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2013/06/04 / Shanan


Today we went to the zoo!

Or, a zoo, at least.  The Elmvale Jungle Zoo, to be precise.  I mean I’m not going to dwell on it too much here but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some doubts about this place (and, by extension, zoos in general I guess). But… the animals did all look healthy and there’s nothing more magical than seeing children’s faces light up while watching monkeys, so let’s just move on shall we.

This was the first activity we crossed off of my family summer bucket-list.  Chris, Theo and I met up with our friends Kauri and Maeve; and we took lots of pictures while the kids ran off in different directions.  Most of the animals were quite lively and I may have seemed facetious about the whole ‘faces lighting up’ thing above but really, it’s pretty cool to watch.


Her face may look calm but she is just barely containing herself.



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2013/05/10 / Shanan


When I got married a few years ago, I was honoured to be able to use my late grandmother’s ring in our ceremony.  My cousins had used it in their weddings, too, and then the ring was passed back to my aunt for safekeeping.

Unfortunately a deadly combination of thrift and sloth means that today, I still don’t have an actual wedding band.  I hope to get to it eventually.  In the meantime I browse for rings every now and again and try to imagine what I might even want, and wonder if my choice will be different now than it might have been when we were standing at the bright and shiny brink of this once-new life phase.

And, I am pretty sure my choice would be different.


It would be a lot cooler, and braver, I think.  I recently came across this ring by UK jeweler Polly Wales.  An amazing jagged arrangement of red rubies set in a narrow band of gold, it reminds me of a treasure unearthed from the bottom of a shipwreck.  If I’m mixing metaphors here, it’s a ring that feels like it’s been around the block and lived to tell the tale. I mean, it’s kind of weird for a wedding ring but it feels like something real.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

No guts, no glory.  Right?

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2013/05/08 / Shanan


I bought Jeff Buckley’s album Grace after reading its reviews, but wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I had a subscription to Magnet Magazine and a voracious musical appetite.  Napster didn’t exist.  It was 1994, and I was 15.

Like any good teenager worth their salt in cliches, I fumbled eagerly to unwrap the CD plastic, placed it oh so carefully in the stereo’s tray, and lay down on my bed, clutching the album sleeve.  It was a rainy afternoon but I swear that the voice that burst forth from those speakers could have parted the clouds.  I know – that sounds unbearably cheesy.  But the music was unlike anything that I’d heard, and that first listen was, without a doubt, a revelatory experience for me.

I was fortunate enough to get to see Jeff Buckley perform live in Toronto in 1995.  It was a weird co-headlining tour with Juliana Hatfield, and he went on first.  My friend Jen and I walked out after his set because it seemed impossible to sit through girly indie pop after what we’d just witnessed.  I mean, we were RUINED.

When he drowned in the Mississippi River a couple of years later, I was just finishing my senior year of high school.  It affected me quite a lot and I couldn’t listen to his music the same way for a pretty long time afterwards.

Part 2  (and, I suppose, the reason for all this preamble)

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2013/04/30 / Shanan


Winter felt like a bit of a bust this year.  Chris had an injured back and Theo was still just a tad too little to take advantage of stomping around in the snow, so we spent a lot of time indoors.

March perked us up, though.  It was time to finally milk this ‘country living’ thing for all it was worth.  It was SYRUP TIME.

Laura Ingalls Wilder — eat your heart out.

"How to Make Maple Syrup," photo by Shanan Kurtz. www.thesymmetric.com (more…)

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2013/04/29 / Shanan


Okay, let’s get this party started… or not.  Yikes.

My name is Shanan and this little project was born out of a rut I found myself stuck in.

By day I run the graphic design studio Linseed Projects, and while I still get excited by great design, I also have a ton of other passions that don’t get out to play nearly enough.  I’ve been told affectionately over the years that I should have been an interior decorator, or a wardrobe stylist, or run a restaurant.  Curator, artisan pickle-maker and stand-up comedian have also been mentioned (I won’t even go near that last one).

I don’t mind the supposed identity crisis, but I did feel like I was in a holding pattern with my job and daily routine.  I needed a new creative outlet.

So it is with a combination of fuck-it swagger and mild trepidation that I present to you The Symmetric.

It’s just a website.  But, it’s a place to indulge and experiment on all my interests, tell stories, share cool shit, and hopefully connect with other people through the bizarro internet.  If you like, you can find out a little more about me right here.

I’ll be fumbling my way around here for a bit but the goal is to run a regular weekday posting schedule.  Sometimes it’ll be raw, sometimes it’ll be glossy.  It’s a balance I’ll get the hang of.  Thanks for reading.



ps. image above: Endless Bummer tote bag (jumbo sized) by Toronto’s own fieldguided.

pps.  A Motley Crue shout-out, yes.