Friday, 30 September 2011

You Look Not Awesome

I know I said I probably wouldn't be posting until after the LSAT, but my brain hurts, so here you go.

You know it's a good day when your sister turns to you and says, "no offense Leah, but you look NOT awesome". Thanks Carly, thanks a lot. Granted, I may have not showered in two days, my hair is a disaster, I have dark circles under my extra puffy eyes, and my nose is dripping like a faucet. Have I mentioned that I seem to have contracted whatever plague is currently going around? This is not optimal considering I write my LSAT tomorrow. I think I have already made the executive decision to rewrite it in December. Oh well, learning experience right? And it's not like they penalize you for writing more than once, in fact most schools take the better score now, rather than averaging them. Case in point, a friend of my dad's is a prominent crown prosecutor and she had to write 3 times before she was accepted into law school. I don't see this as being defeatist in any way shape or form, merely it is my acceptance of whatever is going to come my way tomorrow. I really hope no one wants to kill me because of my incessant sniffling, although, from what I hear, it's a rather stressful environment, so the likelihood of me getting shived with a #2 HB pencil during the break is quite high.

Also, I just have to say that there are an obscene amount of rules when writing the LSAT. I think my favorite is "fire arms are not allowed" and "no mathematical compasses". I don't see how a mathematical compass is going to help you resolve the paradox on a logical reasoning question, or for a question that asks you the main point of a reading comprehension passage, but hey, obviously someone once tried something unethical with a mathematical compass. Also, firearms are not allowed, but what about knives? Those aren't specifically banned, neither are swords. I am actually very curious as to what would happen if someone brought a samurai sword to the test centre. It's not on the list of contraband items (although metal water bottles are, and they can only be 591 ml...what is this, the TSA?!) so I would say it's allowed. My day would be made if a ninja showed up to write the test.

I think LSAC lives by prison rules.

xoxo
Leah

Monday, 26 September 2011

Muesday: Oh Shit, Cue the Fight Song...

Holy shit, my LSAT is like 4ish days away. Time to panic and freak out! Cue the high pitched squealing noise, and commence rocking back and forth! Am I ready for this? Can I actually get a good enough score so I won't have to rewrite in December? Can I actually pull all the fragmented pieces of my life together, and manage to put them into a tiny box and push it away to the back of my mind until this is over? I think I need to revisit my old habits of compartmentalization. I am the queen of compartmentalization, or at least I was. Now, not so much. But desperate times call for desperate measures. This is no time for cheeseball sayings like "Stay calm, Have a cupcake" (although, I would love to just have a cupcake, and watch reruns of project runway, and Glee, which fills me with unprecedented amounts of joy). No, this is like preparing for a battle...the battle with your own mind, and the sadists at LSAC that write the LSAT. It's about being better than they are, and let's be serious, my superiority complex hasn't been hurt that much by the blows I have been dealt as of late, so I can be fairly certain that I am better than they are (maybe). For the better part of the last 3 months I have been a hermit. I have ignored my friends, been snappy towards my family, moody towards everyone, and for that I am truly sorry, but it's only my future here people. I need to take it seriously, and sure, there are several mitigating factors that contributed to my current propensity of viewing my life as a swirling vortex of pain and sadness, but, I am quite positive that it will abate, at least a little...after the LSAT.

I have decided that I am going to continue to share as many Canadian artists with the world/interweb/blogoshphere (which is not a real world, and I can't decide if I actually like it or not)/Russia (and let me extend a shout out to all you Russian's who read this! It gives me hope for when I actually fully pull a Napoleon and try to invade...perhaps you will invite me in with warm and loving, open arms, instead of burning all your crops and letting me freeze out in the cold, woefully unprepared for your winter, although being from Alberta, I think I might just survive...just a thought) as I can. Anyway, I am going to take a step away from my global ambitions, and finally share some music with you. Now, when the Midway State, a band out of Toronto, released their first album, I can honestly say that I was underwhelmed. I really only liked 3 or 4 songs from the entire thing. So you can only imagine how skeptical I was when their sophomore album hit the music world. Well, let me say this: my skepticism was completely and utterly unwarranted! Their new album, Paris or India is absolutely amazing! It is most definitely one of my favorite albums of 2011, and I highly recommend that you take a listen to it. The song Atlantic, is quite possibly one of my favourite songs on the album, and not just because it contains the word "London" (which is my most favourite place in the entire world), or because the music video was shot in England, but because it just has such a good beat, and also, being a sucker for good lyrics, it has a pretty decent message. So, enjoy Atlantic!



xoxo
Leah

P.S. This might be my last post for a few days (and I know you are all so very sad about that), but I am going to be studying, and while this offers a nice little distraction, I can't afford to have any distractions, otherwise I will end up a vagrant, badged, and marginalized for the rest of my life.

Oh Coco Chanel, If Only You Were Still Around...

I love fashion as I have stated many times before. I don't pretend to be the most fashionable person around, and I prefer to dress in what flatters my tiny frame, and wear things that are comfortable. I know that there are countless sites and blogs out there dedicated to bringing the art of fashion and artful dressing, to people around the world. I have several friends who have blogs about how they dress, and who offer tips on how to pair things that one might not usually pair together. While I know that I am always well dressed, I am the first to admit that there are those out there who are even better dressed than myself, but I like to flatter myself and think that if needed, someone could rely on me for fashion advice. I like classic, simple pieces that can be paired with fun and flirty things. I like sparkles and glitter, but nothing over the top. I love ruffles, and polka dots, and bows. Silk blouses and shirts are a staple in my wardrobe along with cute sweaters and cardigans (one of my favorite cardigans is this bright marigold yellow merino wool gem that I found at Club Monaco about a million years ago, well, more like 2, but it's still a really long time. I love it because it's the colour of sunshine and happiness!). I like colours and patterns that add a certain je ne sais quoi to an outfit. I love to take my time shopping. I am one of those people who would rather spend extra money on something that is of better quality, that will fit me like a glove and will last me a long time. Shopping to me is like a sport, and I like to think that I would take first place in any competition. A sport for the leisure class (YES! I knew reading The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen would one day come in handy! Next thing you know I will find a way to slip Foucault into a blog post! Prepare yourselves!). Few have truly witnessed me shopping, but I am told it's a site to behold. My one friend drove an hour and half with me just so I could go and get a pair of shoes (a gorgeous pair of yellow leather wedges from Anthropologie, that have already proved to be one of my better purchases!). That is true patience on his part.

