Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Toasting you all!

I am staying in tonight and cleaning and relaxing with a nice mug of tea. It's not even 9pm and already I'm in my pyjamas. I worked today until 2pm, but I'm tired nonetheless. Although I do like to see the New Year in with friends, the first of January is more important to me. I'm having some family and friends over tomorrow for dinner. Hence tonight I will also be prepping for that.

My birthday went extremely well although it's all a blur for me - and not just because I was drunk. I organized tapas and wine for about 30 friends at a low-key bar. I had been to that bar a few years back but had never gone there since. When I called and asked them if they could prepare tapas for 30 people (which took up 2/3 of their space) they agreed to do so, told me that children were welcome there, and that I didn't need to give a credit card number in advance.

I was kind of nervous that it would all happen but when my parents and I arrived on Sunday, two tables of 15 were set and waiting. I wish I could have had more people as I really wanted to celebrate the friends in my life., but budget, space, and timing only allowed for so many. I was so happy that some of my friends got to meet others - I had a group of four girls from high school and various groups from more recent locales such as work - and that all my friends got to meet both my parents and my brother and sister-in-law and my two nieces. Most people seemed to have fun although I was too busy running from person to person and checking to see that everyone had enough to eat, drink, etc.

One of my friends brought her 10 year-old daughter who amused my little nieces all night. She was a godsend. Meanwhile, my 73 year-old father was doing shots with my friends. He was disappointed that the bar had fire regulations about him setting his fingers on fire for the flaming Statue of Liberty [if you haven't done that, it's when you stick a finger in your shot, set your finger on fire, and then drink your shot and blow out the flame before it burns your finger. A friend of mine from Rochester taught my dad that years ago and he's loved it ever since]. My mum tried to chat with as many people as possible.

I think what made me the happiest was hearing my sister-in-law say that she was so happy and relaxed as the kids were off playing with my friend's daughter, and she could sit and relax with a glass of wine.

The waitstaff were so terrific as well. They were very efficient and very good natured about the noise from our table. I also followed the April/Sue guide to entertaining which is a system my friend and I came up with years ago. It's where you admit to the waitstaff at the beginning of the night that you'll be too drunk to calculate the tip and ask them to just factor it in for you. That way all the worry about 'do I tip on the tax?' and whatnot is taken care of, and I have never had waitstaff try to rip me off in any way. And sure enough, by the end of the night, it was so much easier for me to just hand over a credit card for a completed total. My dad good naturedly chipped in as well for many of the drinks.

All in all it was a fantastic evening for me to have been surrounded by some of the most important people in my life. I wish my oldest brother had been there as well but he had to work that day (he lives out of town), but I saw him over Christmas at least.

Here's to all of you and wishing you the best for 2009! May you be surrounded by those you love.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year, leave a message - I'm not here.

Here's where I'll be...

25: Christmas - Parents
26: Boxing Day - Entire family
27: Relax
28: Turn 40, cry, get over it, throw party for small group of friends
29: Day off work. Sleep
30: Back to work!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy smiles

Recently I have seen so many examples of random kindness and consideration. Several times I've seen people offer a seat to someone elderly on the subway. And the times the offer hasn't been taken the person has very graciously declined with something along the lines of: "Thank you so much but I'm getting off next stop."

I had a guy slam into me as he raced for the subway (I was exiting) and he immediately apologized, and also held my shoulders to steady me and to make sure I was okay. I was simultaneously apologizing because the collision had in fact been my fault. I had thought I'd forgotten my purse on the subway and stopped dead in my tracks and turned around.

A guy was pushing through the crowd to get to a subway and the whole time was saying, "Excuse me - I'm so sorry but I have to catch this train". Often you just kept some idiot barreling through a crowd of people.

In the grocery store, 3 times when I said "excuse me" to people whose carts were blocking the aisle I've received immediate apologies and movement.

Today there were two cars stuck on my street - opposite sides of the road, each had been trying to come down laneways which had not been cleared from the recent snowfall. One guy who lived next tot he lane was already out shovelling the cars out, and a mother and her two kids (older kids - probably 8 and 10) who had been on their way to go tobogganing stopped, and then I was coming back from shopping and stopped too. In no time at all we had the cars pushed out of the snow and onto the street. The girl held their dog, and her brother helped push. He was great. He kept saying, "This is SO COOL". I think it's awesome that the mum had her children stop to help. As for the people in the cars, once on the street they both took the time to express thanks and gratitude to those of us who had pushed. As for the guy on my street who had sort of been coordinating us and shovelling, he was saying, "Oh this is so great that people stopped. With the extra bodies pushing it's so easy"

Yes, I'm feeling all happy about people right now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My annual gift

My annual tradition is going to be sharing with you my favourite safe[r] sex link. This year the winner is from Australia, and is a plain language approach to hot and dirty sex. It's titled "Sex Pigs". I so wish the straight community would have the same upfront attitudes to dealing with sex and more specifically, with HIV.

The group is People Living with HIV/AIDS, and their website is:

The booklet contains many gems, and I have personally never read a more touching description of fisting. Not my thing, but then I'm not the target market of this pamphlet. Here's an excerpt from that section:

“I’ll be gentle,” Steve told me when I was finally ready
to submit myself to be fisted for the first time. “You are
so gonna love this,” he whispered. “I still remember my
first time. It was in New York with a butch daddy who I
was just hot for. He really knew what he was doing.”

Sex Pigs. Read it. Live it. Love it.

Note, I am serious about this post. I'm not mocking of laughing at the pamphlet at all. I think we need more safe sex pamphlets written for people who actually like sex.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Does this work? I mean, does this sort of email actually get responses? 'cause this guy was a "favorite" of 15 women [I had to click on the profile]. I take it as sweet whenever anyone makes the effort to contact me, but I'm at a loss here. He's hot, and he does look like fun, but my lord. Nothing in this relates to anything in my profile. Except that I'm female. Yet he took the time to email.

im single fun man no problems lookn for same xcept a female

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's Christmas time

Such a fun game - Christmas with the Sproutifarts

I can't remember who gave the original link to the sprouts game. Maybe IDV or Tickers? anyhow, this is the update.

put these games in my mind with his recent bat the Penguin game.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

almost twenty years ago

I can't believe it's been almost 20 years since 14 women were gunned down at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. My heart breaks for their senseless deaths, and also for the fact that domestic violence is still so prevalent. Yet, I will focus today on all the rights I do have as a single woman (including the vote!) and celebrate that bit by bit, I believe that real progress is being made.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

good ol' western media

I heard about this story from a friend of mine who has family (Christians) in Mumbai. She mentioned how the Muslim community in Mumbai was so upset by the attacks that they refused to bury the dead attackers in the Muslim cemetery. That's pretty huge. I read nothing about that over in Canada. I guess that would interfere with the view that all Muslims are fanatics and want to kill and destroy all non-Muslims. So bigger philosophical issues aside - as in, is it really okay for any religious community to deny proper burial to members of their faith? - this goes a long way to different faiths uniting together. But no mention in the press here. [I did a quick Google and it was mentioned in Scotland] Not to mention the Indian nanny who rescued the two year-old she looked after, after his parents were shot to death. India shows how human love can negate religious differences.

Muslim organisations deny burial to slain terrorists

Prachi Wagh, Mayuresh Konnur
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:27 AM (Mumbai, Pune)

A grieving Mumbai mourns the dead. At least 179 Indians and foreign nationals were gunned down in cold blood in a terrorist attack that has raised controversy and several questions.

And now questions are being raised over the fate of those nine men who unleashed the carnage and were gunned by the security forces.

Muslim organisations in Mumbai have decided that Muslim cemeteries in Mumbai, where unclaimed bodies are usually buried, will not open its doors for the last rites of these urban jehadis.

"The killing of innocents is against Islam. They are bringing shame to 25
crore Muslims of India. These men are not Muslims. Why should we give them place anywhere? There is no place for them in our hearts and in our cemeteries," said Hamid Abdul Razzak, president, Dawat-e-islami.

Unprecedented events demand an unprecedented response. And this time the community has gone beyond merely condemning terrorism. It's shutting its doors on those who claim to act in their name.

Determined to deny the terrorists the martyrdom they seek, Muslim organisations have written to senior Mumbai police officials as well.

"The cemetery should not allow the police to bury the nine dead terrorists in their premises," said Ibrahim Tai, president, Muslim Council Trust.

