December 31, 2008

Happy New Years!

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... Have a safe and happy holiday. Hope your hangover doesn't make you look like this the next morning.

December 29, 2008

Vacation: Day One

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Since I rarely have the kind of vacation where I get to do whatever I damn want, this week was a bit of a mystery to me. I knew I wanted to read and knit, but I clearly needed something extra to fill my time. Something other than drinking and doing laundry. In that order.

Thankfully Heather suggested we visit the Nordik baths in Chelsea, since we had been planning to have a Christmas date for several weeks and had yet to arrange a time and place. Originally our date was going to involve us making pickles and drinking champagne, but I'm a sucker for the steam room, so Chelsea it was.

It was everything it promised to be. Besides the steam room and the hot pools (is it possible to marry a steam room? because I would), I got to catch up with one of my dearest friends whilst surrounded by nearly-naked folks. We like that sort of thing. It was sexy times.

There has been a lot of this 'catching up' as of late: Shawna and I had a great time visiting Dean and Ruth of Rasputin's fame the other day. Dean got us both started as songwriters and we both waitressed at the cafe after (during? I can't remember. wait. during. definitely during.) high school. We chatted for hours and Dean suggested a few times that my first band Alicide should reunite now that the original members are all in Ottawa again. I've been humming those tunes ever since (although some of my old lyrics make me cringe... what the shit was I thinking?)

I also got to meet up with some old school friends for a beer and it was endlessly entertaining. I chatted a bit with the High School Boyfriend, who, luckily for me, is a totally nice dude. I send him Christmas cards about not eating turkeys and he's down with it, which is funny since he's the Argentinian steak-loving variety of man. Anyways, Fun Times. Especially when we got talking about home renovation. Yeah, party animals, the lot of us.

Tomorrow will be a long day by vacation standards but I plan to squeeze in at least one nap. Because it's my vacation and I'll do whatever the hell I want. Also, I love to nap.

Here is a picture of Morty's booty, because it's a particularly awesome ass.


December 28, 2008

P-Town

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Sorry for the blog silence over the past few days... I've been in Peterborough for the annual family reunion!

I know I've often made fun of Peterborough, calling it Peter-boring and Peter-blaaaaah among other inspired names. This year I had fun though, and I got to bunk with my sister in her neat old apartment. Morty came too, and behaved super well other than leaving a small turd in my sister's front hall. That's my Morty: always willing to bestow fragrant gifts to anyone who needs a little something.

My sis would like me to go gig there this winter, which I'll have to look into, since the Value Village in Peterborough seems to be at least ten times better than the Value Village(s) in Ottawa. I'm not kidding when I say thrift shopping is my motivating factor for planning a trip back.

So I have the week off. I still can't quite wrap my head around it. I have big plans to read my new Christmas books, and a trip to the Nordik may also be in the cards. I don't want to do too much else, minus some visiting and some quality time at Raw Sugar.

Wait.... Is New Years this week? Dang.

I'll have to add getting shitfaced drunk to my vacation 'to do' list.

I'd like to start off by saying that my Christmas Experience has since gotten better, and I have been gifted and fed and snuggled to my heart's content.

But yesterday? Yesterday was bad news.

I shall list out my adventures so as not to write a novel.

1. I stepped out of the shower, wandered naked into the hall, and noticed that Morty was having a poo explosion by the door. I screeched and threw on my BH's clothes (they were closer), and ran Morty outside where he had more exploding poo. I put him in the bath and washed him off. Poor tyke.

2. I went into work and left early! This was good.

3. Decided to take our borrowed car to run some errands before I went to pick up my BH from work. I put Morty in the car, left the passenger door unlocked, turned on the car to warm up, and went about clearing the snow off the windshield. I hummed myself a little tune. “It’s Christmas Eve!” I thought to myself, cheerfully. “Happy times!”

Meanwhile, Morty, who was excited to be in the car, rested his head on the window, accidentally locking the car door with his giant chin. I am left outside with no spare key.

So to recap: Morty is locked in a borrowed car, the car is running, and I’m hyperventilating on the outside.

I called the in-laws to see if they have a spare. They do, and they start the trek to my house from Carp. I spend half an hour freezing my ass off while the car runs and Morty chews up the seat belt.

Several people wander by me and I have to explain my situation. They try not to laugh too hard. I am annoyed. Morty is now howling. I find myself praying that he does not have exploding poo in the car.

My in-laws arrive and we unlock the car! This is good.

4. The in-laws leave. “Thank goodness THAT disaster is over!” I think to myself. I hop in the car, accelerate, and notice I am stuck. I do all the clever things one does to become un-stuck, to no avail. Nobody is around to help push me out. I will never leave this blasted parking lot. I feel sorry for myself. I am now very cold and very hungry and Morty has eaten the seat belt. It’s Christmas fucking eve.

Jo walks around the corner! I squeal with delight! She pushes me out with her very strong arms.

5. I pick up my BH and my day slowly gets better. My nerves remain shot, however, and it takes me all evening to calm down again.

(EDIT: Because I was too stressed out to think about it at the time, I left out the part of the day where Morty pulled free on his morning walk and ran into the open door of the only crackhouse on my street. But that did happen. On this very same shitty Christmas eve. Luckily he ran back out right when the tenant was insisting that I come inside to get the puppy myself.)

But as I said, things are good now. Christmas was just lovely and there was some good gifting happening at my parent's house. I am the new proud owner of a lime green French oven! I also got some honeycomb, a David Sedaris book, a t-shirt with Big Bunny on it, and a fabulous red kettle.

My BH is with his folks, so I am snuggling Morty and trying to motivate myself to clean the apartment. It is a royal disaster and it needs some TLC. Perhaps using my fancy new French oven will motivate me to clean? Unlikely.

Regardless, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope none of you lock your puppies in the car this holiday season. It sucks!

xo
Stella

Things are winding down at work and I'm getting ready to have my first real vacation since we went to India.

That seems like a long time ago, now. I guess it was a long time ago, by vacation standards.

I've never really had the money to pick a place I liked and then plan a visit around it. India was perfect for us because we wanted to visit my BH's family, but we knew it would be more of an adventure than a vacation. Most of my trips happened that way: someone gets married, or moves somewhere exotic, or there's a school trip, etc.... It justifies the big trek out.

But man, it would be so cool to go somewhere without any obligations. A blank slate.

I do hope that once my BH is done school, taking a trip will be in the cards. I've always wanted to go to Trinidad. And New York. And New Orleans. And southern France. I'd like to go back to Amsterdam, too.

This particular Christmas vacation, I have a full week and a half off. Amazing. My only plans are to spend a day in Peterborough visiting family. That's it. The rest will be spent at home, baking, knitting, cleaning and reading. To be honest, although it sounds cheesy, I really just want to spend time with my BH and Morty. They are both so darn cute, and I could easily spend my entire vacation smooching them.

I'll be doing some visiting with friends too, since so many lovely people are in town. A beer here, a dinner there... As long as I can go cuddle with my boys at the end of the night.

So, our December budget is shot. It's not surprising, not at all, but I sure wish I had been able to save up for Christmas spending ahead of time. I guess that's the risk in starting a serious household budget in October - you're only leaving yourself two months to save for the most expensive month of the year. I had put aside $200 to start us off for gifts, but I spent that on bills.

Anyways. We'll be starting fresh in January, and I'll be putting a special emphasis on getting rid of my now-ballooning credit card balance. I've started booking winter gigs, after a period of self-imposed inactivity on my part, so any CD sales and door money will go onto my debt.

As of tomorrow afternoon, I'm on vacation. That won't stop me from posting though, so if you happen to be catching up on your blogs over the break, I'll be here with updates on my boys and the occasional puppy ass picture.

December 22, 2008

Explosive Sunday

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4 am yesterday morning, I smelled it. The distinct and unmistakable smell of poo.

I sat up in bed, trying to determine if I was imagining things.

"Babe?" I said, poking my BH in the shoulder. "I smell poo."

"Mmmraaaagh..." he responded.

"No really, it smells like poo in here."

"Poo. Mrrraaaagh...." he said, clearly still asleep.

I began to doubt my nose, and plus I was tired. My head hit the pillow. I was out like a light.

7 am, I woke with a start. Now the stench was stronger. There was no mistaking it - there was poo somewhere in the apartment.

By some miracle, Morty was sleeping in his crate that night, even though he usually sleeps with us on weekends. I ran to his crate in the front room. I flicked on the light.

My poor little dude. Let's just say that Morty ate something disagreeable, and reacted by having explosive poo all over his crate. It had leaked out onto the floor, pooling by the piano. He looked miserable.

"Jesus," I said. "BABE! THERE IS EXPLOSIVE POO EVERYWHERE. I NEED YOUR HELP."

I threw on a few coats over my pajamas and took Morty outside while my BH put on his heavy duty rubber gloves. When I came back in, poor Morty was plonked down in the bath and I washed the little dude off.

We were scrubbing the floor for at least an hour before we were satisfied it was all gone. Morty sat in the bedroom and looked depressed.

Happy Sunday!


