Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mostly Not Guilty Pleasure: Being Shown as a Pretentious Jagoff

I'm trying this new thing where I attempt to not believe in guilty pleasures. Guilty pleasures implies that you're ashamed to like something because it's not socially acceptable. Eff that. If you're into J-Biebz, love the hell outta that kid. If you can't get enough of your Lisa Frank notebook, you write the minutes from your management meeting in that thing. As the inimitable Dave Grohl says:

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe you should be able to like what you like. If you like a fucking Ke$ha song, listen to fucking Ke$ha."

Word, Foo.

So today I'd like to introduce you to one of my Mostly Not Guilty Pleasures: People unknowingly acting like pretentious jagoffs. 

Let's not mince words: I am a know-it-all. There's something in me that just has to be a wonder-killer when someone tries to pass off an urban legend as truth, that has to suck the air out of the room by correcting a misconception. But it comes from a good place, I promise! I, too, once believed that "Ring around the Rosie" was a song about the plague! I even have the Usenet group posting to prove it! And I was so interested (and okay, a little embarrassed) when I learned that that wasn't the case that I want to share that knowledge with everyone, even when they obviously couldn't care less about my factoids. 

I'm getting better, in general. I've learned there's a time and a place to gently correct someone (first off, make sure you're right- another lesson learned, there) and a time when you must just leh tha shi gah, y'know? This also gives me the added benefit of not being on the receiving end of unasked for knowledge as often, which is a blessing. So I shut my mouth more than I used to, bite my tongue till my mouth gets a hint of the coppery taste of humility, all the while knowing that yes, though it is most definitely "jury rig" not "jerry rig", you have an hour and a half car ride ahead of you with this person and that one sentence can either make it a pleasant one or misery on wheels. Choose your battles, people. 

In my quest to not be so much of a know-it-all, I find myself getting a lot of mileage out of that "better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open one's mouth and remove all doubt" adage. This isn't to say that you shouldn't talk about topics you're unfamiliar with or ever take risks - hell, we're all wrong about something, sometime, it's called being human - but there's a certain amount of schadenfreude that sets in when a know-it-all gets their comeuppance (eg: this self-professed "expert" on Photoshop who tries to show off his skills while simultaneously wasting them analyzing a pretty obvious fake picture on The Onion). Professing to have your finger on the pulse of something chic, of being a very specific know-it-all, in other words, can lead to a myopic worldview and an overeagerness to appear in-the-know. Wine aficionados, political zealots, smug parents - nothing's sweeter than knowing they don't have all the answers.

But don't get me wrong, I have no interest in mortifying these people or in making them upset - that's not funny and should only be done with the truly abusive (who probably won't back down even if they're wrong). Yes, it takes a certain amount of skill and silliness to effectively show the ridiculousness of a situation without making it seem like brutish bullying.

Which brings me to today's MNGP.

Below are two of my favourite examples of this MNGP. The first is by Sacha Baron Cohen as fashion icon "Bruno", getting the fashion expert to group celebrities into "hot" or "not" categories by getting him to choose between the wildly inappropriate suggestions of "keep them in the ghetto" or "send them to Auschwitz". Outrageous but telling, the guest has no problem going along with the unsettling categories Bruno proposes or changing his opinion when it suits the shows "sponsors". SBC at his best.

Another good  is a recent video by Jimmy Kimmel in response to the new premium Starbucks coffee blend that will cost $40/lb or $7/cup. He brings his taste-test to the streets to see what people have to say about it and the result is pretty funny. Like the first video, the key is sort of an Emperor's new Clothes vibe. If someone would just say "I honestly don't taste much of a difference" or even "I like A better but I wouldn't pay much more for it", they would come off looking intelligent. It's that insistence of meaning, that we are more sophisticated than the pleebs who would drink coffee at McDonald's that gives us such joy.

And as many smiles as I get out of these, they make me nervous as hell. While not on coffee or fashion, I stall for answers all the time until I can research something. But funny reminders like these keep me in check of doing it too often or too elaborately. Because sometimes the only thing worse than saying "I don't know" is saying "I was wrong."


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back from the Belly of the Beast (of Bargains!)

Well, I survived to tell the tale. After some initial confusion about pickup spots and timing, we made our way to the American border to take part in that time-honoured tradition - the acquiring of stuff and then bragging re: the price of said stuff. It's holier than Easter in my family.

We returned 24 hours later with a Volkswagen Beetle full of things that probably rank below "egg timer" on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but which were desired all the same. The border guards were very kind and charged us not even a whiff of duty (hee. Duty.) and we all came back poorer (in money and sleep) yet richer (in friendship and fried foods).

And the question that's on all your minds: Was it worth it?

Well, that's relative, friend. If the thought of hour-and-a-half lineups and elbowing your way through a mall at 4 in the morning fill you with dread and loathing then, no, it's not worth it. For me though, it was an excuse to have fun with friends, get a good chunk of my Christmas shopping done, and revel in the chaos and insanity that only Black Friday can bring. As an added bonus, my sister had never been before, so it was an opportunity to do some bonding as we pushed our open-palmed hands into people's faces in order to get the last $8 slow cooker. And get it we did!

