La Danza

Year In Review (Part II)

At last
My love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song

Don't forget to check out Part I.

The Year Two Thousand and Nine
July to December

I pray that we, like trees entwining, will grow deep roots together and grow up straight towards the Light. Right now, this is what I want more than anything.

I think I've figured it out
We need to be together
Like the shore and the sea
We are not one thing
We're joined here together
My ocean and me

Anyway, Micah and Mark and I had a glorious time making nerd jokes and painting and eating greasy KFC. There were so many hilarious moments. It was established that I hate yellow and think it comes from the Dark Side. So Micah would start threatening me with yellow. Later Mark, who is his Dad, started painting his fingernails with the metallic paint... Micah was disturbed and said he hoped Mark wouldn't go any further in that direction. I said I might encourage Mark to go all the way that direction, just for the entertainment value. So a process was developed whereby whenever I would annoy Micah, he'd shout, "YELLOW!" and I would shout back, "TRANSVESTITE!" It was good times.


Tonight after a day of moving I went to see the Summer Players' Production of Fiddler on the Roof. It was an absolutely stunning performance, complete with actual Russian-style dancers, men doing a dance with a jar on their heads, and excellent singing and acting for all the parts. I was greatly impressed with the whole production and experienced, as I always do with Fiddler, an entire emotional circuit from the happiness of the tailor to the sadness of Chavela. It was filled with longing and love and hope and I loved it as I always have, my absolute favourite musical.

"Have you ever tried to snarl and smile at the same time? Doesn't really work."

Things that are currently awesome and make me happy: nectarines (which are NOT, in fact, the wimpy cousins of peaches that can't grow any chest hair as some would assert), long talks with friends, brief glimpses of the sky when it isn't raining, mending clothing (I find hand sewing theraputic and may take up crewel embroidery at some point again because I liked it a lot), my lava lamp which runs almost constantly now, having found my long-lost but very valuable day planner, the trip I am about to embark upon to Victoria, plotting creative things that will make other people happy, and blogging. Also, planning for the Blogathon!

Me: So apparently whales sing the same song, like 20 minutes long, over and over with just a bit of improvising.
Aunt G: *points* That's just like your Mom, doing the same thing over and over, with a bit of improvising.
Mom: Did you see that? She just pointed at me and called me a whale.

How can I even attempt to express what this workshop [Image Explorations in Victoria] has meant to me thus far? I feel myself becoming a photographer, melting into it, understanding that I belong here, totally ready to embrace it not only as a career, but as a passionate love affair that will get me through the rough points.


As usual, I am professionally having the time of my life and looking forward to a great career and personally struggling to keep my head above water because I just don't have the stamina to hold everything together.

I skipped my class this afternoon. Just couldn't take any more shoots with model women.


Image Explorations was both the most emotionally trying and professionally growing experience of my year. I felt myself stretched so far beyond my comfort zone I was cracking at the seams.

Today also marked my first time in a red telephone booth. So special! I wish you could have seen my face when I rounded the corner and saw it, literally sitting there in a shaft of light.

I wanted to note here that one of my theories has been forming and I noted that it was proving true at the gardens today. The theory at foundation level is that it is actually the pleasure of a woman that provides the most pleasure to men, wheras women find the most pleasure not in men but in stuff and in emotional instensity. Case in point with the gardens, what was happening in my line of sight, seeing as I was as much there to people-watch as flower-watch: there were a lot of women looking at flowers and a lot of men looking at the women who were really happy to be looking at flowers. I saw a lot of individual evidences across cultures today, since there's so many tourists here, and I feel like I have enough evidence for my theory to actually do a launch and see what everyone thinks of it.

Ricki and I discussed that I hadn't liked the play [Anthony and Cleopatra] and she told me I was a woman of infinite variety. Hopefully this does not mean that I will die of Royal Snakebite.

When I got there, he was on his balcony so I called up to him to open the door for me. If that happens again I may have to pull out quotes from Romeo and Juliet, or maybe Cyrano, but the best I came up with was lame and I don't even remember what I said, but his smile when he saw me was brilliant even if my wit wasn't.

So I have news. I have a title. I'm a girlfriend. Finally. I feel like I've been waiting for years. He's finally mine! Oh, it's glorious! A long road yet, but glorious even now.

Afterwards [after seeing Ice Age 3] I steered us when we were walking back to the car to sit by the river and watch the sunset instead. Or rather, stew in excellent brooding closeness and sit as close as possible to each other while on a public bench while the sunset happened to be occurring.

