Friday, March 30, 2012

My First Concert

It's no secret that I love to see live music.  I even have a small collection of ticket stubs that I have kept after seeing various shows.

These include:  Eagles of Death Metal, Weakerthans, Pearl Jam X2, Love Inc., Basia Bulat, Kim Koren (my cousin), The Cranberries, Radiohead, Tragically Hip, White Stripes, Metric, Brain Jonestown Massacre, Sam Roberts Band (X2), Beirut, Dandy Warhols, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Bob Dylan (2x), Richard Thompson, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, Tom Petty (X3), Crosby Stills and Nash (missed due to being pulled over at immigration at US border), Black Crowes, The Music, and Arlo Guthrie.

Of course, I am missing tickets for shows that may not have issued any, or for some I have lost.  These include; Ritchie Havens, John Sebastian, The Cardigans, Ron Sexsmith, Ani DeFranco, Daft Punk, Run DMC, Them Crooked Vultures, and The Arkells.

But there is one important stub that I do not have in my collection.  The one to my first concert.

That's right.  It's Mr. Leonard Cohen.

I started listening to Leonard Cohen when I was in grade 8.  I even did a presentation on him in music class.  It had something to do with a '90's movie starring Christian Slater called Pump Up The Volume.  If you haven't seen it, I recommend you watch it.  It's a classic.  The synopsis is that Christian Slater plays a shy, angsty teenage boy who moves to a new town.  In order to express himself freely, he sets up a pirate radio station in his house and talks about everything; masterbation, loneliness, society, parents...  His alias is Hard Harry, and his voice becomes a sermon for all youths who feel they are trapped and have no hope.  Conflict arises when Harry receives a call on the air from someone from his school who is depressed and ends up committing suicide.  Then, there is a witch hunt for Harry, as the school and community points to him as the influence of the rebellion that occurs as students begin to act out in protest towards unfair oppression.

Cohen's song 'Everybody knows,' is Harry's theme song for his radio show.  He also plays a bit of If It Be Your Will.  What impressive musical choices for a teen movie in the '90's, when grunge was ramping up to be huge, and in opposition, there were boy bands and dance music. 

There was something so attractive about Christian Slater, shirtless and smoking, calling out for rebellion on the radio serenading his listeners with a poetic icon.

Anyway, the reason I am posting this is that Leonard just released a new album which my father says is one of his best yet, and I discovered he is going on tour again!  He did tour about 2 years ago, and I made a decision not to see him, worried that I would be disappointed like I was when I last saw Bob Dylan (never again Bobby!).  But apparently his concerts got rave reviews, so I aim not to miss him this time around.   I remember the first time I saw him, when I was around 14 years old.  I think I was the youngest person in the audience, and I remember telling one of my teachers at school where I was going that evening.  He looked at me like I was a teenage alien.  Like, what teenager listened to Leonard Cohen.  Leonard was very serious in concert, marching out to his piano with a handful of his lyrics.  People were calling out for Famous Blue Raincoat, and one lady wearing a tight black dress and a hummingbird/heart tattoo above her breast from his album The Future was swaying seductively, alone in the aisle.  I was not disappointed, and what a memorable event it was that I experienced with my father. 

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never 
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Different Faces

It's been a nostalgic kind of week.  I think it started when I was reading Rookie's article on Fiona Apple.  Music always takes me back to the past.  Like when I think of Fiona Apple, I remember being in high school, always trying to fit into a group, but finding myself connected to many groups, and maybe none at all.  Searching for identity, going from wearing ripped jeans and long johns, to cutting my hair off into a mini Drew Barrymore bob and wearing short skirts, to growing my hair back and wearing the most ugly retro 70's shirts and bug glasses.  It also makes me think of breakups, and awkward dating, first year of college and Titanic.  I can do this with almost every album I own.  I'd thought I'd share some different faces of myself.  Yes, it's the same face, but at different moments in my life.  Most of the pictures are from the past 7 years (from the digital age), but my raver girl photo is probably 10 years old or so.   I love all my faces, but I think I love my present self the most. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I Wore

I don't usually do fashion blogging, although I admit I enjoy seeing other people's outfits online.  Here's what I came up with today!

