Tuesday, 31 January 2012

GNG in 2012!

If you've been reading and loving the blog as much as you should be, then you know all about the Graphic Novel Group.  I've been a member of the LA Mood Graphic Novel Group since its inception in June 2009, which makes me pretty awesome.  We recently had our pitch session meeting to decide what we'll be reading for the upcoming year.  You should totally come out for a meeting - it's a great group of people with awesome discussion and sometimes I bring baked goods.  What more could you ask for?

We meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m. in the basement of LA Mood.  Hope to see you there!

February - Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure (or The Secret of the Unicorn/The Crab with the Golden Claws to tie in with the movie)

I read some Tintin when I was younger in French Immersion.  I've already read Red Rackham for the next meeting and found it awesomely outdated and mildly offensive.

March - Sandman Vol. 1

I haven't read any Neil Gaiman.  I KNOW!  I'm a terrible nerd.  Definitely looking forward to this one.

April - Locke & Key Vol. 1

I've been eyeing Locke & Key for sometime now, so I'm super excited that we're finally getting a chance to read it.  I've heard so many good things about this fantasy/horror story - especially from Stephen King, who isn't biased about it at all what with the author, Joe Hill, being his son and all.

May - Chew Vol. 1

We decided to do something light and easy for May since it's a busy month with Free Comic Book Day the week before.  This story about an FDA Agent who can get something's life history just by eating it fit the bill.

June - Batman Villains

Free choice!  I love it when we do "topic" months instead of a specific book.  It gives us all a chance to read what we want and still get some great discussion.  This way I can also read The Killing Joke  without getting in trouble because we imposed a "No Alan Moore" rule for 2012.  But seriously, who wouldn't want to read The Killing Joke?  It's amazing!  

July - Two Generals

July is our Can-Con month, where we try to read something Canadian for Canada Day.  I've heard really great things about this book, so it should be a good month!  I love the art already.

August - R. Crumb month - your choice!

This should be an interesting month.  I've never read any Crumb, and I'm not a huge fan of his art.  We're also going to be doing some sort of screening of the documentary though, so hopefully I can get a bit of background and appreciation for him.

September - Asterios Polyp

I had never heard of this book before, but I already love the minimalist art.  The plot sounds a bit confusing, but I'm intrigued by how it seems to weave in Greek mythology.

October - Hellboy

Another open character month.  Anyone have any recommendations of what I should check out?

November - High Society

This should be an interesting month.  A controversial creator should provide us with lots of discussion!

We take December off since people are so busy anyway.

So there you go - sounds like a great year for reading.  Will you be joining us?  Even if you can't in person, you should read along and check out our Facebook page here.  I post notes from the meetings, but they might not make sense if you're not along for the ride! 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Apparently I am not a plumber.

I like to think I'm pretty handy.  I don't always know what I'm doing, but I'll look it up online, or just kind of figure my way through it.  So when the new dishwasher was due to be delivered and someone had to disconnect the old dishwasher, I figured I was up to the task.

Everyone I talked to about it said the same thing - Make sure the water is turned off, and you'll be fine.

I should have listened more closely.

Apparently when people say "make sure the water is turned off" they mean really, really turned off.  Like turn the valve as hard as you can, then try to turn it another quarter turn more.  And if your hands are so dry and cracked that you were literally wearing five bandaids on your hands a few days before and you can't make a fist, then maybe you should use something else to turn that valve so you can turn it hard enough to shut off the water.

So here's what happened.  I went to disconnect the dishwasher.  I found that the hoses from the dishwasher were attached to the pipes with clamps.  Took the clamps off, no problem.  Then I come to find that the hoses are glued to the pipes.  Hmmm.  Not a problem, I'll grab a utility knife and hack through it.

Cut through the drain hose, no problem.

Cut through the water access hose and a little water starts to come out.  I figure, no problem.  That seems right, there's probably a little water left in the hose, that's why I have a towel here.  I cut a little deeper and all of a sudden...


