What a week.
Ringside seat to communications breakdowns, unprofessional behaviour, flying accusations, fuckwittery and twattery in the highest order.
Two bail outs.
Espionage and a mole oh my.
It's been a ride.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Forget about witty or erudite. Discard the editorial calendar.
Go for the peak efficiency multi-post.
Read on, or, since it's mainly photos, gaze on.
1. Self Portrait Thursday in front of the history of women's studies at SFU
2. Sunshine along Hastings downtown
3. Start of the Robert Burns reading marathon at SFU
4. My portable studio
5. My latest digital doodle (try squinting or yoga to view)
I am a textual sloth.
I've had some issues with posterous posting from my phone (hence the shades of grey repetition this week) which cuts down on my mobile text wrangling while I commute. I'm spending over two hours a day on public transit, mostly standing up, and I haven't yet developed a good way of using the time productively. My new tablet's too big to haul out of my bag without embarrassment (though I'm usually flanked by ipad readers so why not?).
Once home, it's homework or reading; I don't want to sit in front of a screen for another minute; I'm knackered; I want to see my boys.
Not writing makes me twitch.
Not blogging peeves me.
Lack of sleep makes me a bitch to live with.
It's not all about me.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
This week, oh best beloveds, I shall mostly be out, leaving the boys to Survive As Best They Can.
Monday: caramelised red pepper and goat cheese quiche with quinoa salad
Tuesday: slow cooked pork and olives stew
Wednesday: spaghetti bolognaise
Thursday: Mexican night aka avocado and plain yogurt with everything
Friday: minestrone soup, bread and cheese
They won't starve, not on my watch.
PS: we don't eat hamster
Saturday, January 19, 2013
|home, sweet home for the Blackberries|
Friday, January 18, 2013
Today's commute, both there and back, was blanketed in hazy fog light enough to let the winter sunshine diffuse through. Ideal weather for photographing shiny things; it felt like I was walking through a photographer's light box of gently filtered illumination without shadows.
This is what you need to take pictures of jewelry. No shiny bits to throw the focus off.
The fog was dense enough to block views of the mountains, but once in Downtown it played with the street scenes and vistas, coyly hiding familar buildings.
Looking east along Hastings, the old Vancouver Sun building winked in and out of view as the mist swirled. Now you see it, now you don't.
This week's school classes have been sometimes maddening partial glimpses of the way ahead. Tantalising and almost attainable but not quite within reach . . . yet.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
a full length mirror in which to showcase(?) my finery
cardi and striped top (Reitmans); Mexx skirt (thrift); Jacob wool coat (thrift); Aldo boots (thrift); hat (handknit gift); cashmere scarf (a gifted luxury)
Verdict: I like this outfit.
I'm too tired to blog this week's Thursday thoughts, to let you peek into my brain. Today was fulltime day 3 at school, and there are many more to come. I'm loving it, the boys are fed, and our Tuesday visit to ER didn't drag on too long. All is well.
See - I am tired.
And now I have homework.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
But enough of that.
What I have done is set up my meal plan for the month.
Here's what the boys will be eating for the next week (note: I only cook Mon-Fri - mr ebb takes over weekend duties).
Monday: mac and cheese (and for lunches thereafter)
Tuesday: slow cooker chorizo casserole, utilising wilted spinach leaves, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes and anything else that will fit in the crockpot (the word is bulk, people, bulk!)
Wednesday: nachos with chicken strips
Thursday: pizza or lasagne or whatever's in the freezer
Friday: soup and something light before swimming lessons
I've made a batch of lentils for salads and mixed up some fresh humus.
... plus a lemon cheese cake and some lemon white chocolate cranberry bars to sweeten life without a stay-at-home mum for the next few weeks.
Gulp! Wish me luck for tomorrow's early start.
PS: more recipe ideas here.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Shari Pratt's powerful contemporary portraiture explores themes of identity and personal history, drawing on a cast of imaginary companions that helped alleviate childhood feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Refreshments and beverages will be served. Wine will be available for purchase. This event is generously sponsored by Thrifty Foods.
Shari's work is powerful and impressive, and incredibly engaging and approachable. I first met her at Port Moody Arts Centre this summer when I brought the Wee Guy to visit a 'real live working artist' (not that he's deprived of meeting them IRL anyway). He was fascinated by her working studio and got right down to asking all sorts of questions while I photographed items in the gift shop for the Blackberry blog.