At the end of the day we came back with a tonne of American goodies, a bunch of names crossed of the "presents to buy" list, and about 3 1/2 hours of sleep under our belts. Highlights included the noobs who wandered into Target at 12:30am and gasped "I can't believe how many people are here!" - really?, the guy behind us in line who waited an hour and a half to buy a Wii game and 4 cans of beef consomme, and the guy in the McDonalds with the pen and the Walmart ad, circling which guns and ammo he wished to procure.

Lowlights included Applebees. That is all.

Target at about 1am. We only took this picture because
the guy on the right is a dead ringer for my dad (dad ringer?).
 He bought the beef consomme, though, so he must be his evil twin.
I'm not sure I'd do Black Friday again. As we were leaving Target at about 1:30, my friend turned to me and said "I'm about 80% disgusted right now", and, yeah, shuffling through lines between bewildered toddlers and cackling teenagers, then catching a glimpse of my white-green face in The Loft's changing room wasn't the thrill ride of a lifetime. It was a good time but I couldn't help but think of the people who didn't choose to be there. Last year the stores opened at 11 or 12 at night and this year Target, for one, was open at 9pm. There are people who left their dinners and friends and families to spend the wee hours of the morning asking people if they'd like to put that on their charge card to save 5%. Personally, I don't understand why people have the big family meal on Thursday when you've ostensibly got all of the weekend to blow through that bird but for some reason, a lot of Americans do, and if they do, they should be allowed to do so in peace. And that includes people who work retail. Maybe them more than anyone. Enough of the opening early to be the first. I'll make my way down at midnight, 4am, 6am or noon. And so will everyone else, promise. And for god's sake, if you do open early, make sure you actually offer a discount or else you're wasting everyone's time (giving the stink eye to you, Coach).

All in all, only paying a tank of gas (we got the hotel room free) made it a worthwhile way to spend a day off, especially when we got punch-drunk around 3pm the next day and insisted on only listening to Kenny Rogers in the car for the remainder of the trip. But man, no warm fuzzies to be had trolling the malls on Black Friday. Unless you include those adorable adult onesies I saw. Goddamnit. I knew I should have bought the one that looked like a fox.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

White Lights, Black Friday

Remember that post a few days ago about not following trends, living with less, and appreciating what was important?

Hopefully me in a few hours. Gonna get me a
Snuggie that plays music.

For sure. Still so, so important.


But also:

I'm going to Black Friday.

It's different though! I said I wanted to spend money on experiences and if there's anything that screams "experience", it's Black Friday. Last year we went on the spur of the moment because our friend wanted a tablet and we wanted to see him trampled. It was a fun night, if a little insane, and we got some good deals (replaced my DVD player for one). This year, we're going more for the people-watching (which was so choice last year) and to see if we can pick up a few presents for folks (and also some 'merican groceries - heloooo apple cinnamon rice cakes.)

For those of you who aren't aware, Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, of course, is the day when American families and friends gather 'round and share what's important to them and how much they all mean to each other. And Black Friday is the day when you sit with those same people hours later and say "yeah, sure, you're great, grandpa, but you're not Tickle-me-Beyblade-with-Gangnam-style-action-for-$9.99-great. So clean the gravy off your chin, we're going to Target"

On the whole, I'm torn on the idea of Black Friday. I mean, once I found out America doesn't have Boxing Day (who doesn't have boxing day???) I totally got why Black Friday was such a big deal. Even so, I used to laugh when I'd hear the ads, each trying to outdo each other with opening times

"Kohl's will open at 5am for your shopping needs!"

"Get to JC Penney's at 4am for our doorcrasher specials!"



But this year it's not as fun. The stores aren't even waiting until midnight; the mall we're going to opens at 9pm. 9. That's still pretty firmly Thursday. And last year, we ran into an associate at Walmart that had been shoved over and hit in the quest to get some toys and had been reduced to a dead-eyed, saddened mess. Oh, I'm sorry, a dead-eyed, saddened, 8-months pregnant mess. Ye gods.

If America got together tomorrow and said "fuck this. There are so few times people can get federally-mandated time-off to eat copious amounts of food, hang out with loved ones, drool on themselves in gluttony, and go to bed with a wine headache, and we have to protect them. No more Black Friday. No stores open until Saturday. Enough is enough," I would support it. I think it's ridiculous, even Canadian stores don't open until 6 or 7am on Boxing Day. But it's a uniquely American ridiculousness that, like Purity Balls and State Fairs, I am absolutely fascinated by. And while I may never do this again, I am excited to take part in this absolute freak show of need.

Pray for me. I didn't even pack shin guards.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wiggin' Out 'Bout it Wednesday

Okay, let's try something different.

The week's only half over, if you're Canadian, there's no turkey in your future, and it's the middle of God's hated month - November.

Here on Wearing the Wig we're going to brighten up your Wednesday with a short list of things we (me) be diggin' in order to put a positive spin on this butthole of a day.

First: Apartment Therapy's tips on how to make your house look cleaner than it is, is GENIUS. Dishes stashed in the stove - YES! Also, the comments section is full of good info (and makes me glad I don't own cats)

Second: The best saying related to putting men in the "friend" zone that I've heard- and it's in sampler-form! You can buy it here.

Third: Anytime I'm having a bad day, I just listen to this rendition of the 20th Century Fox Theme as played by a recorder.

Fourth: I'm really really hoping this place has the straight-up goods on poutine. Grabbing a quick dinner there tonight - will report back if not immediately admitted to hospital for heart murmurs.

And, finally: Is there anything better than Donald Trump getting schooled by the head of UNICEF? No, no there is not.

