Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Kicking Gandhi off the front page

I am ashamed to see that Gandhi is (was) still my front page item, months after writing. It makes me feel cheap, like I’m using him for fame, fortune, blog hits, or cool points among young people who travel to India. Then I worry that even by including his name in the title of this post, and in the post itself, I’m perpetuating this emotional weakness. Small steps, right?

Goodness knows the real issue is that life is busy and I have consciously put my blog aside in a bid to survive this current stage of life with some sanity in tact. I can almost see a light, a place where I can switch my neurotic attention to some other things, and where the guilt of take out containers doesn’t work its way into my dreams.

In the meantime, it gives me great comfort to know that all ye faithful bloggers are out there pounding the virtual pavement – kicking ass and taking names. Thank you!

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July 16, 2012 Posted by | Irritated, Law, Writing | , , | 4 Comments

A Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, or Don’t be an Ass

Dear Bus riders:

Thank you for riding buses. They are not always the most convenient option, sometimes they smell or they’re slow or fellow riders make less than surreptitious noises or engage you in conversations too deep for morning commuting. You’ve made sacrifices and you want them recognized. I understand. I too have been coughed on, driven past, glared at, or almost run over. But today I plead with you, ask not what your bus ride can do for you, but what you can do for your bus ride.

Just because you’re angry you don’t have a car to drive to work when it’s completely unnecessary or to go to your friend’s house to do things other than empower the homeless or combat the AIDS epidemic (in which cases a car would be needed for the pamphlets, bullhorns and information in your brain), does not mean you have to be a bus nincompoop. Don’t take your bus ride frustrations out on your fellow riders!

In case you’re unsure whether you’re a bus nincompoop, I’ve assembled this Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, alternatively titled “Don’t be an Ass”:

  1. Be polite to the bus driver. Heck, say “hello” “good morning” or “thank you for putting up with my ilk”.
  2. Your purse does not need a seat. Neither do your backpack, pocket dog, feet, and chia pet.
  3. Before you step on the bus put your sense of personal space in the roof-top storage bin – there’s no place for it on that bus (my apologies to the Queen Mum).
  4. Unless you’re Rosa Parks, move to the back of the bus.
  5. Don’t stand needlessly in that hallowed spot by the midway door/release hatch. You will block people getting out, block people getting to the back (see #s 4, 6,and 8), and block people’s ability to remain non-homicidal. You are not Superman. You do not need to be able to leap out at every stop in a single bound.
  6. For the aforementioned make-a-better-concrete-block-than-a-pathway sort of reason, do NOT move to the midway door/release hatch until the bus leaves your penultimate stop. If it’s not going to take you a week and a half to get to the door and you’re not about to upchuck, stay put.
  7. Evacuate your seat (not on your seat) for elderly people, people with children, people looking like they’re struggling, and people looking around desperately for a seat. Hidden disabilities are every bit as real as visible ones.
  8. In case you missed it before or thought it didn’t apply to you: move to the back of the bus! The guy outside freezing his, uh, whiskers off, has as much right to be on the bus as you do.
  9. Unless you are hard of hearing, turn your music down. If we wanted to go to a Taylor Swift concert on a bus, we would borrow some strangers, then rent a bus and a Taylor Swift impersonator.
  10. If you’re still struggling with that personal space thing (#3) — don’t! (…unless people have in the past or are now abusing your personal space – in which case, do what you will).
  • Consider Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life. When riding the bus, you live in a house like the Catholic house. Kids are in the cupboards, swinging from the rafters and piled on the furniture like folded laundry.  When you get off the bus, you can live in the Protestant house with a 10-feet-between-people-at-all-times-except-for-the-conceiving-of-children ethic.
  • Expect this (the first minute should suffice):
  • Not this:
  1. And finally, making room for others does not mean forming a single line down the aisle and shrugging your shoulders at the guy standing outside freezing his, uh, whiskers off. Plug the gaps, shuffle, MAKE SOME FREAKING ROOM.

