Go vote

When you go vote tomorrow think about all those kids who can't. Who are still finding themselves, who have to get up and go to school. Hopefully they are told that who they are is great. Hopefully you vote for an Alberta where they are told that.

When you vote tomorrow ask yourself whether cutting teachers and nurses is really good for the economy. Ask yourself what really makes for a strong and vibrant economy, and a nice place to live.

When you vote tomorrow vote with hope and kindness in your heart. Vote for the best of #alberta. All that it has been and can be. Vote to build a future of togetherness and possibility.

Things may have been tough in #alberta and those who are struggling deserve help. Still, there is so much wealth and possibility in the province. It is easy to forget that. Vote with gratitude for the luck we have as well as the work that needs to be done for the future.

And please vote. Because this one will matter a lot.

Porcupine hills

I’m not a religious person but I have been drawn to the idea of the sacredness of the everyday since back in undergrad when I was getting into religious studies. Listening to this always reminds me of that.

I belong to the church of the long grass,
The Parish of the Porcupine Hills,
The grass can grow as tall as an old timers tale,
Some say taller still,
I belong to the church of the long grass,
The Parish of the Porcupine Hills,
I’ve always seen this land as holy,
I guess I always will
— John Wort Hannam

Splurge

While these posts are melodramatic (hello my style of personal essays) I was really excited to buy some sourdough and it was a splurge and this loaf was in the wrong spot and I went from this is gonna be fantastic to this is horrible I want my money and time back. And this taste will never leave my mouth.

Gagging

I accidentally bought green olive sourdough bread (which apparently exists and is awful) and went from really excited to sad. I even checked before buying it. One does not take risks when it comes to olive exposure. It was placed in front of the normal sourdough bread. This bread is awful but I bought it to go with other stuff so I'm stuck

Anxieties about my anxiety chair

We are doing emotion chairs in Grasshopper and I was feeling a bit anxious about whether or not the geometry in the group file would work. It totally did.

I am unfailingly impressed by how I have yet to have a slacker/useless group member. The folks at SALA are all on it. To get through any of these programs you have to have it together and do your work (says girl who achieved very little grading today).

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Spring in the air

One of my classmates has been promising that spring was going to arrive and it turned out he was right. Even his time prediction was right.

Spring is in the air. I put away my jacket liner. I’m thinking about finding an over wintering spot for my boots. I’m gonna swap out toques for baseball caps. My winter socks are going to hibernate.

Helps all people

This is a fabulous quote. This is basically how I feel when I’m told I’m crazy for wanting decent housing, or help getting through school or for physio to be covered.

Socialism is a scare word they’ve hurled at every advance the people have made. Socialism is what they called public power, social security, deposit insurance, and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for anything that helps all people.
— Harry Truman

Be curious not hateful

In the wake of the attacks in #newzealand I invite you to learn about Islam. Be curious.

I got into religious studies as an undergrad because I knew little to nothing about religion and it seemed so important to so many. The more I learned the more open minded and accepting I became. I love hearing about people’s religious practices. Religion is fascinating and something that builds community and guides purpose.

You'll find that Muslims are actually a lot like you especially if you are a Jew or Christian. In fact the three religions are often taught together and are called ethical monotheism.

If you are sad about what happened in Christchurch and want to do something read an intro to Islam book. FInd some basic (non-hateful) info online. Go to an interfaith group. If mosques near you are having open services or times when they are inviting people from the community in following the events in Christchurch go. Or stand outside a mosque and offer your grieve and kindness, flowers, solidarity. Go build bridges out of loss.

like + as

Now that social media scheduling is up and running well I am relaunching the + project.

It's an idea I just can't shake and I think it might be interesting. So here goes + 2.0.

I've picked just one colour combo. That'll be all. I keep getting bogged down in the possibilities of what it can be and it's overwhelming. Eventually you have to make choices and go down one road.

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Sit down

Just sit down — or stand if you want to be ambitious like that — at your desk. That's it. That's as much as I usually force myself to do.

