Sunday, January 29, 2012

Earl Grey In the Evening - Relaxation

In today's hectic world, our lives are constantly wrapped up in our day to day activities. We get up in the morning, get dressed, go to work for 7-8 hours, return home, cook dinner for loved ones or for ourselves then go to bed to start over the next day. Our lives are so caught up in activities that it is easy to forget to relax. Relaxation, in my own opinion, is necessary for any of us who have busy lives. It gives our minds and souls a much needed break, no matter the length. The great thing about relaxation is that it can take many forms. One of the ways I relax is by enjoying a cup of tea while reading a book in complete silence. If you are looking for ways to relax or wanting to try out new ideas for relaxation, here are some suggestions:

- take a walk through your neighbourhood or local park

- meditation

- a visit to a local art museum or gallery

- engaging in the lost art of letter writing to friends and loved ones

- taking a long hot bath

- doing a load of laundry (although it may sound weird, I have had many a relaxing time while doing this act!)

- trying out a new restaurant for lunch or dinner

- going for a swim at a pool, lake or ocean!

- Spring/Autumn Cleaning your abode

That's just a small sample of ways to relax, yet everyone is different in their ways to relax. What are your ideas?

. . . and this is your Earl Grey in the Evening!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Zen of Sponge

Yes, I will freely admit it.

I am a soon to be 38 year old woman who loves Spongebob Squarepants. If someone had told me years ago that I would not only love but own several seasons of this undersea cartoon, I would have checked their mental status. And yet, dear readers, I do so love the sponge. Years ago, I watched the cartoon every so often, asking myself questions like, "How can they cook hamburgers UNDERWATER?", or "Why is Gary meowing since he is the one animal I am terrified of?" In any case, I still watched the cartoon and chuckled at the hijinks of the happy go lucky sponge and his dumb yet well meaning starfish friend.
However, that all changed in 2009. Towards the end of the year, I had moved into a new apartment and immediately felt the whole "new apartment" tingles. I needed something to make me feel at home in my new home and Spongebob was just the right . . . sponge to do that. By this time, however, I felt more than just a case of the giggles. I UNDERSTOOD Spongebob.
One of my favourite books is The Tao of Pooh. Pooh takes things as they come to him in his Taoist life and flows with the river. So does Spongebob. Although Spongebob lives in a pineapple under the sea (why it doesn't turn moldy???), his life is simple: live, live, live. Nothing truly fazes him, for he simply takes matters as they are. Good things come to him because he does not allow annoying and petty matters to infiltrate his life, much like Squidward does (how can he play the clarinet underwater?).
Spongebob is now a firmly fixed part of my life (just ask my publisher or anyone else who has listened to one of my Bikini Bottom rants) and I for one am glad to have it. I have learned through this sponge to take life as it is and to just live (how can they CRY underwater?)

So, there you have it: a happy confession of a deep love with a not so deep sponge.

Okay, I do have one last question: how can they flush toilets underwater?? I even asked my mother that the other day. She did not have an answer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quotes from Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

"The Morgue is a show that anyone can afford, which poor and rich passers-by get for free. The door is open, anyone can come in. There are connoisseurs who go out of their way not to miss one of these spectacles of death. When the slabs are empty, people go out disappointed, robbed, muttering under their breath. When the slabs are well filled, and when there is a fine display of human flesh, the visitors crowd in, getting a cheap thrill, horrified, joking, applauding or whistling, as in the theatre, and go away contented, announcing that the Morgue has been a success that day."

"The bodies stayed throughout the night on the dining room floor, twisted, arched and lit by the streaks of yellowish light cast by the shade of the lamp. And for nearly twelve hours, until the following day around noon, Mme Raquin, silent and unmoving, stared at them where they lay at her feet, unable to have enough of the spectacle, crushing them with her merciless gaze."

This is a short yet powerful story of the extremes of love and the heavy price that must be paid. No one is a winner here, no one survives the horrible drama played out without a scar, be it physical, psychological or emotional. Emile Zola has shown us, the readers, to be careful what one wishes for, especially when it comes to unrequited love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quotes from Keep The Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

"You'll find it in Lempriere," he said obscurely.

"And in a way this job was what he wanted; at any rate, it was some thing near what he wanted. Down there in Lambeth, in winter, in the murky streets where the sepia-shadowed faces of tea-drunkards drifted through the mist, you had a submerged feeling. Down here you had no contact with money or with culture. No highbrow customers to whom you had to act the highbrow: no one who was capable of asking you, in that prying way that prosperous people have, "What are you, with your brains and education, doing in a job like this?" You were just part of the slum, and, like all slum-dwellers, taken for granted. The youths and girls and draggled middle-aged women who came to the library scarcely even spotted the fact that Gordon was an educated man. He was just "the bloke at the library," and practically one of themselves."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Word of the Day - SEDITION

Sedition -

1. incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.

2. any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.

"That was what his schoolmasters had done for him; they had rubbed it into him that he was a seditious little nuisance and not likely to "succeed" in life." - from the novel Keep The Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

Quotes from The Woman Destroyed by Simone De Beauvoir

"But I know that I shall move. The door will open slowly, and I shall see what there is behind the door. It is the future. The door to the future will open. Slowly. Unrelentingly. I am on the threshold. There is only this door and what is watching behind it. I am afraid. And I cannot call to anyone for help. I am afraid." - The Woman Destroyed

"Oh God. Let it be true that you exist. Let there be a heaven and a hell I'll stroll along the walks of Paradise with my little boy and my beloved daughter and they will all be writhing in the flames of envy I'll watch them roasting and howling I'll laugh I'll laugh and the children will laugh with me. You owe me this revenge, God. I insist that you grant it me." - The Monologue

"We are together: that is our good fortune. We shall help one another to live through this last adventure, this adventure from which we shall not come back. Will that make it bearable for us? I do not know. Let us hop so. We have no choice in the matter." - The Age of Discretion

I chose the final paragraphs as memorable quotes for the stories in this book because I felt that they powerfully represented the basis of each story. Each story contains a woman who has been wronged (or has she?) in some form and must make a choice, if indeed there is a choice to be made or if the choice in question is merely a figment of their degenerate imagination.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - The Year of The Creative

(La Grisette by Constantin Guys)

I want to begin 2012 with a poem - La Grisette by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

La Grisette

As Clemence! when I saw thee last
Trip down the Rue de Seine,
And turning, when thy form had past,
I said, 'We meet again,'--
I dreamed not in that idle glance
Thy latest image came,
And only left to memory's trance
A shadow and a name.

The few strange words my lips had taught
Thy timid voice to speak,
Their gentler signs, which often brought
Fresh roses to thy cheek,
The trailing of thy long loose hair
Bent o'er my couch of pain,
All, all returned, more sweet, more fair;
Oh, had we met again!

I walked where saint and virgin keep
The vigil lights of Heaven,
I knew that thou hadst woes to weep,
And sins to be forgiven;
I watched where Genevieve was laid,
I knelt by Mary's shrine,
Beside me low, soft voices prayed;
Alas! but where was thine?

And when the morning sun was bright,
When wind and wave were calm,
And flamed, in thousand-tinted light,
The rose of Notre Dame,
I wandered through the haunts of men,
From Boulevard to Quai,
Till, frowning o'er Saint Etienne,
The Pantheon's shadow lay.

In vain, in vain; we meet no more,
Nor dream what fates befall;
And long upon the stranger's shore
My voice on thee may call,
When years have clothed the line in moss
That tells thy name and days,
And withered, on thy simple cross,
The wreaths of Pere-la-Chaise!