Tuesday, July 26, 2016

where the city is

quick, picture-heavy blog post ahead: we went to the t&t waterfront night market last weekend!



(picture by sean; his turned out way nicer than mine)

it's funny because the night market has been on my to-do list for ages, especially since i never went to any of the ones in vancouver while i lived there; i also always figured it'd be a nice little trip for the import boy, who has only been down to the cherry beach area once, in like 2012. so when it turned out that he had a saturday off the weekend of the market, i felt like it'd be a good opportunity to join the masses, eat delicious things, and maybe even visit t&t supermarket for the first(!) time. (i'm mildly obsessed with speciality supermarkets.)

speaking of delicious things:



one of my favourites, onigiri, this version being fried rice balls topped with spicy sauce and bonito flakes. they were so ridiculously good, i want to go back in time to eat them again.



sean got his favourite, steamed pork buns. here's the buns being made (along with okonomiyaki, japanese pizzas, in the forefront):



after our food, we wanted taiyaki (fish-shaped waffles stuffed with ice cream):



...except there was a 20-minute wait due to the increasingly long lineups. eh, no thank you. cute lantern, though.



while sean waited in line for taiwanese bean cakes, i walked around a bit and snapped some food prep shots. however, it was gaining on 9 p.m. at this point and the crowds were really ramping up - sean had to abandon his cakes, since it was a 30-minute wait for those - we decided to take off and make a stop at t&t supermarket on the way out (the boy got his goodies there instead -- lots of red bean mochi and white rabbit candies).

also, i'd wanted to go down to the waterfront before sunset so we could walk back and get a nice view of the city all lit up, and success!



so not only was it a lovely evening out, it was also one of those pleasantly warm dark saturday summer nights where everyone seems to be out on the town, and everything's all lit up, and it just feels really, really good to be roaming around the city at night together with the person you love. having a partner in crime for fun new experiences has always been one of the best parts of being in a relationship, to me.

and later that weekend there was pizza, so.



(i had never really decided on my favourite pizza until that point; i more or less realized that "canadian" pizza - usually with pepperoni, bacon bits, mushrooms, and mozzarella - is usually my #1 pick. i care not for your weird pineapple or olives.)

lastly, a tale of two selfies: before leaving the house in 33C weather on saturday...



...and after walking in said 33C weather for a couple of hours:



i'm occasionally surprised at how well the primer -> setting spray -> face makeup -> setting spray combo holds up. (sean even ended up making the above photo his iphone background because he loves it so much. d'awwwwww.)

again, like i was talking about in my last blog post, having a fun-packed life really is up to you. it's your responsibility to find cool things to do, and to actually take the time to do them (thus says i, constantly dismissing facebook event invites). although i make the time for that work-life balance - i need to be able to fund said fun things, after all - it's always been important to me to have stuff on the horizon to look forward to. otherwise, it just feels like a slog with nothing exciting in sight. (it always, always used to be concerts and tours for me, back in the day when i had fewer responsibilities and far more recklessness and not much else in my life except the bands. i miss those days still, sometimes.)

to that extent, coming up throughout august and the fall: the next wwe trivia night, summerslam and nxt takeover: brooklyn, possibly more family hangs, sean's and my annual trip to the canadian national exhibition, wwe nxt's first show in toronto, my birthday/dad's birthday/thanksgiving in october, the dylan moran standup show, and survivor series/iwc crew hangs/meeting sean's brother and sister-in-law for the first time a month before christmas. that ought to take care of my anticipation, for a while.

okay, okay, now i'm leaving to go pack for tomorrow. i'll be back soon with tales and photos from the thousand islands, and a weekend spent with the fam.

[ music | the presets, "this boy's in love (lifelike remix)" ]

Monday, July 25, 2016

play it again

my spotify playlist has been growing! have a browse and a listen:



looking over the list, it's weirdly obvious to me that probably a good half of the songs are from 2007-2010. that just goes to show when i was listening to indie 103.1 the most - the first couple of years at home in toronto and then vancouver, followed by a few years streaming the station while i worked - and what an impact those frequent songs had on me. it's a shame -- i like spotify a whole lot, and i would consider paying for a subscription to spotify plus, but i feel like i've heard about it being hacked at least twice in the last couple of years. that there's some bad publicity.

anyway, like most humans, i really enjoy music in the summer. i have a lot of good memories of 2006 especially, living in a basement in the east end, getting up early and putting on indie 103.1 and blogging all morning before going to either my coffee shop job or my supermarket job (or both in the same day). then i'd come home late at night, put the music back on and do more blogging. nostalgia wants me to say that my life was way more interesting back then, but it's probably just because i was younger (22-23) and had more stamina to do all the things all the time.

