Thursday, November 01, 2007

fire in my head

Tom Cowan’s book, Fire in the Head, explores the independently-developed similarities in shamanic tradition across the globe. I read it a number of years ago, but elements of it are ingrained in my mind.

In many cultures, when someone is “called” to be a shaman, when they develop that fire in the head, they often fall ill. If they resist, if they do not heed this call within a period of time, they die.

In a parallel universe, I’m in a job interview right. this. second. Here and now, I’m not in that interview, and am feeling okay about it. I withdrew last night.

When I was 18, I made choices out of fear, and changed the entire course of my life with one sheet of paper. With one word. Instead of writing “English” on my blanket university application, I wrote “geography”, because I was afraid of a life of poverty—of literal death. As the daughter of a writer consumed by his craft, by the fire in his head, I lived in straitened circumstances, and I was terrified of that same poverty following me into my own adult life.

It was years before I realised that I’d traded one type of impoverishment for another. That single word was my attempt to smother the fire in my own head. I too had been called, and had refused to heed the summons. I was too young to realise the imperative nature of the call. I thought it could be turned off.

And so I find myself today with a fantastic salary, but no sense of comfort or security. I’m poor all the same. Impoverished, and burning up from the fire in my head. It’s true: ignoring the summons does lead to illness. I’ve spent years forcibly trying to separate myself from my nature, and now realise that it’s as cruel and horrifying a pursuit as physically trying to peel my skin from my flesh.

It’s time. It’s time to feed the flames, to stoke the fire, and to start, rather than waiting for my life to start for me. I’ve often expressed that I don’t know who I am, what I think, or what I like; last week, someone told me they think that, deep down, I do know, but that I have trouble reconciling this with my uncertainty as to whether I’ll be acceptable to others. I instantly knew this was true.

I don’t know what this will look like—or what I will look like for that matter, other than messy, filthy, and betimes bloody—but at least I’ll be wearing my own skin.

No more smoke signals, if I can help it. It’s time to let the fire burn true.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

evener keel

That'd be a great name for a character in a novel, wouldn't it?

Today's a great example of medicine's effectiveness. I'm ready to fight crime...or at least get on with it. :)

I wish I had some telepathic way of doing stuff at home when I'm not there. I'm feeling inspired to sort stuff out, but by the time I return, the powerful tractor beam emitted by my computer will probably override the finest of intentions. At least I'm a Slayer of Giants in the electronic realm...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

...and some levity

To counterbalance that last post, I offer the following, courtesy of Cristina:


Even though I love playing with words, sometimes they fail me. It's impossible to capture certain thoughts or mind-states without penning an essay. That's where folks like the Inspiral Carpets come in. Oh look - they have a new album for the first time in over 10 years... Lately, watching myself and how I move through the world, I feel like Plutoman. Self-inflicted, self-caused, self-limiting, and somewhat schizoid or schizotypal.

Colours and music is what you will see and you live for
Take a ride with a stingray and you'll see the world through his eyes...

...You know what they say about the lady who talks with the fishes:
They say that she'll always have at least a billion billion friends
And somewhere there's a god who will grant each and all of her wishes
She laughs in the face of the man looking over the fence

I can see that you're dreaming
But I can't see the pictures
Sleeping in the light of
Starshine and goldfishes

Even out here where he sits drowning in isolation
He's stacking his bricks high and slowly walling out the world
She's sending him flowers and sunshine but he doesn't notice
On the stem of a rose she writes, "Have A Nice Day, Plutoman."

I can see that you're dreaming
But I can't see the pictures
Sleeping in the light of
Starshine and goldfishes

He feels like he's the last man alive, he feels like he's stuck on Pluto
Each day's a bad one, each day he's all alone

Colours and music is what you will see and you live for
Take a ride with a stingray and you'll see the world through his eyes
She's sending him flowers and sunshine but he doesn't notice
On the stem of a rose she writes, "Have A Nice Day, Plutoman."

Thursday, August 23, 2007




*rushes out to buy milk and comestibles so she won't starve whilst glued to her computer for several days straight*

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I fought the pole...and the pole won

So my friend Vivienne (co-creatrix of the TTC Knitalong), has just been certified as a pole dance instructor. Who knew?

Jacquie and I checked out one of her introductory classes last night, and it was pretty fantastic. Where else do you get to pose like a pinup girl in the midst of yoga-poses??

Today my arms feel like rubber, thanks to my spectacular level of sluglike unfitness. Typing and putting on shirts has become a fascinating experience.

