I know, art isn’t always pain.

I never know what to write here. Sometimes I open up a new draft and sit down and at worst it’s like my brain got drunk and passed out. At best I’m the airport attendant who issues you your boarding pass and checks your bags, only no one is in line and there aren’t any flights going anywhere, so what am I to do? Just twiddle my thumbs and imagine all the trips I’d love to take.

It’s not just writer’s block or a lack of ideas. I think there’s plenty in my life that would be interesting to write about. I think that’s the case for most of us even though we struggle with the words. I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert at the behest of one of my favourite co workers. She’s someone who really gets me and could pretty much be me we are so in synch. When she recommended I read it, I bumped it in line ahead of 5 other booked recently lent to me to read and plowed through it in 2 days.  Not because I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert (I only read the first 100 pages of Eat, Pray, Love, although I do mean to finish it), but because it seemed like a pretty relevant book to me at this point in my life. She talks a lot about creative living, inspiring the reader to create, create, create like it’s our birthright… because it is. I remember when I started this blog I felt like it was a major channel for my own creative living. I basically rediscovered my love of poetry because I decided to open a wordpress account one day. A lot of my poems exist because I suddenly had this empty canvas to put them on. This blog, though monstrously neglected, means a lot to me because I know it’s here, waiting for me. My own little universe of creative living.

I think one of the biggest things I took from the book is that your art doesn’t have to come at the cost of your happiness. You don’t have to be pained to be an artist, although it sure fuels a lot of creative work. When I think about it, though, when you’re happy, you’re happy, right? You have all this happiness energy that you exude and pour out into the world, to the people around you, and it’s a joy to do. Happiness energy is readily accepted by those around you, it amps up the happiness energy in others and everyone falls into this trap of idiotic bliss where everything is possible, so why not conquer the world? But when you’re hurt, you have to try to contain it somehow. You have to go to work, to the store, and unless you’re an asshole you have to do your best to contain the pain inside yourself so that it doesn’t taint others. And that’s where the art comes in. Since we can’t let the pain loose like we can with happiness we have to put it somewhere, right? Something has to diffuse it or it’ll destroy you. At least that’s why I think I put so much of it into poetry, and the rest of it I just dance or yoga out. After channeling all my hurt into a poem at least I can look at it and say it was all for something.

I’m not saying I only enjoy writing and creating when I’m miserable, I love creating all the time, it’s just that it feels more necessary and potent at times when I’m at critical breaking point, you know?

Semi-related, but did you guys know there’s an awesome poetry community over on instagram? I’ve been posting a lot of smaller poems there, random thoughts that come into my head (even the happy ones!) If you guys are also on there leave your name in the comments so I can find you! You can find me over there as @taehreh.

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Even the small things

A few days ago I received a phone call from my best friend back home. She told me that one of her dearest friends had taken his own life.  My heart clenched and the tears began falling from my eyes. I knew what he meant to her, what good friends they were… it made my heart ache to imagine her having to adjust to life without him. We just cried together over the phone.

She and I have been friends for a good long time, our entire lives in fact. And there’s no exaggeration here, we shared a crib when we were babies. We learned every lesson in friendship through one another. Despite this life long friendship, I had never met the man who ended his life. My only experience of him was through the photos and stories that she shared with me. So I know what a kind, caring, and generous person he was. My tears are a degree of separation, because I’m not crying for myself, but for my friend who is mourning someone very dear to her.

It’s awful to think of how many people are feeling so desperately lonely and hopeless right now. And how can we help them? Collectively what can we do to help alleviate some of this sadness? Why are we creatures who can be brought so far into despair that we might take our own lives just to be relieved from the pain of living?

And I’m no exception to this. I’m sure none of us are. Most of us, at some point I’m sure, have felt so down that it seemed exhausting to keep going.

Late last night my boyfriend and I were driving home from slack lining. We were stopped at a red light and a homeless man was walking up between the cars asking for change. Homelessness is a very apparent problem in downtown Toronto. It’s everywhere here. I pass so many people asking for change every day on my way to work, on my way to the grocery store, on my way to the dog park. Sometimes I give and sometimes I don’t. My boyfriend asked me to give this man change and I said no.

