Friday, February 20, 2009

Two, for tea.

I've cleaned the condo now, and can sit for another cup of tea. I even jotted down two super quick and awful drafts for poems, really very very bad, but that's how some of the best start out. So how about another entry while the kettle boils?

I'll soon be sipping on a cup of delightful Vanilla Plantation "Tea of Inspiration" from Silk Road, one of the two teas I picked up from victoria after the festival. This one has ceylon black tea, vanilla bean and essence. The other tea I bought is Velvet Potion "Tea of the Heavens" with black tea, raw cacao and nibs, vanilla beans, exotic spices, and essences. Neither of these tea are cheap or easily bought, so when I steep a cup, I am sure to use the recommended 1 teaspoon per 2 cups of water. I'm a bad tea steeper and usually try to stuff as much tea into the teaball as I can, spilling much of it on the counter, since the teaball is round... and not easily stuffed. I do this even though I know teas need room to unfurl to steep to their full potential... but I want my tea fast, and wouldn't more tea steep stronger faster? Apparently not.

My tea set has been shipped. The bf says it looks like a child's tea set. Which is funny because they do in fact sell a miniature child's size version of this same set. This one is called Tea's Me by Rosanna. Each cup is a slightly different style, and of course different colours. I love how whimsical it is, and yet still quite elegant. It might not be traditional china, but it's dishwasher safe, and something that could maybe become an heirloom... the regular stuff is just too plain for me!
Now to find the perfect tea cozy. And cake stand. And serving tray. And desert plates. And tea towels. And napkins. And napkin rings. And table cloth. And trivet. And tea tins. And tea spoons. And everything else.

At this point, I think my main reason for a wedding would be to register for gifts! Matching sets of everything... everything!

Everything must go with everything else. This is my neurosis. Well, one of them.

I owe you a blog! One lump or two?

I admit it. I play World of Warcraft. I am a total nerd. But this isn't totally anti-social though, cuz the bf plays too. And our computers are side by side, so... it's like we spend time together. I do it in kicks though. Right now I don't feel much like playing, so I don't feel terribly dorky. But those times when we spend all evening exploring Azeroth and defending the might of the Horde? Geek alert!

I like things to match. I like 'sets' of things. Even playing computer games, my characters' armour and weapons have to 'go', and it's even better when there are actual sets to collect, like in WoW and Diablo 1 and 2 (and when will 3 come out!?). I'll go out of my way to do this. At least in a virtual world it only costs time, but in real life (I go there sometimes too, honest!) it just costs money. Whoops.

In Ghent I found the perfect espresso set, not authentic to Belgium or Europe in anyway. It's made by a popular kitchen/dish company, apparently found everywhere. But every time I bring it out, I am reminded of my time there. It serves this purpose well. Since returning home though, I managed to find the matching creamers, stovetop espresso maker, and turkish coffee pot, which I actually use all the time to boil the perfect amount of water for a single cup of tea. It's pretty slow at this though, and the lid I tried to stick onto it to help it heat up faster exploded into a million little pieces one morning. I also stumbled upon matching coffee cups with handy stand, a coffee jar, travelmugs, big mugs with tea strainers... but I refrained from those! They didn't fit my personal theme, even if they matched in design. One must set limits!

I found the the perfect teapot. But they don't make it anymore. But then I found the second best one. And the matching teacups and saucers. And the matching creamer and sugar bowl...

For valentines day the bf went with me to the Victoria Tea Festival. It was a lot of fun! It was also incredibly crowded. I heard later that they ended up turning people away as they had reached capacity. It was awesome though. Especially since as soon as we walked in we were directed to a tea and chocolate tasting, yummy! That definitely set the tone for the rest of the day. Samples of green teas, white teas, black teas, oolong teas, roiboos, yerba mate, pastries of every kind; I was very nearly tea-ed out!

Once we had done a few circuits of the place, seen all there was to see, we headed out into town to see if we could find a few of the local stores whose booths we had enjoyed. I ended up buying a couple of very yummy smelling teas from The Silk Road, and plan on someday returning to Murchies if I ever decide whether or not I'd use the 'Libre', a cup/thermos for loose leaf teas 'on the go', often enough.

The best part of the festival: one small coupon. From the Empress. Omg, 2 for 1 afternoon tea! At 50 dollars a head, it's a steal. The bf has already called dibs; I think he's intrigued by the bubblegum tea we smelled!

I am very excited about teas.

I am very excited about having afternoon tea.