Holy crap.

So I bolt downstairs to the basement and start turning any valve I can find.  Run back upstairs, water is pouring all over the kitchen.  Try to force the valve under the sink to turn a bit more and finally get the water to shut off most of the way.

So now picture me standing in the kitchen, home alone, in my underwear (my pants were soaked, so I just threw them off in a mad fit) with an inch of water all over the kitchen floor.

Of course I take some pictures for the blog, because what else am I going to do in this situation?  You can't really tell how much water there is anywhere though, you know, since water is clear and all.

Here's where I desperately tried to attack the pipe with duct tape.  It didn't really work.

And the ceiling and foggy window.  Did I mention it was hot water that was shooting out?  Fun for me.

So there I am, standing in a kitchen full of water and no idea what to do next.  It was late, too late to call anyone for help.  And really, what would they do?  I don't have a shop vac, so I just started throwing down every towel I owned trying to sop it up and then try to mop up the rest.

Incidentally, I've decided that a shop vac totally pays for itself the first time you have one when you really, really need one.  I might need to invest in one.

I managed to get it cleaned up enough, but you know how floods are.  The damage is done.  Here's the trim in the kitchen...

And yes, I didn't bother to paint the whole wall behind the dishwasher.  I'm lazy like that.  Also, do you see how crazy that wall is?  It's like someone spackled it with a butter knife or something.  Also, the trim work in this house is kind of nuts - I keep finding terrible joints like this, all conveniently hidden behind things.

So yeah.  I might not be a plumber.  We'll see how I make out installing the new dishwasher.  Hopefully it's a little less eventful!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Vivian Vendredi - All the Little Things

Often when I look at Vivian, I have a hard time seeing myself.  I don't find that she looks like me, and I don't know that she ever will.  And isn't that the whole point of having a kid?  To have a mini-you wandering around?

Vivian's always been very much her own person, but I'm finding more and more that she has my personality.  Of course, she doesn't have my personality as a baby, she has my personality now.  She's like a 29 year old trapped in a 20 pound body.

She's stubborn.  She's independent.  She's sassy.  She has a temper.  She loves completely.

And when she's tired, I'll notice her making little circles with her feet.  Just twirling her foot around absent-mindedly while she sucks on her bottle, and that's when it hits me.

I do that when I'm tired.  My mom does that when she's tired.

Maybe there's more of me in this little girl than I think.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Outfit of the Day - Wannabe Hipster

Sometimes I want to be a hipster.  But then I remember that I like dance music and reality TV too much to be able to pull it off.  So instead I wear something like this and tell myself that it's close enough.

 I'm a big fan of this outfit.  The dress is just long enough that I can wear it with sandals in the summer without it looking obscene, but I think it looks pretty good with tights and boots too.

Dress - Old Navy
Tights - Zellers
Boots - Aldo

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Collect all...3?

I don't think it's any secret that I am someone who enjoys free things.  I also enjoy cereal.  So imagine my delight when I found boxes of cereal with a code to send away for a free retro T-shirt.  I was determined to collect all four.

Things started out well with Shreddies...


...and Alpha Bits...

I only needed the Sugar Crisp to complete my obsession.  Of course, my plans were thwarted.  I couldn't find the box with a code.  I figured the promotion was over and accepted that my collection would never be complete.

Then - a miracle!  While wandering the Superstore in that special haze that only comes when you escape the house without a baby in tow, I found a box of Sugar Crisp with the promo code.  Being the well brought up girl I am, I ate the cereal before tearing the box apart to get the code.

You guys - they were out of Sugar Crisp shirts.  Total devastation.

Fun fact - the CCM T-shirt I'm wearing also came from a cereal box.  I might have a problem.

So now I have an incomplete collection of cereal shirts that no one else cares about but me.  And it drives me crazy.

My only hope now is to find a Sugar Crisp shirt at Value Village or something one day.  I saw a kid at the arena wearing the Shreddies one...unfortunately it's not the first time I've encountered a child wearing a shirt I also own.

