Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The "Hills" are "Alive" with the Sound of "Music"

Or: My apartment is withering beneath the hippo-esque vocal stylings of my upstairs neighbour...

This day has been a whirlwind of activity so far. I started my day off with a job interview, and I was pleased as punch to be told that the decision would be made by today. Not 4 interviews later, not in a month from now, not after I let other opportunities pass me by 'in case' I would be getting hired-- today. (And in case you are wondering: No. I am not bitter. Stupid clinic...) Even if I'm not the successful candidate in the end, having a decision made by today is good news. I hate waiting around and not knowing what's going on. As a COMS major, I like to think that I come by it honestly.

The rest of my morning has been spent trying to dodge the bloody-ear-inducing sound that is my upstairs neighbour's attempt at singing. Oh, god. I think (or maybe just hope?) there might be a battle of the bands or something coming up soon, because he has been singing (more like practicing... badly) Non. Stop. for the past few days. On Monday morning, we were woken up by his tight-throated, angst-ridden, straining cat-in-heat moans and 'whoa, baby-- yeah, yeah"s. (I get nauseous just thinking about it!) He then proceeded to sing for the Entire. Day... Nonstop! We're talking 12 or 13 Full. Hours. Straight! Today, he's still practicing, and good god, I hope his performance/gig/whatever it is comes soon, because my eardrums can only filter so much crap out before they melt into a pulpy mess of soulful rock fallout. And really, who wants that?

Anyway, in my 'dodge the emo' efforts, I came across a city in full-out bloom! It's still February, people! Coming from Calgary, anything green, pink, or otherwise petalled before, erm... May... or April if you're lucky, is a really big deal. Hence, seeing my whole neighbourhood coated in delicate blossoms was enough to make my heart sing. In an inside voice. Upstairs neighbour: take note.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tiger Lily

So it's been a while since I've talked about Lily. It's not that there's nothing to report-- not at all. I've just been saving up all of the news for a giant post extravaganza! (If by 'giant' I mean 'a few paragraphs' and by 'extravaganza' I mean 'one measly post'....) Anyway, for those of you who have been wondering about her:

Lily April-- almost 3 days old

She is still in the hospital getting bigger and stronger, and she was moved out of the incubator just recently into a little bed! I call her Tiger Lily now, because from what I hear, she's pretty intense (in a good way, of course). She insists on sleeping on her stomach, and if the nurses put her on her back, she'll roll herself over into her favourite sleeping position (and for those of you who don't know, that's quite an accomplishment for a 3 lb baby!)

She has been getting fed breast milk directly through a tube in her nose, but she has been building up to the 'real thing' for a while now. Previously, my family was able to offer her Q-tips soaked in my sister's milk, and little Lily would lap it up like a kitten until every last possible drop was gone. (My middle sister said Lily loved it so much, it seemed like she would even chew the cotton right off the stick if it meant getting another little drop into her mouth! CUTE!!) Anyway, this past weekend, she tried out 'real' breastfeeding for the first time and was a natural at it, some might even say a pro!

If she continues to progress as quickly as she has been, she might be able to go home earlier than expected (so some time in March rather than mid-April).

I (finally) get to see her in mid-March, when we come into Calgary for a belated baby shower. I can't wait to finally meet my little niece, and I also can't wait to get some pictures of her! Sadly, neither of my sisters own a digital camera, so the pictures so far have been few and far between. I promise that will change when I come into town!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cable TV and Capoeira

Since moving into an apartment that offers free cable, Marty and I have been catching up on the world of crappy television shows. One of our favourites is Mantracker on the Outdoor Life Network. I didn’t enjoy it at first (something about a man being called ‘Mantracker’ left a sour taste on my can-we-find-a-gender-neutral-term tongue), but now I get a rush watching people trying to escape from this crazy (and mean!) old man on a horse.

Marty would be superb as ‘prey’ for Mantracker. He’s skilled in the outdoors, has excellent navigating skills, and he’s seen enough episodes of the show now to know what not to do (e.g. no mooning Mantracker, no filming him with the prey cam if you’ve narrowly escaped capture, no flashing the man the finger, no silly games or ineffective, time-wasting ‘traps’, and especially no teasing or taunting.) I, on the other hand, would be the worst prey in the history of the show. I would probably be caught somewhere in the first 3 km, even with a headstart of the same distance! I’m an OK hiker, but I’m a ‘stick to the trails’ kind of girl—a definite ‘no-no’ on Mantracker. Plus, I can’t swim (for shame) and I can’t navigate to save my life. Literally. I SUCK at reading maps.

This brings me to yesterday, when Marty and I were about to attend the Brazilian Festival concert. We were riding our bikes to the auditorium, and we were hopelessly lost. My fault. I had checked out the location of the auditorium on Google, and I had led us to the other side of the city with 5 minutes left until the concert started. Sigh. What should have been a relatively simple 6 km ride ended up being a gargantuan 25 km at high speed, and of course we ended up getting there about a half-hour late. I couldn’t have ridden faster if Mantracker was on my tail!