Dress:  Walmart
Socks:  Modcloth
Glasses:  Ebay Thrifted
Coat:  Thrifted Value Village
Shoes:  Etsy Thrifted

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yoga Review: Yin Yoga

Here is another one of my favourite yoga dvd's that I put on when I am at home.  I like to do Yin Yoga to balance out my strenuous, active ashtanga or flow classes.  Yes, it is passive, and no, it isn't easy.  Yin Yoga takes you into passive stretches, where you remain there was a few minutes in order for your body to relax, so you can go further into the pose if space opens up.  It gets into the deep tissue and fascia.  I really like to do Yin poses in a hot room, but it's doable in my living room as well.  If I feel I little chilly, I'll pull out my small electric heater.  There's generally no vinyasa in yin.  This dvd is challenging, and I would recommend it for an intermediate practitioner, or someone who has had a little bit of experience.  However, there are some modifications offered.  Just be mindful not to overstretch.  You can either do the full sequence, which takes about an hour, or you can choose the 'daily sequence' which is about 40 minutes?  I don't think they mention it in the video, but try not to fidget while you're in these poses.  Find your edge, and stay there.  Concentrate on your breathing.  Yin Yoga definitely tests your mind and will power.  It's a meditative practice just as much an asana practice.

Monday, March 26, 2012

11 Things About Me Meme

So I'm sure we've all seen this meme floating around the blogosphere.  I decided to vlog mine instead!  I don't really have anyone to tag though. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Welcome to the family Ann Margaret!

So, it's official.  I am the worst foster parent.  Why you ask?  Because my foster cat has not left my house!  I decided that I couldn't let this little bundle of purrs and raspy meows go.  Unfortunately, this means I cannot attempt to foster any more cats, because it is already a zoo in here and I couldn't imagine going through the adjustment period again with all these guys.  I do feel guilty about it, and wonder if I am being selfish, not wanting Ann Margaret to go to a new home, but I grew so attached to the little girl.  I honestly did not make the decision to foster out of wanting to adopt another animal.  I had wonderful intentions of helping older, unwanted cats at the shelter who were close to being euthanized.  But, this is the result of my love for animals.

Here is Ann Margaret's story.

I was contacted by the animal rescue at the end of January to be notified that there was a cat in the city that was recently picked up.  She was assumed abandoned, and was living in someone's backyard for months.  They were feeding her, and created a makeshift cardboard box house.  A volunteer picked her up, took her to the vets and she received some shots and a clean bill of health.  The vet shaved her belly and saw a scar there, and assumed she was already spayed.  She was purring so hard that the vet couldn't hear her heartbeat.  

When we got her home, we kept her in the cat carrier for a while, to let the other cats and dogs smell her, and so she felt safe.  It probably took a few weeks for the dogs to get used to her smell (especially Willow) and stop cornering her, excitedly wanting to lick her and do god know's what.  I was surprised by our cat's reactions.  Savannah, who we claim is the nicest cat on the planet decided she really was put out by Margie's presence.  And then Bodhi decided to act as a creeper cat, and get really close and just stare at her.  

(This is the bed Margie has claimed as hers)

And then the spraying started, that potent awful cat smell we all hate.  Not long after that began, the yowling accompanied it.  Margie went into heat!  The scar that the vet saw must have been from an injury she had.  These were some stressful times, because as much as we loved little Margie, our house smelled terrible.  Yes, I did worry as I went to work, 'Do I smell like cat spray?'  There was a lot of incense burning throughout this part.  She was also spraying on things I loved-like my bangolele case and my new white Christmas tree that I spent hours hunting down after boxing day.  This meant we had to keep her separated for a few days in a room so she wouldn't ruin anything else.  This made me feel like a bad person, but she was out of control!  Margie had other behaviours during this time as well, which included unbearable wailing at all hours, and throwing herself in front of the other animals in shameless displays.  So after touching base with the animal rescue, we made arrangements for her to go into the clinic.  Margie was spayed, and all the headaches of being a cat in heat stopped immediately.  Thank goodness!  

