Friday, 24 June 2011

Summer Leave

Today I head out to Saskatchewan for 2 whole months of wrangling cabins full of hyperactive, homesick kids. Yes, I am headed to camp. Already, my brain is leaking out my nose thanks to allergies and a bad cold. Here's hoping my sanity doesn't leave with it as the summer progresses.

How many minimum wage job contracts have you willingly signed which say, "I understand that I will be required to work overtime and weekends without pay." Perhaps my sanity is already gone. At any rate, due to the time commitment and the lack of computers, it's unlikely that I will be posting over the summer, with the possible exception of once or twice in July.

I'll see you on the flip side (assuming I survive).

“It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. “ J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Vote of Confidence

Once upon a time, some friends and I were playing a game called "Imaginiff". One of the questions asked what I would do if someone at work propositioned asked me out. My friend Sarah said that I would probably con a meal out of him, then turn him down.

I was mildly affronted that she believed I would use him like that and take his food.

Recently at Timmy's, an Esso compatriot brought me flowers and said I was pretty. Even I, who generally believes people when they say they-aren't-crying-they've-just-got-something-in-their-eye, could tell that he was nervous to talk to me.

He seems nice (based on the 2 or 3 sentences I've exchanged with him in the past), but there is no chance at all that I am interested.

Yet, for several long moments, I contemplated whether I could just grab the flowers and run.

So, Sarah, I may stand corrected. How did you know I was a nut?

“The mere thought hadn't even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.” Douglas Adams

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Rachel the Roomie

A couple posts ago, I introduced my pet frogs. I feel badly about introducing my pet frogs before introducing our roomie, Rachel. My family takes on boarders every now and again. Rachel has been here six months already - that's longer than the frogs, and she's probably more important.

23 things you need to know about Rachel:

1) She's 23. Hence the reason for a 23-point list.

2) You pronounce it ra-SHELL, not RAY-chel.

3) She's from Quebec but she's somehow not a separatist.

4) She likes seafood. This makes her sad, because we do not eat seafood in the Heinrichs house.

5) She has three brothers, one of which has kids with names from Star Wars, Superman, the Gilmore Girls, and his own heavy rock band.

6) She's studying for a Masters of Divinity at Ambrose

7) She speaks 3 languages fluently - English, French, and Spanish

8) We're related. Kind of. We're cousins-in-law.

9) She enjoys living in our basement so well (though she strongly dislikes the ants) that she passed up an opportunity to move out with a friend.

10) In her opinion: Music on Hot Rod beats the Movie Hot Rod beats NitroCircus. NitroCircus is not her friend.

11) She can't fly but she does periodically try (just to make sure; you never know when things will change)

12) She's crazy because she has three jobs and is also simultaneously a student. We're not sure if her schedule is a result of her craziness or the cause of it.

13) We wrote each other when we were kids. Here's 8-year-old me on the subject:

Hello! I have a pen pal! She's from Chicotimi, Quebec! Randles cosin! Her names Rachel. We Email to echother! I like her a lot. She nice.

The entry is decorated with a colour-me dinosaur sticker on which I had written "I'M YOUR PEN PAL"

14) She is part Lebanese, part Mennonite, part Pilgrim. She has no actual French blood (maybe that's why she's not separatist).

15) She hangs so much laundry to dry on the bath curtain rod that the whole thing collapses, time and time again.

16) She "still" plays StarCraft

17) She gets all huffy if you call her a "guest" (which is understandable now, but when she'd only been here 10 days?)

18) She doesn't like writing about herself, so I'm doing it for her.

19) She very well may have been to the mountains more in the last six months than I've been in the last six years.

20) Her last name is so long it doesn't fit on the census forms.

21) This is her (maybe she is a frog after all):


22) She's procrastinating her schoolwork by giving me items for this list.

23) She's all-around pretty awesome.

Now I feel confused and conflicted, as I've never formally introduced any of my actual family members. Hey, I barely even introduced myself. It just goes without saying that they're all a part of the household and terribly important.

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Bernard Meltzer

Saturday, 11 June 2011

GRADUATED!!!

As of June 8th, 2011, I am officially "Carla Muriel Heinrichs, B.A." I have a neat hat, a piece of incredibly important paper, and four point five years of classroom education, among other things.


***

Procrastinator that I am, I've been meaning to get my hair cut for at least six months. You know it's too long when it tries to strangle you while you swim and the first thing your cousins say upon seeing you for the first time in half-a-year is "Whoa! Your hair is long!" Figuring that I'd rather stop procrastinating than spend the rest of my life groaning and smacking my forehead every time I look at my graduation pictures, I finally picked up the phone and made an appointment for 3:45 pm the day before convocation.

When I got there for the appointment, the woman told me that they had mistakenly scheduled me for the next day, instead - which was after the ceremony.

"Uh, that won't work," I said, wondering if Supercuts is worth the risk. Would it be better to look like I have a half-eaten hay bale glued to my head, or to look like I purposely meant to be making a "cutting edge" fashion statement?

"How about 6:45 tonight?" the woman said. "It won't be the same stylist, but it's the first opening we have. I'm terribly sorry."

So I went back to work, came home, said hi to some out-of-town family, and promptly blew them off to go back to the salon. The new stylist was very good, though. I like my new hair. Should have done this ages ago.

