Monday, September 25, 2006

Top 100 Albums - 100 - 81

I used to look forward to Tuesdays. That was back when I was doing time in retail. On Tuesdays, we were allowed to cut open stacks of fifty count boxes of compact discs and decorate the new release wall with the beautiful artwork. I loved categorizing the CDs by musical style and giving prime location spots to my favorite artists. I used my power to bring down Michael Bolton. Bwa ha hah...

When I started my very first part time gig in the local record store in 1987, we were still selling records, as well as cassettes and way overpriced CDs. I will never forgive my cruel boss for awarding my first teenage hangover by assigning me the task of alphabetizing the 45's.

Of course I was a vinyl snob and it was hard to let go of collecting albums, not only for the artwork but the smell. However the sound quality of the compact disc was better not to mention that it was getting hard to find replacement needles for my record player. I think working in the industry can make us slow to accepting new technology.

After I left music retail, I stayed on top of the scene by doing plenty of online research and devouring every trade magazine. I spent a huge chunk of my entertainment budget on new CDs. I was never the kind of gal to go out of my way to ask for free CDs but I still managed to get a whole whack of them.

I distinctly recall the words of a coworker who had lost touch with the music scene being that she spent most of her time doing administration. She swore that we all get stuck in a musical rut. Her theory was that the music that a person loves at the time when they come of age is what will remain dearest in their heart. A little voice screamed No way! Not for me. I refused to accept this. I always pictured myself as having my finger on the pulse.

I started compiling my list of Top Albums and it began to sound like a soundtrack to my Kitten years. For the most part, my coworker was right. Damn.

100. God Fodder - Ned's Atomic Dustbin (Columbia) 1991
With their anthem "Kill Your Television," this British artist released a solid power electronic rock album. Stylistically they were a heavier version of Pop Will Eat Itself.

99. Subliminal Plastic Motives - Self (Volcano) 1995
Singer/songwriter Matt Mahaffey mixes many elements to provide an inspiring debut album. Alternative pop-rock, hip hop and samples are spread throughout.

98. Madonna - Madonna (Sire) 1983
Every single song is imprinted into my pre-teen brain. "Lucky Star," "Borderline," "Holiday" and "Burning Up" make me want sing loudly while I show off my choreographed basic jazz dance moves.

97. Morning View - Incubus (Sony) 2001
This album was more mainstream than my other favourite Incubus album Make Yourself. The sexy smooth voice of Brandon Boyd makes the melodic, alternative metal soothe the soul.

96. Good - Morphine (Rykodisc) 1992
The bluesy alternative indie rock artist's debut album was more than good. I love the groove in their sultry sounds. Their sophomore album Cure For Pain was also one of my favourites. It is tragic that the bassist/vocalist Mark Sandman collapsed on-stage during a performance, dying of a heart attack at the age of forty-seven.

95. The Real Ramona - Throwing Muses (4AD) 1991
Kristin Hersh and her half-sister Tanya Donelly were cutting edge with their swirling guitars and pop sensibilities. "Counting Backwards" and "Not Too Soon" are songwriting gems.

94. Box Set - Wool (London) 1994
Brothers Peter and Franz Stahl released this highly underrated melodic punk album. They put on a fantastic live show too.

93. Jaundice - Lucy's Fur Coat (Relativity) 1994
A fairly unknown grunge artist from San Diego. I bought the CD for Colin because the artwork caught my eye and it ended up being a staple in our music library.

92. Let It Die - Feist (Arts & Crafts) 2004
Leslie Feist injects some Canadian content into my list. Of course she had to go off to France to record this romantic, indie album in order to become the songwriting darling of the Canadian industry. Her cover of The Bee Gee's "Inside and Out" is sweet perfection.

91. Going Blank Again - Ride (Sire) 1992
I adored the single of "Leave Them All Behind." This upbeat shoegazing album contained sugary layered harmonies that made it stand out from the pack.

90. Heartbeat City - The Cars (Elektra) 1984
My best friend went to England in the summer of '84 where she dragged her parents to John Taylor's house. At least she left me with her copy of this album while I anxiously awaited her return.

89. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic - The Sundays (DGC) 1990
With her dream like vocals Harriet Wheeler made the melodic pop hit "Here's Where the Story Ends" an instant classic. The rest of the album is as smooth as butter.

