Dec 31, 2009

Most Anticipated Video Games of 2010

I though it would be neat to team up with Josh over at The Technical Parent to list our most anticipated games of 2010.  Sort of like a guys and gals perspective.  I am proud to say that I did not fall short compared to Josh's amazing list.  Seriously though, the guy is a genius and an amazing writer, and you would only be doing yourself a favour if you paid a little visit to his blog.

Because he was nice enough to humour me on this collaboration, I feel it is only courteous to put Josh first here.  Check out his list of 2010s Most Anticipated Video Games:

Here's what I have for you: (in alphabetical order)

º Bioshock 2: If you played the first installment of this game, there is no explanation needed. Bioshock 2 takes place ten years after the events of the original game. You have been reactivated. Saving Little Girls, February 2010

º Dead Rising 2: It is a few years after the outbreak in Santa Cabeza. The zombie parasite has spread all over the United States.You are Chuck Greene, a former Motocross champion, and trapped with your daughter in Fortune City (Las Vegas, really). Zombie Hordes. Psychopaths. Rescue Civilians. Slice and Dice...Again, April 2010

º Dead Space 2: Very little is known about this game so far. It is three years later and you find yourself on the space station, dubbed "The Sprawl." The main character is suffering from the effects of the marker from the first game; a condition that is permanent and deteriorating. You start in a hospital aboard the station. That is all, TBA 2010

º Fable III: Set in Albion 50 years after Fable II. An "injustice" happens to Hero's parent, believed to be orchestrated by the tyrant king. You become a revolutionary to overthrow the tyrant king and claim the throne for yourself. But the adventure doesn't stop there. In the second half of the game, a force threatens Albion and you, as the new leader, must respond. Peter Molyneux Does It Again...we hope., Late 2010.

º Fallout: New Vegas: Not to be confused with a possible "Fallout 4" game by Bethesda Softworks, "Fallout : New Vegas" has been labeled "another game in the universe." No details other than that the gameplay will be similar to "Fallout 3." Suiting Up, TBA 2010.

º Halo: Reach: First-person shooter. Actually a prequel game to the original "Halo." You are callsign Noble Six, a Lieutenant and replacement in the special operations unit of six SPARTAN Supersoldiers. Move Out, Fall 2010.

º Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4: Much like other games in the Lego video game series, you are a Lego version of various Harry Potter characters. You run around casting spells, mixing potions (which, if done wrong, could turn you into a frog). Complete with over 100 characters from the first four installments in the Harry Potter anthology. Wingardium Leviosa, March 3, 2010.

º Mass Effect 2: Shortly after the events of "Mass Effect," Commander Shepard's ship, Normandy, is fatally attacked and abandoned. Commander Shepard asphyxiates and dies in the vaccum of space. His body is retrieved by the pro-human paramilitary organization Cerberus, which attempts to revive the Commander through the Lazarus Project. Two years later (2185), Commander Shepard awakes during an attack on the Cerberus space station. He and two other make their escape and begin a mission to investigate the attacks on the human colonies throughout the galaxies. Shepard runs into Tali, a former squad member from "Mass Effect," and the mysterious insect-like race called Collectors. Receiving command of the Normandy SR2, Shepard recruits new squad members and attempts to discover the Collectors' plans. In addition, any game where you import your saved games from the first game and those choices you made in #1 impact what happens in #2, is just aces in my book. Tied with "Fallout: New Vegas" and "Fable III" as most anticipated game of the year. Your Actions Change Others, January 26, 2010.

º S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: The Call of Pripyat: I don't play many PC-based video games, but this one I will play. You are exploring "The Zone" around Chernobyl years after the disaster. A mapping flyover mission has ended in tragedy and you are tasked with entering "The Zone" to find out what happened. What sucks is that this game was released in October 2009 in CIS and November 2009 in Germany and Austria. Get Your Radiation Suit Ready, February 2010.

º Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2: Only just annouced in December 2009, very little is known about this game. The only clues are that you still control Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice. This game still takes place between Episodes III & IV. May The Force Be With You...Always, TBA 2010

And there you have it folks.  A noteworthy list.  As for mine:

1. BioShock 2- If anyone has played BioShock, the first instalment in the franchise, one would know that this game will not disappoint when it comes to awe-inspiring graphics and phenomenal gameplay.  Set ten years after the events of the first game, you re-activate as a Big Daddy, only to discover that Rapture is under the control of an evil woman named Sofia Lamb.  It is up to you to form shaky alliances with those you were once wary of, and save the little girls being abducted by Lamb who will be turned into 'Little Sisters', forever genetically altered to steal a person's life force.  This game is going to be good people.  Set to be released in February 2010.  Check out the trailer and story/ info here: http://www.bioshock2game.com/

2. God of War 3- The final game in the series once again finds you as Kratos, an ex-Spartan warrior who only has one thing on his mind: to seek revenge on those who have betrayed him.  Making his way through the dark depths of Hell and the soaring heights of Mt. Olympus, players will once again get to experience a fast-paced game with an amazing story line.  Check out trailers and more here: http://www.godofwar.com/Index/  Release date set for March 2010.  One to definitely keep an eye out for!

