Stationary Drifting


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Oh Geez: Another Pre-Birthday Update & once again considering a return to blogging

I’m back….again

I experimented briefly with another blog space, which was basically just me nerding out about picking names and designs and writing nothing. In the end leaving Stationary Drifting just doesn’t make sense to me. I have it tattoo’d on me for christsake.

It seems like it’s time for my semi-yearly check in, and a lot has changed.

Superficially, my hair got shorter


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and I continued to confuse the world about my gender. I do what I want and define nothing okay? It’s easier for everyone that way.

I got a new job & took a mini vacation (Niagara Falls)


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Pictured: M & I represented as finger puppets won at an arcade & the less impressive falls but the less misty one so dry enough to take photos of.

I don’t think I want to rate the importance of changes in my life, but man has this one ever made a big difference. I think I had been underestimating just how important my work is to me, and just how much a shitty job can drag me down (& let’s not talk about the effects of a shitty paying job in an expensive city). I moved back into the field I’ve been working in for years (women & youth, violence prevention, capacity building), got a boost in title (I’m a manager now!), am working nationally again, and am working for a pretty big deal (in my world) organization. I gotta say I love it. It feels so good to go into work every day and feel pumped about it. Some days I find myself procrastinating on leaving work at the end of the day because I’m enjoying myself so much, which is ridiculous and obviously I have to stop doing that but it says a lot.

Honestly the last time I felt this way about a job was about 7 years ago, which means about 7 years of just getting by/surviving/keeping my head down or being unemployed. Not a good time. It has only been a month by my spirits have lifted significantly.

I quit school & feel SO much calmer about life


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Pictured: Lake Ontario from the train, Kawartha Area, College St Clouds, Lake Tasso

Although it was not a decision I came to lightly, I do not regret it for a second. I love being a grad school drop-out, and I love that I no longer feel so fucking terrible about myself and my inability to get it done. I had moved past the point of wanting to get or do a master’s a long time ago and was pushing through because of some sense of duty or fear. It took me a long time to finally decide and many tears were shed but I haven’t looked back. Not once.

M & I have been together 4 years


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Pictured: M @ Allen Gardens this spring, the 2 of us before a night out & first day of summer on the streetcar

See what I mean about not ranking these updates? Because obviously this is a giant one. 2 years married and 4 years together. We have hit a new stride, one that is a lot more honest and comfortable. I really think it has taken me this long to relax and believe that she is sticking around. I think its also taken this long to figure out how to communicate with each other. Which is not to say that its perfect all the time but jesus, its light-years better than 4 years ago. I feel incredibly happy and lucky to be in love with her. Our life together is quiet, happy and mutually supportive, which is the best ever basically.

My G’ma passed away & I have a lot of feelings


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Pictured: my G’ma in her late 20ies & tiny snap dragons living in a construction site

I feel all sorts of ways about this and I have put away processing this for a time that I feel stronger. My Grandma meant a lot to me and was also a very complicated woman. She was essentially my only grandparent (my mom’s mom not really being a big presence in my life and my grandfathers gone before I remember them). Her passing was both something to grieve and feel relief over. Dementia is a truly terrible thing and I don’t think anyone, particularly her, wanted to see how far it could get. Her endings gave me some inkling of the nature of the human spirit, and how love and humour can transcend seriously dark places. At the same time her decline was so painful and so humbling. She wasn’t perfect or easy, she has a past that continues to affect all the generations of her offspring but she was fierce, smart, loyal, independent and creative. She followed her dreams to a fault and has inspired the lot of us in doing the same.

We got a cat – She has a Salvador Dali mustache & about 9 names


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She is an absolute monster of a chatty, meow bag, who wakes me up way too early in the morning and is pretty damn finicky about her litterbox for a shelter cat. She a sweet little mustachioed biter and a much loved pain in the ass. I took a sick day back in April and while M & I were wandering around the neighbourhood in search of quiet places to peek at we walked by the SPCA at the end of our block. We had both been staunchly avoiding going in since we arrived in Toronto and I warned as we walked in that we would probably be walking out with an animal. Which is what we did. We were thinking a dog but after a short while in the really sad, really loud dog kennel part we walked up into the quiet haven of the cat kennels and decided that maybe this was better for us. M picked the cat out, and as soon as I saw her mustache I was in love. We did think about it, for an hour or so while we bought groceries, but our hearts were stolen and they still are. Running list of names (both official and none official) used include, in order: Soda, Little Butt, Smoo/Smooboo, Rooster, Now Now, Lola Spinx, Duckie, also Fluff Face and Cat/Chat (pronounced Shat).

