Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Making a Move

Hey guys!  Just wanted to throw up a quick post to let you know that after 7 years and 1050 blog posts I'm moving my blog from Blogger to Wordpress.  I've been frustrated with the app and some of the features, which has made it difficult for me to post as often as I once did.  Hopefully this move will encourage me to start writing more frequently again!

So now you'll be able to find me at https://madamclerkblog.wordpress.com/  I hope you update your bookmarks and readers accordingly and follow me over there!  It looks a lot prettier too!

And don't worry - I've migrated everything over so all my old posts have come along with me!

Treats of the Week(s) - Fall Stuff

Hey guys - I have been eating it hard on writing these posts!  I'm finding them to be more and more time consuming, which is probably why I've been favouring Instagram lately!  It's funny - I really resisted Instagram at first because I didn't see the point in just sharing one photo at a time.  Now I appreciate it as more of a "micro blogging" platform and enjoy the challenge of telling a joke or a story in one photo and a short caption.

In any event - it is fully fall around here, complete with all the yard work that comes along with it.  Vivian and I have had a busy couple of weeks with my birthday (34 yo!) and Halloween, and a trip to Quebec for Vivian!  Here's what else has been going on - in no particular order because I was too lazy to organize photos like that.

  • On Sunday I got to see Face to Face for the first time!  It was a great show - and I somehow managed to survive being right up in the front row!

  • Sunday was also Brody's first birthday!  I haven't had the heart yet to tell Vivian that she missed the party since she was away on her trip to Quebec.

  • Jenn and I spent the day a few weeks ago wandering around London checking out vintage shops and anything else we came across.  While at the Brydges Street Market I found this vintage ad for the second time.  See, about a year ago I came across this amazing vintage Alice in Jello-Land advertisement.  I loved it - but it was $24 which felt a little steep for an old ad thrown in a frame.  So being the wise individual that I am, I walked away from it and assumed I could find a copy of the ad online, print it out and just frame it myself.  I googled and googled but came up with nothing about this ad campaign.  So I returned to Brydges for it, and of course it was gone.  I couldn't find it anywhere in the whole market, so it just got filed away in my memory for another time.  I don't know what happened with it, but it had magically reappeared when Jenn and I were there - same price too.  This time I happily handed over my $24 to take it home.

  • Apparently Coach is doing a line of bags with dinosaurs on them, so now I need a Coach bag.  Feel free to buy me one.

  • I'm still waiting on another gift from Dustin (apparently he's working on some sort of crazy project, which sounds about right).  But I did get this awesome Stranger Things print from Jenn for my birthday!  Hawkins represent!

  • My mom gave me a Bath and Body Works gift certificate for my birthday too, which was promptly spent on as many Twisted Peppermint things as I could get my hands on. 
  • In further birthday news - I actually won $14 on scratch tickets!
  • It's funny how thifting goes in cycles.  Lately I haven't been able to find anything London or Canadiana related, but I've been all over the vintage movie novelizations.

  • Vivian and I both agree that Halloween items should be worn year round, as evidenced by these crazy eye glasses.

  • This Halloween house in London isn't far from my work and they do such an amazing job!  I'm so glad I took the time to check it out up close this year.  All of the grave stones in the yard are for different celebrities who have passed away this year.

  • I got my birthday slice of pizza from Stobie's and I've basically never been more pleased with a piece of pizza.
  • Vivian's Halloween costume turned out amazingly well - I was so pleased with it, and she loved it!  None of the kids knew who she was, of course, but the parents did!  Adding Thing to her shoulder was Dustin's idea and it was the perfect touch.  

  • I also got to go to a pumpkin carving party at my friend Nikki's place, which was such a fun time!  I didn't go too elaborate with mine, and as always I wish I'd had more time to carve more!

  • It was Forest City Comicon this past weekend, which was a great time as always.  It was strange to walk around without Vivian, but there will be lots more cons for her.  I didn't pick up too many things, but I did find some fun pins and a great Wednesday notebook for Vivian, along with another poster for the basement.
  • I love getting sweet notes sent home from Vivian's teacher!

  • I'm sure there's more that I should be adding, but I can't think of any at the moment.  I'm expecting to be at my laptop on the couch all night watching election coverage though - you can follow me on Twitter @ashlieclerk for all my rants!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

October Horror

It seems like lots of people try to do a "31 Days of Scary Movies" in October, or something similar. It's fun! Those dark, cool nights just make you want to stay inside and cuddle under a blanket. Dustin and I started having scary movie nights back in the summer, since the list of movies I haven't seen is woefully long.

