Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reason #1 to Never Let Me Loose in a Library



I have an illness, it's called Book Envy Syndrome. It's caused by me entering a building full of books I can take home for free, it's symptoms include knocking all the books off the shelves and dropping them in my bag. This often results in an invisible desk or a dangerous walks to and from my car with a large stack of heavy books.

Last month I had a particularly bad bout when I started the project of actively editing and looking for publishers on my novel. I got out several books on the subject of editing and mythical origins of story structure as well as novels by publishing companies I am looking at. I was in heaven.

The next week I went to the library to gather research materials for two art history papers that were due the same day. I looked up both my topics and got a couple numbers to find books I thought may be helpful.

Then I discovered something wonderful: there was an endless treasure trove of art history books waiting for me to discover them. They covered every artist, era and style I could imagine. I suddenly wished I was writing a few more papers to justify getting out that many more books. Even as it was, I got out far more then I needed, and picked up ones I just simply thought sounded interesting. I left the library with twelve books that day.

Soon after, something nearly as exciting happened; I changed the topic of one of my papers. Naturally I did not return the books I had already got out because they were still interesting, I just went and got more. In fact, whenever I got stressed at school, I would just go to the library and wander through the art history section. It was so rejuvenating. Seriously, who needs a spa when you have a library?

You would think, at this point, I would have enough, but I just kept on coming upon delight after delight. I extended my search to the U of C library and again to the public library. In the end, these 29 beauties all came home with me. For a while, they took over my desk, until I decided that creating a small wall between my door and closet would be a better method of storage.

Funnily enough, with renewals, all my books ended up being due the exact same day. The bulk of them being returned to the Mount Royal library took two trips from my car to bring in, and I very nearly dropped about eight of them on the floor as I struggled to open the book chute. I got a lot of funny looks hauling them around, and I didn't get to read all of them cover to cover as in depth as I would have liked, but I relished each one.

Books are one of my sanctuaries. I go to Chapters to make myself feel better (usually with my wallet left in the car). Libraries have got to be the greatest public service ever, they turned something as time consuming and stressful as research into a delightful hobby of collecting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This is the End

I have Jim Morrison stuck in my head, and I have since I woke up this morning. Not because I am overly fond of the Doors, but because with everything I do today I can't help singing to myself:

"This is the end.
My only friend, the end."

And that is all the lyrics I know, so it's frustrating as well as depressing. In case you are wondering why I am so morose over a seemingly normal Thursday, here is the answer:

Today is my last day of university classes.

No, I am not graduating, and no I am not dropping out because I found a sugar daddy. Actually I am pretty sure I have yet to blog anything about this, so here is the beginning of the story.

In November I realized something about myself; I did not want to be a journalist. As much as I love to write and as much of a buzz I get from conducting a really good interview, I am all for balance in my life, and I realized that if I was ever going to get to do what I wanted in journalism, I would have to make it my whole life, and I didn't want that. So, after much deliberation and prayer, I made the decision to withdraw.

For several months I was in the awful zone of the wafflers; college students who are here with no real purpose. I had no idea what to do, and funnily enough I blame this largely on the fact that I already knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a mom, and write novels.

For some reason, I couldn't justify just going to school for my writing, it seemed like a waste when really what I need is a way to earn a steady income if both my dreams failed. Neither of them really have the best employee benefits.

So, I sold out. I looked for an education that would give me a job I could earn real money at, that would not take ten years to achieve, and would let me come home at the end of the day. I figured it out at the end of February, and come Monday, I'm going to be in paralegal school.

I do not have a great passion for the writing of legal documents, but it will give me what I need and I can be out in 65 weeks. As much as I would love to spend the rest of my life studying Titian and reading Chaucer, I made this decision so I can live the kind of life I want.

The rose tinted glasses high school guidance counsellors put on me are gone. Why do they teach kids to choose a career based on their passions? If that were true we'd all be poets or professional athletes. Why can't they teach kids that it's okay not to be in love with your job, but you can just choose a career that will allow you the lifestyle you want? Work-based lives aren't that happy anyway, and I would much rather be a paralegal who has time to do the things she loves in the evenings and weekends then a journalist who is chained to her desk.

All the same, I can't help but mourn today, as I kiss university good-bye. This morning was the last time I discussed humanism and mannerism in class, an hour ago was the last time I sat in my favourite chair in the library, and at 2 o'clock, I will sit in the last lecture of my absolute favourite professor.

I know I'm making the right decision, but as with all transitions, I'm scared. There is so much I will miss about this school, and so much I will miss of university in general.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Potluck Pandemic

It is a common tradition among many societal or cultural groups to gather together and share a meal provided in parts by all in attendance. This phenomenon is called The Potluck. This term derives from the United States in the 19th to 20th century, and is commonly thought to be an extension of the term, "luck of the pot."

The practice of potlucking is observed in excess by the members of the Foothills Ward (my church congregation), and let me tell you, our pot is not so lucky.

As far as I can ascertain, there are two purposes of The Potluck:

1. To one up everyone else in the party by bringing the most delicious dish,
2. To get a free meal by "forgetting" your contribution and mooching off everyone else.

