Monday, December 29, 2008

Tag! I'm it.

Like the lovely Sarah, I've never been any good with chain letters. Call me a cynic, a ruiner of good times, but I just can't seem to pass on those things. Even though I do love new recipes, stickers, mail, whatever. I am good with the all-about-me chain letters only because you better believe I am awesome at wasting time when I have other things to do.

The rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six [random] things about me:
1. I am a very tactile person. I need to touch things. I can not possibly walk through any kind of store and keep my hands to myself. I let fabrics slide through my fingers, rub yarn against my cheek and go absolutely gaga over paper thickness and texture in the stationary store.

2. I am a clutz. If there's a slim possibility that I could hurt myself doing something, I'll probably do so. My winter boots have extreme traction, yet I fall on my ass in the streets. I walk into doors and walls. I constantly have bruises and have no idea where they have come from. I hurt myself so often, that I ignore pain. However, I have never broken a "real" bone (I don't count fingers and toes, those jerks are fragile).

3. I like to smell things. I've been known to fall into my mom's lily garden. I'm on videotape somewhere with a freshly-sharpened pencil crayon to my cute little nose. Fresh cut hay at home is one of my favourite smells ever. I have pretty perfumes, but often forget to put any on.

4. I can not, for the life of me, stay awake in the car. This has extended to airplanes. The noise no longer bothers me, once the engine gets going (and sometimes before), I drift off like it's some kind of Pavlonian response. I've been fighting to stay awake on long car rides for The Boy, so I can keep him company, but even then, I fall asleep for a little bit at a time.

5. I won a public speaking contest, against everyone in my grade and the grade above me, in grade 7. My speech was about technology. I'm far better at writing speeches than I am at saying them, though my confidence in that area has vastly improved over the past couple years. I credit this to being forced to speak at a news conference a couple of years ago, which is totally the opposite of my job.

6. I love to read. This isn't surprising to anyone who knows me, I've read every book in my childhood home (even the Harlequin romances hidden in my mother's dresser, shhh) and have a stack of to-read books that gets longer and longer and longer, even as I tear through books in the pile. I can not read for enjoyment on any kind of screen. I need to feel the paper in my hands, take in the smell of new pages or of older library books, and if it's a newspaper, I need to get some ink on my hands. Real newspapers, I'll read right through to the end. Online newspapers, I'll only skim the highlights. If I was any good at waking up in the morning before I absolutely have to, I would have a newspaper subscription so I could pour over it with a cup of steaming hot coffee.

I'm not tagging anyone, because I'm a jerk like that. But if you are interested in doing this, leave a comment and let me know so that I can read it. Or, leave random comments about yourself in the comments here.

Holly Jolly Christmas

Christmas was pretty fabulous, though most of the present opening was done before the actual day. I totally won Christmas, according to the Boy, receiving lots of board games and Wii games and wine and a pretty shiny necklace and so on. I then insisted that everyone play every game in the universe with me, multiple times. Because that's how I roll.

We went for a walk around the lake and it was very cold. But then we drank to get warm. Hurray.
There were deer everywhere. No mooses, but I saw more deer than I ever needed to see in my life, a herd of antelope (after I told the Boy to wake me up on the way home if he saw another one... he commented on how we had passed two already), and some elk. All kinds of antler-ed creatures. When I was taking things to the car as we were about to leave, about a dozen deer were starting to move in on me. Zombie deer after my brains. Fortunately, the Boy opened the door and since he has no brains, the deer backed off. Phew. Kidding. His brain is real big and full of math and science. The wii told us so. And even more importantly, it said my brain is even bigger, even if math and science are no good.

Canadian Badlands are much prettier and kind of less badass when everything is covered in snow.

Rawr! It's the world's largest dinosaur!

And the world's tallest teepee.
One more day of work and then it's off to ring in the new year in the Canadian Rockies with 10 of our most-available-for-spending-New-Year's-in-the-mountains friends. I would kind of like a nap. All of this travelling has made me exhausted.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Putting the 'fun' in dysfunction

The ugly sweater party was a blast. I was voted ugliest sweater and I didn't even rig the voting process! I had first, second and third place prizes to award. All booze. Good times. Also, the present swap was a fabulous time, it got a bit more interesting near the end when people started stealing presents from each other... which is how I got a sweet 80's Bon Jovi poster. Framed. And "autographed". Swoon. Though quite a few of our usual party guests were absent, we were blessed with a very full condo full of friends new and old.

Boy, oh boy, am I ever looking forward to two 5-day weekends. As soon as we get the go-ahead today, I'm leaving the office and heading to Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan with the Boy to see his fam. Secret: I hope to see another moose. I met his parents on the Labour Day long weekend in September when we traveled down to Cypress to help them move. Not the ideal situation to meet parents, but it worked out rather nicely. As I was kicking the Boy's ass at bocce, we had a mama moose and her baby cross in front of us. Boy pulled out the soccer-mom arm save to ensure that I wouldn't be attacked.

Me (jaw on the ground): Wow. Just wow.
Boy (arm shoots out): Don't get too close or you will DIE!

Anyway, that's where I'll be for the next four or five days, hiding out in the park, maybe venturing outside at some point depending on how bloody cold it is. After another two days of work upon my return, we'll be heading to Canmore to ring in the new year in the Canadian Rockies. I am so excited.

Work has been a madhouse lately, which has been completely unexpected. So crazy that my boss called me at work to make sure I was going to come in today, because she needs me. Hopefully we'll have some admin staff back soon so we don't completely lose our minds.

Happy holidays blogosphere. Wishing you much love, laughter, and good times with friends and family this holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Although it's been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.

“Christmas is awesome. First of all you got to spend time with people you love. Secondly, you can get drunk and no one can say anything. Third, you give presents. What's better than giving presents? And fourth, getting presents. So four things. Not bad for one day. It's really the greatest day of all time” (Michael Scott, The Office, Christmas 2005).

The presents are all purchased, wrapped and under the tree. Mix CDs filled with a variety of Christmas carols are being primed for tomorrow night’s party (Metal Christmas mix, anyone? Or is old school Jazz more your flavour?). As we head into the Christmas/holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in the economy, the stress of finding things for those you love while still sticking to your budget, and the old “did I spend on them, what they spent on me?” dilemma.

I’m here to help, by providing you a list of things I’d like for free this season.

New Christmas traditions. It’s the first year that I’m away from my family, and coincidentally, the first Christmas that I get to spend with the Boy. It’s pretty exciting that we’ll be together this year, especially because the more we spend time together, the harder it becomes to spend any lengthy time apart. Everyone who knows me has heard me discuss the sadness of being without the sisterly Christmas Eve slumber party tradition this year, but I’m looking forward to making some new traditions with the Boy.

Laughter. The holidays are for getting together with friends and sharing good times, imbibing, and creating a database of alcohol-induced moments for blackmail at a later date. I am looking forward to decorating up the apartment and having over friends old and new to celebrate the season before people head off to their respective holiday locations. Whether the laughter is the kind where the hand meekly covers the mouth while giggles attempt to escape, or the hearty head-thrown-back-because-it-can’t-be-contained type, I want lots of it.

Encouraging others to give back. It doesn’t have to be a monetary thing. It can be wrapping presents for something like Toys for Tots or Santa’s Anonymous. It could be spending quality time with a grandparent, while you still can – time is short. Basically, I hope that everyone steps outside their regular comfort zone just a little bit to do something that will mean the world to someone else: whether it’s working with an organized charity, doing a good deed for a stranger or merely helping with the dishes post-Christmas meal.