As Mumbai reels from last week's attack, there's anger, outrage and a lot of soul searching. Among this is a community determined to keep out the prodigals.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh boy oh boy oh boy

Tomorrow is Forced Fun Day at work. I think they are terming it team building. It's offsite and they have some sort of scavenger hunt type thing planned. In all honesty, it looks like the organizers have gone to a lot of effort and I applaud them for that, but I would really prefer to just do my job and go home. I don't think I'm in the minority either as we have received several "You must attend" emails. And of course, being government, there will be no alcohol. Ah well, I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Even if the day is a disaster, I have booked a facial right after Fun Day. Now that should be good. Today was snatch&ass waxing which as usual was 5 minutes of hell but so worth the result. Tomorrow is the facial. Thursday is mani/pedi time. Friday is a friend's birthday dinner. I need to focus on those events and keep on smiling.

I also think I'll try to use work phrases that I normally loathe. My most hated phrase ever from a previous employer is "No one likes change except a wet baby!" Parroting mindless management pep-talk always makes me smile.

What hated work phrases do you have?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back to my geek roots

After flirting with my party girl slut side, I am returning to geekdom. Meaning I am staying in and watching DVDs. Shunning anywhere with loud music.

Plus I have a new geek side - I have ventured into comic book stores.

Yes, I am now a 'graphic novel' buyer.

When I was going out with Rob, I had started to read his copy of V for Vendetta. I got about a third of the way through. Then we broke up. I thought about that damn book for ages after. I figured that I would just borrow it from him at some point and read the ending. That was when I didn't realize that he didn't want to remain friends. Among other issues with that last part, I began to wonder how I would ever find out the ending of the book. Finally, I broke down and went and bought a copy.

In doing so, I had to venture into one of Toronto's comic book stores. I had always avoided those places like the plague. I never wanted to mingle with the clientèle. I mean, even though it had been truly charming to hear Rob's enthusiasm about various storylines and genres, he was hot and had a personality - I still had the sense that most of those people were all like the creepy dudes I knew back in high school who used to doodle dragons and shit all over their books during class.

Honestly, I was way more comfortable walking into porn stores. I entered the store and the whole time was praying that I wouldn't run in to anyone I knew. I couldn't bear the thought of having to talk to the staff. I ended up grabbing V for Vendetta and a few of Buffy Season Eight. Then I got the hell out of there.

That was the beginning of my long fall into my recent obsession with graphic novels. [part II at some point later]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Protest this

I remember the first Gulf War. I remember trudging around in a slow, slushy circle in front of the U.S. Consulate. We were all chanting, "hell no, we won't go, we won't die for Texaco". Even though we were Canadian and weren't likely to go. But anyhow, I was doing my part for peace. Then some dude with a megaphone started yelling, "Help defend Iraq from American imperialism! Fight American imperialism!!!!" I remember thinking, "Huh?"

Yes, not much thought at all. However, I did realize that this was no longer my type of peace march. In fact, it no longer seemed to be a peace march. It had become some sort of anti-American rally, which wasn't my goal. Besides, my feet were soaking wet and freezing. I left and have never been back to another anti-war rally.

I will join a pro-choice or pro-HIV rights march whatever the circumstances. Those are my two causes. I can argue with people who don't agree with them, but at the end of the day, my view is not going to be swayed. For example, I don't give a flying fig when life technically starts. I'm pro-woman. If a woman wants an abortion, for whatever reason, to me it's a valid reason. Still, you can tell me you think it's murder and I'll respect your view. For other causes, I pick and choose. I don't feel that I can fight everything. I can be convinced one way or another. I also believe in recognizing my own flaws and prejudices.

This is my unnecessarily long intro to what was a very tedious and disappointing group of protesters that I had today.

I was walking home when I passed a very small (about seven) group of protesters outside the Israeli Consulate demanding Palestinian rights. I will readily admit to the unpopular view that I am generally pro-Israel. That doesn't mean that I'm anti-Palestinian and I'm certainly not anti-Muslim, but it does mean that I like the fact that Israel exists. I like the moderate Jews in Israel. I like Israel's secular side. On the other hand, I can't stand the settlers. That should be stopped. Immediately. And settlements that were recently built in disputed territory should be torn down. To me, the uber religious Jews in Israel cause most of the internal problems and yet refuse to serve in the army. Morons.

Anyhow, normally I pass these protests without a second glance. Today, in my effort to be a better person (inspired by my friend D.) I felt that I should properly learn more about the Palestinian cause, from their perspective. So when one woman at the end was urging me to take her list of readings, I paused. I asked her if the readings were balanced, and if they were reputable sites. Again, in fairness to me, I would ask the same if this had been a protest in favour of Israel - I'm not going to take some extreme pamphlet that advocates further settlements. Just as last night I was in no mood to end up with a bunch of sites calling for the destruction of Israel.

Her response? "What do you mean?"

I explained what I meant. I explained that I don't like to hear the word apartheid all the time. I mean, and please enlighten me if I'm wrong - seriously, I don't mind- but under apartheid in South Africa blacks had no rights and 'coloureds' had limited rights compared to the white people. For Palestinians living in Israel, they have the right to vote, etc. The people who are limited and suffer tremendously are Palestinians in the occupied territory. Or am I wrong? I may be. Like I said, I admit to not being up on the topic as much as I should be. She was very annoyed at my question and didn't address it, but instead started to mention that Palestinians were suffering.

Again, to be clear, I wasn't disputing that. That's why I was willing to take the pamphlet. I had been asking about the quality of the web sites. She was completely ignoring that question. The I asked about why neighbouring Arab states weren't doing anything to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian refugees.

Her response? "Why should they?"

What? Seriously? What the fuck sort of answer is that? Why is she protesting in Canada then? Anyhow, I then lost it. I said, "Well what about the apartheid in our own freaking country against the aboriginal people?"

She said, "Oh, so you don't care about our aboriginal people either?"


Then she told me that I was condemning her sister who lived in Palestine, and her future grandchildren. Again, what the fuck???? And let me be clear, this was an aging home-grown middle-class Canadian woman. Her sister must have married someone and moved to Palestine. Well hello, not my fault if your family chooses to move to a war zone. Most people in war zones are trying to get out. I don't know why middle-class white westerners always think they can move to some area of high conflict and live in peace or merit more right to do so - but that's a rant for another day.

Anyhow, by this point, I was so annoyed I looked at her and calmly said, "you know what? I really don't care. [and that part's true: I care about the Palestinian people but not this particular idiot's family] You aren't selling your cause at all. Keep your pamphlet." And handed it back to her.

On a positive note, I will do my own research and find a more balanced group where Palestinians and Israelis are trying to work together (and those groups do exist) and fund them. This woman left me so disgusted that I will take an active interest in Palestinian rights - but not in her way. But I'm through with wasting my time on any protester who can't defend their cause in an intelligent way. In general I am so tired of the inability of either side in a debate to have any sort of intelligent conversation. I managed to have a great talk with my father today about Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who I LOATHE) because we were able to find common ground and debate merits of various politicians. That's what I like. After all, isn't it all about accepting our differences and finding common ground?

Update: Here we go!

I like this group: Interfaith Peace Builders

And here's one from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship where women are working for peace.

ah. I feel much better now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


but not GONE yet.

As in my boobs. They are melting and I couldn't be happier. Tonight I ran down the stairs and was perfectly comfortable. Even though I was wearing a loose t-shirt and no bra. I can't think the last time I've been comfortable without a bra on. It has already been noted by someone that I don't look as sexy with smaller breasts, but I don't care. I feel sexy. I'm so happy to be heading on my way to a B cup.

[They have shrunk with the rest of me. I would be a little concerned if they were the only part to be suddenly shrinking].

Oh - and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.

I'm grateful that that holiday was in October here. Now I can focus on New Year's (and endure Christmas!).

Monday, November 24, 2008


Happy date. Not sure where this one will go and no expectations. Too drunk to type more but I'm pleased.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


  • This week some weight crept back on, but today it was gone again. I celebrated by having a grilled cheese sandwich. Which is probably why the weight has a tendency to creep up... However, I will say this, since January when I finally decided to lose weight, I have succeeded in getting my appetite way, way down. And I make better food choices. My 'one salad a week' new year's resolution worked! My smaller eating habits are a way of life (and by 'smaller' all I mean is that I'm no longer overeating. My portions now are probably what they should have been all along)

  • I had a pile of trousers that needed to be hemmed. I brought them to the dry cleaner at the end of the street. This man is awesome. I have been without a seamstress/tailor for a while. I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. So next Saturday I should have six pairs of work pants and about 3 casual pairs that will be clean and fit properly. Next up is to bring in all my coats for cleaning and sew on the buttons. Although I am capable of sewing on a button, I never do a good job and they invariably fall off.

