Wednesday, November 28, 2007
No Wonder I Feel So Old
(Not to mention feeling awkward and out of place) when I receive colourful emails like this:
To My 21st Bday MESS!!!(get PUMPd)
Basically, im turning 21-kind of a BIG deal-and i would love nothing more than for all of you to come out and celebrate it avec moi! So im goin hard this year, and throwin it down SAT. DEC. 1st @ my place around 8ish.....cuz we be gettin CRUNKd...so i expect all in attendance-ive been practicing my Soulja Boy dance-its RIDIC. And dont be shy, bring whoever you want-im friendly :)
Hope you can all come out!!!!!
Of course, the first thing I noticed was not that I got an invite to what sounds like a fun? rad? party, but the fact that it was written in bright, neon-retina-burning colours in all sorts of fonts and sizes. Then I noticed the spelling, grammatical and general writing errors and extreme colloquial/slang use of the English language all at once and my brain exploded.
I still get all social and I still drink, just not like that. I don't get PUMPd and I can't remember the last time I "went hard" and "threw something down" or is it "threw sumpin dwn"? Getting CRUNKd is no longer my area of expertise (was it ever?) and I have no idea what or who this Soulja Boy character is or why he dances and is famous for it. What is RIDIC though, is the fact that I feel so out of touch with people who are only two years younger than me.
Now where's my books?
Monday, November 26, 2007
This Hour Has More Than Enough Minutes
I've always been the sort to run about doing a handful of things at once and, exhausted from my exertions, proclaim at the end of the day that there's never enough hours, never enough minutes, never enough time. Certainly, with our North American mindset we've constructed time to be something that doesn't necessarily flow by, nor for itself. We tell ourselves that time is of the essence, that time is money, time needs to work with me- no, for me, and I'll be damned if I can't squeeze every productive minute out of the day.
I used to think like that (and sometimes fall back into that nasty trap - see November 7th) until I left the continent for the first time in 2004, headed for Asia, and my attitude towards time has changed more and more since Spain, India and Northern Africa. The concept of time is very different in other parts of the world, which sounds funny because isn't time experienced in the same way everywhere? No, time isn't clockable like it is here when you go outside of the Western, capitalist ideology. People don't work nine to five jobs, they aren't restricted to having an hour for lunch, and they aren't characterized by how they use time (ie: being 'punctual' or 'efficient').
Experiencing time as it flowed in Southeast Asia was nice, being on a trip and all. Things moved along whenever people were ready and no strict schedules were followed. Men slept in their shops and on the streets when it got too sunny. My uncle would sit at his front door until he felt like he wanted to move across the street, and he'd sit there until he felt like he wanted to move back to his door. I tried living on Spanish time for a while, where being at least five minutes late was not only culturally accepted, but expected. Nothing moved quickly in Spain, except maybe the trains. Like in India, the days seemed extra long because they were often taken in twos. People wake in the mornings for work, take their lunch and a siesta, then wake again in the late afternoon to head back to work. Similar to life in the ashrams in India, I woke and bathed, had a meal and went about my day, only to sleep in the afternoon, wake, bathe and go about my evening in a similar manner.
I came home after my time abroad thinking that I'd be able to incorporate a slower, more relaxed pace into my lifestyle. With full-time school and two part-time jobs, that has proven to be rather difficult. Often, my roommate and I will say things like, "Oh, I feel so bad/guilty because I didn't go running/to the gym/pool today!" and we'll take turns reminding each other that it's okay that we didn't get to do everything we wanted to do because there's always tomorrow and there's no sense in feeling so uselessly guilty about not getting as much done as possible. Because really, what's the rush? Slow down and enjoy. Besides, everything you did manage to do during the day was worth all the time that it took to do it. And that's something I work harder at really knowing every day.
