Thanks be to Thee

Every Thanksgiving in our church, we gather up the harvest of the year in the form of vegetables, fruit, brightly coloured and creatively formed gourds, pumpkins, and squash, preserves, bread, sunflowers, mums, and brilliantly painted fall-leaf garlands. We then place them lovingly on the altar, bringing thanks to God like the people of old (except, no burning sacrifices - fire codes, and such, have changed slightly since biblical times).

I love Thanksgiving. A time devoted especially to saying Thank You, geninuinely, which, in my opinion, is a lost art. You either say thank you all the time or you don't, and both run the risk of losing the gracefulness of paying homage to someone that has done something for you. My husband, when he served behind that gloriously decorated altar on Thanksgiving morning, said that when you say "Thank you" you're really saying "I love you for what you've done for me." And it could be small, like scanning your groceries at the check-out, or it could be big, like being a surrogate for a family who can't conceive. The beauty of thank you is that for one moment you get to humble yourself, bow figuratively, and say, "I love that you took the time to do this for me." How beautiful of a season, how eloquent of a holiday, and how necessary it is to remember to do this, everyday every chance you get.

After this tradition of decorating the altar, though, is the bringing down of the plenty, which has it's own beautiful symmetry. We lay things on the altar to say thank you and then remove them when we're done, passing them onto people who need the food, need the love, need the thank you for the year past.

Some things, though, aren't needed. In fact, they are almost luxurious in quality. Like pumpkins or brightly coloured squash of every variety. Tasty? Yes. Proof of God's imagination? Yes. Necessary? Not like potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and grapes. These items are a struggle to get rid of. As a faith that does not celebrate Hallowe'en, we have trouble moving things that others would snatch and carve in a heartbeat.

One sister at church, elderly, wise, and crusty beyond belief, came up to me, trying to sell me a large pumpkin.

"Julia, you know what I used to do? I used to take pumpkin, cook it, mash it, measure it out, and then freeze it. You can have pumpkin all year!" She looked at me like she had just unlocked a homemaking treasure, one that would lift me above the heartache of dishes and cleaning and dusting and cooking.

What could I say to her? I had taken 6 pumpkins and had done just that last week with the leftovers from a Sunday School craft and had 4 pumpkin-pie measurements in my tiny, one-bedroom-apartment-fridge-freezer already. I had no room for a huge, regular size pumpkin.

So what did I say? I told her just that, that I would, if I could, but I can't.

What should I have said, in the spirit of things?

Thank you, for that advice. For giving me a moment of 80 years of wisdom that comes from raising 8 children, all of whom are still faithful to God's work. For wanting to share that with me, a newbie in the world of all things homemakerish.

I hope next year I can take the time to tell her thank you, to say "I love you" in a way that means so much more than, "I know."


And the verdict is...

My job has ended.

And not because they hate me but because they've run out of work.

So it's back to the "find a job" grindstone.

And back to the panic. And the hurt. And the desperate need for faith.

See you on the flip side, hopefully with better news than this.



I am so scared.

I just handed in my first huge project. Not just for this employer, but in my WHOLE LIFE. And I have never been more nervous than I am right now.

Because I'm on contract. And currently that contract only goes until July 31. And then it ends. Just. Like. That.

And then I'll be unemployed, which is no good.

Not just because it is unemployment, but because I don't know if I can handle the stress of being unemployed again.

At the beginning of our marriage (and the months leading up to our marriage), my husband and I were both unemployed, which made doing things like living very, very difficult. With the help of God and our family and friends, we survived the 8 months of marriage with no money, although at the end I think I can honestly say that I knew what drowning must feel like. But I think that drowning would actually be mercifully much quicker.

Of course, our unemployment was brightened for two months by the employment from HELL, where I went home in tears every day and was scared out of my mind for two months. Because everything I did was wrong, stupid, and not good enough. It didn't matter that I just did everything I was told to do, or that the managers weren't so, um, good at their job. It mattered though that I was dumb, dumb, dumb. And in the end, who can argue with logic like that?

I could!

After being with the company I am now, which we will call the Dream Company, for 6 months, I can honestly say I'm not dumb. And my work is respected. And my opinion is respected. And my degree is respected. And my brain is respected. And most importantly I am respected. Which does wonders for a girl's ego, let me tell you.

But this project is still the biggest I've ever done and is still the most involved that I have ever accomplished. And it has also taken FOREVER.

Ay, there's the rub.

The amount of time I was given for the project had to be extended. A lot. And now that it is finally in, I hope that is worth all of those extensions. And that my boss will see it that way.

