Monday, November 16, 2009

'tis the season for raynaud's disease

I have this thing called Raynaud's Disease that makes my fingers and toes turn yellow in the cold. Had my first major attack of the season today, walking to my car after work (a 15-minute jaunt in the crisp fall air). Here's a picture of my left hand after I got home. The hand is wet because I was warming it under some lukewarm running water before I got the brilliant idea to photograph it.

Basically, whatever controls the constriction of blood vessels to my hands and feet is @$&)ed up. The pallor seen in three of my fingers is where the vessels have constricted so much that blood is no longer getting through. Nice. Hurts like hell, too. Just saying.

I have to be careful to bundle up most of the time, or else winter becomes my own private hell. Summertime in the freezer aisle of the grocery store is not so lovely, either.

(I have since chewed off that hangnail on my ring finger, making a bloody mess, BTW. Also nice. Sorry.)



Sunday, November 8, 2009

federline


Saw this story on the Sympatico home page this morning. Apparently Kevin Federline (father of Britney Spears' children) has gotten his current girlfriend pregnant. The part that made me LOL:

"Kevin wasn't planning to have children with Victoria, and now he's upset with her," a source tells the Enquirer. Maybe he should be upset with the person who told him where babies come from, because I think they explained it wrong.

Read the entire story, here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

hallowe'en


So this is my first Hallowe'en ever, on my own. Where I have to give out candy. The last three years I lived alone in Toronto, but I was in a building and kids didn't visit. Before that, I always lived with someone else, and let them do the whole Hallowe'en thing.

So I bought some potato chip variety packs, which I was hoping I would still find at 5:45PM on Hallowe'en night. Thank you, Price Chopper. And the packages even had coupons on them, so I got two FREE packs of Quaker granola bars. I am handing those out first (I can't eat them). I CAN eat potato chips.

No kids so far. Maybe I'll have none, who knows? Above is the little table I set up beside my door, with the granola bars in the basket. Awesome. I almost feel Hallowe'eny, now. Below is one of the boys, also excited. (But probably more so about possible opportunities to escape and explore the stairway.)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

6 killer prayer tips











From the same people who brought you the marshmallow kids. This video makes me laugh because it's so ridiculous.

(And yeah, I've totally noticed that the video is like an inch below the blog title... I just don't know enough about coding to fix it...)

the marshmallow test







This video is so hilarious. I love the kids who smell the marshmallows, and then take little tiny bits off them and put them in their mouths. Plus the little guy who keeps on grimacing makes me laugh.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

dare. change.



Another video first posted by a friend on Facebook. Even though this is an ad (and therefore kind of cheesy), it tears me up every time I watch it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

fun theory



A friend posted this video on Facebook recently. Fun.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

michael bublé



I recently saw the latest Michael Bublé video on YouTube, and even though (as my sister says) it's a kind of cheesy song, I really love this video for some reason.

It reminded me of another of his songs that I like, which is Everything. Which reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. But anyhow. Moving on.

(Also reminds me of dancing in my sister's kitchen with my then-2-y-o niece in my arms, singing along to the "la la's.")




Also just found this cool live video, which reminds me of old movies and cool cats.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

weight loss


A friend asked me yesterday if I'd lost weight. I don't own a scale, and until I went to the doctor's for the first time in two-and-a-half years recently, I had no idea how much I weighed. But yes, I was aware that I'd lost some weight. I had to go out and buy a lot of new (well, new to me) clothes when I got my current job back in May, and even those are starting to get a little loose.

I'm not losing weight on purpose. I just changed my diet to try and help the severe pelvic pain I was experiencing with every period. Cut out dairy, eggs, wheat and finally, refined sugar. Funny how not eating a white chocolate bar every day can have an effect on your weight.

But it wasn't until I was looking through some old photographs from a year ago that it really hit home - I am definitely thinner. I never had a problem with the way I looked before - I was happy with my curves (especially breasts the size of canteloupes). Things are a little, um, deflated now.

