Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another spin around the Sun.

Today is my birthday. Thanks to the luck of having a birthday around a newly made-up holiday (Family Day) and a PD day, I haven't actually had to teach on my birthday in quite a few years.

It was a good day though. Many of my students from last semester remembered the day and made the trip upstairs to the third floor to wish me happy birthday. Some of them also came back from a trip to BC and bought me a burrowing owl hand puppet, because they know that I love owls.  (Little did they know that the burrowing owl is a favourite species... I should dig out my burrowing owl tshirt.) One of my colleagues made sure that my current classes knew that it was my birthday so that they would treat me well (they always do anyway).

My pals organized a nice birthday lunch with unbelievably thoughtful gifts. I love my friends/colleagues/people who keep me sane.

I'm lucky.

I called my parents as is the tradition on my birthday.  My dad and I have a running gag (based on the Simpsons) where I thank him for driving my mom to the hospital to give birth to me.

Tonight is dinner and then a play.

Birthdays are nice.  I'm glad we celebrate them.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dark Day

This morning as I was sitting on the subway, I realized that I completely forgot to make my lunch.  It wasn't even a "crap I forgot it on the kitchen counter" moment, but that the thought of assembling food to get me through the day didn't even cross my mind.

Not a big deal, I thought.  I had some tangerines on my desk, and I could grab a bagel at Tim Horton's as I got my morning coffee.

When I got upstairs to my office,  I realized that I completely forgot to pick up my bagel at the food counter at Tim's.  Crap.

Luckily for me, I don't teach during the first period.  I was assigned a coverage, but not until the second half.  I threw on my coat and ran back to Tim Horton's where my bagel was still sitting for me as the employees chuckled over my forgetfulness.

As I was jay-walking across Bloor to make it back to school, a co-worker let me cross and offered me a ride down the street back to school.  I told her about my forgetful morning, and she commented "when I'm out if it like that, usually it's something... it could be getting older, my period..."

"Oh, I know exactly what it is," I replied. "I'm just bothered/scared/anxious about the inauguration." And then we chatted about the myriad of terrifying problems that the new presidency will bring.

I guess that's my story about how today is a dark day and as a result I feel scattered, distracted, down.  It's the symbolic beginning of potentially darker days to come. 

I try to be optimistic: that with resistance he won't be able to change much, but we all know terrible things could happen.  I try to think about all of my favourite quotes about how after darkness come lights, and so on, but I feel like today, I just need to embrace and feel the darkness and then perhaps get ready for the fight so that that the light can come through the cracks.

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Concerts! 2016

  • March 23rd - Metric and Death Cab for Cutie @ The ACC
  • May 3rd - LIGHTS @ The Danforth Music Hall
  • May 11th - Ben Folds @ The Danforth Music Hall
  • May 25th - BEYONCE @ Rogers Centre
  • July 13th - Lisa Loeb @ Adelaide Hall
  • July 21st - Hawksley Workman @ The Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville
  • July 30th - Silversun Pickups @ The Danforth Music Hall
  • August 12th - The Tragically Hip @ The ACC
  • October 25th - Our Lady Peace with I Mother Earth @ Massey Hall
  • October 28th - Tegan and Sara @ Massey Hall
  • November 3rd - Mariah Carey @ The Bay
  • November 26th - Basia Bulat @ The Danforth Music Hall
  • December 16th - Hawksley Workman @ Hamilton Public Library
  • December 21th - Stars @ The Danforth Music Hall

Books Read in 2016

Reading (2016 goal = 26 books)

  • 26) Missing, Presumed - Susie Steiner (quite good)
  • 25) The Conjoined - Jen Sookfong Lee (excellent)
  • 24) Little Black Lies - Sharon Bolton (OK)
  • 23) The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena (OK)
  • 22) Wilde Lake - Laura Lippman (good)
  • 21) The Best Kind of People - Zoe Whittall (excellent)
  • 20) My Sweet Audrina - V.C. Andrews (awful but fun)
  • 19) Arrowood - Laura McHugh (quite good)
  • 18) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (excellent)
  • 17) This Is Not My Life - Diane Schoemperlen (quite good)
  • 16) All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda (meh)
  • 15) Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica (meh)
  • 14) Shrill - Lindy West (amazing)
  • 13) I, Bificus - Bif Naked (loveable)
  • 12) The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson (quite good)
  • 11) So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson (excellent)
  • 10) Hide - Lisa Gardner (good)
  • 9) Find Her - Lisa Gardner (good)
  • 8) Furiously Happy - Jenny Lawson (okay)
  • 7) Hidden Bodies - Caroline Kepnes (good)
  • 6) Still Mine - Amy Stuart (good)
  • 5) The Passenger - Lisa Lutz (good!)
  • 4) The Widow - Fiona Barton (meh)
  • 3) You - Carolyn Kepnes (deliciously creepy)
  • 2) Down the Rabbit Hole - Holly Madison (trashy read)
  • 1) Wildflower - Drew Barrymore (pleasant!)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Summary of 2016

As you can tell, I do not blog with the voracity of the old days.  My posts in 2016 have been few and far between.

