Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christmas Crafts

I know it’s not even November, but there has been talk swirling in the air regarding another craft swap, this time with a winter theme. Some folks thought it would be fun to leave the craft up to the creator’s imagination, rather than having everyone create a specific “thing.” I thought I’d put the feelers out in the blogosphere, and in my infinite wisdom decided to google image search “winter crafts” to get into the spirit. About 90% of what I saw were kid’s crafts, presumably intended as presents. Some of these “gifts” reminded me why I need to mature a bit more before having children, if only in the hope that with time I’ll be able to better appreciate what little hands make. Because right now, I don’t. For example:

Exhibit A:

What purpose does this serve? Is this supposed to be “cute”? I find it rather morbid and depressing. “Look mom, I made you a dying snowman! Merry Christmas!”

Exhibit B:

I really don’t like popsicle stick crafts. I feel they’re a cop out somehow. To make this little gem you need the following: 3 craft sticks for each snowflake; white glue [racists!]; glitter, buttons, sequins, craft jewels, etc. They forgot to mention talent.

Exhibit C:

WTF? If I were a bird, I would turn up my beak at this monstrosity. At least make it in the shape of a bell or something. This looks disgusting.

Exhibit D:

And finally…this. I think it speaks for itself.

Okay, no it doesn’t—I have to chime in. Here is the caption that accompanied this item:

"Q: (from "Christa) Oh, there are so many questions that I'd like to ask, but I'm going to keep it simple tonight. You are all very creative and craft and I'm wondering if you have any great ideas for some fun winter crafts.

A: Well Christa, I don't know how crafty we are but we sure are required to get crafty in the dead of winter. or maybe we get a little crazy? Here is one simple idea of craft fun with some things you probably already have in your pantry somewhere."

Hey Christa--I also have a bottle of booze in my pantry, which clearly I loaded up on before coming up with this fantastic craft idea!

Anyway, I’m confident we can do better with our Christmas craft swap. And if you draw my name, don’t worry—I promise I’ll love whatever you make. (As long as it’s not constructed out of popsicle sticks.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life has a way of working out

(I wrote this while camping near Pincher this past August, and just found it again in my little notebook. :-) Thought I'd share it.)

It is amazing how one's life can change in the course of a year. Twelve months ago today I was preparing to leave the home I had known for the past three years and say goodbye to the amazing friends I had made there. If someone told me that I would be enjoying my 27th birthday with some of those same friends by my side, I wouldn't have believed it. After all, we would soon be living in multiple different places, spread out between two countries. And I was moving back to Minnesota with no clear picture of what I was going to do there--a disconcerting thought to say the least.

I used to be a planner. From my profession (a veterinarian) to the number of horses I would have (4), my life was drawn out like a story book from the age of five. I took solace in knowing the title of the next chapter and exactly how many pages it contained. My goals were more or less written in stone with no foreseeable obstacles keeping me from chiseling in completion checkmarks one by one. Fifteen years of planning were suddenly thrown to the wind as I decided in my 3rd year of college that graduate school in Canada would be a better fit for me than vet school in the midwest USA. My concrete goals weren't as indestructible as I had thought, and to say I was anxious about this decision (i.e. lack of planning) would be an enormous understatement. For one of the first times in my life, I was questioning not only my immediate plans, but the plans I had made for the rest of my life. Was giving up vet school the right choice? I just couldn't shake the feeling that decisions could only be viewed as "right" or "wrong," and there was no way to know what to choose except through experience, by which time it would be too late.

Moving to Canada brought with it so many new and different experiences, and I soon realized that I may never know if I made the "right" choice, but I was confident that it was a good one. My entire outlook--including the way I set my goals--had changed. My time here required flexibility, an open mind, but most importantly an open heart. I still write my goals down, but on a medium more malleable than stone. They became adjustable...amendable. I found myself becoming more adjustable too, and discovered how happy and free I felt by keeping parts of my life as a blank slate--ready and waiting for whatever adventure presented itself. It was difficult to maintain this mantra when I made the decision to move back to Minnesota. As much as I struggled to avoid categorizing this decision as right or wrong, I couldn't help but think it was the latter. Six months of job hunting in my home state proved to be difficult and not without some regrets. But I met wonderful new friends and rekindled old friendships as well. My time at home also showed me just how much I needed to rebuild my own soul. I may not have had a plan for myself, but my life had a plan for me.

And before I knew it, I was on my way back to Alberta to start a new job--this time with some past experiences of an old life, but with a fresh outlook to enjoy a completely different one. It's been unexpected at times and hasn't been without its challenges, but as I sit here now, with my friends from multiple different places by my side and the sun on my shoulders, I'm not worried about whether or not the choice was right or wrong. I'm happier than I've been in a long time and that's all that matters.

Friday, October 7, 2011

life of a commuter part deux

3 reasons why yesterday didn’t suck:

1. As I was lugging my ridiculously heavy suitcase to the train station at 7:30 yesterday morning – a small piece of luggage, with no rollies, but filled with beets and potatoes (UNBC has a farmers’ market every week – I can’t help myself!!), so a bit heavy when added to the computer bag, purse and another food bag - a very nice woman saw me struggling and drove me to the train station. Never met her or seen her before in my life, but I like her!

2. When I got to the train station, the woman behind the desk remembered me from previous trips and erased the $22 service fee VIA was going to charge me for changing my ticket. She has chickens too. They’re not laying very many eggs.

3. The service manager gave me free coffee and tea all day. That’s the clincher for me folks. Give me a warm beverage and we’re friends for life!

Summary: Prince George is a city with the heart of a small town, VIA rail continues to rock, and a hot cup of caffeine would go a long way to making world peace a reality.

Happy Friday.