Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drama Dog

It seems whenever we find ourselves too busy to spend much time at home, Mosely compounds the problem of his temporary abandonment by doing something dramatic.  I thought he'd really tested the limits of dog drama last year when he managed to find and devour not one, but FOUR BAGS of chocolate kisses.  We were so worried about him, we called the vet, bought special upset-tummy biscuits, and I left work early to keep an eye on him.  Apart from some gas and extreme hyper behaviour, he was fine.

Earlier this week Moe escaped the confines of the dining room to find half a Lindt Dark Chocolate and Fleur de Sel bar, which he inhaled.  Jason was a little worried, this being a dark chocolate mishap.  I was not.  Did I mention he ate FOUR BAGS of various kinds of kisses?  Four bags would be enough to put me into a chocolate coma.  That same evening he did laps around the living room and started throwing toys at us.

Then yesterday he found 5 sugar cookies I had completely forgotten about in one of my work bags.  Before I tell you about the nickname we've given our precious pooch, I should tell you we know we are completely, 100% responsible for our dog's misdeeds.  Chocolate should be kept up high in a place requiring opposable thumbs to get at, ditto for cookies, and we should make sure we are home before our dog gets bored enough to get into mischief.

We love him to death and are very aware of his attention needs -- and he's not a needy dog at all.  All he asks for is food, water, a few minutes outside each day and not to be left alone for 10 or more straight hours.  And maybe throw a toy around and give him a cuddle every few days.  We're usually pretty good, but this time of year seems to be when we get busy with a lot of after-work stuff.  I'll try to make it up to him this weekend.  

His nickname, by the way is A**hole.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Really Long Rant About Ageism

Discrimination and presumptuous comments based on age is a big problem for me.  It's one of my biggest pet peeves.  Last week I was at an event and an "older gentleman" thought it necessary to comment that I am way too young to be married.  I couldn't think of a clever come back, so I just shrugged and said, "Hey, I was older than my parents were when they got married."  He retorted that was probably because my parents were just a couple of horny teenagers.

Apart from the obvious, let me begin to break down the problems with this conversation:
- At no point had I mentioned or made reference to my age.
- My parents were college graduates both starting out in their careers when they got married.
- I was a university graduate starting on my second career when Jason and I married.
- What difference does it make how old I was or how old I am in reference to anything I choose to do?!

I personally feel that attitudes about childhood and youth in our culture have created at much extended "coming of age" that is, in my opinion, to our detriment.

Historically speaking, children were once regarded as small adults, but fully capable of working inside or outside of the home for the benefit of the family.  Toys and games were designed for the wealthy, and generally children and adults played and took part together.  While it was known that children required instruction and training of some kind, by their early teens they were regarded as adults -- capable of marriage, running a business, or taking the throne.

Fast-forward to the current day, and a Toronto-based TV show featuring a house full of twenty-somethings promises to show us what it's like to "grow up" in Toronto.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to advocate for shorter periods of schooling, or teen marriages.  But I do think at some point in the evolution of our thoughts on childhood we started looking at children as little idiots rather than little adults.  Kids are so much smarter, and more aware, and more capable than we give them credit for.  I don't think six and seven year olds should be expected or permitted to work in mines or serve on battle fields.  I do have a problem with a culture that doesn't allow eleven and twelve year olds to have a paper route or work on the family farm.  See below for the rights and freedoms our children should, but don't always seem to have.

No, in the current day we expect our "children" to continue their studies and delay all forms of work until they are nearly 30.  And then we wonder why they have trouble leaving the nest.  I'm sorry, but at 20 you're no longer "growing up" in Toronto -- you're an adult!  You've grown!  Your shenanigans and antics are not stepping stones on the way to being a grown up, it's just who you are.

I have to give my parents credit where it's due, they obviously did something right.  My 21-year-old sister manages a group of employees, some of whom are high school aged.  She was telling me this weekend about a Mom of one of the employees who calls and emails her on a regular basis to discuss her daughter's work.  Her top complaint -- her daughter is mature enough to handle more responsibility on the job.  My sister replied that when her daughter is mature enough to ask for it herself, then they can talk about giving her more responsibility.  Can you imagine?  That would be like my Mom emailing my boss to say I deserve a raise.  Hey, maybe I can get my Mom to sit on the Salary and Benefits Committee at work to negotiate a salary increase.  My sister also told me when she sends out the weekly schedule she has to send it several parents.

