Quick Update and Hello Summer!

No, I haven’t abandoned this blog yet again.  (Thanks for noticing my absence, though.)  Things have been a bit busy around here but Baby Owl has graciously allowed me some time to myself this morning and I thought I’d pop onto the blog for a few moments.

Plans for this blog are becoming more concrete, which I’m really happy about.  The new series I introduced a while ago (Snazzy Shoestrings, Spending Smart, and The Budget-Friendly Recipe Book) were pretty popular, so I’ll be continuing to add to those series as this little train chugs onwards.  I’ve got some more soup recipes on the way, as well as some content related to first-time parenthood as I’ve experienced it so far.

Summer is in full swing in Quebec — seems we skipped spring again, really — and we’ve got a lot happening in the next few months so stay tuned for some content on family, friendship, how to survive a Montreal summer, and maybe even a post or two on a different take on summer fashion.

Off the blog, I’ve finally landed on a side hustle that I am really passionate about and will be pursuing (for reals, this time)!  Until it’s ready to go live I won’t be saying much but things are already underway and I’m so excited for it.

Finally, if you want to keep up with me in between posts, you can find me on Instagram (@demipinte) — that’s where I’m most active on social media on a daily basis (just ask my father-in-law).

See you soon!

Hej från Sverige!

Earlier this year when I realized it had been six years since I last had an actual vacation that was longer than four or five days off work, I decided to take a full two weeks off Job1 and a full three off Job2 to get the hell outta Dodge for a while and talked one of my best friends into skipping town with me.

Kep002

And now here I am now in Sweden; next week, I’ll be in Ireland.

Getting across the Atlantic was no trouble at all.  The overnight flight from Montreal to Paris was a breeze, because I’m one of those special people who can fall asleep within an hour if they play no active role whatsoever in the process of moving the vehicle in question forward.  I fell asleep somewhere between Newfoundland and Iceland on a plane flying in complete darkness, and then woke up halfway over England with bright sunshine streaming into the cabin and a flight attendant pulling up alongside my row with coffee and banana bread.

Getting through Charles-de-Gaulle was a production and a half, though all was well in the end with the reward of a cappuccino and a tartelette-aux-pommes  at the gate while we waited for our SAS flight to Arlanda.  Once in the air, I again slept for most of the flight, waking up just in time to see our plane break through the cloud cover and catch my first glimpse of Sweden through the tiny window.  Seeing all that green space, broken by tawny patches of fields and glossy swathes of blue-grey water, made my heart soar ever higher as we got closer to the ground.

My first footsteps on Swedish ground were on the airport’s tarmac as I came off the exit ramp of the small SAS bird and crossed into the Arlanda terminal.  A few hours later, walking back with my companion from the grocery store to our cosy Airbnb rental, my Fitbit buzzed on my wrist to tell me I’d completed my daily goal of 12 000 steps (which might just indicate how much we had to walk even in spite of being stuck in airplanes for 10 hours today).

It’s so exhilarating to finally be travelling after so many years of hoping and dreaming and scraping together enough to get here.  I’m so excited to finally be meeting friends who I’ve known for half my life in both Sweden and Ireland, yet never yet met with in person.  Funnily enough, when we were waiting to leave YUL yesterday, I saw on my “On This Day” Facebook feed that exactly three years before, I had pulled the following fortune out of a fortune cookie after eating dumplings with the very same friend with whom I’m travelling now:

FortuneCookie

 

I’m glad I was finally able to make good on the promise I made to myself that day:  that before I left my 20s, I would make this dream vacation reality.  And so, hey från Sverige and stay tuned for updates as we go through Stockholm, Danderyd, and Falun this next week!

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For all the latest on this 2016 Sweden and Ireland adventure, follow my Instagram page @demipinte — and if you want to see it all from the whimsical view of a plush-toy German Shepherd that my boyfriend gave me for the trip, go to Instagram as well to follow @kep.the.shep !  

In Pursuit of Happiness, #4: Calligraphy, Rants, and Tweets

Four weeks already?  Really?

Let’s get down to it, then!

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Calligraphy:  Part of my Christmas loot this year was a stocking-stuffer of cold, hard cash (thank you, Favourite Second Sister), some of which went towards buying stationary, notebooks, and a fountain pen at Michael’s.

