heartbeat of all

5 Years a Catholic

Behold, behold the wood of the cross
On which was hung our Salvation.
O come, let us adore.

It was 5 years ago today that I said, in front of many witnesses:

I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

And I meant it. 

For many who could be reading this, it's an outrageous statement. "But don't they believe..." The vast majority of things that come after that statement when it's made: yes, unequivocally, and with good reason.

To those who believe that those of us who are religious should just keep quiet about it, imagine for a moment the most profound moment of your life, the foundation of who you are. How often have you told the story? Sure there's plenty of people who disrespect the boundaries of others and tell their stories disrespectfully, and that's deeply unfortunate. (Of course, there's both secular and spiritual examples of this.)

Today marks the most profound day, the most important day in all of history. On the day he was crucified, Jesus says, 

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

And Pilate responds:

What is truth?
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No Loafing

Under Pressure

Insanity laughs under pressure we're breaking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the streets

When I'm up late, I keep wondering to myself, am I going stagnant?

Is there something strange that I've missed about being an adult? And I know that a part of this is because of the permanent hold that's been placed on parenthood for seven going on eight years into marriage, and to me that's unnatural and there's a part of me that doesn't understand how to live day-to-day. Just doing chores and organizing on my own time - especially cause I'm by myself so much. There's a beauty and symmetry and cycle of everyday habits that I'm working on, but it's not quite enough. I need more.

So I made a couple decisions in the beginning of 2018, I'm going to change a lot about how I eat this year (not all at once exactly, but definitely in bigger, more drastic ways than I have in the past. I'm not as scared of the diet monster now, I just want to regulate, not starve.)

I'm also going to change a little bit more about what I do for hobbies, and I'm going to add some things to my life. One of the things I'm thinking about adding is boxing.

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phonebooth graveyard

Half Year Review - Four More Months


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It feels like taking off the corset at the end of the day. This whole year has kind of felt like that, except for the pains and troubles of others, which I have been keeping in prayer, and looking for ways to make their lives easier whenever I can.

I am hoping this next third of a year will be equally as amazing.

Robot of Meloncholy

Keeping My Distance

I'm hardly movin' on
The proof in is in the song
Remembering how  
I used to feel alive
I used to want to
I used to be alright
I used to love you

I kind of abandoned blogging this year. I feel like there are so many other outlets for ideas in my life. 

The truth is, a lot of what I want to communicate scares me. My beliefs on a thousand topics have changed so severely that writing here now feels almost out of context. Like if you switched novels halfway through — put down one book and picked up another where the plot is kind of similar but the main character is different. Sometimes it feels that way.

The other reason is that a lot of things I want to talk about are incredibly, extremely unpopular. Facebook these days is a powder keg of people's irascible opinion flaunting, followed by irritable defensiveness and attacks on those who do not share your views.

As a person who has considered themselves, at their core, a businesswoman for the last decade, my honest reaction is that this sort of thing is bad for business.

Not to mention that I have never felt more hated for anything in my life than since I've become Catholic. It's not that I didn't have a lot of the same views before, though to be honest I have changed a lot of my views to less and less popular ones the more I've grown in my faith, but it's that I feel that society has labelled my stances on nearly every issue as fear and hatred and unfair limitation and brooks no objections to that objectionable label.

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winter, dog, murphy

The Year of Living Safely

It's funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me

Can't get to me at all

It's time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

So I finally dug myself out of that depression I was talking about earlier. It took me some dancing in the kitchen, several parties and festivals, a lot of time with friends, and finally and probably most importantly, the decision to just keep working through it until I got through it.

I have to say though, there were definitely a bunch of things that did not help me get out of that depression. For example, Christmas was a bit of a gong show when it came to illness.

We had family Christmases in Saskatoon, which we had a glorious and fun ride down for on the way there, and my time with Paul’s family was great, and Gran had games and Mennonite food for us… but the amazing plan I had with Ruth to go shopping for lawn ornaments at the auction was not to be.

As Paul and I like to meme-reference, “But it is not THIS day

Please Mister postman look and see

If there's a letter, a letter for me

That night I got home and finished the massive Christmas card mailout I did this year (over 50 cards went out, mostly to Canada, but also to USA, UK, and Australia!). The cards I sent were mostly one of my favourite ever Christmas cards - an unconventional standard envelope size with a beautiful churchyard scene with glitter on the snow and people caroling and sledding and walking dogs.

And once that final installment was all finished and ready to mail, I went to bed, slept poorly, and woke with a very, very unhappy gut.

I got an absolutely vicious stomach flu, and being that I wasn’t at home, I projectile vomited onto my mother-in-law’s bathroom wall and had to wake up the hubby, and I continued to project from both ends until there was nothing left but retching and whatever water I managed to ingest. I was probably sick for almost 8 hours and then slept for almost two solid days afterwards, before finally starting to eat things again. Happy Christmastime, right?

Actually, here's the thing, looking on the bright side is usually difficult for an experience like that - but that was an amazing start to the year because I was really hoping to start eating smaller portions… And I swear my stomach contracted to half its size, which has been SUPER helpful with that goal.

No more lives torn apart

That wars would never start

And time would heal all hearts

And everyone would have a friend

And right would always win

And love would never end

At some point in Fall that I don’t recall, I think Paul and I decided not to buy each other Christmas presents. This was silly, and I probably should have seen it coming when I did something super special for him… and the one time he remembered a past conversation, it was that one we had ages ago about not buying each other presents for Christmas. Whoops. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the rest of the Christmas gongshow - and to be fair, I did just get a stunning blown glass ornament which I’ll talk about later and I’m very happy about, but at the time because I was depressed and things were hard, it was not fun for me. Caveat: I do not blame him at all, he was totally going on an agreement we made, I’m assuming, since I don’t remember this conversation at all. I can totally see myself proposing something like that in a fit of misplaced frugality. Seriously, past self, when will you ever learn?

Okay, so here’s the thing. I finally start recovering from the stomach flu, which I had thought at the time was food poisoning. Well, you don’t give your husband your food poisoning three days later. Thankfully, his came on at a time when he didn’t have a full stomach, so his was more feeling absolutely terrible for several days - but small mercies out of big stinky nastiness, it also shrunk his stomach… So we’re both feeling more full on smaller servings.

Unfortunately after getting sick in mid-December, I got sick again a few days after starting to feel good again, this time with a more traditional cold and cough, and then gave it to Paul. I’m still hacking up gobs and losing my voice on occasion, and it’s almost two weeks later now. There was too much happening and we felt exhausted after his long vacation... but we're grateful to have another vacation week booked and coming up soon. Taking vacation in winter is good for us. We need it.

No blinding light

Or tunnels, to gates of white

Just our hands clasped so tight

Waiting for the hint of a spark

So… I have finally fully given up on the iMac, which I had prematurely said was dead a while back. My iMac finally died for real - at least unless I can figure out why it won’t turn on. What this has meant is that our tradition of watching the Muppet Christmas Carol hasn’t happened yet, and the gorgeous Fireplace program that I installed on it hasn’t been running beside the Christmas tree, which is one of the true joys of winter and Christmas that I have actually enjoyed this holiday season.

I didn’t really listen to much Christmas music. Seriously, it was one album - the Pentatonix one that I fell in love with last year. Methinks this year may call for an epic Christmas-In-July.

Alright, now that was a terrible litany of issues taking up an entire page… Which brings me to the close of all hardships and the dawn of a glorious new year!

So this is the new year

And I don't feel any different

The clanking of crystal

Explosions off in the distance

I was just well enough to go to my friend’s New Year’s Eve party and sit at the bottom of the hill on a sleeping bag, watching the fireworks. And I finally felt fine enough to go with Paul in early January to the Board Game cafe, where we went wild with a huge groupon and bought food and fun for hours - we played a bunch of two player games, half of which were new to us. We went to a birthday party and played a fun guessing game… things have actually been getting more and more fun.

I’ve been relaxing and recuperating, watching a lot of TV, reading some books, and doing absolutely nothing of vital importance - which has been great, but now that I’m getting bored of that, I’m working at scheduling more fun times out of the house.

The best things in life are free

But you can keep them for the birds and bees

Now give me money

That's what I want

I had a day where I listened to the greatest hits of Motown - I have that day every few years at least - and I ended up dancing around the kitchen until Paul came home, and then dancing with him to a couple of songs about money - since finances are super tight this month.

Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold

Ice has a magic can't be controlled

Stronger than one, stronger than ten

Stronger than a hundred men

The cold snap finally ended. Our landlords are doing major renovations on the house that involved gutting the entire basement suite, and now installing laundry machines upstairs - which is okay, but we’re losing some downstairs storage now, which I’m not a big fan of… A little good, a little bad, and an absolutely amazing amount of noisesome work on the house. It was worst when I was sick, and then I was handling it okay, and THEN it has just been too long.

So when the cold finally went back to hovering just below zero, it was like going wild.

We had an absolute blast at the 10th Annual Deep Freeze Winter Festival - our first go. We ate maple syrup that was frozen in the snow, Paul and a friend of ours sawed a log with a two-person lumberjack saw, we ate bannock in a tipi, we played ice-carved X and Os, we raced each other in deep freezers on skis… There were awesome artists there… It was sincerely the most fun I have had in ages, and in addition I walked forever in my new boots and there wasn’t a sore spot or a rub or anything bad about them, which I think may have never happened before in a pair of boots that had fantastic grip on slush. We also caught the tail end of a glass-blowing demonstration - and I found an all white textured christmas bauble ornament that looked like a blizzard frozen in glass. I asked Paul and he got it as my Christmas present. I normally try to buy at least one lovely ornament - and technically this year I did pick up a beautiful little Father Christmas with a tree and a lantern that reminds me of Good King Wenceslas, but two in a season isn’t a bad thing either for a lover of Christmas like myself.

Despite the fact that my meds are keeping me up most of the night these days and I’m getting woken by power tools every morning (which puts a person in a cheery mood shall we say), this morning I took the dog to the dog park, where he enjoyed several fantastic encounters with other dogs, including one who was much faster than him. I was chatting amiably with the other dog’s owners when Murph pulled a real whippet move and conked himself soundly on the head with a tree that he didn’t see… He didn’t hit himself hard enough to be a worry, just enough to make us all burst into hysterical laughter. It was a good morning.

Last night we had supper with friends, and we tried a new game with a funny fairy-tale vibe called Fairy Tale Gloom, where your aim is to give your characters a funny and unhappy ending to win - and you inflict good luck on your friends. What a silly idea!

So many posibilities
To not be alone

Tonight we went to go see Passengers, which is one of the most powerful stories about loneliness I've ever heard. I love stories, and this one was epic... and apparently not well loved by critics. I cannot fathom not loving it. It had love and space and ethical dilemmas and a beautiful tale of loneliness and forgiveness in the face of death. Loved it.

I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky

Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity

I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva

I'm gonna go go go

So Paul and I have declared this the year of working on ourselves and our marriage, and I have to say, two weeks in, I think even with many setbacks I am doing a better job than usual of putting self care first and making it all work. There’s many ways that’s happening.

Back in November, Paul and I started a marriage communication course that we’re working through, and it has been truly excellent. It’s been difficult to work through feelings, in more ways that I would ever have thought, but it’s been a very worthwhile exercise, so Sundays are course time and we’ve been finding it useful. I’m meal planning a ton, partly for health and partly for financial reasons, and despite a few days where I’ve really felt setbacks, I’m typically managing to keep us eating at home, eating well, eating less and still feeling full, and trying new things.

I’ve been dancing around the house tidying, cleaning, or doing housework, and now that it’s warm again, I’m going to hit the dog park as often as I can. I used to love the indoor track at the Field House in Saskatoon, and I dreamed up a harebrained scheme one sleepless night about starting an indoor dog-walking centre - this is unlikely to ever reach reality, but I couldn’t sleep, so I planned it all out anyway. I also really want to go back to swimming more often, and potentially finding a gym where I can shoot hoops or play basketball one on one. I also want to make a practice of some body-weight exercises. We’ll see how all that plays out this coming year.

All of this to say, that after many years of dealing pyschologically with the ED issue, it’s time to go ful---- no, not full speed ahead. Slow and steady loses the weight. Basically, it’s time to take those BEFORE pictures again.

So don't stop me now

Don't stop me

'Cause I'm having a good time

Having a good time

  • Current Location: Edmonton
  • Current Mood: cheerful cheerful
  • Current Music: I Will Follow You Into The Dark - DCFC
christmas kermit

The Valley Under Christmas

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world

Sometimes, when I want to figure out when I started to become depressed, all it takes is a quick look back at how long it’s been since I posted a journal entry. (Not wrote one. I wrote four that I didn't post until later, in the Google Doc where I always write posts now, since LJ isn't reliable and has weird formatting issues. Also the persistent inner narrative that they weren't good enough or were too negative or that people wouldn't like me...) In this case, it’s a little longer even than that. It’s been a fight for about two months since I got hit with some big news, lost a friend, lost a business, lost perspective, lost joy.

Then there were glimmers of golden light of Christmas and I thought I’d made it, even though the light kept getting dimmer and the grey sky kept fading to black before I’d really made the effort to see the canopy of light, dim as it was. The snow didn’t fall until tonight, the blanket to insulate the world.

