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"In Which Medicine is Necessary"

from Wondermark.

This is how I've felt since I woke up at 7am on Tuesday. I am ready for it to be over.

Advent #4

I've been thinking about love a lot this week. Partially because it's the theme for Advent, partially because I've been more frustrated than usual with someone in my life. At the end of the day, love is a choice. It is deliberate, it is intentional, it is thought-out and reflective. It is a combination of factors that I don't understand, and it is not always easy (can I say it is rarely easy?), but it is beautiful.

Receiving love is humbling and heart-warming and affirming and life-giving.
Giving love is the same.

Favourite Christmas Lyrics?

This is a top-contender on the non-religious side: It's almost almost Christmas
And you might, maybe you could
Break a heart or two now
And I think you should I think you should - Chris Garneau, It's Almost Christmas Well, since you've said I should... What are your favourite seasonal lyrics?

What I Like About Twitter

I spent a lot of time on Twitter for work last week. It's been interesting and I was considering all the craziness/things I don't like to see on it. But then I remembered my desire to be more positive. So here's a celebration of things I love about Twitter. 1. It distracts me when I'm bored at work. 2. It satisfies my nosiness about other people, without all the clutter of FB. 3. It feeds me interesting facts and opinions and art. 4. It gives me an outlet for random thoughts that have no point but should be shared because that is how I feel. 5. It keeps me from rambling excessively. 6. It allows me to feel "connected" to people I have never met. I believe I've made a friend via Twitter.
7. It gives me 5 seconds of fame when celebrities respond to/retweet my words.
8. I have total control over whose info I see. Unfollowing is as easy as 1-2-3 and feels less cruel than unfriending.

Can't Help Myself

How can you NOT love these faces!?!?


Advent #3

The most beautiful kind of joy (I think) is seeing someone take delight in someone else's accomplishments or presence. Like last night, watching the soloists almost beaming at the chorus during the Hallelujah Chorus in The Messiah. It was the chorus' moment, and the soloists loved it.

That kind of joy is the most difficult: a selfless, unjealous, non-covetous joy.

I feel this infrequently, but when I do, it is the most beautiful feeling. And I mean that literally, no exaggeration and no lie. The. Most. Beautiful.

It is how I think the angels felt towards the shepherds, and all humanity when they announced Jesus' birth.
In other Advent news, I've been negligent on the reading and reflecting. But that is no surprise. I think having snow instead of ten degrees and rain would help me be more Christmas-aware. But that could be pure blame-shifting.

Why I Love The Men in My Family

My dad's Christmas gift-list email ended with this:

more hours in the day :-(world peace
Then my older brother replied:
Just so everyone knows and there is no duplication I will be getting dad world peace and a 28 hour day for Christmas. Its not a competition but top that!

Oops. I hit reply all. Now dad has seen this and I'll have to do something else darn it!


Stephen


Ps - any one else wanna buy world peace?  I got a great deal at walmart so I'll sell it cheap!


So my other brother weighed in:

Well actually in my spare time I've been watching Doctor Who and building a working replica TARDIS for dad. For those who don't know TARDIS stand for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, and is a time machine.


And back to Dad for the ringer:

You guys are amazing not to mention extremely talented. Obviously I didn't expect enough of you while you were growing up! :-)

A List & A Video

My weekend was so good. SO GOOD. Possibly my favourite of the last two months (since Vancouver).

I have delightful friends who warm my heart and encourage me and challenge me and astound me. I ate delicious food in Hamilton at Bread Bar. I listened to a hundred person choir sing Hard Day's Night and Purple Rain. I sang along (quietly).I baked scones. I LOVE SCONES.I went to spinning/yoga class. It hurt in the good kind of way. I heard from a friend I've not seen in a few years now. I gave and received Christmas gifts. I found a few more gifts for people on my list!Church this morning involved a kids' Christmas pageant. And the baby in front of me tried to chat me up. So much cuteness. I talked about dreams (the asleep kind and the hopes-for-my-life kind) and am excited about what the future has (both waking and sleeping). I started reading Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen. That man knew things.
Thanks for caring to read all those things :)

