rawr, dinosaur love

Year In Review (Part I)

When she's near,
The New Year's here
and there's not a resolution
that I can't do

Every New Year I try to chronicle the year before, a review of the things that have happened to me. It seems as though 2009 is an especially long tale to chronicle, but a rewarding one. Dozens of highly important things happened this year. I fell in love and got engaged, moved out of my parent's place, self-diagnosed myself with an eating disorder and took steps to change my habits, graduated University, officially launched my own business, and that's just the biggest stuff I can think of off the top of my head. So this year's Review should be a little less detailed then they often are. I review this year in my own words. Numbers are post dates, not event dates - usually they are the day after or a few days after when these things happened.

The Year Two Thousand and Nine
January to June

I wonder about this year. I wonder what it will be like? I wonder if it will be as crazy as last year? If I will achieve any of my goals - like moving out, securing a photo internship and working for tons of weddings?

I've burnt out my body so badly by going from school to work to school and not really stopping for 8 years. I need to finish these next three months and then really take a break and give myself a chance to be myself, make some money, pay some debts, start over with this life thing.

People keep telling me that it's unrealistic to say I'll never go to school again - the never say never thing, but I really don't think it's all that unrealistic. There's a small chance I'm wrong about that. But I don't think I am. I think I'm going to walk out with that degree and never go back as a full time student. I certainly don't rule out a class or two eventually, but I don't think I'll be a "student" again.

I'm really not coming back. Future self: Remember this moment. It's not worth it. That being said, I still feel like I'm going to enjoy this semester. Mostly.

Three more months. Three more months. Three more months.

BRIT 2009 is over. It's kind of unbelievable to me that it's my 7th annual BRIT as a volunteer. Crazy. Took photos, sorted photos, or worked on the website stuff all day starting from the moment I walked in the door a few minutes past noon. BRIT remains a high quality tournament, run by dedicated people. I loved working with Drew and Vic again just as I do every year.

I want off this ride. 2.5 more months, 2.5 more months... The mantra is getting shorter, but not all of my work is getting done. CRAP.

In other news, my friend Paul called me today just to talk - he got my answering service (and gets points for commenting that my message was awesome), but considering I am at least vaguely interested in him and I was kind of scoping him out when I took him to the Fireside concert, I am pleased that he thought of me.

Walking across campus feels like a marathon and stairs are torture. I want my life back.

I could be [single] for the rest of my life perhaps. It's never been my dream, but if I never find the kind of guy who wants to give his whole heart to me, I'd rather not live half-hearted.

Remember when I said I could almost see myself single? I wasn't lying exactly, it was just a very tiny phase of my life. I think I may have found the next contestant in my ongoing search for love.

I want him to chase me this time.

A Day In My Life

Saturday was fantastic. I slept in, went for lunch with Mark and then he took me down to the Rat Hole, an ice racing track where they've graded the snow off a frozen lake. I'd never been on a frozen lake, the ice when you look down is unreal, beautiful and spidery. And of course Mark showed me how to slide around corners and then taught me while I drove a little. As soon as my car is fixed I am SO going back there. you can't get above 40 KM anyway even on the straight stretch, so the chances of destroying my car when I'm the only one there are pretty slim. Anything crazy you can do in life with minimal danger to life, limb, and property? That is something you should always do.

What does it say about me that while filling out a survey that the U of S randomly selected me for, I had to pause when, on a list of campus experiences, I had to pause at, "Living on Campus" until I realized they meant that literally, not figuratively? *sigh*

Tonight at 9:30 I went out with Paul (the new guy I'm scoping out, for those of you joining us who missed the explanatory post about him) to Calories, [...] We talked until they kicked us out, 45 minutes after the place closed. I am, as before stated, dangerously into this guy.

I am trying to stop filling my life with physical junk - which happens somehow even though I'm not much of a trinket person? The only collections likely to survive the crackdown: Art, Earrings, and Nutcrackers. (At least music takes up very little space now that it's no longer in CD Case format)

[NOTE: I've been succeeding at this! I have very few trinket-y things left.]

