Fall-winter continuum
10:51 AM | 2 comments

I called home yesterday to my mum’s house, where everyone had gathered to celebrate my little brother’s 19th birthday. They were eating teriyaki chicken, and my grama’s scalloped potatoes with corn flakes on top.
I could hear cutlery clanking against plates in the background, and I knew exactly what they looked like because this scene has played out for every birthday. The birthday guest of honour sits at the head of the table, flanked by grama on the left, sibling on the right. Mum sits at the other table end, close to the kitchen. My little sister dims the dining room lights and mum comes around the corner, face aglow with the candles in front of her, atop a homemade chocolate cake as everyone sings happy birthday.
“We were just saying to each other how weird it was that you aren’t here,” my mum told me, from 5,000 km away.
“I know. I’ll be home for the next birthday though!” I cheerily forced out. (I will indeed by flying home in less than a month for wedding prep, three days before my own birthday)
My brother took a break between corn flake potato scoops to thank me for the card and Rolling Stone subscription.
“What’s it like up there?” he asked.
“Funny you should ask, it’s snowing and cold and today we even had to go out to buy toques and gloves,” I said, amazing myself even at how inappropriate the weather is here, at least in terms of September.
“Really,” he said, stating it, not asking. “We’re here in like shorts and T-Shirts, it must’ve been 25 out today,” he tried not to gloat. Yesterday marked the calendar start to fall, and I watched big fat snowflakes fall on the roof of my truck from my balcony doorway.
“I can’t wait to come home,” I said. I do have that to look forward to, the visit home and the wedding that’s becoming so real and exciting. But what happens when I don’t have a visit home to look forward to? When it’s dark out for most of the day here and colder than any temperature my skin and bones have known before? What happens when there’s no escape in sight and the people who make winters pass faster are all back home?
When the only thing I want to do os skate the canal and eat Beavertails? Then what?

11:25 AM | 3 comments

For over a year now I have tried to play down my excitement but I now I can’t. No more! It’s coming so soon, it’s OK to explode in a giant joygasm now! I don’t have to be concerned that it’ll seem too far away if I use up all my excitement too soon!
The wedding is in two months and I’m just going to burst! My mum mailed out the invitations yesterday so it’s real now! People will start writing back to tell us if they’re coming! The ivory stock card and ribbon concoctions the girls and I put together months ago while watching “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” are now in envelopes in vans and airplanes being sent across the country.
The guest list we came up with last fall (so we knew numbers) have now become the names of people invited to my wedding!
The dress I picked out so long ago is going to be ON me in less than 2 months and everyone will stare at it at 3 p.m. when I walk down the aisle.
People are asking me if I’m stressed, to which I reply, “NO way!” This is so exciting, I almost don’t want it to stop! My mum and I have this wonderful project together and my very best friends are all at home working like wonderful worker bees to get things ready. Let’s be real: When the concern is red versus copper tulle, there can be no stress. This is awesome!
I’m so excited to go home and see everyone, and have my homecoming culminate in a wedding to the BEST guy ever! Everyone says that, I know. But for me, this guy is the BEST. I mean it, no one can be better. :)
Oooooo I wish I could just hit the vowel keys iiiiii uuuuuu aaaaa and have you understand how excited I am. That is the highest degree of clarity with which I think I can express myself, vowels.
It’s 59 days and 21 hours away!

Working for the weekend
8:20 PM | 2 comments

Amidst all my northern self-discovery and deep thoughts, I find myself at a standstill when it comes to work.
I am working for the weekend, clocking in my 8 hours a day just to get out, to go home, to get one out of five days closer to the weekend’s return. I don’t lament work. I don’t dread coming. While there, I am usually pleased with the level of effort I put in, and in retrospect I am very proud of the work I do and the role I play in society via my occupation.
For the two months between when I was done school and moved here, I became so bored without a job. My routine was gluttonous, non-contributive. It was relaxing, but you know when you get relaxed, it’s even harder to get up and do something. Besides, I had the luxury of looking forward to guaranteed work.
But now that I’m here, now that I’ve decorated my desk with pictures and a now-dying ivy, the novelty has worn off. I’m at work, I sit at my desk, and the grass is looking greener on the other side.
On the weekend I can sleep in, I can take my time baking and cooking. I can watch teen movies on TBS and stay in sweatpants. I can have Saturday nights, a drink, and an excuse to wear shinier, silkier shirts than normal. I can do the things I put off until the weekend, I can have lunch when I want to!
Come Sunday, I don’t look forward to the next day’s 9 to 5. I ceremoniously pick out my clothes and get the week’s groceries that will turn into brown bag lunches. That’s no fun.
Work is like the boring parent. The one you spend the most time with so that the things you get accustomed to doing together are no longer treats, they’re just ‘the way.’ Then the fun parent comes home, the one who hasn’t spent all day punishing you, and you have the option of being silly and goofy where before, that behaviour indicated it was perhaps time for a nap.
Does my lack of continuously motivating passion for work mean I am not meant to be a journalist? Am I supposed to be tuned into my inner reporter all the time, always on the job, therefore meaning work is life and life is work and there is no more looking forward to the weekend? Am I supposed to be so satisfied by my weekday job that it is almost difficult to leave Friday at closing?
It’s Friday at 11;18 and 5 o’clock is looking real far from now.

