“The Halloween Box”

31 Oct

The Magical Costume I Remember the Most and the One that is Still in My Closet
Natalie Portmon { "Closer" }
“We can’t find the box Mommm!” my brother and I would shout from the bottom of the basement stairs.
“You’ll have to wait until your father gets home to find it. Only he knows where everything is down there! He has a system. I’m not going down there.”
“Ahhh Mommm – Come onnnn….pleeeeaaase.” we pleaded like kids do when they really want something and they won’t survive without it!
“Don’t worry you two. I want to see inside the box too. You’re father will be home soon.”
“Now have you decided what you want to be yet this year?”
“A Smurf!”
“A Princess”

(My brother wanted to be the smurf. Which I thought was genius. Very trendy at the time of its new release on TV). I didn’t know how on earth he was going to be blue mind you with a big bubbly bum when he had a skinny soccer body).
My mother really loved holidays – any of them – Christmas of course she was particularity amazing and creating a beautiful welcoming home that was cozy and full of magic. St.Patricks day a close second. I still haven’t met anyone who decorates the house and celebrates St.Paddy’s day the way my mom did. And then there’s Halloween. She made the loveliest costumes. I don’t know if I always felt this at the time, but their were definitely some gems.

What I appreciate the most our home-made costumes. Not necessarily large elaborate outfits that are orchestrated together with foam and head pieces that turn into a tube of toothpaste for instance. Clever indeed. I think I remember a kid as this once. My mom would find things already in the house and put together an outfit. Over the years this massive box ( we could stand in it) had formed and we called it the Halloween box. Some things she or my Dad would go out and find pieces here and there to add to the costume. I admit I know there are many that buy the store-bought plastic & costumes that serve a purpose, but I’ve never been a fan of the pleather and plastic look. Homemade costumes just have a lot more love out in them and uniqueness. I’m not knocking the plastic (Okay I am) – However, I’d rather see people dressed up then not at all.

{ The time I surprised my boyfriend at the Halloween Party I was hosting in college and dressed up as Aqua’s 1997 dance-hit “Barbie Girl” (1:57min). Yes, the rolling skate outfit. It was hilarious. He was floored. So were my neighbours below with me skating everywhere on hardwood) }

There was a beautiful pirate costume that my eldest brother wore and I think it has a story going further back to my grandma but I can’t remember exactly. It had a lovely ballooned silk blouse with shiny cuff-links. Very elegant pirate – this guy was not coming out of the sandy sea with a dirty blouse! There was a black felt pirate hat and a shiny red scarf my mom would tie around our necks. My mother was gifted at doing her own makeup and also doing Halloween make up. One of my most fondest memories from Halloween was her setting is up into of the kitchen counter, setting up a desk lamp shining on is and doing our make-up. The pirate got some blackened dirt marks swathed across their face and a large black curly-cue handlebar mustache drawn across their face ( this pirate was from the Spanish Caribbean time of course). My mother’s artistic flare with a paint brush transferred over to her freehand makeup artistry. The best one on my 6.5 older brother was the time he took a large pair of green one piece long underwear with his high top sneakers (?) and called himself the “Jolly Green Giant” from the green Peas commercials. Genius. I think he was way to old to be trick or treating that year, but they went out as teeanger’s do on Halloween.
My favorite costume to date fits inside the most requested Halloween costume of them all when one asks a little girl,

“What would you like to be?”
“A Princess!”

We didn’t have the 50 million Walt Disney princesses we have today! The Jasmine, the Ariel, the Pocahontas…. the Pocahontas Princess?! Now that’s my kind of Princess – an indigenous warrior! –  Yes! We didn’t have those. We had two. Cinderella and Snow White. And whatever we creating in our minds when hearing fairy tale references to princesses living in castles. This should be easy.