To kick off your week, here is…

Advent #2

I am not doing so great at setting aside time to reflect on Christmas and Advent and Jesus. I partially blame The Hunger Games, which consumed a solid 48 hours of my week and are still at the back of my mind. And the other 80% of the blame lies fully on my own shoulders. Last night, I thought I might spend some time mulling it all over during my yoga class. Turns out, I mostly spent my mental energies on not falling over and breathing through the pain of stretching muscles. Anyway. Christmas. This week's Advent theme is peace. And I've been thinking about how the promise of peace implies that we are/were not at peace and there is conflict that needs resolution; Spiritual conflict is not the sort that can be resolved with a calm conversation over a cup of tea (don't we all wish it could?). This peace that we're in need of only comes through battle and war and suffering and someone winning. It seems very counterintuitive and not a little disturbing that the only way …

I've Got This Friend

I think it's been about a month since The Civil Wars concert. And I am still stuck on them. They are now in the running for two Grammies. And this song is running through my head.

Hungry For a Good Read?

Here is my 45 second endorsement of The Hunger Games trilogy: I am not usually a bandwagon-jumper. But when I only ever heard good things (and increasingly frequently) about The Hunger Games, I decided to give them a whirl. My friend Karen lent me her copies with two comments, "You'll read them in a week," and "If I had known other people read Young Adult novels, I would have been telling everyone to read them a year ago!" So on Sunday morning, I flipped open the first book as I lay in bed. Then I read it all the way to church, even though reading on the subway sometimes makes me nauseous. Then I read it while waiting for a streetcar. Then I read it while waiting for a friend. Then, when I walked in my door at 4pm, I sat on the couch and kept reading. I finished it around 7pm. Did my share of the apartment-cleaning, and by 8pm, was sitting on the couch again with the second book. At 10 o'clock, I crawled into my bed. At quarter to one, I put down the second, n…

The Books On My Bedside Table Include

The Pilgrimage So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Tales From Outer Suburbia Life of the Beloved When You Reach Me Road-side Dog Holocaust Poetry Provinces Persuasions for a Mathematician Why I Wake Early A Poetry Handbook Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Year of Living Biblically The Stone Carvers Diverse AND numerous. Half a dozen need to go back to the library next week. Another half dozen belong to friends. And the others are mine. All mine. (i heart books)

Calliope

I am totally digging this song.


 And this song.

Sometimes I Don't Mind Crying

This week, I cried* a few times.

I cried a lot on Wednesday.

I cried when I saw my friend waiting to walk in to her mother's funeral. I cried when she got up to share about her mom. I cried when the minister choked up during her eulogy. I cried when I hugged my friend during the reception. I cried at the internment when I saw her nephew trying not to cry. I bawled* as my friend came over to two of us after and we mourned together.

I cried again as I told my own mother about the day over the phone.


This morning, at church, I cried.I cried when I saw the smile on my friend's face as she waited to be baptized. I cried when she said Jesus has been calling her for a long time and she's ready to say yes. I cried when another girl said she called herself an atheist not that long ago, but she has seen Jesus change her life. I cried when a big man choked up and couldn't speak. I cried when another big man shared that he has had dark days and has not been a good son to his mothe…

Causes, Values & Evangelism

Last week I walked past Occupy Toronto for maybe the fifteenth time. I have had a lot of thoughts about about the whole thing, and my friend and I got to chatting... One take-away was that methodology really matters to me. I am a big believer in free speech and open dialogue, but I'm also fairly easily put-off peoples' causes or perspectives by how they communicate. As I've grown more certain of and passionate about the things that I value, I often find myself unsure of how to communicate it all... I want it to be in keeping with my personality, I want it to be authentic, and I want it to be winsome. I do not want to be apathetic, falsely exuberant or in-your-face.

It seems to me that we each have our own style of "evangelizing" the causes we love and beliefs we hold. I used to think my reservedness was due to insecurity, and I often tried to compensate for that. But now I'm at rest and usually don't feel the need to put-on the excitement and boldness I…

Project Positive

This fall, I have become startlingly aware of how frequently we humans bond over gossip or shared negative opinions. I want to make a greater effort to bond over praise and shared love of life. Anyone else want in on this?

I wonder how quickly I will notice a difference in my own heart & relationships.

Saturday Brunch Club

Today was the first meeting of the Saturday Brunch Club, founded by Karen.

Everyone is welcome. These are the rules (So far. Still under construction.):
The first member to the restaurant will have their coffee/tea paid for by the last member to arrive.There is a ten minute grace period for late arrivals. After ten minutes, we sit without you. Unless agreed upon at the time of ordering, members are not required to share their food.Members need to bring cash for easy bill settling.
I think that's pretty much it. We meet every two weeks, and next up is Lady Marmalade.

