Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Fairy Day (For Reals, This Time)

Fairy Day. The holiday that I discovered two days before it happened. It was founded by Jessica Galbreth, a fairy artist. In her own words,

This holiday is for everyone who believes in the magic of fairytales. It is for
those imaginative souls who dare to dream impossible dreams. It is for the
children of the world, wide eyed and open to the magic that surrounds them. It
is for adults too, who long to capture a bit of that magic they remember from
their own childhood.

And, as her fellow artist, Jacqueline Collen-Tarrolly, goes on to explain,

Fairy Day is a time for all of us, fairy kissed or no, to honor and delight in the fanciful, the mystical, the ethereal in our lives. Throughout man’s history, Midsummers Day has been known as a time to revel in the magic of nature. It is one of the few "in between" times, when the veil is drawn thinnest and crossing between the worlds is at it’s easiest. This day, the longest of the year is known for odd things happening to unwitting mortals, victims of the fairies playful games. It is at this time that fairies may be seen, dancing round rings, or that mortals with the desire and a pure heart may meet a fae out walking in the woods.

Fairies have always held sort of a special place in my heart. I can remember watching Fairy Tale: A True Story as a young girl. It's a lovely movie, (loosely) based on the true story of the Cottingley fairies. It caught at my heart and my imagination, and remains one of my favourite movies to this day, despite having only seen it a few times. I especially love the movie's tagline: "Believe." Simple, but perfect - one of my favourite messages to the world. Just believe.

About a year ago, at a friend's party, the four of us who were there decided to go out on a fiary hunt. This mostly consisted of dressing up in colourful, flowing pieces of fabric, putting on fanciful make-up, and heading out into the woods with our fairy nets. Now, this activity may have stemmed from it being a lovely evening and us being somewhat tipsy and feeling adventurous, but there was no doubt in my mind that we had about as good a chance of cathcing a fairy that night as we did catching a butterfly. It was just a matter of looking.

Now, I'm sure some of you out there are asking "How could you possibly believe in fairies?" My response to that is "How could you possibly NOT believe in fairies?" I challenge anyone to try and prove otherwise. I can guarantee you can't do it. It seem clear to me, that there is nothing more logical than the existence of fairies. Can you imagine a world where there were, absolutely, postively, completely and totally proven, without doubt, NO FAIRIES WHATWOEVER? No. See. So they must exist. They must.

So, here's my (slightly belated) bit of Fairy Day celebration. I'm considering building a "fairy altar" in my res room next year. I'm already thinking of things that I have or could easily acquire which will work well in it.

Also, while I'm at it, anyone who would like a good fairy read should be sure to check out The Faery Reel: Tales From the Twilight Realm. I read it about a year ago, and loved it incredibly much. It's a collection of short stories but some excellent authors, such as Neil Gaiman, and one of my absolute favourite authors, Patricia A. McKillip (Although as I recall, her story in this particular collection was less than stellar, her other stuff is really good. Seriously, check is out, she's amazing! Winter Rose, Song for the Basilisk, and The Tower at Stony Wood are the ones I've read. They're all excellent, go read them now!)

Yay, fairies!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Happy Fairy Day!

[Important but completely unrelated side note: I had a surge of ambition last night, and the new layout got done much sooner than expected. Yay! I'm quite pleased with it.]

Umm... there was going to be more to this post, but then I got caught up with eating and cleaning and exercising and showering, and now I have to go to bed before work tomorrow. So, even though Fairy Day was today, I guess I won't be talking about it until tomorrow. Unfortunately.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Happy Blogiversary!

It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since I first started this blog. In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday, but at the same time, it feels like I've been writing here forever.

It's been a strange year. A long year, a complicated year, and at times a very hard year, but overall, a very good one. I think tha all of this, to varying degrees, was represented here.

Other things that were represented here include a whole lot of bad writing. And hey, you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm not proud of it, but I'm okay with it. In the midst of a lot of bad writing, there will always be a few gems, and I think that yeah, actually, there were a few posts on here that were pretty good. And most importantly, I feel as though I'm improving.

Other than perhaps the quality of writing, though, there have not been a lot of changes here in the past year. The only major one was the institution of post labels. I have plans to change this trend, though, and make a few changes around here soon, perhaps including such things as :

  • A new layout. Yeah, so this one fits with the whole "at night" part of the blog, but really? It's too dreary and gloomy! I feel like I need something a little more fun and unique and quirky and ME.
  • I was considering changing the name of the blog, but I've decided against that. I think, however, that it's high time I wrote a post explaining why the heck I chose this name.
  • Some sort of blogroll/link list type thing. I have quite enough things to put on it.
  • Who knows what else might come up?

Happy Birthday, my little blog.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Major Happenings in the Past Week

We had our dog put down last Saturday. That was a terribly rough time for all of us. I mean, it was probably what was best for her, she was getting to be very old and sore and sick, but that doesn't really make it any easier. She is sorely missed.

A while later, I went out with mom to some plant sales. Not terribly exciting. I don't know, I enjoy looking at other people's beautiful gardens, but I have absolutely no interest in doing it myself. Anyway, the important part of this story is the beach that we discovered along the way. We didn't go down on it or anything, but from the road, you could see that it was a) sandy and b) shallow, which means that even though it's ocean, it should get WARM. I'm so stoked to try it out in another few weeks. :)

I also delivered furniture to some friends in Halifax. Delivering furniture, not so terribly exciting, but seeing friends, very lovely. I'll have to try to go up for a real visit sometime soon.

Went to last Saturday's weekly get-together. Another yucky day, so we stayed inside and played board games, again. Whatever, still fun.

Played clarinet for the first time in weeks - oh man, my face makes me sad. 15 minutes before my lips were shot. *sigh* Must play more often...

