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Posts from September 2008

Knitting Interlude

All this time on my own does make going out mighty difficult, so I've been getting in some really solid knitting time.

I'm on the body of Baby Cables...and I'm still in love with this sweater.  The Zara is squooshy, the pattern is fun and mindless (because I got no energy for thinking once the kids are in bed) and this is turning into a very wearable nice looking sweater.

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By this time next week Craig should be home.  But maybe not.  Seems he's waiting for a part.  If it doesn't come in, he's home Saturday but may have to go back.

If the part does come in, he may just stay a bit longer. I'm not really liking either option... So I'll just show you another photo of my gorgeous WIP.

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Back to it. I rented Michael Clayton and could watch half of it tonight if I don't crash in front of the tv.


Mommy makes it better; but like all women she shouldn't have to do it all

Mom came Wednesday and it has completely changed my outlook on things.  My mom is awesome.  While I was in grad school she would come and help with the kids (who were babies at the time) by doing laundry, cleaning, making meals and just taking the edge off all those things that one needs to do to maintain a household. 

She's doing the same thing right now, including picking the kids up at school so they can spend some time together and it just makes things so much easier.

I'm still tired, but can sleep in tomorrow for a bit before we go to the (last) soccer tournament for Emma.  Being free of soccer-mom duties will also take a huge load off.  (I have some things to say about boys and girls and sport but will save that for another post).

One thing all this has (again) reinforced for me is how modern work and households are still based on the assumption of a person (read: WOMAN) in the home to make it all go.  Families who feel like "work/life balance" is out of whack likely feel this way because it is very difficult to work full time and maintain a household.  I'm not talking about being Martha with a fully decorated house and wonderfully tasty nutritious meals here; I'm talking about making sure everyone is fed something, and your house isn't growing toxic mould as the level of upkeep here.  Just getting it all done is difficult and I think politicians and workplaces don't completely understand that in their policymaking and arrangement of work.

I'm extremely fortunate to work in a place which is flexible and understands that I have other commitments and am not on this earth to work solely for them.  Craig's previous employer was in that category and it really puts a strain on things.  I also chose this particular career route over academic life because I wanted to have things weighted more in the LIFE category over the WORK category.  I also made choices about where I live (to keep commuting times down) and how much we do for extra activities too.   But I have the luxury of making those choices and I know many others have inflexible employers, different living situations and may also be parenting on their own which completely changes the situation.

How can we make it change?  Since Canada is the midst of an election campaign and there is much talk of how to help families I think this is an important conversation to have.  I don't believe cutting taxes for families is really the answer.  Sure I can use that money to buy the services of a cleaner (which I plan on doing soon) or eat out more, but again that's because I already have access to good childcare and a good job and commute.  What I think would really help Canadians are investments into SERVICES.  We are a very prosperous country.  We have been running multi-billion dollar budget surpluses for several years now and have been paying down the national debt.  I'm tired of being told we don't have the money because that is complete crap. 

I want to see investments into public transit to help commuters get to their jobs and homes more quickly.  This will even help drivers because less cars on the road helps everyone, not just in commuting but for the environment.  I want more bike lanes and alternative transportation options too.  This is important in Toronto, but also quickly growing cities like Calgary and Halifax.  Canada is experiencing increasing urbanization and we need large investments into city infrastructure NOW.   

I want a national childcare program and a national homecare/eldercare program.  Women are primarily responsible for the care of children and the elderly and are facing continuous stress juggling these with paid employment.  If we are to have true equality for women this has to happen.  And it has to happen for all women; not just those who are able to pay for services.  I know not everyone wants these things and like all public services you can choose to participate, but children who are cared for in nurturing environments and older and ill adults who have contributed to this country their whole lives and may need assistance deserve and require these services.  I hear stories every day of people waiting for childcare or trying to help elderly relatives and just wanting someone with power to care and provide some help. 

If you read this blog you probably know that I'm a New Democrat and am solidly on the "left" with my politics..  I will be voting NDP again this election.  While I don't completely support their platform, they best represent my values and priorities the best and are the only party that I really believe speaks for women and a diverse population in this country. 

With the US election we have heard much about women and "minorities" in politics (I don't like that term, but like the de rigeur "racialized peoples" less), but that discourse is also about those women and people of colour who have a great deal of power and money.  While I believe those conversations are important (and have led to some great humour and satire) I prefer the debates to be less about the sex and colour of the leaders and more about the issues facing these respective communities; you know, the stuff that takes leadership and change.


Random Wednesday. Total Exhaustion Version

Day 10.  13 days to go.  Mom arrived today.  Already planning dinner for us tonight.  I am so happy about this that I might actually get some real sleep tonight.

Sleep.  Need Sleep.  Need to not have 3pm killer headache for third day in a row. Need not to have total clenched jaw muscle ache from clenching all night.  Need sleep.

Want new ipod.  Old one dying.  Ipod Touch?  Iphone without data plan (no way I'm paying  more for a phone than I already do)?  Want wifi enabled for fun and surfing.  Can't decide.  Probably because I'm so sleepy.  And cheap.  And indecisive.

Wish I could muster some energy to be productive at work.  Feel like spinning wheels for last two days.  Article on dual career couples not that interesting.  Other work in queue will put me to sleep (see a theme here?)

Enjoying Dexter season 2.  Sucks that I had to return DVD having only watched half the episodes on disk 2.  Too little time after chauffering children to activities, making supper, supervising homework, making lunches, cleaning kitchen to watch tv.  So tired.

Miss Craig.  Tired of being cold alone in bed.  Tired of being only responsible adult in house.  Hate doing groceries. 

Thank fsm I get to go to Rhinebeck.   In a month.   hooray.


The Plan

It's still too hot to do a proper photo shoot of Vino; today was TROPICAL hot, and I'm trying not to complain.  I did wear it last week, but it was dark and this coat needs great lighting (don't we all?).  It's a great coat.  I decided when I was making it to not do the buttonholes so I had lots of closure options when I was finished, including the possibility of none at all.

After wearing it I decided I needed something.  I love toggles and found some at Fabricland.

Whatdaya think?

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I think they'll be perfect. Thing is, I haven't got a clue how to put them on. They are just string glued to leather triangles, so I will need to sew down the string to ensure it stays on (or go with better glue, one fell off already). I'm not so lucky with the sewing machine (in fact, every time I take it out, I also want to take the hammer to it), so I might take it to a seamstress for a professional job.

Any of you smart readers have suggestions? Something that would help either my attempts of my instructions to whomever I hire to do this.


Indecisiveness gets me ever time

Sometimes I get stuck on the little things; probably because I know those little things can really mess up your day.

Today:

1. Do I bike (even though it poured this morning and thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon) or TTC?

I took the subway.  It was horrible and crowded (haven't used it in weeks, thanks to Claudia(s) both my bike and Claudia's BAT project.

It better be "build an ark" raining this afternoon.

2. Do I wear the danskos that may rub a bit on my toe (but look great with my outfit) or my birkinstocks that are "broken in perfect"?

Choose style over comfort.  Still have skin on my toe, but not for long. 

3. Does Emma go to the dance class she wants or the one that is closer to home.

Emma went to the class closer to home.  She loved it.  I loved the place (wear what you want, have fun, low key).  We're both happy.

So 2 outta 3 ain't bad.  It better rain.  I just can't stand being crammed in with all those people when I could be riding my bike.

Is indecisiveness even a word?

Mini-Movie Reviews

My time at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was shorter than I wanted because Craig was called away for work (for 3-5 weeks--but that's another story) which necessitated some shifting of schedules, giving away of tickets and only one night with a babysitter (this Friday!).

I have seen 4 movies so far and they've all been quite good in their own way.

Me and Orsen Welles: A nice solid movie.  The pace was good, the story was interesting (it's about Orsen Welles' production of Julius Caesar in 1937), and it all just worked.  Claire Danes' character was really great and the man playing Orsen Welles, may have been inhabited by the man's ghost--it was amazing.  For those into High School Musical, Zac Efron played the Me in the title and was quite good, though I had never head of the guy.  Everyone was in attendance and here's my crappy, from far away, camera phone shot.  Clarie Danes is the one in the dress.

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Pontypool: This was my favourite of this festival.  A clausterphobic, tight, creepy as hell zombie-esque movie (they're not officially zombies in the true definition, but have zombie-like traits) which takes place in Pontypool Ontario.  Bruce MacDonald's film is super good and shows that you don't need lots of money to make a great film.  The budget is rumoured to be 1.5million and the whole thing was shot in a Toronto church.  Stephen McHattie (look him up, you'll recognize him) is fabulous and the I still get a bit creeped out thinking about it.  I bought the book it is based on and there may be more tales to tell by MacDonald who envisions this movie as one of a trilogy.  Must also put Hard Core Logo on my DVD rental list.

Sunshine Barry and Disco Worms: We saw this one with the kids (used up some tickets too!) and it's about worms who want to boogie.  This was the world premier of the show and the Danish director was a total hoot with the kids in the audience.  It's typical kiddie fare--worms at the bottom of the insect food chain try to show the world they can really achieve something by becoming Disco stars.  The animation is good, and the creation of limbless dancing characters is great.  And there's disco (which is great music to listen to and dance).  My favourite character is the Jimmy Page guitarist wannabe.  The kids loved it with Emma asking to buy the DVD.  She was disappointed to learn that it would be awhile since it wasn't in theatres yet.

But I found a trailer (in Danish--we saw it in English)!


Real Time: As the title says, this movie is done in real time.  It's about the last hour of a compulsive gambler who is picked up by a hit man who offers him an hour to make amends before being killed.  The film has that "Canadian look" to it and is set in the not-so-nice looking parts of Hamilton Ontario.  Randy Quaid is great and while I wanted to kill other gambler/hit, I suppose that means that he was good too (Jay Baruchel was very good, I just couldn't stand his character).  The soundtrack was great--lots of Can-con from the AM radiowaves and the story is impressive.  It could have ended several ways to satisfy me, but how it does go is very interesting (no I will not tell you more).

Friday night I'm seeing a documentary called American Swing, about sex clubs in the 70s.  I'll let you know how it goes.  And I'm hoping to see Burn After Reading asap.  I love me a Coen bros. movie.

 


A little too much morning adrenaline

To the woman in the black mercedes who decided that her need to get past a cab making a left hand turn was more important than MY LIFE:

Next time wait your fucking turn.  It is never ever ever okay to suddenly, without signaling, veer into the BIKE LANE to get around another car.  If you had looked over your shoulder you would have noticed that I was biking rather quickly down that hill on Sherbourne and had to brake very suddenly and yell at you for your fucked-up move. 

I feel rather fortunate that I didn't bounce off the trunk of your fancy car.

When I caught up to you a few seconds later, smacked on the passenger window, startled you and yelled "NEXT TIME STAY OUT OF THE BIKE LANE!!!!!" I really meant it.  Learn how to drive and THINK. 

I prefer the uneventful morning bike to work.  Fuck.


Some griping with some knitting at the end

My annual physical was uneventful except for learning one thing new--apparently I'm an inch shorter (want to verify this when I get home)--and getting confirmation of something I was in denial about--I've put on weight.  People at work call it the Simcoe Hall Spread and while I knew it was happening--too many lunch meetings, crappy catered food all over the place, not enough moving around--I figured it wasn't that bad. 

 Wrong. 

I need to lose 10-15 lbs.  Shit.  It was good to hear it from someone else because I didn't really want to hear my own inner voice noticing that all my clothes were too tight. 

I had started making some dietary changes this summer; no more beloved Coke every lunch (replaced it with almost palatable Coke Zero), trying to have less beer, less eating out for lunch etc. and I am riding my bike to work.  But it's not enough.  Time to get back into a gym.  Well, after Craig is back from his work trip.  No sense joining today only to take 5 weeks off because I have no childcare.  I will start back at the office lunch time yoga tomorrow and try *really* hard to keep it up (though I have a lot of lunch time workshops to attend which makes it difficult).

The better news was that all the envelopes were stuffed by the time I got into work today.  I have a fabulous team here and they spared me that job.  And we ordered in Thai food for lunch (I had more mango salad than pad thai noodles since I was still feeling the sting of the scale).

But enough about that...let's look in my knitting bag instead.

Here's my film festival sock.  It's the project I knit in lines, before movies start, during the Director Q&A's etc.  My first movie is tomorrow night! 

I got a bit of a head start on it during Xander's soccer game.  The yarn is one of the Kaffe Fasset Regia colours.

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And here's my eye of partridge heel--very nifty.


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And Baby Cables.  So pretty.  I'm just 20 rows in and I remember how much I love the Zara yarn (it's so squooshy). 


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No Vino photos yet.  I need to be wearing some pants and it's too damned hot to wear a sweater coat.  I'm not complaining about the heat (it's like we're getting more summer!) just the idea of being wrapped in wool outside in this weather.


I fold

I'm tired.  Really tired.  It's partly because I stayed up too late watching the premiere of the new 90210 (well not all of it; when I found out it was 2 hours long I went to bed, but it was still way past my bed time) and mostly because I spent the day standing up operating a letter folding machine.

Even with a machine folding over 3000 pieces of paper is hard work.  So much so that I don't even have the energy to knit Baby Cables (which I started and LOVE).  I took pictures but my camera batteries died and my nearly new charger doesn't work and I'm too tired to find new batteries (you get the picture).

Time for bed.  Tomorrow I join the co-workers who are stuffing the envelopes.  After I go for my annual physical (bleh).

Yep. Get a PhD, stuff envelopes.* 


*Good thing I'm paid well, have excellent benefits and a fabulous boss.