Tuesday, December 28, 2010

so very tired, yet so very happy!

there is something about having people you love, meet people that you love. Christmas was amazing, and relaxing, and so lovely. Santa brought me running stuff, and lots of chocolate, and a hand died scarf from Laos. Christmas has brought me laughs and good people and good food. it has brought me a time that i am very happy to be having.

and, yesterday, the holiday brought me back to Whistler-Blackcomb to use up my last day on my "Edge card." I am quite sad that I am not able to be riding more out here, but alas, Quebec calls. And, i can't ride Whistler, if I live in QC. but, I *can* use my card for a discount at tremblant, which is nice. Today was so different than my two days of riding prior to christmas. There has been so much snow in the last few days (200+ cm), and it is those days between christmas and new years where everyone and their grandma decide to come up and ski. The lines going up the gondola were insanity. On whistler it was quite awful, and if it was to stay like that for the full day, I am not sure if even the amazing snow could've made it worth it.

but, over on Blackcomb, the conditions were still great, and the lines were much shorter. As well to say that I was able to meet up with friends at lunch, and ride with them for the afternoon. which was lovely.

and that, brings me onto the main point.

There should have been a good chance that i was going to be staying the whole time in Victoria with the family of the boy that I like. And, that would've been nice. But, long-lost-american-army-best-friend-from-West Virginia University-Days was up in Whistler with his younger bro, and some of his friends. in fact, today is actually his 27th B-Day. Happy Birthday Zachy! So, boy I like and I drove over here yesterday, met them for dinner, and hung out today. And, I LOVE it when people I love, meet people I love.

because there is something about the people who are the closest too you. They are able to tell others a little more about who you are. Because each person might know a little something which is a different part of you. I am not sure if that makes sense. But, people are able to bring out different aspects to personalities, depending on who they are.

SO, all that to be said... I have loved having boy i like meet Zach. And, I have loved having Zach meet boy I like. Now, I don't know what either of them really thinks of the other. and, when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter. but, it is nice. it brings worlds together. now when I talk about either of them to the other person, they are not a stranger. and, i like that.

but, i am EXHAUSTED from the day of snowboarding, and not getting as much sleep and wanted last night. and my body hurts. the legs and the core. but, that hurt is from powder. so, no complaining here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the night before christmas

And yesterday I didn't write thrive thursday, but, I have been thinking about it. So, Here it goes. But, first, hit the play button on the video to have a christmas song playing while you read!

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on Christmas.

Christmas to me has been a time of year which is generally not very consistent. the only consistency is that I know that I am able to spend time with people that I love. and, to me, that is one of the most important things about this time of year. spending it with people you love. so, let me reflect back on the christmases past:
2010: Victoria with the Birch Family.
2009: Missisauga with the Patterson Family
2008: Road Trip with Anya to Georgia and Florida.
2007: Whistler with Christina, Zach, and Ben
2006: Down to Tacoma with my Dad.
2005: On MercyShips, in Liberia.
2004: Road trip with Christina to the Southern States
2003: this is where i start to forget...

While I don't have much to say about christmas, because we all know what it is about...Christmas is a lot of "do nothing" time. And, it is amazing, because in doing nothing, and being with people you love, you feel like you can actually bask in what life really should be. Relationships, and time just "being." And, we are able to thrive because at times like this, we are able to get down to the roots of who and what we are. We are able to reflect on where we have been, and where we are going. We are able to reflect on faith, and on giving, and on traditions.

oh, and not to mention. we get to eat lots of good food, and drink yummy drinks.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dress Shopping and tragic hoodie loss

So, i understand that i am a bit of a tom-boy. I always have been, and I'm okay with that. But, i am becoming more and more in love with wearing dresses... especially when riding bikes, or running! doing a sport in a dress/skirt makes me feel incredibly feminine and it's fun :)

There are so many dresses out there that suit my personality, and such. but, dress shopping has always been difficult for me. I am not little, I am athletic, and often, I don't have a super great idea of if it actually looks good or not. i have a general idea, but I always appreciate a 2nd opinion. However, today, i decided to take a litt
le stroll up Main Street where there is a lot of great little shops that carry mostly local and mostly sustainable clothing. And, you KNOW how much local and sustainable makes me happy.

which reminds me... this past
weekend snowboarding, i have lost one of my most FAVOURITE articles of clothing (though, I should really call the youth hostel). In 2007, I bought in Tofino a totally unique Hoodie (which you can see in the photo on the left). I
gulped as i paid the 100$+tax, but then i proceeded to wear that hoodie pretty much every day for the next 3.5 years. the huge hood. the fact that it is "one of a kind." the fact that it is purple. and now... gone. SAD DAY. :( pout.

Ok, back to the point. I walked into this store, with the aim of buying a inexpensive, pretty "christmas dress." because, there is something about christmas that screams "buy a dress!" I found two cute ones, and one cute corduroy skirt. Bring them into the change room, and am moderately pleased with the first, except for my armpit fat. so, i put the second on. It is a little tighter, due to the fact that it is strapless. but, whatever, up, over the head, and wiggle my way into it, and straighten the silk underlayer. I realize by this time that it is slightly too small, Mostly due to my outrageously large ex-rower/swimmer/current triathlete shoulders. (if you want huge lats and rhomboids? do the sports I have done. start with swimming at age 6. quit swimming, and row for 8 years. then try to get rid of that muscle with triathlon. it doesn't work.)

very modified story to follow. this entire process was about 20-30mins.

so, fine. nice dress, ask if they have a size larger (XL... really!? i am *not* extra large, TRUST ME.) and, sadly, none. So, i then proceed to try and take this sucker off. i go to pull it down. nada. not fitting over my butt/thighs. i try to pull it up (like, taking off... say, a sweater... "skinning the cat?"). nothing again. wont fit over my back. shit. damn it. how do i get this dress off?

sweat. panic. try again.

"um.... excuse me. (open the curtain slightly, poke my head out.) um, excuse me sir. i have a little bit of a embarrasing situation here." (he looks at me...) "um... yup, so, this dress went on, but, i can't get it off... it just doesn't work. i need help."
"errr. well, i have a girl working at the other store, across the street. maybe i can get her?"
"sure. yup, that would be great" (ARGH! how am i so inept at this to not beable to get a dress off!??!)
man on phone "um, right. so, you have customers. okay, well, we need a girl working over here right now." (me thinking... why is it that the guy is working in the girl's clothing store, and the girl is working in the men's clothing store!?!?) "oh, ok. well. come over as soon as you can."
man to me: "so, she might be a while. she has customers."
me: oh. ok. well, i'll wait.
him "well, i suppose I can go over, and lock you in here, and she and i can switch places. do you mind being locked in the store?"
me: "sigh. no. no problem." (hear him leave, door locks)

wait. wait. door opens.

