Tag Archives: friends


I had a day off today, which is all kinds of awesome on its own.  But throw in two of my kickass friends making lunch reservations and booking massages for us in a swanky hotel – complete with hot tub, sauna and steam room time.  And that is way more kinds of awesome than I can even count.

So now that I’ve been pummelled and pampered, I’m home relaxing with the boys in front of the TV and having a glass of wine.  I’m also incapable of a coherent thought due to the aforementioned pummelling and pampering, so here have a video.  Perfect, indeed.  Well the video is a little sketchy, I’ll admit.  But I’m a big fan of this song.  And also I’m tired and lazy. 

The week that was

Well it’s Friday again, exactly one week since my last post.  God damn, where do these weeks go? 

So last Saturday my friend Kim and I hauled ass up to lovely Orillia, Ontario.  Orillia, for those who don’t know, is the home of the Stephen Leacock Museum as well as the headquarters of the Ontario Provincial Police, complete with shop and museum.  Of course.  Orillia is also the home of Casino Rama, the place where dreams go to die.  I’m not a fan of the casino experience At.  All.  It is so far from being my thing, it might actually be my thing.  Wait….no.  No, it is not my thing.  But the one thing about casinos is that they are showcases for all kinds of musical guests who, at one time or another, were HUGE.  And, if you were into, oh I don’t know, say Billy Idol back in the day?  Well guess what?  There is a good chance you were probably in the audience at Rama last Saturday night with me.  And if you were?  I really hope you weren’t one of the boring ones, because there sure were a boatload of those.  But the show was good, in spite of the wooden audience members.  Billy Fucking Idol does not disappoint.

Leaving the show, we had to walk through the main area of the casino, and when I said it was the place where dreams go to die, I was so not kidding.  I have never seen so many glassy-eyed, sombre looking people in all my days.  Seriously, the commercials for those places?  It’s all lights and fun and cheering and laughter and martinis, but in reality?  It’s actually quite dark.  And no one is laughing.  And people are openly angry.  And it’s crowded, and just really, really depressing.  I honestly don’t see the draw, but that’s just me, and that was my impression on walking through.  Sadness, despair and kind of a bad smell.  All present and accounted for.  No thanks.

Then the rest of the weekend was kind of a blur, as was the entire week, and now here we are on Friday, the start of another weekend.  And you know what? 

It’s a nice day….to start again.

Everything in moderation. Except, you know, when it’s everything in excess

Do you have a really awesome group of friends that you hang with regularly?  Does this same group get together a few times a year for a getaway?  Like to a cottage or something?  I hope you do.  I feel very fortunate to count myself in the “those who do” category, and this past weekend was one of those getaway weekends and it was seriously what the doctor ordered to crack the nut of February. 

Thursday night I headed up to Grey County to get my fun on with my nearest and dearest.  Girls only, no boys allowed.  Pretty rad.  There was much merriment in the form of hot tubbing, snowshoeing, eating and drinking, sleeping late and dancing to iPods.  There were magazines consumed and a whole lotta chitchat and let me tell you, does that kind of shiz rejuvenate the soul.  Loads of fun, relaxation and belly laughs.  Nothing better.

Except maybe for coming home to a house full of my boys.  My boys who threw their coats and boots on to meet me at the sidewalk and help me carry my stuff inside.  My boys who hugged me so tight once I got in the door and told me they missed me SO MUCH.  Who then took off to watch TV and yell at me from the living room:  “Mummy can I play the Wii??”  Aw yeah.  It was good to be home.

