Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trading city lights for starry nights

Yesterday I was once again on a plane, taking me away to Panama. I'm excited about this unexpected trip. I had it in my head that I was going to be back in Toronto for a long while, and it ended up just a trip long enough to spend quality time with my family and a few close friends.

It wasn't quite enough time to get back in touch with everyone that I had intended to see. It was very nice to not feel too rushed and cram everyone it all at once though. I do feel really bad though, about not getting to connect with more people.

The thing I missed most, was doing nothing with people. Having coffee and going on errands with my step-mom, having dinner and hanging out with my dad, babysitting and playing with my aunt and uncle's kids, movies and drives with my grandfather, etc. All the day to day things that you're just happy to do with the people you love. Obviously all the moments are made sweeter because there's a close expiration date.

The weather wasn't unbearable, probably also due to the leave date. I still love snow, and will fall in fresh snow anytime, to make snow-angels, when no ones around. After seeing the snow, slush, and ice, I was ready for a place I could enjoy outdoors, and walk around barefoot. I'm not very connected to outdoor winter sports in Toronto, by that I mean it's hard to just walk out your front door and stay outside. You have to drive far to get to a good ski hill, shuttle downtown to go skating, venture up north to go cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing.

Whenever I was outside, Toronto felt bare. It's become too expensive, and NetFlicks all to alluring. Never before have I seen 12 cabs huddled together at a red light, all empty, on a Friday night. During regular office hours there seems to be a big flow of people, pedestrian traffic handled in a organized fashion by the TTC, so people are in the city, but everyone is just hibernating. Or maybe everyone's just watching hockey because the leafs are actually playing well and winning games!!

So, I will miss hockey, the snow, Canadian's, family and friends, but the islands of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, give me a certain happiness that I can't pin on one thing, just the whole rainforest experience.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho

If you've read Paulo Cohlho, you know his style, and you either love it or hate it. It often has religion, a character that is on an inner or outer journey, someone gets to do some traveling, there's an old wise person minding their own business, and some spirits and angels somewhere. Yes, I've read a few of his books.

Although they are simply written, with simple truths, and have a clear cut signature of spoon-feeding, I still enjoy them. If you like mythology and those tales old women in villages tell travelers, then you might enjoy this book. It feels as though the author tried to cram as many 'stories with a moral' as he could, into one bigger tale, from old wives tales he picked up on the road.

I was sure I knew how it was going to end, but I was surprised, and found myself invested in what was going to happen next. It's a quick read, easy to pick up and finish by the next day. It's been on my shelf for a while, because I've been traveling, and because the first time I attempted to read it I wasn't in the mood for a P. Coelho book. It got me in the end though, and I used it as a fun way to pass the time on public transit. Thanks for being slow TTC. Here are some quotes:

" Then, in the distance she heard a clap of thunder, followed by another three. On the one hand, this simply meant that rain was on the way; on the other, if the old superstitions of the village were to be believed, the sound could be interpreted as the voice of an angry God, protesting that mankind had grown indifferent to His presence. ... "A thunderclap is an entirely natural phenomenon. If God wanted to talk to man, he wouldn't use such roundabout methods." "

"I'm going to ask you a riddle: of all the days in our life, which is the one that never comes? ... Tomorrow"

"...the man decided to look up every reference he could find to hell... (everything seemed to be seen in terms of society, rather than of the individual)."

The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart by Deborah Digges

I don't know that I've ever been able to sit and read a poetry book cover to cover, but is was very nice to sit with the works of Deborah Digges. It might have helped that someone was playing piano beautifully behind me, but the carefully chosen words drew me in. The collection of poems made me very intrigued about the authors life. What made me even more curious, was when I found out her memoir is titled "Fugitive Spring". I look forward to reading more of her works, and I particularly enjoyed two poems, One Night in Portland, and  The House That Goes Dancing 

The House That Goes Dancing

Not always but sometimes when I put on some music
the house it goes dancing down through the yard
to cha-cha the willows or up into town
to tango the churches.
The neighbors, appalled, they call the police.
(full poem here)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Kate!



