Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
I am not so Canadian anymore…
Now, I know that that is a bit of a weird statement to make but I think this is something that has been going on for quite some time now. And it only just completely hit me this morning.
I guess it was this whole Vancouver Olympics thing that kinda really put things into perspective. First, I have to say that I love the Olympics. As a child I remember my father explaining to me how special the Olympics are, and I remember always thinking that I would like to go there some day. And so the closest I had ever come to that was when I was in judo. I wasn’t half bad, back in the day, but I was never quite good enough to make it on that level, though everyone in highschool thought I had a chance. It was the most common comment made in my yearbooks, ‘see you at the Olympics!’ I had gotten over my dream when I turned 19, moved to Europe, said goodbye to my sport and hello to all those things young folk enjoy at that age. And I don’t regret it. I never look back now and say, ‘if only I had stuck with it…’; I was smart enough to know, already then, that the olympics was something that was just not gonna happen for me.
But I still love the Olympics. And now with them being in Vancouver I thought I would get that extra little bug of excitement brewing, being Canadian and all. But that didn’t happen. I enjoyed watching some of the events on Eurosport, and I am happy that Canada won the gold in hockey last night, and respect to the Canada team for achieving a record number of golds at a single winter Olympics. But you know what, I don’t have that pride.
So many of my Canadian friends were, obviously, absolutely dripping with pride (especially after that win) but I just didn’t feel it. Having now been living in Europe for a decade I have slowly gone through some sort of process of Euronization (yes, it’s a word I think I have just made up – meaning, I consider myself a European, not so much a Canadian, or North American anymore). And this is a very strange thing for me. When I was in Canada with my family last summer, all I thought about was how different I was from ‘them’. Wherever I went, all I kept saying (with a bit of disdain) was ‘they are so North American’.
I feel almost guilty for feeling this way, but it’s true. I grew up in Canada. I spent my childhood there (sure I was twenty when I left, but realistically, I was still a kid). I spent my adulthood here in Europe. This is where I formed into the person I am today. Now, let’s make it clear, I happy that I grew up in Canada and had a wonderful opportunity to meet different people and make some very good friends along the way. There are still some things that I miss, that I just can’t get here; i.e. Mr Christie’s chocolate chip cookies, and relish, and baked beans, real sales in the malls, and wonderland, and good (though most of the time over-the-top) customer service. I am thankful to Canada for all that it has given me, but I don’t get that tingly pride sensation anymore. How strange is that…eh?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today, for the first time in a really long time I have had a proper productive writing day. I don’t know what has come over me but finally, after a long wait the words just kinda eased off my fingers onto the screen and the ideas were just pouring out.
In the last week or so I have been trying to decide what to give up for lent. I was considering smoking but the thought was just too scary for me. Though I have to admit that the last few nights I have been waking up with the feeling that I had an ashtray lodged in my throat. It’s a terrible feeling and I am hoping that soon enough it will force me to quit this nasty habit (but, those smokes are so good, they calm me down, and they give me a reason to step out for some fresh air once in a while.) I considered giving up carbs as well (like I did last year which did wonders for my weight) but as I am now an habitual runner I am dependant on those carbs and I just can’t let them go. Then I thought that maybe I should give up meat. But no, just can’t do that.
I spoke to a friend of mine a few days ago and asked her what she was planning on giving up. I must note, that I am not a religious person, and though I was raised as a Catholic I have pretty much severed all ties with the religion. But living in Croatia, in a predominantly Catholic society, their rituals and beliefs are all around and very prevalent in both the media and in every day life. You just can’t avoid it. What point here now is that though I don’t consider myself Catholic, I do like the idea forty days of fasting (normally associated with food, but we live in a modern world where these types of activities can be expanded to other forms of abstention), it’s a good method of self-discipline. So as I was saying, I was asking my friend what she was planning on abstaining from and she said that this year she was planning on giving up anything but instead decided to use these forty days to do something good for herself, such as preparing her lunches at home and taking them to work everyday so that she wouldn’t be left to snacking on junk throughout the day. And I thought, that’s a good idea. And then I wondered what it is that I can force myself to continuously do for forty days straight and hopefully make into a GOOD habit. But I hadn’t come up with anything.
