Category Archives: Life

A-Visiting I Shall Go

The weather outside isn’t worth talking about, so to cheer myself up I decided to visit some of my favourite domestically-minded blogs.

First up was the much needed Paris Breakfast, home of Carol Gillot’s exquisitely done watercolours. I love the way she chooses a topic and runs with it, sharing not just her watercolours but her photos, often dropping in one or two tidbits of historical trivia that I would never otherwise learn. The best part (aside from the writing, the photos and the paintings)? No sugar rush.

Next was a visit to Sandra’s Ravenhill Cottage. I discovered her blog a few months ago, and a visit with her always leaves me pondering something new. A fellow fan of the defunct Victoria magazine, she’s constantly sourcing out interesting and sometimes little known books about a variety of vintage or domestic topics. Her past few posts have ranged from home decor tips and victorian doll houses to the joys of tea.

Melange is a Virginian blog that I simply don’t visit as often as I ought, and I’m reminded of this every time I finally do get there. Her life and past expereinces are far different from mine, and I think that’s exactly what brings me back – she writes about a Southern life I’ve only read about in books…

A more recent discovery is Under a Blue Moon. Written by Andrea out of Northen California, it’s an absolute trove of goodies. I always enjoy her posts, and love the fact that she shares her home and surroundings – it appeals to the voyeur in me. I love where I live, but every once in a while I have random daydreams about a bungalow built for two with a rose garden and room for dogs, and visiting her is the next best thing.

A trip of this type is never complete without dropping in to Christine’s Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea site. I’ve mentioned it recently in relation to the US’s National Hot Tea Month, but that only nicked the tip of what she writes about. If you like yummy recipes (or just want to ooh and aah over the related food porn photos), hers is one of the best sites to go to. Visiting her reminds me of one of my more attainable goals, which is to get out of my comfort zone and try new flavours.

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Apparently One Monday This Week Wasn’t Enough

This morning started off with cat yak. Specifically, cat yak on the bed. Have you ever woken up that way? I don’t recommend it.

Only partly awake, I struggled to pull the duvet off the bed so I could throw the cover in to wash. I hung the soggy duvet off the back of my favourite Yowler’s sleeping chair so that I could survey the damage, then realized my eyes were refusing to focus and it would have to wait until I was actually functional. I found a couple of blankets, threw one over Lunchtruck (who hadn’t yet progressed past the …snore…Wha?… part of consciousness) checked on Her Highness (who was looking very ashamed because of course, she’d done the yakking, poor thing), and went back to bed with only one coherent thought:

Oh, it’s gonna be a doozy of a day.

After walking to work in the slush I was pretty sure of it. I love the city I live in, but I have a poor opinion of the state of some of it’s streets, especially in the Yaletown/Downtown area. Perhaps it’s because of all the construction, but there are some areas that are difficult to negotiate dry or wet, and when it’s slushing they are downright treacherous. I’m talking potholes with potholes, crevices big enough to catch a size 5 foot in, pavement so uneven that vehicles bounce when they go over it, thus requiring any female drivers to invest in steel-girdered bras… Basically it was slippy and slidey with a side of scary.

Eventually I got to work (late) and had to start my work day sans tea – not great, but I could manage that for one day. Midmorning I decided to prep the oatmeal I’d brought with me; I managed to get the water and oatmeal into the container without mishap, got it into the microwave without spilling, putting in only HALF the amount of time suggested and…

You know what’s coming, right?

The damn container exploded.

The microwaveable one I’ve been using on and off for the past 6 months. The one I’ve NEVER had a problem with before. That one.

I opened the door, looked in and started giggling. I couldn’t help it.

Still giggling I asked the lady who runs the cafeteria for a cloth so I could clean up the mess. She took one look at the the tray I was holding, and she started giggling.

Apparently she thought it looked like yak.

I lost it. I was laughing so hard I could barely breath, and she was right there with me. My morning had been a fiasco, and there was nothing I could do about it.

The good news? The Monday Godz took pity on me, because the rest of the day went smoothly. Well, except for the fact that I got mistaken for someone’s ex-girlfriend during my lunch break, but that’s another story…

Lines Not Appearing in This Film

I’m always a little surprised to wake up on the 28th or 29th and find that life is returning to normal so quickly after all the holiday craziness. You’d think that with all the prep work that people do, it would last longer, but no – life calls and you’ve no choice but to answer.

Lunchtruck and I have a fairly steady routine – on Boxing Day we tend to stay home and avoid the 6 million people at the post-Christmas sales. I don’t normally need a deal that badly, and I bruise easily. Instead we allow ourselves to indulge in a post-holiday feast, watch movies, and hang out. If we get antsy, we go for a drive. By the 27th, we are antsy, wondering how our nice neat abode got so cluttered. The piles of stuff start to get sorted, newly-received presents get new homes, and puttering occurs. By the 28th the underpinnings of life demand my attention, and grocery shopping, taking out the garbage, picking up more cat food, returning phone calls and reading emails all start to happen again.

