Monday, February 28, 2011

Ask me.

It's never fun waking up unrested on a Monday morning to the sound of cold rain. I made it out of the house early enough to stop to buy a new Metropass for March, and grab a coffee. As I made it up to the science office and unlocked the door, my key bent itself at a 90 degree angle in the door. Not a good way to start a Monday morning since there are no more extra copies of that key in the school... Luckily, I have connections so I have a loaner 'til my new comes in. (In June perhaps? That's how stuff works in education.)

However the day got better from there. Even though I did not win again at Tim Horton's Roll Up the Rim to Win. I'm now 0 for 5. Gah. Even better though, the sun came out, and my gym buddy and I took off for the gym, yet ended up stopping for cupcakes on the way. I say a pre-gym cupcake is better than a pre-couch cupcake, right?

Anyway, for a long time I've been thinking about doing an "ask me anything" post like the ones I've seen on Claire's or wigsf's blogs in the (probably distant) past.

So what are things about me that you don't know? Or may have forgotten? Ask me whatever randomness pops into your head. You know I like the random.

Looking forward to your inquisition, bloggarinos!

p.s. If you are a long-time reader, zero-time commenter, now is your time to shine! ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

You'll be a bright light coming out of the dark.

I've been up for about an hour from a delicious eleven-hour sleep which I needed oh-so-badly. The latter part of last week was exhausting. Wednesday night was pretty busy since I went shopping after work, then went to Spanish, then stayed up late doing laundry/dishes/etc. Thursday's work day was long since we had a staff meeting (yuck) after school. Then, I came home and got ready for the Hey Rosetta! show.

We had plans to go out for dinner at a fave place of mine: The Victory Cafe. However, it seems that as of late, that whenever I try to go there, it's either closed or too full. This time, it was the latter, so we spent a good half-hour traipsing up and down Bloor Street trying to find a place to eat. Places were either completely full, or pretty much empty. Never trust an empty restaurant, right? We ended up picking a place next door to the Vic which was pretty nice. I had the strange pairing of vegan lentil soup with a BLT. Both were delicious.

We got to Lee's Palace after the openers had played. It's hard to do a full stand-up bar show on a school night. Hey Rosetta! played an awesome high energy set. I love their new album "Seeds" and they played a number of songs from that, but also did a great job of including all of my favourites from their earlier albums. Hey Rosetta! are seven-piece band from Newfoundland: they usually have two violinists playing at all times and often a cello too. This was maybe my third time seeing them, but the first time seeing them where they were the headliners. It was such a great show and I'm sure I'll try to see them every time they come to town.

Another funny thing about this show was that I ended up with two sets of tickets for it. We had originally bought tickets for the Wed. night show since the Thurs. night show was sold out. But then my friend Paul messaged me saying he had tickets for the Thurs. show that he couldn't used: could I or a friend of mine use them? I decided to keep the Thursday night tickets for me, and then gave my Wed. night tickets to my friends Mathew and Jane. Based on their Wed. night reviews, I knew that the show would be amazing and it was!

After getting home late from HR! I think I got maybe 4 hours sleep. I had to be at work pretty early to set up a massive lab for my bio class. Poor planning on my part. The lab went really well though, and the rest of the day was good. After school, I went to the gym with my work spouse/gym buddy then rushed home to get ready to meet up with an old friend from uni for dessert. He wasn't able to make my bday dinner so offered to take me out for dessert this weekend. It was fun, and I had some really good red velvet cake which my trip to the gym cancelled out, I'm sure.

Anyway, I was beat when I got home last night, hence the massive eleven-hour sleep.

Today, I don't have much planned and I love it. There's a new book that is Heather's Pick at Indigo. It's called "The Paris Wife" and it's on-sale for just this weekend. I have gift cards left over from Chirstmas and my bday, so I'm going to pick it up and spend my day reading it. I am reading another book on my Kindle right now, and should really finish it since I have *four* unfinished books now on the go, but this new book looks good and well, I can read my Kindle more easily on the plane to Barcelona, right?

I also need to do some cleaning and I think I'm going to phone a long-lost friend tonight and catch up. That will be fun. I phone friends way too infrequently.

