Friday, 30 September 2016

Fall is Best

Let's be honest - October is the best month.  Not only is it my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but the weather is perfect and there's sooooooo many cool things happening!  Here's what I'm looking forward to - let me know if you're doing anything cool too!

Reaper's Realm
I've never been to Reaper's Realm and I definitely want to make the trip this year!

Lost Soul Stroll
London's spooky history walk took a little break last year, but it's back this year!

Phantom of the Paradise
I've already got tickets for this event - yes, I'll go to Toronto just to watch an old movie.  It's a pretty rad movie though, and I love being able to see things on the big screen.

Halloween Comicfest
Check out your friendly neighbourhood comic book store on October 29th for free comics and fun surprises!

Storyspook Village
From October 21st to the 30th you can go to Storybook Gardens at night for Storyspook!  We took the kids last year and it was so much fun.  The volunteers do a great job of interacting with the kids and having skits and activities that are fun and spooky without being scary.

Kangaroo Variety
Kangaroo Variety is back after a summer hiatus.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.  Live interviews, storytelling, music, you never know what's going to be there!

RetroMania at the Hyland
I love the Hyland Cinema RetroMania nights.  They've got some great ones coming up too - this Friday is Conan the Barbarian and the October showing on October 21st is a Stranger Things-inspired double feature - E.T. and Poltergeist!

Giant Book Sale
Need I say more?  The Friends of the London Public Library book sale is an event not to be missed!  Similarly, the Strathroy Public Library book sale is happening this weekend - September 29-October 1.

Behind the Ropes
Want a chance to see Eldon House up close?  Check out the Behind the Ropes tour on October 15th.

Doors Open
One of my favourite fall events!  Doors Open is your chance to check out some of the most interesting buildings in London.  Best of all, it's free!  This year I'm hoping to see the Roundhouse, Normal School, and Grand Theatre.

The Great Ghost Hunt
What happens when you combine the Lost Soul Stroll, Behind the Ropes, and Doors Open?  You get the Great Ghost Hunt!  This is your chance to tour the Grand Theatre and Eldon House, hear the ghost stories and maybe even see one of their ghosts yourself!*
(*Ghosts not guaranteed)

Oh Wonder are awesome, and they're coming to London on October 25th!

If you venture out of London, the Port Franks Optimists are hosting a Free Halloween fun event for kids!  Unfortunately Vivian is out of town that weekend, but it's a great event for the community.

Want a sneak peek at what's cool and happening in November?  How about Atmosphere on November 5th, Face to Face on November 6th, and the Forest City Comicon that same weekend!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fall TV 2016 - Better late than never

Yeah, so I'm nowhere near being on the ball.  I'm pretty sure the ball is like, across the street at this point.  I usually do a nice Fall TV post in August to outline all the new shows I'm going to watch, but I just didn't get to it this year.  This makes sense since I'm basically behind on everything.  There's still lots of stuff I'm planning on watching though - although there's a good chance that I'll end up just marathoning through them a season at a time for the most part.  In any event, here's what I am/will be watching this fall.

Quarry (Cinemax, premiered Friday, September 9th at 10 p.m.)
Okay, I'm not entirely sure what this show is about, but it seems to be some sort of dark, violent, vigilante justice type dealio which seems cool enough.



Son of Zorn (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 8:30 p.m.)
Cartoons interacting with live action characters?  Sign me up.



Masters of Sex (Showtime, premiered Sunday, September 11th at 10:00 p.m.)
Okay, I'm still a season behind on this but I have high hopes that I'll get caught up.

American Horror Story: Roanoake (FX, premiered Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 p.m.)
So far I'm really digging the format of season 6, and apparently episode 6 is going to turn the whole show on its head.  I'm all in.

High Maintenance (HBO, premiered Friday, September 16th at 11:00 p.m.)
Want to know more about the world of bicycling pot dealers?  Yeah you do.



The Big Bang Theory (CBS, premiered  Monday, September 19th at 8:30 p.m.)
Everybody likes comfort food TV, right?

The Good Place (NBC, premiered Monday, September 19th at 10:00 p.m.)
I wasn't really expecting much from this show, but it's really great.  Kristen Bell's character is in heaven but shouldn't be.  It's pretty great seeing her play against type as the awful Eleanor trying to figure out what's going on.  It's got a real Pushing Daisies vibe to it.



Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:00 p.m.)
Can Terry Crewes be in more things?

New Girl (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 p.m.)
This show went a little off the rails last season but I still have hope for it.  I'll probably end up letting it pile up and watch a bunch all at once though.

