Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Maybe my carefree's been careless.

Well that's essentially it: another school year put to rest. Tonight I'm going to graduation, then tomorrow's our year-end staff party, and that's it. Two months of rest, relaxation, and renewal.

Oddly enough, I always feel a bit of melancholy at this time of year. It's especially ironic because I spend a lot of time in May/June counting down to this moment. I think it has to do with the drastic negative acceleration that the pace of my normal day-to-day life takes. Two weeks ago, I was still teaching and finishing up all of my extra-curriculars. One week ago, I was busy marking exams and writing report cards. Today, I finished cleaning up my desk, and then I locked everything up and handed in my keys to the office, as per annoying regulations.

I think the source of this melancholy is that I feel somewhat unneeded. From September until June, I always have someone who is asking me questions, trying to break a rule, talking me into taking on another huge extracurricular project, wanting my approval, nagging me to see if I've marking the latest quiz/test/lab report, telling me a silly joke, asking for an extra copy of something they should not have lost, or listening intently to what I'm saying. For the next two months, fewer people need my attention, and at the beginning it just feels really really weird.

I know the feeling will fade by Friday, when I get to sleep in and have a leisurely morning coffee while watching crappy TV and then going for a bike ride or whatever I please. But it just amazes me how every year at this time I feel the exact same way. You gotta love the cyclical rhythm of a school year.

But yeah, summer! I have a lot of goals for this summer, but they all more or less fall under the theme of getting my life in order. I've got a good start on that because I've written important events on my calendar and I've made appointments for both the doctor and dentist.

Next up: I really have to start planning my road trip to Boston. I bought a New England travel guide about a month ago, and I haven't even cracked it open yet.

Oh! And it looks like I'm going to go on a camping trip in August. Real, actual camping in the wilderness with hiking and tents and all that jazz. I've never ever done that, and I'm sure it's going to provide this blog with a lot of entertainment.

Becca T will be arriving soon and we'll have all kinds of shenanigans on the go.

I'm also going to have more time to read. Can you believe that I just finished a book that took me a month to read? Thank goodness it was just essays: I don't think I could spread a novel out that long and still follow the plot.

Anyway, thinking of all of the exciting things that I have going on for the summer is making me miss my little hooligans less. How fast that feeling fades.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This doesn't feel right.

I'm pretty sure that all Torontonians are finding today surreal.

It's not the typical Saturday when I keep my TV glued to the CBC to watch violence unfold in my very own downtown core.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that most Saturdays I'd be heading downtown myself. That's not even an option today because the downtown section of the subway is shut down. And it wouldn't even feel safe to go downtown, which feels all sorts of wrong.

The pre-G20 changes have been visible all week. There have been police everywhere. Earlier in the week I saw police carrying riot gear on the subway. That's definitely a sight that makes you feel like you are living in a police state.

However, that is nothing compared to watching thousands of police in full riot gear covering the city's streets on TV today. Then, when the footage of police cruisers on fire, shattered windows, and people being arrested hit the TV, things felt even more wrong. That is not how my city is supposed to look.

And then finding out that the provincial government has passed laws in secret that allow citizens to be arrested for not providing ID while near the G20 security zone? That doesn't feel right either. Not even the mayor knew about that law.

This summit is apparently costing about 1.2 billion dollars. That's more than the government of Malawi spends in a year. That definitely does not feel right.

Clearly, violence was expected, hence the huge security budget. I wonder why this summit has to be held in Toronto's downtown core. Surely, holding a summit like this in a place that is less accessible to the public would be cheaper, inconvenience fewer people, and would be harder to be accessed by violent protesters.

Kudos to the peaceful protestors. Peaceful protest is the cornerstone of democracy. More than 99% of the protesters today were peaceful, and we can't forget that among the scenes of violence of the vast minority.

I can't wait for this summit to be over so my city can go back to normal.

p.s. Reading @spaikin's tweets doesn't feel right either.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The city is to blame for us.

Even though my parade (read: environmental science pizza party in the park) was rained on today (postponed 'til Sept 'cuz of thunderstorms), I had an awesome day!

Why?

1) I got all of my marking DONE and my report cards DONE. No assessment for two months kids!

2) I got tickets in the presale for Stars' October show at Massey Hall. And, I did so in a hilarious fashion. The website wasn't working on my computer at school, so I had to phone Mathew to do the work for me. Now, the Stars ticket is his birthday present, so I found it hilarious not only did I ruin the surprise, I also made him do the work himself.

3) I met up with my friend Stacey to see Sarah Harmer at the Palais Royale. It was a great show! The venue is awesome! I've never seen a show there, but it's right on the lake, and before the show you have plenty of time to chill on the patio and have drinks by the lake. The rain had cleared up by then so it was perfect.

