Monday, February 22, 2010

I've Got You Under My Skin

Emotional attachment is a funny thing. There's really no rhyme or reason to it sometimes. We become emotionally attached to some of the silliest things, sometimes to things that we don't even particularly LIKE, but at the same time can't seem to part with. Yet, on the other hand, you could have something for years and years and have no attachment to it whatsoever.

Generally I'm someone who does form emotional attachments to "stuff", so I can speak with conviction on this subject. Or at least I always have been that type of person.

However, I've caught a glimpse of another side of me - a not-so-emotionally-attached side - lately. Since I've decided to move overseas in the fall I will have to get rid of, well, pretty much all my belongings. I mean I don't HAVE to get rid of everything; I could, of course, just move it all into storage to await my return, but I just feel at this stage that that is silly (not to mention expensive).

I'm actually kind of excited, about ridding myself of my belongings* I'm not sure why this is and it surprises me because it's so against my nature, though I suspect it has to do with my general mindset about life right now, which is derived from the spirit of my going overseas. It's about change, stepping outside my comfort zone, being free from unnecessary burdens (of the physical and emotional kind) and making a kind of "new start". I sort of look at this experience as a "shedding of skin" - I'm hoping to either reveal another person beneath that skin, or try on a new one after shedding the old.

So, given this mindset, I wish to get rid of as much as possible before I leave. Not because I don't like my stuff and want all new things, but because I don't want to feel "tethered" by a storage unit full of it. Moreover, I don't want to fork over $100 a month to keep an apartment's full of things, when I have no idea when or where I'm going to be in another permanent apartment again. Even if I come back to Canada after being away one year, my guess is I will end up in Vancouver or somewhere in the vicinity, in which case I'd have to pay to move it across the country and I don't even want to THINK about how much that would cost. I'm sure it would mean less money and stress in the long run to just buy all new stuff.

Plus, I think we sometimes overestimate the emotional attachment we have to our "things". If given an ultimatum, most of us could live happily with very little. Sometimes you really need to think about what an item means to you and what connections you feel to it and why before you decide to get rid of it or not. You have to be careful that your devotion is not misplaced.

There is a great quote in today's Worn blog about this (this quote is referring to clothing, but it could be generalized to include all belongings and so I've modified it slightly here): "Part of the notion of revaluing involves 'excavating an emotional connection to (stuff),' finding that personal link between yourself and the (stuff), whether through a family heirloom or something tied to a significant memory, whatever it is that makes you want to keep and cherish (the stuff)."

My mom and I were discussing my purging last night and she made me feel guilty (that is part of her duty as "mom" after all). 90% of my furniture are hand-me-downs from her, as she was quick to remind me, and she isn't entirely happy with me getting rid of them. This gave me a bit of pause and I did feel bad for a moment about getting rid of everything. And I'm sure when the time comes for my things to go; when they are actually making their way out the door and I'm left standing in an empty apartment (except for a few suitcases and rubbermaid containers) I will feel even more bad. I'm sure in a way I will feel lost, possibly like a medium-sized hole has appeared in my life. But I'm also sure that this won't last. I'm confident that the biggest thing I'll be feeling is freedom.

Don't misunderstand - I'm not advocating for anyone to purge all their stuff and not keep anything; quite the opposite. I'm a huge advocate for keeping things that have special meaning to you and that have special memories. I'm a big clutterbug by nature and love having rooms of things of my own to come home to. I look forward to the day when I put roots down again somewhere else and can begin accumulating things again. It will be comforting.

I'm just not in a "stuff" place right now, that's all. And regardless of life stage, couches and utensils and microwaves and dishes are always replaceable. Memories, adventures, photos, keepsakes and heirlooms are not, therefore those are the things you should keep and attach emotion to. Think about it - if a fire broke out in your home, what would you grab? I'm guessing your toaster would be the last thing on your mind.

