Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ontario, Yours to Discover

Tom Thomson, Northern River, 1915

I’m going camping this weekend in Algonquin Provincial Park. I’m not a big camping kind of girl and have never been to Algonquin before, despite it being one of the treasures of Ontario. At well over 7000 square kilometers it is a huge expanse of protected wilderness and the inspiration for one of Canada’s darlings- Tom Thompson, and later the Group of Seven. Tom Thomson’s fateful love affair with the park in the early 1900’s ushered in a new era in Canadian art. He and the Group of Seven would go on to created some of the most iconic images of Canada and helped forge a nascent Nationalism in our young country. So it’s only appropriate that I’ll be celebrating Canada’s birthday here this weekend.

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine, 1916-1917

Despite having a minor in Art History and having studied Canadian fine art and the Group of Seven in particular, I’ve never felt the yearning desire to go where Tom Thompson went. It is only Candidate #2’s unbridled passion for camping and the wilderness that is drawing me up north this weekend. I am of course apprehensive, since I’m always a bit timid when it comes to the unknown, but at least I have confidence in the experienced group that I’m going with.

Tom Thomson, Sunset Sky, 1915

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Last Night...

Last night you held me in your arms.

Last night, instead of rolling over to our respective places you held me tight and stayed close by until the sun came up.

Last night a shift in our relationship occurred.

Last night in the whispered silence you came to understand a part of me I hide.

This morning I wonder if you will treat me differently, as a flawed and fragile being.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

101 Things in 1001 Days

I've found myself bumping into this concept all over the internet lately and it's been growing on me. A quick Google search led me to lots of websites, with a lot of different ideas of what people wanted to accomplish in 1001 days. It appeals to the "5 year plan" side of myself, and seems like a pretty manageable time frame- a little over 2 1/2 years. At some point today I'd like to sit down and put together my own list of 101 things with concrete steps follow in order to achieve the more complex items. I like that the list might force to step out of my comfort zone and finally do some of the things I've only dreamt of and then put aside.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trying and Giving Up

Trying in a relationship shouldn't feel like this. It shouldn't feel like you're gasping for breath. It shouldn't feel like the burning sting of a whiplash on exposed flesh. It shouldn't feel like sleepless nights and restless dreams. It shouldn't be a mantra repeated over and over in your head until it becomes a scream.

I'm trying.I'm trying.I'm FUCKING trying!

And every time you leave the threshold of his door, you suck in your breath in pain and feel hollow inside. Numb and alone, there doesn't feel like there's anything for you there and you wonder why you keep coming back. Do you thrive on feeling alone and unloved within a relationship? Or is it that you hate being proved wrong, yet again?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pillow Talk

Candidate #2: (groans as he tries to crack his lower back).

Me: Still hurting, eh?

C2: My back has been killing me all week.

Me: Too much sex, eh?

C2: (laughing) I guess...

Me: (Deadpanning) Don't worry, I'll fuck you limber yet.

C2: (stunned silence before breaking out into a huge laugh) You need to put that on a t-shirt.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stopping to Smell the Roses

I desperately needed something to lift my mood, even temporarily. So, I went and cut a single bloom from our rose bush out front to put on my desk. It provided a temporary respite from the darkness and smells so amazing while I'm working at the computer. I do need to find a proper bud vase though, since all I had that was small enough was a shot glass.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

I am homesick. I ache for the quiet, green spaces of the farm. Taking my morning tea on the back patio, in the silent, dappled shade and drinking in the tranquility while I contemplate life and watch my mother’s gardens grow. I find a peace here inside myself that eludes me anywhere else I go.

I long for the warm embrace of family, the little arms of a toddler squeezing you in a hug of pure joy and excitement to be with you. The way she giggles and squeals when you push her higher on the swing set. His slow, shy smile bursting into a grin when you tease. The littlest one asleep in my arms, content and oblivious as only a newborn can be.

Instead I’m filled with a silent rage, trapped in increasingly inhospitable surroundings. I feel impotent to change anything, so I sit seething in frustration and dreaming of what I miss most.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Student Email Bag

From: First Year Student
To: TA Ms. Canuck
Subject: Course Requirements
Date: 2 weeks into the semester

Ms. Canuck,
I was just wondering what would be the least amount of work I could do and still pass the course?

