Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

The Second Person Sin

There are days where the world stops.

And   it    stops    hard.

At least it does for you. Everyone and everything else, generally, marches on. You can almost feel them marching on. And you may keep in step, or look in step. But you’re much, much further away. At a distance that you just can’t recover.

It’s an affront. A powerful aftershock. Don’t they know? Isn’t it written on your face that you will never forget this date? That it is etched into you as few things can be?

(But it’s just another day. There’s humility in that, when it hits.)

On those days, relatively rare, there’s a drop of happiness in the sad. A sense of taking stock. A feeling of truly living. Without the distraction of gossip, advertisements, or fried chicken.  Just you, your thoughts, and those you are most inextricably linked to. If you’re lucky. But even then, lost in yourself, there is great solitude.

That drop of happiness makes it bearable. That tiny hope of better days that can well up from almost nowhere. Somehow, it may just be okay that you will re-enter the world behind. Changed.

They are big, heady days.


July 30, 2012 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Mr. Lonely, Photography, Self-reflection, Writing | , , , , | 6 Comments

7 Ways to Leave Your Lover Wondering What You’ve Been Doing with Your Time

Way back in 2011, just as the days could get no shorter and the music at the mall could get no more annoying in my corner of the world, Dana from zona pellucida found enough light in her day to nominate me for the Seven Links Blog Award. While it is inevitable to be occasionally slapped with blog love of some kind or another, this particular honour excites me because, aside from the fact that I think Dana is awesome and her reading my blog still blows my mind occasionally, it motivates me to really look back at my blog and my best posts.

I have a whopping 80 something blog posts to my name and yet this task of mine is stunningly difficult. What posts do I want to highlight? Which of my mangled moments are my favourite? How can I possibly find controversy and helpfulness in such a quiet blog? But I’m working on doing things despite being unable to -also why you’ll find way more than seven links- so here I go:

1. Most Beautiful

A most beautiful post? Yikes. I don’t generally go for beautiful, nor am I mega-comfortable calling what I do beautiful. But if I must, *batting eyelashes*, my Thanksgiving weekend post Meandering through life keeping fed and watered, about higher education and reuniting with Calgary after 7 years takes the prize. Woman Recovers in Vegas from Assault by Arizona Desert, about my near-death experience,  and Not quite speechless, about finishing school, come in a close second.

2. Most Popular

I’ve written about this before. My post, Words (and other things resembling words) that warm my cockles: #6, about anemones – really the word anemone – is far and away my most popular. This kills me since the post is not exactly a piece of brilliance. It has almost no personal significance. However, it also serves as a reminder that what sells most isn’t always what’s best. Sometimes, people are just confused about sea creatures. Happy to help.

My second and third most popular posts, are Grad School: Deep and Delicious and A Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, or Don’t be an Ass, respectively. The first I would find just as perplexing except that consumer products seem to win the google hunt every time and the second makes sense because it had the one-two-three punch of humour, lists, and being the only post I’ve ever put up on Facebook.

3. Most Controversial

While statements I’ve made against James Bond and Malcolm Gladwell could be seen as controversial if anyone had cared/commented I hazard a guess that my most controversial post may be the one in which I question our western, self-affirming, just believe and you will have everything you’ve ever wanted perspective. In Anything I set my mind to – Part 1 I wrote about whether we can get there just because our mommy or mentor said that we could.

4. Most Helpful

It occurs to me that the most helpful post on my blog should be one that gives others something: information, inspiration, perspiration… something. Unfortunately, such posts are few and far between. Vindication for Foot Sufferers Everywhere may prove helpful to those with evil, evil feet and Just Overshoot Me, which tries to explore and explain the issue of ecological overshoot, may provide solace to those who feel alone in a world where we’re constantly striving to use bigger, better, more.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful

As I’ve said, I remain astonished by my top post. But looking a little further along the list, I am most pleasantly surprised that I Prefer My “Maiden” Name and You Can Too (or Not) has achieved relative success in views and comments. It is exactly the sort of post of mine that doesn’t usually receive much attention. It was very fun to write and I’m still excited about the name change. I must admit that I’m pleased this one struck a chord.