(P.S. - I'm not some insane egomaniac who is all of a sudden obsessed with putting her own pictures up everywhere or anything.  I've just been reading articles on xoJane constantly lately and they have a policy where every post has to include a picture of the author, to help the reader connect to them.  I think it's a pretty good idea, and I've just realized that taking pictures with the webcam is a lot easier than using the camera and then uploading them.  So be prepared to see a lot of random webcam pictures of me.  Lucky, lucky blog readers.)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sickening Slippers

I think it's pretty fair to say that we all have at least one article of clothing that is completely disgusting, but we hold onto it anyway because we love it so much.

Say hello to my slippers.

They can say hello back to you.

And my other toe can say hi too.

If I've ever been over to your house, odds are pretty good that you've seen my slippers.  I tend to drag them around everywhere with me.

Mom got them for me for Christmas years ago.  Like maybe 7 years ago?  I'm not sure.  I know I had them for at least one year of university though.  My sister got a pair too, and we've both just worn the shit out of them.  Courtney wears hers as outside shoes in the winter.

They're Emu and they've definitely held up pretty well considering the use they've had.  Mine are so gross - there's paint on them, and stains from where I've dropped food on them.  For reals.

I love them though - they're the perfect slipper!  There's no lip on the back to bug your foot, there's a nice hard sole so you can wear them outside if you need to, they're warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Awesome.

Will I ever get another pair of slippers?  I guess one day these bad boys will actually die and I'll have to say goodbye.  There will come a day when I can no longer hot glue them back together (true story) and that will be a very sad day.  I might have to keep them around in my archives or something.

What's your most disgusting article of clothing that you just can't give up?

Monday, 23 January 2012


I don't know if you know this or not, but I'm pretty much famous.

I know, I know.  It might come as a surprise.

But can you see this?

If you can't quite make it out, that's a screencap of my comment on Young House Love, one of my absolute favourite blogs.  Sherry had a post last week about these antlers that she bought and spray painted and was naming Malcolm, so of course I had to post to tell her about Darrell.

And she commented back!

Can you read it?  She says "I. Love. Darrell."  Do you know what that means?  That means that Sherry from Young House Love actually read my blog.  My blog!  And that she loves Darrell.  My crazy random Darrell.

We're basically best friends now.  Internet best friends at least.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Vivian Vendredi - No Go

So I've been trying to get Vivian off of bottles.  I'm sick to death of washing stupid bottles, and all she does is fling them around.  There are white spots everywhere on my floors (yes, this could be solved by mopping.  No, I'm not going to do it.) and she just makes a mess with them.  Do you realize how disgusting it is to have someone throwing milk around your house all the time?  Awful.

Of course, she's being all Vivian about it and is flat out refusing to drink milk from a cup.  Milk from a bottle is fine.  Water in a cup is fine.  Milk in a cup is an affront to nature apparently.

I realized later that she might be cutting her molars, and maybe that's why she's in such a terrible mood.  So for now we're back to bottles, but I really, really hope it will end soon.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Outfit of the day - Boots and shorts?

Okay, okay, okay.  I promised myself I would only do one outfit post a week, but I just couldn't wait to post this one!  I've been wanting to try the whole winter shorts look out, but was a little worried that the whole deal kind of just screamed, "THIGHS!  LOOK AT MY THIGHS!"  And seeing as how my legs are my least favourite feature, that's generally not what I go for with a look.  However, I was intrigued by these adorable shorts, made all the cuter by tights and boots.  So, when I happened upon Smart Set having a major clearance sale, I scored two pairs of winter shorts of $2.49 each.  I ended up getting 6 items for $30.  Oh yes, I'm awesome.

So here's my outfit for today - I couldn't decide whether to wear it with my casual, brown motorcycley boots from Aldo a couple of years ago...

You can't really tell from the pictures, but the shorts are brown with a black plaid.

