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Today I noticed...

May 26, 2016

Today I noticed - the kinda cute dude at the coffee shop?

I say kinda because I can’t decide what I think is attractive about him and from that, if I like him or not. There are already several behaviours and character traits that I don’t like. For example, he’s too chatty. Like he’s chatting up the serving staff - or maybe that means he’s friendly? His eyes are certainly bright.

I actually noticed him two weeks ago. Or was it last week? Time is a bit blurry right now because classes are over and I’ve just been marking and sending e-mails back and forth with students who claim they didn’t realize they were plagiarizing that 1500 word essay.

Well I can say that it was after we had been out to Agrikol. Agrikol is a new Haitian restaurant in town opened up by members of Arcade Fire. As a matter of fact, that’s what he was chatting to the server about when I noticed him at the coffee shop. Again, I am on the fence about this - is this some wanna be hipster type schmo who just has to mention the new hot restaurant in town as he scrolls through his whatever feed on his phone? Or is it just someone hip to what’s happening and curious to try something new? Is this guy a total douche or just up on things?

Maybe the reason I noticed him today is because he noticed me too - I noticed. Later, after he was chatting with the servers about this new restaurant he wanted to try, I had offered - “The place is very beautiful on the inside, I was there for diner just last night”. In my head I’m thinking - Does this make me the poser? The truth was, I really didn’t know that my girlfriend had invited us all out to the newest hot spot in town until she mentioned it was a big deal to me in the car on the way there. I am one of the most clueless cool kids on the block when it comes to this sort of stuff. He glanced over at me “Yeah, I’ve heard it has a great vibe”. I pointed out that the menu was really nothing to write home about and he said “yeah, it’s the type of place you go to for the vibe”.

Douchey - right!?

But then as I was leaving the cafe that day, he was petting my 9 year old cockapoo Apricot. For a brief moment I thought - sweet. I like people who like dogs. So today when he was crossing the street I saw him on the periphery,he was heading towards the cafe and I noticed that he also noticed me.

May 27th, 2016

Today I noticed the lilac tree at the end of my street.

It’s the street that leads to my daughter’s school and I pass this lilac tree each morning on my way home from walking her. This tree is now in full bloom and it looks and smells wonderful. Like sweet honey mixed with vivid memories. Memories of my mother who always loved lilacs and planted them in the backyard of the house that we lived in on South Park street. We also planted a lilac together when she was then moved to the states, long after my childhood, in the yard at her home in West Stockbridge. I took my daughter to see that house last summer, we looked for the lilac tree in vain. I was too nervous to stay in the new owner’s backyard for fear of trespassing - no one was at home.

This lilac tree has been in bloom for almost a full week now as have so many others I’ve passed on my walks through the city on errands, usually with the dog. The scent of lilac blooms seems to have blanketed the city, mixed in with other sweet floral fragrances and the occasional whif of urine. I keep reminding myself to get up either very early or stay up very late so that I can sneak around and cut bunches of the blooms for my table. Then that little voice pipes up - that would be stealing, you shouldn’t do that.

A woman who I don’t know personally but who I am facebook friends with had posted a photo of a cutting of lilacs in a little jar on her dining room table just yesterday. She had written a caption something like “simple pleasures” or “bring nature into your space” or something new agey/vegan/hippy like that. She’d added the hashtags #lilac, #springtime and #sopretty to her posted image. She is a nutritionist. A plant based dietition with her own consultancy where she would come and cook for you. Was she advocating blossom theft? I wondered.

You can’t buy lilacs from the florists around here. For some reason they don’t carry them. They have tulips at this time of the year - $10 a bunch, $8 if you get them from the grocery store. Are the florists blossom theives? Blossom theives who profit? Why were some of their flowers so much more valued than others I asked myself. Surely lilacs would be a hot item, after all, they only seem to bloom a few times a year.

May 28, 2016

Today I noticed my daughter giving me a sideways glance at what I was wearing.

It’s a very, very hot day and I am wearing a one piece shorts jumper.

“What’s up? You don’t like my outfit?” I asked.

“Well you are a mother”.

Not “well, you are my mother” or “well, yeah, for a mother” but “well, you (it would be wise to remember) are a mother”. I shook my head.

“Did you just shame me for my clothing choice? Do I embarass you?”

“Kinda”

I couldn’t believe it. I had been duly warned that teenage girls could be embarrased by their parents, their moms especially, but I wasn’t quite prepared. You never think these landmark cliches apply to you. I promptly changed my outfit to another, darker version of basically the same thing.

“How’s this? Better?” I only got a raised eyebrow in response. “Why am I even listening to you?” I said. “I am very cool you know.” I wasn’t sure I believed my own words. I had been cool, very cool, in my 20’s and maybe even in my 30’s but now that I was entering midlife, I wasn’t so sure. I mean by definition, to her and her friends and anyone else younger than 22, I was most definitely not cool. As I grabbed the dog’s leash and laced up my sneakers to head out the door, she whispered “ And mom, those white sneakers, I mean c’mon.” I gave her my most defeated/hurt look of disbelief.

“These sneakers are cool, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.”

“You’re right mom, I’m just kidding.”

I wasn’t convinced. A few hours later, I called her to check in. In passing I said, “you know there are about 20 women out and about today who are dressed pretty much the same way I am.” I couldn’t resist, I always let myself get sucked in. 

“Yeah mom, I know.”

May 30, 2016

Today I noticed that I am often lonely.

I hate to admit this. I am lonely most of the time.

