Wow it’s been a while… I wonder if anyone is still out there?

•December 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

5 years can change a lot.

But before I go any further, I’m curious to see if anyone is still out there. I’m sorry for vanishing: my gmail account got hacked and shut down, (I SEE YOU HACKERS IN BULGARIA. WTF do you want with my blog?) and well… life goes on. 

I will stop by each and every one of your blogs and say hello.  If enough people are around, I can start writing again.

HI HOW IS EVERYONE.

The Truth About…

•June 10, 2008 • 20 Comments

As my previous post eluded to, yours truly was on a slight bender recently for many a reasons.  Corporate’s been doing the work of his and his boss for the past 2 weeks, which would have been fine had I not heard ‘next week will be better baby’ come out of his mouth every week since he started at his company.  In July.  Of 2007.  Now of course I’m not the kind of girl who sits beside her cell phone waiting for it to ring, but still.  I also am a firm believer of each person having a life outside of the relationship: in fact, I demand it.  But that implies that I’m at least somewhere in his life, moreso than a 10 minute conversation 1-2 times a week. 

 

Anyway; I’ve had to fill my time with my other favourite activities: girl friends, movies, shopping (waaay too much shopping).  And isn’t it odd how, when you’re starting to move in a direction that seems all your own, someone from your past swoops in and tries to tag along for the ride?

 

I’m talking, of course, about Toronto.  My dear, dear Toronto.  From 2004-2007 we were the ultimate will they/won’t they, are they/aren’t they ‘couple’ that our co-workers would just dote on, wondering when and where we would finally throw off our flirtatious whims and get together.  Unfortunately, Toronto wasn’t in that spot.  Not because he was 4 hours away physically, but that he was hundreds of miles away emotionally.  Sometimes he’d let me sneak a peek at who he was and how he could be as a friend, a lover, and a partner.  And it broke my heart, knowing that we’d never be that.  As much as I wanted, want, to remain his friend, emotions are funny like that; you can’t seem to leave them in the past like that certain uncomfortable pair of shoes that looked good in the store but pinched your feet in every possible place.   I guess you could say that Toronto was your typical older man; flirtatious, fabulous, oh so cool, and oh so unattainable.

 

A few days before my bender Friday, Toronto and I had a chat to ‘clear the air’ of the awkwardness that had surrounded our tenacious relationship.  He confessed that although he felt the same way I did, that he often wondered about us, how he often thought of me, and how he thinks our relationship has not reached its pinnacle, and that who knows what the future holds in store for us; and that, he said no to us not in spite of me, but despite me … That conversation gave me a bit of closure to our dilemma, and eased our tension, along with me confessing that Corporate and I had been happily together and that I wouldn’t change it for the world.  We ended the day with smiles and laughter, and a glimmer of hope that eventually we could connect in the same way we once did, if not as lovers, but as friends.

 

However, on Friday, that changed.

 

I had met up with some former co-workers of mine, co-workers that were a part of the captivated audience of the Carrie-Toronto story line.  One co-worker, let’s call her Reese, after 4 or 5 Caesars and 3 tequila shots, threw her hands on the table and exclaimed “Oh Toronto; it was always going to be Carrie and Toronto…” and as I rolled my eyes and softly smiled to begin my usual retort, she followed up with “… but he’s been with ________ for a while now.  Not too long after he moved.”

 

Instantaneously I felt my heart drop to my ileum, my half-cornered smile sink down to my chin, and my eyes widen with dis-belief.  Another co-worker continued on the conversation, describing __________ and her departure and subsequent return to the company while I sat on my bar stool, staring emptily into my Alexander Keiths, which had suddenly lost all it’s flavour and temptation.

 

Toronto.  Dating.  Relationship’d. 

 

My breathing quickened as I rushed to the ladies room, half stumbling from the drink and the news I had just ingested.  All I could think as I sat down was ‘You bastard’… ‘You freakin’ bastard’.  How could he have lead me on for those months before I reunited with Corporate, thinking that soon, maybe, eventually, we’d be together?  If it wasn’t for Corporate… I might still be waiting.  In that small, cramped bathroom stall, I realized that no matter how hard I tried to erase those memories and emotions, I still had feelings for him, and with those drunken words from Reese’s mouth, those feelings for Toronto remained unrequited.

