March 31, 2005



Posted by Gayla at 09:21 PM

New Edwin Hotel


New Edwin Hotel
Taken with The Lady Diana

I'm having a hard time writing here lately. Okay, as an aside I just have to acknowledge that this is a really common tactic for me. I will say, "I don't have anything to say" and then launch into a long-winded diatribe about something.

Anyway, I can't deny the fact that a lot of people are reading this including my estranged mother. I have never included my name anywhere on this site but it is still coming up as the number one site when a search for my name is done on Google, despite the fact that I have other much busier, more trafficked sites that include my name all over the place. Plus several people have contacted me regarding work-related stuff via the contact page on this site and that just freaks me out.

I知 a little bit scrambled about this right now. Fuck.

I started this site because I needed a creative outlet to explore other sides of my identity that weren't being acknowledged by other endeavors. I have never been able to keep a paper journal; in fact I hate writing on paper period (writing hands can't keep up with brain), so something computer-based made sense. I also felt it was important for this thing to be public because one of the problems I have that makes me feel most strangled and conflicted has to do with feeling a sense of shame about the parts that make me most human.

In the beginning I tried to ease into this thing I had started, whatever it was, by keeping my name off the site and avoiding links to and from my other projects. But as time went on I felt a sense of pride about what I was making and didn't want to hide it or who I was. I also saw that keeping a separation between my various parts was a form of control that negated any attempt at being a whole and balanced person. I want people to see the whole me but then I want to control that because it makes me feel vulnerable. Oh man, that conflict between shame and pride is a huge one for me. I'm a smart person and I can grasp the complexities of these things on an intellectual level, but the feelings that go with it are a struggle.

It's funny to me how much I notice, despite all this work towards achieving wholeness that I am still trying to choose a side. I can understand greyness and complexity, but am shocked by how much pressure I feel in a culture that assumes the black and white of every issue. Pick an identity and stick with it. Which side is more me? I know the answer is that they all are but still... lately I can't seem to shake the feeling that being all at once is too much. Too much for whom?

Posted by Gayla at 12:30 PM

March 30, 2005



Davin on the Beach
Taken with Broken Lubitel

Another from the broken Lubitel. Can you believe I took this photo two summers ago? That's how long I had film in this camera. Sad.

Well folks, I'm still sick. I'm working but trying to maintain a relaxed pace since I wear out easily. I was thoroughly exhausted by 5:00 yesterday and had to cancel a scheduled phone interview. I had an epiphany yesterday afternoon that if I don't start saying "no", or at the very least "later" to stuff I'm never going to get better and will be thoroughly screwed.

I got to go outside yesterday for a short walk. The walk knocked me out but was also very refreshing. While I still maintain the somewhat negative position that "It always snows at least once in April." spring is indeed on the way. I saw snowdrops just about to open and got so excited that I got my favourite jeans dirty kneeling on a stranger's wet lawn in an attempt to capture them with an i-zone camera. The film is super old and i-zone pics are super tiny so it was a bit of a wasted effort. I also noticed that my favourite under-a-tree-bulb-garden is showing signs of activity. I often wonder if I freaked out the owners of that home last year (they have cameras in front) since I practically stalked the garden during the months it was blooming. I stopped there twice weekly to take photos of the evolving bulb display and went completely mad with cameras when the magnolia tree blossomed. I'm already making plans and readying my cameras in preparation for this year's display.

Posted by Gayla at 12:48 PM

March 29, 2005

Yep, Still Ill


Taken with Broken Lubitel

STILL ILL! But I am working today because I am getting too far behind on work and that keeps me up at night. Plus if I don't go outside today I will go postal.

Posted by Gayla at 11:31 AM

March 28, 2005

Still Ill


Pigeons on a Wire
Taken with Kiev 88

Still ill. Haven't been outside since Friday THURSDAY!!!!

Posted by Gayla at 11:00 AM

March 26, 2005



Doorway: Pink Checkers
Taken with Kiev 88

I'm sick. I guess that was inevitable since I've been burning the candle at both ends for weeks now. I don't talk much about my poor health here because with a lot of hard work it has improved greatly in the past five years, however it is still poor and when I push it too far it bites me in the ass. I've got some bizarre virus. My brother had it last week but my version is extra special.