By the time we left, he and Shari had agreed that she was going to paint a picture of him afloat in a kayak in the Burrard Inlet. Since we visit the art centre regularly, Wee Guy got to see his portrait in progress right up to opening night for the exhibition. He was suitably impressed.
The portrait is beautiful. I was blown away about how emotional I felt and how powerful the connection between painting and subject is. Each time I saw the work in progress my eyes welled up as I saw my Wee Guy come to life in her brush strokes. For those who know, the Wee Guy had a shaky start to life and I often look back in amazement that we're fast approaching a decade together. Seeing him immortalised in paint is a sweet and overpowering feeling.
Friday, January 11, 2013
A few years after our move to Lotusland, mr ebb commented, "But where do people work?"
Vancouver is an oddity - it's not an It Spot for multinationals' headquarters and neither is it a financial centre, an academic centre or a manufacturing centre. It does have a huge amount of residential property in the downtown core but .... where do all the people who live here go to work?
As a visitor, you might be forgiven for thinking Starbucks, and for university grads that probably not far from the truth.
Where do Vancouverites go to work? Where will all the new city dwellers find employmemnt once they squeeze themselves into the bijou new "don't bring a personality or belongings" condos which seem to be the biggest local growth industry?
And, assuming that they will indeed work, rather than live off a trust fund or alimony (new season of RHOV kicks off soon), what will they do in their leisure hours?
I ask simply because I can't make sense of what's happening to the city. A cool arts venue like the Waldorf Hotel is closing to make way for yet more condos, yet I see no evidence of where mortgages for the new abodes will be earned.
Or where anything left over from paying a mortgage can be spent if leisure time exists.
It's similar out in the 'burbs; Port Moody's city plan includes high rise, more condos, low rise and densification with apparently few plans for generation of employment or provision of extra leisure/community services within the region. There is however, a lot of talk about sustainability and green-ing life, but not everyone can be a work-from-home entrepreneur.
And if jobs aren't available locally, then all these new condo inhabitants will need to commute to a workplace.
Wouldn't it be easier to make a community live/work/play rather than just increase the number of inhabitants?
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I try ever so hard to fit in. I study, I read, I watch, observe and take notes.
I've been watching you, fashionista bloggers of my 'hood.
OK - you're young, in your twenties with a bod and complexion unsullied by life. Your shots are artfully staged against backdrops of significant architectural gravitas, utilising tilt-shift and vignetting to signify Serious (Art).
Can you really walk in those heels?
And what's with the little girly pigeon-toed stance? Rickets?
How do you afford your Stuff? Is thrift a dirty word?
You're just Far Too Young (and I say this most kindly).
Take a peek at the real real fashion bloggers - you know, the ladies who have some life behind them (they're the over-forty crowd - yes, older than thirty) and know a thing or two about dressing themselves to avoid the clone wars. They understand their bodies and can pull together an assemblage which screams, i am an individual not a victim ... unlike you, poor child.
Of course you look great in anything on trend - you have pert but flat boobs, no arse and haven't yet experienced laughter lines or thought deeply about whether it actually suits you. Fashion is built for you with the figure of a 15-year-old (boy). It's not for women.
One day, you'll know what I'm talking about.
And then there'll be some other knock-kneed kid posing online who'll annoy you simply because they're fashionable and you never in a million years will fit that definition.
And then you'll discover real (personal) style.
And yes, women over forty should wear red lipstick.
... and mini skirts.
Collage made using photogrid.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Monday, January 07, 2013
School went back today. We woke early into the darkness, dressed and stoked ourselves with porridge then scampered down the hill to school.
Wee Guy likes school. For a singleton, it's like a humongous play date. And for this unemployed, SAHM that's my take on it too, which partly explains why I'm headed back to school myself next week. It's not so much the school-and-classmates thing, though I do enjoy meeting and interacting with new peers. It's more what this certificate can do to pep up my lacking-in-Canadian-qualifications résumé and Get A Job, and thus 'playmates'.