"oh hi there. sorry about this. it is a little embarrassing."
her: oh, no worries. how did you get it on?
me: over my head. i have no idea how it is not coming off. i don't understand that how i can put something on, and not take it off.

i have to kneel down, since I am 6inches taller than her. arms up, over the head, deep exhale to empty the lungs. pull. budges a little. sweat. makes it more difficult, due to the stickiness of silk. repeat. OH! yes. moves more.. inch by inch. wiggle.

YESSSSS! i am free.

"um yeah. sorry about that. thanks for the help. at least i have a funny story now to tell at christmas."


and yes. i will buy this corduroy skirt. but not that dress. definently not the dress.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

my body hurts...

so, i wish i had a few photos to post from the last two days, because it was fab. as soon as I get my friend to send them my way, you will see the delight.

one of the great things about vancouver is the proximity to the mountains. And really, to me, that is one of the best things about the city... it is just so dang easy to take off to the mountains, for a snowshoe, a snowboard, or just a little hike hike. and, as you know from the large sporting event that recently took place in the city, last feburary, the other close attraction is Whistler-Blackcomb. You may remember that a few years ago, I spent christmas up there with some of the people I love the most in this world. it may actually might have been the best christmas I have ever had. Now, I have not been able to spend much time snowboarding at whistler in my life, just because it is expensive. but, I LOVE snowboarding.

so, friday morning, I hopped on the greyhound and got myself up to the mountain. It was a bright clear, beautiful day. and that is kinda rare on the west coast. So, after stuffing my stuff into a small, expensive locker, I was up for a few warm up runs. I got a text message from my good friend Brian, who was up a day early. We were on the same lift, so I met up with him (and his other friend brian) and rode for the rest of the day. There was not too much new snow, but a good amount of snow anyway. and, it was pure joy.

I stayed the night in the brand new hostelling international youth hostel in the athlete's village, and on saturday, got to the hill a little earlier for a 9:30 start. The weather was definitely not as nice as the day before, but, it was good again. And, it was so great to catch up with Brian about life, and relationships, and laughing, and just chilling. and, man oh man... was it good to feel the core and the burning in my thighs from 2 full days of riding.

top 10 things that I found interesting/thought about while riding over the past 2 days.
  1. i find it funny that when you mention "yeah, I am in nursing" how people (like random dude on chairlift) feels the need to divulge health issues and/or ask medical questions.
  2. it takes me at least a day to find my snowboarding legs.
  3. my triathlon muscles do not translate into snowboarding muscles. and that equates into massive muscle soreness today.
  4. after a day of snowboarding, I have no restraint in what I eat. everything looks amazing. especially beer and potato wedges.
  5. mental note: when riding through trees, do not stick your hands out in front of you to break a fall. you have done that before with a truck, while on a bike. it doesn't work out very well.
  6. it seems that as I am not 12 years old anymore, a helmet seems way more appropriate to allow me to feel safe.
  7. you will DEFINITELY run into someone you know, while at the hill. doesn't matter if there are 1000's of people there, spread over acres of mountain terrain. you will most likely see them on a lift, or in a restaurant at the end of the day.
  8. don't worry about "being that person" who holds the other's up. but, also remember to know your limits. ask what the run will be like before you follow people into the "out of boundary" trees.
  9. don't be disappointed about how much you "don't get to do this." be thankful for the time you do get to spend having loads of fun.
  10. dang. i gotta do this more. this is loads of fun.

oh yes: and this week's numbers...
Swim: 1.5 hrs
bike: 2.1 hrs
run: 2.1hrs
strength: 1hr
snowshoeing: 1hr
snowboarding: 2 days.
total: 7.5hrs + snowboarding!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thrive thursday: Home

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on how feeling like you are home can make you thrive.

i know, i know. it has been a while. I have been EXCEPTIONALLY busy, as you have probably gathered from my lack of posting. I left Montreal last friday, still with two papers to hand in (for monday). It was kinda nice to be leaving, but sucked knowing that I had to hermit myself until I would be done my papers. I spent saturday-monday at coffee shops full time. from open to close, with a little break for a dinner with friend on saturday, church on sunday. and sleep. of course sleep. I wanted to get off to the mountains on tuesday, but, alas. I was not yet done. At 4 pm on tuesday afternoon, I handed in my last paper for the semester. It was about a "caring theory." it may possibly have been 15 pages filled with nonsense, but it was 15 pages of something. and, with THAT, i am officially 1/2 WAY DONE MY DEGREE! wooooooOOOOOooooooo!

with that celebration done (which, in itself could be a post that makes me feel like I am thriving), i will move on to what is the hot topic of my life these days: being "home."

as you may know, I am a bit of a nomad. I effectively moved away from my family home at age 15. since then, I have never lived more than 4 years in one place. people may see it as unsettled, and sometimes it feels like that. But, i see it as learning opportunities, and chances to meet amazing people, and have incredible adventures, and learn about cultures. but, there is something about home... something that makes me thrive.

it is a long answer when people ask me "where is home?" or "Where are you from?" the second is easier, but answering that question is quite accurate about where i feel at home... cause where I am from does not necessarily feel like home. Nor does montreal feel like home. I know africa feels like a home, but, it is not totally home either; in africa, I will always be an outsider. but here, in western canada, in Vancouver, I feel the more at home than anywhere I have in my life. (and, i am not saying that i am going to 100% settle here. I am just saying that the west coast culture fits with me... it feels like coming home when I am here.)

to me, home is where my people are. home is where I can feel 100% in my own skin, or like I can have some roots set, and or go to a place where i feel like things flow naturally. home, to me, is where you can meet for coffee with friends, and not feel like time has passed. it is where you can stay at a friends, and not feel like you are being a burden. it is where you see places that you can know that your passions can be engaged. it is where you know that no matter how long you go away for, you can come back, knowing that you have a community. you can leave, knowing that when you return, you have comforts. home has a sense of comfort.

and, it is in this christmas season, where I hope that YOU can feel "at home." where ever that is... if home is people, or home is a location. I have had, amazingly, over the past few years many times to feel like I am spending christmas "At home." and, not once, has it been in the same location.

home should help us thrive in our environment. or maybe it is that if you find a place that you feel like you are thriving, maybe you should consider making it your home. either way, to me it seems as if it goes hand in hand. home is settling. home is warm. home should allow you to flourish and prosper and thrive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

just to keep you reading...

so, i have one more exam tomorrow (STATS... ugh! but, i only have to get 12/100 to pass the course. however, i would like to do better than just pass...) and two more papers due on monday (group research proposal and 15 page "analytical note" for nursing seminar class). I am off to Vancouver on Friday afternoon, which i am so anxious for. I haven't been there for a good period of time since fall 2009, and i miss being there.

