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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Goodbye CNE, my dear, dear friend...

Well, it's officially back to school time, and I know that not by the chorus of screaming kids, decked out in their new sneakers and backpacks, or by the gaggle of uniformed-teenage girls at the bus stop, or even by my own academic calendar (I think I start class next week...). I know it is back-to-school because the Canadian National Exhibition (lovingly referred to as the "CNE" or "The Ex") is officially over. (Sob!)

I am one of those lunatics that love the Ex. LOVE. In a can't-get-enough-of-it way. I only went twice this year, but I should just literally bite the bullet and get a job there one of these years, just so I can go everyday.

It's hard to describe what I love so much about it (but I'll try). The sights (the ice dancing show - phenomenal; the people watching - even more so. I saw Elvis for crying out loud. No, not an Elvis impersonator, just a guy who really, really looked like him - meaty sideburns and all.) The sounds (screaming on the crappy Haunted House ride, on the classic Polar Express, and the squeals of joy every time I rammed my car into others on the bumper cars). The smells (this year there was this AMAZING booth, - Candles by Lori - of candles that were shaped like desserts - creme brulee, banana splits, etc. and actually smelled exactly like them. I sounded like one of those crazy kids from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the original of course - "The snozzberries taste like SNOZZBERRIES!" No, I didn't try to eat the candle. But I thought about it.) The tastes - hello? Corndogs and Tiny Tom donuts (cinnamon-flavour). Please and thank you.

And, of course, the shopping! Urban Behaviour, Sirens, Bluenotes, and of course, the mammoth warehouse free-for-all that is Stitches - oh, Ex, you know how to tempt a girl. Tops for $2.98? I'll take 10. Jeans for $10? Throw 'em on the pile. Year after year you can't beat the clothing deals here.

So, you can see why I'm sad - I'll have to wait a whole year for the wondrous world of the Ex to descend upon Toronto again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's a little like going to church...

Yesterday I went to go see Romeo and Juliet, staged by Canstage - The Dream in High Park. It was nice to sit outside (albeit on a slant, which made my butt go numb every 15 min. or so) and take in all the surroundings - cool breeze, chirping crickets, and watch one of the Bard's masterpieces.

What I found, though, is that going to a production of Shakespeare is a little like going to church (or other place of worship, however, I am only familiar with the Catholic/Christian version). First, you psych yourself up to go. "I'm going to go and see Shakespeare; it's been awhile since I've read/seen any of his plays, and it will be good for me - I need to balance out the fluff I've been watching" (Legally Blonde, anyone?). Then, as the play begins, and you can't really follow what the actors are saying, you think, "Oh man, why did I come? I like that fluffy stuff for a reason - it's fun and I can understand it. My high school/undergrad days are behind me; why do I have to torture myself with this when it won't be on the test?" Midway through, you start to get used to the language, and can generally follow along; however, you find yourself fading in and out, wondering what to make for dinner tomorrow, where to go on the weekend...Oh, Tybalt is slain, better snap out of it and watch...FOCUS! At the end you clap - Hurrah! 5 min. more (especially if they bloody well say that word "banished" again with the accent on the "-ed" and you'll grab the poison from Romeo...just kidding ;) You leave with a sense of calm dignity, "It was right I went to this production; I feel like I increased my braincells tenfold", and immediately chastise yourself for not going to more Shakespeare performances.

But if anyone asks you to a production of King Lear in the near future, feign sickness. You CAN do it, you SHOULD do it, but you know in the back of your mind that Shakespeare is like church...twice yearly (Christmas, Easter) is about as good as it's going to get.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From field to table

Coming back from a camping trip this weekend, we stopped at a few of those roadside stands - you know, where you see "Fresh Sweet Corn, 1km" "Wild Blueberries and Hot House Tomatoes, next right" when you're barreling down the highway. A screech of brakes and a quick maneuver to the graveled shoulder, a fistful of coins later and you're sampling all sorts of great local goodies. A quick inventory of what I picked up: fresh free-range eggs, organic wild blueberries, Hungarian plums and hot peppers, sour cherry jam, applesauce and freshly baked rye bread. I couldn't wait to get home to dig in! Somehow food from side of the road stands, or little quaint outposts just tastes better.

