Archive for the 'things I did' Category


I just had the perfect weekend. I don’t mean to brag, but sometimes you just get that weekend sweet spot where you find the perfect mix of activity and lounging to leave you rested but not resenting the next day at work.

First, it helped that I had a 4-day weekend. Who doesn’t love extending long weekends with their last vacation day before year-end on May 31st. I had Friday off and Monday was a holiday and I had absolutely NOTHING planned.

My past few weekends before this one were jam packed with activities and driving. A few weeks ago I headed to my parents (about 2.5 hours away) to celebrate Mother’s Day with my lovely mom and last weekend my sister came home from Trinidad (!) and there was airport pick ups and driving home (again) and all around busyness. They were both wonderful weekends, but wonderful in the way that leaves you exhausted and totally unprepared for the week ahead.

This past weekend was none of those things.

On Friday, Matt and I took a spontaneous trip to our favourite conservation area – Mount Nemo – for a wonderful hike. The weather was gorgeous and we took the long, scenic way there which took us through a few cute little hamlets and past beautiful farmland We also saw an Aston Martin out for a drive, so that was exciting!

View from the top of the escarpment.

Matt exploring and me trying not to freak out that he’s going to fall and die.

Saturday night involved a night out dancing with friends. I danced my heart out and the aches and pains I currently feel are totally worth it. In other news, when did I get so old that a night out dancing results in days of an aching back and neck and a massive charlie horse that WON’T GO AWAY in my calf?

Sunday and Monday were spent taking lots of walks around the neighbourhood in between the thunder storms, watching Firefly and getting some housework done.

Overall, I started this Tuesday back in the office feeling refreshed and ready to work. It was a nice switch from the past couple weeks and I hope I can make it last for the whole week. Considering it’s a 4-day week, I think I can probably make that happen.


Wine and Love

Hosted and dreamed up by the lovely Nora of Walking with Nora.

Why I need wine this week:

  • All round, general crankiness and fussiness – I can’t pinpoint a specific cause, but it’s been a cranky/fussy week for me. It’s as if I’m walking around in jeans that are too small – the discomfort is so slight you can’t actually figure out what’s wrong but you know something is – except apply that to everything in my life this week.
  • The rain – this is perhaps the cause of point #1. Aside from the break we had tonight (thank the heavens!) it has been raining and gray all week. I can’t take much more of this.
  • The humidity – also related to point #1 and #2. Curly hair does not behave in humid weather and all this rain is cramping my style. I’ve already busted out the hardcore summer hair products to fight the frizz. And why yes, I do have seasonal hair care products. Doesn’t everyone?

What I have loved this week:

  • BBQs in the sun – it’s been raining pretty much all week but the sun peaked through this evening just in time for a BBQ at a friend’s place. Nothing beats sitting on the patio and enjoying some burgers.

Check me out being a BBQ queen!

  • This video:

For those that don’t know, I work in agriculture which makes this video a million times more amazing for me. We joke around in my office about covering everything in glitter and how much the farmers would appreciate that and now I have proof that they would TOTALLY love a bedazzled tractor.

  • The Hunger Games – as the next big YA series, I was totally expecting another Twilightesque book that sucks you in while making you feel ashamed because it’s so bad. But, it’s not! It sucks you in AND it’s a good story (so far, I haven’t even finished the first book yet. No spoilers!).
  • A 4-day weekend. Monday is a holiday and I’ve taken tomorrow off AND I have ABSOLUTELY nothing planned. I am beyond excited.

It sneaks up on you

I have a problem.

Actually, I have many problems, but today we’ll just discuss the one. No need to overwhelm you with my inability to maintain a filing system or my ADD when it comes to my desktop wallpaper.

Nope, today, let’s tackle my inability to draw the line between ironic* love and real love.

As someone who enjoys humourous things (are there people out there who don’t?), I especially enjoy loving things ironically. It usually starts small with me jokingly using a funny word or me jokingly confessing my undying love for something weird. But, then it builds. And it builds. And it build some more until BAM! one day I full on actually love something totally embarrassing/inappropriate/lame/ridiculous/all of the above.

So here are some examples:

I used to HATE when people called each other baby. I made this hatred well known and I scoffed at anyone that used that word when not referring to an ACTUAL infant. In fact, I often used to tell people that “the only person that I would ever allow call me baby is Patrick Swayze because ‘no one puts Baby in a corner.'”

