Tuesday, October 8, 2013
At the end of August, I joined 750 Words. It's an online spinoff of "morning pages" a writing exercise I first learned about when I was 18 and reading Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way."
The idea behind "morning pages" is to write three pages (in long hand) every morning to free your mind of clutter and release your creativity.
I started this writing exercise when I was nineteen and stuck with it for about a year. There were a lot of exercise suggestions in Julia's book, but this was the one I enjoyed the most, and that I felt actually helped me long term.
I had a thing for Five Star notebooks. These are just a few of them from that time period.
It's been 48 days since I joined the site, and I've typed almost 40,000 words. Some of the posts came easy and out poured thousands of clever sentences, great ideas and funny thoughts. Other days it was a struggle to reach the 750 word goal, and the moment I did, I logged out immediately. The point, though, is that the process has been as important as the end result. And even when I don't feel like showing up to complete this task, it's in completing the task that I feel energized by my accomplishment. Also, you can read your daily stats as you go, and it gives you little cheerleader type boosts when you need them. (I'm on a 36 day streak - whee!)
I have four weeks left at home before the next bit of touring, and another two weeks before a massive five week bus tour takes me away from my home routines and habits. So, while I have the luxury of time, I'm choosing to do as many 30 day challenges as I can.
If you're feeling creatively blocked at all, or if you just want a place to write that isn't public, or if you just want a creative challenge that takes less than 30 minutes a day to accomplish, go here and sign up. I bet you'll love it.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
My husband has also been living out of suitcases for 40 days, however, he has been in one place during that time, and was able to bring two suitcases, whereas I was limited to just one suitcase that took me to the Arctic, England, Toronto, a fancy wedding, 14 gigs, and currently to our temporary apartment for five days until we move in this Friday (tomorrow!)
You can imagine what that means for packing: I had to pack for the possibility of cold Arctic weather, temperamental British weather (rain or sunshine), hot and humid Toronto weather - and of course, for the stage (dresses, boots, blouses) and a fancy wedding at the end of it all.
Somehow it worked, and I got it all in. I pack with layers in mind. I own a lot of tank tops and a few sweaters that I rotate wearing day to day. I brought a jacket with me that was used for half of the trip, and then stayed in the bottom of my suitcase for the last half. I pack at least 2 weeks worth of underwear and plan to do laundry once a week. I travel with my own laundry detergent so I can wash my delicates in the sink of my hotel room when necessary. I also travel with individual packs of Starbucks instant coffee... A year ago, I would have spat at the thought of that but I've learned that if I accept early on that I won't always have access to a delicious fresh cup of coffee, I can actually start to enjoy the trusty packets I bring with me. (I also get a kick out of saving $3.00-$6.00 a day for a month. I love coffee, but it's a habit that costs me a lot of money.)
I left about 15 pounds of extra space in my suitcase when I left home on June 10th, knowing I would add things (souvenirs, clothing, what have you) over the course of 40 days. I do think about my suitcase in terms of weight, more than how much actual space I have inside - after all, I will be the one rolling it, rifling through it, repacking it and carrying it up flights of stairs. Packing light means I can find everything easily. I also recently started using mesh bags to contain certain items within the suitcase. This allows for easy grab-and-go moments, like when we're rushing to sound check and I need to bring my stage outfit with me, and all I have to do is grab a mesh bag and my boots!
Like many other travelers, I am conscious of the fact that traveling is a very disposable lifestyle, and a few small efforts at reducing waste makes me feel a teeny bit better about that. I use a travel mug for coffee, a bottle for water. I pack Tupperware for leftovers, and I acquired a spork in England to avoid using plastic cutlery on the go.
Of course, I immediately started acquiring items out of necessity. With my home packed away early in June, I knew I was going to be buying necessities during my trip (contact solution, toothpaste, shampoo.) I also knew I would be acquiring paperwork (receipts for taxes, invoices, newspaper articles for my scrapbook, magazines) I expected to bring a few souvenirs home, but I went a little overboard in England and bought fancy olive oil for Brian, a couple of pottery dishes for me, a bunch of clothes, shoes, an outfit for the wedding, and a few books for gifts. I thought for sure my suitcase would be over 50 pounds when we got to Heathrow airport, but I somehow came under at a whopping 45 pounds. (Oh, yeah, that's because we had an extra suitcase with us on that trip...that I may have thrown extra items into...um...moving on)
I just spent the afternoon packing my suitcase again (for the last time...for a week) because we move in to our new house tomorrow. Wow. I can't believe that. Tomorrow... the day has finally arrived.