Scream Queens (Fox, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 9:00 p.m.)
I LOVE THIS SHOW.  This is probably the one show I really look forward to watching each week - clever, quick, and lots of twists.  Love love it.

This is Us (NBC, premiered Tuesday, September 20th at 10:00 p.m.)
You know about this show, they've been pushing the trailer down our throats since the Superbowl.  It's supposed to be pretty great, but I haven't tried watching the first episode yet.  Get your tissues ready.



The Goldbergs (ABC, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
Oh the Goldbergs.  This show makes me giggle like crazy - I hope it stays the 80s forever.

Empire (Fox, premiered Wednesday, September 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
I still need to watch the second season, but I'm sure the third season is going to be great!

Pitch (Fox, premiered Thursday, September 22nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Pretty interesting concept here - the first female pitcher to play professional baseball.



The Exorcist (Fox, premiered Friday, September 23rd at 9:00 p.m.)
I don't know why I'm even considering watching this.  I've only seen the movie once, and it scared me enough that I don't really want to watch it ever again.  I've heard pretty much zero buzz about this, which is a bad sign.



The Last Man on Earth (Fox, premiered Sunday, September 25th at 9:30 p.m.)
Oh man, I love this show.  The winter finale last year made me cry.  If you aren't watching it you should definitely try it out.

Saturday Night Live (NBC, premieres Saturday, October 1st at 11:29 p.m.)
Pretty good hosts lined up so far this year - Margot Robbie is hosting the season premiere, and they're going to have lots of material with the election.

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 8:00 p.m.)
This show is pretty goofy, but in a fun way.  Looking forward to seeing what Ash gets up to this season.

Westworld (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 9:00 p.m.)
Westworld is basically what HBO is hoping we all fall in love with to replace Game of Thrones.  It looks incredible - I can't wait to watch it.



The Mindy Project (Hulu, premieres Wednesday, October 4th)
I don't watch Mindy in real time anymore - it's so much better to binge!  They seem to post it quickly on Netflix too, which is perfect.

Frequency (CW, premieres Thursday, October 5th at 9:00 p.m.)
I love the movie, so I'm hoping the show is worthwhile!



Divorce (HBO, premieres Sunday, October 9th at 10:00 p.m.)
Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO - but not as Carrie Bradshaw.



Black Mirror (Netflix, premieres Friday, October 21st)
Oh man, I freaking LOVE Black Mirror.  The original BBC run is some of the smartest TV I've ever seen.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next - and just in time for Halloween!

What's coming up for midseason?  I'll be adding Scandal, Emerald City, Powerless, and Riverdale!

Friday, 23 September 2016

One Nightstand (Get it?)


I like nightstands.  You know when you see a magazine spread or a blog where they show you a nightstand and it's like a plant and a small lamp and that's it?  That's not a real nightstand.  I like seeing what people keep within arm's reach of their bed.  I spend a lot of time in my bed.  Many nights I eat there and watch TV there and basically live as though I have a bachelor apartment.  As such, my nightstand serves many purposes.  I love this little end table - I have two and have used them as nightstands since university.  They rotate around the house sometimes, but ultimately they are my favourite here beside the bed.  In university I used both - one as my "real" nightstand and one as an overflow for my school stuff.  Now the second one resides on the other side of the bed where Dustin covers it in coffee rings, DVDs and books.  



So what do I keep next to me?  Books, of course.  This is stage two of my TBR (to be read) pile.  These are the books that I'm planning on reading next.  I keep them organized into a pile of fiction and a pile of non-fiction since I like to bounce between the two.  The little owl dude was from Lucas, and I like to have candles around even though I'm pretty sure that the cats will set their tails on fire.  My earrings, which are rarely worn, hang out in the little egg carton tray.




The little campaign-style jewelry box houses the backs of my pins, along with bracelets.  On top is another tray (I like trays, okay?) for brooches since they don't work well on the cork board with my pins.  My anxiety meds hang out there too, because if they're not right in front of my face I'll forget to take them.  I'm 90% sure I forgot to take it this morning.  I also have an EOS lip balm hanging around back there.  They're my absolute favourite and are everywhere.  I keep bookmarks there too, and always have some sort of water glass or bottle hanging around.





The lower shelf is where my wrist braces usually hang out, since I wear them at night.  I don't see them in this picture though.  I know what you're thinking - wrist braces AND anxiety medication beside the bed?  HOT.  I also keep my comic books down there, I tend to wait a few months and then read a bunch at once.  There's also a workbook down there and anything else I might be working on.  It's not in the picture, but right now there's an adult colouring book and pencil crayons down there.  The spray bottle is glasses cleaner, and the shoebox at the back is for notes and cards since I'm basically still in high school.  The kettlebell typically is used as a doorstopper, although Vivian likes to lift them.



