Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Ikea relationship repair, defying gravity, suffering, and stained glass cabins

This week's "I want to go to there":
I'm still feeling the jet lag, so bed is my wish.

Relationship Saving Station

This Relationship Saving Station that comedian Jeff Wysaski set up in his local Ikea is hilarious and awesome.

Defying Gravity

This Israeli acrodancing couple blows my mind. That move where he's standing on her shoulders and they fall backwards? YEGADS!

Firsthand Accounts of Katrina

Artist Dapper Bruce Lafitte has an exhibit currently out called Kingpin of the Antpin that includes some beautiful and moving drawings depicting his firsthand experience with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. If you're not in New York (I'm not!) then check it out on Fierman Gallery's website here.


"The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt."
—Thomas Merton

Stained Glass Cabin

I have fallen in love with this cabin made out of stained glass windows. I don't know how it's not frigid in the winter and stifling in the summer, but if they've succeeded at making it comfortable, I will move in tomorrow.

Following Your Heart Can Backfire

Here is one family's meaningful reminder that pulling a Wild or an Eat, Pray, Love (or whatever other self help memoir inspired you to follow your heart and leave your life behind) isn't always the dream it's made out to be.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I am home home home!

Europe's been a gas, but it's always good to get home to my bed, my cat, and my life.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Doggy Wilson, shoulder cat, buddy plant, and more!

Gertie is 100% the reason why I can't have nice things. Well, Gertie and the fact that I spill everything.

But mostly, it's because whenever I bring something pretty into the house, she tries to eat it.


It's like the doggy version of Wilson in Home Improvement!

Sweet hairdo.

Not that I'd ever trade Gertie in, but if I could have a cat who sat on my shoulder - oh the joy!

This plant is your buddy.


I always thought mice were kinda cute (if only they didn't poop in your food), this one takes the cute cake!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Genius octopi, singing fish, the best waterproofing ever, and more!

Learning! Roundup: Smart octopi, loss of groundwater, and more!

Octopi are GENIUSES...

...and now maybe we know why! Looks like octopi, and other cephalopods have about 11,000 RNA coding sites (compared to a human's measles couple-dozen useful sites), and that these allow them to edit their genes on the fly, adapting to new environments in a snap.

The Ground is Going Dry

We are using up vital groundwater, and (unlike Beyoncé's unfaithful lover) it is irreplaceable. This is caused mostly by farming practices - instead of using water from rivers and streams, 43% of water for crops and irrigation comes from the ground.

Singing Fish!

That's about it: there are species of fish that are not only vocal, but that SING SONGS! In CHORUS!

Everybody's Got It

Okay, not everybody. But a new study shows that almost half of Americans have genital human papilloma virus (HPV). Since certain strains of HPV can lead to the fun times of cancer, this is kind of a big deal. Vaccinating 11 and 12 year olds against HPV is seen as our best line of defence so far.


If you've ever tried to waterproof something, you know that the worst part is how fragile whatever the coating is: a little scratch or abrasion and BAM! Wetness. Researchers have developed a new waterproofing spray that is durable and even self-repairing. So basically, it's waterproofing MAGIC that can be used on clothing, roofs, and whatever else you want to make impervious to water.

One-Hour Flu Testing

Right now there's no quick and easy way to prove someone has the flu, which means that people with flus often get prescribed antibiotics, which do nothing but increase antibiotic resistance and hasten societal breakdown and death. Luckily, some scientists have now created a flu test that can give results in one hour, hopefully seriously reducing the number of unnecessary antibiotics out there.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

WWRAD: What Would Rich Andrea Do?

You know the good, old-fashioned game where you imagine what you'd do if you were super rich?

Recently I was chatting with a friend of mine about how much we enjoy certain aspects of our frugal lifestyle: shopping second-hand, making and repairing our own things, and clothing swaps, to name a few. We both expressed hope that we wouldn't leave these parts of ourselves behind if we ever got rich. (Because, you know, we really need to worry about that.)