***

Having such a rough start to the morning was unfortunately a sign of things to come. The rest of the day was awful.

My BH was in a foul mood, most likely because he spent a couple hours elbow-deep in crap when he should have been sleeping. To stay out of his hair, I did everything I could to fill my time. Shoveling my walkway. And my neighbour's walkway. And my other neighbour's walkway. And the sidewalk. And then our parking spot, back porch and steps.

I managed to pull a groin muscle in the process. My socks were full of snow. Things could only get better.

Then I did laundry. Swept. Dishes. Took Morty out a few times. Went to Raw Sugar. Rented Mama Mia.

***

Amazingly, the day ended well. My little sister is in town for the holidays, and she came by with my parents to visit.

They all love Morty. No really, they LOVE Morty. Sometimes they call to ask how he's doing and don't bother to check in with me. We all spent a long time cooing over him, even though he was still feeling a bit under the weather.

I also noticed something. Don't you think my dad and Morty look kinda... Well... Similar?


Happy Christmas week, and happy first day of Hannukah! May your day not be filled with explosive poo.

December 20, 2008

Catching Up

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December 19, 2008

The Tale of 700 CDs

To prepare for last week's visiting newborn, I did some cleaning around the apartment.* Namely, the one spot that seems to always be messy: my music collection.

I have a lot of CDs. I'm one of those weird few who really loves CDs and prefers them to all other formats, including vinyl (although I do love me some vinyl...). MP3s don't cut it for me, and I use them only out of convenience on my Creative Zen. I don't stream music from my laptop either, for many reasons that are too long-winded to go into here. Cassettes, well, other than sentimental attachment, I don't use them for *actual* listening anymore. But CDs? I love them. I still buy them regularly and will probably keep it up until they stop being made.

For a while now, I thought I had about 500 CDs. Not that I could remember the last time I counted, but that seemed like a good number. As I went through my collection, filing, dusting and categorizing, I wondered if perhaps I had counted wrong. There seemed to be a lot more than I remembered.

I also began noticing that we had a lot of doubles, since we hadn't gone through our music when my BH and I moved in together. We just amalgamated our stash. Needless to say, we both liked a lot of the same music (minus the extensive amount of Pearl Jam I found myself sorting through....). I grabbed a big basket and started chucking in the albums that were either doubles, or that we weren't going to listen to anymore. There were about 50 by the time I was done.

Plus an additional 650 or so CDs we were keeping.

"Christ," I thought. "No wonder it's been so messy. I've been avoiding sorting and alphabetizing 700 CDs."

But now it is done, and I find myself patting my shelves of music lovingly, instead of glaring at them when I walk past. It's a relaxing feeling.

Guess who's done his final exams? My BH! I am So. Freaking. Psyched. I realize he's not out of the woods yet, but it brings us one step closer to the eventual end of his degree, and into the wonderful world of two incomes. It's going to be sexy!

Tonight is also a special night. We decided that instead of giving gifts to our little posse of friends, we would all meet up for a big dinner somewhere and enjoy each other's company. Tonight is the big event - food, booze, and the hilarity that comes with a large group of drunken pals. EXCITING.

I'm also getting excited about all my old friends who are coming into town. Maybe that's the best part of the holidays... Catching up, laughing, and getting mildly boozed.

And then drunkenly cuddling Morty until he gets flatulent.


*I realize the newborn doesn't give two shits about what the apartment looks like, but it was as good an excuse as any.

December 17, 2008

A Little Bit of Both

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This is Christmas wrap-up week, where I need to finish any leftover seasonal chores before it's too late.

Today is a busy one: sending Christmas cards, picking up my last two gifts, and getting some ingredients for making toffee with my BH's little brother.

Guess what else is sneaking up on me? Hannukah! Yup, we celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah* in our household. This year, we have the added bonus of having a Jewish English bulldog in the family (his name is Mordichai, after all), so it's only fitting that he learn the Hannukah prayers. Hopefully he won't get too close to the menorah, like my cat did the year she set her tail on fire (true story, unfortch, but she was fine).

I'd like to make a Hannukah meal this year as well. I'm thinking matso ball soup, kishkah, apple cider challah**, and hopefully a new dish of some sort. My BH likes Jewish food even more than I do, so I know it will be appreciated. I swear he was a Jew in a former life.

Also, my Muppet's Christmas Carol soundtrack arrived in the mail yesterday, which I only ordered because the X-Box we use for DVDs doesn't read the actual movie. This is the next best thing.

Hope you're all enjoying the season in whatever way you choose!

*I know... There are five hundred million spellings for this holiday. This is the one I've always used, and I'm cool with it.
**Spell check hates me today.

December 16, 2008

Bathing a Bulldog

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We started giving Morty baths when he was a teeny puppy because we figured it would get him used to the process early on. We didn't want a giant bulldog who hates water trying to weasel his way out of a washing down the road, especially considering how often Morty manages to stroll through his own poo. Can you imagine a big, wet, panicky bulldog who is covered in feces trying to charge out of the bathroom? Yeah. Not what we wanted.

Generally, early bathing was a great idea. He now loves baths. He hops right in when I point to the tub, and he sits in the water quite happily until I'm all done washing him off.

But things have started getting out of hand. See, Morty has fallen in love with the bath. Big time.

I first noticed it this past month when I took my morning showers. If Morty was up, he'd sneak into the bathroom and paw at the shower curtain, whimpering because he couldn't come in. He does this without fail every morning, and he occasionally is bold enough to plant his front paws in the actual tub. I have to tell him "no!" and push him out of the room.

Last week, my BH was in the tub while I was out for the evening. Morty came into the bathroom (the door doesn't close very well, and he knows how to nudge it open) and pawed at the water. My BH patted him on the head and kept reading his book. Morty took that as a positive sign and jumped into the bath, nearly scaring the bejeezus out of my BH and coming dangerously close to genital-crushing territory. Bath time was over, and my BH was stuck drying off our crazy dog.

Yesterday evening, all I wanted was a bath. I was chilly and tired, and the thought of slipping into a warm tub was tempting. I turned on the water and went to the kitchen to tidy up.

Guess who was sitting in my nice bath when I got back? Yes, Morty had hopped in, putting his muddy paws in my precious warm water, effectively ruining my chances of having a relaxing soak. I let the water out of the bath and waited for him to hop out, but instead he stretched out and prepared to take a nap. I eventually wrestled him out with promises of peanut butter treats.

The good news in all of this? Morty smells like roses nearly all the time.

The bad news? Well, you just try having a 50 pound bullie do a flying leap onto your downstairs. That is some scary shit.

December 15, 2008

SUCKERS

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I had a freaking great weekend.

Friday night: Debauchery with Andi, setting up her tree, drinking, slept on futon with my BH and Morty. Big tasty breakfast next day that involved fresh croissants.

Saturday: Bought new boots after driving in shitty weather with a rickety car. Bailed on evening plans so that I would not crash and die. Did laundry. Ogled new boots.

Sunday: HUNG OUT WITH A NEWBORN BABY! Oh man oh man, was she ever cute. Morty didn't understand why she was screaming and barked to compete. Spent the rest of the visit in the bedroom. Oh man oh man, that was a cute baby. Later, went to Raw Sugar and bought a broom at Hartman's. Finished evening with a romantic Harry Potter date on the couch. Well, romantic until my BH fell asleep, so for about 20 minutes. I tried to get Morty to cuddle with me, but I guess he doesn't like Harry Potter.... He refused to come out of his crate. I WILL WATCH HARRY POTTER ALONE, SUCKERS. Harry loves me.

Perhaps the above doesn't seem that exciting to the untrained eye, but I call it a pretty excellent weekend in my books. I've just been feeling so dang GOOD lately. Probably something to do with getting proper sleep and finally breaking out my fantastic fleece sheets. Cosy. Warm. Fleecy.

YEAH!

On a completely unrelated note, I seem to have lost the ability to fry an egg. I don't know how one loses such a skill, but I'm telling you - it's gone. I'll have to stick to scrambling until it comes back to me.

December 12, 2008

'Tis the Season of Parties

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Last night was my staff Christmas party. It was way, way more fun than I expected.

At my previous job, the Christmas parties were awkward and stiff, and everyone sat around checking their Blackberries. The tickets were expensive and the food sucked. People couldn't wait to leave.

After last night, however, I now believe you can judge the character of a workplace by their Christmas parties. The food was good, the alcohol was better, and the entertainment portion of the evening was ACTUALLY ENTERTAINING. Yes, I was coerced into singing a duet with my boss, and yes, it ended up being a U2 song. Still, we had a good time and I got to play a kazoo solo. I can't even make this stuff up.

Other than feeling a little rough around the edges this morning, I am quite happy I didn't cop out like last year.*

This evening: watching Muppet's Christmas Carol, getting drunk, eating salad, crashing at a friend's. YES.

*In my defence, I missed last year's Christmas party completely by accident. I went to get my hair cut after work, and because I was at a fancy spa, they gave me glasses of white wine all through the dying/washing/cutting process. Two hours later, I was drunk as hell and wandering around downtown, trying to figure out how to get myself to the party venue. I eventually cut my losses and went home.

