Friday, October 30, 2009

on crying

I recently read this article from feministing about women crying when they are arguing. By someone that this happens to, I was intrigued by the subject.

The article itself is more focused on accepting and embracing the fact that some of us cry when we argue than finding an answer for why we cry. A quick google search offers no solutions either. Maybe I'd find more if I pulled out my dusty Psych textbooks, but somehow I doubt it.

I hate it when I'm arguing with someone and I cry. It's a response I can't control and it drives me insane. Once I become so frustrated emotionally in an argument the waterworks start up. It drives me nuts because it immediately shuts down the argument and nothing gets resolved because of my tears. I rarely do this now , probably because I'm a fair bit less sensitive and emotionally charged now than I was when I was younger, but it still happens from time to time.

So when I started reading the article by feministing, I was glad to be reminded that I am not alone in this trait. Of course, feministing being feministing, put a positive angle on it and tried to reassure readers that it's ok to be emotionally attached the argument/issue and that it's not a sign of weakness. While I appreciate the author's point and agree with her larger argument, breaking into tears when emotionally involved in an issue is the surest way to have the conversation stop, be it because of sexist paradigm or not. Whether I am the one crying or the one watching someone else cry, tears immediately signal the end of debate and the beginning of going into caretaking mode.

In the past when I've cried in an argument it leads to one of two things:

Sometimes it means that the other person actually realizes how upset I am by the issue and actually helps the conversation because the person starts listening more.

But most of the time it just brings things to a dead halt. Emotional authenticity or not, tears can be a complete barrier. And I don't know about you, but when they sneak into a conversation that is important to me, it is so incredibly frustrating to have to drag the other person back in despite my tears.

On the other hand, I know that there are things that I don't say to others because I know that it would bring them to tears. There have been conversations that I should have had in my past but because of the type of response that is typically garnered by friends who are even more prone to tears than I am, that have been left unsaid. So yes, I agree that the tears/emotional paradigm can frustrating because it can be disempowering but I think that it can be disempowering for both sides: the person crying and the other party.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

3 going on 30

When I was a kid, people always joked that I was “3 going on 30” and to some extent they were very right. I was a serious child. In fact, I think that, true to my Capricornian self, I am very much getting younger (read more light hearted) as I age. The thing is, aside from experiencing the occasional bout of Peter Pan’dness, I’m not always sure how to make sense of the aging process. I just got married, my partner and I are contemplating house ownership, and I am finally ready to have a baby (albeit scared shitless about the financial ramifications of such a decision given my student loan debt).

But with all of that comes this weird feeling of how the hell did I get here? Really? When I met Paul I was so far from wanting any of those things that I don’t quite know how or when that transition took place in my life? Was it finishing grad school? Getting into a serious, stable relationship? Working full time in a career? I assume that it was a combination of the above that has led me to the place that I now find myself in, but that doesn’t always make it easier to process.

My motto in my 20s was always meant to be (whether is actually in reality or not) “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I feared becoming the wife and mother who never left the home and only spent time with her partner. In short, I didn’t want my life to be subsumed by motherhood and wifedom. In fact, I would argue that I am only now ready for motherhood because I only now feel comfortable with the fact that my life and identity won’t be subsumed by having a child. I feel more grounded in my activities and goals. And while I often find that I need to struggle against my homebody tendencies more and more as I age, and I definitely need to make a more concerted effort to engage in my favourite activities, I feel much more balanced now than I ever did when I was raging against the proscribed roles of wife and mother. (Note: this is not because I’m blindly embracing and valorising them but because I feel like I now know how to negotiate and stay true to myself).

A lot of people will tell you that your 20s are the best years of your life, and don’t get me wrong, I lived my 20s to my fullest but I think that the space I find myself in, confusing conundrum of adulthood though it may be, makes my 30s the best years of my life. I really like where I am in life right now, even if it can often leave me a little surprised and unsure of how to reconcile my roaring 20s with my more sedate self-assured 30s.

As a friend and I like to say, “my 16 year old self would be horrified by my 30 year old self” but that’s ok, because in the end, I’m still the same person, and if I do say so, much cooler now than I was then!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

mayla, the purring wonder cat

My cat and I have a daily tradition. She may or may not object to it (be a willing participant) but she's a good sport and puts up with it. I figure it's a fair trade off given that she wakes me every morning with her rather less than endearing Siamese cat meow. But every morning, at some point, I pick her up and hug her. What's special about this hug is that I always lay my head against her body and listen to her purr. There is something about the deep vibrating purr that she does that just fills me with happiness and makes the world a better place. In fact, during my moments of pure anxiety, nothing calms me faster than this particular Marya-Mayla routine we've developped over the past 10 years.

