Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Public service notice: please don't be expecting me to post my poetry on a regular basis. I think the last poem I wrote (before the one I just wrote and posted, that is) was "open," which was written on the day that my husband finally opened his eyes after sustaining a brain injury, being in a coma and having his eyes closed for about 6 days. (His eyes did not stay open that day, and this was not the same day that he gained consciousness, but it was still very special at the time.) That was August 2004. This is February 2007. If you want to read another poem of my writing, I can send you stuff from my past; for fresh stuff, you may have to wait a few years.


dear dangling thread,

    the tapestry has changed so much since the time you were pulled away,

even since the time I cut you off,

trying to pretend you did not exist, had no place in the pattern

yet there you are.

I have seen great cords emerge,

wrapping all my life around them;

such that this is no longer just a tapestry, but a song.

(is it this music

that seems to be drawing you in?)

    do not think i do not see you hanging there;

the knowledge of that loose end has unravelled my pride.

(grating dissonance; will you not simply be gone?)

now and again, you have woven your own tapestries in my head

when i could not help but rest from my own weaving,

leaving the loom untended.

    i see the new pattern i have brought to pass;

i am happy with it, i say.

can i truly be happy with such a work?

knowing how easily you would be seen

were the weave hanging with its other side to the wall;

can i live with such a proclamation of artist's failure?

dear dangling thread,

    do you fit the new pattern?

a slip stitch here, and how the themes could flow into one another, and the first transformed;

what a masterpiece this warp could bring about.

but i have seen how the second theme has flowed from the sky like water, like rain;

do i dare risk the onset of drought?

are you part of the flow?

(theme. variation. theme?)

[with thanks to T. S. Eliot, with maybe a little Robert Frost on the side.]

What I've been up to since high school.

[To my few faithful non-Facebook readers on the regular dreamin-again.blogspot.com blog: please pardon this digression. I am making this post for Facebook reasons. But hey, since many of you haven't known me for the entirety of the history I'm about to describe, you get to learn more about me this way, too :)!]

Seeing as I have people on my Facebook friends list whom I have not seen in person nor talked to since, oh, high school (give or take), I've decided to use this post to share my summary of what's been going on in my life since we graduated from Woburn C. I. I originally wrote most of this for my life bio on classmates.com, but the fact that classmates.com requires a fee (which I am not willing to pay) for pretty much anything other than just seeing names and Facebook is free leads me to believe that Facebook is the better place for this profile to be. Alright, on with it...

Right after high school: I had planned for a long time to do a year of Bible college before going to university for my career degree. I went to Tyndale College (formerly Ontario Bible College, now Tyndale College University) for their Leading Edge program, which gave me a One Year Certificate in Christian Studies. It also included a 3 week trip to Israel and a one week inner city missions trip to Camden, New Jersey. This was all a great experience. I graduated with that certificate in 2000.

Working and wedding bells: I left my former job as a cashier at Lansing Buildall (now Rona Lansing) in September 2000 to begin working at the Scarborough Town Centre location of Black’s Photography (which I left in May 2003). In the 2000-2001 school year I worked 4 days a week and took the first and second Hebrew classes at Tyndale two days a week; while I wasn't going to do my career degree at Tyndale, I didn’t think I could handle full-time school and planning a wedding/getting married at the same time. I married Martin McCourt on January 27, 2001, exactly 5 years after we started dating.

My first degree, and a speed bump on the road of life: In the 2005-2006 school year I completed an Honours B. Sc. at York University (I don’t want to hear the York jokes...I went there for specific reasons and I happen to like York) with a major in chemistry and minor in physics. I worked as a research assistant for one of my professors from May 2003 through to the end of August 2005, gaining some experience I could take into the real world if I decided to pursue a job in the sciences. This position included a three week field study on Saturna Island (a tiny little island with a population of about 350 between Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.)...a great experience that included seeing whales in the wild 6 times, up close! I was originally supposed to graduate with my B.Sc. in June 2005, but Martin had a brain injury August 2004 and so I was only able to handle part-time studies in the 2004-2005 school year. How much life can change with just one phone call. The Lord sustained us through this situation, though, and Martin is up and walking around unassisted and back to full-time work and all.

Between degrees: I worked at the Ice Gardens at York University this past summer...I was a little exhausted after completing my B.Sc. and needed something low-key for my summer job (I didn't think I could handle doing research this summer with the state I was in...my brain wanted a break :)), and this fit the bill nicely. For various reasons to do with Canlan Ice Sports taking over the place I no longer worked there in August, which gave me a nice break before school started.