So while it was fun and games and joy and overconsumption of food and drink and it was awesome, I actually learned something.  I learned that I am too old for that kind of fun.  Well, not the fun part exactly – more like the “overconsumption of food and drink” part.  That part?  Needs to stop.  For me.  I discovered that it is just not worth it to throw that kind of caution to the wind anymore, that I am too old or something to start drinking at 10am, all while eating chips and guacamole and cupcakes and other varieties of ridonkulously delicious and tasty and heartburn-inducing foods.  Oy.  Is it age?  I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve spent the last couple of days being extremely uncomfortable and craving chick peas and water.  Which is good, I guess.  But I also realized that that much time away from training at the dojo is also not a good idea.  Snowshoeing and dance partying aside, it was pretty much a zero-movement kind of weekend.  And getting back to kickboxing and karate afterwards was painful.  And not just the regular painful, but like a super-ultra painful, the kind one experiences when one is first starting to exercise.  And I did not enjoy it.

So.  To sum up?  Cottage weekend with friends – yay!  Eating and drinking too much and slugging around for three days – boo!  Never gonna give up my friend weekends, but I am going to have to modify my intake.  Which, you know, almost takes the fun out of everything.  But I can do it.  I can be that responsible adult who knows when to say when.  I know I can.  And thankfully it’s not the friends giving me heartburn.  Then we’d have a problem.

Age is just a number…a really, really sucky number


I went and left you a whole 10 days with just the ladybits post didn’t I?  Which wasn’t even really a real post or anything.  Sorry about that, and I’d like to say, like other real bloggers do, that I was extremely busy, that life was just out of control and I just did not have a second to blog.  But it’s actually that I am just lazy, and while some post ideas were percolating in the noggin, I just didn’t write them down because…meh.  So I’m back, hopefully with a coherent thought that doesn’t involve genitalia.  Except that it, um, might…

So the UIG had a birthday on Saturday, friends.  That’s right, I need to update my bio as I am now a 43-year old woman – the woman part is the same.  43 just seems like such a non-number, you know?  40 is the big one, of course.  41, well now you’re into your forties and it’s still kinda new and fresh, then there’s 42 which is a nice round number and also has Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy relevance, and knowing that kind of gives you cred, right?  But 43?  I don’t know, man.  I’m kind of over it already, and I’ve only had it for a couple of days.  Already looking forward to 44, because now there’s a number! 

Seriously, who does that?  Not normal people, that’s for sure.

Anyway, to celebrate the day I went out for a superb meal with my awesome friends.  We did it up right at a swanky wine bar, all elegance and mood lighting, candles and soft jazz playing.  Lots of swish well-to-do looking couples, highly professional wait staff and artistically inspired food.  And then?  Then we followed it up with a trip to my favourite Hamilton bar for a night of  loud, raunchy and crazy cowboy music, because that, my friends, is actually how we roll.

If you ever have the chance to see White Cowbell Oklahoma live?  Please, for the love of god, run – don’t walk – to get your tickets.  The show was so over-the-top, so ridiculously theatrical, it was unbelievable.  But while the tunes are beyond dirty and raunchy, and the stage banter the same, there is a whole lot of talent among the band members, that makes it all ok.  At least it did for me.  When you have a guy whose sole purpose is to play cowbell, and not just play it, but to set it on fire, and use a grinder on it to shoot sparks up to the ceiling and out into the audience, and then later that same guy brings a mothereffing chainsaw up on stage and carves up a giant stuffed yeti, then proceeds to blow the stuffing – which is now everywhere – around and on everyone with a leaf blower done up to look, um, phallic?  That is a show, people.  A bona fide musical event.  And yes, I undertand that much of their image is problematic, and this is not a band I plan to introduce to my children any time soon, because come on, this is adult entertainment, and I’d prefer that the boys not go around singing “Put the south in your mouth pretty baby….” just yet. 

But damn, it was a fun night.  The other two bands on the bill were good too, Hamlton’s very own The Barettas – who I had heard but had never seen live, and they did not disappoint – and The Vanishers, who were completely new to me, and they describe their genre as “throat-punching country rock/rockabilly”.  And throat-punching they are, and all the way from Burlington even.  Definitely would see both those bands again.

So we heard some kickass music and had some cocktails, and I rolled in around 2am, like I’m 23 instead of 43, but whatever.  Celebrating my birthday with some of my best friends in the whole world, plus a couple of hundred raunchy cowboy music fans?  Hell, yes.  Can’t wait ’til next year.