 

Danni Heatley had decided to play hide-and-go-seek with my cell phone that evening, so my baby was beyond dead, and in my drunken rage I grabbed the first available phone I could find – my co-workers blackberry – and called him.  I snuck away on the premise that I was checking my voicemail and asked him – well, more like yelled at him – straight out if he was with _______ and if he was, why didn’t he tell me to begin with?  Why keep it a secret when I told him about Corporate?

 

I’m still waiting to hear from him; but in a way I guess that’s my answer.  I know, it was so un-Audrey of me to do, and I could have been far more eloquent sober.  But seriously; why?  Why.  I guess I’ll never know.

Ottawa Nights

•June 4, 2008 • 9 Comments

I sit here yawning at work, not because I have nothing to do, but because for the past 6 nights (yes, 6, in a row) I have been experiencing what many of my fellow 20 something citizens of this lovely town called Ottawa refuse to believe exists: a night life.  Or, a life in general.

 

Let me explain: Ottawa has always been seen as a pretty conservative kind of town.   You know, button down, proper, 9-5 Mon-Fri standard city.  Don’t get me wrong here; I, too, have fallen into the trap of complaining that there is nothing to do in Ottawa save finding yourself in front of your TV with your girlfriends or a bottle of wine… and if you’re extremely lucky, both, and then the vicious circle starts again until you go to, let’s sat Toronto or Montreal for some entertainment.

 

I’d like to throw out there to whoever reads this in Ottawa (HI!) that yes, there is INDEED a multitude of ‘stuff to do’ in Ottawa all the way from Monday to Friday.  You just have to look for it; on that note, for the past 6 days I’ve kind of fallen into Ottawa’s hidden night life, the bags under my eyes and my constant yawning can attest to it, and I thought I’d share some with you before I make a great escape for an epic nap.

 

Mondays: As I said in my last post, you are BOUND to meet some interesting (read: weird) people out on a Monday night, with the exception of 2: musicians and servers.  Zaphods in the heart of the market hosts an open – stage of sorts for local bands to come and jam.  Elizabeth and I went last Monday for a drink and some surprisingly good music.  The crowd is small and intimate; the musicians unpretentious and playing for the love of it, and it sure as hell beat the laundry I was supposed to be doing.

 

As for servers; there is a little place called Oz Kafe on Elgin Street, where the Oh So Good used to be.  Oz Kafe stays open SUPER late (like, 2-3 am) so that servers coming off the night shift can get a decent meal at a trendy and delicious spot to eat.   Also, every so often on Mondays (I can’t remember if it’s the first or the last) is Chef Appreciation Night, where a guest chef comes into Oz and has a theme for a 4 course meal; all for 20$.  Book early my fellow Ottawa-ites, because when I was there the place was PACKED and bumpin.  Might I also add, it was here that I had the most delicious Cosmopolitan I have ever had in my life.  What’s it like?  Go… and you tell me.

 

Tuesdays: My girl Mackenzie B introduced us to this lovely night while we were discussing the 2nd Narnia movie.  Now, I’m not cheap, but I wouldn’t spend 12-14$ to go see Narnia.  But… I would be convinced to pay less.  Significantly less.  Tuesdays are our 4.20… movie nights.   At Silver City and other theatres that Famous Players, or is it Cineplex Odeon now?  Whatever… Tuesday night movies are 4.20$ for general admission, and thanks to reelmail, you can buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in the inevitable gong-show of a lineup 10 minutes before the previews start.  And of course, with all the time you save not waiting in line, you can forego the overpriced popcorn and soda for a real meal at Moxie’s, where Tuesday nights are Margarita nights.  What could be better on a Tuesday night than cheap drinks and an even cheaper flick?  And yeah, it may be in Gloucester, but it’s still Ottawa.