I whispered intensely, "I love you." He said, "What did you say?" and I said it again. He said, "Ah. I wasn't sure if I should say everything all in one day, but it's true. I love you. I have loved you for months."



I know that I cannot preserve everything about these days. I wish desperately that I could. I wish every moment would etch itself in my memory, indelible. But I'll have to settle for remembering whatever I can. The last three days have been so precious. We now belong to each other.



Worked a terribly long and difficult 11 hour day at the Fringe Festival [...] Ugh. Paul picked me up from work, waited for me to cash out, then when we got to his car, he'd left purple carnations on the seat for me. It's the first time he's bought me flowers - I bought him flowers a long time ago.

Talked about how our relationship is like a gemstone-studded, solid Gold wrench. And we're just going to get used to using it to fix loose bolts. Until then we're going to be like, "This is a really pretty wrench." and then later, use the wrench because we have to so we can fix things. And I was like, "I can't believe I just envisioned our relationship as a wrench!" Then at some point I used a zombie hand poking up out of the ground as a metaphor, and I can't remember where it came from, but he had a cow metaphor, and then I made a verbal metaphor list. I was like, "Cow, Zombie, Wrench... That's quite a list." Then in complete unison, "Well, we can use the wrench to kill the zombie..." and I was like, "And the cow is a decoy, throw the zombie off our trail." Then he didn't want the zombie to eat the cow, and I said it was just going to eat the brains, we'd still get steak out of the deal, and then he agreed it was fine to sacrifice the cow to the zombie too. Oh we are so awesome...

Today Paul and I went to Cochin to visit. [...]

It was absolutely wonderful meeting James and seeing Ash and Rob and Stacy again. Fantastic to spend time drinking root beer, walking up the hundreds of steps to a Lighthouse over the lake and seeing the "verdant" hill and the fields around and for the first time ever, sharing a passionate kiss in a beautiful, romantic place like that with blustery winds and green hills and a big body of water for the view. So cool.

My love tells me that I attract miracles, and truly it must be so. The most amazing miracle I've ever known is in love with me, and not only the kind of love based on nice fuzzy feelings and attraction on their own, but a deep love that lasts and creates a team to take on life.


I was thinking about all these things as I walked down the street. And then I stopped dead and thought to myself...

I'm planning my wedding.

I'm in awe. And I have yet to be proposed to. But I know it's coming and the anticipation is sweet.

I remember when Paul told me that when he asked me out, it was basically the same as saying he'd marry me. So we did everything backwards. We started dating without starting dating, and now we're engaged to be engaged... At least we're not typical.

My last post casually mentioned a project I'd undertaken for Paul's birthday - putting bouquets of flowers in every room of his condo, put a rose on his pillow, and a note that said, "You filled my life with COLOR. How could I help but do likewise?", which I did with exactly 5 minutes to spare and I was still a tad late for work.

The text from him reads:
"I was going to text you to say I love you, & then I came home to the flowers... mere words are not sufficient to express how touched I am."

[the Fringe]
A kid wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a 5 inch thick gold weave chain that had a giant gold initial pendant hanging from it sauntered in, in true rap-star fashion, and asked if we had any gold chains. (I work in a store that only sells silver.)

My staff party was a hilarious affair consisting of multiple children under age 5 and a tiny chihuahua. At one point as I held the dog and Paul held a ~6 month old girl, he said to me, "Mine's BIGGER." *eyeroll* Anyway, the two boys who are probably around 4 years old were being pirates, holding up a hooked pointer finger and screeching "ARRRRRR!" at the top of their lungs.

We stayed for about 30-45 minutes, then took off. Paul gave me an address to drive to so I wouldn't know where we were going. We went to a little place downtown called Passage to India - the food was truly excellent. He'd made a reservation, and in true pseudo-romantic style, we were dressed to the nines in a hole-in-the-wall food establishment. It was so us.

After we ordered food, I got to unwrap the gift I'd seen hiding in the floor of his car - a lump wrapped in a volcano of gold polka-dot paper with silver curly ribbons and purple tissue lava coming out - and inside there were three items from the Vancouver store of Lush [...]

In the evening there was berry picking with my boyfriend and his Mom. His Mom was in a very goofy mood and when I would try to drink water in the car she would swerve or stop short - but I was a sharp cookie and only got a few drops on myself. We had lots of fun. Paul and I discussed the two documentaries we could make about the ocassion - Arachnids Among The Berries: the life of a spider in a Saskatoon berry bush. And also, The Lone Police Car in the Fields about the white family boat-car, a former police car that retains a red interior click-light. SO COOL.

