What Me, Wear Make-up? November 14, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: beauty, changing my thinking, make-up, natural beauty, women
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I know I’m not like everyone else — okay, no one is. Let me explain. I voluntarily quit a very good job to start my own business and make no money. Once the business started making money, I decreased my business activity and took on a new job — and had to move way up North, to a village of 1,000 people, over 1400 km (nearly 900 miles) from the nearest Starbucks. Oh, unless there’s one in Yellowknife — then it’s only 630 km (390 miles). Nevermind Starbucks — I am 430 km (270 miles) from the nearest clothing store, shoe store, or place where one could buy make-up (in Hay River, NWT).
But I don’t mind, because:
A: I don’t buy clothes unless I really need them, because I’ve worn out what I’ve got — it might be time for new skidoo boots this year, and
B: I’ll show you my shoe collection at right (not all of them, mind you… just the ones I wear 95% of the time), and
C: I don’t wear make-up. I mean I’ve worn mascara about 4 times in the last 4 years.
So, like I said, I’m not like everyone else. I am not a major hippie or tree-hugger — okay, ya, I hug trees — I just don’t like a lot of girlie things. I object to make-up primarily on the grounds that women are beautiful without it.
I may, however, be rethinking my views on make-up slightly. Here’s my thinking.
Everyone ages. You know who suffers the most, in some ways? Hollywood stars. I feel kind of sorry for them, in particular when it comes to aging. They are immortalized in their youth — 99% of them — when they are at their prime, young, beautiful, fit and lovely. Then, they age. But everyone who watches re-runs, or their favourite movies over and over again, is shocked to see them age. They don’t look anything like they should — like the young and pretty image we all have burned on our corneas! Admit it, you have images of the first James Kirk, ahem, William Shatner, burned on your corneas, don’t you? (Okay, maybe it’s just me.) But look at him now!? Gads.
So, it’s not easy being green, or being famous and getting older. But at least women have make-up to turn to. I mean, Nichelle Nichols has undergone the same time frame of aging, and look at her.
Okay, maybe it’s an unfair comparison! In any case, women, perhaps, have decided to take matters into their own hands and do what they can, using nature, originally, to enhance their beauty. I think some of the first make-up was invented by the ancient Egyptians, was it not? Certainly black eyeliner was!
So, I stumbled on a website, makeupgeek.com, because the geek part drew me in (that’s probably why I even stumbled on it, what with Google controlling what I see…). “What’s geeky about make-up?” I thought. Well, the girls who are featured (or perhaps own it, run it, whatever) are really into make-up — for effect (no major objections here), for artistic expression (which I approve of), and for the fun of it, too, (which I wholeheartedly approve of). So, hmm. Make-up might not be so bad after all. In particular when it uses natural, non-animal harming ingredients. I mean, putting make-up into bunnies’ eyes is horrible by anyone’s standards.
Maybe I’m not so different at all! I just had a phase of a make-up free life… maybe I’ll play around with it a little in the future. Now if only there was a store where I could buy some!
P.S. Men, there are things you can do, too — that we can all do, I think. Try not to be chronically overtired. Drink plenty of water. Try not to rub your face unnecessarily. Eat living, non-processed food as much as possible. Get enough sleep (did I mention that already?)
Living in a World of Contrast November 2, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: arguing, bubble, Chris Hadfield, comments, conspiracies, contrast, happiness, internet, Movember, mustahces, NaNoWriMo
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Welcome to Movember, peeps! It’s the month of inappropriate and unpleasant facial hair (unpleasant for those of us who might be kissing those mustachioed men). If I can be so bold as to ask — can we keep it PG, folks? No porn star stuff, okay? I cringe at that slimy look! Let’s go for the tasteful and moderate look of Col. Chris Hadfield (one of my personal heroes).
Do you know what else happens in November? It’s NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month, which is actually international! So, I’m getting my creative juices flowing again and cracking my knuckles over the keyboard.
