Good gosh I'm cold today!

So, crazy things of all crazy things, I seem to be blogging again so soon after the last one I wrote! Yay me! 🙂 Anyway, perhaps my biggest complaint about Edmonton winter (particularly in this pre-Christmas time frame where the spirit of the holidays normally distracts me from most non-ice related weather complaints) is when I have difficulty getting and staying warm indoors. I mean, really, indoors usually I'm dealing with the technical marvel that is central heating, and to put it mildly I generally truly appreciate this feature of North American life (while I HATE the feature of many American hotels where the interiors are OVERLY air conditioned in the warmer months, but I digress).

At work, however, in the wintertime we are constantly contending with the joys of constantly breaking entrance and exit doors. This means that instead of having the double set of doors that open and close, sometimes only one of these two sets is fully functional, making the front end of the store, where I work, rather drafty and cold. It's not as if the store is incapable of being warm: indeed the further one is from these doors and said draft, the warmer one can be (well that and upstairs is a comparative sauna sometimes if you don't include the locker room, and the departments that run ovens are obviously warmer than those dominated by freezers but you get the idea). Today at work, no matter how hard I tried (and I drank warm water and ate warm food on my breaks to help deal with my feeling so cold!) I couldn't manage to get and STAY warm. Bah.

The sad thing is that upon my return home, I feel the same way. I have hidden under blankets, put on my rarely worn slippers (normally my feet overheat in slippers hence why I rarely wear the thin ones I actually like wearing), put on an extra sweater, worn a serape, put up my hood, and shivered… all in attempts to get and stay warm. My apartment's thermostat claims that it's at a balmy 20 degrees Celcius or thereabout but I highly doubt its accuracy for the majority of my apartment, which generally just feels cold. Eating warm soup, cooking, drinking hot chocolate, and using my computers has helped marginally but I still really really hope I sleep better tonight. I think my slumber has been less than ideal the last two nights from being cold (yes I will throw an extra blanket or two on the bed, but I'm not sure that that will either reduce my feeling of being cold or not result in my overheating (joy)). Sometimes I wish my internal temperature control made a bit more sense to me… Ah well, it is winter, I guess (even if the calendar claims the first day of winter to be more like the Solstice, I live in Edmonton and I'm going to be realistic, thanks!).

Time flies when you're… well… living life.

And that's perhaps the best summary of this past month or so that I can easily come up with, really. It has been a month of self-reflection, reflecting on the whole past year of emotional ups and downs, of realizing just where I am now, and just how much I needed a mental break from certain aspects for a bit. It's been a month of seeking out caring minds to speak to, to rekindling lost relationships with friends. It's been a month of deaths of acquaintances and friends of friends, it's been a month of volunteerism (yay for the free market's great success!), and it's been a month of regaining the balance that had been tipped too far in one direction or another. The whole year's been filled with learning experiences and this month is one where I've really come to realize a bunch of things about myself. The books I've been reading, the media I've been watching, and the people I've spent time with, some of whom I hadn't truly connected with in months and months, have all contributed to my feeling that yes, I can move forward and grow and change into a more lovely person than I was before. But it sure hasn't been an easy month, or year for that matter.

I have to choose my battles, choose the people I want to spend my time with, and choose the events and activities I will spend my time and efforts upon. And you know what, I'm darn happy for those choices, even if I'm not always enamored with those choices that certain others might make, life is a learning experience for them too, and realizing this, conceptually and more is important to me. To put it mildly, I'm not perfect. I'm very much flawed in many ways, but I've spent the last decade moving away from certain aspects of myself and toward others… towards greater self confidence… towards better friends… toward a better understanding of myself and my values. And you know what, I'm pretty darn thankful for these changes.

In 2012 I've embraced my geekiness, my nerdiness, my approach to social media and the Internet, and board games. I've become more happy with my roles within the Kiwanis family, and I've become more satisfied with some (but clearly not all) aspects of my social life. In the past month I've come to realize that the friends that I can count on, the ones who can help me the most are also the ones for whom I am perhaps the most helpful. This doesn't make life easy, but it makes it profoundly valuable, both to those other folks and to myself. I appreciate the fact that I can be a listening ear for some of my friends, that I can provide a hug when they need one on short notice, and that people feel comfortable venting to me whether in person or online or otherwise. Because this means that I can often do the same. And you know what? Some of the things that have been offered to me lately have been unexpected but yet wonderful whether or not I'll ever accept whatever they might be.

