Friday, September 2, 2011

...list #1

I'm a lover of lists.  I make them for any and all reasons.  So when I came across 30 Days of Lists, I immediately signed up.  It's really not expensive ($6? most people spend that on a crazy coffee order that requires way too many words), and there are tons of downloads, printables, and tutorials.  Totally worth it in my opinion.

I'm realistic though; it is September, and starting next week I will be working full-time (+) again, as well as starting two new even though the idea of making a really cute mini-book to update and fill with these lists is a nice idea, it isn't going to happen this month.

Instead I'm going to try and keep them on here.  Posting all 30 lists may not be very realistic either, but hey...a girl can dream.  And maybe one day I'll take all of these and make that mini-book.


1. Complete a 5K
- I'm petrified and nursing a slightly pulled muscle in my leg, but this has been a goal since January and my dad and I are both signed up for this one.  So it's happening.

2. Eat three meals a day
- My eating habits this summer have gotten way ridiculous.  Going back to work should fix this.

3. Finish making/hanging the panels in my livingroom
- If this project works, there will be pictures. 

4. Keep up at school/work
- Once I fall behind, there's no catching up (as I've learned from experience).  The longer I can stay on top of things at work, the better.  Plus, I've taken a course with one of these profs before, and falling behind isn't pretty.

5. Finish the two books I've been reading since July.
- They're good....honestly...but there's so much other stuff to do in the summer.  And when I sit outside to read, I fall asleep.  Every time.  (I bought the best lounge chair EVER in June.)  However, there are 50+ other books that I would like to move on to, and I really want to finish these ones first.

There are a few other small things that I could throw on here, but five is enough for now. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

...thoughts on a final letter

Jack Layton's last letter to Canada

Reading Jack Layton's last letter to Canada this morning stirred something up.

If, God forbid, I am ever in the same situation as he was, I'd like...

- to be so aware of my position and my surroundings, instead of lost in a haze of fear.
- to be so focused on what needs to be done, instead of dwelling on what has happened.
- to think about others, instead of worrying about myself.
- to be a source of encouragement for those around me, instead of wallowing in despair.
- to be able to be so optimistic about the future, instead of begging or bargaining for more time.
- to be as thankful, instead of bitter.
- to have as much dignity and class.
- to feel only the hope, the love, and the optimism.

The reason that this letter stirred something up is because not only is it an inspiration about dealing with the end of life, but more so, how to live a good life, each and every day.

RIP Mr. Layton

Saturday, August 20, 2011

...a new favourite

I have a lot of favourites in life. 

Favourite television shows, movies, and books. 
Favourite restauarants, stores, and areas of the city to shop in. 
Favourite fruits, vegetables, cereals, and drinks. 
Favourite kinds of pens, post-its, and mechanical pencils (I'm a stationary nerd.) 
Favourite times of day, days of the week, months, and seasons. 
Favourite websites, blogs, and magazines.
Favourite holidays and people. 

One of my latest favourites is an accessory.  After seeing a giveaway on Kelly Purkey's blog, I immediately went to Basil the Cat's etsy shop and bought myself an inital necklace.

Left = from Basil the Cat's etsy.  Right = the silver M necklace that I purchased

It shipped quickly; it was in a very cute, sturdy package; and I love it completely.  The chain is pretty delicate, so I'm not wearing it every day - plus I'm a bit of an accessory junkie, so it's rare that I wear the same necklace for several days in a row.  But I LOVE this one.  It's a great length and just a bit more of a personal touch than most necklaces.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

...the best Mexican restaurant within three hours of this city

Paradiso in Grand Forks.

Two weeks ago, I sent a text to a friend of mine and asked if she wanted to go for lunch the following week.  She said sure, then asked where. 

My response?  "Grand Forks"

Now, she's pretty easy going, and also on vacation, so she was completely game.  And we proceeded to plan a bit of a shopping day, based solely around a fantastic lunch at Paradiso. 

Don't mind the bite of food already missing....I couldn't wait.

I order the Taco Grande.  It's one of the most basic items on the menu; a ground beef taco with rice, about a pound of cheese, and some lettuce and sour cream on the side.  I've yet to actually finish the whole thing, and it's only $7 (I'm not going to get into the serving size vs price discussion....but come on). 

The shopping that day was pretty good as well.  I found a piece of metal wall art that I first saw in Edmonton months and months ago (but couldn't bring home at the time) and some great deals on back to school stuff.  But really.....the food was totally worth the drive down alone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

...summer shot #4

A few weeks ago, I found this awesome candy-kabob.  How adorable is the octopus and the green fish?