Sincerely,

Rose

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Bad TV References, Community, Irritated, Travel and intrigue | , , , , | 16 Comments

Woe is Blog

Dear Readers,

The time has come for me to admit a problem.

I am halfway done my semester and about 10% done all the work I will have to do to be finished. (insert English alarm bell sounds here). That’s a bad thing. Not unusual, but bad. A huge paper for a professor I really respect, a large-ish assignment and 3 exams in classes I have done almost nothing for loom large. I have been at my most distracted, no thanks to my rejuvenated blogging and blog-reading effort. I am burnt out. There are a million ways to be ineffective. However, many of them involve the computer. Things I’m not supposed to be learning are just so very interesting. This is difficult when work also involves the computer.

I realize these are privileged, poor educated self types of problems. I am a truly decadent whiner. I can only hope to be a more useful and less self-absorbed being in 6 weeks. Right now it’s all I can do to keep fed and watered.

So I’m bringing some new rules into effect. These rules are boring and you don’t need to know about them, except that if I tell you I am more likely to be accountable. So here you go, lucky for you.

1. I am only allowed to blog twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays me thinks, but don’t hold me to it) between now and December 16th. 😦

2. I am only allowed to read and comment on people’s blogs as well as check for responses to my comments three times a week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday?).

3. The only other time I am allowed to sign on to wordpress is to respond to comments. (eep) I can do this whenever (quickly, without looking at other tempting items).

Please forgive my lower level of blog-ocity.

Sincerely,

Rose (the brain weary)

P.S. Even after this period is over, I am going to have to determine some sort of blog boundary. While I think it’s fabulous to indulge in something I enjoy so much, I have to find a better balance than losing myself in people’s blogs and random Internet searches for two hours a day every day for eternity. Learning is good but so is not sitting in a chair. Wish me luck!

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Self-reflection | , , | 10 Comments

Minimalism and Making Room for Rice

I have been itching to tackle consumption and minimalism in a post for some time and putting off actually doing the tackling. A recent blog post by Karim Osman that generated many comments got me back in gear. It discussed the merits of minimalism and emphasized getting rid of things, purging, clearing out and otherwise freeing your material and digital self. There are after all environmental, financial, and personal reasons to keep it simple. He wrote:

Back then I spend most of my money on clothes and footwear. Yet I never knew what to wear and always wanted something new. Over the years I lost my obsession and went from 50 to 6 pair of shoes. Do you still remember which shoes you had 5 years ago? Not really right? That’s how “important” they were to you. Remember the trip you did with your family or friends 5 years ago? You probably do! It was definitely worth spending money on that because it’s something you’d never forget.

I generally agree, though I think there is something to be said for keeping some generally useful but unused things when they aren’t getting in your way. A costume box/ridiculous items of clothing, a couple of dresses that I can rarely wear places, blankets, and buckets come to mind. The used Tupperware veggie-serving tray I bought two years ago that has not yet been used could probably go. But it doesn’t have to if I think I will be out buying a new one within a year to serve the same purpose. Of course, if that serving tray starts dictating that a larger home is in order, it’s time to reevaluate.

Purging is great, but the biggest problem on my list of modern temptations I deem sinful, is that we’re as good or better at accumulating things again than we are getting rid of them.

But what I’d like to take to task is the questioning look, spark of anger, or downright disdain for those who work hard to get life down to the necessities plus a few items of great pleasure, and stay there; those who want to avoid buying new stuff; or those who limit the luxuries available to their kids (while they can). People seem pretty quick to judge those that make an effort not to consume. There are minimalist-types who are preachy about their life choices and that can be annoying and inspire retaliation – that’s not really what I mean. I’m more concerned about the general belief system that underlies the uninvited judgment on those who try to keep it simple.