I feel like nightstands are kind of this little microcosm of ourselves.  Like the things that are closest to us at our most vulnerable state are what really define us.  Probably why the remote controls are nearest to the bed.

I know what you're wondering - no goody drawer?  You gotta work a little harder than that for the goody drawer.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Treats of the Week - There's Something in the Air

Do you guys feel it too?  Like along with those cooler nights and darker mornings we've been having, everyone's mood has been a little cool and dark as well?  Something about the shift in season, or maybe the full moon last week, or Mercury being in retrograde again seems to be making people a little antsy and annoyed.  I know I've been in full-on "let me just lie in bed all night watching weird documentaries and eating pizza" mode lately (that was literally my Saturday night, and it was awesome).  Today, Vivian came home from school and basically went straight to bed, announcing that she was too tired to go to yoga tonight.  I agreed and got into bed beside her to cuddle and read my book.

Yes, there's something in the air.


  • Summer might be winding down but Sunday dinners at my mom's are still summery - check out this beauty of a meal!



  • My brother Matt starts trade school today to be an electrician.  I sent him a text wishing him well on his first day, and said that I hope it wasn't a shock.  I'm expecting to get a lot of mileage out of electrician jokes.
  • Vivian has been really into Lush and bath bombs lately, and when she went there a couple of weeks ago she was nice enough to bring me home a flamingo shaped one.  Of course, she ended up using it herself but it was the thought that counts.
  • A paralegal at work told me my shoes were fantastic the other day, which is pretty great since they're not at all new.  Maybe people are just tired of seeing me wear the same sandals all summer.



  • My cousin Rusty got married a couple of weekends ago and it was such a beautiful wedding!  The ceremony was right on the lake and even though it was overcast and rainy for most of the day, things cleared up for the ceremony.  I didn't get many pictures, but there was a late night taco bar so it was basically the best.
  • I loved The Gymnasts books when I was a kid, and I still have the "Go for the Gold!" special from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  I've been keeping an eye out for them at thrift stores to have for when Vivian is a little older and finally came across one this week!  Check out the hair on that cover!



  • Wooooo new overnight parking rules!  I've already used one of my 15 overnight parking passes and it's so easy and awesome!  Planning on leaving your car overnight in London?  Head to london.ca first to register your plate so you don't get a ticket!
  • The snack food gods have smiled upon us and delivered Chalet Sauce flavoured Lay's and they're amazing.  I found some small bags at the Swiss Chalet here in Strathroy but haven't yet located the large size bags.  Someone hijack a truck for me so I can stock up.




  • I really wanted to go to Toronto for some shows at the Just for Laughs festival, but the timing and ticketing didn't really work out.  Luckily, I got to see a comedy show last week when we went to Toronto to see Eric Andre.  His live show was completely unhinged.  Like, I got sprayed by a super soaker and got ranch salad dressing on my phone, and by the end of the act he was completely nude on stage.  It was awesome.
  • I've been wanting to try out these little mini metal models from Metal Earth, so I finally picked one up last weekend.  They're not expensive - this one was like $15 - and I thought it would be good to focus on.  I like doing jigsaw puzzles, but my cats like to knock them onto the floor.  So far I've  managed to put together like 8 pieces of my T-Rex, and I think I need to pick up some Krazy Glue to repair a couple of pieces that I broke.  I'm still enjoying it though, but I probably should have followed the instruction that recommended watching a YouTube video about it first.



  • I saw a dog riding with his head sticking out of the sunroof of a car the other day.  That dude knows how to live.
  • I finished watching Gilmore Girls so I'm totally ready for the revival in November!  Now I'm in that weird stage where I don't know what to watch next - I started catching up on Scandal the other night, but I need a new series to binge on.  Maybe I'll finally get around to watching The Wire.
  • New shirt that I probably/definitely need.



Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Treats of the Week - Staycation

I've often said that in order for me to get anything done around here I would have to take a week off work and a week off Vivian.  It's amazing how much energy you lose by the time you get through a day of work/parenting.  This week, I took a staycation.  I had a mini one there last month, but I wanted to take the first day of school off and then I needed to take Thursday off to work a French court.  It seemed silly to go to work on a Wednesday and a Friday, so I rounded up and called it a week off.  It's been AWESOME.  I've gotten so many things done around the house - just little piddly stuff that I never seem to get to.  It's only Wednesday and I've already destroyed my to-do list - all that's left is a second coat on the garage (I was going to do it tonight, but decided against it when I saw they were calling for storms tonight) and some proofreading.  I hit my transcript typing goal today (about 60 pages typed) and still had time to meet a friend for lunch and get Vivian from school.  I could get used to this.