Happy hump day, kids!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Machine of Want

I lurk around Get Off My Internets from time to time, and today I read something really good (besides all the sassy "oh no she didn't"s and comments about fat jealous losers, I mean). It was in a thread about a blogger I read and someone was critiquing their use of blueprints as a design element (ie: printing out images as engineer prints to produce a thin, imperfect, large image to use in decorating). The poster said she was "so over it" as a design element and this comment provoked an interesting response, reproduced in part below:

 "The internet and extensive blog reading can really skew our perspective on what is actually overdone. I don't know one person who has a large format engineer print hung in their home as art. So, if I were to do that, it would certainly not be overdone in my corner of the world. But [...] blog readers have become over-saturated with oversized prints as art, which leads some of us to start to hate the idea. Or to be "so over it." 

This attitude just perpetuates the short attention span that bloggers contribute to, as well as the quick overturn in trends and desire for more, more, more, faster, faster, faster- [...] Our consumerism isn't limited to materialism any more. Now we consume ideas. We love them, and then are over them just like that. It's not healthy, in my opinion. Can't we just enjoy a good idea without soon spitting it out and waiting for something new to enjoy? And it's also fascinating to me that we can be already be sick of a home fashion trend that most of us have only seen in an online setting, and have never even been exposed to in our actual real world." 


 The figurative 15 minutes of fame for trends is getting more and more literal every day. Whether it's a youtube clip, a celebrity, a DIY, or a meme, the space between "have you seen this?!" and "So over it." is getting smaller than one tiny hand.

By the time it's a Halloween costume for suburban youth, the world has already moved on. They want something new even as most parts of the western world are still discovering the old thing. The quoted comment is right on - I have literally never seen one person I know use washi tape, antique globes or antlers in all of their decorating* but I feel like I've seen it all before. Because I have, just never in real life. And when I do see those things, I assume it's someone who's trying to be trendy instead of just, you know, liking certain things in their house.

The other day I was at The Boy's parents' house and noticed his old room now has a desk with a vintage typewriter on it. I thought "wow. I knew Mrs. S was on the ball design-wise but that's pretty hipster of her." And then I realized it wasn't a specially-purchased retro typewriter, it was just a real, functioning typewriter that they'd owned for a few decades. And I felt dumb for assuming that they'd buy it for the kitsch factor instead of just displaying the item they'd used during their university years.

I don't have Pinterest. I probably will never have Pinterest. Because I have a "bookmarks" folder. I don't begrudge anyone who uses Pinterest the right to "pin" -it seems like a good way to highlight a great deal of things you're interested in or gather together quotes you find funny -but it's not for me. While I might pretend that I'm using it as a way to gather good ideas for DIYs, recipes, house decor and the like, I know what it would really do. Feed the big, fat, want machine that grinds away inside of me, always. It's the one that online shops when I'm nowhere near a pay day, the one that closes Facebook in frustration when someone's on vacation while I'm at work (not that I read Facebook at work, she says). It's the part of me that can only be happy when I'm reaching forward, and not in any meaningful way, just in the acquirement of more stuff.

 And stuff doesn't have to be literal stuff. It can be memories or experiences, too. It takes a lot to admit this in public but honesty is a good thing so, here goes: I am jealous of you. I may not even know you but I want your house. I want your pets. I want your fireplace full of candles and your trip to Disneyland. I don't even like Disneyland. But I wish we'd gone there together. I want your gourmet dinner. I want your boyfriend that can pick you up and swing you around. I don't really want your kids, but I want the happy parts of raising them. I want it all. I'm Veruca Salt.

And the rational part of my brain knows that it's foolish to covet - nobody's life is perfect**. But it's easier to make people believe it is but what we share online and in person. And let's face it -many people carefully construct their online personas to only show the most exciting, funniest "highlight reels" parts of themselves (except for those who take Instagram selfies of themselves crying in order to garner sympathy - I don't know what that's about).

 My life is pretty great - I consider myself really blessed, even if things aren't perfect. I have a house, a great family, hilarious and caring friends, a sweet and funny boyfriend, a good job. All my needs (and a good healthy chunk of my wants) are taken care of. And yet when the aforementioned boyfriend and I were chilling on the couch last night, chatting, I admitted that my big fear is that it's not enough. I'm not enough. When I invite friends to my house I'm afraid it won't be neat enough, big enough, fashionable enough. I want my house to look like magazine spreads and blog features when, in actuality, it just looks like what it is - a smallish house where two slightly messy young professionals live. When I confessed to The Boy that I was worried people wouldn't like our place he looked at me like I had one tiny hand and said "Are you kidding? Have you seen how people live?"

Which, you know, is good advice.

Because, again, no one I know actually has a home like a Martha Stewart spread. And those acquaintances that have something close get there by living in sprawling 2000 ft sq. houses in the suburbs because that's how they afford nice things. And I would rather live in my perfect little house downtown than there. Which is sort of a metaphor for all my wants. I may think I want what others have but in actuality, I'm happy with what I have. People can travel the world without it diminishing my trips. People can have a great week at work without it making my job worse. Friends can decorate their place without it tearing down the walls of my own. To paraphrase something my mom always used to say - "Blowing out your light doesn't make mine burn any brighter.

I can be content and still strive to be better. I should just focus on being better where it counts - and not on getting those scrummy Missoni throw pillows before anyone else. And I should also focus on never saying "scrummy" again.