He said tonight he doesn't like dystopic novels because he's a sucker for a happy ending. I said (in a positive way) that he was a sap, and he freely admitted it.

Here's to happy endings.


After Nutana Cafe Mike dropped Paul and I off by our cars, and he still wanted to go walking with me, so we walked and talked for nearly three hours. We talked about art, politics, science, Calvin and Hobbes, the Greek concepts of hubris and homosexuality, Meyers-Briggs personality profiling (for all you geeks, he's an INFJ), Engineers vs. artists vs. architects, languages, jaywalking, church... Life, the universe, and everything... And in the middle of that, we went to the Mendel, where we agreed that the feminist show was terrible and should never have been funded and the other show was amazing. Saskatoon folk, don't miss Jean-Pierre Gauthier: MACHINES AT PLAY. I was entranced. By the artwork and the company. =) There was this sweet metal tube sculpture attached to a motion sensor... It looks kind of like a screensaver when it's in motion. Yeah. Paul walked around the corner first and then came to get me, telling me a few seconds after my reaction that he had to see my face light up when I got a look at that work of genius - and he wasn't disappointed.

God help me. I don't want to mess this up.

Why do I even eat some days? Lately it just feels like a losing battle.

Valentines Day made me hurl this year! I know I threaten it every year but this year was literal.


Today I archived a G-mail that had an empty draft attached, an email I'd decided not to send. The email contained something that I didn't want to think about. Something I have decided I don't want to decide.

My mailbot asked me concisely: "Abandon changes?" And I clicked on "OK." I realized that I was abandoning changes to this same issue for probably the tenth time. Something I am unwilling to compromise on, even though I am not sure it's as simple as I like to think.


And then I remember what I told a crying friend when I hugged her. It's just art school.

We went for coffee at Tim's after [Twilight] and had some great conversation. (I remember having a moment where I looked into his sparkling eyes as we laughed about something, and deep inside me something thrilled with a resounding YES.)

I'm not happy about everything I do or everything I am, but I feel like I've made progress in 2008 and I hope to see the end of 2009 be as encouraging as the end of 2008 was, looking to the future. That would be really cool.

I am telling you seriously - I could spend years with this man and never be bored or feel unloved or unimportant. If I were prone to self-prophecy, I might say that I am going to marry him. And maybe I will. But I can't know that at this point.

He inspires a sweetness in me that I have honestly never felt for another person. I find him captivating. I would have stayed all night. I would have stayed forever.

I joked that this year for Lent I've decided to give up maintaining elephants in my living space. Little did I know there would be a veritable stampede within hours of that decision.


I asked a wise friend what to do with a loved one. They said, "I care about you, but do I ever think about what to do with you? No. I just be. Besides, you need to figure that out for yourself."

Paul posted on my Facebook status about not being productive enough, "Remember that ultimately God will never judge you on how productive you were." Don't I need to hear that. Basically all the time.

Spring is making a slushie of the world. And I'm enjoying it.

When I started this secrets project for my show, I had no idea that it would inspire me to such drastic actions. When I conceived the project, I thought that in writing things down I could leave them behind. I didn't realize that being right about that meant something drastic was going to happen to me and I'd start changing everything about myself that I hated. I didn't realize that I'd be making inquiries about disability tests. I didn't realize that I'd be deciding to re-think how I handle relationships. I didn't think I'd be cleaning up and taking out the garbage inside and out.

It's nearly four in the morning and I just got home from Printmaking. My printing went terribly and I think it was the third print of like 25 that I ended up picking. I was peeved. I kept doing just ONE more. In the end I am sore, I have blisters on the bottom joints of both my pointer fingers from the rollers, I am covered in ink, and I am so far exhausted that I've almost circled right back to energy again. Almost.

