My day started off badly when I discovered that my upstairs neighbour is not very nice. I would go into details but I am still pissed off and should probably calm down before I go blathering about it.
Moving on. Angrily.
It has been said that I am not great at keeping track of gift certificates. Sadly, this is true, even though they are my favourite sort of gift. Long story short, I went to HMV yesterday to spend a gift certificate that I'd had for three years. Although I don't buy music from HMV, I have been watching more and more movies since my free cable vanished. You can imagine my glee when I was able to buy Funny Face, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Bon Cop Bad Cop, Casablanca and The Golden Compass with a dusty old card I had forgotten about.
They didn't have Don't Mess With The Zohan (yes, I actually went and asked someone to check if it was in stock) but I will go back for it later. Then I will watch it over and over and over.
I'm still bored crapless with this election. But that financial crisis? There's something interesting. Pretty amazing stuff, if not a little bit freaky. Even George W. looked spooked. I'm always curious how these moments will be played out in history books... Possibly because I love history and I am a gigantic nerd. Also, who doesn't like to see George W. looking spooked about something?
Halloween is coming up, and that usually means I'm getting ready for the (sixth? seventh?) annual Dirty Pumpkin Carving Contest. This contest is serious business. We carve the dirtiest scenes imaginable into firm pumpkin flesh and then take turns being grossed out at how filthy we are. It's always boys against girls. Girls always win (except for that one year.... cough cough... ewwww).
Amazingly, I don't think we'll be doing it this year. Key people are out of town, and honestly? I can't think of anything dirty enough to do the trick. We've used up all the best ideas on past pumpkins. I never thought I would see the day.
Oh, here's something cool... I'm featured in Ottawa Magazine! Like, an entire page with a giant picture. I've got nothing to link to, but check it out if you get the chance. I'm the one holding the banjo.
My day started off badly when I discovered that my upstairs neighbour is not very nice. I would go into details but I am still pissed off and should probably calm down before I go blathering about it.
I am back from taking Morty to the dog park. He beat up a massive Saint Bernard puppy. Well, not so much "beat up" as completely dominated... But anyways. Morty is a big tough guy when he feels like it.
Now I'm beat. Puppies are exhausting. I have chew marks on my hand and a slimy boomerang on my foot. Luckily Morty is beat too.
These pictures are from a house concert I went to last night. It was a great evening and they served cupcakes in a cute little cupcake stand.
That reminds me... I have a cupcake in my bag!! Awesomeness!!!
Completely random thoughts have been popping into my head all day.
"What would it take for me to not work at an office job? Realistically, how soon could I do this? What sort of savings would I need? What's my backup plan? I NEED A BACKUP PLAN."
"A licky boom-boom down. I don't get it either."
"My BH eats his food in sections: olives, pasta, salad. I eat my food all together: olivespastasalad. Fascinating."
"If I ever met Paul McCartney, I would tell him that Ram is one of the greatest albums ever made."
"Why does Meg Ryan look the same age now as she did when she made French Kiss? Didn't that movie come out years and years ago? ... I want to watch French Kiss immediately."
I am currently trying to calm my brain by cuddling with Morty on the couch. It's working. A bit.
Today was Accidental Parental Visiting Day. Both sets of parents came over unannounced, which was cool but embarrassing because there were so, so many dishes. Both the mothers tried (on separate occasions) to do chin-ups at the chin-up bar. Emphasis on tried. My BH is still the only person I know who can do chin-ups without making it look like a near death experience.
My mom asked me why I magically grew boobs and I illustrated the wonders of my padded bra by smacking myself in the chest. "See? I can't feel a thing!" I exclaimed. "And when I'm cold, nobody knows!"
"Magical!" said my mom.
*break while I watch Morty eat in his sleep*
I don't think this post is going anywhere, but I will leave you with this thought: Today, as I was watching the news, I felt suddenly panicked. Completely disheatened, cynical, and downright angry. I'm having trouble watching the news lately, and that's coming from a news junkie. I just can't find anything I want to hear about. I want to get me some earplugs and go for a long walk.