Because if he doesn't, I'm in trouble. And on July 31, when my contract could go either way, I know which way it will go.

And then I'll be dumb again. And unemployed. And that is the most terrifying thought ever.


Drinking girls

Last night a young mother died after being hit by a drunk driver, while walking on the sidewalk. Her toddler son is now in critical condition, fighting for his life in a children's hospital, as he was with her at the time. They were walking home at 8 p.m. after flying a kite.

And all the while girls like Nicole Richie are fighting their drunk driving charges because although she was driving on the highway, in the WRONG DIRECTION, she should be above the law. And although Paris Hilton has driven drunk more than once, she should NEVER have been in jail because she is an heiress.

And of course, I'm sure the family of the dead mother and the very hurt little boy will tell the man who killed and maimed that he is also above the law.

Because what harm can it do to drive drunk?

May that family find the peace and comfort and support they need. And may rich, stupid celebrities who drive drunk stop being so stupid.

I mean, what's worth more? Their freedom or the lives of that mother and son and their loved ones?

That shouldn't be a hard question. In fact, it shouldn't be a question at all.



At work today, the nicest guy ever retired. He worked his last day for the rest of his life, or as long as he lasts in retirement before going crazy and picking up where he left off.

And as I sit there, a mere five months into my first, real, grown-up job (we won't count that awful experience from before - it never happened, got it?), I can't even imagine what that would feel like.

I have a feeling, though, that it won't feel as victorious and freeing as I imagine, sitting here bogged down with deadlines and too much work. I imagine it might feel kind of lost and maybe even a bit hard. Because how do you turn off a lifetime of something? Not easily.

But as I sit with my deadlines, crunching me as I come upon this long weekend (Happy Birthday, Canada!), I am imagining it to feel victorious and freeing, because that is what will get me through the next 40 years of deadlines and crunching.

Happy Retirement, Bill! May it be long, fantastic, and filled to the brim with good health and life. :)



Somedays it's hard to breathe.

Hard to take a breath big enough to reach into the bottom of my lungs, filling them to capacity, puffing my chest out, and giving my body enough oxygen.


This past little while has felt a lot like that. I have been really, really, really busy lately, and everything in me just wants to lay down and sleep until I'm all out of sleep. And then get up and relax, doing stuff I actually want to do, not just stuff that is scheduled, and then oversheduled, and then triple scheduled (who ever heard of a stag and doe, and a part-time job, and Father's day on ONE FREAKING WEEKEND???).

Every new entry on the calendar feels like another puncture in my lungs, stopping me from breathing, from living, from enjoying. I feel burnt out. Again.

This feeling is not new or different from any other time that I've burnt myself out, but this time I feel like I have no way out. I feel as though this kind of thing could carry on forever and I don't know how to stop it. At least at school I could calculate, down to the minute, the moment that I would experience relief. Exams and due dates will help you do that. But in a grown-up life, where I get to "pick" my activities, it just doesn't work that way.

My husband says I should just tell them all no. No to your committee, to your brilliant idea, to your cause, to my God. Just say no.

That is the hardest thing to do. Even as I type this, picturing myself saying no, my stomach is tying in knots.

I keep saying that I don't know how. I'm not sure how to turn it all off, find peace, and refrain from participating. The troubling thing is I don't think anyone can teach me either.

So here I sit, slowly getting swallowed up whole by my schedule, slowly getting eaten alive, and all I can do is pray I can make it through the next thing without getting mad, freaking out, and potentially killing a friendship or seven.

Deep breaths, right? That will help?

I think I need more.

At the very least I know I'm in trouble. I mean, anyone who can fall blisfully asleep, complete with snoring, during deep tissue massage therapy 2 sessions in a row, because it is the only time that person is allowed to stop and close their eyes and just be, needs some downtime, right?



Why not?

An English major by trade, I have been trained to read the good stuff. Like a wine connoisseur, I can sniff out the books that will pack a punch for me and the books that will leave me wanting more and hating the fact that I've wasted my time.

There are, however, times where I will delight in reading something that's not completely heady, but sincerely well-written. In my humble opinion, and this is only my opinion, I love the Emily Giffin books Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and now, which I have just started reading, Baby Proof.

The premise of Baby Proof is this: Claudia, a 30-something woman, doesn`t want children. She knows she will not be the mother that she should be and she makes the decision to not have the bouncing babies society tells her she should. This, of course, puts her in a tight spot to find a mate. Eventually, though, she finds her soul mate, Ben. He is perfect and, to top it all off, he also doesn`t want children! A match made in publishing heaven.