I miss running on the sea wall. I miss my friends. i miss the mountains and the ocean. i miss my home church in skid row. I miss my favourite restaurants and coffee shops. i miss the green, and the cherry blossoms in the spring. but, i will get 10 days, and I am very happy about that.

this week, the bible verse that has been circulating my head is "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us." i wonder if that was written for students in exam time. HA! cause it certainly seems applicable.

as you can see, in procrastination this week, I joined twitter. what was i thinking?

this week, Montreal got a HUGE snow storm. the first one of the season. and guess what? i KEPT ON RIDING my bike. it is a winter wonderland. and, riding your bike in this snow is fricken HARD! it makes me feel like I am living on the edge. on the edge of what, i am not quite sure. but, it is hilarious, and it is a really good core workout, because you have to contract your entire core to make sure you do not bite the dust on a corner, or bike into the side of a very slow moving vehicle. and, you have this very strange camaraderie with others who are just as crazy as you. finally, i like walking into snowbanks to dig out a bike rack, then place your bike in the bank to lock it up to the inch of rack that is uncovered, to "ensure security." hilarious.

that is all. back to "studying."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

5km race report and Christmas dinner

So, I ran my icey, and windy 5km this morning.

It was not fast. and, my intestines did not like me eating a bowl of oats and greek yougurt (i didn't have any bagels, which is my regular pre-race breakfast) less than 2 hrs in advance. (this is the second time that eating oats has made me want to chuck while on a run... mental note. no oats pre-run). Anyway, after riding up to the race with my friend Ben (and, i mean UP! the "camillien houde" road up the mountain is rough), we were definitely warmed up.

So, we shuffled ourselves away, in the opposite direction from last year. so, the uphill part of the race (About 3km) was more broken up this year. not sure if i prefer it or not. It was quite icey, since we have not had any real snow yet this year, but plenty of cold rain. stomach was in knots about 3km in. but, stuck at it, and at the turn around, realized i was in #1, but with #2 girl (a former rower of mine) right on my heels. She is 130lbs, so up the final hill she went, leaving me about 100m behind her at the finish. (i laughed becasue i think i should've given her a 45lbs backpack to carry. see how that goes ;)

2nd place finish, in a time of 24:45. which, oddly... is EXACTLY the same time as last year. heh. but, last year, i was about 10th. it is a small race, but any victory feels good, right?

now, it is time to settle in and do some studying, while a turkey is baking. I bought a bird from Jean-Talon Market, St Vincent Meats. I feel fantastic that my bird is organic, and local. but, i do no feel good that i had to cut it in half to be able to afford it. but, really, it's okay, because i love giving food to people, which exactly what this dinner is about. friends, food, and taking a break from the stress.

things i will make for tonight:
Chocolate Nut Treats (the last recipe!)

others will bring: yummy salad, paleo dessert, veggie dish and potentially a hannukah potato latkes.

so, YUM! looking forward to studying with the smells in the background!

Friday, December 3, 2010

:knock knock: can I get my life back?

so, it has been a very stressy and long week. i have been a study hermit.

I have had at least two days where I got back to my house at 2:30 am. and, that always sucks when it was not due to being out with friends.

but, classes are done, and at this time next week, i will be in lovely vancouver. between now and then, i have 3 exams. after those 3 exams, i have 2 papers to finish. so, still lots of work to do, but things are getting picked away at.

tomorrow, i will race a 5km santa shuffle. It is not feeling very christmasy around here. TOday i commuted on my bike, in a skirt. I love riding bikes in dresses, but who would ever think i would be able to do that on the 3rd of december!??! something is not quite right with that.

I have never tapered for a 5km before. but, unintentionally, i have this week. just too much work, that pretty much, i have not exercised for 3.5 days straight. at 1:30 am yesterday, i was also forced to eat vending machine food.

i hate what the end of semesters does to you. but, not going to lie. the work we have done this semester has been rigorous. And, grad studies are meant to be rigorous. they are meant to transform the way you think. and, with exercises like this research methods proposal and presentation, i think it is succeeding in doing that... we are learning, that is for sure.

so, off to studying for a medical-surgery illness management, and research methods finals that will happen on monday! and, on that note, i would like to share with you a facebook event.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday report

total time training:
swim: 1hr 45min, 4500m
Bike: 4hrs on trainer
Run: 1hr 45 min (missed 1hr run today, doing it tomorrow morning!)
cross training and strength: 2hrs
total: 8hrs 30

compared to...

total time doing school work:
168 (total hours in week/hrs spent being anti-social)
- 8.5 (hours training)
- 49 hrs (approx 7hrs/night sleeping)
- 10hrs (commuting)
- 15hrs (procrastinating)
- 7hrs (morning stuff, evening stuff)
-7hrs (other stuff)

approximently 71.5hrs. which, to me, is way too much. especially when 12 of those hours were pretty much in one room, doing one group project. bah.

on tap for this week:
  • lighter training week, due to 3 assignments, 3 final exams and 2 class presentations which all happen in the next 2 weeks.
  • 5km santa shuffle on sunday morning.
  • more weight to lose (i am down at least 4lbs since starting this whole "healthy eating challenge" 3 weeks ago)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

crappy saturday

so, after having a stupid training ride this morning, due to the fact that I can't sit on my cerveloon the trainer for longer than 30 minutes without my saddle causing my crotch to have excessive pain, i have now spent 12 hours in the library, doing consistant work on a group research proposal project.

this saturday sucks. i wish i could go play in the snow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thrive thursday: Giving Thanks

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on how Thanks can make you thrive.

Even though, today in canada is a day like any other, I have a lot of american friends. And so, this is a shout out to them, who are taking a day to pause, and to remember to think about the things that they are thankful for. If there is one thing that Americans do better than Canadians, it is certainly thanksgiving. Ours passes pretty quickly, early in the fall. Many (not all) of us have a quick meal with family, are thankful for the 3 da
y weekend, and move on. From my experience, that it not the same in the States. Food is incredible (especially in the south, where I have spent at least 3 American Thanksgvings), you have the whole friday thing, and travel across the states is the busiest for the entire year.