Wrote a letter to LH. Oh man, I miss her so much. I haven't seen her since Christmas, and haven't talked to her since then end of April. It's so weird, because she's my "go-to" person, the one that I talk to about everything, and now, all of a sudden, I can't talk to her. So I have no one to tell about how AM's being a DUMBFACE and I just want to kick her in her big dumb face. Gah.

Speaking of things I miss: King's. But there's a whole other post to be written about that (so expect it sometime in the relatively near future).

At work, I've finally finished palletization, so next week I start getting trained to do... something else. I'm not quite sure. Something to do with inventory.

I've started doing some character development for the story I was talking about in some post way back in May. (I would go find it, but I'm lazy. So, take that.) I'm feeling good about it, but need to put more time into it. I'm considering, once I've got my characters fleshed out some more and figured out some other things, doing a sort of NaNoWriYe. Not the crazy 50 000 word/month one that some people do, no way, one month of that is more than enough, but maybe 20 or 25 000 in a month until it's done, and then edit for the rest of the year, and see where that gets me. I've also been considering trying to get some short stories published - either in magazines or maybe online or something. I just still feel like I'm wasting my time, and I'm finally ready to do something about it.

Went out last night with friends to see Get Smart. It was actually very enjoyable, even if we were too young to know the show. Quite amusing.

This evening, those same friends are coming over. That's right, it's finally my turn to host the weekly get-together! It was supposed to be nice, so I was hoping to be able to do outside things, but now they're calling for thundershowers, so I guess it will be more boardgames. Maybe I should hook up the nintendo, or something...

And finally, tomorrow I will be celebrating my first blogiversary! But, more on that then.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Memorials Again.

I know I've already written about the philosophy of memorials here, and I'm not sure I ever really resolved the question for myself. However, no matter how I feel about memorials, I have one of my own to write today.

A few days ago, I was saddened, and surprised, to hear that my grade 5/6 teacher had died. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, I did know that he had cancer, but last I knew, he was doing well; I hadn't heard that he was ill again. And saddened, even though I haven't seen or spoken to him in seven years. For most people, I suppose, hearing of the death of an elementary school teacher would elicit the immediate, required flicker of, I don't know, not sadness per se, but perhaps sympathy? And maybe a few reminiscences. Not so, here. This particular teacher was one of the most influential people in my life.

He led by example, and taught many of life's most important lessons to the students who passed through his classroom over the years. I don't know of anyone who doesn't remember him fondly, who can't talk about something they learned from him, who isn't sad to know he's gone. He was that kind of person. Some of the most important lessons I learned from him include courage, balance, and creativity.

Courage was a lesson taught in many ways. I was always a shy child, and, let's face it, I still am today, but not in the same way. I used to be shy because I was SCARED. And feeling scared made me think I wasn't as good as other people, who were braver and outspoken. These days, shyness is just a defense, because I don't like to open up to people too quickly; I like to be around people for a while and get to know them without showing too much of myself at first, before I feel ready to open up to them. Maybe it is still a kind of fear, but it's a much different, much better kind. I have the ability to stand up and say "Hey! This is me!", I just normally choose not to. This is a transformation that began during the two years I was in that class. We were always encouraged to do our best, of course, and for me, this sometimes meant stepping out of my shell. I was often unwilling, but occasionally, I would go for it - and when this lead to success, I began to see that my fears were somewhat unfounded. It started with small things, and I've been growing ever since. One day, the class was playing softball, and I caught out the best batter in the class - barehanded. Or there was the day we were playing basketball, and I jumped to block one of the best players from shooting - and succeeded! I remember those two moments as some of my most confident ones until I hit high school.

He also taught us some important things about balance, learning from all parts of life, and freedom to follow our own interests. In addition to the regular learning on the syllabus for a grade 5/6 class, we did oh so many other things. Extra time for sports over and above regular gym classes (basketball in winter, softball in fall and spring) and extra French lessons were just the beginning. During our unit on the life cycles of fish, we raised salmon from eggs, and when they were old enough, we released them into the wild. We took multiple field trips throughout the year to go hiking on the local beach. A three-day class trip to a camp several hours away, where we visited several historical sites and a university. And, for the first time, having freedom to make our own decisions about our education. We did a unit on birds, which had a final project. The project was to produce a written report of some kind on any bird we wanted to. When we did book reports, we were given a list of a bajillion different projects we could do - some dealt with characters, others with plot, some with theme; some were artistic, others were creative writing, and of course others were pur analysis. It included everything from building a diorama of a scene to writing a new ending to doing a character study. Each activity had a different points value, and the only rules were that we had to do enough points to add up to 100 for each book, and we couldn't do the same project twice in a year. I LOVED book reports.

And that last point really leads on to the next one - creativity. The best example I can think of for how to demonstrate this is the "newspaper unit" that we did. The things he came up with to teach with a simple newspaper! There was the basic "read a story and answer these questions." We used them to learn how to write stories, and we learned about means of communication. And we used them to learn about architechture. We were put into groups to build small houses out of the newspapers. And this, in turn, led to lessons in theatre - each group also put on a play with their house and other newspaper-made props. But, most importantly for me, he was the first person to encourage me in the area of writing. Which definitelly has had a huge effect on my life and me as a person.

Although those are the lessons and values which I have gained the most from, there were, of course, many others. Respect, kindness, fairness, equality, patience - the list goes on. In the little bits of himself that he passed on to every student he taught, everyone he helped in his volunteer work in Dominica, and many, many others, he lives on. Despite being gone, he is, truly, still here with us. So Rest In Peace - you deserve it.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Things I'm Considering

Or, something along these lines. I'm not going to be paying the $50+ that these shoes cost, but I would look for an approximate facsimile in a cheaper version.


(The middle one)
(The middle one)

(The left or the middle)

(The left one)