(A picture of Ziggy by Michelle Dupont. The portraits of her son she did for her 365 days project really express what my journey and values are about. Check out her 365 days projects here and here)
This blog began in 2004 (of which the archives are lost… long story). That year I started working at a job that I hated. The work environment was good and I worked with awesome people but the job itself was right out of Dante’s Inferno. As a response to that sort of work stress I started turning more inwards and focused on making my non-work life authentic to my values.
Since 2005 I’ve been actively trying to bring a certain humanity to my life that can be described as authentic, minimalist, creative, organic, and natural. This blog has been a witness to that effort although I admit that effort has only been achieved in fits and starts.
I don’t really like the artificial. So much of what I see on the Internet and in analog life now is so earnest and fake that I can’t even feel anything about it. For example, lifestyle photography. I believe that if you’re going to stage a shot, then do it. If you want to set up a shot to express an emotion or a moment, great! I only get annoyed when the photographer thinks they’re tricking me into believing the shot was spontaneous and natural.
But I digress. I do that a lot. My blog is rife with digressions and tangents.
I have been trying for 6 years to bring these qualities into my life. They are qualities of human-ness that we have from birth. A naturalness of being that is revealed by the removal of the artificial; hair that is left undyed; skin that is not enhanced by tanners, chemicals, or plastic surgery; fabrics to wear that are of nature and dyed colours found in nature. I also include our core personalities when not masked or taken hostage by our need to please others or the riotous cacophony of popular culture.
It’s the lack of pretension and obvious perfection. It’s about beautiful, flowing design that is in harmony with the rhythms of everyday life. Quiet, comfortable minimalism. To bring into life that which enhances and promotes beauty, health, and well-being. What brings authenticity and wellness is individual. For me it’s rooted in science, movement, philosophy, minimalism, natural living, and creativity.
My hope for 2012 is that I can finally succeed at bringing this harmony of being, this certain humanity into my life so that my life can be defined absolutely by it.
Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada. I’m in camp so missing out on my mum’s delicious turkey dinner. She makes the best stuffing and pumpkin pie. I’ll be eating the camp cook’s turkey dinner which, if the pumpkin tarts are any indication, I’m a bit wary of trying.
I think I’ll spend most of tonight writing and reading. I’m sure I’ll be too full of turkey and not likely motivated to do anything else. I am feeling a bit restless so I may go to the gym later tonight. Today was a bit of a nothing day. Beautiful. The sun is shining and work was routine but somehow I didn’t do anything noteworthy. That’s okay though as not every day needs to be filled up with stuff.
I will note that I’ve been having unusual food cravings now that the temperature is dropping. Yesterday I was craving hot and sour soup. Last night I was craving coffee in the worst way. I mean really craving it. I’ve also been craving fiction books and have been reading every chance I get. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as the desire to bunker down does tend to happen every October whenever I find myself on the prairie.
I haven’t posted in awhile but that’s because I haven’t done anything but work. I haven’t spent any time knitting or reading novels. I haven’t even been to the gym. What I have been doing is sulking or to be mature about it, experiencing a certain amount of ennui regarding my hobbies and interests.
I’ve given up on geek culture because I just can’t take adults who act like children seriously. The global economy and the environment are both on the precipice of disaster yet my fellow geeks waste more time and energy being enraged at George Lucas for alleged changes he’s made to the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Star Wars. My choice is to not buy the Blu-Ray edition when released and just enjoy the version of Star Wars I already own. Easy. No gnashing of teeth or writing of angry blog posts about how Lucas has ruined my childhood.
Also, when I can’t tell the difference between a 12 year-old and 40 year-old because they’re wearing similar clothing and hairstyles and share the same mannerisms, something has gone terribly wrong. I was getting to the point of being guilty of this but hopefully caught myself before I embarrassed myself. I’m sure I still need time to deprogram from the influence of the Internet these past 3 years.
It is my belief that as an adult, one is supposed to enjoy an increased amount of complexity whether sensual, emotional, and/or intellectual. As adults we can appreciate a fine red wine or complex novel because we have built up a store of experiences as well as a vocabulary to find and give meaning to each new thing we encounter or engage in. In other words it’s fine to enjoy comic books but immature if one never reads beyond them. Being well educated doesn’t ruin imagination because in order to imagine one must have a base of knowledge and experience to begin with.
I haven’t been knitting out of a simple fear that I’ll screw up my dad’s sweater. I know I just have to suck it up buttercup and just do it. I think I’ll start tonight. Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to do 1 swatch or 2 since the sweater features a moss stitch detail.
To get past my disappointment in geek culture and my ennui re: everything else I’ve decided to just step down a new path for the remainder of this year and for 2012. I won’t be going on those wished for trips to conventions because 1. I bought a new truck and 2. I really don’t want to anymore.
