Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contemplating the Nature of Compromise

The boy and I have been planning our wedding and as weddings are want to do, this comes with a fair share of negotiation, debate, and most importantly, compromise. Now I wouldn't say that I am well disposed to the notion of compromise even at the best of times. I know it's a key element in any relationship, (but dammit, I want what I want, when I want it--I'm a child of the instant-gratification generation) and I am learning (despite all my protests) that some compromises are actually in the best interest of both parties.

So lately I have been really contemplating the issue of compromise more than I ever have before. I have become aware of some of my innate resistance to the idea of compromise and the values that I associate with it. I will admit that the word compromise has always been, to some extent, a dirty word for me. To me it has traditionally meant sacrificing one's self, one's values, one's core identity/beliefs for the interests of another and given that interpretation, compromise didn't sit well with me. Now obviously I'm overreacting and not really looking properly at the etymology of the the word, which refers to a joint effort/decision, but even when it is a joint venture is it always shared equally? How do you compromise without sacrificing yourself in the process? Life demands compromise on a regular basis, and if there is anything that I have learned throughout my "aging" process (ok, I know I'm still young...), it is that black and white morality rarely exists in the real world. Thus, maintaining set ideals about who we are and what we are willing to give, is a bit of a fallacy.

So the real question that that I am contemplating lately is this: how can you make a compromise that is a huge sacrifice on your part, without losing your integrity/identity? How do you compromise without losing face?

The answer that I'm currently chewing on is that the only way to make such a compromise is by being honest about the fact that it is exactly that: a sacrifice you are making in the interest of others and that needs to be understood as such. This morning I feel like the only way to be true to myself while making major compromises is by being honest with all parties, myself included. Perhaps this negates the nature of the compromise/sacrifice to some extent, but if it really is a large sacrifice, is it justifiable? When do the needs of others come before your own, and if you judge it to be the case (time that their needs exceed your own), is fair to either party to make the sacrifice, without awareness?

I'm really not sure...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting Me Some Culture

A while ago a friend and I bought season tickets for a local English theatre, the Centaur. We decided that it was high time we put our literary minds to work and get ourselves some culture in our daily lives! The Centaur acquired a new director this year so we were filled with high hopes for a good season. So far we have not been disappointed.

The first play we saw, Scorched, was a gut wrenching tale that left me feeling emotionally wasted by the end of the play, although a bit tired because it was a little too long. There was a natural conclusion to the play that the playwright failed to identify in his effort to tie up loose ends, which made the play feel like it went a bit too far. However, it was a very interesting and thought provoking play.

Yesterday we saw the 2nd of the 4 plays we'd signed up to see, Doubt. It was short but good. I definitely felt that the playwright did an excellent job of leaving viewers in doubt about the question being addressed throughout the play. Did he or didn't he? And to what extent is bending the truth or outright lying justifiable in search of the truth or greater good? Now that I've seen the play version, I'm curious to see how different the film version staring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman is.

Next play in 2 weeks.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

So I blog, and I facebook, and I've even joined twitter. I like to write and even more, I like to talk, incessantly, all the time, to the point that people might actually secretly wish I'd just shut up...

Yup, as anyone who knows me knows... I'm a big ol' talker.

But in the land of facebook, blogging, et al... I am occasionally disturbed by the way that the Internet erases privacy. I mean, do I really want to be Internet friends with people I haven't spoken to since I was 12? Do I want to dredge up the past with all those I have left behind?

Ironically the answer is both yes and no. No, because there are just some memories, phases of life, and fashion moments that I'd like to permanently forget. Yes, because well, they are all a part of who I've become and as much as it took me a long time to get here, I'm pretty stoked about here. Besides, it's just kind of fun to see what everyone has done (and I mean that in a non-competitive way, honest!) One high school friend went into furniture design, which was something that I'd have never thought of doing but was completely fascinated by her decision. I love it when past people surprise me with the unexpected choices they've made. It's fantastic.

Back to my original point: do I really care about what you ate for breakfast and vice versa, do you really care that I'm still marking? Probably not. But every now and again those shared tidbits of the mundane lead to interesting conversations and insights into people you thought you knew or think you know...