What has changed?  I don't exactly know.  I'm no more or less busy than I used to be, other than the fact I devote myself way more to the baseball season than I used to.  I think the words don't come as easily as they used to, and that I don't always have my laptop with me.  (Surfing the internet from an iPad is great; writing not so much.)

Anyhow, before I take off to the DR for the second time this year (they have good beaches, drinks, and food!) I wanted to summarize this year for myself.

2016 has been a shitty year for politics and pop culture, no doubt.  I think the consensus in social media has been that 2016 has been a dumpster fire.  We've lost many amazing artists and people, and the politics of hatred and ignorance has reared its scary and ugly head.

But when I reflect back on my year, I realize that hey, I'm actually feeling OK and a heck of a lot better than I did a year ago.  And that's a huge blessing, because I think that if I was feeling the way that I did in 2015 after this dumpster fire of a year, I'd be in a dark place indeed.

I started 2016 in a flurry of tears having lost some essence of myself somewhere along the way somehow.  It's not that there had been a change in my life or something bad had happened, I was just feeling lost.

After some self-care and reshuffling of priorities and hard work and forgiveness of self, I managed to find my way again this year.  Of course I stumbled and fell along the way, but as I compare where I am to where I was a year ago at this time, I feel sooooooo much better.

I credit Beyonce. Lemonade was the best album of the year and I loved seeing her Formation tour.

I credit the baseball season and my baseball support group of friends.  I'm happy that my Blue Jays made it to the ALCS for the second year in a row.  Playoff baseball is fun.  But playoffs or not, I love that team, and I truly appreciate the game for what it is, and how each one of the 162 signifies a new start, a new narrative, and another go at it.  There is always another day in baseball.

I credit friends.  I have great friends.  I got to visit friends, had friends visit from afar, and have my usual crew who live around here.  I credit the new friends, and the friends who have been around forever.

I credit lifting weights twice a week.  I'm not running like I used to (I want to get into race shape again).  I don't feel faster this year, but I feel way stronger this year.

I credit small adventures.  I didn't do anything too crazy in 2016, but I have good memories of cross-stitching at breweries, baseball talks, midwest roadtrips, away games in Kansas City, little concert roadtrips, scoring a Hip ticket, curling for the first time, boxing for the first time, standing outside for two hours to see Mariah Carey sing two songs, and my first resort vacation in ten years. 

I'm glad I found my strength again in 2016.  I goddamned well needed it. 

Happy new year to you all!  Maybe 2017 be better than 2016, and if it's not, let us all have the strength to fight back.

Holidays (so far)

The September - December part of the school year is the longest slog of the year since there are no real breaks, other than Thanksgiving in October.  This year we had three PD days which provided some respite, but I still had to go into work.  (Although one of those involved boxing, so that was pretty awesome.)

Anyway, by Christmas Eve Eve, it was the last day of school before the holidays and I felt like a shell of a human being.  I was exhausted.

However, a week later and I'm feeling waaaaaay better.  I took the train to my parents' house on Christmas Eve, and just returned to the city today.

While in Stratford, I slept, read, spent time with my parents (and Ms. Rilo who is staying there), and saw friends too.  It was a good break.

I came back today so that I could meet up with my friend Gloria (from my university days) who lives in Singapore now and is around for the holidays.  We met up with another mutual friend and had drinks at a literary-themed bar and I was so happy.

I'm home now, and going to sleep early.  Tomorrow I need to get my nails done, my hair done, and pack because on Saturday I'm leaving for (another) tropical vacation to the Dominican Republic.  A week of lying on a beach, reading books, and drinking pina coladas is exactly what I need to fill up my shell with humanity again.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Twenty-four hours ago I was optimistic and happy.  I was anticipating that history would be made: that for the first time ever a woman would be elected a President of that great big nation just south of Canada.  Even though I'm not American, I think that following US politics is as Canadian and maple syrup, toques, and talking about the weather.

I didn't realize the impact that the candidate of a major party being a woman would have on me.  It's one thing to acknowledge that yes, in theory, woman can do anything, but it's another to see it happening.  And not just happening, but to see a competent, kind, knowledgable, determined, intelligent, strong, unfuckwithable, and qualified woman being the one to do it.  I did my research.  I would have voted FOR Hillary and not just against Trump.

I was ready to cry tears of joy when it happened.

But then it didn't.  I felt bad at 9:14 pm and turned off my TV.  I tried to do something else.  Netflix, books, marking, cleaning.... none of of those things appealed to me.  I was in purgatory.  I wanted to stay away from the election, but I kept peeking on social media.

