Saturday, November 30, 2013

singalong! solsbury hill

Around the age of 19 I learned that listening to Peter Gabriel is (apparently) something a person is supposed to be embarrassed about.  I learned this because my sister wrote some kind of confession post on Myspace (because that was the thing at the time) about finally not being embarrassed about loving Peter Gabriel, and since one of my sister's primary areas of expertise is cool music, I figured she was on to something.

Now, make no mistake, I'm not, nor have I ever been, some massive Peter Gabriel fan.  I pretty much know his big hits and that's it.  I probably couldn't even name them all.  But oh man oh man, do I love the ones I know.  Especially Solsbury Hill.  One of the loveliest songs ever for sure.  I feel my heart boom boom boom every time he sings about his heart going boom boom boom, and not in a weird flirty/sexy way.  In a "this is what it's like to be human" way.  So sing along with Peter Gabriel, and feel no shame.  Because why would you?

Peter Gabriel

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
"Son," he said "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho' my life was in a rut
"Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" he said "Grab your things
I've come to take you home."
(Back home.)

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
They've come to take me home."

Friday, November 29, 2013

learning! the cost of being a single lady

All the single ladies, gather around.  If you're ready to start bopping and hopping about putting a ring on it (thank you, BeyoncĂ©*), perhaps continue along that path.  Turns out, being a single woman ain't cheap, and being married shares more than just a little lovin'.  It shares the costs of living in a very real way.

The folks at MintLife have done the math.  Check out their complete infographic in its informational glory here.

*I don't know about you, but whenever I hear the words "single ladies" I start singing Beyonce in my head.  Thanks to her, I also can't hear a reference to "putting a ring on it", going "to the left", or wondering if someone "can handle this", without getting her catchy tunes stuck in my head.

***Fun Fact: I scheduled this a while ago, but now, as you know from a few recent posts, I am now once again a single lady! Look at that, it's like I manifested it. (Note: I don't think that's why I'm single, also, technically I have always been legally single because, you know, you're either single or married according to the state (or should I say Crown in Canada?) and I'm as of yet, thankfully, unhitched.)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

break up survival: 9 ways to save your dear little heart

When you look at it objectively, there is something truly odd about the serial monogamy our society prefers: meet someone, slowly make them into the most important person in your life, share a level of intimacy that you share with no one else, and then cut it off and attempt to move on like it never happened until you find someone else to do it with.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we all jump on the polyamory train, nor really any other relationship model you can dip a hippie in. No matter what everyone who's read Sex at Dawn says, just because early societies may have been like that doesn't mean it will work today, nor is it the best way for humans to interact anymore. If you ask me, one person at a time is still the way to go, with the ultimate goal of finding one person to stick with until you die.

Of course, this means that you will occasionally (or frequently, depending on your patterns, although if that is your pattern you may want to get it "checked out" so to speak) either have to cut someone out or be cut out by them. And that's rough, pretty much always. From the sadness to the missing of this person who was (or was becoming) your best friend to the assumption that there will be no one else ever again, there are hurdles to jump. Now, every human person is different, but since I like to think about everything that happens in my life a couple (or a couple hundred) times over, I have some thoughts on what has helped me big time during these unfortunate break up times.

Photo by bunchofpants

One: Remember that every break up is different.

Just like every relationship is different because it's with a different person, every break up is different. My few break ups (I was a late bloomer in the dating world so I don't have many) have ranged from really hard/sad-but-for-the-better to rug-ripped-out-heart-stomped-but-I-still-love-him-so-I'll-offer-it-up-again-and-again. What I learned the second and third times around was that I couldn't expect the experience to be the same as the last one. This was especially important the second time, because that was the walk-all-over-me-in-case-you'll-love-me-again break up, and I thought I would still get over it in the same way I had my first, which included a lot of major personal revelations and feelings of empowerment. Those expectations of healing and empowerment did not help the process when I was feeling anything but, not at all.

So lesson one is to allow your experience to be what it is and not to expect yourself to feel any certain way at any certain time.

Two: Take necessary steps of avoidance on social media.