(I'd comment on how the candy actually tasted, but two pieces down the kabob and there was a human hair literally embedded in a piece of the candy.  Not just on it, but right through it.  *gag*)

Monday, August 15, 2011 favourite time of day

For most of July, I was getting up earlier than I had for the past year and making the drive across the city to take a university course.

And almost every day, this was my view....

Driving across the city at 7:30 in the morning is a completely different experience than driving across the city even two hours later.  Most people driving at that time in the morning are doing so with a bit more purpose; trying to get to work or an appointment on time, so traffic moves...which I love. 

But the best part is really just the air.  It's cleaner and clearer that early in the morning than later on in the day.  I'm not sure if it is the temperature or the lack of traffic or something else.  But it's really calming, even when you're making a 45 minute drive (possibly on very little sleep).

Now that the course is done, I've gotten in the typical summer habit of staying up later and sleeping a good portion of the morning away.  And part of me misses those clear early morning drives.

Monday, August 1, 2011

...what August is all about

August is for:

- sleeping in
- lunches on patios
- keeping things simple
- keeping things clean
- increasing my distance
- listening to my body when it needs a rest
- two musicals
- lots of appointments
- zip lining (good lord help me...)
- eating ice cream
- continued purging of needless things
- preparing to go back to work
- watching movies
- new sewing projects
- taking lots of pictures
- hanging up art that will finally be framed
- farmers' markets
- amazing Mexican food only two hours away
- trying new recipes
- painting
- reconnecting with old friends
- breathing it all in

Thursday, July 28, 2011

...summer show #3

It was awhile ago at this point, but the week that started with seeing Britney Spears ended with the Tragically Hip's show at Shaw Park ( park....really?....).

Ummmm....can we say polar opposite shows?

This was my first time at a concert at the ballpark and I think it's a pretty versatile venue.  We wandered around for a bit at first, deciding what to get for dinner, then had a seat at a patio table and stayed there for Hey Rosetta's set.  Aside from a random song here and there, I wasn't too familiar with them prior to this concert.  They were really solid, and didn't seem phased about the number of people (or lack thereof) who came early to see their set.  I was impressed - with the food, the view, the amazing weather, and Hey Rosetta.

I swear, there were way more people there than what it looks like from this angle. 

During Broken Social Scene, we discovered why there were barely any people in their seats.  We spent the ENTIRE set in line for drinks.  I'm not sure the staff at the venue were prepared for the alcohol that people would be consuming that night.  Thankfully, after about 35 minutes in line, they opened up another line strictly for beer, and that helped alleviate a bit of the wait.

What can anyone say about the Tragically Hip?  They're consistent.  They're polished.  They've been playing together for years AND IT SHOWS.  You know exactly what you're going to get at a Tragically Hip concert and that's why people love to go, over and over again.  Including me.  I actually sung myself hoarse...which may have also been the start of the epic cold....but it was so worth it.

Iphone camera = not a fan of the wide shot

They played every song you could have hoped to hear (although the New Orleans/Nautical Disaster medley was a bit odd), and throwing in Wheat Kings for the encore was a nice touch to end a great night :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

...summer shot #3

Cold juicy watermelon on a hot afternoon, while laying outside on my deck and reading a new book? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 annual favourite

I'm not entirely sure when my love affair with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival began.  I remember going to a random play one year while I was in university - I worked in the registration centre and some of the girls there were talking about this awesome show that they had been to, and I decided that I wanted to check it out.  I think that I may have dragged my mom along.

I know that it was a few years after that when I had my first day at the festival with a few friends.  Wandering the tables/booths set up around Old Market Square (I'm sure I bought at least a ring or a necklace)....discovering shops in the exchange that I didn't know existed....not knowing which show we were going to see next....checking out info on the board for what was close by and sounded good....definitely learning our lesson about arriving even one minute late for a show.....laughing at some seriously talented artists....wishing time would speed up for other poorly chosen shows.....making our way back to the Square to drink some vodka coolers (I think?) and watch the acts on the free stage in the dark.

I'm a bit inconsistent with the number of shows I go to each year.  One of these years I'll just buy a pass and make sure that I use it fully.  I think that last year my total was seven or eight shows over three different days.  By far, my favourite was "7(x1) Samurai", even though it wasn't my choice to go see it.  By the write up, I had no desire to go watch a man mime his way through some sort of battle; but to this day, my friend (who chose it) and I still agree that we have never seen a more disgusting scene in a live play than when he sliced himself into several pieces during one particular battle (it sounds absurd, but was fantastic.  And gross.).

