20 Apr 2019, 10:45

The Great Outdoors - Point Pelee National Park

The moment the weather turns a bit north of zero I start dreaming about being outside. Outside in the park, outside in the backyard, outside in the forest, outside somewhere else.

I used to have a tent in my backyard growing up. We’d never go camping, but we would drive out to a park, and make food on a fire. Like me, my mom liked (and still likes) making a fire - and we get really into it. It’s a deep point of pride when it works out the way we wanted it to.

I also spent regular summers in the woods at summer camp with a mix of cabin sleeping and tent sleeping, and I’m hoping to help fill our small human’s life with those experiences as well. I enjoyed them while I was there, and I look back on those times quite fondly.

This year, the first of our outdoor adventures was at Point Pelee National Park. We rented one of their Otentiks for most of the week and just enjoyed the birds and the sounds of not-so-distant lake erie lapping at the nearby beach.

When it comes to Otentiks, they all basically look the same. But some of them have extra bonus parts that are neat - the ones at Point Pelee have indoor heating (either gas or wood), all come with cooking utensils and equipment (like cutlery, pots and pans, plates, cups, and bowls, and more) which makes it possible to pack a bit lighter. It felt quite luxurious, even compared to our last Otentik visit along the Trent Severn Waterway (where there wasn’t heat or supplies.)

The Otentiks also have mattresses inside, so all you need to bring is a sleeping bag or your bedding of choice. The mattresses are mostly twin size with a double size on the top bunk, so they can fit standard sheet sizes if you want to go that route.

We had a wonderful time running through the forest and pathways around the camp site. I enjoyed walking up to hundreds of birds singing their special songs. Our son loved the wagons we used to move our camp gear to the car, and to wash dishes. There was something for all of us.

The Campsite was within walking distance of lake Erie so we got to see some incredible sunsets a few times during our visit.

12 Apr 2019, 10:45

Yoga - Do you want to be a teacher?

I’ve tried to do yoga a few times in my life. The practice has always appealed to me, but I didn’t make or have the time for consistency.

A girlfriend and I took a community center series for a month or two, and then never again.

I was more consistent with my practice during pregnancy because I found it made me feel very good, and it was a great way to make sure I moved my body in an intentional way while pregnant, especially as we approached the due date. Postpartum was hard because I was dealing with an untreated and unacknowledged pelvic issue, and getting to the class on time was difficult and while the teacher was lovely, the experience was ultimately overwhelming negative - body aches and general headspace were not ready yet.

I tried taking a body positive class a few months ago, but I didn’t feel like I meshed well with the instructor, and didn’t enjoy the flow of classes and stopped going at the first opportunity.

More recently, I’ve been attending a weekly body positive yoga class with some familiar people with a very nice instructor that I feel in tune with for the most part.

I leave class feeling grateful for attending, and happy to have taken the time. The environment is generally positive and friendly, the studio is close to me, and I enjoy the walk home afterwards (and usually stop in at my favourite bookstore on the way. It’s just all around great.)

I’ve recently signed up for The Underbelly, and the first class I took was accessible and inviting. And I’m looking forward to making it a regular thing… perhaps even daily if that feels reasonable.

The BoPoYoga class has made me start to think about potentially most seriously considering taking yoga teacher training at some point.

That said, I’m conscious of being another white body, albeit a fat one, in the sea of white bodies in the yoga space - I don’t know quite how to reconcile that with my desire to do more. At the moment, I’ll have to keep reading and learning more. The knowledge and the debates are already out there.

20 Jan 2019, 10:45

We Built A Wardrobe

We built a wardrobe together this weekend. And when I say we, I mean the Tinyhuman and I. J was out doing J stuff (Hurrah!) And it was actually really lovely. I say actually because the usual idea of doing stuff like this with toddler/preschoolers/kids in general, at least in more mainstream conversations is one dripping with vague complaints of inconvenience and how hard it is to get anything done with small people around.

And that’s all true. It can be challenging, but we built more than a wardrobe with our work - we connected, we collaborated, we talked, and we played. And now he’s got a new place to climb into. (and I suppose a new place to put his clothes, but we’re not there yet.)

