back to the city

belleville train station

this morning, i’m headed back to ottawa on the train. it’s been a really long week. i can’t believe only 7 days ago i was running that half marathon… in retrospect it seems like about a month!! my dad’s been doing better – every day he seems to be a little bit more like himself, but it’s the start of a long road. all things considered, it would be unreasonable to expect anything else.

my sister dropped me off at the train station bright and early. can i just take a minute to say she’s the best? seriously this girl does it all: three kids, massive dog, and she’s so, so close to being a midwife – only about a year left of practicum and she’ll be catching babies all on her very own! i’m so very proud of her (in case you couldn’t tell.) i should note that i’m proud of both my sisters, but being around sarah and seeing her daily crazy hectic life for the past week has renewed my appreciation for all that she does over the course of a 24 hour period.

so here i am sitting on a train. it brings back so many memories of a trip i took out to the northern part of quebec (the gaspe region to be specific) when i was 13. it was a with an exchange program called SEVEC and you were paired up with a family in that part of the country that spoke hardly a word of english. the train ride was about 30 hours long and i remember there was this one car that had a clear bubble for the cieling. it was a double decker and in the night i snuck up there and watched the open night sky. i associate so much of that summer trip with the train until this day.

train rides are a funny thing – they have that knack for being romantic. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the older modes of transportation.

when we got to the train station in belleville this morning, we found out a new one had been built to replace the old one (old one pictured above). the little station that had been used for so many  trips to and from home still stands beside the new one – in my memory it’s that place for departures and homecomings, that small little antiquated building with just one room and one ticket window. the overhanging roof that covered you while waiting for the train has that scalloped trim. it’s just a shadow of the past. and because it’s still standing there, the new station looks so huge and modern and unnecessary.

i don’t know why i got all sentimental about a silly old train station!

i’m excited to get home for a few days, see my puppy and mike and catch a bit of a breather before heading home again this weekend.

hope everyone has a great start to the week!

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Matters of the heart

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The past five days have been such a blur – I’m not even really sure what day of the week it is today. It’s Saturday right?

On Tuesday morning my parents were on their way back from my sister’s house in Toronto when my dad started having chest pain. After a couple transfers between various hospitals, the day ended at one AM in a waiting room at the Peter Munk Cardiac centre at Toronto General Hospital.

Today, my dad’s making a good recovery from a double heart by-pass, but like I said, it’s been a really long week (especially for my dad).

Dad, I know you can’t read this right now but you’re my most loyal and long standing reader, and it’s not the same around here without you. Get well soon and I promise I’ll keep tabs of things while you’re gone.

P.s today the mayor of our small town stopped me on the Main Street to hear about how you were doing. If you ever had a doubt, you should know that you’ve laid down some pretty deep roots ’round these parts.

All my love, from the bottom of my heart,
Emily xoxo

When friends get married

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it was a beautiful wedding in yorkville, toronto; the weather was spectacular, the music was touching and the ceremony perfect. and the dancing. oh the dancing. my feet are going to be sore for a few days – but it’s a small price to pay to the dancing/dj gods who happened to play all the best dancing oldies you could ask for at a wedding. (my absolute favourite!)

it’s pretty amazing when your friends get married. it makes you believe in a love story because you’ve had that special privilege of watching it unfold right in front of you.

when i think of the group of us all getting older over the years, going down different roads doing different things, it brings me a sense of comfort to know that you two will be there together, just like it should be. i feel so blessed to have been included in this amazing day.

here’s to the happy couple!! ❤

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yorkville ^^

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my handsome date ^^

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The hype over Boston

On Monday at 1:00 pm –  a week after the bombings took place in Boston – a large group of people gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to pay respect to those who were affected by the act of terrorism.

At 1:30 a tribute march took place from Parliament Hill to the American Embassy. As I was walking amongst the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit angry. A lot of people I was walking around were wearing Boston 2013 blue and gold jackets – their badge of honour, sporting it proudly. That means they were there – they had trained and made the trek from Ottawa and they ran the race. A race I’d love to be able to participate in someday. I think other people in the crowd felt similarly as they placed their running shoes on the fence behind the embassy.

Social media has been telling me that I don’t have perspective; that getting angry about the bombings in Boston is to overlook the fact that there are way worse situations around the world. Within 24 hours of the Bombings in Boston, people on social media were using it as a platform for “Pfft. Americans. They blow everything out of proportion. Stuff like this happens in Syria everyday.”

I don’t mean to sound angry or… hyped up… but isn’t it a bit too soon to be all up in arms and telling people to get perspective?

Just to be clear, I couldn’t have more of a bleeding heart for situations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. I think what happens there every day is an atrocity. I think that any government that persecutes it’s citizens should be brought to justice. I think that any group of citizens that terrorize other subsets of populations are hypocrites. And just to be clear, I think from our position of privilege, we should be doing what we can to neutralize hostile and volatile parts of the world.

But in my opinion, that argument- the argument where you say, “Americans hype up events and acts of terrorism in their own country” doesn’t have space in the discussion of what’s happened in Boston.

