Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME

It's my birthday and I don't have to go to work on account that with Boxing Day having been on a Saturday this year, we get Monday off! Yay!


Today (27th) I was so exhausted/run down that apart from a couple of hours mid-morning, I didn't get out of bed until 5pm. I imagine tomorrow will be the same - interrupted only by dinner with my parents and the bf.

Love to all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's a family thing

My brother was up for Christmas so we got to talking about yelling at rude fellow patrons in the take-out line. It turns out that he had a story similar to my Starbucks moment [except that he had more success].


In this case he had been in a fast-food place and some dude came up to the counter and started screaming at the teenager serving everyone that he was tired of waiting for his fries. My brother told him something along the lines to shut up and that no one wanted to listen to him. The guy turned around to ream my brother out but then realized that my brother was slightly taller, and a whole lot beefier than him.

My brother stated, "Before you make the biggest mistake of your day, I suggest that you shut your pie hole, take your food, and get the hell out here"

Not surprisingly, dude grabbed his food and left.

Come to think of it, my coworkers hubby also had a similar experience at a fast food place. Like my brother, he is a big guy so when yet another customer was ranting excessively at the counter staff, he looked at him and said, "Obviously you have anger management issues. Get your food and go home and beat your wife or whatever it is you normally do."

Love. It.

Sadly it's probably pretty accurate but at least it got the guy to leave the premises. Meanwhile, enroute to my sister's place, my parents and I stopped in at Starbucks yesterday. It was all festive and the staff were happy as could be as they were earning double time and a half.

I hope you all had a great day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

He wasn't part of Sesame Street

Does everyone know the Sesame Street song about the people in your neighbourhood (or likely 'neighborhood' since it was an American show)? I even had a book about it. I remember reading about the dentist and the grocer. Or something like that. Anyhow, Sesame Street never mentioned the homeless, and let's face it, the homeless population is a pretty big part of most urban neighbourhoods.


And they are largely invisible.


This is neither a sympathetic or damning of the homeless post. It's just a record of a recent encounter I had.


One thing about the bike rally and training for it, although I found every single day of the rally and every single training ride to be an excruciatingly painful arduous torture, the experience did make me into a great city cyclist. I bought a city bike after the rally was over (I sit completely upright, it only has three gears, it has big, fat tires to negotiate street car tracks, etc.) and I ride it to my downtown office faithfully. I also ride on errands on week-ends. It's so freeing.


Anyhow, one Saturday in November I rode down to Yonge and Dundas, one of Toronto's main intersections, as I was attending a fundraiser that a good friend was hosting. It's a busy, somewhat sketchy area so I was a tad worried about leaving my bike there. I walked it over to the nearby university campus and decided to lock it there instead of right next to the huge shopping mall. As I was placing my bike in the bike rack, a nearby homeless dude was reading a newspaper and started chatting to me. Dude looked a bit rough (missing most of his front teeth)

"Oh hey. Nice bike. Is it new?"

I was taken aback that homeless dude noticed my bike at all. I'm not sure why I thought that a homeless guy would have no clue about bikes, yet I did. Anyhow, I confirmed that it was indeed reasonably new.

"Oh yeah. I can tell. I used to bike ride all the time. That's a great lock you have too."

I don't know what I said at this point. Probably babbling about how great bike riding was. Then he added, "But I stopped." As with disabled-actually-just-rude woman at my espresso moment, I was filling in the blanks with "I got in a bad bike accident", "my bike was stolen", "I have a back injury", etc.

He surprised me with, "I got tired of going to jail."

I think my answer to this was some sort of vacuous look on my face and a semi-nod as if to say, "Oh yeah, of course" while meanwhile realizing that I had no clue how one ended up in jail from bike riding.

His stream of thought clarified his statement for me...

"Yeah. You know that guy who stole all those bikes?"

Me: "Igor Kenk?" [at this point of this conversation Kenk had been charged but not convicted of bike theft]

"Yeah. Oh, I must have sold over 200 bikes to him in two years."

By now my two thoughts are, "Shit. Kenk must have known he was selling stolen bikes", followed closely by, "Shit. I so don't want to leave my bike here" What I in fact said was, "So, this is a really good lock?"

"Oh yeah. That's a great lock."

What the hell, if a reformed bike thief is telling me that I have a good lock, then my bike was about as safe as it can be left in downtown Toronto. I wished him a nice day, locked my bike, and went to the fundraiser. When I got back, dude wasn't there, but my bike was. I hope this guy manages to stay out of jail.





Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Almost a heartwarming moment

As I am a bit embarrassed to show my face at the Starbucks where I caused a scene the other week, I was having my espresso at a nearby high-end department store a few days back [I was in the store drooling over my perfume which I discovered did in fact make it as my parents' gift to me this year. So happy]. Holy crap I live a shallow life, but back to my meaningful espresso story...


I ordered my double espresso and was waiting to pay when I realized that there was something a bit off about the customer currently at the cash. She was very well-dressed, probably in her forties, and unlike the rude mofo at the Starbucks, she wasn't barking obnoxious orders at the woman at the cash. On the other hand she wasn't really saying anything and she seemed almost paralyzed on her left side. Her right hand was held out with a variety of change on it. The cashier was carefully taking out the amount for the woman's coffee. The woman stared blankly.

As I had only arrived at the coffee station, I began to wonder - "Was the woman disabled in some way?" I decided that that was the case and began to think it was SO GREAT that she was out on her own and SO GREAT that the woman on the cash was helping her so graciously. And wow, didn't this woman look gorgeous and must be getting really good help at home with her disability. At that point I began to notice that she was muttering to herself. I revised my opinion to think, "Oh she's mentally ill! Again, SO GREAT that she is out and about and functional in the world"

Only then did I clue in that the stupid cunt was talking on her cell phone and that's why she had some weird paralytic hunch to her as she held the phone against her shoulder. She couldn't even be bothered to put the phone down and pay for her coffee. I must have been bug-eyed at that point. I was in such shock that I couldn't be bothered to yell at her. I did commiserate with the cashier though as soon as 'I'm so important that I can't get off my vital phone call in order to pay this serving woman' lady stepped off to add milk to her coffee (and truly I'm amazed that she managed to do that herself). The cashier and I cracked up discussing what an idiot that woman was.

I confess - I have stood in line on my cell phone and only paused my conversation to order and pay and even now I see how rude that is. Never though I have I done anything quite this ridiculous. All those jokes about the wealthy are sometimes on display and evident in this department store.

Of course because annoying woman took so long with the payment process that my espresso was rancid by the time I drank it, but I didn't complain or demand a new one. The service staff had dealt with enough irritation for one day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Don't get between me and my espresso

The nearest Starbucks was short-staffed or deficiently staffed today - either way everything was taking a long time. However, it's only coffee. This guy in front of me was being so freaking rude to the woman behind the counter and started barking at her after she gave him his sandwich, "Knife! Knife! I want a knife! Didn't your hear???? KNIFE!" She handed him one and this was followed by "Fork! Fork! And a FORK". [and this had already followed his muttering diatribe that started from the time he ordered]. Meanwhile, my head is about to fall off, I'm dying for an espresso, and all the staff look like they are no longer functional and so fed up with it all.

He received his knife and fork and I looked at him and said, "You're welcome" He glared at me.

I continued, "You know - please, thank you - common manners? You should try them."

Of course I ruined my etiquette lecture by adding (and not in a whisper), "You're a complete asshole. Oops! I guess I'm not showing any manners now but you don't deserve them. You fucking asshole"

The whole time he was making kissing noises at me. Honestly, I can't believe how irate I was. I walked out with my espresso, resisting the urge to keep up our public display of boorish behaviour as he was saying, "What? Where you going?"