December 10, 2008

Braindead

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We occasionally let Morty sleep in our bed. He is crate trained, and doesn't mind staying there at night, but really? Sometimes it's fun having him snuggle my feet while I sleep.

Except for last night. Instead of resuming his usual place at my feet, Morty CLUNG to my face all night. He didn't just sleep on my pillow, he rested his chin on my forehead, kicked me in the eye, and snored into my ear. He would rearrange occasionally so that his bum was pressed against my cheek. Bad things come out of that bum.

I slept terribly.

At any rate, I'm a zombie today and will try to make it through without any mishaps. Part of what will carry me forward is the knowledge that I am attending a bulldog party tonight. I CAN'T WAIT.

In other news: the tree is decorated and the presents are wrapped. I can barely believe it. I figured wrapping the gifts would prohibit my BH from finding his presents while tidying the house. Morty was scared shitless of the wrapping paper and cowered in the hallway as I worked. Milan and Emily stopped by before I had a chance to clean up the carnage of gift wrap, so they had to sit on the floor while I put everything away. Yes, I am a great hostess. In my defence, working at a specialty paper store for three years makes gift wrapping a serious job. You need the right ribbon, the right tape, the right weight of paper, the right gift cards.... Heather, you've got my back on this one, right?

I digress. Basically, when I wrap gifts, things get messy. Thankfully, they brought wine, and I soon forgot about gift wrapping and Christmas all together.

Seems to me I had something intelligent to say here, but my brain is broken.

I... Yeah.

I'm torn about the possibility of an OC Transpo strike.

I admit that when it comes to striking, I usually assume that the employer is being unreasonable and that the workers are getting screwed. While I see a bit of that in the case of OC Transpo, I mostly find their demands, well, insane. Especially considering the cost of bus fare, and how it keeps going up and up.

So, yeah, torn. Particularly when I think about the long walk into work I'll be making tomorrow. Made longer by construction and detours. And possible freezing rain. At the same time, my bus rides have been sucking anyways, so maybe this will be a fun adventure!*

Next week is my last full week of work before I get my holiday on. I am SO relieved. I could probably spend an entire week alternating between the kitchen and snuggling Morty and that would be just fine with me. Morty has been so cuddly since it got colder... He actually lays his head right over my neck when I am napping and practically purrs while he sleeps. While that makes it hard to breathe, it's also really fracking cute. I'll take cute over breathing comfortably for now.

Hiding my BH's Christmas presents is getting increasingly difficult. This is partly due to the layout of the apartment, but also due to the fact that he usually picks up the mail every day. This includes any mysterious packages that come to the house. Bearing company names. And basic product descriptions. BOOOOO.

Regardless. I will just have to deal, because I'm the one who decided to order everything online. I also have one last gift to grab, and it's from a local shop so there is no danger of package spoilers.

My final thought for the day: It's been a while since I bought myself a bottle of Bailey's, so I decided to indulge last week. Did you know that it's not meant to be consumed by the mugful? Who knew...

*DOUBTFUL.

December 8, 2008

Epic

I guess I never told you about how we enjoyed our Day At The Spa. Probably because, hello, it's a DAY AT THE SPA and there's very little that can be unpleasant in a day like that.

Sure enough, we both floated out of there. My skin is glowing and my BH smells like peaches (as evidenced by Morty trying to eat his feet whenever possible). And the massages were professional with no S&M involved. It will be a very long time before we can afford to do that again, but it was well worth saving up our gift certificates. Okay, I didn't so much "save up" as I did "lose" my gift certificate, but I found it right on time. DON'T JUDGE.

I'm nearing the end of Christmas shopping, which is great because I have yet to go into an actual store. I'm surprisingly good with Christmas crowds and I am usually patient in lines. But the music? I can't stomach the music. It's usually the worst Christmas shit imaginable and I would much rather be home with my own wee collection of tasteful Christmas tunes. I'm that girl who is cool as a cucumber until someone throws on Mariah Carey wearing a Santa hat and suddenly I start looking for blunt objects.

For the locals: Did you happen to notice the temperature? It's killing me, this cold. I do not pretend to enjoy these winters, but I will say that I am grateful that my rent includes the cost of heat. Even poor Morty has changed his mind about the snow - when the temperature started to plummet, he cut his own walk short and dragged me back home.

Still, while the weather outside is frightful (bwahaha, I am such a cheeseball), I am happy to report that we already have our Christmas tree set up. It's a real tree, and I'm not sure if we'll do it again this way, because it stresses me out a bit knowing that my BH doesn't like having a live (soon to be dead) tree in the house. I think I'll have to invest in a hot pink fake tree and just use fresh wreathes instead. But anyways, the tree is up and it's delightful. The smell alone makes me happy. Morty is scared of it, which shocks no one.

In other news, I am attending a bulldog party this week, featuring bulldogs of all shapes and sizes (mostly of the round and squat variety, though). It's going to be epic.

December 7, 2008

A Walk in the Snow

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December 5, 2008

Pierogies

The bad news is that I did NOT wake up an hour early this morning, even though I set my alarm to go off twice and had the volume turned way up.

The good news is that my morning bus ride was just fine, and I got to work at my regular time despite sleeping in.

The moral of the story is: I really want some apple pie.

A muscle under my right eye has been twitching for the past two or three weeks. I didn't want to mention it because my mouth trauma had hijacked the site. And frankly, even though I may look like a twitchy serial killer, I am too burnt out to go find out why my eye continues to spasm. Perhaps I am twitchy because I am burnt out. Or perhaps I am a serial killer.

More likely to be the burnt out thing.

Do you know what I like? I like it when someone accidentally says "The House has been pierogied" as though our Parliament was just turned into a giant doughy potato dumpling. It sounds so much more delicious than the reality. And the reality just makes me twitchy.

It seems like all the local bloggers are going to Not Your Grandma's Craft Sale. I love craft sales, and I love Ladyfest Ottawa, but I cannot go. This is because I WILL BE AT THE SPA WITH MY BH. Oops, sorry. Didn't mean to yell. I'm just a little bit excited.

My BH's Top Secret Christmas Gift came in the mail last night and I am so incredibly pleased with it. We also get our tree tonight! Jesus, I am the worst Jew ever. I've got Christmas cheer coming out my ass.

Have fun at the craft sale everyone. Hopefully my BH and I will have nice relaxing massages that have nothing to do with Indian S&M parlours.

December 4, 2008

Duet

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For those of you following the madness in the House of Commons, I will say this much.

When I saw Mr. Dion speaking last night in a badly-taped segment, sitting directly in front of a book whose spine read "hot air" (did you notice? it was there) I knew the coalition was toast. So as exciting as this past week has been, I can't say that I am very surprised by the Governor General's decision to prorogue the House.

Now we wait and see what happens.

In non-political news:

I have been getting airplay in France, which I didn't really believe until my site traffic started to spike. Yay France! You are delightful!

My BH and I bought these dark chocolate caramel things that are rolled in crunchy salt. You know what sucks? Trying to balance your cravings with the knowledge that you are fighting off an infection in your wisdom tooth. And then dealing with the guilt of choosing the chocolate. Booo.

During that same shopping trip, we set aside a chunk of our budget to buy things for a local women's shelter. Following recommendations from friends, we picked up $35 in shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toothbrushes, cake mix, and yummy granola bars. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun shopping. I think I'll make this a regular thing, even though I'm not exactly rolling in money.

Remember when I said I wasn't going to sing at the staff Christmas party? HAH. When I told my manager, he expressed dismay that he wouldn't be able to join me on stage in a duo. To which I jokingly responded, "Well, if you're singing with me, I'll do it." To which he seriously responded, "Great! Let's pick a song."

Allow me to react within the confines of this blog: NOOOOOOOO!!! I THOUGHT I WAS FREEEEE!!!

Instead I am searching for a suitable duet to sing with my boss. Something telephone or work-themed. I've gotten some good suggestions, but the floor is open to anyone who has an idea. Please keep in mind that I may be slightly intoxicated at this event, so nothing that involves complicated chord progressions would be appreciated.

A lot of buses were detoured this morning, and will be every morning for a long time. I guess that's what happens when an important bridge is found to be structurally unsound. Although I'm a pretty patient person, the thought of waking up an hour earlier to make my way to work makes me want to cry.

That's about all my brain can offer today...

So my dentist says: "Let's get rid of this infection and if it keeps coming back, I'll just remove your remaining three wisdom teeth." Then he smiled pleasantly, like he figured that would be a fun time for everyone involved.

I'm thinking I'll get rid of the infection, thanks. I love my dentist, but I don't want him yanking out three teeth because one of them is giving me trouble. The logic? She does not work.

Morty is on a pooping kick! How lovely! He refused to poo last night before bed, and by this morning he couldn't stand it any more and left a little gift next to my BH's night stand. It was an unpleasant surprise. And Morty looked soooo depressed.

Let's just say that he will be making mandatory pre-bed poos from now on. Aah, life with a puppy.

