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October 17, 2008
this place no longer exists
Just outside Holmesville, Ontario there used to be a farm with a pond and some little log buildings on platforms over the water and a wide gravel shoulder you could park a car on and a tall fence through which you could pass bits of bread to waiting animals. The pond must have been man-made, as it came just up to the fence, lapping beneath the wire just a bit so that you had to be careful not to put your toes in.
There were ducks, and Canada geese, llamas, goats, and a big old gentle-natured water buffalo with a brass ring at the end of his nose. We'd bring a loaf of bread and break each piece up small, giving the pieces out slowly, watching the hillside above until the deer who were timidly hiding up there caught wind of all the commotion and came down to join the others in taking bits of bread from our fingers.
About ten years ago, on the way up to Goderich at Thanksgiving, my mom and brother and I stopped there. The buildings were still standing but the animals were all gone, the weeds were taking over and the water in the pond was low and muddy, with barely enough room for the hordes of giant brown carp who were the last remaining residents. They swam around and around, around and around, frenzied. We didn't bring any bread.
This past Thanksgiving weekend I drove by the farm again with Peter; the place had changed so much I almost missed it completely. The pond is still there, deeper and cleaner-looking now, but the weeds have grown in so that it doesn't quite reach the fence anymore and the old log buildings are all gone. No matter how hard you stare at the high hillside, no matter how long you linger, the deer aren't coming down anymore.
July 01, 2008
my promises are clearly not worth the ether they're written on
I know, I made some kind of promise and disappeared. Y'all are going to have to deal with it. Let me tell you, briefly, about my last two weeks: I wasn't feeling well for a few days and had to miss a local blogger meetup and also a stitch 'n' bitch in order to lie pathetically on the couch; it's fruit canning season and in the last week I've made strawberry jam, mango salsa, pickled garlic (not a fruit, I know, but still in season and cheap right now), mango chutney and then today a second batch of mango salsa; Pete's ex-wife moved on the weekend and we helped out with that and fetched our giant California job case cabinet that we'd been storing in her garage and also moved Pete's daughter's stuff to our place because she's moving in with us (!); and then on Saturday night after the move, while I was showering and Peter was returning our rented trailer, the basement flooded. So the rest of the weekend (after the plumber left) and up until today has been spent doing the work we've been wanting to do but never getting around to in the basement, namely getting rid of all the crap we don't need and building a storage island in the middle of the room to both hold all of our stuff and also sit beneath the ducts we're always hitting our heads on so that we can't walk into them anymore. A conveniently timed statutory holiday has meant that as of this evening we have a vast expanse of empty basement floor, a clever and sturdy storage island with shelving, space to stack totes and a raised channel in which to slide all the long poles and tent bits. We have extra tool drawers within easy reach of the workbench and they're all organized and labelled. We have a secondary pantry space within easy reach of the kitchen. And we figured out that the "dead" fluorescent fixture above the workbench actually works, we just needed to jiggle the bulbs a little. So now we have light right where we need it to do things like not cut off our fingers with the mitre saw! I'll take some pictures but they won't have the same impact without any before shots (although we did take some of the flood that will be suitably gross).
I saw the Canada House Guy out building something new on his property last week (as he does every June in preparation for Canada Day) but have been too busy dealing with water and wet stuff to go down and take pictures, so instead I offer you a lovely Canadaversary cake:
From last week's picnic celebration of the 40th anniversary of my dad's family's arrival in Canada. Happy Canadaversary to us! And happy Canada Day to y'all.
June 08, 2008
Marta at Addictive Tattooing and Piercing did this for me.
Yes, my tank top is on inside out (deal with it). Also, don't worry, I'm going to ask her to use a different kind of tape to stick the bandages on next time. Clearly my skin doesn't like the tape too much.
October 10, 2007
pictures from a visit home
Yesterday was my first day back at school after a week spent at home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and I got right back into the hectic grind of grad school with a morning meeting, office hours and three back-to-back critiques, ten hours straight with little opportunity for rest or food. Today I tried to take it easy but there was still a good deal of running around to be done, and I'm too wiped out to do more than post a few photos. I should be sewing a dress, as I've got nothing to wear tomorrow, but instead I'm sitting on the couch watching episodes of Sopranos and knitting a sweater I won't need for months. I spent two hours lovingly washing my pretty new bento box, making delicious salads and marinating tofu, then put it all in the fridge and had popcorn, applesauce and beer for supper instead. Not all mixed together.
My visit home, in bullet points:
-Airtran Airways flight 146 Atlanta to Detroit, October 2 07
-being away from home during three consecutive school years makes you lose touch with a lot of what's in your garden. During my visit home in September I got to see my Japanese knotweed flower for the first time since before we moved to Windsor, since it took until I went away to grad school for it to get established enough to flower. This month's flowery surprise was the chocolate boneset, as I planted it without knowing what it was or what its blooms would look like. Turns out it's a mass of lovely white fluff.
-had a nice (albeit short) visit with Kelly at Milk Coffee Bar, a place I dearly miss when I'm not in Windsor. This is one of my daily wardrobe images for my thesis blog, the only photo I took. Kelly metablogged my awkward posing here.