Tomorrow is back to the gym, then I have a two year old's birthday party. I bought her an awesome book on cats, ha-ha. Then it's Oscar night, so I'll sit on my couch and watch that and do some school work at the same time. And maybe work on my Spanish homework too.

So I'd better enjoy my lazy Saturday, 'cuz it will be my one day to live at a slow place.

And it's snowing rather nicely too. I'm sick of the snow, but it's still kind of pretty.

p.s. Coutdown to Europe = less that two weeks! Warning to Claire: I've been thinking about UK shopping... I want to go to Monsoon again!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't look back 'cuz you don't need that.

¡Hola amigos! Can you believe that I'm 75% finished my Spanish class? We only have two classes left. You know what that means, don't you? My trip to Barcelona is approaching very quickly!

This class was pretty fun, even though a lot of our activities involved the use of vocabulary involving household chores. It's a little bit appropriate since right now yo lavo la ropa (I wash my clothes... I can't yet speak in the "I am" tense) and yo necisito lavar los platos (I need to wash the dishes). We also learned the irregular verbs tener (to have) and venir (to come). Tener is very useful to know because it's used for many adjectives such as tener hambre (literally to have hunger) and so on. Anyway, the reason why this class was so fun is that my table and I had fun times creating conversations and such. It's good to be silly while learning. It helps that Fea, a drama teacher, can speak in a really hilarious creepy Spanish voice.

We have a big written assignment due next class. It's a one-page dialogue that I will have to write based on a picture. When it comes to language learning, I'm very good at the written component. During class today, Fea exclaimed "how do you remember to spell all this stuff?" However, my pronunciation is still pretty horrific. Maybe while in Spain I'll pretend I'm a mute and just write out all of my requests.

Other than that, life's pretty great these days. Work's busy but fun; I like my classes. Even the one that drives me crazy is all right. Because they were good yesterday, we made slime today in class and they had fun. They're the types of kids who need a lot of hands-on activities, which is exhausting to plan and set-up, but they behave well during labs, and actually clean up their stations really well, so I don't mind going in early for the set-up.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see Hey Rosetta!, so that will be fun. After that I have no concert tickets for anything. Boo! This must be amended and soon. C'mon concert gods, I'm looking at you.

!Feliz jueves, mis amigos! (Happy Thursday, my friends!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

There was a parliament of owls in the dark where the night things prowl.

You should know that as I'm writing this post, Ms. Rilo Kitty is sitting on a pillow beside me because apparently the couch is not enough for her. You should also know that I'm listening to Jenn Grant's album "Honeymoon Punch", which I was able to listen to fully on train rides this weekend and it turns out it's pretty awesome. I like it almost as much as I like the person who gave it to me. My favourite song is "Parliament of Owls". I love owls, so when I saw the song title, I hoped it would meet my expectations, and it did!

Speaking of owls, I got some owl bookends as a gift from my friend Flora, who I saw at my Toronto-friends birthday dinner on Friday night.

I, after a couple of margaritas, decided that they needed to be named after scientists, since I plan on bringing them to school to keep the binders on my desk from toppling over. Then the best names popped in my head: Watson & Crick! They are the scientists who discovered the double helix structure of DNA.

My friend Jesse, who has a major in the history and philosophy of science pointed out that Watson was a racist and Crick had a taste for LSD. Oh boo! I can handle the LSD, but I don't like racism. Sigh... ignorance can be bliss, and now my owls' names aren't so awesome.

Anyway, my Toronto party was lots of fun. I had it at my favourite neighbourhood Mexican restaurant and ate taquitos and churros, and drank mango margaritas and had a whole lot of fun.

On Saturday, I took the train to Stratford and spent the day chilling with my parents. We had Swiss Chalet for dinner, ate cake, watched a random movie on TVO ("You Can Count on Me" from 2000... it was pretty good actually) and I narrowly defeated my dad at cribbage. It was very surprising that my dad played cribbage with me as I gave him his birthday present of five new books, and he's already started on four of them. My poor mom's not going to hear from him for at least a week.

