Thursday, April 16, 2015

rogue hairs and peanut butter

Barclay had to go to Saskatoon this week for work stuff, and Van and I went with him because we are needy and clingy and also we like road trips. 

Or, you know, we thought we did. 

We haven't really done much for travelling since Van was seven months old and we went to Seattle for my Grandpa's wedding, and back then he didn't have any kind of sleep schedule (or if he did, it was: sleep sometimes but mostly don't bother). Sleep schedules are great and all, but they're about as sturdy as cookies and ancient ruins. Sullivan sleeps now, but only if you put him in bed at the exact right moment (when he's tired enough but not too tired) and only if you put him in bed at a place he's comfortable with and only if it's dark and only if there's music and only if the temperature is just so and only if his stomach is full and only if you stand on your head and recite the recipe for  blueberry scones backwards in a Swedish accent. It's ridiculous. 

So we got to the hotel at midnight on Sunday and tried to make him go to sleep in a warm, strange room with a bright streetlight shining in through the sheer curtains and he was like, "OH NO OH NO WHERE AM I?"

And I was all shushy and mothery and I stroked his hair and said, "Chill out, baby, we're in Saskatoon." 

And he was like, "I'M NOT SURE IF YOU SAID 'SASKATOON' OR IF YOU SAID 'WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE SOON." That is to say, he screamed bloody murder at me for two straight hours.

We had booked a hotel with a suite so we could put Sullivan's crib in his own room (because he won't go to sleep if there are other people in the room with him, that's the one I forgot above), but when we got there the guy was like, "No, 'suite' refers to the fact that there is a chair and a fridge." 

Barclay mentioned that he'd thought maybe 'suite' meant more than one room, and the guy said, "Well I've never heard of that. Usually 'suite' just means chair and fridge." 

(I just looked up 'suite' in the dictionary, and the first definition starts off: 'a set of rooms...")

We weren't mad though, because it was midnight and we were tired and we knew we could deal. But then when we got into the little fridge chair room (which I refuse to refer to as a suite) there was hair in the bed and in the shower and in the sink and on the toilet and on the floor. Hair, in short, everywhere. Yuck. 

Anyway. It wasn't the worst thing ever, but we did spend a bit of time in the hallway drinking coffee while Sullivan attempted to sleep in our hairy fridge chair room. Which I actually enjoyed in a strange I've-never-had-coffee-here-before kind of way.

The rest of the week was a lot of wandering around parks and malls and shops with Sullivan (who has become an excellent wanderer) and visiting with my sisters (I have two in the city) and one of my high school friends who I don't get to see that often. This bit was well worth the rogue hairs and the all-night cry sessions. 

And last night, Barclay got off work and we hit up the Broadway Cafe, one of my favourite spots when I used to live in Saskatoon, for greasy diner burgers. (Sullivan, however, had toast with peanut butter on it. And by 'had toast with peanut butter', I really mean that he used the toast as a peanut butter holder. He started out by dipping his finger in the peanut butter and discreetly licking it off, but by the end of the meal, somehow, there was peanut butter everywhere. No, I mean everywhere. Like, if you were allergic to peanuts and happened to be within a three block radius of the restaurant, you'd be dead. We cleaned up after ourselves as well as we could and made sure to leave an excellent tip.)

And now, I'm in my living room at home and Sullivan is laying on the floor surrounded by his books begging me with his puppy dog eyes to never take him out of the house again. And I am tempted to make rash promises. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Morning Edition in North Central

The Morning Edition was out doing another live taping in the city today, this time at a community centre in the North Central neighbourhood. Was I there? Of course. You ask ridiculous questions. Julia, Erin, and Becky came with me too. 

I so wish I had a link to share with you so you could listen to the whole episode online - it was that good - but I don't think that's an option. So I'll just have to ramble on and on until your eyes roll back and your face falls onto your keyboard. Sorry.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Regina (which, according to my stats page, is most of you?), some context: North Central has kind of a bad rap, to put it lightly (in a critical Macleans article back in 2007, it was dubbed Canada's Worst Neighbourhood). I moved here around then, and when I applied for a job at a North Central business I was quickly informed that there were some places in the city I really shouldn't be. Even Wikipedia, which describes other Regina neighbourhoods as 'historic' and 'affluent' and 'fashionable', says only of North Central that it's 'an area of low-rent housing nowadays characterised by serious problems of crime, drug use and prostitution.'

And it is. I mean, there's no denying that. For the most part, a lot of people simply avoid that part of our city. Avoid going there, physically and mentally. Never mind that the district is literally right in the middle of the city and does make up a pretty large percentage of our population; it turns out, it's surprisingly easy to ignore 12,000 people. 

But I went there this morning with my friends, and we watched Stefani Langenegger and the Morning Edition crew celebrate North Central. And it was so cool. 

They celebrated the culture, the diversity, the improvement that has been happening, and, largely, the people who are working so hard to make it a better place.

I think it's an easy thing to look around and say, "There's a need here." These things are often glaringly obvious if your eyes are open. But it's harder, way harder, to say, "There's a need here, so I'm going to..."

We heard story after story this morning of people who did that. "There are hungry children, so I'm going to..." "There are women who just need to talk, so I'm going to..." "There are I'm going to..." "There are I'm going to..." 

Because of those people, there is a lot of really amazing stuff going on in North Central right now.

Halfway through the morning I turned to Erin and said, "I didn't realize all this was happening over here."

