Archive for December, 2009

On call

Monday, December 28th, 2009

blue skies over cranberry fields

Today I was supposed to babysit my cousins while my aunt took their dogs in to the vet. I remembered this at 3am and decided to get as much sleep as I could so that I would be awake when she came to pick me up. I woke up early, had a shower, made sure my phone was on… and no aunt all day.

So in short, I was on call so I didn’t accomplish a lot today. I’m working on knitting a sweater so I was able to occupy myself with that for a while. It currently looks like this, which is to say not very exciting right now.

My cats are pretty happy that I’m home. I’ve even stopped accidentally calling them by my roommate’s cat’s name.

I suppose I’m supposed to come up with something insightful to say about the past year. The truth is that I can rarely remember what I did all year. Most days I can barely remember what I had for lunch the previous day. I’m afraid I haven’t been very good about blogging this year for a variety of reasons. Something to work on next year, I guess.

The recipient of the mittens

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

and here's what she thought about them.

I knit my sister some mittens for Christmas. She’s the sort of person that squeals and gets spastically happy when you knit stuff for her. These have her seal of approval.

After a few years of really lacklustre and depressing Christmases, this one has been really pleasant. Nothing exciting has happened. It’s been really quiet. I’m glad because I need the rest.

Mittens for Abby


Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Santa 2009

The Coquitlam Centre Santa is the real deal. He asked Abby what she wanted for Christmas and she said that she wanted her bronze customer service star at work because she’s been eligible for one for seven months. Santa made a face and told her that he’d give them coal.

And what do you know? Two days later she went upstairs to take cupcakes to the management and they handed her her bronze star. She was so excited.

Now I’m excited because I asked for a job and a sense of direction. Either of those would totally make my year.

Oh, and also, I am clearly a very luminous being. After seventeen years of dance I should know better than to wear white in a photo because I’m such a pasty ghost.

Obligatory holiday family activities

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This year the family braved the wilderness of Ikea to buy a tree, but when they got there, they found that the stock was severely depleted. They picked the biggest one they could find, a little thing that pitches over and leans against the wall as if drunk.

It was so small it didn’t leave streaks across the ceiling when they put it up. The decorations we have are not going to fit. I just hope I can dig out my favourites before it fills up.

Went for the annual visit with Santa at the mall. I’m really fond of that Santa. He’s been there for years and years and he’s quite a nice man. Some years we talk about capitalism or kindness or whatever. This year it was about the value of play. Santa is the best. He really is.

At the obligatory family Christmas dinner we reverted to the old standby – Chinese. Abby made dinosaur cupcakes for desert.

The cousins were reasonably well behaved. They’re getting a lot better these days. They had to tell us all about what they’re doing in Brownies and mostly sat still and ate while there was food on the table.

Grandma seemed to be in a reasonably good mood, but the moment the kids were away, she began to complain about them like she always does. Apparently they are hellions that are going to jail and are totally unsalvageable. Meh.


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Come to my birthday party, Alex said, I’m playing a show at the Rickshaw. He invited a couple hundred people, someone else asked if they could play a set and then a few other people asked and suddenly there were ten or eleven different groups on the list, including my roommate’s band. He called the event a clusterfolk because most of the artists were folky sounding.

It was all good, though, because the music was all good. Makes me a little disappointed that I came late.

My roommates spent a lot of time getting dressed up and pretty so we ended up heading downtown kind of late. I felt really underdressed in comparison, but it was raining and icy out so I put on an extra cardigan.

“You can take your jackets in with you,” they said as we went in.

Well, I would have been so pissed off if I’d checked my coat. It was freezing. We walked in to find that everyone inside was swaddled in their cowichan sweaters and toques. My beer turned my hands into twin blocks of ice.

Skye Wallace

Marcus found me shortly after I arrived. “Are you wiping your nose because it’s cold in here?” he asked.


“They have a furnace but it hasn’t been turned on since 1884.”

I headed upstairs to the washroom. At the top there was a hallway and a black door that wasn’t marked with anything so I went in and found myself standing in a huge puddle on the floor. Closer inspection revealed urinals.

I thought heh, coed bathroom, but then decided to see if there was another one. There was! It didn’t have urinals and was marginally cleaner! You could see your breath though.

happy birthday to you!

Alex was busy being an awesome host, hugging everyone as they came in, and roaming around the crowd trying to get people excited about the music. I was sad to not see more people there though. The music was quite good but with the cold and without a big crowd it was kind of hard to achieve the festive atmosphere that I think he’d hoped to have. You can’t really blame him for having his birthday on a Monday night in the middle of exams.

I had a good time though, and I finally got to see my roommate’s band play.

My photos from the night are mostly bad.

Indie demos

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

recording our album

Can I reiterate how much I love my roommates? I can have a crappy stressful day and then walk in the door to find that they’re writing a cheesy indie song and I will spend the next three hours forgetting about what happened earlier because I’m writing lyrics and singing them in the flattest voice I can manage.

me, writing lyrics

Sounded kind of like this, if you’re curious.

what if we do this?


Friday, December 11th, 2009

I wish I could say I’m having fun putting together my grad school applications. I hate those stupid forms where people have to rank different aspects of your academic work and demeanour and then provide terse remarks as to whether or not they’d recommend you.

Each one for each program is a little different so I feel bad handing people a stack of them and making them fill them all out for me. Okay, not a stack. It’s more like three or four, but I don’t like feeling like I’m a burden and that’s exactly how I feel when I ask people to take time out of their evenings and weekends to write nice things about me.

Why can’t they just write one nice letter that says:

Erin is very pleasant to be around. She likes being at school. She plays nice with the other students.

