Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween

I'll admit it.  I usually suck at Halloween.  I leave my costume to the last minute, and end up being something lame (i.e. a witch) OR just borrowing something from the drama department at my school since I'm really good friends with the drama teacher.  Last year I was a giant crab.  It was all right but very noticeable since there was a giant crab in the previous year's school play.

The other irony of this suckage of Halloween is that in my role as a student council co-moderator, I help organize my school's Halloween activities, so people associate me with Halloween, and I feel kind of weird never pulling off an amazing costume.

Well, this year I finally pulled it all together.

As you guys all know, some of my favourite things in the world include science, cats, and jokes.  This summer I was introduced to an internet meme called Chemistry Cat, and unsurprisingly, I really like it.  Here's an example:


I have chemistry cat jokes posted all around my classroom, on powerpoints, on assignments, and on tests.  Chemistry Cat has become part of my classroom's culture.  This fall, I entertained the thought of being chemistry cat for Halloween.

Last Friday (last minute of course) I headed to Wal-Mart and picked up my necessary supplies: a cheap white hoodie and mittens, red ribbon, sewing supplies, and white face makeup.  I couldn't find white fur in their fabric department and really didn't want to/especially have time to go to a fabric store.  Luckily, I saw some fuzzy coloured pillows in their home decor department.  I wandered over hoping they'd have one in white.  They didn't, but I found a white fur rug.  Perfect.

The only thing I was missing was glasses.  I looked all over the mall but no luck.  However, there's a dollar store in my neighbourhood that advertising a good assortment of Halloween supplies.  I found $1.99 Nerd Specs.  Perfect.

I started assembling the costume on Monday night.  After 2.5 hours I was covered in fur, but I managed to attach fur to the hood of my hoodie, make ears using an old headband, and craft my bowtie.  On Tuesday night, I made my paws and my tail. 

Tuesday after school I stayed and decorated my classroom as close as possible to the backdrop in Chemistry Cat's cartoon.  I was disappointed that the chemical formulas made no sense, but copied them anyway.  I got all of the glassware I needed to mimic Chemistry Cat's desk and used food colouring to make my solutions.  I noticed that Chemistry Cat has some mice on his desk so I borrowed some of Rilo's from home.

This morning, I got to school early, got into costume and made it into my classroom without any of my students seeing me.  I covered the windows on the doors so they couldn't peek in.  Normally, I have my door open as soon as I get there, but I left it closed.  They knocked to get it, and I yelled "go away!" and had my student teacher let them in at the last minute so they could walk in and see this:



I think my project worked out pretty well, huh?  They LOVED it.  I had my picture taken about a million times today, even by random kids who didn't know me.  It was so much fun.

Earlier in the week, when we were planning to decorate our homeroom pumpkin, I asked my class what they wanted to do, and they said "Chemistry Cat!" not knowing at all that was what I was going to be.  Little did they know that I'd bring in my leftover supplies.



I finally did not fail at Halloween.  Good job me.  It was nerdy, but nerdy awesome.  :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Postcards and daydreaming.

Holy heck I've had a really fun last four days.

On Thursday I went out with some fellow teacher ladies for dinner and drinks.  It was totally warm that evening, so we managed to find a place on the Danforth with an open patio and took advantage of the last gasp of patio weather.  Lots of laughs were had.

A couple of us continued on to the Danforth Music Hall for Dan Mangan with the Rural Alberta Advantage.  I'm a huge Dan Mangan fan and he didn't disappoint.  Since the show, I've had the song "So Much for Everyone" on constant repeat.  It was his closing song, and he sang it from a piano stool that he had hoisted above the crowd while we all harmonized along. 

On Friday, I spent my after school hours picking up parts for my Halloween costume.  If my plan works out (still not sure it will), I will post more on that later.  You could feel the warm weather turning that evening.  I got home in time to have a little nap, then I met up with my friend Jane to see The Wilderness of Manitoba at Trinity-St. Paul's. 

