Friday, September 30, 2011

flowers in your hair

more news to note! i'm off to san francisco for about a week in mid-october.

[ image by http2007]

this will be my first time in the city that i mostly associate with full house, if you don't count running through its airport on my way to a connecting flight to los angeles in 2007. this time, i'll be going by the grace of my employers, who are sending me there as part of a media support team for a large tech conference. i'm still firming up when i'll be leaving (and therefore how much time i'll have to run amok in downtown san fran before i have to hunker down and work), where i'll be staying, how many drugs i'll be needing to take before flying and all that, but i know for sure that it's a go. whee!

my trader joe's shopping list reads as such, verbatim:

  • Tuna in oil x 5 (this would be their awesomely superior yellowfin tuna in olive oil, which i'm addicted to mixing with bacon and putting on salad)
  • Almond butter w/ flax x 2 (again, one jar is not enough -- this stuff is like crack)
  • Wasabi mayo (a staple for the boy and i -- we put it on everything)
  • Rosemary almonds x 3 (their sea salt & rosemary marcona almonds are the boy's obsession -- he's actually giving me money to buy him multiple bags, since they're not cheap)
  • Happy Trekking mix (my favourite trail mix out of their huge selection)
  • Dark choc almonds w/ sea salt (i've only recently been enlightened as to how amazing dark chocolate is with salt, and chocolate-covered almonds are one of my favourite things in the world)
  • Thai cashews x 2 (i've had these before and they're impossible to put down, basically)
  • TJ cloth bag (my current one is my gym bag, and i worry about the day it finally breaks down)

at this rate, i make it to trader joe's about twice a year, which absolutely works for me. (still, if any american readers want to send me any of the above items, i would be utterly indebted)

still, i digress -- as i reflected after my last solo work trip, it's always a trip - literally - for me to be travelling anywhere on the company dime (which i am always so insanely grateful for). part of me still feels like i'm just playing the part of grown-up career woman, although i sort of relish getting to play it. it's neat to get to be a part of a professional team, and to realize that i'm getting paid to travel (which i love to do regardless) is the biggest bonus ever. also, getting to do anything work-related out of the normal 9-to-5 schedule is a blast.

it's funny that travelling alone - despite the fact that i do it about as much, if not more, than i do with other people - still tends to feel weirdly foreign to me. waking up and going to bed in a hotel room by myself always makes me feel like something's missing -- if not my boyfriend, then at least a pack of touring musicians all crashing in various corners of the room and hogging the bathroom and teasing me about being the only xx-chromosome in the bunch. or maybe it really is just the fact that i've cohabited for so long now that it feels odd to have an entire "place" to myself for days on end.

but like i said - it's going to be a fun little interlude from the usual everyday office life, plus i'll get to see and hang out with some of my close colleagues from the washington office, whom i don't get to see very often. there will be a lot of working hard and playing hard. this is how we roll, obviously.

speaking of colleagues, one passed along this great picture of a very excellent set of signs for the office:

i've kind of done all of those things at one point or another in jobs past and present. sigh. (the fine print under the first one reads "and sleeping with co-workers", which i have also done. in the past. the past.)  i'd really love to get "criminalize decaf" tattooed somewhere, though.

also, total sum of early birthday presents bought for self: 5 (two books, a lip gloss, a sisters of mercy live bootleg dvd with footage from 1985 and 2006, and a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans). i have a little shame.

onwards, october, and weekend.

(additionally worth noting that i'm somewhat obsessed with the song i'm listening to right now. it's awesome and lo-fi and oh so creepy.)