This hatred of the word made it all the more funny when I would jokingly call Matt baby. I knew it bugged him and I thought it was funny and it wasn’t a big deal until 2 years went by and now it’s a THING. As in, I actually use that word as a term of endearment. It’s not a joke anymore, it’s something that naturally comes out of my mouth when I talk to Matt (albeit, never in public because I still have some standards).

In a similar example, I started saying OMG as a joke because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that people would actually say that. Now, it’s a THING that I say, often. I can no longer claim that I’m using it as a joke, we’re past that.

Or, how about the time when I ironically started liking Ke$ha. I thought she was the most ridiculous artist out there and I was dead certain she wouldn’t be any more than a one hit wonder. This certainty allowed me to drop my guard and embrace her insanely catchy single while still maintaining my integrity by laughing at the fact that THERE IS A DOLLAR SIGN IN HER NAME!

But, then she wasn’t a one hit wonder and she released ANOTHER catchy track. I had no problem bopping along in my car and getting my dance on to that second single. I still made fun of her $ and I saw past the glitter facade to recognize that she mostly clothed herself in garbage.

By the third single, I recognized that I should probably be ashamed of my poor taste in music and I tempered my listening enjoyment of her music by quickly switching over to something more acceptable like Arcade Fire or Mumford & Sons.

But now, there is no going back. I am a FULL ON Ke$ha fan and I can’t hide it anymore. It started as a joke and it happened by accident, but it is now the truth and I must embrace it. I LOVE the glitter, I LOVE the unicorns, I eagerly read all the latest gossip about her and once I even watched a YouTube video of a concert of hers (she has cannons that shoot glitter!). I still recognize that she’s probably not the most talented artist out there, but I can no longer deny that talent isn’t all that important when you’re covered in glitter and pumping out an awesome beat.

I won’t blame you if you judge me for these indiscretions. Just beware that this sort of thing can happen to anyone. Don’t let what has happened to me happen to you. Or, do let it happen because honestly, that music video with James VanDerBeek in it is AMAZING!

*I fully realize I am probably misusing the word ironic. Ever since Alanis messed with my head I’ve lost my grasp of the appropriate use of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up right now and confirm its proper use.

My family can dance harder than your family (but probably not better)

Excuse me…. is this thing on?

OH! Hi there. Long time no chat. I wish I had some awesome reason why I’ve been MIA these past few weeks. I wish I could tell you it was because I went on some awesome last minute vacation to Maui or because I joined a roller derby league and got my hands smashing in and can’t type. But no. I have no good story. It just got really hot and I got tired and sitting with my heat-emitting-computer on my lap to type up posts was less appealing than eating a popcicle. In my world, popcicles are not to be eaten in the presence of electronics. In fact, it’s best to eat them over the sink or outside.

But, I do have a few exciting tales to tell of the past little while.

This past weekend my big brother tied the knot with his long-time high school girlfriend. They have been dating for 10 years and they are absolutely perfect for each other in the way that OMG she will put up with all of your annoying tendencies and she’s awesome! Marry her! Don’t let her get away!

The wedding ceremony was in my parent’s backyard and it was absolutely perfect. The reception was at the vineyard that neighbours my parents’ place. They recently built a reception hall there and it was also perfect.

The days leading up to the wedding were full of mani-pedi appointments, tux rental fetching, MC-prepping (my sis and I MCed the event) and calming my mother down. The morning of the wedding found me in my parents’ backyard at 8am with unbrushed teeth and still in my pajamas setting up 168 white chairs around the “wedding tree”. Now, this sounds like a horrendous time but considering my cousin (the best man)’s insistence that we all start the morning with “WEDDING HIGH FIVES!” everyone was actually in a good mood and it all got set up in less than an hour.

My brother stayed pretty calm throughout the day and save for some time spent pacing through the house, he held everything together.

The ceremony was beautiful.

The reception was a blast. My family likes to party and this wedding was no exception. I did a Russian jig with my cousin’s new man, I watched my aunt and uncles have a dance off to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean and I attempted to two-step with my cousin with minor success as neither of us really know how to lead.

The night closed out and I walked back through the vineyards to my parents’ house and the party continued on the back deck. I called it a night at 3:30am but I’m told that my dad, sister and cousin didn’t pack it in until 5.

