Tag Archives: The UIG

Guerilla my dreams

So that actually wasn’t spring after all.  Well technically, according to the calendar it is now spring, but around here we are back to 4C and rain, which causes me to whine and shiver and gives me a pissy headache.  But, you know, onward and everything.

I am one of those people who does a lot of stuff, but if I am ever asked point blank “what are your hobbies?” I have no list at the ready.  Karate?  Sure, I do that, but is it a hobby?  I don’t know.  Maybe, I guess, if you consider sweating a lot and throwing people around a hobby.  Gardening?  Yeah, I do that too, but not in an organized fashion with a real plan or even anything resembling continuity.  I used to do yoga, but again…hobby or exercise or lifestyle?  I’m not sure.  Reading?  Um, doesn’t everyone read?  I have always kind of thought of reading as a skill as opposed to a pasttime or hobby.  You know, a large percentage of the population can read, so it’s not rare or anything.  And again, what constitutes a bona fide hobby anyway?  Wikipedia (I know) defines the word hobby thusly: “A hobby is an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, often in one’s spare time.”  Huh.  Ok, well if you put it that way. 

If you ever visit Michael’s or any other crafty-type store, you might think that the true definition of hobby is “Pursuit of an activity or interest that will cost you shitloads of money, leaving you unfulfilled and with a whole lotta crap in your house that you will probably need a whole other room for eventually”.  Because wow.  In the past couple of years I have watched the scrapbooking section of the Michael’s I occasionally frequent go from an aisle or two to nearly half the store.  Want to find coloured paper?  Well you can’t.  You can find acid-free scrapbooking pages in a variety of rainbow colours for about a thousand dollars a package.  But just want some green or yellow paper for everyday use?  Did I just hear you scoff at me, Michael’s employee?  Yes, I think I did.

I have to be careful, because I know a lot of scrapbookers (actually just saying that makes my teeth hurt) and they are hardcore, people.  They speak a different language, they use special expensive scissors (that look to the uninitiated anyway, just like regular scissors!) they spend a fortune on embellishments and stickers for their pages, they speak in special coded languages about weights and types of paper and they attend weekends away where they engage in special scrapbook activities and events (I assume, anyway).  And for all my mocking and scoffing at their way of life?  I am actually, deep down, a little envious.

Not of the forking out thousands of dollars for stuff, of course.  But more for the ability of the scrapbooker to organize their activities, family events and outings into photo essays, complete with appropriate slogans and nicely crafted cut-outs of relevant items of interest.  I find the whole thing fascinating and repulsive at the same time.  And while I occasionally will wander the aisles of the scrapbooking paraphenalia in awe, and browse through my friends’ well-organized scrapbooks replete with smiling babies surrounde by hearts and flowers, I am never, ever tempted to start down that path.  Why?  Because I know it is something that would set me up for complete and utter failure.

I started this post by saying I am a person who does a lot of stuff, and it’s true.  But I am entirely guerilla in my approach to these things.  Take knitting for example.  I have a friend who is an excellent knitter.  I decided I wanted to knit.  I bought needles and yarn and busted out a whole bunch of scarves last fall, some of which were nice enough to actually give away as Christmas presents.  But would it occur to me to, you know, take a course or learn to read a pattern?  Hell, no.  It’s all about being in the moment.  I want to knit!  NOW!  And I do.  And I will again, and eventually I might even branch out to an actual pattern, but it’s the initial burst of excitement that does it for me.  Gardening is the same.  Last spring I created a bed and planted a bunch of stuff.  Was it stuff that grows well together?  Maybe, maybe not.  It was just seeds I bought at a garden show on a whim.  Let’s have lettuces!  Cilantro!  And OMG tomatillos!  Why the hell not?!?  Yay gardening!

And you know, my guerilla approach has worked for me, for the most part.  Even my foray into yoga was guerilla-based, as was my introduction to running.  (Ask me about the time I went to return some books to the library and came home with a new pair of running shoes and all signed up for a 10 week learn-to-run course with a 5km race at the end of the 10 weeks.)  So stuff works out in the end for me, but there is something about the scrapbook world that just dooms me to failure, I can feel it.  Maybe it’s because my thousands upon thousands of photos and souvenirs are in boxes in my attic.  Maybe because my parents’ thousand upon thousands of photos and souvenirs are in similar boxes and suitcases in their attic.  I don’t seem to have the scrapbooking gene, perhaps. 

