Last night was quite possibly the second best time I have had in 2011. And if that’s the second best time in 358 days then this year has sucked more than I’d thought. I will be glad to see the ass end of it in a few days.

I got home last night happily wired due to a combination of good conversation, good beer, and incredible music. I felt good. Alive. And pretty fucking fabulous. I IMed a friend that I’d felt like 20 years just slipped off my shoulders.

I’ve been thinking about last night’s Headstone’s show all day today. Frankly, it could have been the only thing that got me through this year’s Christmas Eve Day lunch with my father-in-law with a smile on my face.

I danced most of the night, much to the chagrin of the woman beside me who kept giving me the stink-eye. I never encroached on her space, so I’m not sure why the attitude unless there’s a memo I missed indicating that one should stand utterly still throughout a live show and alternate between soberly watching the band and trying to capture it as shitty video on an iPhone.

Fuck. That. Shit.

The first time I saw the Headstones it was 1990 and I was with the man who would become my ex-husband. They opened for The Forgotten Rebels in a small room above a crappy restaurant at the edge of Little Italy. The music was loud, angry and smart, and there was something about the lead singer that held my attention, a delicious combination of dark bad-boy good looks and a fuck-you attitude that I still find impossible to resist. I wanted them to play all night; I was disappointed when the Forgotten Rebels took the stage.

Between then and now, I bought all their cds and saw them every time I could. They split up in 2003 and the man with the fuck-you attitude cleaned up and took up acting, getting gigs portraying cops, husbands and fathers. I didn’t watch after the first episode, not because he wasn’t good but because that’s just not what he is in my head.

I couldn’t resist when I read that the original members had reformed, put out a single and were performing some dates across Canada.  Last time I saw them was 8 years ago, and they were just as good last night, just as tight, just as energetic and just as fucking wonderful as they were back then. The crowd seemed a bit older, but then so is the band, so am I. But some of us (i.e. me) refused to act it.

So yes, I sang and danced to every song. I tweeted how I expected to be unable to walk today, but I actually felt better than I have since April 21. Apparently the knee likes punk rock more than physio. So do I.

I think we’ll do this some more.


17 days of holidays

Feeling a little slow this morning. I didn’t go out, but I feel like I did. I asked Keith this morning if it still counts as drinking alone if I’m on the phone, texting, playing Words With Friends and chatting online with friends while I knock back some wobbly pops in celebration of making it through the first term; he assures me that it doesn’t, “at least not virtually”. Whatever. It would have been more fun if we were all in one room, drinking and carrying on but let’s face it, when your drinking buddies live thousands of miles and two or three time zones away, you take what you can get.

The “I will stop being a hermit” project is shaping up nicely. I’ve gone from 17 days of holidays with nothing planned other than family dinners to a pretty full calendar. I had to put it in my Google calendar so I can keep it all straight.

  • 23rd (today) – meeting Jeany at the Headstones show tonight for a night of dancing, drinking and reliving part of a misspent youth
  • 24th – off to Stratford for dinner with Keith’s dad
  • 25th – large, noisy and joyous Christmas dinner at my uncle’s
  • 26th through 28th- Up North to see my brother and his family for a few days
  • 30th – lunch with former boy-toy turned good friend, Dave
  • 31st – New Year’s comedy show at Massey Hall. Keith is on the audio team again this year and it looks like he can get me in gratis. I hope so; it will nicely bookend A Year of My Life in Shitty iPhone Pictures since the first one was at last year’s show.
  • 2nd – brunch with former student turned good friend, Ayesha then dinner to reconnect with Tawny
  • 3rd  – meeting PokerTart for lunch
  • 4th through 6th – cottage getaway with Keith. Three days of sitting in front of the fireplace, playing card and board games, going for walks and reading; two nights of sitting in the outdoor hot tub watching the stars come out over the frozen lake. They’ve just put in WiFi throughout the resort, but I’m going to pretend they didn’t. I’m going to pretend they don’t have cell service either.
  • 7th – Intro to Meditation. I’ve found I’m happier when I do this.
  • 8th – I need to finish my Courses of Study and other teaching paperwork that was due back in September. Yes, September. Love teaching; hate the paperwork. And I do love the whooshing sound that deadlines make as they fly by again and again, don’t you? While it’s a personal challenge to see how long I can go without having to do this tedious paperwork (didn’t do them at all last year!), the demand for them is becoming increasingly stern. Time to suck it up and immerse myself in Ministry of Education curriculum and expectations.
I look through that list and it makes me tired, and think about going back to bed. No, wait. It was getting to sleep at 3 and having the cat waking me up at the usual time of 6 that’s making me tired. I see a nap in my future.
But first, I have to do laundry, go work out and then compose an ode in haiku format for a Words With Friends opponent – prop bets always seem like such a good idea when you’re in the lead.