 

Wednesdays: I haven’t quite gotten into this little tradition, at least without being either a) tipsy b) forced or c) all of the above, but apparently many people in this lovely city really really enjoy karaoke.  You can find a bar anywhere in the city with at least 1 karaoke night, and on Wednesdays it’s the Bytowne on Elgin Street right beneath Hooley’s.  The closer you get to the Rideau Centre on Elgin the more sit-down pub fair places you’ll find, like Sir. John A which used to be…  Oh I don’t remember, but that’s really not the point.  Either way, you can spend the rest of your hump day singing the blues away in a collection of taverns and welcoming in the weekend.

 

Thursdays: Now we all know about 90s night at Barrymores, the 2nd most popular night at said club for drinks and dancing.   Except for the fact that you spend half of your night waiting in a never ending / never moving line up.  So my girls and I have turned to the next best thing; a hidden gem on Sparks St called Ja’zoos café, a coffee shop turned dance hall when the sun goes down and the DJ’s come up.  Rumour has it that the drinks are cheap and the night ends a bit on the early side, say 1:30 am, so that the working stiffs can get home and sleep and still be ok in the morning.  For sure I’ll be there next week to check it out; so grab some friends if you’re in the vicinity and come on down!

 

Also, the Thursday night dinner out is becoming more and more popular here in Ottawa.  Thursdays are a funny night; it’s not quite the weekend, so the majority of the population probably won’t be waiting in line with you at Barrymore’s or rubbing arms at Ja’zoos, however it’s still close enough to the weekend that warrants some sort of celebration.  Reso’s are becoming more and more recommended by the independent restaurants that are hidden around Ottawa; my favourites are mostly in Westboro – if you’re heading to WestFest this year, be sure to stop at one of the so-called ‘no name’ restaurants before the Citizen reviews it: otherwise, you’ll be waiting for a table. 

 

Fridays: This tends to be the night when the majority of Ottawaites go out and enjoy the town.  NAC shows, GCTC, and smaller groups like Ottawa Pocket Opera, Centerpointe Theatre, and anything at Arts Court are all open and raring to get audiences in for a show.  Check ‘em out and see what’s playing; you stand a chance at being pleasantly surprised with how much hidden talent is in Ottawa and her citizens.  Of course, if the bar is still more your scene, almost every sit down place will be packed before 11, and every dance hall will be packed after midnight.   A few of my personal favourites include the Honest Lawyer, Heart & Crown, the Velvet Room, and Metropolitan. 

 

Saturdays: Again, a night where you’ll find most of the 20-30 somethings at the bars that are sprinkled across the national capital region.  Our first ‘upscale’ club is called Parliament: I’ve never been, but Mackenzie B told me that she was pretty sure that girls got their hair done to go.  Now I’ve got nothing against getting your hair done in general; I’m a regular at local Aveda spas and like nothing better than having someone else wash my hair.  However, I can’t justify spending 50$ + every weekend to get my hair done up and have it turn into a sweaty mess or a solidified helmet head by Sunday morning.  But who knows; I haven’t been and maybe one of these days I’ll let you know, but really, Saturdays are club days in Ottawa… and yes, there are good places to go.

 

Sundays: Ah Sundays.  The day of rest; the day to relax and sober up and find your other shoe and tackle the laundry monster that’s invaded your closet.  Or, if you’re STILL finding yourself with cabin fever, the open air market – yes, the same one with the bars at night – is really gorgeous in the day time.  You can find Canadian versions of Boulangeries with fresh croissants and coffee, and spend the day watching the world go by, hearing the many French dialects of the farmers selling their fresh veggies, reading the paper on the patio of Second Cup or Planet Coffee, or just seeing the city for all it’s got.

 

Of course, if you’re like me, you are in NO shape to go out unless dragged by your well-meaning but selectively attentive to the fact that I go out parents.  So on Sundays I rely on good old Spike TV’s CSI:Sundays while waiting for my laundry to dry and my hang over to dissipate. 

 

Now tell me: does that seem like Ottawa has nothing to do? 