Why did I say no this particular time? I have no idea. Why do I say yes other times? I also have no idea.

Our light hearted night quickly plummeted into a heated debate about our individual responsibility to help others. Did I say no because I’m becoming increasingly desensitized to homelessness because of living here? Did I just not feel like it?  By the time I got back to my apartment I felt so sick and awful. Like I was the worst of humanity because, on this occasion, I said no.

I sat in silence on my couch for the better part of half an hour wrestling with my conscience when I decided that it wasn’t too late to make the other decision. I got back in the car and drove back to where I had seen the man asking for change. Though it wasn’t going to make me feel better, and though really it wasn’t going to solve anything,  I so badly wanted to change this one decision I had made. But the man wasn’t there. In the time it had taken me to drive home, and then drive back, the man was gone. And my opportunity to offer some little bit of help to him had passed me by forever.

I don’t know why this one occasion became so significant when I’m faced with similar ones every single day. But it was. Maybe because I’m hyper sensitive in the wake of learning of my friend’s friend’s suicide. Or maybe because my boyfriend confronted me so much about it when it’s usually just my decision alone. It’s so easy to feel like my small actions are insignificant and won’t make a difference, because no matter what I give or what I donate, there is always another person in need who I’m not helping. It feels like a never ending cycle. It feels like damage control for a much larger problem. But that’s not the way to think. Because to the person I’m offering my very small helping hand, it makes a difference. And that’s enough. A good enough reason to give.

There’s no right or wrong. We’re all struggling so much within ourselves and it’s unfair to carry the weight of the world’s problems on just our shoulders. But because we understand what it is to struggle, it’s important to find more empathy and compassion for others. Maybe I can’t give every time, and there’s no way I can help everyone on the verge of suicide, but I can pass peace, empathy, and kindness. I have that within myself, I know.

Smile, make eye contact, offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on…

Even the small things make a difference.

 

Not Just Another New Year

We’re a little ways through January, but it’s not too late for a 2015 year in review, right?

2015 was a pretty interesting one for me. I bought a house and moved into it with the man I thought would be my husband, had my heart broken and went through a transformative breakup- saying goodbye forever to the person who was the closest to me, sold said house, donated 80% of my stuff, moved across the country to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and into a little apartment, had a complete change in lifestyle, started a new job, started yoga teacher training, had some amazing auditions, danced a lot but not near enough, got thrown off a horse and broke my hand and my rib, went on too many dates, got drunk too many times, and had too many late nights. I’ve cried and felt more hopeless than I ever have, and I’ve laughed and felt more joy than I would have thought possible. I’ve experienced things I never thought I would. I’ve opened my mind up to possibilities that I never before considered. I’ve made amazing new friends who inspire me everyday and built some of the strongest, most important relationships I’ll ever know. I’ve fallen in love with a new life that I couldn’t have even imagined one year ago. I’ve become someone new, someone better, someone different.

I witnessed my old life crumble away under my feet and I jumped, trembling, onto a new path with no idea where it was headed. I didn’t look back.

Yeah… 2015 was a pretty exciting year, and I’m keen to see how 2016 will turn out. It’s amazing how drastically your life can change in the span of just one year. I’ve learned a lot of lessons, but I’m still far from figuring my life out. What I do know is that I’m heading into the new year more open, more loving, and more curious than I’ve ever been.

In all of this craziness I’ve really let my writing and this blog fall by the wayside, which is something I hope to turn around by recommitting myself to posting my work and reconnecting with everyone here.

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Happy New Year to all of you, I’ve missed you guys. Here’s to another year of sharing our lives, our writing, and our hearts with each other.

xoxo taehreh

You know you’re lost when…

On one of my first nights in Toronto, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and vulnerable, I was wandering aimlessly up and down this busy downtown street near my sublet apartment like a stray cat. I was eyeing everyone and everything with suspicion, walking stupidly in and out of shops/bars and just generally hopping around from place to place like a little bird who just hit its head.