Asking Questions Like It's My Job...oh, wait
2:17 PM | 1 comments

They say to ask and ye shall receive. This is something so basic and simple, I’ll chalk it up to accidental overlooking when people don’t ask. I listen to people whine, “Why won’t he do that?”, “Why won’t they promote me?”, “Where did mum put my socks?”, until I cannot bite my tongue.
"Why don’t you ask?" and then I repeat the old saying, old complete with the word ‘ye’ even.
It’s done me well so far in my (albeit short) journalism career. When colleagues kindly (it really is well-intentioned) advise me not to bother trying to get some info, trying to talk to some particularly difficult source, I often tell them I’ll try anyway. Nine times out of ten it works. Maybe it’s my blond hair, maybe it’s because I asked nicely. Either way, I have found that asking has got me answers. A simple prerogative, yet effective in reporting.
But what about beyond us? Woah. Getting existential, I know. But seriously, what about asking for what we want? Asking God or the universe or whatever force you may or may not believe in that oversees our existence. My Catholic school called it prayer, but I don’t want to use that word here because to me, prayer has been taught to me to be something like this:
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (fearing that if I didn’t “dial in” to God correctly, he wouldn’t pick up the line)
“I pray that you can please forgive me for being a big fat sinner so that I may go to heaven when I die. Amen” (Religious click as I put down the prayer phone)
At least that’s the take I got.
I probably lost faith in the power of asking God for stuff when he didn’t deliver on my eighth grade requests.
“Please let Nick really like me back and make him want to go out with me forever.” Nick being Nick Carter. It never happened, and so I stomped off angrily, pissed off like teenagers get.
But now that I have resolved that I don’t really want to marry Nick Carter (man, he got fat and ugly) I have returned to the idea that maybe I can ask for stuff, and maybe, by virtue of asking, I will get it.
This hit me yesterday when I returned to swimming laps. (I thought it was so easy. 40 laps and I was laughing. Until about an hour later, when my legs gave out and I was comatose) I thought, maybe instead of asking for things like patience and courage and stuff, I could ask for specifics, so God wouldn’t get confused and give me patience while sleeping or courage when peeing. You know, couldn’t hurt to clarify.
So I thought I’d ask to become closer with my mum. We’re close, and having a blast planning the wedding, but there’s been an unexplained awkwardness on my part when talking to her. I have no idea why. She has even asked me what’s wrong. So I put it out there.
“Look, I have no reason to be all awkward. She’s my mum, she’s let me puke on her. She’s seen me embarrassed beyond belief. Can you make me less awkward when I talk to her so we get get past said barriers and get closer? Thanks.”
I also asked for more opportunities to meet friends here. Between work, the drive, and home, I haven’t met too many people, and I’d really like to have something more to do on a FRiday than hang out with Goober watching “Monster-In-Law.” I asked for a friend or two, people to call here when fun things happen, to gossip with about American’s Next Top Model, and to go OUT with on weekends. Thanks.

I’ll let you know if I receive. For my part, I will be consciously trying to push these things along too. Cuz I know God has like a bajillion people to answer to.

I wonder what Nick Carter asks for...

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Everybody's changing and I don't feel the same
7:05 PM | 4 comments

I think the lead singer of the band that sang that song is in rehab, which is a bummer, and made me think twice about using his chorus to describe what’s going on lately, since the changes around me aren’t pointing towards rehab. Unless you count the feature article I’m working on about rehab.
I can feel Whitehorse changing me. Or me changing in Whitehorse, whatever karmic chicken and egg analogy you want to use.
I can look back at 2 months ago me, new in this northern mountain town gawking at the stereotypical small town staples and boasting about what I knew. I knew nothing. I deliberately set out to come here with a mind open to whatever unfolded before me. And to be fair to myself, I tried to be, and thought I was.
But as newer people come, and I see 2 months ago me in them, I recognize that I am changing.
I don’t try and figure out how much money people make when I meet them.
I don’t purport to understand anything, knowing that I can never truly understand something 100 %.
I don’t care what purse I bring with me, if it matches, or if its season-appropriate. That was the first to go.
I don’t gloat about hiking a mountain when the people I live here with do that twice a week and travel all over the territory doing so for fun.
I don’t purport to be a runner, at least not by Yukon standards. I am a runner in early training. When my colleagues run half marathons just for kicks, up and down mountain trails even, I cannot in good grace call myself a race runner. Humble pie for me!
I drive slower, and don’t notice.
I get excited to go to WalMart.
I get excited to order catalogues.
I don’t spend paycheques the day I get them after one walk through the Rideau Centre.
I don’t spend all my paycheque ever.
I write letters on nice note paper, and take the time to do this without scheduling it in between classes, work, bus rides or coffee runs.
I do yoga every morning, waking up at 6:00 and I really LIKE it.
I don’t get tired until bedtime.
I drink 2L of water a day, and notice when I don’t because of the lip-smacking and tongue scraping I unconsciously begin doing.
I can’t go a day without a book to read, or continue reading. (On to Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex)
I am learning the names of plants and animals around me, expanding my natural savvy beyond the squirrels, sparrows, rabbits and Maples that formed the suburban nature of home.
I don’t feel like a tourist anymore, and I stopped shopping in the tourist stores.
In short, I am retaining the me I like and building on it with the characteristics that Whitehorse air has begun filling me with. Like a slow intoxication of Yukon qualities with every breath of mountain air. I am scared I’ll visit home a different person. But isn’t that why I was excited to move here n the first place, seeing who I’d turn into?
I feel excited and anxious to meet a little more of the new me every day. It just requires the kind of quiet and introspection that a slowed-down, balanced and happy life I’m getting from Whitehorse.