As someone who is interested in both fashion and history, I absolutely adore when my two loves intertwine. I especially love the history of fashion. It's just so fascinating, as it quite often has undertones of economic and social regulation, as is the case with the wool and stocking trade in 16th century England and the ensuing Acts of Parliament in the form of Sumptuary legislation (also, I don't know why spellcheck won't recognize 'sumptuary' as being a real word, I can assure you that it is, which makes me smarter than spellcheck...yay?). But I won't get into that here, mostly because I think I am the only person in the world, aside from Joan Thirsk (if anyone wants a truly riveting read, I highly suggest you find yourself a copy of Economic Policy and Projects: Development of a Consumer Society, although, I do realize that probably no one is going to go out and read it, but you can't blame a girl for trying right?!) who finds that interesting. Anyway, I have lost myself in thoughts about history, yet again. I promise that the rest of this post will actually be something interesting. Where was I? Oh yes, fashion. The only thing, other than school, that I look forward to in the fall is the September Issue of Vogue. Granted, 3/4's of the magazine are ads, but that's the point. The ad's are what make the magazine! The ads give the eye candy. Sure there could be a great editorial spread, but at the end of the day, I am more likely to remember a specific Prada or Gucci of Louis Vuitton ad than the photographs.

But I think I have lost myself a little (which seems to be the case more often than not as of late). The point of this post was to share something wonderful that I found, that merges my love of history and fashion together. I have been meaning to share it for a while, so here it is.



xoxo
Leah

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sorry, but Could You Repeat That? I Said What?!

So remember that time I admitted to being a hypochondriac? Remember how I said that I tend to diagnose myself with various medical maladies? Well, I am pretty sure that senility is starting to set in at the ripe old age of 25. I always scoffed at my mother, who told me that once you turn 25 you start to slowly die, and I think this is the first time I have EVER said this, but I think she has a point. I am honestly losing my mind. This all stems, from yet another dinner time conversation. My sister was sitting at the table talking about her boyfriend. Apparently, I told him that you can get Llama's for free on Kijiji? I have no recollection of this happening. I don't even know how I would know that you could get llama's for free on Kijiji. First off, I don't usually peruse Kijiji, and second, why would I be looking for llama's? But I guess now he wants some llamas, for various reasons, and the blame has fallen to me. I mean, it's entirely possible that I mentioned something about llama's to him in passing, but let's get one thing straight, I say A LOT of things, most of the time before thinking about what I am actually saying. This usually gets me in trouble, as I either offend someone, or make really silly suggestions, like getting llamas for free. Also, why anyone in their right mind would want a llama is beyond me. They spit, and are smelly, and seem to be completely ridiculous creatures. What sort of evolutionary purpose to they actually serve? I'm no zoologist but I can't see if they have a point to existing or not.

The fact that I can't remember, for the life of me, when and where and why I told him that, is quite troubling. I rely on my mind and memory for lots of stuff. I mean, my brain tells me to beat my heart and breathe, so I can actually continue to live the dream and be completely kickass. And the fact that my memory appears to be going does not bode well for my future. Who knows, maybe I will forget that I wrote this. Dammit!


xoxo
Leah

Friday, 23 September 2011

I'm Almost Not Crazy...

The gloves are off. I'm in a fighting mood. Don't worry, I'll keep my tiny fists of fury to myself, and rather force my rage into doing something constructive. It's official, well sort of, as nothing actually legal has been done, but, I have changed my name to Shambles, and I have become a hermit, but not the kind that takes vows of silence...I couldn't do that, seeing as how I would fail from all the internal dialogue that goes on in my head that inevitably spills out of my mouth, often times sans filter (it's a good thing I have tiny feet because more often than not, my foot ends up in my mouth...figuratively of course), and also not the kind that gives up all their worldly possessions, as I have far too many books (I now have my very own copy of Poverty and Policy in Tudor & Stuart England...I am very excited about this) and pretty clothes and shoes to give up (I have attachment issues, don't judge me)...plus, I get anxious when things are too quiet. I think by hermit I mean that I am going to sequester myself at home, all weekend, leaving only to attend my LSAT class, in order to study for what is quite possibly the biggest test of my life. This will be the culmination of months of study and hard work. Many tears were shed, and my sanity is now questionable (it was always questionable, but even more so now). I think I am starting to freak out, just a little. Maybe I should try some calming breathing techniques, or meditation, or...or...take up baking? Who am I kidding. We all know that I don't cook, and the day that I step foot in the kitchen to make something that turns out at least semi-edible, is the day that hell freezes over, and I am made Empress of Russia (it would be like the Miss Universe only less pagent-y and better). Also, for anyone who does know me, I am the least calm person out there, and no amount of breathing exercises, or mediation will change that, as I am usually the asshole who ends up laughing and/or falling over from whatever weird yoga position I am supposed to be in (although, I seem to do okay in Pilates).

I have just made an executive decision. As soon as this is over, I am sleeping for 2 days straight and then I may go shopping to fill the what will then be empty void, and to try and stave off all the emotions I have (rather unsuccessfully) been trying to keep at bay. I think something pretty and shiny, that comes in a robin's egg blue box is in order to add to my collection. This whole LSAT thing may just lead me to drink, something I rarely do. Someone needs to be waiting for me, at my house, with a cocktail in hand after my exam. FYI, the pinker and sweeter the drink, the better. Just saying...

xoxo
Leah

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This Time I Cried for a GREAT Reason

Oh. My. Goodness.



That's me. Holy crap!

