Tuesday, October 30, 2007

hooray for halloween!

don't know about you but the older i get the more i grow to love halloween.

for the past six years or so i've looked forward to dressing up and shopping for a costume. my friends have started throwing parties and for the most part people have responded to the opportunity wholeheartedly.

so much fun to play! i've never been into makeup much but look to halloween as a chance to experiment with false eyelashes and outrageous colour. bought a hair extension to try out this year. love it! one of the benefits of being a girl.

i think it's the chance to glam it up (or ham it up) that i love. as a performer there's something i inherently connect to in playing dress up. love to allow myself to feel more confident in a pseudo self. to push that envelope to a place that my everyday self is just inches away from actually trying to pull off.

noticed that i'm not the only adult that's into the whole dress up phenomenon. was walking down bloor last week and found myself shoulder to shoulder with a sea of zombies. there was a scary film fest at the bloor cinema and the moviegoers were all decked out in their finest bloody trenchcoats. the get ups were really fantastic. the makeup was incredibly realistic and obviously well thought out. definitely not the result of a last minute glance at the closet to see what you could throw together.

there was a real pride in their gothed out faces as they marched down the street in droves. they really owned these alter egos and wore them comfortably. as geeky as i think it is, there's also a part of me that kind of respects the creativity they put into their gear.

guess suits are a sort of costume too when you think about it. just don't seem to notice it as much as such.

hope you give yourself permission to stretch your limits, even just a little, tomorrow. enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

oliver love

how much do you love jamie oliver?

fantastic grin, cute little lisp and dishevelled little kid like locks.

since his first show as a young pup whipping together recipes for his mates before riding off on his moped i've been hooked. have followed him on his journey from school dinners to creating his own restaurant, to giving down on their luck kids their own restaurant.

he's a visionary fuelled by passion, committed to change, and undefeated by obstacles. am constantly amazed at the way that he repeatedly makes time for those who have let him down. rolls up his sleeves when things run off the rails.

love the patience, the reverence for those he admires, his thirst for knowledge and respect for those who he feels he has something to learn from.

as an idealist myself it's comforting to see someone finding a way to make it work. it can be done.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

girl interrupting

played my regular friday night gig last night and had an odd visitor.

we're in the west, queen west neighbourhood which is a true mix of the uberhip and those living on the proverbial edge. as a result we sometimes find ourselves in some rather bizarre situations where the clientele does a little more than smile and nod when showing their appreciation for the music.

we were about two hours into our set and the table of rocker chick lesbians directly next to us seemed to be having a wonderful time. couples on first dates and a huge party at the back that were celebrating a birthday were enjoying one another's company and clapping intermittently when one of our tunes really hit the sweet spot.

then a woman in her early thirites came in. she entered the restaurant determinedly and chose a spot one table away from where we were. she put down her back pack and looked in the mirror on the wall beside her, fluffing her weave, on its last legs from what i could see quite vigorously. all seemed fine at first. then, when she got her glass of wine, we saw that she was having words with one of the waiters who then sent for his mom, the owner. her actions became more animated and she started searching through items in her bag. she then got up and started wandering around, randomly striking up conversations with people as though she were at a cocktail party. people looked at her strangely but she was undeterred. she wobbled a bit as she wove through the tables and eventually made her way to my chair, just next to us.

she was directly in my line of sight as i sang a slow and sad number called "i'm a fool to want you". it's a moody piece that usually gets people's attention and quiets the chatter. at first, this woman closed her eyes and swayed a bit as i sang. a smile spread across her lips and she threw her head back bursting into a fit of laughter that came straight from her belly. her shoulders were shaking and she covered her mouth as she laughed, having the time of her life.

we stared at one another with one of those "what the hell is this one on" kind of expressions. since i've been with the band we've had more than one brush with craziness. a couple of months ago a guy walked in off the street from the patio doors and plunked himself down at the piano while we were in the middle of a tune and started to play, only to get up and leave a couple of bars later mumbling that he wasn't as good as we were. a while before that a woman, drunk and ornery and convinced she was a diva got up and pushed me out of the way while i was singing,she was endearing at first but i really had to strongarm my way back in once her efforts had simply become embarassing.