I'm not saying that you need to go and delete this person from your online life, although I don't know what happened in your relationship, so maybe that would be a good idea. What I'm suggesting is that you hide the "ex" from your Facebook newsfeed so that you don't have to see their crafted social media-self all the time, and maybe unfollow them on Instagram and Twitter. Protect your idle social media moments, and at least make it so that you have to intentionally seek them out instead of having them just pop up in your life.

Oh, and try really really hard not to look them up. If they are even semi-regular users of social media it will look like they're off being awesome and it will make things harder. Staring at their profile pictures is not going to help anything.

Photo by chopped_pork

Three: Talk about it.

I find that the more friends I tell about the break up, specifically the "why" and "how", the easier the whole thing becomes. The reasons and the events that lead up to the relationship ending hold less emotional power over me, and with each telling it becomes more of a story and less of a current emotional reality. Plus, friends are typically great for helping you feel good about your choice (if you did the breaking) or helping you see why you're better off without the so-and-so (or at least telling you that enough times that you might sort of start to think it might be true.)

I challenge you to be totally honest with at least a select number of trusted friends about how you're really feeling. Saying out loud that you're sure you'll die alone, that you pretty much don't want to get out of bed, that you can't imagine ever being happy again, or even that you're doing better than you expected, is truly beneficial. Again, by taking these thoughts and feelings out of the place you're hiding them in your heart and letting someone else see them, you take away some of their secret power over you. And then your friends will also be able to be truly helpful instead of stabbing around in the dark at random niceties.

Word of caution: you do want to avoid talking about it non-stop until your friends want to throttle you. Also, I suggest avoiding the ceremonial demonizing and vilifying of the ex. Sure, it might feel good in the moment, but unless they really were heinous, it's just not classy nor is it fair. Besides, you were dating them, so they must have some good qualities.

Four: Keep thy mind occupied!

Reflection is an important part of a relationship ending, for sure. Knowing what happened to your heart, what happened to theirs, and learning from your pain are all good things. Not right away though. Right away things are way too raw and way too likely to turn into horrible downward spirals of darkness and the emotional equivalent of damp, grimy burlap. I like to use a mixture of binge-watching television, reading, listening to podcasts and talk radio, attacking new projects, reconnecting to my spiritual practices, exercising, and lots of socializing to keep my thoughts from going to those dark burlap places as much as possible.

Photo by Kitsuné Espresso Bar

Five: Use music like a weapon.

I've already mentioned this in my last singalong post, but I am a big fan of using music strategically to help nudge your thoughts and feelings in the right direction. I know that wallowing is tempting, sometimes even necessary, and that hearing a song of heartbreak can make you feel like you're not alone. However, it can also pull you down in a major way and curl you up into a little black ball of death. This is an undesirable situation.

When I was going through the big time awful, heart-crushing break up, I made a playlist that I forced myself to listen to every day, sometimes more than once. It was full of songs that were upbeat, uplifting, and contained messages about being better off alone, having life after love, or that had always made me feel generally good. This was a hugely important part of my ability to go through each day, you can't even imagine.

Six: Keep the health-train going.

Drink water. Sleep. Eat some vegetables. Move your body around. At least, try to do all these things in between the serotonin-laced ice cream and feeling-dulling wine. There are physiological components to grief and when your body is trying to battle grief you make it way harder by putting a bunch alcohol and no-sleep in the way.

Seven: Try something new!

This relates to occupying your mind a bit, but what makes you feel like a complete and accomplished person more than doing something new?

Photo by Nicholas Swanson

Eight: Spend time with babies, animals, and/or nature.

There is magical healing power in being outside (in actual, un-manicured nature, if possible), holding babies, and playing with animals. Really.

Nine: Be honest with yourself.

