Finding Solitude

I found myself in need of some introspection this weekend and as always, I sought out clarity and enlightenment in nature. More and more, I find myself drawn to trees swaying in the wind, their leaves rustling with every breeze – to the sound of waves lapping up against the shore, and toward the sound of birds chirping happily away on a glorious sunny day. This is where I find solace and sustenance, equally. This is where everything seems to come together for me. I think it’s because there is absolutely nothing fake about nature – it’s as authentic as it gets. I’m so sick and fucking tired of social media and all of its bullshit – of constantly having to be ‘ON’ or connected – of listening to inauthentic discourse from anyone and everyone. Just get real, already.

I awoke this morning with head and heart cluttered. My immediate response was to lace up and head out the door at 6:30, where I was greeted by sun and silence – the absolute perfect remedy. I’ve got this very specific walking route that allows me to avoid people and cars (well, for most of the walk, anyway), and that always leads me to my secret Zen spot. I don’t even need to think about it – my internal GPS automatically directs me there, and ‘there’ is where I ponder in peace, while appreciating the beauty of my surroundings. The reality is that my friends don’t always get me or understand what I need despite my clearly stating “I need X”, so I go inward and deal with shit on my own. This is when nature comes in handy. Isn’t this the perfect place to seek out answers? I think so. And no, I can’t tell you where this is – I’d have to kill you.

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

And last but not least, last week’s stress lead to much cursing and other assorted potty-mouthedness (Annism). This spoke very well to my state of mind:

photo

I’m not sure where this image originates from, but I got it via Reddit.

 

Peace,

A

 

Girl in da Hood

After spending the winter in what I’m now referring to as Hibernia (a.k.a my house) , I decided it was probably time to venture out into this great big world of ours to see if anything of interest was going on besides Rob Ford’s crack addiction. Today’s adventures led me to a part of town that, to be quite blunt, used to be a shit hole. The southern part of Montreal has been undergoing gentrification over the last few years, and it’s shaping up to be the next big thing (read: trendy area in which to live and/or open a restaurant). As I randomly wandered from street to street, I came across some great art that I thought I’d share here instead of on Instagram because let’s face it – this blog ain’t been getting no love lately. So… check – check – check – check -check it out! What – what – what – what’s it all about? C’mon on now, sing it!

YUL1

YUL2

YUL3

YUL4

YUL5

What did the fox say? Or maybe that should be wolf?

What did the fox say? Or maybe that should be wolf?

YUL7

YUL8

YUL9

YUL10

YUL11

YUL12

YUL13

YUL14

 

Peace,

A

Hello Instagram & Updates

I’m ba-aaaaack! (Sort of)

Let’s face it – I have been a terrible blogger lately. I haven’t written a damn thing in months because I’ve been too busy Yelping and looking for things to shoot (as in, photography, not people).  Truth be told, I don’t like to post bullshit, so if I don’t feel inspired by the written word, I don’t write. I’ve got a LOT going on in this ol’ noggin (no, I haven’t lost my mind but thanks for asking) – but it’s not always easy to write shit down. Anyone have a remedy for writer’s block?  Anyway, as you’ve seen from my latest posts, I’ve been feeling more inspired visually, so while I re-think the purpose of this blog, I wanted to let you know that I’m finally on Instagram and you should DEFINITELY follow me. Definitely. As in, right now, people. Is that too blunt? Tough shit. I mean come on – just show me some love! I can promise you one thing: NO fucking selfies. Fuck, I hate that shit, especially those people who insist they’re not vain or narcissistic by posting pics of themselves every single fucking day. No, they’re not vain at ALL.  So, ignore those vain assholes and check out my gallery – let’s connect.

In other news, I’ve been contributing to Yelp for a little over a year now, and love it! There seems to be controversy surrounding the Yelp community and what its purpose actually is (i.e. why are reviews filtered and others not, are reviews ‘real’ etc.). On my end, none of my reviews have ever been filtered and I guarantee that every single review that I write is real and unbiased. I don’t get paid to visit any of the establishments that I’ve reviewed and thus, if I hate a place, I’ll tell you. Personally, I love to discover new local restaurants and businesses, and Yelp allows me to do that while sharing my feedback with everyone. Plus, I get to write and take pics at the same time. Bonus!  I’ve also had the chance to meet some great new people and had the opportunity to participate in some awesome events.  If you’re looking for new local businesses (mainly places to EAT!), you can check out my reviews on Montreal (mainly), Vancouver, New York and Istanbul. For now. I’m going to Italy this summer and I get the feeling you may see an influx of reviews around that time. Mmmmmm Italian cuisine….. So, feel free to connect with me on Yelp as well as Instagram.

