Thursday, October 22, 2009

dirty dancing

I'm not sure if it's just me and I'm turning into a complete prude or that So You Think You Can Dance Canada is a little over the top when it comes to "sexy" dance numbers this season.
I find myself blushing while watching some of the routines- and not in a good way.
More like cringing- and wondering if it would be weird to have someones sweaty crotch in you face on national television.
I used to think it was okay if Lulu happen to watch a bit of the show with me, but these days I would never let her watch any of the raunchy routines.
I mean some of the dancers are practically dry humping on stage. (especially Luther's routines)
tsk tsk.
not what I think qualifies as good dance.
S.Y.T.Y.C.D American version is so much more wholesome.
And better.
Are we just much more skanky north of the border?
Do we really want to see that kind of bump & grinding?
and why are the costumes so much more "euro- trash" than our neighbours to the south?
I don't remember it being this way last year- and maybe they have just run out of ideas and inspiration.
Either way I'm glad it will be over and done with this Sunday so I can watch some good routines on the U.S version.
Sans Mia

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The best thing about reading a good book is that it helps you get your mind off of everyday getting the flu for example.
cough cough...
It all started on Thanksgiving and hasn't really left the building as of yet.
Not sure if it was/is the swine flu or not- but either way I feel like a swine's ass.
I can't wait to feel healthy again- no more coughing non stop, feeling like crap or eye socket pain.
yes I said eye socket pain- even my eye muscles hurt- what's up with that?
I slept for almost 11 hours last night and I still feel tired- geez.
one day you start to feel better the next....crap-o-la.
anyhow I won't go on- but at least I managed to read a few great books before the non-stop phlegm ensued.

Still Alice- By Lisa Genova
From the Publisher
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman''s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer''s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer''s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what''s it''s like to literally lose your mind...

At first I was a little reluctant to read this book- thinking it to be pretty depressing sounding.
But much to my surprise I enjoyed it quite a bit and was drawn in right from the first page.
It really makes you stop to appreciate the every day things in life.
really liked this book and found myself thinking about Alice for weeks after I finished it.

People Of The Book- By Geraldine Brooks
From the Publisher
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient bindingaan insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hairashe begins to unlock the bookas mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the bookas journey from its salvation back to its creation.
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siA]cle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the cityas rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadahas extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hannaas investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love.
Inspired by a true story, "People of the Book" is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author.

This book was sitting on my bookshelf for months and for some reason I never felt like reading it- until a couple of weeks ago.
Coincidentally in conjunction with the Jewish High Holidays...
This was by no means a light read and at times I struggled through- but I also found it fascinating and felt compelled to keep reading.
All in all a very interesting book, and imaginative. This book is much more about history, human connection, and hope, than it is about a book, or even about religion.
This was my second book I have read by Geraldine Brooks- the Year Of Wonders was also a good pick. (though I didn't make the connection until about half way through the book)

Olive Kitteridge- By Elizabeth Strout
From the Publisher
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

Maybe it's just me, but I found this book boring and underwhelming.
but finished it hoping for some plot twist at the end.
which unfortunately never happened.
Pulitzer prize...humph?

The Ballad of West Tenth Street by Margorie Kernan
From the Publisher
Once upon a time in Manhattan . . .
. . . there stood a pair of fine old brick townhouses on West Tenth Street. One had a blue door with a tarnished brass knocker in the shape of a dolphin. The other was empty. Behind the blue door lived Sadie, the widow of a famous British rocker who died of an overdose, and two of her children, Hamish and Deen.
The children manage to muddle along as best they can with a loving but distracted mother. But their whole world changes when the house next door gets a new owner-a mysterious Southerner who quickly endears himself to his new neighbors, taking them-and their friends-under his protective wing. In doing so, he transforms everything.
Magical, lively, lovely, and unique, The Ballad of West Tenth Street is a contemporary urban fairy tale that delightfully reimagines real life.

I Loved this book! I cannot recommend it enough.
It is absolutely delightful, quirky, sweet and honest and very, very wise.
Makes me want to pack up and move to NYC.