  • I spent over $300 on alcohol today. Stocking up for the holidays and buying gifts. I am reconsidering my aversion to beer in the home as buying nothing but prosecco, scotch, and champagne adds up quickly. I haven't even begun to stock up on wine and liquor. I think I need gin, although I seem to have two bottles of vodka in the freezer and I have several bottles of rum.

  • My goal is to have all my Christmas cards to the UK written and mailed by next Friday. I think I can do it

  • I have lined up a date for next week. This is so amazing. What it means is that whether or not it goes well, I am over my wanting to die/endless sobbing phase of the past summer, and really, the past five years of being chemically imbalanced are on their way out.

Forty is coming up awfully quickly and although I still want to take enough sleeping pills that I spend the day in blissful unconcious mode, I am in shape, social, and organized. At least more than I've been in a long time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The spawn of Satan

I have been so exhausted recently. Tonight I came home from work, had dinner and a few glasses of wine, and then settled into a nice, hot bath. My timid cat, Tasha, hopped up on the edge of the tub and started drinking the bath water - as she often likes to do. Then she was just perched next to me. It was very peaceful. The shower curtain was almost fully drawn and only the bathroom night light was on. Tasha and I were just enjoying one another's company.

And then the peace was shattered.

With a loud rustle the curtains imploded and Tasha was knocked into the water. She leapt out before I even fully came to my senses. I moved so suddenly in fright that my lower back, which has been out of sorts for months, was wrenched with sudden pain.

The insane Fur Snake had been jealous and had decided to push Tasha into the water. Tasha had run into the other room, climbed to the top of her scratching post and was licking her tail trying to get most of the water away. Meanwhile, Fur was languidly stretched out on the bath mat with this look like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

All cats are somewhat evil, but this one thrives on it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Six quirks

Here are the Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you

No one tagged me but I got this from Eros Den

2. Post the rules on your blog

3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself

These are habits that I would describe as part of my hidden weirdness. As way of explanation, the only drinks in my house are water (via the tap), coffee (from a french press), and liquor. Occasionally there is wine. Oh, and my chocolate rice milk. I'm addicted to that with chocolate protein powder. I also have an assortment of tea bags.

1. I don't drink pop. In fact, I don't use the word 'pop'. I don't say soda either. To me it is MIX. Once in a while in a restaurant I will order a diet Coke, but apart from that, I keep cans of cola, tonic water, and ginger ale for one reason only: to keep my rum, gin, and rye company.

2. I never have milk in the house. Again, I don't drink it. Never have. Once in a while I'll have it on hand if I'm going through some sort of baking phase, but otherwise, I have to remember to go out and get a small carton if I'm having people over. Not that I would ever allow someone to drink a glass of milk in my home, but I forget that people take it in their tea/coffee.

3. Same thing for juice. I don't like having cartons of juice in the fridge or god forbid, a juice pitcher. It takes up too much space. I'd rather take a multivitamin or eat berries in my yogurt. I'm okay though with health food store juices such as cranberry. However, I would throw out cranberry cocktail if that entered my home. I would break up with a guy who drank Sunny D.

4. Most of my long-term boyfriends have not drunk any of the above. I don't know if I could seriously date a pop or milk drinker. For some weird reason it bothers me to watch adults drink these items. My friend's husband had a Coke first thing in the morning and I was horrified. I realize this is my issue. I've also never had to witness a friend ordering milk in a restaurant. Thank goodness because it turns my stomach to watch people drink milk.

5. If I have an issue with people drinking pop, milk, and juice at home, it is ten fold for beer. To me, one does not drink beer at home (unless it's a party). If you have space for a beer fridge hidden out of sight (preferably in a garage or cellar) and somewhere discrete to store the empties (again, a garage comes to mind), then I suppose it's okay. However, I associate beer with going to a pub for a pint, or having a Corona in the backyard. Not coming home and cracking open a cold one. I think this is because my parents never, ever had beer in their house except for guests at parties.
I suppose too that when my parents were young and living in Scotland, bottled beer probably wasn't common. You always went to the pub for what was on tap. I mean, it's not like I have a problem with drinking beer. I'm all for that. But my parents were the cocktail type. And that's what I agree with. You have a hidden liquor cabinet. Booze is not on display. I don't want to see a case in a living area. I don't want to see beer bottles when I open a fridge, and I certainly don't want to see empties lying around. *shudders*

6. Although I'm addicted to coffee I don't own a coffee maker. I don't like filtered coffee and I only like really high powered espresso machines. Besides, I like the social aspect of having to go out for a coffee. I have my french press and that does me fine. It makes a wicked good cup of coffee.

Friday, November 14, 2008

mememememe - meme

From Rox...

“Adult Questions - Don’t Be a Pussy” meme. I’m not going to tag anyone on this, but feel free to steal it and provide your own answers.

1. Is there anyone on your blogroll you would have sex with?
This would make more sense if it read, "Is there anyone else on your blogroll you would have sex with? And of course. many.

2. Sex in the morning, afternoon or night?
Morning. But on a week-end, anytime. Recently - as it's been so long that I can't even remember what sex involves - 'while stopped at a red light' would be fine. And I'm a pedestrian.

3. Have you ever had to pull over on the side of the road to puke?
Yes. Well, I don't drink and drive so it was more that my cab driver had to pull over.

4. Have you ever taken your clothes off for money?

5. Shower or bath while having sex?

6. Do you want someone aggressive or passive in bed?
Passive brings to mind someone who isn't into it. So in that way, I want a guy to be aggressive even if I'm pegging him.

7. Do you love someone on your blogroll?
Of course! I love all in some way.

8. Love or Money?
Love. But a bit of both is nice.

9. Credit cards or cash?

10. Have you ever wanted a best friend?
I've had several and my bestest friend is like a sister.

11. Camping or a 5 star hotel?
Both completely different.

12. Where is the weirdest place you have had sex?
I'm pretty dull for locations

13. Would you shave your entire body (including your head)?

14. Have you ever been to a strip club?

15. Ever been to a bar?

16. Ever been kicked out of a bar or a club?

17. Ever been so drunk someone else had to carry you?

18. Had sex in a movie theater?

19. Had sex in a bathroom?
Not a public one.

20. Have you ever had sex at work?
No. Holds no appeal for me.

21. Ever been to an adult store?
I'm a regular.

22. Bought something from an adult store?
Of course.

23. Have you been caught having sex ?
Nope. Again, no appeal in that for me.

24. Does anyone have naughty pics of you?
Yes. Hopefully they are destroyed.

25. Ever had sex with someone and called them by the wrong name?
Yes. I called an ex by a previous ex's name, or at least I started to. The name I was about to call him was Jon (pronounced 'Yone'). I had only said the yo- when I realized my mistake. I knew that the guy would have freaked so I covered by saying, "yo... yo, yo, YO BABY! You are so hot!!!!" He bought it and didn't seem upset by the fact that I sounded illiterate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Advice needed

I'm becoming a complete dork. What gaming system should I buy? What are the differences between XBox and Wii?

Most special day

Happy Birthday Mum!

Of course you don't know about my blog (thank god) but I'm wishing you the best and I can't wait until you are back in Canada and I can take you out for dinner.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Off to pay my respects

I have the day off for Remembrance Day. I am going to go to the ceremony. I think it's right that banks and government shut for the day to honour the soldiers who died for our country, and the least I can do is attend the service. I hope it doesn't rain as the ceremony is outside, but even if it does, it's not like the soldiers got the day off for rain.


It was such a beautiful ceremony. The skies were grey, but it didn't rain. The Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, made an incredibly powerful speech. He read an account from a soldier, who had since been killed in combat, about serving in Afghanistan. I was bawling my eyes out. He also spoke about duty, and I found it inspirational. Other people who spoke included Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, a high-ranking military official, and a veteran from World War II. Each so eloquent and each gave such a good viewpoint on what this day means.

I was also so humbled and proud to see the people in uniform: police, military, fire, and EMS services. All serving our country in some way. I was also amazed at the diversity and at the number of women serving. We can always all argue about the nature of war, but at the end of the day I respect those who are serving the country.

The closing of the ceremony was the playing of O Canada. People stood in respect and there was a singer. I sang my heart out torturing everyone near me with my off-key warbling. Most people didn't sing. I don't really get that. Maybe they thought we should all just listen to the singer, but I think it's beautiful to hear everyone sing the anthem. After that we were invited to go up to the Peoples' Wreath (after the podium had departed) and incorporate the poppies we were wearing into the wreath. It was very beautiful.

My feet were numb, my back was killing me, and I was so cold that it was over a half an hour before I could properly move my fingers again, but I'm so glad that I attended.