A Globe and Mail article by Rachel Jonat prompted my original draft. It chronicles the story of her Vancouver family  and illustrates this potential for judgment:

Family and friends have been supportive, skeptical or adamant that we are making a huge mistake. We have been gentle with our words on the subject, and often tell people that it’s not for everyone.

I documented our journey on a blog (theminimalistmom.com)  and found it to be the best way to connect with other minimalist families. There aren’t a lot of us. The home is mostly a female domain and women tend to be shoppers, gatherers and collectors. Deciding to live with less and not spend money as a hobby or an emotional pick-me-up has alienated me from a few friends. While I don’t preach about it in person, several friends have read my thoughts on the subject on my blog and have quietly stopped inviting me to social events. I’m okay with this. My closest friends, regardless of their affinity for minimalism, have been supportive even if they are holding onto over-stuffed closets themselves.

It strikes me as pretty powerful that she’s actually experienced warnings of a “huge mistake” and alienation from friends as a result of this shift but it doesn’t surprise me. Though my life is not nearly as pared down as hers sounds, some of the most awkward times for me have occurred for similar reasons. For example, when I’m talking to a person who loves gadgets, has all the newest technology and thinks that I should too, it can be difficult to explain that I don’t feel the need, would prefer not to spend the money, or like to keep it simple without provoking a defensive reaction or a mild insult. I recognize that this person has no more than many others and I try to be respectful about it, making fun of myself, but that doesn’t cure the discomfort, or sometimes, the judgment.

I’ve certainly taken flak from certain members of my family for discouraging presents, random unnecessary items, and – most prominently – for refusing to buy a rice cooker, of all things. The rice cooker has now become my minimalist logo. I have no moral vendetta when it comes to the little space machines, but to my mind the principle is simple: I need and have pots. Pots cook rice well. Right now I don’t mind getting up to turn down the heat or check whether it’s done. I am not a rice fanatic that could justify to herself the purchase of a rice cooker. I’m sure there are others who reasonably could, like I justify my camera. Likewise, I don’t have a kettle. Pots are good at boiling water, too. However, I continue to receive comments about things like the cooker that would change my life. I’m stubborn, I’m cheap (I am cheap, but that wouldn’t stop me), or I’m a contrarian. Actually, I just really get off on not having stuff I don’t need, and clutter is my mortal enemy.

I am keenly aware, however, that this approach will get more problematic as time marches. I remain unprepared for the battles I might endure if I were to have kids. I’ve got a mental rulebook regarding number of gifts, newness of gifts (used!), questionable nutritional quality of gifts, and pinkness of gifts (unrelated issue) that could really generate some tensions with grandparents and others. I’m positive it will generate closeted criticism, but I guess that’s parenting. Friends of mine have told me about their experiences, including grandparents mourning the loss of their right to spoil and people questioning the quality of life of a 14 month old without a relatively fulsome set of toys.

In case it’s not obvious, that worries me. Are we so concerned with justifying our own stuff that we insist that babies have it all, too? Do we really think that toddlers are missing out on childhood because they have far more toys than they can remember? Is my life less worthy without the rice cooker? Was I put on this earth to annoy people? Do people have some point that I’m just ignoring?

____

Apparently my writing could use some minimalism – my apologies!

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumption, Irritated, News, Waste | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Salsa strikes again!

The great salsa battle of 2010 still haunts me. 3 batches, three significant errors. In fact the errors got worse each time. First there was the small let’s-take-this-slow batch. It tasted good. And once my hands stopped feeling like invisible flames were dancing on them (about a day and a half, after trying water, milk, and oil), I was pretty happy with the result. Too bad I eat salsa like it’s the fountain of youth. It was not long until I was buying tomatoes by the flat again.

The pictures below are from batch two. They reflect what happens when you double all ingredients EXCEPT frigging TOMATOES. It turns out onion salsa is not bad, but also not for the weary.