And besides, what’s the fun of beginning a hobby only to continue it?  And be good, and successful at it?  And complete entire projects from beginning to end?  Why would I want to do that when there are so many other things to dive into guerilla-style?  Like photography!  Or baking!  Or sewing!  Or wine appreciation!

Actually I might start on that last one tonight.  Suck it, scrapbookers.

ETA:  After I posted this, I realized that the premise of the post reminded me of something I had read previously.  So I did some digging and lo and behold, the Pop Culture Librarian did this “lack of a list of hobbies you can just bust out for people when they ask”-type post first, way back in 2007.  Clearly I have no original thoughts.  So props, kudos and apologies.  And everyone needs to go read the PCL on a regular basis, because she is outstanding.  That is all.

Skirting the issue

Last Friday I was walking down the hallway at work towards the water fountain to fill up my water bottle, when I passed a colleague’s desk, caught her eye and said “Hello” as I passed. She looked at me, startled. Then she said “Oh, hi!” in a very pleasant manner. Initially I kind of did a mental “uh, wha’?” reponse to her startledness at seeing me and did the head to toe check: something on the front of my shirt? buttons undone and cleavage exposed? fly open? toilet paper on the shoe? What the what?  So anyway, later on that day I met up with her in the washroom (not on purpose, let me hasten to add) and she said the following: “Sorry I seemed so out of it when I saw you earlier. It’s just that I’d never seen you wearing pants before, I was shocked!”

Now, as you’ve probably realized from the amazingly witty title of this blog post, it’s not that I go around pantsless at work, it’s that I am a skirt person. Or a dress person. I am not a pants person. But, on the occasional casual Friday, or on days where I am doing dirty jobs (stop it) like cleaning out my storage room or reorganizing our bookshelves in the library, I will often wear jeans. But every other day of the calendar year? It’s all legs, all the time, baby.

I came to this realization a few months ago when something similar happened while I was waiting in line for a coffee. Another woman with whom I am acquainted at work joined the queue right behind me and when I noticed her there I turned around to say hello, and she said “I thought it was you, but I just have never seen you wearing pants before”.  I sort of did a “huh” kind of thing, and when I got home that night I had a look in my closet.  And you know what?  No pants.  At any given time I have about 6-8 skirts in rotation, plus a few dresses.  Lots of tops, tights and kicky shoes.  But no “work appropriate” pants.  How did this happen?  I’m sure I used to have and wear pants.  I know I did.  So what happened?  I think what happened is that with some of the pairs I owned, I just got tired of them, or they no longer fit properly, or they were no longer in style and I just got rid of them.  Shipped them off (not all at once, but every so often) to Goodwill or Community Living.  And then?  Then I just didn’t replace them.  If I needed a new outfit or something new for work?  It came in skirt form.  I love skirts.  LOVE. THEM.  So it really just seems like a waste of the wardrobe budget to invest in pants, which I don’t actually like to wear much.  Unless it’s jeans.  Jeans I like.  But I guess it just never occurred to me that people would actually, you know, notice.  Or care.

So it makes me wonder – is this a thing people?  DO people actually notice things like whether or not a certain person wears pants or skirts?  Would it be the same with long-sleeved shirts?  Or vests?  Or scarves?  Or any other item of clothing?  Really?  Both times I was a bit surprised that these women actually paid attention to stuff like that.  Huh.  I see loads of people every day here at work and I will be damned if I can tell you which of them solely rock pants or dresses.  Except maybe for the men.  I think it’s safe to say that they all are wearing pants every day.

So I’m baffled.  The only thing I can think is that the two women mentioned are strictly pants ladies.  One works in a more physical job, and is therefore usually in jeans or very casual pants.  The other has a desk job, but after our chat in the washroom, she mentioned that she’s the opposite of me – only ever wears pants.  So maybe that’s where the fascination lies?  I don’t know.  And incidentally, I don’t mean the fascination with me per se.  I just mean the fascination of seeing someone in skirts every day.  Cos you know, fascination with me would be unwarranted, really.  And also a bit creepy.

So help me out, blogfriends.  Would you notice one way or the other?  Would you think to comment? Or would you just do the mental “skirt again today, wonder if she owns any pants?” thing?  Because I am, by nature, an extremely observant person, but am apparently missing the part of the brain that pays attention to the clothing habits of her colleagues. 