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I was in one of those hopelessly pathetic post-breakup states where you are incapable of focusing on anything other than just how impossibly alone you are.  (It’s not just me, right? I have no idea.) Anyways, the streets were packed with people socializing, loitering on the corners, smoking outside of bars, and just generally enjoying the company of others. Another exciting night in downtown Toronto.

Not for me, though. I was busy clinging desperately to the enormous welling tears which I could feel ready and eager to claw their way out of my eyes and torrent down my face. I didn’t want to go back to my new apartment to cry awkwardly in front of my new roommate. Actually I didn’t want to cry, full stop. But it was inevitable and I knew it. I felt confused; empty. I had no one to talk to and had no where to go that I felt comfortable, so when I stumbled upon a sign that read “PSYCHIC READING, $20”, I thought okay.. what the hell? I will try anything right now to feel better.

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She lived above some bar on the main stretch and I had to make my way through a group of rather curious and rather drunk patrons to ring her doorbell. I waited at the bottom of the stairwell, surrounded by this group of men asking me why I needed a psychic, telling me what a scam I was in for, etc. Of course I know, of course I do, I’m not stupid. I’m well aware that I’m about to waste my money. I don’t care. 

She could probably read the desperation on my face from a mile away. We locked eyes through the door for a moment before she buzzed me in. I turned the knob and made my way up her ominous stairwell with a good dose of trepidation… no turning back now. I sat down cautiously and observed her room. It was exactly what you’d expect from such a place: dim lighting, tarot cards and signs, granite palm figures on the desk, incense burning, curtains dangling around us, candles burning everywhere, and some testimonials framed on the wall describing how marvellously she changed her client’s lives and how amazing she was. Comforting.

I was still fighting to keep it together when she took her seat across from me. We sat in a bizarre moment of silence that seemed to drag on and on before she finally asked me how I was doing. I just stared meekly in her general direction. I knew the next sounds coming from me would not be pretty and so I responded with a haphazard shrug.

“You’re hurting,” she said lamely. And I say lamely because anyone could have looked at me and seen that I was on the cusp of a compete breakdown. Leave it to a psychic to state the obvious.

No shit, I thought, and then it was over.

I sat across from this woman whose name I didn’t know, in her strange apartment, in a new city, feeling desperately lost and alone, and cried like an idiot. I cried and I couldn’t help myself. Too much had happened in too short a time and the finality of it all was catching up with me. I’m sure she saw a dollar sign for every tear that rolled down my cheek. She had hit the jackpot with me.

I started to tell her everything that had happened in the last month between my (ex) partner and I. She listened so sweetly while I spewed all the frivolous thoughts in my head about how confused I was, how lost. But of course, crying is therapy and more I let out, the better I felt until finally I was able to think with some semblance of rationality again. (It seemed to slip away so easily for a while…) When I finally finished my sob story she took me by the hand and stared intently into my eyes.

“I want to be more than your psychic,” she said, “I want to be your spiritual advisor.”

Well actually.. you haven’t really done much psychic-ing up to now,  if I’m honest. But I didn’t mention that.

She started to explain that she could help me. She knew what had to be done and she could get my partner and I back together in two months tops. (Guaranteed!) Relief was mine if I wanted it, she’d carry the burden from now on. She would give me her number and be at my beck and call whenever I needed her. Anytime of the day or night, all I had to do was call or text and everything would be alright. All I had to do was trust in her to do her work.

Oh, and dish out 800 dollars for a special candle.

Uhh…. what’s that now?

Yes, you read right, eight hundred dollars… for a candle.  

I explained to her that that was impossible as I couldn’t even afford the twenty dollars I paid for the sheer pleasure of crying in her company. But she continued…

“I’m so worried for you. If you don’t do this, you’re going to become more and more upset. The crying will never stop. You will be more alone than ever.”

A bit harsh, I know, but she was only doing her job. In any case, I needed to shut this perceived avenue of revenue down for her ASAP. I mean I know I looked desperate, but there was ZERO chance I was willing to give her 800 dollars to burn a candle in the hopes of rekindling my relationship with my ex.