Whilst reflecting this morning on my attempts at the classic fireman spin, I realised that I've spent so much of my life in my head - in a state of hyper-vigilance - that there's a powerful disconnect between my mind and my body. I operate on a purely primitive, instinctual level when it comes to physical movement. Any calculated movement involving non-finger-related artifice is difficult for me to control.

When I was flinging myself around the pole, the act of doing so almost obliterated my awareness of the different parts of my body so that it was pretty much impossible for me to consider adjustments in the position of my feet, grip, etc.. I think this struck me after watching Jacquie spiral gracefully around the pole after a few tries, then hearing Vivienne suggest an adjustment in the position of her knees...which she did without a second thought.

Makes me think. Guess I need to work on reconnecting.

P.S. The Boots

Sunday, August 19, 2007


lolz - oh hai!

i m riting wile luking @ a wide 20" flatscrn mi b/f got 4 mi brthdai - rily erli

My brain's gonna explode. So...much...surface - it burns my eyes!

Kinda like my new DMs, which you say in my language?...white.


But don't get all freaked out, now: they've got a really cool branchy pattern on them and a lovely, delicate, death's-head moth. Just in time for tomorrow's Mad Hatter tea at AlterKnit. Not so out-of-the-ordinary after all.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It isn't them!!

Thank heckins! Someone finally got back to me, and Nu and Po are safe at home, being "charming and ornery" (you can guess who's being what). I can't help but wonder, though, if Princess is related to Niamh...

Friday, August 10, 2007

doppelganger shock

These are my babies: Niamh (white) and Freya (tabby). Freya showed up on the porch one day, and Niamh was found at the Humane Society, sporting the stereotypical name Princess. We soon fixed that. They're now seven years old, and I haven't seen them for two and a half years, as they live with my former husband, M. I miss them terribly.

I will eventually be in the market for new furchildren, and I occasionally visit the Toronto Humane Society website to see who needs a home. Today a nasty, killing-voltage-level, electric shock ran through me:

The society estimates they're about eight years old. The one on the left is named Princess. The one on the right is listed as Gabby. I have been frantically trying to find out more about them, to absolutely ensure they're not Niamh and Freya, but the society won't give out background info on animals over the phone.

They can't be Nuni and Po. They just can't. And yet my guts are twisting. I'm so frightened. Mel offered the sage, calm opinion that it isn't them, but it's such a freaky coincidence. Niamh's electronic pet chip still lists her as Princess. They're seven. Too close to be calm. Too close. The only things keeping me even remotely okay are that Princess' beauty spot is on the opposite side of her nose -- but what if the photo's reversed?? -- and that I can't imagine M surrendering the cats and not coming to me first. That just isn't like him. At all.

But I can't get ahold of anyone who can 100% confirm for me that Niamh and Freya are indeed still in residence at my old home. M is on vacation, and our housemate, who was in a meeting at work when I called, hasn't called back, despite my urgent message.

So I'm vacillating between calm, terror, and grief.

The only way I'll know for sure is if I go down and see them. But I can't do that. I just can't. Going there would kill me. Mum and dad could take them if it really was them, so that's sorted. But I cannot have a new pet right now, and going down there, being amongst so many friends in need of homes...I can't.

The things we put ourselves through, eh?

Friday, August 03, 2007

the fates are kind...

The phone rang before 8:00 this morning. It was someone from the coffee shop: they'd found my mp3 player sitting in plain sight, in the middle of the counter. Hmmm. And hooray!

In other, random news:

I finished a knitted, open-front cardigan-thing. Yup -- I finished something!

I have a Tamagotchi, which has just headed off into the electronic ether after breeding with a small ninja, leaving me to raise her offspring. Wow - second generation!

I'm returning to work on August 13th, starting slowly and ramping up to full time over the course of six weeks.

When I went out for a walk tonight, the quality of the light through the trees was exactly as depicted in one of my favourite paintings, not-coincidentally titled Empire of Light. I was lucky enough to see Magritte's original when I visited the Guggenheim in Venice; electronic representations just don't do it justice.

I'm totally digging Amy Winehouse's latest album, Back to Black.

It's stinky-hot here.

And lalala.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

crap, buggery, arse, and other strong words of displeasure

Some fuckwit stole my mp3 player out of my bag whilst I was at the coffee shop.

The only grim satisfaction I have is that since it isn't an iPod, it'll be bloody hard, if not impossible, for them to get any use out of it without the special charger and computer hookup.

Blast, damn and hellfire.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Y'know how, when your cordless phone is misplaced, you can hit the page button and it'll beep & reveal its whereabouts? Or if your cell is missing, you can call it and follow the ring (assuming you haven't turned off the ringer)?

