Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's about that time of year. The time when I usually promise myself to get higher grades, drop ten pounds, and I dunno, learn to play the guitar, all within the next twelve months. It never happens. Mostly because I never plan anything concretely. What I need is a plan.

So this year, my resolution has to do with more exercise and more studying, but I'm going to try to get at the heart of the issue. I'm going to manage my time better. I spend a lot of time wandering around campus, chatting with random people, or wasting time hitting the refresh button on Facebook. I know, I'm disappointed in me too. That's the real danger of living on campus - I never hole up in my room and I'm always just steps from someone to chat with. But this is not good for my brain or my stress level. I always end up working all night and nearly giving myself a heart attack when deadlines start piling up.

So here's my plan: use a calendar and start planning out the hours in my day. Work during the day, and give myself actual relaxation time at night. This way, I will get more work done (that's the idea, anyhow) and I can actually chill out. Whew. Sounds excellent to me.

I've already set it up and started planning out my time. I have added in some time for the gym, and I will be pretty active in the next six weeks with the dance show rehearsals. There is also lots of reading time - for class. I will, at the end of this week, say goodbye to reading for pleasure until the summer. Ho-hum. I'm only part way through My Life in France by Julia Child, and I likely won't get to finish it for months. Most of my Christmas books will also need to be set aside. It's just too dangerous; I start reading for fun and then I forget about my schoolwork. Bad news.

Good luck with your New Year's resolutions, and have a Happy New Year's Eve! I'm laying low, but I will enjoy re-New Year's when I return to Halifax.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

I have been on a bit of a hiatus from everything, and it was exactly what I needed. I have been doing absolutely nothing in the best possible way.

What I have been doing is seeing my friends a lot. I have so many people I love and love to see, I wish I had way longer. Two weeks is a short time to do all of that. I have been having a lovely time vegging at home with my family, lying on the couch and reading and pretending like I still live here (no one tell my mom I don't).

Yesterday we drove out to Manotick for the traditional turkey dinner. My little sister's godfather lives out there and we always spend holidays with his family. All the usual fixings were there - the garlic mashed potatoes (much superior to the non-garlic variety), green beans, brussels sprouts, the famous gravy, and the juiciest, most delicious turkey I have ever had. Seriously. They basically rolled me out of there.

After dinner, my dad broke out his Christmas present, a new traveling banjo, and played a few licks for us. All the usual favourites that I remember my dad playing, even though he doesn't really play very often. He was in a couple bands in his day, in Toronto, and he's pretty great. He's starting to teach lessons at the Ottawa Folklore Centre at the end of January, so if you want to learn from clawhammer banjo (believe me, you do) sign up!

I hope you're all having Merry Christmases, or whatever holiday you celebrate!

PS: I don't know if any of you caught "A King's Christmas" on CBC either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at 9pm, but it was stellar! Congratulations King's choir, it was excellent.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Oh, bullet points! Shiny!

So, I've been in New Brunswick for the past few days and it's been swell. Here are some catch-up bullet points.

  • I have been sleeping until noon pretty much every day while I've been here. My sleep deprived body is loving it. I'm also loving substituting my obnoxious phone alarm for a wake-up kiss.
  • The first afternoon I was here (Wednesday), I went sledding with Phil. His house is on a hill which is excellent for sledding on. Unfortunately, somewhere between the last time I went sledding (I think I was thirteen?) and now, I lost the skill. I am really, really bad at sledding. I need to work on this. Side note: In New Brunswick, "sledding" is "sliding". Is this a NB/ON thing? What do you call it?
  • For supper on Wednesday night, we ate a venison roast. Not only did we eat venison, but we ate venison Phil's dad shot. It was actually pretty good.
  • I did loads of dishes while here in order to impress Phil's mom. Most recently, I did a whole pile of dishes while they were out this morning and she came home and said "Oh dear, well, you shouldn't have bothered". Phil's sister gave me a thumbs up and mouthed "well done".
  • I thought this would be my first church-free visit, since I'm leaving early Sunday morning. Instead, I went to the church Christmas concert tonight, which included Phil as Joseph in the nativity pageant. If you make a "Oh, I guess you're Mary, then" joke, I'll kick you. And yes, I managed photographic evidence. Haha.
  • Baptists add a half note in "O Come O Come Emmanuel" in the chorus on "-el" before "shall". I think it's awkward and strange. When I sang it the way I'm used to, Phil pointed it out in front of the whole family. Thanks.
  • I have actually been doing (some) homework while I've been here. I still have one 800 word sketch, one book report, one final reflection essay, and one exam left. Then I'm Ottawa-bound on Thursday.
The funniest moment of my trip had to be yesterday during desert after supper. I was eating a chocolate chip cookie and as I went to put the last bite in my mouth, I somehow dropped it. It landed in my cleavage. Awkwardly, I looked up to see if anyone had seen it... and made eye contact with Phil's dad who then blushed and started laughing. For some reason, right after, I thought "HellaStella would like this story". Probably because it involves cleavage.

Tomorrow I'm back to Halifax to finish up the term. Six hours on a bus... here I come.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A disorganised morning and a daily dose of insecurity

Well, I set my alarm incorrectly and missed my early bus this morning. I will be taking the bus this afternoon instead. Not a disaster, just kind of annoying. Then I spilled maple syrup all over my sweatpants. Then I realized I'd misplaced my hair clip and I couldn't find it anywhere. I have a strange fixation with this hair clip. It's the best one I've ever had; it's not too big, just the right size. Unfortunately it's from H&M and I broke one earlier this semester, so I'm down to one and for some reason, I have a hard time having my hair down. The situation has gotten worse as my hair has gotten longer and the air has gotten drier, causing more static electricity. I can handle it most of the time, but when I'm under other stress, as with papers and traveling, I go a little nuts. I just needs my hair clip.

I have spent my morning searching, bugging Colin twice to see if it was in his room, and getting more and more agitated. I just found it in my coat pocket. Immediately, I clipped up my hair and felt relief. Ahhh.

In other news, all this stress this semester has led to quite a bit of stress weight gain. I think. I'm kind of bad at judging my own weight gain, but I'm pretty sure it's gone up. Last year I lost 10 pounds when I went away; I've gone the other way this year. I have noticed a difference, and I'm feeling self-conscious for a whole new reason: going home. My mom hasn't seen me all semester (longest we're ever been apart, which makes us sad), and so she will notice the difference. Meanwhile, my little sister just turned sixteen and is more gorgeous than ever. I've never felt stressed about going home and seeing family friends or even my own family before, but I'm just feeling gross and ashamed.

I guess it's time to start getting ready for New Year's Resolutions.

Monday, 7 December 2009

New Brunswick bound

After a few days of crazy work, I handed in my last big assignment. My one and only exam (I love my major) is on the 15th, so I'm running off to New Brunswick for a few days to visit Phil. It's snowy there - no slush. We're going sledding. Which he calls sliding. Sledding, the new Brunswick way.

I am looking forward to the holidays now. Especially the reading over the break. I have a stack of books all ready. I hope all of you have fun things planned for the holidays!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I have been blogging, but over there.

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2009/12/03/community-paper-vs-city-councillor/

He's back!

Jack came home last night - just in time for my sister's birthday today. He's a little freaked out but physically OK and, it seems, pretty glad to be home. We're happy to have him back, safe and sound.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

MISSING CAT


Meet Jack. Jack is my cat back home in Ottawa. He wandered away from our home probably sometime Sunday night during a dinner party. This isn't like him at all, he's a big baby who sticks close to my dad. He is very friendly, very affectionate, and fond of tapping his humans awake in the morning with his paw.

We live in Old Ottawa South. We've contacted the Human Society and went by to see if he was there. He was not. If anyone lives around there, please keep an eye out for him. He is an indoor cat and has no collar. We're hoping someone took him in and will see our signs and bring him back, but we're all very worried.

Send me an email if you know anything at all: inajarblog at gmail dot com.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Pre-performance jitters, for writers.

I went to my first pitch meeting for my school's small news magazine a couple weeks ago. I've been meaning to go for ages, but never got around to it and recently I've been thinking more and more about how I ought to be building up my portfolio of clips, and practicing. So I went, pitched a couple ideas and even though neither one was accepted, they gave me another story. 800-1200 words. A great vote of confidence in me, considering I'd never written anything for them before.

So I set to work. It took over the time I should have been devoting to school work, but I get really into it. I had to stop myself from extending past the limits of this particular story. And then I put it all together and emailed it in.

"It sucks," I groaned at Adrian, one day this week, as I passed by the KSU office. Adrian, in addition to being KSU exec, kickass DJ and generally cool guy, is the copy editor of the watch.

"I read your piece. It isn't shitty," he responded today, as he passed me in line for theatre tickets.

I am relatively sure I got a goofy look on my face and said something to the effect of a breathless "Really?".

