Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Life is full of choices. Sometimes it feels like you don’t have any or that they are being made for you but in those cases you still have choices about how to react to your lack of choice. Even choosing not to choose is making a choice. Remaining at that fork in the road instead of taking one of the paths; standing still is a choice.

Recently I had to make a choice. I weighed the pros and cons of both options and went with the slightly better of the two. I couldn’t not make a choice. I HAD to pick one. But after making a choice there is often the impending second guessing….

I’m trying not to second guess my choice. I’m trying to stick to what I still think is the better option. The problem is that neither option A nor option B were the perfect choice. Is there such a thing as a perfect choice in this game called life? Or is there making the best of a current situation? Both option A and option B showed potential and had different strengths but neither is perfect now. Could my choice be perfect later? Maybe.

I could eventually make a different choice. I’m not forced to be bound by this choice. I could still change my mind or find an option C. So many choices….

I painted a painting today. I know, I find the whole thing weird too.

I’ve been casually looking for an abstract seascape or something like that for over my bed. Right now I just have a blank wall. I’ve only been looking for the past several months (or years if you’re actually keeping track), but I have never found anything that grabbed me enough for me to buy it. Mostly the ones I found were not the shape I was looking for.

So today, I had some time on my hands and I decided to just go for it and see what I could do. Now, I didn’t buy the size canvas I want as I thought I should do a “test” painting first to see how it turned out. So I headed to the Dollar Store and bought paint, a canvas (16×20) and brushes; I think I splurged and spent $8 on supplies. Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, and I’m not sure if I’m going to go for the big canvas or not, but I’m pretty proud of myself for just doing it. I know I won’t be in any galleries any time soon but for a first painting I think it is A-OK.

I’m sure you are wondering where this wondrous painting is, so here it is in all it’s glory 🙂

IMG_20140622_204023Maybe I’ll just go for it and paint something else one of these days. It was fun!

Dreaming of Photography

I woke up this morning from an interesting dream.

In it, I had met this sexy, young Italian man at a conference that I had helped organize. We were extremely attracted to each other and became lovers. Within a few days he had fallen in love with me and asked me to come back to Italy with him. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t falling in love with him too so I said I would for a month. I took a short leave from work, moved to Italy and stayed with him while I pursued my writing and photography. I desperately wanted to photograph him.

I’m not sure what this dream means but it was HOT, and when I woke up it made me want to find an Italian lover and move to Italy for a month, lol.

But seriously, I’ve been thinking about photography a bit more these past few days. A friend of mine told me a couple of days ago that I had an eye for it. And then when I talked to my Mom on Friday she asked me if I had been taking any pictures recently. So I dug out my camera yesterday and went to a Pow Wow to take some shots. It was my first Pow Wow and it was pretty cool. I also took a few pictures of a crow in my backyard today.

I’m not saying I’m going to become a famous photographer but I do enjoy taking pictures so I should probably do more of it. I also need to dig out my photography book to read about taking better pictures. If you’re gonna do something, you might as well figure out how to do it better than before.

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My 13 year old is constantly complaining about the dress code at school. I feel a sense of conflict about the whole thing.

On the one hand, it’s another way that we teach our children that it is up to the girl to dress in a manner that will not distract boys. The onus is on the girl. This sets the stage for the idea that:

  • women that dress provocatively or in a manner that is considered provocative deserve to be raped
  • men cannot control themselves when they see a woman they consider to look sexy
  • women bring sexual harassment upon themselves based on the manner that they dress
  • the way a woman dresses defines what type of person she is
  • there is something wrong or inappropriate with women dressing sexy
  • women cannot be trusted to make their own choices
  • and so on and so forth

This and thoughts like this are RIDICULOUS and WRONG.

Clothes do not determine who the person is. And dress codes should not be used as a way to oppress women even further.

Men are civilized human beings and should act that way.

One of the things that distinguishes people from animals is our ability to make choices rather than just run on instinct. When men walk down the streets with no shirt on women manage to restrain themselves. No one thinks any less of a man with no shirt on. And yet some men in this world think that women owe them something. Women owe them sex. And apparently that thought is even more prevalent when women wear short skirts or tight tops. (I know it is not all men, but it is too many.)

Does it all start with the dress codes at school? Probably not. The conditioning that ‘women deserve less respect than men’ probably starts way before that. But the dress codes do not help.

