March 30, 2012

Jobs, Career, Money: Things That Matter

I have been thinking about jobs and careers and money a whole bunch lately.

I have a job, but not the career I want.

I have money, but not enough.

It surprises me to say both those things, but they are true.

I am not highly career-oriented, but I have realized that if/since I will spend 40 hours a week contributing to some sort of business endeavour, I want it to be something that I fully buy into, somewhere I would recruit my friends to join me, where the vision is to accomplish something bigger than ourselves.

I don't care about being overly-rich, but I have come to value three things that I am not currently able to afford; living debt-free, saving money for the future and being able to travel. The first two seem obvious. The third: I'm not a big spender in most areas of life, and am most likely to "indulge" myself in a trip to visit far-away friends or see a new part of the world. I feel okay about this.

As I have been thinking and talking about my next job, the numbers on the salary have played a bigger role than I'd expected. I sometimes browse websites, and immediately write off work that is at my current salary level. I don't think I make that much, given my education, experience and location. And don't get me wrong; I'm grateful to have a job at all. But this can't be forever.

In the past month, I've had two conversations with people who would like me to work with them. Both are jobs I could get excited about. (They're somewhat similar jobs, which affirms to me that this area-of-interest could become an area-of-expertise.)

But the glitch is that neither can offer me a salary tomorrow. One is a business start-up with limited capital. The other is a non-profit in which staff raise their own support. Both scenarios make me nervous, even though the content of the jobs sound just about perfect...

Why am I telling you this? I don't know. But them's my current thoughts.

Anyone want to throw a decent-paying cause-oriented job my way?

March 27, 2012

Clothes Shopping: Opinions Wanted

It may not feel quite as spring-like this week, but I have started doing a spring-clean of my closet (also in preparation for the May move)... and what I've found is this: I need some new clothes.

I have a love/hate relationship with buying new clothes.

Things I love include:
- new things! new colours, no pilling, no fading.
- hiding my inner awkward with the external trappings of "cool"
- anticipating the first-wearing of a new purchase and saving it for a special occasion.
- taking risks and feeling successful (like my new red jeans! beet red, not cherry red.)

Things I hate include:
- dressing rooms.
- all the clothes that don't fit right when I want them to
- the line between fashionable and faux-pas can be very thin
- I often feel I compromise on either budget, quality, or ethics
- clothes that only fit/work for 2 washes. ugh. bitter disappointment.

With that preface, I am asking y'all to give me some input:

1. What fashion styles do you think I should definitely seek out? Avoid?
2. Where do you shop that combines quality, ethics & budget? (does such a place exist??)
3. Do you want to give me money/cool clothing? (kidding. mostly.)

March 26, 2012

Music for Monday: Young the Giant

Sat in a cafe yesterday morning with a whole bunch of people, but I was so distracted by the song going round and round in my head. I wanted to drive down a country road with my windows down and the music loud and my voice belting out the chorus as exuberantly as the lead singer does in this video.

My body tells me no!
But I won't quit
Cause I want more, cause I want more*

*in typical hipster/indie fashion, I am not sure exactly what this song is about. The music video only confused me further.

March 24, 2012

A Saturday Morning Meditation

I have showered, journalled, and now am scrolling through some of the Lenten reflections at The Painted Prayerbook:

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. —Psalm 51.2

Creatures of dust and mud that we are—as we were reminded on Ash Wednesday, at the outset of this Lenten pilgrimage—it’s not that God needs for us to be all tidy in order to come into the presence of God. We are already there. Yet we carry so much that can serve to insulate us from recognizing and being present to the God who is always present to us, and who still perceives our beloved shape beneath the layers of grime that cling to our souls. The distractions we build our lives around; the harm we cause others or ourselves; our inability to see ourselves as God sees us: how might we allow God to wash all this away, not so that God can see us more clearly, but so that we can see the God who makes a home within us? (from Day 25)

Daaaaaaaang. I need these thoughts.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.—Psalm 51.12

And this is, after all, what the psalmist desires: not to wallow in his sins or berate himself eternally for his brokenness, but to rest in the God who does not abandon him. To rejoice in the God who knows all the broken pieces and who holds them in mercy and love. To enter into the restoration that God is always working to bring about.

