February 28, 2003

To Do in One Lifetime

crown of thorns flowers

crown of thorns (flowers)

I was inspired by this list to finally sit down and figure out my own list*. Mine is a life list though, not a year list. I'm sure there are lots of other things I would love to do, I just don't know about them yet.

*The list is subject to change or additions at any time.

  • Learn to speak Spanish (Mexican) fluently
  • Get driver's license
  • Learn to make a steel drum
  • Use that bag of scary doll parts
  • Visit Dominica. See where my grandmother is from.
  • Learn mycology (knowledgeable enough to pick my own wild mushrooms and eat them)
  • Visit a cacao farm. Eat fresh from the pod.
  • Find half sibling(s)
  • Buy a house with a yard and at least one tree
  • Raise chickens
  • Write and have published a full-colour, pretty pictures gardening book. Preferably by Chronicle Books or some such publisher that places value on the design and presentation of their books.
  • Collect sap for maple syrup
  • Pay off my insanely high student loan debt
  • Live on or near the ocean -- just about any ocean
  • Move to a warmer climate where I can grow either desert plants or epiphytic plants (tillandsia, orchids, staghorn ferns) outside... year round. I'll take dry or humid, just as long as it's warm without a snowy winter or temperatures dropping below freezing.
  • Heal my body (ongoing)
  • Get my Nepenthes to pitcher
  • Grow a cactus pear and then eat it
  • Participate in a community garden project
  • Make a film (even a short one)
  • Go on a botanical tour somewhere (probably Oaxaca, Mexico) with a bunch of plant people I can geek out with. Take pictures.
  • Visit a palenque (didn't do that on our last trip to Oaxaca) See mezcal being made.
  • Learn to scuba dive
  • Design a line of textiles
  • See carnivorous plants growing in the wild
Posted by Gayla at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2003

Oh Happy Day

Oh happy day. I have been trying unsuccessfully for a month to get a hold of a bottle of Natren Megadophilus (also called Superdophilus). I can't stress the importance of this product in my life. This little bottle of acidophilus is absolutely necessary for my body to heal itself.

The sad thing is that this product is not readily available in my city. I live in a major city so it's not a population issue. Normally I just have it shipped from the U.S but this month customs decided to screw me over. First I ordered it via a large, local healthfood store. I even ordered two bottles for good measure. Then I waited, and I waited. And my existing stock depleted two by two by two until there was none. The store said they didn't know what was going on. Problems at the border. Something to do with a lack of bilingualism on the packaging. I respect and understand the importance of bilingual packaging in a bilingual country, but the fact that customs would deny me my fucking medicine over that is insane.

Then I ordered it via my healthcare practitioner which due to shipping and exchange rates comes out to about 20+ dollars more. And I waited. And it didn't arrive and I still don't know why. Probably the same issue even though they were careful to specially label for customs stressing the urgency of the situation -- that I must have this product for health reasons.

Now I was getting desperate. Well thanks to Lauren who hooked me up with a Canadian company in B.C who can ship to me directly (thus avoiding further border hassles), I was able to place an order for two bottles today!

Then less then an hour later, Mr. Risk managed to somehow find a small bottle at our local healthfood store. That's some kind of small miracle really as NO ONE carries this stuff. It came with two other small bottles of products I will never use and cost a small fortune, but at least I got my hands on an actual bottle.

Then an hour later, my long overdue herbs arrived via FedEx! If anyone would have predicted that one day my happiness and excitment level would rely on a bottle of acidophilus and some herbs...

Posted by Gayla at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

A Hard Pill to Swallow

Little Pink Pill  Drawn in 1993

First thing this morning I felt strangely compelled to listen to Heart's "Dreamboat Annie" [watch the sound on that link]. Well it's not an unusual compulsion for me, just strange that I thought of it this morning.

Listening to the album compelled me to go through some old papers and junk. Nostalgia. While looking at an old zine I did with a friend when I was 20 years old, I found an article I wrote about how much I hate the birth control pill.

    "I've begun to realize that women (including myself) are too unaware of the workings of our body. I'm mis-informed about a lot of things because I've always relied on doctors to tell me whether I'm okay or not."