So, why does Giving Thanks help us thrive? Well, I believe that when you give thanks, it allows you to think outside of yourself. if you are a spiritual individual, you acknowledge the forces outside of yourself that allow you to thrive. Giving thanks allows you to think of all the good things in life. all the things that make you feel good: good health, family, education, friends, sports, food, weather, love, cute animals... anything.

Giving thanks allows us to think outside ourselves. and when we think outside ourselves, we become less selfish. and when we become less selfish, for some reason, we become more confident. And, when we become more confident? well, that allows us to thrive.

Happy American Thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mind Games and skipping school and why I blog

Today, I am skipping morning class to sit and have a relaxed morning. I might even skip afternoon class. Cause sometimes, at least once a semester, you need to do so.

Things on the schedule this morning. Morning watch of the New Dexter Episode. Morning coffee by the computer. No riding in the nasty rain until this afternoon (you're right Annie... What did happen to HTFU?! (caution, that link is a little "unsafe for children" ... HTFU is scheduled for later!) Now I am a route to get a good lot of homework done.

breakfast today: 2 eggs. Strawberry Greek Yogurt. Banana. Coffee with vanilla almond milk.
but first, a great video, seen on SW's BLog.

So... why do I blog?!!

first off... do you like the new blog layout?!?! it took me a bit to figure out the html script, but, i like the way it is looking now, just after a few wee changes! i almost look important with a professional website!

anyway, i think I started my "xanga" blog spring of 2004 (if you click on that link. be warned that you are NOT allowed to bring up old life topics with me, unless I allow you too.) to keep up with some friends of mine that i had limited face-to-face contact with. it allowed me to follow up with people, and read up with what was going on with them.

i think, then, it became a trip log, often.

it gave me a place to just write.

when i was younger, i journaled a lot. I still journal. just not as much. I tend to journal those deeper things that I don't want other people to know about. You know... those "deep dark fears." the ones that you sometimes even have a hard time admitting to yourself. blogging allows me to journal those everyday things.

it still allows me to connect with people that I don't get to see often. It allows people who care enough, to keep up with me. and, i know that it is not a replacement for real relationships. but, you see, when you have so many friends, from so many places, and have lived in so many areas... you need some sort of tool.

it allows me some sort of outlet.

and, i kinda like the idea that people might actually be interested enough to read. but, even if people don't read? I would still blog. 'cause there is something about it, that i really like.

Monday, November 22, 2010

got some stats to do!

as is the common theme recently, this is going to be short and sweet. I have to explain some stats in a presentation during my first class, so, I need to do some last minute reviewing!

Last night, a friend of mine asked me why i blog. It was a good question, and good conversation. so, I throw it back to you (my creepy internet friends)...

why do you blog? I will post my answers and thoughts tomorrow. for now, just a few points.

1) I love making food with friends. Last night, my friend Ben and I (same ben that I rode with to ottawa last spring, and danced in spandex to raise money for the L&L society) made some delicious food! and, he was even good to me with keeping in my tight eating.

we made: delicious pumpkin chili. a salad with apples and peanuts and carrots and onions. some roasted cauliflower. and, then his roommates offered a piece of apple pie. i took one, but it was small!

2) this week in numbers.
swim: 2hrs, 4500m
bike: 2.5hrs
run: 1hr 45min.
strength + cross train: 1hr45m
total: 8hrs

I am also going to start recording weight. but, i am not going to tell you that number. but, i do feel as if i have been eating better. and that feels good.

I remember last year at this time, i was training maybe 6hrs a week. Mary already has bumped me up to 9h30m for the coming week. and, i am okay with that. it includes some clear ridiculousness. maybe I am going to become a glee fan. I have no idea. i have never seen the show. but, i do love spontaneous singing and dancing, so, I am sure I will like the show.

3)still too much homework, but this week looks way more reasonable than the past few. and that is a relief.

4) Completed my level 1&2 rowing canada coaching course. I am now a "trained" coach, I just have to do a few things to become a "certified" coach.

5) on saturday night, I did another clearly ridiculous thing. since the boy I like is in edmonton, and I am in montreal, we did a date night. we cooked the same thing for dinner, we got on skype, ate dinner together, and then netflix'ed a movie together. We both had earphones (so we could both listen to the movie, and eachother, without sound interference), and hit "play" at the same time. Ridiculous, right? but, oh so innovative and nauseatily cute.

6) winter came this weekend. it welcomed me with a hailstorm on my bike on saturday (can i say OUCH?!), and -12 (after windchill) on sunday...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thrive thursday: Live Music

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I am writing on the joy that comes with Live Music Performances!

Last week, I had the chance to go to see Michael Franci and Spearhead play at the metropolis here in montreal. I went with three girls from nursing (who are not direct entry students... Look ma, I am making new friends!), who branched out on a limb, because they had never heard of him. I have been a “late arriver” on the Michael Franci scene amongst my friends, but here I am. And, I like it. We danced, we laughed, we jumped, and we sang along. He is a great performer, who seems genuinely thankful for the progress that he has made in musical career, and for his fans. It interacts amazingly, and he has great rapport with the people watching.

And, it got me thinking. I love music. Even more, I love LIVE music. I remember when I was young, I grew up going to the Folk Music Festival in Edmonton. Though, my first “real” concert was when I was 12. I dyed my hair green with kool-aid, and went with friends to the Greenday Dookie concert. I was hooked.

Live music is amazing. And, why do I say it can make someone thrive? Well, because I feel that many times, you thrive when you feel good. You thrive when you feel happy. You thrive when you feel connected to your environment.

And, live music can allow you to do these things. It can cause you to escape yourself a bit, and escape the surroundings of day to day life, to connect to the sound and the movement and the sights. to let loose and think. Or not think. To dance. Or to not dance. To be introspective. Or to not be introspective. And, it is sure that musicians have that way with words. That way that allows our thoughts to be expressed in sound, or in the poetry that is attached to the sound.

And, for me, it doesn’t matter if it is a reggae-dancehall-acoustic concert, or if it is a sit on the grass/in a coffee shop listening to someone strum a guitar, or if it is a stadium with 10’000 other people. It still lets me feel connected. And, that makes me feel like I can thrive. (especially when, I cannot play music very well myself! I am glad other people can!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

winter commuting!? CHECK!

So, two things I have been gearing up for this week.