-finally got some photos of the bolero that I sewed up last week, which had been sitting there fully knitted all through August (too hot!). It was far too warm at home to actually wear it. The pattern is from Peony Knits and is super easy and satisfying for those instant-gratification types.
-southwestern Ontario on Thanksgiving weekend may not be as spectacular as some of those gaudier, more tawdry fall displays other places offer, but it's still one of the loveliest and most comforting colour palettes there is. Don't try to deny it.
-my lifelong association with Exeter's white squirrels didn't at all stop me from yanking out the camera and snapping away like some crazy out-of-towner as soon as one presented itself to us.
-this is another photo from my thesis blog (I'll force y'all over there eventually, just watch), included here simply because it's taken at my grandma's house, along the walk where I've had my photo taken so many times before (but not for twenty-five years or so). And look at how I was dressed on Thanksgiving Sunday, and let me tell you I sweated in this getup. Last year it snowed, or so I'm told. I was sweating down in Georgia then.
-the Ausable River, covered in a blanket of algae so thick it resembles those horrible lawns that people try to get looking like Astroturf. My little cousin Riley said in a disgusted voice, "my mom says she used to swim in this river". Those trees across the way to the left there are where the rope swing used to be, where Riley's mom and I swam with high school boys, twenty-three or so years ago.
Riley threw a stick in and the carpet of green opened up to accept it, then closed up again with a burp and a shudder. Just like the quicksand used to do on Gilligan's Island.
-come Monday I was back in Lavender Lullaby again, heading south (Airtran Airways flight 288 Detroit to Atlanta).
July 31, 2007
slowly, and with coffee, we will take over the world
Drive-by blogging from the Best Western in Sweetwater, Tennesee, on our way back to Athens. Today we're going to Rock City. All those barns wouldn't steer us wrong, right?
February 02, 2007
bloggers (silent) poetry reading
by Don McKay
blush rising in the snow and the dog
follows his nose into a drift:    woof:    weightless
explosion on the moon. Farther off
the dead express themselves
in little lifts of painless terror. Unadulterated
dance. By the edge of woods
they dress and undress mindlessly
shopping, trying on snowsuits
bedclothes, elegant underwear, nothing
fits their windscape.
They'd rather be naked.
we chase the news. We cook
and type. We
Our jobs are on the line, our speed
is Zeno’s car. The same sunset
blooms, pursued from one horizon
to the next while sleep
widens its sweet toothless exit
underneath the chair:    the missing
person: the cat's own
From Camber: Selected Poems 2004.
One year ago last night, Peter called to tell me that our beloved thirteen year old cat, The Fuzzy Pickle, had died, and I was left to struggle with my sadness while stuck here, twelve hundred kilometres from home. Yesterday the day-to-day concerns of grad school caused this anniversary to slip from my mind, just as it had caused Claire's birthday to slip from my mind the day before. So, happy twelfth birthday, Claire. And happy sleeping, dear Pickle.
It's not the fact that pets are mentioned in the poem that made it remind me of Pickle; oddly enough it's simply the image of the dead trying on snowsuits that did it. My dad's wife Sherry used to sometimes hear the sound of people (ghosts?) in the kitchen at night putting on snowsuits, an unmistakable schwish-schwishing of crisp polyester and the long, rough chatter of a fat metal zipper that stretches from ankle to throat. This was in the farmhouse they lived in right before the house where Pickle was born (yes, this is the way my brain works, forging connections where connections should not be and then remembering them forever, which is why an air raid siren will make me hungry, why the smell of cooked chicken will make me think of Peter Greenaway's cooked lover, why sometimes eating apples makes me think of Weebles, the toys that wobble but won't fall down).
More about the bloggers' silent poetry reading here.
January 25, 2007
show and tell
Peter and I used to know some people who would talk constantly, in every social situation, about gadgets and the things they had bought recently and, most especially, why-my-toys-are-cooler-than-your-toys. To make fun of those people and their (to us) vapid, boring conversations, we would sometimes begin a conversation with the phrase "I have nothing interesting to say, so let me show you what I bought".
Ahem. Beautiful new handmade necklace, bought with birthday money:
It's porcelain, purchased on etsy from lusterbunny. I couldn't resist the printmakerly aesthetic, and want to collect more of her work (I have another necklace from her as well, and a supercool fridge magnet with a dirty picture on it).
If you look closely to the right of the necklace you can see my two identical white scars, both gained at age thirteen in grade nine. I've long since forgotton which is which, but one is from chicken pox and the other is from a cigarette burn. Don't having chicken pox and smoking cigarettes seem like things a kid really shouldn't be experiencing at the same age?
Bic pens, bought at Office Max in Athens, GA. Notice anything strange about the box?
I'll give you a hint: Americans (most of them, anyway) don't speak French. I was back in the studio opening the box up when I realized that the French was out of place here, being from a bilingual country and all it didn't really register at first. I know it's just a way to save the cost of printing two different packages for the domestic market and for export, but it made me happy for a moment nonetheless, to imagine that perhaps a little bit of our culture is seeping into theirs for a change. Fat chance, I know.
And here's something I cooked tonight:
The most remarkable thing about this dish is that it is not edamame; bags of frozen edamame were on sale at Kroger this week, and in the last six nights I have had it for supper five times (it would have been six but I had to work late in the studio on Monday night and so ate studio food for supper). AND, yesterday I went back and bought six more bags; Peter thinks I may be headed for an overdose.
