where i want to be right now

cats on bed 1

I have a pinboard on Pinterest called “Where I want to be right now.”

(If you click on that link in the previous sentence, you can visit. Highly recommended, because I’ll bet you’d like to be some of those places right now, too.)

Where I’d like to be right now, though, is in bed. And I was there, until about half an hour ago. (I’m writing this on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.)

cats on bed 2

It’s been a rough few days. I had bad migraines and endo pain on the weekend, which have left me exhausted and depleted. Then last night I went to bed quite late, and woke up quite early. So when I got home from work tonight, I decided to listen to my body and rest for a few minutes. Which turned into an hour. And a half. The last half of which I spent in a crazy-dozy half-awake state, running through the list of reasons why I shouldn’t get up again.

cats on bed 3

So I’m going back there… very soon…

(I appreciate beds. And sleeping companions with purr-y sound f/x.)

cats on bed 4

cats on bed 5

cats on bed 6

love letter to a porch

porch 1

I’ve been looking after a friend’s place while she’s away. Every other day I water one of her trees. While I wait for the water to seep into the parched earth, I sit on her porch. I bring the same magazine, day after day, and re-read it from cover to cover. (I’m afraid of changing magazines, because I love this one that I’ve been reading, and it’s now tied so closely with the magical experience of sitting on my friend’s porch that I’m afraid of jinxing things by changing even one element.)

I appreciate porches. And good magazines. And perfect summer evenings.

porch 2

porch 3

porch 4

porch 5

cowbird.com

avocado in blue glass bowl

I uploaded some new photo illustrations to Google+ yesterday, and I suddenly realized that I’d never really talked about Cowbird.com here on my personal blog. Cowbird is a community of storytellers. It was created by Jonathan Harris. (I think he’s awesome, by the way. You can see two of his TED Talks here and here to find out why.)

In February and March I tried to publish one story a day on Cowbird. In April I struggled to find time to continue doing that, but I haven’t abandoned the site. One of my favorite aspects of publishing there is creating the photo illustrations for my stories. A sample of some of my favorite Cowbird illustrations is below.

Beginning this month, I’m switching to weekday publishing only. See you Monday!

bunch of asparagas

cats on shelf

tree branches outside window

artichokes

red tulips

bananas and nuts

white garbage bag in trash can

All photographs taken with iPhone, and processed with Camera+

kitchen sink wisdom

hand washing tomatoes

I’m really happy to share my newest blog – Kitchen Sink Wisdom. It’s a blog about home, and food, and living. I like to think of it as an online version of the simplest lifestyle magazine you can imagine – only without the annoying banner ads. Or recipes for cupcakes, next to stern articles about fitness and diet.

And with more soul. For the times when you need it.

fort

table fort

On Thursday morning, I lay under the soft blanket I normally wrap around myself when I meditate, and suddenly felt like a small child inside a fort made out of blankets and furniture. I decided that – sometime soon – I was going to make myself a real fort.

Today was the day.

It was lovely. I’d never lain under this particular table before, and was pleasantly surprised to find some childish doodles. (The table used to live in a tutoring centre.) I seriously want to add some doodles of my own, sometime.

underside of table fort

The light was amazing. It was an overcast, stormy day today, but inside my fort it was serene.

underside of table fort

naps

my bed after a nap

Is there anything like a nap? I know napping is supposed to be bad sleep hygiene… but can’t resist the luxury of briefly (or not-so-briefly) sleeping at a time when I don’t normally sleep.

My family has always been full of nappers. I grew up witnessing my father and mother unapologetically napping on weekend afternoons (or during the week, if they happened to be home). Grandparents, aunts, uncles… all nappers. When I was a child it seemed like a strange disease of older people, until I became a university student. Then, for weeks at a time, I couldn’t get through a single day without nodding off at least once before bedtime.

Naps are a treat for me – a symbol of leisure that I can rarely afford now, in my busy life. So I spend my time lavishly on them, the rare moments when I can.

~

The first nap I remember: I am two years old, in the back seat of a car. I have my head on the lap of a woman who is not my mother, and I am pretending to sleep. Sometimes I’m not pretending. Through my closed eyelids I can see brilliant orange-red light from the sunny summer day, and I’m wishing this would be over.

~

I’m five years old, in my kindergarten classroom. Once again, I’m pretending to sleep. The teacher, Mrs. Murray, (one of my favorite teachers ever, although maybe everyone loves their kindergarten teacher?) has us lying in a circle, with the overhead lights turned off. We are not supposed to talk or move. I lie on my stomach, bury my head in my arms, and wish this were over.

~

I’m in my late teens, home from school with a headache. I get a lot of headaches, although I won’t learn for another ten years that they’re actually migraines. When they get really bad, I have my mom pick me up from school in the middle of the day and bring me home. She goes back to work, leaving me alone. I sleep in the sunshine in the living room, on the sofa with the slippery velvet upholstery. I dream that I’m trying to leave my body, but strange, faceless forces keep taunting me and sucking me downward. I wake up frightened, and hot.