Voices of those I love. This is totally free, with the joys of unlimited, free long distance. Weee! I’ll be calling home on Sunday night, to talk to Daddy’s side of the family while they’re all at my parents’ house, celebrating Christmas with my grandparents for the first time in as long as I can remember (usually they head south to get away from the cold). It’s strange that they’ll be at my house and I’ll be away for a change, but it will be awesome to call and get to speak to everyone at once.

Family fun time. I’m looking forward to being at the Boy’s parent’s house in the deep Saskatchewan south, surrounded by the tall trees bending with snow, the harsh cold whipping outside, while staying inside all toasty warm playing games. I love to play games. Not the emotional or mental kind, but of the card or board persuasion. Love! Even if I am not good at losing, it’s still a fabulous time.

The Boy. Just reiterating how excited I am to be with him this Christmas, the first Christmas I’ve ever spent with a boyfriend even. Weird. It will be good to make fun of him with his family, cuddle him, and see his reactions to the presents I chose for him.

Looks like everything I want for free, I’m well on track to receive. And what could be better than that?

This post is the final chapter of mine for the 20-Something Bloggers' December blog carnival. My other posts can be found here and here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas wishlist, by sense

"Every sense hath been o'erstrung, and each frail fibre of the brain sent forth her thoughts all wild and wide." Lord Byron

This post is in continuation of the 20-Something Bloggers' December Blog Carnival. The topics up for grabs were:
  • A wishlist of things you want that are free.
  • A wishlist of five items, one for each sense.
  • A wishlist of things you would sneak under the tree for yourself, age 13.

My post on the latter can be found here. What follows is my wishlist of five items, one for each sense. Unintentionally, all of these items are also free. Kind of. Without further ado, five sense-related items on my wishlist.

Sight: The expression on the faces of those I love while they open their gifts from me. I love when I get someone a present that I know they’ll love. Something that they aren’t expecting that will cause their eyes to light up and a smile to their face. Or tears, if it’s the momma. I’m excited to see the reactions to gifts I’m giving my friends and the Boy, hopefully cementing my own belief that I did a pretty bang-up job this year.

Smell: Lilies. This time of year is a little hard, since it’s around this time that my Grandpa passed away. His gardens were always so beautiful, his lilies so tall, everything so lush. Lilies also remind me of home. My mom’s beautiful lily garden. Her annoyance when cross-pollination occurs (I still like "mingling", Kaye) and all the lilies come up orange. They remind me of family and freedom. Running about outside with the wind in my hair. Smelling the flowers and nearly falling face-first into the garden. Because that’s how I roll.

Touch: Hugs. I am a touchy person, and the holidays are all about friends and family. I’m excited to see my friends this weekend for the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party the Roomie and I are hosting. Hugs all around for those I love. Excited to snuggle up with the Boy. Even excited to see his parents for Christmas, who always make me feel as welcome as my own family.

Sound: It’s a toss up. I absolutely love the sound of laughter. The sound of people coming together and sharing stories, memories, and new experiences. But then, I also want to hear the sound of my sister’s voice, “I wanna talk about boys!” as she crawls into my bed late at night. Our Christmas tradition was a sisterly sleepover/slumber party. Which meant the three of us staying up way too late, giggling and gossiping, saying our prayers together. Usually we were shushed more than once, or sternly commanded to go to sleep. Then, we’d get up early in the morning to look at our presents and help get breakfast organized. The lack of this Christmas tradition has me particularly homesick this year.

Taste: Gingerbread, whether it’s in cookie or latte form. This treat contains the very essence of Christmas. Just as the smell of lilies brings memories rushing back, the taste of gingerbread makes the holiday real. Memories of creating houses in days gone by, or the excitement on old Roomie Tim’s face as I called him upstairs in our house on Maitland Street to cut out his own holiday shapes.

"Love is of all the passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses." Lao Tzu

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In an epic too small to be tragic

He was my first relationship that lasted longer than approximately six weeks. It was over a year of the Tragically Hip in the CD player. Not my first love, I tend to fall easily, but it was the first significant one. One with talk of someday. My mother adored him, questioning me to ensure I made the right choice in breaking up with him. He was responsible, charming, and he had a plan.

I used to think he was a good guy, but not the guy for me; later, I decided he wasn’t that good after all. He was someone who seemed to listen to me. But when he stated my opinion back, it morphed into something that was not mine at all. It became exactly what he believed. We couldn’t have differing opinions. And he was “so glad I wasn’t a feminist.” I am a feminist. I firmly believe that any woman wanting the most for her gender is.

He decided what we did, where we did it, and who we did it with. Which if you know me, and the fact that I tend to not care, it’s not a huge surprise. Only he decided even when I had a strong opinion about it, like the time I was sick and wanted to stay home but he made me go to the Drive-In anyway. “I’ll go pack some food and blankets, you think about it.” I got heat stroke from climbing the Sand Hills. Feet burning from hot sand. Tears streaming down my face. He never let me quit. I was so mad.

When I disagreed with him, and made it a point to let him know I disagreed, he got angry. Yelling, door slamming, angry. He’d never raise a hand to me, but he hurt me in other ways. Subtly. He was always the guy claiming he was a good guy, as if that gave him an excuse to be a jerk. “You’ll never find anyone as good as me.”

We got back together a couple times, just because it was easy. After being with someone so long, it was hard to have no one. He tried to romance me, and I cried. He thought I was overwhelmed, really I had realized how over it was. How I no longer had any feelings for him. It was the fact that he was willing to fight for things, and I wasn’t, that broke my heart.

He was good looking, but he became so ugly to me. “My female friends all find me attractive, so I don’t believe that you don’t anymore. You must be a lesbian.” If it makes you feel better, you can try to believe it, I said.

Armed with a strong, smart woman to commiserate with, I was able to say goodbye. And later helped her to the same to a similar man of hers. Over drinks at the Barking Frog, we wondered how to be single again. Laughed about the undesirable prospect of dating. Cursed. Hysterics because he took my vibrator but left his TV. “If he can’t make you happy, he figures you can’t make you happy,” she snorted.

He was wrong. I found someone far greater than he ever was. Someone who appreciates me, and shows it. Someone who gave me the most adorable Poinsettia for no reason at all. Someone who makes me sandwiches. Someone who asks me about my day, and is genuinely interested in what I have to say. Someone who will have drunken debates about economics, energy and politics with me. Someone who will agree to disagree, while agreeing that disagreeing is okay. Someone who is glad that I’m a feminist. Someone who I love more every day. Someone who is one of the most beautiful individuals, inside and out, I’ve ever known. Someone with whom I have many somedays. Someone who has come to hang out with me on my couch when I’m sick. Someone I can fight with. Fighting because we care. Someone I can build a life with. A future.

I remember months after. “I’ve ever been friends with my exes, but I want to be friends with you.” Me talking him through dating again, though I’m sure it was a half-assed attempt to make me slightly jealous. His dismay and wonder at the fact that I wasn’t dating. “I’m not ready,” I said. “I told you I needed to figure out me, what I want, and what my goals are, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.” It’s exactly what I did. And in doing so, I realized he was never someone I would be friends with. It’s a little strange that he’s getting married to that girl he told me about years ago. I wish them well. It’s the reason I broke things off, so he could find someone who loved him as much as everyone deserves to be loved. I’m glad he found it.

I did.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December is for Cynics

In conversation at our Friday snack meeting at work, the topic of Secret Santa came up. I'm a Grinch about Secret Santa; I refuse to take part in this activity. This strikes some people as odd because I love giving presents, I love doing things for others and yet, I refuse to take part in this Christmas activity which embraces both of those things.

We used to do Secret Santa things in elementary school. I always put effort into mine to make my Secret Santa feel special, and I never ever got anything back. It's not that I need something when I give it, but I think that the people who commit and never deliver take the fun out of everything. 