Rush Home Road- Lori Lansens

This novel is a page turner. I didn't want to put it down.
The story of an old lady with many stories to her life and a little girl with terrible stories of her own. You will want only the best for Addy and Sharla- and get frustrated when the best doesn't often happen for them.
Lori Lansens is a wonderful story teller, I found myself compelled to keep going to find out what would happen next.
I am really looking forward to reading her other novels- The Wife's Tale and The Girls.

The Shadow Of The Wind- Carlos Zafon
From the Publisher
Barcelona, 1945-A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called "The Shadow of the Wind," by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax''s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that "The Shadow of the Wind" is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author''s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

This book came highly recommended- and well I guess at times I was into it and then for some reason I just couldn't wait to finished it- and it had nothing to do with it being suspenseful- I just wanted to be done with it.
I have only read positive and rave reviews so maybe it was just me??

The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield
From the Publisher
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father''s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain''s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise - she doesn''t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter''s dozens of novels.

Late one night, while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter''s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father''s rare copy of Miss Winter''s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter''s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.

I LOVED this book.
Possibly my favourite of the year so far.
Pick this one up- you won't be disappointed.

The Disappeared- Kim Echlin
This story of passionate love between a Canadian and her Cambodian lover evokes their tumultuous relationship in a world of colliding values. Set against the backdrop of horrific loss, these two self-exiled lovers struggle to recreate themselves in a world that rejects their hopes. Spare, unrelenting, and moving, The Disappeared is an unforgettable consideration of love, language, justice, and memory set against the backdrop of the killing fields of Pol Pot.

This was an excellent book and I found myself remembering all the horrible things we saw on a trip to Cambodia several years ago.
It's hard to believe things like that actually happened and it is gut wrenching knowing how it tore families apart.

I'm currently stuck on a book called A Field Of darkness- not loving it so far...but hanging in there.
you never know...
any other good book suggestions to help get me through cold & flu season?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Orange Crush

Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue.
There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger "love it" or "hate it" response than other colors.

I don't know about you, but lately I'm loving it.

Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach or rust have very broad appeal.

How the color orange effects us mentally and physically
Stimulates activity
Stimulates appetite
Encourages socialization

I'd say that's pretty accurate- especially the part about stimulating appetite...

"Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow." --Kandinsky

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

music to my ears

It's been a musical kind of week so far.
It all started when I was on hold with jcrew the other night ordering these.
The dollar's almost on par again- yay!
Anyhow, instead of bad muzak playing too loud in my ear- as per usual while on hold with anyone-it was David Bowie and The Smiths- How Soon Is Now.
For the first time ever, I was happy to be on hold for so long.
In fact, when the perky and uber polite "Jennifer" from jcrew came back on the phone I was a little disappointed.
Hey I don't mind being on hold a little longer...maybe for one more song?
Anyhow I love music- and all genres.
From the moment I get up in the morning until I go to bed- there is usually music playing.
First thing in the a.m. it's usually Classical-or on rainy days who can resist a little Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday?
I love Indie music and singer song writers like Ryan Adams, Paolo Nutini, Adele, Trespassers William, Tindersticks, Sterolab, Regina Spektor, Fleet Foxes, M.Craft, Joshua Radin, Jose Gonzalaz, Midlake, Horsefeathers, Iron & Wine oh the list goes on- there are so many amazing new talented young artists out there.
I love listening to jazz- especially while eating dinner & drinking a good glass of wine.
Some of my favourites these days are Sophie Milman, Madeleine Peyroux, June Christy, Melody Gardot and Shirley Horn.
I'm on a bit of a female jazz kick these days I guess.
I love listening to folk a.k.a. roots as well- Devendra Banhart, Simon & Garfunkel, William Fitzsimmons, Ron Sexsmith, The Be Good Tanyas, Neil Young, Sibylle Baire and The Sea & Cake just to name a few.
I'm even enjoying Country music, which is a close cousin to folk in my opinion.
Artists like Emmylou Harris, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson always make me feel warm & fuzzy inside, and also make me want to drink Bourbon. (even though I don't really drink bourbon)
I enjoy a bit of hip hop from time to time as well- especially while working out.
K-OS always makes me sweat- in a good way.
Speaking of sweat...gotta love Madonna, Everything But The Girl- remixes, Gaelle- "rain" and the entire Queer as Folk soundtrack, Radiohead- specifically Reckoner, and Coldplay (more to cool down and stretch)
Love working out to that stuff- it's the closest I get to being at a club-not that I was ever really into dance clubs- but still...
Can't forget Electronic music-Hot Chip, Imogen Heap, Moby or Royksopp, very funky stuff and great driving music.
Even Lulu has a few favourites- Danielle Sansone and Frances England always gets her grooving on the kitchen floor.
I love oldies- from the 20ies big band era and yes even some stuff from the nineties.
Hard to believe that's considered oldies now.
But the seventies always makes me happy.
Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Simon & Garfunkel, Foreigner, James Taylor, America, The Eagles, Journey, Paul Mc Cartney- Band on the Run and Listen to what the man said (my fav songs) Supertramp, and even Jim Croce- such an amazing time for music and totally reminds me of my childhood.
My dad used to DJ on the weekends when I was young so a lot of that music totally brings me back.
My point is that I love love love music.
I only wish I could play an instrument.
I guess it's never too late.
But due to the lack of free personal time these days, I guess I'll just have to add- learn to play guitar or piano- to my life list of things to do before I die.
But in the mean time Lulu has expressed interest in taking music lessons.
Her request was my command.
So I did my research and found a private music teacher that came highly recommended and took Lulu there yesterday for her first music lesson.
Without sounding like a bragging mother- okay- definitely sounding like a bragging mother....
the teacher said she was a total natural and that most kids her age (4) don't pick up notes the ways she did and that he was really impressed.
I was overjoyed.
So I bee-lined it to the closest music store and decided to buy her a keyboard.
Maybe I was jumping the gun a bit- it was only her first lesson- but it's not like I went out and bought a Steinway or anything.
Plus my budding musician needs to practice on something aside from her Melissa & Doug toy piano- right?
Anyhow long story short...
A very nice young guy helped me at the music store and even helped put everything in my car.
He was super cute, in an interesting looking kind of way and he was very polite and really nice about answering all my dumbass questions and had no attitude whatsoever- which you would expect most young hot musicians to have towards some mom coming in to buy her kindergartner her first piano.
He just kind of made an impression on me.
Maybe it was the eyes, or the fact that he reminded me of Elija Wood.....
But I digress...
I asked him if he was in a band- in my most non- cougarish way possible- and he kind of quietly said something about being more of a singer songwriter.
I asked him if he played anywhere in particular.
He then sheepishly mentions something about being on Canadian Idol.
Then stupid me says "oh I never watch that show- but my parents are huge fans."
I didn't mention that I used to chastise my folks for watching it- calling it lame and not half as good as the American version.
I couldn't be more wrong....especially if I had known this guy was on it.
anyhow I happen to notice his name tag and when I got home like the good stalker that I am, I googled his name.
This is what I came up with.
Oh my.
this guy is talented- no wonder he was in the top four!
and why hasn't he been signed by anyone yet?
Talented, good looking, humble, nice and professional.
I hope he does get discovered- that way I can tell Lulu that I bought her first "piano" from a famous musician.
Plus I would love to download some of his music and be able to listen to his songs.

Now would it be creepy if I went back tomorrow to buy a set of drums?...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

eh, what's up doc?

While on the farm this weekend- Lulu fell in love with a family of bunny rabbits.
It was so cute watching her squeal with delight every-time they took a blade of grass from her.
Coincidentally I was at the butcher earlier in the day and almost picked up a whole rabbit for dinner.
I saw these recipes and felt inspired...but at the last minute decided against the bunny.
Something tells me Lulu would have been traumatized.

So chicken it was...