Until yesterday, or the day before, I am not sure, when I went onto Allan Woodrow’s blog The Shelf Life and read his advice for successful writing http://notesfromasuburbandad.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/how-to-be-a-better-writer/and his blog http://notesfromasuburbandad.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/when-life-gets-in-the-way/ about how three days had passed and how he was ripping his hair out not having been able to write. And then there was Twentington 100’s blog http://twentington100.wordpress.com/ 100 poems in 100 days. Yes, there is another person who is working every single day on his writing. This is what I need to do too.
So thanks to Allan and Twentington and thanks to Lent I have committed myself to write every single day. I’m hoping to average at least a thousand words a day and if I knew how, I would set up a tracker on this blog to record how many words I had written every day. By the time Easter rolls around I should have approximately 40,000 words which is almost half a book!!! Which is AWESOME!!!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I realize that smoking is a complete waste of time and money, it’s detrimental to your health, and it stinks. I don’t even like the way I smell when I come home from a smoky café. But I’m just not ready yet.
I am writing this now because lent is coming up soon, and though I am not a religious person, living in a predominantly Catholic country makes me want to join in on the I-have-to-give-up-something craze. It would be lovely not to have to rush down in the middle of the night to find an open kiosk when I’ve just run out; it would be awesome not to have to hang my clothes to air out off our balcony; it would be great to get rid of those empty plastic bottles filled with water that I use as an ashtray instead of, you guessed it… an ashtray. I use them to remind me of how horrible my lungs must look, but they don’t seem to be having much of an effect on me.
I don’t want to go to the pharmacy to stock up on gum or patches or whatever it is that they recommend these days to help quit smoking. I don’t want to spend the money and I want to spare myself the embarrassment of having to admit to the pharmacist and the old women who pack the pharmacies that I have ‘a dirty little habit’ I’m too weak to get rid of on my own. I considered forcing myself to drink a glass of water every time I felt the urge to smoke but considering how often I get the urge I’m afraid I might just drown myself in it – you can die from drinking too much water believe it or not! I also considered chain smoking to the point of vomiting but the thought of vomiting just puts me off the whole idea (but not off of smoking of course.)
Cigarettes are my little treat, that’s how I try to justify them. No, I’m not addicted, I just like to have one here and there to reward myself – like after I do the dishes, and after I walk my daughters to kindergarten, and after I chopped the vegetables but before I go and cook them, and then of course I have another reward after that… you get my point. I need to find myself some other kind of reward – but I fear that would mean chocolate…
Point is… I’m just not ready yet. See you out on the balcony...
Monday, February 1, 2010
I haven’t had much experience taking care of other people’s children, primarily because most of my friends don’t have kids. But a few of ours do and today I took care of a young little boy aged about 9 months. Now, I don’t know why, but I managed to put him down for a nap, prepare him lunch and have loads of fun acting silly and stupid just to keep him entertained. And it was fine. He cried a bit, and tried to throw a bit of a fit, but I took it all in stride. And I don’t think that the experience of having two children of my own helped me that much. Sure some things are easier done when you have done them before (i.e. changing nappies, etc…) but I really felt like the whole thing was a piece of cake.
The crying didn’t bother me, and really, making gurgling noises just to copy him was not much of an issue for me. So why was it such a big deal with my girls?
I think that as parents, we are too protective of our young. Every time my babes would cry it would just break my heart. Maybe they’re sick or scared or something worse… god forbid they cry. The thing is that at that age, that is practically the only way they can voice their concerns. Or they just like to protest. But 99% of the time they are perfectly fine, just looking for that extra little bit of attention.
Today, I knew the little one would stop crying eventually. It was nap time after all, sooner or later he would have to nod off. And he did, and it only took him about 16 and a half minutes. NOTHING! I wish I had this sort of approach to my own girls. But I didn’t. And unfourtunately I still don’t.