I opt to be the cookie fairy. All year long. 

My University friends used to tease me, though they loved it. During exams, when someone was feeling down, or whenever I was feeling particularly domestic, I would bake cookies. And deliver them around campus/the city. For the past three years, I've been sending cookies in the mail for Christmas to some specific people. It's not limited to Christmas, sometimes it happens for Valentine's Day, to cheer someone up, or for no reason at all. I like to make people's day. Especially because I never tell people when they're coming. I love to get a call from a friend back in Ontario informing me how getting my little package made their horrible, rotten, no-good, very bad day absolutely wonderful. It makes me feel good.

So last night, I had a glass of wine, took off layers as the heat overtook the apartment, danced around to Christmas carols, my hair in disarray, covered in white stuff... and this morning I delivered those cookies to Canada Post.

I also left a container of shortbread and fudgey, peanut butter goodness outside the door of our neighbours, inviting them to our Ugly Sweater Christmas party next Saturday. Because cookies are a pretty easy way of making new friends, and if that doesn't work, we'll throw in some ugly sweaters and booze.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Today is the Alberta Liberal leadership election. In honour of this very unexciting event, I give you the following video. I can't decide whether it is awesome or terrible that Taft and Co. are making fun of themselves by spoofing The Office. Also, a little telling that Kevin Taft is the creative director, has a love affair with that "pony", and sees himself as the Michael Scott of the opposition. Not exactly painting yourself in the best light there, Kev.

It's a little painful to watch, and the sound cuts in and out at points, but it's... erm... interesting. Also, please note: "The Rodeo Motion" for those of you who are not from Alberta, is Taft's announcement in the House that he wants to see Rodeo named Alberta's official sport. Yeah. Er, Yeehaw?

The Boy is headed off to the mountains this weekend for some skiing, and I'm opting to hibernate. With a projected temperature of somewhere between -20 Celcius and -35 Celcius, or -4 to -31 Fahrenheit (says the Internet converter) before windchill, it seems like a good weekend to curl up on the couch, watch some bad Christmas movies, do some reading and avoid the world.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Me, I want a hula hoop!

Heights of Fashion: A history of the elevated foot is definitely something I want to check out before the exhibit's March 8 best-before date. The hise and fall of the high heel in Western fashion over the past 500 years. Gorgeous shoes and history? Sign me up.

The other thing keeping me going today is this classic Christmas tune. I remember the movie from when we were kids, even more than that, I remember the book. With the lyrics to this song. Please Christmas, don't be laaate! Only two weeks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas wishes for myself. At 13.

Thank you to the 20 Something Bloggers’ December blog carnival, for helping me write a blog post today when all creativity has eluded me. The following are four things I would sneak under the Christmas tree for myself, age 13.

1. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. I did my English independent study on Plath for OAC (Grade 13… it was an Ontario thing), and was inspired by her, her independence, her brilliance, her reluctance to choose a path just because it was the one society said she should choose. It would have been beneficial for my younger self to learn about women like her sooner. Plus, by this age I had pretty much plowed through every written word in the house, so it would have been good to have something better to read than new cereal boxes.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet” (Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963).
2. A pretty journal. Sure, I had many loose leaf papers and books around, but it would be good to encourage younger me to write more. I used to love it so much, and it’s something that has dwindled with age, mandatory academic essays causing a serious lack of creativity, not to mention times of forced creativity. It would have served as even more of an outlet during a time in my life when I was not a happy person. A time when I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone who could help me be a happier person.

3. A game of some kind. Something along the lines of Girl Talk, a game that I never, ever owned. Something to encourage me to bond with my sisters during a time that I did not appreciate how awesome little sisters really can be. Something to make me cherish those last five years with them before I headed off to university. Something to remind me to stress out less, that the world doesn’t end at the drama of being a teenaged girl. Something to get me out of my room and my cover of books and pages scribbled with angst.

4. A promise for some kind of activity with my mom. Movie tickets, shopping, whatever. With three siblings, one on one time was rare with a parent (unless you were my brother, who could only be found following around my dad). It was even more rare that that time, if it happened, would be spent doing something other than cleaning, getting in trouble, or being forced to do homework. Any real, quality time you get to spend with a parent that age is a good thing. It took a lot for my relationship with my mother to become a healthy one, and it's something that I wish would have happened sooner.

If there was something you could give yourself at age 13, or even say to yourself at age 13, what would it be?

Monday, December 8, 2008

You know who I am, wanna know who/what I'm not?

I am not necessarily proud of all the things I have done, or the ways I have acted, but I have no regrets. Good or bad, everything I have experienced and the mistakes I have made have brought me to the here and now. I am pretty proud to be this person.

I am not a morning person. I am not able to do much without coffee. I am not able to work for a corporation, selling or marketing a product. I need to believe I am making a difference. I am not working in a non-profit now simply because I can’t afford to, paying off my debt is more important to me. The way the staff at my old job supported each other and directly affected so many lives of others, made me feel like I was a part of something awesome. I was not happy to leave, but I am not sad that I am here and not there. The women I work with are amazing and I am learning a lot from them. I am not selling out; I find ways to find that feeling in my job. I do help people, everyday. Just in a different way. This is also why I volunteer.

I am not terribly interested in achievements, acclaim and accolades. At the end of the day, I care about relationships – how I impact the lives of others and how they have affected me. I am not against acknowledgement of a job well done; I just prefer it to be one on one and not in front of others. I am not bilingual, though I wish I was. I know the basics of three languages (other than English) – Italian, Spanish and French – but I don’t practice and therefore speak them rather poorly.

I am not good at letting go. I am not a push over, anymore. I am not able to cut people out of my life. I am not able to give up. I have gotten better at this, cutting out those who are truly destructive. I am not able to say no, easily. Usually, this means that I take on far too much and have no time for myself. Sometimes it means I burn out a little and becoming a raging pile of tears. Regardless, I am unable to change my ways. I am not one to give in to peer pressure, I never have been. I am not a fan of liars, cheaters, people who are fake, ignorant or arrogant.

I am not always the best sister, daughter, friend, or girlfriend. I try to be, because these people are an important part of who I am, where I came from, and where I am going. I am not able to put myself first. I am not able to stand idly by while someone I love is hurting. I am not able to fix everything, I realize this, but I want to be able to fix everyone else’s problems so desperately. I am not good at speaking up when I am hurting or when I need help. I am not able to just brush off hurtful comments. I am not able to deal easily when I feel attacked.

I am not, nor have I ever been able to, settle for a boyfriend. I am not a girl who loses herself, and her previous life, when entering a relationship. I am not a girl who forgets her friends. I am not someone who is afraid to be alone. I am not dependent.
I am not a nail biter, anymore. I am not able to sleep when I am stressed out, worried or upset. I am not exactly sure what I will be doing in 5 or 10 years, but I know who I want it to be doing it with.

I am not good at making inane decisions, such as where to go for supper. I am not necessarily indecisive, if I can’t make a decision it just means I don’t care either way. I care more about who I do those things with. I am not high maintenance, though I am developing a taste for more expensive wines. In my defense, I buy them myself. And I still like the cheap ones, too.

I am not a girl’s girl, or I didn’t use to be anyway. I do not like shopping in groups, or shopping at all very much. I am not one to really want to go out and dance, though it can be fun once in a while. I am not against dingy, hole-in-the-wall pubs. In fact, I prefer them. I am not very spontaneous. I am not anti-spontaneity, but I like to have plans. I am not a girl who watches football for the men, nachos or beer, though I also enjoy these parts of the game. I watch it for the game, which I find intelligent, fun and delightfully macho.

