Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dead Man's Bones

Look, everybody! My fake boyfriend's band is serenading us into the new year.

I heart Ryan Gosling.

In The Room Where You Sleep (live video version)

Dead Man's Bones influences: Disney Haunted Mansion, doo wop and '60s girl groups. Amazing.

Put Me In the Car is my favorite Ryan song. Even though it's a little old now. Just 'cause.

Remind me to blog about other awesome actors with legitimate musical talent. Like Jason Schwartzman. And Zooey.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

My mom is napping upstairs.

My brother is napping on the couch in the living room.

His girlfriend is napping on the love seat across from him.

My dad is napping on the couch in the family room.

I am not napping. I feel like a failure.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve with Sally Ann

I went to a candlelit Christmas Eve service at the Salvation Army tonight. I half expected the uniformed woman to break out into a number from "Guys and Dolls." She didn't. She did say, however, that the screen would tell us whether to "stand, sit or whatever." I still don't know what "whatever" means. I suppose we could have somersaulted in the aisles.

The service was a lovely timeless one, filled with traditional carols, baritone solos and elderly folks in their best holiday sweaters.

In front of me sat three teenage girls, loudly pondering the mysteries of life.

"Did you know that your hand is the same size as your boob?"

I wanted to whisper, "Yes. It's also the same size as your knee. And any another body part you can grab." Oh, to have the insight of a teenager again.

I was mildly annoyed by the young whisperers until I was hit with a rather simple thought: God created 15-year-old girls. Hands and boobs included. He understands. Like, totally.

Christmas: The Musical

Merry Christmas from Orillia!

I want to be Zooey.

And sometimes Lindsay's wonderful.

You can't go wrong with Bert and Ernie. I called them Bernie and Ert this morning. 'Cause my brain doesn't work anymore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stuffing the Joy

Main Course


Ninja Santa

I stayed up until 2 last night, talking about awkward weddings and the political and social implications of burkas. And about the day my brother apparently died after being thrown from a vehicle. When really, he was at home napping. I guess you had to be there.

This is my parents' Christmas tree. Pay close attention to the ornament just below the star.

Meet Ninja Santa. He is an institution in our family. Joel made him in the fourth grade. I believe he was initially supposed look like the traditional Father Christmas. But ninjas are cooler. Everyone knows this. Therefore, he takes a more prominent position on the tree every year. The year he fails to make it into the decor will be the saddest Christmas ever.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not Today

I took this picture last weekend.

I won't lie. Today was gorgeous. And it felt like the winters I used to know. Sometimes I miss tobogganing at recess. And building snow forts with complicated floor plans. And waddling around in purple snow pants.

If you're gonna have winter, might as well go big. Or go south.

Lenny & Squiggy

"I once was the jolliest fat man...."

This is why I didn't believe in Santa. It's just one big sad story.

One of life's greatest mysteries: Who buys these DVD box sets? And of the few who do, how many turn on the subtitles? 

Bueller? Bueller?

And why is everything on YouTube? I could probably find a video of me walking to the bus stop if I searched hard enough. But ignorance is probably bliss in that case. Me being born, however....


This is the 500th post at OnHerToes! I'm not sure what that means. I'm going to pretend that it's an impressive feat. And will celebrate with a picture of sparkly shoes.

Image from The Cherry Blossom Girl. The most delightful and inspirational fashion blog. Out of Paris. Everyone should read at least one bilingual blog. 

500 posts. Whew. It actually scares me a little, as a simple Googling of my name can result in hours of getting-to-know-Nadine reading. But if I Google you, I will not be so lucky. I'm starting to believe that everyone should blog. To keep things less one-sided. Please, spill your secrets.

Oh, and I don't blog everything. In case you thought this was my entire life. It's not. At all. Sorry if that disappoints you. About 63.5% of my life doesn't make it to the blog. Maybe it will someday. Maybe not.

Looking Back

Me: I've been feeling less fearless.

Her: You mean "more fearless."

Me: No, I mean "more fearful." Wait. That's not right. Shoot. Uh, no fear. Yes. Fearless.

A couple weeks ago, I caught up with a friend. (I also caught up with two friends last night. 'Tis the season to reconnect.) It was a good chat, but because we had a lot of ground to cover, I ended up reliving moments that don't even feel like my life anymore. At one point, I felt like I was gossiping about myself. Nadine2007 was a different woman. In fact, even NadineSummer2008 and NadineWinter2008 have pretty different stories to tell.

I ended up scribbling in a journal late into the night, rehashing things best laid to rest. For me, once I open the vein, I need to just let it bleed out. If I don't sit and let that stream of consciousness make its way to the page, I'll just be preoccupied by memory's fogginess and end up sacrificing my mental health. So it's better to lose an hour of sleep.

There are a handful of people in this world with whom I will share anything. Not because I set out to bare my soul, but because I can't help it. I try to be composed and discretionary, and I end up assaulting them with heart diarrhea.

They're my truth serum.

And in looking back over 2008, I think I've learned to accept that. To take a few risks and speak from a place that isn't always safe and cozy. To not fear that someone will look at me with dagger-eyes after figuring out that I'm insecure, unsure, over-analytic, idealistic or downright insane. And if they do, at least they've made their judgment call based on something a little more real. Because regret is soooo last year.

It's been a good year, all. A very good year.


Before writing this entry, I reread my 300th post:

But there I was, treating my life as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale, wishing I could flip back a few pages to try for a more satisfying outcome.