*I'm referring, of course, to things like my furniture and appliances, mind, i.e. things that can be easily replaced. Keepsakes, such as artwork, souveniers, decorative thingys, etc, cannot be easily replaced and therefore will not be gotten rid of. At the same time though, I plan on keeping as little as I can so some ruthlessness will still be required on my part as I'm sure there will be things I will want in my heart to keep, but which would be (in practical terms) silly to hang onto.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Working for the Weekend

I have happened upon an intriguing new job trend/idea. I read about this recently (can't remember where) and saw it mentioned again today on Gala Darling's blog, and it's something that got ye olde creeky wheels  inside my head a-turning.

The trend/idea to which I refer is that of working One Week ON, One Week OFF. This is the work method that personal development blogger Steve Pavlina practices and promotes.

The idea is that, rather than working Monday to Friday all day with weekends off, one works full out for one full week, than takes one full week off. Pavlina explains that during your ON weeks, you work full out (50-60-100+ hours in the week) on work-only tasks and responsibilities (no personal distractions) and during OFF weeks it's really just the opposite, with you focusing 100% on your personal life with no intrusion from work. The OFF weeks are not to be seen as "lazy time" where you just sit around and watch tv all the time, but rather time for you to pursue things that are personally fulfilling and that you wouldn't normally have the time to focus on in your free evenings/weekends - for example, spending time with family, taking a class, taking a trip, or taking care of personal "chores" around home, such as gardening or painting.

This, of course, flies directly in the face of what 99.99% of the population consider to be a normal, modern work schedule, so naturally it sounds a little wierd and unfathomable when you first consider it. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely convinced it was a realistic approach when I first read about it. But Pavlina makes some compelling arguments as to its merits, and I now think there is definitely something to it if you do it right.

First of all, I like the idea of splitting up time equally between your professional and personal self; I think all too often, many of us don't spend enough time on our personal selves, and often we simply CAN'T because we only have comparably few hours in which to do this (a few hours in the evening and two days on the weekend may seem like a lot of time but really it's not, especially when you add things like errands and appointments in there).

Using the OWO (I'm going to use this acronym from now on as I'm too lazy to type out the whole name every time) method, you have a whole week, 7 days in a row, to focus on these things. It just gives you a larger chunk of time, and all at once rather than in smaller segments. So, even if you have errands and appointments to get to, you still have plenty of other time to just "be" and have fun. And you have more flexibility - you can schedule that haircut for 10am on a Tuesday, or go to that 3pm Thursday yoga class if you want, and you don't have to work around being back at the office at a certain time, or making up time for missing work hours. You can take a trip out of town for more than two days, for one!

There's something to be said for having a "mental" break. I really try and balance my time between working and resting, being social and being alone, etc. But this can be hard when my time is so scheduled and segmented. My brain doesn't always have the chance to take a real break, and this can profoundly affect productivity in a negative way or eventually cause burn out.

Beyond this, when you devote strictly clear-cut weeks to work and play, you may be less tempted to cut into all-important time with your loved ones to take care of work. You can really create a clean separation between these two areas of your life and be able to spend extended periods of time with each. If you are working on a project you are very passionate about, it can be reassuring to have a full, uninterrupted week to work on it. You can really get into a "groove" and run with it, getting a huge amount of work completed. You don't have to worry about your flow being interrupted by the clock tolling 5pm.

This all being said, I do feel there are some negatives to this method. First of all, this type of work schedule is really only realistic for people who either work from home or are self-employed. Let's be honest, most managers in a traditional office environment wouldn't be keen on their employees taking every other week "off". And most workplaces today run on this schedule so you would be hard-pressed to find a job where you could follow the OWO scenario. Many people work for themselves and/or have a lot of flexibility in their jobs, but many people don't.

Not to mention that your activities would not necessarily be in "sync" with the activities of the rest of the business world, which runs on a 9-5, weekday schedule; trying to get a hold of a colleague or contact midday on a Saturday may not necessarily be easy. Plus many businesses you may have to rely on heavily, including couriers, call centres, etc, are only open during the week, during the day. In most cases, you would still need to concentrate the majority of your productivity within the traditional 9-5 Monday to Friday schedule in order to meet yours and your clients/colleagues needs.

