Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

So despite a lingering bout of unwellness, I chose to stay up all night so I could watch the royal wedding. Most people would have gone to bed and set their alarm clocks. I'm too self aware to make what sounds like such a sensible decision. I'd just hit the snooze and go back to bed. If I had any chance in hell of being awake at 5:00 a.m., it had to be an all-nighter.

I watched a PVRed Toy Story 3, drank a 4:30 coffee and catnapped on the couch with the lights and TV on to prevent full-on sleep. And here I am a little before 11:00 in the morning feeling only slightly worse for wear. So I'd say it was worth it.

And there are the cynics out there who decry the royal wedding as a waste of our collective energy (Waves at McPal) but I can't help being thoroughly charmed by the whole thing. I suppose I could explain what it is about the royal wedding that pleases me.

1. It really brought the people of the UK together. The royal family is an enduring smbol of their history, and without any real political power, their influence is only so great as the people will allow it to be. Hence, I think, the affection. They've gone from being the government to being a living cultural relic. They're no more relevant than Japan's geisha, but people like indulging in the more asthetically pleasing aspects of their country's culture from time to time.

2. Speaking of asthetically pleasing, look at all those hats. I've always loved a good hat, but have rarely felt equal to the task of leaving the house in one. I fawn over them in stores, look at them online and fantasize about various hats I would pair with my dresses. But it's hard to pull off a good hat in this North American society without being looked at as an eccentric. And it's not that I mind people who know me thinking I'm odd due to my personality, as often happens. But I kind of feel squemish at strangers staring at me, which they would do were I to sport the sort of hats I covet.

3. It's of historical interest. I wasn't alive for Charles and Di, but I've seen the footage countless times. I kind of wanted to put in the effort to "be there" for this one. William will in my lifetime be my country's head of state. It's an international news story an estimated 2 billion people watched. It's enjoyable to be a part of that and to share a collective experience.

4. If my mom were alive, she'd have watched it. Maybe we would have arranged to watch it together. My aunt/godmother was all ready for it. In fact, I called her last night and her first question was whether I was all ready for the royal wedding. It was sort of a small bonding thing for her and I. She loves the royal family and so did my mom. She would have married around when Diana did, would have been pregnant with me around the time Diana was pregnant with William and now Mom's firstborn would have been married the same year as Diana's was. She adored Princess Di. I think this whole affair and it's timing would have really made her happy.

And my general impressions of the wedding itself were good. It was very restrained. Definitely elegant, but not over the top whatsoever. It was formal, traditional and understated compared to the passion and fervor the English had for the event. And considering the recession, I thought the modesty and simplicity were respectful. Plus now there's this needed boost to the UK's economy, and the royal family pretty much foot the bill for what's now going to be a huge tourism advertisement for London, England. Also, they all got the day off. Everybody wins. Not bad at all.

And, most importantly, I just really love love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sick, so sick

Oh man, I'm unwell. And it's been attacking me for days. It started on Saturday, and I have a reprieve on Sunday morning, but it teased me through the afternoon and really started in earnest in the evening. I suffered most of the night, throughout the morning and had to catch a bus home Monday afternoon.

And that wasn't too bad. I could even stop into a Starbucks for a piece of lemon seed loaf. But when I got home, that was it. Chills. I couldn't get warm, even with three blankets. I was sick to my stomach and couldn't bear the idea of food. I was weak, achy, and I completely succumbed to overwhelming fatigue. And this is on top of the highly unpleasant main symptom that had me two pounds lighter in two days while visiting my family. I'd estimate I'm down another pound.

I took the day off, after being called to the line of duty, so to speak, all last night. I couldn't bear to face the day. I could hardly pull myself out of my bed.

And now I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so I'm taking another medical day. I'm yet to work in my new office. It's there, ready and waiting, set up and all that jazz. I can't help but feel guilty about it. It's not like I'm well enough to be working, but my station is there, visible from my couch, and I feel delinquent.