It started out yesterday morning like a bad allergy around my eyes. I have red blothces on the high part of each cheek just below my eyes that are sometimes extremely itchy. The area just under my eyebrows is also itchy and sore as are my temples. The extreme itchiness comes and goes. I try not to touch it and put cold clothes on those areas when they get inflammed. This morning I woke up with both eyes swollen -- even the area below my eyebrow is puffed up huge. It's itching like mad right now. My right eye is so puffy I'm worried I won't be able to open it soon enough. I have never experienced anything like this. I'm drinking my special virus-fighting concoction followed by a garlic and ginger tea, three times daily. That shit worked like a charm the last time I had a virus but of course it knocks me out while it's doing its business.

And of course the weather is gorgeous! Waa! My original plan to spend the long weekend relaxing and walking around outside with a camera has been thwarted.

And now back to bed.

Posted by Gayla at 11:47 AM

March 25, 2005

Photo Shoot


Here I am with my gang the day after the launch party. We're beat. Later that afternoon I dragged my sorry ass (and tired eyes) out to a garden shop in "Baby Point" (Jane and Annette) to be photographed for "Gardening Life" magazine. I hate, hate, hate having my picture taken but it was still kind of fun. They used film instead of digital and a fancy medium format camera too. I posted a few photos from the shoot (taken by Davin) here.

I've determined that I can no longer live in denial of my bad hair situation after two somewhat embarrassing photoshoots. I wore a hat for last week's shoot but they didn't want me to wear it for this one since the piece will be published in June and it's supposed to look like summer. I would greatly appreciate some hair salon and stylist recommendations Toronto. My hair salon track record is pretty traumatic so I don't want to make a random choice and end up looking like Don Johnson circa 1978 again.

Posted by Gayla at 12:01 PM | Comments (11)

March 24, 2005



Chive Blossom
Taken with Some kind of Nikon digital camera but I can't recall which one

Another garden pic today. I just can't begin to think about trying to pick a photo to post and I had this one handy from last night's slide show....

The book launch party was the most intense social experience of my life. I talked to A LOT of people in a very short amount of time. I am beyond exhausted and my body aches (from setup and take down).

On the flip side I am also thrilled! The party was a great success. I could not have asked for a better turnout and am feeling pretty fortunate today. I certainly had a lot of fun even if I was half awake at the time. I thank each and every person who dragged themselves out in such crappy weather. I'm not sure if I would have done it if I didn't have to be there.

I have to publicly thank Davin and Jason for the assload of work they put into this thing. I could not have even begun to have pulled this off without them. This kind of thing takes a surprising amount of work -- I had no idea.

And now I drag my tired ass down the street to get some brunch.

Posted by Gayla at 11:27 AM

March 23, 2005

Bee, Echinacea


Bee, Echinacea
Taken with Nikon D70 (and close-up filter)

I took this photo way back in the summer over at my community garden. I share the space with a handful of other families from the neighbourhood. My plot is very small and rife with problems (a shady tree, drunken brawls, threats to expand the beer store), but in the summer it is a quiet little sanctuary in the middle of a busy neighbourhood.

I found this picture while going through old disks looking for photos to project at tonight's Book Launch Party. One of the photos of this bee (not sure if it was this) was chosen as a full-page photo in my book -- it's one of my favourite pages.

Photographing insects at work is a surprisingly difficult task, especially when you NEED that photo. This bee made it easy. It hardly moved, consummed by the echinacea pollen while I snapped away getting surprisingly close with my lens. Mind you I didn't NEED this photo having taken dozens of decent photos of bees at work. On other occassions, with other insects, I have had to sit patiently in front of one flower waiting and hoping for my insect of choice to choose that particular bloom. Other times I have run after a bee or wasp, vying for a good angle before the insect decides to move on to the next flower.

Basically I'm trying to say that it's a lot more fun when I'm not seeking the picture but it comes to me.

Tonight is my Book Launch Party. Come out and say hi.

Posted by Gayla at 11:03 AM

March 22, 2005

Lots of Pigeons | Book Launch Party


Lots of Pigeons
Taken with Kiev 88

So much to do today. Tomorrow night (Wed.) is my book launch party at The Gladstone Hotel (Queen West near Dufferin) Starts at 8:00 pm. Please do come out if you can make it.

