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The relaxation continues. I'm waiting for the first day of my new job (got over a month still to go) and the move-in day on my new trailer (or roommatey-apartment) (same waiting period) in Phoenix. It's so hot.

I climbed up Camelback in 39 minutes. I think that might be good? For someone who's jet-lagged enough to go to bed every night at 11 and only owns converse, I reckon it's probably at least ok. Sometimes I think I'd like to go on a health kick and become the kind of person who knows what coconut oil is/does/whatever, but I am so not interested in pretentious food prices. Lifestyle change averted again and again thanks to 10$ luxury-nutella-replacement. I have decided to commit to working out every day again, instead of just sprinting out into the street every once in while in my pajamas and calling it 'going for a run'. Youtube pilates is free.

There is a complimentary pool here in the apartment block where I'm staying, and walls so thin everyday is a concert - it's a veritable cultural feast! The neighbours listen to vapourwave or trip-hop all day, so now I do too.

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I've moved on from France, after some fun napping in a car park and crying over a croissant in an electronics dealer. The details aren't important.

I've been in London for a good couple of days, looking at all the free museums and spending quality time with the Underground.

My new addiction to showing up to public facebook events has been treating me very well here. I've landed at a BBQ, a great punk show where I discovered some really good bands and met some very good people, and a poetry workshop that was followed by a trip to the pub. I'm a big fan of London busy-ness, the convenience of the tube, and 1£ microwaveable vegetables.

I'm leaving London tomorrow morning, following another punk show tonight. A scout at the last one advised me to see all the shows I could before I leave, because American punk is rubbish (his words), but there aren't very many on Sundays or Mondays, and I think I'm lucky to have found one on a Tuesday.
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Yup! That cool thing that happens to everyone every once in while has happened to me, at this time, here in France.

My amiga did come pick me up and I'm sleeping on her couch so I didn't have to pay for a hostel.

I met her parents, and we had a very good time on their porch, looking out at a landscape peppered with stone outbuildings, talking more and more boisterously about the state of the industry!!!! and drinking some popular French schnapps that tasted like liquorice and looked like foggy Tropicana.
So far the French breakfast of a cup of coffee and three cigarettes doesn't suit me. I think I'll never be a smoker.
I've been reading Lolita on the beach. I also managed to find a 'free book' box on the street at a market at the docks, where I was also given a sample of the local caramel recipe and a jar of spicy chiles.
Every driver we pass who drives at a reasonable speed within the lines is condescendingly called 'an English'. The French drive like they're on the set of a Bond movie.
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I'm in a hotel.

Yesterday afternoon, I bid a tearful goodbye to the Germany family and painstakingly dragged my broken suitcase to France. The bus ride was only sometimes boring, impossible to sleep through, and ended in sorrow because my host didn't show up at the bus stop and then stopped answering my texts, leaving me stranded.

At about 21:30 - after like 6 hours of waiting - I caved and got a hotel room, because I feared for my things sleeping on a bench. If only I didn't have all my worldly possessions and loose changes on my person and no bank! but alas, I live another, poorer day.

Anyway, I'm glad this is at least happening in a country that speaks my language. I'm deciding what to do with myself in the morning: try to convince the airlines I've already booked with to shift me ahead so I can leave early, settle for the extent of my planned stay in the cheapest hostel I can find and eat uncooked spaghetti, or howl and drink cheap wine. I suspect I can find some sort of workable compromise.

What I like most about France is definitely the people. The land's quite flat and weirdly sandy.
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I've finished packing my bag, and tomorrow I leave my happy home in Germany for the mysteries of France.

It was offered to me to try to sneak my way into getting permission to attend school here and stay, but while I genuinely love waking up early every morning to work and never worrying about anything else, I decided against it for a couple reasons. For one - I don't speak fluent German (though I'm conversational now!), and for two - the process was full of dodgy uncertainties, and I'm just not sure I'm ready to commit to a permanent move here. While living Germany is dreamy, not seeing my mum for dinner every couple months is just sad.

I've developed a taste for 80s movies these days. Usually I'm not fussed about movies. I've also finished The Circle of Magic series, and had a read of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. Both excellent. And I've gone and maxxed out my phone storage downloading rock albums. I can't help myself.

I'm going to really miss it here.

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I have spent more hours listening to podcasts than I have spent sleeping, I reckon. I've also slugged through 20k Leagues Under the Sea, quite enjoyed A Moveable Feast, read a few Tamora Pierce novels and a good chunk of the Young Wizards series, ... I've been consuming media, is what I'm saying.

