Thursday, December 31, 2009

Still, pretty good year.

Well, after a nice week in Stratford, I'm back in Toronto. I'm glad to be back in my little apartment with Rilo Kitty, and I'm even gladder that I was lucky enough to get a ride home from my pal Jolene. It's nice not having to drag suitcases on trains and subways. And, even better the ride was following by some fun shopping, where I scored a new sweater on sale at anthropologie, and also stocked up on some new stuff for my place at Ikea.

Anyway, so it is now the end of another year. How did that happen?

Overall, I'd say that 2009 was a pretty good year, to rip off the Tori Amos song of the same year. (Great song, ch-check it out.)

I had a great birthday in NYC, a surprise party here, an awesome summer trip to Paris, Scotland and London, got to share in the wedding and babies of a few really good friends, went to a plethora of great concerts, and had a really nice Christmas break. My job is challenging, and not without its frustrations, but overall I love it, and feel blessed with the experiences that it brings.

As always, it was the little things made the year good: countless frappucinos in the park and sushi dinners with Becca T, Group of 9 social functions, thoughtful notes in the mail, nights out with work pals, spa days, endless conversations with my pal Mathew, birthday parties, new friends, reuniting with long-lost friends, silliness on facebook, teenage humour, and laughing at Rilo.

However, I often felt that during 2009, I was in transition from where I am to where I'm supposed to be. I don't think that I moved forward a whole lot, but that's okay. I've always liked where I am, and have always liked myself as a person, but there are ways in which I'd like to move forward. I'm not there yet, but I will be, and I hope 2010 will bring some changes to my life, but if it doesn't, that's okay, because I still like things the way they are.

As for resolutions and goals, well, my goal for 2009 was to read a book a year, and as you can see from the sidebar, I didn't make it, but I did read quite a bit. As long as I don't somehow finish a book tomorrow (and I do have two half-finished books that aren't on the list), I've read 35 books this year, and that averages out to about one book per week and a half, which is good for a busy working person.

I'm not going to make any reading resolutions this year, but I am going to keep up with the list of books on my sidebar because I liked keeping track of my reading, and I'm curious how much I'll read without any sort of goal. (I bet about the same.)

I think I'll also add a concert list too, 'cuz as you all know, concerts are my favourite.

As for resolutions for 2010, I have three:

1) Eat healthy.
2) Exercise more and find new things to do so that I don't get bored.
3) Keep my apartment neat and organized.

I know that I feel really good, not just pretty good, when I do these three things, and 2009 wasn't great for any of them, so they are my focus for 2010. And I'll have a good start 'cuz my apartment is in very nice shape right now, I have a gym membership, and I ate all of my Christmas junk food so it's gone, ha-ha.

Anyway, I'll check in at the end of each month to keep you updated with my resolutions.

Well, happy new year to each and every one of you! I hope that 2010 is a great start to the new decade. :D

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Things to be excited about...

1) I just saw the Olympic Torch go through town. I missed it when it went through TO, so yay for second chances. And, it's pretty fun seeing it go through here since it's the most news-worthy thing that's happened here since 1988, when the Calgary torch went through. I was 8 and it was fun times. Anyway, I missed where Peter Mansbridge (my homeboy) got to carry it, but I saw it on its way out of town. Fun.


2) Tonight is Group of 9 Christmas! It def the most raucous Christmas celebration that I go to. I have my tacky gift, and I'm off to get some wine and flowers for the hostess (this year it's Teresa). And, I'm going to sheepishly ask my dad for a ride to the event so that I can perhaps partake in some of the wine.

3) Tomorrow I'm driving to London to meet up with my friend Alison who I haven't seriously seen in over three years. I'm so excited. I'm going to teach her to knit, apparently. She's put in a request. So I'm off to Zellers to get some supplies. Yay Zellers!

4) Then I'm meeting up some more friends in London tomorrow evening for more celebrating. Haven't seen a couple of them in a couple years either. Goodness.

5) Tuesday will be a day of rest, and then on Wednesday, my dear pal Jolene is going to drive me back to TO to be reunited with Rilo Kitty and to do some shopping. Fun!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hey there Delilah.

That's what's playing right now in the coffee shop as I am doing a routine email check. I left my iPod at home. Anyway, this pop stuff they are playing sure beats the country music station that they have on normally. Phew.

The way I can tell the difference between the gym in St. Ratford and my gym in TO is that CMT (Country Music Television) is always always always on the TVs. It's never on in TO. It's good to be home, I guess?

My Christmas was pretty wonderful. I hope that all of you had a good Christmas. I hung out with my 'rents and ate lots of chocolate and turkey and all the trimmings. In the evening, we watched the completely inappropriate DVD I bought my mom for Christmas. It was Will Ferrell as GWB in You're Welcome America - completely parent unfriendly but I knew my mom would really like it. Then we watched a bunch of 30 Rock.

I'm getting a lot of knitting done. The pair of mittens I've been knitting for over a year is now finished, and I've started another pair. Right now I'm using knitting to work through some crazy-ass thoughts that are going through my head. Basically, there are some unspoken feelings lingering around that I'd like to say, but they're a little out there, and if I said them, I'd rock the boat, and the boat is comfy. So I knit.

Ack, my laptop battery is going to die and I left the power cable at home. It lasts for like 30 mins now. New year is gonna mean new laptop, I know it.

Hope you are all avoiding the malls. Or rocking them. Whichever you prefer. :) (I'm an avoider.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My year in concerts.

Well, I'm still working on the great clean/pack of 2009. There's nothing too big about the packing, I'm just going to the Rat for a week, but it's the cleaning. Four months of general domestic neglect (to a point) will do that. One of my new year's resolutions is to entertain more, since the only way I clean effectively is to have people over, not counting Becca T and Mathew, since they are on a list of people who are so special to me, that heck, I'll actually mess the place up for them. Of course, it'll still be a while 'til Becca T is back.

Anyway, as I've been tidying, I just put my last tickets stub of '09 into my beloved ticket stub album. Now, 2008 was the year of the concert, since I went to 19 shows + SXSW, but as I flip through my album, I can see that 2009 represented. Let's reminisce, shall we?

Ben Folds @ the Kool Haus (yuck to the venue, yay to Ben!)

Sloan @ The Mod Club (Slooooooooo-ooooooooooooooan!)

The Weakerthans and The Constantines @ The Phoenix (could it get any better?)

Neko Case @ Trinity St. Paul's (First time I saw her, and she's awesome.)

Joel Plaskett @ Massey Hall (Front row! 2 sets! One of the best concerts I've ever been to!)

The Constantines @ The Harbourfront (Cons + fireworks = awesome)

Neko Case @ Massey Hall (So nice, I had to see her twice, ha-ha)

K'naan @ The Phoenix (Wow! Someone invited me to a show for once, and I had to "study" for it - aka familiarize myself with the artist. K'naan is great, and his album Troubadour almost made it to my fave of 2009 list.)

Metric/The Weakerthans/Hey Rosetta! @ The Mod Club (I won tickets courtesy of my beloved Weakerthans. First time ever seeing Metric and they blew me away. Seriously, could I choose a better three-band line up?)

Ben Folds w The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (Ever since I saw Ben's DVD Live with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, I dreamed of seeing him play with an orchestra. It was as awesome as I thought it would be.)

Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace (Such a fun live band!)

Feist @ Holt Renfrew (I am counting it 'cuz you can't not count Feist. Excellent random treat.)

Phoenix @ The Sound Academy (I <3 Phoenix. Seriously. Huge crush on the lead singer. I don't even know his name. )

Not too shabby. I missed out on a few that I wanted to see, but whatevs, they'll be back.

Oh wait! I also saw Claire's friends' band, Be Like Pablo, when I was in Scotland. They were pretty fun.

So far, as I've babbled in previous posts, I have Tegan & Sara, Jack's Mannequin, and Hawksley Workman tickets lined up for 2010.

I really really want to see Los Campensinos! this year. And Stars needs to play soon. I miss them. And I'd like to see Elliott Brood, 'cuz I'm super into them. They're playing on NYE at Lee's, but I don't think I'll be able to go. Ooh, and since I missed Tori this year, she needs to tour again in 2010. And I really need to see Kathleen Edwards again. The wish list could go on forever, so I'll stop.

Anyway, done with the procrastination post, off to pack and clean.

Merry Christmas, I'm off to the Rat! I'll check in from a coffee shop every now and again. :D

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Decade of Awesomeness!!!!