Come and eat!

My Mind Pie

So last week, I asked you all what the pie chart of your mental energies would look like: what do you spend your time thinking about?

Well. Amelia drew hers here.She compared it with ten years ago (or what she remembers from 10 years ago) and it was great. RIBBONS! (now you have to go read it to find out what that means).

And Thom emailed me this witty image:

But I had not shared my mind-pie with you. Until now. Here it is:

And here is my projected-memory of my 2001 brain.  At the time, I was almost seventeen and in my last year of high school.
Now, I'm not going to do an entire breakdown. Mostly, it's self-evident. But I do think that it's important to note that the quality of some of these sub-categories have significantly improved, because that is not evident in the charts. I still think about boys and relationships a lot (probably too much), but in a very different way. It's not emotionally consuming anymore. At least right now. And there is far less daydreaming ab…

I Will Never Be a Dentist

Doug Coupland once wrote, "At twenty you know you're not going to be a rock star... by twenty-five you know you're not going to be a dentist or a professional... by thirty, a darkness starts moving in - you wonder if you're ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy or successful... by thirty-five, you know, basically, what you're going to be doing the rest of your life; you become resigned to your fate." I have been thinking a lot about this recently. I still want to be famous. I dream of it less than when I was young, but I like to think of mingling with the bignames. I find myself wanting to name-drop, to sound like I am somehow closer to stardom than the masses. But I am almost twenty-seven, and the chances of that happening are slim-to-none. The realist in me is coming to terms with this. Mostly. However, I don't wonder if I will ever be fulfilled, wealthy or successful. I already am.
I am in the wealthiest 3% of the world's population. You p…

Where Are All The Opinions??

Okay, cyber-world. I am in a thoughtful and conversational mood these days (the two don't always coincide), so you had better hold up your end of the conversation.

The next two posts I'm currently drafting are as invitational as the last one, and if I don't get any takers, I might just stop talking.

And we don't want that, do we?

Pie Charts, Literature & Good Questions

There are few things I like more than a creatively thought-provoking question. Like these two, asked of me by a couple different friends in the last week:
1.If your brain were a pie chart, how much time do you spend thinking about _____? How does it compare to ten years ago?
2.If you could write a story from the perspective of any literary character, which character would you choose?
Brilliant, hey?
The pie chart of my brain looks drastically different than it did a decade ago. Or five years ago. This makes me happy. I think I am content with 75% of my brain-pie-chart. And the other one... I don't have an answer on this yet – whose story do I want to tell?? Who do I think has a voice worth broadcasting? I'm mulling it over. I take these nerdy kinds of questions very seriously.
What about you? What would the pie-chart of your brain look like? (Thom, I expect a drawing on your blog) What literary character would you champion/write for?

Two Helpful Things

1. For the last week, I have been drinking at least two litres of water every day. This is a phenomenal accomplishment for me. In Spain, I sometimes struggled to drink that much, and I was walking 25 kms a day!!!

I think hydrating is benefiting many parts of my life, like metabolism and energy and general well-being. It helps that I sit at a desk all morning/all day. If I fill up my water bottle, drop in a little bit of lemon, and stick it in front of me, I will drink it. And I will snack less.


2. Tonight, I got discouraged and insecurity reared its head and I had a mini freakout inside my mind. Then I decided to call my sister (thanks for chatting, Sa-Sa!) and then I decided to re-read some personality info about myself because I am someone who needs validating. One personality-type profile I have on hand tells people who manage me to "stroke often." If that doesn't scream "emotionally needy," then I don't know what does.

For those who care,
I am an INFJ o…

No Battle Here: The Civil Wars are Winners

I would like to take a moment to tell you why you should check out The Civil Wars.

1. They are a little bit country & bluegrass. O Brother Where Art Thou kind of country.



2. Joy Williams has a perfectly suited name. The woman does not stop smiling. She also used to be a fairly-fabricated Christian pop musician. Her current work is better. (I can say that, cause I listened to her back in the day)

3. John Paul White looks like Johnny Depp. And has a wicked fun sense of humour. Which results in more laughter from Joy.

