Posts

Showing posts from 2014

The Year of Us

I'm sitting in a coffee shop, three days in to a new year, drinking the same too-sweet, over-priced latte I've had three times a week since November. I am irritated in equal measure by my freshly painted yet chipped fingernails, and the patriarchy. Since 1 January, I've learned that Chanel lip gloss is capable of freezing in your purse, and I'm still allergic to avocado.Nothing has changed since 2014.A lot changed in 2014, though. It was a great year in so many ways. I walked across the stage to be hooded as a Master of Arts, my smile radiating with a force not seen since Chernobyl. I've never been so proud of myself, and I've never felt that so many people were proud of me. I did it. I finished my MA. And there were times when I didn't think I'd make it out alive. It's hard to sit sobbing in a bathroom stall, your professor having asked you to leave class because the tears streaming silently down your face are a distraction to others, 90 first-year…

In Other News

Oh hey.

I've experienced a bit of a writing lull lately. I've taken over a month off, which was completely unintentional. I've had a lot of things I wanted to write about, but I just didn't. I'm approaching my 6 month anniversary of finishing my MA, and I think maybe it's taken me this long to recuperate. I've been enjoying the freedom of having an event or something I've read spark an idea, ruminate on that thought for a couple of days, and then not have to write about it because I don't have any deadlines or due dates!

Anyway, since life has been forging mightily on, I thought I'd do some pointed updates:

On the job front:
I start a new job as a receptionist/computer wizard on Wednesday. It's at a family medical clinic, where my coworkers are three doctors (two of whom also specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology), a nurse, and another receptionist. I've been doing training there twice a week for about five weeks, and I really love it.…

Far Too Easily Pleased

In the year that I returned home after studying in Vancouver, my friend Karen and I led a women's Bible study. The group of girls who gathered weekly was diverse in age, interests, background, and just about everything else that distinguishes difference. But it evolved into a place where we could each air our insecurities and uncertainties openly, where we didn't expect answers, and instead were offered empathy and encouragement. It was a Safe Space.

At one meeting, Karen shared a piece of wisdom from C.S. Lewis:
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. There are few writers who are able to both shame and encourage simultaneously; in two sentences, Lewis manage…

On Generosity

A few days ago, my friend Lauren and I were sitting on my bed, eating snacks and Googling how much it would cost to see Brody Jenner DJ at a local Hallowe'en party, when she noticed a framed picture from a Broadway musical on my bookshelf.

"Wait," she said, agog. "Did Daniel Radcliffe actually autograph that picture?"
"Yeah. My lifetime friend and her husband got it for me when they went to New York on their honeymoon. They ran across midtown to get to the theatre in time to meet him at the stage door, and they thrust this picture at him and he signed it! They didn't tell me until they came home from their trip and asked to come over right away. I was totally into seeing their pictures and hearing about their adventure, but as soon as they came over, they insisted on showing me this video on their phone; lo and behold, it was of Daniel Radcliffe signing this picture! And as I shrieked, she produced this framed picture. I, of course, wept."
Lauren,…

In Gratitude

The internet makes death strange. Or, rather, the internet makes the process of mourning complicated, especially when it's a celebrity who has died. I usually avoid the throngs of commentary after a famous death, reasoning that their death doesn't affect me much, anyway.

But I can't avoid talking about Robin Williams.

I called my mom last night, and the first thing she said was, "I can't believe Robin is dead."

Robin. Full stop.

Robin Williams was my first favourite actor, because he was the first actor I knew. When my sister and I were 5 years old, our parents took us to see Aladdin. We were introduced Genie, the best friend in cinematic history, and simultaneously experienced out first exposure to real comedy. I was hooked.

And with that, Robin Williams became a staple in our household. There weren't many movies or TV shows we could agree on, but my whole family rallied around Robin Williams. On family movie nights, no one ever argued against anything s…

Reconciliation

Image
Last month, I took a relatively spontaneous trip to British Columbia. My friend Thea was getting married, and I had delayed confirming my attendance for a long as possible; I wanted to go, but I wasn't sure if I could afford the time and money. But when Westjet (bless them!) presented me with a seat sale I couldn't refuse, I pulled out my Visa and booked myself a ten-day trip to the West Coast.
I don't know if it was the promise of a wedding, or the excitement of eating at Burgoo - my favourite restaurant in the whole world - again, or even just the prospect of getting on a plane, but I was more excited about this trip than I have been about any other in recent memory. And it was for good reason - I had an incredible time.

Because I have kind and generous friends all over and around the Vancouver area, I stayed in 9 different beds in 11 nights. I spent the first two days with my friend Karen in White Rock. We explored the beach and took care of her co-worker's dog Bin…

Standing Still is Hard

I just finished watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix (it's amazing and I will probably write something about it in the near future). I usually skip a show's intro when I am binge-watching, because, as every serious TV consumer knows, time is precious when you're trying to squeeze 13 hours of entertainment into as few days as possible. Skipping a one minute repetitive intro equals about 1/3 of an episode, and I am all about efficiency of viewing.