And in case you’re wondering?  Jeans today.

That’s not my name

Has anyone else ever started their day with someone asking them for books on death, only to be told that it’s not the coping with death kind of books, it’s the kind where you can “tell how long someone has been dead, because the guy that died on my couch was all wormy, so I just wondered how long ago he died, you know?” 

Yeah, that was a first for me, too.

So anyway, I was reminded yesterday that it is exactly a month until I have to present at a conference.  No big, I’ve got lots of time to get organized, and since I’m a last minute type, I have more time than most people.  The email from the conference organizer had an attachment which included all the details of my talk, what time to show up, etc.  Everything looked fine – except my name was spelled wrong.

This is not a new thing for me.  I have a two-part last name – my own original last name, then a hyphen, then The Genealogist’s last name.  Not a huge deal on its own, except that both names are, to many people, impossible to spell and/or pronounce.  So I am used to people spelling my name incorrectly and pronouncing it even more incorrectly, and that’s fine.  I’m used to spelling it out for everyone, and correcting pronunciation, I’ve been doing it since forever.  What I find really annoying is those people who refuse to even try to say my name.  The ones who, when introducing me will say “this is Elizabeth….oh…buh….er…oh forget it, YOU introduce yourself!” or the ones who flat out say “I am not even going to try to say your name, I’ll just make a mess of it, dontcha know!”  To them I say, yes, you probably will, but out of respect, you really ought to try.

Growing up with a “complicated for many” last name, you often are the butt of jokes, where people will rhyme something with your name, because hey!  That’s funny!  And among my friends and people I love, it can be really funny.  But if you’re doing it to a) insult me and my heritage or b) take the pressure off yourself and the fact that you don’t know how to pronounce my name by making light of it?  Then that is not at all funny.

We have tried to instill in the boys how hurtful name-calling can be – words matter.  And they get it.  In addition to this, we’ve also tried to explain how teasing about a given name or surname or altering it for fun can also be hurtful – sometimes even more so, because there are underlying prejudices at work here, consciously or subconsciously.  And that is a way bigger thing that I can even do justice in this post.

I used to shy away from my name and the attention it drew, vowing that if I got married it was going to be to someone with a “normal” last name and I was going to lose my last name forever!  But what happened?  When I did get married, I realized how much my name was a part of me, and how sad it made me to think that I’d ever wanted to “lose” it.  So I chose to hyphenate – which still gives many, many people the vapours, I know – and I’m really, really happy with my decision to do so. 

So.  My name.   I’m not sorry it’s long, and I’m not sorry it’s “unusual”, but I am  sorry for you if you think I’m just being difficult putting two long-ish names together to “prove something”.  It’s my name, and if you think I’m going to get up and present at a conference where the moderator can’t pronounce my name, or refuses to do so based on the grounds that it’s “difficult”?  I am so going to call you out.  I am also sending back that letter with corrections made to my name, and an offer of free lessons in how to properly pronounce it before the conference, because I refuse to feel badly about it any more.

Shout out to The Ting Tings.  That is SO not my name.

Infection projection

So the wasps have been eradicated, in case you were wondering.  We survived the weekend, and the good people from “Die You Mofo Wasps-R-Us” arrived promptly at noon today, so The Genealogist tells me.  Within 10 minutes they had the ladder up, and shot some wasp killer shiz into the hole and that was it.  Hell, I coulda done that!  Except, you know, it was wasps right?  And, well, ewww.  Anyway, apparently we’re not supposed to block up the hole for awhile, or that could force them inside.  More than they were already getting inside, I guess.  I never thought to find out what happens to the giant throbbing nest that seemingly fills our bathroom wall.  What if we want to to a bathroom renovation and tear out walls, redo drywall?  Again I say:  Eww.  People, I am really starting to wonder what else might be living in our walls.  We already have a theory about the guest room ceiling because it just doesn’t match up with the rest of the ceilings upstairs…ah, but that’s for another post.

Right now I really just want to talk about the non-winged scourge currently facing our planet.  Y’all know what I’m talking about right?  Big virus?  Vaccines being invented as we speak?  WHO on top of it like the plague it is?  That’s right, H1N1 is rocking the hizzouse and causing the crazy.  The hospital system where I work has today released Canada’s first bedside pandemic triage protocol, I have been fitted for a N95 respirator mask, hand sanitizer is everywhere and staff are being trained in case of a pandemic.

