Proof of ties

It turns out that when you go off to study in America, America is pretty interested in making sure that you leave afterwards. So one of the things we’ll have to provide when we cross the border, along with proof of identity and proof that we have enough money to live while we’re there is “proof of ties to Canada.”

We’re not sure what that means. Sure, we plan to move back to Canada in a couple of years. And of course we have ties here — we were both born and raised in Ontario and most of our families and basically all of our friends live in Canada. But I’m not sure how one itemizes those historic and emotional ties for border patrol.

Stan’s planning to phone the American Embassy here in town to find out what they’re looking for. In the meantime, I have been brainstorming some ideas of my own:

– Matching maple leaf tattoos in prominent body locations (I’m thinking: forehead)

– A choreographed recitation of patriotic poems and songs

– Investment in some anti-American bumper stickers

– Writing a series of essays on the advantages of socialized medicine (and then giving them to the border guards to read as I’m sure they’ll be very interested)

– Providing a meandering anecdote about the time my cousin B and I were fighting over whose country was better, which culminated in her punching me repeatedly through her pillow while I chanted “Vietnam! Vietnam!”

– Proving my inability to remember the words to the American national anthem (“…Whose bright stripes and bright stars, na na na naa na naaaaa, Were so naaaaa na na naaaa na na na na na waving, And the rockets’ red glaaaaaaaaare….”)

– Explaining that Canada will inevitably draw me back since it’s the only place I can get a decent poutine

Yup. That’ll work.

America, America, my country tis almost of thee

Hooking up with Jen for Seven Quick Takes.

1. It’s summer here! I know that the calendar says that it should probably be spring, but we had spring already: it was about a week ago and it was ten minutes long. Now the temperature is hanging out in the solid mid-twenties, and we’re all walking around with sunburns and stunned expressions.

The fun part, of course, is that it would not be unheard of if we got another snowstorm before the month is out.

2. Having grown up in The City, I never particularly needed to drive, and so I didn’t bother to learn. But last year I decided that I was going to get my licence (only ten years overdue) and so I went through drivers’ ed and then took lessons with an instuctor. And he was — how can I say this? — a gigantic jerkosaurus. So a month or two after my lessons ended I wrote a letter to the driving school detailing my experience. (This is something that I’ve recently discovered: when something goes wrong, it’s ok to complain. Crazy, no?)

The upshot is that they were very apologetic and are sending me out with their senior instructor this morning to make sure I’m ship-shape for my road test at the end of the month. All I hope is that we can practice parallel parking, because I haven’t done that in yonks.

3. Part of the reason I decided to learn to drive is because we’re moving! At the end of July we’ll be leaving our city… and our province… and our country (!) as Stan is going to be pursuing graduate studies in the States. It’s both exciting and daunting to think about living as ex-pats for the next three or so years. And to add to our sense of displacement, we’re moving from a city of a million (note: this is the smallest place I’ve ever lived) to a town of 7,000. That’s the size of five of my highschools.

Stan says that I’ll love small-town living, and he’s probably right, but right now — in the abstract — it just doesn’t make sense to me. The town: so tiny! What do they all do there?

4. One of the used bookstores near us is having an all-summer-long five-books-for-a-dollar sale. This is basically like handing me a bag of cocaine. But it’s helpful for the next stage of my reading resolution: I want to read one French book a month. I’ve been easily exceeding my goal of at least three nonfiction titles, and so I think it’s time to add French to the mix.

This resolution also comes in light of the upcoming move, since I won’t be using my French daily in Tinytown USA as I do here.

5. You know that Yiddish saying about God laughing when we make plans? Years ago I told God (and anyone else who would listen) that I would never live in my current city. And even more than that, I told God that I would never, ever, ever ever ever, not even a little, ever live in the United States.

Ah ha, ha, ha ha ha.

6. This post has basically been all about the move so far, and that makes sense I guess, since it’s a pretty big deal. We’re getting excited, and we’ve finished our paperwork and lined up somewhere to live, but there’s still one thing that’s giving me some major trepidation: odds are, I won’t be able to get a work permit. Getting into the States is no problem because I’m going down as the dependent spouse on Stan’s student status. That means that he can work, with some limitations, but I can’t at all. And looking at the regulations and conditions and incantations necessary to obtaining a work permit, I’m pretty daunted — especially because I’m not in any sort of specialty occupation.

I’d be happy to have your prayers that we’d find a way for me to get a permit, because (a) it’d be awfully useful for me to be able to bring in some income since Stan will be working and studying both, and (b) if I have to sit around the house for three years I might die.