Speaking of reading and writing, I read something interesting yesterday. It was posted in response to a story about the latest troubles at the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Apparently, some radioactive water was spilled into the ocean. The article was extremely well-written and described what had happened at the reactor since the tsunami. The author explained that the radioactivity was nothing to be worried about, which was interesting because that’s the exact opposite of what many other people are saying. It makes me wonder how two opposite views occur — the scientist in me says that only one can be correct. Who has the real facts? The language barrier complicates the issue; for those of us who don’t speak Japanese, whatever info we get is always second-hand. The philosopher in me knows that both sides can be correct in some ways, and I can usually easily see both sides. I’m sometimes surpised when others can’t — everyone believes they have the facts and they are right, dammit!
What an interesting world of contrast we live in! So many issues have two opposite, arguing sides. We can celebrate men’s health issues, the freedom and thrill of writing a book, and spend time remembering those who laid down their lives in war, all at the same time. I wonder if Movember is as big a deal in the US, where the government seems intent on proliferating Remembance Day. Do countries at war still worry about the health of their citizens? Even if the US isn’t at war, it does have a much bigger war machine than Canada. How come we make heroic efforts to save one person’s life yet premeditate on taking others? How can we care so deeply about our pets and eat the meat of animals not cared for at all? How can one person passionately argue against the logic of voting while enjoying the benefits of a democracy? (Fantastic video here.)
Yes, it’s a world of contrast, and I’m still figuring out how to live in it. I have a sympathetic ear for conspiracy theories, but when I heard that sunscreen causes cancer, I just didn’t know what to do with that information. At times, I can ignore that sort of info, and stay happy in my bubble. (Those of you who know me well may have seen the bubble.) Other times, I have to take it in and try to process it. Do I have to choose a side on these contrasting issues? No. I don’t have to always be an activist, and I definitely want to disregard the things that are most fear-inducing. I don’t like the way they makes me feel — sunscreen causes cancer?!?! The bastards! Now what? UV rays cause cancer, too! So, I’m supposed to just stay in the shade? Or never go outdoors? Forget it!
So, perhaps it’s just me conserving the environment of my bubble, to ignore some things, but it’s what I have to do to maintain my happiness. I mean, why not ignore it if it can’t be proven either way? On the whole, I think all this contrast is caused by free will — we have a lot of it, and I wouldn’t want to do without it, so I guess I had better learn to enjoy the contrast. I really try not to get wrapped up in the drama of arguments with people who aren’t interested in seeing another point of view (which is a lot of people, I’m learning). In fact, I’ve created a new personal rule for internet usage:
Never read the comments.
This helps a lot — most comments, whether on Facebook or blogs, are just not worth the time it takes to read them! I can easily spend 10-15 minutes reading comments by strangers that neither enlighten me nor contribute facts to an issue. I appreciate free speech, but that doesn’t mean I have to read it all. Okay, yeah, sometimes I break the rule, but hey, you know what they say about rules…
So, grow some fur on your face and I will try to remember not to make fun of you! It’s your choice to do so, just like everything else you do, and I won’t belittle you for any of it. Free will, baby! Roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with your life — it will get messy — just keep your dirty hands off of others’ lives, please. Thanks!
It Might be Time for a Change October 23, 2013Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Ponder This.
Tags: birds, compassion, courage, grouse, humility, intelligence, nature, outdoor adventures, outdoors, sacrifice, wildlife
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A few months ago, on one of my little adventures in the bush, I had an experience that I just can’t forget. I had decided to go for a walk to explore the bush along the edge of a clearing. The clearing was roughly square-shaped, and I walked along one full edge, intent on checking out the corner, which had some vague interest for me. As I walked, I was pleased to find an abundance of wild strawberries growing in the clearing! I stopped to pick a few, savouring their intense flavour. Along the way, I came across a little pile of cut firewood; someone was obviously going to come back for that some day. The bush was pretty thick, but to be honest, I wasn’t looking into it much. I was distracted by the strawberries.