It doesn't mean I won't strive for other things in my life but by spending life trying to be more I end up enjoying what I have far less. During my daily blog readings, I ran across exactly what I needed to see today, via Becoming Minimalist. Today's post was entitled Wanting Everything is (Almost) the Same as Wanting Nothing. A particularly key passage:

"When our desires run unchecked, our list of pursuits grows. And too frequently, the most important desires in our lives get lost in the shuffle. The more we pursue at any given moment, the less likely we are to achieve any of them. Consider how… 
§ the desire for comfort or pleasure contradicts our search for growth. 
§ the desire for worldly success interferes with our opportunity for significance § the desire for wealth keeps us from accomplishing generosity. 
§ the desire for material possessions limits our ability to live out our greatest passions. We would be wise to limit our desires—to keep our pursuits focused on the most important and most beneficial to our lives and others. Then, each of our limited resources could be wholly directed toward them. And the opportunity for their accomplishment would increase dramatically. […] 

May our desires be few—but well-placed." 

Amen. It's a hard thing to do, but I will try to focus on what's important and what's just noise. I don't need to be cutting edge, I don't need as much as I think I do. Except to ride an elephant. I need that. I bet it's awesome.

*name the song, win my love
** maybe Beyonce's

Monday, November 19, 2012

Puppy Love

Does this angle make her nose look big?
Wow.. so NaBloPoMo kinda got wiped off the map by this beautiful little girl. The Boy and I puppysat for the weekend in order to give his family a chance to head down to the 'states for some retail therapy. As an added bonus, they threw in their canary for free (which strangely did not make a sound the whole weekend.. i think we broke him. Or we're about to die of miner's lung). It was a bit of an eye-opener to be sure. As I said previously, I've never owned a pet so I was nervous about taking care of another living thing. I routinely kill African violets so something with a beating heart was a challenge I wasn't sure I was up to.

I'm happy to report that Suzy is alive and well with only a minimal amount of trauma. She insists on going on a hunger strike as soon as she's separated from the alpha leaders of her pack and this trip was no different. She managed not to eat for 48 hours after she arrived - of course this does not include human food or after-walk treats, which are exempt from the laws of hunger strikes*. I tricked her by putting a half-teaspoon of Manwich over her kibble which lead to her eventually eating the whole bowl. As The Boy pointed out, though "that's not a trick - that's straight-up bribery"

Suzy girl getting some sweet air
Some things were easy - we were able to sleep in the same room as soon as I removed her collar**, I managed to find time to walk her in the morning before work (explain to me how I can be late for work with no dog but early with one. EXPLAIN!) and she managed to wait until juuuust before she left to drag her ass on the carpet. Harder was having to leave the house when you couldn't give her a walk- she'd just get so excited and jumpy and tail-waggy and then you have to explain, "no, Suzy, I'm going to get groceries. Groceries. Not a walk. Oh god, now I said the word walk. Settle down! DOWN! ENOUGH! AHHHH, FINE, ONE WALK!" Also she still manages to pee when she's super nervous which, for some reason, means whenever my dad shows up. Even though he's her best chance for getting a 1 hour+ pet. And, most telling, I realized that taking care of a dog is really a team effort. The Boy and I will have to learn to communicate better if we're going to take care of something that we can't just throw in the green bin if we don't take care of it. We did pretty well, but there's a difference between loving dogs and being ready to take care of one on your own - and I'm starting to see why my mom didn't want one when we were growing up - you can love it all you want but you have to take that love and ball it up and shove it into the part of your brain that takes it to the vet and the groomer and scolds it and rewards it and trains it and walks it - and I don't know if we're (I'm) quite there yet.We have to get the house and our future sorted out a bit more yet. At the very least I should probably repair the part of the fence that's just a child's cot.

But the weekend was a success. It forced me to go outside more, I had a wonderful greeting every time I came into the house, and when we went to bed on Sunday night, I felt a sort of heaviness in my chest when I leaned down to pet her goodnight and her little dog bed wasn't there any longer.

Course you wouldn't know I felt that way when I used a whole can of Resolve and two vacuums cleaning the carpets right after she left but trust me, I miss her.

*even Gandhi was known to indulge in a pupperoni or two - sold to humans as "Slim Jims"
** aka: The Goddamn Jingle Jangle 3am Experience

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Yesterday I did something through Facebook that I've never done before. And no, it wasn't labelling my boobs "Dorothy" and "Sophia" in a NSFW photo (yawn, been there, done that). I made an invitation for our housewarming party!

While it might not seem momentous, aside from birthday parties when I was younger, this will be the first party I've ever hosted. Like, ever-ever. Ever. And even then, let's face it, my ma was much more in charge of the actual inviting/feeding/fun times than I was. I could have been replaced by a screaming monkey who gobbles up cake and rips paper and no one would have been the wiser. But I digress.

Growing up, non-birthday parties were the kind of thing that people on tv went to. They were full of pumping music, free-flowing drinks and high-drama hookups and breakups. I mean, sure, I went to my share of parties in high school but they were largely cast parties from plays or "parents-are-out-let's-cause-havoc" affairs at *other* people's houses, and were often of overindulgence, poor decision making and, inevitably, broken things. They didn't exactly fill me with envy. Come on, we all know what happens when teens throw a party. And at the end of the day, my mother owned breakables and our largest window was actually a very heavy screen door so I didn't need the school bully getting thrown through it right before the food fight broke out thankyouverymuch.

