How to never take a compliment, a crash course.

Step 1: care very much about what people think about you. This step is not necessary, but will really help to enforce the idea that you need the compliment, which will make it so much worse when you are never able to accept it. If possible, have one of your love languages be ‘words of affirmation.’ That way you can simultaneous crave the affirmation of people in your life while also ensuring you never receive it.

Step 2: disregard any compliments given to a group you are a part of. They were obviously not meant for you. They were for the other more talented and/or prettier members of the group. They just addressed it to the group because it would be very awkward for everyone if they didn’t. If they really meant it they would have come talk to you away from the group and addressed their compliments to you specifically.

Step 3: any nice words spoken to you at a time when it is normal or expected to compliment someone also don’t count. They are obviously only saying that nice thing because it is the convention and social politeness dictates they do. You’re supposed to tell girls they look pretty at weddings. You’re supposed to tell someone they’re great when they’re having a bad day. Therefore you must assume all nice things said to you in those situations are only said because it would be more awkward to not say them.

Step 4: if someone says a nice thing in response to something you asked them, you were fishing for a compliment and it doesn’t count either. What were they supposed to do? Tell you that the dress looks terrible? Tell you your idea is terrible? You put them in an awkward position and they said the nice thing to try and make you feel better. It is insincere and you brought it upon yourself. If they really liked the dress, they would have told you without you asking.

Step 5: did someone compliment you after a performance, presentation, or some other public appearance? They could be sincere, but make sure you remember how when you were a kid at camp people would clap louder for the terrible acts in the talent show so as to not make the child feel bad. It is probably safe to assume they are doing this to you. The more enthusiastically they congratulate you, the more sure you can be they don’t mean it. And if they offer a generic, unenthusiastic compliment, they don’t mean it either since a public performance of any kind clearly falls into the category of ‘time when you are expected to compliment’ (see step 3).

Step 6: is the compliment you received generic? If so, throw that out too. Things like “you look nice” have no meaning anymore. They are the generic platitudes that have been repeated so many times they have lost their meaning entirely. Like when someone asks how you are and you reply with, “I’m good, how are you?” without even thinking. They come out of people’s mouths without even thinking and serve as no more than generic niceties and conversation filler. If they really thought something about you looked nice, they would have been more specific.

Step 7: was someone earnest and forceful in their compliments? If so, see the “people clap louder for the bad acts out of pity” part of step 5.

Step 8: if someone offers you a unexpected, specific, relaxed compliment at time when no social convention dictates they should, and with no prompting, assume they have read this post and are just giving it to prove they can. You can safely assume they don’t mean it either.


I think that about covers it. There should now be no situation in which a compliment will strike you as sincere and you can live your life in the quiet misery of knowing that no matter how hard others try to make themselves seem sincere and like they admire you, you can see through it. You’re welcome.

What I Read in February

This last semester of my degree is in full swing, and so, clearly, other projects are falling by the wayside. It’s an unfortunate side effect, and I’m very Very excited for school to be over so I can relearn how to prioritize things in a non-school-focused life. What will it be like???? I’ve been doing school pretty much full-time going on six years now, and good gracious I am so close to the end. My classes will be over mid-April, and convocation is in June, and I’m not sure how my brain will react to the prospect of not having school to do or prepare for. Last summer I wasn’t working and I was between semesters, and I still would wake up thinking “I need to work on that paper today and get it submitted” only to remember I didn’t have any papers to write; I have a feeling that this residual school impetus will stick around for awhile after I graduate.

In January I read 14 books, mostly due to being stricken with the head cold of the century in the week before classes started, and I knew that I wouldn’t read nearly that many in February once under the influence of academia. I finished reading four books in February, and I’m quite pleased with the total. Here they are:


Paper Girls, vol. 1 / Brain K. Vaughan et al.

Someone described this book as “Stranger Things, but with girls” and we all know I love Stranger Things, so how could I resist? It follows a group of paper delivery girls as a time-travel and alien threat descends on their town. People are disappearing, there are giant dinosaurs flying around, and thieves stealing radios. The colours and art are perfect, and the girls rely on loyal friendships and grit. It’s very good.


The Rules Do Not Apply / Ariel Levy

I read this for book club. It’s a memoir, and tells the story of Ariel Levy’s marriage and pregnancy, and the loss of both over a short period of time. It’s a fast and heavy read, and while it left me feeling tired and sad, it was still a very good book. Ariel Levy has some trouble identifying and confronting her own privilege in many ways, but that, of course, doesn’t diminish her grief or make the things that happened to her less terrible. It’s a good book.


Book of a Thousand Days / Shannon Hale

This is probably my number one comfort read. I’ve listened to the audiobook I don’t know how many times, and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to get it from the library and listen to it over and over. It’s a retelling of a fairy tale, and follows Dashti and Lady Saren as they are locked in a tower for seven years, and what happens once they get out of the tower. Sometimes when Josh is out of town for work, I’ll set this to play for 45 minutes when I go to bed, and I’ll fall asleep to the story. The book is written as a journal, which I love.


Attachments / Rainbow Rowell

This is the only Rainbow Rowell book I’ve read, and it’s another comfort read. Listen: school and anxiety have been rough in the last bit and so I fall back on familiar, comfortable stories. This story is set in 1999, and has a premise which sounds weird when I try to explain it. Lincoln is hired to patrol inter-office email at a newsroom, ends up reading emails sent between Beth and Jennifer, two friends who work there, and develops feelings for Beth. It’s a nice book with a cute story, what more can I say.

THERE YOU GO, the four books I read in Feb, half of which were re-reads. It was a pretty light and unchallenging reading month, but it suited me just fine. I’m currently in the middle of listening to another comfort read, World War Z, and I just want to add an extra recommendation here at the end of this post: read World War Z at your soonest opportunity. It is waaaaaay better than you think it is, I promise. I know we all got tired of zombies around the same time we got tired of bacon-reverence, but TRUST ME, World War Z is 100% worth your time.


I have high hopes for 2018. There is potential for some big changes to take place, but I am not going to publicly broadcast them at this time. I have learned my lesson on that front. When final decisions are made and plans are officially set, then I will happily share them. But there is one particularly exciting thing that is already confirmed, so I am very happy to announce it here and now.

It has kind of been a weirdly, sort of kept but not really, secret for the last month or two. What I mean by that is that I have not posted anything about it or contacted anyone to tell the about it. The only way you would know is if you have seen me or talked to me recently in person. It also involves time off from work, and my work is an insane gossip factory, so pretty much everyone I work with knows about it. Which is a bit weird when a lot of my friends don’t know.


I am going in April, for three weeks. Three weeks is the maximum amount of vacation I am allowed for this year, so I booked all three weeks back to back and then I will not get anymore time off for the rest of the year. But it will be worth it!

I am going by myself because all of my friends are in school or can’t justify paying the flight fees for just a few weeks. I really only asked a couple people to come, and they couldn’t so I’m doing my best to embrace the idea of going solo. I’m actually pretty alright with it and I think it will be good for me.

I have a vague outline of the trip:

I am flying in to Queenstown. I will, over the course of approximately two weeks, work my way from Queenstown up to Picton. I am hoping to definitely hit/spend a few days in Wanaka, Tekapo, and Kaikoura. I would love to spend a day at Castle Hill (our time there last time was cut pretty short). But exactly how it will all work out depends on the transportation mode I choose. I am kind of leaning towards busing at this point because rental cars are stupid expensive when you are by yourself. But busing probably removes the option to go to Castle Hill. So I haven’t fully decided yet. Then I will ferry across to Wellington and spend an entire glorious week in my favourite city of all time before flying home.