It funny, the slower I do things, the more I realize that things don't take nearly as long as I think they do. When Annia and I were in Boston, the distance we could cover on foot in five minutes blew my mind. I started taking the time to go home in between classes for lunch and am amazed at how long a three hour break really is. That amount of time can hold a nice bike ride, lunch, laundry, reading, chatting, you name it. One Tuesday back in late October, in two hours, Niki and I managed to make and eat lunch (at a nice enjoyable pace), bake a birthday cake, a banana-chocolate chip loaf, and Halloween cookies. The compost was also taken out, half the dishes were done, cookies were offered to the neighbours, and Niki blew fifteen balloons while I wrote Happy B-Day Emma! on them and then we decorated her room in purple. All in two hours. When you slow down, it's amazing how much time there really is, isn't it?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I've officially decided to call any future days off as Mental Health Days - those are days I spend with the intention of keeping myself happy and sane. I like this decision. Yesterday ended well even though the day felt like it just dragged on foreeevver. I met a friend at the bus stop en route to my audition and then the audition went fabulously (I made them laugh! a lot! and I just finished with my callback!). I missed surprising my roomie after her class though - apparently it got let out two hours early. What was interesting though was that there was someone sitting in the room working away and after a brief conversation it turned out that I knew of him through my roommate's friend - how? - because I had read his name in the list of recipients in an email I got last week. I can't explain why his name stuck out (it was a very normal, regular name too) but there we were, linked by the email about the World Religions Conference because we had both received it. I love random coincidences.
Speaking of odd things, within the last week I've met someone from Labrador and someone from Nunavut (even before it was called Nunavut!). First off, I haven't ever met anyone from these places and secondly, I have never said to anyone (except these two) upon a first meeting, "Can I come visit your house?!" The Labrador guy actually drives three days to get from here to there and three more to get back - talk about an awesome road trip.
It's been raining hard all day and it hasn't really bothered me because I've managed to stay dry and warm despite commuting all over the city today. It's been a while since I got to appreciate the sound of rain drops hitting my umbrella (the big fat ones are the best). It is a very calming, comforting kind of sound. I hadn't noticed how much I missed it while I was away.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I took the day off today - I slept in so late that my wonderful, caring roomie actually knocked at 8:30am and then stood in the doorway looking confused and concerned. It's okay, I said, they'll understand. I called into work telling them that I wasn't feeling well, which was true. Thank goodness I worked extra hours last week so that I don't have so many to make up for this week. The next thing I did was call the school. Counselling services is booked up until the second week of December, so my only bet is to call in every morning to see if there's any cancellations I can jump in on. I've called twice today already.
In order to help myself feel better about the day, I made my eyes look prettier, put on a bright sweater and headed out towards the grocery store. I stopped in at the public library first, but both their copies of Little Miss Sunshine were taken out. I browsed the aisles at the Valu-Mart and left with the necessities from last week: milk, bread and eggs. The bread was so fresh it was still steamy hot inside the paper bag. I got some fancy crackers, tomatoes and jalepeno havarti. I had a nice little chat with an older lady in front of the cheese section. Jalepeno havarti is her favourite too.
I cut right into the loaf of bread when I got home and made myself a nice warm meal. Some garlic, onions, basil and oregano can make anything taste that much better. I did the dishes. I had Norah Jones playing on repeat in the background and although I didn't intend to, I missed office hours at my other job and skipped class too. Once the day is gloomy enough and I've sat at home for even a little bit with some nice music, the last thing I want to do is head out into the rainy cold.
I tried to be somewhat productive and did some preliminary research for a paper I'm writing on water sovereignty. Mostly, I just sat here. I admit that I was a tad lonely today - I had an upsetting conversation with my ex-boyfriend last night and didn't sleep very well. Today, all I wanted to do was curl up on a couch under a blankie in someone's arms and let Miss Jones' soothing tones warm me up. Unfortunately, I had neither a set of arms nor a couch, so I just sat in my roommate's room at her computer. I've decided that days off are that much better when there is the following at your disposal:
1. a couch
2. a blankie
3. a TV
4. a bathtub
I'm off to another audition tonight and I'm hoping that the adrenaline from it will perk me up. If that doesn't work, then I've also planned a surprise visit to my roomie at the end of her class. And if that doesn't work then I'm going to come home, curl into bed with a book and go to sleep, looking very much forward to tomorrow.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The Thing With Birds
Sure, they're all beautiful and stuff and they can fly so high, but when they're so far above you up there they just shit on your head.
I am saddened to know that my weekend has resulted in my extreme need to visit a counsellor tomorrow (but preferably now) and unfortunately, probably for the rest of my life. I do not want to end up one of those crazy-lady writers who throw cats at passers-by and then bake their own heads in the oven. I just do not.