also, so much of the internet in general was different ten years ago, you know? personal blogs and music blogs were still huge. twitter was just in its infancy, and most of us were still on myspace or message boards. it might be strange to say that it felt like a more innocent time, but i really do remember those years as a super fun time online, connecting with fellow music fans across the country or scene kids across the city. i didn't have a smartphone or even a laptop, so i didn't have that weird stress that we all have now about needing to be plugged in all the time. for me, the internet only existed in one place - my apartment - so it was like its own confined little world, and that almost made it feel more special. it wasn't so intertwined with the real world just yet, and i think i liked the separation.

is this making sense? i feel like it sort of makes sense.

anyway, i personally managed to keep up that separation for another couple of years (i traded in my desktop for a laptop out of necessary when i moved to vancouver in fall 2007, but i still had a shitty old brick of a cell phone), until probably around 2008 when i started my first "real" job in marketing, which required me to be plugged in to the internet all day. add in my first actual smartphone a couple of years later, and boom, the integration was complete. not that i hated it by any stretch of the imagination - i still laugh at the fact that in my teenage years, my mother tried to restrict my internet usage, not knowing that i would be using the internet as my job ten years later - especially since i still loved being online so much, and i was basically getting paid to use it. it was like my dream.

but now, yeah, i dunno. it's fine. the internet is fine. i just do find myself sometimes wishing i could go back to 2006, when it wasn't like i had to be plugged in all the time for fear of missing something (work opportunities, a breaking news story, messages from people, etc). i still try to create that separation wherever i can - i don't often check my phone when i'm out walking; i put my phone face down when i'm working out so i won't be distracted - but everything is so intertwined now, and it's just life, you know? and sometimes i'm not sure i'm super happy with it.

or maybe i'm just slowly turning into my mother, who lives as far off the grid as she possibly can and swears that the internet will become obsolete someday.



moving on: in an ongoing process to make this fall the best ever, not only are we going to survivor series in november, but sean and i are going to see our favourite comedian, dylan moran, do stand-up in october!



sean introduced me to his stand-up comedy (he later jokingly mentioned it was a "litmus test" to see how well we'd get along, because he loves dylan moran's comedy so much) and it was a hit. as the import boy will tell you, it takes a lot to make me burst out laughing; it's not that i'm joyless, but i have a very high bar for humour. or maybe it's just a very weird bar. either way, i don't find a lot of traditionally humourous things funny, but i was just crying at the dry irish sarcasm and observations.

anyway, this is all part of my plan to work to make fall 2016 way better than fall 2015. i don't know if i made it, like, super obvious in my blog posts last fall, but my 32nd birthday really sucked. there was the unfortunate fact that i was hitting the worst part of black-mood pms. my boyfriend had a killer migraine and was non-talkative and withdrawn all day. after wishing every single facebook friend i had happy birthday on their days throughout the year, i think i only got about a dozen well wishes in return. and not only was i going "home" to a brand new family house that i wasn't entirely sure i was ready for, my mother had decided on a family dinner at a greek restaurant downtown as soon as i got off the train. (for one, i'm never in the mood to do anything after two and a half hours on a train; for two, i don't even like greek food.) this entire birthday of woe, which began the night before with me crying to my dad over the phone about how i "just want to stay home, drink a bottle of wine and go to bed", culminated in me hammered on red wine and sobbing to my mother about how 32 sucked and how i felt i was losing my worth with each passing year. pathetic, i know.

but look, here's the thing: i really do believe birthdays are what you make of them. as you get older, you have to take responsibility for choosing to do fun things and having a good time. it's entirely up to you. and while i can blame my shitty hormones for a lot of last year - it's easy to feel like the earth is caving in on you when your uterus decides it so - i could have leaned more into the good aspects. it wasn't an all-bad disaster. i was just feeling crappy and being stubborn.



that said, this is also a good lesson for me to follow when i'm in kingston this weekend. it's hard to explain, but since i've been living by myself in my own apartment for almost four years now, i'm not...used to people being in my space 24/7. so it really, really throws me a bit when i'm back to sharing a house with my family, even if it's only for a weekend. i end up feeling squirrely and antisocial and drained. i really like having my own space to recharge by myself, and i don't get that when i'm in kingston, but i understand.

so this time when i head home, i'm going to make every effort to lean in to the good stuff and put on a happy face. no hiding in the bedroom and playing on my ipad. i only have a few days this time, so i need to make the most of them. you get out of this shit what you put into it, you know?

i'm off to do stuff.

p.s. i still haven't been drunk enough to watch the kill hannah "seize the days" dvd i got in chicago back in december. i need that excuse for when i start sobbing my eyes out.

