Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh home and native land....

Being Canadian. It's an odd thing. It's a great thing, but it's an odd thing. Due mostly, as the majority of Canadians know, to our country's proximity to the US of A. I think the way a lot of Canadians think of themselves, is as "not American". If anybody ever mistakes a Canadian for an American, it's a huge insult. "Ummm no, I'm Canadian. Geez!". I do it to, I"ll admit it. I don't know why I do it, cause really, I love America, and there is not really any Americans I know personally that I dislike. I suppose part of being Canadian is that...we are not American. I"m going to go out on a limb and say George Bush has been the main contributor to this "god no, I'm not American" attitude. Just a guess. We'll see what happens once they get President Obama.

Canada Day. It always gives me a good opportunity to reflect on just how much I love my beautiful country. I think about it fairly often, but when I consider how great it really and truly is here, then I realize I probably don't think it enough.

Canada has to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, hands down. Anybody who has done any sort of travelling around it cannot dispute that fact. We gots it all! I say it all the time, "it's so gorgeous here!", and I am often met with a look of indifference or a scoff. I always just wanna shout, "look around you!! Why can't you see!". I guess for some people, they are so used to it that it doesn't faze them anymore. They stop noticing. Sucks to be them. I know I know. haha, what a dumb song that was. I just wish people could love and appreciate it more, because who knows how long the beauty will last for. Not the song, the place we live!

I guess maybe everyone loves their country for different reasons. My one friend loves Canada because, as she says, "you can smoke pot anywhere and people don't care". Which...okay. I suppose the underlying reasoning in that statement is that, she loves Canada for the freedoms we are afforded here. Ain't nothing wrong with freedom! Who doesn't like freedom? People die for it. The freedom to live our lives the way we personally choose to live them is a huuuuuge freedom, that so many people in the world can't fathom. Here, if my friend wants to smoke a joint while she's sitting in a park, she (probably) won't be bothered...if one of my best friends wants to marry his boyfriend, that's cool! If I want to walk around town wearing a tube top and short shorts, letting my skin be exposed to the world, that's fine too (not that that would EVER happen)...but I'm just saying.

Last July, I was in Ottawa for Canada Day:

It was pretty freaking great. Despite the fact that everybody was convinced the government was slowly trying to get us used to the idea of "being American" (see red, white and BLUE sign above), it was a pretty amazing time. I think every Canadian should experience Canada Day on Parliament Hill if possible! Canadians from all over the country coming together in the nation's capital to celebrate and say, "god, I love this country!". God. I love this country, my country.

Every time I hear the National anthem, I cry. It overwhelms me with pride and gratitude. I feel like such a dork every time my eyes well up, but no matter where I am, standing at a ball game, or watching the Olympics on television, if "Oh Canada" plays, the eyes start to tear and I break out into a huge dorky grin. If there is one part of high school I miss, it's getting to hear the national anthem every day.

I don't own any of those, "Canadian Girls Kick Ass" shirts, or have a "Canada Rocks!" hat, or even a maple leaf tattooed on my ass. All those things seem false and cliche, and they don't seem to quite grasp just why I love this place so much. I find the "I AM CANADIAN" commercials funny, endearing and even somewhat true, but they don't quite capture it either. I suppose that is probably because they were advertisements for beer. I could take or leave beer, and therefore it has little connection to my Canada.

Canada is beautiful.
Canada is free
Canada fills me with pride and I am thankful to live here.

Yeah, I love this country for all these reasons. But, that's still not the heart of it.

I love Canada because it is my home. It's that simple. It is my home, with it's coloured money, extra "u's", with the beavers the red and the white, the snow, it's hugeness, it's easy goingness, it's igloos and Eskimos and mounties, and whatever else the world thinks we have here. It's mountains, it's lakes, it's forests, it's cities, it's country roads that sometimes seem to wind along forever, it's people. I can't imagine home being anywhere else, and that is why I love Canada so very very much.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Random Thoughts.

It is a little too hot in the kitchen for me to concentrate long enough to write something poignant. Or something funny. Really, all I wanna do right now is run through a sprinkler. Damn you humidity!! This entry is going to be in point form, doesn't get much easier than that.