My last place was too small for more than 5 or 6 people at a time so I rarely invited anyone there either. Now, our current place isn't exactly a mansion but it can seat about 15 people in various places if it needs to,  plus it has parking and it's a single so less worries about noise, so we decided now's the time - let's do this* Besides, it seems like bad luck not to ring the girl in with a little festivity.

Also, *looks around shiftily* just between you and me? I love the fuck outta Christmas. Not the day so much but the lead up? I'm all over it. Decorations, tv specials, getting all cozy and shit while you look at the tree? All over it. So by throwing our little shindig in December I get to hit two birds with one stone. The only downside is that we won't be able to buy our new couch in time for the party (but our old one does have more room so we cool) and the smallish space of our place means that the guest list has to be a little more exclusive than I would have liked (humblebrag: I've got, like, a million friends. They're all super famous).

I'm already making lists of things we need to buy (EGG NOG!!) and do (1) GET RID OF TWO OF OUR THREE VACUUMS! 2) VACUUM!) - which is fun because I secretly love making to-do lists -and getting nervous that our party will be lame or boring or overcrowded or underattended. We have friends from different backgrounds all getting together and even that's a little nerve-wracking even though everyone's awesome. I basically want them to real-life Pin this party. Which is the saddest thing I've ever admitted in my whole life. Just crossing my fingers, hoping it all works out..And that those jerks from Sigma Delta Phi don't crash the party and ruin it.

*said in Leroy Jenkins voice

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kind of a Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph

If you know me, you know that I've only really seen about 8 movies. I've got a fairly short attention span when it comes to films and I'm more likely to get into a tv show - more "bite-sized" pieces, and if I like the characters, I get more than 90 minutes to enjoy them. My party trick is getting people to name movies they think everyone's seen and then watching as I shake my head "nope". It's no tie-a-knot-in-a-cherry-stem but it does the job.

When I do see movies in theatres it's always a mixed bag - sometimes dramas, sometimes comedies, sometimes kids' films. And last night was one of the latter.

I was sold on Wreck-It Ralph, like I believe most people from my generation were, by the trailer, featuring a "bad guy" support group. It played on Gen X/Y nostalgia and looked pretty fun.

And I'm happy to report - it was fun. Full of cute references and groany puns and, despite my love-hate relationship with 3D glasses, a good movie for 3D effects. The voice acting was really well done by all involved and the pacing was good - when the credits rolled we couldn't believe we'd been there almost 2 hours. I'd suggest taking a vintage video game fanatic with you because I did feel as though I wasn't getting the full effect of the visual gags due to my lack of video game knowledge. 

It's a sweet, original story overall and yes, I got a little sniffly toward the end but then again, I cry at the end of Tim Hortons commercials, so you'll probably be fine. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Motivated Monday

By all rights I shouldn't be up yet. I tried my best to keep my eyes firmly shut as The Boy grumbled and sighed his way around the bedroom as I made sympathetic noises whilst burrowing even farther under the duvet. He can shove it in my face in February when I have to get up during his provincially-mandated day off. But after he locked the door behind him I was cruelly left with wide-open eyes and an internal to-do list that kept me from rolling back over into the sweet arms of a long-weekend coma.

So now there's a load of laundry moving my machine across the kitchen floor, a window open on my laptop with a recipe for beef pot pie, and a growing desire to tidy the living fuck outta this place brewing in my brain stem. Of course, I'm still in my pjs on the couch watching Let's Make a Deal so we'll see how that goes.

I'm actually really looking forward to this week. Tomorrow The Boy and The Sister are joining me to watch Wreck it Ralph. There's an International Food Fest at work on Thursday (my second greatest weakness) and afterwards I'm heading to a Christmas craft show (my greatest weakness). Aaaaand... Thursday night this beautiful little girl comes to visit! She belongs to The Boy's family but they're heading to Syracuse for the weekend so we're taking her on. She's a lot bigger than she is in that photo - that was taken the day she came home. She was pretty skinny and in a bit of rough shape but now.. well, she certainly isn't skinny, we'll put it that way. I love the hell out of her so I'm super looking forward to her coming over, being despondent because mom's not there, refusing to eat, getting hungry, eating everything in sight and then peeing on the things we care about most. It's going to be a trip!

It's also kind of a test because we're looking into getting a dog somewhere down the line but I've never had one before and I don't really know what to expect. I've puppysat before but it's not quite the same in someone else's house, y'know. So my favourite girl and I are gonna hang this weekend inbetween more Christmas craft fairs, drunken reunions and brunches galore. Life is, in short, pretty darn good.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lazy Sunday

Missed another day of NaBloPoMo yesterday but, frankly, I wasn't really home enough to even get in front of the ol' laptop so it's not surprising. A disastrously annoying trip to IKEA, a get-together with The Boy's extended family and sleeping off the drunken fun/Rock Band glory of Friday night kept me pretty well occupied. Today has been one of my favourite things: a Lazy Sunday.