1) my healthy eating challenge with boy i like (BIL? HA!).
2) winter commuting on my bike.

therefore, I will comment on them both. and, i write first to say. don't. judge. (yes, leanna, I am looking at you ;) ) I may be a little strange. I may be a little obsessive. I may be a little off the rocker. But, I am what I am. And, there are always reasons for what I do. so, don't. judge. That is my soap box for the day.

healthy eating challenge.
as we all can agree on, the things we put into our bodies are what make us able to function day to day. we love food. Sometimes I talk a lot about it, other times i don't. One thing, though, for me, which is certain, is I react to the food I eat. Unfortunently, much like many other girls, if i eat to much crap, I feel guilty about it. And, when i feel like crap, sometimes I default to eating crap. for me, it is *Easy* to eat like crap.

but, on the other hand: i LOVE healthy food. I love the feeling it gives me, I love feeling fit and lean and awake.

so, after having eaten like crap, and feeling like crap during off season, I finally did the dreaded "step on the scale to see how much I gained" step. And, there it was. the 5-7lbs that I expected. but, it still caught me off-guard. and, i thought "Wow. I want to be a better athlete. I know that this will make a difference. I know that if i can become leaner and be fitter and eat better, i will be faster and feel better and be more confident." so, i went home, and challenged boy I like to a eating challenge.

"let's loose 10lbs" i said. then he said "okay, sure." (well, he sorta said that). then i thought "hmmm, February sounds like a good mark to make that." then, he said "so, by christmas?" (i silently gasp). so i said: "um. sure. by christmas." :YIPES:

so, it started. my smaller portions. my denial of all things yummy like muffins and pastries and pastas and rices (not that I eat those two last things at all anyway) and beer and wine and too many dairy products.... and hello to things other yummy things like carrots and apple sauce and protein drinks and eggs and organic chicken and salads galore. and... almond/flaxseed/egg breakfast concoctions. YUM!

will this work? i have no idea. but, it is worth a shot, right? 6 weeks of "sacrifice" should at least set me on a good foot. and, it should also get me to be creative with snacks and meals and recipes. 'cause all of a sudden, i feel like i am in some sort of competition with this (which, i know is not true, but... i am a competitive person. it just happens), and i want to put a good effort to it!

EDIT: and... talking about food. check out this BAS! (big ass salad...) um... yum!

2) winter commuting

so, for the first time in my life, I am going to be one of those crazies who ride their bike throughout the entire dark, cold, miserable winter. And, this intimidates me a bit. Because, in many ways, it seems as if it is going to be like submitting myself to un-needed torture. but, today, in anticipation of the upcoming colder weather that is coming in, and the increasing darkness, I made a purchase of a merino wool buff and some rechargable blackburn bike lights.
and, i will tell you what. the whole point of "saving money on bus passes" logic is thrown right out the window. cause those two things combined cost more than a month bus pass.

but, i think i am doing pretty well in terms of clothes:
  • sweet patagoina softshell jacket? check.
  • shell mittens gotten for 3$ from MEC when i worked there? check.
  • warm under gloves for those said mittens? check.
  • Merino wool buff that can be a balaclava, neck warmer, scarf or head cover? check.
  • fleece headband for ears? check.
  • ski goggles? check.
  • gortex pants? check.
  • gaiters? check.
  • good shoes and boots? check.
  • base layers, midlayers (fleece)? check.

so, all I hope is that this does not catch me off guard. cause, if it is a competition (ha!) between me and winter, i want to win that as well.

so, i will write about both these things as I go through them. Keep posted on progress!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

long and busy week: highs and lows

Got through it. Almost with all my stuff done on time.

let's put it like this, because I haven't done something like this for a while. Let's do a low and high list. i always do lows first, so i can end with a positive note!

  • coaching dramas with rowing.
  • too much work.
  • having someone die while on a shift at the ICU (not my patient. but, a first none-the-less.)
  • leaving victoria.
  • not getting all my workouts in.
  • slicing open a finger on a beer bottle that broke in transit in my bag on the way back from victoria.
  • a nasty sinus infection.
  • missing the boy i like.
  • crying at the rowing gala due to pure overwhelmedness of the season.
  • first indoor training ride.
  • not getting out to go to church.
  • having a nurse give me test results and subsequently say "Oh, i have no idea what that means. there is just a circle around it. i am just supposed to tell you to make sure you get a followup appointment in december."
  • crying at the rowing gala due to how proud i am of everyone i coached this season.
  • starting feeling like i am back on a regular training schedule.
  • starting a "healthy eating challenge" with boy i like.
  • michael franti concert on wednesday night... cause that is the sound of sunshine coming down.
  • having adorable not-so-straight boys lick my face while laughing and laughing.
  • finding a convenient master's swim team/triathlon team to swim with.
  • the exceptionally warm weather.
  • having the rear hub on my commuter bike fixed.
  • working out. eating well. getting work done.
  • the amazing things i am learning at clinical.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thrive thursday: not procrastinating

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I am writing about the topic of not procrastinating.

Yup, this week, I have Loads of work to do. and, as a student, I feel like I am thriving, when I get it done on time, and when I get it done well. So, I am currently going to sign off, and go do that work which is staring at me in the face. So that come next week, I can feel like i am thriving :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So fricken busy!

so, made it back from Victoria, walking into my house at about 9 pm. Then proceeded to have a 2.5 hr phone conversation. Definently really didn't get much work done last night, but did appreciate the conversation with that boy I like, because i know that it might be tight to have many more this week... Got some (but not as much) done this past weekend while away.

but, this is my week. and my list of things to do. Not including group meeting for my research methods class. But, oh la la. lots to do. It is weeks like this that make me a little crazy, because there is never really any down time. Sure, my fun is scheduled in this week. But mostly it is work. and that thing called training, which is now being integrated (not so well last week, when I was away) into my day to day plan (and... HEALTHY LIVING!)

and, i tend to think that it is going to be very similar to this right up to the end of school. Which... is also really soon. I just came back from the west coast, but, it is only a month before I head back out in that direction :) Which makes me really happy. I am really looking forward to my christmas break in Vancouver and Victoria, and very briefly in seattle/tacoma.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thoughts on my bike

currently in Victoria, BC, for the Canadian University rowing championships, Coaching two lightweight men athletes from University of Montreal. The west coast brings joy and refreshment to my soul, and I am so happy to be here.

Very quick post. My friend sam sent me this video, saying: "Super cool video. All bike loves and all Earth Lovers will enjoy."

I happen to agree. Enjoy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thive Thursday: night photography

AHHHH, it is a day late. yesterday had a morning run, and clinical, and then a flight to victoria. And, i thus, forgot to post thrive thursday! sorry about that...

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, the contributor is Sean Birch. Someone I like quite a bit. He may have had a mention on this blog once or twice before. His Photo Website can be found here: Flickr!
What helps me thrive in my environment? Especially when right now, my environment is dark and cold for more than half of the day?

