Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

I never post twice in one day, but just wanted to give a head's up that my 2nd blog post is up on Nova Scotia Blogs. This one outlines a fun little trip the boy and I took to Deadman's Island city park last month - a place I never knew existed in my own city (and that has a dark past).

Feel free to read on!

No, I'm a Weather-Girl

I have heard a lot of chatter lately about high school reunions - a couple of bloggers I follow have attended theirs, and I heard an ad on the radio the other day for the 30 year reunion of a high school in my area.

This got me thinking about my own high school reunion, which could potentially be coming up somewhat soon, considering my 10-year mark will be in 2013 (wow, hard to believe). I am really torn about whether or not I would want to go, as I assume most people are.

On the one hand, it would be really fun to see what everyone looks like, find out what happened to people that were such a big part of your life at one time, and reminisce about the past. It would be like taking a little temporary time-warp back to a time when life seemed really complicated, but was actually quite simple and carefree compared to post-high school standards.

However, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, I feel like I AM up to date about the lives of many people I went to high school with. Even though I don't talk  to them often (or at all - shameful, I know), I can hear about their major life events through status updates and photo albums.

Also, I would not say that high school was necessarily a completely enjoyable experience for me. I enjoyed it, for sure, and I had some great times but I also have painful memories associated with particularly the last couple of years because of some emotional problems I was going through. I would be lying if I said I didn't have regrets about that time - part of me feels that if I could go back in time and make different choices that I might be in a very different place in my life right now. Also, I was not one of the most popular people - I had friends and was involved in lots of activities, but I was also very shy and got good marks so most of the popular kids thought I was a goody-goody, if they even noticed me at all. I had a few core friends, but was sort of friends with various people in different groups, plus I tended to be friends with people no one else would be friends with because I felt bad for them. All of this worked together to make me a bit of an outsider.

But I have taken enough life experience under my belt in the last 8 years that I know that regrets are not really worth it, and there are no guarantees in life no matter what choices you make. Besides, even though I was a very shy, self-conscious person, there was also this streak in me that didn't give a shit about what the popular kids thought of me. Obviously I DID care to an extent, but for the most part I accepted and was happy with my position.

So, I guess in that way, part of me really doesn't CARE about my reunion. What point is there REALLY in getting together with these people for one night and then going back to our respective lives, nothing changed?

I feel like, in a way, reunions are way overrated. I feel like a lot of people go so that they can prove to people that used to make fun of them or that once said or did something mean to them that they are really awesome people now. I feel like a lot of people see it as a competition in general - Who is married and who is single (or *egads* divorced)? Who has the coolest job? Who is the richest? Who has the hottest spouse? Who has visited the most countries? Lets be honest - other people's misfortunes often make us feel better about our own lives.

All of that is SOOOOO lame and proof that regressing back to high school is not necessarily a good thing. So much about high school is drama and status and I feel like getting together with people you went to high school with could possibly transport you back to that environment again, wherein you all sort of morph into the roles you once played.

This all being said, I will likely go to my reunion (if they have one) if for no other reason than curiosity. And I am sure most people go to their reunions in a mature frame of mind and see it only as a chance to catch up, nothing more, and my wonderings above about the negatives of these events are completely silly. I wonder if it depends on the type of reunion it is - for example, I feel like the 10-year reunion is far enough away from the high school experience that you all have grown a lot, but at the same time it is still close enough that some of the insecurities are more likely to reappear (or still be there)? I don't know! What do you think?

Would you go to your high school reunion? Or, on the other hand, HAVE you gone to one? What was it like? What do you think about high school reunions in general? I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this subject...

Happy Hump Day!

PS: Have you seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion? It's really dumb but funny. I love Lisa Kudrow so much - she's so good at playing the 'flake'. AAAAND did you know that they made a follow-up in 2005 called "Romy and Michele: In the Beginning", starring Katherine Heigl?! That's right, they went there. The funniest thing is they made it for ABC Family (? Yes, because I would want my young children watching scantily-clad, ditzy women stumble around?). I would love to watch that sometime just to see how BAD it really is (oh, you know it's bad). 