As I got close to the corner, I could see that there was a little opening in the trees where a couple of them that had fallen down in a wind. With one more step, a flurry of activity erupted from the bush. Grouse — local people call them “chickens” — flew every which way, as though with that one step into the bush I had tripped an invisible laser-alarm, and they could not sit still. I hadn’t seen any of them until they all moved — their camouflage is excellent — and after they flew away only one remained.
This one, lone bird did the strangest thing, this thing that I cannot shake the memory of. It was crouched on the ground, among the fallen leaves, again invisible against the background. It shuffled forward and I could see it again, and it made the strangest sound — exactly like a puppy whimpering. It did it again, a little shuffle and a distinctive whimper. I couldn’t believe how much it sounded like a puppy. It did it a third time, which allowed me to reassure myself that’s exactly what I was hearing.
How strange, I thought, and then realized that there must be a nest of young ones nearby, not yet able to fly away to safety. I was pretty sure I knew where it was — to my left, behind a log and near the point I had seen all the adults fly away from. I was very tempted to walk over and take a look, but the pitiful display of this lone grouse made me hesitate and ultimately change my mind. It had intentionally stayed behind when the others flew away to sacrifice itself to this strange, upright predator. It drew attention to itself with its cries and movement, making sure I could both see and hear it, the pathetic whimper as if to say “eat me, I’m weak and defenseless — an easy meal.” I just couldn’t satisfy my curiosity — to find the nest and see the little ones — after what this adult bird had done for its young.
But not just for its young; for all the young that were in nests nearby. I knew from the number of adults that there must be at least three nests, and this one stayed behind to save the young of them all. You know, all around the world we see incredible acts of sacrifice by people for their children, but not as often for others’ children. I, for one, had never seen such a display first hand, of an animal so willing to die that it would call out to the predator to ensure its strategy of misdirection and ultimately, its sacrifice, would be successful.
There is not much I can say. It was humbling. That grouse showed intelligence, compassion and courage. And it’s just a bird, with a brain no larger than half a walnut. I guess courage, compassion and intelligence don’t have anything to do with brain size, but it does make me wonder if I have been letting myself off easy, not demanding much of myself lately. My idea of an act of courage these days is to go into a crowded room where I don’t know anyone. Compassion consists of smiling respectfully at strangers, whatever state they are in (i.e. sober or not, poor or not), and my intelligence has been primarily engaged in knitting and dreaming up floor plans for tiny houses. I think it might be time for another challenge. I think it might be time for an extreme compassion adventure! It might even be time for a sacrifice, and damn it, I had better not complain, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be whimpering on the ground, hoping the predator will eat me instead of the children nearby. Wow.
My Superpower August 28, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
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For this special blog post where I reveal my superpower, I thought I’d make an audio recording — sort of a mini-podcast. Enjoy!
Duration: 4:00 minutes
*If you are on a slow connection, you may also choose to read the post instead, here.*
Like a Game of Bejewelled July 9, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: games, life, philosophy of life, play, strategy
We can learn so much about ourselves by how we live, work and play. Since I got my new phone, I’ve been playing quite a bit of Bejewelled, and it makes me wonder if how I play indicates something about how I live.
**Oddly Specific Alert!** If you’ve never played Bejewelled, this post is not going to make much sense. Try it free online here first and then you’ll be able to follow me. (another link)
I like to play in the bottom half of the board, and allow the top jewels to fall down as I play, making lots of extra combinations. I love it when the Deep Voice says “excellent, awesome” and “spectacular,” even though all those extra combinations are pure luck. I particularly love how he says “spectacular” as if he really means it! I enjoy benefitting from the bonuses I don’t have to work for. Does this make me lazy? Maybe.
I really don’t like playing in the top half, or playing for specific combinations with a detailed strategy. I find there are too many random things — or jewel-actions I don’t understand — that when I try to line up certain combinations, it doesn’t usually work out very well anyway. I think this just confirms for me that I’m not a major control freak; if you try to plan every move, to get the most combinations of the best special jewels, it is a lot of effort and not always successful, just like in life.
