Thursday, 2 July 2015

Very Vivian - Summer Vacation

It seems like it's been quite some time since I've written a "Very Vivian" post, not because I haven't had anything to say but because she's been so busy!  Now that we've finished up with school and dance, we have been able to take a few days to catch our breath!  As much I love having her busy with activities, it's nice to have a couple of weeks without them!

I'm so happy with how her first year of school went.  Even though we had some days of "I don't want to go to school" by the end she seemed to really be loving it, and she's changed so much in a year!  She speaks so clearly now, and it's so funny to hear her talk through things and make her little jokes.  I love seeing how social she is too - kids seem to really be drawn to her and she always seems to play with everyone.



This summer we have a couple of sessions of swimming lessons lined up, which should keep us pretty busy.  She has just been dying to get into that pool - I love when we have the 5:30 p.m. lessons too, it really helps the evening go by quickly!  After all the swimming we will hopefully do a few days of Circus Camp through her dance school.  Ever since the dance recital a last week she's been talking about how much she loves to be on the stage - I think she's really going to miss dance lessons this summer!



Beyond that, we have Sunday night sleepovers at Grandma's house every week and then she goes to the Best Start program in Grand Bend with Lucas and Blair and my mom's foster kids.  I don't know what it is about Best Start, but Vivian goes crazy for that place.  She loves it.  In fact, most of the fights we had about school this year were because she wanted to go to Best Start every day instead of going to school.  She's a weird kid.

September will be bringing a lot of changes as we will be starting at our new French Immersion school.  I'm so excited for her to start there - I think she will really do well with the French program.

She's heading up for some cottaging with her dad this weekend, and hopefully she and I can have a little vacation at some point this summer too - maybe to the aquarium in Toronto or just to Niagara Falls for the weekend.  The damn strike has made it a little hard to make plans, but I'm sure we will find something fun to do.

It is nice to have those quiet days though - we both seem to enjoy our time just lounging around the house and colouring and watching Netflix!  A girl after my own heart.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Canada Day Canadiana Update

Happy Canada Day, guys!  Hope you're all enjoying the day with some combination of beer, poutine, and Nanaimo bars!  I figured today was as good a day as any to show a couple of new items I've added to my beloved Wall O' Canadiana!

I found this little plaque of Jasper at Value Village a couple of weeks ago.  I've never been there, but that didn't stop me from hanging it on my wall!


I also found this little commemorative plate of the "New" City Hall in Toronto.  I love the building, so I was immediately drawn to the plate but then I noticed something on the back that really pushed me over the edge.  On the back of the plate there's a couple of little holes drilled through the lip with a small pink string running through it for hanging.  Nothing too unusual about that, except for the fact that I have another plate from Quebec that has the exact same hanging rig on the back!  I can only assume that they've both come from the same house, and it makes me so happy that they're together again!  It's kind of crazy since I found them months apart.  I'll be keeping my eye out for more!


I threw a bunch of my postcards into a frame to fill in the one corner of the room - now I have both the Old and New Toronto City Halls on display!


I've had this pillow case for awhile, but hadn't done anything with it.  I don't know if hanging it from binder clips and thumbtacks actually counts as "doing something with it", but that's what I've done.  Sure it would be better suited on an actual pillow, but I'll get around to that at some point.


And here's the whole corner.  Obviously I didn't try to clean anything up before taking the picture.


I know that this little collection isn't for everyone - it's definitely a bit of a strange and acquired taste!  But it makes me so happy finding little bits of ephemera and keepsakes that other people have no use for and displaying them proudly.  O Canada, indeed!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Custom T-Shirts in 18 Simple Steps

I'm kind of notorious for making things more difficult than they need to be. Case in point, this past weekend I decided I had had enough of wearing my picketing sign and if the strike was going to continue I was just going to make some shirts instead. Seemed simple enough, especially when everyone said things along the line of "Oh yeah you can totally get shirts made really cheaply".  Nonsense! Why pay someone to make a shirt quickly and professionally when I can DIY that shit?  It's so simple, I'll tell you how!