I am very excited. I also probably need to really sit down and do some planning. I have my plane tickets booked, but that is all. I feel like solo travel requires a bit more preparation ahead of time. But I am still stuck in the “its still a long way away, I don’t have to worry yet” stage. And I know this month is going to fly by and it will come so quickly.


If you, or anyone who might be reading this, has any solo travel tips, any NZ travel tips, or any must see places along my general route, hit me up! I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I want to see, but it is mostly based on going back to the places I saw and loved last time. So it would be super awesome to mix some new things in.




I have been trying again to make it all the way through editing my photos from my last trip. This time I am actually doing it systematically and thoroughly. Not just jumping from place to place and photo to photo whimsically. It is making me more excited and reminding me of things that we did and places we went last time. I feel like a a thread of freshly edited NZ photos is a good way to end this post.











Let’s take a break from talking about big life events to talk about how I changed my skincare routine this past year. I moved from a pretty simple routine (Lush face wash, Aveeno baby lotion with tea tree oil mixed in, charcoal sugar scrub, occasional sheet mask) to a “10 Step” Asian skincare regime. I think for many people, myself included, the “10 Step” part of this is mostly just a gimmick. It’s more like “more steps than you used to have, with more specific goals, and products tailored to those goals”. And today I am going to tell you all about it, here we go.

Keep in mind throughout this post: I am not a dermatologist. I’m also still figuring out my skin!

OKAY SO the first thing to know is you cannot introduce a million new products all at once and think that your skin is going to be pleased about it. NO, you must be so patient, and bring in one new thing, use it for a couple weeks to see if your skin reacts badly, and then add the next thing. If I went ahead and tossed all my new, exciting things on my face all at once then I would have had no way of knowing that my vitamin C serum was truly detrimental to my poor face and probably would have scrapped the whole project. As it is, there have only been a couple of products that haven’t worked for me and I was able to identify and stop using them pretty quickly.

The second thing to know is that you have to wear sunscreen every single day on your face. Listen, you know about my struggle with the sun and the sunscreen and let me tell you: I have tried a LOT of different brands and formulas and all of them felt gross on my face UNTIL:


Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++

This stuff is an absolute life saver. I’ve heard rave reviews for Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++, but it doesn’t feel as nice on my face as the Biore sunscreen does. Try to think of a sunscreen that is the absolute opposite of the weirdly chalky goopy white ooze that we’ve had to smother our faces in for our whole lives and you’ll have a pretty close idea of what these sunscreens are like. They absorb quickly! They don’t leave a ghostly impression! They don’t feel like you just covered your face in gravy that makes your eyes sting! If there’s one thing people take away from this post I hope it is this: if you get better sunscreen you are more likely to wear it and prevent sun damage and skin cancer.

Sunscreen goes on your face last; I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s get down to business.

The things I want to focus on for my skincare are acne prevention, hydration/dryness, smooth/uniform texture (think “plump”), and general health. Edmonton is VERY DRY, and the winter is EVEN DRYER, so keeping my skin moisturized and hydrated is a Daily Struggle. Turns out the answer to this specific trouble is Literally Goop From Snails, but we’ll get into that in a moment. I’m gonna go through the steps I take when I’m washing my face, and it’s going to seem excessive, but stick with me and we’ll get through this together. I’ll link the products I’m currently using.


1. First Cleanse – DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with over the years is finding a good cleanser. I have quite a few acne-fighting cleansers in my bathroom which I’ve tried and ended up not using because they stripped everything good out of my poor skin and left my face dry and tight, sometimes to the point where my nose was constantly peeling. Here’s the key words you want for cleansers: 1) mild, 2) gentle, 3) MILD, and 4) GENTLE. Oil cleansers gently wash your makeup and other products off without stripping any moisture out of your skin. This specific cleanser is made primarily from olive oil, and I want to take this opportunity to urge everyone to avoid putting coconut oil on their faces. It doesn’t emulsify and it’s comedogenic, it’s a good-for-body-not-for-face item. Also, I only use this cleanser when I’ve worn makeup or have reapplied sunscreen a few times throughout the day.

EggCleanser2. Second Cleanse – Skinfood Egg White Perfect Pore Cleansing Foam
Listen. I double cleanse my face. Oil first, then water-soluble foaming cleanser. UNLESS I didn’t wear any makeup that day, or don’t feel like I have a lot of stuff on my face, in which case I skip the oil cleanse and head straight to the (gentle and mild) foam cleanser. You’re supposed to wash your face against the grain of your skin and wtf, skin has a grain??? I use an egg-based product, and omgosh, it has worked wonders upon my countenance. I just replaced a used-up tube of this, which is significant in that there are So Many Options in Asian skincare, and it’s so fun to try new ones, but this one has worked so well for me that I’m gonna be loyal for at least a little bit longer. I’m getting to the bottom of my oil cleanser, and I’m gonna replace with a different kind of oil cleanser and LISTEN, I love skincare. Also I cannot emphasize enough that this cleanser DOES NOT smell like eggs. I use a Norwex cloth to pat not wipe my face dry but I also kinda feel like Norwex is a scam, so. At this point I sometimes use the Skinfood Egg White Pore Mask, if I have some extra time. Also I just want to point out here that part of washing your face is regularly washing your makeup brushes. Those things get grimy.


3. Exfoliation – Missha Super Aqua Mild Peeling Gel, Supracor Spacells Facial Sponge

First off: you can’t scrub away acne. I wish you could. If that were the case I would go back to using my teenage fave St Ives apricot scrub with its little jagged pieces of apricot shell and I would scour the acne from my face. Second, omg let me TELL you about this peeling gel I recently started using; it is a miracle. It’s a clear gel and it chemically exfoliates your face, but not in a burny way, because the old adage “if it hurts it’s working” is UNTRUE. You rub it around on your face and voila: you get these little balls of stuff and it’s your dead skin cells coming off your face. I don’t know how it works, but it’s some kind of acid – a good acid, don’t worry. I use the gel once a week or two, and then use the sponge (it’s made of silicone and is very gentle) on my face when I wash it in the shower. As a fun bonus I have also basically eradicated ingrown hairs from my pits with the coarser side of the facial sponge. Soft side on the face, rough side on the pits, can’t lose. I also sometimes use a konjac sponge on my face.


4. Toner – Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Toners in Asian skincare are not the same as toners you can buy in drugstores here, in that they are not alcohol based. Alcohol dries your skin out and we are all about MOISTURE now, so we use toners that will prep our freshly cleaned faces for all the stuff we are about to apply to them, because we are only getting STARTED. I’m currently using the Mario Badescu spray and it’s fine but I think when I’m done I’ll switch it up, it’s artificially coloured pink and very frangranced and I’m not super pumped on that. I used to use CosRX Centella Water Alcohol Free Toner, which tbh was so mild and gentle that I didn’t feel like it did much of anything for my skin. Oh also! Spray toner is key: no more dragging cotton pads across my face. And also again: there’s a lot of stuff about pH balancing in Asian skincare that makes my eyes glaze over because numbers are witchcraft.


5. Actives (BHA/AHA) – CosRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

This is an area that I am still working out. I went through a bottle of the linked CosRX BHA, and it was good but also I think I’ll try a different one. CosRX makes an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)and a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) which both get consistently good reviews, so I’ll probably add them to my routine at some point. T&T Supermarket has Asian skincare products, I’m going to see if they have any AHAs and BHAs in stock soon. This is where I would use any prescription products if I had them. Also!! AHAs are photo-sensitive and you must wear sunscreen. This is also the point in this whole thing where vitamin C serum goes; I had a vitamin C serum which absolutely did not work for me, and I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to include a different one. Probably, because I luv 2 care 4 my skin, but not yet.