A twenty-two year love affair

If you know me at all (and, uh, since I think I have two readers and you both do know me) you will know that I am a Blue Rodeo fan.  Blue Rodeo has been a part of my musical life for over 20 years, since their first record Outskirts back in 1987.  It was my go-to record for many, many months during my 2nd year of university, and this album helped me get through it.  Not in a “my life sucks, Blue Rodeo saved me” sort of way (although it would be cool if that was in fact the truth) but more in a “this is the sort of record I’ve been waiting my whole life for and it’s finally arrived and I can’t stop listening to it.”  Because that is the truth.  That record was on my turntable in the mornings when I got ready to go to classes and when I came home in between classes (if I had time).  And then when I wrote essays, and finally drifted off to sleep.  The last song on side 2 was “Floating”, and for ages, when I couldn’t sleep, that was the song I needed.  I’ve never been very good at falling asleep to music, I tend to need to wait until the song/album/piece is over, before I can rest, because I don’t want to miss anything. 

This, it has to be said, is something I realized I shared with The Musician even before he could talk.  That kid would never, ever fall asleep to any sort of music – lullaby, radio song, me singing – nothing.  He would stare at me wide-eyed, wrapped up in whatever happened to be playing.  At the time, we thought it was strange, I mean what sort of baby doesn’t  fall asleep to a lullaby for chrissakes?  A baby who will grow up to be The Musician, that’s who.  Years later we realized that his passion for music runs deep, and he too, did not want to miss a single note.

So back to “Floating”.  I would put Outskirts on while getting ready for bed.  Flip it over to side two when I got into bed, and let the music just wash over me, but I could never fall asleep until the last bits of “Floating” were done.  For a very long time, this was my favourite Blue Rodeo song, and one that – to me, anyway – is underappreciated and underplayed.

I continued to follow the band, but as often happens, life, etc. gets in the way and while I still picked up their records and listened to them and read up on their career when I could, I have to say that for a long while during the early 90s, they fell off my radar.  But then, in 1997 I picked up their new CD – CD!  I think every other album of theirs that I owned had been on vinyl or cassette – and was back in the swing.  Then of course, The Musician was born at the end of  ’97, and once again, me and BR we kind of lost touch. 

One thing that remained constant though, was Outskirts.  It still held top spot as my go-to record when I needed one.  I had put away the vinyl and the turntable, and invested in the CD version of the album, but you know what?  It wasn’t the same.  Just like a lot of vinyl-to-CD switches, it lost a bit of its magic.  Still an amazing record, but kind of missing something.  The pops and crackles?  The flipping to side two?  I don’t know.  I imagine that a lot of it had to do with no longer being in my room on my own with the lights out, listening as I lay in bed.  Now I was listening to it with my husband and children, driving in the car maybe, or just at home with it on the stereo, but with a lot of other things on the go.  Awesome – but different.  And still, the band itself remained off my radar.  The Genealogist, he’s a Blue Rodeo fan, which is great, and we would often listen to this and other albums, but again,  a lot of my friends and co-workers didn’t share the same musical interests, and it can be hard to get jazzed about stuff when you get blank stares at the mere mention of a favourite band’s name.  Or worse you get “wow, those guys are OLD, are they still around?  I thought they’d be dead by now, no way they’re still putting out albums, what are they coming on stage with their walkers?”  sigh…

By now you may have realized that the “magical revelation of one band in particular” I spoke about in the linked post above is Blue Rodeo, and finding Vivian as a BR soulmate re-ignited the fires big time, and we have seen the band several times together now, and twice with The Musician in attendance. 

