Sunday, January 24, 2016

Local Musical Theatre!

So, a good friend of mine has been performing in a local theatre production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee".  I am so impressed with the performance!  I had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, and then today got to see a real performance in the two-week run.  I didn't know anything about this musical before.  It is HILARIOUS.  (It has some adult content (ahem, a song called "My Unfortunate Erection"!), so isn't really for "all ages").

The music is catchy and the story has a lot of heart, and I was so proud of the friends we knew who were performing.  They are all so talented, it's amazing.  I *love* musical theatre SO MUCH, and I wish I had the skills and courage to perform.  I definitely have a "stage fright" sort of feeling, even at karaoke.  I just get really nervous.  However, I love attending these shows as an audience member and have really found a love for local theatre productions -- which are great to support anyway!

A friend and I attended a children's production this weekend as well, and I'm so amazed to see children in a range of ages have the courage to perform and sing solos like they do.  It's just awesome!  I can see how their self-esteem and ability to present themselves publicly (or for school presentations, for example) would grow and develop through theatre programs.  Plus, it just looks like so much fun for them.  I hope when I have children that at least one may be interested in trying musical theatre.  I can live vicariously through them, haha.  As a child I was a dancer, but was way too anxious to be comfortable performing solo on stage -- and that was without adding on the singing and acting that musical theatre entails.  I'm just in awe of performers of all ages!

Anyway, it was certainly a great weekend of experiencing some wonderful local theatre -- youth and adult.  I encourage you to check out your local theatre programs and try attending some shows.  It doesn't cost nearly as much as the big shows downtown, and you can still have some wonderful experiences (and even if you attend a show that isn't perfect, it's usually still good for a laugh and a not-too-expensive night out)!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Knitting!

Last summer I posted about wanting a hobby and never actually starting one (beyond binge-watching Netflix, which I've decided is a perfectly reasonable hobby -- how much can one person watch?!  Let's find out!).

I amazed even myself by actually going out and buying some yarn and knitting needles.  I decided, EFF MY FEARS, TIME TO KNIT!

You see, what happened was I was having momentary depression this past fall due to some factors (am better now, do not fret).  I decided I needed to take some action to distract myself and then hoped that would help with the depression.  For the record, it DID help! 

Knitting seemed the easiest of my little hobby ideas to get started with.  Yarn can be pricey, but other than that it isn't an overly expensive hobby and doesn't require too many things to start with, and a small project can be worked on over time.  I taught myself the most basic of steps using YouTube (cast on, the knit stitch, and cast off).  I feel so relaxed while knitting and so pleased with myself that I actually taught myself to do something, because usually Internet learning leaves me frustrated and disinterested.

I have taught myself the purl stitch, but do not do it well yet (I end up with an extra loop at the end of the row, so I need to sort out what I'm doing wrong).  So for now, for my first little project, I am trying to knit a scarf and I am using the knit stitch the whole time.  It looks great that way anyway, so I am perfectly happy to start with this.

I don't know that I will ever be A Knitter, but it's going fairly well so far as just the little hobby I wanted to distract me when I need it and to fill some extra time and slight creative yearning.

For Christmas, my grandmother gave me an adult colouring book... I can also easily see myself becoming obsessed with this new craze.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Goal Setting for 2016

Some Goals for 2016:

- BLOG.  For the love of blog, I want to blog again!  Blog, blog, blog.  I am going to try to at least start with once a week to get back into it.  At least.  (Truth be told, I haven't had a computer I love at my disposal lately, and I've been doing a lot of my Internet surfing on my phone, so that is one reason why I haven't been blogging).

- Read!  I've been on a huge TV kick, and while it is incredibly enjoyable, I need to balance that with getting back to reading.  I love reading, usually.  So, I'm stocking up on good books and will keep track on Good Reads and I want to try to read at least 20 books in 2016.  More would be even better (once I tried to read 100 books in a year.... couldn't quite do it.... but 20 seems reasonable?!).