And I laughed at myself. This "Regret" section no longer applies. My life actually did become a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale. And I chose another option. Only to discover that life is messy and fun and I think way too much. I need to invent actual chill pills. And then take them daily.

I think that's why I like blogging. I get to look back and remind myself that my life does, in fact, take twists and turns and generally move in a forward direction. It's easy to miss the adventure sometimes. I need the written word to confirm that I have a life. A lovely one.

Here's to another 500....

(I'll do a 2008 recap shortly. It will be amazing. I hope.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Weekend [In Context]

I shall now clarify some of my weekend's craziness. "Some" is the word of the day.

And hello to the lovely ladies mentioned in the following. I trust you're all literate.


I met a good friend for lunch. A random non-school, non-work, non-friend-of-the-family friend. She's doing her masters in Edmonton, so time together is rare. But it's always fun and inspiring as we fire off our crazy dreams for the future. My circle of theater friends has dwindled significantly since university, so it's great to spend time with someone actively pursuing a future in that field. Oh, and we have the same brain when it comes to the things of life and love. And adventure. She gives advice like, "Maybe you'll fall in love. Or your heart will break. Or it will just be a complete disaster. Either way, great writing material." I love that girl.

Oh, and she discovered Brooke Fraser's brilliance while living in New Zealand. Which makes her exponentially cooler than I'll ever be. I've accepted that.

Post-lunch, we wandered around downtown, Christmas shopping. And then we hugged and parted ways, planning to reunite this coming summer either in Calgary (Stampede greatness) or in Stratford (MacBeth awesomeness). Or both.

Saturday Evening

Another friend was having a birthday dinner at a local pub. A pub no one could remember the name of. Thanks to the waiter's sketchy behavior the last time she visited, we all called the joint "Perv Place." And while our service was perfectly civil this time (almost disappointing), the name will probably stick for a while. This friend is a friend from my post-grad days. She, too, is awesome. Awesome enough to invite a complete stranger to her birthday.

The stranger came. Immediately she became a friend. On a working holiday from Australia, she came looking for a traditional Canadian Christmas. So I invited her to spend Boxing Day with my family. 'Cause that's what we do. We like people. And she's pretty great people.

Oh, and we chatted about how 7th Heaven is not my life. Because we had a homeless man in our basement and his pregnant ex-prostitute girlfriend in the guest room. She had machetes. He had nunchucks. We were one big happy family. And my mom took me to jail. That was the starting point of the conversation, I believe. And oddly, people were envious of my life. Maybe I tell stories too well.


A new friend from my home church picked up me, my birthday friend and my Aussie friend (yes, we adopt people quickly). We went to church. We heard this:
You cannot buy your own happiness, but you can buy someone else's.*
*Money has been proven to improve a person's happiness in only two cases: the person is very poor or very sick. Since I am healthy and not destitute, money won't do anything for me happiness-wise, but I'm in a position to help the down-and-out. Essentially, I can buy someone's happiness. Which makes me happy.

And then we went to lunch. And drew on paper tablecloths with crayons while gabbing at light speed. As four random new friends, it didn't take long before we were planning road trips and coordinating gym schedules.

Sundays are my days for adventure. I try to steer clear of the temptation to sit at a computer and type the day away. And so I stay out of my apartment, exploring the city. This past Sunday was no exception. Three of us (one had other equally exciting plans) headed to the Science Center. For a cold blustery day, it was the perfect outing. Free passes also contributed to its perfection. Our friend from Oz got a real Canadian schoolgirl field-trip experience.

Here's where some of those odd comments from the previous post fit in:

I have an unbelievably fast karate chop: 71 km/hr.

In the sports area, you can measure the speed of your karate chop. And so I did. I saw a cushion and hit it as quickly as I could, not sure how the whole sensor thing worked. My first chop was the fastest,** intimidating the little boy behind me who couldn't come close. Don't feel sorry for him. He whipped my butt in a rowing race. My rower was broken and said I was moving at 0 km/hr.

**The screen actually told me it was "unbelievably fast." In this case, I will not argue with technology.

Hugh Jackman is a better person than I am.

The three of us tried to do a personality assessment together. It said to pick a person you know and then answer a list of questions about their personality. Well, the three of us know Hugh. Besides, Australia was the theme of the weekend. We were kind to Hugh and gave him the benefit of the doubt, assuming he's the loveliest man on the planet. We didn't realize that we were then to answer the same questions about ourselves. It was supposed to reveal how we judge others and/or compare others to ourselves. We were a little more realistic about our own shortcomings. We were too lazy to actually read the whole explanation as to why we made him look better than us; we just accepted that neither of us three women in the Science Centre on a Sunday afternoon will never be the Sexiest Man Alive.*** Ever.

***This isn't my personal option. This is fact. According to that beacon of journalism, People Magazine, Hugh trumps all. He's even sexier than [gasp] Batman.

Flirting calms me down.

File this one under: Most ridiculous test ever.

I put my hand on a screen. It took my skin's temperature. It was colder than the test was prepared for. As per usual. I'm the ice queen. Then I held a handlebar and let it measure my heart rate. Next, I chose someone to flirt with. Seriously. My options were, A, a generic decent-looking young man, and, B, a generic decent-looking young woman. Shockingly, I picked the man. Not really my type, but more so than the alternative. There was no sound, so I had to read his pick-up line on the screen. I then chose a flirtatious line to spew back at him. And he reciprocated with something horribly unsexy. I was so bored during our digital exchange that I started skimming through his words and selecting responses without even thinking. The end of the test didn't come soon enough. When it was finally over, the computer took my skin temperature and heart rate again. I was still cold. My heart rate had DECREASED. Apparently this means that flirting calms me down. I like to think it means that I will never date a computer.