So while I'm somewhat of a reluctant voyeur who still gets a little weirded out by the loss of privacy that social networking brings into our lives, I am also a glutton for wanton over-sharing. Drunk or sober, I tend to spill the beans. Secrets have never been my forté. And I have never believed in keeping skeletons in the closet. In fact, if I were ever to have a motto it might go something like: Drag those skeletons out, shake 'em off, and start dancing baby! Yeah, something like that!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The new member in the family

This is Lucy. She's my new (used) new Beetle. I'm very excited about her.

That's all I have to say...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rubik Cube Wonder

I am in rubik cube wonder this morning. For those of you familiar with the Montreal metro system, I watched a guy solve his rubik cube in the time it took to travel from Lionel Groulx to Villa Maria. (Say 7 minutes max).

I have NEVER solved a rubik cube, not unless you consider peeling the stickers off as counting. Yes, that's right, I'm sticker peeler!


What was particularly amazing about this was the concentration he had when everyone around him was secretly watching him. He'd get close and then seem to lose it and then all of a sudden seem even closer to completing it. Everyone around him all had these small smiles on their faces as they realized that he was actually going to do it! I felt like clapping when he did it! Yup, clapping. The little girl inside of me was filled with secret mirth over his triumph over the rubik cube... vicarious vindication over that tricky hunk of plastic at long last!

Every now and again the metro ride to work is really a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recent adventures in veggie cuisine

I've been trying new veggie recipes lately: here's a photo of one
of my more tasty concoctions.

The boy approved, which means that it was pretty good. If you check out the cover of last month's magazine (recipe), you can compare how mine looks to what's on the cover. Not bad if I say so myself.

Things that I might change....

I'm not such a big fan of the sweet Asian pasta/stir fry so I think next time I try the recipe I'll spice it up more (less hoisin, more soy and chili/garlic sauce). The boy will be so happy to learn this....

Also, I made fortune cookies. Guess what, they're surprisingly easy to make and have like NO fat in them. Yeah, colour me surprised. Who knew?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Morning Meanderings

My thoughts this morning are sort of all over the place, so I apologize in advance if this post seems somewhat chaotic.

First, on the most girly of topics: I now have my wedding shoes, which means that my clothing part of the day is complete. Yay for crossing one more thing off the never-ending list of wedding planning.

Next, I have the means, I have the car picked out, now I just need it to pass the inspection tests and Lucy will be mine. I'm so excited about owning my own (used) new Beetle that I'm giddy. Yes, that's right, I said giddy. Like pee your pants, jump up and down, wave your hands in the air like you just don't care, giddy! I can't wait. Can't wait, I tell you! Whoo hoo... Fuzzy dice here I come (though maybe I should be exploring my options, maybe I could find something even better than fuzzy dice in terms of kitsch factor - think Sophie's Cosmic Cafe kitschy).

And last (cause I'll end here), although I try to avoid work related topics in the public realm of blogland, this topic I feel is suitably neutral that it's ok to explore it. One of the things that I love about teaching is watching students come to new realizations about the world around them; things that we may already be aware of are new to them and fill them with wonder/thoughts. If I were into psychology, I would totally be into the cognitive psychology of higher education learning because it is truly fascinating to watch these students go through this evolution. Depending on their backgrounds, these realizations may be very significant or not but they are common to all of my students thus far. It really is an intriguing aspect in education that I never thought of or was aware of before teaching. Watching young people grow and learn about the world around them and current social issues is definitely the most rewarding part of my job.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I [heart] Lucy

I don't know for sure who she is yet, but I love her already. I've got a strong inkling about who she might be, but nothing is sure yet..

When Lucy arrives, she'll have fuzzy dice and funky colours about her. She'll be all character, old, well loved, and spunky like my cat. She may have to have some obnoxious saying tattoed on her rear end or at least a thought provoking meditation for those that follow her to consider.

I have always wanted a Lucy in my life, ever since I was very young (and by young I probably mean as early as 6 or 7).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Travel: work and play

I am in awe of this couple. I want their life. Yup, it's true. 2 years working and traveling the world. Bliss I tell you. Bliss.

Ok, I do realize that it's probably not bliss (at least not all the time) but they are leading my dream life. Really. If I could do anything in this life, this would be it. It may be the only thing in my life that I have ever been sure of wanting to do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy and love my life, my partner, my cat, and my home but for as long as I can remember I have always dreamed of working my way around the world. The irony of it all is that I have the perfect career path for it: ESL teaching.