It almost makes me want to live out there in the country - in my idyllic little scene, I live on a big plot of land, and go to local markets for the foods I can't grow in my own garden. The pace of life is just slower, and at night you can see a million stars. I could dig up those comfy plaid shirts somewhere in the back of my closet, and laugh with my pals at the local Tim Hortons at all the 'city people' that roll into town during the summer. Then I remember how much of a city girl I am, if I lived out there I would be so far away from city nightlife, where would I wear all my dresses, and, oh, yeah, what would I do for work? Not to mention my terrifying fear of all things creepy-crawly. So the logistics are a little dicey, as you can see. For now I guess I will just enjoy my roadside finds in my bug-free concrete box and be content to be one of the thousands of 'city people' that infiltrate cottage country during the summer months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Living in those concrete boxes

For the most part, I love this city. The sights (skyscrapers, Queen St. W kitch, the hog dog guys on every corner), sounds (the hundreds of languages humming around every block) the smells (wafting from Greek eateries on the Danforth, Cinnabons at Sheppard station - but NOT the lake, obviously). You get the idea.

Condo living is not that bad either; it's convenient, close to transit and usually a Starbucks or two. But something these concrete boxes cannot completely block out is the noise. Now, I'm one of those sensitive people; if I'm doing work (and even if I'm not) I like things to be quiet, or mid-range noise level. But if you're 'lucky' enough to have a neighbour that plays Russian techno music that vibrates through the walls and floor, well then, now you have your own dance party going on in your unit and you should thank your lucky stars that the freestyle gods have looked down upon you.

But seriously, techno all the time? I listen to Z103, but even they mix it up a bit. And, it can get a bit awkward, say, when people are on the phone or even at particularly tense scene in Law and Order ("You are under arrest... and you have the right to PAR-TAY!")

So, think of the volume button like a fence (because the concrete ain't working at this point). Good fences create good neighbours, so just turn down the beats a bit. Pretty please. The freestyle gods will thank you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More than just SATC...

Candace Bushnell is by far one of my favorite authors. I don't think she gets the credit she deserves, as SATC eclipsed her and took on a life of its own. I find that people either Hate or Love the SATC book - and I for one love it - the vignettes of city life, her edgy style, crazy characters. People who Hate it seem to want it to be more like the tv series or the movie, but I'm glad it's different - it stands out in its own, unique way.

4 Blondes is another earlier book of hers that people either Love or Hate - (guess which side I'm on). Bushnell is actually one writer who's books I should purchase, instead of taking out from the library, but for some reason I'm always going to the library for her (lack of money and shelf space are also in the running). That's too bad for me, because 4 Blondes had this amazing line - it was so brilliant, it like summed up the meaning of life, or something like that (in her deep yet ironic way). And, since that was a library book, I can't remember the line. I should really take it out again and write it here for posterity, and so you can see just how brilliant she is.

But, I do have another line to share. I just finished The Carrie Diaries, and it was fabulous, (and certainly not just for teens). I would expect nothing else. Here's one of those brilliant moments:

"Danny walks me to the entrance. As we say good-bye, he looks into my eyes with what appears to be a deep, sympathetic understanding, and suddenly, I envy The Mouse. A girl could be comfortable with a guy like Danny. She wouldn't have to wonder if he was going to flirt with her best friend or dance with her worst enemy. I wonder if I'll ever find a guy like that. And if I do, whether I'll be smart enough to want him."

Ahhh. So true. I think these thoughts may have passed through many a girl's mind, so it really does resonate, and even though the "dance with her worst enemy" part is actually literal here, there are so many connotations and allusions that can reference. Bushnell has a way with words in all her books that I admire, and certainly aspire to.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ohmmmm....

Yoga keeps this city girl calm, cool and collected. When about to freak, throw things or cry in fits of anger or disgust, she merely places her thumb and middle fingers together, hands resting on her knees in a cross-legged position. Breathe in, two, three, four.... Breathe out, two, three, four. She has found her inner peace, and her anger dissipates.

Well, it might not look quite like that, but yoga does really help rejuvenate me, and if I'm in a pissy mood, it helps make me feel a bit better (release the endorphins!) Now, I know you don't need much to do yoga - just a tank top, shorts and a towel at home, and you can follow along poses from a book, CD or video that cost about $10. And I do that...sometimes. I have a variety of yoga videos (mainly Yoga Zone - twenty minute segments) and a book - Yoga Workout by Barbara Currie, and a couple of audio CD's kicking around somewhere. And it's fun and refreshing. But, it really doesn't compare with going to those boutique yoga studios, now does it?