This year, because of the worse summer cold I've ever had, I missed a large portion of the festival.  I just couldn't go and subject people to my constant coughing.  Even when I did get there, I was still probably coughing a little too much to be at a play (judging by the evil glares I received from one woman in particular).  Since time was limited, I had to choose carefully.  I bought two tickets to "Bursting Into Flames" and told a friend that she was coming with me (she's pretty open to seeing anything that's been given a decent review).  It was great.  Martin Dockery is hilarious, so committed, and so utterly thoughtful. 

And of course, my other favourite part of the festival....

Rootbeer in a glass bottle?  Yes please.  My first ever poutine?  I went with the need to get all crazy with the toppings until I know what the foundation is supposed to taste like.  Cakettes from Cakeology?  Hello sugar rush.  And pink lemonade?  Heaven....hence the name :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

...summer show #2

Yup.....I went to the Britney Spears/Nicki Minaj concert at the beginning of July.
I have a friend who is incredibly good-natured about going along with my various whims - movies I want to see, places/shows I want to check out, weird things I want to try - so she agreed to come to the concert shortly after it was announced.  Now, I have no problem admitting that right around "Slave 4 U", I was pretty much a least when her songs would come on at the bar...and yeah, that's faded as I neared (and hit) 30, but I had never seen her perform, and figured that this was probably the last time the opportunity would come around, so I paid for one of the very over-priced tickets.  Which got me a fairly good seat, for the record.

(It's easier to see proximity when the lights were on at intermission)

When I first heard Nicki Minaj (a year ago?), I was not impressed.  But with lots of radio play, she's grown on me over time.  She was pretty solid in terms of an opening act.  I did not love (nor really understand) the storyline that went along with her set, but I rarely get why those are included.  The bass in the arena made her lyrics slightly hard to understand at times, but then again....her album is slightly hard to understand on a good day.  I could have also done without her grinding, bathing suit clad back up dancers, but what can you do...

Britney Spears wasn't the worst concert performance I've seen.  Definitely wasn't the best either.  Was she a total train wreck who could barely dance anymore?  No, not at all.  Not sure what's up with her television performances, but this concert did not look like those.  Did she actually sing live at times?  Yes.  Was it all overdone?  Absolutely.  Maybe it's a sign of getting older, but I really don't need the flashy "show" and that's what this was.

Although I will admit that from the head-shaving-umbrellas-through-car-windows-thing to now, she does still look good.

Highlight of the show?  The fact that one of her backup dancers is Jose Ruiz from last season's So You Think You Can Dance.  That's him on the back of the car in the purple.

It's all about the details.

Monday, July 18, 2011

...something I covet

I have exactly two things "pinned" on my Pinterest account (I've been a little slow getting into doing this).  One is a print I purchased from Kal, and the other is this.


It is from Hindsvik's shop, and I adore it.  I don't generally have a love affair with ampersand signs and I have absolutely nowhere to fit this (rather large one) in my little apartment....but if I had the extra money laying around, I'd probably buy it and just store it until I had somewhere to really put it on display.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

...summer shots #2

I'm not sure how, but I've managed to grow strawberries on my balcony this year.   
Too bad I can't say the same about my pots of impatiens.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

...a funny lady

Awhile back I bought my first audiobook, Tina Fey's Bossypants.

I've slowly started working out again, which right now includes going for walks at a moderate pace (faster than I would walk through a mall, but not so fast that I look like a speed walker) for roughly 30-40 minutes (lame, I know, but at that point, the tendons in my hip just can't deal with anymore).

So, if in the last month or so, you've been driving around Transcona and witnessed a woman who was walking - alone mind you - suddenly stop and double over in laughter with her hands on her knees, that was probably me.  This book is hilarious and at times crass (I've never heard the phrase "cavernous vagina" before)...which makes it even better in my opinion.

I will easily admit that I'm not a great listener; if I don't write down what is said to me, odds are it will not stick.  So I didn't know if I could focus on an entire book being read aloud, especially while I was walking outside and there are about a thousand other things that could divert my attention.

This was the perfect book to start with though, because it was so light and funny, with lessons mixed into the stories of Tina Fey's past (both at home and on television).  Add in the fact that it was actually HER reading the book, and it became so much more engaging.  In fact, given all of the impressions and additional descriptions that she threw in, I think buying the audiobook may have been the better choice over the actual book.

I'm a huge Tina Fey (and Liz Lemon) fan, and the fact that she herself recorded the book has possibly spoiled all future audiobooks penned by celebrities that are not read by the author themselves, but I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

...summer show #1

It looks like I'm staying in the city this summer - which I'm okay with seeing as I've been to three different cities so far in 2011 - so I've taken my travel budget and bought my share of tickets to different concerts and shows going on in July and August.