In a ward made up almost entirely of starving students or graduates paying off their student loans, the second one is seen far too often. Even the affluent people can view it as "the night I do not have to cook."

So here is my story, my love-hate relationship with The Potluck.

When I first graduated from high school and entered the single's ward, I viewed potlucks with the first objective. This was my chance to show off my domesticity to the boys in my ward. I counted it a good potluck if the following things happened:

1. I was spared the "walk of shame" to the potluck table to pick up my full dish at the end of the evening.
2. I heard at least two members of the opposite sex comment on my dish when they didn't even know it was mine.
3. One of the wives of our bishopric told me I would make a great wife someday.

Over the past three years, I have made many curries, squares, pies and casseroles. The one time I made a salad I of course could not merely shred lettuce, I simply had to include baked chicken. I figured I was obligated to bring something homemade and filling because I lived at home and could use my parents groceries, and I had started bringing good food. I couldn't stop now.

So for every FHE potluck, every gathering of ward members or just friends, every Sunday night party with refreshments, I have made a big production. Except for the time I had a break down and skipped. The funny thing is, as silly as I know it is, I love it. I love making things for ward potlucks. I love cooking and showing off what I can do, but I was sick and I didn't know it.

The problem with a potluck of starving students is that so few try. I can't think of a single Monday Night Potluck I've been to that did not include one person bringing a five dollar pizza from the Little Caesar's on the way to the church, or a bowl of Kraft Dinner. You get such a weird variety a full meal is never guaranteed, and this added one more obligation to me. I honestly thought that if I didn't bring something big, everyone would go hungry.

Last Monday, it was announced that we would have a pie potluck. This was a double whammie for me. It was a potluck, and it was pie. Naturally I had to make one from scratch. Several members of my family were still kicking around from Easter, so they witnessed me running around making a raspberry pie with a lattice top.

A problem was presented when it was discovered that the oven had not been turned on to self-cleaner the night before, and my pies faced the risk of tasting like smoky turkey, so naturally I scrubbed it out myself. After I'd put them in, I began to fret that they would still be smoky. My oldest sister Jaima took hold of my shoulders and said:

"Even if they're smoky, who cares? You can just buy one on the way."

I looked at her with anguished eyes and said:

"I DON'T buy things for potlucks."

As soon as I'd said it, I realized how ridiculous that sounded. My pies turned out well anyways, but that evening, I tried very hard not to grade the success of the evening on the consumption of my pie. It even sort of worked.

Yesterday, they announced that next Sunday we will be having a potluck after church. I figured I would just bring a dish I've brought before that is relatively easy. Then that evening, I got a message saying that our activity for today would be, surprise, surprise: ANOTHER POTLUCK.

We just had one last week! What the hay? I'm starting to reconsider Colleen's philosophy of never going to potlucks. I still love potlucks as much as the next person, despite the fact I need to be cured of caring too much about them, I think three in two weeks is a bit much. I'm about one dinner of pizza, KD and Oreos away from blowing my brains out.

I am pretty sure this is the final straw. There is no way I am working hard on a potluck dish when I just did that last week, and will be expected to do so this weekend. I don't care who's going to be there.

Tonight, I will be displaying my domestic skill of slicing. I'm bringing a fruit tray.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blogger's Guilt

Despite the fact I have not posted in a while, I do actually go on my blog pretty much everyday. This past week I have dearly wanted to blog, but could not think of any interesting events or trains of thought that merited a telling on the web. But after a Facebook conversation with a friend who just began his blog (and of course warning him to not be one of those lame bloggers who writes three posts and never goes near it again) I figured I better get back on the wagon.

Things That Have Happened Recently That, Though Interesting, Did Not Deserve Their Own Post
I handed in two research papers and feel remarkably free.

On of my best friends, who is now expecting her first baby, proudly told me on Sunday that she now has a baby bump. I don't really know how to feel about this.

Last Friday I went to my church's lunch and lecture series, "Friday Forum" and learned about the religious perspective of evolution. Who knew such a thing existed?

After said lecture I hung out at the institute and watched a friend of mine sew her M & M costume.

Last Thursday, my sister and I forgot we were feeding our missionaries, and our dad and brother were in Salt Lake, so we called in Priesthood a half hour before, cooked a last minute dinner, and then as they were leaving remembered we were hosting knitting club as well as having stranded airport guests stay over night. What a fun evening that was.

My sister, mother and I rediscovered our love for Bollywood by watching Bride and Prejudice.

One of my close friends who is engaged and already getting bored-married-person syndrome informed me that I am going to marry her brother. Naturally I jumped for joy at the prospect. After three years of weathering the storm in single's ward, my quest was over! Who knew it could be so simple? Seriously though, I was very flattered that she said that.

I discovered that the Calgary YSA is hosting a 90s formal dance, and spent much study time looking up 90s popstars to see what they wore back in the day.

Tuesday morning I cancelled my ride to school so I could take a car. Got to the car, turned out the battery was dead. What do you do for a boost on a weekday morning in the suburbs? Wait for you mother to come home? Yes. Turns out though, the hood of your car is dented, and your brother can't open it to give you a boost anyhow. You end up catching the bus and missing the Boticelli/ Massaccio lecture. Curses.

And there you have it, my unblogable fun facts, in blog form. Delightful.