Friday, October 23, 2015

wrap myself around you

my leather is being retired for the first time in many years.

i got my first long leather duster for my 22nd birthday in fall 2005, a gift from my mother (who knows the power of a good leather coat), and it was probably the best timing. at 22, i was just starting to claim my identity as an edgy, slightly weird rocker chick who lived for late nights at the bars, a lot of black eyeliner, endless bottles of vodka, and the rockstar boys. i was less than a year away from graduating school forever, i was already working as a music journalist, and it felt like the world was mine. so, naturally, i needed a badass coat to go with this persona, and i'd always admired how my mom looked in her leather coats (though she usually wore short ones, since she was much shorter than me). there was just something so fucking cool about a woman wearing a lot of black leather. call it the trinity effect, i guess. (true enough, many years later i'd be in line at the supermarket in my long leather coat and black sunglasses, and i overheard some guys behind me commenting that i looked exactly like trinity from the matrix. i took it as a compliment.)

my leather went with me on tour with two separate bands - i remember it shielding me from the pennsylvania cold as i smoked outside a club in early april, and it got soaked from rain through the van's open window a few years later - and it came with me to vancouver in fall 2007, where it became a seminal part of my vancouver outfit along with a hoodie and jeans. (i'd actually left it behind in my old toronto apartment by accident on the day i moved out, and my dad and i had to turn the van around at ajax so i could go back and get it.) i used it as an impromptu blanket for post-drunk passing out on more than one occasion. i wore it over a t-shirt and panties and nothing else as i waited outside for the guy i was seeing. every fall and every early spring, the leather came out, and i felt comfortably protected and even a little bit intimidating. for a big-city girl in her early twenties, it was the best.

sadly, that first leather had to be tossed out back in december 2008. i was at the horseshoe one night, hanging around on stage after my then-boyfriend's gig, and somehow my poor old coat got caught on something and tore right up the back. it couldn't be salvaged - the back panel was hanging in pieces - so i had to say a sad goodbye to the coat that had served me so faithfully for the past three years. of course, i couldn't go that long without a reasonable facsimile, so once springtime rolled around, i went back to danier and picked up as close a replica to my old leather as i could find. once again, i felt like myself.

this continued right through my mid- to late twenties. even when i was cultivating a grown-up career as a business professional, i still swanned into the offices each morning wearing a full-length leather coat, like some weird rock star or ageing goth. i could be wearing a nice pencil skirt and blazer combo, or a cute dress and cardigan with kitten heels, but at the end of the day, the leather would go back on and i could at least feel like myself again. it was like the business-professional me was the costume, and i was cloaking myself with my old goth-punk look until i could get home and change into a band t-shirt and sweats.

to me, there was no better feel than the weight of leather on my shoulders, the swish of its length behind me as i walked, the smell of aged hide that always made me think of cigarette smoke and too many vodka sodas and nights spent in bars far away from my home. whenever i put my leather on, no matter how old i was or what my job was or what role i was currently playing, it felt like i was reclaiming an essential bit of me-ness -- the mouthy young goth punk who would never settle.

i recently read a piece on the wardrobe design of penny lane's iconic coat in the movie almost famous, and how she basically wore it as her armour against the world. that exactly sums up how i always felt about my long leather coats -- they were my armour and my identity, and every spring and fall i went back to them, because i think i still wanted to be twentysomething forever.

but this year, i don't know. it's been 10 years now. maybe it's time i grow up a bit and move on from my old look from my restless twenties. this feeling, combined with the fact that my current leather coat is starting to look pretty beat-up and worn out, led me to decide to use my "fall new coat money" to purchase not another identical leather coat, but a suede-and-faux-fur dealie instead.

like, it's pretty. it's grown-up and classy-looking (minus the fact that i'm wearing a headband studded with spikes). it's how i probably should have been dressing long before i turned 32. but it just wasn't in me to give up my poor half-destroyed leather (i wear my shoulder bag over my right side, and consequently the leather on that side of my coat is all worn away) until now, i guess. what can i say -- i absolutely fell in love with that suede coat (again with the penny lane influence: i'm a sucker for massive fur collars), and i couldn't afford to get two new coats for fall. (honestly, i couldn't afford to get any new coats for fall, myself -- i was relying on birthday money) so i had to make a choice, and i was a little surprised that i went with this instead of another leather coat. maybe i figured i needed to start looking less like a queen west goth and more like a yorkville business professional. it's weird how things change, even when you don't notice them changing.

i'm off to the gym.