~

I’m in second year university, and I still haven’t figured out how to arrange my classes so that I don’t have long, uninterrupted stretches of time between lectures. I live an hour’s bus ride away from campus and can’t go home, so I hide out in the library to pass the time. My favorite spot is the periodicals section. There are deep, cushiony armchairs lined up facing the few windows that provide a view of the outdoors. I sit with my feet on the air re-circulating unit like everyone else, reading magazines and listening to music on my portable CD player. Sooner or later I always fall asleep, jolting awake every now and then to wonder if I’ve missed my class.

~

I’m sitting in my car, beside a quiet park. I clean houses all day, every weekday. Sometimes I have a hour between clients, and when I do, I like to do something restful. Every other Wednesday I sit in my car beside this park, and read. In the summer the car gets hot, and I get drowsy. I set the alarm on my watch (I still wear a watch – and will until I get my first BlackBerry, three or four years from now), so I wake up in time to drive to my next job. I like the breeze that blows through the car when both the windows are down.

~

I’m at M’s house, visiting for the weekend. It’s hard dating someone who lives 90 km away. I want to cram so much living into the times that we’re together. We lie on his bed, napping in the late afternoon dimness after working hard all day on one of his many home improvement projects. A fan blows on us, because M is always too warm. His grandmother naps in the other room, and I feel complete.

~

I’m dog sitting in the Big House, which is what I call this overnight client in the Bridle Path neighbourhood – an exclusive area of Toronto. Somebody laughs at me on Facebook, telling me that “Big House” is slang for prison. My Big House feels nothing like a prison, though; it’s one of my favorite places to be. Not because it’s large (although it is very large), or because it’s on 4 acres of land in the middle of the city (which makes it feel like it’s anywhere but the city), but because when I’m here, everything is golden. I nap on the kingsize master bed, which is a Tempurpedic. There are windows on two sides, and sunlight streams across my smiling face. The dogs – a golden lab and a rottweiler mix – sleep with me, on either side of the bed. I’m in heaven.

~

I’m home from work on a weekday. I have a brutal migraine, and my intention is to go directly to bed. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. After throwing up several times, I fall into an uneasy slumber. I dream crazy dreams. Every time I wake up, I’m aware of the exact moment that dreaming has turned to consciousness, because pain and nausea descend again like a guillotine. It will be another month before a colleague suggests that I try taking Gravol for the nausea. The Gravol will work, but it will turn my sleep into a numb catatonia.

~

I’m lying on my current bed on a Sunday afternoon. I love my bedroom so much – maybe even more than the master bedroom at the Big House. There’s nothing in here but a bed and a lamp and a few old magazines that I’ve been scanning in a desultory kind of way. The cats are with me, always. They’re never allowed in this room unless I’m here, because they claw the sheets to shreds when I’m not watching. So when I nap, it’s their favorite place to be. I watch the way their slinky bodies melt into the white sheets, completely relaxed. Life is good.

cats napping

©2011, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow. All rights reserved.

my kitchen smells like

My kitchen

My kitchen smells like ghee and steam and the soft, dry perfume of fresh apples.

My kitchen smells like cold water on brass taps and handmade soap with flecks of spices in it.

My kitchen smells like washed hands and unwashed brow.

My kitchen smells like hungry cats and traces of feet on my yoga mat.

My kitchen smells like heat and damp linen tea towels.

My kitchen smells like potatoes going south.

My kitchen smells like herbal tea in white crockery and butternut squash in dusty vintage baskets.

My kitchen smells like stricken matches and compost that needs emptying.

My kitchen smells like What’s for dinner? and Are we there yet?

My kitchen smells like fresh basil and aching legs.

My kitchen smells like stretched patience and empty canning jars.

My kitchen smells like loose change and stray hairs getting caught between my glasses and my eyes.

~

About this poem: I’ve heard it said that a work of art that needs explaining is probably not a good work of art… but sometimes people really like to know more about how something was created, so here goes.

I rarely write poems. When I do write them, they often come to me all at once in about half an hour as I’m doing something that I never anticipated would inspire a poem.

In the case of My kitchen smells like, I dropped and broke a glass on my kitchen floor this morning, right before I was about to begin my daily yoga practice. As I swept up the pieces, I noticed a funky, sweaty foot smell, and kept trying to figure out where it was coming from for the entire time that I did my yoga.

Later I noticed that my kitchen smelled like apples. And then I kept thinking of other things my kitchen smelled like, and the poem was born.

I didn’t necessarily intend for the poem to feel so harried near the end, but breaking the glass first thing in the morning and having to postpone my yoga practice to clean it up made me feel rushed and cranky, and a lot of that seems to have oozed into the similes I’ve used.

My favorite line is “my kitchen smells like loose change,” because I like the wordplay in that phrase. A lot of my life smells like loose change, come to think of it.

I also like “my kitchen smells like stricken matches,” mostly because I’m not really sure if stricken is even a word. But I figured this was a poem, and therefore I had poetic license…

~

This post was originally published on my writing blog, tell it well.

©2010, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow. All rights reserved.