So wigsf thinks this decade sucked musically, but I completely disagree. I didn't think I could make a list of my 10 favourite albums of the decade, but it was easier than I thought. It was made easier by the fact that I am procrastinating from cleaning and packing. Anyway, these are ten albums that are very special to me, and they all came out in the past ten years. Note: these are just *my* favourite albums, because I don't think I could make a best-of list, because I'm not a music expert, just an expert in what I like.

It was also weird thinking that back in the early part of the decade, I was still in university! Using dial-up! And Napster! It's crazy to think about how much life has changed in the past ten years. This article is brilliant, if you'd like to take a walk down memory lane.

Anyway, here are my fave albums of the aughts, as they seem to be calling them in the media. My dad, if he were here, would say that he was the first to use that term. Seriously though, these ten albums were the soundtrack of my decade, but there was lots of other awesome stuff too.

10) Three – Joel Plaskett (2009): I think this album is great enough to be on this list. Do you notice that on decade lists the stuff that comes out in the last year gets shafted? Triple album of awesomeness is what this is.

9) Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – Neko Case (2006): Neko is a brilliant vocalist and songwriter. I bought this album thinking “oh, I’m not going to like this; she’s just too country for me.” But nope, I was won over on the first listen and that was that.

8) Hospital Music – Matthew Good (2007): Maybe, just maybe, I love this album because I listened to it in heavy rotation as I took a train through the Rockies, but it’s a great album, and highly personal. You all know that I love Matthew Good a lot, and he’d have to pop up on this list. Also, I got into blogging because of Matthew Good, just so you know.

7) Transatlanticism – Death Cab for Cutie (2003): Becca T sent me this CD for Christmas when I taught up north. Something about its lyrics and haunting melodies fit my life perfectly when I taught up there.

6) The Reminder – Feist (2007): This is an album that keeps growing on me and growing on me. But it’s just so good, and every time I listen to it, I fall in love with something else.

5) (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001) – Hawksley Workman: This album played a pivotal role in my life. It marked the first time I ever shirked my real-life responsibilities to go to a concert. And what a show it was! It was the CD-release party for this album, and Hawksley performed it with a string quartet. I was supposed to be in stats class, Becca T was supposed to be writing an essay instead, but going to this show was a much better decision. We both fell in love with the song “No Beginning, No End” and for weeks on end, this album was all we listened to.

4) The Beekeeper – Tori Amos (2005): This is my personal favourite Tori Amos album, probably because it’s her most accessible. It’s chock full of beautiful melodies, and “Sleeps With Butterflies” is my most-listened to song ever. This album taps into my spirituality and femininity like no other ever has. (My goodness, I should date it!)

3) Set Yourself on Fire – Stars (2005): The first time I ever heard Stars was when the song “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” came up randomly on my iPod. I have never been so taken by one track. I ran out and bought the album, and it’s high-energy, political, and beautiful. Love.

2) You Were Here – Sarah Harmer (2000): I wasn’t sure if this came out in the ‘00s, but iTunes said it came out in 2000. This is a desert island album for me. It’s that awesome.

1) Reconstruction Site – The Weakerthans (2003): This is such a special album for me. I remember first discovering the Weakerthans (my very favourite band) in late 2000 when I was downloading stuff very slowly on freakin’ dial-up using Napster. I saw this album evolve on stage. They played songs from it the first time I ever saw them on a hot and sweaty evening at the Reverb with my dear friend Eric in the summer of 2001. This album’s got my favourite song EVER (Reconstruction Site), a song written from the point of view of a cat, and they best Winnipeg-related song ever. What else can I say about this album? It might roll its eyes at this, but I’m so glad that it exists.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowfall, this is what I've been waiting for, to cover up the summer's restless ghosts.

HOLIDAYS!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!

And can I say that I deserve my two weeks off?? The last week of school was insane with the annual talent show that I got roped into organizing. I had a lot of help from some places, and very little help from others, but all in all it was an *insert my last name here* production. And it was off the hook, if I do say so myself. Since I saw the acts evolve from the audition stage, to the dress rehearsal stage, to the big show, I was a little more invested in this show than the usual ones where I just watch. (That way is much easier.)

However, they all brought it. I was so happy and I bruised my hand clapping for all of my talented raggamuffins. Oh, and the nice thing about the talent show is that all the mean kids skip that day, and all the sweet ones stay, so the crowd is awesome and so enthusiastic. At the end of the show, I should have technically been angry, 'cuz the final group got the sound guy to play another song without permission and brought all the contestants on stage to dance, but I really liked it and it was so cute I didn't care. The big boss might have been a little cheesed since it was his time to go give the dismissal speech, but whatevs. So much spirit!

So yah, last week was a week of dress rehearsals, shopping with students for prizes and gifts, setting up the caf for the show, taking down the caf, organizing all the little details, and did I mention I still had to teach my classes? Anyway, I survived, and also got some Christmas shopping done and went to two birthday parties.

I have had a lazy, lazy weekend. That's okay since I have a bit of time before I set off for St. Ratford. I gotta finish off some shopping, clean the apartment, and pack, but I have 2.5 whole days for that.

I'm also putting my indie rock snob Christmas tunes into heavy rotation. Everyone should right now go to iTunes and download Slow Club's Christmas EP called "Christmas Thanks For Nothing".

Then go here and download the Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada playlist. I'm still working through it since it's pretty big, but so far my faves are the songs by Wilderness of Manitoba, Ohbijou, The Acorn, and Dan Mangan. Oh wait, now I love the song by David Carswell and Megan Barnes.

The title of this post comes from the brilliant 30 second song by The Acorn. As I was walking from the subway to school on Friday, my Converse sneakers against bare, dry pavement looked wrong. "How can this be the last day of school before Christmas?" I asked myself as I stared at my feet. We need a snowfall to cover up the summer's restless ghosts for sure. Thank you for verbalizing that so well The Acorn.

Oh now I love the song "Cinammon Winter" by Cinderpop.

I'm not a fan of these dark evenings though. It feels like it's so late, but it's not even 6 pm.

Anyway, I should be off. I might head off to Indigo (yay for late night bookstores) to do some Christmas shopping and perhaps get a decaf treat at Starbucks.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I have waited with a glacier's patience.

Yet another post of randomness.

1) Overall my weekend was very relaxing, and I didn't check off nearly enough from my to-do list, but oh well, I work better under pressure.

2) Next week is going to be Busy (note the capital B), so I doubt I'll be posting. Unless I'm so stressed that I just need to let it all out, which in that case, expect a post.

3) On Saturday, I took the Go Train to Burlington for a surprise bday party for my friend Wendy. The surprise part of it was a bit fail, because she was a little bit early and could see people running around the house, but she had a good time. Part of the surprise was that we took her to a studio for belly-dancing lessons, which isn't my thing, but it was actually very fun.

4) I had been telling another friend about the belly-dancing, and she's planning to take lessons in the new year. It's pretty good exercise, and rather fun, and would be a good way to put some variety in the ol' fitness routine.

5) As I was on the train home from Burlington, I made a playlist of all of my fave songs from my fave album list in my previous post. If any of you would like me to burn you a copy, email your address to christielli123@gmail.com. I won't have time to make copies and mail them 'til the end of the holidays, but I'll get them out in the new year if you are interested.

6) I should go to bed but I really don't feel like it because I am not really looking forward to this week, even though it's the last one before Christmas holidays. I'll survive it somehow, I'm sure. I always do.

Bonus #7 - After writing this post, I picked up "The Glass Castle" which I am currently re-reading. I read it a few years ago, enjoyed it, and saw that the author (Jeannette Walls) has a new book out. Anyway, I totally forget this book, hence the desire to re-read it. I just came across a passage that I have to share with you all. It's about one the of teachers that the author has while going to elementary school in Battle Mountain Nevada in the late 60s/early 70s.

"Miss Page had gotten the ax when the principal caught her toting a loaded rifle down the school hall. Miss Page said all she wanted to do was motivate her students to do their homework. "

And with that, have a great week!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lisztomania

I love writing my list of top ten favourite albums of the year. Now, this really isn’t a best-of list, these are just the albums that I listened to the most, spoke to me the most, and were my soundtrack to 2009. And they’re all really great too.