It was after this that we made up out minds that Margie should stay.  Since the behaviour was strictly related to her hormones, and nothing to do with living here, we wanted her to stay.  

 So here's some things about Ann Margaret.

Nicknames:  Margie, The Margster, Imper, Shrimper, The Shrimp, Rasper, Rasputin
Age:  Est. around 2 years old
Likes:  Chasing Savannah around the house, going ape-shit on the cat tree(she's quite the climber, and loves using her back claws to beat the tree), being picked up and coddled, pets, hiding on top of the fridge, slashing the treat bags open to steal midnight snacks, trying to escape to the backyard, sprinting around the house at full speed, wrestling with anything she can get her mouth on (pens, toys).  

I love Ann Margaret!  She always purrs when I pick her up (which is constantly).  Whenever I have a shower, I always find her sitting on my pjs in the bathroom waiting for me.  She's also the first cat waiting for me at the bedroom door in the morning to greet me.  I'm so happy that she adjusted well in the house, and that their has been some mutual warmth between her and the other animals.  She's a small little lady, but has quite the personality.  

My Plea

Here's a plea for all those who live in the GTA or City of Hamilton-if you are at all interested in helping abandoned cats, please check out this rescue organization.  They need you!  All you have to do is welcome a homeless cat into your house and care for them!  If you weren't aware, Animal Control takes in strays from the city.  However, there is no rescue program there.  Only offical rescue organizations can enter the building and pull homeless cats to try to adopt them.  The other cats sit there waiting for their owner to claim them.  During the busy times, they may only have 72 hours before they are euthanized!  Kitten season is coming up-and the shelter will be crowded.  Sadly, the SPCA shares the same building as Animal Control, and I believe they take some of the cats, kittens most likely, ones who are deemed 'more adoptable.'  My heart especially goes out to the ones who are older, and of course the black cats, who like black dogs, seem to be the last ones sitting in their cages. 

Cat Rescue Blog  (excellent reading that really gives you the behind the scenes view of someone who gives their entire heart to cat rescue in the GTA/Hamilton area).  
High Volume Shelter  (these animals are on death row in the city, unless they are claimed by their owners, or a rescue is able to help them out)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Judge Me if You Want

I've titled this post Judge Me If You Want, because it's about this weeks obsession with Pole Dancing!  I know some people think it's smutty, but I view it as an artistic dance.  When I went to Adult Circus Fit a few years ago, I was enamored with aerial silks, trapeze and the lyra.  Then they brought in extremely tall metal poles which they called 'Chinese Poles.'  If you have ever been to Cirque de Soleil, you may have seen some amazing gymnastic looking performances with people running up poles and jumping from pole to pole.  It's incredible!

The past couple of weeks I have been taking classes at a local fitness and pole dancing studio.  I have yet to take a pole class, but after watching some inspirational videos of dancers, I think my mind has been changed.  I have nicknamed the next two months, 'Time to get buff,' because I think I'm going to sign up for their crazy Get Fit Challenge.

Did I ever mention how much I drool over Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2?  Those long lean arms?  Her badass behaviour?  Yeah, she's my idol.  Watch her do those chin ups.

Call it what you want-but you have to admit that you need some incredible strength and flexibility to climb up a pole and do those amazing holds and spins.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hunger Games Hype

I for one and am excited about this movie!  I really enjoyed Hunger Games, I think it was my favourite of the 3 books.  I won't be seeing it for the Thursday midnight show, because it's sold out (and lets be realistic, I tend to fall asleep watching movies any time after 10 pm).  But, I will see it on Friday!

Here is some eye candy until we can actually watch the film.  My favourite is the arrow and moss necklace.  Oh, and the Team Peeta with the loaf of bread makes me chuckle. 