Yesterday morning I had zero things bought for Christmas. Now I have my BH, my mom, and my sister taken care of. That's not bad. Next up: in-laws, my BH's brother and sister, my Bubbi and my dad. I can manage this. I totally can.

Besides finishing up the gifts, I have a long list of things to do before the big day hits.

- Make dumplings! I know this isn't Christmas related, but I keep meaning to get it done so I'm not tempted to buy lunch.

- Get rip-roaring drunk. (It's just part of my holiday celebrations, okay?)

- Make mulled wine and Mexican egg nog.

- Assemble mincemeat and let it ferment. Consume it. Do it all again.

- Put up the tree! My BH surprised me by hooking us up with a real tree for Christmas. Considering that he's not a fan of real Christmas trees, I am super thrilled and appreciative. Now I just need to find the decorations...

- Watch both Harper's and Dion's statements on TV tonight and laugh and laugh and laugh.

- Go to my office Christmas party and avoid getting dragged on stage to sing. It happens to me every year and I am DONE people. I don't like to be the centre of attention at office functions - I prefer to hide under my desk.

- Buy winter boots and a winter coat. I technically already have both, but they didn't perform well last winter and I got tired of having wet ankles.

Whew. That's a lot of stuff. Best get started with the mulled wine thing.

December 2, 2008

My Mouth Hates Me

Dudes, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I'm going to go ahead and say it.

The day my mouth thingy cleared up, my wisdom tooth on the other side of my mouth started coming in. And it's tearing up the gum. And it's.... Infected.

I'm going to see the dentist tomorrow. Not happy. Not happy at all. The Gods are conspiring to make sure I can't sample my own Christmas baking and that I have to gargle salt water eleventy times a day. LAME.

Moving on.

Jo was sweet enough to invite Morty and I over for some clementine consumption last night. Morty walked in her front door, checked Shy Dog's food dish for goodies, and crapped in her hallway. Awkward! He hasn't crapped in someone's house for months and months! But he looked so sad after that I knew he just misjudged the power of his own little bowels. Aw, poor guy.

My BH joined the party after I cleaned up the poo and we all had a grand time. Especially Morty who clearly thinks Shy Dog is foxy. If you catch my drift.

Since I hope to one day chew with both sides of my mouth again, I am planning out some Christmas cooking. So far I'm going to make mincemeat (without the meat, obvs), pie of all kinds, roasted garlic on everything (except the mincemeat, obvs) and braised cabbage. It's exciting! I love food!

Here's hoping the dentist doesn't yank out my tooth. That would seriously impede my holiday weight gain plans.

1. My mouth is better! Apparently it was a pretty normal mouth sore that got crazy infected, hence the pain and problems swallowing. My doctor said it would be gone within a few days and sure enough, it's gone. YAY! I was expecting something much worse than that.*

2. All this coalition talk is boggling my mind. I think I like it. Even if this whole plan faceplants, it's fun to see history happen. Nobody knows what the shit is going to happen, and that's oddly entertaining to me.

3. I cut off all my hair and dyed half my head brown, half my head platinum. Took me three minutes to do it up this morning. Most excellent.

4. Christmas is coming really, really fast. I was putting off present-buying until the next paycheque, but I think that would put me in dangerous territory. I'll have to get on that. Like, today.

5. My laptop is back from the dead. The virus had destroyed part of the registry, so it was wiped and Windows was re-installed. Startup time yesterday was 20 seconds, versus 30 minutes last week. God, I missed my laptop.

My weekend was supposed to be productive and exciting and instead I fell asleep on the couch. FOR HOURS AND HOURS. Nothing got done. This includes packing a proper lunch today, so I am going to be eating two giant carrots and four boiled beets.

Sigh.

*BY THE WAY. When rinsing with salt, I figured I would go big or go home. As in, I put in so much salt that the water nearly turned to paste. Upon hearing this, my doctor said, "Ummm, you only need a half a teaspoon per cup, not a quarter cup per cup. All that salt may have actually irritated it further." Whoops. Live and learn.

November 28, 2008

Air - It's Free

Folks, I am calling in supports.

The salt and baking powder and peroxide have all been managing this infection, but it sure as fuck isn't gone. Now my throat on the infected side of my face is tender to the touch and I wince every time I swallow. I'm going to see my nurse practitioner today.

This is especially useful seeing as how I can check with her before I go tell off my Crazy Family Doctor.

Plus maybe I will also get some drugs for my mouth. I'm not a user of antibiotics - it's been many years since I've needed them. But I'll take them if they will help stop the hurting.

Otherwise?

I'm trying to keep my mind off Mumbai by doing silly things. One of my BH's Christmas gifts came in the mail yesterday and I was so excited that I gave it to him within hours of unpacking it. Yeah, I know, but I didn't want to wait. It was a set of medical books published in the 20's - they cover such fascinating topics as personal hygiene, your heart and mental health. So great. He was thrilled and we spent some time reading through the chapter on how the first step to good personal hygiene is breathing air. Because it's free and without you die. It really said that. And then it explained the full process of suffocation if you happen to not be breathing air. Yup.

This weekend there are birthdays and dinners and quality time with my pup. My budget is going to suffer a bit in the next few weeks but we've cut down SO MUCH on our expenses that I accept December doesn't play by the rules.

Speaking of December, 'tis the season of giving. When I was getting my food bank donation list together, I realized that it might also be good to prepare a package for a local women's shelter. I asked a friend who does shelter work what kinds of things I should get. She said that a lot of the women at shelters don't ever get special things this time of year (or ever). No gifts, no special groceries, no treats. She said things like good shampoo and conditioner, granola bars, cake mix, $10 gift certificates and just about any other fun extra is greatly appreciated. I think I'll have a good time putting that gift basket together.

If you would like to join in this holiday season, there is also the United Way campaign going on. You can donate here - it's a very easy way to make a difference.

November 27, 2008

Remembering Mumbai

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I was having a grand old time yesterday until I noticed "breaking news" pop up on my TV screen.

There were coordinated attacks in Mumbai. Where my BH grew up, where his family still lives, and where we spent a month of our time a year and a half ago. Concern.

"The attacks began at the Leopold Cafe.."

Huh. I've been there.

"Then at the main train station..."

Been there.

"A popular and central cinema..."

Went there. Saw Spiderman.

"And the Taj hotel in Oberoi."

Spent a fair amount of time there.

"It is so far unclear who the targets are."

Well, judging by the locations, rich people and tourists.

All the family is safe and accounted for, thank you to those of you who wrote to check in. The whole situation is out of control and sickening, and seeing Leopold's covered in blood is not something I will remember fondly. I'll be watching things unfold throughout the day, since there are still hostages in one of the targeted hotels and the Taj is on fire. As I suspected, the attackers apparently asked for passports to determine the nationality of their hostages... Last report I heard said they wanted US and British citizens. Still, many Indians died in the attacks and the death count is around 100 so far. My thoughts are with everyone in Mumbai and everyone affected by this disgusting display of violence.

Yup, nothing cheerful to say today.

November 26, 2008

Snuggie Time

I really need to stop giving my little sister advice.

First of all, she never takes it. But not only does she ignore the advice, she always insists I am wrong. If I gave out advice constantly, I would understand - who wants a know-it-all big sister? But I try to only give her advice when I'm really REALLY familiar with something. Besides, I've always appreciated hearing other people's experiences when I'm about to fuck something up.

The latest example is footwear. She bought a pair of very nice, very expensive Spanish leather boots. She plans to use them for winter.

I have a pair of shoes from this company, and my BH has two pairs of their boots. He tried to use them for winter last year, but since they are designed for warm weather, they nearly fell apart. No amount of weatherproofing could save them from a Canadian winter. Plus, they aren't lined. I mentioned this to my sister, fearing that her beloved boots would get destroyed after a couple of snow storms. She did that belittling "well obviously I'll weatherproof them" thing and I reminded myself to just stop trying. Just stop trying. Just stop.

In more exciting news, I have discovered the most hilarious (and ridiculous) infomercial I've seen in ages. Behold The Snuggie. Is this not the most insane sales pitch you've ever seen? Isn't this thing just a backwards housecoat? Sometimes I can't believe this stuff exists.

I'm attending a party tonight at a store where I used to work. Last time I went to one of their parties, I drank too much champagne and did an embarrassing little dance in the storage room. Probably while singing an embarrassing little song.

Hopefully tonight will be less messy.

EDIT: DUDES! I've been nominated for a Canadian Blogging Award under the Personal Blog category. I am very grateful for the nomination and I really appreciate all of you who take the time to read and comment. Some of my other favourite people were nominated too, so go have a look and vote before the end of the week!

November 25, 2008

Help the Food Bank

So I think I've decided to take the "suck it" option with my Crazy Family Doctor.

In reading the comments, I realized that it's not the $40 fee that bugged me, it was more that I had to physically go get my files and explain why I wasn't going to stay on as a loyal patient. What is this, grade school? If I'm paying $40, they had damn well fax it to my new doctor or dip it in gold and mail it to me. And then buy me a cake.