I don't have a grandiose theory of creativity. I have lots and lots of ideas. A whole cue card stack with projects to get to lingers nearby. Another pile is all of the things I've had ideas to draw. That doesn't even touch the lists. There are so many lists.

There are ideas and inspiration everywhere. I am a scavenger. 

I am also boring.

A lot of this is mundane. It's the same thing over and over again.

It's doing it until you get good.

Things I learned in fencing. Do it 200 times. Do it 200 more. Over and over again.

If you just sit down you'll find something useful to do. My hands, my brain they want something to do. It might not be the thing that desperately, urgently needs doing. Likely as a freelancer drifting about trying to make something of the time before me I don't have enough structure or deadlines for that anyways.

No there's just a lot of time and I need to find something to do with it.

So I sit and I know I'll find something to do.

It's written blog posts. Helped pick a new name for my photography store. Gotten me started on some photo editing.

It's unstructured and lose but it generally does the trick. If I sit here long enough something will happen. No promise it'll be good but it'll be something.

At home

Last week I was volunteering, which mostly involved spending time chatting with someone — a super easy gig. The person was an urban nerd who spent a couple of years living in the Netherlands. We had a lot in common.

It didn't take long to get to how much we missed Europe, how life there is easier and better, how most of the streets and buildings in Vancouver are awful compared to where we used to live, that the only reason people in Vancouver feel good about the quality of our city is that the rest of North America has somehow managed to be worse, that our social programs are a joke and our healthcare dysfunctional. It's not that I hate Canada so much as that after living in places that are doing things way better — in easy totally achievable ways — it's hard not to look at Canada with a critical eye.

I am getting better at not being annoyed by these things but it was nice to talk to someone who knew where I was coming from. Once you live in Amsterdam or Copenhagen even the nicer cities in Canada still feel sprawling and awful and trying to endure the dysfunction that is our government is pretty brutal. 

I want to do what I can to make Canada better, to fight for my beliefs. I'm in this place, I have to do what I can to make it better. Still, sometimes it feels like I'm far removed from what everyone here seems pretty happy to shrug their shoulders over.

When I planned my studies in Scotland I had it in the back of my mind that there was a good chance I'd stay. I thought about moving to Sweden, there's the eternal pull of Copenhagen. I felt very at home in Scotland. Too bad about that whole Brexit and anti-immigrant sentiment thing. If they were independent I'd peace out for a cheap flat in Glasgow pretty quickly. As is when I left it felt like a place where even white well-educated Canadians weren't very welcome — this is more a reflection of UK policy than how people act in Scotland.

So I came home. Back to this place that I like a lot more when I'm not actually here, when I'm far away, when I go on dates with people I can only kind of understand even though we are both native English speakers. There is something nice about being in a place where everyone just gets things and you don't have to explain as much, where people have heard of where you grew up and went for undergrad, where saying give 'er once doesn't elicit stares and confusion because no one has ever heard it before then becomes a catchphrase.

When I told my sister about my conversation during my volunteer shift she said that she thinks I should go back to Europe. It's something I think about more and more as time goes on. I wonder where I can go that will be safe, that will be mine, that will feel like home.

My plan when coming out to Vancouver was that this would be it. I'd move here, settle down, build a life. Then I figured out what the housing crisis really looks like and my life kind of fell apart. I'm doing a lot better than I was but I still can't picture a future here. I want a decent affordable place to live that is mine that I can fill with well-designed things and paint various pastel colours.

Today the smoke is so bad that I can't go outside without having trouble breathing. It's only going to get worse. That's another knock on this place.

I'm editing some of my photos from when I visited Copenhagen when I was in Edinburgh. Those streets will always feel like home. I liked that place. Life there was good and I was really happy. It was one of those rare times in my tumultuous twenties that I felt like I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing exactly where I was supposed to be doing it. I had my crew. I had a nice bike and a nice space to live in. I had everything I needed and it was great.

I'd like to feel that way again. I'd like to settle down and find somewhere that I can feel at home. More and more I wonder where that might be.