- Exercise!  I definitely had moments of being good about going to the gym.  Then I had many, many moments of not going to the gym AT ALL.  I am going to renew my membership, and really try to set a goal of twice a week.  Once for cardio, and once for the Body Pump class so I do some weights.  If I can at least go twice a week I'll feel better than I do now.

- Eat more vegetables.  I'm actually a fairly good eater, but we will sometimes make quick pasta dinners and exclude veggies and I just think I need to add more veggies to my diet.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Au Revoir 2015!

It's hard to believe another year is coming to an end!  2015 had many fun and happy moments, but it was also a tough year in some ways.  I'm not going to lie, I'm ready to move on and see what 2016 will bring!

How would I summarize 2015...

I definitely have many happy memories with my friends.  The usual happened, hanging out together, playing board games, having parties.  We went to cottages, we vacationed together since Quin joined us in Myrtle Beach this past summer.  Mr. Lock participated in a local musical theatre production, which was a really cool thing for him to do and which introduced us to many new local people to befriend.  It was a great way to extend our social circle, and it was an amazing show.  From that, we have attended a few fun parties and events with some new folks, too.  We celebrated 30th birthdays (Quin, Rick, me, and Dr. McVet all had 30th birthdays this year).

We have happy memories with our families.  We brought our puppy, Gryphon, home in February.  He has added a lot of fun to our life!  We went on summer family vacations -- I got two weeks in Myrtle Beach and then a week at Mr. Lock's family cottage.  We had fun events like our usual Oscar night competition, watching the Super Bowl together, celebrating family birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations (we had FOUR DAYS of events for Christmas, plus one of my family parties the weekend before).

This was an interesting year for my job, as I was declared surplus from the school I worked in for many years and had to change schools after the school year began.  This has had its challenged, but looking on the bright side I do see some benefits to this having happened (better commute, for one!).  I'm better as I've gotten older with managing change.  I can see it as a good thing. 

My family had some health challenges this year, and associated stress with that.  Fortunately, everyone made it through.  There is still a long road ahead for some of my family, but we are hopeful they have fight left in them and will see a happier and healthier 2016.

Mr. Lock and I, truth be told, have had a difficult time starting the family we'd like to have already started.  This isn't something I blogged about or was very vocal about.   Though, maybe it'd be better to just put it out there.  Anyway,  I am very, very hopeful that 2016 will be the year we can announce a human baby joining us.  Cross your fingers on our behalf, dear Internet.

I've noticed that 2015 was a year of watching A LOT of TV on Netflix. Haha.  It was not much of a reading year for me.  I think I embraced the easy distraction that TV provides, plus had a lot of fun discovering so much content on Netflix. 

This final week of 2015 involves a lot of fun social events with friends, some of whom we don't see that often.  Then, our usual Fancy Dress House Party for New Years Eve.  Au revoir, 2015!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Netflix!

This is NOT a sponsored post.  I repeat, NOT sponsored.  Just me. In love.  With Netflix. 

So, this has been the "Summer of Netflix".  We have had Netflix for a few years now, since before we moved to this house.  I've been enjoying it for quite some time.  We typically pick a couple of shows we like to work our way through together and watch episodes before bed (Psych, oh how we loved Psych!).   This isn't new, we love Netflix.  I am a "binge" watcher of TV and probably have been since way before it was this convenient to do it.

However, I don't think I've ever worked through so many shows in one summer!  Or, perhaps I have but I'm forgetting that.  Here's what I watched on Netflix in Summer 2015:

Orange is the New Black, season 3
I've been watching OitNB since it began, and was so excited to have a new season to work through once I was done the school year.  I saved it so I could binge it.  It was awesome of course.  I actually don't care that much for the main character, Piper, anymore.  I think this is a common sentiment.  I care a lot more for the other characters.  I love the way the show always gives some back story for one of the inmates, leading you to understand how they got to prison but never quite finishing their story.  It just draws you in to wanting more, and wanting to discover which character's back story will be featured with each new episode you play.  A good friend loaned me the book, and I read it last April, so now I also find it interesting to see which parts of the show are drawn out of snippets from the book.

