Thursday, March 27, 2008

Moving Sucks, part 2

When a girl desperately needs a mug of tea to calm her nerves and help her immune system find the strength to repair her bruised shins, battered against strategically placed boxes full of crap (WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?) in her flight from dust bunnies, nay dust MAMMOTHS, emerging from under her bed like a well-organized army of anger against two and a half years of less-than-diligent vacuuming habits, it is just TOO MUCH for her to discover that the lid of her pretty kitty kettle has been packed, in God knows which box. You're thinking, "The water will still boil eventually." And I'm thinking, "Yes, but that is not the POINT."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I don't understand.

Why do newspaper headlines have to be puns? It makes me angry. I can't imagine that the journalists love it; they seem like a pretty jaded, un-cute kind of bunch to me. Example: can you imagine that Sharon Lem from the Toronto Sun wanted to name her article on the growth-stunting properties of cigarettes "Teen Smokers Fall Short?" I cannot imagine that she did. Although, the paper that she writes for also has a headline with the word "Perv" in it, so maybe she knew what she was in for.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Things that will make me miss this place

1. South facing sunlight
2. The quietness of a corner apartment
3. Sage green walls that perfectly match our stuff
4. Hearing my coffee perk in the morning
5. The Meat Shoppe around the corner
6. Coming home in my wedding dress and finding the rose petals
7. Fitting far more friends in than should have been possible, far more times than was wise
8. Bocce on the beach
9. Quick stumbles uphill from the Kingshead
10. Perfect tomato-growing space on the deck
11. Making our first home together in the city we love

There are also things I won't miss. The friggin crows outside the window that have been cawing since 7 am come to mind. (Lucky: "Do they think that sounds good? Seriously? I don't understand.") And I know I'm likely to have an even longer list at the new place in no time at all, but right now I'm in the mood for nostalgia. Humour me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Moving Sucks

Did you know? It is true. Although I'm sure I could easily expound upon this subject on any given day, I have plenty of material at the moment, because Lucky and I are in the middle of a relocation, and all the crapulence that tags along with these otherwise exciting times.

See, we've got a good reason to go. As much as I love our current place and our current neighbourhood, I knew this day had to come, sooner rather than later. We've been in this cozy little one bedroom for two and a half years, since we came back home from the East Coast. Lots of good memories, but not much storage space. About a month ago, after our spontaneous trip to Tokyo, closely followed by Lucky's trip to the GDC in San Francisco, he came home, obviously ready to deal with all the things that had been put off for about a month, or even since before the busy holidays. He paid some bills, wrote some emails, then fell into bed with me, exhausted, ready to deal with one more bit of business before sleep. "What do we have to do to have a baby?" At first it was awkward, because I really would have expected his parents to have that talk with him a good 20 years ago, but thankfully that thought was fleeting, and I considered the practical concerns to which he was actually referring. I also considered how cool it is that I have a husband who is so decisive, and so invested in the same things as me, but that's a whole other blog entry, and I'm already straying pretty close to the border of my favourite vacation destination: Off Topic Land. I pretty much have citizenship there.

Focus! Ok.

So, getting back to his question, I thought about it for a minute, then told him that I would need some really good sushi, some really good wine, and some really good caffeine before being asked to live like a healthy baby vessel for a year. To those requests he went "Check," "Check," and "Well, if you must." The very last requirement was the biggie: "We need another bedroom." He argued weakly for a minute, something about hanging a crib from the ceiling, then he gave in.

Being Lucky, he was on Craigslist the next morning, considering likely locations and doable price ranges. The day after that, we had a new place, and a busy month in front of us. This time next week, we will have left this happy little home behind, and will be starting to settle into another home, a little less little, and hopefully just as happy, if not more. We've been pretty happy, so that's a lot.

So, we've had sushi at Tojos, we've opened some of our wedding wine, and I've weaned off coffee, onto swiss water decaf. The second bedroom is not too big, not too small, just right. I guess it's my turn to deliver. (geddit? GEDDIT?) Crap. I have to go pack.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Blog's out of the Bag. (tm Lucky)

So, I finally told someone that I have a blog: Lucky knows. I figure that that's in the spirit of an open and trusting marriage, but it still makes me squirm. If you are reading this, and you are not Lucky, I have no idea how you got here. It's not that you aren't welcome (Come! Sit! Help yourself to anything in the fridge!), it's just that I am discovering levels of shyness I never knew I possessed. I'm shocking myself, really. My friends would tell you that I have absolutely no problem being the centre of attention and sharing my opinions with anyone who will listen, or even pretend to listen. I have a lot of opinions. Like, a lot. So, this is hard to explain.