Sunday was super busy. I went to the gym, then met up for coffee with my friend Ramona, her three little boys, and my friend Heather. Then Heather and I headed downtown for some shopping. I visited my aunt, then headed home where I yet again narrowly defeated my dad at cribbage.

It started to snow pretty heavily Sunday evening, and I was half expecting texts from my Go9 friends saying they wouldn't be able to make it into town for yet another birthday celebration. Since there were no texts, I headed to the bar, and sat drinking a beer on my own and tweeting while hoping the friends that I insisted to the waitress were coming, would indeed show up. I was slightly bemused when a group of meatheads moved to the table next to me, and I tried my best to not hear any of their conversation since it would probably bring down my opinion of humanity. Luckily, my friends arrived shortly thereafter; they were carpooling and Vern was late; hence they were all late. Anyway, we had a lot of fun catching up, and our conversation quickly drowned out that of the meatheads.

This morning it was back on the train and back home. I had plans to get parts of my life in order today, but usually when it comes to plans like that, I get distracted by shiny things and my life is still not in order. Oh well, there's always next weekend, right?

Happy Tuesday bloggarinos!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Waiting for somebody exciting like you.

I'm having a bit of a internet nerd moment this evening.

I noticed that Neko Case (one of my favourite musicians) tweeted that a song by the band Camera Obscura (awesome name) was making her cry while she was on the treadmill.

I looked up the song, and it is awesome! Then, I tweeted to her to thank her for introducing me to the song and she tweeted back! SIGH. You gotta love when the internet allows you to interact with your favourite musicians.

I took a screen capture of the tweet so I can remember it forever. Ha-ha. But seriously, she's one of my favourite people ever!

Here is the video of the song. It is amazing. I used an iTunes gift card (from Christmas actually) to buy the album. It'll make for good train ride listening this weekend, I'm sure. Oh, the video takes place in Paris, so j'adore. Also, I would like a swan sweater like the lead singer wears. And a purple scarf. Although I don't think I could pull off wearing a scarf like that.

I got Hey Rosetta!'s new album for my birthday. I LOVE IT. I am so excited to see them next week! The opening track on the album is incredible. Give it a listen if you are so inclined.

I also got Jenn Grant's new album. I haven't listened to it yet because I've been consumed with Hey Rosetta! but I am looking forward to getting acquainted with it on the train. The video for the lead single is super cute... I love the colourful houses in Halifax. And Jenn's pink coat and rubber boots.

Oh, one more album note, Christine Fellows' latest album, "Femmes de Chez Nous" is really great too. I've had it for awhile but neglected to blog about it. She's from Winnipeg. This song is one of my favourites from the album. I love how it tells a story.

Wow, I don't think I've music-geeked out like this for awhile on a post. Yay for music. Any great stuff that you are listening to lately?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Muchas gracias.

Spanish class tonight seemed to crawl by. We learned how to conjugate -er and -ir verbs, and also learned the words for many household chores. Yuck. I am not going to have know how to say cutting the grass when I'm in Spain, so it seemed quite silly. In addition, we learned the verb for open, abrir, but we don't know the verb for close yet, since it's irregular. Luckily, we finally learned comer so I can now eat, as well as drink, in Spanish.

Anyway, the past couple days have been full of celebration, and it's all left me very thankful. My birthday yesterday was great. My first period class sang happy birthday to me. It was the birthday of a kid in the class too which made it more fun. I brought that class treats. Last semester, one of my little grade 9s and I were talking birthdays for some reason, and she wrote on her exam that she'd visit me on my birthday, and she remembered which was sweet.

Fea, Rasa, and I went out for lunch at a little Italian restaurant down the street from our school. Can you believe this is the first time I've left work on a regular school day to have lunch? We all have our prep time after lunch, so that's why we could be a little bit more leisurely. It was so relaxing and hard to get back.

This particular birthday has left me feeling especially thankful for all of the thoughtful people that I have in my life. Last year, I turned 30, and I think I was a little bit freaked about that so I didn't really enjoy my birthday as much. This year, I was so touched by all of the the people who spent time sending me messages, phoning me, giving me super thoughtful gifts, cooking dinner for me, and who have made time to have dinner with me this weekend. It's so nice to know that there are so many people out there who remembered the day, and thought happy thoughts about me.

