Not so perfect, not so young

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Arguing for fun and sport

Today I was thinking about how, when I used to teach ESL, I would try and try to help my students understand the difference between a dependent and an independent clause, which was very hard to do, so they would write a lot of essays that contained sentences beginning with "but", "because", and "or", and I would try to convey to them that you could actually join two clauses together using words like that, and if you don't join clauses occastionally, your writing looks more like abstract poetry that a TOEFL-award-winning essay. For example:

I like to swimming with my family.
But my sister is not like swim.
Because my sister is afraid of to swim.
When the sharks are in water.
She is thinking they will be bite the foot.

I realized that my style of writing lately has contained a lot of those same awkward one-clause sentences, so I thought that I would write a post that contains sentences with a lot of clauses. Check out all the commas, and all of the conjunctions, and adverb clause markers. Whooo!

Today's post is for any armchair psychologists who might like to speculate on why we do what we do. The thing is, I'm an argumentative person, but I only enjoy arguing in certain situations, with certain people. Specifically, I love to argue with my husband or some other family members, but I am paralyzed with fear and anxiety if I can sense the slightest hint of an argument growing with acquaintances or colleagues. I'm too lazy to analyse the situation, but if anyone has any thoughts on why it's fun to argue with those we love, please let me know your thoughts.

My love for arguing resulted in a strange situation yesterday; I'd had an okay day, but when my husband came home, I picked a fight wherein I criticized his haircut, which is totally a legitimate thing for me to criticize because I am the one who cuts his hair, because he refuses to get his hair cut in a salon). I'm not sure why I started the argument, but my main points were as follows: a) I'm not good at cutting hair, because no one has ever taught me how, b) The haircuts I give Daniel make him look like a character from "Dumb and Dumber", because he will only use styling products on his hair for special occasions such as weddings and graduations, c) He should get a decent haircut in a barbershop or salon so I can at least use that as a guide for one or two subsequent haircuts. This went on for some time, and we both knew it was just arguing for the sake of hearing me raise my voice (because other people in the house need to hear my arguments so they can side with me when I ask for support).

(Writing long sentences is hard work)

The strange thing was that the argument ended with Daniel cutting his own hair over the bathroom sink, and this really wasn't my intention when I started the hair tyrade in the first place. Boy, did he show me! Now he looks a bit like he escaped from bootcamp before they finished shearing the new recruits.

Next time I pick a fight, I'll argue about the dishes or the vacuuming, so he can demonstrate his superior skill in those tasks. Back to my main question: Why do I argue for fun and recreation with the person I love most in the world, but I am terrified of actually disagreeing with people I don't like one bit?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Daniel and I are planning to move this winter. . . back to my home town. I haven't lived there in almost ten years, since I left for school. I left the small 'city' behind, and haven't looked back. I have loved all the cities I've lived in.

Toronto unfolded in an ever-increasing radius around Trinity College for the four years I was there. I miss that city a lot. Of course, it had its problems. As a prairie girl, I found that there was a lot less horizon, and it was extremely difficult to find a place to watch the sunset. When Daniel proposed to me, he drove for over an hour into the "countryside", and we still couldn't find unbroken horizon.

When we moved to Calgary, we had the best of both worlds, horizon-wise. The mountains in the distant west, the open prairies to the east - and we only had to drive for about 15 minutes to find that open sky. It was a beautiful city, with the smoothest rollerblading trails around. Both Daniel and I had okay jobs, but there wasn't much to keep us there.

Then it was Edmonton. This is a beautiful city - we're near the river valley, and a great shopping and restaurant area. I enjoy school here, Daniel likes his job, and we enjoy the community we've found through school, choir, and church. Running here is fantastic - the air is fresh, and the trails are great.

So despite loving it here, and despite amazing job opportunities for me in this province, we're planning to move. There are a lot of advantages to the move, but it's still a struggle to really accept that it's going to happen.

Good stuff: We'll be closer to family (both mine and Daniel's - hello future babysitters!), we won't be strangers to little nieces and nephews, the cost of living will be MUCH lower (house buying?!), and there will be 360 degrees of unbroken prairie within a ten minute drive.

Maybe not-so-good stuff: Leaving a good choir (with little hope of finding one in the area), less access to shopping/restaurants, living in a place where people ONLY drive around, and other miscellaneous lame complaints

I have a year to come to terms with these things. It's nice that the not-so-good stuff is generally superficial. It's also nice that I have a chance to go along with Daniel's hopes and dreams for once. I owe him one.