The first concert of the summer was in late June though, as part of the Winnipeg Jazz Festival.  Last year my dad discovered Trombone Shorty and was instantly a fan, so when I heard he was coming here as part of the Jazz Festival, I surprised my dad with two tickets for Father's Day.

The concert was held at West End Cultural Centre, and it was my first time there since their major renovations.  It's a pretty impressive venue now, much nicer than the cramped, dark place that I remember from my early 20s.  It was sold out that night too, with quite an eclectic crowd, from teenagers to seniors all lining up outside waiting for the show to start.

And what a show!!!  I've been to a fair amount of concerts over the years, and this was the most intense experience that I have ever had.  This guy does not joke around when it comes to giving people a great performance.  You were literally drawn into the music, moving without even realizing it, and getting worked up as they hit their crescendo.  The entire band played hard and they played loud.  It was also the loudest concert I have ever been to, hands down.  I actually felt bad for some of the older audience members; they ended up having to go out to the lobby and listen.  I made it until the finale, but with a guitar, drums, congas, bass, trombone, and two saxophones going at full blast, it was a little too much for me as well.  My dad and I left just before the encore started, and we couldn't even hear one another talking in the car on the way home, our ears were ringing so loud.

a bit blurry, but the man doesn't really stand still at any point

The ringing ears were so worth this experience though.  Trombone Shorty is an insanely talented musician, switching between the trombone and trumpet effortlessly throughout the night.  He even showed off some circular breathing (first time seeing that and has a pretty impressive singing voice as well.  After his version of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get In On", I may have a new crush...

Sunday, July 10, 2011 weekend sidekicks

Those would be cough candies, my inhaler, a big mug of tea, a box of Kleenex, and some magazines.

I'm sick.  Sicker than sick.  Which I kind of knew was one should be able to abuse their body the way I have been lately - mostly in terms of lack of sleep/rest - and expect to not get sick.  But it still sucks.  So this weekend I did the adult thing and stayed in, drank my own weight in tea, and napped whenever my eyes started to close.

Luckily, last weekend I found these on sale at Wal-Mart.
I'm working my way through season two right now and loving every single episode.  It's so smart, quick, and funny....Aaron Sorkin is a genius.

That being said, I'd really like to get back to enjoying this amazing summer that's happening outside my door.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

...summer shots #1

Okay, so technically this is an older shot from May long, but May long is the unofficial start of summer, so I'm saying it counts as a summer shot.

These are rays (I really can't remember which specific kind) and I took this at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.  The picture is unedited, and I absolutely love the contrast.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

...a busy month ahead

I'm the type of girl who like to plan things ahead of time.  For a long time, I wished that I could be the type of person who didn't need to make plans....who could send out a text to five or six people on a Friday night and end up with an amazing random night of adventures.  But that's just not me.

Anyways, in the next month, I'll be:
- wrapping up things at work
- enjoying a couple of "end of the year" BBQs/nights out
- taking my dad to see Trombone Shorty at the WECC for Father's Day

- heading to Toronto for a four day conference (l-o-v-e that city!)
- starting another university course a couple of days after I get back
- going to see Britney Spears (yes...partly out of curiosity, partly to relive a piece of my youth)
- adding another Tragically Hip show to my list as well
- spending some time with my cousin to ease my guilt of missing her high school graduation (AND valedictorian address) because I'll be in Toronto
- getting ready to head to the Fringe Festival!!!!! (my annual favorite....should I volunteer this year???)

Can't wait!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

...a blog I needed to read

The paths that lead you to come across certain people at specific times are really interesting.

I went to high school with Leigh-Ann from Freckled Nest, and I've read her blog for years.  Recently, she has partnered up with the totally adorable Kyla, which led me to her blog.  [Sidenote: I'm loving reading blogs from people who live in the same city as I do....and who love it just as much too.]  This week, Kyla did an interview with Thursday at My Girl Thursday, which I headed on over to read.

Well....Thursday was doing a series on blogging - how to get started, how to stay motivated, etc.  and wow, was it exactly what I needed to read right now!!

May was a really hard month, in so many ways.  There were bright spots too, but overall....blah.  Slowly, but surely, June has been better so far, but mainly because I'm putting in the effort to make it so.  I've started working out again (I call it "working out"....I'm not sure that what I'm able to do right now technically meets that definition), getting more sleep, getting caught up at work, spending time with people who make me laugh and like to talk about good things (instead of people who like to do nothing but moan and complain)....and I'm starting to feel like myself again (YAY!!!).  But writing was the one thing still left behind. 