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "black planet" (early demo with "dance on glass" lyrics) ]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

girl gone dangerous

as promised, it's time for me to get ranty for a bit. these have been sitting on the backburner for a while - mostly because i have a hard time sustaining righteous anger while writing, so they usually peter out towards the end - but i figured i might as well get them out, if only for the cathartic release.

this will be long and dumb.

i'm not actually pissed off in this photo, but that's more or less how i look when i am. but not usually wearing pvc.

rant #1: the impermanence of things.

actually, that's kind of a strong title for something that's not so much a rant as it is a sad note: my lovely little neighbourhood gym just got bought out by a big-box gym chain. i found this especially ironic considering i just decided not to renew my membership with said big-box gym chain in favour of returning to the little guy. as i mentioned in this post, i loved eclipse for its size and homeyness, not to mention its awesome spin classes (which were nothing like the garbage, program-mandated spin classes from big-box chain). but now, i have to get ready to see the space transformed into corporate gymland, as well as deal with the loss of my favourite class. sure, they'll still have spin class, but it won't be the same great instructor and it won't have awesome indie rock. i am not pleased with this turn of events.

so, yes: the impermanence of it all makes me bummed out. i have so many memories at eclipse, and though the gym site will stay the same, the environment is definitely going to change. sadness.

rant #2: living conditions.

the two things that drive me nuts about living in rented apartments are the two things that have affected me the most: flooding, and noisy neighbours. funny how that works out, eh?

* on flooding: this one dates all the way back to my first non-student residence apartment in toronto, a crappy little basement with an uneven floor and a badly made standup shower with a floor that cracked after two weeks (there was no base poured in underneath it). however, it was my escape from the endless boredom of kingston in the summer after finishing my first year; i probably would have lived in a fucking cardboard box on yonge street if it meant i could be back in toronto as soon as possible. (i think i may or may not have threatened as much, too.)

anyway, my mother came to visit one day and, as mothers are wont to do, set about straightening things up -- including the carpet outside my front door. what she didn't realize was that by doing so, the drain outside became blocked, and once the first major rainfall happened after that...i looked over from my computer and saw the entire carpeted floor gradually becoming soaked through. cue the flooding freakout -- the first of many, unfortunately.

back to the irony: i never had to deal with any flooding when i lived in rainy vancouver, but once dean and i moved into our first (basement) apartment together, we were horrified to find that the laundry room (which was next door to our living room) routinely flooded any time there was heavy rainfall. so not only did we have to cope with that, but an occasion involving a burst pipe in the wintertime was the worst. even more frustrating that we were the only unit in the house to get flooded (and then to have to deal with mold in the walls). gross.

thankfully, we moved out to the building we currently live in, and on the top floor no less. no more basement flooding here!...however, as i learned back in june, that doesn't always stop my belongings from getting soaked. i mean, it could be always have been worse - it could have been sewage, or fire - but it's just been so tiring to have to mop up water again and again. i really think i've been cursed by now. (this also adds to my preference of wintertime -- no rainstorms to soak everything i own)

* on noisy neighbours: i wasn't really affected by this in my first few dwellings -- surprising given that two of the three were basements, and the other was an apartment unit in a building that i can't recall being too boisterous (aside from the fact that the fire escape was right outside my bedroom window). living in vancouver, however, was another story. i inhabited an absolutely miniscule "apartment" that was basically a very large bedroom (with a very nice bathroom, though the "kitchen" constituted a hot plate and a bar fridge in the mini-hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom) on the top floor of a house in kitsilano. it was all well and good for my purposes - i was only really there to eat and sleep at the end of the day, and i came and went so quietly my housemates nicknamed me "the ghost" - despite the draft that came in through the balcony doors. november sucked.

anyway, december rolled around, and with it a sheepish warning from my housemates that they were planning a christmas bash around the 20th or so. they invited me to come out - since it was "probably going to get loud" - but i was pulling an extra-long closing shift at the coffee shop and flying out to toronto for holidays the next day, so i declined.

i ended up spending the night with a hoodie pulled up and earmuffs(!) on in a vain attempt to block the sheer sound coming from below me.

so that was the worst, until i moved back to toronto and started staying the night with the boy at his place, which was located right next door to a music venue. the venue's stage was literally a couple walls' separation away from the boy's bedroom. that was fun.

following this apartment, the boy and i moved in together at a new place, and then this happened. remember that?

copy editor would like to note that the landlord made the sign.

our shitty experience with probable drug dealers living above us (in a building that seemingly had no sound isolation) and partying almost every night until 3-4 a.m. was basically the breaking point for both the boy and i. yes, we ended up getting them evicted -- the noise was only a part of the problem, along with the whole likely-drug dealing thing and the fact that they'd leave the house's front door open all the time. then, when the next tenants moved in - a family that included a loud baby and a stomp-prone toddler - we immediately gave our two month's notice. no more of this shit, thanks.

