Category Archives: Blogger

Aside

I’m making plans for a little adventure, and surprising even myself with how suddenly and easily it’s coming together:  On Monday, I’m taking the day off work, driving out to the ferry with the dog in tow, and riding the … Continue reading

It all comes bubbling out

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We got a big dump of snow over night, and as always around here, no one was prepared. No winter tires, no plows, not even any salt or sand to throw on the driveway. Driving was out of the question, but I slid and shuffled out to the bus stop with my tools just before dawn. By the time I got there, my foreman texted to say we were canceling work. So I returned home, and spent the rest of the day trying to resolve some UFOs (“unfinished objects”), mostly sewing-related, and watching the latest season of Saturday Night Live. Kristen Wiig slays me.

My mom was visiting this past weekend, which was wonderful in so many ways… We spent a lot of time just talking, and driving around the city and surrounding countryside to all my favourite places.  Her visit also brought up some unexpected thoughts and feelings. I ended up talking about her for the entirety of my therapy session last night, which totally surprised me. That’s been one of the weirdest things about getting my head shrunk each week: Often, I have no idea what’s on my mind until I’m sitting there, and it all comes bubbling out.

Which is the point, I suppose… I mean, if I had it all planned out, maybe I wouldn’t get as much from the sessions, you know?  Though sometimes I do know what I need to discuss: Case in point, it was pretty obvious to me that I needed to talk about how I avoid maintaining contact with a lot of people from my past, from exes to high school friends.  I didn’t know when exactly it was going to come up, but it was on my “list”… The mental list of personal issues I’ve only just realized I’ve been keeping in my head.

My mother said that she doesn’t read blogs because she doesn’t like all the navel-gazing, all the boring dramatic details about peoples’ neurotic little lives.  I laughed, and explained that that’s pretty much my favourite thing.  Sure, I follow lots of topical blogs (mostly food nerds and sewing peeps), but I’ve got a huge affection for a well-written train-wreck, and often chide myself for not revealing enough, for not writing the sort of posts that’d hold my attention.  Of course, it’s fine, in the grander scheme, because writing here is something I do for myself, and I’m perfectly content with a limited audience.

I think about audience a lot these days.  Not just in blogland, but in living my life. Therapy is making me think about the concept of my “life song”, the melody I’m creating with my existence, the story I tell myself and tell others about myself.  (Yes, my shrink is an excellently earthy-type individual.) Using this to frame my daily choices, I’m feeling less stressed than I have in the past.  It’s easier to call out a coworker on some ugly bullshit comment, and to make time for a quick visit with a friend.  It’s also easier to let go: To forgive myself when I don’t live up to my ideals, and to get rid of items I’d thought I’d need to keep because they once meant something to me.  Today I tossed out a box of photos, letters, and artwork by ex-lovers, ex-friends, and people I’m simply not close to any more.  I didn’t even look at them, and I don’t regret it.  In my story, they’re still there, and I’m okay with that… But in my apartment, that junk was taking up valuable space, which simply wouldn’t do.

Hello from my island of solace

Dear friends, I’ve been ignoring you.

No, no, your protests are charming yet inaccurate: I’ve actually been completely ignoring you, for real.  I haven’t been reading your own blogs, I haven’t been following the reader stats here at FG HQ, I haven’t been checking my FG email address, let alone F@cebook… And I’ve been severely neglecting the Queer Canada Blogs project, even though I know that several folks have recently submitted suggestions for blogs to add.

Terrible, isn’t it?

The thing is, the whole world is terrible.  Usually, that’s what this blog is about:  One odd queer rambling on about her relatively-privileged life on a fucked-up planet. Not exactly catchy, I realize, but my marketing department is rather small.

In this terrible world, there are islands of solace, and I’m currently relaxing on one.  Physically, in that I live on an island, and mentally, in that I’ve become extremely preoccupied with the minutia of daily life.  I’ve put my attention on a very short leash, and it’s not wandering much farther than making food, sewing clothing, reading books, tending the garden, and playing with the dog.  I spend all my internet time devouring how-to instructions: Tailoring, dehydrating, sausage-making, lamp crafting, reupholstering, permaculture, website design, raising goats, collecting maple syrup, etc etc etc… If it’s a skill I could possible find useful at some point, I’m reading about it.

The way I see it, I’m using this period of unemployment to shore up my resources for future times of need:  When I next have a job, I’ll likely be too busy for testing recipes or learning new DIY skills, not to mention being emotionally worn out by the toll of the usual sexist/homophobic crap that often is found in trades-based workplaces.  With that in mind, now is the time to stock the pantry!  Literally, in that I’m filling my shelves with preserves, and figuratively, in that I’m filling my mind with reminders of all the inspiration and hope I’ll be needing.