Here's the thing - I like scary movies. I've always liked them. But I don't like watching them by myself. It can be hard to find someone who wants to watch them with you! And I'm not big on slasher movies, but I love cerebral/psychological/thrilling/thought provoking/artistic/creative scary movies. So if anyone is looking for me in the evenings this month, there's a good chance I'm hiding my eyes with a blanket, cuddled up with some wine and some Dustin watching a scary movie.

Just in case you're doing a similar marathon, here's some of my favourite scary movies so far. Please give me your suggestions!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Yes, not exactly an original pick. BUT, I recently watched it for the first time and was so impressed with it. It does so much with such a simple premise - and I love how much scarier things are when they're shown during the day.

Paranormal Activity - Again, not exactly a groundbreaking choice but I have such a soft spot for this series! What can I say, I love a good jump scare.

The Conjuring 2 - The Conjuring was okay. I love Patrick Wilson (see also: Insidious) but I was kind of annoyed that nothing was actually conjured in the movie. The sequel though? It's awesome. It was clever and creative and restrained and brought genuine scares.

Grave Encounters/Grave Encounters 2 - Probably my favourite of what we've watched so far. The first one starts off kind of predictably - found footage of some people from a ghost hunting show who spend the night in an insane asylum. But I promise - keep watching. It is SO SMART and SO FUN, the action really ramps up in the third act and totally won me over. Amazingly, the sequel has an even more clever premise. It falls apart a bit in the third act, but the monsters and scares are still so fun and creative that you totally forgive it.

The Neon Demon - Is this a real horror movie? I think you could argue it a few ways. It's Nicholas Winding Refn (of Drive fame) at his most insane. Pretty people doing terrible, terrible things. It's not for the faint of heart.

Insidious - The sequel was pretty brutal, but I have a soft spot for the original. It's creepy and atmospheric and I love how they explain the hauntings that are occurring. Plus, Patrick Wilson is super dreamy.

The Shining - Yes, another heavy hitter. But this one tops so many lists for good reason. Watching Jack Nicholson unravel into madness in the hotel is truly terrifying. Visually, it's arresting and beautiful. Of course, I'm partial to the book (those topiaries scared me so much!) but the film stands on its own merits.

Saw - Yes, Saw. We watched this one recently because Dustin had never seen it. It was interesting to watch it again after the sands of time had passed and you realize how much influence it has had. If the ending hasn't been spoiled yet, it's still a good twist.

Goodnight Mommy - Nothing like a messed up foreign movie to mess with your mind a little.

Suspiria - Honestly, I'm not sure if I totally understood what was happening in this one. But it's gorgeous and haunting and the music is incredible.

Would you Rather - Alright, hear me out. It starts out kind of lame and cheesy, but then it totally embraces the cheese and just becomes crazy fun and really makes you squirm. 

Housebound - Like a little comedy with your horror? This Australian horror movie manages to balance comedy and scares without going to goofy territory. Plus, just when you think you have the movie figured out it totally takes a twist. Really keeps you guessing.

The Innkeepers - Super simple concept - an inn is closing down so there's only two people working for the final weekend. This one is really atmospheric and a slow burn, easing you into the scares and creepy feeling before the awesome third act.

We've watched a lot more, but those have been my favourites so far.  Let me know your picks - it's almost Halloween so the time is right for more movie marathons!

Friday, 21 October 2016

A Complaint

You know that shopping trip that you have to make every once in awhile? The one to the pharmacy or the grocery store where you end up dropping an insane amount of money on things that are going to be thrown away basically immediately? Paper towels, toilet paper, wet wipes, Kleenex, tampons, and the worst of the absolute worst - RAZORS.

I hate buying razors. In fact, if I ever won the lottery the first thing I would spend money on wouldn't be a new house or a fancy new car or anything like that. No, it would be a bunch of money on electrolysis so I wouldn't have to spend any of my newfound fortune on razors.

They're so expensive. I mean, things at the grocery store shouldn't have to be kept under lock and key like that. And then there's all the options! Two blades is a thing of the past - things need to have a minimum of three blades, if not five. And do you go for disposable? It seems like a waste, but I'll be damned if I can remember what kind of handles I have sitting at home. Thanks to product samples I have a lovely collection of dude razor handles at home (let's be honest, the dude ones are always better) but I should probably start carrying them around with me so I stand some sort of chance of actually pairing blades with the handles.

I'm pretty sure that the increase in the "lumbersexual" bearded dude is in direct correlation with the increase in razor prices. Dudes can't afford to be clean shaven! 

Maybe if they lasted a little longer it wouldn't be so bad. I mean, I shave my underarms every day. (Oh lord, why do I share so much?) I shave my legs almost every day if you average it out over the whole year. I shave other areas on a frequent enough basis, thanks very much. So it seems like a razor only has that wonderful sharp and fresh feeling for like a day before it ends up just dragging across my skin as I stubbornly continue to use it for weeks on end.

