To Do List

We’re not in Kansas anymore

After several days of packing and cleaning and unpacking and cleaning and more cleaning, I find myself feeling like my To-Do list is too long to justify time spent sitting down and blogging. Here’s a peek at my list: Wash walls in every room Paint every room Paint trim in every room Wash the rest […]

Parliament Hill

Bittersweet Transition: Why I WON’T Miss Huron County

(not to be confused with yesterday’s post: “Why I Will Miss Huron County“)

Parliament Hill
Me hanging with some of Canada's most famous ladies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Last night I wrote about the reasons I will miss Huron County, my home since I was five. But this transition to the city truly is a bittersweet one. Yes, there are many things I will miss about Huron County, and the family and friends I leave behind are at the top of that list.

Still, there are some very enticing things about the city that contribute the “sweet” part. For one, you can go to the grocery store or the bank or Wal-Mart and expect to see no one you know. Yes, there really is something beautiful in total anonymity sometimes!

Then there is the much wider variety of stores and goods. I will be able to shop at a farmer’s market all year round! Or have my pick of several health food stores and specialty markets. So many furniture stores and antique shops and clothing stores and thrift stores!

I have access to a trail that goes clear across the city, and I can use it to run or walk or bike on. I no longer have to worry about getting run over by cars on the country road (not that that was ever a major problem). I can actually use my bike to get places and leave the car at home for an entire day!

Finally, I might actually use the membership I’ve been paying for at the gym at school, because I can go at times when I’m not already carting a bag with books and meals for an entire day.

In the winter and late at night, I will have more activity options than bowling, house parties, and Tim Horton’s. Imagine that, rural-ites! Tons of bars and restaurants and shows and galleries, more than I will likely ever get to see or experience.

Street meat!
The BF and I enjoying street meat in Ottawa a couple summers ago. Yes, I gained weight that trip.

I will always have a wide variety of movies to see without having to drive over an hour to get to the city. I never felt like I suffered for being from a town that screened only one or two movies, but it is still pretty cool that a wider variety will be more convenient for me.

Then there are the regular hours of stores and libraries. This is one of the most frustrating things about small town life for me. There are places that aren’t open the same hours from day to day or week to week, or have different winter hours, and it’s annoying. Yes, I get it. I know that business dies at certain times of the day or season, but still. There are few things more irritating than when you make a special trip for something only to find that the place is only open 10-3 today and it’s 4:15.

While it’s true that none of these things are as powerful as that smell I talked about at the end of yesterday’s post, they are all reasons to be excited about moving to the city.

Like I said, bittersweet.

 

winter sunrise out my window

Bittersweet Transition: Why I will miss Huron County

shores of an Ontario lake

My time as a resident of Huron County is rapidly ticking away: only four  sleeps left!

As excited as I am to move in with Johnathan and have our own place together with out own backyard and laundry room, and as much as I anticipate being able to regularly visit specialty grocery stores and discover new restaurants and take the bus or a bike instead of my car, I will miss rural life.

a backyard party
A backyard party with lots of yard... and a tent trailer

There are many aspects of life in Huron County that make this transition bittersweet. First, there’s that sense of community that is only possible in small towns and rural areas. I’m talking about when you can count on knowing a percentage of every group and gathering, or on running into someone you know in every store and on every street.

Then there are the small stores where you know the owner and at least a part of their personal story and they recognize you and maybe know your name.

Out of the Storm
After last August's tornado, Goderich held a fundraiser concert called Out of the Storm. It took up half the downtown square, and everyone we knew was there!

Small-town events are the highlight of each season, like Goderich’s Winterfest or Clinton’s Pluckinfest or annual beer tents and parades. That’s not to mention the stag and does/buck and does/Jack and Jills that happen every weekend from April through Thanksgiving in every town, and where you can expect to meet up with friends new and old and be greeted with the same selection of cheap domestic beer and plastic cups with shots of vodka, rye, and rum await ice and Coke.

I will also miss the vistas. Yep, I used the word vista. For example, I live across from a corn field. It likely sounds boring, but I love being able to look out my big dining room window and see not other houses, but corn almost as far as the eye can see, or a snowy field, with a line of evergreens at the far side of the field.

winter sunrise out my window

Who could forget the proximity to the beach? One of the very best parts about Huron County and one of the things that I missed the most when I lived in Mexico is how you can get to the beach of one of North America’s biggest lakes in less than half an hour. Huron County is Ontario’s West Coast, after all! Did you know that several of Lake Huron’s beaches have earned the Blue Flag organization’s designation of quality beaches? Yes, we’re proud, and rightly so.

What I will probably miss the most is that certain smell. It’s clean, fresh, slightly sweet, and I believe it’s unique to Huron County. But I could be wrong. If you haven’t experienced it, you won’t know what you’re missing. Having been raised on it, that smell is home to me. Nothing about having my own house in the city could replace that scent.

Luckily, Huron County is only a relatively short drive away, and I have plenty of reasons to visit.