3. Red Dead Redemption- Developed by Rockstar San Diego (and oh how I love Rockstar), Red Dead Redemption is a western style video game.  Set in 1908, you play former outlaw John Marston, and it is your duty to rid the West of any individuals set to break the law.  Especially your old gang partner, that douche Bill Williamson.  Once again using open world gameplay, you are left to roam free to discover an amazing story that will sweep you away to a different time period.  Set to be released April 2010, this is another one that will be a hot off the press buy.  At least it will in this household.  Check out the awesome trailer and storyline here:  http://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption/agegate.html?ref=index.php

4.  The Last Guardian-  If you have ever played Shadow of the Colossus (one of my favorite games!) then you will definitely enjoy this game, also developed by Team Ico.  The story is one where you play a boy who befriends a very strange creature indeed: a huge feathered guy (who is soooo cute!) who sort of resembles a griffin.  Similar to the gameplay in Shadow, a combination of action-adventure and puzzle elements make up the main gameplay of The Last Guardian. Check out the trailer here; http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-09-the-last/50352.  One of my favorite video game trailers ever.  You won't be disappointed watching this, even if it is only to see how cute the giant creature is.  Release date TBA.

5.  Alan Wake- An unlikely candidate in games I am most excited for, this game finds you as Alan Wake, a writer who needs to escape his own demons as well as his writer's block.  He and his wife relocate to the small town of Bright Falls in order to re-discover his creative flow.  When his wife disappears, he finds himself facing his own demons, or his mind's creations if you will.  With each word of the book he doesn't remember writing, a terrifying story comes true before his eyes.  A psychological thriller reminiscent of Twin Peaks, Lost and the works of Stephen King.  I think this is a must for all the writers out there!  Check out the trailer and info here: http://www.alanwake.com/  Release date May 2010.

And again, there you have it friends.  I hope that you play at least one of these games this year, because you will not be disappointed.  

Thanks again Josh!  Go team!

I hope your hangover (if you have one) isn't so terrible!

Obligatory New Year's Post # 2




Tonight is about new beginnings.  Once the clock strikes midnight, it's like a clean slate.  A time to re-invent yourself if you wish to do so, or fine-tune what you already know and love.



To make those resolutions and break them, and not feel bad about it.



To love yourself and others in a new way, to try and be more understanding of those that ummm...tie your britches all up in knots.



Tonight will find me staying in, cozy and warm (it's raining and cold here), away from the frenzy and chaos of this celebratory night.  Good food, good wine, and good friends will help me ring in the new year.  I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year.  I sincerely wish it is everything you want it to be.

Some people say how you spend your New Year's Eve is how the rest of your year will be...

Happy New Years everyone!



Obligatory New Year's Post # 1

This year has been an interesting one.  It has seen both dark times and times of light so blinding that all I could do was close my eyes and bask in the warmth.  Of my friends.  And my love.  Family.

So on this cold night before New Years Eve, I wanted to make a little list, of all the things that I did and that made me happy in 2009:

1.  Saved my cats life, when many people told me it was impossible.

2.  Pushed myself in exercising, in the dead heat of the summer even.

3.  Visited a place that was a childhood memory (scenic caves), and it was amazing.

4.  Joined a sewing class and loved it.

5.  Tried new things, even if they were outside my comfort zone.

6.  Started writing again.  This one is a big one for me.  I had left it behind for too long and only realized how much a part of my life it was when I was faced with what I was missing.

7.  Started reading a lot again.

8.  Finished a story I had started a couple of years ago.  I am proud of it.

9.  Made my blog public.  I was terrified to do that.

10.  Had a modelling gig!

11.  Turned 30. Finally.

12.  Learned to take pride in where I live, even if it is not my own house.  I love my apartment and what we have been able to do with it so far this year.

13.  Went to a spa for the first time.  And enjoyed it.  Unheard of!

14.  Finally visited the mysterious Crystal Ballroom.  And stayed at the King Edward Hotel.

15.  Started a writing course on my own, and it has taught me so much.

16.  Went to my first symphony and thought it was beautiful, not boring!  Also saw Daniel Johnston in concert.  He is amazing.

17.  Finally have a new computer! Thanks Dave!

18.  Treated myself to my own space.  Bought myself a desk and made myself a creative little spot that I love more than anything.

19.  Cut a lot of my hair off.  I will never go back.

20.  Visited a castle and ran around like a child who had too much sugar.  Such a fun experience.

This year, I found myself again.  I was lost in stuff that was not me, that did not make me happy.  But I have learned so much from that experience.  And in dealing with the darkness that came along with that, I found light.  I started writing again, and my stress has seemed to diminish in waves.  Each word I have written found it flowing away from me.  Like I said to Dave earlier today, I feel like I am in training for something.  I am not sure what, but I feel that whatever it might be, it's going to be good.

I cannot wait for what 2010 will bring.  For my life list for 2010, click here.

Stay tuned to the obligatory New Years Post # 2!

Dec 29, 2009

Late

The moon was so bright last night.  Lying in bed, unable to sleep, I had to get up and see for myself that the lustrous bands of light falling across the bed were really from the moon and not from those odd spotlights you see floating around the sky sometimes, always late at night.  When I was young I used to think that the spotlights were angels, watching over me while I slept, forever zig-zagging across the sky.

After watching the moon for a few minutes, I needed to go downstairs for some medicine.  I had been coughing all night and Dave kept tossing and turning, still sleeping but hearing my coughs from a distance, in his dreams.  I felt bad.  I walked down the stairs in the dark; the moonlight did not penetrate through the windows here, and I was left only with my knowledge of where things are.  Something I could do in my sleep.

Walking along towards the kitchen, slowly, my eyes have not yet adjusted to the dark.  And it's this slow shuffle through the shadows that brings up a thought, the same one, always.  Will I see my ancestors tonight?  Ever since I was a little kid I would dream that this is how it would happen, I would be walking through my house in the dark and I would see them.  Past generations of the strong women in my family, standing illuminated in the dark, looking at me.  What would they think?  Would they be proud of me?  I can only hope to be as strong as they were, and I try to draw from that strength every day, for every situation in my life.  A lot of the times I fail, or it comes out wrong and I sound too fiery, but this is what I am trying to portray.  And even though I know I have no reason to be visited upon by these unforgotten women, I cannot help but wish for them to come to me in my dreams, and tell me about their lives.