Of course, when I worked in undergraduate recruitment I saw all forms of helicopter-parentism.  Everything from the worrying hoverer to the intrusive "stealth fighter" parents.  Good grief, cut the cord already!  NEWSFLASH -- by the time your child reaches university, he or she is a fully functioning adult, capable of making his or her own decisions.  If that is not the case, you've done something wrong.  I once had a lengthy conversation with a Mom who wanted to know what her son should take in first year if he was going to get in to both the Richard Ivey Business School AND dental school.  I asked what her son was interested in and she scoffed, "Nothing.  He hates school -- he only likes video games."  Bummer Mom, but your little high achiever who has no academic aspirations probably isn't going to get his MBA or pursue oral surgery, and he certainly isn't going to do both.

You may think I'm being a bit harsh, and you may be feeling sorry for any future, hypothetical children I might have.  Fair enough, but before I end rant, let's talk about biology for a minute.

The human brain undergoes two major periods of growth and change (after birth).  The first happens around the ages of 2 - 3.  We know this time is important for language acquisition and a number of other important skills.  The second major growth period happens at different times for different people, but usually between ages 15 - 18.  This is why, despite my argument that we don't give children and young people enough credit for their capabilities, you will never hear me advocate for lowering the drinking age.  We know there is a LOT of important stuff happening to the teenage brain, but we actually know very little about what's taking place.  After this period the human has stopped developing biologically.  That's it, welcome to your adult body/mind. I hope you treated them well up to this point.

Another biological phenomenon I find interesting, especially when talking about people in their 20s and 30s is fertility.  Consider the following charts from the World IVF Website:

The news no woman wants to hear, but here it is: your optimal childbearing years are 18 - 25.  By the time a woman is 30 (the age deemed appropriate for motherhood by our society) she is entering into her "moderate risk" pregnancy years and has a greater chance of miscarriage, complications, and of bearing a child with chromosomal abnormalities.  Is it any wonder 1 in 6 North Americans will have trouble conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term?

And yet, somehow at 26 I am considered by some to be "too young to be married".

Clearly this extended period of youth is a social construction and not based on fact, ability or biology.

Young people, stop thinking of yourselves as youths.  Sure, you may feel like you still have a lot to learn about life, but welcome to the club.  The minute you stop learning is the minute you stop fully participating in your world.  Stand up for yourself and don't let someone else stand up for you or tell you what to do because they're older.  You're as much an adult at 20 as you'll ever be, you just need to start acting like one, and demanding to be treated like one.

People over 35, stop patronizing the younger generation.  Be better mentors by setting a good example and letting younger people make their own mistakes.  Parents, stop setting up guard rails for your children.  I know, you don't want to see them fall on their faces, but if you've done your job well they'll be okay.  Let them jump, and if they fall they'll get back up.

End of rant.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I was doing so well eating healthy yesterday, until my dear friend Kate came over with a box of Turtles chocolates and a big bag of Swedish Berries.  Sigh. 

Today was a bit better (though I did have to finish off the rest of the Turtles with my sister, Mel).

Late Breakfast:
- 1 egg, 3 strips bacon, 1 slice toast with jam
- Tea & juice

- 1 blueberry rhubarb muffin
- Tea

- Roast beef, salad, sweet potato hash browns
- Juice
- The last Turtle chocolate ;)

I had a nice sleep in this morning (that's what Saturdays are made for!), before Jason and I went on a nice long walk around town.  It was chilly, but gorgeous, and we wished we'd thought to bring the camera.  We finally discovered one of St. Marys famous walking paths and it was gorgeous.  As much as I loved the walk though, I'm doubtful about ever riding a bike in St. Marys.  Good gravy, the hills are intense!  Jason thinks I'll come around, but I'm not so sure.  When we got home I whipped up a barley casserole for later in the week, and some muffins for our lunches.  My sister came over just as they were coming out of the oven.  We spent the rest of the afternoon folding laundry and just hanging out.  It was a perfect Saturday!  The muffin recipe was inspired by the one on with a few tweaks.  I'll post it once I've gotten it out of my head and on paper!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthy Eating Blog

I know I usually save the healthy eating blogging for February (heart health month!), but I'm getting an early start this year.  My major eating shortcomings are related to sweets, although I do sometimes over-snack and eat carb-heavy meals.  I'm going to try to start eating healthier now to avoid some of the pounds that are bound to find my hips over the holidays.  I got off to a lame start yesterday when I had a scrambled egg, 2 strips of bacon, beet/apple/ginger juice and... a chocolate croissant for breakfast.  It was breakfast on the road and I didn't get lunch until 3:00 PM, so I did have a legitimate excuse to carb up.

Today I'm off to a good start, so we'll call this day 1.

