Thursday, March 31, 2011

One hour, for the earth.

A little wine, a few candles, and a charming (if poorly played) accordion serenade for my sweetheart.
Yup, just a regular ol' Earth Hour at my house.
Seriously people, Earth Hour asks so little of us. I think it's a bad sign for the future of this planet, when I hear so much grumbling about having to turn the power off for a measly little hour. Or why it can't be earlier when it's naturally lighter. That's the whole point! It's an emblematic sacrifice to show our over-reliance on ever-dwindling resources. We consume, consume, consume, and honestly, I think we need way more than a tiny, annual reminder to change our habits. I recently heard that we humans are consuming the earth's resources at a rate of one-and-a-half earths. This is a problem. And very clearly an unsustainable one.

I look forward to Earth Hour every year—more than most holidays, in fact—and Mark and I like to make a whole evening of it. We try to turn things off well before 8:30, and leave them off until the next day (because you can't exactly blog with pen and paper, sadly). We tried, and had some success with initiating Earth Wednesdays where we'd power down one night a week, but fell out of the habit, and need to try again.

Going un-plugged is so great. It's a chance to really connect with those around you. It's about making due with less. It's a nice reminder of simpler times. And hopefully accompanied by the realization that most of the things we think we "need," we really don't.

And if you somehow missed it on Saturday, guess what: it's not too late for you! You can make everyday Earth Hour. I know, pretty awesome, huh?

So go on, light up some candles (preferrably beeswax or soy, or at least not petroleum-based paraffin—I still have a few of the latter, but am happily phasing them out), and have some fun! Read, play boardgames and cards, talk, or just relax! What's not to love?

Let's be overt about it

Another thing about Bermuda: the people are friendly and polite, something that Canadians have a reputation for, but there is a distinct, qualitative difference: Bermudians are overt about it, Canadians can be a bit passive, until we're engaged.

Take the bus for instance. You may (or may not) acknowledge the driver with anything varying from a hearty good morning (unlikely), to a simple head nod. You rarely make eye contact with your fellow passengers, and when someone sits down beside you, you both—in mutual understanding and acceptance of this behaviour—continue gazing out the window and completely ignore each other. All of this leaving you feeling slightly isolated, and anonymous amongst so many people. Physically close, but apathetic and connectionless.

This is the complete opposite from Bermuda. You can expect, and should reciprocate, the heartfelt "Hi, good day! How are you doing!" greeting you will get from each new person that boards the bus, or passes you on the street. And hide your astonishment when a chorus of greetings echo from those already on the bus. Furthermore, it is considered rude not to greet at least the driver in this fashion.

It certainly makes a lot of sense in an island-nation of a mere 66,000, to greet everyone you meet, because that person who just sat beside you could be your brother's, friend's, cousin, who knows your mother's, coworker's spouse. But aside from a practical perspective, it just feels good to give and receive acknowledgment!

(And maybe you are already that wonderfully, and extrovertedly kind person, and good on you! I don't want to completely generalize about our nation, and of course it does vary from province to city to community, but this is what I've noticed, in contrast to Bermuda.)

When I got back, I wished someone walking by me a "good afternoon" and got quite a quizzical look in return. He wasn't having it. But I'll keep trying, because it's so nice when you can make a connection with a fellow human, if even just for a minute. And really, most people respond with at least a warm smile, and a smile really is infectious. So go ahead, don't hide your inner Canadian, let it out, Bermudian style!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Making Marley proud: setting my piggies free! (thanks for the pedi, MDM!)
I recently had the extraordinary luck and joy of travelling to Bermuda (found a too-good-to-pass-up seat sale) to visit our good friends S&P V who have been living down there doing an artist-in-residence program. She: painter extraordinaire, he: ingenious carver/sculptor. Quite the talented duo!

To understate it, Bermuda is a small island. This was made abundantly clear as the plane made it's steady descent toward a massive expanse of... water. No land. No runway. I have never flown into a place without seeing land from quite a distance away. Umm, ok, land anytime would be good. Seriously people, where's the land? Of course I had complete and utter faith in the pilot, but I'll admit I was relieved when land appeared (seemingly just moments) before touching down, and yes, I'm exaggerating, but only a little. It just seemed too easy to overshoot. It's at those moments when you stop taking something for granted that you realize how ludicrous/absurd/amazing something like flight is, and I wonder how we got there at all. And in just 3 hours from Toronto. Amazing.

It was so great to see our friends again after many months, and have so much fun exploring and feasting (two of my favourite things)! I had a phenomenal time, and it was so good to get away, have some fun and let the spring warmth seep into my bones.

I tried to make a sponge of myself: taking in all the new sights and sounds, and the colour, the glorious colour! Water in impossible and infinite hues of turquoise, hibiscus (flowers in bloom!) in peach, scarlet and gold, new and unknown flora in verdant shades of green. And the sounds: waves crashing and birds chirping! And the silent, but somehow melodic, flit of butterflies dancing. And the smells: slightly-fishy, salty, ocean air, tiny white flowers with an intoxicating scent like jasmine, and that distinct freshness that you smell when the greenery is blooming and growing! Life! Oh, how I've been sealed up in the house/workplace for too long, steeled against the deep and mute freeze outside.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's be honest, the light helps.

I have been mulling over the shape and direction of this post for a few months. Since the deep, dark, depths of winter, when I thought it would be a nice divergence from the gloom to revisit photos from sunnier times, to now, on the brink of the return of light. Either way, I would like to write about light, to honour it's return, and revel in the multitudinous qualities it can take, and how, when it's fleeting qualities are captured it can add a physical dimension to a photo.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Space to create. Creative space.

I have been looking forward to having this space to craft, sew, draw, paint and design for many months, especially since Mark's desk moved upstairs after we finished the office renovation.

The recently-finished, over-sized bulletin board is the final addition, making the space complete. Mark constructed the frame for me from 1x2's; meticulously and skillfully routering and mitering the corners, and I painted it, then distressed it, and adhered the cork. I found an old, but unused roll of cork (8 feet x 2 feet, 1/8 inch thick) on kijiji for just 5 bucks! Total steal. I had planned to re-purpose some old bulletin boards and wine corks, but this was an easier solution.