Friday, November 28, 2008

A New Minority?

No way!  I am pretty damn excited about this possible development in Canadian politics.  Give 'er Jean Chrétien and yay for Ed Broadbent!  I would love to see a Liberal-New Democrat coalition in the house.  Apparently “The idea is to have elder statesmen smoothing things out,” an NDP official said.


And Chrétien gave a classic example of why people loved and hated him with this stunt:

Mr. Chrétien was seen on his way to his downtown Ottawa office, but when asked about the coalition talks he feigned an inability to understand English.  “Je ne comprends pas anglais,” he said.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

There has been a lot of talk about being thankful for stuff in my online world lately (that would be facebook, flickr and the blogs I read). It is US Thanksgiving weekend after all. Interestingly enough, I was actually tagged in MadamOwl's blog today. How cool is that? The wardrobe_remix community on flickr where I "met" Sandra has been such a neato online place for me to play. If you haven't been there before, c'mon over and check out the fashion love. Really. I know that sounds all pretentious and stuff, but it's an awesome place (and I am not a particularly stylish individual). Anyhow, MadamOwl asked me to list six things that make me happy and then to pass the honour on to six bloggers. I'm going to broaden that a little (or narrow it down depending on your perspective) and list six things for which I am thankful/make me happy.

1. My job
Yeah, I'm looking for a new one, but I am still so thankful to have work that is reasonably engaging, decently paid, and über
-flexible. And since it is sending me back to Whitehorse for 10 days next month, I really can't complain.

2. Tea
I love a good coffee or perfectly made latte as much as the next person, but I think I might die without tea. I love the routine around making a pot, holding the warm beverage, and the excuse it gives me to eat lots of cookies.
3. Travel
There ain't nothin' better than going somewhere new and seeing things I haven't seen before. I cannot get enough of seeing the world. Travel makes me happy and I am thankful I have been able to do a reasonable amount of it so far in my lifetime.

4. My health
It's another no-brainer to say I'm thankful to be healthy, but it's true. I've been reading a lot about the Fat Cyclist's life lately. While I admire his ability, nay his gift of channeling (through his writing) grace, humility and humour, I do not envy what seems to have brought these attributes into focus.


5. Ben
Yeah, I know, how unexpected to say that your husband is someone who makes you happy. Well, screw trying to be avant-garde here with my answers, this is just how it is. I'm still not sure how I managed to hook up with the most perfect of mates. He's my own personal cheering section, my strongest ally, and the only person I truly need. I feel like a Hallmark card here, but seriously, I am so grateful to be in such a robust, functional, intense, appreciative, considerate, loyal relationship. (And yes, hi sweetie, I figure you'll get around to reading this an then I'll be embarrassed for awhile. And no, I don't really think this needs to come down, do you?).
6. Mingus in the morning
Our dog can be a real pain in the ass. He's too smart and entirely too neurotic. He also has some really inappropriate aggressive tendencies which have shown themselves in the form of biting his owners. That said, I am completely smitten with him (most of the time) and one of my favourite parts of my day is in the morning when he wakes us up by pawing the side of the bed. We then usually let him up for a snuggle. He's all mellow and gentle at this point. He's warm, too, which is particularly appealing in the winter. Did you know how the band Three Dog Night got its name? Apparently it comes from a story about sleeping with your dogs for warmth. The coldest evenings are known as "three dog nights".


And I'll tag the following (if they ever wander over here and read this or if I get around to otherwise tagging them that is):

Sierra - hey, I have a blog now so you have to put up with stuff like this from me on occasion
Kelly - 'cause she's a fellow PNWer and just so sweet
Wheeldancer - don't even know him, but I liked his comment on Fatty's blog today. And he's a cyclist, so that's gotta be good, right?
Tongapup - if she ever manages to remember her blogger password, I'd love to hear from her again
Kerrie - although she recently nuked her poetry blog, I'm hoping she'll bring it back




Thursday, November 20, 2008

Late Nights on Air

So I finally finished reading Elizabeth Hay's novel. I don't know why it took me so long (6 weeks). Shortly after I finished my BA (yes in French Literature and English) I used to consume books at a rate not dissimilar to what was expected in my courses. But now I read probably only 6-8 novels/year. It's not for lack of love. Books move me and get under my skin like no other art form. I enjoy a great film and can weep at objects or paintings in a gallery, but stories told by text on the page seem to stay with me for longer, leave a greater impression. At any rate, Late Nights on Air is no exception. I am still thinking about the details several days after turning the last page. It's not so much that this is the best novel I've ever read. In fact, I would call it only good, not great. But what I loved - and what did leave me crying in the Sheraton Hotel bar at Toronto's airport nearly 3 weeks ago - is how Hay evokes the north in her prose. While reading, I kept post-its handy and I would flag all the lines and paragraphs that captured the north in all the ways that I could not describe my experience in Whitehorse to others.

These are three of my favourite passages and three photos from my time in Whitehorse. I like these passages because they evoke my own experience and because they seem so piercingly accurate it's as if she crawled into my brain and drew out the words I wanted to use.

"Officially the June sun set close to midnight and rose three hours later, but it never got dark. Dusk, yes. Between sunrise and sunset there was a soft sort of dusk and the street lights came on, but nobody needed them or noticed them. The constant light was like endless caffeine."

This is looking out my bedroom window in July, close to midnight.


"Around Yellowknife, the miniature birches and poplars changed colour in August. For about two weeks they were a ravishing yellow-gold. It was quite astonishing, but so fast: every single leaf was on every single tree and every single leaf was yellow. Farther south, colour gathered on some leaves as others fell, and you only ever got a piece of the whole, but here you had all of the glory at once, and then it was gone."
On a bike ride in mid-September (photo taken by P Gowdie).


"By evening the sky was clear. The light luminous and rich. Not as brilliant as the Mediterranean... Gentler. Almost autumnal. The hills didn't have light on them, they were in light, the way something is in water."

Light on Grey Mountain.





Sunday, November 16, 2008

Watch This

As I am about to head out today on my new bike, this awareness video gave me pause. Thanks mavenhaven for pointing it out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Throw back to 1993

I came across this photo tonight as I was looking for evidence of something else. I decided to post it because, well, just because it makes me feel good. This was taken in 1993 in a dorm room at the University of Toronto. It's one of the earliest photos I have of Ben and me. We were going to a Lenny Kravitz concert that night (which stunk, by the way). Little did I know that 10 years later we'd get married. Life's unexpected like that sometimes. I need to embrace and learn to love the unexpected a little more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Attitude Adjustments

I should be working. Or exercising. Or cleaning the house, even. But I've been lolling around the house in a daze. This is true of today, but it's been the case in a more general sense since I arrived in BC nearly 2 months ago. I'm just not feeling the Lower Mainland love. I suppose that's partly why I haven't written too much lately. Who needs to read about my personal struggle to fit back into a place that no longer feels like home?

I keep telling myself that it's just the rainy season and that when there is snow on the mountains, I'll feel better. And when next summer gets here, I tell myself that I will fall back in love with BC. Until then, I keep pining for the Yukon and wondering exactly why that place became so dear to me in such a short period of time. I worry, too, about donning rose coloured glasses and turning my time there into something that it wasn't. God forbid we manage to find a way to move back only to find out that I don't like it as much as I thought I did.


On a positive note about being here - I do get to see old friends a lot more frequently. This past weekend a bunch of us went to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island to celebrate someone's birthday. The weather was awful - wind and rainfall warnings and a surf that looked like it wanted to swallow you up and suck you out to Japan. But, our wetsuits kept us cozy and warm and the surfing was lots of fun. Can't do this in Whitehorse!