Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

you know why you're gay?

This weekened, Ed and I had the peasure of entertaining the lovely Parergon from over at The Disappearing Point, who had flown in to visit all the way from sunny, tropical Mantoba. We went on a hike up to the Grassi Lakes in Canmore, saw The 40-Year-Old-Virgin (which is awesome), hit the farmer's market and Dairy Lane, made potato salad, drank too much wine/sleeman's/sambuca/vodka, and I repeatedly got my ass handed to me at scrabble. She lived on my couch and was an absolutely ideal houseguest. I certainly hope she reads this and we can have the October Thanksgiving/conference/poetry blast we were discussing off and on all weekend. I'll even make a tofurkey. Especially if I can sculpt it into a dinosaur. Booya.

Parergon did, however, leave behind an excellent gift: I think her cold decided I too would be a suitable host. And since any sickness begins in my throat (the one week spot in an otherwise spooky consititution), today I sound like I should be hollering for another cocktail in the smokiest of slot-machine pits in vegas -- and not at a nice casino eaither, but one of the shitty ones where everything looks like it's been rubbed with ham. Eugh. An excuse to stay inside and drink lots of orange juice...and other, shall we say, antibacterial supplements. heh.

Tomorrow, an amazing thing happens: between 8am and noon, a nice man from Bell is coming over, and a satellite dish is bing firmly attached to our roof somewhere. Then, a magical little box will be attached to the tv. and when the tv is then turned on, rather than snowy peasant vision, we'll be able to see such glorious programming as Animal Planet, Iron Chef....and, most wonderful of all: Sunday ticket.

Yes, Ed and I are hardcore footballheads (NFL). Starting September 11th (season opener!), this is what our sundays are going to look like: breakfast, acquire food, plop down in front of the satellite tv, and proceed to scream ourselves hoarse for the next, oh, 8 hours or so. Particularly when Denver is playing. Hey, man, I have a giant orange foam finger and am not afraid to use it.

Goodness, my glass of medicinal relief is almost empty, and it's nearly 10am. tragic. excuse me. Go Broncos!
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:26 a.m.!! 2 comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

how odd.

I only post this because I am, actually, 22, and this is just a little creepy.

You Are 22 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?

I have never been my age, so even having an innocuous blog thingie guess how old I am is a little disconcerting. Is it the new hair? Must be the new hair. Maybe that rift in the space-time continuum is closing and my age is finally catching up instead of lagging behind or shooting off ahead of me. Maybe this mean I'll no longer be carded trying to see Land of the Dead or buy whiskey or even just admitting my age at a bar and having not only to show the bartender and the bouncer but friends two who then steal my ID and wander about showing it to everone so all and sundry can exclaim over how chronologically challenged I am.
Natalie Zed updated @ 5:33 p.m.!! 3 comments

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hot Damn. Let's do that again!


Thanks to everyone who came over Saturday. We had the awesomest time ever. It was exactly what we wanted -- spending time with good friends who were genuinely happy for us. Thank you for all of you congratulations and kind wishes. Thanks for the tasty and lovely things you brought over, thanks for filling our back yard with happy people, thanks for making sure I have no leftovers to clean up (y'all rock!), and thanks for playing Double Dash with us. To everyone who couldn't make it: we love you too and know your thoughts were with us. And fear not: if the truly ridiculous pile of empties in my kitchen has anything to say for itself, it's that we all had a drink for you. Damn. That pile is so ridiculous, I am surprised it hasn't started to talk and give advice to fraggles.

Things finally cleared out at 3am. Ed and I did a little picming up, drank a heck of a lot of water, and passed out in a heap topped by two exhausted cats. The next morning found us again regaining consciousness at the crack of noon and stumbing down to Dairy Lane to meet some of the more stalwart party contingent for more fabulous breakfast. And the blueberry pancakes? rule. Soom we wre all stuffed to the gills and making various sounds of overfilled contentment.

Needing an activity that would get us moving and prevent us from getting the "pork sweats" afert OD'ing on bacon, a group of us went to the the Farmer's Market at the Curry Barracks. This was my first Market experience...and I'll admit I went a little apeshit. I got fresh leeks and organic beef and orange blossom honey and the most loverly blackberries....heh. I have so many plans. My kitchen won't know what hit it. Mwahaha.