“Why doesn’t she blog more about the stuff she’s making?” You may wonder.  Well, the thing is, I want to… But I want to do it under my real name, so that I can use it for promoting the workshops I’m teaching, and maybe even someday make a little bit of pocket money from those initiatives.

Also, I’d like to have a blog that I can share with folks when they hear I’m a blogger and want to know what I write.  Often I’m cool with telling random hipsters about this anonymous little domain, but in a job interview…?  Yeah, it’d be good if I could show those people something a little less personal.  Also, my mom!  She knows I blog: She asked me point blank last time she was here, and all I said was “Yes.”  Ha!

So that’s what I’m up to.  I miss you!  And I kinda miss the fervour I feel when I’m really on a roll and blogging a lot on this site, even though it’s often born from frustration or confusion or another general attempt to process something I’ve experienced. It’s so nice to be able to avoid that right now!  And I’m not taking this chance for granted.

For now, I’m still here, but not here, because I’m oh-so-very exactly where I am.

The ignored houseguest and the blogger (Too much about my dreams)

Last night I had the strangest dream:  Oats and I were in Peterpatch, Ontario, staying with the-first-girl-I-was-ever-in-love-with and her wife and child.  For the sake of the story, let’s call her X.

It was awkward, because X and family weren’t actually talking to us or really even acknowledging our existence, so I got it into my head that we needed rescuing and the only person who could do that was, of course, Amak.  Trouble is, I didn’t know how to find him.  I finally got X to talk with me, and she said she knew who Amak was but not his phone number.  “What about the Welsh family?” I asked, referring to Amak’s housemates.  “Do you know where their house is?”  No, she told me, but since it was Tuesday night (?!), Amak was sure to be at this one certain bar (?!!).  I looked up its number in the phone book and called, and asked the bartender to find Amak, which he eventually did.

So there’s Amak, on the phone, saying “Hello?” and I suddenly realize that this guy has no idea who I am, aside from my blog.

“Uh…” I stuttered.

“Hello?” Amak asked again, confused. It was very very noisy in the background.

“Yeah, hi,” I said. “This is feral geographer. Um… I’m in your town.”

“What? I can’t hear you,” he said. “Did you just say that this is feral geographer?”

“Yeah, it is,” I replied. “Hi! What are you doing? Want to hang out?”

Cuz you know, it’s not the least bit weird to introduce yourself by your blog name, or call up a person you’ve never met and talk to them all casual-like, as if you’re old buddies.*

Of course, this is a dream, and aside from that I’m quite certain that Amak is a kind and gracious person, so he said he’d love to meet up, and he’d come find us. Then he hung up. Oats and I were still at X’s house, and I was pretty sure that Amak didn’t know where that was, which was suddenly very worrying. I was trying to figure out what to do about this when I woke up.

There are several funny aspects to the dream, including the fact that I am not in contact with the-first-girl-I-was-ever-in-love-with and have never met her wife nor her child, though obviously my subconscious is telling me that I have huge issues around this (I feel like an ignored houseguest…? What…?). Also, why would I go to Peterpatch and not contact Amak ahead of time to see if he’d be around? Finally, given that all I know about Amak is from his blog and he’s given little indication there as to his social drinking habits, why do I think that Amak is a fan of loud noisy bars, on Tuesday nights in particular?

The mind reels.

*Actually, it occurs to me that many of you reading this are bloggers who’ve done similar things: Meeting the writers of one’s favourite blogs isn’t that unusual, I realize, nor is the intense kinship one can feel for these online friends. It’s just that I’ve never done it: Only once have I approached a blogger on the street, whom I’d never met but whose blog is on the QCB blogroll, and even then I was given the recommendation by a mutual acquaintance so it wasn’t that strange. But other than that, I’ve got my online life and my face-to-face life and they are very seperate from one another. One day, I’d like to change that… Queer Canada Blogger Meet-Up? Yes, please! But I don’t have time to organize it at the moment, so it’ll hafta wait.

It’s so disheartening, to watch you go.

The final installment of my reflections on 2010. Part I can be found here, and check out Part II at this spot.

2010 YEAR IN REVIEW, PART III
26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?

I became slightly enamoured of the annual Triple J Hottest 100. I’ve been downloading the playlists from past years and am eagerly anticipating this year’s countdown… Coming up on January 26th! Vote here! I love how many offbeat tracks make it onto this list, songs and artists that I’ve otherwise never heard of. Last year’s top track, Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons, reminds me of the folk punk bands I used to follow, like Ghost Mice and early Against Me, and is still a favourite song of mine.