When I was a kid and was asked what superpower I would have if I could have any superpower in the world, I would tell people that I wanted to fly. I couldn't remember being on an airplane and I wanted the feeling of air rushing against my face and through my hair. More than anything, I wanted to feel what utter freedom felt like. Freedom from everything, good and bad. As I grew up, I changed and my response became "the power to heal" - I wanted to take peoples' pain away and if I wasn't going to be a doctor, then maybe I could just be magical instead. But for now, for all of yesterday, for all of forever until I get better, all I want to do is fly away. Then maybe I won't feel so shat on.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Happy Weekend To All, And To All A Good Night
By George, things have been crazy busy this week. With daylight savings time and winter both having set in, it gets dark around 4:30pm and by the time I get out of classes and/or home from work it's pitch black. And it's only 5:30! Man, I miss those days when it would still be light out at 9pm.
In between school, work, and my bouts of homicidal rage at group members, I've managed to finally get back to the gym on a weekday, have a lot of cookies, sell my Spanish cell phone (adios mia carina! *sniff*), send my brother a birthday balloon-a-gram, watch a film done in Czech but dubbed in French with English subtitles, and have hot chocolate with my roomies. I'm on my way out of work right now and the only thing that's keeping me behind is the fact that there's access to the Internets here while I'd be without at home. Although, I'm seeing a play tonight and then off to Funk Night with some friends and oh my, I'm missing Opera Excerpts and the keynote to a Social Entrepreneurship conference for it. I actually had four options as to what to do tonight - I can't remember the last time I had that much choice for a Friday night that didn't include staying in and going to bed early on the list.
Here are some things I considered blogging about this week, but didn't have the time to really bother with:
A throwback to last week: The stuffed peppers were indeed made and by goodness, they were glorious. Next time, less rice and more meat. But overall, not bad at all for a first try, I have to say.
It's decided. I am going to marry a musician.
Perfectionism creates an anxious snob aka Me! Gotta love the random psychoanalysis that comes with ADD.
Alright! I'm blowin' this pop stand. I'm stopping by the grocery store on the way home to pick up (get this): milk, eggs and bread. I might as well be wearing an apron and baking an apple pie the next time you see me.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It is grey and wet and dreary outside, which seems entirely appropriate because today has been one of those days where I have no sunshine left for anyone. As if my heavy footsteps and loud clacking heels on the floor have not been enough warning, I'm going to give you another one now: Cross my path at your own peril, I may rip your face off if you piss me off more than I already am. I can't explain it, but I'm all huffing and puffing and I'm walking extra fast and hard which makes my bitchy scowl even more intimidating as I authoritatively stomp down the halls.
My ADD has gone haywire and for the life of me I cannot concentrate on a thing. It took me two and half hours to read one chapter in my marketing text and I gave up on studying for the test I had today. I've got a lot of something all rattled up inside and for someone who has no sunshine, I feel like I could bounce off the walls. I plug into my iPod in hopes that my music can calm me down. As a side note, check out the Handsome Furs because they're amazing (I've had their album on repeat the whole afternoon and evening with only one half hour break during which I listened to Arabic music because thinking of belly dancing makes me vaguely happy). Man, music out of Montreal rocks (see also Stars and Metric) and apparently can cure homicidal tendencies in high-strung twenty-somethings.
Speaking of homicidal tendencies, I'd blame it on the weather and SAD, but I just know that a major contributing factor is as simple as this: group work. I never would have thunk it, especially because I thought I was getting better at this whole work-with-other-people thing, but apparently not. At least not when one of them gets all smart-ass and demanding and writing emails in capital letters to me because she's freaking out and can't handle the fact that the universe does not work according to her schedule and neither does Microsoft and their new version of Word that is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH OLDER VERSIONS. Because honestly? Get a grip and re-effing-LAX. I did my work and I did it GOOD and better than the other two in our group and you know what else? I also did the whole PowerPoint presentation BY MYSELF for nearly five hours yesterday so number one: don't complain about how nobody is helping you because we're in the same boat and number two: don't you dare CC your yelling emails to the others in the group making me seem like the one who has done nothing because I HAVE NO SUNSHINE LEFT FOR YOU TODAY.