My mom found me a pretty little pale shade of yellow ballerina type skirt. I put on my dance leopards (the ones without the piling going on) and I think I had a tiny little soft wool cashmere cardigan sweater. The tiny buttons were special in someway way too – maybe pearlized or sparkly. She did my make-up and added a little blush and shimmer to my face. For someone who didn’t like to be called “Katie”, but Just Kate and who tossed a pretty red dress back into the hands of my Aunt who made me a red dress for my birthday, this was a good thing! I always wanted to, had to, be a strong girl! I thought the outfit looked pretty good, but I think I felt something was missing. A crown! I don’t have a crown!Stampa

This was the very best thing about this costume. I’ll never forget this. My mom had a lot of jewellery – gold necklaces, pendants, bangles earrings. Funky silver pieces, heirlooms, chain belts, gypsy earrings and costume jewellery too.

There was a lot of jewels to be dazzled at. I could look, I could ask and touch, but couldn’t take. I would look at her jewelry on her dresser and there were a few pieces that caught my eye. I always loved her hammered gold engagement ring from my Dad, her large silver round necklace with the turquoise stone in it, but most of all I would get lost in never-never land when I opened the big jewellery case to one particular piece – a large necklace with a gold triangle webbing the size of your hand adorned with sparkling gems. Every time I flipped open the lid on that old leather jewelry box – Creak – Snap! – it’s sparkle just seemed to jump at me even louder from the silk hills it lay in. I had seen a picture of if on my mother. She was in a pale yellow silk blouse and a matching toned pink and silver long skirt that shimmered. I think my father’s graduation from his Queens MBA. My mother looked radiant in her outfit and the matching necklace.

I was sitting on the counter feeling not as princessy as I could and my mother said, “Hang on – I’ll be right back!” I waited on the counter trying to imagine how full of candies my pillowcase could be that night coming home from trick or treating. Not a minute later my mom came down the stairs and asked me close my eyes. I did ( I still love good-good surprises! ). I couldn’t feel anything happening at all.

“Hang onnnn”

Then I felt the ever so slightest of something slip down on my forehead. It wasn’t a hat – there was no top. “Hang on honey” my mother said and she reached for the light and shun it over my head like a spot light and grabbed her vanity mirror, and shun it in front of my little face and said,

“Ta-daaaa! Every Princess needs a crown!”

There draped over my tiny wee head and cascading down onto my forehead was the bejeweled gold triangle necklace. She had tuned it into a sudo-crown and it lay on my forehead. I smiled big and wide eyed. I was in shock and honour. Yes, my new crown that took over my entire forehead like an Egyptian goddess was so pretty, but the reason I felt so special is the fact that my mom would consider taking her real precious gold necklace and trust me enough to wear it for Halloween. I was so happy. I felt so special. I was elated the whole evening. I didn’t care if my pillowcase was only half full of candies (especially the chocolate bars – Reeses Pieces buttercups were my favorite. And Rosebuds. Remember Rosebuds? Oh, and chocolate raisins, and Kit Kat and Gobstoppers and…. Apparently I need some Halloween chocolate!

Happy Halloween Everyone!
Now go get that costume on and be somebody you’ve always want to be! – Live a little!

In Richness of Being a lover of getting dressing up for Halloween!
“Trick or Treat!” I always take treat.