I know we get knocked all the time, but I'm very proud to be a civil servant. I do consider that one way of serving the country. But this ceremony made me reflect on how I can better serve my country and what causes I believe in. I need to get back involved in the fight for full rights for people living with HIV and for the rights of the LGBT community. I'm not making any time commitments or working to help anyone beyond friends and family right now and I realized that listening to the sacrifices of my countrymen and women. I can do more. I just need to figure out how.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's not 'them', it's us

With love and support to my family members and to my many friends who are from the LGBT community, despite the passing of Proposition 8 in California, let's look to an inspirational speech from the President of Spain when that country extended marriage and adoption rights to same sex couples. This text was read at the marriage of two of my dear friends. Hopefully the US will get there soon.

[When the Spanish parliament took its historic vote legalizing both gay marriage and adoption of children by gay couples, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero -- who put the full prestige of his office and party behind passage of the gay human rights legislation -- made one of the most remarkable speeches in favor of full equality for those with same-sex hearts ever delivered by a head of government anywhere. Here are excerpts from Zapatero's speech -- Doug Ireland]

"We are not legislating, honorable members, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and, our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members.

"In the poem 'The Family,' our [gay] poet Luis Cernuda was sorry because, 'How does man live in denial in vain/by giving rules that prohibit and condemn?' Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have, been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty.

"It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph of those who oppose this law, even though they do not know this yet: because it is the triumph of Liberty. Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose the law) better people, it makes our society better. Honorable members, There is no damage to marriage or to the concept of family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens is this class of Spanish citizens get the potential to organize their lives with the rights and privileges of marriage and family. There is no danger to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law enhances and respects marriage.

"Today, conscious that some people and institutions are in a profound disagreement with this change in our civil law, I wish to express that, like other reforms to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law will generate no evil, that its only consequence will be the avoiding of senseless suffering of decent human beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of decent human beings is a better society.

"With the approval of this Bill, our country takes another step in the path of liberty and tolerance that was begun by the democratic change of government. Our children will look at us incredulously if we tell them that many years ago, our mothers had less rights than our fathers, or if we tell them that people had to stay married against their will even though they were unable to share their lives. Today we can offer them a beautiful lesson: every right gained, each access to liberty has been the result of the struggle and sacrifice of many people that deserve our recognition and praise.

"Today we demonstrate with this Bill that societies can better themselves and can cross barriers and create tolerance by putting a stop to the unhappiness and humiliation of some of our citizens. Today, for many of our countrymen, comes the day predicted by Kavafis [the great Greek gay poet] one century ago: 'Later 'twas said of the most perfect society/someone else, made like me/certainly will come out and act freely.'"

[Thanks to valiant gay journalist Rex Wockner for providing this translation.]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How not to behave at work

As part of my job, I provide research and administrative support to a group of health care experts. I've been tasked with formatting a survey for them. Part of our survey was to ask about following up with trying to contact people. The question asked when did the person stop trying to contact a client. The answers were standard 'after 2 phone calls', 'after 3 working days', etc. About a week ago I was bored with formatting and was thinking about The Terminator. As such I added a box which stated: NEVER. We will not stop until you are dead.

Obviously it was a joke. Obviously I planned to delete. And equally obviously, I, ha-ha-ha, saved the survey and completely forgot about my homage to the Terminator.

And even more ha-ha-ha, today I sent the survey for review out to three key members of the working group, and my boss.

Immediately after hitting "send" I was reviewing the survey again and noted that the Terminator choice was still in the list. Oh dear lord - it was too late to recall the email. I screamed.

Luckily one of the individuals responded almost right away with a note that I had forgotten to label two of the check boxes. I immediately resent an email with a 'thanks SO MUCH for pointing out that error. Please use this amended version and please delete the earlier version.'

I still half expected to get an email from my boss at some point though saying, "You're terminated, fucker"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I was falling back into lazy eating habits so I'm doing the 7 day brown rice diet. This is not a lose-weight or live-in-denial plan [besides, I've already lost the weight!] - it's just a way of ensuring you get back to healthier eating habits for a bit. You are supposed to eat brown rice at every meal, and you can have organic meat or tofu, and as many veggies or fruits as you want. No caffeine, no alcohol, and no sugar. No salt either, so you can't add tamari to the rice.

I of course completely ignore the no caffeine rule and if I have the urge to drink, I stick to the purity of vodka-sodas. It's working though - I'm more conscious of what I'm eating and certainly have eaten more apples and pears this week than I've had in a while. It's not that I was eating crap before, but I was beginning to have way too much bread and pasta.

There. After the amazing election of last night, I figured I needed to be absolutely mindless and tell all of you about my eating plans. That and the fact that I bought jeans today which are four inches smaller than my jeans from two years ago.

Good and bad

Congratulations to President Obama!

Read Tornwordo's post though to see why I am upset this morning. There is good news on the reproductive rights of women though - the horrifically restrictive abortion bans/ rights of the fetus stuff didn't pass.

Monday, November 03, 2008

In mourning

I am down right now. Down over the death of someone I knew and dated but not long enough to be 'officially' mourning. He played a pivotal role in my life. Specifically he played a pivotal role in my sexual development and as I read tributes to him on the web [because in his own life he was very successful in his career], I realize that I didn't know him in any real sense. He just gave me one of the best dates of my life that led to me experimenting and trying so much more. I don't feel a loss for me - I am only very sad that he died way, way too young. It amazes me how sometimes the briefest encounters can affect us so deeply.

I am still struggling with becoming an active participant in my life. It will probably all be okay and a process, but basically I went through such a profound and deep depression this summer that now that I'm finally coming out of the other side I don't know where to go or what to do. I'm doing all the right things - connecting to people, engaging in work which I love, eating well, and beginning to exercise - but I seem to get very easily distracted from moving forward.

What is giving me unprecedented joy and happiness right now is watching the British series from the 80s "yes Minister". Oh my god. Anyone who has ever worked for the government needs to watch this. Screw the West Wing - this is wit at its finest.

And a great group of people who I saw tonight. They brought me joy. Again, sometimes love and kindness come from the most unexpected places.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


As in the wonderful term I learned from Laverne: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

Only tomorrow I am having people over. For brunch no less. I thought that brunch was no big deal until I realized that my place was a gross disaster and these are people I know from skiing / snowboarding. In other words, people I like, but apart from one with whom I am good friends, they are people who I don't hang out with. With good friends I don't care if my place is a bit messy, but here I feel embarrassed. Hence I am cleaning and sorting. But it's coming together. I think if I'm in bed by midnight and up at 7am, that the place will look and smell pleasant (it's pumpkin muffin time!) by eleven when everyone arrives.

UPDATE: thank heavens for daylight savings time. The extra hour allowed me to have a clean house and food prepared by the time people arrived. It went well, but I am exhausted now. And I'm stuck with sausages which I will have to find a carnivorous friend to feed to.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's cold!

Thus it's cold sore season! Well, for me that seems to be year-round and sadly this one is not hidden discreetly up my nose. I'm not messing around with home remedies though. I phoned my doctor's office and asked them to fax a prescription for acyclovir to the pharmacy. Tomorrow I should have real relief.

I have the cold sore just in time for a team photo too - somehow I agreed to climb the stairs of the CN Tower. That's 1700 steps. hahahahahaha - I must have been in one of those team spirit work moments when I agreed to this. I'll be lucky if I don't pass out half way up. My out-of-shape ass is going to be protesting after one flight of stairs let alone the ridiculously insane number of flights I'll be climbing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm buying an SUV and eating steak...

The menstrual cup has killed my environmental consciousness.

On my old blog, I once wrote that I was not going to put my tampons in Toronto's green bin recycling program. I felt bad, but I thought that the city composting my tampons was the most disgusting. Hence, they were flushed out to sea or put in the regular trash. In my comments, Mainja mentioned a particular brand of menstrual cup and that friends of hers had tried it and liked it. That always stayed in my mind.

Unfortunately it was in my mind about a few months ago when I was buying eco-friendly cleaning products. The store had a big display of menstrual cups. The above graphic gives an idea of what this type of product looks like [there are several brands on the eco-market]. I liked the idea of having a reusable form of 'feminine protection' that didn't involve bringing blood-soaked cloth pads to the laundromat. I bought one.

So you basically shove this cup up vag, and then empty it every few hours. Sound easy? It is and it isn't. It takes time to figure out how to comfortably place the damn thing.