There’s nothing quite like watching two years of effort swirl down the drain. Yeah, yeah, I know, it was a half-assed effort at best, but if you put it on its side and let it all trickle together then it’s like one year of full-assed effort. Wait. That’s not right. Why do we say half-assed, yet never full-assed? Or even assed? Yet another quirk of the English language, like overwhelmed. There is no verb to whelm, to be whelmed, so how can you have an excess of something that doesn’t exist, in this case being whelmed? I did try saying underwhelmed once on a report card, thinking that since that Sloan song was so damn popular for so long that perhaps it had made it into the common lexicon, but the principal who proofread it informed me otherwise and also said that there were other more diplomatic ways to convey that particular feeling. Perhaps, I countered, but when did diplomacy ever really knock some sense into anyone? We use a few dozen hundred-dollar words to convey something that could have been said in four (ie suck it up buttercup or we all have deadlines or stop being so dramatic or STFU and its sister acronym, GTFU) and so make our meaning so vague you could drive a truck through it. She gave me that look that most people do while I’m ranting and waited until I wound down before telling me in a very diplomatic way that the report card comment was kind of half-assed and I’d need to start over; I rewrote the comment in a very diplomatic way to tell the student her work was kind of half-assed and she’d need to start over.

Which brings me back around to the fact that the universe is telling me (not very diplomatically at all) that the last two years’ efforts were kind of half-assed, and I need to start over.


THIS is the trip report. Sorta.

This is the trip report. Sorta. The time between returning from Vegas and writing about Vegas has been filled with report cards and corrections, navel-gazing, organizing family holiday plans and preparing for last night’s school holiday pageant. I’m so tired right now that the best I can do right now is a kind of point form mishmash.

Mistakes I won’t make again:

  • Flying in Friday. Yeah, getting an extra bit of sleep looks good on paper, but it’s not like I actually got any  thanks to the kid-before-Christmas feeling and an early flight. Missing the Thursday night get-together is not something I’m going to do again.
  • Checking my bag on the way home. Of course, it was mishandled and mislaid. There’s no joy in watching them turn off the luggage carousel. Luckily, the bag turned up 20 minutes later, but it was still an hour of my life I’d like to get back.
  • Thinking that I can get my WPBT fix in 2 days. Next year, Thursday to Monday minimum.
  • Missing the opportunity to show my support as Brad, Blood, Dan, G-Rob, Special K and DrChako ran the half-marathon. I am impressed and inspired by what they and other bloggers are doing to improve their health and themselves. Inspired enough to get back into the pool and on the bike. The knee thanks you.
  • Not playing any PAI GOW!

High points:

  • running into Pauly at San Francisco airport. We were on the same flight to LAS, and it was good to get an early blogger hug and chat!
  • laying in bed Saturday morning, chatting with my roomie, Maigrey. Our Saturday mantra of I will not let anyone get in the way of me having a good time today, not even myself proved effective beyond words. I can’t speak for her, but my Saturday was pretty fabulous from start to finish!
  • the group photo.  For one brief, shining, laughter-filled moment, many of the people I hold dear were in one place at one time. Can’t wait to get a copy (hint, hint….OhCaptain? Astin? Who do I need to send alcohol/gifts/etc to?).
  • Getting to move something from the “I really want to do this someday” column over to the “holy fuck, that was incredible!” and “when can I do it again?” columns.
  • speaking of things I’ll do again – brunch at Wicked Spoon. While the food was good, the company was way better.
  • watching Iggy wear flashing devil horns
  • watching Brian blush as he said “titties” for the second take.
  • it wasn’t a 15-course meal, but dinner at The Pub on Friday night had me sitting around a table with some of my favourite people. I didn’t have nearly enough time to talk to Special K, Falstaff, and Suzy, but I treasure what little I got.
  • mocking the dealertainers at the Imperial Palace. I know that there is a push to leave the IP behind, but I have to admit I kind of like it. It’s real. Aria might look better, but the IP was livelier on the Saturday night. When things are rocking, I like that I can sit at the Geisha and see/hear my friends at Pai Gow and craps knowing that other friends are in the poker room just beyond them.