It’s Rainy Today

22 Sep

Lovers Under Covers

Rain_cottage_womanI like the rain – sometimes.
If I’m indoors and it’s cozy.
Not if I’m outdoors & it’s cold.
The best time I like the rain – is at a cottage, when you have all these outdoor chores to do, but you’d rather not and you wake to rain.
You are forced to stay inside and take a me day.
No where to go, nothing in particular that has to get done.
Just you and the rain coming down and hitting the roof in rhythm.
Inside rumbling, crackling fires are better in the rain,
Making hot tea or hot chocolate is better in the rain,
Making breakfast is better in the rain. Hot buttered toast smells better in the rain. Bacon smells better in the rain.
I don’t drink coffee, but even fresh percolating coffee is better in the rain.
Big fluffy robes are better in the rain.
My long, black cashmere sweater feels better in the rain.
Freshly dried clothes, hot sheets & primped towels feel so much better in the rain. Playing board games with friends and family is better in the rain.
Playing cards and chit chat with friends and lovers is better when it rains.
Calm kids, giggling kids, kids getting along are better when it rains.
Soccer games are so much more fun in the rain. Dancing in the rain.
3:00 Daytime knaps on the cottage couch or sun porch daybed rock in the rain!
Diving under big puffy down duvets are better in the rain.
Curling up beside your loved one and nestling your bodies together is way better in the rain.
And aren’t the other things we do under the covers with our lovers all better in the rain? lovers_cuddle
Music is better in the rain – especially jazz, ambient and Morrison.
Songs about rain are better in the rain.
The CBC is way better in the rain.
Reading books is better in the rain – Did you ever notice you read more pages?
Hot bubble baths rock in the rain. The bubbles are bigger when it rains.
Tea lights and candles are better in the rain.
Red wine tastes better in the rain.
Paris is better in the rain. It’s even more romantic in the rain.
And hot tropics like Costa Rica are better when it rains.
Homemade soup is better in the rain.
Chilli, spaghetti & garlic buns all taste better in the rain.

Why? Why is everything better in the rain?
Because we are nature.
And the closer we our to nature, the closer we our to our soul.
And our souls often need nature to reboot.
Rain feeds the soul.

If it’s coming down over you, around you, into the earth beneath and through you and even if your caught running in it – You are getting soothed by mother nature.
A very wet mother nature.

Getting caught running in the rain without an umbrella is the worst thing about the rain.
Unless it’s sunny and you’re about to have your first kiss with a lover – Then, then it’s way ok getting caught in the rain.
What do you love to do in the rain?

In Richness of Being a word lover,

fingerprint• Locale: Under fluffy covers in my new temp Feng Shooie (What My Dad calls Feng Shui) Beaches home
• On Deck: Into the Mystic { listen }by Van Morrison. “I want to Rock your Gypsy Soul.”
• Mood: Feel’n cozy, creative & romantic. Where can I get me a fire?
• Wet Dogs are not good in the rain. Now Pina Colada’s and wet hugs – They’re good in the rain.

Girl’s East Coast Roadtrip, Bottomed Out Oil Pan & Brushes with Buddhism

7 Jul

My Brushes with the Buddhism
Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.42.22 PMI have though always had an affinity to, an attraction to Tibet culture, colors and Buddhism. It was never front and center in my mind, but there lingering…

One summer my best friend and I were deciding what we could do together for our vacation. I suggest Road trip! I’d already lived out west, so I suggested, “Girl’s East Coat Road trip!” Final destination: Peggy Cove of course. The Holy grail of anyone’s east coast road trip! Just to set the scene, we had 10 days and were kinda wing’n it until I my friend arrived to pick me up and handed me 20 pages of Google map quest sheets with instructions from Toronto, with stops at major tourist attractions ending at Dalhousie and Peggy’s cove. I didn’t think she was really-truly “into this trip” until that point. I wanted to have some fun and good times. While I was putting gas in the car, my friend was sorting some things in the trunk of her Sunfire. I’m thinking, ok, she’s uber organized on this front- which was grand – but, tell me, will she have the capability to ver of course and have some fun. Next thing I know, while she’s headface into a pile of clothing, bags & camping stoves, she abruptly flings out something and throws it at me

“Hey – Catch!”

“Hey – I’m pumping gas here.”

I catch it. Cuz I can catch. And then she throws something else at me that’s glowing flourescent.

“Ahhh= Only 2 hands here Lady!”

I managed to catch it too. A flourescent orange water gun. I’m confused.

She looks at me. I flip the hot fuchsia sparkled book over to see the cover.

Cameron Tuttle’s book, “Girls Guide to the Open Road”.

“If were going to be doing anything out of there, then we’ll need these!”

She pulls another flourescent water gun from the back of the Sunfire.

I’m smiling so intently that she is finally getting this. Getting IN to it.

“What are these for? So we can shoot each other in the car like you’re pissed off at your car since we’re going to be in it for 10 days?”