Posted by Gayla at 12:36 PM

March 21, 2005



Taken with Kiev 88

I'll be on CBC Radio One's "Here and Now" today talking about gardening, my book and the like. I'm slotted for a segment at approx 4:20 pm and a second at 4:50 pm.


I received some lovely emails recently and had intended to write you all back, however I lost all my email yesterday morning. Still trying to recover it but at this point I think I may need some sort of crack CSI techs to work fancy television magic (complete with fancy swooshing graphics) on my hard drive.

Posted by Gayla at 12:02 PM

March 20, 2005

Royally Screwed


If you have emailed me recently (like within the last month) and I owe you a response or something else PLEASE resend or email me. My friggin antivirus software corrupted my email program and I have lost all my contacts, my entire schedule for the next 3 months, all my archived email... the works. Of course I don't have anything on paper.

Some people I can think of off the top of my head who are owed something:

- Travis
- Mark W
- Matt

Posted by Gayla at 05:22 PM

March 18, 2005

The Day After


STEAK on a Kaiser
Taken with Kiev 88

Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening last night. I am somewhat shocked that so many people are willing to get up off the couch anytime before spring to attend an art opening, WAY over in the east end no less. Mind you it has been consistently 1 degree over the last few days which is practically summer at this point.

If you're a gardener or just want to try and grow some greenery this year, check out Seedy Saturday this Saturday from 10-3 at Scadding Court Community Centre (corner of Bathrust and Dundas). There are workshops on seed starting and saving for beginners, as well as lots of local vendors selling heirloom and organic seeds, and other organic gardening products. Every year there is at least one large booth trading seeds (or selling very cheaply), but you have to get there early to catch the best stuff. I'll be there selling t-shirts and copies of my book. I will also have a small box of seeds to trade.

Posted by Gayla at 10:05 AM

March 17, 2005

Not in the Mood to Come Up with a Meaningful Title


Taken with Kiev 88

I don't know what I want to say here today. I have stopped and started a million times.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and overexposed. I lay in bed last night unable to sleep, contemplating where I am and wondering how well this site really represents my life and who I am or if it has become like every other diary in my life -- an embarrassing (and public no-less) chronicle of my trials with little mention of my fortunes.

I'm feeling a strong desire to shut this down and pack it up.

I feel conflicted. Because everything I have written about is true and this has been, in many ways, the most dramatic year of my life. An unprecedented number of extreme events have occurred over a short period of time. It is no wonder I feel overwhelmed in the way that I do.

But I struggle between wanting to reveal my vulnerability in an honest way and the compulsion to hide behind my strengths. I wonder if it is better to be truthful or to be stoic and graceful. But even that is complicated because sometimes I am vulnerable, sometimes I am strong, and sometimes I am both things simultaneously. That's a confusing grey area to navigate.

On Tuesday afternoon I determined I needed to work on being kind to myself. And by Wed night I had totally fucked that up. I feel stuck between the part of my life that is being carried out in a public arena -- from the gallery show that opens tonight, the book launch party next week, the countless interviews, the photo shoots, the appearances, this site, the gardening site, to simply getting on the subway and being in public physically -- and the heaviness that I'm carrying around as a result of recent events. I知 having a hard enough time dealing with all these conflicting emotions, but I have discovered that within that I am still trying to be what I think people want and expect of me -- still trying to be totally appropriate and proper in my actions and the way I present myself. In fact I壇 say that I am suddenly super-hyper-conscious of things that formerly seemed shallow and trite like the current state of my hair and how that somehow reveals the depths of my inner conflict and the fact that I don稚 have my shit perfectly aligned. I realized that despite all my hard work and my thoughtful, articulate, I知 totally evolving talk I actually feel ashamed that so many bad things have happened in the last year (even though these events have nothing to do with me and are completely out of my control) and that I知 not taking it perfectly, stoically or gracefully. I知 fumbling. A lot.

I need a fucking vacation. Bad.


And on that note come out to the opening party for our show tonight. Ha!

7-10 pm at the Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street E.

Posted by Gayla at 10:15 AM

March 16, 2005



should have gone inside
Taken with Kiev88

Another day. A busy day. I didn't sleep well last night and woke up too early.