Links:  Moss Necklace, Car Decal, Real or Not Real, Cinna Style, Team Peeta, Black Tee

Enjoy!  and

May the odds be ever in your favour!  


Monday, March 19, 2012

Acro Yoga? Why Not?!

Above is a picture of me from a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago at Montezuma.  I did yoga in the jungle every day for a week.  It was crazy.  Crazy hot.  Crazy jungle howler monkey sounds.  Crazy exhausting.  But I loved it.  As you know, I have been off work since March 1.  I have been keeping up with doing yoga every day.  I may not do a crazy asana practice every day, but I make it to my mat.  I've actually been quite sore for the past two weeks, using muscles that have been dormant for a while.  This week it is my inner thighs.  Last week my arms hurt so much, I dreaded going to the bathroom because it hurt to pull my pants up.  Anyway, I've been loving the aerial classes I have been taking, and have been thinking about how to physically ramp up my practice since I've been feeling more flexible and stronger than I have in a while.  The studio where I did my TT is offering an acro yoga class next month-so I am jumping on this one!  I have always wanted to do it, and I miss doing acro and circusy things since I stopped going to circus fit a few years ago. 

Aside from that, I've been debating if I should sign up for this 6 week restorative yoga TT, or sign up for a 60 day workout challenge.  Originally I thought I wanted to do the teacher training, because I thought it would help to immerse me back into yoga.  Plus I've always been interested in restorative yoga.  But then I started to think that I would really just like to work on myself, and get really in shape before I go back to the grind with work.  The teacher training is definitely more expensive that the Get Fit Challenge, which is a slight bonus if I decide to go for that, because I won't have an income until June! 

Anyway, this weather is freakish today!  Summer in March? 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

St Patties Day Weekend

I spent my weekend doing yoga, walking the dogs, drinking jasmine tea (omg how did I forget about this tea!), and working on my blog.  The only thing that was green that I consumed was spinach, and some green sprinkles on my vegan cupcake that I bought at a new local cupcake store.  Here are some images from the weekend!

Vegan cupcake from Sweetness Bakery.

A little green for you!  It's a t-shirt I bought from The Whomping Willow's Site.  If you love Luna Lovegood, you need to order this.  It is a great quality t-shirt, and not too many people will be wearing the same shirt!

My lovely cats in my front window.  There is fresh air coming in, so they are taking in every smell they can.

Oh, and surprise!  I did a little vlog to tell you about my weekend!  Hope you enjoy.  Please ignore my awkwardness. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vlog Time!

So, about a week ago I sprung for a new camera at Henry's when they were giving away gift cards at the door.  I bought a Samsung Switchgrip HMX-Q10 HD camcorder.  It's pretty basic, because I didn't know if I would use it a lot. 

After a few days of filming myself and groaning over how awkward I am, and then grumbling about window's movie maker, I have an introductory vlog for your enjoyment! 

Ta da!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ukulele Basics

 I have been playing the ukulele for about a year and a half now.  I thought I would share with you my 3 ukuleles, as well as some things that I have learned about the ukulele.  I also have some awesome inspirational videos that I will share!  If you have always had a desire to play an instrument, but have anxiety of playing in front of people, or a  nagging fear that you are not musical, let me ease your worries.  I have those exact feelings.  I cannot sing, and am surrounded by family members who are in the music industry.  So I say-so what!  Who cares.  Now lets move on. 

Here is the first ukulele I bought!

It's a solid mahogany concert size ukulele from Ohana with abalone inlay details around the sound hole.  It has aquila strings and goloh friction tuners.  Here is a bit of advice that any professional ukulele player will tell a newby.  Purchase a decent uke!  It doesn't have to be a 600$ uke, but buy something that will stay in tune, and that does not look like a junky toy.  That way you feel like you are playing an instrument-because you are!  Also, I would recommend a newby  purchasing a concert uke, because I think it is a good size to learn on.  When I was researching about what to buy as a newby, I kept reading that you should buy a soprano uke, which is the smaller size.  However, the concert suits me well because I like the tension and spacing on the fret board as you go high on the neck.  A soprano is a bit tighter, and has shorter frets near the top.  There is also more frets on a concert, so you can eventually learn more on it.  But really, if you love the soprano ukes, go for it.  You'll be the one playing it. 