For the uninitiated, Orange is the New Black opens up with Regina Spektor singing about animals being trapped in a cage, and how they have all this free time without the freedom to do anything. It's an excellent metaphor for the show. But there's one line in particular that resonated even as I forwarded through the intro:
Think of all the roads
Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard As I walked home from school on the afternoon I submitted the final assignment of my MA, I beg…

In Conclusion

I'm not very good at endings.

I always leave writing conclusions for papers until the very last possible minute. I sometimes read the final pages of a book before I even get to the middle. I don't know how to cleanly and concisely cut off a conversation, a relationship, a specific moment in time.

I always expect endings to be dramatic. Of course she will get off the plane (Friends is always and forever relevant); of course the case will be solved in the nick of time and the patient will live; of course he will forgive his father right before he dies. And of course I'll be crying into my popcorn, swept up in the theatrics of it all.

I've all but finished my Master of Arts. Short of walking across the stage in a cute dress and a ridiculous hat, I'm officially finished my academic career. I'm excited and exhausted and proud and sad, but most of all, I think I'm underwhelmed. I expected the last moments of this degree to be big: lots of hugs, a torrential downf…

Take Today

Image
For the past four months, I've been operating in hyperdrive. I assure you - this has been out of necessity rather than natural inclination. I like to be busy, but I like my busyness to include time for baking and leisurely makeup application and long night walks and dedicating a whole day to finishing a book and discovering TV gems hidden in the bowels of Netflix. This semester didn't really let me do that.

I like being busy because I get a lot done. I am infinitely more productive when I have deadlines to meet than when I have an endless amount of time to dawdle around the internet at will. However, this semester seemed like a never-ending cascade of deadlines, and as soon as I completed something I had to do, there were three other tasks queued up in front of me. I stopped opening my day planner in mid-February, because there was no space left to write anything, and all the red pen and different coloured highlighted due dates gave me a stress headache.

It was early March whe…

Am I Allowed to Grow Up Now? Confessions Of A Young Adult on the Internet

This post has been published in the Op Ed section of The Ottawa Citizen.

You can read it here.

My 2014 Wish List

It's mid-February. I'm in the trenches of my final semester and trying to balance three jobs with a full course load, preparing for our graduate conference, fulfilling completely useless TA training hours, applying for jobs post-graduation, correcting a seemingly insurmountable pile of grading, and learning how to cross stitch. I'm sleep deprived, over-caffeinated, and on the verge of tears daily. (Truth be told, I'm not even on the verge; most days I shed a tear or two or hundreds, but only in the shower, so as not to ruin my makeup.)

Because I have a ten-page section of my Major Reasearch Project to research and write in the next five days, for three of which I will be out of town, I've decided to not write that and instead make a wish list for things I want that would make my life less stressful and much easier. (We could also rename this post: How I Want to Solve My First World Problems.)
A machine that pumps caffeine directly into my blood stream. Bonus feature…

Muffins On The Ground: Why "The Middle" Matters

I have a vivid memory of muffins.

When I was about eight years old, my dad took me and my sister to this new store called "Wal-Mart." He had dragged us to do the household shopping, which I found just as unpleasant as a child as I do now. As we were leaving, he took us to the adjacent Tim Hortons and told Kayla and I that we could bring home muffins to have for breakfast the next morning.

I was excited; my sister was excited. We didn't often eat out, and we especially didn't often get a sweet treat for breakfast. The only cereals we had in our house usually had "flakes" in the title, and I still to this day have no idea what Cookie Crisp tastes like. I carefully mulled over the shelves and selected a chocolate chip muffin. My dad and sister chose the rest of the half-dozen, and we started the journey to the car.

It was a typical St. John's winter day: the sky was grey and hazy with drizzle, and the parking lot was a mess of slushy snow, salt, and discar…

And A Happy New Year

I walked home from work a few nights ago, half an hour after the clock had struck 2014. The temperature was well below -20 degrees and a fresh layer of snow covered the sidewalks, so my boots made that satisfying soft crunch as I trekked home.

The streets were dead - not at all unusual for an Ottawa night in a bougie area, but a bit unexpected for New Years. But as I rounded the corner to my street, a few people were leaving houses, waving goodbye at the door and shouting final "Happy New Year!"s as they climbed over piles of snow to their cars and into cabs.

I hate New Years. I have since I can remember. I wasn't very good at staying up late when I was young, and when junior high/high school hit, I hated the pressure of having to find something to do. I hated the inevitable discussion of "well, this year we won't dress up! Just PJs and junk food and TV!", always said with the unspoken knowledge that we really should be trying harder to have a fancy New Yea…