A band called Kite Hill opened for The Wilderness, and I really enjoyed them.  I got completely lost in their music, and it's rare that that happens with a band that you've had absolutely no exposure to.  I liked their set so much that I picked up their album "Rest & Run".   The Wilderness put on a great show too, so I also picked up their new album.  I was very pleased to get two albums, because I was just on the precipice of being in a music rut, but now that's solved.

I woke up on Saturday morning to a chilly, rainy fall day which was not really what I wanted considering that I had a 9:30 am start time for my 5K race at Sunnybrook Park.  However, I put on my new warm fall running threads, a rain jacket, and hopped on the bus.  I was glad to see other runners on the bus.  I suddenly didn't dread the run so much seeing that other people were in the same boat.  I actually really enjoyed the race.  Once I started running, I wasn't so cold, and the rain wasn't too bothersome, other than I had to do some puddle-jumping.  I felt that the race was a big improvement over the Night Race in September.  I ran straight for the vast majority of the race, and I finished strong.  I shaved almost a minute off my time, so I felt good about that. 

After I got home, I spent my Saturday afternoon napping.  It's pretty funny that the Kite Hill album I bought on Friday is called "Rest & Run" because that summed up my Saturday, but not in that order.  In the evening, I met up with friends for sushi and a movie.  We saw "Pitch Perfect" which was delightfully cheesy.  I really liked it.  If you need cinematic candy, go see it.

This morning I slept in, went for a warm dry indoor run at the gym (still gotta get ready for that damned 8K), had a lovely phone conversation with Claire, baked muffins, then had a nice rainy Sunday evening with pizza, movies, and great company.

So in summary, the last four days were lovely and action-packed.

Also, at some point today, the thought floated through my head that I'm happier now than I've been in a long, long time.  I feel that my trip to BC this summer was a great turn-around point for me.  I came back to Toronto feeling awesome and optimistic, and this feeling hasn't disappeared.  I feel like I'm totally me again, and I had lost that for awhile this year, and I'm glad to be back.

And now for yet another busy week.  Planning school Halloween festivities will keep me busy.  And what the what - Frankenstorm?  Eeep.

Happy Monday everyone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Starts with them, ends with us.

The week's going well so far.  Especially since it's 60% done.  The end of this week/beginning of this weekend promise to be busy and incredibly fun for me.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see Dan Mangan with the Rural Alberta Advantage and the Danforth Music Hall, one of my favourite Toronto music venues.  I'm a huge Dan fan.  I think it's been almost a year since I've seen him, so I'm excited to be reunited with my bearded buddy. 



I've seen the Rural Alberta Advantage a couple of times before too.  I don't listen to their music, but I've enjoyed them each time I've caught them live.

On Friday, I'm going to yet another show: The Wilderness of Manitoba.  Wow, two province bands in two days!  That's pretty special, huh?  My friend Jane likes them, and I'm joining her, even though I know nary a song.  I'm sure I'll like them.  I've heard good things!

On Saturday morning, I'm running a 5K race that I'm totally unprepared for.  I was hoping this fall would be a great running season for me, and it's been all right, but I haven't gotten any faster.  I lost speed over the summer, and haven't been able to get it back.  I don't like running outdoors in cold weather, so perhaps the treadmill and I will have a nice winter together and I'll get my speed back.  I'm also signed up for an 8K race on November 10th, and I won't lie: I'm kind of dreading that distance, but I've committed myself and I don't break plans.  Although if my running buddy for that race bails on me, I dunno how committed I'll be...

After two concerts and a race, the rest of my weekend revolves around movie plans and should be relaxing.  Howevs, I still have to work on my Halloween costume as well.

Busy fun times.  Happy early weekend folks!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It was the opposite of Fire and Rain (you know, the song).

It's finally happened: I had a quiet weekend day!  (Yesterday.)