I’m usually the one that builds things. I’m reasonably handy. I have the inclination to it. I like making things. So this isn’t the first time, and wont be the last. but I was astounded by his memory yesterday. He noticed that some of the bracing screws were the same ones that were part of holding his desk together. And he kept holding it in his hand saying “Are these for the desk?” And I kept saying no, we are building a wardrobe, and he would repeat, but are these for the desk? And he was patient with me, but I got on the same page as him eventually.

The pride of it cannot be overstated. When he woke up this morning, the first thing he told his dad was that he built a wardrobe. There is so much to that. I feel good that that is part of his life.

18 Jan 2019, 11:00

Toronto Reading Challenge 2019

The Toronto Public Library is also doing a Reading Challenge this year. i’m still working on my list

** Toronto Reading Challenge 2019 **

  1. A book recommended to you by library staff
    • ✔ Educated by Tara Westover
  2. A graphic novel
    • ✔ Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
    • ✔ Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • ✔ Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  3. A book from a Canadian award-winning author
    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey
  4. A book set in Toronto
    • Fauna by Alissa York
    • ✔ Brother by David John Chariandy
    • ✔ Soucouyant by David John Chariandy
  5. A book by an author in a visible minority
    • ✔ An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
    • ✔ Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • ✔ Decent into the Night by Edem Awumey
    • ✔ This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
    • ✔ Naughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
    • ✔ Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
    • ✔ The Unkindness of Ghosts - by Rivers Solomon
    • ✔ Soucouyant by David John Chariandy
    • ✔ Brother by David John Chariandy
    • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  6. A book by an LGBTQ+ author
    • ✔ Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • A Two-Spirit Journey - Ma-Nee Chacaby
    • ✔ The Unkindness of Ghosts - Rivers Solomon
    • ✔ If I was your girl - Meredith Russo
    • I’ve Got a Time Bomb by Sybil lamb
    • Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
  7. A book about mental health
    • ✔ Heartberries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • ✔ The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain by James H. Fallon
    • ✔ Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller
  8. A non-prose book
    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  9. A book in translation
    • ✔ Descent into Darkness by Edem Awumey
  10. A book on a topic you know nothing about
    • ✔ What you are getting wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
    • ✔ Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy
    • ✔ We Regret to inform you we will be killed tomorrow with our families
  11. A book you’ve always meant to read
    • ✔ Darkness by Bharati Mukherjee
      • in university my Sanskrit professor recommended I read this book, and I have always meant to.
  12. A book that has been banned or challenged
    • ✔ Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    • The Kite Runner
  13. A book that has been adapted into a movie or show
    • ✔ Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    • ✔ Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
    • ✔ Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    • ✔ Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  14. A book by an author with the same initials as you
    • ✔ Feed by Mira Grant ADVANCED
  15. A book by an author with a disability
    • ✔ On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
    • ✔ The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
    • ✔ Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
  16. A book about being a newcomer, refugee or immigrant
    • ✔ Descent into Darkness by Edem Awumey
    • ✔ Soucouyant by David Chariandy
  17. A book you should have read in school, but didn’t
    • ✔ Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (So I wrote a book report on this book, and did not read the book. Now you all know. SorryNotSorry Mr. Hamilton.)
  18. A book you previously tried to read and gave up on
    • ✔ Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean (not for lack of interest or importance, but it was just so depressing I had to put it away for at least half a year.)
  19. A book set in a country you’d like to visit
    • ✔ We regret to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch (Rawanda)
    • ✔ Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    • ✔ Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Singapore)
    • An African in Greenland (Greenland)
  20. Two books with the same/very similar titles
    • ✔ Vox by Christina Dalcher (done) and Vox by Nicholson Baker
  21. A book from our First & Best lists
    • ✔ Counting in Mi’kmaw/Mawkiljemk Mi’kmawiktuk by Loretta Gould
    • ✔ Square by Mac Barnett
  22. A book by an eh List writer
    • ✔ The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
    • ✔ Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
    • ✔ Soucouyant by David Chariandy
    • ✔ Brother by David Chariandy
    • ✔ I’ve been meaning to tell you: a letter to my daughter by David Chariandy
    • Drop Dead by Lorna Poplak
    • The Toronto book of the Dead by Adam Bunch
    • Excessive force : Toronto’s fight to reform city policing by Mukherjee, Alok,
  23. A book from Read Indigenous
    • ✔ Kuei My Friend - Deni Ellis Béchard
    • ✔ Love beyond body, space, and time : an indigenous LGBT sci-fi anthology by Hope Nicholson
    • Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Tagaq
    • ✔ The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  24. A book from The List: Great Reads for Youth
    • ✔ The Poet X
    • ✔ A thousand beginnings and endings edited by Ellen Schreiber
    • ✔ Dry
  25. A book that’s related to the Periodic Table of Elements
    • ✔ The Elements of Cooking - Michael Ruhlman, Anthony Bourdain
    • The periodic table by Levi, Primo.