*I need to remember to spellcheck these posts. I always forget, then I reread it, and there is inevitably a spelling error, and I just think, "gawddd, people must think I"m dumb".

*I almost got jumped on by a squirrel today. This would be my worst fear come true people. I think perhaps squirrels can detect fear, much like dogs. My entire walk past Montebello Park every day consists of me suppressing a large urge to run and scream like an idiot because there are just that many squirrels.

*If I ever, for whatever reason, meet kitten killer Yaroslav Kotsyub in person, I'm going to kick him in the balls eight times. I think an appropriate punishment would be this: okay, asshole, you threw a kitten off a balcony and then ran him/her over with your car, so therefore, we are going to throw you off a balcony, and run over you with a car, so you can see how it feels. Maybe not run over his whole self, but like a foot or something. Every time I read a story like this, I lose a little bit more faith in human beings.

*I like my job, and I like the people I work with, but I know in my heart...and my head, that it is not where I am meant to be. I can confirm this, because I often spend part of my days daydreaming about where I would rather be. That has been true for every job I have ever had. Where I want to be is sitting in my office at home, writing stories. I want to be travelling around the world, taking pictures, meeting people, experiencing life, and then writing about it. I want it so much, that I can't really imagine myself being really happy with any other job. And I'm trying to get there, but a little thing called money continuously gets in my way. So I need to work at it slowly. The problem is, I keep letting other things get in the way, and these things are pushing me farther and farther away from achieving these goals. Arg. All I really want out of life is this: a nice place to always come home too, the freedom, money and balls to do what I really want to do, a dog, and someday a family which will include a baby I've adopted from China. That's all!

*I've used the word balls twice...three times in this post now, annnnd I think I like it and should probably say it more often. On that note, I really want to learn more yiddish words, because yiddish is awesome. I use "Chupah", "oy vey", "oy gevalt" and "Mazel Tov" quite routinely, but I think I need to integrate more words.

*Sometimes Facebook really gets on my nerves. Where do all these random applications come from? I never recall signing up for them, yet there they are, splattering all over my stupid profile. Also...the people that sometimes find me on Facebook astonishes me. In a bad way. In an Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, "Really?" kind of way.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ever Expanding List

I think my list of "places to travel" grows every day. I"ll see a picture of something, or somewhere, and I'll be like "I MUST go there", and I add it to the list. It has almost reached the point of ridiculousness. Part of me is sad, because what if I never actually get to go to those places? Part of me is so excited because I think that one day I"ll be able to find a way to go to all the places I want to go. God I hope so. It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful the world is. Sometimes even in pictures, certain places can take your breath away. And if takes your breath away from a picture, I can't even imagine actually being there.

One day, I have to see this castle. This castle looks as if it is just floating around in the sky, waiting for visitors. MUST SEE IT.

This is one of those took my breath away pictures. Lavender fields in France. Oh my god. I have no words.

Again with the taking away of the breath. This one is in Canada, so at least it is feasible that I will see it some point in the (hopefully near) future.

I love travelling. I love going to new places, and experiencing the different ways people live. It gives me a different perspective on life, and I have found one of the most important things that travel has done for me, is remind me to slow down and appreciate things. Take my time, let it all sink in, nod, appreciate and say, wow. I try and use that philosophy every new place I go, as well as in my everyday life. Travelling reminds me just how good I have it, and how fortunate I am to be able to get out of my everyday life and learn about other people's everyday lives. That way of thinking also is useful in my day to day existence. It's easy to forget, especially when I'm stressing and fretting over something stupid, what a beautiful place I live in. It's gorgeous here. I often placate my constant yearning to travel with explorations of the area in which I live.

Beauty. For now, at least until I can save enough money to take a trip, views like this will do. Right in my own backyard too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

A couple of weekends ago, my friend and I went to Toronto to check out the closing ceremonies of Luminato, the arts and culture festival. It was a really great day at the Harbourfront, there were buskers, parades of people banging on drums, shopping, outdoor patios and bars, bands, art, ice cream, and sun. I considered that day my first official day of summer.

One part of the day stood out though: A giant bubble battle. I don't care how old you are, bubbles rule. The premise was, everybody gathered on a predetermined spot at 5 o'clock, and started blowing bubbles. People had bubble guns, bubble machines, giant bubble wands, hippos that blew bubbles out of their mouths, and old fashioned bubbles in the bottle, with the little wand. It was sunny out, and the sun reflected in the was quite a lovely sight.

