Monday, June 27, 2011

the scale of radical hotness


So, if you are in a restaurant, walking past a table, and there are two men your age at that table watching you intently as you go by, and as you pass you hear one of them say to his friend, "yah, I'd say she's about a 4.5" ...are you to assume they mean "out of 10 and therefore just makes it past the 'bar of below averageness'"? Or do you take the positive route, and assume they meant "4.5 out of 4.5 on a scale of radical hotness"? I know which one I'm supposed to pick, but it doesn't mean I like it.

men who evaluate women in public
(because we ALL know you do it):

talk quieter.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I like vacuuming more than the other chores. I especially like it when the vacuum leaves lines in the carpet; I like to make abstract nonsensical patterns and I like quick, visible improvement. I do not like emptying the bag or filter or removing the grey matter that gathers on the bristles. I do not like it when the spiders stay alive on their way up the tube. I like playing the music louder than the machine and I like to dance around the living room on the un-lined bits of carpet. I do not like it when people mess up the lines before I am finished making them.

I do not have a carpet, or a vacuum (or a house of my own) but I felt the need to document my feelings anyway; to remind myself that I do like some things and I do not like some other things and though it may make me peculiar to have mentioned it at all, at least it makes me a someone that knows what not or what I want. Some days, that is the most important distinction.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the end of something is the beginning of something

i am okay, and i will be.
(i am sure of it. almost)
there are braver words to be spoken;
there are better days to be had.
but when love (whatever we've decided "love" is)...
when love ends
there is not much else to do but
drink tequila in the afternoon
cheer on your losing hockey team
walk in the sunshine
and think of all the ways love hurt you.

love is not love if it is selfish,
it is not love if empathy is far from hand.
love doesn't force or coerce or belittle
and yet
that is almost all i know of it.
     (what then, should I not be glad?)

where is this love that builds?
i have heard of it,
but seeing is better.
i would like to see it; before
what's left of me believes what was left on me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

addressing the charges of my future self

Dear Future Self,

You made it clear to me, and I have been thinking about what you said since first you said it. I can hear the phrase ringing around my head; taunting my perceptions, shuffling up my ideals.

I’m afraid of you, you know. Or, rather, I might just be intimidated ('afraid' is a pretty strong word). You know more than I do. The things you understand full well are the things I’ve yet to grasp; your favourite accomplishments are behind you – but the mountains it will take climbing to achieve still lie in front of me. You know more than I do; you’ve been places I have not, you’ve seen things I have yet to even picture. Your life is comprised of the results of my work; the ease with which you experience this world is an ease that came through the challenge of my tomorrow. So while you taste the sunlight and explore this earth, I sit quietly in an odd sort of penance; wondering where to go next.

You know my every move by heart (and I can only speculate what yours might be). The advantage of being you, Future Self, is that you’ve already been here. You know which decisions I should be making, and which way I should be making them. You love where I couldn’t, and stand strong where I fell down. You’ve learned from my mistakes. For me the learning is yet to come; at present I am required to quietly set myself into mistake making. How else will you learn? And how else will I, eventually at least, become you?

You are more than I thought you would be; bigger than even I have been predicting (and yet, smaller somehow, too). That glimpse was a little jarring, I admit, and have been thinking of what you showed me since you showed it. Your life doesn’t match any of my ideals, or any of my expectations, and yet it is the life…well, I think it is the life I want. Now I get selfish and ask: would You show me the rest of it? Mystery is exhausting, and Decisions can be daunting, and though I know both are required I am still in need of assistance – I am glued to the board; whether it be by fear or practice I’m not entirely sure. But I have heard the call and I know that I must move. How else will I learn? And how else will you, eventually at least, become you?

The next steps are hidden from my view and yet I know that I must make them. Can I borrow a bit of strength, and perhaps some clarity too? I know I’ll be okay because I’ve seen you – both your smile and your posture and I know life didn’t break you – why else would you call to me, and ask me to become you?

There are words that, in their whispering, halt the speed of any man.

stop playing small.

…who me? Am I to understand I’m not as perfect as can be?
Rise up, comes the challenge, ignoring pride. Even more
than the rising itself, perhaps, the challenge is to first
admit we are needing of a change. Once admitted,
(then) we see grace. Only then do we know
what it means to turn a page.
And once that page is turned, blank canvases await;
white spaces that invite
a change of pace.

The Author that, believed, will show His face,
hands out ink and freedom, and gives us the will to write.
Words take the form of days,
conversation, reaction (arrogance or humility?) and
the Human Opportunity to pass time well.

I hear the call, and must now decide what to do with it.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

happy 2000

So my friend Anita and I write emails at work a lot. Dear Boss, if you happen to be reading this: it's okay we get our work done. In fact, I would even say that writing Anita through the day keeps my mind alive, vis a vis, I am more productive in my work. It's true, I promise.

Anyway. Anita and I both work in cubicles in offices at computers, and we have been writing each other brief but daily "hello" and "guess what I did today that makes me super awesome" emails for that entire length of time; we're practically twins as it turns out (something we've discovered through years of story trading). Along the way, we've celebrated milestones. I believe we noticed our first milestone right around the 700 email mark - for one of our celebrations we even went to Milestones, which we both thought was pretty clever. We've also celebrated our email friendship at our respective houses with Lemon Liberte and older movies (anyone seen Greencard?).

This time, though, definitely ranks as my favorite celebrate-the-emails date.

[SIDENOTE: Thanks to DateBank for the plethora of good date ideas. Seriously, whether you're on a budget or you're simply uncreative, DateBank is the app you need!]

Through use of the app & some last minute use of our imaginations, we ended up going on a date that is pretty much going to go down in my history as the most fun date ever. I also feel I should point out that we spent a grand total of under $20 for the two of us for the entire evening.  Happy 2000, friend.

