Monday, December 14, 2009

Bittersweet Release

I finished the last exam on my undergrad on Tuesday. It’s bittersweet seeing King’s in the rearview mirror. I have no “I now know who I am” statement that neatly sums up the nervousness, joy, frustration, delight and longing of my university days. And perhaps there cannot be such a proclamation to succinctly capture a half dozen years of personal and academic growth.

I haven’t accepted that I no longer have the student label attached to my head. It’s overwhelming the ones that could take its place. I am currently a sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend, seasonal bush bunny and traveller but most of those speak more to the who, not what, I am.

My family is not short of outstanding examples from which to draw from as I am still earnestly searching for the kind of woman I want to be. I feel moderately pressured to perform and follow their large, demanding and fascinatingly wandering footsteps. They’re not over-achievers in the traditional sense, but highly successful in their own realms.

I want to be devoted to the earth and her bounty like my mother, dedicated to a personal passion like Steph, well-read, helpful and encouraging like Donna, head-hunted like Robyn, caring for strangers and new-comers to Canada like Shauna and creative like Anita.

Read carefully and you'll see no mention of the other side of my family. Mostly married, they’re making babies like factories. I do not desire that. I value my girlish figure too much to follow their selfish desires to further destroy the earth.

In the short term, I want to develop my seasonal bush bunny skills that will ultimately support my selfish desires to leave Canada in the winter. After 30, I’ll allow myself to play the Grad School? game with myself.

Things I'll Miss

Edmonton has been home for the last seven years. On an off, between summer jobs, international travels and post-secondary education. I doubt I will ever live here again full-time. In no particular order are things and more importantly people I will dearly miss.

Concerts with my girlfriends Chelsy, Jillian, Jen, Krystal

Getting fresh with Orion at Blues and Newcastle.

Aquasizing with Melinda

Winning the furnace war with Sarah

Jennie's paintings

Harassing Hank

Holy Trinity

Visits to Jillian and Kurtis' dominated by babies and beer

Wednesday Wings with friends old and new

O'Connors Sunday sesh

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fort McMurray’s ban on plastic bag bylaw

Fort McMurray, Alberta, the Tar Sands Capital of the World, passed a bylaw on Tuesday that bans single-use shopping bags in an attempt to clean up both its image and the environment.

Ironically the rest of the province should look to this north-eastern Alberta community, not exactly known for its progressive green behaviours, as an example of environmental action and community initiative by a young person.

An ambitious high school student in the community collected a measly 2,500 signatures from the city’s 64,441 residents on a petition in support of a ban on shopping bags such as plastic and paper or biodegradable shopping bags last year. The petition was tabled by council in the spring.

Mayor Melissa Blake said there was surprisingly little opposition to the bylaw. “My initial reaction was surprise about how much public support there really was throughout the entire process," she said.

Of course she’s surprised. Won’t this ban cut into oil profits for the region?

While they’re not shutting down the tar sands or slowing the pace of development, their effort needs to be recognized and lauded.

With files from Cigdem Iltan, Edmonton Journal

Monday, December 7, 2009

60 Degrees of Separation

Canadian transit gone wrong.

Caribbean transit gone wrong.

I woke up to -29 C this morning in Edmonton. It is +31 on Bimini Island, Bahamas, my destination in January. That's 60 degrees difference!

Ask me how excited I am to go, and the answer is mixed.

Mixed because it means my undergrad will be complete. Mixed because I will be leaving the comfort and stability of friends and acquaintances I have come to know and love. Mixed because I can not decide which bathing suit is my favourite.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No Journal? Thank the snowstorm

You live in a northern Canada city when a December blizzard prevents the Journal from being delivered. Journal columnist Paula Simmons commented in a column a few weeks ago that Albertans are tough, irrational, even. Not when it comes to newspaper delivery though. The Journal rationally, wisely decided not to risk their driver's sanity and lives and permitted them a snow day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Clock Chain

My wristwatch is half a handcuff and constant reminder that I am actually, physically tied to the clock.

Constantly concerned about punctuality, I believe I might explode without it. When classmates are late for class, I disapprovingly glance at it. When I almost always arrive at an engagement before the arranged time, I smugly nod to it for its time-keeping abilities. Or on the off chance I'm running late, I shake it to will it to slow down.