She comes to every single class. She’s never intentionally skipped any ever. Even when she feels like total crap and hasn’t showered she will drag herself to school wearing a blanket and stay awake during most of it.

She does every single assigned reading, even when it’s the end of the semester when nobody does the readings. She reads the recommended readings too. She rereads them over the summer and Christmas holiday because she actually found them interesting.

She contributes actively to class discussions. She likes giving presentations. They’re usually well rehearsed because she couldn’t sleep the night before because she was laying in bed, talking to the ceiling.

She is very low-maintenance. She won’t bug you with stupid questions all the time because she kind of just gets stuff. If she didn’t understand she will assume it was probably obvious and she’s too stupid to have noticed so she’ll read it again.

She writes all her notes on paper. She does most of her research at the library. With books. She’s totally old skool like that.

Her academic writing is really concise and to the point. Her bibliographies, they are looong.

She can be pretty creative when she wants to be. She could not be unoriginal if she tried. She’s tried. It didn’t work.

She would make a really good TA because she really likes telling you about stuff she’s learned and she has a weird way of rephrasing things so that they make more sense.

She is perpetually scatterbrained and disheveled. She does most things last-minute in bursts of manic energy and inspiration.

She always hands things in on time, even if it requires massive amounts of sleep deprivation, backflips and writing it on her laptop on the bus on the way to hand it in to you. You will have it on time.

She’s totally fun to have a pint with after class. She’s a cheap drunk. You’ll have her reenacting Monty Python sketches in no time.

Photocopy multiple times. Add signatures. Send them off.

Natural magnetism

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Today I managed to set off the security shoplifting alarms of every store I went into and I really have no explanation for it. My natural magnetism, maybe.

I’m always totally mortified when that happens. I turn around and march back into the store looking stunned with my bags held out in front of me to be searched.

No one ever searches my bags. No one ever seems to think for a moment that I might possibly be stealing something (not that I ever have*). In fact, people seem to go out of their way to give me the benefit of the doubt. They usually supply me with convenient excuses when I’m too stunned to come up with one myself. Then it’s a matter of agreeing with them and walking out the door.

“It’s okay, I probably didn’t demagnetize it.”

“You’ve got some library books, right?”

Still, after the third store I decided to give up on my Christmas shopping for today. I can only take so much excitement.

This has happened a couple times to me in airports as well. One time the metal detector kept beeping and I had no good explanation for it. “Must be the underwire on your bra,” the guards concluded, despite the fact that I wasn’t wearing an underwire bra. “Yes, that’s it,” I said, and they waved me through.

I have come to the conclusion that I’m a very nice, trustworthy looking person. I guess that isn’t a bad thing, but it kind of makes me wonder if I would have gotten the same treatment if I wasn’t white and female.

When I got home I checked my bags for signs of anything that could have set off the alarms and found nothing. I can’t explain it.

* Okay, that’s a lie. Technically I have shoplifted twice in my life.

The first time was when I was three years old. My mom and I went to the store to buy a card for someone in her office. About an hour and a half later I decided to show her my collection of pretty greeting cards. Mom made a B-line back to the store to return them. The lady at the store was really bitchy about it and decided to lecture my mom about how irresponsible she was and how horrible little children are.

The second time was when I was 12ish. We were at Ikea. We were making lots of purchases. I picked up a garlic press on our way through. At the checkout we rang everything through but I completely forgot that I was holding the garlic press until we were in the car. What can I say? I have a habit of being totally oblivious to my surroundings.

The crash

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Sometime around 10:30 last night I began to crash. I decided that trying to finish my paper was futile so I set my alarm and went to sleep.

So… off to bed! I got a few hours of what felt like really good sleep for once. At one point in time I woke up, thought well, this is very nice, rolled over and went back to sleep. But I woke up again some time later wondering when the alarm would go off. I must have been pretty dopey because I didn’t really think to check the time and lay there for probably an hour, after which time I decided to check the clock.


Well, there was no way that it was going to be on time so there was no point in stressing out. I had a shower and made myself some breakfast.

I found my prof upstairs in the rabbit warren on the third floor, apologized profusely and did a good job of looking disheveled. She took the paper from me.

Since then I’ve really lacked the brain power to do anything else at all today.

Ghosts should live a little

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

I’m sitting here, working on a paper, listening to my roommates watch a movie. It’s a horror thriller of some sort. I didn’t catch the name. I’m not sure why they’re watching it because neither of them really like this genre. Someone made an offhand remark at the beginning that they would probably ridicule the film the whole way through.

Less than ten minutes in the screaming began. Mye is so funny. She’ll shriek at something and then she’ll yell an apology to me through my closed door because I’m not to be disturbed.

So why is it that in horror thrillers they do the seance or the ouija board or whatever and the ghost always has something ominous or frighteningly revealing to say? It’s always “my dead body is in the bottom of the lake,” or “the gun is in the filing cabinet,” or “please avenge my death” or something.

Those ghosts! Always fixated on the past. Always with that same whiny negative outlook on life. They really should learn to get over themselves, brighten up, live a little. Being dead is no excuse.

For once I’d like to hear them say something different, like how Keen’s dry mustard powder is the secret ingredient for everything good or rant about things they no longer have to deal with because they’re dead, like those drivers that stalk you in mall parking lots because they are hoping that you’re returning to a parking stall they can lay claim to, or like how it sucks to make that special trip to the drug store to buy something kind of necessary and important like toilet paper or tampons and being faced with that decision whether to pick up a bunch of things you don’t need or to soldier on through the checkout.

Just think – if ghosts quit whining for long enough to take stock of all the awkward, unpleasant and frightening things they no longer have to do, they might actually feel good about themselves.

Maybe horror thrillers would be interesting then.