This time I cried for a really really great reason!

xoxo
Leah

Monday, 19 September 2011

Muesday: Wearing Ugg Boots with Short Shorts Is Trashy, Not To Mention Ridiculous

Remember that time I blogged about how leggings are not an acceptable substitute for pants? Remember how I said it was a hideous trend that was a blight on the world of fashion? Well, I have another irritation to add to my list. People who wear Ugg boots with shorts and/or mini skirts. When and where did this become popular (I am going to say somewhere in California, probably in the LA vicinity, further proving that LA is questionable at best), and more importantly, why did it become popular?! If it's +30 degrees out and you are wearing a tank top and short shorts, what on earth would possess you to wear suede fleece lined boots? Seriously! While Ugg boots are probably the most wonderful thing in the world when it's minus a million degrees and there are about 8 feet of snow on the ground, in Dante's forgotten frozen circle of hell, also known as Alberta, you should not ever wear them in the summer. A common sight at the University is this horrible trend. The first week of school we had gorgeous weather, and by gorgeous weather, I mean, it was warm enough that I didn't need to wear a sweater. I am normally freezing, and if I don't need to wear a sweater, that means it's hot. There were so many girls walking around campus in the tiniest shorts, and itty tank tops, and then you look at their feet, and they are wearing Ugg boots. Just so unfortunate on so many levels. First off, if I can see your ass cheeks hanging out of your shorts, they are probably too short. Also, put your boobs away, you're in a learning environment and I can almost guarantee that having the girls hang out won't improve your grade, and lastly, you look ridiculous for mixing clothing from two completely different seasons. They are a winter boot. They are there to make sure that you don't get frostbite, which could then lead to gangrene and then your toes will have to be amputated and you will walk funny because you will be off balance (picture girls who don't know how to walk in heels...unsightly). Not to mention, such a fashion trend makes your thighs look fat. I don't care how skinny you are. It's just ugly, and I can guarantee that people are judging you, because I most certainly am, and wondering what the hell your problem is. So please, put your Ugg boots away until it snows. Also, just one more word of advice. Don't wear slippers as shoes. Those slipper booties you can buy from places like La Senza or Pink? Ya, they look like slippers and you're not fooling anyone. Instead why don't you go out and buy real shoes, and stop pretending to be a vagrant. I don't care if you're 15 and you think you look cool, you don't. Buy some real shoes. Heck, I will buy you a pair of real shoes if it means that you will stop wearing slipper booties as shoes. I own a pair of slipper booties. They are from New Zealand, and are quite possibly my most favorite thing in the world, however, you will NEVER see me try to wear them as legit shoes. There is a line, and that line should never be crossed. Stay classy people, stay classy.

I have come to the realization that it is incredibly difficult to chose what song I want to share. Instead of trying to fix it, I am going to pout, mostly because I have been doing quite a substantial amount of pouting lately, and because I just want it to be easy. Why can't life just be easy!? That would be awesome. Wait. I just had a thought. I have chosen the song! Gold star to me! I've been listening to quite a few Canadian artists lately, and I can honestly say that there are some seriously talented artists and groups that come out of Canada, who deserve to get way more recognition than they do. Canada's music scene, something of which I have never given that much thought to before, is so varied. You will be hard pressed to find the exact same sounds coming out of Vancouver, Toronto, or Atlantic Canada. It's all so different, and so wonderful. The singer/songwriters out of places like Nova Scotia, are awesome, the indie sounds from Vancouver feature prominently on my ipod, and the rockish feel that I get from bands out of Toronto always put me in a dancey mood. Today, I am going to share Dan Mangan's Road Regrets. It's one of my favourite songs by him, and I am super excited about his new album out September 27. I highly suggest everyone take a listen to his music.



xoxo
Leah

P.S. 35 days until Coldplay! Get excited or I will cut you...and I don't make idle threats.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

All People Will Be Able to Think About Is Whitney Houston and How She is a Drug Addict

I always feel really bad for people who come over for dinner. The conversations never make much sense, and the topics are changed rather rapidly. Usually my dad ends up throwing his hands up in the air because we are ignoring whatever he is saying to focus on some ridiculous thing my mum has said, which then facilitates a brand new topic. Dinner tonight was no exception. Between being told that I needed to go into broadcasting instead of law, and the Albanian sex trade, my sister announced that she wanted to get a tattoo. My mum wasn't too thrilled. Basically, we know we like something, or that something is a good idea, if my mum doesn't like it. So my sister announces she wants a tattoo, and my mum asks her what she wants. She wants the words "Always Love" in handwriting on her foot. It's out of the way, discrete and has a good message. My mum was horrified. She just couldn't understand why. This is the conversation that followed (my dad and I sat there, and laughed):

Carly: I want to get a tattoo that says "Always Love" in handwriting on my foot.

Mum: Why? That's a really dumb idea.

Carly: It's lyrics from my favourite song and I think it has a good message.

Mum: Why not just 'Love'? That would be better. I wouldn't understand what your tattoo meant, and what's the point if I don't understand it. That doesn't mean anything.

Carly: I like it.

Mum: It's dumb. When people see it all they will think about is that Whitney Houston song "I Will Always Love You" and about how she is a drug addict.

Carly: Uh...


My sister then proceeded to play the song for my mum, and throughout listening to it, all my mum did was sing "I Will Always Love You" under her breath. These are the little gems that come from my mum. They are always unexpected, and usually hilarious. Oh family...



xoxo
Leah

Saturday, 17 September 2011

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then"

I had an epiphany of sorts last night, at about 2 am, while I was laying in bed, praying for sleep to come and save me from my exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotionally distraught thoughts. It's nothing earth shattering, but for me it kind of puts things into perspective. So here it is:

Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some. Sometimes, you are shattered into a million tiny fragments, that are scattered everywhere, and it's all you can do to collect as many pieces as you can and to try and reconstruct who you were. But in the end, you'll never be really whole, or the same. Ever again.

Kind of depressing I know. That's what my brain does when I get stressed and overwhelmed and I just can't handle it. I am sick of the process of everything, and would love nothing more, than to be laying in my bed, sleeping, than sitting here, trying in vain to study while wiping the tears out of my eyes. It's very frustrating trying to work, when your face leaks all over the page. I've gotten used to the feeling of being on the verge of tears.