I had a temporary co-worker from France, and we went on a very quick tour of some nearby sights. This cathedral was behind a plywood door. We also found a lovely gelato place by the river, where Mama forced us to stand in line twice because we both ordered one-scoop on our first pass - completely unacceptable, in the opinion of a grandmother. Next, we took too many free samples from a chocolate shop, and then broke into the garden of a fancy house which we mistook for the courtyard of a historic castle being unfairly hidden from tourist-y eyes. To be fair, the wall had little holes for shooting arrows out of, so they were likely expecting the occasional visitor to come crawling over the top.

Here is the Italian market in downtown Munchen. I had a lot of fun getting lost in Munchen on this day.

the beens

Feb. 16th, 2017 06:18 pm
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It's been fabulously warm here, almost warm enough to force me unwillingly from my wool socks and overlarge jackets. But not quite. The sun has to work pretty hard to get me into summer fashion. 

We went to visit the beekeeper for more honey and an inside look at the life of bees, but the bees were still a bit tired, so we only saw a couple of them in person. The beekeeper's tiny house was a lot like my grandma's place - spyglass, bird book, binoculars on the table; tools and animal bits on the walls; wood stove baking bread in its bowels. They might even have had the same calendar. We watched an orange bird pick at the seed in the bird feeder while he chain smoked, and I'm invited back to learn how to keep bees in the spring. 

We also went up into the bell tower of a church, which was wonderful. I was reprimanded for trying to fit under a door the led to the absolute tippy top of the tower and not being content with the tourist area. Being reprimanded for trespassing/tomfoolery/wandering is my ultimate pet peeve and I deeply resent people who care about property law, particularly when it comes to strange dark places. Oh well. 

Carrie reminded me of all the kids whose parents held church at home at one of my high schools. One in particular used to stand a few strides away from where the rest of us ate lunch on the floor in front of a side door, butting in whenever our discussion got too sinful, which was always, and scowling a lot. Carrie's mum would never have let Carrie step foot in my highschool, let alone blow it up. 

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 The Iliad and  The Odyssey are both pretty fun. Achilles' devotion to his boyfriend is an inspiring tale of love and tragedy perfect for Valentine's Day. And people think Roméo and Juliette is romantic. 

I went to a market in a small town nearby which was very delightful, albeit arschkalt. I shouldn't have worn converse. I have perfectly good winter boots with fur linings but noooo! Poor circulation or some other such thing has blessed me with hands and feet so frail and easily frozen they may as well not be connected to my central body heat at all for all the good it does. 

So, yeah, the market had frischkäse mit nuß which is something I'd never seen before and it was fantastic. It's soft sweet cheese that I think is related to cream cheese. They also had a nice Gorgonzola, which doubles as a word I learnt recently and a thing I like now. I only ever ate cheese by accident before coming to Germany, but now I sometimes actually want to eat it on purpose, and these are the two kinds of cheeses I want to have on purposest. 

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I don't really like salt. I never add salt in recipes because I can taste it and it weirds me out. Salt is for salted caramel and that is the only thing it is for, pretty much. And yet I have witnessed salt being put in salad (why?), coffee, and on top of pretty much every dish - which usually already contains salt. Salt is a big hit in Germany. I can't be too judgmental about food, since I put Tabasco on nearly everything in wildly dangerous amounts (Tabasco and marmalade on tofu is a classic that horrifies all who witness it), but I am.

Magyk is a book I finished reading. It was alright. I had a crush on the Big Bad and I identify strongly with the Aunt. I'm looking forward to the day I, too, live alone in the wilderness, keeping strange secrets, caring for herbs, and adopting children. 

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My roomie has gone back to Mexico and I turned 21. 

Anyway, here's a cat on a roof: 

Readings lately:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Adopting Huckleberry Finn has been added to my bucket list. 

Ender's Game: Adopting Ender has been added to my bucket list. (Seriously: I loved the world building, the ending was ganz richtig cool, the dialogue was seriously lacking, some of the concepts weren't satisfactorily fleshed out. I wanted to know more about the 12y/o taking control of political rhetoric via the internet! And then suddenly the aliens can communicate with us through dreams and everything on Earth is *redacted because who fucking cares?*. Hint: I kinda did. So many philosophical questions, so few answers or narrative explorations of those questions.) 

The Idiot: The Prince is probably smarter than me and we've broken the same number of vases.
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Germany is very open. It tells you what it really thinks of you, it tells dirty jokes, it blows it's nose at the table, and it doesn't wear a bathing suit at the pool. I still haven't embraced the nose thing (tissues are for private time), but my dinner conversation has gotten more boisterous, and I did sit all exposed in a steamy room covered in salt and then jump in a frigid lake.

Above are some photos of my little house. For the past couple years I've mostly owned only what could fit in two suitcases. Now I'm down to one and a tote bag. Alright, you might say, then why have two packs of cards? Don't you need to conserve space? Actually, one of my 3 packs of cards is not shown here. Having few things has not stopped me from keeping a really gratuitous amount of unnecessary randoms.