so now, current apartment. we thought we were in the clear, since we were on the top floor and thus didn't have anything above us but the roof and sky - but we clearly underestimated karma. about a month ago, the tenants in the unit directly below us began having very loud balcony parties, usually until after midnight and always on weird days of the week. never a friday or saturday -- always a monday or thursday. so that was obnoxious, almost as obnoxious as the one frequent female party guest who laughs like a drugged-up horse every thirty seconds. nails. against. chalkboard.

anyway, it's eased off in the last week or so, and i keep reminding myself that we've been through worse, but -- it still sucks. it still feels like an encroachment on our enjoyment of our living space. and i get resentful about having to wear earplugs.

i mean, really. is it me? am i just getting too old and crotchety and hey-you-kids? has my tolerance for sleeping with background noise gone down that far? (it's worth noting that i rarely had trouble sleeping at the boy's old apartment, the one next door to live music every night) even the boy doesn't seem to be as annoyed with the tenants below us as i am - i even filed a noise complaint with the landlord, and felt gratified to see that they already had at least three on file - so maybe i'm actually losing it. i guess time will tell on that one.

speaking of losing it...

rant #3: "calm down, you're overreacting."

here's an absolutely great article i read a few weeks ago: when women aren't crazy (the fact that it was written by a man makes it even better)

to expound upon it: one of the things i absolutely despise the most is being told to "calm down" or "relax" or that i'm "overreacting". i've been told this on various occasions by everyone from family members to coworkers to boyfriends (never really my girlfriends though, because they know what i'm like), and it's something that automatically raises my hackles. i'm an emotional person by nature - my mother once noted that one of my problems is that "you expect everyone to think and feel the way you do" when that's obviously not the reality - and, as the article says, when i get shut down by any of those phrases, it's basically like throwing gasoline on the fire. i blow up. but then that doesn't help the whole "you need to relax" angle, right? it just reinforces the other person's point about me "overreacting".

i think part of it is the feminist side of me reacting; as that article notes, for a woman to be told that she's being too emotional or "crazy" is incredibly demeaning, and shows an absolute lack of willingness to understand or see something from the woman's point of view. it feels belittling.

however, i can see the other side of the story - being calm and measured in one's rage is a far better way to get across rather than screaming and losing it. still, though, i really can't stand having someone judge what i'm obviously emotional about as being not worth a fuss. i find that utterly presumptuous and, as i said before, showing a real refusal to understand where i'm coming from. sure, my mother's right - everyone in the world doesn't think and feel like i do - but one thing i would appreciate is to at least try instead of just blowing me off, or assuming i'm overreacting. because in my mind, i'm not.

thus ends my blog post of ranting - with a statement that i'm not overreacting. yeah, i see the irony.

more pleasant things to come.

[ music | fanfarlo, "i'm a pilot" ]

Monday, September 26, 2011


three great things that are great things together (or...something like that): a preseason leafs game, toronto beer week, and the boy's birthday last friday the 23rd.

no, really, two massive loves of the boy's life are beer and hockey, and to have both events happening on his birthday was pure great fortune. so i secured tickets for the leafs vs. sabres game, booked a half-day at work so we could go down to c'est what and get drunk beforehand (though not so much that we wouldn't be let into the arena, which is happily within stumbling distance of the pub), and we were set.  even the shitty weather on friday couldn't dampen our good moods as we set out to try some neat new beers.

the festival of craft breweries at c'est what was absolutely fun; what you see above is the feedback form for the beers that were available, and there was a new block of beers open for tasting every hour.  (i'm assuming they then take the highest-scoring beers and add them to their ever-widening roster)  my top marks went to amsterdam oak aged tempest stout (i'm a sucker for dark thick beers above 9% that taste, as dean put it, "like something i'd use to strip the bumper of my car") and the flying monkey vanilla porter, while the boy stuck to his favourite hoppy beers and enjoyed all of them.  not too shabby considering i'm not usually a beer drinker.

then, with a happy buzz: off to the leafs game!

