Thursday, February 28, 2008


Just a quick reminder to my faithful readers about the fabulous concert that's going to happen tomorrow night. I'm working on building up my own set of groupies ... it's what all the cool kids are doing these days. And it's not everyone who can say they sang on the same stage as Hanson, after all.

You'll kick yourself if you miss it, is all I'm saying.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's just an ordinary day

Yesterday was what one might call a perfect day. We lingered over coffee and getting ready to go out, then went to our favourite local spot for breakfast (which was more like lunch by the time we got moving, but that's a moot point). After that the day was so beautiful with the sun shining and warm temperatures (relatively speaking) so we decided to not waste it (it was one of those days that makes you think that maybe spring really is just around the corner and it won't actually be winter forever). We went downtown and made our way over to the Rideau Canal, which bills itself this time of year as the World's Longest Outdoor Skating Rink. Serdic and I have lived in Ottawa for seven and five years respectively, and neither of us has set foot on the canal in that time (I have been skating on the canal in the dim, distant past as a child, but not since I moved here permanently). We didn't skate, but we spent a lovely couple of hours walking along the edge of the canal, watching the world go by and sharing a Beaver Tail and hot chocolate. We were apparently so disgustingly cute together that a lady passing by in the other direction stopped and offered to take our picture. Yes, friends, we are just that cute. Even perfect strangers recognize it.

After our jaunt on the canal we ran some errands, then picked up a rental movie and went home. Watched the movie cuddled on the couch, then napped, then dinner. Then I settled in for the annual orgy of self-congratulation that is the Oscars, one of my favourite guilty pleasures. Serdic disappeared into his office but he poked his head out every now and then, wanting to know what the score was. Smart ass.

They're all pretty good days these days, but this one was just a little extra special. Mostly because it was so ordinary, in the best possible sense of the word. My favourite song by my favourite band, Great Big Sea, is called Ordinary Day, and I think that really sums it up.

And I say way hey hey, it's just an ordinary day
And it's all your state of mind

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Musings on love; followed by some shameless self-promotion

One of my favourite things about my relationship with Serdic is that we're both really sentimental. We like to celebrate anniversaries, to remember the little things, to create memories that have meaning for us. We say "I love you" on a regular basis, and even more than that, every day we find ways to *show* each other that love. So I don't need to wait for Valentine's Day to hear the words, or, more importantly, know that they're true. I have daily proof of that.

When I was single, I grumbled about Valentine's Day. I still do, a little. I do think it is a, for lack of a better term, Hallmark holiday, and I don't need a specific day set aside to show my partner that I love him or wait for him to prove his love with red roses and chocolate. Love is about a lot more than that. I have issues in general with how our society sees couples as "normal" and singles as "abnormal" and Valentine's Day just reinforces that. On the other hand, though, I feel much the same way about Valentine's Day as I do, for example, Mother's Day. I shouldn't wait until Mother's Day to tell my mother that I love her or make her feel appreciated. I should do that every day. But is there really something all that wrong with taking a day to specifically honour her?

Where the trouble comes in, I think, is how the commercialism takes over and ruins a perfectly good idea. Taking a day to tell the person I love that I love him and maybe making a little extra effort to recognize that? Not an issue. Being told by society that my relationship can only be validated by a $1000 diamond bracelet and two dozen roses? Not so much. I've already had a wonderful Valentine's Day -- I've heard the words and I've had some quality time with the one I love. After 31 years of spending Valentine's Day alone I admit it, I'm enjoying having someone to celebrate it with. It's more important to me to celebrate our anniversary, each other's birthday, other moments that are specifically important to us and our relationship, not a day arbitrarily designated as "sweethearts' day," but Valentine's Day is one of those things I've never really gotten to be a part of. This is our first together (we were dating last February but not in a place to celebrate V-Day together) so it's extra sweet.

Love is a good thing. Love, in all its forms, makes life brighter and better. I don't just mean romantic love, but the many many varieties of love that fill our lives, from family to friends to life partners. Tell someone you love them today, and every day. Celebrate love in all its forms.

