Monday, 31 January 2011

Weekly Inspirational Quote

"Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier."
~ Mother Teresa

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Be Careful...Or You May Become Infamous...

On Twitter this week, I came across the best quote for dealing with difficult people, especially as a writer:

"I'm a novelist. Anything you say can be taken down & used against you in a work of fiction."
 ~ Ann R. Allen

I love it!  I'm going to add it to the list of my fav quotes of all time, I think ;-D  And then, maybe, I'll just start using it in real life, too!

What's even better is that, as a blogger, all I have to do is crack opne my laptop, tap away at a few keys and whoever gave me a bad day is forever immortalized - online, too!

Today's victim: the mother who sat beside me in the cafe.  Now, to give her credit, there was no way she should have known that I am actually also an employee there.  Perhaps, though, somebody somewhere along the line should tell her that she is having difficulty with the service indutry because she comes across as a fairly nasty woman.  She had to say two sentences by the time I realized she was an HM Mommy, sans the lululemons and running carriage.  Perhaps she's the HM Mommy, AB-style!

So, I understand the frustration of going into a cafe and being unable to find a spot to sit.  I also understand the dilemna of having to care for another living being and feeling like because you will do this until probably the day you die, you expect other people to care a little bit more for you.  Somehow, though, we don't care.  We're not your mother.  We're not your friend.  BUT, WE ARE PEOPLE, too.  And maybe if you talked to people in the service industry like their IQs were above 80 rather than the way you talked to them today, you might get better service...

After listening to her loudly proclaim her distaste for the cafe, filled as it was with students, writers, artists and the people who regularly spend $100/week there, she went on to rip apart a restaurant in south Edmonton.  From the comments her husband said, I think she more or less has a problem with things south of the river rather than just this location, so I should probably just feel sorry for her.  In reality, I feel sorry for her friends who have to listen to her endlessly complain about the smallest things. 

Overhearing conversations like that are fabulous methods of birth control for me, 'cause I never want the sole excuse for our getting together to be to vent about a restaurant.  Specifically, I don't want to have to tell you that I waited an ENTIRE forty minutes on a FRIDAY at ONE, close to the university.  I NEVER want to be that person! Well, and then the conversation turned to their children and their progress, which is probably exciting when you have the babies to compare to one another.  I'm excited about meeting up with my close friends and family to hear about things like that, but I don't want to waste our time complaining. 

Seriously, restaurants are busier on Fridays more than they are on other days of the week.  And, closer to the university, as an intelligent consumer, you should understand that schedules are a little bit more slack and so the lunch rush is more from 1130 to 230 than 12-1 inclusive.  And have a little patience with your fellow human beings.  Even if it wasn't visibly busy when you walked in, perhaps they were filling orders for call-ins...or, they were recovering from a rush earlier.  And, yes, forty minutes is a long time to wait for an order, but maybe you should cook for yourself.  Or, wait, was this a treat to yourself?  Then why were you going into it with all this nasty attitude?  Now, that's probably why you have so much to complain about in life!  Change your attitude, change your life...

So, now I've done my venting, and not just to one friend, but potentially to the whole world.  The woman will probably never see it, and even assume it's not about her...but at least I got one of these things off my chest.  And I feel better about it.  You know that waiter who had that book published last year or the year before - wasn't that just a blog about the rude people he served?  I haven't read that book, yet, but I wonder if he ever spit in somebody's soup...not that I would ever do that, but I might think twice about it the next time I see that woman in the cafe...no, wait, I'm a writer, I have the potential to do much worse than just give her a taste of my pleasant saliva...

Friday, 28 January 2011

When Did I Get So Lost?

At what point did I lose myself?  When did I become this person I always thought about but never was?  And how did she change so rapidly?

I am a pack rat.  I blame this on my training as a historian.  One should not instantly toss out a remnant of their past, in case people in the future would have value in studying it.  Sadly, these things that I keep bring up images of myself I don't always want to remember.  Sometimes, I find myself flipping through old materials of my life, impressed with how far I've come.  Tonight, I was only surprised.

For the most part, I do love the new me. But, don't let the narcissism fool you.  For the most part, that's just a cover - a defence mechanism I developed to protect my fragile ego - for the paddling duck underneath.  I've been able to keep the duck calm for awhile, and I'm working at being okay with the duck not moving anywhere when we are this calm.  There are things about the new self, though, that I don't like, and I feel like my tools for survival may be hiding those things I used to love.

It's okay, though.  I don't have to "find" myself anytime soon.  When the time is right, it's right, no?  Yes.  I just wish I didn't have to wait so long for my life to get going again...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Day of Joda

Today was pretty awesome...and that's not just the wine talking...
It began at 410. Okay, no, 4am, but I hit the snooze button, frequently. Well, not usually on a day that begins with a "T," but that's how we know this day was special. I stumbled into my kitchen, began the single solitary coffee pot, shook some organic cereal into a bowl, topped it off with some organic soy yogurt, realized I REALLY needed to buy groceries today, dumped some agave nectar into my otherwise black coffee (which almost made me cry...yes, I REALLY needed to buy groceries today) and sat down to write my morning pages.