Muchas gracias mis amigos!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Someone I can be true with.

It's a lazy Sunday morning. Last night I was so tired that I fell asleep in bed reading a book, with the lights on. I woke up at 3 am, confused, thinking that I might have to get ready for school soon. After I remembered that it was indeed Sunday, I made a list of all the stuff I need to get done today and fell back asleep. Now that I'm awake properly, I'm having problems getting started, so I've decided to blog.

Brazilian dinner on Thursday night was good. It's a restaurant in my neighbourhood that I've been wanting to try, and I've discovered that it's the kind of place that's neat to try once, but I doubt I'll go again. It is a buffet, where there were some dishes that you could get up to get, and then they have people walking around offering you different types of grilled meats. The best was the filet mignon wrapped in bacon (yum). I also enjoyed the roasted pineapple, and the bananas coated in cinnamon and sugar. It was a bit expensive, so that's why I doubt I'd go back again, unless there was someone who really wanted me to take them.

Friday night was a lovely night in with pizza, wine, and a movie. I needed that after a tiring week of work. The movie was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which was all right. The best part was seeing Toronto actually playing itself in a movie. There are so many movie where I recognize my city playing other places. When Becca T and I lived on campus, we were on our way to the library, and when we got there it has a sign on it saying "Philadelphia Police Station". It was funny, and we joked about perhaps we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Philly.

Yesterday included a lazy morning watching 30 Rock followed by a shopping trip to spend my birthday money. I should be saving it for Barcelona, but you know, I felt like buying some shiny stuff. It felt like it had been forever since I'd gone shopping, so it was a nice afternoon. In the evening, I watched the movie "Winter's Bone" and then fell asleep while reading.

That brings me today and my to-do list. I should really get a start on that, no?

This coming week is going to be busy. Monday is Valentine's Day, and then Tuesday is my birthday. I have quiet nights planned with someone special on those days (awwww), and then I have a Toronto-friends birthday dinner planned on Friday. On Saturday, I head to St. Ratford for the long weekend, and I'll do some celebrating there.

I was totally planning on letting this birthday go by with nothing, because I couldn't see any significance in turning 31, other than it's the last prime number I'll be until I'm 37, ha-ha. I told Fea I wasn't go to do anything much, and she got me in trouble saying "you don't celebrate birthdays because they are significant... you have to give your friends an opportunity to celebrate you!" Then I felt bad for being grinchy, so I made sure to plan something. It made me happy how quickly all of my friends responded. I have so many great friends, awww.

Hope you all have great weeks, and happy Valentine's Day! I have to say that I have warm fuzzy feelings for all of my blog buddies. Awwww. You guys are nice friends to have.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sing Me Spanish Techno

What an exhausting Wednesday. I almost thought that I wouldn't be able to write my traditional post-Spanish post, however, I have to keep myself awake for another half an hour until my laundry is done, so the no-post has been averted!

I am exhausted mainly for one reason today: workplace politics. Need I say more? This morning was full of it, and then my evening was full of it too. Sigh. I love my job, I do, and I do love my school. And it's never the kids that I complain about, even if I do have one class that's gonna drive me up the wall this semester. I miss the old days; the staff used to be more cohesive and I really didn't know how good I had it. Time machine please. My other two classes cheered me up today. As did messages from people who noticed my sad and beat-down tweets.

However, other than the politics, today was a pretty good day. I left work early, took myself out for dinner, and did some marking in the library before Spanish. Spanish class itself was good. We're actually half-way through the course now! We learned the numbers from forty to two hundred, more grammar, how to tell time in Spanish, months, and days. I can now tell people that mi cumpleaƱos es el quince de febrero. That means that my birthday is pretty soon.