House of Lies, seasons 1-3
Not House of Cards!  This is the show with Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.   Decided to give it a try, and made my way quite quickly through the 3 seasons available on Netflix.  It is funny, the characters are good, there is plenty of drama-llama.  There is also a lot of adult content, haha.  This was also the summer of me keeping my blinds closed sometimes in case neighbourhood kids could see into my windows and wondered WHAT I was watching midday... yipes! haha!  I've seen a few episodes of Kevin Spacey's House of Cards (it didn't grip me so I never continued), and so as much as they mix up the names of these shows at times, it is also interesting that Don Cheadle does that thing where he turns and talks to the camera sometimes.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
I started by watching the movie Wet Hot American Summer (2001), because I had never seen it before.  I figured it made sense to watch the movie first, then the series.  I was interested in giving this a try because of the cast -- almost all of whom I love in everything else they do.  It is a funny, quick 12 episodes.  Very silly humour, but enjoyable.  Hilarious to see these 40-something actors play 16-year-olds.  They seem to know what they are doing, and making it silly works just fine (the movie is campy/silly, too).

Schitt's Creek, season 1
Gave this Canadian show a try, and Mark and I both enjoyed it.  The characters are spoiled brats, so I could see how the humour may not be for *everyone*... but I liked it.  By the end of the season you definitely understand the characters and get a chuckle from their behaviours.  I look forward to watching more.

Started and still working on:
Sense 8
We've only watched the first couple of episodes so far.  I've heard good things about this, and it is intriguing.  I'm hooked enough to keep watching.

Bojack Horseman
We watched the first season and we like this sort of silliness, the actors in this show, and anything that might spoof Full House or similar, so this appeals to us.  We have started season two, but are just a couple of episodes in.  Now that we have finished Schitt's Creek we may go back to watching Bojack right before bed (must finish my evening on comedy/silly not on the drama/thrill of Sense 8, haha).

Bones
A show I had actually NEVER watched, and decided to give it a try since they have 9 seasons on Netflix and an 11th season airing this fall, figured there might be something to it -- I'm in season 2, it's actually quite cute/funny.  I like procedural shows like this (CSI, Criminal Minds, etc), but I like that it is lighter in nature than those (Criminal Minds can be downright SCARY, yo!).   I've been binge-watching this one like crazy this week since the weather has been so grey and it's my last free week before I start setting up my classroom.

Planning to eventually watch:
Daredevil 

Other shows I watched on Netflix prior to this summer, and will continue to watch when new seasons are available:
Episodes 
Archer
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brooklyn 99

Other shows I watched on Netflix prior to this summer, and are now finished the series:
Psych (<3 Shawn & Gus)

So, I've been Netflix-happy this summer and loving it.  I've always been a TV junkie (better vice than some!), so it is fun to get to indulge in so many programs.  We also like watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix, and some movies too.  I definitely use it most for the TV shows. :-)  It is easy to watch a lot of shows when many of the seasons are only 12 episodes or so.   I do wish I was able to watch Parks & Recreation, but it is on American Netflix and not Canadian (yes, we have the ability to see it but not as conveniently as I'd like).

If you have Netflix recommendations, send them my way!  Just don't tell me more about House of Cards, I know people LOVE IT, but it wasn't my cup of tea.  I don't seem to be into political shows.  Just, apparently, nearly everything else! ;-)

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Vacation(s)!

I'm back from three weeks of vacation!

I spent two weeks in South Carolina.  I've been going there with my family since 1990, making this the 25th anniversary of my first visit to Myrtle Beach.  25 years!  Amazing.  We used to travel there with my grandparents, and since my grandfather's passing ten years ago I appreciate the memories we made on those vacations there so much.  This time around, I really missed him and remembered so many of the good times we had together there.  We visited an arcade that we used to go to as little kids, a place I hadn't been back to in many years (since we haven't stayed in a hotel in that area in awhile).  The place hadn't changed AT ALL.  I was a little overwhelmed with how much I missed my Poppa in that moment and with how fast the years have passed by.