I am nearing the kitchen, thinking strange thoughts of ethereal beings.  I see a dark shape in the corner and my heart races.  I lunge for the light switch and flip it to 'On'.  Phew.  Just a cat stalking something by the rads.  So much for the strength of grandmothers, when I am afraid of the cat.

I take my medicine and turn to walk the same shuffle step through the dark.  Only now the call of my bed is a loud foghorn sounding in the night.  My shuffle turns into a sprint and I don't take the time to notice how the shadows fall on the walls, paying little attention to the cat chasing my heels.  I have more important things on my mind, like the devil at my back enticing me to just try and outrun him up the stairs.

I beat him and climb into bed.  I am safe, with my love beside me and the moonlight falling across the bed, nothing can touch me here.

I fall asleep, but do not dream of the women I love so much, and miss more than anyone.

Dec 28, 2009

Post-Apocylyptic Christmas Post

So, I have been lying here now, for two days.  The craziness of Christmas finally finished and then BAM! It hit me.

I had mentioned earlier that I got sick on my birthday, but it was nothing compared to this, this heavy ANVIL OF DEATH that has descended upon my chest.  Ugh.  So this is why I have not been posting much.  Just trying to comment on the blogs that I am reading, and I thank the good whomever that I have them to read, or I might really lose my sense of humour and ahem, CRY or something.  NOT that that has happened already.  Only a baby would cry when they are sick! Psshh.

So I don't want to talk about sick, because that is boring.  I want to talk about something that my little brother brought up when I was home for Christmas.  We were talking about the topic of having your boyfriend/ girlfriend spend the night at your parents house.

The way that it worked in my house was that it DIDN'T for me.  AT ALL.  My sister had a boyfriend at 16-years-old and it just kind of happened that she would worm a little hole through my parents' frontal lobes so that they would forget all about the 'boyfriend's are not allowed to sleep over' rule.  But she was always good at that.  The 'he is too tired and can't drive home' play was always a good one.  Or the 'OMG we just fell asleep! How did that EVEN HAPPEN?' strategy was genius and so transparent, but they always allowed it forever after.  I, on the other hand, felt too guilty to take advantage this way.  Because I am the good child.  Take heed of my words oh sister of mine! I know you are reading this you little blonde bombshell that can turn anyone into a lump of jelly.  Your own parents though! Tsk.

Once it came around to the time in my life where I had a steady boyfriend at 19 years of age (ok can we just focus on that for one second? 19??!!)  I was still met with a stern "No boys allowed!".  Of course, I was dumbfounded: this was very unfair.  It became such a great source of contention in the house because while they were saying no to me, my sister's boyfriend had moved himself in.  How very strange you might be thinking.  I KNOW.

I went off to university at 20, and it was not such a great problem anymore.  My parents knew that myself and the same long-term boyfriend visited each other when we could, and they had no issues with that whatsoever.  But then when I would go home for a holiday or just a weekend I would ask the same question, and it was always the same, "No boys allowed!".  Hmm.  I needed to know why there was preferential treatment being given to others and not myself.  There was never really an answer given to this question.  Just a mantra: "No boys allowed!".  And not only was he not allowed to sleep over, he wasn't even allowed in my room!  It's like my parents had something to prove by not allowing this to happen, and to be honest, I didn't care so much that he slept over, I was consumed with the 'why not?' of it all.

That boyfriend and I were together for a few years, and he never saw the sun rise in my bedroom at my parents house.  It was only many, MANY years later that I am NOW allowed to have boyfriends sleep at my parents house.  And that's no fun anymore, I live with him!

So let's back track to the time when I was finally allowed this forbidden thing.  My little brother, at 20, got himself a girlfriend.  You know, the older lady.  Who was 40 something.  And it came around to that time when he wanted to know if she could sleep over that night.  This is how THAT conversation went down:

Bother:  So mom, can I have J over for the night?

This is the part where my head snapped up, Exorcist style, from what I was doing, and two holes were burned into my mothers head.

(Uncomfortable silence) Mom:  Ummm....*shifty eyes*...ask your sister.

Of course my brother knows the situation and is afraid I am going to ruin it all for him.

Brother: Oh lord.  So?

Me: (sighing all over the place) YESSSSSS.  I wouldn't want you to go through the same torture I DID. SIGH...

And that was the day, at 26-years-old, I was allowed to have my husband boyfriend sleep over at my parent's house.  Victory!

Dec 26, 2009

Another One Has Come and Gone...Part 3

Here comes one of the very best parts of my birthday.  A little background: when Dave and I met we found that we were both lovers of urban decay.  Any building that used to be grand but was now a crumbling wreck conjures a sense of sadness for me, but also peaks my imagination like nothing else can.  Walking through a place that has been forgotten, one cannot help but speculate what may have happened to cause the owners to abandon it, or sell it, only for it to never be bought, left to crumble and crack and become a part of the earth once again.

A few years ago a friend introduced us to a book called Access All Areas: A User's Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration.  Written by a dude named Ninjalicious (who very sadly is not a part of this world anymore), the book is a guide and record of many of the old buildings (and even sewers) that he infiltrated up until his death, in and around the city I live in.  This is where I read about the Crystal Ballroom.  Built in 1903, the King Edward Hotel is the home of the luxurious Crystal Ballroom; a vast space that boasts magnificent views of all sides of the city.  Unfortunately, the ballroom has been abandoned since the 1950s, and the 60 years that it has been forgotten shows.  This was the room that Dave and I sought out to find, and we would try and try again until we succeeded.

