Monday, August 31, 2009

It feels like time to let it go...

Well, less than a hour 'til September as I write this post. It's time to go back to real-life, I guess.

I was going to go to school today to do my photocopying, which always appeases my back-to-school anxiety, but then I realized it was still August, and I didn't have a Metropass, so why should I pay today for what I can do tomorrow for free? Oh, I am the master of procrastination justification.

So, my last day of summer involved me lounging in my pjs longer than I should, eating grilled cheese, reading, selling a bag of books that I don't like for $15, having a frappucino, going to yoga, spending a bit of time on the treadmill, having a hot shower, then drinking hot chocolate in my winter pj's 'cuz baby, it's cold outside (and inside my apt too).

Anyway, I have finally finished my 26th book of the year, so I'm halfway to 52. I'm not sure if I can get to 52, but I'm going to get to 40 for sure, I think. I could start reading fluffy books and children's book to up my total, but that's not the point. I think my resolution has gotten me reading more, maybe not as much as I'd like, but more.

I picked up book #26 at Versailles. It's a historical look at the life of Marie Antoinette's daughter. It was a tough slog, as I find most history books to be, but I'm glad I made myself get through it. All the stuff I learned about French monarchy post-Louis XVI will make for interesting dinner conversation... with my dad. LOL My dad's as big of a nerd as I am.

Hmmm, whatelse do I have to say for myself? I'm looking forward to the new Two Hours Traffic album coming out next week. The new season of the Office starts on Sept 17th. And oh yes, I've started to watch "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" so I have that on my plate tomorrow night.

Also, I've been eating really healthy and going to the gym a lot in the past two weeks and I feel so good these days. I really really hope that I keep up with it when school starts. Scratch that wishy-washy sentence. I am going to keep it up for the love of everything holy.

One thing I do like about my career (well, really there are about a million things I like about my career) is that I get a lot of fresh starts in a year. I get September (new school year), January (new calendar year), and February (new semester). I'm the type of person who needs a concrete demarcation for renewal.

Anyhow, happy September everyone!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Becca T has a Blog!

It's about her in life in France! Je suis tres excitee!

http://beccafrance.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weird dreams.

Yesterday I had a pretty nice day. I did laundry (woo... but I enjoy the calm of weekday morning laundry, one of the many thing I'll miss about summer). Then I went on a nice walk to my local Staples to hit up Teacher Appreciation Day. I got a gift bag with lots of free stickers, a dry-erase marker, and glue, and randomly ran into my pal Fea there. I took advantage of the discount and I bought a bunch of stuff that I needed *not* for school, like blank CDs and mailing envelopes, as well as their cheap-ass pencils (around October none of my brilliant scholars have pencils any more... lending them one is easier than watching a sullen teenager do nothing) and some pretty marking pens.

After the Staples jaunt, I went to the gym and did some yoga and some running. I came home had a nice dinner, and then at about 10:30 pm, I was completely exhausted and decided to go to bed. I never ever go to bed at 10:30 pm during the school year, yet alone on summer vacay. What gives?

Anyway, I've just been awoken at 4 am by a bizarre dream. I was back in London (yay!) but this time with my friend Heather, and we had to get to Heathrow to fly home.

The Heathrow of my fucked-up dream was insane. First, you had to go through a bunch of security stations like where they checked your bags, where they checked your passport, and then where you participated in a witness identification experiment, during which I exclaimed to Heather "hey they did this on 60 minutes once!"

After the witness identification station, you entered another part of the airport which I can only describe as a series of tubes. There were tubes for your carry-ons, tubes for your luggage, and tubes for your own person. They would suck your luggage or yourself up and voila! you'd be in the right place. They were all alphabetized, so Heather and I split up, but I had major problems because there was no tube that corresponded to the first two letters of my last name. I had to argue with the airport personnel about this, and I was severely delayed and I was afraid I was actually going to miss my plane.

Anyway, during this dream my blood pressure actually rose, because I was stressed about missing my plane because of mis-labeled tubes, and I think that's what woke me up.