Sarah was great. The new songs all sounded wonderful, and I'm so digging her new album. I highly recommend it. She played a lot of old stuff too. Probably the highlight for me was her great environmental song "Escarpment Blues" and "Lodestar". I love the crescendo in "Lodestar".

Anyway, tomorrow I have a student council lunch, followed by fun evening plans. And then Thursday is cleaning up at work day. I love this time of year when it's all winding down and summer starts to go in full swing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thousands of ghosts in the daylight

Holy! It's been a busy four days. Here's a rundown:

Friday - Free NXNE show at Yonge-Dundas Square. Said the Whale were okay. I really liked their performance of "Camilo". K-Os was really great, but while he was on stage the old Sloan line "it's not the band I hate, it's their fans" ran through my head many times because there was a little dude in a green shirt and his pals who were smoking up, drinking beer, and dancing up a storm. Little dude kept bumping into me with his sweaty back and stepped on my feet too. However, K-Os' set was great. Highlights were Crabbuckit, and the closing "I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman". Oh, and I should mention that he opened by sampling Rush's "Tom Sawyer" which I did not sufficiently appreciate.

Anyway, Sloan put on a great rock show. You can't go wrong with Sloan. They opened with "Losing California" from "Between the Bridges" which I found ironic, because that album came out when I first moved to Toronto, and I remember that there was a huge ad for it not too far from YD Square. Here's a picture taken with my iPhone. Not the greatest, but gives you an idea of the vibe.

Saturday - I woke up a little too early for my tastes, and ran to Union Station to catch the train to St. Ratford. As soon as I got there, I borrowed my parents' car and headed out to the country for a party at my friend Joanna's. It was a great time catching up with a bunch of friends and their kids. I got to meet my friend Sandra's baby for the first time, and it was a lovely afternoon in the sun with good friends. Those kinds of days make you realize how blessed you are to have such wonderful people in your life.

Sunday - Since it was Father's Day, I spent the day loading up my dad's new iTouch for him. Lots of my music went on there, plus I put some of his CDs on my computer, plus a couple of audiobooks too. He's completely into it, and my mom wants me to get her a poking stick so she can get his attention when he's listening to it. He was so funny at first because he had problems figuring out how to touch things, and got stuck on the "slide to unlock" screen.

My aunt and uncle were also in town from Ottawa so they dropped by and my uncle and I debated the fine points of evolutionary biology. He thinks I'm too strictly Darwinian. Good times.

Pizza for dinner, then it was off on a late train home. And, the late train itself was late.

Today - Got a lot of work done. All I have left to mark is one set of exams that will be written tomorrow. Will probably be done my marks tomorrow.

And, I got both the new Stars and new Sarah Harmer albums too! Right now I'm more into the Stars, which is FABULOUS, but after I see Sarah Harmer tomorrow night, I think that one will be on high rotation too.

Oh, and it's the summer solstice. Awesome. Hope you are all having a great start to your summers!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Time, you've got me running.

I'm having a great Friday so far, and have the urge to post for the second time in less than twenty-four hours.

Anyway, the weather is great, and all I had to do today was supervise a morning exam (which I'll now have to mark). After exams were done, a friend and I hit up a face sushi place for lunch, and then I had to go to a Ticketmaster outlet to pick up my Sarah Harmer tickets for Tuesday.

The outlet was in a record store, and as I walked in, I encountered a wall of cheap CDs. Usually I skim those walls and there's nothing that interests me, but I could have seriously almost bought every single CD on that wall.

I limited myself to two choices: "Lungs" by Florence + the Machine (based on rawbeans's recent post), and "If it was you" by Tegan and Sara, because I'm not sure how I don't own that one.

Then I moved onto the new release wall and was further assaulted with a bunch of CDs that I wanted. I settled on "No Ghost" by The Acorn 'cuz there's a Christmas song of theirs that I got on some free compilation last year that I really really like so I wanted to check them out further.

Once I had a pile of CDs in my hand, I went to get my tickets and had a nice conversation with the dude who printed them out for me. He was an older rock-type dude; he reminded me of Patrick from Sloan in maybe ten years from now. We discussed all of the great albums coming out next week, and how it seems like their release date has been moved from the typical Tuesday to Monday because of Eminem.

After I got my tickets and wandered to the other cash to buy my CDs, I was like "Wow! Record stores are fun! I'd forgotten. There are ppl here who will talk to you about music, and you can buy physical CDs. Too fun!" Yah, seriously, I'd forgotten what it was like to buy music in a CD store. I was dumbfounded that I'd completely forgotten the enjoyment of a record store. In fact, that very record store was one that I frequented a lot in university, so it was strange to think of how my music-buying habits have changed in less than 10 years.

As I was checking out, a different dude complimented me on the choice of The Acorn, so I was happy with my choice.

Seriously though, this summer I'm going to more record stores. Also, if I were to start listening to The National, which album should I start with? (Ahem, galapogos, that question's for you.)