Ugh. My stomach is aching so bad right now. I'll cut this off.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Found!

Oh my God, we found Sprinkles. I was in misery and then in a moment I was joyous. Such is the power pets hold over their owners. Or for cats, the power they hold over those they own.

We had given up for the night. It was dark, chilly and she's a calico, which meant excellent at blending into surroundings. It was hopeless.

I went upstairs a little after midnight to grab something from the old apartment and I heard a thud. Akin to "That sounds like a silo tipping over," I thought, "That sounds like a kitten jumping off a surface onto the floor!" I turned around and there was Sprinkles peeking out of the bedroom doorway. My heart sang, it really did.

We had worked out that after she ran out, she then crept into the hole under the stairs and stayed there. At some point, much like the ninja she is, she snuck back into the apartment and had been hanging out there for some time. What a character. Had me in tears and depressed and worried, and all along she was safe and avoiding us.

When I went to her, she was spooked still. The move was unsettling, the strange person in the house was frightening (she is not fond of men), and she was not interested in anything I had to offer. I eventually cornered her, took her in my arms and snuggled her against her will.

I took the squirmy kitty down to the Dude, who had passed out on the couch and woke him up while holding Sprinkles. She was dusty and wide-eyed, he was confused and then relieved and completely jazzed. She and Bea have been exploring the new place and seem to have adjusted, though Sprinkles is still a little extra skittish.

I can't imagine how parents feel when their child goes missing. I mean, I was sobbing and in agony over a cat I've had three months. We let the Dude's brother know we found her. Her said it was a good Friday. And it is.

As for the apartment, more things are unloaded and moved down. We need a whole lotta stuff to make this place work for us. It's gonna be expensive. And now I'm feeling extra happy I've already put down deposits on wedding stuff while I had extra monies and was able to get finite numbers of what stuff costs. For the next few months, we're going to be needing furniture.

Man, if we were 23 we'd be looking for milk crates and begging off old crap from family. Now I'll be looking to finance some condo furnishings from The Brick. I feel old.

Now I'm off to my hometown for some Easter goodness. Lent is almost over and I can have cake. The Dude is staying behind to be useful, god love him. It's been one hell of a week.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lost

Today has been terrible. In every way things could have gone wrong, they did.

Sprinkles is missing. When the couch was being moved, the underneath area being her favourite spot to hide, she zoomed out. The Dude's brother tried to interact with her, but she wasn't having it. So she made a break for it to the bedroom. Well, there was no bed in there and when the Dude went in the bedroom, she darted past him, down the stairs, through the open door... and the front door was open.

We all thought it was closed. Sprinkles was gone. I seriously freaked out. I'm still freaking out. I can't stop thinking about her. I love her. I can't stand thinking that I might never see her again. Holding Sprinkles, with her sweet face and her spunky tail and her pathetic meow is one of the nicest things I do with my day.

We all looked for her, but I knew in my heart it was pointless. She's so easily spooked. She's this squirrelly ninja kitten and you can't sneak up on her. She loves to run away from you. Approaching her is not happening. She has to decide to come to you, her way or the highway. But still, we looked under cars and around homes and in the alley. The Dude and his brother went well around the block and couldn't see her.

She could be anywhere in the neighbourhood. She could be close by. I'm really upset. I don't think someone will be able to pick her up easily, Sprinkles being a total spaz, but what if she gets hungry and can't find her way home? What if she gets hit by a car? What if she fights with other cats or a raccoon? She's only half a year old and she's never been outside before.

This whole move has been a wretched experience. I just want to crawl into a corner and sob. All I can think about is how much I want my Sprinkles back.

Sort of moved

I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment, the one I'm moving out of. There is little else left in this room: a lamp, DVDs, scratching post. Me. Sometimes the kittens, who totally have no idea what to make of this chaos.

