My favourite things

Dear Blog,

I have left you alone for quite some time now, knowing you are quietly waiting for me to add new thoughts to your now seemingly barren landscape. I have had a few blog ideas come up in the last few months, but none have really stuck. I thought I would write something very simple to remind me that writing is not so hard. And lately I have been reflecting on life and simple things and how they come together to make every day a bit better. So without any order, or too much thought really, here are my favourite things.

  1. Biking down the Victoria Promenade first thing in the morning on the way to work when the air is still crisp. I have to remind myself to look to the right every morning, but then when I do, I’m really happy.
  2. Standing outside the door of a gathering of friends or family and hearing them laughing inside. It’s heart-warming in a very specific way.
  3. Swimming. It just is. I wrote a post about why already. But every time I’m doing my laps I think “Man. I love this so much.” – and then I usually lose the rhythm of my breath and almost drown. But … I still love it. Something about the clear water in front of you and the ripples. I’m a dork.
  4. That Kyle sends me notes whenever he lands somewhere he can. It’s simple, and kind, and reminds me that despite our lives that we live half apart sometimes, that he’s thinking of me too.
  5. Tuesday, and the fact that she curls into my arm at night and sleeps with me like a little human would, complete with face pats. Some nights she sleeps with her face actually placed on top of mine, which is both uncomfortable, and endearing.
  6. Meeting someone you have admired from afar in person, and finding out they are even better than you thought they were.
  7. The second night in a new city, when you know your way back to where you’re staying and feel less like a newbie, but you’re still really excited to be in a new place.
  8. Planes taking off.
  9. Planes landing in new places.
  10. Unexpected gifts.
  11. Giving unexpected gifts.
  12. Perfect hugs. You know what I mean – the kind that envelope you. Usually the hugger is wearing a great sweater. The huggee’s attire does not matter as much.
  13. Actually having an impact. Whether somehow that’s on someone else, or in your workday, or on your own personal life. Results that are positive are the most amazing things.

I think that’s it for now. This post isn’t one that will probably last the ages. But life has been a bit negative the last week. People are having a hard time out there, in huge horrible ways, and in small minute ways. Everyone has challenges, and I am more aware of my own blessings than ever and so well I thought it would be nice to say positive things. Probably more for myself than anything.

Thanks for humouring me. If you want to leave YOUR favourite things in the comments God I would love to hear them!

It’s Like Riding a Bike.

So, for as long as I can remember, I have been deathly afraid of biking in the city. To the point that I haven’t owned a bike since I was 18. And the only bikes I’ve ridden on since then have been at summer camp because I had to as a counsellor, and spin bikes at the gym.

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Seriously.

But that changed on my last trip to Austria where we took a bike tour of Salzburg – which, by the way was the best thing we did on our whole trip and if you are in Salzburg, DO IT. Fraulein Maria’s Bike Tour. I’m serious. But I digress….

This tour reminded me that biking isn’t the scariest thing. And in a city like Salzburg which empowers biking through infrastructure and culture, it seemed easy. Add to that the fact that a friend gifted me her old bike last winter – which was sitting in my little storage unit being adorable and whispering to me “Ride me…. Ride me…. Ride me…” every time I walked passed it.

Through those two occurrences and much prodding from friends and the man who loves me, I am pleased to say that I am now on my third official week of biking to work. And I love it more than I even thought I could.

I am lucky that I live a 25 minute bike ride from my office, and that if I want to, I can take multi-use trails for a lot of my ride. This makes me feel a lot safer, and also it’s just a very pretty ride to work. But this morning, I actually chose not to use the trails and just stayed on the road. So I think that means I’m getting more confident.