Current life stuff...back to school, in more ways than one: At this point I am pursuing a career teaching high school (my teachables: chemistry and physics), and am in teacher's college at York for the 2006-2007 school year. It is a lot of work. Really, though, I've been working towards being a teacher for so long (picking up whatever volunteer opportunities I could get along the way to give me experience towards getting into teacher's college and making sure this is what I really wanted to do) that this is just the next step in the process. It is good to feel that the process of realizing this goal is coming to an end and the plan is starting to come to fruition. The process will be complete when I finally get a teaching job, but then begins the lifelong task of becoming an ever-better teacher (and who knows what from there...teacher librarian? guidance counselor? principal? Minister of Education? one step at a time...), learning much from my students along the way. Martin and I still attend Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church at Pharmacy and Sheppard.

Keeping in touch: Jen McCauley also attends our church now and we still get together fairly often. Andrew Luft used to be on my bus home from York once in a while and I saw him occasionally at Woburn in the early part of 2006 as we were both doing some volunteering there. Cherylyn Dickson and I used to take the same bus to and from York as well, where she was working on a law degree last I heard, and apparantly we can still giggle as much as we did in grade 5. I've met up with Rika at York and have run into Andrew Steventon twice there as well. Then, of course, there is Facebook, where I'm sure many more people from my past lurk than I'll ever manage to reconnect with.

Interesting fact: when Martin and I got married, Matt, Jon and Rachel Blair became my second cousins! Small world...

Future plans at this point: completing my B. Ed. and getting my teaching certification, teaching for a while to help save up a down payment for a house, moving out of where we're renting now, and probably having some kids (the dream Martin has had twice about us having triplets is a little scary, though), probably going back to work at some point after the kiddos are born but maybe not. Still, who knows; life has much in store for me yet, I'm sure!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The genetics of autism?

"Canadian researchers have led an international team in the discovery of a chromosomal region containing the genes that cause autism, a finding considered a breakthrough in the effort to better understand the condition." You can read the article here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Help, I'm fashion-impaired

When is the usual time to shop for prom dresses? I've never actually been to a prom/formal/semi-formal, just weddings, so I'm looking forward to the night out in May. (By that point, those in my program will have really deserved it.) Hubby has said he will come along; not sure how much he will enjoy it but he's my man and the one I want to dance with :). The fact that there is a chocolate theme to the prom doesn't hurt things any (y'all know my sweet tooth :)). I'm looking forward to having a little bit of fun with my fellow MSTers...and wishing it weren't so far away (especially as that means I still have several classes to go between now and then).

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Cop confusion.

I drove to school today. Since I only had a half day of classes, I knew the 401 wouldn't be too busy for my commute home. I made my way out of the parking structure at York and began to head down Keele (which also wasn't very busy) towards the 401. Driving in the curb lane somewhat north of Wilson, I notice that a vehicle is parked on the side of the road in my lane with its hazards flashing. Okay, no big deal, I check my left and note there is a gap I can change into. I signal and move over. I am now directly in front of a police car, but no big deal. I get past the vehicle, check to make sure the way is clear, signal and change lanes back to the right. I come to a red light and stop. Hmm, the police car is still behind me. That's interesting, but still no big deal. The light turns green and I make my way through the intersection. Hmm, the police car is now flashing its lights. Am I really being pulled over? That's never happened before...do they just need me to clear the way so they can proceed to an emergency? Well, I signal, check my right, pull over to the right-hand side of my lane and stop. The police car stops behind me. And sits there for a while. Are they waiting for a break in traffic so they can carry on to the emergency? Doesn't seem like it. I guess I really have been pulled over, though I haven't a clue why; I haven't been speeding or doing anything reckless...maybe a taillight is out? Well, I guess I'd better get my license out of my wallet. Oh, look, the curbside door of the police car is opening. I roll down my window as the policeman approaches. We exchange greetings. He tells me, if I understand correctly, that the reason they pulled me over is that they thought my engine sounded noisy. He asks me for my license, ownership and insurance. I already have my license out; I quickly get out the other two items from the place I know they are in the glove compartment. He asks me who Martin is; that's my husband (whose name is on the ownership and insurance slips). He tells me he'll be with me in a minute and returns to the police car for a little while (not nearly as long as the wait before he came up to the car the first time). While he is gone I shift the car into neutral, set the parking brake and put on my hazard signals (oops, should have done that before, I guess, but whatever...I was stopped, had my right signal on, and had a police car with flashy lights behind me to protect me). On his return, he hands me back my license, insurance and ownership and thanks me; I thank him, put the items in a handy holding spot, cancel my hazards, shift back into gear, release the parking brake, cancel my right signal and put on my left (to signal that I'm now going to pull away from the curb), and drive off, cancelling my left signal shortly.