How do you lean into this joy? How do you open yourself to let it in, even when you don’t feel whole? How do you welcome this joy that is present even in the midst of brokenness, this joy that is part of how God works within us to put the pieces together? Is there some place in your spirit that needs to be more willing, that needs God’s sustenance in order to live into the salvation—the wholeness, the deliverance, the freedom—that God intends for you? (from Day 27)

March 22, 2012

Seven Thoughts for Thursday

a. I like to eat my lunch on the front step of the office. As a result, my freckles are returning and I got a slight sunburn yesterday.

b. I am going to Vancouver at the end of May for a weekend reunion/wedding.

c. It is time to fix my iPod so I can plug in my headphones while walking through the city.

d. Tonight I am going to do some art! Haven't done any photos in weeks, as my schedule keeps filling up with other good things and great people.

e. Jesus and I have been walking to work most mornings this week. I want to make this a habit that lasts.

f. The music exchange is making me really happy. I am so hopeful that my friends will discover new music they love through me. I am excited to see what perfect songs they send me. And why aren't more of you begging to get in on this!?

g. Here is a sample of what I'm currently singing along to:

h. New friends are delightful, especially when they are the same kind of crazy as I am. It's reassuring to know I'm not alone. (my kind of crazy is calm exterior and chaotic interior)

The Music Mixologist

I am done my mixes.

The Great Music Exchange is underway, and I have just added my albums to the mix. One for each category: Late Night Cocoa and All the Bells & Whistles.

Now I want to share them with ALL OF YOU!

Do you want to hear my tune selections? 

Just let me know.

March 21, 2012

Paranoia in Bb Major

I would very much like to be in the crowd at this concert right now.

I keep telling myself that it'll be fine
You can't make everybody happy all of the time

March 20, 2012

Art Art Art

As I've mentioned before,* I sometimes mark things as unread in my Google Reader so I can keep coming back to them.

Currently, I can't get enough of these:

from Dallas Clayton. Amazing poet & artist.

from A Softer World. Sometimes inappropriate. Sometimes profound. Always random.

from Marc Johns. Another randomly hilarious art-maker.

from Jackiedrawswhat, my friend. Whom I adore.

*holy crap that post was almost a year ago where has time gone and what has even happened in between now and then and oh goodness what will this next year hold... (yes, that is a major run-on sentence, but it's how it was in my head.)

March 19, 2012

Visits From Friends

Had an impromptu sleepover with my friend Katie last night. After a flight cancellation left her "stranded" in Toronto for 24 hours, she filled her day visiting friends... I was honoured to receive an invite, but was out of town for a wedding shower (fun times were had by all) until late at night. So then I packed an overnight bag and headed to the Marriott.

Besides envying her fashion and valuing her commitment to learning, I love Katie's wit. Here are two brief bites of our conversations:

me: (telling story) ...I'm the Queen of Awkward.
her: I think I could give you a run for that crown. We should have a Pageant of Awkward.
me: Yes, yes we should.
her: We live in different provinces though, so you could be Miss Awkward Ontario and I will be Miss Awkward Alberta.

this morning, as she walked me out of the hotel:

her: I'm going to give you an awkward goodbye in the lobby, like I paid you to stay overnight with me.
me: I am the least-believable-looking prostitue ever.
her: I dunno. I think you could be a prostitute.*
me: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

*(addendum: She says it was, "Don't sell yourself short. You could be prostitute material." Much better...)

On Saturday, I went for drinks with some Vancouver friends, and amid much laughter and beer, we reminisced about the start of our friendship... After commenting at my church small group that I missed having a blender, a girl I'd hung out with once called me up with a request to come drop off a gift for me: a brand-new blender.

No joke. I blogged about it then, and I have to say, both the blender and the friendship have stood the test of time. Five years later, I am still grateful for both. Love me a good smoothie, and nothing is better than time spent laughing and chatting with Ali. (And now Simon too) Thanks, friends, for making me a part of your Toronto trip.

March 15, 2012

Three-Song Thursday

These three artists I used to listen to came across my ears this past week, each in a different context. Now I'm feeling an unexpected and welcome wave of nostalgia, youth and happiness.

Weezer - El Scorcho

I clearly remember my friend SJ introducing me to Weezer when we were in grade 7. Via her cassette tapes.

Arctic Monkeys - Fake Tales of San Francisco

Not sure how I discovered them, but the Arctic Monkeys played often on my first mp3 player in 2007.

The Format - If Work Permits

2006, free downloads from (do they still exist?) Strong memories of the early Vancouver days.

March 14, 2012

What's the Point of Lent?

