Wednesday, February 23, 2005


i've added some "historical" entries from the blog that used to be attached to my other site, in case some of you wanted to learn more about me. i'll add some more when I have time. some are crafty, some are introspective, but ALL make for great reading :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

mr. and mrs. spend-a-lot stay home for now

Ok, so I think I get it now.... sort of, anyway.

Many of you who know me and my husband know that we are slightly on the "impulsive" end of the responsible shopper measure. And we're not talking about Pez dispensers, I'm seriously talking about knickknacks, clothing, furniture, and even, it's true - cars. We both get this giddy feeling when we find something we like, and want it IMMEDIATELY to put in our house.

However, it usually finds a place in the pile by the front door, or in one of the piles in the bedroom, or dining room. We buy STUFF, and then don't really think about where it will go, or forget that we actually have 3 of those things already and don't really need another. If it's not quantity, it's quality.... we go out with a specific thing in mind, with a vague-ish idea of a price. Usually, we are way under in our pricing guess, so we realize as we shop that we will have to spend twice what we thought. And then, we see something we like even more, and it's not much more than the twice-the-original-price amount! And then we think, hell, if we're going to spend that much money, why not just get the extra-special version of that higher priced version! We get overtaken with excitement, feelings of spontenaity, that immediate adrenaline courses through our bodies and we say fuck it, we've been so good recently, we deserve it!! And OH MY GOD there is a payment plan - SOLD!

Of course the priciest item was already sold the moment we walked in the store, when it saw us and knew we were those kind of people, and that special high-priced item pushed out it chest, polished it's cute nose, sparkled that smile that only special high-priced groovy items can smile, and gave us that "come hither" look that we respond to so well. sold. Instead of songs about being "hooked on you" there should be songs for shopaholics about being "sold on you, baby, you won't believe how low low low my financing can go".

So.... I was sitting in my crafty area being fairly crafty a while ago, but because the area is fairly small, I was stepping on this that and the other, and thinking, wow, it would really be nice to have a bigger space for all this STUFF (it must be known that I already had the littlest spare bedroom for my craftiness, but I outgrew that, and now I have the den).

So yes, I started eyeing up the family room - it's the room we have our tv and lazy couch in, and it has a door, so everything could be tucked away neatly (or if not, at least no one would see the mess). And, the space is much bigger than my current space. My little brain started working, and I thought - hey - I can switch these rooms! We don't need such a big TV room! Now we don't need to buy a bigger tv, we can just put the tv in a smaller room, and sit closer!

I put forward my proposal my proposal to my husband, and he agreed! Woohoo! The only problem is that we have a huge black sectional for tv viewing, and it won't fit in the new den, so we'll have to sell that one, and get another couch to use in the den. We figured out the amount we could sell the sectional for, and thought, ok, we'll buy another couch for that exact amount, and we won't be spending any money! We went furniture shopping this weekend. Not only did we get extremely excited about going shopping again for the house (we haven't in a while), we found a couch that was 1. extremely fashionable (cuz that's what everyone needs in their den), and 2. three times our original estimate. Lucky for us, we had matured a little, and didn't actually buy the damn thing that minute (delivery on Tuesday!!), but just walked out with business cards, and every intention of returning the next day.

As I had a shower later, I started to feel sick. We have recently committed ourselves to getting rid of our debt within a year, getting better at saving for the future (in all it's meanings - vacations, RSPs, "security" money), and had just spent three weeks setting up a really in-depth budgeting program on the computer. And here we were, spending a large amount of money on something that wasn't a real necessity.

Then I remembered we already had another couch.

It's true. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of this before. We actually have a daybed in our littlest spare room, that is supposed to be used for guests to sleep on, but is currently under several piles of STUFF. That's probably why I forgot I had it - I hadn't seen it in months! I came screaming out of the shower, yelling and jumping I was so excited that I had come up with such a brilliant idea, once again. We sell the sectional sofa, NOT buy another couch, but use the one we already have for now until we CAN afford another couch, and then take that money from the couch sale to use for something that we actually need, like shelving and storage for the kitchen.

Budgeting can be fun! But my god, it takes a while for those of us with thick skulls when it comes to money. I'm sure this is hilarious to most of you who have already been money savvy, but to arek and i, it's a real eye-opener.