I had traveled down South with my mom and youngest brother so we could have a full two weeks vacation.  This also gave my youngest brother and I time to bond, as we haven't spent as much time together lately as we used to.  The first Thursday of the trip, Quin flew down to spend a week there with us which was extra fun for me (and hard on my wallet, but the outlet shopping was SO GOOD!).   Saturday, Mr. Lock, my dad, and my middle brother drove in to join us for the second week of the trip.  We had amazing, super hot weather.  I loved being on the beach in the sunshine.  The ocean was 85 degrees Fahrenheit!  We went to some great restaurants, great shops, and I highly enjoyed playing four games of mini-putt!  The mini-putt courses in Myrtle Beach are so much fun.

We drove home after two great weeks in one of my favourite places in the world, and then Mr. Lock and I were off to the cottage his family rents each year for the next week.  It was very relaxing up at the cottage, cooler than South Carolina for sure, haha.  It was refreshing to swim in the cold lake, and I was able to read books on the dock, and just breathe in the fresh air and relax.  Gryphon seemed to enjoy the lake.  He LOVES the water!   He is a little nervous to swim when we have him in the deeper water, but he will go in to the shallow part of the lake quite willingly and loves finding a shallow spot to lay right down in the water and cool off.

So, I had a wonderful three weeks.  What a pleasure to have the summer off to be able to freely enjoy traveling when the opportunity comes up.  I can't believe I have another three weeks ahead of me before I'll be heading back to school.  It feels good, very refreshing after a hectic and somewhat stressful school year (kindergarten is a joy, but is also VERY difficult and tiring!).  I think I will be a better teacher in September after having this time to unwind and recharge.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hobbies.

Being home in the summer reminds me that I'd appreciate having a hobby.  Some form of crafting or project work that I could pick up and do during the mid-afternoon when I definitely don't feel like cleaning my house.

Let's Consider...

1) Scrapbooking. 
I've said I'd like to do this forever.  I own Scrapbooking supplies, and I have tried my hand at it.  I'm just not particularly... good.  I mean, who cares really because I'm only Scrapbooking for me... but... eh.  I have a vision, I've seen others who have made amazing Scrapbooking pages and then I try it, and it *always* looks like it was a page made by a 9-year-old.  I think I get sticker-happy!  Also, EXPENSIVE.  What the heck, Scrapbooking supplies can be very expensive.  Also, my autocorrect on this tablet I'm typing on keeps capitalizing Scrapbooking, so I suppose that tells us something about how Hip and Popular it has become.

2) Knitting.
I've said I'd like to do this forever.  I envision myself as one of those people who always have a large bag with them, and who can pull out their latest knitting project wherever they are.  Only, I do not know how to knit.  Sometimes, I try to find YouTube tutorials.  Then I realize I don't own the supplies.  Then I think about spending money on knitting supplies, and remember they will probably end up sitting in the cupboard beside my Scrapbooking supplies.  Then I give up and watch TV instead.

3) Painting. 
But, really... what would I do with my paintings?  You know, if they didn't always look like a 9-year-old painted them.

4) Gardening.
Hey, we have a house now.  I'm going to be an awesome gardener.  Except, we aren't fenced in yet and there's no point in landscaping.  Also, plants are expensive.  (What the heck?!)  How about I just tend this small garden out front, oh look the perennials grew back and it's watered... so.

5. Cooking/Baking?
HA. HA HA HA.  I mean, I could do this.  I'm home and could make us amazing dinners.  I could cook my way through a cook book and blog about it (That's a fresh idea, right?).  But... I have a husband who is an awesome cook and who enjoys it and... well.  I don't really enjoy it.  Also, I can't just bake all the time.  I'm already gaining weight as I get older and forget to exercise.  I shouldn't keep indulging in sweets (after I finished the cake and chocolates left over from my 30th birthday celebrations, of course). 

6. Exercise!
Well, doesn't this solve all problems?  I have a gym membership.  I could spend this random afternoon time over at the gym, even walking the treadmill would be good.  The gym is open, it's not far away, the power is in my hands.... but.. I mean.  Let's just move on, okay?!

Ah well.  Being crafty, or active, is overrated.  I've got a list of TV shows I'd like to watch on Netflix, anyway.  Plus there's always that house cleaning (HA. HA HA HA.)