So here, as a newbie little bike commuter, are my first impressions, and the things that have surprised me since I switched to two wheels:

  • I am awkwardly already REALLY passionate about biking. I want to repost and retweet every biking thing that shows up in any of my feeds, and probably attend anything to do with more bike lanes. I’m actually almost embarrassed at how much I think about biking. Wait till the cute basket I ordered comes in. Then I won’t be able to stop ever.
  • I am way more frustrated about cyclists not following any of the rules as a cyclist than I was as a driver. As a driver it annoyed me. As a cyclist who is working really hard to work with the system instead of against it, watching someone cruise across a crosswalk from the sidewalk and then jump into traffic when they don’t have the right of way and then change their mind and go against traffic to get back, makes me want to scream. There is a big discussion out there on cyclists vs. everyone else on the road or the sidewalk and cyclists for some reason are seen as the adversary in both cases. Not acting responsibly or at least attempting to only makes that worse for the community as a whole. I also realize how new I am to this long running conversation.
  • I am way less scared than I thought I would be.
  • I am way more sweaty than I thought I’d be. But I am figuring out how to combat that and not gross out everyone at work.
  • I am delighted, as I was when I took up cross country skiing, with seeing my city in another new light. It’s so fun to discover new ways of seeing the places that are the most familiar.
  • My butt still hurts, even after 3 weeks. That’ll do bum, that’ll do.
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Isn’t she adorable?

Anyways. Nothing’s gotten me this excited in a long time so I figured I had better take to the blog and tell the world (or my little band of readers) about it.

In the words of one of my favorite little people,
ENJOY YOUR BIKE RIDE!

The Maple Leaf Forever

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Flying over PEI!

I landed in St. John’s Newfoundland last night, and found myself wandering down some hilly colourful streets in search of a beer with a few coworkers and a coworker’s Mum.

This city is already captivating me in a way that few others have in Canada. This means I’ve now set foot in every Canadian province. Most of them at least twice if not more now. Thanks to a one month adventure when I was 24, and then subsequent work trips and personal trips, I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of this amazing country. But tonight was a bit momentous, as it finally checked the last province off of the list. It’s been a check mark I’ve been waiting on for ten years and I couldn’t be more excited.

What this has had me reflecting on was how important the experience of seeing this Country end to end has been to me. Canadians are a varied bunch. We have different social ideals, accents, languages, countrysides and industries from province to province. And I am not sure most of us get to really understand that first hand. We, more than many other countries in the world, hold several different distinct cultures within one long border. And it’s truly worth seeing. I wish every Canadian got a grant to go and check out how the rest of the country lives.

Tonight, being driven to our hotel, you could hear how proud our taxi driver was of this place, and how eager he was to tell us about it. I’ve only experienced that in one other city in Canada, which is Victoria. Maybe it’s an island thing.🙂  Regardless, they have every right to be proud. It’s nice to be able to on one level share this because while I’m not from Newfoundland, I am from Canada. And their plight on some degree is also my plight. We need to remember that more I think. We talk about haves or have-nots, or we look down our noses at other provinces from time to time, but that’s a bit harder to do when you feel like you know them a little bit more, and where they come from. I don’t think I understood anything about our history until I actually visited it.

This country is just so big. And we celebrate our differences which is one of the many things I love most about living here. I guess tonight I was just so glad to be part of that, and to be lucky enough to see the differences first hand once again. I think this is far more important than any trip I’ve taken to other countries. I think we owe it to ourselves to see our backyard. It’s amazing. If you can do it, I’d recommend it with all my heart.

Now, on to the Territories… (which will be a WHOLE different story once again!).

Eating alone

Every morning, I wake up, and plod to the bathroom in our condo. And my cat Tuesday follows me. Not because she loves me. But simply because she is hungry and has been waiting for me to wake up so she can eat.

I don’t pour her any food. I don’t need to. There has been food waiting for her the whole night. In two places actually. Our home is awash with cat food bowls.

She follows me because she cannot eat alone. She can’t eat unless I stand next to her. She will also ensure through loud protestations that I stand in the right spot. Then she can eat.

