August 31, 2010

Summertime City Sounds: A 2010 Mix

To celebrate the end of August (or rather, to mourn the end of the summer), these are the songs that have been added to my "Currently Loving" playlist since I moved back to Ontario. I have been influenced greatly by Heather from Colorado this past year, although only one song off her summer mix made it onto mine. I also noticed there is a little overlap with my friend Jessica's summer mix. Pure coincidence.

If I were making an actual album, the cover would be a photo I took on Amelia's camera last week. But I don't have that photo yet. *cough* I'm not upset though, because she's moving this week. For the second time in a month.

If I were burning this onto a CD for each of you, I would have to shorten the list, but I'm not, so I won't.

If I had more broadband and/or paid for remote storage, I would upload it somewhere for you all to download and listen. But I don't, so I can't.

And now that you're all itching to see the actual list, here it is, with lots of links to Youtube:

Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) - Mika
Five Years Time - Noah and the Whale
One Life Stand - Hot Chip
Thinkin Bout Something - Hanson
Home (singalong) - Boris Smile
Rocket - Goldfrapp
Breakeven - The Script
Awake My Soul (Reveille Mon Ame) - Mumford & Sons (the half-French version I'm loving is a live track from somewhere, no youtube video available)
Deaf - Jon Bryant
Reunite - Isbells
Unstoppable - Foxy Shazam
Everybody Knows - Elizabeth & The Catapult (Leonard Cohen cover)
Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Lisztomania - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
My Love - The Bird and The Bee
Impossible - Shout Out Louds
Boy With a Coin - Iron & Wine
Manhattan - Kings of Leon
Heart to Tell - The Love Language

August 30, 2010

Day #1. Success.

The proof is in these two conversations:

me: You need to eat at least two more spoonfuls before you're done.
G: (pretends to eat some food) Done.
me: No. You didn't eat any.
G: Yes I did.
me: No. You didn't. You can't trick me.
G: Yes I can.
me: (nothing)
G: How many fingers do you have?
me: (nothing)
G: How many fingers do you have in total?
me: (deciding whether or not to let him win) Eight. And two thumbs. Now eat your food.
G: (pause, flustered) Well, just eight.

me: Okay, I'm going now.
C: You can't go without a hug and a kiss.
me: Okay.
C: (giving me a hug) Can you come all the time?
me: Yes. That's the plan. How's tomorrow morning?
C: That's good. And can we bake all the time?
me: Maybe not all the time. But often.
C: Okay. (runs away)
me: Bye guys!
C: Wait! Another hug and kiss! (runs back)

I want to specify that I really like G. Today was a bit of a test-of-the-will, but I can clearly see that he is a good kid at the core. And we did have fun together. Now we get to find our groove.
C is young enough to be cuddly, and that makes it easier. Although his tantrum capabilities will not get his way with me, so we may have a falling out before too long.

August 26, 2010

Things Kids Say #1 - You Look Like a Boy

This afternoon I went over to spend the afternoon with C & G, before starting full-time on Monday (AH!). I also got to meet the summer-nanny, who is fun. I think we'd be friends if our lives overlapped for more than 3 hours.

One thing that I know I'll love about nannying is the immense number of ridiculous conversations we'll have. However, I need to not let my identity come from the opinions of a three year-old...

C: Are you a boy or a girl?
Me: I'm a girl.
C: Oh. Well, you look like a boy.
Me: I do? How do I look like a boy?
C: You have curly hair. And only boys have curly hair. And that is how that looks.

Last Week of Laziness (Round 9)

Nadine more than made up for last week's absence. Since I'm starting work on Monday (and will be spending ten hours away from her every day), I've decided to do like one of my favourite quote blogs and start a "nest egg." This way, I'll still be able to deliver some weekly goods.

Without further ado, this past week chez nous:

her: I hate having sensitive people in my life.

(Watching the new Law & Order: CI)
her: [with disdain] She looks like a 4 year-old boy I know. I like my woman cops sexy.

her: ________ would be gay if he weren’t straight.

(Talk show - she gave her husband a kidney. Now he's steppin' out.)
her: If I were her, I’d take my kidney back.

her: I highly recommend everyone watching someone die. It's awesome.

her: You’re the queen of the non-date date.
me: Thank you.

(talking about the boy, a rare gushy moment)
her: He sent the world’s most adorable text. I want to frame it.

(still talking about the boy, slightly less gushy)
her: Then I’ll say, ‘I’m not your gay boyfriend, remember!?’

