April 30, 2012

Shopping for Free

Last night, Karen and I hosted a clothing swap. The apartment is full of boxes from her move & Nadine's wedding, but it turns out hospitality is still possible, and friends are gracious, and what this means is that our house is a place where people are welcome and I won't always try to pretend like my space looks perfectly put together.

Clothing swaps are a brilliant thing and I think we may start hosting a semi-annual one. They make so much sense to me. Here is my list of new-to-me clothing & accesories:
  • leather belt
  • gold necklace with a wing pendant (sounds strange, looks awesome)
  • silver cocktail ring with a marbled stone
  • blue pullover sweater (wearing it today!)
  • orange & cream striped sweater
  • green-striped henley (softest thing in the world)
  • black sleeveless top
  • denim button-up shirt (can't wait to pair this with black shorts & patterned tights. HELLO!)
  • summery floral shirt
  • pinstripe skirt (if ever I have an interview or actual office job)
  • casual dress for dancing & fun times on the town
  • spring coat
And I didn't spend a penny.

We have bags (BAGS) of clothing left over and I'd like to invite any Toronto-area ladies to come by this week and go through it all before we take it to Goodwill. Seriously.

And then next time, you should just come.

April 26, 2012

A Poem by Luci Shaw

Yesterday, this poem posted on The Other Journal struck me in all the right places:

Hate Invasion by Luci Shaw

Like swoops of dark birds settling, anxieties and doubts
weigh the branches, folding huge wings as they land.

Heavy, broody, and fidgeting, they’ve moved in,
building their awkward nests like clots in the trees,

black twigs jutting. Clouds will pass, but the mass
of sooty bodies walls off the sky, the stars, any heavenly light.

A clatter rises, intensifies, dense as rifle fire in a war zone,
clogging the air with stabbing, phony accusations

and arguments that sound irrefutable. It’s clear
these intruders plan to take over, reproducing their own

dark-feathered kind. They’ve driven out
the nesting doves, colonizing all the trees.

I try a clap, and a loud shout, to dislodge them.
Either they can’t hear it or they take it for applause.

Their harsh voices promote anarchy, disruption.
They join the local militia. To clear the air, to see

the sun again, I cry for an invasion of
a different kind from beyond far, deeper than in.

(I haven't written or read much poetry lately. That is about to change.)

April 25, 2012

About My Boss

I sometimes suspect that my boss knows my tendency to tweet her ridiculous comments and secretly loves the fame she may have. Other times, I think there is NO way she has a clue...

Beyond the insanely funny and often inappropriate things she says, she has a fiercely loyal heart and I'm grateful to have her on my team. We have legit life-conversations, and I feel honored that she sometimes asks my thoughts on non-work situations. We view the world in very different ways, she and I. But even in moments when we have the most opposing viewpoints, I feel certain that she is for me and for my best. And that is a rare and lovely thing in a workplace. I've come to realize she respects me, and to a certain degree, my faith.

I feel quite grateful for her this week, and encouraged that even though my job is nothing glamorous or thrilling, it is good for me to be here right now. I am sure of this.

April 23, 2012

"Don't Think Of It As Losing a Roommate...

...think of it as gaining a married friend!"

These were Nadine's words to me on Friday night, as I lamented (with smiles & laughter), how sad I felt to know she was leaving our apartment permanently in the morning.


It was a lovely, lovely wedding. A great reflection of both Matt & Nadine's personalities, families, and hearts. It was kind of a blur (as weddings often are), but it was good. I am thrilled for them, for their honeymoon adventures and new life together.

I am also a little bit sad. As much as this is a win-win situation, I can't deny that transitions are a real thing that come with emotions whether you want them or not. I am excited for my new roommate (VERY excited), but I also miss Nadine already.

I don't really feel like my wedding-speech captured how much love I feel for Nadine, how strongly I am on Team MandN, or what a blessing her presence in my life & apartment has been for the last two years. Just needed to put that out there.


I am eager to see photos - I think we all looked pretty classy,* and am waiting for that confirmation with much eagerness.

*dance floor photos will probably attest more to the "crazy" than the "classy"

April 19, 2012

Maybe I Should Get a Cat

Last night I moved a bookshelf from one corner of the apartment to the exact opposite corner, the furthest distance possible to move something within this little space (I am woman. Hear me roar).

In doing so, I discovered mouse droppings.


Then my soup exploded out of the blender and I had to clean off the wall & the floor and moved our kitchen pantry shelves and discovered...mouse droppings.


There is a chance that these droppings are from the old ghost mice because neither of these pieces of furniture have been moved in the last year.