In other news, I have a concert coming up at the end of the month that I'm really excited about. One of my choirs does an annual Black History Month concert and this year's is going to be FABULOUS. We are partnered with a local high school's "World Voices Choir" and the energy and enthusiasm that these kids (and their fantastic teacher) bring to the music just takes everything up about twelve notches. We'll also have some guest soloists, a vibrant and exciting percussion section (including drummers from the NAC orchestra), and lots of great, roof-raising music. The concert is on February 29th, at 8 p.m., and it's at the Bronson Centre downtown (211 Bronson, I believe). Tickets are $15. I don't promote all the concerts I participate in on here, but I really think this one is going to be fantastic and I strongly encourage everyone to consider checking it out. Music is another of those things that makes life brighter and better, and making beautiful, joyous music with my friends is one of my favourite ways to spend an evening. Join us, won't you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unexpected gifts

One night a couple of weeks ago when I arrived home from work there was a letter from my Grandpa on the kitchen counter. This struck me as a little odd, as Grandpa is not what one would call a prolific letter writer (that was always Grandma's department, and, oh, what letters she wrote!), but given the events of the last month it is not inconceivable that Grandpa would have a reason to contact me. But when I opened the envelope and a cheque fell out, I was not prepared for the result. It turns out my Grandma left me a substantial amount of money. Money that she had quietly been setting aside for years with the intention of leaving it for her grandchildren after she was gone. It's not enough to quit my job and spend the next fifty years travelling, but it is enough that I can make some real and noticeable changes in my life, and put some aside for future changes. I have mapped out a basic plan that involves some investing so that there will be something there for future "life events," some immediate reduction of debt left over from my student days, and some "play." Sure, I'd rather have my Grandma back, but with this final very generous gift I will be able to honour her and have her continue to be part of my life for some time to come.

The most interesting part of that little story is that my Grandpa mailed cheques to all three grandchildren on a Wednesday afternoon. All three of us received them the next day. Someone was watching over the mail that night and making sure nothing went astray.

Other moments of light recently:

This morning on the bus not one but two men offered me their seats. Now, I don't for a minute expect to be offered a seat because I'm a woman or out of some outdated sense of chivalry or whatever. I am ablebodied and healthy and I can stand, and I am thankful for that, and I don't get offended if I am not offered a seat. In fact, I have much more often offered my seat to someone else than I have been offered a seat, and that's as it should be. But I have to say that this morning it was nice to see more than one person offering to do something nice for someone else, especially when that someone else was me! ;-)

Had a lovely, albeit brief, visit to Hometown this weekend. My dad and some friends were giving their third annual "Songs in the Key of Love" Valentine's concert and we were able to get down to enjoy it. Also had a great visit with both my and Serdic's families, which is always a treat.

We are now on our third day in a row of sunshine! I had almost forgotten what sunshine feels and looks like. It's amazing the way the spirit lifts when the sun is shining. Now, we've also plunged into a deep freeze that would have even polar bears saying "Wtf?", but I'm not focusing on that because ... hey! Pretty sunshine!

Dug out the old Playstation this weekend and have spent several happy hours playing Tomb Raider over the last couple of days. Don't ask me why I got it in my head to do that, I just did. I'm not a huge video game girl, but for some reason Tomb Raider has always been a favourite. There is a lengthy story about the SingerFamily and various versions of TR and a few Christmases spent sitting around the living room watching each other play and heckling yelling encouragement. Just seeing the Playstation is enough to bring up those memories and make me laugh. Good times.

Happy Valentine's Day. Take a minute to tell the people you love that you love them, not just on Thursday but every day.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What a difference a year makes

One year ago today, it was a normal day. I worked, I goofed off on the internet, I probably emailed my friend J (we generally do email back and forth every day), I likely did some daydreaming/planning for the Italy trip I had coming up in a few weeks, I probably bitched about the cold weather. But that evening I did a less usual thing ... I went on a date. If you had told me as I was getting ready to go out that I was about to completely change the course of my life, I'd have laughed at you. I wasn't even really thinking of it as a date -- I was meeting an old friend, someone I knew for a brief time a lifetime ago, for coffee.

Who would have thunk that a year later here we'd be? Living together, planning a future together. I can't imagine my life without him in it now, and I'm grateful for everything we've shared over the last year, and looking forward to everything we will share in the years to come.

So the lesson learned? Be open to every opportunity. Smile and be friendly to everyone you meet. Because you never know when five years down the road someone might see your picture on a dating website and think to him or herself "I remember that person -- she was cool" and ask if you want to get a coffee and catch up. And it'll turn out that that person was the one you were waiting for after all.

Happy anniversary, honey.