The downstairs is really coming together. I have a lot ahead of me tomorrow. The Dude will be at work and after he's done, his brother is coming over and they'll be men and move the heavy stuff all man-like. I am no mover. I'm 5'2" and have the physique of... well, I don't know. No one impressive. Athletic I am not.

The Dude had a lovely time with me as I nearly dropped the TV stand, the bookshelf, the TV, unable to get a grip with my small hands and my short arm span with about zero muscle to get 'er done.

I'm kind of a liability with that sort of moving. I usually make better use of myself hauling the smaller, manageable loads. My thinking is that stuff needs to get done anyway, and it frees up the time and energy for stronger folks to do what I can't. That tends to be how moving goes with me. I'm essentially better than nothing.

But it was just the two of us this evening and the man I love must really love me because I would have driven a less enamoured man to drink. We painstakingly hobbled large things down the stairs, inching our way down. These various daunting trips exhausted me early, and further hindered stage one of the move.

What remains is our detachable couch, the bed, my vanity table, the bathroom storage unit and my work desk, none of which I can do anything about.

So tomorrow I'm lugging down clothes and toiletries, my nightstand, vanity chair, and the kitchen stuff. I also have to wait on the Bell guy to come and make the magic happen. So I'm still helpful, just not as helpful as the Dude's brother will be.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home is where the effort is

Okay, so this whole moving thing be the pits. I'm really looking forward to Friday. Why Friday? Because on Friday all our junkola should be moved downstairs. And that would be glorious.

But some major work has been done. Painting, for example, is over like dover. McPal and his boyfriend came over and helped me get a couple rooms done Sunday. The Dude and I got it started Saturday and we polished it up today and then got to work cleaning the general grime 'n slime from the previous tenants. Not that they were dirty people. But there was the dust and goo and grit and crumbs that are standard issue in any rental and it all had to go.

Oh man... there is so much to do. More cleaning tomorrow, basically. And then we'll start the move and do that for a few days after work. Yep.

I'm feeling ambivalent about this whole thing. It may be that the impossible has happened. After 12 years of frequent, almost yearly moving, I'm finally completely over it.

What the hell have I been searching for? Why do I do this?

I guess I like the sense of promise a new place brings. Or a place I thought had charm was in a lousy location. Or the rent felt like too much. Or the neighbours were frustrating. Or I was going through a life change.

I've been wanting to settle in and nest for years. With this apartment we did that. We painted. We fixed things. We installed shelving. And now we're starting all over. It's really coming together and it's going to be nice, but damn if there's not a ridiculous amount to do. And when we're done moving in, we're going to need to reseed the back lawn, and remove junk and debris, and dig up a space for a garden. Why do we need to do this stuff? Because we're both aching for a home and not just a place to stay.

Is it weird how much I'm going to miss the living room? I really, really like it in here. The window is large and the light is lovely. The room is perfect for me. I think part of what holds me back from being enthusiastic about this whole venture is I kind of already feel like I'm home when I'm in here. I don't like moving away from home. Everywhere else since I was 16 has been a place to stay until now.

I won't be moved from the downstairs unit. Not til we buy. We've put more into this new place than we did to move up here. The Dude said something similar to this the other day. I was glad to hear it. My apartment wanderlust is over.

Unless it's haunted down there or something, in which case I take back everything I said. Ha!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why Harper is a Problem

I'm up late again and I'm finding it hard to sleep, though I am in bed, my kitties are at my feet snuggling in their adorable fashion, and it's 3:00 a.m.

I've been thinking about low voter turnout in youth. I know when I first could, I was out there and I voted. I've voted NDP, Liberal and Green in federal and provincial elections. I see things I like in all of those parties. Sometimes I have a hard time deciding which I prefer. I love Green in an all-around way, especially on the environment and sustainability. NDP is best for my social values, and helping families. Liberals tend to strike me as the most fiscally responsible and I prefer them for the economy. It was their regulations in place that saved us from the economic downfall the Americans experienced, plus they developed a budget with a surplus.

