Sunday, 9 October 2011

Hindsight is 20/20

Yesterday, I did two hot yoga sessions in one day.  I wish I could say that I'm just THAT hardcore but, in reality, I lost my job the day before and had nothing to do that day.  Anyway, having that much time on my hands to meditate and connect with my "spirit" made me realize something about myself: I am happy!  Apart from my ex-boss being an asshole and calling me up out of the blue to fire me for no reason, I have very little in my life to be upset about.  When I compare how I feel now to how I felt at this time last year, it's like a complete 180 degree turn.

At this time last year, I was still grieving for an ex-boyfriend.  I was so hung up that I sometimes couldn't focus on anything except my grief: I cried myself to sleep nearly every night; I wrote angsty, tearful (and poorly written) poetry.  I tried to tell myself that I was "over it" (despite all the glaringly obvious evidence to the contrary) and tried again and again to start new romantic relationships with different men, all of which failed spectacularly.  I really thought that I had lost everything, that I would never feel happy ever again, that my chance of finding true love had slipped through my fingers and I was destined for spinsterhood.

I thought about all this yesterday ... and really couldn't believe that, at this time last year, I felt so lost.  I guess my grief had to run its course, despite my attempts to shortcut the process.  And I guess I just wasn't ready - or willing - to let it all go.

So this Thanksgiving weekend, I have one new thing to be thankful for: I'm thankful for fucking FINALLY being "over it"!  I'm thankful for the failed relationship and for the failed attempts that followed it.  I'm thankful for the good times and especially for the bad times, because they have made me wiser and stronger. 

And, lastly, I'm thankful for hot yoga (because without it I would have had nothing to do yesterday and may not have come to realize how happy I am)! :)

Shan x

Monday, 29 August 2011

Let me tell you a bit about me ...

In light of some really interesting things that happened tonight, I just want to clarify a few things about myself.  I don't expect anyone to know any of these things about me when they have barely had the opportunity to talk with me; but, I hope, that after perusing these images and such you might gain a little insight into my character.
I do not own this image. No copyright infringement intended.
See this link here for my views on gay marriage and, by extension, gay people.*

And you may need to turn your volume up to hear this one:

* Please note the irony.

Hi!  I'm Shannon!  Nice to meet you.  Hope I've cleared any of that confusion up!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Going Zero Waste

I first discovered Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home Blog by randomly googling environmental issues.  I ended up spending all night reading post after post and becoming more and more informed and inspired.  For one thing, I had never heard of the concept of "Zero Waste," a fact which really surprises me today because, having read about and researched the idea, it seems like an incredibly worthy lifestyle endeavour. 

The Zero Waste Home concept is exactly what it sounds like: attempting to produce zero or as little waste as possible in your home.  In her blog, Bea attests to how undertaking this new lifestyle has been a freeing and rewarding experience, despite its challenges.  I have decided that this is a lifestyle change that I want to adopt.  When I move back into my condo in September (I've been living with my parents for the past month since my return from Stratford) I will try, slowly but surely, to change my 21st consumer habits with the ultimate goal of becoming waste free. 

For this goal to be a success, I will also have to enlist in the support of my roommates, who already seem to approve of one of my first steps towards moving Waste Free.  Last month, I spoke with my roommates about using a countertop kitchen composter in our house and they immediately approved - without me even having to explain why (I'm happy my roomies like to try to live green, too).  Lots of our waste originates in the kitchen and a lot of it is organic (i.e. food) waste.  An easy and pretty inexpensive way to reduce the amount of waste created in the home is composting!  Composting units are carried in most hardware stores, such as Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, etc.  There are even smaller sized units for apartment-dwellers.  I live in a condo without much space to call a yard, so a small countertop option is great.

I haven't yet purchased it, but I intend to buy the Natura Stainless Steel Composter from Home Hardware. I prefer to purchase this product over others I have seen advertised because its larger volume would be more efficient for a household of 5 adults making their own meals, and also because it is made of stainless steel.  Stainless steel is a better option than plastic composters because plastic is a one-time recyclable.  While recycling plastic is better than throwing it in the trash, glass jars and containers (which can be recycled many times) and stainless steel are better kinds of receptacles and containers in general.

You might be wondering what I intend to do with a bunch of compost which I cannot use at my condo.  Well, I have a few options.  First, I could bring the compost to my parents house and add the contents to our large yard composter.  I could also call up EnviroWestern at the University of Western Ontario and donate the compost to the G.R.O.W. project.  Or, I could offer it up on Freecycle, as I have see other Londoners do, so that people can take the compost from me and use it in their gardens.

I intend to post a review of the Natura composter once I have bought it and used it for a while. I also intend to blog a bit about some other ways in which I have already started to go Zero Waste and what I plan to do in future to acheive that goal.

In the mean time, I highly recommend reading Bea Johnson's blog, which offers a weath of information, strategies, tips, and most importantly, her success story!  I encourage everyone to check out Bea's blog and to be open to some of her suggestions.

Edit 29/08/2011: As of today, London council has elected to go ahead with the Green Bin program.  It will be initiated on October 1st 2011 and will take 2 years to reach completion.  I might be able, then, to put my compost in the green bin (if my condo receives one) and save the money on the countertop composter!