Working from home is great for flexibility but, over and over again, the cat has proved herself unwilling to chat by the water cooler. And she never goes out for a coffee break or even a drink after work. Her lack of knowledge on current affairs is staggering, and she'd rather park her bum on my keyboard than discuss whether or not mine looks gross in leggings.
I miss colleagues.
… and I miss the challenge/satisfaction of working life.
ink and watercolour illustration by the author
Saturday, January 05, 2013
This is where we, the boys and I, should have been on Christmas Day. We had it all planned - turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, snowboarding and downhill gear laid out, boards/skis waxed and ready . . . and then it all unravelled.
In the night, on a nocturnal prowl through the darkened house, I crashed into the clothes rack. Thinking nothing of it, I crept back into bed only slightly rattled.
Next morning Santa had visited! Oh the excitement and stocking gifts to unwrap. My head swirled as I sat up to my morning hugs from a very gleeful Wee Guy. I slumped semi-upright on pillows, feeling unsteady and unsure.
Then I tried to swing my legs out of bed and stand up.
Almost five years ago a flu virus chomped its way through my right auditory nerve, taking my hearing and balance in less than an hour of dizzying action. For a few weeks, the vertigo was so intense that I couldn't move without my eyes dancing around in their sockets. And I filled a lot of buckets too - I threw up every single time I moved.
On this last Christmas morning, I could hardly stand straight let alone walk. My eyes spun like crazy and I could feel the gears whirring in my head as my brain tried to work out which way was up. I knew from my last bout to try to keep moving was best, to allow my body to compensate for its sudden disequilibrium, so I staggered around as much as possible.
At lunchtime, after a few hours propped crookedly on the couch fighting back the urge to vomit, we called quits and abandoned our plans to hit the slopes. We had a quiet, lop-sided Christmas at home, and eventually my head stopped spinning.
The next morning, back to square one.
I have no idea what triggered this episode. Apart from very mild occasional dizziness, I've had no relapse since the original spell. This time, keeping moving and managing the first few days with Gravol worked well enough so we didn't have to cancel our Seattle trip the next day.
I do feel exhausted - maybe another respiratory virus has had its wicked way - but it certainly wasn't as bad as the first time. My hearing is no worse, thank goodness, and the tinnitus is at its usual hum. My balance is much better, though not completely back to normal. I still feel mild dizziness on waking up but none of the dreadful spinning.
And eventually mr ebb and I did hit the slopes with the Wee Guy - just a week later than planned.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
A whole new year, 12 months stretching out in front of me. And then many more after those, please.
I've seen some 'good riddance 2012' posts around the blogosphere recently. It seems a shame to slag off an entire year. Why not recognise it for what it was - inspiration? After all, without the previous 12 months, how are New Year's resolutions formed?
Last year certainly had its low points. It also had some incredible highs, like holding down my first salaried job as a Canadian and a mum, presenting at pecha kucha night, and celebrating our 21st anniversary of togetherness with mr ebb.
But yes, there were lows. I'm not going to damn them or dismiss them, because, as with every other low in my life, they are incredible learning opportunities.
For example, without these spurs and frustrations I wouldn't now be enrolled in a university certificate, compressing two years of education into six very full weeks, to boost my qualifications and (hopefully) enhance my employability.
I may not wish the lows on my worst enemy, but neither would I wish them away.
The lowest points of 2012 hopefully will inspire the highest of 2013.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
So long 2012, and thanks for all the fun, the experiences, the good times and the bad - what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
Last year I completed another six college courses, shook myself out of my personal comfort zone, and learned more about myself, my dreams and how I'm going to fit them in, around and in spite of my family.
I stopped looking for permission to make a move, and learned to trust myself more.
I found out that I can work outside the home; what's more, I loved it. I felt competent, learned lots and discovered that I haven't wasted my time in acquiring new skills.
My family learned what it's like to have a non-SAHM -- they survived. Now they share my job-search frustration.
In the last 12 months I applied for jobs, applied to (and presented at) a Pecha Kucha, presented in gallery exhibitions, and showed off the fabulous work of the Blackberry Artist's Society via social media.
mr ebb and I celebrated (yes, really!) 21 years of being together, 19 years of marriage and nine years of parenthood.
I got nominated, salaried (briefly), wrote reviews and made peace with myself.
In 2012 I lived a life, my life.
Here's to more of it in 2013.