4. How many other bands do you know that keep an audience of 500 spellbound with one guitar and two fantastic voices?


5. They cover Jackson 5. And Michael.
(oh yes, and they toured with Adele)

6. They sing about real life with honesty. "Poison and Wine" is about marriage, and what you might say to someone if you were being fully fully honest about how you feel. (They are both married, not to each other - which Joy says allows them to sing & write songs tha…

3 Happy Moments

Yesterday, I did something terrifying. Well, terrifying to me. A risk I've wanted to take for awhile. Of course, there is no guarantee that things will turn out the way I would like. I have a small amount of hope that they will - or rather, great amounts of hope but low expectations (sometimes having hope is a pain in the butt). Today, I feel very happy that I did it. I am proud of me. Goooooooo, me! This morning, I weighed myself for the first time in almost two months. I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers staring up at me. This told me that my self-perception is no more accurate than it used to be...however, it also says that my sense of self-worth is much improved since years past. Although I thought I'd been putting weight on, it hadn't been ruining my life or consuming much emotional energy. So that's a plus. I am tempted to now allow myself to gorge on Halloween mini chocolate bars, given to me by a boss who wants them far away from herself, but that…

No One Here But Us Chickens

There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware: a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discolouring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time - or even knew selflessness or courage or literature - but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.
from For the Time Being by Annie Dillard

Thoughts, anyone?

Coldplay, Cold Burns, and Coldness.

Coldplay

Someone asked me recently what I thought about this article that references a quote from Coldplaylead Chris Martin, admitting that their lyrics "are a bit sh*t."

So this is what I think:
a. An artist can say that they aren't super-fond or proud of some of their works - but I don't like how the article then picks which lyrics they think are dumb. What if those particular ones are ones Martin is proud of?

b. In a song/poem/work of art, not every single stroke or line is the focal point. On their own, they may even seem bizarre or pointless. But if, together, they make a piece of art, then that is the point. And I happen to think that, as a whole, Coldplay's songs are certainly above par, both musically and lyrically.

c. I also think (in an only vaguely related thread) that it is strange how Coldplay is doing so much publicity around their new album. Have they ever done this before? Why are they doing it now? It is making me slightly suspicious and more ret…

Civil Wars and Internal Battles

Today has been a great day, except for the part where I got sucked in to watching Glee.

Which is completely my own fault.

But previous to this caving-of-the-self-will, I had the most encouraging and terrifying conversation of the year.
And earlier in the day, it was confirmed that I will now have one job and one job only.

Let's round off the day with a song. A song I hope to see performed next Tuesday, when I see this duo in concert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And now maybe another song.

This is ME!

I'm on a major literary/creativity kick. I have stacked up seven library books that now need devouring. The first one I cracked open is called Road-side Dog by Czeslaw Milosz. In it, he writes:

My knowledge is limited, my mind puny. I tried hard, I studied, I read many books. And nothing. In my home, books spill from the shelves; they lie in piles on furniture, on the floor, barring passage from room to room. I cannot, of course, read them all, yet my wolfish eyes constantly crave new titles. In truth, my feeling of limitation is not permanent. Only from time to time an awareness flares of how narrow our imagination is, as if the bones of our skull were too thick and did not allow the mind to take hold of what should be its domain. I should know everything that's happening at this moment, at every point on the earth .I should be able o penetrate the thoughts of my contemporaries and of people who lived a few generations ago, and two thousand and eight thousand years ago. I shou…

Cleaning Up the Site

For those of you who actually visit this blog instead of just reading it through a feed (Mom & Sarah and maybe a few others?), I updated the look! I also added my "Letters to Strangers" as a tab right at the top of the page, and then formatted that blog to have a unified look. I wanted something super streamlined.

Thoughts? Any other changes I should instigate?


A Weekend Ramble

I had a fantastic day in Hamilton yesterday.

I know that Hamilton is a town many people love to hate, but I kind of like it. As I drove down from Mississauga, in a UHaul driven by my delightful friend Amelia (who could hardly be seen by other drivers), we came into the city, and she said, "You know, if you could just cover up that part, it's a really beautiful city." And she was right, with a hand out to hide the factories/industrial whatever-they-are from our view, it was beautiful.

"Varun calls it Mordor and The Shire," she concluded.

I think I made a new friend as we painted some accent walls in Amelia & Varun's new place. And then, after an afternoon of unpacking and cleaning and painting, I went off for coffee with another friend.