...or my trusty black heeled boots from Payless even more years ago...

In the end I went with the heeled boots since I was in court today and thought it was a bit fancier.

What do you think?  I have to say, I actually am loving the look.  The tights cure all my leg problems - I might have to start wearing them year round.  Nothing weird about that, right?

What about you?  Have you tried the shorts in the winter look?  Do you love its menswear meets sexy meets casual meets comfortable appeal as much as I do?  Or am I completely wrong and I'm not pulling this off at all and should never attempt it again?

Cardigan from Walmart
T-shirt from Smart Set
Shorts from Smart Set
Tights from somewhere...
Boots from Aldo/Payless

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

My Binders - Old School Pinterest

Long before Pinterest came along, I had my binders.

I loved magazines, and would read and re-read them, carefully pulling out all the ads, articles and pictures that spoke to me.  Anything that struck me as interesting or funny or too good to throw away got carefully filed into binders.  I have one full of travel ideas, one full of decorating ideas, a few filled with recipes and entertainment ideas and my favourite binder - the miscellaneous one.

Blurry binders in my crates

Yes, I have and use a label maker.  I'm okay with this.
 I checked out the old Miscellaneous binder the other day and was surprised at what I found.

Inside were page dividers from high school covered in music lyrics, art cards that I've had forever...

...the University newspaper from my last day at Western, sections of newspapers from important events...

 ...Vanity Fair covers that I always imagined framing and hanging up in a bathroom...

...essays from university that I would probably be too embarrassed to read now...

...favourite columns and articles from magazines that aren't even made anymore...

...articles written by authors I didn't realize were someone famous...

...just things that meant something to me.

What I found, was me.

It's a binder, but also a time capsule.  It's the high school me, the university me, all brought together in one bulging binder.

This binder has pictures I had hanging in my locker in high school.  Articles I used to write essays in university.  I can sift through this binder and remember those late nights studying, driving to two different towns with my friend to find that Vanity Fair with David Beckham on the cover, the love I had for our ridiculous student newspaper at Western.

This binder represents the bests parts of me at that time.  It's me without the insecurities, without the stresses of school.  It's all the parts of me that I liked, but was sometimes afraid to show.  All the bands that I liked that maybe weren't so popular.  The art that maybe would have been considered weird.  The  articles that were from Psychology Today and Jane instead of Cosmopolitan or Seventeen.

It's me, in all my hoarding, obsessive compulsive glory.  Maybe I should bust out my label maker and change this binder from "Miscellaneous" to "Ashlie - 1996-2005"

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Outfit of the Day!

I love reading other blogs that have an Outfit of the Day.  I love seeing how people put outfits together and reuse pieces in interesting ways.  My clothes aren't incredibly exciting, but maybe by making an effort to blog about it, I will stop wearing the same four things over and over again.  Or this will be a really boring series that will just be me wearing boring T-shirts and stuff.

We'll see.

Anyway, this was my outfit today.

When I get dressed for work, I'm all about pieces that are comfortable and easy, but come off looking like I care about how I look.  It's a careful balance.

I like this skirt - you can't really tell, but it's corduroy and has buttons on the front.  I love the little pleats in it, it makes me feel like I'm wearing a kilt or something.

The boots are from Payless from about 6 years ago.
The skirt is from Smart Set, I got it on clearance for like $11
The top is George, but I got it secondhand for $1.  Because I'm awesome.

 And I may or may not be wearing an old maternity camisole because it's just too darn comfortable to give up.

And yes, I'm in Vivian's room.  It's easier to take pictures in there!

Did you wear anything fancy for work today?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Two Kinds of People - Sleeping with the TV on

The way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who like to sleep with the TV on and those who don't.

I am definitely the kind who likes to sleep with the TV on.

