5 Things To Do in Calgary for Christmas

5 Things To Do in Calgary for Christmas

1. Enjoy the chinook.

2. Leave. They say no one is from Calgary, so go visit wherever you came from, I guess? I’m going to Winnipeg.


3. Listen to people complain about how oil prices are affecting retail sales this season.

4. Visit the golf course to see the light demo with the religious undertones.

5. Shovel every damn inch of sidewalk on your property line before your neighbours call By-Law Services on your lazy ass.

Happy holidays, folks! Have a good one!

The 5 Ways to Procrastinate

Hi folks!

Long time, no post! Isn’t that they way?

I have had the busiest couple of weeks. I was mainly busy because I am terrible at organizing my time and planning my actions. I fell super behind on my school work, even though that was the number one thing I had to do on my list!

I ended up with one extension for a 20 page policy paper, an awesome Strategic Plan, an infuriating non-profit budgeting assignment, disecting a narrative therapy session, and what I feel is a poorly written journal article appraisal. Guess we’ll see in a few weeks how those all turn out.

I started thinking of all the things I was doing that were really unimportant but were pushing school work further down the list. I thought I’d share and see if you can relate. But, I must admit, this blog post has been sitting in drafts for awhile now… so I even procrastinated this blog post about procrastinating.

5 Best Ways to Procrastinate 

Organize your Spice Cupboard
Yes, I decided to do this instead of write the paper that was looming over me. Ièm not sure why I decided this was important… I guess I was tired of digging around and having things fall all over me. However, it is  mess again and in need of organizing… guess Ièll wait til I have another assignment due.

Buzzfeed Videos
These are a huge time suck since they just keep linking you to more hilarious videos.


Date
Start dating someone. You’ll want to spend all your free time with him rather than solving social problems.


Old Series on Netflix
Find an old series you love on Netflix and start watching all the seasons for the 4th or 5th time.

Re-pot all your plants
After all, you have been wanting to do this forever. You have the soil, the new pots. Might as well!

Alright folks, there you have it. Five great ways to procrastinate… now get to it! 

Packing for a Music Festival

225“It’s summer-time and the living’s easy…” -Sublime

It’s that time of year for great music and camping. Music festivals often combine both of those things! Next weekend, I am off to Bengough, SK for the Gateway Festival. This is an awesome little place that somehow draws great Canadian acts every year. This year, I’m excited to see Sloan, Shotgun Jimmie, The Odds, Human Music, Del Barber, and more.

This is the third time I’m going to this festival and every time we go, we tent. So, I’ve gotten pretty good at anticipating what I might need in those few days. Below is a list of some of the things I bring, some expected… maybe others not so expected.

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Things to Make-Shift Shower

Baby wipes – These are great from washing that fine layer of dust off you or even cooling off.

Dry shampoo – Helps to revive dirty or greasy hair, also gives you a lot of volume

Beach wave hair spray – Make it look like you’re going for the greasy, wavy look

 

Things for the Campsite

A conversation starter – Something weird that will make people stop and say “hi”. Might be flag, a giant game of Jenga, a dog. Our conversation starter is usually our teeny, tiny tents. This year… we have something new!

Earplugs and eye mask – When staying in party camping, it is bound to get loud and obnoxious at times. Since you’re living outside, you don’t really have curtains. If you plan to get any sleep, use these 2 things.

Something to mark your tent site – This is so you can tell people where to find you. Our site is the Flamingo site and the best parties are at the tall blue light site.

Things for Your Cooler

229Radlers – Good for camp breakfasts because they are fruity and sit around 2.5%.

Block ice – Keeps your drinks cold, takes forever to melt.

 

Things to Have ON You

TP – The port-a-potties are bound to run out. Toss a roll in your bag and bring it every time you go.

Condoms – Obviously for dirty festival sex… because let’s just face it…

Phone charger battery – My phone is always almost dead when I’m out in the middle of nowhere. This year, I’m bringing 2 portable phone chargers. These are great and I pretty much always have one on me.

Light on your key chain – It’s going to be dark wandering back to your campsite after your dirty festival sex or to the port-a-potty in the middle of the night. IMG_7495

Watch – Your phone will die. Just use a watch.

Bike bells – You will lose your friends. The bike bell is your common call to find each other.

 

Did I miss anything? What are your music festival essentials? 

