps,

And the enraged and treacherous dispositions sleep.

I stand with drooping eyes by the worstsuffering and


I pass my hands soothingly to and fro a few inches from them;

The restless sink in their beds . . . . they fitfully sleep.

The earth recedes from me into the night,

I saw that it was beautiful . . . . and I see that what is not

the earth is beautiful.

I go from bedside to bedside . . . . I sleep close with the

other sleepers, each in turn;

I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers,

And I become the other dreamers.

I am a dance . . . . Play up there! the fit is whirling me fast.

I am the everlaughing . . . . it is new moon and twilight,

I see the hiding of douceurs . . . . I see nimble ghosts

whichever way I look,

Cache and cache again deep in the ground and sea, and

where it is neither ground or sea.

Well do they do their jobs, those journeymen divine,

Only from me can they hide nothing and would not if they


I reckon I am their boss, and they make me a pet besides,

And surround me, and lead me and run ahead when I walk,

And lift their cunning covers and signify me with stretched

arms, and resume the way;

Onward we move, a gay gang of blackguards with

mirthshouting music and wildflapping pennants of joy.

I am the actor and the actress . . . . the voter . . the


The emigrant and the exile . . the criminal that stood in the


He who has been famous, and he who shall be famous after


The stammerer . . . . the wellformed person . . the wasted

or feeble person.

I am she who adorned herself and folded her hair expectantly,

My truant lover has come and it is dark.

Double yourself and receive me darkness,

Receive me and my lover too . . . . he will not let me go

without him.

I roll myself upon you as upon a bed . . . . I resign myself

to the dusk.

He whom I call answers me and takes the place of my lover,

He rises with me silently from the bed.

Darkness you are gentler than my lover . . . . his flesh was

sweaty and panting,

I feel the hot moisture yet that he left me.

My hands are spread forth . . I pass them in all directions,

I would sound up the shadowy shore to which you are


Be careful, darkness . . . . already, what was it touched me?

I thought my lover had gone . . . . else darkness and he

are one,

I hear the heart-beat . . . . I follow . . I fade away.

O hotcheeked and blushing! O foolish hectic!

O for pity’s sake, no one must see me now! . . . . my

clothes were stolen while I was abed,

Now I am thrust forth, where shall I run?

Pier that I saw dimly last night when I looked from the


Pier out from the main, let me catch myself with you and

stay . . . . I will not chafe you;

I feel ashamed to go naked about the world,

And am curious to know where my feet stand . . . . and

what is this flooding me, childhood or manhood . . . .

and the hunger that crosses the bridge between.

The cloth laps a first sweet eating and drinking,

Laps life-swelling yolks . . . . laps ear of rose-corn, milky

and just ripened:

The white teeth stay, and the boss-tooth advances in darkness,

And liquor is spilled on lips and bosoms by touching glasses,

and the best liquor afterward.

I descend my western course . . . . my sinews are flaccid,

Perfume and youth course through me, and I am their wake.

It is my face yellow and wrinkled instead of the old woman’s,

I sit low in a strawbottom chair and carefully darn my

grandson’s stockings.

It is I too . . . . the sleepless widow looking out on the

winter midnight,

I see the sparkles of starshine on the icy and pallid earth.

A shroud I see — and I am the shroud . . . . I wrap a body

and lie in the coffin;

It is dark here underground . . . . it is not evil or pain here

. . . . it is blank here, for reasons.

It seems to me that everything in the light and air ought to

be happy;

Whoever is not in his coffin and the dark grave, let him

know he has enough.

I see a beautiful gigantic swimmer swimming naked through

the eddies of the sea,

His brown hair lies close and even to his head . . . . he

strikes out with courageous arms . . . . he urges

himself with his legs.

I see his white body . . . . I see his undaunted eyes;

I hate the swift-running eddies that would dash him

headforemost on the rocks.

What are you doing you ruffianly red-trickled waves?

Will you kill the courageous giant? Will you kill him in the

prime of his middle age?