I'm so happy now that I thought of a good, effective, budget-conscious solution, but it still makes me sad to think that my new leather couch and asian-inspired tv armoire will have to wait for me, and keep their chests un-puffed until the day I walk in the store and catch their eye and say, "baby, I'm taking you home with me today and we'll live happily ever after!"

ps. if any of you want to buy a large 6-seater black cotton sectional with hide-a-bed (double) in good condition, let me know!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

such a geek

So, I'd forgotten what a sewing geek I am. i spent the night cutting out the pieces for my sister in law's dress out of the tissue paper that is packed into the little envelopes that patterns come in. I sat about cutting out all the bits and pieces, and then remembered a little trick I used to do back in the day. i went and plugged in the iron and started ironing the tissue paper so it would lie nice and flat! I used to do this a long time ago - i found it really helped in laying the pattern pieces on the fabric - they would lie flatter, and straighter, and were easier to work with than piecees that were all crumpled and folded. I'd also forgotten how long the preliminary steps take - the actual sewing of a dress takes such a short while compared to the cutting out of the tissue paper, cutting out the fabric pieces, transferring all the marks, and all that. So basically, it took 2 and a half hours to cut paper, iron paper, and then cut out four little pieces of fabric!

Did I then take the pattern pieces that I would not be using for this version of the dress and iron them flat and fold and iron until they fit nicely back in the evelope, making sure all the while that the way they were folded revealed the pattern piece number in case I ever need to use it?

Yes, yes i did.

That reminds me of a story I have from when I use to work at the fabric store a long time ago. There were a lot of older ladies who would come in to buy fabric, who would ask for their cuts in yards. We always made sure to ask "yards or metres?" since often they would mean metres, but just say yards from old habits. So, one time, this lady wanted ten yards of fabric, and so i asked "yards or metres?" and she replied with "oh yes! silly me! of course i mean kilometres!"

heehee. I was laughing so hard picturing 10km of flannel pyjamas, and then she caught on to what she had said and started laughing too :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

get the funk out!

so.... i won't go into to many details, mainly so this entry isn't 800 pages long, but I've been pretty sick and tired this winter, well maybe even this past year :( It started about a year ago, where i found it difficult to be happy anymore, and my husband and I were not in a happy place (spending lots of time together, but no time together, if you know what i mean). So, we realized that was not good for us, and have been working on that issue. at the same time, I've been trying to identify the specific things that make me happy as an individual, and have been incorporating more of those into my life. we went on a long trip to Europe in september and had a wonderful time. It was a good time for us to regroup, come together again, relax, be free from the shackles of everyday life, and have some real FUN!

So, when we got back, I thought everything was fixed! But then we got back into the routine of life, I started a new job and was focusing on that, and all sorts of other things, and basically, we ended up being sick for months on end.... continuous colds, lethargy, blank minds, and the flu for both of us. not very fun. it didn't seem like we could get ahead in anyway. we were eating crappily, and not excersing, and not having the energy to do anything about it. we finally, with time and some antibiotics, got rid of the flus and colds, and started to see a glimmer of health at the end of the congested tunnel.

We've done fasts and cleanses before, not that many, but a few and I remembered how good I felt after them, and suggested we do an extended one together. We'd done them for 3-6 days before, but this time we decided to do an 11 day one. I have several books by a nutritionist named Dr. Bernard Jensen. He was one of those health and wellness people like Dr. Kellogg at the turn of the century, believing that a squeeky clean inside and the right combinations of movement, food and happiness would help anyone feel better. Jensen was actually a really big proponent of having clean intestines and bowels. I actually own two books that have bowel care and bowel management in the title! There were pictures in the books that showed how intestinally centred this guy was - but they were so freaking disgusting that I cut them out. I can now read my books without gagging from here to eternity! We did NOT do the home colonics which are step-by-step explained in the books, but I have the directions if anyone wants to try one!! Anyway, he was very focused on healing the WHOLE person, not just healing bits and pieces, and one does this, according to him, by good regimes that lead to tissue cleansing - basically, stay clean and whole from the inside out, and you will live long and prosper.