This year was a little different. We actually entered a store on boxing day in search of some DVDs, and managed to get out relatively unscathed (although I did have a few minutes of panic when I lost sight of him in the electronics section). We didn’t know it at the time, but that one event caused us to slide into our regular routine that much faster, and here it is, the 29th, and I feel like all the holiday madness was weeks ago.

Lunchtruck surprised me by bringing home two classic movies from our local independent movie rental place on Wednesday night. I normally wouldn’t mention that it’s independent, but experience has shown me that most of the chain rental stores don’t tend to carry classic films, or if they do by chance have a section for them, black and whites are considered film noir (regardless of whether or not they are) and ‘classic’ starts with Star Wars, to quote Roger Ebert.

Last night we indulged in The Godfather, a movie I haven’t seen since I was a child, and which Lunchtruck claimed he’d never seen. We were both enthralled. Even with the violence, it was cinematic magic. We had an ongoing battle about who the artist was that played Kay, with me insisting it WAS Diane Keaton, and Lunchtruck saying he didn’t think so. Guess who was right?

Tonight I took a break from the ongoing re-creation of my publishing project (stupid program malfunctions…) and opted to settle in with the felines and watched Casablanca, another movie Lunchtruck had not seen from start to finish. It’s been ages since I saw it, and this time round I still loved the dialogue, the sets, the obviously phony backdrops, the plot, but I caught myself considering the more technical aspects – lighting, composition, line and form… And then laughing at myself for being the photography geek I am. I mean, really, when Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa Lund is professing her love to Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine, who in their right mind is going to be considering the catchlight in her eyes and the shadowing of the room? Apparently, I do.

As for the famous line “Play it again, Sam” – you guessed right – it doesn’t appear in the film. Not even the trailer.

Suddenly Friday

Where has the week gone?

I remember putting my nose to a certain stone on Monday, coming up for air and blogging on Thursday, and then suddenly the weekend arrived, coffee in hand and an expectant look on it’s face. Not that I’m complaining mind you, just that it’s a bit of a shock. A weekend, and the only thing I know is that there’s lots to do, lots I’d like to do, and lots that I ought to do. Isn’t that typical!

Naturally I started making a list, and came up with this weekend menu:

Schoolwork.
The task – illustration and layout for a fictitious zoo article. I chose a meerkat as the focal animal, and realized too late that I’m going to have to refine my fur and claw drawing technique. Looks like I’m going to need reference material, so add one trip to the library to that list.

Education.
Sunday I plan to go to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre to see the exhibit on Vancouver’s Schindler Jews, and hear speakers Barry Dunner & Kit Krieger. Details here.

A Little Fresh Air. I’ve been cooped up inside for days, but with the promise of clear weather I can’t help but want to take advantage of it. A long meander through the park would be great, but the reality will probably be choosing to walk to errands and taking more scenic routes when driving places.

Add to this more work on the dreaded sweater, some photo processing, getting through at least a few items on the errand/to-do list, time with family/friends/cats and some much needed sleep, and it’ll be a quiet but full weekend.

And you?

La Vida Drama

After the usual amount of over-discussion and analytics, the darling boy and I decided it was time to get cable again. He missed hockey. I had never had the opportunity to see George in action on his show at the CBC – at least not from the comfort of my own couch. Both of us miss the B-movies from the movie channels (What? You mean you liked Alexander for the acting? Pshaw! I bet you say that about Showgirls too). And yes, I’ll admit it – I wanted to be able to watch Gilmore Girls or Veronica Mars or… well, maybe I’ve said too much.

So we spent part of the weekend getting reacquainted with old friends. Spent 2 hours firmly planted on the couch with cats, tea and a duvet while the CBC gave us a fabulous prelude to hockey season in the form of Hockey: A People’s History. If their goal was to get us revved up for the season it worked. My interest is piqued. That hasn’t happened since before the strike!

Between that and the grocery shopping, cat cuddling, ’emergency’ visit to the local LYS to pick up a smaller size needle and the investment in the latest issue of Rebecca, you could say I’m settling in for a long cold and rainy season. I don’t plan on being a couch potato by any means, but I do suspect more of my activities are going to be home-based or home-oriented.

Well, the cats’ll love that.

A Love for New Beginnings

Supplies

Once upon a time my parents decided that it would be a grand idea to buy a house in the suburbs and bring up their kids there. I highly doubt they checked in with me, but I suspect if they had I would have given them the same look had they suggested that they were going to give the soon-to-arrive baby a mohawk for her christening.

Eventually the house got bought and the apartment got packed up. I got sent to summer camp for the week, so sadly I did not get to be part of the joy that is moving day. I’ve had many, many, many of those since then so I’m thankful I missed this one. It must’ve been a doozy.