Monday, 22 August 2011

In memory of Jack Layton

This is a post I never imagined I would be writing, at least for quite some time. I've never made my politics a secret, and anyone who knows me will know how I admired Jack Layton. I agreed with most of his politics, especially his strong advocacy for the environment and gay rights -- two issues which I believed him to be an honest advocate for, not just for political face value, and issues which I have always felt the other political parties lacked genuine support for. These two issues, among others that Layton stood for, represented my values as a person and, I would wager, a fair many other people in my age group.

I am deeply saddened by the news that Jack Layton passed away this morning, losing his battle with cancer. His optimism and courage were so steadfast that I believed that I would see Layton back in parliament in September fighting for the Canada that I envisioned. Even when he announced he was stepping out of the light to focus on his treatment, I believed he would be back stronger than ever fighting for my Canada.

I never had the opportunity to attend any NDP rallies, but I do have fond memories of my first Pride Parade in Toronto this past year with some dear friends on mine. It was exciting for me, not only because of the happiness and celebration in the air for all people of all genders, lifestyles, and sexual orientations, but also because I was only metres away from Jack Layton and Olivia Chow. I was excited to see Layton and really pleased to see him, despite his health troubles, out and supporting a cause that is important to both of us (and in my opinion, should be to all Canadians). It was the icing on top of a fantastic day, especially for my friend, Micaela, who Jack turned to and said, "You look great!" Haha.

Jack Layton is an inspiring Canadian figure for myself and for many other Canadians. I hope that others who respected the difference that Jack made will continue to fight for causes they believe in. Rather than honour the man with words, honour him with your ACTIONS. Support your community, support the environment, support gay rights! Get involved in any cause you believe in - donate, or even better than money, roll up your sleeves and get involved! You can't put a price on involvement.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, in less than 12 hours I will be 22 years old.  It struck me this morning as I was brushing my teeth that in one year I will be 23 and officially in my ... "mid-twenties!"  I know that 23 is still young, and some consider it the prime of life.  But there is an undeniable sense of having to act "grown-up" now, whatever that is.  For most people in my age group, this means finishing university/college/Master's degrees/starting a career.  For me, it means that for the first time in my life I have a kind of freedom I have never explored before.

I have finished my BA in English at the University of Western Ontario and will be graduating in the October Convocation ceremony.  For the first time in my life, September will come around and it won't mean starting another year at school.  Unlike most of my friends, I opted to not do a Master's or continuing education program right after my BA.  When the first day of my fourth year came around, I remember sitting in my Irish Literature and Drama seminar and hating every minute that went by.  I thought to myself, "I don't want to be here right now."  Every other year, I was eager to begin a fresh year at school: I loved the new notebooks, textbooks, pens, calendars, everything that says "I will be organized and studious this year!"  Last year, from the first moment my prof began his lecture, I knew I was done with it.  Don't get me wrong, I overall had a fantastic year; but school was no longer the important thing to me.  I was finished with lecture/school-based learning.  I was craving a new kind of learning experience.

This year promises to be one thing to me: it will be entirely mine.  It will not be another year slaving away on essays to get high marks in school.  It will not be another year grieving and hurting for an ex-boyfriend.  It will not be another year of attempting to fill the expectations of my parents (BA completed: check!).  This year is just for me.

(Well, just for me and the government who profits from my OSAP loan repayment - and I plan to repay that as quickly as possible so the bastards don't get a cent more than I can manage.)

I have opted to take (at least) one year for myself to get my shit together.  I am currently working at Cafe One (classy restaurant on Richmond Row, management is decent, but we all wish we had a better boss, co-workers are great).  I am living with four roommates, all of them very good friends of mine.  I am *hoping* to audit a French course to improve upon my knowledge I gained during my 2 month exchange to Trois-Pistoles, Quebec this past summer.  I am doing at least 3 fantastic plays: I am acting in The Revenger's Tragedy (my favourite early modern play), directing (my first show!) Goodness in January, and stage managing The Pillowman in March.  Cafe One isn't my 'real' job, really; it suppliments my income so I can do what I love ... which, coincidentally, I don't get paid for (yet).

And these are my goals for this year: meet new people; travel to new places; experience new things; read for fun again; see more theatre; do more theatre than I have before; be self-sufficient financially (and take a hell of a lot of pride in providing for myself, all by myself); and above all, LEARN!  Learn from everything I do and everyone I meet.

And hopefully tomorrow morning after my night of birthday drinking, I won't have to re-learn the first rule of hangover management: a full glass of water and an Advil before bed.

One more thing ...

For anyone who may come across this blog, I just wanted to comment on the decision to title this blog.  After spending 4 years in the analytically critical setting of an English program at University, I have realized that whatever my intentions are behind what I write is of little importance.  Obviously, I don't want what I am saying to be mis-interpreted or terribly misconstrued, but that is kind of out of my control.  Whoever decides to read this will decide how to interpret what I have written.  So ... let this blog be whatever you want it to be.  You may find it cleverly philosophical, incredibly boring, mildly amusing, or any other combination of adverb and adjective (I know, how pretensious of me to throw around the names of parts of speech ... fucking English majors).  Whatever you think of it, I hope that you at least learn something from it or develop an opinion about something I have written.  What's the point of doing anything if you don't think, right?
Hence, "The [insert witty blog title here] Blog."