We are now a good chunk of the way into Lent. For the most part, I have kept my resolutions, and I feel fine about the few moments when I blurred the lines/made exceptions. (it's hard to go to a bridal shower and avoid all desserts without being rude)

But even though I've been successful this far, I don't believe I'm actually "doing Lent" well.

A few weeks back, my church talked about the disciplines of Lent. They were listed as:

1. to reflect intentionally on our patterns of life.
2. to pray and communicate with God more deliberately.
3. to repent for the things we have done, and the things we have failed to do.
4. to be generous to those in need.
I'll be honest, I've done none of these things.

I've only had baked goods/candy/dessert twice in the last three weeks; but does that matter at all, if it's not leading me into deeper, less superficial interactions with God?

I am tempted to throw in the towel and return to my sweet treats, since this "isn't working." But I know that is not the right solution either.

I'm just not sure what is.

(all thoughts welcome)

March 11, 2012

I Like to Keep My Issues Drawn

It's Sunday night and I am multi-tasking. Paid some bills, catching up on free musical downloads from the past month, thinking about the mix-tape I need to make and planning my last assignment for writing class.

Shortly, I will abandon the laptop to write my first draft by hand. But until then, I am thinking about music.

This song played for me earlier this afternoon, as I attempted to nap. I woke up somewhere between 5 and 5:30 this morning, then lay in bed until 8 o'clock flipping sides and thinking about every part of my life that exists. It wasn't stressful, but it wasn't quite restful either...This past month, I have spent a lot of time rebuffing lies and refusing to believe that the inside of my heart and mind can never change. I feel like Florence + The Machine's song "Shake it Out" captures many of these feelings & thoughts.

(addendum: is the line "I like to keep my issues strong or drawn?" Lyrics sites have it as "strong," but "drawn" makes infinitely more sense to me.) 
(addendum #2: I'm convinced it's "drawn." It makes more sense AND it rhymes with "dawn" at the end of the following line.)

(yeah, that dress is crazy.)

March 6, 2012

Music For Your Morning

Bach + Mandolin = amazing.

This song has been circling my head for days now. I just love it. (If you also love it, you like Alasdair's taste in music, and should probably participate in our Great Music Exchange. Wealready have half a dozen mixologists working on their lists!)

The night outside is five below
His heart is pumping blood
On his lips a perfect smile
His eyes begin to flood

March 5, 2012

Hello, Freezing Cold Sunshine...

On Friday, I had SO MANY ideas and thought for blog entries.

This morning, most of them have slipped my mind, and the 2 remaining feel like they would take far more energy than I have to write them.

It's amazing what three days can do.


Among other things...

On Friday, I wrote my second-to-last writing assignment. I'm feeling pretty sad about finishing this class. I need another writing challenge/opportunity.
I made a new friend on Saturday, and she is great. I was nervous about an hour-and-a-half drive with someone I didn't know.
On Sunday, I drank a mimosa while listening to an unreal story about a friend's very exciting & secretive creative project.


I am falling behind on my music listening, because I still have not repaired my iPod headphone jack.
I need to change my phone plan. Hopefully, I can do it in person this afternoon. I refuse to do it by phone; I'd honestly rather just change providers in person. Doing business by phone is so much more frustrating than walking into a store and having a conversation face-to-face with another human being.
There are unread books accumulating on my bedside table. Every day or two, I pick one up, read a few pages and return it. None of them are grabbing me right now. I don't know why.

March 1, 2012

The Great Music Exchange

For the past several years, my friend Alasdair and I have exchanged mix CDs across the ocean. He would send me the newest and best in European indie music, and I would scrape through my resources for at least a few North American musicians he didn't yet know.

But it is getting tricky. We've shared our sources for new material, and rarely wait the full year to suggest new artists to each other.

So we're changing it up this year. We are going with a themed album, and we are opening it up to all kinds of participants. Like YOU!!

Here are the guidelines:

  1. Tell one of us, and we will hook you up with Dropbox if you aren't already using it.
  2. Choose which theme you want to go with - All the Bells and Whistles or Late Night Cocoa. (or one for each!!)
  3. Select twelve-ish songs. (10 min, 14 max) Songs and artists don't have to be "new," but you cannot include more than 2 songs that appear on other albums (incentive to submit early!!)
  4. Upload your album to the shared folder on Dropbox. (your folder name would be MIX TITLE - NAME)
  5. Download all the other mixes.
  6. Listen to good music!!
(participation is open for the entire month of March)