Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sometimes It Lands the Way You Want it To

 There are two parts to this story, but they both involve the same person/same blog:  Kate Davies of Needled - a favourite blog of mine.

Last year I sent a "get well soon card" to Kate who had recently suffered a stroke.  I was, and still am, moved by her struggle and how well she seems to manage.  I'm such a crank that I'm sure I'd alienate all but those with the strongest intestinal fortitude.  I'm sure Kate has her days, but she actually communicates her struggles (rather than internalizes them as yours truly would do).

Checking in with her blog, I saw that she'd archived the correspondence she's received, and I found the card I sent her.* Yes, I'm a dork (what?); it was so gratifying to know that my card actually got to her.  Snail mail still has its merits.

The second part is related to yesterday's covetable dress.  I found out about Cabbages & Roses from her blog; she'd interviewed their designer as she is often asked about her wardrobe (much of which is Cabbages & Roses) so I went to their website where I fell in love with the red wool dress, which - by the way - is on its way to me (via a friend) right now (yay!).**

Visit her blog, buy her patterns, make something covetable.

*Thanks to my mother-in-law who I believe gave me those cards.
**Quite the compound/complex sentence.  I wonder if I'd let my students get away with that one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just When I'd Thought I Might Be Over It

I fall in love with a new dress.
However, it may be unrequited love (not the first, nor the last) because Cabbages & Roses (the company) doesn't seem to ship to Canada (hey, we're a former colony!) or the United States (ditto but we've managed to ditch the Queen (please see Canadian currency) as well).  Yes, I have sent a somewhat plaintive and amusing message to them.  We'll see whether this cheery, cherry red wool dress will cross the pond.

Three Pigs and a Cow

walk into a bar...

Not really.  There were three organic pigs and a cow (carcasses, mind you) at the sausage making weekend I got to participate in a couple of weekends ago.  I missed the first day where they broke down the cow (not used for sausage) and only got a few hours in on Saturday when we were cutting away all the meat from the pigs.  However, I did learn, on the last day, how to twist sausages.  Next year I just plan on living with the hosts so I can be there for every single minute of it.

I have to say, it was a great experience.  Even though I wasn't there for the whole thing, I learned a lot.  (Of course whether I retain this info is up for debate.)  But I also got to take part in a great moment of community.  I entered the weekend just wanting to learn what goes into the process as well as to "meet my meat," so to say.  I was there to help the primaries (the three guys, including the farmer whose animals we were using, who do this every year) put up their sausages and salamis (okay, that sounds like a sexual innuendo, which is totally unintentional but amusing considering the source).  Not only did I get to meet new people (I'm learning that Hamilton and its environs has some very cool characters), but they shared some of the results of the weekend with me.  Seriously, I was not expecting my own little portion.

One of the hosts said that the weekend felt like what the holidays should be about, and I have to say, I couldn't agree more.
We worked in the garage.  It kept both the meat and us cold.

Working on a side of beef.

 I hadn't arrived yet so I have no idea what that guy (whose name I don't recall) is looking at, but look!  there's salami on the table.

I just love this photo because it's got both glamour and pork.  What more could you ask for?  Oh yeah, the pig's feet - they all came home with me.   Yay!  I'm going to make trotter gear and The Breslin Pig's Foot - a kind of pig's foot sausage, which I believe was inspired by musette, a sausage that I got to sample at dinner on Sunday night.  Oh my beautiful musette.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good: making progress; getting out of the deep, deep abyss that's sucked me up for the past month or so
The bad:  still grading; the house is a mess; scampering to be ready for the holidays
The ugly:  answering the door at 12:40pm still in my pajamas and robe because I haven't stopped working since I woke up

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Than One Happy

 Happy Anniversary to Proper Tension; Happy Birthday to me; and happy, happy to everyone out there.

