Friday, 31 December 2010

Top Five Moments of 2010

At the conclusion of every year, I run through every day, every moment and chose at least five that I am most satisfied with. The only thing different about this year is that I am sharing the top five on my blog:

5) Learning To Run

I'm nowhere near being an expert at this new hobby of mine, but I've fallen in love with it. I still can't run for longer than three minutes at a time, but I'm getting better at sticking with it!

4) Quitting My Job

Every time I leave a job, I feel a little bad about it. I always pour my heart into the company, and - as much as I may vent about the boss, the company, etc. - I always live and breathe for whoever I am working for. Also, I always have another job, working for another company lined up before I leave. Alas, this time was different! And now I get to live and breathe for myself - and remind myself every day that I can do it on my own!

3) My First "Third Sister" Having a Baby Girl

With two older sisters, you would think I had enough "sister" to go around. Fortunately, there is always room for a "third" sister, and my cousin was the first one in my life to claim that title. I'm excited for all of my cousins when they have babies, but this is the first baby in that generation on that side of the family, which is special, especially considering that that Grandmother passed away this summer. The baby is adorable, the couple is happy and healthy, and none of us could be more elated!

2) My Sister Getting Engaged

Some sisters play "Wedding" together when they're young; we played "Apartments." Nonetheless, I couldn't be happier for my sister and her fiance. I always wanted a younger brother.... but I'm elated to be getting my older brother-in-law!

1) Getting My Own Apartment

I've lived alone before, but not as permanently as this arrangement. I love it! It is the perfect location - close to the university, the breeding ground of new ideas; a two-minute walk to the lrt, the fastest section of public transportation in Edmonton; and two blocks from the River Valley, where I began running this spring. :-D Life is GOOD!

Thursday, 30 December 2010


a nonsense verse or composition

The children delighted in the book's amphigory and in the bright, colorful illustrations that accompanied the foolish rhymes.

Did You Know?

The author of the 18th-century French play l'Amphigouri may have coined this term from the Greek words amphi, meaning "around," and agoria, which means "speech," perhaps modeling his coinage on the word "allegory." One common form of amphigory uses letter combinations and sentence structures that don't normally occur in the language; that's the type Lewis Carroll used in "Jabberwocky," a poem whose title has since become another general term for meaningless speech or writing.

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Wednesday, 29 December 2010


having a blissful appearance

A beatific smile spread across Grandmother's face as she reminisced about her wedding day.

Did You Know?

"Beatific," from Latin beatificus ("making happy"), first occurred in English in the phrase "beatific vision," a theological allusion to the direct sight of God enjoyed by the blessed in heaven. Although "beatific" originally meant "conferring happiness," the word now more frequently means "expressing happiness" and a blissfully joyful look or appearance may be called "beatific."

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Defining The Quarter Life Crisis

I've been working on this one for a little bit, so I apologize in the delay...

I was at a party the other night, and I was asked what I do now that I've left the bank. After answering that question a few times prior to the party, I jumped right in with the fact that I am blogging. The music blog is the easiest one to understand, but I couldn't leave out this one. This is more of your traditional blog - sub-regular rants on life, getting older, and the difficulties of merely being alive and having emotions - yet it is the one that I talk the least about. So, standing in front of a dozen or so people, I began my explanation...

This blog was actually the beginning of it all. Well, no, that's not entirely correct. The first one was supposed to be about my travels in England, but that didn't pan out. So, then, when I got back I started this one. Remember, two years ago when I faced the possibility of being 100% unemployed for like six weeks? That I would like to mark as the beginning of the crisis. (...although truthfully, I wasn't all too rational in my decision to move to England, either,... I guess I'll just leave it up to future analysts of my autobiography...)

After running through a quick list of what I am doing as a writer (and the side jobs, as well), the party broke down into smaller groups. This is always ideal. I hate parties where everybody tries to talk to one another and you just sit around in a big circle pretending to all care about the same subject matter. I never connect well with a large group of strangers, but I hit it off BIG TIME one-on-one with new friends. (My friend would later thank me for bridging the gap between her different groups of friends, which I took as a huge compliment. I love meeting new people, so I love going to parties where I have the opportunity to do exactly as I did there. It was nice that my skill was appreciated. AND, if you're ever throwing a mixer with a wide array of people, you know who to call!)

As several conversations erupted, I found myself at the corner of the buffet table, talking to a scientist. He seemed interested in my blogs, and we began talking about this one. I went through a brief history of it, and he seemed confused. "What do you mean by 'Quarter Life Crisis'?"

"Well," I began. "You know how people, when they're in their late forties, early fifties and they suddenly change careers or start dating somebody half their age?"

His confusion did not seem to be lessening, so I continued.

"Well, I'm too young to be doing that!" (I paused for a laugh, but there was none...) "...but, well, I think there is this common feeling among people of our generation, you know, that are in their twenties and faced with similar concerns about their life. They start asking themselves, 'is this REALLY what I want to do for the next forty or fifty years?'; 'will I be happy with this decision five years from now?'; or sometimes even, 'why haven't I accomplished that yet?!?' These are all valid concerns, and, I've found that writing about it makes me feel better. And my readers, when they comment, are going through the same things."

He still looked confused, so I paused to let it sink in.

"What does 'Quarter' mean?"

My new friend's first language was not English, and, like always, I had answered the question of my own agenda rather than the real question. (Does anybody see Being a Better Listener on my New Year's Resolution list?)

My explanation got me thinking, and, as it turns out, when I dwell on a question, it turns up in a lot of my conversations. Later that week, I was talking to a customer at work and discovered that he had been going through a similar situation for the last few years. Unlike myself (who ran kicking and screaming from the institution of higher learning after they handed me a piece of paper covered in calligraphy), this new friend had hid from his fears through school and travel. I was a bit jealous... The real world is actually a terrible place to hide from one's uncertainty about the future. I felt better knowing that he was going to graduate this spring without any better understanding of what he should be doing with his life than what I have. And he's in the Scared Stage. I'd never want to go back to the Scared Stage!

The problem, I think, is that we have so many decisions in front of us. Normally, I discuss this with my fellow females since we have the feminism of the 80s to thank for our decision-making problems. Sure, women could do whatever they wanted to before the 80s, but now there's even more pressure for us to choose not only whatever it is that men did before us, but to be HAPPY with our choice. And it's not even about choosing not to have babies or to have babies (trust me, with this war on right now, I'm definitely feeling the embracing of the latter over the former!). We can even choose to have babies and have partners who stay home to raise them. In fact, it's almost like our choices SHOULD be more original. The last few generations have sent so many shockwaves through the history books that there is this tiny little bit of pressure resting on the shoulders of all womankind to do something even greater with our lives. We all should aspire to be the next Oprah...

I apologise for the helter skelter of that rant. I've been holding in it for a few days, now. You see, over the holidays, I brought up Rosie the Rivetter, and how she has an action figure created after her. I love it. I love Rosie the Rivetter! When I brought her up, though, there was a conversation about how much the campaign she represented helped get women into the work force. I won't deny that the campaigns to get women to work during the war were impressive, and widespread enough to convince even the most conservative individuals in the far corners of this country to consider allowing women to do the hard labour of the men they had sent off to fight without being too concerned about that woman's children, or her 'delicate nature.'

It wasn't the beginning of feminism, though, nor was it the end. The post-war emphasis on family and motherhood certainly sent a vast majority of those women packing from the factories back to their pantries. The celebration of suburbia only continued that trend, making motherhood once again an issue of class moreso than a natural power to be proud of. (If you could afford to have children and not have the wife work as well, you were of the middle class or above.) Then came the pill, and more and more women could postpone their baby-having days to build a career. Some "spinsters" (women who never marry) were even truly successful in the careers that came their way due to the civil rights movements of the 60s.