Regardless of the faces I give to my watch, it reminds me I am always in time, if not on time. Not in the musical sense of in time, even though the second hand is kind of like a metronome for our lives. The minute and even hour hands could be metronomes. Would beats of minutes or hours composed of minutes be a more suitable backdrop for life's rhythms?

These created units reflect on the existing time Creation keeps without and independent of us. A moonrise's quiet and overlooked beauty reminds me of this.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Breezy Hair

Aging is cruel. I write this at the tender graying age of 24.

In my first year of university, when I was 18, I began finding my first gray hairs on my head, mixed in with all my other hairs. That collection of wiry hair has since had babies and lots of them. I used to extract them, but like Samantha on Sex and the City said, "There'll be six more coming to its funeral."

So I left them there to texturize and add colour to my naturally dark brown hair, a gift from my mother's Scottish roots and my father's Irish ancestory.

Like Samantha, I was shocked and rather appalled when another hair covered region south of my equator started sprouting grays. What to do? Manually brush them? Selectively thin? Apply hairicides? Dye it?

I laughed uncontrollably. I was trying to solve this question using what I knew about invasive species in commercial plantations. As a bush (read: forest) bunny, I am well versed in both the theory and practice of silviculture and sought to tackle my own invasive species in my bush accordingly.

In what would be in violation on any provincial forestry act, I decided to leave them. Not embrace them, but let them be.

Samantha taught me that chemical colouring should not be applied unless the desired outcome is a caution-road-works-sign orange box.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Responsible Weather

Do you ever feel singularly responsible for the weather? Eying your bathing suit creates a freak May snowstorm? Grabbing your sun glasses before dashing out the door causes non-existent clouds to appear over the orb? Or donning some sunscreen to pro-actively prevent premature wrinkles causes it to rain as I damply discovered today.

I am very sun conscious. Not just in the obvious season of summer when the sun's rays assault the northern hemisphere with greater intensity but also in winter when the snow acts like a zillion focusing mirrors on your face.

I spend a minimum of 30 minutes outside every weekday walking to and from school. It is recommended that sunscreen be worn if you intend on staying out-of-doors greater than 20 minutes. This morning, the sun was shining, the snow was reflecting, I was slapping on some sunscreen.

I am convinced my preventative actions made it rain. There is no other explanation for the rain other than that I put on sunscreen and the sky was giggling at me for doing so.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Field Communion

Four friends and I attempted to view the Leonoid meteor shower on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The sky was overcast as we were tetris-ing into our vehicle after midnight, but we were optimistic college students.

Armed with no defined destination other than outside the city, we headed east out of Edmonton, ending up in pock marked field south of Androssan.

The sky was still overcast with nary a star or meteor to be seen. No mater, we decided. We had three bottles of wine, an unidentified flask, chips and blankets.

Instead of pondering the wonders of the universe through meteors, we communed with one another. Actually talked and shared. For those four hours, five people conversed with one another, the field we lay in and the overcast sky that covered us. With so many disposable relationships surrounding us, it was refreshing to restore my eternal relationship with the Church of the Long Grass.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Walk-on Fins

The end of my formal - for now - academic career is in sight. This time next month, all my papers will be passed in and all my final exams will be written.

I bought my ticket to Florida last weekend. That means may trip is actually for real. I spend 10 days in Florida before flying to Bimini Island, my home for three months.

Thanks to previous international travels, I don't need to buy a whole lot of new swag. Thanks to the miracle of online shopping, I have some new bomb-proof Teva sandals and a new pair of Merrel "multis". Multis are shoes that do multiple things for you. Dance on tables, wade waist deep through a raging river, trek into British Columbia's alpine, go to interviews.

All I am lacking is a wetsuit, fins, mask and snorkel set and a waterproof flashlight. I'll buy those in Florida. Shockingly, Edmonton's selection in the winter is rather limited and unnecessarily expensive.

I'm very curious how I'm going to fit fins into my bag. I might be wearing them on the plane. Yes, wearing.

Until then, I am wearing a toque. In Canada. Brrrr.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I am not a blogging virgin. When the urge strikes me, I write for The King's Green Pad too.

I set this blog up in preparation for an impending trip to the Bahamas in January of 2010 when I will be immersed in sun, sand and sharks at the Bimini Biological Field Station. Check them out.

Note the happy, bathing suit clad volunteers! That will be yours truly in less than two months.