Let them cry. They’ll stop eventually…
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I was so happy today when I got a little bit of free time to go bra hunting. It has been a long time coming, haven’t gone bra shopping in ages (even though, supposedly, you’re supposed to buy new ones something like every three months…) Luckily, my timing couldn’t have been more perfect, JANUARY SALES, practically everything is 50% off (can’t go wrong with that!!!)
So I have been thinking for a while that I would really like to buy a bra without padding in it. I’ve just been feeling kinda restricted lately and thought that a pretty sheer little thing just might do the trick. So I went to the lingerie store and picked out three padded bras and three without any padding (lacey, sheer, with little bows types of things… if I only knew how to upload pics to a blog it would make things so much simpler). Anyway, the padded bras were great. The nons, not so great, terrible in fact. I can’t describe the disappointment that both my face and my boobs expressed when I put on that pretty navy blue with black polka dots little bra on that chose to hug my nipples, curl them and point them towards the neighboring changing rooms (which, by the way, both had men standing outside of who could very easily sneak a peek behind my curtain because I couldn’t close it all the way) as if fighting over which way to go. I tried on another non-padded one. This one just let them droop and hang like empty sacs (of what I won’t say). I didn’t even bother trying on the third.
So I am thirty-one and my boobs sag like no tomorrow. I thought this was something that happened to older women. I AM 31! Perhaps I ruined them somewhere along the way. Yes, it could be the fact of a total of 25 months worth of breastfeeding; or maybe they just got lazy, having been snuggly cuddled in padded bliss for more than 15 years; they just never bothered to stand up on their own. And now when they are all grown up they’re disabled!!! I know that padded bras aren’t a bad thing, it’s just depressing that I am destined to wear them FOREVER!!! And that’s a long time…
Friday, January 29, 2010
We all do it, I know, but I seem to be one of those that has an excuse for everything. Some of them are legitimate and some of them are just to feed my selfishness. For example, I usher my kids off to kindergarten every morning no later than 8:45 because I have to go running. But I don’t go running every day – that is just an excuse so that I can have the flat to myself, the nice QUIET flat… Or, whenever my ex-roommate calls me for coffee (which has been happening less and less frequently, thank god) I always tell her that I am busy working (she equates that with cleaning) – but to be honest, I can’t be bothered to meet up with her because the conversation always leads to the newest brand of laundry detergent on the market. Or sometimes, I’ll tell my husband that I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store because I had been cleaning all day (please don’t tell my ex-roommate) god forbid I have to do more than one major chore in a day (I am such a lazy shit!)
Why is it that we are so full of excuses all the time? I don’t like the fact that I will make up a million excuses for not sitting down and working on a project that I have been THINKING about for the last eight months. It drives me crazy that my idea haunts me in everything I do, whether running, or cooking, or cleaning, or even just plucking my eyebrows. And I always have these brilliant ideas on how to develop it. But why is it that I cannot just sit down and do it? I think there are a few reasons for this. Perhaps the most important thing is that I am just plain insecure. I am afraid of showing ANYONE my work, too afraid of rejection, too afraid of bad criticism. I still can’t believe that I am posting my thoughts (which are pure ramblings and probably don’t make much sense and are not even structured very well – it’s safe to say that this is not what I would call good writing, or even poor writing, it is somewhere between the red and green zones in the -2 level of the parking garage down the road from my flat). I am realizing now that perhaps this little blog project that I have going is just another excuse to not do what it is that I actually should be doing and working on what I should be working on. But I need to flip it, I need to convince myself that this is an essential exercise to get my brain going, to get my fingers working, to get into the habit of writing (even if it’s crap).
So yes, after I post this I will stop making excuses, at least try not to make too many today and try to actually be productive when it comes to me and my work. I shall forget today about the laundry, I will whip up something quick and easy for dinner so that it does not take up too much of my time, I shall put off waxing for some other day (or perhaps not, I have neglected my legs for too long) – I shall sit down and I shall come up with a plan. And I shall follow this plan. Enough excuses… unless of course I get called because of some emergency or something (that’s always a valid one)…