Wednesday, May 2, 2012

life lately

Why hello again, everyone. I think I have finally returned to the blogging world, and will hopefully be posting on a more regular basis.  Life has been a whirlwind lately -- the wedding is only five months away, and it's truly amazing how many small details rear their heads and make you go berserk: hunting for just the right makeup shades, deciding what kind of flowers I want, figuring out just how many of those tulle bows you'll actually need.  Sometimes it feels a little silly, but I'm excited nonetheless!  I've been running some drama workshops in a nearby school, and getting ready for yet another busy production week!  Another job has also made itself known, and I'll be investigating that further later in the week.  All in all, there have been a lot of things that made me think Man, this would be a great post! but there never are enough hours in the day, are there?  I also got tagged in an "eleven questions post", which will arrive on the blog soon!  In the meantime, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the last few weeks, because the blog needs a little visual interest at the moment.

I turned twenty-two on April 28th! It was fun times, and my mom made a delicious chocolate and vanilla mousse cake.

Doesn't Shawn make you just want to take a nap?  I think he must be the World's Most Comfortable Dog.

This adorable pooch is Oakley.  He belongs to our neighbours.  I think he spends the majority of his time wishing he could come over and play with Pip -- properly that is.  They always run up and down the fence together.

A lazy day for Pip.  Warm blankets and cuddles with his Grandpa Smurf.  We didn't even arrange this photo, which is the best part.

Spring has arrived!  I love seeing the blossoms starting on the trees, and the super fat robins waddling about on the lawn.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

i am not dead.

I promise that I am still present in the blogosphere, and that I am, in fact, alive.  Real posts are on the way!

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of a mama llama and her almost-brand-new baby llama. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

colourful february

Even when February is mild, like ours has been (for the most part), the colours are always so drab and depressing.  At its best, the grass is soggy, brown, and yellow.  There is mud everywhere.  No leaves, no flowers.  Leftover slush.  In other words, yuck.  At least it's not blizzarding, I suppose.  In any case, I thought I'd bring a splash (literally) of colour into our lives this February, with a few shots from an experiment my younger brother showed us. Basically, you take a bowl of milk, drop in some food colouring, add a little dish soap in the middle, and voila, a beautiful swirly pattern is formed.  It even looked nice when we dumped it all out!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

a smashing good time

I am a memory collecting addict.  Yes, I am one of those people who keeps almost everything I pick up -- generally paper things though.  Business cards from artists, pamphlets and brochures, tickets from concerts, plays, and movies.  I kept the majority of the notes passed to me in boring high school classes, photobooth pictures, letters from penpals, Valentines from friends and my brothers that harken back to the '90s.  I'm also a journaler, and even though there are those inevitable gaps of a month or two here and there, I've regularly journaled since eighth grade, making that...about eight years.  There are a few problems with this though.  The first is that I have memory box upon memory box that stand in teetering stacks in the basement and in my room (and trust me, there is not nearly enough room in either place for the number of boxes I have).  The other problem is that I've been very concerned about journaling with a "traditional look".  That means cursive writing in black pen only.  Of course I've tucked little keepsakes into the pages, like pressed flowers and leaves, subway tickets from Montreal, even a Yugioh card from a little boy at a camp I counselled.  I realized that as much as I love bygone eras, I'm not a part of them.  Of course I still draw influence from them, but there are plenty of things from my own generation that I love.  And when I came across these Smash Journals, which are essentially a notebook meant to keep all of those bits of ephemera in one place, I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to get out of my left-brained journaling rut, condense my memory boxes, and have a place to collect memories of my own time.  I have to say, that while I'm not nearly as messy (the good kind of messsy) when it comes to scrapbooking as a lot of other people, the fact that I'm overlapping corners is a big step for me.  Plus, there are so many cool products, like journaling spots, date stamps, funky tape, and pockets from Smash that it makes it that much more fun!  So here's a few of the pages I've been working on in the past couple weeks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the voracious reader

As I'm sure everyone knows, I love to read.  But every now and then, I go through a phase where all I want to do is read, and that isn't really an exaggeration.  Usually it starts when I come across a really good book, and I motor my way through it, until I'm left with that deflated feeling of, "Now what?"  Because you know, I have a hard time slowing down when a book is exciting, so it's always over much too soon.  So then I go hunting for another really good book, and when I finish that one, I look for another, and the cycle continues on and on into oblivion until I've read myself out and take a bit of a break.  And by "break", I really mean I find a book to read that is good, but not so good that I literally can't put it down.

It was the Hunger Games that started my current reading jubilee.  I read the trilogy in under a week, and am now going through it a second time, reading it aloud to Luke.  But reading the same books twice isn't quite satisfying when you're in the reading zone.  So I picked up a book that had been sitting on my shelf for probably three or four months (if not more): The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.  I'd picked it up from the bargain section of Chapters because I'd read one of her other books, Nefertiti.  I loved the latter, so I figured I would love the other one, but I wasn't in the right "mood" for it at the time (just like I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird, hated it, picked it up a year later, and absolutely loved it).  I guess I was in a better mindset for it, because I zipped through it, reading late into the night, and immediately put in a hold at the library for one of her other books, Cleopatra's Daughter.