They get married and are enjoying the single life when all of a sudden Ben wants babies. This of course throws their whole marriage off-course.

Now, I am a firm believer of making babies. I want them. Ask my husband - I ask for them ALL THE TIME. And although I know that waiting until we move out of our apartment and we have bought our own house with our own space is the best plan for baby-making, (which I heartedly agree with), I still WANT them. NOW. My poor husband. Anyway, I digress.

In the book, Claudia postulates the following question as she is getting bombarded with Ben's protests and arguments, and her best friend's concern: Why, when a woman says 'I don't want children,' immediately everyone asks, "Why not?" but when a woman says "I want children," everyone just understands?

That, I think, is a fantastic question. Why do we do that? I think there are a couple of really good spin-offs to this question.

Of course, the feminist rant comes first.

We harp and harp about women having choice - you can pick a) babies! or b) career! or c) BOTH, but in essence, we are only really offered option c.

If you only choose to have babies and no career, watch as the noses of people who are more professionally-minded start to stick up. Their mantra of career, career, career suddenly gets so resounding you can't hear anything else. Why would you choose raising your children over a fulfilling, rewarding, independent, freedom- and power-filled career? Why???

I remember getting a lot of these looks in just choosing marriage over grad school when I finished my degree. Why wasn't I heading up the mountain of success, and why on earth was a strapping myself to a man??

Well, have you seen my husband?

In all seriousness, I chose what would make me happy long-term, what I wanted, and what I have loved every second of since. Obviously, snooty career-snobs, I made the right choice FOR ME.

If you choose only career, though, like Claudia, you become the anti-mother, shunning all things maternal and gooey. How could you be so cold? So selfish? How could you give up your crowning achievement - your offspring?

Women fought for choice, but it certainly is portrayed that if you don't choose career-woman with 4 kids, you're picking stay-at-home drudgery or workaholic egocentric land. There is no choice. Let's be honest - we fought hard to "have it all" as defined by others, not to be realistic or aware of our very basic wants and needs.

Whoo. Feminist rant gone. Next order of business - BAD mothers.

We all know people who shouldn't have children. We watch them use, abuse, ignore, and forget their children. We watch them mistreat them or not treat them at all. We watch them as their children grow up to be the worst versions of themselves because their parents couldn't get it together long enough to teach them to be and express the best versions of themselves. And we cringe when we hear that they are pregnant. AGAIN.

And we all know people who would make fantastic parents. Give them a baby and it just starts purring. We all know them. And sadly, these star parents-in-training can't have children, for whatever reason. Can't procreate because reality is a big meanie.

And we wonder why?

What if each person who wanted children asked themselves, why? Why do I want kids? Why do I want to bring children into this world? And if they were honest about it, I think that people wouldn't have babies so quickly.

I know of a couple who are having huge marital trouble. They need to fix a lot of holes before they can call their relationship healthy. And yet, she wants children so badly. And she doesn't want to wait. And she has actually said that it's not fair that she's ready but he's not - why should she wait for him when she can have what she wants NOW. Because she wants it NOW.

But, as the age old war cry states, what about the children? How many kids are born into this kind of environment? And they're not just "kids," but human beings with rights and freedoms and purpose. Don't they deserve their best shot?

Which is why my husband and I aren't having babies now (even though I ask relentlessly, and I'm so sorry to make you be the stronger guy). We are waiting to give our children the best shot, not just any shot.

And the next time someone says, "I want children," I think I'll ask them, why? Why kids? Why you? And maybe a child won't be born without some thought behind it.

Because children are more than worth a second, third, fourth thought. And then they are worth your best. Always.


Rest and Peace

Sarah Toller
February 7, 1977 - June 12, 2007

To Sarah,

Rest and be peaceful.

To Derek and family,

I'm so sorry. Let peace and comfort be with you in this time of mourning. I hope you find light again.


Observations from a coffee shop

Out on a field trip again today...enjoying the coffee shop working day.


On the way to work, as we sped along the on ramp to the highway, I noticed that the once bare hill that banks the left side of the ramp is now covered with long, skinny, shiney grass - the kind that picks up the light in a wave formation. As we flew by, it danced and shimmered, picking up the summer light, showing off its growth and greeness. It was a moment of nature among the hustle of highway, cars, contruction, and gridlock. I'm sure if the windows were open to let in the smell of pollution and "forward thinking," the moment would be ruined - but of course we had our earth-sucking air conditioning on, like any good citizen would.


