Making a list, checking it twice

My horoscope says that my biggest problem will be deciding which grand idea to pursue. I like this.

I also like the font that this blog is written in. I have no idea if it looks the same to you who are reading it, but it’s a kind of lovely old-fashioned type face that makes me feel like I know what I’m doing.

I know what I’m doing. Sometimes my methodology is so strange that even I am puzzled, but I really, really believe that deep down, some part of me (and I’ll credit gut for this one) knows exactly what’s going on.

The secret is to filter out all the fuzz to get at the heart of what I really want, and what I really want is this:

I want to write, and make really compelling live performances that people will want to go to, and make a living doing both of these things.

I want a family and a baby that was made partially by me.

I want a home to call my own, with my own distinct touches, and a real sense of ownership.

I want to travel.

I want to trust that everything is ok. Really, fundamentally trust that. If you can do this, you have no idea how lucky you are. I used to be good at that too.

I want a sturdy dog with a nobel head.

I want outdoor space to wander with the fore-mentioned sturdy dog with a noble head.

I want a small, beautifully organized studio for making pretty things.

I want a big kitchen/dining area to always host family and friends.

I want weekends at the market with children who are excited by the colours and smells.

I want bubble baths with my girlfriend where we have epic conversations.

I want my boyfriend to read out loud to me in the evenings.

I want quiet romantic, candle-lit moments with each of them, and both of them, and sometimes all alone.

I want to give all of my talented friends opportunities to shine.

I want to touch people by expressing the things they fear, love, dream of, and desire.

I want to leave something behind when I’m gone.

The morning is moving along. I had better get started.

What do you want?

Why I Hate Chris De Burgh

The other day, “The Lady in Red” came up on a random list of tunes on our Apple TV.

This song always makes me nauseous.

When I was eight, I began to wear glasses, and life changed radically. I believe that my new four-eyed state became the excuse that the other kids needed to make fun of me. It was the perfect explanation for my funny big words, my weirdo imagination, and my incredible advocacy for the underdog. I was a nerd, a geek, and a goof, and now the glasses were the evidence my classmates were looking for.

My self-esteem changed radically, and I discovered a whole new level of self-consciousness. I HATED my glasses and this feeling has carried over into my adult life.

In my first year of high school, I finally worked up the nerve to go to the Christmas dance after skipping the other two that came before. I decided to be festive and wear a red velvet tunic, black tights, and the pointiest shoes that I owned. I teased my bangs into the most brilliant peacock I could manage, and of course wore my glasses. My stupid, red, Sally Jessie Rafael glasses, which by the way, those goddamned hipsters have brought back into fashion.

I hung out awkwardly with my small group of friends, and during a pit stop in the cafeteria to use the bathrooms, the football coach, Mr. Bullard, approached me.

“Hey, what’s your name?” he asked. He was my gym teacher, and should have known my name.

“Um, Schnoo.” I replied.

“Schnoo” he said “I need your help. We’ve told Mario* that he has a secret admirer here, and that she is going to reveal herself to dance with him for a special song, and I need you to be that girl.”

I was confused, and skeptical, but I went along with this. Mario was the quarterback who I had a fairly huge crush on, and I figured this might be the only way I would ever get to dance with him.

Fast forward to later that evening. I hadn’t danced with anyone all night long. Then, suddenly, Chris De Burgh’s “Lady in Red” comes on. Bullard is there, tapping me on the shoulder. He says “This is it.”

The D.J. announces “Mario, this song goes out to you from your secret admirer.”

I walk tentatively to the crowd of jocks that Mario is in the centre of. I ask him to dance. He turns crimson, and all the other dudes start smirking. One of them is already doubled over. He reluctantly accepts, and we start to dance.