This is one of my favourite parts of the movie. I love two things very much about this clip: #1) That the girl in the peach suit standing next to annoying-weather-girl-that-I-want-to-punch-in-the-face  is Pam from True Blood, and #2) Michele's explanation of her Post-It glue recipe. Genius. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Hate You, I Love You

My mini recap of True Blood, episode 5 is now up on You Know You Love Fashion! Sookie wore what I would say is my FAVOURITE dress ever on last night's episode. Observe:

Umm, super cute, no? You can't see the back, but it ties with two bows and is possibly even cuter than the front. I had seen this photo around the interwebs and was wondering if this dress was ever going to appear on the show so I could get a closer look, and there it was on Sunday night! Just goes to show that you do sometimes get what you wish for. 

I am liking the turn of character that Eric is experiencing this season - I think he is realizing what an a-hole he has been in his life up until now and (maybe?) will honestly try and change that, even if he gets his memory back. I still think he's bad news for Sookie, but whatever. There wouldn't be a show if she realized vampire men were bad for her, now would there?

Anyhoo, um you guys I just realized that AUGUST IS NEXT WEEK?! What the eff? The good news is I have Monday off though (yay for Natal Day in Canada!), and therefore a 4 day work week next week. Besides, I had an awesome weekend:

*Friday: Unfortunately had a rather horrid day at work, but the evening made up for it with a haircut (god, I love Laurel at Flaunt in Halifax! She really knows what she's doing!) and the start of the Al Fresco Film Festival here in Halifax! In case you couldn't tell by the title, the fest is all about watching movies outdoors on the waterfront. So. Much. Fun. 

They have dubbed this year  "Summer of Murray" and are playing all Bill Murray films, which is awesomesauce. Friday night was Meatballs, which I had never heard of, but enjoyed for its silly humour and 70's hair-do's and outfits. Actually, a lot of the outfits the gals wore would work for today too, which was kind of cool!

See? Check out Miss Cute Checkered pink shirt + red shorts over there!
Camp Counsellor Chic if I ever saw it.
*Saturday: Saturday the boy and I roused ourselves before 10am (which is a feat for us on the weekend) and went for breakfast (post to come on that!), ran a couple of errands, then headed to the wedding of a friend of mine from University. Her and her man have been together for a few years now, and they have an adorable little 2-year-old daughter together, so it was really sweet to be able to share this special day with them. The three of them broke with tradition and walked down the aisle together, rather than Jenn's parents giving her away, and I thought that was really nice. Unfortunately they had to move the ceremony inside due to weather, but it was still lovely. 

Saturday night was spent on the boys couch watching Memento - have you ever seen that movie?! If not, you really should -  you have to pay attention because it is a tad confusing but such a neat concept! Christopher Nolan is seriously one of the most creative filmmakers out there right now. 

Guy Pearce is hot. True story.
*Sunday:  The boy and I went whale watching in the morning (again, another post to come on this!), which was "meh" - didn't see anything of note, but it was a beautiful day and being on the water was soothing. I spent the afternoon cleaning (yahoo!), cooking Greek-style meatballs with artichokes in the slow cooker (must have been in a meatball mood this weekend; read into that what you will), catching up with the bff in Alberta on Skype, getting writing projects done, and watching the newest episode of Auction Hunters. 

How was your weekend? Do anything exciting? 
Have you seen any of these movies?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When you take a path, the path takes you

Found here
"Being a Canadian in Europe is a lot like being Welsh in North America: no one really cares. It's not that they hold it against you. If anything, they have a vaguely positive image, a sort of benign lack of interest, as it were. 'Canadian? That's terrific.'" - Beyond Belfast

This is my most recent read. I really enjoy reading travel books, but I was particularly attracted to this one because it involved a walking trip (walking/hiking are major hobbies of mine) and the author is Canadian. His writing style sounded similar to Bill Bryson (my favourite), which only added to the appeal.

I was not disappointed!

The book documents the author's attempt to walk the entire "Ulster Way", which is (at the time he walked it anyway) the longest waymarked trail in the British Isles - 560 miles!

