best before

In elementary and middle school, my mom had these 'mental health days" for us, where we would just ditch school with her, and she'd take us shopping or something, just anything to get away from school. I think she knew how much I hated school, the atmosphere, the clinging, inescapable social structure.

Of course, once I entered high school, my own mental health days took the form of many a skipped class - my mental health must have been extremely good, judging by the percentage of days missed when I graduated. (Also says something about the school system, when you can skip like 30 per cent of your classes and still get decent grades.)

Anyways, my point is I think I am going to incorporate mental health days into my life. I don't know how my boss will take it though: "Hi, yeah, I just am feeling a little crazy, things are gettin' to to me at work, so I am just going to stay home, wear nothing but a fuzzy housecoat, eat toasted cheese and crackers, and finish the book I've been working on. . . No, I'm not sick, just a little funky in the head today - need a mental health break."

I don't know how it'll go over, but I still want to do it. Recently I have been trying to avidly address my mental health overall. Been working on a painting, a really big, bright, bold thing to cover as much of my cubicle wall as possible. Started a class, and the learning and meeting new people is really energizing. Been dancing a lot, trying to pack a lunch and eat out less often, and making a concerted effort to learn Swedish. (So as to whisper sweet nothings into my lover's ear - or at least count to 20 and say "good afternoon".)

I think it's helping my brain. I feel less negative these days, although with me you know how long that will last before I find another little puddle to wallow in. I am a natural cynic, but at least these days I am more of a cheerful cynic. And I am really going to figure a way to make mental health days official.


counting to ten - in svenska

A long, full, unusual Tuesday. Started early, tried to slog through the work before me, and kept having to backtrack. Got frustrated to the point of saying out loud, "This isn't my job!" But, I guess because it was up to me to do, it really was my job. I'm a bit of a complainer.

Tonight was my first night of a course I am taking at the University of Calgary; since I hadn't been in a class setting for a couple years I was a bit nervous. Refreshingly, delightfully, the instructor is cheerful, oddly humorous, quirky person, and I am looking forward to the next few months. The class (very stimulating title: Management Communications: Interpersonal Relations) has a light course load, but makes for a long Tuesday - work: 8 - 5 and class 6 -9. I am stoked to be doing it: I almost forgot how much I love learning.

Everywhere I drove today, I practiced counting in Swedish. I am still very poor at it, but I think I can count to 12 quite lucidly now. I am going to test it on the next Swede I see.

Got home, and being mentally jazzed up and generally energized, I cranked open the door to the winter night air, turned the stereo up just a little too loud, and danced myself into a lather in the living room. A perfect way to end a very adult day: Flailing in the dark living room with a smile on my face, lost in Muse's Black Holes and Revelations. I love being a crazy person. It's so liberating.

I am yet going to attempt to ingest another chapter of That Hideous Strength. Fantastic title, but I am only a couple chapters in. I very much enjoyed elements of the first two books. If anyone was interested I would elaborate but I won't kid myself.

In less than two weeks I will be heading to Missions Fest Vancouver: I have helped organize my work's "presence" there and will be fulfilling my role there as well. Definitely the best part about it is that Martin is flying out as well; he booked some holiday time, and is going to tap into the already-paid-hotel-in-downtown-Vancouver situation, and hang out for the weekend. Which means my weekend just got a heck of a lot lovelier.

Finally...my brain is tiring and I think I can attempt sleep. I am going to go give in a try, anyways.



A blustery Saturday afternoon, and I am trying to be as quiet as an over-large church mouse as Martin sleeps off his last night shift of a set of four. Poor guy - comes home tired out from a demanding night and gets pounced on by an eager, and somewhat insistent wife.

Hopefully he gets enough rest and we will be able to enjoy seeing our friends off tonight as they leave next week for a year. Sigh. This easy access to the world may have had a hand in me meeting Martin, however it certainly takes friends and family away from you very easily.

But next week will be a bittersweet week of goodbyes and hellos. My sister returns from Australia after a year. I am both anticipating and bit anxious - I am looking forward to hanging out and getting to know how we've changed over the last year, and not wanting to step on her toes or assume too much about our friendship. The elder sibling always has to watch that "bossy" tendency. Apparently I was quite bossy and possibly a bit mean-spirited as a child, so I must try to remedy this.

I am also trying to remedy this crappy weather with a few photos of El Salvador. It's not really working...



Well. Christmas is over, the new year upon us, and that brief break from madness is only a memory. I definitely was struck this holiday season by the, well, monotony of it all. And yet, it's not monotonous. We humans are blessed and cursed with short attention spans and even shorter memories. So it will be with gusto next year that I will participate in a similar routine to this year's. Gusto, I say, and possibly a bit of relish in there.

Yes, I love Christmas. And 2006 was a good one. I was able to spend more time with Martin than expected: He got Christmas Eve off, half of Christmas night off, and we were able to help out at the Mustard Seed on Christmas morning. It was relaxed, although getting up at 5:30 a.m. left something to be desired. I handed out Christmas presents, and hung out with the guests. I was impressed with the politeness, thankfulness, and honesty I encountered there. There are a lot of people out there who could learn a thing or two from people who are living on the streets, myself included. It was also very cool to see how Martin is loved and respected by the people he serves there, and how he is exactly where God wants him. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel blessed to be his wife.

So I got to hang out with my husband, which definitely made the holiday. Our friend Rob visited for Christmas, which rocked. He is a funny, outgoing, honest guy, and from every conversation we have I learn something. I had a blast with him, and I don't think I've ever had a better house guest. He cooked a New Year's Eve dinner for seven that was divine.

I was spoiled with books and music, and have been indulging in both over the past couple weeks. Music: Radiohead, Jill Paquette, Muse, Demon Hunter. Books: The Gift of Fear, and Lewis' Cosmic Trilogy. (I am truly not a huge science fiction reader, but I have gotten into this series, because of course, he is a gifted descriptor and tale-weaver.) Receiving books is a reliable, and lovely part of Christmas. As are socks. Both, especially if the are funky socks, are part of my "holiday". As silly as it is, it's true. And I could not lie on my blog. Because we all know that blogs are entirely honest.

Did I mention Martin is taking me to Costa Rica in February? Oh, yes. And now that it's blogged, we all know it's true.

I think the fact that I am tired and sitting here hooded in a duvet blanket is making me ridiculous. And isn't all the more fun to be ridiculous when you can publish it for the world to see if they so choose. Although I am pretty certain a large majority will opt out.

And for anyone who actually made it this far into this nonsense, guess what? Now, you too can have a piece of Martin's mind. It is quite a sexy mind, if I do say so m'self. Your Piece

Friends, I hope you start the new year off on a good foot, and that it's not asleep from sitting too long in an awkward position.

P.S. Drew: Do you recognize the fireplace?