Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Project

I just joined Pinterest. Matt has been hassling me to join it for months. So I finally got a friend to invite me to it. And it is interesting. I'm not sure I love it, but I can see the value in it. But I decided to try one of the projects I saw for making a circle scarf.  I know I don't give off the impression that I am domesticated but occasionally I have my moments. Plus this was a super simple idea. Win Win. I went to a fabric store (and seeing as I don't necessarily sew, it took me a bit to find a fabric store that had some knit fabrics) and picked a bunch of different knit fabric types and came home and told my mom my plan. She, of course, thought it was the best idea ever and as such went crazy buying fabric to make her own. I like creating things though. And I think in my future life, when I'm not a dental student, I might make more of an effort to be domesticated. Currently, its one of those things that gets put on the back burner since I technically don't really need it.

I did mine a little different than the tutorial said to do it. I sewed my fabric wrong sides together and then sewed the edge down with a zigzag stitch. I thought that gave a nicer seam on the inside and outside of the scarf. Google taught me that this type of seam is called a False Flat-Felled Seam.

Depending on the fabric you may need to adjust either the length or width of your fabric to get a good thickness for around your neck.

Christmas At the Lowry's Part II

Oh Hello Cute little Troll Dolls.

Christmas At the Lowry's Part I

Dave and the children got together one night to make a gingerbread house. 
The icing was a little less than set and a little messy. 
The children placed the candy wherever their little hearts desired as their dad iced.
Ryder spent the majority of the time eating the candy.
Katelyn spent the majority of time dictating how the candy should be placed.
They were quite darling.
I just think that Dave is a great dad. And while part of me was sad when they moved into our house (cause I currently have children who have overtaken my room), the bigger, better part of me is so glad that I get to spend so much time with their family and witness all the cute things that come with having a family. I love Dave's little family. Even though sometimes his children are insane. 
But they call me Aunt. And its weird but quite endearing.

Ryd may have had the right idea though... cause that candy wasn't half bad :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Boston-Edmonton-Cold Lake-Edmonton-Lethbridge

I wanted a dental appointment with my dad. 
Josh wanted to hang out with his friends in Edmonton.
My dad wanted fresh fish from Costco.

This resulted in a most ridiculous amount of travelling in a very short period of time.

But it was kinda nice to make a trip back to Edmonton.
We went to West Ed's water park.
Which was more fun than I anticipated.
I stupidly get nervous before doing fun activities.
Particularly if they involve me in swim suit nakedness.

Geof Crebas, Josh Koegler, Wilde Twin, Nathaniel, Josh, Tyler Seaborn, Wilde Twin, Dan Wilde, Aubrey Heninger

Something I really like was getting to go see my favourite house in Edmonton again and finally taking a picture of it...

I used to run past this house. I think its amazing.
All that brick. And those windows and the balconies. 
Yup. I like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Not Thanksgiving Part II

I won't lie, getting to see my family at American Thanksgiving was nice, but it wasn't what prompted my trip. Of course, as things turned out, I had it re-confirmed for me how my family will forever be there for me. Other plans may fall through, expectations may turn dour, but my family will always rise above that. I feel very lucky that I have such a foundation in my life, that I can take a limb, but if that branch should break, that my family is there to catch me.

So in continuation with my favourite parts of my not thanksgiving weekend:


Family tradition is to get together and eat at the Mandarin. Its just what we do. The chinese food is pretty top notch. And the fact that we gather all together and take up half the restaurant is comical. I had to re-tell my mugging story about four times and the main responses were that first and foremost, that the boy cousins were disappointed that years of being with them didn't teach me to punch and hit and inflict any punishment on my muggers. The second response (from a much smaller portion of Aunties) was that they were horrified that I would ever walk around by myself. To each I rolled my eyes. Even though those kids were doing a terrible thing to me, I honestly could not bring myself to hit them back. No, I didn't go easily. I defended myself by trying to keep them away. But there was no offensive attack. Its a hard mentality to get over, the feeling that inflicting pain on someone else is bad, especially since on occasion it can be called for.

