Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favourite Albums of 2011

This is different than last year's list. These are my ten favourite albums of the year. They didn't necessarily come out this year.

10. Pink Friday - Nicki Minaj (2010)
     I really like this album, but I didn't get too into it until this year. Not sure why. No, it wasn't the "Super Bass" phenom, I liked it before that. But for my birthday this year my friend did do an ironic cover of "Super Bass" for me, which cemented Minaj's spot on my albums of the year. Check out this song.

9. Codes and Keys - Deathcab for Cutie (2011)
This album came out right after we saw them at Sasquatch so I was kind of determined to love it no matter what. And I actually really enjoy the album. "Stay Young, Go Dancing" was my summer 2011 slow jam. I think they did a good job of still sounding like themselves but not just repeating the same old boring stuff. And it was cool finally seeing them live. Check out the song I already mentioned. The video is lame.

8. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West (2010)
Great album. It came out at the end of last year so I didn't really get into it until this year, but I really like it. There's not a single song on here that I skip. I put this on in lieu of Watch the Throne because I only wanted to do 10, but I really like WTT, too. I did a mashup of Runaway this year. Also, when we were at Sasquatch, people kept singing "Can we get much higher?" and then a bunch of other people would respond "So highhhh" and it was really funny. Check out the whole album but I guess especially check out this song.

7. The Soft Bulletin - The Flaming Lips (1999)
They were the main reason we went to Sasquatch. We wanted to go before but once they were on the line-up it was a done deal. This was also the year I got my tattoo, and this was the album they were performing at Saskquatch, so this album was kind of the soundtrack to my year, even though it's super old.
Check out the whole darn thing. No links.

6. Teen Dream - Beach House (2010)
I didn't get into this until this year because we saw them at Sasquatch this year and it was awesome. I think the first time I heard this record was actually at a friend's birthday party, when we listened to it on vinyl, before Sasquatch. It's a beautiful album, and when I worked downtown in the summer I would always listen to it on my breaks while I walked around the park. Listen to this song and fall in love.

5. Gorilla Manor - Local Natives (2009)
Again, got into it because of Sasquatch. I downloaded the album because I knew they were gonna be there and the first time I listened to it was on the drive to Alberta over Easter to see my grandma for the last time. "World News" was my first jam off this album, but closer to the end of the summer and the beginning of internship, "Who Knows Who Cares" became really significant for me. Also, I met these guys! They were doing a signing and we got them to sign a CD and poster and chatted with them and they were all really nice and had excellent mustaches. One thing my boyfriend said about this band that I think it kind of unique is that every single member is totally talented. Like, if any one of them started their own band it would still be a pretty good band. but they are all in a band together and it is just excellent. Check out this song.

4. Brothers - The Black Keys (2010)
    Got into it this year, it's an awesome album. Saw them live Canada Day long weekend and it was a really good show. Read about it here. Check it out.

3. Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes (2011)
Awesome. Despite these guys not being at Sasquatch, this was kind of the soundtrack to our road trip, so whenever I listen to it I picture mountains and highways. I already linked to this song a couple posts ago but it's really really good so listen to it again.

2. 21 - Adele (2011)
Obviously everyone's album of the year, all the songs are the best. In an Entertainment Weekly article I read, Julia Roberts wrote a little blurb on Adele and talked about how we all feel like her mom and we want to protect her from vocal issues and mean boyfriends. It was cute. You've heard the whole album I'm sure, unless you live in a cave or in the ocean or something. It's awesome. I love it. Everyone loves it.

1. This Year - Meghan Tonjes (2011)
I really really love this album, and I've blogged about it before but I got it just at the start of internship and "This Year" was my anthem. I love all the tracks, but especially that one. Here it as she first posted it on youtube, this isn't the album version, but it's perfect because she wrote it New Years Eve 2010 and tomorrow is New Years Eve 2011 so maybe this can be your anthem for 2012.

Happy New Year, may 2012 be the best year yet!

Let me know your top ten of 2011 and why they are important to you in the comments!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap

What I Did     The day I finished internship my boyfriend and I drove to Medicine Hat because his cousin was getting married on the 23rd. When we got there, we went for supper with my sister and brother-in-law (my sister's boyfriend) and his brother and sister. We spent the night playing games and cards and drinking beer. The next day was the wedding, which took up the whole day. On Christmas Eve we had a family brunch at one of the bride's dad's house, then drove home (we lost an hour coming back.)
This is me on the drive there, and the sunset that lasted a really long time because we were driving into it and changing time zones. I took a lot of sunset photos and videos, that you'll see in the future, I'm sure. 