Then, well, we can't forget the Sexual Revolution; if only because that makes us believe that Britney Spears is being really powerful when she pouts just a little bit and 'allows' her lover to physically abuse her. (If you don't understand, just ask, and I'll break it down for you.) After the sexually-charged 70's, though, we are faced with the 80's, where Dolly Pardon bemoans working a full-time job, Cyndi Lauper claims "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and, okay, maybe we should blame Madonna - just a little bit - for what we've allowed Britney Spears to get away with...

Except that, Madonna had class. Dolly Pardon had pride. And Cyndi Lauper was filthy rich! They may not have been pressuring women to get into the workforce, but they didn't have to. Women coming of age at this time had known their entire lives that they could do ANYTHING they wanted to when they grew up. And they did! Yeah, yeah, I know there's still a glass ceiling, and there's still social taboos that need to be kicked out of the office buildings women are now dominating,... but that leaves us with a lot to live up to!

Now do you understand why I had to give up the feminist cause for something that needed more work? I'm a bit terrified of what my foremothers expect from me...

Don't worry, I know it's difficult for men, too. All those girls who were told they could do anything grew up alongside those boys that weren't told anything about the future. Hmmmm....yeah, I guess it could be worse. I could have had that plan that had been given to my gender for the last few generations ripped from my hands by some scary spinsters, had it split in half and only be given back the top part of it. If I thought reaching that glass ceiling was going to be tough, imagine what life would be like if that's where I was meant to start!

Don't worry, I explained what a 'quarter' was to my new friend...

It Gets Better (Part Two)

The original campaign, and my previous point about this phrase was that life only improves as we get older. As we age, we become wiser, we appreciate things more, and life is rarely as difficult as high school. Well, life is generally more difficult than high school, but people and our emotions tend to become more manageable...

I had a bigger point to make, though, and I've waited almost a week to finish making it.

I have a friend who is faced with a difficult romantic decision. For the entirety of our relationship, she has wanted to fall in love. She has had numerous suitors, and a handful of crushes, but nothing as serious as the situation she finds herself in now. At this moment, she is dating two different men, and is concerned about which one, if either, to continue dating. I've heard the pros and cons of both, and privately given her my opinion; and I've also given her the advice of "it gets better"...

Romantic "It Gets Better"

On average, we all (not just women) have this ideal in our minds of who are perfect match is. As we meet a potential new mate, we weigh them against the list we have in our mind of what it is we are looking for. For some people, the suitor should have an idea of where they're going in life, perhaps be able to drive, or make x amount or more every year. Other times, it is more about what the person does not have: no children, no pets, no body fat, no debt, etc. And, on average, we all need to find the other person attractive: dashing eyes, cute smile, firm butt, toned arms, etc. The criteria changes for every person, luckily, and so it should work out that eventually, one day you will find somebody that has you described on their list and they will fit the person you have on your list, too.

This is where I think online dating sites may have ruined the dating game forever, or at least for some people. You log onto the site, you put in your list and you generally find five or six people who fit eighty percent of what you're looking for. Before even meeting them, they're discarded, though, because that twenty percent is the most important part. Now, don't get me wrong, I know many people who have found the love of their life on dating sites, and I think it's nice to have another way of meeting people. And, I shouldn't blame online dating sites entirely. I think, even without them, we would have these impossible lists for our suitors to match. Listing off everything you're looking for and not finding it is extremely disappointing.

I've discarded my list. Friends and family describe my ideal mate to me, and that's fine. As for me, right now, I'm preferring to drift along, without a list to compare any potential suitors to. My theory is that when it's right, it'll be right and he won't have to meet all the requirements that I created before I met him. Who I am changes over time, and that goes along with what I like as well...and if who I am only improves, what I like will only get better, too.

Consoling my last broken heart, a dear friend used the "It Gets Better" line to me. "The next one will be even better...and if he isn't, than it's not worth sticking with." I liked that thought. If, in your new relationship, you're still thinking about the old one, then the new person is probably not any better, and you should move on.

Taking this concept, I gave advice to me friend faced with this certain dilemna. Both of her suitors possess the same number of positive qualities on her list, but neither of them meet all of them. So, I told her to jump in, have fun, and be willing to get hurt. At some point, she'll know which one to chose, and he might break her heart. That's ok, though, because the next suitor will be even better. It only gets better...

Plus, we're only in our twenties. There is only a certain amount of years where it is acceptable to date for fun. We might find the love of our life right away, but it is WAY too early to be stressing about meeting the person we will spend the rest of our life with at this point. Right now, we should be kissing a few frogs; it will make the prince that much better ;-)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


1:appearing ready to collapse: rickety 2:carelessly or loosely constructed

The properties were separated by a ramshackle wooden fence that was just barely held together with chicken wire.

Did You Know?

Despite its appearance, "ramshackle" has nothing to do with rams or shackles. It's an alteration of "ramshackled," an early form of "ransack," which derived from Old Norse words meaning "house" and "seek" and meant "to search through or plunder." A home that has been ransacked has had its contents thrown into disarray, and that image may be what caused us to start using "ramshackle" in the first half of the 19th century to describe something poorly constructed or in a state of near collapse. These days, "ramshackle" can also be used figuratively, as in "He could only devise a ramshackle excuse for his absence."

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Monday, 27 December 2010


1:a gift made as a token of good wishes or luck 2:a first installment: earnest money

At the beginning of the year, some employees will receive handsome monetary handsels.

Did You Know?

According to an old custom in the British Isles, the first Monday of the new year is Handsel Monday, a day to give a small gift or good-luck charm to children or to those who have served you well. As long ago as the year 1200, English-speakers were using the ancestor of "handsel" for any good-luck charm, especially one given at the start of some new situation or condition. By the 1500s, traders were using "handsel" for the first cash they earned in the morning - to them, an omen of good things to follow. Nowadays, it can also be applied to the first use or experience of something, especially when such a use gives a taste of things to come.

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Weekly Inspirational Quote

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
~ Annie Dillard

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It Gets Better...

The campaign of this same name began several months ago. In an attempt to bring more awareness to the tragic suicidal results of bullying and - more importantly - hope to those who suffer from bullying as a result of their sexual orientation, celebrities and human rights advocates began the "It Gets Better" program. Numerous videos have been uploaded all over the web, as openly gay (and even straight) figures of our world illustrate how surviving that difficult time of being bullied in high school or junior high was worth surviving because "It Gets Better."

Personally, I've always had a soft spot for anti-bullying campaigns. This one, though, amazes me with its brilliance. In three words it sums up paragraphs and books filled with advice on how to "ignore" the bullies, turn the other cheek, or merely survive the taunting. When you're a teenager or young adult being hounded on for your differences, you feel like you are different. During a time when we were all trying to figure out social standings and our place within society, feeling like the only different person in that society is worse than being subjected to water dripping on your forehead for eight hours a day. Or it at least it feels like that. These videos appeal to the youth as they struggle through one of the most difficult times in their life - high school - in an honest portrayal of how great life becomes after that emotional abuse.

During my youth, I knew it would get better. High school, I believed, was going to be the best years of some people's lives, but not mine. Every year in my life, I hoped - and still do - was only going to be better. University, although disappointing in the beginning, became better and better until I needed to be done with. I needed to move on to the next adventure. And it was great, even if it wasn't what I had imagine it to be. I learned a lot about myself as I travelled on my own and as I dealt with the politics of private schooling in England. The most difficult thing was that everybody thought I was younger than I was. People, myself included, generally assume I have less life experience than I do...

When that adventure was done - as sad as I was to say goodbye to everybody who I had loved - I came back and hit a low point. That's when the crisis really began. Three years into it, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don't get me wrong, I still have "doomed" days where I think I'll never get where I want to be, but mostly I am really - FINALLY - beginning to believe that whatever happens, It ALWAYS Gets Better...