6. Serums, Ampoules, Sheet Masks – linked below

THE FUN STUFF, AT LAST. Let’s get INTO IT. All of these go on in order of thinnest-to-thickest consistency, and sometimes I give each one a little bit of time to sink in, otherwise I just tap tap tap them into my face one after another.

  • I have one serum which is an absolute Holy Grail product for me, and it is ArtNaturals Anti-Acne Serum. I found this by literally searching “acne serum” on amazon and it’s made a giant difference in my face. My skin is clearer and smoother, it’s amazing. I’m on my second bottle and let’s be honest, I might just subscribe to it on prime and keep it coming.
  • Nature Republic Real Nature Rose Ampoule not only smells amazing but also makes my face feel like it has been pumped full of moisture. I used up the last of my bottle a couple days ago, but fear not, I have a replacement lined up that is by the same company but is slightly different. I’ve moved from the rose ampoule to the Real Nature Lotus Ampoule and I’ll let you know how my face skin fares once I get it into my routine.
  • I got Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule in the mail a bit ago, and I am excited to use it on my face, partially because propolis was used by Ancient Egyptians to embalm mummies and what a wild ride. This stuff goes on my face??? I GUESS SO. It’s antibacterial! It’s in such a pretty bottle! I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and last week someone complimented me on my skin, so I’m calling this one a WIN. And it smells so nice!
  • I have a set of Babor purifying ampoules, which are ampoules proper in that they are those little glass bottle things that you have to snap open, that are supposed to be *hella potent* and guess what: they totes are. I once used them three days in a row and my skin was like “what the fresh hell are you doing” (and, potential tmi here, it made Josh’s lips a lil numb, which was, to be entirely honest, concerning) so now I only bust (literally) one of these out a day or so before my period starts just to give me a leg up on the ol’ hormonal acne. I didn’t get this online, hence the non-linking. I may or may not restock my supply of these, I haven’t decided yet.
  • I sometimes use a sheet mask at this point and tbh I just use whatever I got at Winners most recently. Winners sells a ton of sheet masks these days, and it’s like seven dollars for five of them. The sheet mask will hold in all the stuff you just put on and help it absorb! Or something! I’m not a skin scientist! I also sometimes use a sheet mask directly after the washing portion of this whole thing and THEN move on to the rest of the various goops and glops I put on my face, because I am no bird and no net ensnares me.


7. Emulsions, Creams – 3W Clinic Snail Mucus Moisture Lotion, CosRX Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, and a heavier cream that I haven’t settled on yet get off my CASE

IT’S SNAIL TIME. Listen, if you’ve made it this far you know I put all kinds of stuff on my face including stuff used by The Ancients in mummification, so should snail goop really be that surprising? At the same time, Josh for sure laughed out loud at my giant bottle of lotion that says “SNAIL MUCUS” on it in all caps, so maybe I’m the one living in a skincare fever dream. I think the CosRX snail essence technically falls into the category above this one, but I wanted to put the snails together. At this point I cannot emphasize enough how little I know about snails and how little science-ish reading I have done about them. All I know is they have been actually studied and it’s not a snake oil, and the goop is ethically harvested (??) from the snails. AND I know that it works FREAKING WONDERS on my face. Snails! Snails! Snails! Snails! Oh also. Once again you work from thinnest to thickest, and apply things by tapping or with gentle swiping motions, not by vigorously dragging your fingers all over your face. Awhile ago I ran out of CosRX’s Ceramide (this is not a type of snail, alas) Full Moisture Cream and wanted to try something new even though it was good, and found a dud, and am still in the process of returning it to Amazon, and I’m on the hunt for a good final cream. I’m thinking it’s gonna be another snail lotion because damn I love snails. I ordered Mizon Black Snail All-In-One Cream, and I think it’s gonna do the trick nicely.



8. Eye Cream and Lip Care – Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream, TonyMoly Kiss Kiss Lip Balm SPF15, Skinfood Avocado & Sugar Lip Scrub

Okay, yes, this is possibly getting out of hand, but we are almost done and this step Is So Worth It. Eye cream! My eye skin has benefited so much from applying eye cream every day, I can’t even tell you how much. I use my middle or ring finger to tap this into my under eye area and then from my crease to my brow bone. It’s made a difference in the tone and texture of the skin around my eyes, and now eyeshadow goes on and stays on so much better. The Tonymoly lip balm has the cutest packaging and I love it, AND it makes my lips feel soft and moisturized and delightful. I don’t use the lip scrub very often, because it leaves a kind of film? on my lips? but when my lips are so dry they’re flaky (ew) I give them a nice gentle scrub and then Load Up on the balm. At this point you may be asking yourself “does Glynis sometimes buy products because they have cute packaging?” and the answer is: OF COURSE, what do you think I am, an emotionless automaton?


SUNSCREEN. Sometimes I use a BB cream that has SPF 50 (and more snail goop) in place of sunscreen proper. Obviously you needn’t use sunscreen at night. If it’s bedtime and I’ve got a particularly annoying zit I’ll put a Nexcare Acne Absorbing Cover on it and it’ll usually be flat by morning, which reminds me, I am down to my last two pimple patches. Gotta order more.

Okay, that’s the conclusion of the steps, and I know this post is extremely long, and this routine may seem overwhelming or excessive but I promise it’s not. In the morning I cleanse, tone, apply serums, snail goop x2, sunscreen, and makeup when I feel like wearing makeup. I don’t always use eye cream in the morning, just because it’s pretty thick. In the evening I oil cleanse, foam cleanse, maybe exfoliate, tone, serums, snail goop x2, other lotion, eye cream. It takes like 15/20 minutes, and it’s a really nice evening wind down/day preparation activity. If I don’t have a ton of time I do a truncated routine which is foam cleanse, acne serum, snail lotion. When I go to bed my face feels happy and hydrated instead of dry and tight. My face doesn’t peel anymore (praise God) and my acne has been calming down and I can’t express how good this feels. It is also just fun to look at skincare, you can ask Josh for confirmation on my skincare browsing ways. I have a long wishlist on Amazon of skincare stuff I want to try sometime, and I get packages of skincare from Korea every so often, and my face is so much better off for the attention I’m pouring into it. Now if only I can get myself to stop picking at my face all the time; the final boss battle of my skincare life will be resisting the temptation to constantly pick at my acne.

If you’re intrigued by this kind of skincare regimen/routine/system/whatever, here is the advice I will offer on getting into it: start by adding a good sunscreen into your routine, and next add a gentle cleanser. I feel like it would be fine to entirely scrap a drying/unhelpful skincare routine and replace it with a pair of gentle cleansers and a sunscreen and then go from there. Once again! I am not any kind of doctor. If you want to add something new to your skincare routine and aren’t sure where in the routine it should go: here is a handy guide. I will openly admit here that I am often guilty of just following my heart for when to apply what, and sometimes when I look at guides like the one I just posted I say in my heart “this is all pure malarky” BUT my skin posits otherwise Good GRACIOUs this post is long.

2017 media.


It is with great sadness that I announce that my reading list for 2017 is abysmal. I finished only five books. Where’d You Go, Bernadette was charming and a quick read. Dracula was fantastic as long as you overlook a few small “the lady is too weak hearted to fight vampires and would probably faint even though she has spent the whole book proving she is smarter, braver, and more level-headed than most of the men” parts.