Since the mugging, I keep thinking about how I ought to have punched and kicked them back rather than just passively trying to keep them away. But I can't change my actions. But I do think my cousins and brothers are right - they were attacking me, and I needed to do more than just try to keep them off, I needed to more proactively defended myself. But its easy for them to say I should have done that after the fact. Especially, since I have never needed to defend myself in such a manner before.

As for never walking alone; As a single person I have always felt that I cannot afford to be afraid to be alone and to be afraid of where I live. Because there is nothing I can do about being alone. And if I only went outside with someone else, I would honestly very rarely go outside. I live alone. I need to be ok walking alone. I need to be ok on my own. I like being unafraid, even when people think I'm foolish for it. I know pretty much everyone thinks that I ought to have such fear now; It would be a rational response. But I am not a fearful sort of person. And I don't want to be. Has walking outside in the dark by myself been tough? Yes. Which is something I quite honestly didn't expect, considering I wasn't afraid while the whole situation was occurring or immediately thereafter. But that kind of fear is unacceptable to me. I don't want to live in fear, however justified it may be. Of course, this experience has affected me. But I've had worse things to get over than a fear of walking alone. And I absolutely plan on working past the small fear that has settled in my subconscious.

Sometimes I forget how seriously funny Nat and Dave are. And how its a shame that I live so far away and don't get to spend much time with them. So it was kinda wonderful that this weekend allowed me to spend some serious quality time with Nat. We hung around the house and chatted, and I really liked it. As sister-in-laws go, I'm pretty sure I've been very lucky. Because both of mine are beyond great.


Is it rude that I pretty much only like some weddings because of the people I get to be there with?
Because thats pretty regularly the case. We got some lovely malts from a gas station - because where else would you get them from really - and did some major dodging of some stranger danger hugger. Tiffany is a quick learner. Good work team.

And last but not least...


After Chinese food we head over to Maikal and Brittany's to play games. After making me demonstrate some self defense moves we played several rounds of Werewolf (which is a rad game). I loved the cousins. A little bit though, they were the quickest rounds of Werewolf I've ever played, and kinda lame. Which is a shame considering Werewolf in Edmonton used to be a staple. The Cousins are great though. Always are. My favourite part was that we played the entire game in Maikal and Brittany's bedroom on their super bed.

Long and short of it - I probably wouldn't come home again for American Thanksgiving. Which may never be an issue depending on where I end up in life. Basically I think weekend trips are kind of a bust and never really turn out for me. I'm glad I got to be apart of these highlighted good parts. But for future reference I think I'll pass.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lets be hipster friends.

On the train the other day, I eavesdropped as a group of friends turned on one of their own with big accusations. Four friends argued against one. And as the train was delayed and they were speaking rather loudly, I couldn't help but listen to every word. What accusation were they choosing that day to level against their friend? Oh, just that he was a closet hipster.

I wanted to laugh in their faces. But settled for smirking in my chair with eyes that never focused directly on any one group member for too long.

Was he a hipster? Absolutely. He had the scarf and slip on boat shoes to prove it. And their argument about indie music also being hipster music had me biting my cheeks.

I laughed about it later. The one friend was positive he wasn't a hipster. He even went so far as to pull up his chunky sweater and say "Would a hipster wear a soccer jersey?" While all his friends assured him, that indeed they would. And indeed this was further proof that he was. But it got me thinking about those damn pretentious hipsters. And as I thought about it, I realized, there is a very real possibility that I might just be a closet hipster.

Without further ado... You might be a hipster if you...