Above is a photo of me from last September, right around the time I got my new camera. In fact, at first I wondered why there were all those lines across my face, and then I remembered that, after I dropped my original camera, the photos got all messed up.

Below is a photo of me taken a couple of days ago. That's all.


in which i talk about fidelity and trust and fear and david letterman, but mostly about fear and trust



So yesterday I logged onto my home page, which is Sympatico.ca, which is how I get my news (such as it is)... and I saw an item about David Letterman and blackmail. It linked to a news clip on the subject. I proceeded to YouTube (where I hoped to find better information, including the clip of the show (above) where Dave talked about the issue in his own words). I watched a few videos, and after marvelling at the over-hyped insanity which is American network news, I moved on to other things.

I don't actually have much to say about Dave and his affairs with coworkers. I like him. He makes me laugh. He's human, and fallible, and apparently not afraid to take responsibility for what he's done. I wish him well, and hope he sticks around for many more years on late night television, entertaining me.

What's really got me disturbed, however, is the reminder that good guys can cheat on their partners. And possibly hide it. And I don't want to be the one that's cheated on. Ever. But I'm not sure how to ensure that outcome, except by possibly never having another committed monogamous relationship.

I don't need to know why men cheat. I accept that some men do. I also accept that it's possible to get past an infidelity and re-establish trust and forge an even stronger relationship if one is cheated on by one's partner. What I'd really like to say to any potential mates, however, is this:

Look. I don't expect or need you to be perfect. I will never ask you to make a vow of fidelity and monogamy. But you need to know that, if you want to have sex with other women (or men) while you are still having sex with me, then you are putting my health at risk. And if you have sex with other women (or men) and hide it from me, I am going to consider that a sign of extreme disrespect. Not because I need you to be faithful, or want to make you into something you're not. But because if you don't care enough about my health to let me make informed decisions about my own sexual behavior with you in the future, you are disrespecting me.

And I won't put up with that.

I can't promise to stay with you if you cheat. I may... or I may not. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. But I guarantee you this: If you have sex with another woman (or man) and hide it from me, we are through. Because I choose to be with people who value my health and my life - and my ability to choose - as much as I do.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

you are what you read while sitting on the toilet



I was thinking this morning (while sitting on the toilet) that what I read while sitting on the toilet* has probably had a huge influence on what has happened in my life. I'm extrapoliting that it may also be so for you... hence this post.

For example: Until recently, I had my near-toilet magazine rack (above) filled with health magazines - mostly the free, promotional ones like Alive and Tonic that I've picked up at health stores in Toronto and London over the years. And strangely enough - although I've always had a somewhat healthy diet - I've realized that I now, without really planning it, have an incredibly healthy diet and (somewhat so) lifestyle. I've cut out refined sugar, and I eat copious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans daily. I also recently started drinking green tea every day. And I walk a total of half an hour daily, every Monday to Friday.

Thinking back, there was a time in my life when I was constantly reading a book that my father owned - on the power of positive thinking - every time I sat on the toilet. And a few months later I fell in love and moved 120 miles to a brand new life.

Then there was the time I stocked my bathroom reading pile with fashion and craft magazines... and I started making tea cosies.

I recently got tired of all the health magazines, so I re-stocked my in-flight reading stash with the most recent magazines that I've bought - which makes them several months old, since I've stopped buying magazines. But anyhow... there's a copy or two of O Magazine, and a yoga magazine or two, and Body and Soul... and also a couple of Fast Companies, although I didn't necessarily mean to have that particular title featured in the photo, above. Product placer, I am not. (But I will gladly accept retroactive sponsorships. Just saying, Fast Company.)

So I am interested to find out what kind of person I'll be in a few months...

(Since I seem to be shooting for multi-millionaire entrepreneur with a great yoga butt...)

