Archive for September, 2007

Live From Portland

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I am currently on the road again, this time travelling around the state of Maine. Why? You ask. For those of you who don’t really know what I do, I work for St. Stephen’s University (check out the link on the right side…particularly the new student media site which is so much fun). Basically my job is promotion and recruiting (and then anything else that falls under no one else’s job description) and during the fall I spend a lot of time away from home on the road.

It’s awesome sometimes and sometimes it sucks.

Right now I like the break from all the busyness and drama of SSU and Maine is gorgeous this time of year…but it comes at a high price. It means spending copious amounts of time with other college reps (which is a whole world of its own), evangelical teenagers (my worst nightmare some days), and crazy schedules.

Tonight I am slightly frustrated. I was a college fair (representin’!) that ended at about 8:45 p.m. My hotel is about a 7 minute drive away and I just got back (it’s 10:30 p.m.). Yep, lost AGAIN. I spend a lot of time lost and I am learning some very important lessons I thought I’d share:

1. Always, always always click the “Reverse Directions” button on mapquest. Just because you found your way there o.k. does NOT mean you can get back in such an easy fashion.  Plus reversing the directions in your head while fighting rush hour traffic is very stressful. It’s like doing long division while dodging bullets.

2.  Pay attention to land marks! How could I not NOTICE that I drove through an enormous shopping centre the first time (especially since the name of the road was “Mall Road”)?

3.  Have wine waiting for you upon your arrival just in case. My sister taught me this.

4.  Stop for directions, but not somewhere likely to have a teenager working. They always lead you astray and that tends to raise your blood pressure which causes you loose concentration therefore getting you even MORE lost.

5. Learn to read signs! They are your best friend. Highway numbers and street signs are the reason I am alive today and not lost in the middle nowhere only to be eaten by wolves (all this is pending, however, on the fact that the cities actually put up road signs…seriously….WHAT THE CRAP!!! Street signs are IMPORTANT for those of us without any sense of direction).

So that’s my rant. I am starting courses for my Masters degree (3 whole classes on top of my work…am I insane?) so I have some Gaelic to learn.

Tapadh leibh

Oh yeah…and due to extreme amounts of busy, I may be out of the picture for the next 2 months or so but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love you all (well assuming I know all of you who are reading my blog. If you’re a stranger, I don’t necessarily mean you).  Please don’t hate me for not being around when you call or not making plans to do fun things. I promise, I’ll eventually have a life again someday. I’ll try to keep posting blogs so that you know I haven’t been kidnapped by aliens or sold into the sex trade in Russia.

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Return to Paradise

 

For the fourth time this summer, I spent the weekend on Deer Island. This is a little island about 45 minutes away (i’ve talked about it a few times in my blogs so it might sound familiar) and a place I just discovered as a hidden, nearby paradise. It’s completely rural, you take a ferry ride through the Bay of Fundy past some islands to get there, and there really isn’t much to see except old houses (many of them falling apart), cottages, and tons and tons of fishing boats. Nope, nothing to do but relax and breathe fresh air.

I went for a girls weekend. There were 7 of us that rented a cottage to celebrate two friends birthdays: Andrea turning 31 and Shannon turning 30.  It was such a great time. The cottage overlooked a harbour and right off the front deck was a dock and a collection of boats. It was kind of picturesque actually.  The cabin, though kind of run down, was really quaint. We at a beautiful dinner and just relaxed and we all wondered why it took us so long to do this.

I love my girl friends. All of us varying in age (the youngest 19, the oldest turning 50 and the rest of us between 25 and 31). Considering my recent history with the male gender, I was happy to spend time away from them.  One friend bought a kiddie pool and we filled it with hot water to make our own hot tub…then we played some guitars and collectively wrote a song (not really appropriate to share on the blog) while drinking wine and eating cheesecake. Oh yes, and then there was the “back to the 80s” spontaneous dance party! Then this morning, after a fantastic breakfast, we went exploring the island and walked on the beaches which are not like PEI beaches–much rougher and less refined; full of rocks and nearly attached to the woods. 