Occam's Razor states that the simplest answer is usually the correct one. (It's also an excellent name for a razor company, which is apparently what I should be starting to build this fortune.) Following that, I should probably just stop complaining about the cost of razors in my budget and just start waxing or something else. But try as I might I'm just not a fan of ripping hair out with hot wax. I'll tolerate it on my face, but I just can't get on board with it extending south of my neck.

Basically, I'm a giant whiner and I'm poor, but at least I'm smooth.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Treats of the Week - Typical October

It's my birthday soon, so true to form I'm starting to get sick.  It's pretty common for me to be sick for my birthday.  I'm not sure if it's seasonal allergies or that I just get run down in October or what, but what started as some sneezing at work this morning has morphed into my sinuses being packed and me waiting for my head to explode.  Hopefully it clears up quickly!

  • I have been desperately needing to mow my lawn lately, but haven't had any luck in fixing my lawn mower.  Luckily I have awesome neighbours who lent me theirs!
  • I saw a bald eagle on Sunday - the first time I've ever seen one out in the wild.  I thought this was a big deal, but anyone who I've mentioned it to has said that it's pretty common around here.
  • It's been a long time since I've picked anything up off the side of the road, but I found this chair on the weekend!  I have a red one just like it, and there's a green one at my work that I've been trying to get my hands on for years.  It's a little grimy looking, but nothing a Magic Eraser can't take care of.

  • On the weekend I finally made my way to Reaper's Realm!  I had no idea what to expect, so when we pulled up and saw the crowds it was a little overwhelming.  A 90 minute wait later and we were on the bus for the haunted forest ride!  Then it was on to the haunted houses, where Dustin and his friend Hank decided that it was far funnier to have me go in first so they could listen to me yelp my way through.

  • It was also the Friends of the Library sale on Friday and I scored some great stuff!  While Dustin was waiting for me to finish finding stuff, he took a seat on the steps to guard my pile of books and to check out one of his own.  I walked back to him planning to take a picture of him quietly reading and watching my books, but he caught me in the act and I ended up with this picture instead.  There's so much going on - I love it.  The look of surprise and confusion.  My pile of books on the floor.  The fact that I disturbed him while he was reading a book about Phil Hartman, and that this was the moment when he was reading about his untimely end.  His cellphone sitting next to him on the step, which would be left there until we drove back to retrieve it.

  • It wouldn't be fall without a trip to Twin Pines for some pumpkins!  I met up with Amanda and Emily and their crews of children for some pumpkin action, and of course to take pictures of the kids.

  • The other night Vivian wanted to try her hand at Guitar Hero.  I thought I would be really impressive and show her how it's done but it's way harder than I remember it being.

  • If you follow me on Instagram (or on Facebook) you'll see my new little project.  For years I've been wanting to take pictures of my favourite signs in London.  Just the weird, random ones that show their age and have something special about them.  I've always chickened out though because I didn't want to be a weirdo taking pictures of storefronts.  Even in the last couple of weeks I went to McCulloch's probably four or five times to take a picture but ended up chickening out each time.  I finally did it though, and it's actually been really nice.  So far I've taken pictures of about eight different places and am enjoying posting them and taking little walks to track them down.  You can find them all with #isawthesignlondon and let me know if you have any favourites of your own!
Those nighttime meds are calling my name...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Treats of the Week - What's with today, today?

Is everyone just anxious for the long weekend or what?  It seems like everyone is cranky and tired.  Or maybe I'm just cranky and tired so everyone is getting on my nerves WHO CAN TELL.  I'm definitely looking forward to the end of the week though - just one more day of work to get through then a little roadtrip on Friday!  Hooray!

  • It's been a couple of weeks since I've written one of these, so I don't think I've mentioned the London Comicon!  We had a great time again this year - Vivian went for her Princess Leia costume again and managed to spend all my money in record time.  We're so lucky to have two awesome comicons in London, and I'm happy to support them both!
  • This isn't really a treat, but a WTF.  I was out on my lunch break the other day when I saw this lady out in traffic at Wellington and Commissioners rearranging pylons.  I don't even know.

  • If you're not watching You're the Worst, you really should be!  I love the show - not only is it funny, but it's also a really important portrait of mental illness.  The most recent episode focused on a character's struggle with PTSD and it was so well done.  
  • Having a dude who works at a comic book store definitely has its advantages - like when he gets me a Pacific Rim Kaiju toy!

  • Vans has come out with a line of Toy Story shoes and they are so freaking cute.

  • When Dustin is over at my place I get a real insight into the creative artist process.  Sometimes you have to look at a piece from a new angle, apparently.