What we saw of the concert was well worth the sweat and the 200 beats per minute heart rate: (forgive the blurry photos)

I’ve decided that if I ever undertake a program to focus my mind and to heighten awareness of my body in space, Capoeira is the way to go. Forget yoga: Brazilian martial arts/dance-offs are way more my style. (Ignore my lifelong history of awkwardness in gymnastics and my complete inability to do things like somersaults, and the fact that the four-year old Capoeira students could easily kick my ass—a girl can still dream, right?)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gimme Your Stuff!

So I mentioned in my post yesterday that I stumbled across a little thing called Gimme Your Stuff in the quest to find new Sockenwolle Unipo yarn. There is nothing I like more than sending and getting things through the mail (bills don’t count), so I’ve decided to go ahead and post lists of what I can send and what I would like to receive in an international swap!

Gimme Your Stuff

I live on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, and I love to knit, so things I can send include:

  • Knitting and crafting supplies (quality natural yarns, buttons, homemade magnets, stickers, fancy ribbons, fabric, paper, vintage pattern booklets)
  • Handknit baby caps and/or booties; handknit armwarmers or wristwarmers
  • Blank greeting cards from around here
  • Homemade pickled ginger for sushi or stirfry (no aspartame or food coloring!)
  • Canadian food and candy (chips, chocolate bars, maple syrup stuff, whatever else tickles your fancy)
  • Ocean seashells and beach glass
  • Thrifted books in English (on a bunch of different topics. They’re usually more entertaining to look at than they are informative or especially good to read...)
  • Children’s picture books
  • Random (but beautiful!) tin boxes and containers
  • Unique decorations (figurines, ornaments, wall hangings, etc.)
  • Stationery items (cards, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper)
  • Postcards, stamps, and coins from Canada
  • Tea leaves or bags

I can also make arrangements to find stuff that isn’t on this list if you’re looking for something else (cosmetics, toiletries, Tums, Lipsmackers, whatever)!

What I would like to receive:

  • Wool yarn in rich earthy colours (greens, browns, oranges, and reds)
  • Books, pictures, posters, or postcards with non-English text/words on it
  • Prints of religious icons or deities (it doesn’t matter which ones—any gods or sacred symbols from any religions are fine)
  • Blank greeting cards!
  • Crafting supplies
  • Stationery stuff (paperclips, paper, clips, etc.)
  • Patches or badges of your country’s crest, flag, or national symbols
  • Hardcover journals or notepads
  • Anything kitschy, vintage, or retro (especially tins, communist propaganda posters/postcards/photos, or decorations to put around the house)
  • CDs/tapes of national folk or traditional music

What I would prefer not to receive (just saying):

  • Food (unless you’ve got some Finnish Viking licorice… OK, and maybe some quality milk chocolate, too!)
  • Acrylic yarn. God knows I have enough of that in my stash!
  • Anything soapy or scented (bath stuff, candles, etc.) Unless it's made with 100% essential oils, I will break into hives. We don't want that, do we?

I am a big fan of quality and ironic thrift store finds, so if you’d like to swap with me, leave a comment or drop me an e-mail! Thank you!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Knitting Content: Sock Anxiety

So I finally started knitting Marty a pair of socks using the beautiful sock yarn we bought (for less than $2!) in a Czech spa town. I'm following the Thuja pattern from Knitty using a nameless colorway of Sockenwolle Unipo and so far, they're going great, except for one small detail:

I don't know if I'm going to have enough wool to finish two socks! GAH!!!!!

I know that one of the cardinal rules of knitting is to always purchase enough yarn of the same dye lot to complete a project, but to my defense, it says right on the label of this wool that 100g/420m should be enough to knit a pair of socks in a size 46. Marty is only a size 44 (U.S. 11) and it's not like I'm knitting him thigh highs or anything... (though it makes me giggle to think of knitting a grown man a pair of schoolgirl socks. I'd need to get him a garter belt to hold them up!)

A website was listed on the skein of Unipo, so I looked it up, thinking I might be able to find an extra skein and have it shipped here. (Desperate, I know.) Alas, even with my (very) limited grasp of the Czech language, I was able to discern that Sockenwolle Unipo has since been replaced with something called Sportivo, and Sportivo doesn't come in the luscious colorway I already have. Sigh... I even tried googling Unipo wool, and though I found an international craft and culture swappy thing that I think I might join, I was out of luck in the Unipo department. (The one woman from Slovakia who was known to swap Unipo for North American stuff has put swapping on hold for the time being. NOOOOOOOO!!!!) Hence, I bought a skein of Phildar Preface from a small LYS in a matching brown to knit the toes in, but what do you think? Should 420 m of wool be enough to knit a man's pair of socks?