I did some yoga yesterday and it was very intense. I’ve heard stories from other people that they burst into tears in the middle of a yoga class. This (thank god) has never happened to me. It has occasionally happened when I was already upset about something and in the process of doing my home yoga practice, I might cry about it.

This was totally different and has only happened to me once or twice before in my life at times of major crisis - like when I’ve broken up with long-term boyfriends or when someone I had loved has died.

Last night when I was trying to fall asleep I was rocked by a tsunami of emotion. I cried, nee sobbed for a long time. I cried about my mother leaving me when I was just a kid and moving far away with my sister. Then I cried about my own child disappearing into a teenager right under my nose. When had this happened? Where did that little girl go?

I forced myself to call her to mind, the same way I forced memories of my dead friend after her memorial. Why can’t I remember her? It was as if whole chunks of my life had evaporated again and I struggled to bring them back to my mind. I could only get little snippets - here and there. It was terrible and heartbreaking.

I am sure this was a result of the yoga I had practised earlier in the day. The day’s mantra on the video had been “I release” but sadly, I found it too painful to let go.

May 31, 2016

Today I noticed that you can make a story out of anything.

I was thinking about this writing exercise and feeling a little forced, a little uninspired. I was in the middle of sweeping my kitchen floor in fact and thinking to myself - oh how nice it would be if while sweeping up I noticed something. A beautiful sparkling diamond came to mind. It must be the subliminal magazine advertising working it’s magic on my subconscious. Or my wishful thinking. Let’s just say a dead animal didn’t easily come to mind.

Anyway - how great to actually find a diamond while sweeping the floor...the story itself could start out along the lines of “Today I noticed something catch the light between the stove and the base of the kitchen counter, when I stooped down to reach for it, I saw it was a beautiful diamond...”

This of course would, if it happened in real life, or in the story, lead to a potential search for who this diamond might belong to. I would follow an adventurous path of discovery by pursuing the mystery. My great curiosity getting the better of me.

Maybe it would belong to a young (and yes, handsome) doctor who had planned to propose to his lovely graphic designer girlfriend who he came home to find necking with her running coach in the kitchen only to storm out flinging the ring across the kitchen counter, the stone flying loose, lost until now.

Maybe it would belong to an old jewish diamond jeweler who had lived in the apartment...

Or an old couple that might have been living there since prohibition...

Or even something better than that.

June 3, 2016

Today I noticed that I don’t like the effects drinking has on me.

It makes me feel really awful. Sometimes this manifests as rage and at other times, it’s just very depressive. I’ve always had a problem with the way alcohol makes me feel and yet I still drink it. I drink it because I am funnier when I do. I am charming and I know the right things to say. I entertain. I am witty. I drink it because I want to, it feels good at first. I drink it because I want to be a part of the gang. When I was younger I got a lot of compliments on how much I could drink. I wore this tolerance like an ability, like a badge of honour. It made me cool. It made me feel cool.

Everything social seems to involve drinking in my world, in this world. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to stop. After a hot summer evening out with friends, I went to bed after having had two drinks. My dreams were violent, rage filled nighmares. I woke up in a sweat. I couldn’t take it, I don’t want this anymore, I thought quietly to myself in the earie light of the breaking dawn.

Now determined to stop, when I met my friend for oysters. I told her what alcohol makes me feel like. She advised “Are you sure? I think it just depends what you drink.” By the end of the conversation I had ordered a glass of wine. I didn’t want to let her down. In that moment, pleasing her meant more to me than, well - me. I am weak, I thought to myself.

I still hate the way it makes me feel. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try to stop again tomorrow.

June 7, 2016

Today I noticed how good I felt on my run.

That’s not to say that there weren’t moments when I didn’t feel very good on it. Running is hard most of the time, and at least a portion of every run I do is hard.

It’s hard mentally - with thoughts of defeat creeping in at every turn. One trick is to focus on the next step and at other times it helps to imagine finishing. Sometimes I think I will injure myself running and I am worried about every footfall as I imagine rolling on my ankle and tumbling to the dirt. At other times I imagine I am having a heart attack or that I might throw up - then I remind myself it’s just indigestion.

I can’t run after eating. Ever.

It’s hard physically - not necessarily at the time but often after a run. My knees burn when I bend them, my shins scream. Often near the end of a long run my hip begins to ache, on other runs it’s my lower back. The other day I gave myself a nasty blister that stung and swelled.

So noticing that I felt good on my run today is no small experience, rather the opposite, it is grand.

Today I noticed that I felt strong and alive and I revelled in the beauty of the day.

June 20, 2016

Today I noticed how quickly time can pass

Sometimes this is a phenomenon that happens while time is passing as in - holy shit I don’t have enough time to get to the meeting I have to get too! and other times it applies to the passage of time as in - holy shit where did this month/year/ decade go?

The old adage “time flies when you’re having fun” probably most aptly applies here. This month has been a return to friendships and leisure activities outdoors with the onset of long summer evenings and bright mornings. This, you would think, might elongate the days - stretching out the dog days of summer but I’ve managed to fill my time with parties and picnics and lovely walks and runs in the hills.

I cherish the hours of peaceful reading in the morning and lingering swims post supper at the local pool. The dog and I playfully carouse in the neighborhood meeting new friends and rekindling ties to familiar ones. I’ve been making it a point to visit coffee shops I normally rush past without noticing during the school year. The staff are all so friendly and I don’t even mind the tourists grasping with their french to place orders. The trees are lush and everyone is in such a good mood.

Oh summer, don’t pass so fast. Slow down and stay awhile.

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