Hair is still unkempt, face remains unmakeuped, the TV's been on the Food Network since noon, and every single menial task we complete is being met with an overabundance of high-fives. Total bliss. We took the opportunity today to put up the Christmas lights before it got crazy-cold- a difficult task, it turns out, when you don't own a ladder. Our jury-rigging solution necessitated me holding onto The Boy's waist while bracing myself against the front railing while he used both hands to fit the lights into the plastic holders. Basically it looked like we were trying some freaky-deaky new exhibitionist move. Which I'm okay with, but it was harder than expected to explain to the neighbours' kids. 

I had idly thought about going downtown to see the Remembrance Day* ceremonies but, as I have yet to do so, despite moving ever closer to the proceedings, I decided to let my current streak continue unbroken. I do not hold up well around shaky veterans with quilts on their laps so we just quietly listened to the Snowbirds fly overhead from the warmth of our house. 

Now it's off to my grandpa's house, for the sole reason that I bought a large cake at a cake sale that I probably should not eat myself. And the best part of today? Long weekends mean I get to do it all again tomorrow. I can feel my bones liquefy in anticipation of the lazy already.

*to my American readers, this holiday is known in your country as "July 4th" 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen

How delightfully coincidental that yesterday's post was entitled "Running on Empty". Forrest Gump was on last night and it's one of my Glue Movies* so of course I was forced to do laundry until 12:00 to watch it (until the 1980s. Then I usually turn it off for the denouement). And of course that song is used during his "running cross-country" scene. How appropriate, then, that I woke up at 5:30 this morning with the dulcet tones of Jackson Browne chugging through the ol' grey matter. Absolute torture.

Speaking of torture, we're hopefully going to IKEA for the last time this weekend to maybe pick up a couch .. and some shelves.. and a non-descript bin.. and, like, 12 hot dogs. I like IKEA, I really do. I mean, basically my house is less a home and more a shrine to those Swedes but man.. we just got our old one upgraded to a mega-IKEA and it's so overwhelming. All these couples and families, wandering like nomads, grabbing me by the collar and begging me to just "show me where the toilet brushes are - PLEASE!!"

 No matter how hard I try to keep it under two hours, trips to IKEA are long enough to require a toothbrush and a change of clothes. I've had IKEA jaunts that have lasted longer than my first job**. I just walk and walk and pick up brackets and walk and compare funnels and walk and walk until I just grab the first duvet cover I can pronounce without choking on my own saliva and leave.

And yet there are always things I "need". I was prepared that our place would cost us more than anything we'd ever done separately or collectively but I was not prepared for the nagging feelings of guilt and doubt every time we walked past a home goods store or a hardware shop.

"Didn't we need more screws? Were they 1 1/4 inch? 1 inch? We should get both."
"We should probably get an extension cord.. for when we need to extend things..."
"I don't have a melon baller! How can we have a housewarming party without a melon baller?! How can I be an adult if I can't BALL MELONS??!!"

And so on. So we'll head back this weekend for hopefully the last time this year to get the odds and ends our little family can't live without. And then a cinnamon bun. Because if you think I'm grumpy at IKEA now, you should see me with low blood sugar.

*Movies that suck you in to watch them whenever they're on tv, regardless of how many times you've seen them or whether you own them. See: Mean Girls, 13 Going on 30.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Running on Empty

Huh. 8 days into this and I'm already out of things to talk about. So I turned to BlogHer's prompts for a little inspiration. Today's question is:

If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want? 
I literally typed in "wealthy retiree" to Google Image
Search and this is the first hit. We ballin' barefoot.

Okee dokee, I pick... wealthy retiree.

Oh, fine.

Okay, if that's not an option, I'd probably want to be a host of some travel show/eat your face off combo program. Good food, lots of travel, modicum of fame, decent money, and, due to the relatively specific audience of a travel show, you probably wouldn't get too many YouTube commenters calling you a "landwhale" or telling you "tits or GTFO". This is my perfect storm of good job.

Side note: Did everyone in your elementary school classes claim to dream of being a marine biologist? Why was that? No, seriously. Why? Is it because basically all kids want to do all day is swim? Are they super into sharks? I have no earthly clue. I wanted to be a journalist or an actor. I don't remember ever wanting to be anything else. And through hard work, perseverance and rigid commitment to my dreams that little girl grew up to be...

... oh, right. Back to writing this briefing note.

On the plus side, I didn't think I'd live past 26 or so, so on that front, SCORE!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank God.

I vow not to get too political on this thing but I will just say that man alive, am I happy that last night's vote went the way it did. It is still profoundly weird to me that Canada cares as much as we do about American elections but, I suppose given its proximity to us and our close trade and political relationship, it's natural that we monitor it very closely. I'm sure they do the same for us.


We were worried, America. While we may not be able to vote in your election your policy affects a lot more than what's inside your borders. And we were scared. But we're sorry we doubted you. Good luck to you all.

And I will also say that I'm buoyed by the gay marriage bills that were accepted in various states. I vividly remember in 2004 watching Jon Stewart go through the incoming election results and sadly pointing out how many states had struck down gay marriage as part of their vote. I had a hard time reconciling those decisions with the accepting Americans I knew. Well, I'm decidedly chuffed that just 8 years later, things are changing. As a member of a (fairly) young generation I get the impression that this support for gay marriage will only continue to grow. And really, that can't happen soon enough.

P.S. I hope Bo got extra kisses. On his face. And was held like a baby and squished against the POTUS' chest. Just how dogs like it.

