Thursday, September 25, 2008

it's not you it's me

I think I'm going to take a break from blogging here for a bit, focus on some other endeavours. In the meantime, I finally found a way to share this slideshow I made with you. The song is "Encountering the Crippled Elephant" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

wordless wednesday

youmoving, shaking

my interpretation of "Moving, Shaking" by the Great Lake Swimmers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A coworker called me kind today. I don't think anyone has ever called me kind, certainly not at work. Neurotic, confident, warm, smart, assertive, annoying -- sure. But kind? It's unprecedented. And really nice.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the deal

OZ: We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a-a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?

CORDELIA: What's the difference?

OZ: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

XANDER: Well, I hate brie.

Yesterday we had a party. I'm still trying to figure out what kind of a deal it was. I mean, we had brie (which I actually don't really like but lots of other people do) and the song stylings were relatively mellow, but we also had several 2-year-olds so it was chock full of hoot. And there were definitely a few malt beverages.

It was a last-minute affair; I just decided to have a party on Friday when I saw the nice forecast for yesterday. If we'd had more notice I would have invited some bloggy peeps.

All summer long, my goal was to have a housewarming party before the end of September so we could enjoy the yard. This house really felt like a party house, like Burt Reynolds's house in Boogie Nights. But the issues we've had since we got possession kind of put a damper on my party visions, and I started to wonder why I wanted to have a party so badly anyways. I mean, who needs a party when you have seven seasons of Buffy to watch?

Unfortunately, the party segregated early on. None of my old friends have children, and the new friends do so they split along old/childless:new/childful lines. Which meant that I couldn't really catch up with the old friends OR get to know the new folks. After a while, the only old friends I have with kids showed up and provided a bit of a bridge between the groups. I felt all angsty about it last night after everyone left, but maybe that's just always how the host feels? Like they didn't get a chance to visit with everyone? And maybe people just have a good time anyways. That's the view I'm choosing to take.

As usual when I'm in the room, Myers Briggs came up. And you know what? They were almost ALL idealists (NFs) like me. Idealists are pretty thin on the ground at my work -- I only know of one, who is of course great to work with. No wonder I feel a bit out of place there. But discovering all the idealists I invited to the party made me realize that perhaps it's not so much that I need to make new friends, as that I have to reconnect with old friends.

The evening wound up pretty early in party terms, which was just fine with me. [Spoiler alert for potential Buffy watchers.] Earlier in the day it suddenly struck me that Buffy and Angel can never really be together again, now that they know what will happen if he ever experiences true happiness. How awful is that?!? Anyways, after everyone left and Swee'pea settled into bed, I popped my latest Buffy dvd in. It skipped so much I gave up on it. I'd rather wait until my new friend at work can give me her copies on Monday than miss any crucial scenes that involve Angel. Yes, I know I have a problem.

Friday, September 19, 2008


On the way to work and daycare is a mansion. It’s newer but blocky and traditional, with a grand estate-esque stretch of grass around it. I’ve been meaning to take a picture of it for the last few days because its manicured lawn features no less than four signs (two large and two small) in support of our local Conservative candidate, all lined up in front of its attached, four-car garage. Somehow that image just says it all…

Anyways, this morning when we walked by there were a bunch of trucks parked in front of it and large men in jeans and black t-shirts going in and out of them: a film crew. Amid all that activity sat one lonely figure in a folding chair next to the sidewalk, hunched against the September chill and looking decidedly like Not a Morning Person. He was dressed all in black, and his hoodie was pulled low revealing only dark sunglasses and a reddish goatee, individual hair glinting in the morning sun like dew-covered blades of grass.

Yesterday our house was so cold, I finally relented and turned on the heat. It stank and made me sneeze but it was preferable to the kind of cold I’m pretty sure that dude experienced this morning. I’m really starting to hate our house, but I hate the idea of selling and moving again even more. And the location is growing on me with every walk to and from work. I’m shocked that door to door to door only takes about 10 minutes longer than it did with the car at the other daycare.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

if you've ever thought about buying my work

Now may be a good time, especially for you lucky Americans.

