Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios, 2010. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

"Growth is a painful process."
- Wilma Mankiller

OMG, guys, it's totally New Year's Eve!  Hallelujah!  My first reaction to learning that this year would soon be coming to an end was complete and utter relief.  Good riddance 2010, so long and thanks for all the fish!  But why was this year so universally awful?  Well, as it happens, it was not really so terrible for everyone, and for some it was probably even the best year of their lives thus far.  I've seen my little brother get married, get a great job and buy a new condo, I've seen friends bring babies into the world and go back to school.  Heck, I guess even I quit a job that was making me miserable.  Yet, overall, nobody seems that sorry to see 2010 go.  I've been trying to make sense of this discrepancy, and based on many observations and conversations I've had with friends and family, it has become pretty clear that 2010 was indeed a fairly tumultuous year.  For some, it just. plain. sucked.  For others, it was simply amazing.  But the common denominator in every single experience was, for better or worse, Change.  Yeah, capital-C Change.  And that's never easy.  Even when it brings better things, the adjustment that is required of us can be painful, to say the least.  Some of us are more resistant to transformation than others, and that, obviously, makes the transition all the more difficult.  The biggest lesson I learned this year is how to let go, to see uncertainty and upheaval as opportunities, rather than tragedies.  And that Change and Growth are one and the same.
So, yeah, I'm happy to see 2010 go, but I'm also grateful for all that it brought, and, most importantly, looking forward to what 2011 will have to offer.

via Beverly13

31 for 2011

2011 Planner (via)

The number makes sense; I turn 31 next year, and 20 + 11 = 31.  I've been meaning to make a list like this for a long time- maybe I should have put it on a list.  Nevertheless, I'm making my list now, and will do my best to keep you all updated as I make progress on it.  I think I would consider it a success if I check off even half of these...

  1. Find a job I love.
  2. Get an apartment and move back downtown.
  3. Paint a room in that apartment pink.
  4. Apply to schools for next year.
  5. Cook and bake more often.
  6. Set up a crafting space.
  7. Start knitting again.
  8. Sew my own clothes.
  9. Sell my old clothes.
  10. Visit Edinburgh.
  11. Take a yoga class.
  12. Get a dog.
  13. Name it Dorothy Barker.
  14. Call my friends and family every week.
  15. Write them letters, real letters.  And send cards.
  16. Write and draw daily.
  17. Get film for my Polaroid camera and use it.
  18. Get film for my Minolta camera and use it.
  19. Actually get my pictures developed.
  20. Consciously buy handmade, thrifted, and fairtrade items.
  21. Volunteer.
  22. Give a loan through Kiva.
  23. Watch more movies.
  24. Read more books.
  25. Visit a museum or gallery (at least) twice a month.
  26. Learn to drive.
  27. Get my license.
  28. Throw more parties.
  29. Less time on Facebook, more time face to face.
  30. Get a new record player and listen to my records often.
  31. Make more lists and check something off every day.
Oh, my gosh, That's a lot of stuff to do.  I guess I should get started...

28 for 2011

Because I am a total follower, I've also come up with a list of things I'd like to do this year and since I will be turning 28, my list consists of 28 things. A lot of my things are the same as Rebekah's (Dorothy Barker, Edinburgh, pink room in our next apartment, throw lots of parties, volunteer, Kiva...) but an identical lists does not make for fun reading so I will not be repeating those (except *bam* I JUST did).

This year I am going to visit my brother in Copenhagen. I am going to try out for the Pillow Fight League and if that doesn't pan out, then Roller Derby. I am going to read a book a week. I will write everyday; fiction, reviews, posts, letters; anything that involves putting words to (cyber) paper.

I will cook more and eat more vegetables. I will train for and run the Toronto marathon. I am going to support local artists, artisans, musicians, restaurants, stores and shun the corporate overlords.

I am going to get a banjo and learn to play it. I'll join a squash league. I want to be a better, more present friend. I'm going to engage in more culture -- rock shows, art exhibits, plays, the ballet, the symphony, the opera.

I want to take better care of myself, mentally, emotionally and physically (drink more water, definitely). I will get on the honour roll at school and hopefully get a scholarship (that's two goals for those who are counting). I really want to get to know Toronto better.

I want my writing to be published and I will submit my work like crazy to make that happen. I want to put on mystery-guest dinner parties. I will use less electricity -- read by candle-light, why yes, yes I will!

I want to be able to complete a Thursday NYT crossword puzzle. I'll swim at least once a week. I will be an artist's model. I want to have a pop-up shop. I want to do more things that scare me, that are out of my comfort zone.

I need to learn to deal with my stress-levels and keep those migraines and stress-rashes away. I want to be more positive and in general, a happier person.

I'm going to finish the damn Paint-by-Numbers horse scene I started this summer. I also want to document this whole year and keep lists for all the things I do: books, movies, bands...

Most of all, I want to do the things that I say I want to do. So much of what I want is at my finger tips, completely within reach, and there is no reason in the world why I can't accomplish any of these goals. This past year was pretty damn awful but this year is gonna be the best ever!

