Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Yes, yes. Bad pun.

Cut about four inches off my hair last night and dyed it a dark brown. It hasn't been this dark in years ... I think, although my memory is hazy, this may be the closest I've been to my natural colour in some time. I love it, although I'm still doing doubletakes at myself in the mirror -- it'll take a little getting used to!

I have a sweet setup as far as my hair goes -- a good friend of mine is also a kickass hairdresser, and for 50 bucks she'll do my 'do anytime I want. And I go over to her place, we have snacks and beverages and hang out, and I walk out of there looking like a million bucks. Couldn't be better!

What is it about a new haircut that just makes you feel on top of the world?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


One of the things I love about living in this city is that you never know what or who you're going to see. The bus I take to work every morning goes down Wellington Street past the Parliament Buildings, and there's always something interesting going on.

This morning I was both intrigued and delighted by the swarm of Buddhist monks, complete with bright orange robes, sandals, and shaved heads, who were pouring off their tour bus, snapping away furiously with their state of the art digital cameras.


It seemed like a good idea at the time. Dinner party at my friend J's place last night (note to self: come up with snappy blog nickname for J). Fabulous food. Fabulous friends. Loads of girl talk and laughter and, yes, a few tears. A great evening.

In retrospect, though, in the cold hard light of day, that last glass (or, ah, three) of wine may have been a mistake. The second glass of lemoncello definitely was.

It's going to be a long day.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday Monday

So the weekend is over, and I survived. I've been both looking forward to and dreading this past weekend for months, knowing that the two concerts, extra rehearsals, and silent auction would be the equivalent, as Serdic put it last night, of running my own half marathon (an apt comparison, as the Ottawa Marathon happened this weekend as well, which made parking/driving downtown and around the city that much more "exciting" and just added to the general "aaaaarrrgghhh"ness of the weekend, even though I think it's a great thing for the city and I'm generally in favour of special events that make the city an interesting place to live).

Anyway. Yeah. The concert last night went incredibly well -- we sang several pieces better than we ever sang them in rehearsal, and the buzz from the audience was extremely positive, with lots of "the best concert yet" type of comments being tossed around. On a more personal note, the silent auction, my baby, raised over $1200 (my goal was $1000) so I am delighted.

The evening was not without its stresses as well, of course (I'm particularly fond of the people who don't want to take on the job of the silent auction themselves, but they always have lots of opinions on how I didn't do it right once the job is done), and by the time we got everything from the auction cleaned up and got to the car I was in tears from exhaustion and completely drained. However, that was nothing that changing into my pjs (I curse the person who invented the torture device known as pantyhose!), pouring a glass of wine, and sitting out on the balcony with my boy, overlooking this city I love so much, chatting about the weekend and generally just decompressing couldn't fix. Serdic was a huge support through this whole thing, and I'm not sure I would have gotten through it without him, not least because he spent at least 50 bucks in gas getting me to all the places I needed to go!

So it's over and I have the whole summer ahead of me with no choir commitments. I will miss the regular getting together with people I really like and making beautiful music, but I'm looking forward to a few months of having my Monday and Wednesday nights to myself! Time to recharge and regroup, and get ready to start up again in September.

In other news, Stanley Cup playoffs start tonight. I'm not a huge hockey fan, and while of course I'll be cheering for Ottawa and it'd be really cool to see the team bring the big prize home, at the moment I'm actually more irritated by the parking and driving restrictions downtown on game nights. Of course, I may get my passport revoked if I express that sentiment to the wrong people. ;-) So, uh, GO SENS!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Halfway there

So one down, one to go. Yesterday was a long day -- all told, with dress rehearsal for one choir in the afternoon, shortened rehearsal/warm up for the other choir in the evening followed by a concert, I spent nearly seven hours singing yesterday. And as much as I love to sing, that's a bit much. Today is less singing-intensive (only have to get through the mini-rehearsal/warm up and concert this evening ... probably about three hours of singing, total) but I am organizing the silent auction the choir will run as a fundraiser after the concert, so I have several hours worth of work to do today to get that ready. I do one of these for every concert, and every time when concert day arrives I say "what was I thinking?" and make the people around me promise that they will stop me from offering to do the silent auction next time.

And then I do anyway. Because I am a glutton for punishment, apparently.

Well, no, I do it because it is my way of giving back to the choir that has given me so much -- we tend to raise between $1000 and $1500, or more, at each auction, which is a huge boost to the choir's finances, and helps me feel that I'm doing my part to keep the choir successfully operating and on the right track. I've sung with Atlantic Voices for three seasons now, and joining that choir has made all the difference for me here in Ottawa, as I have made so many friends and reconnected with my Newfoundland roots. (It was also someone in the choir who led me to Plenty of Fish, which is where I (re)connected with Serdic, so that's another point in its favour!)

But yeah. Right now I'm sitting there running through lists of silent auction items and thinking about how I'm going to get them all to the church, and saying to myself "next time, you are definitely, definitely NOT doing this." But I will.

On a sidenote, how lovely it was to come home last night with a sore throat and sore feet, and have someone to put the kettle on and give me a footrub. I could get used to this treatment.


Also, some new friends have been added to the blog roll on the side. Hi, guys! Thanks for the links!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

They call me "The Singer"

Ok, so, "they" don't really call me The Singer. It's a screen name Serdic coined for me when we first started dating, and it seems to have stuck, at least in blogging circles. But, really, it's pretty accurate. I'm currently singing in two choirs, both of which have concerts this weekend. Which means they also have dress rehearsals this weekend. Which means I'm going to have absolutely positively no voice left by Sunday night. Which I understand some people are looking forward to, since I tend to do a lot of talking, and some people seem to think they might get a word in edgewise if I have no voice. Little do some people know ...