When I finally did arrive in the new house, I felt a little lost, and a little disgusted. Apparently some people thought shag carpeting (in a particularly putrid plaid of orange, brown and yellow) and furry wallpaper (brown, but an even ickier brown) was the way to decorate. My mom set to dealing with THAT in a hurry.

That summer was a lonely one, and I spent a lot of time re-arranging my new room, watching the new baby gurgle at herself, and trying to figure out why this particular suburban area had no freakin’ sidewalks.

September loomed and mom brought out something I’d never seen before – a school supply list. Seems my new school’s budget did not run to supplying basics like notebooks and pens and crayons. My previous (and dearly loved) school had supplied most of these things, so the idea of a list was new to me.

Eventually a shopping trip was organized and my mom, gran, new baby sister and I trooped off to pick up the items on the list, the usual baby paraphenalia in tow. It was, as I recall, a rather long list. My feet hurt.

As a special treat, I got a new pencil box, which in those days were made of cardboard with a hinged lid. Choosing one took forever; did I want a cartoon character? Something with hearts or with unicorns? What colour? The choices were endless. My mother’s patience was not.

Being the bookish type, I relished the idea of going back to school. I loved the smell of new books and freshly shaved pencils, and I was eager to learn. Then the first day of school dawned, and by the end of that day I’d learned a number of things that dampened my enthusiasm and actually horrified me. Not only was I going to be in a split grade 6/7 class and guaranteed to learn absolutely nothing, my shoes were the wrong colour, my clothes were not girly enough, I was too ethnic looking, and there was an unwritten code about what colours the girls chose for their pencil boxes. Wouldn’t you know it? I had (and was) the wrong part of the spectrum.

That year was an interesting one – I really didn’t learn anything new and often got called on to teach my classmates as I already knew the material. Didn’t win any points there. A substitute teacher came to us during the rainiest part of the year, and to help keep our antsiness at bay she offered to teach an introductory yoga class to those of us who were interested. I was interested. By the end of the year I’d decided to hell with this, and looked forward to high school. I still loved school, and knew (although I couldn’t articulate it at the time), that learning and exploring was something I would savour for years to come.

Many years later, I still love learning new things, and still get excited at the prospect of starting something new, so it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I’ve gone from excited to scared to excited again as I count down the days to the start of my fall semester.

And yes, that’s a photo of some of my school supplies. I start tomorrow night.

lo·cus (lō’kəs)

<!–Tags: , –> There is something glorious yet dangerous about turning your back on technology. After 2 weeks of ‘forgetting’ my cell phone, checking my email as little as possible, not blogging, and generally staying as far away from the computer as possible, I caught myself having radical thoughts.

When faced with my ‘essential’ daily emails:
Why were these important again?

When dealing with emails I subscribed to, meant to keep me in the loop:
But they’re just selling stuff….

When cc’ed on yet another email where I actually a/didn’t have any decision making to do or b/ was getting it simply because someone was executing yet another CYA maneuver…
Bah.
Followed closely by DELETE.

So I started another list on a random, scrubby post-it, and titled it “emails received that I deleted without reading/or abandoned within the first few sentences”. Long name. Longer list. Once a subscription got 3 strikes, I requested to be removed.

I don’t think they’ll miss me.

I began to think that maybe all the information that claims to be relevent is, but not in my life. At least, not the one I want to be having, the one in which the friends I have I see face to face and know their voices and habits personally, not by their profile on myspace.

I began to think that the problem with living where I live is that so much effort is made to keep the shiny surface from tarnishing that the inner works are rusting from disuse. Fading even…

My focus is changing. And so most likely, will this blog.

Day 2

This morning I awoke much earlier than I’d expected. I had the whole day ahead of me to do with as I pleased. I’d specifically planned to not plan the first few days of my vacation time.

But a curious thing happened as the morning wore on. I started to feel like really, I ought to have something planned, that there should be something accomplished at the end of it all. I should go the gym, work off some of that flab that’s been hanging around. I should clean up the apartment, I should, I ought…

Wasn’t being rested and relaxed enough?

It got worse as the day wore on. I should go get something done…

but that would mean dealing with people…

…and then it hit me.

Part of the reason I took this time off is that I am well and truly sick of people. I don’t hate them, I’m just tired of them and their constant noise. I don’t want to be perky, or happy to see someone (unless I am) or chat about our weekends (unless I’m really interested). I don’t want to deal with one more boring conversation about TV I don’t watch, all the while wishing I could curl up with my book or my knitting or my sketch book or any number of other things that I enjoy doing on my own.

And so it was that at 2:37 this afternoon, I hadn’t yet stepped out the door, and I knew exactly why. I didn’t want to deal with anyone. I didn’t want to deal with the Yaletown sneer, or get stuck in an elevator where people would studiously ignore each other. I didn’t want to pony up $5.00 for an underachieving mocha from the local coffee place, and I certainly did not want to go shopping.

This vacation thing is tough.