I’m quitting smoking…again & got stitches from washing the dishes


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Pictured: My hand in January after an early morning dish washing accident, a full day’s work, only to go straight to the hospital afterwards to get 3 stitches. That said, the TeleHealth in Ontario is excellent. Also pictured is me feeling joyous, not knowing that another go at quitting is in my near future.

I’m writing this down even though its barely been 24hrs since I quit. I find that writing it down makes it more official. I was in the shower the other day, reflecting as I do, about my upcoming 32nd birthday and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to be a smoker anymore. It has been officially 10 years, and I don’t even really enjoy it anymore though it does have its purposes. I think I’m ready.

I should probably be more accurate and say that WE are quitting smoking. My poor M is currently sadly in bed sleeping off some hard feelings. She is/was a far heavier smoker than me so this hits a lot harder. It helps that we are quitting together because I’ve tried to quit on my own while she smokes and it fucking sucks. It also makes my thirst and cravings for sweet things seem pretty pale in comparison to my suffering wife. I have really high hopes for her quitting, higher than my own I think. She is the toughest person I know and I think if she can make it through this we both will kick this forever. I’m trying not to fuss over her too much because obviously that’s annoying so I’m writing it here that I’m SO PROUD she made it 24hrs!!

I flirted with starting my own business & took no good, relevant photos about it


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Pictured: the cat doing what she does best & me in Cabbagetown looking smug

Back in the spring when I thought I was going to die if I had to work any longer at my old job I got a kick in the pants from M, my brother and sister-in-law to start selling my apothecary line. I was all set up to write a business plan, I had a mentor, a volunteer designer and everything when I got my new job and bailed on the whole plan. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with that plan now, I still want it, but I’m so happy at my new job that I don’t know anymore…Owning my own business is expensive and scarey and uncertain, and oh so attractive. I’m new at my job so who knows, maybe the decision will be easier later. We’ll see…

So what next? Now that summer is over…


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Pictured: Elora Beach, Ukrainian Church Graffiti @ Trinity-Bellwoods, Cabbagetown House Dreams & Lido Pimienta at the
In Honour Festival
(Aug)

I took a short read through my past posts before starting to write this and almost all my posts talked about looking for, searching, wondering about happiness. I think more than anything those posts, along with my silence on this blog, have really highlighted just how incredibly depressed I’ve been for the past xx years. Maybe it was Saturn Returns, some big life changes, closing out my 20ies and starting my 30ies, struggling to find my place in the world, and feeling pretty damn knocked around but its been a helluva slog through hard times this past while. I’m not making any promises that I’m in a better place but I am feeling lighter and more hopeful than I have in a long ass time and I’m hopeful that this means I am rounding a healthier corner.

My biggest preoccupation these days is figuring out what my hobbies are again. Years of beating myself up over school and being broke as shit has erased what I used to do to entertain myself. It’s fall so I’m going to start knitting again, I’m going to spend some serious time working on my apothecary stuff again, maybe I’ll blog more, I want to take a perfume making course, and learn how to make terrariums, this house needs some love because I’ve pretty much been ignoring that I live here, I need to make some friends god damn it. Friends would help a lot…

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even plant friends


Homemade Lip Balm

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I’ve tried my hand at making lip balm a couple of times now and I think I’m getting better at it. I really love my homemade lip balm because its a great gift for just about anyone and it can be easily adjusted to make whatever quantity and heaviness (its winter so it needs to be thick right now).

I am constantly losing lip balm so one of the reasons I really like this is because I can have lip balm everywhere that’s natural and works well for literally less than a dollar a container. This recipe is a combination of several I’ve found around the internet and some adjustments I’ve made myself but I think the base for my recipe came from Mountain Rose blog.

I bought my ingredients from little shops around my neighbourhood. Most of it is organic. I’ve you’re trying to find some online, I have never ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs but all the bloggers I follow highly recommend it so you could check it out. I’m not affiliated with Mountain Rose at all, just passing on the info.

xmas gifts for my family. Also my favourite mix so far.

xmas gifts for my family. Also my favourite mix so far.

