Yikes, just realised it has been far too long since I last 'blogged'. Must admit this way of communicating still baffles me a little. Something between diary and platform for information, a little personal and mostly (I think) business related. So I must admit the last year has been very trying and challenging with several health issues to deal with; nothing dire but just requiring more than the usual amount of diligence with daily habits and medication. It was a new situtation, and I am happy to report that this should be resolved favourably for the most part, I hope by early April.

What the break from pushing too hard gave me, was time to 'idle' and it was a boon. Reading was what I did a lot, strolling too; to call what I did even a walk would be pushing the meaning of the word! My little neck of the woods in Toronto (Cabbagetown) is a bit of a gem with some lovely nooks and crannies which were delightful to come upon, and sometimes, during a walk relatively later in the day. One neighbour found my friend and me trying to peer through some slats, came out and let us take a good look at her wonderful, private space well hidden on one of the lanes in this neighbourhood. A beautiful, little garden.

Another wonderful event was that I got a part in a play written by a Canadian playwright Radha Menon, and called The Washing Machine. I had had the opportunity to do a workshop of it earlier in 2010 so was delighted to be part of the somewhat (Radha did have to do some editing to fit the time constraints of the Festival) complete production. Getting to sink one's teeth into a full part, in depth was great; tiring but immensely satisfying too. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing and generous actors. And I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the others involved - director, assistant director, costume and set designer, producer and light designer who were all fantastic.

During this 'break' from the regular scheduling of divans I read some terrific books; The Tiger's Wife, The Sisters Brothers, Half Blood Blues, the fantastically written and Booker winner Sense of an Ending, Irene Sabatini's The Boy Next Door, Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami - both extremely poignant and different to what I expected. Am still soldierng through Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon; boy it is quite a tome and very diffcult to define for me; part western, multi generational saga, story, and over 1100 pages!! Which makes the other two books sitting on my bedside table; IQ84 and The Infinite Jest more intimidating to crack! But am so enjoying the time to ponder and read at leisure.

So first for the big smoke - La Negra was here to teach last weekend and on Tuesday. Hopefully the first of many more.

My surprise (or she is an excellent actress) is that she remembered me and that we had met last at Des Nivel in San Telmo! Of course I was flattered. Why is it that something that should be 'natural' is so difficult to do and most often looks manipulated and unnatural? Wish she had been here last summer. My financial situation then would have allowed one at least, maybe two private classes.

Did come away with some good tips; full foot on the floor - always, free leg belongs to the 'man', balance is our responsibility and of course give yourself completely without thinking - only feeling - to the leader for the duration of the tanda. Good advice; seems logical and common sense; yeah right - just try, it is hard to turn off the brain. But man, those few seconds (if you are lucky --- minutes) when it all falls into place is pure magic!

One works a lifetime for those precious 'times' and it is worth it....

Here then is some magic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f_BYsvVUz4

Ah Labour Day, it has been a long time since I had this experience quite like this! Of course both the boys are now grown, but one is now attending Queens - he transferred from Australia, which is his story to tell!

Anyway, the good news is that he took care of living arrangements and most of the packing. Please don't go into packed cases in the basement next time, I have no space for more chatckas! But he did need help with the actual move. Him having had a rather late night out the previous night (let's say very early morning) did not help matters because our ETD was much delayed. I - can't remember how long it has been - spent the night on an air mattress on the floor. On the other hand it was quite lovely to help him settle in, go grocery (did I say major, I mean really major) shopping. We had frozen pizzas for dinner. So guess no real bad news, except the original plan was to drop him early, return and for me to go to milonga!

But, no matter I left the next morning and had a lovely stop and waffle brunch with my good friend, her partner and their four Portuguese waterdogs! Home to 3 hours of filing. Now there is a completeIy clean work area and desk, I felt quite virtuous I must say.

Finished Ilustrado the book by Miguel Syjuco, that won the Asian Man Booker from the manuscript!! It is impressive, the device for telling the story is very confusing which may say more about me than the story-telling. Not sure why I did not find it as satisfying as I expected or more likely wanted. Strange how one's state of being impacts what one is reading at the time! On to Tinkers...

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco won the Asian Man Booker before being published! There is absolutely no doubt that he is a gifted writer, but I was aching to read a straight forward story. He draws wonderful images of scenes and I learned a lot about the history of the Philipines but I wanted to hear more about the characters' stories. Honestly found the device of using a different font for the voice of the various narrators a bit confusing and actually missed the most important revelation at the end of the book at first pass! Look forward to reaading his next book.

My first movie at TIFF this year was Ano Bisiesto (Leap Year) from Mexico. I am glad Hollywood didn't make the movie, it is very true to life and gritty. Hollywood would without a doubt have cast an A-list actress with a perfect body and luminous lighting. Anyway that being said, this was a disturbing film to watch; urban alienation and the deep result of violence I think is depicted well. The Mexican actress did an admirable job of staying natural. Am glad I got to see it because it definitely will not open at any mainstream (not sure about arthouses either) cinema in Canada! Tonight 'I Saw The Devil'.

But alright what's with the cost of tickets, and having to pick them up downtown? Why is TIFF not able to offer printable tickets like several major theatres. Or at least more than one pickup location?

Well it's a wonderful day.

Made breakfast for myself - boys asleep. How indulgent is that? Some lovely wrapping paper lay on the kitchen counter. "Wow" I thought picking it up "I must to put it away where I remember to use it." As I turned it over I realized that my baby had made a gigantic Mother's Day card and left a big piece for my imagination!

Perfect start. Then a quick chat with a friend in BsAs and another in Delhi. Nisha and I have been friends since we were about 10 years okd; no I am not going to mention how many years ago that is or which number her birthday is today. Let's just say old friends are the best and leave it there...

Then went vintage shopping; boys are making dinner for me and as usual now have about 12 people who might potentially be here! Not sure how that happens almost without fail and last minute. No milonga tonight.