If worse comes to worse, I guess I could frog the whole first sock back and knit the top ribbing, the heel flap, and the toes in the matching Phildar wool to save the good Unipo stuff, but honestly, the thought of ripping back an almost finished sock in thin sock wool on tiny needles is too much for me right now. Besides, if I'm going to have enough Unipo anyway, I'd rather not rip back a perfectly good first sock.

What's the consensus on this one?
Option 1: Try to knit two socks (top-down) in Unipo
Option 2: Try to knit two socks in Unipo with Phildar toes
Option 3: Frog back first sock and knit both with Phildar top ribbing, heel flap, and toes
Option 4: Catch an emergency flight to Karlovy Vary, locate random (and nameless!) tiny yarn store on the main strip, and hope to God they still sell last-season colorways of a discontinued yarn.

Hmm... how many airmiles do you think it takes to get to CZ?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You Can’t Make This Shit Up, Partner Edition

I was digging through some old journals of mine the other day, and I came across a lengthy list of traits I was looking for in my ideal partner. There was no date on the list, but judging by the title of it (which happened to be lifted directly from a crappy country song), I imagine it was penned back in the days when I used to listen to Country 105 religiously. In other words, this list must have originated some time between 1990 and 1993. (And yes, I’m wincing right now at the whopping three-year span of my listening to Country 105 as a devoted faithful…)

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only person in the world who had ever thought about what qualities I would like to have in a partner. I’m probably not even alone in having written many of those qualities down. The thing is, though… I was pretty specific in my list. Instead of a generic “tall, dark, handsome” list, I’d narrowed down my ideal partner to a certain height (6’2’’ or 6’3’’—only an inch grace!), a certain build (“Muscular, but not too big or small. Either a cyclist, swimmer, or runner. Nice legs.”), and a specific eye color (“Green. Will settle for other colours, though.” <-- Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! Will settle??! Thank goodness I’m so flexible and accommodating!)

The list itself spans two full pages, single spaced. Altogether, it consists of 47 bullet points/qualities that I simply had to have in a partner of mine. I’m proud (and a bit astonished) that I very eloquently specified my partner should not discriminate towards people based on race, sexual orientation, or ability. (Had I been a bit more educated in the PC department back then, I might have also included religion, age, class, gender, social power, and a whole host of other indicators on that list, but at least I had the generic idea in place!) I smile knowingly at some of the other points (“artistic”, “speaks another language, hopefully something from Eastern Europe”), and then there are the points I just have to shake my head and laugh at. My personal favourite from the latter category:

“Will have many photos of the two of us together, possibly framed and hanging up in his bedroom.”

Hmm… Issues, much?

I did a neat little exercise to see how Marty compared to my decade-and-some old list. Despite not meeting a number of criteria (like the Very. Specific. Height range), he actually nailed a lot of the other ones (e.g. he’s a cyclist, a swimmer, and a runner. Yup. Triathlete. Said like I’ve been saving it up for the high school reunion... PS: He would never say anything like that about himself, and he’d probably also be pretty horrified to discover me bragging about it on my blog… Forget I ever mentioned it.) Anyway, it looks like I’ve been blessed with somebody who meets all of the criteria that actually matter in life and who teaches me about the ones that ultimately don’t matter so much. Awww…

The lovers beneath 'The Lovers' rock formation in Adrspach-Teplice, CZ

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Room of One's Own

I have been daydreaming a lot lately.

I used to dream almost constantly, but that stopped while I was pursuing my Master’s degree. Almost overnight, it felt like I morphed from a passionate do-gooder with a colossal lust for life to a vacant zombie who was just slogging through and trying to get the program done; getting it done well was pretty much an afterthought.

Anyway, it feels like it’s taken a long time, but slowly and surely I’ve started to reclaim my former self and to let my imagination run loose! I’ve heard it said that you can only be limited by the boundaries of your own imagination, so I’ve taken the liberty of knocking down any fences of self-censorship and letting my dreams wander wherever they please. Lately, they’ve been hovering around one particular manifestation of Marty’s and my dream home.

I’ve often thought about my ideal home, but from the time in Grade 7 French class when we were supposed to construct a cardboard rendition of our dream home and all I did was write a shoddy narrative about it en français until recently, I’ve had a difficult time visualizing what I could so easily describe. Then we moved to Victoria and one version of our dream home was there, just a few blocks away from our apartment!

This home is perched atop not one, not two, but three quaint little shops in the village section of our lovely neighbourhood. I never would have even noticed it, had we not walked by it one evening and seen the lofty living quarters illuminated and shining warmth and coziness down onto the street.