Missing the point entirely, I’m actually enjoying this. He smells so nice, and he’s so handsome, and just for a moment I allow myself to pretend…then I feel hundreds of eyes on me. I look up and the ENTIRE football team and ALL of their pretty, perky girlfriends are laughing. Laughing at Mario. Laughing at me. I realize then that I AM the joke. Mr. Bullard picked the dorkiest “Lady in Red” he could find to round out their stupid prank, and god only knows what kind of fabricated love notes came before this moment.

I die a little inside, but I carry on until the end of the song. Mario (dick head) starts hamming it up for his pals. He’s stroking my hair, and dipping and twirling me. My 14-year-old brain decides to see this through because it might be my only opportunity to ever dance with a boy so handsome. And popular. When the song ends, he makes a big show of bowing to me and all his friends crack up again.

After that, I call my mom for a ride home. I pass Mr. Bullard in the hallway. All the other kids love him. He’s so funny, and he really “gets it”. I decide that he too must have been a big dork in high school and is making up for lost time now that he’s finally in charge of all the jocks. I hate him. This doesn’t change over the next four years.

It’s a long time before I go to another school dance. The next one I appear at, I FINALLY have my long-awaited contact lenses. I have an ok time. I’m still an outsider. I’m still not one of the popular kids, but I don’t want to be anymore. I’ve carved out my own world with the drama geeks. I still don’t dance with anyone, as I recall, until the very last song, which is always the same song – “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. I feel someone tap me on the shoulder and I turn around. It’s Eric, the Asian boy with Down’s Syndrome. He wants to take me for a spin. I glare at the jocks, who are all staring and guffawing, take him by the hand, lead him to the dance floor and endure his teenage hard-on for the entire eight minute tune. I do this because I know what it’s like to be different, and how much it sucks to be laughed at for that.

Then, I decide to never go to another school dance again.

This lasts until graduation, when my seventeen year old self decides to bring my 24-year-old local indie rock-star boyfriend as my date. Three people ask me if he is actually my uncle, and he hits on every girl he gets the chance to talk to, and one or two of the boys.

I hated high school, and I hate Chris De Burgh, but whenever I hear “Stairway to Heaven” I think of Eric and I wonder what he’s doing now.

*Mario may not have been the name of this quarterback but at a Catholic High School in Stoney Creek, it’s a pretty safe bet.

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My iScope Horoscope for Today

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“Could circumstances beyond your control be turning you into a more jaded person? Today, before you lose sight of the wonders of the world, unearth some of your old idealistic tendencies. They aren’t gone — they’re still deep down inside of you. They’ve been sleeping, just waiting for a time when they’ll be necessary and relevant in your life again. Let yourself be impressed by the magic that surrounds you every day. “

Poly. Want a Cracker?

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Last night was one of the most lovely, multi-layered social gatherings I’ve ever been a part of. A backyard concert, gypsy jazz style, with delicious treats to pass around and lots of family and familiar faces. And lots of first-time introductions.

In the course of one week, both my parents are now in the know about the fact that I’m bisexual. And now, I suppose, so are the rest of you.

In kindergarten, I got busted trying very hard to see what was up Mrs. Squires’ skirt during story time, and this curiosity has played out in games of doctor, tickle fight, show and tell, spin the bottle, and I’m in art school so why-the-fuck-not until I was entirely aware that it wasn’t ever going to go away. At 33, I’d only ever made it to second base with another woman, and then, finally single for an extended period, I admitted that I could not go the rest of my life never really knowing just how gay I am.

This year, I finally found the girl for me. I’m her first full-fledged foray into the land of Sapphic delights too, and I’m happy to say that I’m now a card-carrying member of the bisexual community, and have discarded my bi-curious training wheels once and for all.

I believe, in my case, that it is part of my genetic make up. I don’t think I chose this, I think it chose me, back in the zygote days. Also, from the time I started preschool, I demonstrated an openness and acceptance that was rare in children in the Catholic school system. I’m positive that I had gay friends long before any of us knew what gay was.

Being a bisexual in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship is impossible. My love of girl parts goes a long way to relieving my fear that I would never be able to have a “normal” relationship with a man, marry again, or have babies. As it turns out, I don’t want to. Have a “normal” relationship, that is. That model just doesn’t work for me.