The interesting thing was that as I sat there listening to her try to convince me otherwise, I started thinking… What if I’m not supposed to get back with him, though? I’ve just moved across the country to start this new life, I can’t turn back now. I can’t dilute my energy like that. Isn’t there a reason why I’m here and not there right now? Why can’t you be telling me that there are great things ahead for me HERE?

These thoughts took me a bit off guard. I mean, hadn’t I been crying over my ex for the last twenty minutes because I missed him so much? Wasn’t I so upset because our life together was over? And then I realized that no, that wasn’t it. Not to say that I didn’t miss him in that moment, because I did, but it wasn’t him that was leaving me crying in a stranger’s house at 1130 at night. I was just overwhelmed that so much was happening all at once. I was in a free fall with no idea where I was going to land, and I was scared. Of course I was. Nothing wrong with that.

Suddenly it seemed entirely silly to be sat there, crying over my ex with a strange woman, when I had so much to look forward to. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to get out of the encounter. Some guidance, I suppose. A hint that I’m on the right path. Truth be told all I really needed was a friend with a shoulder, and to her credit she gave that to me and I’m grateful for it.

Crying is like writing sometimes, you just need to get it out in order to make sense of things. I thanked her for her time, she gave me her card, and I left. I left having gained everything I needed to in that moment. Just a little clarity, a little piece of mind. And she gave that to me in the exact opposite way I imagined she would.

If you guys haven’t been to see a psychic yet, I highly recommend doing so. It can be quite the experience.

Rupert and the Frozen Pond

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
― Samuel Butler

I went out for a walk with the dogs a while back; it was just after a cold snap, -20°C for a week or so, and finally it was warming up. You wouldn’t call it warm per se, being only a few degrees above zero, but in comparison to what we were having before it was positively balmy. At 2 or 3°C I was still decked out in winter boots/coat, scarf, toque and mitts. I didn’t go crazy thinking it was shorts and tee-shirt weather just yet, although I’m sure some people in this city would have argued to the contrary. My point is that though it was sunny and pleasant, it was still cold with no shortage of ice and snow.

Rupert, for whatever reason, decided that that day was a good day to test how serious I am about our relationship.  Rupert is my 2 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, although some might mistake him for my own biological son, seeing as we’re both redheads and all.

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He’s about twenty pounds and a bit of a trouble maker. Lately he’s been going through a phase of doggy teenage rebellion. The terrible twos, perhaps. I don’t know. The other day, for example, I went out to meet a friend for lunch. I was only gone for an hour and by the time I came home Rupert had managed to chew most of the hair off one of his ears. As if he purposely gave himself a haircut he knew I would hate.

The area that I take them to is about a thirty minute walk from home. It’s in a bit of a valley, forested; very pretty. A few years ago the city installed these storm ponds in the area and fenced them (and much of the forest) off in a reclamation attempt. Which is fortunate when it’s wintertime because you wouldn’t want to be walking the dogs where all these frozen ponds are, you know?

Well as it turned out the local coyotes didn’t much care for the fencing. I guess it was in the way of their usual hunting commutes, so naturally they tore a hole right through the bottom of one of the sections. You wouldn’t really notice it unless you happened to look at it, but unfortunately for me Rupert leaves nothing unchecked and he is of course the perfect size to squeeze right through.

I see him staring at me from the other side, right by this big, and now somewhat thawing, frozen pond. Neither of us is moving, we’re at a standstill.

Me: Rupert!

(I’m yelling, of course.)

Me: Come here! Back on this side!

Rupert: *stare*

Me: I swear to god, Rupert, I will end you if you don’t come here right now.

Rupert: *wags*

I’m using my stern, warning voice, which I believe is his favourite to make a mockery of. He’s holding all the cards and he knows it. He has a very particular look on his face, and I know it all too well. It’s his I’m-such-a-devil-I-love-breaking-the-rules-and-not-listening-to-my-mom look.