But I am freaking out. There is nothing I can do. It's done. People are going to read it, and judge me, and talk to one another about the piece. They will, I do that all the time. The Watch exec are, at this moment, in the Watch office laying out the piece, my story and the picture I took. They assure me it looks good. My name in print - I hope it look good.

Well, at least I'm getting paid for this work. Getting paid is nice. For everything else (public opinion, judgments, and discussion) wish me luck.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Found time, or, I continue to survive

In the epic battle of Canadienne versus Scientific Revolution Term Paper, I have emerged not only alive but, I would argue, victorious.

36 hours. 4,400 words. One primary source. Five secondary sources. Three cups of coffee. One cup of cocoa (with marshmallows and whipped cream). One research goddess who taught me what she knows. One fabulous boyfriend who edited 15 pages of text. And one toast multigrain bagel with tomato, cucumber, and cream cheese. Mmm, bagel.

I wrote over four thousand words in a very short amount of time. I am shocked, really. Phil was, likewise shocked. Tuesday night I was basically a mess. I had just finished my article for the school paper, I had no real topic for my paper, and I felt like I was about to lose it. I wrote that last post just before my conversation with Phil on the phone that night. I feel bad for being so lame... but I don't know what else to do. I'm this wierd, crazy person all the time, and I'm tired and angry and weepy. BLARGH.

One thing down... next week to go.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Symptoms of my overwrought state

- I just replaced my student card. Again. Twice in one semester.
- I wake up most mornings with a lump in my throat and a pain in my stomach.
- I spent my Monday morning trying to convince my stomach not to expell its contents. Semi-successfully. Also part of tonight.
- I keep losing things, flipping my shit, and then finding them right under my nose.
- My whole face is breaking out and I have a giant stress pimple on my cheek. It hurts.
- I have a hard time breathing a lot of the time.
- My whole conversations on the phone with Phil consist of him saying helpful things and me being an asshole.
- I have a hard time not bursting into tears when someone asks me how I am.
- I just spent fifteen minutes crying in the shower.

14 more days of hell.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Nineteen

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I had a pretty great nineteenth birthday. My friend Colin threw me a party in his room. I was feeling pretty anxious about the party before it happened. I tend to be insecure about events in my honour. I won't go into that - insecurity is unbecoming. But I have heard since that it went over quite well. Colin's room was all decorated and there was a champagne toast and at midnight we went over to the Wardroom for my free birthday drink. Here is my timeline:

9:00pm - Arrive Colin's room. Excited to party.
9:05pm - Don party hat.
9:30pm - Guests begin to arrive. Things are low-key until...
10:20pm - A huge group of people show up all at once. Shortly after, Colin encourages me to drink faster.
11:?? pm - Colin pulls out the champagne and plastic flutes for a toast. I said (slurred?) some things. Moments later, the glow sticks follow*.
11:50 pm - The party moves to the Wardroom.
12:00am - I receive my first Wardroom stamp and get to work.

For the next thirty minutes, I do various ridiculous things I can't remember: bugged people to buy me shots, got my free Wardroom birthday shot, spilled beer (not on myself), hugged everyone, lost my gray sweater, lost my party hat, and made out with Phil, briefly.

12:30am - We're kicked out of the Wardroom *
12:32am - Phil begins trying to take me to bed.

He is hampered by my attempts to pass out in inappropriate places, my impulse to chat with everyone, and Tasha taking photos. Yes, there is, unfortunately, photographic evidence of me in this state.

1:00am* ish - I pass out in bed. Happy Birthday me. I have been 19 for one hour.


I went out the next night to see New Providence play at a local bar and for drinks in the Wardroom, so I have taken advantage of being of age in a more coherent manner. And now I am off to the Wardroom for early happy hour to enjoy nineteen-ness some more.

* denotes things I learned the next day on Facebook.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Something I wrote in Narrative Nonfiction Class

It only makes sense if you've seen Battlestar Galactica.

*****

There's a girl sitting across the room from me who looks exactly like Kara Thrace. The blonde hair, perfect length, little to no makeup, thin mouth, boyish style. I keep staring at her, through class, through her presentation, through the rest of class again. I try to sketch her face, but I immediately get the nose wrong. Give up on sketch, go back to staring.

I imagine she is Kara, in her dog tags and fatigues. I imagine she is here in class but flies Vipers after hours.

I imagine next that this is the ancestor of Kara Thrace and somehow her great-great-granddaughter will fight Cylons in an age of interstellar travel. I think about the implications of Battlestar Galactica as our human future. Have we already invented Cylons? Is it too late to stop it? Can we?

I imagine I tell Kara look-alike the similarity I have noted. In my mind, she laughs awkwardly and shuffles away from me toward the door. I am left all alone, in my mind, thinking of Kara Thrace.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Birthday post the second

I walked by the NSLC today and poked my friend Ange in the ribs.

"Tomorrow!" I said, and grinned.

But I also, momentarily, thought about going in and trying to buy booze. See if they carded me. If they did, well, I'd leave and go home. No harm done. But if they didn't, I'd have done something illegal. This could be exciting!

I never did anything exciting like that. I bitched and whined and I've waited patiently for my birthday to come up. I never even got a fake ID. Did I miss out?

Oh well, too late now. Here goes!

My friend is throwing me a birthday party and apparently has big plans to get me falling-down drunk. I think Phil will keep an eye out for me and make sure I'm OK - the party is, after all, only across the quad from my room. I'm getting nervous; it's been a while since I've had a big birthday party. People are coming, people are excited, and I hope it goes well. I hope everyone has fun. I hope I have fun too!

See you on the other side...

Friday, 13 November 2009

Birthday post the first

Today I got my first birthday present.

Neko was walking down the hall past me when he pulled a large, homemade baguette from his backpack. "Want some bread?" he asked.

"Sure!" I grinned. "Is it a birthday present?"

"Yes" he said, "why not."

And then I had my first present.

The exciting birthday weekend of excitement has officially begun. Tonight was not exciting at all, except that I got my very last X on my hand from the Wardroom. My old roommate Emily was on hand working the door for the auspicious moment. She grinned and I said "last one!"

My friends have been turning nineteen, that magical age, since I was in grade 11. At this point, it's just dumb. It's like "really? Am I not nineteen yet? Really? I must be by now." My mom has been saying for over a year that she wishes I had a fake ID. Alas, I do not.

So, on Sunday, I cross that threshold. But it's kind of freaking me out.

"Watch out" one friend told me, "after this you have nothing to look forward to. Until you get the senior's discount."

"No!" I said, "20 is a big deal. And 21, drinking in the States." I'm not a real grown-up yet. Impossible.

"Yeah... there's still 21."

There is plenty to "look forward to", but... am I An Adult now? I don't think I'm ready for that. I think living in a house where someone else makes the rules and cooking only seldom is about as much as I can handle.

On the positive side... I can now become a raging alcoholic. Look out Ottawa - December 17*, you won't know what hit you.


*Is when I get back into town! Woo!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Remember Snow?

Friday morning at 4:30am, snow came to Halifax. I know because I was still awake, working on an assignment. All-nighters. Woo.

It was 4:15am, I had just finished half of my work, and I was hard into procrastination mode. Who procrastinates on an all-nighter, you wonder? Me. I do. I grabbed the box of Girl Guide Cookies my mother sent me and went downstairs to where my friend was working front desk.

I had just returned to my room when I turned to look out the window. In the orange glow of the lights that illuminate campus at night, I saw flakes filling the air. Every year, I forget how snow looks when it's actually snowing. How the air completely fills with flecks of white. How it's so magical.

It was fairly warm during the day, so most of the snow turned to slush, but some has stuck to the grass and roofs. It definitely looks wintery out there. The bite of the smell of snow is in the air.

I went out to meet my friends, last night, when I had finished class for the day. It just so happened I'd elected to wear a skirt and tights that day, and when I stepped out, I was reminded of another winter feeling I'd forgotten about. Girls, do you remember when you were little, how dressing up in tights and a dress and going out when it was dark outside was a special occasion? As I walked down the street at 6 o'clock, it was dark. I was cozied into my coats and hat and scarf, but the wind blew my skirt around my legs and I inhaled the snowy smell. And I felt... small. And alive. Like I was eight and on my way somewhere exciting. I smiled, and right then I saw a big group of my friends entering the house ahead of me. It made me feel warm and fuzzy. When it gets dark so early and the wind picks up, I crave companionship like no other time. It definitely makes me miss Phil all the more. Long distance is hard. I'm upset with it at the moment.

The theme of childhood continued last night. After one gathering, I went out to see Where the Wild Things Are with some friends I would consider Grown Ups (most of them time). We were all like eight-year-olds in that theater, laughing and gasping and sitting with our mouths hanging open. The movie was lovely. I cried when it was over. We walked back to the car and swapped favourite moments.

" Remember: 'Nobody listens to you, do they?' "

"Oh, and 'That was my favourite arm!' "

"And then, in the next scene, he just has a stick. No one says anything."