yes: hockey is back. we're still in the preseason now - regular season won't start until thursday the 6th - but just having new games back on my television is enough reason to perk up my spirits. i have my fantasy team draft on the 4th and i'm so friggin' excited. i never thought i'd be one of those people, but oh my god was the fantasy hockey pool two years ago ever fun.  addictive as hell and totally good times.

anyway, the preseason game on friday -- our seats were pretty decent (section 301 in the home end), and the boy and i, looking disgustingly cute/matchy-match in our jerseys and leather jackets, were there early enough to watch the warmup (which always fascinates me -- watching their drills is like watching synchronized hockey robots).  still, even with a sparse preseason crowd, seeing the buds take to the ice is always a happy highlight:

super camera zoom to the bench!

joffrey lupul without helmet, u so cool.

darryl boyce - nose thankfully in place throughout the game - takes the faceoff during the second period.  leafs were down 1-0, but came back to tie the game on a nice little flip-in by kessel.  i spent most of the time gazing lustfully at clarke macarthur and scanning the broadcast booths to get a glimpse of joe bowen.  i suck.

james rrrrrrreimer! our goalie of the future™ may be a jesus-loving kid, but he's huge and fast and made some absolutely insane saves throughout the game.  we've been burned by good-looking goalie prospects before, but i think it's safe to say that all of us fans have our fingers crossed that reimer's the real deal this time.

unfortunately, our live game curse remains intact -- the leafs lost 2-1, though not without a spirited effort at the end with a good scrap in the final 20 seconds. yeah, i know, preseason games "don't count," but it'd still be nice to see them win for once. (the leafs and marlies have lost every game i've ever seen in person; same for dean. we suck.)

then it was back home for gift-giving (aside from the tickets to the leafs game, i bought him a bottle of glenfiddich snow phoenix whisky) and cuddling et cetera. like i said, even though the weather sucked ass all day long, the boy had a great birthday and we had a happy-mushy-couple day, which have become few and far between as we've both been working constantly. so, love, and paid bills. the secret to happiness.

...then, two days later, off to a celebration of a different type:

my friends katy and tony got married yesterday evening, at the lovely steamwhistle brewery underneath a (thankfully) cloudless blue sky. it was a fun little affair, with lots of music, food, alcohol and dancing. (unfortunately, bad indigestion led me to me losing half of that awesome dinner - and super-awesome dessert course - to the porcelain gods later that night, but oh well) i didn't even need to get hammered in order to have fun with my hilarious group of attending friends. we have good times together (even when penis-shaped maracas aren't involved).


(handsome boyfriend is handsome.)

so cute, and so much fun. friend weddings are awesome.

...and then this morning was spent detoxing the rest of my system with water, green tea and gravol. it's actually kind of dumb how i know that eating a lot late in the evening gives me awful indigestion, but i do it anyway. i need like an electro-shock kit or something. (and man, it's been so long that i almost forgot how horrible puking feels. it was totally necessary last night, though, to get it out of my system -- i was rolling around in pain before that. still, uck.)

anyway, that's...all i've got for you right now, actually. apologies for the self-indulgent, hey-check-out-my-life post -- i have a couple rant-y posts on the backburner that i'm working on, but i'm currently coming down with the dreaded fall cold. still, i'm going to try and get a few more posts out before september ends. wake me up, etc. etc.

[ music | foster the people, "pumped up kicks" ]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

just wanna have fun

oh, this past weekend.

this was my first time taking part in one of those archetypal wacky bachelorette party-weekends -- one that took place out of the city, even. on friday afternoon, i packed myself in a rented minivan with six good girlfriends to invade montreal in the name of katy's upcoming nuptials.

i figured this was going to be an interesting social experiment for me, as i haven't spent a prolonged period of time with a gaggle of girlfriends since probably high school (or possibly even my thirteenth birthday party sleepover). true enough, having female friends - like, really decent female friends, the kind that you can trust to not stab you in the back - is a relatively new concept for me -- probably only in the last 5-6 years or so. my girlfriends from high school are nonexistent; the majority of girls i was friends with in my early twenties have all faded to the background (or facebook). these girls, however, i've been friends with since my mid-twenties, and have remained friends with even though my social availability is basically all over the place. so, i don't see them as much as i'd like, which meant that attending this weekend was a no-brainer.