The wind is here too, at the coffee shop, making the trees that were planted the day that the building was finished dance and play. They're tall and thin, showing off their delicate age still. Teenage trees that frolic, their rounded, full heads of hair bouncing around, nodding and looping, flirting and reaching to the sky, just as young people should. Enjoy, enjoy, but reach and soar. And if for one moment you forget that the trees are lining roads and parking lots, and if for one moment you pretend that you are in a field, carpeted with natural grasses, wild flowers, and unicorns, you can imagine that the trees are as happy as the wind makes them look.


Older people look so worthy to me - they don't look cocky and arrogant like young people, who feel like they know everything, while making ignorant decisions; they don't look like the middle group, of spit and polished corporate workers, or laid back relaxed corporate workers. They look refined, worked, weathered, strong, and calm. They don't have the nervous energy of youth, who can't sit still, who have to keep moving, keep busy, keep jiggling, keep up the facade of "I know!" They don't have the loud confidence of cologned and perfumed 30-somethings. They have the look of quiet power, of quiet knowing. I want that. I want, when I have reached an age to consider retirement, that kind of simplicity and wisdom.

Saw a woman on the way to work today - she had a shock of white gray hair, cropped short in a very hip way. She must have been 55. She was fit and was wearing a bright sundress, walking up the street with confidence and poise. Sunglasses, class. But then a peek at her bra under her arm mid-stride - not flashy, not patterned, not black. Pure white - the show of care for her clothes, for her bras, for the colour white. You know her mother told her to care for her undergarments. You just know. And you know that she listened now. And she may not have before, but now she knows, this is true. And she walked like she knew, but didn't have to tell anyone. Lovely. Perfect. My wish.

Man in the coffee shop who is tall, with white hair and conservative glasses. He is carrying a satchel, which could hold a computer, maybe. But instead he pulls out paper and a pen - old school. And he sits there, quietly, alone, working and thinking. Reading. Absorbing. And you know this is something he has perfected over the years. And his knowing is there too - as he watches the younger polished and the younger casual workers, chat and be excited, with their oversized coffees and laptops and cell phones (yes, me too). And he has a small coffee, a small notebook for notes, and a book open on his lap. And he knows, but we don't need to know that. Because he knows. Solid. Wise. My wish.


I want to be skinnier. Not in a starved way, but in a fit way. I want there to be a graceful curve to my neck, not rolls. I want my belly to be flat so when I'm pregnant you'll see my bump, not just exaggerated chub. I want gorgeous legs, or at least the the little bit of leg that I do have be fantastic. I want it. And I will get it if I get my round bottom off of the couch and out into the world.


Gentleman beside me recently lost his job. As I write about bankruptcy, where one of the main reasons people go bankrupt is because they've lost their job, my stomach hurts for him. He has a girlfriend and no job. Remembering my husband's and my unemployment I feel for him. The frustration, the worry. I have to breathe more...and remember that his plight is not mine. But I do hope that he finds a resolution sooner, rather than later. Hope, hope, hope.


Sleepy-headed boy, nodding off in a comfy chair. Brings back memories of when I was in school and I would head for the basement of Dana Porter Library, sink into one of their comfy chairs, and study and doze the day away, getting more work done than anywhere else. Granted, this groggy lad doesn't have any books with him, but he looks about the age that everyone assumes has the most energy. Truth be told, the most energy requires the most sleep. I miss the sleep of my university years, the frequent napping, and the flexible schedule. But the homework? That I will never miss. EVER.
Paris Hilton is going back to jail after she was released. Apparently, being Paris Hilton is not as glamorous as it seems in the photographs. Her head tilt, her model body, her sex on the internet, her television show, and all of her inheritance isn't saving her. And although the world is crowing about how awesome it is that justice is being done, don't you feel a little sorry for her? Not for going to jail and not for getting what she deserved, but rather for the fact that she has deluded herself into thinking she has real love in the world? That in her hour of need, the media-hooked-up world is calling for her hanging? Not petitioning that she be let go?
Can you imagine how isolating that must feel? Thinking you are beloved and then finding out you are reviled?

That would be awful. That's the part I feel bad for...her ignorance. And how stupid of her parents for supporting her delusions. For telling her she is loved. For telling her she is worth the world. For telling her that she is a celebrity. For telling her that she is precious. For telling her all that and then not mentioning that love only works unconditionally with her parents, not for the rest of the world. That she has to contribute and be something bigger than herself and her riches.
Poor, Paris. I hope she can see past her delusions in prison and figure out who she really is and who she really wants to be. Best case scenario? She does some soul-searching and finds a charitable, compassionate human being, instead of a cold celebutante.
Can you imagine a world where Paris is human and not fake? Where she practices humanity instead of toxicity? That will be a better world for her.
Now if only we could toss George Bush into jail, along with all of his idiot advisors. Those guys deserve to do some serious time. Stop killing the world - start making it a better place. Please.