I was at a blogging conference a few years ago (I know, that's weird, since I didn't have a blog, but it was for work) and I strongly identified with the only guy there who did not care whether or not anyone read his blog. He was doing it for his granddaughter. He challenged himself to post one entry a day, for the sake of storytelling and family connections. He became such a prolific blogger, and wrote such engaging pieces that he became a bit of an icon without even meaning to. I don't mean to say that this shyness is my sneaky, backdoor way of scoring a speaker's spot at the next Vancouver Blog Conference, I mean to say that I liked his motives. Likewise, my favourite thing about Dooce's blog is, hands down, her series of monthly newsletters to Leta. I also like a good story about applying her OCD fueled cleaning powers to tracking a tell-tale trail of dog crap through her house, but that's only natural. I challenge you to resist. You can't. You just left to search her archives.

So, back to the question: why am I doing this? I don't have any generational legacy to leave, and we've established that I'm not in it for lucrative conference giftbags. The admittedly crap-out answer is that I am not entirely sure. If it was just for the writing practice, I could choose a private medium, like those little journals that everyone used to keep before the internets came along. I think you can still get them on Antique Roadshow. They are called diaries. Rather, I am here because it is hard for me. I read so many blogs, every day, and I get a lot out of them. I respect their writers not just because they tell good stories, and tell them well, but because I see them as brave, in the way that they put themselves out there, permanent and vulnerable. I want a piece of that.

I do not mean to say that I'm about to put a link to this blog on my facebook page, because that thought horrifies me. Just yesterday, I found my way to the blog of an old high school friend through those channels and was treated to an account of her recent colonoscopy, beside snapshots of the baking she did for her kid's ballet class. I shudder to think that I would ever get to that point, but I think I could sack up enough to share an amusing anecdote about the blood test I had done last week: As the tech admired my luscious, available veins, I commented that I hadn't had a compliment on them since I worked at the women's addiction centre in Whalley. The rest of our time together was awkward.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Been Caught Peeking

I'm standing at the bus stop, Friday evening in the rain, cheerleading myself into the last commute of the week. A teenage boy is pacing around the steps up to Red Robin. He sees her coming. Face lights up, then is quickly composed back to detached, post-punk, hoodie-wearing cool guy. It's the greeting that gets me: it's not a hug, because then he couldn't look at her. It's not a handhold, because he's too caught up. It's one hand on either side of her waist, leaning away, holding on, but also taking a step back to savour. When he looked around self-consciously, he caught me peeking. He lifted his chin, looked proud, so that I was the one who blushed. The 17 pulled up, and I headed for home, thinking tender little thoughts that held strong in the rain, the rush hour, and all kinds of other things that don't matter at all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Crow Pose

Do crows have something to do with St. Patrick's day? I ask, because I just got home from my yoga class at the community centre, and the room that we always use was decked out with some streamers and cut-outs and pictures and such. It took a minute to pick out a theme, but the shiny pink shamrocks twinged something in my Irish heritage and the pieces fell into place.

It still didn't make sense of everything, though. Some of the doodads were obviously just there for their shininess, like the random cds taped to the windows (good use of a relic of an extinct medium), but one "decoration" left us in a bit of a muddle - a life size model of a crow, wired to the light on the wall right above my friend's head, complete with attack pose and claws out. Freaky, right? Kind of throws a predatory bird-sized wrench in your half back twist when you glance over your shoulder on the exhale and catch a glimpse of a flying rabies-carrier. At the very least, it's tough to hold downward dog while your mischievous buddy is whispering "nevermore!" My friend could tell you: she fell over.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Wall of Stink

I am glad that Lucky plays hockey. I am not glad that his gear considers itself a full-fledged member of the team, which is the only explanation I can think of as to why it feels comfortable enough to lounge around in our apartment all day, then welcome me home after work with an enthusiastic high-five of funk. Lucky says "airing out." I say "squatting."

What I am saying, in the most complicated way possible, is that his hockey gear smells terrible, to the point I am currently huddled on the couch under a blanket since I prefer the cold to closing our back door, which is supplying life-giving fresh air. In an apartment this small, options are limited.

This calls for a haiku....

Pads, helmet, and gloves,
Your combined stock of B.O.

Strains my young marriage.

...Or two.

Hard-won hockey game
While I cheer, I sigh deeply

Much sweat to "air out."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mormons and my Mom are Very Offended

Kraft Foods has stopped production of Postum as of this past January. I am displeased. You may be asking yourself "But Kat C, why in the world do you care?" but I have a my reasons.

First off, my Gamma used to drink it every night. I'm pretty sure she got hooked during the early 1940's when war conditions made people turn to coffee substitutes, and she was doing her bit in a country full of tough times.

This sentimental memory likely made it easier for my own Mom to pick it up instead of coffee every morning as one of the many changes she has made to improve her life. Although that seems like a small thing, taken in addition to all of her other efforts that have added up to a happier, healthier Mom, it means a lot. Over the past year, the difference has been evident in good times and bad, from taking on an unexpectedly giant Christmas dinner guest list with grace and good humour, to rolling with the regular drama of my brother with reasonable concern, versus the anxiety and despair of the past. Not all of this is due to a mug of tasty toasted grain, but it's the principle of the thing.

