Wednesday, August 19, 2009

back to my roots

the contest is over, and so is my time at nipissing. my short-lived career as an undergrad student and a wastecase has come to an end. for a while i thought i liked this blogger thing better, but right now i'm missing my roots, my history and my privacy. for those of you who i've given permission to follow my other blog over the years, feel free to keep up my exploits there! anyone else, check my tumblr and find out what's cool and uncool in the world according to athena. i swear tumblr is the future of blogging. you all caved into facebook, and one by one you're all caving to might as well tumble too.

peace out bloggers!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

rest assured

i'm still aliiiive! thankfully life has picked up a little bit and i don't really see it slowing down much for the next little while. august shows great promise with some upcoming birthday celebrations (including my own!), two trips to toronto and my triumphant return to the land of the employed.

my past two weeks have been spent at nathan's cottage and at home at my grandparents for lughnasadh. all in all it was a pleasant vacation and i enjoyed the family time, although i am definitely happy to be home in my own bed, surrounded by my own things.

we're currently going through a room mate switch, and in the process, losing and acquiring all sorts of things. it feels like a fresh start and i'm pretty excited. the house was starting to feel a little...stagnant. upon moving in, tyler brought all sorts of new houses and playthings for the crabs which has left them active, and i can only assume...delighted. this makes me happy :). i missed the little guys while i was on vacation. johannes seems to have undergone a successful molt, which i am quite pleased about!

this evening, nathan and i went to see the new harry potter movie for the second time. it was just as enjoyable the second time around, and although i now feel like i might explode, i enjoyed gorging myself with popcorn and iced tea [free, courtesy of my scene points].

and now, if you'll excuse me, i look forward to getting some sleep in my own bed!! goodnight!

xo for michelle

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


i know a ton of people and i've got a ton of acquaintances...but i'm definitely feeling the shortage of FRIENDS lately. acquaintances are good in large numbers or when partying, but i tend to feel pretty awkward in other situations. i could probably count on one hand, the number of people that i feel comfortable hanging out with one on one. with nathan working full time and my being unemployed, i spend LOTS of time alone, which i am okay with...but i am starting to get terribly lonely. plus, i think that because i spend so much time alone, when i AM with people i find it even more difficult than usual to interact.

i went on facebook to message some people regarding potential hangouts...and ended up drawing a pretty big blank. and this is okay. this just means i have to put myself out there more. it wouldn't be the first time, but i'm finding it more difficult now. i've been in north bay long enough that most people my age are pretty well established in their own little niche. this doesn't mean that they can't be nice or anything, or that i can't hang out with just makes it harder to fit in.

when i get into periods of time like this, i often wonder how i ever made friends in the first place. but i have. i mean, i've had friends. i've had lots of friends. and i still DO have friends. but man, meeting people is tough. not feeling so completely awkward and shy when i AM around people is even more tough.

it never fails...when it's summer, i'm wishing for september to roll around, and during the school year, i just dream of summer...and all the while, LIFE is happening. i know i should take control of my destiny and be grateful for every day, and i am. i really am. but it's still hard sometimes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

this is what i do

people have asked me numerous times this summer upon finding out that i'm presently unemployed...

" what do you DO?"

well, aside from feeling a bit like a bum...i actually keep pretty busy. i'm rarely bored at least. i spend a LOT of time alone. nathan works about 30 hours a week, during which time, i'm almost always alone. i rarely feel like 'wow, THAT was an incredible day', but the time passes quickly enough. when it's nice out, i go biking, hit up the gym, go for walks, read in the park or take pictures. lately, it seems like its been mostly rainy so i've stayed confined to my room a lot. i play video games, read, paint, cook, clean, organize, run errands, surf the i plunked on my guitar a little. it's not great, but its not terrible either. i just get a little uncomfortable when i don't have a lot on the go, much less...nothing.

i suppose i could volunteer or something, but maybe i'm just not motivated enough. i certainly could and should continue my job hunt...but it feels so pointless now that i will be back at the wall in less than two months. especially considering, i'd like to take two or three weeks for other adventures. just the same, i'm starting to think...lie in order to get a crappy job, work it for a couple of weeks and then quit. at least then i don't have to be so stressed about money. and whose feelings am i so worried about hurting anyway?! people do it all of the time without a second thought. it's not like any crappy summer job i pick up is going to be reference or resume-worthy anyway. so, that's what i'm thinking. i just need a day where i feel like i won't get caught in lightning so that i can walk up to the school to print off a few more resumes. every little bit will help at this point!

in other news, nathan passed his g1 test and plans to write his g2 test by the end of the hopefully we should get the car by then! i'm so excited for this! yes, it will cost us a bit of money for gas and insurance and whatnot [not a big deal once i'm working full-time], but it offers us such FREEDOM! we're hoping to drive it to nathan's cottage in madoc at the end of july, and then to toronto mid-august for the llama photo shoot/athena's great summer adventure! wheee!

most days i'm good with entertaining myself, but today i'm getting a little stir-crazy. i'm really due for a sunshine-y day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"hey, remember when athena used to be fun?"

this is a question that a few people have asked nathan, and a few have even had the audacity to ask me directly. "hey, remember when you used to be fun?". well, fuck you! seriously! are you suggesting that i was better company when i was too drunk to know who i was or where i was than i am when i am in a sober state of mind?! would you prefer me reckless and vomiting?! would you like me to feel embarrassed and ashamed? call me crazy, but i'm just not seeing the 'fun' in that. i had no idea that i was so boring when sober, but if you think that...then you don't know me and you never did and i don't want your company. you don't deserve me.