shortly after her laugh attack, our hair flicking social butterfly started swatting in the air at insects that weren't there. so it was drugs, then we said to ourselves. after trying to high five me with her pinky at one point, she then tried to get out the side door where our trumpet player stood to get to the waiter she'd been following around the restaurant. she almost knocked over a chair and practically fell into the door. so sad.

after a trip to the washroom she abruptly left the restaurant and the owner put her belongings outside.


was a really attractive woman too.

strange how her presence made the atmosphere prickly. how her energy was like a glow that buzzed around making everything else in its wake seem eerily still. no one knew where to look. we were sharing a space physically but were living parallel rather than intertwined moments together.

uncomfortable to see someone's pain and unravelling so up close and personal. was like a collective holding of the breath.

when she was gone the energy redistributed itself again and before long it felt as though she had never been there. as though the incident had already woven itself into a memory, into the compendium of crazy nights we've accumulated along the way.

wonder which parts of the evening she will remember. wonder what brought her to us of all places.

must have been the music. so powerful. immediately connects the disconnected.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

a snub, a quest and a step into a parallel universe

my hair was at that still looks ok but is kind of scraggly near the ends phase so i decided to take the afternoon and stumble upon a salon i'd never been to before and get it cut.

normally a haircut wouldn't be fodder for an aimless adventure but a recent negative experience at my ol' faithful, house of lords, caused me to taste what was out there before i'd line their wallets with my hard earned cash again.

essentially, i walked in for a cut, which usually takes about twenty miutes tops because they have so many staff there, and waited for an hour and ten minutes. why wait so long you ask? well, the place was busy and there were about five people there when i arrived. i really wanted the cut so i was willing to wait forty minutes if necessary. in between magazine articles, i'd glance up to see how things were progressing and for the first little while things went as i had predicted. familiar faces of those who arrived before me were served in sequence.

then, walk ins from the street started getting served.

i caught the eye of the apathetic, gum chewing, magazine page turning receptionist and made a "what the fuck?" kind of gesture at her. she blew me off. i let it go because one walk in was a family of young boys. i figured they got in cause they'd be a nuisance if they waited too long and that boy hair was faster to cut than girl hair and better to use up one stylist for a family than a whole row...

when the third walk in (and 8th person in the room by the way)was served and seen by the stylist i normally go to, i approached the desk. am i even on your list? i asked. that guy was just served cause he had a request for someone specific, she replied. so you mean you let me sit here for an hour because i didn't ask for someone specific? how many more people were you going to let past? i demanded. she rolled her eyes, shrugged her shoulders and stared down at her appointment book, sipping a slurpee. i was furious. nice, i said staring at her, my words venemous, nice. i then walked out vowing never to return.

now, while boycotting the place feels like the just thing to do, it also put me in a situation where i'd have to pay a bit more as a consequence. it's tough to find a place where a long haired gal such as myself can get her locked shampooed, cut and lovingly blown dry for thirty two bucks.

i decided i would look at it in a positive light and take it as an opportunity to treat myself. i've been working really hard and could use some pampering. i told myself i would be willing to spend sixty bucks, tip included. so i went to queen street and started walking. went to civello thinking it'd be perfect. i hear they even massage your hands while your hair is being cut. loved the smell of the place, too. sorry, said the chic looking greeter, we're all booked up today. undaunted i turned back about a block to a small place my sister had been to before and said she'd liked. all three stylisits were busy but one, gorgeous young asian girl with peroxided hair that looked gray with black roots told me that if i was willing to wait a little while her top stylist would be available. his fee,one hundred dollars. yeah, not so much.

so i continued down the street toward john. a couple of years ago i had an up do done for a friend's wedding at a salon on the second floor of the starbucks building. before i crossed the street i looked upward and discovered the salon had been taken over by an internet cafe. foiled again! seems to be happening a lot on queen. its character has completely transformed and new businesses that aren't chains really seem to be struggling to stay afloat.

