Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer Readin' had me a blast

I've been meaning to write a book report since January...then bang, nine months later I still haven't done it. So here we go, my best reads for the year (this is mostly for my cousin Lisa who is hounding me to find her next book).

Talking To Girls About Duran Duran
Loved loved loved. I'm a few years too young to have experienced exactly what the author reminisces about, but he does a fantastic job of painting a picture of the early to mid eighties and what it meant to be a horny teenager during that time. A+

The Sisters Brothers
Reason for my endorsement - my husband read it in a week.
It gets quite violent but is a gritty story that'll suck you in.

Enough About Love 
Occasionally you can tell that this story was translated from French - and not just because of the loose marital bonds. This is one of those books with multiple stories that weave their way together as the story advances. Left me feeling like it wasn't exactly tied up in the end, but I still really enjoyed the characters and their fuckupedness.

Let the Great World Spin 
Enough About Love could learn from this title. The same concept of characters slowly introduced with each chapter - only to reappear in other future chapters as background characters. One word - Amazing. Two words - Fucking amazing. Read it. Immediately.

A Visit from the Goon Squad
In a word - weird. But good weird. So many characters that I could have used a family tree of sorts.
Spans from the early 70s to some strange futuristic time where people are constantly connected to a small mobile device that seems to run their lives - too strange to relate to, right? Obviously.

Craigslist Murders
If Gossip Girl gets old and then starts taking revenge "Heathers" style - she would write this book.  xoxo

One of two things will happen when you read this book: 1. you'll detest every single character and want to tear the book into shreds. 2. you'll devour it and cloister yourself away from all human contact until you reach the end. Also, your arms will get really buff just holding this sucker. Get the eBook version if you can. 

Sugar In My Bowl
Ladies write about sex. Some of the stories are hot, some of them are sad and a few them are ick. Edited by the Lady Erica Jong so you know this thing is going to have some umph. Does not disappoint, not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of vagina.

Summer Without Men
I seem to be on a bender of books dealing with marriage - in all its states and forms. This one deals with a marriage post mid-life crisis affair. Characters include everything from an elderly lady hiding erotic scenes in her cross-stitch patterns; a young preteen tortured by her mean girl classmates; a young mother bullied by her boozer husband and an author writing poems about her unfaithful husband and his nubile young research assistant. Quite a mouthful, but worth the bite.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lady Marmalade (minus Xtina)

Because today is "Work from home Wednesday" I decided to destroy the stereotype of wandering around in ones undershorts smelling vaguely of Cheetos and bed - I decided to get up, wash and drag my ass out for breakfast at 8am.

There aren't too many places in the city that offer a decent brunch on a weekday - but luckily such a place is in close vicinity to my digs. Lady Marmalade can be found at Queen & Logan and is an absolute delight. They have a crapload of veg options, a savory waffle (!!) and they serve mounds of ripe avocado with most dishes. HEAVEN IS MADE OUT OF RIPE AVOCADOS. Hell is made out of green ones.

So yah, Lady Marmalade - go to there. It's worth crossing the river.
Full disclosure: I ate all of my avocado before I remembered to take a picture. Sue me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vacation Redux

Due to the fact that I have both a Type A personality and a penchant for to-do lists, you knew that I'd have a series of things to do over my two week vacation. Thankfully, I got through a bunch of those things - but I'm equally thankful for those times where the list took a backseat to lying around watching trashy tv...oh wait a minute...that was on the list too.

1. Purchase new living room furniture
2. Re-organize home office furniture
3. Re-organize book shelves from dumbass colour coordination to more reasonable genre/alpha order
4. Book contractors for hardwood floor repair
5. Weed garden
6. Brunch at Lady Marmalade
7. Daily happy hour
8. Sell printer
9. Sell TV
10. Sell guitar
11. Naked time at Body Blitz
12. Visit the dentist
13. Visit Todie and her babies in Newfoundland
14. Eat the donut burger at the CNE
15. Regular afternoon naps

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An ode to a fabulous friendship

Ten years ago today I became friends with my very best friend. We didn't meet on this day, actually we had already been enrolled in our master's program together for several months. We had passed each other in the halls, sat around the same table at the pub and laughed at each others jokes - but it wasn't until we took a road trip to Toronto to see a band together that we pretty much knew we were in love with each other.

I still remember that ride quite vividly. I had a rental car after having my car burglarized - and the rental was a pretty sweet ride with a pretty sweet CD player. We were riding in style with the AC blasting and a soundtrack that proved we liked exactly the same music and (more importantly) we both liked to sing along loudly while driving. We told stories, sang, laughed and played the "who else is going to the concert" game - which consisted mostly of identifying hot guys in other cars wearing long sleeved t-shirts under short sleeved t-shirts (dead giveaway).

We were inseparable all through grad school and it didn't even occur to me that once we moved to different cities we'd lose touch - because we didn't. We sent emails or called each other several times a week (or day, depending on the drama). We watched tennis championships over the phone and sent each other outfit pics over email. We edited each others online dating profiles (okay that part was mostly me) and just last year we both stood in each others weddings.

It's not hard for me to imagine being friends with someone for ten years, in fact I'm still close with one of my good friends from over twenty years ago - what makes it different is the level of friendship that we've maintained. We're still really involved in each others lives and loves. Even though she's now a twice over mommy and lives two time zones away we still touch base at least every other day. We still talk about clothes that we bought, music that makes us dance, stories that make us laugh and things that piss us off. She's also one of the only people that can calmly call me out for being an asshole.

