February 26, 2013

Important Public Service Announcement


I have a new nephew!

This is important because BABIES!
Cute little beige baby with lots of hair and a big head (the midwives said so).

Sebastian Gabriel.

me: "Ah! I can't wait to squeeze him!"
his mom: "You can't squeeze him. You can hold him gently."
me: "Just a little squeeze? A baby-appropriate squeeze."

I'm very proud of my sister. Although she had no control over this, she was less than four hours from the first contractions to baby's birth. I find this impressive! Particularly for a first child. If I ever have a baby, I am certainly hoping I've got the same fast-birthing genes. Is it genetic? I don't even know.

Well done, Momma.
Congratulations, Lalo & Sarah.
Welcome to the world, Sebas.

Photos coming, as soon as I can get myself to Guelph to take some.

February 23, 2013

A New Old Camera

I recently inherited a Minolta 5000 SLR (I think that's what it is?) and took it out with me for Monday's coffee crawl... I didn't realize that the film I'd thrown in was black and white, but boy am I glad.

 Aren't my friends lovely?

Am I allowed to admit that I'm incredibly happy with these pictures?


February 22, 2013

Signs I Am Stressed

  • Canker sores
    Tight shoulder muscles
    Clenched jaw
    Poor sleep
    Morning lack-of-appetite
    Difficulty focusing in conversations with friends
    Poor posture

I didn't think I was stressed, but then I realized all these things were happening, and it turns out my body is saying "Something is going on and I am not at rest." 

So I am gonna listen to that.

February 20, 2013

The Worst Ever

Sometimes, the internet is a wonderful tool for unexpected delights and exciting new discoveries.

And sometimes, the internet startles you with unwanted knowledge and scars you with images you can't unsee. And I don't just mean the sex stuff.

Yesterday, I was looking for an image of a particular person using Google image search, when suddenly, in the third line of images, was a photo that was definitely not someone's face. As my brain processed what I was seeing, I quickly refined my search terms and carried on.

Although I was somewhat amused, it wasn't exactly the sort of picture you casually show your boss... So that was it.

But last night, when Karen & Jackie (our fabulous houseguest for the week) asked about my day, I remembered. And I needed to share the trauma.

So I pulled my computer over to the middle of the living room, entered the same search term, and started scrolling. Of course, from a different account the results weren't the same, and I was about to give up when there. it. was.

We all screeched and laughed and I rolled away and yelled, "MAKE IT STOP!" And then Karen looked again. And then she clicked through to the host site. And I was not looking and was groaning and still rolling and they were laughing and ACK - it was so much worse. There was more. And it was awful.

And then, since Karen had highjacked the computer, as she laughed and laughed and laughed, she decided to send herself the link. From my account. And then decided to send it to both of us.
Thanks, Karen. 

I love my friends. I really do. Especially these two hilarious and stylish ladies. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've already seen a bajillion pictures from a "coffee crawl" on Sunday. I was the designated TD (tea drinker/sober companion) and we hit up half a dozen boutique cafes where they drank cortados and macchiatos and discussed the merits of pour-overs and chem-ex...and I took pictures. It was a brilliantly fun afternoon, and they discovered that their limit is 10 shots of espresso. Stop #6 did them in and it was amusing... Anyway. If you need advice on coffee in Toronto, ask either of them. But don't ask me. 

Also, I'm sure you're curious now, and want to visit the page. Feel free, but it comes with this warning - you cannot unsee these images, and while they are medical in nature, they are not obvioiusly weight-loss related. Unless they are intended to help you lose weight because the sight of them will make you vomit and ruin your appetite for at least seven weeks. 

You've been warned. 

February 14, 2013

3 of My Favourite Internet Artists

I am very happy each time I see a new post in my RSS feed from any of these men. Their art style is simple, their insights profound, their humour relateable (relatable?).

head to xkcd.com to view the scrollover...

how true this Marc Johns drawing is.

So exactly how I often feel. Thanks, Dave Walker.