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year: Winter Solstice. I almost love this day more than the 25th of this month. You see, there's always this great buildup to Christmas and expectations for perfection are extremely high. Mix in with that financial stress, limited time to get everything done before ONE big day, family squabbles, and there's the least amount of sunlight of all year in the two weeks beforehand. I'm a big sunshine fan! So, for me, I like knowing that from today until June 21, every day has just a little more sunshine in it. You see, I don't put all this pressure on one day to be perfect, and so, when it isn't, I don't feel like I've been let-down afterwards. I'm not pagan, so its religious significance is lost on me. It's just another day, but it's the shortest day. From then on, it can only get better...

Monday, 20 December 2010


to spend time idly, aimlessly, or foolishly: dawdle

"Please stop lollygagging around and get ready for school," pleaded Mom.

Did You Know?

Nowadays, "lollygag" doesn't usually carry any naughty connotations, but it used to be slang for "fooling around" (sexually, that is). That sense of "lollygag," in use as long ago as 1868, probably originated as an alteration of the older (and more dawdlingly innocent) "lallygag." In 1946, a navy captain considered lollygaggin enough of a problem to issue this warning: "Lovemaking and lollygagging are hereby strictly forbidden... The holding of hands, osculation and constant embracing of WAVES, corpsmen or civilians and sailors or any combination of male and female personnel is a violation of naval discipline..."

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Sunday, 19 December 2010


a ruler or sovereign; broadly: one who weild great power or sway

His work as a high-level diplomat frequently brings him into contact with foreign potentates

Did You Know?

Wielding its power in English since the 15th century, "potentate" comes from the Late Latin potent-, meaning "powerful." Other descendants of potent- in English include "potent" itself, "impotent," and omnipotent," as well as the archais "armipotent" and very rare "bellipotent" (meaning, respectively, "mighty in battle" and "mighty in war"). Even"power" and "powerful" can be traced back to potent-

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Saturday, 18 December 2010


adj: a very rich man

There's no doubt that Stan makes a good salary - but he is not a Croesus.

Did You Know?

The original Croesus was a sixth-century B.C. king of Lydia, an ancient realm in what is now Turkey. Croesus conquered many surrounding regions, grew very wealthy, and became the subject of legends. In one legend, he was visited by Solon, the wise Athenian lawgiver. (Historians say this isn't chronologically possible, but it makes a good story.) Solon supposedly told Croesus, who thought he had everything: "Account no man happy before his death." Besides being a generic term for someone extremely wealthy, the name shows up in the phrase, "rich as Croesus."

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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Having An Amazing Week...

I was asked how I was doing this evening. I have a rule about not lying when asked that question (see last post), and therefore told the young woman the truth:

"Great! Yeah, this is an amazing week! And, you know what, I've had some really crappy weeks this year. For some reason, in my life, especially this year, when it rains, it POURS cats and dogs - both in the terrible way and in the fabulous way."

I went on to explain the sets of three that have cursed my life twice in the last six months. For the sake of other people involved, I'll try to never discuss those issues publicly, but it has definitely been a trying year for many of the people close to me. I've been really good in seeing the silver lining in many of the situations, but sometimes you just can't shine a positive light on tragedy.

Tragedy is a part of life, though. As Buddha taught us, Life is Struggle. The struggle makes our sweet release from life amazing, not terrifying. On our way to that release, though, we have to learn how to handle the struggle - not control it, nor resist it, but cope with it.

My thoughts on this began last Saturday. By just looking at one area of my life, I could list off many problems that have appeared over the last twelve months. On the other hand, though, I thought of three amazing events that happened in that same realm of my life. Once I started to think about it, smaller happier events crept in and I became so happy thinking about what great luck we have to be basking in those happy events. I'm not gonna say that it makes the sad parts any less sad, but allowing myself to dwell in the happy rather than the sad brings me joy. So, I'm gonna try to focus on the AMAZING things going so well in my life right now, rather than the unfortunate situations that have been brought to light over the last year.

Top Five Happy Moments Of Today:
- filling my fridge and freezer with vegetables after going to the grocery store for the first time in two weeks!
- hanging out with two amazing people that I've had the pleasure of hanging out with over the last month
- Jito lying in my lap as I typed this entire post (he's very cuddly after our fire alarm this morning!)
- having lunch with one of my best friends at my FAV veggie cafe, Cafe Mosaics! - and discussing how great it is to have friendships that require so little work, but bring such great joy to life!
- chatting FOR AN HOUR with a best friend of mine that I haven't seen in a year!

Think about it - what were your top five moments today?


\men-'da-shes\ adj.: given to or characterized by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth

Liza wasn't about to fall for the unrealistic claims being touted by the mendacious car salesman.

Did You Know?

"Mendacious" and "lying" have very similar meanings, but the two are not interchangeable. "Mendacious" is more formal and literary, suggesting a deception harmless enough to be considered bland. "Lying" is more blunt, accusatory, and often confrontational. You might yell, "You lying rat!" in an argument, but you would likely stick to the more diplomatic "Aren't you being somewhat mendacious?" in a business meeting. "Mendacious can also imply habitual untruthfulness, whereas "lying" is more likely to be used to identify specific instances of dishonesty.

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Purpose from Avenue Q

A fellow quarter-life-crisis sufferer reccomended this song to me this morning. I kind of LOVE IT! This song exemplifies the beginning of any "life" crisis, whether its quarter or mid. Luckily, mine began at 23, so I've figured out my purpose.

This fall, I went into a room of strangers and told them that I was put on this earth in order to change it. That doesn't mean I'll be the next Oprah, or Ellen, or even the next Ghandi; they are merely role models for me. I know that I have already changed the world, and for more than one person, I'm sure. And the opportunity for me to continue to do that happens every day, in every social transaction. It might just be a little change, or it could be the change I'm hoping to see in this world, but I know that each and every one of them matter.

Yeah, I've figured it out. I know I'm going to have more of an affect on the world through my writing than my day-to-day actions. And that's the tough part to figure out. How do I have enough time for the writing while still surviving financially? Right now, I'm living on faith that the money will come in. Sometimes, that's all you can do. And, I know I'm not alone. There are so many people out there right now, struggling much more than I am. Inside, though, I have this little fire of faith that burns pretty bright and pretty strong and it's keeping me going more than any full-time, salaried job EVER could...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Moving On, Saving Lives, and Crying About My Wasted Youth...

Death Cab For Cutie ~ Your New Twin Sized Bed

I had the most unbelievably brilliant day today! ...

Well, it started out kinda slow and unproductive and I felt bad about not making it to the post office this morning, but there's always tomorrow. Then I made it to my appointment early, struggled to follow the instructions (bite lip and look sheepish here), but was set up to the centrifuge before I knew it. This was my first time donating plasma, and the nurse was extremely helpful, supportive and made me feel great about saving so many lives with a mere ninety minutes out of my day.

As I watched the blood flow up through the tubes and the yellow liquid flow from the centrifuge to the collection bag, I answered the nurse's questions about what I do. "I'm a writer," I said. That was the first time I could honestly say that that was how I'm making a living! She was so excited about it, and I hated to tell her that I was just starting out. I did mention that the money wasn't everything everybody hoped for...

Then I met a friend for lunch (which is becoming a common occurrence as the holidays get closer and closer). We caught up and chatted long after our food was devoured. It ended with a great conversation about vegetarianism, eating animals, making nice with family, and a short reading from Jonathon Safran Foer's book that I currently tote around with me... It felt so good to have an honest, intellectual conversation about the social dilemnas of eating (or not eating) something that you morally disagree with.

And then I made some money. It was fun! I got to hang out with some pretty awesome people and even, hopefully, made somebody else feel better about his own quarter-life crisis. On my break, I read a bit about a personal issue I'm struggling with right now, but maintained my fantastic mood all the way home. I even stopped at my favourite house to enjoy the spectacle it has become with the decorated evergreen outside. Nothing, I felt could get me down...

As I turned the corner to the street my building is on, I began to think about music as a drug. Its ability to uplift us is so is its ability to bring us down as well.