On Friday, I went to see my friend Jane's friend play at a small cafe.  It was a good time.  I rarely go see local musicians doing their thing.  I mean, everyone I go see has got a record, some buzz, a tour, and so forth.  It's great seeing someone play mainly for the love of playing music.  And it's fun to hear cover songs too!  I enjoyed myself a lot.

My plans for yesterday got moved to today, so instead I watched the Dan Mangan documentary "What Happens Next?" on the CBC while drinking delicious tea from my Vancouver mug.  After that I read and napped a bit, went for a run, tidied my apartment a bit, had a nice hot bath and finished my book, and then stayed up to watch SNL.

I also had an opportunity to take some time and just process.  Think.  Reflect.  You know, all that stuff that I often keep myself too busy to properly do.  However, I realized that I'm in a good place right now, and although things in my life haven't played out they way I wanted them to in say, oh, January of this year, I'm really glad they didn't.  I tend to be a know-it-all when it comes to my life's direction, and this year has constantly proved to me that I don't know it all, and that I most certainly cannot predict the future.  Thank goodness!  I think things have turned out way better for me with the universe in charge of things, as opposed to me and my preconceived notions, and I'm thankful for that.  I have to get better at living in the moment, and it's a work in progress, but it's progressing.

On Thursday, I had a fun impromptu after-school dinner & drinks, followed by some shopping.  My friends the Alans (there are two of them and they are absolutely hilarious and there for you in a pinch) had helped me with a project at school so I told them I'd take them for coffee.  However, we all were in agreement that something stronger might be in order, so we went to the new Bier Markt in Etobicoke.  I had delicioius Leffe beer from Belgium (may be my absolute favourite beer) and mussels and fries.  It reminded me of my day trip to Bruges in March.


After that, we headed to the mall to shop.  I ended up splurging on a pair of amazingly cute boots.  My calves aren't skinny, (I like to think they are muscular from running) so when the boot fits, I go for it.  In addition I got some fall running clothes (long pants, long-sleeved shirt) for my upcoming races.  I actually left my necklace, in the change room of Lululemon, but thankfully they held onto it, and one of the Alans picked it up for me.  Also, the Alans are awesome dudes to shop with.  They'll just sit on chairs outside the stores that I want to go to and happily play on their phones and then approve of my purchases when I come out.  Everyone need Alans, I tell you!

Here's a shot of my new boots, complete with Ms. Rilo enjoying a new place to sit inside the shoebox.
 
So, with that I'm going to go for a run in the cemetery and try out my new running threads.  Then I gotta go grocery shopping because I'm going to make chili for someone awesome who is not feeling so well.  Then it'll be a movie night!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whatever and ever, amen.

I just finished a string of five consecutive very busy days and I collapsed onto my couch today after school.  I'd planned on going for a run this evening, but I was way too exhausted. 

I'm feeling the need to slow down a bit.  My friend Paul asked me to a couple of upcoming concerts, but I actually declined, can you believe it?  My fall concert schedule has hit its limit.   I need some evenings to chill, read, clean, run, etc.  I hate saying no to anything but sometimes I have to.

Anyway, the Ben Folds Five reunion tour from Monday was amazing!  They played so many Ben Folds Five songs from the 90s, plus a few (but not too many) new tunes, and just one lone solo Ben Folds song.  It brought me back to being 17/18/19 that was for sure.  I listened to so much BF5 back then and it's crazy how music can bring you back in time.

Also, Doc Martens are back, hey?  I even see kids at school wearing them sometimes.  I've brought out my old black Doc boots, which I'm pretty sure are from the days when I was 18/19.  I'm glad I hung onto them!  I wore them to BF5, and I'm pretty sure I probably wore my Docs when I saw BF5 play the same venue back in 1999.  Deja vu AND deju shoe.  (Okay that was bad!  I'm sorry!)