My morning pages are the most cathartic activity I am doing right now. I wake up a half hour early every day just to sit and write out my random thoughts before the day begins. It's creative meditation and it's helping me heal SO MUCH. I don't even think I needed to heal before I started them, but they're allowing me to let go of so much that I needed to put back out there into the universe rather than holding inside of my head. I am in love with the morning pages...almost as much as I am in love with sleep right now...
Sadly, I did not finish the expected three pages before I, terrified of being late, jumped into the shower to get ready for the rest of my day. I cut my hair on Tuesday, and it looks fabulous! But I didn't want to go to work looking like Einstein's beautiful second niece, twice removed (although I do resemble a bit of short-haired Meg Ryan right now...). It was the fastest shower I have had in YEARS! Now, I love long showers, but I'm also trying REALLY hard to not be late anymore...in some areas of life, anyways...
I needn't have worried about it! I made it to the LRT in PLENTY of time, almost beating my usual arrival there of 518. Ten minutes later, the first train arrived....two minutes after that, my train appeared, heading south.
Work was exceptionally BORING this morning. I had a small squabble with a woman who lacks olfactory glands and was putting her unwanted defecations everywhere... Why do I still work in customer service? ... especially in high end markets? Oh, well, what followed was a soothing workout that allowed the world to disappear, and my inner voice to cry out in triumph - I am ROCKING the deltoids this week!
Then, I put my thriftiness together with my staff discount and treated myself to a true coffee, with soy milk, and brown sugar, just cause I had to take the LONGEST bus ride in all of Edmonton. Once I arrived at the first stop, I exitted the bus, looked around and discovered that it was the second bus I needed to catch. After a longer than necessary conversation with the operator of the motor vehicle, I boarded again...and returned to reading my book in the same seat: left side, right behind the door, with one eye kept on the street sign so as not to miss where I am.
After numerous bottles of water, a strong cup of java and WAY TOO LONG on public transit, I arrived at my first final destination of the afternoon. I raced inside, entered a bunch of codes, and made my way promptly to the room primarily used for praying to the porcelain gods and goddesses. It was quite a relief, to say the least...although the feline in the next room was QUITE confused...
I then entered the same codes, grabbed some necessary keys and began my temporary time with wheels. It shall only last a day or two, but those days are FILLED with errands, soul-mending and WAY too much spending! I backed slowly out of the driveway...
Before I knew it, I was home, parking in half-hour parking and hoping to fit in a quick shower after the strenuous day that had already occurred. Afterwards, I grabbed what I thought I might need and headed to a place of serenity...a place I knew well...my old library, filled with the best mags, loud children, and a few comfie chairs. The afternoon was spent there, reading up on how I'm already a pretty awesome individual...
Oh, jingles! I forgot the best parts of the day, so far! Alanis Morisette...
Oh, Alanis, where have you been this week? You were the first song on my iPod this morning - nearly causing a slip on the ice as I surpassed that cute security guard who knows who I am but is too shy to talk to me when he sees me in the morning - ah, younger men...fears of rejection...following the rules...next week I might pinch his bum in the elevator and see where the day takes me...
But, Alanis, yes, Alanis, and angry workout music. Sigh...fab for getting the heart rate up, and fab for belting out to poorly while cruising down Whyte - now that's something you can't do while riding the bus, and something I think we need to take back - improper sing-a-longs to heartbroken anthems. Life should only get so good!
After the library, I stopped at another old haunting ground, without anything more than my tips money, thank goodness! However, it was quite a treat to have the sales lady at Suzy Shier - after telling her to grab me two sizes - tell me I didn't need the larger size. I guess it does really pay to look like Meg Ryan somedays...
I treated myself to some lovely Taco Time mexi-fries and then a Cinnamon Dolce Americano Misto. Divine - except for the burnt tongue. I'm not quite sure which gave me that one...
Then off to that large parking lot, cement floors, and discounted goods in bulk. Hmmm, been a long time since I been there and the food hoarder in me has been panicking. Luckily, I saved her today, and she'll be satiated for the next three to six months, I hope...
The problem with driving in the city is always parking. Whether it's struggling to find something longer than thirty minutes, or struggling to remember where in the parking lot you left the vehicle. Leaving the large building with this look of terror on my face was quite entertaining, if only to catch glimpses of the other shoppers reactions to that face - and them knowing exactly what the fear was about. Why is that parking lot so big? And why do I never remember to draw myself a map with a big ex where the vehicle is on it? These questions will never be answered...
There was a time, less than twelve months ago, when I spent my life in a different neighbourhood. With the wheels under my feet, and enough tunes to get me home, I ventured off into that distant neighbourhood, if only to see how it's changed. I never left the vehicle, but I checked up on a few people I left behind in that life. Separation is always hard, but necessary for any true growth to happen...
I then proceeded to the new neighbourhood I call home, and struggling to find an appropriate parking spot. After ten minutes, I embraced the four-wheel-drive capacity of the wheels under foot and settled in nicely to a melting snowbank on the street. I then took my time running errands, not wanting to return to that mess...
I made it out! Almost without a struggle. Parking by my apartment, on the other hand, was less than delightful. After a half hour of circling the block, getting stuck, and unstuck, and then stuck again, I fear what may be waiting for me in the morning...one thing is for sure, though - I got me some pretty awesome food to eat, and a kitchen counter that needs its dishes washed. Why then am I here, telling you all about my day? 'Cause - as I explained to the greasy Italian who helped me with the elevator - "no, I'm not a student, I just like the lifestyle - less responsibility, less money, more hippy-love crap, etc." So, here is the end of my day in a snapshot!


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Soul Mates, Fate, and Breaking The Tie

Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don't you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you thought you were capable of reaching. I mean you got zapped, kiddo.  But that love you felt, that's just the beginning.  You just got a taste of love. Wait til you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck, Groceries - you have the capacity to someday love the whole world.  It's your destiny.  Don't laugh."
"...I think the reason it's so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate."
"He probably was. Your problem is you don't understand what that word means.  People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants.  But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.  But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.  And thank God for it. ..."

~ Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray Love

Within the first passage, I was hooked.  Who was this woman with such a familiar voice?  Her story wasn't mine, but it was like reading my own work, my own insight into life. (So modest of myself, I know, to compare my inner writing voice to that of an American autobio bestseller.  Ah, well, if I've learned anything this year it's that confidence oversells modesty everyday.) And so it was that I have been reading Eat, Pray, Love religiously every night for the last two weeks.  I've been cherishing it like I haven't cherished a book in years...

As a young reader, it would be nothing for me to be hooked on a book like this.  I read everything like it was speaking directly to me.  Since I read so much, I was an above average writer for my years, and so it began - this dream to be a writer, professionally.  Somehow, though, I'm only beginning to hit that path at anything more than a strolling pace.  Why was I so sluggish before? Gaining life experience? Trying to make money? Paying off debt? Not believing in myself? Terrified of the rejection to come before the success? Terrified of the pressure of success?

My life has happened this way for a reason.  I may not know, in the moment or even a week from the moment, why something unfolds the way it does, but I trust that it is happening exactly as it should...

This summer, I fell in love.  These were never words I shared with him, nor words - based on how he left things, and the feelings I have for him now - he ever needs to hear from me.  Why is it that I fall so quickly for not just this last guy, but every guy in my past?  I used to think it was because I was searching so desperately for love that I would pass it on to whoever might possibly be interested.  Was that the lesson I was meant to learn?  Yes, from the men before...but this one has sent me on a path of self-discovery so profound that I know there was more to it than that simple (yet very difficult) lesson I see so many women struggle their whole lives to realize.

My last grandparent died this summer.  As I've mentioned before, the employer I had at the time did not handle it AT ALL well.  But this was not a negative thing.  My grandmother had suffered from frontal lobe dimentia for years, and I look at her passing as a release from the torture of her disease, rather than the loss of a loved one.  She is with us more now than she has been for years.

I do not have a traditional understanding of religion.  I cannot honestly tell you that I believe one solitary power looks after us all and has a plan for everything that happens.  My understanding of what some people may call God is much more elaborate than that.  In the past, I have explained my God as the first grandparent who passed away, my maternal grandmother.  When I have come across a stroke of luck, or been saved from imminent danger, I have told myself and those close to me that it was my "Guardian Angel," my grandmother, who gave me so many things to be thankful for.

With the passing of my paternal grandmother, I now have two Guardian Angels looking down on me.  They come from two different upbringings, but both had so much love in their hearts, that their duties as Guardian Angels are easily split between all of their offspring.  In this time - on one of my most ardent spiritual journeys - I feel so blessed to have both of them for company.  Janet's quilt is kept close, and Marjorie's words fill my head on the days I need them the most.  They are both the role models I need now.

A month and a half after her death, Janet sent a helper my way.  He may have been a soul mate, as Gilbert has described it above.  He told me to do nothing of the decisions I was making with my life, which was best. Yes, I am adamant in this fact, if only because I had that part criticized most by the people who love me so much and watched me, terrified, through all of these changes. I rejected any actual advice he ever provided me as arrogant prattle coming from a trainer's mouth.  Every decision I made to change my life at that time came from inside.  I took the energy I got get from him and worked with it to inspire a life plan - or lack thereof - that I had dreamed of for years.  And I'm living that life now.  And isn't it great?  I love the moment I am in now.  He was, as my dear friend described him, a catalyst for the changes that needed to be made.

He was passionate; he loved life; I brought great joy into his; he gave me a list of reasons to love myself more with; and then he left.  To be fair, I had left first, but his leave was more permanent.  There was no "goodbye;" there was no guidance on how we could make this work; there was no effort on his part to actual try to make it work...

I thought I had failed.  I thought it was all my fault.  I believed all those dating books I had ever read and figured I had pushed too much, or exposed my feelings too quickly, or scared him away with the pressure of being exactly who I am... But that's a load of bullocks!  He was the one who talked about the "future." He brought up the fact that his grandparents were married three weeks after they met one another.  He even admitted to thinking about me all day when we barely knew one another.  I had this feeling that he would be in my life for a few months, and this talk terrified me a bit...as did me feelings...

He is in my life for only a few months.  This is it.  Tonight I cut all ties to him - figuratively and mentally.  (This weekend, I came across a video on meditation that I will follow through with tonight.  I'll include the link to it in this post, in case any readers need to get rid of bad energy as well. )  Tonight I confirmed that he has moved on - engaged to somebody again, already - and thinks of me as nothing more than a pearl on the "string of women" he once described the people he had dated.  It was fun.  It was crazy.  It was passion. And he was a good person.  Sadly, we share too much of the same music as favourites. Time and experience, though, have taught me that that's all he is.  I'll hear Buble's hit from last summer and now always think of him...and cry, maybe, but that's ok.  Why stay stuck in the past if it only makes you cry out in pain?  I'll change my iPod instead...

Marjorie took him away.  The day he told me of his "great opportunity," I knew we needed to slow things down.  I knew I needed to regain some sense of myself.  Marj saw this, too, and she gave me an out.  It would have been worse if it had lasted longer.  These things always are.  If it had piddled out and died from over-watering, I would have wasted more time in recovery, I'm sure.  As it is, I feel I've spent too long in this place.  I've wasted my energy mourning something that I've been bigger than this entire time.  Waiting to get the closure from him that would have meant something more than the silence I heard over the phone, I know it doesn't work that way.  It was over the moment I got that call on the lrt.  The moment I made the choice to be myself - spending time with my BFF instead - was the moment Marjorie began to cut the cord.  Now it's my turn to finish snipping...

He was "a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. ...probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.  But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah.  Too painful..."