  • One of our interpreters at work sent us cards for Thanksgiving.  It was definitely a pleasant surprise!

  • I got a new tattoo last week too!  I know, I know.  It hasn't been that long since the last one.  It's actually kind of funny though - I had been planning this one for longer.  The artist who did my hawk and typewriter works in Barrie now.  We had talked about me wanting a flamingo tattoo, which he was really excited about so he told me that he would let me know when he was back in London for a guest spot.  He emailed me about a month ago to let me know he was in town so I took the chance!  I love what he drew up - now I just have to wait a few months until he's in London again so we can add some pink to it!

  • My friend Amanda came across this old picture of us and I can't really tell if it makes me happy or depressed.  Look at us - so young and without children or mortgages or any real worries!  Ah youth!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Fall is Best

Let's be honest - October is the best month.  Not only is it my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but the weather is perfect and there's sooooooo many cool things happening!  Here's what I'm looking forward to - let me know if you're doing anything cool too!

Reaper's Realm
I've never been to Reaper's Realm and I definitely want to make the trip this year!

Lost Soul Stroll
London's spooky history walk took a little break last year, but it's back this year!

Phantom of the Paradise
I've already got tickets for this event - yes, I'll go to Toronto just to watch an old movie.  It's a pretty rad movie though, and I love being able to see things on the big screen.

Halloween Comicfest
Check out your friendly neighbourhood comic book store on October 29th for free comics and fun surprises!

Storyspook Village
From October 21st to the 30th you can go to Storybook Gardens at night for Storyspook!  We took the kids last year and it was so much fun.  The volunteers do a great job of interacting with the kids and having skits and activities that are fun and spooky without being scary.

Kangaroo Variety
Kangaroo Variety is back after a summer hiatus.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.  Live interviews, storytelling, music, you never know what's going to be there!

RetroMania at the Hyland
I love the Hyland Cinema RetroMania nights.  They've got some great ones coming up too - this Friday is Conan the Barbarian and the October showing on October 21st is a Stranger Things-inspired double feature - E.T. and Poltergeist!

Giant Book Sale
Need I say more?  The Friends of the London Public Library book sale is an event not to be missed!  Similarly, the Strathroy Public Library book sale is happening this weekend - September 29-October 1.

Behind the Ropes
Want a chance to see Eldon House up close?  Check out the Behind the Ropes tour on October 15th.

Doors Open
One of my favourite fall events!  Doors Open is your chance to check out some of the most interesting buildings in London.  Best of all, it's free!  This year I'm hoping to see the Roundhouse, Normal School, and Grand Theatre.

The Great Ghost Hunt
What happens when you combine the Lost Soul Stroll, Behind the Ropes, and Doors Open?  You get the Great Ghost Hunt!  This is your chance to tour the Grand Theatre and Eldon House, hear the ghost stories and maybe even see one of their ghosts yourself!*
(*Ghosts not guaranteed)

Oh Wonder are awesome, and they're coming to London on October 25th!

If you venture out of London, the Port Franks Optimists are hosting a Free Halloween fun event for kids!  Unfortunately Vivian is out of town that weekend, but it's a great event for the community.

Want a sneak peek at what's cool and happening in November?  How about Atmosphere on November 5th, Face to Face on November 6th, and the Forest City Comicon that same weekend!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fall TV 2016 - Better late than never

Yeah, so I'm nowhere near being on the ball.  I'm pretty sure the ball is like, across the street at this point.  I usually do a nice Fall TV post in August to outline all the new shows I'm going to watch, but I just didn't get to it this year.  This makes sense since I'm basically behind on everything.  There's still lots of stuff I'm planning on watching though - although there's a good chance that I'll end up just marathoning through them a season at a time for the most part.  In any event, here's what I am/will be watching this fall.

Quarry (Cinemax, premiered Friday, September 9th at 10 p.m.)
Okay, I'm not entirely sure what this show is about, but it seems to be some sort of dark, violent, vigilante justice type dealio which seems cool enough.

Son of Zorn (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 8:30 p.m.)
Cartoons interacting with live action characters?  Sign me up.

Masters of Sex (Showtime, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 10:00 p.m.)
Okay, I'm still a season behind on this but I have high hopes that I'll get caught up.

American Horror Story: Roanoake (FX, premiered Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 p.m.)
So far I'm really digging the format of season 6, and apparently episode 6 is going to turn the whole show on its head.  I'm all in.

High Maintenance (HBO, premiered Friday, September 16th at 11:00 p.m.)
Want to know more about the world of bicycling pot dealers?  Yeah you do.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS, premiered  Monday, September 19th at 8:30 p.m.)
Everybody likes comfort food TV, right?