Part of the reason I didn’t read too much this year is just that I tend to go through highs and lulls in my reading volume and in 2016 I read a lot of books. But I think another reason is that I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and I needed some time to recover.

It was a long book and it was an absolute emotional punch to the gut. Like it punched you in the gut until you collapsed and then it started kicking you while you were down and somehow instead of PUTTING THE BOOK DOWN you kept reading it and it kept kicking you. It deals with some heavy subject matter; one of the characters has a outrageously traumatic and abusive childhood that you slowly learn about over the course of the book.

It also has some extremely beautiful characters and relationships. I read this book almost a full year ago but I can still remember the way that I felt about the characters and I can still see them and feel them in my head. I also read this book at work and I cried at work about it at least twice. I think that the horror you feel at the bad parts of the book makes the beauty in the good parts so much more vivid. And it seemed to go back and forth between the two often enough that you were never really sure if it would end happily or tragically. It is beautifully written. It is uncommon for a story to stick with me in such a visceral way. While I can’t remember anymore all the small details of the plot, when I think about the characters I can still actually feel the feelings I felt about them. Not in like a “oh I remember that I liked that part” way, but in a visceral “I can physically still feel how beautiful it was in the pit of my stomach” way. If that makes sense. It makes you feel a lot about what is fair and what is unfair and how our upbringing affects the way that we view our future and the things that we think we deserve. It was intense and I don’t know your tolerance so I’m not sure I can recommend it or suggest you read it, but I think I’m glad I read it.



I also did not see a lot of movies this year. I can think of maybe four movies that I saw in theatres this year. There was maybe a couple more, but I just can’t really remember. So obviously they weren’t that impactful. Here are the ones I liked.



Wonder Woman.

I am 100% over superhero movies. I would not have seen this one in theatres had it not been for your bachelorette party. You wrote a whole post on this movie so I don’t think I need to say much about it other than it was a very beautiful thing to see a female superhero who was not made a superhero by being made into a one dimensional character who displays stereotypical male qualities. It was weirdly overwhelming and beautiful to feel like I was seeing an actual woman in a role like this. I guess that is what you get when the majority of superhero movies are written and directed by men. It was still a superhero movie and parts of it were pretty cheesy. But I liked more than I’ve liked most superhero movies. I’m pretty sure the No Man’s Land scene will always make me cry.



Beauty and the Beast.

Emma Watson is pretty much Belle in real life in my mind so when I heard she was going to play Belle I was very excited and also very nervous. What if they screwed it all up? What if it was one of those terrible remakes? But my fears were not realized. It was very good. Emma Watson came on screen and started singing the first song and I started crying. Now I did see this during my couple months of night shift last winter, so that may have had something to do with it, but I basically cried every time she did anything Belle-like. So the whole movie pretty much. Emma is such a good person and a strong and outspoken woman who stands up for what she believes in. She is the perfect person to play Belle and I was so happy she did.



Blade Runner 2049.

I did not cry in this movie! It was directed by the Denis Villeneuve, the same guy who directed Arrival, and we all know how much I loved that movie. I can say a lot of the same things I said about Arrival: the colours! the lighting! the cinematography! It is all so beautiful. I appreciated the subtle ways it tied back to the original movie. The way some of the scenes were filmed and the little details. The story was beautiful. It felt profoundly human in a profoundly unhuman way.



This was also not a big year for me in terms of new music. But here are a few things I found and enjoyed:



Stranger in the Alps – Phoebe Bridgers

This album is beautiful and I love the whole thing. There are maybe one or two songs I might skip sometimes, but really I usually just listen to it front to back. Her voice is beautiful and her songwriting is amazing. I particularly like Smoke Signals, Funeral, and Would You Rather.





Melodrama – Lorde

I wasn’t really on the Lorde train before this year. I think it is because I didn’t really care for Royals and that was the only song that ever seemed to get played from her first album. But I love this album. Again, it’s good all the way through. I particularly love Liability, Sober II (Melodrama), and Green Light.





White Noise – Noah Gundersen

This album was very different from his other albums. I like it in a different way than I like his older stuff. This album I find that there are a few songs I feel pretty meh about and a few that I absolutely love. So it is the same amount of love I usually have for a Noah G album, just distributed differently. Instead of being spread evenly over the whole thing like it was for Carry the Ghost it is slightly more concentrated on certain tracks. My absolute favourites are SEND THE RAIN (TO EVERYONE) and HEAVY METALS. But I also really like BAD ACTORS, THE SOUND, NEW RELIGION, and WAKE ME UP, I’M DROWING.



One More Light – Linkin Park

This album is not on my list because Chester died. I genuinely love it. It is a very different sound for Linkin Park. Now I love classic old school Linkin Park. I grew up on it. This was the first band I ever loved and the first cds I ever bought. I used to listen to Hybrid Theory and Meteora exclusively and on repeat while I delivered newspapers for the bulk of my childhood/teenage years. But I have to say that I might like their new sound even better. My favourites are One More Light, Invisible, Good Goodbye, and Heavy.



I watched A LOT of tv this year. I’m not really sure how I feel about that. But I haven’t been reading much or watching very many movies, so it makes sense. I also tend to watch tv while I’m knitting and I’ve been knitting a bunch this fall. So here’s my (long) list of tv I watched this year.



Survivor: Game Changers (season 34)

Of course I watched this season. Returning players! Ozzy! Malcolm! Cirie! Sandra! JT! Andrea! Aubry! Did I say Ozzy already?!

I knew Ozzy wouldn’t win. He didn’t. Cirie came pretty darn close AGAIN. And Malcolm went out early in an absolute freak tribal council. It was a good season, even if the winner was not someone I was rooting for. It was also an absolute crazy season. There were a lot of game twists and blindsides (i.e. the insane tribal where Malcolm went home) and then there was the tribal council where Jeff Varner outed Zeke as transgender. It was insane. Zeke handled it with incredible grace and composure. He wrote this article which was published right after the episode aired.

In general, seasons like this are almost always a bit of a let down. They bring back all of these amazing people, and most of them get voted out right away. So you end up spending most of the season watching the people you really weren’t that excited about and you kind assume are sort of filler because you can’t really figure out how they were a “game changer” in their past seasons. But that’s the way the game goes. At least Ozzy was there for a while so that they could break up the insane game tension with peaceful spear fishing interludes.



The OA (season 1)

I had no idea what to expect from this. It was extremely original. Sometimes it was very heavy, sometimes it felt a touch silly, mostly it was serious. I had no idea what was going to happen AT ALL. I like it even more now that I know Brit Marling wrote it as well as starred in it; she is fantastic. I will definitely watch the second season when it comes.



No Tomorrow (season 1)

I have not heard a single person talk about this show. I found it on Netflix. It was good! It is the classic “type A perfectionist lady meets free-spirited, ‘live life to the fullest’ man” story. Only you quickly find out that this free-spirited man is seizing the day because he is convinced the world is going to end because a meteor is heading towards the earth. He claims to know this for certain. It is super cute and I enjoyed the hell out of it.



Girlboss (season 1)

This show had a lot of hype. I loved the best friend character. But honestly, I found the main character so profoundly unlikeable that I struggled to make it through the season. I actually gave up on it for a while but ended up coming back to finish the season. Netflix cancelled the show; I wasn’t upset.


The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place (season 1)

I have only seen one season so far because that is all that is on Netflix. But it is charming and funny and Kristen Bell is a delight as always. Love it.



