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Superhero post

Categories: Uncategorized
May 11, 2010

Just linking to a pretty post from Superhero Journal today, about seeing the good in a painful situation.  I love the method that she uses to ask questions of the Universe.  I think I’ll try it myself sometime :)

My Nepenthe

One of those days

Categories: inspiration
May 6, 2010

Today was ‘just one of those days’ where nothing was working as it should. I woke up late, my blog redesign wasn’t coming together, the new character that I was creating for Vicki Lee-Victoria looked like it was drawn by a 3rd grader. Yada yada yada…I was discouraged.

All day I was looking forward to making dinner, a portabello mushroom risotto, which involves a good 20 minutes at the stove, stirring, stirring, adding broth, stirring some more. Stirring risotto soothes the soul in a way similar to knitting, or washing the floor on hands and knees…it demands meditation and calm, there’s no other way around it.

So, I was really looking forward to this 20 minute ‘meditation’ to clear my head.  But, things didn’t go quite as calmly as expected.  First of all, I had to turn off the stove and go to the grocer next to our building twice to pick up ingredients that we were out of.   Then, my (very poorly designed) Calphalon spatula flipped out of the sautee pan, throwing rice and onion all over the kitchen wall, cupboards, and garbage can. This happened not once, not twice, but three times…three times!  After the third missile I threw the spatula into the sink and then I threw a fit.

It would have been comedic if anyone was there to see it.

Anyway, tonight, just before bed, I sat down for a little one-on-one time with my Google Reader. I watched the below newly released video about Stephanie Nielson (aka nie nie) and I was instantly ashamed about my ‘poor me’ moment.   But, of course, I was uplifted too because her outlook on her new life is so inspiring. In particular, around the one minute mark she says “I am Stephanie Nielson, and I am not my body.”  This raised the hairs on my arms.

So, without further ado, I will stop gabbing and just let you watch this video already.

Note to self:

If you are having ‘just one of those days’, and you think that some mishap like mushroom and onion spattered across your kitchen wall entitles you to wallow in self-pity, remember that for some people ‘just one of those days’ means yet another trip to the burn ward, or oncology, or a food bank.  Those people are entitled to a bit of self-pity, but chances are they are handling their situation with grace.  Stay calm and realize that today is a good day.

Feel-Good Wednesdays: Girls with Glasses

Categories: Feel-Good Wednesday
May 5, 2010

I Am A Girl – The Girls With Glasses Theme Song from The Girls With Glasses on Vimeo.

There’s something about this video that I love.  Maybe it’s because these girls have embraced their four-eyes and they are gorgeous too.  I started wearing glasses at 9 years old, and I have never wanted to make a video celebrating them.  The first day I got them I covered my face with my Archie Comic Book for the walk to the car like a celebrity evading the paparazzi.   I got contacts the minute my mother allowed them and took care of them so that she’d allow me to continue wearing them.  I got lazer eye surgery at 25 so that I’d never have to incur the cost of expensive contacts (my prescription was perplexing) or the frustration of waking up blind again.  Suffice it to say that I never embraced the glasses look, although I am convinced that they got me my second web development job because I fit the ‘nerdy’ role perfectly.

Maybe I’m overstating things.  But, I am reminded now to be thankful for the Lazer Eye Surgery procedure.  That the technology exists, and that I was able to afford it at the time.

No offense to you ladies, you look gorgeous, but oh I am so grateful for my near-ish 20/20 vision.

Oh, ps. Happy Cinco De Mayo!  Oh, and did you know that it is Arbor Week in Canada?  It started last Friday and ends this Sunday.  We haven’t planted a tree, but we did buy a very nice pot of organic basil…does that count?

Ergonomic Chairs: 2 parts funny, 1 part informative

Categories: Uncategorized
May 2, 2010
evolution of posture

Evolution of posture. Source unknown, can someone help with the source?

Last week I bought an ergonomic chair from Craigslist.   Why? Because, I really depend on my spine, and I want it to keep supporting me for many years to come. But I know this is a two-way relationship.  I can’t slouch through my whole life and then expect my spine to…ahem…have my back…ahem…when I need it most.

You see, the chairs that we commonly sit in for the majority of our day (at the dinner table, in front of the TV, and at the office) create a very unnatural ‘C’ curve in the spine, which compresses the vertebrae and creates pressure on the disks, resulting in a plethora of health problems.  My back has suffered through 28 years of standard chairs and improper sitting, plus I have a phase 2 cervical subluxation in my spine, so  I wanted and needed a healthier option.  I researched some reputable ergonomic seating options, such as the kneeling chair, the balance ball chair, and the saddle stool.