Long day people. Long week. End in sight though.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World AIDS Day

My most inspirational job ever was being a librarian/treatment educator for a national HIV organization. I usually only hear about HIV in the news when the tragic stats in Africa are enumerated or when someone is being criminally charged with spreading HIV and is held up as a pariah. However, my experience with the HIV community was meeting the most open-minded, fun, and socially-aware individuals ever.

I started 2009 with the conviction to cycle to Montreal as part of a fundraiser for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, and with great effort, managed to complete that. I'm closing the year by hosting a series of dinner parties and encouraging people to in return donate to the PWA food bank. I'm beginning to form an idea of how to honour the community in 2010 - now with my depression under control, I can once again fight for the cause I most believe in.

Friday, November 27, 2009

If your grandmother's name was Maria Immaculata...

... you have body hair. That's all there is to it. For mine, it was even sprouting out of my nose like some old dude. Gross and I bought one of those hair/nose trimmers in order to rectify the situation.

Today however, I discovered that the battery died or something. My trimmers were not working. In desperation, I grabbed my tweezers (used for my unruly eyebrows like normal women have and for my freakish once-in-a-while chin hairs that women with Italian grandmothers have), and yanked out all the hairs emerging from my nostrils. The pain made me wince, but the procedure was a success.

In other news, I'm moving in with the bf.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Quick quiz

What do all these items have in common?

  • Vegan brownie
  • Breakfast cookie
  • Apple Bran muffin
  • Vanilla bean scone
  • Apricot scone
  • English muffin with spinach and egg

If you guesssed "Starbucks items that Susan loved but were sadly discontinued at least in Toronto at the stores she frequents" then you are correct! I give up. There is no Starbucks food item I particularly enjoy now.

I've tried the substitutions. The english muffin became the feta/spinach wrap and it's not bad. The apple bran muffin has become the pomgranate bran muffin. I tried that this morning and am now completely crabby as it was a thoroughly unpleasant food experience. It was somehow greasy but with none of the delight of a doughnut or some other such food that I expect grease from. The biggest travesty though has to be the replacement of the beloved and delectable vegan brownie with some vile low-fat chocolate cake. How on earth can chocolate cake be less moist and delicious than a vegan dessert? Yet somehow it is.

Like I wrote: I've given up. I just get food items elsewhere now. At least I shouldn't have to worry about espresso disappearing from the Starbucks menu anytime soon.

*A further note on VIA: Holy crap is it caffeinated! I had to switch back to espresso, which apparently has about half the caffeine, as odd as that seems to most people

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Becoming a dog person

I am a cat person. I like dogs, as long as they aren't mine. However, my new guy has a dog, and his family has two other dogs. They are all mid-sized dogs too - the smallest is 35 pounds, the largest, maybe 70- so there's no avoiding them. Whenever I go over, I am circled by these barking, fleshy sharks. All of them have wonderfully kind natures so it's not a terror moment, it's just an in-your-face [or more accurately, in-your-crotch] moment. It's such an adjustment.


Like I said, I'm a cat person, and I'm a cat person for the exact reasons that dog people don't like cats. First of all, I LOVE the disdain of a cat. I like the fact that they keep to themselves. I love the fact that they will hide in the smallest nooks imaginable and have a nap if they feel that they've had enough of my company. I love the fact that they are independent exercisers - I open the door and off they go. I don't have to take them for walks, or even worry if they've gone outside. They are completely independent. The Fur Snake tends to stay around the apartment, but my older cat - it never ceases to make me smile as I watch her make her way over garage roofs and hop over fence posts or crawl under a fence, depending on her destination. And finally, I am fine with kissing my cats and cuddling against them as they are so scrupulously clean (except for their little paws which are often digging in litter).

It is also myth that cats aren't affectionate or loyal. My two are very much aware of me and compete for my attention, but it's so much for subtle than with dogs. Even the younger cat, the demented Fur Snake, who comes running up to me and spends the mornings licking my fingers until I get up, has nothing on a dog. She doesn't leap up and try to lick my face. As it is, I always remind her when she is particularly aggressive in wanting my attention, "If I had wanted a *dog* I would have gotten one".

It's odd, but I wrote the above paragraphs two weeks ago when I was still struggling with getting used to the dogs. Since that time C. and I spent a ton of time with all three dogs as his family was out of the country. We took them to the beach and there I got to watch the somewhat clumsy lab excel at swimming. Also, I watched the German Sheppard jump and chase frisbees - she's so gorgeous. And finally, C's adorable dog came over to my house when I also had my parents over for dinner. She was so cute and well-behaved (apart from licking all the butter - but hey, it's an animal, I don't expect much) - AND was dying to get to know the Fur Snake (Tasha was crashed out on my bed downstairs). Of course Fur would have none of it and hissed when the dog got too close, but it was very cute.

I guess I have become a dog person. I still prefer cats, but yes, I can imagine living with a dog now. Amazing what love will do to you.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And then there are commuters I love...

I do see - and try to practice - random acts of kindness on the transit system, but as evidenced by yesterday's rant-y post, it's often easier to dwell on those who make a crowded commute quite taxing. And yet, yesterday, still feeling like a psychopath on my way home, I left my gloves and wallet on the subway. I realized as soon as I got home that my wallet was not in my purse, but I figured that I had left it in my office. A few hours later when I was about to call credit card companies to put my cards on hold 'just in case' - I got a call from a woman who had found and kept my wallet and gloves safe for me. I had in fact left them on a seat in the subway when I got off to transfer to the east/west subway line.

I met her this morning at her work place. She returned my wallet and gloves, and everything was intact. She had gone out of her way to locate my phone number (indeed she called the few numbers in the phone book with my last name), and even called me again this morning to let me know that her train had left late and that she would be a bit delayed in meeting me.

I'm so grateful for her actions. Indeed, three times I've had wallets returned to me, and once a cell phone. Most people are good. I would say I'm happy but right now I feel another bout of depression closing in. I've been in tears for no reason the last week. ah well, I'll try to get off my lazy ass and do some major cardio, and if that doesn't work, then I'll go and get my meds adjusted. In the interim, I'll think of this woman and remind myself that really there's a lot to smile about.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Daily irritants - what's your (in)tolerance level?

Today I work at my office in the north of the city. I don't mind the commute and because I'm going to opposite way from most commuters, I always have a seat. For some reason I am particularly crabby and wanted to scream at the behaviour of two of the people who sat near me. They weren't doing anything wrong per se, they were only annoying to me.

The first woman was eating an apple. I really don't like people who eat on public transportation, but oddly enough, healthy food eaters (yoghurt and apples/bananas/pears) are the ones that drive me to distraction. First of all, I hate having to listen to the sound of either crunching into an apple or that annoying spoon dipping scrape/scrape/scrape noise of yoghurt-eaters. Also, there is so much risk of spill and mess. Not to mention that it is revolting to have to endure apple odour when I'm trying to do my cross word.

The woman went two stops. She couldn't have waited four minutes to eat? I don't mind at all when parents give kids crackers or apple pieces - I mean, kids get hungry and whiny - but for the love of god, can North American adults not do without food for even a half hour subway ride? And if you're time is so pressed, stick to smoothies in well-contained bottles. Don't make me share your meal. I confess - I have been guilty of eating an apple on the subway but when I realized that no one else was eating and how really unnecessary it was, I never did it again.

Ditto for people who feel that the subway is a good place for personal grooming. It's not. I'm not referring to people who clip their nails on the subway - I think that's seen as universally vile. Today though, as soon as apple-eater got off the subway, make-up chick got on. I'm not adverse to a quick application of lipstick, but I hate, hate, hate seeing someone's entire blush, foundation, and eye routine. Especially the use of an eyelash curler.

