September 20, 2012

Hazlitt, the new It Lit Blog

If you’re not on Twitter, then there is still a chance that you might not know about Hazlitt, Random House’s new online magazine (or, as they call it “flagship digital habitat”) that has been posting a staggering amount of awesome content lately from all the best people.

Here are some of the things I enjoyed reading in the past little while:

Rachel Giese on a clash with her son's teacher over gay-positive materials in the classroom

Ben McNally with a thoughtful, bookseller's take on awards and prize lists

And everything by Linda Besner, including articles

on ---

The irrationality of optimism

The aesthetic value of the quiz

A linguistic take on beer commercials

I hope they keep it up, though with such ventures one always wonders if they're profitable (monetarily, I mean, to the publisher), and what the level of commitment is for keeping them alive even if they should turn out not to be.  

September 17, 2012

country weekend

The weekend came and went.  I bought some books.  We drove to the country.  I read some books.  We had pizza and drank wine and played some games.  We went to the farmer’s market for coffee and pastries.  I read over part of a novel-in-progress I haven’t looked at in a while --- I’m thinking of going back to it.  I napped.  We went to my mother-in-law’s vernissage.  We worked on some wedding thank-yous.  We had a raw kale salad (really, unexpectedly good, with an anchovy/Dijon dressing), chicken and mashed potatoes, and maple ice cream for dessert. 

Nails this week: l’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Colour in ClubPrivé.  This is the second time I’ve used this polish with the same results: this is hands-down the best drugstore nail polish I have ever used.  If I didn’t already have shades similar to the rest of the line, I would pick it up in another colour.  It lasts a week with almost no chipping – results I can only compare to a salon manicure with all the chemicals.  Not to mention I’m obsessed with the colour (at knitting on Thursday it was noted that my nails even matched the snood I’m working on).  It’s even probably a little bit why I bought this book (although I’ve also heard a few raves):

Above: nails after a week of wear with no special effort to avoid chipping: not bad!  

Random: in my inbox this morning, an email from my friend M:

"On Saturday night I dreamt that we were travelling somewhere together and that the bus driver did not show up.  You drove the bus for a number of hours until we stopped to pick up a new bus driver.  You were AWESOME! I was most impressed."
I like this dream a lot.  Whenever I have a dream of myself driving, it's usually when I feel like I'm in control and getting somewhere I want to be.
Other photos from the weekend, already shared on Twitter:

Breakfast at la Chocolatiere in North Hatley.

Storm brewing over Lake Memphremagog. 

September 16, 2012

In defense of clutter

One of the most eloquent defenses of clutter I have ever read is posted here on Michael Redhill’s site.  

It occurs to me that this is one of a few unsung bonuses to being a writer: taking one’s foibles and elevating them to a state which is not only defensible, but actually inherently better than whatever the prevailing social norm happens to be (in this case, a tidy, minimalist…and therefore possibly even uninteresting…or uncaring!...aesthetic). 

He makes an excellent point about people who are in favour of clutter --- or clutteri as he calls them (I’m not crazy about the term….I’m sure we can do better than this…clutteratus?  Then it could be clutterati in the plural) --- requiring a house or a flat.  Small apartments are not our natural habitats.  These, according to Redhill, put us at risk of ending up on a reality show.

I don’t think my husband is a clutteri – he’s what Redhill calls an orderer, really, but he certainly has enough stuff to qualify as one.  But I think we’re safe from TLC unless someone introduces a show called Book Hoarders. 

Pictured above: the weekend, wherein I clutter up somewhere else with some of the books required for two days away from home.  

September 15, 2012

The fate of Mondo Kim's

This is a really interesting article from the Village Voice about the bizarre fate of one of NYC’s (and probably, by extension, the world’s) most eclectic video collections, Mondo Kim's.

I've been pining for New York again lately.