And can I just say?  I am giddy with anticipation.

Now, before you get all up in my bizness about my cold-heartedness, and possibly insanity, hear me out.  I don’t enjoy pandemics or wish at all  for people to get sick.  My excitement lies in the fact that I have a thing for infectious diseases – from a purely scientific point of view.  Which seems odd, I suppose, in that I am not a science-type person normally, but for some reason infectious diseases of all types fascinate me.

I have an undergraduate degree in history, and in my first year, I had a really excellent teaching assistant assigned to me.  She, at the time, was working on her doctorate, and her specialty was the history of medicine.  I was immediately enamoured both with her, and with the subject.  I did several papers over the course of my career related to disease – the Black Death, influenza and others – all with a social and cultural slant, how the disease affected society at the time, etc.  It made for some of the most fascinating reading and some of my better essays.  Likely because I enjoyed the topic so much (duh) and I would do extra readings just because. 

My excitement with how diseases spread – not only throughout the body (you probably wouldn’t have wanted to have me as a dinner guest during those heady years of my favourite subject) but throughout society, how they spread from region to region, crossed country borders and onward.  Of course now, through sciences like epidemiology, we can account for a lot of what went on and why, but reading personal accounts of people’s experiences were both remarkably interesting, and remarkably sad.  And it continues to fascinate me to this day.

I know there are conflicting ideas about this latest virus: that it’s nothing to worry about, that “Big Pharma” is snowing us all under with scare tactics and that governments are paying too much attention to H1N1 and ignoring other important illnesses.  And maybe that’s true.  I think though, that western society has kind of forgotten the damage a virus like influenza can do.  We have beaten so many infectious diseases – either through vaccine and/or better living conditions and sanitation, but they can continue to bubble under the surface, often never completely gone – remember when tuberculosis made a brief comeback a couple of years ago?  The same can be said for outbreaks of whooping cough, something we thought had gone the way of smallpox.  But then, maybe smallpox can reappear too?  We don’t really know for sure.  Then there is a virus like AIDS that is just as deadly, but because it was originally regarded as something that affected only certain societal groups, to a large percentage of the population, it has never really felt like a threat.  Infectious diseases do still exist in other parts of the world too, and with the amount of people flying back and forth all over the globe…well, there’s a lot that can happen.

So now we come to 2009 and H1N1.  Will it produce mass illness as the flu season gets underway?  It remains to be seen, but I know I will be taking all the precautions offered as it starts rolling along.  For all those who scoff at the idea of a pandemic, just remember that the Europeans in the 14th century probably felt the same way:  “It’s just a few rats, don’t worry about it.”

And this says what about me?

When I was growing up, my parents had this Boxing Day tradition where they would do a big open house for friends and family.  There would be food and drink and Christmas dinner leftovers – just a big ol’ party.  You’re probably thinking “who in their right mind has a gigantic party the day AFTER Christmas, that is just messed up.”  And you’d be right, of course.  It’s crazy.  But it’s a tradition that dates back to the early 70s when my grandma died just before Christmas, and the visitation and all that was on Boxing Day, and my parents lived closest to the funeral home, and had everyone back between the afternoon and evening visitation times – and thus, a tradition was born. 

We lived in a little postwar bungalow and we would sometimes have 60-70 people in the house on that day.  I remember having to go outside frequently to get away from the heat and the cigarette smoke and the crazy relatives.  That was about the only place that didn’t have people in it from noon until whenever all the food was gone or whatever. 

This was mostly my dad’s family – he was one of 10 kids, whereas my mother has only one brother who is divorced and has no kids, so it was my dad’s family that descended upon our place.  And what a madcap cast of characters they were.  One of my dads old aunts was particularly bizarre.  There were lots of rumours about Aunt Nikki (that wasn’t her name, that was just what they called her.  I still don’t know why or even what her real name was) that she’d gone off the deep end after marrying a Protestant (the horror) and felt to make amends or whatever, that she needed to give as much as possible to the church – this often included the family’s furniture, money – a lot of money –  and food for her kids – which the church, rather nicely, would always return to the family posthaste.  She also spent a lot of time at mass, and basically just lost touch with reality and in a lot of ways it was really quite sad.  But she never missed Boxing Day at our house!  She would arrive early – usually by taxi – and stay late – usually by hopping into the car of someone who was leaving – and they’d be compelled to give her a lift home.  Aunt Nikki had a huge purse that she always carried around and it held some of the most amazing things you’d ever want to see – missals, squashed After Eights, photos of children (her grandchildren?  Maybe, maybe not) silverware (we were usually missing a fork or two after Boxing Day festivities) newspaper clippings and obituaries, and many other odd things.  She was wild and hilarious in so many ways, and the contents of the purse was just the icing on the cake, really.