Taking photos after dark.

I wouldn't have thought about this a few weeks or months ago, but winter in Canada (and Edmonton more than some other places) means getting used to living in the dark. This is a different country in the dark than it is in the light, and there's no better way to see it than through a lens attached to a sturdy tripod. I've had enough practice to be feeling the itch again at this time of year.

There are two parts to this. The first is the experience of going out after dark, moving from my warm (and bright) environment to the dim light of my car, and finally to the world of the dark. I walk away from whatever light I had, tentatively at first, and gaining more confidence as my feeble eyes adjust to the dark. (Okay, my eyes aren't that feeble, but I'm hardly nocturnal). Then a feeling grows as I walk: I sense more, I take in as much light as is available, I hear everything I can hear, I pay attention to the ground beneath my feet and the wind across my skin. And I know that I'm closer than ever to falling down, stumbling, being attacked by a bear (hey, it could happen) or getting lost. I may not be meant to live in a dark world, but it's a fun place to visit.

The other part is the photo, and the camera. When it's dark enough that we can't see, there's usually still some light, however little, and the camera is patient. It's the technological embodiment of patience, gathering light only as quickly as it needs to, being completely capable of spending minutes to record a scene. What it tells me is that the dark is composed of more than a smudgy dark bl
ue, it isn't all noisy static in front of my eyes, that it still holds all the colours and detail I know from the daylight
. It says the sources of light we all stick to are blinding points, best turned away from. It says that the points of light in the sky are more colourful and dynamic than I've ever had the patience to notice. Taking photos after dark tells me that the tool we all use to capture everything we see can also be used to reveal what we can't see. I like fee
ling that there is more to the world than we can see, and I like knowing my own vision is limited.

On the walk back to my car, and the drive back to my house, it never fails to impress itself on me that we live in an unnatural world, that our roads and cities and electricity (as much as I love them) have taken something away from our knowledge of ourselves. Something our distant ancestors may have been happy to trade for the comfort of a warm fire to gather around, something that really may be worth less than security, but something that isn't worthless.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

this kitten lost her mittens.

very quick post!! if anyone sees a pair of red Vancouver 2010 Mittens lying around, somewhere between the YMCA on Parc Ave, and St Denis @ beaubien, they are mine. please return. I love them. and, i lost them today.

So, tomorrow I will head west for the Canadian University Rowing Championships. Should be pretty good. I am not rowing, I am coaching two of the guys who will rowing lightweight singles. But, beyond that... It has been 10 years since I have rowed at Elk Lake, in Victoria. (um. wow?) I feel, like in a sense, it will be kinda like a home coming. great venue. great location. great sport. it should be a great weekend. Esp. if Sylvain and Ariel do well!!! so, row hard boys.

on another note. Coach Mary, and Turbo Curbeau are at IM florida this weekend. Let's Go Train-this! swim bike run like it is your business. (oh wait. it is.)

yesterday, I did something (I am not telling you what, because it is really embarrassing/shameful) that I was not proud of, but learnt a fantastic lesson from. And, really just got me thinking about how easy it is to fall into a spot where you do things that you really don't want to do. or the things you ought to do, you don't do. it was a little shocking to have it stare at me in the face, how easily we can fall, due to our own stupidity.

training is back on. and, i can tell already what a fantastic difference it is going to be making in my life :) ALso, just wanted to say... i am going to run tomorrow morning for the first time in close to 7 weeks. dang. should be interesting. if i am lost in action, it is because my body is going through a form of shock.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Once upon a time, i rowed.

yes, it's true. Once upon a time, I rowed. For essentially 7-8 years. That is a big chunk of my 27 year life. ANd, now, I have spent close to two years coaching. I love. Love. LOVE. rowing. When i was a wee one, I swam. For a lot of years. and, I loved it. But, it wasn't that sport that I really chose. I just did it. I liked it. And, i did fairly well at it.

not like rowing. I quit swimming to go to a school that would give me a chance to row, because people told me "you have the perfect rower's body." I have story an experience from rowing from everything. from having teammates tell me that I am not pulling hard, to getting silver at San Diego Crew Classic, and the Head of the Charles. Everything from swearing at my coxie while getting off an erg, to learning how to master that wreatced machine. From barely making petite finals ("I am not a petite girl! I shouldn't be rowing in petite finals") and gotten silver at the canadian high school rowing nationals. I have have a story and experience for almost everything.

I used to have a necklace with a hatchet blade pendant. I wore it, because it was my passion. An identity. I knew myself as a rower. so many times, I would have friends introduce me as: "This is Amo. She's canadian. She came here to do crew." they even paid me to row. they paid me to do my passion. I had to give it to someone else, for two reasons. She needed it more that I did. And, I needed to remember what it was to not only know my identity as a rower. I needed to identify myself as me.

for a number of reasons, I walked away from rowing, sick of it, and angry at aspects of the sport. Not my teammates. Not the feeling of flying over the surface of the water. I walked away, because (if I think about it now), rowing is one of the only sports that can allow other people to determine your fate. And, that is what happened. Something was taken away from us, that we deserved, that we wanted, and that we were anticipating. And, in every way possible, it was not fair.

But, that's life. Despite it taking years for me to even think about going back to the sport, I have come back. Not as a rower. I don't need that. But, to give back some of my passion to people who have some of that same passion. And, I am finally in a spot that I can wear part of that passion on my body, without being engulfed in it. So, I bought myself a ring this past weekend, while at "Head of the fish."

This past season, in rowing, has been one of the hardest I have ever dealt with. As a coach, it has been tiring. And, it has been frustrating. So, if it has been this for me, I just get a glimpse of what my girls are feeling. I finished the season with two silver medals, but with conflict. and, that was hard. Rowing, unlike triathlon, is not a sport of individuals. Though, you have to be able to dig inside yourself to more degree than in anything else, to do well. As a rower, you build the closest friendships you will ever have. And, you can have the most passionate fights that you will ever have with your teammates. But, at the end of the day, leave it on the water. That is the *only* way that you will succeed in this sport.

This weekend, I sat at the waters edge, away from my team for a while, watching boats come in and out of docks. Watched the powerful eights cross the finish line. And, then watched a boat with some of my girls, and two guys that I coach often, cross the line 3 minutes ahead of the next boat in their category. I jumped up and down on the dock, did a little dance, laughed with the other coach. And, i felt nostalgic. Because when it comes down to it... despite the fact that I will never competitively row again...

