Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Perfect Day

I know, even before I begin, that this topic will be harder to write about than I think it will be. I guess that doesn’t really make sense, considering that I’m already predicting it to be difficult…Anyway, the perfect day – what would yours be like?

In describing my own, I must begin by describing how it would feel. For some reason, I always think that perfection is characterized by a feeling. I am overly romantic, it’s true, but I don’t think it’s my love of fluff that guides my thinking on perfection. My anxiety, I believe, shapes this particular notion. Anxiety dictates a lot of things in my life. This is unhealthy, I realize. I am working on it but it is a persistent vice. And unlike other vices, it affords very little sinful pleasure. It is poisonous at all stages of its influence and I draw no immediate satisfaction from it, other than, perhaps, a false sense of control. So Perfection, for me, is the absence of anxiety.

The other feeling I associate with Perfection is Enthusiasm. When I am free of anxiety, my enthusiasm for life is boundless. It seems that many possibilities are available to me. Ideas flow rapidly and I am articulate in the expression of them. The black hole that anxiety leaves is filled to overflowing with enthusiasm and I believe that these conditions would have to exist on a perfect day.

I don’t think that I could describe a perfect day in any other way. The events that take place don’t matter – it’s how I feel that is important. That sounds shallow, doesn’t it? That’s because I am misnaming the experience. It is not a feeling at all, but an action of surrender. It is in surrender that we receive freedom - not obtain freedom, but receive it; and it is in freedom that possibilities are revealed – not created, but revealed. That is my idea of a perfect day – what’s yours?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Need a Hug?

Go ahead and hug somebody.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Skinny Jeans

Thank-you all for your support. Even what may seem lame, Liane, is comforting from a friend. Though my job did not get any less stressful since my last entry, I do have a new perspective on things. So, I think I'll be a little less dismal today.

Since this blog is all conjecture, I think I'll spew another ill-considered opinion. At the first sign of offense, please stop reading. Today, I want to talk about "skinny" jeans.

I and most of my friends were mere children in the eighties. This is why we can claim no part of the blackhole of fashion of which Madonna was queen. We may have worn legwarmers but on six year olds, they were cute; we might have flaunted leggings but nine year olds don't have to worry about the attractiveness of what they are flaunting; and, we may have sported "tapered legged jeans" but that's all they had at the store for us to buy. We were young offenders. Our fashion crimes cannot follow us into adulthood...

...unless, of course, you have reoffended in this, the renaissance of the eighties. Ladies, "skinny" jeans is not a revolutionary idea. It is a new word for "tapered legged". Do not be seduced by the romance attached to this product because of its high-profile representatives. Hillary Duff is underweight! She probably had to lose 5 pounds to fit into her "skinny" jeans. In fact, she probably wears them to provide herself a physical reminder to put her fork down after she has eaten only half her meal. Hillary Duff is not a real person. Do not assume that real people can dress as she does.

And by "real" people, I mean me and every woman who boasts a set of hips. Picture for a moment, me, wearing a pair of tight-butt, leg-sucking Levi Strausses. Scream out loud if you must. I would look like an elogated pear, or a yam. Add high heels to the mix and you've got a very confused hors d'oeuvre. Now imagine a fashion-conscious obese woman with stylistic delusions of grandeur. She loves Hillary Duff and she thinks that girl looks "faaaabulous" in her drab denim. So she tries it out. The image should strike acute embarrassment in your heart. Do you see the danger in looking to media icons to govern your dress?

And yet, this is not the point. It's not that there are people who can and cannot wear "skinny" jeans. In truth, no one, not even Hillary Duff, looks good in these hideous refried jeans. Why can't we recognize even this fundamental truth? Our society is truly lost if we cannot even come to the collective conclusion that eighties fashion should stay in the eighties.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Something's Got to Give

I know it’s been a long time since I updated my blog. I bid my sincerest apologies to all of my faithful readers – or at least to Jenna and Kevan who never fail to gently prompt me to fulfill my duties.

I would like to begin with congratulations for Julie and Lowell and Chad and Sharon. You may never read this, but if you do, I am very excited for your upcoming weddings and marriages. It changes your life in so many wonderful ways and improves you as an individual.

Kevan and I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about our careers. We both have 5 years of university and have been working in our fields for over a year. We are very fortunate to be employed in such a stable profession. We make good wages and we have great holidays. There are even some parts of our jobs that we really enjoy…and yet, there is something missing. Or there is too much of something. I think the latter creates more immediate stress and the former causes us to feel unsatisfied. Either way we look at it, though, something’s got to give.

And what should give? Should I continue teaching to see if it becomes less stressful and more rewarding? Should I ease myself out of it and into something that would challenge my brain instead of my organizational skills? Should I just change my attitude and take responsibility for my own intellectual growth? How do you know when it’s time to change life or when it’s time to change you?

For all the teachers reading this, you may think I’m whining. I know the workload is horrendous for everyone and I know that it gets easier. But, how many of you feel like you’re making a difference in the lives of students? From where do you derive your satisfaction? Is it from the students? For me, I don’t believe that I’m really making a difference and my satisfaction comes from crossing the busy work off my list. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little bit. I do have moments of great joy from seeing students succeed; and I have touched the lives of some students. What should the ratio of time in to impact out be, though? The number of hours that I give to the school is incredible. If those hours are affecting students, then they’re not a loss; but that time must come from somewhere. Right now, it’s coming from the time I should be spending on my husband and my hobbies. I’m tired.

