Wednesday, February 27, 2013

better already

so many intense blog posts about feelings lately! (and also vague - there's a reason why i have a "frustrating vagueness" tag for my posts) let's lighten 'er up with a general life update:

- i currently own 50+ bottles of booze, and i have the best-stocked home bar of anyone i know. my father, ever-concerned by his youngest daughter's burgeoning alcoholism, was not impressed by this news. but, i am proud. (sign that i'm legitimately becoming a collector: my next planned acquisitions at american liquor stores are nocello and creme de violette, which i would never drink straight-up but need as ingredients for cocktails. nerrrrd.) also, it's probably not great that i'm looking into expanding into bitters, which are not cheap. sigh. (hilariously, i won a gift card to skymall through work, and i'm looking at new stemware and/or bar accessories as opposed to, like, a life-sized garden gnome or whatever.)

- the leafs are winning (not every game - they're not the chicago blackhawks - but they're doing well overall) and that brings me great joy. playoffs? playoffs. also, by the grace of erin, this ridiculously adorable phil kessel doll will soon be in my possession:

aaaaaaand i die of happiness at the cute, thank you.

- march: the social month! for a month that's typically filled with slush and grey skies and blah, there's a lot happening -- drinks and a rock n' roll show on friday; baking party on saturday afternoon; dinner n' hockey hangs with friends throughout the month, plus a bunch of upcoming gigs to attend around town as well. combine that with my usual routine of crossfit and leafs games and i think i'm doing a good job at keeping myself busy. march looks like it'll be a stark contrast to the last month and a half or so; i've kind of disappeared off the social grid as of late, but that's okay. it's been needed. when it comes to life troubles, i've never been one of those "just get out there and have fun and take your mind off it" people; i need solitude, and quiet, and the ability to do things as i want. i am very much a non-people person when i need my space. so.

- i bought this tank top and i'm in love with it basically:

(in case you're not up to date on your gofficks, merciful release is/was the record label run by the sisters of mercy's andrew eldritch) sadly, although i scored it for $10, it was a deal because it was at the hell's belles closing sale. i spent far too much money and time at hell's belles over the years, and i can't describe my excitement when i first found it -- such a cool little goth/punk/rock n' roll fashion shop. and although a burger's priest is going into the location (yes!), i'll still miss browsing through the racks of tripp and lip service and other skimpy pvc-accented pieces.

oh and i also got these garter-topped thigh-high fishnets for like $5:

i'm fancy. also, a sucker for things like thigh-high stockings and knee-high socks. back when i worked for a particular coffee-shop chain, i managed to get away with wearing black knee socks topped with red frilly lace and printed with little cherries. i pulled in a lot of tips. (also, looking at those two photos, how hilarious is it that i'm almost thirty? i mean, sadlarious if you're me, but pretty amusing regardless. i feel like i still look like a child.)

- my student debt is almost - almost - paid off. this is a pretty big deal for me, as i've had that massive amount of cash hanging over my head for six years now. but, slowly but surely, i've managed to get it down to an amount that's still astounding for me to see -- i mean, i could pay that off now if i wanted to sink some of my savings into it, but i'd rather hang on to that. still, it was my longtime goal to be debt-free by the time i hit thirty, and it's looking like i might actually(!) see that happen. which is crazy and awesome and feels absolutely accomplished.

- coffee and cigarettes are the only things that make me feel remotely like myself these days. not really great on the former, definitely not great on the latter. but these are the things you do to get you through.

and i'm out, for now. be good, be well, be happy.

[ music | that's hockey on tsn in the background ]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

where all the roads go

i don't know how many times i've written about this topic (maybe i need a chart or a heat map or something), but holy christ, i feel like i need to reboot my life.

at the end of this post from last summer, i mentioned that i felt like i'd lost myself over the last five years. granted, i was largely referring to my relationship there, but i've slowly come to the realization that it could also apply to my life in general. as i said in this blog post from last month, sometimes i feel pretty far removed from the girl i used to be, and i don't view that as a particularly good thing. it may be just me remembering the past through rose-coloured glasses, but i feel like she had a lot more fun.

there's this nagging feeling as well:

..."running out of time", yes (though i had to add that disclaimer in brackets so people wouldn't think i was talking about, like, having kids or anything), but also a general sense of wasting time, maybe. i know that you can't tell in the moment when the best years of your life are, but i want to make the most of what i've got right now. do i feel like i'm doing that? no, not really. and i want to change that, because i don't want to look back on this period of time in my life and realize that i wasted so much of my time and energy on things that ultimately didn't matter in the end.

