Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Morning Starshine, the Earth Says Hello

My dear friend Kelly paid homage to her last ten years with a beautiful review of her history. I could regale you all with all sorts of crazy stories: moving in with my best friend, loving and thinking I was loved, running away, being broken, learning how to sleep again, being manipulated, car accidents, and falling in love with the right person. And really, that was only the first three years... Then there was the past 7 years... 6 years of marriage and one year of crazy fun. Lots of false starts in school and life, getting laid off, and finding out all sorts of cute things about my favorite person. (DH can't get dressed until he has socks on... CAN'T. How cute is that? That said, I brush my teeth with hot water.)

Anyways. I am way too impatient to go over all of that- I am happy where I am, I am looking to be eventually gainfully employed, (two interviews on Monday... fingers crossed.)

This decade has been weird, nothing has gone as I thought I wanted it to. My decade in a nut shell has been amazing and painful. There is no nutshell, its all over the board. This year was hard. I lost my job. My mother in law has been very ill. My own mother is facing surgery in January. My family lives far away, and my schedule has not permitted a lot of visiting with much of anyone. School is really tiring.

So... Good riddance 2009. I have had my fill of you, and I am ready to embrace the new, the foreign, the exciting. I am welcoming it all to me and mine. I am calling success and happiness to my side of the universe this instant.

I am so lucky to have my partner in crime, and I wish everyone a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Give Thanks, and Give Back

Well. Don't I feel sheepish. Everywhere I look I am surrounded by giving amazing people, and here I am worrying over the state of my life. It's time to take a step back, think about how lucky I am, and work on making my environment better through working for others.

Lately I have not necessarily been a scrooge, but I have been focused on getting 'the family stuff' out of the way, or under control. I love Christmas. I love the giving that happens (not presents, just the helping and conscientious awareness of what others need). I also love the aesthetic- I don't have a big tree, I have a small wrought iron tree and some green shrubbies, but the white stuff flying outside my window (Oh, does it EVER snow in Edmonton!) definitely completes the white Christmas motif.

That said- the giving and the love and the 'Christmas Spirit' so to speak has not been on my mind. That has changed this week.

Story 1)
This weekend we went to my parents house for 'Christmas' (we have agreed to spend Christmas with one family each year- taking turns) My dad's mom and her husband were there. She has Alzheimers, and has a lot of trouble getting around. If you think there is no good in the world, you have not seen a family lovingly remind the matriarch more than 30 times a day who they are, where she is, that her purse is fine, and that they are there to help. You have not seen a 59 year old man help his mother shower, and then have his daughter do her hair so that she feels special. You haven't seen my rock climbing tom-boy of a sister do a perfect manicure on a shaky older woman who then struggles to open her gifts without wrecking said beautiful nails.

Story 2)
When we left, I forgot my phone at my parents house. I was just going to get a friend who would be in Calgary (a three hour drive away) to drop by and pick it up, but my father (a devotee to the laptop, the cell phone, and as of 'christmas' time a GPS for his car) realized I left it behind, and immediately sent it by overnight mail. He knows that although I don't NEED my phone, I am happier with it, and he is providing that for me. Small, but so thoughtful.

Story 3)
I follow a myriad of other blogs. I love watching people grow and experience their own 'stuff' and reflect on the impacts of those circumstances. This particular story has really touched me, because I feel I am lacking on the giving, and concentrating on the things I need this season. Even if you are not religious, you can see the beauty in the giving that is occurring in this world. For a family living in their car, to be offered several days within a warm, safe, comfortable hotel- with access to showers, bathrooms, conveniences that we in the western world all take for granted- this is a beautiful thing. I follow this blog because I am not particularly faithful, but I admire the people who are, who possess the faith and commitment to live their lives the way that their spirituality encourages them too. I also think it's important to acknowledge that not all people who believe something are crazy zealous 'bible thumpers' or potential terrorists, or loony yogic flyers. Some people just believe strongly and let it guide them. I wish I believed that strongly in something that made me be this good.

4) I stumbled upon this article this morning which astounded me with its beautiful lesson in paying it forward. If one person does something big, and the person who receives that does the same for someone else- HOW much could we change the world? Fine, it may be cliche, and it may already be a movie, but this AMAZING idea can wreak havoc on the cynics of the world. I am always a fairly squishy girl, but this story in particular makes me just cry with happy feelings for these gift givers, and I feel inadequate in my efforts to impact my world in a positive way.

Finanically, my family is struggling, we are on one income, and we have expenses, just like everyone else. That said- I have a home, I have a car that works, I have food in my fridge and even if all of that was gone, ripped away from me- I have MANY people who love me and would fold me in blankets of warmth and love and help me get back on my feet.

So. How does this tie into human ecology? Sure, it's not designing a shirt or testing a temperature or air purity deal. But Human Ecology is a person and how they interact in their environment. How I work with the world, how I impact the world is affected by my choices of giving.