Thursday's blog series was the kick start that I needed.  I'll have to thank her for that.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

...things I want to learn to do

- use Photoshop (really use it, not just for brightness or resizing)
- take amazing photos (I'm realistic about my "skills" at this point)
- drive standard
- bake a cake from scratch
- bake bread from scratch
- sew a piece of clothing (one that I could actually wear out in public)
- play the trombone (I used to know how to do this....I miss it sometimes)
- invest money (wisely...and not just in RRSPs)
- edit in Blogger (this thing frustrates me to no end)
- dance (again....missing this class lately)
- use spices when I cook
- write
- fix a broken toilet (mine is fine right now *knock wood*)
- knit
- make perogies like my grandmother used to
- golf (better than I do)
- another language
- proper CPR
- the basic parts of my car so the people at Honda don't have to always explain things from scratch
- what's wrong with my back so I can get back to working out and doing yoga
- build something out of wood
- ride a subway without getting lost
- shoot and edit a recording on my computer
- get my post bacc (not a specific skill per say....but hopefully some learning occurs along the way)
- let go
- be more outgoing
- take more chances

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

...some things that I'm loving right now

1. Asparagus.
- I had not eaten asparagus until about a year ago.  Now....I have it at least a couple of times a week.

2. Anything Bethenny
- The televisions shows, the book, talk show appearances.  L-O-V-E her.  Want to hang out with her for a day and hope that some of her honesty/ballsy-ness rubs off on me.

3. Warmer weather.
- It's getting here.  Slowly but surely.

4. This book.
- Just finished this.  I don't think it's the best one of the series, but the ending actually surprised me and I definitely laughed out loud a few times.

5. Adele.
- Honestly....I listen to "Rolling in the Deep" multiple times a day.  Every single day.

6. Sewing.
- Totally theraputic.

7. Invictus
- This poem struck a chord in a way that few have.

8.  Fresh fruit.
- The selection in the stores is getting better, which is just another sign that summer is getting closer.

9. Community.
- Oh. My. God.  Hilarious.

10. "Keep Calm and Carry On" print
- I've loved this for years.  It's next on my shopping list.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

...Sunday shots

Morning soundtrack

Post grocery shopping

Leftovers for lunch

Afternoon TV

Favorite <3

Thursday, April 7, 2011

...somewhere I had never been before

Edmonton, Alberta.

Some people I've talked to find it hard to believe that I had never been to Edmonton before.  It's not very far away from Winnipeg, and with all of the attractions in the mall, it's a pretty common destination for families with kids.  But my family never traveled very far when I was young; we mostly went to "the farm" (eastern Saskatchewan) or camping somewhere within the province.  My mom hates to fly (or is deathly afraid of it....either description fits), so vacations were spent close to home.

One of my oldest and closest friends moved out to Edmonton a few years ago.  We had talked about my going out there to visit quite a few times, but plans always fell through.  One morning in February, I woke up determined to start doing the things that I keep putting off (it's quite a list), so I got online at 7 am and booked a flight for late March.

The trip was quick...our time off work only overlapped for three days.  My flight got me there at 7 am though, so we made the most of them.

Now.  I'm a shopper who doesn't shop often.  It sounds odd, but I just don't make the time to go very much.  But when I do.....I come home with lots.  In total, we took three trips to the mall.  The first time was to eat and see the attractions - I really wanted to see the marine show and thought that we could feed the sea lions.  We couldn't, but having my picture taken right beside one was an okay substitute.

(obviously not the picture I'm in.  This was during the show.)


The actual shopping took two trips.  One trip for the upper level and the other for the main floor.  I'm still in physio, so walking this mall took some effort and ended up being painful.  But we both wore comfy shoes and powered through.  We only went into the stores that we couldn't easily go to here, and it STILL took us over seven hours!  But the shirts, dresses, purses, and jewelery were worth it!

And I finally shopped at an IKEA store!!!!!!  It was tough, because I couldn't buy anything that was too large or too heavy (I didn't want to deal with shipping anything here either).  We found some pretty cool little things though.  Like the prettiest pack of straws you've ever seen.  And of course, I kept the little pencil you pick up when you walk in.

But by far, the best part was three days with the kind of friend who you never have to put on a show for.  Who you can tell all of your worst stuff to, and she'll never look at you any differently.  Who you can laugh with about stuff that happened ten years ago, and she totally gets the hilarity of it too.  It's one of those friendships where time, distance, and differences (which are vast) don't really matter.  The kind that you are totally lucky to find.