After getting used to placing it correctly, I must admit that I do like the cup. And I do love the fact that it's eco-friendly. However, I never should have gone on their website. The testimonials are so over the top that I am either:
a/ a complete and utter freak of nature, or,
b/ really lucky that I have never been that traumatized by my period

[or c/ both a and b, but we won't go there...]

For your benefit, I have tried to summarize the recurring subjects of both the FAQ and of the comments.

Issue #1: Many of the commenters are so relieved to no longer have to deal with tampons or pads.

My experience: How traumatic are tampons? I've worn them for years. It's really not that big a deal. Some women talked about the mess and the grossness. Seriously? You tug on the string and that baby is flushed out of your life forever. On the other hand, when you remove the cup you are basically holding a rubbery shot glass of blood in your hand. It's not like I need to sit there and bond endlessly with my menstrual blood, and it's pretty easy to dump the cup, but still, the first time I extracted the warm cup of blood, my thoughts were not ' oh how clean and natural'.

Issue #2: People rave about how there's no mess and the cup is so convenient.

My experience: Okay, yes, it's extremely comfortable and I can see how if you are travelling in a remote area you don't need to worry about tampon/pad disposal, but again, I return to the fact that you are dealing with a cup of blood. True, once the blood is dumped you aren't left with a pad or tampon to dispose of, but then what? The site recommends washing the thing after each use. Are you really going to rinse it out in your host's sink? [Not at my house! Please.] The site says that in emergencies you can use tissue to wipe it out. Okay, but then if it isn't a great flushing place, you are still left with bloodied tissue.

Issue #3: Apparently people are running triathlons with this thing.

My experience: The general consensus seems to be that although every woman seems to have had embarrassing accidents/leaks with tampons, the miracle cup never leaks! It lasts forever! Like you can go to work in the morning, and then when you get home after work you might have to empty it. Really. Even if you had to change your super-duper plus tampon every half hour you will be saved by the cup. Again, not if you're me. Holy crap. True again, the cup works well and adds to the time between changes, but [at least for me] this does not extend to the entire work day. And unlike tampons which I can really feel when they have reached max absorbency, the cup truly is so comfortable that I have no idea when it's full. And about to overflow.

My first hint with this joy was going home from work one day and chatting with a colleague as we went to go down the escalator to change subway lines. Not only did the cup overflow, it did so with such ferocity that my first hint that all was not good was when a big glob of blood splashed onto my ankle. Followed by another. And another. Forcing me to hastily say to my colleague "gotta go" and sprint [as much as was possible while trying to keep my thighs glued together] to the subway washroom. At least I was wearing a skirt so I didn't have stains to deal with.

Over-all I do like my cup. But I think I'll stick to disposables for moments like plane travel and dates.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Once in a while I get a good idea

My mother is not the type to sit around and do nothing. Telling her to relax while watching others work is hell for her. So for yesterday when I was having the whole family over for 4:30pm, I told Mum that she could come over at 3pm if she was only going to worry about me not being prepared. I knew that Mum would be great for setting the table and helping me with any last minute prep. However, I also knew that she would be coming with my dad.

My kitchen is to small for three of us to be doing things, and my dad gets bored easily. Then I remembered the garden. Dad grows herbs and tomatoes in large container pots at their house. He is immensely proud of his basil and parsley and loves to garden. The last time he was over he disappeared and it turned out that he had gone into the garden and tied up all my tomatoes so that they weren't weighed down in the dirt. In a flash of inspiration I told Dad that his job would be to finish harvesting my tomatoes and peppers, and to dig up the old plants in preparation for winter.

It worked.

Mum and I prepped all the veggies and Dad went to work on my small garden. At one point he entered the kitchen to announce that my kitchen shears had snapped in half. I told him not to worry and to leave the rest, but undaunted, he set out with one of my knives. The next time I looked out the window my garden was cleared and there were two big bags of garden trimmings ready to put out on the curb. Agent Orange had done his magic.

The dinner itself was great. Everyone ate well and my two nieces amused themselves by jumping on my bean bag chair all night. And today I have almost nothing to clean up, and a day intended for cleaning up the garden can now be focussed on other tasks. Yay!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I can't wait for the upcoming long week-end. I'm hosting the family this year. As with the last time I hosted, I decided not to serve turkey. Once again it will be pepper steak, and this time I'll have gnocchi for the vegetarians. Everyone's coming over on Sunday, so that gives me one day to cook and clean the apartment. Gah! I must learn to be tidier in general so that when people come over it isn't a panic.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Make me dance. Make me smile.

I have been back and forth with Rob since our break-up. Me misunderstanding everything and blithely going on thinking we were friends; him avoiding me and trying to distance himself. Finally after a horrid PMS moment where I called him he sent me a 'fuck you Sue' email [it wasn't nasty, but it was painfully clear about where he stands with respect to knowing me].

I never thought we wouldn't be friends as we hadn't had a particularly bad break-up [at least cops weren't involved as with my last major break-up so perhaps my perspective is off], but as with most couples, I made mistakes, he made mistakes. There's no one-sided in this: and so it goes. I miss him though. I don't see why we couldn't have remained friends or lovers - especially since he's friends with ALL his exes and made it a point of being so. I guess I'm special.*

Of course I miss his personality. That's what made me love him. However, in a more immediate way, the annual Northbound fetish fair is coming up soon [largest event in the world]. I have a really fun outfit.

I so wanted to go.

I had no one to go with.

The first year I went with D. and with a coworker/friend. I loved it, but I found it overwhelming as I had no idea what to expect and had never been to anything even remotely fetish-y before. I also managed to lose part of our tickets and D. and I almost didn't get in which prompted [big surprise] a hysterical crying fit from me. Luckily D. and my friend were very supportive.

Rob and I went last year with a group of friends and it was so much fun. This time I was more prepared and I had the security of being with someone I was going out with. It gave me a bit of confidence rather than feeling like I'm always the odd one out. Instead I had a boyfriend who was as kinky as hell, and who appreciated that I was too. Believe me, it's hard to find. It's not that difficult to find guys who would go, but not to find ones who want to date as well, and I've had guys who have loved me but ended up calling me a whore/slut/weird if I mentioned events like these.

As such, this year I became so unbelievably down about the event. It's worse than trying to get a date for a wedding. It's not the sort of thing I want to go to with someone I don't know and trust well. It's not the type of thing that I can bring just any of my friends to. It's not the sort of thing I want to go on a blind date to.

Luckily my 'fetish friend' came through for me. He and I often go to these sorts of events together. I am also friends with his hubby so it's a wonderful no pressure time. We're going to go. It's not going to be the same as last year, but that's for the best. Instead I will get to wear my leather corset and we'll discuss how we have both lost weight and gossip about who we think looks hot and who is not.

I can't wait.

However, I still need a boost.

I once asked for workout songs and all of you came through. Hotdudi won with Saturday Night by UD Project [I'd NEVER heard of them. Great workout tune].

Give me happy jumpy dancy type songs.

* The last time I got a 'fuck you Sue' letter I was working on a ship. Our emails were all printed out and distributed to us, and one of the passengers came up to me and said, "I think this is for you. It was in my mail slot by mistake..." Nothing quite like having a stranger read your getting dumped note.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Snack time on Sunday

Pumpkin muffins for me...

[Don't scroll down if you don't like the fact that cats are predators]

Fresh kill for the Fur Snake. Although I ate the muffins. Fur just licked the dead mouse like a popsicle and left it on the doorstep for me. Tonight I buried the mouse in the garden.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shoes, shoes, shoes [and other stuff]

  • I had an unsuccessful [but brief] hunt for brown shoes today. I don't see any Fluevogs or Fly London shoe styles that I want for the Fall. But, oh, the boots...
  • Fur killed yet another mouse outside the apartment and I had to witness *yet again* her zeal in running back and forth with it in her mouth.
  • During my vacation I got a bed frame, a chair for my vanity table, a chair for the living room, a set of shelves for the bathroom, two extra shelves for my giant shoe rack, and snagged another chair for the living room from a brief visit to my parents up north. It was very productive.
  • I also spent a fabulous day roller blading on Toronto Island with D. I can roller blade now (although stopping is still a challenge). And the nude beach doesn't phase me. So there's some progress from last year. The day was marred only by my uncontrollable sobbing fit on the ferry ride home when I realized I would be late getting back to the city and had invited a friend over for dinner. I really hope my meds kick in a bit more. Two steps forward, three steps back.
  • I also organized much of my stuff, unclogged the drain in the laundry room, and got the computer guy by to fix my Internet connection
  • My garden produced so many tomatoes. It's quite exciting. Yes, that's how sad my life is : my tomato yield is what I want to tell everyone about.
  • I got caught in a massive subway delay last week and ended up walking the 4 miles home.
  • I was sure I had walked about ten. Mapquest set me straight on that matter
  • I was a pound heavier the next morning. Moral of the story : exercise sucks
  • In the past week I have been getting caught up on movies. I watched X-Men (all three), V for Vendetta, and Camp Out. I'm traumatized by the first four. The last one was a documentary about a gay Christian summer camp for youth in rural Minnesota. Amazing. I do wish we would hear more about the power and positive sense that communities of faith can have instead of always seeing spiteful people who claim to be the sole representatives of Christianity/Judaism/Islam

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time for Some Campaignin'

Okay this is a fun post to leave rather than the last piece of crap I spewed. I imagine most of you have seen it, but if not, it's a laugh about campaigning.