You know the ones I'm talking about. You walk through the door, and immediately your senses are calmed by some lavender concoction burning from incense sticks, or piped through the whole building. The perky and hip staff at the front counter welcome you to the studio, and ask if you need a mat, towel, water, and invite you to have a cup of organic chai tea. Lithe, toned bodies are everywhere - clad only in Lululemon attire from headbands to leggings, and you follow the heard into the exposed-brick, laminate-flooring studio, and place down your mat (not too close to the pink Lulu girl beside you though!) The sound of trickling water, or monks chanting in the distance permeates the space, and in the dim lighting the instructor begins the class with a group "Ohmmmm".

After what seems like millions of poses that had you stretching, straining, your aching, tired muscles finally get a well deserved savasana. Lying there, like a corpse, all your thoughts and worries disappear, and you wish you never, ever had to leave this safe little space, that you could sleep here forever in this lavender-scented oasis forever. But then that bloody little bell rings once, twice, three times, and the instructor intrudes on your rest. Rolling up your mat and walking out of the class, however, you realize that a little piece of practice has stayed with you, and you feel relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated.

So what if it costs $18 a pop? I don't get all that at home, thank you very much. For me, this meant a visit to Tula yoga yesterday, where all the aforementioned benefits came a plenty, but Toronto has tons of these studios all with slightly different vibes and crowds. Even though it can be pricey, there are class deals to be had and it sure beats my at-home routine. But since my expensive tastes don't jive with my student budget, it means only occasional visits for me. I got a pass for this studio from one of the daily deal sites, so MORE DAILY DEALS FOR YOGA, please and thank you. Karma will look well upon you :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Organize your place and disorganize your life

Here's a confession - I hate to organize. I generally like stuff the way it is, where I last left it. That's why piles of magazines on the floor don't really bother me, or sticky notes on my desk, or clothes hanging on the hamper (not yet dirty, not totally clean so can't go back in the drawer). Now, being messy is totally different from being dirty (I cannot stand a dirty place; I hate unwashed dishes in the sink, and an unclean bathroom makes me gag). So cleaning yes, but organization, not so much. What's wrong with leaving stuff where you last put it? I know where everything is, so it makes perfect sense that I leave my CD's on top of my computer, instead of by the player, and have my sunglasses on the bookshelf, instead of in my purse or by the door, my bills on my desk, instead of my file folder marked "bills", and my notes from my writing course in the shoe closet, rather than on my bookshelf.

Well, apparently, this line of reasoning only works when one lives alone, and can 'organize' as one sees fit. When I lived at home, my mother would always tell me to go clean up my stuff from around the house, and when I didn't, all my papers, magazines, keychains and lipglosses would magically get cleaned up for me (and then I would get pissed because I wouldn't know where anything was!) And now, living with my bf, (in a Toronto-sized condo, mind you) my 'stuff' has taken over the place. So, since I have most of August off from going to school, one of my tasks is ORGANIZATION - files, folders, and dreaded paper products. This is tedious, thankless work - and I thought things looked better before I organized! There is literally nowhere to put stuff anymore, for some reason there still isn't room after I throw stuff out!

I wish there was the magic organization fairy that would come over and poof! All done! I wonder where my mother found hers ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Oh, the sheer impossibility of waiting...

This weekend, I redeemed another one of my daily deal coupons - winemaking. Mmmmm, vino. My bf and I went up to the winery (in Aurora) - yes, a bit of a hike, but worth it, as I mentioned a few posts ago about the obscenely high costs of alcohol in Ontario. We went in, and it's a pretty classy place, actually; besides winemaking supplies, they have all these cute little wine-related goodies - carafes and bottles openers in the shape of animals, Parisian-esq coasters and hundred-dollar glasses (yes, for one glass). The lady asked what type of wine I usually buy, and as she listed off the various countries (Australia, South Africa, Argentina, etc) I realized that what I really like was right here at home. So we ended up choosing a white wine - very similar to this Jackson-Triggs Ontario white that I really love.

The process was quite simple - water, the grape juice/concentrate, this clay mixture that was sprinkled in (to clarify) and yeast (to turn it into alcohol, baby!) I had such fun, for some reason, I forgot this has to sit for a month and ferment; I was looking forward to drinking a bottle last night! I guess that's the downfall of u-brew; gratification is not instant.