The link to the vlog on cord-cutting:

http://gabbyb.tv/vlogging/vlog-cord-cutting

Monday, 24 January 2011

Weekly Inspirational Quote

"Nothing's far when one wants to get there."
~ Queen Marie of Rumania

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Walks, Artists, and the Discovery of One's Self

There was this summer I had one time that changed my entire world...  Since then I've had so many seasons that have changed my life that it seems absurd to remember them all.  This one, though, was the beginning of Edumusication.  As this winter is proofing, many wonderful things in my life begin with Edumusication...

I walked fifty blocks on my day off.  Fifty blocks in the sunshine of a Vancouver summer to just enjoy the sunshine...and stop in at The Book Store...before hitting up the beach.  It was a brilliant walk (and I think I was even sporting me orange crocs, which a few coworkers avoided commenting on), and I followed it up with a voyage into The Book Store.

(The Book Store is code for the large book chain I gave two and half years of my life to.  I may have also given them my family's last hopes of me ever being satisfied with a "normal" job...)

I remember the heat of the sun beating down on my pale white skin as I made my way along Main Street...but I didn't stay on that street long.  This was the first time I began my exploratory routes through the neighbourhoods between my house and The Book Store.  The voyages would continue for the rest of that summer (yet sadly fade away into nothing the next summer), and I discovered some amazing places, (and extremely wealthy homes). 

Once I made it into my second home, ear plugs blaring, pumping my legs and nodding my head along to the song coursing through my body, I bounded up the escalator and retreated into my favourite section.  I can't remember which book I needed to find that day, but I do remember tapping my foot to the song, shaking my hips a bit and continuing to nod my head as I performed a search at the closest computer terminal.

"Can I help you?" this stranger asked me.

I turned, smiled, and took out my earplugs.  "Oh, hi, no, thanks." I gave him my biggest grin (and I didn't even know its power at this time), and introduced myself.  "I'm Jodi, you mus be new," and I read his name tag aloud as I shook his hand.

"Yeah, I am.  But I've heard of you." Now, sentences like that are always nice to hear, so my smile continued.

"Only good things, I hope!"

"Yeah, don't worry."  And the conversation may have gone in a few other directions before we got to this comment that has always stood out in my mind.  "I saw this girl over here, busting a move at the computer and I just thought, man, she looks so happy..."

And I was. 

That summer was filled with so much.  So many things happened in my head that it's hard to even think of who I was before that summer.  But this was one of those really good days.  Yeah, one of those days that would make me wonder if I was possibly bi-polar because my highs can get so high, and my lows can go pretty low.  Luckily, I understand that pop psychology is wrong in diagnozing mental disorders, and I just feel things pretty deeply...it's the artist side of me screaming to get out, I suppose...

I stopped, halfway through my walk, to eat in a restuarant by myself. 

Yes, alone.

Trust me, if you've never done this, you've never lived!  It took a lot of courage for me to order by myself, and I hid my face in a book to avoid the embarassment of not doing anything - like talking to the person I was dining with, 'cuz that would have been crazy - while I waited for my food to come.  I had hidden whichever book I was currently reading in a cover we were selling at The Book Store, so nobody knew that I was devouring the lastest historical thriller to come since Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.  The server stopped by my table inbetween taking my order and just before my food was delivered.  "Are you reading the Bible?" she asked.  "Uh, no," I said, concerned that they thought I was that "freak" who was eating by herself.* "Oh, we (she pointed to the bartender) thought that's why you might be hiding it..." I went on to explain to her that I was trying to protect my book, you see, because I had only borrowed it, not bought it...but we have these cool little bookholders at The Book Store, if she was interested. (Always the sales person, ...for the companies I work for, not myself...)

It wasn't the most popular book in the world that made me into that girl bopping along to whatever tune was playing.  It wasn't even the server asking me if I was reading the Bible.  Perhaps it was the music I was listening to, 'cause I listen to some stellar tunes :-D But I think it was more than that.  Somewhere along my journey that day, and that summer, I found myself.  I found the person strong enough to eat in a restaurant by herself.  I found the woman who could walk fifty blocks to search for a book.  I found the artist who went hunting for inspiration in the city she was loving.  I found myself.

I've lost her a few times.  But not today.  Today, I found her again, and I found my zen.  I took a walk on a sunny day, and turned off my music to reach that zen place.  I listened to the sloshing of the boots on the sidewalk, and the splashing of car tires in the melting roadways.  I breathed in the crisp, January air.  The sun soaked my cheeks in warmth, and the wind whipped my skin dry, but I didn't care.  I experienced the city.  I went hunting for inspiration in the city I am loving...and I found myself again.

Hmmmm...what a great day!


I'll share this GREAT Song with you to commemorate it....yes, apparently, sunshine always helps me find myself :-D




*DISCLAIMER: These are the thoughts of mine at that time, not my thoughts today.  I think it is absolutely fine for you to go to a restaurant and read the Bible.  I DO NOT think that makes you into a freak...but if it did, I would still be your friend.  I enjoy people who read religious texts. :-D

Monday, 17 January 2011

Weekly Inspirational Quote

"Everything in the universe has a rhythm. Everything dances."
~ Maya Angelou

euphony

n 1: the acoustic effect produced by words so formed or combined as to please the ear 2: a harmonious succession of words having a pleasing sound

The poet chose words for the sake of euphony and rhythm as well as rhyme.

Did You Know?

"Euphony" was borrowed from French at the beginning of the 17th century; the French word (euphonie) itself derives from the Late Latin euphonia, which in turn traces back to the Greek adjective euphonos, meaning "sweet-voiced" or "musical." Euphonos was formed by combining the prefix eu- ("good") and phone ("voice").  In addition to its more commonly recognized senses, "euphony" also has a more specific meaning in the field of linguistics, where it can refer to the preference for words that are easy to pronounce; this preference may be the cause of an observed trend of people altering the pronunciation of certain words - apparently in favor of sound combinations that are simpler and faster to say out loud.