The Beauty in Beer Labels, Part 3: Cat Themed Beer

She returns! Where have I been? Well, I’ll tell you in another post. I wanted to get back to some fun first.

This is a series I started back in October 2014 looking at fun and interesting beer labels. Design is not necessarily thought of when we talk craft beer, however, it’s a big part of sales. Good labels will sell just like people buy alcohol with funny names “just for fun” or as a gift.

If you want to see the previous posts:
Part 1
Part 2

This installment is cat-themed beer.

beer1
I like sour ales and I like cats… this cat looks so evil/regal and his hair is to die for.

beer4
I think I am drawn to the name of this beer- Cat Nap. Unfortunately I would never buy this because it is 3.6%… seems like a waste.

beer2
At first, I would think this was a sake can. I don’t think sake comes in cans though. I like the colours as it reminds me of a Mondrian painting crossed with a Picasso.

beer5
I don’t quite get this but wanted to include because it was so different. What other worldliness is the third eye perceiving? Why the joke collar? I also think there was a missed opportunity to make a pun with “tall tales”. I won’t say it.

beer3
Now this is a fave of mine. This is one I would buy just for the label. Plus it’s an IPA, so that makes it even better. I do not qualify as a crazy cat lady because I have one cat. The official definition includes 3+ cats.

Now, I think this one takes the cake… Hello Kitty branded fruit beer. Not sure who the market is on this one, but it can easily be mistaken for soda. There might be a lot of tipsy juniors hanging around Tokyo. The Atlantic did an article on this beer. They think the branding is genius.

And just for fun… here’s my cat Sam. He doesn’t drink… he’s straight edgexxx.
IMG_8303

Look for more posts coming soon… I promise. Blogging is a nice for silly little outlet for things that make me feel good rather than constant politics bickering, researching sad things, writing papers, etc.  Thanks for reading (if anyone actually does).

5 Things Learned in the First 3 Months of Grad School

In September, I began my first year in grad school. For me, the experience has been extra hectic having moved far away from my home, leaving my awesome job and friends. Then, just  things that have gone sideways in order to make my life harder than it needs to be.

Before starting school, I was really nervous. I was worried I wasn’t smart enough, didn’t have the experience required, wasn’t passionate enough. I felt like a fraud and it was only a matter of time before someone would find out. However, things are much different that I expected them to be.

So, here we are… 5 things I learned in the first 3 months of grad school.

There is no reason to be scared
The selection process is rigourous and they only select the best into my program. I received my acceptance letter the first week of January, I’ve been told that means I was one of the top picks, since I wasn’t expecting it until May or so. I’m occupying a seat because I’m good at what I do and I’m passionate. I didn’t lie on my application even a little bit, so I should feel confident that I belong there.

The course work is not as difficult as you might expect. But, it could be because I am a different person that I was six years ago when I graduated with my last degree.

What you did before matters, but also doesn’t matter
I say this because you bring your experience and knowledge to the class and can draw upon it to apply theory, assist with learning, and figure out exactly what you want (or don’t want) to do after this degree.

I also say it doesn’t matter because (at least for me), you’re not doing that anymore. I was kind of a “big deal” in the grassroots affordable housing movement in Winnipeg. I was an expert on something and people knew that. People talked about me and came to me for comments. BUT… they don’t anymore. It has been an adjustment for me and definitely a blow to the ego. But, you have to move on and continue forging your career and name, it’s just how it is. And if you’re lucky, that work you did before will catapult you into awesome things :)

The importance of networking
If you’re like me, you don’t fit into the tiny box of what your school wants you to be. This is frustrating and discouraging at times. If your immediate circle of faculty members do not offer you what you need in order to grow and meet your goals… GO OUTSIDE! I’ve connected with a prof who aligns well with my values and goals. She has been wonderful in connecting me to people in the community who can work with me and teach me what I need to know. She has also offered some other potential opportunities that sound promising.

Networking makes for a unique and rich experience. It’s also good for your career. Learn how to do it, then do it. Be professional. Get business cards. Shake hands. Attend presentations. Send cold emails. Ask people for coffee.

Create an excellent work space
I do not have a good work space in my home. My house is very dark and my desk is too small for how I want to use it; up until recently I didn’t even have a proper chair. So, I was doing all my work in my oversized comfy chair with big, flat arms… actually quite handy for working on a laptop. But, not ideal.