Also, it's impossible to ignore the fact that much of the traditional working world is deadline-driven. Even if you are self-employed, often you may be working for a client and many clients have very specific needs and very specific times by which these needs must be met. What if you have a client who wants your work due during one of your OFF weeks? Would you insert an extra ON week in there to make up for this? Wouldn't this mess up your entire system? Would you be upfront with the client and say that you cannot have this done for next week because you're "off" or "away"? Not every client would be flexible to your unique schedule, and frankly many might frown upon it.

I know something that might be an issue for me when following the OWO method would be motivation. I mentioned before about getting into a "groove" with a task, and sometimes once this is broken it can be hard to get back. I find when I walk away from a task and come back to it, I sometimes find that I've lost that "spark" or my train of thought, and I have to struggle to find that again. While I do feel that walking away from a task and coming back to it later can be beneficial (being able to look at work with "fresh" eyes can sometimes allow you to see things with a new perspective), this would really depend on the task and how long one was away from it. One full week away from something could be too much, forcing you to start from square one when you return. This is certainly not productive. Also, I know from experience that it can be REALLY hard to come back to work period after having a week off. You may really have to psych yourself up to get back to the grind once your ON week comes around again.

Obviously, all of these negatives I mentioned would depend on the type of work you do and what your obligations are. The great thing about the workplace today is that there is a kind of growing flexibility; many more people work from home or for themselves today than ever before and many companies are beginning to recognize the value of building flexibility into their employees' schedules. Many are discovering that a kind of balance between work and home is very important to employee productivity. My boss, for one, is always willing to give us time off if we need it and is more concerned with the work getting done than "putting in time". Happier employees = more productive employees = more company profits > more and more employers are picking up on this. Living to work is no longer the norm.

In my two years out of University working full time, I've certainly realized that I'm not a live to work person. It's important to me to have a job I enjoy and feel appreciated in, but it's also important for me to have enough time to devote to myself, my loved ones and my personal passions. I really like the idea of having a full week on/off, as I find I often end up "cramming" my personal interests into periods of time that aren't really long enough. I find this makes me rush through things more, procrastinate more, and I also feel burned out more often.

So, given all this, I've realized that I may not be someone who is cut out for a traditional desk job with someone working over my shoulder; I need creativity, I need change, I need flexibility and I need personal autonomy. I like the idea more and more of being my own boss and setting my own hours. I guess this is part of the reason why careers like graphic design and journalism intrigue me, as you are able to make a living doing these activities "freelance". I've also thrown around the idea of someday starting my own pet-sitting business (cue amused chuckling), and this is also something that would allow me to work for myself and possibly initiate the OWO method.

Working for myself would require a lot of self-discipline on my part, of course, and I would miss the social aspect that working in an office provides, but it's certainly an idea that intrigues me. And I feel that half the battle would be getting used to the schedule; once you did it for a while I think it would become like second-nature and you'd wonder, "why haven't I always worked like this?!".

Some people need structure and a segmented schedule; some people need flexibility and longer periods of time off. It's really about finding what works best for you; not only what makes you the most productive, but also what feeds your soul the most. I'm still trying to figure out what feeds my soul the most, but I'm getting there, and this is partly because I'm aware now that there are options. Options which I plan to explore as I move forward.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canned Heat

I have some pent up rage inside today. And just to warn you, I'm not in a blogging mood today and can't think of anything to write about in particular, so my post today is markedly more random than usual (and that's saying something).