- Student.

I was cleaning out my inbox from this year and rediscovered this gem. Usually I get emails from students after a test or paper has been handed back and they realize they haven't done as well as planned. The requests are usually for ways they can improve or do work to bump up a low grade, but never something so blatantly unmotivated. I'm guessing Mommy & Daddy wanted little Billy to have a University degree and he could care less about being here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dress for Success

I decided to look around on the Nine West website to get some inspiration for a possible graduation outfit. Given that I'll be wearing a longish black robe, and the fact that my feet will be eye level with the audience when I ascend the podium to be given my collar and parchment I thought it only appropriate to select footwear first. I fell in love with these shoes immediately, and an ensemble was born.

After all the problems and heartache I had completing my Master's degree, I decided that some irreverent footwear was called for. It's a reminder not to take myself, or my education, too seriously. It is just a degree. I'm going to pair these Nine West "Angeni" leopard print pumps with a form fitting black pencil skirt, a white button down shirt and a string of pearls. It's all so very 'naughty librarian'. I know that graduation is usually a fairly solemn and serious occasion, however, for me it is anything but. I feel like much of my MA was a joke- particularly my relationship with my advisor, and how things were done in regard to my thesis. It may be too late to change all of that, but this will be my final statement when I finally become a Master of the Arts.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Time Management

Motivation and procrastination have been two of my biggest problems in the last couple of months. I decided to check out a book from the library on time management in a post-secondary setting in the hopes of either spurring on motivation or garnering new tips to stave off procrastination. Although I'm only half way through the book I've realized that I slowly lost so many really great time management skills, techniques and methods from my undergraduate. Once my days and weeks lost the more rigid structure that course work provided and I was left to my own devices to come up with a manageable plan of study, it all went downhill. Some of my most consistently productive semesters came out of my undergraduate, and it took reading this book to realize it.

I know it's going to take quite a bit of effort to work back up to my former level of organization and productivity, however, in the end I will have to surpass it in order to finish my Ph.D in the allotted 4 year time span. Considering the fact that I'm still on the fence about whether or not I even want to be here and do a doctorate, this seems like a monumental task.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Graduates Dilemma

Spring Convocation season is here for every University and College campus, mine included. Next week I finally get to pick up that piece of paper that signifies I've completed my Masters. It's anti-climactic, and yet when I think of all the sleepless nights, tears, anxiety, frustration, personal trauma and set backs that went into acquiring that piece of parchment I know I should feel more than what I do. Sure, it's an achievement to say I completed a Masters degree and yet it's left me feeling less educated and academically aware of the world than I did prior to entering into the program.

To say I've become jaded and slightly bitter with the institution is an understatement. I love education and learning new things, but at the end of my 2 1/2 year stint as an MA student academia has lost its lustre for me and I keep trying to grasp at straws to regain my motivation for a Ph.D. It doesn't help that for the past year I've been going to classes where I have yet to learn anything new- it's just jumping through hoops until I've satisfied the requirements that allow me to do what I want with my research and time. This is not how I envisioned a Ph.D.

Despite all of this I have a graduation. The first dilemma is whether or not to actually attend. Having been there once, I'm not enamoured with the prospect of sitting through several hours in the hot, humid June air to receive my parchment, along with several hundred undergraduates. My parents, however, would be upset if I didn't attend, especially after everything I've had to overcome to complete my degree. So the second dilemma is the eternal question of what to wear? I know I've done this once before, and yet I feel like this time I need to one up myself. Last time I wore a smart white skirt and black and white mod looking top. I have a BCBG dress very similar to this, but in chocolate brown, however I feel like that might be too much cleavage for a graduation. It's too hot for pants, and I have to be careful of the colour I choose to wear so it doesn't look mismatched with the robe and collar. I'm dreading going to the mall to look for something to wear, but it looks like that's what will have to happen after all. It's tempting to just go naked under that robe like so many cliched Hollywood movies.

The key, however, is not so much what you're wearing, but the shoes you choose. For all graduates, when you step on that podium to receive your degree your feet are generally at eye level with the audience and that is what everyone notices. Avoid flip flops and running shoes, do get a nice pedicure and heaven forbid you clomp around like a work horse.