Thursday, July 22, 2010

the things i miss

(without taking anything away from my stellar life right now, of course.)

- the countryside. i grew up way in the boons of southern ontario, and trying to remember the days on the farmland feels like trying to recollect a movie i watched years ago. like it wasn't actually my life once.

- childhood innocence, and the faith in my knowledge that my parents would take care of everything. no rent, no bills or taxes to pay, no responsibilities, no actual real-world worries.

- my first year of university; specifically, fall of 2002, when i'd first moved out on my own to the big city of toronto. everything was brand-new and limitless.

- being of the young opinion that my physical appearance didn't matter -- people would love me anyway. i miss that wisdom.

- vancouver. not all the time or everyday, but once and a while the memories pull at me, reminding me that i didn't get enough soul-searching time in. (not to mention the mountains, the ocean, the clean air, the fresh food...)

- touring. i've only been out on the road with a band two and a half times, but that was enough to get me hooked forever on the lifestyle.

- the simpler work life, without the 9 to 5 grind or the office cubicles or the always-on schedule. rather, the days of being your average barista (particularly when i was working in vancouver), where my biggest concern was whether or not the espresso machine would work or if i'd ordered enough milk to last the week -- and even then, any problems could be easily handled. there was a lot of laughter in those days, and i never had to take work home with me. not much money, but not much stress either.

- this girl:

she was right where she wanted to be all along.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

power of words

when i was a teenager, this was one of my favourite books. (still is.) i always found this somewhat puzzling, as although i was/am a huge geek, i could never really get into fantasy novels. too many characters, too many locations, too many things to remember. too convoluted.

stalking darkness, however, was just right. memorable characters, a great setting, original mythology, just enough sword & sorcery, a plot that i could envision in my head like a movie, a good suspenseful pace, and the two main dudes were hot for each other. fantastic. (stalking darkness is actually part 2 of the nightrunner series, but part 1 didn't have enough boylove for me and part 3 was too anticlimatic, since the boylove had already been realized and there was no angst and agony)

anyway, i read stalking darkness so many times in high school that my copy is now severely dog-eared (the first time i read it, i stayed up until almost 3 in the morning finishing it) and still has a place on my bookshelf today. but since the nightrunner series is a series, the author keeps it ongoing without any sense of an end number -- which means that i got lazy and gave up keeping track of when the next book would come out. (i did, however, get into flewelling's side trilogy "the tamir triad", because it was every bit as compelling and well-written) it was a big, ultra-geeky surprise to me to find out that there was not just one, but two new books in the series released!

so yeah, guess what i've been doing for the last week or so. devouring these books, that's what. (and seriously -- look at those covers! final fantasy ain't got nothing on those two renegades.)

okay, nerdometer off for the morning. by all means, i'm always open to book recommendations, so go be my friend at goodreads or else just comment here and let me know what's up.

internal enemy

dealing with caffeine withdrawal ends up with the two m's: migraines and misery.

as mentioned briefly, i've gone completely off my favourite drug this week, as it seems to be one of the highest triggers for i.b.s. (which it looks likely that i have -- the naturopath diagnosed me as such, and i've got a doctor's appointment next week to be sure).

this is tough. i love coffee. i live for coffee. i've been drinking it (and various other caffeinated beverages) since i was fifteen. i was a barista for three years. i managed a branch of a cafe chain when i lived in vancouver. that shit runs in my veins.

but here's the thing: there's been evidence over the past couple of weeks that something's making my digestive system (stomach lining, intestine or colon) bleed. yeah, you read that right. (i'm not willing to say that it's the primal diet that's causing it -- other related issues have been occurring with me since about march.) this is most likely a very bad thing -- hence the doctor's appointment next week. there will most likely be gastroenterologists involved. there will be probing and multiple tests. there are a number of moderate to severe things this could be symptomatic of.

i am worried.

and so, given that i've already removed gluten, rice and corn from my diet, i'm eliminating caffeine because of the aformentioned link to i.b.s., and also because caffeine and coffee were my highest avoid foods on my electro-dermal test results. if there's no changes this week and i still note bleeding, the next step would probably be dairy - another major i.b.s. trigger - but i only eat small amounts of it so who knows if that's a factor. either way, if i have to, i'll do it.

anyway, sorry for the grossness, but this whole issue is becoming very upsetting and very uncomfortable and i really want to know just what the hell's going wrong inside me.

and oh my god do i ever want a cup of coffee right now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

white house red square

boring pictures from my trip to washington d.c. this past week (for work, not pleasure, hence the lack of any tourist-y shots -- though we did stop by the white house on our lunch break!):

the connecticut street bridge that i walked over to and from the d.c. office every day. got a few funny looks at my insistence on walking rather than cabbing, but it's a habit. plus there is very little i love more than pounding urban pavement on foot, especially in a foreign city.

view from hotel room, take one.

view from hotel room, take two. (see the crazy-weird cloud cover? there were basically monsoons every night we stayed in washington.)

who got a king bed? i got a king bed. holla. (mostly amusing to me because in my mind, i'm still eternally a ten-year-old on vacation with her parents. i am not a 26-year-old on a business trip.)

they've got christianity and mormonism covered, at least.

anyway, back in the big city of toronto now, once more reminded that even a short 55-minute flight is enough to destroy my nerves. next time, i'm packing the valium.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

life is beautiful

another day, another tmi-style entry.

- mouth update: so far, so good, as far as i can tell. the packing on the donor site fell out on monday, which was a pretty decent amount of time for healing (four days, as opposed to the goddamn next day last time i had a graft day), and the first of the stitches & glue just came out today. all of this happens on its own, by the way - simple dissolving method - which really isn't comforting. it's ridiculously hard to know whether or not it's, uh, normal, and when you should be calling the dentist in a panic. (i usually wait until i see blood.)

bottle of codeine remains untouched, and i barely took any naproxen. super proud of myself for that. a minimal of pharmaceutical crap in my system is preferred, thanks.

anyway, i'm giving it another full week just to be on the safe side, and by then i'll be in the clear. it looks pretty damn good after seven days, so hopefully at fourteen it'll be more or less sealed up and in an advanced stage of recovery.

- primal diet is going well! i just received my copy of the primal cookbook in the mail the other day, which means i'll finally be able to get back to baking, but in a way that's not destructive to my internal system. (also, to recap: when i started on this plan, i weighed 132 pounds; now, one month later, i weigh 125. amazing.) however, the price tag of revamping my pantry is starting to get painful...things like coconut flour & oil, grass-fed meat, raw nuts and free-run vegetarian-chicken eggs (i buy the certified ones from nutri springs farm in dundas, ontario) really run up the bill. telling myself it's a worthwhile investment in my long-term health, which is really the most important thing. because without your health, you're, well...dead?

- signed up for goodreads. that site will probably be the death of me.

- flying out to washington d.c. on sunday, staying til wednesday afternoon. short-notice work trip. not thrilled about flying - i am terrible on airplanes, despite how many i've taken so far in my life - but am thrilled to ransack the nearby trader joe's.

- got sucked back into (no pun intended) true blood, this time working my way through season 2. i prefer to watch tv series on dvd, because i am an impatient person who has a hard time waiting seven days for the next installment. still, now i have to deal with constantly pacing to and from the nearest video rental store, slavering for the next dvd like a junkie needing a fix.

- tomorrow: doing it up oldskool style and jumping on a bus to travel to another city to see a boy in a band. i used to do this all the time; now, not so much. so any chance i can get to relive those days is much welcomed. (fyi: c'mon record release party @ call the office in london, ontario)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

for the band

i had a thing with a rock star once.

actually, i had more than a few things with more than a few rock stars, but this is fairly common knowledge to anyone who's known me in the past five years. (names of said rock stars will be withheld to protect the not-so-innocent.)

i was running pretty wild in 2005-06, hyped up on hormones and alcohol and smarting from a final rebuff from an on-again-off-again flame (also a musician, obviously), which all combined to make me rather self-destructive. i'd already had a few careless one-night stands, and this boy was looking no different, but the lead-up was fun at least: a raucous show, a long late-night afterparty, all means of chemical debauchery, flippantly ignoring the dagger glares of another groupie who'd marked him for her own (he looked over her in favour of my humble fishnet-clad self), fun times hanging in his hotel room at 2 a.m. with another acquaintance and a few other members of the band. it's all happening, indeed.

he probably had a girlfriend, but at this point in my "career" as a groupie, i knew better than to ask. nothing killed the mood faster than a reminder of the girl back home. safer to just always assume they were taken and repeat the mantra of "it only matters to me as much as it matters to them - which isn't much, obviously". (as one past rock star fling patiently told me in the limo, "we're all married, sweetheart.")

still - he was young, for a musician on the fast-track to fame. he was maybe only two or three years older than me, which was almost a child in my book. and i could see it in him; i clearly got the sense that he was almost a bit scared, so far from home and caught up in the grips of a machine that he didn't understand. he was putting on the image, sure, but he didn't know how to live it. and seeing that made me sad inside. i knew, in my old-soul groupie wisdom, that he wouldn't last.

i mean, for all his rock-star excess and decadence, he and i basically sat on the bed and watched music videos until 4 in the morning before he sheepishly turned to me and asked if it'd be okay if we "could just cuddle for a while."

i laughed and jumped him. this was the life i knew.

i don't ever remember if i slept afterward. i don't think i did. but i remember hearing the old familiar line "our manager's coming soon, so you have to go" and dutifully slipping out to do the good ol' walk of shame through the fancy hotel lobby, messy hair and smeared black eyeliner and fishnets torn up, but i held my head high. this was the life i knew and, at the time, loved.

but it got tiring after that. there were more hedonistic nights with others, and the karma started to eat away at me. i had a number of health scares that terrified the shit out of me every time. the feminist in me started to become incensed with the throwaway treatment i got. i was never meant to be a groupie in the long run - i didn't have the heart or the stomach for it. i wanted something more finite, more equal and more compassionate. i finally got all that - and in a musician to boot! - a few years later.

anyway. i was just thinking about that night from years ago, since his band's album came on my ipod the other day, and i wonder whatever happened to that rock star boy. the band didn't make it, i know that much; i was just one of many girls that he slept with while on tour, i know that much too. but even now i wonder about the toll this life takes, on everyone involved.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

in this light

funny/cute story time...

i was just roaming around through my "Misc" album in my main pictures folder (which houses albums with such titles as "Heartland - Xmas 2007", "PVC Shoot 2005", "Bowie Party" and "pr0n"), and i found these two corresponding little gems, and the memory just made me smile.

here's the backstory:

summer 2006, and my favourite band in the known universe was razorlight. i loved their music, i loved their britishness, and i especially loved their frontman (one infamous johnny borrell).

why hello there.

funny how 2006 me had no idea that i would later get to interview them here in toronto in '07, right before they blew off their gig later that night. (yes, i reported on that too; i just kept thinking about jesse keeler's advice to me the previous summer: "if you're gonna be a music journalist, you have to be ruthless.") but at virgin fest 2006, razorlight were slated to play an afternoon slot on the first day, and i was stoked. i was exploding with happiness and anticipation.

i was crushed when they dropped out.

(they were supposed to be on our side of the pond to support keane on their north american tour, but then keane's frontman self-admitted himself to rehab for being addicted to something laughable like baby duck, so the tour was off. thus, no razorlight in summer 2006. i was, to put it mildly, devastated.)

yet i still had my ticket for day 1 of the festival, so i halfheartedly went anyway, catching the likes of phoenix (who apparently impressed me, according to my blog at the time) and muse (whom i've seen three times and am never overly impressed with, though i like them on album just fine -- but a little bit of them goes a long way with me) and later walking past the raconteurs on queen street (jack white smiled at me and i sort of had a brain aneurysm).

but my heart still hurt for the missing 'light, and when i noticed that the festival had a jumbotron set up where you could text messages to be broadcast, i whipped out my cell phone and sent this piece of fangirl genius:

then, of course, i posted that picture on their myspace wall. (remember how big myspace was in 2006?)

i don't know what i was expecting, really, but it sure as hell wasn't this:

i basically had five heart attacks. and then did not shut up about the awesomeness of johnny b for about two weeks.

anyway, that's my little story for this sunday morning. figure those of you who've known me since the fangirl/groupie days would appreciate that blast from the past.

(more contented days are now, but i can admit i do miss the rollercoaster ups and downs of my turbulent past. oh, well.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

recovery phase

there's nothing like having one dietary restriction (no wheat, rice, corn or processed sugars, says the primal/paleo diet) and then having another placed upon you for 1-2 weeks duration (no spicy foods, no acidic foods, no overly hot-temperature foods, no foods with seeds or little bits that could get caught in the graft).

so i've basically been living off of green monsters, scrambled eggs, soft cheeses, avocado, sashimi, plain organic yogurt, smooth peanut butter, and smoked salmon. i'm going to be making a primal shepherd's pie tomorrow (lots of mushy protein, yay!), and i'm absolutely hankering for these lettuce it really hasn't been so bad. the primal diet definitely hasn't been too hard on me at all. (and, as i've said before, it's nice not to have to avoid things like bacon, butter and nuts anymore)

my first green monster, friday's post-op breakfast: 2 cups spinach + 1 small banana + 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 3/4 cup plain yogurt + splash of cream + ice. absolute heaven.

(also, in the meantime: 1/2 avocado + 1/2 cup coconut milk + 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder + splash of 2% milk + 6 ice cubes = basically the best example of primal pudding ever. i died. seriously.)

been on this diet/lifestyle change for almost a month now, and i've lost six pounds -- and that's going to the gym quite minimally. i'm more focused on living now and getting my exercise that way. pressure off is nice! in your face, naysayers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

stand alone

ugh, gum grafts. still the least favourite of all medical/dental surgical procedures done to me thus far.

(warning: this will be semi-gross and tmi.)

i'm not in dire pain as of yet - though the donor site on my upper left palate bled for almost four hours straight - but the bandage gum has yet to come off (it'll likely fall off tomorrow; that's what happened last time) and then hellooooo agony, i remember you well from august 2005. thus, working from home tomorrow to spare coworkers and clients the sight of me drooling blood like some sort of hideous, codeine-fueled zombie.

the surgery wasn't truly terrible though, mostly because the entire left side of my mouth was frozen, so as long as i kept my eyes closed i couldn't feel or see what was happening. really, the procedure ended up getting more tedious and boring by the end of it (aka when the dentist was finishing up suturing my new gums together).

still, dentist praised both my "thick healthy tissue" and how quickly my blood clots, so, uh, i guess those are warm fuzzies...? gross.

(though how i wished i thought to snap a photo of my reflection in the clinic's bathroom mirror post-op, with dried blood all over my lips and chin and one puffy swollen cheek. it was some serious fight club stylin'.)

now, to go sort out what my liquid diet will be for the next week or so. bah.

eta: summoned up from the archives!...

august 17, 2005: "today's dental gum graft (plus a bonus two cavity-fillings!) was a success. now my bottom front gums look like a mangled something out of a horror movie..."
august 18, 2005: "i had to cancel my work shift yesterday afternoon, due to the fact that the bandage came off the surgical area on the roof of my mouth, thus causing momentous gushings of blood."
august 22, 2005: "imagine having a canker so big and so sore that anytime something touches it, waves of pain reverberate through your skull." i guess i should be looking ahead to 6-7 days from today for the real party to start. sigh.