People keep saying they think spring is coming but it always snows in April so I'm pessimistic.


PUBLICity: A Gallery Exhibit of Toronto's Public Spaces
Runs from March 16th to April 23rd 2005 at the Toronto Free Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday March 17th 7-10pm

Posted by Gayla at 10:20 AM

March 15, 2005

I'm Sorry for Being Such an Asshole


green chair
Taken with Kiev88

What is there to say? There is nothing to say.

When someone dies, people always seem to say that they feel grateful for being alive. The only time I have felt that way was just after I left my father's viewing last August. I don't feel grateful for anything. Instead I feel really, really sorry for myself.

And I feel like a real asshole for feeling that way.

Sometimes life is randomly cruel and brutal. Today I am struggling with the desire to wallow in the sad, pathetic feeling that I have experienced more than my fair share of it.


There's a lot of really good stuff here. Listen to the track "There's a New World Coming."


Because I'm supposed to tell you this:

PUBLICity: A Gallery Exhibit of Toronto's Public Spaces
Runs from March 16th to April 23rd 2005 at the Toronto Free Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday March 17th 7-10pm

Posted by Gayla at 11:27 AM

March 13, 2005



Goodbye Dave.


I wanted to say something more meaningful today but I can't form the words. This is my favourite print.

Posted by Gayla at 08:42 PM

March 11, 2005

Gallery Show Coming Up


mens hair styling
Taken with Kiev88

PUBLICity: A Gallery Exhibit of Toronto's Public Spaces
Runs from March 16th to April 23rd 2005 at the Toronto Free Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday March 17th 7-10pm

Posted by Gayla at 11:32 AM

March 09, 2005

Totally not Fucking Over It


Taken with Kiev88

"Just get OVER it."

I hear that phrase a lot. Sometimes I hear it on TV or out in public. Sometimes people say it with actions or using other words. Sometimes I say it to myself.

I used to think I was SO over the whole concept of getting over it. I had figured out that you don't magically get over things, you work through them. But then, then you are OVER them. I guess there's a difference there but I wonder now how much. Now I'm starting to question if we really get over things at all.

It seems to me that the people who say "Get over it" the most, are often the ones who seem the least over their own stuff. How many times have I met an adult who was highly functioning according to society's standards (good job, high income) but who acted totally fucking crazy? And not good crazy, but bad crazy and I know you know what I mean. When I look at my own adult life the craziest times, the actions or behaviours I regret the most were during times when I was trying really fucking hard to get over it. I would say that during those times I was about the furthest away from getting over it as I can imagine myself.

But now that I have the truth and the truth is about working through it, I am again starting to question my tactics. I still believe in working through things because I can see the difference it has made and continues to make in my life. But sometimes I am shocked and disturbed by how much some things can still hurt me -- how far away I am from being over it. I realize now that I have still been carrying that message inside me, putting pressure on myself every day to get over it -- thinking all the while that some day, some glorious day, I will finally be over it. Hallelujah!

I wonder now if maybe we change our relationship to painful events but we never really get over them. Maybe certain things will always hurt, and maybe THAT is normal and healthy. Maybe recognizing that something hurts and acknowledging it, even when you've worked through it, AND even when you think you should be totally fucking over it already... maybe that is what getting over something really means.

Whenever I think about this stuff I always think back to the story called "Resilience" in Lynda Barry's "One Hundred Demons" because she says it so perfectly.

Posted by Gayla at 11:59 AM

March 07, 2005

SUPER Budget Discount Savings


SUPER Budget Discount Savings
Taken with Kiev88

The window of one of my favourite places in the neighbourhood. That title used to be held by Fullworth, long ago before they did away with the basement grocery store, the secret upstairs room of relgious stuff and the giant bin of movie tapes.

We were going to start a gang called The Fullworth Girls. We didn't know what that would be but there would have been t-shirts.

But not now. Now the glory days are over. However, they do still have all the crazy shaped cake pans.

Posted by Gayla at 12:48 PM

March 04, 2005

Final CBC Radio3 & Scilla


Taken with Great Wall DF- (with close-up filter)

Davin's story and my photo of him up today on the final issue of CBC Radio3. That was one really great online magazine and will be sorely missed by me. [Click the red launch button at the bottom and scroll through the pages using the page turner located in the top right corner. Davin's story is about halfway in and is called "Roll of Pennies."]