We went at the end of July, but before that, my last visit was in November.  I'd like to figure out a way to be able to go more than once a year.  And not just because of these:

I don't think these would travel all that well in a backpack,  SNL's Lazy Sunday notwithstanding. 
We ate two on the Staten Island Ferry, and two on the drive home to Montreal. 

A coconut cupcake, and a peanut butter one, filled with jam (the best of four we chose.)

September 11, 2012

Summer of Love

This truly was the Summer of Love, not just because I got married to my love, but because one of my oldest friends got married, too.  K and B came up to Quebec for our wedding, and we went down to Nova Scotia for theirs.  

I've been missing her in all the craziness of travelling, unpacking, editing, massive life upheaval, etc.!, so it was truly wonderful to hear from her tonight at the end of a very long Monday.  It reminded me, too, to go take another look at the photos on our phones from that weekend.  (I had photos on my camera, too, but I dropped it on a rock on the beach and haven't been able to turn it on since...which would be upsetting if I allowed myself to think about it too much.)  

The wedding theme (and a tremendous one it was) was Native Plants of Nova Scotia.

Here you see K flattening her leaf necklace.  

As a bridesmaid, I got to carry around a giant cattail, basically fulfilling a lifelong ambition.  (I really, really, really wanted to know what those fuzzy brown sausage-tops felt like, when I was a kid.)


You can see our new family-sized tent (it's the blue one) peeking out in the background  behind K's parents.  The whole wedding weekend was a collaborative affair, so it was camping, potluck, DIY the whole way.   

K and B, the happy couple, looking lovely

I was finally introduced to the joys of contra dancing, after a very rousing first dance to one of my very favourite nostalgic songs (and yours, too, probably): 

The next day a bunch of us went for a beautiful hike along the Bay of Fundy (witness the camera-killing rocks). 

This picture was taken before I took off my shoes to walk in the squelchy sand --- which I immediately regretted.  Sometimes I do things against my better judgement in the name of writerly experience.  Some sensations I would prefer to simply imagine, especially when the beach in question is strewn with octopus eggs.  

But all in all, an amazing weekend!  I'm so happy we were able to be there, and so grateful, too, to be so blessed in my friends.  K and B, I wish you so much joy! 

It's nice to be reminded of friendship, too, on a night like tonight.  You may notice I have changed the settings for commenting on this blog -- a necessity due to some hateful comments.  

September 7, 2012

Things We Like

Building on Rebecca's list over at Rose-Coloured, to try to get to 1000.  (If you want to add to this list, leave a comment or a link over at the original post at Rose-Coloured.) 

Whistling in chorus with somebody else
Allongés with milk
Making lists
Bouncy castles
Cream cheese icing
DIY nail art
Bunting banners
Earl Grey green tea
Girls on HBO
Lime and juniper berry doughnuts from Cafe Sardine
Finally getting rid of clothes that don’t fit properly
Learning how to purl
Chocolate with sea salt
Red shoes
Cakes decorated with fresh flowers
LUSH Gorilla perfume solid scents
Joanna Newsom
Kir Royales
Mark Bittman’s bean burgers
Headphone jack splitters
Ataulfo mangoes
Margaret Atwood on Twitter
Save-the-Date bookmarks from my wedding in all the books I’m reading

September 6, 2012

why I wear my hair down

The post-updo scalp pain I am currently experiencing is not unlike the time I bleached my hair and my scalp felt like it was literally on fire.  Follicle fire! 

How do people do this?  Is there some kind of training that can happen with hair, such that it stops making a difference which way it goes?  In this case, my head hurts not so much from the up part of the ’do, as my hair was too heavy to stay up for long (18 bobby-pins would have been better than six)…the pain seems to come mostly from being brushed straight back from my forehead…a kind of directional resistance. 

And it’s not just the post-updo…it’s the lesser, irritation that precedes it for 8 hours or however long one can induce oneself to last.   

Long-haired ladies...any input?  Or Advil?