There are many reasons why I love my good friend, but here's a list (just in case she's keeping score):
- she introduced me to running (kicking and screaming)
- she laughs louder than me at the movies
- she's got real perdy hair
- she's the perfect person to split the Fran's Big Breakfast with
- she's kind and loving and knows when to hug and when to back off
- she's even worse at remembering names than I am
- she dances like she's from the West Indies
- she's performed the classic best friend "holding back the hair while puking" move
- she knows everything there is to know about me and still answers my calls.

I love you lady, thanks for being my bestest friend :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adventures in Sewing

Earlier this year a caught an amazing Groupon deal giving me 50% off the beginner's course at The Sewing Studio. It's been something that I've been wanting to do since about 2007 when they opened up their studio on Jarvis. My mom even bought me a sewing machine for my birthday - which I promptly left in its original box for four years. Y'know, as you do. 

So I was totally psyched to get going with this course. Their new studio space on Summerhill was bigger and now they had permanent in-studio sewing machines, so you didn't need to bring your own. Hauling my old Singer halfway across town was not a selling point for me. The studio turned out to be a lovely little spot. Adorable surroundings, very bright, cute decorating, music playing, bathroom stocked full with lady products - all things that I love! 
The goal of the class was to sew a skirt at the end of eight weeks. There were a few mini projects that we had to finish that taught us some of the basics around sewing. First we made a drawstring bag - teaching us how to find the grain of the fabric, a few different stitches, hemming and also inserting a drawstring. Next was the zippered pouch - installing a zipper and sewing corners. By the second class 3/8 ladies dropped out. Yikes! I put this down to the fact that we had a replacement teacher the second week, and she was a tit. Didn't explain things very well and didn't come to the help of those that forgot how to thread their machines. And if you don't catch on to that part - you're pretty much lost.

Once I chose my skirt pattern (a challenge unto itself!) we got into the business of pattern cutting. I found my fabric at Mac Fab on Queen Street, totally gorgeous and worth splurging a bit. After a few failed attempts at laying out the pieces I realized that I didn't buy enough fabric for the skirt pattern and had to switch things up. Thanks to the help of a good friends new girlfriend - who just happens to be a fashion designer - I managed to get some professional help in all of this. And I had no shame in inviting them over for dinner only to find myself down on the kitchen floor with her by the end of the night. Together we sweat over dress making pins and pattern notches. Big ups to her for not running from the house screaming. 

Once I got past the pleats....and the pockets...and the waistband I was feeling much more confident in the process and like I was actually going to sew something that I might one day wear (and not just on Halloween).
It was really an amazing and uplifting thing to go back to the studio every Saturday and see how all my fellow seamstresses had progressed with their skirts. I don't remember any of their names - but I seriously enjoyed all of their company during the class. Together we swore over stabbing ourselves with pins, relived school dance memories through the retro radio station that constantly played, helped each other with stuck machines and oohh'd and ahhh's at appropriate times of show & tell. The vibe of the old school ladies sewing circle was definitely a good one and something that I think I'll miss as I continue to sew on my own. 

Unfortunately as I got closer to the last class it became evident that my skirt was too big. I'd lost a few inches in my waist and the skirt just fell too low. I tried to ignore the problem as long as I could - "It'll be fine!" - until I got to the very last class and my instructor confirmed that I was nowhere near finished. I had to take the skirt apart, putting me back at least three weeks and take in the seams, pleats and waistband & facing. I was pretty pissed at myself. Even the graduation day candy tray didn't cheer me up. I had to jimmy my shit together just to pose for our "Final Reveal" photo. When I got home from that class I was in the dumps. The serious Eeyore's. There was only one thing to do - sit down and redo the entire skirt. I started at 4pm that day. And by 9:30pm I was dancing around the house like a jerk twirling my pretty new skirt. It felt great - and IT FIT! 

Big thanks to my amazing instructor Clara - she was pretty much the best teacher I've ever had! So sweet and patient and full of good advice and seemed to really take an interest in each of our projects. Also, she didn't judge us when we sang along to the radio out of tune. Or when I ran my potty mouth off when my machine was acting up. 

Thanks Clara, you're the bomb. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

School's Out!

Yesterday was the last day of school for most of the chidge around these parts (as evidenced by the population in Yorkdale Mall this afternoon) and it got me thinking back to my elementary days of yore. Everyone had their countdown until the last day – the teachers especially. But not me. My most favorite time of the year was the day AFTER school ended.
And where did I go you might ask?
The beach? Too dirty.
The movies? Didn’t exist in our small town.
The mall? You mean the Miracle Mart Plaza?
No. On the day after school ended I went back to school. Because SOMEONE had to go back and help the teachers clean up the classroom. No joke, I was that jerk kid that refused to leave the school until the janitor forcibly walked me out. “But who will watch over all the books Mr. Janitor!? Surely not you!?”

I have an amazing photo that I took in our school library the day after school ended of all of my best friends – I dragged them there to help me inventory the collection you see. And they were sweet enough to ignore the call of backyard swimming pools and homemade popsicles. Because we nerds united like that.
The last memory that I have of elementary school is the morning after graduation. I went back with my three best friends and our teacher let us eat the remnants of the graduation cake while lying on the floor of the gymnasium – probably because he knew I wouldn’t stand for icing in the library.

Good times, I think I’m gonna go bang some chalk board erasers together just for old times sake.