Posts by KM Cooper

2014 has been a big year.

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in death in the family, Doctor Stella Muriel Cooper, family, Life in Writing, Nana, poetry, pregnancy, reflection, Year in review | 0 comments

At this point last year, my life was a little up-in-the-air, and it was very different than it is now. I was managing a store and studying part-time. Early November heralded the very beginning of the holiday season, so I was training new temporary staff while trying to finish final papers. I had already decided to go back to school full-time and step down from my current position to facilitate that, but that wouldn’t be until January. My hair was bright blue–this doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but it had been that way for a year and a half. When January arrived, things changed rapidly. I took two weeks off from work to transition to full-time school, and started working part-time, as a regular employee, after that two-week period was up. This was a big change for me, as I had been managing the store in question for two and a half years and hadn’t been to school full-time for more than five years. It was very weird, but it felt good to be back at school, even if it was stressful. I was used to a fast pace and used to deadlines from work, but this was a little bit different. From time to time, I like to see a friend of mine for a Tarot reading. I don’t have any real kind of belief system and don’t subscribe to any religion, typically, but there’s something really interesting about Tarot that has me going back to it. I like that, regardless of what you believe, the cards can give you a different perspective that you hadn’t thought of before. One morning in January, I had a reading with this friend, and we talked about my near future–job changes, what the Chinese New Year would bring, and my own personal changes. She mentioned to be aware of the Chinese New Year, as the Year of the Horse brings unpredictability. She also mentioned that I shouldn’t be in a rush to change jobs, and told me to an expect a timeline of a couple of months. Having such an extreme change in position at my job also felt weird. I was a bit uncomfortable with it, in some ways, so I ended up changing jobs in March–a timeline of a couple of months, as my friend had suggested. I fled to a locally owned and run natural health store that was both close to home, and close to the university. During this transition, I dyed my hair brown–a natural colour–for the first time in a year and a half. I started learning the ins and outs of the natural food and supplement market, but remain, even now, with so much to learn. I traveled with fellow English students to the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference, where I read my original poems in front of other English students from universities all over Atlantic Canada. It was a great opportunity and a chance for me to self-promote a bit, which proved to be difficult while juggling school with other responsibilities. The end of the winter semester finally came, and I couldn’t have been happier. It had been a very full and stressful semester, and I was worried about my marks up until the very last minute. I had spring and summer intersession coming up, but the worst part of the year was over. Spring intercession came on rapidly, and left as quickly as it had arrived, even though I was working as well. Spring session also felt like a bit of a blur because I found I was pregnant during that time. Suddenly, I had another responsibility to add to my already long list. Summer intersession seemed a bit longer, as I was also rehearsing for Julius Caesar, on top of working and the pregnancy. Nothing was sweeter than handing in my final paper for my summer course, having just closed Julius Caesar a few nights before, and then going on vacation from work a few days later. Suddenly, I was met with an abundance of free time, and though it didn’t last...

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To every thing there is a season.

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in death in the family, Doctor Stella Muriel Cooper, family, Life in Writing, Nana, poetry, reflection | 0 comments

To every thing there is a season.