Anyone else feeling that way? And is it just me, or is this election (Canada) the most boring thing on earth?
I am diving into the world of accelerated savings, meaning that I am also diving into the world of budgeted living. I was operating on an unofficial budget until now, half-assedly monitoring the household spending to make sure nothing got out of hand. Now I need to do a little better. Now I need to make an *actual* budget.
As I was shoveling pumpkin bread pudding into my mouth this morning (yup, autumn cooking has begun), I noticed the date. My CD release party was a year ago today! Nutty.
It's been a great year, music-wise. The album generated a bigger response than I could have imagined. Onwards and upwards! Perhaps someday I can pay down the studio-related debt. A girl can dream...
Now, maybe it's because I'm a quasi-Jew, but fall has always been the real New Year for me. January is no time to be turning the page - what, in a snowstorm? Start fresh with frozen feet and five hundred layers? FAIL. All I want to do in January is hit fast forward all the way until May.
September, on the other hand, is where it's at. Great food, charming weather, and that tingly back-to-school feeling. Everything about it spells New Year. So on that note, Happy New Year! Shana Tova! May it be full of pumpkin pudding and bulldogs (or whatever tickles your fancy).
The Black Sheep Inn show was yesterday, and it was crazy fun. The other acts knocked me out... Krista Muir is a powerhouse! She was playing the omnichord with convincing prowess, and her ukulele was gorgeous. Rae Spoon is dreamy and sweet and we chatted a bit about the difficulties in shifting from an acoustic setup to an electronic one. He is braver than me. I would probably manage to electrocute myself on stage whilst looping cuss words on my pedal.
I still haven't had a chance to upload those new Morty pics; it will be my sole mission tonight so you will have fresh puppy cuteness tomorrow.
An eventful morning.
I woke up (late, fuckity fuck), steamed some tofu and mushroom dumplings for lunch, and took off with my banjo to CBC. I think the interview and songs went well; I have my own criticisms of my performance (as usual) but I'm very pleased with the whole process. And yes, I did do an impression of Morty on the air. Good Lord.*
It occurred to me at the end of the CBC interview that I might have made it into today's version of Metro, and sure enough, there I was! I'm actually really proud of this article. I like the way it's written and I don't sound like a goof in the quotes. I sound like a Serious Musician (who may or may not grunt on live radio when asked).
Then I checked the Bitch website to find that they reach their target. Fricking awesome.
I've read a lot of comments about how if the magazine if having trouble, it's just not going to stand up to the big bad world of publishing. That's a good point, and worth discussing, BUT. A lot of small publishers/radio stations/businesses actively engage their audiences' support and have that to thank, year after year, for their survival. I donate to a small list of such places (like CKCU FM) and I'm proud to lend a hand if it means they get to keep doing what they do. In the case of Bitch, I think it's safe to say that writing about feminism isn't ever going to rake in the big bucks. Still, I think it's a publication that is worth having around, and I will gladly help out to show my appreciation.
So. My apartment is a mess. Like, it's gross messy. I've been trying to figure out why it gets messy so fast when I realized... We don't have a dryer, and because we are two adults with a drooly puppy, we do a fair amount of wash. This means a lot of drying racks, especially because it's been raining so much lately. These racks end up in every available corner, and they clutter up the house like you wouldn't believe. My project in the next few weeks will be to devise a plan to better organize my drying system.
I'm actually really excited to tackle this. Dorky? Yes. You would expect no less of me.
Last night I met one of my favourite poets ever. We have been communicating via e-mail for almost a year, but we didn't meet until now. She is every bit as charming as I imagined and I seriously debated getting her to sign my favourite poem of hers. Then we got distracted by wiggly Morty and crunchy tofu, so maybe I'll bug her about it next time... Thanks Erin B!
Speaking of wiggly Morty, I promise a picture update soon. I have some great shots of him looking like a depressed Jedi knight.
*It's also kind of exciting to see my (music) stats spike after going on the radio. Which reminds me... I should probably bring more CDs to Compact Music.
