Saturday, December 22, 2012


now, to capitalize on what i wrote about earlier: this is a complete entry of self-indulgence! enter at your own peril, caveat emptor, etc. etc.

so as i said, twitter's just started rolling out its archived tweets feature, which is literally something i've been waiting and wishing for for like, years. thankfully, i actually ended up having the feature enabled (guess there were some perks to being on the platform for five goddamn years), and so basically my life for the last few days has been, well, reliving my life from 2007 through to the present. so much i remembered, yet so much i forgot. ah. (it was also rather depressing, given that the two things i tweeted about the most were 1. hockey and 2. my then-boyfriend. now, i have neither. sigh.)

and in my self-indulgent moment, i picked out all of my favourite tweets and tossed them together as a blog post. yes, my favourite pieces of my own writing, because whatever. they amused me, and i think all of the below serve as a good snapshot of my life and how much it's changed, or hasn't changed, in the last five years. (i stopped at 2012 because that's still pretty recent, and again, whatever.)

i'm even going to use a jump cut for the first time so i don't completely bone the main blog page with a massive wall of tweets. here we go!



but my head told my heart

lately i've been wondering just why i put so much of my life online for public consumption.

...that's kind of the question of my generation, isn't it? we're the oversharers. we put every minutiae of our lives on the internet for everyone to see, even though probably nobody cares but us. we're solipsists. we need to have that self-absorbed bubble where we feel like we can yell into the digital universe and somebody, somewhere, will listen, and care.

and that's why i blog, really. i've had friends profess shock and vague horror at the idea of putting as much of themselves online as i do, but really, it's the only thing i know. i've been keeping blogs for 12 years now, and for me, they were never genre-specific things or info dumps or money-makers. they were diaries. chronicles of the most interesting parts of peoples' personal lives. (and i had a very interesting personal life, once upon a time. though it was only ever vaguely alluded to, because i've always tried to be smart about what i say and what i don't say in the public space.)

yes, it's self-indulgent, for sure. i've never fooled myself into thinking that a mass of people actually care about my silly little life; instead, i've mostly kept this for me, and if people - be they friends of mine or complete strangers - want to come along for the ride, then i'm cool with it. (i guess my blog is public rather than private because some part of me does want an audience to my life. if a tree falls in the forest, etc.)

so i was thinking about that, and then i got access to my twitter archives, and it just rolled the whole ball along even further.

because the other reason i do all this is to keep a digital history for myself. i'm a firm believer in the past, and though that means i tend to live in it a little too much, i really feel that the answers to so many things lie in past events and experiences. (probably because i tend to repeat a lot of things. what's that old saying about the definition of insanity...?) i like getting context, and i like seeing personal progression, or regression, or whatever. it makes sense to me, somehow.

and so reading over the tweets i sent out into the digital world over the last five years was a bit of a trip, and also kind of depressing -- because they made me remember who i was and where i was in my life when i wrote them. i clearly remember writing all of those things. it felt like just yesterday for some of them. i remember being that girl, once.

and it made me take a bit of a hard look at where i am now, and the choices i've made since those days.

the same thing happened just last week -- i came across a word doc of private writing i did in late 2006/early 2007, and i was literally stunned. just stunned. i mean, i could have written that shit last week. my life is in reruns, and it's not entirely a good thing.

that said, there is a lot in my life that i don't reveal, because of course there is. there has to be.

and that's forever the hardest part: that i'm self-embargoed from all the things i want to write about the most.

you treated my woman to a flake of your life
and when she came back she was nobody's wife

it was a very long year.

[ music | none ]

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the space between

greetings from washington, dc. (okay, so i cheated and took the above photo in virginia on monday night, but virginia is literally like a 20-minute drive from here. america never ceases to amaze me in that you can drive for like half an hour and end up in another state.)

after a slightly nerve-wracking flight very early monday morning - the words i never want to hear after a delay taxiing on the tarmac: "we're having a minor maintenance issue." - i made it in to my work's office here, and i'm here for another hour before flying home to toronto tonight. and it was a fun trip -- lots of work integration in between my usual american grocery-shopping and good times with dc colleagues, including a kazaxe exercise class on monday night:

the after-photos are mostly us looking like shell-shocked sweaty messes, so none of those will be posted, the end.

also, you know, the whole business-travel thing is a pretty sweet deal in general. as i gleefully said to a friend (who just got back from a two-week work trip): "dude, we're traveling for work. we're adults now!"

it always strikes me, though, how lonely i find travel sometimes.

this is a weird quirk i don't really understand. i mean, i often choose to travel alone, so it's strange that i can sit in a hotel room by myself and feel lonely -- especially since at first, i'm stoked to feel like an actual, responsible adult (and not just like my parents are in the adjoining room). but then i get in and toss my suitcase down and take in my surroundings, and it feels...empty.