Whenever I have bizarre dreams, I always recall a certain lecture I attended when I was a teenager. Growing up in small-town means that you are always looking for something to do, and the local psychic fair was in town, so my friend Melissa and I decided to go. Of course, we had no money to spend on psychics, so we attended a bunch of free lectures. One was on dream interpretation, which we thought we would handy because perhaps we'd learn that our dreams actually meant that certain cute boys liked us.

During this lecture, the dude went on about how you can never really be sure if you are awake or if you are asleep. Therefore, you should develop a system where you are constantly checking whether or not you're in a dream. If there is anything that doesn't make sense, you are most likely dreaming. For instance, if there is a chair floating in the air, you are dreaming, since chairs don't float in reality. If all of the chairs are affixed to the floor, you are most likely awake, since chairs tend to be affixed to floors in reality.

Anyway, to this day, whenever I wake up from a weird dream, I think about this insane lecture. I mean, really, I should have known I was in a dream during my Heathrow dream since: a) I didn't go to London with Heather; b) they don't have witness identification stations during airport security; and c) Heathrow is not a series of tubes. Gah! I should have known! I should have worked on developing that system. Ha-ha.

Weird dreams always end up amusing me for their inherent weirdness, and for the fact I always end up looking for signs that it was a dream after the dream because of that stupid lecture.

For some reason I decided to blog this because nothing makes me sleepy like typing and staring at a computer screen. Good thing I don't have a job where I have to sit at a computer all day.

It's my last care-free weekend where I won't be haunted by the specters of piles of marking, or lesson prep. Tomorrow I'm going to treat myself to a manicure/pedicure, and the rest of the weekend is filled with meeting up with friends, more back-to-school shopping, and one more visit to the gym.

Enjoy your weekends!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I think I'm losing my mind...

... and I blame the movie and books associated with "Julie and Julia" for this.

Today, I had intended to do some shopping, but I wasn't feeling it when I woke up. So, I slept in, had a nice brunch, and then wandered off to a Starbucks to have a frappucino and read. After reading for a bit on the patio, I wandered over to the cemetery and wandered around for a bit in the sunshine. I like the cemetery 'cuz I'm a little bit gothy like that, and it's a nice quiet space near my home.

Next on my agenda was to drop by the grocery store. On my way there, I passed by this little bookstore that I've never actually been inside because it's usually closed while I pass by. I stopped to look in the window as I always do, and what do I see but a sparkly new copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1" in the window. For only $20 no less (manufacturer's retail price = $49 CAD). I pick it up, flip through, and say to myself "no you crazy girl, put it down. It'll just gather dust in your kitchen."

I listen to myself and meander on my way. But then I think that I have argued with my friend Mathew about the importance of cookbooks as objets d'art in one's kitchen, and when else am I going to find it that cheap, and I am going to make bouef bourgignon after all. I'm sure I can find other recipes in there I'd like to make, like the potato soup in the beginning of "Julie & Julia" the book. Then I recall the recipes for crepes that I saw as I flipped through the book, and that clinched it. Instead of having a waffle brunch for my friends before Christmas this year, it could be a Julia Child crepe brunch.

I turn around and make my way back to the store. I must look like a dork returning five minutes after I left, but hey, that's me. As I'm at the cash, the book store dude tries to sell me Volume 2, but instead I ask him if he has another copy of MtAoFC Vol 1. I haven't bought my Paris travelling buddy Heather a bday present yet, and I know she'll love a copy of this book, because it just reminds one of Paris, and unlike me, she is actually an accomplished cook. (Sorry for ruining the suprise Heather if you are reading this, which I don't think you do.)

I as I carry my two heavy cookbooks up the street, I think about how crazy it is for someone who hasn't really cooked in months to buy a difficult cookbook. So, to remedy this, I decide on the spot I'm going to make chili for supper, and text Mathew to tell him to come by for dinner. Cooking for just one person is not very fun.

So yah, I ended up having a fun impromptu mini-dinner party, where I had maybe one too many glasses of red wine, and then spent some time flipping through MtAoFC and bookmarking the recipes I'd like to try as Mathew mentioned maybe I should be more interested in more contemporary cooks. However, all the movies and the books have made me very fond of Julia Child and I'd rather just cook recipes of someone I'm fond of, you know? And they'll be a good challenge.