"And just they slept in a pile. A big pile."

"Wonderful."

It was wonderful. I came home and decided I needed to build a fort. I pulled aside my bed. I moved some chairs. I pulled my extra sheets out of the closet. I used binder clips. I moved things, I stacked things... I changed my plans... and then I failed. I stood in the middle of the room in my tank top and underwear (you can't build a fort in tights, especially not in an overheated room), with a pillow in my hand and looked at my mess. Then I picked up my mattress, put it back on the bed, arranged my covers, and curled up in them. I pushed the window wide open and smelled the snow and the night air and cigarettes from below and I made an empty promise to myself that I could - and would - build a fort. But not tonight.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Halloween

As usual, Halloween snuck up on me and I didn't come up with a costume until the last second. My costumes never end up being all that great because I have this incredibly aversion to buying something purely for a costume. It's the cheap part of me putting its foot down. Luckily, I (and a couple friends) had the fixings for a decent gypsy costume, one of my favourites from when I was younger. It was the only costume I repeated two years in a row. I think I liked it the best because I got to wear red lipstick.

Here I am in my costume:


Before the partying portion of the night started, I went to a lecture on Dracula and the evolution of the vampire. It was given by one of my favourite King's profs, and it bolstered my mood quite well. I was feeling a little down after my dad left and wasn't feeling very Halloween-y. Curran's jokes and the scary movie clips put me right in the spooky mood.

Tonight I'm being productive. No really! I am. Journalism assignments and HOST readings have my name all over them.

ALSO: T - 13 days to my birthday. I can't wait.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A Visit

My dad arrived in town last night to visit.

I didn't get to see him until this morning. I was running late (the usual; the closer you are to something, the later you'll be) and came clomping down the stairs in my boots to find my dad sitting in front of the desk. He looked the same as I remember, the white beard, the carefully selected clothes, the stylish shades. He also looked completely comfortable and relaxed - he fit in perfectly. When my mom showed up, I remember feeling completely weirded out by her presence. I was glad to see her - but it was a colliding worlds moment. Not so with my dad. He fits perfectly.

I brought him to breakfast and a FYP lecture. Even though I am no longer a FYPer, I knew that a FYP lecture would be the best way to let my dad see what King's is all about. We planned his visit so he could see the lecture today, by one Wayne Hankey, and he did not disappoint. My dad loved it.

We poked around on campus, he saw my room, and we went out to grab a sandwich for lunch. I invited him to sit in on my afternoon class (it's only nine people, but he met my prof in the FYP lecture, and the prof invited him too) but he wanted to take off and look around Halifax. Here I'd been worrying about entertaining him, keeping him interested - I forget how good my dad is at doing that for himself.

We're going to the High Mass at the chapel this evening, so he can experience that and meet some of my friends. After dinner, he'll turn in early and I'll get some work done and we'll do it all over again tomorrow.

"You have a nice life here, it seems," my dad said over lunch.

I guess I do. But it's weird to think about this being a life. A separate life. To me, Ottawa, Halifax, it's all my life. It's all part of the same thing. But to my parents, it's a separate life. It doesn't include them. At times like these, I miss them extra, even when they're right next to me, on the end of the phone or in my city.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The lamest lucid dream ever

I have an oral presentation tomorrow and, in high school angst-style, it's made its way into my dreams.

Two nights ago, I dreamed I was in a play. It was a short play and I had a small part, but for some reason I hadn't yet been able to learn my lines. The play was about to be performed to an audience, at my old elementary school (??). I was fretting and fussing and freaking out right up to the point where I was about to walk on the stage. I was madly trying to memorize my lines (unsuccessfully) when my cue came. I took two steps on to the stage, thought "I don't need to learn these lines, this is just a dream! It doesn't matter!" and turned and left.

I guess that means I was having a lucid dream; isn't that the way it is when you realize you're having a dream in your dream? Well, I thought lucid dreams meant you were in control, but this one did not work that way. I tossed and turned all night, stuck in this annoying dream where I couldn't remember my lines and people were mad at me but I knew it was totally not important.

Hmm. Shrink that, I dare ya.

***************

So, I didn't get as much work done as I would have liked, last weekend. But I enjoyed the fall air, away from the city. I went canoeing on the Kennebecasis River and the marsh near Phil's house. I ate the most delicious lobster roll, again, courtesy of Phil's mom. I did some reading curled up on the couch with someone I love very much. What more could one ask of a weekend?

I will next see Phil in three weeks, when he comes to visit for my birthday (YAY!). I can't wait.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

In NB

I'm back in the land of New Brunswick for the weekend. I'm hoping it will give me a chance to relax, read, and hit 'reset' on my internal dialogue.

The past few weeks have been stressful for me. I'm not too sure why that is - I have five classes to balance, just like everyone else, and I didn't even have many midterms. Somehow I still ended up in the sad territory of Behind In Every Class.

Not true, actually - not in journalism 2001. Somehow I'm on track there.

Everything else is a bit of a nightmare. I don't know what my problem is, frankly; I wish I could figure out a system where I could balance my work and my society stuff and my life. I'm a strong believer that social life can be as important as academics, and I don't want to let my friendships fall by the wayside, but I have some serious catching up to do. For serious.

Mostly in the past weeks I've been stressing my face off and accomplishing little. This is not helpful. I even considered not going home with Phil for this weekend visit, due to my homework. But in the end, I decided that I needed some time away to relax and work at once. Unwind a little. Breathe.

I have indeed been breathing. The air here smells good and the trees are all naked against the crisp, blue sky. Phil and I went tromping around in the woods behind his house. I seem to be cursed to bring ridiculous amounts of rain to flood the basement and the yard every time I come. Just lucky, I guess. We spent the afternoon digging a ditch to diver water and taking a walk through the forest. I have tuckered myself out.

I don't know what tomorrow will be; we have some plans for outings we might take. I just hope I finish some work and breathe in the fall air.

Happy fall, everyone.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A bad start

Today did not start well.

I woke up with my alarm at 8:15. This is bad. If I've had anywhere near enough sleep, I wake up at 8:05, and lie awake waiting for my alarm. I look out at the quad, I study the light; the sun's light is really beautiful at that time of day. I really enjoy a few quiet minutes thinking before I get up and start my day.

Now, I know I woke up with my alarm only because I turned it off. That is the only way I could come to be lying in bed, stirred by a loud conversation in the hallway, at 9:10. My cell phone was sitting silently in my hand. Great.

I ran to breakfast to try to grab something to eat before it closed. Unfortunately, I was still half asleep. For some reason, there was a new coffee percolator at the tea and coffee station. It sticks out more. I noticed the difference because when I filled my tea and moved over to the milk part, I knocked against it, spilling the tea everywhere and scalding my hand. After swearing loudly, and jumping up and down, I refilled my tea. And did the same thing over again. I scalded myself TWICE. Ouch.

It was gray and gross today, which made me sleepy and I felt weirdly light-headed a lot of the day. I was moderately productive, but not enough. I have cleaned my room, however, in preparation for Phil's arrival later tonight. YAY. I think the bad start will get better from now on.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Cat

Chico is the cat who thinks he lives in my residence. He comes to visit, meowing outside the door until someone lets him in - even at 6am. Sometimes Chico stays for only a few minutes, and sometimes for hours, roaming through the Manning Room, looking around the desk, curling up in the chair in front of the desk. Chico has been my borrowed cat, something warm and soft to cuddle when I'm stressed and far from the cats I love.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Turkey.

I forget sometimes, after a few weeks of cafeteria food, that food can be delicious, nutritious, and satisfying, all at once. This weekend definitely reminded me.

I had resigned myself to missing Thanksgiving at home this year, but through a series of events, it came to be that I got on a plane Saturday morning, bound for Ottawa. I was not in top shape. For one thing, I was very sleepy. Here is why:

Thursday: 7:45 am I went to breakfast with Katie after staying up all night in my room, writing papers. Hers on Castro, mine on the Scientific Revolution. At 5am we realized that what we wanted more than anything was tater tots and eggs for breakfast. It was our light at the end of the tunnel. We ate, she departed for her home, and I to class.

It was a terrible idea to stay up all night. I had a test that day, and then my best friend's 19th birthday party. Upside: paper done. Downside: partying on zero sleep. My body said no at about 11:30pm and I went to bed. I felt gross until Sunday, but a day well worth it. So very stereotypically college-student of me, no? In any case, Here is what I woke up to Friday morning:

Thursday night leftovers... -

...and Wednesday night leftovers -
I cleaned before I left on Saturday and just now, walking into my pristine room was the most rockin' feeling ever. I don't know why I used the word rockin', but I feel no other word would really describe it. Thank you, me from Saturday. Coming in to a clean room is the best.