Thanks for all your advice... If CFD asks why I'm telling her to suck it, I can be creepy and whisper "THE INTERNETS MADE ME DO IT."

And now, because I am mastering the art of TMI, I will happily report that my out-of-control mouth infection seems to be responding to the smack down I have imposed on it. I resorted to rubbing salt directly into the wound, which in turn made me double over in pain and whimper to myself. Poor Morty took one look at me crawling around on the kitchen floor, drooling, wailing and trailing salt, that he turned around and ran the fuck outta there.

But I am hurting less now and I can move my tongue again. It's going to be a good day.

I got another splinter this morning... This time it appeared to be metal with paint! Sweet Jesus, I have mad splinter skills.

The food bank has been on the news a lot lately, particularly the fact they are running dangerously low on canned goods this year. I visited the main branch of the Ottawa food bank during my third year of journalism school to do a story on students who use their services. I realized very quickly how much people need this organization, and how bad things get when they run low on food. I may re-jig my budget and make a grocery trip to buy them some canned food.

Maybe I should issue this invite to the blogging community at large... Is anyone interested in donating to the food bank? Either by way of a pantry clean-out or a grocery shopping, they could use the help. If you make the effort to donate, blog about it and I'll give you a virtual pat on the back. Or maybe even an in-person pat on the back at the next breakfast!

November 24, 2008

Question

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So I have this great new doctor / nurse practitioner. I did blood tests for her and everything seemed hunky dory. We chit chatted about my health and nothing overly exciting came up. I mentioned that I had a bad family doctor who would have more files on me should she want them. She said sure, why not, and faxed them for the info.

Now I have a message on my machine from Crazy Family Doctor saying I'll need to pay $40 and come in person to pick up the files. She also wants to know why I'm leaving. Crazy Doctor is nowhere near my home or my work, and I'd pretty much have to use vacation time to get out there. Also, I don't want to pay $40. Plus, if I got onto the topic of why I'm leaving, I'd probably get very angry and say rude things. I don't really want to do that. I mean, I wouldn't mind telling her the basics, but I don't want the chance to go off on a tangent.

My question is: can I just forget about the files, which aren't terribly exciting anyways, tell Crazy Doctor to suck it and never go back? Do I really need to have those papers transferred? My new nurse practitioner didn't seem to care either way.

November 23, 2008

Stay Sexy

I was hoping to update this blog a little more frequently than I have this month, but having a virus take over your computer really effs things up. You know how long it took this baby to power up just now? About half an hour.

Other than my sickly laptop, it's been one heckuva weekend. I had a lovely brunch that XUP describes better than I can. You bloggy folk may think I chat a lot about my puppy here, but it's a whole other ball game in person. As in, I do not shut up about him. And I speak with gestures, no matter how obscene. You're welcome.

My mom and I had a great day baking Christmas goodies, which isn't something we've ever made a habit of doing. I think that should change. We made toffee (actual honest to goodness toffee! It took 15 minutes!), white and dark chocolate almond bark, and key lime cookies all from the latest Martha mag. I am scared that I'll eat all the sweets before I can gift them, they are that good.

I also discovered that the aching pain I've had in my mouth for the past two weeks is a giant out-of-control infection. When I mentioned this to my mom, she said she was surprised that I let it go as long as I have. In explaining myself to her, I realized that I tend to let dull pains take care of themselves, often to my own demise. Sharp pains? I deal with ASAP. But a low, throbbing pain in the back of my mouth? Aw hell, I'll just let that get worse until I have trouble swallowing and my face starts to look puffy.

There's a fun show happening at the Manx tonight, so I think I'll head down there as soon as I gargle again with salt water and wince at the pain I pretty much caused myself. It's going to be an experience, I'll say that much. Salt on the wound.

This virus-bound computer is getting taken in on Tuesday for a little TLC, so hopefully I'll be able to write a little more frequently come December.

Stay sexy, folks!

Well, what do you know.

The test was easy, and even included fabulous words such as "aroused" where I can only imagine they meant "incensed." Who likes to giggle out loud in a tense testing room? Me! Sadly, since I was the only person there writing the test in English, I was also the only one who got to read that particular phrase. I think that kind of translating genius should be read out loud to everyone, don't you?

Things have been looking up, so to speak, ever since. I'm going to see Megan read tonight at Venus Envy, my very favourite store, and I know for a fact that some lovely locals are going to be there too.

I got to hang out with my awesome pup at the dog park where he is becoming better and better at playing with other dogs. Not that he was ever bad, per se, it's just that he didn't understand how to read his canine friends and so would try to cuddle when they were growling at him. No more! He is a changed doggie and knows when to cuddle. Most of the time.*

Two of my closest friends got really good news and I was thrilled to hear it.

I baked some cookies and ate lots and lots. And lots. Hey, I'm building survivor fat.

My Life Organic order came (I totally forgot it was already Thursday!) and brought me loads of fresh purple kale. Fucking right, I love that stuff.

So, yeah, you could say it's been a good day.

*My favourite memory at the dog park was when a large German shepard pinned Morty down with his paw and licked him from head to butthole. This dog cleaned Morty EVERYWHERE. My poor pup just lay there looking horrified, like his dignity was forever tarnished. Because, you know, it WAS.

November 19, 2008

Just Saying

Aah, my splinter came out.

This evening has been weird - I took too long to eat dinner and now my head is all messy. I made a tasty roll with filo and feta and spinach but it's too late to reverse the wooziness I'm feeling. The woozy has taken hold. The woozy is here.

The radio is playing choral music and melting at how pretty it is. I could listen to choral music, especially a good treble chorus, all night. Did you know that the Ottawa Children's Choir may lose all its funding if these municipal arts cuts go through? As well as Ladyfest and pretty much every other excellent arts institution this city has built? Yeah. Just sayin'. Maybe it's the woozy talking, but that makes me really fucking mad.

Mayor Larry, you've always been so bad it was almost funny. Now it's not funny. Now you are an even bigger piece of shit than you were before. Hear that? You're a turd.

I have to write a test for a job tomorrow and I'm nervous. Not only because I know I'm not going to get the job, but also because work has been too busy to even try and prepare. Lose and lose.

On a lighter note, it's only a week and two days until I get my hair cut off and dyed some new colour. That always puts me in a great mood. I want part of my head to be shaved when it's all said and done.

Time to pass out and face the music tomorrow. I honestly can't wait for the weekend to come.

Bisous!

November 18, 2008

Home Sick

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I stayed home sick today.

Yesterday, I was legitimately sick. I felt nauseous and my throat was uncomfortably scratchy. So I slept in today and took my time getting dressed - I assumed I would still feel awful. But no, the sleep fixed me, so I had a refreshing day off. Score. I hung out with my awesome dog and tried to stay out of my BH's hair. Sometimes I forget how stressful university can be, and I'm sure I was on a short fuse through the last couple years of my degree. I just need to remind myself of that every now and then. Nobody likes being on the receiving end of Cranky.

During my attempt to stay out of his hair, I ran half a million errands. As much as I love days where I can lounge around, I also fucking LOVE feeling productive and checking stuff off my list. I also had some 'me time' at one of my favourite spots: the basement of the giant Book Market on Dalhousie. I could, and sometimes do, spend hours there. It was therapy of the cheapest kind. Although it was the first time I noticed that they don't have very old books there... The earliest I could find were from the seventies.

I also went boot shopping and came back with nothing because I was haunted by my budget. That was dumb, because I set aside the money for boots... Booo.

Has anyone ever felt like they were waiting for their lives to start? It's a weird question, I know. I've done a lot and I like what I do. But I feel as though I'm waiting for something. Something big. Something different.

The End.

November 17, 2008

Like A Tank

I have another splinter!!! This time it appears to be made of wood, not glass. What am I doing to get so many dang splinters?

Things are still quiet on the music front, but I'm not complaining. It was a busy fall and I'm grateful for the down time. Besides, I'm finally writing songs again! Happy day! I've also concluded that I should probably sell my beautiful Thai mandolin, since I've used it once in three years. Or I could put it up on the wall and call it art, since it looks nicer than it sounds, what with all the pearl inlay... Shit, I thought I was all decided! Back to the drawing board.

My BH, myself and the in-laws went to the NAC on Saturday to see the Indian production of Midsummer night's Dream. Holy hell it was good. It was performed about 30% in English, and the rest in a variety of Hindi dialects. My BH and my in-laws giggled at all the clever jokes that I couldn't understand, but it didn't even matter. It was just brilliant. It helped that most of the actors were half naked and delicious looking. Half naked, muscly and Indian? COUNT ME IN.

Morty is doing very well. He's like a little tank, he's so strong. But he's also the most cuddly dog I've ever met, and he's been quite a snuggle-puss lately. I love to nap with him except when he re-arranges and manages to rest his nuts on my head. Not so cool. He's also started barking in his sleep. I wonder what he's dreaming about?

You know what's going well? Budgeting. We're using cash for our purchases, and we're keeping a close eye on our receipts. The rest just falls into place. It's calming, actually.

I am having a blast getting ready for Christmas, and I'm not even spending that much this year. I think my favourite part, other than the copious amounts of baked goods, is finding gifts you know the other person will love.