The Good Place (NBC, premiered Monday, September 19th at 10:00 p.m.)
I wasn't really expecting much from this show, but it's really great.  Kristen Bell's character is in heaven but shouldn't be.  It's pretty great seeing her play against type as the awful Eleanor trying to figure out what's going on.  It's got a real Pushing Daisies vibe to it.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:00 p.m.)
Can Terry Crewes be in more things?

New Girl (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 p.m.)
This show went a little off the rails last season but I still have hope for it.  I'll probably end up letting it pile up and watch a bunch all at once though.

Scream Queens (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 9:00 p.m.)
I LOVE THIS SHOW.  This is probably the one show I really look forward to watching each week - clever, quick, and lots of twists.  Love love it.

This is Us (NBC, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 10:00 p.m.)
You know about this show, they've been pushing the trailer down our throats since the Superbowl.  It's supposed to be pretty great, but I haven't tried watching the first episode yet.  Get your tissues ready.

The Goldbergs (ABC, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
Oh the Goldbergs.  This show makes me giggle like crazy - I hope it stays the 80s forever.

Empire (Fox, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
I still need to watch the second season, but I'm sure the third season is going to be great!

Pitch (Fox, premiered Thursday, September 22nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Pretty interesting concept here - the first female pitcher to play professional baseball.

The Exorcist (Fox, premiered Friday, September 23rd at 9:00 p.m.)
I don't know why I'm even considering watching this.  I've only seen the movie once, and it scared me enough that I don't really want to watch it ever again.  I've heard pretty much zero buzz about this, which is a bad sign.

The Last Man on Earth (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 25th at 9:30 p.m.)
Oh man, I love this show.  The winter finale last year made me cry.  If you aren't watching it you should definitely try it out.

Saturday Night Live (NBC, premieres Saturday, October 1st at 11:29 p.m.)
Pretty good hosts lined up so far this year - Margot Robbie is hosting the season premiere, and they're going to have lots of material with the election.

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 8:00 p.m.)
This show is pretty goofy, but in a fun way.  Looking forward to seeing what Ash gets up to this season.

Westworld (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Westworld is basically what HBO is hoping we all fall in love with to replace Game of Thrones.  It looks incredible - I can't wait to watch it.

The Mindy Project (Hulu, premieres Wednesday, October 4th)
I don't watch Mindy in real time anymore - it's so much better to binge!  They seem to post it quickly on Netflix too, which is perfect.

Frequency (CW, premieres Thursday, October 5th at 9:00 p.m.)
I love the movie, so I'm hoping the show is worthwhile!

Divorce (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 9th at 10:00 p.m.)
Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO - but not as Carrie Bradshaw.

Black Mirror (Netflix, premieres Friday, October 21st)
Oh man, I freaking LOVE Black Mirror.  The original BBC run is some of the smartest TV I've ever seen.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next - and just in time for Halloween!

What's coming up for midseason?  I'll be adding Scandal, Emerald City, Powerless, and Riverdale!

Friday, 23 September 2016

One Nightstand (Get it?)

I like nightstands.  You know when you see a magazine spread or a blog where they show you a nightstand and it's like a plant and a small lamp and that's it?  That's not a real nightstand.  I like seeing what people keep within arm's reach of their bed.  I spend a lot of time in my bed.  Many nights I eat there and watch TV there and basically live as though I have a bachelor apartment.  As such, my nightstand serves many purposes.  I love this little end table - I have two and have used them as nightstands since university.  They rotate around the house sometimes, but ultimately they are my favourite here beside the bed.  In university I used both - one as my "real" nightstand and one as an overflow for my school stuff.  Now the second one resides on the other side of the bed where Dustin covers it in coffee rings, DVDs and books.  

So what do I keep next to me?  Books, of course.  This is stage two of my TBR (to be read) pile.  These are the books that I'm planning on reading next.  I keep them organized into a pile of fiction and a pile of non-fiction since I like to bounce between the two.  The little owl dude was from Lucas, and I like to have candles around even though I'm pretty sure that the cats will set their tails on fire.  My earrings, which are rarely worn, hang out in the little egg carton tray.

The little campaign-style jewelry box houses the backs of my pins, along with bracelets.  On top is another tray (I like trays, okay?) for brooches since they don't work well on the cork board with my pins.  My anxiety meds hang out there too, because if they're not right in front of my face I'll forget to take them.  I'm 90% sure I forgot to take it this morning.  I also have an EOS lip balm hanging around back there.  They're my absolute favourite and are everywhere.  I keep bookmarks there too, and always have some sort of water glass or bottle hanging around.