Imagekind has a great new promotion until September 23, 2008: 20 percent off all custom frames. It also just so happens that all my images get free ground shipping in the US until the end of September, so now is a GREAT time for Americans to buy my stuff. Sadly, since my galleries at peripheral vision aren't working, you'll have to browse my images over at my Imagekind galleries.

To take advantage, type promo code FALL2008 in the promotion box at checkout. This from Imagekind: "Promotion expires September 23, 2008 at 10pm PDT and cannot be combined with any other promotion code. Limit one order per person. Promotion code must be used at time of checkout to apply. Your order must be placed during the promotional period to qualify for this special pricing offer. Discount promo applies to custom frames only."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Yesterday was Swee’pea’s first day at the new daycare. When he woke up, he looked out the window and announced, “The sun’s up! I’m going to my NEW school!” And that’s pretty much how the day continued. No tears when we said goodbye, no breakdown when I picked him up – in fact, he didn’t want to leave. He was most pleased to get to wear his new indoor shoes with yellow dump trucks (NOT big tractors – our friend already made that mistake and was promptly corrected). This morning, our separation was once again a non-event.

Everything about the new daycare is better than the old one, not just its location. The teachers just seem so much more enthusiastic and focused. As soon as we walked in, his teacher asked for a hug immediately, and Swee’pea obliged, which is highly unusual. But it occurred to me afterward, that it was a great thing for his teacher to do. It sends a clear message to Swee’pea, that she is someone he can attach to, and doing it while Sugar D and I were still there, also tells him that it’s not a competitive attachment (please forgive the psychobabble: I’ve been reading Hold Onto Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté).

When I went to pick him up yesterday, his other teacher immediately started raving about what a great day he had, how cute he is, how laid-back he is, how chatty he is, how he even participated in circle time and started to show some interest in the other kids. The teachers just seem more satisfied and engaged. Another bonus is that some of the teachers do private babysitting at people’s homes – date night here I come!

I also like that they mandate parental involvement so you can build some community. I’ve already recognized several of the kids in his class as belonging to people I already know and often work with directly, and it’s allowed me to reconnect with two friends I’ve lost touch a bit with. And I haven’t even mentioned the morning walk across campus, by the grazing horses and cow barns… I hate to jinx us, but so far so good with the transition. What a relief.

On the Buffy front, I’m in trouble. I just discovered I’m running a marathon, not a sprint as I’d previously thought. My video store only has three seasons, so I assumed that’s all the seasons there were. I did think it was a bit strange that it developed SUCH a following in only three seasons, but I figured it was just one of those things, like the Caramilk secret. I figured I could finish the series in another couple of weeks, and then my obsession would relax and I could get back to normal life. But this morning I was told there are, in fact, SEVEN seasons. Now I have months ahead of me, and Amazing Race, Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, House AND SYTYCD Canada (has anyone else been watching? The calibre of dancers makes me proud to be a canuck – but that’s for another post). There’s no way I can juggle Buffy with all those shows, not to mention two upcoming photography workshops, and that miniscule task called motherhood (and partnership for that matter but that always seems to be an afterthought these days).

On top of that, my latest disc started skipping and finally crapped right out last night. My video store is the only store in town that carries Buffy and they don’t have a buffer to try to fix the disc. A coworker of mine has a friend who owns the whole collection on dvd, and she’s going to bring me the disc in question tomorrow – but what about tonight??? I must watch Buffy every night! I’m getting twitchy just typing this… Fingers crossed I can get my hands on some more Buffy before I get into the really serious withdrawal symptoms.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

step AWAY from the Buffy

I'm devastated. (I'm assuming I'm the last person on earth to watch Buffy but if you haven't seen it AND you're thinking about maybe watching it one day - SPOILER ALERT.)

I've been watching Buffy pretty obsessively, two, sometimes three episodes every night. The thing that keeps me starting a new episode, even when I'm so tired my eyes are watering, is - I'm ashamed to admit - primarily Angel. He had me at hello. Those deep longing gazes from delicious brown eyes, the tortured soul (Oh, I am SUCH a sucker for a tortured soul)... I think I fell for him as badly as Buffy did.