Inside the main section is a vaulted ceiling and rich orange walls. There are plants, a bedroom loft, and a peaceful solarium just adjacent to the living room. Everything about this home strikes a jubilant chord within me: I love that there would be no neighbours above us to keep us awake with booming video games and painfully incompetent band practices (only to then wake us up early with the never-ending alarm clock beeps from hell). I love that the businesses below us would all be closed long before bedtime each night. I love that Marty would be able to set up a studio space in the solarium and to paint in natural light. I love the size of the home—not too big, but not too small, either. I love the inviting aura that the current occupants have established (now if I could only go inside!) Finally, I love the idea of one day setting up a gallery in the same building as our home. It has always been a dream to open up our own gallery/creative space, but I’ve never been able to actually see what it might look like until now.

Of course, this home is but one rendition of our ideal living space. We also have grand visions of mountain log cabins, cozy cottages in the Okanagan, and sprawling acreages in the rolling hills of the Czech Republic. Granted, we are so far away financially from reaching even one of these ideals right now, but as always, it never hurts to dream.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Little Bit of History Repeating

Do you believe in past lives?

I haven’t really worked through the intricate details of what I believe about life and death (still sorting through what is mine and what belongs to my traditional Roman-Catholic upbringing), but I have, at various points in my life, attributed strong stirrings inside of me to possible past lives of mine. I feel like certain lessons that were not learned in past lives were passed down to me. If I can't master the lessons in this life, then I'll be given another chance in my next life.

In my late teens and early twenties, I was pretty convinced that one of my former selves was some kind of rebel in the French Revolution. How a simple Ukrainian girl ever ended up in the French Revolution is beyond me, but I used to have recurring dreams of being decapitated by guillotine or sometimes hung. The specifics of my dream used to vary a bit (e.g. sometimes the blade was sharp and swift, but most times it was rusty and dull), but one thing was always constant: in every dream, I had a large tomato stuffed into my mouth, and when I involuntarily clamped down on it with my teeth, it signified I was dead.

It always seemed strange but inconsequential to me that I had a tomato in my mouth in these dreams, until I learned about the fascinating folklore history of the tomato in Europe. Apparently, tomatoes were largely considered to be poisonous (or at least unfit to eat) until the late 1700s and early 1800s… around the time, coincidentally, of the French Revolution. Hmmm… are you thinking what I’m thinking? Funny that I always had a tomato in my mouth while being executed, despite not knowing about its supposed fatal qualities until recently. Perhaps a former self of mine knew something about the fruit that I didn’t?

Anyway, one thing I do know about past life exploration is that many people who search for their former selves inevitably claim famous or otherwise prominent people as their own. After all, it’s much more exciting to say “I was Marie Antoinette in a past life and I was executed by guillotine in the most public of fashions” than it is to say “I was a random Francophone who died for no good reason before anybody could even remember my name”. That said, though, I’m pretty sure the majority of us were mostly nameless or faceless people in past lives, perhaps with notorious figures sprinkled in every once in a while.

Lately I’ve been feeling the pull of a peasant or pioneer archetype. The toiling aspect has been minimized considerably (on purpose. Who likes to toil?!), but the urge to harvest and preserve the fruits of the earth is there, big time. Granted, I’ve romanticized the peasant figure quite a bit (read: almost entirely), but I attribute my newfound inclinations to make jam, pickles, soup stocks, and wool socks to a former self of mine who did things like these regularly to survive. I’ve also been bitten by a gardening bug, but who can blame me when flowers like these are popping up everywhere?

I’m curious to know what you were in your past lives? Orators, sculptors, builders, queens or kings? Slaves, merchants, revolutionaries, midwives, healers, witches? Maybe we were all of these and more, maybe we were none…

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Age of Aquarius

So today is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, I mean my sista's birthday. No, not the youngest one-- the other one.

Me 'n' Miss Ashley Wednesday

Wednesday is one of the most brilliant and sensitive people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is dynamic, intense, and excels at everything she does to the point where I continually have to praise god that she is not my older sister. I could never live up!

I have no doubt that she will be among the people who radically transform our world for the better. Just you wait, dear readers. At least now you can claim that you know her, too. Sorta.

Happy birthday, Windy! (unfortunate nickname) I love you. xoxo

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heart Felt, Indeed

As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t sweet enough to begin with, look at what I found in my mailbox yesterday:

Kathy sent me a lovely and heart felt package full of Valentine goodness! There was chocolate, a disgruntled housewife pad of paper (which says ‘Make your own damn dinner!’ on the front—I’m not quite there with my loathing of the domestic yet… right now it’s more like ‘toilet: clean your own damn self!’, but maybe that’s written on one of the inside pages… I’ll have to check.), a beautiful postcard, and a couple of things that might look familiar to you from her crafty post yesterday:

Yep, her luscious soap wrapped in felty goodness, and an absolutely gorgeous brooch. Thank you, Kathy!

