Freedom 25

Today I have spent $0, which is rare, very rare pour moi, but it is a decidedly good thing. Looking at this observation more closely, let's draw some conclusions. For me to have spent zero dollars (okay, I am partially lying here because I tipped my friend Maggie a buckaroo for making me an americano) today, it means that I have drank zero beers. Now wait a second I hear you scream! You could have just drank beers in your fridge that you bought on a previous day.

This statement is mentally retarded for a couple reasons. First of all, beer does not 'store' in my fridge. Beer gets cold in my fridge, and then promptly gets poured down my throat. Second, there is no second.

And yet, again, I am partially lying because there are beers in my fridge right now. My dear dear friend brought them for me (and him) to saviour, lugging them all the way from a far off land that has lots of mountains and trees and apparently lax liquour laws. So anyway, I don't drink these beers alone because they are like a precious flower that can only truely be appreciated in the company of another brewskie dork.

Moving along. Zero dollars spent, zero beers drank, (rarity), contemplation. Being sober on a day off just makes me reflective. And here's what I'm thinking about. I can't stay here, in Toronto (as much as I do, swear to God, actually like it), doing the same old shit. I hate serving, it's terrible, and making me lose faith in the greater good of humanity. I can't keep spending the majority of my week having hateful thoughts for complete strangers that I serve. I've considered different serving gigs, ones that don't involve working for a giant corporation, but I sense that the solution is greater than a mere change of scenery. I don't know if I'll ever be okay to stick around in one place, and for now at least almost all my thoughts seem to focus on leaving. The difficult things is, I don't want to leave for the sake of leaving. Conversely, I'm not the kind of person who needs a job or security waiting for me.

I love riding my bike for very long periods of time. This has been an important discovery for me. Most endurance activities make me weary, but cycling is entirely uplifting and gives you (me) mobility beyond the most immediate sense.

I love knitting and sewing little notebooks and turning small meticulous handcrafting hours into finished projects. I also like the seclusion of these activities, the long hours of thought.

I love beer. Not the fizzy yellow shit, but delicious, innovative, craft brews. I'm fascinated by the process of turning some grain and living yeasts into the most delectable beverage -- and want to learn everything there is to know about it.

I love the south, or the image I conjure in my head, where all my favourite authors were born and once lived. Reading is integral to my enjoyment of life and understanding of myself. I long to seek out the stomping grounds of all the writers I revere.

I love the Canadian coasts, I'm not picky about which ones, and recognize that be it nurture or nature, they are where I feel best. I briefly glimpsed the maritimes this summer, and I am nowhere near finished with them. I joke that ending up living there is my five year plan.

I love writing.

So I think, and I daydream, and I weigh the possibilities. Travel through American micro-breweries and write about all that I experience (drink)? Tour through the maritimes on my bike, camping in the most beautiful surroundings? Hole myself up in a remote coastal cabin homebrewing beers and writing short stories? Sell handknit toques online and get wasted? Southern US roadtrip complete with brewery tours? Write a book after?

Somehow, strangely, staying in Toronto and slinging pints to douchebags on the regular doesn't factor into my idea of happiness. Suffice to say my fuse is getting short and something big has to change soon -- hopefully I can decide which path to take.


some days are diamonds, some days are rocks

This is a non-shitty gueze. Family run in Lembeek. Word

I have the day off and the only item on my agenda was to procure a) Gueze and b) cheese. Why? What's gueze? Gee, so many questions my captive readers.

Why? Cause it's a yummy pairing. What's gueze? It's a style of beer made from a varying ratio of young lambics to aged lambics. Because so many factors affect the final outcome (ie. the strains of naturally occurring yeasts in the air, the length of aging, the residual sugars that the yeast doesn't have time to gobble up, etc) it's actually a very difficult beer to maintain consistency, or 'quality control' with. But hey, that's the beauty of it. A surprise in every bottle!

Anyway, in my quest for this gem of a beverage I suited up with a jacket, fingerless mitts, a toque and a scarf -- ready to brave the harsh easterly winds and nagging rainshowers. I biked all the way to the Queen's Quay LCBO only to find that (yes, this is like an easily predictable sitcom) they had none. There were plenty of shitty Ontario dark ales that lack creativity and depth of flavour. There were a billion shitty lagers, and some Hoptical Illusions (not shitty) I briefly contemplated buying. But in the end I was difficult and choosy, deciding that if they didn't have gueze then they didn't have me. Boo hoo.