Oh student loans, why do you thwart me so. Sigh....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Feminism—Post Women’s Day

I only recently finished watching season 2 of Mad Men (plot spoilers ahead) and I have to say that the season finale has left me feeling profoundly disturbed on a feminist level. For those that don’t know the show there are 3 main female characters: Peggy, the quiet working girl; Joan, the sex kitten secretary; and Betty, the depressed 50s housewife.

In the last half of the season we see the female characters go through some amazing transitions. Betty kicks Don out (temporarily) and seems to start asserting herself (in that she finally starts talking). Peggy fully claims her status within the male work place, tells Campbell about the baby, and ultimately rejects him. She’s really coming into her own, despite all of her silent, meek ways. As Elizabeth Moss states, she really is a profoundly intriguing character. She really plays out the evolution of women in the work place and her character development is absolutely fascinating.
The character that really disturbs me is Joan. She’s the shows’ Marilyn Monroe with the sexy clothes, the killer curves, and independent sexual mores that you just want to love despite all of her hard edges. In this season however, she’s taking a step backwards in order to get married. As much as that step kills me, what really upsets me is the way she is being punished for her past independence. It just makes you want to scream at the screen: Wake the f*** up Joan. A man who rapes you on your boss’ office floor in order to reassert his sexual prowess and territory is not a man to marry. Yet she’ll go through with it just to have the socially acceptable safety of marriage.

To be honest, the way all the women are punished in the show is downright upsetting. Once again the virgin/whore dichotomy is being fully played out, albeit in intriguing ways. Now I realize that the show is set in the 50s and that gender equality then was not what it is now. That said, I don’t know that the sexual politics being depicted in Mad Men are really all that different than some of the ones being drooled over in the latest pop culture phenomenon: the Twilight series. As this article so nicely illustrates, the politics of abstinence and the vamp fetish in the novel/movie are just as perverse as what is represented in the re-imagined 1950s TV show. To be fair, I haven’t read the books (I saw the movie) but as a former vampire novel junkie, the article really made me think about the power dynamics at work in terms of gender, sexuality, and much of the throwback conservatism that seems to be resurfacing in our pop culture society these days.

My post-Women’s Day blog post ends with the following thoughts: How far ahead are we really and why are we so fixated on re-fetishizing our own victimization?

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Reason to Buy a Car?

As if the city's public transportation wasn't already the bane of my existence, the mayor has announced that the city will be cutting $40 million from public transportation. I swear I don't want to buy a car, but I feel like the city might be driving me to it! The metro is already falling apart, faced with frequent delays, and over-crowded during rush hour, yet even though politicians claim to support public transportation (instead of cars) they turn around and do this?


Seriously, my morning commute is stressful enough and I already find myself frequently arriving at work feeling cranky because of various metro woes. I realize that we're all in a recession and something has to give but in light of this (raising gas prices to curb carbon emissions), I can't help but wonder who is going to end up paying more in the end? First we'll pay it at the pump, then opt for public transportation only to find that it's completely inefficient and not cost efficient either (cause we all know the metro will only raise rates yet again to compensate). Or, if you're like me, you'll start seriously contemplating buying a car in a city you always swore you wouldn't need a car in just because the service is getting so bad.

I don't know how anyone really expects the situation to improve if our hands keep getting tied at every turn. I am so tired of having it stuck to us by the man.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Screen Day?

After reading about this idea here, the boy and I have decided to unplug ourselves from technology on Wed nights. Monday he has band, Tues I work late, Thurs I work late, and well Fridays are for relaxing, so no rules allowed. By default that left us with Wed nights.

No more TV, computer, wii, internet, texting, movies, etc on Wed nights from here on in, for however long.

Oddly enough I think this practice will be harder on me than him. I'm strangely addicted to my computer and I'm not really sure why. So I'm going to spend the time with the boy or devote it to cooking or crafts, but no more internet Wed night.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mayla, doing what she does best in the winter months. Sleep. And eat. And sleep some more.
Now normally the cat gains weight in the winter. Over the 8 years that she's been out here, it's become a seasonal pattern. But this year I think takes the cake. I have NEVER seen my cat fatter than she is now. I love my cat and all, but she's gotten mighty chunky.
Next winter it's diet food for you missy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the archive

entries from a long time ago but not to be forgotten:


Trading Spaces

After playing around with blogger for a little while, I've decided to make the switch from livejournal. I'm not sure that I can explain why, but blogger seems to be cleaner and more user friendly. With that in mind, I've kept the format and colours minimalistic.

Thus begins a new era in blog posting...


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