Last night

Last night my sister collapsed, was unconscious, and rushed to hospital. My baby sister.

And I saw her, unable to speak, only able to cry when she saw me...tears and drool running down her face. And I was so scared. So scared.

There are no words to describe how that felt and I'm just her sister, not her mother. And again, my mother was my mother, the shining light of strength and organization. The one that stood up to the nurses when they were rude beyond belief. The one who talked endlessly about what happened. The one who sat and smiled and talked to my sister until she could remember how to talk.

The one who weathered the storm for most of the time without my dad. Because my dad decided not to show up right away. Because my dad was my dad - removed, distant, and angry, as he always is in the face of disaster or peril.

Because he looks down on our female displays of family, of coming together in times of need, of laughing and crying out loud. Because he doesn't know how.

I love my dad. I do. There is no rational reason for it - if we were strangers, I would never give the person my father is a second glance. He is awful to my mom. He is not the best father. He is absent. He is unemployed. He would not be my choice at family if I had one. But for as long as I live, he will be my dad.

And as my sisters and mother were abrupt and stand-offish when he got to the hospital (finally!), I realized something. He is out of his element. He doesn't know how to deal with emergencies. He doesn't know how to be part of a family. And he's learning, slowly, but is that pace fast enough for what our family needs now?

I think that after this latest episode my mom's decision to stay or leave might be accelerated a little, and not in my dad's favour. And for that I feel bad for both of them.

For my mom, because it has been her hope and her perserverance that has saved their marriage so far, and as she lets go, it will be painful for her. She still loves my dad.

And for my dad, for not realizing what a blessing it is to be part of a family. And that every time he has distanced himself from us is one more reason to cut the ties that bind. And that when we're gone, he'll be alone. But we will still have each other and our out loud laughter and tears and our flair for the dramatic and the loud.

And when he finally has the quiet he desires so much, I think he'll miss the noise, because that was the noise of love.


Have you ever?

Have you ever stumbled across a story or a moment that touched you so profoundly that you startled yourself with your emotional reaction? That happened to me today.

I was reading through blogs that I have come across in recent days, and I discovered Sarah and Derek's heart-wrenching story.

Now, I don't know Sarah or Derek, but I do know that it is heartbreaking and even now, a couple of hours later, I'm still stuck thinking of this poor young couple and their crappy situation. She is dying from cancer. He is holding her hand. They are in their early 30s. It's just not fair.

And who am I to mourn? I have never, not even once, met them or heard of their plight before today. But for today, I feel as if I know them. As if I can appreciate the pain they are in. And it is not in a self-centred, egocentric way, but in a caring, compassionate, humanity-filled type way.

I look at my marriage, at my age, at my dreams, at the future that I have planned in my head, and I think about what would happen if it were all ripped away. What would happen if it all ended suddenly? What would I do? What would my husband do? What then?

It takes a lot of energy for me not to worry. I'm a worrier by nature, which I fully blame my mother for, and every day as I let my husband slip out the door to go to work, I pray so hard for his safety, for him to come back to me. Even though I know that God will only give me that gift if it is meant to be, and that I can ask all I want, but in the end it is still up to Him.

And every moment that I feel the glow of love for my husband, for my family, for my friends...each moment filled with laughter, loving quiet, hope, dreams, plans, and goodness, I have to struggle to hang on to the moment now, not to think about the moment getting ripped away. Not to think about what the future may bring.

I struggle so hard, and yet here is a couple faced with my greatest fear, and her husband has the strength to say, "Safe travels, my love."

Will I have that strength? I don't want to think about it, because I'm not faced with that situation...and yet I can't help but worry...



This weekend my husband and I celebrated our 1-year anniversary. To celebrate, we turned off the phones, cancelled all our normal weekend madness, and spent time together. It was lovely.

We also got the pleasure of watching our wedding video for the first time (our best man owns a videography company, and gave us our wedding video as a wedding present...because he's a friend, though, we were patient enough to wait for a whole year before getting to see it).

As we watched ourselves move up the aisle, promise to God and to each other that we would always love each other, saw our family and friends who gathered there to support us, and heard our speeches all over again, I realized something: we had the loveliest wedding ever.