February 12, 2013

Meals on Feet

Two weekends ago, I was out for coffee (and sugar) with my roommate and our neighbour-friend. As we walked back to our building, I lamented my lack of groceries and how I tend to get meal-fatigue despite my love of cooking/baking/eating well.

I asked her if she ever experiences this, and how she combats it. "Pinterest." She confidently replied, "And I meal-plan. I have to, now that we have a kid." She lamented that it is tricky as a solo-person. You have to do all the work, all the time. You end up eating leftovers for DAYS. You get away with things like dry cereal and half an apple...

We talked a bit more, and she went up the last flight of stairs, and I sat down and still had to think of what to make for food that week (despite the half-dozen cookbooks I own, I frequently come up empty). And then she emailed. A link to Pinterest. Another link to Pinterest. A third Pinterest idea. AND.

Also: we could maybe plot meals to share?! Like a mini pot luck!

This simple email.

A bunch more emails, a Google spreadsheet, and our weekly meal-exchange was officially underway. All it took is a little organization, a conversation about allergies & food preferences, and three willing cooks. It will be glorious.

Each week, I cook, she cooks & Karen cooks one meal to serve four (lucky neighbour-husband). At 6:30 on our respective evenings, we deliver 2 servings up/down the flight of stairs.


Last night, I knocked on her door with a dish full of soup and hot biscuits, and she opened it wide and grinned, and so did her toddler, and she exclaimed, "Meals on feet! It was so nice to know I would have dinner coming and could spend more time with Fi this afternoon."

And I thought, Yes. This. Neighbours and friends and sharing to make our lives simpler.

February 8, 2013

Bucket List Journey: How To Turn Your Birthday Into An Art Show

I am so proud of my frequent blogging this week. And a little afraid you'll be sad when I don't duplicate the output next week...

But until then, ONE MORE POST! Actually, it's a post on a friend's blog.

Jess and I worked for the same organization, once upon a time, and although she was (unfortunately) afraid of me the one time we actually spent time together in person (this makes me sad, but I did not have a great deal of emotional energy at the time, and I can understand that I wasn't the friendliest friend on the block), we've become friends over the interwebs and often dream of the day we'll cement things in real life. In my imagination, we spend an afternoon at a Montreal coffee shop talking and laughing and writing and hug at the end and tweet an inside joke the next morning. 

Anyway. She is doing a series on The Sweet Feeling of Accomplishment and subtly hinted that she wanted me to write about my 26 Secrets Birthday-Art-Show. So I did.

1. Have an idea. Listen to it.I’m not sure where it came from, but one day there was an idea in my mind. Poetography. Photography + Poetry. An art show of things I have written and captured. Instead of telling myself that this was crazy-talk, I let it sit in my heart and spin around in my thoughts. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that!” I asked, “What would make this possible?” Which led me to…
read the rest here!

(and read my own accounts of the party: pre-party, debrief, and notes to absent friends.)

February 7, 2013

Body Work*

Hey, aren’t you all wondering how my bruised and battered body is doing these days? I’m so glad you asked!

First off, my toenail is still attached. It is 70% dark purple, and there is still swelling at the base, but it is in place. Some people think it will fall off in the next 3-4 months. Some people think it will survive & simply grow out. This person is both fearful and hopeful. I might decide to paint my toes to cover it up, but at the same time, I am fearful to let go of my daily watch. (I was going to post a picture, but for the sake of Amelia, I have refrained.)

Next, the major bruises on my legs are fading. I continue to find new and unexpected ones, but they are generally smaller and less obnoxious. I feel proud about my continued sportiness (“Winter” seasons of both soccer and ultimate start this week!), and will gladly bear the marks. Especially if there aren’t any actual injuries that would require a break from sports or some sort of actual treatment… Once it’s bare leg season, I may feel slightly more self-conscious. But the pride will temper it all!