[ music | silversun pickups, "three seed" ]

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

on island time

i have returned from seclusion.

i blogged a few times about the family move this summer, but as a recap: my mom and stepdad bought a new house on a fairly small island (population of only about "a couple hundred", according to my mom) near my hometown of kingston. not super far from where they used to live - aka the old family house in the suburbs that i spent my teenage years in, as well as all my trips home during my twenties - but still pretty remote and accessible only by two small ferries. the island hosts a lot of cottages and summer homes, so for the most part they're big, beautiful places right on the water. my parents will be there year-round, though, but it's still the closest i'll ever get to having a cottage in the family, albeit one with spotty wifi.

so this past weekend was my first time seeing it for myself (i was there for the canadian thankgiving weekend), and here's what the place looks like:

i got up at 6:56 a.m. to take this shot. worth it.

the house! snapped from down on the dock.

the aforementioned dock. (that's a river out there, not one of the ontario lakes)

the view out onto the water from the backyard. the line of land in the distance is new york state, which explains how my phone kept pinging in to at&t and t-mobile service all weekend.

it was all very relaxing and beautiful and impressive, but it's a little too cut off for me. i grew up pretty well isolated out in the deep country; i'm more than happy to be a city girl now. (also, i do like to roam around through downtown kingston when i visit, and that's pretty much impossible now) this is exactly what my mother has always wanted, though, and she's just overjoyed with the place. i'm fine for my usual couple visits a year, but i'm always happy to hop on the train back to my home in toronto at the end of it.

so yes, canadian thanksgiving with the fam:

...but also the tail end of my birthday celebrations:

i was met at the train station on friday (my actual birthday) by my parents and the above balloon, then was off to a greek restaurant downtown for a family dinner in which i proceeded to drink a lot of wine and also a free birthday shot from the bartender. unfortunately, my birthday rolled around the same time as my dreaded "black moods" of pms, and so i spent a lot of the day feeling morose and crying about continuing to age. what can i say, i can't deal very well.

but once the day was done and i'd drunkenly sobbed myself out, i felt a lot better for the rest of the weekend. aside from the gifts i'd already mentioned (the ones from my boyfriend, and the suede coat my mother gave me the money to buy back in september), i made off quite well -- multiple gift cards (two starbucks, one lcbo, and two sephora ones that i promptly cashed in for a bottle of my favourite crazy expensive face serum), three new books, and a goddamn waffle iron. hell yes. (it's not even like i eat a lot of waffles, really; my dad was just interested in getting me a new kitchen gadget and i figured it might be fun)

also, a few flashbacks i found:

this is my handwriting when i was like, 12, so i was astounded that my mother still had this box for storage. (they moved at the end of august, but they were still unpacking.)

my boy. this is my handsome kitty in what looks like the prime of his ferocious youth (he got a lot bigger). he passed away many years ago from old age and heart complications, and this is probably the only decent photo i have of him. my glorious rough tough tomcat. i still miss him all the time.

kid/teenage years: my sister, stepsister, stepbrother, and me, with murder in my eyes. (i still feel this way about family photos.)

there's all these pictures plus a few more from my trip over at my tumblr, if you're interested/bored. right now, though, i've got a ton of work to do this week, so i'd better get started -- hope the turkey fairy was good to all my fellow canadians!

[ music | none ]

Friday, October 9, 2015

and i am getting older

i know i'm biased, but it's totally the best when your birthday is in the fall. fuck yeah, fall babies! we got it good.

anyway, today i am one year older. why does this keep happening? i thought i would be exempt from the aging process :( the three grey hairs i keep plucking out say no such luck with that one. but way back on my birthday in 2010, i did a recap post of all the birthdays i'd spent during the years that i'd been blogging, so i figured i might as well continue the tradition.

here's what came in the years that followed:

2010, my 27th birthday: i was only eight months into my second professional job, this time in public relations, and i think i was just thankful to be employed again after spending part of the year out of job. also, i'd moved downtown for the first time in my life (and i probably still miss that apartment a bit). plus i guess things weren't as good with the former boyfriend, because i mentioned that things were "still a rollercoaster" with us, and that was usually how i vaguely described the not-so-good times. but i'd still had hope, because you can still be young and idealistic when you're 27.

2011, my 28th birthday: spent in kingston, as usual, but i'd at least managed to get in an unofficial birthday brunch at barque as well wonderful pre-birthday surprises from my coworkers (including an adorable cake, and a bottle of grey goose from my client!). i remember feeling pretty happy with where i was at in terms of my professional career, especially since i was flying to san francisco for a work conference a week later. i also recall this as being a nice october in terms of weather and where i was at in my life, more or less, especially because about a month later a lot of stuff began to go off the rails.

2012, my 29th birthday: a lot of wine, a lot of cigarettes, and a lot of crying. but i did bake my own birthday cake from scratch (two-layer banana cake with chocolate glaze), and it turned out spectacularly, so there was that.

get cake.