August 24, 2010

Birds & Fish: Fotos & Food

watermark 223
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
Last October, I was assistant photographer for a wedding. It was a great experience and a super-fun time with my friend Becca. (more photos here)

Becca came prepared for the day with delicious granola bars. Later on, when I was at her place editing and selecting the best of the best photos, she had more of the same bars. I understand why they are a staple in her kitchen. So delicious, so simple, so close to being healthy!

I'm feeling all reminiscent because I finally (FINALLY) made me some of these bars. They're cooling on my counter as I write this. I haven't taken any decent photos in awhile. I miss being creative and gutsy and excited to give people something beautiful.

Before I left BC, Becca told me that if I was sticking around, she'd seriously consider starting a photography gig with me. And if I'd stayed, I would have seriously considered it too.

But saying yes to one thing always means saying no to another. And it's okay to be sad about that. (I have so many more thoughts on these two statements. I could go on for hours)

Becca, if you ever decide to move to TO...let's start that business. Or maybe a baking business? Heck, let's just do the whole wedding deal. You, me & Nadine could cover it all.

August 21, 2010

Best. Graffiti. Ever.

A picture of a picture taken yesterday at the Bloor-Yonge Subway Station.


Emotional Hangovers & A Lack of Words

Processing my week with Nadine over a breakfast of chocolate cake, yogourt, and strawberries, I confessed that I had cried as I lay in bed this morning.

"An emotional hangover," she said compassionately.

Yes. That's precisely it.

As I wrote and prayed this morning, I had a flashback to two weeks ago. It was late on Saturday night. Probably one in the morning. I was in my parents' kitchen with a friend.

To be specific, I lay on the carpet, curled on my side, exhausted with sadness. She sat in a chair, looking equally drained. I had asked that we wrap up our night with prayer, and after I finished rambling and unloading and wondering and pleading, she prayed.

"Show me where to put my sadness."
She paused.
"Right. The cross."

church bench
Originally uploaded by bethaf.

So simple. So profound. So neglected.

It's been difficult for me to blog about serious subjects this month. While my life has a great deal of joy, there is a section of my heart that is broken and overwhelmed by the pain and sadness I feel on behalf of people that I care deeply for.

It's been difficult to walk through it all. I have been at a loss for words more frequently this year than I think ever before.

On a slightly lighter note, the absence of words for the things we want to express has pushed my friends to creativity. Two words that I would like to see brought into regular usage are:

gurd - adj. - a portmanteau of the words "good" and "hard," used to describe a situation or reality that is difficult but positive.
ex. Training for next month's marathon has been really gurd.

jorpis - adj. - a floating definition that describes an uncertainty of negative emotions, potentially encompassing "upset," "annoyed," "frustrated," "emotionally taxing," etc.
ex. I was completely surprised by the news that I was being downsized, and felt very jorpis for the rest of the day.

August 19, 2010

Oh So Lonely (round 8)

Nadine has been away this week, celebrating her birthday with her family. How lame is that.

Kidding. Nadine knows I want to be adopted into her family. Anyway, we crammed all these conversations into the weekend, and now I'm lonely. Is that better than being neurotic?

her: (talking to her laptop) Fred Savage, get away from your wife! I need a photo of just you. (pause) I don't normally ask people to step away from their wives.

her: So... are you changing tonight?
me: What? You mean my clothes?
her: Yeah. You don't have to...but it is the same crowd as last night.

me: If you were a fruit, what would you be?
her: An apple. Probably a Granny Smith, because they're normal, but a little...
me: Tart?
her: Yeah, tart...
her boy: I don't find you tart.
her: Maybe if you bake me in a pie.

her: I kind of peeked in your room. You weren't moving but I figured you weren't dead, so I just went about my life.

her: (cell phone rings) Oh. (disappointed) It's a boy. (pause) I did not say that out loud!

August 15, 2010

Scott Pilgrim: One Girl's Perspective

This weekend I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I liked it. Here's the promised conclusion to my thoughts.

Side notes:
  1. I am terrible at comparing books & movies...I know you're only half-allowed to, but I always go the whole way. And I always prefer the books (although I have read neither The Notebook nor Devil Wears Prada).
  2. I don't think I've ever seen a movie on opening night before. I'm not sure if it was just the type of audience, or generally an opening night audience, but I found it a bit overwhelming...there was an eagerness about the film that made me tone down my own enthusiasm - I need to get over this independent streak that refuses to share my excitement with the masses.
  3. Sneaky Dee's doesn't make the film. I think that was the biggest disappointment for me, because it seems like such a pivotal location in the books. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the Toronto smorgasbord of settings.
  4. Seeing the movie with no previous book knowledge would be a very different experience. But I think it would still be highly enjoyable, especially if you've ever played Super Nintendo, had a crush on a band, or listened to Metric. So go see it.