How screwy that nearly ten years later I have revisited these concepts in a more extreme way. How pathetic that I wrote those words, but did nothing about it. I did quit the pill, but I continued for years to remain complacent when doctors and specialists told me everything was fine with my body despite the increasingly strange symptoms that only progressed as I aged. The pill didn't make me sick on its own, but it was another thing along the way that contributed to my body breaking down.

It just floors me that the older I get, the more I realise that I haven't learned any NEW life lessons, I've just learned them in a different way -- a way that encourages me to act on my behalf rather than just think about it. There are different kinds of understanding. Sure I wrote those words ten years ago, but I didn't really understand how important they were or would become.

Posted by Gayla at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2003

Your Name Immortalized

An aloe with a name scratched into it.  Allan Gardens Greenhouse

Carving into a cactus or succulent never even occured to me until I saw one like this years ago on our first trip to Mexico. I love discovering things like that -- cultural differences that are based on geography.

One time, when we climbed to the top of a pyramid at Monte Alban, I was sort of crawling low to the ground trying to find a safe place to flop down due to exhaustion caused by fear (I'm afraid of heights), thin air (we were on top of a large pyramid on top of a mountain) and hot sun. While I was crawling about I discovered a very small agave with the name "Eduardo" scratched into a leaf. How odd that someone would immortalize themself in such a small, unseen place. How lucky that I was down on the ground and able to discover it.

It looks like I'm going to go to Florida next month. We're going to be presenting our work and jurorying (is that a word?) the work of design students at a University, and then we'll stay a few extra days for some relaxation in the sun. Now I am not a Florida fan and honestly never saw myself going anywhere in the state except maybe the Keys, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited about visting a new ecosystem and possibly seeing some carnivourous plants, or hell, any flora or fauna really -- unless they're shirtless and have a beer in each hand. Oh and I plan to make every effort to get to a large body of water whether it be the Atlantic Ocean or The Gulf of Mexico. I need it. I didn't realise how much I needed it until the possibility presented itself.

Posted by Gayla at 05:40 PM | Comments (2)

February 22, 2003

King of Kensington


"When he walks down the street
He smiles at everyone.
Everyone that he meets
Calls him 'King of Kensington'.

He says helping people always brings him luck
But his mother tells a slightly different story
He's the only king around without a buck.

He's a man among men, the people's champion
And when destiny calls him
He's King of Kensington"

And that's where it ends. We can't remember any more lyrics.

You too can take your photo with Al at the park in Kensington Market.

The other King of Kensington

Posted by Gayla at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2003

Mall Rage


some mean aloe

Went to the mall earlier this evening to pick up a pack of 90 minute blank cassette tapes. Yes I still use cassettes.

Bad mistake.

I was waiting in line... my back was sore (I'd been lugging around a giant bag of orchid soil), my stomach was rumbling, my mouth was parched, my bladder was acting up, and I was completely malled out.

It's the murmur. Malls have a certain noise caused by all the sounds mixing together combined with bad acoustics. Plus there's no air and the fluorescents are deadly. I have a low mall tolerance.

Anyway, there was only one cashier on and as a result the line was fairly long. But I was coming up next. Magically a new till opened up, and following what I believe to be Standard Department Store Etiquette, I made my way to the new cashier at a normal pace to claim what I assumed would be first place in line. Well this guy a few people behind me BOLTS for the new cashier like it's some crazy race. I mean he's literally running and his female companion, who's in heels and super tight pants is tripping over herself to keep up. Being totally fed up I blurt out "Oh come ON. Give me a break."

It just escaped from my mouth. I almost never freak out at strangers. I'm not entirely timid, but I'm not super snarky either. Okay except one time, years ago, in one of the worst working environments ever, when I stood up and yelled "Fuck!" at a particularly annoying co-worker. And another time when the worst hosting company ever was giving me the total run-around. I have a breaking point.

Anyways, at least the guy backed off and gave me my rightful place in line. But I was pretty embarrassed about succumbing to mall rage like that.

Posted by Gayla at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2003

Show and Tell Music

Billy Graham Flexidisk

As predicted, we didn't get far with yesterday's alphabetical music project. In fact we only made it to 'c' and that includes skipping through many albums. I did however rediscover "Sandinista" and "Black Market Clash" by The Clash.