i didn't travel much with the boy when we were together (aside from a weekend in montreal that we mostly spent drunk, and a trip to the east coast three years later where i, rather tellingly, spent a lot of time doing stuff by myself). there were myriad reasons for this, none of which i could argue: he already traveled enough while touring with the bands, so when he was home he wanted to be home; he couldn't take the time off because as a freelancer, you take whatever work you can get, when you can get it; he didn't have the money to spare. so me being all "but i want to take you on vacaaaation!" seemed pretty out of the question. which means that, as i said, i've done most of my trips alone in the last few years.

so what i think it goes back to is my days touring with bands. the shared hotel rooms were, to me, one of the most fun parts of being on the road -- it was like crashing with a bunch of awesome, hilarious brothers. i mentioned it near the end of this blog post from 2010 as well, which makes sense. it's that emptiness i feel where i'd once had someone, or many someones, on an adventure with me. it hangs out in the pit of my stomach and drags me down.  it makes me want somebody there with me, which annoys me because i'm usually pretty okay with being by myself.

but this is, like so many things in my life right now, something i have to deal with.

anyway, that's all from me right now -- just a brief self-observation before i head to the airport and begin drinking as much wine as possible to numb my flight anxiety. (i'm also flying to chicago next monday to spend all of tuesday in meetings before flying back that night, so y'know, trial by fire and all that.)

[ music | florence + the machine, "shake it out" ]

Saturday, December 1, 2012

one big holiday

december! made it.

as i said back at the end of october, november's always been my most-hated month (also generally the one where i tend to get hit with seasonal depression, and i was super-wary about it after this turbulent year especially), and so this year i set out to keep myself busy and line up a bunch of things to look forward to. at the end of november 2012, here are some of the notable things i did/accomplished/whatever:

- participated in the strip spelling bee
- went to chicago for a weekend
- got tattooed (twice!)
- managed to do my requisite two crossfit classes every week (and took part in their potluck last weekend)
- crazy amounts of cooking and baking
- decorated my apartment (holla ikea)
- had friends over for an american election-viewing get-together (wherein there was much drinking and yelling at my tv)
- lots of friend hangs in general, including with the ex-boy which has been nice
- karaoke madness!
- saw some live gigs and movies
- watched a lot of 30 rock

i also did my valiant best at no-sugar november, though my efforts were occasionally derailed after the hedonistic weekend (diet-wise anyway) in chicago. i haven't yet seen the final tally of participants' scores, but i'm betting i came out somewhere in the middle. maybe towards the bottom. definitely not last or first, but i can be okay with that. if anything, it taught me that there's way more sugar hiding in unexpected things, and also that i don't do well with depriving myself of things. (also, it served as a nagging reminder that when i stop drinking, i automatically and rapidly lose weight. still not enough motivation for me to stay away from my precious, precious vodka.)

anyway, a very full and very successful november, i think -- with absolutely no sign of the sads, thank god. and now we're on to december, a month i've always enjoyed because for one, i'm a good canadian girl who likes winter, and for two, i love the holidays. love them. full stop.

tangent time! i can never understand those who don't like the holiday season.

i know a whole bunch of grinches, as well as some people who think it's cool to hate on christmas or whatever, but i've never felt that way. to me, the holidays are all about family, and getting together with friends to celebrate good times, and lots and lots of drinking.

additionally, i really enjoy buying presents for people. (i'm assuming the "make them love you by buying them things!" instinct is leftover from my parents' divorce, because it's popped up in every relationship i've been as well. i literally spoil the fuck out of whatever guy i'm with; it's kind of a bad habit.) i have a pretty big extended family, so i don't go overboard, but i plan and budget and really think through what i want to get for everyone. i try not to cop out with gift cards, and instead actually put thought into what people might like. gift-giving is serious business to me.

oh, and also serious business: holiday baking. i probably inherited this from my mother, but december is time to strategically consider what to make for holiday gifts in terms of cookies, bars, candy, whatever. they make for nice little presents for coworkers and friends, plus it's easy on my bank account and it lets me indulge my love for kitchen projects. it's all kinds of win for me. really, i have a ridiculous amount of fun just taking a weekend to make fudge or bake cookies or whatever. the most wonderful time of the year!

so yeah, i have plenty of good nostalgic memories with snow and christmas songs and general holiday cheer, though i understand some people don't and that's why they're grumpy about the season. (case in point: the now-ex boy greatly disliked christmas, which i always found a massive bummer. he had his reasons, though.) i get that part of it, too. i have all the nostalgic feeeeeels and then i go back to my mom's house and start to slowly go insane because i remember why i don't live near my family. being the black sheep of the bunch is never so obvious as it is around the holidays. i usually end up being the surly scowly one in the corner, with too many tattoos and too much black eyeliner.

fortunately, this is what wine is for. (and irish coffees, and eggnog with rum, and...)

good cheer from alcohol aside, december itself puts me in a happy mood, so i'm already many shades more cheerful than i've been in previous months.  lots to look forward to on the horizon!

and lastly, in case you hadn't seen it (and because i'm always down with embarrassing myself further), i was challenged to sing the divinyls' "i touch myself" at the movember karaoke challenge on thursday night. (also, when you're selling raffle tickets by the span of a person's arms, those of us with freakishly long limbs have a genetic advantage. i won pretty much one of everything.) there was no way i was backing down:

where my groupies at?!