The lower shelf is where my wrist braces usually hang out, since I wear them at night.  I don't see them in this picture though.  I know what you're thinking - wrist braces AND anxiety medication beside the bed?  HOT.  I also keep my comic books down there, I tend to wait a few months and then read a bunch at once.  There's also a workbook down there and anything else I might be working on.  It's not in the picture, but right now there's an adult colouring book and pencil crayons down there.  The spray bottle is glasses cleaner, and the shoebox at the back is for notes and cards since I'm basically still in high school.  The kettlebell typically is used as a doorstopper, although Vivian likes to lift them.

I feel like nightstands are kind of this little microcosm of ourselves.  Like the things that are closest to us at our most vulnerable state are what really define us.  Probably why the remote controls are nearest to the bed.

I know what you're wondering - no goody drawer?  You gotta work a little harder than that for the goody drawer.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Treats of the Week - There's Something in the Air

Do you guys feel it too?  Like along with those cooler nights and darker mornings we've been having, everyone's mood has been a little cool and dark as well?  Something about the shift in season, or maybe the full moon last week, or Mercury being in retrograde again seems to be making people a little antsy and annoyed.  I know I've been in full-on "let me just lie in bed all night watching weird documentaries and eating pizza" mode lately (that was literally my Saturday night, and it was awesome).  Today, Vivian came home from school and basically went straight to bed, announcing that she was too tired to go to yoga tonight.  I agreed and got into bed beside her to cuddle and read my book.

Yes, there's something in the air.

  • Summer might be winding down but Sunday dinners at my mom's are still summery - check out this beauty of a meal!

  • My brother Matt starts trade school today to be an electrician.  I sent him a text wishing him well on his first day, and said that I hope it wasn't a shock.  I'm expecting to get a lot of mileage out of electrician jokes.
  • Vivian has been really into Lush and bath bombs lately, and when she went there a couple of weeks ago she was nice enough to bring me home a flamingo shaped one.  Of course, she ended up using it herself but it was the thought that counts.
  • A paralegal at work told me my shoes were fantastic the other day, which is pretty great since they're not at all new.  Maybe people are just tired of seeing me wear the same sandals all summer.

  • My cousin Rusty got married a couple of weekends ago and it was such a beautiful wedding!  The ceremony was right on the lake and even though it was overcast and rainy for most of the day, things cleared up for the ceremony.  I didn't get many pictures, but there was a late night taco bar so it was basically the best.
  • I loved The Gymnasts books when I was a kid, and I still have the "Go for the Gold!" special from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  I've been keeping an eye out for them at thrift stores to have for when Vivian is a little older and finally came across one this week!  Check out the hair on that cover!

  • Wooooo new overnight parking rules!  I've already used one of my 15 overnight parking passes and it's so easy and awesome!  Planning on leaving your car overnight in London?  Head to london.ca first to register your plate so you don't get a ticket!
  • The snack food gods have smiled upon us and delivered Chalet Sauce flavoured Lay's and they're amazing.  I found some small bags at the Swiss Chalet here in Strathroy but haven't yet located the large size bags.  Someone hijack a truck for me so I can stock up.

  • I really wanted to go to Toronto for some shows at the Just for Laughs festival, but the timing and ticketing didn't really work out.  Luckily, I got to see a comedy show last week when we went to Toronto to see Eric Andre.  His live show was completely unhinged.  Like, I got sprayed by a super soaker and got ranch salad dressing on my phone, and by the end of the act he was completely nude on stage.  It was awesome.
  • I've been wanting to try out these little mini metal models from Metal Earth, so I finally picked one up last weekend.  They're not expensive - this one was like $15 - and I thought it would be good to focus on.  I like doing jigsaw puzzles, but my cats like to knock them onto the floor.  So far I've  managed to put together like 8 pieces of my T-Rex, and I think I need to pick up some Krazy Glue to repair a couple of pieces that I broke.  I'm still enjoying it though, but I probably should have followed the instruction that recommended watching a YouTube video about it first.

  • I saw a dog riding with his head sticking out of the sunroof of a car the other day.  That dude knows how to live.
  • I finished watching Gilmore Girls so I'm totally ready for the revival in November!  Now I'm in that weird stage where I don't know what to watch next - I started catching up on Scandal the other night, but I need a new series to binge on.  Maybe I'll finally get around to watching The Wire.
  • New shirt that I probably/definitely need.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Treats of the Week - Staycation

I've often said that in order for me to get anything done around here I would have to take a week off work and a week off Vivian.  It's amazing how much energy you lose by the time you get through a day of work/parenting.  This week, I took a staycation.  I had a mini one there last month, but I wanted to take the first day of school off and then I needed to take Thursday off to work a French court.  It seemed silly to go to work on a Wednesday and a Friday, so I rounded up and called it a week off.  It's been AWESOME.  I've gotten so many things done around the house - just little piddly stuff that I never seem to get to.  It's only Wednesday and I've already destroyed my to-do list - all that's left is a second coat on the garage (I was going to do it tonight, but decided against it when I saw they were calling for storms tonight) and some proofreading.  I hit my transcript typing goal today (about 60 pages typed) and still had time to meet a friend for lunch and get Vivian from school.  I could get used to this.