There's nothing better than curling up in bed, turning the sound down on the TV so you can just barely hear it and drifting off to the glow of the TV while you listen to it.  I like to fall asleep to things that I don't need to see - The Food Network works well, reruns of Seinfeld or Friends, or late night talk shows are also favourites.  I think the combination of the sound and the light of the TV is what does it in for me.   Set that sleep timer so it automatically turns off in a couple of hours and I'm set for the night.  Love it!

I come by it honestly too - my mom and my brothers and sister are all TV sleepers.  When we all lived at home we had seven TVs in the house for five people because we all needed a TV in our room to fall asleep.

There are others though, who don't agree.  Some people can't stand to fall asleep with the TV on.  These people are called crazy nut jobs.

Which camp do you fall in?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Is there something wrong with my sweater?

Or is there something wrong with my elbows?

Because try as I might, I can't get my elbow patches to stay where they're supposed to be.

Stupid nerdy fashion.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Vivian Vendredi - Bathtub Tricks

Vivian's been a little under the weather this week - again.  Man, babies suck in the winter.  Either you're chasing them around trying to convince them to put on hats and mitts or they're throwing up all over the place.  Good times.

Anyway, this week I finally managed to catch a couple of Vivian's tricks on camera.  She's been talking a lot more - she's added "Hi" "Bath" and "Down" to her little vocabulary, and now you can see her shaking her head no (a favourite trick of hers.  Luckily she's just learned to nod as well.) and blowing kisses.  Hold onto your hats, it's about to get adorable in here.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Pants are Dumb

Can we all agree that pants are stupid?  They're impossible to shop for, they cost too much, and they never perform the way you want them to.  They're always either too loose or too small or too short or too long...bah, pants suck.  Their only saving grace is that you only need to wash them every 5-6 washes.

So for the most part when I'm working, I'm a skirt or dress kind of girl.  I've found that dresses are awesome for work.  The best part about them is that you put on a dress and everyone says things like "Oh wow!  You're wearing a dress, you're all fancy!"  What they don't realize is a dress is the laziest thing possible to wear.  You throw it on and you're good.  You don't have to match it with a top or anything.  They're awesome, but not what this post is about.

Anyway, pants suck.  And jeans suck even more than pants do.  I've basically been surviving with one pair of jeans for the last year or so, but now it appears I may have some options on my hands thanks to finally being able to somewhat-comfortably wear some B.V. jeans.  That's Before Vivian jeans.  We're talking about a couple of pairs that I haven't worn in like 2 years, people.  This is big time.

So let's take a look.  This is my current pair of jeans.  I bought them like not even a month ago and now they're driving me crazy.  Nothing fancy, just Old Navy jeans.  Sure, they look okay here, but these are the kind of demon jeans that magically grow 2 sizes as soon as you wear them for 10 minutes.  Next thing I know, these are falling off of my non-existant butt and are only being held up by my giant former-hockey-player thighs.  Pants that always need to be washed?  Not my favourites.

I also note that there seems to be a grease stain of some sort on the leg.  I'm awesome.

But here's the really big news - these are my favourite jeans.  And yes, they might still be tight, but I think I can almost get away with wearing them out in public.  Especially if paired with some sort of distracting flowy top.

Note the ass-pocket detail.  This is a trick to make it appear that I have some sort of butt.  It probably doesn't work as well as I think though.

This was the real surprise - these are my skinny jeans.  The ones I don't dare wear unless I'm feeling really good.  Definitely not going to be wearing these bad boys out any time soon, but the fact that I can button them up and continue to breathe is a pretty good sign.

Once again, ass-pocked details are my friend.

Yes, this post was basically an excuse for me to show off that I can wear some normal person clothes again.  Yay for me!

Here's a little out-take from when I tried to do this the other day.  I was trying to show off the ass-pocket detail and Vivian decided to check out the dirty mirror.  This pretty much sums up my parenting style - taking pictures of my ass for the blog while Vivian bumbles around.  Yep.

Where do you like to get your jeans?  How many wears do you go before washing?  I may never wash my favourite jeans again - I'm terrified they will never fit!