Sunday, August 07, 2011


Faye and Spike from Cowboy Bebop


Nolan and I have been discussing how close together we should have our kids, or discussing again now that we have involuntarily  begun, and Nolan told me that he's hoping for a girl next. When he told me this I looked at him curiously, but before I could formulate any theories he explained that then the pressure is off.
I didn't look at him any less curiously... Apparently, since we already have a boy, if we had a girl next the gender score would be even. So if and when it came to considering a third we are free of the pressure to fill a void that may exist on our list of genders to have. Got to at least have one of everything. Teasing aside, it's a valid point.
So if we were to have a girl next I'd have to work a little harder at finding some options as to names. I noticed the last time around I had particular difficulty with finding anything I liked. Sure there are names that if I know someone by that name I'm not going to like you less because I wouldn't want to grace my child with that name. Although if you are a terrible person you may well have ruined some good names before it was time to consider them. I have always liked Eva, but for the life of me couldn't find a middle name I would allow to be paired with it. I'm kind of particular like that. The names have to flow together. Even if no one ever says their full name I want to know that if my child is ever faced with a situation where he does it won't sound ridiculous. Granted my child may still hate their name, like other children before have hated theirs, but they will have to admit that at the very least it has a good flow to it.
And now I've set a middle name precedent. The first one's got one, I can't not give the next one one. Otherwise someday I'll be buying her a pony out of guilt for not looking hard enough for a middle name we could all live with. I can't find a name in those name databases or books. Besides that 50% of those names haven't been used since the middle ages (although Bathilda does have a nice ring to it) If the name has no context or meaning to me it just falls flat. I'm not one of those people who pick a name solely based on it's meaning (Bathilda once again makes the exception with "Commanding battle maiden") but, nor do I feel the need to name my children after acquaintances, authors, cab drivers who have made a monumental difference in my life. I'm just can't pick a name out of a list never having heard (or read) it used before.
One name combination that continuously pops into my head is Faye Valentine, it borders on the line of possible and your relatives having an intervention on behalf of your unborn child. An additional difficulty is I already have to explain to my son that we named him after a fictitious assassin and that by no means we condone killing others a viable occupation. If I name a girl Faye Valentine then I'd have to explain that I named her after a lying, cheating, slothful gambler. Because with a name like that you know someday she's going to ask.
We're creating a great legacy for the Giesbrecht line. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

So for some time now I have been contemplating the idea of writing short stories based on nothing but a word and it's underlying definition. I have had daily emails for years now, where they send you a word a day with it's definition and examples of it's use and often there are some amusing ones. I thought the exercise would not only get me writing (if I'd actually do it) but it would also help solidifying new words into my vocabulary.

So I've finally committed to at least one attempt.

gangster bytwizzyizzy

1. To represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of.
2. To invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
3. To make believe; pretend.