I've never really cared for pickled beets, but my pal Krista told me they were very good roasted, so tonight I gave this a try: two beets, two small potatoes, three carrots, an onion and some garlic all chopped into a shallow casserole dish, sprinkled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and kosher salt and roasted for 70 minutes (uncovered for the first 40 minutes and then I got worried and threw some tin foil on top for the last 30). It was very tasty, and I love how the beets spread their joyous red over everything in sight. I have a brand-new comfort meal.
I've got new knits to show, two cardigans in progress and three more finished Calorimetries (nope, not sick of them yet. I'm thinking perhaps a faggoting pattern in a cotton would be just the thing for spring, which in this freakish place should be starting in about two weeks from now). I also have a new knit-related drawing project I keep forgetting to photograph, and some exciting print-related news. But I'll save all of these things for later, the latter for when I have all of the information and the rest when I can get arsed to take some photos.
October 11, 2006
mortuary (irving layton)
This winter, I will knit myself a pair of poetry mittens. Fingerless, with embroidered rather than knit-in text, so that I can control the letter style more to my liking. This is what they will say:
Flesh has fallen away. Trees
And buildings are summer's skeleton;
Wind has loosened, disarrayed
The separate ribs, the evidence of bone.
Dead, deposited relics
Shored up clean against a stiffened sky,
Fixed by the mortician cold
Moving his fingers over them ceaselessly;
While the snow, decently to inter,
Drifts between the spaces, everywhere.
July 01, 2006
Ya don't look a day over 130.
May 23, 2006
give the frog a loan
Hey, what's this thing here? Wait, let me get all this dust off, it doesn't look like this has been touched in a while, whatever it is. It looks like some sort of diary or something. Hey, wait a minute! This is MY diary! And there are still some empty pages in here! Guess I'd better write something in them, eh.
Canada's not quite how I left it, but still a fabulous place to be. I've been kept incredibly busy since I got back: there's just so much tea that needs drinking here, sunshine that needs sitting in, hockey games that need watching, naps that need taking. I've still been able to find a bit of time in this rigourous schedule for knitting, though. And since I just signed on (better late than never) to Project Spectrum, I guess I'd better have something green to show.
Over the May two-four weekend I re-started my Orangina, which had been languishing in a bag since last summer. This is a totally mindless lace pattern, easy as pie and perfect for knitting while watching the Edmonton Oilers kick arse or Twin Peaks dvds borrowed from colleagues (hey, I told you, I've been busy!). The yarn is a recycled cotton that's a bitch to knit with (commercially made cotton sweaters are almost always made with several strands of unspun cotton thread, which means that if you get too caught up in, oh, say watching Twin Peaks or something, you can split stitches all over the place), but it's going to be totally worth it to have a lacy top this colour. I was inspired to break out the bright green for this by Crumpet's lovely Orangina.
In other knitting news, the Opal tigers have been kept busy making the rounds of coffee shops:
I thought this yarn was going to be so, so awesome. I wanted it badly, badly enough to go looking especially for it at MDS$W (how geeky does it make us that I asked a few brand-new acquaintances if they'd seen any Opal Tiger sock yarn and they were able to tell me which vendor had it and where I could find them, even though that vendor only had about two balls of the stuff? GEEKS! And I ran straight down there to get it, too). But now that one sock's ready for short-rowing and the other is past the heel, I'm wondering where the heck I'll ever wear these tacky things. Ah well.
Further proof of what a complete slackass I am: I received these artist trading cards from Melanie back in April and I'm only getting around to showing them to you now.
I've been working on some atcs of my own and will have a bunch ready to send out soon. Anybody else want to trade?
Something else I've been meaning to show you: Melanie also did some quilting inspired by the linework in some of my recent woodcuts. Very cool.
One more for May's green theme, then I've got to go sit in the sunshine some more. Somebody's gotta do it.
A new kitchen scrubby frog for my collection.
February 20, 2006
More naked ladies (okay, just one)
This is a digital printout of one of the photos I used for my new steel etchings, the same image you can see coming out of the Epson printer in Saturday's entry. I didn't alter the image at all, just used the printer preset for silkscreen positives, resulting in a high contrast, solid black image. I'm going to print the steel plate on top of this, just as soon as I figure out what sort of fixative I need to use to prevent the inkjet ink from washing out of the paper when I soak it.
I'm trying to be more honest with the self portraits, and my hope is that having the photograph underneath will prevent me from over-stylizing the figure (as is my tendency, especially while drawing), and keep me focused on what I want to show: the flab, the wrinkles, the visible veins, the stretch marks. My age.
Speaking of age, and at risk of making this a habit, I'd like to wish a happy 65th birthday to the lovely and inspirational Buffy Sainte-Marie, one of my very first girl-crushes ever. Sorry, Buffy, that I didn't have time to make myself a t-shirt with your picture on it to wear today. Instead I'll risk getting sued by posting a stolen picture; look how cute Buffy was. Admit it, you had a crush on her too.
Also: Go Team Canada! Woowoo!! It would be nice if the Canadian women's hockey team had some real Olympic-level competition. But still, it's nice to be the best in the world.