Anyhoo, off to mail some letters, have lunch with an incoming grad student, help some friends move, cook something yummy, and play video games all night. I like my life. =)
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:07 a.m.!! 1 comments

Friday, August 19, 2005

my kitchen hates me

Does anyone know where I can actually get some yummy fresh peas in this city? I languish on the frozen kind, longing for that deliciously resistant sweetness to greet my adoring bite rather than bland thawed sogginess. blech.

I tried to make bread yesterday, and couldn't get it to rise. I think I need fresh yeast. The little packets I bought nseem to be quite dead, or maybe they just hate me. It's a yeast rebellion in my kitchen, ladies and gents. all that beautiful dough, remaining an inert and cold instead of magically springing to life. Gah.

I hope that impudent dough is the worst I have to deal with this weekend. The fewer food-releated calamties that happen around Saturday's party, the happier I will be. I think all I really have to do now is clean and bake a pie...

but not just any pie. A pie large enough to fit in a lasagna tin. Der Uber-pie.

I hope you all can make it. heh.
Natalie Zed updated @ 2:49 p.m.!! 4 comments

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

so thrive my Costco

I was home in Ontario visiting my parents a few weeks ago, and while there we made a trip to that Mecca of modern civilization: Costco. Ah, glorious Costco, a wonderland of free samples, vats of mayonnaise, and unsupervised children who wander into the paths of carts far too laden with products to stop in time. My parents and I did indeed go on a rather impressive shopping spree -- to the tune of a shocking $500 or so, if I recall correctly -- but we got some impressive loot and trust me, we needed all of it. I mean whole beef tenderloins! literally several dozed filet mignon cuts! and us with a super-amazing bbq at home that would never forgive had to be purchased.

Costco is indeed to be revered. I myself share an executive member ship with my mother, but have sadly not been able to put t to very good use as of yet, since I am lacking a car and trying to take home costco products -- say, a full case of mac n' cheese -- on the bus in a little ridiculous. There were a few things that Ed and I had had a mind to purchase for a while that could only be acquired there, however, so the quest for a suitable vehicle was on. Chris, it turns out, not only has a most loverly van in which the seats fold down, but hadn't bee to costco in ages. A quick barter of his car for my membership and some cookies, and we had a shopping date. I love being a grad student with flexible daytime hours.

I went for office chairs, possible a present or two for Ed, and the very vaguest thought of getting a heavy-duty mixer. Chris and I walked out with over $1100.oo in stuff. Yes, the decimal is in the right place. I still ge the jibblies looking at the bill.

But, see, they actually had a biometric authenticator! And its Ed's birthday! And comfy pajamas, and sugar snap peas, and good alfredo sauce, and some killer cook books...but I knew, really knew and accepted I was in deep trouble when there, on a display, was the mixer of my dreams: a Kitchenaid Prefessional Heavy duty mixer in empire red. It made me almost tremble with the urge to get my bake on. A the same moment, Chris saw a Black and Decker hand mixer that called to him with the same strength. We shared a look, grabbed our respective appliances, and officially gave up.

The office chairs are very comfy, and make the time I spend with Gertrude much more pleasant. My mixer is assembled and on display in my pitifully small kitchen. With counter space at such a premium, I could scarce afford the loss of a couple more cubic feet, but for her, I'll manage. I caress her dough hook fondly, and can't wait to go on an expedition for some specialty flour and get some beautiful dough a-risin'. It has been far too long since my house smelled of fresh bakes bread.

Yeah, I cook. I cook a lot. I am not yes a domestic goddess by any means, but I am young and aspire to much. Ed teases me sometimes -- I'm all sophisticated-graduate-student-writer and such, but I still love my kitchen. I'd love it more if it had some damn counters. And a food processor. And a toaster whose handle didn't fly off every tiem the toast popped up. Though I really shouldn't speak ill of Dave -- he ahs served me well for years, and lightly toasts more delicately than his hoity toity-er cousins.

There I go anthropomorphizing the appliances again. I need some wine.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:43 p.m.!! 1 comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tubby Dog! and Gerturde!

I think I am just now finally recovering form the Blow Out. Wow. What an AMAZING weekend. Every now and again I just get smacked in the face by the ridiculous amount of positively inhuman talent there is just in this city. It just makes me so darn happy to be here, now, with all this cool stuff going on.

You should all go now and read fiddy's awesome recap of Friday night. Ed gets to be a Count! Fine Shirazes take center stage! It's all so true.