Around the same time I met my girl, I also met an extraordinary man. One of the sexiest men I’ve ever known in fact. I was captivated, and more than a little afraid of a very powerful attraction that I thought I had hidden quite well.

Somehow, I had met both an incredible attractive woman, and an incredibly attractive man who share my love of life, of living in the moment, finding beauty everywhere in the world, and my love of tradition and family. True sensualists, they both love food, art, great music, books, travel…they are brilliant and inspiring, and they each happen to love me in all my Schnooie goodness, exactly as I am.

The best part of this story? They were a package deal. I met them as an existing couple, who have been together for many years. Who have a beautiful home, and a beautiful family, and our friendship blossomed into something most extraordinary.

I write this today, on the tail end of telling the closest members of my family about this decision. About this relationship that I am committed to pursuing. I’ve decided to write about our experience here, because I’m comfortable sharing so much of myself, and because I hope that this will be useful to anyone else who has chosen a similar path.

This window into Schnooville has always been an exploration of life, and love, and my own pursuit of happiness, and this next chapter will be no different. I just feel it’s important to let you know that there are a few more characters in the story now.

When I stopped looking, I realized that everything I wanted was here all along. Now social gatherings, and soirees are spent deciding how to cleverly introduce each other to our loved ones, and to whom we will disclose our relationship over tapenade or cracked pepper chevre spread.

High fives all around, Universe.

Round Robins and Conversational Crows

Bad iPhone Photo of the view on the way to the restaurant

Bad iPhone Photo of the view on the way to the restaurant

A fine conference here in Banff. We ended this morning, so I am now officially on vacation. I was very proud to exchange ideas and opinions with Canada’s Opera giants in a place that has fostered some of our nation’s greatest artists.

Yesterday afternoon was particulary invigorating. We participated in something called a ‘conversation cafe’ that involved a series of group discussions, and then challenged us to commit our own ideas about the future of opera in Canada to paper. (Sidebar…simply writing the word ‘Canada’ makes me feel proud). At one point, as we were all silently writing away, two of the noisiest crows I’ve ever heard began their own dialogue. I felt like they too were sharing a universal thread, in a language not of distinct words, but shared ideas and intent. It was a really inspiring day that ended with workshop presentations of new opera works.

Tapestry is an extraordinary Toronto company that produces a season of electric new opera at affordable prices. Collectively, they knocked my socks off this weekend – both because of the charm and graciousness of their staff, and with the unbelievable excerpt they presented last night from a new opera that examines the sex trade and human trafficking. I intend to catch their season, and I hope you’ll join me. Let’s make going to the opera a hot thing to do again!

The human voice is the most primal instrument, and I believe it has the greatest power to express the human experience. If you’ve never witnessed opera live before, I would challenge you to do this, preferably with an innovative new company where you will have a more intimate encounter. Breathtaking!

Tonight an early dinner at the Raven’s Loft here at the Centre and then a stroll into town for a movie date with my boss. Tomorrow an early hike up the side of the mountain (which is less intense than it sounds) before heading back to the Calgary airport where I will meet my friends for the next leg of my Alberta adventure.

Today is the birthday of one of my favourite Canadians. I’ll give you three guesses who that is…

Sleeping with Giants

A photo I didn't take, but an accurate representation all the same.

A photo I didn't take, but an accurate representation all the same.

Last night I fell asleep cradled in the arm of the mountains.

My incredible fortune has granted me the opportunity to spend four days at the Banff Centre for the 2009 Opera Colloquium, and this place is pure magic. The Centre is a compound for artists who come for residencies and retreats to create and workshop their pieces. Imagine a small university campus devoted to creation. All of the people I’m meeting are devoted to their art, and are passionate about their work. For the next three days we’re sharing ideas about creating new opera, and the importance of opera in our modern age.