Friday was a good day. I spent the evening doing laundry at the Far House with Sarah (Davis gone to Ottawa) and Gabe. They invited me over for dinner and together we threw together a chicken curry with (properly cooked!) rice and fabulously stir-fried green beans. REAL FOOD. It was amazing. I'm pretty sure I had a food revelation that night - we cooked, and it wasn't too hard. It was wonderful, and impressive, and delicious. I could do that. I could cook! Maybe I will some day. I ended up staying in instead of going out, packing and playing ridiculous drinking games (involving animal sounds).

On Saturday morning, I woke up, easily packed my suitcase, didn't overfill it, didn't stress out, met my ride to the airport, got on the plane, left. Easy. I have never had an easier flying experience; normally I hate flying and I stress way out. Not this time. It really set the tone for the weekend - I was relaxed and happy, enjoyed my time, didn't over-stress. I got to catch up with Andrea and Milan, I saw family, ate with family friends. I watched too much TV. I accomplished no reading. I ate pumpkin pancakes.

Now I'm here. In my clean room. Plenty on my plate, but happy. Feeling warm and loved, and looking forward to Phil arriving back in town next Monday. Now I need to read my face off in preparation.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

All I feel is tired.

Exhaustion has come back to greet me like an old friend. It has draped itself across my shoulders and up my neck. It has filled my head with cotton balls. It has made my joints ache ever so slightly. It has crawled down my legs and seeped into my bones. Ah, yes, exhaustion. Now I remember.

I spent the latter half of Winter semester on four hours of sleep a night. I have no clue what the hell I was doing. That was dumb. Very dumb. I was delirious half the time and grumpy the other half. I have no idea how anyone put up with me. I have been a much saner person so far this year - a lot less staying up to ridiculous hours and a lot more going to bed at one.

However, getting 6 hours of sleep a night has been fine in the past, when interspersed with nights of eight or nine hours' sleep. Slowly, the lack of sleep crept in on me. I'm sleeping forever next weekend.

WOW - I just realized next weekend is Thanksgiving weekend. That was shockingly fast. I am heading home for the holiday, so maybe I'll see some of y'all in Ottawa.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Diablo Cody: one cool chick

On winning an Oscar:

"It does absolutely nothing for your writing process at all. It's kind of like winning class president... it was cool that year. Now it's kind of a curiosity. It's a weird thing to have in your house."

Full video on Macleans:

diablo cody from Macleans Magazine on Vimeo.

The view


There is something so lovely about the view from my window in the late afternoon. I would also like to underscore how much I love a south-facing window. Early morning light ranks on my top favourite things. Mmm. Happy sigh. I can't wait to wake up to the sound of church bells tomorrow morning.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Grammar wins again

Today was my first Ethics of Journalism class.

The course actually began two weeks ago, but I switched in late. The class is only once a week (gotta love journalism courses) for two hours, so missing two classes was not stellar. When I decided to drop an elective and pick up this third year course, I went to the JSchool to make sure it would be OK to join, even though it's still technically within the course add/drop period. I got a stern look from the secretary, and piece of paper with the course instructor's email on it.

I wrote him a short inquiry and, after a couple of emails, he let me into the course . Today after class, I approached him to thank him for allowing me to join and to let him know that I enjoyed the first class.

"You know," he said, "I was very impressed with your correspondence, which is why I let you into the course."

I didn't really know what to say, so he went on.

"I told my wife I was impressed, and half because all the commas were in the right place."

I stammered something about loving good grammar, thanked him, and scurried off. And did a happy dance.

See kids? Good grammar always wins.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

This is a theme-less update post

Today was a perfectly regular day. And I've been behind on posting, so I thought I'd post it day-in-the-life style.

I woke up for breakfast, which I do as often as I can. Most mornings I make it, if I haven't been up late being ridiculous. Which, you know, happens. This is college. Anyway, eggs over-easy and tater tots are the best ever. Plus grapefruit and tea. When there are no tater tots or I'm feeling guilty, I have a piece of whole grain toast instead.

Next I needed to get some reading done from a very dry book called "The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Enquiry". Oh the joys of the History of Science and Technology Programme. On my way to the library, I ran into a friend in his fifth year and, after catching up, we headed off for a study date.

I complete only half my reading before class and after an hour of that nonsense (JOKES. It was actually very interesting) I grabbed a greasier lunch than I should have, waved to friends in the Wardroom, and ran to my AMAZING Narrative Nonfiction course which was, as always, amazing. We talked about telling stories and watched a scene from Pulp Fiction. What is more fun than discussing story-telling for two hours?

I'm in the Classics in the Quad production in 10 days, so I tried to do some memorizing but got distracted by a friend and ended up spending time with her and then was foiled in my second attempt to work by running into Saf at front desk. Finally, work un-done, I changed into a skirt and ran to Chapel for Evensong.

Evensong is the service with tons of singing and is very chill and usually a small gathering. I haven't actually made it to Chapel much this semester - in fact Evensong tonight was the first time. I didn't go at all last year, with the exception of Holy Week and Easter, but I love the Chapel and want to go more. It's a beautiful space and I always feel better after going. I've been in a good mood ever since.

Dinner was the usual salad with tuna and then I had play rehearsal. I have managed to memorize one line successfully. It's a long road to memorizing all of the chorus Strophe lines. AH. Wish me luck. Also, speaking in unison is hard.

Now I'm here, working part of a shift on front desk. Isn't my day exciting? Not really, I know. But I do keep busy, which is why blogging is falling behind. I'll keep up as much as I can! But it may be more like this than the deep, thought-provoking stuff.

Monday, 21 September 2009

JSchool

I love to bitch about Journalism.

It's something all journalism kids kind of love to do, at least here. There are so few of us that as long as we all agree to complain, no one can contradict us, really, because none of them know definitively that we're whining for no good reason. Are we? You'll never know.

I whined about the intro journalism class nonstop last year. It was long, it was dull, it was held on Tuesdays while the rest of FYP students lay around on the quad and read and started on papers. We had to sit through hours of the variously awful journalism prof who held us captive at the end of the day. We had to complete assignments that were not interesting in any way. A lot of student drop out of journalism after first year. They only let 40 of us in in the first place, and by fourth year, there are like 15-20. Tops.

Journalism was just something that kind of happened. I figured I was an OK writer, and I've been attached by the ear to my radio ever since I learned about CBC. I used to come home after school and do my math homework in front of the radio, listening to Brent Bambury host All In A Day from 4-6. Once I sent in a letter to the morning show and they laughed at my precociousness. Yeah, yeah, I'm sooo precious. Thanks. I was, obviously, the only one of my friends who considered CBC personalities to be celebrities.

My year of FYP love and JOUR1001 hate got me all turned around. Academia and journalism are definitely not friends. A Jschool in the top of the Academic Building of my thoroughly philosophy-centric school is weird. They wish they could put up a giant sign reading "A deadline is not a suggestion". They get shit done while the rest of the school, I dunno, contemplates the Good. Or deconstructs society as such. Or something.

After my year of journalism hate, I was, a little bit, wondering what I was doing in this program. I was wondering if perhaps I should launch myself away from reason and into the world of... something else. Classics, or English, or even Philosophy. Who needs a job? I want to learn! I will be a true academic, a stereotypical King's student, I will contemplate the Good all day and wear a "Plotinus da man" T-shirt. Wooo.

Then I went to my first JOUR2000 class. And started to get excited about radio equipment. And playing with video cameras. And I fell in love with my four profs who are all so enthusiastic and fabulous and put their home and cell numbers on the syllabus ("Call me, I'll always answer!"). Plus, they know their shit.

Next came my Intro to Narrative Nonfiction course, which I grinned through. My classmates must have thought I was insane. Every assignment, every reading, everything we have to do for that course makes me happy and excited. I ran to the Registrar's office and traded my elective for Ethics of Journalism. And all of this is really exciting.

I guess I picked the right program after all.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Snapshot.

I just finished everything on my list, so I actually get to blog two nights in a row. SHOCKING.

I guess I'll give a bit of a recap in order to bring you up to speed.

Frosh week is now over; I think this year's frosh are a good bunch, but a surprisingly sober group. I think this is totally bizarre. My floor is a quiet one and so far, I'm the loudest. Sorry neighbours! Normally I'm quiet too, but now and then the party moves up here and there's not much I can do.

Not that I'm complaining. This is basically the best living situation I've ever had. I was very trepidatious about moving back into res while my friends moved off campus, but every day I realize how perfect this is for me. I hate to say it, but my friends were right; living with my friends is a terrible idea. I'm a grouchy, grumpy type and I like my space. A lot. Sharing a bathroom is hard for me, which is probably why I always showered at weird times last year, when I knew most of my floor wasn't around. This year I have my own bathroom.

Oh yeah... my suite is epic. Such is the major perk of being President of my residence - the suite. Complete with walk-in closet, as previously mentioned. My shower is five steps from my bed. Five. I barely even need to stand before getting in the shower in the morning. And I don't have to wear flip flops and I could even take a bath if I wanted to. Such luxury!