I regularly find myself thinking - for split-second, irrational moments - that I'll page my missing tea, which I've put down somewhere then wandered off. Then I realise that I can't page my tea.

And then I think - for longer, slightly-more-rational, petulant moments - that, dang it, I should be able to page my tea...and my glasses...and my wallet...and my rings...and my knitting needles...&c.

Heyyyyy - maybe if I fasten my cell phone to my tea mug...

Friday, June 29, 2007

insert some saying about agony and good stuff here

Agony. Defeat. De feet. Ecstasy.

First, the agony:
I finished the first inside-out sock from the STR club. It's gorgeous. My first attempt at toe-up (I tried on the foot before starting on the leg, and it fits perfectly), the cables are divine, and it's a work of stunning beauty, if I do say so myself.

"So, Soph," you're saying, "where's the agony in this? Sounds pretty good to me!"

Dear readers, those gorgeous cables are too tight. I can't fit them over my heel. I have to rip out the leg and re-knit. Hours and hours of work for nought. I don't mind that so much; what I do mind is that I finished the dang thing, and can't try it on!! I wanna!! lol

Now that that's out of the way, on to the good stuff:

I've been doing a lot of self-work, lately, and decided to do something symbolic to reflect this. I'm a talker, as those that have met me know, but it's often superficial waggishness; I often have difficulty articulating what I want and need - even to myself. Since the colour of the throat chakra (which governs communication) is blue, and since in dreams and archetypal imagery the ocean represents the unconscious, I decided to make a blue and turquoise necklace - to hang around my throat - that represented my reclamation of my voice.

I haven't done any beading in a long time, and have (had) never made a necklace. Over the last week, I made a few forays, adventures, and pilgrimages to various bead shops and picked up a variety of things to supplement the materials I already had. When I examined my modest stash, it turns out I've been collecting for this necklace for years without realising it.

And so, verily, it was strung and worn by me.

And each full day I've worn it, someone's inquired as to whether I sell them. My editorial grammar instructor has commissioned one.
I'm all aflutter.

Monday, June 18, 2007

music for my paranormal life

...with apologies to Neuroticfish for the paraphrased rip-off of one of his song titles.

All I can say is (to quote Jacquie): OMGWTFBBQ!!!!

I was wandering through the local HMV about half an hour ago, and heard the Smiths...well, a cover of the Smiths. An absolutely brilliant cover of Stop Me. I had to ask, and was pointed to a listening post, where lounged (insouciantly, no less), an album entitled Version, by one Mark Ronson, who I have discovered is some hotshot London dj.

With the help of folks such as Robbie Williams, Kasabian, etc., he's recorded covers of songs by a plethora of artists, including the aforementioned Smiths, Britney Spears, Radiohead, the Charlatans, etc.

Brilliant. Abso-brilliant. Fucking weird, but brilliant. Not everyone is as jazzed about it, but it's amusing the biscuits out of me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the newest knitter

Last night, I got to meet Natalie, who was only four days old, and born on her mum's birthday. Congratulations, Heather! Happy birthday to both of you!
Natalie has the most incredible feet - with the longest toes - I've ever seen on any baby. Perhaps she'll use them to hold her knitting needles...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knitalong sneak preview

More to come soon, but for now, this is my thousand words. Sandi, you are an absolute delight.

Tea Swap - Thanks Dorene!

Dorene sent me a little bit of Southern hospitality from her holiday home in South Carolina. We have virtually identical tastes - both in teas and in colours - so the treats I got were absolutely perfect!
Here we have: loose Darjeeling from the mighty Republic of Tea (love their stuff!), a little candle in a warm-drinky-themed box, some Southern Raspberry Mix, which Tom has already busted into and pronounced perfect in Diet Coke, Nana's Been-a-Nut Bread, and some Indian Breakfast tea, which is a lovely, punchy black blend that me loves. I'll have to see if I can get this again.

I particularly like the recipe on the nut bread bag. An excerpt: Git ya muffin pans out an greez 'em up real good. Set dis aside jus a minute.


And then there's the yarn - Cherry Tree Hill supersock in a fabbo colourway called Misty Moor.

Thanks so much, Dorene! You did a super job on your first swap - good on ya'!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

various gallivanty, frolicky stuff!

I've finished some things (a vest and more armwarmers), and started some things (multi-yarn knittery knittishness, the first STR sock club pattern, seaming up the first of the sideways socks).

The Knitalong is this weekend! Hooray!