also, there's a bunch of changes coming to my life soon, and i have the option to use these changes as a springboard to reset a bunch of things. sorry if that's all kind of vague, but that's how it is when you're writing in the public sphere. either way, i've mentioned before that i am resolutely fucking terrible at making big life changes, but when faced with changes that i can't control, i generally acquiesce. it's kind of the only way things happen for me, given how lazy and complacent i can get in my everyday life and routines. (that's probably something i need to work on further, actually. oh, well.)

i think, though, that i really ought to use what's coming up to take the initiative in making the aforementioned big life changes. because i've never quite felt like i've belonged where i am now, and i still remember where i come from. it still calls me back, telling me to come home. (if anything, the bands i've been listening to the most lately - as well as the old writings i've been reading - are a definite reminder, and a possible sign that i should finally go back and reclaim what i gave up.)

then, from a family-day phone conversation with my mom, in light of a few recent events:

"you ever get the feeling that, even if it's really shitty, things are working out the way they're supposed to?"

that's one thing my mother and i have always agreed on: the belief that no matter how crazy or bad things seem, everything works out the way it's supposed to. you might not realize it until years later, sure, but when you look back on things, you can see that everything that's happened makes exact sense. my family's not religious, but this is the closest thing to divine belief that i was brought up with. trusting one's intuition and having faith in the universe.

and when i think back on my own personal history, even within the last twelve months, it still astounds me how strange my life continues to be. and i have no idea where things go from here.

lately i've had this song on repeat as i go out on my balcony to smoke endless cigarettes and watch the winter sunset:

and i forgot so much.

[ music | leafs vs. lightning on in the background ]

Thursday, February 14, 2013

heart beating like a hammer

leonard said it best, as he always does:

(i would totally get that quote tattooed, although i already have "love is not a victory march" done and i'm not sure i want all the myriad cohen definitions of love inked under my skin. although he does define it perfectly.)

now, on this day of goopy pink-and-red cash-grab commercialism (though i've always had a soft spot for actual romance - a little-known fact about me is that my university degree's area of specialization was 19th-century romantic literature), i'm only going to say this, as kind of a follow-up to this blog post:

love is a funny thing, a weird and sacrosanct thing, and it really shouldn't be fucked with or taken for granted. you can boil it down to science and evolutionary chemistry, or you can chalk it up to the cosmos and sheer luck and good timing, but at the end of the day it is a wholly impossible thing to understand. and to me, that's fine; there's no magic in the world unless there are still a few mysteries.

so look, if you have it, be happy and thankful for it; if you have a poor facsimile of it, get the hell out of it and go find something real (because otherwise you're doing a disservice to both yourself and the one you don't actually love); and if you don't have it, don't lose faith in it. i don't. i never have. following my heart has led to some of the best and worst decisions of my life, yet it's always going to remain my driving force. it makes me feel alive and real in a way that nothing else does.

my mother has said that i feel things more deeply and i take things harder than most people do, and my fatal flaw is that i expect others to feel the same. and that's one of the truest things i know about myself. i put everything out there, i say what i feel, i don't hold back, i don't allow for what-ifs and if-onlys.

("some of them don't want to be saved, you know.")

but i wouldn't change that part of me for the world.

happy valentine's day.

[ music | the hundred in the hands, "keep it low" ]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

mix it up

current state of the home bar, post-america restocked and reloaded:

(this isn't even including the bottle of segura brut and 4-pack of dieu du ciel's peche mortel i have in the fridge, or the three bottles of vodka and one bottle of jagermeister in my freezer. ouch.)

those of you who know me through twitter, or facebook, or - gasp, shock - real life, know that i have a variety of interests that i'm not shy about voicing my passion for (chief among them coffee, hockey, music, crossfit, baking, obsessively buying cute underwear, and swearing at things). but given how out of hand my liquor collection is becoming, i think it's time for me to finally make good on my threat to go to bartending school.

see, this has been an ambition of mine for, oh...probably seven years now. back when i graduated from university, i figured i'd backfill the time between post-grad and an actual career by working as either a barista or a bartender; both were hospitality skills that i'd wanted to attain, for some weird reason. given that becoming a barista was both easier and cheaper (since it didn't require any special courses or licenses), i ended up going that route, and hence slung coffee for almost two years before finally breaking into marketing and public relations. thus, my bartending ambitions were regulated to hobby status -- see above photo.