The crowning moment of the weekend, though, was surely at about 2:30 am after the Saturday readings, when a motley assortment of drunks ended up at a new place on 17th called the Tubby Dog. It's a 24 hour diner/lounge featuring a huge projector being used to show old Wonder Woman episodes on the wall. They also serve gourmet hotdogs -- if the word 'gourmet' has an alternate, lesser known meaning as a synonym of 'horrifying.' Ed had something called an Ultimate Gripper -- a bacon-wrapped and deep fried hot dog topped with ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, saurkraut, cheese, bacon bits, a slab of ham, a fried egg, and nacho cheese sauce. Mine, and A-bomb, only had ketchup, mustard, bacon, cheese, mayo, and bbq chips on it. My favourite, sublime, surreal hotdog, ordered by Fiddy's sister, E, was simply thus: an extra-thick hotdog wrapped in Wonderbread rather thna a bun and topped with peanut butter, grape jelly, and Cap'n Crunch cereal. Yes, fair reader. Cap'n crunch. I suggested they also keep Nutella and Marshmallow Fluff on hand and toppings. The manager actually took that down as a note. It was glorious.

The following morning found many of us (shockingly) in various stages of gastronomic anguish. And since nothing helps mend a destroyed stomach like eggs and bacon, a pale and queasy contingent wound up at Dairy Lane for breakfast at the crack of noon the next day. Amid the banana and blueberry pancakes and bacon grease, we were full of grand plans then, so excitied about publishing and writing careers and doing this amazing festival all over again. We did decide, however, that once a year was quite enough. We needed some serious recovery time before trying all of that again. For all weekend, we were drunk! Drunk on poetry! And beer. And, for some of us, white sambuca. yeesh. Blow-Out will forever be associated for me now with the sensation of licorice booze seeping out my aching pores.

In other news...I have a Gertrude! Gertrude is my new computer. For the last few years, I ahve been shackled to a very sweet and serviceable laptop by the name of Earnest, who's modest celeron processor and humble 40 GB harddrive finally had to apologetically admit was juts not enough anymore. Also, the cramped keybpard hurt my wrists, and the puny screen made my eyes ache. Not good fore someone who spends such a ridiculous amount of time staing at a screen and typing.

So after breakfast on Sunday morning, still reeling from my tubby dog, the beautiful and always-generous Tara drove Ed and I to Memery Express to get me something...a little better. Sleeker, quicker, with a friendlier (and healthier) interface. We bought her in pieces...a high end motherboard was absolutely necessary, and the Asus A8N-E seemed to fit the bill. I am just not a pentium girl, and so when I was introduced to a dual-core Athlon 64 3800+, it was love. A gig of memory was a must at that point, especially since the video card I would not be swayed from was a GeForce 6800GT. One of my main complaints with Earn's ever-solid performance was his mere 40GB hard drive...250 GB seemed like an appropriate upgrade. One Creative labs speaker system, CD-RW and DVD-R drives, and floppy drive, and 17" samsung lcd monitor later...she was complete. We took the pieces home and began building.

Construction had to halt around 10 pm Sunday, since I somehow managed to forget to actually take the hard drive home with me (le sigh) but it was couriered over from the next day. I finished building her in the late afternoon on Monday, got am OS on her, and have been tweaking every since.

I named her Gertrude for a few reasons, not the least of those being the fact I have Gertrude FcFuzz's song "All for You" from Seussical the Musical stuck in my head *all day*. Also, because she is breathtaking. She is sleek. She is beautiful. I thought she'd be a boy at the beginning, but this rig has ovaries and isn't afraid to use them. Her full-sized case bristles with usb ports, many tastefully hidden, and she is aglow with subtle blue leds -- she's a lady that knows how to dress to her utmost advantage. Her hum is content and deeply powerful, like a happy tiger. She is Her Majesty, Gloriana, more resplendant in a braid of cabling that diamonds. How could she be anything but a Gertrude, a Queen Mother?

I am just a little smitten. She is so tweak. She kisses back with static. Yep, it's love.
Natalie Zed updated @ 3:50 p.m.!! 0 comments

Friday, August 12, 2005

what is this feeling?

I cut my hair.

