Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How whole years refuse to stay where we told them to, bad dog.

And there goes Christmas for another year. I had a good time in St. Ratford with lots of relaxing, and good times with friends. And now I'm back in Toronto, or at least until I head off to a change of scenery (Ottawa) for New Year's.

So I suppose it's that time of year to do the whole year's end run-down thing. I have some mixed feelings about this year; there was a heck of a lot of good stuff that happened, but some stuff that left me feeling down. I'm very ready to say good-bye to 2008, and here's to hoping that 2009 has the good stuff from 2008 (lots of concerts and travelling), but not so much of the bad (too much self-doubt and all-round blerginess).

Since I like math, I decided to do a 2008 by-the-numbers year end review.

1 = 1st annual Semester One Smash Down with work pals. Which is also the number of casualties that resulted from this event. That casualty was me.

1 = boring science education course that I took to get a raise.

1 = cute cat that I adopted.

1 = point that the Raptors lost by at my first game.

2 = number of times I saw Hawksley. And the Weakerthans. And REM.

2 = close work pals knocked up. Next school year’s gonna be lonely for me, but I’ll have lots of babies to visit.

3 = US States that I visited (New York, Texas, California)

3 = musicals: Spring Awakening on Broadway (!), and A Chorus Line, and Sound of Music here)

3 = dinner/brunch parties thrown by me. Yes, by me.

4 = Canadian Provinces that I spent time in (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and well, Ontario of course)

4 = number of kickass trips taken by me (NYC for 28th birthday, SXSW for March Break, San Francisco, and Maritime Mayhem)

5 = number of Starbucks City Mugs added to my collection (New York City, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco)

11 = 11th annual Christmas gathering with the group of 9 since we left high school. 8/9 of us made it. There's a fraction for you.

17 = estimation of the number of concerts I attended this year. (Not including SXSW, that would be too hard to count.)

28 = age that I turned

30 = age that Becca T turned. She survived. Mostly, I think, because I got her the best birthday present ever (REM concert).

Countless = number of students who made my day. My job rocks.

Countless = dinners, lunches, brunches, second lunches, drinks, coffees, and such with various friends that have stuck around through the years.

I suppose the vast majority of that adds up to one pretty good year. Well, still, pretty good year. Cue Tori song now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All the bells are ringing out, and it's Christmas all over again.

So the Queen of Indecisiveness (me) has now flip-flopped three times on when to leave for the holidays. I was going to go last night, and then switched to tomorrow night, and have now settled on tonight. I feel bad for my poor cat-sitter who keeps getting messages about changes in plans. Actually, I've been this flip-floppy about trips in the past, but only my parents have had to deal with it. Now that I've got a cat, there's a whole other person in the equation. Lucky that my pal Mathew is patient.

Anyway, over the past few days I've hosted a successful egg nog waffle brunch, gone to a super-fun Christmas party, and had a really relaxing spa day.

Now I'm taking a break from packing up dirty laundry (and presents!) to bring to the 'rents. I think I'm going to relax, knit, exercise, read, chill, and social butterfly as much as possible over the next few days.

Blogging may or may not be hiatus-ed for awhile depending on my mood and internet connection.

I'm back in Toronto for a couple days in on the 29th, then I'm going to spend New Year's in Ottawa, so that will be a fun change.

Merry Christmas to all of you who read this. And all of you who don't too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa Claus is coming; hear the banjo strumming.

I figured out what my favourite part of Christmas is: the traditions that I have with my friends.

I have a really small family, and really for most of my adult life, I have Christmas Day dinner with my parents and that's it for the family stuff. No huge dinners with extended family or any of that jazz. We used to do that when I was a kid, but somehow everyone grew up and drifted apart and now we just get cards and stuff. All of my first cousins are way older than me, and grew up far away from me, so I was never close to them.

I think being an only child and not having close extended family has forced me to accumulate many close friends. And one cool thing about growing older, is that many of my friendships have aged really well, and feel like a comfy pair of Chucks. And, the Christmas traditions that I have with these friends are my favourite part of the Christmas season.

Tonight was one of my fave Christmas traditions: my university pals Becca T and Flora and I celebrated our 11th Christmas together. Every year, we exchange gifts and then have dinner at Swiss Chalet. And as always, tonight was a great way to celebrate another year of friendship.

Another favourite Christmas tradition of mine is the Annual Christmas Gathering of the Group of Nine. This is my crazy group of friends from high school. It's amazing that nine of us have been able to keep in touch for ten years now. Every year, as many of us as possible invade someone's house, and eat, and drink, and laugh a lot. This year, it looks like all nine will be able to attend, barring any disasters (knock on wood). I don't think any of us can remember when all nine of us were together in one room, so it's gonna be historic. I can't wait.