Page-A-Day Calendar
http://www.pageaday.com/
Workman Publishing

In my world...

I'm sure that, in a past life, I was a songwriter...but I will probable never manage to write a song in this life...

Appropriate Quote for a Fresh Start at Writing

“Writers are the purifiers of the culture. We may not be pure ourselves, but we must tell the truth, which is a purifying act.”


—RITA MAE BROWN

It's fitting that this should be my Page-A-Day calendar quote for today as it is also my first day in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way 12-week course. I may have only had time to write half of the morning pages today, but that's ok. At least I've started...and I'll probably write the other half on this blog in some way...

Also from the calendar:

When we speak our truth in our writing, even if it’s only for our own eyes, we are cleaned and healed.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Conversation with a Fellow Artist

I walked into my friend's studio - her living room floor - last night to discover two of her paintings in different stages.

"I'm so jealous of artists who can create something physical," I told her.

"What do you mean?" She said, "you're a writer."

She was right. I do create physical things. I just never think of them like that. It was a good kick in the pants, though, as I spent today in fictionland... It's a great place to visit. A place I have to come to more often...

Living In The Past

How many minutes, how many hours, how many days are spent analyzing what we've done? How long will we allow ourselves to continue to live in the past and not move forward? ...

I am trained as a historian, but that was an accident. Whenever asked about facts or timelines or even to describe eras, my mind turns into a black void vacumn of nothingness. These things don't interest me. People interest me. Stories interest me. Studying people from the past is what interests me. My own story just happens to be one of my favourites.

The stories of the past kept me in history, university taught me how to analyze those stories.

Like most sciences, history searches for a greater truth, as did I. I see it as this large thick line, running throughout time. It is only inside that line that we will know what it means to be human, why we are here and what the meaning of life might be. Surrounding that line are documents to read, objects to scrutinize and people to interview. These are our primary sources. As we move further away from the line, we find articles, books, and other opinion pieces scholars have written about those documents, objects and people they interviewed. These are the secondary sources that we must consult first, during and even after viewing the primary sources. Even further from that line, are thoughts we have come across in our lifetime that have provided us with a non-academic understanding of the line. These thoughts may have come from our personal experiences in living the line, outside readings we have done on life, and especially our own cultural understandings of the world. These thoughts greatly affect our ability to see that line... and then, when we look at ourselves - I suppose this would be the furthest from that line - we are surrounded by a bubble of our own thoughts, feelings and understandings of the world that affect how we see anything inside or out of that bubble. Actually knowing what that line looks like - discovering the "truth" in anything - therefore becomes next to impossible.

If you do not have the same understanding of truth than this, I will find it difficult to have a stimulating, intellectual conversation with you without completing shutting down and refusing to discuss the world with an idiot. I apologize if that opinion offends you, but it comes from my bubble and not my heart. I'm sure you're a very splendid individual, we just should never discuss the discovery of a historical "truth."

Now that I've explained all that, I pose a question that we can discuss. If I am attracted most to those stories - to that line that we are so far removed from - why would I even begin to try to come close to understanding my own?

One of the professors of our program was extremely melancholic. Often he would be seen wandering the halls of the floors we lived on for those eight months as he was trying to solve some unanswerable question he had about the line. He was the first real life example I have of a truly insane genius (and possibly one of the reasons I ran - and continue to run - from the academic world). "If there is no truth, than why do we even bother?" was a sentiment he muttered on his most troubled days.

Why? Why do we even bother?

Because we may never know the real line, but getting just a glimpse makes our life more worthwhile.

Because the story sounds so good, we want to know as many details as we can.

Because life is about the journey - the pursuit of truth - rather than the destination - the realization of truth.

And so, as I continue on my journey...

"Ever upstream from myself; I advance, implore and pursue myself."
~ Edmond Vandercammen


... I will continue to live in the past, pursuing myself, understanding my story.

hare

v: to go swiftly: tear

Watching out for icy patches, Andrew hared along the country road on his motorbike.

Did You Know?

The hare in Aesop's fable may have lost the race with the tortoise due to the need for a nap, but the long-eared mammal's overall reputation for swiftness remains intact.  The noun "hare" (referring to a member of the genus Lepus, whose young are usually able to hop a few minutes after birth) first appeared as hara in a Latin/Old English glossary around the year 700.  The verb was in use by 1719, and people have been "haring off" and "haring about" ever since.

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In My World...

I never knew this could be a verb. I guess it's a bit like a lot of these twenty-first century websites that we have.  You know, like "Google," which used to be a website and then became a verb: "I googled the company before my interview.  Or "Facebook." Although, FB is more about the "fb-creeping" than "facebooking."  Twitter, on the other hand, went straight to verb: I was late for work this morning because I was "tweeting" and missed my bus stop.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

pork barrel

n: government projects or appropriations yielding rich patronage benefits

As usual, the congressional candidates decried the government pork barrel while simultaneously promising to deliver all sorts of lucrative projects if elected.

Did You Know?

You probably think the original pork barrels were barrels for storing pork - and you're right.  In the early 19th century, that's exactly what "pork barrel" meant.  But the term was also used figuratively to mean "a supply of money" or "one's livelihood" (a farmer, after all, could readily turn pork into cash).  When 20th-century legislators doled out appropriations that benefitted their home districts, someone apparently made an association between the profit a farmer got from a barrel of pork and the benefits derived from certain state and federal projects.  By 1909, "prok barrel" was being used as a noun naming such government appropriations, and today the term is usually used attributively in constructions such as "pork barrel spending" or "a pork barrel project."

