Monthly Archives: November 2015

Reflecting on NaBloPoMo

 

So today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I hope that actually stands for National Blog Posting Month, otherwise I’ve sure been doing it wrong. While I did manage to post something every single day this month, I’m not sure I would do it again. It was great to have the discipline of coming up with an idea and writing something every day, but I felt like I couldn’t give most of my posts the time and thought I would have preferred. Some of them felt more like a wordy Facebook status than a blog post.

Maybe next time I try this, I’ll commit to a post every second day rather than every day. I did really enjoy making the writing a daily practice, but it might have worked better for me to journal daily instead of forcing out a post.

Thanks to everyone who read and liked and commented on my posts. I feel like posting every day was a bit of an abuse of the patience of my readers, so I am extra-appreciative of this month’s audience participation!

Did any of you do NaBloPoMo or one of the other versions of it? If so, what was the experience like for you?

 

 

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Hutspot: The Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

When I moved to the Netherlands, I was introduced to two typically Dutch dishes heavy on the Mighty Potato: boerenkool and hutspot. I’ve since stopped eating meat, and have yet to find a satisfactory vegetarian version of boerenkool, but hutspot remains one of my absolute favourite winter comfort meals.

Basically, hutspot is half-and-half potatoes and carrots, with some onions thrown in. Peel, chop, and boil them all up together, then mash them up with generous amounts of butter and milk. Add ground pepper to taste (and salt if you do salt), then nom-nom-nom. Freeze the rest in portions for later in the week (my standard cooking MO).

I bet real Dutch people have very specific ways they make this, and they’d probably be horrified at my cavalier recipe above. I change it up sometimes, too—for example, I rarely have milk in the house anymore so I use soy milk instead. And sometimes I substitute yams (are those the orange ones or are those sweet potatoes? I mean the orange ones) for some or all of the regular taters. And today my bromate made up a batch and he threw in a bunch of garlic as well.

There is nothing like a bowl of hot, buttery mashed potatoes after being out in the snow. Add ketchup or sambal or more ground black pepper or just eat it plain and steaming hot. All hail the magical potato!

 

 

 

 

What the heck is the “Vagina Folder”???

Vagina I (16"x16" acrylic and collage)

Vagina I (16″x16″ acrylic and collage)

I was sorting through old pictures on my hard drive and I came across a folder called “Vagina Folder.” What the heck??? But when I looked in there, I saw pictures of three paintings I had been commissioned to do by a woman taking a course on women’s art. So here are three vaginas in multimedia (acrylic and collage). Continue reading

Good Self-Care Means Drugs and Dancing

I may have mentioned before that I have endometriosis. One effect of this condition is that my periods are brutally painful. At their peak, over-the-counter painkillers don’t even touch the pain, so I spend a few days a month on prescription opiates. Before and after those days, I snack on ibuprofen and acetaminophen like candy. My cycle is short (23-25 days), and my periods are usually preceded by a few days of cramps, as well as the random flares at other times of the month, so I spend close to half my life living with and managing this condition. Every period has its own internal cycle as well; some are worse at night, some worse during the day, some have 6- or 8-hour pain cycles.

The thing is, it’s kind of like rain in Holland. When I moved there from Winnipeg, I went from a very sunny place to a classic coastal climate: grey, rainy, and damp. Continue reading

Stop Telling Me to Be Thankful, Dammit!

Like many people, my relationship with my family is… complicated. Which means holidays can be… interesting.

The Americans are busy being thankful today. We Canadians did that last month (I think it’s because harvest comes earlier here in Canada. By next week, we’ll be approaching Absolute Zero). As we pass both Thanksgivings and I turn a side-eye toward Christmas, here are some posts I’ve been appreciating:

Thanksgiving. It’s not always happy by the Bloggess.

Captain Awkward’s Ugh… Holidays.

The awesome cartoon sonofabeach96 dug up.

GettingrealwithPTSD linked to a piece about Finding Something to be Grateful for on Thanksgiving for survivors of childhood abuse.

Some fabulous advice from rumpydog’s mom about What to Give a Child in Need. (Also, if you’re giving to shelters and food banks and the like? Tampons! Pads! Deodorant! Toothpaste and toothbrushes! New underwear and new or very gently used bras!)

And basically every single gorgeous post by textilessudouest.

I refuse to invent things to be thankful or grateful for out of some sense of holiday obligation or pressure to “think positive.” But these bloggers are some of the voices I greatly appreciate.

Now I’m off to plug in the car for the first time this year…

 

Better than Chocolate and Wine and Books Combined (wait, that would be messy)

It’s true. I am wildly in love with my pets.

Tonight I’ve been working on my sets for an upcoming gig. This is a kitchen job, since the gear all fits nicely on the kitchen table and the cables reach the speakers (and yes, I have a subwoofer in my kitchen—don’t judge me!). I try to practice earlier in the evenings, before my tenant gets home from their shift, so my pounding bass doesn’t disturb others.

The Brindle Dog was stretched out on her side beside me, fully relaxed, sound asleep. I had to be careful not to dance onto her (I work the music with my whole body, feet and hips for the beat, arms and head for other bits I’m tracking, like melody or special effects), but I kept stopping to look at her with a full heart. Continue reading

Marketing is Hard

Not only is marketing hard, but it feels pushy and rude. This is a big reason I no longer work for myself full-time. When I lived in the Netherlands, I had a little editing / proofreading / translating business, and before and after that (here in Canada), I’ve done a lot of freelance work as well. I work my ass off to get the first few clients, and after that they come to me by word of mouth, which is lucky because I really hate self-promotion.

I mean, I know it’s an essential part of business. But it feels really wrong and artificial to say “hey, hire me because I’m the best!” or “look at this beautiful stuff I made; give me money for it!” It’s not that I think I’m bad at my work, but rather that it makes me very uncomfortable to push myself onto others. Continue reading