What do you want to accomplish? Change? See? Do?

Good Riddance

So long, 2010, take care and don't come back. We had some good times but for the most part you were a pretty crappy year and that's ok, some years have to be bad so that the good years really shine. You got me on the road I'm on today and for that I'm grateful, I just hope you hang back and let 2011 be the best it can be; say less Eric Roberts' nipple and more, well, just less Eric Roberts' nipple.

Goodbye 2010, welcome 2011; this year is going to be fantastic.

Conversation Overheard

Here's a conversation I overheard walking out of True Grit (!!!!)between a drunk girl (I don't know how that is possible sine the movie was two and a half hours and she was totally blotto - she seems to have discovered some sort of drunken worm hole, but I digress) and her friend.
Tipsy LaRoo - If my dad was murdered, I would totally avenge him.
Tipsy LaRoo's cardboard cut out boyfriend - Oh yeah?
Tipsy LaRoo - Yeah. I wouldn't avenge my mum but my dad, yeah.
Tipsy LaRoo's dead moth boyfriend - There isn't anyone I'd avenge 'cause I'm an adult.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Shop and Be a Decent Human Being

I've spent the last six Christmas' working in retail and I have some lil' pearls of wisdom that I'd really like to pass on. Spoiler alert! Every scenario is a true story, your fellow human beings can be real dick holes.

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Daaaaa

Deliverance is on and I'm watching it again (well, that and Celebrity Rehab. Seriously, what is going on there? Eric Roberts is wearing a saggy tank-top and I can see his nipples; that is something I can never unsee) and hot damn, that is a fine movie. A fine movie AND a gorgeous novel.

The novel, by the poet James Dickey, flows like the river at the centre of the plot; lush and vivid, it is an achingly beautiful story about survival and the disparate nature of urban life and our more primal instincts. The kind of book that compels one to write things like, "an achingly beautiful story about survival and the disparate nature of urban life and our more primal instincts".

And, the movie is almost, like super close to being just as good as the book. So good, I forget that Jon Voight is a total dick-hole. So good, it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I could love movies. 

But, alas, I don't love movies. There are movies that I love but as a whole, I rarely opt to watch them and when I do I'm so very often disappointed. Although, I do find it really difficult to stop talking for two hours  the reason is a bit more complex.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Habitat For Humanity Toronto Polar Bear Dip

This year I'm going to be doing the polar bear swim (I will be submerging, willingly, my bathing suit clad body into Lake Ontario on January first)
to raise money for Habitat for Humanity's Toronto branch. Best hangover cure ever! Donate and win my admiration -- a priceless commodity!
2010 Habitat For Humanity Toronto Polar Bear Dip

Sunday, December 26, 2010

oh Boy, this is good...

City of Craft has a Boxing Week Giveaway going on right now, and just look at all the lovely things you can win!
giveaway (6)b
The prize includes a copy of Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings from Drawn & Quarterly, Tickets to Sundat Night Live at the Comedy Bar, a discount coupon for music boxes or supplies from Tuned Teeth, a mini print from Hieng Tang (1% Talent), a mini craft tutorial and pinback button from Sewing School, an embroidered spore pinback from Leah Buckareff (Coldsnap Bindery), a 2011 letterpress wall calendar from Etsy & more.  Just leave a comment on their blog to enter, good luck!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

10 Days of X-mas songs-Bonus

New Kids on the Block - Funky Funky Christmas

I couldn't resist.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

10 Days of X-mas songs-Day 5

Steie Wonder - What Christmas Means to Me

20 Things You Can Do To Transform Rape Culture

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of rape culture, Shakesville has an excellent primer which I urge you to read.

Given the so-called "frenzy" we've been watching (and participating in) on Twitter in the last few days,  when even so-called progressive liberals like Micheal Moore and Keith Olberman are willing to contribute to and perpetuate an environment of apologism and denial, it's easy to feel frustrated or even defeated.  That's why I'm so grateful we have bloggers like Sady who aren't backing down, even when faced with threats, harassment, and the continued silence of a Stupid White Man.  Inspired by Sady's mission to raise money for RAINN, Alex and I are both donating to the TRCC this Christmas.  I'm also sharing this guide from the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre:

20 Things You Can Do To Transform Rape Culture
1. Speak up. Don't listen quietly to sexist jokes or comments. Tell your friends you're uncomfortable with how they portray woman.
2. Teach your children to respect children of the opposite gender. Model for them that each sex has an immeasurable value and that neither should be seen as better, more powerful, smarter, than the other.
3. Talk to boys about their sexuality. Tell them about their responsibility, too.
4. Talk to girls about their sexuality. Give them the information that will enable them to make intelligent, thoughtful, responsible decisions about their sexually. Tell them their body is their own and is for their pleasure.
5. Support your daughters, nieces, and neighbours. Encourage them to relish their mental and physical strength.
6. Don't be silent when you see a T-shirt, sign, poster, movie, or anything you find offensive to women. Say something.
7. Insist that your clergy talk about ending violence against women in your church or synagogue.
8. Don't use words that perpetuate the language of the rape culture. Ask yourself if you would use the same word for a man. Ask yourself what the word you want to use implies.
9. Call your public officials. Find out what they're doing to transform the rape culture. Insist on their involvement.
10. Boycott movies that show women being sold, raped, and hurt by men. Help send a message that these portrayals of women will no longer be commercially successful.
11. Ask your child's school if they have a sexual harassment policy. If not, volunteer to serve on a committee to develop.
12. Encourage men you know to explore and then act upon what it means to be anti-rapist and non-violent. Insist they have the courage to behave in ways that promote a safer society.
13. Make you home free from violence and sexism. Don't watch or allow your children to watch television, movies or read magazines that perpetuate violence and the rape culture.
14. Ask your employer if your firm or organization has a sexual harassment policy. Have they provided or will they provide training for employees on harassment? If not, form an employee committee to advocate for a policy and training.
15. Write letters to establishments you find offensive and tell your friends and colleagues to do the same. Write to advertise on offensive. If there is no response, be prepared to take more direct (non-violent) action through information picketing, flyering, etc.
16. Have conversations of consent with a potential sexual partner. Verbally explore each other's comfort level with the activities taking place.
17. Learn to say "no". Learn that it is okay to be assertive. Know that it is possible to be respectful of others while asserting your feelings.
18. Support and promote women who provide positive role models. Celebrate the accomplishments of women with your children, partners, and friends. Teach others that the best women to look up to are the ones who are making a difference, not the ones who are the most famous, beautiful, and wealthy.
19. Remember: the rape culture is one for which we're all responsible, but don't blame the victim.
20. Dare to dream of a culture free of sexual and all other forms of violence... a rape culture transformed.
VIA Toronto Rape Crisis Centre 

Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Days of X-mas songs-Day 3

Galaxie 500 - Snowstorm (Live)

You're so Mainstream.

An overheard conversation between a trio of 14 yr. olds on the subway today:

Boy to Girl 1: "Do you like MGMT?"
Girl 1: "They're o.k"
Boy to Girls 1 and 2: "Do you guys know Phoenix?"
Girl 1: "Yeah, I think so."
Girl 2: "No."
Girl 1 to Girl 2: "You're so mainstream, you just listen to mainstream stuff."
Boy to both Girls: "Do you guys know Kurt Cobain?"

What's he looking at?

Ditto, by Rebekah
This is Ditto, tune in tomorrow to find out what's got his attention :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

10 Days of X-mas songs-Day 2.1

10 Days of X-mas songs-Day 2

Yoko Ono- Listen the snow is falling

Sady Doyle Does It Again Posted by Rebekah Hakkenberg

So, Keith Olberman and Micheal Moore said some things.  And Sady Doyle said some things.  And Olberman BLOCKED Sady on Twitter, and Moore remains silent.  And Sady had a few things to say about that.  Just.  YES.  Politically motivated or not, true or not,  these accusations need to be taken seriously.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's a tree without pinecones (and pickles, dinosaurs, and carrots, and especially a kitty)?












Hilarious or Terrifying?

Ok, today we've got Russian thug Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, performing an impromptu "Blueberry Hill" to a room full of powerful celebrities. Rebekah found the video this morning and there are just so many, many questions. Why "Blueberry Hill"? Why is everyone so happy (Rebekah pointed out that there were probably Russian mercenaries keeping a close watch -- especially over Goldie Hawn)? Why can't Sharon Stone keep time?

This, in my opinion, falls squarely on the hilarious side with a dash of surreal, and a pinch of what the goddamned fuck.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Pompom Math











Lily was confused by my crafting activity this week, perhaps because the pompoms I made bear a striking resemblance to a certain mop-topped shih-tzu...
Anyhoo, after seeing this straw and pompom garland over on elsie marley, I decided to try and make one of my own.  Instead of natural straw, I used these pretty paper straws by Kikkerland, for a retro look.
Making the pompoms without a tool was fast and easy, and a very relaxing craft to do while watching TV on Saturday morning, when I was feeling (only a little) feverish after our night at the pub.  You can trim the pompoms down to perfectly round little orbs, but I decided to leave them as is.  I really like how it turned out (and so did Lily).  I can't wait to hang this garland on the tree.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Songs-Ode to Billy Joe

A little Bobbie Gentry for a slow Sunday afternoon.

An early Christmas Present!



















We had an unexpected, whirlwind visit from one of our best friends in the whole wide world this week!  When our friends Derek and Kevin left for Edinburgh just over a year ago, we weren't sure if we could ever get along without them (although we were incredibly proud of them for making such a brave and bold move, and excited for our boys on their new adventure)  With plans to come and visit Scotland within the next year, we didn't think our first reunion would be back in Toronto, or so soon, but life had other plans, and so we had one awesome night of pints and laughter at our old after-work watering hole to catch up on all that we'd missed, and reminisce about old times.  We also played a bit of our new favourite game, Vanity Fair Portraits.  Unfortunately, we forgot to write down the scenarios we came up with.  Oh well, the pictures alone are worth a thousand words!

(edited to clarify: only Derek could make it for this particular reunion, but we can't wait to see Kevin when we come to visit!)