 Here is my second ukulele!  It is my favourite uke, and was given to me by my father for Christmas last year so it is very special.  It is a Kala soprano, with a spalted maple back!  Beautiful wood.  I believe it has a solid sprucewood top, and abalone inlay around the hole.  This one has side tuners, which are definitely easier to use than the friction ones.  Again, it has aquila strings (I think they sound the best!). 

And lastly!! 
My banjolele! The banjolele is just like a ukulele, except it has a banjo body.  So anything you play on the ukulele, can be played on a bangolele.  My banjolele is from Gold Tone.  It is a concert size, and note that these guys are much heavier than your little ukes! I am still searching for a strap that will fit mine.   If you love banjos, I would recommend getting one.  They have a great twang, and are much louder than a uke. 

So, these are my prized little musical possessions.  I tend to use my concert uke to practice on the most right now, but I go through phases where I switch. 

Tips for Someone Interested in Playing a Ukulele
  1. Try a class first and see if you like the ukulele.  I did this, and my teacher even let me borrow one of their beater ukes to take home and practice.  Once I decided I liked it and wanted to continue playing, I searched for one that I really liked but was still affordable.
  2. Go to classes if you can!  I attend weekly group classes, and I am always learning something new.  Playing with a group also helps you to stay on beat, and in key if you are singing (which most of the time I am not).  
  3. Practice!! (obviously)
  4. Buy an electric tuner.  Sure, you think you can tune it by ear, but do yourself and others a favour and buy a tuner, they don't cost a lot.  
  5. I would also recommend buying a case, strap, music stand, and a binder to keep all your music in.  I have all these things, and my music binder has alpha-dividers so I can look things up easily.  
  6. Choose songs that interest you.  Sometimes in music class I get a little discouraged because we play a lot of older music (and by old I mean 20's-not 60's!).  I take it all in, and think of it as a good lesson for learning techniques, but to stay inspired I seek out music that I like!  
  7. Attend jam sessions.  Since ukes are becoming so popular now, most places have weekly jams at pubs.  They are fun, light hearted, entertaining, and informative.  
  8. Youtube does wonders for inspiration.  
  9. It's not a 'hipster' thing. 
  10. If everyone played a ukulele, the earth would be a better place.  :)  But seriously.  It's meant to be fun, and shared! 
Do you play the ukulele?? 

Stay tuned for my next post on ukulele inspiration and educational sources. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

92 Days of Yoga Challenge

During the weeks coming up to my 3 months of unemployment people kept asking me what I was going to do with my time off.  Like I HAD to do something productive (mostly they wanted to see if I was going to look for another job).  I decided I wanted to spend my time doing things that were good for me.  So, I came up with my 92 Days of Yoga Challenge.  I know a lot of studios offer a 30 days yoga challenge, but I really didn't want to be tied down to attending a class every day.  I like doing yoga by myself.  So... what does this mean?  The challenge does not have many rules, except that I have to make it to my mat once a day!  I once went to a workshop with David Swenson, who said even if you make it to your mat once a day and breath, you are doing yoga.  So, this is what I have been doing.  There have been some days that I have done full vinyasa practices, and other days that I have done a yin practice, restorative, or even aerial yoga.  I must say I do feel wonderful for doing it!  Although, my arms are killing me from Saturday's Aerial Yoga!!  I don't know if I can muster a downward dog today.  Anyway, I'm hoping within the next few months I will change up things.  Perhaps I will work on some goals, like do a week of primary sequence, or work on my headstands or pincha mayurasana.  I feel so grateful that I am able to do this.  On another note, a year ago V and I went to Jamaica for a yoga retreat.  We go up every morning before 7 am, to do a full primary Mysore style practice outside.  You can check out my photos HERE.