And while I’m still on the subject of Valentine’s Day, I’m also happy to report that my nose is Bioré fresh this morning and that I officially ‘broke up’ with the clinic yesterday. Anybody that doesn’t have the common courtesy to make a simple phone call after four dates isn’t worth my time. Granted, it took me almost a month and four dates/interviews to figure that out, but I finally did it.

Dear Clinic:

We’re better off as friends.

Love, Dana L.

(Yep, I’m breaking up via blog. Even more of an insult than breaking up over the phone, e-mail, or text message à la Britney Spears. Burn! Sssssss! Now cue those infectious beats of ‘I Will Survive’ already…)

So today I’m back to the resumé grind—which, out of all the grinds, is admittedly not my favourite—but at least I’ve got a tubful of chocolate to keep me motivated. Until next time, dear readers, wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love is in the Air

As with many things in my life, I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.

Love: The romance! (even if it might be staged on this most commercial of days. WHO CARES?! )

Hate: Too commercial and corporate. Damn you, Hallmark!

Love: The chocolate!

Hate: Oh wait, I’m supposed to be ending my ongoing love affair with chocolate this year… crap.

Love: Sending Valentines to family and friends!

Hate: Buying into the Hallmark side of Valentine’s Day. Was too lazy to make my own this year, though. Excuses, excuses.

Love: Red and pink wherever you look! Red just happens to be my favourite colour.

Hate: Red and pink wherever you look. Seriously, people- enough is enough (says the girl with the hot-pink blog...)

Love: Our Valentines-esque curtain, comprised of the paper hearts Marty laid out like rose petals on our bedspread a few birthdays of mine ago. Each one says something he loves about me on it. Now, I love the way they flutter gently in our kitchen, a twinkling reminder of the one I love the best!

Hate: […]

(Who can follow up that deliciousness with something foul? Not me!)

*Dreamy sigh for the string of hearts curtain!*

I think Marty and I will have a spa night tonight to celebrate the ‘special occasion’. And no, this doesn’t mean mineral baths, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, Enya, candlelight, or manicures and pedicures. Nope. On our budget, that means fun with Bioré nose strips. Oooh, exfoliation! How romantic!!

For those of us who are looking for love in all the wrong places (i.e. in the vast web of the 'world wide' variety), we can always check out the new Valentine's edition of Teen Girl Squad (my favourite!!). Inhabitat also has some suggestions for a green val-o-day, including the scandalous sounding 'sustainable skivvies'. Now there's something for the YCMTSU category!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dear Clinic: You Should Stop Frontin' (You Know You Want Me)

Today's theme song: Frontin' by Pharrell

Do you ever wish you could create the impression you’re something you’re not?

I know people who pretend to be more confident and self-assured than they actually are. Some people dumb themselves down around others, whereas others go to great lengths to prove how ‘smart’ and worldly they really are.

As for me, lately I’ve been wishing that I could come across as cool, collected, and perhaps even a little blasé about my job search. The fact remains, though, that I am uncomfortably preoccupied (read: a tad obsessed) with getting out of the house and earning a real paycheque again. The Suzy Homemaker role was fun for a while, but lately the thought of donning my hot pink apron and whipping up a mean dinner has got me feeling less than enthused. (Actually, it gets me feeling like a thousand tiny ants are crawling over my body and ripping microscopic little chunks out of my skin with their tiny little mouth-claws, but I digress…)

I’ve mentioned in a few posts now that I’ve been waiting on this mysterious clinic job to get back to me with news about my fate in the workforce. Well, I’m still waiting. Still. I don’t know what bothers me more about this: the fact that they’re taking so effin’ long to make a relatively simple decision (after all, the last I checked, they weren’t auditioning for the role of God!!), or the equally distressing fact that I’m still waiting. WAITING!!!

In the rational part of my brain, I know that this clinic gig is not my dream job. To be honest, it’s not even close. But that hasn’t stopped the pathetic lobe of my brain from getting activated and pleading to the powers that be to call me. (Picture that cheesy lip-synched ‘call me!’ hand motion playing over and over in your mind. This is what I’ve been reduced to. ‘Call me!’ Thumb to ear and little finger wagging near the mouth. ‘Call me!’ Eyebrows raised in expectant fashion. ‘Call me!’, etc., etc., ad nauseum.) GAH!!!

The truth is, I’ve been doing lots of career-related reading and exercises lately, and the picture that is emerging of my ideal work is a wee bit scary to me. It’s not scary in the sense that I’m horrified about what my interests and talents are (e.g. ‘I like math?! What?!! NOOOOOOO!!!’ No, no. Have no fear, dear readers, I don’t really like math!), but it is scary in the sense that I might have to go out and create a job for myself that doesn’t really exist yet. I shouldn’t say it doesn’t exist, because some people are doing something similar to what I think I’d like to do— on different topics. Caroline Myss, Andrew Weil, Amy Swenson, and Stephanie Pearl McPhee—they’ve all found some way to combine the two things I enjoy the most (writing and teaching) without working in a university. The thing that these people have that I don’t, though, is a topic. Kind of an important thing, that topic. Some might even say it’s essential for would-be writers to have one...