“No” she grabs the book. “Didn’t you read?”

“Chapter 5. Page 47. Shoot Water pistols at construction workers on the Highway.”

“Ha! I lost it. I think it was the largeScreen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.48.51 PMst, longest funniest laugh of the whole trip. We recorded everything. I still have the “Thelma & Louise” travel log. Although, she looks swiss, so I think we re-named our selves, “Gretchen and Helga” or something like that – only better looking of course. ‘Never saw so many heads turn at Tim Horton’s drive-ups through rural east coast at 6am every morning let me tell you. I learned not to communicate with my friend before a couple minutes after her fist sip of coffee. In fact, as I recall, I think I leaned to wait until it settled in, and she’s breathe a sigh of

“Thank God” and say,”Ok. Now what? I’m caffeinated.

Many hilarious stories to share about this road trip. I’m going to tell a kinda cute story of getting lost on a mission.

My friend is a vet, and one of her goals of the trip ( I ask people what their main desires or intentions are for a trip to appeal to everyone and ask for it to happen!). He 100% response was,

“Gotta sea whales. Whales. Yup. Must see whales. Whales must see.”

We had already been on the road trip for several days and many happenings. We left our last site and goal of the day was to take a trip on a Schooner with the prime goal of being able to see the whales. Two motion sick pills, some crazy-schooner wind hair and $80 later – no whales. My friend was not a happy camper.

“I’m sorry you girls didn’t catch any whales. You know, if you really want to see them, you should go to where the locals go.”

“Oh” my friend was intrigued.

“Yah, if you really want to see them, try secret beach. No tourists, usually you can catch whales there. No guarantee, but usually.”

We got directions and headed there right away. It was only 20 minute drive. The instructions were kinda sketchy, “Two fields this way, second unmarked road on the left” kind of a deal. We drove down the road we thought was the road to the secret beach. About half way down, feeling and hearing the high-grass hitting the underbelly of the car, I said,”

“I don’t know if this is the right road.” I saw a roughly painted sign staked into one of the trees fly by.

“Maybe you should slow down a bit. I think I passed a sign that may have said parking. You really couldn’t tell as the car tracks that made this “road” were to overgrown with tall grass it was crap shoot if we were really on a road or not.

“No , no we’re good. I’m going to keep going.”

The trees and grass were tall and thick and you couldn’t tell where we were going.”

“I don’t think it’s  good idea. You have a low car. It’s not really an off roading car. It’s not a jeep.”

She kept driving. “No – I think this is go….”

“KA-BOOM…crash…ta-ting, ta-ting”

“Shit! That doesn’t sound good.’

“Nah, We’re good. She pulled into a rivet that looked like cars had parked there at some point in the last..year.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.50.04 PMWe parked the car. Hiked a shot trail that opened up to the beautiful ocean, set down our mexican blankets popular at that time and caught some rays. No whales.

“We’re leaving!”

“We’ve been here like 20 min.”

“There’s no whales, We’re leaving.”

“Don’t you just want to take a break for a bit?”

“No. Whales. Mission.”

“Ohhh K. How exactly do you expect to find them now?”

“Don’t know. Lets go to the car and I’ll figure it out.”

At least she was “wing’n it at this point.”

We got back it the car, head to the road.”

“Aren’t we near the Cabot trail?”

“Yes. close.”

“We’ll go there.”

“But it’s the afternoon. It takes forever to take the trail.”


“I gotta tell you. I’m open to this, but I’m bagged. I’m not sure i can navigate. I really need a knap.”

“Fine. No worries.”

We headed out on the infamous Cabot trail. We drove all the way to one side mock whatever!  I’m sure at times with the road trip music blaring that we had mixed. Song of the road trip? George Michel in Wham, “Wake Me Up Before You  Go-Go!” We were reliving out youth. Come on.

I fell asleep. She looked for whales while navigating the windy Cabot trail.

When we go to the end. She turned around and went back.

“No whales?”