I call him one more time and as I make my move toward the fence he turns and bolts like a bandit toward the pond, right onto the ice. Had this happened earlier in the week when it was still a frozen wasteland, it probably wouldn’t have been a problem. But as it’s above freezing, and the sun is shining, the centre of said pond is starting to melt. As I’m watching him run off, tail in the air, hearing his happy panting breaths as he gallops across the ice, I say out loud…. he’s gonna fall in. Seconds later I watch him disappear under the ice.

Shit.

You see, if this had happened to Buttercup (my other dog) I might not have worried so much. She is a duck toller and a true water dog. But not Rupert. He can’t swim (so far as I know). Especially in frozen water, I’m sure. The most he had ever done during summer when I took them to the river was dip his paws in.

I hauled ass over the fence like an inmate during the critical final seconds of their prison escape. At least I’d like to think so. I dropped down to the other side and ran to the edge of the pond, seeing his little head bob up and down as he splashed around, trying to get his grip on the surface ice to pull himself up. To no avail. Each time he tried the ice would break apart more and more and back under he’d go. Behind us on the other side, Buttercup had taken notice of the commotion and at the sight of her best friend trapped in the water, started panicking and running back and forth at the fence. Barking like mad. It really was one of those slow motion moments. After another failed attempt poor Rupert finally managed to get a grip on the ice with his two front paws and held himself there. Clearly he could not get out on his own. His little eyes were wide with panic as he called to me for help…

There was only one thing to do.

Off went my winter coat, my sweater, my jeans, my boots, my socks, my mitts. I was keeping eye contact with Rupert the whole time, telling him “just wait. I’ll be right there.” Thankfully no one was around to see me standing there, barefoot in the snow, in my tank top, underwear, and toque. I’m sure I looked utterly stupid. If I thought the snow was a misery under my feet, it was nothing compared to how frigid the pond was as I lowered myself in through the ice. Strong enough to hold a little dog for a time, but good luck if you’re a full grown woman.

I waded through as swiftly as I possibly could, breaking the ice apart as I went.  It was bitterly cold and though it was awful to near skinny-dip in icy water, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all as I looked Rupert in the face and said “I can’t believe you’re making me do this.”

By the time I was close enough to reach him I was up to my bellybutton in freezing water. I grabbed him and squeezed him to my chest, holding him as best I could out of the water and hopefully giving him whatever body heat I might have retained. I mean how long can a little dog last in a frozen pond before he gets pneumonia? I plopped him down as we reached land and lifted myself back onto the slightly less awful snow bank.

It was a long walk back to the house, to say the least. With no car access, and no one around, there was nothing to do but dry myself off as best I could with my coat and slip my muddy frozen feet into my boots and trudge home for a well earned shower.

So that’s the story of Rupert and the frozen pond. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. And if you have a fur-baby be sure to give them an extra pat today. You never know when they might do something stupid like fall in a frozen pond.

2015 means less stuff to hate

One of my many goals this year (including resurrecting this blog) is minimising and simplifying my life.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I want to become a “minimalist”. I’m not lusting after empty walls, counting everything I own, or planning to only wear black from now on.

Not that I even think minimalists do that.

Ever since I realised just how much I hate my stuff I’ve been slowly but surely chopping away at all the clutter that surrounds me and purging it. I came across a great quote recently that really resonated with me: That which you hold holds you.

The truth is that having the stuff has been more of a burden than a reward. Any clothes I buy I have to wash, knick knacks have to be dusted, books have to be stored, and on and on and on. What a nightmare it has all become. Like the ring. Not the ring where the creepy girl crawls out of the TV (that’s an entirely different nightmare), but Frodo’s ring. Carrying that little ring is such a massive burden for him and that’s exactly how I feel about my stuff.  I need to take it to Mordor and be rid of it forever.