The room gives me the best balance of having my own place and living with others. It is residence; I live in a community of 280 students, so the place is usually bumping if I'm looking for something to do. I've mostly been spending time with dons, however, and my friends off campus. Don't worry, friends! I'm not completely Quad-bound. I'm just comfortably entrenched, for the most part.

As all of my extra-curriculars gear up at once, I'm exhausted 24/7 and mostly stressed from when I wake up until I go to sleep. And I only have class readings, no assignments yet. I'm going to have to figure out how to balance all this... and my two, possibly three jobs. Am I crazy? Maybe I'm crazy.

Well, now I'm going to try to get ahead on my readings. Phil is rolling into town for a brief visit this weekend and I am not going to get any schoolwork done.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Accidental flirtation

I guess I'm a little bit of a flirt. At least, some people have told me this, and I certainly do enjoy flirting, but I wonder about this. Sometimes being friendly can be misconstrued as being flirtatious. I swear, I'm just being friendly. I have a hard time finding that line, I guess.

Last night, I was at a friend's house and ran into someone in my third year core class. I find that course a little intimidating since it's my first 3000 level course, and I was glad to get to know someone in the course better. We were discussing the class, the presentations we have to do, our other classes. I noticed my new friend was drumming on his knees to the music. His friend nearby leaned in and gave me a knowing look and said "He's a drummer. He drums. He's a musician" and wandered off giggling. He gave some indignant and embarrassed response which is when I decided I was probably in the middle of a misunderstanding and excused myself. Oops! Awkward.

But I was just being friendly. When a girl is friendly to a guy, is that flirting? What's the difference really?

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A few minutes to kill

I am left with a few minutes to kill, so I thought I'd write an update. I'm such a tease, I know, but I really don't have time for a full post. I'm moderately dressed up for a night of extreme alcohol consumption, the culmination of a week as a frosh leader. Heyo. Can't wait.

What I'm really most excited about right now is my walk-in closet. One of the perks of being the president of my residence is the sweetest room ever. It's a double, with only me in it. Plus a bathroom and a closet. The walk-in closet.

When I was elected president, a past president inquired as to how I would use the closet.

"As a a closet" was my response.

"But it's huge," she said. "I turned mine into a kitchen."

"I'm putting my clothes in it. They might all fit."

I love clothes. I am a little clothes crazy. I try to be careful not to buy anything I don't love and getting rid of things I don't wear, but I have a lot of things I love. And many scarves. Oh so many scarves.

This walk-in closet is life-changing. Well, style-changing anyway. Now that my cutest clothes, the hang up ones, aren't stuffed into a tiny space, I walk in and survey them first. The result? My cute clothes have been in heavy rotation. Hello hot black Banana Republic skirt I bought second-hand but perfect. Let's be friends. I certainly have been receiving lots of outfit compliments.

I have no pictures of my walk-in closet, currently, so I cannot share this with you, but suffice it to say, it ain't cramped in there.

Now I must off to my late night. PS: longer letter later.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Calm before the storm

It's 8am and the quad is silent as the grave. One of the welcome banners has fallen down but other than that, everything looks ready. Calm. In two hours, the Quad will be filled with frosh. I'm all moved in and my mother pulled out not one hour ago. Now the year begins.

I am looking forward to the frosh week party, but not looking forward to continuing to fall behind on other things in my life, like friends and blog and me time and reading. I regret to inform you all that things will be a little hectic for me continuing through the next week. After that I look forward to settling into a comfortable routine that involves working and relaxing. And blogging. I'm making an extra effort with blogging this year.

It's nice to be in Halifax, but I am missing my Ottawa as well. And several of you in Ottawa.

I survived New Brunswick (barely; I almost fell into a river ten feet from a water fall, but no big. Also, caught on dirt roads in a post-tropical storm) and in fact, I loved New Brunswick. I acknowledge my bias in the boyfriend form, but even when correcting for that, I feel NB still ends up with a positive. When I get my computer memory situation sorted out, I will upload some of the 2 GB of photos I took so I can share them.

Well, it's off to the races at any moment. There's an angry don whose poster fell down and I am off to help him.

Friday, 28 August 2009

The short of the long

I am in New Brunswick, not fallen off the face of the Earth, only the face of blog. I will update you all eventually about the fun adventures I've been having if I can ever drag myself away from the excitement and from the boy. New Brunswick's major perk = boyfriend. The view ain't bad either.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Things I learn while listening to CBC

Congratulations to Elgin Street Irregulars and Knitknut.net, both of whom made Ottawa Start's top 30 blogs list. This isn't a particularly prestigious list, at least, I've never heard of it before, but it got a chat-up on CBC morning. Lots of great blogs on the list, but of them, ESI and Knitknut are my favourites. I definitely recommend them. Ottawa Start sums it up perfectly:

Knitnut.net
She's one of those bloggers who every other blogger in Ottawa reads ... you should too.

Elgin Street Irregulars
I can't describe this one, you just have to read it for a few weeks to figure it out. Even then...

If you want more recommendations, I keep my blog list updated and they're all great!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Gyno frusteration

Today I went to the gyno. It wasn’t that kind of a visit, thankfully (women, you can uncross your sympathetic legs). Today I went to the gyno to convince her to give me an IUD.

I am one of the most informed 18 year old girls you (as a gyno) could get. I have sexuality and sexual health education training and I work at an organisation where I learn about women’s health. I know a lot about all this stuff. This is to say, when I express concerns about some of the more traditional forms of contraception, it does not come from ignorance or hearsay. I can speak doctor speak, to an extent. I’m not fluent and sometimes I mix up tenses or whatever, but that comes from a divide between me and them.

That divide I find can be hard for doctors. As I recently said to my mother during an episode of ER “No wonder they get a complex; with internship and residency, doctors only see other doctors for years!”. I hesitate to make an sweeping generalizations, but I can see how the kind of environment of learning that doctors participate in could breed a very tight team mentality. This doesn’t mean they’re not good doctors. It just means sometimes, when you are not a doctor, you have to be firm about what you want.

Here’s what I mean. When I said IUD, my doctor pursed her lips.

“If you want me to put one in, I will do it. But I’m not sure I’d recommend it.”

She then went on a bender detailing the various scary side-effects possibly associated with said form of birth control. That’s ok; it’s her job to tell me about the risks. She went to medical school and I have not. But after a few minutes of listening to “possibility of constant pain” and “There’s concern about the tubes” and feeling the blood drain from my face, I was about to throw myself at her, sobbing “give me the pill! I’m sure I’ll be better at taking it this time and I won’t get any side-effects!” It was enough to make me seriously rethink leaving my mother in the waiting room.

I am an expert on me, and I had to pull myself together to say NO, new memory tools like stickers would not help with the pill, and NO I do NOT want to stick a patch on my ass for weeks at a time and I really don't want the side effects that hormonal method give me. Thanks anyway. Is an IUD really so bad? I know people who have them, and it’s A-OK. Also, what other choice do I have?

She seemed to think that was ok and was done discussing and went a made me up an appointment and a prescription. I was still barely breathing. I was worried about the infertility I would apparently be faced with if I went ahead with this. When she returned I stammered something about how likely it was that my “tubes” would be “compromised”.

She sighed and backed down a bit, once I’d made my choice. The main concerns, she explained to me, are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea climbing up the IUD and to my tubes. If I use condoms, and don’t have too many partners, I should be fine. I breathed a big sigh of relief and walked away on my shaking legs. Minutes later I’ll realize C&G can cause infertility all on their own, it's not all the IUD's fault. And I calmed down more.

I think I have made the right decision for me. I just wish I didn’t feel like I’ve opted to walk a tightrope unassisted when a sturdy bridge is available. Also, sidenote, if IUD is not so medically accepted, why are there not other non-hormonal options available for young women? Why must we pump ourselves full of hormones that may not mess up our tubes but can have other, potentially awful, side effects?

Leaving the doctor, my mother suggested I try celibacy.

Tomorrow will hopefully be better -- I'm heading to see Stella/Andrea at Irene's. A last show before I hit the road back east. I leave one week today.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Today I am tired.

Today felt extra long. I don't have the energy left to blog. However, you can read my most recent post over at Macleans OnCampus, if you're so inclined. I keep a link in the sidebar, if you're interested!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunny Day

It's three o'clock, and I'm still wearing my pyjamas.

I don't feel so bad, only because yesterday contained many more times the fun I initially imagined it would. When I woke up on Saturday, the sun streaming in my window made me smile. Where did that sun come from? I thought it was going to rain all weekend and be gray. Like today, for instance. Instead it was a perfectly gorgeous day, warm with a breeze. It made me sigh happily and smile. And fall asleep for 3 more hours.