This book is very funny - Will Ferguson has a dry, sarcastic wit that I found really entertaining. On the other hand, many of his passages are quite poignant and emotional. His descriptions of the landscape are lovely:

"This sloppy trail skirted the edges of several small ponds among the trees, with cattails standing in their own reflections. In one pond, the sudden leap of a fish breaking the surface sent long, slow ripples circling outward; a perfect haiku moment."

He writes a lot about the civil unrest that has existed in Northern Ireland for decades, and how he experienced this first-hand as a visitor. He writes about countless clashes between Protestants and Catholics and the culture that has sprung up around this rivalry. I had no idea the issues were that complex so it certainly provided insight into the country and its people.

There is an underlying storyline regarding his grandfather, who emigrated from Belfast to North America as a young boy and was an orphan. Ferguson spends part of his trip tracking various branches of his family tree to try to unlock the mystery of where exactly his grandfather (and therefore, he) came from. I actually wish this personal part of the story was discussed more indepthly, but what was discussed added a nice dimension to the book and made it about more than a physical walk on a tangible trail.

This would be a really cool trip to do sometime! According to my research, the trail has changed a lot since Ferguson hiked it in early 2000 - the website calls it the "new" ulster way and sets the total length as 625 miles, split into "quality" sections and "link" sections for more manageable walking. I have always been a walker, but have gotten more into it since I started dating the boy because we both really like to hike together. That combined with the fact that I have always wanted to visit Ireland, and most likely have some family heritage there myself, means that I have added this trip to my list of "to-do's".

Who knows - maybe this time next year, I will be able to say I followed in my new favourite authors footsteps.

"May the winds o' the heather be lashin' the Mournes afore the devil shakes yer sausage"

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm Alive and on Fire

Sam and his new girlfriend are adorable. And her style is smokin'
Check out my mini recap of True Blood, Season 4, Episode 4 on You Know You Love Fashion! I can't believe we are almost halfway through the season already! There are only 10 episodes altogether. I am glad TB is on in the summer though, because there is a SERIOUS dirge of good tv on in the summer. Almost all the shows I watch regularly end in May/June so one must be contented with all repeats and crappy tv movies until September comes. Oh, the humanity.

There are SOME television treats gracing the screen at the moment that are keeping me interested - besides True Blood there are two instalments of So You Think You Can Dance (Canadian and American - though honestly, I'm rooting more for the Cdn kids. Natch. Although I am not rooting for Leah Miller's face, which looks like it has been botoxed to death! Am I right, other viewers? Her face looks tight and her lips look puffy...wierd).

The new season of Auction Hunters started last night, which I'm assuming was a good episode but wouldn't actually know because I fell asleep 5 minutes in! Pretty funny considering I have been looking forward to it for a few weeks now. I must have been pretty tired. I think Storage Wars is also starting a new season soon, if it hasn't already started. I am also hooked on Masterchef now that I have seen a few episodes. Even though it is extremely dramatic (sometimes overly so - I mean, it's JUST food, people) and it always makes me hungry, but I find the challenges really interesting.
Joe Bastianich will kill your dreams. All of them. Photo via. CTV
Anyway, needless to say I am surviving this television viewing drought quite well, thank you. Aside from the "filler" shows I listed above, there is also a little thing called GOING OUTSIDE IN THE SUNSHINE that I am enjoying right now. Coincidentally enough, that will end right around when my main tv shows pick up again, so all is well with the world in actuality.

What are some shows you can't wait to see again this Fall? What shows do you watch in the summer to placate your withdrawal symptoms? Discovered any new and neat shows lately?

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Think we kissed but I forgot...

Found here
Ok, how the hell is it the weekend again ALREADY? I'm pretty sure I say that often, as do most of us, but still! And it's mid-July?! I feel like the summer just speeds by and I am constantly struggling to fit in everything I want to do before September comes!  *sigh*

The good news is it's FRIDAY and the work-week is therefore closing! Even though I am excited about this, I should say work is good lately - not too busy but not boring, getting work done...also it looks like things might be moving forward a bit towards me being hired permanently. From what I know, they will be doing interviews the week of August 8th for my job, which means I should have an idea if I am going to be ousted by some internal candidate or actually have a shot at taking the job for myself by mid-August. Only another month! I can stick it out another month. However, there is still no guarantee I will get the job so I am continuing to apply for things. I have several applications out there and have not heard from anyone in a WHILE - the waiting is driving me NUTS - but I know from experience that this is a slow time with people on vacations and stuff. Same thing happened to me last year and BOOM! The beginning of August I got a bunch of calls.