And today I'm having a tiny knitalong with Jacquie, including stops at Lettuce and Dangerous Romni, the Aladdin's cave of yarn. *stuffs wallet into cheek so she can't pull it out*

Saturday, May 26, 2007

knitting it together

Jane Thornley is in town for the weekend. Mum and I are taking two classes with her at Lettuce Knit. Jane's all about organic knitting, and knitting within a chosen colour palette (aka 'colour story') using yarns of different weights and textures. For a person with a generally gnat-sized attention span, changing up all these colours, weights and stitches feels like being in an oasis.

I'm trying to incorporate different weights and textures into my personal story as well. I think of you all every day, all the time. I'm so glad you're out there, and I apologise that I can be difficult to know, or that my experiences can be difficult to take in. Please bear with me, if you can - I'm determined to bring this black dog to heel, and get back to life.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Hello! Hello! I'm here!

A bit tattered around the edges and pretty much all awol, all the time at the moment, but I am alive! I have pictures of various green things to post, including my kingdom and some fiddleheads I had for dinner the other night, and a picture of Kelly to prove that she made it up here from Florida and is in one piece.

So many pictures, so many stories. All trapped in my head, along with the rest of me...

*goes off to fight crime*

Friday, May 11, 2007

the plot thickens...

Perhaps I'm obsessing about this. Perhaps just a little. As with all humans, I'm prone to some subjective interpretation of the facts, but I think there's at least a kernel of truth in here.

What I originally did at work:
  • co-ordinated projects across offices, branches, divisions
  • attended a fair number of out-of-office meetings with a variety of people/organisations on collaborative projects
  • was at the centre of what was going on in my area of specialty
  • researched, wrote reports, developed and gave presentations, briefings, etc.

What I now do at work (same job as before):

  • policy research, mainly at my desk
  • managing (I use the term loosely) projects in subject areas with which I have less familiarity and confidence, which could be good, except I'm afraid, just can't get started and am not capable at this time of setting up my own structure
  • watch the things I feel I could do - and do well - get handed off to other people because there's a fear I'll a) not get them done b) get distracted from the rest of my work -- which I'm not cut out for and am unhappy doing

I know it all starts with me, and everything, but the more bored, powerless and isolated I feel, the less motivated I am, the more likely it is that my interesting work will be handed off to others, and the more likely it is that I'll feel progressively more bored, isolated and unmotivated.

Now for the kicker, check this out:

My learning style and appropriate learning activities, according to the public service's online "learning wizard":

PRACTICAL LEARNING STYLE: Your preferred learning style is to act on your ideas. Once you understand the situation, you confront a challenge with your hands on real time. You enjoy getting involved in new experiences. You get immersed in situations and tend to look for new challenges as you may prefer the excitement of new experiences over implementation.

Beneficial Learning Activities
If your dominant and preferred learning style is acting on your ideas, you will BENEFIT MOST where:

  • You have opportunities to understand and immerse yourself in a situation
  • New experiences and opportunities for learning are provided
  • Real challenges and excitement are ahead of you
  • You get involved with other people and influence them through action
  • You can act on and implement your ideas
  • You can engage in projects and group discussions

Less Beneficial Learning Activities
If your dominant and preferred learning style is acting on your ideas, you will BENEFIT LESS where:

  • You are not given the opportunity to think through a problem
  • You cannot immerse yourself in the situation
  • You are asked to take a passive role
  • Your primary role is to analyze and interpret data
  • You are asked to do repetitive activities
  • You are engaged in passive learning such as lectures

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

my version of productivity at work

A poem. Written yesterday in under 10 minutes whilst trying to re-organise my team's common drive on our server.

Where do I go when I'm not here?
My head is like a balloon, I fear:
Drifting aloft on the vaguest of thoughts,
Slipping the weights of 'shoulds' and 'oughts'
Nothing gets done; not a thing is achieved,
And when the day ends, I hightail it, relieved,
But the list of to-dos is a myriad miles
And I find myself drowning 'midst papers and files
Fighting 'gainst waves of guilt, fear and stress;
When I try to do more, I end up doing less.
Where do I go when my mind wanders free?
Nobody knows - alas, not even me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

nononononononoooooh look! a squirrel!

Well that explains a lot of things.

I haven't been formally diagnosed, but after some research and self-testing today, I think I have ADHD.

I don't know whether to be discouraged, or relieved.

I think the only correct response is to laugh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

If I can just remember, it'll be okay.