Again, get up 10 minutes earlier if you can't leave the house without make-up or make use of your office washroom, but please don't force me to watch you root through your grubby cosmetic bag. I know I've ranted about this before, but it makes me crazy. Literally. I had to stop myself from screaming -Can't this wait???? I also reserve a special place in hell for women (and in my experience it's always women) who brush their hair on public transportation. Again, yuck. I don't want your hair dropping all over the floor. Of course there is nothing to quite compare to the couple where the woman was sitting meticulously sqeezing her boyfriend's facial zits [he had a lot]. They were on a bench right next to the food court at my workplace.

Okay, rant over for now. I'm feeling better.

What are your pet peeves of fellow commuters? I'm wondering what things are annoying to YOU. I think there are universally despised behaviour spitting on the floor, hogging seats, cutting people off (if in a car); but we also all have those little annoyances that may not be offensive to others.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Workplace haiku

Off to eat lunch now.
Will it be pizza again?
the foodcourt beckons

Friday, October 09, 2009

Move over Jil, it's all about Tom now

About once a year I splurge on perfume, or more accurately, a high-end eau de toilette. Jil Sander No. 4 was my signature scent, but then for some unknown reason [no doubt just to torture me...] the fashion house of Jil Sander stopped making it. I reluctantly moved on to another scent by Jil Sander. Not a huge deal because although I preferred No. 4, I did like the new one. It was truly too much though when I went by local high end department store to get a new bottle and was told that Jil Sander no longer is selling perfume in Canada.

WTF? I felt personally attacked. I tried to keep my emotions in check by reminding myself that half the world doesn't have clean water let alone the luxury of buying perfume, but I really was at a loss. I stared at all the other lotions and potions but mainly kept walking around the space as if Jil Sander perfume was going to magically appear and I would be able to tell the lady, "You're WRONG. Here it is!" [and of course I followed this up by devouring the info on the Jil Sander site].

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am cutting through same high-end department store en route to the mall below to find lunch. I was wearing a fabulous hat and huge sunglasses and all the store assistants were offering to help me in the mistake that I had the income to regularly shop there. Yet one of the people who asked me if I needed help was a hot as hades man staffing the Tom Ford perfume section. I thought that were worse ways to pass the lunch hour. As such I spent the next few minutes sniffing and sampling and yes, inadvertently I found my new scent. Nevermind that I can't actually afford to buy it - I have asked for it as a combined Christmas/birthday gift.

I left the store with it sprayed on my wrists and at one point was standing waiting to cross the street when I thought, "Dayum something smells good". This was followed by the realization that *I* smelled good! I was turning myself on. I wanted to have sex with me. Not as in self love. I mean, I actually wanted to clone myself and have sex with me. I felt so gorgeous. It was a weird out of body experience where I couldn't stop thinking, "This person. This woman with that scent. She must be some amazingly erotic creature"

If I don't receive it as a gift, I will eat lentils and brown rice for a month just so I can buy a bottle. Life is too short not to smell nice.

Now if only I could find a solution for my ever-growing disgusting minge. My waxer sold her business and went back to Colombia. I'm happy for her but I need to avoid sex, PAP smears, and all other naked moments until I get some good grooming again. When I do, I'll lie around wearing nothing but my new perfume.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

VIA / VIA - I love them both

VIA Rail is Canada's passenger train service and I love it. I even love calling their 1-800 number and hearing the bilingual message. It's changed now and although still English followed by the option to switch to French, the old one use to say: Welcome to VIA and then would switch to a much deeper male voice saying, "VIa. Bonjour!" Still, I don't care - I don't need a 1-900 number when I have the VIA 1-800 recorded voice.

But today I am referring to Starbuck's new instant coffee VIA. I had no interest in trying it but yesterday when I was getting my daily espresso the staff begged me to buy a VIA three pack [I guess sales weren't going as well]. Because I love, love, love the staff at this particular Starbuck's, I grudgingly gave in. I bitched about it all the way back to the office but today, I felt that I should at least try it.

Not bad at all! In fact - good. WAY better than the disgusting crap sold as coffee in Tim Hortons (will never, ever understand why Canadians are so attached to that crap. So embarassed that they are now opening outlets in Manhattan. Barf).

I bought more today. At my other office where I work three days a week, I feel no attachment to any of the nearby coffee shops. Even the Starbucks near that office doesn't have the same joy and ambiance of the one near this office. As such, I think I'm actually going to drink *gasp* the instant coffee when I'm down there. Not to mention that VIA can make the hell otherwise known as camping more tolerable if I am forced to endure that again. Travelling too. Or the horrors of meeting or office coffee. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Go VIA!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anniversaries

When it was August 22nd this year I kept remembering that I had been in Vegas the year before with great friends, and all I wanted to do was die. Or maybe at that time I had been more struggling to live. I had started my antidepressants and it was kind of my last ditch effort. I look back now and feel so sad that I didn't get my depression properly treated sooner.

I don't think though that I knew any other way to be, and of course, I've had such happy crazy times too. For me depression was like being in a completely abusive relationship: you just don't know how else to be, and you tend to focus on when times are good.

So I'm into September now. It's been a year since I started to feel better. I no longer dream of dying. I am fine at work. [One horrid sobbing incident at work convinced me that I needed to get help - I had ALWAYS been able to function well at work but even that ability was beyond me last summer]. One of the best decisions I ever made was to go in the bike rally. Despite all the pain, that level of exercise is what I need to keep my mind functioning. Perhaps 100km a day isn't realistic, but I need to keep doing at least a 50km ride on week-ends and some form of aerobics each day.

As I am at work, I'll end this post now. I'm in an odd mood, but then again, that's not odd for me! Love to everyone.

Monday, August 31, 2009

This 'n' that

I thought I'd better post or I'll forget that I ever had a blog. It's been a looooong summer. Not bad, but just long. I'm very excited about September and fall coming. It always gives me more focus and a sense of purpose. Here is the summer summary:


1. I survived the bike rally. I'm so happy that I did it, but it was a painful, difficult experience. I was coping with a bad knee at first (fixed with a combo of physio and a kick-ass massage), and then unbelievable chafing. No details there except to say that I felt like my bike seat was covered in broken glass. The final day I finally rode pain-free and got the hang of biking.

2. My sister is now transitioned and is living life to her fullest. Everyone finally seems to have adjusted/accepted the change - especially the kids who immediately corrected me when I [out of habit] once said, "Go ask your dad". 

3. I am dating. He was my bike buddy who I met at a mutual friend's brunch and who then helped me train on Tuesdays. He came to pick me up in Montreal after the rally and we became more than bike buddies. And so it goes. All good though. Really good.

 

Friday, July 17, 2009

On vacation

I'm just too lame to blog right now. I'm too lame to even comment. I've read exciting things that you all have been up to - Tornwordo's and Eroswings' travels, Rox's relay against cancer, Patron Saints post-weight loss surgery successes, Stewie changing his blog name (and more amazingly, actually blogging), and so much more - but I have been negligent in putting fingers to keyboard and commenting on these great posts. I haven't even linked up the new Matt Swift music blog yet. I know this won't change until at least after my bike ride (assuming I'm fit to do it - my back is in pain and I'm in physio). Hence, I'll reconnect with everyone sometime in August.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The road to [not sure actually]

I always used to say that I was on the road to ruin [ode to favourite Ramones album] and loving it. But since I've stopped drinking as much, my new road is literal and involves all the endless bike training I'm doing. I decided to try to do both the Saturday and Sunday training rides last week-end. Saturday was a 72km loop that went north of the city, which apparently consists of endless hills. Sunday was an 40km ride along Lakeshore to a town to the west of Toronto, and then back. It was a relatively flat ride, but there was a lot of wind going there. It suffices to say that I am not ready for a 6-day, 100km per day ride.