88. 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... - Arrested Development (Chrysalis) 1992
This album brings me back to living in an apartment above a store on Queen Street West. My roommate and I would put on this groove laden hip hop album while we'd get ready for a night out.

87. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (Silvertone) 1989
Merging dance and pop, their catchy artistic songs seemed ahead of their time. "Fool's Gold" will always be one of my favourite songs.

86. Fashion Nugget - Cake (Capricorn) 1996
Lyrically fun, this funky alternative rock album includes their break out hit "The Distance" and their cover of "I Will Survive."

85. A View from 3rd Street - Jude Cole (Reprise) 1990
Filled with wonderful songwriting, this mainstream pop album was made even sweeter when a boy that I had a hardcore crush on claimed it to be a favourite of his as well.

84. The House of Love - The House of Love (Fontana) 1990
Here is more British swirling, masterful, melodic pop including their hit "I Don't Know Why I Love You."

83. We Care - Whale (Virgin) 1995
There were many nights spent in dance clubs tearing it up to "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe." This sexy dance music had seething guitars that made it cool.

82. Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 - George Michael (Columbia) 1990
These soulful songs are the ultimate listening material for lounging with a hot cup of tea on a rainy day. I've been waiting for George to release Vol 2. It seems like such an obvious adult direction for him to take and yet I'm still waiting.

81. Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder (Motown) 1976
This double album is timeless. At our wedding we wanted to close the night with "Knocks Me Off My Feet" but our DJ didn't follow direction very well. At that point I didn't mind that he was sneaking in another song because I didn't want the perfect night to end.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Marketing madness

I used to think it was funny how so many women seemed to easily get their knickers in a knot after becoming a mom. Then I realized now that I have popped out a couple babies, I am more easily offended. Have I officially joined the prissy club?

For example, is the above picture not one step away from this?

Why couldn't the little girl be driving the luxury sports coupe instead of conspicuously leaning against it? I'd like to know if the advertisers thought this was cheeky enough to fly. I wonder if this big national chain store is targeting parents of little boys who hope that with this purchase, all the little girls in the neighborhood will adore their son. When is it too young for sex to sell? Could possibly the answer to this be when they are still wearing Pull Ups?

Really I'm not losing sleep over this, nor am I boycotting this store. However that photo pushes my buttons and I react with a "Hey that's not cool."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Preschool Part One

I have started to question the importance of my language to Strawberry. In particular, I am having doubts about the routine motherly advice that I offer. Every morning, after we drop Buttercup off in the infant group, Strawberry bounces over to the fountain to take a sip of water. I see this as her way of stealing an extra moment with mommy. We then climb the stairs to her senior preschool group. It's hard for me to imagine that my three year old is a Senior! That sounds so funny to me.

She often wants a few hugs and kisses before she will leave my side to go join her buddies. I cherish this display of affection and know that it won't last nearly long enough. Naturally the words slip though my mouth "Be a good girl." I find myself cringing. Is this the message I want to leave with my daughter? Well, yes and no.

I do want her to behave but it's not so important that she become a natural rule follower and pleaser like me. I want to her to know what is right and to choose to live a life that is right for her. A life that brings her great happiness. Overwhelming happiness with the courage to turn her dreams into reality. I want her to have a strong spirit that challenges ideas and yet to have plenty of common sense in order to keep her grounded.

Her manners have been reinforced both at daycare and at home so she knows her please and thank yous. She's currently a little bit obsessed with the words Poo, Pee and Toot but that is because she finds them funny and has always shown a great interest in making us laugh.

So now I catch myself. Before I let my rule follower tendency slip out a motherly "Be good," I'm consciously replacing that with "Have a fun day!"

Monday, September 18, 2006

We're going to party like it's 1999

Today, waiting for me in my Gmail account was some awesome news.


Dear Lucky Winner,

Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the Free Email Computer Ballot Jackpot 'A' draw 1st Category of LOTTO.NL. We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs drawn today, 18/09/2006. Your E-mail address drew the lucky numbers, which consequently won in the 1st category; you have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of TWO MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

So I want to know, did you win too? Why can I not bring myself to hit the delete button on this e-mail? Is it because Gmail didn't send this gem directly into my spam box? Is it because I would like $3,543,554.99 Canadian Dollars? Maybe it is because the bottom of the e-mail reads:

********THIS IS NOT SPAM********

Hooray! It's obvious that I am "Lucky Winner." I'm changing my name immediately.

