Thursday, June 03, 2010

Paused for thinking

My first instinct would be to apologize for neglecting this blog as much as I have been these past few months, but I won't, because I haven't been posting for a reason. I needed a break from it, both for blog and non-blog related reasons. On the personal front, it's been a chaotic few months. I'm now settled in my new apartment with my lovely roommate, and I'm nearly done preparing for my first exam and already thinking about the next one--an immense amount of work nearly accomplished. My editing project has met with some serious crises, and we're still just figuring out how to solve those problems. My partner's mother passed away quite suddenly almost three weeks ago, and I'm now preparing for a 10-day learning trip to Victoria and Vancouver. All of those things aside, though, if I had really wanted to work on the blog, I could have found the time.

I didn't try to. And that's kind of the point here. I stopped feeling the incentive to make the time to write here, and I'm starting to figure out why. I think the blog needs a new focus, something that I'm hugely passionate about so that I continue to feel the desire and the excitement to share things with you. And the thing that I want to do the most, outside of spend time with the people in my life and do my job, is cook. I know that there's been a fair amount of food-related posting on here from the beginning, but it's time for a total change. Melissa's Miscellany is going to become a food blog. And not only that, but a natural-foods driven food blog. I'm not trying to become 101 Cookbooks, but cooking with whole foods, natural ingredients, and avoiding things like sugar and white flour have become extremely important to me. It's not even just because they're good for you--they present challenges in cooking and baking that I get such satisfaction out of rising to.

So that's my news for now. I'm doing a course on digital editing at UVic for the next week, and then I'm taking three days to check out Vancouver, and while I'm on the west coast, I'm going to do more thinking about how to make this change, and what this blog will look and function like going forward. I've already got some amazing recipes to share with you, like my chocolate-coconut-cherry layer cake, my whole-wheat linguine with shrimp, lemon, and greens, and some incredible orange-almond cookies (made without flour, sugar, or eggs). Upcoming recipes will include a pear-frangipane tart, vegan banana bread, gourmet popsicles (pineapple basil? lemon mint?), blood orange-almond cake, and more. Thanks for being patient with me--I promise that you'll be rewarded in the end with a great blog and a happy blogger. And if you're one of the people who knows me outside of the blogosphere (especially my partner and my roommate, my favourite taste-testers), I promise you this--you'll get fed .


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Girlcrushing: Marion Cotillard on Funny or Die

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quick Clip: Dar Robinson does the CN Tower (with Chuck Norris?)

Cute, if reductive...

Loves it...

Friday, February 19, 2010

While I should be studying...

Alas, dear readers, you're going to have to put up with lame-bloggerness until at least the beginning of May. The deal is this: I'm writing my first comprehensive exam. What does this mean, you ask? I'm sure I've explained this before, but a recap is always good. It means that I need to read and remember a list of 100-odd texts (poems, novels, essays, plays, books of theory and criticism), and then spend three days regurgitating what I've read in creative and insightful ways. It is, in a word, rough. And it is, in a word, soon. May 5-6 and the week following, to be exact, but when I'm also teaching, editing a book, applying for funding to edit a digital archive, attempting to start an academic journal, moving (more on that in a moment) and attempting to have a life, time is tight. Hence, blog suckage. So, instead of real posts, you will get lists, videos, songs, maybe recipes, and then some seriously kick-ass, thoughtful-as-hell posting come the end of May. 'Cause oh, I forgot to mention, I'm spending two week at Trent after my exam doing editing classes. Sigh. I'm bloody well nuts.

  • My friend Nav on new ways mobile technology lets us engage with where we live. Could also be titled "Why Melissa wishes she had a smartphone, although she can't afford one."
  • An exciting addition to my repertoire of cookery websites: the French version of AllRecipes, Duck confit shepherd's pie, anyone?
  • My crazy-cool new apartment building, circa 1965. Did I mention that I'm moving back to Toronto? Like, tomorrow? I'm maybe a bit too excited, but I really do miss the city to bits, and living in the 'burbs is silly when I spend six out of seven days downtown anyway.I'm now walking distance to the library I spend most of my time at, as well as both my salsa and yoga classes. And how fun is it that I can see Casa Loma from my shower?
  • Go see An Education. Even though I'm not British, an ingenue, or dating a 35-year-old man (wait, scratch that. I am, but I'm not 17), it really felt like it was about parts of my life, especially the age-old question all academics face: What's more important? More school education, or more life education?
  • I spend inordinate amounts of time at the John W. Graham library. Where else can you spend ten hours a day curled up in an armchair in front of a fireplace, and not feel like an "I'm still at home in my jammies at 2 pm" slacker?
  • AG, otherwise known as my boyfriend (Yes, dear readers, I have invited a male of the species back into my life. Wish me luck.), is a big tea drinker, and he's introduced me to a new favourite which goes by the wonderfully loopy name of Beautiful Foolishness. Coconut, berries, white tea and citrus, made by Tea in the Sahara, a local company. Oh so good. AG picked it up somewhere in Roncesvalles, but I'm hoping to find a new stash closer to home.
  • You will wear these shoes and refer to yourself as Mary. Just watch this.
  • I bought real dishes yesterday. Honest-to-goodness china department at The Bay dishes. They're Sophie Conran (daughter of Sir Terence) for Portmerioion, and they're gorgeous. Dear, but gorgeous. I got the white, because you can't convince me that anything other than white is good for everyday (it's all about how the food looks on the plate), but I think I might have to get a few random pieces of the blue-green for fun. It is my favourite colour, after all.
  • Salsa class is a hoot. Maybe it's because most of the class is made up of women and gay men (it's an LGBTQ class run out of the local university), I don't feel like an idiot looking like an idiot, or having sweaty hands, or stepping on people's toes, and so it's just fun. And I'm actually starting to get the hang of it, which is a big deal for klutzy old me. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Four Horsemen

