Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sleeping Under The Stars.

I pick Ryan Reynolds.

Har har. No, really.

Through a long and somewhat boring series of events, I find myself sleeping on a futon in our sunroom, which used to be our storage room.

I don't have a door, but I don't really care. I have the option to move into a now-empty room, but we started using it for storing packed boxes and sorting out yet-to-be-packed ones, and besides, I really don't care. I've been living from pillar to post for almost a year now, so what's another two weeks?

It's not much of a sacrifice, really. The best part is that three walls of my room are windows facing East, South, and West, and I'm at eye level with a beautiful 4-story maple.

I open opposite windows and at night the most delicious crisp spring breeze blows through. I love listening to the rain and watching the lightning. I feel like I'm camping, but without all the bullshit that goes with camping!

I know now, as I slowly design my own straw bale home in my head, that I'd love to have windows all 'round in my bedroom. It's terrible, thermally, but if I'm careful about size and placement, I could enjoy North Shore breezes all the time in my sustainable home! (In my South-facing windows, of course!)

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Cards on the table: I like stamps. I don't collect them or anything, but I like the design of stamps. The Canadian stamp museum can be found within the walls of the National Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, and that is where I spend the bulk of my time when I visit that institution.

I've been working a few hours a week at a friend's accounting business (she does peoples' taxes - it's a busy time of year) and one of my favourite duties is buying stamps. Because we send out a lot of differently-weighted parcels, I need lots of small-denomination stamps. Happily, Canada Post has a fantastic line of low-value stamps called "Beneficial Insects." It features beautiful insects with multi-penny denominations, the values of which are listed with a stylish overhang the edge of the stamp.

There is also a line of stamps (which borders on saccharine) which features baby animals. It bothers me a little that the animals are not named on the individual stamps, let alone given a genus species, but forget it! Look! Baby geese! Awww!

Here are some other of my favourites: a commemoration of the Terra Nova National Park's centennial (my grandfather worked there!), the homemade beauty and simplicity of Mary Pratt's photorealism (right), and this real stunner from this year (above).

I give this praise so I can chastise, too.

Canada Post came out with commemorative stamp for the recent royal wedding, and, I'm sorry, Canada Post, but it is a true fail. It is a failure to do something really interesting. Something stylish and innovative. A beautiful line drawing, or an abstract, or something that relates back to Canada. Nope. It's a cut-and-paste, phoned-in effort, with two press-release photos of the engagement announcement. Perhaps they didn't have enough time to commission something good. Perhaps they blew their design budget on some beautiful portraits last year. (I know, that should be in the praise section of this rant, shouldn't it?)

Maybe they just shouldn't have commemorated this event at all if they couldn't put their backs into it. I suppose there's some precedent: look at the lacklustre celebration of the Girl Guides' centennial and the marginally better Scouts' 100.

Either way, this maybe this isn't the best platform to send along this disappointment for a missed opportunity, but there 'tis.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It Takes Time To Build.

I figured I should let folks know that I went oh-for-three on grad school applications this year. I finally got the rejection letter from Dalhousie last week. The letter from U of Toronto came two weeks earlier, and the email (!) from McGill came earlier - in March.

Of course, I'm disappointed. I really want to start this part of my life, so now I have to wait until I'm 34 to get into this program - if I get in at all. I regret not thinking of Speech-Language Pathology earlier, like when I was in undergrad. In the 1990s. Christ.

So, I am really not interested in living and schooling in America, but they have a lot of programs and I've been told it's not as competitive (my rejection letter from U of T told me they had over 340 applicants for 45 seats). I'm also looking into New Zealand and the UK. I've been told that Canada has good reciprocity with Oz, NZ, and the UK for schooling and working across borders. I'd prefer to go to NZ or the UK over America - any day, and all will probably put me sufficiently in debt, but it'd be worth it.

Now that I've focused on something, I just want it to start. It's frustrating that I can't just start doing something I know I could do well.