I am very excited about having a tea set.

I'd like to have a tea party someday.

There's a poem in this.

Yes, I've just been cat-vacuuming (definition: the writing done to avoid writing) but it's better then wasting time on WoW!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How does a chicken run, anyways?!

I run funny. Apparently. Watching me run seems to make people laugh, and while I've never seen a chicken run, others have, and well, they seem eager to make a comparison.

I'm not very well coordinated, especially in anything sports related. I can catch more balls with my face than with my hands.

I've never been in a pool warm enough for me to enjoy. And If I did, I think I'd be nervous. Especially if small children were present.

I'm incredibly self-conscious. There's nothing I hate more than to feel embarrassed.

I was going to go for a nice long walk yesterday after work to enjoy some sunshine, some fresh air, and a bit of exercise. Because, obviously I don't exercise much. And I'm feeling inspired to at least think about it more. But then it got really cold. And then it snowed. And then it rained. And then it got really windy. And then I think it got even colder. It took all I had in me just to make a short trip to the postoffice.

It's nonsense to feel that I need to wait until a poem is published in order to share it with more people. There's no poems on this blog though. Too many publishers feel that anything posted online anywhere can be considered 'previously published'. Most, if not all, literary magazines are only interested in purchasing first serial rights. But I like my poems, and I think others might too, so I've find another way to share them. On the sly! So hence the trip to the postoffice. No mass mail of submissions yet, though.

I'm off work tomorrow. Might start organizing submissions, so I'm all ready to go when my printer gets here. Or I might read a bit. A little part of me wants to give short fiction a go, and I've borrowed a big book of science fiction short stories from a friend. Time maybe to dive into it, since the best way to learn to write is to read. Or maybe if it's nice out I'll go for a walk. If no one is looking, maybe I'll even jog a wee bit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Buffalos and 'No's.

Grating cheese makes my arms very tired. Kraft does the job for me, and for that I feel a little ashamed.

A couple of nights ago the boyfriend cashed in one of his lasagna coupons, my gift to him for christmas. I made something extra special. Lasagna with bison, sun-dried tomato sauce, red peppers and red onions, all topped with Tex-mex cheese with jalapenos. And of course noodles, spinach and ricotta; no lasagna is complete without key ingredients. It was soooo good. I like bison. Maybe we can find a way to fit more buffalo into the budget.

I'll write a buffalo poem, I think. Or maybe a lasagna poem.

No writing for the rest of the week though. Three opening 8+ hour shifts to wrap this week up with. But I got a lot of writerliness done earlier in the week, so of course it's ok if I lay on the couch for the rest of the day watching taped episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras, my sick guilty pleasure. I also harbour a secret love of shows showcasing "half-ton people". They boggle my mind!

I have a project. Save all my pictures, writing, and music from my computer. Wipe my computer, and start all over again with it. Probably going to suck to do, updating drivers, downloading patches, etc. But maybe at the end of it all my computer will be happier and run better. It has... issues.

I'd like to get this done, hopefully before my special package arrives, and then installing it will just be the next step. My biggest fan has sent me a new printing set-up!

And then it'll be time to do another big submission. Lots of new stuff needs to be sent out, plus a few came back to me in the mail yesterday. Actually lots came back! All from one magazine, whose turnover time is half that of any other, and who lets you send in oodles of work at a time, so I appreciate them, even if they've yet to send a "yes, please! We can't get enough! Send us everything you have! Take this blank check, and... " well.. we all have our fantasies!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ekphrastic Fantastic!

I live in a one-bedroom condo with white carpets. We figured out, using math of all things(!), that excluding the downpayment and the year end lump sum someone throws onto the principle, I contribute to roughly 20% of the mortgage. (Is that how grammar should work in that last sentence? Oy, I can't even talk well english about this kind of stuff!) I haven't decided yet which part of this place I call dibs on. Probably not the carpets. Or any of the interior design for that matter. And especially not the stencilled flowers on the fireplace.

When I have a day off during the week, I tell the bf to make me get up with him, since he's got one of the 9-5 deals. If I sleep in I feel as if too much of the day was wasted. But I don't always get up, I tell him that I am getting up, just slowly, that I'll leap out of bed once he's out the door, honest! But that doesn't always happen. Even with the lights left on... I can still sneak in a couple extra hours. I got up this morning. Yesterday I didn't.

Sometimes I forget to turn the stove on. Sometimes a cup of tea takes longer to make than it should.