  • Why yes, of course I grabbed the special variant cover of Civil War II featuring Justin Trudeau.  Might just end up on the Wall O' Canadiana.
  • Vivian had a successful start to Grade 1 - she's in a Grade 1/2 split class, which I'm not crazy about.  But we're three for three for no tears on the first day of school!


  • Friday I swung by Filthy Rebena to check things out - it's a great vintage shop on Dundas.  They've also started carrying some pins from No Fun and Rosehound Apparel, so of course I couldn't resist a couple, along with some vintage pin finds.



  • Scary movie nights have continued this week with a viewing of Would You Rather at home and then Don't Breathe at the theater.  I've officially decided that scary movie nights will continue through the Halloween season, and then in November can switch to non-traditional holiday movies with Black Christmas serving as the link between the two.
  • Today is the lovely Jenn's birthday!  We celebrated at her place on Saturday with a game of Pictionary - come on, you can totally tell that that's "waddle" below, right?  I'm pretty proud of myself for successfully drawing "Radar", "Salsa", and "Sound waves".




  • See what happens when you clean things up?  A couple of weeks ago Vivian was teaching Dustin how to play Barbies and insisted he take notes.  I thought I'd lost his little cheat sheet, but I found it in my office!  She's very thorough.



  • We moved Matt into his first apartment yesterday - pretty hard to believe that he's going to be out in the world on his own!  
  • I finally received word last week that I successfully completed the Diploma in Public Administration program.  I wasn't worried about my final paper, but it feels really good to know it's officially complete and I'll be graduating in October.  I'm not done though - just taking a bit of a break.  I plan on finishing the full Masters in Public Administration Program when Vivian is a little bit older, so probably start at it again in a couple of years.  In the meantime, there's a diploma program with the AMCTO that sounds like a good step for me, so I might start working on that for the winter semester.
  • All right - those episodes of Gilmore Girls aren't going to watch themselves!  I'm nearly done season 6, then on to the dreaded season 7.  

Monday, 29 August 2016

Treats of the Week - End of August

I don't know what happened to this summer, do you?  It seems like I've been busy, yet I don't think I've really done anything.  Now here we are with school starting next week and I'm left feeling like it should still be July or something.  I don't know, maybe it's just from getting older.


  • First and foremost?  My brother, Brent, and his fiancee, Lizz, had their stag and doe on August 20th and it was pretty much the best party ever.  I got to have a great time with people I haven't seen in ages and watched the final Tragically Hip concert in a barn with a bunch of people.  It was a great night and now the countdown is on until Vegas next year!
  • One of the Korean interpreters at work gave me this bookmark the other day.  Booking interpreters can be a real pain in the ass sometimes but some of them are really lovely people.


  • Last year after Dustin's birthday he got me a gift (the collector's book of Pacific Rim) for no reason.  This year he did the same, getting me the London, Ontario colouring book and some other little odds and ends from Uber Cool Stuff.  I've decided that this is an acceptable tradition for me to get gifts after we celebrate his birthday.


  • Vivian has been super busy with dance lately - she had tumbling camp and now she's doing cirque camp and got a special private session with Kyle Wegg.  Kyle's aunt runs the dance studio we go to and he's an incredibly accomplished dancer already.  He's a member of the national hip hop team, but took some time out of his schedule to come to the studio for workshops with the kids.  It was a real pleasure to see him work with Vivian and comment on how flexible she is - even if she was being quite the little flirt with him.



  • I saw a car the other day drive by with a dog hanging its head out of the sunroof, which pretty much sums up summer
  • It was Retromania night at the Hyland this past weekend with a screening of Back to the Future.  I'd never seen it on the big screen and it was so fun to watch it with a crowd of people
  • We lost Gene Wilder today, and the news is hitting me pretty hard.  For the last few years, every time that a celebrity death broke the news I would worry about Gene Wilder.  Is he okay?  He was getting up there, and I just didn't want to imagine a world without such a magical man.  Since coming home today, Dustin and I have been talking about him at length and discussing just what it was that made him so special.  Even though he hasn't appeared on screen in years, it was nice just knowing he was still out there, and he's definitely going to be missed.  Check out this amazing tattoo that Pete Davidson has in tribute to him.


  • I took next week off and I'm sooooo looking forward to it.  Having a few days off there a couple weeks ago was really nice - just being able to putter around the house and organize things and get stuff done that I've been avoiding for so long.  We'll see how productive next week is - I'm definitely getting my lists ready!
  • I've been keeping a gratitude journal lately and I actually really enjoy it.  It seemed like a bit of a cheesy idea, but once I started it I found it really helps me to keep track of some things that I appreciate.  By noticing what actions matter to me I can better understand what I need to be happy, if that makes sense?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Treats of the Week - So, why a lobster?

