Family ties

April 27, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Posted in family | 4 Comments

My mother’s family is from the Buffalo, NY, area. I have aunts and cousins who live in Rochester, NY, and tons of relatives in North Tonawanda, NY. I’ve lived in Toronto for going on two years and I’ve visited my relatives once — and they’re just a hop, skip and a jump across the lake. In the meantime, one of my cousins has gotten married, one has had a baby, one of my cousin’s wives is pregnant with twins, and there has been some kind of celebratory gathering surrounding each of those events. I’ve been invited to all of them and I just haven’t gone. I haven’t seen my grandparents in upwards of five years. So, this weekend it’s another cousin’s bridal shower, and I finally caved and said I’d go. It’s not that I dislike my relatives — on the contrary, this cousin, her parents, and her brother are some of my favorite people on earth — but just that family gatherings are such a challenge for me.

My nuclear family is just me, my brother, and our parents. My dad is a pretty solitary guy, and I like being alone, too. I guess we all do, really. Growing up, we just didn’t see any extended family members that often, as most of them live in New York or England. My uncle, who lives in West Palm Beach, FL, is the relative I’ve seen the most often, and even as a kid, I’d bring a book when we went to his place for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Before and after dinner, I’d retire to the living room or an empty bedroom to read while everyone else was in the pool or on the patio. When I got older, I still brought a book, but I also fortified myself with alcohol, which makes any social event that much more bearable. I guess I like to have a barrier, whether it’s textual, textile (I am so bringing my knitting this weekend), or alcoholic, between myself and others.

I know how that sounds, how it makes me seem like I don’t like people, and there’s a part of me that doesn’t, in the sense that I don’t love all people just because they happen to exist. I like being by myself, I’ve never been into team sports; I didn’t even want to join Daisies in kindergarten, I imagine because it meant that I’d have to spend lots of time with other kids. But the people I do like, I love. My friends are the most important people in the world to me, and I genuinely enjoy hanging out with my parents and, as we get older, my brother. It’s just so hard to have to perform for a group of people I don’t really know that well, to be outgoing and witty and charming, to have to watch my language and just generally be on my best behavior, when all I want to do is grab a beer and a book and sit in a corner.


I’m kind of an idiot

April 26, 2007 at 8:43 am | Posted in random | 2 Comments

I shaved half of one leg in the shower this morning, then got distracted and didn’t finish the job.


April 25, 2007 at 11:58 am | Posted in blog | 1 Comment

I finally posted some pictures:
Shiny things

I’ve actually been able to do the things I love since school’s over. I developed 4 rolls of film last weekend, including 2 from the Don Valley Brick Works, which was soooo cool. I’ve printed a couple of them and I’ll scan them if I get a chance. But really they’re much better in person than on a screen!

School, wine snobs, the Who

April 17, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Posted in school, sloppy drunk | 1 Comment

1. I am finally fucking done with school. It feels fantastic. I’m sure that the I-don’t-have-a-job panic will set in soon, but for now, I’m just enjoying having free time again. I mean, I haven’t even been in the darkroom in weeks!

2. I hate wine snobs. Admittedly, I’m a total book snob and a bit of a beer snob (Portland, OR, educated), but wine snobs are the worst. Why shouldn’t an $8 bottle of wine be decent? I didn’t ask if it was the best, dude*, I just asked if you’d heard anything about it and whether it was ok. No need to be all, “Uh, it’s $8.45. What do you expect” about it. I’m drinking it right now and it tastes fine to me! Clearly, I will never be a sommelier, but as long as I’m happy, what difference does it make? There’s no need to try to make me feel like a cheap-ass, cause it’s not going to work and only makes you look like a douchebag.

3. I have this song stuck in my head. It’s The Kids are Alright by The Who. (I considered writing that like this: ‘I have a The Who song stuck in my head: The Kids are Alright,’ but then I couldn’t decide if it was ‘a The Who’ or ‘a Who’ or what, so I changed it up a bit. I’m flexible like that.) It’s the kind of song that, when it plays when my iPod’s on shuffle, I tend to skip it. It sounds kind of Beatles- or Beach Boys-esque, and while there’s nothing wrong with that — they’re two of my favorite bands — I also kind of feel like there’s a time and a place for that music. Lately, I haven’t been interested in listening to ’60s music. But this goddamn song is so catchy and now it’s just going around and around in my head. Stop. Please.

* The guy at the LCBO.

On Chesil Beach

April 16, 2007 at 10:44 pm | Posted in books | 2 Comments

I have loved Ian McEwan since I read Atonement, during the summer of 2003, when I was horrendously depressed and felt like nothing would ever be right again. I was spending a few weeks at our house in Georgia, and during the summer, there are two things we do: hike and read. I must have read 50 books in just a couple of weeks. Atonement was one of them, and Headlong, by Michael Frayn, was another. Those are the only two books I remember from that summer.