While many wonder what would possess someone to actually LIVE on this island (population less than 1000), I am falling more and more in love with it. It is mainly inhabited by artists and fishermen, and after 9 p.m. you won’t hear a single car pass by. Everyone waves to you when you drive past and at night you can sit out on the patio and watch the sun set onto the Bay of Fundy.  We even saw a porpoise this morning!

There are times when I wish I had brothers, but all in all, I have to say I like hanging with the girls because you always have that sister thing going on. We girls gotta stick together I think. I figure that we’re going to need one another a lot throughout our lives.

 So happy birthday to two great friends and thanks for a weekend full of fun memories to everyone!

*sigh*…I wish ALL weekends were like this.

Solitude Vs. Community

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 Pros and Cons to living in community:

Pros
1. You always have someone around to make you laugh or give you a hug if you need it.
2. There are always fun events happening like cheesecake parties, Indian Food dinners, spontaneous jam sessions, etc.
3. You grow in ways you never imagined you could as a human being
4. You learn a lot from just being around so many people who are different from you.
5.  If you run out of clothes because you haven’t done laundry in two weeks then there is always someone willing to lend you their clothes (not that i know this from experience or anything.)

Cons:
1. People are always taking/using your stuff
2. Sleep deprivation is a way of life
3. Germs spread like crazy
4. You have to learn to live peacefully with people you really don’t like
5. Everyone knows everything you do and the word “privacy” doesn’t exist.

So I have been thinking alot about this lately trying to figure out what it means for me…perhaps it is the onset of a new school year which makes my job about a thousands times more intense and stressful. Working at a post-secondary institution has it’s pros and cons for sure and I am learning  both extremes and finding it difficult to find the balance. At least the balance between community and solitude.  Perhaps they are two opposite ends of the same spectrum. Someone once explained to me that there is no such thing as ‘balance’ between two opposing extremes–there is only tension.  One side pulling you one way and the other tugging you back. That’s how I feel lately–like the centre knot in a game of tug-of-war.

I have been wondering if there is such a thing as TOO MUCH community?  There is a new trend among my generation that is in essence a revolt to the individualistic-skyskraping-Western-society in which we live. People all over North America are forming small communities, growing their own food, and saying “no thanks” to urban condo life.  I guess you could say I’ve hopped on that train.  But now I am wondering where the hell is the balance?

The truth is I love being alone. Right now you are nodding along because you also think you like being alone but you don’t really understand. By alone I really mean ALONE–not this “alone but together” crap.  I am coming off a summer where I spent copious amounts of time by myself  (by choice) to suddenly having my life and home become a revolving door, so I know my reaction is a little on the extreme side. But still I feel like I have to deceive my friends in order to just get a few minutes of time to myself–that can’t be good! 

Everyone says how great and important it is to have a community around you, but let me tell you…sometimes it’s over-rated. To the person who is feeling lonely right now, i’m sorry if I’m appearing ungrateful. I’m not. I am just using my blog to confess in front of all you hippie community lovers that although I am a social person by nature, right now I just want to be left alone.

…And it’s not because there’s something wrong and I need a hug…

…And no there’s nothing i want to talk about…

I actually just want to be all by myself for long periods of time because I like it more than hanging out with anyone, even if you are a close friend…or John Mayer…or the Pope. Please don’t take it personal…it’s me, not you. And please have some patience and grace for me because the last thing I ever want to do is hurt a friend, or worse, to lose one.

There. I’ve said it.  I can’t help that i’m actually quite individualistic afterall and am lustily drooling over the thought of my own condo right now. Maybe i’m not cut out for this community stuff afterall and can’t overcome my white suburban predisposition.

There goes my chance to be the next Jean Vanier…or Henri Nowen (look them up if you don’t know who they are–they have both written some phenomenal stuff on community). I guess i’m just not the person I always thought I was.

And I think I’m o.k. with that.