27. What did you want and get?

A home that I can rely on. Just knowing that my monthly rent cheque goes to my friends instead of an unstable landlady is a huge benefit to my mental health.

28. What did you want and not get?

Jobs. I applied to work as an electrician with the provincial utility authority twice, the local naval base once, and as a sustainable energy intern with a local green consulting non-profit, and nothing came of it except a lot of practice with cover letters and resumes. Having said that, I was basically handed the rest of my employment with no sweat on my part: The union gave me the construction job, I got the farm position through friends, and this current water system service consulting gig was offered to me by a dude I met at a sustainability event. Given how damn hard it can be to find any work at all, I’m lucky.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I was totally obsessed with The Karate Kid for a long while during the summer, and I still think about it all the time. Yes, I’m talking about the original 1984 version. Seriously, sexism aside, it’s an incredible tribute to experiences of race and class in America! I’m pretty certain that this film is how I first learned about WWII Japanese internment camps when I was a little kid.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 years old, and spent the day at work on the farm. It was a harvest day, which meant hard labour, but it was fun anyway. I had a barbecue party on the weekend, which was fabulous, with friends on the patio until late late late. K and W fell asleep on our bed, so Oats and I shared the couches in the livingroom with S, which was funny yet oddly sweet… You know your friends are your friends when they feel comfortable enough to crash on your bed, and you don’t even think to wake them up.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If just one of my planned career options had panned out, I think I’d be more satisfied with where I currently find myself. However, it’s easy to say that, from my current melancholic vantage point.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Ha! At both the construction site and the farm, I wore the same outfits every single week day, washing them each weekend. I call this concept “pragmatic worker”. That aside, in 2010 I made a conscious decision to avoid dressing in black all the time. As I type this, I’m wearing a cute royal blue cardigan, which would have been unheard of for me in previous years.

33. What kept you sane?

Thinking of the big picture, and focusing on long-term investments.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Eh. None.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Fuck, I was a self-centred git this past year and barely paid attention to anything in the realm of mainstream politics! However, a lot of the energy I used to put into political rage got sucked up by my involvement with the local queer dance party collective, which is inherently political by its simple existence… And ain’t the personal political? So, yeah: Queer rights, safe space for queers, supporting grassroots community among folks in my geographic region who identify as two-spirited, trans, bi, queer, gay, lesbian, genderqueer, or are otherwise marginalized by their gender/sexual identities… And beyond my geographic region too, I suppose, if I take into account the Queer Canada Blogs project.

36. Who did you miss?

All the friends who’ve moved away and settled elsewhere. Fuck, I hate it. I know this town to too expensive and too small to keep you here, but it’s so disheartening, to watch you go.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m racking my brain here to figure out if I even met anyone new this year. I live on an island, okay? And I don’t get out much.

Okay, I’ve got it: I met a lot of great new people when I worked at the farm, folks who I think will be around for further adventures in one way or another. I can’t single out any of them, but I think they are all pretty great.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I just spent ages searching through song lyrics and I’m stumped: There are no small snippets of song that can contain the multitudes of my past year.

And.. Here ends the meme-ing. Thanks for sticking around, and I sincerely hope that 2011 is absolutely awesome for you, because you deserve it.

It’s a total crapshoot, but can turn up some real gems.

More stuff you may or may not want to know about how I see the past year of my life. Part I is here, and Part III is here.

2010 YEAR IN REVIEW, PART II
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

That of Mo, my dog, who is now almost 18 months old. He was a very quick learner when I brought him to work with me at the farm this past summer, and impressed everyone with his ability to stay calm and obedient. Also impressive was his ability to eat huge quantities of strawberries, turnips, and tomatoes.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

That of many of my coworkers from the construction site. The sexist/racist/homophobic crap that came from their mouths was just so fucked up, I was not only appalled but also embarassed for them.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Fucked if I know. I didn’t make much money anyway. No, really, I think it went to paying off debt. At least I hope it went to paying off debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My own fantasies of working at jobs that I didn’t end up getting. My image of myself as a successful tradewoman, which is also a fantasy of sorts. Le sigh. Today, I’m not feeling particularly good about the choices I’ve made.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

I get a lot of random playlists from various sources and dump them onto my mp3 player pretty regularly, then listen to them on shuffle while working. It’s a total crapshoot, but can turn up some real gems: For example, I did not care one whit about Lady Gaga until I heard this version of Poker Face, performed live for BBC Radio 1 Lounge. It floored me. I still prefer this theatrical version to the pop one.

The other song that’ll remind me of this year is Home, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder? About the same?