While stuck at YYZ on my way home during a ridiculously long layover, I pulled out one of those notebooks and the fountain pen to start a letter to a friend.  After a while, inspiration seized me and I started doing some calligraphy versions of a few of my favourite quotes.

However, there’s more about calligraphy that’s making me happy than my own minute contribution to the art form.  Thanks to Instagram, I discovered Austin Farley (@farlezbarkley) and his artwork, which according to him originated in an adolescent desire to improve his penmanship and was revived upon finding a graduation present from his best friend (his first fountain pen and nibs) after embarking on his career in the US Air Force.

The reason why stumbling upon Austin’s calligraphy is something that makes me happy is simple:  it reminded me of the old family tradition I grew up with of reading handwritten letters from friends and relatives, and then responding to them in kind.  It reminded me of my father teaching me how to write my name in ink, and of watching my father sign all matter of forms and books with his signature and the day’s date.

As Austin told me,

“…calligraphy is another form of human relations.  We used to be keen at it, even taught it to our younger generations.  Then we just…stopped.  I intend to…keep things personal.  Nothing is more personal than leaving a part of yourself on the page for another person to have.”

Damn straight — and that’s definitely a concept on writing that resonates in my own artistic writer’s heart.

Rants:  In the middle of all the FaceBook statuses hailing the arrival of snow (the city had a green Christmas and the snow came one day too late for the reindeer) and all of the corresponding Instagram photos showing the lovely side of winter in Montréal, one of my colleagues from Job2, Tom (@tom.talks.politix), has been using his social media to help us keep it real.

How?

By remind us that la saison de crissedecalicedetabarnak is known as such for a reason:  snow in the city really blows.

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Those of you who know me know that I love snowboarding, so maybe it’s surprising that I love the fact that somebody in this city openly curses the white stuff and its propensity to inconvenience the lives of people who live here.  Well, I guess I have to clarify that I like snow in the mountains and on the slopes where it freakin’ belongs so I can escape from the grunginess of urban life…and it makes me happy to know there are other people in this city who are on the same page.

Tweets:  I finally reactivated my Twitter account (*cough* @demipinte *cough*) due to the fangirl urge to stalk my favourite NPR podcast personalities.

I am totally on board with using social media as a way to connect with people I think are awesome over things I think are meaningful, and I’ve been trying to use my Twitter account towards that end.  Instead of just blurting out 140 characters’ worth of dishevelled id into the universe, I’m trying to actually have some small-but-meaningful conversations on Twitter with people I respect and admire.

Enter Margaret H. Willison (@MrsFridayNext) the kickass sassy librarian of Two Bossy Dames (@twobossydames)and NPR guest-host fame (in addition to Pop Culture Happy Hour, you can catch her on her own podcast, Appointment Television).  Out of the blue on New Year’s Eve, I asked her if she had any book recommendations from 2015 that should be top priority for 2016 reading lists.

She actually replied with a legit recommendation — which I will look for as soon as payday comes this week!  It’s called The Just City by Jo Walton, and apparently it should satisfy my craving for fiction “featuring a strong female lead.”  Thanks, Margaret!

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, you should definitely subscribe to the Two Bossy Dames newsletter.  Here, I’ll even make it super easy for you!

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Have a happy week!

Like a restless wind inside a letter-box

Welcome to 2016!

The following quote was the inspiration behind this post:

“There is a fountain of youth:  it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.”

— Sophia Loren

I’ve always wanted to make my writing matter somehow — in big ways and small, and we all know that the little things are what make life meaningful on a daily basis.

In 2015 this blog was viewed over 3000 times by people in 35 different countries.  In Internet  terms that’s barely anything at all — little more than “nothing,” really — but to me, it means so much…and I want to say thank you in a personalized and tangible way.
In 2016, I would like to revive an old family tradition: writing letters by hand to people whose days could be brightened a little more by a personalized note, written “just because.”

Or in this case, “just because” and to say “thank you.”
So here goes:

  
  

((So that would be emails to demipinteblog@gmail.com or a direct message via Instagram or Twitter @demipinte))