As for me, I've spent the last month slowly giving up my own morning coffee habit. Lucky and I are making pre-baby preparations with diligence befitting our combined aptitude for paranoid internet research and need for control, so we are dedicated to grooming the (hopefully) fertile plains of my womb to meet the most stringent standards of things that could possibly, maybe, perhaps affect a baby's development. Considering the fact that we can do nothing to cut out my daily meds, (well, we could, but the alternative is not attractive) we are set to make all the other concessions we can, to buy ourselves as much peace as possible while visions of potential complications dance through our heads. To that end, I was set to give postum a try. The upcoming unavailability is hardly tragic, as I will surely find some other fix for my hot, morning needs (I wish I meant something dirtier by that) but I guess I am a bit put off by the end to three generations worth of making a choice for the sake of something bigger.

I'm not one of those crazies who is going to suggest that Kraft is HORRIBLE for putting PROFITS above the needs of a very, very, very small population, as if they are a BUSINESS or something, but I do wish they'd put a bit more into marketing and availability. Heck, if William Shatner can be signed on to advertise an aid for digestive regularity, surely they could have scooped Mr. T or something to make this happen.

So, it's not the end of the world, but it is the end of an era. As a temporary fix, Mom has bought Superstore out of their remaining stock, prompting the cashier to think that she's got either a really weird fetish or a really sad social life, and causing my Dad to send me some very dirty looks for encouraging her food-hording habits. What can I say? It's hereditary.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

All of a sudden, I love the Arcade Fire. I've been kind of resisting them for a few years, showing my disapproval of their fans' pretentiousness by being pretentious, but a few songs snuck through my defenses. Rebellion, Wake Up - I had to admit that those were pretty ok, I guess, if you like that kind of thing. I could not be convinced, however, to sit down and listen to the whole album. I say it like the band sent some kind of emissary, seeking my vaunted opinion, but dude, they've got David Bowie on their side. They want for nothing. Maybe if it was just Yoko Ono or something they'd be seeking more coolness, but David Bowie? Come on.

Anyway, as a result of a friendly inter-buddy music exchange I ended up with the Neon Bible. I left it to stew on my ipod for months before breaking down and giving it a shot one rainy bus ride last week. At first, it didn't grab me. At least, I didn't think it did. Then I found myself humming some accordion melody and muttering about a black mirror. A week later, I've gone so far as to make my poor Lucky listen to it on the way to bowling "But the ACCORDION! Are you listening? SERIOUSLY!" "Yeah. It's great..... Is that french? Why are you listening to french?")

So, you win this one, Arcade Fire. You may join Wolf Parade in the ranks of Montreal bands that force me to agree with the super annoying, hyper self-conscious music reviewers in places like Zulu. You're welcome.

Monday, March 3, 2008


It’s taken me so long to start a blog. I read my first one in 1998. At that time, the internet was new, I was on dial-up in Kitimat, and I was fascinated by the semi-weekly musings of this college student in Michigan who loved squirrels, was prouldly straight edge, and battled depression. She was a great writer, and she was describing a time in her life that I could hardly wait to experience: university.

My fascination with the site went beyond the style and content, however. The real draw is harder to pin down. It had something to do with her bravery in putting herself out there, and a lot to do with the thrill of being party to something that should have been so mundane, in the form of a stranger’s personal musings. Public personalities in other formats, like TV, radio, even my beloved books, had been packaged to meet what were supposed to be my interests, and my engagement as a young consumer. To be engrossed in a character who didn’t even know she was aiming at me, well, that was a thrill, and I was hooked. The thrill of the choice, I guess you could say.

I couldn’t have known it at the time, but the things that made that website irresistible offered a tiny taste of the attachment that would blossom into one of the most complex and important loves of my life: the internet.

That original writer still maintains her site, but she has discarded the open, engaging tone, and exchanged it for a grudging, curmudgeony kind of style, as when she states “This is not a blog,” and you feel like she's saying "Get off my lawn." She has become more guarded, and it seems to me that she might be a bit squicked out to think that although I only check in every 6 months or so these days, I’ve still been following her progress for over 9 years. That’s a long time. I hope the squick would be somewhat tempered by the fact that her musings meant a lot to me when I was lonely, 16, and not very nice to myself. Besides that unknowing emotional support, her website was also my door to a brave new online world, and a very steep learning curve.

All these years later, I’m not sure what I would read, who I would be in touch with, or what I would listen to (in terms of music or opinions) if it wasn’t for the internet. Sometimes I feel guilty that I give very little back. I know the internet is hardly lacking for content, but still: my ego says it misses me. Also, I know I should be writing more.

So, here’s the challenge. Two entries a week. Something besides what I had for lunch. Something besides these grandiose musings. Something in between, even if it’s moot.