It is for this reason that we have two food bowls – one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. If this was not the case, I would never get anything done in the mornings. Having strategically placed bowls of food means that I can get ready, and Tuesday gets fed.

I often wonder who is the owner, and who is being duped in this situation. I’m sure I wouldn’t like the answer to that question.

But regardless, it is part of our ritual. And in some ways I can’t blame her. She’s not so different from me really.

One night I laughed because Tuesday took her food out of her bowl, brought it into the living room, placed it on the floor and then ate it. And I thought, “what a weirdo” as I ate my cereal which I had poured, taken into the living room, and then set down to eat. I was looking for distraction. Tuesday was looking for company and safety. I worry less than Tuesday does about predators coming to take my food (most days). But I do like to eat with someone else too. Really, who doesn’t.

I don’t know anyone else who has this issue with their pet. Most people have their own pet issues. These creatures are one of the best and most perplexing parts of most of our lives. We personify them, we dote on them, we buy them things they don’t need, atuesdaynd we cherish their company while they (well cats anyways), tend to choose when to accept ours. That said, when I was in the darkest of places last year, Tuesday didn’t leave my side for three days. She was like a cuddle glue. Sometimes they just know things we can’t tell them instinctively. They aren’t as truly selfish as we like to believe.

In fact, I’m sure that if you asked Tuesday why she heads to the bathroom every morning it’s because I need the company.

I might not need it. But I sure don’t mind it.

2014: You Don’t Rhyme with Anything.

New Years' Eve 2013
New Years’ Eve 2013

Well first of all. 2013. You were a hell of a year.

You broke my heart. You gave me so much opportunity I didn’t know what to do with it, and then showed me that what I thought were my goals didn’t look like what I expected them to, and that I basically needed to go back to where I started to get somewhere. You showed me how betrayal feels. And you took away two incredibly valuable people. Too soon. I am actually not sure how to forgive you for that last one yet.

But. You also showed me how it felt to be loved in a way I had never experienced. You took me to new places both geographically and in other ways. You built and strengthened relationships that I hold very dear. You fulfilled three of my secret internal goals.  You gave me chances for healing where I didn’t expect it. And you ended beautifully. Overall, you left me in a far better place than I began on so many levels.

So thank you. But also, let’s move on shall we?

I have one of those “this is going to be a great year” feelings about 2014. Per usual, I don’t actually enjoy resolutions. I feel like they are a joke. But then I make them anyways.

So here’s what I want to work on this year.

1. Letting go. I have some lingering anger about a few things that have happened in the last few years. That’s enough now. It’s not helping me be better where I am today.

2. Swimming. I just want to swim a lot.

That’s about it.

There’s so many other things but they are never ending. I need to balance my finances and eat better and lose weight and all those other things that are in every list that is now being posted on facebook about things I need to start doing this year or stop doing or forgive myself for or stop forgiving myself for or all of those things like writing letters and crying with reckless abandon and learning to make my own cheese or whatever I’m supposed to make this year.

But really. If I can come out of 2014 with a lot of swims under my belt, and with a little less anger about things I can’t change, I’ll be happy with that.

So. Pitter Patter. Let’s get at ‘er.

Le Dolce Vita

I am sitting in the Frankfurt airport, heading home after a whirlwind trip to Italy. I have eaten more pasta and have imbibed more wine in the last 6 days than I thought possible. It was an incredible week. What I thought wouldn’t be that exciting was. And what I thought would be the “best parts” fell a little short. Which is usual on trips I find. My favourite moments were really just walking through the streets with someone I love, thinking up what to do or just not do next.

Italy is such a fast culture. They talk fast, they drive faster… They seem to enjoy life immensely while running through it at a breakneck speed. It’s something many of us long for – obviously since the streets are packed full of tourists looking for the good life. I actually felt bad for those living in Florence. I would imagine it is a little heartbreaking to not be able to enjoy where you live, which is beautiful, because 1000’s of tourists are standing around taking photos and jostling through your history. We are lucky in Canada that while we have a lot of tourists, we also have so much space which allows us to still explore quietly on our own around them.