Sometimes after having barely any sleep my creative side kicks into overdrive. Today is one of those days where I craved a tape recorder - beautiful , poetic, and philosophic ideas were floating through my head at hyper speed and I didn't catch all of them. I caught a poem and formed it, and I started writing a discourse. That's all I managed today. I wonder what it would be like if I managed to catch all the ideas on days like this? If I had a notebook handy and captured every one? I'd have conceptual material for weeks.

Out of the last 28 hours, I have danced for 14 of them. I don't care how much it hurts, I am grounded in the pure bliss of Swing, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Quickstep, and random bits of ballroom cha chas and rumbas thrown in here and there.


I ended up slaughtering elephants in the room again today. This process is so painful and yet so necessary. I keep seeing just how selfish I am with my relationships. I've got that log in my own eye and I can't see past it. You know, I was just thinking the other day that I was doing okay. Maybe I am in some areas, but in others I've really lost out. I stress myself to the max and then I stress my relationships out and look at them through hurt instead of love and wreck them sometimes.

I dreamed of dancing with a man whose face I could never see even though the dancing was perfect.

I'm curious - a pseudonym for terrified - about what the reactions to my secrets will be. Here's hoping they will be positive or at the very least a stepping stone to open and honest debate.

It's 7am. The last book of secrets is in the cabinet. None too soon.
Months of work and frustration and tears went into this. I do hope someone appreciates it.

It was when we put up the lighting yesterday that I had a moment where I just had to smile. My show! =) Another moment, when I first saw the title on the wall, gleaming under the light.

I'm an artist now, everyone. I have officially set up my own personal show. Now here's to finding out what everyone thinks of it.

Today I felt the difference that only the complete confession of the soul can bring. I gushed out everything for those books. Wrote until my hands cramped and I was spent physically and emotionally. Let me note for posterity that it took nine people about 40 hours over just three days for installation, which is downright ridiculous and one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I couldn't have done it alone. I can't do any of this alone. It's humbling to realize it fully.

The moment came at around 1am last night. The one I'd waited for. It was while I was writing the secret book about my Grandmother's life. I was writing and suddenly I sat back and everything just crashed in on me. All the stress, all the hurt of these past few years. The deaths in the family a year ago. The inability to change the past. And I cried, and I let myself sob for awhile. Then I went outside into the cold, a fine mist of a rain that was going to freeze settling on my face, and I prayed out loud while my tears fell and asked for renewal with the rain. I stood there and looked up into the sky and said to God, "I'm not asking you why anymore. I want to ask, but it won't change anything. So make this beautiful, because that's what you do. Bring healing and renewal and bless this show." And after that I went back in and wrote some more, but the feeling was different.

Someone wrote in my book, "You must do more." Perhaps they are right.

After Paul saw my show today, I asked him how he felt. "Connected. I feel connected to you. Like our stories are the same."

I feel a queer sort of thin but present melancholy.

She said like it or not
It's the way it's gotta be
You've gotta love yourself
If you can ever love me

A year ago today I was on a plane to Israel. Listening to Lifehouse. Today I was in my car on the way to school. Listening to the same album.


But I'm not sure if I ever mentioned that I made a list once in one of the rare periods that I wasn't crushing on or actively pursuing anyone. I made it with my friend Drew transcribing and then I edited it later to reflect a little more of what I was looking for in a man. I edited it later to about 100 points stretching all the major points of what I would consider marriageable material. Paul matched 97 of them.

Today I attended my last three classes of University. I was wavering in and out of the ability to concentrate, function, and enjoy those final moments. My first class involved an in-class essay that I was stunned to find went well despite my mere four hours of sleep and two hours of research.One of those things I attribute to divine help, that's for certain.

If I traveled back in time and talked to myself and gave a general rundown of the exact status of my life today including that my foremost hobby is ballroom dancing, my old self would have arched an eyebrow and started laughing. Now I can't imagine life without it.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.
I can tell you right now, this is the man I want to marry. It's really only a matter of time.

There are no words. I won't even try. I don't think anyone would understand, so after releasing my secrets to the world, I have a new one. It was only a matter of time.