My head feels lighter. anything involving the use of my neck fells almost surreal -- too easy, like gravity has ceased to effect the joinery between my head sn shoulders. I woke uo this morning with proper bedhead, rather than a horrifying mat of wadded blond beneath my cheek. I have a wee pony tail, the perfect length for a genuine Cop-Out Hairdo (toss it up and put a baseball cat over it) -- something I was never able to do with huge hair. I feel lighter. I feel free.

Let me back up a little. I have had long -- and I mean long -- hair all my life. Honestly, I have never cut it. Every six months or so, my mother would take an inch or two off to combat the worst of the split ends. Otherwise, it hung there, like a second entity attached to my body -- a limp. baby-fine, parasitic twin.

I kept it as long as I did for other people -- particularly my mother. She was talked into cutting her hair twice (and got one disasterous perm) when she was quite young, bitterly regretted it both times, and has spent the rest of her adult life growing it back. It was a great pleasure for her in my childhood to keep my hair long. When I was old enough t be allowed to cut it, I was always talked out of the idea -- it was special to ahve long hair. Your hair is beautiful. why would you want short hair like everyone else?

one word: migraines. having pounds of unruly mane attached to a screaming head is not exactly a barrel of fun.

Even now that I've lived on my own a year, it has been hair to get rid of the vicarious hair guilt. Just before I came home for Christmas, I joked that my parentrs might not recognize me when they picked me up at the airport. My mom suddenly got quiet and whispered into the phone, "you haven't...*cut your hair,* have you?" My joke about a mohawk did now go over well.

Last night, freshly showered and about to leave for the first Blow-Out! reading at The New Gallery, my hair was not behaving. It was a huge, obstinate mass of blond seaweed. I called to Ed in frustration to come into the bathroom and cut it off for me. To my amazement, he appeared, grinning, in the doorway with some scissors.

We then talked about it. I spazzed out for a few minutes but, after a few false starts, I handed him a ponytail that reached past my hips, squeezed my eyes shut, and told him to go for it.

It wasn't a snip. It was a wholesome, very satisfying shredding sound, punctuated at the end by the blades of the scissorscoming together with a "shink." My head bobbed up, like a baloon held under water, then released. New, smaller hair slithered forward and hung around my face.

I love it. I love it's flippy cheekiness, how healthy it looks hanging around my shoulders. part of me wants to leave it exactly as it is, but I suspect I really should get it professionally cleaned up a bit. Office scissors do not the best hair cutting utensils make.

The only downside I can see: while it does make me look much more professional and less fairy-princess-hippy-child-Buttercup, it does seem to make me look...younger. Which was something I never needed much help with. Michael (my amazing brother) was right -- I am going to be 30, PhD'ed, finally have babies, and peoeple will still stare and whisper about "that poor teen mother."

At least I'll have cool little hair. =)
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:01 a.m.!! 0 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

do I really sound like that?

Chris called me this morning in a fit of righteous glee to tell me he'd just heard derek, fiddy and I on the radio. Derek's interview apparently came off sounding very snazzy and professional, and our readings sounded great. I haven't heard it yet. I promised the Hub that I wouldn't listen until we could tune in together -- even though I *know* it's because he wnats to see me quirm and spazz out when I hear my own voice, shrieking from beneath a pillow "Gawd, do I really sound like *that*?" Marge Simpson with a head cold -- that's me, baby. Preeow.

There has been a sudden, last minute surge in the number of contributions to the Blow Out! chapbook I'm putting together in approximately two hours. I was hoping for more variety, and poetry fairy heard my prayers, inspiring some previously recalcitrant readers to send me yummy words. Bon Mots a L'Orange.

Lydia, the black cat, has turned the ugly grass mat the we inherited with our apartment into a little kitty tent. George, the sweeter, dumber orange cat, can't find her when she goes inside the tent, and cries piteously by the hot water tanks for her to come down (thinking she is on top, or inside?). He then consoled himself my chewing a copy of Ed's resume into confetti and puking in the living room. I briefly considered trying to read the rather interesting pattern of digested words before the desire to stab myself in the eye nearly overcame me and I got out the Prosolve. The fascinating life I lead.

I have pretty well settled on what I am reading for the Blow Out! reading. I think fS #33 needs soem shameless promotion, so I am reading my set from in there, as well as a couple from the location series in 'tonguing thumbscrews.' Reason I Don't Camp #372: trying to catch a private moment, unseen and unheard in a leaky canoe and some smartass unties the rope securing it to the dock. Way, way too much material generated.