Speaking of which, my BH has mounted a campaign to find out what his gifts are this year. NOTE TO BH: NO SNOOPING OR YOU WILL GET COAL IN YOUR STOCKING. Love you.

That is all.

I have spent my evening eating peanut butter chocolate rice crispy squares and working on my BH's Christmas present.

The eating part has been easy, and ever-so-enjoyable, but the present part has been hard, because my BH has been in the same room as me the whole time. How did I manage this, you ask? I would tell you, but then my BH would find out what his gift is and I would cry. So I'll have to tell you all about my devious gifting after the holidays are over.

Today was a pretty typical Friday, but I spent more time than usual giggling to myself at my desk. This was triggered because I wrote an e-mail to The Colombian to catch up and tell him how I'm doing. When I write to him, I follow the standard letter format where you ask the other person questions about themselves to be polite. I write things like, "How have you been?" and "Did you sell your condo?" and "Where are you working now?". You know. Polite things.

But these questions are exactly what brought on the giggles. See, The Colombian never writes back. I mean, NEVER. When he was living in Montreal years ago we had a bit of a fight because he didn't contact me for a good six months. At first, I was angry. I mean, how can such a close friend fail to return a simple e-mail? Then I got used to it, and accepted the fact that he's a lame-ass communicator. Like, sucky as shit. And he admits it.

Still, when I write him letters, I have to giggle at the fact that I might as well not be asking him anything at all. I probably won't get an answer until he's in town, at which point he will call me and say, "Did you know we're in the same city for 24 hours? I miss you. And thanks for all the updates."*

In a couple of weeks I'm hitting the esthetics jackpot. I have a trip to the spa, a waxing appointment and a hair cut all scheduled within a few days of each other. The spa is being paid by gift certificate, and the others are just really needed. I am so looking forward to those appointments. Well, maybe not the waxing so much. And actually, every time I get a spa massage I flash back to that time I was in India and decided to get a Aryuvedic massage with my BH. Then we got stripped down to nothing, oiled up, and spanked for over an hour. It was pretty much the worst massage EVER. The only thing my massage "therapist" could say in English was "ticklish?" and I had to laugh and nod because she wouldn't have understood "no, I'm bleeding internally." Then we limped back to the hotel.

I think I told you guys that story, right? The naked oily spanking story?

Anyways.

So now I'm just waiting for my BH to go to bed so I can finish up this part of the gift. Yup. Just biding my time.

Tick tock, tick tock...

*You know what he does do though? TEXT MESSAGE. He will text message me a fucking novel before he'd return an e-mail. True story.

November 13, 2008

Peaches

Milan came over for tea and Morty charmed him. By charmed I mean humped his leg vigorously. Four separate times.


Milan was very understanding. I mean, who could stay mad at this cute mug?



It's fun when Milan visits because he says long words with a straight face. He asked me if I could recommend any interesting music so I gave him Fuck The Pain Away by Peaches. With a straight face.

I think I'm coming down with a cold, so I'll be happy when Friday is done and I can crawl into bed with my Martha magazine and an alcoholic beverage. Isn't brandy a cure-all drink?

Night folks.

One useful thing I did on my day off was call SOCAN. I joined several years ago and pretty much heard nothing back. Ever.

I should have called several years ago, of course, but it was the last thing on my mind. It's a good thing I got around to calling at all though, because they never got the package I sent them to register my songs, and I've been doing everything wrong regarding my live performances. Let that be a lesson to those of you who do the SOCAN thing. Make sure you do it right! They only keep their stuff on file for one year, and then you get zip in terms of royalty money.

I suspect the lady on the phone thought I was a weirdo because Morty kept groaning in the background throughout our conversation. He also made these really dramatic sighs that I'm sure got picked up by the receiver. I probably should have clarified that it was a puppy making those noises, just so she didn't think there was a bored/aroused/pained human sitting beside me. Oh well. I make a great first impression. I know.

So this budget thing is getting pretty exciting. Mark helped me spiff up my excel sheet and now I'm off to the races. So far I've learned that it's five million times easier to control your spending when you're collecting receipts. For the first time in years, I'm actually taking note of how much everything costs. It's a nice feeling. I'm starting to think that I'd be happy to have a budget forever... Not just when I'm tight on cash.

My BH is making chocolate peanut butter rice crispy treats tonight, so I'll catch up with you guys tomorrow when I'm ten pounds heavier. Kiss kiss.

November 12, 2008

I'm In The Minority

Yesterday was a strange sort of day.

I thought a lot about my grandfathers, both of whom fought in WW2. I wondered what it was like for my Zeidi, who was Jewish, to be fighting that kind of enemy. I thought a lot about war, and how although I am as anti-war as they come, I still think a lot about the sacrifices people made so the next generation would have some sort of freedom.

I wondered about the wars that are being fought today. Didn't they have the war to end all wars? I wish that had been true, but it seems no matter how many Remembrance Days we have, our collective memory is short. I thought, and I thought, and I thought. And then I kind of wished I had gone down to the Cenotaph after all. Especially when I heard the children's choir on the radio, and sang along with all the harmonies.

But instead I had a quiet day. I went to an antique store in Hintonburg, just because I wanted to look around. They had an old trumpet that caught my eye, but I'm not ready to tackle a new instrument yet. I baked cookies and ate more of the dough than I care to admit here. Morty and I took a long nap, and I noticed that he has taken to howling and barking in his sleep. Not the most restful sleep I've ever had, especially when he kicked me in the face. Maybe he was dreaming of kung fu. Later, I went to the Green Door with my folks and my Bubbi. A nice time all around. I really enjoyed their eggplant salad, as well as everything else, of course.

When I was walking Morty this morning, we bumped into Michael of New France fame. "I saw you in the paper this morning!" he said. I wracked my brain... Why would I be in the paper? I don't have any shows coming up. I'm not doing anything particularly exciting. Then I remembered being interviewed for an article in the Citizen a good six months ago. They were doing a piece about musicians who have day jobs. It never went to print, even though they did a full photo shoot. Could that be it?

I've since gotten my hands on it, and sure enough, it's the six-month old interview and photo. I'm in my old house with an old haircut, but I like the article. If you happen to get that newspaper, I'm in the arts section holding a banjo.

Oooh, Shawna just sent me an e-mail about it. She pretty much sums up my thoughts: "How many times now has a newspaper marvelled at you because you're an indie artist with a day job? ... They think it's a rarity!"

That a great point - my situation isn't rare at all. I'm unsigned and broke, musically. But even the signed artists I know are broke, musically. We don't do music because we expect to make money. We do it because, well, we're musicians.* (That being said, it sure would be a nice perk to make money from my music.... I wish!)

And SCENE.

*There are many exceptions of course... Lots of people do music for real money. Pop stars, faux indie rockers, musicians who tour like maniacs to make ends meet, people in cover bands, music teachers, orchestral players... Okay. I'm in the minority.

November 10, 2008

We Met In France

You know what work is? CRAZY!

So naturally, I was pleased to discover that tomorrow is a holiday for us office types. I realize that it's a somber holiday, but I spent nearly every Remembrance Day of my youth freezing my arse off at the Cenotaph to sing in the children's choir.* I figure it's okay if I take the day to relax instead.

I was really, really productive this weekend. I did more cleaning and hammering and sorting and cooking than I've done in months. This was entirely due to the fact that my BH took the puppy to his parents' house for most of Saturday. At first, I missed them. I sat around a bit. I had some tea. And then I thought, motherfucker! I have the house to myself! I can blast music and hammer and vacuum and nobody will be bothered!

It was a euphoric feeling.

The whole experience made me realize that I never really get any time alone anymore. Even when my BH is out, I have a very chewy, chubby, slobbery puppy who demands my attention at all times. I never get to the point where I can really clear my mind and concentrate on something. I think this weekend was fun for all of us, because I was excited to have my boys back at the end of the day, and they were excited about how clean everything was.

Anyhoo.

My laptop appears to have been taken over by a virus. All my photos and files are backed up, but I can barely connect to the internets nowadays. I have long-term plans to replace my beloved computer, but I need it to run for another two years for my plan to work. Because that's when I'll have money.

I'm mentioning this because I have several crazy cute pictures of Morty that will have to stay hidden until I get things running again. The Sad!


*Interesting fact... I was in Vimy Ridge when they were preparing to send the body of the unknown soldier back to Ottawa. We might have even headed back on the same flight. I like to stop by the Cenotaph from time to time to say hello. After all, we met in France! What are the odds?

November 8, 2008

Rainy Day

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It's one of those rainy fall days, very much like the one that hit the weekend of the OCFF. I like it, surprisingly, and I am more than happy to camp out at the apartment while my BH studies.

We are, however, completely out of breakfast food and I am wracking my brains to think of something to eat. Our grocery shopping isn't getting done until this afternoon and I'm going to need a little something something before long. No milk and no eggs either, so baking my standards is tricky. Sigh.