Master of None (season 1/2)

The first time I tried to watch this show I watched maybe the first five minutes of the first episode, got bored, and shut it off. But I kept hearing good things so I went back to it. I liked it. It felt like a very real show. Kind of like an independent movie, stuff happens but the plot doesn’t feel contrived or over the top. I know there is some controversy around this now due to the whole Aziz Ansari #metoo story. I’m not going to get into that except to say that I have read good and bad arguments and read some poorly written articles on both sides. Because of all this, however, I did find out that apparently Aziz wrote the Chef Jeff character in a way that you were supposed to think he as a great guy and then be surprised to find out he was a sexual harasser. Which is absolutely bonkers. But he says it in an interview, you can read it for yourself.

I thought you were supposed to know from the first moment you met him that something was off. Like crazy foreshadowing. I was surprised it didn’t come out sooner. And it wasn’t just like a “oh wow, I wasn’t expecting that but now that you say it yeah I guess I see how it was coming.” I had clearly formed the full thought in my head already, “this guy is a total creep and he is going to do something inappropriate.” I thought he was going to make a pass at Francesca or something much earlier. So to hear that that was Aziz’s portrayal of an awesome dude is a little troubling. This is his actual quote from the interview: “Okay, what if this is one of those types of guys and we just get the audience to love him? And then pull the rug out from under them at the end and reveal that he’s actually not a good dude?” I did not love that character. From the moment he came onscreen he made me uncomfortable and I strongly disliked him. I was annoyed at Dev for not seeing what a douche he was from the start.



Orange is the New Black (seasons 1-5)

I watched all five seasons this year. It is a good show. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it is full of diverse, well-written female characters. I love that even though the show starts out fairly centred on Piper, it widens significantly to the point where her story is just one of many. Also the way the characters are developed is fantastic. There were multiple times during the series where I found myself rooting for a character I hated two seasons ago, or discovering I was completely wrong about who a character really was. The writers do a good job of allowing you to make assumptions about characters and then slowly revealing their backstories.

There was one season that I thought was a bit boring in regards to the overall season story, but the characters were still great so I stayed. And I certainly did not love every character (Piper in particular is pretty annoying actually), but there are some absolute gems that I felt made it worthwhile. Poussey is easily my favourite character. And one of my favourite characters from any show, not just OITNB. She is fantastic and Samira Wiley is amazing. Also Danielle Brooks! I couldn’t watch her in Master of None without picturing that character as Taystee, like she got out of prison, became an agent, and then started representing Dev.



That 70’s Show

I started watching this because I wanted a fluffy sitcom to put on in the background while I knitted my sweater. It is on the same level as Friends, or How I Met Your Mother, or Big Bang Theory. Not that good, but somehow you keep watching it cause its a bit funny and it requires no emotional investment. I didn’t make it all the way through. The Danny Masterton rape allegations kind of killed it for me. Steven was my favourite character and the Jackie/Steven relationship was the only one I liked. So when I found out that the actor playing Steven was (allegedly) raping people and having the church of Scientology protect him it kind of made it hard to keep watching.

Here are some other reasons I probably should have stopped watching sooner:

(1) Eric is the classic “nice guy” in a sitcom who is kind of an entitled jerk but we’re supposed to root for him because he’s “nice.” Just think Ross Gellar or Ted Mosby. Same character. You’re not being friend zoned, thats not a thing. Shut up.

(2) Kelso consistently cheats on his Jackie to the point where he is straight up dating another girl on the side. Everyone in the friend group knows and no one tells Jackie. This goes on for more than a full season. What is it with tv shows and the whole, “I know he’s cheating on my other friend, but I’ve been friends with him longer so I won’t tell her cause that would be a betrayal.” It is garbage. Especially when:

(3) Jackie kisses another boy while dating Kelso and Eric finds out. He blackmails her into doing things for him to keep him from telling. He ends up forcing her into telling Kelso herself within one episode of finding out. Kelso throws a fit when he finds out.

(4) There is a very real idea that it is normal for guys to cheat because “boys will be boys” and they can’t help it. But they get outraged if a girl cheats. It is absolute bananas.

(5) Eric’s mom goes through menopause and it is used as comic relief. I’m assuming all the writers are men who think that menopause turns you into a wildly crazy and emotional train wreck and they thought continually make her look unhinged would be good for laughs.



Brooklyn Nine-Nine (season 4/5)

This show is amazing and if you aren’t already watching it you should be. It is very funny while also being diverse, inclusive, and tackling real issues (race, gender, sexuality, etc) in a sensitive and positive way. It is a slam dunk of a show and everyone should be watching it.



Sherlock (season 4)

I’m a bit late on this one. But I finally got around to watching the newest season. It is darker and different from the older ones. Maybe it is just that I really miss Andrew Scott’s Moriarty and am sad he is gone. He makes a few little cameos in this season, just enough to remind you of how great he was and make you sad he’s gone. The Christmas special they did between season 3 and 4, The Abominable Bride, is fantastic. I watched it for the first time way back when it came out, but I watched it again before I got into season 4 and was reminded of how good it was.



Outlander (season 1/2)

I am not quite done this one yet. I’m about half way through season two. There are only two seasons on Netflix right now, but I believe the third season came out in the fall. I avoided this show for a long time because I had heard it was based on a romance novel and I wasn’t into that. But I finally gave it a shot after hearing a lot of good stuff. I actually just looked it up, and I don’t even know that it was based on a romance novel at all, so I don’t know where I heard that. It is based on a novel though. Anyways. Some parts of the show feel a bit romance novel-y, but it is a really good story with interesting characters and original ideas. I have also learned a reasonable amount about Scottish, British, and French history (assuming of course it is mostly accurate in its portrayal of the countries and times it takes place).



Big Little Lies

This show is absolutely fantastic. I managed to watch it without seeing any spoilers and it was crazy. They introduce that someone has been murdered at the very start of the first episode and then flash back and show how it all happened. I had no idea who died or who killed them until it actually happened in the finale. The acting is fantastic. The story is layered and well written. The cinematography is amazing, it is an absolutely beautiful show. At times it is unsettling and hard to watch, but the story feels important and worth watching. The acting is also amazing. Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard are winning award after award for their roles. It definitely one of the best shows I have seen all year and I highly recommend it.



So there you have it. It is another marathon post, I know. But once I got going it just kept going. You were interested in hearing about every tv show I watched this year, right?



I share your feelings of anger and disappointment, and your revulsion towards the president. I’m also going to keep the angry portion of this post short. It is exhausting to even try to keep up with all of the ways that the president and his ilk are using power to benefit themselves while grinding the poor, the marginalized, and those in need under their feet. Here is my question for the portion of the Christian community that rallies around hateful men because they are “pro-life”: how can you support someone who takes away funding for children’s healthcare, who makes it more difficult for mothers to access help, who separates children from their parents because of their undocumented status, who ignores the suffering of citizens because they are on a far-away island, or who refuses entry to refugees? Are any of those things “pro-life”? Take the plank out of your eye and then maybe take another look at the gospels and at statistics on abortion. Surprise: the easier it is for women to access birth control and health care, and the better sex education is, the fewer abortions there are.

I am very aware that I am writing this from a place of privilege, and that my ideology and theology are not flawless. I also know that 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and you know what? Maybe it’s time for round two.

Okay. The year.