I'm going to try to cook one recipe per month out of my new book, and boeuf bourginon will be October's dish.

Oh, and the reason why I think I'm losing my mind, is that this all started with a couple of books, then a movie, and now there's a cookbook. And, since my cooking equipment is mostly cast-offs donated to me by my friend Mel, I'm going to have to make some investments. And of course, I somehow always stumble upon very expensive versions of whatever I need. To make the bouef bourgignon, I need buy a good Dutch oven, and I found a really expensive one at Williams Sonoma that I'm not going to buy, but it's so pretty. And all the reviews say it's a life-changing pot.... argh! No! I'm going to buy one at the Bay instead! Quiet evil voices! (What colour is your fave though? I think I'd go red. I like the lemongrass but it's internet only.)

So anyway, ya I had a good rather random day, and I'll have enough chili to feed myself for awhile, and Mathew's got lunch for tomorrow, so yah, good day.

Shopping will be tomorrow I think...

ps Rawbean - I ended up buying the whole Miike Snow album and enjoying listening to it while cooked dinner tonight.
pps Claire - Better get your llama. Hahahaha. I heard that song today and thought of you.
ppps Wigsf - I was so surprised to see that Third Eye Blind had a new album! I'd forgotten about them... and it's good you say?
pppps Everyone - The new Weezer single is really fun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't let this fading summer pass you by.

Well, my last full week of vacation is almost half-over which is unreal. I still haven't even written my summer "to-do" list. Oh well, I think I got most of it accomplished, and whatever I didn't, I can somehow fit into my schedule during the school year.

Next week, I'll go in to get my photocopies for the first week ready, and then we have PD days on Wednesday and Thursday. I intend to bring my knitting. This year's school year is ridiculous. Since Labour Day is on the 7th, they had to re-jig the schedule with these front-loaded PD days and now we won't have our traditional PD days after parent-teacher interviews. Which will suck because I won't be able to go out after interviews. I know, I know. Cry, teacher, cry.

So these last couple of weeks I've been focusing on developing good habits before the school year starts. I've been eating very healthy to make up for all of the unhealthy eating I did all summer long, and I've re-located where my gym is (I hadn't gone in so long, that I joked I forgot where it was). In fact, I've been doing lots of yoga classes, and spending time on the treadmill and really enjoying it. I actually did both today, so go me. Of course, this begs the question of why I didn't start this at the beginning of the summer, but at least I've got it all under control now.

Yesterday, I met up with three of my good friends from work, all of whom pity me because I have to go back to school next week while they continue on their maternity leaves. So yah, there were *three babies* at this get-together, and I got to listen to lots of mommy-talk, most of which makes me think I can never have kids. Have you *heard* about what happens during the birthing process? Not pretty! And the lack of sleep? Insanity! Still, all three babies were pretty cute.

I think tomorrow I'm going to take a day from the gym (I've been 5 days in a row... crazy, but I am feeling good) and go shopping (!). I don't really need any back to school stuff since I bought myself a very pretty dress in London for the first day back and the rest of my stuff is fine. Oh, and after cleaning out my desk last June, I have boxes and boxes of pens and pencils, so I *think* I'm okay, but new marking pens are always in order.

I also need to book myself some self-pampering before school starts. I'm in dire need of a manicure-pedicure, and perhaps a massage, and maybe even a haircut. Although, I should wait 'til it's a bit longer 'cuz I am enjoying the fact I can tie it back now. Keep it out of my face when I'm downward dogg-ing or whatnot.

My, my this post is dull. Methinks I really need to get back to school so at least I'll have the odd funny teenager moment to tell upon this blog.

ps I'm listening a lot to "It's Blitz!" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So good.
pps I also really like the EP "The Beat Stuff" by Hannah Georgas. And oh! Now that I went to her myspace page to link here, I see she's opening for Danny Michel (whom I also love) at the Rivoli in October. Must. Go.
ppps Fall is always best for concerts and fun.
pppps I need to get reading. I'm stuck on book #26... I've got a lot to read if I'm going to get to 52 (unlikely) but I think I can at least get to 40.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Everything is wonderful now.