Do you remember how I’ve sometimes had this thing called sleep paralysis? Well, a couple weeks ago I had a new and exciting** sleep experience, in which I woke up holding my breath/not breathing/hyperventilating. Twice. In the same night. It was, to say the least, terrifying.  So I went to my doctor and told her about the non-breathing, and sleep paralysis (“That sounds creepy.”), and my generally light-sleeping habits (“That’s a form of insomnia.”). And now I'm waiting for a referral to a sleep clinic, and for the first time in years, the thought has occurred to me that maybe I will become a good sleeper. Maybe there is help for me and someday (soon) I will sleep through the night without waking up. What a novel and life-changing experience that could be.

I seem to have finally warded off the winter sickness that kept rolling through. Hopefully I am ready to be healthy and will stay on my feet for the last of these dark winter days.

Also, I am growing my hair out these days, and it is getting long. So long that I can braid it into one ever-curling braid. Long enough that it touches my shoulders when it is dry and not only when I step out of the shower. I’m hoping I can keep this up for another four inches, which is likely six to eight months. I think I’m capable, but we’ll see what the heat of summer does to my resolve.

Well, kudos to you for reading this far. How's your health these days?

**not exciting in a good way

*Confession: I am hooked on Tegan and Sara right now, and this song is one of the few that’re spinning round in my head. I know that it is about a slightly different type of “Body Work” than I’m talking about, buuuuuuuuut, it’s catchy.

February 6, 2013

Reading in 2013: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Way back when I was a youth, my sister was reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles for school. I picked it up and flipped it open and read a few random pages and it seemed so dramatic and moving and exactly all the things I loved in my romanticized view of the 19th century.

This is the memory I had, and in the back of my mind I thought I would one day read it. Fast forward a decade and a half, and I still hadn’t read it, but then I got a Kobo, and all of a sudden, the Gutenberg Project means ALL THE CLASSICS OF EVER are available to me, for free. Convenient.

So I downloaded twenty, and decided to start somewhere. With Thomas Hardy and the sure-to-be-fantastic Tess.

Well. It is engaging and engrossing and, folks, oh-so-depressing.

I am not opposed to depressing novels, but there was something about this one that just wouldn’t let me go. I pressed on, groaning and skimming and praying for things to have some little slice of hope…

On Sunday night, as I was trying to force myself onwards, I finally decided to quit. I looked up the book on Wikipedia, and thought, If it has any hint of getting better, I’ll finish the last 30%. And it turns out – the ending is SO MUCH WORSE than I had imagined. I swore out loud, into the silence.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book that has evoked such a strong negative reaction in me, not because it is poorly-written or ridiculous, but because it is a well-told story that moves me beyond my emotional limits.

I haven’t been able to stop wondering what made it so difficult for me. So far, I’ve pinpointed these things:

  1. It is about a “fallen woman” in a culture where she has little to no agency 
  2. The concepts of honour and morality keep the powerful players from honest conversations and exhibiting grace or compassion. Legalism at its very worst. 
  3. At its publishing, the book was seen as sympathetic to Tess’ plight (and shocking for such sympathy). However, the heavy drama and feeling of unavoidable tragedy is rooted in such misogyny that it kept making my blood boil. 

In my last year of university, I studied the massive novel Clarissa. One of the longest novels in the English language, it is, in essence, about the unavoidable loss of a girl's honour/reputation. As a result of this semester-long intensive study, I have many, many thoughts on the portrayal of “fallen women” in classic literature. Essentially, they have to suffer horribly, and the only alternative is death. There is no redemption.

This bothers me, and I think, rightly so.

Now I am trying to come up with a list of books that have more redemptive (or at least more nuanced) stories around similar themes. Any ideas, either historic or contemporary? It doesn’t have to be happily-ever-after, but by-golly, a little bit of grace would go a long way. No more of this too-little-too-late crap.

February 4, 2013

Music Flashback: Da Dip

Does anyone else remember this song? And if so, did you EVER see this video!?

Crazy times. There is so much to say:

a. those crop tops.
b. the hair styles!
c. orange.
d. why the children!?
e. all the languages!
f. the floating TV