Last week, I thought I heard a mouse in the wall. I told Nadine this after finding the poop, and she said that she heard a plastic bag rustling in her room the other night but convinced herself of an alternative explanation.

If the mice are back, there will be much swearing. Possibly screeching. And some shivering, when I have to dispose of their nasty little bodies.


April 18, 2012

Canadian Wedding Traditions, Etc.

I've been slacking on the blogging, etc etc... I have a myriad of excuses, as always, which I will refrain from explaining.


Nadine gets married on Saturday and this week is incredibly fun and full. I am sure there will be pictures and stories to follow.

My new roommate, the amazing Karen, moves in the weekend after. There will be stories a-plenty, and likely pictures. I am very excited to rearrange the living room. It's like a whole new apartment! I'm also considering moving my bedroom around, but there aren't many options to try...


Post-Lent, my sugar consumption has increased, but not nearly to pre-Lent levels. Spiritual significance aside, I think this is a good thing. The reality is, my body no longer processes/wants sugar in the same ways I used to. Spiritually/metaphorically speaking, I am craving more substantial foods and less quick-burning calories. This is also a good thing.


I have a friend in Portland with whom I pass my days. We g-chat back and forth from our offices, and it provides many amusing anecdotes.

her: are there any unusual canadian wedding traditions?
me: other than the beaver-flogging, not really.
her: ... that sounds mean.
me: (it was a lie, by the by)
her: nope. i already believe it. you can't take it back.
a beaver is flogged at the end of every canadian wedding.
if the beaver is not flogged, the wedding contract cannot be signed.
in fact, the flogged beaver must cosign in order for the contract to be valid.
done and done.

This is also a Canadian tradition: Beaver Wedding Cake.
(via this person. I'm sorry.)

April 16, 2012

Double Dutch Dog & Henri the Cat

Yesterday I said to the internets, "Entertain me!" These are the two best responses to my demand:

This dog is jumping DOUBLE DUTCH. I don't even know if I can still do that!

Don't you feel just a little bit sad for this poor melancholic mouser?

April 13, 2012

Do You Ever...

...get a feeling that something inside of you is shifting, and you don't know what exactly is going on, and you don't know what it means, but it is happening and maybe it is difficult and terrifying (or maybe it is easy and exciting) and after it is over (or maybe it will never be over but you will settle into it), things will be different, somehow, and you will know it?

Yeah, me too.

April 9, 2012

Another Reason To Love My Family

Yesterday, as I stood in a pew with my sister’s arm around my waist, my younger brother walked over and said, “You look sad or down.”
“Yes,” I replied, “A bit.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because sometimes I am insecure and anxious.”
“Well, you’re beautiful. And you’re a strong, independent woman.”
Tears were too close for comfort, so I started to softly sing, “All you women, who independent, throw your hands up at me!*”
“Am I allowed to sing that in here?” I continued, “What if I do this?” I raised my arms and swiveled my hips a little, repeating the chorus again.
“Scandal!” he replied, “Not in a church!” and my sister grabbed my arm.
We all laughed. Then I sang it again.

Later, my other brother and his wife came over. My nephew crawled under the pews and tickled my toes like he was a churchmouse. My niece giggled and squeezed me and kissed me with her still-snotty face, and I didn't mind at all. Then they included me in a "family hug" and I was squished from all sides by laughing faces.

I am loved. And I love in return. And that is how it should be.

*this: in case you need a dose of Destiny's Child or Charlie's Angels today:

April 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1. My friends. Last night, I was reminded that I am supremely blessed when it comes to people who love me and whom I love in return. There are close to 20 women, living all around the country/continent/globe, with whom I can be completely honest, who speak truth to me, and allow me to return the favour. I can't begin to say how rich this makes me feel.

2. Sunshine. Oh, the sun. You make everything better. Today there is a moderate UV index, and a slim possibility that I will go for a run at lunch time. I wouldn't even consider this if it were rainy. Sunbeams are returning to my work window as winter fades away, and it helps the afternoon go by faster. (it's a weird sort of science, but it's true)

3. Easter Weekend. Long weekend, what! I am anticipating fun, family, and time spent thinking about Jesus. I can't wait for 4:30 to roll around this afternoon.

4. Music. It is a gamechanger in my world. There is TOO MUCH good stuff out there to ever catch up with, but I am doing my best to enjoy as much as I can. Last night, a couple of adorable boys in plaid shirts were busking in my subway station, playing Fleet Foxes' White Winter Hymnal. I couldn't stop grinning, listening to it echo behind me all the way out.