I’ve never been to Alberta. Yesterday I learned that there is nothing as beautiful as the Rocky Mountains. At least not in my experience of the world so far. Their majesty and magnitude makes me feel so safe and serene. It is a visual reminder that the world has existed for lifetimes before me, and will continue to exist long after I’m gone, her landscape ever shifting and subtly changing. I find this deeply comforting.

The air here is spectacular. With each inhalation my body feels cleaner, and more alive. Despite the cool weather, and my inappropriate packing, I want to spend all of my time outside. There are wild animals everywhere, and I can’t wait to encounter them on my walks. There is also a very famous hot spring that we intend to visit.

Meals are shared in a beautiful restaurant made entirely of glass, so you can enjoy the mountainous vistas as you dine. I’m told that the food is fantastic, and nutritious, and it’s served buffet style, so I don’t have to eat anything I don’t want.

Last night we were treated to a fabulous dinner at the home of the program director of the centre. If the food there was any indication, then I’m most certainly in good hands.

I could live here, easily. Maybe not forever, but certainly devoting a couple of years of my life to this place would be incredible. They have a creative writing workshop that happens here twice a year. It’s two weeks long, and I think I might apply for next spring. I can imagine myself here, alone, sipping coffee on the deck in the morning, wrapped in polar fleece, and pouring my heart into my laptop.

This morning I have a breakfast date with my boss. She’s a fabulous woman, and I think these next few days will be a great bonding experience for us.

The best part of this all-expense paid trip…I get to stay on for the week to visit near by friends and their beautiful new baby.

Beauty of this magnitude makes me feel like the people I love best in this world are closer to my heart than ever. I feel like an explorer, gathering samples and stories to return home with, so that everyone can taste my adventure.

Thank you Universe.

When The Monsoon Came I Lay Down, Safe In Your Palm

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And no sweet whisper,
Or gentle sigh,
or finely crafted love note,
carefully composed ballad,
time-honoured tradition,
sacred vow,
could stop the roar of water
rushing through my ears.

In the leafy green shadow
cast by boughs overburdened,
hard droplets slap against the lichen-speckled wood
the wooden floor that warmed me from the souls of my feet
to the pads of my fingers.
Slapping, and smacking, and
rushing through my ears.

Bare shoulders to the moist warm air,
sturdy boots clumping through the gathering pools,
all emerald reflections dotted slowly with the coltish blue,
peeking coyly through the now relenting cloud-cover.

And you, everywhere…
In the steam rising from pavements;
in the tentative, retreating mist,
in the subterranean rivers of the city
coursing, racing, charging, pulsing,
rushing through my ears.

Happy Birthday, To Me.

La Minouche by Gord Hawkins

La Minouche by Gord Hawkins

This year, birthday weekend was a lot less lonely.

In fact, I was moved to tears several times throughout the day as the text messages, phone calls, emails, and Facebook posts poured in.

I know a lot of incredible people, and as a person who believes that the company we keep is a reflection of our character, I was humbled over and over.

I was kidnapped by my friends and lavished with love all weekend long. It was spectacular.

Each year, I am so very grateful to have made it to another birthday. I was amazed this year to consider how far I’ve come over the course of twelve months. I’m proud of my work, which I’m lucky to say that I love. I’m able to take care of myself, in all ways. Every day I’m learning more about who I am, and the things I want. I feel so very strong, even in the moments when I’m lonely. This feeling of inner quiet and strength would be impossible if I was unable to accept the love of the people who are nearest and dearest to me.

My goals in this coming year are at the forefront of my mind. What do I want? What do I really want? I’m beginning to wonder if the story I have told myself for so long is in fact what my heart really desires.

I’m falling in love with this woman. She is perfectly comfortable in the softly descending twylight settling over her attic apartment as she sits at an antique desk typing away. She can be alone, but realizes that she is never really alone. I love this woman, who is now my truest, most sincere friend. She knows always what is good for me, even though sometimes I choose to ignore her. When I look into her eyes, I can see that she is ancient and filled with wisdom I can only understand in fleeting moments. On my birthday, I pledged myself to her. I promised to heed her more often, and love her more attentively. She is the love I have sought for so long, and only through loving her, and wholly embracing her will I ever be complete.

