If there is one thing that I am, absolutely and irrefutably, it is a proud Canadian. I am unfailingly proud of what this country is and what it can be and it hurts me greatly when I am disappointed in the choices we make.
As proof of this, my first tattoo was a red maple leafs, which was soon joined by the red, black and white Canadian hockey logo. I got the first when I was already 20, but I had been planning to get it for four years at that point. I tell people that each of my tattoos mean something to me and says something about how I ended up where I am, and it’s the truth, but the one that says what I have been, am now, and will always be, is that red maple leaf.
That being said, looking at the way things are here and the way things are there, I have the urge now to drop everything and move to the States. I am inspired by the new President. More than almost anyone before him he makes me want to take on the world and prove what my generation can do to save us all.
He restored my faith that there are people in politics who say what they mean, act on what they say, and have the ability to win power while maintaining their beliefs.
I believe that President Obama is the man that he presents to the world.
Here in Ottawa we see mostly the opposite. My wrath flows towards a mayor who still thinks that we are simply being inconvenienced by a strike that has made everyone’s life more difficult (though he is not alone in blame, the union leader is also an asshat); a Prime Minister who doesn’t seem to see anything wrong in declaring that he will never ever do something and then turning around and doing it anyway. (My rant: The PM declared, when he was elected, that he would never name Senators unless they were elected in some fashion, in fact he was going to not name any Senators until the Senate was an elected body, the plan being that gradually the upper house would empty out and Senators would not be able to do any work. Then, of course, he found himself at risk of losing power and declared that the Senate wasn’t functioning (through his own design) and named 18 unelected Senators so his party would still have some power).
I am tired of the political game, of the way it works because that’s the way it works, because it is. I want inspiration and real debate instead of name calling. I want truth and trust and cooperation. I want what they have.
I am as taken with the new President as everyone else – I look forward to seeing what he will do now that he’s in office and I expect my kids to ask me where I was when Obama was elected (I went to see Spamalot that night, but was home by the time it was official, for the record).
I cried that night, and I cried again today because as pessimistic and cynical as I am, he makes me believe that he can do what he’s setting out to do.
But more than the President, I am growing ever-fonder of the new First Lady. It started with the now infamous terrorist fist jab fist bump that she gave him after he won the nomination. I am incredibly impressed with her style, her composure, her honesty (that whole proud American thing that she took a beating for), but of all her beauty and strength, intelligence and accomplishments, I am most impressed with her marriage. Watching the inauguration ceremony today I was drawn completely to her face and the pride she exuded while she held the Bible for hom to take the oath of office.
I have no doubt that these two are equal partners who share everything with each other and believe in nothing more than the strength of their family and their love for each other and their beautiful daughters.
When he walked on stage tonight at the inaugural ball his first words to the crowd were “Hello American. Now first of all, how good looking is my wife?”
And all I can think is that I want to be like Michelle Obama and I want my marriage to be like hers in sixteen years.
1) I signed up for a gym membership and 12 sessions with a personal trainer who will both kick my butt and teach me the best way to exercise so that I can drop the weight that I want off my body. I am hoping that paying for the membership and the training, having the training and having access to a treadmill (my favourite piece of exercise equipment) will push me to move instead of all the other things that I do. Instead of shopping, I go to the gym, instead of vegging out and watching crappy television, I go to the gym.
2) I went to see the movie Milk. I knew something about Harvey Milk, but I didn’t know about Proposition 6, a bill that set out to fire homosexuals from their jobs, specifically from teaching jobs, just for being openly gay because they didn’t want the kids catching ‘gay.’ The sad thing about all this was that you couldn’t sit back and laugh about the backwards thinking of 30 years ago because we all know that there are still people who believe exactly that. Things like this make me want to be a fighter like Harvey Milk.
“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”
When I entered my first year of journalism at Loyalist College they took us on a day long session at a local park. During that session each of the first years had to state where they wanted to be after they graduated from the program. When my turn came I declared that I wanted to be working for The Hockey News.
At some point during my two years at the school one of my professors declared that I was too good for The Hockey News.
If I knew then what I know now I would have altered my course back then. I would have learned quickly that reporting on sports would take a lot of the joy out of watching them for me. That working my way up the ranks would force me to cover sports that I didn’t enjoy or didn’t understand that well.
If I knew all that then I would have set my sights on being a political reporter – a political reporter the likes of David Akin – running around Ottawa and asking the tough questions, delving deeper into the stories, researching the fact and really informing people.
But then, I guess, that job would annoy me as much as anything else, because there are always the people who don’t care to be informed.
If you’ll excuse my language.
I was just reading through an article about reasons to slim down and change eating habits and I realized just how much it needs to register with me. I need to get past the facts that I am unhealthy, I am diseased and my body it working against me. I need to just accept that it’s going to be really hard this time – even harder than last time and last time it wasn’t easy at all.
I need to constantly remind myself what the crap that I put into my body is doing to me – the chocolate, the pop, the sugar, the chips, the fast food – all the things that I grew up eating without thought to what effect it was all having.
I need to clean out my junk drawers at home and at work and just start working hard on getting my body back into gear so that I can get on with my life.
I have plans.
But I am Canadian.
On days as cold as today I remember my Canadianess and take pride in the lessons the chill teaches me:
“I don’t trust any country that looks around a continent and says, “Hey, I’ll take the frozen part.” – Jon Stewart
These are the things I told myself I would do when I went on vacation two and a half weeks ago:
1) I will finish my scarf and at least one of socks I’ve got on my needles – Done – and I finished a lot more of the second sock that I thought I would. The heel has already been turned and everything.
2) I will read (I finished Twiling last night – meh – and I have a pile of books to get started on, including the Yarn Harlot’s new one) – I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, mostly just on the plane.
3) I will give my puppy all the exercise his little heart desires (depending on the weather) – We got to the park a couple of times, but I was away for a few days. I’m going to mark this one as something that needs to be improved.
4) I will clean the house and purge (I hate having so many things just lying around) – Some purging got done (my books and clothes and the office) but there is more that can be done.
5) I will lost my voice screaming in support of our boys at the Canada-US game in the greatest tournament ever (World Junior Hockey Championships!) – I didn’t lose my voice but I certainly had a sore throat after that game, and the gold medal game that I also bought tickets to.
6) I will make an effort to keep up with the news – I did alright, certainly not to the level of when I’m at work (since knowing what’s going on is, in fact, my job)
7) I will get exercise and work on watching what I eat. I’ve been doing better, but not well. – I got on the bike most days that I was in Ottawa and worked with my new Nintendo DS ‘Weight Loss Coach’ who got me motivated.
8) I will try to be inspired every day, write something every day and generally keep the creative part of me happy every day. I might even start sketching again. – I have not started sketching again, and I didn’t even take a notebook to write in when I went out West (which is pretty much unheard of for me) but I have resolved to write every day in January – to just open up my notebook or my blog and write something. So far, so good.
9) I will make an honest attempt at mapping out my future. – Joe and I talked, but an honest attempt? No, probably not.
All in all, not a bad effort.
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which means several things to me, but two things are most important:
1) I have to lose at least 15 lbs as soon as possible, more is better, and keep it off to be healthy and avoid infertility and several types of cancer
2) This disease plays havoc with my hormones and makes #1 there more difficult, meaning I have to work very, very hard to lose said weight and keep it off.
This means that I need an incredible amount of willpower that I don’t currently have. Right now I’m dealing with a bus strike that adds an hour to each end of my work day, making it difficult for me to want to cook dinner when I get home or want to get on the exercise bike for the minimum of thirty minutes of exercise I’m supposed to be getting. It’s cold outside, which makes me not want to walk the dog, certainly not for long periods of time.
I’m trying to give up pop and candy, but these are things that I have been over-indulging in all my life, so that’s no small feat (not to mention the fact that we just got through Christmas and New Year’s, providing a multitude of excuses for partaking in such things).
What I need is momentum. Once I see that what I’m doing is working, then I will know that I can and should carry on. The problem is, that I won’t get results without actually putting down the chocolate and doing something, as it were. I have to get smart or I’m just going to be killing myself slowly.
What’s it going to take for me to start saying no to myself?
And the strange decision to use Space Oddity in an ad for the Lincoln Navigator, I present my list of songs that never fail to make me cry:
1) Space Oddity – David Bowie
I think it’s the “And there’s nothing I can do” line that brings the tears every time.
2) In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley
My sister tells me that she can’t think of this song without hearing Eric Cartman from South Park, but I just hear Elvis singing one of the only songs of his I actually like.
3) Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle
I always wanted to have a Daddy and to be a Daddy’s little girl.
4) The Luckiest – Ben Folds
One night my boyfriend and I were on MSN Messenger and he said he was listening to this song and thinking about me. I hadn’t heard the song so he sent me the file. When we got engaged we knew that this song would be the one we used for our first dance.
Songs that used to make me cry, by I got over it:
1) We are the Champions – Queen
Yes, I was way too attached to my Memorial Cup Champion hockey team when I was in high school, what of it?
2) Everybody Hurts – REM
It may be that this song just isn’t as sad without the video, it may be that I’ve become immune to it, or it may be that I’ve gone from thinking that the sentiment is very sad to knowing that it’s true.
3) Stop Crying Your Heart Out – Oasis
My sister put this song on a mixed CD that I was listening to while I left home and drove across the country to a job I wasn’t sure I wanted and it happened to be the one that was playing as I was catching my last glimpses of Ottawa. The lyrics – particularly the line “You’ll see them someday” fit the moment a little too perfectly.
4) A Bad Dream – Keane
A year ago I got on a plane and flew across the country and away from my husband in an effort to find a job and get a new life started for us while he continued working here. One day my mother and I were at the mall and HMV was playing Keane’s Under the Iron Sea and I decided to download it when we got home. From that point until the day I flew back to Ottawa, Keane filled my days, particularly this song, which brought tears every time I got to the line: “Wouldn’t mind it / If you were by my side.”
Alternatively – Songs guaranteed to make me smile:
ABC – Jackson 5
City of Blinding Lights – U2
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (Also Lucky – his duet with Colbie Caillat)
Dancing Queen – ABBA
What You Own from Rent
Defying Gravity from Wicked