I’m still recovering from that night. I think it will take another week to be rid of the aches and pains that come with dancing your butt off and and I think I need another few night of sleep before I feel “fully rested”.

So, what has everyone else been up to? Anyone joined any roller derbies?

Duck parades and cotton fields

This past week I had the great opportunity to travel for work. Now, I know that for some, traveling for work is all about the hassle of airport security and small bottles of shampoo but I don’t travel for work that often and those shampoo bottles are still a novelty I stuff in my bag anxiously awaiting for the hotel staff to replenish the counter with new ones (I swear, they appear like magic!).

This wasn’t my first work trip but it was certainly an exciting one. I was off to Memphis, Tennessee for a whorl-wind tour of press conferences at the Peabody Hotel and farm tours in Arkansas (I work in agriculture, yo. Have I told you that before?).

For me and my vanity, the most challenging part of the trip was figuring out how to pack. I was only gone for 2 nights and 3 days and I was traveling with a group of people. Therefore, I didn’t really want to have to check any luggage. I envisioned myself waltzing into the airport with my carry-on and whizzing by all those schmucks waiting to get their bags checked.

But as many seasoned travelers know, there are rules about traveling with liquids, aerosols and gels. What would I do about my HAIR PRODUCTS. I was going to MEMPHIS with curly hair in the middle of JULY! I need several products to calm my frizz on a regular day, how would I manage with soaring temperatures and 80% humidity!

I scoured the pharmacy shelves the night before I departed desperate for a hair solution that would meet the airports 100ml bottle restrictions. I ended up settling with some sort of scrunching gel product for curly hair. For a girl who swears by the volume-enhancing and touchable outcome of mousse, this was most definitely a second-rate product.

But, when no one else in my group checked luggage, I was relieved at my prudent hair taming choices.

We arrived in the birthplace of Rock n Roll with little fanfare. The farm tours took us across the Mississippi River into Arkansas and it was a real eye-opener to drive through some of the small towns there. Small town-Arkansas seems to really be struggling with lots of failing infrastructure and boarded up homes. It made me ever more grateful for how good small-town Ontario has it.

In seeming direct contrast to the trials of rural towns in Arkansas was the green fields of cotton, soybeans and sorghum and the blinding lights of Memphis.

The conference was held at the Peabody Hotel and although we stayed in a very nice hotel down the street, the Peabody was truly spectacular. The hotel’s main attraction is the ducks that swim in the fountain in their lobby. Every day the ducks parade in on a red carpet after taking the elevator down from their home on the roof at 11am (I wish I could sleep in till 11). I was lucky enough to watch them parade out at 5pm as they walked the red carpet home for the evening.

Apparently the whole duck thing started back in the 1930s when 2 men were out hunting. Back then it was legal to use live decoy ducks and after a bit of Tennessee whiskey they decided that it would be more fun to place their live decoys in the Peabody fountain instead of bringing them home to the farm. The prank didn’t have the outcome they expected when the ducks pliantly stayed put and hotel guests oohed and awwed.

I joined past generations and did my own oohing and awwing as the Duck Master led them home. Yes. The Duck Master. That is a job that exists in real life.

I was also lucky enough to spend some time on Beale Street in the evening and enjoy a pint while listening to a live blues band. To be honest, Beale Street wasn’t quite what I expected. It had more of a college party vibe and less of the sophisticated blues vibe that I was expecting. Either way, it was pretty weird for me to be legally drinking a pint in the middle of the street. I kept looking over my shoulder expecting the cops to come shut the street party down.

Fortunately, I left the city with no police record and our flights home were equally uneventful.

I’m excited about more travel opportunities for work. I would really like to see more of North America. There are so many places in both Canada and the US that I would love to visit!

Cuttin’ it up on the dance floor

This post is long overdue. Sometimes I feel like the internet moves too fast, as if this post is pointless because many of the events it’s centerd around happened 1-2 weeks ago. TWO WEEKS. That’s like a millennium in the internets. But, I’m going to write about it anyway because I was there and in reality, I could lie to you all and say it happened yesterday.

So, yesterday was my brother’s stag and doe. For those unaware, a stag and doe (aka: a Jack and Jill or a Buck and Doe) is a pre-wedding party. The goal of the party is to raise money to help the bride and groom pay for the wedding. I know that may sound crass but that’s how we roll in rural Ontario and no one’s going to get upset about a rockin’ party, no matter the reason behind it.

