Monday, March 22, 2010

Warning: your pregnancy will bring unsolicited advice from total strangers

Little peanut
Originally uploaded by Kinster Nepinster

We think the little human on the right is a girl, but it’s a little too early to tell. We call her Peanut.

I am now 4 months pregnant.

Being pregnant is a big deal to some women, not so much to others. I fall in the latter category. I have to say I’ve been lucky. Other than dizziness and back pain, I’ve been fine and I feel normal, not crazy emotional or nauseous. However, sometimes I leave the house without any shoes on, or I put the cereal box in the fridge (and the milk in the pantry), and well, you’re about to find out that it makes me a little cranky.

The attention to my growing belly is sweet, but the comments I receive from the outside world gave me insight on the image people have of pregnant women. The first thing I learned is that people love giving advice. They love it with a passion.

I’ve been cycling to work. Don’t get me started on the faces I get when I tell them I am on my road bike day in and day out. At first I didn’t have the good sense to realize that people would be so negative and opinionated about this topic. I’ve stopped trying to argue with them, and I don’t let it bother me anymore. Sometimes I argue that advice given to pregnant women apply to the lowest common denominator, and that if you were an athlete on the bicycle pre-pregnancy, things will work out just fine on the bike during your pregnancy. I am usually pretty confident of my choice to cycle, but it does help to realize that I am not alone in that department. But athlete or not I still think biking is a viable mode of transportation for pregnant women.

One thing I’ve noticed is a tendency from people to equate everything exclusively to my pregnancy. Anything I do/eat/say is a result of my condition. Hungry for cheese? Must be those crazy cravings (anybody who knows me is aware I go absolutely gaga for cheese). I may say I am tired and wish I could have slept in. Oh, that’s normal, after all, you’re pregnant! Little do people know I am a champion sleepyhead. I love to sleep more than I love cheese, and that is saying something. At this point they love to add that I won’t have the luxury to sleep in in a few months, and that I better “enjoy it while I can”.

Which brings me to my next point. People love telling me how much of a commitment it will be, as we are first-time parents and we haven’t got a clue what we’re getting into. Yes, the onset of a baby this fall will cut into cycling, reading, cooking, etc. We understand our lifestyle will change dramatically, but the constant narrative I get from people around me is a bit unsettling and repetitive. Most people just can’t see that we will carry the same values with us post delivery (having a healthy lifestyle, maintaining interest in the outside world, mindfulness of the environment, enjoying the latest bands, travel, etc). We’ll still care, we’ll still be ourselves. Hey, you without kids, you can still be our friend!

That said I have been having excellent conversations with friends who are happy and supportive and seem to know where I am coming from, and I’ve been feeding off positivity from these people. It also helps that my other-half reasserts his love and support every day. He still thinks I can install those kitchen cupboards all by myself. No excuses honey.

I can’t wait to go out and about with this kid, walking on the Ottawa River path, packing her up on the bike and go ride canal-side, and much later canoeing in Algonquin Park. It will be a wonderful, frustrating, interesting, fascinating, whatever, growing experience.

See you September 5, Pea.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Going to a Town

I don't remember the last time I listened to a song on Repeat, but consider the new Rufus Wainwright single my new obsession.
I've not heard this type of song since John Lennon or Elton John. The melody is at the same time uplifting and disheartening. A wonderful dark song. Grab it here.

making my own way home / ain't gonna be alone / i'm going to a town / that's already been but down.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Secrets of really good chocolate chip cookies

Most people I know claim to have the perfect chocolate-chip cookie recipe. I don't believe I have the best recipe, but this is damn close. In the end, I think it's not really the recipe that matters, but how you make them (and the quality of your ingredients, especially the vanilla).

Here's how it's done:

-Always use real butter;
-And real sugar. Don't tell me Splenda should be used, you smug moralizer;
-Melt the butter on a double boiler (careful not burn it). The idea behind this is to have your sugar melt in your butter more easily. Let it cool before you add the eggs, otherwise they will poach in the mix;
-Use real vanilla;
-Use good chocolate: I like buy a brick of bitter-sweet chocolate and chop it up in big morsels;
-Use an electric mixer to combine the sugar, butter and eggs. Mix for a good 5 minutes;
-Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients in the wet ingredients;
-Mix the dough thoroughly but don't over-mix it;
-Refrigerate the dough at least an hour. When dough is firm, form dough into 1 inch balls. If you don't refrigerate the dough, your cookies will come out flat. In the end, you want to eat little Matterhorns;
-Make sure your cookie sheet is cool (or cold). Parchment-paper-it;
-Only cook a few cookies at a time. Leave the rest of the dough in the freezer. Take the frozen dough out of the freezer only when you're sure someone will eat them immediately when they are done;
-Do not bake longer than 9.5 minutes. 10 minutes and they'll be too cooked (I'm serious);
-Eat approximately 2 minutes after they are done.

