alice directions

a more tangible life

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018.
11:26pm
I'm not going to write this post the same way as I've been writing other ones.

It's been difficult to approach the blank screen, the blinking cursor, this specific outlet.
On the one hand, I think it's good that I'm using the computer less often, changing the
way I use social media (slightly, sometimes) and trying to live a more tangible life.

I can't deny how I miss being able to post to my LiveJournal and share whatever was
on my mind. I miss writing what I was thinking and feeling in the moment and the
ability to go on tangents of description, to type out dreams, to feel open and how it
connected me with other people online. How it also let some people feel closer to me
no matter the distance - and for me too - the way words opened a window, a door -

a door I can't seem to open without great effort - more so as time goes on.

The internet has changed. It will continue to change. I was always aware of this.
I liked that about it. But now, as the years have passed, how the way we use social
media is changing us - realizing it is a choice always in the way one utilizes tools -
and the internet is a tool - but feeling the toll of years - the way the world is now.

I haven't stopped using various platforms (though FB and I continue to have an off
again / on briefly / off again relationship) and I am unlikely to ever stop using social
media or being interested in it. My interests haven't changed in regards to vlogging,
photography, writing and learning. I don't go a day without accessing the internet.
But I have noticed a difference. I think it comes from a multitude of factors and the
impact of taking in so much information on a daily basis. The influence of influencers.

The heaviness of all that's going on that one can see in real time and the immediate
reactions - how I find myself going silent online about it all even as I discuss these
matters offline. I am more weary and more wary. I did not grow up with the internet
but I have grown up with it in my life since I was 19. I am not 19 anymore. I'm still
learning but I have learned a lot - or enough - to know that it is not emotionally
sustainable to consume online content the way that I have and take care of my
well-being at the same time. How can I even share who I am now if I can't be
who I am - if my life is lived mostly through online curating for who? for what?

I want to write. I want to continue to express myself and to have this outlet,
this means of expression. I've been writing in my paper journal and I am so
grateful I've had the compulsion to put pen to paper - but I know that after
all these years, the same need to document my life with video and photos is
not to be discounted as valid simply because it doesn't have popularity or an
audience. I have always done this for me and I forget that when I give too
much of my time over to scrolling timelines and feeds and subscriptions
and liking this and faving that without honouring my own time for self-
expression / self-care / giving watch time to my self in real time, IRL.

I've been through a lot. Some of it is documented online, some of it isn't.

I know that when I do post or share something, I want it to be authentic.
Not hashtag authentic but truly real and representative of what I feel or
see or want to share of what I am experiencing in that moment in time,
knowing it isn't fully representative of my life but a snapshot, a moment.
I don't do it for attention or to subtweet or to hurt anyone. I do it for me.
I'm not trying to impress anyone (though I won't deny that if someone is
impressed at all by anything I have posted on the internet, if my words or
pictures mean anything at all to people, thank you) but I do not want to
be posting for validation. I can only validate myself. This is something I
will hopefully learn how to do in time but honestly, I don't know if I will.

When I don't post to my online journal, I miss it. I miss this way of writing.
I miss the outlet. I miss myself. I feel similarly (though more so) about my
paper journal. I think there are other people who can relate to this. Same for
those who compulsively take photos of their daily life, who share their lives
with vlogs and videos, who are expressing themselves, saying "I was/am here."

I started this LJ in April 2001. All that has happened since then & before.
Everything now. All that might yet occur. I am amazed. And I'm still here.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired
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i don't know what i'm doing

replied to a comment!

Monday, March 5th, 2018.
11:23pm
I'm doing it again. This is me, leaving it until the last minute to write my words, to get the 750 words done for the day. I have less than a half hour before midnight if you count the time it will take to do a quick read through and post to my LJ before the clock strikes midnight. I meant to reply to a recent comment but with so little time left to type this, it looks like I'm just going to wing it - again - and hope that I can make it to my word count goal in time.