Friday, April 1, 2011

...something I've been listening to

The Tragically Hip.  All day long.

I woke up with Wheat Kings in my head this morning, literally within minutes of my eyes opening.

Then at some point, I switched over to singing Bobcaygeon.

And while I was driving around this afternoon running some errands, I finally ended up with Scared (an all-time favorite).

The first time that I saw the Hip in concert was during the Day for Night tour.  And I had no idea what I was walking friends and I were just excited to go and take a limo to the arena.  I didn't know that there would be people all around us who had been listening to the band for years, who had gone to every concert they performed here in the city, and who knew literally every word to every song like they were anthems....We were probably around 15 at the time, what did we know?

The second and third times were slightly different.  We were slowly becoming those loyal fans who always bought the tickets, and who screamed along with Gord Downie at the top of our lungs.  We didn't know the words to every song yet, but we were getting there.

The last time that I saw the Hip live was when they performed a free concert at the Forks in support of War Child.  There were approximately 80 000 people there (a bit much for my claustrophobia), and I went with my (then) boyfriend and a friend of his.  We went early, or at least we thought we were early, and still ended up miles away from the stage.  But the day was amazing.  They played every song that we had hoped to hear....and I even got a dance out of my guy during Scared (he really was a good sport about my whims).

They've obviously toured since, but I figured that few things could top the last show I saw so I haven't been to see the band since.  Next time though....I'm there.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

...some randomness

Things I've been thinking about this week:

- I love art/prints that involve words.  I'm a big fan of words and an even bigger fan of a great, thought-provoking quote.  I've decided that a portion of one of the walls in my office will be filled with art with words.  I've already purchased a mini bus roll from Kal, as well as this great print from Elise (plus one other small one from her shop), and I just have to decide where I'm going to order a "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster from.  I can't wait for them to get here so they can be framed and get up on the wall above my computer.

- I'm going to see one of my best friends in a little under two weeks.  She lives in Edmonton, and I've never been.  So I'm making a list of the things I want to check out while I'm there.  This includes restaurants...they're a big deal to me now.

- I have a tentative plan to go to Minneapolis over May long weekend.  Again, I've never been there, but have wanted to go for years.  The plan is tentative right now because although I've booked the day off work to make it a four-day weekend, my travel buddy has not gotten the okay yet.  Fingers crossed on that one, because I want to see this and this.

- A vegetable steamer can change your life.  I've gone from eating total crap for dinner on lazy days, to spending five minutes chopping up vegetables and walking away for 20 minutes, only to come back to a hot, healthy, yummy meal.  Amazing.

- “Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

- I really want to buy a laptop.  I've been scoping them out for awhile now.  I don't know a ton about them though, so I need some advice before I buy.  Which means I need to find someone who knows about laptops.

- I'm loving zip.  About a week ago, I watched The Comeback, and the first two discs from season one of Big Love arrived yesterday.  I have the 3 disc deal, and I love that there's always something laying around to watch and that I never quite know which movies/tv show will be coming next from the massive list of options that I chose.

- I'm choosing to believe that when things feel like they are really hard, that means that eventually, they have to feel easier.  

- I am in awe of Tara Donovan and her art and the displays that she makes out of straws, pencils, toothpicks, and paper plates...and the fact that from a distance, you would never recognize the materials that make up the bigger piece.  There's some sort of lesson in there....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

...somewhere I had never been before

Festival du Voyageur.

I'm not sure how I have lived in this city for 30 years and had never once gone to check out this amazing event.  That changed a few weeks ago though, on a Saturday night with a windchill of -39, when I bundled up like a kid going tobogganing and headed down to the festival site with a friend from work.

Oh my.

I was awestruck.  The ice sculptures.  The delicious crepes.  The music.  The history and the stories of Fort Gibraltar.  The dancing.  The friendly people.  The handmade jewelery.  The gooey sugar on a stick.  The cold temperature didn't matter for a second....okay, well maybe by hour three it got a little cold.  But the tents were warm and the dancing brought feeling back to numb toes.  And the sugar high.......well, that just fueled the dancing.

I had no idea how to roll this maple syrup/sugar/something else that I don't even know - concoction onto this popsicle stick, but the guy running the stand was very helpful, showing us how to test it to see if it was ready and then making sure we rolled up something that would actually stay on the stick.  It would have been even more helpful to know that it would melt very quickly - and make the stickiest mess ever - but I guess learning that is part of the experience.