I will be on Ottawa Morning tomorrow at 8:15am!!! THE EXCITEMENT. They have requested that I do an impression of Morty on air, and I sincerely hope it happens.
I am really looking forward to playing this Sunday at the Black Sheep. You are all invited should you have the desire and a way to get down there. The show starts at 4:20, for mysterious reasons that may have to do with hippies.
Unrelated: Is it dorky for me to want to write fan mail to Bulldog magazine? Because I'm thinking of it.
And speaking of magazines, Bitch mag is in financial trouble. They are awesome and refreshing and it hurts my brain to think of a world without them. Go to their site and subscribe or donate... You get a charity receipt for your taxes, if you need extra incentive. I donated and subscribed, because having worked through many funding drives at CKCU FM, I remember how hard it can be to keep afloat each year.
I'll be at Babylon tomorrow night to see the Ladyfest lineup... Who's with me??
The weekend was lovely. And man, I could live in Montreal. Right this instant.
A good crowd of people came out to the show, and I managed to sell a bunch of CDs (with the profits going directly to the gas/clothing/wine fund). I'm not completely convinced that I played my best, but my BH disagrees, which is reassuring. And maybe it's not that I didn't play my best, but more that I felt very alone up there with the banjo and guitar. I'm seriously considering buying an electric guitar and a looping pedal. And maybe a synthesizer. That would sex things up a bit, right?
The rest of the weekend was as perfect as can be. We ate very well, and spent a lot of time cooking and relaxing with friends. The meals were gigantic and elaborate and worth every effort. I also learned a bit about Montreal real estate just in case my BH should happen to find employment there after graduation. You know. Just in case. Like, pretty please let a Montreal employer bribe you with loads of cash and a good job, baby. I'm down with it.
Perhaps the only stressful moment happened near the end of our visit when the parking garage tried to charge us $60 for a day and a half of space. The maximum rate for the weekend was $30, but of course they didn't have a good explanation for us and insisted we had been there for three days. What a scam. I got uncharacteristically angry and spoke to the crook who owned the garage. We argued for a while, and then he decided it wasn't worth dealing with some mouthy girl from Ottawa. He charged us $30 after all. I was too mad to feel victorious. I growled to myself for a good half hour after the exchange. My BH had to keep reminding me that I had won the argument.
It was our first car trip with Morty and he behaved liked an angel 95% of the time.
But seriously, he didn't have any accidents at our friend's house despite being totally out of his element. He played well with other dogs and was content to hang out in his crate when we were out. The worst thing he did was get a big boner, like, eight times. But he didn't hump anything, so yay for Morty. Boners are cool as long as he's not trying to rub them on anything.
So ends another chapter in my longstanding crush on Montreal.
Next up: Ladyfest Ottawa!
Last night, my BH generously offered to take Morty on a long walk (read: 1 hour, because that's all the little guy can manage) so that I could practice for the Montreal show.
Good thing too, because as soon as Morty saw me take out the banjo, he went berserk and started barking his little brains out. We played a game called cover-the-banjo-in-treats-and-bribe-the-dog, which didn't go over very well with Morty OR the banjo. They were both jumpy all evening. I tried singing some songs about steak but Morty only got more agitated. Poor little dude.
I eventually managed to squeeze in some rehearsal time, and now I will be playing a few covers as well as some really old tunes I forgot that I wrote. THE EXCITEMENT.
All that's left to do now is pack, pick up the rental and drive on down. Things I am looking forward to:
Drinking wine with friends and our puppies.
Visiting with my BH's relatives and their puppies.
Sunday at the dog park, hopefully without any asshole dog/owner issues.
Have a good weekend y'all.
I spent the day at a work retreat.
They call it a "retreat" like it's going to be a tropical vacation. As through scantily-clad cabana boys will serve me drinks while I reflect on my glorious career.
Instead, we were cooped up in a community centre with a table full of greasy muffins and a sheet full of team building exercises. You know what I find to be a more effective way of building team morale? Beer. But that's just me, apparently.
The whole thing was quite bizarre and made me wonder how seriously people take themselves in their work. Because they seem to be quite serious about it. I'll be the first to admit that while I enjoy my job, I get far more excited about what I'm having for breakfast (challah with jam and piece of homentshen, says my inner Jew).