It was husband's day off (I know it seems like he has a lot of days off but he doesn't really - it's just the way they have him scheduled) and tomorrow is another one. We're desperately close to having bare cupboards to match the near empty fridge but we're going to make it until pay day on Thursday and best of all, we made sure our rent was paid along with tenant insurance and whatnot. Priorities. As we get on our feet, going through a few days of lacking is ok because we'll be alright. This month was an extra pay week for me and he'll have some extra hours on his pays so we're going to be fine soon. We're a ways off from a point where we can feel secure but I don't think many people who live in today's economic climate (who aren't already established, connected with opportunities that have them well off or are supported by relatives &etc.) unless blessed with those circumstances, nothing is 100% certain or stable for anyone. It's all a bit of an illusion, really, that we tell ourselves. Look at how easily, unfortunately and swiftly it can all be taken away and lost. The only thing one can truly count on is that each day is another day of existence where one gets to decide how they want to react (or not) to the circumstances they are in and what they want to do (if anything) to change them.

11:38pm With those thoughts, I guess I could have started to reply to the comment someone left, so I'll quote it here and see what I can answer before I run out of writing time.
crookedfingers wrote: future
"do you believe you and your husband will live in this apartment into old age? how do you see your life in the future? I agree the view from your apartment is nice but what do you see in the future? Is your husband still going into the military? what do you plan to study when you go back to school? have you plans for old age or do you just go from one day to the next?"


At first, I wanted to react defensively to the comment but I think these were genuine questions asked from a place of curiosity so I'll give it a go.

Do I believe we (husband and I) will live in this apartment into old age?
Maybe! I don't know the future. I know that it was possible to have lived in our previous apartment in my hometown into old age (a few people had lived there for about 30 years or thereabouts) and now that I live in a much bigger city, it's not uncommon for many people to live in apartments for much of their lifetime, even the same one, for various reasons, whether economical or connected to community and so forth. While living in St. Thomas, I could see us either staying in the apartment or moving into a different one within the same building. I also could see us buying a house there and debated back and forth with myself on the matter. There were pros to home ownership but my heart was too torn by not being in the city where I truly felt I should be. Also, the fact that chances of employment and education were extremely limited there made the decision all the more precarious. It was nice to think of the houses that we could have had but home ownership isn't the same thing that it was 20 or 30 or 50 years ago. I think that moving back to Toronto was a good idea and I'm thankful that we live in this apartment. It's entirely possible that we could live here another 25 years (to retirement age) but with how things changed in my life just within the past year (when we didn't even know he'd have work here) to now living here, it goes to show one doesn't know. Not to mention how five years ago I didn't know what would be or ten years before that and so on.

Short answer. Yes, possibly. I can't see why we'd trade this view for anything else. We haven't lived here long enough to truly settle into the place but I am glad to be here and I think there is a lot of potential - not just in this apartment but in this city.

How do I see my life in the future?
I'd like to see it happen. I know in my heart that I am supposed to be writing and doing other creative things - perhaps with photography or something like that. I also feel that getting an education is something that I could really benefit from and would help immensely for figuring out a better plan. I would like to see my life being something I am more in the moment with - that I might finally get the concept of radical acceptance down!

As for what I see in the future, I can't answer that. I saw myself being back in Toronto and here I am. I have a few things in mind that I am trying to visualize that are things that would make for a good life to experience but a lot has to do with way too many varying factors that I don't have control over. I see a great view right now and that is good. And right now is the future.

No, my husband is not going into the military. He was keen on it and continues to exercise (his upper body is changing dramatically!) but back in January he received a letter from the department that reviews the medical reports and they decided to pass on him because of a history of depression. They don't know that he's worked continuously and that he is fantastic at compartmentalizing things but eh, so it goes. We understand that they are concerned about returning soldiers from the ongoing conflicts (wars and invasions) and how this has impacted their mental health. It's a disappointment so far as what he could have learned as well as contributed but it is what it is.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018.
12:03am
I want to continue replying to the questions asked by crookedfingers and I'll add this to the post from a few minutes ago (last night).