- Suddenly develop an odd love of small forest creatures and feel the need to start collecting porcelain, quilted or pictorial versions of said creatures.
- On occasion wear oversized glasses, cardigans, jackets, scarves and winter toques. And if all of the aforementioned are worn at one time, you most definitely are a hipster.
- Can only vaguely recall a time when skinny jeans weren't the only type of jeans in your closet.
- Have a strange love of shirts with either wolves, moose, owls or caribou and find it a point of pride if a full moon can be seen in these epic shirts.
- Have a secret pride point when your favourite bands haven't been heard of by anyone else in your circle of friends (thus allowing you to fully educate each of your friends on what they're missing in the world of underground music)
- Don't own shoes with laces and even in winter you don't wear socks with said slip-on shoes.
- Don't have any food allergies, but you have started to enjoy, and make food like you do.
- Own a polaroid instant camera or some other film camera that creates artsy, light leaked, distorted pictures.
- Love herbal teas and telling people how much you love herbal tea.
- Have made Urban outfitters your place. Books, clothes, crap you certainly don't really need - it can all be found there.
- Spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing tumblr, blogs, pinterest, youtube and other various time wasting websites.
- Talk about travelling abroad often and feel that travelling abroad is a quintessential life experience.
- Are never far from a classic literature novel and/or any other book, and you love to discuss or quote said books.

Chances are... I might be a bit of a hipster.
A little bit pretentious of me? You betcha.

Meh. Happens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Call It A Trend

As usual, I am neglecting to pack. 
Even though I really need to.
Tomorrow is my last day of externship (minus the for sure one or two times I'll need to go back to finish cases). 
And instead of picking up and getting ready to leave this place I'm eating popsicles. And watching tv.
Packing motivation?
That would be non-existent.
Somehow I have more stuff here than when I arrived.
Ug. I hate packing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Not Thanksgiving Part I

I called my father up two weeks before American Thanksgiving, and in a feeble voice and roundabout manner, asked him quietly if he would bring me home for American Thanksgiving. He gave me a gruff response and told me not to get my hopes up. But my hopes were already up. The idea had entered my brain and had already consumed me. The urgency with which I wanted to return home shocked me. So my father's less than favourable response was disappointing. But, like me, he needs to adjust to an idea before he can fully accept it. So when he called me back a few hours later, his tone conveyed that he would be happy to allow me this ridiculously short notice request. My dad is the best, because he really and truly does try to accommodate to the best of his abilities. He doesn't let me be ridiculous, but he often goes above and beyond for me. And I know I don't often express my appreciation for that. 

But I had some favourite parts of the weekend.

Young Josh picked me up from the airport. I had left really early and when I walked out of customs I expected to see his smiling face. 
But he was no where to be found.
And I pouted... I still remember the couple of times when the people who were picking me up were over an hour late coming. And its a little disheartening to step off the plane and have no one there waiting for you.
So I called him.
And he cursed his luck.
Poor boy had arrived over an hour early to get me, but had to move his car three times, to stay in the free parking. And on the third time, he just knew that I would get out and he'd still be moving the car.
He was right. That did happen.

I was glad to have some time with Josh though.
And was pleasantly surprised to find Josh to be EXACTLY as he had been before he left.
And I don't mean that in a bad way. Because Josh has always been kind, funny, thoughtful, smart and wise. 
And he is still all those things. Just now he has some mission stories to emphasize the points he already was making. It was surreal, the feeling that nothing had changed, while really, everything has changed. But Josh is just Josh. Constant and steady.

But two very funny moments happened while I was at home, the first involving Josh.

NUMBER ONE. I arrived home on Thursday and didn't tell anyone I had been mugged. I was embarrassed and really, how do you bring something like that up? So I just didn't say a word.