I’ve actually been waiting to write this list since early in the year, because even back then I could tell that 2009 seemed to be a better-than-average year for music. There are a lot of strong albums this year that didn’t even make my list. It just seemed like there was more music out there this year that I really connected with.

Also, so many of my favourite albums this year are total high-energy albums that make me want to dance and party. All ten of these albums can be described as being all killer, no filler. Seriously, it was a great year for music.

Most of you will be completely unsurprised about my list because I know I’ve written about the awesomeness of each of these albums earlier in the year.

I’ve posted this earlier than usual, because next week, work is going to kick my ass, and then I’ll be in holiday mode, so yeah, here’s the list.

10) Lost Channels – Great Lake Swimmers: Like all Great Lake Swimmers albums, the words beautiful and gorgeous come to mind while I listen to Lost Channels. I love the way that instruments are arranged in GLS songs, and there is nothing more relaxing than Tony Dekker’s vocals. This GLS album is different than their previous work, in that it’s a little more upbeat than their other albums. I love Lost Channels for its gorgeous melodies, dreamy lyrics, beautiful arrangements and vocals. If you need something laid back, but with a bit of a kick, pick this album up.

Fave song: She Comes To Me In Dreams

9) It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz! is actually the first YYYs album that I’ve heard and I love it. “Heads Will Roll” is the single that got me in interested in this album, and the rest of the songs follow through. There are a lot of danceable rock tunes on this album. However, a slightly softer side of the band is shown in the lovely “Hysteric” and on the very sweet “Little Shadow”. If you need something to throw on your iPod during a party, or if you need fun music while cleaning, marking, or at the gym, get It’s Blitz! Also, I find dancing around your living room to “Heads Will Roll” a great cure for a bad day.

Fave song: Hysteric

8) Territory – Two Hours Traffic: Two Hours Traffic are one of my favourite new musical finds of last year, and I was really looking forward to their new album. This band from PEI delivers some of the best power pop around, and their albums are produced by Joel Plaskett. Territory offers many songs that are loaded with hooks and are great to sing along with. “Just Listen” and the last track “Sing A Little Hymn” are softer slower offerings, but both work wonderfully. And THT get bonus points for mentions of Darwin and triceratops in “Sing A Little Hymn”.

Fave song: Drop Alcohol

7) Grand – Matt & Kim: Matt & Kim are a new find for me this year. This album is forever linked to NYC for me, since that’s where the band is from, and I discovered it around the time I travelled to NYC for my birthday this year. Grand is yet another great party album on this year’s list. I’ve included it on iPod playlists that I put on at a couple of parties this year, and at each occasion I had a couple of people ask me about it. All of the songs are short, piano-driven, and high energy. Grand is a grand little album, and you can’t help but picture yourself walking around in some funky NYC neighbourhood while you are listening to this album.

Fave song: Daylight

6) Vancouver – Matthew Good: I’ll admit that pretty much whenever Matt Good puts out a new album, it ends up on my year-end list. But, the man always delivers, so what can I do? I’m always interested in any album that is based upon an artist’s hometown, since one of my favourite themes to explore in literature in music is the meaning of home. Vancouver leads off with the rock number “Last Parade” and is a great mix of rock songs, and longer songs with lush arrangements. There’s something about Matt Good’s singing that always appeals to me, and whenever I’m listening to MG, there are little lines that strike me and just make sense. Vancouver is a collection of ten great songs, and it’s a great listen on those days where you are feeling pensive and reflective.

Fave song: A Silent Army in the Trees

5) Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix: Even if I hadn’t been wowed by Phoenix’s show last weekend, this album would have made this list. I picked up this album in May, and it’s gotten a lot of play since then because it is so fun. Phoenix is another new musical find for me in 2009, and I’m glad I discovered them at this point in their career. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix consists of ten very strong songs that mix electronic beats with guitars and keyboards and fun vocals.

Fave songs: It’s a toss up between Lisztomania and 1901.

4) Sainthood – Tegan and Sara: Tegan and Sara have only really been one of my favourites for a few years now, but they really impressed me with their 2009 release. I’d read remarks somewhere that some long-time fans might be disappointed with how poppy sounding this album is, but I completely disagree. It seems like that with this release the focus is completely on really catchy, short, pop-ish songs, and they work so well. I’d always found on previous Tegan and Sara stuff that there were some songs that I didn’t connect with so much, but I love each and every song on this album. And, this is another fun album that stands up for great music when you need to be energized, or to play during a party.

Fave song: Alligator (I love how 80s this song sounds.)

3) Fantasies – Metric: I’ve always been all right with Metric, but with this album, as well with finally seeing their awesome live show this fall, have made me love them. The first time I heard “Help I’m Alive” I remember saying to my friend Mathew “This must be Metric! It’s so great! I need this song!” I bought the album as soon as it came out, and declared it awesome upon each listen. Each song completely rocks, and I love Emily Haines’ voice and synth skills. If you can listen to this album without pumping your fist, you must have no arms. (Whoa, that’s really corny writing, but I’m keeping it.)
Fave song: Stadium Love

2) Middle Cyclone – Neko Case: It took a lot of internal debate during the year to decide whether this album, or the next one, would take first place because both are really special to me. Neko’s last album, “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” was my favourite album of 2007, and I think I might even like “Middle Cyclone” better. It’s hard to say because both are just so awesome. Neko’s got one of the best voices anywhere, and her songs wonderful and unique. Each time I listen to this album, a new song stands out to me, and I appreciate it more. I love the cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me”. The imagery in “Prison Girls” is vivid. I can identify with the heartsick tornado in “This Tornado Loves” you. And since I love animals, I love the menagerie of creatures that pop up in various songs. I don’t know what more to say than just go get this album now.

Fave song: I’m an Animal

1) Three – Joel Plaskett: In the final song on this masterpiece (and I don’t throw that word around), Joel sing “triple record, now that’s just rattlin’ off”. And honestly, that’s what you’d think would happen with a triple record. But it doesn’t. Each disc of this album has a different theme, and various melodies and aspects wind their way through the record. Every time I listen to the album, I discover something new and exciting that I didn’t hear before. And I’ve listened to this album a lot. According to last.fm, it’s my most listened to album. The reason being is that there are so many great songs on this album, from the lead-off single “Through & Through & Through”, to the tempo-shifting in “Run, Run, Run”, the beautiful “In The Blue Moonlight”, and the epic “On & On & On”. I’m so glad that I was able to see so many of the songs from my favourite album played at Massey Hall, and that show was also my fave of 2009.

Fave song: Deny, Deny, Deny

And that's it! I'm excited for 2010 albums already. I know that both Hawksley Workman and Los Campensinos! are coming out with new stuff, and I'm psyched. How about you? What's your favourite music from 2009?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

But the wind goes right through you.

Today was the first snowstorm of the year. I had a pretty hellish commute. There were delays on both lines of the subway. It took me twice as long as usual to get to work. Good thing I left early. Of course, I left early to get some work done, which obviously didn't happen. Oh well.

One of my friends at work was given free passes to some rugby movie with Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman tonight and she invited me. When we got there, all of the seats were taken, so they gave us free passes to see another movie. We chose "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" which was quite enjoyable. We also ate lots of popcorn.

I feel that I'm not listening to enough Christmas music this year. Time's a ticking! The window of opportunity for listening to Christmas is short, and I have to take advantage of it. Right now I'm listening to all three of my versions of "Fairytale of New York": The Pogues, Pilate, and Stars. I'm making progress.

The other night I had a Rilo Kitty photoshoot. I feel that I'm quite reasonable with amount of cat content on this blog, so I'm going to hit you with some of the pictures. You will notice that Rilo's much chubbier than she used to be. Being a housecat suits her.

This is actually an older Rilo Kitty shot. I think it's hilarious when cats are cleaning themselves and they turn one of their ears inside out. It got a shot of it.

Here she is all focussed on catching the string on my camera. The look in her eyes is pure determination.


Here she is looking pensive. Pensive and chubby. Although her paw looks freakishly large.


I don't know how I got this one, but it's hilarious. I'm sure she's so happy with me for posting it on my blog.


Oh my photoshoot was inpired by the fact that I'm giving my dad a framed picture of Rilo for Christmas, since he misses his napping buddy from the summer. I have pictures of her in her skinny days, but I don't think he'd recognize those, ha-ha. I dunno if any of the above will work, what do you think?