April 2, 2012

Letter to My MP: "Human Trafficking: Bill C-310, Ontario's Ruling on Prostitution"

April 1, 2012

Hon. Carolyn Bennett
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Ms. Bennett,

In light of the recent court decision handed down in Ontario regarding the legalization of prostitution behind closed doors as well as the NDP's delay of Bill C-310, I am urging you as my representative in Ottawa to amend the Criminal Code by rewriting our prostitution laws in a way that criminalize johns (sex buyers) and pimps, and decriminalize the person being sold.

I strongly believe it is a misguided notion that legalizing prostitution protects women. The law does not harm women, but rather the men who are buying and raping them; we must take a firm stand against the demand for paid sexual access to the bodies of women and children. Legalized prostitution protects these very men and legitimates the buying of sex which fuels the expansion of the "industry."

Prostitution is systemic violence against women and a major deterrent to women's equality. Canada has a chance to be a world leader in sex equality through clearly naming prostitution as a violation of women's and children's right to safety, and rewriting our laws to reflect this fact. Prostitution cannot be viewed simply as a woman's choice; rather, involvement in the sex trade most frequently represents a lack of choice and opportunity.

As a member of your constituency, I'm asking you to protect vulnerable women and children by rewriting the Criminal Code to criminalize the purchasing of sex and decriminalize the person being sold.

This is the first time I have ever written to my MP; I don't consider myself a particularly politically-active person. But I am shocked by the things I have learned regarding human trafficking and slavery in Canada, and as I've become familiar with the work being done by MP Joy Smith and a network of abolitionists across the country, I've become convicted that when the basic human rights of women, children, and vulnerable people are being compromised in my own city, it is not merely selfish but wrong for me to say nothing.

Michelle Brock, an active abolitionist and personal friend, recently told me that while she and her husband prepared to make a documentary on sex trafficking in Canada, unbeknownst to them or virtually anyone else, victims of human trafficking were locked in a basement on the same street. For me, this story of unavoidable contrast and helplessness turned human trafficking in Canada from a theoretical concept into a concrete reality.

In light of Bill C-310; the Ontario ruling regarding prostitution; the conviction and sentencing of the Hamilton human traffickers; and the horrific atrocities endured by victims of sex trafficking within the borders of Canada and at the hands of Canadians internationally, I ask that you, as my representative in the House of Commons, be informed and present for votes related to human trafficking, particularly those that impact victims in the sex trade. I also ask that you vote in favour of Bill C-310 and against the legalization of prostitution behind closed doors; these votes protect the safety of the victimized and help Canada become a leader in the abolitionist movement.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth F.

(my mailing address)

Slacktivist to Abolitionist

Last week, my friend Michelle posted about Ontario's ruling to legalize prostitution behind closed doors on her website, Hope for the Sold. I read the entry. Tweeted it. Two friends re-tweeted it, and I felt happy.

Later in the week, friends in Vancouver posted about the NDP's delay of Bill C-310 on Facebook. But you know what? They did more than post about it. They actually wrote their MPs.

Writing your MP is something I've never done. It was something suggested in the post that I tweeted about. But it's so political. And takes so much work. Like actual research. And writing. And...

...oh wait. People are being trafficked within my province. Within my city.

Do I care about their safety? Their stories?

Do you?

I'm not big on guilt, but I am big on conviction. And I feel strongly convicted that the time has come for me to move from slacktivist to abolitionist.

Here are the three things I did last night:

1. I read the story of sex-trafficking victim Timea Nagy, who now trains police across Canada in recognizing and rescuing victims. And runs the only post-rescue care for sex-trafficking victims in the entire country.

2. I donated money to help Hope for the Sold make another documentary. Watch their first film here. Read about the new project here. And give tax-deductible donations through this site.

3. I wrote my MP an email. You can find your MP's info right here. And you can use a template, like I did.

I would be thrilled if any of you also feel it's time to move from slacktivist to abolitionist. Let's do this thing. Be the voice for people who have no chance to speak.

(I'll post my letter to the Hon. Carol Bennett shortly...)

April 1, 2012

Is This a Universal Experience?

Ah, Feist.
Me too.

The Junos are on in the background tonight. It's mostly Meh, but Feist's performance of this song was worth the listen/watch. I forgot how heart-breaking these lyrics are.

Speak plain he said
But didn't see
He acted that way
And held me like a cup
Fill me up then pour me out
Therein lies the doubt.
We had the same feelings
At opposite times.

When a good man and a good woman

Can't find the good in each other
Then a good man and a good woman
Will bring out the worst in the other
The bad in each other