Turning down the radio

I drive a lot.  Around 100 kilometers a day.  I commute to London for work, and am often driving somewhere on the weekends.  I don’t mind it, I like driving.  My routine used to be that I would listen to the radio in the morning for my news and weather and traffic, then listen to CDs in the afternoon for my drive home.  Lately though it’s been all podcasts all the time.  I love podcasts – I’ve written about them before.  They’re informative and entertaining and comforting.  There are, however, still some times when I listen to the radio.  On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Dustin is with me for the drive to London.  Since it isn’t always fair for someone to jump in to the middle of a podcast, we listen to the radio.  Usually we chat anyway and barely listen, but at some point something about the morning show sends Dustin on a rant, but this morning it was my rant.

Here’s the set-up – they were talking about bribing kids to get them to do things.  I’m no stranger to the topic, I bribe Vivian constantly.  So the one morning show host starts talking about how her father has offered her $1000 for her to take in the family cat and she was considering it.  CONSIDERING taking $1000 to take care of her own cat.  I couldn’t believe it.  They were asking for people to weigh in on the issue, as radio shows do.  “text us and let us know if she should take the cat!”  I know it’s all in fun and they have time to fill, but I was pretty flabbergasted.  So I decided to send a text and said that it was the most unrelatable and spoiled thing I had ever heard.  If I were in the same situation my parents would probably say I could either take the cat or it would be put down.

The response I received from the radio station was “It’s a joke…lol.  Radio content!”

Is it?  Is that what they do?  Just make dumb things up to make you dislike the radio personalities and then encourage you to weigh in on it and then they tell you that none of it is real anyway?  I texted back “Sure it is” and received a “haha k ” back.

I dunno, maybe I’m taking it too seriously but it really soured me on listening to the radio.  No wonder it’s a dying medium if they’re so desperate for topics that they just wildly make things up.  Back to podcasts for me – at least you know when you’re listening to a fiction podcast.

In Defence of Distracted Parents

Every now and then I come across one of those viral posts.  You know the ones – “Parents, put down your phones and watch your kids in the park!  They want your undivided attention, these are the moments you can’t ever get back!”

I’m sorry, but no.

See, the other day I went to the park with Vivian.  We’re lucky and have a great park really close to our house, so we walk there often.  She didn’t want to ride her bike, so we walked there.  Or rather, she ran ahead and waited for me to catch up.  When we got to the park, she ran off to play while I parked myself on a nice bench and pulled out my book to read.  I don’t go to the park to watch my kid.  I go so she can run and get out some energy while I enjoy a little quiet time.  It’s good for her to learn how to play on her own.  It’s good for her to learn that things don’t always revolve around her.  It’s good for her to socialize with other kids.  It’s good for her to realize that I’m allowed to sit and read.  Do I look up if she says, “Mommy, watch this!”?  Of course I do.  Do I look up periodically to make sure she hasn’t disappeared – sure.  But for the most part, I’m of the mind that the park is for kids to play, not adults.

So I’m sure I look lazy sitting there ignoring my kid, checking my phone or reading a book.  Sure I look neglectful and distracted.  But I’m still there.  And I’m teaching her that adults deserve a break, just like she does when she wants to be left alone.  She doesn’t need me to follow her around and gaze adoringly while she goes down the slide.

Sometimes it’s okay to ignore your kids, just a little bit.

The Keanu Retrospective, aka The Cool Breeze Film Festival

Remember how I posted that I had about 200 movies I was wanting to work through this year?  One of my better ideas, to be sure.  Well just for funsies, and because I’m crazy, I’ve come up with another movie viewing project.

You see, I like having a theme to movie nights.  I watch a lot of movies at home, and Dustin and I like to have a theme or a general feel for the movies we watch.  It can be fun to think of movies that would pair well together and I keep a running list of these pairs.  Our grandest idea though?  The Keanu Retrospective, aka The Cool Breeze Film Festival.

This is too good not to share.:

This is the single greatest picture of Keanu that I’ve ever seen.  Enjoy.

Who doesn’t love Keanu Reeves?  The man is a damn treasure.  After seeing John Wick: Chapter 2, we talked about how it would be fun to work our way through the Keanu Reeves catalog, hitting the high points and watching his progression from goofy stoner to badass assassin.

What does the Cool Breeze Film Festival look like?  Something like this…

  • Youngblood
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Parenthood
  • Point Break
  • Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Little Buddha
  • Speed
  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • Feeling Minnesota
  • The Devil’s Advocate
  • The Matrix
  • The Gift
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • Constantine
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Street Kings
  • Man of Tai Chi
  • 47 Ronin
  • The Bad Batch

Yes, we’re skipping John Wick, John Wick Chapter 2, Neon Demon, and Knock Knock because we’ve watched those fairly recently.  The hope is that we’ll be caught up by the time The Bad Batch gets its wide release.

So far, it’s been a lot of fun.  We’re getting to watch a lot of old movies we haven’t seen in ages, and have a few on the list that neither of us have seen before.  Plus, as I’ve said before, it can be so hard to decide what to watch sometimes, having a list to work from can make things a lot easier.

Hit me with your best movie night themes and pairings – I’ll do another post with the ideas I’ve got brewing right now!

Day to Night

I have long been an ardent supporter of the morning shower.  I’m not a morning person, so what better way to drag yourself into the day than by spending some time in a warm, steamy cocoon in the shower?  You get to start the day feeling all fresh and clean, it’s a real blank slate thing.  Plus, it’s way easier to do your hair.

Lately though, I’ve been stepping out on my morning routine.  I’ve been crossing over to the other side and trying the nighttime shower routine.  I gotta say, it’s kind of nice.  I can sleep in for an extra 15 minutes or so (which is incredibly important), and I get to rinse off the problems of the day and crawl into bed feeling all cozy and warm.  Sure it means wearing my hair in a ponytail the next day since it dries all funny, but it’s a nice alternative.

Can I make such an extreme change though?  Can I actually become a nighttime showerer?  It poses so many questions for my overthinking mind to obsess about.  Clothing, for example.  If I take a nighttime shower, then logic would dictate that I need to put on clean pajamas.  I don’t know about you guys, but my pjs generally get worn a few times before I deem them to be dirty.  But if I shower at night, do I need new pjs each night?  Can I put on clean underwear after my shower and still continue to wear it in the morning, or do I need to change underwear again?  Obviously, the easiest response is to not wear pajamas to bed, but I have a fear that there will be a fire and I’ll have to rush out of the house naked.  Because I’m logical and not at all irrational.

What does it say about me if I’m a nighttime showerer?  Wouldn’t my schedule get all thrown off if I doze off on the couch before taking a shower?  Then I have to shower the next morning AND the following evening to get back on schedule?  This problem is really far more complicated than people realize.

It seemed like such a grown-up thing, making the transition from being a nighttime showerer to daytime.  Little kids take their baths in the evening, but it takes a responsible adult to handle the time management of showering in the morning, right?

Clearly, more research is required.  Although I took a glorious, Top 10 Best Shower last night before bed, had an awesome sleep, and managed to wake up on time this morning so maybe there is something to this whole thing.

Some tips on thrifting for books

For a long time, I avoided the book section in thrift stores.  Whenever I go thrifting, I have a specific set of areas that I’ll explore but I always thought the book section was too time-consuming and overwhelming so I would avoid it.  Lately though, I’ve reconsidered and have had some serious luck thrifting books.  It definitely takes some digging and some practice, but there’s gold in dem dar shelves if you take the time to look!  So, against my better judgment, I’m sharing my best tips for making the book section manageable at your local thrift store.  Don’t take all the good finds on me!

  • First of all, I think it’s important to know what you’re looking for.  Are you a person who loves history books?  Adult fiction?  Steamy bodice-rippers?  Kids books?  I find it’s best to have a plan – divide and conquer.  For me, I am generally looking for modern books that I don’t feel like buying at full price, vintage books with interesting covers, vintage paranormal books, movie novelizations, and books I loved as a child.  This means I basically scour all the sections except for children’s board books, romance, spirituality/religion, and cooking.
  • Know your sections.  Things are not always what they seem – remember that in thrift stores the items are stocked by regular staff, so they may not always know where to put things.  I always make sure I check the “Vintage and collectibles” section or the “Classics” section.  Not only are there often some really interesting covers in there, but sometimes they put more modern authors like J.G. Ballard or random trade paperback books that don’t really fit in with the pocket sized paperbacks.
  • I like to look for movie novelizations, which can be all over the place.  Even if you’re not interested in science fiction, it’s good to give it a glance and see what’s hiding in there.
  • Always check the books that have been turned so the spine faces in.  I don’t know if people do this to hide books or just out of laziness, but sometimes the books have the spines facing in adding an element of mystery to the hunt.
  • The humour section can have some good memoirs of comedians in it, but I find it more likely to find them in the non-fiction or biography section.  The humour section is where bathroom books go to die.
  • Get your scan on!  I am typically not looking for a specific book, except in the kids section where I’m scouring for Encyclopedia Brown books.  Rather than spending too much time examining each book, I have gotten pretty good at just scanning along the rows and looking for certain key words.  I’m pretty good at recognizing books by font/colour, but I think it’s a skill you acquire.  Just scan back and forth so things aren’t so overwhelming.
  • Check things out.  Because I like to find books with interesting vintage covers, I tend to pull out anything with an older looking spine just to check it out.  Yes, I judge books by their covers.
  • Look all the way at the bottom – they usually put hardcovers towards the bottom to balance the weight, so that’s where you can come across really great first editions of things.
  • Make sure the section isn’t broken up – sometimes you think a section is done because you reached the bottom of the shelf, but it actually continues at the top.
  • Keep a list.  There are certain series that I collect, so I have the titles all written in a little notebook in my purse so I can check it quickly to avoid duplicates.
  • Make use of the deals – Talize and Value Village are buy 4 get the 5th free, so it’s always worth it to keep browsing!


Zip It

It’s not exactly a secret that kids have a lot of stuff.  And that stuff takes up a lot of room.  And all that room being cluttered up with kid stuff is enough to make you go insane.  Vivian is six now, so a lot of her toys are getting bigger and can go in her room, but there’s still piles of stuff in the living room too.  One of the things that makes me especially crazy are games and puzzles.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love a good puzzle.  But I find the kids games and puzzles often don’t justify the box they are packaged in.

Enter the Ziploc bag.  No, this isn’t sponsored by Ziploc, although I wish it was because a giant box of Ziploc bags being delivered to my door is basically a dream come true.

Ziploc bags are essential for organizing.  In fact, I think from now on all baby gifts I give will come with a box of the large Ziploc bags.  You can put everything in them – just not the baby itself.

Observe.  This basket holds 5 board games and 7 puzzles.

Once you take Candyland out of the box, you realize it’s really only a board and a couple of small pieces.  It really doesn’t necessitate a box for storage.  So I take it all out, and store it all in a Ziploc bag.  Bam.

Same goes for puzzles.  Why keep the box when you can cut off the image, and put it in a nice, flat Ziploc bag with all the pieces?

Now, instead of having a cupboard filled with boxes that are difficult to get out and take up too much space, I have one basket holding all the things.  That bin on the lower level has her Lego in it too – all organized into Ziploc bags.  Each set gets its own bag with the booklet – except for that one rogue booklet sitting on the shelf.  Also, that’s Meiko underneath the cabinet thing.

I’m telling you guys – art supplies, game pieces, Lego, flash cards, it can all be stored neatly in Ziploc bags.  And those super giant ones with the handles?  They’re the real stars – the last time I moved basically half my stuff was in those bad boys, and now Vivian’s out of season clothes get stored in them.

Ziplocs for life, yo.


I had lunch with Jenn today, something we haven’t done for far too long.  Things have been busy – she’s got a new job and I seem to be in court more and more, plus we both have social lives at some point.  Still, it was nice to meet up and have lunch, trying to catch up on all our goings-on and make plans for the coming weekend.

I’m still deep in the winter hermit mode so any social activity feels odd and unusual.  We talked about it before we parted ways – it’s hit that point in the winter where the holidays are far enough behind you and the spring is far enough ahead of you that it feels like all you do is hang out at home.  Like you start to feel wistful for a time when you had friends and plans.  I wouldn’t say I suffer from SAD, I’m just lazy and don’t like to be cold.  Everything is more difficult when it’s cold out, everything takes just a little more planning, and it’s just that much easier to bail on plans before you’ve even made them.

So, all that rambling is leading up to me dreaming of those warm summer nights when you can sit on a patio for hours.  We’re getting so close – so I thought I would remind us all of what’s waiting for us on the other side of this season.

  • Jeans and tank top weather, which is obviously the best weather.
  • Patios with pitchers of beer and half-priced appetizers.
  • Double features at the drive-in.
  • Wandering around downtown and running into people you know.
  • Festivals in the park – which is basically every weekend in London.
  • Evening walks with ice cream.
  • Road trips that don’t include the words “weather permitting”.
  • Reading outside.
  • Walking home from the bars in the dark.
  • Not caring how hot and sweaty you are at a concert.
  • Dresses without tights and boots.
  • Farmers markets, flea markets, any kind of market.
  • Getting those little jobs done around the outside of your house that make a big improvement.
  • Driving ranges and golf tournaments.

Generally, being outside, being active, being social.  All the things I’ve been avoiding doing as of late.


I have a lot of books.  This is not new information to anyone who has read this blog or has spent longer than five minutes with me.  I love to read – always have.  I’ve also been cursed with a collector mentality so I have a hard time parting with my books.  Many books I buy purely for collection purposes.  Weird old book about aliens?  You better believe I’m buying that.  I may not necessarily read it, but I have it.

The books that are waiting to be read are carefully organized in my TBR piles – To Be Read.  I’ve found that it works best if my TBR books aren’t mingling with the rest of my collection.  It’s an out of sight, out of mind thing.  I like to have them in a specific place so when I reach for a new book I have lots of options rather than running out to buy something new.

However, my TBR pile has gotten rather large and unruly so I thought I would show you guys my 2-phase system of organization for my TBRs.

Say hello to Phase 1.

Phase 1 of my TBR pile lives in the office.  When I get new books, they live in here.  This is basically the waiting area.  Within Phase 1, I categorize the books.  Short stories, fiction, true crime, non-fiction all get stacked together.  I like to bounce back and forth between fiction/non-fiction so it helps me to have things organized like this before books get moved to Phase 2.

This is Phase 2.

Phase 2 lives on my nightstand.  These are the books that are on deck – the ones I’ll reach for as soon as I need something new to read.  I keep a selection of fiction and non-fiction so I’m always ready for the next one.  And I do grab a new book as soon as I’ve finished one.  I’m never without something to read!  Usually Phase 2 is much more fulsome, but I’ve been trying to clear it out completely before I add in new books from Phase 1.  Otherwise, I’ll get all excited about the newcomers and these books will no doubt end up at the bottom of the TBR list once again.  It’s always difficult not to read new books immediately, so I do make some exceptions if something especially exciting makes its way to my place.  I never stray from my fiction/non-fiction rule though – I’ve been doing that for years and it works well to keep me from getting into a rut.

Basically, I don’t need to buy another book for a few years, but we all know that that will never happen.

Treats of the Week(s) – Unexpected Gifts

These posts seem to be happening less and less frequently, but quality over quantity, right?  Christmas was lovely and stressful as always.  Vivian had a great Christmas – she was so thankful and appreciative for everything she received, I was so proud of her.  It’s so easy to spoil an only child, but basically every gift she opened was met with, “Oh Blair would love this!” and lots of thank yous.  She’s a keeper, that one.

January kind of sucks, there’s no denying it.  Even with the milder weather we’ve been having, I’ve been in total hibernation mode.  I basically just want to putter around in my pajamas and drink coffee.  I’m trying to go to the gym though – slipping over on my lunch break even just for a little cardio seems to be helping.  I’ve also had a sudden influx of unexpected gifts from people – which is definitely helping cure those winter blahs!

Vivian always gives me little notes – I have them everywhere and yet I never get tired of receiving them!  (Dustin has the same habit – between the two of them I’m pretty spoiled.)


Thanks to a former blog post about these local prints, I was able to score the Storybook Gardens one to further my set!  I think I’m only missing one from the Pioneer Village now.  I just received a tweet one day asking if I would like one, and she was nice enough to deliver it right to my work!


My brother and his girlfriend showed up at my place the other night with a kitten that she had found.  We’re pretty sure that the kitten isn’t feral, she’s way too friendly.  But now apparently I have three cats living in my house.  Meiko is fitting in pretty well so far.  Fender and Gibson are being pretty tolerant for two cats who are nearly 10 years old. 

While out at the Morrissey House for dinner last night, our waitress gave us 15% off our bill just for being so polite.  I didn’t think we were being overly polite, but I’m one of those people who stacks the dirty dishes for the server and just tries to be helpful.  Politeness pays, you guys!


My friend Jerrod also sent us a package with some chips from Pennsylvania (which are super yummy) and a wooden hippo so I can have my own House Hippo!  I also sent him a package of Canadian delicacies – Coffee Crisp, Smarties, and packets to make Chalet Sauce from Swiss Chalet.


The Movie List 2017

One of my resolutions/goals for this year was to actually chip away at the insane list of movies I want to watch.  I have a bad habit of adding something to my Pinterest board or downloading something I hear about, or adding something to My List on Netflix but then never getting around to actually watching the thing.  It’s hard – there’s so much to watch but someone it’s never what I actually want to see!  This time of year I tend to get pretty into the Oscar picks, so I might not be able to knock too many off this list until later in February, but I figured I would post it here and then post an updated one at the end of the year to see how I’ve progressed.

There’s 212 movies on this list – two of which I’ve already scratched off.  Of course I made a spreadsheet, was there any doubt?  This was my list as of the end of 2016.  I’ve since added to my Netflix list/Pinterest boards but haven’t included them here.  I figure this is what I’m starting with and it won’t help me to keep going back and adding more.

10 Cloverfield Lane
112 Weddings
99 Homes
A Band Called Death
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
A Little Chaos
A Most Violent Year
A Most Wanted Man
A Town Called Panic
All is Lost
American Ultra
An Honest Liar
As Above So Below
Atari: Game Over
Attacking the Devil
Audrie & Daisy
Ballet 422
Batman: Assault on Arkham
Batman: Year One
Before We Go
Begin Again
Being Elmo
Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal
Blood, Sweat & Sequins
Blue Jasmine
Bone Tomahawk
Brick Mansions
Burt’s Buzz
Capturing the Friedmans
Chalk it Up
Chasing Ice
Children of God
Conspiracy Theory
Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus
Dark Places
Dear Zachary
Dior & I
Dom Hemingway
Dressed to Kill
Drinking Buddies
End the Drugs War
Enough Said
Enquiring Minds
Enter the Battlefield
Escobar: Paradise Lost
Every Thing Will Be Fine
Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story
Fantastic 4
Finders Keepers
Flock of Dudes
Girl Most Likely
God’s Pocket
Hardcore Henry
He Named me Malala
High Strung
Highway of Tears
Hot Girls Wanted
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
I am Big Bird
I am Road Comic
I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
I Saw the Light
I Smile Back
Infinitely Polar Bear
Interview with a Serial Killer
Josef Fritzl: Story of a Monster
Kill the Messenger
Kill Your Friends
Killing Them Softly
Labyrinth of Lies
Let’s Be Cops
Life in a Day
Listen Up Philip
Love is Strange
Man on Wire
Man vs. Snake
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Mean Streets
Miles Ahead
Misery Loves Comedy
Miss Representation
Mississippi Grind
Mortified Nation
Mr. Brooks
Mr. Right
Mr. Turner
Night Owls
No No
Other People
Palo Alto
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Particle Fever
Pawn Sacrifice
People Places Things
Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2
Queen Mimi
Rear Window
Red Army
Red Army
Requiem for the American Dream
Rock the Kasbah
Rosemary’s Baby
Rubble Kings
Save the Date
Searching for Sugar Man
Sex in the Comix
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Sleeping With Other People
Sleepwalkers who Kill
Slow Learners
Somm: Into the Bottle
Son of Batman
Special Correspondents
St. Vincent
Stories We Tell
Stranger by the Lake
Team Foxcatcher
Testament of Youth
The 13th
The Act of Killing
The Art of the Steal
The Blue Rooom
The Brothers Bloom
The Burning
The Counselor
The Details
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
The Doors: When You’re Strange
The Double
The East
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Eyes of my Mother
The Family
The Fear of 13
The Fifth Estate
The Final Girls
The First Monday in May
The Fundamentals of Caring
The Human Centipede
The Hunting Ground
The Krays: The Myth Behind the Legend
The Loneliest Planet
The Man Who Knew Infinity
The Master
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
The Monuments Men
The Norliss Tapes
The One I Love
The Other Woman
The Overnight
The Purge: Anarchy
The Queen
The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Seven Five
The Skin I Live In
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Visit
The Witch
Third Person
Top Five
Trophy Kids
True Story
Video Games: The Movie
Walt Before Mickey
We are Twisted Effing Sister
West of Memphis
What Happened, Miss Simone
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Who Took Johnny
Young and Beautiful
Your Sister’s Sister

A lot of them are documentaries, and a lot of those are only around an hour long so hopefully I can get through quite a few!  Wish me luck!