I’ve taken to working in our faculty’s student lounge. It is open late and everyone leaves at 5pm. I have access to a fridge, microwave, kettle, sink, giant tables and comfy benches! I couldn’t ask for much more. I spend a lot of time there… I mean A LOT OF TIME.

You’re going to feel like crap, no matter what…
You’re going to have doubts. You’re going to fear failure. You’re going to be hard on yourself and compare your life to others.

If you moved, you’re going to regret it at times. If you have a relationship, you’re going to neglect it. If you have a cat, he will end up hating you periodically… but then forget about it because (let’s face it) he’s a cat. Your apartment is going to get gross… and I mean like really gross. You’ll lack sleep and be jittery from too much caffeine.

If you’re in my position, you’re going to be broke and fight off your depression everyday. You’re also feel incredibly socially awkward talking to your peers (how do I be human, I forget). School work distractions are quite helpful in glossing over these things.

It’s just a fact of grad school life…

BUT!
You’ll also make some good friends you can commiserate with and give you advice. You’ll drink a lot of beer. You’ll also eat too many cookies because your classmates are nice people. You’ll get inspired. You’ll learn. You’ll try new things. You’ll have QUESTIONS and discuss the answers with brilliant people.

BUT!
Best of all, if you’re like me, you’ll build on your skills and…

You’ll change the fucking world.

Things I Love, N to Z

This is a series in which I detail the things I love and hate, outlined by letters of the alphabet. Miss the previous installment of this series? Here’s a link to Things I Love, A-M and Things I Hate, A-M.


Neon signs
There are certain cities that seem to hold a great legacy of neon signs. Vancouver is a wonderful example. I guess Las Vegas too, but I haven’t been there. This is a fun Flickr to check out if you enjoy neon signs too.


Old people who look like Santa
I just think this is fun, they often play it up too.


Popcorn
Popcorn is my favourite junk food. I had an airpopper, but it literally konked out on me. So, I recently learned how to make popcorn on the stove top. It is revolutionary and so much better.


Quotes
I enjoy a good quote. I tend to gravitate to those from literary characters or classic authors. Good advice, Oscar.


Road Trips
When I travel, I tend to go by car. I drove to Chicago. I also drove to Seattle and back. It is a great time to reflect and get back really just being you- no impressing anyone. Just you and the road.


Sparkling water
I really have a problem with sparkling water. I drink a lot of it. I don’t drink soda, but sometimes you want something bubbly. This is a great, calorie-free, chemical-free alternative. When I go to the USA, I usually bring back several cases because they have way more variety than we do here. The above is my favourite brand.

011
Travel

I love to travel. I didn’t do a lot of it when I was younger and I really regret that. But I’ve been trying to go somewhere new every year. So far in 2015 I haven’t been able to make that a reality because I have been saving a lot of money for my upcoming move. Above is me in front of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. I walked along Lake Michigan endlessly when it began to vicious downpour. I ran to a small shelter near the fountain and watched the scheduled light show with music. It’s a great memory for me.

shazam
Using the Shazam app

This app is great! I use it often in clubs, the mall, with the radio in a vehicle. I also try to use it with people’s conversations… it doesn’t work and I’m usually drunk when this occurs. True Story. And yes, I did make that photo.


Vinyl
I bought my first record player when I had just barely graduated high school. I found it at a thrift store and it continues to work to this day. I know I should invest in a better one, but I just haven’t. I like to play records in my sunroom when the weather is nice.


Walking
I walk everywhere. Last weekend I walked for 2 hours. The weather was nice and my legs work just fine. I walk to work, to the grocery store, to the gym. Everywhere I need to go is walking distance, so why wouldn’t I walk a lot?


X… xylophone? 

So, not a lot of things that I like start with X… But to be honest, when I was in elementary school, we had a music room that was filled with wooden and metal xylophones. I do think they make beautiful sounds and they always remind me of a simple childhood time where we sang in choir and listened to the Bellybutton song on record. And they actually looked almost identical to this photo.


Yoga
I’m not great at yoga, but I do enjoy it. I find it gives me a time to literally think about nothing. I get so focused on doing the poses that my worries and thought just completely disappear.