Walking in Barb's shoesIn some ways I have been living life at a breakneck speed lately myself. I have changed jobs, moved neighbourhoods and combined households (with a boy!) in the last month. In addition, my sister passed away suddenly just over a month ago which changed everything the way an event like that does. Joy and grief and busy-ness and sadness and just moving ahead despite wanting to stay planted have been a consistent mix in my mind and body. This break was so welcome and yet very melancholy. I walked the majority of this trip in a pair of boots that were my sister’s.  She had just bought them and never got to wear them. So I took them along to give them a trip and walk a little in her shoes as corny as that is. And also to remind myself of her a little as I went along on my journeys. She would have loved everything about Italy. Barb was a dreamer at heart, and Italy is certainly a place to dream. Every nook and cranny either speaks to history of what has gone before, or the glitz of being there now. The cities are beautiful. The food is tastier for some reason. The countryside is rolling and expansive. And the culture is everywhere. It is indeed Le Dolce Vita. Or “the good life.”

Living “the good life” is kind of hard to do when your mind is focused on the end of someone else’s life I found. And I sometimes feel that the “good life” seems to exist only in snap shots and stories we tell each other about what we did. And it exists in every moment while you are in it. I’m not saying we make it up. But then once we leave what we consider to be the good times…Real life seems to pale in comparison. But really – that’s where everything happens isn’t it. Waking up in my condo with the creatures who form my “unit” is just as good in some ways as waking up (with 2/3 of that unit because Tuesday refused to come) in Levanto, Italy. There is a joy in home and community and belonging where you are building roots. Stepping out of that is something I crave constantly, but really it just reminds me how blessed I am with where and with who my roots are.

Anyways – as I am prone to do with trips here are my quick and dirty highlights of Italy.

IMG_5017[1]Best thing: Cinque Terre. No contest. 5 small towns tucked into the side of Italy, some only accessible by train. I could have moved here and figured out how to start a life if someone would give me the chance. Being the off season, we couldn’t hike most of the trails between the towns as they were closed, but I’ll go back to do this in my life so help me. We did hike from Levanto, which isn’t technically in the 5, over to Monterosso, which offered some gorgeous vistas. The beer at the end of that hike, sitting beside the sea, will be a moment I remember for a long time.

Worst thing: Driving in Florence. Kyle and I held on to our relationship by a string after winding through the unnecessary switchbacks and ill-marked exits in this city. In reality I have so much respect for that man, as I was only the passenger. I don’t think I could’ve driven in it. I would’ve just pulled over and told the rental car company to come find the #*%&# car and been done with it. Thankfully, Florence was beautiful enough to make up for it.

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As much as possible, I’m going to work to live Le Dolce Vita as much as I can, both in my escapes, and in every day life. It is all we’ve got really.

And it owes us nothing, this good life. Nothing at all. Cheers.

After Edmonton: A Year Later

This post made me so proud of our city and I wanted to share it.

Thank you.

Sound + Noise

This is a love letter.

(You would not want to see the last love letter I wrote. Let’s thank whatever higher power du jour that no copy still exists… unless she kept it… oh dear.)

This is a love letter to Edmonton.

Edmonton was a surprise. It was a surprise in every way. I arrived thinking that either I was crazy or that everyone thought I was crazy, considering their questions to me…

“Why are you moving to Edmonton for a master’s degree in singing?”

“I don’t exactly think of Edmonton when I think of starting my career as a performer.”

“You’re going to miss French so much in Wild Rose country, n’est-ce pas?”

I must admit that I asked myself some similar questions on the plane to Edmonton when I realized that I knew no one in the city, and that I had thought less about my decision than…

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Boys like Trucks, Right Mom?

I was in line at a local department store tonight when I heard the following conversation.

