Sunday, May 17, 2015

she sells sanctuary

got on the train and headed back to the homeland for mother's day weekend.

i mentioned in this blog post here that i'd be spending mother's day weekend in kingston, and so i did. and sure, i'm a little late in the update, but i've got some time on this long weekend, so here we are. (yes, i went out of town the weekend before the holiday weekend. i prefer to spend long weekends in city, since it more or less empties out, though i also have to ignore the steady stream of cottage/camping/vacation pics that pop up in my social media feeds) i was in k-town from thursday to monday night, my first visit since christmas - and probably my last until thanksgiving - and it was a relaxing time full of long naps, family dinners and walks downtown in the sun. always nice to be in a place where you're constantly being asked "would you like some cheese?" and "would you like a glass of wine?" i could live off of wine and cheese & crackers, honestly.

as a mother's day favour (i got her a gift and a card too, obviously), i helped my mom clear out a portion of the back gardens:

trust me, there are many more gardens where that came from. in another life, my mother would be a landscaper. (i grew up on eight acres of farmland, and i'm fairly sure my mom converted four of those acres into sprawling gardens. sadly, my father visited our old home somewhat recently and noted that those incredible gardens had pretty much fallen to ruin -- not unexpected given that they took a shit ton of work to maintain, but still, major bummer)

the pool wasn't quite ready for swimming. at least they fished out the dead animals.

downtown k-town. i was treated to lunch for my help tearing up the back gardens, and then went for a walk by the docks. kingston's very pretty in the spring/summer, so it gets busloads of tourists all day long; it's also relatively cheaper than toronto or ottawa to visit, not to mention live in. (i idly glanced at the apartment rentals in the throwaway city newspaper, and almost choked on my coffee to see 2-bedroom apartments renting at $700-800)

another good thing about being home for the weekend, aside from being able to pick up some things i needed (a couple of old books, my childhood stuffed animal, a bottle of vanilla extract from costco, money from my parents): i got to raid the family photo albums for #tbt material. and man, was there ever a lot to go through. (aside from gardening, my mother's other passion was taking photos of her children.) time for the narcissism!

my class photo when i was five years old. yes, my mother coordinated my hair ribbons and barrettes with my dress. yes, i have half a front tooth (it was just coming in). the gigantic gap that's forming between them will later be closed with two and half years of dental braces. the crazy long hair, however, stayed for far too many years.

weird mostly because of the lack of tattoos on my arms. i'm not at all used to seeing that now. also ugh, mental reminder to never have bangs again.

bar none my favourite halloween costume ever: psylocke from the x-men. marvel vs. capcom was my #1 video game at the time (this was october 1997; i had just turned 14, and this would be my last time trick-or-treating), so i wanted to dress up like my #1 character. my mother insisted on giving sleeves to the bodysuit so i wouldn't get cold; i ended up getting frostbite on my legs. (ontario halloweens are generally freezing, and snow is a common occurrence) i guess you could call this my first cosplay, maybe? also this was the first time i ever wore makeup. wow.

fuck knows. i think i was maybe 15 here? notable mostly to remind myself to 1) again, never do bangs and 2) keep up with the teeth whiteners. also it's kind of good that i more or less grew into my nose.

you know what sucks? puberty weight gain! i was a li'l chubbo around the belly. decent job on the hair, though. (i have the blonde streaks i got done for my rinoa cosplay in summer 2000, so i must be 16 here) my stepsister's on the left and my older sister's on the right.

there were more, but i'll spare you. i think i lost a number of twitter/tumblr/instagram followers this past weekend for the sheer amount of content i was pumping out. whatever, fuck it.

a couple observations:

1) i am not as social or conversational as i should be. i suppose i can blame this on spending a lot of time by myself lately; i feel like i've become more introverted, so i need some time to charge my social batteries. and when i'm in kingston, i'm around people literally all the time, and so there's no time to step back and isolate myself for a while. also, it's more or less expected of me to be social and conversational -- not that that's a bad thing, but it can be tough for me, especially if i feel like i'm being forced to be. hence, crankiness. at least i could count on my boyfriend to cheer me up with constant text messages of love and mushiness. (he also bought me a new hat!)

2) i go through this weird thing every goddamn time i'm in kingston, and i swear i've blogged about it before, but -- whenever i'm in k-town, a very tiny part of my brain wonders what it would be like to pack it in and move back home. not with my parents, obviously, but get some cheap apartment somewhere and find a job and just live quietly. life is slower and smaller there, and that dumb part of me wonders if that's what i need. maybe i need a fresh start somewhere, and why not go back to my roots? my family are all there, and it's not unfamiliar ground for me, so maybe i could be happy with it.

...but yeah, then i really think about it, and i know exactly what would happen: i would settle in and be content for like, a week, and then i would start clawing up the walls from boredom. sure, i don't do a whole lot in toronto, but at least the potential for doing things is out there. and i'm sure there's a scene in kingston that i don't see, but i'm past the point in my life where i have the energy and drive to establish myself in a new city. i went through that with vancouver and we all know how that ended (ie. very quickly).

i suppose it's good i headed back to toronto when i did. i was missing the city.

a week later, i'm back settled into my daily routines, cursing at the late spring heatwave and getting stoked to see the boy a bunch this week. off i go!

[ music | broken bells, "control" ]

Thursday, April 23, 2015

the past will catch you up

photo via ohmyvancouver, taken by TOTORORO.RORO. so beautiful!

another spring, another bout of homesickness for vancouver.

as i said to sean - partially to explain the vancouver-heavy stream of content on my tumblr lately - i think it's because at this time seven years ago, i was preparing to leave. for the month of april in 2008, i was committing all of my vancouver experiences to memory, and maybe getting a little bit misty-eyed over leaving. (i moved back to toronto on may 1st.) so, springtime has become a very evocative time to me, and i inevitably start to go over a lot of my old blog posts and scribbled bits of writing on my hard drive, just to recall a sense of where my head was at in that point in time. (well, it's the nostalgia and the pms. either/or.)

this is kind of a weird, melancholy process.

see, i used to write a lot -- and i mean a lot. at one point, i was writing in a public blog as well as a private blog as well as separate stuff written just for me in notepad files on my hard drive. i've got a lot of material to go through. but right now, i've mostly been looking over scribbles and posts from 2007-08 -- specifically, the part where i decided to completely upend my life and flee to the west coast. honestly, i've never done something that foolhardy or insane or brave since, and that's starting to weigh on me, i think.

i was out for coffee with my friend katy last week, and i mused that moving to vancouver had meant so much to me because it was the first time in memory that i'd done something for myself -- not for my family, not for a boy, not for anybody else. plus, it was an extra accomplishment because it was a whim that i'd put my mind to and succeeded at, all by myself. i decided pretty much out of the blue that i was going to move to vancouver, and i did it. i fucking did it. i had nothing holding me in place, so i figured it was the best time to escape to a place where i barely knew anyone, so i could get a better perspective on myself - i was just turning 24 at the time - and what i was doing with my life. and hell yeah, did i ever. (as the story goes, i struggled for the first few months - even with a decent job and a roof over my head - but then visited toronto that christmas, fell for a guy, and moved back to toronto four months later.)

so lately i've been thinking a lot about that, and how i really seemed to have it together out there -- i was in my mid-twenties, i had a 9-to-5 cafe job that i could hang up at the end of the day, i had a cute little apartment in a nice part of town, and i had plenty of free time that i spent walking and exploring and listening to music. i don't remember struggling; at least, not that much.

yet i read a quote somewhere that said something like "your memories will lie to you" and it's always a good thing to keep in mind. i don't know if it's so much your memories, though, as it is the emotions that colour them. while you're in the moment, you may be struggling and stressed out and wanting to be anywhere else, but when you think back on it, you tend to block out the bad parts in the haze of nostalgia. everything's rose-tinted and life was just easier back in the day, right? it's always easier than it is right now. so it's simple to romanticize the past when you don't think about - or don't remember - the tougher stuff.

but if i think about it too much, i do miss who i was and where i was at that point in my life. i was still relatively young, i had plenty of freedom, i had the space to try and figure myself out. i had more stamina, more self-discipline, more drive. i looked a hell of a lot better in my wardrobe than i do now. i was still close enough to my glory days that they were recent happy memories that fed my future ambitions, and not something that i look back on in fear that i'll never reach them again. ultimately, i just had a lot more hope for my future -- even though i had no idea what it would look like, i felt like i had infinite possibilities, and best of all, that i didn't have to worry about them right then. they'd get here on their own time and their own terms. all i had to do in the moment was enjoy the dumb freedoms of my youth, its minor responsibilities and its major good times.

i guess my ultimate struggle now is what it has been for years: to learn how to stop living in the past.

[ music | the xx, "together" ]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

motivate me

one of the biggest dilemmas about being an adult: making the realization that you don't have to do something if you don't want to.

this is obviously within reason - you do have to go to work, you do have to pay the rent, you do have to abide the law, etc. - but if it's smaller things that only affect you, then it's fair game. once you realize "i'm an adult, i can do this if i want" or "i'm an adult, i don't have to do this if i don't want", there's no going back from the slippery slide of de-motivation. it's like how i was warned that, in university, once you discovered that there were no consequences if you skipped a class (unlike high school, where the school would call your parents if you skipped), it was all over. you'd be skipping classes all the damn time. and guess what i did. (to be fair, i held back on skipping as long as i could, but once my music journalism really ramped up, in second year i was skipping classes to go interview bands all the time)

pertinent example: my gym routine. i am a gym-going person, although i am not a gym-loving person. i go to the gym 4-5 times a week for 1.5-2 hours (mostly cardio). i stick to this routine because it keeps me disciplined and focused and responsible, and also because it helps keep my moods stable and my health in check. really, once i get there and i'm in the middle of it, i feel good about what i'm doing. but there are some days - a lot of days, honestly - when i wake up in the morning and think, i don't want to go to the gym today. the dangerous part is when my subconscious replies with, you're an adult. it's your choice. you don't have to go if you don't want to.

those are the days i usually end up spending playing with my ipad on the couch.

so the trick for me, then, is to not let that thought creep in whenever i'm approaching doing something i don't really want to do. it's absolutely easy in life choose to do only the things you want to do; that's not where personal growth lies, however. that old adage "do one thing every day that scares you" is a bit overblown for my tastes, but it's got the right idea. if you only ever do things you want to do and nothing you don't, you'll never push yourself out of your comfort zone.

also, for me, it feels good to hold myself accountable to something. that makes me feel like a goddamn adult, every bit as much as the realization that i can make my own decisions. when you can make your own decisions, and you decide to hold yourself to something, then fuck yeah, that's empowering. but even when i don't, i try to find a positive side out of it -- i like being productive in my day-to-day, so if i do skip the gym, i try to use the newly freed-up time to do something like laundry or cleaning my apartment (if i don't feel like leaving the house), or grocery-shopping, or just going for a walk. that way, i feel like although i didn't hold myself to my plans, i still made use out of the day. that's something, right?

but yeah, motivation and accountability are both huge things and basically the same side of the coin. when you don't have the motivation to do the things you need to do (but may not want to do), then it can all just fall apart, and then it's hard to get back in the saddle again. i go through peaks and valleys when it comes to this -- some weeks i'll be super-charged and motivated and feeling good about myself and what i'm doing, and then other weeks i'll just let everything slide and end up feeling stuck in a cycle of doing nothing and feeling like crap but not being motivated enough to change/fix things. (this is usually brought on by a number of factors, including the weather, how tired i am, and where i'm at in the monthly hormone rollercoaster)

i don't know. it's tricky.

do you have any tips for holding yourself accountable? please help, i've been putting off doing my taxes for months now.

[ music | justice, "dvno" ]

Monday, April 20, 2015

spring cleaning

been busy, been doing stuff. hello!

in yo' face. with doritos.

then again, i haven't been super busy - mostly trying to quell the pangs of jealousy when i see how many of my friends are on vacation in cool places right now; i get supremely itchy feet at this time of year - but there hasn't been much going on that's called for blogging. also, i occasionally get into moods where i feel like keeping my life to myself, which i know is at odds with the whole "publicly blogging" thing i've been doing since, oh, 2000. but sometimes i would rather keep the details of things (because most of it is happy contented fuzzy feelings, and who wants to read about those? blech). plus, let's just say i have a decent sense of who keeps checking up on me and my life. hello.

however, having some fortunate free time in the blooming pre-spring does afford the opportunity to smell the roses:

enjoy beers on a sunny wednesday afternoon:

and stop to pet neighbourhood kitties:

(here is also a video shot by the boy, of the friendly floofcat who lives a couple streets over from me. video also featuring me saying "are you recording?" and laughing stupidly in delight as floof chats with us)

yep, spring is coming to this big beautiful city of mine, if the gross drizzly weather outside this morning is any indication, and with spring comes that venerable hallmark holiday: mother's day. this year, my father was strangely insistent that i spend that weekend in kingston to see my mother, which was weird to me since 1) my mom isn't elderly or sick and 2) i never go to k-town for mother's day (except for once, way back in 2009 -- also the leonard cohen weekend!). so after checking in with my mom to ensure that she's not on her deathbed (she's not, and was puzzled about my dad's sentimentality, but he's like that), i scored super-cheap train tickets to kingston on thursday the 7th, staying til monday the 11th. it was actually decent timing, since i've been missing my family a lot lately, and also kingston starts getting pretty around may. it's pretty brown and dead and boring right now. (hopefully i'll be able to keep the boredom at bay during this trip -- it would have been way better if sean could come too, but it's projected to be a busy work weekend for him, sighhhh)

here's the uber-appropriate mother's day card i picked up yesterday:


gotta say though, i'm more looking forward to the week before kingston -- because i'm getting a haircut on the wednesday, and then i have tickets to the 7 p.m. showing of avengers: age of ultron on its opening night. stoked.

by the way, believe all the hype you've been hearing about netflix's daredevil series. i'm down to the last two episodes, and it's taken a lot of restraint on my part to not binge on the entire series at once. way, way better than i was expecting. i was never a huge daredevil fan but i definitely am now, especially after this:

who's a sucker for a badass smirk? this girl. right here.

(still not sold on ant-man, though.)

what else? hmmmm well, i already posted about this on my tumblr (which generally sees more action than this blog, but likely because it can be updated quickly and it's mostly pictures, so check there if you really want to keep tabs on me?), but as part of spring refreshing, i tend to add a bunch of new songs to my ipod. makes for good listening. here's what i've recently added and/or been playing repeatedly as of late -- lots of sunny happy tracks for sunny happy walks:

the 1975 - the city
queens of the stone age - 3′s & 7′s
magic man - texas
st. lucia - closer than this
arkells - come to light
tokyo police club - your english is good
css - jager yoga
brandon flowers - can't deny my love
ms mr - hurricane
the xx - together
justice - dvno
walk the moon - shut up and dance
charli xcx - boom clap
golden coast - break my fall

and many more beyond that, obviously. (my ipod isn't even half-full, though, which i ought to remedy at some point. i'm picky, though.)

i need more coffee. heart u.

[ music | cold war kids, "first" ]