February was a very weird month. I wrote about it earlier, but here’s a run-down: I had a delightful trip to California, Josh and I got engaged, and my grandma passed away. Those three are the most memorable events of the month, but I can remember feeling like everything was happening all at once, that I was on a very fast rollercoaster that I had no control over, and growing more and more exhausted. The courses I was taking were good and interesting, but I was struggling to get through the semester. It set a tone of anxiety for the rest of the year and left me very tired. ETA: Turns out my memory of the first part of the year is faulty. My grandma died in the beginning of March, not in February. 

Near the end of the semester and at the very end of March there was a small fire in the basement of my house, and there followed a strange time of air-mattress sleeping, and a great deal of laundering. In the end the smoke smell and then the strong cleaner smell gave me very bad headaches, and I had to move out earlier than I had planned.

Josh and I bought a house. It was built in 1956, and is very cute, and has an absolutely giant yard. The only things we’ve done to the house are paint one room and replace the front door, and I’m glad we didn’t move into a project house. I don’t know how we would’ve handled renovating along with everything else. I didn’t work in the summer, because my sister was getting married, Josh’s sister was getting married, we had a ton of wedding planning to do, and then we were getting married so really: I did not have time. What I did have time for was a great deal of gardening, and let me tell you, I have already started making plans for what I’m going to work on in the spring. I’m going to plant sunflowers and a couple goji berry bushes, and more lavender, and I’m going to attack the creeping bellflower and grass that are invading the garden, and I’m going to do my utmost to weed out the bed with the strawberries in it. I also made friends with Barney the neighbourhood cat, which may not seem like a large event BUT he’s a great cat.

2017 was also the year that I started on hormonal birth control, and it’s been…a journey. Long story short is that I had to go through getting an IUD inserted twice in the space of a month and a half, because it was sitting incorrectly the first time. It was a traumatic experience, and honestly I’m still working through it. I’ll probably write the full account here someday, but it is not this day.

Bronwyn got married and Christina got married, and both of their weddings were lovely and I’m very happy for them. They got married a week apart, and then two weeks later we went to another wedding. June and July were both a bit of a whirlwind.

I got married! This was, obviously, the biggest event and change in my life this year. Our wedding was an extremely beautiful day, and I was so happy, even with a small moment of feeling hangry because I hadn’t eaten enough. It’s hard to explain exactly how that day felt. Josh and I had done so much planning and preparing, I had been constantly thinking about it for months, and by the time the day came around I was very ready to not be thinking about wedding planning anymore. I’m very glad we had a shortish engagement.

I was so happy on our wedding day. The weather was good, we were surrounded by people we love and who love us, there was just enough smoke to make the light gorgeous but not enough to cause too much coughing, your speech was amazing (I go back to reread it regularly), the whole day was beautiful and I’m so glad I’m married to Josh. I tried to pick a couple photos to share and surprise: I picked a lot of them. You, of course, looked great, and I’m glad you reminded me of the “f*ck this hair” moment because I had somehow forgotten it, and it is hilarious.


The last portion of the year was taken up by school, and, of course, school-related anxiety. 2017 was the year I kept telling myself “no, really, you need to go to counselling” and then never making the time or taking the necessary steps. In one of my classes I designed and then carried out a modestly sized research project, and it was gratifying to be finished. I might edit the paper a LOT and then submit it to be published. I also wrote a paper about Coptic bookbinding – specifically about the Nag Hammadi Codices and the St Cuthbert Gospel – and my professor said I should flesh out the paper and then consider trying to get it published as well. It is very weird for me to look at my work and say “this is valuable enough for me to try to get an academic journal to publish it”.

By the end of the semester I was once again exhausted, and I am very glad that I am nearly done this degree. I’m very excited to graduate and be done school, although the now-I-have-to-find-work aspect of finishing my MLIS is less exciting. I might take some time off before looking for work, or I might try to find some part-time work, or I might have to start looking right away. The other day Josh and I drove by the huge Labatt brewery in Edmonton, and I said, “how hilarious would it be for me to work as a librarian at Labatt” but apparently it isn’t a good idea to work somewhere as a joke, so I guess I’ll have to keep looking elsewhere.

2017 in review.

This was an interesting year. When you first suggested doing end of year review posts like we did last year I was hesitant. Mostly because it felt like I had done nothing and accomplished nothing this year and my post would just say “I worked at the mill” while yours would talk about how you were finishing your masters degree, getting married, buying a house. You know, real actual life accomplishments.

Also I feel like I have spent the majority of this year angry. Not like rage anger, more like disappointment anger. Like something inside of me is constantly rolling itself into knots. Things are not fair, things are not just, and it infuriates me that its all being allowed to happen. The president is a racist, hate-filled, selfish narcissist who has the emotional maturity of a spoiled child. I don’t live in his country yet somehow he is managing to have a large impact on me and on everyone else in Canada and around the world. And to make it worse, millions of people are pandering to him and stoking is already grossly inflated ego in order increase their own wealth and power. Their motives are so unbelievably transparent; they blatantly display their greed and hypocrisy and it makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t even look at the president without feeling full on rage. It used to be that hearing him speak brought on the rage, but as the year has gone on it has progressed and now just a photo will do it. And don’t even get me started on the sexual harassment stuff. I have written about that a bit already and will probably do so more in the future.

I didn’t know it was possible to be this angry for this long. It has kind of turned into a sort of despair. Sometimes I can be a bit of a know-it-all and when I am convinced that I am right about something and someone else is clearly wrong, I have an almost compulsion to prove that I am right and have people agree with me. This is not a great quality I know. I’m working on it. But this year has been an absolute nightmare. I don’t understand how so many people are able to shut off their empathy and put their own wealth ahead of the well-being of others. I don’t understand how christians can be against immigration, health care, and welfare. I don’t understand how rich white people can’t see the advantages they were born into. I saw a tweet that described the president as “born on third but convinced he hit a triple.” I think that applies to a lot of white people right now. I don’t even know how to have a conversation with them because I can’t understand how they can’t see and understand that they did nothing to earn the privilege they were born with. Can they not see what a colossal stroke of luck it was for them to be born rich and white in north america? How can they look down on others, dismiss them, and even condemn them to death because they had the bad luck to be born into poverty? And how can they call themselves followers of Christ and do this? Have they really convinced themselves that Christ is on their side in this? That the bible backs up them up? That God loves them more than he loves poor people? It baffles and infuriates me.

But this is not supposed to be a rant so I’m going to try and get back on track. This was a difficult year in a lot of ways. I have had to figure out how to process all this anger and disappointment and not let it consume me. I have had to figure out how to merge the insanity and fear of international news with the relative quiet and monotony of my day to day life.

There have also been some positive things come out of this anger. I have become a lot more invested and outspoken about politics. I see all the more clearly how important it is for me to raise my voice and speak out when something is wrong. I used to care a lot more about keeping peace and having people like me/think I’m nice. I think I have reached the point where I am so fed up that I just don’t care anymore. Or at least I care a lot less. I am still a lot braver inside my head than I am in real life, but like anything, it takes practice and I am doing my best to take steps forward.

Okay, now on to some less heavy and more specific ups and downs of the year.


(it makes more sense to get the bad over with first. I am not really interested in dwelling on the bad things that happened, or sitting here racking my brain to try and remember them. So if it doesn’t come to me in the moment that I am writing this section, I just won’t include it. I’m also not going to talk anymore about politics as I think I’ve already spent enough time on that)

♦ My grandpa passed away.

♦ My dad was in a mountain biking accident the day before my grandpa passed away. He broke five ribs, punctured his lung and spent a week in the ICU with a chest tube. (He is almost completely recovered now)

♦ My province was on fire for most of the summer.