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In My World

What what an appropriate vegan version of this be?  Bean barrel?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Better Late Than Never



Dixie Chicks ~ Long Way Around

This song captures a feeling I've had for about a week. A little bit lost, and disappointed in being in the same position I was in two years ago, (see New Year's Resolutions, number 5) I've had a lot of moments of contemplation (see Lump That Grows In Your Throat). In those moments, I've found some clarity in my life...

This is me. This is my life. It's nobody else's. It doesn't have to follow everybody else's rules. This life is here for me to mould. It's my privilege to make up the rules for them. And they can change. My opinions on life are constantly changing. My understanding of how I will get to the place I want to be is always improving...and my ability to enjoy this moment right here gets stronger every day, too.

I found this song appropriate. Yes, it's country, but it's ok, 'cause it's the Dixe Chicks, and they rock!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

tutoyer

v: to address familiarly

"Yes, now (to the outside world) we were on first-name terms, now to anyone within earshot I tutoyered him." - Marie Brenner, Tell Me Everything

Did You Know?

In conversational French, the pronoun vous ("you") is used for formal address of individuals (as well as plural addresses familiar or otherwise), while the singular pronoun tu (also "you," a relative of Middle English thou) is reserved for use among intimate friends. A person who uses tu to address his or her elders, for example, is committing a breach of etiquette. The French verb tutoyer - literally "to address with the pronoun tu" - was borrowed into English in the late 17th century to refer to this concept. The English "tutoyer" is still used in reference to people speaking French (as English does not discriminate between intimate and formal address in its pronouns), but it can also apply to casual address among English-speakers.

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In my world...

I think social media has reduced us all to tutoyering one another. Seriously, how can we offer anybody that much respect after we've seen a hundred pictures of them smashed at some party? Just saying...

New Year's Resolutions

So, it's January...perhaps not the first, but it's still a time for fresh beginnings. As such - and inspired by Oh She Glows! - I've written down a few things I want to focus on for the next twelve months. It's all part of my tradition of moving forward, and getting better - two important steps in getting through this Quarter Life Crisis.

1) Less Cheating; More Strength of Character

There are a lot of things I do in this world because people have "always" done them: eating, breathing, defecating, urinating, perspiring, salivating, etc. How I do those things, though, is entirely my choice - constrained, of course, by cultural rules. Luckily, I live in a world that has no rule against choosing not to eat something based on what I think is morally right for the gazillion of other creatures on the planet. As such, I want to choose that option more than I have been in the last eighteen months.

Two years ago, my sole resolution was to become a vegan. The result was that I would always chose the vegan option, but in social situations, I would be more formidable - but NEVER eat meat. By the end of 2010, I was a disgrace to any true vegan to have gone before me. I ate non-vegan mass-produced pastries daily; splurged on milk chocolates more often than dark and even had a yogurt dessert! So, it's time to put a stop to that, and grow a stronger backbone - for me and the gazillion other creatures I was put on this earth to give a voice to.

However, I recognize that people still want to socialize with me, and a large portion of being social is sharing each other's food. For example, one of my friends is Polish, and made a batch of home-made perogies this week. As she left my house today, filled with vegan noodles and cheeze, she invited me to her house for a lunch someday soon... I will more than likely accept her generous offer, bringing with me some delicious Daiya cheese for her to use in her next batch of traditional Polish perogies ;-)

2) Don't Sweat The Small Stuff; And it's All Small Stuff

Okay, now that I'm gonna scour through labels again and ensure that I am 100% Vegan five days a week, it's time to relax...

I'm reading a lot in the self improvement section...I'm not sure if you've noticed ;-) What I've learned about myself through this journey of improvement is that I need to stop worrying about being productive. One of my best guides right now has told me this before; perhaps a few times. She's right! You can't choose a time to be creative. You have to open up your day for it, and hope it comes to visit. It does visit, but not every day. Heck, how do you think my New Year's Resolution post came to be published on January 11 rather than January 1? ;-)

Those aren't the only details I need to let slide. From relationships to freelance articles to even even starting my day, I need to worry less about the details being perfect. Believe it or not, I'm a perfectionist. Luckily, I'm not very good at it, which keeps me humble. Striving for that perfection is stifling, though, and is keeping me from success. As much as I blame waiting for creativity to strike me, I'm also waiting to be perfect. Well, I'm not, and never will be. We only get one life. So, this is my time - it won't be perfect, but it'll be me!

3) Your Body Is Amazing; Treat It As Such

The last explanation I gave for why I exercise was absolutely brilliant: "I feel better after a good workout; and I sleep better. And since losing a significant amount of weight, I feel better about my body, which is all I ever needed."

I don't work out to make other people think better of me. I've realized that I may never be able to change what people think of me; I can only change how I react to what they tell me. And people rarely comment negatively on body image these days - too non-PC - Hurray! Sadly, as a former fat kid, I still pick up on those looks from young women struggling to fit into their own social standing by judging others, and, well, shame on them! But that's a blog all on its own...

I look at photos from my past, and promise myself I will never look like that again. And, it's not just about weight. It's about the girl trapped inside the weight. She didn't think too highly of her body, and you don't need to see below the neck to realize that. All you need to see is the eyes - the sullen eyes - asking you not to take the photo, wanting you to remember the beautiful person she is, and not this body she carries that person around in.

If you look at the numbers, I'm still not "healthy." If you ask my doctor, though, he doesn't want me to be at those numbers. (You can see my resistance to western medicine, no?) I feel great, though, so, I want to keep that up.