There is one strategy I enjoy using, however. When the jewels are set up so that I have a choice between making a horizontal set of 3 or a vertical set, I prefer to make a horizontal set. Making vertical sets causes a lot of new jewels to fall in from above in such a way that I can’t wrap my brain around. Horizontal sets are nice because the jewels just fall down one space, and I can easily set up a few combination moves, or just enjoy the jewels falling and see what new possibilities arise.
Although the new jewels that appear are random, there is no question that how I move the jewels around to make combinations affects the position of the remaining jewels. What I do greatly affects the board, just as it is in life — what I do greatly affects my surroundings, although in life, what I think about and my overall attitude affect my environment greatly as well, which I haven’t seen to be the case, exactly, in Bejewelled.
I am definitely not one to plan a whole bunch of moves ahead. This is true in life, too. I feel best when I have a short-term plan, for a day or two in advance, but I don’t need or want to have a lot of plans for years from now. In fact, my honey and I have never had any sort of long term plan until this year, and wouldn’t you know it, a couple of months after hatching the plan, it changed anyway! So, we’re back to taking life as it comes — playing the jewels we have, making the best combinations we can without obsessing about the score or the level we achieve.
Of all the variations of Bejewelled, my favourite is the “Zen” mode. I like having no time limit to the levels, and although I could play slowly, I find I usually make combinations quite quickly. I don’t mind Blitz or the Original, but the timelessness of Zen is the best for me. I tried “Diamond Mine” and found it fun, but I had to change my strategy a lot to keep the combinations working along the bottom. There’s considerably more planning and watching what colour of combo is needed.
So, do you play with a similar strategy? Can you learn something about yourself by how you play whatever game you like to play? It’s fun to think about, isn’t it?
Big Time Activism July 7, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: activism, change, changing the world, society
There have always been people who stand out on their own, who buck “the man,” who stand up to authority. Well, perhaps that isn’t entirely true — there may have been a time in the distant past when people were so focused on mere survival, they didn’t have the luxury to protest, or when “the authority” was so much more powerful than the common man, it was too dangerous or difficult to stand up to it.
But in the 70′s large scale activism really got going! Rallies and protests became common and they have been going on in one form or another ever since. Most of the time, their goal is to gain awareness of the problem by getting lots of media attention.
There is a slight problem with these type of protests, however.
We will do things in large groups we would never do individually, because, as everybody knows, there is strength in numbers. But that strength is artificial; it is bolstering our egos; it is the courage of the masses. To be truly courageous, stand on your own. Take action when no one else is. Do something in complete privacy or anonymity to make a difference.
Let’s take the Occupy movement as an example. Why not do something personally to take some power away from Wall Street? Stop investing in the money system. Stop giving it power. Stop treating rich people differently. Don’t do things just for the money.
Whatever cause you believe in, can you figure out a way to single-handedly make a real difference? Not just get lots of media attention. Not just meet a whole bunch of like-minded people — those things are fine, but they often, unfortunately, do not actually make a difference. Could you instead work towards becoming an elected official, or upper management in a corporation, and get into a position where you really can make changes in laws and policies? People in those positions sometimes do not even use the power they have, and they probably didn’t get into those positions to be activists… but what if some did? What if you stood up as a leader?
What sorts of changes could you make privately or anonymously? Could you just silently stop buying products you don’t agree with? What about treating people differently — personally being the change you want to see in the world.
Or, what if you made a personal change but perhaps mentioned it on Facebook? Doing so could call others to take their own, personal action. It isn’t private or anonymous, but it could very well be an individual thing. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying rallies are demonstrations are bad. I’m just saying they are not the only way, or the best way, not by a long shot.
The New Activism
This winter, my awesome roommate and I discovered the new way of activism.
A friend of ours was driving back from Yellowknife when he came across a family having truck trouble. He piled them all in his pick-up and drove them to Fort Simpson where he gave them his second truck to drive back to Yellowknife, a distance of over 600 km. He had to go back to Yellowknife in a few weeks, so he would get the truck back then. That made a difference. That kind of thing changes the world. Giving cinnamon buns away to hungry, tired truckers changes the world. Driving a co-worker 400 km so she can pick up the new vehicle she bought changes the world. The man who drove his vac-truck from Saskatoon to Calgary after the flood and pumped out basements for free is changing the world!
