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wmtc: the great weed of 2016: the results are in

Goodbye.A while back, I announced that Allan and I were going to try weeding our books and CD collection. A few months passed until we could find the time, but we’ve done it. Seven boxes of books and three boxes of CDs will be leaving our lives.Last Se… . . . → Read More: wmtc: the great weed of 2016: the results are in

wmtc: in which the death of a rock legend makes me think about how our world has changed

When this came out, I hung the cover on my bedroom wall. Sharing memories of David Bowie, as so many of us were after his too-early death this week, led me to think a lot about the world I lived in when I was a big Bowie fan.My world thenI saw Bow… . . . → Read More: wmtc: in which the death of a rock legend makes me think about how our world has changed

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Live: 2016 in Abstract

On New Year’s Eve around midnight, my two girls and I stuck our heads out the window that’s missing a screen so we could watch the fireworks, and then someone had the idea of taking pictures of the city from

. . . → Read More: A Writer’s Mind: Lilian Nattel Live: 2016 in Abstract

Dead Wild Roses: Fun with Daylight Saving Time

I used to be indifferent to falling back. The extra hour of sleep on the one day is nice but whatever. The choice of driving to work in the dark, or driving home in the dark, isn’t that material to me, and once December comes, it’s in the dark both ways regardless of Daylight time […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Fun with Daylight Saving Time

Dead Wild Roses: Makeup is so much bullshit

I (almost) never wear makeup to work. A whole lot of it is that I simply can’t be arsed, but it’s also a specifically political decision: men don’t have to, so why should I. I recognize that, as a knowledge worker who’s valued for my brainz, I’m honestly privileged not to have to focus on my […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Makeup is so much bullshit

Dead Wild Roses: Abominations in Clown Barf

Almost every knitter or crocheter’s taste in yarn goes through a similar evolution as their skill progresses. When you’re just starting, everything takes forever, so thick yarns seem like a good idea – yay, fewer stitches makes more fabric! And you buy yarn based on how pretty the ball looks, without much concept of what it might look like once it’s worked up. Low-end yarn manufacturers, I’m sure, are aware of n00b yarn buyers’ purchasing habits, and pander accordingly. Which is why the yarn aisle at Michael’s is full of stuff like this:

What on earth could go wrong? I mean, (Read more…)

wmtc: my inner teenager decorates my office

Every time I have moved – many, many moves, more than I care to think about, over many decades – I have carefully removed from bulletin boards and walls dozens of buttons, cartoons, photos, quotes, and postcard images that seemed to define my life. I have saved almost all of these in shoe boxes, file folders, and manila envelopes, those then layered in plastic tubs that now live in our apartment storage. They don’t take up a lot of space, and as old as they are, when I have occasion to look through them, I never feel that I can (Read more…)

wmtc: a gray rug, a black kong, a happy white dog

We need to get rugs or carpet runners for Tala; she’s slipping on the wood floors when she and Diego play. But with one heavy shedder and one heavy drooler, we’re not too keen on buying nice rugs. While looking for something else at Ikea, we found a rug they were promoting: $17! They’re not bad looking, either.

I put the rug down, Tala immediately ran down the hall, retrieved her squishy bone toy from my office, ran back, and settled in for a chew. She saw that rug and she knew exactly what she wanted.

For $17 each, we (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Home Decoration, Arbourist and Intransigentia style

Back in 2012, Arb and I got married, bought a house, and adopted a dog, all within the space of three months. When we took possession of the house, there really wasn’t time to paint. Which was a shame, because the previous owners had done the place in a very tasteful, marketable, beigey earth-tone scheme. It was so not us. Last week, we made our beach-head against beige, and redid the bedroom! Before, it was a sickly grey-green colour:

Originally, I wanted to change it to a soft, greyish lavender.

Arb vetoed that: “We’re not going to all that work, (Read more…)

wmtc: the great weed of 2015?

You will not be surprised to learn that Allan and I own a lot of books. And CDs. And even LPs! Many, many hundreds of each. We have culled our collection a bit over the years, out of necessity, but living in houses for the past 10 years, we expanded again without much thought. Now here we are in an apartment. It’s a large apartment, to be sure, but we no longer have extra rooms where we can stash as much stuff as we like. And neither of us wants to fill up every inch of wall and floor space (Read more…)

Terahertz: The Big Bang Theory is ruining science

When The Big Bang Theory first premiered, I watched it with a lot of hope.

It had science script checkers and sought to bring the nerdy culture of physics into the mainstream. My wife (then girlfriend) and I started watching it while we were both undergrads – me in engineering physics and she in physics. While it’s predominantly male cast and token ditzy blonde was problematic from the start, it was relatable for us and our friends. Even if none of us were a Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, or Howard, we saw bits of each of those characters in each of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The Intransigent CPAP Evangelist

Do you snore? Get tested for sleep apnea.

I (used to) snore. Loudly. One time, when I fell asleep before Arb, he took his phone and recorded me snoring, then played it back in my ear until it woke me up. It was ghastly.

I also used to be incredibly tired all the time, and just about never woke up feeling like I’d gotten enough sleep. Most days I felt like I needed a nap, but then the nap wasn’t awfully helpful either. I assumed it was either the remaining depression symptom that my meds just couldn’t help, or else (Read more…)

wmtc: sunrise from the 19th floor

19th floor, central Mississauga, facing east. For locals, this is from the corner of Hurontario and Burnhamthorpe.

You can see a bit of Lake Ontario on the right.

Toronto is not that close. I’m zooming in. Here’s the actual foreground.

wmtc: in which we (re)adjust to apartment life

On August 30, 2015, we marked 10 years of life in Canada.

On August 31, we moved from our rented house to a high-rise rental apartment, likely our last move for a very long time.

