March 11, 2005

Winter Wondering



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

Life is slowly settling into something I can recognize. Things are better, although not what one would describe as comfortable. I doubt that many of the less-fortunate dream of stepping into my shoes, when they fantasize about "the good life". Still, it's all I have, and I stand by it.

Attila's new job is seasonal, meaning that he will only have work for five to six months of the year. He won't begin work until April. We will need to save a significant proportion of his wage to bridge the off-season wait for Employment Benefits (EI). If the government decides to eliminate EI benefits, we will be unable to support ourselves. This is not ideal, but where we live it is not unusual. I keep telling myself that if other's can adjust to this, I should be able to get comfortable with it as well. Time will tell.

I continue to apply for work, sending carefully-thought-out letters and applications to strangers who toss them aside upon receipt. I am attempting to navigate a complicated passage through cliques and tribes. I have to admit it feels hopeless, and perhaps it is. The experience does not build self-esteem, nor does it build confidence; and as they erode I suppose I will be encouraged by the "health" community to control my "condition" with mood altering drugs. I don't want mood altering drugs, I want a job.

Maggie Turner journal

Yesterday was my turn in the kitchen. I had fun. Vegetable soup is one of my favourites, so the crockpot was slowly filled with peas and carrots and beans and corn and potatoes and any vegetable I could find that needed cooking. The soup was ready for today's lunch. Other foods that I missed, while I was working and too busy to cook, are granola cooked in the crockpot and a variety of homemade breads.

Last but not least, yesterday saw another "from scratch" chocolate cake frosted and waiting for its appreciative audience. Attila and I have taken to freezing individual portions of cake to enjoy over several days. These frozen portions make a crumbly, moist treat that is wonderful served with a tall glass of cold white milk.

We use a lot of basic ingredients in our cooking. Bread making usually requires two to three 25 kilogram bags of bread flour each year. Every year we also go through about 25 kilograms of oatmeal, five to ten kilograms of cornmeal and five to ten kilograms of sunflower seeds. These ingredients are very expensive to buy in a regular grocery store. We find an annual trip the mill worthwhile. So, last week we took a day trip to the Arva Flour Mill and bought our year's supply of dry goods.

Maggie Turner journal

I read an article this morning that got me to thinking. I am afraid this is a bit of a mental walk-about, but it is my way. The article was about test pressure being toughest on the smartest. I think the the writer thought he/she offered hope to the intelligent, that with repetitive exposure to stress they could obtain peak performance in high-pressure situations.

I found the article disturbing in it's seeming acceptance of the competitive, "high-pressure" environment as worthwhile, an inevitability, a given. It all seems sort of sad from my perspective. Why, if intelligence thrives in the absence of pressure, would society structure itself so as to apply "high-pressure" to intelligence related activities and tasks.

It just seems so, well, so unintelligent, and downright unnatural.

Test Pressure Toughest on Smartest
By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Report

"Situational stress appears to draw cognitive attention away from the task at hand, undermining the performance of highly intelligent people who tend to rely more on this attention for successful performance, Beilock explained....

"I'd suggest trying to practice in a way that is somewhat anxiety-provoking, so that you have practice with the anxiety, as well as the actual test material," he said....

"Beilock agreed, adding that even Einstein might not have shown his true worth if he'd competed on, say, Jeopardy .
"He'd probably still be better than everyone else," she speculated, "but he still might not be as great as if he was playing in his living room alone."

SOURCES: Sian L. Beilock, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Jeremy Gray, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; February 2005 Psychological Science
Copyright © 2005 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.


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Worldly Distractions

Icicle against sunset.
Icicle sunset.

By the Easy Chair
The Dress Lodger
by Sheri Holman
[This is not a particularly good book to be reading while one is going through an extended period of unemployment. I am hoping for a redemptive ending or, if not, a quick one.]

On the Screen
Don't Look Now
featuring Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie
[How did these professionals keep a straight face, knowing that the protagonist would meet his end at the hands of a red-cloaked, menacing dwarf from out of nowhere. I haven't read the book, it might have helped.]

17:00 EST
Temp: 3`C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: S 4 km/h
Barometric: 99.64 kPa

Sunrise 6:36 AM EST
Sunset 6:18 PM EST

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

Copyright 1999 - Today Maggie Turner
All rights reserved.

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