Flo on a rainy road
My '52 Chevy, Flo, on a rainy country road
Mom's mug

Playing Favourites: Some nostalgia with my coffee, please

Mom's mug

My mug collection is made up of a wide variety of mismatched receptacles. They were all either given to me as gifts, purchased as souvenirs, or inherited from my mom’s house when she passed away over four years ago.

This particular one is the smallest of my “coffee” mugs, and not necessarily the most attractive. It also can’t be microwaved because of the gold coating (unless you want to risk an explosion while enjoying the strange crackle and pop noises), but I love drinking out of this mug.

Perhaps I’m a sucker for nostalgia, but this mug was not only my mom’s, but is an anniversary mug from her Alma Mater, what was then called Ontario Bible College (OBC) (now called Tyndale University College). It would have been special to her, and so every time I pour my reductionist Americano into it, I think of her just a little bit.

My mom also loved coffee. In fact, I started drinking coffee because she drank it. She wouldn’t have been able to keep up with my progressively snobby tastes, but drinking coffee together with my mom is one of my favourite memories.

Raise a mug with me…. happy Monday!

dave bidini

Dave Bidini: An icon of Canadiana comes to Bayfield

dave bidini

(Disclaimer: This post is unlike any other I have ever written. Bear with me–it’s worth it.)

Have you heard of Dave Bidini? I hadn’t before last week.

Shame on me for not discovering him before. Or on whomever knew about him and didn’t tell me.

Dave and the BidiniBand are performing at the Bayfield Town Hall tonight (@ 8 pm–get your tickets at TicketScene.ca), and while I have loved every performer I’ve ever seen on that stage in the Bayfield Concert Series, I’m more excited about Dave Bidini’s appearance at The Village Bookshop before his show (@ 6 pm–casual book signing) (sorry, Pete).

Mr. Bidini is a musician. More than that, he’s a rocker. He’s a founding member of the Genie Award-winning Canadian band Rheostatics, a group that was together from 1980 to 2007 and which Wikipedia tells me was called both “iconic” and “iconoclastic.”  Four of Dave’s ten books are about music. He and music have been inseparable for much of his life. But it’s not Dave’s music that fascinates me.

He has been performing longer than he has been publishing, but he has been writing longer than he has been playing guitar. When I asked him if one of these two intertwined vocations held more meaning for him than the other, he says “the two have been very close in terms of their evolution.” So no. He’s a writer and a rocker.

dave and a guitar

And a filmmaker and a playwright and a National Post columnist and a family man and a hockey player…

This man is ironically difficult to put into words. I say ironically because he is so prolific with words. So prolific that I hesitate to believe anything I write could even do him justice, let alone commend him to my community. I will give you my impression, and then encourage you to read what others have written, as well as Dave’s own words.

D: I think the pursuit of songwriting is a little bit deeper for me in that the reasons for creating, really simply, are reasons to stay alive, to keep moving. You almost write more out of fear, I think, than anything, when you have a sort of legacy or whatever.

The highest praise I can give Dave is to tell you that every article and book excerpt I have found convinces me to read another. He has a way with words, a voice like I have never seen before. He is at once frank and intellectual, silly and smart.

S:  Fear of what?

D: I think the fear of artistic mortality, really. Also, the fear of one’s own achievements, the specter or the shadow of one’s achievements. It’s great that they exist, but also, as you get older, you want to try to do better, get stronger.

His deep, gravelly voice booms through my iPhone’s speaker, warm and rich and personal.

This man does nothing by halves, from attempting to redefine Canadian music with the Rheostatics, to relating sex and hockey in his project The Five Hole Series, to following our favourite sport around the world to Dubai, Transylvania, and Mongolia for his documentary film Hockey Nomad.

I can’t imagine this artist’s mortality getting in his way anytime soon.

D: I’ll be 49 in September, and …when it sort of comes to the realization that you’re closer to death than to birth, and [you think] of all of those miles and all of those words you’ve written and all of the art you’ve created, you’re aware of the weight of it. When you’re 24, you’re splashing around in a pool and you don’t really have anything to stand on. Now, I have something to stand on.

He has ten books, at least sixteen albums, a documentary, two plays, a column, and a brief stint as a CBC radio show host, to say nothing of a long history as a music and sports journalist, to stand on!

Home and Away

Today, I’m honoured that this icon of Canadiana will be standing on Huron County soil, in one of the best places to experience the best artists our country has to offer: Bayfield, Ontario.

D: Bayfield is one of those big small places. You would never really know it when you pull into town. That’s what makes it a super place.

~ ~ ~

The BidiniBand’s latest record is In the Rock Hall (2012).

Read this fantastic Toronto Star article about Dave and the BidiniBand.

Dave’s book Baseballissimo is being made into a movie co-written with Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote the screenplay for the recent hockey movie Goon, and whom you might know as an actor from How to Train a Dragon, Knocked Up, and
She’s Out of my League
.

Check out Dave on CBC’s Strombo show.

Watch Dave’s hockey documentary Hockey Nomad (follow the links for the rest of the parts).

Follow Dave’s column in the National Post.

sanity restored

Why 54 days are better than 60.