[ music | radiohead, "fake plastic trees" ]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

painted soul

and now, for tattoo number eight:

as i mentioned before, this was my original idea for a leonard cohen tattoo before the some girls... line from "teachers" usurped it -- but, as you can see, only temporarily. i ended up following evie, the artist who did my other forearm, to her new tattoo studio of employment (hartless tattoo at dundas & ronces), because for one i trusted her ability, and for two i wanted consistency. also, evie is awesome, and previously agreed with my declaration to totally bang leonard cohen if the opportunity ever presented itself.  these are the people i can get behind.

in case you're completely unfamiliar with the line, it's from the third stanza in "hallelujah", which many of you may know from myriad cover versions -- most famously the jeff buckley version (stanza starts at 2:56):

really is the best line in the entire song/poem. and then me, ruining it for my mother:

i am the worst.

double the cohen, double the inkage. (evie graciously touched up my other arm's tattoo while she was at it.) by now, the only other cohen stanza i'd want to get inked would be my two favourite lines from "first we take manhattan":

you loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that i just might win
you know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline

...but i'm not sure where on my body i'd have the real estate for all that.  maybe my upper back?  oh man, i shouldn't even start thinking about it.

anyway, as i mentioned on twitter, it's kind of a bummer that i'm actually out of town for the two dates that monsieur cohen's playing at the air canada centre in december. i mean, i've seen him live before, and i'm pretty sure there would be no way i would ever ever meet him to show off my tattoos (though i'm far from alone), but you know. there can never been too much leonard cohen in my life.

otherwise, i've been keeping it pretty low-key since getting back from chicago, if only to 1) recover and 2) try to budget my money better after blowing a good chunk of it in america. (also, attempting to re-save more money for my return to america in a week.) i mean, clearly the tattoo wasn't free, but i definitely had money put aside for it. and little else, seemingly. sometimes, budgeting is not my strong suit.

yet today was my crossfit gym's "5000 wall balls for charity" fundraiser!

first and foremost, wall balls are the fucking bane of my existence (you hold a 10-20 pound medicine ball, squat, then throw the ball as high against the wall as you can, catch the ball while landing in a squat, repeat ad nauseum), so i was a tiny bit gleeful at having an automatic excuse (fresh arm tattoo, oops sorry) to get out of it. still, i wanted to show my support for the team, so i brought over a donation of money, a loaf of sugar-free banana bread and a crockpot of paleo pumpkin chili.  if i can cook/bake as a manner of support, i am all over that shit.

anyway, apparently they hit the goal of 5000 in just under two hours (i'd already wandered off to go find brunch), and then continued to tack on an extra 2000.  just because.  i work out with some crazy fit people.  (i am not really among them yet, but i've at least noticed slightly more defined muscles on my arms and back, which is something rare and amazing.)

and that's about it, for now -- i'm mostly busy nursing my tattoos and prepping my liver for the sheer number of holiday parties to come.  it all starts this week with both my office's holiday party and the movember-fundraiser edition of karaoke on thursday, then the crossfit holiday party and another friend's party on saturday.  pulling double-duty two days this week?  i may be passed out at this time next week, but hey, 'tis the season.

[ music | grey cup on in the background, canadian football whatevs ]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

the life you make

this is my current bar shelf and wine rack (the latter of which i found for free on the curb the other day), not counting the three bottles of vodka and one bottle of jagermeister in my freezer as well as the homemade limoncello in my fridge. well, my parents always said they wanted me to start a collection of something. cower before my eventual cirrhosis! cowerrrrrr.

i took bar inventory the other day and i realized it's...kind of insane. i was telling my mother about my tears of joy at binny's in chicago (as well as my slavish love of american liquor stores i general), and she said flatly, "you sound like an alcoholic." i meekly corrected her with "i'm more of a collector." and it's true -- i may have all of that liquor listed above, but i really only consistently drink the vodkas. everything else is just on hand as mixers in the event that i have guests, or if i want to try out a new cocktail (or cooking, or baking) recipe. i like to be prepared, and i also like to have a well-rounded liquor cabinet. it's been an aspiration of mine since my early twenties, hilariously enough.

as for resources, i have bar none bookmarked, and i've got at least half a dozen mixology books and e-books (along with the beautiful constitutions of classic cocktails poster from pop chart lab), so i'm at no lack of recipes. yet i'm not really the kind to sit around her apartment alone and make fancy drinks for herself, so yeah, i prefer to have this stuff around for when i've got guests. it's like an emergency kit, but booze.

this is next on the must-buy-when-i'm-in-america list, btw:

bottled horchata with rum. as adam said, "it's like cinnamon toast crunch in a glass." absolutely fantastic. i'm a little obsessed with rumchata right now:

as i said in the tweet above, my next trip to america isn't so far off: i'm going to washington d.c. the first week of december for work. yes, it'll involve a plane ride there and back; however, i've done it on porter before and i'm generally fine. plus, this time i have plenty of advance notice, and i also have colleagues i want to see. and, y'know, just gives me another occasion to stock up on extra trader joe's goods. multiple trips in less than a month? yes please and thank you.

although my bag of american junk food that i can't touch until december keeps, like, whispering at me from my cupboard. argh.

so, yeah -- no-sugar november totals kind of got blown to hell after the chicago weekend, though i'm slightly proud of the fact that it was mostly from booze and bbq rather than, say, cupcakes. (also, i walked 4-6 hours every day i was there, so i hope that mitigated it a bit.) otherwise, it's been pretty tough going; i mostly miss my dear flavoured vodka and other various alcohols, and i still get a bit grouchy whenever there's treats in the office (which is basically every day), but i'm soldiering on. month's half-done anyway, and then it's on to diabetes december!

which is still not totally great when it's girl-guide cookie season. sigh.

well, damn it.

one more bit of news: i just scheduled my next tattoo appointment. (yes, even though i'm barely finished the aftercare on my last tattoo.) a week from today, i'm going to be getting the words love is not a victory march inked down my left forearm -- thus marking a leonard cohen poetry line on each arm. i'd actually wanted that favourite line from "hallelujah" done first - i'd had the idea for it months ago - but then i happened upon the line from "teachers" that i wanted just a bit more. but, y'know -- two arms, two tattoo ideas. how convenient!

why the sudden onslaught of inkage? i dunno, really. it's mostly a combination of having extra money and extra ambition at this point in my life. don't worry, concerned parental-types -- this'll be it for a while, if not altogether. this one will make eight tattoos on me, and it'll finish off my ocd sense of symmetry (unless i decide to get one on the back of my neck). nevertheless, i'm all kinds of excited about completing my arms. it just feels weird to have my right forearm tattooed but not my left.

and finally, before i go out to roam downtown toronto and because i've been in a survey mood lately (hurr hurr let's talk about me some more!), here's a quickie one stolen from alana:

Name: caitlin frances anne h________ (my last name is very googleable, and i also don't like it much)
Height: 5'7"
Eye Color: brown
Birthday: october 9th, 1983
Favourite color: crimson red
Best school subject(s): english, music history, philosophy
Mac or PC: pc, never got on the mac boat
Current shirt color: black, as always
Gamer?: yes, back in the day
Day or night: late nights and early mornings
Celebrity crush: tom hiddleston / emma stone
Coffee: cream but no sugar or i get stabby
Favourite Food: bbq'd meats


[ music | the cinematics, "a strange education" ]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

windy city homeland

so, i'm back and alive and oh man, for the love of chicago. either the ninth or tenth visit now, i've lost count.

from this entry, as i was getting ready to go there in july:
this city has a large piece of my heart. i've wandered through chicago at 20, 23, 27, and now 28 years of age, through so many phases of my life and personal growth. sometimes things are completely different with me when i'm there. sometimes they aren't. and sometimes i feel like i'm a different person entirely than i was last time i was there. sometimes i can see the ghosts.

this will, most likely, be one of those times.
but then i bailed, for reasons that i still don't regret. (also, that was the first occasion in a long time where i truly paid attention to my intuition, and again -- holy shit, absolutely no regrets there.)

so what was interesting about this replacement trip last weekend was that it felt right this time. it really did feel like i ought to be there, with none of the trepidation or weirdness i'd felt back in july. once i got over my usual anxiety over getting on a plane (i was flying there but taking the bus back) and touched down in chicago, i basically couldn't stop smiling. it felt like home -- doubly so once i got my first hug from adam, my brother from another mother. he's been one of my closest and best dudefriends for almost eight years now, and i don't have the words for how good it was to see him.

now, for the photo essay portion:

binny's beverage depot!  literally my second stop after i got off the train that took me downtown from the airport. (first stop was trader joe's, obvs.)  this chain of liquor stores is like my playground, and a huge reason why i keep coming back to chicago as my booze-shopping destination of choice.  scores this time around: cupcake devil's food vodka (one of my favourite chocolate vodkas), van gogh pb&j vodka (which is incredibly strange-tasting, as expected), and mint chocolate baileys (which has been long since discontinued in canada but is still crazy delicious).