Well, my weekend's been pretty low key. I've watched some movies, run a lot of errands, helped my friend Jane move, had a couple frappucinos, and not put away my laundry. This meme has been making the rounds on wigsf's and Claire's blogs, so I figured jumping on the bandwagon would be a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday before I go to yoga.


1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Breakfast: oatmeal, vanilla yogurt, strawberries, a banana, and hot chocolate.

2. Have you ever kissed anyone named Matthew?
Ummm, not that I remember.

3. Where was your profile picture taken?
I don’t have a profile picture on my blog, but on facebook, it’s the picture of me on a bike in Paris. *sigh* Paris.

4. Can you play Guitar Hero?
Never even tried.

5. Name someone that made you laugh today.
My pal Eric.

6. How late did you stay up last night and why?
Maybe like only 12:30 am. I was sleepy from a busy day.

7. If you could move somewhere else, would you?
In reality, probably not, because I have a very stable job here, and the teaching job situation sucks. If I could move to Paris though…

8. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
Sadly not.

9. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
Fea.

10. Do you believe ex’s can be friends?
I think it’s very rare.

11. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
Well, real Dr. Pepper is too sugary for me, but I do enjoy Diet Dr. Pepper. (Yah, I know, I’m gonna get brain cancer.)

12. When was the last time you cried really hard?
I honestly can’t remember. I cried a little on Friday night when I watched the movie "Grey Gardens". But just a little bit, not really hard.

13. Where are you right now?
My couch.

14. What bed did you sleep in last night?
My own. After 2.5 weeks of travelling, I love my own bed.

15. What was the last thing someone bought for you?
My friend Jane bought me pizza and beer for helping her move.

16. Who took your profile picture?
My friend Heather took the aforementioned fbook profile pic.

17. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Claire.

18. Was yesterday better than today?
Since it’s the morning, I can’t tell yet. But I'm guessing they might be equal. Or today might be better 'cuz I'm going to hang out with my pal Mathew and give him his wee besmirch from the UK.

19. Can you live a day without TV?
Easily.

20. Are you mad about anything?
No.

21. Are you upset about anything?
No.

22. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Yes.

23. Are you a bad influence?
I can definitely talk people into buying things (for their own good), or having another glass of wine, ha-ha.

24. Night out or night in?
I need a healthy mix of both.

25. What items could you not go without during the day?
My iPod, my laptop, comfy shoes, and a book.

26. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
Probably my mom back in the beginning of 2007.

27. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
I texted my friend Eric yesterday to wish him a happy Tori Amos’ birthday because we both really like her. This morning I woke up to: “Oh my goodness. Happy birthday Tori. Thank you so much for the reminder, I shall always think of you whenever I think of her. But I love you way more.” (My friend Eric’s texts are always the best. My favourite was when he called me a drunken angel.)

28. How do you feel about your life right now?
Well, even though there that whole back-to-school thing looming, I’m pretty happy about everything. Life’s not perfect, but as the Avenue Q song goes “it’s only for now”.

29. Do you hate anyone?
I try not to hate anyone because that negative emotion does more damage to me than to them.

30. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
You would find that I often use facebook as a way to contact people instead of actual email.

31. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Hmmm, didn’t have any poppy seeds today, so yah.

32. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
I think the word “perfectionist” has been thrown around more.

33. What song is stuck in your head?
Well at the moment I’m listening to “Wonderful” by Everclear, so it’s in my head. (Last night I went on an inexplicable Everclear binge. I dunno why.)

34. Someone knocks on your window at 2am, who do you want it to be?
Dashboard Confessional. Or maybe, well, somebody else, but I can’t say who ‘cuz what if they read this? I’d be embarrassed.

35. Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50?
Realistically, I prolly won't have kids 'til I'm 35, so that would mean teenage pregnancy for them, so no way!!!

36. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Make a to-do list.

37. Do you think too much or too little?
Always too much.

38. Do you smile a lot?
LOL, I’m the type to be walking down the street with a smile on my face ‘cuz I’m thinking about something that cracked me up that day.

39. Who was your last missed call on your Mobile phone?
Mathew.

40. Is there something you always wear?
My rings.

41. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Eating the aforementioned breakfast and reading the Toronto Star’s Sunday Celebrity Snark.

