Sunday, April 27, 2008

when your eyes are all painted Sinatra blue...

This morning I woke up and realized that I have the house to myself this week. With Bethany and Joel gone to San Francisco, it will be very quiet here the next few days. Not only that, I sent my computer in to be fixed this week so I don't have my usual companion around either. I was feeling a bit unsettled about it all, but when I woke up this morning, I started to think about what I would all do and I came up with...pretty much anything I want to. I think today I would like to spend the whole day at home: doing laundry, frying bacon, baking cookies for my lunches this week, listening to music, reading a book or two, drinking tea. I think it will be a good day.

On a totally unrelated note...or maybe not. I have been thinking about seeing all of Canada lately. I absolutely love that I am a Canadian and, in particular, a western Canadian, but there is so much more of this country I haven't seen or experienced. I feel like if I were born as any other nationality, I would have Canada as the number one country I'd like to visit. I have a vision for this Canadian experience. I have recently fallen in love with Via Rail and I think I'd like to fly out to Victoria and then take the train all the way to Halifax. I am going to pack my camera and laptop of course, but other than that I only want a backpack with a few changes of clothes and a bag full of books. I want to watch the country move past my window like a stream of consciousness narrative. I want to listen to music and make playlists for each province and write about them. Write about the people I meet, the things I see and the way in which I experience them. I want to take photos of these things so that I can express what my words lack.
I can think of a few people who I would love to make this trip with, but I also think I might experience it just as well on my own (of course calling to check in regularly , Mom). I usually am not a big fan of traveling alone. I get lost inside my own head pretty easily and I fear if I were to experience too long of a time by myself I would re-emerge into society a very strange person. I also think that, as it says in "Into the Wild"...Happiness is only real when it is shared. An experience of beauty on your own is nice, but when you can share it with someone else, it takes on a life of its own. However, I think on parts of this trip it would be important for me to just be on my own and listen to myself. Anais Nin says "We don't see things as they are, we see them as WE are". I have discovered that most of my travels consist of 25% discovering this amazing world I live in and 75% discovering who I am and my place within this amazing world. I think its time to embrace that and recognize it and document it with that kind of awareness, perhaps for no other purpose than my own understanding.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

one more kiss tonight from some tall stable girl, she's like grace from the earth...

I am snowed in again. Day two of waking up at 6:20am to see the snow flying and realize that work is an impossibility. Yesterday the time off was nice. I lounged on the couch, watched movies and wrote letters. Today I'm feeling more agitated. Not necessarily because I have today off work, but because I can see there will be a few more days of this ahead. Guess I picked a bad time to start landscaping.

To keep my mind off things and make sure I enjoy this freedom (which I will no doubt make up for when it warms up) I spent the morning taking a walk, frying bacon, sipping tea and reading my old blog posts. When I got back from Bangladesh, my sister made a binder for me full of all my blog posts and emails to her during my months there. It was one of the most brilliant things I have ever received. I love reading through it and thinking about everything I was going through back then.
So, today I started back a few months and began reading my own thoughts and adventures. Its a strange things to read through your past through your own eyes. It exposes certain themes that you never even realized were themes in your life and shows how they are evolving and moving and changing you.

I was pretty resistant to blogs pre-Bangladesh, but I've come to love mine an awful lot. Not because I want everyone in my life to know whats going on in my head, but mostly so that I have it for myself. To chronicle the things I love, the places I've seen, the thoughts I've experienced, the person I was and am and who I'm becoming.

Every new post, the quote from Jennifer Hecht on my blog profile becomes more and more true: "I think I’m always writing in part to speak widely, to society or to history, and in part to speak privately: I’m just writing to myself, reminding myself of things."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

turn a mountain of lies, turn a card for my life....

I would like to dedicate this blog posting to Spolumbo's fine foods and deli sausages.

