Sunday, March 12, 2006

I heart Carol

There's something about Carol Shields' books that I love so much. Perhaps it's because of the things she writes about in the books are things I like or am familiar - quilting, and sewing, gardening, literature, academia. I'm currently re-reading Happenstance where the wife, Brenda, goes to Philladelphia for a Craft Conference and shows off her quilts. Possibly, it's just a continuation of my current desire to get back into making things, but her writing also illuminates many of the things I am drawn to. The way she talks about the fabric and shapes of the pieces in her quilts, or the connection to her stitches. Apart from the crafty-talk, there's the way this woman examines past experiences, her doubts and confusion, her body, her desires... I feel like I'm coming home when I open one of her books.

Larry's Party is one of my favourite books as well, the way she writes about his connection to the landscape, and his mindful musings on his garden mazes. So beautiful. It's funny, but as I think right now, I don't often read books where the protaganist is male, but I love Larry (even though he's such a loser in so many ways), and I love Jack in the other half of Happenstance (kind of two novels in one). They are so vulnerable, so bewildered, and so tender while also being everything else. I love that. I love the "awakenings" that the characters have as well - they are so human, and so beautiful. It's often just a moment, or an understanding, usually something small, that triggers a wonderful awareness in the characters. Even though they continue with their lives, often continuing in much the same way, they are different, often happier. When I think back to the characters after I've put the books down, I can't help but smile and think of the tenderness of life, how confusing and disruptive and changing and painful and beautiful it all is.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Holy house!

Well, it turns out we have a bit of a holey house. Litterally, with holes in it, in addition to the temple-like qualities I think it has. We moved into the house last June, so this was our first winter in the house. I was in the bathroom the other day and looked to my right to see the latex paint we just painted a month ago, litterally sliding down the wall! There was a bubble of water behind it, and it was bubbling the paint, and moving slowly down. Cool to look at, not so cool to deal with. The water must be getting in under the outside window sill. In the basement, too, there is a hole where a cable comes into the basement. Who would drill a hole into their foundation? Shouldn't the cable come in above ground, then go down? Oh well, so there's water coming in there too. Neither leak is too big right now (not flooding the floor or anything), but with the very warm tempuratures and the snow all melting, it will keep leaking for a while.

I'm not too worried about the holiness, as it will give us the chance to do more basic house work, as soon as it warms up. We'll learn how to fix the foundation from the outside, and learn to caulk all the windows properly, and make everything tight and dry. My husband's a good diy drywaller, so the wall in the bathroom, although annoying to have to redo, will, I'm sure look great :)

We went to kung fu this morning, all decked out in our new white beginner sashes. For the first month or two, we were called "basics", with no sash at all. So now, we feel like we've made some progress and are starting to feel more comfortable with some of the easier moves. We've noticed a change in our bodies, as well. Not huge, like insta-hot-bods but definitely a progress in the amount of pushups (50 today!) or situps or anything. Also, I've noticed a difference in the strength of my punches too. We started taking the classes as a way to do an active activity together, so we were spending time doing something together, as well as getting fit. Both are working out great! I never thought I'd see my husband doing jumping jacks but there you go. His biseps are beefing up totally too, which is very hot :) Ok, I'll stop talking like a damsel with fluttering eyelids :)

I like the self-defence aspect of this type of kung-fu we're taking. It's basically a new-wave wing chung style (like Bruce Lee did) mixed with boxing and kick-boxing, and some basic aerobics and weight training (mostly using your own body weight). We do lots of stretchy warmups and breathing techniques and then spend most of the class learning combat techniques, and then spend the last 10 or so minutes on super intense pushing your self weight-training/aerobically style activities (called stations which you do for a couple of minutes at a time) like squats or pushups or situps or single leg stands, or medicine ball drills or ... Crazy, but fun - they blast the music and everyone pumps out there max. The school really pushes you while at the same time, doesn't over extend anyone past their capabilities. Nobody's counting to make sure you're keeping up. If you get tired, you stop, and then try again when you can. Everyone is open and friendly, anyone who knows more than the partner they have for that session ALWAYS helps out and teaches and encourages. It's quite a community.

The whole class has been really good for me. It's pushed me to feel and do and acknowledge things I didn't know about myself. Like how far my body will support me, how little some muscles have been worked throughout my life, how flexible I am in some ways, and rigid in others, how excited I am about progressing and feeling my body getting stronger and stronger, how much an actual warrior I really am, and how I've never let that side of myself show. Well, that's not true as I think I've always been pretty "fiesty" but I mean in a centred and controlled way, from a place that comes from inner strength as well as muscular strength.

In other news, the house is cleaning up nicely. I know I've been talking about cleaning it for ages now, but since we spent two hours in the car each day commuting, and have lots of after work activites, there isn't that much time for housework. The main floor is definitely shaping up. Oh! Our new couch was delivered yesterday. Omigod it's like sitting on a block of creamy butta. So creamy and soft and comfy. Definitely a thing of beauty.

Have a great weekend!!