I went on a tea shopping spree last week.  David's Tea is amazing.  I splurged on three 100 g tins of loose leaf tea: birthday cake, red velvet cake, and organic stormy night.  They are all extremely delicious.  My favourite may be the organic stormy night.  It takes like a delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in tea form.  It's amazing. 

I'm also loving this dress that I bought at anthropologie back in September.  It's made out of wool, and it's getting cool enough to wear it.  :)  I wish I had the cute shoes that this model has.






I'm feeling the need to go on a mini-shopping spree.  I need some fall running clothes for my upcoming races (neither of which I'm remotely ready for), and some new comfy shoes for work.  Maybe I'll go tomorrow.  :)

And tomorrow's Thursday, right?  These weeks fly by.  I've got a low key weekend so far, which is great.  I need it so I'm not passing out midweek like I did today.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's a strange paradise.

Today I had an excellent Skype conversation with my dear friend Becca T in Paris.  We tried to Skype earlier in the week but we had a time difference fail.  I thought she was five hours ahead of Toronto time, but in reality it's a six hour time difference, so she had to go to bed before I made it home for the call.  Thankfully we could reschedule today.

This call was especially excellent because I couldn't help but remember that when I visited Becca T last Paris in March, both of us were struggling with things in our lives.  However, we both had tonnes of great news to share with each other this time, and it was really nice.  No need to drink wine along to Kanye West's "Runaway" these days. 

The rest of my weekend was really fun too with parties, concerts (Beach House - awesome), and time for many friends.  I even had time for a two hour nap today.   Yay!

I'm really excited for tomorrow because I'm seeing Ben Folds Five for the first time since 1999.  They were my favourite band in the world at that time, and they broke up after that tour.  However, they've reunited and I'm so excited to see them again, and even at the same venue.  (The venue's name has changed though.  The Warehouse is now the Kool Haus.  Lame, eh?)  I'm so excited and spent some time thinking about what classic BF5 songs I'd like to hear tomorrow.

I know they'll play this one.  But with the original swears.



Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sing, cry, or bang your head against the wall.

I wanted to write about how I've been feeling an overwhelming amount of positivity in my life lately.

BUT... I've been on the phone with a telecommunications company for over an hour and a half because I noticed that they combined my account with someone else's account.  It's really messed up.  AND I hadn't used my Kobo in awhile and it won't charge up.  Grrrr....

Really though, these little things are not important and I have to get back to the overwhelming positivity that's in my life right now.

As my friend Nigel said to me as we were enjoying the outdoors at the leadership camp I was at on Wed/Thurs/Fri of last week: "in life, you have choices... either sing, cry, or bang your head against the wall."  I think I'll sing.  :)

I had a great time at this camp I went to.  The kids were fabulous.  Work-wise, it was a super-relaxing couple of days, except for having to stay up until 2:30 am at night ensuring no one sneaked out of their rooms.  I had some good times with great colleagues, like during one afternoon when we sat on a porch overlooking a valley with gorgeous fall foliage and we all gasped because there was a SLIGHT breeze.  Oh the humanity.  Another time, I told my friend Nigel that I'd seen the kids mixing chocolate milk with orange/passionfruit juice and we dared each other to do it.  It was rather nasty.

I also had a really nice long weekend.  Well, when I got home from camp on Friday night, I was in bed before ten pm because I was exhausted.  On Saturday, I took the train to Stratford for Thanksgiving.  I had a nice dinner out with my pal Vern, and spent some nice time with my parents on Sunday, including winning two out of three cribbage matches with my dad.  On Monday, I came back to Toronto for a nice fall run in the cemetery, and then I went to see Frankenweenie which was a great movie!  I highly recommend it, especially if you are a big Tim Burton fan.  It was goth-tastic.

I'm sitting here STILL ON HOLD with the telecommunications company.  Going on two hours. 

I've got some fun stuff coming up this weekend. A party, a baptism, a concert, and my first Kenya meeting.  I'm looking forward to it all.

And yay for short weeks!