what do you plan to study when you go back to school?
I love that this question was asked! First, I want to return to the program that I was enrolled in last late Summer / Fall. I am hoping to be back in for Term 3 at the college but restarting in the Term 1 streams. (They continuously run the program throughout the school year as it's a special program for those who are re-entering the workforce or looking into further education - or just needing to work on rebuilding social skills after going through stuff and it's just a very special program that I think is especially important and I'm grateful that they are one of the many chances afforded me by living in this great city.) Once I am back in school again, I'm hoping to complete it in a year but that depends on how I handle the stress of pressure I put on myself and of being out in the world most every day. I have a severe anxiety / panic disorder (among other things) and it's not an easy task. I had great momentum when I first moved back here but when I stopped going to focus on getting us on track at home --- and it worked, I don't regret that decision --- husband has a better job now than the one he first had when he moved to the city and he wouldn't have been as motivated to find it if I hadn't been home to help. It also saved us transit fare money as we shifted gears and faced the reality of transitioning from our previous living situation to our current one. Despite it costing more to live here and basically starting over, we both feel it's worth it.

But back to the question of school, I still like the idea of going into further studies after completing the program. I'm not sure yet if that means taking more college courses or of entering a university program. The great thing about the program I'll be taking is they have some great counselors to help with that process as well as direct one toward bursaries, grants and financial assistance for students from the government. We'll see how that works out. As for what I want to study, it's a mixed bag of wanting to pursue an English degree, study languages (French and others) and I would like to take writing classes, ones related to social media and marketing --- basically, I wouldn't mind being a lifelong learner who can attain knowledge in a variety of subjects that not only interest me but might be able to help me create some kind of business from home. All of this seems disorganized and scattered, I would suppose, but I'm interested in so many things that I think it'd be best for me to keep an open mind. A first year of General Education in a Liberal Studies program at college or university makes the most sense for me, even if I do have some specific things in mind. I'd love to study Poetry. Playwriting. History. The list goes on. I haven't even touched how passionate I am about issues that matter to me and maybe there's something to that. Or maybe I should just keep writing and see where that takes me. I don't know what I can handle when it comes to schooling so we'll see.

365 Days (2018): Day 64


have you plans for old age or do you just go from one day to the next?
I mentioned this question to husband and he's terrified, of course, and I must admit that I also have concern, given that there are generations before us that didn't have to worry in quite the same way we do when it came to feeling that they would have some sense of financial security in retirement. I think that this is a question that you'll find a lot of people in the generations younger than myself who would also have a question mark for this or a surprising answer as far as how open-minded they are with a quite different approach to both the present situation and plans for the future. From multiple income streams to minimalism to digital nomadism and anything one can imagine, people are thinking beyond the white picket fence concept. People are also faced with limitations, barriers and hardships not seen in many decades.

I like the idea of being here and feeling connected to community in the city. I also like the idea of us taking what we have scrounged up at retirement and moving to a place where the dollar stretches and it's a lovely place to see the rest of our days out.

That said, so much could happen in between now and then. We could still be together. We might not. I know of people who had a plan and then one of them died much too young and that changed everything for the other person. You don't know what's going to happen. I might continue to be someone who has not achieve the things I'd like to or maybe I'll surprise myself just in time to live a most comfortable and lavish lifestyle for the rest of my days. Who knows? I don't. I'm not saying that one shouldn't plan for old age. I had an RRSP when I was in my teens working at the factory. That's not the case now, is it? I am not going to say that we're totally thrilled to not be doing BETTER but I believe we're thankful it's not worse. From personal experience of it being worse, I know that it can also get better. Things change! Even when it feels like they can't, won't or don't.

I liked these questions. I don't have THE answers but I think that moving here, with this wonderful view, is not a bad place to be, all things considered. It's outside the comfort zone of what some people might have chosen for their path but I think it's proving to be far more interesting than picking what seems the safer option and then simply waiting out the days until death.
books in tv

the day before the first of the month



Wednesday, February 28th, 2018.
11:29pm
It's the last day of February which means tomorrow is RENT DAY. I am a lot more on edge when it comes to the 1st of the month for multiple reasons. The main one is that rent is a lot more here - though people are feeling the pain of increased rent all over the place as the income to rental cost ration is out of control (and more often out of reach) - but yes, the increase of rent we're paying compared to my hometown is something to adjust to - while not impossible, the first several months of not having it figured out was rough. There is no regret in moving to Toronto and paying more in rent - it's totally worth it - and thankfully we got here before rent increased all the more - (though husband pointed out that if we had moved back when I had wanted to, we'd be paying even less - but let's not dwell on what didn't happen and be grateful we returned when we did) - and did I mention the view? It is not taken for granted.