42. Did you have an exciting last weekend?

Well, *last* weekend, I was still in London and went to a party on a boat with Claire, went shopping on Oxford St. and bought some fun stuff, saw Avenue Q, and then hopped on a plane back to Toronto. So last weekend was exciting. This weekend has been about movies, and exercise. So this weekend not so much.

43. Have you ever crawled through a window?
I don’t think so.

44. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Yes.

45. Are you wearing a necklace?
No.

46. Are you an emotional person?
Maybe at a medium level. But I think I keep my emotions under too much control sometimes.

47. What’s something that can always make you feel better?
Rilo Kitty.

48. Will this weekend be a good one?
It’s been chill, but good.

49. What do you want right now?
A Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappucino Light would be awesome. Anyone wanna go get it for me?

50. Have you ever worn the opposite sex’s clothing?
Yes.

51. Have you ever worked in a food place?
Yes. Sooooo glad those days are over. Worst job ever.

52. Whats on your schedule for tomorrow?
Hmmm, depends. Definitely going to the gym though.

53. Does anyone know your facebook password?
Just me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And you're walking alone, but how to get through?

List of randomness.

1) My ringtone is "7/4 Shoreline" by Broken Social Scene. I dance a bit every time someone calls me. I can't get sick of this song, even though I've apparently listened to it 189 times according to iTunes.

2) I got lots of calls tonight from my pal Mathew 'cuz he has no power because of the crazy storms tonight in the GTA and phoning me was his best source of entertainment. His phone drops calls like they're hot (I'll own up to my lameness for saying that), so hence the multitude of calls. We had a good chat, but he had to go since his phone was dying. I can now blog since I'm lucky enough to still have power.

3) I was going to blog earlier this evening, but Rilo was lying on my keyboard. She's home safe and sound after my whirlwind trip on Tuesday to pick her up from her county vacay with my 'rents in St. Ratford. She and my dad were great buddies. My mom thinks she's cute when she covers her face as she sleeps (see below). She gave me a snobby "oh, it's you" look when I arrived, but she warmed back up to me within 5 minutes. She meowed the whole car ride home, but was very happy to be home again when we got here. Well, happy until the wicked thunder/lightning storm arrived tonight and she had to hid under the couch.

4) I was very lazy today. I kind of procrastinated all day and then when the thunderstorm hit, I realized that it'd be wiser to do stuff tomorrow instead. I really need to sit down and list the things I need to accomplish next week. Next week is the last week before I have to start going in to school to get ready for another year.

5) I've been obsessed with Julia Child since I saw "Julie & Julia". Today I found the recipe for her bouef bourguignon online. I would like to make it one of my goals to make this dish, but I'll have to invest in a good fireproof casserole dish first. Also, I'm a bit afraid that I'll turn it into poison, but really, once the weather gets cool, I should do it. LOL Me making one Julia Child recipe will be my version of the whole "Julie & Julia" project.

6) And, since I've been slothful, I'll post some more pictures from my vacation 'cuz really, let's admit it, my trip to France/UK is probably the most exciting stuff that's going to happen here for awhile.

a) Here's the Eiffel Tower from below at night. So pretty.


b) I dig when I can understand a French pun, as demonstrated by the name of this bookshop below. Paris has so many bookshops, and there are used books being sold on the street. Luckily, they were mostly in French, which prevented me from coming home with a suitcase of books. (I bought a lot of books on this trip anyway, but if all the books in Paris were English, I would have bought more.)

c) This is the hilarious Tartan carpet in our English-themed hotel in Paris. We didn't know it was going to be that way, and I cracked up pretty much every time I walked in the place.

d) Proof that the grass is greener, and feels nicer on your feet, in Paris.


e) Here's the shot of the Eiffel Tower that I got when we went on the Ferris wheel by the Louvre.

f) Here's the Ferris Wheel itself:


g) Here's the little girl, with her father, who kept asking us for pain pour les canards. The story is here, if you haven't read it. Definitely one of my favourite Paris moments. Maybe it was the bottle of red wine that made it so special, hee-hee.

h) Claire and I wrote messages to blog friends on the beach in Findhorn. Real holidays are so fun, no?



i) Here's the ruins of an Abbey near where Claire grew up.

j) Here's a hedgehog that we saw as we were walking home from the pub in Forres. So cute.