1. Go in search of printable fabric transfer paper.  
2. Only find paper for inkjet printers, when you own a laser printer. 
3. Give up on the printable transfer idea. 
4. Go to Michaels and grab a random assortment of iron-on letters, paying no attention to what letters you might need. 
5. Buy an assortment of tank tops. 
6. Buy an iron. 
7. Construct a makeshift ironing board on your living room floor. 
8. Cut up the letters and realize you don't really have enough to make the phrases you want. 
9. Begin to combine various sizes and flip letters upside down to try and make the phrases you want.  
10. Realize that the shirts are kind of going to look like ransom notes, but be cool with it. 
11. Begin the process of ironing the letters on. 
12. Realize that you are either not following the directions correctly or the letters are faulty. 
13. Give up on the letters entirely and just take a Sharpie to a white tank. 
14. Try a metallic Sharpie on a black tank and realize that doesn't work super well. 
15. Buy bleach. 
16. Use a paintbrush to paint bleach on the black tank. 
17. Deem your efforts at least satisfactory and decidedly punk rock. 
18. Continue to picket in a lacklustre manner, but now with cool shirts. 



So simple! Anyone can do it! 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Not Great, Bob!

So yeah.  Here we are - week six of the strike.  There's not much happening that's positive - no new negotiations at this point after talks came to a conclusion on the weekend.  It's...frustrating, to say the least.  I'm thinking about writing more about the strike later this week, but I'm not sure how much of my thoughts I want out there.  In any event, my general reaction to everything strike related can be summed up in this gif.


Oh, Pete.  One of my favourite moments of yours.  Don't ever change.

But let us not wallow in self pity and picket duty!  Let's marvel at this week's treats, shall we?  Onward, friends.


  • I've been slowly catching up on my backlog of tv shows - this week I finally ploughed through Gotham.  While it almost lost me in the middle, I thought the last four or five episodes were strong enough to lure me back for a second season.  Now I just need to finish up Daredevil and then I'm ready to move on to Arrow!
  • I actually got to pretend that I'm a real grown up this week since I had a French court scheduled for Brantford.  Holy crap, you guys.  I was so excited.  I got to put on a dress and heels and makeup and be in a courtroom again!  It was awesome - I even took full advantage of my lovely day by doing a little mall wandering and trying on some clothes since it felt so nice to be out and about and not be a sweaty disgusting mess from picketing.  It was so nice that I took pictures in the fitting room at Maurices, just for the blog.  Yay for summery plaid dresses!  (Also I bought that black top hanging beside me)



  • It was so wonderful to see the US get on board with marriage for everyone this week - and especially nice to see how celebrated the decision was.  Not to brag or anything, Canada has already been cool with it for a decade, but good job catching up, 'Murica.
  • Jenn and I got ourselves some tickets to go see Kevin Smith in Windsor this August and I could not be more excited!  I've been wanting to see one of his "An Evening With" shows for ages and I'm so glad that I get to do it as a little summer roadtrip with my hetero lifemate!
  • There was a guy on the picket line today who was wearing a shirt that said "Gongshow" and it made me supremely happy since that about sums up the whole strike experience.
  • I got to go swimming this week - always a plus.
  • Mom, Courtney and I took the kids to Glass in Motion in Grand Bend on Sunday where the kids got to make their own suncatchers out of coloured glass.  It was a really fun process and the kids just loved it - perfect rainy day activity!



  • A rainy Saturday made for the perfect day to have a games night!  It's always good weather for Catan and Cards Against Humanity!  Plus the Adultrivia game I got at a yard sale for a quarter proved to be quite entertaining!
  • Starbucks shaken black tea and lemonade with a peach flavour shot help get me through a picketing shift - even when they spell my name wrong on the cup.