Early evening, we hopped on a bus and returned to our separate worlds.

Whew. I did some other stuff too. But my fingers are tired. So the typing

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Only Wish

I'm going to expand on my cryptic weekend adventures soon. But in the meantime, here's my favorite Britney Spears song. Because it's Christmas.

If her new album sounded like this, I would own it. Multiple copies, even. Maybe.

To fully appreciate this, imagine a 19-year-old, 6-foot-something undergrad. He is standing on a couch. And doing a choreographed dance routine. To Britney Spears. Now imagine a broken couch.

My life is fascinating. Always.

There's no video, just audio. Consider it a Christmas blessing.

Okay, I'm off to eat sugar. Sugar that looks like this [see image at left].

Everyone needs a signature treat. I have two. And this is one of them. I have made many a friend with these.

Seriously, my social life is accelerating at a rather ridiculous pace. If it slows down a little, I'll tell you all about it.

P.S. I miss sleep.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Weekend [Out of Context]

I'll expand later. Maybe.
  • I want to spend a summer at the Artists' Colony in Banff. Or just head west for the Stampede. I'm a repressed cowgirl.
  • I need to meet the newest member of the theatre company that does not yet exist.
  • If I had to be stuck on a supernatural island with someone, I would pick Desmond. Everyone else would pick Sayid.
  • Chilean wine does not make your hands turn blue. Unwashed denim does.
  • Inviting a stranger you meet on the street to come to a birthday dinner is brilliant.
  • Even more brilliant? She shows up and becomes a friend.
  • I have an unbelievably fast karate chop. 71 km/hr.
  • Hugh Jackman is a better person than I am.
  • I like kids. Even kids who scream in dark tunnels.
  • According to science, flirting calms me down.
  • Islands do move.
  • My childhood was not like 7th Heaven. The cops found weapons in my house.
  • I think I have plans for March 2010. In Adelaide, Australia.
  • I need more road trips in my life. Step one: Make friends with awesome person with car. Check.
  • 2009 is the year of my first 5k. Promise.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Storybook Life

Yes, I own the screenplays to Notting Hill and Hamlet. Because I think movies should be read. And I own the ProBlogger book. Because I'm borderline pro.

Paint is amazing, by the way. Now I'm going to have to find something Macbook-compatible. Wasting time is underrated.

If you're bored and/or new to this blog, I wrote about the day I purchased the blogging book of greatness. Archives rock.

O Christmas Tree

The small tree. The one in my bedroom. I have two. This one cost $2. The $4 tree is in the living room. I'm a big spender. I stop using overhead lighting in December. Twinkle lights are the new sunshine.

My Kid-Friendly Living Room

I don't usually adorn my cozy apartment with stuffed animals. But somehow I've acquired quite the holiday collection....

I met a Kerby once.
He had long hair and drove a purple car.
And was old.
He married someone else.
This one loves me. And has since I was a toddler.

Peace on Earth.
An Earth that remembers the USSR.

Because I Don't Pick Favorites

This is a follow-up post to this one

Check out this commercial at 0:35. The doll with the hat.

Her name is Cynthia.*

And that magic heart? It took a lot more than a warm fingerprint. You had to rub it and breathe on it for a good minute. But it was worth it.

I'll grow up tomorrow. Pinky swear.

*Official name: So Innocent Cynthia. She has fans.

Notice how these commercials are a minute long? Kids used to have attention spans. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kissing is Dangerous. And Other Tales.

Kiss of Deaf

(This was already discussed at work. So if you work with me, this may seem repetitive. And, yes, you deserve all the credit for the link, Kathleen.)

I used to call my mom's best friend Aunt Mom's-Best-Friend. Okay, so she had a real name that followed "aunt," but this blog is about me, not her. Anywho, Aunt MBF is married to Uncle MBFH (Mom's-Best-Friend's-Husband), a man she didn't marry until she was in her 40s. So clearly he was amazing. And worth the wait.

Uncle MBFH has a way with kids. He asks the right questions, engaging you as if he's genuinely interested in your life. But he also knows how to embarrass you. With two carefully chosen words.

I showed up for dinner one year with curly hair (I told you I wanted to be Amy Grant). His response?

"You know what causes curly hair, right?"

"Uh, no." (Thinking: Perm solution.)

"Excessive kissing."

I turn bright red. As per usual.

This is his explanation for everything. If you do well in school, dye your hair, break a limb, exhibit some sort of quirky behavior, it's a consequence of excessive kissing. It's a foolproof way to make a kid/teenager/me squirm. Because you really don't want your parents' friends speculating about such things. Whether the accusation is true or so far from reality (the wise assumption in my case), it doesn't matter. It's just plain awkward. And hilarious.

Well, excessive kissing was in the news this week. Apparently you have to worry about more than your hair going curly.

A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.

The 20-something from Zhuhai in Guangdong province arrived at hospital having completely lost the hearing in her left ear, said local reports.

The incident prompted a series of articles in the local media warning of the dangers of excessive kissing.

"While kissing is normally very safe, doctors advise people to proceed with caution," wrote the China Daily.


Um, not to judge (okay, I'm totally judging), but I don't think it was the excessiveness. I think it was his technique. Maybe he should pull a Judy Blume and practice on his pillow.

P.S. She'll regain total hearing in a couple of months. And then she'll become a nun.