Like I mentioned in the last post, we had been drinking whiskey and watching scary ghost shows all evening, just chilling and enjoy our stay in this beautiful piece of history.  We decided to make our way up there that night, around midnight.  Of course I don't need to tell you that I was scared, but excited at the same time.  This was something I had been wanting to do forever, and there was no way I was passing up the opportunity.

The crumbling ceilings as we made our way up the stairwell, to floor 18.

After we had tried another stairwell and were only led to boiler rooms and Alice in Wonderland type half doors, the graffiti let us know we were finally headed in the right direction.


And then, we were there.  It was pitch black, and we didn't really know what we were looking for.  The only light we had was the light of my camera, and only when I took a picture.  We saw a door, and decided to go through it into the dark, not knowing what danger might be waiting for us, physical or otherwise.


Boy was it ever creepy.  We had to shuffle our feet in front of us to make sure we were not going to trip on any debris and fall.  But the room was magnificent.  Every little noise caused an echo, which in turn caused me to poop my pants a little.  But I was full of energy.  I could almost hear the ghostly voices of those who enjoyed the room when it was alive, the glasses clinking and dresses rustling.  Men in suits escorting their ladies to their tables to enjoy a lovely evening in one of the most expensive hot spots in the city.


We stood there in silence and marvelled at the view, taking it all in, amazed that such a swanky hotel could have this decrepit room sitting on top of it.  And then we turned around and ran back down those rusty stairs like the devil himself was hot on our heels.


We went to sleep that night, promising each other we would return during the day, to see the room in all it's glory.  And maybe to avoid the rumoured tall man in black that haunts the place at night.

The next morning we awoke bright and early with the ballroom still on our minds.  We quickly dressed and I grabbed my camera and off we went.  The ghosts from the night before were gone from our minds as it was a beautiful sunny day.  And really, how can you be afraid when you are faced with this?


I could not even believe how beautiful the room was.  I couldn't help thinking of when Jess came here and ballet danced in the dust and sunshine.  It makes me sad that this room is being left to whither away, and that generations after me will never know the grandeur of it, or even of it's existence.



I feel privileged that I stood in this room, and I will never forget it's beauty for as long as I live.  I hope to one day hear or read in the papers that someone decided to front the money to get it back up and running.  Because even though the ballroom itself is slowly fading away, it's aura and presence will forever be felt by anyone who ventures to go up there.  I am glad I did.

Dec 24, 2009

Happy Christmas to Everyone



I wish everyone a very Happy Holidays!

From my heart to yours, I hope that it is special in every way.

Happy Ho Ho's!

Another One Has Come and Gone...Part 2

The morning of my birthday found me unable to get out of bed.  I had to be at the King Edward Hotel for check in time at 3PM, but because of a massive head and chest cold that decided to hit me that day, I could only drag my sorry ass out of bed for 1PM.

I had cookies to bake and a bag to pack, and then I was ready to go.  Despite my cold I was determined to have a good time.  It was my 30th birthday dammit!  This will only happen once in my life and I wanted it to be memorable.  With my amazing gift of a one night stay at a swanky hotel c/o Ms. Jessi, I was sure that it would not fail to be a good one.



We arrived at around 3:30PM, and instantly ran to our room on the 15th floor like two little children.  Once we opened the door we were amazed.  It was the biggest hotel room I have ever stayed in!


Of course Dave had to set up shop; it's a requirement.  I set up my own space on the comfy chair, with my beautiful new computer, and played around with iWeb for a little while.

Our snacks and drinks of choice for the night were a lovely bottle of Wiser's Whiskey and a batch of homemade mint chocolate chip cookies.  Food and drink fit for a 30-year-old queen.



One of the things that Dave and I like to do is infiltrate whatever building we are in.  We walk around like we own the place and take a ton of pictures.  We did this at the hotel of course, only a security guard followed us around the whole time.  I am not sure why.  We were not stealing anything, unless you count images as being stolen goods.  Maybe he knew what we were thinking, that we were going to infiltrate ever deeper into the hotel much later that night, and go where only the brave of heart are willing to go.  But more on that later, because that story is part 3, and I am jumping ahead.

After exploring the hotel, we decided to go and do some last minute Christmas shopping at the Eaton Centre, or as I like to call it, and I am a hick, THE BIG MALL.  Word to the wise: do not ever go shopping in downtown Toronto, in the biggest mall in the city, three days before Christmas.  Almost could ruin a girl's birthday.  Thankfully it didn't.  But the three thousand mall browsers were certainly trying their best I think.  They got an 'A' for effort!

  Below on the left is the tree in the lobby of the hotel.  On the right is the Swarovski crystal Christmas tree in the middle of the Eaton Centre.



The night ended with us buying a carton of egg nog to mix with the whiskey.  I am not a huge fan, but it was a nice treat with the cookies.  The rest of the evening was spent just chilling out, nursing my cold, and watching ghostly shows on cable on the 42" Plasma T.V.  Until we decided to visit the abandoned Crystal Ballroom later that night....

I couldn't have asked for a better birthday.


Dec 23, 2009

Another One Has Come and Gone...Part 1

Another birthday has come and gone.  This is sad for many reasons, the main one being that I can no longer use the 'but it's my birthday!' card anymore.  For a month, this is what I use in order to act like a baby and be pampered.  And sometimes it works! But mostly it doesn't, and just invites eye rolls and disdain from those I say it to. It's like Russian roulette, maybe I will win and maybe I won't.  And now I have to wait an entire year to play the game again.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty eventful with the last few days being no exception to that rule.  And I wanted to write down everything I have done lately, for posterity.  Because we all know how I love future generations!  I think though, in order not to bore the poop out of you, I will split them up into three separate posts so that you may peruse as you wish.