Seriously, it's amazing. It solves everything!

Verge of tears: Mayla purr hug
Wedding stress/Bridezilla breakdown: Quality snuggles with the little wee beastie
Big fight: Squish the cat
Cranky post traffic/commute rage: Bring on the purr monster
Money stress freakout (aka student loan woes): Crawl into bed with Ms Kittie
Public speaking anxiety: Practice while hugging the cat
Grad school thesis defense: Yes, you got it... purr...

By now you probably get the picture. Mayla is my soothing drug/balm of goodness. Listening to her purr puts the world back in perspective and calms even the most insiduous, insistent, manic, anxiety freakout. And I'm not joking. Seriously. So this blog is an ode to my little amazing go to cat. Because even though you woke me up this morning at 4:30am, you make my world a better place. I encourage everyone to find their own little purr monster of contentment.

According to Utne, our pets are more of an ecological disaster than an SUV, but an SUV will never make me as peacefully blissed out as my cat... so karmically I'm thinking that my cat does the world a whole lotta good! (GRRR anxiety ridden Marya is not a good sight!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

how to make the most of condo space: shelving options

Paul doesn't know it yet, but I am currently eyeing this particular shelving collection-combo for the office. The plan? A craft centre extravaganza of organization. With baskets, containers and pretty things galore. Oh yes, my inner office organizing self is in lust with this collection of goodies.
I know he'd never let me do it, but the bright blue room is a variation of my dream craft workspace. It's busy and cheerful and full of practical crafty goodness! Oh yes, when I have a room of my own...

I also have a big crush on the shelf shown below, left (cubby holes). I love it! But would it be practical? Or could I work it into the above design (obviously in the same wood colour...)

He also doesn't know it yet, but I'm also contemplating some shelving in the living room (see corner unit or white shelves with photos). I prefer the shelves in white and think it would be great if we could turn the corner space of the living room wall into a shelved bar/photo montage. Right now we have the cupboard thing that came with the condo and I find it cumbersome and would like to put it in storage in order to open up the floor space.

Really, it's all about creating an illusion of space by bringing things up off the floor and onto the walls. We have crap in the way of storage space, which seems to be a trend in modern condo living developments. I've lived in apartments that had better storage facilities.

In fact, if we were actually serious about staying in the condo for a while, I'd do my damndest to coerce Paul to take the individual shower out, add it to the tub (you know, class old school shower/tub combo) and then turn the shower space in the bathroom into a linen closet. The fact that all new homes seem so keen to waste space by creating solo showers strikes me as the most ridiculous trend in home design. Ok, maybe not the most, but one of the top 10. I get that people hate cleaning the bathtub, but seriously? now I just have 2x the work to do in terms of cleaning and 1/2 the space in my bathroom. Yeah, whoever thought up that bright idea and why so many people love it, is an absolute mystery to me. [End bathroom condo storage rant... ]

 At the end of the day, I really like our home. It has a lot of light, is relatively central, still on the island of Montreal, in a quiet neighbourhood, and full of potential. The thing is, we don't actually have that much stuff and yet it feels like we're bursting at the seems. So after the big condo purge, coming to yours truly's condo very soon, creating space and storage is my next big adventure. (Of course, if we had the space, the bookshelf seen here is my absolute dream...) Advice, feedback, inspiration, and design tips are all welcome.

Monday, October 26, 2009


For some reason, I'm finding it particularly difficult to shake my jetlag this time around. Hopefully my return to work will help reset my clock because it'll force me to get my schedule back in order.

I've spent the weekend just lounging. After the hectic pace of travelling and wedding planning, I'm finding it to be a weird, but much needed adjustment.

Everyone talks about (in wedding world) the post wedding slump and to be honest, I think I'm experiencing it, just a little though. On some level I guess it makes sense because everything was go go go for so long and now it's so quiet and everyone is gone. So it's weird and sort of lonely feeling. Don't get me wrong, I don't want wedding planning back, but it was really nice to have all my family here. I miss having them around.