6.Most Underrated

Underrated posts are often “underrated” for reasons that have nothing to do with the  posts themselves. It’s a holiday weekend. You published it at two in the morning. Everyone and their dog posted in that period and people are simply fatigued. But sometimes, the post just isn’t that great, or just doesn’t evoke any particular interest are reaction at the time its published. Either way, the flops can be frustrating. Especially the flops you like the most. My first flop, It’s Not Me, It’s Him, was also my very first post, so no big surprise there. It was about a (purely fictional – ha) loss of a developing friendship. This loss may have occurred for any number of reasons but I’ve decided to blame hypothetical people. The second flop I’ve chosen to highlight is my rant about language and generalizations, Warning! Lecture Zone: Generalize at your own risk. I am persnickety about language at the best of times but when it’s hurtful I really get going. I didn’t manage to get many others going with this post.

7. Most Worthy of Pride

Finally, as proof that things really can come full circle, my proudest post is a response my first blog award, also from Dana, where she gave me the once in a lifetime chance to reject an award: Who me? Well if you insist. No, thanks. That post was incredibly fun to write. The fact that it occurred to Dana to fulfill my dream was absolutely priceless!

Once again, this post has meant much more to me than it could to someone else. But I’m grateful for this time down memory lane and the wonderful bloggers that have encouraged and inspired me. For some of my favourite bloggers, cruise my very limited blog roll. [Hi, blog world. I’m trying to keep myself under control. It’s tough. Forgive me.]

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Community, Hypotheticals, Self-reflection, Waste, Writing | , , , | 6 Comments

Still Working on the End

I have been longing to do a well-considered, well-composed succinct and inspirational post of my hopes and dreams for 2012. I know you too have been waiting with bated breath. But, it’s not happening. My hopes and dreams for 2012 will remain unknown even to me and buried with hopes and dreams for other years passed. We spent a long week at home. It was busy, full of moments, fun and exhausting. Every day felt like a week. I got sick. I did little. I had fun. I talked with nephews. I didn’t sleep well. The reading and introspection that I somehow thought I would manage did not happen.

I’m still sick, which may be why I don’t feel renewed. I’m clinging to 2011. I want to close it off and start the new year now that I am at home, my way, but am not sure what that would be. The New Year bell has gone unrung. I’m standing in Times Square trying to figure out what to do when the ball drops unaware that life has marched ahead. Alas, the year has started without me. As always, I have about 300 things I want to do. Aside from eating and catching up on blogs, I am doing none of them. Look at me go.

And so, I have no beginning of year pearls of wisdom. I have no resolutions, themes or goals. I plan to survive. I hope that by the end of 2012 I know what I am working towards in the years to come. But I don’t expect to know. Mine is a winding road the next few years. The sort of road that has few signs, but occasionally provides veiled encouragement. A Sunday drive sort of road. I may be tempted to pull over and picnic, camping out in a spot of comfort while my body races. I may be entirely wrong.

In this puddle of doubt, I am unsure what to say about the upcoming year. Today, I’m thinking of a few things:

  • Health. This year may bring me either more or less time at a desk. I’m unsure and I may have little control over it. What I can control is what I do with that time away from the desk. I would like to get my lower back to a happier place.
  • Acceptance. I’d like to accept when things are not awesome, rather than blaming myself for failing to turn non-awesome into awesome and rather than telling myself that I’m just not trying hard enough to be awesome. I don’t understand what I mean by this yet.
  • Writing. My plans to interview my mom and aunt were somewhat derailed. I move into the next phase of life earlier than originally thought, my aunt was unwell, I was sick and did not have the energy. Blah, blah. I did manage some spontaneous recording of my mom on New Year’s Day though. A welcome gift. I gained some insight into her perspectives on dating and marriage that are rather hilarious. I left for the holidays thinking I would either gather a bunch of interview material that I would use to start this new writing project or that I would pick up on an old project. I’ve decided to pick up the old project. Step 1 is to reread what I have so far and set some goals. I’ll post once I’ve gotten that far.
  • Giving. I am constantly stunted about what I should do with my life because I am obsessed with the idea that my work has to be mainly about giving. All kinds of people see their work as giving work. I don’t consider them wrong. I have done giving work before in one way or another. But I have never felt like I am giving enough. Others give outside of their professional life, they donate, they give their time or expertise, they unite people. Me? I think about giving. This obsession is paralyzing. It deems everything inadequate. It leaves me drooling in a corner, satisfied by nothing. It is not a motivator.