Sorry.



xoxo
Leah

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Big C, Part VI: Pizza Cures Cancer

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at the 19th Annual Boston Pizza Charity Golf Classic. I love sharing my story at events, and I love it even more that people are always so kind and receptive to the words I have to say. I am so thankful that I have been given the chance to be part of something, part of a movement, that is bigger than myself. I am so proud that, even through my small part, I have been able to witness the kindness and generosity of so many people, who like myself, want to fight cancer in anyway they can. Last night was amazing. There were so many generous people, who were more than willing to share what they had to better the lives of others. Approximately $181, 000 was raised last night, benefiting not one, but five very deserving charities. Through the kindness of others, the Cross Cancer Institute can now afford to purchase a brand new PET scan machine, which will help in early dectetion, and will be 4 times as fast and considerably more accurate. It is because of the generosity of the people that I met last night, that I am able to be here today, to try and change the world. If I can reach and impact just one person in my life, then I will have led a very full and happy life indeed.

Sharing my story is something that I am more than happy to do. I know some people find it very difficult to talk of their experience with cancer. However, I know that I wish that there had been someone there, or the story of another young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer, while I was going through it. It is because of this that I am so eager to share my experience. It is not because I want accolades, or to be treated differently. I don't believe that I am owed anything, I just want to help in any way that I can. I am a firm believer that writing down your feelings in a letter is very cathartic. It releases tension and stress and emotions. I am so full of emotions after last night, and I really felt as if I needed to get some things off my (new, government issue) chest. So, I wrote my very own letter to cancer. It is short, sweet, and concise, kind of like me. Here it is:

Dear Cancer,

I am officially standing up to you. You are now my bitch. I am going to make sure that one day you will die a horrible, firey death, with as much pain and sorrow, equal, if not greater, to what you have inflicted on so many innocent people. I am going to make sure that one day, you will cease to exist, and you will be nothing but a terrible memory, that people never think of. From this moment on, I am declaring war on you, and unlike Russia, you don't have the benefit of freezing winters, and a scorched earth policy.

Yours,
Leah

I really don't feel as if I need many words to articulate how I feel about cancer and what it is and can do. So, as a little experiment, I would like to know what you would say to cancer, if given the chance. If you could look it in the eye and tell it what you really feel about it.

When I was first diagnosed I relied heavily on music to get me through. One album in particular was 30 Seconds to Mar's This is War. I listened to that album over and over again. It just had so many songs that just encouraged me to be strong. It remains one of my favorite albums of all time. The song Vox Populi in particular helped me through. It's a battle song, a song to fight cancer with. Perhaps someone can draw strength from it like I did. Plus, Jared Leto is really good looking (when he looks normal that is).



xoxo
Leah

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Why You Should Never Let Men Pick the Title...


Is it just me, or is Speculum the most terrible title in the world for an academic journal? Just throwing that out there. Speculum, believe it or not, is an academic journal, that has been around since 1926 (so basically, it's had that terrible title for a really long ass time), and is the the first scholarly journal in North America devoted to the Middle Ages. Normally I wouldn't even be looking at academic journals that have to do with the Middle Ages, but unfortunately the University of Alberta has decided not to offer any courses on Early Modern Europe that I haven't already taken, thus my searches for reviews of a book led me to Speculum. I don't know about everyone else, but the word Speculum doesn't conjure up images of forming societies, emerging powers, persecution, witches, lepers, or that really weird love triangle, not to mention very messed up mother-son dynamic, between Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart (Richard I), and Henry II. No, it conjures up images of what actually look like Medieval torture devices at my lady-doctors office (yes, I said that...deal with it!).

Now I can only assume that this title was chosen by men. That 'Old Boys Club' that is academic history, decided that it was a jolly good name for an academic journal, and that such a name would inspire other men belonging to the same old boys club to reflect (Speculum basically means mirror, or to reflect in Latin) on other great works published by other men, who would in turn publish their own brilliant pieces of literature. Based on these facts, I can't really blame these men for not knowing that they were choosing the WORST possible word for the title of their journal, and also because they are men, they have no idea what a speculum really does (gross, I know). However, I would have at least thought they would have done their research and perhaps if they had, they would have realized that the speculum that most people know of was invented sometime in the 19th century by some guy (of course it was man) named J. Marion Sims, predating the inception of this journal. So really, it's an epic fail on their part. Perhaps if they had asked the opinion of a lady she would have told them that they were stupid for thinking that it was an excellent title.

In my personal opinion I think they should have named it "If You Lived During the Middle Ages You Were Basically Screwed Because If You Weren't Cast Out of Your Community as a Leper, or a Witch, or a Heretic, Your Crops Failed, and You and Your Family Starved and Then You Had to Go Begging For Alms to Support Them and Then You Were Burned at the Stake for Being One of The Above Mentioned Disturbances to Your Community, and If That Didn't Happen, Everyone Got the Plague and Died" It's a little long, but it's a hell of a lot better than Speculum. Also, I basically, just gave you all the Middle Ages in a nutshell. You're welcome.

xoxo
Leah

P.S. This plague is bubonic, B-U-B-O-N-I-C! Maybe I'm the only one who finds this both brilliant and hilarious...maybe?



(Photo by Kate Beaton)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Addendum...I Implore You to Share in My Excitement!

Um so, Coldplay's new album Mylo Xyloto is coming out on October 24th, for anyone who was unaware of this momentous occasion and living under a stupid rock. So, to celebrate the joyous cacophony of angels and other wonderful things that emanate from the dulcet sounds of quite possibly one of the BEST bands of all time in the history of ever, I am going to be doing a countdown to the release date every Muesday. I am also doing this because I feel that people need to be excited with me...or at lease feel the forceful nature that is my excitment!

Today's count: 41 Days (give or take a day depending on which side of the international date line you're on).

Until then, enjoy this:

Monday, 12 September 2011

Muesday: That Book Was Accidentally Destroyed Maliciously

I wish I could to do that to my LSAT books...