What happened in Boston was awful. And people who are outraged at what happened, are more then entitled to blow it out of proportion… because, proportionally, when was the last time a bomb exploded, maiming dozens of people, injuring countless others and killing three on Boylston street in Boston? Paul Revere was probably alive if and when the last time anything like this happened.

We should be mad that international political systems don’t stand up for the persecuted when they should – and we should be disgusted by powerful governments in the world who both instigate and refuse to take a stand after they’ve stirred up trouble.

But in the meantime… I’m thankful for my position of privilege -The one that I will never take for granted. And that’s why I’m all hyped up about it.

and the flowers pick themselves

these are some favourite words for my favourite person.


lately i’ve been spending a lot of time writing facts. (Ug. The life of a journalism student!) It’s only about true observations.  things that are to the point. sentences that don’t ramble and that start with the subject. (I HATE starting a sentence with the subject by-the-by!)
So… yea. This post is about remembering how good it feels to just read words sometimes. and  not really know for certain where they’re gonna take you.

THEN

who knows if the moon’s
a baloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky—filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their baloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where

always
it’s
Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves
– e.e. cummings

Lately….

Lately I’ve been thinking

That there’s too many things in my house. Spring cleaning is in order.

That there’s nothing better then shedding your heavy winter coat for a wool sweater.

That when your nose runs from the cold in the march air you can feel like a kid again (like when you were waiting for the school bus or playing outside after dinner in the twilight.)

That the times that seem the most arduous and difficult in your life are the times you look back on most fondly.

That sunlight until 7:30 pm is a blessing.

That if spring won’t come to me, I’ll go to spring:

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Success .

what makes people successful? in a world of millions of voices, clambering to be heard, what makes some stand-out above the rest?

once when i was in a room at the library – you know the kind where they give you tutorials about how to have better study habits or how to use the dewy decimal system? – there was a poster on the wall and it said “80% of success is showing up. the other 10% is talent.”

i’m sure you’ve seen a similar one in the peer-mentoring centre or dentist office.

so maybe success is all about perseverance. showing up. putting the time in.

malcom gladwell has made his millions telling people they they only need to put the 10,000 hours in; that’s the recipe for success.

but…..  when you’re this person, when your life only exists to succeed, how successful can you really be?

so maybe you show up at 6 am for practice when you could stay tucked in bed next to the person who loves you, or  you decide there’s no time to read a book for pleasure when there’s work to be done, or you miss the entire point of an assignment because you are so consumed  with knowing every single detail on the marking rubric.

if that’s the kind of attitude that buys you success, i’m not so sure i’m convinced. sure maybe this will make you successful …..(maybe)… but when you’re awarded the “most successful prize”, is there anything left to the person you thought you were? does anyone even exist underneath this sort of drive?

It’s why people like Andre Agassi or Michael Phelps can’t handle success – why pop stars crumble with fame or the money that comes with it… there needs to be a life behind what drives you.

what about the people who just are successful by the life they lead? happy. content. maybe even a little average.

why do we have such a high standard and definition for success? why is it related to pay-checks, notoriety or fame?

do you know who you are – beyond a certain hobby or activity? do you have love for the people around you? do you ever just stop for a moment and think – “the world will keep turning.”

after 28 years, i’m beginning to see my life more as an arrangement of the eclectic things that make me, me, and less of a huge need to have you look at me and say, “you’re successful.”

i don’t think i ever really thought that deliberately or consciously when i set out to do something –  but i think it’s easy to be led from one life decision to the next without even questioning why – but rather, “just because.”

Family Day

It’s a holiday in Canada today: Family Day. The irony about Family Day is, it’s a “provincial” holiday – so everyone in Ottawa who has a job with the Federal Government (which is probably 75% of the working population) has to work on “Family Day.” Bummer. Imagine your kids have the day off school but you have to go to work so they get shipped off to a sitter’s house? Something’s wrong with that picture.

I used to work for the Federal Government – but now I’m a degenerate grad student sitting on my couch in pyjamas at noon (and I may or may not shower) and to be frankly honest I have no classes on Mondays anyway so there really isn’t anything different about today in this household.

i’ve realized that as you become older, you become less concerned with other things in your life – things that seemed so important when you were younger – and you realize that your time is better spent with family.

nothing could really be truer. despite all the struggles, the ups and downs, life turmoils, distance and eccentricities that make up a family, there really isn’t anything that can replace them.

since the student budget is tight and my family doesn’t live in town, I won’t be able to spend the day with:

two sisters, three nieces, one nephew, two brother-in-laws or mom and dad.

but….. the other thing about getting older is your family will grow, it’s one of life’s many blessings.

and so i get to spend the day pulling shoe’s out of this guy’s mouth:

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sharing a wonderful brunch for two:

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And of course intervening in various attempts to overthrow the canine (from the advancing feline front):

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Happy Family Day!

And remember in the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”

For my valentine

anyone else who happens on this is welcome to enjoy – but full disclosure it’s really for my valentine 🙂

xoxo

love, love, love it’s what I’ve got.