The Meat And Potatoes

One of the things that drew me in to reading the entire Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series is its take on dating relationships and baggage. Half of the story (the basic premise, in fact) is completely unrealistic and yet incredibly appealing: to date Ramona, Scott must defeat each of her "evil exes" in a martial-arts video-game-esque fight to the death. If only life were that simple, right?

But there are nuances. Plausible and much more complex details that mirror real life. Ramona's exes aren't all evil. Some of them think Scott's a nice guy. Some of them want to be friends with her. Some of them are still a little bitter. And some of them seem to be the "good guy" to Ramona's "bad guy" (excepting the fact that they're trying to kill Scott).

And then there's the little matter of all of Scott's exes. They keep popping up at inconvenient times, and he's got to deal with his baggage without the handy-dandy use of superpowers. What do you say to your high school sweetheart or the girl who crushed your heart or the girl whose heart you crushed? How do you make things "right"? And how do you stop making the same mistakes over and over?

Good questions all around.

I think one of the reasons that Scott Pilgrim is able to delve into all this messiness is because it contains fantastical elements elsewhere. What I mean is, we look to TV/movies/books/media for escape and a rewrite of our lives. We don't want to see something that is exactly like our own world. Some part of it needs to be exciting, different, dramatic. In most cases, the setting or world context is decidedly our own. Which means the situations and relationships are the elements that differ from reality.

It's not that unusual that we turn to an "alternate universe" for our most powerful stories. Take LOTR or BSG for starters. When the world is recreated, there's enough space that we can watch our own struggles and drama play out without the painful need to escape from a replay of our own train wrecks. Like this clip from Pushing Daisies (I forgot how much I love this show. Why did they have to cancel it so soon??).

Halfway through Scott's saga, he and Ramona have this conversation:*
I know you just play mysterious and aloof to avoid getting hurt. I know you have reasons for not answering my questions. And I don't care about any of that stuff.
Ramona, I'm in love with you... And I know that we can make this relationship work.
I like that a) they have this conversation and b) it doesn't take place at the end of the story. It's a turning point, but it's not as if one simple moment of commitment makes the rest of their relationship peaches and cream. Far from it.

The Point:
The thing I like best about Scott Pilgrim (more evident in the books than the movie) is that it's a realistic yet hopeful example of my generation walking through their baggage. And if I get a side dish of humour, music and video-game nostalgia with it, I'm not going to complain at all.

*This is the book version of the conversation. The movie version is a little different. For one, he says he's "in lesbians" with her.

August 14, 2010

Like a Petri Dish Filled With Friendship Germs

If I were an impulsive person, I would have disabled my Facebook account today. I don't know why, but I've been hit by a wave of annoyance and fatigue with its effect on my life.

I may be attributing too much power to a website, and I'm sure there are "healthy" patterns of usage and interaction by many people who are better than me.

Tonight, though, I just don't get the point.

Not that I am not anti-technology. In fact, a great part of my desire to rid myself of Facebook is that it seems redundant. I would much rather have people interact with me via Twitter, my blog, or Google Reader. And of course, good "old-fashioned" email. And if you don't care enough to connect with me on any of these levels...then we're not actually connecting. It's just a (possibly mutual) sort of stalking.

I almost wish I were more impulsive so that I had disabled Facebook and I could just shrug and say it's done and move on. But Facebook is sneaky and it's just as easy to re-enable your account as it is to disable it. So I'd probably do that in the morning and no one would even notice I'd been gone.

end rant.

August 13, 2010

Nanny Mc-B

I have a job.

Specifically, I will be the primary caregiver of 3 year-old C and 7 year-old G.

Yup, I'm taking a turn at nannying. Back in the summer of 2008, when all this life-change was just a teeny-tiny seed in a handful of conversational (and proverbial) dirt, I said to a friend, "You know, if I quit my job and decided a nanny for a couple of years, it wouldn't be such a big deal. I don't think it would be a waste."

Now it's time to put my money where my mouth was. I'm nervous. And excited. I wasn't sure if I'd really pursue this option when I first started applying for jobs, but there were a few major clinchers along the way that made me choose (yes, I ended up having a choice of jobs, and not just nannying ones) this family.

