Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Times Past, Present, and Future

I do realize that I’ve been anything but an assiduous blogger as of late, but feeling guilt over something as trivial as a blog seems unwarranted. I make only a small apology to any individuals out there who might actually pop into this corner of the Internet from time to time, and whose annoyance grows stronger every time they are greeted by my October entry when the page finishes loading. Since my marked blogging decline, my main hits on this site seem to be directed from my Flickr profile or random searches on Google. (Last week, I was the #1 result on Google for search terms including “great unity nipple,” “nonsomnia,” “nude acrobats on a beach,” and “Belgian marshmallows.”) Life, as usual, is very good, but often busy. There never seems to be enough time to spend with people, or to enjoy the things that I delight in the most. Every night I like to make a list of things that brightened my day, and while there’s never a lack of fodder for my Happy List, sometimes I wish that there were a few extra days in each week to add to that fodder. Not that lengthening the weeks would help very much unless it subsequently lengthened our life spans, but I’d like to imagine that it would.

Fortunately, this leap year February graced us with an extra day, and I mostly managed to take advantage of the 29-day-month. Matt and I visited the art gallery, Upper Crust, and waterpark, three of my very favourite places. It’s always a joy to be able to share my favourite things with my favourite person. I packed in as many movies as I could before the Oscars, with the assistance of this strange Chinese web site that offers a wide selection of poor quality streaming movies (there probably is a more technical way of saying this that Dad and Matt would correct me on, but Google is not providing any better description). Heretofore, I hadn’t watched a movie without paying for it, except for once by accident, and I’m still not sure how I feel about the ethics of it all, but I really wanted to see all the Best Picture nominees beforehand and had no time besides late at night during reading week. Plus, Jess’ preferred Chinese web site even provides me with Mandarin subtitles with every movie so I can follow along.

I didn’t have any strong favourites of the 5 films, although Atonement was probably my top pick of the bunch, given that I wept profusely during its final scenes. I thought that There Will be Blood was very well done, but I wasn’t really moved by it. At all. My family insists that I must watch it on a regular TV to actually get the point of the film, but I’m skeptical. I was sad to read today that the Oscar ratings dropped to a record low this year, because I derive so much enjoyment from both the anticipation and actual evening itself. Jon Stuart was great as usual, and there were several dresses that Jess and I ogled over (Cameron Diaz, Keri Russel, and Jennifer Garner earned particularly loud shrieks from our side of the room). Crystal even dressed up in suspenders and a blazer for the occasion. Highlights of the night included Marketa Irglova’s belated acceptance speech, the absurdity of the Rock presenting an Oscar, and As per usual, I won the Oscar pool, and there were no real shockers besides the actress categories, but the speeches and Binocular/Periscope montage added sufficient excitement to keep me on the edge of my seat.

In other inconsequential news, the crotchetiness of my stomach is now rivaled only by Scrooge and the Grinch. I cannot eat most raw fruits and vegetables without having painful contractions by my cardia sphincter (fancy word!), which my doctor has told me nothing can be done about. Thus, I am limited to a potentially scurvy-inducing diet at times. Additionally, I now develop heartburn alarmingly easily, and take Tums most days. This isn’t really that unpleasant, and there are far worse plights that people face health-wise, but I do sometimes feel as though my body is falling apart at the young age of 22. I’m popping Tums like elderly men do, and feel sort of ridiculous when I have to explain to people why exactly I don’t want a piece of the apple that they’re offering me. On the digression of food and drink, I’m still toiling away at your local neighbourhood Second Cup, and loving it a great deal. I am now officially the veteran at the café, with my three years there being longer than anyone else’s residence at my dear place of employment (even longer than my boss’ 2 years). I feel blessed to be able to talk to my customers and fellow baristas about everything from God to boyfriends to the average cost of a marijuana joint, and never have a dull day when I work.

I’ll continue to work at the café over the summer while I take courses to finish up my degree (and graduate!!), and then plan on finding an actually decent-paying job and MOVING OUT. I’ve been quite lucky to avoid racking up student debt and live with my splendid family up until now, but it seems that there is a point in one’s adult life when it comes time to be independent and pay one’s own water, gas, and phone bills. It has always been agreed upon in my family that I would find a place of my own when I finished my undergrad degree, but I must admit that it’s a bit strange (and exciting and scary) that that time is nigh. I’ll be taking this next year off to work and figure things out before likely heading back to school next fall for a couple more years. I have a fabulous and kind-hearted roommate to potentially shack up with, and we did some thrilling house-hunting last night (or apartment-hunting as Matt would like me to qualify). I’m getting pretty keyed up. I have crafted the most beautiful monthly budget for the next year, with lots of Excel bells and whistles, and have made Jess come and admire its majesty too many times to count. I open my budget every single day at least once in anticipation of how organized and frugal I’m going to be. Matt is also going to be finding a decent-paying job and MOVING OUT (although it’s less scary for him because he’s already lived without parental supervision), and he too has arranged to live with a fabulous and kind-hearted roommate (in an area that I can actually bike/walk to with relative ease!). Planning ahead for things as grown up as living sans-parents for the first time can be quite uncertain and tricky, but God has come through big time in working so many things out. I feel lucky.