Not surprisingly, we spent quite a bit of time in the "Sugar Shack" tent, and we managed to catch most of the set for Oh My Darling, a fantastic local female group.  They had a lot of fans there that night, and they made a couple of new ones since we both ended up buying their cd.

Needless to say, I'm going back next year.

Monday, February 21, 2011

...someone who inspires me

Kelle Hampton.

I found her amazing blog just over a year ago, after Rosie O'Donnell had posted a link to it.  Possibly the best link I have ever clicked on.

Every morning when I log into Google Reader, I'll quickly scroll though the lists and check to see if a few certain blogs have new posts.  This one is definitely on that short list.

If you ever want or need a lesson in paying attention to the fantastic things all around you that people often miss...this is the woman to teach it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

...things I'm choosing to focus on

For each of the last eight days, I've had some sort of kick to the teeth (metaphorically speaking of course).  Each one has sucked in its own unique way, but by Thursday, they were really starting to get to me.  Throw in the last three days, and I'm spent.

But I know that in the long run, this too shall pass.  Stressful work conflicts will be solved (or perhaps just forgotten all together when the next conflicts start), broken things will be fixed (like sinks, cars, and even hearts), body parts will heal, and lost pieces of ID can be replaced (oh, how I'm looking forward to dealing with the government this week....).

So I'm choosing to find the bright spots in this long weekend, which was oh-so-needed.  And with three days off, how can there not be a lot of bright spots?

- Corn Pops.
I don't usually buy really sugary cereals, but at physio on Friday after work, I mentioned that given my day, I was planning on having popcorn for dinner.  My physiotherapist's reply?  "You have to at least have some cereal first!"  After two years, she's come to know me pretty well.....and the Corn Pops jumped out at me when I stopped at the store on my way home.

- the best breakfast I have ever made.
This is a big claim for me.  I'm not much of a cook, but I can do breakfasts.  Yesterday?  French toast (whole wheat bread - trying to repent for the Corn Pops for supper - with cinnamon and vanilla in the batter) and warm apple chunks with cinnamon on top, with just a bit of syrup.  Oh my.  It was really really good.

- waking up in the morning and reading half of a new book before even getting out of bed.

- spending some time with my parents.
Two people who can, on occasion, drive me crazy.  But who also get when I've been kicked in the teeth all week and can provide exactly the right distraction.

- finally using my new vegetable steamer.
I made a pretty big veggie medley for dinner last night.  Paired it with some rice and kidney beans.  Still making up for the Corn Pops.

- getting so close to finishing this incredibly difficult puzzle.

It may not look that bad, but the black sky and the fireworks, which are totally random and crazy looking individual pieces, have been my nemesis on this one.  I will get this done this weekend, even if I forgo sleep tonight.  Then I'm figuring out how to mount and frame it for my dining room.

- shopping and lunch with two fabulous women.
Some new cute tops and lots of laughing.  Enough said.

- finally figuring out and sewing a drawstring bag

- watching movies Sunday night and knowing that I don't have to get up early on Monday morning.

A good long weekend outweighs a crummy week every time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

...something I've been catching up on


I had been procrastinating at work for the first three weeks of January, and it came back to bite me pretty hard.  Essentially the last month has involved me working late several days a week, and spending several Saturday and Sunday afternoons trying to finish up what I could at home. 

As of right now, I'm on top of things again...but that could all change at any point, including tomorrow morning.  I'm not a fan of bringing work home at all.  I definitely need a place and some time that is "work free" each day.  Finding that balance is a goal for the next five months.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

...something so beautiful

One day last week when I stepped out onto my balcony, this was the view, less than ten feet away.


Winter would be so much easier to deal with if every day came with images like this one.

Monday, January 31, 2011

...something I miss

That would be yoga.

One of my favorite posessource

I started doing yoga in high school.  I would do it randomly once and awhile when I was bored, and I took an evening class with a friend when we were in grade 9 or 10.  At that point though, we spent most of the hour long class giggling over how our instructor talked about our breath moving through our muscles (maybe we weren't the most mature participants at that point).

In university, yoga became a life saver for me.  Stress and anxiety attacks started taking over my well-being, and I remembered the deep breathing that would end each yoga session.  So one day, I bought a simple tape from wal-mart and gave it a try.  I could barely do half of the poses at that point, since most of my days were spent sitting in hard desks at school, or behind a desk typing at my part-time job.  But within a few weeks, I noticed a drastic improvement.  I didn't feel like I was suffocating on the bus on the way to school anymore, and I could deep breathe my way into a good night's sleep for the first time in years.

