little things

On the cusp of an intense week, and I am wishing I could avoid it somehow. Pressing work/class projects and deadlines, followed by a heavy and emotional weekend. The march of time - would that we could slow it!

I have a particular presentation to make that I am dreading. I quite enjoy the class I am taking but I get anxious about the public speaking aspect. This has been a long-held fear of mine. Public speaking. And the other is math. (I really hate math and think I would be a good case study for sufferers of "math anxiety". There truly is such a thing. And I am a pretty good case if there was one. I freeze up if I have to do the most basic of figures around someone, and can only manage the most basic calculations, and sometimes even not then.) But public speaking is something I have successfully avoided most of my life. In high school I openly told teachers I would not do presentations. They could fail me if they liked - I just wouldn't.

Hasn't helped me any, though. Now, I must tackle this thing, because it's begun to hinder me in my job. So I will be making a presentation on the issue of diarrheal disease in the developing world. What a way to start, eh? One of my first public speaking efforts, and I decide to talk about poo. I think it should go over well.

My treat to myself this week is finishing the painting I have been working on, and hanging it in my work space. I have had a bare space just waiting to be filled, but haven't yet found the time to finish it. Now I've told myself this is the week, I will accomplish what I have set out to do, and give myself a new happy painting to look at. (The image included is a working draft of the happy painting I refer to.) This is the last of three happy paintings; they give me a bit of wild colour and mental cheer. A mental health break from white walls and Outlook calendars and never-ending to-do lists.

I am really looking forward to summer. Long nights. Good-smelling breezes carrying through the apartment. Sunday barbeques with Canadian beef. Playing Carcassone on the deck as the sun sets. If I think about it long enough I can almost imagine that it's not -17 degrees and that I have to work in the morning.... Sigh. Does anyone else have the winter blues?


death grip

It is amazing how death clarifies. Whether you're head-first down the throat of a boa constrictor, or someone you love is facing death, things become crystal clear very quickly. The act of living. Faith. Life after death. Relationships. Love. Not just "love", but a clearer understanding of love as it was intended to be - not for what was done or not done, said or not said - but just love.

My mind has been sharpened by this clarity over the past few days. The reality of never seeing someone again, of where I want to end off, of what I really think and feel when it gets down to it. Where all the insignificant crap falls away like dirty snow kicked off a wheel well. What matters is what I can do now. To: Live. Be alive. Show love.

The clarity is as grieving as it is purging. The heart part of me mourns, not what is passed, but what was missed. The mind part of me is energized to lay aside the unnecessary, what is behind, and think about just Today.

I keep thinking how life - complicated, hectic, stressful, frustrating - can instantly boil down to one thing in the face of death. One person. One relationship. And how you instantly know what's right. You may not know what to say, or do, but at your core you instantly know what really matters.

And am I acting on what matters? Do I live a life acting on truth and on love?

"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun."


friday afternoon

It's been snowing on and off for three days now, and as I suffer with a cold I am starting to get grumpy with winter. Most of the windows in our apartment are old and crappy, and when it gets really cold like this they ice completely up. It's annoying, especially when you are stuffed up and can't breathe, and just want to open a window to get a little fresh air, and you are too weak to open the stupid frozen window.

I shouldn't complain too much; Martin, the kind and gentle one, is out by himself shoveling, leaving me to hang about the apartment on my day off.

It's been intense at work; three major events to plan, on top of all regular work, is a recipe for a stressed and burned out team. It takes effort right now to be nice, stay on top of things, and not run screaming for the hills. I get these moments where all I want to do is to move to the country and become a hippy; work in my garden, live in a haybale house, write a couple of books and eat a lot of organic fruit. That sounds quite lovely.

In the meantime, Martin and I are going to brave the cold to hit up the farmer's market this afternoon, and hopefully watch Shawshank Redemption. And eat some Vietnamese. That sounds like a pretty good Friday afternoon.