All right, I'm going to indulge in an afternoon nap, the it's my free Said the Whale + K-Os + Sloan show. Woot.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Volcano girls, we really can't be beat.

In lieu of a post about something truly profound and thought-provoking, here's a list of things I like these days.

1) iTunes just played "Volcano Girls" by Veruca Salt, which is one of my face songs from the 90s. I remember buying the album "8 Arms to Hold You" quite vividly. It was on a day where I got a promotion for my crappy high school job. I also remember driving around blasting this song with friends from high school at about this time of year. Thanks for the memories, iTunes.


2) I really like this Coconut hand soap that I bought at Bath and Body Works. I think I have to go back and get other stuff in this scent 'cuz it's yummy.

3) This weekend I did some shopping at Urban Outfitters and saw this awesome owl pillow that I decided that I'd buy if it was on sale. It was! Rilo likes to chill by it.


4) I also picked up this sweater, which I've worn twice this week 'cuz I really like it.

5) I also like that I can see the end of marking in sight. I got a lot of end of term projects marked today. I have about four more sets of term-marking to do, exams, and that's it. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up next week, but finally, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting really really close!

6) I like that I have things to look forward to this weekend. Tomorrow night, there's a free NXNE show at Dundas Square with Said the Whale, K-Os, and Sloooo-oooooooan! Free Sloan! Is there anything sweeter? Nope!

7) The second thing to look forward to this weekend is that I'm heading to St. Ratford on Saturday. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to see my friend Sandra and her new baby. There's a G9 (my newest short form for the Group of Nine) pool party happening too which will be a blast.

And, I'm going to give my dad the iTouch that I got for free with my Mac, so I'm looking forward to hooking him up with some cool music. I think I will begin by alt-country-ing him out with some Neko Case, Kathleen Edwards, and Joel Plaskett. I could see my dad digging them. Before you know it, he'll be the most musically-cool dad on the block! Oh and that's not even his Father's Day gift! I shipped him the customary box of books that I ordered online, which got there yesterday, and he's happily devouring a tome about Napoleon. High fives for eccentric dads!

8) I would also like it if my blog buddies had nice weekends, so go hook yourselves up with that! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's the one thing you can count on.

First of all, I never really have bad days. All in all my work days are rad and provide me with many great moments, even though there are often moments of annoyance sprinkled among them.

Today I had lots of moments of annoyance. At this time of year, everyone's emotions are running a little bit high: kids are stressed out with culminating projects and exams, and teachers are stressed with marking and end-of-year stuff. To top it all of, I'm running student council elections single-handedly, and that's something that brings up emotions, and even some nastiness, in the kids.

Anyway, after a long evening of reviewing speeches and preparing ballots, I made my way home. I had to stop at Shoppers' for some stuff, and was dismayed that they no longer were carrying my fave kind of shave gel nor my fave type of aluminum-free deodorant.

By the time I got home I was in a pretty grumpy mood. However, instead of sitting on the couch and watching something pointless on TV, I got out my City of Toronto bike map, figured out a new route, and went on an awesome bike ride. I feel sooooo much better now!

And, I'm also streaming the new Stars album, The Five Ghosts, on their website. Go to www.youarestars.com and launch the music player. I'm loving it so far, and can't wait until I get it in on my iPod next week!

I guess the moral of today's story is bike rides and streaming wonderful new albums are a cure for June annoyances.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Goals

I had a fabulous weekend with lost of sleep, food, shopping, and fun. The weather was a bit rainy and dreary, but whatevs, it didn't really bring me down.

Anyway, I'm two weeks and a couple days, I think, from summer vacation. I've really gotta check my work calendar to see what the actual last day is. No matter what the exact day, summer's coming close, and I gotta figure out what I'm going to do with my time. This summer won't be as busy as most, but I am looking forward to some down time, spending time with fave people, and regaining some good habits, because it seems like all I have is bad habits these days.

The good habits that I'd like to regain this summer are:

1) Ride my bike at least 5 times per week. (When in Toronto, obvs.)

2) Go to yoga three times a week. Maybe branch out into other fitness classes too.

3) Eat healthier. Lots of fruits, veggies, (healthy) Starbucks, Subway, and sushi, usually make me feel much much better as opposed to junk food.

4) Eat out less. This one's hard 'cuz socializing usually means a lot of eating out.

5) Cook more. That'll help me with #4.

6) Read more. I haven't finished a book in FOREVER.

7) Try new things. I don't specifically know what new stuff I want to try, but I need to branch out of my safety zone more often. Summer's good for that.

I'm now to go to curl up in bed with the book I've been reading FOREVER. It'd be nice to add another finished book to my sidebar.

p.s. Just started playing around with blogger's new (to me at least) template designer. I think I like this look, but it's so easy to change, this blog might become makeover city!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm on the verge, I'm on the verge.