But Friday, Josh comes into my room in the morning and begins his usual banter to me. Well he grabs onto my hand (which had a large fingernail scrape down the back of it from the Wednesday night events), and I pull away.
"Ow, Josh! Dont do that. My hand hurts!"
"Why? What did you do to your hand?"
"Shut uuup! No you didn't. What really happened to your hand?"
"I got mugged. I don't know how to say this another way."
"Shuuut uuup. Seriously, you don't need to lie. For real, just tell me what really happened."
After going back and worth like that, I finally pulled out my phone and let him listen to the voicemail the District Attorney in Boston left me, saying they were charging the girl I had identified (the bigger girl) with armed robbery.
And only then did he believe that I was telling the truth. 
It was hilarious that he wouldn't believe me.
Why would I make up such a story?
His first response after he began to believe me?
"You always have the coolest stories Melissa. Seriously, all the crazy stuff always happens to you."
He's not wrong. My life, for the most part, is never that dull.

NUMBER TWO. But Matt and Tiff came over in the afternoon and were on hold with an insurance company. My dad, Matt, Tiff and I were all sitting close and bantering back and forth, when Matt saw the huge scratch on my hand.
Matt: "What happened to your hand?"
Me: "I got mugged."
To which Tiffany responded "Moving on" and turned the conversation back to insurance.
I mean, I wasn't making a big deal of it, so I suppose its fair that other people didn't feel the need to either. I had been a little surprised by the response, but shrugged it off.
After they were off the phone, Matt, Tiff, my dad and I got in the truck to go eat lunch, and as we drove Matt brought up my hand again.
Matt: "Oh, so what happened to your hand?"
Me: "I told you, I got mugged."
Tiffany: "WHAT?! That was real? I thought you were just joking!"
Matt: "Are you serious?"
Dad: "Ya, she actually got mugged."
Tiffany was thoroughly horrified that she hadn't believed me at first. But I suppose the casual manner with which I mentioned it made it sound fictional. There were no tears. Just a matter of fact re-telling of the events. 
I actually find it endearing that they couldn't believe that something like that would happen to me. Because seriously, who gets mugged? Its so unlikely and so random. And their responses are hilarious to me. 

I love that Matt and Tiff tried really hard to make sure both sides got to see them and spend time with them. They came to the West Side for like fifteen minutes, just so they could see Dave.
 I think that the division of family time is one of the hardest things when you get married. Because you go from spending all your time with YOUR family, and suddenly you have to sometimes miss things because you have another family that also wants your time and attention. I know that it was hectic to divide their time and resulted in several drives across the city, but I, for one, really appreciate the fact that Matt and Tiff make such a huge effort to let each of their families know they still love them and want to spend time together. And even let straggling siblings crash other family time.
Matt and Tiff are just my favourites. And I love getting to be around them and couldn't help but feel so excited that we had both made it home for American Thanksgiving. The combo of them together makes me laugh so much. And I often think I need to laugh more.

To be continued...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

For the back of my closet

Press play.
Right Ahead, You Sailor! by Right Away, Great Captain! on Grooveshark

Dear [Secret],

I cannot pretend to understand you fully. I quite honestly can hear what you’re saying and I can even see the value of it and where it possibly could be logical, but cannot fathom what event has made you so fearful to take a chance on someone. And while you probably think that our last conversation was about friendship and travelling, it was actually about the ability to take a chance on someone and valuing love. To think that you cannot date someone until you know everything about them is ridiculous (and as someone who values getting to know someone well before you marry them, even I find it extreme). Even after years of knowing someone intimately, you will still discover things you didn’t know about them before. And dating and friendship are not the same. Dating someone, in my mind, develops a different kind of closeness than being someone’s friend. I respect your need for friendship; I think its perfectly smart and it is something that I want, a base of friendship in my relationships, but I also think that it is partly an excuse you use. A barrier and obstacle you put in your own way. A way for you to eliminate and ease your conscience for not dating people and setting your priorities on a career and other aspects of your life, because you never really have to romantically invest your feelings and you can say that you’re just developing friendships and act like you aren't completely closing yourself off to people. But I think it limits the potential certain relationships could have. I think you sometimes choose to have inappropriate levels of intimacy with people. And I pity you for not knowing the difference. And I pity them for allowing you to cheapen their emotions. I think that there are some emotions, intimacies and affection that shouldn’t be shared with every friend and ought to be reserved for when you are actually dating someone. If they were married, you would find such intimacy inappropriate. But because both parties are single, somehow you have convinced yourself that you’re just developing friendships. And it’s a fine course of action. And I think your intimacies allow you some of the benefits of a relationship without you ever having to commit and take a risk on any one person and allow you to eliminate people without any real feelings. You think you know best, and I can picture the slight head shake and defiant eyes you have as you read this. What I say is not going to change your opinion. Of that I’m sure. But while I am often frightened of being hurt, I am never above taking a risk on someone -- obviously. No matter the pain or disappointment that is left in the wake of such bravery. And even though it has yet to pay off in any respect, I still hold out a hope that it might.