My god, I think I need a grip too. Or maybe a paper bag? Whatever. I have my Handsome Furs and only two more weeks of school left.
I chose to walk to campus as opposed to taking the bus because I felt I needed to provide some sort of outlet for whatever is pent up. And then I came on here. I think what I really need is a Break Room. (I wish I knew the website for the group that created The Break Room, but I can't remember it.) Basically, sometime between the last Saturday and Sunday of September I went into a well-protected room lined with all sorts of breakables wearing a set of coveralls, work gloves, goggles and a helmet, and carried in my hands a golf club. I had thirty seconds to smash anything and everything in sight. Oh boy, you can bet that I went to town in that little room. I whopped things so hard that I actually broke the golf club. I even, without any intention, let out a horrifyingly loud scream of rage. I had no idea I was even that angry. I came out shaking afterwards because of all the adrenaline that was coursing through my veins. It was sort of a surreal experience that I had to digest later on. But I can say this for sure: It felt really good.
So maybe that's why I have a renewed interest in athletics this term (man, cycle fit sure is good for your thighs) and love that my aerobics class has a bit of kick-boxing mixed in to it. I need some sort of outlet for my very expressive anger and walking quickly and loudly to school and then blogging about it just isn't going to do it.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
No Time, There's Never Any Time
And all I want to do is make stuffed peppers.
My mother called me the other day while I wasn't home and when I managed to finally return the call at about ten p.m. that night, my brother answered the phone with, "A little late, don't you think?"
"Well, I'm sorry - I just got in. And ten isn't that late. Is mum still awake?"
"No. She went to bed like an hour ago."
"An hour?! Since when did she start going to bed so early?"
"Since she started getting up at five am to go to work."
"Oh, fine. I'll have to call back tomorrow then. Wait, I work...and then I have classes. Maybe I'll call at night- no, wait, that doesn't work either. Sigh, I don't think that day is any good... tell her I'll have to talk to her on Thursday."
I'm not sure if this is normal scheduling for most people, but I'm astounded at the fact that it actually takes me four days to find the time to call my mother back. It's not that I don't want to talk to her, but literally, I am too busy. The hours that I have free to call aren't ones that she's awake for. I just realized that I spend fifteen hours a week in classes, five or six hours at job #1, and nineteen hours at job #2 for a grand total of a forty hour work week. I'm up at eight a.m. and in bed at midnight almost every night. No wonder I live for the weekends now.
It's been one of those days... one of those no breakfast, no make-up, put a hat on to hide your hair and face days. I was out of the house at eight-thirty this morning for work and after classes I'm going kayaking tonight, which means I won't be back until almost midnight. Honestly, who is away from home for fifteen and a half hours a day (except maybe accountants)?
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Itch Is Back
You know what I miss? I miss Spain. Everything about it. My flat. The smell of the kitchen and my room. The laundry lines that allowed us to chat with the neighbours like on TV. The market down the road. The barrio. And sangria. The beach - my god, the beach. The country and culture and food and language and the opportunities I had there. I miss it all. I miss India too, but not in the same way. I miss it like I do an old boyfriend who I broke up with on good terms, one that I'm happy for now. I do not yearn for it. Neither do I yearn for Northern Africa. If I could do it again in a different way, I would.
The Travel Bug came back and bit and now I'm all jittery with the idea that I can leave again. This time I'm thinking Peru.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Another Year Further Or Farther?
Two weekends ago, I saw Little Miss Sunshine for the first time and I cannot believe that I hadn't seen it before. Sure, it annoyed the hell out of me at the beginning (dysfunction at its best has never been more annoying), but about two-thirds of the way through, the film really touched a soft spot in my heart. After Olive puts her head on her brother's shoulder and he started to speak, the movie immediately made its way onto my Favourite Movies list. Abigail Breslin is, as everyone has already said before me, incredible in this film. And every time I have a birthday I'm reminded that I'm one year further from being like her, a child prodigy. I never honed any of my talents at a young age and now I'm twenty-three and wondering what I could have been and what the heck to do with myself and my mediocre abilities in a variety of everything. Could I have been a pianist if my parents had only given me lessons when I asked for them? Could I have been like little Abigail if only my family had supported me in my acting pursuits? Could I have been a musician or painter or writer if only I focussed a little more?