February 09, 2006
Tonight, we're gettin' stinko
Happy 70th birthday, Stompin' Tom Connors!
February 02, 2006
A bloggers (silent) poetry reading
A fantastic idea from Grace's Poppies (I found out about it via Rabbitch and Stephanie), and a much better way to honour St Brigid's feast day than attempting to divine the future through the movements of rodents.
from Zone: le Détroit
after Stan Douglas
Breathing yellow air
here, at the heart of the dream
of the new world,
the bones of old horses and dead Indians
and lush virgin land, dripping with fruit
and the promise of wheat,
overlaid with glass and steel
and the dream of speed:
all these our bodies
crushed to appease
the 400 & 1 gods
of the Superhighway,
Nafta, we worship you,
hallowed be your name,
here, where we are scattered
like dust or rain in ditches,
the ghosts of passenger pigeons
clouding the silver towered sky,
the future clogged in the arteries
of the potholed city,
Tecumseh, come back to us
from your green grave,
sing us your song of bravery
on the lit bridge over the black river,
splayed with grief over the loss
of its ancient rainbow coloured
fish swollen joy.
Who shall be fisher king
over this poisoned country,
whose borders have become
blowing the world to bits
with cars & cars & trucks & electricity & cars,
who will cover our splintered
bones with earth and blood,
who will sing us back into -
See how there's no one going to Windsor,
only everyone coming from?
Maybe they've been evacuated,
maybe there's nuclear war,
maybe when we get there we'll be the only ones.
See all those trucks coming toward us,
why else would there be rush hour on the 401
on a Thursday at 9 o'clock in the evening?
I counted 200 trucks and 300 cars
and that's just since London.
See that strange light in the sky over Detroit,
see how dark it is over Windsor?
You know how people keep disappearing,
you know all those babies born with deformities,
you know how organ thieves follow tourists
on the highway and grab them at night
on the motel turnoffs,
you know they're staging those big highway accidents
to increase the number of organ donors?
My brother knew one of the guys paid to do it,
$100,000. for 20 bodies
but only if the livers are good.
See that car that's been following us for the last hour,
see the pink glow of its headlights in the mirror?
That's how you know.
Maybe we should turn around,
maybe we should duck so they can't see us,
maybe it's too late,
maybe we're already dead,
maybe the war is over,
maybe we're the only ones alive.
Thank you all for your kind, kind words about my beloved Fat Boy. I will respond, but right now I don't know what to say, and the pain is too fresh.
January 30, 2006
Doing it for my country
This is a bandwagon that I was resisting jumping on, and I've been holding out on y'all about why. I've had two sweater designs accepted by JCA yarns for their fall 2006 line, and the time frame in which to knit the items and write up the patterns is very, very short. I'm also working on a sample and pattern for another design, which will be in Amy Swenson's upcoming crochet book. Oh yeah, and there's still that other thing, what was it? Oh. I remember. Grad school. So knitting for myself is sort of out of the picture right now. As is sleep.
But. My country is calling, and I can't refuse. I'm sure my mother will approve*. I've decided to make one of my JCA sweater designs (the more complicated one that's done on the tiny needles, because I am CRAZY) my Knitting Olympics project. The only glitch is that aside from a few artful photos to show off the gorgeous, gorgeous yarn I get to use, I can't really show my progress on the blog. So at the end of the Olympics, I am going to send Stephanie a photo to prove I succeeded (assuming I do. . . ), and the rest of you will have to trust that I'm not fooling and inflating how much I got done. Okay?
I can't even tell you how badly I want one of these Team Canada jerseys. But sadly, my paypal is empty right now and the deadline to order is tomorrow, so I'll just be writing "Team Canada" in Sharpie marker on an old t-shirt instead. I'm sure my country will understand.
* Just think about it -- it would be like as if we were doing it for the CN Tower, or Lake Louise, or the Toronto Maple Leafs... it would be like as if we were doing it for... Tim Hortons!
**Thanks to Kelly for the button!
January 24, 2006
the cool light of morning
Having slept on it (and sobered up) I feel a little better about this, and considerably less melodramatic (sorry about that, y'all. Blame the beer; while I didn't have much, I drank it FAST). However, anything shitty I might have said last night about certain Ontario women who chose to support the patriarchy, I still stand by. Those women are stupid.
This government will be weak and can't last any longer than the previous one; the margin by which they won is so slender that they're essentially hobbled, and won't be able to do as much damage as I'd feared. And I can't wait to see that smarmy jackass Harper have to wheedle and make deals with the opposition; good luck with that, asshole.
January 23, 2006
citizens of Canada, I am not above begging
Please, please don't give Stephen Harper a majority government today. Please. I know the Liberals are corrupt, but Harper is against everything that Canada stands for. He will take away your right to marry. He will take away your reproductive rights. He has said in this election campaign that he will not privatize our health care, but he lies. He has also said that he would not send Canadian troops to Iraq, yet he was fully in support of the US invasion. He has shown contempt for Canada's ethnic minorities. He will scrap our Kyoto objectives. He is against women being paid an equal wage to men. (In fact, go dig around that site a little bit, and also this one and this one, to hear just what Harper stands for in his own words). You might have thought that Rick Mercer's proposed Conservative cabinet was a funny joke, but it could be horrible, horrible reality.