Happier, thank fuck. Last January sucked.

ii. Thinner or fatter?

About the same. More importantly, I’m more muscular, from spending 7 months in physical labour jobs. Why don’t you ask about that, dear survey-writer?

iii. Richer or poorer?

Richer! Not on paper, but in other ways: I’m further in debt, but with more income, and better prospects for my financial future. Also, I have a higher quality of life, since Oats and I moved from a one bedroom into a three bedroom apartment and got our own vehicle.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time hanging out with friends. Like I said above, I was a hermit this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Feeling down on myself. It was a waste of time.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I worked until the early afternoon on the Eve and then went to a big dinner at the home of some friends, along with my housemates. On the Day, I slept in, then spent the day cooking and talking to family/friends on skype. That evening, we did a house dinner with the four of us from our place plus our friends from across the street. I made a mushroom nut roast in puff pastry! And vegan gravy with beer and Vegemite! And I roasted a chicken! There were three onmivores and three vegetarians and I think we all ate very well. I then collapsed into an exhausted heap at around 9 pm, and hid in my bedroom with the cat.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fell more deeply with Oats, who is simply wonderful. Also, my dog… Seriously, I love him more now than I ever did before.

22. How many one-night stands?

Zero. I’m not that sort of girl.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Outrageous Fortune, because I love foul-mouthed Kiwis… And especially Robyn Malcolm, who is just so cool.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. I’m not big on hate: It takes too much energy, and I’m too stretched thin as it is.

25. What was the best book you read?

I’m going to say Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite, because it’s the novel I read most recently that really stuck with me. Fiction aside, I read and reread The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich… Even though I didn’t use a lot of her recipes, I adore this book.

Read Part III here… You know you want to.

Anti-meme blogger does a meme (2010 Year In Review)

Happy New Year, readers! Eight days in, and we’re still here: 2011 seems to be working out.

So, as you may know, I’m a grouchy blogger, with rather particular tastes in both blog-writing and blog-reading. It can’t even be called snobbery, because there’s no pattern of superiority to it: I just like what I like, and get annoyed by everything else. One thing I’m really not into is memes. Oh sure, I occasionally repost funny/cool stuff on social networking sites, but I find it tedious when I see the same video/article/quiz/etc show up on all the blogs I read. I know, I know, I’m mean. But really, what I love about the Internet is original content, and that’s what I’m here for: I want your formless brain dump, and I want it now.

Regular readers will note that I’ve participated in group online initiatives like Reverb10 and NaBloPoMo, and aren’t those memes of a sort? To which I answer Yes. I am a hypocrite if nothing else.

With that in mind… Hey! Here’s a meme! Why? Because I want to! Also, because I’ve been alarmed by how fast time has been moving lately (have you read Jeannette Winterson’s Tanglewreck?) and I figure that I’ll appreciate having this record a year from now.

Given how long this sucker is, I’m going to split it up over a couple days, because otherwise I’ll overwhelm your patience and it’s too early in the year to risk that. Read Part II here, and Part III here.

2010 YEAR IN REVIEW, PART I
1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Like, a million things. I got a full drivers’ license, I worked in construction, I got a surprise lay-off, I did paid work at a farm, I bought a car from a dealership, I commuted to work by car, I was photographed partially nude for a calendar, I proposed marriage to my partner, I got chickens, I painted the walls of multiple large rooms in my home multiple times, I sailed my own boat, I… Yeah. A lot of this past year was new, new, new.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I never make New Year’s resolutions. Of course, I also never do memes. Huh.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Hmmm… J, whom I still haven’t seen since she announced her pregnancy in December 2009, because I was too sick to go to the baby shower, and I’ve been a total hermit this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My old friend G, who was once very close to me, though not so much in recent years… I wrote about that here.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?

I drove across the Northern US, which I hadn’t done in years: That was pretty cool. But so was all the tripping I did around this island. I went on a few local camping trips, and enough day hikes to remind me why I love living in this part of the world.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Stable career plans, which may lead to stable financial plans. Sexy, I know.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day I proposed to Oats. And I can’t remember the date. But I remember the day, the moment, everything else! I know, I’m awful… Hopefully she doesn’t think so.

Also, the date I went to work at the construction site: It was March 16th, and I was scared shitless.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Trying. Knowing it would be hard, and trying anyway.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t know yet. I think time will tell, however.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I was sick in the summer for a little while, but mostly had a healthy year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The chickens. Eggs aside, the entertainment value and pure social collateral of having poultry is very rewarding. I crave status with the urban agriculture crowd. Once you’ve got them on side, the world is yours.

Part II is just around the corner!