Mom: “You don’t like Barbies. Because you are a boy.”

Son (about 6 yrs. old): “Yeah. I HATE BARBIES. Girls like those right Mom?”

Mom: “Yes. But you’re a boy. So you like things like trucks.”

Son: “Yeah. I like trucks. Because I’m a boy.”

The son then turned to the next lady in line, an older woman – and asked “Do you like trucks?” And she answered “Well, only if I get to drive them. But no, not really.” To which he reasoned based on his current knowledge – “That’s because you are a girl. Girls don’t like trucks. I like them because I am a boy.”

Both women confirmed this verbally.

I was standing, one aisle over, wishing to God that I had been the person in front of him instead of that older woman. So I could have answered “Trucks Rock. I know A LOT of girls who like trucks.” And then slapped his mother publicly for what she was instilling in him right in front of me.

This situation isn’t new. And really, a lot of boys do really enjoy trucks. And I loved Barbies growing up. So I get it. But I thought, JUST MAYBE, that we were past telling our children that it was because of their gender that they had certain likes or dislikes. Not because of their likes or dislikes inherently. Now, he will take that mantra to school. And maybe, further on his life. And he will judge others based on whether their tastes match with whatever gender identity and matching preferences he was told right there in Target. He will probably also, someday, cut me off in traffic in his Dodge Ram with metal testicles. Because his Mother told him this is what he likes. Because he is a boy. All the while, quietly envying all those Yaris that have way better mileage. Perhaps this is a stretch. But we’ll never know, will we?

I tell Tuesday every day that she can like whatever she wants. She currently likes Temptations Chicken flavour. This is because she is a cat.

But I didn’t tell her that. And I never will.

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The Great Escape

I witnessed a truly courageous feat this week. And I feel pretty compelled to tell the world about it.

Picture a cat. A  fat, orange, not terribly smart, but unquestionably adorable  cat. We’ll call her Fatelaide*.

Fatelaide lost her home recently, as her owner was fleeing the country. I was helping her find a new home, and along with a couple of cuddles, I offered my services as a chauffeur, and thoughtfully provided a box with holes for transport, that I had heard from other passengers, was quite uncomfortable and confusing.

Nonetheless, this is what I had to offer, and so with Fatelaide stuffed into the vestibule, we set off on an adventure that would surely change both of our lives.

Despite my assurances, nay even my soothing tones and effervescent and clicking noises, Fatelaide just could not become comfortable within her confinements.

And as hope turned to questioning, and questioning turned to uncomfortability, and uncomfortability turned into fear, and fear into panic, and panic into desperation, I watched (at stop lights of course) as Fatelaide flipped this way and that, searching for a way out of her spacious accommodations.

“This is first class” I assured her. She bit my proffered finger.
“We’re almost there” I assured her. She did not believe me.

One paw came out through a hole and clawed at the outside of the box.

“That’s American engineering. Strong as an ox” I assured myself.

A second paw and then a snout pushed through, and tore just a small crease in one of the corners.

“She is as dumb as she is dumb. She won’t succeed at this.” I assured myself.

A paw flew through the hole, caught, and pulled, and with it, took a piece of the box. Fatelaide’s face was now in full view. And she began to see the end of her confinement.

Through sheer will, and with a strength that could have only come from within. Deep within, Fatelaide pushed her entire rotund body through the small opening she had created to freedom.

The freedom of my car.

While I was driving down Groat Road.

“Well. She’ll go in the back and wander around until I stop” I assured myself.

With this, she climbed onto my lap, sat down, and began furiously, and with an open mouth, purring louder than any cat you have ever heard. While blocking the steering wheel with her stomach, forcing me to pull over to safety.

Thankfully, we were in a residential area by now, and close enough to the destination to arrive before she decided the windows were also in her way and they no longer needed to hold her in.

I think we all learned something that day. Well I know I did anyways.

No one puts Fatelaide in a cardboard box.