Lastly, Italy. If anyone’s been to Rome or Florence, share your experiences with me here. I’d love to get your input on must-see places and of course, must-eat places. If you’ve written a blog post on your adventures, share!

On that note, I’m off. I’ll be back at some point – don’t leave =-)

Peace out,

A

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Listen up, 2013

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written an etiquette post (sorry!). But it’s also been a while since I’ve written, period. For this, I blame procrastination as well as an occasional lack of inspiration. If I have nothing interesting, inspiring or funny to say, then I don’t see the point in publishing a post that will essentially be the written equivalent of verbal diarhea. You’re welcome.

Anyway, back to the etiquette posts. People often assume that my social etiquette posts are a reflection of who I am as a person; they incorrectly peg me as angry or negative, bitchtacular and/or unhappy with life. My reponse to that? Fuck you. No, seriously. First of all, I’m happy for a variety of reasons, none of which I need to justify. Secondly, I don’t write to impress anyone, nor do I write to gain social acceptance. I write for myself. So if you don’t like what I have to say, you can take your judgemental ass to another blog. If you can’t detect the sarcasm and humour in my posts, or simply admit that I’m telling it like it is – expressing thoughts that you yourself may be thinking but can’t muster up the balls to express, then that’s not my problem. OK? OK. Oh shit. Did that sound angry? SO SORRY…

At this time last year, I embarked on a new journey that would allow me to continue my soul searching and inner ‘transformation,’ so to speak. As some of you may know, I’ve been practicing yoga since 2006, but it’s only in the last 2-3 years that I have truly immersed myself in my practice both physically and mindfully. This has yielded some tremendous benefits: clarity of mind, an inward calmness, physical well-being, spirituality and most importantly, self-awareness. It was my ongoing desire for self-awareness that led me to the idea of being mentored. More on that after the break… There has absolutely been a shift between how I felt/acted/reacted a few years ago and how I feel/act/react to things today. When I start getting stressed out, I find myself taking a few yoga breaths to chill out; when I’m faced with confrontation, or an asshole, I am able to step back and think about how I’m going to react to that person or situation. These days, I often don’t react at all, choosing to walk away or simply let go. I’ve learned to choose my battles, and often ask myself if something is really worth the energy or trouble. Trust me – this is HUGE progress for me. Anyway, in January 2012, I was feeling a tremendous amount of angst, frustration and anger at situations that I just didn’t know how to control. Actually, it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to control them, it was that there were so many of them – all of which impacted significant areas of my life. This certainly contributed to a negative state of mind. I WAS pissed off and no, I was NOT feeling the love. So… that’s one reason why I wrote so many etiquette posts when I started this blog, LOL. I was spending way too much time focusing on the negative rather than the positive. In the last year however, I have written very few etiquette posts… and I totally miss them!

In December 2012, I asked my friend and yoga teacher to mentor me. I wanted to work with someone who could be objective, and with whom I connected and shared common interests with. Choosing to be mentored is a big decision because it means you need to be honest with yourself and with your mentor. In many ways, it means that you have to be vulnerable to another person because let’s face it – if you don’t open up about your shit, you’re not going to get anywhere. In our first session, B and I talked about the specific areas/goals that I wanted to address/accomplish, and for one year, we focused on these, discussing ways to improve upon them, see what worked and what didn’t, adjusting goals accordingly. Flash forward to now. Big difference between how I felt last year and how I feel now. Did anything significant happen? Not really. I believe that we all have room to improve and my personal goal has always been to be the best person that I can be, and I have been working hard to change the areas in my life that I felt needed changing.  Sometimes that means changing my mindset or attitude. Sometimes it means staring my shit in the face and truly seeing what’s there. Sometimes it means being tested – and how I react will tell me who I am and what I’m made of.  I de-cluttered my life to make room for new and exciting possibilities. I realized that I have to be patient because shit won’t change until the time is right. I learned that progress is good and that it’ sthe building stone to greater things. I walked away from relationships that were going nowhere and hadn’t been going anywhere since who the fuck knows. I got rid of the energy vampires. I stopped feeling guilty about no longer investing my time in people who for all intents and purposes, didn’t give a shit about me.  It’s not always easy to walk away from people, but if you find yourself on the receiving end of nothing, what’s the point? I can focus my energy on things that are way more important like yoga or chocolate. So at the end of 2012, I set positive intentions relative to the goals I want to accomplish this year and I started 2013 off feeling super positive and energized.  This past weekend I had my first mentoring session of 2013 with B and he is definitely my gauge; he’s in a much better position to see the changes in me than I am, and he points these out to me on a regular basis. Right now, I feel great. I feel balanced.