That’s not to say I haven’t already come a long way. I might not be traipsing into Mordor just yet, but perhaps I’m at the Black Gate. Here’s what I’ve managed to oust in the last year and 10 months since writing about this the first time:

  • All of my childhood toys/stuffed animals. My previous neighbours had a young daughter and one day I asked the mom if she would be interested in them. To my luck she was and poof! They were gone. Not only that but I was able to see the daughter playing with and enjoying the stuffed animals on numerous occasions, so not only was I unburdened, but they were fulfilling their purpose again. That felt nice. Like in Toy Story. Aw.
  • All the cables/wires/plugs/phones of old. Those things that I didn’t know what to do with but didn’t want to throw out? I finally sorted through them all and took them to a recycling depot.
  • Clothes. So many clothes. Ridiculous amounts of clothes. I got rid of them. I donated so many bags I couldn’t even fathom a guess at the number. I don’t know how I even managed to amass as many as I did considering I have never been much of a shopper, nor very fashionable. In fact I spent 4 years pursuing a dance degree where I wore sweatpants to school every day and was asked what the special occasion was if I was wearing jeans.
  • Miscellaneous items I can’t even remember. Things that sat on shelves collecting dust, extra sheet sets, blankets, etc.
  • Several pieces of furniture.
  • Books… the hardest to part with. I took about 85% of my book collection for donation. Along with the three bookshelves that were their home for the last few years. Actually I wrote an entire blog post about this but never got around to posting it. Although I love my books and it was painstaking to part with them, I’m glad they’re gone to be read by new eyes. All that remains are a few favourite novels, my poetry collection (which I’ll probably never be ready to part with) and books that I have yet to read.

It all comes down to time. I want to spend more of it on the things I love and less of it fretting over the mundane chores on my to-do list.  Now it’s just about being certain that I love everything I have, and that everything brings something positive to my life so that it is worth the effort to maintain. My main goal is to ensure there’s absolutely nothing wasting away in a box in a closet. Everything I have, as William Morris would say, should be either useful or beautiful. That’s why I’m keeping the dogs. Not only are they beautiful, but they help keep me warm on those horrid winter mornings where I just don’t want to get out of bed.

Lastly I’d like to send a belated Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you to those who might still be reading this, you are all amazing.

Perpetual unemployment

Apparently I have a knack for two things: disappearing and unemployment.

I don’t think either are necessarily bad things. The summer when I was 20 I decided to go live in Japan for three months without telling anyone (except for my parents because I was a courteous daughter and still living with them at the time). I remember the Friday before I left my friend asked me to hang out the week after and I replied with a maybe. Then when he messaged me the next week asking what time I could meet I wrote back “Sorry can’t make it, in Japan.”

I don’t know if I thought I was being exceptionally devious or what, but the funny thing was the next year I did the exact same thing to the same friend when I went to visit Ireland for a month. Whenever we hang out now he always says “see you later, assuming you’re in the country.”

As for the unemployment part… I’m sure some of you recall my constant posts complaining about my job. Well as it turns out last month my mom was going to be travelling to BC for a couple weeks and invited me to go with her. So I requested a week off with the manager..

“Absolutely not,” she said, “in fact I’m giving you far more hours than you even agreed to work that week without asking you because I’m so unreasonable and crazy.”

“No worries,” I replied, “you can put me on the schedule as much as you like, just keep in mind that I won’t be showing up because I’m quitting this dumpy hell hole.”

Then I trashed the place.

Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. (The more boring version includes me handing in two weeks notice and her spending a full hour trying to convince me to stay.)

Anyway, I was clearing the hundreds of photos I took off my camera just now and thought I might as well share some of them with you guys rather than letting them rot away in hard drive obscurity 🙂

The morning of departure:

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I kid you not I did not place Rupert next to my stuff.. he went and sat there because he knew something was up and he hates to be left behind. Unnecessary worry because he had a reason to come on the trip anyway.

What I really like about driving through this part of Canada at this time of year is you really get a full spectrum of weather.

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Field is an awesome spot to stop to let the dogs out because they have a lovely park to walk through right by the highway. Case in point-

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Pretty, right? Got a pic snapped with the mountain. The snow was pretty deep there.. to give an idea..

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Join me for a snowy picnic, anyone? Of course by the time you get to BC it’s all lush greenery and nice temperatures.