The saddle chair won my vote because, if nothing else, it seemed smaller than the others and therefor easier to stow away in our teeny condo.  But, it also helps to retain the natural spinal ‘S’ shape that relieves stress to the vertebrae, and therefor improves posture, reduces foot swelling, and aids in overall balance.  Oh, and it improves leg circulation…hello cellulite buster!

So, I bought a Salli Saddle from a delightful fellow named Riz on Craigslist.

But, after 2 days of using this chair, I just couldn’t get comfortable.  And truth be told, I felt absolutely ridiculous sitting on my ‘horseback saddle on wheels’ while I tapped away on my computer.  I figured I must be doing something wrong…there had to be something I was missing.  So, I did a search on how to sit properly in a Salli Saddle Chair.

This is what my search came up with.  An informative, and extremely awkward, video from the Salli Saddle manufacturers in Finland.  Apparently the Finnish people are less inhibited when it comes to the topic of human genitalia than, say…the entire rest of the world.  

I feel so much better about my purchase now.  And, if after watching this video, you can’t wait to get your hands on a Salli Saddle chair too, well, I guess you have me to thank :)


ps. Now for the serious note: As the post title mentions, this is meant to be 2 parts funny and 1 part informative.  The video may be awkward, but at the end of the day, I am growing to really appreciate my new chair for its benefits to my posture and overall health. I would encourage anyone to re-evaluate their office seating for one of the ergonomic options listed above, I am sure your spine will thank you for it.

Taken over by the knitting bug

Categories: About Me,Crafty Stuff
April 30, 2010
Pretty yarn and a garter stitch

My first project. Taken with: Nikon Coolpix s710

On Monday I had the urge to knit.  I was on my way home from work and walking through the Yonge-Eglington Centre Mall, and for some inconceivable reason I felt a strong pull to the nearby Mary Maxim yarn shop.  Why this happened is a mystery, because the last time I picked up knitting needles was when I was fourteen and my mom tried to teach how to knit a pot-holder.  I was young and knitting was for old people, and anyway I was way to cool for that.  The potholder never got finished.

Anyway, I ended up at the Mary Maxim and bought myself this lovely ball of pink yarn (acrylic of course, I’m a beginner) and a pair of 6mm needles.  I have been knitting every day since.  I knit while watching TV, on the subway, on the comuter train among business people and their laptops, and at the park.  I don’t know what’ s come over me…I’m channelling my Grandma Stewart..or Martha Stewart…or my MIL Karen.

Ok, I’m not being totally truthful here.  I do know why I started to knit.  A couple of weekends ago we visited Scott’s parents and I happened to pick up At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Toronto knitting celebrity Stephanie Pearl-McPhee of the yarn harlot.  I was charmed by her words, and by the prospect of getting zen while doing something productive like making scarves for myself and my loved ones (I’ll graduate to sweaters eventually…after I master the stockinette stitch maybe.)   I was charmed right into my nearest yarn store.

My first project is a scarf from Vogue Knitting on the Go! Beginner Basics, a book someone gave me years ago that I never once opened.  The scarf is just row upon row of garter stitch, basically just practice for getting an even gauge.  And now I’m getting ahead of myself with visions of beautifully knit cardigans, hats, socks, gloves, everything!

I am officially on the bandwagon.

An ode to my husband, and marriage in general.

Categories: About Me,Family,Listening To
April 29, 2010
Toronot Island Excursion

Sorry to embaress you honey... Taken with: Canon Digital Rebel

Last night Scott asked if I was going to write about him again soon in my blog.  How cute is that?

You see, we are still in the newlywed phase of our marriage where we both get a thrill out of calling each other (and being called) ‘husband’, and ‘wife’.  (If you’re married, I’m sure you remember this feeling.)  I think he likes it when I refer to him as my husband on here, and he also likes being portrayed as such a swell guy.

And he is a swell guy, for many reasons, a notable one being that he makes this writing thing possible for me. He has the steady job which supports us, and I have a fledgling writing career which, at the moment, makes negative income (but hey, it has potential).  I couldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for him and his faith in me.

But, this isn’t the point of my story.  I won’t bore you with how very much in love we are (yep, gag).  We’re bad enough PDA’ers as it is in real life (and I quote Scott’s Mom to his Dad: “John, they’re at it again!”).  Taking the public display of affection into the very public blogosphere would be a little excessive, don’t you think?

Anyway, last night we watched Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (I have the amazing soundtrack on repeat this morning.)  Afterward, we lay in bed and rhymed off lines from the movie with our best imitations of a southern drawl.