When he was about to go away to take the Judge's arm off to the ends of the earth, I was all, quick, have sex! You don't know when you might have the chance again! And then he gave her the cladagh ring (after I went to Scotland that became my number one teenage fantasy, a boy giving me a cladagh ring to match the one he was already wearing, heart pointed inward), and then he jumped in the water after her... I cried for a good chunk of that episode, I'm not sure why exactly. I'm thinking it had something to do with the unrelenting rain and spiders seeking shelter and just generally feeling trapped (and yes I feel stupid for whining about a little rain when Hurricane Ike just flooded Texas and Louisiana).

And then Angel lost his soul and I really lost it. Not so much that he turned bad, I kind of thought that might happen, but that it was because he experienced true happiness? With Buffy? The irony gets me even now.

It's ridiculous. It's like all I can think about, wondering if it's at all possible that Angel might have his soul restored. Knowing that he got his own spin-off series, and that Morrigan thought it was funny, I'm trying to figure out which would be more entertaining: totally evil heartless vampire or vampire with a conscious? At this point, I'm just holding onto the hope that since his soul was retrievable once for the gypsy, it's still out there somewhere, whole. Right?

In the meantime, there is Oz. And really, he's got a lot more personality than Angel.

I've been playing my wallow music on repeat for days now (so I know it's not just Angel): Great Lake Swimmers are my new favourites ("Moving Shaking" is SO haunting) but since I only have a few songs by them I've been forced to branch out. Now it's Cold Play. What's your favourite wallow music?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Real Estate Lesson Number One:

Every house is a money pit, not just the cheap ones. So if you thought you could afford a more expensive house because you wouldn't have to fund costly renovations and repairs, think again.

* * *

The young guy who cleaned my ducts last week came back today with experts, to see if there was anything more they could do to eliminate the no-good, horrible, very bad mouldy smell. I was suddenly struck by how very good-looking the Duct Guy was. Sure, I'd noticed last week that I was cracking nervous jokes and he was laughing heartily at them, but he's really good-looking, complete with five o'clock shadow, not-too-coifed fauxhawk, and bright blue eyes. I couldn't look at him today. And all I could think about was how I couldn't look at him -- of course that's a much easier topic to contemplate than the FUCKING HUGE STINKY LEMON of a house we've just saddled ourselves with.

* * *

When we first looked at this house, its lack of a basement was a serious hurdle for me. But then I went back to our (old) basement -- nearly dirt floored, damp and smelly itself -- and realized that having no basement could actually be a selling point. As we sorted through all our stuff in the basement, all the stuff we'd forgotten we had, stuff that got damaged by the damp, completely obsolete stuff, as we swept the gobs of cobwebs down and I nearly died sneezing, the one thing that kept us going was the fact that we would never again have to deal with such unpleasantness.

WRONG. Now we just have to deal with it in our living space. And we have to figure out something soon, because it's getting colder and the stench is fucking awful when the furnace is on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


"I fell for the American dream, female version, hook, line, and sinker. I, as many young women do, honest-to-god believed that once I Just Lost a Few Pounds, somehow I would suddenly be a New You, I would have Ken-doll men chasing my thin legs down with bouquets of flowers on the street, I would become rich and famous and glamorous and lose my freckles and become blond and five foot ten. I would wear cool quasi-intellectual glasses and a man's oxford shirt in a sunny New York flat and sip coffee and say Mmmm and fold my paper neatly and He would come up behind me and look at me with an adoring gaze. I would swing sexily into my red coupe, and the wind would blow through my hair as I drove into some great big city, stepping off the elevator and striding (with a feminine but authoritative step) into my office where everyone would be impressed with my every feminine but authoritative word. In the evenings I would go home and make magical gourmet meals and eat three bites, and He would look at me in the candlelight and I would be a superwoman 1980s goddess, yes indeed. As soon as I left my hometown and lost a few pounds."

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book at my local used bookstore. I didn't know I was looking for it, but it pulled me in so thoroughly, I finished it in a weekend. It was called Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher. Partly it hooked me in a train wreck kind of way: I couldn't look away from its horror. But also, if I'm honest with myself, I identified with a lot of what Hornbacher said. I've never had an eating disorder, but I think most women in North America have disordered eating and fucked-up body images. Hornbacher is an extreme example, but she makes it pretty clear that, as a culture, we're pretty obsessed with thin.

