Monday, November 14, 2016

Crossroads


The second half of my life will be black 
to the white rind of the old and fading moon. 
The second half of my life will be water 
over the cracked floor of these desert years. 
I will land on my feet this time, 
knowing at least two languages and who 
my friends are. I will dress for the 
occasion, and my hair shall be 
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old 
birthday, counting the years as usual, 
but I will count myself new from this 
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift, 
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder, 
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road. 
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed, 
fingers shifting through fine sands, 
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet. 
There will be new dreams every night, 
and the drapes will never be closed. 
I will toss my string of keys into a deep 
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.
 
~Joyce Sutphen
 

I found this poem weeks ago, and wanted to post it on my birthday... however I forgot on my birthday to post it!

I do want to clarify, I do not count my 32nd birthday as the halfway mark of my life. When reading this poem, I feel like it is saying the previous chapter, and that the future can be whatever I want it to be, and I'm not afraid of that.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Toast to Roast and Shakespeare!

Wednesday marked the birthday of my friend Christine, and to celebrate I offered to host a little dinner party for her. "I'll make whatever you want for dinner and dessert!" I said, confident that whatever she asked for I could manage even if I hadn't made it before. I even offered suggestions, like lasagna, chicken parmesan, Quebecois chicken.... Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding! (I'd never made a roast beef before but it was a staple of Sunday dinners growing up and I thought it couldn't be terribly hard)

So Christine chose roast beef, and I went to my mothers cook book to get the recipe... only it isn't in there! Well, alright, I'm sure I can find one online that will suit my purpose. And it was in this research that I discovered that roast beef takes time to cook. Like.... hours. Crap. Because Christines birthday was a Wednesday, and I work until 4:30, I told her to be there around 6. I need to find a way to cook a roast for an hour and a half tops, otherwise we will be eating a REALLY late dinner on a weeknight. Eventually, after asking coworkers and meat lovers for advice, I settled on a 2 pound outer cut (?) piece of cow and spend Tuesday night getting everything ready.

On Wednesday all my fears of people getting there before I was all set up were unfounded, as there was an enormous traffic jam that meant my guests didn't arrive until 7:15. Because of the delay, We didn't eat dinner until 8:30, but no one seemed to mind. Besides, we had lots of appitizers, and of course we had to do birthday presents. Dinner came out perfectly, and all at the same time thanks to the help of my sous chef Marni!!!



Perfectly done!!


Roast beef with sides of roasted potatos, broccoli, green beans, stuffed peppers,and yorkshire puddings

 Happy Birthday!!!!




Thursday, September 29, 2016

The New List!

30 by 30 Lists, Bucket lists, basically do at least something before you die lists, are in a sense a little morbid. It implies that the finish line is approaching, and if you want to make something out of your life, if you want to do them at all, you'd better do them fast. Maybe some people work better with a deadline though... if my scholastic history can show you anything, it's that I certainly do. And more often than not I'll leave it to the last minute and race through the project and have it ready at the last possible second.

Maybe that's why I make list's like these.

I know if I don't set a deadline, (and isn't that an apt word), I'll spend my life telling myself that I'd love to do these things, I should do these things, I will do these things.... someday. Not today, I don't have time today. I know myself enough by now to recognize that I am a very susceptible to procrastination, and I know that if I do not make a plan to do something and commit to it, I won't do it.

So now at the age of almost thirty two, I've made a new list for the next decade (minus two years because I procrastinated on making a new list .... omg...)

I feel like I've learned from my last list. I've made the list more of personal growth than geographic exploration, yet still filled with things I'm looking forward doing! And without further ado... I present my 40 by 40 list!!!

  1. Start doing Volunteer work
  2. Stay up all night to watch the sunrise
  3. Go 180km
  4. Try something else extreme
  5. Go on a road trip (the east coast would be nice…)
  6. Write a letter, tie it to a balloon and let it go
  7. Write a letter to myself in twenty years
  8. Learn another language
  9. Start a family
  10. Learn how to make pasta and have Sunday dinner at your place
  11. Learn a new design skill
  12. Pay off student debt
  13. Buy a house
  14. Go to a live concert
  15. Start a retirement fund
  16. Read 50 books
  17. Have a ‘Spa Day’
  18. Learn how to style your hair
  19. Paint something in oil or acrylic for everyone in your family
  20. Forgive someone
  21. Make photo books for every year of your digital files
  22. Try new foods
  23. See a psychic
  24. Start a webcomic
  25. Join a team sport
  26. Join a photography club
  27. Design jewelry for weddings/try and sell them
  28. Learn to eat healthy
  29. One christmas make everyone's presents handmade
  30. Learn how to decorate a cake like Mom
  31. Really try Meditation
  32. Do 10 craft fairs/conventions in one year
  33. Take a vacation by yourself
  34. Travel to Argentina
  35. Learn how to play the guitar
  36. Sleep under the stars for one night
  37. Learn a new style of dance
  38. Create your own cookbook
  39. Organize a family trip (even if it’s just for a weekend!)
  40. Be Happy