How to have an awesome date on a budget:

First stop: the River Rock, where we each played $5 in the penny slots. Winner buys dinner...
Too bad we both lost.
Dinner is: courtesy of IKEA. All hail the 50 cent hot dog.

Next, park your car by the side of some road under the flight path of landing planes 
at the airport. Put a blanket out on the hood, recline under the setting sun 
and face upwards. Enjoy the views and volumes. 
I did not zoom in for this picture, by the way. 

Finally, if there’s some kind of an inside joke or reference-to-previum that you can muster up, 
you should use it. Oh, and always include chocolate.


Monday, June 6, 2011

the helplessness myth.

I got called 'helpless' recently. To be fair, it was kind of true, and to be fairer, this person didn’t say I was helpless, but rather, that I sounded helpless; I suppose there’s a bit of a difference there...right? I admit the conclusion shocked me. I have been many things, and called much worse, but although I have been speechless, socially awkward, and wildly unequipped, I have never been or been called …helpless. So what gives?

To be honest, I have been acting a little crumbly as of late; falling apart at random, crying a lot, staring at the elliptical trainer while I eat all the brownies. Perhaps it was the move; or the things at work, or the time away, or the lack of solitary quietude; or perhaps it was the polar shift from March to May that has me grappling. Whatever it is, something’s amiss, and I’m certainly not dealing with it bravely. My eyes hurt. I want a nap. Someone bring me a cake.

I went to see a production of The Great Divorce this weekend, once because I had heard it was a wonderful production, twice because it swallowed me so wholly the first time. Though there are a million lines that stuck to me during each performance, there is one conversation that I am thinking of now, and I have included it below. I am thinking of it for myself and for people I know; thinking about ruts and regrets and grudges. I don’t want to become something undelightful, unholy, or unwhole. In other words, I hope there is always some me left to criticize the mood, or at least to enjoy it.

So then, what can I say about that difficult mirror of a conversation? I can say this: I am certainly not helpless, but I can choose it without noticing; either I survive on the empathy of others or I choose to appreciate it when at last it shows; that choice is only mine. The danger is not in the weak moment itself, but how long I dwell on my own insufficiency. And this is the thing about helplessness; the myth, if you will: it is not, in fact, as involuntary a state as the word itself suggests. Though the circumstances can explain it, they cannot take the blame for it. I am not helpless; I am stumbling.

If I am a bleeding heart, it is because I am alive. If I cry first and laugh later, then I thank God for laughter and for tears, and I thank him that I can feel. There are shifts in life that take time to adjust to, they may take energy to breathe through, but they are in their best and worst the moments that make up a life. Passed time is important, yes; but the days that make up the months are just as valuable as the months themselves and so we cannot ignore them. What is done today is important, and what I choose to speak is just as weighted; my words will in part define how people see me. That being said, I was reminded through that conversation that I need to watch my words more carefully, run to God more quickly, and hope more incessantly. If I feel helpless, I can be thankful it is only a feeling and not a reality. I solemnly refuse to become....a grumble.

from The Great Divorce, pp. 75-78.

[Damned Woman, walking by, speaking quickly]: "‘Oh, my dear, I’ve had such a dreadful time, I don’t know how I ever got here at all. . . I made it perfectly plain because I knew what she was like and if I told her once I told her a hundred times. . . not after the way she’d treated me. . .I felt sure you’d tell me I acted rightly. . .'

The shrill monotonous whine died away as the speaker, still accompanied by the bright patience at her side, moved out of hearing.

‘I am troubled, Sir,’ said I, ‘because that unhappy creature doesn’t seem to me to be the sort of soul that ought to be even in danger of damnation. She isn’t wicked: she’s only a silly, garrulous old woman who has got into a habit of grumbling, and feels that a little kindness, and rest, and change would due her all right.’

-‘That is what she once was. That is maybe what she still is. If so, she certainly will be cured. But the whole question is whether she is now a grumbler.’

‘I should have thought there was no doubt about that!’

-‘Aye, but ye misunderstand me. The question is whether she is a grumbler, or only… a grumble. If there is a real woman—even the least trace of one—still there inside the grumbling it can be brought to life again. If there’s one wee spark under all those ashes, we’ll blow it till the whole pile is red and clear. But if there’s nothing but ashes we’ll not go on blowing them in our own eyes forever. They must be swept up.’

‘But how can there be a grumble without a grumbler?’

-‘The whole difficulty of understanding Hell is that the thing to be understood is so nearly Nothing. But ye’ll have had experiences. . . it begins with a grumbling mood, and yourself still distinct from it: perhaps criticizing it. And yourself, in a dark hour, may will that mood, embrace it. Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood, nor even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on forever like a machine. . .'”

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your Vancouver Plans: The Great Divorce

You might have to hurry up on this one. Pacific Theatre is currently showing an adaptation of The Great Divorce by CS Lewis; the show runs until June 18. You want to buy tickets. You want to see it. You want your mind to go *poof!*

I’ve never actually read the book and did not know what to expect when I walked in the doors. Actually, I only kind of figured it was a book, and as we were watching the play I thought it sounded like it was probably a book, and after the play I turned to my lovely neighbor and said “this is a book, right?” However! I do not need to have read it to tell you that this adaptation is worth every one of the pennies you’ll spend on your ticket price. The characters are full and believable, sinking into their roles with panache and grace. The set design and the atmosphere are simple enough to let you imagine the rest, and detailed enough to let you know what you’re supposed to imagine. And the costumes are…well, they’re delicious (but I do have a penchant for almost anything made with tulle, so I could be a little biased on that one). 

Riding the bus toward Heaven.
image taken from the Pacific Theatre Facebook page

"Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him"

— C.S. Lewis (The Great Divorce)