Paul: "We could buy a bunch of old white Crown Vic police cars at the auction and then we'd have a flock of them. Just picture the footage of them rambling across the fields in formation, hunting for Chrysler Neons and other small cars, laying speed trap ambushes by the highway, and of course the battered old head of the pride being challenged for control by a younger rival. Who do we know we can do awesome voice-over narration?"

Work has slowed to a loud roar, which is a bit better than a power avalanche. I am spending time with friends and loved ones. I'm pretty much good. Could use a bit more time in the day, though. Couldn't we all?

The Perseid meteor shower is this week, and Shane and Mattea double-dated with Paul and I to go stargazing East of town. I was worried it might not happen when it rained today, but the skies cleared except for some scattered buttermilk clouds that were thin enough to allow us to enjoy the shooting stars through them. We saw a fox on the way in, and the red harvest moon was brilliant.


I have waited and fought my whole life for this simple kind of ever-present pleasure and happiness. I always knew there was a little girl buried in a dark corner of myself, waiting to come out to dance. She's dancing now, in full sunlight, sparkling and laughing and looking forward to growing up.

I have fought an eating disorder and won. I fought a less-than-beautiful family background, and won. Against the odds I am winning at every turn, and my battle scars no longer distress me. I stand victorious in a field strewn with my enemies, and I laugh and dance and smile up at the sunlight.

God is for me, who can be against me? I'm one of his favourites.

Last night, watching the meteor shower, I asked for a really big one to break my previous record, and it streaked across the sky right over us.

I always wanted to be happy. Now, finally, I am.

I am the happiest woman on earth right now. Seriously. Here's to oceans of love and fires of passion, good conversation, good company, the beauty of his close face while we snuggle together and never let go.

Paul decided to take me out for a surprise date day yesterday, and so he made us a picnic supper and we went down to the River Landing on the only sunny day in some time to take in a production of Godspell. It was hilariously funny. Excellent acting, excellent singing, and amazing jokes.

One of my favourite lines was when they quote the story of the Prodigal Son. "And the Father's heart went out to him. The part of the heart will be played by a small squeaky horn." And then the actor playing the Father throws a green squeaky horn across the stage to the actor playing the son. I laughed so hard I almost cried. There was a puppet show for the story of the Good Samaritan. "And they beat him up and left him for dead. HAH! Take that!" *puppet headbutts other puppet* "AND THAT!" *repeatedly* Then one of the puppets' hair came off...

[...At Folkfest with Paul and Sarah, his sister]

Also I believe this was where the three of us invented the concept of a rainbow-colored dashund goat. (Useful for hand-worked wool, milk, and good company.) Sarah drew a picture! The goat had razor-sharp teeth and horns, too, so I guess it would make a good guard goat. Anyway, it's pretty much the most useful pet imaginable.


Paul bought me roses for the first time - multi-colors, whites and pinks and purples! Then he took me to see an abridged but excellent version of Much Ado About Nothing, my favourite Shakespeare play. It was his first time seeing it. The players were amazing and I was extremely impressed.

I got to show him a bunch of my art for the first time on his Mom's computer. He'd seen bits of it - more of my photography and sculpture. He really liked one of my paintings and absolutely adored my soapstone carving of a computer monitor. In fact he hugged me and squealed that he was so excited he had an artist! It was hilarious - and a delightful response to my artwork.

We went for a walk on Tuesday. We were walking along and I saw a flower that was the embodiment of the color fuschia. Paul has expressed before that colors are a frustration for him, he always gets them wrong. So I pointed it out to him and then said "I will teach you!" He gasped and tackled me into a tight hug. I didn't know why until he said that he'd asked people that stuff before and they hadn't even thought of teaching him, they'd rather just show off their own knowledge, but it was my first response to teach and he was so excited and it meant so much.


I'm still struggling with being sick and dragging. I feel terrible most of the time and I'm really glad my life has worked out so I don't always have to drag myself somewhere.


I'd like you all to know that I'm officially awaiting a ring. I have no idea when it's going to happen, but Paul has told me he has decided how to propose to me and I'm just waiting for it now.

After writing this post in his house, I cut some paper out of a notebook, cut it into small pieces, wrote "I love you" on each one, and left them all over his house - in his dishwasher, stove, microwave, cupboards, drawers, fridge, washer and dryer, bedroom drawers, closets, books, and the one that I have no idea when he'll find...


"You put a note in my dishwasher." Emotion filling his voice. I stepped back so he could keep working and leaned against the wall, watching him work to put the load through. Then he knelt down to get dishwashing detergent and opened the cupboard door, finding the one by the garbage can. He just knelt there, looking at it and then at me, for a long time. I came over and knelt beside him and he said, as he does sometimes, that he'd never thought he'd find someone who loved him this much.

