Read about January through June here!
Hands down, the biggest part of July for me was speaking at BlogHer’s annual conference. When I received the invitation to be part of a panel discussion about blogging and mental health, my first thought was that there had been a mistake. They couldn’t have meant me – they must have meant to ask some bigger, more famous blogger. But nope – they wanted me. I had the honour of working with the wonderful Aurelia Cotta, A’Driane Nieves and Arnebya Herndon, and because of their awesomeness and enthusiasm the panel was a breeze.
Professional blogger at large – LOOK AT HOW MY NAME TAG SAYS SPEAKER, THOUGH
Speaking on the panel
BlogHer ’13 was pretty great. Highlights include seeing keynote speeches by Queen Latifah and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Also lots of delicious free food. I kind of sucked at the networking part of the conference, but free food. I am such a fucking sucker when it comes to free food.
How is this my life
AND AND AND BEST PART OF THE CONFERENCE: I GOT TO MEET SHANNON FISHER
We’d been friends online for months and months and honestly I thought we’d never get to meet, because she lives in British Columbia and I’m not exactly a frequent flyer, BUT THEN WE WERE BOTH SPEAKING AT THE SAME CONFERENCE. How flipping lucky is that?
I am the luckiest. Not just because I got to meet Shannon, but because I get to have friends like her in the first place.
Chicago itself was awesome – seriously, what a fucking great city. THEY HAVE A CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AND A FREE ZOO. Matt and Theo had a total blast exploring while I was conferencing, and I joined them whenever I could. We ate deep dish pizza, rode the El Train and had a great dinner with our super-smart neuroscientist friend Jess. Best vacation ever.
Theo playing at the Children’s Museum. I think he was in heaven.
Checking the horse’s heartbeat
Giving medicine to the chicken.
Lunch on Michigan Avenue
Three words: Deep. Dish. Pizza.
Not sure why the Chicago River is this colour…
Lion at Lincoln Park Zoo
Waiting for the El
The lions at the Art Institute
Favourite painting from the Art Institute of Chicago – Degas’ Young Spartan Girls Challenging Boys
I also had the chance to take in the Daniel Clowes exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Daniel Clowes is the genius behind Ghost World, aka my favourite graphic novel of all time. I also like pretty much all of his other stuff.
I was in heaven.
Chicago was a blast.
The rest of the month was pretty rad, too. I spent a lot of time working on my book, which meant that the blog was somewhat neglected, but I did post a few things: I wrote about how much insomnia sucks, how ashamed I feel over my lack of education, how privilege colours the way that white folks talk about Trayvon Martin, and what it’s like to be Not That Girl.
Other highlights of the month include spending all day every day outside, going on a fancy date with Matt, and getting Theo his own bed in his own room (yes, he’d been sleeping in our bedroom all this time).
We spent Canada Day with Eden, Michael and their daughter Isadora. Iz and I climbed on the giant spiderweb at the park near our house!
Matt and Theo jamming with Iz
“MAMA LOOK HOW BIG I AM.”
Because sometimes you lie down to nurse your kid and the cat is like THIS SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO PILE ON TOP OF YOU.
Fun times and high-waisted shorts at the wading pool
My little shark ❤
Date night – dinner at Frank and movie at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre
Found a giant Boober Fraggle at Value Village aka HAPPIEST DAY OF MY WHOLE STUPID LIFE
Theo liked him too
More splash pad madness, this time with Matt manning the spray thingie
HIS OWN BED. HALLELUJAH.
We got to meet my friend Melissa’s daughter Juno – or, as Theo calls her, “Baby Judo.”
So the most important thing that happened in August is that on the sixth it was MY BIRTHDAY.
As I do every year on my birthday, I paused and remembered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It’s a weird event to share a day with, but I’ve sort of grown to love? appreciate? something? the time I spend reflecting on that anniversary.
Then I had some cake.
I also had a fun birthday soirée (and by soirée I mean all of my friends came over to my apartment for drinks and snacks and we spent the night laughing uproariously/listening to Elvis Costello).
I’m old, you guys.