and man, i forgot about how weekend trips are trippy in the way that you feel like you've packed in so many adventures in just a few short days. we only spent a little over 48 hours in montreal, but we packed in so much that i feel like i was gone for a week.

we stayed in the tiniest shoebox of a hotel room (though the hotel itself was a short step up from a hostel) in which i literally slept in the pull-out drawer of a day bed. we drank way too much coffee. we ran amok on saint-denis and sainte-catherine. we did a lot of shopping (maybe a little too much for our poor credit cards). we had some really awesome meals, including a classy one at l'academie where we were able to freely bring our own wine (no corkage fee!). we bought lots of tasty quebecois beers that we can't find in ontario. we (of course) hit the male strip club on saturday night, then foufounes electrique. we had sunday brunch at the legendary beautys, where i got the biggest club salad i've ever seen in my life (and devoured pretty much all of it). we survived the ride home with a minimum of post-weekend exhaustion insanity. and now we roll on to katy's wedding on sunday! good times.

anyway, this obviously won't be an image-heavy post - since trying to get six girls to agree on what constitutes a "good photo" of them is basically impossible - but here's what i got for ya:

six girls in a soccer-mom van (aka the "party bus"), en route to montreal.

coffee cup smiley face! (we decided i got the smiley because mine was the only drink in our massive order that wasn't super complicated)

also smiley face: me after combining coffee with the vanilla vodka i brought in a flask.

friday's destination: the dieu du ciel brewery, home to hot waiters and delicious beers.

checking out the hotel's adorable mini-fountain the next morning, complete with little birds taking baths. a disney movie come to life, basically.

jenna and bryn later that night, readying their livers for pre-drinking!

you can't see it too well from this angle, but bryn made my hair super-big and teased up for the strip clubs. i also look pretty cracked out here, but that's nothing new.

a sultry bryn shows off the crown o' cocks that katy had to wear on saturday night. the back of it was white streamers with even more inflatable penises and glowsticks for extra effect.

in the middle of the drinking games -- a particularly good round of "never have i ever". the other girls all had beers, so i chose to represent my classy side with the trusty flask of vodka.

montreal: home to the best bagels on the planet. (i picked up half a dozen of the ail bagels for dean)

also home to bigass cans of beer that are sold everywhere. screw you, ontario and your liquor sale laws.

...and then it was back home late sunday night to unpack, recuperate, and try to get my sleep schedule back to normal in time for work this week. definitely harder than it sounds (especially for me, who has a freakishly robotic sleep schedule that doesn't take too well to 2 a.m. bedtimes -- not anymore, anyway).

rolling on with the good times: this friday, which is the boy's birthday, will be spent at the festival of small breweries and a leafs preseason game. the rest of september and the coming october will hopefully more than make up for the shitty first half of this month.

[ music | the kills, "black balloon" ]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

take the world

change of season.

(as i noted on twitter earlier today, is it just me who has her skin break out uncontrollably at the transition between late summer and early fall? because i swear to god, every year, my face absolutely erupts in zits in september. this year is no exception, unfortunately/disgustingly.)

so now that we're halfway through the month, i've reconciled with the fact that my neighbourhood has once more become overpopulated with excited young kids at university for their first (or second, or whatever) year. frosh make me smile. then i realize that it's been almost ten goddamn years since i was a frosh, and i get all disgruntled and old-feeling. but, you know.

i wasn't the best student. it basically started with frosh week; although my parents paid extra for me to attend, i think i went to the first day, then peaced out for the rest and spent the entire week following david usher's band around ontario (as i had been wont to do that entire summer). it's hard for me to really put a name on a lot of my antisocial tendencies, but if i don't integrate with a crowd or with a bunch of people, i basically don't try. and man oh man, did i ever not integrate with anyone at my frosh week. so, no frosh week for me. (that's kind of a shameful pattern within my life - give up rather than try harder - that i figure i ought to get around to fixing someday)

i recall my first two years were obedient and responsible, for the most part -- i went to my assigned classes, i did the homework, i wrote essay after essay (the forever fate of anyone in an english program)

of course, once i moved away from the semi-raver fashion i sported in kingston, i exhibited the fashion sense of one who tries to be "unique" yet fails; i had a pretty extensive androgyny phase, not to mention wearing a schoolgirl kilt, striped legwarmers, black blazer, necktie and fedora to my first day of classes in my second year. i would later argue that i was rebelling against the blah gap/american eagle culture at u of t, but really i think i was just being a special-snowflake of a rock-chick idiot.