really, it would still be a hobby now - i'm very much okay with my current full-time career in pr - but really, going to bartending school has been something i've been swearing i'd do for years now. and now it looks like i'll finally have both the time and money to make this longstanding ambition actually happen. ah, the simple joys of freedom when you're an adult with disposable income and some extra time on her hands.

someday, though, maybe i would like to be a bartender. it was definitely an idea i toyed with when i was living in vancouver (and um, working as a barista) because it looked like fun, it seemed to pay well, and i enjoyed the science of mixology. it's funny how i wouldn't describe myself as a people person in everyday life - it generally takes an effort for me to be social, and words that have been used to describe me include "surly" and "hostile" - but i can turn it on (and light it the fuck up, if i do say so myself) in the workplace if i need to. so i think i might make a good bartender, at some point in my life.

granted, i have a very good friend who's a bartender, and she's told me enough horror stories that i really ought to be thinking twice about that ambition. oh well, hazards of the job, etc.

at the very least, working an office job has made me realize that i do sort of miss getting out and interacting with the general public every day. sure, there's a higher potential for crazies and stalkers, but in retrospect, it was kind of good to see new and different people all the time. i mean, when you're an adult who's pretty crappy at being social (see above's mention about how i have to force myself into it), how else do you meet people? this is definitely something i've struggled with, more so now that i'm a single girl.

still, i guess bartending school in and of itself would be somewhere to meet likeminded booze nerds; we'll see on that one. i get kind of shy and quiet in class scenarios.

in the meantime, my current libations of choice:

  • thin mint (2 oz crave chocolate mint liqueur + 1 oz vodka + 3 dashes chocolate bitters)
  • aviation (2 oz gin + 2 tsp maraschino liqueur + 3/4 oz lemon juice - no creme de violette because it's not available in canada, and floral booze is gross besides)
  • unnamed drink of deliciousness (2 oz gin + 1/2 oz cherry heering + 2 dashes angostura bitters)
  • girly flavoured vodka on the rocks (generally 3 oz three olives smores vodka or pinnacle whipped vodka, with a maraschino cherry as well because fuck you that's why)

thank god sober month is over, the end.

[ music | the dead weather, "treat me like your mother" ]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

anywhere but home

being back home in my toronto apartment after staying in a hotel for two weeks is familiar and happy, but also slightly weird. you mean my bed won't be magically made and my apartment cleaned while i'm away? i don't have an unlimited amount of american snacks during my work day? there won't be a concierge to greet me with "hi, miss h________" every time i come home? well, huh.

(also, i developed a deepening addiction to fage yogurt which, while widely available in the united states, is only available at one single specialty grocery store in toronto at crazy marked-up prices. bah.)

so yep, back to the usual routines in the city that i love. i mentioned it before, but it was actually funny how much i really, really missed toronto after only, like, a week and a half out of town. if anything, it just reaffirmed the fact that toronto is my spiritual center. it's a gravitational pull -- all my roads lead back to hogtown. i mean, i tried to get away when i moved to vancouver in 2007, but i ended up getting so homesick that i came back not even a year later. in the case of me and toronto, the absence really does make my heart grow fonder. my parents have never ceased to be amazed at how much i've become a toronto girl, or how still in love i am with this city over ten years after i first moved here.

(this is the view from my old cohabitational apartment, but you know, whatevs.)

i also feel like i've never quite gotten over my fomo when it comes to toronto. when i was in my early twenties, it was always such a struggle to go back to kingston even for a weekend; i was too distraught over all the awesome things i would be missing in toronto. i feel the same way now, sometimes -- like, the longer i'm away, the more possibilities i'm missing out on. hence why i tend to get homesick really fast. i guess i'm still never satisfied with what i have, where i am -- i always want the nebulous possibilities that i may be missing by not being where i belong.

though this all rings true:

or on the floor, or curled up in a chair, or... (i seem to recall falling asleep in the (empty) hotel bathtub once, but i think i was drunk)

anyway, the trip home was a bit of a trek due to the insane snowstorm that hit toronto late thursday/early friday. as my flight was due to arrive in toronto around 10 p.m. on friday, it looked like a 50-50 chance that things would be cleared out enough to let the plane land -- and sure enough, all of friday's flights to toronto island were eventually cancelled. so, one more lonely, boring night in washington (though at least i had alcohol to keep me company this time, and the hotel bartender was super great to boot) and i was finally able to board a flight home on saturday afternoon. with all the news about how chaotic pearson airport still was on saturday, it actually surprised me how quiet and effortless the process was going from dulles airport to toronto city. another point to porter! (i only ever fly porter because they give me a free glass of wine. two glasses if i cry. which i did do, once.)