Hope everyone has a great Friday. Mine's gotta be more productive than my Thursday was. Wait, I'm so hard on myself. I bought socks today, and had a frappucino, and watched a bunch of episodes from Flight of the Conchords Season 2. I'm not completely remedial!

ps To Miss Ash, yes, that's a bowl of hot chocolate from last post. It's the authentic French kind where they bring you chocolate in a bowl, and then you add steamed milk for pure deliciousness!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paris, Blogs, Julia Child, and Photos!

I don't think I have jet lag, which is pretty awesome. I stayed up a little later than I should have last night, but I was functional at about 10 am, which isn't too bad. I did some grocery shopping, and then decided to beat the heat by going to see the movie "Julie & Julie". I enjoyed the movie immensely.

The movie complements many aspects of my recent life. First of all, as you all know, I completely fell in love with Paris while I visited, as did Julia Child when she was there. I am currently reading Julia Child's "My Life in France" and I'm loving it now that I have a picture of Paris in my head. Also, Julia Child is a pretty neat person, who didn't really find love or her niche in life until she hit her mid-to-late thirties, which makes me feel pretty darned hopeful. I think I've found my niche as a quirky science teacher, but the whole love thing hasn't worked out quite yet.

The second story line of the movie is based upon Julie Powell's book "Julie & Julia". I picked up this book and read it quite quickly while I was in the UK. As she approaches her thirtieth birthday, Julie decides to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. Julie's experience with blogging made me reflect upon my own experience in blogging. I really respect how honest Julie was in her blog; her husband encouraged her to skip the aspics (they are a gelatin dish made with meat stock... ew), but she didn't want to be dishonest with her readers. Good on her.

I also could completely relate with how Julie found community with her fellow bloggers. In my past 4.5 years of blogging, I've made some really great friends, and meeting strangers who connect with you through your writing is a wonderful experience. Of course, the whole second part of my trip was me hanging with a blog-buddy who is a great friend in real-life, and I'm so blessed that somehow through the world of blogging, Claire stumbled upon my blog, or I stumbled across hers, I can't remember how it happened. Incidentally, Julia Child had a sort blog buddy of her own; she had a pen-pal that she didn't meet until 8 years into their relationship, and this pen-pal had a hand in the publication of MtAoFC. I am so thankful for the friends that I've made through honest blogging.

I had totally intended to do a post just with pictures today, but I just had to blog about this movie. See it and/or read the accompanying books.

I have so many awesome pictures from my trip that show food, Paris, and blog buddy fun!




















Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back with a capital B!

Ahh, I love having the shift key in its "regular" place.

Anyway, I am completely shattered, but not exactly sleepy-shattered, but just thinking-shattered, if that makes sense. Long freaking flight from London to here, and then having to lug my luggage on a bus and then the subway and then another bus is oh-so-tiring. And to top it all off, it's 10:35 pm here, but 3:35 am London time so I should be crashing, but I'm too exhausted to even crash.

And apparently summer has bestowed itself on Toronto. It was so shockingly hot and hazy upon my return.

When I am more cognizant, I will post lots of pictures, but for now, check out some on Claire's blog. We had such fun, and I'm going to miss her. Why can't my good blog friends all live in one Utopian-city?? (I nominate Paris for this Utopian city 'cuz I love it!) I talked to Claire in my head all the time yesterday while I went on an Oxford St. shopping spree.

Oh, and Avenue Q was soooooooooooooooo amazing! I loved it.

Also, I find it crazy that I woke up this morning in London, but I'm going to bed in Toronto. Air travel rocks.

Also, even though I'm supremely exhausted at the moment, my awesome vacation has left me more energized than I have been in a long time. I've been scattered for longer than I care to admit, but I *know* that I've come home with more focus than I've had for a long time. And, goodness knows that I need this focus because the upcoming school year is going to be challenging both personally (Becca T being overseas) and professionally (new curriculum).