I’m blogging in part because I’m using this blog towards my ePortfolio for a course I’m taking on Children and the Web (as in the World Wide Web), one of the 5 great classes I’m taking this term. Being in my last year of my Bachelor’s degree has been bittersweet at times, because I really am going to miss some of my courses and university life so very, very much. This time of life is quite unique, and being entrenched in an academic environment like the UofA has profoundly changed the way I see the world and think about it. Not that I was an uninformed and close-minded teenager coming into university (egotistically, I think I was anything but that), but I’ve learned so much, both life lessons and scholastic lessons, over the past 4 years that I feel a sense of ignorance that I’ve never felt before. There’s so much that I now see I have left to learn, and I see a world full of questions and challenges that I’ve yet to figure out. I feel less comfortable leaving science and logic alone to answer these questions, and am not quite so assured about the things that I once felt so certain of. I’ve come to recognize that I don’t understand everything, and a lot of my questions will remain unanswered in my lifetime. I’ve made a boatload of mistakes, which I hope I’ve learned from, and I’ve grown into a Christian whose a bit more mature than the self-possessed 17-year-old I was coming out of high school. Over the course of this thing that we call a post-secondary education, I’ve made some lifelong friends, become an expert on psychology, found a home in a new church, hopefully become a bit of a better person, and fallen quite deeply in love. There are things I regret, and things I’m proud of, but most of all, I’m excited to find out what God has in store.

There never really comes a point where I’ve exhausted my ammo to ramble aimlessly with, but there is a point at which (if there are any of you still reading this), readers must inevitably tire of my thoughts. Thus, I’ll leave this entry at that, and try to update you soon on all things Cait-related. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you in person in the near(ish) future, or I will fire an email your way soon (especially if your name also happens to include the initials CJ). I trust that you’re all relishing the first signs of spring, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Easter!

P.S. My blog is so much more meaningful than Matt’s occasional music posts. I still like him (and his blog) though.
P.P.S. Sigur Rós' Heima can now be seen on YouTube. Watch it.
P.P.P.S. The horrid bunny that resides under my family’s balcony and spies on me at all times of the day, and is very dissimilar from the Eater bunny, has returned. I loathe the balcony bunny.
P.P.P.P.S. Puddle-splashing season has arrived. Hoo-ray!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hello Again

Hello friends. It’s been a while since I’ve sent salutations via the blogosphere, and for that I apologize (but only slightly, because some things in life are more important than blogging). Life is, as usual, mostly good. Some of the thoughts running through my head at the moment aren’t suited very well for Internet discussion, but I’d love to chit-chat about them over a mug of tea or a swing ride or a walk through the river valley. I did lots of working, learning, biking, listening, dating, reading, and praying over the summer, and while I kind of miss the carefree nights and lovely moments spent outdoors, it seems fitting to move into a new season. I’m excited for this fresh term of school, another semester spent with C&Cers, new music and movies and TV, learning more about God, and a job that I love. The summer brought about some changes, which have made life a bit more full and interesting. Donald Miller writes about how change is vital because a shift from our “normal” lives gives us perspective to see how “un-normal” our lives are. It’s easy to take the little (and big) blessings for granted when they look the same everyday, so I’ve found that changing up my routines and priorities is healthy (although as Crystal will tell you, I like little changes, but big changes are often dreadfully unappealing to me). Life has seemed kind of hectic over the past few weeks with school and work and church things, but c’est la vie when you’re a working student, I suppose. Plus, there’s always time to indulge in some of my favourite things once in a while, whether a bike ride with Hessica, a phone conversation with Matt, or a good read.

