bookmark_borderHow hard can it be?

I enjoy fashion and footwear YouTubers.

And I floated the idea of starting one called Dressing Daneille.

Not fully (or even remotely) onboard — my beloved spouse Danielle suggested Dressing Christine instead. But the alliteration is just too good to change my plans now.

But the catch (as explained to me), is we need to have five episodes in the can first. And she’d need to look at my storyboards first.

It is apparently — “not easy as I think.”

Now, I don’t think it will be easy — but surely someone like me who has an actual (decades ago, but still!) education in this kind of stuff can do this?

Typing this, I am reminded that Danielle is the one who actually puts together our (excellent) vacation videos.

All I do is take some of the shots in situ and make suggestions to the edits when we’re at home. But it’s my carefully honed skills and natural storytelling talents that enable me to be such a good partner in these tasks.

The first episode is going to be about a “going out for dinner” outfit based around Danielle’s favourite new boots.

The second episode will be about how Danielle discovered the boots and will then segue into a tour of my own Tricker’s footwear collection.

I am sure that no one is holding their breath for this newest entry into the YouTube universe.

bookmark_borderGoodbye for now. I am going to enjoy some quiet time in my garden. (As if.)

We’ll be travelling to the U.K. in a few weeks, and I’m determined to pack lightly.

I have never been an especially strong person, but now as I settle into middle-age — when does that start anyway? — I absolutely cannot carry a large suitcase up stairs and on and off trains. And we will be on a train! I love trains…

And so, this post was supposed to be about some packing tricks I learned on YouTube and about the electric train we’re taking from Edinburgh to London.

But then I googled middle-age, and now I don’t feel like typing with my aged, wrinkly fingers anymore. According to this one website I visited, I will be middle-aged for just a few more months.

I thought I had five years left! I mean I don’t think it starts at 55 like this article says — but surely it doesn’t end there!

  • Mature (55-70):Your kids are young adults or grown-ups and you’re finding comfort in neutral colours. Retirement is on the horizon and you’re looking forward to some quiet time in the garden and the grandkids making an appearance.

Does not having kids extend the period for me? I’m not ready, or interested in, being a “mature” adult. (What kind of dumb euphemism is that anyway? Mature sounds like I am plant that has reached is full height or something.)

Goodbye for now. I am going to enjoy some quiet time in my garden. (As if.)

bookmark_borderMy new dumb hobby

I have been looking for a new hobby that does not involve any type of strenuous exercise. So I began my investigation into some fun things that might work for me.

Extreme ironing sounded like a possibly at first. I like ironing and all tasks housekeeping. But it was not what I thought was — I imagined getting some really intense creases on shirts that stand up by themselves. But no.

Buttoning these is very hard on the fingers.

So I landed on raw denim. It’s a hobby mostly practiced by men  — and there’s a pretty big following on Reddit. It’s super nerdy, niche and costs way too much money — so just up my alley.

I read this particular thread before I began this post for inspiration: How do you explain your raw denim hobby to others?

It all started because I hate flimsy jeans. And most women’s jeans are that awful stretch denim that clings unattractively — at least on chubby me — and become loose after multiple wears and washes.

And don’t get me started on those dumb jeggings. I will never wear yoga pants that masquerade as jeans.

So I order a pair of 18 Oz raw selvedge jeans. They are very thick.

  • Lightweight jeans — under 12 Oz.
  • Mid-weight jeans — from 12 Oz. – 16 Oz.
  • Heavyweight jeans — anything above 16 Oz.

They arrived stiff as a plank and it was like putting on pants made of cardboard. I have been wearing then around the house and I love them. Plus I can almost bend my knees in them now.

bookmark_borderI have not complained about anything once in the last two days…

I have not complained about anything once in the last two days. This was at the request of my beloved —who was (I think) joking. But it’s true and I admit it willingly — I can be a complainer.

Despite being a kind and warm-hearted person, I almost always have something bugging me.

It’s too hot! The shower has some impossible to remove stain. My ears are ringing again. Why don’t we have any cheese? Why don’t the neighbours cut their damn weedy lawn? Is that kid down the street still learning to play the saxophone!? I don’t have enough drawer space.

I was born in Toronto, the city where I have always lived. And I didn’t learn to speak English until I started school. That’s pretty typical for a child of immigrants — Slavic-language speaking immigrants specifically. I think that may hold the key to understanding what’s wrong with me.

I even found a whole academic conference about the temperaments of my people: Culture of Complaints in Russia and Eastern Europe. One of the papers presented:

There are also loads of academic papers like this one on related topics : The Negative Social World: The Polish Culture of Complaining.

And a dating site offering advice for engaging with my kind: Eastern European Personality Traits: The Secrets You Need to Know! (Warning: That site is totally bizarre and clickbaity, but I’ll take the “fiery passion of the Balkans” along with the fact that I am indeed sometimes “stubborn or inflexible, resistant to change and hesitant to try new approaches.”)

bookmark_borderAnother thing to potentially blame on the broken AC

I woke up this morning thinking there was construction or drilling happening on our roof as there was a really loud rhythmic humming noise in both of my ears.