And who is in power? The craziest, worst party in the whole damn country. I can't intellectually respect anyone who votes for them. The other parties, particularly the Liberals, have their skeletons in the closet, but none so frighteningly as bad as the Tories AKA the Reform Party.

And the people who support Harper won't hear a word against him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qItqs4HO6hc

They just blindly follow him and savour buzz words like "Tough on crime". Harper's mega prisons are a USA model and the States has some of the worst incarceration rates in the world with alarmingly high crime. Why emulate this? It's nonsensical. Crime is down in Canada. If he gave a shit about victims of crime he wouldn't want to dismantle the gun registry, a tool officers across the country use over 9,000 times every day.

These same uninformed voters look at the relative stability of Canada's economy after the recession and think Harper did it, even though he fought to deregulate the banks to be more like the US. He said regulations were hampering business. Well, they saved us and now he's crediting himself.

He's also renamed the Government Of Canada after himself and has been quoted as PM saying, "I make the rules." Steve Hubris Harper.

He's against gay rights. He fought against them. He's against universal healthcare. He supports privatization and is allowing it to leak into our system. He's certainly not supporting hospitals. We're crumbling and he's investing in the military instead.

He's frozen foreign aid. He claims our economy is awesome, while at the same time claiming it's too fragile to help others, while then blowing over a billion dollars for the G20 on frivolous nonsense in the worst location for a summit in the country, leading to the largest mass arrest in the nation's history. Harper the Hypocrite.

He's severed funding to women's groups across the board, evening internationally acclaimed groups. Didn't matter. Women are not a priority for him.

He is a megalomaniac. He has no business being in charge of anybody. I implore any Canadian reading this, please, for the love of your god, vote. And make it count. He's going to erode everything that we are. It's already begun.

And it's 3:30 now and I can link no more. But feel free to Google this stuff. It's out there, and from credible sources.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Leaders Debate

So, the leaders debate last night was hard to watch. It was mentally quite painful to watch Harper talk to the camera like a robot, lying, downplaying his contempt for democracy and generally put on this passionless persona.

I liked Ignatieff and Duceppe talk about crime prevention in calm, measured ways. They spoke like rational people on the topic, with respect to compassion, real results over ideology, and what would be affordable and reasonable. They spoke to how lengthier mandatory sentences don't reduce crime, nor prevent it, how prison makes criminals worse. Layton also weighed in about prevention being a more important focus. Crime is down in Canada. This is not the time to crack down harder and faster, but to improve victim services and reaching youth and giving them viable options for bettering themselves.

I liked the Liberal's plan for helping students and people caring for ill family. With all the elderly in the emergency rooms these days due to lack of beds in nursing homes, at-home care from family with job protection for them would be beneficial.

I liked NDP's stance of helping immigrants in Canada with programs and assistance to bring their families. I approved of Ignatieff's stance on gun control. I was happy Layton brought up violence against women as a serious issue. I enjoyed watching Duceppe call out Harper right off the bat for his failure to talk to the public.

I'll post my Twitter comments below. I got pretty zealous.

Settling in to watch the election debate.

Oh SNAP! Duceppe with the first awesome jab.

Ignatieff doing well, right off the bat. Harper is smug.

Layton isn't going to be PM, though I do enjoy him taking everyone to task.

Harper has soulless eyes, no passion and reminds me of a robot

Dude, we NEEDED an election, we didn't want it, but it's necessary. Why? Because you suck.

Harper is not talking to the leaders. He's playing for the camera. What a douche.

I think if Layton were a Liberal instead of NDP, he'd have a majority and the NDP would crumble. He's awesome to watch in these things.

"Anything you can't control, you want to shut down". Ain't that the truth. Ignatieff is doing well. I like the passion.

Parliamentary squabbling? Dude, you were found in contempt because you're a liar. You lied to the people. Ass.