Friday, February 17, 2006

cough cough

I have a cold. I don't like it. I don't get sick very often, but it seems to be going around quite a lot right now. Even my 9 hours of sleep per night didn't protect me (both my mom and my husband swear that they get sick as soon as they haven't had enough sleep - they're very sensitive to that sort of thing).

I have some ideas about where I caught this cold. For example, I work with small children a couple of times a week, and many of them have been sick with colds. Even though their moms have very responsibly taught them to cough into their little bent elbows, they still do charming things like play with their chewing gum, pop it back into their mouths, and then say, "I want to hold your hand!!" My mental note to WASH MY HANDS fades over the next hour, until I've put a bite of cookie into my mouth with that same hand. Sigh. Sometimes I could use just a bit bigger dose of OCD.

Fortunately, I have an arsenal of remedies that I enjoy. For example, coffee is supposed to act as a decongestant. And chocolate, according to my friend's science-y website, contains theobromine, which is thought to act as a cough suppressant (yay for Valentine's day). And echinacea is my all-time favorite placebo/immune-system booster. Of course, I eat sensible things like fresh fruit and vegetables for good measure.

This cold is extra unfortunate because tonight, our choir is kicking off our city's first-ever 24-hour SINGATHON!! It's a big fundraiser for our African Projects Fund - our choir is doing some epic fundraising in hopes of bringing our twin choir, Mascato, to Canada from Namibia for a spring tour. There's been a lot of publicity for it recently, so it's very exciting, but we're down to the wire with a good chunk of money left to go. C'mon philanthropy! We live in a VERY rich province, so it will be very disappointing if it doesn't happen! I'll be there, lip-synching my heart out.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Concert day!

Yesterday, the choir that I'm in had it's annual "Stories" concerts - two concerts in which the pieces are linked through themes and dramatic narratives. The musical connection we share with the audience is palpable, and during our performance, I almost burst with happiness that I could be a part of such a wonderful experience.

(note picture of me and my sister, bursting with happiness)

I used to be rather cynical about this sort of thing, so my gushing over it really means something. I can totally understand why this choir is a spiritual home for so many of its members. It really is something unique.

This just in (o2-17-06): A choir parent has put up lots of pictures of the concert here. I'm in there somewhere!
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Welcome, Dear Reader

Yay! I have one reader!

Today, I was wondering if anyone reads my blog, and I briefly debated making an "IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?" kind of post. Now I don't have to do that, because I learned that one of my friends DOES read this blog from time to time. It's nice to know that.

I know that the presence of comments isn't a reliable way of knowing if anyone is reading this, because I am definitely a stealth-reader of other people's blogs. I check in regularly, and never comment. It's kind of funny, because if I actually run into someone whose blog I've read, I have to decide whether or not to play dumb when I've actually just read about all the blogworthy current events in their life. I opt for dumb most of the time.

(note re: "their life" - I'm deliberately using the 3rd person plural pronoun "they/their" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, simply because English doesn't have one. And while I'm on the subject of pronouns, I think I'll be promoting the use of "all y'all" and "all y'all's" as the 2nd person plural /possessive, because it's evident that we Canadians need a clear distinction between plural and singular "you" in our dialect. Plus I like the Southern flair.)

So reader(s?), please feel free to play dumb and/or be a stealth-reader. I don't mind.

One more thought for the day - go check out today's post on this blog. I really enjoyed it. Grab a tissue before you click that link!

Friday, February 03, 2006


This city is going through a freakishly warm winter - the high today was +4. For a Canadian February, that's pretty crazy. I celebrated by going for a run. I've been on a bit of a fitness hiatus over the past few months, and MAN is it good to get out and a run again. I've been taking it easy for the last couple of runs, but today I turned it up a notch. On the home stretch of my run, I saw some Mormon missionaries about to cross my path, and I wondered whether they would try to stop a sweaty, red-faced runner. I enjoyed the Doppler effect on the 'hi hOW ARE YOU today'. No way was I stopping.

There are often Mormon missionaries on the main road near my house, and I'm usually in a rush when they try to talk with me. Sometimes I'm tempted to talk to them, mainly to find out more about what they believe, and what they say they believe (I'm not sure if those two things would line up completely). Having done my share of Christian outreach as a teenager, I definitely have a soft spot for young people who are trying to share their faith. It's not easy, and if I'd had half the boldness that they have, my youth missions would have been very different experiences.