I miss it. every part of it. the good the bad the easy the hard.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come to me, 2011 season

Today is day one of training for 2011. I don't have solid goals set up yet. I know it will be something very similar to this past year. I am waiting to find out about some items with school, and with some things that I have applied for, that will help dictate my schedule. one thing is for sure though.

about 2 weeks ago, I was not sure if i was going to be ready to start training again. I have enjoyed the off season. But, something has gone wrong. And, I will tell you what it was. My health (as you know) really has plummeted in the past 2 weeks, or so. to the point that I thought I had hypothyroidism, or anemia, or something. and, that, to me, was surprizing. I have been staying active (until, at least up to 10 days ago, when my body just screamed at me one day during yoga by being weak, and shaky, and stupidly sweaty), but just not in the same way.

Now, I know that exercise and diet make all the difference in the world for health. To stay healthy, you have to exercise, and you ahve to have a good diet. for this example, say that when I am in season, my health is at a 18/20. (or whatever...) I thought that in off season, my health would drop to say, 14/20, due to lack of exercise, and eating a bit more relaxed. but, what i found was that health dropped to... like, 7/20. it has been awful. and, surprising. I honestly had NO idea that it would be this extreme.

I wrote my family physician from when I was growing up. He offered a great explanation.

Most of the problems you are having is due to your diet change and activity change(possibly). You immune system is down because it is trying to battle the gut which is being forced to have items digested that it doesn't want to digest. Your diet for the past few years has not included some things and your body has enjoyed it. Now that you are reintroducing grains and meat, your body is trying to switch over and is not winning. Also, when you go from high activity to low activity, your body still produces adrenalin each day after you stop the high energy cycle as if you were continuing. If you don't train down, then that adrenalin accumulates and you end up feeling terrible, tired all the time, and depressed without having a reason for it.

The solution is to allow your body to recover. Get back to eating right and allow your immune system to increase without having to battle energy with all the other stuff. Whether you rest and allow the immune system to recover or begin to SLOWLY increase your activity to get it going again depends upon how your body responds. If you start to go to a workout and your body is saying it doesn't want to, then don't. Listen to what your body is telling you.

So, thanks, Dr Adams. And, thank you coach for getting me off my ass, and exercising again. Energy level? I highly anticipate your return. :) Here's looking forward to the 2011 season. May you be fast, and exciting, and even better than this past season.

finally, a few black and whites that the boy i like took during his visit to Montreal. his Flickr Page can be seen HERE:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thrive thursday: Commuting by Bike

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on the joy of a commute

Today, it is simple. I wasn't sure what to write. i certainly have not felt like I have been thriving as of late. but, on my way back from work at the hospital today, I realized for the first time in quite a while, something that I have not talked about for a long time. Mostly because, to me, it is so simple. it is something that I love. Something that sustains me. Something that makes me thrive.

I remember what it felt like to get back on my bike, way back in 2007, after I had spent the summer recovering from a crash that broke both my arms. It was my new baby blue brodie, I was scared, but, it felt like freedom. biking around the city, too and from work, too and from school, felt like freedom.

Commuting by bike allows everybody who does it to be healthy. (I know people who have dropped 30 lbs by just riding too and from work.) Commuting by bike allows people to slow down. Commuting by bike allows you to go faster than public transit. commuting by bike allows you to talk to other people on bikes. Commuting by bike (I know, i know... dangerous) allows you to get lost in your music while on two wheels. on the 19th of sept, 2008, i wrote:
"there are a couple of things that i love about commuting by bicycle. some of them depends on the ride; such as watching the sun rise, or set. or if you want to get a workout, or if you want to take a leisurely ride. or, if you listen to music, or choose to listen to what is going on around you. but, at least one thing that happens every s
ingle time you go on a commute. You have the time to feel the wind in you hair, and rushing past your body, as you take the time to prepare for the day, or take time to decompress from the day. it is a time to think about your day (ahead, or behind), while your blood is flowing rich with oxygen and endorphins. :)"

and, i still agree with that. most definently. commuting is one of the things that *Certainly* allows me to thrive in my environment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

over again

So, once again, I am sitting in a waiting room, to see a health professional. This is getting a little ridiculous, I say. I am in off season. I am not meant to be feeling so crappy, for so long. I am not stressing my body on a daily basis, and I am sleeping lots. Lots and lots. i do not want them to tell me that all my indistinct signs and symptoms add up to nothing. Because that just means I am a hypochondriac. UGH!

Thanks, everyone, for the nice words, and people checking in, and for caring. caring is really appreciated.

Sean was here this past weekend. And, it was delightful. he arrived on saturday morning, and i surprised him out at the airport. After a slightly terrifying drive into the city (can I say... never been to this city?! "Look at that building! it's made of brick!" "No Sean, LOOK AT THE ROAD! AHH! red light!" ), we met a few friends for a delicious morning breakfast at Faberge, then took off for the eastern townships. We made stops along the way, mostly including Abbaye St. Benoit Du Lac which includes monks that make cheese and cider. And beautiful walking/prayer trails through the trees. we then made our way to the little town that we were staying in for the weekend, Magog, and the B&B.

Magog is a beautiful little town, and very proud owners of their lake monster, Memphre (yup, apparently everyone has a strange french cousin. Even the loch ness monster, and the ogopogo). We walked around, took photos (ok, sean took photos), and then left, to make a day to be foodies. Things we ate: wine. chocolate. apple cider. Tart. hot chocolate. flat bread pizza. raclette. salad. YUM! On monday, we pretty much just did nothing. it was not a nice day outside, and I was not feeling good. so, Slept in late, walked around the adjacent, fairly trendy, adjacent neighbourhood to mine, Mile End, returned the rental car, and then hunkered in to watch some episodes of "Modern Family" (which, btw, is my newest favourite, hilarious, show).

all in all, it was a great weekend with good company, good food, good laughs, good conversation and good fun. it was nice to spend it with someone that i like so much. and, i am looking forward to any photos that might come out of it!

on a completely different note...

Recently saw this article, about nursing in the DTES in Vancouver. Pretty much, this is one of the reasons why I have chosen nursing as a career. This type of work is what opened my eyes wide open, and made me say: dang it! nursing is perfect for me!!!! If I ever have the chance to work in a situation like that of the safe injection site, I would be so privileged. Because that is what I feel we are called to do. (ok, maybe not everyone, but... you know. At least a handful of us.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

sometimes, just sometimes...

...you have a bad day.