I pray for the day where the hellish, living nightmare that is my life ends, also known as October 1. I have also come to the (perhaps premature conclusion) that I may need to edit my list of law schools, mostly due to the fact that each application is rather involved and keeping track of application deadlines is proving to be far more challenging (at least in my current state) than it should be...8 schools isn't too much? At least 3 of them are in England, so they kind of are different? Right? Just let me have it...let me delude myself a little longer. Because of my current state I am actually living my life through formal logic equations:

If I study --> I will do well on the LSAT
If I do well on the LSAT --> I get into law school
If I get into law school --> I won't live like a vagrant in a cardboard box or my parents basement for the rest of my life

...

Of course, this all hinges on the crux of:

If I sleep --> I won't become a walking shell of myself...oh wait, I think that's already happened...

Someone needs to save me from myself.


Also, I loathe Canada Post. Give me my books dammit!

Anyway, enough nonsense...and now for something completely different!

(10 gold stars and a unicorn covered in chocolate and diamonds to whoever can tell me where both of the references in this post came from!)

Today's song was given to me by a good friend of mine. We are good school chums (but not the kind that is used for baiting sharks), and he is my favorite bearded, ex-bohemian/hippy, although I do agree with the no socks thing...socks are just so confining. He is also one of my favorite Norwegian speaking anthropologists who, for the better part of our undergraduate career put up with my constant sneers at his choice in major and the fact that I always jingle in class (I have since learned to remove my Tiffany Charm bracelet before I start taking notes). He always has excellent taste in hipster hangouts, where we often enjoy our mutual love of legal addictive stimulants. For the past little bit we have been engaged in a music sharing type of war (but not quite, as there is no clear winner, and neither of us have dreams to take over Russia..at least not yet) on Facebook, where we share and try to one up each other with excellent music finds. I was completely unaware of this band until he shared them with me, and I can honestly say that their album has been on repeat ever since. So gold star for you friend! Enjoy this little ditty by The Head and the Heart called Lost in My Mind.

Happy Muesday everyone!



xoxo
Leah

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Look! I Know Geography!




Dear Blogger,

I recently discovered that you can check the stats of your blog. I think this is super neat, as it allows me to congratulate myself at being awesome. I love the fact that my blog has reached the outer corners of the globe, also known as Russia and Romania (and yes, I do know that they are not the same place). I think it's swell that you also tell me how many people are reading my blog. Again, it allows me to continue thinking that people think I am witty and funny, and basically amazing (Yes, I am THE most modest person ever). The little map you provide to show me where in the world people are reading from is wonderful, but I have noticed one, itsy, bitsy, teensy weensy discrepancy. You forgot to add Hawaii. You show Alaska as being part of the U.S., and you show tiny islands in the South Pacific, yet you have somehow forgotten about Hawaii. Just because it is made up of tiny islands, and doesn't have the same land mass as other places doesn't mean it should be forgotten! It did, after all, become part of the U.S. in 1959, played a key role in WWII, and has a proud and diverse culture! As someone who quite often vacations in Hawaii, and if it was possible, would move there in an instant (despite my sun allergy and general dislike of sand...it's the herpes of nature just like how glitter is the herpes of the craft world...you just can't get rid of it!), I think this is a gross oversight on your part. I suggest you look at redesigning your map, so as to include these wonderful islands. Normally I wouldn't say anything, mostly because geography isn't one of my strengths, and especially considering my knowledge of Canadian geography is sketchy at best, which makes my knowledge of American geography basically nil (but I am a wiz with maps of England, and I do know that the state capital of Idaho is Boise, mostly because the name makes me laugh and because it sounds like a cartoon sound), but I will say this. I know that Hawaii is in fact there, and I know that it should not be forgotten! And while I realize that it is part of the United States and therefore it can be logically assumed that people from Hawaii may read my blog and that those views are counted in the totals from the U.S. as a whole, I would still like to see it included. Not only because it would be a better, and more accurate representation of a world map (I am all about accuracy), and something nice for Hawaiians, but also to add to my slightly inflated ego. Just saying.

xoxo
Leah

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Anatomy of a First Year University Student

As promised, here is a new post, with much less melancholy than yesterdays! Also, in case any of you were wondering, my sneaky hate spiral has abated, so I am now back to my opinionated self.

I love school. I love it so much (at least most days) that I would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life in school, learning about absolutely everything and anything. I love all the different courses that you can take, and I love that certain classes aren't mandatory (not like high school). I love the atmosphere of university, that one of shared learning and knowledge. But, there is one thing that I don't love, and that I could do without. What is it you ask? Simple. First year university students.

Yes, I know that I was once a first year university student, and if things go as planned, I will hopefully also, in the near future, be a first year law student, but I believe that I wasn't your typical, hapless student. I knew were I was going, I wasn't late to class, I hardly ever skipped class, and I didn't waste both the instructor's, or my classmates time by asking stupid questions. Well, maybe there aren't any stupid questions, just stupid people who ask questions. It's fairly obvious that I don't suffer fools well, and in my opinion, there is no breed more foolish, especially when September roles around, than a first year university student. I am a firm believer that their sole purpose in life is to irritate me. You can always tell a first year from someone who has been in university for quite some time. They always have that wide-eyed hapless look in their eyes mingled with a little bit of fear. They always have the most ginormous backpacks I have ever seen, because they are under the impression that they have to bring every single textbook for every class, everyday. They are usually the ones who end up smoking me in the head with said backpacks because they have no idea where they are going, and startle easily. Unlike university veterans, they have this confused, meandering walk, that signifies that they have no idea where they are going, or what the time is, and they are usually the ones who stop, right in the middle of your path, as you are on your way to your next class. They are the ones who speak extra loudly on the bus about their weekend bar shenanigans at 8 am, and are the ones who can't hold their liquor in the beer gardens. Nothing is worse than getting to a class, and finding out that you have a first year in it, simply because there was no pre-req. No word of a lie, I walked into my History of European Children and Childhood class yesterday, only to discover that there was not one, but two people who were first years, and who had never taken a history class before in their life. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?! They have no clue about any of the concepts covered in class, and one asked the prof if "taking this class will help me be a better dad when I have kids". No word of a lie. I looked at the classmates that I knew, and came to the conclusion that I am going to be in for what will seem like an almost endless semester filled with idiotic questions. All I can hope for is that they drop the class.