PART 1 of Kato's Birthday Extravaganza

The night before my birthday I attended my first ever symphony with Dave.  Since Dave is a composer and lover of classical music, he of course has been wanting to go for a while now.  I also think that everyone should experience a symphony performance at least once in their life, if not to enjoy the beautiful music, but to gain their own impressions of the experience as a whole.  Because it is so close to Christmas, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra put on a performance of Handel's Messiah at Roy Thompson Hall, which was also a first for me as I have never been there before.  I love the buildings in Toronto, and I feel grateful when I get to visit them and be a part of the rich folk (even if they can see right through me, straight to my rags).


















For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Messiah this might help to ring a few bells:





Here are a few of my impressions:


I want to be the lead violinist.  She is treated all special and shit.  The conductor gives her a kiss and she is the one who helps everyone tune up at the beginning of each part, and it sounds nice.


If I was the lead violinist, I would look just as hot as she did, only I would make sure that my shoes weren't so sensible.  I mean, I get they probably are more comfortable in flats, but I'll be damned if I don't wear a hot pair of stilettos being the lead violinist.

I might want to marry the conductor, but only if he danced around the same way that he did during this  performance.  At times he resembled a cat about to pounce one a toy.  You know when they shake their butt from left to right and then POUNCE!  That was what he did.  No guff.

I LOVED the choir.  Way more so than the individual singers.  I hate to say that because I know how much work those people have put into their craft, but give me a hundred soaring voices any day and I am pleased as punch.

I thought I would be bored and I so was not.  There was so much going on at all times that it was hard to keep your eye on one thing at a time.  The musicians were obviously phenomenal, and I loved watching each one do their thing.  It was mesmerizing.

All in all, a great lead into my birthday day.  And in wonderful rich person style we picked up McCrap, came home and right away got out of our 'nice clothes' and watched Destroyed in Seconds.  While eating a cheeseburger.  Ah yes.  Welcome to your thirties Kato.

Dec 21, 2009

I'm Still Awake

5:30AM.  I am still awake.

The sounds of sleeping surround us.  Three small hearts beat in unison, small furry bodies rap around the slow beats, only getting quicker when one of us stirs.

A constant ticking: tick, tick, from the wall beside the bed.  The steaming rads knocking out Morse code, letting us know to be silent and content, they are doing their best.

The night sky is less dark.  Not quite ebony but obsidian, showing transparent visions of light where the day fights to break through the black sky.

It's cold.  Wrapped in blankets and trying not to move to keep in our body heat.  I turn to you and stare at your face as you sleep soundly.  So relaxed, so different from when you are awake and I catch your mouth turning down at the corners sometimes from the pressure of life.  But only sometimes.

I burrow deeper into the covers and try to steal some of your warmth.  We lie here and all of us settle into sleep, five hearts beating together in a slow, eventual unison.

This Is NOT Art!

The other day I was reminded of an event that transpired between myself and the kids I used to be a nanny for.  Yes, the same ones as the puke story.  This one is a doozy as well. Has anyone guessed yet that either a) I was a horrible babysitter who deserved the crappy pay, or b) these kids were DEMONS?  I vote for 'b', as I am an angel at everything I do, and it is the life work of a demon to bring down an angel.  This is a well known fact.

One rainy day during the summer, when the two older kids were home from school, I decided to let the boys (7 and 4) play in the basement by themselves.  Telling them to be good and that I would check on them every 15 minutes, I warned them that the door would be open and I would be able to hear their every whispered plan to take me out, so to be careful because I was smarter and faster.  Not this time.

Because their baby sister only napped on the couch, I had to stay with her at all times as she could wake up and wander off anywhere: into the kitchen where there were sharp objects, back into the portal that would take her to Hades, a place she had never been, but one that her brothers frequented often.  So in staying with her I could not keep a close eye on those boys.  I checked on them after the set time of 15 minutes and saw that everything was perfectly fine, and they were playing nicely if not semi-violently, what with being little boys and all.

After a few minutes, the middle child came upstairs, and SIDLED his way towards the bathroom, the whole time staring at me sideways, watching me to make sure I did not glance his way.

"What are you doing?", I asked him, only looking out of the corner of my eye so as not to startle him into attack mode.

Dec 20, 2009

It Really Is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What a busy girl I have been.  I usually dread being so busy, where I feel like I cannot take a breath, but I have been reminding myself that one day, I might not ever be busy, and then I will be sad.

The past week has been a whirlwind it feels like.  Last Sunday was the Christmas party I attended with my sister, and Tuesday was my little gig that saw me living a completely different life, one I would never want to do everyday! It's just too much work to make me beautiful, you know what I mean?

Then the rest of the week was spent working my little butt off to get all my work done as my vacation officially started on Friday evening, once work was over.  Friday during the day was our office potluck, that I usually cook for, but I was just too busy to even think about doing something of that magnitude.  So a store bought all natural apple pie had to make do.  Which, now that I think about it, I did not get a piece of.

That evening found me nowhere near being finished my work for the week, so I had to stay late and work away.  I left for an hour (or two) at 7PM, because my friend Jessi wanted to take me out for a beer and give me my birthday present.  And in the middle of that bar, she handed me a sealed envelope with a handmade gift certificate for a one night stay (on my actual birthday) at one of the swankiest hotels in the city.  More on that later, because that will have to be a whole other post.  Just know that the gift made me bawl like a baby, and also made me feel like I have the best friends on the planet.  Also, I got a recipe in a jar gift.  How cool are those? Mint chocolate chip cookies? Yes please!  