When I would sit in my book room in my hometown (and yes, I was fortunate to be able to use the second bedroom of the apartment we had there as a book room all for myself with my computer desk set up and such) but when I would sit there and write or think about writing but more often think about how I wanted to be living in Toronto again, I never once imagined that when I got back here, I'd have my desk in front of a view like this. To think there's a balcony as well! That worked out so well for us, given that we had a balcony at the previous place and we have the furniture for it. My current desk being placed where it is, I can peek up over my computer and see the CN Tower lit up, a symbol for me having come from small towns in Ontario, of The Big City. I think the fact that it's so connected to this city in my mind - an iconic part of the skyline - I think that's why none of my previous experiences there have tarnished how I feel when I look at it, when I see it in the daytime or night, when I admire the view.

Untitled


What we're paying for rent is a lot. But it's so worth it. Even husband, who has felt the pressure more due to work and the reality of less income and more rent, he's said he doesn't miss the other place. The cats are over it as well. They have floors with heating or cooling, depending on the temperature. Windows with activity of birds and a big sky. The glittering lake from the bedroom with traffic moving way down below. The sun and moon move around our corner apartment. It's lovely.





11:47pm I didn't think I type over 500 words in one paragraph but I just did! Going to have to split it up a bit when I go to post this entry. My only intention was to get back to writing again - to the beginning again of writing - with the mindset that I will write every day in the month of March. I know I've stated that I would type a post every day in previous months but one of these times I'll do it. I've done it before. I had a writing streak of over 180 days before so I'm sure I can do it again. It's just a matter of when. This could be Day 1 of many days, who knows? One of these attempts will be the Day 1 of a long-time writing streak, of a writing routine and ritual for myself. I'd like it to begin today. I'll try. I keep trying. I'll keep trying. That's what I do.



11:51pm I love my current paper journal (number forty-one) and so I hope to finish filling the pages of it soon and I want to make a vlog for it to share with the journaling community on YouTube. I think it's a neat little journal that turned out differently than I expected it to as I glued in a lot of clippings from a few newspapers. I am usually just a text-only journaler but decided to give this a go and wouldn't have thought I'd do it in such a small sized journal but that is what I did. No idea what journal I'll write in next - I select from my collection of blank journals - but I'll likely decide as I film the video once I'm done my current paper journal. That's how I went about it last time and I think it's a neat way to figure it out - in the moment - and might be interesting to other people who keep paper journals to see my process at the moment.

365 Days (2018): Day 57


An update about book reading - there has been nothing so far this year. I've continued to read poetry magazine, innumerable online content and bits of newspapers - but I haven't finished a book at all. I've had a couple that I've cracked open, read a few pages and while interested, not fallen into. I take full responsibility for this. I know it's my concentration, or lack thereof. My mind has been elsewhere. All over the place. Everywhere. Nowhere. Dryspell.

365 Days (2018): Day 59
book with worn pages

nice dream




dreamed of @neilhimself wandering up to me during a mysteriously dark house tour. Our conversation took to the street where it remained night. It was also more than one place, with more than one city at once. The one sad part was waking goodbye. Lovely end to a nightmare.
Arthur LOL internet

changed my handle on Twitter and Instagram to my name.



Thursday, February 22nd, 2018.
10:57pm
Hi there. It's me. At the time of typing these words, I still exist! No, I haven't been posting to my online journal much at all (not since the start of the month, eh?) but I'm writing in my paper journal more often again. I was hoping to have more consistency with writing over all but this wasn't the month for that this time around and I'm just going to have to be okay with that. We've entered the last week of February and before you know it, March will be here so I may as well start writing now and see if I can get myself into the routine of it before the new month comes around.