The recipe:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened or melted
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups bitter-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips or your drug of choice.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and chips.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 9.5 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Eat the damn cookies.

When you are done eating the cookies, go make some music: Shiver

Sunday, December 24, 2006

New travel blog!

Head on over to my travel blog.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm back for good, for now

I was told a few days ago that by blog missed me, so I'm welcoming myself back -- just in time for travel blogging in India. In a few days I'll be in Delhi holding my Belhi tight, and popping Ibuprofen. Now if I could just find a digital camera to keep a record of all these good times.

I'm leaving you with a recommendation: check out my darling's new blog, he's in Australia right now, and was in Ireland a few weeks back. He likes to take pictures of bicycles, and really, that's why I love the guy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrrrrrr, Yarrrrrr, Harrrrrr

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day, an annual celebration founded by a couple of theatre guys from Oregon.

In the spirit of this wonderful example of pointless American innovation, learn to release your inner pirate here. Or have the computer do it for you with the Pirate Filter.

Aye. Arrr.

Friday, September 15, 2006

NYC Tour Diary

It's nice to visit NYC. After decades of watching Allen movies and sitcoms, it's nice to get to see the real thing. Granted, I've been to NYC before, but I don't remember too much of it, except the one time when were robbed (or scammed) of a couple hundred dollars and our car was towed. But I was 13 and I found the whole thing pretty hilarious. Anyway, that is neither here nor there so I'll get to the point and give you my perceptions of my trip, all still minty fresh even thought I got back over two weeks ago.

I saw a polar bear at the Central Park Zoo. It looked as cuddly and warm as George Clooney.
The hole of 9/11 is as big as one might think.
Fashion note: not a single person there wears shorts. Nobody.
Fashion note #2: In Central Park, a new yorker compliments me on my bag. The next day, I overhear a hipster murmuring to her boyfriend: "Oh, I love her shoes". I record these as the two single greatest fashion-related victories of my existence.
I was staying in Edison, one of the many New Jersey strech of suburbia, in a hotel room clad in beige and darker-beige, which is just the way rooms ought to be. It cost me 37$ to be the extra-guest in my brother-in-law's hotel room. My parents and all my sisters (minus one) were there too.
My sister and I had glorious brunch in the ever hip West Village. It was divine. We took pictures.
NYC is a society caught in constant stampede. There are "No Standing Any Time" signs everywhere. I thought it was adressed to pedestrians, but I was later told that it was for cars. But you still feel like a criminal if you don't "Move Your Ass Any Time".
Being in the city make me feel dirty (literally, not figuratively). Something about the air, the smell. It's all so very dirty. I go through a pack of moist anti bacterial towelettes in a day. If I were living there I would constantly be afraid of dying a slow radioactive death, unless I had my towelettes handy.
In Soho: Saw Sofia Coppola foraging for lettuce and bread at Dean and Deluca. It was exotic and unexpected.
Shopping in the U.S. doesn't feel too sinful anymore, as the canadian dollar in is better shape.
Had some glorious walks, but 50% of my brain was focussing on my ailing knees.
In NYC, cupcakes are the must have accessory of the year.
You are not supposed to want to go to the bathroom in NYC. Hardly an original observation.

If someone gets a hint (Caro? Nan?, Mom? Hello?), i'll soon have pictures to post on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stalk and the City

This is my last night in NYC, but before I take the time to write an entry about that, I want to share the fact that took my stalking of Sofia Coppola in Soho seriously and published it on their website.

I wrote: "[We found] a preggy Coppola buying bread, roses and lettuce at Dean and Deluca, alone and wearing an oversize pink and white polo shirt. No makeup and very pretty."

My sister and I love to stalk celebs. That is pathetic.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

NYC bound

I'll be spending the long weekend in NYC, and the first thing i'll do in the city is this:

458 Ninth Avenue, New York NY 10018 (at 36th Street).

I will gladly cooperate.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

happy birthday to me

I am 30. I can now be president of Chechnya.

I am still processing the information so i'm not going to talk about all the goals I've set for myself. Also, I have no intention of doing any “soul-searching”, “rework my life”, “retake control” or make any sort of “improvements” ...yet. Instead, today I plan on doing some moping, a little procrastination, and a dash of drinking alcoholic beverages (after noon of course).