YES, i was a party animal and i had a good time doing it...but these things get out of hand, and when they get out of hand, they stop being fun. what good is fun when i don't remember it? what good is ANY of it when i'm not even myself?! i wasn't so much 'fun' as i was a laughingstock.

my partying habits may have changed, but i'm still the same person! i'd like to think that i'm still enjoyable fact, i'd HOPE that i am much better company these days! i'm not a recluse by any means. i still go to the bars and/or attend parties a couple of times a week, and i usually drink while doing it. i'm certainly no straight edge [although i'd still be just as rad if i was]. i've just learned about moderation. i've got a sense of my limits and i try to stay within them...i try to stay in control. and sometimes...sometimes, i just don't feel like drinking at all! sometimes, i want to just go out and have a sober good time, and i find more 'fun' in this than in obliteration. it doesn't mean i'm pissing on your parade. drink as much as you want! i hope you're having fun!

i don't need rude comments or to be singled out...but i could benefit from a little common courtesy. i'm a pretty shy person, and friendliness goes a long way with me. if you want to know why i'm not always super-outgoing...think of why YOU are drinking in the first place, and how it feels to be the sober guy at the party. it's not always easy, but it doesn't mean that it can't still be fun. this change in my life has been personal and i'm happier because of it. i believe in self-betterment and working to achieve more of what you want out of life, and that's exactly what i'm doing...

and you know what? i'm having fun doing it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

moving trucks and miniatures

it used to be a little strange and amusing that nathan spent a lot of time hanging out with his professor, because i couldn't really fathom ever having a relationship like that with any of my profs. i was definitely the sort of student who didn't really have much presence in class. i did well in school, but i didn't usually get involved in class discussions or ask a lot of questions. i didn't often take advantage of office hours, and i never stayed to chat after class. this has just never really been my scene, although, i've known a lot of people who have benefited from this sort of relationship and it is definitely one of nipissing's most endearing qualities.

anyway, nathan and his prof are pretty good friends now and hang out a lot. i've gone for a few dinners and some rpg action. his prof and of course is family are all pretty rad. naturally, when they asked for some help with moving, nathan and i were more than happy to oblige.

nine and a half hours of ball-busting work. not one, but TWO giant national trucks full of boxes and furniture. thankfully, there were good people involved and the weather was perfect, albeit hot. it really wasn't that big of a deal. when all was done, i definitely had a real sense of accomplishment to accompany my aches and fatigue. we wrapped up the night with tons of food, beer, sangria and rock band. i gave an impressive rendition of down with the sickness. all in all, it was an enjoyable day and evening.

steve [the prof], is really into comics, and role playing games and miniatures and the like [trust me, i know, i moved close to half a moving truck full of the stuff!]. he said there's probably actually quite a market, even in north bay, for people who are willing to paint miniatures, which sort of gave me an idea for self-employment. it just so happens that i enjoy tedious tasks like that, and have really been interested in painting lately as it is. i used to paint them for my papa and dad when i was a kid. apparently, if i got really good and was able to paint like 4 per hour, i could be making between $10 and $15 bucks an hour!! well, that's not bad at all considering the nature of the work. since i'm still pretty inexperienced, i'd be willing to do it for even less than that...3 figures for $10 or something like that. anyway, its something worth looking into. i need to do a little research and get some practice to ensure that i don't completely suck first.

as for today, it's a grey sunday and every part of my body feels achy, so i'm definitely going to be a bum all day long. i plan to play animal crossing, start a new jigsaw puzzle, make homemade mac and cheese, watch movies and clean up my digital music collection. MAYBE, if i get real ambitious, i'll work on this cookbook recipe project that i have planned [more about that on another day!]. lazy? perhaps. but after all of my hard work yesterday, i've earned it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

thoughts from home

I’m writing from home. Well, the place that I generally refer to when people ask about ‘home’ anyway. For me, home is much more of an abstract idea comprised of certain people, emotions and memories, rather than a physical place. While, I’m here, at home, I’m still homesick for the ‘home’ that is North Bay. There is a hole in my heart where Nathan and those special people and places live. At the same time, there is a constant yearning for some sort of place that I don’t think really exists for me...well, not at this point in my life anyway. I imagine I will find it along the way, and I hope with everything I have that all of these fragments of my life that I consider ‘home’ will weave themselves together.