Now, I am the first to admit that I can be pretty whiny when I don't get my way or when I don't like, or don't want to do something. But my level of whining is nothing compared to a first years. The looks on their faces as they fully comrehend the amount of work it takes in university is so amusing. "What do you mean you want an 1500 word paper at the end of the semester?!" is one such lamentation that I hear quite frequently. Are you kidding me? 1500 words is a dream come true. I could write that in about 20 minutes. It makes me a little gleeful when I think that they have no idea that the word and page counts only increase. Another thing I don't understand is the amount of effort they put into their appearance. Don't get me wrong, I like to look nice, but it's not like I take 3 hours to get dressed in the morning. Most days, it's all I can do not to put on Lululemon's to go to class. You can always tell a first year, especially the girls, because they are the ones dressed to the nines, with hair perfect and makeup done, often in heels. Do they know that they aren't there to impress anyone? Do they know that at the end of the day you're not marked based on appearance but on the amount of effort you put into your studies? One of my favorite things is to watch their steady decline by the time midterms roll around.

The thing that really gets me is that they basically want someone to hold their hands. They want to be told what to do, how to do, when to do, and so on. University isn't like that kiddies. It's time to put your grown up pants and critical thinking hat on. It's called life, and yes, sometimes it sucks, but you just have to suck it up, and for your own safety, please try not to be irritating prat's, so as not to incur my wrath.

xoxo
Leah

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Have I Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew?

I love the fall. It's probably one of my favorite times of year for several reasons. The first of which is because it is not summer. Summer usually sees my personal life going up in flames. This summer, it was tears and a severely shattered, broken heart, added to a supreme sense of confusion, slight feelings of anger and hurt, and generally feeling unsettled, hopeless, and joyless. The last half of the summer saw me seriously wavering in faith and trust. But, I digress with my slight tale of woe (that is a story for another day, preferably a day when I can hold it together and not cry at the drop of a hat). Mostly I love the fall because of the feelings I associate it with it. More often than not, it sees my flame engulfed personal life, die out to smoldering embers (except in this case, it's like a raging wildfire that just won't go out, and I have no clue how to make it, or if and when it ever will, no matter how hard I try...I think I just have to be okay with it for now). I love the fall because of the way the air smells and feels, how there is a crispness that you can almost taste. I love how the leaves change from healthy green, to riotous reds, golden yellows and lovely oranges. Complain as I might about living in Edmonton, in the fall, it's absolutely gorgeous. I love to go to the River Valley and hike, just reveling in the beauty of it all. I love that you can actually see with your own two eyes, or one if you're a pirate, the changing of the seasons. I also love fall because it signals the return of normalcy and structure to my life. I know where I am supposed to be, and when I am supposed to be there. My day planner is my life, and the fall sees every moment of my life mapped out in neat and tidy segments. This also means that I am kept very busy, and this fall I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

Normally I wouldn't be bothered by the workload I have from school. Normally it would actually be quite easy for me to juggle, but this year seems different. This year, on top of full time studies, I work, and volunteer, and I am taking an LSAT prep course for the entire month of September. Basically, every single minute, of every single day from now until October 1 (the day I write the LSAT) is mapped out. I have even had to schedule when I am going to sleep. September has barely started and already I am exhausted. So, on top of my LSAT class, homework from said class, all my homework and readings from school, working, and volunteering I have no time. Normally I hit the ground running. Nothing is too daunting. If you know me, I am a tiny person with a big personality. Nothing gets me down, however, I am feeling ever so slightly pressured and I can feel the stress mounting...it's kind of sad because today was the first day of classes, and already I can feel the tension in my shoulders. Perhaps this is just me whining about all the work I have to do, and I most certainly am not looking for sympathy or validation of any kind. I am merely questioning if I have bitten off more than I can chew. I am questioning whether it is humanly possible for me to do all the things that I need to do, and have promised to do, without having a major breakdown (I usually have one breakdown a semester, where I am plagued with doubts about my intelligence and academic capabilities). I used to be able to do it all, without hesitation, running myself ragged for fear of disappointing other people, and then I got cancer. Getting sick was probably the best and the worst thing that has ever happened to me. From it I learned to say no. But here's the problem. I can't say no to myself. I have no problem now telling other people no, but when it comes to telling myself no, I have a really hard time. I am always convincing myself to read just one more chapter, or do one more logic game. How long can I keep it up. Perhaps it's just the day, but I kind of feel like I am treading water, and eventually I will have to decided to keep going, and keep my head above the water, or to just give up...

Sorry for the melancholy. Rest assured that my next post (maybe about first year university students) will have a significantly higher level of levity.

xoxo
Leah

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Why Does Shameles Self-Promotion Have to Be So Difficult!?

Why does shameless self-promotion/technology have to be more difficult! All I wanted to do was put my blog on some site called Technorati and apparently I need to add this combination of words and letters, 5WJPX47P22G4, in order for them to accept it. I tell you, adventures in technology, are not so fun!