  • Why yes, of course I grabbed the special variant cover of Civil War II featuring Justin Trudeau.  Might just end up on the Wall O' Canadiana.
  • Vivian had a successful start to Grade 1 - she's in a Grade 1/2 split class, which I'm not crazy about.  But we're three for three for no tears on the first day of school!

  • Friday I swung by Filthy Rebena to check things out - it's a great vintage shop on Dundas.  They've also started carrying some pins from No Fun and Rosehound Apparel, so of course I couldn't resist a couple, along with some vintage pin finds.

  • Scary movie nights have continued this week with a viewing of Would You Rather at home and then Don't Breathe at the theater.  I've officially decided that scary movie nights will continue through the Halloween season, and then in November can switch to non-traditional holiday movies with Black Christmas serving as the link between the two.
  • Today is the lovely Jenn's birthday!  We celebrated at her place on Saturday with a game of Pictionary - come on, you can totally tell that that's "waddle" below, right?  I'm pretty proud of myself for successfully drawing "Radar", "Salsa", and "Sound waves".

  • See what happens when you clean things up?  A couple of weeks ago Vivian was teaching Dustin how to play Barbies and insisted he take notes.  I thought I'd lost his little cheat sheet, but I found it in my office!  She's very thorough.

  • We moved Matt into his first apartment yesterday - pretty hard to believe that he's going to be out in the world on his own!  
  • I finally received word last week that I successfully completed the Diploma in Public Administration program.  I wasn't worried about my final paper, but it feels really good to know it's officially complete and I'll be graduating in October.  I'm not done though - just taking a bit of a break.  I plan on finishing the full Masters in Public Administration Program when Vivian is a little bit older, so probably start at it again in a couple of years.  In the meantime, there's a diploma program with the AMCTO that sounds like a good step for me, so I might start working on that for the winter semester.
  • All right - those episodes of Gilmore Girls aren't going to watch themselves!  I'm nearly done season 6, then on to the dreaded season 7.  

Monday, 29 August 2016

Treats of the Week - End of August

I don't know what happened to this summer, do you?  It seems like I've been busy, yet I don't think I've really done anything.  Now here we are with school starting next week and I'm left feeling like it should still be July or something.  I don't know, maybe it's just from getting older.

  • First and foremost?  My brother, Brent, and his fiancee, Lizz, had their stag and doe on August 20th and it was pretty much the best party ever.  I got to have a great time with people I haven't seen in ages and watched the final Tragically Hip concert in a barn with a bunch of people.  It was a great night and now the countdown is on until Vegas next year!
  • One of the Korean interpreters at work gave me this bookmark the other day.  Booking interpreters can be a real pain in the ass sometimes but some of them are really lovely people.

  • Last year after Dustin's birthday he got me a gift (the collector's book of Pacific Rim) for no reason.  This year he did the same, getting me the London, Ontario colouring book and some other little odds and ends from Uber Cool Stuff.  I've decided that this is an acceptable tradition for me to get gifts after we celebrate his birthday.

  • Vivian has been super busy with dance lately - she had tumbling camp and now she's doing cirque camp and got a special private session with Kyle Wegg.  Kyle's aunt runs the dance studio we go to and he's an incredibly accomplished dancer already.  He's a member of the national hip hop team, but took some time out of his schedule to come to the studio for workshops with the kids.  It was a real pleasure to see him work with Vivian and comment on how flexible she is - even if she was being quite the little flirt with him.

  • I saw a car the other day drive by with a dog hanging its head out of the sunroof, which pretty much sums up summer
  • It was Retromania night at the Hyland this past weekend with a screening of Back to the Future.  I'd never seen it on the big screen and it was so fun to watch it with a crowd of people
  • We lost Gene Wilder today, and the news is hitting me pretty hard.  For the last few years, every time that a celebrity death broke the news I would worry about Gene Wilder.  Is he okay?  He was getting up there, and I just didn't want to imagine a world without such a magical man.  Since coming home today, Dustin and I have been talking about him at length and discussing just what it was that made him so special.  Even though he hasn't appeared on screen in years, it was nice just knowing he was still out there, and he's definitely going to be missed.  Check out this amazing tattoo that Pete Davidson has in tribute to him.