If that's the case, I'm going to throw a party and you are all invited! Do you think I should start arranging the all star band line up and book your flights?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Soon Zune

Microsoft is going to be offering some competition for the MP3 market.

Zune vs iPod

It seems a little late to be getting in the game. Zune will launch in time for holiday gift shopping. It's a 30 GB player and it contains a WiFi connection that will provide limited sharing functions for music. That large color display screen sure is nice. As I still need to join the portable MP3 world, I don't know which one I should buy. I'm guessing it will depend on price.

I've also been wondering if the world needs this.

Is there a market for organic Pop-Tarts? It brings a new definition to the term healthy breakfast. Yah, I don't think so.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


In a world where we are constantly being hounded by every charity, it can be easy to become desensitized to the needs of others. I don't want to be turning off all the lights in the house and telling the children "Sssshhh, we don't want to let the person knocking on the door know that we are home." The real reason for me hiding in the dark is because I have a hard time saying no.

I see a good cause and I want to jump on board. If there is an animal in need of a home; a wide eyed hungry child; a dreaded disease that should be cured; pollution eating away at the ozone... I'm your girl. I'll scrounge my pockets and give every cent that I can. I'll sign your petition. If I see the umpteenth commercial for another cash & cars for charity there's no doubt that I'll have a ticket for that lottery on my fridge. So when HBM requested the blogosphere support real action in support of real causes I knew I had to contribute a post.

My love for a good cause started when I was six years old. Every March the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Saskatchewan organized the Telemiracle telethon. It was a treat to try to stay awake to watch it. I'd be pumped up chanting "Ring Those Phones" and waiting on the edge of my seat to see the new grand total and then cheering along "Where are we going?... Higher!" Even greater was the discovery that people enjoyed helping others. We knew that our family was just getting by but there were others that had harder struggles.

I can remember the summer that I was fourteen. We had our RV pulled up next to a family friend's cottage and I was glued to the tiny TV to watch Live Aid. So many of my favorite artists were there to raise money and awareness of the severe famine in Ethiopia. It left a huge impression on me. It was deemed cool to help.

I worry that there are too many things that need our attention and that we often don't see the direct results when we invest our hard earned dollars. I continue on trying to find a way to make the world a better place. I want to feel like I can make a difference. Ultimately we have a responsibility to our children and possibly future generations to make this world the best that it can be.

Thirteen Worthwhile Charities

1. From now until October 15th, your words can make a difference. Every time you write a review of your favorite Toronto hotspot or submit a photo to iBegin Toronto, fifty cents will be donated to charity. Read about this donation drive and contribute your photos and reviews. Who doesn't enjoy dishing out their thoughts and sharing their fabulous finds? Unleash your inner critic. The Assaulted Women's Helpline is a cause worthy of your time.

2. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is improving health by preventing and reducing heart disease and stroke through research, health promotion and advocacy.

3. Leading the way in helping children survive and thrive is UNICEF. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation and AIDS.

I love seeing the orange boxes carried by adorably costumed children on Halloween. I spend an outrageous amount of money on candy for strangers, why wouldn't I contribute to their UNICEF collection? I love that these thoughtful children develop a sense of pride in helping. They are learning at a young age that they can make a difference in the world.

4. The Canadian Red Cross is doing an incredible amount of great work. In emergencies and disasters, they provide for people's basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, first aid, emotional support and family reunification. Internationally they work in situations of war and natural disaster to bring urgently needed relief items, reunite families and help rebuild communities.

They have a wonderful first aid program. For sixty years they have provided Water Safety Services greatly reducing drowning fatalities. The Red Cross has a RespectED: Violence & Abuse Prevention program that has been helping to promote healthier relationships and safer communities. They also offer Homecare Services to help individuals live as independently as possible.

5. The Canadian Cancer Society is leading the way in the fight against cancer as well as enhancing the quality of life of people living with cancer.