Awake aware alone
Lost and far from home
I walk without these walls
So there is less to fall

I am naked
I have nothing left
My bones are picked clean
And riddled with regrets
Nothing can touch me
I've nothing left to take
For I am naked
But I can never break

Bombarded by brutal events
Like the rays of a sun
Knocked to my knees
By the waves that continued to come
Each time I rise to my feet
I am knocked to the ground
But I am an element
Nothing can break me down

Link after link in a chain
Pulling hard at my limbs
The search party's lost now
The outlook is growing dim
Praying for wisdom
There's nobody left to impart
But I am an atom
And nothing can take me apart

I am naked
I have nothing left
My bones are picked clean
And riddled with regrets
Nothing can touch me
I've nothing left to take
For I am naked
But I can never break

Naked, by Assemblage 23, from the album Failure

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Over the Moon

When I departed from England, Jason gave me a set of art cards featuring some of Andy Goldsworthy's winter work.

Because they remind me of my wonderful visit and of my kindred-spirit-cousin - and because they're so beautiful - I decided they needed special treatment. I picked them up today, and I couldn't be more pleased. Tom and I put them up this afternoon, and I have no words to express the pleasure and delight these bring.

Thanks, Jase

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In the morning, I walked 10K. In the afternoon, I wrestled a lion.

The day started with the Stone Roses. "This is for you, Dan," I said aloud, as I strode off to catch the bus to the MS Walk checkpoint.Well, not really. The day started more like this:

Alarm. Hit snooze. Alarm. Hit snooze. Alarm. Hit snooze. Alarm. Hit snooze. Alarm. Dark. Fumblestumblefindclothes. Search through piles on top of dresser. Aha! Toss. Thump. Aha! Toss. Thump. Aha! Toss. Thump. "Sophe - you okay?" Sleepy mumble. "Yup, love, I'm fine." "Oh, well you were tossing clothes on the bed..." Hmmm. Sports bra. T-shirt. Thermo-soft-red-sporty-top. Thermals. Workout leggings. Looksfunnywiththermals. Other leggings. Zippy black sweater-thing. Rain gear. Socklets. Insanelywhitetrainers. Giant 1-L thermos of teathanksTom.

The day continued with the Stone Roses.

I knew I'd found the checkpoint when I heard the Ozzy Osbourne. Really. 8:30 a.m. Freezing. Zero degrees C (about 30 F). Freezearsefreezearsefreezearsefreezearse. Found Lynn. Opening ceremonies with much talk of freezing weather. FreezefreezefreezeANDTHEY'REOFF!

Trudgetrudgetrudgeinagiantherdofpeopleandexciteddogswearingt-shirts(yesthedogs). The first checkpoint came inhumanly, unreally soon. Then we were halfway and turned for the walk back. Achy calves. Hmmm...not so cold. A cheering crowd to celebrate our return. Free hot dogs and Loblaws PC choccy chip cookies. actually is still freaking cold. We were obviously delusional (though I prefer to think of it as warm from the walk).

10 K! We walked 10 K! It wasn't so bad, but it sure sounds impressive. Took under an hour and a half. Small price for the incredibly generous $1200 or so donated by so many lovely people. Thank you all!

Lynn, sporting a fine hand-knit hat and scarf:Yours truly, suffering delusions of warmth at the halfway mark.The afternoon was spent in fine company at AlterKnit.

Knitting Royalty [har har] (TitBitBeryl and AmyKnitty, who will just love this photo...):

Crazy friends that make me laugh (Sandi, Jacquie, Jen, and Mel). Lucky, lucky me!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hang the DJ...and a finished object

'Hang the DJ' sounded more interesting than 'Panic'.

I'm completely squirrelly at the moment. Not sure what's wrong - I'm agitated, and had a panic attack at work today. I fled. Took more antidepressants than usual and plied myself with tea. It sort of helped, but I spent the day pacing the apartment and feeling freezing cold. Weird.

In more delightful news, I finished something! They're for a lovely someone far away. Fetching, from Knitty, knitted in RYC Silk Wool in Greenwood.

Am spending the evening trying to sit still long enough to teach myself to crochet. So far, so good...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

See Spot Run...See Soho Dance

Today was a bitch of a day at work. It started off with 14 sneezes, followed by an e-mail in caps to Tom about how I wanted to walk out but would not, and included much mental swearing and not nearly enough presence of mind to zot furiously with my Lego Ring of Power (tm).

And then Tom reminded me that tonight we were going to a showcase of film shorts by our friends at Haberdash Films (I recommend that you check out 'Jedi Breakfast' should you follow the link). I absolutely did not feel like going; all my mental drawers were full (shorts...drawers...?), and I was whipped-exhausted.

I knew it was important to Tom and to our friends - particularly given the nasty-rainy weather and the hockey game, both of which would act as deterrents to many, we suspected - so I made an extra effort to overcome my habitual inclination to hibernate.