When you are in a place to think things through, be honest with yourself. Be honest about how you feel. Be honest about why the relationship ended. Be honest about what you need. Be honest about what this is teaching you about yourself, and what you will need to learn in future relationships. Be honest about the parts you played in the relationship ending, as well as the bad signs you ignored in the early stages. This is where the whole learning and growing thing happens, and it really is big-time important. If doing it on your own seems daunting, bring a friend into the mix, or even a counsellor. Those people are good that this kind of thing and will be (gently) honest with you in a way your friends might not.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

inspiration! let it go

A good remembrance for this week. Let it go. (And then, if your brain works like mine, let the Beatles take it from there: "don't you know… If you feel like giving up, don't you know, life is tough, let it go!")

LET IT GO Banner by Ashley Brown Durand. (School House Electric)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

singalong! celebrating ladies with leslie knope (aka the best break up playlist of all time)

This week's singalong isn't just one song - it's an entire list. Specifically, Songza's list entitled Celebrating Ladies with Leslie Knope.

There are many reasons to be thrilled about Songza's extravaganza of positive ladies. I give you two:

First, Leslie Knope is one of the most wonderful, inspiring female characters on television who is fiercely feminist in the most positive and uplifting way a person could be. She is smart and fun and mayyyybe a little pushy, but only out of love. She also says "ovaries before brovaries", so, you know, score.

Second, this is one of the best playlists to listen to after a break up. I suspected this would be the case from the first time I discovered it, and have recently found this to be, in fact, true. (Which means that, yes, I am going through the whole "break up" thing right now - oh yay.)

I am a big believer in using music strategically to improve your life. I know it can be tempting to just revel in the pain during hard times, but I find that I get sucked into an abyss of darkness easily enough without sad songs to help me get there. During my last break up, which was of the true rip-my-heart-out-and-stomp-it-to-bits-while-I-offer-you-more-opportunities-for-the-same-type break up, I made a playlist of upbeat songs that I listened to at least once a day. This time, I realized I didn't need to - I had one offered up and waiting for me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

learning! halloween urban legends

Not really timely, but still, a cool article on the truth about the "Halloween Sadism" urban legends: The Terrifying Truth About Razorblades in Apples.  (Spoiler: the "terrifying" truth is that no one has done it.)

My favourite takeaways:

Out of all of history, the only time anyone has given away anything to trick-or-treaters at Halloween that was poisoned or tampered with was an old woman in the early sixties.  She gave rat poison and other such unfortunate substances to kids who she thought were too old to trick or treat, but (here's the kicker), she told them what she was giving them.  A terrible and mentally unstable thing to do for sure, but no trickery to speak of.

All other instances of poisoning on Halloween are terribly sad and targeted.  No strangers handing stuff out to kids at their door, just those horrific stories of adults giving poison to kids they know and care for.

The stories are all based on total fabrications, yet they continue to propagate to the point where kids today are being deprived of the awesome experience of getting free candy from their neighbours.  Why?  The article suggests that it's linked to the move from the rural to the urban - suddenly being crammed together with strangers and the fear and violence that comes out of that situation.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

inspiration! believe in the beard

Your weekly inspiration is brought by the lovely comics of Poorly Drawn Lines.  Just believe!

Now do the Inspiration! Wednesday dance.

Monday, November 18, 2013

cute! a boy and a puppy

My friend David came back to town and brought his puppy. They are so cute, both as individuals and a pair, don't you think?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

singalong! you are not alone

Sarah Slean is my gal.  I fell in love with her while I was still depressive high schooler, and immediately connected with her dark, mysterious, and evocative lyrics.  Now, like a true fan girl, I feel like our paths have actually been somewhat similar.  We both seemed to learn to love ourselves, life, and all that jazz at about the same time.  This is from her latest and is one of my New Slean Favourites.

Takeaway lyrics: "there isn't time for anything but mercy" and "nothing in the world is as it seems."  BEAUTIFUL!  LOVE IT!