Quite a barrelful of thoughts for the upcoming year.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Self-reflection, Writing | , , | 8 Comments

I Prefer My “Maiden” Name and You Can Too (or Not).

I cannot express how excited I am. I am ridiculous.The wheels are in motion for me to return to the surname I enjoyed for more than a quarter century. And no. I have no confessions of relationship drama or emotional turmoil, which makes this much more fun. So why is this coming to a head now?

I’m quasi close to graduation and even closer to actually getting my degree (not online, you’ll be saddened to know). In a field where people actually do hang their piece of paper on the wall, I’d like to awkwardly change my name back only once. Now seems like a good time. But the other, maybe more important reason, is that some 4+ years ago there was an agreement between me and hypothetical people. “Good. So we’ll go with the name change. But you can change your name in five years, if you want.” I sent an ashamed email to a friend I knew would sympathize/scold me and thereafter, for practical purposes, owned the name change whole heartedly.

I had completely new documents and a corresponding new personality (I kid) within a month. I’ve been uncomfortable about this deal ever since. Not in a dramatic, “what have I done” sort of way. In more of a genuinely confused, send my mom a card with the wrong last name on it kind of way. Seriously. Cause if my name’s different, then my mom’s must be too, right? The point being, I have not embraced (or understood) with whole heart this new me.

This of course, is indicative of the negotiations and starting positions. I never thought I was going to change my name. Hypothetical people never thought they would have a partner who didn’t. What were a lover of tradition and a lover of her name and its meaning to do? As I understand it, some level of standoff is not uncommon. A friend I know characterizes it this way: her otherwise progressive and awesome partner turns into a neanderthal about 10 seconds into a discussion of why a woman needn’t change her name. Thankfully, I haven’t witnessed any cave-burning or club weilding.

It hasn’t escaped me that my name is my father’s. I get that that raises its own issues about patriarchy. But that doesn’t change that I feel more connected to his (my) last name than any other. I was also named in the traditional Portuguese manner, which means that my mom’s name also made the cut: Rose [Mother’s hard to pronounce maiden name] [Father’s Surname]. While my mom’s team doesn’t get listed in the phone book, it is still in there, which I’ve always liked.

Just to be clear, I’m not invested in how other people deal with this issue. In an ideal world, I suppose, I would prefer that there was at least a conversation, that people didn’t just assume that in the straight marriage scene every woman should and would change her name. There are those who keep, those who take, those who long to take because they hate that freaking name, those who keep and then take, those with different work and personal names, hyphenators, combinators and those who challenge marriage as a patriarchal institution and reject the whole deal. In classic liberal wishy-washy fashion – I dig. Name yourself as you will.

September 29, 2011 Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Doing it the hard way, Hypotheticals, Portuguese-ness? | , , | 11 Comments

Report: Nerd Derives Self-Esteem from Pathetic Places

I have always been a “smarty-pants”. I don’t confuse this with being intelligent. Well, at least I don’t now, but I won’t make any promises about my past selves.

As a kid, my brother took pride in teaching me how to read (Him: “Sound it out”. Me: “SH – IT. SH*T”). My family would tell stories about the precocious things I said as a three-year-old. My dad would quiz me on my times-tables and get too happy when I could answer right away. I was told I would go to University (a fairly lucky thing in my family) from a very young age. Friends would ask me for help in class. I got 2nd place in a spelling bee, which at the time seemed like 2nd in a queen of the world contest, but upon contemplation I realize is not a sign of special powers. Friends parents would say things like, “But Rose can tell time on a regular clock” (The pleasure I took in these things is highly embarrassing, but I always felt gross when parents said that stuff to my friends. We don’t say these things out loud, don’t you know.)  Coupled with a nasty-sized need for approval, this made for some interesting results.