Great kid moment #1.
I show up to meet Dad and the boys a week after Mom interviewed me. It's 6:30pm on one of those hot, muggy, August evenings. Dad is kicking a soccer ball for G, and C is standing close by. He is wearing a red snowsuit. (A la Thomas' Snowsuit.)

I am introduced to everyone and then I comment, "C, you're wearing a snowsuit! Are you warm?"
"No," he answers.
Dad looks at me and shrugs, "It's his garbageman costume."

In this, my trial-run at parenting, I am drawing wisdom from a wide variety of sources. Including movies. Like these nannying movies.

This is my clean-up strategy. Mary Poppins is taking her rightful place in my Hall of Heroines. (I just made that up. But I may create just such a thing, now that I've had the idea...)

From this movie (which I have not seen), I learned to choose your employers well. I feel confident I've done so.

I have not seen this movie either. But I will. Because Colin Firth is my too-old-for-me crush. And I'm told it's a fantastic film.

And how could I forget the amazingness of Maria, the nanny/nun/singer/life-saver!??! (Julie Andrews is

August 12, 2010

Shout Outs to You Know Who

Bonus round. Nadine is not the only one who cracks me up. Other great quotes from this past week:

me: "Then we saw them holding hands, so we figured they're dating."
Amber: "Either that, or they're cousins."

(Amber specifically was thrilled at the thought of being quoted on the blog. Other friends did not express the same they're anonymous.)

friend: "Absence makes the heart grow...mouldy."

friend: "I've enjoyed having a break from any boy drama this summer. It's been nice for a change..."
friend 2: "You girls always have so much drama!!"
friend: "Yeah, although there's no action!!"
friend 2: "HA!"
friend: "I didn't mean it like that!!!!"

friend: "It was a Holy Spirit UFC match on my ass!"

Making Me Neurotic (round 7)

Nadine stepped up her game today...four of these are from the last 24 hours.
(See our history here.)

her: (to a hypothetical fertility doctor) "You can inject me with babies!"

her: "I'd Google that, but I don't know how..."

her: "Basically, I approve of you kissing people."

me: (doing a personality assessment) "Am I happy-go-lucky?"
her: "You're not happy. Or lucky. But sometimes you go places?"

me: "I'm here for a token."
her: "Of appreciation?"
me: "Uh, for the subway."

her: "I'm just here to make you neurotic."

her: "One of these weeks, I'm going to walk into the room and say I love you every day. Then you can write on your blog, 'On Monday, Nadine said, I love you. On Tuesday, Nadine said, I love you. On Wednesday, Nadine said, I love you...' Then people will know that I don't hate you."

August 10, 2010

Nothing Is Good If Other People Like It*

Twice today, I was in the car for about 15 minutes (I had to return the car to its fantastical owner tonight. I lost a vehicle, but I regained another person to hang out with). Both times I heard these three songs, which I happen to love. Apparently, sometimes I do agree with the masses.

Thank you, radio station, for making me happy.
Thank you, music, for giving me an excuse to sing and car-dance.

*tonight I watched the last half of Season 4 of The IT Crowd. I am obsessed with Roy's shirts. I always need to know what they say. This saying was on one of them. Another had a whale, and some writing. But the biggest upset of the night was a shirt with a maple leaf, the letters OMFG, and an explanation of said letters. I'm pretty sure the words were "Ontario Maple Flavours Group" - but that is still unconfirmed. And there was another line of text that I still don't know. This might keep me up tonight...Canadian content on my favourite British show!? I fell a little more in love.

August 9, 2010

He Gets An "A" For Effort

He is about my age, with longish black hair. Walking towards us on the sidewalk, he looks at me with wide, concerned eyes.

Why are you walking on this sidewalk in barefeet?”

I smile and hold up the sandals in my hand.

“My sandals broke.”

“But there are people's... around here. There's...”

“It's okay,” I shrug, “I don't have much choice. It's not so bad. And I'm trying to watch where I step.” I smile again, trying to appease his concern.

“Do you want mine?”

I look down at his sandals, then back up at him. He is earnest, still a little wide-eyed.
I chuckle.

“Thank you, but I'm okay.”

“What's your name?” he asks.

“I'm Beth,” I answer.

“I'm Devin!” my friend pipes up.

“Hi Beth. Hi Devin. I'm Paolo.” He turns back to me, “You're very pretty.”

