Friday, March 20, 2009

Mi Casa es Donde?

The subject of where we should live is a popular one in our house. At least once a week one of us will launch into a verbal daydream of life in Vancouver, Sydney, California, France etc. and the other one will enthusiastically join in. That is the problem I suppose with having done a lot of traveling - it makes you realize that you could live anywhere. We have both always made a point of not living our lives by default. A lot of people just sort of end up where they are and we don't want that to happen to us. We want it to be a choice - the result of a lot of thought and consideration. Having said that, there are sometimes so many factors to consider that it becomes overwhelming.

We chose Calgary initially because we thought it would be nice to be near our families again after living away for so long. From that perspective Calgary has been wonderful and now that we have a child it is even more important. Having said that, Calgary falls short in almost every other category we consider important. It's not hot enough, it lacks culture and diversity and a certain warmth. The politics drive us crazy and we will never really get the chance to know what it feels like to vote for a winning party. The city council is short-sighted. There is no decent recycling program and our economy is based on oil&gas which has obvious environmental complications. The best things about Calgary are proximity to the mountains, the fact that we can get out of the city really quickly and the friends and family we have here. All of them important things to consider.

The place we envision is warm, full of fresh food markets, arts districts, vital cultural communities, forward thinking urban planners and government, and alive. The problem is that Brian's chosen field limits us somewhat and so does our desire to stay close to family. If we won the lottery tomorrow we would move to New York city - we both love it there so much and although we know it isn't warm it so easily meets all the other criteria that we are willing to overlook that. But New York is not where our family is and it wouldn't take long for us to miss them and our weekly trips to the mountains. Brian wants to move to France but that's pretty far away and France has its own host of issues. We've also considered Vancouver and Montreal but always end up putting off the decision for another day.

It's so hard to know where to live and I wish you could go somewhere for 6 months at a time and try it on for size. I also wish you could pack up your loved ones and bring them along for the ride.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I am working on a magazine article on the "true crossover" right now and despite how sick I have been I managed to trudge my way to this weekend's Auto Show. There's a place I never thought I would visit. I took the train downtown and my head was foggy and achy. I felt miserable. Then, I got to the auto show, realized I didn't have my wallet with me and felt even worse. I called Brian from the window overlooking the show that I would apparently not be going to and told him that I was turning around and coming home and could he please dig a hole in the backyard so I could just throw myself in it when I got there. I was mad at myself and sick and my iPod battery was low. Shortly after I got off the phone something kicked in - the feeble remainder of my former self - and said "You are getting in to the Car Show, wallet or no wallet." So, I marched downstairs to the security guard and proceeded to give him hell. "I was in there and when I left you didn't stamp me and now the lady at the front won't let me back in and my husband is in there. Why didn't you stamp me? I'm NOT paying again."
"Okay, just go ahead. Sorry about that ma'am."

I felt like I had just forged the castle walls and was rewarded with lots of shiny vehicles and the nauseating smell of new car. I got the info/interviews I needed for my article and headed for the train. It was right about then that I found my wallet.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Much Love for Big Love

It is not often (ever) that I post about television shows but I am enjoying this season of Big Love so much that I can't help myself. HBO has great writers (Six Feet Under? Hello!) and they always manage to develop intelligent, dynamic characters that you can really relate to, even if they are living in the strangest of circumstances. Big Love is no exception - the main characters consist of a polygamist family in Utah. Three wives, a bunch of kids and one very tired husband. As is that doesn't provide enough tension and conflict, the family is constantly being drawn into the drama of the local polygamous sect at Juniper Creek. The writing is funny, touching and demanding and this season in particular has revealed some pretty incredible plot lines. Although each character is very well developed they still always manage to surprise the viewer, and the acting of the entire cast in incredible.

This is going to sound weird but I think I might like living in plural marriage. Brian thinks I'm nuts but there is something appealing about the idea of sharing the burdens of life with other women and always having a sister-wife nearby to laugh with. I'm sure it would get really old really quickly but I have allowed myself to imagine it and I don't think it would be all bad. I would always have a babysitter handy.

I am completely fascinated by polygamy and by the Fundamentalist Mormons and this show hasn't done much to quell that. There are a lot of LDS characters and because it is set in Utah, the LDS culture features prominently in the plot. We often wonder what connections the writers have to the church since they manage to get a lot of the more subtle Mormon cultural references correct. Tom Hanks is one of the producers but I'm pretty sure they have some "inside men" on the pay roll.