I guess before I continue, I should explain why I am here in the first place. I am not sure how much of this I have written about, so I will take you back to frosh week, because that is when things started to become real for me. I had literally just finished muddy Olympics, and I was standing at the bus stop, wearing a garbage bag, covered in mud, when I received the call for my grandmother saying that one of her tumours [she has a few] had let go and she was hemorrhaging. I wasn’t to come home immediately, but she would keep me posted. At this point she was told that she had 3 to 6 months left to live. Now my grandmother redefines ‘trooper’. As it turned out, I didn’t have to go home, and I finished out frosh week, with the best enthusiasm I could muster. Eventually the bleeding slowed down, and she started to regain her strength. It’s been ten months and my grandmother has been keeping herself as busy as possible. She always says that she’d rather spend her last months living rather than laying around waiting to die. She has bled pretty consistently, and sleeps a lot, but she still calls me every week. She’s had girls nights with friends, learned to play rock band, taken a weaving course, gone on numerous road trips, and cashed in her life insurance for a new car and appliances. Her sense of humour remains fully intact and her fierce, fighting spirit continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

The night after my graduation, moments before heading out to the much anticipated porch party at Holly and Lemo’s, I received a call from my grandmother. Her tumour had burst again and she was hemorrhaging worse than ever. The in-home nurse that visits now and then told her she should start making her phone calls and saying her goodbyes. So she did. She also told me that at this point, she still did not want me to come home. We had had such a nice visit for graduation, and she wanted to keep it at that. So I pulled myself together and went to the party and I danced my ass off...because I figured that’s what she would want. At midnight I discovered a message I had missed on my cell phone. I listened to it in a private place, urgent and terrified, only to hear my grandfathers voice assuring me that the bleeding had subsided. I was so overwhelmed with relief and emotion that I could barely catch my breath. I wanted to scream and throw up and cry all at the same time. I opted to do none of the above, and return to dancing.

The following morning, I was told that she seemed to be doing better. I have talked to her regularly over the past few weeks and she has claimed to be regaining strength and getting her life back on track again. Just the same, I knew I had to take this opportunity; this second...or even third chance, to come home and see her and spend time with her. Yesterday evening, she hurt her ankle, to the point that she was barely able to walk. She says she felt like the bones crunched, and my mother, who is a nurse, figures that is exactly what happened. I helped her hobble around, massaged her ankle and have been fetching her everything she will let me. This morning she woke up, dizzy, nauseous and vomiting, and still with a sore ankle. Thankfully, she’s still not bleeding, although she feels crummy and all she can really do is rest at this point. So here I am. Papa has gone to work, and I have the phone and the list of phone numbers beside me. I check in with her often, fetch what she needs, and just pray, for her sake, that she doesn’t fall over, throw up or start bleeding.

Needless to say, I’ve had a lot to think about lately, and my time here at home has given me ample opportunity. When faced with death, one can’t help but think about life; about both its duration and quality...past, present and future. That kind of stuff. My visits home are usually filled with opportunities to mull things over, and reassess my own life, and this visit has been especially like that. There have been a lot of things in my life that I’m not especially pleased with, whether it be on the account of others or myself. I’ve made bad choices, acted irrationally, and have done things that I am not proud of. But, on the other hand, I’ve demonstrated perseverance and strength that has surprised me. I’ve allowed myself to be imaginative, creative and silly. I have learned and loved and lossed in enormous capacities. All of these things have woven together to And I’m not always perfect, and I do make mistakes, but all in all...I think I have enormous potential, as I continue to drive myself forward and try to better myself.

Furthermore, I must remember, that much like myself, my family are complicated, sometimes irrational and yet, completely incredible people...each dealing with their own demons and personal struggles. THIS is life and we must work with what we are given...and what we have been given is incredible. Life is not about the good or the bad, black or white, optimism or is about accepting all of these things AND that area in between. It is SO much bigger than we have the capacity to understand and we should all be in awe of it [am I being sappy enough for you yet?!].

So, with all of this in mind, I can’t help but look to the future. It’s not the abyss it once was...but it still seems rather foggy. I have completed university and have decided to take a year off to work at the Wall, a place that is not only comfortable, but has the capacity to bridge the gap between my youth and my future, while paying the bills. As of present, my interest in future education has shifted from pursuing my masters in resource management to international development [two fields that are obviously closely related]. I’m not entirely sure where in the world I wish to do this, although I am very flexible. I don’t feel tied to ‘home’ and I certainly don’t feel tied to North Bay. I suppose at this point, I am! It should be liberating, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled at the same time.

The only thing that seems certain to me is that no matter where I go or what I do...I intend to do so with Nathan in my heart and hopefully by my side whenever possible. Candice asked me a few weeks ago what it was like to have pretty much found my soulmate...well, I assure you, it’s just as excellent as one might hope. He fills me with hope and passion and empowerment beyond my wildest dreams. The future is not an abyss! The future is full of potential! I’m not entirely sure what my calling is. I don’t quite know my place in the world. I’m not sure what I’m destined to achieve, although I feel confident that it’s going to be quite interesting. All I that life is vast, and complicated, and overwhelming, and beautiful, and imperfect...and in the scheme of things, quite short. It will sort itself out. I will forge my own path. I will establish a purpose, and a home and a future that is all of the things that life is. And I hope with every fiber of my being, that my soulmate is by my side throughout the whole damn thing.