When I was at the peak of my illness and anxiety, I didn't eat much. At one point I was down to only a very few 'safe' foods that I could eat - foods that wouldn't make me sick. I could only eat in strictly prescribed situations and times, mostly at home. Although I wasn't motivated by weight loss, I did lose weight. I got angry when people congratulated my weight loss, because, intellectually, it wasn't something to congratulate -- I was sick. But I secretly enjoyed being thin. I enjoyed that when I laid on my side, I couldn't let my knees touch each other because they were so bony. I enjoyed my jutting hip bones. And I remember times when hunger pangs meant power, they were good - they meant I had nothing in my stomach to piss out my ass, that I would be safe for a little longer. Hornbacher also enjoyed the emergence of her skeleton and the power that she wrought over her body, the power she felt in hunger.

* * *

"And when you decide you are tired of being alone with your sickness, you go out seeking women friends, people who you believe can show you by example how to eat, how to live -- and you find that by and large most women are obsessed with their weight.

It's a little discouraging."

* * *

"Now that I think of it, most of the women I worked with talked about diet and weight."

* * *

The cafeteria at my work offers several varieties of yogurt for sale. However, they are ALL zero-percent fat, the kind with ingredient lists the size of the container, all those ingredients to make up for the fat. I prefer my yogurt with more fat and fewer ingredients.

* * *

"Women use their obsession with weight and food as a point of connection with one another, a commonality even between strangers. Instead of talking about why we use food and weight control as a means of handling emotional stress, we talk ad nauseum about the fact that we don't like our bodies. When you decide not to do that, you begin to notice how constant that talk is."

* * *

I work in a woman-dominated field. Most of the women I work with are either dieting or actively managing their weight. Most of the time I don't participate, but occasionally I'm drawn into discussions. And several times various women have indicated an assumption that I must want to lose weight, that I'm struggling. Often the assumptions remain unspoken but they hang in the air, in a moment of silence, or a pointed question about my wedding photo - when did you get married? (When were you last thin?)

Yes, I'd like to lose some weight, I'd like for my body to become familiar again. But my self-worth isn't tied up in it. And I resent that others assume it is. And I'm just as willing to just accept my new(ish) shape as I am to try to change it. Frankly, diets scare me.

* * *

"When a study was done on a group of young, healthy men whose daily caloric intake was cut to just under a thousand calories, they began to: stash food surreptitiously, talk about food constantly, chew gum and mints perpetually, read recipes for dishes they couldn't make. As the study went on, they were frequently caught digging through garbage cans, sneaking into the hospital kitchen to binge. They began to purge, and -- interestingly enough -- they became incredibly worried about their weight, the shape of their bodies, and began to diet. They worried about getting dirty, got disgusted with their own biological functions, and didn't want to touch food anymore."

* * *

In university I once wrote a paper for Women's Studies comparing eating disorders and plastic surgery with female circumcision in other cultures. I got a lousy grade but I still stand by the comparison. A woman I know recently asked me if I noticed a difference in her skin. I looked closely, but couldn't really see any difference, or at least not one I felt comfortable noting. She confessed that she'd gotten a chemical peel and it really, really hurt, but she couldn't see a difference. And if there wasn't any difference, she definitely wouldn't do it again because it was so painful.

I reacted all wrong. I felt so badly for her, for how awful it must feel to hate your body so much that you would choose to corrode your face just to reduce your pores and look younger. But I didn't convey my compassion very well... instead I ranted about how that is self mutilation, how nobody seems to realize how violent plastic surgery is. How you don't solve body image problems by changing your body, how that just pulls you in further, pulls you into more and more extreme acts against your body.

I think the only thing she learned from the conversation was to never again tell me about any treatments she gets. About a week later, I did notice her skin seemed smoother, and again a few weeks after that. I guess it's working for her.