We need a lifestyle change. We’d like to get out of the city and I think that would do wonders in terms of stress-relief. Kevan will leave teaching. This is a certainty. I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m going to look into taking some courses on Copy Editing. I’d like to get into a profession that will use my perfectionist tendencies for good and not for stress. I love language and I wouldn’t mind using it instead of teaching it. We’ll see, though, because I believe that there is a good teacher inside of me who could accomplish a lot for others.

As I’m writing this rant, there is a song playing in the background reminding me of a very important truth: His grace is sufficient for me. At the heart of this matter is my fear of failure. Perhaps the best answer to all my questions is Christ. I know that may seem very Sunday School, but it’s the only single answer that satisfies all my worries and questions. Praise be to God!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Armpit Purses

It amazes me the awful things that fashion designers can convince the masses to wear. Have you ever watched a fashion show by some hot-shot designer? Don’t you, at some point in the show, think, “Who, in their right and practical mind, would ever wear that?” Most of us have asked that question but somehow those ridiculous fashions trickle down to us commoners and we all look ridiculous. My recent item of irritation is the armpit purse.

I’m sure there is a more sophisticated term for this asinine accessory but I cannot think of it in any other way. Ladies, I’m afraid that I am going to offend many of you, and for that I am sorry. But I won’t apologize for what I’m about to say. Most hygiene-conscious North American women work very hard to reduce their armpits’ impact on their day. They wax/shave, wash and deodorize their pits of putrescence; and if it’s a really smelly day, they do that more than once. When you look at really classy women, it would never even enter you thoughts that she could sweat…unless, of course, she has an armpit purse. The moment I see that little sweat sack stuffed up there I think, “I wonder if her deodorant rubs off on that,” or “Does that thing smell like BO after a few uses?” These are questions I would never ask even upon seeing a hairy hippy carrying a long-strapped hemp creation and yet, Paris Hilton gets a solid “Ew!” from my side of the stage (although, she also carries her dog up there, which, I have to admit, also contributes to my disgust).

Hygiene matters aside, I believe that the armpit purse fails a test of practicality as well. We can all imagine what life would be like without a purse: pockets stuffed with gum, money and tampons – a potentially embarrassing situation. Purses exist, therefore, to hold our stuff so that we can fearlessly do other things. This is a practical thing. I can run for the bus if I have to; or carry ten bags of groceries; or play mini-golf. I can do all of this while wearing my purse. But the armpit purse makes hands-free activities more difficult. I must always pinch the AP in my armpit to keep it secure. This causes the aforementioned sweat transfer as well as mobility misfortunes. I cannot reach down to pet a cat; or swing my arms vigorously as I run to catch up. I must also take off the woeful wallet to examine its contents. It makes no sense! Why not just revert back to dark ages and carry everything in your pockets?!

My last piece of armpit purse reproof is purely superficial. The offending article is simply ridiculous-looking. From a distance it looks like a strange and uncomfortable growth. It also seems to make women walk in tiny steps, as if they’re wearing heels and a mini-skirt. Ladies, this is not a stylish development.

Next time you’re watching a fashion show, be mindful of your visceral reactions to the creations seen there. If your gut says it’s ugly, don’t be persuaded by its prolific popularity later on. Don’t let the common sight of it wear you down! You could have stopped the armpit purse revolution but you were complacent! Let’s not let it happen again!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's all conjecture...

Kevan has finally broken me down - I have started a blog. The whole blog phenomenon really puzzles me in a way. All our early years are spent hiding our diaries and journals from our siblings and then all of a sudden, someone decides that it's interesting to exhibit one's inner-most thoughts to the world. But who am I kidding? I'm an egotistical exhibitionist at heart and so I will dispose of my high-and-mighty criticisms and enjoy everything a blog has to offer. Which brings me to my first real concern: what does a blog have to offer?

Kevan assures me that blogs are a great way to stay in touch with friends. If this is the reason I'm writing a blog, then I should write as in a letter. But if, instead, I'm writing a blog as a new method of journaling, I should be reflective rather than informative. I'm afraid that if I choose reflective, expecting to have an audience of one, an unsuspecting acquaintance might happen upon my musings and be terrified; and if I choose informative, expecting an audience of at least a hundred, then stories about my cats would reduce that number considerably. My dilemma is concerning, is it not?

Now, I must explain why I have called my blog "conjecture". Before I fool you all into thinking that I'm highly intelligent, I must tell you that this word is new to me. Jane Austen has taught me many things, the greatest of which is how to use a dictionary when reading. For those of you just slightly more ignorant than myself, conjecture is "the formation of an opinion on incomplete information". My family, I am certain, would applaud my choice in titles, as I'm very prone to conjecture. If you have actually read the first two paragraphs of my blogintroduction (I made that word up) I am sure that are thinking that "bull sh-- " would have worked just as well for a title as "conjecture" but I'm sure that one is taken by a much better craftsman than myself. Anyway, consider this my disclaimer: Whatever you read on this blog is either conjecture or the aforesaid crude term that means, "a silly girl's reflection on life's events".

Going back to my original dilemma of informative vs. reflective, I've decided to make this blog...inflective? And I don't mean that in the grammatical sense. I am so thoroughly confused now that I must be going. Whether this audience has been one or a hundred in number, I have to say that my first blogexperience (I made that word up too) has been satisfying.