I spent a lot of August lounging around in parks, going to the island for picnics and making trips to Value Village with Audra and/or Eden. I also spent a lot of time sitting in coffee shops NOT writing my book. I did manage to get a fair bit of other writing done, though. Here’s some of the stuff I’m proud of:
– Ten Lies Depression Tells You (which has been shared and viewed a whole bunch of times, a fact that warms the cockly cockles of my heart)
– What It’s Like To Be A Writer Who Is Also A Woman
– How To Talk To Your Son About His Body (which I wrote with Nathan but which he basically refuses to take credit for. SUCK IT NATHAN I AM GIVING YOU CREDIT ANYWAY.)
– A Few Truths About Love
I also wrote about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, which resulted in a small internet shitstorm. The piece, when republished in the Huffington Post’s music section, became the most viewed post in that department, which is bananas. I had a lot of really amazing people support and share my work, and I also had a lot of crap slung at me. One guy even invited me to suck his dick, which, I mean. Good thing we are living in a post-patriarchal world where the best insult you can think of is asking a woman to perform a sex act on you.
August in pictures:
Theo and Iz. She’s old enough to babysit, right?
Reading Theo’s all-time favourite book. He has the whole thing memorized.
Important life lessons with Auntie Catherine
Bringin’ back the Ninja Turtles
On the boat to the island
For Matt’s birthday we went to the Ai Wei Wei exhibit and then out for fancy tapas for dinner. My lovely friend Liz, who blogs over at The Stretch For Something Beautiful, babysat Theo so that we could have a fun grownup time.
From the Ai Wei Wei exhibit at the art gallery
At Matt’s birthday dinner – naturally there are no pictures of him from his own birthday, because I am a narcissist
At the end of the month we went to the Canadian National Exhibition, which is basically the biggest, smelliest most crowded and awful fall exhibition that you can imagine, except that it’s ALSO amazing. Theo loved the farm pavilion, was mildly terrified by the idea of riding on the merry-go-round, and enjoyed his 99 cent spaghetti. And I got to ride on the SWINGS. Success all around!
At the CNE with Amy
My favourite fair ride of all time
September was PRETTY RAD. I spent two weeks in Alberta with my in-laws, and since I’m afraid of flying, I got to spend THREE NIGHTS AND TWO DAYS ALONE ON A TRAIN. Since we didn’t think Theo would do well spending that long cooped up on a train, and it didn’t seem like a great idea for my kid to see me super fucked up on Ativan (which is the only way I can fly), that seemed like the best arrangement for everyone involved.
I GOT SO MUCH ALONE TIME, YOU GUYS.
Train by night
My little bed!
Train selfie. Sorry.
First day on the train is spent in Northern Ontario. From my journal:
“We stopped briefly in a town called Hornepayne and had the chance to get out and stretch our legs. I walked all the way through the town to the woods that surround it, and then back to the train tracks. It was such a strange, eerie little place.
The sky there was cloudless and very blue; the air was warm. It was a Sunday afternoon, so you would think that people would be out and about, but no. It was all empty streets, empty yards, empty swings on rusted old swing sets creaking and blowing in breeze. The only other sound was a faint wind chime somewhere not far away, but the sound was so blurred and indistinct that I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I felt as if I was a visiting a place where everyone had died fifty years ago.
One house had a tattered, faded confederate flag hanging flying from its front porch. Another building had a sun-bleached sign for now-defunct restaurant and general store painted on its side. There was the hulking carcass of an ancient Ford pickup truck (by the look and shape of it I would guess it dated back to the 30s or 40s) sitting a few feet into the woods on the north side of town; ragweed and tall grasses grew thick through the truck’s windows and along its dash.
There was an old train station and hotel by the tracks, all steadfast sun-baked brick and rotting wood. The windows, their glass smashed long ago, are now just dark, gaping holes surrounded by paint-peeling windowsills, exhaling the cold smell of mould, damp and ghosts.”
Day two started out in Winnipeg:
In Winnipeg I visited Louis Riel’s grave!
But by the afternoon we were in Saskatchewan:
Not too many trains come to Melville…
Alberta was a blast. We drove into Banff one day and spent some time in the mountains (I didn’t take any pictures, though, wtf). We went to Heritage Park, which is an old-timey village thing:
Theo riding the steam engine at Calgary’s Heritage Park. I think this was everyone’s favourite day in Alberta.
Theo just about died of happiness when he got to ride on a steam train
Little log church
We found a house that was JUST THE RIGHT SIZE for us:
In the tiny dugout house
We climbed a tree:
In a tree!!