I can’t hold a conversation easily without my hearing aids in, so I don’t engage my loved one in conversation in the morning, because while I can talk just fine, I can barely hear the answers — so we avoid that for martial harmony. But today I could not help it and asked about that horrible noise.

So after some loud talking right into my ear, I learned that only I could hear the noise. No construction. No drilling. Nothing. Just regular house noise, which I can’t hear anyway — especially with no hearing aids.

Oh no! Was it back — but way worse?

About 15 years ago, I developed severe tinnitus and after getting new hearing aids, using a white noise machine at night and some CBT, I got some relief.

It took about six months to get “better” but it never really went away, but I almost never notice it now. Except this morning!

I freaked out, it was extremely anxiety-inducing and I was very worried — like last time — that it would not stop for a long time without some serious intervention. And maybe would not stop at all.

Thankfully it did stop after about an hour. (And some calming words from my also very worried beloved.)

After it was all over, I used my good friend Dr. Google (as one does) and I think maybe it was “reactive tinnitus” — a type of tinnitus that gets worse with exposure to mild to moderate levels of sound. We are sleeping with a huge noisy fan in our bedroom (thanks heat wave) … so maybe that caused it? Mind you, some audiologists say it’s not really a thing — all I know is that it was loud and very real.

So far so good, it didn’t start up again today. But I am worried now it will come back any minute.

bookmark_borderMy new 15x lighted middle-aged lady magnifying mirror

I was at the dermatologist last week to zap off some incredibly tiny skin things under my eyes.

I discovered them — there were six! — after a visit the previous month to zap off one less-than-wee skin thing on my eyelid.

The doctor took a look at me and said that she recognized my face — and I confessed that I was back for more of that magical cryotherapy on some new skin tags I just discovered.

She said that once you get some removed, you will always find more.

In both cases, I was advised by my loved one that you could barely see them. But I could see them. (See them very, very well as a matter of fact — and they bothered me.)

Perhaps this is because I have a giant 15x lighted middle-aged lady magnifying mirror that blows up all my imperfections to alarming sizes.

I should probably relax a bit, we’re all getting older and I do have pretty good skin for someone my age. But I know I won’t — I am already thinking it might be time for some fractional laser skin resurfacing. But I have a feeling a special someone will talk me out of it.

bookmark_borderFeeling Hot Hot Hot…

July 4 was the hottest day on Earth in over 100,000 years and two weeks earlier — on June 19 — our air conditioner stopped working.

Not that we heard it making any untoward noises giving us any indication it was going to conk out — it’s on the roof. I had never heard of rooftop air conditioners used in residential settings before — but I knew commercial buildings had them. I mean, I knew we had something pumping delicious cold air into the house, but out of sight, out of mind.

two rooftop ac units
This is not our roof, I don’t own a drone — but you get the idea.

Well, turns out we have two! Since the house is so tall, we have a furnace in the basement and one on the third floor. And so, there are two AC units on the roof.

One of them is still working, so the basement (where we never go, there’s just a small storage room down there, so at least Danielle’s camping equipment is comfortable) and the first floor are cool. The second floor (where we have our home offices) is not too bad, but the third floor (the bedroom) is not a fun place to be these days.

I don’t really care how rooftop AC units work — but I really care if they don’t work!

I imagine it will look like this, with me anxiously pacing inside.

So there are lots of things I could be writing about (and linking to) today — but this is what you’re getting. I am no mood to write about anything funny when my hearing aids are melting in my ears.

The good news is we’re expecting a quote today. And then hopefully then the company can schedule the crane.

Yep. A crane.

I have no idea how the company will organize a crane on a narrow one-way street with no driveways in Little Portugal. But my guess is they will need a Street Occupation Permit.

Is August supposed to be very hot, too?

bookmark_borderMy very own Wayback Machine!

I have a few days off. Some people like to go for long walks or sit outside enjoying a cocktail. I enjoy the latter for sure — the former not so much — but I’m also spending my vacation working on my website. Frankly the archives are a total mess — but it sure was fun looking at some of the old stuff. There are still hundreds of files to look at — but these amused me today!

  • This is still true. (I have no design talent whatsoever. I also still can barely figure out CSS)
  • This sure makes me feel super old — Flash, really?
  • What was I up to in the summer and winter of 2002? (Pretty much the same stuff I like to do in 2023.)
  • I still get paid to do this! (And will do so for about five more years … the countdown is on!)
  • And this is all still (mostly) true (I no longer live in East York, but I still enjoy footwear and have a subscription to the Economist. But now I am much closer to 60 than I am 40!)
  • I sure loved that camera — state of the art in 1999! (For the curious — or the young — that’s a Sony Mavica FD-73 with all of 0.3 megapixels. For comparison, my iPhone has 48 megapixels.)