Soooo to make a long story short (which is admittedly tough for me) nothing much has changed but things are slowly moving forward. My current plan is to stick it out until mid-August and if it looks like I will be temping a bit longer I think I may take a part-time gig on the side to make a bit of extra money (answering phones or something easy like that). I am really hoping it doesn't get to that point but being tight on money is really stressing me out (it's probably my biggest stressor in life right now) so at least this would help me feel more comfortable financially. I am expanding the range of job types I am applying for in the hopes that this will help my chances of finding something permanent soon, and will just continue to keep my eyes and ears open, follow up, and think positive! On and on it goes...

Anyway, back to the important news - the weekend!!

Things I am excited about right now:
* The boy is playing in a softball tournament this weekend and I am going to their first game tonight. No I will not be wearing a cheerleading outfit or carrying pom-pom's (although I am sure he would like it) I don't want to scare the children.

* I have my mom's car tonight and tomorrow morning because she has been away. Since I don't have my own car, I feel so free when I do have one; like I could take off to wherever I want to go! Endless possibilities! Of course that is not really true because a) my mom would kill me,  b) I am too broke to afford gas to take me anywhere I want to go, and c) most places I would REALLY want to go I would not be able to drive through (except underwater). In any case, it is still nice to have it.

* Getting a proposal done for an article I want to submit to a local magazine. This is something I have no experience in but hope to do more of in the future. I am going to start small and work my way up, see how it goes.

* Beach bonfire Saturday night! Trying to get a group of friends together right now to enjoy the sunset, s'mores, drinks, and relaxation. Bliss.

* I got an offer to participate in an exciting promotion between TeamBuy Halifax and a local PR firm, and I may be completing my activities on Sunday (weather and other plans permitting). If not this Sunday then next. I will definitely do a post on my experience, but that is all I will say for now. Stay tuned!

* I am now a part of the Elite Squad on Yelp! This basically means that I get invited to fun local parties with other squad members, which is pretty sweet. I love writing for this site! I love that there is a site I can write completely honestly and that I can help people (hopefully) with what I write. Next stop: Curing cancer! (hah)

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

West Eats Meat*

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a concert on behalf of a hotel that we deal with at work. I was part of a group of "hand-selected" clients to be invited to the Halifax Jazz Festival tent to hear the musical stylings of Harry Manx and Sisters Euclid!
All photos by me
I was pretty excited for this - both because it is awesome to get invited to free stuff (lets be honest, here), and because I am always up for discovering new music. I knew both of these artists had a blues-style sound, and I love blues music so I was looking forward to hearing both.

Well, I was SO impressed! Harry Manx is a "slide guitarist" - he plays guitar with it laying flat on his lap - and also plays banjo and harmonica. The person who introduced him referred to his musical style as "Mysti-ssippi", which I think was the perfect description. It was this really cool mix of raw southern-style country-blues-rock and dreamy Indian-Latin-style mystic music. I loved his covers of Crazy Love (one of my favourite songs) and Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix=love). He was also really funny, providing witty banter between songs, including several jibes at JP Cormier (a popular local blues guitarist).

Guest artists included a keyboardist from Australia (to be honest, I forget his name! Ah, terrible. But his sound was SO neat - it was set to sound sort of like a gospel organ; really added to the raw southern sound of the songs), and Mike Cowie, who is a local trumpeter who plays in lots of restaurants/lounges around town regularly. Man, can that guy play! I feel sweaty and out of breath just watching him!

Mike Cowie - he always wears this hat
Sisters Euclid came out after a break, and despite what the name suggests there are no women in this group and they are not hippies. The group consists of four guys - I was especially impressed by the guitar player and the keyboard/accordion player. They were both really funny and their fingers were so fast during some of the numbers they were like a blur!