6. The Daily Bread Food Bank is fighting hunger.

7. The Toronto Humane Society promotes care and protection of all animals. Fifteen years ago, I adopted a kitten that I named Monty from this shelter.

8. The Parkinson Society is dedicated to finding the cause and cure for Parkinson's disease. Nana (Colin's mom) has been diagnosed with Parkinson's for many years and we hope that this organization continues to make astounding discoveries that lead to a cure.

9. Children's Miracle Network is dedicated to helping kids by raising funds for 170 children's hospitals across North America. Each year these hospitals provide the finest care, research and community outreach to help millions of children with diseases and injuries of every kind.

10. The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills the special wishes of children from ages three through seventeen who have a life-threatening illness.

11. The Alzheimer Society is improving the quality of life for people affected by Alzheimer's disease and advancing the search for the cause and cure. It would be tragic to suffer from progressive memory loss and not be able to perform day-to-day tasks.

12. The Western Canada Wilderness Committee is passionate about saving wilderness and wildlife.

13. Sleeping Children Around the World raises funds to provide bed kits to needy children in undeveloped and developing countries. Founder Murray Dryden believes that “the comfort of a bed is a basic right of every child.” (Thanks to Metro Mama for letting me know about this excellent charity, where there is zero overhead. The organization is entirely volunteer driven and 100% of bed kit donations reach a needy child.)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Baby's Got The Blues

What happens when you have too many thoughts that are trying to make the leap from brain to blog? Swirling, swirling... The deep introspective ideas drown because the fluff always rises to the top.

This past weekend we discovered that baby's got the blues. We went to an Art Street Festival and it was there that we found out that Buttercup has a love of the blues. She was grooving along, enjoying the sounds of the live musicians. With great amusement we took her over to listen to the jazz trio but they did nothing for her. I love that she shares our passion in music. I take it as my mission to expose both my children to all types of music and to share with them what I love. I hope that I will continue to grow musically through them.

I was going to write a recap of the Virgin Festival, Toronto Island, Day Two from Strawberry's point of view. Walking in her tiny shoes gave me blisters so instead I thought I'd share a couple of my own personal observations.

Today's jeans are NOT meant for concert goers.

Sorry to this blurry poor soul who is now a fashion warning for all others. Leave the plumber butt action to your fantasy world under the kitchen sink. To her credit she realized her faux pas and moved her bag to block this view but it was too late. The photo was captured and posted. The damage is done. I beg off the bad karma for such an evil act on my part. Think of all the future people that I'm saving.

If you want special treatment and lots of attention bring small children with you to an all day rock concert. The strict security personnel guarding their roped off sections allowed us a quick detour through with the stroller.

We basked in the endless comments and onlookers pointing towards us because we carried the most desired celebrity fashion accessory of the season. Both men and women's eyes lit up when they spotted our girls. I overheard "Look a whole family!" and "I want to be like that, bringing my kids to concerts."

Of course there were a few of the judgy judgers casting their spears of hatred towards the cruel parents that would subject their children to the loud concert. The nerve of us! Really, how selfish. Don't they know that I rented these kids to get all that attention from those young rock Gods in line for the beer tent? In my mind I shouted out "Hey Single Gals: Hot Catch Over Here! Check out the future hot dads that are not afraid to admire my offspring!"

We were blessed with some rock star wisdom. Julian Casablancas of The Strokes announced that he finally "gets Canada" and he also thinks that we have a good future. They played a good set but the highlight was the Raconteurs. They kicked it out of the park! It was so much of a good thing that unfortunately we had to high-tail it for the ferry because Buttercup's senses were becoming over stimulated. We almost recognized the signs in time to avoid the baby melt down. Almost.

With the necessary precautions like ear plugs that are cut in half to fit into your toddler's ears, these types of events can be fun for the whole family. We only saw four other people with small children in the estimated thirty thousand crowd. I can't help but wonder if today's parent considers doing more unconventional outings or if we still limit and restrict ourselves to the family labeled events.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It goes out with a bang

People come in droves, slowly inching their way towards the gates. The impatient ones take it upon themselves to maneuver their way in front. Above us Snowbirds charge through the sky like synchronized swimmers.