I will admit I am usually skeptical of historical fiction.  It usually takes that one slip up that turns me off completely, and I can't read any further.  Now, I don't mean artistic liberties, because when it comes to writing about actual historical figures, particularly from ancient times, you absolutely have to.  I mean, you wouldn't have much of a book if you confined yourself to only what is known "for sure".  What I mean by slip ups, is when someone in Victorian London says, "Wow, that's so cool!"

I think Michelle Moran gets a lot of flack for taking artistic liberties.  At least, that's what I've gathered from reviews I've read on her books.  I think she does it well though, and she makes a point of mentioning in a historical note at the end of the book the key things that she changed and why.  It's kind of like how I've always wanted to write a story from the perspective of King Tut's wife, Ankhesenamun, after Tut's death.  If I'm writing a book that's meant to be dramatic, suspenseful, and borderline thriller, am I going to go with the accepted theory that Tut died from infection caused by a broken leg, or the more exciting murder theory?  Frankly guys, I'm going to go with the murder, but I'm not going to walk around pretending like that is definitely what happened.  I also detest when readers try to thrust their 21st century feminist agendas on historical fiction.  Please don't whine about the fact that Nefertari, the heroine of Heretic Queen, is in competition with Iset to win the affections and favour of Pharaoh Ramesses II, because that's how it was. Can we not just read things in context?!

I wouldn't go so far as to say this is the best that contemporary literature has to offer.  But I will say that for popular lit, it's pretty darn good, and I love the life she brings to these truly fascinating women of the ancient world.   managed to get me totally obsessed with Ancient Egypt and Rome all over again (this happens about once or twice a year, and has since I was about eight).  It makes me glad that I've invested in a few non-fiction books on the subject too.  But I'm afraid soon I'll be making a departure from the ancient world, in favour of Moran's novel about Madame Tussaud.  Exciting!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

wings of paradise

Today my mom, my younger brother (Jesse), and I made the short trek out to our local butterfly conservatory.  I used to go there once a year with my area class (an enrichment school program) back in elementary school, and I loved it.  The last time I went was with my friend Anna a couple years ago.  Even though it really hasn't changed at all, it's still a different experience every time.  When I went with Anna, the butterflies were very sleepy, and actually rather hard to come by.  This time they were buzzing (not literally) with life.  A few of them attached to themselves to my mom and brother, and one latched onto my shirt and showed no signs of letting go until I eased him onto a plant.  I think he was a little desperate, because he had just come out of his chrysalis, and his wings hadn't yet unfolded all the way.  You can see something similar in the shot of my mom with her butterfly friend.  There was also a big, pretty yellow one that landed on my camera!  It flew away before my mom could take a picture on her phone though, which was too bad.  It was nice to get a few hours of reprieve from the cold though -- they have to keep it very warm in the conservatory for the butterflies, birds, and tropical plants.

Monday, January 30, 2012

catching up...slowly but surely

I am embarrassed to say this, but I totally fell off the 365 day photo project wagon.  Wedding planning swept me up into a hurricane of dress shopping, hall booking, and wedding blog surfing.  I know.  It's terrible.  But I'm determined to hop back on and get caught up.  So, my mom suggested that I do two a day: one from where I left off (in November -- eeeeek!), and one from the current date.  So it sort of messes my days up, but whatever.  So I'm just going to write the date that I took the image, and the date that it was meant for.  Hopefully it's not too confusing.

January 28, 2012 (November 16, 2011) - Empty
A brand new journal, waiting to be filled.  I have a lot of those.

January 28, 2012 (the real one) -- Funny
I've started collecting Sock Monkeys.  They just look like they have a great sense of humour, don't they?

January 29, 2012 (November 17, 2011) -- Irony
Shawn is turning fourteen in February.  It's ironic that of all our dogs, he has been the one with the most problems (cancer, bladder infections, losing weight for no apparent reason, etc.), and yet he's the one that has lasted the longest.

January 29, 2012 -- Dumb
No, your eyes do not deceive you.  The pictures are purple.  I put in an order of 400+ photographs (yes, you read that number correctly), only to return my black and white shots because they were green.  The colour shots looked all right.  Then, the photo lab technician tells us that they were having problems with their all my pictures turned purple in about a month.  Most labs would shut down if they were having chemical issues. So. Dumb.

January 30, 2012 (November 18, 2011) -- Sound
I love this picture.  For Christmas, my mom gave me this little vintage-inspired music box that plays one of the songs from Nutcracker (the name escapes me right now).  Underneath it, she had folded up, very, very tiny, a ticket to go see the Nutcracker the next week.  It's so pretty, and even though Christmas is over, I still play it.

January 30, 2012 -- Reward
For the dogs of course...not for me.