It’s rather predictable of me to articulate my love of the impending autumn in a mid-October blog entry, but it’s really too exciting not to. I think that pretty much every season is my favourite season, but fall is undeniably the most beautiful of all the seasons. The sun still provides a warm glow in the afternoon at this time of year, and now that the trees are becoming shot through with warm colours, the world feels cozy and friendly. Walking through the crunchy leaves is so very satisfying and evocative of other autumns in my life. When I think back to autumns of previous years though, it’s easy to see that I’ve come a fair distance in my perspective on myself and the world, and I see steps forward in my walk with God, which is tremendously encouraging. I can be quite egocentric from time to time, and find myself wondering what else I might have to learn about life, but God never fails to humble me and show me that I have a great deal to learn about life. As I get older, it becomes increasingly apparent that the breadth of human knowledge barely scratches the surface of all there is to know. I find that amazing. It’s also reassuring, because I can find great joy and pleasure in learning about and pondering Creation and God for the whole rest of my life, but I can still trust that God knows infinitely more (and better) than me. I read some great books over the summer that were challenging and gave me a lot of food for thought, and am presently reading one by Shane Claiborne that makes me cry it’s so good. If I suddenly become illiterate at some point in my life, it would be enormously tragic. Books never fail to inspire, convict, encourage, and teach me, and I’m grateful for the leisure to read them in.

On the topic of things I’m grateful for, it was Thanksgiving this past weekend, one of those annual holidays that affords one the opportunity to think back on the past year and recognize all the things I have to be thankful for. I spent most of the weekend with both sides of my family, which was lovely. If I grow up to be half as cool as my aunties, uncles, parents, and grandparents, I’ll be pretty insanely cool. Over the years, they’ve learned how to really appreciate the fullness of life, how to love others to the best of their abilities, and how to gain insight and perspective. We had lots of laughs together, along with mountains of food, and I was blessed by our time spent together. Of course, at each of these family get-togethers, Jess was my lovely seating companion, which brings along with it a number of things to be thankful for. For example, did you know that by simply aiming a camera lens in Jess’ general vicinity, she will perform a highly entertaining fit of rage for you? Or that she is always available for discussion of the evolutionary value of berries and orange leaves? Or that she will bake cookies for you on a whim? She does all that, and much more. She’s a wonderful friend, and I’m mucho-grateful for her. Another person who it’s possible that I might potentially want to mention on the topic of my thankfulness is Mr. Matthew Barker. After a while of dating this charming fellow, I’ve conclusively determined that he’s truly lovely, and that I’m awfully lucky to be able to share good talks, pretty music, sporting events, and general shenanigans with him. It’s odd that being with someone could make me so ridiculously happy, but this is certainly the case. I hadn’t really imagined that I’d click with someone like we do, so I feel fortunate to have found that. I could go on and on about Matt, but I’ll leave it at that. I want to keep blogging, but I've decided that it's not quite worth it to go into lengthy thoughts, so blogging might become more of an update on my life. I do enjoy getting my thoughts out in written form, but I think it's good for blogging to be a bit lower on my list of priorities. Keep checking in though, I'm still here! I pray that all of you had restful long weekends, and have cause to be thankful for life’s blessings, both large and trivial.

Now playing: Great Lake Swimmers - I Will Never See The Sun

P.S. I’m thankful for you too.
P.P.S. Making puns about being thankful, and being full from Thanksgiving is quite enjoyable, but no one else seems to find them as amusing as I do, so I’ll spare you.
P.P.P.S. I started listening to Christmas music this week. It’s rather early, but it’s sooo good.

Some Things that I'm Thankful For
- my beautiful work girls and silly boss Dion
- bike rides on the leaves lining the streets
- graham crackers
- exciting municipal elections
- green tea with honey (hot or iced)
- Matthew 5 (especially in the Message)
- pink fridge lights at the café
- my admirable shopping restraint
- friends who make me laugh and think
- the History of Psychology with Leo Mos
- warming my blankets with my hairdryer
- a chance (albeit slim) of the Eskies making it into the playoffs
- live music
- new seasons of The Office, Survivor, and Grey's Anatomy
- used movies from Rogers
- bagel sandwiches with havarti
- card games
- "Samson" by Regina Spektor
- "Fashionable People" by Joel Plaskett
- Saturday mornings without work
- "Io" by Helen Stellar
- "Deportation/Iguazu" by Gustavo Santaolalla
- "Be Good or Be Gone" by Fionn Regan
- "Love Keep Us Together" by Martin Sexton
- "After the Afterlife" by Chad van Gaalen
- Botolf the iPod
- a new Wes Anderson movie
- songs composed and performed by Matt
- bunny rabbit mittens
- Jess' baking
- my blue plaid housecoat
- new neighbours
- my smart, joyful, and loving family
- turkey and pumpkin pie
- Steeps being open again
- upcoming board game parties
- a church that I feel proud to be a part of
- watching "Ali G" with Jess and Dad
- the death of flies and moths with the autumn cold
- Polaroid pictures
- my wind-up robot Reginald
- CBC Radio