No, we didn't spend $80/person on the reception, like a dear friend of ours is for his wedding this summer. No, we didn't have a wedding planner to feed the best man his speech. No, my dress didn't cost me thousands of dollars. No, we didn't go on a tropical and exotic honeymoon. And no, we didn't eat the finest foods that are hard to pronounce, and even harder to eat properly.

But we did love each other. And we loved and knew every guest that was invited. And we were able to firmly say, that the best part of our wedding was free - the vows, and God, and us, and our family. And the rest, like the lovely flower arrangements, done for free by women who love us, and the hall decorations, lovingly looked after by our wedding party and their significant others, and the food, which was so delicious and, as most claimed, the best "wedding" food ever eaten, and provided at an incredible price by dear, dear friends of ours...well, all of that was just icing on a perfectly constructed cake.

I wouldn't take any of my wedding back. I wouldn't change a single thing. And now as we start thinking about a house and about having children, I know that the rest of our lives will be just like that. All of the good things, all of the best things, all of the things we can not live without, will all be free. And all of the other things that come our way will be the icing on an already perfect cake.

Happy anniversary to my husband, to our marriage. And a toast, for many years to come and many more moments to enjoy and savour.



You know it's real when...

...your husband IMs you, saying:

"Pleasant thought of the day: you are currently sitting in the coffe shop where i asked your parents if i could marry you."

Swoon, all over again.

Put in my place

I'm working at Starbucks today in order to better my and the hubby's chances at seeing Spider-Man 3 tonight (now I'm steps away from the theatre, instead of being 40 minutes away).

Little boy, who just threw as big of a fit over sharing a cookie as his daddy did, is staring me down, while drinking his too-big-for-him cup of water.




I am a gossip-monger. I love reading and hearing about celebrity news (and non-news), and looking at their photos, marvelling at the expensive bodies they prance around.

I admit it. I'm guilty. See my list of links - Shameless Gossip is there as prominently as Education and Faith. Guilty, guilty, guilty pleasure.

But when the gossip gets mean, when it gets vicious, and it gets beyond pleasure, but pushes it firmly into pain, I start to feel really, really bad. Because the people we are ripping apart are just that - PEOPLE.

I'm watching tv, and my innocent, mickey mouse produced news channel is saying that they have more dirt on Britney Spears. More dirt. As if there wasn't enough dirt on the single mother, who has experienced a mental breakdown, divorce, public embarassment, and constant harassment from paparazzi.

But that isn't pleasurable, anymore. If I could take the mic for one minute, I'd like to say, Leave the poor girl alone. Please. She needs to heal. Find her stride again. Learn how to be a good, healthy mother. Reunite with her family and herself. And most importantly, be able to breathe without criticism and stalking.

And yes, you're right, guy with the other mic. Maybe if she didn't dress skimpily, maybe if she stayed in her house and raised her babies, and maybe if she didn't ask for attention, she wouldn't be dealing with it. Maybe if she stopped making herself an easy target, it wouldn't be so bad.

But I ask you this: if a woman, who was running around in a teddy, got raped, would you say the same thing? Would you say, she was asking for it? I think you'd say, yes, in a way. But in another way, damn the man that couldn't keep it in his pants, couldn't resist, and couldn't avoid taking away that woman's freedom, dignity, and self-worth.

Aren't we just raping Britney? Raping her of her freedom, dignity, and self-worth? Shouldn't we have more self-control?

Yes, yes we should.


Taking the high road...alone

In my life I've always worked very hard to do things right, in the right order.

Learn how to drive with a driving school, then get my full licence.

Go to high school and then, without skipping a beat, go to university.

Take paid internships in university to ensure I don't go into too much debt from my schooling, while gaining valuable experience.

Graduate then get married.

Get married then have sex (yes, me and Jessica Simpson...).

I've recently realized, though, that in my quest to abide by my parents' and my church's, and society's rules, I've painted myself into corner.

My friends and family are scared of talking to me about what they did differently or wrong because they're afraid of what I'll think.

And on the one hand it's nice to know that I firmly live and breathe my values everyday and that they are aware of them that much.

But on the other hand, it means that I'm not approachable. Not at all.

I've had friends get divorced and not tell me. I've had siblings take months to break the news to me that they didn't wait. And I've had in-laws not want me to know what they've been up to.

And all because I might look poorly on them.

What does that really mean, though? That they respect me enough not to want to disappoint me, or does it mean that they think I'm a stuck-up kid who would judge anything that walks by?