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control

I want a perfect body

I want a perfect soul

I was just starting to listen to Christmas music and enjoy the season when depression hit me with a vengeance. I might as well just be straight-up honest about it. It’s been brutal.

I have been able on several occasions to get my head up above water long enough to take a breath, but having even a modest workload of things I need to finish before Paul’s nice long Christmas vacation has been a difficulty.

In moments like this, a several hour period of complete clarity and normalcy, brought on no doubt by the fact that today is the first day I started taking my medication again, I am running at a near manic pace, attempting to communicate with friends, make personal plans, converse with our AirBnB guests, and do all the bits and pieces of work for Admire that feel so monumental when I am under the weight of the depression bog.

Starting a new one

Every new one hits her

Just the same

I saw a little video recently of some men diving into a hole in a boggy area, where the lake underneath it was deep, but the bog only had one little hole where you could get in or out, and it was almost like the men were diving into another world, and showing up nowhere. There are moments when depression feels like that for me.

This time, it didn’t so much creep as slam into me hard over the course of a few weeks. I often experience depression as a haze, a heaviness, and many days I experience it without any discernable emotions other than apathy. I don’t really want to do or engage with anything beyond the odd piece of entertainment. Food becomes at best my crutch and at worst, my only focus.

I wavered between wanting motivation or wanting nothing. I experienced several bouts of insomnia involving staring blankly at the ceiling feeling and thinking almost nothing for over an hour, and when thoughts did come, they were often the sort of thoughts one wishes would not come at all. Such thoughts are bad houseguests, whirling about and unnecessarily disturbing all the things that live in their proper places.

She's underwater

But she won't drown

She can't believe it

And everyone she meets

Feels just the same

Clinically, this particular depression was heavy in a few areas, but typical to bouts I’ve had before in that some of the issues are easy to miss and others are blatant. Forgetfulness, being constantly on the edge of tears and crying easily, lack of interest in things pleasurable, needing twelve hours of sleep at a time but not being able to sleep when you lie down, extreme lack of energy to the point where at one point chopping about ten vegetables was the most I was able to do in a day other than move from one room to the other, and physical pain - back pain, headaches, stiff neck and upper back from anxiety. Irritability and anger have made several appearances.

The irony of depression is that the very thing that is required is to do things to take care of yourself which you have no desire to do, tasks that you have no energy to perform. Without the desire or the action, little can be accomplished of any sort. Manufactured desire and energy is of limited supply.

During this time, I edited a wedding in about fifteen days doing as much work as I could on it every time I could do anything. My average wedding edit takes about 4-6 hours in a single day, for reference. I shot about four sessions, all 2-4 hours. I had to be immensely careful and extremely focused on being focused to do a good job, but I managed them all. They felt, and still feel, like a massive amount of work. In reality, however, previous healthy incarnations of myself could have handled all of them, almost 6 weeks in my reality now, in less than a normal work week.

It is absolute torture to make phonecalls. I actually lost a reasonably lucrative contract because I didn’t return a call within a few hours. I actually got the message within ten minutes. I just couldn’t dial or talk about work. It was too much. I was too tired. Everything was too much.

Then there’s the days where I have enough energy to do things. I went out during the last PokemonGo event to play with Paul in the car at a good spot nearby that I hadn’t had the chance to bring him to yet. It was fun. I needed the fun. But it was also exhausting. Playing a game while sitting in a car less than ten minutes from my house was exhausting because I was driving and that takes focus.

I tried going to a Christmas festival with friends, but hadn’t eaten properly, so after feeling weak and having to separate from the group to sit half a dozen times, I felt frustrated with myself and a little upset about the commercialism of the event. I managed to enjoy a few things, but it was difficult.

Like the majority of things I started during this period in my life, this post remains unfinished. Fitting, really.

HG2G, Don't Panic

A Thief in the Night

If you’ve only got one shot

If you’ve only got one life

If time was never on your side

Before I die I want to burn out bright

I had one really eventful day around mid-November. I went out to my car to find that I had left it unlocked and that it had been rifled through - entirely so - the glove compartment taken out, all the nooks and crannies covered. At the time I thought they had stolen my iPod - though a few weeks later I found it sticking in the pocket of my travelling bag (I mainly use my phone for music these days, so missing it wasn’t a huge deal, just hadn’t had anything stolen from me in a long time, and thinking someone had was an interesting experience.) The bag of loonies and toonies I normally had in the car were sitting in the house for some reason… So there was nothing there to steal.