Speaking of which, I got home to a valentine and birthday card from my parents! They like to save money so they send them together in one envelope. The valentine has a cat on the front and a joke written by my dad inside. I'm sure he spent most of January thinking of it. Inventing bad jokes is just one of my dad's many eccentric pastimes. This one's actually one of his better ones:

Q: What do cats call mice on skateboards?
A: Meals on Wheels.

The birthday card just had plain old balloons on the front, but inside it said "gift to follow" which means great things I'm sure... especially considering it will be a gift from the man who wrote the above joke.

Tomorrow night some work pals and I are finally going out for dinner at a Brazillian restaurant. We originally planned to do this in septiembre. Ridiculous, I know, but I'm happy it's finally happening. I'm looking forward to having some vino, that's for sure.

Hasta luego!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Why would you ever grow leaves just to watch them fall off again?

Hola amigos! Here I am yet again on Sunday night wondering where my weekend went. Apparently there is some sort of sporting even going on tonight on the television, but my plans revolve around blogging, books, and baths.

I had a really great weekend. I feel like writing a list of the stuff that I did, so that's what I'm going to do.

1) I had a wonderful Friday night. I got to spend it with a group of super fun friends having sushi, and then going to see Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans band at Lee's Palace. My first concert of 2011 was great. Both of the openers, Daniel Ledwell and the Sunparlour Players, were great. I was so happy to get to see my beloved Weakerthans be the band for Jim Bryson, who is a really great songwriter and performer. He is also really good at getting rid of hecklers from the front of the audience. There were a couple of obnoxious morons in front of us, and Jim called them out in a fairly polite way so they left. (I wish I remembered what he said.) We got really close to the stage as a result.

I was a bit sad that Johnny K (the lead singer of the Weakerthans) wasn't there. However, I forget about that by the second song. And, the big bonus of the night was that Kathleen Edwards came out to sing during the encore. She is one of my favourites.

We hung out at Lee's after the show to have another drink, pick up some albums, and wait for the coat-check line to thin out. As a result, I was home by about 2 am and passed out pretty quickly. Late nights are so much more challenging these days.

2) I hung out with Mathew for the first time in 2011 this Saturday. We had pho, went shopping at Wal-Mart (yuck) and then watched SNL. It was good times. We had fun times chatting and reminiscing. We also have planned a tentative trip to the US to do some shopping at the end of the month. Fun!

3) I went to the gym a couple of times this weekend. Going to the gym is the new year's resolution that I'm doing a great job of right now. On Friday I went with my work spouse. It's nice having a gym buddy.

4) Today I chatted with my dearest Becca T as we figured out our accommodations in Barcelona. We have an option A that I hope we get. It's a smaller hotel, so Becca is going to get her roommate who speaks Spanish to call the place tomorrow and make our reservations. If not, our option B looks good too. Really, all I ask is that the ceiling does not start leaking mysterious water onto my suitcase, as happened to us last year in Paris.

I booked a nicer hotel for my one night on my own in Barcelona as a splurge. Then in London, I'm staying at Claire's, so no booking is needed! (I hope. Claire, you know I'm coming, right? Ha-ha.)

5) On Friday, Fea, Rasa and I had a conversation about feeling in a funk. We all agree that we are happy, but are we as happy as we should be? After thinking about this conversation for a long time this weekend, I know that I'm in a great place in life. My life has lots of friendship, fun, music, art, literature, romance, travel, excitement and challenges. I'm definitely not lacking in anything. I think that perhaps the weather is making me feel a little bit down; maybe it's just sunshine I need. However, after a really great weekend, I feel better than I did after that conversation.

Rasa insisted that we each make a goal to help us with our respective funks. I think my will centre around making plans to see a "long-lost" friend at least twice a month. For instance, this weekend I saw my friends Jane and Mathew (who I haven't seen since December), Eric (who I hadn't seen since the summer), and Paul (who I hadn't seen since October). Why don't I see people so often? Life gets in the way! However, I know that I'm tonnes happy when I'm socializing a lot, so I'm going to work being better at making plans.

Anyway, with that, I think I'm going to start reading a new book. Oh, I also have some Spanish homework that I should tackle before I forget how to conjugate my -ar verbs.

Hope you all have great weeks!

p.s. Miss Ash - te helado is iced tea!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I can only drink in Spanish.