That’s why the prospect of going it alone right now is too overwhelming (and highly impractical): I want to write, but I don’t know what I want to write about just yet. And that’s why I’m still waiting on this clinic job. Call me!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Latest on Lily

After weathering a(nother) power outage, I'm back with another update on our little PeaPod!

My sister was discharged from the hospital in Great Falls and was flown back to Calgary last night with little Lily in an incubator. Lily will still need some time in the hospital to grow bigger and stronger, but luckily her level of care has been downgraded from intensive to just regular preemie care (I'm sure there's a technical name for her level of care, but obviously I don't know what it is!).

We are so thankful to everybody who has offered their support during this whole ordeal. A special thanks goes out to all of the people who are getting involved in knitting the PeaPod Collection at Make One Yarn Studio (it sounds so exclusive and designer!). It just warms my heart to know that so many people will be helping my sister and her partner get a good start at being parents. This means so much to me and my family. Thank you.

Friday, February 9, 2007

'Bishops', by Dana L.

So I'm feeling pretty exhausted from the past week. I know I mentioned something about posting again yesterday, but seriously, I was like a lump for the whole day. I only woke up long enough to start knitting a chevron scarf (thanks for the suggestion, Suzen!) with my new knitclub friends. That was it. Garter stitch with an occasional k2tog. Today I feel like I could go on about a million rants (mostly about job interviews, though-- I've had enough of ranting about the health care situation), but instead, I've decided to just post the Bishop Essay and call it a day. I know many of you are facing exams and term papers next week, so the timing couldn't be better. So, without further adieu:

Here is the infamous Bishop Essay, unabridged and unedited from its original glory. (I debated choosing the ‘large’ font size to stay true to the original flavour of the essay, but then I decided it would just be annoying.) Enjoy!


Bishops are clergymen, Their rank is above that of a priest, but below the status of a pope. They typically govern a particular diocese religiously.

Some of their duties include baptizing and confirming eligible people. Most people are baptized as infants and confirmed in grade six, but there are many exceptions. In most cases- a priest will baptize the person, but many people prefer a bishop to do the task. The bishop pours water over the person’s head, and blesses them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. They are then welcomed into the family of God.

Bishops are eligible to become popes. A new pope will not be issued under normal circumstances until the pope has passed on. The other bishops, then, will hold a vote for their new pope. They will choose someone who has devoted their life to God, who is very religious and who will spend every day until their dying day serving God and his children to the best of his ability.

A bishop wears a very tall and wide hat, whereas the pope wears a white beanie that barely covers his head. He wears a robe with a belt tied around the waist. The robe can be many colors—depending on which religious celebration is taking place. The most common color of a robe worn by a priest, bishop or pope is white because it symbolizes purity—like the purity of God.

Our bishop is Bishop B. He has been our bishop for quite some time*. He has led a very religious life so far—even in his childhood. He has many siblings—all of which are involved some way in religion. His brother is a priest and his sisters are nuns. Religion is very important to all of them.

Bishop B. didn’t expect to be a bishop. His life was destined to priesthood, or so he thought. Last year, when he visited the school of St. John, he told us how astonished and overjoyed he was to be promoted from priesthood to being a bishop. He told us that he was fully prepared to live a life of holiness and he modestly added that he was doing a pretty good job so far.

He is a friendly man with sparkling eyes and a jolly expression set on his face. His milky white hair gives him character and reminds him and us of his everlasting promise to God that he is in the process of fulfilling**. He seems like he was cut out to be a bishop because he was always there to hear everyone’s stories and pleading cries for forgiveness and mercy and he was always the one who gave the perfect response that sewed up the gaping wounds in people’s souls***.

Our Bishop, Bishop B., will sometime rest in peace. His soul will depart from the Earth and will proceed into the Paradise called Heaven. There he will be given wings and will watch over the world as our Guardian Angel. We will remember him as a brother who was always there to listen to our fears and hopes—who always offered his shoulder to cry on. We will miss him dearly****.

The End.

* I love the vagueness here. Hmm… ‘quite some time’, eh?

** For future reference: milky white hair = everlasting promises to God. Remember that the next time you’re playing a word association game.

*** I have no evidence for this whatsoever.

**** I dub this paragraph the Readymade Eulogy. Keep in mind that Bishop B was very much alive and kicking at the time this essay was written.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Princess Pea!


My sister went into labour last night, shortly after her partner walked into the room. Then, this morning at 6:34 am, she gave birth to Lily April via cesarean section!

Lily weighs 3lbs, 4 oz and is breathing on her own. She is still hooked up to a feeding tube, but she is strong, healthy, and beautiful otherwise (from what I hear-- I haven't seen her yet!)