Please don't give him the power to make these sweeping changes to our country simply as a knee-jerk reaction to the Liberal government's current scandal. I want to come back home to the same Canada I left, not to a Canada that looks just like the United States.
Why not try this instead?
December 06, 2005
le 6 decembre
I've just realized what day it is today, and I'm sorry that I bitched earlier about my petty problems in university. Because sixteen years ago today, a man walked into l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and shot dead fourteen engineering students just because they were female.
Before opening fire, he shouted "I hate feminists"; student Nathalie Provost (who survived the attack) answered, "we're not feminists, we're just students taking engineering".
She was wrong.
We are all feminists, otherwise we would not be in university in the first place. Were we not feminists, we would be at home cooking potroast, prettying up our faces, making babies, and shutting up*. December 6th is a reminder that we haven't come a long way, baby, and we still have to fight every day for what we deserve: to make our own choices. It's a reminder that there are still patriarchal assholes in the world who want to take those choices away.
*I am in no way saying that it's not valid for a feminist to choose to stay home, have babies, or even make potroast if that's what floats your boat. It's only the shutting up part I have a problem with.
November 12, 2005
Big news for big girls
Big Girl Knits will be available on April 18, 2006. It's available to pre-order from Amazon, of course, but there's plenty of time to pester your local independantly-owned bookstore or yarn store to order it. And I have a pattern in there! So, does anybody know whose design that is on the cover? I love it.
Also, today is Neil Young's 60th birthday. And I'm feeling a little pissy that all my Neil Young records are eight hundred miles away, even if I did have a solid enough floor in this stupid shaky Shack to use my record player. And my cds are at the studio, which I can't get to today because of the Georgia Bulldogs and their stupid drunken tailgating fans. Fortunately I can at least listen to his two latest records on his website (psst. . . Pete, you can buy Prairie Wind on vinyl). Thanks Neil, and happy birthday. And the Nobel Prize for Rock and Roll is totally yours.
October 23, 2005
If I had a smartie launcher
I was a little alarmed to see these laid out on the wine table at our show Friday evening: Rockets, lots and lots of Rockets. That in itself isn't alarming, after all Hallowe'en is next week and pigging out on Rockets is kind of a yearly tradition for me. But look: these Rockets are called Smarties. They look exactly like Rockets, they taste exactly like Rockets, and the packaging is exactly the same. Except that they don't say Rockets.
Apparently Rockets can be called Smarties in the States because they don't have real Smarties here. I know, I know, it's sad, isn't it? So if I were to say "do you eat the red ones last?" to someone here, something I might actually do since my head is packed full of jingles from 1970s commercials, they wouldn't know what I was talking about. Kind of like when I said "hey you kids, get out of that Jell-O tree" to the kids in my practicum. Yeah, I know, the next tattoo I get will be a big "L" on my forehead, okay?
I'm confused about the so-called "Smarties" being made in Canada, though. If they were produced in Canada first, why can't they just import them to the States under the name Rockets? Shit like this keeps me up at night, I'm telling ya.
In other news, new hat!
I am much happier about my new hat than I appear in the picture. Love you, Manos! All I want for Christmas is more more more Manos (howdoyoulikeit? howdoyoulikeit?). And I think I don't look too dorky in it, either, which only proves that Manos del Uruguay is MAGIC.
October 20, 2005
Use it! Zip it! Toss it! (this episode of jodi's weblog complies with CRTC Cancon regulations)
Okay, first, about the yogurt. Please remember that I'm Canadian and thus it's part of my genetic makeup to complain about the States. I didn't mean to imply that ALL American yogurt is disgusting. Just that the stuff I can get at my neighbourhood grocery store is. I live next to the BiLo, people. I actually tried the BiLo store brand, because it was the only gelatin-free kind there, and it was beyond disgusting. It was lumpy and runny at the same time, and the jam layer at the bottom was a solid, rubbery slab of jam, and you know how when you put watery jam on a piece of white bread and let it sit, the jam and bread sort of mix into a wet spongey thing? That's what had happened to the yogurt where it was sitting right on top of the rubber jam-slab. So. Gross. I have tried Stoneyfield and it's very good; it's just that I don't have a car or a bicycle so it's kind of a pain in the arse to get out to where I can buy the good stuff.
Lunastrixae, Astro definitely does not have the consistency of lube. I like my yogurt firm. The reason they use gelatin is because of the "low fat" craze; they take out all of the milk fat so that they can market the product as low fat, and without the milk fat it falls apart, and yes, is probably a lot like lube. So gelatin goes in to firm it up again. Personally I'd rather have the fat, which is obvious to anyone who's ever seen my love handles. Also, I am a little freaked out by all the growth hormones and antobiotics and pus and grossness that is in milk (which I don't drink anyway, since I'm allergic to it), so I probably should be sticking with the organic stuff.
So. Let me tell you about my Wednesday evening. After a long and miserable trip to Atlanta in which the bus was 45 minutes late (fortunately for me and my fellow Greyhound travellers, entertainment was provided by a teenaged girl screaming her head off while resisting arrest on the floor near the pop machines, making the wait seem a lot longer but, at least, not boring), another imaginary friend was verified to be flesh and blood. And look at how cute she is.
Don't worry. Steph's fingers didn't really get eaten by the sock puppet. It may have consumed a considerable amount of her whiskey sour, though; it was acting a little crazy.
Hockey Mom and I picked up Steph and we went out for some Ethiopian food, which I've kind of been craving. Unfortunately I would give the restaurant we went to about a three out of ten; the mesir wot (red lentils) was good enough that I asked for more, but the yekik alich'a (split peas) was cold, they didn't have the cabbage, one of my favourites, and there were a couple of dishes I'm not familiar with that were boring. Also, they had videos playing on a big screen t.v. instead of music. But lucky for me, the company more than made up for the ambiance. Hanging out with Sandy is always a blast, and Steph is a really sweet, fun and funny person. And you wouldn't believe how homesick I was for a Canadian accent, ANY Canadian accent.
Supper was followed by drinks and knitting in the bar back at Steph's hotel (in case you were wondering, I'd also give the hotel bar only about a three out of ten, because nice booths with high sides for privacy just don't make up for running out of Guinness as soon as I get there). But we had a great time anyway. Here's proof that knitting happened:
Okay, they may just be pretending to knit for the camera. But almost as much stitching as bitching really did get done, and both Steph and Sandy tried knitting a few stitches on my current project (knitted with strips of cut-up garbage bags, and visible on the table there next to my pint) and proclaimed it really gross-feeling.
Sandy can't believe how small Steph's needles are. I can't believe they let her on the plane with them; don't you know you could jab a dpn into someone's eye and right into their brain? Sheesh.
There was also some picture-taking going on. And gift-giving:
Steph brought us some lovely stitch markers that she made (Sandy's excited, now she has enough markers for Clapotis), and I gave her a bunch of my shrinky-dink beads to use for more markers, so hopefully we'll see pictures soon of what she does with them. Steph didn't bring the marble slab or the Russian matchbox, though; for that I went into a total stranger's house tonight just to use his belongings as a cool backdrop for the markers. Really, I did. I couldn't get my laptop connected on his cable internet, though, so I had to come back home to post the pictures. Plus, total-stranger-guy's dogs kept licking my keyboard.
Steph also brought me this, because she knows how small my bladder has become in my old age (gone are the days when I could work an eight-hour shift and hold it, only having to close my store to run and pee once all day. Now I seem to expel three teacups worth of pee for every cup of tea. How does that happen?).
It's a bag you can pee in, full of some sort of crystals that turn your pee to GEL so that it won't leak all over your hands and trousers while you're looking for a garbage can to throw it in. And it's biodegradable. Because it's a sin to spill your pee on the ground when you could put it in a disposable container first. Come on, this is America, people! Everything is better in a disposable container, even pee. (Before you guys get all crazy-mad on me, let me just say that Canada is just as bad for excessive packaging as the States is.)
September 30, 2005
You have entered the culture-free sector
City orders art removed: Controversial 'American sector' sign gone from riverfront, The Windsor Star, Thursday, September 29, 2005, A1
The controversial piece of art that informed viewers of their departure from American soil has been taken down -- just days after its installation in Windsor's riverfront sculpture garden.
City workers removed Vancouver artist Ron Terada's 'You have left the American sector' sign Wednesday morning and delivered it to the Art Gallery of Windsor, leaving only wooden posts where it had been placed in the park at the foot of Church Street last week.
"I don't think there are any people on city council who have looked at art," said Robert McKaskell, the independent curator commissioned by the gallery to organize an exhibition of Terada's work.
"There's absolutely nothing anti-American about the sign. It's just a very bland observation of the obvious."
The piece was fabricated at Terada's request in the city's sign department and consisted of an official-looking green sign with white letters bearing the message in English and French.
McKaskell said the work was originally scheduled for display until January, to coincide with the duration of Terada's exhibition at the AGW.
Calling the sign "an integral part" of the exhibition, McKaskell said the piece is "site specific" and will not be shown in the gallery.
McKaskell said his understanding is that city council voted behind closed doors to remove the sign. "This is probably one of the very few cities in Canada that doesn't have a public art policy. So decisions are made in council without consultation."
But Mayor Eddie Francis stressed that the issue wasn't on the agenda for the closed portion of council's meeting on Monday.
"This wasn't done in camera," he said. "One thing to keep in mind is this issue never came to council to begin with. The decision to put up the sign never came to city council."
Francis said an e-mail discussion developed among council members regarding complaints about the sign they were receiving from visitors, residents and local businesses such as the hotel sector.
"It was being perceived by some as a City of Windsor sign," Francis said.
"There was no indication to people that this was an art exhibit.
"There was no indication that this was prepared by an artist. It looked like a city sign, it was made by the city's sign department. People believed it to be the city's position. That's the issue we're dealing with."
Francis said that in order to avoid confusion and to protect the city's interests, it was informally decided that general manager of client services Michael Duben would approach the AGW and request that the sign be moved to gallery property.
But Gilles Hebert, AGW director, was unequivocal about who decided to take down the piece. "It wasn't our decision, it was the city's decision," he said. "We made it clear that we would co-operate, of course."
Hebert said he isn't aware of the gallery receiving any negative feedback about the piece, and added that this situation highlights the need for a forum on public art.