On the other hand, as I saw it, when the universe was doling out physical ability, it looked at me and said, “are you kidding, her head would explode.” It took me longer to learn how to tie my shoes, ride my bike, or do a cartwheel than my friends; in the case of the cartwheel, I’m still waiting for inspiration to strike. I was fearful AND hated being bad at things (still working on that), which did not make for much experimentation or effort on my part. As an aside, I think a big part of the problem here was that I did not believe I was athletically inclined. Only in more recent years, out of stubborness and thinking that it might be possible have I attempted to do things like swim a kilometre, hike, cycle 100 km a week, or actually deign to use gym equipment (and sometimes succeeded). This means I have missed out, a lot.

The point is, I liked doing what I was good at (academics) and hated doing what I wasn’t (sports and other body movement pursuits). Later in high school and especially in University, I started to appreciate just how many people learned more quickly than me, worked harder for their academic achievements, knew more, and could understand things better than I could. I slowly began to grapple with my own mental mortality (sorry, universe). The battle is a tough one, since I learned to get most of my self-worth from my brain.

What is all this leading to? A confession! Surprise, surprise. I have always loved filling out forms. That’s it. The dirty, ugly truth.

I loved completing forms but could never figure out why. Give me the intake form at a new dentist’s office, an application form, a questionnaire about my feelings, and I come alive with enthusiasm and joy. How could such a simple, and sometimes annoying thing give me such pleasure? The realization came to me today, and I am not a better person for it. I love to fill out forms because (please prepare yourself, this is a new plane of pathetic)… I KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS (please don’t tell anybody). I like to see a blank and fill it with correct information. Name: Rose (haha, got that one). Favourite colour: Blue (take that!). Occupation: Student (moment of doubt, does that count? Sure!) Date: January 16, 2011 (I am acing this thing. And I’m fast, too.).

Woe is me.

Of course, give me a blank that I don’t know the answer to, or can’t easily figure out and it’s like I’ve run to the high jump on sports day only to stop suddenly, stare at the bar in agony and burst into tears all over again. (How could I be so stupid?) I deserve no oxygen if I can’t understand the question. It is a sad state of affairs.

Signing up for self-worth classes should be an interesting experience…

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, Childhood Complaints, Hypotheticals, News, Self-reflection | | 3 Comments

That’s What I Get

After arguing with myself and others about ordering personal photo Christmas cards, finding some options of where to order, sorting through possibilities, making phone calls and pouting, I had finally settled on what I was going to do.

Then what?

I realized that I have NO acceptable pictures to use for a card. One would think that I spent the year tied to a computer – oh wait – that’s why my back hurts. Right. To be fair though, I did in fact enjoy a trip to San Juan island, three weddings, a big hike and a bunch of camping. But still no pictures.

Reasons for this?

A. I hate asking people to take a picture of hypothetical individuals and myself. It’s an interruption. It bugs me. I often don’t like the photo. I’m  not confident they won’t dash may camera to the ground in an act of defiance.

B. I don’t have patience for timed shots either. Particularly when I am in the middle of my fun-having. This is me being unable to find a happy medium between being stuck behind my camera and being footloose and fancy free. Nicely done, Rose. Either I forgot to savour my moments, or I savoured to the point of forgetting I may want some evidence later, too.

C. I did less than  usual this year and felt rushed when doing it. I knew it was coming, I knew it while it was happening, and I knew it afterwards too, but I remain saddened.

D. I forgot there are good reasons for taking pictures of people – together. Myself and others may enjoy viewing them occasionally, such as during the holiday season.

Lesson learned. See for yourself:

Yummy moustache and swan-neck attempt

Well, we're both technically in the picture

Merry Christmas, I look stoned

We're the orange jacket sunglasses couple, don't you want to be just like us?


Our cat is cute, but you don't care

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Hypotheticals, Irritated | , | 3 Comments

Exam fun

When I say, “I know you’re getting up at 5:00am tomorrow but I have an exam at 9; please don’t wake me up.” What I really mean is, “Come flying back in at 6am in a panic demanding your passport.”

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m a bit testy. And my body is telling me that the amount of time spent in a chair is taking years off muscle use, or something. I can’t remember what it’s like to be free from lower back pain. I’m not sure how to tackle these effectively. But I do produce passports on demand!