Later on, since we were up north anyway, we took a little day trip to Lake Simcoe, and swam, sat on the docks, lapped up the sun. I love lazy summer days - where the sky is endlessly sunny and blue, and warms your skin after coming out of the chilly lake. I also got to catch up on my summer reading - I'm halfway through Bridget Jones's Diary, which is classic, classic, chick lit, and I'm a bit embarrased to say I haven't read it before. (The movie, of course! How could I not see a Colin Firth flick?) Any chick-lit reader worth her Manolos though will tell you that Bridget Jones is like the mecca of the genre, and devotees of chick-lit must definitely read it! I do love a good romance, as evidenced by my first post, but in the past five or six years or so, I've branched out to chick-lit a bit.

It's actually very good. Sometimes I wonder if a book has too much hype, but this one actually makes me LOL (not just on-screen). Here's an excerpt:

Scene: Bridget just arrives at her parent's friends New Year's party...

"...Come on, let's get you a drink. How's your love-life, anyway?"

Oh God. Why can't married people understand that this is no longer a polite question to ask? We wouldn't rush up to them and roar, "How's your marriage going? Still having sex?" Everyone knows that dating in your thirties is not the happy-go-lucky free-for-all it was when you were twenty-two and that the honest answer is more likely to be, "Actually, last night my married lover appeared wearing suspenders and a darling little Angora crop-top, told me he was gay/a sex addict/a narcotic addict/a commitment phobic and beat me up with a dildo," than "Super, thanks".

And that's only page 11!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I don't live in the virtual world, not all the time...

Last night I went to the Rihanna/Ke$ha concert at the Molson Ampitheatre. It was pretty good, consider it didn't rain and we were slumming it on the lawns. I like Ke$ha's songs (I know this comment will probably come back to haunt me in the future) but I think I like it better on her album then live. I don't know - their didn't seem to be a lot of electricity in the air when she played, not like Rihanna, and certainly not like Mary J. when I saw her a couple weeks ago at Lilith (Oh, Mary J - you were FAN-TAS-TIC!) Anyway, a few beers definitely made her set better.

Rihanna put on a pretty good show I must say. Lots of crazy images on the screens - fire and brimstone and such, and her shock of red hair made a nice contrast when she rode that pink tank (yes, an army tank). The outfits were more Lady Gaga-esq though; I particularly wondered about the one that was white cutouts that only covered one leg and one arm, and in the mid-section acted as a type of bodysuit. I know I'm not describing it too well, but it was confusing to look at.

During Disturbia, I was disturbed - looking at these creepy shadowy creatures that had giant arms and legs - it looked like a evil tall animal that walked on all fours. If you've seen the movie Return to OZ (and if you haven't go to the video store or Netflixs now, now, now!) then you remember the Wheelers - those crazy wheeling maniacs that scared all of us as children. Think of them in all black with glowing eyes. Now that's Disturbia!

And, last but not least, came Umbrella, in which I took out my umbrella (not planned ahead, mind you, I thought it might rain so I brought it along) and danced around. One of my friends captured this moment for posterity:





Yes, it's super-blurry, but that's 'cuz I'm DANCING, people. Too much fun :)

The only thing that was missing was Pon de Replay - so I'm linking to it here, since we missed it. Boo. Rihanna - come back and sing it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Destroy and build, then repeat.

So I'm a little obsessed with Lego Batman. I got an Xbox around Christmas-time and one of the games it came with was Lego Batman. Now, I've never been super-crazed about video gaming or anything; sure, as a kid I loved Nintendo - Mario 1, 2 and 3, and I had some funky game called Dr. Chaos, where you had to try and rescue the mad inventor's daughter from his terrifying creations, or something like that. I remember playing with my neighbour, and we actually won the game! I think that was the only game I won - well, ok, Wheel of Fortune too, but that was more trivia than skill-based. My friend down the block also had Streetfighter (I think that's what it was called) and another friend had Zelda - which was awesomeness to the max! But we never played these games religiously.

Now that it's summer and I'm on a bit of a break from school, Lego Batman is taking slowly taking over. Sure, build a car here, destroy a building there. Then, suddenly, I unlock a power brick that gives me 6x the amount of coins. Six times!! That's like free money, baby (and Lord knows I don't have much of that to throw around in real life :) So, smash some more flower gardens and benches, build some more trucks and snapping crocs, and the coins are rolling in.

And it's so cute! These little tiny characters, all running around and building for their lives. Destroy yourself? No problem - build yourself right back up again. Pop open a door to a secret room, build a drum set, guitar, microphone and piano and rock out - Lego Batman-style! No blood and guts, no horror and drama, just little lego pieces flying everywhere, building everything imaginable. And, unlike real lego, I don't even have to clean up afterwards! Just turn off the console. Sweet, sweet technology.