It's been a funny week. I got to visit with the High School Boyfriend, and then to balance things out, the universe took The Colombian and put him on a plane to far far away. I got a much-coveted show for late October and then the universe took away one of my shows in early October. I made glorious cheese muffins, only to discover that they are not tasty cold and my toaster is broken. I went to buy a toaster and they were sold out.
But I did have a lovely time with my financial planner, and I feel very happy about being poor for the next while so that I can be not poor down the road. My financial planner worked for my grandfather, my father, and now for me. He said my grandfather would have been proud of me for being proactive about my finances, which made me want to cry in a nice way.
I leave you with this brilliant cartoon, which accurately portrays my initial reaction to Guitar Hero.
The fact that I adopted a puppy might have sounded ironic to those of you who know me well, because I have always been a bit afraid of dogs.
I seem to attract the more aggressive ones, the ones that nip, bark and lunge (similar to the way I attract the weirdos on the bus or the sociopaths on the walk home). As such, I've always been very cautious around large dogs that can overpower me.
I've let go of that fear recently, because Morty has taught me the basics of what makes a dog tick. I'm a lot more at ease around dogs, or at least, I don't cross the street to avoid them.
For that reason, I didn't think twice when I went with Morty to the dog park yesterday. I would keep him on leash, let him meet some other doggies, and then go home.
You can imagine my panic when, after ten minutes of casual socializing with the dogs and their humans, Morty and I both got swarmed by five very large dogs, and we were both bitten. I literally had a big chocolate lab hanging off my arm at one point, and had to yell for help before any of the owners did a fucking thing.
So I'm back to square one, not willing to take Morty back there without my BH and maybe a panther to keep away aggressive asshole dogs. And I'm sorry, but if you know your dog has some behavioural problems, don't be a piece of shit and take them off leash around other people and their pets. If your dog attacks people or animals for kicks, take them off leash in your own backyard or in the countryside. Don't take the chance that they might grab some girl by the arm and try to gnaw off her puppy's leg. Got that, fuckface dog owner?
I was so surprised by the whole thing that I pretty much scooped up a traumatized Morty, speed walked out of the park, and shook the whole way home. The finger that the dog bit actually still aches today, although my arm is feeling fine now. Morty was bleeding, and I felt like the worst dog mommy in the world. I changed into pajamas and watched Dodgeball with Morty until my BH came home and cuddled us better. We let Morty sleep in our bed last night; a rare event that pleases him greatly because he somehow manages to spoon us both at the same time.
Now I'm trying to think of something cheerful to tell you all. Can't very well end on a bleeding puppy note, can I?
Well, I'm going to see my financial planner tonight. I loves me some financial planning. I am doing some anticipatory calculations just for fun.
I think that's as good as it gets today. Sorry folks.
What a weekend.
I showed up to brunch on Saturday mildly hungover. It wasn't my intention, especially since I hadn't had that much to drink the night before. My mistake was ordering very sugary martinis, which always make me feel like ass the next day. Oh, but they are yummy.
Regardless, I had the nicest time. It was lovely to meet some of the folks behind the words, find out what connections we have in common, and hear about Milan's knowledge of oily tools and mushroom foraging. When the conversation turned to the subject of bras, I weighed my options: Should I mention that I am wearing my Magical Padded Pushup Bra? Would that add anything to the debate? By the time I decided to go for it, we had changed topics to "survival fat." No boob talk for me. Probably wise. I was trying to be on my best behaviour, after all. It would be contradictory for me to start gesturing enthusiastically to my chest.
I *may* have started a discussion about Morty's balls, but it was only to say that they are slightly less adorable now that they are, uh, getting large. They haven't reached the point of being "scary dog balls," they are just "bigger." He still can't reach them with his mouth (although he tries), which is probably good considering that a lot of children live in the area. I cut the conversation short because of that whole best behaviour thing. It's new for me, obvs. It takes real dedication not to be offensive.