I loved Atonement because it was well-written and because it was a good story, because things unfolded slowly and then quickly and then slowly again, and you’re lulled into believing that everything is alright, until you’re not any more. Since, I think I’ve read every single thing McEwan has written, but I haven’t loved any of them the way I’ve loved Atonement. On Chesil Beach was no exception. I liked it; I like all of his books because he’s a good writer. Never a fan of the Nicholas Sparks “everything will turn out alright” genre, I love (love) the way McEwan infuses everything with that twisting, slowly turning sense of the macabre: most of the time, you don’t even realize that everything is wrong, that somewhere you detoured, until you just do. Nothing is sacred, particularly not marriage; not even parental or sibling relationships are free of that distortion. The Cement Garden is, in my mind, the most disturbing of his books, the most truly sick. But at the same time, it’s captivating and beautiful and impossible to put down.

Anyway. On Chesil Beach. It’s the story (short, too) of a young couple on their wedding night. It’s 1962, it’s England, and they’ve never slept together. The young man of the couple has been waiting desperately for the moment he can finally know his wife. The young woman, however, has an innate disgust for all things sexual and is absolutely horrified at the thought of consummating her marriage. I can’t even imagine getting married without sleeping with that person first, and I think that one of the most striking things about this book — indeed, about most of McEwan’s novels — is that it takes place in a time at once so close to and so far removed from our own. I don’t know. As I’ve already said, I liked this book but I didn’t love it. I wish it had been longer; I wish it had explored the couple’s relationship in a more conclusive way (I don’t want to say too much!).

Don’t bother to read this. I’m just rambling.

April 12, 2007 at 9:45 pm | Posted in life | Leave a comment

Ok, so sometimes I actually have a lot of things that I want to write about, but I’m not sure if I should cause they’re not funny or even amusing. They might not even be interesting. But I guess they’re what I’ve been consumed with lately, and it helps me to figure things out by writing them down.

I am done with graduate school on Tuesday of next week. Two years ago, when I was applying for this program — actually, by this point I think I’d been accepted and was deciding to go or not — I had one of those flippant sort of I-don’t-want-to-analyze-this-any-more thoughts, and brushed aside any doubts that I had about library school or archives and told myself, By the time you’re done with the program, you’ll have figured it out. Surely, a job will have presented itself/you’ll have met someone and the decision about where to live will be made for you/you’ll be dead and none of it will matter anyway. Well, short of me getting hit by a bus between now and Tuesday, none of those things have come to pass. I don’t have a full-time job lined up; I haven’t been drawn to one specific locale by a person or a position.

What am I going to do now? That’s a question I ask myself every day, every hour, every minute. My entire waking life is consumed with that question and its colleagues: what am I going to do now? where am I going to live? what will my future be? I’m not Canadian; without a study permit extension I can’t stay here past the first of August. I hate Miami, my hometown, and I don’t want to live there again. I’m in this limbo, the limbo of the unknown, the unfamiliar, the fucking terrifying, and I don’t like it one bit. I’ve lived in Miami, Portland, Miami again, and now Toronto, and each time I’ve moved, it’s been scary. Each time, I’ve survived, I’ve learned things about myself and my habits, I’ve gone through the process of making new friends and learning new driving/public transit routes, I’ve learned a new vocabulary: how to pronounce “Spadina” and “Dundas” and nicknames like “T-dot” and “PDX.” I’ve learned that you can’t go home again because your parents moved and you no longer have a bedroom. I’ve learned that no matter where you go, you’ll always be a product of your upbringing and your hometown. But what has this education been for? Why do I keep doing this to myself? These have been my choices; no one forced me to go all the way across the country for college, though I wouldn’t say that my parents discouraged it. No one suggested that I move to Canada for grad school. I find it hilarious that it’s me who makes these choices. I don’t consider myself a brave person. I am not a gregarious extrovert who makes friends easily, and I’ve been known to walk miles in order to have to avoid looking like an idiot on an unfamiliar bus route. And still, I choose these unfamiliar cities, places where I know no one, in spite of this almost unspeakable urge to put down roots and get a cat.

So, what the fuck am I doing? I have no idea.

I’m so fucking bored

April 12, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Posted in life, school | 1 Comment

I seriously didn’t think I would have time to be bored this week.  But I am: I turned in my practicum report, found out that my online information retrieval paper isn’t due until Monday, and I’m pretty much done with my cataloguing final.  I mean, I could go to work… I’m debating it.  If I go in now, I probably won’t have to go in tomorrow.  But I really want to go home and take a nap.

I totally forgot to watch ANTM last night.  How lame is that?  I guess I was busy or something with school work, but you’d think I’d remember to take a break to watch it.

Ok, this post is boring even me.

Sleep tight

April 10, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Posted in life | 4 Comments

Lots of people are traveling this summer — Lorien’s going to Germany, Alli’s going to China/South Korea/Vietnam, Annetta’s going to Slovenia, Tamara’s going to Japan — and the most traveling I’ll be doing is when I (inevitably and miserably) move back home to Miami. I wouldn’t say that I’m jealous, or even envious, of my friends, though. The thought of traveling kind of makes me want to take a nap — the hostels, the language barriers, the strange food, the uncomfortable beds (see: the hostels), the carrying of the luggage — I want no part of any of that. I know, I know, traveling is about so much more than that, and having done a bit of traveling, I am well aware of those things. But still, the negatives are all I can think of when I consider it. I’m pretty sure that because my future is so uncertain, because I don’t have a job lined up and because I don’t know where I’m going to be living in a few months, I just have no interest in stirring things up any more than usual.

