Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snaps, Slams, and Spoken Words

Last night was the opening event for The Spoken Word Festival. The event was free and featured 4 poets (The Quartet 2011) who each read from their recently published books of poetry.

The first poet had me giggling as he described his love as deep as the layers of an onion and captivated with the poem about his grandmother's conversion to Christianity.

The second and third poets were a little bit darker. One shared a poem inspired by a news story about parents who killed their child and left her pieces in garbage bags around the city. The other discussed his mother's fight with breast cancer in three parts.

It was stated that the final poet had entered a national poetry competition with two of her poems. They tied for first place which should give you an idea of her talent. Her control of the English language seduced me right away as she filled my head with romantic notions. She shared a piece inspired by the time she spent a season in a small hotel room in Paris. Hearing her describe the neighbours lovemaking as "tides of the sounds of sex", the smoke from her cigarette curling around the naked light bulb hanging over the bed as she re-read Moby Dick over and over had me lusting for the chance to escape to a similar setting.

I was really surprised that this little city I live in, that is seemingly dedicated to the business of oil and gas, held a standing-room-only poetry event last night and I was super intrigued to hear that the last Thursday of almost every month there is a poetry slam. I can't wait to check out a slam!

Twitter has opened Calgary up for me in regards to art and literature events. For anyone not on Twitter yet, I suggest you try it out even if its just to follow a few different organizations in your city that your interests are in. An entire new world could open up for you too.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Life in a List: The fun weekends are fun edition

After giving 40 hours of my life a week to the man, there is nothing I ♥ more than being able to have a jam-packed fun weekend. This was one of the better ones:

♦birthday dinner celebrations! I was supposed to make the dinner, but my helper took over. We had a delectable 4 cheese stuffed porkchop served with a yam and potato medley and a lovely strawberry salad

♦checked out my step-brother-in-law's (are you still following?) new bar and met up with a team that is doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year. They asked for my help in fundraising. As this is one of the things that make me super happy, I gladly said yes! Super excited to help this team meet and surpass their fundraising goals :)

♦had ice cream cake for breakfast. My life is awesome!

♦hit up the golf show! Filled a bag with swag and entered a million different contests to different golf resorts (would they be called resorts? I don't golf, but I do love travelling and posh hotels). The golf show also had different booths set up where you could show off your skills and all proceeds went to help the Kids Cancer Care Foundation (the same foundation I am doing my book drive for). Awesome!

♦fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant. It was super nice to dress up. Boys are super cute when they dress up ;-) (that said, boys are also cute when they are in work clothes and when they are not wearing anything).

♦watched Black Swan. Yes, this is a ballet movie, but it is more about the intense, dark side of ballet AND it explains the story line of Swan Lake. Even my partner-in-crime watching it enjoyed it. I am now super intrigued to see the Alberta Ballet's rendition of Swan Lake.

♦Bought a violin! I have never picked up the violin before, but always wanted to learn. Found a fantastic deal on kijiji (the violin is brand new, never played before and I paid less than $100) and my brother and I went to pick it up. Just meeting the old couple selling the violin was a hilarious adventure. New favorite line to say to my brother? Skin disease.

♦Went to an open mic jam and watched my brother rock out for a bit. Had amazing pizza and a pint of beer.

♦Came home and saw that my tweet about the golf show had been retweeted by the CEO and founder of the Kids Cancer Care Foundation. Sent her a thank you and she asked me to call her! Fantastic way to end a fantastic weekend.

Next weekend is going to be even busier! I am super excited. Two volunteering events, a play and a fundraising dance. I am loving this life that I live.
What did you do over the weekend? Any exciting plans coming up?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I am Reading Wednesday

Well, actually, this post is not about what I am reading, but about what the kids are reading. I am holding a book drive for The Kids Cancer Care Foundation to help stock their library in their summer camp. I am collecting books (new and gently used) for kids between the ages of 3 and 8.

Books have always been very comforting for me and I can only imagine the comfort they may bring a child who is sick or dealing with a parent or sibling who is sick. The way you can escape into other worlds through a book or the way they can evoke happy memories is partly why books have had such an enchanting power over me.

I want to share that with other kids.