After reading David's review of Ju Xian Yuan, my BH and I decided to have an impromptu date night to try out the food there. It. Was. So. Delicious. The table next to us recommended the salt and pepper tofu when we were finishing up, so I'll have to order that one next time. Next time, like, tonight? No I can't afford it and yes I'm still considering it.
Haha, sorry. A commercial just popped up on the screen featuring a woman talking about her long distance plan, and she is patting a dog that is clearly fake. This dog could not get any faker, but there she is, patting it and talking about her long distance. Creepy!
The Montreal gig is this coming weekend and I am totally unprepared. Every time I take out my instruments to practice a bit, Morty goes ballistic. I haven't decided how to deal with it yet. I am close to smothering my banjo in chopped liver. Ew, I take that back. It sounded funny in my head until I pictured it and gagged.
I have no way to end this post smoothly, so I will say this: Woo hoo! Another federal election! I am so super psyched to go through this process again!
Taking the summer off from music was strange.
While it certainly relieved some of the stress while I was moving and mopping up dog pee, it also left me feeling unfulfilled and listless.* Writing songs is one of my few outlets, and while I didn't feel bottled up, I also didn't feel like I had a purpose without music. I kept having mini crises where I wondered if I would be working in an office for the rest of my life.
Maybe I'm still having that argument in my head. I keep telling myself it's a means to an end, but man, some days I feel like a vegetable.
Regardless. Now it's autumn, and I have a nice collection of shows coming up. This has me feeling encouraged, and I am gearing up to throw myself back into the music scene, even if nobody noticed I was gone in the first place. Montreal is next weekend, which will be especially fun since my two boys are coming with me. Then it's Ladyfest Ottawa, which I haven't played in about four or five years. This should be a wicked show, partly because it's at the lovely Black Sheep Inn, but also because I am playing with two of my musical faves, Rae Spoon and Krista Muir (formerly Lederhosen Lucil!). Then I'm back at the Sheep for a gig with my good friend Rozalind MacPhail, who I'll also play Kemptville and Toronto Island with. And then?? OCFF!**
I love this conference. This is one of the few times per year I don't feel like a folky, tattooed freak show. Everybody there is a folky tattooed freak show, and we're all cool with it. This year I get to attend workshops called: "Reality Cheque: Can You Really Make a Living as a Folk Music Artist?" (the answer: a resounding NO) and "The Folk Singer Shall Inherit the Music Industry." Yup. I've also booked a room on the music floor of the hotel, where people hold room concerts until about 4am. And I think, maybe, I might have just been invited to play a late-night showcase. EEK.
There's a lot to look forward to this season. Beyond the music, I've already had my first bottle of local hard cider and holy shitballs it was good.
So... What I'm trying to say is... Those leaves on the ground? They can stay. They bring good things with them.
*Listless is an odd word for me to use, because although it accurately describes how I felt, it also manages to poke fun at the fact that I keep a book full of lists on me at all times.
**The Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, for everyone reading except Shawna.
One thing I forgot to mention about my visit with Heather. As she put it, "What happened to your blog? It's so... White!"
Yes. Well, after my sexy red template died, I was unsure how to proceed. Milan thoughtfully sent me the lost images and told me in very simple technical speak how to host them myself. Which my brain translated as "turkeys! giant turkeys!" and that's when I decided to go with one of Blogger's many boring templates. It's tough to choose from one boring template to another, but since many of the other options were boring AND ugly, I went with white. I anticipate that I will one day have a sexy template again, but for now I am going all minimal and clean.
Last night I had dinner with The Colombian. We have been friends for a long time, him and I. Since we were both in grade seven, when he wore these truly hideous gold shorts that I *think* he still owns.
We ended up at the same high school, and formed an odd sort of friendship where we argued constantly about politics but still loved each other's company. We would hang out and fight, and then go swimming, and then watch historical films. It was great. Not much has changed since, despite pretty drastic geographical differences and occasional bouts of internet silence. He's about to go away again, and I found myself getting choked up during the meal thinking about how long it would be before he came back. But at least he got to hang out with my BH and Morty a bit, which I'm thankful for. I'm also pretty sure that Morty farted on him at least once during the visit. Let's face it. That's awesome.