The shorts were good fun. I'd seen a number of them, but many bear repeat watchings.

And afterwards...oh, afterwards...we were treated to a performance by See Spot Run. I knew of them, as they've had some radio play with a couple of singles over the past few years, but had never seen them before - didn't even know what they looked like. They're friends of Brad and the Haberdash guys, so it seemed natural that they'd play at the screening. It's such a different experience seeing a band live versus recorded material. On the radio, they sound so nice and alternative and poppy and clean, somehow, but in concert, they're absolutely knockout-mad, with loads of guitar and bizarre hopping, leaping and bouncing. Far superior, I think, and a much truer picture of their talent and style.

There were about 20 people in the audience. Chris, the lead singer, indicated a few times that we shouldn't be afraid to dance. After a few songs, I thought, "fuck it!" - and up I went. Just me. Only me. Who hasn't been out dancing in a year and a half. Hahahahahahahahahaha! I can now say that I was the solo dancer at a See Spot Run show, and am full of something akin to glee.

I was particularly fond of a song entitled My iPod Killed My Girlfriend, which was entirely delightful and called to mind the Ramones' The KKK Took My Baby Away. Perma-grin during that one.

And the encore. Silliest for last: from Stompin' Tom Connors' The Good Old Hockey Game into Back in Black by AC/DC. Now that was a stunner all by itself.

I'll definitely see them again - they played a tight set, were obviously having fun, and seemed nice to boot...even though I totally put my foot in my mouth and called their song Weightless 'Shameless' by mistake (obviously channelling my unconscious, there...). Right - breast cancer research benefit show on Apr 29th at Clinton's it is!

A fine end to the day. I'm now ricocheting off the walls and in no mood for bed. So I will (once again) curse my fine cousin Jason and play pogopogopogopogo.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Zodiac of the Awesome

My friends Amberspyglass and Red Magpie are GENIUSES.


This is entirely their own work, including the symbols.

So tell me -- what's your sign?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

my head is full

My head feels like a helium balloon. So much in it...which sounds funny when you're talking about a balloon. I suppose it feels as though it could float away; I need to tie it to something.

I feel as though I'm becoming more myself, which is rather exciting, but I don't yet know what it means.

I've accepted that I don't fit at work. I just don't. I'm too different, too creative, and deliciously non-corporate. I acknowledged to myself a few weeks ago that I just don't have what they're looking for. Today I realised, with a rocket-boost of self-confidence, that they just don't have what I'm looking for.

Mum and I went to The Guild Shop, which sells works by Canadian artists, to view a fibre arts exhibition. It was quite exciting to realise that I could create some of these same things myself. Inspiring. And whilst there I decided, in a fit of grown-upness, to invest in a new ring. I wear one on nearly every finger, and most of them are cast silver. So I figured I'd get an investment piece, of a sort, which made me feel quite la-la and sophisticated.

Of course, being me, I ended up attracted to something so spectacular, so subtly subversive, that it didn't matter a whit that it wasn't anywhere close to what my frontal lobe had in mind. I give you my precious. It's the lime green one (second pic down on the left-hand side), which I'm quite sure would look right at home with my old space station set. Do you see? Do you see? That ain't no product of millennia in that setting. I'll give you a hint.

I'm feeling calmer. Still lots of self-work to do, but I'm starting to feel as though everything will be all right. I'm contemplating something that I always shied away from - slowly, slowly, going freelance. I can't ignore the pull any longer. Hiding behind sensible things like geography and urban planning hasn't worked. So we shall see.

For now, I'll keep this new ring close at hand (har har) as a reminder. It'll be my talisman in times of public service drudgery, self-doubt, and sanity-questioning. I'll just point it at the offending individual, or at my temple if I need a boost, and whisper: zot.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

So I guess I'm actually committed now, huh?

Dan, you've got a lot to answer for, mate. I mean -- white trainers???

All kitted out and overexposed:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lorena’s Impending Mayhem

Finally, finally, finally, Ms. Snark's package is ready to mail. I'm hoping it'll be worth the madman-wandering-endlessly-in-the-desert-length wait.

Because I enjoy being evil on the odd occasion, I thought I'd summarise the parcel's contents in the form of obscure hints. Many will make no sense, but it's a great way to up the anticipation. Ready?