This song came on my iPod the other night, when I was going out and stoked for what was about to happen... Then, suddenly, my pace smile disappeared as I listened to this soft tune about broken hearts.

Life is pretty amazing. We have ultimate control over how to react to a situation, and basically how to feel. Sometimes, though, it's ok to let your emotions seep into this world you want so badly to control, and just run with it. It's ok to cry about your past even when you're so excited about your future... And Death Cab is probably the best band to cry to when you need to.

Still...I had an AMAZING day...and can't wait to do it all over again - everything! ;-)

Monday, 13 December 2010

2010 - Watershed Year

Mantras, meditation, visualization, confidence, mind over matter, the power of your subconscious mind...

2010 is a watershed year for me. This is the year that I learned how to create my own success. It began with my mom suggesting I read a book of hers. She told me that it hadn't been completely successful for her, but she would return to it frequently and found that when she did, things began to improve once again. Having nothing to lose and everything to gain, I picked it up...and it began to transform my life.

Everything in it finally made sense. My spirit was ready to accept what the book had to offer as truth. I was ready to begin to change my life. I just had to put in the hard work in order to get there.

It began with weight loss. For over half of my life, I have tried to lose weight. I have never focussed on it before, but always wished I could do it. Of course, there were always more excuses than reasons to do it, which is always the path to failure. This spring, though, I was ready for it. And my journey downwards (weight-wise) began. My confidence began to grow as a result, and I have a pretty solid appreciation for the body I have now, as much as it may change for the rest of my life.

The next step was living on my own. It happened almost accidentally, but it's been a plan for the last three years. I will never regret the nearly two years before getting my first "apartment of my own," when I was living with my sisters. It was an opportunity that all three of us embraced as such. How many people get to call their siblings "roommates" after the age of 18? Or, even after each have lived on their own. I always thought of it as the perfect moment in all three of our lives to do so, and with one of my sisters getting married next year, I am that much more grateful for the hours, days, weeks, months and year and a half that we spent together. And that's even after all the fighting, meddling, jealousy, misunderstandings and weeks of not talking to one another. If given an option to repeat life, I would do it all over again. This year, I learned to love my family - not because I had to, but because they're pretty awesome people.

It seems like in an instant I became a professional, but I know there was much more time invested in that change this year. And, career-wise, I feel like I'm starting at the bottom - again - right now. I've learned to listen to the universe as far as that goes, though. The universe has led me to make some pretty shocking choices this year - moving up in a company I wanted out of, moving across town to fulfill that position, lying to myself about wanting to stay with the company to the extent that I forgot exactly the reason why I was put on this planet, waking up to that realization and quitting - almost abruptly - but at just the right time, going back to a company that I had been so angry with when I left, and making money on my own (which is the best thing I have ever done!) - and for that, I am eternally grateful to the universe.

I don't know what I'll be doing next year. Heck, I don't even know for sure what I'll be doing next week. And part of that REALLY terrifies me, but the other part makes me so excited. The best things in my life have been completely unplanned. The most fulfilling things in my life, have taken focus, determination, and hard work - and I'm finally ready to do that. So, finances will come, health will come, but my happiness will always be around...

Now, here I sit, typing away at a computer that I bought over three years ago to do something that I knew I would do for a living since I was eleven - write - but that I have never made enough time for until now. Sometimes what comes out is terrible; other times it is brilliant. The important thing is that I AM WRITING! And, above everything else positive that has happened this year, that is what I am most proud of!

Breaking Hearts

With red eyes, she quietly whispered confessions of a broken heart.

Part of 'figuring this whole thing out' is getting your heart stomped on a few times. This process does not always require the involvement of other people, but the healing process normally involves blaming them...

"you give until you've given up and you are sure to find the perfect man"

A few nights ago I was talking about my romantic past. "I've had my heart broken a few times," I admitted, "but I've never broken anybody's heart." The statement rolled out of my head, as many statements do, before I had ever consciously conceived the idea. And so began me analysis of it.

Have I really never broken somebody's heart? The first few times my heart was broken, I know that I was hurt while the other parties were left unharmed. I was young, and naive - without a layer of ice permanently surrounding my emotional centre. Like tumble weeds, those people blew out of my life, and I eventually got over it. But then came the bigger breaks...

The first time I may have broken somebody's heart is something I have refused to take ownership of. I was older, but no less naive...and my innocence hurt me more than he led on it hurting him. When it ended, I was sick, both physically and emotionally, and I've always blamed him for that. I've only recently began to forgive him for everything that's happened. And taken some responsibility for creating an environment where I could get hurt. The strangest thing is that we've both left a channel open for forgiveness to flow through. Which makes me wonder about his emotions...

I thrive on analyzing relationships, the behaviour of my peers and even their emotions. It fascinates me, and I also feel I have a lot to learn from others. Educated as a social scientist, I will never be able to turn the analysis off. A colleague told me the other day that the analysis makes life worse for me. Analyzing these things keeps it ever-present in my mind, which inevitably leads to me being attached and getting hurt.

This video is truly incredible and worth watching. If the video isn't working, go here:

The last time my heart was broken, I was told to sever all ties with the individual involved in the breaking of it. "Don't agree to be friends," my good friend instructed me, "because no matter what happens, you'll always have this hope that the friendship will become something more than that." That hope, as I have learned, is toxic. Logically, it makes sense that this hope runs both ways. If I cling to a friendship wishing that it might one day become more than that, does it not make sense that the other individual is doing the same? Likewise, if I cling to the friendship because the hope of it makes the pain of the heartbreak less severe, could he not be suffering from the same pain?

Somewhere, somehow, Greg Bernhardt and many other romantic advisors to women are clasping their heads in agony. Has my broken heart - now mended and encased in ice for safe protection - still managed to turn me into a desperate woman looking for a man to love? Or, is it worse than that? Has my ego created this person who thinks her strength of love demands to be returned? Or, merely, have I become sympathetic enough to realize that those "jerks" out there who break my heart have feelings of their own?

This morning I woke up looking into the amber eyes of a male who will never break my heart. Well, at least until he passes away, which is merely a fact of life. It's the best relationship I've ever had, and it will last the length of his life. Not all love is romantic in nature. It's a bit like being a mother... In fact, I've been his surrogate mother since the day we met - and there's no Oedipal complex with that. We fight, we play, I care for him and he cuddles with me when I'm mending my broken heart. Maybe I am "that" lady, but it's ok. I have a lot of love to give...and Jito soaks all of it up, when he wants to.

And that may be the greatest lesson of love out there. You can't force it. Even when you find it, you can't cling to it. You can't control the breaking of a heart - whether it's yours or anybody else's. The only thing you ever control is yourself...and how you mend your emotional wounds...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Changing Education Paradigms - RSA Animate

A friend shared this on my Facebook wall a few days ago. It took me those few days to view it, but I'm glad it did. I really like the concept of shifting paradigms. In so far as changing the world, I think it needs to happen...however, I am definitely more of an advocate of slow changes over time. Yes, the paradigm will shift, but it might take ten years to do so...and that's okay.

This is a long video, but you should still enjoy!

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Most Influential Person Of Them All...

"You are your own worst enemy..." - circa 2002

Not many people would hold on to those words for over eight years, but I have. Well, to be fair, I've kept the card they're written on in a shoebox for eight years, so it's been fairly easy to hold on to those words of advice.

"Advice?" you might shudder to think that those are words of advice.

To most people, advice should be encouraging. It should be positive. Perhaps advice should only be constructive rather than critical. I am usually one of those people. The person who gave me this card, though, knew that those words were exactly what I needed to hear.

It wasn't what I was expecting. The most profound things in our life are those least expected. It was the most honest thing anybody had ever told me up until that time...

I was a timid, young girl, as most aspiring writers would describe themselves. I was smart, though, and knew it from the beginning. Growing up in a small town, I was easily top of the class...and that's how I made a name for myself. Well, that and being a goodie-two-shoes fat-kid who read under the tree at lunch rather than gossiping about boys on the swings. There were 200 students in a school for children in Kindergarten to Grade 12 - and that included families from three different communities! We were rural kids, endlessly jealous of those city kids we watched on television, but deftly aware of the ENTIRE lives of the kids we had grown up with since Kindergarten.