You're Not Alone by Sarah Slean

endeavour to go into it
until sign appears
don't be afraid of anything
you are guided

it will never be as we imagine it
unless we imagine it to be
I wonder where you are now
I hear you calling me

I'm telling you you're not alone
a kind of light flows through it all
I hear a voice inside my own
like a waking dream
no you're not alone

you cannot see or listen to
the very heart of life
it isn't there, then suddenly
you feel it

going no direction it is everywhere
knowing every word it makes no sound
I was no believer
but I am certain now

certain that we're not alone
a kind of light flows through it all
I hear a voice inside my own
like a waking dream
no you're not alone

there isn't time for anything but mercy

everything is giving birth to everything
nothing in the world is as it seems
light upon the water,
that is the light in me
and it's telling me you're not alone
a kind of light flows through it all
I hear a voice inside my own
like a waking dream
and no you're not alone

Friday, November 15, 2013

learning! diy sunscreen

I love making my own beauty products (or even just getting back to the basics of using single, natural ingredients for beauty-type purposes), and I've always wanted to try making my own sunscreen.  I already know that one of coconut oil's magical properties is supposed to be sun-resistance, and apparently the only other things I'd need are olive oil, beeswax, and zinc oxide.

For actual instructions, learn from the brilliance known as The Secret Yumiverse.  Then let's try making this together, although perhaps we'll wait until a time of year when sunscreen becomes relevant once more?  (Unless you live in Australia, then maybe do it now.  Or maybe not - with the whole ozone issue you've got going on maybe you don't want to mess with your sunscreen?)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

inspiration! lindsey stirling (aka the most beautiful thing i have ever watched and maybe i'll just die now)

I have a confession.  A confession people who know me in real life are mostly aware of, but a confession none-the-less: I hate watching videos online.  Truly.  I do.  They interrupt my day. They interrupt whatever I was doing, because I'm always doing five things at once online, and if you watch a video you have to stop all the other things and turn off your music and just watch it, and everyone else in the office will hear what you're doing, and it's not like you'll get in trouble because they all do it too, but then they'll start asking what you're doing and come over to see and if it's good you'll have to start it all over and… Yes.  It's so terrible I just wrote the longest sentence ever.  Life is hard.

That was the lead up to this week's inspiration.  An inspiration so inspiring I bumped the inspirational post I had scheduled for this week because it couldn't wait.  Because I pressed play on this video fully intending to move on and listen to whatever it was in the background with 30% of my attention (because of my aforementioned hatred for watching videos online) and then sat, open mouthed, staring at the screen for four minutes.

I am listening to it again as I post this and it is a constant battle not to go back to the tab with the video in it. WHY DO I NOT HAVE MULTIPLE SCREENS FOR MY COMPUTER?   I used to think it was lame and pointless but now it all makes sense.

I don't even care that this is a promotional video for an NBC show (that I'm TOTALLY going to watch, by the by), Lindsey Stirling is the dark, creepy ballerina I always wanted to be, and she plays the violin at the same time and everything is so beautiful it hurts and makes me happy all at once.

Mega shout out to my friend Alex for posting this in a list of random-things-his-internet-ramblings-found-him on Facebook.

Then I read her website more.  Augh, this girl is so cool I'm going to have a girl-hate-crush on her rather swiftly.  (A girl-hate-crush, for those of you who don't know, is that perverse jealousy/hatred girls get for other girls who are so awesome we love them too much.  It's not great, but it comes from a good place to begin with.)  Except that she's actually so good she might join Sarah Slean in my realm of undying affection and sisterhood.  Look at her:

She's so flippin' cute!  And she's all savvy with the internet and the marketing, which I really appreciate as a marketing-type person (who can't bring herself to actually market herself ever and only does it for others in a remotely effective way).

AUGH!  I can't decide if I'm inspired to do more with myself now or actually want to give up on life.  No.  No.  NO, Andrea.  Stick with it.  Don't give up.  Be inspired.  Okay.  I choose inspired.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

this really gets my goat: fitness quotes on pinterest

Most of the people I follow on Pinterest are friends who are mostly into cooking, baking, and crafting.  It's a wonderful and harmonious online existence.  I post recipes, they post recipes.  I post DIY how-tos, they post DIY how-tos.  They also post a lot of make up ad nail polish stuff I'm not into, but hey, to each their own.

There are a few folks, though, who are all into the whole fitness thing.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love fitness.  I am a certified yoga instructor, I grew up taking dance, and enjoy walking as much as possible.  Having a body that can actually do things is awesome, and the feeling of making your body do things is also awesome.