I have more pictures, but most of them have children in them, and I really don't want to be a creepo who posts pictures of random children on their blog. But you get the general idea. Bubbles are cool! I wish St. Catharines would do something random like that would work well in Montebello I think. I don't know if people would actually come out to it in St. Catharines...but it would be cool! There were people of all ages there, and the kids were hilarious to watch. Dancing around in the bubbles. Such a summeresque activity.

Anyway, upon more investigation, I found out this bubble battle was put on by a group called New Mind Space . The whole idea behind events like these, is the concept of an urban playground, and reclaiming urban public space. Subway parties, giant pillow fights, bubble battles, huge games of capture the flag...all just this really cool stuff that brings random people together, and lets them experience their city in a whole new way. It also kind of takes a person out of everyday city life, which is often quite....rigid. Normally, people don't talk to strangers, don't even really smile at them, but at events like these, you find yourself dancing in the bubbles they are blowing out of their bubble gun. Quite amazing really. I like the whole concept, and kind of makes me want to move to a big city so I can check out events like this more often.

I always am at work thinking....wouldn't it be great if at lunch time, there was somewhere to go everyday, or if not everyday, then maybe once a week....a Wednesday perhaps, to just go and dance for half an hour? 20 minutes? To one song? Just to kind of loosen up after sitting at a desk after what is often realllly long periods of time? I also always imagine the guy who plays the saxophone downtown all the time, starting a parade of dancers down the street. He's just walking...jamming to whatever song, and one by one people leave their offices and follow him and dance. They bring whatever they have to join in on the song, and soon it turns into a giant parade around downtown. And then afterwards, everyone would just go back to their offices and go about their business. Perhaps I have thought about this a leeetle too much, but it would be pretty freaking fun. Also, in my mind, the sax guy is playing Todd Rundgren's, "Bang the Drum All Day" song. Ah. That would be the best parade ever.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday ponderings on passion

There are very few things in this life I take too seriously, or care too much about. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing..maybe it is a little bit of both. I'm pretty nonchalant about most things, and my reaction to most things is indifference. Unless I feel extreme happiness, sadness, or excitement (or insert whatever emotion here), I have a very "mmmhmm", "that's nice", "ohh that's too bad" type of reaction. It's weird though, because when I do react to something, it becomes way more of a reaction then is really necessary.

*Like when I get stressed out, I get extremely stressed out. Can't sleep, can't stop thinking about whatever the issue is. Any pending big decisions....I start to feel the stress. I am feeling it right now, and I have a feeling it won't be going away any time soon.

*When I went to NYC for the first time, my parents kind of told me as a surprise thing. And I freaked right out. I actually started crying I was so excited and happy. If that is not an extreme overreaction, I don't know what is.

I'm not entirely sure where I was going with wasn't intended to be a post about how I react to various situations. OH. I was leading into passion.

Passion for what you do. Right! I was going to talk about the dogs again. Yup, get over it!

I love those dogs, and I love going into the humane society. I enjoy my time there, and when I am there, I do the best possible job I can do to make those animals lives a little bit better. This is a cause I care deeply about, and really, anyone who works or volunteers in that field has to feel the same way. Has too. You can't be nonchalant about it, because if you are, why are you there in the first place? You can't do it just to do it, because if you do that, you'll get bored and stop caring. You need to do it because you love it, because you can feel yourself making a difference, and for once, it's not all about you.

Sometimes when I am there, I clean out the dog cages. Someone asked me today, "why do you do that?". Well....I do it because I don't want the dogs lying in shit...They are already stuck in a kennel all day, at least I can try and make it less stinky. Yeah, picking up dog shit is not high on my list of favourite activities, but when I am at the humane society, I think of all those dogs as MY dogs, and I have to take care of them the best I know how while I am there. If that means getting a bit dirty, then I don't really care! I love them, and want them to be adopted into loving homes. A person is less likely to adopt a dog if it is sitting there in its own mess. So yes, I clean the cage. Any worker or volunteer who is not willing to clean out cages when they volunteer/work in a humane society shouldn't be there.