As I matured, I yearned to be more than that. I took on leadership roles in the small town - fascilitating games of Frozen Soccer (how else do you play in a large field of snow in -30?), Red Rover, and Monster Mash with the younger kids - and it made me feel so much more valuable to my community. When we moved to a larger town, I had already understood that if I was going to be happy, I had to be leading something.

It took me a few years to strive for leadership in the new town. Being a smart kid, this time, worked to my disadvantage. For some reason - and perhaps one day somebody will explain this to me in a way that actually makes sence - the teachers assumed that because I couldn't play a musical instrument I couldn't get more than 85 on an exam or assignment. Strange, really, as I had never gotten below a 90 before...but numbers meant nothing, in the long run. The thirty other "non-band" students in my class, knew I was the "smart kid," even if the teachers missed it my first year there. Needless to say, my three-month initiation into the community did not make me want to feel valuable in that community.

And then high school came! I loved high school...well, until it was time to be over. Haven't really missed it yet, but it was a great time in my development. I continued on the track to leadership I had earlier carved out for myself and became a celebrity in our small city. Looking back, it was kinda neat to have strangers come up to me in the halls and act like we were best friends. And, the acting skills I developed in reacting to them like we were best friends has served me well working in the service industry. It's not being fake, it's being interested in other people. turns out, that's the secret to politics AND business...

So, how was I my worst enemy? Here I was, excelling in my classes again, maintaining a leadership position in the numerous extra-curricular activities I had picked up, and even finding time to work twenty hours a week at a part time job...where I was the youngest supervisor they had ever employed. Wasn't I doing everything right? Wasn't setting such high expectations for myself a good thing? Look at where it had got me. Look at how many people liked me...or, well, at least knew who I was. People who knew me liked me, didn't they? Well, and if they didn't, I didn't need to like them...this is the time of individuality! I can be whoever I want and it doesn't really matter who likes me....but they like me, right?

And that was it.

This card came my way as the best teacher I ever had left the small town. She was a liberal spitfire in that school and she had created so much there while she was there. But the best thing was that she could look at somebody, at sixteen years of age, and know not only what was bubbling under the surface at that time, but what would come up again and again and again in that person's life. And she had the guts to be so honest in her farewell card to me.

I thought I'd keep in touch....I tried to remember to email her, or even send her a Christmas card. I didn't. I don't even know how long she stayed in Saskatoon after moving there. Her kids should be in high school by now. I hope she's still teaching. Our world will be a better place if she's still teaching. I do remember to ask younger adults who've come from her school in Saskatoon if they ever had her. They probably wouldn't know her the same way I did. They might even have called her hard ass. A lot of people didn't like her honesty. But I did...but, whatever, I was a goodie-two-shoes...

It's funny, I can't find that card today. But those words have been reverberating in my head for the last month. Well, not those exact words, but their sentiment. Then, yesterday, chatting with a friend online, I explained how my fear is keeping me from working. "Fear of failure?" he asked. "No," I typed, "fear of success..." Several weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about a license plate she had seen: Get Out Of Your Way.

It's right; Ms. James was right; the universe is right...

I should let myself succeed...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The "Other" Family

It seems that every fall I have the splendid opportunity to reconnect with old friends from university. Okay, well, maybe just the last two falls...and the fall before that was only my second fall out of university, so there was very little reconnection required. Alas, I like this new trend and hope that it continues into 2011.

The most rewarding aspect of these reconnections is that I am provided with the opportunity to reflect on a skill I finally mastered towards the end of university. Hmmm...well, the skill may not yet be mastered, but it was definitely acquired in university. This skill is invaluable to me, wherever I go from now, and probably something some people take for granted. I'm talking, of course, about the ability to create support networks out of complete strangers.

I remember how I met very few people in my life. The people that I do remember meeting, I will never forget because they have come to mean a lot to me. For instance, I remember the day I sat down beside Heidi in our Anthropology class. I had made it a rule to talk to at least one person in each of my classes in university, even if it made me uncomfortable to do so. To cope with this uncomfortability, I tried to pick people who appeared friendly and were not already talking to somebody else. (I've always been better at one-on-one conversations over group discussions, at least when talking is involved.) Heidi fit both of those traits, so I struck up a conversation with her.

I don't remember all of the details of that conversation, but it began a beautiful friendship. Our time in the same city was short-lived, but our friendship has proven anything but that. When she left, we both promised to keep in touch...but we both go months (or once even a year) without an email, wall post, or a good old-fashioned phone call. Regardless of our time apart, when we do reconnect, it's like no time has passed. Our friendship stands as an example that true friends know not distance nor time but one another. Or something else whimsical like that...

Reconnecting with Heidi last November started my annual tradition of uni-reunions. It was a remarkable reminder of the friendship's ability to remain the same without extensive work. This fall, with the big 2-5 approaching, I planned my trip a bit earlier, but it has continued for the last two months!

In September, I flew out to Vancouver for a mini-Honours get-together. I kept hearing about these get-togethers in Vancouver, and felt slightly left out. This one made up for it, though. I arrived on a Sunday, and that night we hit the town, SATC-style. Sushi was eaten, girly drinks were shared, four delectable desserts were devoured, and gossip was shared! Three years had passed since the four of us had been together, and everything seemed different. Everything that is, except our friendship!

Some friends have been besties since birth; some since kindergarten; even more from high school. I have wanted a best friend since birth, kindergarten, and even in high school. That was when I gave up on the idea of just one best friend. I have very high expectations of people, and one can only imagine that wanting something as badly as I wanted a best friend only increased the expectations I put on whoever was closest to being my best friend at any given time. Don't worry, I still cherish the good times we had together growing up, but I know that I never really understood what a best friend was until university. And then, suddenly, I created several of them. That's why i now relish the fact that I get to reunite with these people once a year!

I wish that I could explain to you how I did it. Just last night, I was watching The Big Bang Theory on DVD and came across the episode where Sheldon discovers the algorithm for creating a friendship. Not best friendship, but friendship. Now, if I could tell you how to do that, I would sell millions of books and how-to videos and be world-renowned, I'm sure. Sadly, that best frienship wouldn't be worth it. The beauty of best friendship, I've found, is that it's inexplicable and random. It's a little bit like true love. You can't plan it or manipulate the other person to get it; you just have to let it happen, and be satisfied with the results.

My ability to find best friends has not faded away. I continue to find people that allow me to be myself. These are people I can count on to be there for me when I need them. They have become my secondary family when my family isn't there (like uni or England), or a sounding board when I'm having difficulties with my biological family (although rare, it happens to everybody). And it makes me feel safe and secure knowing that I have the ability to create this kind of a support network wherever I go. Sometimes it can happen in a few days, like when I was travelling in Morocco; sometimes it takes a few years, like Edmonton. Eventually, though, I know, I'll have a support network all over the world...but then, I'll probably be strong enough on my own to not have to lean on anybody (NOTE: sarcasm!)

My reunion d'automne 2010 continues. Just over a week ago, I saw two of the three friends I met up with in Vancouver. One was in Edmonton, visiting her bf and I stopped in on the other in Saskatoon, while I was visiting more family. Both visits were a necessary bookend to the personal growth that began on my trip to Vancouver. But that's a topic for another post... I'm just glad I have such great best friends to help me out when life seems just a little bit tougher than usual. Thanks to all of you! :-D

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Fence Sitter

"I sit on the fence so much somedays that my ass cheeks have dents in them..."

I wrote this in an email, meaning it as a criticism of myself. Having thoroughly enjoyed the phrasing of it, I have stored it in the back of mind ever since. The thought reappeared the other night and I ruminated on it, understanding this time that it is not necessarily a bad thing to do.