A 9-year-old is hanging out on the playground. He notices that his friends are having trouble with the ladies. So he writes a 46-page pamphlet entitled "Girls" filled with relationship advice and sells it at his school's book fair.

He gets a book deal. And then sells the movie rights.

I kid you not. [Insert envy here.]

  • Comb your hair and don't wear sweat pants.
  • Control your hyperness (cut down on sugar if necessary).
  • A crush is like a love disease that can drive you mad.
  • It is easy to spot pretty girls because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry, but they are like cars that need a lot of oil.
Read this excerpt. You will laugh. And identify. 'Cause you were 9 once.

Adorable. I just hope he doesn't grow up to be an annoying know-it-all. Of course, I read Life On the Edge when I was 11, making decisions about what I wanted in a husband before cooties were completely eradicated from my peer group. I'm pretty sure sweat pants and sugar consumption were not deal-breakers. But I was 11, not 9. Going on 45. And was probably a bit of a self-appointed know-it-all too.

Playing For Change

This song gave me chills today. Happy chills. Musicians from all over the world layered their parts to a traveling recording of "Stand By Me." 

I'm having a Miss America moment. World peace is where it's at.

Watch until the end. It gets pretty crazy/beautiful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

YouTube Tuesday: Ghosts of Christmases Past

Just to warn you, this isn't a nod to the classics in the Bing sense of classic. This is my childhood. The '80s. I dare you to handle it. And no, I'm not posting any sort of Charlie Brown greatness. Too easy.

There is a '90s video at the end. A video that's pretty gosh darn neat. There, I've dangled a carrot. May the YouTube Party begin....

Amy Grant

Just as Whitney will always love you (and Kevin Costner), so will I always love Amy. That hair. That sweater. The way it perfectly matches those amazing pants. She's timeless.

Plus, she has friends like Art Garkunfel. And Art reads books. A lot of them. He's indexed every book he's read in the last 40 years. Be intimidated.

And if you want to watch the entire Amy special, just ask. The VHS is sitting on the shelf behind me. There's a 0% chance I'm kidding.


Not her signature "Come On Rings Those Bells," but equally nostalgic. This was what my childhood sounded like, folks. Although I don't remember Dutch subtitles.

And yes, I'm very aware that Boney M. monopolizes this song. Whatev.*

*ALERT: That was the first time I've ever typed "whatev." I don't think I like it.

Jon Anderson

I don't remember the intro, but the rest I do. That voice. That arrangement. No one else should ever sing this song. And I should have asked for a synthesizer for Christmas.

Um, Dad, it was Jon Anderson you used to play in the old gray car, right? Or am I just completely insane, adopting someone else's nostalgia as my own?

Nostalgic Honorable Mention: Michael W. Smith

Yes, I get my '80s piano noodling* style from this man. Blame Smitty for my awesomeness. I believe we have the same vocal range too.

This is just an audio file. But a good one. If you can't handle staring at a non-video video, dance around the room or something. I won't tell.

*noodle is in the dictionary as a verb. I love that. And yes, I used it correctly. I love it when the English language follows my lead.

Muppets. Singing about Michael Caine.

"Even the vegetables don't like him."

If you've made it this far, I applaud you. And reward you. It isn't Christmas without Michael Caine and singing puppets. I have this song on my iPod. Because it's amazing. And because I have a crush on Rizzo the Rat.

Gonzo = Christmas cheer.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Love Is Magic

"My Magic Nursery Baby is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen."
I only had three significant baby dolls growing up. Which was a perfectly manageable number for a very organized fake mother such as myself. I wrote lists upon lists of detailed stats about my dolls, I created daily schedules, I designed report cards for them. In fact, I wrote test questions for them, I took the tests on their behalf, and then I scrawled big red X's where I intentionally got questions wrong. It wouldn't be right to expect my children to be perfect.

I knew what each wanted for lunch. How long an appropriate nap should be. I buckled them into the stroller and took them to the park, hoping people would mistake my fictional family for a real one.

I remember desperately wanting a Magic Nursery Baby. It was a planned non-pregnancy, if you will. I didn't want just any doll. I wanted that one. So my parents, being the psychics that they are, put her under the Christmas tree. And made their little girl an extremely happy one.

I knew she was a girl from the very beginning. Because even though the "love is magic" trick is supposed to reveal the sex, the super-smart kids knew that if there was a tuft of hair sticking out from the gender-neutral bonnet, the doll was female. All boys are bald. It's common knowledge.

I named her Julia. She was quite good at math.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

It's heartbreak and hope messily wrapped up in one hauntingly beautiful cinematic gem.

Go see it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Nadine of Avonlea

There was a Road to Avonlea Christmas special on TV tonight. I didn't watch it. I did, however, experience a strange almost deja-vu familiarity in the few minutes I did catch before opting, instead, to spend an evening away from screens.

(Of course, sleep did not come, so here I am, typing away....)

Once upon a time, my Sunday evenings were dedicated to The Wonderful World of Disney and Road to Avonlea. But there's an even stronger bond than mere rerun nostalgia. And the more I think about it, the more I'm aware of how closely tied I am to Canadian television at its best.

Who needs Kevin Bacon and his Six Degrees of Separation? I'm, like, one and two degrees away from EVERYONE on this show.

White Sands Hotel

First of all, when I was 10, I saw the White Sands Hotel. In person. If hotels can be people. It was from a distance. And while I actually toured Green Gables, there was something quite magical about seeing the hotel (called Dalvay by the Sea in the real world), slightly inaccessible and completely gorgeous. I made a mental note to enter its doors one day. If anyone wants to road-trip it out east, let me know.