Waving the white flag

I really misrepresented my friend in the last post. I know that I had asked her not to tag me in photos and she didn't, and as soon as I sent an email she offered to remove the pic. And Stewie, you're right - I'm not fat, and for the first time in 10 years I'm not even overweight. I am much larger than my twenties though. And I am unfashionable. Apart from my belt.

The last post points to the fact that depression is still kicking my ass and I have lost all sense of perspective. In other words, I am a boring, whiny pit of need right now. I will come back when I feel I have a rational perspective on life and can not only right less self-pitying posts but am also inspired to feel that I can give your posts the attention they deserve instead of wanting to comment, "Life sucks. It really does".

Because really it doesn't. My life included.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

HUGE rant

I am a private person. Oddly enough, I used to pose for photos all the time. I have albums of me grinning with friends from highschool and somewhere, in some friend's closet, lost in a shoe box, are photos of me sitting in my underwear on the hood of a car pretending to be a hood ornament. But now I won't let anyone take my photo, the reason being that I do NOT want to end up in a mass sent email or worse - on someone's fucking Facebook page. Instead of being limited to being seen by someone who was over at your house (presumably some sort of friend!) images can now be viewed by anyone. And what's worse is that I find that friends don't even ask your permission. I'll be on my profile on FB and see the notification "You have been tagged in a photo".

Can people at least ask permission first? It may seem weird, but not all of us are excited about our image being all over the place. I don't want people from my high school seeing me. Yes, it is mainly because I don't want them seeing how fat and unfashionable I became, but so what? I am so upset about this. Almost no pictures of me in my 30s exist, which is completely coinciding with scanners and digital cameras. I relented on the Vegas trip so that each person could have a group shot of us for their memories. We exchanged photos via email among the group that were there. That's my limit. This is the third time I've gone through this with the same friend. She's one of my closest friends so it's not like my friendship with her is at stake, but holy fuck, how many times do I have to ask to stop sending group shots out to people I don't know????

I'm going back to my policy of no photos of me ever.

Falling in love

I trooped off with my parents yesterday to see the brother who had just returned from China with my newest niece (2 years-old). She is so adorable. Her older sister (now 4) was also adopted from China. My mum and I had to job of entertaining my older niece which gave my sister-in-law a chance to bond with the new one. Not that it was much of a job - my niece is a lot of fun. And endless energy. I had to play endless rounds of 'store' with her.

It was a store which sold nothing but ball gowns and purses as I discovered when everything I asked to buy was met with, "No, we don't sell that here". Then every dress I tried on was apparently too small. Hard to tell what it fit like as I had to try and follow my niece's imagination. I got the hang of it when I emerged with the new dress on and said, "Perfect! I'll take it" and was told, "No. Pretend it's too small for you." My niece has not yet learned how to feed her aunt's ego. I will have to train her to say, "Oh but that is swimming on you. Try a smaller size." Like I said though, I learned to say "I'll go try this on. And what colour is this one?", followed by, "Do you think this fits or is it too tight?"

Thanks to a good friend of mine I also learned how to make congee. This is just not a food from my Scottish/Italian/Canadian background. Congee-making was my other task yesterday. My new niece was very happy to have a familiar food. She is tiny but with the amount of congee and pita she was eating yesterday, no doubt she'll grow quickly. I didn't try to hold my new niece as she is still shy around people and overwhelmed from all the changes in her life from the past two weeks, but her eyes followed me everywhere. I think she was calmer around me as opposed to my mum (who is my older niece's idol) simply because my mother is blonde and I have dark hair - which in its current dye job my SIL told me is the same colour as that of one of the woman from the orphanage.

I'm back to work tomorrow and dreading it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Works for me

I have a cold sore up my nose. It's just inside my right nostril - thanks for asking. It was somewhat painful, very annoying, but it really wasn't visible. I love it. If I'm going to be plagued with cold sores when I'm run down, may they all be up my nose instead of prominent on my upper lip.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I am up north right now, enjoying time with my mum. We are hanging out at the local film festival and otherwise just sitting chatting and reading books. It's been over a year since I've had real time off (as opposed to a long week-end). Slowly all the hectic work schedue of the past year - including switching jobs with no time off in between - is seeping out of my psyche, and all the disappointments of the past summer are becoming manageable.

I have a wonderful house/cat-sitter staying in my Toronto apartment so I am not worried about the kitties or my things. Tomorrow I am driving mum and I back to T.O. where we will meet up with my dad who is returning from a trip. Friday I plan to sit in my garden and weed out all the plants before winter. Having a garden has been an unexpected joy for me this year. Sitting in the dirt and picking tomatoes is better than therapy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Curse Shakespeare!

I really wish they would stop teaching Romeo and Juliet in high school. I may remember incorrectly, but doesn't Romeo see Juliet at a party, follow her home, and then start declaring undying love beneath her window? And this is held up as romantic? Let me tell you, if some guy I only saw at a party followed me home, the drama would end in the time it would take me to dial 911. Anyhow, my point is [and I do have one -] I think this play is responsible for stalker behaviour.

Indeed, I met some sort of would-be Romeo on the subway last night. It was about 11:30 and I was heading home from visiting friends. I was out-of-my-mind fatigued and just wanted to crawl into bed. Alone. There was a guy sitting near me. He didn't seem crazy or anything. Just another person on the subway. We barely made eye contact. I noticed that he was also getting off at my stop. Again, no red flags, no overtly strange behaviour.

We were walking towards the stairs when he complimented me on the belt I was wearing. It is a fantastic belt so this didn't phase me either, although I did find it a bit odd when he followed the compliment with "Is it a weightlifting belt?". Um, okay. No. It's wide, but hello? Suddenly I was thinking, "Oh my f-ing Christ - does my funky awesome belt look like a weightlifter belt?" Like I said though, I was tired and focussed on getting home.

He kept walking beside me. I believe he was still talking about weightlifting, but I wasn't paying much attention. He was still beside me chatting away when we reached the level below the final escalator to the exit. I didn't want him following me onto the street and seeing what direction my apartment was, so I stopped and turned to give him my attention.*

He was back to talking about what a great belt I had. This time he added, "And those jeans! They're great too. You're very... what's the word I'm looking for?...curvaceous ." Now suddenly the conversation was going in a way I wasn't comfortable with. At this point defensive tactics started to percolate in my slow, tired mind: must get out of this conversation as soon as possible and try to ensure that dude will not follow me and will not get upset in any way.

I was still getting a vibe though that he was lonely and had no idea how to talk to women not that he was violent.

I can't remember the order so I'll list the highlights of the ensuing chat before I managed to extricate myself from the situation.

  • He spoke a mile a minute without pause
  • He asked me my sign and then proceeded to tell me that it's a party sign. It's not
  • He told me his sign (I didn't care. I'm not into astrology)
  • He got me to touch his hair. I did briefly and regretted it. Don't ask strangers to touch your hair and if you do, make sure it's very clean
  • He offered to let me touch his beard. I declined with, "Gross. No." I had gotten over the shock of being asked to touch his hair
  • He told me how long he had been celibate for. Again, I didn't care, didn't want to know
I finally interrupted and made a hasty retreat when he surmised that I would 'really rock a two-piece swim-suit'. At that point I had decided that I would grab a cab if he kept walking next to me. I only live a block from the subway, but cabs are useful for quick getaways and round trip confusing tours.

As I walked away, I noticed that he went to go back on the subway, in the opposite direction. I realized that he had been watching me on the subway, waiting to see what stop I had. This unnerved me. However, the over-all incident didn't freak me out. He didn't seem dangerous. He was only lonely. He walked away saying something about how nice he was to women but how they never wanted to date him. If I hadn't been so tired, I probably would have enlightened him as to how creepy and wrong his approach was. Not in a mean way, but so he could gain some sort of insight into how counterproductive [and in fact repugnant] his pick-up moves were.