This state of being constantly un-settled-down has led me to think a lot on the concept of home. I've always liked having space that is entirely my own - I want feel like my living quarters reflect my self, like they are unarguably belonging to me. Feeling at home is important to me, but I've evolved since I started living alone. I've called many places home - a mountain house full of roommates, the alcove under a friend's bed, a suite in Vancouver, half a tiny bedroom in a garage in Alberta, a Winnebago in Florida, a barn on the coast. I'm good at making myself at home.

I finished The Martian today: it was interesting. I love stories of solitary survival. Probably because I'm a little weirdly jealous. I have this theory that if I was stranded in the woods I would do a pretty ok job or die happy, whichever.

My roomie and I have also been watching Modern Family to excess. I cried when Gloria and Haley left Phil to do his presentation alone. It was really important to him, and I wanted them to support him.
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First, some quick photos from daily life here in Bavaria -

A nice snowman spotted at the restaurant where we went for drinks after a meeting with the buschreiten club. He looks ready to sweep a floor, so we have some things in common.

One of many cathedrals/churches we've visited while touring christkindmarkts around Germany and Austria.

I've started listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I work, which has been just lovely. The University of France offers mini-courses about 4 hours long (mostly on history and religion), and I've been enjoying those along with some CBC programmes. But the best has been getting through some books!

I. The Golden Compass: an exciting, interesting read which I missed as a child, but enjoyed very much now as an adult. I liked the language, the 'found family' aspect, as Lyra's parents turned out to be rather awful, and the complex characters. Best of all, I liked the descriptions of play. Lyra's battles around the college with the other children were important fun that triggered no small amount of nostalgia. ... I love children's stories.

II. The Da Vinci Code: I was less impressed by this one. The solutions were obvious, the conclusion was rushed, the characters weren't brilliant. I hated that Sophie was the smartest of the lot, but got shafted more and more as the book went on. It wasn't enough that the Old Boys were proven wrong when they assumed she couldn't help read the language on the note left by her grandfather in British Man's castle. The first description of Main Man was clunky. He's handsome! He's brilliant! He's sort of old but in a handsome brilliant way! He has claustrophobia but it effects nothing for him and never matters to the story at all! Ill admit it got me interested in reading more about the history of religion, but I felt like it was always trying to hold my hand. This book and I had very little chemistry.

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German beer is better than Canadian beer.

I've been in four different countries in the past 12 hours - old home (Canada), the States, Iceland, and finally new home (Germany). My favourite thing about Germany so far is that my very chic signature blank stare, which I adopt every time anyone speaks to me before stumbling out some sort of airy reply, now makes me come across as an asshole who can't understand the locals' English. Hello? Social wake up call? Yeah, I'll accept the charges.

My home is also very charming. My single complaint at this very early stage of my time here: why do the plugs have to be like that? The UN or whoever handles international crisises needs to put Universal Pluggage on the agenda so I can keep using my phone to send pictures of airport walls to everyone in my contacts.


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It was a beautiful day for going to the laundromat today! To snap myself out of the swirling-clothes induced hypnosis, I also got two coffees. Starbucks has new 5$ lattes, and I had 4$ from giving my wine bottles to the recycling depot, so I reckoned that justified it. Caramel brulee is a great coffee flavour, fyi. This coming from a (usually) staunchly boring black coffee drinker.

I've started to supplement my monthly twenty minute sprint to the ocean and back with daily yoga, in the interests of cross-training and trying to have less back pain. I'm enjoying this just as much as I expected I would - heaps and heaps!! I'm the sort of person who can't stay still for more than a couple seconds, so it's nice to have some forced relaxation hidden in the tempting promise of an old favourite - structured busyness and rigid scheduling.

Some pictures taken where I'm living right now. We have a lot of rain, but maybe that's why it's been such a good year for winter squash. People are handing out winter squash like its their job, so it's become a major staple of my diet since I moved here. I think I'm 90% winter squash and 10% human.

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 Boy howdy it's been a while. Here's a recipe for bread.

To begin with, applesauce || quince marmalade || japanese pear sauce must be made. The recipes for pear sauce and applesauce are the same:
  • Let there be the diced fruit in a saucepan.
  • Put therein appropriate water and sugar.
  • Add spice/lemon/vanilla if it please you.
  • Boil and then let simmer until done.
Quince marmalade is the same, but a chopped up lemon must be also added, and orange juice/chopped orange makes it nice.

This mixture goes in a mixing bowl, baking soda and baking powder are added, almond milk or whatever it is you like to drink comes next, followed by an egg, and then flour. I like to add a whole bunch of ginger to the mixture and decorate the top, as well. Mix it up until it has the consistency of a nice loaf and bake it until it's cooked.

I always end up making two loaves from this recipe - one for dessert and one for later - and then eating both with strawberry jam. My loaf pans are very very small, though.


