Thursday, November 22, 2007

Urban Observations

What is it about the first snowfall of the year that turns people into such idiots? Have they forgotten how to drive in snow between last winter and this one? The same thing happens every year around this time, people. It's not a difficult concept.

J and I went to a play at the NAC the other night, and I arrived a bit early so I got to hang out in the lobby for awhile waiting for her. Our appointed meeting place was near the box office, which is right at the main doors, so nearly everyone who arrived for the play came in right past me. After awhile I noticed just how many of the new arrivals were bickering as they came in. I have known couples who bicker a lot, and as much as you tell yourself that it's just their way of communicating and they don't mean anything by it, it always makes me a little uncomfortable. I just thought it was sad how many people would get dressed up and come out for an evening of great theatre, and spend it bickering.

Btw, the play? Very well done, and we enjoyed it very much. It also had possibly the weirdest final ten minutes I've ever seen on stage. As we were leaving J said to me "I'll let you know tomorrow whether I liked it or not; right now I need time to digest it" and I thought that pretty much summed it up.

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle here in Ottawa lately over the failure of the bus drivers to announce upcoming stops on their routes -- it's getting a lot of publicity right now because of a blind passenger who asked to have his stop called out and was ignored, and therefore ended up lost in a different part of the city and unable to make his transfer. OCTranspo's proposed solution was a multi-million dollar automated system that would announce the stops, and they wanted the city to pay for it. As budgets are being slashed around the city and transit fares are already among the highest in the country, the reaction of just about everyone else was "or, you know, the drivers could use the already installed microphones or even, shockingly enough, raise their voices to call out the stops." OCTranspo has promised to try this. So in my very scientific survey of the bus routes I ride regularly, I have discovered that just like every other time when you require a group of people to do something, some drivers are refusing to do it, some are doing it grudgingly, some are doing it half assedly, some are doing it cheerfully. And some are doing it with their own ... shall we say "unique" style? I encountered one such driver one night this week on my way home. He was providing a running commentary much like you might receive on a tour bus, announcing each upcoming stop and also providing information about the services, landmarks, and stores you might find around each stop. The twist was, he was delivering it all in the most Eeyore like monotone I've ever heard. A sample: "Next stop, Bay and Albert. Last chance to transfer to the transitway. If you want. I certainly don't care. It makes no never mind to me. I'll just be driving the bus. It's up to you. Transfer if you like. Also, you might want to stop into the Quickie and pick up a Krispy Kreme donut. They're carbalicious. If you like donuts, that is." Later he provided a "weather" report ("Currently, it is dark. It will remain dark for several hours, at which point it will likely not be so dark. Until it gets dark again."), commentary on other routes ("Here you can transfer to the #2 to Bayshore. The long way to Bayshore. Bring a book." Anyone who has ridden the #2 will know how true that comment is!), and helpful reminders ("Please remember to take all your belongings with you, hats, scarves, purses, small children, packages, etc."). It started out amusing, quickly circled around to irritating, and by the time we reached my stop it had cycled all the way back around to amusing again.

City living, b'y. Nothing like it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Short Play, in one act

The scene: A dark, quiet bedroom in a cozy little apartment somewhere in the frigid Northern tundra (a.k.a Canada)
The time: 6:45 a.m.

The alarm goes off. A weather report on the radio echoes through the bedroom.

A woman, still half asleep: Did he just say 'snow'?
A man, looking out the window: No.
The woman: You're lying to me, aren't you.
The man, after a pause: Yes.

End scene.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too hot to Handel

A couple of weeks ago Serdic said to me, "You like Handel, right?" When I answered in the affirmative he said "there's some kind of Handel recital or something going on in a couple of weeks ... would you like me to get tickets?" I needed a bit more information than that so we turned to my trusty friend Google, and with the information Serdic had we were able to figure out that one of the Anglican churches downtown was presenting Handel's Messiah. So the answer to "would you like me to get tickets" was a most definite "yes!" Messiah is, for me, one of the most glorious works ever written, and it has been years since I've heard the whole thing performed live.

So Sunday night, we went. And I am still speechless, and riding the high that only such glorious and well performed music can give me (see the quotation from Plato that sits at the top of this page -- the man was smart). It was breathtakingly beautiful from beginning to end, the soloists were all in top form and the chorus had a full, rich sound that just soared. And that music! There is a reason the Hallelujah Chorus still brings people to their feet, no matter what their faith or belief system, 250 years after it was written. It is quite simply one of the most incredible pieces of choral music ever written.