My morning started off on a great note - since the Snowpocalyse of the eastern US decided to slam into us last night and bring 20-30 cms of snow overnight, I thought I would sleep in a bit and get a later bus to work. However, I wasn't prepared to encounter a completely snowed in bus stop when I got there. Seriously, the snow was at least to waist height on me (which, granted isn't that high since I'm only like 5 ft tall, but imperatively 2-3 feet of snow is deep) so there was nowhere to stand except on the street. I could glimpse the previous stop just down the road and it appeared to be clear so I thought I would walk down and catch the bus there.

But for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to cross the street and walk on the other side thinking the sidewalk over there was clear. It wasn't. Only more snow of the knee-high variety. Then of course (because this kind of stuff just happens to me as clearly Metro Transit has a vendetta against me) the bus came down the road and drove right by me (even though I waved my arms at him to stop - I swear to god these drivers do see those people running and flailing to get their attention and just ignore them because it provides them some sort of sick entertainment value).

That's the point that I decided I was not going to work. So, even though the morning didn't start off well, I now have an unexpected day off, which is nice!

But seriously, there is a lot of effing snow on the ground! And it's rather deceptive when you look outside because it's bright and clear. But then I look out the window to see a mom and her daughter SKIING on the street! Seriously, with poles and everything! In the middle of the road. Eat your heart out, Alexandre Bilodeau (who, can I just say, is so cute I could spread him on a cracker? *sigh*).

Speaking of the Olympics, I feel like me and everyone around me is filled with a kind of warm, gooey national pride that is nice to see. But I still don't get why we're only 4th in the medal standings (I love you fellow Canadians but why, oh why, are we always consistently shitty at bringing home medals?! Can anyone explain this?! I mean, really!); it's kind of disappointing when we're hosting the Games and all the world's eyes are on us. But I suppose it's only day 6, and we have had a couple awesome gold medal wins. Plus, we're proving there's a reason that hockey is Canada's Game - ummm 18 to nothing for the Canadian ladies?! 8 to nothing against Norway for the men?! What, what!

But I tell you if I hear that "Believe" song one more time I'm going to tear my ears off (see?! rage). I mean, it's a nice song but once you hear it it gets stuck in your head and runs in a loop indefinitely, and once you hear this loop go around 10 or 12 times an hour it gets rather annoying. (On the other hand I can't hear Sade's new song "Soldier of Love" enough times; for some reason I love that song so much! See?! random).
I'm not sure where I was going with this post. It started off venting my annoyance but veered off somewhere around "morning". But don't say you weren't warned. It's a snow day so my mind's in a lazy state I guess. I could have used my bus experience from this morning as a launching point into a treatise on the crappiness of our city's public transit system, but I'm afraid once I started that rant it would go on forever. That's how much I hate MT, that I fear for my own mental stability (which, let's be honest, is questionable to begin with) too much to even talk about it. I think it's best that I walk away from the computer and go sit on the couch and read Lucky now. Until next time...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

...but you sure as heck can make lists of them! I'm a big reader and since I commute via public transit, I have approx. two hours every day of (relatively) uninterrupted reading time so I go through books right now faster than I ever have before.

The upside to this is that I can avoid eye-contact with the escaped mental patients sitting in my vicinity. The downside to this is that I'm spending more money at Chapters every month than I probably should, but what can I say, new books make me happy! I don't know what it is but I don't get the same feeling from older books at the library. There's something about buying a new book - you own it, it's shiny and new-smelling, the material is current, and there's a grand anticipation that builds thinking about cracking those first unmarked few pages and reading those first few lines. It's like an adventure waiting to happen! (at least it is for dorks like me)

Anyway, here's a few books that I'm thinking about buying right now:

1. A China travel guide and a Mandarin/Chinese language book + learning cd (I am determined to at least have a basic knowledge of this language before I leave in August - brain pain be damned! My brain already hurts from the TEFL coursework so I might as well keep digging the hole)
2. River Town by Peter Hessler (a suggestion from a fellow blogger - apparently a good account of teaching in China)
3. How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy (have been toying with the idea of taking graphic design if I do decide to go back to school once I'm done this Chinese adventure - have heard this is a good resource for deciding whether or not it's for you. Written by designers for designers).
4. A Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany by Graeme Gibson (anything related to animals immediately attracts me, as well as anything that includes colourful, whimsical and beautiful artwork and this book checks all of these boxes. I can imagine it's a feast for the eyes).
5. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (these are listed together because they are sort of related. I find I've been struggling lately with what I eat and the ethics of it all; I've never been a big meat-eater and I'm certainly not a supporter of killing animals, but I also felt that becoming a vegetarian or vegan would be too restricting. I have been reading and seeing various reports about food and the food industry lately {including the intriguing doc, Food Inc - an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature} that have given me pause and have made me realize there is so much about this industry that is questionable. Foer's book illustrates many of these questionable things and Silverstone's seems like a good resource for someone who does wish to at least try to eat more ethically and therefore healthier. I figure they will at least be good for helping inform my thoughts on this topic and maybe make a final decision). The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen is also a possible buy along these lines.
6. Just Kids by Patti Smith (this book has been getting a lot of press. I love musicians from the 60's and 70's and stories from that era plus it just sounds like a very sweet story; a tribute to friendship and moral support and remembering the people in our lives that provide these things to us).
7. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra (Ok, let me preface by saying I've never been one of those people that goes within even 10 feet of the "Self-Help" section of the bookstore and in fact I can usually be found casting judgmental and pitying thoughts/looks at anyone who would. However, I bought Chopra's book Perfect Health at the recommendation of my yoga teacher {this would be the one that comes into our office once a week to do yoga with us; I certainly don't have the money or prestige to have my OWN yoga teacher, note. Someday.} and have been enjoying it. I think there is something to the principles behind Ayurvedic Health, natural medicine, and listening to your body's signals. Since I'm in the middle of what I like to refer to as my "quarter-life crisis", any guidance regarding what my dreams might be and how to fulfill them is welcome, so I thought this book might provide some useful tips in that regard. I figure if Mr. Chopra can't help me with my spiritual quest than I'm completely hopeless).

As always, I will be on the look-out for any new or as-yet-unread books by Tracey Chevalier (whose new book will be out soon - yay!) and Bill Bryson as they are my favs. I try and read everything they write (have done so thus far and have enjoyed every one to date!).

Though the question of affording this list is another matter. Looks like I should make another, more general list of things I want and include such things as "Sugar Daddy*", "inheritance", or "$1,000,000 Chapters gift card".

*fingers crossed, as ever, for this one. My nana would be proud. I know this because of my Valentine's Day gift from my mom. Observe (I know it's completely unrelated to the above, but just shut up and look):
Ah, the perfect man. Finally...and in case you can't read the caption at the top left:

Hardy har har. When I pointed this passage out to my grandmother, she said "Yup, that's how they want them nowadays", or something to that affect. Yet another entry into her thesis entitled "kids these days and why they are so much more stupid and silly than we ever were".

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Stinks (yeah, yeah)

I've been thinking a lot about love and relationships lately. Of course this is mainly thanks to the fact that Valentine's Day is this weekend and therefore I've been inundated everywhere with pink and red and flowers and hearts and candy and sex positions and my boyfriend this and my fiance that for the past two weeks, with the pitch growing ever more feverish the closer that Sunday approaches.

This time of year has always intrigued me, but I can't say I've ever liked it overly much. I realize I'm a cynical single at the moment (I'm the first to admit it) but even when I was attached I didn't like it overly much. Some people are those romantic, head in the clouds, kittens and bubbles, true love seekers and some...well, aren't. I can definitively say that I fall into the latter camp.

Not that I don't believe in love and romance, I just feel that I have a more realistic viewpoint (some would say "pessimistic" but I prefer to use the afore-mentioned euphemism) about life, in that it doesn't turn out like a romantic comedy, oh, 99.99% of the time. In this case, I feel it's silly to put one's expectations or wrap one's entire life-experience into finding and keeping love as it's most likely not going to turn out how you want it to.