     I forget what we did Christmas Eve, but my boyfriend's cousin from England and her boyfriend were staying at his parents' house and my aunt from BC was at my house, so we probably hung out with family and played games.
     Christmas morning we went to my boyfriend's parents' house and opened gifts and ate brunch. In the afternoon we went to my brother's house to visit my nephews, then back to the in-laws' where we watched The Hangover Pt. 2 (someone's Christmas gift) and ate an Indian food supper. Yum!
We spent the rest of the night playing games at each of our parents' houses, I think. My aunt and cousin from Alberta arrived, so there was even more family around.
     On Boxing Day we went out and shopped a bit, and mostly just chilled. Ate a delicious vegetarian lasagna that my mom made for supper.
     Yesterday, the 27th, was Christmas part 2 and we had brunch at my parents' house, my sister and her boyfriend came into town and my grandma came over, and we opened gifts and had Christmas dinner and played games.
     It's been a hectic, fun, and delicious week! I hope your holidays have been as nice as mine so far... maybe a bit more relaxing.

Gifts I Gave
     I didn't have much money so I just made everyone cards, that I painted and wrote in. But I had my sister-in-law for Secret Santa so I got her a magnetic spice rack (which is what she wanted) and a bottle of wine. And I made a few people mix CDs. 
    My boyfriend and I made each other gifts and I made him this painting and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 
based on this photo
Gifts I Got

   My boyfriend's parents got me a book journal and it's super sweet. You can record the title, author, character names, quotations, and opinion and ratings for books you read, alphabetically, and there were some extra tabs and stickers and I made sections for books I've borrowed, books I've lent out, to read, and recommendations. I'm excited to start using it. And I got iTunes gift cards.  

My friend made me this cute ornament. 
One of my boyfriend's sisters made use scarves and another one gave us paintings she did of us when she was in school, but I didn't photograph them.
My brother-in-law was my Secret Santa and he got me the last 2 Harry Potter movies on bluray/DVD and they came in this cute box set thing. :D

  Stuff I Bought

I got a bookstore gift card and I bought these two books. Currently reading the Mindy Kaling one and it's really funny.
     I also bought two pairs of tights, a bunnyhug, 3 sweaters, and a pair of pants on Boxing Day...all at crazy-cheap prices. Maybe I'll photograph some of my new clothes and put them in another post.

Later this week: a best of 2011 list..I'm thinking just my favourite albums of the year but we'll see.
Early next week: an update on how I did with my 2011 resolution to read 50 books in one year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I am at a weird point in my life.
For the first time ever, there is no clear path.
Since I was little, it's been planned out and I've mostly stuck to that plan. There was school, and when I graduated, I went straight to university, and now I am nearly done and not sure where to go next.

Part of that has been determined for me by another person. I don't mean that to sound like other people are planning my life, but the person I want to spend my life with has made a life for himself somewhere and so that's where I'll go, obviously, and I have no problems with that.

When I was younger (and even up until this year, probably), I was very against the whole go to school, get a job, get married, have children, work at that job forever, retire, die, thing. And I didn't want to do it all in the same place, I wanted to go somewhere else.
But now I am kind of realizing that that stuff isn't really all that bad and maybe the reason people do that is because that's what grown ups do. People grow up and get over themselves and realize that contributing to society, or falling in love and getting married doesn't make you a conformist, it just makes you happy (maybe.)
And not wanting to do that doesn't make you immature or pretentious, either, but the way I was sort of semi-rejecting it while still doing it was both immature and pretentious.

To quote this song, "I was raised up believing I was somehow unique like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see. And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me. but I don't, I don't know what that will be. I'll get back to you someday soon you will see."

For the past few months, the plan has been to hopefully finish internship and move out and go back to school for my last semester and get a job, and then hopefully go on a trip in July and get a teaching job somewhere for September. And that is still what I want the plan to be but I am so not in control of any part of that, really. Internship is over in 4 days, but I have no money to move out, and no car, and no job (although I have an interview on Tuesday so hopefully that works out and I'll at least have some sort of direction for the new year) but when I am done school I still need to find a job.

I feel like I've come so far in the past four months but I still have so far to go...and so much is out of my control.
I feel like I've been waiting for my life to start this whole time, even while it's been going on.

 I think people do that a lot, "once I have this," or "once I'm done this, then my life will be the way I want it."For me right now it's: once I'm done school and I have a car and an income and I live in my own place then my life will be what I want it to be.
Of course it's not that simple.