Yeah, I'm happy with my body. It's amazing! And, every day it continues to fascinate me. (There's a reason I spent eight months engrossed in the History of the Body!) There are things I want to do, and I'll have to live a LONG time to get that list done... So, I need to take care of my body for that. I used to be unable to run; now I feel the most re-charged after a twenty minute stint on the treadmill! I want to keep that up...so I have some goals. The goal for this summer is to be able to run - without walking intervals - across the river, up the Glenora stairs and back across the river. The end date for the goal is August, but if I hit it before then, even better! :-D

4) Better Late Than Never

When I was little, thinking about my life as an adult, where did I see myself at 25? Hmmmm...well, this is the first time I'll admit it, but I did have this dream to be a movie star by this time - but who didn't?!? If not a movie star, I was at least going to be somebody important. Twenty-five, as we all know, is incredibly OLD to a teenager, so there was a lot I would have done by now!

That being said, I've done a lot. I remember, back when I was 23 and JUST beginning this blog, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. My wiser, older 25-year-old sister sat me done and gave me some incredible words of encouragement. It went something like: "Stop crying! You've got a degree, which is a feat in itself; you've lived abroad, which many people will NEVER do; and you know what you want to do with your life - some people never figure that out!" Two years later, following an eighteen-month stint of trying to improve my finances (talk about failure!), I'm back at ground zero. My pay cheques come from the same two companies I worked for when I first settled down in Edmonton, and I'm back - staring at a computer, trying to figure out how I will be the next great Canadian writer...

But, I know what I want to do MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. I know why I am here, which I've never really doubted (I was just too humble to tell people). I think I know how to get there, too, which has always been the kicker. And, most importantly, I have a better understanding of the world, which is what I was looking for in my decade after convocating. I told everybody, "give me ten years! I don't want to go back to school for at least ten years." The idea of spending eight of those working for the bank terrified me so much, I tried to end it early - twice! But I learned a lot from the bank. I learned more than what I can put on a resume for some other ladder-climbing company to hire me (which, by the way, is one reason I am thrilled to be working for the same companies again, 'cause they knew my work ethic and didn't even bother with resumes this time!). I know what I need to make myself succeed this time...and THIS TIME I won't give up before it happens!

5) Never Stop Learning

"The most beautiful thing in the world is, precisely, the conjunction of learning and inspiration."
~ Wanda Landowska

Upon graduating from UBC, I changed my education status on Facebook. As I referenced above, I have become a student of Life University. It's a Master's Program that every young adult should go through, especially us twenty-somethings. I'm focusing on the following two groups of subjects: Happiness, Friendship, Peace and Frustration, Pain, Suffering, all within the field of Experience. The admission requirements were fairly simple - be born; however, to truly be a Master in Life, I have to constantly change.

My problem with New Year's Resolution is the same as my problem with diets. We always vow to do something better "tomorrow" or in the New Year; we forget about how important it is be better right now, today. That being said, this week I've returned to writing down everything I eat, and I've just listed off five mantras I want to work on this year. This is the one I know I'll keep, because I already practise it. I am always changing; I am always getting better; and I will NEVER STOP LEARNING...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Weekly Inspirational Quote

"Be happy. It is a way of being wise."
~ Sidonie Gabrielle

subvention

n: the provision of assistance or financial support (as from a government or foundation)

The earliest documented subvention for the science museum was a grant from the federal government in 1853.

Did You Know?

A subvention is a form of assistance, so it should come as no surprise that the word itself can be traced back to the Late Latin noun subventio, meaning "assistance." Subventio in turn derives from Latin subvenire, meaning "to come up" or "to come to the rescue." (Another descendant of subvenire in English is the more common word "souvenir") "Subvention" also functions as a verb meaning "to provide with a subvention." The verb "subvention" is a very uncommon word, and it has the equally uncommon synonym "subvent."

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In my world...

It has been suggested that I take a subvention, while getting my writing underway. My reluctance to do so makes me think that being from Saskatchewan was all a hoax: I'm too capitalist to do rely on socialism for my crazy ideas; however, I think nothing less of artists who take grants...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

oldster

n: an old or elderly person

More and more oldsters are embracing the Internet and interacting by using social networking websites.

Did You Know?

To mariners, a "youngster" is a midshipman who has served less than four years. This use is connected with the Dutch word younker, which, like "youngster," refers to a young person as well as a young seaman. Similarly, an oldster is a midshipman of four years' standing. The earliest known use of "oldster" meaning "old person" is in Charles Dickens' Dombey & Son(1848): "Her eyes would play the Devil with the youngsters before long - 'and the oldsters too, Sir, if you come to that," addded the Major."

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In my world...

I truly enjoy oldsters. In my old job, I would cherish the moments when they would come in, have a seat at my desk, and just talk because they were lonely. Perhaps, at some point, I would enjoy working for a calling centre...if only because I would relish the conversations with the lonely oldsters...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

kickshaw

n1: a fancy dish 2: a showy trifle

The shop was filled with refrigerator magnets, back-scratchers, snow globes, and other kickshaws, all adorned with images of smiling pigs.

Did You Know?

This noun began its career in the late 16th century as a borrowing from the French quelque chose - literally, "something." In line with the French pronunciation of the day, the "l" was dropped and the word was anglicized as "kickshaws" or "kickshoes." English-speakers soon lost all consciousness of the word's French origin and, by taking "kickshaws" as plural, created the new singular noun "kickshaw."

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In my world....

As I packed up my Christmas decorations, I realized that I should get rid of some of my kickshaws...otherwise known as JUNK!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

jimjams

n pl: jitters

"Just thinking about my class presentation today gives me the jimjams," confided Joseph to his roommate.

Did You Know?