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Some quick pictures from Nunavut. My mum's house is on stilts so the snow doesn't block the door, though there's very little snow right now.

I volunteered at the free spay/neuter clinic watching a vet pull organs out of dog while 'Hot In Here' and 'Slim Shady' played and a tech danced in the doorway. When the song changed and we were treated to a heavy metal cover of 'I Kissed a Girl' I started to suspect someone had stolen a playlist off my 14y/o self.

This boat was covered in graffiti and was wearing glasses on its motor. It also had a rope with knots in it that wanted me to climb it and hop aboard, claiming my title as Captain of the SS Dick and Smiley Face, like I've always known was my destiny and purpose. Unfortunately, the coast guard must have come off lunch break while I was wasting time gazing lovingly into the prow of my new boat, because they showed up before I could trespass any further into their territory.

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I'm in the Far East! (Ottawa + Québec)

My gregarious mum made a friend on the airplane who told us to get ourselves to Resto Végo, post haste!, so after getting iced honey & nut lattes at an über pretentious café in Ottawa that I unfortunately completely vibed with (greek salad! green juice!) and poking horse drawn carriages in the History Museum (watched intensely by a guard who thought we sucked), we ambled towards Montréal and stopped at the library first. I was thrilled to see that 'Occultisme' was one of the categories on the main directory. Floor 3.

When we finally arrived, we found Resto Végo's buffet to be incredible. You're looking at an itty bitty tofu burger (mignon!), 250ml of wine in a tiny bottle (ultra mignon!), a tofu chicken nugget (gaspé! trop ultra mignon!), and more tofu (predictable!). I also had a piece of broccoli and two pieces of vegan cheesecake, because I fuckin love cheesecake and totally forgot that vegan cheesecake is made of cashews, which makes me super ill. Oops! Worth it. Note that my mum's food is touching her other food. Totes blasphemous.

This is a nice little comedy club with a really superb Apple Drink (ingredients unknown). We didn't go into the comedy bit because my mum doesn't speak a lick of French. She's proud of telling people 'mercy bucket!' every time they so much as glance in her direction, which is super charming and made all the bartenders dig us to the max.

I love this city.

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My millennial ass: Do you guys have, like, wifi? 
Waitress: Sorry, no.

Um.... yeah right. Hello from the free wifi chez a wifi-free salad restaurant across the street from the mechanic, where a car expert is trying to figure out why my car runs despite being a gruesome wreck! Is it rude to pull your laptop out in an empty salad restaurant? I'm woefully ignorant about salad restaurant etiquette, since until this very moment, I had no idea there even was such a thing as a salad restaurant.

Anyway! My mum and I spent 3 hours trying to break into my grandma's house with an axe and two bobby pins. Our home invasion ended abruptly when we heard a rumble of tires down the hill and my mum screeched 'Hide the axe!' and pitched herself off the porch, manure fork held dangerously over her head. Judging by my grandma's wide, proud smile, she saw me surreptitiously stash the axe behind the rain barrels. 

We were served the expected jar of ginger, fresh picked blueberries, and mystery loaf. My grandma really wanted me to read this book about sailing, buy land with water in case of government hijinks, and also thinks I should invest in the stock market but 'ONLY IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!!' I don't, grandma. I really don't. Thanks anyway.

We spent about 20 minutes driving behind this limo pulling a U-haul trailer, time which I spent excitedly flapping my arms because it was so fucking quaint. I thought limos' only purpose was transporting prom queens, celebrities, and newly weds and absorbing champagne puke. Not so! I'll keep this in mind next time I move.

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Spent 8 hours on the road yesterday to leave cool boarded up buildings like this behind us.

Just kidding! There are plenty of abandoned buildings in the Great Canadian North, including, apparently, my grandmother's house.

We struggled up the hill in our under-powered car in the black midnight and were greeted by only one dog, an empty locked cabin, and a dead thing on the porch. We couldn't find the key in any of the usual places, and the other dog never came back.

Grandma has no running water, electricity, or reliable contact with the outside world, so we usually just show up and hope she's reading her neighbour's mail with a magnifying glass, waiting to bestow pumpkin bread and nanaimo bars upon her unannounced children. In the face of her absence, the anticipated familial cribbage game in the light of an oil lamp is postponed.

Hermits! UGH.
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I hit the VV and the antique store today. Took this picture in a rare moment of self-awareness. I have exquisite taste, yo. Did I buy the ancient-Egyptian-cult leggings? Yes. Am I going to wear them with a horrendous print blouse? Duh!

Spotted: semi broken violin. I bought this for my mum, whom I firmly believe to be the most gifted violin player ever to grace this undeserving planet. She hasn't played in years. She's gonna have to, now, or face my gracious wrath! I'm such a great daughter.

Bonus roses.