Aunt Olivia

My dad went to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with her in high school. I'm glad she didn't end up being my mom. Weird thought of the day.

Aunt Janet

My friend partied with her only mere months ago. I kid you not. She still rocks the Canadian stage. And mingles with brilliant young art directors whom I happen to adore.

Felix King

Another friend is good friends with him. Yes, we've sipped coffee and discussed Felix King ad nauseam. Just because.

Sara Stanley

I met Sarah Polley. Actually, I wrote her interview for the TV show Distinguished Artists. She is super-talented and tiny. And likes zombie movies. And is deserving of far greater interviews.

Gus Pike

The best feedback from a prof I've ever received was a stern warning to never date the actor who played Gus Pike. I believe the term "ladykiller" was used. She didn't want me to be one of his disposable girlfriends.

For the record, there was no actual opportunity to date said playboy. Her warning was just the most hilarious aside in an email critiquing a scene I wrote for playwriting class. Clearly, she was not a fan. Of him. She adored me. Naturally.

(He's also 19 years older than me. Shocking, I know. Gus is now 44.)

Anne Shirley

Okay, so Megan Follows wasn't on Avonlea per se, but she got the ball rolling with Anne. Did you see her on The Border a couple weeks ago? She's still brilliant and beautiful. I still don't know how I feel about the show (The Border, not Avonlea. Just to clarify), seeing as I once used the bathroom of one of the show's lead actors. Weirdness. I mean, how can I be all swoony over his rugged rogue-copness after drinking juice on his couch?

(Also, who needs Gus Pike when there's Gilbert Blythe?)

Ryan Gosling

I saved the best for last. Yes, he starred in one episode. And was even nominated for some best-child's-performance award for it. We were meant to be, I tell you. Road to Avonlea AND Breaker High? No wonder he ended up an Oscar contender.

(He's on the far left.)

PEI is underrated. Let's go, folks.

Just Call Me Lucy

'Tis the season for happy movies that make me cry. Yes, I cry over Sandra Bullock. Only at Christmas. Because we're the same person. Except for the no-family-and-falling-for-a-guy-in-a-coma part. Nor do I own a cat. But I do tend to dress like her on Saturdays. (See photo below.)

I'd say that she gets under your skin as soon as you meet her. She drives you so nuts you don't know whether to hug her or, or just really arm wrestle her. She would go all the way to Europe just to get a stamp in her passport. I don't know if that amounts to insanity, or just being really, really... likable.

~Jack, While You Were Sleeping
I have a stamp-less passport. Sigh.


Eavesdropping provides the best writing material. That's why I love the blog Overheard in New York. People say the most hilarious/revealing/heartbreaking things when they don't know that others are listening in. I occasionally pretend I'm Harriot the Spy, scribbling down the crazy conversations I overhear on the subway. Because you just can't make that stuff up.

This one made me laugh. Out loud. And then it made me cringe.

Hipster girl: Why is the sky blue?
Boy: I don't know. Let's never kiss again.

Sometimes we don't get the answers we want, girls.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My Most Fascinating People

This evening, Barbara Walters unveils her "Most Fascinating People" on prime-time television. Nine of the ten names have already been released. Just for me to scoff at, naturally. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against these people as people. Just as fascinating people. So I've rewritten her list. Just a little.

I decided not to go crazy and start listing foreigners or scientists or anyone with a name that's hard to pronounce. I wanted to keep the list as appealing to the MiniVan Majority* as possible. I just wanted to prove that it could still be slightly relevant even when adjusted to satisfy the lowest common denominator.

It is for this reason that Usain Bolt is not on the list. I wanted him there, but knew that the Americans were too focused on swimming this summer to notice him.

Nadine's Most Fascinating People
(When Channeling Barbara Walters)

Maybe I'll come up with a real list later. One I completely believe in.

It's expected that her #1 will be Barack Obama. I won't argue here. Fascinating, sure. For this year, anyway.

Others I'll leave on the list:

Palin, love her or hate her, was fascinating. No doubt about it. Fey, my career crush, was just a superstar in every possible way. And Phelps was everyone's fake boyfriend for the summer. I still want to bottle his scream of elation. So safe choices, but totally acceptable.

The swaps:

Rush Limbaugh? Really? I'd say the greatest political commentary of the year came from the Indecision '08 team. Hands down. I'd vote for Stewart/Colbert.

The pregnant man? I swear Walters is just the old white version of Oprah. Call my cynical and cold, but I don't consider a man who was born with a uterus to be super-compelling. Show me a family raising twins and sextuplets, and I'm riveted. Both had artifical insemination. But it's Jon & Kate Plus 8 who I'd want to spend Thanksgiving dinner with.

Um, Frank Langella? Barbara is jumping the gun, assuming that he's finally going to get some sort of Oscar recognition for his work in the yet-to-be-released Frost/Nixon. I'd say the Oscar story should go to Heath Ledger. Performance of the year and tragedy of the year rolled into one.

Miley Cyrus is not fascinating. She's rich. And inexplicably popular. But if you're going to feature someone representing the teenybopper set, go with the High School Musical 3 clan for their record-breaking year. Or the Jonas Brothers who just scored a Grammy nod. Or even better, pick Robert Pattinson, the Twilight star who immediately rose to ridiculous fame in recent months. And yes, he's from the UK. But American-girl friendly.

Tom Cruise? Will Smith? I quit life.