Right now she's happily sleeping on two of my coats that I tossed on my loveseat. She enjoys my messiness: it provides her with a variety of new sleeping places every day. Oh she must have known I was blogging about her. Now she's sitting on my knee and purring.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, December 07, 2009

And I'll be anything you ask and more.

This evening I just booked a flight to here for March Break!


The trip to Nice is officially on! I'm probably going to meet up with Becca T in Paris, and we'll spend a little bit of time there, and then make our way to Nice. I'm so excited! I love France. And I can't wait to party with Becca T for a week. I miss her. Anyway, I got a good price on my flight, and now all I have to do is fill in a few blanks, and voila!

Also, *who* seriously flies to Paris twice within a year? Me! Who'd have thunk? I'd planned this summer's trip before I knew Becca T was going to France, and figured if the fates were going to take me there twice, so be it. The other day I was using Google Street View to navigate the streets of Paris, and was just salivating at the sight of them. I love that city.

Incidentally, I noticed my passport expires in February. Renewing it will be high on my to-do list in the new year.

I stole some cool pictures that Mathew took at the Phoenix show that I'm going to intersperse between my banter. I'm still on a Phoenix-binge as a result of that show.

I went on a field trip today. Better than the average Monday for sure. A lot of it was outside (cold!) and I'm exhausted from all of that fresh air. Does that happen to you?



The picture below shows the end of the show when the band allowed people to come up onto the stage. It was a fun moment.


I've been thinking about my top 10 favouritest albums of 2009. I've got the list worked out (I think), and I'll be posting it soon, I hope. Hmmm, you should all take bets on what will be in my list. 2009 was a great year for albums. There was some great stuff that didn't even make my list.



Oh, and can you believe it'll be a new decade soon? Gah, I'm not going to do any best of the whatever this decade's called 'cuz it's too much brainwork.


Tomorrow I have a half day workshop in the morning. Will have to make a trip to Starbucks on the way there to make it through.

Also, I gotta share this brilliant Phoenix video that my buddy rawbean shared with me. It's totally summarizes what's making me happy these days: dreaming of Paris + listening to Phoenix.

Phoenix - 1901 - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

You can check out more of their Take Away series here. I think it's brilliant how great they sound in random Paris locations. I love the one on the bus. And, I developed a total crush on the lead singer as a result of Saturday's show. Now, he's a little bit more awkward close up than he was from my standing view at the concert, but I do like the geeky awkward boy with messy hair. And he's Parisian and he sings. He can be my Paris boyfriend. I'm going to need one since I go there so often, ha-ha.

Happy Tuesday folks!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's 20 seconds 'til last call, going hey hey hey hey hey hey.

I spent most of today sleeping last night off. Last night was full of hilarity and shenanigans, like any Christmas party should be. I'm glad that there is a committed group of colleagues who decided to continue the party elsewhere, because it was off the hook. I love continuing lame sayings from the previous night into the next day.

Today was Phoenix! Woot! I have to say, concerts are less tiring after a day of recuperative sleep.

The concert was at The Sound Academy, which is a venue I've somehow never been to before. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like smaller places like Lee's and The Mod Club way better, but it was better than oh, the Kool Haus.

The opening band was Holy Fuck. They're a fun band to watch for sure, but I don't think I'd ever listen to their music on my iPod. But, I definitely enjoyed seeing them.

Phoenix are so fun live. I only knew the songs from their current album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but each and every song was high energy and enjoyable. They opened with "Listzomania" and closed with "1901" which are my two favourite songs. I also loved both parts of "Love Like a Sunset".

Since I had a lot of energy when I got home from the show (due to the day of sleep), I'm staying up and doing laundry. My Sunday can't be as lazy as my Saturday 'cuz I have a bunch of things to get done before another week of insanity.

But, it's much easier going into a week of insanity after a super fun weekend!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oh, what a night.

In life, don't you find that it's not so much the party as it is the after-party?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Insanity, but the good kind.

I'm crazy busy these days. Surprisingly though, I actually got two whole lunches to myself this week. No meetings, no events, just me eating my lunch. I didn't know what to do with a calm 40 minute interval.

Anyway, work is super busy with planning talent shows (don't ask), working on a bunch of environmental projects, planning field trips, being sent off for PD, and I have to teach too. A friend and I have planned a special treat for ourselves that we are calling "code awesome" that I'm really looking forward to.

Tomorrow is my work Christmas party of all things. How did that happen? I'm looking forward to it. It's really low-key, which is nice, because I don't have time to search for a new outfit, etc. One year it was some place sort of fancy, and I got my hair did (quoting tonight's 30 Rock there), and a new dress and everything. Thankfully it's not like that this year because I would not have the time nor the energy.

On Saturday I'm going to see Phoenix! Get this: on Saturday there's a Hey Rosetta! show, the Phoenix show, and a show with Weezer with Jack's Mannequin. How fair is it that there are three good shows in one night?? WTF?? Anyway, Phoenix won because it was announced first and my friend Mathew got tickets eons ago. Really though, it was the best choice because I've never seen them before, whereas I've seen all of the others.

This evening my plan was to watch The Office/30 Rock and then to do some laundry. However, I passed out on my couch after dinner only to wake up to see I'd missed the Office. I watched 30 Rock, and abandoned the laundry plan to work on Christmas cards and presents to mail out tomorrow. I feel productive as I now have a big bag of stuff to cart to the Post Office tomorrow.

I feel insanely busy these days, but I am happy that all of the things I'm busy with have turned out to be fun, and work stuff seems to be coming together nicely. (Knock on wood.)

Anyway, it somehow has become 12:16 am and I have to get to work early tomorrow which I have been stuggling with all year. Hmmm, I will motivate myself by stopping at Starbucks for a eggnog latte if I can get out the door by 7:15 am.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What I'd really like for Christmas...

'cuz my mom's been asking...

1) A flight to Paris for the March Break, and then a connecting flight/train to Nice. Well, I've actually found the Paris flight, and at a reasonable price, but it would be nice if Santa slipped me the cash for it.

2) Los Campensinos! to play in Toronto next year on a date that is convenient for me. Oh, and if Santa could slip me the cash for that show, that'd be nice. Oooh, and if I could fly in a good pal from Winnipeg to see the show with me, even better!

3) A better metabolism. Or failing that, a healthy personal gourmet chef and a personal trainer. But really, the better metabolism is the preferred gift.

4) A new phone. I'm tired of all of the kids having a better phone than I do. I think that I want an iPhone. I might actually buy that as a birthday gift for myself, but again, some cash towards that would be nice.

5) One of those awesome cat houses/play centres for Rilo. I'd buy her one myself, but it's hard to transport on the bus. So maybe I'd like a ride to the pet store. And some cash, of course.

6) I'd like the salt stains from last winter to disappear from my Uggs. (Yes, I have Uggs, but they're not the ugly Uggs, they're more stylized and have a zipper and a buckle and I love them.)

7) I'd like all of my friends to get whatever will make them happy. I have some friends who could use new jobs, so that would be cool if they could get those.

8) A large box of bath products from Lush.

9) Some new lululemon pants.

10) Some new perfume. I'm kind of liking Lola by Marc Jacobs, but I dunno. I actually could get this for myself for free 'cuz I have a plethora of Shopper's Optimum points.

So, in summary, my mom might be able to hook me up with #s 8 and 9.

What do you kids what for Christmas this year?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy songs.

Today's one of those days where I have to listen to happy songs. Some of my favourite happy songs are:

1) Red Heart - Hey Rosetta! - I like the part where Tim sings "You look so good when you're laughing you know."

2) Ilfracombe - Hawksley Workman - This is one of Hawksley's most romantic songs. And that's saying a lot 'cuz he's one romantic man.

3) Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk - Rufus Wainwright - I think any song that mentions chocolate milk, even in the same line as a carcinogen, would make me happy.

4) Someone I Can Be True With - Sloan - 1 minute and 33 seconds of happiness. Plus any song that compliments brunettes with eyes of chocolate rates high in my books. And a shout-out to Gremlins 2! And it disses The View. So much to love!

5) HFXNHSC - Sloan - My iPod invariably plays this after the above song. It's 1 minute and 12 seconds of happiness.

6) Unemployed Boyfriend - Everclear - I rediscovered this song when I went on a random Everclear spree a couple of months ago. Back in university, Becca T and I *loved* this song, and listened to it constantly. It's so lame, but it reminds me of carefree university days and silliness.