But honestly, I've returned home knowing that I can rock these changes, and focus on being a better, happier me.

p.s. Photos soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

London, baby!

well, here i sit posting from the part of my trip where i have two days left 'til i get on a big old jet-plane to toronto. i'll be happy to be back in my own bed, and to be eventually reunited with my silly pals at home and rilo, but.... sigh, i've had a great time and i'm sad to see it coming to an end.

on tuesday/wednesday claire and i made the looooooooooooong journey from the scottish highlands to london. we almost got royally sideswiped outside of glasgow by a stupid caravan-driver who did not check his blindspot. it woke me up from my nap and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. thank god he decided to *not* change lanes at the right moment. from my vantage point, he was about a hair-width's away from hitting us.

we crashed at a flat of a couple of claire's friends in liverpool on tuesday. very lovely people they were.

on wednesday, we survived london traffic and made it to leyton, the ghetto-fabulous neighbourhood where claire lives. had a nice dinner and then crashed after a tiring two days of travelling.

yesterday i wandered around hyde park, went to the national portrait museum and then met up with claire for a lovely dinner and then met up with friends at a pub called "the cock" (tee-hee). oh, we also did a night-flight on the london eye (awesome), and then went home where i crashed on the couch after a long day of walking, fresh air, and lots of fun.

so today i'm going to the tower and hopefully getting some last minute shopping in. then claire is taking me to a party on a boat. exciting. finally, tomorrow claire is leaving me for edinborough and i'm going to wander about for one more day, then go see avenue q in the evening. i'm quite excited for the show, but it will be so sad that my awesome awesome time with claire is coming to an end.

so, with that, i should get on because i do hear london calling me. on sunday night, i'll be back in the t dot, so i look forward to catching up with blogs, and creating a super fabulous post with lots of pictures, and capital letters yet again.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

weekend in inverness

well, i'm having a lazy sunday night in back in forres with my partner-in-crime claire. we had a great weekend in the very very pretty city of inverness where we tore it up at a scottish wedding. i was the random drunk canadian that every wedding needs.

the morning after the wedding, neither of us could stand the sight of white wine.

the rest of the weekend was filled with shopping, walking around inverness, and joinverness events.

i think i'm a great shopping influence on claire. i talked her into buying the iphone she's been wanting, and i also convinced her to get a great purse at monsoon today.

i did some shopping myself. it's so easy to forget about the conversion when you are exposed to great clothes in uk stores. everything here just looks so much nicer, and i haven't even hit london yet!

also, the book buying situation here rocks. at waterstone's, they have a great 3 for 2 deal, which i was totally going to resist, but claire talked me into it.

last night, after going out for a delicious indian curry, claire and i decided to go see the hangover instead of drinking more, 'cuz well, see the white wine comment above. it's a crazy funny movie, if you haven't seen it yet. at least we didn't wake up that morning with a tiger in our bathroom, but there were plenty of cupcakes in our room that claire had nicked from the wedding.

today we met up with the joinees at loch ness for a lovely picnic. the most random part of the picnic was when the fridge dudes we'd met up with (two guys who are walking with fridges down scotland to raise money for charity) managed to get some people to take the fridges across loch ness in their speed boat. i never thought i'd live to see the day when i'd see two fridges loaded into a speedboat at loch ness, but there you go.

other points of randomness: i thought i'd face less of a language barrier here than i did in france, but it was pretty cool when claire was talking about something else and said "hit the bin" which i thought was maybe a uk saying for "turn off the lights" so i did. however, i think it's claire's and my new mission to take over the world with hit the bin.

and yes, i'm taking lots of pictures and will post them when i'm at home. expect many vacay picture posts in a week's time. i unfortch had a really cool 10 second video of the eiffel tower sparkling that i accidentally deleted at the wedding. damned camera is not drunk proof. hopefully i can figure out how to retrieve it at home... *fingers crossed* really though, that's the worst that has happened to me on this trip except for the wasp sting that i got at versailles, and my encounter with a stinging nettle today at loch ness. and... it just means that i'll have to go back to paris and sit on the steps of the pantheon to get that shot again.

oh, and word from home is that my dad is rather fond of rilo and i won't have to worry about bringing her back to toronto because my parents are going to steal my cat. hmmmm, maybe i'll have to come back with a boquet of stinging nettles to retrieve my dear cat.