That's all.  Just happy, happy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Did It

I closed two of my accounts at a major international bank.  Even if it hadn't been suggested by the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would've closed them.  I'm tired of ridiculous fees for their "services," such as they are.  It's really not that hard to close and open bank accounts, even if you have automatic bill payment systems set up.  I think that's just a myth perpetuated to make us more inclined to accept increased service charges.  Enough already.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TGIF - Now I Understand

It's been a rough few days for me - overwhelmed by schoolwork, my desire to participate in SheWriMo, and all the other things (aka the rest of my life) stranded on the wayside.  Fridays have really become the light at the end of the tunnel: a day to both regroup and get some work done.  Today I not only managed to finish a flash fiction piece that I'd started months ago, but I also submitted it and another story for publication.
 I also finally used a gift certificate from my birthday last year (it was going to expire tomorrow) and treated myself to some Malabrigo yarn to make the Transverse Cardigan from the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.
Ever diligent, however, I will mark at least five papers before I start to wind the skeins.  Promise.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So Appropo

An appropriate image and sentiment from our Nikki McClure calendar.  Write someone a letter today.  Imagine how happy they'll be to receive something other than bills and catalogs in the mail.

SheWriMo or The Pen is Mightier than the Resentment

Okay, not really.  I'm not resenting anything or anyone (well, there is a student...) right now, but it's at that ever-special time of year when all the papers are coming in, and I risk blood loss via paper cuts.   It would therefore seem natural that I would ignore invitations to take on another task...unless that task is related to my writing, which is currently in a state of suspended animation.

That's where SheWriMo (SheWrites More) comes in - a challenge from the SheWrites community to write something everyday, and not only to write something, but to make your intentions known on the SheWrites site.  I actually do write everyday, but it's usually only in my journal.  I haven't really worked on a story since, oh, maybe September.  I sent my short story manuscript to an editor (who still has it, which to me is a good thing) and in the meantime have mostly been logging rejections and noticing the dwindling number of submissions still alive out there. 

Anyway, I took the bait and posted that I would write a blog post today.  Voila!  Mission accomplished!  If only it were always that easy.  (Note, evidently November is also National Blog Posting Month - say what?)  What pleases me even more than accomplishing today's writing goal is the support of the SheWrites community.  Shortly after I'd posted today's mission, someone replied with encouragement.  Seriously, that is just what I needed.  It's really too easy to be isolated in one's writing practice (which is one reason for this blog as well).

I'll have to think about what tomorrow's goal will be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shoe of the Week: Hot Dog! Mustard Cowboy

I find myself interested in these for a number of reasons - the colour is unique (which could both be a good and a bad thing), they're from Patagonia (not the geographic region but a label I love), and...well,  maybe, just maybe, I'm due a little shoe love.  It's been a mighty dry patch for awhile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So Super Cute It's Almost Too Much!

Really!  The giant guitars, the synchronization, their cute little faces, those tiny hands.  It's too, too, much, and yet, just what I need.

Monday, October 24, 2011


That's really one of my favourite fair games, but right now, it feels like a metaphor for my schedule/life/interests.  Something pops up, and I have to hit it with a (plush) hammer to get it back in place. 

For example, am I teaching in the buff?  Absolutely not, but I've had neither time nor, quite frankly the desire, to photograph what I'm wearing.  In fact, I'm a little tired of photos of myself.

Shoe of the week?  Send me your suggestions.

Crafting?   I was impulse bidding on yarn on ebay last night to make up for the fact that I haven't knit since the summer.  How does (potentially) buying more yarn make me feel better for not having time to knit?  It suggests that I will again soon  (that's the best I can come up with at the moment).

Can't wait to see what pops up today!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fair Love - End of the Season

Last weekend we went the Rockton World's Fair, which I think probably marks the end of the fair season (at least for us).  I couldn't help but be reminded of when we went to a (much smaller parking lot) fair in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland this summer.

As fall begins, here's a little summertime love to keep us warm.

