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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

you really do love yourself don't you?

The other day I was thinking how I'd like a nose job.

We all have that minor flaw we'd like to change. How many times have I heard women rant and rave "my ass!", "my thighs!", "I'm fat!", "I have no boobs!".

Lets get real. "Even I don't look like Cindy Crawford when I wake up," said the woman herself.

My mother and I have both see women come into the stores we work complain over and over about their bodies. The truth is, it doesn't make a difference what shape or size they are. A woman's flaws become her beauty if she carries them right, gives them the love they deserve. What would become of Sex and The City is Sarah Jessica Parker was flawless? Her sex life and shoe obsession would probably just be annoying. Instead of cute and quirky she'd be...boring.

Confidence is key. It doesn't matter what you look like if you can walk the walk and talk the talk.

I've met ugly guys that are so sure of themselves they transform into unattainable gods.

So then what is ugly? A face that's not asymmetrical? Or is it deeper than the structure of a face?

For someone so insecure I guess I really do love myself. I mean, I love being with myself, sleeping with myself, even dancing with myself. Sometimes I wonder how I could ever get married when I'm so happy by myself.

I'm sure human compassion and a raging sex drive will take over some day and force it to happen.

But here's the thing, at the end of the day, any year from now, I'm always going to be with me. You will always be stuck with you. So why not just fuck it and be as cocky as possible? Still giving, caring, sharing, and loving...but respectful of yourself. Self loathing won't get you a promotion. Confidence will.

So I guess I'll forget about the nose job. I don't think my scholarship will cover it anyways.

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

eight takes and i left you

Tried to shoot the breeze
But my aim was off
Take two
Found myself with you

Tried to go for coffee
It didn't taste right
Take three
You complained for me

Tried to buy new shoes
But only got the blues
Take four
Found you at my door

Tried to string some pearls
Be like the other girls
Take five
You're not like other guys

Tried to laugh
At the jokes I didn’t get
Take six
You’re my feel good fix

Tried to strut
But my heels made me fall
Take seven
You walk in like life is heaven

Tried to love you
But just didn’t know how
Take eight
I watch your heart break

Have been playing around a lot with this poem, please feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

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Monday, November 22, 2004

it's about survival

"First year, it's about survival." Joyce Smith told a room of sleep deprived students this morning. When she asked how everyone was doing she got groans in response. The lecture theatre was half full of first year journalists, the rest still enjoying the comfort of their beds.

I just want to survive first year. To pass. To learn. To experiment and see what feels right. To take it in gratefully and gracefully. Take the time to stop and breathe; laugh; remain human.

Sunday morning I found myself being pushed through a mass of people. Mothers pushing, children yelling, everyone for themselves. I had to get to work. I had to remind myself that EVERYONE had somewhere to go. It was the Santa Claus parade, and Queen Street West was filled to the brim with eager spectators and angry pedestrians.

At one point I thought I might pass out. My breathing got heavy; I told myself I was exaggerating.

But I was also thinking that this, this race for the same place, with all it's pushing and shoving, this is life.

It's the race to get a story in for journalism. The race to make a name for yourself. Actors fighting for fame. Lawyers fighting their case. Parents fighting to support their families. We're all looking for the same thing. Who's going to push through?

In a class of 150 journalism students, who am I? Who am I to say I want to write for the big glossy magazines? What makes me something else? I can't even read the goddamn newspaper or recognize Paul Martin.

I want to be somebody. I like to think of myself as special, but then again, aren't we all?

Maybe it just depends on how badly you want it. How you approach it. How you maneuver.

But I don't want to push.

I want to strut, smile, and walk my way to whatever my idea of the top is.

And I will survive.

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Saturday, November 20, 2004

ode to virginia woolf

You put the rocks
In your pocket that morning
Walked away
From a life I can’t
Run from

Your insanity made you
Not insane
But brilliant
Your pain only realistic

I wonder if your hands
Moved restlessly
As restlessly as mine
If you too, were afraid of yourself
Too aware of time

Sometimes I see my eyes
And I know I must be mad
But Virginia
Is it that our eyes are open
And we’re only sad?
Too aware to walk on blind

When I see myself in you
There’s an edge to my flaws
My nervousness creative
My long boney fingers
Good for writing, always writing

Mrs Dalloway said
She’d get the flowers herself
I only went
To get groceries
But isolated in a city
All the same

You said you and your husband
Couldn't be happier
But you put the rocks
In your pocket Virginia
You walked into the river

When you're always on edge
Is happy
Not fulfilling?
Does love itself
Fade to black?