My thighs were in so much pain on Monday. I did stretch, and I did have a hot bath, but that was not enough for my poor muscles. Even a liberal application of Tiger Balm didn't do that much help. What did help was walking part way home from work. Yesterday I went for a 20km bike ride with my bff and that finally did the trick. I am still exhausted though. I'm dreading tonight which is some sort of team bonding spin class.

Still, I feel better than I've felt in years by doing all this exercise. I'd feel even better if the scales weren't going up! I know that muscle weighs more than fat, but for crying out loud, I still have a chubby tummy and slightly jiggly thighs so I'm not sure where the heavy muscle is hiding. I think it's due to the fact that my appetite has gone up exponentially. I try to satisfy my hunger with oatmeal and apples, but pasta is becoming a very prominent feature in my diet.

And that's it for me. I will blog next about my incredibly wonderful dinner with my sister that I had last Saturday just to show that I do still have a bit of a life.

Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF!

I've been out a lot this week, with a wonderful dinner last night with friends. However, I am now exhausted. I have a 7:40am bike ride tomorrow and all I want to do is hide out in my basement bedroom and drink a nice big glass of red wine. I also have some long overdue cards and emails to write. I need my down-time so I'm so ecstatic to be alone right now.

The only unpleasant task that awaits me tonight is that I have to give someone the "I just want to be friends" speech. I've given the speech dozens of times, I've received it dozens of times - it's a process that has to be done. For various reasons I know being lovers/partners in this particular instance will never be a viable option for me, so better to be upfront about it. Still, this guy is amazing and witty and very, very open-minded - I think we'll be able to salvage a friendship after all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family dynamics

After 40 years on this planet and happily having two older brothers R. and M., I found out earlier this year that I have a sister.

At first it was a bit of a shock, but I am so happy now getting to know her. More to the point, I'm so grateful that I have this chance to know her. Well, I guess I've been living with her my whole life so I knew certain aspects about her: I knew she was smart, funny, right-wing, and a major history buff. But I didn't know *her*. You see, I always knew her as my brother R.

If anyone said that they had any idea that my brother was transgendered, they are lying. There was no external hint to any of us. What I did notice was that my brother whom I had been so close to growing up, was gradually drifting away from me more and more. Now I understand why. When anyone lives with a secret, even if they think they can handle it, it can become too much.

I'm glad and proud that she had the courage to emerge. Soon she will be able to present as female. Obviously my sister is out at work and to friends and family or I would NEVER be writing this post (she told me and a select few others quite a while before others), but it is still her private life so I won't go into much more. It suffices to say that my parents and brother and I are supportive. In fact, she has met with a tremendous outpouring of love and encouragement [and some difficulties too, but those don't need to be catalogued here].I hope and want for people who never knew her to not think of her as a T-girl, but just as the fabulous woman she is. I want everyone to know that I have a sister and a brother.

and most of all, I want everyone who is living with secrets, in shame, and in fear because of our repressive society to be inspired by my sister who decided to be true to herself. I am in awe of her and it has given me courage.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stretched thin

I wish the title referred to my body, but alas, it is a comment on me and all my friends. Especially the ones with kids - we are all so exhausted. Such is life and I'm spoiled to be able to keep going off on solitary bike journeys, but ah, life starts disappearing quickly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lasting learnings

I think I would be completely demoralized working in the atmosphere that I do if it hadn't been for my previous job and my gay, sex-positive office. I adore my current coworkers and they are not close-minded. Not at all. What they are is straight.

Okay, I am too admittedly - but I realize how much more I preferred the openness of the queer culture I worked in. People there celebrated sex, desire, and passion. We all still got our work done. Hell, we were all so dedicated to the cause of helping others - more so than the odd charitable moment where I work now. Many of us had loves and families. We were professionally innovative. Yet, there was so much more.

It wasn't dirty or weird to be able to actually admit to each other that we enjoyed sex. It wasn't odd to ask one of my coworkers for tips on sex toys to use with my boyfriend at that time. Even now I had a brunch invite from someone I had worked with at that job and I texted him back saying that I was off to have sex (and details I won't get into here). He texted back - GREAT! [and then proceeded to give me tips on what to do, etc.).

We will get together for brunch. We will discuss how our families are and what's going on in the world. But I love to see him because we can talk about anything.

I am so grateful for the job I had and how much confidence it gave me in affirming my right to be a completely sexual being. I have learned to tone the chatter down in the regular office, but as much as I celebrate the marriages and views of my coworkers (and I do, they have as much right to their views as I do), I also am determined not to hide my own views. Sex isn't everything to me. Hell, I haven't had regular sex in well over a year. But whether or not I'm having sex, I will always be a sexual being (as all of us are!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recovery methods

After the date was cancelled, I went to a party I had been invited to earlier in the week (but had declined due to planning for the date). It was great to be out and meet new people, and I got to spend some quality time

underneath with the host.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2 Live Crew - Part II

Okay, because I don't want the whiny post as the first thing on this page, here's part II to my love of 2 Live Crew.

I love them because unlike the sappy crap I had to listen to in high school (OMD from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack - I liked Enola Gay) or Cat Stevens with "Wild World" and which were seen as love songs, 2 Live Crew was an in your face celebration of raw sexuality. There were no vomit-provoking hiddenly misogynistic lines like, "I'll always remember you like a child, girl" or worse, "If you want to leave take good care, there's a lot of bad things out there..." Oh fuck off! Being trapped in a house with some over-protective neandertal would be worse. BARF BARF BARF.

I did hear some better things in high school like the stunning Annie Lennox of my hero George Michael, but to me, most mainstream love songs demean and trivialize a woman's spirit. Even great sexy songs like NIN's Closer are a bit sappy. But not 2 Live Crew. If you overlook the fact that they show no respect for the hoochie mamas they are singing about [and admittedly - lines like "I've got a good woman but I need a whore"* don't really celebrate female sexuality...] - these are excellent sex lines. They're fucking! They're sucking! They're in your face and up your ass. Yum. This is sex.

*I just pretend that they're singing, "I've got a good woman 'cause she's a whore". That's all I want. Some guy who loves a woman raw and sexual. Not as a piece of ass on the side, but as his woman. And as close as I can find this ideal in song lyrics, I need to turn to 2 Live Crew.

Learning and moving on

I have gone through ups and downs with exes and had some pretty nasty break-ups, but I harbour them no ill will. They are all in my heart in some way. There is no guarantee of a relationship working and I'm no prize, but at least in the four LTRs I've had, we tried. We called it a relationship. We were couples. Then we weren't. It happens. Not to say I wasn't devastated by last summer's break-up. That break-up coinciding with my complete break-down has likely left me damaged beyond repair, but again, at least we tried. It's certainly not his fault that I had severe and untreated depression.

On the other hand, recently I've re-evaluated two friendships with people who meant a lot to me. The first was with someone I used to date. Seeing him now with someone new and how he takes her out in public, I realize how invisible he kept me during our time together. It played hell on my psyche but did teach me the lesson that I am not willing to be kept like some canned good in case of emergency.

I learned a lot from that experience.

Indeed, today I overreacted to a situation, and completely pissed my date off, causing him to cancel our evening plans. Fair enough, and I can take the blame for that and accept the consequences. But what made me decide that I'm just not that into working things out was his insistence on describing me as a friend. After just over a month of dating, I don't expect to be his girlfriend, but I am not wasting one more second with some guy who can't admit that he's dating me.

Or does he make-out with all his friends during movies and plan date-like activities with them? [lol - he probably does - but unlike last experience, I'm not going to listen to arguments that I'm too close-minded to handle that. I learned from Rob that I'm fine with open relationships - I just need to be the main event]

The best part though is that these two experiences have taught me that for all my faults, and there are many, intimacy isn't one of them. I am able to love and am willing to let things grow without putting restrictions and labels on every move. As for today's break-up, I would actually love to be this guy's friend. We've only dated briefly so I think a fun friendship can be salvaged out of this. That friendship though will not involve kisses, vistis, or any form of PDAs beyond a friendly peck on the cheek. This woman is saving her lips for a guy who can use his to announce [to other people] that he's dating me.

More to the point, there's someone else I've been spending time with, and I can't yet tell if it ever will be more than friendship, but as long as I stay with my 'good friend' [which I was more than happy to do when I thought we were dating], I'll never find out.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why this feminist white girl adores 2 Live Crew

Uh, I was about to explain why I love 2 Live Crew but I've been hitting the red wine tonight and I'm a bit trashed so I'll see how far I get. First off, when I say that I love 2 Live Crew, what I mean is that I love the three songs of theirs that I listen to on my way to work:

Me so horny
Face down ass up
Hoochie mama

I didn't always love them. In fact, ten years ago when I was with Dave I told him that I did not want to hear Me So Horny every time I walked into his place. At that point I was uptight and couldn't get over the depiction of women. However, since that time I have come to love the songs. In fact recently I've had the oddest urge to go up to adults on the subway (male/female/seniors/whatev...) and state, "My favourite time is 69. Bitch you know it's hoochie time!"

Luckily I resist that urge.

It used to bother me that I loved 2 Live Crew. After all, the portrayal of women in the songs isn't exactly empowering.

Okay, will write more later when I'm not trashed...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Road Warrior
















I so wish I could say that the above was the result of some dramatic moment like a car turning suddenly, but I just forgot to 'unclip' when coming to a stop. However, I felt so tough after the fall by having to cycle another 15km or so to complete the ride, and then later washing off blood and grease. I'll just pretend that I didn't have to sit at the side of the road for a bit in shock and trying not to vomit because of this mild flesh wound.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Montreal or bust

I forced myself to do a training ride on Saturday. Some points of note:

  • My fag is also doing the ride so it's so fantastic. Also, I just found out yesterday that another of our friends volunteered to do food crew. yay! This is going to be a fun trip.
  • My team captain is a guy who grew up three houses down from me. I haven't seen him in years but our families always got together for Christmas. He's amazing and it's so nice to see a familiar face
  • There weren't many people on the training ride and on this one I was by far the slowest. I wasn't the last because they have designated volunteers doing 'sweep', meaning that they waited for the stragglers [party of 1, ie. me], and made sure we knew where the route was going.
  • My team captain waited for me at the half way point and then cycled with me the rest of the way. It turned my tears of frustration and embarrassment into confidence
  • I cycled 34km and that was the first time on my bike (apart from cycling home a few blocks from where I bought it), and really the first time on a bike in two years
  • I will have to cycle 3x that every day for six days on the actual ride. Good grief.
  • I went for a coffee after with my fag and the team captain. It's the one where I work so I saw the manager (who is delightful) and was laughing and explaining why I was there on a Saturday and how much I sucked at bike riding but hey, it was for a good cause. She said that if I needed help with fundraising that the store could help out. This is the nicest store ever.
  • My thighs were in so much pain that evening that I could barely walk. I stretched, but it was a generous application of TigerBalm that did the trick
  • It's so NOT a good idea to get a Brazilian bikini wax done 36 hours before a massive bike ride
I'm so happy I'm doing this. Now my next project is to learn how to clip-in/clip-out of my pedals. I haven't attempted that yet.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I need love

I am going mental at work today. Not much time to do anything but in these times of stress I need love. Lots and lots of love. Send me love.

Monday, April 06, 2009

connections

I met someone really quite spectacular in January (yes, yes - the married guy). We only had a coffee together, but there was something so delightful about him. And yet, I went away to Wyoming and it all fell apart. He has disappeared into the ether, but really, I'm not going to lose it over some guy who I only met once, and who is dealing with his own life changes at present. Still, meeting him still makes me smile. Makes me realize that there are some incredibly unique and spectacular people to be met on cheesy dating sites. I'll find another who will be a tad more available.

I'm sharing some time with another person right now, and in his own way, he is equally as spectacular. I'm not sure how this is going to develop as I thought he was in an open but very committed relationship, but it turns out that he's single. Hmmm.

I'm glad that I can still love and praise Rob for what he gave to me and what I shared with him, but that I am able to move on. I can also accept that Rob didn't choose to maintain a frienship, for whatever reason. I used to feel so guilty because my depression caused me to be such a fucking energy suckage at the end, and so nasty in my pain - it was my terror that I would never be able to bond with anyone. Yet here I am, putting out positive energy again and although I have had to accept that I can't right past behaviour, I did get treated, and I did learn. Today this little moment is making me smile.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

External appearance

Today I got my hair cut. It's still the messy mop I always have, but my stylist allowed me to have the hair around my face cut shorter. I don't exactly have bangs, but there isn't the horrific hanging dead length anymore. Anyhow, this completely made my day. That, and having coffee with one of my brothers.


Confession: I'm babbling about my hair and I'm terrified because I just sent an email to my ex. It was meant as a happy memory of him and some sort of closure from my long and traumatic break-down after our break-up [some day when I feel up to it I'll describe the scene of me sobbing and declaring undying love to him over my cell phone as I walked through a lightening storm. Sigh.] I don't mind if he doesn't answer as really, our connection is lost, but I'm scared he'll react in anger as he did once before because he wanted more space than I had realized and I was annoyingly obsessive in wanting to 'talk things out'.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

the Blogger Decameron

Part of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

Ah 'tis April and a fine month which gets me to thinking of the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. I adore that text - especially in the Middle English as posted above. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Canterbury Tales, it is a collection of tales that travellers (off on a pilgrimage) tell to each other to pass time on their journey. I sometimes think of Bloggers like that. We all tell our odd little tales - some true, some not, some bawdy, some moralistic - but all great in their own way. But since we tell endless tales, I thought I'd look to another author from that time - Italy's Boccaccio - and give us some focus.

Boccaccio wrote the Decameron. It is a collection of 100 novellas. The frame is that there are ten themes and the same ten people tell one story per theme. Yeah, I never read the collection. I only read the Women's Decameron. That's a fantastic version of 10 fictional women telling stories on 10 themes.

So here are the original themes:
examples of the power of fortune;
examples of the power of human will;
love tales that end tragically;
love tales that end happily;
clever replies that save the speaker;
tricks that women play on men;
tricks that people play on each other in general;
examples of virtue.
Two free days [open topics]

So, my suggestion is that we try a little "Blogger's Decameron". Here are the rules:

1. The two free days are going to be the idea of journeys: travels you've had be they real or spiritual. We are going to start and end with those.
2. for the topics that says, "Tricks that women play on men", expand that to anyone in a relationship. Bocaccio wasn't up on same-sex partnerships
3. I'm not going to worry about if we have 10 stories per topic - in fact I think that would be a bit nutty. Just pick a topic you like. I'll deal with the submissions.
4. Send your submission to me. I don't care if it's something you've already written/posted. I don't care if it's your own work - if you want to share a fave story go ahead, but PLEASE credit where the story came from and don't send me copyrighted material
5. It doesn't matter if I know you or you've ever commented here before, but you must have some sort of Internet presence so that I can link to you. I'm not going to stick to true Decameron theme of having ten people write on ten themes although maybe sometime we can try that
6. I will post your tale on this blog on the theme week, and provide a link to your site - please try to keep your tales at a reasonable length - meaning no multi-part stories.
7. Don't worry about signing up for a particular theme. This is going to be a relaxed process. I'm not going to write for every topic, but if there are gaps, I'll write a story. Hell, I have a feeling I might be writing all ten. Please people, send in something so that I don't feel like a complete loser. If there's a topic you really love, note it in the comments and I'll start harassing you near the due dates


Email to submit to: letmesnooze
[I'm on gmail]

Topic #1: A journey you've had. It can be metaphorical if you want, but please check other topics to see that you don't overlap.