What gets my goat, then?  These fitness inspiration quotes they're all into posting.  Most of them are just pictures of supermodel sized girls with cheese-pirational quotes about not giving up.  Not a huge fan, but whatevs.  The ones that bug me are as follows.

Crop #1: The "We're Not Motivating You With Skinniness" Images of Lies

Really?  Your argument would be MUCH MORE CONVINCING if the girls weren't all super skinny.  These aren't even just thin, healthy-looking girls.  They are superstar, celebrity, Hollywood skinny.  It's just kind of insulting.

Here's the thing: I have a friend,  her name is Tammy and she is the strongest woman I have every met.  She also has a gorgeous bod, and it is not supermodel-thin.  You know why?  Because she has full-sized muscles under her skin.  Muscles that are actually functional and don't exist purely for the sake of making her look hot.  There is a difference, ask anyone with functional strength and they'll tell you.  Showy muscles are kind of useless.

Then there's this crop. The "Ignore Your Pain and Potentially Damage Your Body Forever" Images:

These images wreak of the kind of logic used by people with eating disorders.  They are actually dangerous.  Fun fact: when your body is in pain that is because you are getting hurt.  Hurt, as in damaged, as in (if you're into this whole crossfit thing) potentially life-threateningly, irreparably damaged.

I get what they're trying to say.  They're trying to say that just because working out is hard and not necessarily comfortable doesn't mean you should stop.  I agree completely.  When you push yourself, it's going to be uncomfortable, and it's going to be hard.  Sometimes you're going to want to stop because you're not used to the feeling of moving for more than 5 minutes.

There is a difference between discomfort and pain.  Discomfort happens when you change a habit and your body isn't used to it.  Sort of like how it used to hurt to sit hunched over a chair all day, and then your body got used to it.  Reversing that trend feels weird at first too.  Discomfort is the feeling of "I want to stop."

Pain, on the other hand, is a bad sign.  Shortness of breath is a bad sign.  Your body telling you it needs to stop is something that should be listened to.  If you are crawling, falling, puking, crying, and bleeding your way through your workout YOU NEED TO STOP.

One of the greatest strengths we can have is recognizing the difference between "I want to stop" and "I need to stop".  Pain, falling, shortness of breath, blood, puking, or anything else in that realm is a bad sign, and pushing through it is not a sign of strength.  It's lying and it's weak.

Finally, there's this gem:

The first time I saw this I let out a giant sigh.  There are so many things wrong with this.

1) Is that photoshopped?  She looks scary skinny.  That waistline, the way her hips are shaped, those tiny arms.  They don't even look real.

2) Unreal body sizes don't make great goals.

3) 6 months???  Maybe if you're already practically that size.  If you are a regular-looking woman and expect yourself to look like a creepily-proportioned android in 6 months that is going to take a truly unhealthy level of dedication.  Like the kind of dedication outlined in the super-dangerous pictures above.

Just, please, just don't.

Monday, November 11, 2013

remembrance day

Today is Remembrance Day, if you're a Canadian-type person.

For a long time I had a sort of ambivalence towards Remembrance Day.  Probably due, at least in part, to the fact that I grew up in a Mennonite (and thus pacifist) family.  We didn't really emphasize war or fighting, and I don't have any descendants who served.  Then in high school I was a pretty stubborn, "damn the man, save the empire" type youth who liked to be anti-establishment with my beliefs, which definitely played a part.

At our Remembrance Day assemblies in school, I felt little to no connection with the aged veterans who would come and sit at the front of the room.  It all felt so far away.  Yes, during the moment of silence I would feel some sense of sadness or honouring of the people who died, but their sacrifice seemed, honestly, like a given.  Perhaps it's just because in a sense it was - it had happened, there was no longer any question of that.  It was a part of history.  I didn't see their turmoil, their question, or the circumstances that lead them to choose to enlist, nor the sadness or sacrifice in those they left behind.