But anyway. Yeah. Two concerts, and all that goes with them, this weekend. It's going to be a great weekend of music, but exhausting as well. I love both of my choirs and they have been by far the best thing I have done for myself since moving to Ottawa, in terms of developing my musical knowledge and skill, my social circle, and my self-confidence (auditioning for, and getting into, a choir is a huge ego boost!). But we're coming to the end of a very long, very busy season, and I'm looking forward to a couple of months off. I'll still sing in the shower, though.

And now we come to the self-pimping portion of this post:

Harmonia will be performing at 7:30 Saturday evening, at Rideau Park United Church on Alta Vista Drive. Harmonia is dedicated to promoting the works of Canadian and, particularly, local composers, and at this concert we will be premiering about half a dozen new pieces written specifically for us. It has been a very challenging concert to put together and we are all very excited about it. It's going to be great, and it's definitely where all the cool kids will be Saturday night (thank God there isn't a hockey game!).

Atlantic Voices will be performing at 7:00 Sunday evening, at MacLeod-Stewarton United Church, on Bank St. As the name suggests, AV is a choir dedicated to celebrating the musical roots of Maritime and Atlantic Canada, and this concert in particular will focus on Celtic music. It's going to rock. I wouldn't miss it, if I were you.

Queen of the Jungle

In the beginning, my goals were simple. My sister's wedding was coming up and I wanted to lose a bit of weight (so that I wouldn't look like quite such a whale in my bridesmaid's dress, especially standing next to my size 0 Olympic athlete cousin) and just generally improve my health a little bit, so I could, you know, climb a flight of stairs without wheezing and things like that. I knew I couldn't do it on my own, so I signed up for a gym membership and got me one of them there personal trainers.

That was three years ago. I lost 30 pounds for the wedding (go me) and got in better shape, then slacked off again and gained most of the weight back. So I eventually decided that the trainer was worth every penny and signed up for some more sessions, this time with the more general goals of a) lose weight and b) improve body. Pretty straightforward, no? Except without a specific event to work towards, the motivation is sometimes lost, and I was pretty half hearted about my gym time -- I would go in when I had a session scheduled with the trainer, but chances of me making it in on my own were slim (non-existent, most of the time).

The trainer I had been working with for most of the last three years recently moved on from the gym where I am a member, so I had to find a new trainer to work with. I'm not good with change in general, and this was a particularly scary change for me as this is an area where I am not brimming with confidence, and my previous trainer and I had a really good rapport and had developed a close relationship over the years. However, life goes on, and the Queen of the Jungle entered my life. And in doing so, she forced me to rexamine some of my goals, and refocus on my commitment to my health and weight loss. She pushed me to commit to two sessions a week with her, instead of the one per week I had with the previous trainer, and while I am feeling the financial pinch of that decision, I am also already starting to see the positive effects of the added workout.

I'm also starting to see that my goals are changing. Although I'll never be a hardbodied gym rat, I am more and more willing, and anxious, to take on physical challenges, to push myself beyond where I thought my body could go. I participated in the Run for the Cure last October, which is a 5k run (although I walked most of it, due to having sprained my ankle in a freak bus mishap two days before) and the #1 response I got from people (while incredibly supportive) was "this is so unlike you!" And I said "yeah, that's kind of the point." This year I want to do the Terry Fox Run, which is 10k. I've spent the last three years looking for ways to get out of my comfort zone, not just physically but in all areas of my life. This is just one more challenge.

All that to say, the Queen of the Jungle kicked my ass this morning. Ow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

Three cheers for a long weekend! And three cheers especially for taking an extra day of vacation time and making a four-day weekend. Every weekend should be a four-day weekend, frankly.

Friday was Serdic's birthday and despite his protests of not wanting to make a big deal about it, I am firmly of the opinion that everyone deserves one day a year that is All. About. Him. (or her) I myself tend to have a birthday week, but I realize some might consider that overkill. So I insisted on my girlfriend's perogative to spoil him rotten, and he gave in relatively graciously. I took the day off and we had a fantastic day together, mostly just hanging out and enjoying the being together part. I also cooked a kickass birthday dinner, if I do say so myself ... the continued mutterings of "my girlfriend frigging rocks" from the other side of the table seemed to indicate that Serdic approved as well.

Saturday we went out to the back of beyond and helped The Greek and his lovely wife dig an ungodly number of holes in their property. (The destruction we wrought was offset by the planting of beautiful cedar trees eventually, I understand.) And by help I of course mean that Serdic went and got dirty and dug holes, and I sat on the patio and sipped a drink and shouted encouragement. There are times when I have no issues with the traditional division of gender roles, and if in this case it meant I got to have my shovel taken away and instead help get lunch ready, I'm a-ok with that. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the time with The Greek and his better half, both of whom made me feel very welcome and right at home.

Sunday and Monday were both very lazy days -- late breakfasts, lazing about on the couch, watching movies, and just generally hanging out. We did have dinner with the always delightful Serdad and Serdmom on Sunday evening, as they came up to celebrate Serdic's birthday.

Unfortunately, it was back to the real world for me this morning (although someone is still on vacation, but I'm not bitter, no sir, not me). Much as I enjoy my job, that was definitely not where I wanted to be this morning. However, if I quit my job I would really enjoy the time off for approximately a week and a half, and then I would be living on the street, so I guess the bills need to be paid. But I'm already counting the days until the next long weekend!

In which I introduce myself

So, yeah. Welcome to the 21st century. Apparently this blogging thing is something all the cool kids are doing?

Anyone who knows me knows that I have lots of opinions and lots to say. So let's try throwing something out into cyberspace and seeing what happens, eh?