Monday, 29 June 2009

In which I am severly sleep deprived.

I am just back from my whirlwind trip to Halifax. I left Thursday night and spent three full, glorious days breathing in the Haligonian air (and holding off the rain). The weekend ended up being a lot nicer than the forecasted "rain, rain, rain". In fact, the rain pretty much held off altogether until this morning when I got up at four in the morning to trek to the airport. Was I sensible enough to go to bed early? Why, no, I was not. Unfortunately.

Halifax is great and I love it and I miss it. Canada is so large. It's so inconvenient. And our ability to travel so quickly astounds me. Was I really in Halifax, trudging through the chilly rain and wind at 4:00am? I asked myself as I stood in the warm sunshine at noon in Ottawa. Yes, the sky answered me at 6:00pm, yes you were. Here's a reminder in the form of a huge downpour for you to walk in.

Maybe my whole weekend was too good to be true. Maybe I fell asleep and dreamed my way through it. Maybe I never went to stay the weekend with Phil and never met his awesome roommates. Maybe I never sat with random brits in the front room as they compared notes on their night out. Maybe I never actually went to see Transformers 2 at Park Lane Cinemas before eating delicious sushi (with mango!) at Hamachi House. Maybe I never saw all those people I miss. Maybe. Because here I am, in a different place, in a different time (zone) and I can't help but feel that this is all a little surreal. If it was a dream, it was a good one.

Here are my dream-photos:

Citadel Hill

Down toward the water

The Public Gardens (I)

The Public Gardens (II)

The Public Gardens (III)

Phil, eating bread dough off his fingers:
"Well, I don't want it to go to waste."

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I love my library

This summer, I'm working next door to my local library, which is a pretty sweet deal. I find myself in there two or three times a week -- so I've actually been returning things on time... well, more than I used to.

Me and my library go way back. It's a damp, old, small and well-loved. When I was little, it was a spot for reading and crafts hour. My mom used to cart my sister and I off to the library, cramming the stroller into the tiny basement that is the children's section. The way our community uses the space, it could easily be twice as big. I loved picking the books off the shelf, feeling the covers crinkle under my hands. And the smell... the smell of a library book is one of the most wonderful smells in the world.

When my friends and I were released from school every day for lunch as intermediates, we spent a lot of our cold winter days in the library, reading and playing computer games. And gossiping. The books we read were all fluffy chick-lit romances, and between chapters, we framed our own lives the same way. I have no idea how the librarians managed to put up with us, but somehow they did. My favourite librarian always had a kind word and a smile for me.

A few years back, they almost took away my library. I hadn't set foot in the place for years, but I suddenly felt so protective. Every community needs (and deserves) a library. It has been such an influence on me.

This summer, the library has again become the exciting playground it used to be. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I step inside. I finally started all the reading I wanted to do this summer -- although, I was thinking of a more impressive reading list than the steady stream of historical fiction that is my guilty pleasure. Oh well, it's summer, isn't it? A girl's got to have some fun. And it is fun when I walk over to the library after work, pick up some books, and sit down to look them over. I didn't realize how comfortable I was there until I came back to it.

Now, if I could only master the art of returning things on time.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


When I woke up and it was soooo grey, I was so not up for getting out of bed. I felt gross. So gross. There is no other word to describe that awful, nausea/ache/exhaustion "having the painters in" feeling. Ugh.

To brighten my mood, I put on a pretty green summer dress, then added leggings when I realized that it was COLD (why was it so COLD?). I shivered my way to work where I lasted two hours. The nausea part of the trifecta took over and I barely made it home before my stomach rebelled. Luckily, I hadn't yet eaten anything, so I ate a cracker and collapsed into bed.

When I woke up, the grey sky felt right. I was cozy in my bed with a book and a hot water bottle, and the grey felt like a wool blanket, wrapped around my day. Insulated and safe. Davis came over and we had tea, which was perfect. I used my sun-yellow teapot and flowery teacups and we caught up. I had a cute picture, but neglected to put a memory card in my camera, which was a key problem. As we hit the Glebe, the rain wasn't so bad and in fact was sort of comforting in a "reminded-us-of-Halifax" kind of way.