I'll post again later on today, but for now I need to nap. Man, this whole being an aunt thing is exhausting!


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

You Can't Make This (Bishop) Up

This special “Pre-Reading Week” edition of YCMTSU will come in two posts and is dedicated to all of my friends in school. Do you ever feel like what you’re writing is meaningless dribble? Does it seem like your essays or assignments can’t get any worse? Are you convinced that you’re the most awful student in the history of academia? Well, my dear friends, I’m here to tell you not to worry. Although you might feel frustrated and disillusioned at times, you are far from the pits. In fact, I happen to have in my possession the official Worst Essay of All Time. I like to call it: The Bishop Essay.

Before I include it for your reading pleasure (in tomorrow’s post, btw), I’d like to provide some contextual information about it. I wrote it back in Grade 7 for a Religious Studies assignment (perhaps this brings back fond memories, Dustin?). The assignment was to write a 2-page essay about bishops, and most of the students in my class promptly called up their local diocese and set an appointment to speak with a pastor about all things bishop-related. These students put a ton of work into their essays, and they included detailed analyses of the symbolism of bishops’ regalia, ceremonial duties, and so forth. Me, I asked my Baba what our bishop’s name was, and I tried (rather halfheartedly, I might add) to fudge the rest (double-spaced, and in 18-pt font).

Well, the best stories are those that have a bit of a twist to them. In this case, my Grade 7 teacher wasn’t stupid. She knew that in the scope of life, a mark on a tiny Grade 7 Religion project—low or high—wouldn’t matter so much. She also knew, though, that the scars from pre-teen humiliation can last for a lifetime. So… she announced to the class that only one paper had been given a perfect score. Only one. The catch: the person with the perfect score would have to read their paper out loud to the rest of the class.

No big deal, right? Except that the perfectly scored paper was mine—my crappy 10-minute paper in 18-point font—and I had to read it to all of the people who had put hours of blood, sweat, and tears into theirs.

My teacher wasn’t stupid, indeed. I’m sure she sat back with a gleeful smile on her face and watched me shrink in front of my peers, reading out my horrendously vague yet overdramatic Bishop Essay. I’m lucky I survived the bike racks after school that day…

To this day, whenever I feel like things in school can’t get any lower, I ask myself: “Is this worse than the Bishop Essay experience?” and the answer is always ‘no’. In turn, dear readers, if you ever feel like you’re signing your name to the worst piece of writing ever, I invite you to compare it to the Bishop Essay. You might be surprised...

In tomorrow’s post: The Bishop Essay!

PeaPod update:
I guess when my sister’s water broke, I expected PeaPod to come whooshing out like a white water rafter or something. Obviously, I don’t have much experience in the birthing room! PeaPod is still in utero, and if s/he can hang in there for another week or so (which apparently is possible. And safe! Who knew?), there is the distinct possibility that my sister can be flown back to Calgary and be induced back home! Going back to Calgary is what my sister wants more than anything right now (healthy baby prayers aside), so please keep your fingers, toes, eyes, etc. crossed for that outcome. Thanks!

The Pod herself, circa 1988

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Update: The Pea is Still in the Pod

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all of their kind words and support during this time. I am touched by the thoughtfulness and generosity of everybody from friends to strangers, and it gives me hope to know how many people are rooting for my sister and PeaPod!

I'll be updating the blog with new developments as they become available, so stay tuned to hear the latest on PeaPod, the preemie cap knit-a-long (thanks for posting about it, Terra!), and the (very informal) gas money blog-a-thon ($25 and counting-- huzzah!!).

And now, for something completely different:

I feel like I accidentally applied to work for the CIA or FBI (what are the Canadian equivalents of these? The RCMP? Haha- yeah right.) Yesterday I had my fourth interview for a position at a local clinic, and I can't help but feel that four interviews-- for any position-- is a little excessive... I have spoken to four different people now, but I have been asked pretty much the same questions. Are they checking for consistency in my answers? Is this a test? When can I get hooked up to the lie detector machine?

Q: Did you ride your bike to the interview?
A: Yes
Q: Do you ever ride on busy roads?
A: I try to avoid them if possible--

Oooh, busted.

Anyway, I *supposedly* find out in the next few days whether or not this coveted top-secret position is mine. If I get it, I guess I'll have to mysteriously delete this post so nobody can find out about my cunning alter-ego (e.g. 'I may look like a simple clinic staffer, but in secret, I'm actually GUARDING THE QUEEN'S CROWN JEWELS!!!'). If I get passed up for it, though, I'll have to reassess the merits of poly-blend interview tops and the whole 'four interviews' process in general...

At what point do you say 'you know what? Forget about it. Unless you feel like paying me, I don't think I'll come around for the nth interview.' I was so excited to go to the first, and even the second, interview. The job itself still excites me, but after so many interviews about the same trivial things (e.g. 'Yup. I'm still a non-smoker!'), the novelty of the situation is wearing off big time.