Coffee turned into dinner, and before you know it, she and her husband and I were passing around a crossbow and talking about hunting. NO JOKE. We talked about a lot of other things too: mostly life and Jesus and things …

Dancing & Doing

It is too bad that "going dancing" always takes a sour turn. And is inevitably a kind of sad reflection of our culture's distorted longings. (Cougars? Weird. Old men with young women? Weird. Men circling the dance floor watching women? Weird. Women getting all sexy with strangers? Weird.)

I just want to dance.


There are several creative things I want to do this month. I have a collaborative creative project on the go (read: neglected). Then I came across two international collaborative art-for-the-masses projects:

Inside Out
What Does Your Soul Look Like?

I'd like to submit an article to this.
And enter this contest.


Instead, I am currently watching Ellen interview Taylor Swift.

Fours.

1. Life is full of things to do and thoughts to sort out* and those are the two things that keep me from blogging. Neither is showing any let up, so who knows how much I will post in the rest of this month. Also, WHERE DID OCTOBER GO?! It's pretty much over, according to my calendar.



2. On the weekend, my older brother mentioned how he was pleasantly surprised by the message behind Lil Wayne's How to Love. Even this brief comment was enough to get that hook in my head. (Earworm: the only type of bug I like more often than not.) Well done, Lil Wayne.






3. I have a dilemma. A ways back, I gave myself a little challenge that was actually quite fun for awhile. But now, I'm not sure my motivation is  healthy anymore. Or if it's even possible to complete it. But I don't like to be a quitter. And time is running out while I hem and haw and stall. What to do!?



4. Tomorrow I leave for a weekend of celebration in Vancouver and Whistler. It is the birthday of my delig…

Before I Go to the Polls...

It's voting season; I think we Ontarians go to the polls on Thursday.

I am, as usual, an uninformed voter.

Time is running short.

I won't vote Conservative, I'll tell you that. I dislike that their attack ads started before the election was even called. I dislike that they referred to McGuinty's "sneaky eco-tax." The whole thing bothered me. Immensely.

I don't feel confident in the NDP - although they're popular these days, are they actually prepared to lead the province?

That leaves the Liberals... Although I find their TV ads convincing (Dalton McGuinty seems to have accomplished a lot in the last four years), I am sure there's more to the story.

The problem is, I don't fully trust anyone to be who they say they are during the lead up to an election.


Opinions? Thoughts? Pressing issues that you would like me to consider in casting my vote?

Decisions, Decisions.

Help me, please. Which concert should I go to?

Die Mannequin
Anna Calvi
The Civil Wars
Hey Rosetta! (The Jezabels)
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Deer Tick
Elliott Brood (One Hundred Dollars)
Hey Ocean
Dan Mangan (The Daredevil Christopher Wright + The Crackling)
Besnard Lakes (Malajube, The Darcys)
Ra Ra Riot (Dinosaur Bones)
Neon Indian (Com Truise, Purity Ring)
Loney Dear
Wakey Wakey
Star Slinger


(I'm too lazy to link to videos for each band. This is what happens after two consecutive night out until the weeeeeeeee hours of the morning. It's 9:30 and my eyes will hardly stay open. Totally worth it, but don't know how people do this more than once every four months or so.)

Another Dream, Another Text

Last night, I pretty much told friends of mine that they should have a baby. I know better than this... But I was feeling all baby-loving from the sweet girl I'd just passed off, and may have said something like, "I think all my friends should have babies so I can borrow them. You know, since that's not really in my foreseeable future..."**

"Actually," the husband replied, "You know it's only ever nine months away..."

I laughed as I looked down at my phone. Someone had texted me.

It read: "I had a dream that you had a child out of wedlock the other night. :) Just read your post. :)"

Let's chalk that one up to bad cheese and impeccable timing...


**remember last year when I said I didn't know if I wanted to/should have kids? This is where I stand now; I want to be actively involved in parenting the next generation, but what that looks like and whether my own biological children will be involved is still a mystery. Pretty sure I…

Dreams & Texts & Fall-back Crushes

A far-away friend texted me this morning:

A: So...this is weird, buuuut...I had a  dream about you last night. We were in a church, and you were getting married. I have no idea who the groom was, but he was good-looking and you were gorgeous...

me: I can't wait to hear details!! I hope I marry a good-looking man. A: Assuming my dream was prophetic...keep your eye out for one with _________ hair ;)

me: Ha ha. Will do... All three of my fall-back crushes* have _________ hair.