If you are in town and would like to contribute, leave me a comment with your email address (I monitor comments and won't post your info!).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

photo credit: smashing magazine

I am thankful for Spring.
For flirty Spring dresses. For cute umbrellas and rainboots.
For days of puddle jumping. For little green buds and shoots of grass.
For the sound of birds chirping away in the mornings, so thankful to be alive.
For evening strolls while holding hands, happy to be free from winter's hibernation.
For longer days. For warmer days.
For days of new beginnings.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Life in a List: The Olfactory Edition

Let's start this post discussing the image the word olfactory puts in my head. I instantly imagine a factory creating old. The place where all the wonderful old things in this world come from: movies, pictures, babushkas. It's a bittersweet factory. It cures feelings of nostalgia by creating the old we miss, but all old things do need to cease existing in order to be old and thus that feeling of decay and death is quite depressing. *sigh* The saddest place to work ever.

But that's not really what this post is about! Today as I walked to work, the smell of rain was in the air. That clean, fresh smell of damp Earth and moisture in the sky. And I was so excited that I could smell rain, it made me think about all of the other smells that I adore.

♥ Fresh cut grass! Sucks to be you if you have severe allergies and can't handle this wonderful aroma
♥ Baking Bread! Seriously, I love the smell of baking bread so much, that sometimes I just bake a loaf to act as an air freshener.
♥ Similar idea as to bread is the smell of a stew that has been simmering in your crock pot all day. To walk into your house, greeted with the savory odor is pure heaven
♥ Right-out-of-the-shower boys! That clean smell of soap on the smoothest part of their skin. AMAZING!
♥ The smell of diesel and dirt mixed in work clothes is also hot. Feel free to judge. I have a weakness for hardworking men.
♥ Vanilla. I will always love vanilla. Since the 7th grade.
♥ Bon fires! But not ones that have had gas cans poured all over and are burning whatever is available. I know rednecks that do this, I do not recommended roasting marshmallows on these open fires.
♥ Pages of books. Seriously. Any book I have read, I fan the pages in front of my nose. I can't describe its awesomeness.
♥ Cinnamon oatmeal. This tastes as delicious as it smells
♥ Brewing coffee. Like bread and stew this is one of my favorite air fresheners in my home

What are your favorite smells?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear Wikipedia,

I love you. You never judge my questions or make me feel silly for not knowing something. You teach me so much and I truly owe you most of the credit for the random factoids I know. I hope we can be together forever.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Help Wanted

So my amazing work buddies hooked me up with a red panda for my birthday. And even though there are certain people out there who would like to remind me that sponsorship of an animal and owning an animal are actually very different, I disagree. As far as I am concerned, I pretty much own a panda. A red one. That's cute. Here is a picture of the documents showcasing my name stating that I have sponsored (read: OWN!) a panda. I know he is not coming home with me. That doesn't mean I love him any less.

The help I need is deciding upon a name for my panda. I want something unique, but not too hollywood (therefore not naming my panda Apple or Rumour). I would kind of like the name to have some sort of reference to great literature. And maybe some sort of Chinese influence to recognize my panda's roots.

Some ideas I already have:

Aramis Chin

What would you name your red panda if you had one?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today was my birthday

I took all of the wishes from my facebook wall and the text messages sent to me to create this worldle:

I have the greatest support network. From my first text that made me smile huge to receiving a panda (sponsored, he still lives at the zoo) to a creative dolphin tank complete with dolphins to a dinner date with my daddy. BEST DAY EVER!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I am Reading Wednesday!

Hi everybody! Remember this feature I attempted to regularly do? I decided to resurrect it today (because it's that time of year to think about resurrections? you decide!)

Right now I am reading the final novel for my 20th Century Lit course. It's a little novella we all came to know through Mr. Stanley Krubrick's adaptation in the early 1970s. Except, I (and most likely many of you) didn't watch it until much later than that.

A Clockwork Orange is chock full of juxtapositions, creative slang, metaphors and motifs. The movie is good, but, like all movies based on books, the book is WAY better!

I'm only in the early stages of part two. The "ultraviolence" and "horrorshow" antics of part one were captivating. Picking up on the slang that is seemingly a mixture of Russian and Shakespearean amazed me. At first, the story seemed so confusing due to the language, but I quickly became accustomed to it and I am now fully absorbed in the plot. I am at the part where Alex is in jail, just blamed for the death of a cellmate and signed up for the procedure that will "cure" him of his violent ways.

I read a little bit about the author before starting this novel. Supposedly, he broke the story into 3 parts of 7 to showcase Alex's metamorphosis into becoming an adult. The 21 chapters is symbolic of 21 being the age of majority in many places. The creative use of Russian words captured into the slang was because he didn't want his story to be trapped in a certain time period, but one that was ageless. And I love that he has his protagonist passionate about classical music. The juxtaposition of highbrow music mixed with the lowbrow antics and violence is thrilling.