2013, my 30th birthday: i was in a far different place one year after my 29th, and though i wasn't quite sure it was better, it was definitely different. i was mostly struggling with the fact that i had hit the big 3-0, and how i felt as though i'd lost a part of my identity by no longer being in my twenties. though on the upside, i also wrote a post about how i was finally getting to the point in my life where i didn't give a shit about what people thought of me, which i'd struggled with in my teens and twenties. plus i got to eat some delicious tacos with douglas, and wear a cute party dress while doing so. (my mother reminded me that i had once promised i'd buy her a gift when i turned 30, and since my mother doesn't lie about claims like that, i bought her a little necklace from the artisan market near my apartment. she was delighted.)

2014, my 31th birthday: i was on an extended blogging hiatus last year, so i didn't quite cover my birthday (though i did start posting again in october, but not until the middle of the month), but i made a note on tumblr to recap what had gone down on and around my day of birth -- namely, hangs with my boyfriend, lots of gifts, watching the leafs game at the pub, movie matinees, sushi, and fun. (a week later i went out for a belated birthday dinner with my ladyfriends, and it was awesome.) i also wrote a short thing to express how grateful i was feeling way back in october 2014; i'd gone through some pretty nasty turbulence in my life in the few months preceding, and the outpouring of warm wishes and generosity on my birthday actually made things seem okay for the first time in weeks. (things are definitely better now.)

and now, this year, my 32nd birthday. i'm officially two years into my third decade of life, and this past year especially has brought about some interesting life changes. fortunately, none of them are bad, as far as i can recall; there's been nothing in my life this year that's been overly negative or shitty.

i really do have to say, though, that i'm just so thankful that i made the step into becoming a freelancer. being freelance means that i can tap into my creative abilities, draw on my strengths, and decide how i work. it's just such a rewarding and great fit for me, and i'm so happy i'm doing it. sure, i may not have an office to go in to every day, but i like working from home in my pajamas anyway. i may not have health coverage right now, but i'm pretty healthy regardless. (when you don't have health coverage, you learn to put an emphasis on eating right, exercising regularly, brushing your teeth often, flossing, and taking vitamins.) anything else is a moot point in the face of having the freedom to work the way i want to work. also, it makes taking time off to celebrate holidays that much easier. (there's really nothing worse than having to gather your courage to ask your boss for time off work, only to have them ponder it for a long time before saying no)

since i'm heading to kingston in a few hours, i spent yesterday as my unofficial birthday with my boyfriend and, as per usual, he spoiled me rotten. granted, i was, errr, persuasive enough to get him to give me my birthday presents early, so i've already had them in my possession for a while, but here's the big one: a new handbag from roots, monogrammed with my initials!

i'd needed a handbag for a few months now, ever since i started to have allergic skin reactions from my shoulder bag's hardware, so this has done nicely -- and i haven't had any arm rashes since i began toting this one around. i'm still using my shoulder bag for bigger stuff, but having a smaller purse is also good to give my poor neck & shoulder muscles a break. i'm lucky.

plus this, the best coffee mug ever:

i love coffee and i love seth rollins, so this makes for an undisputed awesome morning all the time. and there was also this kevin owens t-shirt to go with it, but it wasn't the right size, so sean sent it back for the replacement. not one but two wrestling-related birthday gifts for me! just the best. (it makes up for 15-year-old me never getting that hardy boyz t-shirt she wanted.)

the boy has also gotten me numerous little gifts over the past month, such as the following:

favourite candle, back in stock at bath & body works!

the most delicious-smelling mask scrub ever.

an official tulip glass from my favourite indie craft brewery. he's really just so good to me and i'm very lucky to have him. (sorry for the mush moment but whatever, i love him, sorry not sorry)

and lastly, my birthday gift to myself: my first-ever pair of doc martens.

they hit at about calf height, are actually more of a very dark green than black, and have black ribbons as the laces. i really wanted the full knee-high lace-ups, but for one, this pair was on sale (i guess nobody really wanted dark green docs?), and for two, the salesperson convinced me that these ones were easier to break in than the big ones. fat chance of that with me and my terrible feet, though -- sure enough, after wearing them outside for a couple days, i ended up with blisters on the back of my heels so large that it looked like my skin had been flayed off.

at least this had already happened, which was awesome:

my mother: "you got free stuff just for being on the internet?!" that's how it works now, mom. (and the polysporin spray came in way handy when the aforementioned heel-sized blisters finally broke, owwwww)

speaking of family, i better get out of here so i don't miss my train. happy thanksgiving weekend to my fellow canadians!

[ music | broods, "mother & father" ]