Ok, maybe I am a bit of a pessimist. But I don't necessarily see anything wrong with that! And again, it's not that I'm against romance. I DO have a romantic side deep down in there underneath all the Chandler-ese (I'm not dead inside!). In fact, hidden under the cynicism and fierce independence there is a lonely person yearning for affection and companionship (deep, deep down there, mind you). It's the cheesy romance stuff I don't like - I'm more partial to small, personal, thoughtful gestures than fuzzy teddy bears and gushy cards. It's the silly, everyday things that I think are romantic - getting flowers at work, coming home and finding dinner ready for me or the house really clean, him bringing home my favourite snack or movie just because. These are the things that make my heart flutter (so sue me).

I also don't feel that there should be such a focus on these cheesy, over-the-top, manufactured and copied gestures ONCE a year. Couples (and heck, everyone) should focus on doing small things for each other on a regular basis - I feel that this not only more meaningful but it's a really big part of what keeps a relationship going.

I'm not trying to get up on a high horse here, this is just my opinion. I'm sure some of this cynicism towards this holiday comes from the fact that I'm single and don't have a special someone to spend it with. If nothing else, there is a part of me that enjoys seeing the focus on love that this time of year brings, even if I'm not on the receiving end of any romantic gestures. After all, there's nothing wrong with the idea behind it all - that of spreading and proclaiming love in some way, shape or form to the people we care about in our lives (not JUST significant others). We don't have nearly enough love in the world, so it's nice to see. I personally plan on telling my family and friends that I love them this weekend and I think everyone else should too.

This all being said, even though I'm very comfortable and happy with my singleness (for the most part), it would be nice not to have that single-ness shoved in my face everywhere I turn. This shoving is at it's zenith this time of year and it's annoying. I will most likely spend Valentine's Day at home, in my pj's, unshowered, checking housekeeping items off my to-do list, eating take-out and talking to my cat (frankly, I'll be grateful to not be contending with the huge line-ups and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at restaurants and movie theatres around town). So there, Hallmark. You can take that and shove it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Right round, Right round

Man, I've been slacking this week. Not just on my promise to blog 3x a week, but pretty much everywhere in my life, it seems.

This weekend I didn't really have any plans, so I had grand ideas of spending all day Saturday and Sunday getting tremendous amounts of work done - 5 hours of my TEFL course, the SPCA newsletter (haven't even STARTED this, terrible!), a short bio on the kitty so that I can get the ball rolling on "Operation Heartwrenching Adoption", finish my full application for the i-to-i internship and send it off, clean, etc, etc, etc. I got exactly two of these things done, and one not quite as fully as I would have liked. Of course, I had all day Sunday to redeem myself and what did I do? Went to mum's for most of the day, without materials sufficient enough to complete these aforementioned tasks.

Now some reasons I didn't get as much done on the weekend as I would have liked were not in my control (the TEFL coursework took longer than I thought it would, plus I had to take my sister to swimming Saturday, which took up half the day). But I could have crammed in a lot more work if I had been more self-disciplined.

This is something I need to work on. I think part of the issue with my current lack of self-motivation is just that my head is spinning with non-stop, frantic thoughts about all the said things I need to get done. This franticness causes my brain to run away screaming like a little girl and hide under the proverbial bed, rather than stand up and face the obligations and make THEM run away (after being completed, of course). I also like to have fun and therefore will opt to go to that movie I want to see or do something with a friend when I have a night or afternoon off, rather than "booking" it off to get some important obligations taken care of. This procrastination causes that many things weighing on my mind to get heavier and to spin around more quickly, which only serves to add to the problem.

Clearly, I need to make order of these thoughts, but I'm not sure how to do this. My slightly anal personality dictates that I should outline all of the things I need to get done in some kind of table or list, defining the deadlines and goals of each. But, then I'd have to add this chart to my TO DO list and my brain would have more things to worry about and this would also add to the problem again (see what I mean??).