Will sulked through the back alley sticking to the shadows. He hunched his shoulders and kept his hooded head drooped down. He kept visually and auditorally quiet but he failed to keep out of detection.
"Trying to hide Will?" Like a shock wave through his spinal cord Will's posture straightened from root to tip. His head flicked up and turned to look behind him.
"Hide? Never!" Will said this with a tint of mockery and flashed a sardonic smile.
"Don't act so confident Will" his rival stepped closer, "Jer's not here to protect your sorry ass this time and we've got you ournumbered five to one."
"My ass is my sorry indeed" Will craned his head and pretended to look at his backside, "it's my mother's genetics, no asses to speak of on her side"
"You think you can talk your way out of this? You think you're so smart. We're going to beat you senseless, but if you give it to me we might leave you breathing."
"Give you what now?"
"Oh you'd like to play stupid wouldn't you. Shawn here saw you take it. So cough it up smartass" He took a step closer and the others began to fan out around Will.
"Ok, ok. Whoa, take it easy." Will threw his hands up infront up him and stepped backwards. "So I took it, but I got to tell you I don't have it."
"Oh you'd better be lyin' Will. You had better have it on you."
"I'm serious I don't have it" Will continued to hold the throng back with a gesture of his hands. "It's kind of a funny story, but I think I can get it back." Will could see the rage rising in the face that stood in front of him."Hear me out, I promise it'll worth your while."
"How is you explaining that you lost something you stole from me gonna be worth my while you little terd?"
"I'm serious, just listen. So I stole it, that's true. And I'll be honest I was taking it downtown to sell it. It was gonna be my ticket out of here. Was gonna go someplace better, warmer, with lots of pretty ladies. Maybe Californa, buy a little place close to the beach. Maybe get a dog"
"I don't give a damn what you were going to do with it, tell me what happened" Fingers curled into a fist.
"Sorry, sorry. Just can't help it, I got big dreams. Ok so, I'm heading downtown- I was almost there too, ­­­­­three blocks away from the place, you know the one that's downtown. On my way there this huge brawl broke out, right outside of King's Tavern I got stuck right in the middle of it there was no way out. It was serious too, couple of guys knocked out right in the middle of the street. One guy lost a tooth. Me I got punched in the gut, landed me on my ass. So of course someone calls the cops and I'm trying to get out the situation as quick as-"
"You're telling me you got picked up by the pigs and they just let you slide, now I know you're full of-"
"Whoa, whoa, just let me tell you like it is. Yes they picked me up I was trying to sneak on through the crowd but this one copper, he just came from nowhere I swear.  But this is thing, the cop was dirty" Will threw out his hands even wider  "I'm not lying here, the guy was dirty as they come. He and his partner they grabbed the goods and threw me in the back. Only I didn't know they were dirty then. They get in the front and they start talking about what's gonna happen to punks like me. But then it switched, they just start laughing at me, and then tell me that they're gonnna take it, and let me off in the middle of nowhere. They tell me they're gonna do it cause they can, cause no one would believe a little shit like me." Will shrugged "And they're right, no one does. But this is the good part, I swear, they tell me they've got more and they told me right where is was. They did it cause they don't think I can do anything about it, like they were just throwing it in my face. But we can go get it, we could all make a ton of money."
"You think were gonna go against coppers Will? You think we're gonna walk into some kinda stupid trap?"
"No it's easy I swear, let me tell you"
"You've told me enough Will. You want to know what? I think you're a liar, I think you're just trying to buy yourself time with this bull-shit story hoping someone comes to your rescue." He reached out and grabbed Will by the front of his shirt and slammed him against a dumpster.
"Shawn, check him. I don't want to mess up my merchandise."
Shawn lanked forward and patted Will's pockets carelessly with the back of his hand feeling for the package. Nothing. Shawn blinked, and went in again this time with full palms patting Will up and down. He looked up blankly and shrugged, "It ain't there".
"Ok Will, I'm gonna beat you til you can't feel anymore, but before I leave you in this dumpster bleeding you're gonna tell me what you really did with it."
Just then someone came running down the alley, yelling.
"I just saw it, Jer and VInce just walked it across the Concord park"
The fury hit the top, Will's opponent pulled his arm back to get a good swing.
"Right across my own turf you little..." he went aimed for the right side of Will's head.
Will grinned, ducked under the oncoming arm with speed, then  kicked Shawn in the back of the knee and in the confusion ran out into the street.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