Instead I’m going to dedicate myself to exploring my roots by indulging in my Scandinavian, British, and Canadian heritage. I’d rather use my time and intellect pursuing my wonderfully nerdy interests and just leave geek culture behind (for the time being). I’m also not going to make any real plans. I have a vague interest in visiting England and Norway next year but no definite plans. I want to leave any future planning for 2012 and just see where my more intellectual pursuits lead me.
Yesterday morning an older gentleman (I use that term loosely) said good morning to me as I was leaving the dining hall on my way to work. I said good morning back but this seemed to agitate him. He stopped and screwed up his face and said, “how come you never smile?” I told him it was because I’m not the smiling type. That’s the easy answer but please indulge me while I get to the long and rambling truth of it all.
I am a serious person and an introvert. I always have been and yes, that means since I was child. This is not because I’ve suffered any trauma or have unresolved issues. I had a wonderful childhood and in fact, it was probably more unique than most. I belong to a wonderful family of voracious readers and that has been accompanied, over the years, by many dogs, birds, and even 2 cats.
I am an atheist and an earth-centric pagan (in a non-religious way). I do not believe in God (I did the whole spiritual quest and came back an even stronger atheist with a new found love of science and philosophy), ghosts, ESP, alien visits to Earth, divination, faeries, unicorns, Santa Claus, the Great Pumpkin, soul mates, reincarnation, life after death, or superstition… among other things.
I have no desire to be rich, famous, or powerful. I don’t define myself by my career and I have absolutely no desire to network socially and create large, superficial lists of friends and acquaintances. I have a handful of good friends and that’s good enough for me. I do not dress to impress and I don’t care if you don’t like me, my hobbies and interests, or the way I dress. I also don’t care if gentlemen prefer blondes or if yellow is the new black.
I prefer my world to be full of shadows and light; peace and quiet; greys, blacks and faded jewel tones. My seasons are Summer and Fall and my holidays Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en. I am not Goth; I just have gothic underpinning (they keep my soul dark and moist, like chocolate cake). I prefer my wine, beer, and bread dark and earthy, like my humour.
I smile when I have something to smile about and I laugh when I find something funny. Well, I also laugh when I encounter something so absurd or stupid that laughing seems the only thing left to do.
Below is a short list of some of the stuff I do like. Stuff that makes me happy, glad, and almost always makes me smile. It’s just the way it is and the way I prefer it to be.
- Peace and quiet.
- Grey; especially charcoal grey. I wrote an essay about it.
- Dark and stormy nights.
- My stuff vintage and second hand. I prefer the shine worn off and a bit of soul rubbed in.
- Being a brunette.
- Being a woman.
- Knitting and crochet using wool and cotton.
- Pea coats.
- Khakis and blue jeans.
- Pumpkins, apples, and strawberries.
- Molasses and maple syrup.
- Photography, web dev, and creativity books.
- Lakes and oceans.
- Poems, prose, sea shanties, and fish stories of all kinds.
- A cool room, warm bedding, a soft mattress, and fluffy pillows.
- Dogs; especially Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, and Labrador Retrievers.
- Cats in black and grey varieties.
- My truck that I can use to haul around my books and use to go camping in.
- My family.
- Hot cups of coffee and tea.
- Beer, wine, scotch, and rum.
- Nature especially trees, wolves, birds, flowers, fruit, owls, and sheep.
- Homesteading and small-scale farming.
- Cabins by lakes and cottages by the sea.
- Movies; especially Star Wars, horror, zombie, adventure, and from the 1970’s.
- The sciences especially Planetary Science.
- Men with red hair.
- Heavy metal music.
- The Internet before Web 2.0.
- Puzzles, board and dice games.
- Good horror written by King, Lovecraft, and Poe.
- Studying the history of science and philosophy.
- United Kingdom (I’m a shameless Anglophile)
- Canadian history
- Twitter because it’s short and sweet.
- Collecting coffee and tea cups.
- Make-up, perfume, soap, and moisturizers.
- Summer and Autumn, especially October.
- Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, and Yule.
- Watching entire seasons of TV shows on DVD.
I’m not going to buy any new books until February 27, 2013.
It’s true and I bet you’re shocked.
What I did was order a bunch of books I had in queue then decided I am not buying anymore, because I don’t want to.
I don’t want to do a lot of things I used to do anymore.
I’ve decided to stop hedging (that’s a long story).
I’ve decided to be frugal. This geek needs a new Macbook.
I’ve decided to try to get what I can for free and buy only what I really want or feel is necessary.
I’ve decided to share that with you so I can be held accountable.
I’ve decided to set new goals for myself and see where they take me.
I’ve decided to adopt a use-it-up policy.
I’ve decided after my analog experiment that I prefer living an analog life so no internet after work hours.