Their sound was a little more "funky" blues than Harry's, and honestly a couple of the songs had so much "noise" going on it was a little overwhelming for my little brain, but I was really impressed with the fun layering of the songs in any case. Harry joined them for a couple of songs at the end, including another Jimi Hendrix tune (Voodoo Child! YES!) because he and the guitar player are good buddies who just released their 3rd disk together.

I had never heard of either of these acts before this show so really didn't know what to expect, but I am so glad I discovered them. To be honest, the homogeneity and unoriginality of most of mainstream music today really gets me down so it is so nice to hear artists that are passionate and real and have amazing talent and are not just a marketing machine. It's just a shame that so many great artists don't get the full recognition they deserve outside of small circles. I just love having my mind expanded and opened by creative people!

Halifax is no Montreal or St. Lucia (two places that both have huge, high profile jazz fests every year) but I think our festivals can certainly rival the ones of bigger cities in terms of organization, fun and variety. This is the 25th anniversary for the Jazz Fest, so they must be doing something right!

And beyond the Jazz Fest, there are TONS of really great festivals in Halifax and Nova Scotia in the summer - the city really does buzz and sing in the summer like no time of year. Just in the past few weeks there has been the Greek Fest, Atlantic Fashion Week, Canada Day festivities, Lebanese Fest, Dragon Boat Fest, and coming up there is Pride Week, Atlantic Film Fest, Natal Day festivities, Beer Fest, Seafood Fest, etc, etc, etc. Summer is short here, but we certainly make the most of it.

On a completely unrelated note, I am discovering that my new kitty is quite the goon and likes to get into things. She also really likes cool things (hence why she often sprawls on the floor or table). I was in the bathroom yesterday getting ready for bed, left for 2 minutes, came back in and found this:

Needless to say I laughed out loud. I probably should be annoyed that she is getting fur all over my sink, and will likely track her wet paws on my floor once she jumps out, but what can I say - I'm a cat person and we are weird.

Happy HUMP day!

*If you are curious about the odd blog title, this is the name of one of Harry Manx's CD's - funny, eh?

Monday, July 11, 2011

If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?

Hey Y'all! Check out my mini-recap of episode 3 of True Blood on You Know You Love Fashion.

I always have a lot of fun writing these - luckily, there was a lot to make fun of on this week's episode. However, I will definitely not make fun of Sookie's outfits this week because they were all cute! I loved her hair-do's and wish I still had long hair and actual, you know, TEXTURE so that I could wear them, too. Having straight hair is great and all, except when you want to wear it...well, NOT straight. I don't know about any of you other straight-haired sistas out there, but my strands absolutely refuse to go into the style I want them to. I could spend two hours curling it and spray an entire can of Elnett on there and it would be straight again in an hour.

Sigh, sometimes the problems I have to deal with are so overwhelming I'm not sure I can go on.

In other news, I am finally over the lovely throat/ear infection I was out with all last week. I am SO not a person that is good with sitting around doing nothing so laying low for a week was really annoying by day 4 or 5. I kept thinking about all the stuff I needed to get done and how it was slowly piling up. I'm just not good at relaxing when I have stuff to get done. I'm dorky like that.

I spent most of the weekend laying low in the final days of recovery and doing laundry (woo partay!) . I did venture out long enough to see Super 8 (I really enjoyed it! Nothing I haven't seen before, but still enjoyable. The kids MAKE that movie). Sunday had a lovely walk by the lake looking for geocaches with the boy (it was sunny and hot all day!! THIS is more like it, Nova Scotia), then met up with my mom and sister at Starbucks and went grocery shopping with them and to mum's for supper and ice cream on the balcony. Watched a couple of eps of Auction Hunters (have you SEEN this show? I find it fascinating! New season starts next weekend!) and headed to bed.

The new kitty is settling in well - she is really funny and affectionate, but she has a habit of getting into things. I came home Sunday morning after staying at the boys the afternoon/evening before to find various items strewn all over the apartment. She didn't break anything so no harm done (and actually it was kind of funny to find a random paintbrush on my bedroom mat) but still irritating. I think I will have to store some things to keep her from digging into them when I'm not there. Ah, nothing like having a five year old running around the place again.

