Friday, October 30, 2015

Feel Me, Read Me, Make Me, Eat Me

Sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the things that come into view, stick into your consciousness, and become part of your thought patterns during the week.  Oftentimes I simply try to remember and reference internally, and at other times I try to relate them here.

I just read an excellent article from the New York Times on Edna Lewis, a chef and cookbook author who championed black Southern cuisine.  The article is a great example of how one can touch on so many issues - social, political, cultural - in a single forum, while introducing readers to someone who isn't, but should be, a household name.  I've put a hold on her book from the library, but I'm pretty certain I'll buy it.  The combination of her stories and the recipes, and the fact that Southern food is one of my favourite cuisines (along with Japanese), strikes a chord in me.  It's seems like a crime (and racist) that she isn't better known.

Karen Templer of Fringe Association and Slow Fashion October has a great compendium of sites that offer details on ethically & locally produced yarns, fabrics, and more.  The more you know, the more you need to know.  Learning should always beget more learning.

So I made the roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger last weekend, and they were awesome.  But I also made what turned into, if I may say so myself, the best expression of shepherd's pie our household has seen.  The mashed potato topping was perfect!  The season of comfort food is upon us!  Thankfully, so is hockey season; going to need to work hard to make room for all that comfort!

I think that's it for now.  Stay tuned for the clothing purge!  To give you an idea of scale, the image below shows only our clothing from storage and the studio.  The closet and the drawers have yet to be emptied.  Please don't judge!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What if Joy is Unfashionable?

(Note:  there are no classes today so there's no What I'm Wearing to Teach Today post.)

"What if joy is unfashionable?" is what I blurted to the ladyfriend as we were walking the other night.  We were discussing our upcoming (Saturday!) clothing purge a la the KonMari method (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).  Here's what we're supposed to do - take all of our clothing and pile it up (the ladyfriend doesn't want to take some of her shirts off the hangers so I might let this step slide for her), and then "take each item in one's hand and ask:  "Does this spark joy?"  If it does, keep it.  If not, dispose of it" (p.41).

I've been both excited and a little nervous about this.  As you probably know, I have a lot of clothes (no snickering or commentary, please) so on the excitement side, I'm looking forward to figuring out what I really want to have and what I've simply hung onto for far too long.  I'm thinking of my style coming forward like one of those magic eye pictures - you know, the ones where everything looks the same until your eyes relax enough to let the lion doing a cartwheel or whatever image it is be seen.  So that's kind of cool.

I'm also excited about getting rid of some of the visual clutter that comes along with a lot of clothing.  Gearing up for this has also opened some kind of secret creative portal where I'm suddenly finding new ways to combine things (this could also be a result of my nervousness).  Additionally, I'm glad to be continuing to refine my life and make it align more fully with my values.

And while I'm not really worried about being unfashionable, there's a part of me that worries I'll try to justify or feel sad/guilty about not wearing or liking or utilizing something.  It's reminds me of the feeling one might have when you don't like someone you probably should.  There's also a small fear that Joy (yes, personified) isn't always practical.   Thankfully I already know that some of my more practical items like the Alabama Chanin skirts and t-shirt I've made spark great joy in me.

Marie Kondo says that "when you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts" (p.41).  How much Joy can I handle?  I guess we'll find out on Saturday.  (By the way, the ladyfriend is going to set up a camera to record the entire day; there's always room for Art (Joy's brother - hah!)).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

More ViaRail Communication

A carefully word, albeit pretty empty, response from ViaRail.  Does this mean Lisa C. will lose her job?  Please note the use of the word "observations."  Hah!

Dear Ms. Manley,

Your file was forwarded to my attention for further handling.

Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your observations, which have been forwarded to the attention of the responsible manager for internal follow-up.

We are certainly receptive to all comments and suggestions that can help us in our continuing efforts to provide the highest standards of customer service. 