I’ve decided it’s much more fun to be a creative person than to just talk about being one.
I’ve decided that social networking sites (with the exception of Twitter and perhaps google+) are not worth putting my time into. That too is a long story. I want to set up my own website and host my blog.
I’ve decided I need reboot.
My new Farrah Fawcett hairstyle. It’s awesome. I wanted to do something different while I grow out my bangs.
In 2003 I cut off my hair because it was in such bad shape after my surgeries in 2002. Since then I’ve grown it out to mid-back. Nothing wrong with that but I kept the exact same hairstyle; sort of Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.
Since I’m deep into my nostalgia and 70’s jag, I figured I would have some fun and ask for Farrah Fawcett hair.
I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this style but it’s just fun to do something different for the rest of the year.
To be blunt, the number 1 reason I’m an introvert is because I gave up trying to have my friends be interested in my world. I’ve always been considered weird and eccentric and I don’t often share the same opinions, values, interests and hobbies as most people. I’ve always found I’m expected to be involved in the lives and dramas of my friends but it was never vice versa. It’s the same reason I don’t get involved in serious relationships; I’ve never met any guy that was available and at the same time interesting enough for me to want to be around. I find most people rather cookie-cutter, mindless, pop-culture fed zombies. hmm.
My brain is on vacation— will resume posting tomorrow. I leave you with a chinese proverb:
If there is light in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
I met Xanth (Trent) 14 years ago when I was 16. Back then he was very introverted and quiet and I was the exact opposite— your typical silly teenage girl. Now it’s as if our personalities have shifted like a pendulum. I’ve become introverted and introspective and Xanth has become less quiet and more extroverted. Not that he’s still not quiet and thoughtful— he is, but he’s definitely become more open.
Being in Cold Lake for almost 3 weeks proven to be a wise choice just with piss-poor timing. I get a weird satisfaction from being able to move around the town completely anonymous. No one knows me and I like it that way. It’s very freeing albeit makes finding a job more difficult. In the last 4 years I’m embraced my individuality— for better or worse— so living in a new town helps strengthen that. I’ve learned so much about myself these last 3 weeks it’s sometimes amazing and sometimes uncomfortable.
The last couple days on my blog I’ve written about a lot of what has shaped my beliefs. The last few weeks my blog has seen me go through an emotional rollercoaster because of the move. Yesterday, over beer and hockey, I explained to Trent that my mind felt like the TV snow when the cable has gone out. It’s dark now— at peace. Because I’m a computer technician I will use the analogy that it’s like starting over but instead of doing a reformat, it’s more like upgrading from Windows XP to Mac OSX; my thoughts and my life are not only new but also different.
I’ve just finished reading Light on Life by B.K.S Iyengar and it was beautiful and intelligently written; it makes me even more fascinated by the path of yoga. Now I’m reading a book I mentioned in an earlier post that I had bought; Tea Here Now: Relax and Rejuvenate with a Tea Lifestyle by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer:
As a promise to Inanna that I would discuss the book, here is an excerpt call Cultivating the Tea Lifestyle:
“Everything about tea inspires careful attention, from the methods of cultivation to the moment when we inhale the “breath of tea,” with its unique and exotic aroma. As health practitioners and daily tea drinkers, we know how tea has benefited and improved our own lives.
We feel we are missing something when we don’t stop for our everyday ritual of tea drinking. We miss both the simple earthiness and grounding that the vegetative tea drink bestows on us and the simple connection to the natural five elements of life (Chinese philosophy) that are found in tea: water (to make tea), fire (heat), air (wind that feeds fire), earth (leaf), and metal (pot). The tea experience offers a harmonious balance of forces in an immediate way that brings a quality to life we don’t want to do without.
Why tea here now? Tea embodies solitude and time for quieting the mind; a time for slowness, introspection and contemplation; a time to look within and get to know oneself and one’s world; a time for remembering all of the Zen monks, Taoist sages, and tea masters who have guided our way to “being” rather than “doing.”
Tea encapsulates hospitality, socialbility, and the opening of our hearts and homes to share a cup of tea with a friend or an unexpected guest. Tea relaxes us and loosens our tongue, allowing our natural generosity and good nature to come forth.
Finally, tea symbolizes sensitivity, inviting us to become aware of all our senses. It draws us in to notice its aroma, the sounds and touch of water, and the magnificent colour of its liquor. As we learn to awaken our senses and to understand the spirit of tea at its essence, we can fully experience the wholeness and interconnectedness of all life.”
usually I don’t do business with, well…big business. However, since there are no independent chemists this day and age, I had to visit Real Canadian Superstore to purchase my blood sugar medication. As I was wandering the isles waiting for my prescription to be filled I saw something that made me leave the store feeling sad and brought back memories; harvested starfish packaged in plastic bags mingling with the noxious artificially scented candles.