Okay, so I got no ticket, and not even a warning. The only problem was that my engine was apparently noisy. I did not have to cry, make excuses, or mention that my husband is related to several cops as well as the current chief of police, or point out that of course my engine sounded noisy right off the line from a red light...I drive a stick and didn't exactly get the chance to smoothly accelerate to the sweet spot of cruising along at the speed limit in 4th gear. So now I am wondering why I really got pulled over. Is it because:
- my engine really did sound noisier than should be expected for a standard transmission even before I got pulled over--perhaps even before I changed lanes to be in front of the cop car--and they were just concerned about the safety of my vehicle (and thus me and those around me)?
- the cops didn't like me getting in front of them when I changed lanes? (I don't think I cut them off...)
- maybe cars like mine have been stolen lately and they just wanted to do a random check to make sure the car really was mine?
- they saw one earbud of an iPod in my ear (I removed it before the policeman approached my car the first time, and he did not mention it) or the other earbud hanging and thought that I was driving distracted?
Who knows. And did I not get a ticket or a warning because:
- the policeman saw on closer investigation that I drive a stick and that's why I sounded noisy?
- he was just concerned and just wanted to inform me about the problem and it wasn't an offence in any way (though I think if you are truly driving a car that is unfit it is a problem with them and can be taken off the road, though I'm not sure if it's an offence even then)?
- he realized my husband is related to several cops, and maybe even the current chief of police?
- he saw I wasn't an aggressive person who would rashly dart out in front of his vehicle and swerve from lane to lane?
- he did pull me over because of the earbud or because I got in front of him when I changed lanes, but couldn't find anything to charge me with?

I don't seem to have any strikes against me after this incident, though I will see if others think my engine sounds noisier than it should (I really don't know what it should and shouldn't sound like, but it sounds okay to me), too. I'm just a wee bit confused. Anyway, looks like I survived my first pulling-over. Hopefully any future pulling-overs will be as incident-free as this one. *Shrug*...

Monday, February 5, 2007

You sure you want to stock this?

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday. I needed to get laundry detergent, which took me to the household section. Turns out the laundry detergent is stocked across the aisle from the paper towels. Several packages of one particular brand of paper towels (may have been toilet paper, actually, but who cares) were strewn across the aisle. After I got my laundry detergent and started to head out of the aisle, I notice one large word printed on the sides of all the packages of fallen paper towels. Perhaps it was the brand, perhaps not; anyway, the word was "cascades." That made me grin. I almost pointed out the irony to a random lady stranger who was in the same aisle but thought better of it.

Edit: yup, it's a brand. http://www.ctgebiz.cascades.com/home.aspx?LanId=2

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Feelin' the love :)

Just wanted to thank those who came out to Dairy Queen Thursday evening for a little belated b-day get-together for myself. I didn't call up everyone I knew because after a while I got worried about overwhelming DQ with all my guests, so my apologies if you didn't get an invite (I also didn't want to bother those who lived downtown or out of town). I did realize upon arriving at DQ that it would not have been a problem--we had the whole place to ourselves, since I'm one of the few people who wants to eat ice cream in the kind of temperatures we've had...though there were people who came and went at the pick-up counter, we were the only ones taking up seating space--but by then it was too late.

Since none of you who came back to my place to watch Pirates of the Caribbean II were able to stay until the end of it, let me warn you (in case you decide to rent it to see what you missed) that it has "The Empire Strikes Back" syndrome--that is, none of the plotlines get tied up and it is obviously meant to be continued in the next movie. ("The Empire Strikes Back" is the 2nd movie in the original Star Wars trilogy and leaves viewers unsatisfied because all its plotlines are meant to be tied up in what was the 3rd movie in the trilogy, "Return of the Jedi." Now, of course, the addition of 3 movies that happen before what used to be the 1st movie in the trilogy has turned "The Empire Strikes Back" into the 5th movie and "Return of the Jedi" into the 6th--confused yet?--but the fact still remains that "Return of the Jedi" is the much more satisfying of the two to watch because it finally gives closure to the plot.) I think I knew that a 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean movie is being made, but I did not expect the 2nd movie to be left as open as it was. I hope they stop at #3 and don't keep stringing us along. At least this sequel was actually good, unlike most of the other Disney sequels I've seen. (Lion King 1 1/2? Come on.) Anyway, according to Wikipedia for the 3rd Pirates movie "Disney has announced a global release date of May 25, 2007," so it's not that long before we'll hopefully get some closure to this whole Jack Sparrow thing.

Well, I am off for a while now; I have an 11:30 meeting and then at 3:30 I'm being picked up to go to the party my family is giving for my b-day. The celebrations just never end :). Have a good one, y'all...