Mrs Dalloway said
She'd get the flowers herself
Are you envious
That for her
The morning was enough?

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Friday, November 19, 2004


I need to jump a train
Because it’s been months now
Since I’ve run away
Left my present reality;
Sat as a sardine in a plane.
Already they think they know me
Scripted my personality,
So ready to call my name.
Time to go now,
Yes time to go.
Time to make my train.

Need to lose myself in scenery
See myself in a city’s light
Or in the vastness of bright green fields;
The countryside at night.
I need to make love
To a different country's land
I just don't want the people here
To think they understand.
Because I’ve bared my soul,
I've exposed it to the masses,
And he’s just never the right man.

A different language
Might tell me different things,
It might just stop to listen
Take time to hear
Each word I say;
Tell me what I’m missing.
I’m always running
I’ve got to keep on running.
You know the people here
They think they know me,
So I’ve got to make my train

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

i'll be by your side

"In high tide or low tide, I'll be by your side" sings out of my computer. Jack Johnson and Ben Harper harmonizing with each other. The lyrics, the singers, the beat, are all appropriate to the photograph I'm looking at.

The picture was taken at the end of last summer. Me and my close girl friends at the Ben Harper and Jack Johnson concert.

I wouldn't have made it through high school without these fine women. A tight knit group that held me up at many points. Dealt with my bad moods, my need to be alone, my offbeat sense of humor.

We sit in the picture smiling, a ray of light caught in the photo. We all dressed separately and yet seem to match. Light floral prints that suited the day, the music and the easy mood of the concert.

I had just come back from Ireland. A year away and they took me in as if it'd been a day. Barely made comments about my body-I was half the size of when I'd left. They were my protection against those who did.

We spent the day floating through the crowds. Swaying to the music. Smoking dope. Getting questioned by the cops (which was more funny than anything, me running through the crowds to get my ID, Miki giggling as they called her parents). Yelling inappropriate comments at the beautiful Jack and Ben.

They made me happy to be home. They made grade 12 something to remember. Made it sufferable, we escaped together. Hid out from the West Vancouver attitude and lifestyle. Made snarky comments about the young girls and their Louis Vitton handbags and Artizia tracksuits. Spent weekends at Value Village and each others houses. Raiding each others fridges and laughing at one another. Going off at parties to dance together in a separate room. Dancing always went hand in hand with drinking.

If we ever lose each other, go our separate ways and stray too far, I'm happy I have this photograph. A gentle reminder of what he had.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

outside my window

The apartment building stares back at me. The windows seem miniscule from here. Snapshots of peoples lives. Figures move around in them. Turn on a light. Turn it off. Stand on the balcony in a white bathrobe.

P1050001_2, originally uploaded by gill.

Here I am in the city, one of many windows.

Pull back the curtains, look out, and discover a bigger existence.

Where taboos speak loudly.

P1050001_3, originally uploaded by gill.

The city can make you feel important. A part of something big. Or isolated, small in the sea of it all.

It is invigorating and at the same time draining.

But if I pull back the curtains, see the light hit the high rises, a bird shoot past my window, it can pull me back up. A draft of brisk air shoots through the screen that separates me from the outside. Runs over my face. The cold air a warm awakening. Showing me much more than the sea of windows. Showing me there's more to beauty than nature's landscapes. That a building can catch the sun just as the ocean can. There's people; buildings; murals: urban versions of natural beauty.

P1050002_1, originally uploaded by gill.

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Monday, November 15, 2004

if it feels good do it

P1040002_2, originally uploaded by gill.

Sometimes I get artistic urges and I can't contain them. Today this was vented in re-organizing our front room and drawing large flowers on the big sheet that covers my wall. I swear I barely breathed throughout the whole process. I just had to vent. It felt great.

P1040004_2, originally uploaded by gill.

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aspertame in my brain

I've cut out aspertame.

Every diet coke, or diet drink, or diet product that contains this risky sweetener. It's something I've been meaning to do for too long. A big a step forward in my well being.

I used to imagine aspertame seeping into my brain, making me go insane. A way of slowly killing myself. Any kind of self abuse once seemed attractive to me.

I've had my eclipses. I've been down in the gutter and sneered at the stars. Stood in front of the mirror sobbing. Felt the emptiness that comes when you can never be satisfied. Never live up to your own expectations.

These words are therapy. Thoughts locked away in the caverns of my mind hitting the keyboard. Beating it out of me.