7) 14 Forever - Stars - I like songs that make me think about my youth. I liked being 14. That was the summer when I discovered bad boys, alcohol, and punk rock. Of course, it was all terribly awkward, but it was in good fun.

8) I Feel it All - Feist - Pretty much any Feist song makes me happy, but this one makes me happiest. I think. It's a tough choice.

9) El Scorcho - Weezer - One of the best songs ever in my humble opinion.

10) Into the Dark - Ben Lee - This song came up the other day on my iPod while I was on the subway. I was probably smiling as I listened to it. People probably thought I was crazy but whatevs.

What are some of your happy songs?

ps If music doesn't make you happy, this little video must.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A post about shoes and friendship.

The past few days have been so busy with work-stuff that they have zoomed by and I'm glad they're gone. One important lesson that I learned is to always, always go out with colleagues for drinks, even if you're tired from a long day, even if you don't have a PD tomorrow, because it will be fun. Write that down kids.

Today my friend Teresa from Stratford (Group of 9) was in Toronto doing deliveries for work, so we met up for Starbucks, shoe-shopping, sushi, and then more shopping. What a great Saturday.

She was looking for a specific pair of shoes which we did not come across. However, she ended up buying the very same pair of boots that I bought last week because I had to show them to her in the store, and ranted about their comfort. She had to try them on and fell in love. I was nice enough to let Teresa buy them too. I'm a great friend.

I needed to buy a new comfy pair of black shoes for work, and I was going to go for the classic mary jane style Skechers with which you can't go wrong, except for they are boring. Luckily I was saved by ballet flats with detachable snaps. Here they are with the black snaps included with them.

Here they are with the jewelled snaps that I got for them. Isn't it so cool that I now have a pair of shoes that I can buy jewelery for? Fun!


Take bets on how long it will be until I get my third pair of snaps. Here's the site for the shoes in case you are interested.

I had a great day with Teresa. I don't think I've had one-on-one time in awhile with her and we had a great time catching up about what's been going on in our lives. She is most definitely one of my friends with whom I'm most open. Whenever I really need to talk to someone, she is always one of the first people that I go to because she's a great listener and insightful. I forget how fun she is to shop with. I can't remember the last time we participated in that activity.

So yay for shopping trips with awesome, interesting, and insightful friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Take it Upon Yourself.

Randomness from the beginning of a long week:

1) Work stress = blargh. This is why this week has been/is going to be long. I also had a stress stomache this evening, and I haven't had one of those in years.

2) I'm reading a really good book right now: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. It's so engrossing. It's about Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress. Both of them left their respective spouses and families to be together, which was a very controversial move in the early 1900s. Anyway, it's a fascinating story, and I admire the way that the author plucked a little-known figure from history, took a lot of time researching her, and then wrote a novel from her voice. I'm the type of reader who reads the author's notes/afterward while I'm reading the novel because I like to get an idea of the writing process. This book's been sitting on my shelf since the summer, and I'm so glad I just picked up.

3) Sloan have a new EP. Yay Sloan!

4) Rilo was chasing her tail this morning as I was getting ready for work. It really made me want to stay home.

5) This had me laughing. (Note: only interesting for those who like cats.) Actually, I've never seen this site before, and I really like a lot of their cartoons, especially the one about proper use of the apostrophe.

6) Today kids were asking me all kinds of questions like my age, my marital status, how many kids I have, and my middle name. I'm a fascinating figure, I suppose.

7) Argh. This post rather sucks, but I don't know if I'll be able to post again this week on account of the work stress. So it's a sucky post for posterity's sake.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All is bright.

I had a very lovely weekend.

On Friday night, I had dinner at one of my favourite restaurants with two of my best work pals. I love this restaurant, and I'm pretty sure I haven't eaten there in two years which is pretty sad since it's in my neighbourhood, and it's oh-so-good. I hereby resolve to eat there more often. They now have belly dancers performing on weekends (it's a Middle Eastern restaurant). The girl performing was really good. She balanced a sword on her head and on her hip, but I missed the hip balancing part 'cuz I was too busy complaining about something work-related. This is a danger of having dinner with work pals, I suppose.

After dinner, we met up for drinks with a former co-worker who moved away from Toronto this year. I miss her a lot, but it was very fun catching up with her.

On Saturday, my pal Mathew and I had plans to go shopping in the US, but his car was sick, so we decided to cancel the trip. We went shopping around here instead, and I got a good start on my Christmas shopping.

After shopping, we spontaneously went to see the movie Precious. It's an excellent movie. I just read the book last weekend on the train home from Stratford, and I was looking forward to seeing the movie. The movie is just as good as the book, and I recommend both. Even though it's a graphic story of abuse, it is very hopeful and moving. Oh, and the movie has Lenny Kravitz, and I found out that I still have a grade school crush on Lenny. Awesome. And then we went for sushi!

Today was an errands and chores day. I got my Christmas tree up, which I'm happy about. As I did all of my cleaning and such, I finally listened to the new Tori Amos holiday CD and I really like it. Most of the songs are traditional songs that she has put her own twist on, but there are originals too.

Anyway, it's almost Monday of a busy week. The weekends go so fast, eh?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Song Playlist

Now that all of the transit kerfuffle is over, I can post the music meme that I had kicking around.

Oh, but before that: two pieces of good news! My dad's vision has returned, and they've put him on a lower dose of rat poison. (That last bit of info is for Siobhan.) And, a more trivial piece of good news: I finished my report cards. Woot.

Now onto the music meme. This is stolen from Aaron. It's simply a playlist of really good last tracks from albums. I had fun thinking of them ('cuz I am such a music nerd), and I came across some oldies but goodies, and some songs I haven't thought about in forever.

Ben Folds Five – Evaporated (Whatever and Ever Amen)

Ben Folds Five – Lullabye (The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner)

Coldplay – Everything’s Not Lost (Parachutes)

Constantines – Do What You Can Do (Kensington Heights)

Damine Rice – Eskimo (O)

Elliott Brood – Miss You Now (Mountain Meadows)

Foo Fighters – New Way Home (The Colour and the Shape)

Foo Fighters – M.I.A. (There is Nothing Left to Lose)

The Get-Up Kids – I’ll Catch You (Something to Write Home About)

Great Lake Swimmers – I Became Awake (Ongiara)

Hayden – Lullaby (Skyscraper National Park)

Joel Plaskett – Love This Town (La De Da)

Joel Plaskett – On & On & On (Three)

Kathleen Edwards – Goodnight, California (Asking for Flowers)

Kimya Dawson – My Rollercoaster (Remember That I Love You)

Los Campensinos! – 2007 (The Year that Punk Rock Broke My Heart) (Hold On Now, Youngster…)

Matthew Good (Band) – any last track from any MG/MGB album is outstanding. Change of Season from Underdogs is probably my all time fave last MG track.

Metric – Stadium Love (Fantasies)

Neko Case – The Needle Has Landed (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood)

R.E.M. – Me in Honey (Out of Time)

Rilo Kiley – It Just Is (More Adventurous)

Sloan – I Can Feel It (Twice Removed)

Sloan – I’m Not Through With You Yet (Navy Blues)

Slow Club – Our Most Brilliant Friends (Yeah So)

Smashing Pumpkins – Luna (Siamese Dream)

Stars – Calendar Girl (Set Yourself On Fire)

Tegan and Sara – Call it Off (The Con)

Tori Amos – Yes, Anastasia (Under the Pink)

Weezer – Only in Dreams (The Blue Album)

Wild Strawberries – Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead (Heroine)

Any great last tracks you can think of?

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Transit Rant

So, I totally had a cool music-related post ready to go for today, but then something newsworthy affected my day, so I'll blog about that and save the music for when the most exciting part of my day is that I find a nice pencil on the floor or something.

After a very busy day at work (as usual), I heard from a coworker that the subway was closed between Bloor and Eglinton. Of course, that stretch makes up part of my way home. They had shuttle buses running. However, this would mean standing outside forever and ever in a huge irate crowd. No, thank you.

I considered taking an alternate route that would involve a bus, but I figured out a lot of people would do the same thing, so I decided to walk it. Sure I was in work clothes (thank goodness not a skirt) and not wearing shoes particularly appropriate for walking 5+ km in, but it was a really nice evening; not too hot and not too cold.

So, I hiked up Yonge Street for awhile with the masses. There were so many people. It was crazy getting around the crowd of people waiting for the shuttle bus. I'm glad I walked. So much more pleasant than a crowded bus. I had my iPod and I was happy.