And visited VULCAN:
Vulcan, Alberta aka HEAVEN ON EARTH
This is the best fucking town ever
Me n my boyfriend Spock
I was preeeeetty stoked
Seriously though they had the best murals everywhere
And public transporters!
On September 12th Matt and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. I don’t have any pictures of the super lovely dinner we had (courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law, who babysat Theo, made the reservation, paid for our dinner and sneakily brought a picture of Matt and me PLUS A REPLICA OF MY WEDDING BOUQUET to the restaurant), but here’s what we looked like on the big day:
Married four years. And as of this coming April, we will have been together for nine years.
I mean, holy shit.
Matt is the best, you guys. He is the most loving, patient, appreciative partner, and I am so lucky to have him in my life. So lucky.
Dude, I love you so much.
Another big Alberta event was that my sister-in-law Erin brought me along to her roller derby practice. She taught me how to skate and, more importantly, she taught me how to fall.
Erin is the coolest and let me just say right now that I feel so lucky to have married into a family that includes her. She has always been funny and kind and smart and a huge support when I’ve needed her the most. Erin, you are super rad and I love you.
I learned how to skate! Sort of!
We also went to the Calgary Zoo:
The Calgary Zoo had some … odd … attractions.
Theo was SO EXCITED about the shopping carts at the local grocery store
Another moment of excitement from my time in Alberta – meeting Danielle Paradis after months of online friendship. You guys she is super smart and funny and gorgeous!
The trip back was pretty uneventful. Just prairies and more prairies and then Northern Ontario.
The prairies are kinda bleak, you guys
Because of the weird timing of the train in conjunction with when Matt and Theo were able to get cheap airplane seats, I got back to Toronto a full thirty six hours before they did. Nathan met me at the train station and took me out for a greasy diner breakfast and then to see a movie. Then we made cookies. And dyed his pants. And watched bad TV. And made dinner. Basically Nathan is great is what I’m saying here. I am really lucky to have him in my life, too.
ANNE: LUCKY IN DUDES, UNLUCKY IN … OTHER THINGS?
The last big thing to happen in September was when I wrote about David Gilmour. Someone on CBC found my post and wound up interviewing me, the Toronto Star interviewed me, and a local high school teacher invited me to come speak to his 12th grade English class. It was all pretty exciting, but I think speaking to a high school class was the best part. First of all, I got to write PATRIARCHY in giant letters on a white board. I mean, that right there is a fucking dream come true. And the students were smart and engaged and had so many interesting things to say. We had a really great discussion about gender and feminism and intersectionality and it was all so exciting that I was high off of it for the rest of the day. Shout out to City Adult Learning Centre! I love you!
A few other posts from September that I am pretty proud of:
– You Are Worth It (yes, you!)
– Slut-shaming, Suicide and Mrs. Hall
– Tips For Writers
October was kind of a write-off, because I had pneumonia for half the stupid month. I spent a lot of time lying on my couch watching the X-Files which I mean, hey, there are worse fates in life.
And anyway, October did have its share of rad moments. For one thing, I got to have a sleepover with Jennie, Audra, Alexis and Shannon (with Eden joining us for dinner)! Not only that, but we had it at the owner of Peach Berserk‘s house. WHICH MEANT THAT WE GOT TO TRY ON DRESSES.
ALL THE DRESSES
Matt and Theo and I went to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. The weather was gorgeous and we spent a lot of time outdoors.
(My mom made the hat!)
Also in October I CLEANED MY BEDROOM.
Yes, I am a grownup.
No, my bedroom is not often this clean.
I … oh man I am such a disappointment to myself sometimes. Hah.
In October Theo was consumed with toddler ennui.
We tried being a two-kid family for a night so that Melissa and her husband Mike could celebrate their anniversary. It was pretty successful?
It was my beloved Sylvia’s birthday.
Theo dressed up as (in his words) a “big kid preschooler engineer.”
This was the first year that we took Theo trick-or-treating, and he had a blast. Of course, he kept freezing up and forgetting to say trick-or-treat, but otherwise he had so much fun. And then after two days he totally forgot about the candy and Matt and I were like, JACKPOT.
I also wrote some things in October:
– Gilmour Girls: A Reading List for David Gilmour
– How To Talk To New Parents
– How To Be A Grownup (spoiler alert, I don’t actually know how, as evidenced by how rarely I clean my bedroom)
– High Tech Panties Won’t Stop Rape
In November MY BOOK WAS PUBLISHED.