I'm currently working on a lecture on bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje and Gwendolyn MacEwen, so I thought I'd share a video of Nichol performing with his sound poetry group "The Four Horsemen." Toronto was so cool in the 70s. Not that it's not cool now, but I generally do work on the Toronto poetry scene in the 1950s, when it was sincerely uncool. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

TTC Trip Planner

The TTC is due to launch its trip planner website later on this week, and Spacing seems to have found the pre-launch version online here. I gave it a go with the route I'll take from my new apartment (if I get the one I want, fingers crossed; won't find out until Feb. 1 at the earliest) to school, and it performed perfectly. I've been using the Crazed Monkey TTC map for a long time now, but the TTC trip planner has the benefit of telling you how long a trip will take, along with what routes you'll need. City of Mississauga transit, which I used regularly as a teenager, has something similar called Click'nRide, and I'm excited to see that Toronto is finally doing the same. Now if only the major GTA transit systems could come up with an integrated system for those of us who occasionally, or regularly, travel across city boundaries, we'd really be getting somewhere!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Proper post to come, I swear

I don't know what happened, but the blog just kinda' fell off the map this month. There's been a lot going on which I'll give you all a quick update on in lieu of a proper post, which is coming (on Margaret Atwood, the new decade, The Globe and Mail, and Canadian nationalism. Stay tuned.)

  • My editing project is ramping up big time. I'll deliver 5 polished chapters on Monday, and I'm hard at work at securing copyright permissions and finding people to write essays. If you're an Ernest Buckler scholar, please post a comment with your contact information because I'm looking people to author articles on The Mountain and the Valley for a new critical edition. 
  • I'm currently playing mom to a 140 lb St. Bernard named Kubota (after the tractor company). He's a handful. He hasn't destroyed the house, but he's very high energy for a St. Bernard, and he's HUGE! He also sheds like nobody's business, so I'm currently covered in both his hair and my own. Fun times. It is nice to pretend to have a pet for awhile, although I don't think I'll be wanting one of my own anytime soon. 
  • Looks like the SSHRC is a no-go, which I'm actually kinda' pissed off about, as my proposal was really very good this year. However, I did just find out that the modernism consortium that I'm affiliated with is offering a $20,000 PhD fellowship. I'm all over that one! They've also got a postdoc program; I'm keeping that in mind for when I finish. I'm so lucky to have been supervised by who I was in my Masters; besides being brilliant and a lovely person, he opens so many doors. I also need to look at the Northrop Frye Centre fellowship; money, and dedicated office space at UofT? Sounds good to me!
  • After all sorts of wild and crazy dating stories that will not be shared online, things have settled down considerably, and I've been seeing someone who I really like for awhile now. And like the person I went on a few dates with who grew up on my childhood street, we're connected in ways that we didn't initially realize, but never ran into each other. Toronto really is a small place.
  • The moving back to the city plan is progressing nicely; my good friend Sonia is in need of a new roommate, and that's going to be me. We're off to see four apartments today, and hopefully one of them will be a winner. I'm voting for the one that's upstairs from our friend Katie, although she's going to kill me when I start pestering her to study for her comp (we're writing the same exam at the same time) and can do it from three feet away. 
  • My formerly-ensconced-in-Berlin friend Mariecel is home for good (or at least for the foreseeable future), which is fantastic. It kinda' feels like she never left! Now if we can get get her husband Jan here (he's in the process of immigrating from Germany) and get her jerky ex to drop off the face of the planet, all would be well!
  • The (ex)hubby and I had a nice catch up last week; I'm very proud of us for how well we've handled this whole thing. The divorce will be final sometime this summer, and it'll be nice to have it all finalized. People continually ask me if my experience has made me rethink the whole concept of marriage, and I have to say, it really hasn't. In my case, the issue wasn't marriage, but the specific person I was married to. I think I'd like the chance to try again and maybe get it right when I'm a bit older and wiser.
Alright--off to play "let's imagine what it would be like to live here" for a few hours. Hope we find a good fit!