"We had gone through the process, bringing this to all the right parties at the city in the summer. It's not like this just came up last Monday," Hebert said.
"We need to establish a policy around these kinds of projects."
Coun. David Cassivi, who supported the piece's removal, reiterated his concerns regarding its artistic merit.
"I certainly don't claim to be an art critic. But I know when something is questionable as to its art value," he said.
"Just because someone says it's art doesn't make it so. I can put up anything -- most people would say that's not art."
"If it's construed as art in your mind, then keep it on your property."
Sigi Torinus, an assistant professor of visual arts at the University of Windsor who witnessed the dismantling of Terada's sign, said larger cities would recognize there are institutions that study art on a professional basis.
"It actually makes me think of Windsor as a very provincial place," she said. "You know, small-town thinking. I find it quite amusing, really."
Here is a document from the Art Gallery of Ontario with a little bit of background on Ron Terada's work, and describing the piece at the centre of the controversy, Checkpoint Charlie. Also check out Mita's post on Checkpoint Charlie from last week, before the piece was removed (she's also posted a picture). I was surprised and pleased when I read this post last week, and should have known that it was too good to be true.
And to give you some idea of the sort of public art that the City of Windsor approves of, have a look at some of the works in the Odette Sculpture Park (click on the artists' names to see images of the sculptures; the big white hand holding an apple and adorned with red fingernail polish is a must-see). I find it laughable that this site claims the Sculpture Park has some sort of curatorial "philosophy", when in reality every sculpture in the park is purchased and donated to the city by one wealthy old man named Bud Odette. Our city's public face is determined by one old man, and the city doesn't have to pay for the art.
For extra laughs, check out the works for the Windsor/Detroit "CarTunes on Parade" exhibition, celebrating the rich heritage of music and automobiles in the Motor City (and its feisty little cling-on, Windsor). I've linked you directly to the portfolio of sculptures, to save you the agony of the horrible music on the home page (you should thank me, really). Artists were given a stupid-looking cartoony car form to decorate, which had been carefully designed not to look like any particular car (wouldn't want one of The Big Three to think that the sculptures looked too much like one of the competition's models, and, you know, not donate money). Artists were required to find their own sponsors in order to pay for materials and installation, pretty much ensuring that anything at all critical of the cities or the auto industry would not make the cut. Many of these pieces simply have music notes painted all over them. There is a particularly hideous one near my house, sporting gigantic fuschia and green lilies and three roughly jigsaw-cut plexiglas jazzmen with saxophones sticking up out of the roof, that sadly doesn't seem to be pictured on the website. Maybe I'll try to get a picture of it for you when I'm home, but with any luck it will have been vandalized by then anyway.
September 08, 2005
I had planned to write about this on Tuesday, but I only had time to throw my self portrait up here before running to catch the morning bus. I've been doing a fair amount of bitching lately about the South, and the racism that is so much a part of life here. The catastrophe that followed Hurricane Katrina really lifted America's carpet to reveal all the filth that has been swept under it, exposing the racism that this country was founded on. But tonight I want to talk about Canada a bit, because we're not all that innocent ourselves.
You see, in Canada we're still living under an apartheid system; it's just not something we talk about too much. We're too polite, I guess. [Other countries mock us for our politeness, so it must be true. My friend Kerri, from Atlanta, used to say to me, "sorry! oh, so sorry! I'm sorry, I apologize! So sorry! I'm working on my Canadian, how'm I doing eh?". Just fine, baby, just throw a few more sorrys in there and you'll be fluent].
So here are the things that until recently we haven't talked much about in Canada: our aboriginal people are treated like second class citizens. They live in segregated communities. When an aboriginal woman is raped and murdered, there isn't as much effort put into finding her killer that there is if the same happens to a non-aboriginal woman. When an aboriginal man is taken to the edge of town by police in the middle of winter and left there to freeze to death, nothing happens to those officers. And when an unarmed aboriginal protestor is gunned down in Ipperwash Provincial Park by police who were ordered by the Premier of Ontario to remove the natives from the park by any means necessary, the shooter goes to jail while the Premier gets off scot-free.
Ipperwash Provincial Park is near where I grew up; all I remember from my childhood visits there is that I didn't like the beach because it was full of pebbles rather than nice, soft sand. The park is situated on land that was appropriated from natives during the Second World War in order to build a military base there. After the war the government promised to give the land back to the people who had lived there, but the land was never given back, and when I was a teenager in the 1980s I had friends who went to cadet camp there. In 1993 the natives quit trying to get their land back through legal means and began squatting in the park, eventually causing the military to leave in September 1995.
On September 6, 1995, Ontario Provincial Police raided the park, and Dudley George was shot and killed. The officers were acting on the orders of then-Premier Mike Harris. There is plenty of evidence of his involvement, but still it took ten years for an inquiry into the shooting to be launched: while Harris was Premier, he refused to call an inquiry, because he had his own precious ass to cover.
I think (hope) we are getting better. There is an inquiry under way into what caused the death of Dudley George. There was also a public inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild. I hope that we are beginning to be more aware of the iniquities of our justice system. But still I think that Canada needs some Truth and Reconciliation, and that the United States ought to follow suit. For that, I won't be holding my breath.