I’m afraid of swarming insects and for good reason; I’ve been stung 35 times (the last being Summer 2005 while walking from the video store to a coffee shop across the parking lot) and I’ve been attacked by really huge nasty ants back when I was 8 years old. Soon after the ant swarming incident, we had a neighbourhood picnic and some of the kids and I decided to go out with cans of hairspray, WD-40 and lighters and burn some ant hills. Later that night, I guess two of my neighbours, both boys, decided to sneak out and keep at it and ended up burning a small patch of the woods down.
A few years after that, my friends and I found a hornet nest and for two days we would stock up on rocks and small logs and kept assaulting the nest until it was thoroughly destroyed. Let’s say, being 10 years old I had no idea about what real damage we were doing; after all, they’re just insects right? and nasty ones at that.
However, that summer during the first week of vacation, a friend and I rode our bikes to the beach (at the time I was living on Vancouver Island). I got it in my big 10 year-old brain that I wanted to collect starfish and sand dollars in the lagoon for my bedroom. About 2 hours into the hunt I had many and suddenly I just had this bad feeling that this was a mistake. I felt sad about the couple of starfish and many sand dollars we had put in the buckets. At that moment I realized that I was causing harm to these creatures for my own selfish gains. I put the creatures back into the lagoon and after that I never collected any living creatures again including putting grasshoppers in margarine buckets and small garden snakes in glass jars with just a little grass.
Maybe that was the day I unknowingly started my journey that would lead to the Craft and paganism. I had never belonged to organized religion so my pagan beliefs weren’t an escape but the start of a natural understanding that came from a few very humble lessons. When I saw those Starfish tonight I was sad because I know that they weren’t dead from washing up on the shore, but rather harvested for the delight of the middle-class sheeple to buy then allow to collect dust on some tacky table. Imagine, the lives of these beautiful creatures ending to become decorative accessories.
Since July 2004, I’ve been studying Ayurveda, some TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and Yoga. In January 2005 I added Witchcraft to that. I used to study Witchcraft many years ago but gave up when almost everything I read was throw-the-book-at-the-wall nonsense. I stayed true to paganism but didn’t explore anything further.
As I’ve been studying deeper into Ayurveda and ancient Indian texts, I’ve seen a recurring theme that I find disheartening. That theme is that human beings are a mistake and only by denying ourselves as we are, will we ever reach a perfect state of being. These texts include teachings that our senses and egos and emotions and even our thoughts are barriers to what’s called pure bliss consciousness or union with the divine. It teaches that only by detachment, stillness and suppression of our ego and senses can we ever hope to become enlightened beings but at the same time basically saying we’re too flawed to really expect it anyways. Basically, we can do everything well and to our best efforts but most likely we’re all going to fail.
As a pagan, I believe that humans are no less perfect than a leaf, a wolf or even an amoeba. I see divine perfection in everything and don’t believe we are flawed. When I look at the faces of my mother and father I feel nothing but love. I don’t see mistakes and flaws and I don’t see original sin.
I strive for a deeper connection to the divine and I do feel that I can always be better at being me. I understand control and right choices and right living but I refuse to deny my person, my senses and my intellect. It’s probably what makes me a better witch than a hindu ;)
reading gothamist today and they had this article on a restaurant in New York City called Cookshop that serves “farm fresh, local, sustainable foods”. I love hearing news that there are urban city dwellers that are doing their part to show that living in a city is not a hindrance for supporting sustainable, evironmentally friendly living.
Shopping locally, buying organic foods and materials, and using environmentally safe cleaning supplies are 3 incredibly easy ways to make incredibly noticeable benefits to the environment and our bodies.
- move to Alberta
- buy a wacom tablet
- write a non-fiction book
- buy a digital camera
- study art
- travel to Italy and France
7 things I can do:
- use power tools very well
- read ungodly amount of books
- swim like a fish
- fix computers
- appreciate art
- see beyond the ordinary
7 things I can’t do:
- eat peas and celery
- computer programming
- ride a motorcycle
- sit still
- not sing in the car
- stay out in the sun during summer
- own tacky furniture
7 things that scare me:
- tacky furniture
- plastic furniture
- swarming insects
- society’s capacity for cruelty
- society’s lack of support of individuality
- society’s apathy especially towards voting for government
- Christian and Muslim fundamentalists
7 random facts about me:
- I don’t like the hum of refridgerators or the ticking of clocks
- I crave peace and quiet
- I’m obsessed with colour and Star Wars
- I want to design and build my own house
- I love architecture and illustration
- I’m a minimalist
- I was raised on a military college campus
7 things I say alot:
- don’t panic
- that’s bizarre
- can I get your phone number starting with the area code