*Yes, I'm talking about pooing here, people. I read while I poo. I've heard all sorts of opinions on the topic - like how it's bad for you and may give you hemorrhoids if you sit so long on a toilet that you actually have time to read something - but basically I don't seem to be able to poo if I don't have reading material in my hands. In strangers' houses, I have resorted to reading body lotion and shampoo bottles. True.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

until they do things like rip open their food bags


This morning when I fed the cats, I discovered that someone had figured out how to climb up onto the shelf where I was keeping the food, and had clawed into one of the bags. Awesome. If you're a cat.

they are still cute, though


Baby Guy, sleeping in one of the chairs in my front room.



Tear, in another chair.



Later in the afternoon, Guy joins Tear.

there is a new master in my home, and its name is SPRAY BOTTLE OF WATER


I am feeling extraordinarily guilty about using it, though. Even with cats climbing all over my kitchen counter, or clawing my bedsheets into shreds.

The first time I used it on each of them, they looked at me like, "How could you? You have betrayed us. We will find new and glorious ways to destroy your apartment when you and the evil water bottle are not present. Just saying."

Monday, September 14, 2009

the sound of me going mental


Remember when I said I would go mental if I ever found one of the cats curled up in the wash basin I use to hold dirty dishes?

'Nuff said.

(Because, you know - LITTER BOXES. And little cat paws carrying E.COLI AND PARASITES.)



For added entertainment value, above is Guy on the other end of the counter, glaring at me as if to say, "Oh yeah, punk? We OWN this counter."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

in which i turn from singing to other things


The above photo illustration is a snapshot I just took of some stuff on my fridge. Included is a picture of me from 1999, singing a duet with my father at my church's 125th anniversary dinner. I was also a waitress that night - hence the black pants, white shirt and tie. My hair was pulled back in a ponytail, BTW. (Defensive explanation for why I seem to have so little hair.)

This morning I heard Toronto Mass Choir perform at another church in London. A friend of mine from Toronto sings in the choir, and I billeted her - along with two other women - last night. TMC is phenomenal, and gospel music always touches me more deeply than most other genres of music, but this morning I actually started weeping during one of their pieces. It featured an amazing female soloist, who can also be seen in this video, below.




The thing is... I like to sing, myself. And for many, many years I studied classical voice and wished I had one iota of the talent that this woman has in her pinky finger. I sang solos, duets, trios and quartets, all the while participating in various choirs over the years, singing everything from first tenor (only once or twice!) to first soprano.

I burned to perform. I yearned to touch people's hearts, and impress them with my skill. Deep down, however, I knew I didn't measure up. My voice cracked on the high notes. I sang flat. My solos were like all those nightmare auditions on American Idol. I loved to sing, but singing didn't love me.

It didn't help that I had crippling performance anxiety most of the time. It made my voice shake, and left me breathless and squeaking. In the end, soloing became a nightmare. I still liked singing in ensembles, but my trained ear began obsessing on the sounds I was hearing around me, and if I couldn't perfectly blend my straight voice with someone else's vibrato, I felt a physical sensation akin to nausea.

Then I started watching YouTube. And being able to see all the amazing talent out there - including this favorite recent audition for The X Factor, below - reminded me of just how mediocre I really was.




Is there a place in this world for okay singers? I'm sure there is. And I'm equally sure that, even in some small way, my singing has touched at least one or two people over the years.

But honestly? There are things that I'm much, much better at.

Seeing TMC this morning reminded me that we're all given gifts to share with the world. Not all of those gifts are soul-searing voices. Sometimes they are the ability to speak a kind word, or comfort a crying child, or raise the consciousness of a community. Sometimes they're talents like cooking, or praying, or administrating, or farming.

I have abundant talent as a writer and as a visual artist. Plus the nice thing about both is, if I don't get it right the first time, I can always edit or start over before sharing with the public. Not so easy to do with live performance.

I don't want to live with regret that I never tried hard enough to succeed as a singer. I tried very hard. I have no regrets. But it's time to move on to something else, while I still have the time and energy.

I'm not singing in any choirs now. And while I'll never say never, it's likely I'll never solo again. But my life is full, and I have other gifts to share. Besides - Dad still likes singing the occasional duet with me. If I sing again, I can always say he made me do it...