Tom is crazy. Crazy isn't fascinating, it's crazy. Suri, however, has rather phemonenal style for a toddler and would better represent the Cruise family on this list. If not her, why not John Hamm? He's the star of the hour and every bit deserving of any sort of recognition he can get. And instead of Smith, who makes a lot of money by starring in July movies (Look at the big explosion! Watch him run really fast!), what about Robert Downey Jr.? He had the comeback of the year, starring in one of the best movies of the year, and didn't once mention Scientology or market his offspring. Gold stars for Tony Stark.

Okay, I'm done now.

Just to keep things interactive (what a novel idea), who would you have on the list?

*I stole the term "MiniVan Majority" from Lainey. Stealing is the new original.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Night Without Eric Hutchinson

Remember this post? Well, I was right. I totally fell for the quirky Eric Hutchinson. He's my fake musician boyfriend of the month. Which is why it's completely tragic that I'm typing this. See, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, he's playing in Toronto. And I'm in Toronto. And we are not together. Sigh.

Matt Hires is opening. Yes, this guy. The endearing singer/songwriter from the Brooke Fraser concert. We're practically BFFs.

Of course, this isn't quite as sad as last month's Sam Roberts situation. Sam played in my neighborhood. Four times in one week. Walking distance from my house. I did not go. It's one of those regrets that will haunt me on my deathbed, I'm sure.

I need some sort of lack-of-concert intervention. Quick, someone take me to Bono!

While I sulk, watch this. It's proof that Hutchinson can perform live. (Yeah, he's a keyboard and guitar guy. Of course he is.) He can also play brilliantly from my iPod. Which is as close as we get these days.

Best lyric:

Ridin' the subway with the scent of her hair
She took out a toothbrush, started usin' it there
She explained, "I'm always sure today's the day I will die
I wanna look good if I get to look God in the eye."

Yeah, I've been on a wordplay kick. Be witty with cute rhyming schemes, boys. Like Jason Mraz.

Anatomy 101

I pretty much love this. It would have come in handy during my years as a disinterested high-school biology student. Although I really loved cutting open those rats. And pretending to string their intestines around my neck like jewelry. Don't judge.

(Check out the anatomy of a Gummi bear.)

On a semi-related note, I used LEGO men in a science-fair project once and someone stole all their hair. Seriously. Someone walked around the gym, checking out the displays, pocketing plastic hair.

I wasn't trying to make the point that polluted water contributed to baldness, but it certainly ended up looking that way.

Sheesh. Some people's kids.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Britney, I'm Sorry

I don't post about Britney Spears very often. We don't have much in common.

I'll never forget watching the video to "...Baby One More Time" for the first time. It was so new. So fresh. So darn catchy. And while I soon overdosed on peppy pop and moved on to acoustic guitars and a man known as Bono, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the schoolgirl with fuzzy scrunchies in her pigtails. It's been ten years. I feel old.

Last night, I inadvertently got sucked into the completely unrevealing quasi-doc "Britney: For the Record." As she quote-unquote opened up for the interviewers and gave us a peak into her personal world, I felt uneasy. It was so orchestrated. So out of her hands. This was a management move. She doesn't have her kids, control of her estate, or even the privilege of going on a date without a chaperone. She went along with the game, smiling as she gave the responsible, grownup answers. She's back in fine form. She's tough. She will survive.

And then she broke. For only a second or two. Her voice wavered. She looked into a lens and cried for help.

"I'm sad."

I almost cried for Britney Spears last night.

Bebo Norman, always reading my mind, wrote her a song.* It's gorgeous and haunting and optimistic and completely uncomfortable to listen to.

I've called a stranger a trainwreck. I've rolled my eyes at a broken heart. I've both told the lies and bought into them. And perhaps I've failed her.

Britney, I'm sorry.

*The video IS NOT an official video. A fan used his song to make their own tribute to Spears. See him play it live here.

 I want to be Bebo Norman when I grow up. And when I learn to play the guitar.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adventures in Awkward Fiction

I attempted to write fiction yesterday. "Attempted" is the key word in the previous sentence. The opening went something like this:

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

...a dead chicken.

Yes, that's where my head went. And no, it wasn't autobiographical. But thanks for asking. Surprisingly, numerous pages of awkwardness followed such a poetic introduction.

An epic novel in the making, I tell you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Geek Chic

I've been thinking about new glasses. And I'm inexplicably drawn the geekiness of Leanne Marshall's* clunky pair. And her bangs. I think I want bangs. Again, I'm not sure why.

A recent trip to the optical store had a friend and I concluding that I can, in fact, pull off grandpa frames. Which is appropriate, as I've recently been craving a wardrobe of cardigans, leather satchels, plaid shirts and boots.

I'm not sure if I want to look like a nerd, an old man, or a hipster.

*For those not in the know, Leanne's the latest winner of Project Runway. Maybe I really just want to be able to make gowns out of old tires....

A Real Apple Pie

pastry + 45-watt carbon-dioxide laser = genius

I am currently craving edible technology.
Apple apple pie from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Friday, November 28, 2008

Table for One

When you live alone, you end up eating strange combinations of food. Mostly because no one expects your meals to look appetizing. Or to make sense. This usually suits me just fine, but sometimes being the sole consumer of refrigerator contents becomes a burden. Especially when I impulse-shop at the grocery store and end up with enough produce to feed a family of 8. A family of 8 that really loves vegetables. 

So after a week of edible-plant-stuffed whole-wheat pitas (accessorized with alfalfa sprouts), I was at a loss as to how I was going to eat the rest of my perishables before their short lives came to an end. I do not let food go bad. That's my rule for living.