  • Big Brother is back!  My guiltiest of guilty summer pleasures!
  • I had a whole Saturday daytime with nothing to do.  I should have cleaned the house, but I did manage to get a bit of work done on transcripts and mostly just enjoyed puttering around in my pajamas for most of the day.  It's always such a luxury for me to just be alone in the house in the daytime!
  • I treated myself to a new picketing bag this week.  Since it looks like we're not going to be back to work any time soon I decided I needed to upgrade my standard tote bag.  It's a pain just having something over my shoulder while I walk, so I wanted a nice casual crossbody bag.  I got this one through Chapters/Indigo and I love it!  It's roomy, but not bulky, and perfectly casual.  And I got it just in time for Canada Day this week!


Enjoy the weird week this week, guys!  Having the holiday fall on a Wednesday definitely makes things interesting - and no doubt very unproductive on Thursday and Friday!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Strathroy Antique Mall Wandering

Summertime means lots of wandering for me - I did a tour through the Strathroy Antique Mall the other day, and even though I didn't buy anything I took lots of pictures for you guys!

I already mentioned this vintage tin dollhouse - I'm still thinking about going back for it, it was $45 if I remember correctly.


I have a fondness for Pepsi memorabilia, if only because Coke stuff is so pervasive.  This old fountain machine was pretty awesome - although I'm not sure how functional it would be and it's quite a gamble at $295.


I loved this vintage view of London, but couldn't find a price on it.


Ooh, hello little vintage mailboxes.  You should come home with me, but you were $595 so probably not.


I do love a flamingo, even though they're pretty trendy right now.  I really wanted one of these flamingo things but they were all so pricey for what they were.  The print was $49, which isn't terrible but the colours were too washed out for me.  


Then these little guys were $19 each and I thought they were a little meh for that.


This was pretty exciting - I'd never come across some real Catherineholm cookware and was seriously tempted by this bad boy, but at $79 I couldn't do it.


Now you guys know how I feel about vintage crates, but I had never seen a vintage banana crate before.  This thing was massive - hopefully you can get a sense of scale from the items in front of it.  It looked like it was in really good condition too.  It was $249 though, and I hadn't a clue as to what I might do with it.


Ah the pulldown map.  This was in pretty great condition - and as luck would have it I saw another one just like this at the Forest City Flea.  This one was $95.


I know, again with the crates.  But an explosives case?  Much cooler than my apple crates.  $49 for this one - just for reference, I got 30 of my apple crates for $100.


I know I've taken a picture of this before, but I just can't resist anything that features that Middlesex Courthouse.  Although, now that I look at it, that flagpole seems oddly tall.  I think this one was like $150.


How adorable is this little case?  It has sleeves for the records inside and I just love the graphic on it.  $15 for this, but no idea what I would do with it.  I suppose you could tear out the dividers and use it as a purse if you didn't want to store records in it.



I loved these nursery rhyme prints - they were just so charming and colourful.  They were $20 each, which isn't bad at all, but just not something I could justify for my own amusement.




Full disclosure - I've never been to Mother's Pizza, but I know that people go crazy for it so this crate amused me.  $25 would make it yours.


I was sad that I didn't leave with any new treasures, but sometimes it's just as much fun to take pictures to share with you guys.  Lots of time left this summer for treasure hunting!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Outfit of the Day - Office Iron Man

Hey, remember how I used to have a job?  And I got dressed like a grown-up for that job?  Except for the days when I didn't want to look like a grown-up so I would wear some superhero shirt and throw a cardigan over it and pretend that that made me look like a grownup?  Well I found some old pictures from one such outfit!

So, this was the special tank top that I got for Free Comic Book Day/to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I'm a DC girl through and through, but I wanted something Marvel for that event.  The top is from Her Universe, but I actually got it on Amazon to save on shipping.  I was expecting it to be a little looser, but it still works.