Now, this is all fine and dandy, but it makes writing bitchy and sarcastic etiquette posts much more difficult!  But do not fear – I’m working on a new etiquette post now. After all, I can’t let my gift of sarcastic wit go to waste, can I?

[I can't remember where I found this image!]

[I can’t remember where I found this image!]

Face-Off: RAnnDomized vs…..

In the category of “these things only happen to me”  and “what the fuck,” I present to you RAnnDOmized vs. the Headless Rat.” Yes, you read that correctly.

After spending all of Thursday feeling like my body was going to de-morph into two people at any given moment, I passed out  around 9:30pm. Contrary to the last couple of weeks, I got a decent night’s sleep and woke up feeling pretty refreshed this morning. This turned out to be a good thing because I was about to need all the energy I could muster up (which is asking a hell of a lot of me at 6:30 a.m., thank you very much).

I rolled out of bed and went about my usual routine, which involves thyroid meds followed by a stroll into the living room to open up the blinds. Still half-sleep, I started to open the blinds and stopped midway, my eyeballs fixated on the balcony floor, at what appeared to be a living creature racing back and forth across the balcony. Upon seeing said creature, my immediate reaction was “What the FUCK IS THAT!?”  I could not, for the life of me, wrap my brain around what I was seeing – because, good people, upon taking a closer look to make sure I wasn’t completely fucking mental, I realized that the THING had the body of a small rat complete with tail – minus a head. NO SHIT. Where it’s head should be was a stumpy pink thing with little spikes sticking up. I stood completely still as my brain tried to process what it was seeing. My first thought (after ‘WTF is that’) was ‘Is this some kind of new creature?! Because it looks fucking weird. Does it have a head? I don’t think it has a head – What the hell is that?!!’  By the time I made sense of what was happening, the THING had climbed into my folded chair, clearly looking for some kind of refuge. It stayed there for a while, and in the meantime I continued my discussion with myself about what the hell I was supposed to do with this shituation.

Eventually, No-Head came out of hiding and began quickly pacing on two legs and running on four legs – which is when I realized that what I had on my hands was a headless RAT shituation.  As No-Head continued its frenzied pacing, I did some pacing of my own, still wondering how I was going to get rid of a headless rat. I mean, this isn’t something I encounter every day, y’know?  So I went in search of tools that one might use when facing off against a headless rat, and returned with an empty margarine container. I decided against going out to the balcony in case No-Head attacked me, and instead, went outside using the main door, and made my way to the top of the balcony. I crouched down, holding my margarine container, and waited for an opportunity to trap the bastard.  That opportunity came and went twice. Both times, I had to try and retrieve the damn container without falling onto the balcony and/or making contact with No-Head. I successfully trapped No-Head on the 3rd try – then ran into the house in search of some kind of weight to hold the container down. I could hear No-Head scratching and clawing at the container and turned to watch as the container took on a life of its own. Good LORD it’s too early for this shit people!  I finally grabbed my chopping block and plopped it onto the container, then changed my mind and replaced it with a huge candle in a glass jar. Then I stood there wondering what the next step was going to be, as No-Head bounced the container around. I wasn’t stressed or anything…!

SO I went through my recycling and pulled out a pizza box. I then put on my bright yellow rubber gloves, ready to face off against the rat. There could only be one winner here!  Except I stood there for quite some time trying to talk myself into it. Finally, I took a deep breath, pulled up my shorts, and out I went. Let me tell you something people – rubber containers are not good jail cells for little fuckers. After several attempts, I managed to slide the flattened pizza box under the rodent, but trying to pick it up was a whole other challenge because said container kept shifting and shit. Finally, after some deep yoga breaths and some creative ‘packaging’ I managed to pick up the whole damn contraption – rat and all, and throw it onto the lawn. Then I climbed over the balcony onto the lawn and batted the headless rat with my stick, to the curb. I dumped the box and container into the recycling bin and went inside. By this time I was bloody hot with all that adrenaline and shit flowing through my veins and I was glad it was over.

WELL, not so fast rat-catcher!  There I stood at the kitchen sink washing my gloves when TABARNAC, what do I see by the balcony?  A black motherfucker with a tail and no head! The fucker came back, yo! He has no head and he found his way back to me – how the hell is this possible!? My immediate reaction was to run across the living room screaming ‘motherfucker’ as I went, grab my stick and storm out onto the balcony.  I will spare you all the details of what happened next, but let’s just say I no longer have a rat problem. At least, I don’t think so!

I’m thinking I gave my neighbors quite a show this morning. On the up side, they probably won’t be bothering me anytime soon.

So… what did you all get up to between 6:30-7:30 this morning?