I am not always awesome with money, or directions. I am getting better at both. I am not able to shop at thrift stores. I am not good at finding awesome finds, which causes me to feel frustrated very easily.

I’m not usually good at making small talk with strangers. I’m not as shy as I used to be. However, I am not ever very good at answering when someone asks, “So, tell me about yourself.” I am not one to ever want to be the centre of attention, it embarrasses me.

I am not as sweet and innocent as I seem. I am not someone who will compromise who I am for anything. I am not always confident in myself, even when I have the right to be. I am not able to talk myself up in job interviews as much as I’ve been told I should. I once had an HR person speak up on my behalf, adding to the interview that it has been noted that I am too humble. I am not able to remember that I have more awards in my field than the number of years I have been working in aforementioned field.

I am not the best chef, though I love to bake. I like to knit, though I can’t seem to find the time for it anymore (see: I am not able to say no). I am not very good at keeping plants alive, lately, though I love them oh-so much. I'm not as green as I'd like to be, ideally. I am not a music snob. I will listen to anything, then decide whether I enjoy it or not. I am not above listening to something merely because someone else really enjoys it; even it’s not my personal favourite. I am not done learning. Though I may be taking day-long workshops or courses for work for a little while, I love school and would like to go back eventually.
I am not one who doesn’t give credit where credit is due. This post is spawned from similar ones penned by the lovely Kyla and Brookem.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gonna eat my banana, gonna be alright

“Oh Lordy! Oh Lord, what is dis? Dis is COOOLD!”

The lady in the seat across from me grins and pipes up, “It’s Edmonton, buddy! Get used to it!”

“Oh no, no, no. Gonna eat my banana, it’s gonna be alright. I’m vegetarian, you know. A bad vegetarian. I like to smoke.” Huge smile.

Snickers from the spectators. The same lady comments, “You’re going to need to smoke. This is just the beginning. And you’re going to need a better coat, a warmer one.”

The tall, lean Rastafarian struts up the train aisle, caressing his thin, gold jacket. “Have you seen ma coat? Ya can’t do any beddah than this! Dis is all I need! Dis will keep me warm!”

“Poor choice, buddy. You need a coat like this,” she says, pointing to a young boy whose face is just barely visible through the hood of his full-out parka.

A male voice further down the train shouts, “Think of this as summer!”

“Summa?! No, no, no. Dis is no summa. I’m gonna go back to Jamaica, and there’s gonna be a band playin’.” His hips start to move back and forth as his words become song. “Pray for me! Pray for me, Edmonton! Pray I’ll get back to Jamaica, chill out, smoke a big spliff.”


He turns to a red-faced blonde behind him. Asks where her people are from. Her voice doesn’t boom across the train car like his. She’s embarrassed by the attention he’s brought on her corner of the train. She tells him she’s Ukrainian.

“PIEROGIES!" He shouts. "Maybe those will keep me warm!”

More giggles. Shock from the poor, embarrassed blonde.

He notes her embarrassment and points to a spot barely visible through the fogged up windows. “See dat? Dat’s da spot I could see from ma window at da Remand Centre!” He goes on a rant about how he’s sick of injustice. Sick of lies and distrust. Sick of the evil and the badness in the world.

“I’m gonna eat my banana, gonna be alright. Right now, I’m gonna go dance!” He slides off the train at Churchill station, moving his hips and singing a song to his own Rastafarian beat.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nothing to see here!

The button holes on my blouse are too big for the buttons themselves. Therefore, today has been like a game of "lets hope my shirt is still on". Seriously. It completely unbuttons. Good thing I brought a cardigan.

In other news, in addition to her usual overburdened workload, the Mothership is now in charge of the county I grew up in. Huzzah.

In fun coalition news, the news all Canadians love to hate right now, the National Post has posted the potential cabinet for what a coalition government would look like. Like any cabinet, some posts make complete sense and others are big question marks. I also heard a rumor that Elizabeth May would be made Environment Minister, which is interesting since the Greens aren't even part of the coalition (though she has come out in support of it).

At least we now have a little snow here in Edmonton, so it is beginning to look a little more like Christmas. Only 14 more days of work. *sigh

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why you should fund your organization's media department

When I decided that I didn't want to pursue a law career, that PR was more my thing, my mom constantly hounded me with the "but what can you do with public relations?" question.

The answer, mommy dearest, is that we can prevent companies from doing something like this.

Worst media interview EVER!

Canadian politics... interesting, but not in a good way

Michelle Jean: Sorry, Europe, I have to go back to Canada... the children have messed things up again.
Harper: They're being mean to me!
Dion, Layton, Duceppe: He started it!

We have this article announcing the coalition, this one outlining how Harper can prevent it, and this one describing Michelle Jean's options.

It's all a little ridiculous. I don't necessarily support the current party in power, but I don't support the coalition either.

They haven't even seen the budget yet! Canadians just saw a huge waste of $300 million dollars with the last election, one where support was given to the Conservative party! Deal with it. Work together. In this time of economic crisis, we need leaders. We don't need the playground drama.

And Harper's radio PR campaign is a big waste of money. Not that they care. The Conservatives have been wasting money all over the place. They have never stopped campaigning. They started campaigning against Dion and the Liberals way before the election. It's getting old. To me, anyway. I like to be able to make up my mind without turning on the radio/television and hearing the party tell me what I should think.

If, for example, Harper loses a confidence vote next week, he can ask Jean to dissolve Parliament so that another general election could be held. The Conservatives, in preparation for this possibility, have already put down a deposit on a campaign plane and buses.

Seriously?! Preparing for another Canadian election? Come on guys, this is ridiculous.
I wish the grown ups would act like grown ups.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Where oh where is the Christmas spirit? with the snow?

It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit with the serious lack of snow we're experiencing. It was a balmy 2 degrees Celcius this morning, with a forecast of rain for later in the day. Rain! Not cool.

It's starting to hit me, the enormity of not going home for Christmas. I'll be spending the holiday this year with Boy and his family in southern Saskatchewan. It's not that I don't want to be with my own family, but at this time of year one must sign over their first-born in order to get a plane ticket across the country. This will always be known as the year I wasn't there, even if I manage to make it home every year to come. I'll be absent in the annual famly photo. I'll miss the "Christmas Tradition" (aka. sleepover) with Kaye and Kiki, something we've been doing since we were wee. I won't be there for breakfast, making fun of Brother and his wife for being late. I won't get to see the looks on my family's faces when they open the presents I've chosen for them. I know that everything will be okay, and Boy's family always makes me feel incredibly welcome, but it makes me a little bit homesick to think of all that I'll be missing. To think that this is one more memory the other five people in my family have without me in it. Ah the joys of being the only one living a province (or three) away.

In other news, who knew being oh-so bad could do so much good? Strippers from an establishment here in the city have raised over $4800 for Santa's Anonymous, a program that delivers Christmas presents to needy children in Edmonton. More than 30 exotic dancers donated their day's pay and tips to the cause on the weekend. They sure have the Christmas spirit.

My sister Kiki brought me a Skip-It when the girls came to visit this summer, as a belated birthday present. It's still in the packaging as it was more to serve as a reminder of my favourite toy ever. I loved my old pink Skip-It. I would spin it around, hopping over it, an eye on the counter to beat my personal best. I thought I was amazing at this game. My mother told me much later that she feared for my uncoordinated life every time I pulled it out. Thanks mom! Point is, I cleared it with Kiki to donate my new Skip-It to Santa's Anonymous this year. Hopefully some little girl, more coordinated than I, will love it as much as I did.

How are you going to get into the Christmas spirit?

Friday, November 28, 2008

My inspiration

"If you want something said, ask a man... if you want something done, ask a woman." Margaret Thatcher

Over 14 years ago, my mom took the leap from farm wife to municipal politician. She sat on a council that consisted solely of men. I remember discussions about municipal issues around the dinner table, discussions that would spur my own interest in the political system.

When I went to university, preparing for a future law degree, I chose to take politics instead of pursuing the English degree she thought I should pursue. She didn’t understand my reasons. She didn’t understand what I could do with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She didn’t understand that I was so intrigued by the discussions we had, that I was so inspired by her and the work she did in an old male-dominated field in our small community. I saw the difference that she made, the passion she held for our community and I wanted to be able to do the same.

I remember that no matter what was going on at home, no matter what time of the day or night, when residents called our house complaining about their gravel roads not being graded, or the state of the community, she would listen and put on her happy voice.

As our small municipal council grew with the amalgamation of three townships, council members from all joining parties were at risk. She remained on as the sole woman. Residents of our community saw her integrity, her dedication and her passion for the community and chose her for the new, smaller council. She was always my role model, no matter how we were getting along at the time. She has moved from councilor to deputy mayor, and now she’s looking for a new challenge as the potential warden for the county.

From an article in our town’s newspaper: “Having experienced county council for a number of years now, I think it is time to step forward and create a bigger challenge,” she explained. The current economic downturn will no doubt top the agenda heading into next year and the deputy mayor seems ready to tackle anything. “It’s important to be up on all of the issues and I look forward to all of the challenges in 2009,” she said.

A lot of the qualities I have accumulated, I owe to her. Her strength, her intelligence and her dedication to make our community, if not the world, a better place. I couldn’t be more proud.

"One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” Maya Angelou

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beginning to look a little like Christmas

The snow has yet to show itself in full force, but I'm prepared for Christmas regardless. Just a couple more small things to pick up, and I'm good to go. Also, I need to make some gift tags, the star-shaped sticky notes just aren't cutting it (though they ensure that the presents I got for people don't accidently make it to someone else).

Our tree is nothing fancy. I got it for free from an old workplace that was going to throw it out. It's probably over 20 years old, it loses so many fake pine leaves whenever you touch it that you're unsure as to how there's still a tree in the first place, but it just needs a little love. Since free is about as much as I'm willing to pay for a Christmas tree at this time, a little love is not too much to ask.
I received the following little "about me" survey in my inbox the other day, and it's unlike one that I've ever seen before... so I figured, why not?
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping presents is one of my favourite things. I'd definitely use a gift bag for anything awkwardly shaped, but wrapping is tops.
2. Real tree or Artificial? I'm not a fan of cutting down a tree (and remembering to water it and whatnot) to enjoy it for only a short time. I'd rather let those natural beauties grow in the soil, and embrace my fake tree (hey, they both leave pine needles all over the house!)
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually, last week of November/first week of December, for optimal enjoyment.
4. When do you take the tree down? After holidays and holiday parties are done.
5. Do you like eggnog? I didn't as a child, but it's one of those things that has grown on me.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably either my cabbage patch doll, or my pink barbie tent (barbie-sized, not person-sized). When you were a kid, almost everything was The. Best. Present. Ever. Besides, I don't believe I ever received the standard ugly-sweater gift.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Dad. He never wants anything, which is sweet... but we can't very well buy something for everyone else and leave him out.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Kaye. Hands down.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? No.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I love real mail.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My friend Sarah, who sent this to me, had wrote "there's no such thing as a bad gift" and I was almost going to agree. However, there is one gift that I almost received that is the absolute most hilarious gift ever. Kiki, my other little sister, was notorious for telling people what she wanted for Christmas and then going out to get it herself. One year, we were making fun of her for this on Christmas day and she got so peeved at us, that she took back her "present" to each of us. She went over to our stockings and yanked out the one, individually wrapped (in tin foil) Lifesaver candy that she had put there. Lifesaver candy that we had gotten in a storybook of candy from another family Christmas. She totally ruined Christmas. Ha.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year, I started early. Whenever I saw something that I knew would be perfect for someone, I picked it up. Even if it was July. By keeping a box of gifts for people in my closet, it took the stress out of holiday shopping for sure.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey. Turnip. Ha.
16. Lights on the tree? Yes. Even better if they are the ones built right into the tree so you don't have to fight strings of lights. I wish...
17. Favorite Christmas song? Far too many. I have multiple Christmas mixes I listen to, and I love them all.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? When I lived at home, I liked to stay there on Christmas. Now, wherever I go, traveling is pretty much in the cards.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yes. Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. Also, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star this year. It was always this Mary and Baby Jesus ornament at home on the tree (until recently).
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. After breakfast is eaten and dishes are done.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People who forget about the whole spirit-of-giving, love-one-another aspect to the holidays and become selfish. Grinches.
23. Favorite Ornament theme or color? I'm not particular. I like a nice mix of big and small ornaments though.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Still turkey/turnip.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? My problem has been that I don't really "want" anything. People keep asking me and I have no idea what to tell them. I have everything I need. World peace?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The REAL city that never sleeps

Even though we slept a lot (because we're old and lame like that), it seems as though Vegas is the real city that never sleeps. A city full of stimuli and decadence. High-end designer shopping, lots of food, drinking on the streets, smoking in the casinos, gambling non-stop, the lights, the noise. It was interesting to experience, but I am glad to be home (though it feels like I'm going through nicotine withdrawl).

We walked from the Imperial Palace to Mandalay Bay on a 6-hour round-trip trek through casinos, reveling in the fact that I was able to get a sunburn at a time of year when I'm usually immune. All that walking is enough to make your body ache, let me tell you.

For our anniversary, Boy had bought me [us] tickets to see the Beatles' "Love" Cirque de Soleil while we were in the city. The costumes, the dancing, the special effects, the acrobatics, the music... it was all absolutely stunning. I highly recommend it.

We gambled -- sometimes winning, sometimes losing, but never very much of either. We took in the sights, traveled to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and had a good time on our first real "vacation" together. A trip that was purely designed for pleasure, not to see friends (though we did) or family or fulfill any kind of agenda. It was glorious.

Also, side note: it's weird to see Christmas decorations all over the place where there's not only no snow, but it's not even remotely cold.


Thursday evening, I was packing my bag for Vegas, talking to the Boy who was lounging on my bed when just past him, through the window... I saw this.

It was insanity to see a bright orange ball of fire soaring through the sky, let me tell you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eff YOU, Expedia

The travel itinerary, as of today (four days after the great flight debauchle of 2008) says that the plane we were to be on left Edmonton at 8:40 a.m.

When we were at the airport on Friday, we were told our flight didn't exist. This was after we were told by the airline (Air Canada) that they didn't even deal with Expedia in the first place. The airline that we were to fly on (we were directed here by the folks at Air Canada) was United, a company Expedia said they didn't work with (they told us it was US Airways, US Airways confirmed that Expedia is on drugs).

After calling Expedia's customer service line, we found out we were booked onto a flight at 6:22 a.m. Customer service apologized profusely, admitted their error, and offered to reimburse our flight change. Then they gave us flights for Air Canada, which we could not book because Air Canada doesn't deal with Expedia (hello, CONFUSION).

Boy called Expedia back to try to sort out the flight thing. Again, customer service admitted their mistake and apologized. Then, offered to put us through to the flight people to get us booked on a flight right away (out of Expedia's pocket). Awesome.

Not so much. The flight people proceeded to tell us that it was our fault. That they sent an e-mail saying that the flight had been changed and it's our own fault because we didn't contact Expedia to confirm the change like we should have. I was pretty sure that I hadn't seen anything telling me to call Expedia.