5$ Shawarma & Other Ways To Sell Your Soul

•May 27, 2008 • 39 Comments

Last night (I am well aware that last night was Monday) my voice teacher, let’s call her Elizabeth, and I went down to Zaphods to watch local rock bands play to an intimate and interesting crowd.  Let’s face it; anyone who goes out drinking on a Monday night in Ottawa has to be interesting; and by interesting I mean weird.  Anyways on our way down the Market we passed by Marroush’s Shawarma shop; right on the corner of Rideau and Dalhousie.  Elizabeth turned to me as the smell of chicken and spices filled our nostrils and asked me if I knew the Marroush’s on Elgin Street, formerly the Sens Mile, and their infamous ‘book’. 

 

Of course, being close to 24 and nowhere near a cougar, I said no.  I haven’t been to the bars down Elgin Street since I turned 20.  For those of you who don’t live in Ottawa, the bars closer to the police station on Elgin Street tend to be dominated by first year undergrads with a collective age of 19 and a collective maturity level of an angry-emo 13 year old.  Sure, if I was a guy looking for an easy lay; it would be heaven on earth.  But, as a 23 year old stubborn independent workaholic with a penchant for 4 inch stilettos who takes less and less crap on a daily basis; it sure as hell doesn’t sound like a good time.

 

But I digress; Elizabeth went on to inform me that the Marroush’s on Elgin Street has a ‘book’ complied from all the late late nights on Elgin of girls who were so drunk that they performed fellatio in exchange for a free shawarma. 

 

Let me say that again, just in case you missed it like I did: there is a book FULL of pictures of drunk girls performing oral sex in exchange for a 5$ shawarma. 

 

I looked at Elizabeth in pure unadulterated shock.  I mean… if I was ever I drunk, and I mean that drunk, as in that drunk girl who can’t stop saying ‘I’m soooo drunk!’ … you’d have to take me to the fucking hospital; I wouldn’t even be able to stand, let alone … well, you know.   And for a nasty 5$ shawarma that truthfully costs those men pennies on the dollar?

 

To think that those girls, thinking that they are exercising their new found liberation, allowed themselves to be taken advantage of in exchange for …. Well, for nothing.  And to have photographic evidence of probably the stupidest thing they’ve done in their young lives?

 

After hearing and digesting such a story, I got to thinking about the generation after me, the 18-19 year olds who are just starting to embrace the young adult culture with an all-too trusting mind.  I mean, they’re growing up with Sex and the City on TBS instead of good old HBO, with raunchy movies and Girls Gone Wild as guidelines on acceptable ways to behave.  Ok, perhaps acceptable is the wrong term, but it could still provide a misconception to young women that it’s what ‘everyone’ is doing, and if you’re not following suit you’re a prude. 

 

It’s one thing to make out or hook up with someone… Lord knows I’ve had my fair share of hook ups, embarrassing moments and forgotten/secret lovers… but there is a line between being on the prowl and being the prey.  I think Marroush’s book is a perfect example that although it’s 2008, women are still the prey, no matter how we act or convince ourselves that we’re not.

 

So how do we avoid this?  How do we start to pull back from the rauch culture we’ve created?  Simple: look to the past.  There’s a famous quote that refers to looking back at history to prevent future mistakes, and while in Chapters this Sunday with my mom and dad, I found the perfect example of how the future generation can be molded back into ladies in the truest sense of the word.  The book is called “What Would Audrey Do?” and I think it’s my new motto for my 20-something summer (a summer where I neither get engaged, nor pregnant, nor buy a condo).

 

I just hope that the girls in Marroush’s book can get a new start (let’s face it: after something like that no start can be fresh or clean) in their journey towards lady-ship… with WWAD in the back of their heads.

The Sound of (My) Music

•May 12, 2008 • 24 Comments

If there is one thing, and only one, that I truly cannot live without, that one thing would be music.  At work I’ve managed to have a constant stream of classical music through Live 365 . com.  It used to be my iPod until I had a co-worker asked another co-worker if the woman I was listening to (Elizabeth Schwarzkopf) was in pain.  Anyway, in response to Michael C’s inquiry if other people have a running soundtrack to their lives, I would like to introduce everyone to my running soundtrack – in case you needed other music to listen to while skimming reading my blog.