The discussion turned to the dairy industry, and my one rant against a barista at a cafe that will remain nameless. I was angered by the fact that I was being charged an extra fifty cents for the substitution of soy for my dairy in the drink. His comment was that soy was more expensive. My retort was that not really, it's just not helped out by government subsidies: a claim that, truthfully, I have no proof of, but I spoke as if I did. (As a sidenote, this is, of course, how many ranters irritate me into not listening to them, if I don't like what I'm hearing.) I left the cafe that day feeling a bit ashamed of myself. That, I remember thinking, is not how I want to win this war. I do not like confrontations.

After sharing the first half of the above story with a fellow vegan, I was corrected. The dairy industry doesn't get money directly from the government, she pointed out, and I shut down. I back-pedalled slightly, but still pointed out that milk does not cost what it actually costs to produce it. And, actually, soy probably doesn't any more, either; even it is probably a victim to subsidies now, too, but I haven't researched that. I dropped the argument - which is more important to the point at hand - because I don't like confrontations. As much as an activist as I probably always will be, I hate to tell somebody that I disagree with them...and so I am a fence sitter.

But, that's not a bad thing. I don't think that the argument will actually be won through confrontations. This is not a civil war, this is a change in ideology. And, like success, the best changes are the ones that take longer to come. I believe that, in the long haul, Grass Roots projects are more effective than corporate marketting, and change from within will last longer than change from without. And, so, it's a good thing that I sit on the fence, looking at both sides, trying to mediate between the two.

Perhaps, though, I should gain more of a backbone to my arguments... That will come, ... when I'm ready to be a stubborn ox.

Alas, that is not me. I am change. I do not wish to wake up suddenly one day and say, "that's me. That's who I am." And from that moment on, stop questioning myself, pushing myself forward, reflecting on both sides of the argument to get a deeper understanding of the world. When we stop changing, we stop growing. Life is not about 'finding' ourselves, but CREATING ourselves. So, I sit on the fence so that I can use parts from both sides to be the person that I am at this time.

This song came on while these thoughts were uploading from my mind to the computer. I found it fitting, if you don't, keep reading. One day, you'll understand enough of who I am to understand why Corb Lund is appropriate for my rant on Fence Sitting...

Corb Lund - This Is My Prairie

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

How To Be Alone

This post was originally supposed to be published on my music blog, ; however, I am tired and did not select the right blog when sharing the link. Regardless, this artist is SOOOOOOOO good, I would like to include her on this blog as well.


Tanya Davis' third album was released last week, and as it happens with indie Canadian artists who rock, her single was featured on CJSR's Top 30 List this morning. She is my artistic discovery for the day...and what a fabulous find!

This "song" borderlines on song. There is music, but it is merely the background. The song is spoken word, which often makes the best song anyways. For those who love lyrics, I'm sure you'll love this poet.

If I could draw this song, it would be a sun dollar...luckily for us all, a fellow artist created this video to go along with the song. Together, they have created a much better image than a sun dollar. This is why collaboration is important. But she's is also important to know how to be alone...


“I am unworthy” creates procrastination
If one of my inner belief systems or thought patterns is, “I am unworthy,” then one of my outer thoughts will probably be procrastination. After all, procrastination is one way to keep us from getting where we say we want to go. Most people who procrastinate will spend a lot of time and energy berating themselves for procrastinating. They will call themselves lazy and generally will make themselves out to feel they are “bad persons.”
~ Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

I was recently empowered by an organization of positive people. It was the beginning of many positive experiences that I have had this month. I had just left my full time day job, was waiting on clients for my new self-directed business, and struggling to cope with stressful situations in my personal life. The seed to meet these people had begun three separate times in the last five months, and the third and final implantation was lucky enough to be germinating.

The seed that worked had been planted by a member of the past that was calling to me. He walked into my day job and presented me with the opportunity to go on this journey with him. Feeling the strength of my past calling to me, I welcomed the invitation. Within a few days, I met two new empowering people. They were interested only in knowing more about me: who I was, what I thought, and where I wanted to go with my life. Being a self reflective person – and in the midst of a cycle of self reflection and change – I listened to my inner voice and dreamed big. “Well, I’m going to change the world,” I told them honestly. “I’ve known this since high school and I’m slowly getting where I need to be in order to really do it. I’m a member of the vegan movement and I'm going to really push it forward, or at least be a part of the collaboration of people who are pushing it forward.”

The first sentence grabbed their attention but I don’t think they heard the rest of my explanation. Or, perhaps they chose not to hear it; or understand it.

The next people I met in the organization focused on those five words as well. I met them in my first week free from the day job. (Free is the best word to describe my feelings towards it.) Finally, I had opened my eyes up to the opportunities I had before me rather than the limitations. I was primed for my ability to change the world. As I met each new person, I performed my role with confidence. They asked, “Why are you here?” And I replied, “I’m here to change the world.” I was so confident because I believed in myself.

Within a week and a half, I had gone from ‘going to’ to ‘here to.’ The only thing missing was action...
There are many things in my life that I am ‘going to’ do. I am going to:
• Spend time volunteering in an animal sanctuary in Thailand
• Open a vegan restaurant
• Travel to India
• Live with a dog as a fellow companion
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Finish writing a novel
• Finish writing my autobiography
• Fully commit to veganism
• Travel the world
• Etc.
Having this list, I have realized, is not actually helping me get any closer to accomplishing the things on it that I really want accomplished. In fact, I think this list may hamper my ability to get anything done as I feel there is always so much that needs to be done.

When I begin to focus on any one of these things, I do not feel it is “enough.” As I focus, I realize how much more is left to do, rather than focusing on what I am doing. I begin to feel overwhelmed, and, instead of taking each day as it comes and feeling proud of how far I have come, I look forward and feel ashamed that I have not done more to have accomplished more today, this week, or with my life.

That is one negative thought process that is holding me back from success. In one way, I will look back at my life – at the “lessons” that I learned – and feel like all I do is make mistakes. Then, in another way, I look forward at what I still need to learn and feel stunted by how much farther I need to go. I do not always do these things, but I know that when I am procrastinating the most, these are the two thought processes competing in my mind. Instead of doing anything, I stop doing everything and shut down.

The organization of positive people did not turn out to be for me. As I reflected on the situation, I realized that they had missed my initial statement – “I am going to be a part of the collaboration of the vegan movement that will change the world” – and, in turn, missed the fact that veganism would conflict with the principles of the organization. It did sound like a good vehicle to change the world, but it was not my vehicle. I ride a bicycle, I will NEVER drive a hummer. :-D

A few more days of self reflection and I realized this. But, I did not toss the organization out completely. I understood that it had come into my life for a reason. I think everything comes into our life for a reason. Many things that I would otherwise consider a regret, I look back on as “lessons learned.”

Since this organization came to me three times in the past six months, I understand that it was necessary for me to at least peek down the rabbit hole. I peeked, I struggled with the pieces of appropriate cake, and I jumped back out before I began to try the different doors. It’s ok, I took a peek in the doors and realized that what I was looking for within the rabbit hole, I could find outside of the rabbit hole too. And outside of the rabbit hole, I wouldn’t have to eat the cake. You see, all that cake was NOT VEGAN!

Now I look at the organization’s presence in my life as a catalyst. They picked up on my desire to get out of the day job and start working for myself, but they were not the answer. The positivity encouraged me when I needed it the most – when the other catalysts were failing – and it bumped me into the right vehicle: veganism. When I jumped out of the hummer, though, I learned the most valuable lesson. I can’t do this thing with a support network teaching me how. That’s not who I am. Yes, I need positivity, but I’m also a very independent person (one of the reasons the other catalyst was failing). In order for my vehicle to get me to my dream, I needed to work on me, trust in myself and support myself along the journey.

That is what I’m doing now. I’m starting with the thoughts. It’s the easiest task to begin with. Since I am always thinking, I may as well be thinking about how capable I am of doing this myself. There is the self reflective syndrome, though, that comes with the constant self evaluation. It is not criticism - as I tell myself that I am exactly as I am meant to be at this very moment - but it is a process of understanding how and why I am holding myself back from success. Why have I held myself back for the last three and a half years, or even the last twenty five?
Procrastination is something that comes up time and time again in my self reflection. I have tried to cure it in the past with scheduling my tasks. I write out lists that never get done. I set unreasonable expectations for what I can get done in my downtime and then feel guilty about not allowing myself to relax. But, that’s ok. Those were necessary actions for me to take in the past, perhaps so that I would have the strength now to overcome them.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Law of Attraction

Mantras, meditation, visualization, confidence, mind over matter, the power of your subconscious mind...

2010 is a watershed year for me. This is the year that I learned how to create my own success. It began with my mom suggesting I read a book of hers. She told me that it hadn't been completely successful for her, but she would return to it frequently and found that when she did, things began to improve once again. Having nothing to lose and everything to gain, I picked it up...and it began to transform my life.

Everything in it finally made sense. My spirit was ready to accept what the book had to offer as truth. I was ready to begin to change my life. I just had to put in the hard work in order to get there.

It began with weight loss. For over half of my life, I have tried to lose weight. I have never focussed on it before, but always wished I could do it. Of course, there were always more excuses than reasons to do it, which is always the path to failure. This spring, though, I was ready for it.

There was initial resistance. I remember the week my sisters began WeightWatchers. I thought, meh, that might work for them, but I'm a vegan, it will conflict with my diet. And then I though, ah, geez, it costs money to join too, well, I can't afford that. My success in joining the program I blame on my sister whose idea it was all along.

They never even asked me to join them initially, but we were all still living together, so I was coming to understand that our entire diet was about to change. Then, after their first weigh in, my middle sister showed me the vegetarian options they had in the first book, and how easy it was to figure out the point system for a vegan diet as well. Man, without cheese, I thought, it will be easy to stick to my daily points level.

Then, they talked about the activity points. Well, with biking to and from work every day, I was bound to get all of my extra points for the week. This might work... or, well, I had everything to gain and only weight to lose.

And I began to - immediately. I lost eight pounds in the first week. Four in the next two weeks, and then I began to slow down to a mere two pounds every week. The initial success spurred me on. It began to show in my face first, and then my clothes became baggier and baggier. I began to believe in myself. I knew this was how I was going to finally do it. I was finally going to be the "healthy / appropriately weighted" woman I saw myself as in my head.

As spring dawned, I started buying skirts, and running in the river valley that I had moved next to. Summer was time for me to show off my hard work, and I beamed with the self confidence that making such a healthy change in my life brought along with it. I was more and more the person that I saw inside of myself. I was no longer a fat slob, but a blossoming, beautiful young woman ready to take on the world.

Then, disaster struck. I hit a rut, and had numerous personal issues crop up. Family members were sick, and my last grandparent passed away. I lost sight of my goals and the weight loss stopped. This week, I sit perilously close to going past a number on the scale that I SWORE I would never get to again. And, so, my soul has been leading me to the inspiration I need to get through this disaster, learn from it and move on.

Some may scorn the "self help" section, but I've always had a fascination with it. Yes, of course, when I have felt social pressure to joke about it, I have. But, more and more, this fall I have had people encouraging me to return to it. I didn't think I needed it. I was doing well, wasn't it. I was happy. I was making plans for my future. I had the confidence to take on whatever life could deal me.

"Self help" is less about being down on the ground and needing a hand out of rock bottom and more about self improvement. And who doesn't need self improvement? Yes, we are all perfect at any given moment, but what is life we aren't constantly improving that perfection? Or, well, that's the perfectionist in me talking ;-) No, that's actually not right. We aren't perfect. And maybe we won't be. But that's just a problem with the word "perfect." We are exactly as we are meant to be, but the future will be even better. Not to say that the past had anything wrong with it. but, well, now I'm just running in circles... The only thing that is constant is change, and isn't best if that change is something we want to happen to us?

This is the year I learn how to not run in circles. This is the year that I learn that the thoughts I put out into the universe are the actions that I will have come back to me. This is the year that I convince my subconscious that I may not be perfect, but I'm still worthy of the potential all those teachers told me I had. I still have that potential, but....

Last winter, I came across this ad from Nike that inspired me. I ripped it out of the magazine and posted it to my bedroom wall. I'm not sure where it is right now, but its message was ingrained in my head:

If all I am is potential, I'm not working hard enough am I?

So, my mantra will become that...but in a positive matter.

I am more than potentail. I work hard to fill that potential.

So, with less than two months left, I am ready to change my life this year. Yes, there have been challenges, but those were just lessons I needed to go through before I realized my strength. I am strong. I am strength. I am more powerful than I ever imagined. And I will change the world. :-D

And last week I had a sign from beyond that told me my last grandparent was there, making sure I took the right path. Death is much easier to face when you know that your time with that person doesn't end when they leave. They're always with you after their physical body no longer holds them away from you. It's an amazing thing to realize, and I'm glad I've met the right people who have helped me come to that realization.

If interested, here are some books to read:

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind ~ Joseph Murphy

The Secret ~ Rhonda Byrne

You Can Heal Your Life ~ Louise Hay

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Spirituality and You

You are the kind of person, Jodi, who will always be asking that question. You will always be searching for the meaning of life.
~ Michelle MacNeill, spring 2007

Yesterday I had coffee with a new friend. I met her about four months ago through work. She had previously worked for the same company and I had to reverse some charges because things were not managed properly. I never asked at the time, but I was always curious about why she left. Regardless, there was a reason why we met and yesterday this reason began to come to light.

I may not be a religious person, but I am spiritual. We all are, we just don't recognize it.

There are rare moments and rare people that I will remember for the rest of my life. I believe this is one of them. I arrived late for our coffee date, and I apologised profusely. "Not use to this free schedule," was my excuse. (I later admitted that I was in the process of ending a relationship. Her response was that relationships never end. That's a topic for another posting, though...) She didn't mind. Her life is fairly open right now. And she is so at peace. We discussed that peace for the rest of the conversation. I was so inspired throughout the entire conversation that I knew the day would continue to shine.

I've had so many signs from the universe in the last six months. I need to follow them, and in less of a self-satisfying, immediate response. I'm inspired to invest more time in getting towards my goals. I feel like I've coasted along to this spot right here. It's been tough....but boring. I just existed. Now I need to work hard and get my act together. But, I can't push my soul to get there.

I watched this amazing interview of this man who proposes that our soul planned our life before we were born. Every challenge we face is a lesson our soul wanted to learn. These lessons exist on a timeline, but we are not predestined to follow one path. We have free will. If we learn our lesson before we were supposed to, another plan comes into play. I'm still digesting a lot of what the video had to teach me.

I'll discuss this revelation in the next few days. In the meantime, I have to go volunteer. A treat for my soul! ;-)

Monday, 25 October 2010


The mornings are the worst. And then there are the evenings...

It's ok. I'll be fine. It's been years since I've had a suicidal thought, so I know it's not that serious. It's just an emotion. And I'm human. I have emotions. They aren't all positive.

And I'm still functioning. If anything, I'm functioning even more. I'm more focussed. I'm writing more. I need to express this emotion. I need to express my thoughts. I need to get it out.

It will pass. I know it will. It might last a week or two, but it will pass. I'll pretend to be happy. For the people watching, I'll pretend that everything is fine. 'Cause it's easier than talking about it. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to be reminded about it.

Distract me.

That's all I need.

Just distract me, please!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Back-Pedalling of a Nazi Feminist

The first people who met me in Edmonton will always think of me as a feminist first, and then a person. Fresh out of university, I was still an idealist who thought Alberta's backwards ways would change, if only I preached more about equality. Three and a half years later, and I would argue the other side of that coin...

Has the province won? Have I become a redneck?

Shock and horror, I know!