I stuck with my rule that you can dress down a top for work as long as the rest is office appropriate, so a cardigan and skinny black jeans it was!  I went with my gold sandals instead of ballet flats or heels though, because it seemed more Iron Man appropriate.


I wasn't in court that day either, so I felt okay about being a little more dressed down.  Plus, a cardigan makes everything okay.

Top - Her Universe
Cardigan - Old Navy
Jeans - Old Navy
Sandals - Target


Monday, 22 June 2015

Treats of the Week - Choosing Kindness

This is the start of week 5 of the strike, which is officially longer than I was anticipating.  I dunno guys, it's rough out there.  I'm trying to stay positive though - and had a very treat-filled week to help keep me going!


  • Vivian had a field trip this week and a friend of mine was one of the parent chaperones.  She messaged me later asking about Vivian's lunch.  I had sent what has become our standard - a cut up hot dog with a little container of ketchup for dipping, along with various snacks and fruit.  She was so relieved to see that someone else sent their kid to school with just a hot dog instead of some elaborate meal.  That's me, lowering the bar for everyone.
  • I had a great day on the picket line on Friday thanks to visits from three lovely friends.  Jenn and I even got some Stobie's in the park on my break - definitely a great way to start the weekend!


  • The McLobster is one of my great loves.  I mean, I love me some McDonalds in general, but the McLobster holds a special place for me.  I love lobster rolls, and while this one can't quite hold a candle to the ones I've had in New England, it's pretty damned tasty.  Plus I'm a sucker for the whole "limited time only" thing.


  • I got my hair done on Monday thanks to a colour class that my mom was participating in.  I love my new hair - it's much blonder than I typically go, but it works now that I'm all tanned.  My favourite part was walking into the shop and having the woman at the counter immediately recognize me - "You must be Tanya's daughter.  You look and sound just like her!"  



  • It was the dance recital on Saturday for Vivian, Blair and Lucas.  The kids did an amazing job - I'm always blown away by the talent at their recital.  I also managed to get myself roped in as MC for the event, so it was quite the chaotic day.  Between Vivian being in three routines, me dancing in two routines with the other moms (yeah, I got roped into that as well) and handling MC duties it made for quite the long day.  I got exactly zero pictures and videos, but I got to hang out backstage and hug Vivian the second she finished dancing and was told so many times that I did a great job - definitely a good day.




  • I've been posted at City Hall for the past week, and while it has its drawbacks, it also has its benefits.  I've especially enjoyed the walk to City Hall (I park a few blocks away to avoid meters) and being able to check out all the nice houses.  I love that Old North area, and it's so nice to see the houses up close.  I've even been going out of my way on my drive home to check out some of the smaller sidestreets just to see what I can see.
  • I got around to seeing Jurassic World this week, and while it can never come close to the original (Jurassic Park has to be in my top 10 movies of all time) I thought it was pretty fun.  I would say it's exactly what Jurassic Park would have been had it been made today - just a little overblown, and too much product placement.
  • I also got to see Jaws on the big screen for the first time - love that Hyland Cinema!
  • All of Vivian's artwork for the year came home today (and 90% of it went right into the recycling bin) but I loved seeing this composite picture of all the kids and what they want to be when they grow up.  I wasn't sure what Vivian's answer would be, and when I located her on the sheet I was so excited - I must be doing something right.



  • I was pleased to see these little bits of street art stuck to some light standards near City Hall.  Nothing mind blowing, but it made me smile nonetheless, especially on a hot day on the picket line.



  • It was also a great day for treats on the line - Kiwi Kraze dropped off frozen yogurt three times, and that adorable little Starbucks boy was sent over on Friday with some iced tea.  When we asked what he brought he announced, "I don't know, I just finished my WHMIS training, I don't even know how to work this thing."  Luckily for us he managed to figure out the carafe.


Choose to be kind, guys.  Whether it's just being there and visiting a friend or offering a drink or a helping hand.