I’m a big sentimental dope when it comes to birthdays. If you’re so inclined, please send birthday wishes to kikine at hotmail dot com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

oh yeah

Get your racecar nickname here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Those were the days

Djoubi found this little jewel of a website. Remember when music videos had a plot and a lot of over-acting? They were awesome.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Another day, another bird.

I like Bird Nerd.
I bought this linocut print the other day. Birds make great art subjects.

In other news, it's hot out. Contemplating moving to Alaska. In the meantime, i'll be lobbying for national acceptance of a ritual called afternoon nap. While we north americans are working away at 3pm, the brits are having their tea and the spanish are enjoying their daily Siesta. The afternoon cooldown, it's not a bad idea.

So these days I spend all my non-working time in the coolest room in our house, the very dark TV room, and watch movies: I strongly recommend the british movie Heartlands, a small independent movie about a guy setting off on his moped across the country intent on winning his cheating wife back. The movie captures the exquisite beauty of England's rolling hills.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sofa, Dirt, Books, Songs.

I bought this sofa
To answer the question of my last post: what will it all cost? The answer is: probably a lot. This is what happens when you turn 30: you buy a sofa that does not come from Goodwill. I have to admit it will be nice to own a piece of furniture that will last me through adulthood.

Sometimes a girl has to play in dirt.
Last wednesday I had a day off. At first I was thinking of spending the day watching Ab Fabs, but the day took a strange turn. I was having my morning cup of coffee on the balcony and at one point my eyes peered over my Vanity Fair and I saw the train wreck that is my back yard: weeds taller than Yao Ming and many varieties of spiky swamp-like "greenery". Then the fun began. I spent the day pulling weeds and really enjoying it. I can certainly identify with this guy. It was nasty job, and at the end of the day I was painfully aware of muscles I didn’t even know I had. Now we have to level the ground and that should take lots and lots of power tools, wood, bricks, and time.

But there is always time to read.
Ali Smith – The Accidental. I just started it.
Jon Katz – Running to the Mountain. A story about some big shot writer from Hollywood going broke and buying a house in the wood to “regroup”. This is not the best book I’ve ever read, and sometimes the writing is just plain bad, but for some reason I can’t put it away. It’s a bad page turner.

Our of my headphones:
1. Time has Told Me – Nick Drake
2. Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez
3. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
4. The Stars of Track and Field – Belle and Sebastian
5. Upward Over the Mountain – Iron & Wine
6. Cello Song – Nick Drake
7. Drops of Jupiter – Train. "Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken"
8. Peace Like a River – Paul Simon
9. (Love me Like Music) I’ll be Your Song – Heart
10. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
11. Something to Talk About – Badly Drawn Boy

Monday, July 17, 2006


Summer is the most disappointing of seasons. The promises of fun, slush and cotton candy are replaced with heat exhaustion, vacation envy and noisy air conditioning units. Gasping for air is not my idea of a swell summer time. I genuinely hate the weather ladies who cry at the sight of clouds on a summer weekend, and say it couldn’t possibly be summer if we are not drenched in sun rays.

I miss the cool lakes of the Madawaska Valley and the chilly evenings spent lounging one of those chairs you always see on the cover of Cottage Quarterly, cozily wrapped in a blanket reading the Atlantic Monthly. Purdy Lake was nice, we had a lot of time to read, look out the window, or bike around. But that was two weeks ago and today I’m looking for a pool I can swim in for about a mile, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell. This seems like the obvious solution to my little problems, which are: I don’t sleep well, I have nightmares at night, and I feel like I need ten kinds of leave: vacation leave, sick leave, personal leave, etc.

These things helped me make it through the season:

- My new Creative Zen MP3 player. Worth every penny.
- Michael Palin’s shows on traveling on TVO, Fridays at 7pm.
- The band Keane.
- A daily Grande-Double-Espresso-Iced-Latte-With-One-and-a-half-Raw-Sugar
- Yellow Tail Chardonnay
- Defamer, The Superficial and Gawker.
- The idea that retail is an effective form of therapy.

In other news, I’ll be hitting a new decade next month. The scary thing about turning 30 is not that I’m getting older, it’s that I’m not much different than when I was 23. Oh sure, there has been slight physical change and much soul searching, but deep down (or right on the surface) I’m still the adorably odd student who likes to read her Star in the bath. I still don’t like the 9-to-5-living-for-the-weekend lifestyle (which I thought before was just a hard time adjusting), and my taste in books, music and art has not changed an iota (except I dropped Tori Amos).

As I’m hitting the thirties, I wonder a lot about what will change, if, when, how, and what will it cost?

I’d like to take my twenties, plant them in a jar next to my kitchen window and name it George. Maybe George will grow to become a beautiful and accomplished 30 year-old.