A: Hm...well, apparently my subconscious knows your type. He's into __________ too...that was a major theme in my dream/your wedding. It was a very philanthropic event :)

me: I'LL TAKE HIM! I'm not going to read anymore into your dream, but two of the three are still in the running.

A: Lol! Good call. I would much rather have you consult Jesus instead of my dream (which was undoubtedly a product of the slightly-off cheese I had with dinner last night...)
*For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a …

An Arts Update

Music:
Erica Mah. Fantastic Vancouver musician. This song is lovely and sad and SHE IS PLAYING TWO INSTRUMENTS AT ONCE!
Kings of Leon. They suit me this week. The quality of his voice is just right.



Arcade Fire. Specifically, "Rococo." Somewhere there are a lot of Arcade Fire fans that don't realize this song is actually about them.



Art:
Two weekends ago, I wandered through Trinity-Bellwoods Park and a maze of art tents (whoever rents those things must be making a killing). Highlights included:

Jay Dart, drawist. DRAWIST!! This brilliancy, combined with his beard art and reddish hair is enough to give me a pseudo-crush. And I discovered via his website that he went to Guelph. All the cool cats went to Guelph (what, what!).

Pam Lobb. I'd seen her work (and loved it) at Bluebird. Then I got to tell her so. If anyone wants to buy me some of her art for Christmas...

The Corey Canvas. Screenprinting of cover art for classic novels + birds + bearded cuteness = another pseudo-c…

Happy Month-iversary to ME

I have been home from Spain for one month.
Where did it go? I don't know. But since I'm still thinking about Spain, I'm still blogging about Spain. One of my favourite parts of the trip (as everyone has been asking) is how much laughter there was. The days were not always easy, and things did not always happen perfectly. But we laughed. Oh, we laughed. Mostly, I laughed at K's incredibly fast wit. Here is a list of some of the funniest things she said during the trip. It all started with this one, on the plane: Flight attendant:(speaking with a French accent) We're going to dime the lights shortly... K: We're going to dime these things til they're nickeled! After that, I kept a detailed log. These are in chronological order, and as out-of-context as my quote entries usually are. The great thing, though, is that in my head I can picture the context for each one and it has me giggling all over again. I just touched my tongue to my arm, because I was curious.…

Today is Brought to You By the Letter "M"

1. Mutemath. The day after a great concert is one part happy and one part sad. The show last night, a two-hour gig in a packed-out little venue in Buffalo, was phenomenal. I love this band. I appreciated the keyboard handstand, the interaction with the audience, and the outstanding amount of sweat pouring off each of the musicians. They are one of the few bands I've seen live more than once, and I would definitely go for a third show. And last but not least, the new album sound is sa-wheet. Sometimes when a band's sound shifts it stresses me out or makes me sad, but I am ready to get on board when Odd Soul drops next month.

Here are two new tracks that are now on repeat:



2. The Mentalist. It's back. And I love it. Although the first episode was fairly implausible, I am so in love with this team and how they have each other's backs. TEAM! Team, team, team. I love team.*


3. Mom & Dad for dinner. They're currently sitting in traffic, but pretty soon they'll be…

Left Work Smiling Today. Again.

In the past two weeks, I think my boss has given me more praise than she did over the eleven months I spent as her nanny. IF this is an accurate take on reality, there are two possible conclusions.

1. Nannying is clearly not my life-calling.
2. My boss places a higher value on business output than she does childcare.

I am pretty sure both are somewhat true, but let's focus on the first.

I don't think I was a BAD nanny, but I am relieved to no longer be one. I wonder how much of my current job-happiness is still about the novelty of it and how much I'll retain over the long-haul. If my boss keeps telling me every. single. day. how glad she is to have me around, I think that the happiness will linger. 

It is a great thing to feel good at my job. And I feel the freedom to ask six thousand questions while I get the hang of how it all works. This is the first time in my adult life I've had a job where I feel potential and safety and confidence and freedom-from-anxiety all …

BABIES EVERYWHERE!!! (Or Not.)

Yesterday, I found this on a friend's Facebook wall.

I couldn't look away. A little bit funny, but mostly awkwardly awkward.
And now I'm watching it again.

WHY!? WHY!?


My interest in purchasing Nutrigrain bars went from non-existent to intentionally-avoiding-them.

Machinery

In Spain, K and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: There's this situation in my life - (insert details here). I don't know what to do.

K: Well, how do you feel about it? What do you want?