I like this guy's way of thinking. I bought these books ages ago, one of them even before I moved out on my own, in my early twenties. I just don't always crack them open and follow the suggestions as often as my body would like. SO.... we decided to do his 11 day elimination diet. It was great! We made it through the whole 11 days without cheating (too many times) and feel so much better than we did three weeks ago! I myself feel like a totally different person, and feel better and more energetic than I have in months. I've even started going back to the gym, and that's helping even more. Yeay me! I only hope that I have the courage to keep it up! We've been eating fairly regularly since the end of the cleanse, but we've definitely cut back our portions, and have added more fruit and vegetables into the daily intake, and less wheat and other stodgy foods. Just being more watchful of what I'm eating is better than shovelling whatever the hell I wanted to into my hole. Even if I have the occasional TimBit at work when those EVIL people bring them in, I know that it's ok in the grand scheme of things, as I am going to chase it with a soy-harvest-fruit munch. Not really, but it's the thought that counts ;)

Anyway, I'm including the cleanse below for any who are daring enough to get rid of those toxins you are carrying around! Oh, perhaps once you've recovered from the image of those toxic intestines, one day I'll tell you about the stuff that came out of me :) Don't be frightened, it was just lots of liquids.... :)

This diet can be adjusted how you like. For example, you could do stage one for only one day, and stage 3 for three days, it's up to you.

Stage 1: 3 days
- water and fruit juice only, preferably grapefruit juice. One glass of juice every four hours.

Stage 2: 2 days
- fruit only - grapes, melons, tomatoes, pears, peaches, plums, dried fruit (reconstituted, ie, soaked in water overnight), baked apples

Stage 3: 6 days
- citrus fruit for breakfast
- salad of three to six vegetables for lunch, plus, two cups of Vital broth
- two or three steamed vegetables for dinner, plus, two cups of Vital broth
- of you get hungry between meals, you can have fruit juice or fruit (you won't really get hungry, since your stomach has shrunk a lot by this point)

Vital Broth
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable broth powder
- 3 cups finely chopped celery stalks
- 2 cups finely chopped celery tops
- 2 cups finely chopped carrot tops
- 2 cups finely chopped (1/4 inch thick) potato peelings
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped

Place all ingredients in a large soup pot. Slowly bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about twenty minutes. Strain the broth and allow to cool slightly. Drink.

The broth is really quite tasty - especially since we added more garlic, and threw in a hot pepper for more flavour (well, really, to disguise the celery flavour which we don't like).

So there you go! Enjoy, and happing releasing! :)

For those of you just looking for updates to my recent sewing project, and have stayed even after reading all the above, do not fret, the Project will commence this weekend!!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

an extraordinary woman

I just want to give a little shout out to my belly dancing teacher, Tracey Vibert. She is this week's Woman of the Week on Women Moving Forward which is an organization "that empowers women to feel excited about life, fell strongly connected to what is important to them, and impact others with humanitarian living." Many of the women are entrepreneurs with interesting businesses. If the link brings up a different person, there is an archive list, so you can click on her name. Tracey's main occupation, apart from her belly dancing classes, is as a clothing and costume designer. Check it out!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

i am sew crazy!

I cannot believe myself. i am definitely crazy. I worry about the little things and then just jump head first into the big things! Let me explain.

I have been wanting to get back into sewing. i used to do quite a lot of it. i started sewing around the age of 9 or so, with my mother's help. I think the first thing i made was a green corduroy pull over dress that I loved to death. Later on, in my early twenties I worked at Fanny's Fabrics and got quite good at pattern interpreting, and sewing in general. I made a few dresses for myself for various fancy dinners, and lots of casual skirts and shirts and stuff. Since I've moved to Ottawa, I haven't done any sewing at all. The only thing I did was my wedding dress. This sounds more impressive than it was - it was a really simple dress made of stretchy cotton with a veil-y thing attached to the back with some embroidery, nothing high end.

So I've been excited about sewing again ever since my sister gave me an old (1949) Singer machine. It's beautiful and sews so smoothly! I actually haven't had a lot of time this winter for much more than a couple of mending jobs, but I've really been drawn to lots of linen materials lately, and want to make lovely table cloths and napkins and things to sell through Manus Made. I was also thinking of making some loungey-yoga pants and such, I have a few pairs that are SOO comfy, and think they would sell well. So, I thought I would start with something simple like a bag or a napkin, and then my sister-in-law asked if I could make a dress for her sorority formal dance (Nu Sigma Pi!) and I before I thought about it, I said yes!