  • What do you get when you combine some unrealistic expectations, unfavourable comparisons, hormones, disappointment, a vague feeling of being excluded, lack of sleep, alcohol and Red Bull? Trust me, it is not pretty. One text was all it took to tip me right into a morass of life tilt. Definitely not how I wanted to end Friday. I owe a huge debt to DrChako for for pulling me back by sitting me down with a well-made cocktail then firmly and gently reminding me that I do this to myself. Thanks babes; I’m pretty sure that was not on your list of fun things to do that night.
  • It’s a known fact of WPBT gatherings that there is never enough time to connect with everyone as deeply as you’d like. The list of people I wish I’d had more time with is long. Too long. I’m making a promise to myself to get to as many smaller gatherings as I can in the next year, make more phone calls and write more emails. I miss you.

File under what the ?

  • sitting in the Pub on Saturday, having dinner with StB08, Chilly, Shelly, and Maigrey when the rodeo opened. The American anthem started up, and without missing a beat, every cowboy in the place stood up, placed hand over heart and started singing. One woman at the table near us brushed away a tear as she sang. Did a quick check, and no, my table mates were still seated and watching football so I didn’t have to deal with the I’m a foreigner so do I still have to stand dilemma and could just observe. It was surreal to say the least.
  • I found myself actually enjoying watching the rodeo.


  • Played a little NLHE on Friday night at a blogger table, but stopped when I dropped a buyin.
  • Think I finished around 41st or 42nd on the tournament on Saturday. I could have done better if I’d had more faith in pocket sixes, as all three times I was dealt them, they turned into a set.
  • Both of those points only serve to reinforce that 1) I don’t care about poker and 2) it may have been the reason I started going to the WPBT gatherings but it sure as shit is not the reason why I still go.
  • speaking of the tourney, kudos to the blogger babes who ITMed! Every time I checked, half the remaining playing field was estrogen-based, which pleases me no end.

Thank you:

  • Keith.
    I had actually convinced myself that I was OK with not going; he knew I really wasn’t. And he knew how much I was stressing out while I was waiting for the mammogram and ultrasound test results. “Life is short”, he said as he offered to fly me down. As he put it, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but if it only costs a cheap plane ticket to ensure there are no regrets, then let’s throw some money at it. The test results were negative, but it was a reminder of how quickly life could change.
  • Maigrey
    Heather, thank you for letting me stay gratis. I am so happy I’ve had a chance to get to know you better over the last year, and can’t wait to hang out with you again!
  • April
    You make herding cats look easy. Thank you yet again for making it happen.
  • DrChako, Iggy, BrainMc, Pauly, and _________ (I know I’m forgetting people)
    The conversations I had with you guys were among the high points of my trip. As Tom Waits would say, you’re the same kind of bad as me. I love it.

I know I’m missing something, but I took no notes this time and only have 6 pictures on the phone. Every year I document less and experience more, which is great until I take into account the increasingly failing memory.  Middle age kinda blows.

ear worm

I have what is quite possibly the sexiest song ever recorded stuck in my head. It snuck in my iPod shuffle somehow and surfaced while I was out walking. It was fun to have Mark Lanegan purr in my ear for a while, but now it’s just making me antsy and it’s not helping me get my work done today.

tech notes (this is not a trip report either)

I am pretty happy with technology tonight, like

  • Skype, so I can have a chat-and-cackle session with my bff on the other side of the planet, complete with video of her husband doing a bump and grind for my benefit.
  • Twitter, so I don’t have to go through complete #WPBT withdrawal.
  • texting, so I can do some quick hit flirting/convos/questions with far away friends.

But I think I’m going to turn it all off, snuggle on the couch under a blanket and listen to the cat snore while I knit and watch Kill Bill until I feel sleepy which since I’ve been up since 3am, will hopefully be sooner rather than later. Never had insomnia before. Can’t say as I care for it much.