Here comes my rant: why the eff are people so negative about the TTC? I have been taking the TTC to work for 5 years now, and I have been late for work *once* because of delays. Once. I'm reading all of these comments about people complaining about the *constant* delays on the TTC and I wonder if I've been taking a different transit system than they have been. Constant delays? I would say very *occasional* delays, perhaps. Seriously, five years of commuting and I have very few complaints. Granted, I live on a bus route with very frequent buses (that I only take in the morning; I walk after work), and the rest is on the subway. I suspect that other bus routes and streetcar routes might be worse.

My point is that I'm highly satisfied with the TTC after five years of very frequent use. It's not perfect, there are occasional delays, but I know I'm less frustrated that I would be if I drove. And I can nap on the way. I'm pretty sure that I would be inconvenienced by construction, accidents, and traffic far more often on the road than I would be on the TTC.

This is perhaps the second or third time I've had to do the walk up Yonge due to transit problems. The other two times were for perhaps half hour closures. (I'm too impatient to wait in these situations so I choose to walk.) This time, the subway was partially closed for six hours, I believe, but they had it fixed ahead of time. I already had an alternate route planned for tomorrow morning, but thankfully everything's fixed.

In closing, nothing's perfect, but the TTC isn't as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. And I had a nice walk this evening. And I don't have to feel guilty for not going to the gym tonight.

Rant out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Read Becca T's blog!

I had a good Monday. First, I got an email from my friend Alison, who is back from Japan after being there for, umm, three? years. Anyway, she was one of my roommates in university, and we such fun together. When I was hanging out with Claire this summer, she reminded me a lot of my dear friend Alison, and I think I told her so a couple of times.

Then, I got to talk with my dearest Becca T on the phone today after work. Oh how I wish that phone call could be followed up with a frappucino and some sushi, as it would have been in the past, but alas she's in Nice.

And her blog about it is great. Seriously, stop reading this silliness and go there. (Her goal is to blog more, but if more people commented, even complete strangers or random well-wishers, she'll be motivated. Hint. Hint.)

Anyway, it was so good talking to her on the phone, especially with the stress of the past few days and such. I'm so excited for visiting her during March Break. It's the big "look-forward-to" that I have in life these days. I'm hoping to meet Becca T in Paris (oh, Paris), spend the weekend there, spend some time lounging in Nice, and then go on some side jaunts to little towns, and possibly Morocco or possibly Italy.

The good news is that it's midterm time too, which means the calendar is getting ever closer to March Break.

I also went out for sushi for dinner in honour of Becca T, and because I was really craving salmon rolls. And then, I did officially start my Christmas shopping today. Let the madness begin.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

If you are wondering if I want you to, I want you to.

First of all, thanks so much to everyone for their support on my last post. It's always nice having a built-in support network when you need it.

Anyway, here's the dad update. On Friday, he had to spend the whole day at the hospital getting various tests done and talking to various people, which is his least favourite way to spend a day. The doctor seems to think the vision he lost will come back on its own. And he's been put on all sorts of medications and treatments to ensure the whole stroke thing doesn't happen again. So, overall, I would assess this whole situation as unnerving, but phew in that I think everything will be OK.

And, as usual, my family tends to take things with a bit of humour. When I saw my dad on Friday when I arrived home, I said "so I hear you've lost sight in one eye. That sort of matches the one foot you have." (He had to have part of his foot amputated a result of a blockage in his leg back in 2006.)

My dad replied: "Yah, all I have to do now is to figure out a way to lose an arm and I'll be half a man!"

It was quite funny.

So, I've had a nice weekend at home. Yesterday, I spent the morning driving my dad around to do some errands, then I chilled in the afternoon, and then went out for drinks with many members of the group of 9 and affiliates in honour of Sandee's birthday, which was super fun.

Well, I could go on but I can't because I'm posting from a coffee shop and my battery's about to die. I'm taking the late train back tonight, which means Monday is going to be painful, but I'll survive.

Hope the rest of you had great weekends!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family and friends.

Last night I had a rather, well, unnerving phone conversation with my mother.

She mentioned that my aunt, not my dad, was going to pick me up on Friday at the train station, and I said "oh don't worry, my friend Wendy's going to pick me up and then we are going to go out for coffee."

"Oh good. Well, your father can't drive because he had two mini-strokes on the weekend and didn't realize it."

What? Strokes? Two? This weekend? And you're telling me now?

"He couldn't see out of one eye, and I made him go to the doctor, and then they did a CAT scan, and it turns out he had two mini-strokes in the part of his brain that controls vision."

So I did my research and I found out that what my dad had is called a transient ischemic attack, and it's a warning sign for a potential stroke. However, since my dad is now getting care and has been put on new blood thinning medications, the risk of a stroke in the future has been greatly reduced. So phew, I think. I just hope that his vision will come back and he'll be able to drive again. Of course, we don't know if this is possible, so we'll have to be patient and wait to find out.

And, it's good that I had already planned to go home this weekend since I can help my parents by picking up groceries and whatever they need. And luckily, my aunt's around to help them out until, and after, then. And perhaps more weekend trips to St. Ratford will be in the cards in the near future.

But, I think why I've found this so unnerving is because it's bringing back all of the familiar emotions that I felt when my parents were both quite sick way back in 2006. (My dad had bypass surgery, and my mom had an MS attack brought on by the stress of my dad's surgery.) I constantly think about how glad I am that that whole part of my life is over, but hearing that my dad had two mini-strokes brought back all of those scary, awful feelings.

And it made me feel so alone. Especially since the person who I lean on for most stuff is in France. And being an only child sucks during these times. I'd gladly give up the extra toys I had as a kid, and not having to split the college fund for a sibling nowadays. (I would have had liked to have a sibling as a kid too. I played Monopoly with my cat for goodness' sakes.)

But, then, I posted about what happened on the Group of 9 message board, and I felt so much better. Within hours, I had offers from friends who would go visit my parents and get their groceries, and stories and words of encouragement.

Also, my friends at work who I'd usually tell about these things aren't there (and I just had dinner with some of them hours before the news), so I didn't have anyone to talk today, until the end of the day where I opened up to another coworker, who made me feel better.

And now typing this out is making me feel better. It sucks, it's scary, but I know that my dad will be fine for now. After enduring 2006, and the fact that my parents are older, and my mom has MS, I think I'm very aware of my parents' mortality and it freaks the hell out of me, since they *are* my family, besides my aunt.

But so are my friends. And thank God for them. And I'm sure Rilo would be up for a game of Monopoly if I need it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And now there is no turning back my dear Jack.

Random stuff from the past couple days:

1) I'm in my own little emo-heaven right now. Jack's Mannequin just released a new EP "Dear Jack" and it makes me oh-so-happy. And, there is a new Dashboard Confessional album out too, and I'm on my first listen now and my heart of stone is melting, as usually happens when I'm listening to my favourite emo artists who speak to my inner sixteen year old self. JM and DC are like grilled cheese sandwiches to me; perhaps a little low in nutritional value, but the ultimate in comfort.

2) Speaking of grilled cheese, that was my dinner. I actually broke my spatula when I was making them. Weird.

3) Speaking of new albums, I also bought the Tori Amos holiday album "Midwinter Graces". I tried to listen to it, but it's a little early still for Christmas music. I think it's gonna be brilliant once I'm in the holiday spirit. Oh, how I love Tori. She's just so special. My pal Eric and I are going to have a Christmas/Tori evening with egg nog sometime soon.

4) I have been treating myself to Starbucks holiday beverages. I had a Caramel Brule Latte on Miss A's advice (it was delightful) and an egg nog latte. The first sip of the egg nog latte is always the best one.

5) I went out for sushi last night because I had this wicked craving for salmon rolls. And, it looks like the fates are taking me for sushi tomorrow night too.

6) I used to be a phone person, but I've found that ever since I've become a chronic blogger/facebooker/emailer/twitterer, I don't do the phone call thing so much. However, tonight I had some free time, so I gave an old friend a call and had a lovely chat. Need to do this more.

7) Oh, does this Dashboard album make me happy. Right now I'm listening to a song called "no news is bad news" and I want kind of want to shout "sing it brother!" but you know, the cat might think I'm crazy.

8) I love how much of a princess Miss Rilo Kitty is. Right now she is sleeping on the good pillow on the good sofa. As if merely furniture isn't enough for her highness, she must be on a pillow on top of the furniture.