So... she found a beautiful pattern - unfortunately it says TRES DIFFICIL all over it (advanced) and now I'm freaking out a bit as we went and got some gorgeous lavender silk and chiffon for it, costing several hundred dollars! If the damn thing turns out, it will be absolutely spectacular. She says she has complete faith in me, and even if it doesn't turn out, and it ends up being a tube dress, she will still love it. So her faith in me, and her acceptance of my potential sub-standard work, is urging me to have the same confidence in myself!

I think I might chart the progress here, one, so it will keep me motivated, and two, so that if there any people out there with sewing skills, they can email me and let me know what I'm doing wrong!!! :)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

51 things

  1. i am 35
  2. i got married 4 years ago, we met 5 years before that
  3. i have had at least 5 surgeries in my life
  4. i am a public servant
  5. i am also a business woman
  6. i like to sleep
  7. i am a researcher at heart, and will research all options before choosing what to do. this takes a long time and i am trying to curtail this habit.
  8. i am creative
  9. i took piano lessons as a child for about 6 years. i stopped them sometime in highschool, and didn't play again until my husband bought me a piano for my thirtieth birthday.
  10. i own tap shoes and flamenco shoes. i've only taken a couple of classes
  11. i like summer and want to live in a warmer climate
  12. i like to travel
  13. i am not very social - i spend more time by myself than with anyone else
  14. i'm not good at making small talk, and find it hard to get to know someone well
  15. i like to make things with paper and fabric, mainly because of the colours and texture
  16. i want to live in a natural home, preferably an adobe house or a dome home
  17. i love to dance, mostly in my house
  18. i love to play with my big hoop, although it's very difficult inside in the winter!
  19. i am trying to respect myself enough to stay healthy and fit
  20. i love to suntan, even though it's not "good for you" I still think it makes people look healthier
  21. i have a dog who is 9 years old
  22. i flew off a bike once, going over the handlebars. i landed on my face and knocked a tooth out. i was in so much shock once i got to the hospital that i was laughing after i realized i no longer needed to go and buy a halloween costume anymore!
  23. i was bullied in school
  24. my grandfather gave me a typewriter when i was 10. i loved it and used to type and type and type, usually just retyping my favourite books. this is how i learned to type. later in highschool the guidance counselor told me i'd make a great secretary
  25. i created a library in my bedroom of all my books. i made up an inventory numbering system, and attached labels to all the spines, and set up a book for people to sign when they borrowed a book. i never lent anyone any books, as i liked my library too much and didn't want to have spaces in it. another guidance counselor later told me i'd make a good librarian. i actually wanted to sign up in university for this, but a family member looked at me like i was crazy and i so i felt like it wasn't a "good enough" job.
  26. i'm goofy
  27. i am taking belly dancing lessons. my shimmy is really good.
  28. i do not have a sweet tooth in general, but if you give me a freshly baked apple fritter i will follow you to the ends of the world.
  29. i am a half-orphan. my father died 5 years ago
  30. i never thought I'd like a vacation where you sat on the beach all day, until i took a vacation where i sat on the beach all day.
  31. i am four feet eleven and three quarter inches tall
  32. on the other hand, i am often spontaneous and impulsive
  33. i own a house. some of the rooms are nearly complete and gorgeous, but most of the rooms remind me of student housing.
  34. i love my family, and my family-in-law
  35. i am a good baker
  36. i am compassionate
  37. i am a picky eater
  38. i took violin lessons as a child, got good enough to be 2nd violin in the city youth orchestra, and then gave it up when i thought it wasn't cool anymore. twenty years later, i can barely remember the string names.
  39. i like to laugh
  40. i wanted to take dance lessons as a kid SOOOO badly, but i knew my dad thought it was stupid, so i never asked if I could, cuz i didn't want to hear him say no.
  41. i had my first Krispe Kreme experience last April. it was religious, and i am a convert
  42. i love being female
  43. i used to wear a lot of black clothes, and now my closet is starting to look like a rainbow
  44. i like taking pictures
  45. my favourite wine is chianti
  46. my favourite colour is orange
  47. the friends i do have, i love them dearly.
  48. if i won 5 million dollars, i would quit work, travel a lot, build a big beautiful house, and apprentice at a fashion design house.
  49. i think my husband is beautiful.
  50. he thinks I'm beautiful.
  51. so do i.