It's too late for me, now that I'm a decade and a half from being a child star, but I wonder if my blog sometimes feels the same things as it gets older. Two days ago, this little bloggy turned five years old. Does it ever wonder what it could have been if only I gave it a little more attention, a little more lovin'? I think about the fact that some blogs out there have gotten incredibly famous in only a matter of a couple of years and I've been around for five. But of course, their owners probably had more ambition and a comments system. I've accepted the fact that I probably won't ever be a Hollywood girl, but I'll settle for being on stage somewhere else, somewhere smaller and more personal. I hope my blog is okay with the fact that it might never be one of those to have a huge readership or enough AdSense for me to live off of, and is okay with being just as it is: like its owner, small and personal.
At any rate, it surprises me that my blog has stayed with me for all this time. I never thought that I would still have it five years down the road when I first started it. It's grown a bunch and I, along with it. Thanks for sticking it out with me.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Back To My Usual Self
It's Friday night, almost 1:30 in the morning and I'm in a computer lab at school (the same one where Ash and I spent our third year Sociology paper write-a-thon!) and I'm extremely annoyed by two other guys in here who have NO REGARD for other students studying in the same SHARED SPACE, so they talk in their goddamn LOUD VOICES and use crude language and STARE AT MY BOOBS when I've got no sunshine left for anyone at this time of day and all I want to do is finish learning about cost allocation and go home to my bed.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Student 4 Lyfe, Yo
I admit that while I calmly stated that I neither desired nor dreaded coming back to school and was accepting it with grace, I might have been hiding the fact that I actually was not looking forward to it at all. The combined elements of 1. courses I wasn't interested in with 2. all of my friends gone from campus, I knew that it wasn't going to be a very fun semester. Indeed, my only friends now are my roommates and my fellow workmates (from jobs one and two), though I don't have much of a social life anymore. I'm not complaining; my life is dandy just the way it is, though I could do with a smidge more time when it comes to studying for big midterms (see: this Saturday morning at nine a.m.!). Anyway, nobody wants a not-fun semester and neither did I; all I wanted to do was get this term over with, finish up my degree, graduate and get working. I wanted real-life work experience, money so I could travel more and, more importantly, a break from school. I've been formally educated for just about two decades now - twenty whole years of school. I figured it was about time to get up from my seat in class, stretch my legs and see what I could do outside.
Now that I'm back into the swing of things on and off-campus, I'm not sure I'm all that ready to leave. Because the truth is, as much as I can get really tired of schoolwork and complain about how useless lectures are, how many readings I have to do and papers I have to write, I really do love learning. And because learning is offered here at school I suppose I sort of love school too, but just by association. I no longer love school for the friends and lifestyle it gives me because those elements of my life are successfully maintained outside of the campus-bubble now. But, oh, how I'm going to miss engaging in seminar discussions and reading a particularly powerful passage at night and then being able to bring it up in class the next day and analyze it for deeper meanings. School is my link to activism, special lectures, good literature, educational events and conferences. And now that I'm almost done with it, I can't imagine living without it.
I suppose this might be what a lot of graduating students deal with right about now, with first term almost over. I've already attended the Career Fair and the Graduate and Professional Education Fair in preparation for What's To Come aka My Future, and as much as those options felt like realities at the time, they no longer do. The fact of the matter is that I'm staying in town even after I'm done with my courses. I'm on a contract with Job #2 that goes until Spring and Job #1 can keep me busy too, so I've got some good reasons to stick around. Despite the fact that I wasn't looking forward to moving back here, once I settled in I started looking for reasons to stay.
Moreover, staying in town means that I still get to go to school. Which really excites me, as evidenced by the following:
- I've spent hours looking up courses that I might want to audit next term. So far, I have fifteen courses under three different departments (Sociology, Environmental Studies, Global Studies). Tuesdays and Thursdays are really popular lecture days, apparently.
- Despite the above, I still have six more departments whose course offerings I want to check out (Religion & Culture, English, Classics, History, Latin, Geography, Near Eastern Studies, Spanish, Languages & Literature). Did I say six? I meant nine.