My bro’s stag and doe was no exception. Surrounded by family, friends and people I just met, we all drank and danced and fun was had by all – too much fun in my case. I don’t know why, but often when I’m with my family I forget my limits when it comes to alcohol. I think it may be the security in knowing that with my mom, my dad, my grandparents, 10 aunts, 10 uncles and 15 cousins surrounding me, someone will get me home in one piece.

And I did get home in one piece. But, not before I did my fair share of jello shots, danced with my grandpa, shimmied with my aunt, played electric guitar with my cousin and watched my friends do the same. My family loves to dance! We’re not necessarily good dancers (although my grandpa has some moves!) but we do it anyway. It’s one of my favourite things about my family; we’re always ready for a party.

I always feel so lucky that I get to let loose and have fun like this with my family. I feel lucky that I can bring friends along so they can experience my dad serving them drinks and my grandpa cutting a rug with them on the dance floor.

At the stag and doe I had two great friends join me, one of which came all the way from Switzerland.

One of my best friends spends most of the year in her native Switzerland where she is studying medicine. She’s in Canada for the summer and the first time I’ve seen her in MONTHS I was able to introduce her to my family and show her around my home town.

I was equally excited to show my other friend around. She’s one of the few people left that still lives in my university town (where I still live) and we’ve become much closer as we’ve watched the exodus of our friends move on to bigger and better things (for the record, we’re also doing bigger and better things. Those things just happen to be in our university town).

I’m always proud to bring friends home to where I grew up but it’s so much more fun when I can show them a true family party at the same time.

Do normal people party like this with their families? I’ve always thought that my family was awesome but that maybe not everyone has the same party mentality. Maybe it’s because we’re Irish?

Horsing around

As you may already be aware, I am currently taking applications to fill the position of ‘friend with pool’. Unfortunately, this search is not going very well.

However, last week I did fill a position that I didn’t even know that I was looking for. I now have a ‘friend with horse’.

This isn’t her horse. This horse came from here.

Now we all know that horses are not refreshing like a pool. They don’t provide relief from the 40 degree heat we’re expecting this week. They aren’t fun to lounge beside whilst sipping margaritas and they do not feature a pool boy named Julio.

But, horses do provide hours of entertainment. I went riding on M’s horse last week and had an absolute blast. I’ve always loved horses but never really had much of a chance to ride. Growing up I had another friend who had horses and I remember we used to ride her pony bareback and braid her other horse’s tail. In fact, that’s where I learned my mad braiding skills – standing behind a horse hoping it wasn’t about to poop.

According to M, I’m a “natural”. Now, she’s a really nice person so by “natural” she may  have meant “Go Claire! You didn’t fall off and break your face!” But, this in my opinion, is still a huge achievement.

She gave me a great lesson and I’m amazed at how closely a horse can listen to the rider’s body. I thought you would have to yank on the reigns to get the animal to move, but this horse will turn at just a move of your hips; a tiny squeeze will send you jogging along. Well, you’ll turn or jog along if that’s what the horse wants to do. This horse is a bit temperamental and only listened to me sometimes, when she felt like it.

But, then again, there may be a tiny chance that it had something to do with me rather than the horse, but until proven in a court of law, I’m blaming the horse.

I was also amazed at how hard it is to ride a horse. I used muscles that I never knew I possessed and I was sore for days afterward. I think I’ve finally fully recovered and I’m hoping to be invited out again.

I have a suspicion I’ll get that invite because I think M had as much fun as I did. The last ride M had with her horse before I had gone out with her they were working really hard preparing for a competition. When I got on the horse and tried to ride around M got a nice reminder that her horse really does love her. The horse would listen pretty well to me and we’d do a few laps of the field. But, if we got anywhere close to M, the horse would completely ignore my commands, slow down and trot on over to stand beside her. Not many people have rode her horse other than her and when you put the two of them together it’s pretty obvious they’re a perfect pair; they just fit. But, when you’re training hard for a competition, I think it’s easy to forget that you actually like the horse and the horse actually likes you. Luckily, I was able to remind M that her horse really does think she’s pretty awesome. Me, however, the horse isn’t too sure about yet.

Hi There!

I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.


Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Legal Stuff

Creative Commons License
This work by Claire Suzanne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at

© Claire Cowan, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Claire Suzanne with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.