things mostly started to slip in my third and fourth years -- those were the ones when i began cutting out on classes to pursue things i found much more interesting, like interviewing musicians or hopping in vans with rock bands. there was a history course in my third year that i completely failed to attend, only showing up for the bi-monthly study groups -- and i still beat the class average. i missed out on the first week of classes in my final year because i took off to new york city to see a bunch of bands at cmj (and, well, this -- by the way, omg six-year anniversary today!).

and on that topic -- aside from getting involved with a musician or two (either as one-night stands or for as long as one whole month -- i know, such a long time), i never had a long-term boyfriend during my university years, which was probably better. i wouldn't have had the space in my life at the time; nor did i have any sort of emotional maturity for it. i mean, really, those years were mostly about me being a dumbass. but isn't that the point? i get the feeling that everyone's early twenties are about fucking up as much as possible, because that's the stuff you have to build on and learn from.

i was also working 24 hours at my part-time job at the same time, which made for an additional time crunch. something definitely had to give in those last two years, and unfortunately it was my school attendance. at least i got out with a higher grade point average than i probably deserved.

here's me, finally, on graduation day in june 2006:

i'm already unimpressed with the post-education world.

but at this time of year, watching the frosh run amok on campus (which is right next to both my apartment and my office -- from my office window, i can see the building where i had my very first university class in my first year), it definitely gives me time to pause and reflect. what i miss the most, i think, is that last gasp of having no (or at least very few) responsibilities. although you get your first taste of having to pay rent and bills and buy your own groceries and take care of yourself, there's a whole lot you can get out of simply by saying "i'm a student". it excuses you from having to be a real adult for a few more years.

everything had potential. your entire future was out there in front of you, and you had so many choices and any number of options. you didn't quite have to make up your mind on a career choice or life path; you had to worry more about getting the next essay finished or if you had enough cans of soup to last the week. you'd have one foot in and one foot out of the adult world, and sometimes - even two years away from turning thirty - i think i've never quite gotten mentally past that phase. i probably need to work on that.

i miss being a student sometimes, but i sure as hell don't miss all the essay writing and exam stress. fuck that noise.

good luck, students!

[ music | bon iver, "blood bank" ]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

tomorrow remember yesterday

at one point on our trip, i remarked to the boy how it felt like being on tour -- a lot of driving, truck stops, bad coffee, road snacks, loud music, staying in cities for less than 24 hours, little time for sightseeing, that constant haze of half-exhaustion and half-overcaffeinated wired-ness. when your brain is hyper-aware but your body is this close to falling apart.

and i closed my eyes for a minute, and there i was again, cruising through las vegas at the break of dawn, sitting shotgun in a van full of sleeping musicians, my stilettos up on the dashboard, leaning on one hand, staring out the window sadly. i remembered how old i'd felt in that moment, and how much i belonged in that world. but most of all, i could feel how it wouldn't last forever, and soon i would have to leave.

as i watched the slowly rising sun and looked over at my rock star brothers, i remember thinking, shit, this is all i ever wanted. all i ever wanted. can i keep this? please?

i wasn't allowed to keep it. it wasn't my world, after all, no matter how much i'd wanted it to be, or how much of myself i'd sold. it was their world, and i was just a visitor, a temporary guest.

i opened my eyes, and i was in a nice rental car next to my longtime boyfriend, with a desk job and a shared apartment at home, two years away from turning thirty, those days as a reckless child on the road a distant memory.

i may have everything i thought i wanted, but i still feel like i missed out on something. a lot of things.