I’m taking the chance that you will read this. And I know, that you will know it is meant for you, if you do. I realize that this format may not be the place to respond to you. But truthfully, the thought of playing this out in secret and directly to you makes me ill. For you have wounded me far greater than I could ever convey to you. Or have you understand. And that is just one of those things. Sometimes things don’t work out how we think they will. But our previous intimacy feels inappropriate now. Like I am asking for you to continue to wound me. Because I have real feelings for you and you can only logically and rationally see me as a fresh perspective you are missing in your wheelhouse of friends. I felt like I was very open and honest about what I wanted. I told you what my intentions were. And I tried to be direct, even though such openness is hard for me, because I thought it might protect me in some manner. Because knowing is better than wondering. And I thought you were worth the risk and the effort. But that was for naught. I thought that for my directness, I would be rewarded with equal frankness. I had thought I knew what you were saying to me, but it now turns out that you were not as straightforward as I had thought. You may not think it but you hinted at having romantic feelings for me, playing on my hopes, when that was so clearly not the case for you or not your intentions. And maybe for your other friendships, that works. But for me, that was a betrayal of my trust. And as such, I now realize I gave you far more credit than you deserved. Unintentionally assuming far too much in your favor. I now know that you cannot give me what I need. Even if you never read this, it doesn’t matter. Because having it said is what’s important.

Friendship is important to me. To presume that because some of my closest relationships are with my family, they are not as valid as outside friendships, is to belittle the hours that have gone in to make those relationships. I realize that I do not easily make friends. So the importance of my friendships increases because of the rarity and how much effort it takes from me. Each and every friendship I have is something I treasure. And it is something I have worked at. And to look down upon some of my friendships, because they are with my family members is insulting. My family associations provide me with some of my greatest life fulfillment. And I plan to always make the effort to be emotionally close to them, even if I am physically far away. I am grateful to be so close with so many of my immediate and extended family members. Being close to them has been an intentional effort. Because I wasn’t always. But I realized early on that my greatest joys will come from my family associations. And I don’t think that their friendships are of any less value because we are blood and have an implied relationship. I CHOOSE them. And I thank God that I was blessed to have my lot cast with theirs. Because the variety and extensive value each of them offers to me is immeasurable. Their lives each take such different paths. Their experiences so varied. And I am lucky to be able to draw from their strengths and be a strength to their weaknesses. Our love as a family is one of my greatest sources of happiness. But the love I have for them as my family is separate from the love I have developed as I have truly sought to become real friends with them. Their friendships have been made with the exact same effort and forethought that I have used to make friends outside of my family. And the relationships are kept close with the same effort. I too chose CLOSE relationships. But where we differ, is I believe my family is supposed to be there for me. And should be a priority in my life. So yes, I hope that who I marry, values family as much as I do. Family is what is important, in the gospel and in life. And I refuse to feel bad for needing them in my life. And choosing to need them. I make them a priority and try to not undervalue them. Do I think they are the only people I can depend on in my life? No. Do I see the value of having independence from my parents (both emotionally and financially)? Absolutely. Do I plan on uniting with my future spouse and clinging to them for support and when appropriate to solve problems together? Of course. But I would never purposely create distance between myself and my family just for the sake of my pride, so I could feel that I am so perfectly fine on my own and don’t need to depend on them. Family ought to be there for you. They should be a source to draw from. I don’t usually outright disagree with people’s opinions (trying to allow people the benefit of differing viewpoints), but I think that you do not value your family enough.