I know that wealth tends to bring a whole host of changes along with it, and that things that seem important now, like the satisfaction of making my own shelves, may diminish when buying them becomes the equivalent of buying a pack of gum.

This lead me to think - if I don't want Rich Andrea to start wearing insane jewelry and hanging portraits of herself on a wall, what would I like to see her indulge in?

Sure, if I suddenly came into money my first actions would be boring things like debt elimination, charitable gifts, and old-age savings, but what about the fun stuff? What luxuries would Rich Andrea realllllly enjoy?

Rich Andrea's First Luxury: A housekeeper/personal assistant.

If I could have someone manage cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, meal prep, and battling my cell phone company when my contract needs renewal, life would become an actual dream.

Life would instantly be 10x better and I would be able to do SO MANY MORE THINGS if all the nitpicky details were just managed for me. I mean, it's basically what men used to get when they got a wife (and still sort of do thanks to uneven division of housework and emotional labour - YAY!), and it makes devoting your life to meaningful work and relationships so much easier.

Rich Andrea's Second Luxury: A bigger home - ideally on a commune.

That's right, I would prefer to live in a small home and have a housekeeper/personal assistant than live in a big place! Bigger homes take more work, and I don't want that ramp up the amount of stress in my life BEFORE I have help in place. Who has time for that?

Reasonably-Rich Andrea would get a reasonably-sized home in a decent neighbourhood.

In true dream-land, however, I would buy a large parcel of land in, or close to, the city. My friends and I would build homes on the land and plant community gardens with grazing goats and eat weekly meals together. My main floor would be all open for hosting parties, as well as plays and concerts. There would also be a black box theatre space on the land with a large patio area that can be covered when rainy.

Also, there are tree forts.

Alternatively, I would buy a large apartment building, turn the first floor or two into common area with said theatre and other community space, and then have all my friends live there with me.

Rich Andrea's Third Luxury: A vacation property.

A place to go near water and trees with enough space for friends to come along. I may even opt for this before I opted for a bigger home. Getaways! All the getaways! Maybe my commune-living friends and I can each get vacation homes in different areas (mountains, islands, farms) and then we'll have all the options.

Rich Andrea's Fourth Luxury: Regular travel.

This is pretty obvious. I'd like to be able to travel more and be more carefree about it. (She says, while currently flying to Europe.)

I wonder how wealthy I'd have to be to consider buying a personal jet?

That's about it. Boring, right? I mean, I have Upper-Stratosphere Wealthy dreams that involve opening a science and arts research/production centre and throwing money at all the world's problems until they are solved, but I think those dreams fall in a different category than the luxuries I'd like to indulge in?

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Imagination, girls in a boy band, hijab (w)rapping, promises, mercy, and more!

This Week's "I want to go to there":
In this busy season of life, a little stillness would be marvellous.


A beautiful animated short on imagination.

This Boy Band is a Girl Group

I super-duper love that the latest boy band to get everyone in China excited is actually made up of girls. They're called Acrush, and they are the latest big thing. Turns out that androgyny is actually pretty huge in China right now, which is awesome. Tear it up, Acrush!

Wrap My Hijab

Pretty into this rap about hijabi life.

Making Promises
"We live in a society that puts a lot of emphasis on freedom and personal choice. But the big thing I’ve learned recently is that if you spend your years keeping your options open you will lead an impotent, fragmented life."
-David Brooks
This is just one quote out of an entirely quotable commencement speech from David Brooks about the importance of commitment to having a meaningful life.


A CoinciDANCE!

This brought joy to my heart.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Cute! Roundup: A cat and his doppleganger, trouble with doors, and more.

Gertie is, obviously, my baby. My bestie's baby is, equally obviously, her baby. So then our babies are, basically, cousins. Here is a picture of two cousins.

Cute picture of my fur baby (aka my kitty), and my friend's human baby. Basically, these two are cousins.


This gentlekitty looks just like his forebears. (Also, what I wouldn't give for such a portrait of my Gertie!)

Sometimes Gertie has trouble finding the opening in the door, too.

Teaching his son to play catch.

Couldn't you just fall into those eyes?

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