[ music | florence + the machine, "what the water gave me" ]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

city sparks

post-trip blog post time! get yerself ready for a bombardment of photos, commentary and otherwise minute details that you probably don't care about.

so the boy and i headed off for our first porter airlines experience last thursday afternoon -- and even though you're all well aware of my anxiety over flying, i can definitely say that porter makes it a little bit better. sure, the planes are small (they're propeller planes) and ours didn't have televisions, but the free alcohol, snacks and cute little boxed meals definitely eased my terror. oh yeah, and that ativan i was so stoked on taking? barely any effect. i mean it. it sort of made my stomach feel funny, but it did little to nothing to quell my nerves. and so, disregarding the pharmacist's advice, i totally had a glass of red wine, and still nothing. i guess i need to move on to horse tranquilizers or something.

(...though i suppose it's worth noting that the stuff probably stays in your system for a while, because later that night, i haplessly drank an entire bottle of red wine, and i swear to god i blacked out for three hours. i have no recollection from around midnight to 3 a.m., when i finally went to bed. ugh ugh.)

so after two takeoffs and two landings, we were finally in moncton, new brunswick. our rental car turned out to be a lovely little ride, especially with the added bonus of sirius xm radio. after a few channels with hits and misses, we locked it onto the boneyard, where it stayed for basically our entire trip. there really is no better driving music than classic metal and old rock.

we spent the night at dean's friend pj's, wherein dean and pj got caught up while i essentially drank myself into blackness with the aforementioned red wine. ah, vacation. (i also confirmed that i could and would willingly live off of wendy's blt cobb salads. i know, i'm gross.)

in the morning, it was off to the tiny village of meductic, home to the fabled sabian cymbal factory. the main impetus behind our trip to the east coast was so that the boy could exchange a bunch of his old broken cymbals for nice new ones, as well as a chance to tour the factory (basically valhalla for drum nerds). i'm obviously not a drummer, but i love watching the boy geek out over drum stuff, so i went along for the two-and-a-half hour drive to the countryside, surviving mostly on chocolate-covered coffee beans and primal energy bars.

welcome to new brunswick, where you may be stopped for cattle crossings.


the cymbals are old, but the moustaches and fashions are even older.

cymbals in their baby stage.

cymbals in their, uh, teenage stage.


where all the shiny magic happens.

our guide terry shows off one of the lathing machines to dean.

checking out "the vault" - aka every drummer's dream room.

more of the vault (actually there were like 3-4 vaults).

sound tests ahoy! (the bottom cymbal on the right is a custom one for chad smith on the upcoming red hot chili peppers tour)

grasshopper friend on the way back to moncton. the amount of truck stops and logged road time reminded me more than anything of being on tour with bands.

the moncton downtown strip. wheeee. moncton.

after the two-and-a-half drive back from meductic, we were able to settle in and unload at our one-night place of residence, the delta beausejour. but not too much settling in -- we were right back out again for an impromptu barbeque at pj's, where we were fed excellent steaks and veggies and prepped our livers for a night out in monctonia.

ace the pug (named after ace frehley, of course) just really likes being near dean.

artsy nightscape at laundromat espresso bar, the place where i procured yesterday's martini monday in advance.

however, despite the delicious caffeine in my veins from the espresso martini, i started to droop close to midnight. guess the hazy ativan-and-red-wine fueled sleep the night before hadn't done me much good. i made a retreat back to our hotel room (and its wonderfully welcoming bed) as the boy stayed out to party with his friends for a few more hours. unfortunately for him, i absentmindedly latched our room door, leading him to call me at 4 a.m. to ask me to let him in. whoops.

from there, it was only a few short hours before i was up and at 'em (i'm a frustratingly cheerful morning person, whereas the boy would be happy to sleep til noon every day), sneaking out of the hotel in search of coffee and a rumoured saturday-morning farmer's market in the area. both were easily found (coffee across the street, farmer's market two doors down), and i even managed to hike down the strip to pick up some yogurt, blueberries and a tim horton's breakfast sandwich for the very hungover boy. p.s. atlantic superstores are boring, the end.

funky sculpture-fountain outside of moncton city hall(?).

i also felt slightly humbled by the fact that i absolutely did not know how french moncton was. so many french people! so much french signage!