7. On that note of (slight) hyperbole, I shall close. It’s almost time to meet my instructor, so I’ve got some parallel parking videos to review!

Veronique, I think I'd like us to be friends

From here:

I listened to a few radio interviews today in between hosting a weekly meeting for my local babywearing group. Yes, women who choose to be attached to their babies as much as possible. From what I heard, Women’s Day is all about abortion and contraception and how hard it is to get either. Isn’t there more to being a woman than to be sexually available and artificially infertile? Because my experience as a woman who raised and gave birth to 8 children, running a home and occasionally a slew of volunteer activities is worth nothing in today’s economy. My degree is outdated, I am unemployable to most but the friend who gave me my part-time job, and I can’t even get a biology credit to return to University without going back to high school. As if I hadn’t learned more putting my kids through school than is required to enter the midwifery degree I so long to get. But hey, what is really keeping women down is not having enough pills. No: What is keeping women down is the belief that women have to be barren like men to succeed and that childbearing and child-rearing are impediments to equality. So that’s your International Women’s Day reflection from a women who is not using artificial birth control out of principle. And while I call myself a feminist for my radical view on the beautiful integrity of the feminine body, ovaries and all, I know that most feminists would be ashamed to count me as their own. Cheers!


This is the way we text:

Christine (2:15 pm): Let’s name a child Gondibert.

Christine (2:21 pm): A university friend of mine is randomly in Rivertown this week! We’re going to get together on Thurs probably since I’m off. I’m excited to see her 🙂

Christine (2:23 pm): Hmm, I wonder how long my fly has been undone?

Stan (2:33 pm): Awesome.

Christine (2:35 pm): Gondibert works for you, then?

PSA: Please excuse this superfluousity of posts

Ok, so I’m importing a blog that I used to write, just so all of my archives are in one place, and I notice that every! single! post! is being grabbed by my rss reader… even though they’re all 3-5 years old, they’re only counted as being “published” now.

If you’re seeing all of my ancient posts popping up, I apologize. I’m not a spam-bot! Carry on with your lives!

We mustn't forget beard research

Friday’s seven quick takes, hosted by Conversion Diary

1. I realised a little while ago that because this is our first Christmas together, Stan and I have zero tree ornaments or other decorations. This sent me into a small flurry of sewing, as I had the bright idea to use some of my fabric scraps to make ornaments. I pinned, cut circles, sewed them together, turned them inside out, stuffed them, sewed them shut, and then spent some time contemplating how difficult it is to sew stuffed circles. A number of them look more like the little ghosts from Pac-Man, and at least one distinctly resembles Australia.

Stan came home from work one night to find me sewing the benighted things closed.

“What are you making?” quoth he.

“I’m making… Christmas… blobs.”

2. Goober and Goobrette are now two and a half, just about, and their vocabulary is starting to pick up. Specifically, they’re really starting to get the hang of body parts. Last night I overheard Goober playing with his little playmobile people: “Man! Penis! Man! Penis! Man! Penis!”

3. I recently stumbled across a neat little programme that solves the problem of turning your laptop on at night and your eyeballs immediately wanting to die from the horrible blue glare. Flux actually changes the temperature of light that your screen emits throughout the day, making it bluer in the morning/daytime, and much warmer at night (if you plug in your longitude & latitude it’ll track your local sunrise and sunset). It took about a day to get used to the night settings (it’s all a bit pink-y) but now I love it. No more late-night eyestrain! Yay!

4. A week or two ago I bought a dress from a friend of mine, who buys hideous pieces of clothing from Value Village et al. and then upcycles them into cute things. She’s pretty brilliant, and I love the dress, but maybe the best part is that I paid for it over paypal and neither of us have grown-up email addresses (you know, the kind with your actual name) linked to our paypal accounts. The line item on my credit card therefore reads “Paypal: WHIPPERHEAD”.

5. I know that I talked about Ordinary Time in my last post, but I’m not over them so they get another mention. Go listen to track twelve and then try telling me that they’re not amazing. Go on, I dare you. (Be sure to go to the end — it starts to get super amazing just before the two-minute mark.)

6. Speaking of music, here’s a dude singing a one-man medly arrangement of Les Mis:

(What I would give to have a range like that! Holy cow.)

7. I have a (bad?) habit of bookmarking virtually everything on the internet that catches my eye, and then never sorting out my bookmarks folder or visiting any of them ever again. Possibly I should delve into them more often, since I am missing out on such gems as Dorodango, Rock Paper Saddam, and Beard Research.