9) Last night I really needed to do laundry, but didn't feel like it, so I bought a new outfit instead. Then, when I got home, I felt that my new outfit was out of place in a messy bedroom, so I went on a laundry/organizational spree.

10) I'm going home this weekend for a break, and to celebrate my friend Sandee's birthday. I'm looking forward to going for a walk around the river, doing some downtown shopping, chilling with the 'rents gossiping with friends, and bringing out the silly Christielli in honour of Sandee.

And since I like mulitples of ten, I'll stop there. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Boogie Woogie Sheep

I'm sure that if you've perused any entertainment section of a newspaper lately, or googled something, you are well aware of the fact that Sesame Street is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

I, like probably all of you who read this blog, am a total child of Sesame Street. Did you all go through the phase in grade two or so where other kids would say "Sesame Street is so lame" and you'd agree to keep your schoolyard cred in check, but then as soon as you'd get home you'd watch it? Well, schoolyard cred be damned, I'll admit to it now.

Anyway, since I was feeling under the weather this weekend (and we did have lovely weather this weekend), I spent a lot of time on my couch resting, and watching some vintage Sesame Street on Youtube. And I realized, man did I learn a lot from that
show.

Here are some of the important things that I learned from Sesame Street.

(Note: I don't expect you to watch these all now, but honestly, if you are having a bad day, watching will make you feel better. Maybe bookmark this post just in case.)

1) Eat your vegetables.



My fave part of this song is when Eddie says "What are you? Are you some kind of weirdo?" and Captain Vegetable says "Do I look like a weirdo?"

I noticed that in the comments, someone mentioned that Captain Vegetable would make a good Halloween Costume. I have noted this for next year.

Also, I saw that they made an updated Captain Vegetable with John Leguizamo playing him. Is nothing sacred?

2) It ain't bad to feel mad.



Goats are wise. And funny.

3) Co-operate



4) Own your eccentricity.


I love Bert 'cuz he thinks oatmeal, pigeons, and bottle caps are cool.

5) Don't be a know-it all. Listen when someone is trying to warn you of something. (Or, at least, don't keep going back to the same restaurant if you don't get along with the server.)



6) Culture is important. And, pipes are edible.



Note: I read that Alistair Cookie doesn't have a pipe in non-vintage Monsterpiece Theatre. Oh, thank goodness. I developed a pipe habit as a result of watching Sesame Street. Insert giant eyeroll.

7) Public transit may be imperfect, but it if it's good enough for Bert and Kermit and Betty Lou, it's good enough for me.



8) Dance yourself to sleep. Even if it annoys your BFF.



Anyway, if there's one thing I know, it's that Jim Henson is in heaven. What a great man.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wild card inside.

I love when something fun happens spontaneously. Especially when it involves live music, of course.

Last night, I was up way later than I should be, and I notice a tweet from a friend saying that at the last minute *Feist* is replacing Kristen Chenoweth at the Holt Renfrew Holiday Window Unveiling on Bloor Street event tonight. (Holt's is Canada's most high end department store.) So yay! Twitter is good for something besides being silly! After a few more quick tweets, we made arrangements to meet up at the event this evening.

Anyway, it was awesome to have something to look forward as I slogged through another school day.

It's really cool that part of Bloor Street is closed down for this event. We had to endure a few minutes of commercials for ET Canada, then there was an opening band, whose name I forget, but they were basically the bluegrass version of the Jonas Brothers, as Jason noted.

After some chit chat from Holt's CEO, Feist was on. Oh how I love Feist. She hadn't played all year, so she joked that this show was her 2009 tour. It was a complete last minute thing: I guess she only found out last night too that she was playing. (I wonder how all of this was arranged? Were organizers stressing over who to call, and someone was like "let's call Feist!" And how does one get ahold of Feist at the last minute?)

Feist played about five songs, and they were all awesome. I love her voice. I love how she plays guitar. And her banter is funny.

It's funny to think that about a year ago, I saw her play at the Air Canada Centre. I remember the dude who went with me commenting after the show "it was all right, but I wouldn't want to see her every night." I thought that was stupid comment. (I'm not even in touch with that dude anymore, ha-ha.) Anyway, not only was it a dumb way to assess a concert, I'm pretty sure that one could see Feist every night. She's that awesome.

Oh, and as for this year's holiday window display, all I could see was badass looking giant penguins and snowmen tricked out in coiture. I forgot my camera (of course), but one day I'll walk by and get some pictures. Holt's windows are always all sorts of interesting.

And, I was home in time to let my feet thaw, drink hot chocolate, and catch The Office and 30 Rock. Win!

And, tomorrow is Friday. I'm being sent off to a workshop, but on the bright side, it means I can wear jeans, and be a little more passive during the working day than I usually am.

Happy weekends everyone!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Everyone else is doing it...

...talking about H1N1 that is. Most conversations that I have with anyone these days seem to go along the lines of "Hi, how are you? How about that H1N1? Are you going to get the vaccine?" It's even been a hot topic on the Group of 9 wall on Facebook.

One of my classes today was all worked up over H1N1. One kid was coughing a bit, and then someone asked me if I had any hand sanitizer, so I ended up walking around the room squirting everyone with some, which amused me more then anything.

They were also all abuzz over this Youtube video of a woman who had a negative reaction to the flu vaccine.



I don't watch much news on TV these days, and I'm glad I don't. The media isn't very good at fairly covering anything, and it seems like people are more confused and scared than actually informed about H1N1. The video above is good example. You have a one in a million chance of having such an adverse reaction to the flu shot, however people get so worked up once they see one person on TV to whom this has happened. Discussing this video with my class made me think of the availability heuristic that I learned about in psych class: basically, if we can bring something easily to our mind, most likely because it's extraordinary and memorable, we think that there's a greater chance it will happen.

I love Rick Mercer's rant on H1N1. We might as well accept the fact that comedians (the Mercers, Stewarts, etc.) are the people in our society who give the best criticism of current events. That's a giant fail to the "real" media.



So, everyone, are you going to get the H1N1 vaccine? I will, however, I'm not going to wait five hours in line to get it. Hopefully, the distribution of the vaccine will become smoother (it's a mess here). Either that, or it's time for me to join a professional hockey team.

But, provided that I can eventually get access to the shot, I will get it. Here's the rationale behind my decision:

a) My motivation is purely selfish. Taking time off in my profession requires advanced planning and organization. If I get felled by a flu that hits you right away, I'll have to scramble to put together lesson plans while feeling like death. Not fun. I'll take the sore arm.

b) Also, being that I work with around people, and take public transit, and I don't shy away from crowded places, I will most definitely come into contact with someone with H1N1. Don't want it, thanks.

c) I don't want to give it to anyone else either.

d) I'm not afraid of the "newness" of the shot. It's just a flu shot for a new strain of influenza. The seasonal flu shot is always tailored for whatever new flu viruses are going around the year. The only thing "new" about this flu shot is that the particular adjuvant in the shot has not been used in Canada before . Similar ones have been used in Europe. The adjuvant doesn't contain any new or revolutionary chemicals. Interestingly, it contains vitamin E and squalene (derived from shark liver).

So, how about everyone else? Are you afraid of H1N1? Are you becoming 80% Purell? Are you going to get the shot?

ps When I was thinking of writing this post, the title of the Cranberries' first album came into my head. So, as I've been writing, I dusted out my old Cranberries CDs from the 90s (they're not even on my iPod), and I've been listening to them. I feel sixteen again!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just another door that won't open for me anymore.

First of all, thanks to everyone for cheering me up after I posted my list of annoyances last post. I think I'm less annoyed about most of the things. I've been getting plenty of compliments on my hair, the eyebrows will be taken care of tomorrow, I still miss Becca T, but I'm def going to investigate Skype, and I'll take a step back from the rest of it.