♦ Chester Bennington died. I wrote a post about it. He was an incredibly influential voice of my youth and I don’t really have anything new to add except to say that I am still sad and to reiterate that being killed by mental illness is not a sign of weakness.

♦I got a kind of terrible haircut. I was bored of my hair and decided I wanted an undercut. Which in itself is not a decision that I regret. However, through some miscommunication, some bad luck, and just an all around bad haircut I ended up with an outrageously large undercut and was not at all what I wanted. I knew instantly that it was a disaster but I tried for a couple months to convince myself that it was okay and that I liked it. I could never actually bring myself to get someone to take a good picture of it and show it to me because I think I knew that as soon as I actually saw it straight on I wouldn’t be able to pretend to be okay with it. Eventually I admitted it and am slowly waiting for it to grow out.

♦ I spent months fighting with my union local about a harassment case that I believed they handled poorly and in direct opposition to the bullying/harassment policies they claim to stand behind. This involved multiple emails back and forth as well as in person meetings. I was also in contact with the USW Wood Council Chairperson; I emailed back and forth with him and met with him in person as well. I knew when I chose to begin engaging with the union that it would almost for sure be a fruitless endeavour but I felt that it was important for me to speak up anyways. It was frustrating and drawn out and kind of brought on the same muted rage that the news has been bringing this year. I won’t turn this into a rant about the union and how they treated me and the ways that I am completely convinced that they are outdated and wrong. If anyone reading this is actually interested in union dynamics or my fight with them, it doesn’t take too much to get me going. Next time you see me just bring it up casually and I’m sure you will get an earful.

While it was a frustrating endeavour, it was not all bad. I learned a lot more about how unions work and benefits/drawbacks of them. I spent a lot of time talking with a really great union guy from my mill who continuously went out of his way to help me, affirm me, and explain union complexities to me. And even though I got no tangible results from the encounter, it felt good to be direct, honest, and in loud opposition to something that I truly believe was wrong.



(these moments were chosen from memory/from scrolling through the photos on my phone and seeing what I photographed over the course of the year)

♦ It snowed like three feet one night in February and I literally couldn’t get out of the driveway to go to work so I had to call in and Haley came and picked me up and we spent the day snowboarding in waist deep powder.

(I just feel like I should add that I have had this jacket for at least 5 years and I still love it as much as I did the day I got it. Maybe more. Even just seeing a photo of myself wearing it brings me joy.)


♦ I went to a Fred Penner/Shred Kelly show with Jocelyn and we danced and had a really really really good time.


♦ I found a bakery in Kimberly that is peanut-free. The baker is more allergic to peanuts than I am so I can eat everything that they make. I have been up to my ears in croissants and I finally understand what non-allergic people feel like in every coffee shop/bakery. I can go in and look at the display case and just choose something that looks good without having to read ingredient lists or look it up online or actually just say I’m not hungry because it would be impossible to actually read an ingredient list for a cookie in a display case in a coffee shop. (I wrote in an earlier blog post about my first trip there).


♦ I put pink in my hair. What I really wanted was like a coral, which it faded to and was really nice for the few weeks before it faded out entirely. This photo is right after it was put in so it looks more on the hot pink side.



♦ I went to Ty and Jenn’s wedding with Sami and Seth and we went to Kangaroo Creek and I spent the afternoon petting wallabies, taking selfies with emus, and mostly just being completely and totally happy. I did a whole post about it.


♦ Laura came over from Tasmania and I got to spend a day with her climbing through a creek and swimming in a waterfall.


♦ I photographed more weddings as a second shooter. Sally Ann randomly reached out to me a little over a year ago and asked if I would be interested in second shooting for her. I think I wrote about it in my review last year. This year I shot a few more weddings with her. She is wonderful and I love working with her. I am getting a bit better at taking photos of people and at editing my photos. This year I got a new camera and I am beyond excited about it still.

I really have only put significant effort into editing one of the weddings. Here are some photos from that one. The other wedding I did in the summer was the week before yours, so those photos are still sitting on the card waiting for me. I’m not sure I will ever get around to them. But I really should, I’m pretty sure there are some good ones.

Sally Ann is super fun to work with. We take lots of selfies. Also yes, that is a mirror selfie taken in a trailer bathroom. I had just gotten that shirt and my look was FINE and needed to be documented.


♦ You got married. I was in a wedding party for the first time, wore fake eyelashes, gave a speech, and didn’t have a single public breakdown about the fact that I was literally the only non-married person involved in any capacity with the wedding. It was a wonderful day and you and Josh were both beautiful and happy and I was so happy for you. Also everyone laughed at my speech jokes and that made me feel very good. I pulled some photos from your online gallery, sorry but they are only ones that I am in. You looked amazing in like every photo and I know the day was all about you and Josh, but this is my blog post so I’m allowed to make it all about me.

Can we just take a minute to appreciate how many photos there are of me speech giving in your gallery. THESE AREN’T EVEN ALL OF THEM. Which I am taking to mean, “you were funny and even the photographers loved your speech so much that they took tons of photos of you talking” and not “you talked for a long time.” But for reals, I had been writing this speech in my head since long before you asked me to give it. I’m pretty sure I had a rough outline floating around in my brain before you guys were even engaged. I got nervous in the couple days leading up to the wedding and my brain was doing that thing where it tries to convince you something you know is good might be bad. And a part of me wanted to cut out parts and change it to make it less vulnerable or less like I was trying to be funny or just shorter. But I knew that I wanted to say all those words so I did what anyone would do: cut nothing out, drank a few glasses of wine, and just went for it.


People thought it was way funnier than I thought they would. Which was nice, but I knew that you would find it funny and that was all that mattered. When I looked up to see this I knew that it was a success. (If you want to read my actual speech, I posted it here)


Also this photo. This photo is amazing and maybe my favourite. It is my favourite not because it is a good photo of us (which it totally is) but because of what was happening at the time. It looks like we are just sharing a little joke or are just really happy about how you are getting married or something like that. But I remember very clearly that I was trying to get your hair right and IT WAS NOT COOPERATING. I kept pinning it and it would fall out, or I would curl it and it would fall and hang funny and finally I leaned in really close and said “Glynis, f*ck this hair.” We both burst out laughing and in the background I heard a camera shutter go off. I’m very glad they captured this moment.

And finally here are a couple more photos of me at your wedding.


♦ Alex came for your wedding. I got a new camera (as mentioned earlier) and Alex came and spent a day with me taking photos before he went back to Tasmania.


♦ I got a new tattoo. It was done by the same artist who did my tree. His name is Craig and he works at Blackbird Electric in Calgary and he is funny and kind and amazing at what he does. I came to him with a vague idea of what I wanted and he drew something that was exactly what I wanted. I love it so much.



♦ My dad and I went to Vancouver to watch the Maori All Blacks play. I wrote a whole post about it so I won’t go into a ton of detail except to say it was amazing and the All Blacks absolutely demolished Canada and I loved every minute of it.


♦ I knit a sweater. Okay, technically I am not quite done so I didn’t finish it in 2017. But I only have a couple rows left and I did the bulk of it in 2017 so it counts. I just have to finish off the neckband and it is DONE.


♦ I consistently ran all through the spring, summer, and fall. Most weeks I went for at least two runs, sometimes three. I did take a couple weeks off when I got sick for a few weeks in the summer, and it was hard to run a lot when we were in that crazy heat wave, but by the end of summer a quick, short run was no less than 5km and I could do it easily and without needing much recovery time. I switched from Fitbit run tracking to Strava part way through the summer so unfortunately I can’t give you stats for the year (for the record, I love Strava infinitely more than Fitbit). But I can tell you that between July 20 and Nov 14 I went on 19 runs and ran 111 kms.