what's next on tap? well, tomorrow we are going to the beach and doing more cool stuff in the highlands, then on tuesday we're driving to liverpool, and making it to london (via stratford) on wednesday. then lots of partying in london up 'til my departure day on sunday.

hope you all are having lots of fun too, 'cuz i know i am! claire is completely not remedial (our new fave term) as a hostess, that's for sure!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

trip update...

first of all, me, the punctuation stickler, is not going to be using capitialization because the position of the shift key on uk keyboards slows me down too much. enjoy it.

so, my first two days in forres with claire have been amazing. and it's not the red wine/strongbow/cider and red of the evening that's talking. i just love being part of a small part in another place on the planet.

so it's been so great to catch up with claire since i haven't seen her in almost two years. we've had a lot of catching up/gossiping to do and it's taken miles of driving/walking to get through it all but it's been great.

last night, we went to elgin, the next town over, to see claire's friends' band play and i enjoyed it even though was exhausted from the paris to forres trip.

today, we hung out in the beautiful findhorn, enjoyed a feast of food with her awesome family, drank a lot of red wine, then went out to the pub. i enjoyed being the exotic foreigner. then we drunk walked home, saw a hedgehog, and respectively checked our emails.

this weekend we are going to inverness and i'm excited for more fun.

so yah, win.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

2 mins 30 sec post...

... so here I am in London Luton airport where I am waiting to check in for my flight to Aberdeen. I was browsing the internet computers and some guy was leaving with 6 paid minutes left and told me to use it. So after an email check, here am I.

Last day in Paris was awesome. I loved every minute of Versailles except for when I got stung by a wasp.

I also can't believe how much I loved the rent a bike system in Paris and didn't freaking blog about it last time.

Time's up. Click publish post.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Paris, oh Paris, be mine!

Bonjour toute le monde! J'adore Paris beaucoup!!

I have started to dream in French. These dreams probably make no sense, and would offend any francophone, but it's kind of cool to me. I have so far impressed two whole people in this city with my broken French that has been dormant for twelve years since I won the OAC French award. The first person I impressed was an American tourist whom I asked to take a picture of me and travel buddy Heather in front of the pyramid at the Louvre. The second was the polite lady at the newstand where I bought a cemetery guide for Pere-LaChaise cemetery where we tracked down the graves of Abbelard and Heloise, Jim Morrison, Chopin, Moliere, and Oscar Wilde. Thanks to Miss Ash for that tip 'cuz I loved it.

And there has been a lot to love on this trip. From seeing the essential sights in Paris like the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer, Notre Dame, the Panthenon, and the Musee D'Orsay. However, it's been the little random moments that have been most special to me. Random moments like:

  • the waiter at a little restaurant (that used to be a stable) patting my friend Heather on the head because she is short. However, since he gave us this free strong apple-flavoured booze, all is forgiven and we'd go back.
  • our hotel room is very clean but decked out all Scottish/British-like with tartan carpets, pictures of golf and hunting on the wall, and well, tartan everything else. So funny. Maybe it's the fates getting me acclimatized for the next part of my trip.
  • screw the Eiffel Tower: the best view of Paris is from the Ferris Wheel by the Louvre.
  • last night Heather and I enjoyed drinking a bottle of red wine in the Luxembourg Gardens. I love any country where you can freely drink in public. As we were drinking our wine and eating our baguettes, a little girl approached us asking us for "pain pour les canards". Being suckers for a cute kid, we donated some of our dinner (several times) to the cause. Then, when our pain supply was exhausted, her father took her to cherche le pain. They came back with a huge loaf of bread and fed the ducks until it was all gone and then came and hung out with us. We had a nice conversation even though all of us were pretty incompetent in each other's languages.
Anyway, I could go on, but I have to go get more Euros to spend at Versailles tomorrow. Today we toured all kinds of castles in the Loire Valley which is a couple hours outside of Paris. I totally forgot about my obsession from a couple years ago about French royalty and their shenanigans. I am so excited for Versailles tomorrow.

On Wednesday, it's off to the airport for Heather to go back home (sorry Heather), and me off to Aberdeen to meet up with Claire. I'll be sad to leave Paris, but I've been so thankful for every moment I've had in this beautiful city and I know I'll be back.