Bunnies!  I love bunnies!
Rockton World's Fair

Rockton World's Fair

Our little friend Ernst enjoying the ride.
Rockton World's Fair

Me, enjoying the ride provided by Ernst, a most attentive driver.
Rockton World's Fair
The boy (ours, not Ernst) would've looked mighty good in this coverall.  Obviously it was made for him.
Rockton World's Fair
From Newfoundland - me, the lady friend, and Wednesday Lupypciw (awesome artist and all-around individual)
Photo taken by Will Gill - another artist extraordinaire
 Just like Ernst, I like a good time.
Photo by Will Gill
 Will Gill, lady friend, me, and Wednesday
Photo by Will Gill

Two Shows - Highs & Lows

On Monday night I went to see Portishead in Toronto at the Sound Academy.  I went alone because after eating an extra ticket fee on two separate occasions, I've learned to buy only one ticket.  I also figured it was the kind of show where it'd be fine to be on your own.  In fact, I'm beginning to think that it really shouldn't be an issue at all (but more on that in another post). (Full disclosure - this was also the first time that anyone's ever given me their phone number unsolicited.  Thanks!)

Anyway, the show was fantastic.  They sounded as good live as they do on CD, and their stage show/presence was right on target.  I really appreciate Beth Gibbons, as well as the band's, understated demeanor - it lets me focus on her singing and the music overall (rather than trying to follow along with some convoluted narrative enacted via costumes and dancers that essentially diverts attention from some of the less-than-interesting/original music performed by others).  Know what I mean?

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal Tour show in Hamilton on Wednesday night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Little Bird Told Me You Were Blue

Just a card I stitched up (thanks to Sublime Stitching's Stitchable Stationery) to cheer up someone near and dear to me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend - One of Multiple Posts

Last night, after coming home from our (Canadian) Thanksgiving meal with friends, the lady friend and I thought we'd warm up the television.  As we surfed around looking for something interesting (don't get me started on what's on TV), we came across "If a Tree Falls:  A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" on POV (yay public television!).

The documentary follows Daniel McGowan, a former member of the ELF, who was facing life in prison for his role in two arsons (no one was hurt).  I'm not going to go into all the details; you should see the documentary, which is available on the POV website for viewing until October 13th.  (You can also go to his website.) What is important to this blog post is that the story moved me, and it reminded me of the urgency I used to feel around social, environmental, and political issues.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wheel! Of! Exhaustion!

Yes, I'm surprised that some of my teaching outfits have not featured the ever-present hamster wheel I've felt I've been on recently.  (Would it surprise you to find out that I actually teach on three days this semester and that my Thursday outfits have not made it onto the blog?)

Today has been a little better.  I think I'm finding a way to juggle teaching four (!) classes with the rest of my life.  Well, it's not really juggling when you just find ways to work everyday.  The juggling part comes in when I start to feel resentful or, even better, belligerent.  What fun!  Nonetheless, no one forced me to teach this many classes.  It's actually an effort to eliminate some debt so that we can actually live in Berlin for five or six months in 2013.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

What I Wore to Teach Today: Pete and Repeat

Despite the fact that the ladyfriend had to get up early to snap this photo, this is my first opportunity to post it.

Yes, I've worn this before.
Shirt:  Kedem Sasson
Vest:  Kedem Sasson
Pants:  Comme des Garcons
Shoes:  Camper

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Love is a Battlefield

Full disclosure - classes started on September 8th, but I'd grown tired of my photos.  Now I'm enlisting my lady friend and trying to switch up the background.

Skirt:  Comme des Garcons
T-Shirt:  Hanes
Leather jacket:  Gucci
Shoes:  Aerosoles

Bracelet:  From Mex-I-Can, our local Mexican restaurant

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shoe of the Week: Still Holds Up for Me

United Nude Eamz Pump

I saw this shoe a number of years ago, and it still holds up.  In this picture, it is in a navy metallic leather, and while black might be infinitely more "functional," I think I like this option.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Slow to Start, But Gathering Steam

Yes, I've been away.  You could play a kind of messed-up version of "Where's Waldo" with my travels and travails of the past month; however, I'm starting to feel like I'm catching up to myself.

The first sign of "back to normal" ("normal" being a subjective term) is that I'm excited about fall and, of course, fall fashion.  It took a little longer this September, but now that I'm in, I'm really in.  I'm looking forward to pouring over the Elle Collections magazine.  Not only do they do one of the best jobs of representing the season, but they have interesting layouts and other features.  Sure, it cost $20, but it's better than buying four sub-par (and often repetitive) magazines.