I think it’s amazing how this band, who I enjoyed immensely in solitude for many, many years, has now become one of the most social aspects of my life.  The interwebs help, for sure.  Now, the band has a kickass website, contests, an online store, an awesome “ticket pre-sale” site, if you’re a member of the online community, and so much more.  Music connects us, and it’s easier than ever to get and stay connected with the musicians you love, and with other people who also love them.  But I have to wonder, had these options existed back in the late 80s, would I have taken advantage of them?  I didn’t have the pre-teen screaming obsession with them – I was 20 when the first album came out – and I couldn’t see myself plastering my room with posters and writing sappy “OMG I love you” fan letters like I might have done had I been, say 13, when I first heard them.  At 20, I was (I thought) sophisticated!  A university student, dontcha know!  I was cool!  Or so I thought.  So it’s hard to say.  I love the experience of seeing them live with friends and with my son, and I love that the website helps fans communicate and join together, but I also love putting on my headphones and zoning out alone to Outskirts every once in awhile, and pretending that they are my band and mine alone.

And this brings me to their new double-vinyl/double-CD album The Things We Left Behind that was released last Tuesday.  It’s truly amazing, and parts of it really take me back to 1987.  This is an album to be savoured, an album meant for headphones and listening in the dark, in order to soak it all in, and I have been doing that.  But it is also an album to be shared and celebrated, once the solo listening is complete, and I look forward to that too; to seeing the band again and hearing more of this music live.  But this is, for me, the first album of theirs in a long time where I can visualize myself, back in my old bedroom, flipping the record to side 4 (cos it’s double, right) and lying in the dark, drifting off to sleep.

But not before the last bars of “Venus Rising” are played out.

Friends with musical benefits

So I have this friend.  Her name is Vivian and she runs the stellar ramble on blog, although she doesn’t get to post as often as she would like on account of the cute little boy she done popped out about 11 months ago.  Vivian is awesomesauce of the most delectable variety, and one of the big things around which our friendship revolves is music.  We met nearly 12 years ago; her then-new-boyfriend now-husband and I had been friends for about 10 years prior to that thanks to a little organization known as the Canadian Naval Reserves where we both were employed as musicians.  Funny, huh?  Anyway, I remember meeting her at a New Year’s Eve party in 1997.  This was our first outing after our first son was born – he was a week old and we took him to a rocking party.  Cool parents?  Or parents who should be investigated by Family Services?   Discuss.

I really don’t remember much of the party, but I do remember meeting Vivian,  and I remember thinking how great she seemed, which turned out to be true, of course, and have I ever mentioned how my first impressions are always right?  As in always?  So anyway, time went on and we would see each other at different events and occasional social things, but it was really only a few years ago that we started hanging out on a more regular basis.  Why did it take us so long?  Mostly it was because that New Year’s Eve party baby was followed 2.5 years later by another baby, and there was much child-rearing and shit like that going down.  While my womb was not barren, my social calendar most certainly was.  And the other thing was that even though we had always impressed each other with our knowledge of music – bands, artists, etc., as well as the ability to speak in song lyrics (seriously) and our fondness for a wide variety of styles of music, it was the magical revelation of our love for one band in particular that set the wheels in motion.  And led us to where we are today.  Which is hardcore groupies.

Now, let me explain that our hardcore groupie-ness basically amounts to going to see as many live shows of this one band as well as many, many others as is humanly (and monetarily) possible.  This has led to some heady times, my friends.  When you have a friend like this, the sky is the limit for musical possibilities.  If I say “M.I.A. is in Toronto next month” she says “I’ll get the tickets”.  If she says “What about going to see The Sadies some time??  I say “OMG yes, they’re playing in Hamilton next week, let’s do it.”  Or, even this email from Viv a couple of months ago:  “In exactly two minutes I am buying tickets for Joel Plaskett”.  Just assuming I am in, and of course, every time, I am.

And it isn’t just that we go to these shows together and have a great time.  No, we experience these shows together.  Depending on who we see and what is going on , there might be high emotion, giggles, squeals, tears even.  It’s never weird or embarrassing for either of us, it’s just real and being in the moment.  And there is ALWAYS a post-gig debriefing where we dissect the show, replay the songs, elaborate on bits of banter.  Practically a written review, people.  And every time it is just awesome.