Last night we went to Absolute Comedy with friends. It was fantastic! Am I just totally out of the loop to have never been there before? It's $10 admission, but then you sit down and laugh for two straight hours. I loved it. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to sit around and drink (although that is my default activity) so it's nice to have an alternative. And of course, they do serve booze if you want a little bit of both.

So I was on a bit of an Obama high the night of the election, but then I woke up to find out that Prop 8 passed. Any good feelings I had about the new President were sucked into the vacuum of California banning gay marriage. Nothing like writing discrimination into law to wreck my mood.

Off to shower and scrounge up something to eat... Hope you are all having a relaxing weekend so far!

November 6, 2008

Graceful

It hasn't been long since we decided to stop going overboard on groceries, and I'm already seeing a difference. We're finishing the last of our pasta. All our veggies are gone. We finished the canned foods so we could stock up on the really useful things. We've had to get creative with a couple of meals, but honestly? It's great. Maybe next I'll tackle the freezer.

Yesterday I had my first appointment with my new doctor. Technically she's a nurse practitioner, but there's not a great leap between the two, so I'm thrilled. She improved on my old crazy doctor in a variety of ways:

She didn't make me wait two hours even though I had an appointment.

She didn't tell me I had multiple sclerosis when I actually had a compressed nerve.

She didn't make me feel guilty for needing a massage prescription (she actually encouraged me to get it!).

She didn't behave like a giant asshole.

All great improvements! I'm so happy! Just think... Next time I'm feeling really sick, I'll be able to see my regular health professional about it and not dread the appointment. So cool.

Speaking of catching a bug... I am really looking forward to Christmas. REALLY. And I'm mostly Jewish. But my favourite Christmas book just arrived in the mail and I'm getting nostalgic just flipping through the pages. I'm going to try and take care of all the seasonal things as best I can, because my BH will be in final exams and won't be in the mood to be festive. Morty will love Christmas because he'll get to eat all the food I drop in the floor. And let's face it... I'm a klutz! He'll be well fed.

I have no graceful way to end this post. Um.

November 5, 2008

One Of Those Weeks

Sigh of relief.

I was planning to write about how I totally freaked out Mae last night by gushing about her blog and, um, toys in a random pub while we were watching the election results trickle in. Except that I didn't really identify who I was. Like a psycho.

But she doesn't seem to be too scarred by the incident, so I'm pleased. I have a tendency to speak with my "inside voice" when I'm around new people and let's just say not everyone is down with that. My smiley demeanor has confused many people who made the mistake of talking to me. And then I'm like, "BALLS."

It's actually been one of those weeks where everything that comes out of my mouth sounds idiotic. It sucks. I try to say something constructive and instead I come off sounding like a douchebag. I should probably just stop talking until it's over.

As you can tell, this will not be a good year for NaBloPoMo. I had the best intentions, but this month is already trying to kill me and I will probably keep skipping the odd blogging day. I'll be frequent though, I can promise that much.

I'm still fantasizing about tattooing my arms and chopping off my hair. It has taken over my mind. Good thing I can't afford to give in.

Did y'all watch Obama's speech last night? Fucking YES. And you know what's crazy about all this? The new First Lady has heard my music and liked it.

Jesus.

NaBloPoMo has begun, and I am already behind! LAMENESS!

I'll try to do it again this year. Last year it was fun and not even that tough... But I wasn't as busy last year as I am now. The excuses have already begun.

Perhaps I shouldn't even be posting right now. I have a headache that is threatening to turn into a migraine, and it's my fault I've got it. Y'see, I don't eat cheap candy and chocolate. It means instant pain, and I've learned to stay away. On Halloween, I even bought natural chocolate sweets so I would have something to snack on. But today, I unwisely popped some cheapo chocolates into my mouth and predictably, I am hurting. My fault, completely. Silly Stella!

This month marks the beginning of our budget experiment. We're tracking all our purchases, and buying our groceries with cash. Hopefully we don't crash and burn.

I am very excited about tomorrow's election. I'm trying not to think about it too hard because Cindy McCain's creepy face keeps sliding into view. Jesus, that woman is terrifying.

Work is still a bit crazy and I find myself dreaming of the weekend. I'm usually pretty good at enjoying the moment and reminding myself to relax, but lately it's all about crossing off the days. Not fun. It doesn't help that I am constantly dodging other people's shitty moods. Really, REALLY not fun.

The plan tonight:

- roast squash
- sing new song about grey days (it's a grey day, after all)
- take a bath
- hang out with my puppy, who has been a giant cuddle bug lately
- plan out next hair cut / bleaching
- dream of large arm tattoos

November 1, 2008

Morty Meets Another English Bulldog

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... And there was much rejoicing (for Morty, anyways).



October 31, 2008

Beany

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Verdict on cooking black beans myself: not so exciting. I didn't really notice any difference in taste either, but maybe my beans were old. Sigh. I had such high hopes. At least now I have a freezer bag full of beans for future consumption. We had black bean tacos last night, obvs. With homemade tomatillo salsa!

Speaking of beans...

I took my dear friend Kate out for dinner the other night when she flew through town for a visit. I suggested one of my fave Chinese restaurants, because I knew she'd love the food. She bravely ordered a sweet bean drink while I ordered my lychee standby. Her drink came, and I swear to god, it was just whole kidney beans in sweet coconut milk. That's it! We looked at it for a while, a little confused, and both tried some.

It was... Beany.

I started calling the drink "breakfast" and we giggled through dinner. The other customers were probably wondering why I kept pointing at Kate accusingly, shouting "drink your breakfast!"

Okay, no more bean blogging for a while.

So it seems to be Halloween. I have not dressed up, nor have I made Morty's armoured bear costume yet. SAD. I used to be the Halloween queen. I even dressed up as a box of french fries one year! What happened to me? How did I get so apathetic? I feel like I will get my second wind in a couple of years and I'll return to my former Halloween glory. We'll see.

My BH and I are spending Halloween with our buddy Mark out in les burbs. I suspect that they will play Rock Band while I polish off the alcohol. And the chocolate.

Hey, this could be fun!

I have a very, very long wish list on Amazon.

It's really the perfect retail situation for me: I can take months, nay, YEARS picking out books and making sure I want them before ordering. This way I rarely get something I don't love. This is also good seeing as how I need to follow a budget and can no longer impulse book shop (a dangerous hobby for those of us who love cookbooks).

I bring this up because I have been looking for a specific book, and it's been particularly hard to find. It's called A Family Christmas by Reader's Digest, and it's no longer in print. It was the designated family Christmas book every year when I was a kid, but we got it out from the library and never had our own copy. I finally tracked it down (minus one copy getting lost in the mail and a subsequent refund)and I'm counting the days until it arrives. It's just the greatest book. Ever. I'll be gushing about it more when it arrives.

Those of you living in Ottawa are probably aware that it snowed like a motherfucker last night. Guess who has never seen snow? My little bundle of Morty, that's who. I took my chubby dog for a walk last night during the blizzard portion of the storm, and I totally predicted his reaction. He took one look at the whipping flakes and the howling wind, and slowly started backing up (this is the dog who refuses to poo in the rain). I lured him off the front step with some treats, and he reluctantly peed and ran inside.

This morning, the reaction was quite different. Morty voluntarily wandered onto the sidewalk, sniffed the snow, took a lick, and was in HEAVEN. He looked up at me and I swear he was thinking, "Are you fucking kidding me? This shit is edible? WHY DIDN"T YOU SAY SO??" He proceeded to run around like a maniac trying to eat all the snow on the street. It was brilliant.

I'm not as upset about the snow as I expected to be, probably because I have a few new hats, mitts and scarves that I'm excited to wear. It's all about the gear, I think. And yup, I'm wearing long johns today. Sexy times have begun! Making out is like peeling ten bananas from here on in.

Tonight I'm cooking my first batch of dried black beans. I know this isn't rocket science, but I'm still looking forward to it. Apparently they taste better than the canned stuff. While this isn't surprising, it wouldn't have occurred to me unless I had read it.

For those of you who didn't wake up to snow this morning: enjoy it while you can, because IT'S COMING TO GET YOU!

October 28, 2008

Only Because Gabriel Asked

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Six things, from Gabriel, but not exactly following the rules.

1. I love the smell of cologne so much that I have followed complete strangers around just so I could enjoy the air. (Seriously. I've done that.)

2. Papaya makes me want to hurl. I can't explain it. No other fruit makes me react that way.

3. I tend not to buy clothes made of synthetic material because they give me the creepies. Acrylic means instant goosebumps.

4. Until two weeks ago, I hadn't drank coffee for about ten years. Now I drink it on weekends. It's delicious, especially since it doesn't give me an allergic reaction anymore. That used to really spoil the experience...

5. I've been using the same cinnamon roll recipe since I was in grade five, and it's still the best.

6. I dream of working from home.

Now, here's the part where I break the rules. I'm not going to tag anyone outright. I've noticed a few memes going around lately, and I don't want to meme you out! Still, I love reading random things about people, so feel free to post your own list if you're down.

I have a question. What's the best way to remove a piece of microscopic glass from your finger? A piece so small that you can't see it and you only know it's there because of the pain it causes? Would you soak it in a bath and hope it falls out? I've tried tweezers and needles to no avail.