Another factor were the movies, where war was often presented as a time of swing dancing, cool music, and smartly-dressed people swilling whiskey while they decided to get married or have sex for the first time.  The men in the movies were confident about what they were doing, they weren't afraid or conflicted.  They were young and cocky and their brides (or gals) expressed confident pride in their fellah's actions.  Some of the men didn't come back, but of course that was part of the perfectly arced tragedy.  It was a story.

Then, when I was in high school, the war in Afghanistan began.  That's when I went to protests for peace and defiantly chose not to wear a poppy so as not to be part of the "war machine".  I didn't wish ill of the troops, but considered them as more or less objects of sympathy.  People who, for whatever reason, had life circumstances that made them think enlisting was their only option.  People who believed they were doing good, and thus obviously had less independent thought than I did.  I certainly wanted them all to come home alive, but I mostly wanted them all to come home, period.

After a while I grew up some, I realized that war is more complex than all of that.  That people who served and fight deserve more than just my sympathy, and that being a cheeky brat about poppies was a) not changing anything and b) really insulting.

I also realized that my grandparents met in Ottawa, far away from their prairie homes, because they were giving alternative forms of service to the war effort.  They were pacifists, so they didn't fight, but they didn't neglect their country in its time of need.  My other grandpa actually tried to enlist but was rejected due to his eyesight.

That shook me enough to help me step back from my militant anti-military stance.  I stopped spouting so much insensitive mumbo-jumbo and started being much more thoughtful around what Remembrance Day could actually mean.  I still felt a strong disconnect from the wars of times gone by and my life now (or, rather, then), however.

The big change happened when I met some veterans.  Just like how, upon attending university and making friends with gay people, I learned that they aren't all on the non-stop sextravaganza-bound-for-hell that my youth group had lead me to believe, I also learned that I couldn't really "type" those who chose to fight in the army, nor what military life was like.

First of all, it was a bit of a head trip for me to apply the term "veteran" to someone who wasn't over 80 years old.  These guys are young, younger than me, in fact, and they are veterans of war.  They went to Afghanistan, fought, and came home.  Yikes.  That's pretty huge.

The second thing I learned was that people who join the army are not all brainwashed goons who have no personality or subtlety of thought, and who are kind of unnecessarily aggressive all the time.  These guys are funny, intelligent, and quippy.  We bonded over a mutual love for Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and games nights, for Pete's sake!

The Canadian military is also not quite the brainwashed masses we hear about all the time, at least not the branches my friends were a part of.  It was explained to me that everyone out there knows what their supervisor's objective is, as well as their supervisor's supervisor's objective, and so on up to four levels.  They are supposed to follow orders, yes, but if the poo hits the fan and those orders don't apply to the situation anymore, they are supposed to use their brains and the knowledge they have of what's going on around them, and try to achieve that objective.

My third lesson was that there is a lot of variation in what it means to serve overseas.  They aren't all running around with big guns shooting the bad guys, and maybe some innocents, in between high fives.  There are a host of different jobs and positions a person can have and they are jobs that require skill and intelligence.  They take a lot of training, and not just the jumping-through-tires-crawling-under-wires type, although that's important too.

The fourth thing I learned (and perhaps this war is different from WWI and WWII in this regard because of how the war is generally perceived in society) is that these guys aren't swashbuckling young so-and-so's who come back bragging of their exploits overseas.  They rarely, if ever, discuss what they did or went through over there.  I presume because they don't really want to.  And, I'm sure in some cases, aren't allowed to.

Sure, apparently most young bucks who come back from the war think their uniform is a free pass to get some booty, and are quite let down then they realize it isn't so.  I'm also sure that when they all get together the war stories get rolling, because it's a good thing to be with a group of people who have been through what you've been through and share your experiences.

I've heard relatively few stories from the war, and mostly what you might consider the "blooper reel" - you know, the time someone fell down a sand dune in full gear and looked like an idiot in front of some troop they wanted to impress or what-have-you.  They don't use their daring exploits as fodder for parties, and I can only assume that's because they don't really want to.  Or maybe because they know that a lot of people here aren't so into the whole "war stories" thing because there's a lot of people who aren't fans of this current war.  Either people like me,or people like how I used to be.  People who (and I am actually quoting someone I know here) think they should all go "fuck off an die."  Yikes.