“No whales.”

We were on our way back. She was disappointed as I was when I found out we couldn’t have a campfire on account of the dryness meter and potential for forest fire on the provincial park sign. I felt for her, but I was relieved to be venturing back to the campsite.

“We better head back. We have to find site, set up camp before dark and dusk it coming.”

“Yah, I know. I guess so.”Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 5.14.12 PM

We headed back on the road. Not for long. I was trying to keep my eye lids open to help steer the car from the passenger seat, but couldn’t. I felt the car do a 180.

“Whatttt are you doing?”

“I have a hunch!”

“Uhuh. Yes, go on.”

“I just got  hunch, about this road we passed. I’m going to take a look-see. Wasn’t you that told me trust my hunches, listen to my intuition, often our first instinct is correct, and not the fear statement that stops it after? Yadda yadda yadda….”

“Yesssssss. That was me.”

“I saw a road back there. I’m going to it. Besides didn’t you say you have to go the washroom?”

“Yes, yes, it’s fine. Go.”

We drive down the road or UP the road as it were. The road began to swivel and take a turn, as it climbed and climbed and climbed, it wrapped a wide bend, as we approached the top, we could see the ocean on our right. We stop before we get to the top of third road that seems to be going no where and has no inhabitants on it, held only by the ocean at its side. Before getting to the top we decided to stop. There were so many tall grasses with beautiful wild flowers of all kinds blowing in the wind – you know when you see a field and wish you could just dive in and float there before hitting the ground? We got back in the car.

“All right. I give up! No whales. I tried. I’m ok with that we can try tomorrow. Should we turn around and go back down? This road isn’t leading anywhere.”

You could feel the relief in the car of friend letting go of  her mission to have a whale sighting.

“Nahh. Let’s keep on, we’re going up, so it mush come down on the other side and hit the highway.”

We continued up and then the wildlife and the road seemed to be coming to a halt. The road literally stopped at the top of the hill and went nowhere. Odd? How does a a road end with no official end? How is it a road? Why was there no sign that said dead end? We got to the top. Stopped. Looked around. Looked at each other and thought, “this is odd.”

‘This is kinda weird actually.”

I got out of my side of the car and shit the door.

She motioned me that it was too loud. I motioned her that who was it going to bother, there’s nothing around us with my hands. We looked around again, looked at each other. Then our eyes came to meet a large sign that wasn’t in english, red with gold lettering. Our eyes met – enlarged. We laughed confused.

“Where the heck are we?”

“I’m a little confused. Actually kinda spooked.”Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.44.28 PM

“Oh it’s fine. We’re fine. Look there’s a building. Maybe they have a washroom we can use.”

We start to walk over to the white barnyard building. Not long after, a shadow appeared. Out walked a bald headed man, cloaked in a long merlot robe. Erin and I looked at each other. ” Geezuz – Where are we?” we thought to ourselves.

We were honestly a bit put off in the beginning. Are we at some cult? And I immediately realized, we’re fine.

“Can I help you?”

“Oh – sorry, we didn’t mean to disturb you. I guess we kinda got lost on this road. We’re looking for a washroom.”

“You are welcome to use ours. Please come.”

We walked towards the large white house on the cliff. Really it was bigger then a house. The monk gave us direction for the washroom.

“We don’t typically allow visitors outside hours, or to go through the home. We have many monks here now on a residence retreat. It’s ok though.”

My friend went to find the washroom.

“Where are we?”

“Would you like a tour? You are at Gampo Abbey. This is a Buddhist monastery in the Shambhala tradition.”


The young monk walked me around. I entered the kitchen and there were a couple monks playing cards. “Monks play cards?” I thought to my self. What a silly question. All they’re missing is a couple cold ones on this kitchen table and they’re any Jim or Joe playing cards.

“Would you like to see where we mediate?”

“Sure. Ok.” I was expecting a pretty drab, basic room with cushions on the floor. Quite the contrary. He lead me into this room and opened the door. Breathtaking. The entire room was was set on the backdrop of the ocean and dripped in brass and gold Buddha statue and flags. Lovely Merlot cushions lined up. Some three pillows high. Actually looked comfortable!