October 27, 2008

Wrap-Up

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A few things have happened since the conference finished yesterday.


I brushed my hand against a pile of splintered glass and still haven't gotten all the pieces out.

I improvised with slow cooker oatmeal and totally destroyed it. Next time I'll stick to my recipe!

I discovered that I am sensitive to scented laundry soap after I wrapped myself in a fleece blanket and had trouble breathing.

I made mashed potatoes with kale, leeks and roasted garlic. It took all my concentration not to lick the pot.

I watched The Hulk and actually enjoyed it! Maybe because Ed Norton kept whipping his shirt off, maybe not. But I do love him so.

I went to Raw Sugar and bought some vegan peanut butter squares, because they make my mouth happy.

I wrote a song! First one since last winter. Crazy.

And pre-conference, I made tea biscuits and accidentally grabbed the wax paper instead of the parchment paper for baking. The smoke alarm got a great workout.


So. Another OCFF in the bag. This one was probably the best year yet for musical exposure, but also the most stressful year I've had to date. Next year I'm going to take it easy and concentrate on having fun instead of networking like a maniac. It's just better that way. Really. All in all, I played four shows and drank, um, a lot of rum. Luckily my BH came with me and we had lots of fun checking out the scene and walking into doors. Oh wait, that was just him.

Here's hoping I can get back on some sort of normal sleep schedule after nearly seeing the sun rise this weekend. I don't think I've stayed up that late since I was in high school.

October 25, 2008

Conference Weekend

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Hi folks!

Sorry for the radio silence... I haven't forgotten about you. I really appreciate all your comments about budgeting. My BH and I are going to record all of our purchases, no matter how small (or large, ahem) and make some changes from there. I'll let you know how it goes! Here's hoping we learn some good budgeting skills in the process.

I'm writing you smack in the middle of the OCFF conference which I have been excited for all year. Last night I was playing at / attending concerts until 4am, and although I'm a bit of a night owl, that was LATE. I'm a night owl with a day job, so I don't often push my limits like that.

As much as this conference can be a wild, crazy, mildly stressful and expensive venture, it's also completely worth it. I'm particularly happy that it's taking place a ten minute walk from my house, instead of a six hour drive to a city I don't especially like. I've already had a bunch of adventures, some of which involving drunken males who were too fucked up to know how to be appropriate, but some involving great musical exposure. Tonight I have two more gigs, for which I am both excited and totally, nauseatingly nervous.

Speaking and drinking and nausea, have you guys ever tried a Dark and Stormy? It's Bermuda rum, ginger beer and lime juice. I drank a pitcher of it last night! It is excellent and I recommend it to all of you. Just don't drink the whole pitcher.

Here are some shots of the pre-concert preparations. I'm considering skipping the workshops today so I'll have energy for the shows tonight. It's already the afternoon, anyway. People at the hotel are probably just waking up.




PS: Oh! And three minutes into the room setup, I mashed my hand behind a wardrobe and bled on the hotel sheets. I sure know how to party! Good thing Shawna travels with a first aid kit...

October 22, 2008

The Dreaded Budget

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Owwwww. I just did my first real household budget. Owwwww.

You know, I used to be Miss Efficient. I would plan out every penny coming my way and I would never go over. Granted, that was when I was in university and working retail to make ends meet. I couldn't afford to mess it up. I'm still pretty good at making savings plans and doing basic financial planning, but apparently I have developed a weak spot since I started making office-style money:

Budgeting.

I guess I should say that my BH and I share this weak spot together. It's very much a combined (lack of) effort. We both have areas where we completely drain the bank, all the time convinced we are being prudent. Do you know how much we went over our budget for the month of October? DOUBLE. We spent twice what we should.

I honestly thought I had entered something incorrectly when I filled out my little excel chart. I blinked a few times and thought... "We couldn't possibly have spent double, right? I'm seeing things, right?" Ha ha. I wish.

We've both got to get this under control if we ever hope to swim out from under our school and music debt. The next step is making a new budget and sticking with it. I've read that the money envelope system is a good way to stay on track. For example, we would take out our grocery budget in cash at the beginning of the month, put it in an envelope, and only use that money when we need groceries.

If we run out, we've overspent. Sucks for us.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to think of some cheap and easy snack/lunch/dinner ideas. That's one of the areas where we're hurtin'.

Does anyone else have good budgeting tricks? Or maybe has some problems following their own budget? Because, I've gotta say, looking at my expenses over the past month makes me feel like a gigantic ASSHOLE.

The good news: charting all our household expenses gives me something new and organize-y to obsess over. You know how much I like that.

October 21, 2008

Armoured Bear

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Aaah, I am decompressing a bit.

I finally had some time to figure out my messy OCFF schedule, something which had been weighing on my brain for, well, the past couple of months. It looks like I'll be playing several guerilla showcases as well as one official showcase, all starting after midnight this coming weekend. The concerts stop at 4am. Who's gonna be tired? Me!

Other than the craziness of the conference, my thoughts have been preoccupied with.... CHRISTMAS! I know, I know. It's far away, and who wants to think about capitalism's favourite holiday? I do, especially since I'm aiming to cut my costs down this year, and that's going to require some careful planning. I'm also hoping to fill my time with crafts and cooking, something I rarely have time to do during the December rush. I've actually booked off a full week, instead of one measly day, which will probably make all the difference in the world.

I'm especially excited about the holidays because Andi and I have hatched a brilliant plan. No gifts within our group of friends. Instead, we are all getting together for a big loud supper so we can enjoy each other's company. I spend so much money on small things for my buddies that I end up feeling more panicked than anything else. My impending credit card bill takes over my mind and I swear I lose sleep over it. No more! Food, drink, and inappropriate jokes. C'est tout. I'll get crazy drunk and lose my purse, and we'll all go home.

I realise Halloween is coming up in a matter of days, but without the dirty pumpkin carving contest, I feel lost. I don't even know if kids trick or treat in my new area. I think the extent of my Halloweening will be dressing Morty up as an armoured bear.*

Yes, I know, it is going to be awesome. And I promise at least one photo, providing Morty doesn't throw off his costume in a violent bear rage.

*But you need to say it like they do in the movie... With a British accent. "Aaaah-mad beaaaaah."

October 19, 2008

Delightful

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This weekend has been delightful. The weather? Amazing. The food? Awesome. The Morty? Cute!

Except when he woke up this morning and proceeded to crap what seemed to be an entire stick along the length of my hallway. That was not so great. Stumbling outside in frosty weather wearing pajamas with a puppy in mid-poo is embarrassing, but it's especially bad when your neighbour is standing right outside when it happens. The moral of the story? Don't let your dog consume a giant stick, even if he seems to love it at the time. Because the end result is wood chips out the bum.

I'm actually starting to dread my beloved OCFF conference this coming weekend. I haven't had a chance to plan it out like I hoped. Work plus work equals CRAZY TIMES and it's been very far from my brain. Hopefully I can get my shit together so that I can actually enjoy the folky goodness.

In the meantime, I'm off to make pumpkin and squash quesadillas and inspect my hallway for stray wood chips.

Happy beautiful fall.

October 16, 2008

Holy Mother

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Okay, I won't lie. Work is kicking my ass right now. Everyone is in a post-election tizzy and my workload had quadruplified. I'm even making up words on a whim.

I will still try to post with some regularity, but holy mother I am drained.

It's probably a good thing, then, that I don't have any gigs booked. Other than a jam-packed weekend at OCFF coming up, I've got nothing on my slate and I'm oddly relieved. Usually a gig-free future makes me nervous, but now? I will take the early nights and the extra time with my sweetheart and my gassy pup. Luckily someone just ordered three whole CDs off my web site, which makes me happeeeee.

Last night I was social. I headed down to New France with Megan and Jo to watch some furious debating. It was furious! And debate-y! Morty came along and behaved like a bit of a jerk until he finally passed out on the floor.

Watching the debate with other people made me realize something: I am an obsessive channel changer. If I don't like what someone is saying (cough cough John McCain) I switch. Commercial? Switch. Long, drawn-out suspense? Switch. I eventually settle back on the original channel, but not before taking a little walk through television land on the way. Because I didn't have this option last night, I spent a lot of time running after Morty and hanging out in the kitchen with the popcorn. It was better than listening to McCain talk about Joe the freaking plumber. I thought Obama had a nice smile, and looked a great deal calmer than twitchy McCain (who, by the way, looked so tense he was blinking with rapid-fire speed... BLINK BLINK BLINK. Why so tense, Johnny?).

The weather is delicious today and I am LOVING fall. A new cafe just opened up around the corner from me and my BH and I are doing to have a romantic coffee date there this weekend. I know it won't be long before things take a turn for the cold, so I'm going to enjoy it while I can. I'd better get out my knitting needles before the snow hits.... My urge to knit is tied predictably to frigid weather.

Just for a laugh, this popped into my head when McCain was going on about his energy plans last night. I had to stifle a giggle.

October 14, 2008

Photo Update!

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