Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday poetry blogging

This is the first poem I ever read or analysed in a literature class (in my recollection).

Le vaisseau d'or

Ce fut un grand Vaisseau taillé dans l'or massif :
Ses mâts touchaient l'azur, sur des mers inconnues;
La Cyprine d'amour, cheveux épars, chairs nues,
S'étalait à sa proue, au soleil excessif.

Mais il vint une nuit frapper le grand écueil
Dans l'Océan trompeur où chantait la Sirène,
Et le naufrage horrible inclina sa carène
Aux profondeurs du Gouffre, immuable cercueil.

Ce fut un Vaisseau d'Or dont les flancs diaphanes
Révélaient des trésors que les marins profanes,
Dégoût, Haine et Névrose, entre eux ont disputés.

Que reste-il de lui dans la tempête brève ?
Qu'est devenu mon coeur, navire déserté ?
Hélas! Il a sombré dans l'abîme du Rêve !

--Émile Nelligan

A translation can be found here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A joke

To hold over until I post a real post:

Q: How do you get 6 drunk and rowdy Canadians out of a bar?
A: You ask them to leave.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Judging a book by its cover

The election is over, and has yielded the expected results: we have a Conservative minority government. No one is surprised, and most people are relieved - a majority would have been disappointing.

However, I must say that the thing I find most disturbing about the idea of Stephen Harper as my Prime Minister is that he just doesn't look the part. I cannot for the life of me imagine him talking to other world leaders or representing the country in any way - it's just an absurd image. Of course, I won't need to imagine it for long as it will happen, and perhaps he will even grow into the role. Time will tell...

In more pleasant news, the NDP seems poised to hold a decent amount of sway in the new government. I am very impressed with how well they did, and how many new seats they picked up. I am actually fairly hopeful that the NDP and the Liberals will be able to create an interesting balance in the house with the Conservative holding power only nominally. All in all, not a bad outcome. And oh so very Canadian!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation*

There is something reassuringly organic and simple about our voting process.
A room full of very earnest retirees and students. A printed list. A piece of paper and a pencil.
So simple, and yet so powerful. We are, after all, helping to decide how we perceive ourselves - actively forming our national identity. And despite all the tv reports, shiny magasines, air-brushed pictures, wordy pundits - it's a bunch of people with little pencils who will decide.

In previous years I have found voting somewhat anticlimatic. What's so exciting about a high school auditorium, or a church basement, or the activity room of a nursing home? But it is the very boring, everyday-ness of it that hit me today. This is democracy. This is what people will fight for, go to war over. The ability to walk into a poorly lit room, stand on the linoleum floor, and use a small pencil to make a little "x".

*Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Workin' on the weekend...

I currently work in the field in which I have a B.A., in a job I like to refer to as The World's Most Boring Job Ever. In case that's not clear enough, I'm hoping to find something better. Unfortunately, TWMBJE pays really quite well (they know it's boring) and so finding something equivalent is a reasonably tall order, and, worse even, jobs in my field are exceedingly rare. In other words, I need to look for one of those ever-elusive jobs that is willing to hire me simply because I have a BA and am smart (and modest too!) (and white, and raised middle-class, and speak English & French naitively, and have impressive-sounding schools on my CV).

Beyond the boring-ness of this job, it is also part-time, has no benefits, and very little opportunity for advancement. None of these characteristics scream "career".

One of my goals for this semester (which I am writing down as a way to keep myself honest) is to figure out a direction in which to head. In other words, I need to outline the kind of job I hope to find, and then figure out who can get me or give me that job. Should I attempt to convince people I could work as a translator (because Montreal is really lacking in bilingual people, oh yeah), or should I transition to a "tech-y" job (I certainly know my way around a computer), or perhaps I can find a non-profit that needs a nice, smart person to do - something?

That's my goal. Of course, suggestions are always welcome. *grin* I keep hoping beyond all reason that a fairy will appear in the night and tell me what I need to do with my life. Unfortunately, the job fairy seems to be on strike...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekend Poetry Blogging

Following jo(e)'s lead, I am joining in on Friday poetry blogging (for an appropriate extended definition of "friday").

Some of my favorite "poetry memories" are of poems in french; this is one of the poems that really "hit" me when I first read it, and I still love the "trick" it contains, the language, the ethereal quality of the whole piece.

Le dormeur du val

C'est un trou de verdure où chante une rivière,
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D'argent ; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit : c'est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.

Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort ; il est étendu dans l'herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.

Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme :
Nature, berce-le chaudement : il a froid.

Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine ;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.

-- Arthur Rimbaud

You can find an English translation of the poem here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Wedding (part II)

(see Part I here)

After the very impressive processional, I don't remember too much about the ceremony. A few highlights so I won't forget them:

- our readings were Micah 6:6-8 and 1 John 4:7-12 ; Micah 6:8 is quite possibly my favorite Bible verse of all time (and has strong memories associated with it, mostly from high school) and it was really wonderful to hear it read: I hope we can live up to that reading in our day-to-day lives. The second reading was actually read in french, as our service was entirely bilingual (french/english) and quite interestingly so, if I do say so myself.

- our minister, Gwenda, was superb. She added so much to the service simply through the spirit in which she conducted everything - down-to-earth, very "real", and yet fully immersed in the beauty of the Anglican (BAS) liturgy. Furthermore, she was understanding and willing to "tweak" the language a tad here and there to allow for a non-heteronormative service, something which was quite important to us. Thank God for understanding, open-minded and compassionate ministers.

- the kids! I asked my cousins kids to be flowergirls (two sisters) and a ringbearer. They were adorable, yet old enough to know what they were doing. Their presence added a feeling of generations and family to the wedding that would otherwise have been lacking.

Those are the highlights of the ceremony, in my mind.
The reception afterwards was also wonderful: we asked people to come up with a rhyme, poem, or song that included both our names if they wanted us to kiss, and that was a huge hit. The kids especially got really into it, and came up with all sorts of songs and rhymes. It was really neat, and I would recommend this to anyone.

The rest of the evening is a blur of people and dancing and pictures and smiles (and very short conversations!).

And then: we were married.

What I did on my Christmas Vacation

(doesn't that title bring back childhood memories? I always hated the assignments like this, but it's different when it's self-imposed...)

The most important, awaited, and stressful event over Christmas was not, in fact, Christmas. Or even New Year's Eve (or day). On December 29th, I got married.

It was wonderful. Of course, that's what everyone says - but now I understand why. Planning the wedding was ridiculously stressful, tiring, and frustrating. There were people to coordinate (and I cursed my early planning days when I had decided to have flowergirls, and a ringbearer, because why would I make my life more difficult??), and schedules to make (I hate scheduling and tend to procrastinate), and mothers to calm.

But time marched on, as it is wont to do, and The Day arrived. It all felt surreal, that I was actually getting married. Our engagement was rather long (almost 2 years), and I think I had adjusted to being engaged. I wasn't really expecting the wedding to really happen.

In retrospect, the rehersal was by far the scariest part (other than the half hour or so before the ceremony). Since the wedding was in a Cathedral (my church home growing up, but still an impressive building) the darkened, empty building was incredibly intimidating. It was so big! And dark! I could almost feel the dark spirits lurking in the corners. The practice walk up the aisle felt really long, and I was scared of the guests who would be coming. What would they think? (the eternal question, the question that has caused me so many problems!) Would everything work out?

I was scared, but we went through what to do, and then went home and drank lots of champagne. (And I made programs and folded place cards and fretted about scheduling. Did I mention that I tend to procrastinate?) One of the decision I am really happy about is that we held the rehersal dinner at home. Everyone seemed more relaxed, and we sat around and ate food and sipped champagne and shared stories. People met and talked and it was generally incredibly pleasant.

The day of the wedding, I essentially disappeared into a world of hairdressers (et al) and hoped that everything would work out.

The few minutes before I walked down the aisle were very stressful. I was remembering the rehersal, and how dark and imposing the church had seemed. I was scared. The kids, however, were adorable and funny, and eliminated any regrets I might have had about including them in the wedding. The ringbearer especially seemed to have a whole colony of ants in his pants (couldn't resist!) and was fidgeting and running around and exploring and jumping and driving his mother crazy. It was a wonderful distraction.

When the processional finally started, all the stress and worries just melted away. The church was gorgeous - all the Christmas decorations were lit, and the area around the altar and our guests was bathed in a wonderful golden light. And all those people whose presence was causing so much angst were there, and oh-so-happy to see me. I was staring into a see of grins (and winks, and waves) and there was so much joy reflected there it was unbelieveable. Walking down the aisle towards my husband-to-be, I couldn't stop smiling. And it was so nice to see him, too, with a huge grin on his face. What a glorious, glorious moment.

Part II will follow - I must run!