Ekphrastic poetry. I stumbled onto this one at some point this morning, but it was early so I haven't a clue how I came upon it. It is poetry inspired by art, whether it be a painting, music, architecture, etc. It gives the poet an opportunity to explore the visual language of the art, or simply play with the inherent narrative. I'm actually pretty sure it was brought up at some point in one of my classes, so maybe this was just a bit of a refresher for me, but it struck me as something I should give a go. I minored in visual art, and while I can't paint much in my present situation and haven't got access to a printmaking studio and never cared much for drawing anyways, this could be a good way to keep my fingers in the fingerpaint.

I'm always looking for things to write about. I'm young still, so maybe that's why I don't have much to write about, like in a personal experience kind of way. A lot of the poets I admire have kids,travel, family drama, or just a really long life to draw from. I have the animal poems for whenever I get stuck, and now I'll make use of ekphrastic poetry, and put this monstrous art history text to some use. And get out more to see some galleries. I never do. I'm shy like that.

So I wrote this morning a poem, The Twittering Machine, inspired by, of all things, Paul Klee's Die Zwitscher-Maschine. It turned out very well, and very quickly, and actually revealed more of Klee's work in the process. In putting to words his imagery, a painting (or is it considered a drawing?) that at first glance has a lot of whimsy to it, a dark side appeared. In the poem is born a sense of cruelty that lays roughly concealed in the visual piece. It's neat how one of my favourite art works can continue to change and grow, just by looking at from a different perspective. It happened before too when I used his piece to inspire a painting of my own for an Arts and Culture class, but that was more of an exploration of his use of naive, primitive, and children's art.

Connect the dots now. Children can be so cruel...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of ink, money, and earshot.

Our condo came with a complete set of furniture. So did I.

My printer is out of ink. Again. My printer uses cartridges which, according to something I read somewhere online, so it has to be true, contain only a teaspoon of ink, a very expensive teaspoon of ink. My printer spends a vast amount of time sucked dry. In fact, my entire last year of university, being too poor to afford this solid gold ink for my own printer, was spent constantly converting files written on a pc using WordPerfect to be read by a mac, emailing them to myself, running upstairs to my mother's computer, waiting to receive the email, running back downstairs and emailing again having sent the unconverted file, running upstairs to my mother's computer, waiting to receive the email, running back downstairs and emailing again having forgotten to attach any file, running upstairs to my mother's computer, and printing them off her mac using a wireless and finicky contraption of a printer. But it always had ink. And the fact that it worked without wires now appeals to me, seeing as how, in order to attach my printer to my computer, wires end up strung across the kitchen door, and over top of my bf's computer. It's just the way all this furniture fits. So in order to print anything I use a USB powered cup warmer, which happens to have a very long wire and multiple USB plugging in-able holes, as a handy extension cord to string across the room, as the printer's own cord, of course, isn't long enough.

I managed to print off a few finished poems the other day, leaving the iffy one to be further worked on. One of those printed though has fairly faded ink, and the perfectionist in me cringes and wants to reprint it once I've gotten some more ink, while the poverty stricken poet in me cringes at the idea of replacing something that isn't completely broken.

No, I won't let us cave in to peer pressure and purchase a new, big, flat-screen tv. The small boxy one we have still works. And if it stopped working, we have the older, smaller (and thus slightly less boxy?) tv from the bedroom we could bring out.

I really need a teapot. Making tea one cup at a time, it's just not efficient.

I printed those few poems, and on arranging them onto the clipboard, reread an older poem, Godspeak, which had been inspired by a poem that originated as an in-class exercise. I immediately jumped onto the computer, brought up the old file and went wild. It was just one of those moments. Perhaps the longer a poem sits, the more chance the weaker images and words have to stagnate, and the easier it is to then sniff them out. Some pruning allowed an opportunity to show within the piece, and following up on this really clarified the work. I'm very happy with it now, and after bringing out the index card with its name on it, I can see that I wasn't before; it has never been sent out anywhere.

Perhaps most striking about this was that it was a moment when I was able to write in the evening, with the bf at home. It was still a struggle of course, but not completely impossible. Most important I think was that there wasn't a lot of time where I had to let my mind wander, the writing involved was very goal oriented. The biggest challenge of writing when he's home is how to politely, and without hurting his feelings, tell him to shut up. And then of course, since he's male, he needs to be reminded, constantly, that you've asked him to not talk. Their memory... it's not fantastic, coupled with the serious hearing disabilities inherent with the y chromosome...