Boy spent much time bickering back and forth with the Expedia agent, who refused to give him over to a supervisor or manager. As he was passed around from agent to agent, telling us we were in the wrong and we were trying to screw over Expedia, all we had was the itinerary we printed out pre-flight that said we were to leave at 8:40 a.m. We didn't print out the previous e-mails discussion a flight change, it's only reasonable that our latest itinerary would reflect any changes. After being apologized to by customer service, these flight people were being asshats. And they blamed us for not knowing that they had two systems in place to e-mail people (um, how were we to know?) and that we should have known something was wrong because it takes more than 40 minutes to transfer planes (I've transfered at the Winnipeg airport in under 10 minutes).

They didn't want to help us out, everyone in the airport knew of our issue with Expedia. A little old lady on her way to La Guardia, commented on the Boy's patience, strength and how Expedia was being absolutely unreasonable (she could overhear the conversation). So Boy paid the fee to change planes, in addition to a fee for a checked bag (pardon me?), and we told Expedia we'd deal with them later. We were frustrated and wanted to get on with our vacation (even if it was going to be five hours late).

Turns out, we were right. We didn't need to confirm anything. Direct from the e-mail from Expedia when they changed our flight time:

Dear Traveler,
We have received notice from Air Canada that they have:
* Made minor changes to your itinerary
This change could mean a difference in departure or arrival times and/or a change in flight number on one or more of your flight segments. has accepted the updated itinerary, reflected below, on your behalf. It is not necessary to call us to confirm this change.

This updated itinerary was no where to be found outside of this e-mail. Logging into my account online provided the updated return flight, but not the flight to Vegas. It said we were to leave at 8:40 a.m.

I will never book anything through Expedia again. It was a ridiculous hassle to deal with them, and I don't really like breaking down in the airport because they're being jerks and it's early in the morning and dear-God-I-haven't-even-had-my-coffee-yet. I don't know what I would have done without the Boy. Well, probably cried a lot more than I did.

The flight home was better, but not by much. US Airways = an airline that makes Air Canada look good. Yes, they make the airline that overbooked my flight home for Christmas, bumped me from that flight, made me hang out in the airport for 8 hours on the possibility I might get on a flight other than the one my luggage was on, look good.

A broken plane, waiting around for them to fix broken plane, de-planing, re-planing on a different plane, no beverage or snack service, the least comfortable seats ever, no movie, and you have to pay to check a bag? Insanity.

Flights were bad, vacation was pretty good. But that's another blog. One that I'll write after I upload some pictures to share.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hey baby let's go to Vegas

My computer made me reset my password this morning. Now, everytime I attempt to do something, it inquires as to who I am. Oh, okay, it's still you... sure, come on in.

I have been drinking entirely too much coffee this morning. I am fidgety and vibrating and can not concentrate much on anything at all. It most certainly is not because I am excited to go on a little mini-vacay tomorrow, no, no.

A girlfriend and I went to a wine tasting last night. So delicious. Hazelnut chocolate, delicious fresh bread, Applewood Cheddar, Parmesan Reggiano, an Asiago so young we had to take the diaper off it before we cut it (seriously, that's how it was described) and Australian wines. I need to go to the Barossa Valley, now.

While I didn't buy any of the wines that we tasted, I did pick up a couple (by a couple, I mean four) bottles for my wine rack. Though, sadly, they were out of my beloved Henschke (also from my new favourite valley in the world). Tear.

Tomorrow morning, I'm leaving at the crack of dawn (before even!) for a trip to Vegas with the Boy and one of my oldest friends, her hubby and some groomsmen from their wedding. Thank you Expedia! I promise I won't get married, and if I win a fortune, I promise to share (as long as you leave a comment so I know where to send your cut).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I get a little summary of the top daily news in my mailbox every morning. I love reading the newspaper, the real print-version newspaper, but I a) value my sleep so have no time, b) can't validate spending money on a subscription when I can find the info for free. So, one of the big news items for today, apparently, is this.

The Collins English dictionary held a nationwide contest for new words to be included in their dictionary. Now, I prefer the Canadian Oxford as my dictionary of choice (it's so much more than just a dictionary, it's a fabulous reference book -- I asked for mine for Christmas one year, no joke), and their decision of "new word" validated my choice.

Their decision, was the "word" meh.

"Internet forums and e-mail are playing a big part in formalizing the spellings of vocal interjections like these. A couple of other examples would be hmm and heh, which are both now ubiquitous online and in e-mails. It shows people are increasingly writing in a register somewhere in between spoken and written English."

Yes, meh, hrm and heh are vocal interjections. They are sounds. Spelled out because you can't relay noise through a computer screen/text message. By no means are these words. I would never use "meh" in a sentence. You have a so-so day and someone asks how you are? A "meh" and shrug of the shoulders will suffice. Saying "The Canadian election was so meh" makes absolutely no sense to me. LAME! The Canadian election was LAME!

Even by judging from the origins of "meh", I would not call it a word.

The naming of "meh" as winner of the nationwide contest has generated international media attention, partly because the term first gained widespread usage after it was featured in an episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa and Bart, glued to the television set, listlessly utter "meh" to rebuff Homer's offer of a day trip.

Expression of disinterest, yes. Legitimate word, no.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The sweat on our balls is totally worth it

I've been the team captain of our soccer team for the last few seasons. The last captain fell off the face of the earth, and so I stepped up (because I am a sucker, a little touched in the head, or both). Soccer is how I made a lot of friends when I made the leap from Ontario to Alberta. It's also how I met the Boy. So maybe I stepped up because it holds a special place in my cold, cold heart and I wanted to make sure that the fun continued.

Being a team captain is not a fun gig. You have all of the responsibility (which really just means you get screwed when people don't pay their fees). People depend on you to tell them where you're playing and when (because it's hard to use the internet). And if anything ever goes wrong, or people aren't having as much fun as they had hoped they would, you get to mediate and fix things.

This was our first season of indoor soccer. In the past, our focus has been solely on summer soccer and less about playing inside when it's cold. And let me tell you, this has been my favourite season yet.

We've played a lot of really good teams, but our game has improved incredibly fast. We have a lot of new players, and the comradarie, sportsmanship and cheering on our team is second-to-none. We only won one game this season, but we are one of the only teams that has full "spirit" points. We are a fun team. Even when others get rough, or start trying to get around the rules, the way we play doesn't change.

That's probably why the organization has gifted us as the "Team of the Week". It's kind of a big deal, since this is for all sports the organization runs and not just indoor soccer. Also a big deal because it means a hefty gift certificate for beer money.
Go Sweaty Balls, Go!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Real Mary hits Edmonton

My good friend Mary and her lovely hubby were in town this weekend to visit with the Edmonton contingent of the Western PR crew.

We suffered heinous service at 100/Hundred on Friday night. Bimboed staff were flitting around the restaurant in their extra-long tank tops sans pants, though it seemed as though our bimbo was no where to be seen. The food was great, the service was poor. Thankfully, we got on the discussion of "If we were the New Kids [on the Block], where would be we right now?" [The much-loved boy band is in Edmonton for their tour stop at Rexall.] Inquiring minds didn't lead us too far, but it lead to a discussion about favourite members of the boy band and how Donnie was the one all the trashy girls like(d). We concluded we needed a little help from the master, and wandered across the street to Sherlock Holmes' pub, hoping to at least get a few tips from Watson.

Saturday night was a flood of rum, vodka and pink cupcakes as a pre-birthday for Ms. Mary herself. The night was split between drinks at Roomie's and my downtown condo and a pub down the street where we did some shots and drank beer in bulk. At 5:30 a.m., we finally called it a night.