54 days

55 days plus a 3-day weekend ago, I embarked on a bit of an extreme diet journey. Extreme from the perspective of most of us who have gotten used to relying on refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners and the convenience of processed and fast foods. Normal if you think of how food used to be for most of the history of humanity.

I did what is called the Whole30 diet, which rules out grains and all grain products, dairy, sugars and all sweeteners including honey and maple syrup, legumes, and common preservative and additives such as lecithins, sulfites, MSG, and carageenan. Few people would be able to do the Whole30 all the time. It’s meant as a sort of nutritional reset, a time for your body to heal from all the non-natural stuff you’ve been pumping into it for your entire life. It’s not your fault–it’s our culture’s fault.

After the success of my first month, I boldly decided to do two. My friend Erika did, after all, and she had inspired me to try the Whole30 in the first place.

Something went wrong in my calculations, and I put yesterday in my calendar as the last day, Day 30, time to celebrate! Last week, I began to get excited. I could finally eat some cheese! Dig into the chocolate that has been accumulating in my candy jar, taunting me! Check to see if the bottle of wine I opened before all this started is still remotely good!

Having just come through about 10 days of academic zombie madness, where avoiding that chocolate was an exercise in self-control I didn’t know I had, the idea of finishing became very very enticing.

I could finally relax my Kaiser-esque food regime, buy cheaper food, eat some of the convenient-and-less-nutritional stuff in the freezer, have dinner with someone without a long list of I-cannot-eats.

I got excited, and I began to count on yesterday being the last day. Then, the night before last, I realized my mistake. Yesterday was not day 60, it was day 54! Oh no! A sort of despair started to settle in as I thought about having to forgo that bottle of wine I had promised to share with my BF’s parents on the weekend, about not being able to enjoy the potluck dinner with friends we are attending on Saturday.

And I started to think about what it really means to quit at Day 54 rather than Day 60.

It means I went without grains and sugar and dairy and legumes and preservatives for 54 days!! It means I’m running 20 solid minutes tonight! It means I have lost weight! It also means I have spent so much time shopping and planning and cooking and packing meals and washing the resulting dishes. I have spent so much money on vegetables and meat, money that I didn’t really have. It means I have little patience left for waiting for a sip of wine, a taste of chocolate, a bite of cheese.

It means enough.

sanity restored

I was on a mission to get “wholly healthy.” I didn’t get all the way there, but I got 54 days and 5 weeks of Couch to 5K closer. I learned a lot about food and cooking and spices and oils and myriad ways of making vegetables into something yummy and crunchy.

Now, for me, “wholly healthy” means backing off of the strict diet. Relaxing my boundaries a bit, a little at a time, finding a balance between what I have learned and what my real life is. Taking some time away from the stove and giving it to some of the people in my life. It means enjoying those things that I have always loved, albeit with much greater moderation than ever. It means learning how to say “No, thank you” to a second helping of whatever delightful carb is offered.

It means greater sanity. And sanity, for me, sometimes feels too thinly spread across the fabric of my life. I will take more sanity over 6 more days without cheese or chocolate, thank you very much!

we need you!

{Locality} needs YOU!

we need you!

I’ve been too busy to talk about it much over the last couple of weeks, but I’m leaving Huron County in two weeks and becoming a city-dweller.

I will still be well-connected to Goderich and Bayfield and other parts of Huron County, but not as present as I have been. Obviously.

But I won’t be as easily able to see store openings and visit farmers in the Huron County area. This is where you come in .

I’m looking for someone willing to share the vision of Locality, someone who is excited about all of the reasons to get excited about Huron County, someone who also likes to write.

If you are that person, or you know that person, please let me know. I’d love to have you join me as a guest blogger!

mitZine Vol. 11, Issue 5. April 2012. Article "Real Food: An Exercise in Subjective Ethics". Page 23.

Fresh Ink: “Real Food: An Exercise in Subjective Ethics”

real food

The final issue of this year’s mitZine (alternative student publication I contribute to) hit stands today, and you can find my article about the ethics of real food on page 23: April issue of the mitZine.

Oh, and PS, I got an honourable mention for contributor of the year, two years in a row. I’ll take it!

honourable mention

http://planetoddity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/vintage-women-ads-1.jpg

Reblog: “Me, Myself, and I”

http://planetoddity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/vintage-women-ads-1.jpg

A poignant reminder to take time for ourselves as women… Thanks so much for this, Megyn!

ScrambledMeg

Selfish is such a dirty word.  We are taught, as young girls, that SELFISH is something you should definitely not be.

And then we grow up.

We give ourselves to school.  We give ourselves to our friends.  We give ourselves to our boyfriends.  We give ourselves to our husbands.

OK, occasionally, we get our nails done or we go for a pedicure or a girls’ lunch, but when do we give ourselves to OURSELVES?  When does that EVER happen?

Have you ever spent an hour, sitting quietly, cross-legged, all by yourself, asking “WHO AM I?”  I will tell you, it’s an interesting hour.   I had no idea what I would discover and, frankly, I thought I would discover that it was a waste of precious time.  But, I was wrong.

I discovered that I am peaceful.  I think about all kinds of things that have no relation to making money…

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