As the daughter of a church organist and choir director, music has always been a huge part of worship for me. My favourite part of all the different seasons (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.) is the hymns and music, and I feel closest to God when I am lifting my voice in praise. So this performance of Messiah was also a very moving experience for me, as the glorious music told the story and made it fresh and new again. It was a great way to prepare my heart and soul for Advent, which is just around the corner.

And, you know, it was just some kick ass music. I'm always in favour of some kick ass music.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Among a certain group of my friends, this month is often referred to as "Blow-vember." The idea being that November, well, blows. The weather turns cold and nasty, the days get unbearably short (it was dark before 4 p.m. here the other day), we're not close enough to Christmas yet but we're past the lovely part of autumn, and it just generally is a month with not much to recommend it. I know I've certainly been in what one could term a Blow-vember slump for the last couple of weeks. In my case one of the major symptoms is an absolute inability to haul my arse out of bed in the morning (it doesn't help that I now have someone else who is consistently getting up, making the coffee, and bringing me a cup in bed ... what incentive do I have to leave my cozy little nest???). I didn't even hear the alarm this morning, that's how dead to the world I was. I am sleeping later, making a later bus, which means a later transfer downtown, which means getting to work later, taking longer to get settled and productive at work ... blah blah blah.

I'm not complaining, really. Life is still pretty damn good. I've just not been feeling 100% lately, and I think I'm mostly just run down. Serdic and I decided to stay in last Saturday with pizza and a movie, and when we started really thinking about it we couldn't remember the last Saturday night we were both home with no plans ... I think we had to go back to July to find one. So that's definitely part of it. Good things are happening, but sometimes it's too much of a good thing. So I think we're planning to spend this weekend laying low and recharging the batteries, and then before we know it we'll be fully into the swing of Christmas. I've always loved Christmas, but this one is going to be particularly special, as our first Christmas together, so I'm really looking forward to it.

But I need to get some sleep first.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Catching up

Yeah, so, it's been awhile since I posted, eh? There's really no reason -- it's not like I have a lack of things going on in my life to talk about! I guess it's mostly that so much has been going on recently that every time I sit down to blog I don't know where to start and get rambling. So here, in bullet form, is what's been going on with me recently, and then I'll be all caught up and can (theoretically) start blogging regularly again.

-- had a lovely weekend in Pennsylvania with assorted members of my family, watching a cousin pursue her athletic endeavours (she did very well). A SingerFamily road trip is always a riot -- lots of laughter and good family time, and never a dull moment.

-- my dear friend T and her new husband R were married in a beautiful Renaissance themed wedding last weekend, complete with swords and costumes and the whole nine yards. What I loved about the entire day was that it was so T and R. Everything was obviously exactly as they wanted it, and they didn't have anything because her mom wanted it this way or "everyone says" it has to be done that way. It was also, on a personal note, a nice evening for me, as it was the first big formal event Serdic and I have attended together, and it was so nice to have someone to share the evening with. Someone to take turns getting drinks and food with, someone to help me with my wrap (and go get the car and pick me up at the door when I couldn't walk any further in my new shoes *blush*), someone to hold hands with during the ceremony. And, of course, someone to dance the slow dances with. :-)

-- one of my choirs had our first big concert of the season this past Friday night. It had a couple of hiccups, but for the most part I think it went quite well. I love making music, that's for damn sure.

-- started my Christmas shopping on the weekend. Did what I do every year, and took care of the people who are always the easiest to shop for on my list. Every year I claim I'm going to get a head start and not leave it all until the last minute, and every year I end up running around on Christmas Eve saying "does anyone have any ideas for ____?" I love Christmas, though, and can't wait to get our new hall decked. It's a bit early yet, right? (I will never forget the look on Serdic's face on our first morning in our new place, surrounded by boxes and unassembled furniture, when I asked him where he thought we should put the Christmas tree. I think he nearly decided to abort the entire project right then and there.)

-- had one of my bestest friends J and her boyfriend D in for dinner Sunday night. So nice to see them -- J and I don't get nearly enough time together these days. Serdic did a pork roast and potatoes, I did the veggies and appetizers. J brought a strawberry rhubarb crisp for dessert. Much wine was consumed, and the total lack of leftovers seems to imply that everyone enjoyed their meal. Yum.

-- speaking of food, I have lost six pounds since moving into the new place. What a difference actually sharing the preparation of balanced meals with someone else can make, eh?

I think that covers the highlights. Like I said, not that I don't have anything to blog about, more that I have too much to blog about! Never a dull moment at Casa Double S. And that's the way we like it.