Steady and long he struggles;

He is baffled and banged and bruised . . . . he holds out

while his strength holds out,

The slapping eddies are spotted with his blood . . . . they

bear him away . . . . they roll him and swing him and

turn him:

His beautiful body is borne in the circling eddies . . . . it is

continually bruised on rocks,

Swiftly and out of sight is borne the brave corpse.

I turn but do not extricate myself;

Confused . . . . a pastreading . . . . another, but with

darkness yet.

The beach is cut by the razory ice-wind . . . . the wreck-guns


The tempest lulls and the moon comes floundering through

the drifts.

I look where the ship helplessly heads end on . . . . I hear

the burst as she strikes . . I hear the howls of dismay

. . . . they grow fainter and fainter.

I cannot aid with my wringing fingers;

I can but rush to the surf and let it drench me and freeze

upon me.

I search with the crowd . . . . not one of the company is

washed to us alive;

In the morning I help pick up the dead and lay them in

rows in a barn.

Now of the old war-days . . the defeat at Brooklyn;

Washington stands inside the lines . . he stands on the

entrenched hills amid a crowd of officers,

His face is cold and damp . . . . he cannot repress the

weeping drops . . . . he lifts the glass perpetually to

his eyes . . . . the color is blanched from his cheeks,

He sees the slaughter of the southern braves confided to him

by their parents.

The same at last and at last when peace is declared,

He stands in the room of the old tavern . . . . the

wellbeloved soldiers all pass through,

The officers speechless and slow draw near in their turns,

The chief encircles their necks with his arm and kisses them

on the cheek,

He kisses lightly the wet cheeks one after another . . . . he

shakes hands and bids goodbye to the army.

Now I tell what my mother told me today as we sat at

dinner together,

Of when she was a nearly grown girl living home with her

parents on the old homestead.

A red squaw came one breakfasttime to the old homestead,

On her back she carried a bundle of rushes for

rushbottoming chairs;

Her hair straight shiny coarse black and profuse

halfenveloped her face,

Her step was free and elastic . . . . her voice sounded

exquisitely as she spoke.

My mother looked in delight and amazement at the stranger,

She looked at the beauty of her tallborne face and full and

pliant limbs,

The more she looked upon her she loved her,

Never before had she seen such wonderful beauty and purity;

She made her sit on a bench by the jamb of the fireplace . . . .

she cooked food for her,

She had no work to give her but she gave her remembrance

and fondness.

The red squaw staid all the forenoon, and toward the middle

of the afternoon she went away;

O my mother was loth to have her go away,

All the week she thought of her . . . . she watched for her

many a month,

She remembered her many a winter and many a summer,

But the red squaw never came nor was heard of there again.

Now Lucifer was not dead . . . . or if he was I am his

sorrowful terrible heir;

I have been wronged . . . . I am oppressed . . . . I hate

him that oppresses me,

I will either destroy him, or he shall release me.

Damn him! how he does defile me,

How he informs against my brother and sister and takes pay

for their blood,

How he laughs when I look down the bend after the

steamboat that carries away my woman.

Now the vast dusk bulk that is the whale’s bulk . . . . it

seems mine,

Warily, sportsman! though I lie so sleepy and sluggish, my

tap is death.

A show of the summer softness . . . . a contact of something

unseen . . . . an amour of the light and air;

I am jealous and overwhelmed with friendliness,

And will go gallivant with the light and the air myself,

And have an unseen something to be in contact with them


O love and summer! you are in the dreams and in me,

Autumn and winter are in the dreams . . . . the farmer

goes with his thrift,

The droves and crops increase . . . . the barns are wellfilled.

