Monday, March 02, 2015

{snow day}


It seems like the weather in this country-shaped refrigerator is finally beginning its jagged ascent up towards zero. I put away my parka yesterday, stuffed it into the very back of the hall closet, and pulled out my Not-Quite-Spring-Not-Not-Winter jacket instead. It was -11 and calm and we celebrated by going tobogganing. 


It was Sullivan's first time ever playing in the snow. He finally fits into his snowsuit and seems old enough to actually enjoy it, so I thought he might think it was cool or neat or fun or something

But as far as I can tell, he didn't really care much about it at all. He assumed an incredibly stoic expression and held it all afternoon with the steady concentration and steadfastness of a guard at Buckingham Palace (only, the guard is a teenager who thinks his job is kind of stupid and just wants to get home and play video games). I pulled him in his sled and he looked at me like, "Why are you doing this?" We set him in a pile of snow and he sat there pawing halfheartedly at it like, "Why am I doing this?" Barclay even took him down the hill in a saucer and he stared straight ahead the whole time like, "Why are we doing this?" 

(Which was pretty much me in every single high school gym class I can remember, so at least he comes by it honestly.)


Julia's son seemed to feel the same level of interest in the excursion, only he was much more passionate about it. After a few harrowing rides down the hill, he decided that his calling was to stand at the top pushing other people down. Julia, ever the thoughtful one in the bunch, made sure to remind him each time that this was THE ONE AND ONLY TIME IN YOUR LIFE THAT IT IS OK TO PUSH SOMEONE DOWN A HILL. 


After a while, our cheeks went from china white to rash red and we decided we should pack it up and in for supper and coffee. And Sullivan was like, "Whatever." 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

{productivity}


I'm sitting here with a coffee in one hand and a little carton of chocolate milk in the other. Every time I take a sip of the coffee, which started out black, I fill my coffee cup back up to the top with the chocolate milk.

By the time I'm finished, I will have had a small piping hot black coffee, a small lukewarm mocha, and a small cool chocolate milk. I will also be acutely aware of my exact preferences regarding the ratio of chocolate milk to coffee so that I can be blisteringly snooty about it when I order mochas at coffee shops from here on out.

So, yeah, I guess you could say I've had a productive morning. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{the last twelve dollars}


One of my favourite things to get as a present is a Chapters gift card. I hoard them in my wallet, occasionally wandering the aisles of the book store as if I'm going to use them, but I never do. Never, that is, until I have collected enough that I can order a billion books all at once online (and in the process rack up so many Plum Points that I get to order even more free books). It's the best.

As an added bonus, Chapters does this thing where they ship each individual book that you order as soon as it's ready, so even if you order ten books on the same day they could, quite possibly, arrive all at different times. Which makes for a pretty darn magical week and has, in the past, done wonders for my relationship with the mail lady (edit: she might hate me, who knows, but I looooove her).

So I decided this morning that it was time.

I calculated my total gift card amount, added all of the books that are currently on my To Read list to my virtual shopping cart, and found that I still had a stray twelve dollars to spend. In the privacy of my living room, I did jazz hands and leaned back in my chair, trying to think of a worthwhile way to spend that extra bit of gift card glory. It's not an easy decision, you know? There are so many books. And a lot of them suck. And lots are quite good. But I don't want to spend my twelve dollars on those. I want to spend my twelve dollars on something that will fill up my head and wrench my gut and metaphorically glue itself to my fingertips until I've read every last word. Something memorable and weird and smart. Something, for lack of better words, great.

So that was how I came to be clicking around on goodreads, following links and reading reviews, when I somehow found myself reading the comments section under Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (I don't know how I got there. I was just clicking a lot).

I kind of thought that the comments on goodreads would be more intelligent and productive than the ones on YouTube. Maybe because I've never really used goodreads before today. Maybe because I have this weird notion that people who read things and who talk about reading things are going to have better online conversations than people who watch Taylor Swift music videos. I forfeit my notions.

I realize that the book being discussed is Jurassic Park. But still. The first comment on the page was this:


I didn't even notice Victor's eye patch until just a second ago.

But the point is not that. The point is: I'm probably not going to spend my twelve dollars on Jurassic Park. What was the last great book you read?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{a few lists}

It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here, but really great crazy. Crazy great.

I've also been crying a lot, but I think that's mostly just because being a mom makes you a big old softie. Here is a list of things that have made me cry this week:

1. The news
2. Finding Nemo
3. Sullivan existing (happy tears)
4. Finding out that Mrs. Wolowitz passed away (I don't even watch The Big Bang Theory anymore, I just heard about it on Facebook)
5. The news again
6. The song Welcome by Hey Rosetta
7. Two different episodes of Family Matters
8. Like, pretty much everything else as well

So, mostly nothing important or tragic. It's as if my heart is ever so slightly too big for my body now and kind of overrides everything else going on in there. It's a little inconvenient though. I see a sunbeam and I'm all, "WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD!" Tears.

And Barclay's like, "What did I do? Are you okay? What happened?"

Hyperbole, a little, but it's almost like that.



Anyway. I segued (not to be confused with "segway", a very green and hilarious way to get around your Bahamian resort). I was going to tell you about my crazy great weeks. I could make another list?

A list of things that made these past couple of weeks crazy great:

1. It's free coffee week at McDonald's! As such, I'm writing this at my dining room table with a little bowl of chocolate chips and a cup of free McDonald's coffee. I'm listening to music and working on stuff, uninterrupted, because...

2. ...Sullivan takes naps now! Like, real, predictable naps! For the first 13 months of his life, he was pretty disinterested in sleep. We kind of had to trick him into it, using whatever means necessary. If he fell asleep in the car, I drove until he woke up. I was waking up a billion times in the night to beg him to shut his eyes.

We tried every possible 'method', and he hated them all. Some days he'd have a five minute nap and call it good, some days he didn't nap at all. Occasionally, he'd take a nice, long nap and I'd be overjoyed about it, but it was impossible to tell from day to day, week to week, month to month, what we were in for, and I'd often waste the rare long naps because I didn't know how much time I had.

Then, last week, he took a two hour nap at exactly 11 o'clock, and then did the same thing again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. I, like a crazy person, took hundreds of pictures of him sleeping and kept texting Barclay to update him on the Situation: "HE'S STILL ASLEEP! IT'S BEEN TEN MINUTES AND HE'S STILL ASLEEP!..." [half an hour later] "HE'S STILL ASLEEP! I'M SO HAPPY." I even called him a couple times at work just to tell him that Sullivan wasn't awake.

I recognize that this might seem a tad excessive but trust me, it's not. It's a couple hours in the middle of the day to myself to work or paint my nails or nap or read or lay flat on my back and find patterns in the stipple on the ceiling. Guys. (I'm just sitting here shaking my head. I guess I have no more words.)

3. My Recs app made it to Voting Week on Applits. Out of the 250ish entries, I came in second place and now the votes have been reset and the top 24 are on there until Saturday, when the top five will be sent on to a panel of judges. So, you know, if you want to vote for me again, I'd be so pumped about that. You can do that by clicking here, signing in using your Facebook account (I promise they don't post for you or steal your info or anything like that) and filling out a ballot. If you want. If you don't, that's okay too.

4. Some exciting and rewarding writing/work prospects have been coming up. I've been quiet here, but working my butt off elsewhere lately. It is really amazing how much joy I find in being busy, in having work to do and deadlines and all that. I just wasn't made to lay around and stare at the stipple all day (just part of some of the days).

5. A wonderful friend of mine, whom I've known since birth, is getting married this August and she's letting me doodle up her wedding invitations. I'm having so much fun with it - especially now that I have this extra couple of hours every day to actually sit and work on it without having to simultaneously read One Fish Two Fish and build a tower out of mixing bowls while cleaning rice puffs off the floor and picking sweet potato out of my hair. Guys. (I'm just sitting here shaking my head again.)

6. Other stuff, probably, too. But I really should go. I have approximately 15-30 minutes left of nap time and I have so much planned.

A list of things I hope to accomplish in the last 15-30 minutes of nap time:

1. Top coat of nail polish
2. Finish current episode of American Idol
3. Scan watercolour flowers for wedding invitations
4. Sweep the floor
5. Make lunch
6. Email someone about something (being vague on the Internet is fun)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

{the best ice-breaker}


Over coffee with Karlie this morning, I had that conversation about girls again.

Cliques. 

First impressions.

Intimidation and judgement and what to do about it. 

It's one of those topics I think about a lot because I'm a girl. I've been in cliques and I've been out of cliques; I've been overly, uncomfortably aware of the first impressions I've made and I've been intimidated and insecure and I've been judged and I've judged others (that's no fun to admit on the Internet, but there it is) and I don't know what to do about it. 

It's one of those topics that I turn over in my head like a rubik's cube. I feel like other people have been able to work through it and solve it, but when I get close there's that one red square that is on the opposite side of where it's supposed to be and I'm stumped and frustrated and I give up and set it down. Or, you know, throw it across the room and through the window and cringe at the sound of shattering glass and the angry screech from the neighbour's cat as the stupid thing hits it in the head. 

Like, I know the right answer in theory. You should not be in a clique, you should not judge others, you should be friendly and happy and you should not let jealousy or insecurity affect your opinion of other women. You should love everybody. Easy.

For nobody that I know of.

Even the girls that you look at and assume to be super confident and entirely happy with themselves are most likely twisting the puzzle in their minds at least some of the time. 

Anyway, we were having this conversation and discussing that thing that girls do when they first meet each other - you know what I'm talking about? Where we size each other up and, gulp, dare I say judge each other (Oh, don't worry, I know you don't do that, it's probably just us) and, based on that split-second assessment of their 'character', either feel comfortable enough to be friendly and make a connection or decide that the other person is 'snotty' or 'unrelatable' (aka intimidating/makes me feel less-than) or whatever and that we'll probably never be tight? And if that person does fall into category B, we even might (more extremely awkward admissions ahead) even look for something to dislike about that person to 'make up' for the parts of them that appear to be better than us? And then I think we keep doing this even after the first meeting. Even with our friends. 

It's so gross when you actually get introspective about it and realize what you're doing. I watch mean girls in movies do this type of thing and I can see that it's horrible and wrong, and yet, this past week when I met a girl for the first time it didn't stop me from deciding who she was and how close we could be within the first two minutes of meeting her. Based entirely on superficial things like her hair. HER HAIR, YOU GUYS. 

There are a billion layers to this behaviour that involve both understanding where your self-worth comes from and understanding the value and worth of the women around you. It's heart-level stuff and I feel like I might be working on it until I'm 112 and almost everyone I know is dead. (I'm nothing if not insanely encouraging.)

But for today, for right now, Karlie shared with me a really cool tip that she'd learned at a seminar or something a few years back. One of those things that made me want to run out to the grocery store and meet somebody so I could test it. And one of those things that I felt like I should pass on to you, since the majority of people who read here are women who might, maybe, I don't know, sometimes struggle with cliques or first impressions or insecurity or judging or feeling judged. It's short, and sweet, and a little commen-sensical, but sometimes those are the kinds of things that I miss, because I'm looking for something less obvious. 

And sometimes, when it comes to stuff like this, when there are enormous, hard changes to be made, it feels nice to have a little, easy change to make in the meantime. Like when you're planning and saving up to renovate your kitchen, but in the meantime you put some flowers on the counter. Like that.  

I'm going to type it in bolded letters so that it's burned into your brain:

The best ice-breaker is a compliment.

Not an insincere compliment, not a compliment for the sake of complimenting. Like, when you meet another girl for the first time, look for something about her that you genuinely like (hair? Shoes?) and lead with that. 

I love it. It makes so much sense to me. Not only does it distract your brain from judging her and force you to think nice things about her, it probably helps to put her at ease too, in case she's struggling with meeting you. 

(What? You think she doesn't have a hard time with this too?)