What I love most about moving is that with limited access to my possessions, I become acutely aware of how much I can live without. That being said, being separated from my stuff for this long showcases what I actually miss. In moments of solitude over the past month, I've daydreamed about the possibility of my stuff not actually making it to St John's -- what if it accidentally fell into the ocean on the way over? Or, what if the storage unit burns down? Or what if the lovely movers who took all our stuff from Toronto just decided to take our valuables and sell them on Ebay? What would I actually miss if I never saw it again?
So I made a mental list of the things I would miss. I would miss the instruments I've acquired over the past 15 years: my guitar, my keyboard, my omnichord, my accordion. I would miss the pottery I've been collecting for the past five years. It's not much, but the dishes are little mementos from my travels. I would miss my photographs, and scrapbooks, and the bench Brian bought me for my birthday. I would miss my paintings, and the artwork I've been collecting on tour as well. I would hate to replace our furniture, but other than being a giant pain in the ass, I could live without a lot of our stuff.
I say all of that now, but as I survey the temporary digs where I'm staying, and look around at the typical "Home Sense" type furnishings, I do look forward to seeing our stuff again. And when we set it up this weekend, I know I will start to feel as if I actually live here now.
Brian asked me when we touched down on Sunday evening, how I felt about living here now. I told him, honestly, that it didn't feel like home yet, not because I don't like it here, but because I'm still living a transitional lifestyle, one I've become accustomed to with my job.
Last night, we stopped by our home to take a peek at the floors that are being resurfaced this week, and I got a flutter of excitement (and minor panic) that we're actually setting up our home tomorrow and through the weekend.
I'm sure I'll need to escape the chaos this weekend, and write about the process, but for now, I leave you with a photo of the floor that kick started my final countdown to move in.
xo xo xo
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
In May we visited St. John's in search of a home, and three days into our trip, we made an offer on a house, the offer was accepted, and in one week from tomorrow, we will officially be homeowners! Though we close in a week, I won't be there for an entire month (I'll be on tour in the UK and in Inuvik, NWT) but Brian promises me he will be working hard to get the place ready for my arrival in July.
As with any big life change, I am experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions you would expect: excitement over buying my first house, anxiety over moving all of my belongings to another province, sadness over the loss of easy proximity to my wonderful friends, band mates & family members, happiness about moving to one of my favourite Canadian cities. Every day brings on a new emotion: one moment I'm excited thinking about renovating my new kitchen, and then the next night I wake up in a cold sweat wondering what the hell I'm doing moving away when things here are oh, so good.
Today though, I'm happy and peaceful in the middle of the emotional spectrum, basking in the happy glow of brunches and drinks with friends all week. I miss them already, as I miss the plethora of coffee shops in my neighbourhood, the delicious restaurants and beautiful park just steps away from my door. It doesn't hurt that the weather is hovering in my "perfect" zone: cool enough to wear pants and a tank top without sweating, and sunny and warm enough to energize me the way only sunshine can.
My Toronto apartment is cleaner than it's ever been, as we sort through things to take or not to our new home. My fridge is bursting with celebratory beer, just begging me to throw another party to enjoy the people here one last time. My plants are begging for a new home, and our extra stuff is begging for a yard sale...
I love you Toronto. And I love you too, St. John's.
Here's a little peek inside my new house. Looking at these photos always gets me excited about the move.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I love taking photos. And I love archiving tours. For a long time, I brought a digital SLR camera (Nikon, Pentax, or Canon) on every tour. Somewhere along the way, tours started getting longer, and more complicated, and I had more space restrictions because we were flying more often, so I started leaving bigger "fun" items behind.
Last week, I was in the hospital fending off an imminent kidney stone (I've had three in my life and am hell bent on never passing another) and was struck by a "life is short" kind of feeling. In the emergency room, I know I was among the healthiest people there, and my heart went out to the people dealing with life changing health events. (My heart also swelled with joy at this cute couple who came in wearing matching pants.
I started wondering if small immediate gain of packing lighter (with less stuff I move easier through the airport and am not weighed down by heavy, awkward bags) was worth the loss later in life (having fewer beautiful photos to look back on and reminisce about the amazing travels I've been on.)
So, now I'm in Alaska, carrying my awkward heavy bags full of fun things, like my upgraded Canon SLR, and taking photos of everything (and so far we've only been in airports - just wait until I get to explore the scenery!)
I love going away, but I like to take pieces of home with me too. I love the view from my third floor deck in Toronto and so I leave you with this.