Me: Good question... Logical-Beth understands that blah blah blah, so although I feel x, y, and z, I'd like to see etc etc happen.

K: And how much of you is Logical-Beth?

Me: (pause) About 10%.



This is a reoccurring problem in my life. Try as I may, I can't manage to be rational and logical as often as I want. I don't believe that my life should be ruled by my emotions; but I have realized it cannot and should not be ruled by reason alone either.

The problem is, Emotional-Beth and Logical-Beth have trouble getting along. They both like to assert their right-to-rule at the same time.

Today I woke up with this song in my head. I think it was a not-so-subtle manifestation of my ongoing internal conflict.

8PM - 8AM Thoughts

Last night I went on a first-date-friend-date. What I mean is, back in January I met a friend-of-a-friend at my birthday celebration/art show. Then we became fake-internet-friends. Then we graduated to real-time hanging out. It was great. She is great.

She asked me if I am going to do another show sometime. I said, "I don't know!" and squirmed in my seat. I felt squirmy because other people have been asking me about that documentary dream I mentioned back in June, and it is currently giving me minor panic attacks. Not really - I won't let myself think about it long enough to panic. That is how stressed I feel.

Why did I ever tell anyone about this!?

A Vancouver friend is coming for a visit this weekend, and I know we will talk about the potential project. She is the first (and only) person I officially recruited to doing this with me. It will be good to work through all the muddle in my head.

Anyway. Last night I remembered that several people had asked me in January…

Distraction of the Day

My new job has me clicking online a lot. And sometimes I get a little bit distracted. Today I discovered two websites that could have derailed me from accomplishing anything...

That Poverty Project: one man in western Canada is living through three radical challenges to help raise awareness and support to change the reality of poverty here in Canada and around the world. He's currently living out of a tent. Next up, live on $7.50/day.

Dear Photograph: Take a picture of a picture from the past in the present. Amazing. I've started thinking about what I will send in. This, of course, means I need to find some photos from my childhood. Or maybe more recent past? Who knows.

Workity-Work-Work

People have been asking me about work. So this is a public service announcement that I currently have not one, but two jobs.

Woot. 

One is long-term & half-time as an "Events and Communications Manager." The office is small and casual and I think I will really like it.

The other is more tentative. Ten hours a week for a non-profit, doing communications and admin. Very ad-hoc. If the funds run out, that is okay because it will help me pay the bills until that time, and will look good on a resume at that time.

For the first time in a longwhile, I feel like these are career-building jobs that I could really thrive in. At the same time, I am mildly afraid of "settling" into an "easy" life. That is not something I want.

Church today reminded me of this. Two weeks in a row of soft-but-certain conviction.

New Dawn, New Day, New Attitude

This weekend will be great because:- I'm going to a bridal show with Nadine tonight.
(my boss: "Why the ---- would you do THAT?"
me: "Because it will be fun!")- Two of my favorite cousins are in town tomorrow and we are hanging out.
(I like ALL my cousins, for the record.)- The weather is going to be gorgeous.
(I'm not ready to relinquish my summer-wear yet.)- I have some great books waiting to be read.

Things I Don't Want To Do But Find Myself Doing Tonight

Sitting at homeKilling braincells with mindless TV Washing dishesBlogging as procrastination (I still have not finished processing Spain, internally or externally. Maybe eventually that will happen too.)Applying for jobsBeing grouchy for no particular reason

Ugh. 

(I am 90% sure I will feel better in the morning and maybe even regret letting you all in on my pity party.)

Jackson Pit

I am loving this mash-up. You can download it for free, if you also find these grooves catching.


World of (Class) Warfare

Last night I was strong-armed* into watching an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I can't find a video to embed, so you are going to have to click this link to watch it.

Is that too much to ask? I know clicking links is really passé, but I would like to discuss at least the first segment. Because it blew my mind a little. (I also recommend watching the Anne Hathaway interview: the most non-interview interview I think I've ever seen. They mostly discuss Scrabble, which I love. It is a great nerdly pursuit.)

Warning: Contains strong language. And strong opinions regarding US economics.


*I have very weak arms. And I really wanted to watch the show, so it wasn't much of a fight. In fact, there was no actual fight. We just watched it, laughed, and discussed.

Ick.

I think I am getting sick.

me: My nose is stuffy,  my throat hurts and I keep sneezing.
friend: Yeah, those are symptoms of sick.