Quick post, 'cuz what I have to say today is pretty short and sweet.

1) I went to the Apple store three times in a row this week. Visit #1 = buy Mac. Visit #2 = bring in Mac and old computer so they could transfer my data for me. Visit #3 - pick up Mac complete with my data! Anyway, tonight is my first time really using the Mac with all of my stuff on it, and I LOVE it. It's soooo sexy.

2) I have so much stuff going on right now with work, and even with social plans too, that I don't feel organized and on-top of things, and I don't like that feeling. Work will all be cleaned up in two weeks though, which is such a nice thought, but so scary as well. I have so many loose ends to tie up in that short time. It'll all get done though. It always will. Right, Claire?

3) Thursday was Becca T's birthday. Happy birthday Becca T! I'm going to see her in about a month! I'm so excited! I miss her.

4) I'm looking forward to the weekend, but the forecast calls for thunderstorms which means no bike rides and perhaps other outdoors plans will be switched. I'm not saying Boo-urns to that!

5) Well, I've been spending so much time this evening catching up on correspondence, that it's now time to go to bed. I like sleep though, it's where I'm a viking. (Ralph Wiggum quote)

Happy weekend!

Monday, June 07, 2010

I'm back... on a Mac!

I've been planning on doing this for over a year, but a nasty virus pushed me to it.... I've crossed over to the dark side!

Long ago, I decided that once my old Toshiba hit the four year mark, I'd replace it with a MacBookPro. You gotta love a company that gives discounts to educators, even if they are relatively small. But still, it's better than nothing.

A few times I came close to making the leap last summer but I just couldn't do it. I still knew that the old Toshiba had a lot of life left in her.

Anyway, fastforward almost a year later, and there's a permanent red line on my laptop and then it got hit with a virus. Now, of course, if I hadn't planned on buying a new computer this summer, I would have fixed the virus. But why bother when I'd already made the decision?

I decided to make the leap today after school. It was a pretty awesome shopping experience. Not only did I score a new computer, but I got a free iPod Touch as part of their back-to-school promo. I'm going to give it to my dad. I also got a $100 off a printer, and I figured I might as well go for it since my printer is way old and I dunno even know if it works anymore.

And what's even cooler, and impressive to me, is that I can bring in my old laptop and have them transfer all of my data for me. Woot! That's on my to-do list for this week.

I laugh at myself that it's not even summer, and I've more or less spent a good portion of my summer paycheque on a bike and a new computer, but at least I'll be ready for a great summer!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Post from the iPhone.

My laptop has contracted an annoying virus and will no longer connect to the Internet. Thankfully, my data is OK, and I can do non-Internet related stuff like write exams for work. I was going to get a new computer this summer anyway, so I'm just going to move up the buying date to sooner.

Last night was the prom. The kids had a blast. This year's group of grads are my favourite ever.

Tonight I'm making veggie tikka masala and sangria. I don't think they especially go together but I have the ingredients for both so that's how I plan a menu. Hoping to get some cleaning and a bike ride in first.

Tomorrow is a lot of work. Boo!

Hope you all are having a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hands down.

I think that turning thirty has done me a world of good. I feel like everything's been coming up Christielli since I've turned thirty, and I like it.

Yesterday was the big event that I organized at school and it went off without a hitch. It was a multicultural day at my school, and it consisted of an assembly, and an afternoon where kids got to go around to seventeen different pavilions of different countries and sample food, music, and party. Probably at least a hundred volunteers (staff and students) came together to make the day happen, but I was the organizer and I am pretty proud that I pulled it together.

My elves on student council were big helps too. Not only did they complete the tasks that I assigned to them, they were the ones who said "we can do it Miss!" and then reminded me yesterday "See, we were right! We pulled it off!" So yah, it's a great feeling when you pull off something huge that pulls an entire community together, and you have your own cheering section helping you out. But seriously, it was such a great experience witnessing so many people coming together under my leadership. (Somehow... I've never considered myself a leader, but I surprise myself.) It wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for me, and that's a great feeling. Also, it was so nice to be thanked and congratulated by other staff and students alike. Yay me!

Anyway, so since I've been thirty, I've pulling off some great stuff professionally. Actually, I have to say that it's been happening all school year, but this was the school year when I turned thirty, so I'll attribute it all to that.

Also, I'm super happy personally as well. I love my apartment, my friends, my family, new company, my cat, and my new bike. I wish I could have gone on a bike ride tonight, but it's raining, so argh! I should be marking and writing exams, but my brain has gone into vacation mode, and work isn't happening.

But overall, my life is in the upward swing that I really needed when I was feeling emo in the fall/early winter. Alanis was so right when she said:

"And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face"

Cheesy 90's song reference for the win!

ps Don't point out that there's the opposite lyric in that song. I've already had that happen, so I think I'm good.