Today was the perfect storm: my teaching school was closed, but my learning school was open! Woot!

Once I heard the good news of the snow day, and got a plethora of texts from happy teachers, I went back to bed. Then I lazed around reading a book, and actually ventured out to put my new winter boots to the test (they passed with flying colours) and get a white hot chocolate (chocolate caliente blanco) at the Second Cup. I spent the rest of the afternoon marking. I'm down to one set of stuff to mark! Yay! And, with the snow day and new semester, I won't give the kids anything markable, so I'll have a weekend free of marking. FINALLY.

Anyway, in this week's Spanish class, we learned how to conjugate -ar verbs and a bunch of new vocabulary. At the end of class, were were working on an exercise where you ask someone what they'd like to drink. To ask someone what they'd like to drink, you say ?Que deseas tomar? which translates literally in English to What do you want to take? Our teacher assured us that if we said this, everyone would understand that we were talking about drinks.

Fea asked him what we would say if we were to ask about food.

"Oh, don't worry there's a word for that. However, it's not an -ar verb so you can't learn it yet. You can only drink right now."

At least I have many options: cafe, te, chocolate caliente, cafe con leche, agua, leche, cerveza, te helado, jugo, y vino.

We also completed an exercise where we were had to state what class we would have to take according to some situations. One of the situations was "you need to get in shape." The only subject we have learned that would fit this situation is la danza aerobica.

So, right now all I can do is drink in Spanish, and the only thing I can do to work off the calories from those beverages is aerobic dance. I'm finding this language quite limiting, ha-ha!

Well, back to work tomorrow. Since Toronto hadn't had a snow day since 1999, there is really no point in hoping for a second one. Happy shovelling, amigos!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

In the wintertime, keep your feet warm.

I had quite a bit of Spanish homework this week. Of course, I left it 'til the last two days... Not smart, because I found out that I'd forgotten so much which made it way harder.

Hmmm, I do believe there's a line that I often tell my students: "You must review your notes every night. If you review concepts within twenty-four hours, you will retain more information!"

Or the old: "Homework isn't there to torture you! You can't learn by doing nothing! Would you just go and play a basketball game without doing anything? Of course not!!! You'd practice!!! That's what homework is! Practice for your brain!"

Anyway, I was feeling a little bit sheepish and hypocritical as I was working on my Spanish homework, aka practice for my brain, since I wasn't following most of my own advice. I should have been reviewing my notes every day!!!

However, will there even be a Spanish class tomorrow? Environment Canada is calling for an epic snowstorm tomorrow, and that's all anyone here is talking about. The kids are excited for it, the teachers are hoping for it, and it was the only topic of conversation tonight at my dentist's office. I was told not to except my cursory "how are you feeling after your filling?" call until Thursday because of the storm.

I think I'd like a snow day, but I'd be really sad to miss Spanish. I'll forget even more! Plus, will I get reimbursed for a lesson? One lesson works out to a chunk of change...

If I get to stay home, I'll be working. I still have four sets of term marking from last semester haunting me and marks are due on Friday. I am totally procrastinating on this. I can hear my own teacher voice calling me out with disgust at my poor work ethic, but meh, why work hard today when I can push myself tomorrow to meet Friday's deadline?

Anyway, happy potential snow day to you all. I'll keep you updated.

p.s. In my career as a teacher, I've never had a snow day. We had 'em all the time in St. Ratford, since that place gets dumped on. When I worked in northwestern Ontario, my classroom was always open despite any weather because I just had to walk there. The usual two or three dedicated kids would come no matter what. If no one showed, I'd go home.

Once since I've been working in Toronto has school been canceled. There was a power outage in the area of my school. It was awesome.

Of course, there was the time that Toronto called in the army because of a big snowstorm. That was back in my first year of university. That's when young Christielli and young Becca T probably used the extra time to study because they were both terrified of failing first year. We were such nerds back then.

UPDATE: It's a snow day. Yay!!!! I can't wait to go back to bed! U of T hasn't cancelled anything yet, so I might still have Spanish. We'll see!