1. Because everyone needs a stress monkey.
2. It's almost St. Patrick's day, and what's more green than a sticky turtle?
3. It's my favourite, and perfect for armwarmers.
4. Sometimes, breakfast should be worn rather than eaten.
5. SeƱor, I don't think being polite will make a difference to them.
6. Even though you already have some, one can always use more of this.
7. Sometimes, the first cup just isn't enough.
8. The sap's about to start running, but there's actually stuff out there that's tastier than syrup.
9. She helped the Canadian troops by running through the night back in 18-something-or-other, but she's best known for more decadent pursuits.
10. Feverish Celts might twist their ankles.
11. Through his eyes, you see the soul-map of the city.
12. Hurrah! In minus degrees, modern women will delight in coolness of trendy phrasing.
13. Because everyone should have the experience of building their very own cottage.
14. Till knit do us part.

I think that's everything...
*insert sinister laugh here*

Friday, March 09, 2007

Revelling in the Snarkitude

I have become one with my Snark-nature. In a spirit of dreadful delinquency, I hadn't photo'd and posted the Snarkdora's Box that was waiting for me when I returned from the land of bluetits and drystone walls. It is past time. Behold:

Here we have, clockwise from top left, some lovely, scented lotion, 2 discs of mp3s (Lorena's Mangled Heart and Lorena's Crazy Life) - stellar! - some local honey (mmmmm), a lovely card that I will frame, some handspun that I remember mentally admiring on her blog when it was being spun (can't wait to play with it!!!), a collection of wildlife stitch markers, which I will have to re-photo so you can appreciate them - there's a bear, a skunk, a squirrel, and a cardinal - some Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in the 'Indian Corn' colourway (hooray! hooray! I get to try it! eeee), some lovely chocolate that has since been eaten, and two teas.

Snark, thanks so much for this wonderful package, you stellar human being, you. Your generosity knows no bounds, and I only hope that the odd collection of toys I have for you will make up for my distracto-nature over the last month or so! Thankyouthankyouthankyou for the hours of pleasure (yarn porn) and the delightful anticipation.

A close-up of Lorena's fine work:

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I don't wish to go into great detail, but a family member has really let me down. If you're unable, uncomfortable, or unwilling, fine. Fine. No problem. But don't keep harping on it, rationalising and justifying and excusing. Enough. Let it go.

Since you didn't/couldn't/wouldn't, I hung up.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm getting off me' arse and doing something productive!

I'm participating in the MS Society of Canada's Super Cities Walk on April 15th to raise money for MS research. Ten whole K. Ack.

I'm doing so in honour of my incredible cousin Daniel, whose life was just way too short.

If you'd care to pledge my madwomanly efforts, you can do so at my personal fundraising page on the MS website.

Positive 'Goooooooooooooo Soho!' thoughts on April 15th are also welcome. :)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Props to Suga

Ever heard a soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist? It's about time you did.

The first time I heard this - complete with scene excerpts - I actually asked what movie it was from, 'cos it sounded so blaxploimazing I just had to see it. And Sean explained the project he and Jamillah have undertaken: to write a soundtrack based on a non-existent movie.

And so I give you Suga's Last Stand.

(check out Suga's Last Stand and Unglued)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Okay; it's peel-me-off-the-ceiling time. I'm jetlagged and buzzing on caffeine and all sorts. Not quite sure what to do with myself at the moment, other than take a page out of my 3-y-o second cousin Freddie's book and race around the room, climbing the walls, before collapsing in a limp heap.

Just got in from the airport after a roller-coaster of a week on home soil. Joy. Pathos. Rock and roll. I lost my cousin Daniel, but he gave me back my cousin Jason, whom I haven't seen in 30 years. I never thought I'd next be returning to England for a funeral - let alone for the funeral of my creative, cheeky, observant, gentle, playful cousin Dan, who died way, way too young (I shake my fist at the heavens and feel a prickle behind my nose) - but I also never thought I'd have such an incredible experience of reconnecting with all my cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family...and particularly the stellar Arctic Fox, who opened his home to me and turned out to not only be a wonderful host, but a kindred spirit.

When I'm feeling more grounded I may touch upon the experience of saying goodbye to Dan, but for now, I just want to roar with delight and gratitude for the opportunities and adventures I've had over the last week: laughing and tale-telling with Jo, Tom, Sam and Jase, meeting Tom's Natalie, Jo's Ian and their small person Oskar (a new second cousin!), spending a too-short time with Sam's Rob and meeting their small people Freddie and Milo (two more new second cousins!) and meeting Jason's Dawn, who's just lovely: her face -- no, she lights up when she smiles; having a too-brief time with Aunty Janet and Uncle David; visiting with Jen & Fred and sitting under Missy, Dibble, Grub and Cuthbert (sometimes all at once), whose cat-hairs have now travelled farther than they themselves ever will; visiting the Mother Ship (aka Rowan Yarns' head offices) thanks to Jen's kind arrangements; curry-eating with Jason and Dawn; robin-blue tit-dunnock-finch-blackbird-rat-watching from Jason's kitchen window; talking for hours about life and perspective, playing Guitar Hero and making late-night shop runs for teabags with Jason; almost-winning at the bingo/quiz night at Sam's lawn bowling club with Sam and Jen; treading the streets of Leeds once again (also with Jason); listening to various weirdnesses on Radio 4; experiencing virtually the entire first season of League of Gentlemen in one sitting (are you LOCAL?); collecting newly-laid hen's eggs for the first time; discovering Andy Goldsworthy and Frank Sidebottom ('it's a free download/costin' absolutely nothing...'); and countless more things besides.