rhythm of the heart by tms696

I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with the busyness of life.
There are some people who thrive on it. One of my professors crammed every moment of his life with teaching, speaking engagements, meetings, leading extracurricular groups. He always had time for students knocking at his door, made time for family, relaxation and friends. And it between it all he wrote books, guides for others in his field.  Unlike that overdone message we see in movies of people who are successful at their career always sacrifice everything personal this man managed it all. I once looked at this through my own limited understanding thinking someday that man is going to drop dead of stress until I realized to him it was stress at all. I would have crashed and burned after a week of his schedule, but everyone has their own momentum.
I think I'm still trying to find mine. Instead of finding that rhythm to which my life lives and breathes to I feel as though my beat jumps all over place speeding up and, more rarely, dragging through. Unlike my professor a normal amount activity (such as a 'regular' full time job) seems to be more than I handle. Although I am habitually hard too critical of myself. Even though it has been years since a friend first made this personal defect clear to me  I have barely improved on allowing myself not to be perfect. What I mean by saying this here is that a regular full time job in the past 4 years has meant incredibly demanding and stressful work while outside of my job I have gotten married, moved 3 times, lived through a lengthy renovation in a small condo, had a baby, and all the while battling exhaustion from a physical condition. And yet deep in my heart I berate myself for not accomplishing more.
Honestly I fear that if I free myself from my own personal condemnation I'll never rise above merely wishing and dreaming. It is a tragedy that this condemnation is actually what keeps me from finding my rhythm.
I often crave a disciplined life. I envy those who can regulate themselves to wake up early and dedicate themselves to accomplishing what they want to, like my father. He got up early every morning during his working life, he always took time to sit down and eat breakfast. On weekdays he went in early, earlier than most other teachers, on weekends he'd take time to read the newspaper or (in the summertime) hit all the garage sales. When I was a child I remember father often woke me early and invited me to go with him, we'd have hit all the garage sales in Strathroy and gone for breakfast at McDonalds before others had woken up. Sadly I eventually got older and decided I'd rather sleep in than look for treasures amongst strangers junk.
And despite my cravings there is a part of me that just goes with the flow. The easily distracted part of me that  flits where my fancy goes however trivial or useless it may be.  To a degree I like this part of me, but I also appreciate structure. We all experience this, we all say it to ourselves it's just about finding the balance. It's about finding what works for us and then we find our momentum.
Some never find a momentum. Some never try. Some of us live life as a chaotic existence. So I guess I should consider myself at least one step ahead since I'm willing to pursue a life that has meaning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

(Continuing to share unfinished thoughts)
royal wedding day by woofwoof1996

enjoy it for what it is

After watching bits of the Royal wedding on both Canadian and American stations, it seemed as though the difference between Americans and Canadians-or Americans and the rest of the world-is that they can`t just enjoy something for what it is, they have to have it too.
It is the negative side of the American dream. people getting married in between footage of the wedding. The commentary goes immediately to how the wedding makes the commentator feel. The shows surrounding the footage, such as "Say yes to the dress" where girls find the dress for their own "Royal Wedding". And although there are many people who just want to drink tea, eat crumpets and revel in unique moment, there are also many of us who have difficulty accepting that we are not all Kings and Queens. Instead of being satisfied with celebrating with a cup of Earl Grey they try to find ways to share the spotlight. Granted Canadians do not escape the "American Dream" mindset, the only real difference is that Canada doesn't have a TLC channel of their own. We too fall susceptible to the trap of wanting it all.
The reason why this is such a big event is precisely because we are not. My sister was born on Valentine's Day and all through my childhood I agonized that she got lots of heart themed gifts on her birthday (however if you buy me something heart themed or shaped now I will be less than excited). I had a hard time accepting that I was not special in the same way my sister was. On a larger scale society has become like the jealous sibling who doesn't like that they don't have the same things their brother or sister do. It reminds me of the award ceremonies that celebrate everybody... It's one thing to be Daddy's little princess, but can't we let a real princess actually have her day without needing to crowd in the spotlight?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

what else is there by finvara

Sometimes I write and don't have time to finish my thought, so leave what I have written in blogger limbo, aka. a draft. More and more lately I have felt unsatisfied with the things that I have written, often struck with the notion that it is not worthy to be read or think that it is written in a feeling of the moment and tomorrow will no longer be true. The dissatisfaction with the things that I have written begins a spiral where either I write and don't like it, or don't write because I haven't liked what I've written. Perhaps I can break the spiral by posting even the incomplete and thoughts of a moment. The incomplete may be more likely to be completed if brought out from the dusty archives to see the light of day and the thoughts of a moment may yet have lasting truth if it can be mulled over in our minds. So here we go.