Raisin Bran & green tea

Oatmeal & plain yogourt

Chicken w/tomatoes & avocado and garlic rice
A juice box

Emergency Resource/Afternoon Snack:
A banana

This probably seems like a lot of food (and maybe it is), but if there's one thing I know about myself it's that I need to eat.  I need my snacks - if my blood-sugar dips I get shaky, irritable, light headed, tired and all-around hangry.  And nobody wants me to be hangry.  I haven't quite decided what's for dinner yet, but there's a good chance it will also involve chicken.  Maybe that's gross, but ya gotta eat what's in the fridge!  I have no plans to reduce my food intake, just to make it healthier.

Since we all know how I feel about baked goods, I want to whip up something healthy soon.  I have frozen rhubarb, blueberries and raspberries in the freezer as well as some overripe bananas on the counter.  The possibilities are endless!

I'm going to need to keep up this healthy eating gig too -- I'm surrounded by germs and my coworker is hacking something fierce as I type.  Please pass the Purell.

#NaKniSweMo is coming along great!  One false start and a bit of back-knitting so far, but I'm just about ready to separate out the sleeves on my bebe sweater!  I hope to have it done by next weekend so I can start on hubby's sweater.  Yay!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So I'm giving myself a failing grade for #NaBloPoMo.  Sorry guys -- it's been crazy.  And thought it's been NBD, the commuting really does cut into spare time.

That being said, tonight I will cast on my #NaKniSweMo project!  I did some research this aft, and I feel like I'm ready to start.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small Town FTW

Eeek!  The day's almost over and I almost forgot to blog again!

I have to say it's only been a few days, but I am so loving being in a small town again.

We took Mosely to the St. Marys Santa Claus Parade last night.  It was his first parade, and he did alright!  Of course he did some typical Mosely whining, whimpering and "singing" along with all the sirens, but I think he had a good time.  He especially enjoyed the Shriners looping around in their tiny cars.  It was a good time and it reminded me of parades gone by in other small towns.  Parents waved from the streets as their children marched, danced or "floated" by.  People jumped out of the parade to say hi to friends on the street, and a few randoms joined the parade to do the same.  And even though we knew no one, people said hi, petted Mosely and treated us like - well, neighbours.  It was great. 

Those of you who know me very well may have heard me lament about my pet peeve with grocery stores.  I really feel the grocery store industry did a huge disservice to the economy, consumers and society in general when they did away with the bag boy.  You know, that nice young man who used to put your groceries in the bags and then help you take them out to your car?  He had a system for putting the items in the bags -- he didn't just throw them in there!  It was like a strategic game of tetris (which I should add I've been playing a lot of lately).  Everything had to fit perfectly without making the bags too heavy or damaging any of the merchandise.  When the bag boys were let go this task was left to the cashiers, but they didn't have the skill or know-how to pack bags -- and they certainly can't help you get your stuff to the car.  Now it seems the consumer is most often responsible for bagging his or her own groceries.  What a pain in the arse!

Today I went to the local big-box grocery store, McDonald's Independent, which is just like a Super Store.  My first pleasant surprise was being able to park near the entrance on a Saturday afternoon, but that small delight was dwarfed by my elation at seeing extra staff at the check outs whose specific duty was to assist in the bagging of groceries!  There were about three cashiers on duty, plus this extra gentleman who seemed to be helping out with older customers.  I wondered if he would help them to their cars if asked.  True, I didn't personally benefit from the presence of this bagging professional, but my cashier did an excellent job helping me pack my groceries.  She put boxes with boxes, fruit with fruit and handed me the eggs to carry out.  Just to compare, at my grocery store in London I usually get the cashier with the deep smoker's voice and the only words she ever says to me are "Cart or pick up?" as she hastily throws laundry detergent in the bag with bread and grapes.

As with any small town though, there are downsides.  In the short time we've been here I've already seen at least 4 NASCAR jackets.  Not run of the mill driver fan gear either -- I saw one for Hendrick's Motor Sports, one for Dupont with a 24 and one for Office Depot with a 14 on the sleeve.  These are serious fans.  Hopefully I can avoid them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Settling In

I haven't posted a blog (or knit a stitch) in days!  Terrible, I know, but before you start calling me a failure and a liar, let me just remind you I'm in the middle of moving.  Gimme a break.

So, we moved into the new place on Wednesday with the help of some wonderful, amazing, fantastic friends and family.  I can't thank them enough for helping make our move so smooth and enjoyable.  I didn't stress about a thing!

Under normal circumstances I would say I hate moving.  It usually involves several days of looking like shite, being surrounded by well-intentioned but less than thrilled people who are all looking at you for some kind of direction.  Add to that the fact that you have no access to your creature comforts, your former routine is terminated and any sense of privacy is out the window.  That was not the case with this move at all!  Except maybe for the looking like shite bit -- I even had to do without a mirror yesterday.