(regarding having my wisdom teeth out)
I was so scared, and crying, and there was nobody there with me. So I just suffered through the freezing needles and tried hard to relax, seeing as the drugs didn't really take well until my second tooth.

Yet another terrible dental experience, only this time the physical aspect went pretty much okay.

Spirit, soul, and body, I am in pain and worn out. I need rest, the kind that sleep doesn't even really cover.


Pain. My life has been pain for days, one kind or another. If the right line about life as a sheep is, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life" what I'm more familiar with is pain, sadness, fear, and uncertainty biting at my heels like a pack of nasty sheepdogs. Annoying at best and debilitating at worst, I could really use a break from reality, even if on a lot of levels, reality isn't so bad.

Not only that, but blogging pays sometimes. I got an email from the owner of a jewelry store I'd considered working at last Fall, but he's actually personally asked me to apply because of this post.

I am in pain, body and soul. Only thrice in my life have I left the city driving with the music turned up. This time I played through two albums of Linkin Park and made it to Warman and back and still didn't feel entirely satisfied. (A police car passed me because I always drive the speed limit when I'm upset. Any faster would be dangerous with my mind elsewhere than 100% on the road.)

I remember thinking that I needed to be in the right mood for relationship-examining punk, so I kept it on my iPod. Well I am abundantly in the right mood now.

Ugh. I just kind of hate everything right now, and I want to start over. Except for that whole thing where I'm stuck here. In time and space. Should I attempt construction on a transmogrifier or a Delorean?

Today I picked up my friend Kori, decided to drive out of town, West, and drove until there was a turnoff for a town. The town's name was Asquith. I quipped to Kori that there were enough strange things in small-town Saskatchewan to be touristy about, you didn't need to go far from home at all for that. Indeed, there was a skeleton train and lots of interesting junkpiles, a few dilapidated buildings with great artistic presence, and a small ranch-y General Store where we bought an interesting selection of foods ranging from candy to an ice cream bar to carrots and dip. Also, I had pretty much the best grapefruit juice of my life.

While procrastinating studying for my final, I discovered I have all the symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder - the third recognized disorder along with anorexia and bulimia.

The main way to fix this? Don't let it be a secret.

There was one moment in the car where Leah randomly burst into song and I joined in and then we went into a movie quote-a-thon, and it was so perfect because we both knew every reference. Every once and awhile one of us will be aghast that it took us so long to make this friendship gel, since we've known each other from practically before the dawn of time. We have been fading in and out of each other's lives for almost the whole time. We had a brief spate of friendship from 2000 after the Sage Hill, but eight years later we are much better friends and glad we finally got on that.

In conclusion, BEST. ROADTRIP. EVER.


Paul and I talked on Thursday night - nothing special in that of itself since we talk all the time, but this was a turning point again and many things were said that I will treasure for a long time. Paul said something to me that even completely apart from our relationship, meant everything. He said while looking into my eyes, "When I look into your eyes, I am very attracted to you."

I believed him. I have had a disorder that has made it impossible to see myself positively for ten years, so believing him should have been impossible. Then I said, "Well, this changes everything," and I didn't just mean between us, though there's no way he could have understood that at the time, and I was going through too much in that moment to explain. I meant that the spell was broken, and I wanted to dance but I held myself back because it would have confused him.

Paul was afraid when he saw the enormity of the hope that had awakened in me, but he couldn't have seen it through my eyes and known that the hope was not a hope of relationship with him (which was established long ago and remained largely unchanged), but a moment of healing that I knew would result in restoration. It was the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Freedom.

After the absolutely fantastic conversation that Paul and I had on Thursday, we've been together several times. Saturday morning we were together trip planning, we sat together on the couch and I had my arm around him the whole time. We sunbathed on a hill together by Browsers. The smile he gave me when he left lit the world.

Today I lay on a sunny bank and waited for the sun to soak through me. It was exquisite. I had nowhere else to go, nothing else that needed to be done in that moment but lay in the sun.

Today I was out and got caught out in the rain. I held out my hands and lifted up my face, and I thanked God that everything feels new.