I also like school traditions too. This is my fifth year at my school, and every year on the last Friday before break, we have shortened classes, a talent show, and then we kick the kids out and have a staff lunch. It's always a nice day and I look forward to it.

Tomorrow night, since they have predicted a nasty snowstorm, Becca T is going to come here, and sleep over and we're going to watch cheesy Christmas movies together. Another fun tradition carried over from university days.

On Saturday, I'm throwing a waffle brunch for some pals. Maybe this will become a new Christmas tradition since I had to invest in a waffle iron... Anyway, I came up with the idea when I saw that I had a container of Williams Sonoma egg nog waffle mix in my cupboard that a friend gave to me 'cuz she doesn't like egg nog. I decided the only way to use this was to have a little party, so here we are. Lucky I got a new Nightmare Before Christmas apron as a gift today to wear as I make waffles.

Anyway, yay for traditions, and yay for the last sleep before the last school day before the holidays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And I think I might find some wood and build a house... or maybe a boat... I don't know.

I am freaking exhausted. Tonight I finished my Christmas shopping, and spent a good four hours wrapping Christmas presents and writing Christmas cards. And that's only the cards for work people/Toronto people. I still have the St. Ratford contingent to deal with. Possible New Year's resolution: alientate some people so that I have fewer cards to write? Ha-ha.

But really, I was feeling warm and fuzzy for the many the person as I wrote their cards, wrapped their gifts, and tied on ribbons. I splurged a little today at Indigo on pretty paper, and ribbon, and sparkly snowman gift tags.

Christmas definitely brings out my inner perfectionist. Actually, it's not too hard to bring out the inner perfectionist. I am technically finished my Christmas shopping*, but after thinking about my mom's gift, I'm pretty sure it was all wrong. So, I've unwrapped the gift (carefully, so I can re-use bows and paper). Tomorrow I will go exchange it, rewrap it, and then it'll be perfect and I will be able to sleep easy.

I don't think I've ever been this on top of things though. I still have a couple of mixed CDs to make for a friend, plus finish knitting a mitten, but that is it.

I'm so on top of things that I've even gotten my required poem written for a friend's Christmas party on Saturday. There were three topics I could choose from, so I went with the one that spoke to me the most. So without further adieu, here's the only poetry I've written all year.

Santa Pooped in My Stocking: A Trifecta of Haikus by Christielli

On Christmas morning,
I checked my stocking first thing.
The stench was putrid.

You know how they say
If you are bad you get coal?
I got something worse.

Instead of keeping
This offensive, rank, foul gift
I sent it to John.**

I think I've posted haikus on my blog before (actually, that may have incited a haiku war if I remember correctly). Haiku is my poetry style of choice 'cuz it's all mathy with the 5/7/5 pattern.

3 more days of school left in 2008.

*I still have to buy my dad a gourmet jar of jelly beans from Shopper's, but they are heavy and I can buy them in St. Ratford so that's the last thing I will buy once I've arrived in the Rat.
**Host of party, who has a unique sense of humour and came up with the poetry topics. Usually Santa, or anyone, pooping is not mentioned on this blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The revolution wasn't bad; we hit the streets with all we had.

Weekend rundown:

1) Stars was fan-fucking-tastic! What a great concert to end this year which has been a year of concerts for sure. In 2008, I've been to at least 17 shows + SXSW, so yah, it's been the year of the concert for me. And Stars was a great show to end this year with.

The opening band, Gentlemen Reg, was great. I'd heard *of* them, and maybe have a song or two of theirs, but not overly familiar with them. They were really fun to see live. They have a new album coming out in February, so I'm interested in that.

Stars were phenomenal. They played pretty much every song that I wanted to hear, and it was just an incredibly high energy show in a great venue. I had fourth row seats, which were wicked, and ah, what can I say. It's hard to describe such a show. I have a huge crush on Amy Milan, by the way. Oh, and the lights were way cool. And, Torq shouted out the mall across the street from my school. Neat-o.

2) I slept on Saturday. Pretty much all day Saturday. I believe that I dragged myself to Shopper's at some point to get OJ. I technically think I should have stayed at home Friday, but I wasn't prepared to take a second day off, *and* I would have felt guilty going out on the eve of a second sick day. Damned in-grained guilt complex that I possess. Anyway, so, as a result, Saturday was a complete day of rest.

3) Today I managed to get out and get my Christmas shopping almost finished. I also got distracted by cute clothing on sale and a total splurge on boots I've been coveting. No one's going to be buying those for me, and they're never going on sale, and they match my splurge coat perfectly. I could still take them back, but I'm growing too attached to them.

4) Tonight I avoided responsibility (i.e. marking) by cooking dinner for myself, then inviting my pal Mathew over to help me eat said dinner, and going for coffee with him and dropping by Walmart for heavy stuff (i.e. cat litter). Walmart is so unpleasant, but when someone's going to drive you there to get heavy things, and they are the only place you know that stocks a particular brand of delicious baked dill pickle chip, what do you do?