 

During the school year, especially this last year, the theme from Mission:Impossible (circa 1998 pre-insanity Tom Cruise) was my constant companion.  At other times the 2000 Charlie’s Angels theme better fit the circumstances, as there were 3 girls in my Community Health project and most – if not all of our time – was spent together.  We’re now great friends, as what so often happens to people who’ve survived horrible situations.

 

Whenever a certain co-worker, who’ve I had the pleasure of calling a douche bag to his face and to my boss, calls in sick for the evening, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf’s rendition of Mozart’s Alleluia  is either stuck in my head or coming out of my mouth.  And considering that is my piece for a June concert, rightfully so.  When the work-day at my office job seems too much to bear, and during the winter months of school seemed never ending and a double murder-suicide was within arms reach, Jon Bon Jovi’s acoustic version of Livin’ On A Prayer kept my head in the game and the anger at bay. 

 

For inspiration at Muay Thai, 2000 Charlie’s Angels theme makes a come back.  There are 3 of us in Muay Thai, making the percentage of males 97% and females 3%.  One night during a particularly hard training session, I told my training partner to ‘unleash her inner Charlie’s Angel’.  As a result we decided that’s she’d be Cameron Diaz and that I’d of course be Lucy Liu – because I’m ethnic.  She really got a kick out of that.  The other girl would be Drew Barrymore because she often trained with the guys.  It’s pretty bitchin, I’m not going to lie.

 

Whenever yours truly is in the shower, or alone at any other time, Christine Daae’s – as sung by Emmy Rossum – songs from The Phantom of the Opera is what you’ll normally hear coming out of my mouth.  My particular favourites are Angel of Music – reprise and any other short song that I can quickly finish and shut up before someone hears me.  Sarah Brightman’s version of O Mio Babbino Caro is also a nice way to wake up those vocal cords – and neighbours, especially mine who like to smoke at all times of the night and fight like there is no tomorrow.

 

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon’s rendition of Jackson is a nice way to spend a Sunday walking around the Market and hearing the Buskers play for pennies.  Dave Matthew’s Bands famous Bartender is also a nice way to walk through the Market – drunk, and with McDonald’s in your hand after a late night of drinking and dancing.   On the dancing note, a CD burned for me with Metric vs. Gorlliaz is pretty ballin’ to listen to in general- no particular song is better than another.  Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough is a great way to start a party, while DMB’s Lover Lay Down might be the way to end a party as well… ahem. 

 

An ambient afternoon calls for ambient music, and Unbound by Robbie Robertson, burqua by Costanza, and Teardrop by Massive Attack are all Buddha Bar worthy tracks.  Center of the Sun by Poe and Conjure One is a great yoga track in the mornings, and U2’s Walk On is a nice way to leisure walk after a long day, but Bullet with Butterfly Wings by the Smashing Pumpkins is one hell of a way to power walk to wherever you need to go.

 

As you can tell, I can keep going and going and going when it comes to music and my life.  Now tell me, what is the soundtrack to your life?

to whom it may concern;

•May 8, 2008 • 31 Comments

I don’t know if my non-Canadian blog friends (HI EVERYONE, BY THE WAY) have heard about Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year old university student here in the city, who died as a result of drowning in April.  It wasn’t an accident; there was no foul play involved.  She did it to herself… and her disappearance and subsequent death shocked a city.

Soon enough there were letters being written, ‘experts’ being consulted, and tv and radio hosts bantering about what exactly went wrong and how best to prevent it from happening again.  It, being a suicide of someone suffering from depression.

After a few days of listening to well-intentioned but disconnected Otta-wans, yours truly decided to step in there and have a say; not just because I too am a university student with depression, but to put out there that the so-called ‘solutions’ older generations were calling for were nothing but band-aids – pretty covers that let the problem fester in the dark until resolved on its own.  And when it comes to depression; if you let us solve problems on our own, we may just end up dead.