After university, I stopped practicing as much.  I joined a gym and did a lot more cardio and weights, only going to the yoga class offered there once a month or so.  Then two years ago, a pinched nerve basically sidelined me from any sort of physical activity.  It's still healing (so very very slowly), and I've attempted yoga a few times recently, but my hip just isn't ready.

But I do miss it so.  The breathing.  The stretching.  The pushing your body to move and reach just a little bit further than it did the time before.  The elation when you realize that you did not bend that far a week ago, but now your body can do it with ease.  The peace of a quiet mind.  The calm that comes afterward.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

...something that I'm learning to do


When I was younger, the only pieces of store bought clothes that I owned were socks, underwear, and winter gear.  Literally everything else was handmade.  My grandmother sewed everything that I wore from the time I was a baby...pants, shirts, dresses, shorts, sweatshirts, the whole nine.  In fact, it was really weird for me to start trying on clothes in stores, because I wasn't used to things not fitting "just right".  I thought that once you found your size, it would fit you perfectly everywhere.  Ha.

Then at some point in elementary school, handmade clothes weren't cool anymore - no matter how nicely they fit - and I started shopping for my clothes and my grandma moved on to sewing aprons (like....amazing aprons, full of little details and ribbons and lace and specially sized pockets).

When my grandmother went into a personal care home a few years ago, she owned three sewing machines - a very old one that weighed a ton, her favorite one that had broke five years earlier, and a newer model that she never quite got used to.  I took the newer model home, along with a bunch of accessories for it that I had no idea how to use, and it proceeded to sit in the box for almost a year.

Last fall, the ridiculously talented Leigh-Ann at Freckled Nest offered an online sewing course (which I think she's offering again in the future).  I immediately signed up, thinking I was finally going to put this machine to use.  But life and work got in the way, and after buying a bunch of fabric, I still didn't know how to even thread the machine.

Thankfully, the lessons are online until this coming summer, and a few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon just learning how to load the machine with thread and sew a simple straight line.  I literally remembered nothing from sewing class in grade 7....but I still have the boxer shorts that prove I could do this once.

Anyways, today I worked on making two double-sided napkins. They aren't perfect, but they work.  And I'm getting better with each one.  There's such a sense of accomplishment when you finish making something, even when it's as simple as a napkin.  And I cannot wait to show them to my grandma this week :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...some things that I love about winter

When in the midst of this really long season, sometimes it's good to be reminded of the positives...

1. big, fluffy, romantic snowflakes

2. cuddling up under a heavy blanket

3. cuddling up under that heavy blanket with someone

4. hearing the snow crunch under your feet

5. hot chocolate; especially the peppermint/candy cane kind

6. movie nights

7. not feeling guilty for staying inside and watching movies for an entire day/night while it's cold

8. warm afternoon naps

9. cute matching sets of mitts and scarves

10. how good a hot bowl of soup feels at the end of the day

Monday, January 24, 2011

...something that made me think

"Do not deny the sadness of moving on.  Instead sit in it with a whole lot of love for yourself and the situation.  Not matter how much you may wish that life could be different, accept that this is what's true for today.

There is a jewel within the melancholy of letting go.  The jewel is the beginning of a new awareness within yourself and a new life.  Each relationship, business venture, job and phase of our lives serve as platforms for us to grow.

Joy comes to those who are able to sit in the in between, the space between what was and what will be.  Joy comes to those who do not run from their feelings but courageously embrace them n search of the new jewel of awareness.

Remember, for a new day to begin the darkness of night must fall.  Each is a natural part of the cycle of life.  Embrace the dark moments and remember that just before dawn is the darkest of night.

Just be with it - the dawn will break."

-Mastin Kipp
The Daily Love

(Iphone pic from a very early drive home)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

...something new

A new decade that is.

I turned 30 this week.  And even though I had been dreading this birthday since the day I turned 29, when the time actually came, I was pretty excited.

Almost everyone that I have talked to who is either in their 30s or beyond, has said that this is THE decade.  This is when you finally come into your own; when you are most comfortable with yourself; when you really start to have the time of your life.

So I'm choosing to believe them all.

I can definitely say that I learned a lot throughout my 20s.  What I will and won't stand for, for both myself and those who are close to me.  What I will and won't apologize for.  What I want to do for the rest of my (working) life.  What I want to accomplish.  What I want to try and explore.  Maybe that means that my 30s will be the time to put all of those things into action.

I saw Jane Fonda on a talk show in the fall (maybe Oprah?) and she spoke of her 30s being the beginning of her second act; her 60s then being the start of her third.  I really liked this idea.

I'm ready for this act.