Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Abortion Diaries

I recently watched this video: The Abortion Diaries. With the war on women going on, and yes, there is a war, especially in the United States, I think it's important to tell women's stories.

It's about 30 minutes and it's worth watching. The pro-life (Anti-choice) crowd is getting so much more air time these days. We can't allow ourselves to grow lax. We can't allow the uninformed to choose for us. We can't allow men to decide if we become mothers before we're ready. We must remain vigilant that our rights and our lives are considered more important than the potential lives we may carry.

And people out there are asking the right questions. Take a look at this video when a man asks pro-lifers to think deeper about their stance about abortions being made illegal.

When I was a girl, I thought sexism was over. I thought my mother and grandmother fought that fight for me. No. They fought their fight. There will always be misogynists biding their time, waiting for a new generation of unsuspecting women, ready to push back on hard-won rights, wanting them out of the high paying jobs, not enjoying sex on their terms and having plenty of babies to keep them busy at home.

Why? I have no fucking clue. Hating a massive group of people tends to stem from not really seeing them as people. Or a lack of empathy. Or greed because you want more resources or opportunities for yourself. Or you just really have a superiority complex that must be fed. I don't know.

And why are women pro-life? Lack of empathy, again. Lack of compassion. Lacking sense of sisterhood with other women (not just people you know, but women everywhere). Lack of plain bad luck in life, leading to belief all problems are avoidable. Lack of imagination to conceive of situations abortion would be best. Lack of education of what abortion is and the stages of pregnancy. Fear of social stigma in community. Misplaced sense of self-righteousness.

I worry about American women, who are losing their right to reproductive freedom week by week. Soldiers are cheered as "fighting for our freedom," when in fact there are no invading threats to American freedom from outside the country. Sure, there are terrorist groups, but they're incapable of sustaining such a coup as to take down the country. But there is a threat to American freedom, to the pursuit of happiness. It's coming from within the ranks of governments across the land and it's attacking the freedom of half the population.

I'm a Canadian, so I'm out of the American political conversation and voting. But I feel the sisterhood. I want better for American women. I want them stand up and cry foul. I want men to say this is crazy; we need to stop doing this to our mothers and daughters and sisters and nieces and wives. I want everyone to stop fussing over what is unborn and start giving a massive shit about those who are actually here.

I also don't want this bullshit crossing the border.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Can, Can, Can you do the Can Can?

Today I made my first batch of strawberry jam. How did it go? Oh, not too bad, I think, but the proof will be in the ironic hypothetical pudding.

Sterilizing and heating the jars in a canner.
Little dark, but here is the first layer of berries to be mashed.
Lemon and sugar added to the mashed strawberries.
Brought to a high boil for 1 minute.
After boiling, I added pectin.
After stirring and skimming for five minutes, it's ready to be funnelled into the jars. 
Heat processing.
Ready to cool and be stored!
I bought liquid pectin and followed the instructions, as well as reading up online. I sampled it and it's got pretty good flavour. I'm hoping to use it in strawberry turnovers this summer. The Dude will be one happy man.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby Focus

Oh man, I am at an impasse in my life.

This is the age. Now, if you never want kids, this isn't the age at all. You will have more time to do everything you want to do because your looming infertility isn't on the horizon and you can take things slower or faster without worrying about the sacrifices involved in becoming a parent. And don't think this knowledge isn't tempting. On an intellectual level, it has a definite allure.

But when your heart knows you want a child, there's no reasoning your way out of it. I think of how gross it'll be for many years. Hell, when I was 6 I saw a mom wipe a kid's nose and think, Ugh, I never want to do that. And thinking on it, my mom rarely wiped my nose. I recall her tolerating sniffling a lot. That's one way to avoid the ick. And yet I still want to do it.

I think of the reduced income. Despite formulating a frugal plan that will involve cloth diapering, breastfeeding, making my own baby food and buying things second-hand, there will be things like daycare to consider. Daycare in this city is wild. Not unfair, mind you. Daycare service providers need to pay their bills, eat, and live, plus cover all their overhead, hence they charge what they need to. But still. Damn. And despite less money, I still want to do it.

The Dude and I are saving for Paris. We want to spend a week there, have one good hurrah before we plan for a family. But really? I wouldn't be that disappointed if we couldn't go, say, due to me already being pregnant. No, I'm not expecting or anything. But Paris < baby. I want the adventure, but I'd be okay without it.

It's been easy to keep this desire quiet for the last three years, which is when it cropped up. The Dude was going back to school, something that doesn't make for a good financial situation if you're a new parent.  Then it was because I was unmarried, which is something I wanted to do first. I originally thought buying a house would be prudent, but now that we've been significantly out-priced of the market for the foreseeable future, I'd rather not wait any longer. House prices fluctuate, finances change. Fertility only goes south, and so that's the call I'm heeding.

Somehow people still aren't aware that making babies in your late 30s can be hard sailing, and sometimes you can get aged out of the boat. You don't even know what kind of fertility you have until you try. But statistically, after 30 things start dropping, and by 35 you're racing against time. 5.5 years is not really that much time. I've learned that just by writing this blog. Three years have zoomed past and it's felt like practically nothing. Putting things off longer and longer would risk me losing out on something I want.

I think about having a child every day. I wonder if that's something my body is doing to me or if it's an emotional vocation to parenthood. I think maybe also I'm just tired of my focus being on me. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've been doing the gym thing now for eight weeks now, going on nine. I'm one lazy bastard. I really and truly am. I am sedentary. So this actually is a big deal for me.

I wasn't fat going into this commitment, but I certainly was in poor shape. I was given a full work-up and learned I was as unhealthy as I had suspected I was. Very exciting. Validation at its worst. My measurements were taken and I was weighed, my endurance and flexibility catalogued. And interestingly they did this ultrasound-type thingy to measure my muscle/fat density. I was squishy.