After the official move in on Wednesday, we spent yesterday running around picking up "need" items (like a mirror!) and then doing some cleaning and yard work at our "old house".  Today I am doing more unpacking and organizing, planning to register a P.O. Box and do groceries later, and then hoping to catch the St. Marys Santa Claus Parade tonight!  Our first community event!

I think we all feel at home already, but by the end of the weekend I expect we'll be unpacked and really settled in.  Even Mosely seemed to know right away that we are not on a visit, but at a new home.  After a few laps around the house and sniffing every corner, he got comfortable right away on Wednesday night.  He even seems to be doing okay without a fenced back yard for the time being and is currently fast asleep on his leash in the back yard.  There will be a few things like that for all of us to get used to, but so far things are going great :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


Well, just about everything's packed now and we're living in this strange state of transition...  It's weird living out of a suitcase in your own home.  I had a glass of wine with dinner in a coffee mug.  Our bed is taken apart and we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  Pictures are all packed away and the walls look naked.

All this serves to remind me that we're in a sort of transitionary point in our lives as well.  Twenty-somethings, married, no kids.  It's an awkward place to be as many people have opinions about what we should or shouldn't be doing.  We're too old for this and too young for that, etc.  Who made up these life stages anyways -- and who wants to live their life in stages?

It also makes me think of the house we're moving to in St. Marys.  It's beautiful and I love it and I can't wait to make it home!!  But it's a transitionary home as well.  We always knew our place in London would be our "starter" and we only ever planned to live here for 5 years or so.  5 1/2 years later, we're ready to move on, but not quite ready for our "forever home".  Jason and I have always dreamed of a place in the country with a few acres, a barn, a massive garden, and a few beasts.  That isn't exactly in the cards just yet, so the St. Marys place is our "in-between".  Jason wasn't initially keen on the idea of an "in-between" place, but after looking around and realizing we're still a few years from being able to afford that place in the country, he relented.  And I'm so glad he did!  It will be nice to get back to living in a small town.  St. Marys seems like a really great community.

And now I think I'm transitioning from awake to asleep very quickly and I'm worried I might be rambling... More move updates tomorrow!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whoopsy Daisy

I completely forgot to blog yesterday and I didn't knit a stitch either.  I think I have a good excuse though -- it was the London Short Film Showcase, so I kinda had my hands full.  It was an amazing event and I couldn't be happier with the turnout!

Today I'm feeling quite tired though.

Jason's parents were just over to help us pack (it begins!!).

Mosely doesn't quite know what to make of this mess we're making...
Shortly after they left we decided to go for a late afternoon nap and I did some knitting before falling asleep.

This is the Sweet Pea Blankie I've been working on.  It's coming along quite nicely :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

London Short Film Showcase 2010!

Check out this sweet, sweet London Free Press article about the Showcase!

Many of you probably know I'm on the board for this fun London event.  What you may not know is that I was in charge of gathering silent auction items once again this year.  Let me tell you, there are a few that I will be bidding on ;)

Oh, and did I mention the first 25 in the door will get a swag bag full of, um, swag?

Be sure to check out the London Short Film Showcase tomorrow night at Museum London!

Get tickets here!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


If you're anything like me, your time is extremely valuable.  I find my days and nights overrun by activities, and all this busyness takes its toll!  Add in the move, and I'm really running at max cap.  Yesterday my genius hubby shared an idea with me that I want to share with you -- let's make this a NOvember.  If you're feeling rundown, burning out, or just too busy, use this month to say "no"**.  Even if you just say no to ONE unnecessary item on your schedule, you'll breathe a little easier this month.

Much of what is keeping me busy this month is work related and will be difficult to say no to.  I have many early morning (ugh) and late afternoon events, and one Sunday so far.  I am going to commit to not making any more work commitments outside of regular working hours this month.  WHEW!

Luckily the commitments I've made to blog and knit are both things I do for ME, so I don't have to say no to them.

Moving out of London to St. Marys will make it a bit easier to say no to some "extra-curriculars", but I do still plan to be involved in the Forest City.  I hope to also find ways to get involved in my new community... in the New Year!

Sidenote:  If you're NOT too busy and have time to spare, November is a great month to volunteer.  There are many charities and non-profits needing extra help in November and December to cope with added need and extra donation inventory around the holidays.  If you're looking for ways to be busier in the next few months, I suggest looking into volunteering for one of the following:

  • Women's Community House
  • London and Area Food Bank
  • United Way of Middlesex & London
  • The Salvation Army
  • Please suggest other organizations in need in the comments!
**Please don't say no to the London Short Film Showcase this weekend!!  It will be a great event, and tickets are available at a reduced price TODAY ONLY!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am addicted to kijiji, the classifieds website.  This is not necessarily a new thing -- I have a reputation for searching "beagle" on the site at least once every two weeks (I can't help it, I love beagles).  With our move well underway, I have an actual, legitimate excuse for shopping.