500 days of summer



I saw this movie this afternoon with my BFF. Her choice, her treat.

The Verdict: Thumbs up. Even though I don't necessarily agree with the resolution of the film. In real life, that is. In the movie, it made perfect sense. I also don't want to be a spoiler or anything, so let's just say that the movie has a satisfying ending, if you believe in love.

The thing is, I'm not sure I do.

I mean, I know I've felt it. For other people. I know what it's like to feel that weak-in-the-knees, can't-stop-thinking-about-him, seriously-contemplating-becoming-a-stalker feeling. I've obsessed, I've been unconditional, and I've done the grown-up thing and moved on after it's obvious that drunk dialing him at 3:00 a.m. isn't going to change his mind about dumping me. Okay, that last part was a joke. To the best of my recollection.

Yesterday a familiar stranger slipped me his phone number along with my change for a twenty whilst I was attempting to buy peaches from him. I've included his note - with the incriminating bits like his name and his full phone number carefully left out of the shot - below.



He sells good peaches, BTW. So keep in mind that, whatever happens, I am loathe to lose my access to the best damn peaches in Middlesex County.

But here's the thing: I hadn't been thinking of him in that way. The romantic way, that is. I've been buying peaches from him for years, not counting the two most recent summers - penultimate to this one - when I was living in Toronto.

And I don't know how to say this without sounding prejudiced, but I'm having some difficulty imagining that me and Mr. Peach Seller would have much to talk about. After we'd discussed the relative merits of freestone versus clingstone varietals, I guess.

Both the phone number and today's movie have got me thinking about what the hell I'm really looking for in a relationship, though. I hadn't really planned on this kind of soul searching this weekend, but I'm figuring I'd better come up with something pretty good before I call this guy and possibly break his heart, so here goes...

I'm not looking for a lover. Which is not to say that I don't enjoy knocking boots, and wouldn't welcome some "vitamin P" with someone who could stand to be with me after the main event had concluded. But I'm not looking for that kind of thing first and foremost. (Second and hindmost, perhaps...)

No, what I'm looking for - after years of not exactly find it - is someone I actually enjoy spending time with when we're clothed. And vice versa, of course. And for me, "spending time with" probably involves conversations that don't always (unlike my last few relationships, for instance - not that I'm bitter or anything) revolve around him, and don't usually ignore most of my favorite things. Like art, and Renaissance music, and my writing. And more-than-cursory investigations of sticky issues like faith and higher calling and social justice. Perhaps you can see why I'm still single.

I'll be straight with you. My life (apart from some nagging consumer debt) is just about perfect right now. I have a beautiful home filled with all the things I love (including two beasts who pour all sorts of furry, cuddly attention on me); I have family and friends and a job that satisfies me deeply. A little more time to write and make art might be nice, and I sure do miss the yoga practice that my recurrent insomnia forces me to sleep in and miss, but all in all, I can't complain.

If I'm going to make room for someone in my life, I don't want it to be a shallow, casual affair. I'm playing for keeps. I want to go the distance with someone who actually has values that align with mine, plus a generous soul, a ready sense of humour, and some staying power. No, not that kind. Wait - yes, that kind, too. Both kinds. What?

The hardest thing for me to do right now, however, is call up Peaches and tell him the truth. My first reaction, believe it or not, was to contemplate telling him I'm a lesbian. Because, you know - it's no insult to him if I like girls. Then I thought about telling him I'm just not interested in a relationship right now. Which is mostly true, except that if the love of my life showed up tomorrow, I would be a liar.

Basically, I guess I just want to be the kind of person who can set boundaries that honour everyone involved. Which is kind of hard, because I'm still not really clear about the whole concept of "boundaries"... but anyhow...

All I know is, I'd better call him before next weekend. When I expect to have run out of peaches.

[Added later: Almost forgot. One of my favorite parts of the movie was after Tom and Summer have sex for the first time, and he line dances with people in the street. Everyone was dressed in blue. Wow, I said to my BFF. It's like "Michelle World."]