You know what I did get today though? An abstract splattering of innercity muck water sprayed casually up my back. No big deal though, really, my ass looks like a Jackson Pollock.


Happy Birthday To Me

Dear Carmen,

Today is your 23rd birthday. I don’t really know why I’m addressing me as a ‘you’ in the third person, but there aren’t exactly rule books for this sort of thing. How does…one, address…themselves? Am I writing to the 22 year old me in the past (and I’m now in the future)? Do we just talk like we’re in the same room? Are we a we? Fuck, I have no idea. Figure this out by the time you’re 24, okay.

Anyway, I think if I had to characterize the events of this past year it would fall into some sort of I-Never-Would-Have-Guessed-It category. If someone had told me five years ago that I’d be living in Toronto of all places I probably wouldn’t have believed them. I know for certain there were moments when I believed I would never graduate on time, that the weight of unbearable anxiety would eventually just crush me like a bug. And yet, voila, I made it out of that bitch alive. (The bitch here being an arts degree). I don’t think this whole sentiment is negative though, because I like to think that in a year I’ll be somewhere else in a situation I can’t anticipate right now. The idea of settling into any one place right now is…well, unsettling to me. I guess I see Toronto as one little dot on the larger connect-the-dots shape of things for me. I bet that shape is a pineapple, or maybe something way more complicated like a tidal wave pattern from a geography textbook.

In terms of surveying the past in an effort to grab the future by the balls more aptly, I would say this Carm Carm: everything works out, everything eventually becomes okay. This whole being calm thing, not worrying as much, being positive – it feels good. Aaaand, you’re probably not shaving years off your life anymore (like you certainly did while writing essay after essay after essay on the marital practices of Hindu women in rural contemporary nationalist communities). Thank God though for that eastern religions minor! Surely it will come in handy at a dinner party in your future.

If I were the type of person to make prolific check lists (I am not), we might go through the past year and try to evaluate which categories of life were accomplished. There was that graduation (bravo bravo), that terrible surgery that involved wisdom teeth, percocets, and ongoing physio a year after (ozay!), that move of cities (why not?), that giant life change (let’s not go there on the internetz), and that new realization that making limoncello when life gives you lemons is totally doable. Okay, this is getting cryptic, moving on…

So what now and forever more? You drink a lot, but you worry less. You don’t make a lot of money, but there’s always stripping (joking mom!). You are…older, but surely the wisdom meter has increased too. (Alright, I’m not so sure about this last one but whatever). As for advice in the next year: stop cutting your own hair, you look like an idiot, call your family more often, write a book, and for the love of God, answer your fucking emails you dead beat.




exclamation points in titles!

Bought this today so that my luggage will certainly be heavy weight. Or maybe that's just my brain, ZING!


Just me, Rudolph, and a polar bear.

No big deal, just hanging with my Christmas posse while my sister creeps personal on Craigslist. I decided to give you two gifts this Jesus day:

1) Christmas posse gangsta face

and, 2) Christmas posse straight up

Yer welcome. Peace and love.


merry flunkin' christmas

My parents have reindeer headbands and juiceboxes on hand at all times. Also, cheese and crackers that I top with sundried tomato pesto. I told them they're living like kings.

Peace out for now, some minute maid in the cutest box form is calling my name.


Plumbing Issues

We've had some people replacing the tiles in our bathroom because of some mold/sealing issues. I know, I know, riveting stuff, please Carmen, go on about bathroom renovations!

Shut up.

Anyway, what was supposed to take three days has been stretched to two weeks and counting. Not having use of your washroom is annoying for obvious reasons but the one positive is that they're knocking off some rent. Suddenly, not using my washroom is bearable with the understanding that I'm saving rather than spending money. This also happens to be a timely arrival for rent deductions because Christmas is around the corner and the past few years I've given only smiles, hugs, and the grace of my presence.

Right now two workers are singing "Killed By Death" and recounting scenes from the music video.

PS -- the above pic was my halloween costume. I went for gangsta but sort of came off looking 90's. Oh well.