*I am always hesitant to walk away from someone if they aren't being blatantly rude or offensive. I feel like I should listen. This policy is now being revised.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

following the same theme

When I was a librarian at a university, one of the biology profs and I were hanging out having coffee together. He lamented, "In the 60s I remember protesting with other students that no one should be denied a university education because of their socioeconomic status. That somehow became that nobody should be denied a university education."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

True equality

No more of this having to be twice as skilled as a man to get half the pay. Step aside Dan Quayle! Good to know that you can now be a woman and be completely unqualified for a position of power.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stalker's delight

The other day I was listening to the messages on my home phone and apart from being offered a low,low interest rate if I acted RIGHT NOW there was a message for "Dr. Smith"* The caller was a worker from a long-term care facility who was trying to get a patient seen by Dr. Smith so that she could then be transferred to a nursing home. The message was quite detailed and at the end the caller left a number. The only confusion was that the caller only left a 7-digit number [we have 10 digit dialing where you need to include the area code].

I tried every combination of Toronto-region area codes with no luck. Then I tried long distance codes that were still somewhat near. No luck. Normally I don't go to much effort with wrong numbers, but as this was a medical appointment, I felt more obliged.

I went over to my computer and searched for the doctor's name on the Ontario directory of doctors. No one by that name came up except for one man practising out west, who happened to be a microbiologist in a public health lab. I knew that couldn't be the doctor mentioned in the message. At that point, I gave up.

When I got home from work the next day I thought that I would make one last attempt to return the call. I figured that by then the original caller would have redialed the number, but I still felt bad in case he hadn't. This time I searched for the name of the long-term care facility he had mentioned in the message. Success! It was located in the U.S., and the number of the facility matched the number he had left in them message. Armed with the proper area code, I phoned the facility.

A woman answered and I started with, "Hi my name is Susan and I'm calling from Canada..."

I think she thought I was nuts. But when I explained why I was calling, she cracked up completely. She said, "Oh this it too good" and then added, "By any chance was the guy's name Bob who left the message?"

I affirmed that yes, it had been Bob and she laughed even more and said, "I assure you that Bob will not harass you any more". She was laughing the whole time though so I don't think Bob was in any trouble at work. I imagine that he had mentioned today that the doctor had never returned his call, and she now couldn't wait to tell him what had happened. I did assure the woman that Bob had left a very professional message.

ah, I hope I didn't cause problems for him. Maybe I shouldn't have returned the message but I felt such a sense of obligation. That, and I'm completely OCD. When I want to solve a puzzle, I am so obsessed. It makes me a good librarian, but weird in other areas of life such as this one.

*Not me, and names changed to protect the innocent. Again, not me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why tourists die

See my bottled water? More than enough for a one hour hike through the desert. It's only 40ºC.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

I miss my friends so much. This was a group of girls I know from high school. Six of us went for a Vegas week-end. I haven't kept in touch well with most of them, but it was so wonderful to reconnect on this trip. Actually, I'm not writing about Vegas because I was as dull as dishwater. Glad I went though.

I will describe my desert experience though. It's funny, I do not like summer. I don't like hot weather. When I worked on a ship and we were sailing through the Indian Ocean I was rarely up on deck. Yet I love desert heat. That dry radiating hug from mother nature is my favourite. I would love to live in Salt Lake City [I've never been there but near desert and mountains - Sigh. Perfect].

I went with five friends to Vegas but one friend and I skipped the city the first night and instead stayed at a spa near the desert. The next day we went to a canyon with brilliant red rocks and followed a one and a half mile trail through the desert. By the end my face was redder than I have ever seen or thought possible and I was cramping from dehydration. It was an easy hike too AND I brought water. Apparently not enough. It's easy to see how that dry heat catches up quickly. However, it didn't take us long to recover.

I haven't had a vacation in over a year. This was exactly what I needed. I also discovered that I am over one of my fears and one discomfort. After the desert hike we went and hung out in the hotel spa for a few hours in the afternoon. We alternated between the whirlpool, steambath, showers, and laying on couches sipping tea. Out of the 10 or so women in the area, I was the only one who opted out of wearing anything in the clothing optional whirlpool and steam bath. I am over my body consciousness. At least a bit. And the best part was having a chance to be alone with my dear friend.

I took the red eye home. Although I still don't like to fly, I don't have a terror of flying anymore. I fell asleep shortly after take off and only wake up to hear them announce the landing. I think I must have fallen asleep again because I don't really remember the descent or feeling the plane touch the ground. I woke up at the gate as the plane was ready to debark. Then I came home and slept all day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The long, long, long f-ing summer

I have a poem that sums up this summer for me. It's taken from a poem a friend wrote in high school:

I'm tired of work
I'm tired of life.
Do me a favour -
Give me a knife.

[I always laugh when I think of this poem because my friend wrote it as a complete joke but later heard her mom reading it over the phone to someone. Her mother thought she was suicidal]

Anyhow, depression has kicked my ass this summer. I'm not suicidal, but for a while I was like the living dead. Life has been okay but my moods have not been. I'm feeling better but good grief, I was at the point where I was becoming such an anxious panicked drag that I wanted to start avoiding all friends. It freaked me out.

It's weird accepting that my moods rarely have anything to do with my life circumstances. At least I am finally recognizing that and am taking action. And of course the Olympics have been a very soothing background for when I want to turn my mind off.

And I'm off on vacation for a bit. so have fun kids!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pot meet kettle

In the Canadian news today is that our former prime minister, Jean Chretien, has criticized our current prime minister, Stephen Harper, for not attending the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Now Harper is anathema to pretty much everything I believe [morally at least]. I am not a fan of his at all. However, I love the fact that he called out Chretien's complete hypocrisy - during Chretien's long, long, long reign, he only attended one out of five of the Olympics.

Chretien made the point that China is an important nation to partner with and that Harper's no show may have damaged relations with them. Whatever. The fact remains that Canada has tons of raw resources that China is interested in. I think we could have boycotted the Olympics and China would still partner for access to our forests and minerals. Chretien can't seem to live out of the spotlight.

The larger point for me is that neither of these pompous windbags attended the World AIDS Conferences when they were held in Canada. In 2006 when the conference was in Toronto, Harper didn't make the time to attend. He was more concerned about Arctic sovereignty. Meanwhile, in 1996, in Vancouver, the conference where the combination therapy used to save the lives of people living with HIV was announced, Chretien was a no-show. Losers. I wish that newspapers wouldn't cover their current stupid pissing match. They weren't at an event that really counted. I don't admire either of them at all.*

*Interestingly, Canada's former conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney attended the world AIDS Conference when it was held in Montreal. Of course this was back when the party was the Progressive Conservative party not the current neo-con Regressive Conservative party that Harper leads

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meme time

I love the Internet cafe near my work. It's so dark and out-of-time.

Anyhow, I took this meme from Brice.

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie

Opening Credits: Rock Star (Hole) - Not sure how this relates. I'm a librarian. Kind of the opposite of a rock star.

Waking up: Drops of Jupiter (Train) - Aw, I bet Brice would love to wake up to this everyday

First Day at High School: Your body belongs to the state (Consolidated) - a very pro-choice statement. High school was my personal/political awakening so it works.

Falling In Love: WooHoo (Blur) - sure, why not?

Fight Song: Hit me baby one more time (Britney Spears) - Too funny that this came up

Prom: First cut is the deepest (Sheryl Crowe) - None of my dates left a lasting impression on me. Move that to a university dance though and yes, this song is very appropriate.

Life: Dead can dance (Porcupine Tree) - I downloaded this as Dantallion was praising the group but I haven't listened to it yet so I can't comment. From the title though it is how I feel when depression hits and I'm just going through the motions.

Mental Breakdown: All in the family (as in the theme song to the tv show) - good stuff. My family is crazy and central to my life. I cherish them all.

Driving: The Beer Song (They Might be Giants) - I've never driven drunk but I have puked out a cab.

Flashback: It sucks to be me (from Avenue Q) - Perfect! Yes! Pity me one and all!!!

Getting Back Together: Surrender (Cheap Trick) - Cool.

Wedding: Crystal method (Chemical Brothers) - No problem with marriage but I'd have to be on something for me to go through with all the white wedding hullaballoo

Birth of Child: Telephone Operator (Pete Shelley) - Okay, this doesn't fit at all. It is one of my favourite songs though (guy trying to hit on the operator)

Final Battle: The Flame (Cheap Trick) - Doomed to die of a broken heart.

Death Scene: Little Red Corvette (Prince) - I'm much too fast? Hopefully that means a quick and painless death.

Funeral Song: Always on my mind (Pet Shop Boys) - Quite frankly my former flames can tell me this, if this is the case, before my funeral. Like now.

End Credits: The ABC's of Kinky Sex (Lords of Acid) - I don't actually think that the "n" of the song is for necrophilia... I'll have to check.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going for the gold

I so love the Olympics. For the first few days I was crashed out on the floor of my living room with the remote control right next to me. Whenever I woke up I would turn on the tv until I was too tired to watch any more. Then I'd naturally wake up at 6am and tune in for the first coverage of the day.

I love the fact that I get to sit on my ass and watch all those athletes sweat. Eroswings has been doing a great job of recapping some Olympic highlights and Jon seems to have crawled into my mind and written what my thoughts were [if my thoughts were as coherent as his writing] about the Olympics.

My personal highlights include watching Michael Phelps shatter record after record with grace and style, and in seeing the Canadian athletes achieving some personal bests. I love the fact that this year most of the Canadian athletes are expressing that they want to win instead of the stupid refrain from past years of "I'm growing".

I missed the stunning opening ceremonies but have kept up with the controversy - namely that the little girl who sang was not the one seen performing the song. The girl who sang was not deemed pretty enough. Oh honestly, yes, it sounds sad and all but who cares? It's another culture. Like the Chinese spokesman said, we have the best of both worlds - the best voice and the best performer. Sounds fine to me. It's only this stupid North American sensibility of trying to make everyone feel good all the time that is making it such a big deal. I agree with the Chinese - best of both. It's a performance for crying out loud.

Alright - back to my seat in front of the tv and some champion eating.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What happens when you leave the gate open...

Weirdos get in.

One got up close and personal with the weeding tool.

Another planted his foot firmly in his mouth.

But somehow a bountiful herb garden grew a month later.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I failed 'sharing' on Sesame Street

The other day I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner, and popped into a drugstore en route (one of the massive ones that sells everything) to buy some food for my kitties. At the counter, there was one woman in front of me and she was dawdling gathering her purchases as the cashier rang through my purchases. The cashier asked me if I had the point card that that particular store offered. You know the ones - in return for being able to profile all of your purchases for their marketing department you get points which you can eventually redeem for merchandise. I never participate in these store schemes.

I told the cashier that I didn't have a point card and then the woman next to me [who still hadn't left] asked the cashier, "Can I have her points?" The cashier said sure. But I interrupted and said, "No." Firmly and to the point. I think they were both in shock but the cashier continued ringing my purchase through.

The woman demanded "Why not?"

I'm not even sure why I said no, but in large part it was because the woman had not asked me for my points. She had asked the cashier. It was almost as if she felt she were entitled to the points. I hate that sort of attitude. To me it's just so crass. To me it would be as if I were in a restaurant and I told the waiter that I didn't want bread and as he took the basket away someone at the next table grabbed it. Nothing technically wrong with it, but I feel that in our North American society everyone is always looking for a deal. I find it gross and tacky. I probably overreacted, but I'd do the same thing again.

[I have had friends ask for my points. However, first of all they are friends, and secondly, they have always spoken to me directly. Then I don't mind.]

I'm not sure if I had a chance to answer the woman before she added, "Do you just not believe in the points program" She was furious with me.

"Something like that". And then I left, feeling her glaring at me.

It's none of her business what my reason was. I felt no need to further engage her. The funny part was that my purchase was only three dollars. Both of us feeling justified and disgusted by the other person over nothing.

Nothing perhaps, but I'm still glad I said no.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Uptight white girl experiences Caribbean festival

In all the years I've lived in Toronto I have never made it to the Caribana parade. Caribana is Toronto's huge Caribbean celebration always held on the August long week-end. The Saturday has a big parade down the Lakeshore with all the beautiful glittering costumes. I was determined to attend this year. And I did. I cobbled together a group of friends and we set off.

We got off the shuttle bus just in time for a very intense, and very cold rain shower. Eventually the rain stopped and we continued on. There were barricades up on both sides of the street blocking off the parade route. We walked to a crossover part so that we could sit on the side of the street with the park stretching down to the lake. There were so many vendors all selling various types of Caribbean food lining the pathway in the park. Yum.

We found a good spot and sat on the grass to wait. It was about noon, and the parade had been listed as being from 10am until 6pm. Nothing came near us until 2pm. Just as the first float passed us, people breached the barricades directly across from us and flooded onto the streets. Suddenly our clear view was blocked. Me and the people near me kept screaming at people to get out of our way. For the most part, they did. The costumes were absolutely spectacular and the parade was progressing. Soon though there were too many people in the street. Instead of seeing beautiful glittering costumes sweeping past, I was now looking at ugly white people in mall clothing. Really, I could just have gone to the Eaton's Centre for the day and experienced the same spectacle.

Even grosser, one of the crowd went up behind one of the dancers and started dry humping her. Apart from being disturbing and disgusting to watch, it made me angry that the dancers were no longer secure. Not to mention the little girl that was standing next to us with her parents had to witness that. The guy did his little show and then walked away, high-fiving and cheering to his friends. Nice. The man next to me kept yelling at the people in the parade route, "Excuse me - are *you* a masquerader?" He was cracking me up.

At that point it was becoming so annoying and the parade was not progressing so we left the parade route. One highlight before all the chaos was seeing middle aged women with truly less than perfect bodies appearing in glittery small costumes and shimmering and shaking along with everyone else. Truly they were beautiful and inspiring. And the younger girls with model perfect bodies were gorgeous.

We went to sample some of the food. I found doubles (Trinidad chick pea patties) so I was happy, and then walked on further past the parade route and had a beer at a restaurant at the side of the lake. However, two hours after the first float had passed us, it was only about 300 feet further down the parade route. Sigh. Next year I am going to get ticketed seats at Exhibition Stadium at the beginning of the route. That way I'll see the beauty of the parade without the irritation of the crowd.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's a fine, fine line

I saw Avenue Q last night. I have wanted to see it for ages now and it didn't disappoint. I tried to upload a youtube video of the song "There's a fine, fine line" being performed, but for some reason it's not working. Just as well since the show is done with puppets I may have traumatized Brice.

Here are part of the lyrics:

There's a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie;
And there's a fine, fine line between "You're wonderful" and "Goodbye."
I guess if someone doesn't love you back it isn't such a crime,
But there's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of your time.

And I don't have the time to waste on you anymore.
I don't think that you even know what you're looking for.
For my own sanity, I've got to close the door

It's like they were singing to me! :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trite but true sayings

they say that the opposite of love is not hate: it's indifference.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On voice recognition software and other annoyances

Yesterday I was trying to find a particular furniture store without success. I called directory assistance in order to get the exact address. Directory assistance has become yet another endlessly annoying service where you have to use voice recognition software.

Irritating computer voice: Do you want directory assistance? Please say "Directory Assistance" [and so on and so forth]

It takes me about 5 tries to ever be understood by the software. Invariably I end up screaming at the stupid system. I did realize that probably some real-life operator is there in the background, but isn't it obvious that the customer is screaming at the system? Apparently not. When I had to say "Ontario" for the umpteenth time to the voice recognition system, I followed "Ontario" with liberal use of the f-word, and yes, the c-word.

Then a real live operator came on. She was close to tears. Instead of saying what a functional employee would say and confirm the business, she said, "I'm not even going there." Excuse me? Going where? I hadn't at that point spoken to a live person - only the voice recognition software. Yet sensi-girl was traumatized by listening to someone swear? Then she adds in the saddest little voice imaginable, "We can hear everything you say".

Really? She could hear everything I say yet somehow or other it took numerous attempts to understand the word Ontario? I had always thought that customers initially did have to go through voice recognition software. If someone is actually there responding, then I pity our society because this one was incompetent. I almost burst out laughing. And I must admit, suddenly I felt good about what I'd yelled at the voice-recognition software.

Then she passed me onto a male supervisor. Again, this is all without me having said a word directly to her. What an overly sensitive loser. The guy was great. He gave me the info with no problem.

In my last job when I covered the phone lines, the one time I passed a client onto a male colleague was because the guy sounded like he was masturbating to me trying to give him safer sex tips. Such are the risks of working on a sexual health line. And even then, I passed him on because the call was going nowhere, not because I was traumatized.

Anyhow, I loathe women like the loser girl I had to endure. Grow a backbone. She should have laughed at me and said, "You know we can hear everything you say..." Then, and only then, if I started swearing directly *at her* she could have terminated the call or passed me on to a supervisor. That I would understand. I wonder how the little twit handles true trauma in life?