Luckily I woke up in time to eat a tiny piece of peanut butter toast-baguette and run off to Raw Sugar for tea with Andrea. I'd only been to Raw Sugar once before, for BOLO, but it seemed like my kind of place. Indeed, it was totally lovely, and I ate delicious banana chocolate chip loaf and had tea and talked about So You Think You Can Dance with the tea lady.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mostly out in the beautiful day with the Andrea's dog who happens to be the sexiest bulldog ever. Milan came and joined us with about a million pounds of camera equipment (plus a titanium spork) on his back. Somehow, we ended up back at Raw Sugar. Funny, that.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Summer 2009: A 3/4 Retrospective

Part of the continuing reflection on summer flying by, I realized that this summer has been pretty fab.

I worked my first real grown-up job. Although it was a little scary at first, it has turned out to be a fabulous experience. In terms of my individual work, I practised my writing, especially writing concisely (a four panel public education brochure is short!) and I got very good at picking out key messages from long documents I’m speed reading. Can you say “term papers”?

In addition to all the practical skills, I learned about working with a team and how to work in an office. This is most definitely something that took time to learn. The ability to sit and work for eight hours a day was hard enough at the beginning. The whole working-in-an-office skill was not one I anticipated going into this job.

I lazed around. Sure, it was slightly less relaxing than I would have liked, what with the coming right after oral surgery and the gargling and spitting and pain, however, I still loved lying quietly in bed, the sun on my face, dozing and reading and listening to Iron and Wine. The Percocet was an added bonus.

I saw friends. After my awful Christmas break (I’m going to blame the mono), I was determined not to repeat a hermit-like existence. I have seen a lot of my girlfriends, even an out-of-town reunion, and we keep in close touch. Davis and I are emails at work buddies (an important part of 9-5 working). I have seen the most of Sarah, mostly because she lives close and enjoys using my for my Tivo recordings of So You Think You Can Dance (finale tonight! Go Janine!).

I traveled. Quite the opposite of my original plan for a quiet, boring summer, I ended up traveling to both coasts of the continent, one of them for the first time, as well as the middle (Minnesota wedding). I fell in love with the mountains.

I found myself a man. Well, I didn’t so much find a man as I fell for my best friend. Luckily, he did the same thing (phew… imagine how awkward that could have been). He was the main reason for my Halifax trip (concurrent reason: to give myself a reason to endure May and June). We’ve been skyping and snail-mailing all summer, which has been perfectly lovely and suitably romantic/adorable.

I blogged. After an abysmal posting record in March and April, caused mostly by my preoccupation with the man mentioned above, I got back to blogging, which is something I really enjoy. I met other bloggers and I Blogged Out Loud. I started writing a new blog for A Real Magazine, which made me feel like A Real Writer.

I got a lot of reading done. This one should not be underestimated. After a year of having zero time to read for fun, I rediscovered the pleasure of a good book. I’ve been like a kid in a candy store at the library. Actually, probably more like me, as a kid, in the library. I’ve read some good books. I recommend especially The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. What a beautiful, thoroughly enjoyable read. I also read a book that’s supposed to be a kid’s book, but kept me glued to the page. It’s called Lyonesse and, full disclosure, it’s written by a family friend. It’s a King Arthur myth-style story about the Isles of Scilly in England. The author is from Scilly, and his author’s note is particularly interesting. In any case, I recommend it, and not just because of the family connection. Probably more because of my King Arthur myth fetish.

I hope all of you have loved your summer so far as much as I have loved mine. And the best part is that there are still three more weeks of it left, which will include a lot of packing, eating my favourite foods before returning to res, and a trip to New Brunswick to visit a certain boy. Yes, a boy who snail mails. I didn’t know they existed outside the 1940s.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Before the dive

It seems every conversation I've had lately has been about how this summer has flown by. It's true; I never thought that four months could seem so short. I have had an action-packed summer so far; it's had everything. Travel (two coasts), work, illness, surgery, relaxation, love... No wonder it's flown past, I've filled the whole thing up. As comfortable as I always am at King's, and even was when I visited in June, I've forgotten about being a student there.

I stumbled across the newly-posted reading lists for the Contemporary Studies Programme. I'm not a CSP student, but I'm taking one CSP course and one HOST (History of Sci and Tech) course that's crosslisted (ugh... Foucault...). I started thinking about the books I would read -- they're all new, I haven't even heard of most of them. I get to study them. I looked up my HOST courses to see if they had reading lists out, and even though they didn't, I re-read the course descriptions for the classes I'm signed up for. This one first.

This is hardcore stuff man. Analysing texts, reading ancient books... oh! The Greeks! What fun. I can't wait. But after reading that description my stomach scrunched up, bracing itself. This is hardcore. Can I even handle it? I've never felt that I'm a scholar or a gifted thinker the way some of my FYP peers were.

And here I am in a rigorous programme.

What have I gotten myself into? Hopefully I can get myself out of it again. Hopefully I'll even do well. But at least I will try. Oh, I will try very hard. I will throw myself into it, throw myself right in. And that should do it, I hope. Once you throw yourself off the ledge, all you can do is dive in.

Monday, 3 August 2009

August Movie Update

This weekend was full of Zooey Deschannel (DAY-chanel, Adrian Harewood, not day-SHAN-elle).



On Sunday afternoon, I went to see (500) Days of Summer. The Smiths shout out in the trailer and the parentheses in the title set off my indie wannabe alarm, but when I noticed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in it, I had to see it. (I have loved him, second only to Heath Ledger, since the eighth grade when I became obsessed with 10 Things I Hate About You and got over my unfortunate Orlando Bloom crush).



(I highly recommend watching 10 Things if you haven't seen it. It's my favourite teen flick ever, and makes my five favourite movies. Calm down, aspiring film critics! Movies can be fun, you know. And yes, that was Allison Janney you saw as the high school guidance counsellor.)

Anyway, I actually really enjoyed (500) Days of Summer. It was fun, the characters were fun, and it had some great lines. My personal favourite was when Tom confronts Summer about their undefined relationship. She explains they're just friends and he (understandably) becomes upset. "You're not the only one who gets a say in this, you know!" he yells. I love a movie that makes my head scream, yeah! in agreement. The scenes with his little sister aka his number one confidante are worth the ten bucks alone.

Later on Sunday night I watched Part 1 of a Sci-Fi channel miniseries called Tin Man. It's (yet another) reimagining of the Wizard of Oz tale; here, "Oz" stands for "Outer Zone". At first I was lukewarm about it, but Alan Cumming as the scarecrow character is so much fun, he kept me watching.

Famous to ME.

I was carrying part of a bookshelf purchased during a trip to IKEA down my basement stairs when I looked up and was confronted with the rear end of my somewhat famous neighbour, who had offered to help transport the thing from our car to our back door.

For most of my childhood he was just the dad of one of my best friends, that guy who was always golfing and once smoked a cigar in my living room and stank up the house. But now that I'm in Journalism school, knowing him is more exciting.

My mother decided to tell him I've started a blog with Macleans. He apparently thought that was great, but seeked to ensure that I'm not planning on a career in print journalism. Thanks, neighbour!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Mattress Mart

At 1:30 I left the house in the car to go buy a mattress. By 2:30 I was lying on my bed, on a new mattress.

The story of my mattress is this: I have a 3/4 sized bed, sort of an odd size, but it has always done me well. When I was young I had a single mattress on it with pillows stuffed down the side because, well because that's the way it was. In retrospect, I see it was because we were poorer then, but I was a kid and didn't know it any different.

Sometime in my childhood a 3/4 size mattress entered my room. It was a hand-me down, I think, from another family member. That mattress stayed on my bed until last summer when my aching back told me enough is enough. I hauled the old mattress out and used the old bunk bed mattress -- actually a fairly new bunk bed mattress. The only catch was that it was a single size. The 3/4 mattress went to the basement.

In March of this year, our water heater exploded.

It was old, it was rusty, it was rented from a company. A company who had to pay for the repairs to our basement, and replace things that were damaged. Including my sorry, old mattress, which was soaked and grew mould. After months of running around with the insurance company, today I replaced that mattress.

After installing it, with my sheets and my pillows, my mom and I lay down on it.

"There's room for two people here!" she said.

"And?" I replied.

As much as I would love to fill that extra space, I will also love having it all to myself.

Monday, 27 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part III - I'll Miss the Mountains

Today was boring. The highlight: I retrieved my rebuilt Birkenstocks from the shoemaker. They look spiffy!

But my BC trip was much more exciting.

Day 5: We woke up early to avoid the heat of the day and hit the road to the bike rental shop and spent the morning biking the sea wall in Stanley Park. I took about a million pictures, but I did it while biking, so half of them are crooked. It was probably a poor and dangerous decision, but it was so pretty, I just wanted to take pictures all the time. Every time we went around a corner I wanted to take more pictures.

When we got to Third Beach we locked up our bikes and spent an hour lying in the sun and cooling down in the water. Water from the Pacific Ocean! My first time.