once the boy was roused, fed and showered, we checked out of the delta beau and hit the highway once again -- this time going in the other direction, en route to halifax. this had been my requested portion of the trip; we'd gone to meductic for the boy, and i'd wanted to go to halifax to recapture my childhood or something. so it was back to the driving, the classic rock, the fumbled gps and the random truck stops as we made our way for a quick overnight jaunt to the capital of nova scotia.

the wonderful decor at schnitzel haus in aulac, new brunswick. apparently this is a regular c'mon stop while they're on tour our east.

the tired boy ponders how he might be able to get one of those porcelain labatt steins.

if you're in need of matches, a training bra, cap guns and some weird bird things, the irving truck stop in aulac is there for you.

bienvenue a nouvelle-ecosse!

our rental car's windshield was absolutely a bug graveyard by this point. check out all the smears!

i was pretty stoked to stay at the prince george hotel in downtown halifax, since it was a place with great reviews and i basically never get to stay in really nice hotels. and it didn't disappoint -- great view of the water, big fluffy bed and all the amenities. upgraded rooms for the win! as dean took a well-deserved nap after driving all day (he was the one doing all the driving since i don't have my license -- yes, i know, i'm the worst), i went out in search of a maritime liquor store to see what rare goodies i could find. pinnacle chocolate vodka that i've never seen for sale in ontario? jackpot! (the boy and i later went back to that store to stock up on dieu du ciel beers) dinner at the foggy goggle followed by ice cream from cows rounded out our low-key evening. also, vodka on the rocks in bed. hell yes.

some sort of fancy landmark on the top of the hill in halifax, partially obscured by a gigantic glowing street lamp. that bastard.

once again, morning arrived, and i was up and running around to get 1) coffee (even though it turned out there was a complimentary coffee bar on our floor) and 2) change so i could tip the room service that would be bringing our breakfast. (i've been a stickler for tipping well at hotels ever since hearing jendra's horror stories from when she was a maid for a brief period of time) once breakfast was delivered - with dean still half-unconscious in bed - i set out for yet another farmer's market and a decent mid-morning walk along the waterfront.

the loneliest lighthouse.

halifax: big ships and swagger.

this was the point in the trip where i finally(!) got some shopping in; i wandered into sugah! and left with a box of cashew cinnamon brittle and a dark chocolate & sea salt bar, then picked up this oak leaf pendant from amos pewter. i had to stop myself before i did any more damage to my wallet or my waistline.

after one more ransacking of the nearby liquor store, we got back in the car and made the final drive back to moncton to catch our evening flight home. (testament to my stupidity: we could have flown out of the halifax airport and saved a buttload of time, but i booked us back out of moncton, which was a dumb move) then, as we were waiting in the moncton airport to fly to ottawa (where we'd then connect to toronto), i happened to read this article. after which i went immediately to check the weather in both ottawa and toronto -- both thunderstorms, with ottawa under a severe thunderstorm watch.

i then spent the next two hours having mild panic attacks and breathing problems as my boyfriend pretended he didn't know the near-sobbing wreck sitting next to him.

of course, our flight was slightly delayed due to both the weather in ottawa and, i don't know, trying to put out the goddamn fire on the runway, so i frantically took my ativan and hoped to god it worked this time around. (it basically didn't, but i found that the combination of ativan plus two glasses of red wine plus some intense rounds of tetris absolutely distracted me enough to survive) the flights were a little bumpy, but we didn't get struck by any goddamn lightning, and we didn't crash in a fiery ball and die, so that was a plus.

home again late last night to drink beer, get caught up on true blood, and vow never to fly again until next time i have to fly somewhere. sigh.

so! there's your dull-ass recap of my last few days. it's funny, after so many years of solo travel, i'm not so used to traveling with another person; however, the boy's late sleep patterns gave me plenty of opportunities to go run around on my lonesome, and i was eternally grateful that he was able to drive my useless ass everywhere. also, companionship isn't so bad. especially when you're singing along to iron maiden together.

next up on the travel schedule: montreal in two weeks for a friend's bachelorette weekend. yes, the kind with custom t-shirts. i'm not sure my liver is going to survive, but i'll give it a fighting shot.

[ music | chameleons uk, "nostalgia" ]