And she said, "Me neither. And whose fault is that?" Not in a snarky way, just, "Whose fault is that?" 

As the morning went on, more and more people came and the atmosphere got more and more festive. The buzz in the community centre finally grew so loud that we couldn't hear the broadcast anymore.

We talked about it the whole ride home in Julia's mini van. About North Central, but not just about North Central. We talked about how inspiring it was to listen to person after person who saw a need and then got to work trying to meet it. And about how we'd love to be those kinds of people too. 

Shout out to Stefani and your crew for such an excellent morning, for the bannock and coffee, for making me think, and for celebrating a place that clearly doesn't get as much positive press as it deserves.  

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Hello, How Are You? Like Your Shoes, Love Your Hair

You know what wakes you up faster than coffee in the morning? Rash decisions, instantaneous regret, and self-loathing.

(But coffee with a little cream definitely goes down smoother.)

I mean, I was still half asleep this morning when I chopped all that hair off. Half asleep. But you know when you get a little hair cut and then you're like, "More! Shorter! Balder! Faster!"? Anybody?

Anyway. It's mostly Barclay's fault, because when he knocked on the bathroom door and I shouted, "Just a second, I'm cutting my haaaaaaiiiiiirrrrrr," he should have busted in, tackled me, wrestled the scissors from my stupid hands and cut them off.

Sheesh, Barclay.

You thought I was going to post a picture, didn't you? One of those, "Go on, tell me how bad it looks (but don't actually give me your real opinion just say I'd look beautiful even if I cut my hair with a butter knife)." But no. I'm not. I'm going to maintain the teeniest shred of decency and withhold the post-hack-job-selfie (which does exist, incidentally).

In fact, I wasn't even going to write about this at all, but then I realized that I'd have to see people in person sooner or later. And I didn't want to have that conversation:

"Oh! You got...a hair cut...?"


"Oh, your hairdresser?" (Because it sounds rude to outright say, "Did you hack that up yourself?")

"I don't go to a hairdresser because I've decided to needlessly punish myself for every wrong thing I've ever done in my whole life by having horrible haircuts from here on out."

And then the gushing, "Oh! No, that's not what I meant; it looks so good!/I could never do that!/You could cut your hair with a butter knife and you'd still look fab."

I implode in the face of gushing. My brain turns to cream corn and I just start saying 'no' over and over.

So here is the plan, for those of you reading who know me in real life: When you see me, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY HAIR. DO NOT. NOTHING. DO NOT WANT. Don't say, "You got bangs!" or, "I was expecting so much worse! That actually looks good!" Don't say, "Oh yeah, you messed up." Don't say, "So, I read your blog post about your haircut..."

You can say this: "Hi, Suzy. How was your week? What music are you listening to these days? Do you just love love love vacations? Let's talk about volcanoes."

Or something like that. Thanks, guys. I owe you. 

Around Here

Here is a list of things that have been happening around my house:

1. I cut Barclay's hair.
2. Barclay cut my hair.
3. Barclay cut Sullivan's hair.
4. Sullivan is not allowed to touch the scissors, but wishes he could.
5. Spring came!
6. It blizzarded!
7. Spring came again, for sure this time.
8. We had another blizzard.
9. Everyone is sitting in their houses suspiciously peering out the blinds, crying and eating soup. It looks sunny, but the sun cannot be trusted.
10. We (Sullivan, actually) got a letter in the mail from my mom. I opened it for him and he was so excited about it and then I showed him how to make confetti out of the envelope and he was even more excited and everyone was so happy and having so much fun. The whole time I was like, "Why didn't I think of doing this before? He's loving this!" And then only two minutes later I was like, "I'm an idiot. Who teaches their kid to rip paper up into tiny pieces and throw it in the air?"
11. There are many little pieces of paper all over the living room for Barclay to clean up when he gets home.
12. Everyone just walking around being cute all the time. And also no temper tantrums and the house is always clean and living is simple. 
13. Haha.
14. My parents came to visit. 
15. I think spring might actually be here now.
16. Pictures: 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

{face mask night}

Tuesday night is face mask night.

I put Sullivan to bed, stir together baking soda, cream, and honey, and walk around the house looking like Death or one of his pale, ghostly relatives. Sometimes I add lemon juice. Sometimes I add cocoa. Sometimes I close my eyes and grab something out of the fridge.

The Rule, which I learned after a few minutes of Pinterest-searching "best DIY face mask ever", is that you can pretty much put anything on your face and call it a face mask. Maybe not ketchup or, you know, laundry soap, but I mean, just don't be stupid. Your skin likes food, is the bottom line. (Also, your skin is kind of a like a 9 month old baby who you have to puree everything for.)

Anyway, it's one of those little things that has become a normal thing and is also a big thing - little in that it literally takes 30 seconds to mix up and smear on my face (I leave it on for a whole hour while I do my other normal Tuesday night stuff and it feels amazing the whole time). Normal in that I don't think I've missed a face mask night since I started. And big in that it's something to look forward to (is that dorky?) every week. I've found that it has a drastic effect on my overall, you know, 'psyche', to sprinkle little Things like this throughout the calendar weeks. Things to anticipate and appreciate, but which aren't bank breakers or time wasters. They're so stealthy and un-monunental that I might be the only one who even notices them, but that's part of their goodness. They're only for me anyway.

If you have a Thing that you do every week or every day or every once in a while that is fast and cheap but also pretty wonderful, you should tell me about it so I can maybe add it to the little list I have going. My Thing list.