Wish me luck nonetheless. God knows I have better things to do with my time than make up conspiracy theories for every clinic in the city!

Monday, February 5, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes

(Follow this link and listen to the song while you read the post!)

This weekend proved to be different than most.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was going to be a first-time aunt in April. Well, PeaPod (as my sister’s in utero baby is affectionately known) decided that it would be better if I became an aunt right. now. My sister’s water broke on Friday evening—two and a half full months before her due date—and what followed was a laundry list from anybody’s worst nightmare.

My sister’s pregnancy is considered high risk, because she is at a higher risk for blood clots than the ordinary pregnant woman (we can thank Ortho Jansen and her brand of birth control pills for that). She needs special care in the delivery room, mainly to make sure she doesn’t bleed too much from her blood-thinning injections during birth. Anyway, it turned out that the special care she needed wasn’t available in Calgary when the water broke. Unfortunately, it also wasn’t available in Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver, or Victoria. Hence, she had to be flown via air ambulance to the nearest hospital with the appropriate facilities—in Great Falls, Montana. Montana!!

My sister’s partner was ready to make the journey with her, but he was denied the opportunity because he doesn’t have a passport. (New US border laws require anybody flying across to carry a passport.) So. She made the flight by herself, scared nearly to death, while her partner made plans to drive to Montana the next day.

She landed safe and sound, and so far, it looks like her and PeaPod are doing OK. Her labour will have to be induced by the end of this week, and after she gives birth, she will probably need to stay in the hospital until PeaPod is strong and healthy enough to make the flight home. This means that she can expect to stay in the hospital until her regular due date—April 14—at a minimum. I don’t care who you are—that’s a long time to spend in a hospital, and it’s a long time to be away from your friends and family, too.

I’m grateful that a system is in place to get women who go into labour prematurely the medical care they require, even if it means transporting them to another hospital. However, my heart breaks when I hear how scared and alone my sister feels. My mother is with her now, but my sister’s partner, friends, and the rest of her family will only be able to make weekend trips to be with her, if that.

I spent the weekend knitting my first ever preemie caps and a log cabin preemie blanket to send with my sister’s partner on his next trip down. In the meantime, I’d appreciate any and all of the support you can offer. I trust that this situation will have a positive outcome for everybody involved, but it’s a bit frightening for the time being.

How to Help Out:

  • Keep my sister and PeaPod in your thoughts and prayers (thanks so much to everyone who is already doing this!)
  • Consider using your soft scrap yarn for preemie caps and/or blankets. Most hospitals accept donations of knitted items on an ongoing basis. This site has some basic instructions and sizing guidelines for caps. Basically, caps should be knit to fit an orange or your clenched fist.
  • For the results-oriented, instant-gratification types out there, contact me to arrange cash donations for gas money, hotel costs, and other expenses in Great Falls, Montana. Money is tight for expectant couples of all sorts, and this case is no exception.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Adventures in Thrift Land

I went thrift shopping the other day to beef up my ‘professional attire’ collection. Most of what I own already wouldn’t make the ‘business professional’ cut (by a long, long stretch, unless ironic Titanic t-shirts with sludgy orange silkscreens of Leonardo DiCaprio are suddenly the rage with all walks of working professionals), so I figured it was time to get my ass in gear. The job interviews were getting more frequent, and there was only so many times I could wear the same two ‘classy’ outfits without somebody noticing something—wrinkles? Sweat? A nasty stale smell? Crusty deodorant? Yesterday’s lunch? Sooner or later, something about those recycled outfits was bound to give me away.

So... I hopped on my bike and proceeded to comb through the selections at my local Women in Need store. Given that I tend to get a bit carried away in thrift stores at the best of times, and given that I haven’t brought in a decent income of any sorts since… oh… around December 2005, I set myself a pretty strict budget, and I made a silent pledge that I would only look at things that met the following criteria:

  1. The ‘business professional’ criterion: Could I wear the item to work or to an interview and come across as put together/decent/conservative/safe enough? If not, no deal.
  2. The ‘it matches something I already own’ criterion: Do I already have something to wear with the top or bottom? If yes, then great; if not, I’d either have to purchase a coordinating item as well or put the item down. Back away from that random top!
  3. The ‘no drycleaning’ criterion: I don’t care if it’s the swankiest item in the whole store! Machine. Wash. Only.

With those rules in place, I immediately laid my eyes on my first purchase:

So yeah, it might be a tad too small, and it probably needs to be drycleaned, and I doubt I could pull the look off at my next job interview, but at least I already own pink or white socks to match. I still maintain some standards, after all!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

You Can't Make This Shit Up, Vol. 3

Today’s piece of sound advice comes to you from the tag of a pair of secondhand pants:

Truly, you cannot make this shit up.