Monday, March 30, 2009

Ooooh mountains!

I took this picture last June when a bunch of us braved a torrential downpour (and snow) and foolishly headed to Nordegg for some camping. We were rewarded with gorgeous weather on Saturday and took in a hike to see some waterfalls.

I want a vacation. I don't need anything tropical, the heat and sun are no friends of mine. But I want to explore. Maybe it's just that I'm so sick of winter. I would settle for Edmonton if there was an abundance of sunshine and a lack of snow. The thought of walking around outside without a jacket just blows my mind.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freedom to Create? Spirit to Achieve?

The Government of Alberta launched their new branding strategy this week. The days of the "Alberta Advantage" are gone, and we're left with a vocabulary of "dream, create, inspire, achieve, freedom, courage, determination" et cetera. All of those words which are supposed to tug on the heartstrings and make people feel good about this province.

Don't get me wrong, I love Alberta. After nearly three years, I consider myself to be an Albertan. But it's not all those motivational buzzwords that inspire me, or keep me here.

I love Alberta's dedication to large roadside attractions, like the pierogi in Glendon, the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, or the Ukrainian sausage in Mundare.

I love that back in the summer of 2006, when Ontario was all bitchy with the "who you know" to get a job, Alberta ooohed and aaahed over the experience I had. I had a job in my chosen field before I had an apartment. I had an even better job a month later.

I love how the mountains make me beam and bounce and proclaim, "oooh mountains!" whenever we're headed to Golden, or Jasper, or Banff. I like that merely seeing the foothills in the distance fills me with happiness. I love the variety of landscapes, from those mountains to the badlands in Drumheller, to my friend H's cabin on Mann Lake, to Sylvan Lake's beach.

I love that everyone here is in the same boat. Coming across a "true" Albertan is rare. There are only two born and raised Edmontonians in my group of friends. People are open to newcomers. You're able to meet real friends by going to the bar, going to work, or by joining a co-ed soccer team where you may only know one other person. You may even find friends from poaching players from other teams in your league over beer. You're able to steal friends from a boy that you dated for a month. You're able to fill your apartment with old friends, new friends, and friends-of-friends, which become your new friends by default. And when you do fill your apartment with 30 random people, everyone gets along and may end up singing Bohemian Rhapsody in three-part harmony on your balcony.

I think it's hard to move someone with words about how wonderful a place can be. You can use words like inspire, dream, create but in the end, they are just words. You have to show people. You have to get them to feel it. Not like I have any suggestions...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Throw back

I feel like I'm in highschool again. Or maybe more like university, wedged between political science and public relations. Edging up to graduation, deciding where the future will lead and collecting bits and pieces to plead my case.

It's been less than a week and an application has been sent, transcripts ordered, references acquired, resume updated and one puzzle piece still looming: my personal statement.

I need to hammer out at least three pages about my personal and career goals, my expectations, and my strengths. I've been carrying information around in my purse all weekend hoping for an epiphany. Hoping for the words to just pour out.

Somewhere around 3 a.m. last night, between a messed up nightmare that left me afraid to return to dreamland and succumbing to my heavy eyelids, it did.

Now I'm just scrambling to piece those words back together and hoping it doesn't come off too hokey.
I can't rock a headband like Blair Waldorf, but maybe as a reward I'll shell out for one of these... while I still have a very small bit of disposable income. Check out LovMely on Etsy for more gorgeous headgear.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two hours of pitying glances. Tears wiped from my makeup-less face. A single, wet plait against my neck.

As I rest my head against the frosted train window, an ironic yellow sticker proclaims "Support the Inconvenience" in blue ink. An ironic sign from a higher power, as I wait for a message that I know won't come.

Two hours is the commute from my present life to my future. 

The only thing moving is me.

As I near my destination, covered in puddles, slush and snow, my steps slow and my form gets smaller. I can't help but thinking that maybe believing you're strong is the greatest weakness of all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Put a little Spring in your step

I love this song, and not just because the band is from the city of my alma mater. (They're not together anymore anyway... sigh.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good idea in a bad economy?

I've been paying a lot more attention to home furnishing lately. With the thought of moving out of the downtown apartment I've been in for the past three years, and moving into the Boy's northeast digs, it's fun to imagine what I can do to make "our" place prettier. He's well aware that I'm not a fan of some elements of his place, and now that it's no longer all peach, we can start to think about getting rid of the awesome university-style futon or the kitchen set that was last reupholstered before he was born.