- I turned to one of my co-workers last week and said, "Do you want to know what I'm really excited about? I'm really excited about this Global Citizenship Conference my university is hosting in March. Like, really. I can't wait to go. Did you know they had Stephen Lewis as the keynote last year? I was soo sad I missed it, but I've been to one of his lectures before and it was amaaazing. Man, I wonder who they're going to get this year... Ooh, I'm so exicted!" I was met with a blank stare and an, "Okayyy..." I immediately shut up and went back to my computer screen where I proceeded to email the conference organizers about when tickets would be on sale.
- I registered for the Social Entrepreneurship Conference that's being held in two weeks. I'm pretty excited for that one too.
- I'm quite sad at having to miss the Human Rights Conference this weekend.
- I looked up my favourite professors and their course listings just to see what they were up to (and if any of them fit into my audit schedule for next term).
- I also look up textbook listings for courses that sound interesting. Then I go and find them for cheap at used book shops. (This is exactly how I landed myself in my audit class this term - the title of one of the books caught my eye in the University Bookstore and then I saw it for sale at $1 at the used book store down the street. Five minutes later the book was mine and five days later I was in the class.)
- When I'm on campus between classes and commitments I browse the textbook aisles at the Bookstore just to, y'know, see what's up.
All of that was just a really long way of saying: geekiness floats my boat, I love learning and I think I'm glad I'm still in school.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Favourite Costume Ever
Not surprisingly, I was dressed as Cho Chang yesterday. I unfortunately left my cape and tie at home in M-Town so my outfit wasn't as complete as it usually is, though I still had my chopstick wand in hand. I also made an 'I *heart* Cedric' pin that gave people another hint as to who I was. Still, out of the whole day and night, only two girls knew who I really was right off the bat and didn't guess Hermione first or "someone from Harry Potter".
Slutty costumes not included, I love Halloween mostly because it's an outlet for creativity that seems to be corked up by a life of academia and ...drinking. I saw some amazing costumes last night and my long list of personal favourites extends beyond my memory this afternoon. Notably, I loved the Japanese Tourist (complete with cameras, accent and bad dancing), and the two Grannies (complete with white hair, big boobs and bums, and hunched over walking and again, bad dancing) - I think next year I'm going to dress as something/body that gives me an excuse to dance with my butt sticking out all night. Of course, there were my fellow Hogwarts students. Harry was there, but he wasn't a good enough Harry for me to snog, and there was a Hermione, but she paled in comparison to the Ron-Hermione pair that came in matching jumpers and robes (made by Ron's mum no less!) and snogged (love that word) each other in the bar all night long. Just like in the books. Aw. I loved the fact that they were a real couple and actually looked like the characters too - Ron had bright red hair (though he looked more like Percy from the movies) and Hermione had big, bushy, wavy hair. I pestered them a handful of times (twice during a make-out session) just to tell them that I loved them.
My ultimate favourite costume was a tall-ish, thin-ish guy dressed in black with a giant cardboard plank-thing across the top of his head. Upon closer inspection, Niki and I noticed that it maybe resembled a bridge, but looked a lot like a capital 'T'. Nik called him T-Man and left it at that, and do you know what my guess was? In all my ultra-geekiness, I guessed that he was dressed as Times New Roman font. That moment officially marks the first time I've ever called anyone a font. Seriously though, that was my guess and I was determined to figure out what he really was. So we tracked him down inside the bar and I yelled over the music, "Hi! We're trying to figure out what you're dressed as, and I'm really excited to tell you what my guess is - my guess is that you're Times New Roman font!" I froze with gleeful anticipation, and braced for disappointment. His eyes widened and he paused, right before he looked me in the eyes and said, "YES!!! You're the first one to get it!!!" It was love at first sight.
No, it wasn't really, but I was completely delighted by his geeky cleverness. Now, I'm not sure what that says about me, or him for that matter. Sure, he dressed as the font, but I knew it. It's sort of like saying, "Yeah, that guy may be a jerk, but you're dating him," except in this case it's more like, "Yeah, that guy may be weird, but you're weirder." I can't tell you why I saw him as a capital T and immediately thought of Times New Roman font and not "Mr. T" or anything, but I'm pretty proud of it actually. Maybe next year I'll go as Helvetica.