June 29, 2005
I wish you were there to see it when I scored a hat trick on the team that called you a fucking queer
It's a very good day to live in Canada. We knew that the same-sex legislation would pass and that there was nothing the Conservatives could do to stop it, but still I am very, very relieved and happy. Need another reason to be relieved and happy? That homophobic asswipe Stephen Harper will never be Prime Minister of Canada now, not after his latest asinine outburst, claiming that because Bloc Quebecois MPs are separatists, their vote on the gay marriage bill is "not legitmate", as if members of federal parliament who happen to be separatists cannot represent their voters on a federal level. Keep digging your own hole, baby, because I can't wait to see you fall into it.
Because I feel that by writing about my hairstyle the other day I pretty much tripped over a boring blogger stereotype and fell on my face, revealing myself as nothing but a self-absorbed wanker,
[the crowd, who of course knew this already, titters meanly into their hands]
I'm going to keep this post all about other people, and fill it with gratuitous links. So I'd like to say thanks, Sarah Rene, for letting me know that Rick Mercer has started a weblog. This is highly exciting for someone who doesn't have a television set; now I can get my Rick Mercer straight up, rather than simply having everything funny he said repeated to me by Pete or his kids. It's just one more tin can phone I can cling to whose string leads home.
qpaukl and tamara have started a website to showcase their work; because this isn't supposed to be about me I won't send you to the tattoo gallery today. Go check out tamara's fashion designs instead.
**Update: qpaukl has also started a blog! The sickness spreads. Good thing cyberspace is infinite, unlike the universe.
Here's my new roommate Jenny's blog: Knittin' Sticks. Lucky girl's bouncing around all by herself for the summer in New York City.
And while we're at it, today's episode title was brought to you by the Quintessential Canadian Band, the Rheostatics. This is a band I'll be listening to more than ever in my feeble attempt to retain my Canadian accent while living in Georgia. Go check out the Rheostatics. They play hockey, and you can still see them live in small venues for ten bucks. Bam, bam, digga digga dam.
Okay. Got to go wash some chemicals off my head, so that in the morning it can be all about me again when I show you a big surprise. I think I may have totally cocked up with the hair alterations, and I wish I had someone who knows what they're doing, like Mandy or Jacey, to help me. Ah well. It grows back.
April 28, 2005
Why Stephanie Pearl McPhee rocks my world
Some of you have already heard the first part of this story. But a look back through the comments tells me that you guys comment more when I write about knitting, and since I'm nothing but a comments whore and don't have any knitting stuff to show you (still working on the one project, and it's still top-secret), I can at least offer a knitting-related story.
Windsor has only one small independant bookseller who sells new books. A few weeks ago I had a disagreement with the owner of the store that left her mad at me (even though it was totally her fault). My CanLit professor had ordered all of our course books through her and since I'm poor and underemployed I bought them as I needed them throughout the semester. Peter went in one day to pick one up for me, and didn't notice that she charged him twenty dollars for a thirteen dollar book. So when I went in to pick up the last two books I needed I brought it up and she didn't believe me, couldn't read her own scrawl on the receipt, and tried to say that the receipt was for a different ($20) book, not for the book I had bought. In the end I got my seven dollars off my other books, but I didn't really want to face her again and ask her to order in Stephanie's book for me, because I know she still thinks I'm a liar; I noticed her trying to glare a hole through me at a poetry reading a week later. Unless she was just thinking I was a disrespectful asshole for knitting during the readings. Anyway she also smokes in the store and that pisses me off enough to not want to buy from her anymore.
Instead I went to Big Name Book Chain, in Windsor's only mall. We try to avoid this mall whenever possible, because it's an unholy place that sucks your soul out through the bottom of your shoes (Peter's back gets sore every time we go there, so it's obvious that it must have evil soul-sucking floors. They look like innocent terrazzo but this isn't the same kind of terrazzo your high school had, unless you went to an evil soul-sucking high school). We had to go there, though, for a friend's birthday dinner (Laura, I've decided not to post the picture I took of you looking totally cute and holding up your favourite birthday present, the vibrating cock ring, because I don't want to be responsible for the Google hit that will bring down your political career. You can thank me by not making me go to that mall restaurant and eat that bland reheated food again).
So. Big Name Book Chain. We checked the knitting section and the book wasn't there. Not willing to subject ourselves to the hell that is searching BNBC for a book, we asked someone: while the computer said they had 8 copies, apparently they were lost in the store somewhere, mis-shelved. Not on the table they were supposed to be on. So we checked every table in the store, and in all kinds of places like self-help, humour, the "Mom's night out" section, and the place where all of the horrible daily-affirmation crap is. No book.
In desperation I went home and posted to the RAOK list to see if someone in Canada could go pick me up one and mail it to me, and offered to send the money by paypal. Stephanie, generous soul that she is, immediately wrote back that she would send me a book, as a gift. And it arrived today.
Why are there two books in the photo? In the meantime, even though we try so hard to stay away, we had to go back to the mall to look for a birthday present for Peter's sister. We found ourselves back at Big Name Book Chain, and immediately inside the door, there were Stephanie's books. On the Mother's Day table (YES, I looked there. Twice. They weren't there). I thought it was only right that I buy a copy and send it to someone else.
The one on the left is about to become dog-eared and tea-stained very quickly. The other one is going on a little plane ride first.