“Ah, thank you...” I say uncertainly.

There is the briefest of pauses, his head tilted slightly to the side.

“Would you consider yourself a very spiritual person?” he asks.

“Ah, yes...yeah, I'm a pretty spiritual person.” I wonder where this is going.

“Would you like to go out for drinks with me sometime?”

Oh. That's where this is going.

“Ah, thanks, but no thank you.”

I turn to go, “Have a good day, though.”

Honestly, though. He gets an A+ for being kind, direct, and gracious when I turned him down.

August 8, 2010

Inception: The Comedy

I don't believe in spoilers, so I'm limited in the things that I can say about Inception (Unless I truly am the last person on earth to see the movie, which I know isn't true, because I beat Nadine to it. HA. First movie I've seen since in theatre since...March?).

I did like it. I was surprised by its cleanliness. There's no sex. Hardly any profanity. Violence yes, but neither overly graphic nor bloody. It stays tightly focused on the actual story. Well done, Christopher Nolan. Well done.

I understand (most of) the hype. I like the classy but unusual character names. And it totally set the stage for a sequel. Next summer, I'm betting. I also have been mulling over what I would choose as my totem.

I will now focus on the great comedic lines of the film:

1. (as they enter into dreamland, it is pouring rain in NYC)
"Couldn't you have gone pee before take-off??"

- I laughed out loud at this line, as did my birthday-friend, Heather. The rest of the rather full theatre...not so much. Was this joke too subtle?!?

2. (Albert is shooting a decently-sized-rifle out the window at some bad guys. Eames walks over.)
"Don't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." (Eames produces a grenade launcher.)

3. (Albert and Ariadne are sitting in the hotel lobby. People are staring at them.)
Ariadne: "Everyone's looking at us."
Albert: "Quick, kiss me."
(they kiss)
Ariadne: "They're still looking."
Albert: (shrugs) "It was worth a shot."

August 6, 2010

Even My Dreams Are Awkward

Scene 1:
I am sitting at the kitchen table of a new friend. She's actually quite wealthy, and as I look around, I am sure this is not her actual kitchen. I don't believe that this is how she keeps house. There are bags of vegetables on the counter, falling open into the sink. There are giant ants coming out of one of the cupboards. This doesn't seem to phase her as she makes us tea. I wonder if I should point out the ant invasion, or suggest that she put her vegetables in the fridge.

I do neither.

Scene 2:
There is a concert in my house. I'm not sure why, but does it really matter? I have an awkward encounter with a boy. At a pause in the conversation, I try steering to a safe topic: his beard. He comments that there are particular places that itch more than others. I respond that he seems to be going gray. There are a noticeable number of white hairs around his ears. As I point this out, I wonder two things: a. Why do we say "going gray" when he is, in fact, going white? and b. Why would I think its tactful to point out signs of aging in an already uncomfortable dialogue?

Scene 3:
I don't actually remember the scene at all. But this song is playing in my head when I wake up.  I have no idea the last time I heard it in my waking life.

August 5, 2010

How Hot WHAT Is? (round 6)

In case you're new; my roommate Nadine cracks me up on an almost daily basis. I've decided to post the best of the best each week.

me: Oh! My water boiled! I forgot about it...
her: For a second there, I thought you said your water broke...
me: Surprise! I'm pregnant.
her: I wouldn't even know where to start.

me: (pointing at a bruise) I walked into a door yesterday.*
her: That's what they all say...

her: Why do I have so much trouble functioning like a normal human being?

(we have had an inundation of couchsurfing requests... we also have a girl-guests only policy.)
me: Ooh, this guy wants to stay with us...He's French and he's a musician!! Can he?
her: Only if he stays in your room. (pause) I have no idea why I said that.

me: There are things that I like about myself.
her: Oh yeah, I'm a total catch!
(notice how she steals the spotlight on that one.)

her: No matter how hot it gets out today, you are not allowed to take off your tights. I don't want to see your bum on the front of the Toronto Sun saying, "This Is How Hot It Is!"

*True story. I have yet to outgrow my awkward adolescent stage.

August 3, 2010

The Goal Is Getting An Interview

I am discussing dos-and-don'ts of the cover letter with my friend Jesskah. It's an art, really, and you never know what the person on the other end wants to hear.

I dared her to submit the following cover letter to at least one job opening:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Please love me as I am. 

I have an arts degree and have attached a photocopy of the most expensive piece of paper I own. 


P.S. I have included naked photos of myself.