T: Author Readalikes

Generally when Amazon offers up a suggestion on what to read, based on the books I have perused on that visit, I politely decline to look into them.However, lately I have realised that if I never broaden my literary horizons I may never read anything any greater than that which I have already read. Now, don’t get me wrong…I have read some fantastic and somewhat life-changing books – but the idea that I may have already read the best book of my life simply due to self-imposed limitations was exactly that kick in the pants that I needed to (figuratively) meet some new friends.

The only problem with wanting to discover new favourite authors was that generally this discovery is happenstance – an over heard raving review in the lunchroom, a passed on treasure from a friend of a friend, etc. My literary tastes (although not so discriminating as having kept me from the hunger games trilogy) can be somewhat off the beaten path a la Palahniuk, Copeland and Moore; this can make finding “my” type of book somewhat more difficult than cruising the best sellers list and running out to pick up the newest 50 Shades of Grey. 

The guilty pleasure read of the year.

Luckily for me, the good old library has figured that people need new suggestions for what to read – after all, my lunch hour does not allow me to peruse the shelves of the library stopping at every colourful or well-designed book spine in order to decide whether or not my time investment in that particular novel will have a high rate of return. Truth  be told, I would love to hop on a bookshelf ladder (please envision Belle in Beauty in the Beast in her local bookshop) and throw every appetizing literary work into a basket…however, not only would I be unable to carry them all on the walk home…but I highly doubt a full-time work schedule would allow for the time necessary to finish them all.

The library has helped me out in this respect – my local library has created lists based on popular authors. These lists include books by authors with similar writing styles, approaches to story-telling and/or subject matter. It’s fantastic! It’s a little Pandora’s box for all of us book-worms.

So far based on my love for Douglas Copeland I have been introduced to another author I feel proud to add to my “favourites” – Jonathan Franzen. So far, I have read “Corrections” and “Freedom”. Both of the fore mentioned books follow families through the years in a very honest (maybe my family isn’t so bad) kind of way. I strongly recommend them for anyone with a bit of a dark sense of humor and who loves to people watch…Jonathan Franzen is the literary equivalent to people watching. 🙂 Also – Corrections is a literary prize-winner and Freedom is an Indigo recommended read – I am not alone in my appreciation, as he is considered one of the great modern american novelists.

Franzen’s Freedom

Since it has been awhile I will also throw in a strong recommendation for  “We Need to Talk About Kevin”….all I will say is – it isn’t what you think it is. The main character is an anti-hero I think women will find easily identifiable (that is if you are brutally honest about your own imperfections and insecurities while reading it).

So…there you have it – visit your local library website and see if they too have the amazing suggestion rabbit hole that I was so lucky to discover!


T: Work to Live vs. Live to Work

Lately readers I have been having a recurring conversation with a few friends of mine and after some thought I have decided the topic of conversation is probably a relatively new one.

A good friend of mine recently wrote a blog entry (http://youandi365.blogspot.com/) about the disillusionment of what we think will happen upon graduation (that we will walk into a cushy job with copious amounts of perks and respect…and a corner office) and what actually happens (a road paved with months of self-doubt, confusion and endless ego-bruising job application submissions/interviews at the end of which lies a decent job with minimal perks, stability and pay).

This blog entry coincided perfectly with a recurring conversation that has popped up in my life over the last little while. A few of my friends are now in jobs that they worked extremely hard to get into after graduation. A few of them are even sitting in the job after the job after the job they got after graduating. However, they all seem to be lacking in the contentment area. It seems as though our generation has this new concept, that I don’t believe our parents (and certainly not our grandparents) ever thought of, the idea of deriving one’s happiness SOLELY from one’s work.

Now I would like to remind all of my friends – we are young and as Laragh (youandi365) stated, we are “in transition”. Simply because we have all found ourselves in roles that we relate to being “adults” (perhaps you have a mortgage, RRSP, TFSA, life insurance…or all of the above) we expect that we should all be settled in our identity and in turn that we should stop growing as individuals. I do not believe this is the case. I believe we must remember that a) not all of one’s contentment can be drawn from a single source (not a friend, a boyfriend, a hobby…or a job); b) where you are now as an “adult” does not necessarily predict where you will always be and c) as harsh as this sounds…not everyone can be happy at work.

I do not mean to say that everyone should dread getting up in the morning, simply that our generation has this idea that everyone in life should work only at what they love and not settle for less. I hate to break it to you guys….society doesn’t work like that. Yes, some people will be so lucky…but the other jobs must be done as well. Not every societal role will fill a deep engrained passion…but perhaps you can find something else that will.

Words of wisdom from my Father: “Work isn’t always what you love. Work is what ENABLES you to do what you love.”

T: Awkward Injuries

I have accidentally discovered one of the most awkward situations in modern society.

Last night while playing for rec-league softball team (and “playing” is giving me more credit than I deserve) I had an unfortunate injury. While playing catcher I attempted to catch a ball thrown by my team’s first base player…attempted being the operative word.

Now, let’s first cover the fact that my wonderful bf has attempted to teach me the safest way to catch while all the while stressing the importance of how to hold my mitt in order to avoid being hit in the face. Well…I guess I didn’t listen very well to his lectures since the ball bounced off my mitt and hit me square in the eye. I was a little fuzzy and dizzy feeling but I shook off the run I had just allowed the other team and continued to play.

When I got home my eye had begun to swell and bruise.

To be honest I was a bit excited, after all I have never had a black eye in my life (aside from the minor bruising associated with a broken nose)…I felt pretty tough! (Regardless of the gross feeling in my stomach that hit when I realised my bf’s parents would be visiting this weekend)

This morning I slipped on my sunglasses on my way to work and never thought it would be a big deal. Once word of what happened to me got around the office it would be old news within minutes and I could continue business as usual. Man, was I wrong. It seems as though the black eye is this only injury that involves no one asking about it due to the fact that they are afraid they may not want to know about your abusive relationship….well I can tell you – when you don’t ask, you just stare at my eye and wince, you just made me feel like I did get punched and now I should hide it…I just wish they would ask. In the future folks unless someone looks as though they are super ashamed of their black eye just assume a sports related injury and get on with it…let’s make this easier on everyone!

Looks like Ill be wearing sunglasses all night at Bluesfest!! The Black Keys might look a bit blacker than usual through tinted shades 🙂

T: Ottawa and Summer…the love affair continues

So Friends this one will be quick because it is Ottawa and it is summer which means there are a hundred things going on at all times and all of them = pretty awesome.

At the moment I’m still recovering from exhaustion from Canada Day, think 500,000 in downtown aren’t enough? why not invite the royals? let’s double it! That amount of people could exhaust absolutely anyone….not to mention the small army of mid-20s guys who slept in the living room (“perk” to living with the bf?).

It feels nice to finally have my space back (even though it was most likely some of the most fun/hardest laughing I’ve had/done in a while) but I haven’t really enjoyed the inside much…or my new a/c, because there is so much to do it is overwhelming!!!

This month is Ottawa Bluesfest and it looks like I’ll get to see a few of my faves. I have already been lucky enough to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They were as amazing and talented and weird as I thought they would be…and so was the crowd – “hello, intense patchouli and cigarillos smell I don’t believe we have met before”. 

I also saw some of The Flaming Lips (how do I get to be one of the cheerleaders on stage?)…although didn’t escape with a giant balloon from the show, like a girl I saw on the walk home. Annnnd the grand finale? Soundgarden – got to see them play the song from my favourite video of all time (black hole sun) and was provided with abundant entertainment by the girl in front of me using her boyfriend as a stripper pole.

This weekend I will be hitting up the Black Keys and Rise Against one night and The Tragically Hip and Erykah Badu the next. Wish me luck, if you’re looking for me on monday I’ll be the one snoring and drooling on my desk at the cubicle on your right 😉

Hope your summer is living up to your wildest dreams!!! I know one of my oldest friends Erin’s is as she was recently engaged to the love of her life…Congrats Erin and Sean 🙂

❤ T.

T: Weird Single Behaviour.

A good friend of mine recently (well…a few months ago) wrote a great blog entry about the little things you notice while living with someone else. http://youandi365.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html Well, as I have recently also begun cohabitation I have noticed things…mostly about myself.

As any Sex and the City fan will tell you…the term is “weird single behaviour”…and Carrie refers to it when talking about eating jam and soda crackers over the sink while reading magazines. The little things you never thought were weird until you were faced with the idea of having someone you love seeing you do them.

Here are a few I have noticed about myself…and I hope maybe someone will share some of theirs 🙂

1. I love doing exercises during commercials while watching weight loss shows. I find them so motivating and also it gives me time to rest between sets. Yes, this makes sense. No, I’m not a huge fan of my bf watching me do it.

2. Conversely, on lazy days (when I can’t get motiavted to do #1) I looooove eating a big pile of candy/chocolate/whatever junk food I happen to be craving while watching weight loss shows designed to deter exactly that behaviour.

3. In the evening if I’m bored, and maybe not having a great self-esteem day, I love to shower and do my hair and makeup. It gives me time to play with new looks and gives me a little pick me up before bed. However, I am sure if I were to do this with the bf around he would think I was crazy and would definitely assume there was an event/date night he forgot about. Buuuut….should I have a low self-esteem day anytime soon he may just have to suck it up and deal with the fact that I’ll head to bed looking like Miss America. (I wish)

4. I love eating weird combos of food right after work. Like many other people my snack monster likes to save his attack for right about 4 o’clock – too early for dinner too late for lunch. The first time my boyfriend saw me eating old cheddar and hot pepper jelly on a baguette (simply because that was what I was craving) the look on his face was priceless…and he still doesn’t/probably never will understand it.

…there are just a few…you know, the ones fit to share with anyone willing to read this. (I’m sure there are others that are much worse…but then why risk losing the few readers I still have?)

T: “Stay” cation versus Vacation

Well thanks to a very sweet request (J.) to post more often here I am again, trying to dig through my brain for an interesting and/or witty tidbit to share with my reader(s) *fingers crossed*…but let’s be honest the weather is creeping into the thirties and I spend my days in a fluorescent lit cube shivering due to an ongoing assault by the a/c. My brain is struggling folks, unless it comes to thoughts pertaining to sunshine, drinks (either of the hops and barley kind or those that involve cold wine and fruit), and most of all of escaping everything to lay on a white sand beach.

Why is it that whenever the weather gets nice at home I am seized by an uncontrollable urge to travel? Well since I just started a new job, and don’t want to seem too eager to flee for a vacay before doing any real work, it looks like I’ll be staying put…but why should that mean I don’t have any fun?

I was asked a rhetorical question today that really made me realise how insane my travel bug was at this moment…”Why be in Cuba when it will be 38 this weekend exactly where you are?” so folks, what do you do to make home seem a little bit more like a mini vacay?

Here are a three of my favourite ideas:

1. Lots of hotels have inexpensive last-minute deals and since you’re already in town you’ll never be disappointed if you can’t get a room! Enjoy some breakfast in bed and leave without making the bed….can’t get much better than that.

2. Public Pools are a great way to cool off for just a few bucks. I know my local pool is only 5$ for the whole day! annnnd they have their own bar so no need to lug a cooler on the bus. (word to the wise take a day off to enjoy this one, going on the weekend can be a little overwhelming…even for the kid-friendly amongst us)

3. Three words…Patio. Happy Hour. Most places have great summer happy hours (that involve fantastic summery drinks, like mojitos or sangria) In Ottawa I recommend cornerstone for mojitos and Mambo Nuevo Latino for a beautiful pitcher of red sangria (and an amazing rooftop patio). The best part of happy hour drink deals? you get a prime patio seat before the dinner/social drink crowd descends upon the city.

Mambo's Beautiful Rooftop Patio in the Byward Market

Feel free to share some of your favourite ideas…whether they pertain to Ottawa or elsewhere…I may not be going to the tropics but Montreal or TO are never far from my mind 😉

T: First Impressions.

You know when you were a kid and you would yell “Echo! Echo! Echo!” in a big area and you didn’t hear anything echo back? I feel like this post is kind of like that…a whole lot of useless noise with little chance of getting anything back. But I get it, I haven’t been a very good blogger lately.

Well your first impression (if you ever read this when we first started…which I’m sure you didn’t) seems to have been right on…I’m moderatley entertaining but inconsistent and unreliable in terms of how often I post. So, what do you think? Are first impressions always right-on?

I had to experience one of the most nerve-wracking first impressions opportunities this past weekend…the meeting of the significant other’s family. Now, for anyone who has done this you are aware of the idea that there is no stress-free point in a relationship at which to tackle this event. Do it too soon = you’re weird and rushing things and they’re thinking “why do I care who you are? you probably won’t be around next month anyway”. Do it late = They’re expecting some freak show (why else wouldn’t they have brought you sooner) and you’re so invested in the relationship you’re about to wet yourself thinking that if they don’t like you then what you’re invested in may no longer matter so much.

Now,  timing-wise I think this weekend was about right but it didn’t make it any less stressful. (Especially thanks to many references to “Judgement Day” by  my oh so lovely boyfriend.) In fact the whole experiences ended up being some of the most fun I have had in awhile. I also really lucked out and got to see Niagara Falls and the TO Zoo for the first time (I know I must have some pretty great karma going).

I was even left thinking that in past experiences where I thought a significant others family was pretty cool I may have been settling a bit. Then again do you ever really know how nice and comfortable something can be until you experience something that feels exactly that? 

The above question leads me to ponder a question a friend asked me the other day…how do you know when what you have is what will truly make you happy? How do you know there isn’t something out there with which you would be much happier? At which point are we settling versus being content? 

After talking this over with a few other friends I was left with some good advice to stop looking at the grass on the other side of the fence and to focus on growing my own green grass…well it was put much more eloquently than that but in summary, the idea was to work on what you have.

What do you think? Is focusing on your blessings and putting hard work into what you have at hand now seen by our generation as “settling”? If not then at which point do we differentiate?