xoxo
Leah

My Secret Prairie Girl Shame

I'm from Alberta. That's smack between British Columbia and Saskatchewan. And, for any of you who are wondering, my hometown of Edmonton (home to what is quite possibly the NHL's worst hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers, although I hear we have some promise this year with the return of golden boy Ryan Smyth) is nowhere near Toronto, or Vancouver. Alberta is like the Texas of Canada. We like our beef, and by we, I mean everyone else who lives in Alberta, as many a bumper sticker will tell you (I on the other hand don't love Alberta beef seeing as how I'm a vegetarian, with many dietary restrictions). We have oil, people have guns (a good friend of mine has a gun case chock full of rifles and other things that use bullets), and mullets, and they drive beefed up Ford F150/F250/F350's or some kind of Ram Truck. People hunt here for moose, and deer, and bears. They buy underwater fish cameras for when they go ice fishing (I don't understand why people actually want to go and sit in the middle of a frozen lake, in the middle of winter, in sub-zero temperatures to fish. My sisters boyfriend is a prime example of this. He is like a lumberjack, football playing good ol' boy. He's great! He epitomizes Alberta with his Canadian Tuxedo (denim jacket, with wrangler or Levi Jeans)). The only difference between Alberta and Texas is that in Alberta, we spend half the year in a frozen hell that is quite often the coldest place on earth (no word of a lie, December 2009 Edmonton was the coldest place on earth. Colder than Siberia and the Arctic. I remember this because I was miserable and cold driving to the hospital). I am 5 feet tall, and this past winter, the snow in my front yard was taller than me. That's a lot of snow. Other similarities to Texas include, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, large belt buckles, a love for country music, a propensity to vote conservatively, and the Rodeo. The Police officers in Calgary wear cowboy hats. I thought this was only during the Stampede. Nope, it's year round. This is the province in which I live.




I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to be anything but the typical Alberta prairie girl. I don't wear a cowboy hat, I don't own cowboy boots, I prefer museums and art and people who can talk about things other than hunting, farming, football, fishing, and the Oilers. I enjoy a nice city, where I can explore and where there is something always going on, some place like New York, London, San Fransisco, or even Vancouver. I have only frequented country bars, when forced to because it's a friends birthday (actually, I avoid most bar type establishments because I don't like being touched by strange people. If you touch me and I don't know you, you've made a grave mistake, and you can kiss having children goodbye). But, try as I might, I can't beat the prairie girl out of me. I have a secret shame. My secret shame is for overly popular country music. Taylor Swift? Love her! Lady Antebellum? Sings some of my favourite country songs! Carrie Underwood? You can be your bottom dollar that she's on my ipod. I can't get enough of it. I always say, friends don't let friend line dance, and I still stand by that (I draw the line at line dancing), but I will still listen to a good country song every now and then, when I am by myself, and where no one can witness my shame. I'm not talking the honky tonk, Billy Ray Cyrus Achey Breaky Heart type of country, but the stuff you will hear on the radio. Like my addiction to bad TV, there is just something that grabs me when I hear a good country song. Shania Twain? Ya, she's Canadian, and that song "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" is awesome. When it comes on I can't help myself. I know the words. Why is it so shameful you ask? It's because I am a giant hypocrite and I don't want to admit it. I sneer at almost every country song and if it's on the radio my first words/thoughts are usually, "what is this trash we are listening to?!". But in reality, if i hear a song that I enjoy, I will sing along. Listening to country music is usually a good indicator of how I'm feeling. I find most country music quite depressing to be perfectly frank, so when I turn on T. Swift or Lady Antebellum, or Carrie Underwood, it's a pretty good indication that my personal life is in shambles (again) and that I am nursing my poor, bruised, broken heart (I have been listening to quite a bit of country music of late, which is really what prompted this post). My sister, who quite likes her country music, takes great joy in making me listen to country music that I normally eschew. One of her favourite songs has line, "I wanna check you for ticks". Lucky for me, I haven't yet fallen into the trap of legit country music. I am not saying I love all country music, just some, select songs. Like I said, it's my secret prairie girl shame. One that I don't see myself getting rid of any time soon. It's been ingrained in me from my grass roots upbringing, and as much as I try to deny it, it's a part of me...it's a losing battle...unfortunately.

I guess my secret shame isn't so secret anymore...



xoxo
Leah

P.S. This is a prime example of Alberta...mullet included

Monday, 5 September 2011

Muesday: More Evidence to Suggest that Universities are Slowly Sucking Out Our Souls

Dear U of A Bookstore,

I understand that you need to make a profit off of already starving and debt ridden university students, but is it really necessary to inflate the prices of textbooks that much? I mean, let's get real here for a moment. I understand that you probably pay for mass quantities of books at cost, and I understand that you need to make a profit, but why do you need to make them SO much more expensive than they are worth? Shame on you U of A bookstore!

I went to the University of Alberta bookstore yesterday, and not only was it crawling with first year students, who's sole purpose in life is to irritate the hell out of me (this is a post in and of itself, and will be posted soon), but I was dismayed to find that several of my text books were ridiculously expensive (although I wasn't that surprised). Mostly because I like to screw the U of A over in any way I can, because in turn, they ALWAYS screw me over, I flat out refused to buy my text books at the bookstore. I don't care if Dr. Gow wants us to have 8 text books for his Medieval Christendom and Others class (which I am really excited for by the by!), I am most certainly not going to pay $90 dollars for a textbook that we will probably read one chapter of. No, instead I am fighting the system. I went home and found them all, at reasonable prices (at least some of which were half as much as what the bookstore wanted) at amazon.ca. So here is a tip for all you first year university students out there: you will be able to find your textbooks elsewhere for much cheaper, leaving you with more cash in your pocket, which in turn means you won't have to live off of ramen noodles, and beg your parents to put cash in your account (or you can still beg them for money, and have that much more money to spend on shoes and other things). You should thank me for my wisdom. I await your praise and adoration. Also, wait until the first week of class is done before you buy your books. You will quickly find that although some Professors like to say that the books they select are required, really they aren't. I know that any class taught by a certain Eastern European history prof at the U of A, will in fact, not need the textbook, as almost all of his exam material comes from his lecture notes. In short, the less you do (and by less you do, I mean, not buying the books and getting the syllabus first) at the beginning, the bigger the pay off for you. It also means that you screw over the bookstore, which is something I am a big fan of.

In other news, seeing as how it's Muesday, I owe you all a song. My song selections often vary on how I am feeling. Lately, I have been listening to heavier, slightly screamy stuff, an homage to my 16 year old self (I may or may not have been one of those kids who had emo tendencies in my adolescent music choices, who developed slight hipster tendencies in my adult life, minus the love of cheap beer...you can be the judge of that). Thrice is always one of my go to bands when I need music like this. Last summer, I saw them live and it was honestly one of the BEST shows I have ever been to. The song I share with you has been played quite frequently on my ipod as of late. It's called The Weight, and I love the following lyrics:

"And come what may, I won't abandon you or leave you behind, because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment. Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side, I won't run, away though the storm's getting worse and there's no end in sight".