When "jimjams" entered English in the mid-19th century, it probably referred to delirium tremens, a violent delirium caused by excessive drinking. When used in current American Enlgish, it means simply "jitters." Etymologist aren't sure about the origin of the term. Some speculate that it came about as an alteration of "delirium tremens." Others, though uncertain of the origin of "jim" and "jam," notice that the word follows a pattern of similar words in which one sound is repeated or altered slightly. Interestingly, other words for "jitters" were formed in the same repetitive way - "whim-whams" and "heebie-jeebies" are examples.

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This word is ridiculous!!! I have never heard it used before. Wouldn't you just call that colloquial slang?

The Lump That Grows In Your Throat

The lump lodges in my throat as we turn down the wrong street for the path I was hoping to be on. As the realization dawns on me, the breathe I was trying to catch from running for the bus seems impossible to catch now. I press the buzzer and make my way to the back exit. My fingers begin to vibrate as we wait at the light. Hoping for a miracle, or perhaps a silver lining, I approach the front and ask the driver to let me out here. We're in the middle of the intersection, and so - as I suspected - he refuses, but points out that the bus stop is only across the street. Subconsciously, I know that getting back to this spot will seem to take an eternity, and reluctantly drag my feet back to the back exit, defeated.

Ten minutes later, I have made it through one of the worst intersections of this entire city, and the lump has doubled in size. Of all the people I am late for, this makes me the most upset. This morning, I worried about my tardiness only because I was trying to make a second good first impression for my employer. She didn't even bat an eye that I was late. This afternoon, my friend was as early as I was late, and we shared a good chuckle at the situation. But this time being late has sent me into a full-fledged panic attack.

I recognize it for what it is by the time I come across two middle-aged women ahead of me on the sidewalk. Tears begin to well in my eyes as ridiculous thoughts race through my mind and my blood is fuelled with dirty, ugly emotions. I am embarassed. I can't let these women notice what is happening inside. Although this has happened before, I'm stronger now. Why on earth am I letting the irrational thoughts take over again? Why can't I control it? Why can't I get rid of this ridiculous lump?

My breathing remains choppy as I climb onto the next bus. I know this one is going in the right direction as I've now walked to the correct street. My hands shake as I reach for my phone. I send out a text - a warning of my now ridiculed disregard for time. I tried this time, though. I tried so hard this day. It's just who I am, and I'm okay with being this way. I prefer being this way. You can't rush genius. You can't schedule inspiration. Feeling the shame, I become even more distraught.

The text conversation continues. I begin to explain my situation. The lump sinks back down, allowing more rational air to get to my lungs. We begin to cancel our arrangement. Although relieved, I'm still filled with the guilt. I feel like I've let her down. I feel like I let them all down. I feel like I've let myself down. The lump creaps back into the back of my mouth. Tears begin to stream down my face. I wipe them away and wish the sun weren't setting. It would be better to hide these reddened eyes behind some sunglasses or even the disguise of night. What a terrible time to be caught outdoors in tears.

Eventually, I am calm. Wisdom has been provided to me and I feel more at peace. I guess I just needed to have a good cry. I didn't think I was that stressed out, but it's always hard to recognize stress when it comes from doing too little rather than doing too much. So much time is spent in my own head, I'm glad I have friends that can take me out of that space. Somebody who's been there; who knows exactly how you feel; and know what you need to hear to find your centre again. The world needs more people like that: more people who give simply to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

flack

v.: to provide publicity: engage in press agentry

The billionaire's ex-wife has been flacking for her juicy tell-all on all the popular talk shows.

Did You Know?

The word "flack" was first used as a noun meaning "publicity agent" in the late 1930s. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to Gene Flack, a well-known movie publicist of the time. Another rumor holds that "flack" derives from a similar-sounding Yiddish word for someone who talks about someone else's affairs. The editors of MErriam-Webster dictionaries remain skeptical about these claims and have listed the etymology of "flack" as "unknown." We can say with confidence, however, that the verb form of the word had begun appearing in print by 1963. You may also be familiar with another "flack" - a noun meaning "criticism" or "opposition." This unrelated homograph stems from a misspelling of "flak," a German acronym and English word for antiaircraft guns.

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This word, as well, is useful to bloggers...and Facebook or Twitter users. I was listening to the radio the other day (on my actual radio, not the internet), and they were discussing how facebook has replaced google as the most used internet site. An explanation for this was that we are lazy and don't want to look things up for ourselves, instead we would like our trusted friends and colleagues to find the interesting "news" articles for us and share them on facebook. I think that's a fairly accurate description of what is happening to our society...somehow, though, it doesn't explain all those requests to play farmville on facebook...unless you call that a "news" item as well, which might, these days, qualify as one...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Weekly Inspirational Quote

"The most beautiful thing in the world is, precisely, the conjunction of learning and inspiration."
~ Wanda Landowska

Sunday, 2 January 2011

exoteric

1:suitable to be imparted to the public. 2: belonging to the outer or less initiate circle. 3:external

Trying to reach a broader audience, the geneticist faced the challenge of producing an exoteric synthesis of complex information.

Did You Know?

This useful word derives from the Latin exotericus, itself from the Greek exoterikos ("external") and ultimately from exo, meaning "outside." Exo has a number of offspring in English, including "exotic," "exonerate," "exorbitant," and the combing form "exo-" or "ex-" (as in "exoskeleton"). The antonym of "exoteric" is "esoteric," meaning "designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone"; it descends from eso, the Greek word for "within."

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I think this word relates to blogging so much. While journals are esoteric, a blog is most definitely exoteric; however, sometimes what we share is esoteric in its ability to be fully understood...but art isn't supposed to be fully understood...