one of my favourite of all beers unavailable in canada -- left hand milk stout.  i grabbed a sixer of this at binny's as well to split with adam, since i wanted to share the wealth (and not totally blow my entire no-sugar november pledge on booze, though ha ha i kind of did that anyway).  there is a dearth of milk stouts in canada, which is a shame.

after dropping off my stuff at adam's, i headed downtown to do some of my usual roaming (aka hit up the north shore binny's + trader joe's, and also buy a pack of my precious parliament lights).  i will never stop being in love with chicago's architecture.  chicago reminds me so much of toronto, except chicago actually preserves its heritage buildings rather than razing them and putting condos on top like stupid toronto does.

black actress opening for electric six on thursday night!  we didn't even stay for electric six, but these guys were a good time.  lots of fun, lots of glammy punk-rock pretty boys.  exactly what i needed on my vacation (or, like, all the time in my life).


in which i questioned whether or not i was "too goth" for double door.  (i mostly just love the lighting contrast in this shot.  peter murphy would be proud, i hope.)

and then on friday, after a morning of exploring downtown chicago on foot (though i swear by now i have the entirety of it mapped out in my head), it was time to go under the needle once again:

the new ink -- right shoulder blade, done to 1) balance out the left shoulder blade's previous tattoo, and 2) juxtapose with the kill hannah logo on my upper arm (more on that below).  as i mentioned in previous blog posts, i'd decided it'd only be appropriate to get the chicago city flag inked while in chicago, and so i put out a call on twitter to see if i could hook up with any chicago-based tattoo shops. code of conduct in south loop was the first one to reply, and so i set up an appointment to get 'er done on friday afternoon.  and there we have it, under my skin forever.  so, so good.

also, i'll forever be annoyed with that stupid mole right in the middle of the tattoo.  dear body marks: you are dumb.

i took this awkward mirror shot later (disembodied haaaaand) to show the intentional juxtaposition of the two tattoos - chicago flag on my right shoulder blade, kill hannah logo on my upper right arm (kh are a very, very chicago band).  kill hannah shows were what drew me to the city in the first place, so many years ago.

so, really: why this?  lots of canadians get the canada flag tattooed, but me, i get the flag of a city where i'm not from and have never lived.  all i can really say to try and explain is that chicago feels like home to me; it's the home of my soul, or something.  i could absolutely feel it when i was walking around on thursday -- that some part of me belongs there.  i may never end up living in chicago (immigrant visas and all), but it's always going to be home to me somehow.  and so i'm happy to carry a symbol of it under my skin forever.

friday evening spent on the balcony in west loop, drinking beer and listening to international goth radio stations with adam. (he convinced me to line up my beer - the interestingly-named chocolate bunny cocoa stout - with the willis tower so it looked gigantic)  best view of the city, for sure.

behold, the newest ad for chicago tourism! (every time i post this photo, i feel the need to state that i am not naked, just bare-shouldered so my fresh tattoo could get some air)

after an awesome thai dinner at opart and vetoing the idea of going out again on friday (we are old and tired, plus i wanted to stay in and take care of my itchy burning tattoo), we instead crashed on the couch, drank beer and watched the crow (which i hadn't seen all of) til after midnight.  a very good way to spend a night in.

onward to saturday, my last full day in the city.  i had two destinations in mind: big star for their legendary tacos, and map room for beer.  fortunately, the two were located within walking distance of each other, so it was a quick subway trip up to damen to get to them both.  (especially important since i wanted to get to big star early -- apparently the lineups are constant)

tacooooooos (pollo and pescado, respectively).  for the torontonians reading -- grand electric was (i think) opened by a big star veteran, so it makes sense that the cuisine's pretty much the same.  and pretty much awesome.  i think the above disappeared within five minutes.

then i got caught in an apocalyptic thunderstorm where i cowered in a doorway as it sounded like transformers were fighting above me.  really not a whole lot of fun.  i ended up half-running to map room and getting soaked, all in the pursuit of a pint of founder's breakfast stout, free pretzels, and a quiet sanctuary to do some writing.  well, yeah, worth it.

heading back downtown on the blue line, photo snapped from damen station.  the dark haze over the city is the thunderstorm moving through.  creepy.

shot of downtown from near the end of navy pier.  i headed down there after the insane storm subsided, and was compelled to walk out to the very end of the pier, sit on one of the benches and have a cigarette.  it was a nice little moment of introspection; after all, i've been to chicago so many times through so many stages of my life, and damn if i couldn't see the ghosts of my past as i walked those streets.

and i thought about what it'd be like to disappear there, in a city full of strangers.