Today I ran some errands at lunch.  I hit the library, the drugstore and the Lebanese grocery store.  Being the environmentally conscious UIG I am, I refused all offers of plastic bags, and instead chose to carry my purchases in… my huge, giant purse.  Let’s take a look, shall we?  Right now, I am carrying a tube of Canesten, a new eye liner brush, a book about knitting, and a package of whole wheat pita.  And if I stopped in to visit a friend after work and and needed to  rummage through the contents to find a picture of my kid to show them? 

Batshit old lady?  I might just have to rethink Aunt Nikki.

Hey, you look great, have you lost weight?

File under “if I had a dime every time someone asked me that.”  For serious.  It’s one of those compliments that is as hard to take as it is to answer.  Um, thanks and no?  And why the second part of that compliment at all?  Can’t we leave it at the hey you look great part?  No, it seems that we, as a society, can not.

A bit of history.  I am overweight.  I have not always been overweight, but right now, today, according to the BMI (which, yeah I know is bogus, but it is still the scale by which the obesity epidemic is measured) I am overweight.  In fact, I am one point away from being obese.  Let me disclose further.  I also wear straight sizes – anywhere from a 10 to a 14 currently – depending on the store.  Would you look at me and say “dangerously close to obesity crisis”?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that’s not the point. 

I have recently become aware of a fantastically smart website called Shapely Prose (link at right).  The founder and the contributors to the site espouse Fat Acceptance.  I can not possibly explain exactly what that is without getting it so very wrong, so I am going to send you to the site to read Don’t You Realize Fat is Unhealthy?  Because it is awesome.  And just, you know – word.

Working where I do, I can’t tell you how many patients have come to me and told me how their cancer was diagnosed late – they were either afraid to go to the doctor (fat shaming – lose weight your symptoms will go away) or if they did go to the doctor with symptoms, they weren’t taken seriously (fat shaming – lose weight and your symptoms will go away).  Like they’re not real people, with real symptoms.  Like their weight is the only thing the doctors see, that it is the root of ALL their problems.

In the spring, I injured my right knee in a cardio kickboxing class -jumped up for a kick, and came down hard and off kilter.  So I iced it and took ibuprofen religiously for a week or so, and rested, but still the pain persisted.  Finally I went to see my doctor (who I love) and she prescribed anti-inflammatories and sent me for an x-ray – just being thorough.  I followed up with her a couple of weeks later.  She had the results of the x-ray, and I was prepared for the worst – torn miniscus, ACL, whatever.  But in reality, the x-ray showed the start of osteoarthritis.  I was a bit shocked, because you know, my 74-year old MOTHER has arthritis, not me!  WTF?  It made me feel old.  But anyway, we chatted about what to do and she told me I could try glucosamine, take the anti-inflammatories as needed.  Ok, that was fine – until this:  It’s important to keep your weight down, that will really help.  Really?  Really?  Because I’m not sure about that. 

Of course, when I left, that is the only thing I focused on, because now I’m back to being the fat girl, aren’t I?   Oh boy, better lose some weight.  Never mind that I do kickboxing and/or karate at least 4 times a week, eat a basically vegetarian diet and have few other health concerns.  Nope, just focus on losing some weight.  As a side note, I totally, rationally realize that this is not really what she said.  It’s just that when you are the fat girl, no matter what you do, you always feel like the fat girl.  That was me at 130 pounds or 175 pounds.  It just doesn’t matter. 