03 Jan 2019, 11:14

Reading Women 2019 list

I finished a book in a few hours yesterday, The Windfall. I had started reading Descent into Night, and it’s very interesting and compelling, but has dark themes and my brain needed a break from my usual intense reads.

I’ve decided that to maximize my reading I should always have three books on the go - a fun and light fiction book, a literary fiction, and a non-fiction. That way I won’t get stuck avoiding reading, when the subject matter gets too intense, and instead, and switch back when I’m ready for it.

I also read it with the Reading Women 2019 Challenge in mind.

** Reading Women 2019 **

  1. Mystery or thriller written by a woman of color

    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  2. A book about a woman with a mental illness

    • ✔ Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
  3. A book by an author from Nigeria or New Zealand

    • ✔ Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
    • Pounamu, Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Maori New Zealand)
    • The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand)
  4. A book about or set in Appalachia

    • ✔ What you’re getting wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
  5. A children’s book

    • ✔ I read so many wonderful children’s books everyday… the benefits of having a toddler. Anything by Monique Gray Smith ranks high for me.
  6. A multigenerational family saga

    • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    • ✔ Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  7. A book featuring a woman in science

    • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
    • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
    • ✔ Vox by Christina Dalcher
    • ✔ Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  8. A play

    • ✔ A very polite genocide or the girl who fell to earth by Melanie J. Murray
    • ✔ The Monument by Colleen Wagner
    • ✔ Angélique by Lorena Gale (also playing at the Factory Theatre this year
  9. A novella

    • Home by Toni Morrison
    • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  10. A book about a woman athlete

    • The Frailty Myth: Redefining the Physical Potential of Women and Girls’ by Colette Dowling
    • ✔ Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina’ by Misty Copeland
  11. A book featuring a religion other than your own

    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  12. A Lambda Literary Award winner

    • Hunger by Roxane Gay
    • Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
  13. A myth retelling

    • ✔ A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
  14. A translated book published before 1945

    • Himself: The Autobiography of a Hindu Lady” , Translated and Adapted by Katherine Van Akin Gates from a book written in the Marathi language by Mrs. Ramabai Ranade
  15. A book written by a South Asian author

    • ✔ The Windfall by Diksha Basu (originally from New Delhi, India)
  16. A book by an Indigenous woman

    • ✔ Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
    • Pounamu, Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Maori New Zealand)
  17. A book from the 2018 Reading Women Award shortlist

    • ✔ Educated by Tara Westover
    • A Place for Us: A Novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    • ✔ Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
  18. A romance or love story

    • ✔ An Extraordinary Union by Alissa Cole
  19. A book about nature

    • Rural Hours by Susan Fenimore Cooper
    • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
    • (doesn’t count for the challenge because it’s not by a woman, but I want to read this one anyway) The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
    • ✔ Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
    • Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
  20. A historical fiction book

    • Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, Tiina Nunnally (Translator)
  21. A book you bought or borrowed in 2019

    • Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall
      • A friend lent me this book in exchange for The Hate You Give (also excellent)
  22. A book you picked up because of the cover

    • I will do this, but eventually. It’s worth taking a trip over to my favourite bookstore and perusing the shelves.
  23. Any book from a series

    • ✔ Murder is Binding by Lorna Barret (book 1 of Booktown Mysteries)
    • ✔ A Study in Scarlet Women part of The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  24. A young adult book by a woman of color

    • ✔ On the Come Up - Angie Thomas
    • ✔ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

BONUS:

  1. A book by Jesmyn Ward

    • ✔ Men We Reaped
    • ✔ Sing, Unburied, Sing
  2. A book by Jhumpa Lahiri

    • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri