This Week in Review

Reading… Just finished reading The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs. The author recounts his quest to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica (all 14 million words of it). If you’re a trivia buff (like me) and enjoy quirky humour, this book is a must-read. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book that I look forward to reading A.J.’s other books.

Listening to… This playlist featuring covers (in every imaginable language) of Jacques Brel’s classic song, Ne Me Quitte Pas. I can’t get enough of it. This cover by Nina Simone is one of my favourites:

Watching… Old episodes of Fantasy Island on Netflix. I vaguely remember watching this show as a kid, but I couldn’t remember the premise of the show. Now that I’ve watched a few episodes, I can’t get over how creepy and badly made this series was, yet I can’t stop watching – it’s mesmerizing!

Discovering… Kid Koala all over again, after seeing his show last night as part of the Luminato Festival. I saw Kid Koala’s Space Cadet Headphone Experience a year ago, and it was magical. Although I’m not really into DJs/scratching/electronica, I truly enjoy attending his shows. He is fascinating to watch in action – his hands never stop moving, not for a moment. And he’s such an amazingly sweet, down-to-earth guy. Here’s his remix of the classic song Moon River:

Learning… To live with a neurotic cat. Lulu came into my life approximately two months ago, and although we’ve made a huge amount of progress, she still has her quirks. Lots of them. Thankfully she’s pretty adorable.

Miss Lulu (the adorable but slightly neurotic cat)

Miss Lulu (the adorable but slightly neurotic cat)

Loving… Making books, including a few new types of journals created from upcycled children’s books. I feel like I’ve got my mojo back – now the challenge is to keep it going through the summer months…

Hating… All the rain we’ve had this spring. I hope summer is on the cool side, but sunnier than the past several months.

Feeling… The need for some R&R. Haven’t taken a significant amount of time off in about a year. I’ll be on vacation in less than a month and look forward to a week-long master bookbinding class, time with my parents and family, and lots of catching up with close friends!

Wishing… I could get rid of the clutter in my apartment once and for all. I’ve made progress over the past few months, but I feel like there’s still a long way to go… I’ve got to be patient, but resilient.

What have you been up to this week?

Advertisements

A Few Things I Discovered This Week

1. Gin + tonic flavoured marshmallows are pretty darn yummy (even if they really taste like lime marshmallows).

2. Nadège Pâtisserie makes the most adorable and treats ever invented (see item #1). Here’s further proof:

Nadège Pâtisserie - Le Marie Antoinette

Nadège Pâtisserie – Le Marie Antoinette

Those macarons were about the size of a quarter. Seriously.

3. I love oysters – the raw kind! – after an amazing meal at Oyster Boy. For years and years I resisted eating oysters because I had a not-so-great experience 15 or so years ago. Not anymore. Bring. Them. On.

4. Watching live, professional basketball games is so much fun – who knew? After seeing the Toronto Raptors vs. Detroit Pistons game on Monday night, I am hooked. This is a sport that I could totally get into. Definitely.

Raptors vs. Pistons action

Raptors vs. Pistons action

5. Being a brunette isn’t so bad. It’s definitely an adjustment from being a blonde my entire life, but I’m kinda liking it:

The not-blonde me

The not-blonde me

Did you discover anything new this week?

End-of-Year Survey

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

At this time of year, I like to take a moment to reflect on the past year and look forward to the upcoming one. I record these reflections in a journal (written or visual), and to help me along I’ve been using the following questionnaire for several years now. Some years I’ll answer all of the questions, whereas others I’ll just pick and choose a few questions. They serve as a great reminder of all that I’ve accomplished and am grateful for, as well as areas for improvement.  This holiday season has been so busy that I haven’t yet had a chance to complete the survey, but my plan is to work on it this coming weekend.

Feel free to steal these questions!

  1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
  2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  4. Did anyone close to you die?
  5. What countries did you visit?
  6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
  7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  9. What was your biggest failure?
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
  11. What was the best thing you bought?
  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
  14. Where did most of your money go?
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
  16. What songs will always remind you of 2012?
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    1. happier or sadder?
    2. thinner or fatter?
    3. richer or poorer?
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
  20. How will you be spending Christmas?
  21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
  22. How many one night stands?
  23. What was your favourite TV program?
  24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
  25. What was the best book you read?
  26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
  27. What did you want and get?
  28. What did you want and not get?
  29. What was your favourite film of this year?
  30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
  31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
  32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
  33. What kept you sane?
  34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
  35. What political issue stirred you the most?
  36. Who did you miss?
  37. Who was the best new person you met?
  38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
  39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This Week in Review

Reading… Recently finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (it’s like Harry Potter for adults) and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. Both fantastic reads – highly recommended. I’m now onto slightly easier reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Not exactly fine literature, but entertaining nonetheless. Scottish warriors – need I say more?

Listening to… Lots of music in French – it’s nice to go back to my roots. The music site 8tracks allows you to stream playlists that others have put together, and I’ve discovered lots of great music this way. One of my favourite playlists was created by…Nikki Yanofski, of all people. She’s compiled a list of her favourite French songs, and they’re all pretty awesome. Have a listen here.

Watching… Flight of the Conchords’ newest endeavour: a song they wrote to raise funds for a sick kids charity in NZ. They interviewed kids to get ideas for song lyrics (with brilliant results), and even reunited with Murray for a band meeting. My heart is so happy to see them together again.

Discovering… This great blog called 5 Things To Do Today. Appeals to the incurable list-maker in me, and tons of great ideas to boot. Very inspiring.

Learning… About emotional intelligence. I’ve been on two separate courses on EI this summer, which have helped me become increasingly self-aware of my emotions and how I react to people and situations. I definitely want to keep exploring this topic more deeply and meaningfully.

Loving… The fantastic new haircut I got last night. I feel like a million bucks.

Hating… The lingering hot and humid days – I want fall to be here NOW!

Feeling… Excited about a night out with friends tonight. It will include Bridesmaids (the movie), a tasty meal, cupcakes, and copious amounts of wine. It’s all good.

Wishing… I didn’t have to clean my loft this weekend, but it’s quite filthy. I know I’ll feel better afterwards, though…

What have you been up to this week?

This Week in Review

Reading… The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I was intrigued by the book after reading a great article about it in the October 2011 edition of Vanity Fair magazine. Although it’s a novel about baseball, it’s not really about baseball… I’m really enjoying it so far.

Listening to… Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s United We Swing album. It has definitely helped bring up my energy level while making books and other lovely items.

Watching… 8th Fire – Indigenous in the City on CBC Television. A fascinating documentary on some of Canada’s Aboriginals living in our cities, how they got there, and how they are coping. I loved the story about rap group Winnipeg’s Most, but the explanation about the Indian Act, 1876 made me very angry at the injustices inflicted on Aboriginal peoples.

Discovering… Toronto’s lovely Roncesvalles neighbourhood. I had never really had the chance to look around the area until this afternoon, while on a fun date. The traditionally Polish neighbourhood has lots of funky little shops, cafes and restaurants that I’m looking forward to exploring further.

Learning… To let go of the need to always be doing something and to just listen to my body when it’s tired. For several weeks now, I’ve been rediscovering the joy in guilt-free naps. Fantastic.

Loving… The birthday wishes from friends and family this week. I felt surrounded by so much love and warmth.

Hating… Constantly cold feet. Despite the thick woolly socks and shoes that I wear inside my loft, my poor toes are always freezing because of the cement floors. Thank goodness for heating pads and hot water bottles, I tell ya.

Feeling… Exhausted after a long week on the road for work. Ten-hour days, too much night driving, and very little sleep made for a somewhat cranky birthday girl!

Wishing… I wasn’t having to do so much travel in Ontario during the winter months…although I am grateful not to have to do it on crutches with a broken ankle this year.

What have you been up to this week?

This Week in Review

Reading… Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon. After seeing his painting The Deposition (which moved me to tears) at the Vatican, as well as the Caravaggio and his followers in Rome exhibit at the National Gallery in Ottawa this past summer, I’ve taken an extra keen interest in the talented but troubled artist.

Listening to… Cary Brothers’ cover of “Something About You”. I have always loved Level 42’s original song; this version is a bit more mellow, but just as beautiful.

Watching… The Walking Dead. After a friend raved about this AMC show, I made the mistake of watching the first episode just before going to bed. But I still got hooked.

Discovering… The fun in crafting again. The past few months were so busy with prepping for craft fairs and filling orders for shops and customers that I was too tired to really enjoy it. After a wonderfully restful holiday (with many naps), I am enjoying staying up late and making a mess with art and craft supplies again. It’s great to have my mojo back!

Learning… So much from my recent adventures in online dating. I keep discovering new things about myself (in a good way) every time I interact or meet someone new. It’s been a surprisingly pleasant experience, so far… I’ve even gone so far as to recommend online dating to other friends (which I never thought would ever happen!).

Loving… Handmade Ryan Gosling – This site is like porn for crafty girls. Without the nekkid porn shots. 

Hating… The dread I feel about my work schedule – 11 events to organize and implement in 7 weeks means travel in winter conditions, sleepless nights in hotel rooms and back pain from too much stress. I hope I make it to March in one piece.

Feeling… Melancholy after spending 2.5 hrs on the phone with my oldest friend, who lives far away. So many of my closest friends live in other parts of the world, and I miss them dearly. I wish we could see each other more often.

Wishing… The mild weather could last all winter: +5C in January? Yes, please!

What have you been up to this week?

This Week in Review

Reading… Just finished reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – brilliant. I love everything this man writes – now, if he published more than once every 10 years, I’d be completely ecstatic. Now I’m on to Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon.

Listening to… Fitz and the Tantrums – Groovy tunes that make you want to dance all day:

Watching… Saw Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows this week. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law is amazing (and I don’t even like Jude Law). Guy Ritchie has done a fantastic job directing this film, and I hope there are many more to come.

Discovering… Lots of new music, especially with all the “best of 2011” lists floating around the internets.

Learning… Italian (and loving it). I definitely need to apply myself and practice more, but I am picking it up fairly quickly (being fluent in French certainly helps). 

Loving… The calm after the storm. The past few months have been so crazy with a heavy workload and travel related to the pesky day job, teaching bookbinding workshops, preparing for and selling at craft fairs, and trying to keep the local shops stocked with merchandise (I could barely keep up with the demand!). I’ve been resting, relaxing and reflecting this past week, and it feels wonderful.

Hating… The thought of having to go back to the pesky day job on Tuesday morning.  😦

Feeling… Grateful for the amazing people, adventures and opportunities that came into my life in 2011. May 2012 be even more amazing!

Wishing… I could come up with a great plan to quit the pesky day job once and for all. I will definitely keep working at it…

What have you been up to this week?