So that's where I am right now. Growing and changing. Trying to notice things I haven't noticed before. Trying to live more in the moment, rather than hiding out online. Trying to be the best ME that I can muster. Realizing that sometimes it's okay to be less than superhuman. And you know what? Today, while dealing with stuff that made my stomach go *ugh stressful*, I was able to accomplish things at a reasonable speed. I didn't ignore that feeling however, and I think I'm doing to do my utmost to work on de-stressing before it gets to the point where I am less than the marvelous that I need to/want to be. Because you know what? I'm the best me that I can be, and others, as well as myself, will just have to deal with that. Because I AM growing and changing, I am becoming the best I can and I'm getting better at saying 'yes' or saying 'no' to things that are the right ones for me and my needs.

Oh my goodness SNOW!

So yesterday was… well, as the Edmonton Twitter community likes to call it: snowpocalypse or snowmageddon. Essentially we were given 15-35cm of snow by the end of the day. Which, for Edmonton is a whole lot! Fortunately I didn't have plans to go out in the weather until the evening, at which point I went to my work's Service Awards ceremony with Laury (and he drove very safely, which was more than I can say for all the other drivers on the road… people really need to keep safe stopping distances in mind when following other vehicles when road conditions are THIS horrible!). Service awards were sufficiently amusing — the food from Chop was great, and we played Minute to Win It again this year (and yes, I had to participate, shaking my butt to get little balls to fall out of a facial tissue box… very humorous). Angie won a VERY well-deserved award, and the rest of the service award recipients were recognized very nicely by staff and management. Good venue overall though the weather wasn't really cooperating! (better than that Christmas party in -57 degree weather though… so that's something!)

All day I read tweets and Facebook messages taking two attitudes toward the weather: complaining or warning of the dangers, and celebrating the beauty of all the snow! I rather appreciated the tweets notifying of late busses, closed roads, precautions to take and otherwise. General complaints were less appreciated, though quite understandable, particularly given that some were getting stuck without transport or otherwise. The beauteous comments however were really interesting: many posted photos, and some referenced Narnia or Hoth (those seemed to be the most frequent cultural references… and I might be biased but I prefer the Narnia ones due to the fact that I remember that winter content better than I remember the Star Wars winter scenes).

Anyway… the roads are icy today (though they could be worse), and snow is coming to Southern Alberta now too (and I'm heading south on the weekend with CKI so that ought to be interesting!)… yay!

An American Election…

So, like most folks that I know, I paid a modicum of attention the US Election yesterday. In my case this meant reading some Facebook and Twitter before relaxing with some udon noodle soup and some yam tempura (from Kyoto which I had purchased to help deal with my frustrating day at work which was fine, really, until I had a horrible coughing/wheezing fit with no known cause) and watching All-Star Superman (an animated movie I had won in a contest a couple years ago, but which I hadn't yet watched). After the movie I returned to social media, which sent me to various news feed sites and otherwise to watch the election unfold.

And there was a number of things that I learned:
– that it took a whole long time for the election concession speech to happen
– that election results can be called rather early on
– that math is helpful
– that some won and some lost but moving forward we still have Obama as president of the USA and there are a few new folks in the government who happen to also be firsts.
– that as per usual the news source has a lot to do with what news one might hear about the election
– that some Kiwanians were running for various offices in various states

But it wasn't until this morning that I heard more…
– some referenda mean that pot is legal in a couple states, and that gay marriage won in 4? states (at the time that I went to bed, these were hypothesized to be the case, but confirmed for me this morning).
– that the media isn't telling the whole story — it took the BBC to write a story about the fact that Puerto Rico voted to become a full-fledged state (which may someday mean that the USA will have 51 states!).
– some Kiwanians were elected into various offices in the United States.

Some think this election was uniformly frightening, positive, negative, or broken. Some focus on the entertainment value, or on how it might immediately affect personal lives (or not). Some focus on how it might change the history books, or the fact that global warming, women's rights, etc. got attention and things like the Patriot Act, Foreign Affairs, and other topics may not have.

But really, I think of the significance of the whole thing. I think of the fact that a whole new segment of the population (often the CKIers I interact with from the USA for example) got to vote. I think of the fact that we as non-Americans get to see this event in a very different light, through different means than Americans do themselves. I think of the role that social media played in this election — the fact that most of the info I got, from my republican, democrat, American, or non-American, etc. friends came through this medium. I think of Marshall McLuhan and what he would have thought of this… (okay I think of that now, but it came up last night too)…

And I also think of all those who struggled to vote be it through long lines, power outages, grief over loss from natural disasters, or otherwise. I think of all that still remains to be done, whether I like it or not. And I think of the loaded term that is progress, positive or negative.