It seems that most of my posts of late are posts dedicated to someone or other. This isn’t something I intended to do, but the series of events that have unfolded lately have led to this point. I’ve had a number of funerals, weddings, and life changes in the past year, and my life has been affected by a lot of important people. This is another one of those posts. My Nana, known better as Dr. Stella Muriel Cooper (or just “Muriel” to her friends and family), passed on just a little over three weeks ago, and though the funeral has come and gone, I have still found myself saying goodbye every day since–sometimes in ways that surprise me. In the days leading up to her death, I went in to visit her several times. One night, my mother decided to start reading her some of her own poetry. She wrote a beautiful book of poems called the Music of Memory, and I found a poem in there entitled “Spring”. I had remembered hearing it read years ago, but it struck me more than ever on this day. This poem was about me. “Spring” by Muriel Cooper At sunrise, the mourning doves cooed outside my bedroom window. I could almost hear the daffodils pushing their green higher through the dark bark mulch. One small patch of snow outside on the balcony has refused for days to melt more than a few drops. * * * Musing, I hear light footsteps moving nearer from down the hall. A small blonde head appears around the half-open door. “Nana,” she says, “I just had a bad dream!” She holds me close pulls back the covers and climbs in beside me. For just a few minutes all is quiet. I doze, grateful that I have a granddaughter eight years old. Questions, questions time passes too quickly slow down.      Then one ear buried in my pillow I hear her whisper, “Can we go down now and make the oatmeal porridge?” How could I forget our morning oatmeal ritual? Nana hadn’t been living at home for fourteen years, but before that, when I was young, we would make oatmeal together every morning that I stayed with her. It was plain oatmeal, but she would sprinkle brown sugar on top and pour cold milk over while the porridge was still hot. Years of eating pre-packaged garbage–flavoured instant oats full of unnecessary sugar and sodium–made me forget how perfect plain oatmeal could be. In the days after I read that poem, I would make myself oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve continued to do this most mornings, now, and I always try to reflect on memories I shared with Nana as I was growing up. One of my favourite memories happened one time while Nana came to visit me. It was winter, and she and I were alone in the house. Snow was coming down steadily, and it was that coveted packy snow that made perfect snowballs and snowmen. I challenged Nana to a snowball fight, and she accepted. The two of us went outside together and started lobbing snow balls at each other. She successfully hit me more times than I hit her, and not only was her aim true, but she hit me in the face–twice!–with a snowball. I remembered laughing incredulously as she struggled to withhold her own laughter and stammered out an apology. She also went with me many years ago on my first day of kindergarten. A picture of me and my Nana on the day she obtained her doctorate from Dalhousie University. Nana was an incredibly intelligent woman, and on top of that, she had an extensive career and impressive curriculum vitae. I didn’t know that side of her well, but have gotten to know it better since her death. I hadn’t realized, growing up, how accomplished she was, or how her accomplishments would come to inspire me later on. At the age of 70, for instance, she received her doctorate from Dalhousie University–the oldest student, at the time, to receive...

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Corn Crib

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Portfolio | Comments Off on Corn Crib

Corn Crib

From spring 2014 – winter 2014, I was the social media manager for local store Corn Crib Natural Foods based in Moncton, NB. Looking for a social media guru? Get in touch for a consultation here.  Please follow and like...

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Aunt Doris and Uncle Gordon

Posted by on Sep 21, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Aunt Doris and Uncle Gordon

Many years ago, on a previous blog, I wrote a poem for my Great Aunt Doris, who had Alzheimer’s. She and my Great Uncle Gordon were very special people in my life, and I learned a lot from both of Aunt Doris. Photo from the Albert CountyFuneral Home’s website. them. Aunt Doris passed away in April of 2008, and Uncle Gordon left us just two weeks ago. Rather than making this a sad post, I’m going to reflect on some fond memories I have of them. There are a lot. I was lucky to have loving grandparents growing up, but I also had some very special great aunts and uncles. Aunt Doris, my Nana’s younger sister, would visit with Uncle Gordon to stay in the cabin in our lower lot–a cabin Aunt Doris’s parents used to rent out to tourists many years prior. Due to the frequency of their visits, and the time we would spend together, they became like a third set of grandparents to me. Their care and love was so strong. They were also very generous with their time. They never had any children of their own, thus having no grandchildren, so they always treated me like the granddaughter they didn’t have. They took me on drives in the park, and, with my parents, we would all go on hikes together to enjoy the natural beauty of Fundy National Park. They told me that when they were visiting, I could come over anytime. Once, I took this entirely too literally. I was invited to come and see them for breakfast one morning. I combined the two offers and decided to show up to visit for breakfast–at seven AM. A much older picture of UncleGordon. I was still in my pyjamas and I was excited. I went down to the lower lot and knocked on the cabin door. Uncle Gordon greeted me in his own pyjamas, his hair dishevelled–obviously they hadn’t been expecting me so early. But he didn’t turn me away. He greeted me with his booming “hello!” and welcomed me indoors, and I had breakfast with him and Aunt Doris. Aunt Doris made these beautiful little shortbread cookies, and she would feed them to me with milk every time I visited them. These shortbreads were always topped with colourful rainbow sprinkles, and I would dip them in the milk to let the colours run. We would eat them together while playing dominos. She was a fantastic cook, and I would join them for suppers and lunches on a regular basis, as well. Both of them were very patient with me. When I couldn’t figure out how to tie my shoes, Uncle Gordon, knowing I learned things a little differently than other kids, showed me the “bunny ears” method. To this day, I still use that method. I’ll end this with a poem I wrote in the years that Aunt Doris’s Alzheimer’s got to the point she didn’t recognise most of us. I’ve edited it recently. A decorated tin filled withWhite shortbread cookies topped byRound rainbow sprinkles that make theMilk turn colour Sits on theKitchen table.A fold-out table made of tin withSturdy aluminum legs and the scene of aForest brook in autumn, surrounded by sepia foliage andThe glimpse of a deer is set up before theCouch, with aSmall box of dominoes spilled over: aGame to be played.I can’t quite tie myShoes yet, but he helps me.Two bunny ears. Tuck under. Pull. Now it’s aBow.An overstuffed yellow armchair sits by theDusty screen door, and beyond that, thePorch, where theJune bugs used to collect at night and buzz in our ears.Strawberries grow here too, hidden in theTufts of grass.She has me gather them in aPorcelain dish. I pick them andShe washes them for me.We eat them together.This is what I remember, and thoughYou cannot, I will keep rememberingFor both of us. Please follow and like...