I feel like I"m kind of veering off into preaching territory, but hey, sometimes you gotta get out the soapbox, especially if it's something you are passionate about.
Look at this face:

Hells yes he is smiling. That's why I do it. That's why anybody who is there should do it. Because of that face.
Passion. I haven't found too many jobs or causes that I am passionate about in this life, but holy crap, I"m glad I discovered this one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do The Right Thing

I don't know...I think this is the "year of the conundrum" for me or something. Situations just keep arising, and I'm not too sure what to do about any of them.

I remember in my intro to film class in university watching the movie Do the Right Thing. I remember thinking what a great movie it was. A lot of that movie sticks out in my mind, but I find myself just always going back to the title Do the Right Thing. It seems like the easy, logical answer in most situations. Just do the right thing.

But sometimes it is hard to know what exactly the right thing is. It is not always so cut and dry. It's convoluted and yucky, and 10 million things play into it. And sometimes it's I do the right thing for me, or do I do the right thing for another person? What is more important? How much of oneself should a person give up or push away in order to please other people? I dunno. Maybe the answer seems obvious to some people, but it's not for me.

This year sucks for far, in terms of having to make decisions. I would just like it to be easy for once.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Musings on the Rich and Famous

You know what? I'm just going to say it: Amy Winehouse makes me want to vomit, and I wish she would disappear. Go somewhere where people can't take pictures of you, and where you can't act like a complete tool. Preferably go to rehab..buuut really, just go away.

I used to kind of feel sorry for her, buuuut cripes, now I'm just annoyed. Clearly she has issues, but she also clearly does not feel like she needs to deal with them. I'm tired of her making my Perez Hilton reading experience a little bit too depressing. Cause girl is depressing as hell. I'm not into the trainwrecks. Sometimes trainwrecks are funny, in a "oh my god, brit shaved her head" kind of way, but oftentimes it goes a little bit too far, and leaves me feeling a bit ashamed of myself for reading and gossiping about people I don't even know, and shouldn't really even care about. Fame is a weird thing.

Amy Winehouse has one heck of a voice, but she is wasting it. And that is stupid of her. I'll take your voice please Amy!

This has got me thinking about role models for young people today. I'm not saying that young people's role models should be people in the media, preferably it would be a teacher, a parent, family member, or someone in the community, but let's face it, the media consumes many aspects of our lives, and it is kind of inevitable that youngins are going to find someone in the media to idolize. And hopefully it's somebody like....Miley Cyrus as opposed to...Jamie Lynn Spears or Amy Winehouse.

"ohhh, buuut mom her big hair and black eyeliner are just SO COOL".

While I'm even entertaining a post about famous people, which won't happen all too often, let me say this. I think Miley Cyrus is pretty okay. Especially as a role model. That whole Vanity Fair controversy? So stupid. It was pictures of her bare back, get over it! Yeah, she's 15, but I'm pretty sure she wears bathing suits in public, and probably even on her show (that I never ever watch weeknights at 5:30 on the family channel), and a bathing suit is a whole lot more revealing than a picture in which her back shows, and she is covering herself with a sheet. Gawd. Is there nothing more important happening in the world than Miley Cyrus' bare back? That whole week of news was redonk. Breaking news I think not.

I think I was eventually intending to lead into a paragraph about media role models I had when I was a kid, buuut I sure can't remember any. I don't think I had any Hannah Montana or Zoey 101 equivalents in my day. Jodie Sweetin? Candace Cameron? Great show....but I wasn't too interested in emulating either one of those girls. how rude. I think I was probably outside skipping, building makeshift go carts, exploring ravines or having fake garage sales. Much more exciting stuff then was ever on television. I think the media was less *everywhere* then, and it didn't have quite the effect it does nowadays. And my parents were more apt to tell me to go play outside.

I do however think that famous people, especially famous people of a certain age group, need to realize that they appeal to a certain demographic, and thus act accordingly. Yeah, maybe people shouldn't care quite so much about their personal lives, but the fact is, they do. They need to realize that a responsibility comes with the fame and fortune they get to enjoy. mmmmhmmm.

Anyway, this post has succeeded in making me feel quite old, and quite nostalgic, and wondering how long I will be able to stand looking at that Amy Winehouse photo on my blog.

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