Thursday, March 20, 2014

the crash years

oh hi, it's been a while.

here i go again, being distracted by life outside of the computer. that's not to say i don't enjoy writing on the internet; i just happen to do it all day long for work, so when i get home i kind of tend to do other things (like, er, playing video games on my ipad). but at least i'm still working on the book when i can. never-ending sources of inspiration and memories these days.


also, snow.

winter still seems to be never-ending here in toronto, but i'm actually pretty fine with that. i like the cold, i have a nice coat, and i always enjoy snuggling up under a blanket. (really, i will be the first person to bitch about the heat come summertime. i hate the heat.) nonetheless, i've already started to perk up at the thoughts of sunny patios and weekends in the park and donning little dresses with jean jackets. i just bought this one for the music festivals i'll be lurking at this summer:



toss on one of my flower headbands and some tall boots and i'll be set. (it also laces up the back and plunges just low enough that you can see my back tattoo, which almost never gets to be seen. excellent.)

and also, some quick life updates:

job stuff. as of today, i've been at this job of mine for one year, and so far so good. i actually just had my responsibilities shifted a couple weeks ago, so now i'm focusing more on the print side of things rather than digital media, which is a pretty cool thing to add to my toolbox. (i had it confirmed that i'll be able to put "magazine publishing" under my skills on my resume from now on, which is a huge yes for me) it's a little intimidating, but i adapt quickly to change, and i'm obviously okay with becoming more integral to team production. i'm never leaving! mwahahaha.

writing stuff. by the grace of aux, i've been getting a few more opportunities to have my music writing published once again. here's the piece i did last december about band gear theft in canada; i did this requested flashback piece on muchmusic snow job last week. the fact that they assigned me a piece was pretty cool, not to mention it was hilarious fun to put together. i'd forgotten how much i enjoy all the various aspects of music journalism: research, questions, interviews, cutting up everything and making it into a story.

crossfit stuff. i'm still garbage at pull-ups and push-ups, but my hand callouses are coming back, which is a positive sign. also, i haven't had to start directly from scratch; i can still lift decently, but i'd like to go a bit further in the coming months. i'm fairly pleased with my progress so far, though (minus a couple weeks i've had to take off due to various illnesses and weird back spasms), and damn if it hasn't been good to get back into the camaraderie of having a crossfit box to go to.

cleanse stuff. i'm alive, and i'm at the point where i'm getting super bored with chicken and kale (although i love chicken and kale), but i'm more than halfway done and it's going alright. i still miss coffee, as usual, but my sweet tooth has all but disappeared and i really enjoy getting to go to the infrared sauna every sunday. i'm sort of managing the rest of the effects decently - i get cold and tired pretty easily - but it does get rather boring after a while (and damn if it doesn't throw a giant wrench into any kind of social plans). at the very least, i hope this succeeds in breaking some shitty habits of mine. i've always been the kind to treat things like nicotine, caffeine and sugar as crutches for when i'm stressed, and i intentionally stripped those away so i could deal with life without any chemical distractions. (also, summer's coming up and i have a whole lot of cutoff shorts to look good in)

love life stuff(!). i got me a boy.


we do a lot of hockey-watching and sushi-eating.

i'll keep the details light for privacy's sake, but all you really need to know is that he has a good heart and he treats me like gold. two things i'm not entirely used to, though it's a wonderful, thankful change. (plus: actually not a musician - again, a thankful change - but he's a diehard leafs fan who's also my age, so that all works very well for me.) and i am smitten and he's probably reading this right now so i'll stop. (hi, baby.)

that's all for now.

[ music | stars, "fixed" ]

Thursday, February 20, 2014

come up for air



so i guess it'd be a good idea to not let february go by without writing anything, huh?

it's not like anything catastrophic has happened in my life recently; i just don't have anything blogworthy to write about, i suppose. and so i apologize if any of you have been worried by my absence -- it hasn't been intentional. it's probably more accurate to say that i have tons i could write about but shouldn't, and so i try to choose my words a little more carefully when i actually do write. because the internet never forgets, or something. (i keep expecting my old geocities site - yes, i had one - to pop up here at some point. oh, god.)

but by far the highlight of my life from the last few weeks was the two stints of cat-sitting for friends -- the first one involving living at my friends' lovely house in the east end for about a week and looking after this sweet furmonster:



zoso! (yes, she's named after the led zeppelin album nickname)



zoso is a good kitty. she likes human company and will mostly just come and sit near you. when you get up in the morning, it's not food she wants -- it's belly rubs and attention. so it definitely wasn't a hassle to stay with her for a few days and let her sleep on my head. big fuzzy purr machine.

then a few days later, i got to stop in and check up on these handsome boys -- victor (gray & white) and larp (half-siamese):







these two were definitely lower maintenance, but they still required food/water refills while their owner was away, and i took an hour to give them some cuddles and play time as well. there's nothing i love more than a happy chatty kitty. (my old tomcat, mr. gray, was the most talkative cat i've ever known. i used to have whole conversations with him, which probably means i'm further along the line towards crazy cat lady than anyone originally thought.)

just listen to this cat, oh my god:



tons of my friends ask me why i don't get a cat of my own if i love them so much (honestly, they brighten my life like nothing else). two reasons: i'm too poor, and i don't think i have enough space. i know both of these reasons are surmountable if i was really determined (i could find the money somehow; i could raise a kitten to be okay with the small space afforded by a junior one-bedroom apartment)

also, i've tried to puzzle out where i could put a litter box to be both accessible and unobtrusive, and nothing works. i'm not ashamed to admit that i like a clean, non-smelly living space. also i really like this goddamn plant and it cost me $50 but it's deadly to cats and i don't want to get rid of it:


also nicknamed "the beast", because for one it's enormous and for two it's a pothos vine that's sometimes called "devil's ivy" (its botanical subfamily name is monsteroideae, which is fucking amazing)

i am slightly ridiculous.

otherwise, in order to cope with the rest of this long gray winter, i've been thinking about stuff i can plan that i can be excited about. boring everyday life is a little bit brighter when you have something in the near future to look forward to, right? i've become a lot more strict about budgeting - both short- and long-term - in my old age, and so i've been laying out possible plans for travel and fun stuff this year in order to figure out just what i can afford. so far, here's what i've come up with:

- april: captain america 2 opens, dad visits, possible trip to chicago for convergence
- may: canadian music week, trip to montreal, possible trip to chicago if i can't get there for convergence
- june: field trip festival, nxne
- july: possible trip to hike mont blanc in france
- august: guardians of the galaxy opens, annual summer cottage weekend with girlfriends

...and that's all i've got so far. looking any further ahead might be foolhardy since i know life can change at the drop of a hat, and i'd rather stay at least a bit flexible.

closer to home, though, i'm looking to make march 2014 one of those self-care and fix-my-dumb-life-up months. i feel like i kind of need it after spending all of january sinking half a bottle of wine every night and stewing in my own self-pity. i've been pulling myself out of that crappy mindset throughout february, so i figure march is the month when i buckle down and focus on improving things. it's not much longer til spring now, and i don't want to drag a less-than-optimal self into it. so march is going to be all about improving my health, fixing my crappy diet, trying out a new and hopefully better skin care routine, and generally trying to get to a good place with myself. this is a constant struggle of mine - and most peoples', from what i've heard - but i don't want to go into my 31st year being a pathetic sadass about everything. i've got my health and a roof over my head and family & friends that love me, and i think i'm generally an okay person, so i need to focus more on the positives and less on the negatives. not to sound too much like a hockey-player interview or anything.

speaking of hockey, fuck yes canadian women's hockey team! please, please win tomorrow, canadian men's hockey team. this is our national livelihood at stake. sorry phil, i still love you.



[ music | cold war kids, "miracle mile" ]

Thursday, January 23, 2014

too dramatic

so, i've been a drag lately. i'm aware of this, believe me. i'd like to think that even if i hadn't been walloped over the head with the "hey so you're not marriage material" news, i'd still be grouchy and blah right now, because it feels like the entire goddamn world is. i posted a status update on facebook a few days ago about how i was tired of everyone's bullshit, and "is it just me?" turns out no, it's not -- i got a ton of likes and comments echoing similar sentiments. and hey, it makes sense -- january's a shitty month, we're all sick and tired of freezing to death by polar vortex, the days feel long and gray and hibernating for the rest of the season seems totally inviting.

timely: this article on how introverts react to january.
“You push yourself through the holidays because you just have to, but once January comes, it’s time to retreat and crash,” says Ableson, 30. “I just get tired out. It becomes about self-preservation in the winter, you want to conserve as much energy as possible. When I consider an invitation I find myself calculating how much energy will be consumed.”
bang fucking on. also, toronto's at the point right now where it's so cold it feels like your face is turning inside out, so there's that.

here's some of the things that i've been clinging to in order to feel better in these cold shitty days; they may work for you! (or not, i'm not qualified to give life advice to anybody basically)

front-loading vitamins & supplements: i take a ridiculous amount of pills; it's left over from my brief, unfortunate days as a vegetarian. as i've mentioned before, those days left me severely anemic, and i've never quite gotten my iron levels back up to snuff. i've finally decided to get off my ass and start taking iron supplements again, and i...guess i'm noticing an improvement? if anything, i'm not as sluggish or tired in the afternoons -- though that could also be because i've started taking 1,000 mcg of b12 so i can try to get an energy boost without resorting to even more coffee. this is all on top of my usual daily regimen of two multivitamins (to cover all my nutritional bases), two wild salmon oils (for hair/skin niceness), and two 1000 ui's of vitamin d (so i don't get all darkness-depressed). i don't know if this works for everyone, but it works for me, so feel free to give some of those supplements a shot. (i take jamieson vitamins and genuine health multivitamins.)

talking myself into exercise even if i really really don't wanna: yes, it's cold and dark and awful out and holy shit do i ever just want to get home from work and curl up under a blanket and never leave. but for two nights a week, i have to force myself to go out again in order to get to crossfit, and you know what? all those chirpy fitness blogs are right when they say that you really do feel better afterward. i actually feel a hell of a lot more accomplished at the end of the day if i've murdered myself with barbells. as for regular gym-going, i've started going either on my lunch break at work (i usually walk for 45 minutes to an hour on my lunch break, but it's too goddamn cold to go anywhere) or immediately after work so i don't fall into the trap of getting home and, uh, not wanting to go out again. did i mention it's cold out? it is fucking cold out. also, i get sucked into the following:

distracting ipad games: i was a heavy gamer when i was a kid and teenager, but not so much anymore. still, when i got an ipad for christmas, i discovered the wide world of game apps, and damn if they didn't provide me with a nice little option for time-wasting. (note: i'd already gotten to level 173 on candy crush on my iphone. don't ask.) my newest addiction is marvel puzzle quest, and i've gone through stints with bread kittens (only three more levels to go before i complete the game) and avengers alliance (love it; do not love the amount of real-world money it requires to level up your characters). i also have marvel vs. capcom downloaded - see a pattern here? - but fighting games are slightly harder to play on an ipad than they are on the video game systems of my youth. i'm old.

retail therapy: this isn't the best thing, i know, but damn if it doesn't work in a pinch. i already got my first box of sephora goodies (observation: i do not like the nars "jungle red" lipstick as much as i like the throwaway house brand lip gloss i threw in so i could qualify for free shipping), and now i've got a second one on its way to me (including the requisite billion free samples). oh yeah, and i was a sucker for modcloth's last sale and scored a blouse i've wanted for ages now. and i noticed that a cute pair of underwear on my wish list was down to its final item, and it was, by pure coincidence, in my size. sold.

again, a gif from bridesmaids sums up my life:



nobody ever said i was sensible. (therein lies one of my weird paradoxes: i am frugal to a fault - i will literally wear shit until it falls apart - but i have no problem being bored and sad and dropping $75 on cosmetics. i'm just very good at convincing myself i need material things that will somehow make me happy. they don't usually, but i figure as long as i don't regret the purchases and i don't bankrupt myself, it's fine.)

this song, on repeat:



don't panic
don't panic


[ music | feist, "1, 2, 3, 4" ]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

hit the reset button

trying to get one's health back on track is not the easiest thing. not even with my first-world-problems thin-privilege-white-girl bias. it's haaaaard. (shut up, me.)

first, i headed back to crossfit last monday for my first session in about six months. i was actually looking forward to it all day -- there's a real sense of camaraderie at a crossfit box, and i'd been going to mine twice a week from may 2012 through to august 2013. so it was cool to see lots of familiar faces again and get hugs and hellos, and it definitely made it better to not have to go in cold turkey. ("haven't seen you in a while," one girl remarked, and i replied, "yeah, i didn't really have the money. i still don't, but i shifted my priorities." as in, i'm trying to funnel money that i'd otherwise spend on booze to my gym membership instead.) it was simple stuff on monday - just front squats and hang squat cleans - and i was at least pretty happy to note that i didn't have to start with an empty bar, like i did back when i first started crossfit. sure, i have to pace myself and start slow (my squat form is resolutely terrible, but then again it always has been, what with my bandy legs and all), but i don't mind working back up to my former pr.

and then i racked the bar too hard against my chest and ended up with bruises all over my collarbone, as usual.


i am not dating chris brown.

second, i've started eating breakfast again. or drinking it, i guess -- i'm making one of these every morning when i get up:



giant glass of green monster, aka a spinach smoothie. this way, i'm getting two servings of green stuff plus protein powder plus other nutrients & fats first thing. my stomach still doesn't know what to do with this much cold sloshy protein-ized liquid getting dumped in it every morning, but it's probably better than coffee and nothing else (which is what my usual "breakfast" has been for the last couple years).

other things i'm trying to do to improve myself: remember to take an iron supplement every night (on an empty stomach, which means i can't eat anything after about 8 p.m.); pop a b12 vitamin after lunch every day; go to bed before 11 p.m.; limit myself to two coffees a day; walk at least 15,000 steps a day (the recommended amount is 10,000 but i am nothing if not an over-perfectionist); use the loseit tracking system to make sure my eating habits do not resemble a human garbage disposal; try not to crush half a bottle of wine every night (aka have at least a few sober nights during the week, because it helps me sleep better). trying to do all of these things in tandem is a weird sort of challenge, but i like challenges especially if they involve multi-tasking my ass off, so.

and then i rewarded myself by purchasing a ridiculous $100 worth of makeup from sephora's website. i am a sucker for one million free samples (and i can totally convince myself that i needed new blush and lipstick anyway). also i am possibly a terrible human being who has no idea how to budget correctly vs. base instincts.

but lookit! pretty things!



(this is likely a callback to when i was 23 and a dumb boy i really liked disappeared from my life and i found weird solace in buying new cosmetics.)

because i clearly haven't blown enough money all to hell yet, i'm taking a trip down to buffalo on sunday with pal katy -- with the express purpose of grocery shopping at trader joe's. you know me, you know this is what i do. (not sure i'll attempt to run back any booze this time, though -- i'm sort of poor and i sort of have enough liquor right now to do me for a while.) this is all weather-permitting though, so fingers crossed the weekend's forecast of snow isn't some unforeseen winter apocalypse.

i'm also racking up fun hangs and plans for the next month or so (preferably as cheap as i can make them): i'm housesitting/cat-sitting in the east end for a week. i'm hitting up the only at least three times with three different sets of friends. i'm doing winterlicious with a coworker pal and maybe a couple solo outings as well. i'm trying to schedule a therapeutic massage appointment and an infrared sauna session. i've got hockey games to attend. i'm planning on demolishing ungodly amounts of charcuterie and cheese with sofi at barvolo. i'm attending a couple birthday parties (aka weekend ragers). i'm having friends over on saturday to celebrate hockey day in canada with a lot of snacks and booze and yelling at my giant tv. i'm a resilient motherfucker; i'm looking ahead to better days.

some things are bullshit, yeah. but you gotta keep going.

[ music | the mission uk, "like a hurricane" ]