More tea, Mrs. Nesbiiiit?
Jiggety jig.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Daniel Edward Pitchforth, age 33

My cousin died today. He was only 33, and he hasn't been well for quite a few years, but I had no idea he was so ill. I found out only minutes ago, and the shock is setting in. This is devastating. But it's no way to introduce him to you.

Dan was one of the kindest, loveliest people I've ever known. Out of all the cousins, we were the closest in age, and used to write to one another about life, music, and whatever else was going on. He introduced me to the Stone Roses and the Inspiral Carpets. I last saw him in 1997, and we slid all the way down the hill beneath the giant chalk horse on the hillside at Uffington. Sounds basic, but the hill was a ridiculous incline, and it takes a couple of minutes to slide down after spending half an hour or so climbing up to the horse. We had to boil-wash our jeans to get the grass stains out. When we were 3 and 4, we went to the park near grandma's house in Huddersfield. There were men working on the road, and Daniel put his finger in the hot tar they'd laid down, which of course made him cry. I remember looking at the tar on his finger. The tar had a particular smell that was somehow different from the usual tar-smell; I only ever smell that exact scent every once in a while, and I always think of Dan.

I was thinking of him today, actually, and imagining how great it would be to see him and all the rest of my cousins and family, little realising the sadness unfolding thousands of miles away.

Sorry I missed you, Dan. Love and ham sandwiches, as always. x

Monday, January 01, 2007

awright, awright, awright - here's a post

Sorry folks - been Guildwars'ing and have also been feeling reclusive. I go through phases where I just don't seem to have the energy or inclination to keep up with this stuff. So people are looking for peculiarities, hmmm? Here are a bunch. I'm doubling the number, since most of the folks I know have already been tagged.

1. My name is at the top of the CN Tower. When they were finishing it in the early '70s, there was an opportunity to write your children's names on a thingy that was going into the spire, and my mum put my name on it.

2. I have a virtual yarn stash. In Oblivion, one of the 'useless' items you can find in chests and boxes is yarn. I've been collecting it and stowing it in the various houses I own.

3. I had a fear (well, more a dislike, really) of toes for a very long time. I got over it when I worked in Cuba for a month in 1999. I figured that no one there knew that I'd not exposed my toes for years, so the hang-up was all in my head - though the 2 people that knew me through university did comment on it.

4. When I was 10, I wore trousers all summer.

5. Between the ages of 8 and 14, I never wore a skirt or dress, except for my Brownie/Guide uniforms.

6. I'm 34 and still don't have a driver's license -- and I work for the Ministry of Transportation.

7. I can lift my left leg up to the height of my head and hold my foot next to my right ear.

8. I'm actually very shy, but overcompensate by being humourous, silly and chatty in person - which necessitates long periods of downtime.

9. My first word as an infant was 'vegetable'.

10. Generally speaking, I can't handle watching television or movies at home. I get overstimulated and run away. Consequently, I've never seen an episode of just about any reality t.v. show. My one vice is Coronation Street.

11. I am a student of druidry.

12. I have been contemplating getting a tattoo for nearly half my life, but haven't yet fastened on anything.

13. I've always been an excellent student/writer, but for the past few years have been crippled by a fear of essay-writing to the point that I can't even start one.

How's that? Peculiar enough fo' yiz'?

In other news, again have lots of photos and WIPs to post. Well -- need to take more pix of the WIPs. Bad SoSo! Bad SoSo! Started Laura's CCCC cardigan in a magical blue by Misti Alpaca and it's going well. Am making a hat for me'sel' (out of CASHMERE!), as my Amelia helmet has gone walkabout. Am procrastinating on t's Boom Bag. Am also absolutely horrified by my Visa bill. I haven't been using it much and have been making payments on my card, but when your phone/internet bills are charged to it and you're not paying attention, it can really add up. No spinning wheel for me any time soon. Time to start actually knitting what I have, methinks. :)