Friday, November 20, 2015

The List

So at the end of 2012, I posted a list of 30 things to do before I turned 30. As I have just turned 31, I think its time to do a Tally. Lets see how I did!

1) Try the finer things in life - Check!
2) Go on a Road Trip through the states - Does going to Ohio count? 
3) Learn to dance  -Learned to dance for my wedding!
4) Go to comicon - Sadly, no
5) Get very very drunk (Check! Thanks to my brothers!)
6) Move out - Yes!!
7) Try Snowboarding - Nope
8) Buy a car - Kind of? I have a car I'm going to pay it off...
9) Be in a Flash Mob - Pillow fight!!
10) Flip over a table in a fit of anger - Nope!
11) Work on Green Thumb - Yes! I grew a whole garden this summer and it lived to see the fall!
12) pay for someones meal behind me in a drive through - Yep!
13) See a Ballet - Nutcracker
14) Be on TV - Yup! Thank you FanExpo!
15) Start selling Jewelry online - Yes!
16) Play 3 Sports (Baseball, soccer, curling?) (1/3 done)
17) Get Married - Yesh!
18) Do a Photography project (365, disposable, etc) - one second a day as well as some month challenges!
19) Do some Volenteer work - This is in the works
20) watch 50 of the top 250 movies according to IMDB - Yup!
21) Really try yoga - Nope!
22) Skinny dip - Nope!
23) Stay up all night to watch the sun rise - But I'm so old and I need my sleep!
24) Do something 'extreme' - Check
25) Get a 'Real' Job - Yup
26) Spend New Years in New York - Sadly, no
27) Go 180 kph  - nope
28) Learn a new skill - Stained Glass!
29) Master a 5 course gourmet meal - no but I have learned to cook!
30) Write a letter to myself in 20 years - No but I'm totally doing this on the weekend!

16 (and a third) out of 30

Not awesome, but not terrible though. I think I'm ok with the ones I didn't do, and I'll just add them to my next list, 40 before 40!!! (Holy crap, my next milestone is 40!?!?!?!?!)

That list will be posted in time, but I will totally take suggestions!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cottage Trip 2015



Every summer, I always try to plan one trip to the cottage with my friends. It doesn't always work out with everyone, but it is looked forward to by all of us every year. This summer, we lucked out and pretty much everyone was able to make it. Now that the cottage is pretty much done and ready for visitors, it was especially exciting because I couldn't wait to see everyone's reactions when they saw the interior. I made sure to make a video of it for mom!



After most of us arrived on Friday night, and we were all settled into our rooms, Josh and Michelle started a fire and we all immediatly went into cottage mode. Booze and marshmellows were passed around and we all discovered Josh is a bit of a pyro and we needed to keep the poker stick away from him.



The next morning after a delightful breakfast we settled in for a nice game of golf (card style) and then took the boat out up the river. For many of my friends this was their first trip on a boat on the burnt river so it was really fun sharing the sights. I had also advised that some people bring CD's as the boat has a cd player, so Michelle packed several Woot Woot Soundtracks.








For lunch we had Samosas and other finger foods. Marni and I made daquris which were delicious. Lunch was followed by a swim and and another fire. Several rounds of badmonton were played and we all found out that Elizabeth is secretly terrifying. Dinner was the classic hamburgers and hotdogs with fresh corn on the cob. Delicious!





After dinner we ladies left the guys to the dishes and took the boat out on an evening ride. It was very relaxing, so long as you didn't sit in the front seat.