Deadline: I'll post these the second last week of April. Future dates will be posted as this progresses

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bib* attempts to wear skinny jeans

Last night I went to a workshop and I chose to wear my skinny jeans. Right now they are my fave jeans and I wanted to wear them. I had wanted to wear them to work, but my workplace was not that casual. As such, I was determined to wear them on my own time. They were not the appropriate outfit for the workshop though. It was a rope tying workshop (bondage ties, but we were all fully clothed and it was a fun casual atmosphere), and I was lacking serious mobility in my jeans. I hadn't really thought about it because I can walk fine in them. My main concern before leaving the house was in controlling my belly flab.

See, my skinny jeans look nice on [at least in my opinion and since I'm not providing a photo, y'all can just take my word for it], but I have to wear a longer shirt with them or else I look like the drunk old guy at a baseball game. You know the type - sitting right in front of you where you can't help but notice him slumped in the bleachers, t-shirt riding up to expose his pasty belly flab, and pants lowered down enough in back to give you a hint of his ass cheeks. In order to avoid this frightening look, I not only wore a longer t-shirt, I also wore a half girdle that held in my flab so that if my shirt did ride up, people would only see the black fabric of the girdle.

Like I noted, I was fine. I was walking fine, I'm flexible enough that I can bend over and place the palms of my hands directly on the floor in front of my feet, and I could sit. I figured I was good to go. Unfortunately the one thing I can't do in those jeans is anything that requires squatting down as jeans get too tight to fully bend my knees.

I was reminded of this when I reached the place and couldn't remove my shoes. One woman offered to untie my shoes for me, but I decided to get them off by that awful method of stepping on the heels and pulling my feet out without untying them. After that I was fine. At least for a while.

At some point in the evening as we were gathered around our instructor demonstrating how to fashion a new type of knot, I either lost my balance or was bumped into by someone. In any event, unable to quickly move my legs and adjust my weight, I completely toppled over sideways like some sort of tin soldier in a child's war game. Or perhaps more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa that leaned a bit too far. It was the most ridiculous fall but luckily the floor was padded where I fell and I didn't hurt myself. And even more fortunately, the girdle held the belly flab in place so I was able to readjust myself while lying on the floor, without exposing uncontrolled fleshage.

I don't think any woman needs bondage or rope when we endure such things as skinny jeans. And high heels. And tight skirts. And a million other fashions which render us immobile. Still, I love my skinny jeans. I wore them to a bike repair workshop tonight.



* Bib (or rather, Bibendum) is the name of the Michelin Man. I learned that from the host of this workshop who told the story of some guy who after a nasty divorce referred to his ex as Bib. I was definitely in danger of resembling Bib before I dug out the girdle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I want to pay for it

I so wish sex work was legal. I mean, solicitation is illegal in Canada but sex work is not, so theoretically I could hire a sex worker; but I wish it was socially acceptable. Not so much because I'm worried about stigma, but then because it could be normalized and I could get a good recommendation of who to ask for. I remember back in high school, when I was a virgin, and my friends and I used to discuss who the best guys were to make-out with. Oddly enough, we were so much more relaxed with our sexuality then.

I miss the type of wild uninhibited sex I had with my ex. That's the thing - when you are in a relationship, and your partner is good, the sex is great and even if one of you is not in the mood, there are ample opportunities for you both to be in synch and have fun experimenting. Hell, when I'm in a relationship that's going well, even if the sex isn't technically great, I still love it. You're connecting to the person and it's wonderful.

On the other hand, I no longer date for sex. To me it's a complete waste of time. To just do the basics and get off - yeah, most people are adequate and that's fine and all, but I'd rather just pleasure myself. For those really hot sessions though, you need to have someone you've practiced with or it's hit or miss. I mean, I'm not wasting my time only to find out that the guy is not creative, doesn't know what the fuck he's doing, or can't get it up. Again, in a relationship, you have time to teach each other what you like and if the dude has a bout of erectile dysfunction or the woman's on the heaviest day of her period - fine, you wait it out. I also can't explore the full range of sex with someone I don't know.

For example, recently I've been craving anal sex and golden showers of all things. Of course I could go on the intimate section of LL and get offers to fulfill those desires within seconds. Again, not because there's anything particularly special about me, but I went on that site once before (and not asking for anything in particular) and within seconds of logging in I was inundated with IM messages asking me if I was into threesomes, black guys, young guys, 10 inch cock - - you get the idea. It was so obvious that the thinking was, "Oh. Someone female has signed on. Let me see if she's good to go." This so does not appeal to me.

I'm also not into fuck buddies. I am when I'm in a relationship, but I don't like constantly being the piece of ass on the side.

But I would love to hire a pro. It would be so great. When I was in Jackson Hole the best money I spent [even though I'm still paying it off] was for snowboarding lessons. My instructor made the days so enjoyable. He knew what he was doing and I benefited from his knowledge.

I would see a sex worker like that, and what's more, I would worry less about infections with a sex worker because I believe they would respect proper condom use, and my boundaries. With some guy off a fetish or dating site, you have no idea what quality you're getting. Ah well, a girl can dream. Besides, even if it was acceptable, my snowboarding trip set me back so much that I couldn't afford a top-rate sex worker. Next year I'll have to find a snowboarding instructor who gives happy endings.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Calling all computer geeks...

I went to use my camera and a message popped up on the screen saying that my card is write protected. The hell? I have no idea what I did. All I know is that I can't take anymore photos. And I have no idea how to get the stupid card UN-write-protected. The last set of photos I took were of my DIVA cup. Perhaps my memory card was so traumatized that it refuses to work again? Or perhaps it was so excited that it never wants other images on it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's everyone eating?

I'm uninspired for food. What are you all having for breakfast / lunch /dinner tomorrow? And especially, what are you snacking on?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's time for a game!

Don't worry, I'll come back to navel gazing and describing my every sad moment, but because even I can't be all depressed, all the time, let's play a game! What bevvy is this?

















Update at 6pm on Wednesday: Thank you to all who played! It is what I affectionately call the 'cooter shooter', and the recipe can be found here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

society's view of depression

I've written about my depressive episodes before. One thing that was obsessing me this past summer was how unfair it seemed to me that people living with depression are left out of the euthanasia debate. Even when I once read the book, "Final Exit" by the Hemlock Society, which is a guide to offing yourself effectively and relatively painlessly, that book stressed that the guide was for people in the terminal stages of a physical illness, and did apply to depressed people.

Yet true depression can be a biochemical illness. It doesn't just go away and pills don't always work. All I wanted was for the pain to go away last summer. It was thinking of the future of how I couldn't stand to wreck one more job, one more relationship, be incapable of normal happiness. The worst part was knowing it could get better - that's what people always say, right? And it is true - but equally knowing that it would likely get bad again at some point.

I hung on and fought again because I knew my parents would feel the loss so deeply. I also knew that no matter what I wrote or said, that they would blame themselves. That's also when I started thinking though - having depression is lonely in and of itself, but when people do get to the point when they commit suicide, it becomes even lonelier. I don't ever want to be the person jumping in front of the subway or flinging myself off the Bloor Street Viaduct (or whatever bridge is now possible since the construction of the steel suicide veil). I don't ever want my family to have to identify a mangled body and hope that I at least left a note.

I wish that there was an option where you could go to hospital and be injected. Like my sick kitty was at the vet, or like prisoners are who get a lethal injection. I wish that like with cancer patients who have recurring illness and are left with no options that at some point families could find the strength to say, "It's okay sweetheart. We know how much you're tried. Stop struggling. We don't want you to live in pain anymore." Then depressed people could die surrounded by those they love, instead of committing self-violence in secret.