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Irritated | , | 1 Comment

Sometimes I let the moment take me too far

Dancing is sometimes a dangerous activity. It’s easy to hurt yourself, embarass yourself, fling a shoe, or temporarily lose use of a limb, especially when you’re the only one on the floor. Hypothetically, a person could be made fun of for scaring someone classy by intensely fake DJing during that portion of Madonna’s Like a Prayer – you know the part, right near the end (wee-wee, we-wee-we-wee-wee-wee, wee-wee we-wee).

A short tribute to dancing:

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Bad TV References, Hypotheticals | | 4 Comments

Damien the Dishwasher

I’ve never lived with a dishwasher before even as a kid, unless you count the human kind. I’m not a huge proponent, given all the water usage. I imagine it’s something I’ll appreciate when family comes to visit and so forth. But most of the time, I’d rather just do the dishes myself. Unfortunately, other hypothetical people don’t agree.

My problems? you may wonder…yet another bulleted list:

  • I don’t have that many dishes, so it’s hard to actually fill a load before needing what’s in there again
  • I use a ton of containers that are too light to wash in the dishwasher and tend to pool water even when they don’t flip over like a pool of yuckiness so I have constant arguments with myself over what to wash by hand and what to load, not loading them makes it even harder to fill and you can see how this can go on…
  • water spots
  • the noise. That sounds cranky, but the noise makes me feel guilty about the excess water consumption
  • the space restrictions. I use more bowl-like things than flat-like things so it’s hard to fill the bottom rack
  • I have an obsessive master-packer problem that mostly doesn’t interfere with my life. Suitcases, boxes and dishracks have all been a source of joy in the past. However, finding the “best way” to fit things together becomes more like a penitence when I fight daily with the dishwasher over its inflexible hold over me.

Crown Jewel of Master Packing/Stacking

For those who think that water worries are unwarranted, I’m feeling impatient today so I’ll just say you’re wrong:

“From an ecological perspective, we have no water to spare. Canada has 7% of the world’s land mass and about 6.5% of the world’s renewable supply of water – meaning we have just about enough water to meet the ecological needs of our land mass (Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canada’s Water Challenges). To complicate matters, the renewable supply of water is expected to decrease with climate change (Natural Resources Canada, Canada’s Water Budget).” http://www.flowcanada.org/security/water-matters/environment

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Excessive organization, Hypotheticals, Irritated, Waste | | 5 Comments

On an appreciation kick

At the risk of sounding goober-tastic, I decided to list all of the things that are giving me mini-thrills in the new home. There’s been no painting, so mainly they having nothing to do with ownership.

  • trees and other greenery out the window
  • a new bed (which didn’t come with the place but came the same day so it seems related enough)
  • a second bedroom, even if right now it’s a bit of a dumping pile
  • a non-tiled bathtub/shower (no icky grout)
  • two sink kitchen
  • storage (not in a pile behind the bedroom door)
  • relatedly, knowing I have camping equipment without looking at it every day to make sure
  • windows on multiple sides and the resulting breeze
  • lack of carpet
  • a kitchen bar/counter situation into the dining room
  • having nothing I own at my mother’s house or my in-laws’ house
  • sights, sounds and smells from the neighbouring park including guitars, playing, swinging and scolding as well as  day camp kids instructed to run from one end to the other screaming for five minutes straight
  • being allowed to have a bbq, even though there isn’t one yet
  • not sharing the bathroom with the cat
  • the cat sharing a bathroom with the recycling closet (a closet dedicated to recycling is pure luxury)
  • biking right into and out of the building
  • still being a block from a grocery store
  • watching the cat explore hesitantly, then act like she owns the place a day later
  • in suite laundry
  • being closer to the ferry for those 6am sprints rare though they are
  • and that commute is still pretty fun too

Most of this stuff didn’t even bother me before, but I really appreciate how not getting too fancy early on has allowed me to  enjoy these little improvements. My “simple life”, though still much more complicated than the lives of many, gives me all the more to have fun with, which may just sound silly, I don’t know.

That said, there are downsides besides expense. The main one is the well-meaning (read: colourful adjective) dishwasher. duh duh dunhhhh

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumption, Cycling, Hypotheticals, Waste | | 2 Comments