I kind of want someone to stroke my head and sing Soft Kitty to me. Is that weird?


(More Soft Kitty scenes here.)


In unrelated news, church this morning was precisely what I needed and it was good. First time in months that I have wanted to take my notes out later in the afternoon and re-read them so I can process more fully.

Baby Steps Aren't Sexy...

...but they can be beautiful.I don't remember how I signed up for this "Fear-less" magazine online, but I'm glad I did. Magazine aside, their periodic emails are almost always encouraging and insightful and perfectly-timed for my current quandaries. This (abbreviated) note from earlier in the week was precisely what I needed to hear:
"It's easy to get impatient on your quest to be fearless. You read the books and the magazines, you feel pumped up and ready for action, and then you wake up the next morning and things are pretty much the same. When you're impatient and want to shake things up, you begin to think about doing something Big. Big things are deliberate, autonomy-assuring actions that change your daily life:
quitting your job, moving to another country, going back to university, that sort of thing...

Our contributors always talk about baby steps, little things, small victories. These phrases are not as sexy as the idea of a strong, independent man…

New Shoes

Me: I'm SO EXCITED to wear my new shoes today!
Nadine: Says the girl who should probably be wearing pants today...
Me: Yeah, they're coming. I'm just packing first.


This is today's theme song.

Sidenote.

My parents are toooooooo cute. Wouldn't you agree? It seems they are wearing matching t-shirts.

(enjoy the last few days of your holidays, Mom & Dad!)

Sounds of the Camino

You are probably all dying to know what I listened to while trekking through Spain.


Well, I didn't actually listen to my iPod while walking. Not even once! It wasn't intentional (until the last three days), but I'm glad it panned out that way.

Walking time was for thinking or talking or counting steps in my head. Sometimes I found myself humming songs in time to our rhythmic steps... Most frequently, Pachelbel's Canon or Come Thou Fount. (It is so easy to fall in step. I like that feeling of being perfectly paced together.) 


On trains, during the occasional nap, and to block out the sounds of a shared room at night, I had a playlist of favourites, and listened to a lot of Hey Rosetta! Their song "Bandages" is now linked to this adventure for the rest of my life (dramatic, much!?).


In the last week of walking, I returned to Foxy Shazam - last summer's surprise discovery. Perfectly upbeat and gritty and good for my ears and my heart. This song was my them…

Bells' Wedding Bells

Back before I left for Spain, I said to Nadine, "If Matt proposes while I am gone, there had better be an email in my inbox telling me so within the first twelve hours."

But Matt, kind as he is, kept my plans in mind (obviously) and proposed the week before I left. So instead, I got an email mid-trip telling me they'd picked their date, location, and a dress. (Well, Nadine picked it. Matt almost saw it, but was rescued/ambushed by a round of yelling and hustling out of the store.)

On Sunday night, as we sat in the living room at our computers, Nadine said into the silence, "So. Want to be my maid of honour?"

"Um, let me think about that..." I replied, "KIDDING! Yes."

I was there the night Matt and Nadine met. I may have known that he was going to ask her out before she did. I saw them the night they became an "official" couple. When Nadine walked in the door and announced to me, "I think I have a crush on my boyfriend!" I…

San Salvador Cathedral, Oviedo

San Salvador Cathedral, Oviedo
Originally uploaded by bethaf. Finished editing my photos tonight.

I loved this place.

Three Thoughts

Someone told me this morning that they are looking forward to hearing my Spain story.

"So am I," I replied.

I am not sure yet what my "Spain story" is. Or if there can be a definitive, streamlined, simple-to-share summary.



I had a really reflective walk home this afternoon. I almost missed how beautiful the sunshine and the clouds were. I like that when I got into the apartment, I could sit and sort out my brain with a little help from my roommate. It is good to be home.



This week is the first time in a year that I have been off work and at home for more than a long weekend. Tomorrow I am making a list of things I need to/want to do...job-hunting/confirming is a priority. But so is relaxing. I think I can manage to do both. Especially if jet-lag keeps waking me up at 6am every day.

Jet Lag Increases Productivity

Since I woke up at 6:30am and have a computer and the internet right in my very own home (it is good to be here), I started editing some photos from the trip and now I'm sharing them with you...
 Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris

 Ready to Roll (Walk) in Bilbao

 The Bruised and Broken(?) Toe

Beach Day! (an accidentally amazing background capture...)

Sunrise (made 6am wake-up worth it)