As I type this, I can hear the wind outside on the balcony - up here on the 20th floor (or is it the 19th since there isn't a 13th?) - and husband's snoring has phased out for the time being but it might return as he cycles through sleep, we'll see. I'm watching / listening to a vlog on YouTube by Tamara Woods who was live streaming earlier today as a kind of write-in session of sorts. I missed out on it in realtime but I'm able to be there / here right now, after 11 o'clock in the evening EST, typing away on my computer at my desk with the view of the city. It may seem strange to be typing along in silence to someone else who is doing the same (in between time periods of talking - so it's word sprints with bits of chit chat with whoever was watching her live stream vlog) but I think this is almost meditative in a way, and it's helpful, comforting and motivating. I was writing in my paper journal more much of the first hour of her video and I also found that to be good too as I get closer to finishing my current paper journal (number forty-one). Maybe I should do one of these myself? I'm not that comfortable with being in front of the camera but when I am, it'd be kind of neat to be able to make a video that other people can do word sprints with or write in their journals to or whatever creative outlet they're using to get through.

I don't know why I have to be so self-conscious about being on video. Most of my vlogs these days are of things I see but not of me. Simultaneously, I've been participating in the 365 Days (self portrait) Flickr challenge since the first of January but there are many days where I'm just holding something or pointing at something or basically just avoiding actually being in the photo. Trying to deal with my overly critical self-image is exhausting but I'm trying to do what I can. Even now, at this age, trying to get over it. Acceptance should be easier after all these years, you'd think, eh?

11:15pm How am I doing? I must admit that anxiety is quite high and I'm trying to manage the best I can. I'm thankful that we live here and that we have a great view. I'm grateful that the cats are happy. I feel like we're still settling in. Partly to do with how I would like to decorate or add to this apartment to make it feel more comfortable and at home - things like get a different shower curtain and bedspread to putting some kind of organizational shelving into the big closets we have to make them more space efficient and useful. Not long ago, I moved the record player and my vinyl collection to the wall under the painting of Bill Murray in the living room and backed the dining room table into the corner by the balcony doors in the dining room space. It frees up some floor space and works. Led to finally putting something up in the corner there on the wall - a map of Toronto and that one map of Venice we had on the wall of the hallway in our previous apartment, along with a few postcards from the places we traveled to on our big trips years ago. It's made the corner cozier!

11:25pm I'm close to reaching the 750 words goal for today! Day one for a new writing streak, hopefully? I don't want to put any pressure on myself because I've got other things that are pressing in on my brain. I've been trying to get out more, be creative and that sort of thing. Started doing some social media work for someone and it pays nothing but I'm earning a lot in learning, which counts for something. I have an interview next week for a volunteer thing and while I'm not confident about how I'll stand up in that particular field (photography) I know that I have some value to contribute and if I get the chance, I'll give it the best I can. Still looking forward to returning to school but that's a few months away before that term begins. We should financially be doing better and the weather will be nicer too. Wish I hadn't lost that rhythm I had going but if I had it once, I'll find it again.

I love this city. I see the lake and the sky and the lights at night. I'm in awe when a heavy mist or fog rolls in and I see nothing. I think how this time last year, I didn't know I'd be here before my birthday last year, let alone this next one. Not everything is easy but yes, everything is worth it.

11:37pm The wind whips like it did around the old farmhouse I lived in when I was a teenager. It's just the way the gap is at the door - if I open the balcony slightly more, it won't make that sound - or if I close it tighter, so.
alice teacup

Book Reading List 2017

Book Reading List for 2017
- - - - - - -
LEGEND
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -


1. A Poetry Handbook A Prose Guide To Understanding And Writing Poetry by Mary Oliver (02 January 2017) *
2. Waiting for First Light My Ongoing Battle with PTSD by Roméo Dallaire (08 January 2017) *
3. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall (15 January 2017) *
4. milk and honey by rupi kaur (18 January 2017) *
5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (22 January 2017) *
6. Basic Black with Pearls Introduction by John Frizzell by Helen Weinzweig (27 January 2017) *
7. Directing Herbert White Poems by James Franco (28 January 2017) *
8. This All Happened by Michael Winter Introduction by Lisa Moore (07 February 2017) *
9. Survival A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature by Margaret Atwood (20 February 2017) *
10. In-Between Days a memoir about living with cancer by Teva Harrison (26 February 2017) *
11. Like This Introduction by Lynn Coady by Leo McKay Jr. (04 March 2017) *
12. Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall (10 March 2017) *
13. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (27 March 2017) *
14. Our Numbered Days poems by Neil Hilborn (01 April 2017) *
15. Arthur Rimbaud Complete Works Translated by Paul Schmidt by Arthur Rimbaud (25 April 2017) *
16. The Corpses of the Future by Lynn Crosbie (28 April 2017) *
17. The Opposite of Loneliness Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan Introduction by Anne Fadiman (17 July 2017) *
18. Good Poems for Hard Times Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor (25 July 2017) *
19. How To Be A Bawse by Lilly Singh (30 October 2017) *
20. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (04 November 2017) *
21. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (24 November 2017) *
doctor who places you will go

All of the things!

1.
Husband got a new job. It happened quickly. As soon as he got the official job offer, he gave notice to his employer. The standard is to give two weeks notice but the new job was to begin the following Monday. He didn't want to lose the chance and so this meant as soon as he gave notice, he was told he didn't need to come in the next day. Things changed in a blink.

22 March 2017, Optimist Park


I went with him that Saturday and I've been taking care of the household since he's been gone. I even learned how to cook tofu for myself AND make my own cappuccinos. I suppose I can survive without him after all. I've even left the house on numerous occasions! It's as though this immense relief happened as soon as I returned home. Not because he was gone, no, but because we actually have forward momentum in our life now. One is with a job path he'd like to take, and for me, well, I get to go back to the city I love - a place that holds so much possibility & wonder for me.

2.
On the 24th, we went on a long walk with a friend the day before husband left my hometown.

















3.
On Saturday the 25th, I got to travel for the first time since April of last year. (Whoa!)
VIA Rail Canada, London, Ontario
VIA Rail



Union subway station (poetry)
















4.
Now that I'm on my own (for the time being) it's up to me to take care of things around here.
That means going outside. It's like a whole new world for me.




demolition of Timken




365 Days (2017): Day 92






5.
Cat family is good.



6.
Balcony lights are down. Blue hour was beautiful the other night.



7.
One of my Toronto graffiti alley photos was published in a Lonely Planet book! I received my complimentary copy of it on the same day that I learned that I get to for certain move back very soon to Toronto. That was awesome timing. I made a vlog opening it up and finding my name.
Street Art (lonely planet)


8.
I still take balcony sky view photos and post them to Instagram.
But other sorts of pictures are on there too now that I go outside.



9.
Participating in 365 Days self portrait project. I like this photo with the sunburn on my face and the silver nail polish.
365 Days (2017): Day 95


10.
Things to be done in less than two months time:
* get moving company booked
* pack (also, discard and donate stuff to have less stuff to pack)
* & move back to the city with a grateful thankful lovestruck heart.
you will have to save yourself

poem: I have a problem with hypothetical problems.

I have a problem with hypothetical problems.



I.
You don't know what you're capable of until
the moment happens and you don't know what
you'd actually do until you have to do it.

II.
Every day we are faced with moral dilemmas
but one person's dilemma is another person's
nevermind, not their problem, nothing at all.

III.
You think you believe in one thing. You think
that it is true. You think that you know what
you would do. You think, but how do you know?

We're set up from the start by being told that
others know what's going on and they know how
things work, with privileges provided for some

who do the right thing, though most often not.

IV.
Don't ask me to pick between five people or one.
Don't tell me that one outcome is more right than
the other. It could change. Hindsight, perspective.

V.
I have been loved by someone more than they said
they would love anyone. I have said the same to
someone else. We are all train wrecks when struck.

In the end, we become casualties. Of cause, effect,
other people's choices, our own. There are so many
decisions to make that create our momentary lives.

VI.
It is not my dilemma to decide who should live and
who should die. If one person's life is worth less
or more than others? But in that moment, if I must

decide one way or another, I'll have to live with it

until I die.




- adp, 21 February 2017 @ 4:06pm/4:21pm



~~~
This is my Week 9 therealljidol entry for the topic: The Trolley Problem.
~~~