I think I am too emotional to work with people who cannot submit to reason.
Too personal to struggle with those who refuse to listen and think.
It is strange to think of an emotional connection with the power of reason. We often talk about them separately, as distinctive a difference as characters like Vulcans to teenage girls. Often in media we see this separation of heart and mind in the characters who play out the human drama. In fact it is spelt out for us that the struggle to balance between the two is the definition of what it means to be human. Sometimes I would like to think that it is due to an inability in our artists, authors and playwrights to capture a character who can capture the delicate balance between the two as so often the characters lean one way and/or then the other. However, they have unfortunately captured humanity only too well since we have not yet learned to use the two simultaneously.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

gift for you by nhuthanh

I have been operating under an assumption and yet acting contrary to what I have believed.
Since the discussion of baby showers has come my way my thoughts and expectations have been shaped by the understanding that baby showers are for gathering around new parents and helping them prepare for the burden of new parenthood.
As with getting married, the occasion of starting a new household, bringing a new life into the world can be costly. Helping new parents to me, seemed like showers were meant to aid the upcoming financial burden. After having a few discussions on the topic I began to realize that my assumption was not the assumption for all.  I had heard from many mothers is that they are always given more clothing than the baby could possibly wear before they grow too large for them (and given some things they would never buy themselves, while the vast majority of baby clothes are adorable the truth of all baby clothes being cute is probably about as true as every baby is cute. When Nolan was born the nurse told his mother to not worry as all of the ugly babies grow up to be the best looking people. He wasn't an ugly baby, but it just proves that everyone has a different idea of what is good looking). I also had enough clothing handed down from siblings and really don't need clothing. I had made this known and  so I suggested to others that maybe people could group buy or contribute to those but as it got closer to my due date I realized that people were waiting until after the baby was born so they could buy gender specific clothing.  Since most of the big ticket items would need to be bought before the baby was born I then felt panicked about the fact that they would all have to be purchased by Nolan and I.
It began to seem to me that if the point of a shower is for a community to gather around new parents and bless them then the point is defeated when the community does not endeavour to find out what the new parents actually need. Instead new parents receive things that they have more of then they can use and are given additional pressure in pleasing gift givers since baby outfits are like the "ugly vase" wedding present you got from your grandma. You go into a panic to find and display it when you know they're coming over. Except now you have  a much shorter span of time to show that you appreciate their gift and a lot more of them to display. Instead of blessing them the new parents are handed guilt and extra stress. I began to wonder if might be better to cancel baby showers altogether so that, even though parents have to buy everything themselves, they are spared having to please grandma by making baby wear the frilly, lacy, baby pink knitted sweater-bonnet-bootie set like what her babies used to wear. I know I'm picking on poor sweet grandma, however she is the only age group I can guarantee won't read my blog thus the greatest chance of avoiding insult.
Ok so I am outrageously exaggerating the dilemma, one for the purpose of amusement, but also to get around to making the point. I realized early in these thoughts that I have been equally guilty in how I go about giving a shower gift and I will never go about getting a shower gift in the same way. Also I should note that since the time of the above conversation I have had a surprise shower in which someone did endeavour to find out what I already had and asked what I needed. I also had family members take us out to purchase a few more expensive items which was such a blessing in helping us prepare. They were also incredibly patient as I changed my mind a million times about what I felt was needed. And finally as it turns out there is less that really needs to be bought then the big bad capitalists would like you to think. Anyhow I shall move forward as a greater thought was birthed through all this satire.
As I thought about my disappointment following the illuminating discussion -and also panicking a little about how we were going to manage to find all the money for what we needed- I began  to realize how this situation fit in with growing thoughts I had about gift giving in North America. The thought that overtook my mind throughout all of this is that people only care about what excites them to give. I had begun to realize this over the years when people have inquired from Nolan what I want for christmas or birthday gifts. Once someone  admitted outright that they would rather buy me something else because what I want doesn't interest them or they could understand why I wanted it. Another time someone wanted to buy something for me and Nolan (being the most attentive husband ever knows my taste inside and out) tried to redirect them to something similar as befitting to my style. He did everything but tell them that he knew I didn't like that style at all and then was then told that he was wrong and that I would like the first one better.