By the end of the ride we were sun-scorched and pooped -- we managed to get separated and a little lost, but finally returned the bikes and found a Noodle Spot for late lunch. It was called Legendary Noodle, on Denman. Very delicious.

After lunch we hiked back to the hotel for a rest and a shower. Once Ange finished work, she joined us there and we went on our adventure to Richmond. Some Ange quotes on Richmond:

"It's the real Chinatown! Where the real Chinese people live."

"Welcome to Richmond. There are no street signs, so when you come here you're like "where the fuck am I?"

So we took the bus. The most exciting part about the bus was that it was free, all four times with the tranfering -- for some reason the bus driver never took my money. Oh, and some skater boy in a purple t-shirt eye flirted with me on the way there. I was wearing a new dress I was unsure about, and took that as a vote in favour of the dress.

The reason we went to Richmond was for the outdoor Asian Night Market. When we got off the bus Ange explained that she didn't know where we were going, but we decided that following all the asian people was a good plan. We trekked through a Home Depot big box parking lot that had signs that said "Absolutely NO night market parking". We were on the right track. We continued to trek through a parking lot and behind a warehouse to a little village of tents.

There were a few different types of stalls which repeated over and over: knockoff tech accessories, pirated DVDs, jewelery, and bras and socks. The one exception was a unique stall that sold holographic pictures of puppies and busty women. We briefly considered buying one for the 3rd floor common room, but moved on.

The food was the real reason we went. Ange made me eat everything, basically:

1. Octopus and dough balls. Thumbs down from me.
2. Pork Dumpings
3. Fried Squid and Tofu
4. Shrimp dumplings
5. "Hurricane fries" : a spiral cut potato on a stick
6. Rice noodles with peanut sauce
7. Bubble Waffles (bubbles of waffles, bascially)

and we washed it all down with bubble tea. I woke up the next morning with a rumbly tummy asking me what the hell I'd done to it.

Day 6: We hit Gastown, which was less exciting that I was expecting, but I did enjoy all the cobblestones and stone buildings. Gastown is the original Vancouver, so it's all historical, like I'm used to. We had a delicious Mexican fiesta of a lunch and my mom and I shared a Margarita.

For some reason, that hike home felt sooooo loooong. I was dead tired, and sweaty.

Day 6 was a low-key day. The highlight was a relaxing cup of chai in a coffeeshop in Gastown. The window was thrown open and the air smelled great.

Day 7 we left town. The plane ride was awesome this time because there were no clouds. We watched the Rockies, then the prairies slip by. Soon we were back in Ontario (we could tell by the lakes).

I love the moutains. Love love them. I really want to go back as soon as I can.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

BOLO recap, among other things

WOW is it ever RAINING. Save some for drought-ridden areas, would you, sky? And pipe down on that thunder. Thunder makes me uneasy at the best of times, but having just returned home from watching a little girl for the evening, I'm on edge. Somehow, though the house shook and I jumped every time, she slept through the thunder. Phew.

Today went by remarkably quickly. Fridays are half-days at work, so the actually shortened day paired with extreme exhaustion made me feel like I drifted into work, sat down, got up again, and left. In the middle I copy edited. Today I was the queen of copy editing.

The best part was though I woke up wondering if my alarm had gone off just before dawn due to the lack of light coming from the sky, I hauled myself out of bed and knew I would plop it back down mere hours later. I love my Friday afternoons in bed with a book -- and a nap. Although, I didn't think it was possible to have a nightmare during an afternoon nap. Aren't "day"dreams the nice ones? Maybe my brain was confused by the darkened sky. Whatever it was, I had a terrible dream which culminated with my beloved cat dying. I woke up panicked, breathing hard, and my cat picked that moment to reach her paw out and rest it on my foot in a very comforting way.

(Here Rosie helpfully reminds me there are more important things than technology)

Last night's Blog Out Loud Ottawa was a lot of fun! I met all sorts of new bloggers, like Nat, who made me laugh so hard I was tearing up, and caught up with Andrea and Milan. I met people whose blogs I completely love and look forward to reading every day -- most particularly zoom, whose posts amuse and touch me on a regular basis*.

Well, new lurkers, that is, bloggers I met last night, I enjoyed hearing from all of you very much and I hope the feeling was mutual! Thank you again, Lynn, for putting together such a fun event.

On another note, I think both "zup" and "ex-u-pee" sound weird. I mostly just read her name and try not to figure out how to say it out loud. XUP, did you have any idea what kind of controversy you were starting with your blog moniker?


(Here is a picture of another of my cats, Jubal)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

BOLO

Blog Out Loud Ottawa is tonight -- I'm very excited. I love meeting the other people whose words I read on a regular basis. Hearing everyone's voice will be the best.

Oh, plus I'm reading. That part I'm trying to forget about. Wish me luck, and I hope to see many of you there!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part II - Bigger Mountains!

Day 3: This was by far our most exciting day. It starts on the night of Day 2.

After being in BC more than 24 hours with a chance to catch my breath, I decided to call up my friend Mark (of the amazing band New Providence) who lives in Victoria. I knew Victoria was kind of far away and involved traveling over water, but hey, if you're not going to go nuts on vacation, when will you?

It was so nice hearing his voice. After many phone calls and a lot of googling, we decided it was feasible to take a day trip to the island to see Mark. The only way of making it work, however, was if we had a car. Which we only had for one more day. So it was decided we'd forgo the sleeping in plans, drag our tired asses out of bed early and beat it to the Tswwassen ferry.

(Passing another ferry, among the Gulf Islands)

I felt a little guilty, dragging my family along, since it was my friend we were making all the effort to see, but none of us regretted it. It was so beautiful, sailing between the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay. It was a warm, sunny day on Vancouver Island and we put the top down on the convertible and left it down all day.

(walking along the pier)

Victoria is a perfectly lovely city. Lots of the historical bits I'm used to, as well as gorgeous vistas. Mark gave us a great tour of the city, all along the water front. Top down, sun on our faces (burning us, it turns out). We walked out on the long pier where the cruise ships stop and looked at the Olympic Mountains across the straight in Washington State. I was mesmerised -- they had snow on the tops of them! And they were huge!

We finished up the afternoon by driving to the top of Mount Doug and surveying all of Victoria laid out below us. Note: this is a must-see when in Victoria. Just barely, in the distance, we could see Mount Baker, a real live volcano, towering about the mountains around it, completely covered in snow. That pretty much blew me away.

(Mount Baker way in the distance)

Day 4: We headed out on foot (rental car now returned) and visited Granville Island where we poked around, saw the sites, and bought fresh produce and bread to make a picnic on the quay. There was even some decent busking to listen to. I also ate the most amazing donut of my entire life. Curse you, Tim Horton's, for killing all the little places that made donuts that way!

(lunch on Granville Island)

After we got our share of sun, we took the Aquabus across to downtown and hit up the Golden Age of Dutch Art exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery -- a very neat and beautiful building, by the by. I hardly ever go to galleries, but it's something I always enjoy. I particularly love historical context, so I love audioguides. The best was one paintin of a women receiving a love letter and all the things in the room and the picture hint at what it says. That's the kind of thing I've never know without an audioguide.

(The Vancouver Art Gallery)

We finished off the day with delicious, fresh sushi. Mmm... I miss sushi that good. I ate way more than I should have and fell asleep early.

(Sushi Dinner)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Becoming (a writer)

This afternoon I was sitting at my computer when my dad tapped on my door. "Can I come in?" he asked, the way my dad always asks. Like he's hopeful but worried that he's going somewhere he's not supposed to, like he's forgotten he paid for the house. At moments like these, with my dad, I think that adults sort of peak, at a certain point, and then regress back into childhood. I can't help but think this is probably the way he asked my Grandmother if he could enter a room when she was busy, making dinner, or doing a crossword by herself. His face is intent and has purpose but it's waiting.

He's coming in with a package in his hand. When I open it, I find a tiny pin in the shape of a fountain pin. I look at it, and my dad pipes up, "You can wear it on your lapel, or something, anything". I turn it over. "It's from an artist in Alaska". I smile and say the magic words he wants to hear, I say "Thank you dad. I love it". And I do, I really do. It's a very nice pin. My reticence, my anxiety stems from what he's celebrating with this gift hthat e bought in Minnesota at the beginning of the summer, and saved for this right moment.

After I hug him, he leaves again. The pin is sitting next to me, here, by my computer, on top of the stack of books.

This is a post of exciting news. I heard about this exciting news 10 days ago, or so, in an email, but I wanted confirmation before getting hyped up about it. On a whim, earlier this summer, I applied to a job (well, unpaid) I heard about in a mail out from my journalism school. In one of the few truly spontaneous moments of my life, I applied to, and have subsequently become, a blogger for Macleans OnCampus. The confirmation, now, is that my profile and picture are up on the website. Now that I have the confirmation, I should get excited, but instead the anxiety has crept in and prevents everything else.