Finally I realized I needed to sleep.  I woke up at 4:30 am, lay awake in bed, wondering should I check.  I think I had a confusing dream where Hillary did pull ahead and hoped that was reality.  It wasn't.

I had to call my mom and cry this morning.  Not the happy tears that I wanted.  But the tears that you cry when your foundations are shaken.

I believe in the good of humanity.  I believe that most people are just trying to do the best job they can of being alive, and that would should try to understand everyone based upon our shared humanity.  I believe that working hard and being kind will lead to great things.  I believe in helping others, in community, and in the equality of all.  I believe in using my privilege to help the oppressed in our society.

It's not just that the candidate I believed in lost; it's that she lost to the worst, most unqualified, racist, mysogynist, ignorant, self-serving, ill-equipped candidate in history.  This is a person that shares in none of my beliefs.  The fact that millions of people voted for this man sickens me and saddens me to my core.  There is something broken with humanity and it hurts me.

I'm at work.  My period 2 class is in a presentation and I should be marking but I can't concentrate.  I'm thankful to live in Canada where currently we have done the opposite: we last elected a leader that is compassionate, strives for equality, understands science, and listens to others.  I'm thankful that as our neighbours are divided, we are more-or-less together.   We're not perfect, we have problems and some shameful history to deal with (our treatment of indigenous people), but we're doing OK.

However, I would have said the same about our neighbours to the south a few years ago as they elected their first black president.  It's scary how quickly things can change, and how anger and hate can resurface quickly.  This is something for Canadians to be cautious about, lest we rest upon our laurels too easily.

I am most shattered for the fact that those who struggle most society will be hurt the most by this new leader.  I think about the impact this will have on people of colour, women, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and anyone else who does not fit into this leader's narrow view of humanity.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I swear I'm going to update this blog one of these days soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken

If you're not Canadian, this post might be weird to you.  I grew up listening to The Tragically Hip, who pretty much Canada's band, but didn't make it so much anywhere else.  Which made us love them more. I was a teenager during the heady days of 90s Can-rock, so the Hip's songs run through my veins, even if in my early twenties I was too cool for them and shirked them away, much like a teenager would to her father.  However in my mid-twenties, I was back to appreciating them but they were always going to be there, so no big deal, right?

Anyway, this spring it turned out the lead singer of the Hip, WHO IS A LEGEND, has terminal brain cancer.  Gord Downie is Canada's unofficial poet laureate.  The band was going to do one last tour.  I managed to score EXACTLY ONE ticket to a Toronto show.  I went.  It was amazing.

After petitions, our beloved national broadcaster, the CBC, said it was going to air the very last (albeit a miracle) Tragically Hip show from their hometown of Kingston Ontario.

That show was tonight and WHAT THE FUCK I'm more emotional than I was after the show I saw in person.  I do not understand feelings.

I wrote a long rambling thing I was going to post for my high school friends' (Group of 9) Facebook Group but I decided it was embarrassing so I'm posting it here because in a a away, I want to remember these feelings.  Forgive me.


Guys, I'm an emotional wreck after that Hip show. Who else watched it? (I know Joanna did.)

I think we ALL went to that Hip festival together in 1997. Am I right? I know MEL and I were in a car with Jonas and Mark W. She was being annoying by throwing pretzels around.

I remember so many shed parties and dancing (okay moshing) to New Orleans is Sinking. I remember when the Trouble At the Henhouse album came out and we'd drive around listening to Gift Shop and Ahead By A Century. I remember wide open blue country skies with white fluffy clouds and feeling that we were invincible and life would never change.

But then it did. I remember moving to the city and listening to Phantom Power and In Violet Light and saying about the Hip "it's not the band I hate, it's their fans." (Snobby Sloan lyric.) I listened to those songs so much as I did my best not to fail out of U of T.

I remember studying, studying, studying but then taking a break to see Gord play a solo set at Yonge-Dundas Square during the Coke Machine Glow era.

I remember seeing the Hip with new friends but still feeling connected to the past. I went to the most amazing Hip show for Canada Day 2012 with my friend Elisa (who is Vern's friend too now!). I remember Gord playing with the Sadies at the Field Trip music festival a couple of years ago and when he came out, so did the sun and my friend Matt from Winnipeg and I said that if Gord can't change the weather, no one can.

I would have never guessed that I'd be obsessively listening to the Hip again in 2016, more than 20 years since I discovered them. I took them for granted. I take a lot of things for granted. I suck at living in the moment. I don't think I have much courage. I need to work harder at boosting people up, especially myself. Art of all types has always been my solace. Where would I be without words, stories, and music? And I think that's why I've been so sad about the finality of this tour. I always thought I'd have access to these words and music that make me feel better, but I don't. I always thought there'd be another Hip show.

I just now want to to approach everything with courage and grace, too. And to remember that there is no dress rehearsal, this is real life and let's get friendship right, get life day-to-day.