That night I had a Christmas party to go to and unfortunately did not get there until after 11PM, as it took me that long to finish up my work.  Getting drunk at the bar at 9PM and then going back to work to get everything done may not have been a good idea, but it was a fun one!  I am sure the managers and everyone else I work with are going to get some pretty enthusiastic 'Happy Holiday's I am on vacation, bitches!' emails come Monday.  Oops.

The party I was fashionably late for was all about brie and cranberry cheese puffs, clementines in pretty bowls, mulled wine, and the most fantastic Christmas tree.  Also, the magnets on the fridge were found to be very good magnets.  They passed the test, and it a very scientific test.  If you threw one towards the fridge, it would grab on with all its magnety strength and not go anywhere.  This was a fun game enjoyed by all, and the owner of the magnets could not help but be proud.  Oh mulled wine, how I love you!

Today though, today took the cake.  Today saw Dave surprising me with my present!  We hopped on the subway as we had to go and pick it up.  He tried to throw me off a few times during the adventure because he knew if I saw where we were going I would know EXACTLY what was going on.  Which I promptly did, as soon as I saw where we were going.  So, ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, one of the BEST PRESENTS EVER:

Ah yes.  This is my MacBook Pro everyone.  THIS was the present that was kept hidden from me so well.  And can I tell you: BEST. PRESENT. EVER.

I really just want to go on about my new baby gadget but I will feel like I am gloating and that's not very nice. So I should just move on to say that tonight, well, a few hours ago, was my birthday celebration with my good friends.  It was a beautiful end to an already awesome day.  

Tomorrow, nothing is on the agenda and that is nice.  I have not had enough time to really love my tree, and there is a large bottle of Bailey's in my fridge with my name all over it.  

Next week will be just as busy!

Dec 17, 2009

Christmas Cheer

For those of you feeling left in the dark about whether we found a Christmas tree after the Ikea debacle, no worries.  We did.  And it's lovely.

The hand-made decorations have not yet made their debut, but it still warms my heart that we have a tree. Everyone is happy and healthy, and despite what Ikea parking lots say, we are a little family, with lots of love.



I hope everyone has the same this holiday season!

Dec 16, 2009

Housekeeping



I feel like I have been gone for an eternity!  First let me say that the er 'modeling' gig went swimmingly!  I enjoyed myself a lot, and I especially loved hearing "Would your model like a drink of water? A cup of tea?".  Ha! No thank you, I am a jet-setter, I have no time for such things as tea or water.  Isn't that hilarious?  Above are a couple of photos of the experience, only because I am proud that I got through it without barfing up a lung out of nervousness or embarrassing my dear friend with a deafening fart, maybe even a burp.  Praise the lord for bodily function control!  So there you have it.  It went fantastic for her as well and I am honored to have been a part of it all.  And that will be it for the pictures of me for a while folks.  I am sick of my pasty white MySpace-esque photos; I am sure you are as well.  Well, a few might creep their way in from my 30th birthday extravaganza coming up this Saturday.  But only the truly debaucherous ones will make the cut, don't you worry.

Now on to bigger and better things.

I have a bit of a beef to take up with the world.  The world of Ikea that is.  Yesterday Dave, Jess and I decided it was time to go and purchase a Christmas tree for our respective homes.  We thought that Ikea would be a nice place to go on account of their promise to plant another tree for every tree that is bought from them, and they are decently priced.  I like to give back you know?  So off we went in our fantastic ZipCar, only to drive for twenty minutes to find out that they had sold out of trees that very day.  It was OK though! The trip was nowhere near wasted as we all partook in the buying and consuming of fresh, sweet cinnamon buns and hot coffee.  For two dollars.  It was worth the useless drive to Etobicoke! 

But my beef does not live because of sold out Christmas trees, no.  It started when we pulled into the parking lot.  The gigantic parking lot.  A little background:  it was nighttime.  It was cold.  Colder than your worst day of cold.  Think of the day that you were the coldest in your entire life.  It was colder. (I hope you all know that I am grossly exaggerating to create a mood).  As we are trying to find a parking spot somewhere close to the front doors so that we won't freeze to death the second we exit the car, I am noticing that the first 3000 parking spaces all have big signs that are DETERRING me from parking in them.  The first few hundred from the front door tell me that unless I am pregnant, I am a disgusting individual for even considering stuffing my scarf up my shirt and waddling up to the entrance.  OK.  Carrying on then...oh wait look! Ugh.  No.  We can't park there unless we have a family.  I can't help but feel discriminated against as we pass the brightly painted stick figures that are all holding hands, laughing at me and my lack of procreants.  I am getting a little worked up here.  But then I calm myself down by smugly thinking to myself "Listen, if I DID have a bunch of kids screaming at my ankles for no apparent reason, I would probably want to get in that damn store as fast as I could".  And then I start feeling a little guilty for thinking that the pregnant woman should park further away, exercise is good for the baby!  And I take it all back in my head, feeling like a jerky heel who should be feeling understanding and the spirit of giving, especially at this time of year.

And then I see IT.

There is a special, close-to-the-front-door parking space for people who own a HYBRID.  That's right, the vehicle.  At this point Dave has parked a Sahara Desert away and I have to walk through the polar temperatures to find out that "there are no trees available today.  Please walk back past all the specialty parking spots to your car, and please, feel as if we are rubbing it in.  If you have not reached your vehicle in 5 years, surely your family will come looking for you and we will send out a search party for you then.  Happy travels!".

As I walked passed the special hybrid car spots, I wanted a car to be in it so I could glare at it.  I wanted to meanly think to myself, "Oh! I see why you needed to park there!  Your neck can't support your FAT ARROGANT HEAD to walk very far.  You carry the weight of the pompous world on your  shoulders, and I can only imagine how heavy that must be"*.