oh, and i managed to get through security without having to pay duty on my, errrr, three bottles of liquor (you're only legally allowed one), thanks to a sympathetic border agent who rewarded my honesty. (i have always been too nervous to lie on my declaration card; sure enough, mr. agent told me yesterday that if they ever catch me lying, it flags in the system every time i go through. which wouldn't be good given that i mostly go to the u.s. to bring back weird booze.) the word is out on whether or not all three purchases were worth it -- the backup bottle of rumchata is great, clearly, and i definitely like the chocolate-mint liqueur (bought solely so i could make this cocktail), but i'm side-eyeing the honey-flavoured vodka. i didn't read the label so i didn't note the part about "herbal undertones", and it tastes vaguely like those honey cough lozenges (ricola?). ick.

i also brought back three jars of frontera chipotle salsa because holy shit i will eat half a jar of that stuff at a time. it is the best.

this! (eternal reminder that when it comes to mexican or indian food, i thrive on it being as hot as possible; i kept dumping fresh jalapenos and hot sauce on my chili at hard times the other week)

at the end of the day, though, it feels pretty great to have a home of your own to come back to. it did take me a bit of time, but now i absolutely love my apartment and am quite happy to have my own little space. granted, i try to stay out and about - other than working the 9 to 5, i spend most evenings in the gym and almost all my weekends walking around town running errands and just absorbing toronto - but i enjoy having a nice place to hang out late at night and get up in the morning. it's a home, and it's all mine. i definitely intend on staying put in this building for a while.

anyway, that's all for now -- just wanted to check in as part of reintegrating myself into my natural environment. back to work, crossfit, kitchen adventures, hockey nights on tv, good times with friends, and so on and so forth. allons-y!

[ music | placebo, "meds" ]

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


as of last night, i completed my stay on dry island -- i made it one month without drinking any alcohol whatsoever. one whole goddamn month.

for me, this was a feat of major proportions. if you know me at all, you know that i really love booze - and i really love drinking - and i pride myself on the massive collection of alcohol i have on my apartment's bar shelf/cart (and fridge, and freezer). i'm very much into mixology and i have a ton of the books and tools, not to mention this gorgeous work on my kitchen wall. it's absolutely commonplace for me to spend late evenings with a glass of vodka on the rocks, or to pour a slug of bailey's in my weekend coffee. thinking back on it, i actually don't think i've gone without drinking for that long in years.

i mean, here are my bar shelves:

i am a collector. (not an alcoholic, mom.)

anyway, i'd read a bunch of articles about "drynuary", and i figured that after burning my liver out over december, i might as well try to dry out for the month of january. i was aiming to start on new year's day but, er, hair of the dog was needed after that new year's eve party, so i actually didn't get started until january 5th. still, january was a good idea since it's generally a shitty cold month, which means less going out and more hibernating at home. worked for me. (reactions from almost all my friends were pretty much variations on "what kind of a terrible idea is that?!" we are all social drinkers, what can i say)

three main observations:

1. i have never been so bored in my goddamn life.
2. i have never drank so much perrier, ever.
3. all of my money saved on liquor ended up being funneled towards purchases of cute panties.

also, a nagging reminder that i never lose weight so quickly as i do when i go sober. well, fuck everything.

i only really had a tough time during the few occasions where i went out to shows or parties with friends; see that first point about being absolutely, ungodly bored. additionally, there were a few rocky days mood-wise where i would have stabbed somebody for a drink, but i soldiered through (see the second point about drinking so much perrier -- at least i could pretend there was vodka in it). it also made me a bit sad to not be able to booze up my coffee - and to not participate in last sunday's "champagne brunch" with all-you-can-drink mimosas - but oh well.

also, flying sober also proved to be much less than fun. ugh.

so for my celebratory bender (ha ha) today, i donned the enemy colours of blue & white and went to see the leafs take on the capitals -- in washington, dc.

it was nicklas backstrom lawn gnome night. look, i just went with it.

and then the leafs won and all was right with the world, the end.