Yesterday, after much complaining and a lot of water, Roomie and I pulled ourselves together to head to the Jubilee to see Hairspray. The show was fun, hilarious and made us want to sing and dance. The Jube's new parkade leaves something to be desired, however, as it seems they didn't account for the fact that all vehicles would be coming (and later, going) at the same time. If you get the chance to see Broadway Across Canada put on the show, I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Canada plans to deal with the failing economy...

... sell the CN Tower!

My good friend, Large David, sent this article to me last night. We then discussed how ridiculous it is that the feds would a) sell off these pieces of Canadiana to private companies (ahem, see the Rogers Centre, formally known as the Skydome) and b) that they would do so to bail out the constantly failing auto industry.

With globalization as it is, there's this whole we-can-get-things-from-other-places-rather-than-constantly-bail-out-our-own-failing-companies thing. Maybe we should invest in opportunities and business ventures which make us money (research! nanotechnology!) and scrap those that we're constantly sinking money into to no avail. Crown corporations and assets make the government money. In this difficult times, is it really worth selling these revenue builders off for a couple (million/billion) bucks in the short term?

We also discussed how sad we both are that Gerard Kennedy will not be running for Liberal leadership. That he's the only one with a decent head about him regarding policy, who has the possibility to unite the fallout from the Martin versus Chretien days. Further, he put in his time in Western Canada, giving the Libs the chance to bridge the West to Ottawa (since Calgary's Prime Minister Harper has failed so miserably at that).

I'd vote for Layton and his creepy mustache over voting for Iggy (or Bob Rae, even).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anyone there?

Roomie and I have been receiving some strange phone calls lately. It's nothing out of the ordinary, just sounds like the auto-dialer from the telemarketer forgot to connect us with someone trying to sell us something. We signed up for the national do-not-call list and everything.

Apparently, it takes a bit of time for that list to kick in.

In the meantime, why not Report Annoying Callers?

Check the caller ID, and either check online to find out who it is and if other people have had the same problems, or comment on something strange that other people might run into. The website is easy to use, with a box to type in the phone number right at the top. Others can provide tips on how to deal with your strange numbers, if they are something to worry about (mine aren't, but hey, you never know).

[Mis]adventures in dating

Since Kaye has been on a dating binge lately, it’s been making me look back on my own dating [mis]adventures.

This morning, as I was crossing the street on my way to work, I spotted a guy who looked so much like one of these hilarious dating disasters I was immediately transported back to high school.

I like my boys nerdy. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone. But this boy had recently traded in his coke-bottle glasses for contact lenses and had the bluest most beautiful eyes my teenaged heart had ever seen. He was smitten with me, and because I had nothing better to do, I gave him a chance.

We didn’t do a whole lot other than hang around while waiting for our respective parental units to pick us up from choir practice. We may or may not have grabbed coffee with a group of other people at Timmy’s, we met up at a party where we went with separate groups of people. Usual high school things. We went on our first, and last, real date one evening to see a movie at the small theatre in town.

The J.Lo. flop The Cell was playing and we were the only people in the theatre. About ten minutes into the movie, the lights went on and remained that way for the remainder of the “film”. It was awkward to say the least. No funny business took place. I was a goody-goody book worm, virginal and pure.

But that’s not what he told his friends.

In a small town, in a high school where everyone knows everyone, it’s probably not smart to brag to your friends about something that never happened. Telling your friends that the girl you took out was all over you, and detailing the dirty things you wish she had done, is so not cool. Needless to say, I found out about his lies and refused to go out with him again.

That’s when the real fun started.

He didn’t want to accept that we were over, while I refused to acknowledge that we had even started. One night, after choir, he handed me a stack of loose leaf papers. Handwritten journal entries. About me. Only with my name painted over in Wite-Out. Also, anywhere that he had written “date”, he painted over and replaced it with “meeting”. I don’t know what he attempted to prove by giving me these private letters to himself, but they were absolutely hilarious.

And I showed them to all my friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tell me more, tell me more (like does he have a car?)

One of the best parts about being not only an older sister, but an older sister in a couple, is hearing the adventures of the baby's dating life. Though dating is not always a fun endeavor, it's fun to be told swoon-worthy stories of cute boys and adventures with them.

After waking up yesterday to a text message telling me to check my Facebook mailbox for details, I've been looking forward to the "what's next" of Kaye's dating life. Ahhh, the excitement. So far, nerdy engineering boy + Guitar Hero = much potential. I should know, that's how my relationship started out (though it was Rock Band).

All I have to offer Kaye in return for her stories, is this article. These women are doing amazing, very important work. Even more important is that they're doing it without judging. Their concern is for the health of these women during their pregnancies and the health of their babies.

Using $95,000 from the Public Health Agency of Canada, a part-time nurse and two street-smart outreach workers find homeless, pregnant women. They help them get medical care and test them for syphilis to prevent the sexually transmitted disease from making their babies sick.

It's a very interesting, very insightful article. I fully recommend it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why dating blows...

...and why it's a world I never want to ever go back to (that, and you know, I love the Boy).

Spawned from a conversation today with a good friend.

This is why dating blows. It's not so much the meeting people or even the games as it is all the little hits that your ego takes while people reject you. You know they're not the right person because of it and each hit is only tiny but they add up and make it hard to be strong. It's why I appreciate the great people in my life, like you, because they make it easier to stand tall. I'll find my man but I'm not worried about it because I'm not alone.

Each little hit builds up to something so big that makes you question everything about your self and wonder if you'll ever find that Prince Charming. It has the ability to take you from a strong, confident, intelligent woman to a babbling maniac who constantly complains that no man will ever love you. It creates cat ladies. It makes you feel like you have no one to depend on, even when you don't need anyone to depend on but yourself.

It's why you need good friends to remind you how fabulous you are.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Speak out Edmonton! (All others, sign the petition)

I received this poster, and the information that follows, this afternoon from my friend Z. I believe I've commented on Omar Khadr before, and if this is something that you believe in, please act by either signing the petition or attending the event on Saturday (or both!).

Z's boss, Satya Das, was approached by Omar Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, to put together a petition to bring Omar home. Satya is doing this pro bono.

If you do not know who Omar is, watch this.

This petition is not about whether Omar is innocent or guilty. This is about requesting that the Canadian government bring him home to Canada as soon as possible so that Canada can deal with the situation appropriately. It's about human rights. Protecting the same human rights all Canadians share, Omar included.

Here's the petition.

I'm going to hell, but the image in my head was just too much

Dr. Grinch says: I was just out on my longboard for 15 mins
Dr. Grinch says: It's beautiful out today
Dr. Grinch says: I was in a Tshirt
Dr. Grinch says: I rode past some lady out walking and she goes "Good For You!" in a really excited tone
Dr. Grinch says: I felt like a retarded kid she just saw mopping the floor at McDonalds
Elle says: Oh, I literally laughed out loud right there.
Elle says: It was a girlish giggle, you'd have enjoyed it.
Elle says: The kind where you're trying not to laugh, but it just bubbles right out.
Dr. Grinch says: I'm glad you find my seemingly "Life Goes On" features amusing

Dream on!

Crouched over my desk, a pile of loose-leaf papers covering it's surface, re-writing stories and poems, both those I wrote and those that were my favourites, I had grand aspirations that someday my name would be on the best-sellers list. Even though I was too afraid to let anyone read what I wrote, other than my grade 10 English writing teacher, I wanted to be a writer someday.

It was only yesterday, on my walk home from work that I realized that the title on my business cards is exactly that. I am a writer. Certainly not the type who will ever reach any kind of best-sellers list. Not even the type who gets their name published on what comes out of their pen, or keyboard keys. But I do get paid a living to write.

I know now that my skills aren't ones that would lead me to published works. That I would rather work in a publishing house editing the great works of others than write them myself.