Perhaps this is all just a case of the "Februaries", I dunno. What I do know is that I have to kick myself in the butt and come out of it. It's time to manage my time more efficiently and stick to what I say I'm going to do (no procrastinating! Put off procrastination now!). I also need to eat the elephant one bite at a time (as my mother says) and not expect to get everything done at once. I need to prioritize and take care of the most important things first (DUH). One thing about me, I may be a little slow at getting started but once I start and put my nose to the grindstone, I can get a crapload done in a short amount of time - I can be a machine!! I know I have that in me and I need to find it, STAT!!

Perhaps I will do a little bit of daily "scheduling" for myself - nothing too OCD, just a rough plan of what I will try to complete during the slots of free time I have each day (e.g. tonight between when I get in from work around 5:15 to when I leave for choir at 6:50, I will sit down and get the SPCA newsletter layout started). I mean sit down at the beginning of the day with my planner out, really look at the time in the day and write down the options for getting one or two things taken care of. AND STICK TO IT IF IT KILLS ME*! Done. Plan hatched. Execute. Well, at least I will as soon as I'm done this post....and catching up on the blog updates in my reader...and looking at this cute kitty video**...

On another, completely unrelated note , I went to see a psychic last weekend who told me some very intriguing things about the future, among them that I have stopped being a "doormat" (her word) and have relaxed a lot (though I still need to do this a lot more), that I will meet the man I'm going to marry before Christmas, that I'm going to take a trip very very very far away, and that I will receive a set of Tibetan prayer flags. So, see, if I don't kick my butt into gear now, I may never get to experience any of this!!

*I wonder if coffee would make my head spin more slowly?? Well, it certainly helps one's incoherent rambling, that's for sure, so vodka it is then!
**Can I give myself time-out if I don't follow my own rules of homework??

Friday, February 5, 2010

Copycat: 10 Places You Will Never Find Me

I'm totally playing copycat with today's post - stealing an idea from Rainy Saturday ( I just thought it was a fun idea...and let's be honest, I'm in one of those funky mindless moods where I can't think up anything cool on my own to write about so I have to be lazy and recycle.

1. At a church service - unless it's for a wedding or funeral (besides, I'm a heathen so they wouldn't want me there anyway).
2. On any kind of sports field, playing any kind of sport (I'm generally not a fan of making a total ass of myself, so it's best that I just stay away from this kind of thing altogether, Though watching others do this is "a-ok" in my book).
3. Frenchies or equivalent (I respect the whole re-use principle and the fact that you can save a ton of money, but I just prefer new clothes. I've given away tons of clothes so I take solace from the fact that I keep these places in business in my own way).
4. A chicken (or any kind of meat) factory or farm (I'm on the verge of being a vegetarian already so one of these places would just push me right over the edge...either that or just make me barf and/or faint. Just reading about what these places are like is enough to make me stay away and subsist on celery).
5. At the top of a skihill (you would think that I would say "skiing down a skihill" here, but you see you have to get to the top of the hill before you can come down, and I wouldn't even go that far. Went skiing once, in 8th grade, and have hated it ever since. Flying down big hills with nothing to hang onto or hold me up = terrifying).
6. On stage at a club or bar doing any kind of performance (unless copious amounts of alcohol and friends accompany me).
7. Northern Canada (see previous post - read: I HATE COLD AND SNOW).
8. The hospital (as long as I'm healthy of course; for some reason these just freak me out. Thankfully I haven't had to spend time in one since I was a baby except to visit other people).
9. A beauty pageant (lord knows I would never enter one nor have any friends that would enter one - not because they aren't beautiful but because they have better things to do - so no opportunity will ever present itself I imagine. DOUBLE this for kid's beauty pageants - those are just WRONG *shudder*)
10. Uniacke Square or equivalent (for those of you that live in or are familiar with Halifax, you know what I'm talking about).