Harper, you can't continue to do what you haven't even started re: accountability

Being able to trust my government matters to me, thank you very much. Democracy is of great importance

Harper is doing his best Mr. Roger's impression. Fails to impress

If Harper cared about rehabilitation, he wouldn't have dismantled the jail farms

Harper keeps saying, "That's simply not true." Asserting that something is untrue doesn't mean you're not lying.

I love Duceppe. If he weren't for separation, I'd move to Quebec and vote for him.


There's only so much money. You DO have to choose, Harper. You chose prisons, jets and a G8 party. We want healthcare. We want services

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guide For Online Clothes Shopping

I got some dresses in the mail today. I have well over 30 in my growing collection. Some women like shoes, others like purses or scarves or makeup. Some prefer things for the home. I have my weakness, too. I've held back since wedding planning began, trying to save the monies and all that good jazz.

This one is super sweet. Makes me waist look nice 'n narrow.


This one is quite spiffy.
It's updated '50s housewife with flair. Looks great with a cardigan.


I have had great luck shopping online, not always, especially not at first, but these days I've really hit my stride. I was almost feeling confident enough to buy my wedding dress online, though I did buy my shoes. I have developed a little how-to when it comes to buying clothes online.

1. Only shop on websites that look like they splurged on web design. If their site sucks, it's likely because they're unwilling or unable to pay for quality designers, thus they probably won't have good customer service or inventory.

2. When it's time to pay, the website should be a https:// That means it's secure. I always go with Paypal where it's possible.

3. Don't rely on being able to buy your typical size. Always check the charts. When in doubt, fit your problem area. I have a thicker waist. So I base my size around that when my measurements don't match a size (Which is all the time).

4. Online stores that have customer feedback are safer bets. Always read the reviews on any item you want so you can discover any problem areas in the garment or shoe. Does it fit loose? Are buttons sewn on securely? Is the colour less vibrant in person?

5. Be honest about your body type. I've made errors where I was guilty of wishful thinking and bought a dress that in no way flattered me. Sure, a longer waist and larger breasts would be all well and good, but that's not what nature gave me. I learned my lesson and stuck to higher waisted clothes where the bust seemed ungenerous.

6. Check the web for the actual designers of the clothes you want to buy. Sometimes you can buy them directly and save a little money. Other times it means you won't have to pay as much for shipping. I once bought a swimsuit from the designer directly, and bought a short-waisted prototype she had made earlier and was not planning to sell.

7. Some places don't ship to your country. Find that out first. It's a sad occasion to discover an item you love is not available to you.
Make sure you're comfortable with the return policy before making your decision.

8. Find a store you're comfortable with: prices, shipping, fit, quality, delivery speed, policies, style. For me, that's ModCloth. I've bought elsewhere, but I keep returning to my favourite.

Basically, sometimes you wind up making bad choices in the beginning, but if you're dedicated to the cause (unique clothing, avoiding malls) then you can quickly get the hang of it.

I only wish I had some reason to buy this:


Friday, April 8, 2011

Sprinkly

A cat lady is born. They can't be made, you know. I was a cat child, then a cat girl, and at the age of 28, I am a bona fide cat lady.

video

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eight Days

So I've referenced moving downstairs before. We went for another two-year deal in exchange for being given free range to paint and have it paid for. Also, we negotiated $75 off per month to be property managers.

Well, the Dude is going to be the one. He's going to shovel the snow, take care of the garbage and recycling, and care for the common areas, plus repair any small things that need done. Also, we'll handle any onsite service people who need to come in or through the house. This basically means the landlady won't have to come by unless there's a real emergency.

The move starts soon. The lass downstairs (The last of her family to remain) will be out by the 15th. So in eight days time we begin our process of filling in holes, sanding and painting, and tweaking things that need fixing. We have zero things packed, no boxes and no movers. Essentially, we'll be moving room by room as things are done being painted.