Seeing these pop up in my garden brings me more joy than most things in my life. #winnipeg #gardening

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Zucchini
One of my all time favourite vegetables. Zucchinis are so versatile- you can make a cake or a pasta with them. I like to grow these in the summer. The plants get so large and you can grow a squash the size of your head. But, you shouldn’t. The above photo was taken from my community garden plot last summer.

Well, that’s all for this installment. Stay tuned for the things I hate…

Things I Hate, A-M

Miss the first installment of this series? Here’s a link to Things I Love, A-M.

Anxiety
My anxiety has been skyrocketing these days and it has been hard to get things done or get to sleep or eat… or really do anything besides be anxious.

Birds as pets
I’ve never understood it. You have to keep them in a cage, you can’t cuddle them. The only way for a pet to get more useless is to be a fish.

Cat hair
I have a long-haired cat who is also a giant. So, he has a lot of hair to spread around this little apartment. Since it’s spring, it has been worse with him shedding extra. I should be vacuuming every other day, but I don’t.

Doing dishes
My most hated household chore and this is why I have 2 forks, 2 knives, 2 spoons, 2 plates… and so on.

 


Engagement photos/announcements
They are so cheesy and sometimes look really awkward. And why do you need a lame photo is a forest to tell your friends and family you are getting married? Just send a mass email and be done with it.

 


Fancy meals
I can appreciate a good meal, but I’m talking pretentious for pretentious sake. The above is supposed to be a “deconstructed’ cheesecake, and you know it’s costing $18 for $3 worth of ingredients. I could add “foodies” to this list… I just don’t get you. If you feel the same this is an amazing satirical blog you should definitely check out!


Grumpy cat
I am more of a Bub lady myself. This cat is old news and I’ve grown to hate its face and that Christmas movie only made my hate stronger.

 


Hangovers
As I’ve gotten older, hangovers have me the death of me. They have gotten bad and they LAST! Definitely can’t drink how I used to.


Ignorance of social issues
When people try to argue things they have no idea about, like homelessness or supervised injection sites, and make it into a debate of morals and character. They are mutually exclusive. Those conversations are so frustrating it makes me want to just walk away because you know you can’t change an idiot’s mind.


January
It’s usually around the end of January where I start to get fed up with the cold weather and wishing it would just end already.


Knitting
I’ve never been able to figure it out. I crochet and I love it… that’s enough for me.


Lateness
This is one of my worst pet peeves. I am so punctual you could set your watch by me and I expect the same from my friends/family. I try to set a good example for my clients by showing up when I say I will, being where I’m supposed to be, etc. Please show me the same consideration and leave your house 10 minutes early.


Moths
One of my arch enemies. Moths are the worst. They are unpredictable and erratic. They fly in your face and your hair when trying to get away and it’s terrifying to me. Some people hate spiders… I hate moths.

Stay tuned for more of this Love/Hate series, featuring N-Z. Coming soon!

Things I Love, A to M

Art
Above is Robert Rauschenberg, an American artist best known for his Combine paintings. He is a major influence for me and my work. I got a chance to see one of his pieces up close in Chicago. It was amazing and a moment I will remember forever.


B
obs Burgers
I’ve mentioned this show before and its ability to absolutely KILL me sometimes. I’m convinced Tina Belcher is my spirit animal and I find Linda Belcher’s vocabulary sneaking into my everyday life. “Alriiiiight!”

Coffee
I had a hard time with the C category. But I finally decided on coffee. I drink coffee pretty much everyday and I can be kind of a nerdy snob about it sometimes. For example, I (a less asshole word for ‘lecture’) coworkers on why you need to pour the coffee out of the french press and into a decanter. They just don’t get it.

Deer
I’ve started accumulating deer related items over the last few years. Look at that cute wobbly little guy!


E
arl Grey Tea
As much as I love coffee, I also love tea. Lately, I’ve been drinking mostly Earl Grey. A real classic.



F
ermentation
Now, you probably thought I was going to say foxes. I do love foxes, but thought I would go for the unexpected here. Fermentation is a fascinating process of preserving with bacteria cultures. It’s really good for you too. I’ve recently made fermented cucumbers and kombucha. I’ve been doing this type of preserving for several years now.