Which brings me to "the thing": when they came back, they needed support.  They had some huge experiences that changed them and the way they saw the world.  They needed to figure out how to have a life at home, how to get work, make new friends, and just how to live, in Canada.

Veterans need support.  Whatever reason they went to fight, whatever state they come home in, they need help now and they need to know that their home nation doesn't think they're a bunch of jackasses who did something only worth feeling kind of sorry for.

I still believe in peace.  I still want all those folk to come home because every single life lost is a tragedy, whether it's lost to the grave or because of an experience they can't recover from.  Deep down, I feel there must be a better way, a better story that we can tell of humanity than killing each other.

I also now consider Remembrance Day and everything that goes along with it a part of that belief.  Peace is about seeing people for who they really are, honouring that, and, if they need it, helping them.  It's about doing your part, whatever that part is, to promote healing.  It's not about banding together with people who share your views or making loud, protesty statements.  That's what war is about.

So to any other pacifists out there who are unsure about participating in Remembrance Day, who want to wear white poppies or no poppies in protest, or who want to shout from the rooftops that war is not the way: today is not the day.  Today is about people, and if you think all human life should be honoured, then spend today honouring every human life, including those who made different choices than you.

cute! under the bed

I came across this cute cute picture quite some time ago on Apartment Therapy's website, and it just much be shared! It was originally a part of a "what's under your bed" survey. All I can do is be sad that I don't have a little deer grove and cottage under my bed.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

singalong! i love it

I just plain super duper love this song and it makes me want to dance until my body breaks.

I Love It by Icona Pop

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone. 
I crashed my car into the bridge. 
I watched, I let it burn. 
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs. 
I crashed my car into the bridge.

I don't care, I love it. I don't care. 

 I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone. 
I crashed my car into the bridge. 
I watched, I let it burn. 
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs. 
I crashed my car into the bridge. 

 I don't care, I love it. I don't care. 

You're on a different road, 
I'm in the Milky Way 
You want me down on earth, but I am up in space 
You're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch 
You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch 

 I love it! I love it! 

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone. 
I crashed my car into the bridge. 
I watched, I let it burn. 
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs. 
I crashed my car into the bridge. 

I don't care, I love it. I don't care, I love it, I love it. I don't care, I love it. I don't care. 

You're on a different road, 
I'm in the Milky Way 
You want me down on earth, but I am up in space 
You're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch 
You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch 

I don't care, I love it. I don't care, I love it, I love it. I don't care, I love it. I don't care, I love it, I love it. I don't care. I love it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

learn! science-y productivity

This article on Seven Simple productivity tips you can apply today, backed by science is a good one for keeners like you and me.

Brief summary (without their science-y explanations):

1) Help someone else
(I like anything that starts with looking outside yourself!)

2) Develop a daily routine
(That theoretically doesn't need to begin at 4am like this nutter.)

3) Deal with something only once
(This is the main one I've implemented so far - or tried to - instead of reading an email, thinking about it, setting it aside, picking it up again, blah blah, just do whatever you need to do right then, or add a relevant item to your to-do list or calendar.  Done.)

4) Take a nap
(I struggle with the concept of napping, but science is starting to convince me to give it a go.  We'll see.)

5) Keep a journal with you at all times
(I've tried versions of this with a gratitude journal and it radically changed my outlook on life.  Do it!)

6) Learn to use the word "no" more effectively
(Like maybe by using the word "don't"?)

7) Avoid the snooze button once and for all.
(Yeah!  It's for suckers.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

inspiration! LSO play

The London Symphony Orchestra has done it for real this time.  (Because, apparently, they were faking it up until now?)  They have an amazing new website, LSO Play, where you can experience the orchestra through live interactive cameras.