There is so much shaming of people who don’t fit the “what society deems  attractive and normal” mode, and FA has really struck a chord with me.  I know so many people who are dieting to “lose that last 5 pounds” or doing the crazy-ass cleanses (which can totally mess up your gut, people, please don’t fall for the celebrity cleanse thing) to drop a dress size.  And why?  Often they say they’re doing it “for their health”, but what they usually mean is they’re doing it to lose weight.  And I’ve been there, so I know.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am really trying to be happy with my body as it is presently.  Presently.  As in right now.  I am tired of being a work in progress, saying “if I can just lose those 10 pounds I’ll buy new jeans!”  I am really trying to say that this is who I am today, and if I lose or gain a few pounds, it is not the end of the world.  It’s time to stop judging and being judged merely by what the scale says.  I also know – because I am going on around 30 years fuckedinthehead caring about weight and appearance and societal acceptance – that I will have days where I feel like crap and hate myself.  But that’s ok.  Baby steps, right? 

This is probably one of the most disjointed posts in the history of the interwebs, but it’s because there is so much stuff in my poor brain, and I’m still trying to filter it and parse and organize it so that I can continue to learn.  Feel free to ask “wtf?” and I will do my best to better explain.  But for now, I think I’m on the right track for the first time in forever, and I like it. 

I also want to thank The Genealogist who has been telling me all this stuff – and more – for the better part of two decades.  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get it through my fat (heh!) head.

Working for – and on – the weekend

So this past weekend was one of our busier ones.  There is something spectacularly difficult about a busy early September weekend, people.  At least for me.  It probably has to do with school being back in session and the resulting craziness from that, combined with the fact that July and August weekends are just so damned lazy.  And even if July and August weekends are busy busy, they are not busy by the standard of September weekends, am I right?  It’s just not the same level of busy and perhaps I’m just putting too much pressure on September, I don’t know.  All I know is that for the whole weekend and even a few days leading up to the weekend, I was going on about 4 hours sleep per night.

Start with Tuesday night, where I went to bed at a decent time but managed not to fall asleep until the wee hours, which was ok because I actually had Wednesday off!  I had arranged to look after my friends’ baby so they could attend her cousin’s wedding, because they are among those people who thought the 09/09/09 wedding thing would be rad.  Which it totally is, and was, but it was a Wednesday.  So while I had an awesome time chilling with a super excellent 8-month old (and I hope he had a nice time with me) it was a bit of a later night – later than I am really used to for a weeknight – and plus it involved looking after a small child that does not belong to me, so there is added pressure there.  So the day was fun, but exhausting,  but ok on to Thursday!  Thursday night, well I just stayed up way too late drinking some wine and chatting with The Genealogist.  By Friday morning I was mainlining coffee and dragging my ass.  Then!  Of course on Friday night, we attended a dance/fundraiser for the Canadian Kickboxing Team, because one of our karate instructors is on the team, and so of course we wanted to support and represent.  So another 1am bedtime!  Then up early to do a 5km run to raise money for breast cancer research at the cancer centre where I am employed!  Then home to shower, shop for groceries and then walk over to the Locke St. Festival with the boys (more about the fabulous LSF in another post).  Then home to make lasagna for dinner and collapse into bed around 9:05pm.  Finally.  Did manage to sleep way in Sunday morning, but then did a bunch of housework, and a whole lot of cooking for the week, had my mum over for dinner, got organized for the week, and then collapsed into bed around 10:30ish. 

Seriously?  This is how I inaugurate the first weekend after the start of school?  Dive headlong into every activity I can think of?  Apparently.  The lack of sleep really does take its toll though, I tell you.  I know I used to be able to do this, but man, it’s just not as doable as it once was.  In some ways I miss the ability to function on little sleep, continue the party, as it were.  But in a lot of ways I am also very happy with my jammies and my grandma bedtime, even on the weekends.  Fortunately, this coming weekend is a lot less busy.  So far, anyway.  After all, it’s only Monday.  Oy.

By way of introduction

While this whole blogging thing doesn’t feel new, I guess I actually am new here, so I thought I would introduce you to the cast of characters who surround me on a daily basis, etc, etc. 

But before I go there, can I please just say that it is COLD this morning in my part of the world.  COLD.  We barely had a summer here, and now it’s only the 11th of September and it’s cold.  Wearing a sweater in the office, thinking about busting out the tights cold.  Single digits when I woke up this morning cold.  I truly dislike being cold, and I had high hopes for a hot September to make up for a wet July and a sucky August.  But this?  DO NOT WANT.