if those photos (and my mention of flying) were any indication, no, i'm not in toronto right now. i actually haven't been in toronto since, errr, sunday january 27th. instead, i've been living out of a hotel in washington while on work assignment. it's been a trip, that's for sure.

anyway, i'm flying back to toronto on friday (and this time i'll actually be able to drink wine to ease my flight anxiety!) and it's going to be so good to see the lights of my city again. washington is nice and all, and it's been an interesting place to stay for the last two weeks (have i mentioned that i heart america? america!), but toronto is my home. it was sort of funny/sad how much i missed toronto; while watching the caps-at-leafs game at a bar in arlington, i got all misty-eyed every time the cameras showed the air canada centre or the cn tower. hooooome!

anyway, here are some additional good-times photos of my two weeks in dc (and occasionally virginia):

i found this magazine at the ymca where i worked out (every day, sometimes twice a day out of sheer boredom, and i never want to see that goddamn gym again). it was probably all of six pages long.

brittany really enjoys goldfish crackers. (our work room was full of so many snacks that i'm pretty sure we all had type-2 diabetes by the time the two weeks were up)

my work's washington office has an ice cream freezer. hell yes they do.

ashkon and jason's end-of-january christmas tree. and shooting target.

"the star on top of the tree!" ashkon said triumphantly. ugh.

spotted at hard times (home of delicious, delicious chili) in arlington. sports bars in america aren't all bad.


i spent part of my saturday doing laundry at a ghetto laundromat in a questionable part of downtown washington. it was probably the most accomplished i felt all week.

fountain at the center of dupont circle on a sunday morning. this was snapped right before i found a nearby farmer's market and ate all the cheese samples.

in washington, toronto is an apartment complex.

my favourite berns and her novelty license plate. very apt.

plus, ego boost of 2013: after turning a few heads at the sports bar (though i got plenty of sneers and chirps when the guys saw the leafs logo on my t-shirt; i was well pleased to sneer and chirp right back, especially after we won that night), my colleague told me that i could "clean up" if i wanted to attract american boys. apparently canadian girls are seen as much hotter, because we're more laid-back bro-types. and we sometimes dress like this:

sports! and stuff.

but, there has been a good amount of growth and work and illuminating moments during my trip. i did plenty of personal writing, and i got to do a ton of my favourite thing -- walking alone around an unfamiliar city with music on, for hours and hours. i put in gym time twice a day (6 a.m. workouts, holla) plus six spin classes, two punishing kazaxe classes, and i'm going to tomorrow's introductory class of the physical hell that is bar method. i had brunch with a dear old friend on the weekend. i read three books. i stayed up late. i got up early. and i did a lot of thinking.

2013 is going to be one strange and interesting year. but that's what i wanted, after all.

[ music | none ]

Friday, February 1, 2013


i had a moment the other week, though.

for some reason, i woke up with the memory of moist's most excellent old song "machine punch through" in my head, and i started putting that song on a repeated loop. that day at work, i listened to the entirety of moist's silver, and then creature, and then our lady peace's naveed, and i closed my eyes at my desk. all i could think of is listening to those albums when i was a teenager, dreaming of something more - something bigger, something meaningful that would make me happy - then i opened my eyes, and saw how far i'd come.

as soon as i was finished with the music, i escaped outside into the winter cold for a cigarette, and my hands were shaking as i lit it.

i felt derailed.

because i remember boston and new york, connecticut and pennsylvania, montreal and ottawa, chicago and kansas city, kingston, sudbury, quebec city, albuquerque, tucson, flagstaff, vegas, vancouver, everywhere and back again to toronto, my eventual home. i remembered how i found where i belonged, but how i couldn't stay. i remembered them, and how no matter how far away the memories get or how much it all becomes just sounds in my ears, i can still bring it all back in a beat of my weary heart.

i am almost thirty years old.

and i thought about the vow i'd made, how someday i would be someone, how they would know my name. i thought about how far i'd gone, and how i wished i could have gone further, but even now i know i probably wouldn't have survived it. i thought about the concern on my friends' faces and in the voices of my parents when they all ask me if i worry about the impact any of this has had on my psyche, but the only thing i can do is shrug and reply that this is the life i've chosen, and that this is what i know. this is more or less the only thing i know.

somehow i didn't realize how far down the rabbit hole i'd end up going, and how, in the end, i wouldn't change a thing.

[ music | none ]