I know for so many reasons this will never be an option, but I do wish that society could at least start talking about it. It's terrifying to even mention when you want to die because there's always the fear that someone will call the cops on you and you'll be dragged off and drugged up until you promise to keep living.

apologies if this sounds overly dramatic and whiny. I don't claim to be a brilliant writer and this is a tough topic to describe! For me, for now, focussing on my garden, family, and upcoming bike ride are working. It's keeping me going (that and my meds), and that for now is enough.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm getting there (to Montreal that is)

Today I bought a bike. OMG it's so cute. Which tells you all about my cycling knowledge. It's white with pink highlights. At first that annoyed me, but now I am enamored with my litte pink bike. It is a hybrid, and has clip-in pedals. I have to go back with the bike shoes I bought so that they can make sure the pedals match. And apparently not in a colour-coordinating way. When they asked me what my bike shoes were like thought, "uh, powder blue". Then when they asked me if I bought them for a road bike and I carefully explained that I bought them because they will match the team jerseys, we all decided that I had to bring the shoes into the store as the staff needed to see the shoes for technical notes. Apparently 'cute blue shoes that match a team jersey' isn't useful information for a bike store. Go figure.

[and yes CoffeeDog, I will post pictures when I find my camera, batteries, etc.]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My elected official is not representing me

We're in the midst of a recession and the federal representative from my riding is off in California checking in on one of the 'war resisters' who was deported from Canada and is now serving time in prison. Why? Does she really not think that maybe, just *maybe*, her constituents need help at this time? And let's be clear - the person was not sent back to the front lines, was not sent to Guantanamo, is not being tortured, but is instead serving time. For leaving the military. Sounds fair to me! In fact I have a friend, and I admire this greatly, who instead of spending two years in the mandatory military service in his country, chose to spend two years in jail as a pacifist. I admire that. This person VOLUNTEERED for the army and now MY POLITICIAN [sorry, I have to express this in all caps...] has to go and check up on them?

I'm just so disgusted. It's especially sad because Olivia used to be a very strong woman in her own right. She worked hard in local politics, but now that her hubby is the leader of a national party, she looks like nothing more than a puppet. I hope she actually does something for her own riding soon. There's a lot of lower income people in this neighbourhood. I'm glad she thinks that grandstanding by going off to - well, I'm not sure what she's doing besides enjoying California sun - is worth more than actually helping us while Parliament isn't in session.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pre bike rally exhaustion

Oh my goodness - all I did today was try to follow up with the bike store whose booth I visited during the bike show last week-end. They didn't have a bike in my size and I was so confused by all the info that I left completely exhausted. I had two invites to go out for drinks tonight, and one ongoing workshop I should have attended, but instead I am home capable of nothing more than having a nice hot bath. I'm not sure how I'm going to survive six days of biking and camping.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My challenge

I have registered to cycle from Toronto to Montreal (6 days) as part of a fundraiser for an organization that supports people living with HIV. This will be quite the challenge for me as not only am I out of shape and do not take well to camping, but I don't like bike riding. Still, I think of all my close friends who face the challenge of living with HIV and all the stigma it still has, and I figure that this is nothing as far as a challenge goes. I have a little folding bike, but I have to go and buy a big-girl bike for this escapade. [And dammit, the rules actually state that you can't use an electric bike.]

I duly went to the bike show that was in town this past week-end and went to find a bike. I was too overwhelmed to purchase a bike at the time, but I found the booth for a bike shop that is near me and I'm going to go and visit them later this week. I won't get the lowest price that I could have gotten at the bike show, but I will still be able to get something in my range.

The upside of my trip to the bike show was that I the fundraiser I'm part of had a booth of its own. The guys there were awesome and they gave me a sneak preview of the team jerseys we'll have. The best part? They said, "and now that you know the colours - you can accessorize!" I may end up being sweaty and exhausted, but at least I'll be with people who know how to have fun and look good. Okay, but that's not even the bestest part. The bestest part is that then I found a pair of bike shoes on sale and they are powder blue and will match the team jersey! OMG!!!! I'm so happy now. And I also have the cutest biking gloves. I am dreading wearing hideous bike shorts, but I have a lovely wrap-around mini from Bali that I will wear over them. Sadly it doesn't coordinate with the rest of the outfit, but I do have a longer sarong that does.

Tomorrow I will check out the bikes. If I do indeed go with the one that I looked at at the bike show, it too will coordinate with my outfit. Yay!

And what's more my energy is back! I think I must have had a really mild flu. I had a brutal killer of a flu last year but I think this year my flu shot protected me from the worst of it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I need a new sign









The hell? Was I so evil in a past life that I'm doomed to suffer here on earth, at least when it comes to dating?

Christ on a stick, I have been corresponding with a guy I met on PoF. He seemed nice and we decided to meet. I invited him over for Indian food for our first meeting (and in doing so probably threw out every dating advice ever written). He accepted and we planned for tonight. I had my evening mapped out - I would order the food from work, pick it up on my way home, and do a quick clean before he arrived.

Like the taking-the-cats-to-the-vet episode, everything started out well: I was able to leave work on time, I picked up all the food (tons and tons because I'm having a girls' night on Friday and picked up all the food for that at the same time), and got home and was able to clean my place enough so that it looked good. All that was ready was for me to set the table and I was good to go.

The whole time I kept checking my email to see if he'd confirmed when he was arriving. It was odd - I had received an email from him this morning and he stated that he would check his email throughout the day for my response. I had responded, but hadn't heard again from him. Not a big deal though - this guy is highly reliable. Calls when he says he will, etc.

Then I thought back a little about the email. This guy works shift work and has to pick up shifts from time to time. I had assured him last night that if he picked up a shift that he wasn't to worry - we would just reschedule. The email this morning mentioned that first thing in the morning he had picked up a shift and was heading into work. But as it ended with 'see you soon', I thought we were still on for tonight.

In retrospect, I realize that he was being nice and meaning he would reschedule with me. I realized this only at 7pm [when he had been due to arrive] as I remembered that his shifts were 12 hours each. Duh!!!!! This would be bad enough, except that I had sent him an email earlier in the day saying, "Okay, see you after your shift", letting him know that I am obtuse.

This email was followed by a text message at 7:00 correcting my error. I texted him because I'm weirdly shy about phoning people I don't know well. That would be fine except the number I had is apparently his home phone and not a cell phone. I realized this when I got a text message from my phone company mentioning that they had read the message to his machine. Oh good grief. Now I seem like a freak.

I hope he sees the humour in it all and does reschedule. If not, I'll live. In the interim, I have double orders of lamb curry and dahl in the fridge, not to mention single orders of rice, eggplant, matar paneer, butter chicken, and chicken tikka. I called my landlady and invited her round for dinner when she gets home from work. No point in wasting good take-out!

Monday, March 09, 2009

The spinster librarian

















There I was, all back from my snowboarding trip, all feeling empowered, all feeling cool - blah, blah, blah. Then on the Tuesday after I had to take my kitties to the vet for their annual check-up and shots. No problem. I left work at 2 and headed home to pack up the cats and go to the vet, located in my former neighbourhood.

First, I had to stop at the pet store near my subway stop in order to pick up an extra cat carrier. That was easy to find, and with a cool knapsack cat carrier in hand, I made my way home. The cats were happy to see me and one by one I lured them into the front entrance and stuffed them into their respective bags. They weren't happy, and Tasha in particular was vocal and miserable, but compared to other times when I've had to wrestle with them to get them in their bags, I had gotten off easily. Off I went to the end of my street to hail a cab. One came quickly, and me and the kitties were soon deposited at my vets. So far, so good.