Also, when did that huge bug die in the coffee pot?
Natalie Zed updated @ 12:15 p.m.!! 3 comments

Monday, August 08, 2005

my nuclear family, complete with glowing mutants

Neither Ed, nor I, ever thought we'd be the sort of people who would get married. Even if by some miracle we did, however, it certainly didn't seem like we'd get married to each other. In fact, when we first met, we were quite committed to not having a relationship of any kind at all. The age difference was the most obvious obstacle. Nine years is surmountable, I suppose, but we met when I was nineteen and he was 28, which makes it sound worse than it really is. Both of us were in the last stages of extricating ourselves from relationships that has survived, in one form or another, too long. There are, also, some rather key difference between us. I am an arty nerd, one of the writing types, who wore antennae to a press conference (in my defence, they did light up) and planned to move 3000 kms away within a year or so. He was a computer programmer and mechanical engineer who seemed quite happy in the life he had established for almost three decades in the same city. I love to cook; Ed has three working taste buds ( those that recognize meat, potatoes, and spaghetti). He had worked more than one of the Big Three auto makers in Ontario; I refused to even attempt to get a licence, believing that me in control of several tons of fast moving metal was just too preposterous to be considered. Of course it wouldn't work.

But we met swing dancing. But he wore a fedora and suspenders over a cripst white shirt. But he was in theatre, musical theatre at that, and was a *baritone*, and even had a kickass swordfighting scene in the next musical he was in. But he always smelled like cologne and cinnamon hearts. But he could juggle and solve a rubix cube in under three minutes. But he loved to read. But he liked cats.

We started getting together, first at coffee shops and later at the house he rented, to discuss, inevitably, how wrong we were for each other in one form or another. Yes, we were spending time together, a lot of time, but we were by no means a couple. Fooey and Pshaw, we would say. We are simply having a good discussion that seems to have stretched over some weeks now. That's all. See?

We managed to convince oursleves of this for quite some time. We'd met in late September, and it was indeed not until almost the end of January that the charade wore so thin even he and I saw through it. I believe it was after I had not actually *left* his house for about three days, and was making us lunch in the kitchen (which I'd by then reorganized), and he came down to ask me where his socks were. I told him, we looked at each other. We were...domestic. Comfortable. He was wearing one of those "I Am Canadian!" T-shirts and I was wearing his Denver Broncos cap because I didn't even want to admit I had hair anymore, let alone try and do something with it.

We were quiet for a time. Later, in the car, driving to get me a very large coffee and him some hot chocolate, we finally admitted to each other that yes, a relationship seemed to ahve ambushed us despite our most vigilant efforts, but somethign was still amiss. This was so easy, so much fun, so bereft of bullshit and headgames that neiether of us recognized it. Did something so downright pleasant and natural really count? We supposed it did. I was wearing his favourite hat, after all.

We made no promises, then. I was moving away, and Ed wasn't sure what was going to happen as he switched careers and began job-searching anew. This time, we decided to sit back with some popcorn and see what would happen.

We live in Calgary now. I got into the school I'd had my eye on for two years and after a gruelling job search in Ontario, Ed found a job here nine days after he began searching. We have two psychotic rescue cats who eat moths and hide watches, glasses and the occaisional jump drive when they're feeling peckish. And ten days ago, we were ambushed by something else neither of us ever thought would happen to us.

On July 29th, 2005, in front of a small assemblage of our immediate family three best friends in Windsor, Ontario, Ed and I were married. We eloped with an audience. We had dinner at our favourite restaurant. I had a bouquet from my parents garden; my mother made the cake; my dress was an antique. Ed had a gerbera daisy in his lapel. He smelled like cologne and Dentyne ice. I remember giggling a lot. I remember everyone just glowed when they came to hug and sob and congratulate. I remember feeling so grateful for my suddenly bigger and even more amazing family. And the turkey schnitzel was delicious.

We're home now, married a whole ten days, still a little stunned. Ed hollers "WIIIIIFE!" now when he wants something; I actually giggled and spoke to a telemarketer for a minute because he called me Mrs. Schmutz and that was, indeed, who I was. It's still sinking in, really, that the odd, squarish bit of white gold on my left hands means I am, really, married. I might not get it yet, but I do know that seeing the ring there, already scuffed a bit from trying to hang pictures of a strangely familiar and rather cute couplein wedding clothes, I feel suddenly, almost dizzily, happy.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:50 a.m.!! 0 comments