I had a day of music and sunshine and good moments, and I was thinking how little pressure I feel for anything right now... (Except for getting some errands done. Fail.) I don't feel like I have to do anything except be.

It used to be that my life's purpose was finishing school. Now my life's purpose is to learn something far more valuable.

How to really live.


A little later we were making to leave and he said something which stopped my heart.

He looked at me purposefully with a huge, toothy smile and said, "I'm always so happy when I'm with you. Why am I always so happy with you?"


"When I look into your eyes," he said, looking into them, "I am very attracted to you."

My heart threatened somersaults.


His car was across the lot and as the time went by, it was getting really late. He said, "I'm going to drive you to your car!" and I said, "No, you're not! My car is right there." And he said with absolute determination, "Yes, I am."

And then he squealed his car all the way around (in several seconds) to park beside mine.

Being done school is the most amazing feeling right now. It's like I'm just free to live.

We have always been drawn to each other since the changes in our personality have allowed us to come close.
And what changes! What different people we are. [...]
People keep knowing this, knowing us, seeing it in our eyes. There's a fear to this like jumping off a cliff.
I am so sure of this. What happens if I am right? What happens if - and I cannot even express it. And so it must be.


In the evening I got to see my friend Kori for about 20 minutes. I came in her door, sat on her couch, and she lounged on me on the couch and said, "I love you, Twyla." I had one of those moments where I am so grateful to God that I have so many absolutely wonderful and supportive friends. I've needed them and drawn on their strength lately, and God has been good to me - all the time I have spent in being support is being returned to me when I need it the most. It's the only way to live.


Very early in the morning we were sitting and staring into each others eyes, as often happens when we've been together for a long time. And I started a statement, "You know what happens when we've been together for a long period of time..." I was going to say, "We come into focus." But Paul interrupted me with, "We start staring into each other's eyes for long periods of time?" I laughed and said that wasn't what I was going to say, but that too. He said, "Like in Twilight!" And I freaked at him and said I didn't want to be compared to it even if it was every woman's fantasy. He said he'd been watching it with his sister and identifying with Edward - in a relationship that makes him feel guilty, afraid to hurt the girl, but there was no way he was getting out of it. I told him as long as he didn't sneak into my house to watch me sleep...

We lapsed back into staring into each others eyes and one of our songs came on the radio.

And I won't hesitate
No more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

This is it. He's the one.


Somehow we got on the topic of weddings and I was saying I definitely knew more about how I didn't want my wedding to be than how I wanted it to be, so Ken asked me what I wanted. I wisely refrained from saying, "He's right there!" 

Helen gave many suggestions.
"Do you want your man to ride in on a steed?" 
"Well if he calls it a steed I may laugh until I can't breathe. No. No steeds." I was also thinking that both Paul and I are allergic to horses. Paul is already, at this point, laughing uncontrollably.

This is the summer of dreams come true.

Road Trip Summary Post. Paul and I go to Regina. Big events: He locks his keys in his car, we eat at a fancy restaurant, and I convince Paul to buy a sexy shirt, we watch birds and children at Wascana Lake and discuss our differences. An anguished, late night conversation leads to the creation of a metaphor that we're just missing a puzzle piece. I read Jane Eyre to him. Later he tells me he found this frustrating: "A woman is reading a Victorian novel to me. Why don't I want to kiss her?"

At the doorway he shook his head, staring at the ground, and said, "What am I doing?"

I told him he didn't need to know. "If we all knew what we were doing it would be boring." That comforted him.

I didn't say the plainer truth, but I was thinking it. You're falling in love with me. That's why they call it falling. Because you're just out of control.

The last thing that I said before I left was this.

"Do you see the miracle of this? All either of us has to do to make this relationship happen is become more of who we wanted to be anyway."
He responded with burning eyes and a soft voice. "Isn't that all either of us ever wanted? The freedom to be ourselves?"
"Yes. It is. What can you do but fall on your face and worship about something so beautiful?"

Today I convocated. I can now put those glorious letters, B.F.A., behind my name. I even have a cool piece of paper to prove it.