My sense of conflict comes with the clothes being designed today. Why do the styles out there push girls to grow up faster than ever? Why are clothes so sexy for your pre-teen and teen? Why do 13 year olds need push up bras?

My oldest and I went shopping for bras and a bathing suit last night. I almost had a stroke. The selection of bras without some type of padding was super limited. Why do we need to tell women in the bra store that they are inadequate without padding? Because really, that is what all of those bras and bra designers are telling women. Your breasts are not big enough, perky enough, adequate enough but we can fix you. No wonder women have self-image issues.

And then in addition to the bras and bathing suits, everything is so tight and low-cut and short. I guess it is me as a mother wanting to protect her daughter that I see some benefit to the dress code. I don’t like what the dress code stands for but it is a very small way to fight against the designers that constantly sexualize our girls.

I agree with my daughter that the dress code is misogynistic. But so are the clothes that are produced today.

Is there a happy medium? I don’t know what it is yet. But I hope it has to do with teaching your children self-respect and respect for one another. I hope that one day every person (not just some people) can see that women are not a commodity nor are they an object. They are people with brains and feelings and bodies and muscles, just like men. No one gender is better or more powerful than the other. We complement each other and that is a positive thing.

 

Apr 27 - I'm grateful to be heading to Vancouver!!

Apr 27 – I’m grateful to be heading to Vancouver!!

Last week was pretty spectacular!! On April 27th, Sven and I jetted off to Vancouver. Actually, the first plane we took had propellers but it was still pretty exciting to be heading out West.

Our first flight was delayed which meant we missed our connector but that did not dampen our spirits. We still managed to make it to Vancouver in the same day so everything was good (even if it did feel like 4am by the time we got to the hotel).

The next day was a vacation day, woo hoo!! Sven and I stumbled forth from our hotel room and went to awesome Stanley Park where the trees were in bloom and the grass was green and it felt like Spring. We walked and took a horse drawn carriage and saw totem poles and went to the aquarium.  DSC_0831DSC_0848DSC_0840DSC_0880

It was just an all around great day. By the afternoon, the sun came out in full force and we were able to take off our coats while watching the water antics of the beluga whales and dolphins.

After a day filled with walking we needed to find something to eat. And what better thing to eat than sushi in Vancouver? Sven pulled out his iphone and asked Siri where we should eat that was close by and inexpensive. She pointed us to Sushi Mart. It was just a tiny place that didn’t look like much but it had a line up out the door by the time we left. Thanks Siri.

IMG_20140428_184406On day 2 I had to go to work 😦

I went to my work conference after breakfast with Sven and then he was on his own. The conference wasn’t too bad and I think I did a pretty OK job of networking. I came home with quite a few business cards so I’m satisfied with my performance 😉

IMG_20140430_134405 Tuesday evening was a networking event. It was fine, I stayed for a couple of hours and then snuck out about half an hour before it was over. They had a few fun things there like a photo booth, a guy doing caricatures and some video thing. I had my caricature done and I have to say, I think it looks a lot like me. Plus, I’m fairly skinny in it so I think it’s my favourite picture of me, lol.

Wednesday was more work but afterwards Sven and I went for a walk. I told him there was a beach on one side of Stanley Park and I wanted to go there. His phone gallantly provided directions and I was able to put my toes in English Bay. I’m sure it was pretty polluted but I wasn’t the only one in the water. After the beach we headed back towards the hotel and stopped for dinner in a pub. We were lucking out with the food so far as everything was delicious.

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On Thursday the conference ended early and Sven and I set off for Chinatown. One minute everything was lovely and the next minute we were in a pretty sketchy area. Luckily we turned a corner and things got better again. We went to Dr. Sun Yet-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden and then had Vietnamese food for dinner. My friend Jess recommended the restaurant so it was a winner yet again.

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Check out the fish Sven ordered! It was totally not what either one of us was expecting and once it arrived I could not stop laughing. It was so funny when Sven was cutting into it. But even with the head still on, we persevered and ate it. It was excellent!

On Friday we boarded a bus and went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. Sven backed out of the ziplining but we still had a good time. I think Capilano was my favourite part of the trip; the big trees in the coastal rainforest, the smell of nature. It was very nice. The swaying suspension bridge was not so nice and caused me some stress on the way over it, but I sucked it up and went anyway. You only live once and it was part of our Vancouver adventure.