As it turns out, the editor of the Citizen liked my letter SO much that not only was it published (shortened, of course) but my picture was included to draw more and more readers to my opinion.

Therefore, I humbly entrust to you the unabridged version of my now-published opinion.

As a third year nursing student with the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College, I have been receiving medical help for depression which I have suffered for as long as I can remember. Although I have some coverage under the University of Ottawa’s health care plan for full time students, I cannot get my anti-depressant drugs, which cost $250 for two months, under this plan. But unlike many other students, I can still get partially coverage under my parents for my medication as well as paying for them myself through my two part-time jobs. But since my anti-depressant drugs are prescribed by the campus physician, I would think that as a student, I would get coverage under our student plan. Although there are excellent health care providers at each campus, I sit here today because of students like Nadia Kajouji, where help comes too late, or not at all.  Counselors are time constrained, work odd hours, and are often not enough for those with depression.  In fact, students with official diagnoses are often referred to outside services, which ends up being referred to a waiting list.  It’s been over 6 months for me and I’m still waiting. Many may ask why depressed students don’t just go home. I’d like to state that it’s not that simple.  Leaving a hospital after surgery doesn’t mean you’re cured; there are still weeks of rehabilitation to follow.  Such is that of a person with depression.  And going home will not be an instantaneous fix.  To go home means that we have failed and that is not something you want to suggest to a person who is struggling with the will to live. Many might ask why Nadia didn’t confide in others about her inner struggles.  I would like to state that despite it being 2008, there is still a palpable stigma attached to those with mental illness.  We may be seen as weak and emotional.  After confessing to our difficulties we may be treated differently, we may be told to suck it up and deal with it, or we may be told that it’s ok to accept defeat.  I don’t know about you, but those options are not at all attractive and in no way, shape or form do they make me feel better.    I also have friends that I can rely on.  But there are many more who are not so lucky.  No matter how good a system may be in caring for its own, inevitably there will be some who fall through the cracks.  It is my hope that Nadia will have not died in vain, that her struggle and death will serve as a wake up call that more has to be done to prevent further loss of life and hope.

when all else fails, just have a beer

•April 21, 2008 • 15 Comments

It’s 2:48 am.  I have an exam at 9:30 am in Community Health Nursing, the bane of my existence for the past 8 months.  And I. CAN’T. SLEEP.

Am I freaking out because of this exam?  Not really… I should be, but I’m not.  I past the point of caring about CHN a long long long long time ago… as in when my former teammates plagiarized and were NOT punished for it, but I was scolded because I was a poor team player? Yeah… seriously.

Am I freaking out because I’m trying to figure out how to pay for Danni Heatley?  Not really… I’ve got it in the bag.  Hey, most students are in debt, right?  They didn’t say it was ALL from educational costs… ahem.

Am I freaking out because in 2-3 months I have to move out of my apartment and NOBODY is getting back to me about places, and I found this ADORABLE one and now I really really want it?  … Ok kind of, but it’s no reason to elevate my persistent initial insomnia.

Am I freaking out because my former gem to fall asleep to, CNN and warm milk, is far too interesting to not pay attention to AND in February I found out that I was lactose intolerant?  Yeah… I’m 23 and this is the first I’ve heard of it from a health professional.  My large intestine, no doubt, has been screaming it at me for years, but I am so stubborn I don’t even listen to myself.  And I love cheese.  Mmm… cheese.

So strolling to the kitchen and opening my fridge was the only thing I could think of as my brain attempts to consolidate the information jammed in this lovely afternoon with a nursing friend and lo and behold, what do I see?  My good friend Alexander Keith, in a lovely new red bottle.

Oh, hello Mr. Keith’s.  Haven’t seen you in a while.  Oh, hello Steamwhistle.  Kick ass St. Paddy’s day party in Toronto, by the way.  

Now, halfway through the bottle with 6 and a half hours to go to writing time, 3 and a half to go before my alarm is set to go off, and no where near sleep… I make my triumphant semi-return to the blogging world.

At least nothings changed, eh?