The house that we're moving to is a bit bigger than ours, but we're also using the move as an opportunity to replace some of our old stuff with new stuff.

Take living room furniture for example: five years ago we bought a lovely couch/chair/ottoman set at Leons for something like $1200.  It was very modern and classy looking, and the salesman assured us the soft mico-suede-like fabric would be easy to wipe clean.  He lied.  Not only is it impossible to clean (even water seems to stain it), but it attracts pet hair and pets like a magnet.  And my dog drools in his sleep.  And my late cat (RIP Gordon) liked to vomit on soft surfaces.  The chair is beyond salvation, so it (and likely the ottoman) will not be making the move.  The couch will move temporarily until it can be replaced.

The new house also has no closets.  Like, not-a-single-closet-in-the-place.  Old houses are sometimes like that, so we'll be needing dressers, armoires, wardrobes, and other creative storage solutions.  So far kijiji has been a godsend in that department!

We're also planning  a big IKEA shopping trip, which I'm super excited about, but figure I might as well get what I can second hand and at antique shops first.

Before you start telling me about the evils of consumerism and how we live in a disposable culture, let me distract you with this funny parody of the IKEA Cats commercial:

I also just found out the couch I want now comes in a box, unassembled.  THAT'S gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Auburn Like Anne

I did actually finish it, and just so you'll believe me, here are the pics to prove it:

Admittedly, they are not the greatest pictures, but I took them on my phone in poor lighting.  These photos were taken before weaving in, blocking and sewing on buttons, but it is complete!  I've worn it twice already and LOVE it!  The colour is really great, and it's just so comfortable.  I did the sleeves a bit short because I was paranoid about running out of yarn (and of course, ended up with lots left over).  Also, after blocking the sweater came out much longer than I expected, but it's still quite flattering.

I'll try to have @JClarkey take a picture of me the next time I'm wearing it -- it really is gorgeous!

I will be using the same pattern on a much, much smaller scale for my Sweater for Scarlett.  I'm also undecided as to whether I should do buttons on the top, like mine, or put buttons all the way down like a typical cardigan.  I'll keep you posted.  I will also be going against the legendary Elizabeth Zimmerman's recommendation to knit baby items in soft wool (which is what mine is), and I'll be making Scarlett's sweater out of a washable cotton/acrylic blend.  Having worked many years in childcare, I want her to be able to wear it while she's playing, making messes and being a kid.  For some reason a wool baby sweater seems to me like something that would be worn in church and at Christmas.  Bleh.  I'm also going to try to make it in a size 12 - 18 mos (but I'll totally be guessing as I knit) because she has more tiny baby clothes than she'll probably ever wear.

Being an Auntie is fun, but I wish she lived closer to me :(

Monday, November 1, 2010


Since I've dropped off the blogging train, I thought I might as well participate in NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  It the month of November I will attempt to blog EVERY SINGLE DAY!  I will also be participating in NaKniSweMo, which is National Knit a Sweater Month, and @JClarkey is growing a moustache for Movember!  It's going to be a busy month for these, and other reasons.

What else is keeping me busy in November?  Well, for starters:

- The London Short Film Showcase (of which I am a board member)
- I'm moving (!!)
- 6-8 work events taking place outside of regular working hours
- And a host of other extracurriculars (Pillar Innovation Awards, a baby shower, a card making night, et al).

This all seems like a lot (even for me), but I can handle it... I think!

Unfortunately NaKniSweMo is already not off to a great start as all of my yarn has been packed for the move :S  I did just finish a sweater though, so I think I have permission to cheat a bit.  Here are my knitting goals for the month:

- Get at least halfway through the Sweet Pea Blankie I am working on for my niece, Scarlett (this is not packed and will give me something to work on until I am sufficiently unpacked)
- Knit and finish one Baby Sweater on Two Needles for Scarlett, starting by November 15
- Start on a TML Jersey for Jason by November 30

All this work will be a serious test of both my knitting abilities and my attention span, which is admittedly short.  It will also help me prepare for another Heart Health Month blog fest come February!!  I am hopeful that the knitting will help with the blog inspirations.

Here is that adorable niece I was talking about.  I think I have just enough Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Terracotta for a sweet little baby sweater.

What are you doing this month?