If you haven't ever watched Big Love I would highly recommend it. If you know nothing about Mormons or their long lost polygamous brethren than it will be eye-opening and if you are more familiar with the concept than it will probably still be eye-opening. Either way I guarantee that you will fall in love with some of the characters, hate others and get swept up into a very strange yet compelling world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How do you take a day off when you work from home?

Both Brian and I are at home sick with the flu. Brian at least gets to leave his work environment and take refuge in the comforts of home. I, on the other hand, keep looking at my laptop knowing that I have a magazine article to write. I told the editor I would have it to him by next week and I haven't written a word. I haven't even started my research. Maybe I could change the subject from crossover vehicles to "Are double toilet rolls really two rolls in one?" Because, between you and me, I really don't think they are.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Campus Bound

I have decided (despite the fat that it is one of my New Year's resolutions) that I will not be attending the BlogHer Conference this year. I would love to go but I really can't afford it. I was going to use one of the two free tickets we have with NWA but then we are left with one and I would rather that Brian and I go somewhere together. We are looking at moving and we simply can't move, pay off student loans and send me to Chicago. So, those of you who are going, enjoy and have a drink for me!

But, in mildly related news I started my Web Design and Management class last night and plan on using that to work on strongasaknox as well as my soon to be incorporated communications firm. More to come on that later. It was good and although it is very XHTML focused I will probably take a CSS class after that and then, who knows. Although my poor little brain is out of practice and found the three hour class long, it felt good to be back in a classroom again. Neurons were firing.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


So, to anyone who still reads this...I'm back. Sorry about the absence, we had some major computer issues and then I was in Mexico where I had access to the internet but ignored it because I was on vacation. I promise I will make more of an effort in the future. And in case you don't believe me, here is a totally unrelated comic.

To Paisley: Thirteen Months Old

When I first started writing monthly newsletters I wasn't sure how long I would keep it up. After thinking about it long and hard I have decided to keep going for as long as I enjoy it and have something to say. The first year of your life was full of wonder and change and I have no reason to think that will change for your second, third or fourth year of life. When you are old enough to say "Mom, seriously, this is embarrassing" then I will stop. Maybe.

I don't know if a switch was turned on this month or if it was something you ate in Mexico but you are like a different kid these days. Demanding, whiny, insistent and as sweet as ever. I think you feel frustrated more these days. You are old enough now to know what you want but are not always able to communicate it. When you do communicate but Mama doesn't obey, you get pissed. You want to walk and are so close but you still aren't there yet. You want to feed yourself and dress yourself but can't seem to manage to get the spoon in the mouth or the arms in the holes. That has got to be hard. I have seen the determined streak in you from the time you were a newborn and I know it is in your nature to be strong willed because it is in mine too. I'm okay with that and I let you do what you want for the most part but I draw the line at pulling all the knives out of the dishwasher. You have to be fourteen months to do that.

A large part of this month was spent in Mexico. You and I flew out together (thank you for being a dream baby), your Dad joined us a few days later and then we all flew home together last week (you were a demon baby on the way back - which just proves my point about the switch.) We had such a wonderful time Paisley and you loved every minute of it. You swam in the pool every day with your Grandma and Grandpa, ate guacamole until it was coming out of your ears, played in ate the sand and met every person in Bucerias. The Mexican women would stop us in the street and you would smile and babble away to them. You learned to wave while we were in Mexico and charmed Alberto, the man who worked at our villa, so much that he brought you all sorts of Mexican candy. I am sad to report that you didn't get to eat the candy - but you did your 7th tooth so consider yourself lucky. Every time we took you anywhere in the stroller you would sing your lungs out the entire trip. It was so cute and funny and you managed to garner a lot of attention. Your Dad and I took you for your first swim ion the ocean and we were surprised by how much you liked it. We thought you might be afraid of the waves but you loved them and you would squeal each time they roared past (and your over protective parents lifted you out of the water in fear you would be swept out to sea). The trip was a great break for everyone - it allowed you to get away from the monotony of car seats, boots, jackets and boring Mom all day long, it allowed your Dad and I some time alone together which we really needed and it gave my parents the opportunity to spend a lot of time with you. I loved watching them with you - you give them so much joy and you are very, very loved.

You are so close to walking and I expect that by the next post you will be. You practiced a lot on the beach where falling was safe and even fun, and now that you've figure out it is possible you want to stand up and explore all the time. You also like to chew on nail files which gives me the heebie jeebies.