Saturday, November 27, 2010


I've been working in a kindergarten this year, covering for a coworker who's on medical leave until the new year. The school I'm at is a solid 45-minute drive from where I live; good music and a warm coffee is what gets me through the drive most mornings.

Getting bored with my own collection of CDs, I opted to listen to CBC 2 Radio Morning. While I've always found their afternoon drive program hit-and-miss, I thought I would give the morning program a chance. And so far, so good!

Anyway, recently, they started doing this thing called the Sweet Mix. Listeners can submit three songs that they think go really well together, and the host will play the mix in the morning. Early last week, someone submitted a sweet mix that they dedicated to 'quirky friends' (each sweet mix has a dedication), and it became the Quirky Friend Mix. As the radio host described the 'quirky friend', I thought to myself, "I think I am the quirky friend." I can't remember the exact qualifiers the radio host listed off, but generally speaking, it was me.

Someone who 'does their own thing', was a basic descriptor. I wouldn't say I fall into the extreme end of that qualifier (i.e. eccentric), but I definitely act and live in a way that seems to be more of the exception rather than the rule. I'm an introvert. I think linearly and literally most of the time. I choose the eco-friendly way to do things moreso than what's just trendy. I liked math when I was in school. I prefer comfort over the newest trend in fashion. I have a corny-pun type sense of humour. I'm a picky eater. I like Pachelbel's Canon in D. ...I'm sure I could go on.

Most of the time, none of this bothers me. It's who I am. Really, it's who I've been for thirty years. And I like a lot of who I am. Still, some of my quirky traits land me in socially awkward conversations, afford me interesting looks from others, as well as having to accept that some people just don't get it.

I can't be that far out in left field, cuz I have friends--friends who are normal, even! Ha! ...And they may not care about recycling the stray pop can that landed on the front yard in the night. And they probably like to eat at more restaurants than I do. And they were probably better in phys ed than me. And, no, they don't always get it. But it's not like I hide my 'quirkiness'. Regardless of it all, my friends accept me. Presumably, if they didn't, they wouldn't hang out with me. They probably accept me more than I accept myself some days.

I am the quirky friend. And I think I'm okay with that.

Part of the Quirky Friend Sweet Mix, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010


When I graduated from university in 2002, my parents 'sold' me their car. I had driven it while living at home in the summers for the previous four years, and it had been our family car for eleven years. It was red. It was a standard. And now it was mine.

Except it didn't really feel like mine. It had always been the family car--really, my parents' car. And if I accidentally referred to it as "my car," my dad was very quick to remind me, "whose car?" until I had it well in my brain who was ultimately responsible for that vehicle. So even once I'd given my parents the whole dollar they charged me for it, even once my first insurance payment went through, even once I'd driven it back to my apartment three hours away, it didn't quite feel like mine. Until one day that first summer, while driving on the highway to work, a semi-truck traveling in the other direction fired a rock into the right side of the windshield. BANG. Now the car felt like mine.

I had a welt in my windshield for which I was responsible. And what hit me was not just the fiscal responsibility of paying for the repair of said welt, but the overall sense of responsibility that this was my car, my baby, and that its long-term well-being depended on how well I took care of it for even such little things as these. (Please do not tell this to my current Honda Civic, the windshield of which boasts several welts and a few cracks, all but one of which I've ignored.) I almost felt like my car would grow resentful if I did not treat it properly, and would be more appreciative if I kept it 'healthy' in all respects (yes, I am well-aware that cars do not actually have feelings).

From that point forward, I consciously started knowing my car. It's noises, it's quirks, its flaws, its strengths. And I fell even more in love with it than I had been before.

In late October of this year, I moved into my house. Except it didn't really feel like mine. It still smelled like the previous owners. It had rooms that were not my preferred colour. So even after all the papers were signed, even after I re-painted my bedroom and ripped out all the old carpet, even though the space has all my stuff in it and therefore reflects my personality, it didn't quite feel like mine. Until this week, when it snowed.

A house requires maintenance inside and out. In the winter in Canada, that means shoveling the front walk and driveway. And I have a massive driveway. Despite recommendations, I opted for a regular snow shovel instead of a snow blower. Cheaper, more eco-friendly, and healthier for someone like me who likes to be active, but does everything in her power to avoid stepping foot in a gym. For an hour, I shoveled snow. I made sure it was all shoveled evenly. I took care not to pile the snow in poor locations (i.e. against the side of the house where the grading needs to be re-done). I cleared stairs not just for my own safety but for that of the post man and friends who might stop by. And what hit me was not just the physical act of removing the snow to be a responsible citizen, but the overall sense of responsibility that this was my house, and its long-term well-being depended on how well I took care of it for even such little things as these. I kind of feel like my house will grow resentful if I do not treat it properly, and will be more appreciative if I keep it 'healthy' in all respects (yes, I am well-aware that my house does not actually have feelings.)

The first mortgage payment has yet to be withdrawn. I have yet to receive my first heating bill. And I still can't quite navigate my way effortlessly in the dark. But the snow shoveling did it. I am already aware of how I am coming to know my house. I know which rooms are warmer, even when the thermostat says the whole house is at 20C (68F). I know which doors open effortlessly, and which require me to wrestle a little with them as I turn the key in the lock. I know to expect the sound of the bathroom pipes after I wash my hands. And I'm falling even more in love with it than I was before.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'd Say So!

"Just about everything in this world is easier said than done, with the exception of 'systematically assisting Sisyphus’s stealthy, cyst-susceptible sister,' which is easier done than said." -- Unknown