And then I would excuse myself.  Because I would need all my strength to walk the weary distance to my own car, only hoping for a miracle that one day, us  non-pregnant-family-toting-hybrid-owning lowly folk will somehow catch a break.

*I am obviously kidding and don't actually think this way.  Just a little disclaimer for any folks who may think I am that mean!!  I'm not.  I'm a model.  I don't have time to be mean. 

Dec 14, 2009

I Could Get Used To This

Because of my umm, gig (it's hilarious how uncomfortable I am with saying 'model') that I have for tomorrow, I had to take two days off of work.  Well, one really, but today I worked remotely from the comfort of my old room in my parents house.  I woke up at 10:30AM and rolled from the bed to the computer in three seconds flat.  Man.  I wish it was like that for me everyday, instead of my usual 35 minute walk to work.  My life was so pleasant this morning.  I didn't have to get out of my pajamas, no teeth were brushed or faces washed.  The only strenuous thing that I did do, was make myself a cup of tea.   It was difficult but I was able to handle it.  Just barely.

I was able to put in a few hours worth of work.  I was hardcore in busting that shit out, where normally I know I have 7.5 hours to waste, so I take my time.  Not today.  I got it all done in 4 hours and signed off until Wednesday morning.  So my question is: if i am able to do this from here, who is stopping me from doing this in my own home everyday?  The Man.  That's who.  I am supposed to be a team player and drag my sad ass in to work everyday so that I can sit there, trying with all my might to stay awake under the lovely burning of the halogen lights, so that everyone can look at my perturbed face and know that I am a team player.  I am like Sisyphus, condemned to roll my burden uphill everyday for an eternity, just because I am so clever.  Or not.  Whatever.  Let me work from home, a-holes.

So as I sit here and wonder what I am going to do with myself for the rest of the day, I look to my right and glance out the window to see a world of white and fog, where you can't tell where the sky starts and the ground begins, it is so grey and dismal out there.  I think that my instincts are telling me to go for a nap.  That's right, my instincts.  And we all know what happens when we don't follow our guts right? Bad things happen.  I wouldn't want to be a contributor to mucking up the order of the universe because I disregarded my guts.  Or something.

So off I go to curl up in a cozy bed with an old man cat to keep me company. 

Holiday Party, Yes Please!

Just got back from a holiday party, and it was fantastic!  I was a dancing queen.  I literally did not stop all night.  And so I present to you, a few pictures of the evening.


My sister and I.  So different, but two peas in a pod.



I am a sucker for a nicely made table.



Unfortunately, not in the bag.  I just look like that.

I consumed many drinks tonight, but was not drunk.  It was probably a good thing that I wasn't.  Even sober I was busting out such classic dance moves as 'the lawnmower', 'the shopping cart' and my personal fave, 'the sprinkler'.  I am only sorry that there are no photos of my dancing, because I promise all of you that I stole the show tonight.  I really did.  I was John Travolta crossed with Lady Gaga, and what a lovely mash up that was.

I attended this same party last year and was too anxious about not knowing anyone to really let loose, but this year I let go of my anxiety and just didn't care.  The shoes came off and my feet were flying.  It was a good time.

Anyway, sorry about the lame post, but it's almost 3AM and I have to get up early tomorrow.  I am doing something pretty exciting on Tuesday: I was asked to be a model for a friend, during an interview that she has with the big folks over at Proctor and Gamble.  I will write more on the subject and possibly have a few pictures to go along with it, but not until it's done and I can safely tuck away my nervousness to be used for another occasion.  

Cheers to the holidays and being busy!

Dec 13, 2009

Fast Youth

I had the opportunity to ride in a very loud, tricked out car tonight.  God, just saying 'tricked out' makes me feel old.  Anyway, the bass was so loud in this car that I felt like it was restarting my heart with each thump.  I could feel it pounding in my chest and the reverb stole the very breath out of my lungs.  It was awesome. 

Now, keep in mind, I am pretty terrified of vehicles: being in them, watching them, hearing them, seeing them parked...they scare the shit out of me.  When Dave and I are walking on the street and I see a car turning a corner I yank him back and throw him behind me in order to protect him from the tonnes of screaming medal coming at us.  And then I realize that it's only going 5km an hour, and we are nowhere near the corner.  Yep.  And this is why, at almost 30, I do not have a licence.

During this little car ride, I was asked how fast I have ever gone in a car before, and it made me remember how fast I had gone on a motorcycle before.   Back when I was a sullen 14-year-old (and we all know the stories), I had no fear.  I was immortal.  If I fell I wouldn't break; I would bounce, right?  Besides, if i ever DID break something, well, that was just bad ass at that age. 



My sister had a boyfriend at the time who owned a beat up street bike, and he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.  Before he had even finished the question I had clambered up onto the back of that rickety thing, tucked my green polyester bell-bottoms into my socks, and was rolling my eyes with impatience in that annoying way that teenagers often do.  Taking my actions as a 'yes', he handed me a helmet and off we went.  And it was glorious.  All I could do for the first few minutes was laugh because my emotions were running so high that they just needed to come out of me.  I ventured to let go of his waist, and I never even dared to hold on again after that for fear of losing the high that I was experiencing.  That little thing went FAST.  It was amazing.  Bugs were squashing in my face, as the helmet had no shield guard on it, and I didn't care.  We got home and I wanted to go again.  My sister and her boyfriend took one look at me and started laughing.  I had been sucking on a red-colored candy during the ride and I guess I enjoyed myself so much that I drooled it all down the front of my white t-shirt.  Great, sticky candy on my shirt and bugs smooshed on my face.  Seriously though, it was so fun.  Bugs, candy and all.