So here it is. I am challenging myself, and others to concentrate on the little things, the giving things, and let go of the petty pesky things which often drag us down this time of year. It may make all the stupid stuff easier to deal with- who cares that your mom mentions your weight or your sister in law tries to tell you what to do when you know you have given back HUGE to your world (even if it touches one person, I know it's huge to them). Call it Karma call it Love, call it whatever you want. Just make it all about the give.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Funny Food: Friend or Foe

In the search for things green pertaining to Human Ecology, (and all things nerd) I came across these tasty treasures which I think are a perfect analogy for my world view. Thats right, star and heart shaped cucumbers. Not what you would expect in our hi-tech world- you're thinking:

  • Genetically Modified

  • Possibly mixed with other animal/plant DNA

  • Plain old fashioned weird

The truth? Women applied the idea of cookie cutters, stencils, sausage making to the idea of growing vegetables. And what did these little cucumbers do? They adapted. They took on the shape and just went with it. They casually sit in the salad, blythely thinking: "No big deal, I'm all heart." "Yeh, my mom was always ROOTING for me to be a star..."

This not only exemplifies our ability to take something ordinary and transport it to extraordinary, but it shows that things which are natural have the ability to adapt to their environment if it's still a healthy place for growth (do you see the connections I'm making? I am on FIRE!) This thought process could be applied to numerous areas of study, and makes me delve deeper into imagining what people (as natural entities) are capable of.

Edmonton has been hit with an evil cold snap recently (pleasantly veiled as some sort of adventure on my friend K's blog.) and all I can do is think of what people had to endure years ago when they lived here in mud houses and log cabins (with no heat, insulation, sleeping bags of fluffly manufactured fiber, and big winter jackets which have undergone all sorts of sciency warm inducing research and development). We have developed solutions so that we suit the environment we are in. In Edmonton, we rise to the challenge of meeting the cold head on and woolying up to keep our toes! Humanity has the ability to take a situation and adapt to it.

Which brings me to my most important point. We are a fledgling cucumber, stuck in a world of finite resources and an exhausted environment. That is the shape we must mold to. At this time, we are ignoring the mold, perhaps because we don't want to take on the shape, or because we can't imagine the changes which need to occur within society in order to fit it. But we must take this on as a responsibility to our world, and to prove to ourselves that we are as ingenous and capable as we believe.

Ok. So this post is a little flaky, but you can't blame a girl who really enjoyed her semester and just finished two really strenous exams. My sanity is holding on by a thread.

Next week: Why Humanity should hand over their decision making to J.amie S.pears (Come on, a man that can make britney dress like a real person [read: bra, underwear, pants, shirt, and shoes] may be better equipped than even my favorite community organizer [rhymes with yo-mama].)

Friday, December 4, 2009

So I've been MIA

Things are good here, they're just busy. My world is full of school. I have not written but I have been reading all the blogs I usually do... But school has been eating my brain. I am so close to being done I can taste it, although it's really more than 6 months away. That said, I'm getting antsy to be truly finished. There are things which I have been discovering which make me even gladder that I have chosen this vein of study:

We get a ring. Everyone who graduates with a Human Ecology designation gets a little pinky ring to denote our chosen profession. It's for everyone, and it means something. It's not a fancy ring, and it's not all "one ring, to rule them all" with fighting and scandal and only going to those who have the highest GPA, it's something to create the tie between all of us little undergrads to show we all have something in common- the desire for the greater good an all that. I suppose. Ok, so now I'm making it sound all culty, but really, its just a fun (and serious) little memento. Check it out here.

Alright. So now that I have done my plug for the life of a Human Ecologist, here's what I've learned recently about the rest of the world:
  • Not everyone knows what a dutch oven is.(Not the pan. Something different) Google this, it's funny. But never do it to someone you love. In fact, it may be the best way to show someone that you no longer love them... (Just kidding. Maybe.)
  • Sometimes people don't pull their weight.
  • Sometimes it's better to just accept that people don't pull their weight, and move on. The project turns out better with as little animosity as possible.
  • Being a grown up means taking ownership for all the things that you used to shove under your bed as a child.
  • Being a grown up means you take ownership of all the other stuff too.
  • When people are in a bad mood, its a fabulous time to ask them what their favorite animal is and then act it out in interpretative dance.
  • Christmas movies are always a good idea.
  • If I ever teach a class I will not make everything worth 5-10% so that no one ever has any idea how they're doing the whole way through.
  • If I ever teach a class I will not make the 30% paper due a week before the 40% exam. That means 70% of my mark is hanging in the balance.
  • I still love to act crazy and run off and do weird stuff, even if I'm not a kid, and that's why life stays fun.
  • Sometimes the best days involve sleeping bags and nuzzles with your family.
Well.. I hope to do some serious Human Ecology delving over the winter break, because I start a class where we have to blather on about feelings and how they apply to Human Ecology process, so I may as well get started. So I hope to see a lot more of you!