Life between Adventures

I’ve been lucky enough to go on many adventures this summer. Cottaging, camping, MontrĂ©al, Tubing at the Elora Gorge… and a few more still to come1. I’ve also been lucky though to have had some mini-adventures right here in the city.

Like hanging out with SweetGIF at the CBC Music Festival.

It was one of the first of those hot, hot Toronto summer days but we kept our cool and showed those CBC festival goers just how exciting and fun SweetGIF can be.

Or hanging with some of the loveliest of my friends on my balcony, whether it be rainy and cold, scorching hot or just right2.

Red Sangria from Sangria Hangs Part 1
Jo in the background, with some White Sangria from Sangria Hangs Part 2
Forgot to take photos of the Sangria, but this was the spread at Sangria Hangs Part 3

I won’t be able to host one of these this month, but I’m so grateful I was able to host one every month for the last 3 months. I started hosting them because I needed to surround myself with wonderful people who I knew had my back, people I knew who loved me despite all my flaws, and maybe some of them even love me because of them. I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

Don’t you know… girls just want to have fun

And then there was this night out with the girls. We got dolled up. We ordered wine, orgasmic appetizers, drool-worthy meals and were treated to a large assortment of delectable desserts by the staff at Boehmer as we celebrated the last few weeks of our darling friend’s unmarried life.

He’ll always be my prom king

And then there was that night we went to Notable Prom. The event itself wasn’t spectacular but it certainly was fun getting out with one of my best friends, and reliving our prom night even if only by regaling stories we remembered.

Live music in the city: Alyson Menamara and her band rockin’ the house
Riding out to Etobicoke means I get to ride through, under and all around this beautiful bridge
And then there was the day we3 went skinny dipping at the Scarborough Bluffs – sorry, skinny dipping not pictured
Footnotes:
  1. Chicago and Cleveland being the next big one[]
  2. under a blanket fort[]
  3. not the same person as any of the above[]

Nothing to see here, except that It’s All Happening

I had a lot of people asking me if everything was okay after my last post. The most genuine answer I can give you is that it’s nothing I can’t handle. A million different song lyrics are flying through my head right now, but I will refrain from using them.

In keeping with my open invitation to Joy for 2016, I’m going to focus on thinking and writing about the things that make me happy. Like the fact Canadian Music Week is almost 2 months away. Insert internal squealing. Okay, maybe a little external squealing as well.

I spent this past Saturday meeting many of the new volunteers who will be joining our existing team of super-star volunteers who love music as much as1 I do. It was a long day of repeated speeches for our side of the room, but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

I’ve had many great years working on music festivals, and they’re a part of my life that continually bring me joy. They are one of the main reasons I gave up full-time work, and I fight every day to make sure I can be a part of the productions that bring unforgettable experiences to so many. I think back on the days before I was on this side of production, and I have the most fond memories of being in a room with electric energy, looking over at a friend, and just smiling – without a word – knowing that you’re both having the best time; yes because you were there together but also because the show was amazing.

Lakes of Canada at the Garrison in 2013

When I was first accepted as a Stage Manager in 2010, I never thought I would be joining the team 6 years later as an Assistant Volunteer Co-orindator/Crew Chief but here I am. Ok, that may not be entirely true. I always hoped it would happen, but I didn’t it would. I thought that maybe I’d need to go back to full-time work and/or I would be out of the country. I’ve almost moved somewhere else at least 3 times in the last 6 years2.

I’ve never felt so ready to take on a role in my life. I’m nervous, but also incredibly excited. I will not sleep very much for a few weeks leading up to the festival, and especially during the festival but it will be amazing. Who needs sleep anyway?

Just in case you’re interested, I wrote a list of lessons I learned from volunteering for the last 10 festivals I’ve been a part of.

Footnotes:
  1. or more than[]
  2. let’s not talk about all the reasons that have kept me here though[]

Zen in the wind

Something is working. My open invitation to Joy seems to have worked, though I still find myself experiencing more moments of melancholy more often than I’d like. I am working on finding the source, and either eliminating said source or attempting to amend the situation though – I wish I could say more than that, but it really isn’t something I’m willing to talk about here just yet.

IMG_5761There were many things I wanted to write about for this week but as I walked through the city during sunset after an epic 90 minute yoga class, listening to my latest audio book1… I couldn’t help but feel so full in my heart. It was the first 90 minute class I have been to since I started taking Yoga again after a two year hiatus. And as I sat in front of my computer, all I wanted to do was capture this feeling in words.

Truth be told, I didn’t even remember that it was a 90 minute class. It was not an easy class. We held each pose for at least two more breaths than usual, there were many options to take the stretch deeper with each pose; options that I took as often as I could. I came out of the class feeling so incredibly calm, and strong. My face couldn’t help but maintain a smile the entire walk home. I wanted to go for a run, but I still had to do laundry and make and eat dinner; and I wanted to go to be a good girl and go to bed early so I could wake up early and have a relaxed morning before work.

That class was the proof I needed that I am getting better; that my efforts are worthwhile; that I am getting closer to the me that I lost so many years ago. I’m not just revelling in the physical benefits that I am getting from Yoga either. I’ve learned some pretty bad behaviours in the last two years; behaviours that, when mixed with my highly emotional and passionate demeanour, only spell trouble for the life of zen and calm that I so crave. Yoga, and a few of my own exercises and practices are slowly but surely chipping away at these bad behaviours; and I can only hope the changes will last a lifetime since I’m doing them so mindfully this time around.

The rest of my evening was quiet and satisfying. What caused me to welcome the joyful cry that came to me after I devoured my dinner, was that it2 is within reach again. And that’s enough to make me feel full of zen and calm right there.

One day at a time. One moment a time. And for heaven’s sake, breathe.

What brings you peace?

Footnotes:
  1. I may or may not be addicted to audio books[]
  2. said life of zen and calm that I crave[]

Good deeds

This is still on my mind, so I thought I’d share an experience I had yesterday…

I was buying coffee in Kensington; a man came in to buy some candy. He commented that he was going to be nickel and diming [the cashier], today, to which she responded that it was fine.

I leaned over to him and asked if I could buy him something. He stated that he wouldn’t say no. So I bought him what he would normally buy, and he said he’d just add it to what he was going to buy anyway.

I was feeling particularly low yesterday and needed to do something for someone so I could feel at least a little human… They both made a big deal of it, but it only cost me $2.

But they both made such a big deal out of it… and it made me think about how that sort of thing probably just doesn’t happen enough. Mind you, that was the first opportunity I had to do something like that.

I wanted to share the story because I still can’t get over what a big deal they made of it. I’m not saying I think it should become a practice so common that we don’t even blink an eye, but the kind of praise I got from them for it was certainly more than I thought was warranted.