Don't worry, though, I'm a cheatin' vegan. I think the first qualifier for becoming a redneck is your ability to rip the meat from a bone while it's still bleeding. Not that I have anything against people who like their steaks rare...

How did it happen? How did I calm down so much on this whole feminist thing?

I don't blame Alberta...I blame England!

I remember being so mad about the girls wearing skirts and the boys wearing shorts. And the fact that the girls were excellent at their sports, but the parents only really cared to go watch the boys' sports. It reminded me so much of our softball team and the first time my little feminist voice cried out for justice. That voice was never really heard, though. And I think she stopped speaking after awhile.

In England, I learned a lot about the real differences between boys and girls too. Most of this occurred when I was observing play time. I learned so many things from observing those kids! Even about social relationships. At that age, they were mostly figuring out how to make friends, and deal with society in general. The most violent boy was the most soft-spoken when we worked one-on-one. I think this was his reaction to finding himself within the society. Many of their games were expressions of their ideas about family life! Especially the girls. Children are sponges! It's amazing how they manipulate what happens at home into what happens during playtime. I thought that I gained much more insight into British life because of this. Children have very little filters. Perhaps I was misinterpretting a lot of it, but it was still extremely interesting...

After ten months of this, I accepted that there were major differences between men and women. Even if it is a mere social construct. Like wearing shorts, violence became a similarity among the boys. Building and playing with the trucks also became a boy activity. The girls played tag, and house, song-singing, and tattle-telling. If two boys were at odds with one another, they would often end up hurting one another physically. It was never a pre-meditated attack, but it was a physical expression of their changing relationship. If two girls were at odds, they would fight for the attention of the group, usually through their story-telling. Some of the best imaginations were housed inside of the three or four girls who took turns being ring-leaders. And all of this was happening among three and four year olds! That's how young this social expression begins! There were social expectations for them to behave in a certain way, but most of that came from home and/or the dress code. Playtime was always a choice, and the boys chose different activities than the girls.

I remember discussing this with the teacher once or twice. Her observations were interesting as well. Having gone to school to learn how to analyze the children, and making this her life work, she understood much more than I did. She told me that both sexes went through this phase of finding a "best friend." Whether they were friends for life, or only through prep school didn't really matter. They were all learning how to partner up. This would later be used as adults as they found their mates. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Last spring, I started seeing a counsellor. She was amazingly helpful! The best conversation we had was about childhood situations like the ones I had been observing in England. Most things that we do as adults, she told me, have their beginning in childhood or adolescence. When I would bring up an emotion I had in a situation of the time, she would ask me when the first time I had felt that was. Often it had been in childhood. With only a question or two, she made me realize that continuing to think that way was ridiculous. Life is not the same as childhood. The people I wanted to be in elementary school did not turn out any better than I did. And they probably wanted to be me at some point too. Realizing this made me heal so much faster. Most of it, I think, was merely being able to let go of the past and just move on. But, some of the things I learned in elementary school, are still kind of important.

I never had a best friend. Or, well, I guess I've gone through several best friends. Right now, I can count ten fabulous women as my best friend. The friendship was never perfect, though. I always expected them to be better friends to me than they were. Possibly why I think so highly of those best friends right now, too! When I make a connection with somebody, I pour my heart into that connection. That's what all of my best friends have done at some point too. After the initial friendship is formed, we don't have to focus so much on pouring our hearts into the relationship. It just works. And, I know that when I need them for me, they'll be there for me; just like when they need me, I'll be there too. But, that's how girls are. Women are social creatures.

Men are not. Well, no, that's an overstatement. Men grow up being told to be independent. As far as feminism has gone, it has not stopped this from happening. Maybe it has something to do with smashing the trucks into one another on the playground. They don't use language to manipulate the social order, they use their strength. One of the best strengths is independence. It's great to know that your friend has your back if you need it, but it's even better realizing that even if your best friend isn't there, you have the situation under your control. And this is socially rewarding!

Of course, this is a very simple argument and I see several holes within it. But, alas, this is but one blog post. I'm sure there will be more on the subject. For now, I'll address the first hole in the basic difference I just described.

"Bros Before Hoes" has become quite a popular saying in today's society. (I blame that dude from the Hills.) And it's a good one, for both men and women. I'm not sure how wrong Harry (as he was meeting Sally...) is in his theory that "men and women can never be friends," but it does happen that they are. Regardless, both sexes create a support network of friends, their "bros," that will help them when their partners, or "hoes," are no longer there. That's why it's so important to have friends! And, that is why you must put enough energy into your friendships as you do your relationships. Boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, and they elate us as much as they deflate us, but having a good set of friends there to lift you up when you need it most will never find yourself lonely. Well, at least not for anything longer than a moment or two of vitamin-D-deficient crying :-( But, that's important too.

What was my point? Oh, yes, I used to be a feminist. Then I realized that there is truth in differences between the sex. Did I proof that here? Meh....I dunno. But this was an interesting rant about men and women, regardless...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

It All Began With a Grandmother...

My last grandparent died this summer: Janet Marie Carlson. It was her name from the day she was born... and, were it not for our middle names, we had the same initials. I didn't realize how much more we had in common until I sat down to write her eulogy...

She never meant to be a teacher, but she was. She never meant to fall in love with a farmer, but she did. She may have never had a plan for how her life would go, but it turned out well, as did her three children. Somewhere along the way, she did a lot of things right, even if she may have made the wrong decision once or twice. She was human, that's what we do.

She was more than a farmer's wife. She was a freelance journalist for the local papers. She sold her hen's eggs, plastic plants, and even tupperware. She was a huge member of the community, and rarely turned down an organization's request to help out. She even helped out her neighbours when they refused to ask for it. She was a farmer's wife - that is what a farmer does.

When my first Grandma died, I lost my religion. The two events were not consciously related. There were no questions of "How could this mortal man speak about miracles and salvation when an angel had left this world?" because I never thought about the two together. It was only later, when I learned more about all organized religions that I stopped hiding from some of what the mortal man was saying and began understanding why he was saying it. The reason for saying it was always more important to me than what was said. It wasn't much longer after that connection was made that I realized that my Grandma was my personal guardian angel. She's not always there, but when I really need her, she steps in. She guides me in the right direction more than anything else. And she reminds me that my family is important, above everything else...except perhaps myself.

The need to leave my job began the week my last Grandma died. Without a car, I needed to make it to Saskatoon with my sisters. Their bosses gave them immediate leave, if required, but both turned the opportunity down. "No," they said, "but thank you. Our little sister won't be able to get away until Friday afternoon, and we need to go together."

Two months earlier, my boss had told me that she would do anything for any of her employees in the branch. Their families too. Somehow, I wasn't included in that group. To be fair, I never asked for more than I needed - to leave early that afternoon. She agreed to 2pm. At 245, I was still helping a client that was beyond my capacity. There was not a word of assistance from the rest of the team - or the at least those that could help the client. Apparently, I cared more for the company and its clients than the company cared for me, and my family. If they really lived up to their talk of being a company that cared about their employees, I would have been told to go home when I came in that Thursday, as my two sisters had.

After listening to a twenty-minute rant from my sister about how I was too good for them, I knew that I would not be there longer than a year. When I returned, the only comments I received from the boss was that when she got back from her holiday, we would talk about the complaints she had received on that Friday.

On my 25th birthday, that date was bumped forward ten months. The universe was calling, and the corporate world was bidding me farewell. I thought back to my Grandma who had just passed, and I realized that she was helping in the guidance now. She was always an entrepreneur, without even realizing it. And she never had an employer that put the company's dollar before an employee's family life. She was a farmer. Her career included her family everyday, and it gave back to her family in every way.

Now, she watches over me, and shines the light on the right opportunities. Now, I have two guardian angels - both of them farmers! Now, I'm getting closer to the person I always wanted to be. Soon, I'll reap what I'm learning what best I sow!

It's splendid! :-D