Our moods lift upon gaining entrance on to the grounds. Surrounding us are endless queues that are waiting for another to join in their snake like fashion. That does not damper the anticipation. The first ride is moments away!

As we linger, our three year old declares that she must ride in the yellow one. Yellow, having always been her favourite, is loosely referring to the sparkly gold four-seater. Most of the little girls dash towards the pink vehicles, while the boys beeline toward the blue so her wish is granted. She takes her place beside another little girl and places her hands upon the steering wheel. There is no fear, only eagerness. The carny starts the great circle and off they go. Round and round. Occasionally she spots me on the sidelines and waves. All too soon the ride comes to an end. Parents scurry from every direction to collect their children and away we go to find another thrilling ride. She's had her first taste of the carnival. She is beaming with a permanent smile.

The intoxicating smells of sticky sweet treats intermingle with the more unpleasant stench of the crowd. The blings and dings of games drown out the person trying to sway you to play. In every direction we soak in the colours that light up the night sky casting a magical glow. It electrifies the spirit of the child within. The fountain of youth may be found in the fruit flavoured syrup poured on a snow cone.

A Mardi Gras parade dazzles the crowd. Adults snatch up the bead necklaces but a kind woman gives one to our daughter. A man, sitting on a float, aims his camera to capture the joy upon her face. A mascot blows kisses to her. It is likely that she is over the moon.

To keep the children up past their bedtime they devour warm, cinnamon sugar sprinkled mini-doughnuts. We make our way through the midway. The baby gleefully bounces as she looks up to see the colourful explosion of fireworks. It marks the end of the perfect day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thanks, but no thanks

We stop at a red light. I notice Colin checking out a young thing with legs up to here. I'm feeling a wee bit jealous because I've never pulled off a mini skirt in that fashion. It is unfeasible when you are not quite five foot four.

Teasingly, "So you think she's all that?"

"hmmmm..." (Wisely choosing to remain silent to avoid unnecessary grief.)

"Well tall girls aren't your type. All your ex's are my height."

"I found tall women enticing but I was too intimidated and shy to approach them."

Gasp! In quick retaliation, "Well I preferred short, dark haired men."

"You can have Tom Cruise."

Edited to note: He was pleased as punch with his comeback and we laughed ourselves silly. Thankfully it also put an end to my self-conscious girlie ways.


Izzy has worked her magic making my home so pretty. It makes up for having to redo my site with the Beta advances, which has been taking up all my time.

Thank you Izzy. You rock my world!

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's that time

I can't believe that it is September. It feels like yesterday that I was ushering in Spring. The elusive season of summer seems to have escaped me. Going back to work in June and having to adjust the family unit into a routine certainly played a big part in that. We got so caught up in the daily life that it feels like I have not done anything that was on my summer agenda. Even though I'm not ready for Fall, it is a splendid season. I will swoosh and crunch the colourful leaves and welcome the crisp autumn air.

Today in bluedom, I celebrate a milestone. Break out the fine wine! This here is post #100. Like any television series, I thought maybe I should use this opportunity to heavily recap all the highlights that have come within this time frame. However I don't think that I'm as popular as half hour comedy, nor as gripping as a prime time drama. Those compiled snippets always leave me feeling like time is wasted because I just want the writers to deliver some new goods.

Instead it makes sense that today I honor Mrs. Chicky. She unknowingly led me to the dark side a mere six month ago. It's her natural way in which she crafts her witty words that makes me feel like she is a friend. Plus, it's not hard to fall for her adorable daughter Chicky Baby.

Mrs. Chicky recently captured how mothers can never stop being a mother. It's a thought process that never turns off.

"A mother is a mother no matter where she is or what she's doing because she is always, in the back of her mind, thinking about her family." - Mrs. Chicky

I raise a glass of D'Arenberg 'd'Arry's Original' and offer up this button.

A Perfect Post

I hope it makes her feel as warm and fuzzy as I felt when I discovered ThisNext - Blog. On the very same day that Brad reviewed the cool Mama C-ta and the distinguished Dooce, he also had some kind words for me. I discovered this review by stumbling upon it and of course I was thrilled to pieces. With a little digging, I found even more of my favourite blogs featured. Super cool!

Don't forget the round up of Perfect Posts can be found by visiting Momma K and Lucinda.