I have all the love I need in the world.

Thank you to all of you who have added to the pile, and have helped to build this tower. Each day, I whisper your name in my heart.

Only Drowning Men Could See Him

Dandelion_Fluff

I can’t take credit for that one…it’s Leonard Cohen’s line, but I heard it this morning, while on the way to work¬† listening to Suzanne and it made me think…

I rather feel like drowning men can see me really well. I’m a little bit like a lighthouse that way. Or the Coast Guard. Of course, other people can see me well too. I think what I need to do is decide that I’m no longer a lifeguard.

All men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them.

Same song. This made me think about a recent post here. Men (or mankind) will continue to drown until they learn how to move with the sea.

Hmm…my intent was to post something a little less cryptic than the last post. The last one was a weird code that Technorati made me add so they could detect this blog. Finally today, a sweet friend piped up with “Ok, I’ve got to ask…what did your last post mean?”

I don’t think the above is any less cryptic, but perhaps I don’t give you enough credit?

Today was strange, and wonderful. Wonderful strange.¬† In fact, this entire week has felt as though I’ve been dreaming lucidly. My senses feel heightened, and the universe is pointing things out all over the place. Strange things like seeing the same man four times in various places around the city. A complete stranger, I might add, who paid no notice to the fact that our paths were continuously crossing. Strange things like a civil, lovely dog park visit with my ex-boyfriend who brought up the idea that perhaps one of us might leave the city soon and we’d need to work something out with Arthur. (I’ve had running away fantasies for the last month) Strange things like certain people calling, or texting, or emailing at precisely the exact moment I’ve thought about them, or spoken of them.

Today was wonderful strange.

I felt utterly exhausted when I woke, like I had not slept at all despite an early bed time. I couldn’t rouse myself. Once I finally rolled out of bed, I was late for work of course (there may have been another distraction or two keeping me from leaving on time). Then, once at work I had a most productive day, though I continued to feel exhausted. I ran on vapours until getting caught in a most profound TTC cluster fuck that had me in circles, but had this not happened, I would have missed a most extraordinary text message/phone call series that I’m still certain was a birthday prank. Or something. Then home, and Arthur, and a pre-rain walk. (At the time of this entry, the sky still has not opened up.) The beautiful strains of the handsome young doctor down the street sitting in a red wicker chair on his beautiful porch playing what I think was a mandolin, and smiling sweetly at me as Arthur and I passed. Then fetch, and friendly strangers, and home again to sweet neighbours in the garden and tonight there is music rehearsal. I will sing Suzanne myself, and find my own meaning in the lyrics.

Sweet red cardinal is singing me a song. The trees in the yard are full of ripe pears. It is the week of my birth, and the universe is laying flowers at my feet.

I should set some goals this week. Whisper some wishes into the wind. I feel like there is magik everywhere and something glowing and wonderful is reflected in the faces of the people I encounter.

Greater Independence
Deeper Understanding of Self
Increased Health and Strength
More Reading
More Music
Travel Opportunity
Greater Trust
More Writing
More Giving
More Family
More Art
More Cooking

There. Off you go then.

(My theory is that if I focus on all of these, that obvious, unspoken one will happen too.)


All Request Wednesdays

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Hello world at large!

I’ve really come to love writing here, and I’m deeply touched that so many of you enjoy reading my ramblings.

In the interest of writing more frequently, I’m asking you to suggest topics that I might wax poetic about.

I’m very happy to keep this anonymous, you have my word on this, and if you’d like my humble advice on anything, I’m happy to offer that too!

Mail your suggestions, requests, and questions to schnooville@gmail.com

Your secrets are safe with me!

xoxo

Schnoo