Elements merge in the night . . . . ships make tacks in the

dreams . . . . the sailor sails . . . . the exile returns


The fugitive returns unharmed . . . . the immigrant is back

beyond months and years;

The poor Irishman lives in the simple house of his childhood,

with the wellknown neighbors and faces,

They warmly welcome him . . . . he is barefoot again . . . .

he forgets he is welloff;

The Dutchman voyages home, and the Scotchman and

Welchman voyage home . . and the native of the

Mediterranean voyages home;

To every port of England and France and Spain enter

wellfilled ships;

The Swiss foots it toward his hills . . . . the Prussian goes

his way, and the Hungarian his way, and the Pole goes

his way,

The Swede returns, and the Dane and Norwegian return.

The homeward bound and the outward bound,

The beautiful lost swimmer, the ennuyee, the onanist, the

female that loves unrequited, the moneymaker,

The actor and actress . . those through with their parts and

those waiting to commence,

The affectionate boy, the husband and wife, the voter, the

nominee that is chosen and the nominee that has failed,

The great already known, and the great anytime after to day,

The stammerer, the sick, the perfectformed, the homely,

The criminal that stood in the box, the judge that sat and

sentenced him, the fluent lawyers, the jury, the


The laugher and weeper, the dancer, the midnight widow,

the red squaw,

The consumptive, the erysipalite, the idiot, he that is


The antipodes, and every one between this and them in the


I swear they are averaged now . . . . one is no better than

the other,

The night and sleep have likened them and restored them.

I swear they are all beautiful,

Every one that sleeps is beautiful . . . . every thing in the

dim night is beautiful,

The wildest and bloodiest is over and all is peace.

Peace is always beautiful,

The myth of heaven indicates peace and night.

The myth of heaven indicates the soul;

The soul is always beautiful . . . . it appears more or it

appears less . . . . it comes or lags behind,

It comes from its embowered garden and looks pleasantly on

itself and encloses the world;

Perfect and clean the genitals previously jetting, and perfect

and clean the womb cohering,

The head wellgrown and proportioned and plumb, and the

bowels and joints proportioned and plumb.

The soul is always beautiful,

The universe is duly in order . . . . every thing is in its place,

What is arrived is in its place, and what waits is in its place;

The twisted skull waits . . . . the watery or rotten blood


The child of the glutton or venerealee waits long, and the

child of the drunkard waits long, and the drunkard

himself waits long,

The sleepers that lived and died wait . . . . the far advanced

are to go on in their turns, and the far behind are to go

on in their turns,

The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and

unite . . . . they unite now.

The sleepers are very beautiful as they lie unclothed,

They flow hand in hand over the whole earth from east to

west as they lie unclothed;

The Asiatic and African are hand in hand . . . . the

European and American are hand in hand,

Learned and unlearned are hand in hand . . and male and

female are hand in hand;

The bare arm of the girl crosses the bare breast of her lover

. . . . they press close without lust . . . .

his lips press her neck,

The father holds his grown or ungrown son in his arms with

measureless love . . . . and the son holds the father in

his arms with measureless love,

The white hair of the mother shines on the white wrist of

the daughter,

The breath of the boy goes with the breath of the man . . . .

friend is inarmed by friend,

The scholar kisses the teacher and the teacher kisses the

scholar . . . . the wronged is made right,

The call of the slave is one with the master’s call . . and the

master salutes the slave,

The felon steps forth from the prison . . . . the insane

becomes sane . . . . the suffering of sick persons is


The sweatings and fevers stop . . the throat that was

unsound is sound . . the lungs of the consumptive are

resumed . . the poor distressed head is free,

The joints of the rheumatic move as smoothly as ever, and

smoother than ever,

Stiflings and passages open . . . . the paralysed become


The swelled and convulsed and congested awake to themselves

in condition,

They pass the invigoration of the night and the chemistry of

the night and awake.

I too pass from the night;

I stay awhile away O night, but I return to you again and

love you;

Why should I be afraid to trust myself to you?

I am not afraid . . . . I have been well brought forward

by you;

I love the rich running day, but I do not desert her in whom

I lay so long;

I know not how I came of you, and I know not where I go

with you . . . . but I know I came well and shall go well.

I will stop only a time with the night . . . . and rise betimes.