Sometimes it makes me sad to know that I won't be able to have regular visits with my brothers or simple family lunches together with everyone. But I guess that's just the way life goes. Even if I lived back home, my middle brother is far away too... It's funny, when we have family nearby they drive us crazy but when they're gone, we spend time missing them. How is it that a group of people who can drive you mad, push all of your buttons, and maybe really have nothing in common with you, can be so important in your life? Oh, life's little ironies...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

and we're back

Here is just a preview of my honeymoon pictures, taken with my new, fancy, schmancy camera. Lavender, it was everywhere we went. So I thought that it'd be appropriate to write my first return post in hommage to one of the scents that dominated my time in the south of France.

Our trip was amazing. Even though it rained the last 2 days, we walked and explored everywhere. Nice made me realize that the world is full of amazing, beautiful places and there are so many places yet to be seen and experienced. (it also made me realize that I would be very happy to live in another country... far, far away from the cold!) I have so many adventures to share but alas, they'll have to wait a little longer. Between the influx of friends, family, wedding, and travel, wee ol' me hasn't had much time to really process any of it all just yet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

and off to france i go...

After more than a decade (14 years to be exact) I am finally returning to France. Not to gaie Paris, but to southern France: Nice, Antibes, and Vence. I've always longed to see southern France and the mediteranean sea, and now, finally, I will see both. I'm so very excited. Oh, I know that Nice and the Cote d'Azur will be a touristy destination but that's ok with me. Perhaps Provence would have been more the wine drinking, gourmande vacation I envisioned when I thought about travelling to the south of France, but we can save that for another trip if need be.

Because now that we're married and I don't have to plan a wedding, I'm going to start planning vacations. Paul isn't aware of this yet (he thinks my next obsession will be house hunting, and he's right on some level... but little does he know....)!!

By this time tomorrow, Paul and I will be drinking French wine, overlooking the sea, enjoying life to the fullest! Au revoir mes amis et a bientot!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

how to put thoughts into words

Lately I find myself at a loss as to how to put my thoughts into words. Maybe it's because so much has been going on and I haven't had time to process it all, but it's been something that has been plaguing me for the past few weeks. Or maybe it's because I have so many thoughts going on in my wee little cranium that thinks too much that I don't even know where to begin.

I mean, do I talk about the wedding? Nah, I'm tired of thinking/talking about the wedding. Do I talk about family and what it was like to have them all here for a change? Possibly, but how intimate do I really want to get on a blog? You know? Or do I talk about the evolving nature of my friendships and the realizations I've been making about my relationships to my various friendships? It's really one of the the issues that has been most on my mind over the past few days.

I've been in Montreal for 8 years now, and in that time, I've kept in touch with most of my close friends from back home, on and off, but semi-regularly, since I've left. Having them all come out to celebrate my wedding, as I've written, was one of the things that I was most looking forward to in terms of the big day. The night before the wedding, all my BC girlfriends came over for drinks and festivities and it was amazing. I felt like I was back in BC, with a few Mtl additions. I'm glad that I had that time because I didn't have it the day of the wedding. We were too busy with everybody and everything to really spend any time with any one person.

Thing is, as we get older, the friendships have stayed strong, which is amazing, but we've also all moved in such different directions and me getting married really drove that home. I remember a few years back, when one of my dearest friends got married, feeling like wow, our friendship is going to be so different now (it is and isn't) that she's a wife. As happy as I was for her, I sort of grieved for the loss of us (roommates, single girl adventures, living close to one another). And now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I'm confronted with an interesting perspective: watching friends go through that same realization (albeit in their own ways), and realizing how differently the moment is experienced from the other side. Not that I'm all of a sudden a different person, that's not at all what I mean. It's just that I'm moving into the realm of homes and careers and babies (not that marriage necessarily equates to any of those things, just that that's the phase of life I'm moving into). Going through the marriage process, or rather, the rite of passage, really solidified those changes for me and made me aware of some of the relationships I have with my friends and how they've evolved for better or worse as I've aged and become part of this unit. It made me aware of how much I've changed or haven't changed and how some friendships might not have changed with me. How some friendships hold onto the core of me that is always the same, sometimes positively and other times detrimentaly (because the me that is held onto is no longer who I am anymore), and how other friendships have changed with me and have grown stronger over time as we've evolved together or as we've gone in different directions.