But anyways, this turned pretty long-winded and reflective and I didn't neccesarily mean for it to.
Please don't comment that everything happens for a reason or that it will all work out. I don't really believe that, and I don't need reassurance. nothing is a problem or anything, I'm just feeling a little direction-less right now.
Like I don't know which way I'm going and I've still got such a long way to go...

I made this video for this Coldplay song that sums up pretty much exactly how I'm feeling at this point in my life.
I hope you like it, especially if you are feeling the same way.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why I Love Teaching Part 2

Okay, so I know I've really dropped the ball on blogging this month, but.......Christmas! and...internship!! and stuff...

This is just going to be a super quick post because a few things happened today that I want to remember.

This is an extension of this list. 

This week was my last full week. I only have 4 days left. Tuesday was my last day with two of the four classes I taught over the course of the semester, and today was my last day with my one grade 12 class who I've been with since the beginning (I started teaching them before Thanksgiving.) and I was pretty sad. So here are a few nice things that happened.

One of my students said "Sucks to be us next week." and I said "Why?" and she said "Because you won't be our teacher anymore!"

Then, later, one of my students said, "This class is going way too fast today!" and her friend chimed in, "I know! This is the only class I was looking forward to today and it's already almost over!"

and at the end of the day, we had a wind up party for the kids who were in the musical and I got to see them all again and one of them was so excited that I was going to come to her English class on Monday. She said their teacher told them and they all got really excited that I was going to come watch their class (a lot of the kids in that class were involved with the musical but I don't teach them.)

and here are some of the highlights of the feedback I asked my students to give me this week:
"You really engage with the students and try to help as best as possible."
"You're a good teacher. I'm thankful I had you."
"I didn't really like anything in this class but if I had to pick something it would have been having you teach us."
"I just want to thank you for being a teacher, a friend, and a good lady that treats us with love."

I had a good day and I am going to try to keep these things in mind while I am marking 40 research essays this weekend.

Coming this next week: an update on my book project, a video I am going to make, my top 10 albums of the year (either this coming week or after Christmas, closer to the end of the year) and a recap of my year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Is All Around...

Last week my parents and I set up our Christmas tree in our living room (and my sister skyped in). 

Then this weekend, my boyfriend and I put up Christmas lights on his house and in his trees outside...

and set up our Christmas tree. 

So this year I get TWO trees. :) 

These candles were my grandma's. They are supposed to spell Noel, but it has always been a tradition in our family to flip the angels around to spell Leon whenever we were visiting our grandparents, and it was always so funny to everyone because Grandma didn't notice. Sometimes we would go there for dinner on a Sunday night, flip the candles, go back the next week and they would still be the wrong way. My grandma moved out of her house last winter, so the candles have found a new home (ours) where they spell Leon permanently. 

We each have a baby ornament from our first Christmas, but I thought these were cute too so I hung them up together. My brother, sister, and I. 

  I love Christmas! I've spent the past few weeks getting into the Christmas spirit, listening to Christmas music, decorating, and now I don't want to do any work, I just want holidays! I still have a few more weeks of internship, though, so I will tough it out. However, it is the season of Christmas concerts and parties and socializing so I'm sure the time will fly by as I'll be busy.

Have a great week, everyone! Happy Holidays! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Think You Know - Julia Nunes cover

I didn't have the best day really, so I decided to play this song that I really like to sing loudly in my car when I have a bad day, and record it. It's super low quality and I'm sitting on my floor with shower hair wearing leggings and my voice cracks a bunch but I thought I'd share it anyways, in case anyone else has had a bad day and this somehow makes them feel better.

The original

What do you do when you've had a bad day?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fashion Inspiration - Amy Adams in The Muppets

I saw the new Muppet movie last night and I really liked it. It was cute, funny, and very Muppetational. 
One thing I really liked (as dumb as this sounds) was Amy Adams' character's wardrobe. She played an elementary school teacher and kind of a goody-two-shoes, but all her outfits were really cute retro-inspired-looking dresses and skirts and blouses with belts. I scrounged the internet for some photos to post, because I seriously need to make my work wardrobe more like this. 

Everything she wore was floral or patterned and brightly coloured.

love the bright skirt!

I really like this dress and bag combo.

Really cute! I would definitely recommend the movie. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What I Love About My "Job" (and why I want it to be my actual job)

Lots of teachers give advice to student-teachers, along the lines of: keep stuff you get from students, cards, etc, and look at it when you are having a bad day.
My mom, also, is always telling me "write that down! You want to remember that stuff!" and I usually don't write it down, but now, almost 12 weeks into my internship, with only 5 weeks left, I decided to make a list of stuff that has happened that I want to remember/that I can look at when I need to.