In other news, I haven't really been eating lately. I don't really know why. I usually eat breakfast, but lately it's been way less or not at all. And I keep being distracted through dinner hour and ending up not hungry and not eating. Tea with Davis was my dinner tonight.

Thug Story

Sometimes, I like Taylor Swift.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Last time there was an election, I missed voting in it by 33 days. As someone who was raised in a government town by parents who work in government and politics, I’ve been waiting for it to be my turn to vote for a long time. I was ten when I started watching the West Wing and even younger when I sat at my dining room table during dinner parties, listening to my parents and their friends discuss politics. I willed my brain to absorb every mysterious, exciting word of it – and gradually, it started to work. Unfortunately, I couldn’t will my birthday a month earlier.

As the election approached, I realized that a lot of my friends were planning not to vote. Mostly they were lazy, or busy; the registration centre was outside our campus bubble. A lot of people had been so swept up in first year stuff that they had no time to keep track of real world stuff. They didn’t know the issues, they told me, so why vote?

I do see the issue with uninformed voters casting ballots to whichever candidate’s name sticks best in their mind. I didn’t argue with them. At least they’re informed enough to know they don’t know, right? But that idea still didn’t feel right. Didn’t that drive them crazy? Didn’t they want to know? No matter what, I just couldn’t find a way to support someone’s excuse not to vote. I WISH I could vote, I kept lamenting. I momentarily thought about vote swapping, like Donna did on the West Wing when she accidentally voted Republican, only, in this case, I’d get someone to vote the way I would have voted because they didn’t care

This week when the news started up about a possible summer election, I started to feel excited while everyone else groaned. Sure, no one really wants an election – but when is a good time of year, exactly? For me, summer is perfect – I have more free time to stay up-to-date, I’m in my home riding, it’ll be easier to register when I have someone to drive me there. I even know where the neighbourhood polling station is.

But… who would I vote for? The more I think about it, the more I feel just as disenchanted as my peers. Sure, there are ideas that I believe in and I want to elect a government who shares my values, but the issues that are most important to me aren’t on the map. Because I’m a student. Because no one cares that I’m paying way too much money, money I don’t currently have, for my education so I can support them later. Because students don’t vote. And suddenly, I see it. There it is. It’s a vicious circle.

The US presidential election pulled it out last year with record numbers of students voting and participating in campaigning. One poll last October reported a ridiculous percentage of Canadians would give up their vote in the next Canadian election in order to vote in the American election. And here we are, standing in the shadow of the threat of a summer election with zero wind in our sails. You would think that the parties would have noticed by now how good it can get when you get students – or anyone – excited.

Maybe it’s a problem with our election system; because elections tend to be more reactionary, there’s less room for setting an agenda. Maybe we students need to get off our butts and be less apathetic and set the agenda. Maybe it’s impossible, at least for now. But I don’t want to lose interest, I want to have something to get excited about. I want someone to talk to me, not down to me. I want someone to fight for my vote. I want to feel like my vote is worth something to someone.

Who knows if there will be an election this summer – right now it seems like the Liberals are backing down. Who knows… and who cares.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The kind of thing that would happen to me.

When the meds ran out but the symptoms did not, I went back to the doctor. Just to be safe, he sent me for a CBC* (blood test) and a chest x-ray. The x-ray lady was very nice ("Is there any chance you're pregnant? OK. No pregnancy? Sure?") and the blood test lady was nice, but harried. She had to leave me with the strap on my arm to go deal with a minor disaster with another client. As she sat down to start over, I smiled and did that thing where I make a joke to lighten my nerves.

"Take two!" I smiled.

She looked confused... or busy. "Like in the movies," I added helpfully. I smiled and looked the other way while she stuck me with a needle.

When she was done, I turned back and she smiled back. "I took two vials," she said, "as instructed."

* When he said CBC, I was waiting for him to follow it with "chem-7, EKG and chest x-ray". Too much ER.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Previously recorded.

Here I am, sitting at my desk at four eleven on Friday afternoon. Forty-nine minutes to the weekend. I’m watching the minutes slide through the hour glass, I’m working for the weekend.

The project I’m finishing up is in final approvals with my boss, who is a hundred times too busy to get to it today. I have another project I could start… but… (really imagine the whine now) I don’t waaannnnnaaaa. Working to stall forty-five minutes, I pick up my iPod and hit shuffle.