I know that my post from wednesday was apparently upsetting to some people. I had a huge # of hits on my site, people phoning me out of the blue (like my mother!), and sending me emails saying super nice things like "hang in there" and "you will get through this." and "why didn't you tell me you were in the ER?"

and, that is somewhat the reason why I hesitate in writing things like that. Not because i don't appreciate what people have to say, or that I dislike the encouraging words. in fact, they are amazing. you, my friends, are amazing.

but, i just don't like it when people over react. people have bad days. they have bad weeks, bad months, and bad years. and, sometimes, a vent just needs to happen. It doesn't mean that something drastic is going to happen, or that the person thinks that the world is going to collapse, or that they are not going to make it through. it just means they need a vent. and, as long as they know what they need to do to help cope through the moment, generally, it is going to be okay.

but, yes. Physically, I am feeling a bit better. not fantastic. just better.
So, thank you for your concern. I just don't want you to be overly concerned ;)

Sometimes I know how I want to deal with things, other times I don't. sometimes i want to talk about it, other times i don't. But, one thing that i do know is that the boy I like is coming from edmonton to visit this weekend. And, despite the crappy week i have felt, this makes me happy. we will go and play in the fall colours of the eastern townships. drink good wine, and eat good food. we will hang out with friends, and be with just us. photos will be taken. french will be laughed at. and enjoyment will be had. yay :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thrive Thursday: Without words, there is nothing

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, the topic is, once again, words.... but, with a different spin. The contributor today is Megan O., who is a life-long friend of mine, from West Virginia University, who lives (and writes) in DC. Her (hilarious) blog can be found here: http://morsini.blogspot.com/ She states that she was at work, when she sent this email. Thus, the photo is a little out of focus.

When Amo asked me to do this, I thought, “Yes! Writing! That is a thing that I can do! I am in school for that!”

But as I thought about it I realized….this is a really difficult question. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gone through a few things that I thought make me thrive, but nothing really clicked. Sure, for the moment that I was experiencing a particular thing it made me feel alive. But on a regular, day-to-day basis? I couldn’t really put into words the things that I love. Which was discouraging. Not having words is like not having a mouth. What do you do without a mouth?

And then today, completely out of nowhere, I came across this Adrienne Rich poem, “From an Atlas of the Difficult World.” So I looked back at Amo’s “rules” and saw that it can be a piece of art or a quote or whatever and so I will take the easy way out and give you someone else’s words:

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

I don’t know what it was about this particular poem on this particular day. Maybe because I am at least three of the people she is describing at any given time. I know what it is to hunger and thirst for words, whatever they may be. Maybe because on days like today, when I struggle to find words of my own, I turn eagerly to anyone else’s. These are the days I wind up with an armful of new books because everyone else says it better.

I guess the answer to the question “what makes you thrive?” for me, is words. But Amo already covered that. So how do I say it differently? I agree that there are power in words. They have the ability to convey an emotion, an idea, or a belief in a way that can leave me wanting to shout from rooftops, “Yes! Yes! This is exactly what I was trying to say!”

Words can change people or things. They can raise up or tear down nations. We are a world founded on words. It wasn’t until God named things into existence that we had day and night and man and woman and land and sea. Without words we would still be formless and empty.

The right words can make us feel like we aren’t the only ones who feel a certain way. The right words can make us feel like we belong to something bigger, like we are a part of something. We need words to survive. Without words we are nothing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a bit burnt out.

warning. this is N.O.T a happy-go-lucky post. it may even be a bit depressing. but, i need a vent. and, i don't care what you think, and if you don't like my vent.

so, I had mid-term exam yesterday. In a class called Clinical assessment and therapeutic nursing. or something like that. It is a under-grad nursing class about technical things: fluid balances, and electrolyte balances, and acid-base balances, and post-surgical care. Stuff that nurses need to know. Also stuff that we learn. in. clinical. and, really, it is the only mid-term exam that I have, so, I shouldn't be complaining. Some people have it much harder.

I could've not taken my exam yesterday... I had a doctor's note. I was ill on Monday. I thought that there was something really wrong going on with me. so, i went to the ER. For the 2nd time in as many months. It has me feeling like at hypochondriac. and, each time, it has not been something serious, and has been something very treatable. which is good. but, it is slightly embarrassing. I was at the ER from about 2:30 and arrived back home at 10:15pm. and, not going to lie. The ER waiting room is not very conducive to studying.

but, what was my alternative? Write the exam later? when I am not motivated to study, because i have more school work building up? or have to write it next week, when my boyfriend is coming for 4 days this weekend to visit (YAY!)? or have my final be worth 100% of my grade?! not very compelling alternatives. the worse of two evils. and, i had studied some. I wasn't feeling great, I am feeling exceptionally tired these days, but, i deducted that it was better than waiting. so, i wrote the mid-term yesterday.

And, i don't feel good about it. I mean... I know that I could've done better. i am kinda worried about what my grade is going to be. and, i guess it kinda sheds light onto something that has been in the back of my head, for a while... I am tired of school. i am in my 2nd M.Sc degree. I am pretty much in my 8th (ish) year of post-secondary education. and, i know this is just one exam. a small part of a bigger picture. but, the more i think about it, the more i am worried about it.

i love learning. i love nursing. i love that i have the opportunity to have this many years of education, when many people in the world can barely send their children to school. i love thinking, and challenging my knowledge base.

but, i don't love focusing on cramming numbers into my head that I know I will have a sheet to tell me what the right values will be, when I should be focusing on learning what the outcomes and longer-term results might be. I don't love being broke all the time. I don't love feeling like i should be succeeding, yet, for some reason, hitting barriers that are restricting me. I don't like feeling that I have to prove myself to be better than others have opportunities that expand my knowledge, or teach me. I don't like being tired all the time. i don't like projects where your grade depends on other people. i don't like having to feel like I have to put relationship to the side, in order to achieve tasks. i hate knowing that I know one exam has never, in my life, changed my fate (okay... well, except that exam), so, I shouldn't stress about it.

but, this exam, in particular, reminded me a few things. i am tired. I am feeling like my brain is incapable of translating the information onto the paper into practical knowledge. for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling like i don't want to do this, despite wanting the outcomes, and knowing that I have too. i am feeling defeated. i have felt ill more this fall than I have felt over many years... like something is just not right in my body. (on another note, the ER doc suggested that I might want to get my thyroid checked. in a way, it would kinda be nice to know if some of the things I am feeling is due to some imbalance. on the other hand, i don't like the idea of having something wrong with me. and, on the 3rd hand~ if I don't have hypothyroidism, then it just means that i am in a slump, and this is just emotional.)

the end. that is all. hopefully it will get better. i know it will. these things never last.