Dating Disasters 101

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I have a beef. Actually it’s a something that’s been brewing for a long time and to be honest I am just plain pissed off. With whom? Well, it’s not specifically ONE person but rather a whole gender–the male one to be exact.

 Disclaimer to this blogI know not EVERY guy is like the following but humor me for awhile (if you’re one of the good ones, i’m sorry).

 Let me tell you about my recent experiences be it dating or other (names and specifics are changed so don’t try and figure out if you know the person). This may also give you some insight into why I hate dating.

The following events have taken place within the past few months and are based on true events:

Harry: Seems like a nice guy. He asks me out, I accept…simple right? We have a relatively good time (o.k. maybe I was a little bored by his stories of all the stupid things he did when he was younger, but you gotta put up with some of that because they all have them). I agree to go out again. After about the 3rd or 4th time (plus phone calls, MSN conversations, etc.) I find out accidentally that this guy has a girlfriend! I stress the word “accidentally” because he most definitely never mentioned her and it’s a fluke that i even found out. Turns out I’m the girl he’d like to cheat on his girlfriend with. Don’t I feel special…

Randy: Nice guy, have known him a little longer than the last one. We are friends and that is all (well, MOSTLY just friends, if you discount a few moments here and there). Randy eventually started dating someone (no problem yet) and we continue the friendship track. One night after spending some time together a couple months ago Randy edges across that invisible friendship line again but thankfully we are both wise enough not to go there. I am actually sort of proud of him for keeping his hands to himself to be honest.  However, later the same night I walk into a room to find him hitting on a very good friend (no mistaking it, trust me)! The story gets a little messy from here on out, but let’s just say the friendship never recovered.

Marvin (yep, these names are my revenge): Nice guy (notice a pattern?) that I have known for a very long time, though perhaps not very well. One night at a local pub we run into one another and get to chatting. One thing leads to another and before long we are talking until the wee hours of the morning. He kisses me and we have a fabulous night leaving it without any sort of conclusion because he lives in a different province. Had the story ended there, there would be no problem however the next day (surprise surprise) I find out HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND (oh how useful Facebook has proven to be!)!! Yet another guy who is looking to cheat on his girlfriend (and no, he never called).

Francis: Nice guy, barely know him. Actually he’s one of those people whose face you know but with whom you have never actually had a conversation. One day I run into him at the grocery store and we have a very long conversation. After that it seems I keep running into him everywhere I go and I am getting that “I think you’re special” sort of vibe. At this point, let me just say that I could care less about the vibe as my track record has been less than descent so far (there are others just as bad but there’s not enough blog space in the world to really start on those ones). I am at the point where I dread initiating conversation with them because I know it’s only a matter of time before I find out what an idiot they are. That being said, I am a nice Christian girl who doesn’t want to judge others and an eternal optimist at that. I run into Francis again and again until finally one day he asks me to go to the beach. We have mutual friends who are going and I agree. I say I’ll be there so I force myself to go later even though I am dreading it and desperately want to stay at home to watch the Office.  I arrive to the beach and immediately he greets me. So far so good. We talk for a few minutes when suddenly he puts his shoes on and says “I’ll be right back in about 10 minutes.” then proceeds to jump in his car and drive away.

“That’s odd.” I think to myself but continue to have a good time at the beach anyway.

Francis never returned.

Seriously, WHO DOES THAT????!!!

At this point it’s just plain funny to me. It’s not just guys I have dated but friends, acquaintances, strangers…that are all shaping up to be complete morons. Did I not notice them before or is there more of them now? Are they taking over the world? Have they ganged up to make my life hell?  But most of all…

Are there any good ones left?

This past birthday I had a very distinct thought that went a little like this: “I think that I’m a grown-up now.” And for the first time in my life I actually feel like one…However, it turns out that they are just not growing up with me and my patience for their immature ways is growing increasingly low.

That’s my rant for tonight because I am tired and annoyed. Hopefully I will have some more encouraging things to write in the future.


Good Advice

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"

Currently reading…

"'Tis" by Frank McCourt

a

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