I hope we look like this when we're old and grey
Happy Birthday Kates!! 
Hope you have a warm sunny birthday on the beach.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Canadians Travel

        If you have a trip planned outside Canada it's good to give a look at There are many helpful tips for your next trip. Easily getting legal details of where you need a visa and where you don't, depending on the duration of your stay. As well as what cities to avoid in certain countries, based on crime rates. There is also an easy registration form, that takes maybe two minutes, to let Canada know that you're leaving the country. I also had fun trying to stump the Quick searchable guide of what you can bring on an aircraft.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For the love of books

I happened upon drink words, a great tumbler of beautiful book images.

Reading so much, I've been thinking more about what makes a book not only good, but great. I realized I might have not given the Steve Jobs biography the praise it deserved. The story stuck with me, and I think of its bits and pieces of wisdom often. It's an inspiring work.

Another book I want to praise, is one that I picked off my grandmothers shelf, as a new teenager. It was a simple, un-wonderfully plain, turquoise, hard cover book. I didn't judge this book by it's cover, and by the first page, my nose was stuck until the end. It caused me to think and dream.

That is what a great book does, for me, it forces me to stop, fall off the edge of the world, into imagination. Creating the places where the characters walk, and where they might go when the book is closed, is one of my favorite parts about books.

The turquoise book, is called Cordelia by Winston Graham. Cordelia is a book about a woman in Victorian England, who wants independence in a society where women do not have the economic means to be so. I had chosen this book for a book report, and then chose not to turn in my homework or do my presentation, because the book ended up having infidelity, pregnancy, and suicide. Not something I was ready to discuss with a grade eight class, who was reading about Hellen Keller, Diary of Anne frank, and Harry Potter. But, it stuck with me, and I can still think back on the main character, as if she's someone I met and distantly remember. 

What are other traits, that change a book from good to great?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

This week, I decided to take on two very different books. Both were given to me some time ago, and were staring at me from my shelf saying 'either pass it on, or read it'.

On The Shoulders Of Atlas, is a financial book, that tells the story of how many advisors it takes to sell a family business, that is now worth millions. Unless you like reading business books, or are in that situation, I really wouldn't recommended it, as the information wont be relevant. I almost always find those details interesting, so I'm sure that's how I came into possession of this book in the first place.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, is a graphic novel, and a fantastic read! So smart and funny, the author tells what feels like a candid, humorous, true account of her growing up, while giving insight into the intricacies of Iran, without making it complicated. The drops of wisdom given through the characters is heartwarming and inspiring. A great story and a great gift.

There's an interview done with the Author through the Washington Post that you can read here. Reading the interview and this account of her life, makes her seem like someone who always speaks her mind, and always speaks her truth. I want to put Marjane Satrapi, on my list of people I'd love to have a cup of tea with, in a smoke filled cafe in France.
An excerpt from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Adventure Divas by Holly Morris

"Don't judge a book by it's cover" was a bit hard, when it came to seeing this in a book bin at BMV. I hugged it to my chest and could hardly wait to dive in. 'Adventure Divas' with dusty trail shoes, exactly what I needed after this long adventure I've just taken. It affirmed for me that I really need to write a book about my year of travel from Sept 2011 to Sept 2012.

This book is about writer, producer, Holly Morris and her long adventure of filming 'Adventure Divas' the tv series, with her plastic sidekick, Sky Prancer. In the first chapter I thought I was going to have to drink four espressos to keep up with her, but it gets a better flow as it goes on and punches you with excitement.

I have a new list of destinations and inspirations from this book. There are now so many quotes highlighted and pages dogeared, it will be a hard book to leave behind when I start my next adventure. Here is just one quote that explains the type of diva Holly gets to interview:
Gloria Rolando - "For me, a diva is not something that lives in the sky. It is a woman who lives on the earth. It is a woman who suffers, is a woman who dreams, is a woman who wants to struggle. If you ask me if I am a diva, I don't know; but I am a warrior. And the main quality of the diva-warrior is not to be scared of life. Not to be scared of the difficulties. Whether you have support or not, whether you have money or not, you need to have a spirit."