Cindy Laplante
Agente, Relations avec la clientèle
Officer, Customer Relations
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
3 Place Ville Marie, Suite 500 - Montréal - Québec - H3B 2C9
T : 514.871.6703 –F : 514.871.6104

I should be clear here.  I do not think any of my emails will make a difference.  They're serving a more therapeutic, rather than practical, purpose.  Still, it's pretty funny.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What I Wore to Teach Today: Okay, Not the Best Photo of Me

Jacket:  Vivienne Westwood Anglomania (mom-me-down)
Tank top (barely visible): Hanro
Skirt:  Junya Watanabe
Boots:  Aquaitalia
Tights (not visible and wrong colour):  Hue

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ViaRail - A Canadian Response

So, I'm not the only one livid about the schedule change, which is rumoured to have been done to please TD Bank and their minions who travel to Windsor.  Feel free to check out @themockler on Twitter for more.

Here's ViaRail's response (with my commentary in blue) to the letter I sent them yesterday.  I say it's a Canadian response because one of  the first things the ladyfriend learned about C to my original letteanada, from other Canadians, is that they often say "sooorrry," which actually means "We can't be bothered to care or to change anything on your behalf."

Good afternoon,
Thank you for your email concerning our upcoming schedule change to Train 71.
We regret that the new schedule does not suit your needs.Your response clearly indicates this and also indicates that it's my problem, not yours. Schedules are made with an objective of increasing ridership by responding to the needs of the market clearly not the needs of their riders and better serving the majority of our customers like banks. Our schedules are reviewed periodically in an attempt to match customer demand as perceived by ridership studies, according to the options presented by VIA resources and constraints. Examples of the latter include the time slots allotted to us on CN and CP tracks did CN & CP take away your time slot?, as well as equipment cycling and servicing. We realize that every schedule has some drawbacks, and we must select the most convenient for the majority of our customers like business people. I apologize for the inconvenience that this may you're missing a word here you and also that the notice was not sent in a timely manner lack of punctuation here demonstrates careful attention; also, it's more than an inconvenience.
VIA regularly reviews its operations in order to ensure that they most appropriately and efficiently meet evolving market demand, and as a result may from time to time make adjustments to fares, schedules and products.  Any such adjustments would be communicated in the appropriate manner Oh, like an email less than a week before the change? to customers, employees and the travelling what happened to the rest of this sentence?
Thank you for contacting VIA Rail Canada.
Lisa C. No last name; classy.
Customer support desk
VIA Rail Canada

I've sent them an email about proofreading their communications.  What a fiasco, in so many ways.

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Can You Tell That I'm Not Impressed?

maybe it's the time of year...
Scarf: Hermes
Shirt:  Banana Republic
Skirt:  Comme des Garcons
Boots:  Aquaitalia

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How ViaRail is Forcing Me to Drive

I just got word today that as of October 26th (less than a week away), ViaRail is changing the departure time of my Wednesday morning train to an hour earlier, meaning I'd have to get on the train at 7:13am.  I already get to school with almost two hours before class time.  I don't need to get there with three.  (Yes, I could work, but I teach until 9pm.  I'd be toast by 5pm if I got up at 5:45am

I'm pretty much spitting mad.  How can you announce such a change with less than a week to go?  I can't imagine that they just decided this.  I cancelled my train trips subsequent to this week and find myself scrambling for a way to get to and from work.  Unfortunately, Greyhound (a distant second choice) doesn't have any buses that arrive in London before the afternoon.  We've become a one-car family, and I intend to stay that way.  It might mean that I have to take the car on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the ladyfriend will have to carpool to shinny.

At least in the winter, my schedule will allow me to take the later train, but damn you, ViaRail!  So much for the environmentally-friendly option.

Feel Me, Read Me, Watch Me, Eat Me

Think this might be my new profile picture
 My father reads my blog and says to me, "You must be busy; you're only posting what you're wearing to teach right now." (Yes, my father uses semicolons when he speaks.  It's a family thing.)  I hate to contradict him, but I'm not the most consistent blogger on the block even when I'm not busy.  Nonetheless, a little nudging goes a long way (or at least all the way to a blog post).

Two things from the Serious Eats world.  Firstly, how amazing does roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger sound? (If you're the boy, then I know you're answer, but everyone else, feel free to oooh and ahhh).   It's the season of brussels sprouts - a hardy winter-eating vegetable - and I'm looking forward to all the root vegetable (I know, brussels sprouts are not a root vegetable) recipes that are sure to crop up (hah!).