It's going to be a hectic and stressful week. Cheapest move ever, easiest move ever, but moving in itself is never enjoyable. I'll never fully understand why I keep doing it. And the Dude being cut from the same cloth as I am, is worse, if that's possible. He's the one who really pushed for this change.

I'm excited to think of a yard and ensuite laundry, a proper office, a normal spacious kitchen, more storage and finally having a better space than the bathroom to store kitty litter. But I'm going to miss this living room. It's been my favourite room I've ever had. It's blood red with hardwood floors, the size is perfect, the shape is easy to work with, and all our furniture, pictures, shelving, books and knickknacks have their place.

Everything else sucks. The bedroom is small, there is a foolishly situated Wal-Mart cabinet hanging on the wall in such a way that prevents the door from opening all the way. The closet goes deep, along the wall, however accessing the space is treacherous and maddening. There is a fifth wall that cuts off where a corner ought to be and that's the window. This has the bonus of making the room smaller and more difficult to place furniture.

The kitchen is made from an old small bedroom. The shelving appears to be an afterthought. There is one sink, one drawer and a small cabinet to the side, and then two cabinets above. The rest of the shelving we installed out of pure need. We still can't house all our kitchen stuff properly, and we have put off acquiring things we need because they'd have nowhere to go.

And off the kitchen is a deck. The door to the deck was not built in properly, and the Dude had to insulate it between the cracks. The flooring in the kitchen is the same flooring as what's on the front porch. It's loathsome.

So I grieve not for the loss of those two rooms. Screw 'em. But we've made this place better and we're leaving it in great shape, nicer than we found it. Time to upgrade. Though we already know there's a handful of things that need doing downstairs, too. I guess we're not looking for perfect, just decent enough and fixable. I think there's something good in that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

SlutWalk

The Dude and I are doing the SlutWalk on Sunday. Why? What's it about? It stemmed from a Toronto police officer telling female university students that they could avoid being raped if they didn't dress like sluts.

This is bullshit. One, what the hell is a slut? Seriously, the more I think about it, the less I understand. Is it not being a virgin prior to marriage? Is it wearing revealing clothing? Is it being popular with men? Because I've heard women called sluts for all of those things.

Is it because your "number" is higher than the "number" of the man you're dating? If you like to drink in bars? If you have had a one-night stand? If you plan ahead for sex and buy condoms? Because I've heard women called sluts for those things too.

Fuck it. It's crap. It's a crap belief.

1. Having consensual sex is a personal decision, and if a woman is actively sexual that's her choice, and she remains 100% control over which interested parties she wants to sleep with.

2. Clothes are not sexual invitations or evaluations of a woman's availability. Women dress for themselves, to look good and feel confident. They dress for other women, to be admired and envied. They dress for their partners, to nurture an attraction and make them happy. And while they do dress to attract men, it's only to draw men into conversation, in the hopes of meeting someone (who she may or may not want to sleep with), nothing more.

3. Rapists who wait for victims in the shadows look for opportunity without witnesses. They don't let lone conservatively dressed women pass by with no one watching, thinking, "Oh, that woman isn't wearing enough makeup and she's in flats. Guess I'll have to wait for a slut."

4. Women are more likely to be assaulted by men they know, and it doesn't depend on her clothes. It depends on the man and what sort of man he is. Men who rape are predatory.

We live in a rape culture. I've heard too many stories of women getting treated like garbage by the police, courtrooms tearing them apart, media outlets focusing on the wrong fucking thing: What was she wearing? What was her reputation. And what gets lost is the fact that a man committed a sex crime, of his own free will. But no, you'd think that men were animals and a look at fishnet stockings removes a woman's right to safety.

I'm marching against this. There is no empirical data that comes close to suggesting clothing choices cause rape. The only thing all rapes have in common are rapists, and victims who were unfortunate enough to come across them.