I told him I hadn't thought I'd be there for the unveiling of this gift, but it was beautiful, and I was so glad to be there.

[He's still finding them!]

After I wrote the above, I went out of the house to go help Jay set up for a mutual friend's ordination to the Anglican priesthood. On the way there I got lost because I hadn't looked up directions properly, and I didn't see a guy at an uncontrolled intersection because there was an enormous black truck parked there and it just worked out badly. He took out the front bumper of my car and probably bent the frame, so I'm guessing my car has been totalled. Everyone was super nice to me - the strangers who were walking by and saw the accident, the guy who lived on the corner and promised to clean up the mess that my shattered headlights made.

I called Paul, and he came and took care of me. He was so happy that I was okay that I felt guilty all day feeling depressed about my car.

Right now, I'm happy to be alive but really grieving for my almost certainly totaled car.

Paul picked me up at 8:00 to go to the Farmer's Market, where I bought fresh peas in the shell and Paul bought us reams of fruit to eat together.

My life is a strange mixture of certainty and uncertainty these days.

The forecast for Emma Lake this coming weekend is three days of sun. Three days of sun and freedom from all the work and cares of my life, along with the man who loves me. There will be swimming, forest walks, squirrels, gourmet food and a cabin, old friends on the staff, campfires with smores (mine will be chocolateless smores, but tasty nonetheless), rowing out on the lake at night to see the Milky Way, canoeing, and lots of time spent in my lover's arms. I am ecstatic about this. This is the most real vacation time I've had in months.

Unless you've experienced chronic exhaustion, it's hard to explain just how debilitating it feels.

[Emma Lake]
We spent a lot of time talking. We also took a woefully problematic rowboat out on the lake. The problem was in the unequal nature of the oars, which meant some fiddling to continue in vaguely straight lines. This prompted Paul to comment something to the effect of, "We are gradually proceeding in some direction which may be the direction in which we are going." This was a fun experience. We went exploring in the woods, which involved Paul discovering a manly big stick and smacking stuff with it. Unfortunately, a lot of the dead sticks are very dead, which prompted another funny comment: "How come when I hit stuff with my stick, my stick always loses?" We also discovered that the moss grows on dead moss, but a large pile of moss is springy and fun to jump around on and leaves nifty footprints. Paul had brought a selection of tea, so we drank tea before going to bed. I was sleeping under one of our skylights, which was wondrous because I could see stars at night!

Mike's gone. I'm going to miss him. =(

Paul and I always joke about not having any issues, but the thing is, we have had hundreds. It's just that we break them down, dissolve them, deal with them as soon as they come up. We spend a lot of time vanquishing issues, and it really shows in the strength of our relationship. Neither of us can understand avoiding or not talking about anything for longer than a few days, and that's usually just processing time to figure out what's wrong exactly.



No really. Guns and Llamas. That was the purpose of all the secrecy for the weekend. Trust a man like mine to come up with something just that incredibly awesome in real life. My apologies for getting a bunch of people's hopes up about circular shiny things, Paul was intentionally doing a false alarm on the proposal.

Today I made Lasagna from scratch with all Goat milk/cheese ingredients and locally grown tomatoes. I loosely followed a recipe... Mostly I just cooked the amounts that seemed correct in the order that seemed right. It was fantastic! Apparently I'm good at cooking?
There is a Biblical Plague of fruit flies in my kitchen that I think we actually may have inherited from neighbors, because there wasn't really that much for them to eat here. I finally tracked down some flypaper. Flies are landing on it AS I TYPE. Paul was very amused about my extreme joy at their death, but it was touche when I remarked to him that he wasn't the one living with a Biblical Plague in his kitchen.

So Paul and I are going down the stairs and he begins to sing what he's saying in conversation. He does that sometimes.
I laugh and ask if we're in a musical. He gives me an eyebrow and says, "We might be." (Later he tells me he nearly exploded with pleasure that I'd said that, because it was a perfect lead in.)
I merrily admit, "Our whole lives are kind of like a musical."
We get to the last set of stairs and he cries out in a stage voice, "It's almost as if the whole world is about to burst into song!"

Music begins to play, but I can't actually tell where it's coming from. My jaw drops and Paul grins at me, then pulls me into a passionate kiss.
When he finally lets me go he says, "Shall we dance, my dear?" He starts slow dancing with me. I can't tell what kind of a song it is.

Suddenly the music changes. It's a tango, a passionate and boisterous one. My heart stops as I watch his eyes change from gleeful to hungry.