I listen to girls in the elevator. One inspects the calories on her juice. Another says "Rice cakes are good, they're low in calories, so it's like you're eating nothing." A girl out of the group shifts uncomfortably in her skin. She has probably never been on a diet. Wonders if she should. I'm glad I know I shouldn't. Glad I had cake for breakfast. I deserve satisfaction.

An old poem links to these thoughts:

bowling alley

the bowling alley downstairs
we sit and drink in the bathroom
i drink my whiskey and diet coke
trying to figure out why i even bother
what's with me and diet drinks
watching my waistline
like men watch football
as if an inch less
will make me a better person

another night and i'm void
staring into nothing
my friend looks me in the eye
says i'm really something
a hopelessness weighs me down
chains me to my chair
always thinking far too much
wishing i didn't care

bowling balls slam on wooden lanes
people on the tv screen
all look the same
i need to leave
but i've lost sense of direction
there's a hunger in my belly
starving for affection

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

the artists

My mouth
You loved my mouth
My lips never ceased to amaze you
Your fingers exploring them
Like you’d created me
An artist amazed by his masterpiece
Now you throw words at them
You don’t see them
A feature
The same as anyone else’s
The fire they once held
Their colour
Like any other
No different than a mailbox
The red light
That stops you
When you run away
And this thought
This thought tears me apart
You are my David
The perfect man
Sculpted to perfection
Skin cold
Solid as stone
I can touch you
But there’s no response
These days all we do
Is tear ourselves apart
Driving each other to insanity
Our screams bounce off
Cold white walls
And we break each others hearts
All the while
We make one another
Feel alive

We our each others art.

the artists, originally uploaded by gill.

I'm playing with poetry again. It feels right.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

mennonite in a red dress

Went to The Royal Winter Fair yesterday, forced to come out with a story, here's what I came out with:

Mariea Marton-Wiles, 59, is a Mennonite in a red dress.

With lipstick and gold jewelry to match, Marton-Wiles stood at her booth yesterday at The Royal Winter Fair, surrounded by homemade jams, pickles, tarts, cookies, fudge, meats, quilts and more.

The goods come from around 250 Mennonite families living on farms around Ontario, towns such as Elmira, St.Jacobs, Elora, and Mount Forest.

Around 98 per cent of it is from Mennonites of the horse and buggy order, the division that does not believe in using electricity or motorized vehicles.

This is where Marton-Wiles comes in, as she is a Contemporary Mennonite, and is therefore able to pick up all the homemade items from the families and sell them at the

All the food is made off the land and is of very high quality. The Mennonites aim for perfection, “for the glory of God,” she says. Even the elaborate quilts are all made from hand.

“It’s a social thing,” says Marton-Wiles, “you sew them after your chores.”

Those of the horse and buggy order live an old fashioned lifestyle, similar to the Amish,
and follow the 10 commandments very closely.

They wear dark clothing so that you see the person rather than the garments that they wear. They pay their taxes but will take nothing from the government. Their children will not attend public schools, as the Mennonites have their own school system. They have no insurance, but if a barn burns down, the tightly knit community is always there to help one another,

Marton-Wiles is so caught up in explaining the ways of the Mennonites that she is unaware of an older man trying to get her attention.

He says “how much for the tarts?”

“Only $6,” she says.

The Mennonites work hard to provide the best product, as well as to sell it for a decent price.

“They believe in the hereafter, they want to live a good clean life. They try very hard to be good, charitable, and pure in every sense,” she says.

The town of St.Jacobs is becoming one of the biggest tourist attractions in Toronto because of the Mennonites. You can catch them there, selling fresh produce and homemade crafts, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Stjacobs, originally uploaded by gill.

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Sunday, November 07, 2004

so lush, so lust

Every Sunday the Toronto Star features one of the seven sins. This week's sin: lust. Lust is the flirty glances exchanged with a stranger. The time you spend thinking about them, the possibilities. Dancing a little..close. Hands with a mind of their own. The back cavern of your mind, where anything, oh yes anything, can happen.

lips, originally uploaded by gill.

Last night was lush and lustful. VIP section brimmed with young men and women, many from Vancouver. Trays of drinks kept arriving. A big bottle of vodka rested in a bed of ice. "Fabio" had a table reserved next to us, young men just begging the ladies to take one shot. I denied.

"Okay then half a shot?"
"No I'm working tommorrow"
"Come on.."

The dancing was hot. Girl on girl. Girls on guy. Guys on girl. So close you knew what kind of deodorant the other used. What they were drinking. Wether they smoked or not.

