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!