This story starts somewhere around 11 months ago when I first started working landscape maintenance in Edmonton's many overgrown subdivisions. Some subdivisions are well established and have little shopping centres full of Sobeys/Safeway/Save-On, DQ, McDonald's, Taco del Mar, Tim Hortons, etc. However, some of the newer ones don't have much more than a gas station. It was in the subdivision of Parkland that my idea of convenience store hot dogs was transformed. Last summer, all Parkland had in it, as far as shopping, was a Husky gas station. But let me tell you, it was a deluxe Husky. It was about 9am one fateful morning that I strolled into that store looking for a bathroom, and found instead a rolling grill full of hot dogs. Being the meat lover that I am, I decided that maybe 9am is a good time for a hot dog and made myself up a bun. And you should have seen the available condiments...banana peppers, saurkraut, fresh cut onions, etc. (and this was before 7-11 started beefing up their condiment stashes). Well, I bit into this hotdog and it revolutionized my life. I felt it was my duty to share this with my crew so we came into the habit of having a 9am Parkland Husky hot dog break. Obviously word had gotten out about these pieces of heaven because if you got there much later than 12, all the hot dogs would be gone.

One day on our break, I was standing in line for a hot dog with this older man (yes, there was a lie up for these hot dogs) and since I had noticed him there before I made some sort of comment about how everyone seems to come for the hot dogs. At this point I put down eveything he was doing, stared me in the face and in the most intense, seriousness said "These, are Spolumbo's." He then went on to tell me that he came everyday from the northeast end of the city where he works (at least a 45 minute drive) to this Husky to have his Spolumbo's sausage.

Well, ever since, karen and I have been spreading the Spolumbo's gospel. We tell everyone we know that going to the Parkland Husky to have a hot dog will change their lives in ways they could never imagine. So you can imagine our excitement when we returned to Parkland this week to do some work with our new crew. We ran into the Husky in great expectation, only to find the clerk filling the rolling grill with frozen "Fletcher's" hot dogs and the only condiments to be seen were ketchup and mustard. You can imagine our disappointment. It was a small tragedy. When we called the clerk to task about it, she said they quit because the construction workers would load up their hot dogs with all the condiments and leave none for anyone else and make a giant mess on the counter.

Of all the soul-killing moments I experience working in subdivisions, I feel this moment is in the top 3.

Goodbye Spolumbo's sausage. You will be missed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

and a bike wheel spinning on a pawn shop wall...

There are moments when I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I am wholly and utterly normal. And not necessarily in the "thank goodness I'm normal!" way and not quite in the "there is nothing special about me, I'm so normal" way either. Somewhere sort of in the middle, in a way that just makes me feel really human. I've been landscaping for the past few days which always has a way of reminding me that there are very different people existing in the world. I have a tendency to live in a "bri-centric" world most of the time, and landscaping always seems to shake that to its core and make me realize that I'm not so unique as I a very humbling way. Today as I was trying to work together/direct 9 crew members in ridiculous weather conditions to get done relatively futile work, I was struck - one again - with the thought that I am not the only one on my crew who would like to be considered as unique and interesting and important, and, in fact, it is a pretty 'normal' universal desire. It makes me think of a Hafiz poem and a fantastic CS Lewis quote...

With That Moon Language -Hafiz

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."
Of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still, though,
think about this,
this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world
is dying to hear?


"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit." -CS Lewis, from The Weight of Glory

Monday, April 7, 2008

you say that the indigo shines deep inside my eyes...

I have been thinking lots about "home" since I got home, but I'm not ready to write something about that now, so that will have to be saved for a different day.

Anyway, I had a surprise extra day at my sister's house today and wound up spending most of my day with my 5 year old nephew. This morning, there was a whirlwind of activity: my niece to the school bus, my sister taking my other sister and son to the airport and so suddenly at 9 am, just Jerett and myself were left in the house. We decided to go take photos around town, go for steamers at the local coffeehouse, drive to some fields just out of town to photograph the mountains, 'catch some gophers' (which mostly just made us look like idiots running in a field), have a snack picnic in the playground and playing (which I actually really got into and plan to play later again once I'm home..i recommend "pickle pop" in the playground section) for the rest of the morning after he fell backwards off a swing.

Spending a good portion of my day with my favourite five year old boy was a really fantastic way to start my week. Most of the things that came out of his mouth today made me stop and say to myself "you have to remember this". I hope I will.

I have had a lot of moments this weekend where my soul feels like its so much bigger than my body. That it gets stretched beyond its capacity and right before I feel like I'm going to crack, it breaks open and suddenly I am not just me, but a part of something bigger. Not only that, not just a piece of something bigger, but so intertwined, so enmeshed in it that feel as though I am simply part of the infinite. (I don't know why I chose to use the term "the infinite", it just came to me, so please don't ask me to explain) It has been a beautiful few days though.