Regardless, it's a good thing to have your young-girl dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My friend James found himself in Cincinnati this fall, working on the Obama campaign and working to get people to the polls.

He sent us a message telling us that Obama is the closet thing to a political movement we have had in many years (kind of sad, kind of scary, kind of good). This campaign has been pretty unbelievable. Everyone from fashion designers showing their support by creating designs that support Obama, to Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities, to Facebook and social networking. It was a campaign that showed that the old ways of campaigning no longer work. That a big wardrobe budget will not win you votes. That text messaging is a tool to reach the masses. That you need more than to show your political stripes, get talked up by your partisan friends and rely on the votes your party has gotten for years. You need to be a visionary and a leader. You need to have the ability to pull Americans from every colour, every creed, every background together and show the world that we can change.

James said this nation, continent, world really needs something to rally behind.

America has found it. And it's not just something for them. It is something for all of us. Something that, during this time of economic turmoil, conflict and uncertainty, the world can believe in.

People have blamed our generation for being apathetic and this American election proved otherwise. We just haven't had a leader we could rally behind. This changes everything. Our grandparents saw so much advancement in society. Airplanes, telephones and televisions, the Internet, the vote for women, the fight for human rights. I'm proud to be part of the generation that saw the election of the first African-American President of the United States of America. Not elected for the colour of his skin, but for the reason that he has the ability to bring everyone together.

Obama's amazing, inspirational, very Presidential, victory speech from last night.

Why can't Canada find a leader like this?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Old friends in the new city

Technically, the city is no longer new to me. I have been here since July 12, 2006. My health card has long since been an Albertan one, my driver’s permit was traded in earlier this year. There’s not a whole lot which still screams “Ontario” about me. Not unless you talk to my friends anyway.

Then, it’s the slightly southern accent (from southern Ontario? Personally, I don’t get it), the use of 2-4 (as in a 2-4 of beer, or May 2-4), celebrating Pancake Tuesday, chicken souvlaki from a trailer, tales of university days gone by, a longing of maple trees, Mustang pride (see related: love of Andy Fantuz), knowing that a snow storm is not a snow storm until you can’t see your hand in front of your face… oh, and those old Ontario friends.

One of those old Ontario friends, from my Western PR days, is coming to visit with her hubby in a mere nine sleeps. Mary, from Real Mary Tales, is making the trek to see the Edmonton contingent of the old PR crew.

This tall, buxom blonde and I used to get into a world of trouble. Upon breaking the news to her about my pending desertion to the Canadian prairies, she thought for a second and then exclaimed, “Well, we need to go out every day you have left, so my liver is sick of you by then!” We only lasted for a couple of nights, but created enough laughs and debauchery to last a while.

Since that, the week my liver has been trying hopelessly to forget, Mary has visited Edmonton on one whirlwind visit, and Suz and I visited London on another… to celebrate Mary’s birthday last year around this time.

It should be a marvelous reunion; I can hardly wait to experience, first-hand, more stories for Mary to blog about!

Conquest or Cooperation event almost full!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Cherry on top of the Chocolate Sundae that is my life...

The baby sister is someone I can't wait to talk to. She's brilliant, hilarious, adorable (and adorably nerdy) and knows just what to say to make me feel a bit better when I'm down.

Also, this weekend marked the officially one year anniversary of the Boy's and my first date. He's pretty special that one. The one boy in the world who has the ability to break my little heart.

On the LRT this morning on the way to work, a little boy shouted "Go, Eskimos, Go!" when we passed the Stadium. Immediately, I flashed back to time spent in our seats at the 50 yard line on Friday, doing the same thing. With more beer. Another Halloween party later, and he's still the one I want to be with.

Even if he makes me cry sometimes.


Halloween has passed for yet another year, but this is by far the scariest thing to come out of this weekend.

An Edmonton filmmaker charged with first-degree murder in a case that shares similarities to the movie he was making and the serial killer television show Dexter will appear in court on Monday.

On his Facebook page, Twitchell is revealed to be a huge fan of the Showtime program Dexter, which follows the exploits of Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter expert for the Miami police who also leads a secret life as a serial killer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What constitutes cheating?

The Duchess of Kickball asked this question yesterday... and I thought I'd further this conversation over here, since I didn't really want to write a novel in her comments.

I had a problem with this once. I'd like to say that I have never, would never cheat. It's a pretty shameful thing. Because it happened so long ago, I tend to forget it ever happened in the first place. It wasn't that I'd go around making out with other guys at parties or anything. It wasn't a physical thing at all. If you don't kiss, it's not cheating, right?


It was purely an emotional thing. It started out fairly innocently as a friendship, became a little flirty, turned into something where I would tell this other person things I wouldn't tell my boyfriend at the time. The Other just seemed to get me. He was supportive. He listened to what I had to say. He gave advice only when it was solicited, and when he did, it was only a suggestion and not that he was telling me what to do. All excellent qualities that were lacking in my relationship.

In my opinion, that's how cheating works. You find someone who has something that your relationship or significant other doesn't. Whether it's that emotional, supportive relationship or whether it's a chemistry, sexual attraction type of relationship. Anything that you feel like you have to hide from a significant other should be a big, red flag that something is going on that's not on the up-and-up.

It doesn't even necessarily mean that the person you are with is not the person you should be with. It could just mean that you have to work at taking those things that you crave from someone else and find a way to incorporate them into your existing relationship. Communicate.

Though, on the other hand, it could be a sign that you're just not as compatible with your boyfriend as you initially thought. It's easy to hide the problems in a person when you're getting satisfaction elsewhere. There's no reason to break up with him, was a common excuse for me. On top of that, everyone I knew thought we were so perfect together. I forgot that the whole getting-my-support-elsewhere thing was perfect reason to break up.

Bottom line is: if you feel like things are less than optimal in the relationship you've got either attempt to fix them or get out. Cheating is not just a sexual thing, it's any relationship where there's "more than friendship" going on.

Shuffle shuffle shuffle

Harper announced his new federal cabinet announced this morning. Ooooh, exciting.
  • The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
  • The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)
  • The Honourable Gregory Francis Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs
  • The Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister of State (Seniors)
  • The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
  • The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway
  • The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
  • The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board
  • The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour
  • The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
  • The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation
  • The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment
  • The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
  • The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry
  • The Honourable James Michael Flaherty, Minister of Finance
  • The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie
  • The Honourable Jay D. Hill, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
  • The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety
  • The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board
  • The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
  • The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services
  • The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
  • The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health
  • The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources
  • The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
  • The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport)
  • The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
  • The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women)
  • The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
  • The Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport)
  • The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)
  • The Honourable Steven John Fletcher, Minister of State (Democratic Reform)
  • The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology)
  • The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)
  • The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
  • The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

...for my American readers


The last interVivos event we had was a young candidates' forum for the federal election here in Canada. Last weekend, at a friend's birthday, he made a point to mention how much he enjoyed the forum and how happy he was to have voted for the first time.

The Presidential election happening on November 4 will most certainly impact Canada and determine what the entire future of North America looks like. One vote can make a difference.

Elle... one political science geek fighting apathy, one person at a time...

Canadians will miss Bush? Not bloody likely.

In an article from CBC:

Canadians will find themselves missing U.S. President George W. Bush if the next administration tinkers with the free trade deal, the American ambassador to Canada says.

Speaking at a Fraser Institute engagement in Montreal, David Wilkins said that the next president should check the facts and figures on the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement. ...

... Bush has been a staunch supporter of NAFTA, said Wilkins, who was appointed by Bush. "Canadians just might discover that they will miss President George W. Bush," he said.

I doubt we'll miss Dubya. A couple reasons why NAFTA needs to be re-worked: