Saturday, November 29, 2014

black out days

one more blog post to close november, once more unto the breach, etc. etc.

so, my internet's off. well, not like it doesn't work or anything -- it does, but since i've gone over the monthly usage limit (oops), it works at an additional rate of $2.50 per gigabyte. my usual daily usage is around 1 gig per day, and i still have until december 4th before i start on the next month's billing cycle. yeah, big oops. so for a week, i have to find other things to do with my time at home, which has mostly amounted so far to 1) reading trashy chick lit, because i can consume it quickly and mindlessly like i do the internet; and 2) watching border security, the only reality show i actually enjoy. and man, do i ever enjoy it. nothing warms my cold black heart like seeing stupid people get caught for doing stupid things. (the canadian version of the show is my favourite, obviously, but i like the australian version too because it has more serious crime busts)

so there's that, or there's going to the gym (probably not the best considering how i think i busted my foot about a month back) or going on long walks (see previous comment), or hanging out with my boyfriend (time at a minimum though, given the retail insanity of this time of year), but that's about all for cheap thrills. i really have to bear down in this coming week especially, since i'm scarily low on funds, mostly due to spending far more than intended on christmas gifts for the fam this year (at least...all my shopping is done early?). money worries are going to be the death of me. great to know that, according to my mother, this does not change through one's adult life. balls.

oh! but my mother and stepfather came up to toronto last weekend (stepdad had a work conference here), and my mother took me shopping, bought me two tops and a pair of running shoes as early christmas gifts, gave me wine, took me to the conference reception party where i think people mostly assumed i was a student (i was wearing my varsity jacket), then we went out to a late dinner where mom & stepdad finally met my boyfriend of almost nine(!) months. i was pretty trashed at this point and remember very little. oh well, i think it went okay.

one of the tops i got at express. my mother gave it a leery eye at first, then just shrugged and said, "it looks like lingerie to me." me: "i think that's the point, mom."

the new shoes! they are ridiculous and i love them. much needed especially given that i'd worn a hole right through the heel of my other gym shoes.

shook off my hangover the next day for a late lunch with sean at mystic muffin, then a showing of big hero 6. great movie, aside from honey lemon's voice actress obnoxiously putting on a japanese accent to say "hiro" (when no one else did). little things like that bug me with non-native speakers. bah.

mmmmmmmmmyes. mystic muffin for life.


last stop on the fun-date ride: the j.p. wiser's sprots 2.0 event on wednesday!

weirdly enough, this wasn't my first whisky tasting - the perks of being a blogger semi-notorious for her drink intake, i suppose - but it was a great time nonetheless and i was very lucky to be invited. it was a small group (i brought my friend katy who, like me, enjoys a tipple), and we got seated in a nice little area at the shark club as the various whiskies were being poured in preparation for the guided tasting. (i started drinking mine immediately. i ruin everything.) ryan, the whisky ambassador, took us through each of the types of whisky, giving us instruction for how to best get all the flavours and scents. he also imparted knowledge on the history of whisky in canada, which was interesting since the other whisky tasting i did was for a scottish whisky, so the story was a bit different. plus: lots of cool bottles.

this one was my favourite -- the wiser's spiced torched toffee whisky. as i am a well-known aficionado of flavoured liquors, this hit all my sweet spots. especially when ryan suggested it be mixed with eggnog this holiday season. holy shit, yes.

then the leafs game was on for us to watch, and massive platters of free snacks were brought out for us to enjoy as well as any wiser's cocktail we wanted. i mean, damn good night. (the gift bags at the end were incredibly generous and wonderful as well. big plus to wiser's. you can win me over with a swag bag any day.)

okay i'm going to get off the internet now before i end up having to pay another billion dollars on top of what i already pay for a busted phone (more on that another time) and hundreds of tv channels that i barely ever watch (unless they're showing border security). see you in december!

[ music | none, can't stream music or else $$$$$ ]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

planes trains automobiles

a brief meditation on transit

it's important to know that i can't drive. not just won't, but can't -- i've never taken any driving courses and i don't have any level of license. i've never been behind the wheel of a car before, and i doubt i ever will. the idea of driving just leaves me cold, and i don't know why. i've never much liked cars.

but i love being a passenger.

it's not laziness, i swear. i'm just one of those people who get hypnotized by passing scenery, especially if i have music on so i can feel like i'm in a soundtracked movie. i don't take being on transit for granted, either -- i walk so much in this city because the toronto transit system generally sucks balls, and i refuse to pay good money for a garbage service. but when i do get to take the subway or bus somewhere, it's almost like a treat. (when the streetcar isn't short-turning or when the bus isn't overpacked or when the subway is perpetually late, that is.)

when i lived in vancouver, i used to more or less purposely get lost on the transit system. i'd get it in my head that i'd need a specific thing from a specific store that was like, on the other side of downtown or out near burnaby or whatever, so i'd hop on the metro or the bus and attempt to navigate my way there. i got lost pretty much every time. but it was such a cool experience to me -- staring out the window at parts of the city that i'd never seen before and maybe never would again, realizing that there's so much more out there than what i see every day. it was like constantly discovering a new city right where i already lived.

even now, i consider it a small form of urban exploration. not to say that i purposely take the bus out to unknown parts of toronto just for whatever - because with my luck, i'd end up at jane & finch or something - but if i need to go shop for something, i might source out a location that's as far away from me as possible, then map out how to get there. to me, that is a weirdly enjoyable afternoon. and no matter how much i may intentionally enjoy getting lost, i'm a very good navigator. i rarely get accidentally lost in places that i've been to at least once. sometimes it feels like i have a compass in my head, but nowadays i also have google maps, which are even better for getting one's bearings.

i guess this is all just to remind myself that i never really go exploring much anymore. back in the day - both when i was single, and not - i used to consider it a successful weekend if i got away from my comfortable little circle of well-known locations and roamed around some part of toronto that i'd never been before, or had been to only once or twice. but the longer i've been here, the fewer places remain unvisited to me. (though i think i've only been to yonge & eg, like, once.) i mean, not counting mississauga/etobicoke/north york/scarborough, because who even wants to go there, but toronto proper. and that's kind of sad. not that it's enough to make me really want a change of scenery or anything, but hey, at least i have plenty of time to go exploring these days. (not in weather with a -17C windchill though, as it is today. no.)

also, i miss chicago. and i was planning on a day trip to buffalo soon, but then this happened, and well.

i think i'll wait.

anyway. lesson for today: go get lost on public transit. it's fun! and you probably won't die. also, if anyone wants to volunteer to drive me places: yes please.

p.s. went to the doc's yesterday. he seems to think it's a sinus problem, which makes sense given how weird my nose has been lately as well. this was corroborated by my father, who's had bad sinus issues his entire life (i have fond memories of him sitting courtside at my high school basketball games, snorting multiple bottles of otrivin). came away with two prescriptions for medication that i'm not sure i can pay for, as well as advice to come back in 10 days if it gets worse. so at least it's good to know that i'm not dying horrifically of an inoperable brain tumour. whee!

[ music | the ettes, "you were there" ]

Saturday, November 15, 2014

the damage done

i hate feeling as though my bodily health's gone to shit since i've crossed over into the third decade of my life, but there you have it.

as my boyfriend noted the other day, as we've gotten into our thirties (he's the same age as me), things that you used to bounce back from quickly have required longer recovery time than expected. it's the truth, and it annoys me, because i want to find some sort of life hack that allows my physical health to be exactly as resilient as it was in my early twenties. but no, not these days -- i've had a lot of time to spare lately, and solo time is the worst thing possible for a hypochondriac; it's so much free time spent on obsessing over every little ache and pain, which usually leads to more phantom aches and pains, which leads to morbidly imagining what one's funeral will look like. because everything will kill you. when you're a hypochondriac, you feel like a walking time bomb of ill health. (for example, i talked myself into a colonoscopy a few years ago. so unnecessary.)

here's a list of the things, phantom or not, that have been wrong with me over the last little while:

- busted right knee from when i fell a few weeks back (it's only just stopped being stiff when i lift it)
- sprained left foot (or something that's causing it to feel like someone's grinding a heel into the little bones on the top of my foot)
- pulled muscle in left calf (done during sleep)
- garbage shoulders/back/neck (an ongoing problems for years, due to my penchant for shouldering heavy bags and sleeping on non-supportive materials)
- constant low-grade headache that's lasted for over a week (?!?!)
- slight nausea (possibly related to the above)
- mild fatigue (constant, though maybe due to me cutting back on my typically massive amounts of caffeine)
- weird sinuses (might be a weather thing)

eta: i'm most certainly not pregnant, by the way.

the headache's the one that has me the most worried, as i've never been a headache-prone person, with the exception of fatigue headaches that i can always sleep off. this one's lingered for days, painkillers do very little, and i've scheduled a doctor's appointment for tuesday to see what tests i can take. i'm half-expecting it to be due to either bad eyestrain (since the headache is generally located right behind my eyes, and rolling my eyeballs around feels weird) or pressure changes (which would explain my sinuses feeling heavy and blocked lately as well), but it's been concerning me, and for a hypochondriac "concerned" means "nonstop worrying that i'm on my deathbed". which is silly. but, eh. my doc will likely just ask me some questions, make some suggestions, refer me to an optometrist or an eeg lab to get some scans, and hopefully everything will come back gravy. i know you can go through life thinking, "well, [insert bad health problem] won't happen to me" but it has to happen to someone, doesn't it?

and yes, i'm staying away from dr. google. aside from a few symptom checkups on the mayo clinic's website, that is. (not particularly helpful; i basically just want it to tell me that headaches do not mean "incurable brain tumour," but headaches are apparently a symptom of everything)

the other bitch of the thing is that because i'm freelancing now, i don't have health coverage, which means if i do need fancy drugs or a new glasses prescription, i most likely can't afford it and will have to do without. if it's severe and/or vital, i will probably have to ask my parents for the money, and i know it won't be a problem, but ugh. just something i'd rather not have to deal with right now. poor timing, as always.

i do already have glasses, though i never wear them. they make my eyes feel funny more than they help.

(also according to that pic, i have massive pores, which is true, i do)

as for the other physical stuff, there's not much i can do about my left foot, though i suppose i ought to stop being super-mobile and just rest it for a couple of days. it is feeling a lot better - especially considering i was actually limping last week - but i always have so many places to go and so much to do that staying off my feet isn't an option. i'm mostly just trying not to bend it at the toes or let any additional pressure come onto it. and no, i have no idea what i did to it. bah.

so, brief update as to where i've been lately: mostly just moping about on my couch, trying not to strain anything, cataloguing my ills and thinking about how hard it will be for my loved ones to carry on after i've passed away so young, so tragic. i am the worst.

please leave any miracle cures for me in the comments.

[ music | arctic monkeys, "baby i'm yours" ]

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

i'm good i'm gone

while pondering upon ways i need to fix my life and become optimum caitlin, i usually end up mulling the idea of moving to a different city and starting new. which is a pipe dream more than anything, but it's hard not to consider changing one's environment in order to get a new fix on things.

one of the things i regret about leaving public relations was that i had the possible option to transfer to one of the american offices (though i think probably only the washington d.c. office would have wanted me, and although i like d.c. i'm not sure if i'd want to live there). when it came down to it, though, not only did i not have the money for a work visa, but i just didn't want to leave toronto. i can't. it's fun to daydream about moving away (again) and starting fresh somewhere else (again), but as i well learned last time, that sort of thing only serves to make me realize how much i love this city and how much it's my home.

i happened to move to toronto just in time for the 2002 summer heatwave, which coincided nicely with that summer's garbage strike, so the whole city was a steamy mess of garbage funk and people sweat and heavy smog. i loved it. i loved fucking everything about toronto from the minute my parents finished moving me into my dorm and drove away back to kingston, leaving me behind in my new home. i remember the staggering heat and the stink of hot trash, but nothing - absolutely nothing - would crush my excitement at finally being a resident of the big city that i, growing up in a country village with a population of 49, had only ever seen on television. the day i discovered queen street west was like finding my religion. it was mecca for a wannabe big-city-cool-kid like me. toronto quickly became my everything and, aside from an ill-fated eight months in vancouver, it's now been my home for longer than i ever lived in kingston. it's always been a huge piece of my personal identity, even when i was living on the other side of the country (and trust me, they can tell if you're from toronto there).

so. here i am now, and i'm here for at least the next few years, since i still love toronto and i'm with a boy who loves toronto as much - if not more - than i do. also, i love my apartment (so much so that my usual nightmare is that i'm forced to move out for some reason):

...but i don't know. sometimes i dream about bigger things, and never here. when i was in university working towards what i thought would be my career as a music journalist, i had this idea that i'd build up my portfolio over those four years, then head to new york city once i graduated and pitch for a job at any of the major music magazines that would have me. but, as i've written about before, journalism isn't exactly something steady to hang your hat on. everything music-wise migrated online, and anything that didn't became obsolete. my lester bangs dream disappeared..

anyway, for some reason - probably because of that above fantasy - i've always seen myself working in america, typically in some giant downtown metropolis like nyc or chicago. and there's people, and there's live music all the time, and there's deadlines, and there's excitement. and something in the back of my mind twinges, telling me that that's where i'm meant to be. but there's no road map to life, right? i feel like that might not be my ultimate destiny after all, but instead some leftover remnant of a dream i had when i was an idealistic twentysomething. maybe i'm forever trying to outrun adulthood, and that's what it represents. maybe i need to grow up.

maybe i need another coffee.

[ music | m83, "we own the sky" ]