Now if it only would get a little colder so I could wear my new jacket!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where A Lot of It All Began

Thanks to

28 years ago today, my friend took me to my first hardcore show in Washington, DC.  It turned out to be Minor Threat's last show and the beginning of a very important part of my life.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Post I Don't Want to Write

Super sad times in the midst of celebrating our son's 25th birthday.  We had to put our cat Max down last Saturday.  I've been avoiding my blog and this post, hoping that somehow it'd get easier.  It hasn't.

Max really was a love. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shoe of the Week: Wish I May, Wish I Might

I was at a party this weekend and someone commented on what I was wearing, which brought up the subject of fashion.  He then asked me, "So what's big for fall?"  His question caught me by surprise, and I had no ready reply.  I then realized, or consciously acknowledged (same difference?), that I really hadn't been paying much attention. Thankfully the Women's Fashion Edition of the New York Times Style Magazine came this weekend, and I'm back at it.

I love the shape of these pumps with their curved heel.  They strike me as both fantastically impractical but quite wearable at the same time.  I could see these paired with heavy wool stockings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shoe(s) of the Week: Fluid Fantasy

You have to check out the shoes from Kobi Levi.  A friend pointed me in the direction of his blog, and now I'm wondering where one might procure these fantastic creations.  Really rather stunning and imaginative creations.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is August the New September?

Last weekend a friend asked, "What happened to August?" and I knew what she was talking about.  There it was, only five or so days into the month and the month already seemed to be over, or at least over-booked.  I feel like I'm careening headlong on a greased slide into September, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of August as it blurs by.

August has always been a busy month, but we've usually disguised the work we're doing by maintaining that summer attitude - there's sun, there's time, why not have a beer?  Now we're just cranking - class prep, working on our pieces for the September Supercrawl, finishing my collection, etc.  It'd be a little less disconcerting (this apparent loss of the essence of August) if things were going to be settling down in September.  Alas, this is not the case.  It's only going to continue to ratchet up.  But I can't lie, a great deal of it is of our own design.

So in order to grab hold of what's left of summer, I've slipped some jam making in (peach jam - yum, but peeling peaches is a bitch) and have a goal that speaks to what August should be.  Before the end of the month, the ladyfriend and I will go to our local, outdoor public pool.  It's only about three blocks away, and we've never been.  I walked by it yesterday and a longing, mixed with a Proustian moment of nostalgia, overcame me.  Hanging out at the public pool.  Very summer, very achievable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Week in Paradise

First things first.  Right after my last blog post, we came back to the cottage and a gorgeous evening.  It felt like a reward for sitting through a number of cold and wet days.  The weather since has been a good mix of sunny days with overcast ones.  Sometimes, in the fog of reminiscence, you forget that not all the days of your holiday are sunny.  In short, the weather overall has been quite favourable.

The crafting has taken on a different focus.  I managed to finish the second sock of a pair destined to be a gift, but knitting has fallen to the wayside.  In its place is some Shake-n-Make work.  The photo above is of one element of our site-specific installation for the Hamilton Supercrawl in September.  We’re making reverse appliqué beaded “cozies” for three concrete planters along James Street North.  The holidays, for which most of my current knitting is destined, are at least four months away.  The Supercrawl is only five or six weeks away.  The great thing with priorities is that you can almost always shuffle them around (just ask my collection of short stories – sigh).

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Drama of It All

Our trip to Newfoundland was great.  Oh, sure, there was the near-death experience of driving in the potentially moose-laden fog, but we met lots of cool people, got to see a new (to us) province, and generally engaged in rather social behavior.

Our friends (and hosts) took us to Fogo Island.  Thankfully we had beautiful weather, which serves as a great background for these photos (taken by the ladyfriend - I'm so lazy with the photography when there's a professional around...).  The buildings (artists' studios) are for an artists' residency there.  There will be six of them in total scattered about the island.  Of the four that have been completed, we visited two and saw a third from the road.  Very cool.  Very dramatic.