Here is my method.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp jojoba oil (I’ve also used apricot oil, I’m sure others would work too)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp beeswax
1 tbsp shea butter (optional)
1 tbsp/4 wafters cocoa butter
20 drops each of essential oil (I’ve used combinations of mint, vanilla, coconut and grapefruit – though not all at once! Usually just 2)
10 drops vitamin E oil (optional but recommended. It works as a preservative)

Directions:

  1. Mix jojoba oil, coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter in a larger mason jar.
    • Shea butter and cocoa butter can be both put in or one of each. I like the shea butter because it soaks in fast and the cocoa butter for longer conditioning and also because it hardens the mixture.
  2. Put mason jar in a pot of boiling water and allow to melt, shaking occasionally. A lid loosely put on the jar keeps water out of the mixture and melts it faster.
  3. Once melted remove from water and stir in essential oils and vitamin E oil.
  4. Pour into containers and allow to harden overnight
    • this is important because otherwise it will be ridiculously soft, which is especially annoying when its in a tube.
  5. Label and date
    • always label and date. Even if this is the only time you made something you won’t remember the exact proportions and you will want to be able to adjust or replicate it later on. Also, its generally a good idea to use up the product within a year since there are no strong preservatives.

Tips:

  • For lip balm tubes, make sure to overfill so that they have a nice rounded off top. Otherwise they are pretty extremely concaved.
  • More butters and less oils makes it thicker and last longer
  • I still don’t have great essential oil ratios down. Mine are only lightly scented.
  • This amount usually makes about 10 containers of either lip balm tubes or small balm pots.

Note: I am not a herbalist or a medical professional of any kind. I’m sharing this information because I want to write about it, not because I know that it will be healthy for everyone. Please do not take this as medical or health advice. If you plan on taking herbs or using any recipes posted about here, make sure you take all necessary steps to make sure all ingredients are safe for you to use.

 


Homemade Deodorant

rosemary mint deodorant: its pretty awesome! works better than any other deodorant I've used natural or aluminum laden

rosemary mint deodorant: its pretty awesome! works better than any other deodorant I’ve used natural or aluminum laden

Sorry for the crappy picture. I can’t believe I only took the one fuzzy phone picture of this when I totally love it and its the best deodorant I’ve ever used!

I’ve been getting into making my own products, its easy, quick, ridiculously cheap and doesn’t make me feel bad for smearing chemicals on my skin. So far I’ve made a couple of different types of lip balm, a pretty incredible body butter and this awesome deodorant.

I used a mix of this recipe from Frugally Sustainable minus the probiotics (because I didn’t have them and was unsure if I wanted them) and these (1) recipes(2) (the first one) from Wellness Mama. I substituted arrowroot powder for organic cornstarch since that’s what I had on hand. I’ve heard that arrowroot is better but I’m plenty happy with out this turned out so I’ll probably keep using this recipe until I either run out of cornstarch or am convinced otherwise.

Click the above link or google deodorant health risks if you want to know why one would like to find healthier ways to make ourselves smell good. Aluminum is just one of the risks but in the end I just like to know that the things my skin is absorbing daily are made of decent things and that I’m choosing every one of the ingredients. I like having fully knowledge/consent of what goes in and on my body, which is part of the reason that I started making things. I didn’t wear deodorant for a lot of years because of this desire. Not wearing deodorant was fine for me. I found that after about a month my body adjusted and I didn’t smell often, though I do shower every day so that helped. M has a really sensitive nose though, and asked me last winter if I would use deodorant again. He bought me a well known natural brand and it worked okay but I wasn’t totally pumped about it. So in November I tried making my own and I love it! Its moisturizing, smells good, keeps me dry and good smelling, and I know every single thing that went in it because I put it there!

Here’s the steps:

Homemade Deodorant

Ingredients

(I halved this recipe and still had more than enough for 2 sticks)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup shea butter

1/2 cup beeswax

3 tbsp baking soda (I’ve read that if you have sensitive skin to avoid this and use extra cornstarch/arrowroot)

1/2 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder

optional: essential oils. I used 20 drops of rosemary and 15 of peppermint

optional: a few drops of vitamin E oil to preserve

Steps

  1. Combine coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax is a large mason jar. Put mason jar in a pot of boiling water. The water should be deep enough to come up the sides of the mason jar above the amount of ingredients but not so high that any water can get into the mason jar. I’ve taken to putting a lid very loosely on the mason jar to avoid this. Shake/swirl the mason jar frequently to help the ingredients in melting and to mix. Don’t shake too hard or the ingredients will just go up the sides of the jar and you’ll lose some of the mixture.
  2. Once melted, remove the mason jar from the water and mix in the baking soda (if you’re using it), cornstarch/arrowroot powder, essential oils of your choice, and vitamin E oil (which is healthy for your skin and helps preserve the mixture. I’ve read that grapefruit seed extract also works).
  3. While still warm pour the mixture into the containers of your choice. I used a deodorant container that I bought (though old ones can be washed out) and a small mason jar for the extra that I put in the fridge.
  4. Label the container with ingredients and date made (generally good practice for this stuff).
  5. Allow the mixture to harden overnight
  6. Use as much as you like! I find that allowing the deodorant to melt for a second on my skin before applying helps but its pretty soft anyway so if I’m in a hurry I just apply and go.