Cleaning out my inbox, I came across a link to an online gallery of album covers that is just plain awesome. My favourite gallery is probably the Christian album covers -- especially the albums that are both anti-drug and christian. Whomever designed this christian album was on drugs, this one involved some bad drugs, and this one makes drugs very appealing. This one reminds me of my grandmother (who used to scare the shit out of us with stories of satanic possession)... and the Exorcist. Please do not listen to the attached mp3 under the influence of drugs of any kind unless you want to be damaged for life.

My brother used to have this cover.

Albums I have in my collection:

A' La Carte (Music for Cooking with Gas) - My most loved of all.
Organ Music
The IN Sound From Way Out
The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman
Spotlight on the MOOG Kaleidoscopic Vibrations
Elektrik Cokernut - has a crazy version of 'popcorn'
Mallet Mischief
Fire Goddess
Futura - All the Stereo Action albums have the most awesome die-cuts.
Per-cus'-sive Jazz
Parakeet Training Record

Posted by Gayla at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2003

Nina Box Set & All Albums Alphabetically


I have no idea how long this has been out, but I just found it yesterday. It's a cd box set containing all of the albums Nina Simone recorded with Colpix (1959-1964). Now technically I don't NEED this. I'd prefer to get these albums on vinyl. But I'm a bit of a sucker for THE BOX SET. There's something about having a bunch of albums (or cds) neatly packaged in a fancy box. The box design is kind of blah though so in this case I'm not getting sucked in by the packaging which is my usual problem. Here's the track listing.

This morning as I sat down to work, I once again faced another recent dilemma -- what to listen to? There are zillions of albums sitting here all nicely alphabetized on shelves and for the last six months I have been struggling to choose one to place on the turntable (or cd player). I don't work alone, but no one else seems to be of much help either. I'm in a bit of a music funk. Lately I play and replay a mixed cd a friend gave me so much that the music started making an appearance as the soundtrack in my dreams. It's time to take that one off of massive circulation.

So this morning I got the bright idea that we should force ourselves to go through all the albums alphabetically. That way we'd be sure to listen to something we haven't heard in ages -- maybe even rediscover something. So I went to the first album to see what I was getting myself into. It turned out to be Autechre. Not what I had in mind. Stumped before the first album even made it to the turntable. It's not that I don't like Autechre, it's that it wasn't what I wanted to listen to first thing in the morning. I needed "get-working" music.

We listened to all of side one of the Autechre album. Then I looked at the next album; another Autechre. Then the next was Antietam "Music From Elba". Damnit there is nothing in the A's that I want to listen to! Then I discovered that by my rules I would have to listen to six ABBA albums in a row. Forget it. The new rule is that we go through each record, but only play the ones we want to. I could have put on Chet Atkins or even Biz Markie, but in the end I jumped straight ahead to Burt Bacharach's "Living Together" because I wanted to hear "Something Big" which is nice and peppy for the morning. But good lord, get past that song and the album starts to stink.

The problem with this whole idea is that we have to continuously get up to change albums after that one good song is played or else suffer the torture of the other songs. I predict we'll be done with this idea by lunch.

Posted by Gayla at 10:40 AM | Comments (2)

February 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Mr. Risk


The Super88 (taken with PocketDV)

Yesterday was the 34th birthday of my best friend and work/life partner. In celebration I whipped up a delicious white leek and wild mushroom ravioli (made of spelt flour) with a fire roasted tomato sauce. It was tastey and only the dough was made with the benefit of a recipe.

Hard to believe he is a whole ten years older than when we first got together -- and so am I for that matter! Only the grey hairs and maybe a bit of added wisdom betray the time that has passed. We're still kids really. But like... smarter, more mature kids.

Posted by Gayla at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2003

Only Just Begun...


aloe bark

I finally got this site up and running after weeks of never having the time. I've kept it really simple and minimal for now. I figure it will evolve as I get a handle on where I'm going with this.

The hilarious thing is I had lots of ideas during the last few weeks -- which was giving me the push to find some spare time to get this started. But now that I've got it going, I completely forget what those ideas were. This is very typical of my head-space lately. If it's not written down, it's gone forever.

Posted by Gayla at 10:00 PM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2003

The "R" Pole

taken with Pocket DV

Posted by Gayla at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)