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*names have been changed to protect felines involved in events.

Flailing or, in some cultures, Swimming.

I am not a good swimmer. I have not ever watched myself awkwardly push myself through the water, sputtering out water as I go, looking nothing like the ladies on the tv. This, let’s face it, is probably for the best.

Yet, despite how I look more like a flailing Kermit the frog in the water than a Grecian goddess, my goodness I love it.

I was thinking on how much I love the following things about swimming this evening:

  • There is no sweat.
  • Everytime I am in the pool and dunk my face under I feel like it could be an underwater scene from a movie. Especially when the sun is shining through the windows down on the pool. It’s actually, joking aside, pretty lovely.
  • People, when treading water in front of the lights, look like aliens. Well. That one guy I was swimming in the same lane with tonight does. Skinny legs. But I digress.
  • The water supports you, yet challenges you. Like a good friend. Like. A good friend.
  • I don’t get wrinkly. I should, but somehow I don’t.
  • The demographics of community pools are amazing. Period. The people watching is spectacular. So many elderly ladies. Doing so many good things for themselves. It makes me happy. Also, children learning to swim are pretty amazing.
  • My goggles are so damn good looking it hurts.
  • I can be super competitive with the other people in my lane and they have no idea because all of my trash talk is under the water.
  • I’m still secretly really proud I can float, because I couldn’t for the first 6 years of my life. It was a challenge I had to fight through. But I prevailed.
  • The sauna is always waiting at the end.

I just came out of the pool feeling pretty on top of the world this evening, and felt like sharing that a little bit. And so, goodnight.

So Shake it Out

Well on this sunny beautiful day in the fine city of Edmonton, Alberta, it seems like a great day for a blog post. It’s been awhile since I’ve recorded my thoughts in this fashion. I’m sorry if you’ve been waiting and hoping and I’ve been letting you down. These last two months have just flown by.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about grudges and past grievances and all the ways that they affect us for the last month or so. I’ve been fortunate enough to actually mend a couple of bridges I thought were burned forever recently. It’s refreshing, and so healing. It’s kind of amazing to realize you don’t actually have any reason to be at odds anymore. Maybe you never really did. That reconciliation happens so rarely, it warms my heart when I’m lucky enough to have it happen in my life.

I’ve also been watching a few people close to me struggle in a very real manner with the past in a way that unfortunately has damaged their present. And that is heartbreaking. I struggle with this myself too on a couple of levels, although not to the same extent. Sometimes letting go is just not so simple. I wish we were programmed to just accept what was, know our place today, and move forward, but well. I know I’m not. If you have discovered the secret to this, please let me know. And don’t say Scotch. Unless you are buying.

I have a tendency, when things are getting to me and I feel like I’m grappling with life rather than living it, to jump in my car and sing “Shake it Out” at full blast. I would highly recommend this. Particularly the line “Because it’s hard to dance, with the devil on your back.” I play it on repeat.

That line gets me every time. I think sometimes it’s easier for us to nurture and feed the “devils”. They give us excuses not to dance and it’s much easier to say no to the invitation, than to actually face what’s holding us back. And, well that’s a choice I suppose and sometimes the devils are so big it’s impossible to see past them. What I hope is to never do that. To not nurture those things in my past that stop me from saying yes to things. To trusting others like I’ve never been hurt. To accepting apologies and really meaning and acting on that acceptance. To deciding to take chances even though not everything is good in this world and I might get burned.

And I guess mainly to try to not be anyone else’s devil. I would hope that no one is fighting against the memory of me. And maybe I’m too late for that, who knows. God knows some of the parts I’ve played (on stage and off) may have been a bit scarring. So, uh… If that’s the case…sorry about that. Uh…Shake it out?

Wine at Home

Last weekend, on Saturday night actually, I woke up to the following reality:

I had fallen asleep, alone, on my couch. I was watching Nine to Five, the 1980 hit starring Dolly Parton. I had been drinking No Name white wine. Like NO NAME with the yellow label.