Drew took me out onto the grid roads off Hwy. 16 to re-learn stick shifting. Things went really well for the most part, I find stick shifting quite natural in his car. The sunset was just spectacular, pink and framed by several different layers of cloud systems, some dark, some light. It was quite lovely.


Paul is approximately 7000 km away from me. [In England] I have been trying not to think about that, trying not to think about him.

Water has always made me comfortable, and I often pray at the edge of a large mass of it. Even a slough. When things are going particularly badly, I find the nearest space filled with water, flowing or not, and pray there. There's just something about it.

Drew: I don't get enough airtime on your blog!  [The creation of the "Drew gets airtime on my blog" tag =)]

As I write this I am sitting on the front step of Garrett's house, enjoying a blue sky dotted with perfect summer clouds and being misted by the front lawn sprinkers, and I can see a rainbow through them. A sign of God's promises.

[I finally learned how to peel potatoes with the knife towards your hand. I was always terrified of this, but Garrett finally convinced me that it wasn't so bad and I now have a useful life skill.]

Saturday was the wedding. All day. It was high energy, sweat and movement; technical skills and artistic skills and emotional overload. All this is the usual. I'm getting used to it. I'm getting really, really good at portraiture and a lot of the stuff I took this time around stuns even me when I look at it. Every wedding I do is a test of my endurance, my love of it, my desire to do this for a living, and every wedding I shoot I look at the product and realize I really am pretty good at it. I savoured the process this time.

This is the second ceremony I've shot barefoot, and as long as I have permission, I will probably continue to do that. Makes it easier to rush to where you need to be.


He told me that there's three choices when confronted with an enemy. Stand, Fight, or Run. Fighting and running have dire consequences and usually lose in one way or another. Standing is really the only winning option when you're helpless against something. Mark reminded me that this scenario was a part of my thinking that I had to be able to DO something in every situation, that my friends in prior years were frustrated with their inability to help me go through really hard times too... And he told me it never ends, the doubt is an ongoing part of life.

These things are all wise and I will be thinking them over.


Not only was my body finished, my heart has been entirely restless. I have spent the last few weeks feeling like a camera that can't decide how to autofocus, the immediate things clear then blurring out as the far things become clear, but it always seems like I'm at the wrong F-stop for clear vision of the present and the future.

We live as a process and that is what can be enjoyed if we take the time to try that style of living on - the one where process is key, process, progress, and the excitement of the unknown.

[Paul returns from England]
I am poetic with the words of a thousand novels, I am an ever-fixed mark, I am burning, I am feeling insane with the narrow distance, the only thing that keeps me from him: My respect for him.

I think my emotions need a vacation.

If this guy is going to fall in love with me, I'm just going to stand and watch.

I met Michael's sister tonight and had supper with the two of them in the condo. The rent is reasonable, the place isn't tiny, I enjoy their company and will appreciate their cooking abilities. I gave them my final word tonight.

I am feeling a lot more comfortable with knowing myself lately. I feel as though I've mapped out most of myself in these 23 years and the new stuff is puzzling but not a bad development. I'm excited about the future and enjoying the present, and what more is there?



I didn't spend any time recently looking forward to a very specific, very satisfying event.

I certainly did not spend my entire waking Saturday and a good dose of the wee hours of Sunday morning doing anything that might be inadvisable, dangerous, or possibly even bordering on illegal. Nothing fun, or even remotely satisfying either.


I spent the majority of my afternoon after a quick meeting swing dancing at the Jazz Festival free stage. It was totally amazing. I got to dance to In The Mood and Sing Sing Sing, which are both my favourite and everyone's favourite swing classics. I danced some of the best dances I've ever done, felt totally sexy in my black dress with the white polka dots, I am sunburnt, exhausted, and wondering if any weekend this summer can top this one. It may be nigh impossible, but I'm gonna try.
  • Current Mood: blah blah
teeheehee- and the best is yet to come. What an awesome review of an incredible 6 months :)