these escapism thoughts are really nothing new to me; they inevitably pop up every time i travel. i think they're residual reminders that i did succeed in that once - tossing everything aside and starting a new life in a city full of people who - but when i take off the rose-tinted glasses, i remember how it didn't make me happy. and i wouldn't be able to fool myself into it again. running away from one's problems doesn't solve a thing, and i know it.

so i finished my cigarette and went home.

i was slightly surprised at how good it felt to come home to toronto -- or rather, to have a nice little home to come back to. this was the first trip i'd taken as a solo girl with a bachelorette pad in, oh man, probably six years, and i hadn't realized how welcoming it feels to have a place of your own waiting for you when you get back. (doubly so when you've done laundry and cleaned your place before you left.) i guess this is what it's like to have distance make you appreciate what you've got. i'd forgotten what that felt like -- funny, since that was my life for so many years. absence making the heart grow fonder. oh, well.

but now i'm back (in black?) and enjoying the fruits of my labour (aka all the booze and groceries i managed to smuggle back, although i can't touch my bag of sugary junk and goodies until december). a successful trip for heart, mind and soul.

november's almost half-over! yesssss. bring on december already.

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "temple of love" ]

Thursday, November 1, 2012

sugar we're going down

and now, for a challenge:

one thing that's always been true about me is that i don't like backing down from a challenge. whether it's an external force challenging me or just me holding myself to something, i'm likely to grit my teeth, dig in my heels and forge ahead. my motivation: i don't like losing, and i don't like giving up (which to me just feels like losing).

to that end, i was quick to sign up for my crossfit gym's "no sugar november" challenge. essentially, the goal is to consume as little sugar as possible throughout the entire month, in pursuit of better health, detoxing after the diabetes bomb that was halloween, leaning out before the holidays, and so on. for every gram of sugar you ingest, you get penalized with one point per gram. when i put my name down, the list was gaining on something like 40 people (including jenna), so i definitely won't be without a communal support system.

as you can see at the source link, it's a pretty sizable list of no-nos for the next thirty days. i've been following the primal blueprint for the last two years now (though i do cheat here and there because i am not a robot), so i'm hoping it won't be a difficult adjustment for me, but not gonna lie -- i have a sweet tooth. like, a killer one. i was able to cut out gluten easily enough, but sugar? oh, man. sure, i try to keep it to quality sweets, like good dark chocolate and baked goods that i make myself, but even those are obviously disallowed in november. sigh. (it also takes away from one of my main joys in life - baking - as i am incapable of baking things and not tasting them myself, as that's how i test my handiwork. i comfort myself in the knowledge that december is basically going to be all diabetes as i make candy and such for christmas presents.)

i figure that the main tripping point for me is going to be chicago next week. i've already sadly determined that i'm going to have to forgo my usual tradition of aztec hot chocolate + fresh churro at xoco (so good though, oh my god), and i'll have to save any sugar-laden trader joe's goodies until december. i am, however, willing to take the penalty for the bbq ribs and candied bacon at honky tonk. those are most absolutely worth it.

also, that means no junk food and strictly vodka sodas for my election-night get-together on tuesday. booooo. i comfort myself with the knowledge that vodka, coffee, peanut butter (the natural kind anyway) and cheese are all still allowed. otherwise, i might actually kill somebody, or possibly myself. bad enough that i'm cutting back on cigarettes, but take away my caffeine and vodka and i could become homicidal. you just don't know these things, man.

so! we'll see how this whole thing goes. there's no way i'm going to make it through november with anything below 100 grams, but if i can stay below, say, 250, i think i'll be pleased with myself. and hopefully be able to at least somewhat break my sugar addiction, for something more than temporarily.

(though none of this will stop me from being crazy excited to get my hands on a bottle of this next week, even if i can't drink any of it until december. ohhhhh man)

but for now: a very full weekend of many good times on the horizon. happy girl right here right now -- even without any raised blood sugar. hurrah!

[ music | dj tiesto ft. emily haines, "knock you out" ]

Monday, October 29, 2012

nights on fire

welcome to a good-times-extra-long-weekend picture post! (also known as "see, mom, i do have a life!")  this is also mostly a rehash of the stuff i toss up on my social networks, so, y'know, sorry if you're seeing these pics twice, or for the third time, or whatever. (and uh, thanks for taking such a vested interest in my life?)  let's call it a "recap" for brevity's sake.  so, here's what went down over the last few days of halloween merrymaking:

internet friend-turned-real life compadre jason had an extra ticket for friday night live at the royal ontario museum, which was awesome because i honestly don't think i'd been to the rom since i was maybe six years old. (also ironic considering i lived across the street from it for two years.)  because it was the all hallow's eve edition of the event, there were plenty of costumes to go along with the dino bones, djs and booze.

t-rex hates doing shots. tiny arms make it so hard!

jason as the most interesting man in the world, yours truly as little red riding ho. (as i said on twitter, i mostly loved this costume because it actually made me look like i have boobs.  i do not really have boobs.  stupid 36As.)