***

I got a text from a male friend (the only other person I really knew in the group of 418 that were convocating with me):

One nice thing about this is being able to wear jeans and a t shirt cuz its all under the gown thing lol

I went to pick up my gown and degree before the ceremony, hoping I'd have time left over to get my pictures done before the actual event. Upon putting on the gown, I admired the way my cute shoes went with the outfit. Then I noticed the length of the gown. Knowing he was already on campus, I texted my friend back:

Yeah, the robes don't go down to your ankles, so you might want to roll up your jeans.

He responded rather quickly:

Lol nothing doing I don't want bare legs

Oh, yeah. Guys and girls are different that way.


***

Before we paraded in, the woman tasked with reading all our names (I have no idea how long she must have practiced!) came down the lines.

"Does anyone have a name they think I might have trouble with?" she asked.

"/'hɑjnɹıks/," I said, fearing a /'hεndɹıks/ or a /'hɑjnɹıtʃ/.

"/'hɑjnɹıks/?" she replied.

"Yes," I said, "H-E-I-N-R-I-C-H-S. /'hɑjnɹıks/."

"Ok. I had that one marked," she admitted as she moved on.

It was a class of 419 students, and the ceremony went a little over an hour and half. I somehow ended up being fourth in the academic procession, though I was certainly not fourth to cross the stage. Yet when I finally found myself up there, smiling for the photographer, the woman remembered my name.

"Carla Muriel /'hɑjnɹıks/," she announced, "With distinction." I was pleased and slightly surprised that she not only remembered Heinrichs, but also pronounced Muriel properly, as /'mjǝɹiǝl/, rather than with the seemingly standard but incorrect /'mʊɹiǝl/. University professors on the whole tend to do pretty well in the name pronunciation department.

And apparently the Chancellor was listening carefully to this woman while he was shaking hands and making small talk, or else he was good at reading the names on the degrees prominently displayed by the graduates gleefully crossing the stage toward him.

"Congratulations, Carla," he said as he shook my hand. "Are you relieved to be done?"

I can't remember what I replied, but I do remember there was a whole whack of other people lined up just off the stage to congratulate me... and the other graduates, of course.


***

The speaker gave a goofy speech about how important it is to be selfish and self-absorbed (she actually used those words) in order to change the world, but the rest of the ceremony was good. The mace-brandishing looked a bit silly, as did the higher-levels of academic dress, but tradition is tradition.

When it was over, we took pictures outside. I handed off my degree to someone for some of the shots. I then proceeded to freak out about five minutes later when I realized that I didn't know its precise location anymore.

"Where's my degree?" I exclaimed, "Who has my degree?!"

"I'm holding it," said my grandma, who had come down from Regina specifically for my (and my cousin's) convocation.

I looked to verify her statement just in time to see a glimmer in her eyes and a sly smile spread across her face.

"Say..." she mused, "I have a degree! It's not that hard to get a degree! I have a degree from the University of Calgary!"

At least she didn't mug me to get it.


***

Just thought I'd mention that mom also made my most favourite salad in the world to help celebrate when we got home - strawberry spinach!

All this to say that I am now an "alumni" of the U of C. It makes me feel distinguished, and perhaps just a tiny bit old. Not to mention a tad miffed that my access to their library is now considerably more restricted. But I'M GRADUATED! I'M GRADUATED! I'M GRADUATED!


For a while, anyway...

As cliche of a grad quote as it may be:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own and you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss

Assuming, of course, that God doesn't zot you with lightning to keep you from choosing incorrectly...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Animal Liberation Movement

Many people today would willingly trade freedom for security. My pets would not. In fact, they would laugh in the face of tyranny and take freedom with death any day over security and a (generally speaking) long life. Their never-ceasing escape attempts prove this. My sister's pets, on the other hand, are wusses; they don't try to escape - only mine do.

Kiki the gerbil would make a crazed run for it whenever he managed to somehow escape from the cage. Seeing as he spent most of his time trying to find ways to do this, he did manage a number of times. Brianna's gerbil, Scamp, was never so poorly behaved. Whenever Kiki made his bid for freedom and left the exit wide open behind him, Scamp would merely grow distressed that Kiki wasn't there, curl up into a ball, and stay put.

My Siamese fighting fish, M. Poisson, once made a leap for it when I left him unattended in a cup. He landed on my bedside table, flipped around for a while, then realized he couldn't breathe without water. A tad late for such a realization, isn't it? His attempted escape nearly killed him and it did leave him half brain-dead and bedraggled. Brianna's fish, Finneus, never once made such a stupid decision.

Recently, one of my frogs saw his chance and decided to break free as I was transferring him from a bowl into his cleaned-up and improved water-cube ("aquarium" or "tank" may be overstating the case). Little froggy Less sprang out of the net, onto the kitchen island, flipped himself off the island onto the floor (remember, he's an inch-long frog and the island is about four feet high), then in three swift hops cleared the kitchen. In the end, I caught him, so it accomplished nothing short of making me feel guilty for keeping him in a six-inch cube. Little froggy Much then tried to the do the same, but I foresaw the attempt and DIDN'T LET HIM. I bet you Brianna's frogs wouldn't abandon her, if she had any frogs.

Sheesh. If my hypothetical future kids follow the same pattern, this could bode very well for democracy, but not so well for the survival of the family line. Oh, well. Maybe Brianna will let me borrow her kids.

I don't think I've introduced the African Dwarf Frogs yet: Much is the fat one, and Less is the skinny one. They each get four cous-cous sized food pellets a week. I'm relatively sure that Much is eating at least two of Less's.


“The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve, nor will he ever receive, either.” Benjamin Franklin

P.S. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!