Not to complain, but the weather in Nova Scotia hasn't been all that we've advertised it to be.  It's been unseasonably cold, which has prevented us from lazing about in the sun or swimming (yes, you can swim here).  I've also found that I haven't been as productive, craft-wise, as I often am although I did finish a sock today.  Nevertheless, I have to be careful not to compare each trip to the last (or to the "best of" film that plays in my mind).  I'm currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire and that's going a long way to making it feel like a summer vacation.  The fact that we're not being boiled alive in southwestern Ontario is also a consolation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orb Action Available to All!

As you know, we're in Newfoundland, and one of the main reasons we're here is because the ladyfriend is doing a performance/science experiment as part of the ArtEx festival.  Tomorrow, around 10am (Newfoundland time, which is 1.5 hours ahead of New York/Toronto time), she'll be launching an orb outfitted with a digital camera and a GPS down the Exploits River.  The camera will be snapping photos every two seconds, which she'll turn into an animation once the orb's trip down the river is complete.  But you can follow the orb online in real-time because the GPS will be sending position information every 10 minutes.  Here's the link to be in on the action:  I'll be acting as the "lab assistant" back at the gallery, mapping out the progress of Orbie, as we call it now.  While I don't get to follow Orbie down the river,  at least I get to wear a lab coat.  I guess that, and the trip to Newfoundland, is fine recompense.

On an entirely different, but related note - does anyone know if there's a metal scene in Newfoundland?  The landscape, as we saw it before we got covered in fog yesterday, is quite conducive to thoughts of trolls, death, and the meaninglessness of life.  Right now, the only "Newfie" music I know of involves fiddles and accordians, which are nice, but not very metal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Death Drive - and not in the Freudian sense

When the fog was still romantic

Guest post by the ladyfriend: 
We just arrived in Corner Brook Newfoundland after the longest 200 kilometers I have ever driven.  The ferry from Nova Scotia docked at around 9:00 pm Newfie time, and there was a lovely mist blanketing the craggy rocks and the tiny sea village of Port-Aux-Basques. In the waning light we were sure we had just awakened Brigadoon.  But  really, we had just entered a our worst nightmare.  As we climbed out of the port, the fog thickened, and after the first 75 kms, with the sun completely set, we found ourselves driving into a wall of fog. We literally couldn't see more than ten feet in front of the car. There were no other vehicles on the road except a couple of 18-wheelers passing the other direction.  And given that this is moose country, I couldn't really drive more than 80 kms per hour because I have been warned that if you hit a moose traveling over this speed, the moose ends up in your lap and you die.  Again, we couldn't see more than ten feet in front of the car, so if there was a moose, or anything else in the road, we'd have hit it.  Claudia was a great co-pilot - she read all the signs, "curving left" and "passing lane ending," and tried to watch for moose and other large obstacles, because I was looking at the only place I could see anything - the road right in front of the car.  After several hours we made it to the Comfort Inn safely. The woman at the desk asked us if we had come from the ferry as they were waiting for a party of 20 who were also coming from the ferry. I bet they are still out in the fog.
Our cozy little cabin
Yes, Claudia is outside, on the deck of the ferry. That whiteness behind her - you guessed it, fog.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation Paradox

Yes, I'm on vacation, but why doesn't anyone write to me?  Out of sight, out of mind?

A brief accounting of some of what's happened so far:

  1. Consumed copious amounts of lobster
  2. Read Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson, Veronica by Mary Gaitskill, and four back issues of the New York Times Book Review
  3. Sewed the buttons onto my Rowan vest (yay, another project off the list)
  4. Worked on some stories
  5. Ran, biked, walked, lounged

Tomorrow we sail to Newfoundland.  It feels like we're going to the edge of the earth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Needs Shoes...

when you're on vacation?  (Well, evidently we do - I alone brought nine pair, am expecting a tenth in the mail (new running shoes), and the ladyfriend brought eight.  Stick with me, and you, too, will develop a thing for shoes.)

The theme of this post is lobster!  Lobster, lobster, lobster.  For the first time in the eight or so years that we've been coming here, we're here for the local lobster season.

That's six lobsters I'm holding!

So far we've had boiled lobster, lobster rolls, and lobster chowder.

I made a ton of stock for the chowder and reduced some down even more to use later in our stay for a lobster pasta.  Lobster season ends tomorrow.  We'll probably pick up a few more for good measure.