It's been a minute since I've blogged.  Call it summer vacation, call it blogger burnout, call it laziness, whatever.  I just haven't felt like doing the blogging thing.  My internet has been spotty lately (thanks, Rogers), freelance work has been busy, and it's been too hot to do anything but go swimming.  But my Grandma Millie is my number one fan and has been asking where the blog posts are, and we can't disappoint Grandma!  Here's what's been going on the last couple of weeks.


  • Dustin and I had a wedding to go to, which meant I had a meltdown about what to wear.  I frantically ordered a bunch of dresses which didn't arrive in time, but managed to find this little number at Winners on clearance for $38.  It's a really great dress that was perfect for the wedding and will transition well come boots and tights time!  Plus it passed the all-important fitting room Jenn test.


  • I went for my free tattoo in Toronto and it was a really great experience.  My artist, Katrina, is incredibly talented and I'm so happy with the result.  So why a lobster?  I just like them.  I've always been drawn to their image and I like their ties to surrealism and Salvador Dali.  This dude has healed up super nicely - she put a weird wrap on it that's used on burn victims that really helped speed the healing.  I'm all done with the peeling and everything now and it's healed much lighter than in this picture.  Can't wait for the next one!




  • Back to school shopping is underway for Vivian and myself!  I'm not taking any courses this fall (but I might in the winter) but that doesn't mean I don't need new pens.  I got myself a Parker, just a cheap Jotter.  I've always wanted a really nice pen but I'm afraid I'll just lose it.  This Parker can be my training wheels to see how well I do.



  • I'm loving my favourite summer guilty pleasure of Big Brother, and this summer Vivian is watching along with me!  Paulie is basically the worst, and I want to see Natalie and James go to the finish!
  • I went to Value Village the other day (too hot to walk outside on my lunch break) and was greeted with dozens of elephants.  It was so bizarre, and kind of sad.  In my mind they had to clear out someone's house who collected elephants.  They were everywhere I looked!



  • I also found a complete set of Out of this World, which I realllllllly wanted.  But when they're priced at $4 each and there's 24 of them...even when every fifth book would be free...it just wasn't happening that day.  I did consider buying a couple of random ones just to ruin the set for someone else though, because I'm spiteful.



  • I just can't help myself sometimes.



  • This crazy heat we've been having has been unbearable and makes us appreciate the pool at mom's house even more.  It's been so nice to have it for nighttime swims, and is so much easier then trekking out to the beach!  My back is crazy tanned - I'm loving having this pool around!


  • On Monday mom and I ventured on the GoTrain with five kids for a day in Toronto.  We hit up the aquarium, which is not for the faint of heart.  The kids had a great time, but holy cow are the adults ever terrible at places like this.  The kids were getting shoved and bumped around, and often couldn't see anything because of adults standing right in front of all the displays.  Call me crazy, but maybe you don't need to take 20 pictures of the lion fish when there's a four-year old who just wants to see them.  I took to just saying, "Go ahead kids, get up there close.  Adults don't need to see," quite loudly.  Dustin figures I could get a solid 5 minutes of stand-up out of the experience.  My favourite part was this sawfish who was just chilling on top of the tunnel.




  • But hey, the kids had a blast.


  • The trip was a success - we had all the kids carry their own backpacks and they did so well with all the walking.  Vivian was clever and used her chest strap on the backpack as a makeshift holder for her penguin buddy, Waddles.



  • Like I mentioned, my Grandma Millie has become a big fan of the ol' bloggy blog.  She dropped off this bag of goodies as donations for the blog - lots of tins, pins, and other cool stuff.  There was even a small wooden box that my Great Aunt Vivian brought back from Germany.  



  • Those pins she gave me got added to the collection.  Now that people know about the pin thang they pass along their old pins that are ratting around in drawers.  Dustin's mom was kind enough to give me some of hers - I'll definitely be wearing that Tragically Hip pin on Saturday while I watch the Kingston concert!



  • I'm off again today - a little mini staycation.  It's been nice to just be home for a couple of days.  I asked Vivian this morning what she wanted to do today and she said she said she just wanted to stay at home all day.  Works for me, that's what we did yesterday.  This is how we ended our night last night, with Vivian falling asleep in my lap while we watched My Little Pony.


I'll try to do some more regular blogging soon - my annual closet post is almost due and I have a conspiracy theory that I've been working on to share with you guys...