5) I think my voice is okay because it just survived a long phone conversation with Becca T.

6) And oh, guess who's got her first concert tickets of 2009? And guess who they are for? Fave band = Weakerthans! Woot!

So five more days of this whole working thing, and then it's vacay. Can I survive? I think so.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave.

This is tomorrow night:

Feeling better after staying home. Slept most of the day. Got the new Oprah magazine. Had an "A-Ha" moment. (Ha-ha.) Bought a new book (Vinyl Cafe Diaries by Stuart McLean). Found myself feeling energized so I made a trip to the Eaton Centre. Got some Christmas shopping done. Used some store credit I had from mis-purchases to get a fabulous new bag, and a present for someone else. Came home with OJ (purpose of trip) and watched The Office and 30 Rock.

I also bought my favourite bath product at Lush so I plan to have a nice bubble bath and read and listen to Stars to prep me for tomorrow. Yah, you know that I am the type of nerd who prepares for concerts.

I was distracted from writing this post when a friend sent me this. Watch it. Hilarity! It's especially awesome when the Care Bear shows up. How can you not click now??

So this post now has no official rhyme nor reason to it like all of my posts. I swear, maybe in the new year, I will write posts that stick to an actual topic and are somewhat coherent.

Yeah right.

But anyway, back to Stars, and back to the title of this post, from the most-excellent song "Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead". I'm often not brave and don't say the things that I want to say, but I say hi-five to those who do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I tried to rock you but you only can roll.

Good thing that blogging involves me posting through my fingers because my voice is shot these days. Yes, I think I did catch whatever throat ailment that everyone and their cat has, either that, or I'll never be able to go to another basketball game ever again because of the havoc it wreacks on my vocal chords.

Today at school my scratchy voice was quite a topic of conversation. My students told me that I should have stayed home. (In retrospect, I should have.) One of my teacher friends made fun of me all day. For example, when I was complaining about something to her, she said "That sounds as bad as your voice does." Snap. My period 4 class, who are lovely people, said "awwww" in unison when I told them I was sick.

Anyway, lesson plans for tomorrow have been been placed in my mailbox, and a supply has been called and I plan to sleep in and spend a day of not talking and drinking tea and hopefully that will help everything. I plan to spend sometime on my sick day catching up on my marking since the pile is growing and I think might be my eventual downfall since it's getting so heavy to carry home and back.

Monday, December 08, 2008

These are the best days of your life; dinner parties and friends and no one's wife.

Hola! It's been a busy few days, and I think that this trend will continue until Christmas. But I like being busy, so woo-hoo.

My work party on Friday was fun. I actually played a game of pool (badly) but it was fun doing something that I hadn't done since I was 18.

On Saturday I was in my first car accident ever. That sounds way scarier than it was. It was a very very minor accident. On one of the first snowfalls of the year, my friend Mathew picked me up to go shopping. While driving on a back street, Mathew came to a stop and slid a bit. A couple seconds later, a car hit him. Mathew was like "was I just hit?" and I replied "What? Maybe? I don't know!" Turned out there's a scratch on the back of his car. Probably the most minor accident that anyone could be in, but I hadn't even been in something that insignificant before. Which is insane, considering the people who I grew up with. Some of my high school friends are notoriously bad drivers.

Sunday was another first for me: my first Raptors' game. It was super fun. It was such a close game, but oh-so exciting. My throat still hurts from yelling. Or so I hope. I may be coming down with the cold that everyone and their cat has these days.

Speaking of cats, last night mine was on top of the fridge. Being the disciplinarian that I am, I walked by and said "silly cat". Then, I was chatting online for a bit and I realized that I hadn't seen my cat in awhile. So I looked in all of her favourite hiding spots. No Rilo. I got distracted again, and forgot about her. When I was on my way to bed, I heard her meowing, and saw her waaaaaaaaay up on my kitchen cabinets above the fridge. I grabbed my camera 'cuz she looked terrified! (I think she fell asleep up there and then woke up spooked.) She was able to get down on her own, but was then very chatty about her adventure.

Last night I also discovered the new Leona Naess album "Thirteens". She had a very minor hit in the early part of this decade called "Charm Attack". Becca T and I used to rock out to that song a lot in our residence days. Anyhow, I found out she released something new, folksy, and indie and I love it. The title for this post comes from the song "Not the Same Girl" and is appropriate because...

...tonight I threw my second dinner party! I made the same food, but it was super fun. Entertaining makes Mondays more tolerable. Anyway, yay for food, and friends, and wine, and ice cream, and hot chocolate, and not doing work. Boo to the chores of going to the gym and marking which is how I'll be spending my Tuesday...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything.