Also, to presume that my family are the only friendships I value is to belittle another group of friends who have been such a crucial part of my life. I agree that life experiences are only valuable if you have people to share them with. And I have been lucky, that I have found, in each place I have lived, people with whom I could bond and share life experiences with. Moving away to dental school was hard. And I quite literally could have had no success if I had not developed friendships with my classmates. I know because I always tend to do things the hard way first. My first year of dental school was one of the hardest years of my life, with little satisfaction, as I was far from my family and my friends. I felt lost and lonely because I had yet to make real and lasting relationships with anyone in Boston. And I am forever grateful for the inclusive nature of John, Derrick and some of my other friends. They may not have realized it when they began to include me, but I needed their friendships. I needed them to sit with me occasionally in class. And notice me. I needed to have people in the same city that I could depend on and have depend on me. That give and take was so crucial for me. Yes, I’m sure that for you travelling has helped you realize the value of friendships. But that isn't the only way. And it causes me some irritation when people assume there is only one way of learning and experiencing something. My dental school friends and I have survived because of each other. No one understands better than they do what I have gone through in the last three years. In fact, if you have not been to dental school, you don’t get it. And I have no doubts that they will be my lifelong friends. We have shared too much for me to think otherwise. What has allowed me to survive, and in some cases succeed and thrive, in each new life experience I have had, has been the friends I have made. Sometimes it took years to find them, as is the case with Ali and Stef in Edmonton. But I could not have survived without knowing them. They taught me many important lessons. And I would never de-value their friendships, just because we don’t often have the opportunity to catch up. Or their friendships weren't made under flashier circumstances.

You seem to be under the false assumption that things far away from home mean more. “Oh, our first world problems don’t matter at all!” And while I don’t disagree that there are many people in the world that have it worse off than us, I could never agree that that makes them more important than people I know personally. I cannot fathom, finding strangers more important to me than my own friends and family. And I think you are at a wrong for having such a belief. Because it says that you care more for people you have never met, than for people who have loved you with no expectation of anything in return (as is the case with friends and family). Just because we do not have to struggle with torn apart families, war, hunger and famine doesn’t make our struggles of so much less value. Our problems are different for sure. There is beauty in the day to day, ordinariness of our lives. I agree that some things ought to be put in perspective by greater events. But I would never call someone’s personal and emotional struggles trivial. And I think that is where you truly do not get it. People’s emotions and experiences matter.

I guess my irrational anxiety wasn’t so irrational after all. My doubts were founded. And I feel hurt. And foolish. But I know that I will get over it. And I hope that things do work out for you. Please don’t feel like this experience has caused me to hate you or something (not that you would care if I did, since I’m sure such a feeling would be categorized as just another one of those trivial things in life that don’t matter since its not occurring on a grander stage). Because I don’t hate you. I think you are foolish at times, and that you don’t necessarily have your priorities where I think they should be, but that doesn’t negate your good qualities. I wanted to give you a chance again because I can recognize your value. And I realized that it hurt you a bit to be called a robot. But not unlike when you called me out for being selfish, I did it because I wanted you to realize how you can be perceived, with the hope that you might learn to value people’s feelings and emotions more and change for the better. Its not something you’re good at and it truthfully was my biggest concern about you. But it is something that is critical for all people to learn. I wish you luck, [Secret]. I really and truly do but I’m done, which is not an easy conclusion to come to or stick by. But I can’t play these sort of games anymore. There is more out there and I’m not willing to have you occupy a spot that ought to be reserved for someone who would actually be willing to care about me, as more than just a well read, pro-education, grad school student perspective. I am more than that. And want more than that.