Deep down people want to have a shared experience through the things that buy for another, something that they can both be excited about. It doesn't necessarily need to be something that they are both interested in doing, for example I have recieved many gift certificates for wool stores from people who do not knit themselves. Though they do not share my excitement for that particular craft their world view allows them to accept my excitement as a viable hobby. On the other hand finding people who can understand my excitement for anime and manga is much rarer (It helps if you open your mind to the fact that their stories stem from a different history of folktales than our own Anglo-Saxon frame of mind. Also I just find the Japanese to have a hilarious if a different sense of humour).
The problem of gift giving arises in places like that of manga and anime, when someone can't understand why this is likeable. The problem arises when a detail or a portion of a persons personality is known but perhaps taken out of context. The problem arises when we try to mash that one detail into our own worldview.Which gives rise to situations where gift giver buys the anime lover a season of Dragon Ball Z (which is like buying me organic onions just because you know I prefer my food without extra hormones and pesticides; onions are still nasty). Where dear sweet grandma buys you a sweatershirt with wolves howling at the moon because she heard you think wolves are awesome. And if grandma didn't notice that Johnny never wears nature themed clothing what a parent would or would not dress their child in can easily become obsolete. Even though there is this desire to share an experience either the gift becomes something loosely connected to a persons interest (as with the anime example) or quite often the gift becomes about what excites the giver or brings them happiness. Gifts become about the giver rather than the recipient.
Before you claim that I am being equally self focused by not appreciating the gesture of goodwill or accuse me of being materialistic because all that I care about is getting things that benefit me. Hopefully you have not read that message from what I have been saying, however if you are there are a few comments I would make and one heart of the issue that I`d like to leave you with. I will start with admittals. If my only concern was that the clothing my child will have to wear are not something that expresses my taste then yes, I am being selfish. I should consider that my child will be well clothed and not all mothers have that assurance. Also although these observations arose from giftings to me, I am not just wildly pointing my finger at everyone else. I am guilty of not endeavouring to find out another needs. While I have been in the habit of investigating desires for birthdays and Christmas, I have realized that when it comes to situations like showers I am equally guilty of giving what is convenient or pleasing to myself. I too am guilty of letting my desire to have a shared experience in gifting. This same desire pops up in my relationship with Nolan even outside of buyig him gifts. I often will become pouty because he was not as excited about an old favourite or new discovery as I am (usually food). 
If either complaint (of selfishness or materialistic) were to be more true selfishness would win out. However I could see someone who is a real smartass would try to point out that I am being more of the North American materialist than grandma with her cheesy sweater. However my observations are driven by an overly functional perspective. Why would I want grandma to spend her pension cheque on a sweater that I don't want to wear. I'd be happy just to see her, she doesn't need to give me anything. If I know that most people get more clothes than baby can wear and my baby has an endless supply of hand me downs, it's needless to buy more. So why not avoid superfluous stacks of baby outfits and supply someone with things they don't have.
Besides those cursory ponderings the one thing that made me sad throughout thoughts of gift giving and how I myself have been operating in regards to showers is that despite a desire to share an experience we lose the opportunity of knowing each other better. Givers, when only giving gifts they can understand, gifts they could only like themselves, miss out on deepening the relationship with the person they are giving that gift. There is a whole other problem of gift giving in North America where when it comes to gift associated celebrations they draw up a list of the things they desire and givers just add it to their shopping list next to the eggs and milk. This isn't the aim I have in mind when hoping that people could give something that characterizes the receipiant; this method equally loses the opportunity to understand a person better.
I began to write these thoughts while my ornery pregnancy hormones were raging. Since then I have not only relaxed (despite being inedated with more baby socks than 10 infants could wear), I have also been humbled by how many people actually are concerned with our needs. However the situation did bring together budding musings. While over the years I have been saddened by how little a person knows me through a gift I have not come to these conclusions, nor am sharing them, because I feel that I am an expert gift giver. On the contrary it is because I have been blessed by an overwhelming amount of thoughful gifts (perhaps even spoiled with them) that I have come to think these things. My only hope is that now I will live up to the blessings I have received.