Okay now, back to me.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before, I will do my best to make it brief and painless:

I live with three men.  The Musician is 11, The Artist is 9 and The Genealogist is around the same age as me, and he is the one I am married to.  The other two I gave birth to.  We have a nice old house in a nice old area of our city.  The boys can walk to their respective schools, I can take the bus to my place of work, and The Genealogist has about a 20 minute commute to his employment.  I don’t know if that is important or not, but there it is.  We own exactly one car and we need a new furnace.  The Musician has just been fixed up with braces, thus beginning the decade that will beoome known as The Poverty Years.  Okay, not really.  We are comfortable and fortunate and insured and alla that.  It’s just that by the end of all of this, his mouth will be worth close to double what I paid for my first car.  So yeah.

The nicknames?  Oh.  Well just to be clear, it’s not that I’m all afraid of the internets finding me and my family all ooga-booga scary like. With what I’ve given you so far, you could probably very easily find me should you want to (and if you’re not creepy, you totally should look me up!)  It’s more that I just have recently started referring to the boys as The Musician and The Artist in actual conversation with friends and colleagues, so I thought I’d continue that here.  The Genealogist?  Well I just came up with that now.  And it’s my blog so I’m keeping it, although I reserve the right to shorten it if spelling Genealogist should ever become annoying. 

So there you have it.  It’s nice to meet you.  I’d shake your hand but my fingers are frozen solid.  Did I mention it’s cold?

On [re]inventing myself on the interwebs

Back in 2005 I started a blog and I kept it up for about four years.  I’m not going to link to it here, although it might come up in subsequent posts or conversations, but for its run, it really served me well.  I made lots of posts.  Some of them were even interesting!  I had readership.  Some awesome people I didn’t even actually know!  So it was good, but then it became not as good.  I don’t know what it was, but around January of this year, I ended it.  And I was mostly ok with that.   

Over the summer I realized I missed the writing.  I missed the bloggy conversations.  I just missed it all.  I toyed with the idea of blowing the dust off the old blog with a “Hey I’m back did you miss me?” post, but that didn’t seem – I don’t know – right.  Part of the reason I stopped blog #1 was lack of focus.  The first blog started out as an experiment for work, actually.  The library where I was working was in the early stages of blogging, and in order to find out what it was all about, I started my own.  Early posts were somewhat work-related, library-related, with a bit of “me” thrown in for good measure.  Later the focus turned more to me and my thoughts, with a few library thangs thrown in for good measure.  Nothing wrong with that, of course, but after awhile, the fire went out.  Until now.

So why the Urban Info Girl?  Well, as I said, I needed to refocus, and so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to blog about.  When I got right down to it, the things that meant a lot to me, that – if you will indulge me a bit – defined me, were all right there in that moniker.  It seemed perfect!  Urban – well, I grew up in and continue to live in a large-ish urban centre in Ontario.  City girl, city slicker, whatever you want to call me, it fits.  I am unabashedly urban, and urbanness (urbanicity?) matters to me.  I love the city where I live, I am fiercely proud of its history and excited for its future.  Amazing things are being done on a daily basis in this city, and although it may be reviled (too harsh?) by others, my roots run deep.  The city will feature prominently, guaranteed.  Info – short for information, of course.  I am a Library & Information Technician – or LIT, which come on, is that not the best series of letters to have after your name?  Think about it:  Your Name, LIT.  I love it.  But besides that, it’s what I do, and in some respects, what I am, although I hesitate to be defined by my job, but there you have it.  I have worked in a variety of libraries over the past 15 or so years, so the info part fits well there, but I also have a vast untapped store of useless information and knowledge in my brain, which I bust out on occasion, causing most people in my presence to go “Dude, how do you even know shit like that?  And why??”  It’s a gift.  Lastly, Girl – again, it’s what I am.  I suppose I could have gone with woman, and I thought of that, but I identify more as girl.  So combined with Urban and Info, Girl topics will include, but are not limited to, music and fashion, feminist issues, motherhood, work and career, my own insecurities, books I like, the slippery slope to menopause and much, much more!  It’s like having three authors of one blog, only it will just be me.  And just to be clear, I won’t be tagging posts based on which portion of me is doing the writing at the time.  That would be silly, because it’s all connected.  Get it?  Urban girl, girl info, urban info, info girl…or any combination thereof.  Don’t worry, I’m not exactly sure about it yet either.  But we can blaze the trail together.

So welcome (or welcome back).  The UIG is in the house, y’all.