This is silly, I've been blogging for years now*, and as the Macleans people said in the email, they like my writing. This should be easy. This is something I truly can do. Except, I can't seem to convince myself that I can. Because it's a step forward and each one of those means I'm somewhere I haven't been before, somewhere directly adjacent to where I just was, but this little spot is different enough that breathing is harder. This place, I'm uncomfortable enough that I could totally and completely mess up. I want a map for this place.

This, I've decided is the last of my defeat. This is the last of my anxiety. I will draw my own map. I will take purposeful steps forward. I will write things I like and hope that others accept it. But I will not let myself crumble if they don't. I give myself permission to do this because the only way I can become a writer is by writing things.

A couple hours later, while watching TV, my dad muses about the gift he's just given me. "Well... you're a real writer. I'm incredibly proud of you." This comment, at the time, filled me with paralysing fear of failure, of disappointing him. Now, I feel a little bit proud too.

On a more practical note, I will keep writing this blog, here, as well as the one over at Macleans, which will be a little different. Less personal, for sure. But I will keep writing; it's good practice. And I'm proud of it.

Thank you Ira Glass (by way of Ange) for giving me my daily dose of inspiration:





*OMG, seven years. Wow.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

BC Adventuring: Part I - Mountains!

BC was totally incredible. I love, love mountains. Love.

Day 1:
We flew in to BC early in the morning. Because of the time difference, we arrived with a whole day ahead of us. I sat next to the window, itching to see the mountains the whole way. I've done my fair share of traveling, but I've never seen "real" mountains, rocky ones with snow at the top. More than anything else, I was excited to see that. Unfortunately, it was cloudy the whole way over. I saw snaps of Ontario (lake) and Saskatchewan (fields) but missed out completely on snowy peaks. When we finally descended, I could see the mountains around Vancouver slipping into the clouds and I got very, very excited.

We picked up our rental car (hello deal on Mustang convertible!) and we drove to our hotel. Too tired for much activity, we decided to drive on highway 1 up to Horseshoe Bay. Driving along, watching the mountains and lush green fly past, I was drawn in completely. I took a hundred pictures and all of them failed to accurately capture what I was seeing and feeling, so part way through, I gave up.

On the way back, we drove over the Lionsgate Bridge and through Stanley Park to downtown. After the lush forest, the shiny, hard, stark downtown was more than I could handle. I'm used to stone buildings, a little bit of history... downtown Vancouver is all glass. I immediately wanted to retreat back to the mountains and breath in the cedar wood and salt air of the bay.

Sigh.

Day 2: We headed up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I knew it was either going to be really awesome or really touristy, and it turned out to be the best of both. Incredible views (biiiiig trees) and high school students dressed in period costumes (1890s) with old timey music playing. We gaped and walked through the tree top bridges and took a nature tour (the coveted fish feeding tour, in fact). The tour was the best. Some of those trees are 1000 years old! That's incredible! They were big trees when Dante was writing the Divine Comedy.*

After our fill of touristy, we hit the road for Abbotsford to take care of some business (the whole reason for the trip out there in the first place). On the way, we stopped in New Westminster and ate at the Green Diner. It's not a diner at all, it's the local sandwich shop where sandwiches named after clients cover a whole chalkboard wall and they pack pic-nic lunches (basket and all!). We stuck around at closing time and chatted with the owner (who is originally from Cape Breton, no word of a lie), exactly the kind of person you'd want to know. She loves to make sandwiches, but nothing too crazy, "people don't want to eat that every day!" Her shop doesn't want to be anything more than your regular stop. I highly recommend it, and I recommend the chicken corn chowder, her new recipe -- she gave us a cupful to try.

Well, two days is a lot to read (and write). I'm still a little jet-lagged and need to fix my sleep schedule. Part II to come!


*FYP strikes again. It was actually the first comparison that popped to mind.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

update.

I opted not to go to Girl Talk at Bluesfest tonight. The awful headache of the other night has been hovering, just outside my head, waiting to pounce at the first hint of stress or noise. To combat it, I spent my weekend relaxing. Mmm.

Tomorrow I head to Vancouver for a few days. I will by blogging all about it. With photos! Hurray.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Lazy, lazy, lazy

Today I was totally planning on going to work. You know, grudgingly, since like Jo Stockton, I love, love long days doing nothing. I have only recently realized this deep love. Last summer I remember hating the "doing nothing" days. What was I thinking? Such wonderful leisure, completely taken for granted! Sure this week hasn't been ideal, what with the chipmunk cheeks and the throbbing and the salt water gargling, but the afternoons of lying in bed listening to music and reading and dozing have been lovely. The percocet is not so bad either. Also, LC from two months ago? Those bamboo sheets were a WONDERFUL idea.

All this aside, I have a lot of things to get done at work and I won't be in next week due to a family vaca (yes, vay-kay) to Vancouver, so I really thought a few hours' work would be a good plan. So I put aside my lounge-y clothes and got the ole' blouse out of the closet. Relatedly, I have perfected the art of lounge-wear, and no, there is no lululemon involved. I looked super foxy today, ask Sarah who came over to watch SYTYCD on my couch.*

So the going to work things was thwarted by the Killer Headache, subtype: Worst I Have Ever Had. I procured this headache via hipster overload. No, I'm joking, kind of. I was cajoled into going to the Metric concert at Bluesfest last night. I enjoy Metric, I enjoyed the last show of theirs I saw and I really like their new CD. The show was fine, but it went on too long and the headache attacked me. We left after Stadium Love and I dragged my guy friends over to Iron and Wine which I was very much looking forward to. Unfortunately, I had the same experience as Stella, and thought it was underwhelming. I felt a bit like I was in a holding cell for all the Ben Harper fans who wanted to be far from Metric.

I beat it home after and lay on my bed with a cold cloth on my head to soothe my head and block out the light as I Skype chatted. I went to sleep around my normal bed time, not so much looking forward to work. When I woke up in the morning I felt like someone had tied a heavy weight around my head. Neither tea nor a shower helped and I gave up and went back to bed. I slept til noon, and I am not a sleeping in kind of gal. I'm not. But it was glorious.

I've spent the rest of today on the edge of a headache. Tonight I'm staying in quietly with a borrowed copy of Vanity Fair and a DVD, curled up under said bamboo sheets and nursing my head. I hear tomorrow is going to be a dreadful day weather-wsie, so I intend to stay in a CLEAN! MY! ROOM! You heard it here first. Oh! And make eggs for breakfast.

My life is soooo exciting.

*New TV show? So You Think You Can Dance On My Couch? I volunteer to host it. Mia Michaels can come over to my house anytime.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Less wise


Monday morning at 10am I had my wisdom teeth pulled out of my head. Two days in and I'm feeling OK (thank you percocet). More to come when I'm more coherent.

Current cravings: Quasedillas, hambuger, pizza pop.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I fully understand being judged by the position taken (re: Spice Girls) in this post.

I sort of wish I’d been weirder when I was younger. My name was the one the supply teachers never pronounced properly and other kids loved turning it into less than charitable nicknames, but my weird factor was pretty limited beyond that. Average height, average weight, blond hair, brown eyes, an outgoing bookworm. I wore a lot of pink. As much as I remember that kids can be mean, I also remember being very normal. I wasn’t leading any trends, but nor was I ignoring them. In fact, I remember following a lot of trends. I played with Barbies and My Little Ponies and knew all the words to Spiceworld (a skill that has come in handy more than once in the years since).

The Spice Girls were really not that bad. I mean, sure it was all manufactured and the songs contained subject matter than wasn’t really appropriate, but all I remember is sitting on the playground assigning Spice names (I was Baby Spice. Blond hair, natch). My mother put up with our tape playing over and over – she used it to entice us to get ready on time for school. At least the catchphrase my friends and I took from the Spice Girls was “Girl Power”.

I look at the girl band du jour now, and gag. The friendly, smiling faces and bizarre costumes of my childhood favourites have been replaced by a series of glorified strippers in dominatrix outfits. Um, gag? If they had been around when I was ten, no way would my mother have even allowed the tape in the house, and rightly so. Poor little girls can’t even play with Barbies anymore; they weren't the best for body image, but the “new Barbie”, the Bratz dolls, shouldn’t be anywhere near anyone who isn’t old enough to wear a bra. Also, Gap? Babies don’t need skinny jeans. Thanks.

What is wrong with the world? I’m a little bit disgusted. It must be hard for all the moms out there with their daughters being bombarded by the Pussycat Dolls. I do not envy their predicament. I remember being ten, I remember how everything friends were allowed to do and I wasn’t were SO unfair. Kids don’t see the big picture. I certainly didn’t. At least my number one role model was Claudia Kishi from the Babysitter’s Club. Does anyone read those anymore? Does anyone read anything anymore? My own little sister is only three years younger than I am and she and her friends barely ever read unless forced to. Without all those fabulous literary characters to draw on, pop culture retains an even larger influence.

Yikes. When I have kids, I’m chucking out the TV.