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For dinner we went to a Greek restaurant (also great food) and then took the seabus to Vancouver North. It wasn’t exactly the boat cruise that I wanted to take but it was the only substitute I could manage. (I thought we might take a boat cruise on our first day but it was too chilly for most of the day.) On the north side of Vancouver we found a small market close to the ferry terminal. Unfortunately we ate too much Greek food to partake in any of the edibles from the food trucks but it was still pretty cool.

Finally we crashed in the hotel and flew out on Saturday morning.

Overall, it was a big success. Sven and I walked and walked and walked, and we ate gelato 3 times, and we had a favourite breakfast place, and it was warm enough to wear shorts on more than one day, and we just hung out and enjoyed each other. It was a great trip and I didn’t want to come home.

In fact, it’s Wednesday and I’m still a little hung-over from Vancouver jet lag.

Sven recently told me I was mean. He also said that luckily he liked mean. At first, that didn’t make me feel better. Who wants to be called mean? No one!

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But after some consideration, I guess I am a little mean. I have never used that word to describe myself before, nor has anyone else, but my sisters and I do have this running gag about who is the evilest of the 3 of us. I mean, obviously it isn’t me, but on some level I guess I could be seen as a bit mean.

We call each other evil because we like to give each other a hard time. We tease each other. I also give my kids a hard time sometimes. But it is all because I like them a lot. I guess I sometimes give people I like a hard time.

Sven has defined this as mean. It’s not my favourite word choice but I’ve come to terms with it. I feel that he often makes poor word choices when it comes to me. In fact, shortly before we broke up, he told me that he was dreading our date and then tried to take it back as he didn’t mean it. Once that word was out, I didn’t feel like it was something you could take back. I have since forgiven him for that incident but it was definitely an example of a poor choice of words.

Sven tried to explain mean to me. He said I was clear, direct and didn’t take any BS. All of which are true. However, I personally, would not have grouped them all together to define mean.

Oh well. I may not like the terminology but I’ve decided that I am ok with the whole thing. I guess partly because Sven said I was ‘Just the right amount of mean.’ Apparently that’s a compliment.

Sven and I spent the weekend together. It was pretty fantastic actually.

On Friday night we went out to dinner and then a play. On Saturday we walked around town enjoying the beautiful weather, hung out and talked. During the conversation, it came out that once upon a time he found my blog…. and read some of it. (Just now, I went through some of my old dating posts and most of the recent ones are me complaining about Sven. Oops. I mean things weren’t all bad, we just had a LOT of communication issues.) Hopefully, he isn’t holding anything against me, it doesn’t appear that way. He said he hasn’t read any since January.

Once I learned that he had read some of my blog, I decided that we should talk about some things before he just happened to read some more of my blog. Basically, I was feeling pretty crappy about how many times I wrote about breaking up with him and I also felt concerned with how he would feel about my posts on Dan.

I prefaced the conversation with the reassurance that Dan and I are not getting back together. (In fact, I haven’t talked to Dan since the break up and I unfriended him on Facebook. I wasn’t interested in all of his posts on which cars are for sale.) Then I told Sven that I had been planning to break up with him since before Christmas. I tried to probe and find out how he felt about the two months of our break up. He didn’t really want to talk about things in-depth but we started the conversation which is good. In fact, we talked about it a bit more today.

If nothing else, I feel like Sven and I are communicating better this time around. He’s not good at sharing his feelings, and neither am I, but I’m trying hard to fix that problem and so is he.

Anyway, back to the rest of the fantastic weekend… Saturday night Sven took me to an Art Battle. It was lots of fun. I think part of the fun was the good company and the wine but I enjoyed the evening immensely.

Basically the Art Battle was 4 artists painting for 20 minutes and then the crowd picked a winning painting. There were 3 of these battles and then the 3 winners painted in a final battle. The winner of the finale won $100 and the chance to compete in the regionals in June.

When it was all said and done, Sven actually bought one of the paintings. (The one with the yellow background and green buildings.) We are going to try to go to the upcoming Regional Art Battle. The painting and judging is fun and it is also a great venue for interesting people watching.

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I’m pretty happy with the way things went this weekend. And both of us are looking forward to Vancouver. I think we’ll have a fantastic trip too!

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