out of luck or leads, i made my way to a streetcar stop near spadina. thought i would go to a place i remember seeing just before trinity bellwoods park that has a mork from ork kind of chair in the window. one of those tres chic places with no name on the front and a white shag rug in the interior.

as i was standing on the platform i looked at a sign directly across the street for cooney hair design. was a cool looking cut on the sign and from the street the second floor salon area looked chic so i thought i would check it out. better to try this than go further west and be told it'd be a million dollars again.

as i mounted the stairs i wondered if it was open, could barely hear a sound. as i entered the salon, a sea of asian faces greeted me. this is remarkable not only because i am a white woman and am not used to being in a minority, but because toronto is so diverse that it is unusual to be in a room with only one kind of ethnicity represented. they seemed as shocked to see me as i was them but after the initial hang in the air moment passed, i was told that i could get a wash,cut and dry for forty five dollars. sold.

a young, hip guy approached and indicated that i sit down. i told him what i wanted and he just nodded. then he held up a chunk and motioned that he wanted to do something to it. realized he didn't speak english but loved his style so just gave him the go ahead and hoped for the best. was strange. so much of the hairdresser experience is about the small talk that i felt a little awkward without it. the other clients, also asian, were silent as well. thankfully there was a beatles album piping through the speakers to distract me. the room itself was open and clean feeling with black and white photos of asian models in large frames cast against bright yellow walls.

was a great people watching opportunity. loved the personal stamp everyone seemed to have put into their outfits. there were cowboy boots, sequined shirts, layered looks and luis vuitton bags. marveled at the level of artistry involved and wondered if it was a cultural thing. arts are hugely supported and practised in many asian countries. wondered if this was the link. then wondered if was being ridiculous. wondered if most people just walked around in what was comfy and available like the average canadian. these are probably a sampling of cool elite that exists in any culture. they did leave their home country after all, doesn't that already suggest a certain kind of personality and income level...

was so happy to be finally getting my hair tended to and to be surrounded by so much style, i let him cut off more than my usual two inches. felt liberated, carefree (it's all relative :) ) . amazing how the world opens up and new possibilities emerge when you are relaxed and comfortable and being pampered.

long story short, i like my hair and am glad that fate prolonged the experience enough to let me land in an interesting spot to have a transformation made.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

it's lonely at the proverbial top

so, i have taken on a new position of responsibility at work. am really passionate about the currciculum development, mentoring, create workshopy part of it but want no part of the part that has me doing anything administrivi-ish. got my first taste of it today and left feeling empty inside.

while my vp and principal were out at a workshop i was left to hold down the fort per se. this required being in the office and away from my students. it was bizarre. i was looking forward to my reading lesson and had hoped to really finally sink my teeth into my focus for the term.

felt guilty as i handed over my plans to the supply. felt like i was copping out of something. since it was a pretty quiet day, i had little to do save try to keep the traffic out of the secretaries' hair so they could get their work done. brought some busy work that had been piling up on my desk but felt wrong to be somehow granted extra prep time that nobody else was getting. (of course i also put in a whole whack of extra hours other people don't to prepare for the duties the role requires but my brain isn't quite wired to actually give myself credit for this just yet...)

as my students walked by the office on their way to french i found myself missing them. i wanted to be where they were. knew instantly that i didn't belong in an office with a big desk and a jar of lollipops. didn't want to have to make decisions about indoor recess or where the ed assistant should go. didn't want to sit with a screen and a hundred emails. wanted to be in the room where the magic happens.

so strange to experience a separation anxiety of sorts where my students were patting me on the back for what they thought was an accomplishment of some kind and i was looking at them like i wanted them to take me away.

wasn't that i was scared or intimidated by the responsibility, just wasn't where i wanted to be spending my time. hope that it doesn't signal a trend of where this role i thought i signed up for is going to go...