Here are some random going-ons from the last few days.

a) I've discovered the show "Intervention" on the internet. I don't get A&E, so I'd never even heard of it before. I feel guilty for watching it, because it is so exploitive, graphic, and disturbing, but I've been watching episodes like they are leftover Halloween candy. Soon someone's going to have to pull an Intervention intervention on me.

b) John K. Samson (of the Weakerthans) put out a solo EP that was released today. It's only three songs, but it makes me happy. A pal of mine from Winnipeg describes it as "so very Winnipeg" and is currently explaining all of the inside references to me.

c) I had a very long day (13 hours) at work today. On my way home, I treated myself to the next Sookie Stackhouse novel. (These are the books that the TV show "True Blood" is based on.)

d) I think I'm fighting off a cold. My throat's been just a little scratchy the past two days. I hope I can keep it at bay.

e) How did it become November?

f) Why do I always come home with an elastic band around my wrist? Rilo loves to chew them off of me, so I know she hopes that I'll never solve the elastic band mystery.

g) I had Portuguese chicken for dinner tonight with rice, potato balls, and salad. So good! I should have eaten more of it.

h) Can I interest anyone in a set of element posters to mark?

i) I had to take my rings off today at school 'cuz of a demo I was doing and I forget them there. My right had feels terribly naked, and my thumb keeps going to play with them, but it's strange that they aren't there. And I didn't realize that I had the habit of playing with my rings with my thumb as I think until they were gone.

Bed time. Week's almost half over. Phew.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Life is always hard for the belle of the boulevard.

So, I did have a good weekend. I did. All the Halloween activities that I worked so hard on for school were a success. My costume went over well. I had fun. I hung out with friends this weekend. I saw "Where the Wild Things Are" which was interesting. I listened a lot to the new Tegan and Sara, which is amazing. I read a fun vampire book (the first of the series that "True Blood" is based on). I got an extra hour of sleep. I went for an awesome walk where I got momentarily lost in the cemetery. It's good leaf crunching weather.

However, despite all of these things, I'm dismayed by a few things, and even though I've just complained to a couple of people about them, I think I'm going to vent them here and hopefully they will leave my system.

Here's the list of things I'm annoyed about:

a) A person who told me they'd do something, but is not doing that thing. Said person can still redeem themselves.

b) I had a hair appointment on Saturday, but it started half an hour late, which resulted in me missing my eyebrow appointment elsewhere. (It's rescheduled for Wednesday.)

c) I told my stylist I just wanted my hair trimmed in the back, and my bangs trimmed. He said "Oh, I thought you were growing it out." I said "no, not really." And suddenly, my hair is super short! Gah. I think it'll grow to a good length in a few weeks though. I'd break up with my stylist, but his cuts always grow out well, so I'll be fine I think.

d) I was in a bitchy mood on Saturday because of the hair, so I was annoying and whiny to a friend. However, I apologized to him, but he wanted to argue the fact. So I argued, when I really should have just stuck with the "I'm sorry", so I think I've made things worse, but if my apology was just accepted, I think I wouldn't have fallen in the arguing trap. So anyway, I'm annoyed that my apology just wasn't accepted, and that because I was a petty person, I now have to re-apologize.

e) I miss Becca T. I would really like to sit down and drink a bottle of red wine with someone, and she's my favourite person to drink with, especially when I'm in an "annoyed at ten million things" mood. Well actually, there are a bunch of other people who could stand in for Becca T, but they are in London England, London Ontario, Vancouver, Winnipeg, North Bay, Midland, or the greater St. Ratford area. All of my good Toronto wine-drinking buddies are breast-feeding now. :(

Anyway, I feel better now, I think. Well, I'd feel better if I didn't have work tomorrow, but let's hope the kids are well behaved. And, work takes my mind off of stuff too, 'cuz I'm too busy to think.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

As promised, here's a picture of Rilo in her Halloween costume, as mailed to her by her friends Fern and Norton in Fargo. She actually doesn't care much for being a ladybug, as you can tell by her expression.

However, she discovered that her costume makes a great toy!


Happy Halloween folks! Eat lots of candy!

ps I just realized that it's not actually Halloween. I keep thinking that Friday is Halloween because I've been spending so much time planning Halloween for work tomorrow, and tomorrow is the day that I am wearing my costume, so it's essentially Halloween for me.

pps When I went out this evening, I drank a lovely pumpkin ale. Yum.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

General Malaise

Argh. I just feel out of sorts today. I have a lot of work to do, but it's just not appealing at the moment. I think it's because the past two nights I haven't been able to sleep very well, so that is part of it. Well, lack of sleep, impatience, and self-doubt are the three causes of this yucky feeling I have right now.

On the bright side, I'm going out this evening, so that will help, I'm sure. Maybe I just need a good laugh.

And, I think going for a little walk to the mall right now to get a second coffee might help. Yup. I think that's what I'll do.

Update: I went and got a second coffee. Then, I made arrangements with a friend for a ride tonight, and decided that Saturday will be a day of pampering myself. I've booked appointments for my hair, eyebrows, a manicure, and a pedicure. So, I'm feeling better. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Feel the feathers of an arrow.

Things I should be doing:

a) Dishes
b) Laundry
c) General household upkeep.

What I am doing instead:

Sitting here blogging in my Halloween costume. I'm a dork like that. I finished getting all of the parts of my costume today, so I had to try it on. On top of the dress, which I ordered online since I thought would be an easy costume (wrong), I had to buy white socks, red shoes, nylons, a long brown wig, hair ribbons, a basket, and a stuffed dog. However, it's come together quite well even though my Toto is a black lab. I must say say I'm pretty Oz-riffic. The funny thing is that I haven't even seen the movie in years, and I can't remember much from it. This costume is a total whim, but I think the kids will like it 'cuz I look much different with long brown hair. And I usually don't wear blue gingham dresses with crinoline. However, the red shoes will be put into the regular rotation.

Halloween has taken over my life lately. I've been running around getting all of the pieces for this costume, as well as buying many pumpkin carving kits, pumpkins pies, and organizing pumpkin distribution at school. Oh, and buying candy to put in my basket along with Toto.

What's I'm listening to:

a) New Tegan and Sara album. It came out today. It's good. I really like it on first listen.
b) New Dashboard Confessional single. Oh, is my inner teenager happy right now. I have such an eternal crush on him.
c) Itunes free single: "The Second Time" by Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle. It's fun and twangy.
d) Timber Timbre, who are on Arts and Crafts, are giving away their album for free. I've downloaded, but not listened yet. I intend to. It made some best of lists last year.

So that's what's happening in Christielli-land. This skirt and this wig are itching me, so it's time to change. I'm such a weirdo, blogging in my Halloween costume.

Oh! Rilo has a Halloween costume that was sent to her by some of her feline friends through AlieMalie. (Rilo's human got some neat-o skull and cross bone socks too!) I'll post a picture of Rilo in her costume on Halloween. That'll be your candy, folks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Still hooked on cellophane.

This weekend has been enjoyably quiet and filled with friends.

On Thursday night, I got a call from one of my favourite people. We used to work together, but she got married and decided to move someplace rural. I miss her a lot; and not just because I have one less person to high-five in the halls. It's great fun working across the hall from a real friend, not just a co-worker. Anyhow, she called 'cuz I'd mailed her a book of Shakespearean insults. I'd book-marked various insults with people whom they reminded me of. It made her laugh. We had a great time catching up on the phone, which made me feel nostalgic for when we worked together (last year).

The weather on Friday was disgusting. Cold rain and wind. I made it worse for myself by forgetting my keys/metropass at work, and didn't realize this until I got to the subway, and had to trek back in the rain. However, this was fortuitous because I ran into one of my remaining friends at work. We've been trying to have lunch together all year (and it's the end of October now) and haven't been able to because we're both so busy. Remedial. And next week won't work either, 'cuz I'm busy during every single lunch. However, I hope we improve in November. But it was good to see her. And we're going out on Thursday with other people, so that'll be fun.

Once I had my keys/metropass I made my way to my work spouse's place (she's on mat leave still). We caught up, made our own sushi, and then stuff ourselves with food. Good times. She'll be back next semester and I'll have a friend in the desk beside me which will be nice again. And yes, *I made* my own sushi. That's exciting.

Yesterday was a pretty lazy day. I met up with a friend for coffee in the afternoon and then rented some episodes of "True Blood" and watched while knitting. I need to get my knitting groove back on. The pair of mittens I'm knitting is a Christmas present that I wanted to give someone last year. Remedial yet again. Anyway, something to watch on TV def facilitates the knitting. Also, Rilo loves to watch me knit which is pretty hilarious. She'll sit beside me and stare at the needles.

Today I'm meeting up with another friend from work on mat leave for coffee then I need to grocery shop because I'm almost at the point where all I have to eat is dry pasta, soup, old crackers, and freezer-burnt frozen yogurt. Yum.

Happy lazy Sunday to you!