How was your weekend? Happy Monday (yes, I realize that's an oxy-moron)!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hidden Adventures (and frustrations)

My first blog post for Nova is now live! You can read it here.

As always, any feedback is appreciated! I hope my entries encourage those of you that live here to explore here more, and those of you that don't live here to visit sometime!

Photo taken by me, Five Islands Provincial Park
Unfortunately I am still sick - although I'm feeling better, I'm still not feeling good. Throat is still sore, still have a fever and generally low energy but I'm back to work because I just can't afford to take any more time off. I hate to complain about temping because it's helping me pay the bills while I look for a permanent job, they have been good to me, and ultimately I am the one choosing to do it, but I have to be honest - I am getting really really sick of not having a job that gives me paid sick or vacation time. Or that provides any kind of stability whatsoever.

First, they do not provide direct deposit, so I have to rely on waiting for cheques in the mail or going out of my way to pick them up (which was super-fun during the month-long postal strike). I am not provided any sick or vacation time, so these past two days I had to take off due to illness are a huge hit to my paycheque. Plus, I realized today that I was not paid for Canada Day (last Friday) even though it's a stat holiday because I didn't work the first scheduled day after the holiday (which was Monday in this case). I had remembered you had to work 15 of the previous 30 days in order to qualify for stat holiday pay, but had forgotten this other rule. So, this means TWO weeks of short paycheques in a row (one day short from last week, and next week will be two days short). Great.

Maybe I'm being a baby about this, but I don't really get why it's ok to doc me money because I physically COULD NOT work the first shift after the holiday. I can't help that I was sick - if I could have gone into work, I would have, but I couldn't. Besides, I shouldn't have to go into work if I feel it's endangering my health - it's not fair to me, and it's not fair to my coworkers. There is something wrong with a system that means people are dragging themselves into work half-dead simply to put in time to meet archaic and ridiculous rules. I had to borrow money from my mother in order to get a prescription and bus tickets because I have been so short the last couple of weeks. I HATE borrowing money from my mother, even though she doesn't mind and I appreciate it.

I am just getting so sick of temping. It's keeping my head above water and I appreciate that, and I certainly make more money doing it than I would if I took a retail job. But I barely make enough to get by and I am so tempted to just say "screw it" to finding a job in my field and just look for something that is easy to get but at least allows me a stable paycheque and benefits, like a secretary or receptionist somewhere. I feel like I have my foot in the door (finally) to a permanent career in a field I actually enjoy, so I am reluctant to pull that foot out, but I am just getting so sick of the unpredictability and stress that temporary work is giving me.

Sorry to rant - opening my cheque this morning just put me in a bad mood and I felt I needed to write it out.

Am I wrong? I know I should just quit complaining and do something about it, but I'm sort of at the point where I don't know WHAT to do. I feel like I'm damned if I do something, damned if I don't. Thoughts? Anyway, I'll figure it out - I'm just cranky today and need a nap. Or a giant cupcake.

Thanks for listening, internet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You Smell Like Dinner

Check out my mini-recap of episode 2 of True Blood on You Know You Love Fashion!

Sookie always wear the cutest outfits - her style has become a lot less trashy from the first couple of seasons
The title of this episode made me laugh. Each TB episode is named for a song, which is then played during the closing credits of the episode. For those of you that don't know, Sookie's blood is extremely attractive to vampires and they can smell it on her as soon as they are in her proximity, so you really couldn't find a better fit for a title.

Check out my Bio on the site!

I know, I am a huge dork for posting this, but it's always exciting to see your name/writing in print or online.
I am a little late with this post because I am currently at home nursing a sore, swollen throat. Started to feel icky on Sunday and was even worse yesterday so went to the doctor and got some antibiotics. I woke up around 2:30 this morning unable to sleep I was in so much pain so decided to stay home from work again today, too. I am sure I will be all good to go back tomorrow (well, unfortunately I have no choice since - as a temp - I have no sick days or vacation, so if I'm not at work I don't get paid. And lets just say this is the worst possible time for me to have a reduced paycheque).

I hope everyone in Canada and the US had a lovely long weekend!