Had lustful moments with a semi-stranger. No touching, no lips, but glances, a grasp of the hand, conversation. Lately my moments of intimacy seem to be as much as a grasp of the hand. It happens quickly, unconsciously. My hand fits into a stranger's. It feels like much more than a sloppy drunken kiss. This fleeting moment and touch stays with me for weeks. The feeling coming back to me when I least expect it.

My friend tried to get me to come on to him more, "you know he wants you."

"Yeah but I'm tired of being the one to chase. I'm always chasing."

And all my broken hearts came back to me. Me chasing the unattainable. Trying to grasp something that doesn't exist with someone where it just doesn't work. Running away when it might.

Not much later I was in a taxi. Window open, cold wind hitting my face.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

smiles for sale

Everyone is going through something. If they're not, they're bored and probably wish they were.

These days it seems everyone's a little upset. The rain is beating down on all of us. In every sense. Routines become grey and inspiration is lost. The awakening is lurking close by, it's just taking too long.

We rush, we rush, and we rush, but where does it get us? I don't want to scarf down my food, I want to taste it. I don't want to run to work, my heels hitting the pavement. I want time to listen to the music coming out of every storefront. Give directions. Get a coffee. Be a fucking human being, not a robot.

But life gets to me. I want to arrive on time, I don't always have time to enjoy my food, there are places to go, things to do, people to see. I'm afraid that someday a life of commitment will drag me down.

Someday I'll want the house, the dishwasher, the job, the family, the soccer games, the board meetings, the dinner parties. But will it be too much for me? Will I even stop to think of the things I really want? Will my downtime become a collection of spa days and club med vacations?

I want a good life but I don't know what this means. Money, glamour, and a name to myself? A husband, kids, and a house? Or me, a nomad, a philosopher, a thinker, lost in thought, but maybe not in life. Or maybe they'll merge into one.

I want to work towards a life that makes me happy, but there's no recipe to happiness.


Here's some clips of home sweet home in residence:

DSCN0228, originally uploaded by gill.

DSCN0233, originally uploaded by gill.

DSCN0229, originally uploaded by gill.

DSCN0232, originally uploaded by gill.

DSCN0235, originally uploaded by gill.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

come on america

NYHETER-23s14-bush-13, originally uploaded by gill.

This is the man you just chose to represent you. Oh it hurts.

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Monday, November 01, 2004

fix my lighting; make me beautiful

Toronto's beauty depends hugely on the light you see it in. That and your mood.

My room mate comes from Alberta. She shows me pictures of turquoise lakes, picturesque mountains, nature left barely touched by man. She walks down the street and feels surrounded by people. Millions of people she doesn't know. The pollution in her lungs. The cars, trams, music and talking blasting through her ears.

Some days I feel like it's just me and the city, some days I think it's love.

I walk past the porn shops, the pawn shops, a tipped over grocery cart, and I say Gill, "I don't think we're in West Vancouver anymore."

Sure Vancouver has it's edge, what with East Hastings and as many junkies as there are raindrops in the sky. But it doesn't have the nooks and crannies Toronto has. The colorful villages. Halloween night the gay village was streaming with men in drag. Men more feminine than I will ever dream of being. There's Little Italy, Greek town, Kensington Market. Bloor St. makes me drool and feel sorry for myself. The rich and famous stroll though Prada, Chanel, Lacoste, Holt Renfrew, and more, attaining any luxury item they dream of.

One store window has a wall of plates stuck to it, 'Wall of China' written overtop. Somehow I always find this funny.

When I take a break from work to go get a juice or a coffee I walk past Much Music. I try to shut my jaw when I spot a VJ. Not to die in shock when I discover that Ed the Sock, a loudmouth obtrusive, disrespectful puppet, is actually a short harmless looking man.

Sam the Record Man is the token landmark to tell we're nearly home, with the big neon lit record and sign. The World's Largest Bookstore is seconds away, almost as good as the second hand bookstores that lace Yonge St.

Even the homeless seem to smile a little more.

On bad days I can taste the waste. I notice the wind has disheveled my hair so that it looks more like a bad transvestite's wig. I can tune into the cat calls from the sleaze balls on the corner. Sneer at the drunk man who tells me I have a nice ass. Look away from the woman begging me for change. Curse my heels. Curse existence in general.

These days I want home. Residence smells. People talk too much. Journalism is a bunch of crock and I want my bed. Or five coffees.

Vancouver becomes this unattainable faraway land. As if it's somewhere where I'm always happy and it never rains.

But when you're in the right light so is the city.

Even the signs on the strip clubs add to Toronto's evening glow, and you know, you just know, that it will be alright. You've got 50 million night light's outside your window tonight.

toronto_night_merge_blog, originally uploaded by gill.