I suggest you read this. And watch the movie if you haven't. Just prepare yourself for ultraviolent scenes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear World,

I'm happy. Really, really happy. For no real reason. I just feel like things in life are right where they are supposed to be. And it's a fantastic feeling.


Monday, March 7, 2011

My Life in a List: If I were to create an online dating profile

This is how I would describe myself.
It would really narrow down who I am looking for*.

1.I swear like a trucker. I like to pepper philosophical discussions and debates on literature with the f-word. I try to use it every second word to really stress the other words

2.In the late 90s I was a hand model. I fell off my bike and scarred my knuckles. My entire career was ruined and my hands had to settle for a low budget film career. It is awkward when people recognize my hands from certain "movies" -awkward for both parties in the conversation. Me for being in said movie, other person for having to admit to watching it. So..if you're going to ask, yes that was me.

3. I am a devoted Catholic twice a day at 11:11. I always ask God for something in those moments.

4.I'm only interested in the online aspect of dating. Please don't think we'll EVER meet face-to-face. It's because I have a phobia of walking through doors since I watched Sliding Doors and The Chronicles of Narnia. I hate that everything and anything could happen

5. I can cook a mean hotdog soup. Basically, you boil water, add hotdogs, let them simmer then serve the hotdogs on buns. I like to garnish mine with Ketchup.

6.I believe in helping homeless people out financially. I drink copious amounts and leave my empties by the trash.

7.I truly believe that the greatest moments in sport's history took place during the final scene of The Karate Kid. The Mighty Ducks V formation was pretty steller too.

8.I have an adopted pet squirrel. I encourage him (his name is Gus) to build a nest in my neighbour's rafters. It's win-win. But not for my neighbours.

9.I will always cook you your favorite meal. I will secretly add the ingredients that you are allergic too. Small things amuse me.

10.People who inspire me include Master Splinter, The Gremlins, and Terry and Dean from Fubar.

*I am mostly kidding. Please don't send me irate comments. Or I will be forced to cook you your favorite meal ;-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

So many conversations take place...

... around one's kitchen table. Small talk over meals, serious talks over cups of coffee, silly talks over shots of Tequila. For years I have been thinking about what my dream kitchen table would be. When I first moved out, I had room mates and one had a table already so no need to buy one was there.

When Adam and I lived together, it was one of those things on my list but I wasn't sure how long we would be in our place for (hindsight is always 20/20. My gut knew).
When I moved in here, I knew I needed one. And even though I know this is not my forever home, I wanted something that was of value and I could use it either in my future kitchen or, ideally, my future games room.

I bit the bullet this morning. Using my bonus from work and the excuse that I deserved something for my upcoming birthday, I dragged my dad to all sorts of furniture stores. He had the truck in case I found one. And find one I did.

This was also half an action item on my 30 before 30 (number 12). And now I feel so grown up and ready to invite people over for a dinner party!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I've mastered a lot so far in this life

Do you ever sit back and take stock of everything you have learned in your life and learned well?

Do you ever pat yourself on the back for being fearless enough as a baby to take that first step into toddler-hood and relish in the fact that you have mastered the art of walking?

Do you ever congratulate yourself on the ability to listen to the sounds around you and connect them with symbols, learning to mimic the sounds so that you could converse? Do you ever think about just how many sounds and symbols you know that aid in just regular small talk? Not to mention when you are well-versed in a certain subject and communicate your learnings on a higher and more in depth level?

Do you ever think about everything your brain goes through just to read a sentence, take the combination of the symbols of the letters, connect that symbol to another symbol in order to comprehend what you are reading? And realize how amazing you are for being able to learn how to do that?

Do you remember how many times you fell off your bike before you figured out the art of balancing? Do you even think about how awesome it is that you can now race your bicycle around without even considering the simple act of balance anymore?

Do you appreciate your cognitive understanding to estimate, add, subtract, multiply, divide, and maybe even realize how learning algebra does apply to real life?

Do you have gratitude that you can master simple recipes that allow you to take care of yourself with one of the basic needs of nourishment? Do you take time to think about how complex recipes are just a combination of simple ones and the ability to read allows you to take that risk to attempt the complexity?

Do you cherish how accomplished you actually are in life that you can handle the pitfalls that inevitably come your way using critical and analytical thinking?

Do you ever thank those who taught you these things for their patience while you mastered the skills of developing?

When we took our first steps, every one around was so proud and thrilled and the moments were documented. Now, we don't clap for each other when we are going for a walk. Or when we write our names. Or when we can count change. These accomplishments became habits and expectations. We should remember how awesome we are that we came this far.