Folks, I should have my own cooking show. Tonight, I sauteed mushrooms with broccoli sprouts, wilted some arugula, then poured two beaten eggs (seasoned with chili powder and black pepper) over the greens. I grated some old cheddar, blessed my veggie concoction with cheesy goodness, and ate like a queen.

So good. Ugly, but good.

And the vegetation-overload situation is now under control. I won't have to eat arugula for breakfast out of about-to-wilt guilt.

*I don't particularly like the peppery bitterness of arugula. Or the texture of broccoli sprouts. But they're healthy. And apparently much more appetizing when cooked and covered in full-fat dairy products. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Australia: No Wrinkles In Time

I have a problem. (Okay, I have many problems. But I can only write about one at a time.) I want to see Australia. Both the actual country and the movie of the same name. I've heard that even the most expensive movie tickets are significantly cheaper than a one-way ticket to Oz, so I think I'll start with Baz Luhrmann and see where I go from there. I'm well aware that some critics are calling the film a sweeping epic, others are calling it a belaboured clunker, and a select few have written it off as strictly painful. And I'm okay with that. I have a high pain tolerance. I just want to check out the panoramic views, period costumes and the wombats. Please let there be wombats.

Here's the problem: I'm afraid that during the film's most intense moments, those brief slivers of excruciating human experience that should rattle me, I won't be able to look Nicole Kidman in the eye. Instead, I'll be distracted, staring at the thinly stretched skin just above her eyebrows. See, I'm obsessed with her forehead.

I happen to find Kidman's Hitchcockian beauty stunning. In theory. But when the cool blondes who came before her (think Grace Kelly) laughed, they threw their heads back slightly and lifted their eyebrows in delight. Foreheads moved. Faces had signs of life. Nicole's face has signs of injectable toxins.

Nicole used to have life in her face. (Watch Dead Calm if you must. Or just take my word for it.) Now she's a vacant porcelain doll that blankly stares at you, tears welling up out of nowhere, without the slightest squint or nose wrinkle, completely unconvincing as a woman who's lived a hard life. Or as a woman who's ever seen the sun. Or as a woman who's ever been in love. From what I know of the opposite sex, men like faces that move. Even if just enough to laugh at their almost-funny jokes.

So the question remains: How do I reconcile my love of Baz Luhrmann and my discomfort with Mrs. Keith Urban's visage? (And how on earth did she nab Urban? Someone, tell me. Oh, how I love his hair. And guitar. Not in that order.) And how do I get past the fact that Wolverine is riding through the outback on horseback?

Aside: How did People Magazine determine that Hugh Jackman is the sexiest man alive? Last time I checked, there were A LOT of men alive. A lot.

This promotional shot is pure perfection. That landscape. That rugged Australian hero. His hand tugging at her hairline, trying to force some expression into the face of the woman he loves. Marvelling at her tight pale skin, her deer-in-the-headlights gaze that tries so desperately to return his affections. Moments after this shot, he whispers tenderly in her ear, "Furrow your brow. Just for me, darling."

Ah, cinematic romance at its best.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YouTube Tuesday: Hugh Grant

There is no rhyme or reason. So don't expect one. It's Tuesday. And I like Hugh Grant, both with floppy hair and without.

Let's begin with something inspirational. Seriously, folks, About a Boy is probably the best film about redemption that stars Hugh Grant ever.

(In Vancouver, we did karaoke to this song. The on-screen lyrics were "Strumming my face with his finger." If anyone ever strums my face, he will be asked to leave.)

Because dancing is awesome. Especially when you think no one is watching.

And I heart the '80s. Especially the fake '80s.

Okay, that's it for me. I'm off to bed.

P.S. If you rent Music and Lyrics, turn on the English subtitles. And know that those commas were typed with love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Silly Songs with Family

I have some wonderful cousins (Hello, if you're reading this!) who sang this song quite heartily over dinner yesterday, despite not knowing the lyrics nearly as well as they thought. (I can't believe you forgot the "And I've come to step on your chickens" part!)

This is for them.

Best Christmas song involving a bank robber, a viking and the IRS ever.

(Dad, your comment in the last post also inspired this. My family has an animated-vegetables problem.)

Adventures in Photo Booth

Today I discovered Photo Booth, aka TimeWaster Version 1.0.
I did not, however, discover a hair brush.

Annand Christmas [Pt. 3]

When I was little, all the first cousins were herded into some sort of close grouping, youngest ones piled on the laps of the older, for photographic immortalization. We'd giggle and whine and fidget. Rarely would we all look at the camera at the same time. But photos were taken, often to be plastered on Grandma's fridge for years to come.

But there's a generation of first cousins that came before us. And their last group photo was taken some 25 years ago. That is, until yesterday. All of them came. One from the States. One from PEI. From them came 23 children, most of whom were also there, amused at the effort involved in getting adults to stand still for a moment. Because cousins are cousins, no matter the age.

Behold, the originals.

This is me in thirty years.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Annand Christmas [Pt. 2]

I really like food. Especially at Christmas.

Which means that I was born into the right family.

There are no photos of dessert.
Because both my hands were full.
But it was good. Trust me.

Annand Christmas [Pt. 1]

Me: I only blog the good things about our family. I don't write about the times Joel threatens to kill me.
Joel: And how often is that?
Me: All the time.
I was temporarily concerned today about the way I represent my family on this blog. We're by no means perfect. Or consistently hilarious. So, just for the record, we do occasionally throw things at each other. And pick each other up by the elbows. And sing songs we don't know the lyrics for. And berate each other for not being quite gluttonous enough. And lose toy guns. And cheat at basketball. And pout over the absence of Christmas carols. And serve peanut butter in no-peanut zones. And try to re-create photos taken 25 years ago. And talk loudly in layers of unfollowable conversation.