I’ve been wearing this for about 2 months and I love it. I haven’t tried it in the summer or in extreme exercising conditions but I’ve found that I stay pretty dry and good smelling all the time. I love the rosemary & mint combo. It doesn’t stain my clothes, moisturizes my skin and makes me feel good.

I’m a total homemade product convert. Upcoming are my lip balm and body butter recipes. Check out my pinterest for more recipes I want to try.

 

 

 

 


2013: the post in which I state my resolutions

I think I was kind of trying to avoid writing a post on new years resolutions, etc. For no particular reason other than the fact that it seemed to be required of bloggers (am I a blogger now?), and a bit cliche for this time of the year. I guess I do like to have personal time capsules though, hence the existence of this blog in the first place. After reading a few bloggers talk about looking at their resolutions from last year and comment on them I got a hankering to be able to do that myself. So here’s my plan for this year, no particular order, mostly to look back at in approximately 353 days and see how it worked out.

1. Finish my thesis

This is a really big one. I know that my thesis has made an appearance in the complaining part of this blog many a time. Its been dragging on a long time and is getting to the point of being more of a myth in my life than a reality. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed and apologetic every time someone asks me about it. I really want to have it done and over with so I can prove to myself that I am capable of such tasks and and to be able to move on with my life. The thesis is holding me back from starting other things I care about learning because I can’t really imagine, or justify to others, starting anything new with this still sitting there. So to do this I’m going to have to 9-5 this shit. No more flexible time, no more excuses, just all work all the time until I’m done. It will feel so good to move on and I’m going to use the yearning for that feeling to drive me.

2. Find a good job

Finding a job has been a helluva chore. Its been over a year that I’ve been applying, going to interviews, feeling rejected, and starting again. My goal for this year is to make the changes that need to be made in order to find work, which will include really thinking about whether Montreal is the place for this to happen. I’ve been applying to work in other places but maybe I need to make the big move to change up the formula and hopefully find something that works. This requires a lot of thinking and planning since I don’t exactly have the income to up and move to a more expensive city (thinking Toronto), and obviously this decision also affects M so its got to work for him too. Whatever it is, something is not working in my application process and I need to evaluate that. This goal is related to the above goal in a lot of ways, not the least of which because both are making me feel stuck and also probably that getting my thesis done and graduating will help the job hunt. Its also related to moving my life and my new little family’s life and goals forward. So its back to the regular job hunt for me. To do this I’m going to get back to regularly searching for and applying to jobs. I’m going to make it my begin the morning routine, over coffee and breakfast (which I will also be getting better at), before working on my thesis.

3. Drink more water

In the past I’ve gone for more of a general “get healthy” goal. I’m not ditching that because let’s be honest, I’m way too young to not take care of myself. This year though I’m going to put down a more specific goal of making sure I drink a lot more water every day. Like the full recommended daily amount. Its not a hard goal but its a habit I want to form and it will take some conscious intention to get it started. I’m going to follow the Mayo Clinic’s advice because they seem legit and are usually not too extreme in their recommendations. They say that the average woman in a temperate climate should drink 9 liters a day so I’m going to aim for that. 9-10 big glasses or my water bottle a day should do the trick. I want to start each day with water before anything else and move from there. Luckily I drink a lot of water when sitting at a desk, mostly out of fidgety boredom, so this should work perfectly with my above plans.

4. Start a Cdn political analysis blog/podcast

This one is going to be on pause until the Thesis is done because frankly I’m not sure I can handle more writing, other than blogging, on top of that but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Hence the Department of Analysis blog I keep but don’t write on these days. I follow a lot of grassroots political blogs and podcasts and really enjoy the perspective. My complaint about this though is that all of them are American, and while I appreciate the updates on what’s going on there I want to publicize what’s going on here too. The idea is not to be a journalist so I won’t be going out to follow stories, that’s not my goal. What I want to do is be a pundit of sorts and do commentary on events, news and politics in Canada to try and up the conversations happening about the situation here. The US affects our politics but we have plenty of our own that needs to be discussed. I’m going to aim for a late spring launch on this. If I can get others involved then great but if not I’m still going to do it.