Paul is buying me (slash us, as with everything) a top of the line iMac to work on. I am really pleased about this. Especially given all the new business I have.

Every once and awhile I'm doing something with my left hand and the ring flashes across my view and I have an "ooooh, shiny!" moment. I love those. They tend to make me giddy with pleasure.


One of the only sad things about this most beautiful time of my life is the fact that there's just too much happening for me to record it all in the way I would like, word-perfect and glowing like I am because I am a happy, happy woman. I am engaged to the most wonderful man. He's been my friend, my best friend, and now he's growing into the man I care for as family, as my future husband, whom I will love and serve joyfully as he loves and serves me. A lifetime of service and growing together. Oh, I look forward to it.

My Engagement Story

I also had a birthday party on Saturday dedicated to the coolest things ever. I'll let my chosen photos tell the story. Paul was very gracious and kept all the details of the party going to enable me to participate fully and have fun.

Tonight Paul and I hosted two sets of his married cousins for supper on short notice. We picked up some extra groceries, but he only actually has three working kitchen chairs, so I went knocking and borrowed three more from his neighbour.


Paul and I had breakfast, talked with Aunt Shelley about Catholicism for several hours, and then went to the Zoo. I have pictures and they are awesome, but the most memorable part was the fruit bats. Fruit bats are SO cool. Also I loved the dik-dik. I requested one as a pet and said by way of encouragement that it was no harder to spell than dog for our future children... They are miniature antelope-like animals with prehensile noses! I dare you to try talking in a normal voice when you see one. Paul and I were all, "Awwwwww he's-a so CUUUUTE!"


I invited Paul upstairs for the grand unveiling of the new iMac in all its glory. It's an absolutely superb computer. I have been playing with it for I don't even know how many hours.


Friday night was our engagement party, which meant hours of socializing with some of the coolest people ever.


Who could have known that the years I was willing to wait for this man would turn into less than a month after I finally decided to commit to this? Who could have known that he was falling for me, waiting for the right moment, waiting for the spark to ignite us. And it has, and we burn, and we are happy together, even while we're weathering storms.


I am getting married in less than 200 days. I think it's 198 days now. I am, shortly thereafter, changing my name. I am moving into a man's house. I am becoming sexually active. I am going to spend a week in PEI with my beloved. I am going to become a man's wife. Needless to say that's a lot of changes. I get the feeling that some days it will feel like I am crawling towards that day, and some days I will rush towards it like one trapped in a fall by gravity.


Santa is a vampire! Really! Why does he go out Christmas night? And he's obviously immortal and has super-human speed. All that world travel is a great way to hide the trail of human sacrifices... and the gifts for children? A method of atonement. I rest my case.



There is a disturbing trend in my focusing on my productivity above all else, visible easily in blog posts and imagined ones. Why do I feel the need to record my productivity above all else? Why after spending a joyous time with a friend I missed do I try and establish the fact that I was productive? Do I really feel that I only deserve good times when I produce some tangible evidence of work every day?

I think I am going to have to learn how to value the capacity to slow down and be myself over being productive.

Early on in my wedding planning process, it stressed me out. I am starting to enjoy it now because I realized I was doing it again, making something into work that shouldn't be, something I should love and treasure was taking away my joy. I fixed that initial problem, but it was only a symptom.


Paul has ten days off for Christmas, which he delights in mentioning every few hours to tantalize me with the prospect of having him to myself for a full ten days.

I'm actually terrible at taking time off, terrible at relaxing. I am fine at procrastinating to a point, but I still often get things done by the deadline. Case in point, I just finished my business website, Admire Studios, and I'm really happy about the way the launch went. I only have two projects left to finish and I'm pretty sure I can finish nearly all of that tomorrow. So I'm going to do my best to follow the advice about leaving my flocks and coming to see the miracle of Christmas.


Apparently, cooking is my new hobby. Who knew?


The other day, Paul and I were in the car and we started singing Christmas carols with each other, just spontaneously. It was such a pleasure. I loved it. Less than 6 months until we're married now.


Peace, mental and societal, must be fought for. Peace does not arrive without the conflicts of the human soul being laid bare. At some point, some people lose the choice to embrace societal peace, and that is a tragedy indeed. But most peace, even supernatural peace beyond our understanding, must be decided on to be experienced, it must be sought after. Peace must always be sought after.


One of my favourite things that Paul does for me these days is this. Every once and awhile when we are silent together, if I ask what he's thinking or what we should do, he'll say to me, "I'm just sitting here, loving you." What more could I ask for for Christmas?