The high road is quickly becoming a lonely place, where I don't understand and never will understand those who made diffferent decisions, and, beyond that, I'll only judge instead of listening and supporting.

The trouble is that is NOT me. I'm not that person. I'm the person that works hard to understand, to be the perfect friend.

Apparently, though, perfection has its cost too - everyone else.



My heart is so very heavy today and my head feels like sinking into a soft pillow and not waking up for a very long time. It is taking everything in me to keep working today, to stay alert, and not give in to the need for sleep and peace.

Yesterday was long, busy day and was filled with activity and chatter. It was also filled with news about a dear friend and the trouble she has been going through in her marriage.

As I look to my own marriage and I see what a blessing it is, I wish so desperately that she could feel the same way, could enjoy the same contentment, stability, and security.

I reread old love letters from my husband from before we were married, and I was reminded how sweetly we love each other, how blessed I am, and what a great thing love can be.

And then I think of her situation and am also reminded how awful love can be, ripping you apart and making you want two different things at exactly the same time.

How awful.


I don't know

Ever since I was small, I imagined myself being a mom. I've pictured what it would be like to carry a child, dreamt of what it would be like to have their heartbeat under mine, and worried over the labour part of the whole ordeal.

My husband has also dreamt of being a dad, and when we had the "Do you want children?" talk that is supposed to occur before you get married, it was a resounding "Yes!" from both of us. And then the dreaming changed, turning into "us" as parents, which, in all honesty, felt more secure than dreaming about it alone.

Now that we are married, the subject of children is all I can think about, because for the first time in my life I'm able to have children and I'm able to support them. I dream of my belly getting big, I dream of holding them, I dream of teaching them, and raising them to be good adults, and I dream about the kind of dad that my husband will be. Let me tell you - I picked a good one. He will be a fantastic dad.

Today we went for a hearing test for my husband. He has Waardenburg's Syndrome and is hearing impaired. He has absolutely no hearing in his right ear, and only partial hearing in his left. He wears a hearing aid in this left ear and this is the ear that we were testing today.

Waardenburg's Syndrome is genetic, which means he got it from his parents (we're assuming from his dad) and it means that our children have a 50% of having the same disability.

The audiologist who did the hearing test for us talked about the risks for our babies, and told us that we should look into genetic counselling before we have children.

She said that there are worse things than hearing loss as an impairment, but that any child with a disability takes an enormous amount of emotional, physical, and financial energy, and that we should make sure we know exactly what we are getting into before we embark on making our own babies.

As I sat there, questions and worries started swirling around in my heart, for that is where all my children thinking goes.

Will we be able to handle the strain, on ourselves and our bank account?

Will we be strong enough to keep our marriage alive with a disabled child?

Will we be okay enough to handle not only a child with a disability, but also a father with a disability?

Is it selfish, that despite all the risks, we still want to birth our own children?

Is it normal that my heart is already breaking for the challenges that my children will face?

Will I be a good enough mother? For any child, disabled or not?

I don't know.


You know it's time when...

You know it's time to cut your losses and find new friends, when a pal of yours shows up in a car with his girlfriend and proceeds to ask you for your opinion about certain cheating actions the girlfriend has recently done...while she is listening. And instead of getting outraged about the fact that your pal is accusing her of cheating and airing it in public, the girlfriend gets offended when her side of the story is not represented properly.

I love my neighbourhood, especially my downstairs neighbourhood.


Compact living

My husband and I have been married for almost a year now (11 months on April 21!). For that almost-year we have been living in a quintessential first apartment, complete with crappy neighbours, uncaring building owners, and all the weirdness that comes with living with a bunch of people that should never meet, yet do because they happen to live in the same building.

We are hermits in our apartment world, with some marked exceptions. We don't really associate with our neighbours, which I think stems from the fact that we don't have children and we're rarely hanging out in our apartment. We're a really busy, 20-something couple, and that is reflected in our non-relationships with our neighbours. Case in point - new people moved in directly across the hall from us, and yet we have not introduced ourselves. And since they (no clue how many) have moved in, we haven't seen or heard anything from them, which is actually a nice change, considering what we live above.

Our neighbour below us, although a complete stranger, is very well known in our apartment and in our circle of family and friends. This is because he has the distinct honour of being the worst part of our apartment life.