Him: “Damn, we’re in a tight spot!”

Me: “Well, I don’t want Fop, goddamn it! I’m a Dapper Dan man!”

<giggle giggle>

Him: “They loved him up an’ turned him into a horny-toad!”

Me: “Oh George, not the livestock”

<giggle giggle giggle>

This went on for about twenty minutes or so, though I can’t say for sure because we fell asleep while still talking and laughing.

And that part, the ‘falling asleep talking’ part, is the point of my story.  Please, oh please dear, let’s make this honeymoon phase last forever…

**And now for a clip from my favorite scene in the movie…


“I’ve spoken my piece and counted to three.”
~ Penny Wharvey McGill from Oh Brother, Where art thou

Finally Vicki-Lee Victoria – Episode 5: Meditation

Categories: Vicki Lee - Victoria
April 28, 2010

Vicki Lee-Victoria:Meditation

It is true that meditating with an inner child running rampant is a pointless endeavor, yet I still try!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Categories: Uncategorized
April 22, 2010
Avalon enjoying the Rainforest Exhibit at the Science Center

Avalon enjoying the Rainforest Exhibit at the Science Center

Today is Earth Day.

It’s funny because I posted a few weeks ago about how Earth Week started on the 19th, then promptly forgot about the whole thing.  I think it’s because there didn’t seem to be the hoopla I was expecting…and without hoopla, it slipped my mind until today.
But, upon reflection, I have been celebrating, just in my own quiet way.

For instance:

  • On Friday I took my niece to the Science Center, and we spent almost an hour in the Living Earth exhibit looking at algae, and poision dart frogs, and a replica of a sliced open 400 year old tree. She and I discussed the effects of deforestation, and I think she is quite astute on the topics of Environmental Stewardship despite only being six. We have hope for our future.
  • Scott and I went for our first hike of the season up at the cottage.
  • Without realizing why, I’ve made vegetarian meals for dinner for the past 3 nights (it had nothing to do with being too lazy to get to the healthy butcher, I promise.)

Also, as is the case with New Years Eve, I’ve decided to make a couple of Earth Day resolutions for this year.

I will:

  1. Commit to reducing our garbage output, and this includes recycling.
  2. Cook at least one meat-free dinner per week.
  3. Shut my laptop down each night (I am so guilty of not doing this).
  4. Enjoy the environment (in the limited capacity that living in a city allows) by taking walks along the harbourfront and feeding the birds in the park.

Does anyone else have some Earth Day resolutions to share?  Also, I’m curious to know if anyone is doing something special for the day?

Vicki Lee-Victoria: Episode Not

Categories: Uncategorized
April 20, 2010

I apologize for the lack of posting. I’m still alive and well, but I was away from connectivity Friday-Sunday. Monday was a catch-up day, and today…well, today I had my Vicki Lee Victoria sketch about 90% done in Illustrator when I accidentally closed without saving my work…and, poof! Episode 5 is gone.
That is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way faaarrrrrrr to many times, harumph. So, it will be a little late. Sorry. (Oh, and my dog ate my homework too….I swear!)
And on that note, I’ve been considering changing the format for VLV. It seems that drawing in Illustrator is far more time-consuming than hand-drawing. I’ve been thinking of switching to the latter, but it’s been a while since grade 10 art class! This weekend I spent my crazy amount of offline time doodling characters and was surprised that my hand sketching is, while not excellent, actually not half-bad!
I’ve been reading Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain by Chris Hart, and he suggested that drawings with too much detail will look muddy when shrunk to the size alloted to a strip in the newspaper.
Not that I am expecting any offers from King Features Syndicate anytime soon…
But, I’m still conisdering reworking my characters so that I can hand-draw them. I figure, why not simplify a little too? Hey, if there’s one thing that’s great about starting a blog, it’s that I can keep re-jigging all my little projects until they’re just right 😀


“Change is inevitable . . .adapting to change is unavoidable,
it’s how you do it that sets you together or apart.”
~William Ngwako Maphoto

Feel-Good Wednesdays: Happiness

Categories: Feel-Good Wednesday
April 14, 2010

True Happiness is Giving it Away by kate / for me, for you

Live Now Collaboration by kate / for me, for you

Poster for the incredibly inspirational site Live Now – A Community of Happiness.

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Hi, I'm Tori, and welcome to my open book. I'm a freelance writer and web designer. This site is my scratch pad for thoughts and ideas, experiences and inspiration. Go ahead, eavesdrop on my life a little bit, you know you want to...