♦ I started going to hot yoga again. This was right at the end of the year, but still in 2017. I haven’t gone to yoga since I lived in Lethbridge. It has been a good way for me to feel like I am doing something during the winter while it is too cold to run.

This year has been a really good year for me in terms of fitness. I have been making consistent choices to be active and eat well. I know that I have never really been overweight or grossly unhealthy, but the last five years or so I have just felt terrible about how I looked and my fitness level. I knew that the simply solution was to start exercising, but I just couldn’t make myself care enough to do it. It feels so amazing to finally be doing something about it. I have never really been a fan of my legs and have always felt like they were much too big. However, I decided that I could settle on having my legs be bigger than I want them to be if they were toned and strong instead of chunky. Running has been good for this and honestly I feel better about my body than I have in YEARS, maybe better than I have ever felt about it.

.♦ I wrote this post. I had been feeling like I should write it for MONTHS. But same-sex marriage can be a polarizing topic in the christian community and although this blog is not written specifically for the christian community, I know that there are people who read it who come from that background. I also have a lot of friends who live in Australia who I hoped would read it. I was nervous about putting my thoughts in writing because I was afraid I might not do a good enough job explaining them and then people would judge me or be upset. But it just sat in the back of my head for months nagging to be written. I realized that it was important for me to speak up and say what I believe is right. That it was worth the chance that I might lose a friend or have an acquaintance judge me or write me off. I finally wrote it and was content with how it turned out. I felt like the tone was calm and I said what I believed in an honest but un-confrontational way. It has the most views of any post I have written, but remarkably few comments or interactions. I was kind of expecting some angry/earnest comments,  or questions, or some sort of agreement or disagreement. But I got nothing. It was weird but I still feel good about having written it.


Okay, that’s probably enough. I will tackle media and the coming year in another post. A hearty congratulations if you actually made it the whole way through this marathon of a post.

Books in 2017

This wasn’t a great reading year quantity-wise, and I place the blame firmly on the shoulders of grad school and seasonal anxiety. But I did get some good books in, and here they are.

This year I discovered that Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher is available as an audiobook through Edmonton Public Library, it’s ~three hours long, and therefore it’s perfect for a drive alone down to Calgary. Carrie Fisher read the audiobook, and it’s very good. I saw The Last Jedi at the tail end of 2017, and seeing Carrie Fisher onscreen being badass was bittersweet. Wishful Drinking is funny and sincere and straightforward, and I loved it. I highly recommend listening to it straight through on a three hour drive. The Last Jedi was also good.

I had a class on Canadian Chlidren’s Literature and read several books about residential schools and inter-generational trauma in the space of two heavy but important weeks.  Four of them that I highly encourage everyone to read are:

  • The Outside Circle / Patti Laboucane-Benson – this is a comic book following a young man as he goes through the healing program at Stan Daniels Healing Center in Edmonton.
  • When We Were Alone / David Alexander Robertson – in the TRC calls to action, there is a call for educational materials for all ages, and David Alexander Robertson sought to fill the void when it came to talking to very young children about Canada’s past and residential schools. This book is gentle and loving, and is a conversation between a grandmother and grandchild.
  • I Am Not a Number / Jenny Kay Dupuis – this is the story of Dupuis’ grandmother’s experience in a residential school.
  • Secret Path / Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire – this is the book that goes along with Gord Downie’s solo album, and tells the story of Chanie Wenjack. It is difficult to read. There’s a Heritage Minute about Chanie Wenjack.

Some other favorites from the year were

  • I’m Judging You / Luvvie Ajayi – this book DOES IT ALL, from making me want to moisturize to making me think about ways to confront racism in my life. It is funny and challenging, and Luvvie Ajayi is a good follow on twitter.
  • Vengeance Road / Erin Bowman – this is a western in the spirit of True Grit, and it is very good. I love a good revenge story.
  • Spill Zone, vol. 1 / Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland, Hillary Sycamore – this collects the first few issues of a comic book about a paranormal dystopia with a good mystery. The next volume doesn’t come out for months and this is why I normally keep myself behind on reading comics.

So far my reading in 2018 has been going at a feverish pace. I was sick for a while after Christmas, and school starts tomorrow, so I had a lot of down time. I’ve finished six books since the New Year, and I’m hoping to be better at keeping up regular reading throughout the semester. I feel better when I’m reading; I need stories to keep me going.

2017 Year in Review

It’s 2018! We’re going to look back on 2017 in the next few posts, and here’s a few of the topics we’ll be thinking and writing about.

  • Media (books, movies, music, etc) that was important, influential, or especially enjoyable;
  • Events that were impactful, positively or negatively; and,
  • Some goals or intentions for making 2018 a good year.

Intrusive Thoughts

Every once in awhile Josh and I go through an exercise where I state all of the things I’m scared of or worried about. It usually takes awhile (because that’s my secret, I’m always worried) but at the end I’m usually laughing. When I say things out loud that in my brain are “RED ALERT STATUS, THIS FOR SURE WILL HAPPEN OR IS ALREADY HAPPENING” they sometimes lose some power over me and I realize that they are a bit ridiculous. Of course, saying things out loud isn’t a magical sure for anxiety and depression; if it was I wouldn’t be anxious anymore. But it makes things slightly better for me and helps me fight my bad-brain, so I’ll keep doing it.

A by-no-means-exhaustive list of some of the things I’ve been anxious about lately:

I’m worried that I never have had and never will have any interesting ideas ever. Very dramatic, I know. I’ve been thinking about this one, and I think it’s connected to a childhood fear that by the time I grew up every possible combination of words would be already written by others and there would be nothing left for me.

I’m constantly anxious about school. I often tell Josh that I am probably going to fail my courses, and by extension my degree, and that all of my professors think I don’t belong in the MLIS program. I got one of my grades back already for this semester and got an A- in the class, and instead of easing my anxiety it just made me think, “I don’t deserve this mark, it must be a mistake.”

I’m worried that I don’t deserve to go to a massage therapist, and I feel guilty when I go, because I’ve never had a back injury. It doesn’t matter that sometimes it’s painful to lie down/sit/stand, that my shoulders are regularly very painful, that my hips are always sore, that it hurts to put any kind of direct pressure on my IT bands, or that I often have three-day long tension headaches.

I’m scared that people don’t actually like me, they are just tolerating my presence. (You’re well acquainted with this long-standing fear of mine.) I’m pretty sure this fear is never going to go away, I’m learning to ignore it, but ignoring intrusive thoughts is hard to do when things in general are stressful.

I’m often worried that I’ve inadvertently hurt or upset Josh. Fortunately we’ve established a precedent in our relationship where when I start feeling like I’ve hurt him I just ask him if that’s the case, and he assures me either way. I’m so grateful for the truth, every time.

I’m constantly in dread of money. Have I spent too much? Do we have enough? Am I needlessly extravagant? Are we going to be poor and will it be my fault? Am I wasteful? We’re destitute, aren’t we? Should I be learning to hunt and gather?

I’ve been anxious about my reading habits the past couple of years; I feel like I must be a hypocrite if I talk about loving reading and then don’t actually read a lot. My anxiety tells me that I am a faker and a liar if I tell people I love books and reading, because I’ve read a below-average number of books lately.

To conclude this cheery post, I am anxious about saying I have anxiety. I haven’t been formally diagnosed, and what if I’m just an anxiety-poser? What if my thoughts patterns are normal and I’m just blowing them out of proportion?