So, in the curmudgeonly spirit of Scrooge, I have a little travel story to tell my friends, a cautionary tale that will hopefully teach them the lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Last spring, Lorien and I went to Montreal for the weekend. We took the overnight bus and arrived at 7 am, exhausted and dirty. We headed straight for the hostel, where they were kind enough to let us crash on air mattresses before check in. The air mattresses were in the dorm rooms, and there were a few guys sleeping in the room I was put in. I plopped down on the air mattress and curled up under my blazer, and started to doze off. Right before I fell asleep, one of the guys draped a hostel blanket over me for added warmth. I slept for a few hours and woke up, feeling a hell of a lot better. I put the blanket back on the bed it came from, put the mattress up against the wall, and headed out to find Lorien.

The rest of the weekend passed by pretty quickly and soon we returned to Toronto. About a week and a half after we came back, I started getting these weird itchy bumps on my arms and legs. I was at work and I was complaining about them, saying that I would wake up in the morning with a new one (or two or three), and since I wasn’t allergic to anything, I couldn’t figure out what they were. One of my coworkers suggested bedbugs, and I was horrified.


I couldn’t have bedbugs; I’ve never had lice and mosquitoes don’t even like me that much. I checked out the symptoms online, and sure enough, my bites fit the description. But how had I gotten bedbugs? I hadn’t even been out of Toronto in — . Oh. Wait. Yes, I had. I’d been to Montreal, and I’d stayed in the hostel and… and as I thought about Montreal and the hostel, my mind flashed to a bird’s-eye view of me, lying on the air mattress, my jacket over me, the blanket on top of it… the blanket. The hostel blanket, the ratty hostel blanket that looked like it hadn’t been washed in, well, in forever. The ratty hostel blanket that had been over my jacket, the jacket that I’d worn the entire time we were there.

I did what any Internet savvy kid would do — I googled the shit out of those bedbugs. In 2 hours, I became an expert on the subject. I also went to a doctor, who told me that the bites were probably from bedbugs, because they were of the telltale three in a row variety, which they call “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” in the biz (bite, scratch at it, repeat as necessary). However, he wasn’t one hundred percent sure that they were bedbug bites, and neither was I, as I hadn’t actually seen a single bug.

When I got home that day, I ripped the sheets off my bed. I pulled at the mattress, peering into the crevices and seams, looking for droppings, larvae (fucking disgusting, eh?), or the little spots of blood that are signs of an infestation. The bugs themselves are usually not spotted, because they are small and nocturnal and wily little bastards. I got my little hand-held vacuum and started working on the mattress, vacuuming the entire thing even though I couldn’t see anything. I pulled the mattress away from the wall and continued pulling and peering and vacuuming, and that’s when I saw it.

A larva.

A squirming, writhing, nasty little larva. Just one, but one is all it takes to make me go into full freak-out mode. I am generally not a squeamish person, but I have had too many maggot encounters in my life, and the thought or sight of those little fuckers just makes me want to die. I’m not entirely sure what I did then, because I’ve blocked it out of my memory, but I think I screamed, cried, called my mom, screamed and cried some more, and made her stay on the phone until I was done vacuuming.

I got off pretty easy — I only had about 10 bites and I figured out early on what they were. I vacuumed my bed and my suitcase, washed all of my sheets, and put my Eeyore in the freezer (he’d been on the infested bed and I wasn’t taking any chances). I got a hypoallergenic mattress cover. Basically, the infestation was stopped before it even started. How do I know they’re gone? Because I haven’t had a single bite since.

So, friends of mine who are going to faraway corners of the world, know this:

Bedbugs are everywhere.

They are in all 50 states. They are in Canada. If they are in North America, you can bet that they’re an international problem. So remember, even when you’re exhausted and dirty and your head is addled from too many drinks or too many sights and all you want to do is crash on the proverbial air mattress, never, EVER, touch the hostel blanket.

I’m on the bandwagon

April 6, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Posted in random | 1 Comment

(see Alli, Alex, and AKD.)

, you’re now logged in!

Below you’ll find your test result. After, continue on to your
homescreen to discover what we’re about.

Pure Nerd

60 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 43% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the “dork.” No-longer. Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you’re interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

May furries

April 5, 2007 at 8:27 am | Posted in random, things that annoy | Leave a comment

It snowed last night. I woke up this morning and looked out the window, and there was suspicious-looking white stuff on the neighbors’ houses. A quick glance out of another window confirmed it. Snow. Uh, weather? I believe that the saying is, April showers bring May flowers. Not April flurries bring May… furries? Hurries? Worries? Scurries? See, it doesn’t work. Showers, ok?

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