There's the foundation program you start out with to get used to working out, get some sort of base ability, and then after that they work on building your muscle. This makes you more able to sustain the exercise to lose weight and such. I don't need to lose a lot, really. But I certainly wouldn't mind five fewer pounds on my frame.

I've noticed some differences. One, I'm stronger. My shoulders, thighs, arms and butt are looking firmer and mildly leaner. My sides are a little trimmer looking, but again, it's mostly increased firmness. My abdomen, though, is my cross to bear. The pebble in my shoe. The ant in my picnic. IBS, man. The constant bloat I sport means almost constant distention. And I know it's distention because a colonic deflates that bad boy and I get to experience normalcy for a short while and enjoy the lovely flatness of stomach happiness. Then I eat something that tastes good or I have a bad day and boom. Like there's a balloon in my tummy.

I'm signed up for six months. I have four and a half months left to go. I could have signed up for a year, but something stopped me. I think because eventually I'm going to scale us back a lot to prepare our finances for a baby. But who knows. Maybe I'll keep it up. Getting in better shape has been a 2012 goal of sorts. No reason I can't try to maintain it.

My other goal, my book, is at 45,000 words. I'm doing a lot of editing right now, reworking sentences, making foreshadowing choices, refining the story, expanding the dialogue. Sometimes it's difficult to plough forward, and to keep invested it's nice to improve on what you've got. Sometimes my editing choices give me ideas for the next chapter, too.

But oh mercy, it's a long road. Long, long, long. The idea of finished strikes me as this wild fantasy. I have no idea how that will feel. Will feel, not would feel. This is definitely happening.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Plans

A couple nights ago the Dude and I went to the Rosewater for our Groupon and had a lovely five-course meal.  Oh, to be able to eat like that all the time. Though it'd probably be a curse because very soon most food wouldn't meet your standards. But once a month would be a heavenly treat.

We got the chef's choice: asparagus soup with a seared scallop, tuna tartar, grilled salmon and shrimp with risotto, strip loin steak and garlic mashed potatoes, and a berry/chocolate concoction. Nom nom nom...

I have been thinking a lot about what I'd like this summer to be, what I want to do. It's my last summer in my 20s and next year we'll likely be planning for a family. This summer must count. And really, if I don't set goals for these months I tend to let them fly by with nothing special to show for it, no memories worth keeping.


1. Go to Canada's Wonderland at least once.
2. Try to make at least two trips to my hometown, one of which involving taking friends.
3. Go strawberry picking and can strawberry jam.
4. Make homemade ice cream at least once.
5. See two plays.
6. Finish writing my book (Though I expect editing it will take longer. I'm currently on chapter 18)
7. Have $2,000 saved up from June through September.
8. Host two dinner parties.

Simple, achievable and fun.

Now, the savings specifically relates to the fact the Dude and I want to see Paris. We've never been and we intend to see it in February on the week of his 32nd birthday and Valentine's day, just like our honeymoon. It's cheaper that time of year, with less tourists, and the weather is on average warmer than Ontario so I am sure we can hack it. The $2,000 will cover our airfare, giving me several more months to save accommodations/food/museums/ground travel costs. We plan to rent an apartment for the week, which is also cheaper than a hotel.

The Dude wanted to see Ireland as much as he wanted to see Paris, but I've already been and there's something romantic and exciting about exploring Paris together for the first time. It can also be somewhat of a buzz kill (Annoying) when your travel partner is reliving the previous trip they took without you ("Last time I was here..." "Oh, on my trip I liked to...") And I don't think people can help doing that, so I think I need more distance from Ireland as I saw it in 2007 and we have a whole life to live and we can visit it down the road.

We also wanted Italy, but it costs an arm and a leg. We're going to wait till we're older and have enough money to enjoy it properly. I want to go to Iceland, but the Dude is less keen on it. Ah, compromise. But really, who can be upset about Paris?

And it'll be a last hurrah of sorts before family plans get underway and all future savings will be diverted to future maternity leave and daycare costs. Crazy thinking this far ahead. The past 10 years I've been thinking in terms of the coming months or up to a year. Now I'm thinking ahead five years. Hell, I started saving for retirement several years ago so in an abstract way I started thinking way into the future then, I guess.

A part of me sometimes looks at 21-year-olds and feels envy for all the choices they haven't made yet and still get to sort out, all the freedom from responsibility, all the selfishness they're entitled to act on. But then I think about how it feels to be 21 and those thoughts quickly disappear. Being 29 feels amazing.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Backyard Oasis

Today was a rainy hot mess in the Big Smoke. Union Station was flooded out, likely with sewage from the sounds of things, and commuters were stranded, stuck waiting forever in the dreary weather for a bus to come save them. Meanwhile, I stayed indoors and didn't have to water my garden.

And this was a small bummer because I've grown to really enjoy gardening. It's very zen. I take pride in my plants. I've killed so many and now finally my brown thumb seems to have subsided. Here are some pictures I took yesterday of my growing lovelies.

The rose bush has bloomed!

More blossoms have sprouted.

The zucchini plant has flowered as well, and gotten larger.

My tomato plant is doing very well.
I keep pruning it to move it upwards.

The pepper plant is growing, albeit slowly. 
My green beans are faring well.
Well, no beans yet, of course, but we're on the way.

My strawberry plant is really large now, and growing numerous berries. 

Like so!

The lilies in the back are getting huge!

My onions have finally started growing, once I removed the soil around them. D'oh!

Is it strange I fantasize about packing up, leaving town and buying a farm? I love growing food. It adds such a charming rhythm to my day. I don't think I could go back to not having a back yard.