The last attempt brought me to my knees. They were meant to be the Christmas gift batch. Ahem. I saved my error for the last step, where I did not tighten the jars adequately for fear of buckling the lids, which I’d done the first two times. Well, I will kiss buckled lids next time, because the other end of the spectrum is unpleasant. As soon as I put the jars into the water bath they sucked in 2 centimeters of water like a dog in a toilet bowl.

But don’t I put the jars in one at a time, you ask? Oh yes. I believe I may have even done a visual inspection. But somehow it didn’t occur to me I should stop putting jars in the water and tighten them. I have no idea what I was thinking.  I just kept plunking them in. Then processed them with the water inside. Thinking they probably wouldn’t keep well, since the vinegar was a tad watered down, I froze them and stewed for two months. Eventually I defrosted them one by one, drained them, added vinegar and sugar and ate them quickly, a jar within a few days. It was ego-defeating, less yummy, and workable exclusively for home use.

Magical canning book

They look innocent enough

Washing

Apparently I was cold AND had a sore neck but still optimistic

Finished Product - onions are good, right?

Fast-forward to 2011. I was hoping I’d really maxed out on possible errors for a while. A trip to the Okanagan, the magical fruit bowl of BC, had me stumbling upon good deals for peaches and roma tomatoes. In the case of the romas, cheap = free, grown by my aunt and my mom. Needless to say, I knew I had to take advantage of the flavour of these home-grown beauties.

Peaches being peaches, I did that first. Somehow, I managed to avoid any mishaps! This savoury-sweet salsa has made the “feed to others” list. It’s a miracle! Or is it? Can miracles be down-graded because of subsequent disappointment? A double batch of salsa requiring multiple pots, additional labourers and a huge chunk out of my paper-writing time (not unlike this post) was foiled again. The culprit this time? Adding two tablespoons of sugar instead of two tablespoons of salt! I’m all for salt control, really I am, I don’t use much. But completely saltless salsa is pretty dang … saltless. Seriously. Careless recipe reading strikes again. Thankfully, the salsa is quite edible…once you shake some, you guessed it, salt into it. But putting salting instructions on your salsa certainly takes the fun out of giving it away…

3 hospital food tomato salsas and a tiny peach salsa

Do I give up on this recipe or implement better quality control?

September 11, 2011 Posted by | Consumption, Doing it the hard way, Irritated | , | 1 Comment

Next Stop: Wyoming

As will become increasingly obvious, I didn’t spend enough time anywhere along the journey. What I saw of Wyoming was pretty incredible, but I was only in the western-most sliver. There’s really something to be said for places just east of the rockies, foothills and the like, where you’re far enough to get perspective on the mountains on one side and the prairie on the other. I had only experienced that southeast of Calgary before, but the feeling continues further south. I can’t remember exactly, but we crossed the continental divide an insane number of times, back and forth in Yellowstone National Park and weaving through some crazy valleys later.

My poor calculations about how long it would take to get to Yellowstone from Glacier National Park meant that we arrived at the park gate at about 11pm. A deer had dashed out in front of us, lightening flashed ominously ahead of us, I was keenly aware that we didn’t know the area well and that the park road would not be a freeway. Yet we plowed on, not willing to give up our campsite in the height of summer. Right after taking the first picture, of the park sign, we stopped to consult the map and ran into a ranger. He pulled over to ask us how we were, my paranoia must have been heightened, I thought for sure we were in trouble for something. But we were free. After about 10 minutes of driving my traveling companion passed out and I began imagining grizzly bears dish-like faces appearing in my windshield right before driving of the edge into the ominous darkness on one side of the road. I eventually had to shake the passenger seat to get back to sanity. It was an hour and a half of torture before we got to our campground.

An aside: I’ve begun to realize about myself that pure “nothingness”, as us civilized types might see it, actually sends me into panic. On the one hand, I suppose it just indicates that I’m aware of my weaknesses, my dependence on technology, people who know how to do things, etc. On the other hand, I think it’s sad that if I’m in a remote enough place and there’s only one other person around, I have no sense of security or peace. Lights, structure, and additional people all give me great comfort but my intellectual self says I should just enjoy the wildness.