Combined with the fact that we now have digital cable and an onslaught of American networks, it becomes very disheartening to see commercials from American companies with low-low-low prices. If only we were in the US, look at the bargains we could be getting! More and more often, these commercials are for DirectBuy, a company which apparently skips the retailer so you work directly with the manufacturers.

While daydreaming of new home furnishings lately, it has come to my attention that DirectBuy is not solely an American company afterall. You can Direct Buy Ontario and Alberta. My question is this: has anyone ever used this company before? Have you had a good, bad, or lukewarm experience? There's a free visitor's pass available on the website, but does anyone know how much it costs to actually be a member?

I'm daydreaming of pretty kitchens and cabinets and living rooms and wondering if this company is worth it. I do love a bargain.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No Cheese with my Wine

The next interVivos event No Cheese with my Wine! Is taking place on April 2, 2009. Due to the limited number of attendees, space is bound to fill up fast so RSVP soon at:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am obviously ready to own a dinosaur

Elle [9:12 AM]: UofC scientists found a dinosaur that's half the size of a domestic cat. I'm so over getting a puppy... I now want a tiny dinosaur. Rawr!
C [9:13 AM]: omg! that is soooo great!
Elle [9:13 AM]: I know. Too bad the damned thing is extinct. The nerve.
C [9:13 AM]: i know. shit. you could try to pull a jurassic park and find some dna in a mosquito and then clone a mini dinosaur. but it sounds like too much work.
Elle [9:14 AM]: clever, C, clever. I would just have to make damned sure that that DNA is from a little dinosaur and not a big one. It's like, one day I come home from work and am like, "oh Rex? Where is that little guy?" And he's not home because he's A GIANT DINOSAUR TERRORIZING THE CITY!
C [9:15 AM]: it's true. you'd want to be double-sure you weren't getting giant one. the cost of food alone would be astronomical.
Elle [9:16 AM]: There's got to be some kind of dinosaur DNA store. I want an extended warranty. If it turns out to be a big dinosaur, you'd better believe I'm taking that sucker back.
C[9:17 AM]: "uhhh...sir....yes, i'd like a refund on my dinosaur"
C [9:18 AM]: hahahaha
Elle [9:18 AM]: And then the dinosaur eats him. So I consider keeping him for a little bit longer, because he'll eat anyone that pisses me off. And that saves on food.
C [9:18 AM]: true
Elle [9:19 AM]: but in the end, he's a HUGE DINOSAUR and that's a lot to deal with. RAWR.
C [9:19 AM]: wow, you have this all worked out. You are obviously ready to own a dinosaur.
Elle [9:19 AM]: You'd better believe I am. As long as it's little.
C [9:19 AM]: let me know how that goes
Elle [9:20 AM]: I will. I'll just have to keep it away from Josephine [C's cat] because as much as he'd be half the size of her... he might just eat her. It would be quite the hair ball.
C [9:21 AM]: then i'd be pissed. i'd kick your dino to the curb, man.
Elle [9:21 AM]: I wouldn't blame you.

More important than St. Patrick and green beer COMBINED

Happy birthday, my love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wherein I use my blog to remember things...

Books I must read (unless people convince me otherwise):

Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand
The Sun also Rises -- Hemingway
All the Pretty Horses -- Carmac McCarthy
Love in the time of Cholera -- Gabriel García Márquez
The Mists of Avalon -- Marion Zimmer
Ulysses -- James Joyce
The Things They Carried -- Tim O'Brien
The Fire this Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism -- Vivien Labaton

Anyone got anything to add to this list? (It's not like I need more books to add to my endless "to read" pile.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Keeping with the conversation on Feminism...

This makes me so ridiculously happy, even though it is in a country that is not my own.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The F-word

There's been an ongoing discussion over the past couple days, spawned by the lovely Sarah about the big F-word. Feminism.

International Women's Day seems to have gotten more than a few of us thinking about feminism: where it's going, where it's been, and if we agree. I've already blabbered on enough both in Sarah's comments and on the 20-Something Bloggers' discussion board.

To sum things up: yeah, I'm a feminist. I think that all women are, deep down. Feminism, to me, is not about refusing to shave your legs, or burning your bras -- I would fail miserably if that were the case. It's about wanting the best for all women (and even men). It's about standing up and supporting other women around you. It's about the desire not necessarily to be treated exactly the same as men, but to be given the same consideration, respect and opportunity. It's about being able to make your own choices and be confident in those decisions. It's about being able to walk down the street with your head held high because yes, you can do anything you set your mind to.