HOLY SHIT I PUBLISHED A BOOK.
A BOOK THAT YOU CAN BUY HERE AND HERE AND HERE AND HERE AND HERE
I HAVE A BOOK AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS:
That was basically the best thing that happened in November.
Other November awesomeness includes the time Liz, Amy and I went to the rare book fair at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was the first time the two of them had met in person, but they so similar that I knew they would get along like wildfire. Turns out I was right!
This is what heaven looks like, by the way:
We also went to the Santa Claus parade in November. Do not ask me why it’s held in November. I was kind of worried that Theo would get bored and want to leave part way through, but nope. He was so into it.
Yes, I was knitting during a parade. So?
In November, Theo experimented with weird sleeping positions:
I helped Nathan housesit for Audra, and got to cuddle these guys a bunch:
Also my friend Annie DREW A PICTURE OF US (plus our friends Nancy and Melissa) AS THE KIDS FROM STAND BY ME.
HOLY CANNOLI I LOVE THAT MOVIE SO MUCH.
I’m Gordie, of course. Annie is my Chris ❤
Theo had his preschool picture taken in November, and it was neat to compare what he looks like now vs. what he looked like a year ago.
At the end of November I went to the first meeting of the Young Adultery Book Club (run by my friends Cat and Alicia). Our first book was Flowers In The Attic. Somehow I had never read this book before which, I mean, what is even wrong with me?
I’d only managed to finish the first three quarters of the book beforehand and thus spent the entire meeting shaking my head in disbelief, saying, “I don’t understand how this is a BOOK. WHAT IS WRONG. WAIT THEIR MOTHER DID WHAT?”
YOU GUYS THIS BOOK IS CRAZY
Some things that I posted in November:
– On Learning to Love My Nose
– Guest Post: Life as a Mountain Hike (written by my husband Matt)
Holy shitsnacks we’re finally at the end of the year!
December was mostly ok. My sister Claire had an accident at the beginning of the month, which was pretty scary and stressful (especially for her).
Claire is the prettiest, in case you were wondering:
I super love her and I am glad she’s ok.
Other than Claire’s accident, the month was pretty good. I went out with my friends Graham and Susan for Susan’s birthday, then got drunk and took bathroom selfies and THEN watched Drunk Trek. Although sadly I was so boozy that I passed out about twenty minutes in. Whoops. At least that prevented me from drinking anything else and thus hating myself a lot the next morning.
I saw my friend Liz do a reading of her poetry as part of an arts collective:
We went to Casa Loma …
… and visited Santa Claus
We found a Theo-sized hole in one of the towers
They had a mini ballet version of Peter Pan – Theo immediately decided he wanted to learn to dance ballet
Then the ice storm came:
Buuuuut I still went to work. At least Theo came along to help me clean!
On Christmas Eve, we drove down to Kingston with Nathan, whose family also lives there. When Matt and Nathan get together it’s like insta-best-friends, so Theo and I napped in the back seat for most of the trip while the two of them high-fived each other for three hours over how awesome they are. Pretty great, you guys.
Also pretty great? Christmas itself.
Theo reading a Christmas Eve bedtime story with Gran:
Opening presents Christmas morning:
Theo spent the rest of the day running around the house saying, I’M A REAL HOCKEY PLAYER
Then we took him for-real skating, and he wasn’t too sure what to make of it:
I wrote some stuff in December, too. I talked about how I am a feelings machine, and I made a list of all the stuff that isn’t feminist, I had some stuff to say about why we obsessively document our lives, and, in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, I discussed Canada’s own apartheid.
In mid-December, I wrote a guest post for The Outlier Collective on how to deal with negative/trollish blog comments.
Then, for my last post of the year (not counting the first part of my year in review), I wrote about how virginity is a social construct. And I got freshly freshly pressed! Again! For the third time this year! BLOGGING HAT TRICK!
I ended the year with a fan-art tribute to Patti Smith, in honour of her birthday. I love you Patti Smith!
I am a nerd.
It’s been an amazing year, you guys, and y’all have been a huge part of that amazingness. Thank you so much for reading and commenting and sharing. Thank you for being awesome. You’re a big part of the reason why I keep writing here.
Happy 2014 ❤