Fast forward to only three years later, and a friend who owned a racing bike asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.  At that point, I was aware of my mortality and I was a bit weary.  I slowly walked over to the bike and sat on it, and was terrified, by decided to go for it anyway because you only live once right?  Before we started, he gave me some pointers as to how you need to fall lean with the bike into corners, and I was all 'piece of cake', except when it actually came to performing the action.  Whenever he would turn a corner, I would lean away from the turn, almost toppling the bike on several occasions and killing us in the process.  My friend had to stop his bike a few times to tell me again that I needed to lean with him, and that he had complete control of the bike my life.  I just couldn't do it.  He would turn, I would see the ground coming to greet my face, and I would freak out and lean away.  He eventually got frustrated with me and told me to get off.  I told him that if we wanted any help speeding up the process of his face being rearranged by the pavement, I could certainly help him with that.



This past year I had another friend ask me if I wanted to double with him on his Vespa to get from the bar we were currently at, to the one we were going to (he wasn't drunk yet, I was).  So I said sure! even though I know that if I was sober, I a) would be too scared to get on it, and b) wouldn't be caught dead riding doubles with a guy on a shaky old scooter in the middle of winter.  But, then I wouldn't have this story to tell.  So my friend explained to me that with a scooter, you don't need a licence or insurance because it is considered a bicycle or something.  Well thats a relief!  So any old douche can buy one of these and drive amongst traffic.  Hopefully with an expensive pair of leather gloves and a man scarf.  But one can only hope.  Since my friend had only just bought his scooter that day, let's just say he was umm...a little new about driving it.  So there I am, clutching on to him for dear life as he drives down the street, wobbling and warbling all over the place.  People are laughing and yelling at us, and I am fearing for my life and praying to whomever watches over drunks and motorcycle riders to please, please spare my life since I was both of those things at that exact moment.  Man, that bar didn't get to us fast enough, and I was very happy when we had parked and I was off.  But then I thought it would be cool to drive it myself.  So I did; squealing brakes and prayers forgotten, it was a blast.

Having said that, I am not sure that I would have the guts anymore to get on a real bike.  Maybe just to go around the corner and back.  Very slowly.  I like this body I am in, and I don't want it maimed or broken.  Maybe it's a sign of my age or something, but the next open vehicle I ride will be one kind only.  And I will tell Dave to eat my dust and race off into the sunset, while he runs after me and...catches up.  In three seconds.












Oh yes.  I was born to ride.

Dec 10, 2009

I Would Say Yes

A conversation between Dave and I:

Dave:  Okay so...birthday present.  I need to ask you questions about what I have already got you, but I need to do it without giving it away.

Me:  I have a better idea, let's play 20 questions so that I can guess what it is!

Dave:   No...I don't think...

Me:   Okay!  Is it a book? No?  Hmmm.  A CD?  Movie? No?

Dave:   I am not going to tell you.

Me:   Why are you being so cryptic?  Is it a wedding ring?

Dave:   Uhhh nooo.  Better then a wedding ring.

Me:   Really??? OH MY GOD IS IT A PLAYSTATION 3?!!

Dave:   No.

Me:  An H20 mop?  You know I have always wanted one of those!

Dave:  No.  You get nothing.  Goodbye.

Sigh.  My excitement sometimes exceeds this life.  Especially when it comes to my birthday.

Dec 9, 2009

I Promised More Later

Wet.

This is the only word that comes to mind to describe my morning.

Soaking wet?  Okay, two words.

Before we went to bed last night I again stood gazing out the window longingly.  I seem to do this a lot these days.  Am I searching for something up in those black clouds?  Perhaps my sanity.  But yes, I was looking out the window again onto the street and up at the sky, and it was snowing beautifully.  The storm that they were calling for had arrived on time, and it meant business.  As I watched, the wind grew fierce and blew wild gusts of snow up into the air, where they swirled frantically, trying to find a place to take hold and rest.  I went to sleep knowing that I would wake up to a magical world of white flakes and fluffy sidewalks.

No such luck.

I made it down the stairs in the morning to witness the very last remnants of the fluffiness.  Literally the very last.  Because seemingly as I watched, the clouds darkened dramatically, thunder ripped through the air, and the heavens opened up on all that magic that would have made me happy.  Except now it was gray, dirty sludge.  Living in a city the size of Toronto, it does not take long for all the white to turn to brown.  Yuck.

So, what now?  It's pouring rain, cold, and slushy out there.  I received a text from a very lovely and wise friend reading "Jessi's good advice for the day: TAKE THE BUS!".  Lovely, wise friend of mine.  Unfortunately, no funds for the bus today, so we commence walking.  Where my umbrella breaks within five minutes of walking.  And it's really pouring.  And because Dave is a sweetheart (or a putz) he does not want to use his umbrella if I don't have one to use.  And we are walking through slush and mud up to our ankles.  The rain is heavy and coming at us sideways, into our faces and eyes, and within minutes our jeans (jeans!!) are soaking wet up to our thighs.  We make it in to work 40 minutes late.  Very, very wet.

Thank god for space heaters pointed at frozen, damp feet, under our desks.

There is another storm raging out there at the moment.  High winds and freezing temperatures are turning all the wet slush to ice as I write.  The walk home had us clutching on to each other, afraid we would blow away if we didn't.  Tree branches high above us being stretched almost to their breaking points, cracking and snapping loudly when they exceed their flexibility.  Outside the attic window, the room that I am sitting in right now, I can hear the wind screaming loudly while it races through the eaves.

It is snowing again though, maybe I will wake up tomorrow to my winter wonderland and feel the magic of the season.  Because this morning was just cruel.

Excuse me while I go and burrow under my covers like a big sleepy bear.