The move itself was an absolute nightmare, a Murphy’s Law Spectacular. I don’t even want to bore you with the details. It just sucked.

My mom is here for her annual visit, which does not suck, and in fact is very wonderful.


The dogs are doing well, a bit better day by day. The move was extremely stressful on Tala, involving four trips in (Read more…)

wmtc: in which i help a skunk and it kind of says thank you

My apologies to wmtc readers who saw this on Facebook, but this story must be recorded on this blog!

Yesterday morning the dogs were barking at the back door, really going nuts, and not settling down. Checking to see what was going on, I got quite a surprise. A skunk with a container stuck on its head was running in circles, frantically trying to get the thing off. What to do?? I wanted to help it, but I’m not keen on getting skunked! Our dogs have been sprayed many times over the years; our suburban landscape is full of skunks.

(Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: On Blame – Another RSA Short by Dr. Brené Brown

This sorta stuff is what makes or breaks relationships. Have you ever caught yourself doing the actions they just mentioned in a video like this? I just did.

Let me tell you a story, but first watch the video .


Pretty high on the useful emotional educational chart if you ask me. But back to my promised anecdote.

This happened not even a week ago – I do my blogging on the weekends, and schedule a week’s worth of posts in a batch – so really this happened today, but in the past when you, gentle readers, (Read more…)

wmtc: preparing for the inevitable and diego’s mid-term report card

As the days count down until we move from house to apartment, I’m having trouble shaking my sadness.

I’m very aware of the privileged position I’m in. We were able to find a really nice apartment, and although moving is expensive, we’ll be able to absorb it. Right now we have a ridiculous amount of space for two people, so it’s not like it will hurt us to downsize. But all that awareness takes place in my rational brain. In my heart, I am so sad, both for myself and for Tala.

We lived in apartment with dogs for almost (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: In Which Intransigentia tries playing Video Games

How I (mostly) feel about video games

I grew up playing with Barbies and reading books, and didn’t really use a computer for anything other than basic word processing until around the turn of the century. On top of that, I have really bad hand-eye coordination, and not great depth perception, so simulated 3D environments just break my brain. In other words, video games are not something at which I’m primed for success. I’ve never made it past the first hole you have to jump over in the original Mario game. Ever.

Arb really enjoys video games, and over our (Read more…)

wmtc: dogs, apartments, and anxiety: in which diego returns to school

As I mentioned (almost a month ago now), our pack of four is moving to a new den. We’re going to stop renting houses, as we have done for the past ten years, and move back to apartment life. Although I’ve adjusted to the idea, I’m no happier about it. I’m heartsick that we’ll no longer have the private oasis of a backyard.

We’ve found a great apartment: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, well-maintained building, lots of green space outside, dog-friendly building (it’s the law in Ontario, but not always followed or enforced), good location for both driving and transit. Honestly, (Read more…)

wmtc: thoughts on luxury, plus know your rights, rental edition, part three

We have to move.

We are heartsick over it.

Our landlord is selling the house we live in. We’re not letting ourselves get kicked out (see below), but chances are very good we’ll have to move, so we’re taking steps to find a place sooner rather than later.

With the shock of our landlord’s announcement faded – at least a bit! – we’ve been able to evaluate our options. And sadly, very sadly, we realize that we should stop renting houses and go back to apartment life.

Comfort is easy. Less comfort is not.

It’s incredibly easy to grow accustomed (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Bullying and the enforcement of normal

Via Shakesville, I stumbled across this powerful and insightful article about bullying among school kids. As somebody who grew up bookish, queerish, funny-looking, and with poor mastery of social skills and “appropriate” gender performance, this totally resonated with me.

The furthest I have come is to accept that I have both been bullied and a bully, both oppressed and oppressor, and that I have thoroughly soaked in a definition of “normal” that I am still trying to undo, day by day. Some of that “normalization” has been enforced by other marginalized people, too — even my own friends — which (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Gardening while female

The front flowerbed at Arb’s and my place is starting to take off – perennials that I’ve planted over the couple years we’ve owned the house, are established enough now, that they can dedicate some energy to blooming! Of course, weather that’s good for flowers is also good for weeds, and our weed crop is plentiful, so I was out pulling weeds yesterday evening.

Working in the front yard is not a peaceful and relaxing experience for me. I feel self-conscious about bending over with my back to the street and my butt in the air and often get into (Read more…)

wmtc: this year’s garden-ette

This year’s crop: two tomato plants, basil, beans, and strawberries. Beans and strawberries are both new for us.  I love that we’re still planting our little garden, with no thought to expansion, just trying a couple of new things each year. And since we should all be boycotting Driscoll’s, we are growing resistance berries. ¡Si, Se Puede! Plus, bonus Tala, with her favourite Orbee.

wmtc: welcome to the world, sophia

This beautiful little girl is the newest member of our family, the first of the next generation. Meet Sophia, brand new baby daughter of one of my nephews and nieces(-in-law).

My brother and sister-in-law are thrilled to be grandparents, and my mom the great-grandma is over the moon.

We hope to meet Sophia in person early next year, as part of a Big Trip we are planning. Stay tuned.

wmtc: what i learned at the cupe library conference

What did I learn at the CUPE Ontario Library Conference?

Technically, nothing. If learning means encountering something new, then no, this was not a learning experience.

But learning must also mean living with knowledge, absorbing it, seeing your theoretical knowledge translated into action. Understanding new configurations of that knowledge. Digesting it, assimilating it into our sense of ourselves.

In that sense, I’m learning this union stuff every day.

So here’s what I “learned”. (I learned that people are still overusing air quotes!)

All libraries everywhere have the same problems. Staffing levels are too low. Full-time jobs are disappearing. Positions (Read more…)