In high school, I got into a lot of different bands, a lot of different types of music, a lot of different styles.  Very typical of this age group, you’re trying on personas, trying on music until you find a genre that fits.  Except?  Except that I kept evolving with my musical tastes while a lot of my friends didn’t.  Not that they didn’t have preferences, but if they were fans of jazz?  They wouldn’t go see a punk show.  If they were into Ska?  Forget going to see a folk artist.  So I learned to enjoy different artists and styles in the privacy of my bedroom with my records.  Stan Kenton and Teenage Head; The English Beat and Fleetwood Mac; The Who and Mozart.  Not to mention the soundtracks to the musicals I loved.  You get the picture.  University was better, there was more access to music (hello, legal drinking age) and more people to share it with, but I still found that there were the “types” among the people I knew, and sometimes even suggesting “hey, who wants to go see Bruce Cockburn?” would get you shunned.  I did have a couple of friends who were open-minded about music, and  I was certainly pleased as punch to finally meet The Genealogist (3 years post-uni) who also had some varied musical tastes, which was a huge  plus (even more than his killer shoulders and nice ass that I totally checked out as he walked to the bar on our first meeting and no, I am not ashamed to admit that).

When you have been friends with someone for awhile and then one day the two of you  have that “aha” moment where you realize that you’re actually incredibly connected by something as personal and as magical as music?  Well to me, there is nothing better.  I know that our concert-going will likely slow down as Vivian’s little boy gets older, she’ll be occupied by the same things that occupied me when our guys were smaller.  But at least we both know that the desire to go and experience will still be there, even when the possibilities are not.  That’s ok.  I am prepared to wait.  And to take what we can get in the meantime, knowing that that real connection will always be there, no matter how infrequent the occasions.  Music can do that, when you’re with the right person.

Weeks that suck

Some weeks just suck.   Let’s take a look at why.

My job isn’t particularly stressful deadline-wise, or co-worker-wise or any sort of -wise, really.  Parts of it can be difficult sure; helping scared and angry and anxious cancer patients and all, but mostly it’s pretty even keeled.  This week though, has been kind of a stressful one.  I think flying solo is really starting to get to me.  I’m alone in the ‘brary 3 days out of 5 – my co-worker works part-time, 2 days a week.  We get along really well, which is great because we share a super-small office.  This month she has taken some extended vacation, so I haven’t actually seen her since the 7th of September.  She’s back on Monday and I cannot freaking wait.  Is it that I adore her that much?  Well, she’s pretty rad, but mostly?  She helps buffer the crazy. 

When you work in public service, no matter how much you love it, how much you love people and helping them find information and listening to their stories and setting their minds at ease?  You need a fucking break from it every so often.  Or at least I do.  I love my job, and right now I can’t imagine doing anything else, but when for three solid weeks I have to do all the listening and reassuring and tissue-handing and everything…well.  I’m just really, really tired.  Emotionally, I have nothing left.  And that’s not good.  Now I’m not about to start flipping off patients or anything like that – I have some standards, after all.  I am just putting it out there that I am exhausted, and I am done. 

And you know what else makes for a week that sucks?

When your mother calls at 9:30pm to tell you that a family friend, who you’ve known your whole life, who has actually known you since before you were born, because he has been friends with your parents for like 55 years, has had a heart attack.  And he died on the way to the hospital.

And, about an hour after learning this sad, sad news, your elderly cat starts having massive breathing problems – he’s done this before, but somehow this is different, scarier – so you stay up and watch him for awhile, and then you go to bed and your husband stays up and watches him until he seems much better, and in the morning, your husband takes him to the vet, and they think it’s one thing and they want to keep him for the day to monitor him, and then they call your husband part way through the day and tell him that kitty isn’t responding to anything, that there’s a lot more going on than they’d thought and that he’d better come and see him if he can,  and be there while they put him down, because there’s nothing they can do for him.

Those kind of weeks?  Just suck.