posing with my friend, mr. wolf.  fishnets!  knee-high boots!  heavy makeup!  boobs!  i did halloween right.

this geode is only half as interesting as the most interesting man in the world (who brought dos equis labels to stick on his cups of beer).

though i am very down with cool gemstones.  random fact: i collected gemstones when i was a kid; had a pretty display box for 'em and everything.  but then one day i brought it in for one of my elementary school teachers to use in a class, and he just...never returned it.  literally, i never saw my goddamn collection again.  the teck room at the rom brought back all my sads.

and then, you know, penis-shaped rocks.

pagoda power!

all in all, it was a super fun way to spend a friday night (especially because of delicious food-truck caterers and lots of costumed dancing) -- i got to see some really cool parts of the huuuuuge museum, and take my halloween costume for a test spin as well.  and yeah, seriously, there's no better way to thumb your nose at childhood than by getting drunk on wine and running amok around dinosaur bones.

the fun continued saturday afternoon with a "nightmare on st. clair" party, hosted by good friend brad and his lovely lady vicky.  pumpkin-carving was the name of the game (along with day drinking):

spooky! scary!

wendy, dressed as "life" (she gave out lemons to all the party-goers), shows off her bat pumpkin.

dexter the schnauzer was not so thrilled with his costume.  he mostly just moped around looking forlorn.

case in point.

captain hook (aka hostess vicky) putting the moves on red.  i don't quite know what's going on with my left hand there, but brad jason was pretty correct when he said that there was "a definite pimp vibe to this photo."

then, from house party to pub party -- off to the central for more halloween-y madness with friends:

the incomparable captain allegra and her boyfriend sean do it up right as jesse and james of team rocket. literally, i'd kind of forgotten all about team rocket until saturday night (though there were at least two pikachus), and i basically kept squealing for at least ten minutes.

then i tried to fight james/sean. (this was, i believe, right before i flashed my ass at my friends, who then took turns grabbing it. halloween drunkenness, it is apparently a thing.)

lastly, a couple shots from the dia de los muertos festival at wychwood barns on a very cold and rainy sunday afternoon:

traditional altar for the dead.  here ghosts, have some fruit and flowers.

dios mio! (i mostly wanted churros.)

so, that's it for my three-day weekend of madness and fun. and it's not even the actual holiday yet! kinda sucks whenever halloween falls on a weekday (especially when the weather's going to be ass), but i've at least got fun plans -- it's spooky movie night at my crossfit gym after the day's last workout, so i'm baking up a batch of paleo pumpkin bars and bringing my achy muscles back to "the box" for scary good times.

hope you all survived the heavy-partying weekend intact, and that hurricane sandy isn't flooding your basements! (i have never been so thankful that i don't still live in a basement apartment. no flooding on the 18th floor, whew.)

[ music | kasabian, "days are forgotten" ]

Friday, October 26, 2012

keep myself awake

although i delight at the latter half of october - halloween, the best holiday! - all i can think right now is ugh, november.

i've always had a hard time with november. me and the eleventh month of the year, we don't get along so well. in the past, it's typically been the month when i get hit with seasonal affective disorder (though it's not always a sure thing), and with all the changes and upheaval in my life this year, i've been more than a bit wary of november 2012. i really just want to get it over with so i can get to december (because i like christmas, and i like snow).

also, i mean, really -- it's november. it's the transition month between pretty autumn and long dark winter. it's gray. it's cold. it's full of dead leaves and barren trees. there are no fun holidays or anything to look forward to (aside from getting an hour back through daylight savings time). november fucking blows.

...thus, i am making a concentrated effort to line up things every week in november that i can look forward to. these include: a halloween-themed strip spelling bee next friday (yes, you read that right; yes, it is exactly what you'd think it is; yes, i will probably take my clothes off but only down to my underwear), hosting a nail-biting u.s. election night get-together with my friends on the 6th, taking a weekend in chicago (more on that in a bit), getting my other forearm tattooed, possibly going to see another marlies game, and so on. among all that, there'll be crossfit twice a week and karaoke nights on thursdays, so i'll be keeping up with my respective social communities, and making as much of an effort to see my core friend group besides.

on the solo front, i plan on many nights of gym cardio, long hot baths, cups of tea, and snuggling under my fuzzy throw blanket as i watch terrible movies. all of this combined, i hope, will be enough to keep the november blahs away. no more shitty novembers!

but yeah -- chicago. and soon.