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Our last stop in Wyoming was Jackson (the hub of the famous Jacksonhole valley), a Banff-like town embedded in the foothills. In the middle of everything and nowhere all at once. Elk racks and wagon wheels decorate the wide streets. In the summer, it felt like a party.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Minor American Roadtrip, Photography, Self-reflection, Travel and intrigue, Wild Animals | 3 Comments

200 Episodes is a Drop in the Productivity Bucket

I cannot tell a lie. The past 3 months have been … unpleasant. And it’s not over yet. [She says as tax snarls at her back, teeth gnashing and saliva swinging (tax can be a nasty beast)]. Aside from the usual difficulties of a scholarly semester, which aren’t quite as bad, at least for me, as for some of my compatriots – I do actually like it, I’ve had some additional set backs. Health, career, extracurricular, and overall mood have not been at their best. I’ve eaten way too much that came into my house the same way it went into my mouth (takeout can be the devil) and been virtually unable to exercise (not because of time). But the point is not the sob story of the last few months that will of course get better.

What I’ve learned is that I have developed very limited means of seeking solace. Being unable to exercise, and finding social interactions unpleasant when I’ve got nothing nice to say, I turn to my partner, good soup, and nostalgic television. I am not so much astonished as surprised at my own ridiculousness to say that when I was sick, when I was winding down before bed or when I was otherwise seeking comfort I turned to one of America’s favourite families.

Seriously. Why I am comforted by syndicated shows I watched as a kid is beyond me. I find present-day sitcoms annoying for all of their canned laughter and forced obviousness. The old ones have all the same failings (except Roseanne, which had no issue being atypical and awkward on a regular basis). I could probably blame it on my TV childhood, but I don’t know if that’s exactly it either.

The Point? I have watched the entire 8 seasons of The Cosby Show in 3 months. All of it! Well, everything available; there are portions of about 6 episodes that are not available online in Canada. To be fair, half of this happened while I was sick and couldn’t really do anything else but I don’t think I have ever engaged in such a horrendous use of downtime. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot I love about the Cosby Show, it could be elitest and ridiculous sometimes but there are many great moments and fun to be had. And how many prime-time TV shows talk in depth about young women getting their first periods, the March on Washington, or Shakespeare? But I am no less inclined to get depressed after a bout of TV then I used to be. There’s no winning.

This is the part of the post where I insert a clip but since I just wasted another 20 minutes not finding what I’m looking for and I can smell the odious breath of tax, I’ll leave it at that.

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Bad TV References, Brackets, Irritated, Law, Self-reflection | 5 Comments

Warning! Lecture Zone: Generalize at your own risk

There is one blanket statement that I can accept: “Blanket statements are the devil.”

The Dictionary of Rose, 30th ed., 2011 defines blanket statement as “a jerk-bum method of communicating that involves stereotyping to the nth degree and lumping the worst of anything in with the best and the averagest anythings.”

Clear? Probably not. What I am getting at is our willingness, me included, to say things that we don’t really mean. I’m talking about things beyond light-hearted exaggeration and sarcasm (though maybe we – yes, as a people – are far too willing to be insincere and coy rather than directly saying how we feel about something or someone). Call me some sort of accuracy fascist, or hater of artistic license, but I think casual society (how’s that for a phrase?) and the language pendulum have gone too far.  It’s just too cool to slam, disavow, and point out the worst. Criticism has its place but we should also be capable of giving positive feedback, and recognizing strengths, beauty and wonder.

Aside: I have been known to be hyper-critical in my day and I will acknowledge this. I can definitely overdo it, and focus more on the negative than the positive, though I’m learning I cannot hold a candle to some.