It's ridiculous.  And super duper inspiring.  Both on the level of being a human being (music!  Talent!), but also as a person who works in marketing for an arts organization.  What a clever and magical way to get people to interact with an art form considered "old" and "stuffy" by many.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

how to avoid being perceived as an odd fool: the 'know your words' edition

Sometimes I use words without quite knowing what they mean.  You know, like when you can recognize a word in a sentence, have a general idea of how it's used, but couldn't actually define it.  Unfortunately, this practice can lead to instances of using words that mean something totally different than you ever intended.

For years I've been using the word "finangle".  I used it in the context of sort of haphazardly putting something together to make it work.  Example sentence: "Can we just finangle something together to make this work?"  (Great example, right?  I know, I know, I'm a wordsmith.)

Then, not that long ago, I was trying to type that word into an email.  A professional email.  But the super-annoying autocorrect kept changing the word to "finagle".  After trying to change it back three times and having it forcefully correct itself back to finagle*, I finally figured maybe my computer was on to something.  Maybe I'd been misspelling/mispronouncing this word for years.  As a person who likes to be slightly pretentious about her use of the English language, this would be horrifying.

The result, I'm afraid to admit, was much worse.

Here is what I learned when I looked up "finagle" in the Miriam-Webster dictionary.

Okay, that's not what I wanted to communicate when I used this word. I never meant to imply trickery or dishonesty, but more of a bumbling "let's just figure something out so this doesn't fall apart right now" intention.

Then I thought, hey, maybe "finangle" is still a word, but my computer is being stubborn. Let's look that word up too.  The only definition came up in the Urban Dictionary.

Hmmmm…. yeah, no.  Ick.  No.  Creepy.

So when I suggested that we finangle together a solution for a kitchen device that wasn't working, or that we finangle a new option for an advertising campaign we couldn't afford at work, what I was actually suggesting was that we stroke (or pluck?) at it in a decidedly and weirdly sexual context.

Do people really do this?  Give each other a fro of pubic hair on the rear end?  I know that the generally accepted idea in the world of kinks is that if you can think of it, someone enjoys it, but, well, hmmmm….

So today's lesson in not being perceived as a odd fool is to look up what words actually mean if you don't know.

*Do you ever imagine our computers giving over-the-top sighs and eye rolls when we keep making the same mistakes over and over?  Because I do.

Monday, November 4, 2013

cute! kitty eyes

Hey look! It's a different cat. My friend's little one who I was cat-sitting for and just had the cutest eyes. (I'm using past-tense not because the cat is dead, but because they were fostering through VOKRA and the little cutesy-face got adopted!)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

singalong! total eclipse of the heart

Here's my favourite karaoke song of all time. The most non-sensical, melodramatic tale of heartbreak (love?) of all time!

Turn around, every now and then
I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round
Turn around, every now and then
I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears

Turn around, every now and then
I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by
Turn around, every now and then
I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes

Turn around, bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turn around, bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

Turnaround, every now and then
I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild
Turnaround, every now and then
I get a little bit helpless and I'm lying like a child in your arms

Turnaround, every now and then
I get a little bit angry and I know I've got to get out and cry
Turnaround, every now and then
I get a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes

Turnaround bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turnaround bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever

And we'll only be making it right
'Cause we'll never be wrong

Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna to start tonight
Forever's gonna to start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
Now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart

Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Turnaround, bright eyes
Turnaround, bright eyes

Turnaround, every now and then
I know you'll never be the boy you always wanted to be
Turnaround, every now and then
I know you'll always be the only boy who wanted me the way that I am

Turnaround, every now and then
I know there's no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you
Turnaround, every now and then
I know there's nothing any better, there's nothing that I just wouldn't do

Turnaround bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Turnaround bright eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever

And we'll only be making it right
'Cause we'll never be wrong

Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
Now I'm only falling apart
nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart

Once upon a time there was light in my life
now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

A total eclipse of the heart
A total eclipse of the heart
Turn around, bright eyes
Turn around, bright eyes

Turn around

Friday, November 1, 2013

learn! google

First of all, learn this: Fill the Silence is an awesome Tumblr full of fun facts.  It's fantastic.  Here's one that made me do a mental double-take.