  • I took next week off and I'm sooooo looking forward to it.  Having a few days off there a couple weeks ago was really nice - just being able to putter around the house and organize things and get stuff done that I've been avoiding for so long.  We'll see how productive next week is - I'm definitely getting my lists ready!
  • I've been keeping a gratitude journal lately and I actually really enjoy it.  It seemed like a bit of a cheesy idea, but once I started it I found it really helps me to keep track of some things that I appreciate.  By noticing what actions matter to me I can better understand what I need to be happy, if that makes sense?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Treats of the Week - So, why a lobster?

It's been a minute since I've blogged.  Call it summer vacation, call it blogger burnout, call it laziness, whatever.  I just haven't felt like doing the blogging thing.  My internet has been spotty lately (thanks, Rogers), freelance work has been busy, and it's been too hot to do anything but go swimming.  But my Grandma Millie is my number one fan and has been asking where the blog posts are, and we can't disappoint Grandma!  Here's what's been going on the last couple of weeks.

  • Dustin and I had a wedding to go to, which meant I had a meltdown about what to wear.  I frantically ordered a bunch of dresses which didn't arrive in time, but managed to find this little number at Winners on clearance for $38.  It's a really great dress that was perfect for the wedding and will transition well come boots and tights time!  Plus it passed the all-important fitting room Jenn test.

  • I went for my free tattoo in Toronto and it was a really great experience.  My artist, Katrina, is incredibly talented and I'm so happy with the result.  So why a lobster?  I just like them.  I've always been drawn to their image and I like their ties to surrealism and Salvador Dali.  This dude has healed up super nicely - she put a weird wrap on it that's used on burn victims that really helped speed the healing.  I'm all done with the peeling and everything now and it's healed much lighter than in this picture.  Can't wait for the next one!

  • Back to school shopping is underway for Vivian and myself!  I'm not taking any courses this fall (but I might in the winter) but that doesn't mean I don't need new pens.  I got myself a Parker, just a cheap Jotter.  I've always wanted a really nice pen but I'm afraid I'll just lose it.  This Parker can be my training wheels to see how well I do.

  • I'm loving my favourite summer guilty pleasure of Big Brother, and this summer Vivian is watching along with me!  Paulie is basically the worst, and I want to see Natalie and James go to the finish!
  • I went to Value Village the other day (too hot to walk outside on my lunch break) and was greeted with dozens of elephants.  It was so bizarre, and kind of sad.  In my mind they had to clear out someone's house who collected elephants.  They were everywhere I looked!

  • I also found a complete set of Out of this World, which I realllllllly wanted.  But when they're priced at $4 each and there's 24 of them...even when every fifth book would be free...it just wasn't happening that day.  I did consider buying a couple of random ones just to ruin the set for someone else though, because I'm spiteful.

  • I just can't help myself sometimes.

  • This crazy heat we've been having has been unbearable and makes us appreciate the pool at mom's house even more.  It's been so nice to have it for nighttime swims, and is so much easier then trekking out to the beach!  My back is crazy tanned - I'm loving having this pool around!

  • On Monday mom and I ventured on the GoTrain with five kids for a day in Toronto.  We hit up the aquarium, which is not for the faint of heart.  The kids had a great time, but holy cow are the adults ever terrible at places like this.  The kids were getting shoved and bumped around, and often couldn't see anything because of adults standing right in front of all the displays.  Call me crazy, but maybe you don't need to take 20 pictures of the lion fish when there's a four-year old who just wants to see them.  I took to just saying, "Go ahead kids, get up there close.  Adults don't need to see," quite loudly.  Dustin figures I could get a solid 5 minutes of stand-up out of the experience.  My favourite part was this sawfish who was just chilling on top of the tunnel.

  • But hey, the kids had a blast.

  • The trip was a success - we had all the kids carry their own backpacks and they did so well with all the walking.  Vivian was clever and used her chest strap on the backpack as a makeshift holder for her penguin buddy, Waddles.

  • Like I mentioned, my Grandma Millie has become a big fan of the ol' bloggy blog.  She dropped off this bag of goodies as donations for the blog - lots of tins, pins, and other cool stuff.  There was even a small wooden box that my Great Aunt Vivian brought back from Germany.  

  • Those pins she gave me got added to the collection.  Now that people know about the pin thang they pass along their old pins that are ratting around in drawers.  Dustin's mom was kind enough to give me some of hers - I'll definitely be wearing that Tragically Hip pin on Saturday while I watch the Kingston concert!

  • I'm off again today - a little mini staycation.  It's been nice to just be home for a couple of days.  I asked Vivian this morning what she wanted to do today and she said she said she just wanted to stay at home all day.  Works for me, that's what we did yesterday.  This is how we ended our night last night, with Vivian falling asleep in my lap while we watched My Little Pony.

I'll try to do some more regular blogging soon - my annual closet post is almost due and I have a conspiracy theory that I've been working on to share with you guys...