flying in the morning of thursday the 8th, taking the midnight bus back on sunday the 11th. (i only had enough flight credit to cover one way, but that's fine because i've never minded the overnight bus. the border is way faster at 6 a.m. when there's like six people on the bus.) yes, this trip is happening for real this time, unlike my aborted attempt to go to chicago back in the summer (ha ha). i decided i definitely didn't want to spend my november weekends brooding around my apartment being bored, and i still had flight credit, so hey, why not just go to chicago for a weekend? why not, indeed. so now everything's booked, i got the time off work, i've got my (very lengthy) binny's and trader joe's shopping lists ready, i'm stoked to see adam (though not so much for the plane ride there, however brief it is), and so much more. so much! excited, excited.

oh, and i'm getting yet another tattoo done while i'm there. it's going to be this, the chicago city flag:

on my right shoulder blade. it actually hit me that it's a very appropriate spot -- it lines up with the kill hannah logo tattooed on my upper right arm, kh being a chicago band and all. (also, extra-weird synchronism: my left shoulder blade's tattoo is the moist logo, and my upper left arm's tattoo is the bass line from their song "believe me". it all comes together!) but really, i want it done because for me, all roads lead back to chicago. i wasn't born there and i've never lived there, but there's no place i feel more at home than chicago, illinois. it's weird, but i know it works -- and so i want to get the ink done while i'm in chicago itself. it'd only be appropriate.

(hah, and then i go home and get my left forearm inked up the following week. three tattoos in less than two months! i've suddenly got the drive to piece it all together, i suppose.)

so! those are all the plans. with any luck, i'll march into december 2012 twice-newly inked, well-travelled, and in high spirits. and then the world will end on the 21st or whatever, but hey, at least i'll have gotten my kicks in.

but first: october's not over with yet, and i have a litany of halloween-themed parties to hit up over the next few days. in case you missed my slew of social-media style narcissism, here's what i'll be donning tonight and tomorrow and for the strip spelling bee (well, until i take it off):

oh you know it.

have a safe and happy weekend, friends!

[ music | none ]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

courvoisier collective's culinary masterpieces showcase

so it really isn't a secret that i heart booze - like, a lot. another one of my great loves is cooking, so when you combine alcohol and culinary wizardry, i'm basically set for life. which means that when i got an invite to the courvoisier collective's culinary masterpieces showcase event last night, i hit rsvp so hard i think i nearly broke a finger. yes please. give me all of your delicious boozy food and open-bar goodness.

i covered the courvoisier collective gallery opening last summer, and this summer, the program extended out to would-be chefs to create dishes centered around courvoisier cognac. you can currently see all the finalists in the program on the official website, complete with photos that i shouldn't be looking at when i'm hungry.

anyway! the event at maison mercer on wednesday night featured the final six nominees - three culinary students and three at-home chefs - providing samples of their goods, as well as a whole ton of glasses of free cognac. also, the same delicious courvoisier punch offered at the last event:

jenna, my ladydate for the night, was pretty stoked to be handed a glass of punch as soon as we got in the door. (not so stoked for me to be snapping photos of her, but such is the terrible price of being my +1, hah)

the place was already filling up by the time we got there, too:

interesting mix of suits, hipster food bloggers, and old people. then me, running around attempting to carry as many plates of samples and glasses of booze as possible.

although there were no vegetarian options among the nominees (sadface), there was a very large table of various veggies, dips, crackers and cheese, so jenna was able to make do. (also, big ups to erica guidi for giving jenna a portion of her dish's forest mushroom quinoa, sans pork chop.) being a voracious meat eater, i was quite pleased with my number of choices. there were a surprising number of duck dishes (i'm not a fan of duck, though) and even one involving rabbit (which i didn't try, oops), but ici bistro's the drunk lobster with potato risotto had the longest and most consistent lineup of the event by far. pretty presentation and delicious flavours.

though this one was my favourite of the night -- don chow's red miso beef ribs with mushroom cognac sauce. i may or may not have gone back for a second helping. er.

that brings me to my only other peeve: the fact that although there were forks in abundance, there were no knives. hence me having to gnaw on my food like a savage. can't wait to see if i'm in the background of any of the event photos looking like a food monster.

it was a lovely space for an event, though, with a pretty cool setup on courvoisier's part -- not only did they have free cognac tastings prepared along the bars (see above), but they also had an olfactory station where you could smell the different essences that went into each type of courvoisier.

little too dark for a proper shot, but i kind of like the artsy-ness of it.  pretty jars.

kary osmond (who hosts best recipes ever on cbc) was the emcee for the judging portion of the night; three celebrity chefs had the tough decision of picking two winners (one culinary student and one at-home chef). in the end, steve cylka won for his duck breast with duxelle ravioli, and doug burke won for his lobster corn chowder (neither of which i tried, unfortunately, since i was long since stuffed -- never let jenna nor i near a cheese plate).

then we hung around the bar until we were able to finagle two more glasses of courvoisier punch, and headed off into the chilly night, happily warmed by the cognac in our bloodstreams.

thanks for another awesome night, courvoisier collective! also, big ups to matchstick for extending the invite. good times, all.