Monday, February 22, 2016

Toronto is making me fat. A Shape Poem.

is making me fat.
In addition to miserable.
It weighs heavy on my mind.
I am starting to see the evidence.
I've gained 10 pounds in 6 months.
I get winded walking up our hill.
My cheeks are getting chubby.
My mouth is the culprit.
My chin has become dimply.
My necklaces strangle me.
I am big, bulky,
Bulging, & chunky.
I blame the Beer Store.
I blame brunch on Queen Street.
I blame Ed's Hand Scooped Ice Cream.
I blame the Wine Rack and artisan cheese. 
My boobs are popping out of all sides of my bra
engorged by Halloween candy and Christmas cookies.
My flabby arms droop the opposite direction of a muscled bicep.
My roly-poly wrists feel restrained in their once-favorite bracelets.
My lovely rings are stuck on swollen and bloated sausage fingers.
My back fat is folding over itself in new creases and rolls.
I blame poutine gravy and butter chicken.
I blame Coffee Crisp, Kinder Bueno, and ketchup chips.
I blame an abundance of restaurants within walking distance.
I blame not walking much distance anymore as I have nowhere to go.
I blame television, the internet, Candy Crush, and this comfortable couch. 
I blame Kingston Road Chinese for being generous with their delicious portions.
I blame the lady down the street who sells homemade samosas hot out of the oven.
My poofy white winter coat makes me look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man.
I see my pile of jeans and don't even want to try to squeeze myself into them.
I reach for black yoga pants instead; stretchy, comfortable, and forgiving.
I weigh more now than I did with either one of my pregnancies.
The scale shows me a number I have never seen before.
I have to lean to look over my big fat belly.
My butt is reaching Kardashian status.
My hips are getting harder to hide
My underwear is suddenly tight.
My thighs are beyond thick.
I fear their circumference.
They've always been thick,
but never as thick as this.
My knees are lumpy,
Plump and husky.
My calves refuse
to fit in a boot.
My cankles ache.
My feet struggle to support me.
I can't stand to see what's become of me.

*Some phones break up the stanzas so the shape aspect gets lost... try viewing sideways or on a computer. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Family Valentine's Day

Today is Family Day in Canada - our first Family Day. I like this concept. Everyone gets off work and you're not obligated to buy anything for anyone. This afternoon we saw The Good Dinosaur at the Fox Theater. Like a typical Pixar movie, it made me cry, several times. I loved it.

        Yesterday was Valentine's Day and we spent it exploring the beach along Lake Ontario and pre-Family Day activities on Queen Street. The night before, I told everyone I wanted us to go to church on Sunday and then out for brunch afterward, but like most Sundays, we slept past church time so we went straight to brunch at ViVethe. Poached eggs and crab cakes for me, the special omlette for E., Cesars for us both and french toast and pancakes for the kids. They even left their game devices at home and played an old-fashioned game of tic-tac-toe with forks and knives and sugar packets.

And then we went down to the beach...

and found ice puddles to skate on...

and listened to the ice crunch under our feet as we walked on the edge of the shore...

and admired the icicles.

We saw art installations erected around life guard stations.  We had read about this online and were excited to see it in person. This "sauna" was supposed to be a "warming station" but we couldn't figure out how to get in it and certainly felt no warmth when we were  near it. Maybe we missed the switch to turn it on?

so we crunched on...

and came upon this one. It reminded me of a jellyfish.

We saw this one being built. Performance art!

This rope-hut was my favorite.



We didn't see any of the installations beyond Kew Gardens because we stopped to check out the Family Day festivities in the park and on Queen St.

There were ice sculptures,

and an ice block wall you could build and paint. There were a few games for the kids and a photo booth for families.

We were cold though, so we went to Castro's pub and warmed up with Absynth (for us) and vegetarian appetizers.

We caught the tail end of activities at Ivan Forrest Gardens.

My boy said he's too old for bouncy tents. Luckily he's not tool old for ice cream at Ed's. No one is too old for that.