I wanted to post a soft, spring photo today as a contrast to the snow we are currently buried in. This isn't the best picture technically, but I like the colours and the soft bluriness. When I look back on old pictures such as this one taken with the Great Wall, I wonder how I ever made a single good photo at all. Now that I have a better slr, one that, like, focuses n' stuff, I question why that camera was my favourite for so long. I'll always have a soft spot for it, but when I look in the viewfinder now I think, "How the hell did I ever know if it was focussed or not? E.S.P?"

Yes, I have become spoiled by my cheap Russian knockoff.

The flower above is one of my favourite spring flowers because it is small, unassuming, simple and is called Scilla. When I see it I am often reminded of my grandmother who's name was Scylla, despite the fact that she was none of those things.

Posted by Gayla at 12:24 PM

March 03, 2005

Oh Yes It Will


Taken with Kiev88

Yesterday was one of the worst days I have had in a very long time. Several things went wrong all at once making it pretty overwhelming to keep working and be creative. I still feel sick from it and struggle with the conflict between taking responsibility for my life and beating myself up over circumstance.

What bothers me most is the overwhelming sense of negativity I felt and still feel -- something I haven't experienced in a very, very long time. I have had lots of tough times over the last year but my outlook has always remained genuinely positive. But yesterday I felt angry and resentful that I had to experience difficulty at a time when things should be easy and light. I had fatalist thoughts that despite all my efforts and hard work I will never have the life I want; having already far surpassed what my parents set me up for. I already have way more genuine goodness in my life than I should, but I want more.

These thoughts and feeling seem so immature I wonder if I have really grown at all?

But as I write this I can see how ridiculous it sounds. On an intellectual level I know that change is not a linear progression towards perfection or some version of life where there is no struggle or hardship. We move forward and then we fall back a little. Sometimes I fall further back than I'm comfortable with. I always want to do the right thing, and act appropriately and perfectly no matter what -- sometimes at the negation of other real emotions like anger, hurt and pain. I'm just going to stop now and listen to Sam Cooke remind me that there's some sense in here somewhere.

Posted by Gayla at 12:01 PM

March 02, 2005

Some Movies


Window with Curtains (and light)
Taken with Kiev88

We watched "Opening Night", last night. I really enjoyed it. We're on a Cassavetes kick having seen "Shadows", and "A Woman Under the Influence" as well. I didn't really like Shadows much. It moved too slowly and some of the improvisation was odd. However, I can appreciate the fact that at the time that film was one of the first to take a more "natural" approach to film making and of course the story was pretty ahead of its time. It's about a light-skinned biracial woman who's boyfriend freaks out and breaks up with her when he discovers her racial background. Even though I'm a light-skinned biracial female, I couldn't identify with the woman or the story much in part because I can never identify with John Cassavetes characters -- in fact I often dislike them quite a bit. I have to keep reminding myself that I should not have to identify with the characters to enjoy the film and yet time and time again I fall into the same problem.

Likewise, I hated "A Woman Under the Influence" while I was watching it. I found it emotionally taxing watching the characters interact and falling apart. I just couldn't stand them! The acting is just incredibly good and feels very real with little of that film artifice and style that can tug at your heart strings in a somewhat artifical way and yet at the same time distance you emotionally from what's happening on screen. It just really bothered me. I couldn't sit still through the movie and kept getting up to pace around the apartment. But when it was over I had to admit it was one of the best films I've seen in a really long time.

Last nights"Opening Night" was another in a similar vein. I found myself streaming tears towards the end of the film and I'm not really sure why. It pulled at something in me but I'm not exactly sure what it was. Okay, well, I think part of it was that the story is about a woman actor who can't get into her character or the play because as she says, "It has no sense of hope about it. " The play is about aging, and she felt she wasn't ready to give up on hope yet. She keeps changing the lines on-stage in failed attempts to alter this play that is tearing her apart emotionally. By the end she does manage (even if it is kind of fucked up) to find and portray the hope that was missing.

Posted by Gayla at 12:29 PM