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I’m glad I took a break from university.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Throughout high school and university, I was always a bit of a laissez-faire student. Didn’t pass that math test? Meh, there’s always another–final mark be damned. Slept through my 8:30 AM class because I was up all night gaming? Wouldn’t be the first time. I was that one cringe-worthy student that no one wanted to be paired up with for a project–unless, of course, it was one of the rare projects I was actually interested in doing. I graduated high school and made a beeline for Université de Moncton in 2004, not really knowing what to expect. I stumbled through a few years of skipping classes, dropping out of classes and, occasionally, failing classes. It may not be a time I’m proud of, but it was an immensely important learning experience for me. I’m the type of person who, sometimes, has to learn the hard way. In 2007, I finally finished my required English courses, minus one. Since I was an English major, this took all the fun out of university. Suddenly, I had to take a number of required courses that weren’t at all related to English. This was my own fault. I didn’t pace myself over the years, and I got all the fun courses out of the way early because of that. That fall, I failed a linguistics class, resulting in a panic attack–something I’d never really experienced before. I went back to university in the winter, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I signed up for a full course load of five. Within the first few weeks, I had dropped two courses that gave me so much anxiety I couldn’t stand to even attend class. One of them–oddly enough a drama class–had me breaking out in hives. Another class I took, a three-hour long ethics class with a lot of homework, forced us to read our answers out in front of the class. I left half-way through the class one day, tears rolling down my cheeks at the mere thought of it. I also had enrolled in one English class, and it was one that I had failed in the past–the only English class I’ve ever failed, and my very last requirement for my major. When I got my midterm back and saw that, despite my best efforts, I had failed it, I lost myself. I handed the exam back and ran from the administration building to the arts building, right up to my mother’s office. She saw the look on my face and I’m sure she must have known what was coming next. “I’m leaving university,” I blurted between my sobs. “I can’t do this anymore”. She looked at me for a long moment, then nodded, and said “okay”. I went to my doctor in the days that followed and asked him to write me a note so I could get out of university without suffering failures in all of my enrolled courses. I didn’t really know what I was going to do. Brad and I were living together at the time, and I hated our apartment. I would be going back home for the summer in a few short months, so I couldn’t get a job. I visited my Nana in the hospital; I drew; I sewed; I wrote. When summer came, I went back home to work at the general store. I told people I was taking a break from university, and they advised me not to take too long a break. Some people told me I’d never go back. But my closest friends, my mom and dad, and Brad, all knew better. They were always supportive. Brad and I moved to Moncton permanently in late summer, 2008. We got a new apartment–coincidentally on Alma Street–and got a cat. I spent the next five years working a few different jobs: waitressing at a Tex-Mex restaurant (I lasted four months), being a barista at a Second Cup kiosk in the mall (a year and nine months), and going from regular employee to assistant manager to store manager at DAVIDsTEA (three whole years)....

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