On the way home we stopped in at Rowan for some homespun incense and handcrafted Lebanese sauerkraut, then we stopped in the Chopping Block for red wine and truffle sausages (to go with the sauerkraut) for dinner. E bought me this Canadian Penny and purple Jasper bead necklace at Arts on Queen...

It looks kind of like a heart - a lovely reminder of a wonderful day with my family.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Doing Nothing

I'm bored.

Bored Bored Bored.

I have nothing to do and nowhere to be.

Which is to say I can do anything and be anywhere. Some people would love this kind of freedom. Yet I'm choosing to squander it, letting days go by producing nothing of value.

You would think I would want to use this downtime wisely.

Instead, I'm creatively paralyzed, overwhelmed by my claustrophobic studio. My inspiration has up and left me. It's hiding somewhere with my joy.

I can't even form coherent sentences anymore.

Great blog post KB!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Giving up something I love.

Happy Lent! Is that what you're supposed to say? I don't think it is. I know that Lent is supposed to be an introspective time between Fat Tuesday and Easter when people give up something they love to test their willpower. Okay, maybe I should go Google the actual meaning...

Lent: NOUN

  1. the period preceding Easter that in the Christian Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes forty weekdays
Close enough. Last night my kids and I walked down the street (their dad was still at work) to the Anglican church for their pancake supper night. I noticed a sign in front of the church advertising it a few days ago and was happy to continue our family tradition in Canada. The past few years we've gone to pancake suppers at the Episcopal churches in our town. We aren't consistent church-goers but we do try to make it for the big days - Christmas Eve, pancakes, Easter, and the occasional summer service where we go out for brunch and Bloody Mary's afterward (they call them Cesars in Canada and they are made with clam juice).

I like the idea of giving up something you love or something that has become an unhealthy crutch for 40 days just to see if you can. The past few years I've given up beer. One year I gave up sugar. This year I'm giving up facebook. I love that facebook has given me a way to stay in touch with friends and family even as we've moved from city to city. It's the one thing that kept me from feeling completely disconnected. Lately though, I'm too connected, so connected to other people's lives that I'm not living my own. I want to see what my mind thinks about when it's not under the influence of facebook.

To be totally honest all those smiling families and remodeled kitchens and vacations and babies and #Ilovemyjob and friend-filled parties were making me jealous. There, I said it. Ugh, that makes me look horrible. A person should be happy for their friends' joy and success, right?  Really, it's not them, it's me right now. I've been them at other times in my life - I've had babies and vacations and friends and a job I loved. Now I'm suddenly in a strange new place - stuck in a city and house I hate with no job or babies that need me. (For the record, I don't want another baby, I'm just remembering when my now-sullen 13 year old was sweet and cuddly.) And my kitchen? The cabinet doors are falling off their hinges.

Here I am, emotionally crippled by a string of losses and I just got rid of access to my crutches - friends and family who are my greatest cheerleaders. Let's see if I can pull myself up on my own.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From Stranded to Subsisting.

Stranded in Canada is a pretty shitty name for a blog. I think I should change it.

Stranded in Canada make people think I hate Canada, and I don't. I can't say that I don't hate Toronto, but I'm trying to like it.

Stranded implies hopeless, lost, and unhappy. Who can live like that forever? At a certain point you have to stop being stranded and start picking up the pieces, putting them back together, and moving forward. If you're the kind of person who doesn't give up it's inevitable that your luck will change. It always does for us.

It did for my husband. Last month he got a call from another animation company in Toronto, the competitor of the company I'm not supposed to talk about. They wanted him on their team!  They were willing to take over his work permit (so we no longer have to leave Canada) and now he's at a much better company leading an even better project. And this new company didn't even have to shell out $30K to bring us here! See? It all worked out.

For him. And for the rest of us too since we no longer have to scramble to up and leave ASAP. When we told the kids that their dad got another job in Toronto they were like, "We wanted to go back to America! Does this mean we have to stay?" so not everyone is thrilled. Still, we're not stranded anymore. Stuck, maybe, but able to subsist and trying to make the most of it.

Subsisting in Canada
... doesn't have the same ring to it.