[ music | be your own pet, "the kelly affair" ]

Thursday, July 21, 2016

long days longer nights

ah, summer. the season of fomo.


coping mechanism.

not that i begrudge what feels like my entire social network for tweeting/instagramming/facebooking picture-perfect snaps of the beach or the cottage or the vacation or whatever. it's that time of year, after all. even when you're long past school, the summer is when you take off for patios and boats and destinations. it just feels tough for those of us who don't have those luxuries available, or who otherwise can't afford them. i know that most of the people who have these privileges earned them; they worked long hours and they saved their money. me, i don't have the money, but i don't have the 60+ hour work weeks or the crushing stress, either. everything is a trade-off.

even so, i may be borderline destitute but it still sucks when you've been stuck in the same place because you can't afford to go anywhere. (total first-world-problems white whine, i know.) i even missed sean's brother's wedding in may, because it was in england and i definitely didn't have the money to go. that made me feel pretty bad about my situation, for sure. after a while, you start thinking about all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences you're missing out on because you can't afford them, and ugh. it's a bad spiral.

so what do you do when you've got itchy feet but very little cash? i go to my cheapest vacation destination by far: my parents' island house in kingston.



my family hasn't seen me since my february trip, and once i floated the idea of maybe coming for a visit over the long weekend, they were both pretty supportive. as i've mentioned before, i'm the only member of my immediate family who doesn't live in kingston, and it's kind of rare for me to make an appearance these days due to financial strain and freelance availability. so if i didn't go this weekend, it's likely i wouldn't see them until thanksgiving in october, and that can kind of feel like a long stretch.

also, two things: i could actually hear my parents sounding like they've been missing me lately, and i kept thinking about whoever said that you should visit your parents as much as possible, if you can, because someday you'll regret not doing it. grim! but yes.

so after much deliberation, i booked my trip for next weekend. i almost hesitated simply because, well...it feels like a lot of work to go home these days. once i get off the train, it's a 40-minute car ride plus ferry ride to get to the home on the island. then over the course of the trip, i usually need to get off and back on the island at least twice, because i like to see my dad, and he lives another 30-40 minutes away from the island. sometimes i don't even get to see downtown kingston at all, really. (calling the island a part of kingston is a bit of a misnomer; it's actually closer to gananoque, in frontenac county)

but again, the whole point is to see my family, and if i don't really get many chances to sit down and relax, then so be it. i've been going top speed all summer so far, might as well keep it going. i guess i can sleep at thanksgiving or something.

oh, but the other fun part is wearing super-fun outfits for when i step off the train:



sometimes i aim to please my mother, and sometimes i aim to maintain my childhood standard of "caitlin's always worn the strangest things!" (i've also broadened out to lipsticks in shades of hot magenta and shocking pink.)

therein ends my summer 2016 travel adventures, i'm afraid. yet one thing that's not exactly in the summer, but i definitely won't be missing out on: the wwe pay-per-view survivor series, which is taking place in toronto in november, and sean and i just scored tickets for. some things definitely do deserve the money.

indeed. (and if you know my long and varied history as "the sign queen," you know i'm already plotting out what to put on a sign. i'm getting my dumb ass on television.)

i'll see if i can get out another blog post before the end of july; otherwise, i'll be back next month (har har) with pictures and stories from the island.

[ music | silversun pickups, "little lover's so polite" ]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#Reverb16: Freedom

What is freedom to you? How do you celebrate freedom in your daily life?

see, here's a quandary: i'm canadian, so whenever i hear "freedom" used in this sense, it always smacks of patriotism and 'muricuh. at least, i'm assuming that's how it's supposed to be. life, love, liberty and all that. (anybody else remember freedom fries?)

also, captain america.

woooooooooooooo!

as for freedom in the sense of the word, though, i'd have to say that i'm very fortunate to have freedom in the way that i work. as i've written about before, i'm freelance, which means i get to set my own schedule and work where i want, how i want. i have no qualms with working late nights or on the weekend. however, this also means that i can choose to take, say, wednesday off, or not start work on monday until the afternoon. it all depends on what my clients need me to do, of course, but to a certain extent i also get to arrange my own work schedule. and it's far, far more freeing than sitting a desk from 9 to 5, monday to friday. (a fixed office schedule has its perks too, obviously, but for now freelancing is feeling good -- especially when it means i don't have to leave the house or put on clothes/makeup when it's 35+ celsius outside)

in a broader sense, i'm very aware of the freedom i have that comes with who i am, where i am; i'm a white heterosexual woman living in canada, and i don't have to watch my back for any breaches of my personal freedom. i'll never be a target here, and it really fucking sucks that others can't be free to be themselves without being targeted. i don't know when the world will start being fair to all human beings, if it ever will, but at least the internet and its connectivity is making sure more people aren't getting away with injustice. accountability is becoming so important.