I believe I can safely say this is a low point.

Now don’t cry for me Argentina. I have a great life. One that I described to someone today as “so great I am afraid something horrible will ruin it” at the moment actually. I am deeply blessed and quite well taken care of.

But even someone who is so blessed she doesn’t know what to do with herself sometimes…just sometimes…watches bad movies and drinks cheap wine.

And.. see….here’s the thing. I would guess that everyone who is reading this has a wine/beer that they “Drink at home” that they wouldn’t admit to everyone else.  It’s like the secret things we all do when we close the door. Pick at our pores. Talk to our cats about their daily activities, which we actually believe may be more exciting than ours.

I could list off what I bet your wines at home are. We all know them. They have the following characteristics:

  • They are cheap. Under $10 a bottle cheap. Hell. Maybe even under $7.
  • They are Canadian usually.
  • You know exactly where they are in the liquor store, and you can purchase them and be home in your bathtub drinking them straight from the bottle within 15 minutes.
  • They have things like “foot” and “turtle” and “copper” and “naked” and “no name” in the title. All words that denote mediocrity but necessity.
  • You will not ask for a receipt or a bag when you buy them. Or better yet. The sales clerk will not offer either to you.
  • You would never bring them to a function, and you would snub your nose at them on a menu in a restaurant. Because they would never be on a menu at a restaurant.

I was at a friend’s the other night and she pulled out a bottle of one of these wines that someone had left behind at a recent party and both of us laughed because we know how cheap it is. And by bringing it they had defied all of the rules above. We might small slight comments about it. And then, we drank it.

I guess what I’m saying is – cheers to the cheap wines. Or the cheap beers or cheap whiskeys or hot dogs or KD or whatever brings you comfort at 50 cents a serving. We are actually pretty blessed that we live in an economy where even the cheap things would be luxuries to others.

Feel free to leave your secret cheap behaviours in the comments. Maybe I’ll use them for a research project someday.

Or maybe I’ll just bring them up in some social situation where it’s the most awkward for you.

Who’s to say really. Who’s to say.

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The First Day of School

Tomorrow, I will start a new job for the first time since August 5, 2005.

This is how I feel.

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  • I don’t know what to wear.
  • I am not sure of the right bus to get on to get there.
  • I don’t know if I bought the right pens to put in my pencil case.
  • I don’t know if the other kids will like me.
  • I wish I had a fresh haircut.
  • I don’t know which of the things I already know will be applicable.
  • I don’t know what to take for lunch, or if I should just take lunch money.
  • I don’t know what my desk will look like, or if I will be able to fit all of my stuff in it.
  • I don’t know the social media policy.

Thankfully.

  • I do know I have “transferable skills”.
  • I do know I have two University Terrace buddies already to maybe have a coffee with.
  • I do know I have lots of shoes that match lots of outfits.
  • I do know how to talk to other people and make friends.

Amazing how some feelings never change, no matter how much you tell yourself what a confident, bright, stupendous adult you’ve turned into.

“Don’t Ask Me Why” or: Thanks Billy.

This week is my last full week at my current job before I move on to a new position after almost 8 years here at BUKSA. The last few weeks have been crazy, as life seems to be crazy most of the time as of late. I’m trying to close off every project I’ve ever done and brain dump all the little things I’ve saved away in my mind. What I will do with all the space when I’m done I’m not sure.

Also, I’ve recently discovered my newest addiction: rdio.com. This is essentially Netflix for music and has been making my life even better than it already is the last couple of weeks. Now, for those who don’t know me as well as you should… you may not know my deep, all encompassing love of music. And specifically, my love of Billy Joel. From a very young age, I have had a one sided love affair with the Piano Man.

So when I realized that through rdio I now had access to his entire collection of music whenever I wanted it, you can imagine my glee, nay, indeed, my unadulterated giddiness.