At Least I've Got My Cooking: Mostly Carrot Soup

Yesterday started and ended like I imagine the alternate universe-me (the one who wears aprons and keeps an immaculate home and cooks sumptuous meals) would have approved of. I got up early enough (or he got up late enough) that The Boy and I could walk to work together for about 5 minutes. It was actually a really nice way to start the day (awwww! vomit!). After work we decided to get totally crazy and make something for dinner instead of the seafood-sauce-on-a-saltine delicacy that I was chomping on (no word of a lie: actually ate this) (I call it a Triple-S). I am not at all an expert in cook-ing (am I pronouncing that correctly?) but I am pretty damn impressed with the results of this one. So because I am a giving sort, I will share with you my recipe.

Step 1: Chill can of Coke Zero

Step 2: With tab facing away from you, pull towards self.

Step 3: Consume God's nectar.

Hahahaha. Smart ass.

So yes, the soup. I don't really do recipes so as a general rule if you look at something and think "hey.. could I substitute _________ with _________?" or "can I add more of _______ or less of _________"  the answer is almost always: yes. This is just how I made this particular dish. You go crazy with yourself when you make it, but I'ma do me.

Mostly Carrot Soup

2 Tbsp butter
4-8 carrots (I used the small colourful ones from the farmer's market because I think I'm better than you, and thus used 8 smallish ones. If you're buying your supermarket variety, go closer to four)
3 mini-ish potatoes
2 stalks celery
2 small shallots
2 large cloves of garlic
4 cups (1 carton) of chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (that many 1/2s looks funny)
Dill (I used the squirtable kind - hilarious and convenient!)
1/4 tsp cumin
Couple of shakes of jalapeno hot sauce (totally optional)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup of corn (I used frozen, without thawing)
Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Now let's be clear: I AM NO EXPERT. Seriously. I love to eat but basically I'm a huge fraud as an adult. I precooked the carrots and the potatoes in the micro for about 8 minutes but if you have a better method to make carrots soft, have at it.  
  • While your carrots/potatoes are precooking, place the butter, garlic, onions and celery in a large pot on medium heat. Wait until the onions get kind of translucent then add in the carrots and potatoes. 
  • Once the vegetables get soft  (about 5-10 minutes), add in the broth and the spices. Bring the whole mess to a boil and then turn the heat down. 
  • At this point I got myself out my hand blender and really had at it. I left some pieces of vegetables so it didn't have that overly-pureed "Soup Night at Shady Acres Home for Invalids" feel. 
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • Add in the 1/2 and 1/2 and the corn and stir, simmering again.   (really, soup can only get better as it simmers so go to town)
  • Eat the hell out of that shit.

I really like how this turned out. Warm, comforting, with a little bit of spice. And if I can do it, you can do it. Seriously. I can't stress that enough.

Monday, November 5, 2012


This post was supposed to go up last night but technical issues stopped that from happening. So now you get two posts in a day! You lucky so-and-so!

A solid, solid weekend. I got The Boy and The Sister to use their incredible height (and their superior ability to draw/see a straight line) to my advantage and hang a few things on the wall. As I began unpacking my penultimate box, which contains all the pictures that hung in my last apartment, I realized that, between the two of us, we own quite a few Killhouettes. Which, if you know us, is a surprise to pretty much no one. We decided to hang them up in our bedroom so that we have the world's sweetest dreams!* After discovering that it was, indeed, not our level that was busted, but rather the world's slopiest-walls that made lining them up such a bitch, we stepped back to see a wonderful little collage of death. Delighted!

Buoyed by our success, we went on to hang the picture I mentioned in my last post. We also hung this beauty that I picked up in Toronto, before heading to my uncle's place for my grandpappy's 93rd birthday. I have to admit, on the way over I was feeling pretty chuffed. The ol' place was really coming together, yes indeedy. All it took was a little time, some elbow grease and about 3 dozen screws and anchors and the place really was looking like my own. Quite the little renovators, we were. Yup-a-doo.

And then I saw my uncle's basement.

Inside the sub-woofer is a genie that will grant you unlimited wishes

He had turned an unfinished basement with concrete floor, open duct work and insulation-exposed walls into a mancave worthy of even the most discerning bro.** A 60" tv with 6 speakers (each for a different "type" of sound - voices, explosions, etc. I didn't know we were this advanced already? Have I been ignoring science? Is cancer still a thing?), resting on a unit that surrounds an electric fireplace. Finished walls, dropped ceilings, pot lighting, a sound system that's been routed through upstairs and can be volume controlled by a switch in the wall,  leather couches that vibrate and massage, leather rocking chairs, gym equipment and carpet so squishy-soft I think it's made out of the front page of Cute Overload. And the kicker? He did 80% of the work down there himself. Ah well, at least I have something to aspire to, right?


*of murder

**I tried to look up a mythological creature that was half-man, half-bear in order to make a bigger joke here but all i came up with was this Yahoo! answer which is okay because I laughed pretty heartily.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

DIY (The D stands for "DaylightSavingsTime"

 So a few hours late for a daily post but it's Daylight Saving Time so ... okay I'm still late. But only an hour late - suck on it, Father time! The image to your left is the sum total of my sister's and my evening. I lack the small motor skills and inordinate patience required to be a true DIYer but she's got an eye for colour and an ability to talk me down off the ledge when I get halfway through something and insist on giving up.

The credit for the idea goes to Rachel of Smile and Wave who posted her version about a year ago here. I wanted a piece of art I could make for my spare room that was a little different and kind of colourful (all the walls in my house are artisan beige). We had thought about doing a regular rectangular frame but, forever looking for a challenge, we decided to do the more complicated oval. The frame is from IKEA, the background is paint swatches and the lettering is made of felt stickers from Michael's. So for about $25 (and 3 tough-on-the-back hours) I got me a new piece of art! It looks rougher in the photo than it does in real life- it's actually pretty straight. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, actually.

Moving is stressful and we know it'll be something we'll have to do a fair amount of times over the years. I wanted something that could move with us that would sort of embody the idea of home being wherever you hang your hat. I took the line from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song "Home". And yes, I know, the line most oft repeated in the chorus is "Home is wherever I'm with you" but they do say whenever... and wherever looks weird hyphenated. So there.\

And now for an extra hour of back-cracking. So satisfying.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Muzak so soothing they call it Soothzak.

Well, I'm stuck on the phone, waiting to speak with my medical coverage company in order to get them to reissue a cheque. I'm going to blog until they pick up or until my neck freezes in the crooked position and I am forced to take up work as a circus performer ("come see pug head! the girl who tilts her head like a pug!"). I've already been on hold for 10 minutes and I don't see me getting out of muzak-purgatory any time soon. It's all really old-fashioned music, too - like stuff my grandparents would've danced to - and totally instrumental. And every few seconds it cuts out, cockteasing me into believing a human might actually be coming on line. Silly human - now back to Girl from Ipanema.

Switched shoulders. Cramping badly.

It should give you a good idea of how financially well-off I am that I'm willing to waste a significant portion of my morning listening to --


Hello! Yes, that's my plan. There's a dedicated line for my plan? Oh I didn't know.  Well could you answe-- Being transferred.

Ooh! "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". Keen.

Anyway, in the craziness of moving I managed to misplace three cheques - one from the City (since found and cashed), one from the medical coverage company and one for my last month's rent on my apartment. As we covered in this post, I am to losing things what Mama June is to couponing so the fact that somehow they've gone missing should be no surprise but now that stupid house things keep coming up (did you know that it's not magic, that you actually need something called a FURNACE to heat a house? And that they can sometimes break down?? And that they are made of GOLD AND DIAMONDS??!!) I need those cheques so I can continuing living the lavish fashionista life I've become accustomed to (read: gourmet sweatpants). 

Hi! No, that's all right. Yes, that's me. Oh! Actually, I've moved. Yes, this is my new address. So I have this claim that -- no, I lost the -- no, I didn't know I needed a new doctor's note every 12 months for that.. I can get that.. yes, I know how to work the online form system-- can I just- ? yes, yes, thank you. *sigh* Sure, I'll hold. 

Oh good, Porgy and Bess' "Summertime".

So yes. Now I'm forced to save a little money here and there and let me tell you - that is NOT easy. I don't really go out clubbing (mostly because I've been informed that "da club can't handle this"), I don't smoke, i don't travel excessively so my vice really is shopping. This was made all the worse buy buying the house because now the things aren't for *me*, they're for the *house*. And the house likes vintage dresses. It told me.

The Boy and I don't have a joint account. He has his money, I have mine, and we pay our bills more or less right down the middle. He hasn't made me feel guilty about the stuff I choose to spend my spare money on and I don't bug him either. But it's kind of weighing on me lately. The space between the high I get after acquiring something new and the feeling of guilt at spending money is getting smaller and smaller. Plus, add to this the fact that I have more stuff than I can fit in our house already and it all starts to feel like too much. One of my favourite bloggers, Yentine, posted a few months back about how shopping can get out of control, how it can be even worse when you're a fashion blogger, because you are "expected" to show new things. It's a reason I don't use Pinterest. The last thing I need in my life is another outlet for my "want machine".

That being said, I've decided to head down to the 'States for Black Friday with my sister and my friend for some good ol' fashioned people watchin' and bargain huntin'. We'll mostly be there to buy some grocery items and christmas gifts and bask in the novelty of shopping at 3am with 1,000 agitated and over-stuffed Americans. I'm trying to curb much of my spending until then, to try and focus on things we actually need, like a new stove or a new couch. Or a puppy. Okay, maybe not a puppy. But, c'mon. We need a puppy.

Hello! Yes, great! The new address, that's fine. 9 business days...? Yes, yes, fine. Thank you. No, nothing further, thanks. Goodbye!

Well, great. 2 down, 1 to go. It may have taken a 1/2 hour off my life but on the plus side, I'm much more relaxed after that big band rendition of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


See that little thing in the right hand bar? Well that means you'll be seeing a lot more of me this month. ----->

(unless you are reading this from the future and it is no longer November 2012 - in which case, ignore the lack of graphic and answer the following: do my cyborg eyes look amazng? are food bloggers all talking about artisan, homegrown capsule pills?)

Okay, back to present-day. I've decided to do NaBloPoMo and annoy your faces every day in November. It's a good move for me because November has always been my least favourite month - it's grey, it's cold, it's dark and the only holiday the whole month commemorates sadness and death (and is accompanied by shaky seniors with blankets on their lap... i just don't know how i'm supposed to handle that kind of scene). So let's write about washi tape and peplums!! Yaaaay!

Let's see if I can last more than 4 days before I'm just posting reviews of stuff I find in my pantry.

But seriously, is there anything better than beef jerky? 4 stars.