And that, my friends, is saying something. Because we deal with all kinds of crap living in a building that is owned by a big, impersonal, stupid company. Like water being turned off at least once a month. Like there being no hot water for days on end at least once a month. Like repairs never getting done in our apartment even though we asked for them to be completed LAST MAY. Like weird smells in the hallways that permeate into our living space, an unending tropical heat wave all winter, our names being deleted for NO reason from the list of tenants at the front buzzer, our mailbox getting broken into and vandalized, and the locks being changed on the doors without warning or the offer of new keys.

See how impressive it is that Downstairs Guy is the WORST problem and the BIGGEST thing we will NOT miss when we leave?

Because he is far more noisy than the bottle-smashing, screaming, car alarming, yappy dog yelling, big dog escaping through the balconey window cacophony that occurs outside our window EVERY night. His VERY bad taste in music (or anything that has a bass line of ANY kind) is pumped so loudly I now know the lyrics to multiple rap songs that I probably could have lived my whole life without ever acknowledging their existence.

Because his pot habit makes it impossible to ever open our windows in the summer. His enjoyment of using the outdoors as his personal ashtray gives my husband and I a whole new understanding of what "high" feels like, when not perpetuated by God, or a great song (that actually has lyrics, not just creative swearing), or a fantastic bout of you-know.

Because, with his help, we have achieved the requisite number of first apartment stories that will carry us into the rest of our adulthood.

Because when we buy our first house, we will leave him behind and NEVER look back. EVER.


Love triangle

I've seen my future.

Well, okay, I've dreamed of my future. With my eyes wide open. So maybe, I've daydreamed my future.

I am dreaming of one day becoming a novelist...and not just any novelist, but one where people buy the book I write. And like it. Without getting paid or threatened to. That is the dream.

But this is not the dream that I talk about in my interviews with potential employers. The dream I talk about is different, slightly skewed for optimum brownie points, which, as we all know, make the world of job-interviews-becoming-job-offers go round.

The professional dream that I dream out loud to potential employers is the dream of being the head of a communications department - determining when and what should be communicated. Working closely with other writers and other brilliant people to send out a coherent, effective message. That is the out loud dream.

But it isn't the dream that keeps me up at night, or fills my brain with varying sentence structures and different stories. It isn't the dream that fills my mouth when I talk to my loved ones about my dream. It isn't the dream that I whisper to my slumbering husband..."You are the husband of a brilliant novelist."

I like that I have two dreams. It makes me feel like I will never tire of writing, even though that is what I'm currently doing for a living. It makes me feel like I have a barrier between the two, and they will never affect each other or cross over.

Inevitably, though, this barrier is only in my mind, and not in reality. And at some point I will hang up one of those dreams, possibly for the other. For like every other love triangle, eventually someone gets fed up with the arrangement, someone gets jealous, and someone gets too serious.

Unless, I can happily live in a polyandry world, where everyone is happy in our arrangement, because that is just the way it is.



Message for Britney Spears

Today is the first day in a while that I've felt peaceful.

During the end of November I went through some horrible things at work and ended up in tears and bruised (emotionally), and I quit my job. I have never in my entire life quit anything. I've taken breaks, I've taken deep breaths, but I have never quit. And I did it. I quit.

It was a horrible situation, one where I was getting yelled at for things I either didn't do or had no control over. My self-esteem and myself took a beating, and in the end I turned into this small version of myself. I didn't like what I looked like in the mirror, I didn't like what my brain was doing, and I felt impossibly incompetent and like a big fat failure. I mean, I had basically quit the only job that we had had.

I felt like a loser.

But yesterday I went on a job interview, and my credentials were lauded. The woman interviewing me even said someone drooled over them. And then the interview, which started out as a favour for a friend of mine, turned into my interview. At the end, she was giving me a tour and giving me information, and making plans to check my references.

In the end, I was back. I was competent. I was successful. I was a candidate. I was incredible.

And I realized that I had survived my month of depression, my month of not sleeping, my month of popping Tylenol everyday. And that I was worthy of a new job, worthy of being told that I was smart and savvy and brilliant.

I made it through the worst job of my life...and came out on the other side with a job offer and the promise of follow-up from another job.

That is what I'm taking into the next month, and the month after. Because I am worth more than every awful thing that that old place said. I am worth every moment of praise. Because I know I worked my butt off for 5 years in university and 10 years in total if you count the fact that I had no life in high school save studying and working and volunteering.

So now, I'm going to enjoy some nice relaxing time. Take some breathing space. And drink a cup of yummy, warm tea.

And bask in the glory of my comeback, which I feel is around the corner and much more sure than Britney's, I'm sorry to say.

Maybe I should call her and tell her that she can do it. She can make it. I wonder if anyone has said that to her yet. I wonder...