But my point is not our willingness to criticize. My real issue is one specific symptom of this critical culture: the earlier mentioned blanket statement. To achieve the desired effect of our statement, do we really need to say or imply that all X are/do/have Y? Really? How has language arrived at this place? Has it always been this way?

Essentially, I think we’re (often) too happy to make these all or nothing statements without acknowledging exceptions. Granted, you cannot follow every sentence with “well, not everybody.” But is there any reason we can’t use words like “sometimes” or “on Tuesdays” or “I feel like”? Heaven forbid we occasionally go so far as to say, “maybe I’m wrong but…” or “ it seems, in some cases”!

I could get over it. Just words, right? Sticks and stones and all that. However, I think carelessness with language has real harms. It stifles debate (because if you’re wasting time responding to garbage, you don’t get to make a real point) and contributes to the type of hyperbolic non-conversation that has been so damaging for example in recent American political debate. On a touchy feely level, it also just hurts sometimes or at the very least it annoys me – always (oops, there I go). Observe the table:

Statement Accuracy Level harm-unfairness-annoyance
Wool is itchy Not true The wool industry suffers from your negligent statement and what about lovely merino?
Women love shoes and shopping Not true If I don’t love shoes and shopping, I’m not a “real” woman
Canada is cold in winter Mostly true, but not everywhere, all the time When you travel to Antarctica in January people might say at least it’s not Canada
Lawyers have to work long hours to succeed Not true If you can’t work 80 hours a week due to life, family obligations or a disability, you  can’t be a lawyer. Too bad!
Mr. T is a useless teacher Not true Useless is pretty strong and I learned things from Mr. T
Canadian water is pristine Potable in most places, but not everywhere It ignores that numerous small communities and First Nations are often exposed to e.coli and other issues
Middle-aged white guys are all bad Not true We’d all be missing out on the lovely middle-aged white guys out there

While my examples aren’t serious, I am. Really, horrendously, embarrassingly serious. I cannot think of a time when a generalization has done any good. Let’s get comfortable with uncertainty and subtlety. Everything has a context and maybe we should be spending a little more time giving context to what we say. Maybe people are also more likely not to misconstrue our statements if we explain what we mean more fully. Or maybe not. See how I did that?

PS: I’m very interested in being/willing to be called out on this. Please.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Bad TV References, Brackets, Childhood Complaints, Irritated, News, Wild Animals | | 4 Comments

Today, I’m spouting the F-word

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’m giving a quick shout out to feminism in all its stripes. A great deal, too much maybe, has been said about feminism. I can’t pretend that I will add anything of use to the commentary, but I’ll write all the same. It’s too important and I silence myself too often (cause ladies do that sort of thing). Consider this the pablum/coles notes version of my perspective on feminism. Maybe if I use the word feminism enough, people will stop going into shock when they  hear/read it – ambitious, I guess.

Feminists are accused of being man-haters, or impliedly worse, lesbians at one extreme (when all else fails, throw in a little homophobia) or passé people stuck in the 60s on the other. Here comes my radical thesis: men and women have not reached a place of substantive equality in Canada or elsewhere. Until they do, anyone who cares about the gap can call themselves a feminist in my opinion (p.s. This includes men!). While the social and economic gap between men and women is starker in other countries around the world, it is still very alive here in Canada.

1) First I’d like to touch on the 3 part myth  of women, oft perpetuated in literature, TV, and our own peanut-sized brains. Women are often portrayed as either

  • the mother: wholesome and nutritious, good for feeding and cuddling
    • undertone: boring at parties, unattractive
  • the virgin: virtuous and innocent, good for marrying and bearing offspring
    • undertone: stupid, easily led astray, frigid
  • the whore: dirty and knowing, comes out at night, good for sex and seedy pleasures
    • undertone: can’t take her to business functions, diseased and depraved

No person is this one-dimensional yet these myths continue to shape our thinking. The law still often relies on these myths. Which takes me to my next point:

2) Sexual assault. It sucks and nobody likes to talk about it, but it happens. And sexual assault (which in Canadian law includes rape but means in essence any unwanted sexual touching) is very  much a gendered thing. Overwhelmingly, it is women that experience sexual assault. For me, this is the most obvious reason why feminism has a ton of work left to do. Only because women are more socially vulnerable and seen as less worthy of respect do they experience the brunt of sexual violence. Feminist women and men have to do a much better job talking about why all sexual violence is unacceptable. I should leave this topic to people who are much more convincing, but I can’t without also mentioning that sexual crime is horrifically unreported arguably in large part due to the legal system’s willingness, accompanied by the general public, to blame the victims of sexual violence (the “she was asking for it” defence):

3) Many people have heard about the gender wage gap. In Canada, despite more women becoming executives, filling other high-paying positions, and attending post-secondary institutions in record numbers, there remains a gap between the average woman’s wage and the average man’s. Some would say that this is because more women stay home to raise children and do lower paying work. Both of these things are true. Though there are many problems with those arguments, I will only raise a couple here. Maybe part of the reason women are more likely to stay home with children is that they don’t make as much money. If a two-parent family is going to make a choice, it is often on that basis. Secondly, work that is traditionally done by women is undervalued (child care is a fine example). And,  unlike in some jurisdictions, families in Canada receive no incentive to equalize child care responsibilities between women and men. Some have said that access to child care for low to middle-income families is one of the biggest barriers to equality (note: I am not suggesting that anyone who chooses to stay home with their children is doing anything wrong, but I can’t ignore that among the poorest Canadians, this choice becomes very difficult).

This British video does a fantastic job of touching on some of the ways that women experience the world differently than men:

It almost softens me to the fact that the Bond franchise uses women like a sexual circus side-show. There I said it. It’s good to get that one off my chest.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, Childhood Complaints, Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Law, News | , | 3 Comments

The Rotten Fruits of my Labour

A self-hater would stop working so that she can spend four days painting right before Christmas. Yep, it was awesome. First victim = kitchen. Goal 1: Somehow tone down/neutralize that painful 90s powder blue paint, counter and tile. Brown methinks.

Kitchen - before

Kitchen - before

Admittedly, my before pictures are pretty akin to those pictures you see in brutal ads that compare the non-made up, no hair style pre-bowflex/ab-cruncher/whonoswhut person with a glamour model. I am not trying to sway the audience of two, I just forgot to take the pictures sooner. Now for the bedroom. Goal 2: Teenage vindication against the white-ish wall.

Bedroom - before

Bedroom - before

Alas, this is where the joy in this post ends. Against all my convictions, I did not follow my paint instincts. Lesson learned. Our bathrooms also have the horrid powder blue counters but the cupboards are brown and this works okay for me. I wanted to do the same brown in the kitchen but was warned numerous times of making the room too dark. I heard it enough that I actually took heed. But how, I ask, can I possibly become less stubborn if it doesn’t pay off to listen to people? Now it looks “contemporary 90s” – and slightly purple. And the tile still has to go.

Kitchen - after

Kitchen - after

After the kitchen disappointment – it’s fine, but I’m not loving it like I love the creamsicle – I started on the bedroom. Yup, I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. For those of you wondering, there’s something vindicating about smearing a blood look-alike on your walls. Maybe that’s just me.

Such a rebel

On the up side, the bedroom is the colour I intended. Downside? It was the most impossible paint in the world. 3 days and 4 – yes 4 (grr) – coats later there are more offensive bloody drips and other errors to constitute some sort of indictable paint offence. I even managed to get the carpet. Of course, I could have prevented some of this by priming. All tolled, there is a significant damper on my toil. But in low lighting and after all of those caveats I do like it.

Bedroom - after

I’ve also developed a sympathy for realty photographers. It is impossible to make a room look normal without the appropriate lens.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Wild Animals | , | 2 Comments