Song number one: Procrastinator’s Fight Song by the Shout Out Outs. Perfect.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Gray days make gray moods

I didn't watch much (any) TV at school this year, and I was really hoping I could keep that up during the summer. Do lots of reading, accomplish goals... or something. I don't know. I've gotten way back into TV.

ER -- ER ended this year after a pretty incredible run on television. Fifteen seasons basically makes it the Coronation Street of NBC. Sure, not every season was stellar. Fifteen is a lot of seasons. When I heard it was ending, I had been off the train for a couple seasons, so my mom and I decided that this summer we'd start from the beginning. Back in the good ole' days of George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, and Sherry Stringfield. I recommend it to anyone if for nothing other than the "aawww" factor when Noah Wyle first walks on screen.

The Mentalist -- I haven't been watching this one by choice. Has anyone noticed these "The" shows that all sounds the same? "The Listener". "The Mentalist". The Mentalist is actually kind of fun. It makes a little fun of all those other "Criminal Minds" style shows. And Simon Baker is fun. Bu fun, I mean, incredibly attractive.

Slings and Arrows -- I have no idea what took me so long to finally watch this show, but I'm in love with it. It's so funny, and so Canadian without any snow, plaid shirts, or "eh"'s. And I love Mark McKinney.

Canada's Next Top Model -- Oh the drama. Oh the fun. Oh the Jay Manuel.

So You Think You Can Dance -- This show is my favourite part of summer TV. I love dancing (well, my own attempts at dancing) and I love inviting fabulous dancers into my living room. And this season's top 20 are phenomenal, every last one of them.

What are you watching this summer?

Thursday, 4 June 2009


I am so EXCITED! Congratulations Andrea, I can't wait to hear you on Vinyl Cafe!

For those of you who know me, Andrea is that singer from Ottawa I talk about whenever music comes up. She's awesome. And now maybe she can tell me if the skeezy rumours about Stuart McClean are true.

I bought her CD for my friend Mark who plays in New Providence and he wants to play a show with her. So, Andrea, if you're ever in Halifax, New Providence wants to play with you! I would be pretty excited.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

After making about a hundred innocent bystander travellers wince with swine flu fears, I decided it was time to hit the doctor and Deal With My Cough.

This cough reared its ugly head April 27th. I remember, because the night before I left Halifax (the 28th) I kept waking myself up coughing. It was annoying. When I got home, it grossed my parents out and made my co-workers wary. By last Tuesday, no one at work much wanted to be near me, and my boss sent me home early. I left Wednesday for my cousin's wedding, returned yesterday with no change.

"OK" said my mother, "let's go to the doctor."

I skipped out of work and spent an hour and a half at the clinic and picking up my prescription. No, you read correctly, I left my work, drove in the car to a clinic, waited, was seen, did a lung test to rule out asthma, got a prescription, filled the prescription and went back to work in 1.5 hours.

I used that fancy online wait time checker and went to an Appletree Clinic since I have no doctor. I was prepared for a bit of a wait even though the interwebs told me that the wait was 5 minutes. When I arrived, the waiting room was full of people but I have no idea what there were doing there. No sooner had I checked in ("No, my card never swipes in your machine and I prefer to make sure a real person puts me on a real list") and sat down, wearing one of those face masks you see everyone in China wearing on the news, when the friendly gu behind the counter called my name.

OK, I thought, here is the wait.

He pointed out a room to me, followed me in immediately and proceeded to take notes about my symptoms. "The doctor will be with you in a moment," he said, backing out.

One mississippi, two mississippi...

In walks the doctor. He simulataneously closes the door, pulls the ear-light-thing off the wall and asks me about my cough. It was the quickest appointment ever. "Have a nice life" he told me on my way out.

I was glad to get back to work, but I was sort of sad too. This man examined me, helped me, sent me on my way and I will likely never see him again. What about community? What about living two streets over from a GP who knows my mom and my neighbourhood and asks my dad how I'm doing while they wait for the bus? This is an old-fashioned picture, I guess, all Sepia-toned and corners curling, but I hold on to it. I'm more traditional and old-fashioned than most people would take me for, I think, and this is one of the ways.