Happy Muesday!

xoxo
Leah

P.S. If you are a nursing, science, engineering, law or med student, please ignore my above advice, as you are screwed. You need your text books, and an older edition simply won't do. Sorry, but I guess the world has a hate on for you.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Big C, Part V: Laugh with Me, Dammit!


My sister turned to me the other night and said "Leah, not everyone has the same "fuck you cancer" attitude as you". It got me thinking about whether or not I am too glib when it comes to speaking out about cancer. I sometimes know I go too far, but really, I like to push the envelope, and see exactly how far, and how hard I can push before someone or something pushes back. I remember that about a year ago, I was looking at the LIVESTRONG facebook page, and the question was posed as to whether or not there was room for humor when speaking about cancer. This question was posed in light of the release of the show The Big C starring Laura Linney (which in my personal opinion is a FANTASTIC show!). What I discovered was actually quite shocking to me. There were so many people who were angrily posting about how humor should not be linked with cancer, and some of the posts were quite vitriolic. I can understand being angry at cancer. I can understand hating something that strikes almost anyone and takes away loved ones. I can understand how they might not be very receptive to humor. But until you have been through it, you really don't have a clue about what it's actually like, and what goes through a patients head or how they actually feel. Yes it's nice for people to be on your side, and to be angry for you, and I know that many of my friends, and especially my family were angry and upset for me, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know, but anger only goes so far. So, to them I say this: by making cancer this huge serious thing, you are letting it win. You give cancer strength with your fear and your anger. In my opinion, making fun of cancer, and belittling it takes away it's power. It's like the Boggart's from Harry Potter (yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd). You kill it with laughter. You kill it with positivity. Getting angry and wallowing in self pity is counter productive to getting better. So I say, sure I might be a little glib when it comes to talking about cancer, and yes, people might often be unsure as to whether my jokes are funny or inappropriate, but I can say in all honesty, that I think without the jokes that I make, I would not have gotten by as well as I did. At the risk of sounding completely corny, it's just so important to stay positive. So yes, yes there is room for humor when talking about cancer, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to keep my "Fuck you cancer attitude", and if I'm laughing at it and making fun of my fake boobs, then it's completely fine for you to laugh with me. I prefer it actually. I would rather you try and make me laugh, or laugh at something really slightly inappropriate that I've said, than be serious. At the end of the day, being serious is overrated and takes up way too much energy and time.

xoxo
Leah

Thursday, 1 September 2011

"You objectified me!": Grow Up and Grow a Pair

Fact: reading someone's email without their knowledge, or permission is a serious no-no, not to mention really immature and disrespectful. I really don't think it's acceptable under any circumstances. People don't go around opening each others mail, so why would someone think it's okay to read emails? Just because it's in electronic form doesn't make it okay, regardless of whether it was accidentally left open on a computer. Anyone with a conscience, and good moral character would and should, simply close out of the browser, instead of purposefully being nosy and intentionally seeking information that they are not privy to. If you were supposed to know the information, you would have been told. A good friend of mine was recently involved in a similar situation. She was kind of (and by kind of I should say they went out maybe 4 times) seeing this guy, and accidentally left her email open. He deliberately went through her email, and then proceeded to make her feel bad for what was a private conversation between herself and a friend. To make matters worse, he didn't tell her of his heinous crime until 3 weeks later. 3 weeks of stringing her along, and playing silly little mind games with her, and to make matters worse, he told her about his treachery via text message, and he talked about her on the radio. I suppose this just goes to show that age doesn't equate maturity (he's 28, she's 22). I could understand that if he was questioning her loyalty, and if they had been together for a really long time, how this might be okay, but 4 dates? And even then, it sits in that moral grey area that is so hard to define. Really? Apparently he took issue with some of her sarcastic phrasing (if you know her, you know that she is not an intentionally mean person, is very witty, and can be very sarcastic). He said she objectified him. Objectified? Really? It makes me seriously question if he actually knows the definition of 'objectified'(Objectified,v.: 1.Express (something abstract) in a concrete form, 2.Degrade to the status of a mere object). I somehow don't think so. Last time I checked, thinking someone was awesome, funny, smart and good looking doesn't equate being objectified. Just saying. By reading her emails and then talking about this situation on the radio, he just proves that he has the emotional maturity of a gnat. What is really sad about this whole situation, is that she legitimately liked him. She was so excited and happy to finally be going on dates with someone who seemed so well adjusted and mature. I remember her sitting in my office, after their first date, just beaming about how sweet he was, and how awesome her night had been. I guess she now knows what he is really like. Also, I think it also proves that it is a bad idea to date radio personalities, as they will invariably talk about you on the radio.


Situations like this just really irritate me. I now see my friend upset about this whole situation, because he was not mature enough to discuss things with her. Instead he went through her private correspondence. I am a big fan of communication, because I believe that through communication you build trust. He destroyed any credibility and integrity he had when he willingly sought out her private conversations. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, and this is no exception (plus, I think that's if it's acceptable for him to talk about it on the radio, then it is most certainly acceptable for me to blog about it...ah, formal logic at work!). People should not be made to feel bad for their feelings or opinions, especially if they were private. Reading someone's email is just wrong. People who do things like this are psychotic. Pure and simple. Plus, if the roles were reversed, I am pretty sure he would be upset. It's honestly like he's acting like a teenage girl, being ruled by his excessive estrogen levels rather than reason and logic. Let me offer you this little piece of advice: next time you have an issue with someone, be a grown up, grow a pair and talk to them about it, rather than read through their emails. If you did happen to accidentally read something you weren't supposed to, don't act like a little kid and pout. It's really not attractive.

So, here is the question I pose: is it ever acceptable to read through someone's email? If so, under what circumstances?


xoxo
Leah