After I determined what happened and took a photo and decided not to report it, I moved a lot of the junk that had been whirlwinded into the passenger seat and took off to do some errands - whereupon I managed to drop my bank card on the ground by the trunk of my car at Dollarama and come home to find it missing from my car and my phone. I immediately retraced my steps to find it on the ground - but that could have been a big pain in the butt. I have a visa debit card, so I use it to pay all sorts of bills - changing the number means a half hour of going through every creditor I have to change the number on file.

When I got home from retracing my steps and feeling very blessed to find that bank card again, a cat jumped up onto the hood right in front of me and scared the daylights out of me. I don’t normally shriek when I’m frightened, but my heart just stops and my body turns to ice. Not a fun way to end the evening, but again, harmless.

The whole affair was really strange - a bunch of aborted bad things, or unreal bad things. Frustrating, but not lethal, exasperating, but not really that big of a deal. But it is, somehow. Whenever I remember these things they seem meaningful. Not completely sure why yet. I'll probably figure that out eventually.

A few days later I shot an event for lawyers where I ended up listening to a Liberal MP who has achieved a great deal in her time in politics give a Lifetime Achievement Award speech. While I don’t share her politics, I do recall her as a politician that one respects, which is a rare bird, and one worth watching. It was a pleasure to work with her and the other speakers that evening as a photographer, and I was thoughtful as I got my car out of the valet parking that they had paid for me, and took home my free opened wine bottles… What do I want to achieve? My goals have changed.

Everything about my life feels… simpler somehow. I feel less and less like that vision I used to have of myself on stage is who I want to be.

If the saints are the model for living, there is one thing that consistently shines from the writings and thoughts they’ve passed down to us. The call to simplicity.

These events were simple, everyday victories. And I am trying to learn to see them as such. I am seeking a love of simplicity, even though it's not the easiest thing to look for.
end of all things

The Unjust Judge

History is made by stupid people

Clever people wouldn’t even try

So if you want a place in the history books

Then do something dumb before you die

Myself and pretty much everyone under 40 in my feed are pretty sad about Trump winning this election. A large majority of young voters did not support him or his ideas or his policies. Now you could say they’re ignorant because of their youth, and some may be, however ignorance is not about age.

This was an ideological war, and the side that’s winning is everything I truly abhor - a manipulative charlatan, a narcissist of epic proportions. Not as many would entertain themselves with thinking, a stupid man, or a man of no accomplishments - that is not the description of any good villain.

My family, growing up and still to some degree, takes what I see as an unhealthy amount of interest in the Holocaust. The rising to power of an unpretty demagogue whose manipulation of the true unrest in the hearts of men against their fellow men of other ancestry. How accurate the modern mirror to the past, how fitting Solomon’s statement, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

There are a thousand reasons for my disdain for him, not least his unredeemable character, his disdain for practically anything you can name, and the fact that he worships nothing but money and himself. Not to mention the fact that as a businessperson and ameteur pschologist I know far more about how he really operates than the average consumer or citizen. It sickens me, and everyone else with the same knowledge.

“In a certain city there was a judge

who neither feared God

nor had respect for people…”

However, fools have had power before. It is neither the end of the world, nor cause for the terror I see among my many left-leaning friends. I am neither surprised nor truly afraid. My dog sleeps beside me. No explosions can be seen in the sky, nor is it falling.

I’m not advocating a lack of fear saying that nothing bad will happen. On the contrary, there could be wars, but there always are somewhere. I simply don’t believe that being overwhelmed with fear is useful. Fear is the mind-killer, the Dune mantra reminds me on a regular basis.

I’m looking at the exit polls, and 20% of people who voted for Trump don’t think he’s honest, trustworthy, qualified, or has the temperament to be president. This is why I actually don’t believe that it’s a person’s duty to vote. They probably felt the same about the other side.

Sell all that you own

and distribute the money to the poor,

and you will have treasure in heaven;

then come, follow me.

The eye of the needle is before this man. We shall see what he does to circumvent it.

I am forever shocked at how the Left forgets the right, believes them to be irrelevant, and suddenly finds them, as usual, half the population of their own country.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves

that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray,
one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus,
‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people:
thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven,
but was beating his breast and saying,
‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
I tell you, this man went down to his home justified
rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled,
but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

And so I pray.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done

On Earth, as it is in heaven…

Forgive us our tresspasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us

To "trespass" is a specific type of sin, normally understood to mean the failure to act for the good and do the right thing.

And so we come to the dark island, where dreams come true.

Do not let your hearts be troubled,

and do not be afraid.