The other item from Serious Eats was the suggestion of a cookbook club, "The idea behind Cookbook Club is a simple one—a group of friends all make recipes from the same book and gather to share the results."  What a great idea although I may have to wait until 2016 to consider launching such an endeavour.

If I can ride my bike every day and in every way, I'm happy.  So thanks to Raise the Hammer (yes, an awesome name for a website about Hamilton), I have some new trails to explore.  I'm particularly interested in checking out the Red Hill Valley Trail.  Looks great.  Maybe we need to buy the ladyfriend her new bike this weekend.

While I haven't listened to it in its entirety yet, there's a new music sampler out from the Utne Reader.  While I still listen to the radio, it's gotten harder and harder to find new (or new-to-me) music that I like.  This past weekend, a friend introduced me to Smith & Mighty.  Sure, they've been around since the late '80s, but it's a sound I'm liking now.  The ladyfriend read an article in The Atlantic that revealed that most of the pop songs we hear now are written by two or three Scandanavian guys (plus a few friends).  Do I need to go into a whole thing about lack of diversity, the homogenization of culture, and the loss of individual identity?  No?  Good.  I didn't think so.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Who's the Cheeky One Now?

Jumper:  DKNY Vogue pattern (sewn by yours truly)
Shirt:  Moschino Jeans (thrifted)
Tights:  Wolford
Boots:  Aquaitalia
Glasses:  Eyebobs

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Practicing What I Preach

Dress:  Alabama Chanin (made by me)
Tank top (barely visible):  Hanro
Jacket:  NoBlu
Socks:  Calvin Klein
Shoes:  Footprints (Birkenstocks offshoot) (MichFest barter)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shake-n-Make at The Artists Newstand

The Shake-n-Make Collective is happy to announce its show What's Cookin'? at the Artists Newstand (Chester TTC stop for those in the T.O.).  The show opens on Tuesday, October 6 (opening is from 5-7pm) and will feature some of the crazy, crafty, cool things we make like reverse applique aprons, an epic macaroni portrait, and more.  The show is up until October 16th.  Stop by if you can!  More details as well as info on the Artists Newstand can be found here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Slow Fashion October*

Checking in with Instagram (because, no, I don't check it everyday), I found out about Slow Fashion October.  This fills me with both excitement and dread.  Excitement because I'm really trying to up the ante of me-made-clothes in my closet, and dread because the last thing I need right now is another freakin' project.  And I can't resist.

In the meantime, I thought it'd be a good time to share Seamwork magazine from Colette Patterns with you.  Each month Seamwork features two patterns that are designed to take you 3 hours or less to complete, helping you (me) get the handmade wardrobe we fantasize about.  (See how I took "you" and "me" and made it "we"? - That's called crafty, and grammar - hah!)  In all honesty I have yet to make one of the patterns (subscribers get two pattern credits a month for $6), mostly because school has started and Shake-n-Make has a show opening on Tuesday (yes, I'll write a post about that in the next day or so), which requires my attention.  But having a stash of patterns that won't take me a weekend (or more) to make and could result in wardrobe staples is inspiring.

And because I'm a glutton for (self) punishment, I'm considering implementing a "Finish One/Start One" project to spur me to go back to not only sewing or knitting WIPs** but to stories I've started and left hanging.  But rather than make it some kind of goal, which often leads to a sense of failure, I'm working toward satisfaction.  I'm not going to kill myself trying to crank out projects or stories because I said I would; I'm going to work on projects with an eye to satisfying my need to create.  We'll have to see what comes out of that.

Happy October!

*Sometimes I think I need a tattoo that says "Better late than never" because, yes, it's October 2nd
** Work-in-Progress plural, and yes, grammatically it should be WsIP, but it's not.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Maybe a Little Witchy

Jacket:  Eskandar (mom-me-down)
Dress:  J. Morgan Puett (mom-me-down)
Shoes:  Cydwoq
Socks (just glimpsed):  SmartWool