Sunday, November 30, 2008


I went shopping yesterday and bought some foam hand soap. I LOVE foam soap. It's just so much fun. It makes using public washrooms so enjoyable. There was this great washroom in Deep Cove, BC with strawberry-scented foam soap - awesome!

Now I know that it is completely trivial and frivolous and materialistic and not environmentally correct to enjoy foam soap. On the other hand, life is short so it makes sense to enjoy every single moment. I bought vanilla chai-scented underarm deoderant too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Winnipeg Weekend

A three-day holiday is either too long or too short. I think I tried to cram in too many things, but it was fun nonetheless.

I used to live in Winnipeg, and it was a bittersweet experience to realize that both the City and myself had changed and moved on. There were familiar sights alongside unfamiliar ones. And the memories kept surging back. I had my first proper apartment in Winnipeg, bought my first couch and bed. I led Brownies in Winnipeg and got a Master’s degree in Public Affairs.

Winnipeg was once a major transportation hub for Western Canada, and the tall, old buildings in the Exchange District bear testimony to its past with columns, ornaments and panels witnessing to past grandeur.
I was really looking forward to going to The Forks, Winnipeg’s market and crafts centre. I was hugely disappointed as it didn’t bear even the remotest resemblance to Granville Island. There was a large food court, some restaurants, and some stores selling trashy tourist junk. It’s a beautiful setting, but they’ve lowered their standards, and it’s barely worth visiting.
Winnipeg is home to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and I had a front row seat for a performance of Carmina Burana and a ballet set to Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. I usually have a bird’s-eye view from the third balcony so it was great fun to be able to watch the musicians and chorus in the pit and see the dancers’ sweaty brows and heaving chests.

The Manitoba Theatre Centre was presenting Pride and Prejudice. It’s a well-loved story, and it was well presented with frequent, rapid scene changes. The ending was perhaps a little too saccharine sweet, but it was very enjoyable.
I had two excellent meals out. I thoroughly enjoyed eating Ethiopian food with my fingers at Massawa restaurant in Osborne Village. I had a huge spongy sourdough pancake topped with a variety of lentil and vegetable curries. You just pinch off a piece of pancake and scoop up some stew. Great fun. Saturday night I had a more elegant meal at the Fude wine bar – lots of choices of wine and vegetarian food, and I can recommend the Drunken Granny dessert – apples marinated in red wine and then baked in a deep-dish pie.

On my last day, I spent a happy hour at Cornelia Bean, sniffing and buying four different varieties of tea - a jasmine-scented oolong, a strong green tea, a spicy black tea, and a light lime and basil green tea.

Come Play!

I’ve been attending the Big Fat Ass Dance Class this autumn – and it’s been the highlight of my week. Aileen, who leads the class, says there is one simple goal – to have fun. And we do. We move to music, play games, laugh, and get a good workout.

There are 28 of us in the Friday morning class, ranging in age from our early 20s to our 60s. We start out with the Name Game – using our bodies to introduce ourselves and to express how we’re feeling at that particular moment in time – so people act out being sleepy or frazzled or happy. We go on to move our bodies in a wide variety of ways. We throw an imaginary ball, imitate each other’s movements, form a blob and move together like a flock of birds.

It is so unusual for us in modern society to use our bodies to express ourselves. I love just moving freely – raising my hands in the air, swaying with the music, using my body to express happiness or grief. I was particularly moved when Aileen talked about our lower abdomen as the second chakra and a source of power and energy. We make low grunts that originate in that area and yet seem even deeper and more primal. It was so positive to feel that part of my body as a source of energy rather than disease.

I’m an introvert, and I found it hard at first to dance with other people. And some of the movements certainly do break down our personal space. Last week we were rolling our heads around and over our partner’s head. But there is an amazing trust that builds up in the group. And we are focussed inside ourselves, often dancing with our eyes closed, trusting our partner to stop us from hurting ourselves. So we’re alone inside of a friendly protecting group of people.
I really appreciate the fact that Aileen encourages us to move in ways that suit us. When my back starts aching, I lie on the floor and keep my spine immobile as I move my hands and arms and feet. Some of the others join me – dancing in a circle around me or wiggling their toes against mine.

As adults, we forget what it means to play – to twirl to the music without thinking about what we look like, to experiment with different ways of moving our arms and legs, to let go of our personal space and play together in a non-sexual way.

It’s good physical exercise, and it’s emotional release. I let go of my fears and worries and accept laughter and energy in their place.