I'm going to miss all this playing come September and things crank back up at school. But, for now, I think I'm going to go and use my Lego powers to build some more. And then destroy it! (heh, heh, heh)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Omigod you guys!!!

Last night, I went to go see Legally Blonde with 3 of my girlfriends (I felt sorry for the poor men that were dragged there). And man, it was so awesome! I actually didn't expect to like it as much as I did - it seemed a little silly in the beginning, and fluffy. But somehow, scene after scene the silliness seemed to dissipate and the storyline, songs and choreography got stronger. Although it was still fluffy. But a pink, sparkly, gorgeous fluffy - one where you wish you had your own greek chorus to pop out whenever amazing stuff happens to sing and dance and say, "Omigod you guys!"

I bought the soundtrack. I had to, considering this would be the only way I could have that greek chorus.

This just confirms my believe that music has a deep affect on us, emotionally, spiritually...whatever, you get it. Like hearing a favorite song from high school literally can transport you back to high school, wherever you happen to be at that particular moment. Like, whenever I hear that classic Montell Jordan track - "This is how we do it" - I'm right back at school, in uniform, walking down the halls and singing along.

"It's Friday night and I feel alright".

Also (and this one's a little embarrassing) when I was in London, that damn theme tune to Austin Powers (in the opening credits) kept playing in my head as I was walking down the street. I think I actually skipped a bit to it. I must have looked like a looney bin. But I loved that movie ever since I saw it in high school and had this obsession with going to England, and then when I got there, something clicked in my head and out popped that theme tune.

"The party's here on the West side".

And I can't forget about Fame. How cool would it be to start dancing in tandem on the streets of New York City? In legwarmers! Any excuse to wear legwarmers, really.

"I'm going to live forever. I'm going to learn how to fly - high!"

So, maybe that's why I've been going to all these musicals (We will Rock You, Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys, etc). Music connects to me more than just speaking the words ever could.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One little change, and I'm off!

What I really like about beauty and fashion (not to sound all campy) is that a little change outside can change how you feel inside. Seriously. Case in point - yesterday, I went down to Terroni on Adelaide to celebrate a friend's birthday, and I looked in my closet for something to wear. My shocking fuchsia dress looked right back at me. "I'll do it", I thought, "I love pink, and I haven't worn this dress yet". It's quite cute actually, with ruffles around the neckline and hemline. So I paired it with basic black (purse, shoes, cardigan) as it is tough to compete with blinding pink. I looked in the mirror and thought, "so far, so good".

But, as I stepped outside to wait for the TTC, I transformed into the girl in the fuchsia dress. I walked with just a little more oomph, I strutted up King St.; somehow the street became a catwalk. And it was all thanks to the dress (well, I was IN the dress, but it brought out my inner model :)

Today I redeemed one of my fabulous daily deal coupons - I got my hair dyed, cut and styled at Evoke. It was quite a nice salon with friendly staff; but I walked in my normal, day-to-day, ho-hum self. Then I got layers, my hair became darker, the colour of coffee, and it was styled to a glossy finish. I walked out feeling incognito - like since I wasn't my normal blonde self, I could do anything I wanted. Maybe even become someone different, at least for a little while.

Today there was a deal for Blo (where you walk in for a blow out, and walk out like a goddess). No wonder I can't resist!

Monday, August 2, 2010

It only comes but once a day...

Recently, I've been introduced to those 'daily deal' sites - the ones you always see on the right-hand side when you log into Facebook ("One ridiculously huge coupon emailed to you daily" - or something like that). I always thought that these things were a big-time scam, but then one of my friends sent me a link and suggested we do an hour-long boat tour around the Toronto harbour - and it was only $8. I thought for eight bucks, why not? So my hot little hands typed in my email and personal deets and there it was a couple minutes later, a ticket for the boat tour. I logged out and thought, "well, that was pretty cool." And then it promptly left my mind.

Until the next day.

See, these sites are stealthy. Once you sign up for one of their coupons, you're on their daily email list, and you keep getting the 'deal of the day' sent to you. This is where all resistance and willpower can leave your clutches, and you're on the slippery slope, flailing around with your credit card number at the ready. Shortly after my harbour tour initiation, I received a daily deal email for a haircut and style. "Well", thought I, "My hair is certainly getting a bit shaggy 'round the ends, and those two-toned roots are starting to sprout like a tree. I'll just get this coupon; I need a cut (and colour anyway)". So I logged in and in two winks, I was the proud owner of a deeply discounted visit to the salon.