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Hope is absolutely one of my favourite places. Real small town in the middle of the mountains. It’s just gorgeous and has a really unique feel.

Finally made it to our destination (Chilliwack) after splitting the drive into 2 days. Chilliwack is a nice city in the Fraser Valley, it’s also surrounded by mountains, they’re just not as on top of you as they are in Hope. It’s a big farming place:

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Seriously look how green it is! Maybe it’s just cause I live in Calgary where everything is either covered in snow or brown and dead, but I can’t get over it. So nice 🙂 I like this pic because it is Chilliwack to a T. This is just a hobby farm, so this is a picture of someone’s backyard with their cows and their green space… you know how it is.

Speaking of cows

bc10I got to visit a whole bunch of them! I know a lot of people think they’re gross, but I think they’re so cute. This baby cow wagged its tail at me and kept licking my hand, like a puppy. Mad love it.

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You know you’re in farming country when…

One lady commented “surely there are better things to take pictures of” when she saw me snapping this. Umm, no. There really aren’t. I found it pretty amusing that they needed to specify so many different animals.

I entered Rupert into the dog show while we were there, here we are competing against the rest:

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This judge didn’t end up picking Rupert, can you believe that? We both took it pretty hard. So we trashed the place. And then Rupert took a nap.

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Just kidding. Actually one of the judges who had great taste did take a liking to Rupert and awarded him Winners Dog, if that means anything to any of you.

So a week and a half later and it was time to say goodbye to the green stuff.

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We took the Crowsnest Pass home (the longer, more scenic route). Spent the night in wonderful Castlegar (above) and hit up a few touristy spots.

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I can always tell I’m getting closer to home when I see the snow creeping up again.

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And what’s up with this?  For whatever reason the person who designed this map decided to include a single tree on this random stretch of road to account for the massive forest surrounding the highway. Thank you, GPS.

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And the continental divide. Once again inaccessible thanks to the mass accumulation of snow. At least this was taken in April so it’s not totally unreasonable. This was the situation a few days ago:

stupidweather

Spring in Calgary. Perfect May weather. Why do I live here again?

It was a great and refreshing trip all in all. The only regrettable thing was that once again I failed to see a moose.

Oh, did I mention you are all awesome? Hope you’re having a great day 😉

This is what mindless work does to me

So after working a mind-numbing job I hate all day I came home unnecessarily grumpy and proceeded to wonder why on earth no one in the world is paying me millions of dollars to write poems and dance all day. I mean that’s not such an extravagant request, is it? Sort it out universe.

Anyway. After that I proceeded to get more and more tired, which led to being more and more grumpy. However, within the last hour or so I’ve moved on to the more fun stage of being over-tired. The everything-I-do-and-see-and-hear-is-funny-but-only-to-me phase. This phase is great for the first 40 minutes or so before you miss the sleep window and then you’re in the twice-as-grumpy-as-before-except-now-you-can’t-sleep-and-the-world-is-awful phase. But before I get there, I thought I’d go ahead and take advantage of the stupid fun and share with all of you unfortunate enough to be reading this what I spent the last half hour of my life thinking about.

You see, I happen to think I’m pretty hilarious, although only my best friend would agree with me and everyone else thinks I’m just an idiot. But let’s junk with the naysayers and assume for the sake of this awful blog post that I’m right. A long time ago (we’re talking 8+ years) I used to write down what I thought were some highly amusing jokes in a journal and assume that one day, when I was a talented artist (which has/will never happen) I’d compile them into some sort of comic book. I hadn’t thought about that ridiculous notion for many years, but then I started to think about comic books, or graphic novels (I’m hip with the modern terms). Then I started to think about villains and superheroes.

I don’t know why.

Anyways, this train of thought progressed until I got it in my head that I could write an awesome graphic novel centred around my dog, Buttercup, who is very much a villian and a hero in one. Pretty exciting premise, right? If you’re not yet convinced, I present you with this:

ButtercuptheHowlerss

Amazing.