Gardening
I’ve been gardening for decades. I grew up on a farm and we always had a big garden and I loved seeing what could be produced from one little plant. When I moved into Winnipeg, I discovered community gardening and was able to keep the tradition of growing my own food alive.

Hudson Bay stripes
There is just something about the stripes that feels like home. I don’t know what it is. It could be remembering all those times spent wandering around the beautiful Bay Downtown store, looking at all the furniture we couldn’t afford but could dream about.

Green skirts and purple tights. It's how I roll. #dressedlikea9yearold #winnipeg #worklifeseries #fashion

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Instagram
It’s no secret that I love Instagram. Check out my page from the sidebar. It’s a great way to share your life with people you don’t see often or don’t necessarily have time to talk to everyday. It’s also a great way to show off my feet. I do that a lot.


J
ulia Child
She’s seemed like such a wonderful woman. Off-beat and ahead of her time. Also, completely fearless and not afraid to make a mistake or look like a fool. I’ve definitely used this above omelet method and it definitely works.

Kettlebells
Kettlebells originated in Russia and were originally used to weigh crops. This is one of those love/hate things actually. I love them because they are fun to use and it is an amazing workout for short amounts of time. But holy hell! Is it ever a hard workout.

One of my absolute most favourite of life's simple pleasures. Lilacs in the spring. #winnipeg #flowers #lilacs #spring

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Lilacs
I mentioned this in my last post about what I was looking forward to in spring. It is one of those simple pleasure that only lasts a few weeks and then they are gone til next year. I stop and smell these babies every chance I get. Gotta enjoy them while you can.

It's locally foraged shaggy manes for dinner tonight. #winnipeg #mushrooms #foraging

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Mycology
Picking mushrooms is a great summer time hobby. Last year, as wet as it was, produced a ton of mushrooms around my area of town. No one else is going to pick them, so I did. I do a lot of research into which are good and bad to make sure I won’t die. Everyone thinks they will die if they eat a wild mushroom, but if you tell them otherwise… they will take all your mushrooms! Never reveal your foraging spots!

That’s all for Things I Love A to M, next up will be N-Z. But before that appears, I’ll be writing Things I Hate A to M. Stay tuned!

Looking Ahead… to Spring

The weather has finally made its way to +1 C and it seems like the whole city is out and enjoying the long awaited arrival of spring. Winnipeg has some brutal winters, but those long months enduring the cold and windchill seem to fade into a distant memory when the sun finally reappears and warms to ground enough to melt the snow into puddles of shimmery, dirty water on the sidewalks.

I’m incredibly relieved and excited that spring time weather is finally here and I’m looking forward to so many things, like…

Planning my garden. What I’ll plant and looking forward to digging in the ground and feeling good about what comes out of it.

Wearing rubber boots and feeling awkward while I do so… but also happy because my feet are dry!

My absolute favourite part of spring is the abundance and short-lived lilac season.

The return of wildlife- rabbits, squirrels, even neigbourhood cats are coming out of hiding and enjoying the weather.

The sight of tulips popping out of the ground so unexpected with their burst of colours.

I think this whole city is singing with the promise of spring. Let’s hope this March lamb stays put and no lion visits us at the end of the month.

 

What do you love about spring?

The Guilt of Spending Money

I have a hard time spending any significant amount of money on myself. I think it’s a remnant of growing up in a home where we were just barely getting by. As kids, we never went without, but I also knew not to ask for things I knew the family couldn’t afford. At the age of 30, I still have this guilt of spending too much money on myself and if I need to, the decision takes me forever to make.

I’m thinking of this now, because I need to buy a new laptop. I’m currently working on an old hand-me-down from a friend which is quite slow and is about ready to kick the bucket. I’m hemming and hawwing over the purchase because it’s a rather expensive one. I’m weighing the options of affordable vs. quality and since it’s something I use everyday, I’m trying to shift my mind to the idea that it’s okay to spend a bit extra money on things you need and use often.

So, I started to think of some of the things I’ve been wanting for years but haven’t purchased because of the guilt I associate with expensive items and I’ve compiled them below.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer ~ $250

A car ~ $15,000+

A HBC Blanket ~ $350

Vladimir Kagan Furniture ~ $1000

Marc by Marc Jacobs purse ~ $300

Lenovo Yoga 3 ~ $1400

Around the World Ticket ~ $Priceless

Do you have a hard time spending money on yourself?