[For all of you who don't actually know me: I always wear blue.]

Monday, September 7, 2009

moar ktnz on kntrz


I came into my (freshly cleaned, may I add) kitchen this morning to find the guys again on the kitchen counter. So help me Goddess, if I ever find one of them curled up asleep in that old-fashioned wash basin that I use to hold dirty dishes, I may go mental.



Ohhh... tomatoes...



OHHHH... OUTDOORS...



Cat ADD.



OHHHHHHHHH... OUTDOORS...



Sink.



Tear is taking the high road.



You can almost see the wheels churning. "Mebbe dangurous this waye." I did see him lick the soap, though.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ktnz on ktchn kntrz


For as long as I've had my kittens (about 2 1/2 months now), there have been horizontal surfaces that I was reasonably certain the animals could not reach, and upon which I could therefore put anything I did not want the cats to get into.

This weekend, my most crucial cat-free space - the kitchen counter - has been breached.



Here is Baby Guy on one end of the counter. Notice he can't even look me in the eye.



Stealth mission: Passing through the dish rack. Remind me never to leave anything breakable on this thing. Ever. Again.



"Houston, we have reached the sink."



Temporary descent into the sink. Oh - and if you are ever invited to be a guest in my house in the future? Be aware that I take no responsibility whatsoever for any paw-borne illnesses you may contract as a result of these guys walking all over my food preparation and clean-up area. Just saying.



Ascent from the sink.



All the interesting stuff lies ahead.



I'm not sure what's so un-cat-smelling about one of my wooden spatulas, but both cats had to rub it with the sides of their heads. "Mine."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the first leaf


Fall is my favorite time of year. The last few days I've been salivating in anticipation - I can already feel the chill in the air in the early morning, and I love bringing out the warmer clothes and blankets. There's a smell that only fall has - maybe it's the dead leaves on the wet ground, maybe it's the colour of the sunshine against my nostrils... whatever, I especially love the colours of the leaves as they turn. Today, walking home from work, I saw this leaf. I'm pretty sure it's the first colourful leaf I've seen this season. So I took a picture of it.

scarlet runners


When I was at my parents' house last night picking some vegetables from Dad's garden, Dad asked if I wanted some beans. He grows scarlet runners in containers along the side of the garage, and the vines climb up the six-foot lengths of twine that he re-strings every year.



Dad climbed a ladder and picked the highest beans while I picked the low ones. Here's my loot, right before I topped and tailed the beans for my supper.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

new rocking chair with a history


I went to Goodwill today on my way home from my walk, because I needed a couple of dishes to replace ones I'd broken. I checked out the furniture section, hoping there might be a rocking chair... and there was. This weathered beauty was on sale for $15.



When I got it home and was wiping off years of accumulated dust and grime, I noticed some writing on the underside of the seat.



The metal tags below the writing identify the chair as the former property of St. Joseph's Hospital, which has a renowned obstetrical department. Now I can't stop wondering how many mothers and nurses have sat in this chair rocking babies over the years.

(And BTW, Laure - this is a Laurie-sized rocking chair, with a seat very low to the ground...)

river rocks


My London has a Thames River, and there's a place I like to go where I can walk on the dried-up parts of the riverbed. Above is a picture of the rocks just as it was starting to rain.



Some dark grey rocks that had most recently been underwater.



Green rocks, covered with algae.



I loved how the leaves echoed the colour of the pink rock on the right.

tomatoes and a painted rock


I've been getting fresh, home-grown tomatoes from my Mom and Dad's garden the last couple of weeks. Here are some of them, lined up on my kitchen windowsill to ripen.











The painted rock I bought on my way home from work one night, from some kids who had set up a little storefront on the sidewalk in the neighbourhood where I park my car. This one made me happy. I think I spent $2 on it. Sometimes it felt like I was single-handedly keeping these kids in business, since this was not the only rock I bought over the course of the week that they were there.