My friend returned and I went in. When I came back out, the same monk approached me.

“You said your friend was looking for whales?”

“Yes. Big time. She’s on a mission.”

“Tell her to go around back, to the cliff side. She will see them.”

My eyes lit up. I thanked the monk, and flew outside to find Erin to tell her to go to the cliff side to see the whales.

I couldn’t find her anywhere. I decided to venture to the cliff side. I saw her standing on the edge looking out to the sea. The wind and the ocean waves hitting the shore are so loud, we had learned that there is no point yelling as your voice doesn’t carry. I walked closer to her. Her gaze was set out onto the ocean. As I gazed out to look I kept walking towards her. When I close, her eyes met mine briefly and we spoke in silence. I looked out again to the ocean and there was a whale with it’s tail flapping wide behind. Goose bumps ran up and and down my arms. There was another whale and another, my friend couldn’t continually point to the amount of whales that were diving up out of the ocean and back down again. There was an entire whale pod giving that seemed to be our very own private performance. My eyes teared and so did hers. We watched the show in awe.

The Backstory: When Trungpa Rinpoche visited the site that overlooks the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on Cape Breton Island a double rainbow appeared in the sky. Gampo Abbey is a Western Buddhist monastery in the Shambhala tradition in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1983, it is a lineage institution of Shambhala and a corporate division of the Vajradhatu Buddhist Church of Canada.

Under the spiritual direction of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the spiritual head of Shambhala International, Gampo Abbey is guided by its abbot Thrangu Rinpoche and its principal teacher Pema Chödrön.

Gampo Abbey is named after Gampopa, the first monastic in the Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Gampo Abbey’s guiding teacher is the well-known author, Buddhist nun, and teacher Pema Chödrön.

Three-year retreats at Söpa Chöling are done in English, in three segments with breaks in between. This schedule was designed by Thrangu Rinpoche to make the retreat more accessible for people with family and career commitments.

Six groups of retreatants have completed the three-year retreat, a total of 56 individuals. The seventh cycle of retreats is currently underway.
{ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gampo_Abbey }
Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.45.55 PM



fingerprint • July 6, 2014, The Dali Lama’s Birthday
• Midnight
• On Deck: Kate Bush, “Running up that Hill”
• Bamboo writing, night sky and banana cream pie

In Always { a poem }

14 Feb

"Fullmoon Lovers Under the Pantheon" { Kate Flood, Rome, Italy '10 }

In Always
{ a poem }

I want to be with you in the night, in the morning, in the day,
In the snow and in the cold,
In the sun, in the heat,
In the rain, in the wet,
In the spring, in the air,
In the fall, in the crisp,
In confusion, in perfection,
In enthusiasm, in delerium,
In the heat of the moment, in the doldrum of the day,
In the minute, in the hour,
In your arms, in my arms,
In your sighs, in my sighs,
In our silence, in our room,
In our agony, in our laughter,
in always,
in forever.

In Richness of Being a poet…

• 9:22am, Toronto
Writing in my cozy cashmere robe and suede mukluks
•  Happy Valentines Day! 


Rain Kissing

18 Oct


Rain Covers { poem }

the rain slips in,
quietly from nowhere,
hits the pane,
puts me in the mood,
for lov’n again.

‘love when the rain,
sifts in by surprise,
and comes down with fury,
and invites me to light a fire all over again.

the clouds are crying,
the sky is black,
the trees are wet,
there is no holding back.

come down,
rain hard on me,
take everything I’ve got,
and slip me between the covers.

rolled up in big down,
with a changing painting on my window sill,
patter the roof,
and sing my soul to sleep tonight.

~ Kate


Have you ever been kissed like that in the rain?

• 10:33pm
• Skies on High, Toronto
• On deck:  All I Want is You by U2

Sophie McAdam

Freelance journalist, author and feature writer

The Manifest-Station

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