I jumped in with both feet this week, and when I came upon this song, I realized it was basically written for how I am feeling lately:

I then of course played it repeatedly. And honestly, aside from the Only Child reference (as I have a lot of siblings), and the throwing roses at my feet reference (because the only flowers thrown at me have been gerberas – thanks Kate), it honestly is bang on with how I feel the world has been treating me in the last 3 months.

Even more so, I realized in a flash of amazement, that Billy has been along for the ride my whole life. And maybe the love affair isn’t as one sided as I think.

Thusly, I will demonstrate our relationship and where he has always had my back:

11 years old. Farmhouse bedroom. Fake pearls and odd metallic ships on the wall of my brother’s old bedroom that I took over. The soundtrack is Uptown Girl. The dancer. Me. Billy knew. You know? He knew I was destined for the city. For glamour. It only took 18 years for me to be in Uptown New York shopping at Prada (where I couldn’t afford a damn thing). Thanks Billy.

14 – 16 years old. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many road trip to visit my mom’s family in Saskatchewan. Add puberty to menopause and you have quite the situation. The only song we could agree on? “Piano Man”. Thanks Billy. You probably saved my relationship with my mother.

16 years old. Singing “Two Thousand Years” to the annual church talent show. Did I truly understand the lyrics? No. Did I hit the right notes? Sadly no. Was I wearing an ill advised silk dress? Absolutely. Did I feel like a star? Yes. Thanks Billy. You gave me the courage and impetus to switch to a flute solo the next year. Also my mom said I had to.

25 years old. Finally understood the implications of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and the fact that it had taught me the bulk of my historical knowledge without even trying. Thanks Billy.

28 years old. When we said goodbye to the loveliest grandma anyone could ask for, it was “Lullaby” that said everything none of us could say. I still can’t think of a better song for that day (or a better person to sing it). Sorry there’s no laughs on that one.

Anyways. Sufficed to say. Billy Joel has always been there. I just figured, as he said all the right words this week again… maybe I should say thanks. Thanks Billy. I’m still sorry about you and Christie not working out. But well. You know. Right?

Top o’ the world, Ma!

Do you ever have one of those weeks where everything you touch is positive?

No. Me neither. Until last week. I don’t even know how to explain it but I don’t feel like I’ve ever been on the cusp of so many exciting things at once and it was euphoric. And not one of them alone was more amazing than another… just every piece of my life went forward in the coolest way. And in a better way than I expected.

I’ve spent the last 8 months working very hard to expand myself. In a lot of ways. Socially, through social media, through pushing myself to go to new events and accept invitations that I might have not said yes to, and through actively nurturing relationships I feel could be something even better. Reflectively, through blogging, reading, paying closer attention to myself and what I actually want, and really paying attention to what I need to focus on. On a community basis, through getting more involved in things I care about, and taking less of a backseat, voyeur approach, and rather asking where I can help and be part of the action, and of course on a personal basis, through getting back to being active after a bit of a blip, and just letting myself take the time that I need to reset sometimes.

And I feel like this last week a lot of it fell into a very cool place. In the smallest of ways individually but together it was just so fun. I started a new play with people I adore and will spend the next 3 months rehearsing with them. I met someone face to face that I have admired for a long time. I opened some new doors that I didn’t expect to be in front of.  A couple of my personal relationships got deeper, and I was also spending time with the people who have always been there which is still so great. I’m also now firmly entrenched in working out every morning and it’s so awesome.

I was driving around the city one day, singing along SO loudly to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack (something I highly recommend), and I had a moment where I felt honestly like the whole world was at my fingertips.

I have never felt like that before. I almost had to stop the car and breathe at the side of the road because it was a little overwhelming. But instead I just hit the high note on the Pool Mash up track and kept driving. Because well. If the world’s in front of you… keep driving. Don’t stop.

Also, don’t turn onto Jasper Ave because it’s a mess. No euphoria is that strong.