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Showing posts from May, 2013

Stop the Noise

If you will allow me to point you over to Marc Johns' lovely site where today's art & note say all the right things.

Sometimes, I spend so much time listening to everyone else's thoughts that I realize it's been a week or more since I've had a thought of my own. I hope to make some choices this summer that will shift this reality, so that I am listening to others, but also ensuring plenty of space to listen to my own self.

Summer Spending, Summer Giving: Help, Please! (Also: Uganda.)

I am currently unemployed. I have a couple little freelance gigs, some editing here and a photoshoot there, but nothing that is covering the cost of my rent.

This is okay by me. Quitting my job in April rather than August was a deliberate decision. I'm looking for part-time work or a summer contract, but I refuse to ruin the glorious joy of summertime stressing over things beyond my control.*

There are two related changes I'm struggling to sort through, and thought I'd ask for your thoughts/help.

1. Adjusting my socializing.

I'm not a big spender of money. I don't buy a lot of stuff, and as recently mentioned, my clothing options have taken a bit of a limit for the indefinite future. But one thing I do shell out money for is food. Specifically, food with friends. Drinks with friends. Coffee with friends. Gelato with friends. I like getting together with people, and let's be honest, it usually involves food. And in a city where we're so spread out, it usually…

Onlyness & Loneliness: Email Excerpts

A friend and I are discussing my "active social life" and she writes to me:

my question:
in the middle of all this, do you feel lonely? i.e. do you feel like your relational needs are met?
(five minutes later)
it's kind of strange. i realized as i was typing that last email that I feel afraid that you are lonely. ha! strange reaction. i believe in my mind that loneliness is not somehting to be feared, but apparently that is not how i feel in my heart of hearts. (my response)

You ask such good questions. You know, I thought a lot about loneliness on the Camino, and I have come to this realization/belief: there is a difference between loneliness and what I call "only-ness." Onlyness is the reality that only I experience my life, and that there will always be a level of my personhood that is inaccessible/viewed differently/misunderstood by others. No one else sees me or the world around me precisely like I do at all times. No one else can feel things on my behalf o…

Underwear, Entitlement, and the Value of Bangladeshi People

The comment that caught me was this: "We are basically saying, I deserve to buy a shirt for $10."

It was February, and I sat in Amelia & Varun's living room. We were drinking chai, of course, and laughing and talking about many things. Somehow, it came 'round to clothing and ethics. We discussed the desire to do right by the faceless masses involved in producing my (oh-so-fashionable) wardrobe, and the cost of living in southern Ontario. Is it possible to purchase ethical goods on my budget? I wondered.

And then she said it.

"By shopping at these stores, we are basically saying, I deserve to buy a shirt for $10. Instead of saying, I can't afford so I'll go without, we say, I deserve a shirt that is affordable, so I'm going to buy this one."

Deserve. What do I deserve?

I deserve a closet full of clothes.
I deserve to purchase 6 new shirts every season.
I deserve to look good and pay less.
I deserve to have enough clothes to do laundry …

Holidays are for Breathing Space

The best part of a vacation is that I don't spend 8 hours a day sitting in front of a computer. Of course, I make up for it mostly in phone-browsing, but it also means I contribute less to the Internet. Probably for the best, although I always feel I should apologize.  Because, you know, SO MANY PEOPLE depend on me for their Internet joy.

The past few weeks have been delightful. A wedding. A DIY project (my first, and possibly last. I hope to post on this as soon as I finish it...). Relaxing in the garage with a beloved friend. Reading on the deck with a beloved friend. Lying on a bed talking late at night with the same beloved friend.

Do you have friends around whom you find yourself breathing deeper, thinking less, and laughing more? I do. And it was a delight to host one, then go to the airport with her, say our goodbyes, and hop on a plane to visit a second.

We spoke of many things; school and books, boys and families. Moms and gift-giving and Jesus and much much more. We tear…

Reading in 2013: The Winter Vault

I finished reading The Winter Vault over a month ago. Then I wrote this post. But I didn't publish it because it is inadequate in its attempts to hint at how beautiful and poignant I found the book.

I loved The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels.

A gentle, eloquent unfolding that centers around love and loss (as all stories do) and the travels of one particular couple, Avery and Jean. Toronto, Montreal, Holland Marsh - I love reading books set in places I can picture.

There is so much woven all around their propelling drama. The dislocation and relocation of entire cities. Architecture and engineering, creation & destruction, the temporality of art… grief that cannot be shared.

Did you know that in 1960, over 100,000 Nubians from Sudan and Egypt were relocated for the construction of the Aswan Dam?

Or that a few years earlier, 6,500 small-town inhabitants along the St. Lawrence River were moved for the construction of a power dam?

Neither did I.

I still think about these people, t…