And sometimes we try to style hair.


Yes, that is a ball of tissue paper he's holding. Let the war begin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Christmas and a Funeral

This is my first blog post from the MacBook. I'm typing by the glow of twinkle lights and the glorious backlit keys my brother convinced me to splurge on. Thank you, Joel.

Christmas treats are cooling in the fridge. Bing Crosby is serenading me with seasonal nostalgia. Two small trees illuminate my small apartment.

Tomorrow is Christmas for my extended family.

Monday is a funeral.

I've always loved Christmas. Any hint of city girl in me vanishes at this time of year, and I revert to the traditional small-town girl with a love of gingerbread, fireplaces and carols. I watch George Bailey want to live again. And then I watch him again, just to make sure he's okay. He usually is.

When I was young, the extended family on my mother's side (the same group that meets tomorrow) would gather in a church basement and exchange gifts. This was before our numbers grew to a more outrageous number and we had to scale back on the gift-giving.  And one year, Santa showed up. Unexpectedly. To this day, it is the only time in my short life I can recall meeting the jolly old fellow. Or at least meeting one who brought gifts specifically for me. Who called me by name without prompting.

Not for a minute of my childhood did I believe in Santa. Yet the surprise visit was still magical. Sure, his chuckle was remarkably identical to that of my Uncle Jack's, but I didn't care. Sometimes childhood delight trumps all.

Last night, my dear Santa died.

Tomorrow, as we gather to feast, there will be two empty chairs at the table. Two laughs not heard. Two hugs desperately missed. My grandma will not be there. We were already anticipating the sadness of our first Christmas without her.  But neither will her sister's husband. And in our holiday joy, we will grieve.

Since saying goodbye to my grandmother, my life has changed. There is no fear. When you look death in the eye, you can't help but anticipate something greater. So when I shed tears on Monday, they will be for my lovely great aunt. For those left behind. And for the memory of Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas, all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You've Got Mail

I took a mail day today. This is similar to the common sick day, however no illness is involved. It is a day in which you stay at home and wait for the mailman. I even did this honestly, calling my workplace late last night and explaining my FedEx dilemma, having already missed the first delivery attempt of the piece of technology that would forever change my life. Oddly, my anguish was understood. And so I spent the majority of my day in my tiny abode, awaiting my Knight in Vehicular Armor.

The doorbell doesn't work at my place. I've lived here for over three years and have only heard it ring once. And when it did, I just stared at the door in amazement, ignoring the poor soul who actually wanted to come in. Because of the lack of chime, people must knock. FedEx men, charming as they are, have not figured this out.

I was typing away by the front window, the blinds up so that I could see strangers coming and going, when I noticed a man with a package stepping off the front porch. I must have been so caught up in the Tuscan-inspired resort wedding I was describing (I'm running out of inspiring nuptial adjectives, folks) that I didn't hear the doorbell that DOESN'T WORK. And there was no knock. He just walked away.

I have no pride when it comes to mailmen. In Vancouver, when the long-awaited Purolator man returned my camera to me, I greeted him in a rather scandalous tank top with wet hair dripping down my back, a hoodie half on (only because I was trying to dress as I ran for the door). So the fact that I was in old slippers and baggy sweatpants did not deter me from running out my door and across the front yard to fetch him. (Yes, I just used the word "fetch." But not in a Mean Girls way. Or in a "You look rather fetching this evening" sort of way either. But I digress.) I was that crazy woman waving her arms and shouting, the one you probably intentionally don't look in the eye when you meet her on the street. The one with the fashion sense of a toddler, the grace and poise of a fourth-grade boy in dance class, and the speech patterns of Tarzan.

But he stopped. He turned. He didn't even ask me my name. He just handed me my future in a box. I thanked him profusely, signed his high-tech thingamabob/freeze ray, and waved goodbye to my hero of the day.

Fast-forward a few hours.

The MacBook sits on my table, partially opened. While it whispers to me, I ignore it. Because as much as I want to play with it, I must resist the temptation to spend the rest of my evening (and into the wee hours of the morning) with a piece of aluminum when I must first fire off invoices created on a clunky PC that deserves a noble retirement. Oddly, now that the laptop's here, the eagerness has settled into simple comfort. There is no rush. We have forever to get to know one another.

Hmm. Maybe this is what it's like to be a boy. To be excited by the chase. To be more concerned with the acquisition than with the relationship. To profess love for something not there, and then to back off a little once it's sitting in the kitchen. Not that girls sit in kitchens.... Oh, wait. No. Never mind. I take back the entire analogy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jane Austen

"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them - by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."
~Mr. Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Andrews

Andrew Shue and Andrew Keegan are the same person, separated by one generation in the world of heartthrobs.
  • They are both Andrew.
  • They both have that hair.
  • They both exude that vacant-behind-the-eyes broodiness that only blond costars love.
  • They both subscribe to the school of cardboard acting. (I was going to call it "wooden," but that's not fair to Keanu, master of such stiffness.)
It all comes down to Melrose Place vs. 7th Heaven.

To be fair, Shue went on to play soccer professionally. Very cool.
And Keegan modeled socks in 10 Things I Hate About You: "So I've got the Sears catalog thing going. And the tube sock gig. That is gonna be huge."

Too close to call, folks. I love to hate 'em both.