In no particular order, here are some awesome things I love about being an English teacher:

- to wrap up a unit on "Joy and Happiness," I asked the students to write me a paragraph telling me which of the things we studied (out of poems, short stories, songs, videos, and essays) most fit in with their personal philosophy of happiness.
a particularly thoughtful and eloquent grade 12 student wrote, " In my opinion, I think that my philosophy of happiness is a combination of all the literatures that we used throughout the unit. Every single piece of them reflects a definite part of how I define happiness. In fact, these literatures help me to pick a specific position for happiness and enhance how I define it."
Wow! She wasn't sucking up, either, because I told the students that they could talk about how none of the things we studied fit with their philosophy. What I love about her response is that it is basically the purpose of studying literature - finding meaning in it and using it to understand the world and your life.

- in the library one day, when students were picking new novels for silent reading, a student asked me if I had read The Hunger Games. I said yes, and that I really enjoyed it. He replied, "Aw man, I can't wait to read it." and then told me that he had requested it at the school library but his name was far down on the list and he had been wanted to read it since the beginning of the school year. I told him, "I have the series! I'll lend it to you!" and his face just lit up. I brought him the first book the next day and he read it in 2 days. He's now on the second book, and my biggest challenge is convincing him to stop silent reading after the allotted 10 minutes are over and to get to work on whatever we are doing that day.

- last night was the opening night of the school musical, which I've been helping out with. I'm working backstage, and I'm in charge of props and set changes and things. I've been going to rehearsals since they started just to see how it all works, since I might be interested in directing some day. I've loved the entire experience because it's been fun, I've learned a lot, and it's given me a chance to develop relationships with students I don't teach, but what I want to put on this list is the moment before the students went on stage when a few of them came and hugged me and said "Thanks for everything!"

- just the general experience of having a mentor tell you your lesson is awesome, or a really cool idea, and asking if they can use it/have a copy of it/asking you to try it in one of their classes. That's pretty cool.

- playing devils' advocate and seeing the students really respond. For example, today I tried to convince my grade 12 class that eating babies isn't really that bad of an idea, and that it really would help more people than it would hurt. (If you don't know what I'm talking about this, read this.) I like when students get mad.

Ok, well that's really just stuff from today/this week. I might do another one of these closer to the end if I want.
I'm also gonna leave this here for my future self looking back on this list, needing some inspiration.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I haven't updated this blog since Halloween. Sorry about that. I thought No-Life November was just a thing that happened in university but apparently it happens all the time. I've been failing on my book challenge (I sadly haven't been reading at all besides stuff I'm teaching, but no novels so I'm not counting any of it.) and just at having a life in general. I was happy to have a day off today to just sleep in, catch up on TV shows I've gotten behind on, and chill out. Stephen and I went for a walk this morning and I took some photos. It's winter here now. It snowed last weekend and everyone was made except me, as always happens on the first snow of the year. 

cute new mitts!

we think prairie chicken tracks?

This week is the musical and I am also going to start teaching full-time, for about a month. Then I will drop one class at a time, finishing right before Christmas! I can't believe it's almost done. I'm hoping to get a lot of work done today and tomorrow so that after this week, when the musical is over, things will die down and I won't have to work so much outside of school. We'll see how that pans out for me.

Have a nice long weekend! I will try to update at least once next week but no promises. 

P.S. At 11:11, 11/11/11 this morning I made a super-mega wish because it was such a special time. I hope you all did the same, and if not, you get another chance tonight! Hurray!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!

 Happy Halloween!
We played Apples to Apples on Friday night and my friend got this card and submitted it for "Creepy." It was perfect.

We went as Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Inspired by this cute song:

I ended up just wearing the Kermit costume to Sunday school and school....

Though I'm really more of a diva than a frog.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe night!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swimming Babies

I am having a meh kind of week, and one weird thing I do to cheer myself up when I'm feeling down is look up videos of swimming babies on youtube, and it all stems from this, really.

A truly beautiful moment, and though I would love to watch this entire film today, I don't have time, so this will have to do. Have a good day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Are You Up!

Good evening,
this blog comes to you in 4 parts. (Vlogbrothers reference)

Part 1: Life Update   
 I've been busy interning at a high school since the end of August and I don't think I've talked about it too much online. I'm teaching English, it's going pretty well. I had a stressful week last week when I had to plan a bunch of stuff all in one week. The only major problems I've had have been with me being too hard on myself about stuff. Other than that, it's all going well. I am there until Christmas.
     The one crappy thing about it is that it is basically a full-time job that I don't get paid for (and in fact have to pay for.) my program is the only program at my university that has an unpaid internship as a requirement. It's pretty bunk. And I'm not really working (I have a couple sources of income but no real "jobs") this semester, so I am quickly going broke, which is unfortunate as I have a long list of things I would like to be saving money for, such as:
-my last semester of school (I currently don't have enough saved up for tuition, nevermind textbooks and a parking pass),
-a new car (still haven't got a new one since I totalled my old one in January. driving my parents' extra car.), 
-moving out of my house (and city) in January (which ideally would involve me having a car and money for gas and stuff to be able to commute into the city every day),
-going to Europe in July (my boyfriend and I are planning to go to Europe for 3 weeks in July when he finishes work as a celebration of my convocation.)
   But first, I need to finish internship so that I can convocate. and then I need a job after Christmas.
   Until then, I am going to be super broke, which means I will be able to afford gas and the occasional dinner/night out, but no new clothes or books, and probably no Christmas presents for my loved ones. Sorry, loved ones!

Part 2: Book Challenge
I am currently at 38 on my book challenge, which is pretty good. Part of the purpose was to track how many books I actually read in a year, because I never have before and I thought it'd be interesting, and part of it was to motivate myself to spend more time doing something I enjoy (reading). I think I have made more time for it, especially when I've been busy and have wanted to make excuses.
If I read one book a week for the rest of the year, I will be at 49. So, I'll just try to stick to that and read an extra book, too!

Part 3: Halloween
   Halloween should be fun this year. I am going to a house party on the Friday before Halloween, a concert/costume party on the Saturday, having a Halloween party in my Sunday School class on the Sunday and dressing up for school on the Monday.
The only problem is my costume. My boyfriend and I are doing a couple costume (which is going to be a surprise for some people who insist they don't want to know what it is beforehand so I can't say on here) but my costume doesn't really make a good costume by itself. So I need an idea for something appropriate and fun that I can wear to the Sunday school party, and to school on the Monday. Please leave suggestions in the comments for me.

Part 4: NaNoWriMo
 I would love to do NaNoWriMo this year, but I can't do it during internship, especially because for most of November I am going to have a full course load (teaching 4 classes) and the school musical I've been helping with is in November, and it would just be way too stressful.
   I am thinking of doing NaNoWriMo in January, maybe. I will be done internship, hopefully moved out (though we shall see how that pans out), and taking 5 classes and hopefully working part-time, but I will be much less busy, and one of my writer friends will be done school in January, so maybe I can convince him to do it with me. I think it would be fun, since January is usually the worst month of the year for me. All the excitement of winter is over and the days are still short and bitter cold, and the only holiday is over at the very start of the month so it is a long month. I wouldn't mind sitting inside writing all the time.

That's all the parts!

If you made it this far, I'll reward you with a funny anecdote that will also make the title of this post make sense.  While I was writing this, I got a text from my friend who is studying abroad this semester, in England.
All it said was "Dani! J'aime tu!"
I knew he was travelling in Spain this week, so I responded, "<3 te amo!"
and then, realizing it was after 7 and there is probably about an 8-hour time difference, I said, "what the hell time is it where you are? Why are you up?"
He said, "It's three in the morning here in Valencia Spain, I haven't slept for 48 hours and I'm drunk. Why are you up!"
I said "because it is 7:30 pm on a Tuesday."

So there you go. I am sitting at home (actually, I'm lying down.) blogging and eating a peanut butter cup blizzard, and my friend is drunk texting in Spain. The world is a funny place.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye

My friend had a close friend pass away this week, so I thought I would make something to cheer her up.

This is me covering "Saying Goodbye" from Muppets Take Manhattan on piano.

I have a cold, so the singing is quite terrible and there are a lot of voice cracks. I'm also not great at piano, but it's a beautiful song with great lyrics.

Books Read So Far in 2011: 37
Currently Reading: Probably going to start Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson tonight. I've never read it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Here is an incomplete list of things the little kids in my Sunday school class are thankful for:
my grandpa, my grandma, my friends, my family, my mom, my dog, my grandma's dog, water, trees, the earth, food, pie, school, animals, my brother, soccer, barbies, markers and crayons, and shoes.

Take time this weekend to think about the things you never think to be thankful for -  like water, and shoes; and the things you are thankful for all the time - like family and friends.

And, following the tradition of last year, here are ten things I am thankful for:








Images from here. Happy Thanksgiving!