* * *

"Starving is the feminine thing to do these days, the way swooning was in Victorian times. In the 1920s, women smoked with long cigarette holders and flashed their toothpick legs. In the 1950s, women blushed and said tee-hee. In the 1960s, women swayed, eyes closed, with a silly smile on their faces. My generation and the last one feign disinterest in food. We are "too busy to eat, "too stressed" to eat. Not eating, in some ways, signifies that you have a life so full, that your busy-ness is so important, that food would be an imposition on your precious time. We claim a loss of appetite, a most-sacred aphysicality, superwomen who have conquered the feminine realm of the mind. And yet, this maxim is hardly new. A lady will eat like a bird. A lady will look like a bird, fragile boned and powerful when in flight, lifting weightless into the air."

* * *

In high school, one of my best friends was anorexic. She grew fur over her cheeks and arms while the hair on her head fell out in clumps and left bald patches. Her eyes were sunken and hungry-looking; she watched us eat like some kind of predator but I mostly only saw her eat apples. She ate them down to nothing but seeds and a stem.

I remember a girl in my chemistry class commenting that she wished she could be as thin as my friend. My telling her how sick my friend actually was didn't seem to revise her opinion. And, much as I never admitted it, there was a small part of me that, separate from worrying her heart would just quit, kind of admired how good her Guess jeans looked on her skinny arse.

* * *

"This is one of the terrible, banal truths of eating disorders: when a woman is thin in this culture, she proves her worth, in a way that no great accomplishment, no stellar career, nothing at all can match. We believe she has done what centuries of a collective unconscious insist that no woman can do -- control herself. A woman who can control herself is almost as good as a man. A thin woman can Have It All."

* All italicized text is from Wasted.

Friday, September 05, 2008

on vampires and cable guys

Wow, has it really been more than a week since I last posted? I've been trying to work on a thinky post, but as usual it's not really coming together. In the meantime, since we haven't had cable (I'm at home waiting for the cable guy as I type - a week and a half after the last appointment that the cable guy ducked out on me), I finally rented the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I'm totally getting sucked in. I've only finished six episodes, but I'm lovin' it, especially Angel.


So Mommy C has tagged me for a meme. Yippee! It's been forever since I've been tagged and I love myself a good meme. This one's a challenge though. Six unspectacular quirks. First off, after two years of blogging, I think I've already put all my quirks out there. Second, it seems to me that all quirks, especially mine, are spectacular by their very definition. But really, I just don't think I have any quirks left to mine. So instead, I will give you six unspectacular things about the new house.

1) The duct cleaner is currently cleaning our ducts, and there is a lot of poo in them. Mouse droppings, which I knew about, but also something much larger. I fear raccoons have been inhabiting the six-inch space between the concrete pad and the floor. Ok, that one's actually kind of spectacular in a horrible, horrible way. I'm trying to not think about it.

2) The dishwasher is great. We've never had a dishwasher before, and I can't tell you how warm the evenings of its grunting and swishing make me feel. Oh the warm and loving sound of dishes being washed that don't require hands, either mine or Sugar D's.

3) The driveway. Unlike our neighbours, we don't have a garage. We do, however, have a double-width driveway, and with our friend's car, it is SUCH a luxury to be able to fit both cars in the driveway. Not only do they fit, but I don't get scratched or soaked by the neighbour's shrub that never gets trimmed.

4) The den. I love having a separate room for the tv, so we have to go out of our way to watch it. (Of course, it helps not to have any cable, so we'll see how we do on this once cable is installed.)

5) The light is pretty spectacular, and I can see I'm going to have lots of fun with my camera.






6) Ok so I was starting to get panicky that there was only a half-hour left of the cable guy's appointment and maybe the phone had run while I was out meeting the duct cleaner or the time I peed and forgot to take the phone with me (as opposed to the time I peed and TOOK the phone with me). So I called Rogers to find out what was up. Guess what?!? Apparently the hooked up the cable a few days ago. Apparently they don't ACTUALLY need you to be there when they do it. What if I hadn't called? When were they planning to tell me that everything was a go? On the plus side, they're giving us free PVR rental for a year to make up for all the hassle. Wanna know how I got it? I said, "I know you're personally not responsible for this but your company's customer service TOTALLY sucks and it makes me want to just switch to Bell. Their service probably sucks too, but I bet they would at least call to cancel a fucking appointment."