Other than the gnat swarms, it was a really nice ride, we saw a dear having a drink and we made it all the way to the new bridge. When we got back the guys had the fire still going and we sat out to watch the stars. I had my telescope and I was determined to stay up until 2am to see the Pleiades star cluster. I had seen it years ago (you can see it with your eyes) but I have always wanted to see it with my telescope. Fortunetly luck was with me that night and the sky stayed clear and bright so when 2 am rolled around I could see it rising over the tree line. It. Was. Beautiful! Totally worth the wait!





The next morning we had breakfast outside and then went into town to do a little exploring (and ICECREAM!). Elizabeth and Michael left afterwards and the rest of us went back to the cottage for a quick swim and another game of badminton. We had a late lunch or early dinner of fajitas, and eventually after tidying up we headed home. It was the perfect weekend, we had great weather, starry sky's, awesome food... it was a perfect inaugural trip to the Maidstone Cottage!










Awenda


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

To those who wait

Two months ago, I lost my job. This sucked. It was sudden and completely out of nowhere and it tore my life as I knew it apart. Most of my long term plans were no longer viable or would have to be put off by several years at best. We would have to cancel our trip to Argentina, thankfully we hadn't bought the tickets yet. Short term plans were hit too. With the loss of my income and no idea when it would return, we had to save. That meant not going to friends events like birthday parties and get togethers because they all cost money. 

Thats not to say that I couldn't do anything at all, or that my family and friends abandoned me to solitude. I was treated to a many a movie nights (gratefully so as the Avengers 2 had just come out) and people found cheaper or free things we could all do together. My friends and especially my family rose up to support me and I will be forever grateful! 

I needed a job though. The stress of not having a job had me breaking out in hives and weeks of sleepless nights. So I threw myself into finding another design job, I designed not one but two resumes. One would fit on a regular 8.5x11 sheet that I could print off quickly and hand out at the drop of a hat. The other was much more complicated, a folder that contained a flipbook of my portfolio. Armed with my amazing resume, I started an extremely aggressive application campaign. Every day I applied online to job listings. Afterwards I took to the streets, applying to design studios no matter if they were hiring or not. 

The evening after I lost my job, I decided that I was going to make this a good thing. I was really comfortable at my old job, and would have stayed there for years despite that it wasn't the type of design that I really wanted to get into. In school my favourite subject was packaging. I loved it! I did my internship at a packaging studio. So this time I was not going to forget that. I made sure that I hit every packaging design company in toronto, even if they weren't hiring. I figured no matter what job I ended up getting, I wouldn't stop until I got that packaging job I really wanted. This time, I wouldn't let myself get comfortable.

A month passes without a single bite, note even a nibble on the line. No one is hiring apparently. In fact I keep hearing about all these other people I know who are loosing their jobs as well. Its an epidemic! In June I get my first interview, its with a real estate design firm. I figure they have to hire me, who else could possibly be more qualified? As it would turn out, someone else was more qualified. I move on, keep applying. I do a few more interviews. Some are for jobs that I would turn down, they aren't design. Others I wait to hear back from. And wait, and wait. 

I've got my eye on the calendar, noting that my severance has ended and we only have so much in the savings and how long can we live in our apartment on Josh's income alone?

Then it is Christians birthday, in the morning I tell him 'I need you to focus your birthday power, I want to get a call today from one of the places I'm waiting to hear back from'. I don't even care if its for them to say no thank you, I just want to hear back! We go out for lunch in the distillery district, and after we decide to look around some of the shops. I realize I have to use the toilet so I go off to use the public washroom. (I gotta say, the public washrooms at the distillery district are gorgeous, I saw a pair of ladies taking photos of the architecture inside) 

It is when I'm actively on the toilet that my phone rings in my purse. I pull it out and realize that I don't know the number. There is no way I have time to get out of the bathroom before it goes to the answering machine. With a wince I press to answer and quietly say hello, praying that no one in the vicinity flushes.

I got the job.

Due to my location I kept the phone call short but I accepted the offer gleefully and got the details of the start date. When I got outside to tell my family they were all thrilled for me. Mom cried, although she finds it hilarious that I got the call while on the can. 

It's not a packaging company, I knew this going in. But what it is, is almost better. The company I now work for designs for huge companies like Pepsi, Kraft and at least a dozen beer labels. And they design events, swag, everything. It's packaging plus! Its more than I could have ever hoped for! I have a big beautiful desk, the team is super friendly and wonderful and now on my second week of work I find myself still pinching myself. This is the job I've always wanted, this is the work I really enjoy!  


Christian is taking full credit.