Morty is starting to spend longer days alone with me at work and my BH at school. Today is our trial day to see how he does. I am praying that he doesn't crap on himself. Poor little dude.
Here's something odd. Of all the things I miss about our old house (mostly just the yard), having basic cable has come out on top. Our basic cable was an accident, and we weren't paying for it because it was already connected when we moved in. Although I didn't realize it at the time, flicking through our very limited array of channels was my way of winding down after work. I would watch half of Arrested Development, maybe a crime show in the evening... Nothing too involved. But it really relaxed me. Now that I get zilch in the way of channels, I find myself playing absent-mindedly with the remote while I daydream about cheesy evening television.
Still, I am not about to add another bill to our impressive collection. No cable for me. I will simply take up a new post-work hobby.
I learned a lot of valuable things from my dinner with Heather last night. Lessons about the beauty of friendship, the pleasure of good food, and the therapeutic effect of wine.
But most of all, I learned that when you are cutting hot peppers to throw into your gnocchi, do not scratch your eye. Even if you have washed your hands several times, do not scratch your eye. Even if you are sure there is no way hot pepper juice could still be on your fingers, do not scratch your eye.
Because if you do, you may find yourself in the bathroom frantically dunking your head into the sink to stop the infernal burning. I just kept repeating "oh no oh no oh no" as though that would dull the pain. It didn't. The throbbing, hot, searing sensation lasted well into the night. My BH kept trying to attack me with an ice pack, and I evaded him mostly because I couldn't see him very clearly and so kept walking away. Morty was all, "What's the crazy lady doing?" and I was all "Maybe I should walk into this wall."
Some useful things we've done in the past week:
- ordered a telephone so that people can call us on our land line. not that we have access to voicemail yet...
- ordered a battery for our laptop because our current battery lasts for 0.04 seconds! useful.
- bought a super duper on sale air conditioner so Morty doesn't freak out during the next heat wave.
- gave away nearly everything we weren't using anymore.
- memorized the Primus customer service number. this is essential for new Primus customers everywhere.
- spilled turmeric on the white table cloth and then SCREAMED.
Yeah, so it's same old same old with us. But the good news is that my Mystery Cough is slightly less violent today. It's not rattling the windows anymore.
Wicked was amazing. You don't need to like musicals or Broadway or even the NAC, but you would still like Wicked. Really. My only regret is not bringing my mom to the show, since she used to design theatre costumes and would have swooned over the outfits. They were outrageous.
So I walked out of there on a theatre high, all cheerful and giddy, and realised that the whole production actually made me a bit depressed that my creative juices have stalled. How do you get your artistic mojo back after it's gone on holiday? I tried writing a song over the weekend and discovered to my dismay that Morty is scared shitless of my instruments. He spent half the day hiding in the kitchen because there was a guitar in the bedroom and a banjo in the front room. When we lured him into the front room with treats, he bared his teeth at the banjo and growled.
Growled! At my banjo!
Anyhow. He cheered right up when he got to visit with Jo and Shy Dog. At one point he was laying directly on top of Shy Dog and chewing on her neck. She was not impressed, but was remarkably patient. Thanks Shy Dog! I promise you that it doesn't get much worse than that! (Okay, it does, but he hasn't done the Slow Hump in a while.)
Later on, my BH and I hunkered down and cleaned the apartment like crazy people. Now we have a sparkly home just in time for school and the beautiful changing leaves. Have I told you how much I love fall? I love it. LOVE IT. I especially love fall food, and I look forward to making delicious pumpkin treats in the coming weeks. I was all ready to make pumpkin muffins when I discovered that none of our muffin tins made it to the new place after the move. This must be remedied. Vite vite.
Tonight I woo Heather with dinner and wine. I will try to remember to put the instruments away so we aren't serenaded by the sound of Morty's growls as we act all distinguished and classy. Haha. Okay. We're not super convincing, I know. I will report any drunken antics should they occur.
Ahem. WHEN they occur.