Wow, another week is drawing to a close. Only 10 more instructional days until Christmas. Those are the days that count to me. The rest are candy.

Tomorrow's my work Christmas party. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be fun to get dressed up, at the very least. Oh, and I love my work pals so of course it'll be great.

It's been a pretty quiet week. I've been a little bit of a homebody, which is odd for me. Usually I have a bunch of things on the go and I'm running around doing this and that. I've been reading a little bit, knitting a little bit, procrastinating on cleaning and laundry, and following the Parliamentary crisis. Of course, maybe now that Parliament has been prorogued for seven weeks, it means I'll have to go out and do stuff. Hmmm, maybe this week has been my own little prorogue of being busy. Maybe I just needed a little time out. (Note: I think prorogue is every Canadian's word of the day.)

It's been nice spending more time with Rilo though. She's really come out of her shell lately. I've had her now for about a month and a half. At first she was pretty calm, yet inquisitive and friendly. I wondered if she was older than they told me because she wasn't playful at all. That has changed. She's taken to going crazy every evening where she runs around my apartment. One of her favourite routes is to run from the living room, all the way into the bathroom, then hop into the bathtub, turn around and run back into the living room. She will repeat this a few times. I suppose that's how she gets her cardio. Strangely, she has not done this yet this evening. She's chosen to lounge beside me on the couch as I blog.

She also carries around her toy duck once per day. Usually she brings it into my room while I'm sleeping, and occasionally I've woken up with the duck in my bed in the morning.

Earlier this evening, I was chatting with my pal Mathew (Rilo's godfather) on MSN, and he drew this lovely picture of Rilo and her duck.

I think that is the first incidence of guest art on my blog. :)

Here's Rilo looking cute when she hopped up on my desk the other day.

Here she is looking like she's plotting something. Maybe she's going to take down my Christmas tree again or chew through another set of headphones.

Well, I think that's all I have to say after my dull week. I'm sure I'll have Christmas party shenanigans to entertain you with soon.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Work when you need to, maybe. Don't let 'em bleed you baby.

Random Monday musings:

1) Parliamentary showdowns! Pacts! Coalition governments! Drama! Who would think that Canadian politics could get so interesting?

2) Is it a sign that a person is indecisive if she buys 4 new tops for a party? (Note: tops 1 and 2 have been returned. Top 3 is being kept since it was cheap. Top 4 is going to the party.)

3) I just finished a pretty decent novel ("Remembering the Bones" by Francis Itani). Basically it's the story of an 80-year-old woman's life in small-town Ontario. I really enjoy Canadian fiction like this. I also enjoy fiction that more or less points out that even the most ordinary of lives is pretty interesting, and could make an interesting novel.

Also, reading novels set in small towns makes me want to flee the city (even though I love the city and in reality could never leave it) and go back to my small town roots. Maybe someplace even smaller than St. Ratford.

Also, reading novels with setting in the 1920s-1950s make me wonder what my life would be like if I lived back then. I guess I would have gotten married eons ago? Either that or I'd be a spinster schoolteacher, ha-ha.

4) The setting of the novel I just finished made me listen to the Kim Barlow songs that I downloaded awhile ago. She's a folky singer-songwriter from the Yukon who I saw in October as part of the Pan-Canadian Folk Ensemble. Her song "Dancehall" is so 1940s and appeals to my 1940s retro-side, which I really didn't know that I possessed until I just thought about it right now.

5) That concert was actually recently posted on CBC Radio 2's Concerts-On-Demand site. It's a great listen. My favourite songs are Kim Barlow's "Dancehall" and "Great White Nothing"; Christine Fellows' new song "Dragonfly"; and Old Man Luedecke's song "I Quit My Job". That last one is great, trust me. Anyway, if you are ever in the mood to indulge your inner folk-self (and we *all* have an inner folk-self, right?), listen to this show. Oh, and if you listen closely, maybe you can hear me clapping and singing during the sing-a-longs.

6) I had a super fun Saturday night. I went to the tree-lighting at Nathan Phillips' Square with some pals. Then we wandered around to other places with lights, and ended up going for coffee and then late-night sushi. Here are some Christmas lights pics.

This is the awesome light up Tiger in Koreatown. I really had to talk my pal Mathew into taking us there. He said "this had better be the coolest tiger ever." His verdict: "you got lucky."

Tree at Yonge-Dundas Square

This tree was what all the pomp and circumstance was about.

More lights at Nathan Phillips' Square.

Swarovski tree at the Eaton Centre.

7) Tonight my work spouse called me 'cuz she got Raptors tickets from her real-life husband 'cuz he's going to a football game, and she invited me. I've never been to a basketball game before! Now I just have to go to a football game, a hockey game, and a soccer game and I'll have been to all of the major sports. Ha-ha. Like that's going to happen.

8)I forget if there was anything else I had to say. So I'll leave it for now.