And then those emails kept coming...

One for beauty products, which I promptly bought up in a flash. (I'm a beauty shop junkie - I NEED body cream scented like honey and pumpkin; it's for autumn, damn it! My favorite season of the year! How am I supposed to get through the fall without pumpkin-spiced body cream?)

Another for yoga (do you know how much yoga studios charge!?!? I love going, but even their discounted rate for students is a bit pricey at times). This coupon offered you five visits for $40. 5 for $40!! That's way cheaper than the student rate, and it will help keep my school-related stress under control.

Then there was the make-your-own-wine. One thing that sucks about living in Ontario is the bloody taxes charged on liquor. I remember on a trip to California, I waltzed into Trader Joe's and waltzed back out with a bottle of rose for $2.95. And then I waltzed in the hotel room with it. Literally. So, I will jump at the chance to get cheap booze - and here was a coupon thrown into my lap where I could get 30 bottles for under $3 each. That's crazy insane. I'd have to be insane NOT to get it.

Oh, and the dance classes. Now, I've always loved dance - ever since I was a kid I took ballet and jazz, and I like to practice now what I call my 'freestyle' dancing- at clubs, at home, on the street, no, scratch the last one. But, you see, I do love a good dance. So imagine my delight when a old-school dance company (think nineteen-20's style) had a deal - 6 classes for $15. Are you serious? It's like dancing for free, peeps! So I got a couple of my friends to sign up for this one, as well.

Now I'm a full blown addict. I'm itching for the next day, where I can run to my computer, log into my account, and look at all the deals offered to me. It's like Christmas everyday! But I've got to pace myself. Remember my student wages, and all that. Still, I can look though. Right?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Time for a change...

So, I thought I'd start out my first blog post by reminiscing a bit on careers - the ones we have now and the ones we wish we had. Growing up, I think I wanted to be everything from a teacher to an airline hostess (when I was really young) to a psychiatrist or farmer when I was older (don't ask about the farmer part - I don't know where that came from). When I really wanted to dream - I fantasized about being a rock star - like Jem (of Jem and the Holograms); definitely feisty with a twist of kick-ass girl power thrown in.

In high school, I found Harlequin romances and thought - "This is it - I will write/work for Harlequin!" I had totally found my calling - losing myself in a juicy romance was far better than whatever I had to force down my throat for English class (except Jane Eyre. And Wuthering Heights. And all the Jane Austins. Let's just call them novels of historical importance with that all-important romantic element!)

But, what do you think happened? Am I at this very minute crafting love-stories for my favorite publisher, or even working there as some type of editor - choosing the covers, copy, marketing and distributing these books I covet so much? No, I'm working on my Ph.D. instead.  WTF?! How did that happen?

Well, (and this is where you may find similarities to my story in your own life) I just kinda fell into it. After undergrad (History/English majors, of course), I got an incredible opportunity to teach at the college level. And surprisingly (at least to me), I was good at it (and really loved it, to boot!) I loved connecting with people and helping them; the only thing I didn't like was marking (Argh!) But in order to try and secure a job in this field, I was told that I would need at least a Master's degree. So, I went ahead and applied, and got into the Education program. I loved my studies as well (although it was tough to balance both), and when it came time for graduation I had a decision to make. Try and get a job (in the dwindling full-time post-secondary field) or keep going and do the Ph.D. (which I had already been accepted to). And obviously, you know which route I took.

Now, don't get me wrong, I really love what I'm doing right now (although the pay from teaching assistantships definitely leaves something to be desired) and I am mentally challenged by my work on a daily basis. But I always wonder - what if? What if I had walked up to the Harlequin offices after graduation and begged them to take me on as an intern? What if I had cranked out that first novel, like I said I would do ten years ago and it was accepted? This is my fantasy when things get too stressful at school, or I'm freaking out over research.

I'm currently scheduled to graduate in 2013. That feels like a long time still to go and it's tough sometimes to keep plugging away, especially when my friends are so much further along (money and career-wise) than I am. Sometimes I envy them, their corporate jobs, how their evenings and weekends are their own and they can do fun things downtown (like go to mixers, be part of a bookclub, play team sports, etc) while I usually can't (money and time restrictions). I sometimes wonder if it's worth it. I'm sure this is totally a "the grass is greener on the other side" type scenario, but I can't help think back to my own Harlequin dreams. Not all Ph.D.'s become university professors - how would they feel about having one in publishing? :)