I will duly pass the day O my mother and duly return to you;

Not you will yield forth the dawn again more surely than

you will yield forth me again,

Not the womb yields the babe in its time more surely than I

shall be yielded from you in my time.


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There is nothing I hate more than being sick.  That was yesterday.  Today I’m dealing with itchy red bumps.  It started with one on my left cheek and now I have half a dozen on the left side of my body. Including 2 on my neck, a couple on my arm and one nasty one on the palm of my hand.

I have seriously pissed off Karma.  There is no way all this happens to one person in the space of a month.  Are you curious as to what I’m referring to?  Well here’s the low down…

Sept 24th my Grandmother was rushed to the hospital when my Dad found her on the floor of her condo and obviously not coherent.  I rushed down from Calgary and for the next 8 days my Mom spent upwards of 12hrs a day by her bedside.  She was in the hospital for 3 weeks and everyday became so important. Was she eating, was she drinking, is she coherent, what’s her blood sugar?  These were normal questions for us. While she was in the hospital she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  She’s survive both colon and breast cancer, but this one will be fatal.  She’s too weak.  I had to go back to work on Oct 14th, which was a hard thing to do.

On the 15th I woke up to find I had a flat tire. Seriously.  I wanted to scream. I called everywhere and they were all full.  I was running out of time and needed to get to work, so I spent $25 on a cab ride.  The next morning I woke up to not one, but 2 flat tires!  So, I finally called AMA and joined.  They sent out a tech, who filled my tires with air and I was off to Costco to get them repaired.  Do you know it took me a week of confusing conversations and misinformation before I had new tires installed this past Wednesday?

So, yeah I was happy.  Car problems over.  Grandma out of the hospital and in palliative care.  Then yesterday I wake up to a big red bump the size of a quarter on my face!

Is this the whole 3 things happen at once? I really hope so.  I don’t think I can handle any more “surprises”.

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I was in grade 8 when Maurice Sendak’s book “Where The Wild Things Are” was published by Harper Collins- I know, I’m really dating myself here!   However those 10 sentences always captured my imagination.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I learned that it was being made into a movie.

I remember seeing the first preview and feeling a little surprised when I realized it wasn’t going to be animated like Judi Barrett’s book “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.  However I made the decision that when it came out I’d go see it anyway- out of curiosity.  I did just that tonight.

The filmography was fantastic.  I loved the movement of the camera and the “Wild Things” were very well done as well.  Having James Gandolfini portraying Carol- the very angry and troubled Wild Thing- was a brilliant choice.  What better person is there for portraying menace, anger and frustration?

Max is a boy from a single parent home, he’s struggling with feeling like he belongs and after a fight with his Mother- where he bites her- he runs away, finds a boat and sails to Where the Wild Things Are.  However they seem to be struggling with keeping their own family together.

Overall the movie was good.  There was some humor to it, however there was also a lot of menace and anger.  As an adult (or even a teenager) I can appreciate the under currents and find the hidden messages, however I’m not sure its a movie for children under the age of 8.  Some of the scenes may be too frightening and there it’s much to keep the attention of a 5yr old.

When all is said and done.  I don’t think this is a movie I would buy when it’s released.  I have the soundtrack and love it, but I didn’t walk out of this movie with a desire to see it again.

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The last month has been a whirlwind of activity and not the good kind.  My energy levels seem rather low, and my creative side is suffering as well.  How do I escape the funk?  How do I turn this around so I can enjoy things more fully and feel more like myself.  My usual escape is travel or photography, however that is not possible right now.  Not in a long term sense at least.  I’m afraid to go too far away in case my Grandmother takes a turn for the worst.  How would I feel if I weren’t there?  Would I always regret not being there?  At the same time, she’s told me to live my life.  It’s an interesting position to be in.

All I know is that I don’t want to be here.  My heart and soul feels so free and natural when I’m away, traveling and practicing my photography.  I feel content and happy.  I no longer worry or stress about things.  I’m free.  Oh, how I long for my freedom.  I long to feel light and carefree.  I long to be creative and free.

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