I'm probably not doing justice to my thoughts here. I'm not criticizing my friendships or thinking that I've lost friendships because of marriage, but rather, just amazed by how having everyone here has made me aware of how our friendships have shifted and changed because of age, time, distance and the different phases/lifestyles we've entered into. And how, at the end of the day, although I struggle to put it into words, I'm very thankful for the amazing women in my life who travelled so far to share this moment with me because despite all the different places we've landed, there is still a core that remains and holds us together. The way we're held together may have changed, but the friendships remain. And that's just a really humbling thing to realize and to know: that you can grow in different directions but still be loved. To know that despite everything, time and distance, I have amazing friends that will always be a part of me.

How to put such thoughts into words that do them justice remains a complete mystery to me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


So I am officially a married woman now. Craziness. The day was lovely and really nothing of importance went wrong. Hell to be honest, nothing really went wrong at all. I had a blast hanging out with family and friends. Highlights: watching my little brother dance with all the ladies, dancing with my other little brother, and tequila shots with the ladies. Oh, and sitting at the front of the church, next to my very new husband.

Yay, we did it. Only a few more days and France, here we come!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2 days left

Today and tomorrow: that's it.

We've got things under control, so far as I know (still waiting for some bomb to fall out of the woodwork). Although we're busy, which in itself is a bit overwhelming, I think we're both relatively calm.

What keeps popping up in my mind is "Holy shit, in 2 days I'm getting married!" I'm not freaked about the decision, nor having cold feet, but am sort of feeling in awe of the step I'm about to take. I don't know if I can put it into words better than that. For months and months we've been planning and the wedding has just sort of been part of everything, but as the day approaches I am really finding that the actual moment is really sinking in. And it's exciting, and HUGE! I'm going to walk down the aisle in front of all the people I love, and declare my love and commitment to Paul and suddenly that feels like a really big event, bigger than it has in all the months of wedding planning.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weddings, Weddings, and More Weddings: Oh My!

It's been a busy week. From flower shopping and trial bouquet making, to introducing both full sets of parents over a casual pizza dinner, things have been so busy that even Karen, who is on BC time, is rolling into bed at around 10pm.

I made a trial bouquet and boutonniere, which given that it was a first attempt, I was relatively pleased with. My mother arrived yesterday, had a go at the boutonniere, and her results really put my work to shame. Good thing mom is around to coordinate flower preparation! Yay for mom's who can make flower arrangements.

Thankfully, I think, all issues have been put to bed and now Paul and I have nothing more to worry about other than organizing the logistics of it all. Yay. Holy crap, I'm getting married in 3 days. How crazy and exciting is that? We've got a fair amount to take care of in the final days, but I think it's safe to say that we both feel relatively calm because most things are ready to go and just waiting for the right time to be delivered/done, etc.

Maybe a zen Marya bride is possible after all???

Sunday, October 4, 2009

appreciating the highs and the lows

I just read this quote by F Scott Fitzgerald
“Riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again.”

It immediately reminded me of Kurt Cobain and made me wonder what's with people not just appreciating their happiness? Why the need to destroy it by thinking that they'll never be another moment in life that will compare? Or that I have everything (including love) and yet I'm miserable? I'm just aghast by both attitudes and approaches. Really. I'm not the most "Pollyanna-esque" person out there (by far) but I just don't get it. Maybe I have learned more from my pragmatic Dutch mother than I tend to think.

Or maybe, because there's always another project, ambition, or goal, I never think that any one moment in life with be a moment of absolute completion. They'll always be another moment of utter joy or a way to find happiness and appreciate the gifts that I've been given. Yeah, I mean that, even though I can be a big fat complainer !!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

On Choosing a hall vs other wedding reception venues

It's October, which means that in a few short days I'll be getting married. I can't believe it's almost here.

And lets face it, between now and the wedding, I'll be doing nothing but writing about wedding stuff if I write anything at all.

In the most recent wedding related news:

On Tuesday we went to taste the food and yesterday we finalized almost all the details with the hall. I have to say that I'm quite pleased with how lovely the hall has been in regards to taking care of all the details on the day of the wedding. They'll set up everything for us, from seating cards to bonbonnieres and cupcakes. All we have to do is bring them and they'll take care of it all. When we first were looking at halls, I have to admit that I wasn't all that keen because it felt less personalized but now, knowing that I will have nothing to do in terms of preparation on the day of the wedding, I'm very thankful that we went the hall route.


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