5. Start a small Apothecary

I’ve been into herbal and holistic healthcare for a long time now. I think my first foray into it was when I got Bell’s Palsy (8 years ago?) and doctors told me that they didn’t know anything to ease the symptoms or speed recovery but that some people had good results from acupuncture. Luckily at that time I was still covered under my dad’s awesome teacher’s insurance and I was able to get acupuncture 3x/week for months free. It worked, was relaxing and most importantly I had (what I’m told is) a remarkable recovery. I still seek out acupuncture when I need it these days, though I don’t have coverage for it so its a lot less often. From there I got myself a naturopath and started using herbal remedies to make myself healthier and my obsession has only grown. Nowadays I treat just about everything with herbs (unless I’m really sick) and have gotten into making toiletries. I know make my own deodorant, cream and lip balm and am learning to make more. I’ve been researching lots of recipes (and even classes) but for now I think I can start a small apothecary making non-internal products and selling them around town. So this winter is for learning, and when the thesis is done I will launch!

6. Make a budget and stick to it

Classic resolution and one that I make almost every year. Its a bit comical to try and make a budget for such a small amount of money but at the same time SO necessary. This budget is going to focus on watching what we spend and paying down debt so that when we eventually have good jobs and more income we know where our money goes and hopefully have a cleaner slate to work with, and better credit. Eventually we will want to do things like buy cars and maybe a somewhere to live. Or at least travel. Money sucks when you don’t have it. So a budget has been made for this year, mapping out the real expenses we have and prioritizing the important things, including a (very small) budget line for entertainment. Now we just have to make sure we stay on track.

7. Read more books

My degree has killed my ability to sit and read for fun. I feel guilty when I’m not reading academic stuff so I haven’t really. I got a mini kobo for xmas this year and some bookstore gift certificates and I had no idea what to buy! This is so weird for me, I used to be such a big reader. This is somewhat related to the next resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I read, a lot. I have a solid 29 blogs and news agencies that I check at least once a day (thank you flipboard), not to mention the many articles, postings, rants and commentaries that also make up my daily reading. I love reading and I love learning, I acknowledge that I’ve turned more towards emerging and grassroots/popular learning in the form of new media academics and I like it. I get challenged a lot from it and it inspires a lot of discussion in my home. I miss reading for fun though, and reading fiction. Anyway, I finished reading Fun Home last week and am partway through Alison Bechdel’s new book, Are You My Mother?. Next up is Barbara Kingsolver’s, Flight Behavior on my new kobo. Then maybe something by Zadie Smith? I don’t know yet. The plan is to read at least 30 books for fun this year (idea from blackandwhiteandlovedallover). 30 is not much but it seems reasonable in the face of the stack of books I have to read to finish my damn degree.

8. Use less screens

This is another reason why I haven’t been reading enough. I have a million screens that I can look at in all places. My computer, tablet, smart phone, and (now) ereader makes is virtually (pun intended) impossible to avoid looking at a screen. I can sit in front of the computer all day, or peruse the www on my tablet in bed or while traveling (I even use it for knitting patterns!), the phone works for small spaces like the metro or bus or if I don’t have the tablet with me. The ereader for when my eyes feel like falling out of my head from starting at screens too long. So, with the health of my eyes in mind I’m going to make sure I spend a significant amount of time not looking at screens a day. Whether that’s reading (ereader doesn’t count, its nice on the eyes), knitting, hanging out with friends, cooking or whatever I’m going to make an effort.

9. Go somewhere new

Phew, this post is getting really long. Its taken me almost 2 weeks to write!

This is a fun one, a lot of these goals feel kinda heavy….I’m a wanderlust at heart. I’ve been in Montreal for 5 and a half years and its closing in on the longest I’ve lived anywhere, including places I lived as a child (Calgary was 7 years). My parents move(d) a lot, I’ve moved a LOT. There was the period of time between 19-24 I moved cities, if not countries, every 4 months. I like being nomadic, I get excited by new places. I have come to enjoy the benefits of being somewhere a while, which mostly have to do with knowing people for a long time, but I still need new places in my life to keep things fresh. So my goal for this year is to go to at least one new place. It doesn’t have to be far, it just has to be somewhere I’ve never been before.

10. “Renovate” the apartment

I’ve been living in this little apartment for almost 2 years, and now officially over 1 year with M. When I originally set up and painted the place it worked really well for me. We made a few changes to fit M in when they moved here but other than moving one or two pieces of furniture and clearing out a closet and a few drawers for them to use there haven’t really been any changes made to the place. Its in desperate need of an update and a shuffling to make ‘my’ place ‘ours’. My goal for this year is to declutter, paint, recover and buy with M to make our house ours. We’re exploring ways to cover the terrible linoleum in the kitchen & bathroom. Suggestions welcome. Changing a rental apartment is an interesting dance between wanting a good space and not investing a lot into a place we’ll move out of and leave behind.