I envision her as an impossible-to-contain mega hero with zero tolerance for injustice. She strikes at the slightest infraction of the law, and only with the help of me, her sidekick, can she be contained. She is both menace and hero, loathed and loved. I named her the howler because she likes to bark incessantly at home. It drives me up the wall, but now I realise she must be using her barks to alert her superhero friends of various crimes happening around the world that she detects with her superior hearing powers. It’s all starting to make sense.

Actually here’s an incomplete impromptu list of her powers, as I see them:

  • A bark that deafens and incapacitates foes.
  • Breathes underwater, thus can drag enemies into the depths to drown (she is a water dog so this makes sense).
  • Digs holes which enemies fall into and are stranded until someone comes to dig them out. [addendum: Buttercup leans over the hole and drools on them while they are stuck there. And she has an obscene amount of drool, so this is a particular punishment.]
  • Menacing growl which paralyses.
  • Uncontrollable temper which frightens and strikes fear in the hearts of those who cross her.
  • Humongous canines capable of piercing through an arm, or leg…or heart.

Yeah..

I guess I’ll stop there and go get some sleep before I completely lose it. Feel free to unfollow on your way out of the post.

Flood

I don’t want to write a lot about the flooding that happened here, because the news already took care of that better than I ever could. I just wanted to share some pictures that I took of the river on my regular dog walk route.

This first one is at the end of a boardwalk. Usually I would walk down those steps and walk along the river… but as you can see the river took out the steps and the bank.

flood1

If you imagine looking up and to the right from that view, you’d see this next one, which I think is very beautiful. I know its hard to picture, but if you can imagine for a second… the trees over there are usually standing on dry land, and not surrounded by water.  This is a view of someone’s house and backyard, drowning beneath the current.

flood6

I took this next one from higher ground (actually on Friday). It’s basically the same area as the above picture, but you can see a little bit of the house as it peaks up screaming “save me!”.  Unfortunately, that’s just the risk you take having a house on the water… in fairness I don’t think anyone ever predicted this sort of flooding would happen here… ever.

flood4

The dogs were perplexed as to why the river was overtaking their usual route.  This path is actually quite far away from where the water usually starts.

flood2

These next trees stand on an island… I’m hoping the deer that usually hang out there found a safe place to go.  That’s Canada Olympic Park in the background.

flood3

And one last shot for good measure. There’s a nice walking path somewhere underneath that bridge in the distance.

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Anyways, this is a big inconvenience for the city since there was so much flooding downtown. I don’t know how they’ll manage, or if it’s even possible, to sort out the mess that is the stampede grounds/Saddledome before Stampede is supposed to start.

It’s terrible, of course, for anyone whose home was flooded. Many of my friends were in evacuation zones, and I know a good number who did get some pretty bad flooding.. and it sucks. Big time. But! At the end of the day, it could have been a lot worse. People are safe and already preparing to clean up this silly mess.

I myself was fortunate enough to avoid any damage even though I’m not far from the river. And my work has been cancelled for the immediate future due to being completely flooded, also.

So I’ll be spending next week helping friends out with their clean up! Right now all anyone can do is wait patiently (impatiently) for the water to go away. I think everyone is in good spirits, though. I’ve seen nothing but helpful and positive messages from people preparing/organising clean up efforts.

Just gotta stay positive and do what must be done!

How to pack ineffectively

Liam and I had possession of our house last week, yet somehow we have still not moved in due to being the slowest, laziest packers on the planet. Actually he’s been very good, it’s really just me. I’ve never moved before, so I’m only just discovering the pain that is packing your life away into boxes.

I’m trying to downsize as much as possible so I don’t have immense piles of crap cluttering up my new house… crap that I’ve dragged around since childhood. I’ve been mentally preparing for it for a few months, so some things are easy to get rid of.. others not so much. In any case it’s been more time consuming than I thought, especially since I have the attention span of a nat. This is the method that I’ve been using to pack:

1. Get box and go to room to be packed
2. Place one item into box
3. Take a break
4. Look at box
5. Have a coffee
6. Look at more items
7. Get really tired
8. Take a nap
9. Repeat next day

Can you see my predicament? At this rate it’ll be winter again before I’m in the house.