I have since decided that I will put a bit of effort into forming my own ideas today and also present 10 Places You Will Be Sure To Find Me! (Work would really be the #1 place, as sad as that is, but I feel that goes without saying so I'm going to leave it off the list). Observe:

1. Clothing Stores (that would be any one really...well any one that sells, yeah pretty much any one. Oh who am I kidding, any kind of women's store could fit here. Mmmm shoes...)
2. Starbucks, Second Cup, Perks, Tim's, etc, etc, etc (if they serve coffee, someday or another I will be there).
3. Chapters (I love to go wander here on Sundays, preferrably with a purchase from any #2)
4. Sobeys (specifically the North/Windsor store in Halifax - best! Is it sad that I like grocery shopping?!).
5. My mom's - bumming free food and/or laundry water.
6. The movie theatre (The Oxford if at all possible).
7. Choir practice (Every Tuesday night, bitches. I'm cool like that. Only time I'm ever in the place where church services take place {see #1 at the top of this post}).
8. The Internet! (blogging, facebooking, watching tv shows, cheezeburgering, generally wasting time and/or procrastinating).
9. Laying on the futon in my apartment with Nutty.
10. Eating at a Greek or Italian restaurant, bakery or pub.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Wonderland, My Ass

Sam* completely let me down - that damn groundhog apparently saw his shadow this morning, which means 6 more weeks of winter for us already frozen people in Nova Scotia (little asshole - it's all fine for him, he's got a fuzzy, thick coat to protect his hide).

(*In case you didn't figure this out, Shubenacadie Sam is our version of Punxsutawney Phil-see right)

I was sick of winter back, oh, around the beginning of last November, so to say that this development pisses me off would be a massive understatement. I HATE winter and cold - really, I should have been born in Hawaii or something - so forgive me if the fact that I have to endure it for a further 6 weeks is not music to my ears.

Sure, winter is pretty in a I-can't-feel-my-fingers-but-the-lake-sure-does-look-chillingly-pretty-the-way-the-sun-is-hitting-it kind of way, but for the most part it sucks. The only time I like winter is when I'm looking at it outside the window of my apartment wearing layers of sweaters, sweatpants and socks and drinking some kind of hot beverage, with the knowledge that I don't have to go out there anytime soon.

I think anyone outside of Canada who doesn't know much about our country and can't sympathize with having to experience winter for half the year (and given the general view of us Canucks as happy but simple folk) probably thinks we just LOVE winter so much that we frolic through the snowbanks with idiotic grins on our faces.

Ok, maybe not. But, at the very least, when people outside of Canada really THINK about Canada and what it's all about, many think first about snow and ice and cold. I remember being in Harrods in London a few years ago when one of the friendly doormen asked us where we were from. When I said "Canada", the first words out of his mouth were something to the effect of: "It's really cold there, innit?". And the girl I was with was from OHIO and he didn't say ANYTHING even remotely relating to the climate in her home! I mean, I've never been to Ohio but I can imagine it's not exactly Palm Beach!

I tried to explain that we do in fact have seasons where it's NOT cold, in an effort to make my country as pictured in this man's mind sound less like a barren ice flow. But to no avail...and really, who am I kidding?! He's totally right! It IS fucking cold here! Even in the summer, it can hover around the mid-teens and is often cloudy and/or rainy (though the Fall really is quite a lovely time of year here).

I suppose I'm especially bitter about the cold today since I missed my bus connection (stupid Metro Transit) and had to walk partway to work in -15 windyness, but is everyone with me in saying that this winter really has been particularly shitty?? Is that just me?? It's been consistently -15 and windy and dry pretty much every day, we've had like 4 snowstorms (and the snow from the last one has hung around for like a month), and I have to bundle up every inch of my body in about 50 layers every day before I leave for work. My poor hair is so dry it doesn't want to do anything except stick right up or out in staticky single strands and....well, I could go on and on...

And there's still 6 MORE WEEKS OF THIS??!! If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go stuff myself with 10 pizzas and crawl into a cave to hibernate until May...