All this talk about the F-word has taken me back to my undergrad days. I minored in philosophy, because I'm somewhat of a nerd and I found that a lot of my electives quickly became philosophy courses. Those philosophy courses included women's studies and feminist philosophy and both enraged and thrilled me (which is probably why I kept enrolling in them).

One of the best things I took from my first year women's studies course was this poem:

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

Monday, March 9, 2009

We've heard one too many over-used pick up lines

I haven't been to a bar to shake it like a Polaroid picture in some time. One of the last times I put on the high heels and sauntered out of the house while showing a bit of cleavage to entice the fellows was way back in the summer of 2007 before I realized I had a colossal crush on the Boy.

I remembered this story when my friend and I were contemplating locales for drinks on Friday eve. One of the possibilities (Stir!) used to be Overtime. A bar we discovered that summer because it was a) within stumbling distance of my apartment, and b) a mid-twenties crowd -- we were sick of drunk 18 year olds... a side effect of the low drinking age in Alberta.

You better believed we picked up that night.

We don't do one night stands. We don't do skeezy boys. You can do it, I don't judge, it's just not my style. We had been chatting up cute Maritime boys, recent imports to Alberta. It was a situation Roomie and I remembered all too well. We all giggled together at the fact that their female friend was making out with a really short boy, really hard. And then, when the night was over, Roomie asked Twinsie and I if we wanted them to come back to our place.

Duh, duh, duh.

We tumbled out of the bar, and I collected my flip-flops from underneath the porch of a nearby commercial building -- an act that made the boys' jaws drop in awe. "What? I'm not walking home barefoot, and my feet hurt", I commented while holding up my beautiful houndstooth heels. Apparently they were impressed with my foresight.

We discussed the Maritimes, being new Albertans, and trash-talked how badly we were going to whoop them at boys versus girls Cranium when we got home. Roomie made after-bar snacks, we had a couple more drinks, and laughed until nearly 5 in the morning, when we proceeded to send the boys home with hugs and the exchange of phone numbers.

We hung out with them a few more times, and talked fairly often, later befriending their sweet female friend, who had been too busy making out to play games with us. It was a legendary night, one that would be later be referenced in that time we picked up a girl at the bar. Memories like this one remind me of summer, good friends, and how refreshing it can be to meet those who aren't about hooking up at bars, but who are truly about getting to meet new people.

That, and I miss flip-flop weather. *sigh

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I misplaced my creativity. I found it in my bowl.

I just can't seem to get myself motivated these days. Everywhere I turn, I'm bombarded with messages of layoffs, the failing economy, and the messed up things we're doing to the environment. Even the good days are overshadowed by these dark clouds rolling overhead.

While I've been hiding from the world quite effectively in my little love bubble, I'm pretty sure the sickeningly sweet words swirling through my mind are nothing you people need to hear.

I was pretty excited today to get the International Association of Business Communicators' CW magazine delivered to my desk. The front cover urged me to "Get Creative!" and yet, nothing within its pages did the trick. Over and over, articles told me the importance of being creative in this failing economy, the doom and gloom of this economy and attempted to educate me on how to weather the downturn.

I need something to get my creative juices flowing. Maybe some delicious homemade butternut squash soup? I wanted to dive into the blender to devour every last drop.

Butternut Squash Soup
1/2 of a white onion, chopped
4 tablespoons margarine
2 butternut squash (I used 1 squash and 1 sweet potato to change things up)
water and chicken bouillon/chicken stock (enough to make 3-4 cups of chicken stock, but you can use broth if you want to)
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I was out of this, so I used curry powder. Yum.)
About half a stick of light cream cheese.

1) In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender.
2) Cut squash in half, put them insides down on a plate with a bit of water, and microwave for 12-15 minutes.
3) While squash is cooking, add water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne to the onions.
4) Take the outsides off the squash when it's cooked. It will be hot, so be careful.
5) Add squash to pot and let the flavours do their little dance.
6) Puree soup and cream cheese in blender (I did half at a time) until smooth.
7) Return to saucepan, heat through (don't boil).
8) Try not to lick to bowl. Who am I kidding? Go for it.