It makes no sense to get people angry for peace. Using fear to fight fear is backwards. Rallying just for show is pointless.
The new way of activism is this: frequent and surprising random acts of kindness that are big, individual, and life-changing.
It’s a bit like paying it forward (remember the movie?). It’s an explosion of caring, a flurry of friendship, offered freely and fully, to strangers and family alike. If it gets some media attention because it is so big, then fine, but that’s not the purpose.
Want to join me? : )
Life is Not a Movie June 28, 2013Posted by Teresa in Ponder This.
Tags: life, media, modern life, movies, TV, zombies
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The other day, while walking on a beautiful forest trail, I suddenly thought “this would make a nice scene in a movie.” The thought was so out-of-the-blue, it really struck me. I had been thinking about what the North was like before pharmaceuticals, how people truly lived off the land. They used the plants that grow naturally to cure things that bothered them. They learned what plants helped what problems by trial and error, and by following their intuition, and the knowledge was passed down verbally from one person to another. I was completely focused on nature, which is why the thought about movies was so surprising, and, of course, it got me thinking about media.
I wonder how much of the time we relate our real lives to things we see on film and on TV. How often do we compare our lives to the glamour we see on screen, and feel unsatisfied or inadequate? How often do we think about what we look like from the outside, or how our situation must look? I think we do it all the time, sub-consciously. We are all like Abed from the show Community, we just don’t say it out loud. And I just did it again.
Go back in time (like Michael J. Fox), in your mind (it’s such a beautiful one) and imagine a time before there were movies, TV or the internet. Think of Little House on the Prairie. See how it goes? By just mentioning shows or actors you know, I can very quickly get us all on the same page and go from there. Starting with the obvious things, before there was TV, people never thought about getting home in time for a show, or recording it, or when the next episode will be or what might happen. They never shopped for a new TV or a flatscreen. They never thought about bandwidth or usage. There was no Hollywood and they never thought about what the stars were doing. They just went about living their lives — okay, they might have listened to the radio! — and they never talked about something they’d watched with their family or friends. They must have talked about other things.
Think of how much we refer to media in conversation. We do it to make analogies so that we understand each other. A friend recommended I watch Warm Bodies. It’s a love story about a young-man-zombie who falls in love with a normal twenty-something girl. He saves her life and cares for her, and she gradually starts to like him, too. As a result, he comes back to life and starts a biological/spiritual movement that sweeps through the zombie world, causing lots of others to remember their humanity and come back to life. It’s a great story, and because my friend and I shared the experience (even though we didn’t watch it together, we can talk about it now), we have all sorts of great zombie jokes and references.
It all seems harmless until we think about the deeper consequences. Watching a lot of media makes us think of our lives as if they were movies. We want to be entertained, informed, or get caught up in the drama, like when we watch media. We subconsciously expect everything we do to fall into one of those categories. We think of our life as it if had a plot. We hope there’s a happy ending. We want our love lives to be full of romance, and we want our vacations to be glamourous. We love hanging out with that funny friend of ours because he makes us laugh. If one day he goes through a tragedy and isn’t funny any more, we don’t know how to relate.
I wonder if too much media might make us seem less vibrant, more shallow. Comparing our lives with movies or TV can lead to discontentment. Of course, it’s not all bad if it gives us jokes and helps us relate. But if we need media to relate to one another we’re in trouble. I have an acquaintance that watches very different things than I do (I’m almost completely off-TV as it is), so it can be a challenge to find something to talk about. When we do find something, however, we have great, meaningful conversations — much deeper than which shows are good and which aren’t worth the time.
Another thing to consider is this: how would you cope without any media? Would you be able to have conversations with others? How would you keep yourself entertained or spend your time in general? Would it be so bad if you didn’t watch the news? You know I love making you think, and that’s really all I am doing in this post.