I went into the waiting room, got settled, and then went up to the receptionist. She immediately noted that my appointment was in fact for Wednesday. Furthermore, they were booked solid and there was no way that the vet would be able to see me that day. Suddenly my miraculously easy vet trip was becoming hell. There was *no way* I could take another afternoon off work, and what's more, there was no way I was going to have an easy time tricking the cats into letting me get them anywhere near their cat carriers the next day. I fought back the tears and shuffled away, cats and carriers in hand. I ended up rebooking for a few Saturdays from now [I'll face that ordeal when I come to it].

However, not one to have a wasted trip, I decided that I would first go to the pet store right next door and pick up some cat litter. I knew that I couldn't carry two cats and a 40 pound bag of cat litter, so for some bizarre idea of logic, I opted to buy TWO fourteen pound bags of litter instead. The to compound the matter, I was going to pay for the litter with my credit card, but instead decided to pay cash - which used up the last of my cash.

What this meant was that I now had two cats, two bags of litter, and absolutely no money to get home. Moreover, I realized belatedly that I also did not have my bank card meaning no chance of going to an ATM. Apparently most cabs now take credit cards, but I didn't realize that. As such, I trudged toward the subway. Normally it would be an easy 5 minute walk from that pet store, but with all my baggage, it took more like fifteen.

Fur's cat carrier was actually a backpack, so in order to free up arms for carrying the litter, I had it on my back (on the way to the vet I had carried it like a normal bag). Tasha, in her bag, I had slung over one shoulder, and in each arm I carried a bag of litter. I looked completely insane. Not to mention that Tasha was howling non-stop so it was the equivalent of having a neon sign above me directing everyone to "look at the crazy person".

I made it onto the subway and had a brief reprieve before arriving at my stop and facing a fifteen minute walk home. By this time my arms had given out. I realized that with my current configuration I was never going to make it home. Fur's backpack carrier had a strap that went around my waist for support and security. In desperation, I attached Tasha's carrier to the strap. Now I had Fur securely on my back, Tasha in her bag swinging against my thigh, and both arms free for carrying the bags of litter. Alas, it was not enough. My weak noodle arms could not hold both bags.

My next configuration consisted of me placing one bag of litter on top of Tasha's carrier, and hugging the remaining bag to my chest. Tasha's carrier is soft-sided, but it has enough strength that the bag was not crushing her. Let's recap: I now had one cat in a backpack, one cat in a bag hanging from my waist, a bag of litter on top of that bag, and a bag of litter clutched in front of me - and Tasha howling incessantly, drawing all attention to me. I looked like such a loser and felt so utterly defeated. By miracle I did not run into any ex-boyfriends at this point. I staggered home and dropped everything at the door, including the cats. I let them out of their carriers outside, but they wanted nothing more than to get back inside.

This past week-end I once again took the kitties to the vet. This time I made sure that I was going on the correct day and that I had enough cash for a cab. It was remarkably painless and both kitties are in good form. I do learn.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hoping for a diagnosis

I'm a hypochondriac, but I had the symptoms before looking up 'anemia' on the Internet. I had blood taken last week, but need to wait to see the doctor on Monday for results. In the interim, I am beyond fatigued and am having mucho trouble breathing properly [apparently 'shortness of breath' is a sign. Who knew? Okay, probably everyone except me...]

I'm eating chicken again but if on Monday they tell me that I have low iron and write me a nice prescription for heavy-duty iron pills, I will be most grateful. Low iron is pretty easy to fix!

As such, I have been doing very little beyond work and events I already committed to, and am behind on blog reading and writing.

Much love to everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The joys of crossing the border

Coming back from my recent trip, I was in line at customs. When I approached the customs dude, he smiled and asked if I'd had a nice trip. Then he asked, "So were you just on the flight from Wyoming?" I stared at him, but figured they had some indication of what flights had arrived. He followed that question with, "Recognize me?"

He looked vaguely familiar. I wondered if we'd been to kindergarten together or something like that.

Then he said - "I was in the hot tub with you two nights ago!"

Indeed he had been.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sex toys

I got a $100 gift certificate to my favourite sex store in town. Give me your suggestions. I already own the Hitachi magic wand. What do you enjoy? They can be solo toys, partner focussed toys, porn, or how-to guides (and oh how I need some of those!). Also boys, straight and gay, I'm curious as to what toys you enjoy. I find that guys like the right toys used on them, but I need a bit of guidance.

I am not interested in candles, condoms, or massage oils, except I would be interested in knowing what a good handjob brand is (you know, those special stroke potions that may be detrimental to a condom, but work just great otherwise). In general, what are your favourite lubes?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Best purchase ever

I had stopped listening to my iPod. I had it cranked up so loudly on the subway that I felt like I was destroying my hearing, but I couldn't hear the music well anyhow. Last week I made a snap purchase in a store and bought noise cancelling headphones. Now I can listen to my music at a low volume, even when walking near traffic or while sitting on the subway. This is one of the best investments I've ever made.

Just before I paid for the headphones, I made another complete snap purchase at the store and bought a Macbook [or whatever it's called]. I don't have it connected to the Internet and have figured out absolutely none of the programs [or even cared to try so far]. Yet it has already served its purpose: the porn I bought last March and which wouldn't play on my DVD player due it being set for Europe, plays just fine on my new laptop.

Why I don't get to babysit

Last night I went to a friend's house for a belated Chinese New Year celebration. Every year her family hosts this event and it's so much fun. Moreover, I know this friend from high school and she has kept in touch with some people I haven't, so it's also like a mini-reunion. Anyhow, there was one couple there who she knew from university, not from high school. Our high school group were going through old yearbooks (something I would rather not do), so this couple were just sitting to the side and I went to talk to them. They were a great couple, and they had the absolutely cutest 4 year-old boy. He never said a thing - but he was all smiles and contentedly sitting in the next room watching tv.

At one point I sat next to him and he and I bonded when he started jumping on the couch next to me and I kept picking him up and tossing him onto the couch. Later when we were all sitting again as a group, he stood in front of me and started pressing on my belly. A game I play with my oldest niece is that when she presses on my belly, I pretend to vomit on her. Then after a while we decide who I'm going to projectile vomit on. I decided to play the game with this kid.

He was right into it. It started with me saying, "If you keep pressing my belly, I'm going to vomit on you." Of course he did it again and I made suitable barfing noises. The I would say, "Shall we vomit on Jillian?" [who was sitting next to me]. He would press my tummy and I would turn my head and pretend to barf on Jillian. And so on and so forth. We were having a blast [and were discreet enough believe it or not that everyone else could continue with their conversations] until I said, "And shall I barf on your daddy?"

I that point his father clued into the game and came up to his son and said, "You do not press on a woman's tummy!" His father wasn't yelling or angry, but clearly the game was at an end. Then he looked at me and said, "He's at an age where he's figuring about body parts and everything is about poo or snot." And I thought, "But that's fun!" [not to mention that I was the one making the puking sounds]. Then I felt bad - I suppose I shouldn't have encouraged the kid to feel he could poke strangers, but I figured as long as he wasn't grabbing my boobs, it was no big deal.

All was well though. Undeterred the boy moved on to marching back and forth in front of us with exaggerated arm and leg motions - very soldier like. That game seemed to cause no issues. I'll just have to keep my special vomiting game reserved for my nieces.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How I spent Valentines Day
















My snowboarding buddy captured these action shots of me on the slopes. Note that despite 4 days of snowboarding at Jackson Hole which included three days of lessons, I am still on the beginner slopes. However, I now attack the hill with confidence and make awesome turns. Let's all just overlook how dorky my helmet is. I will get a new one at end of season.

It was such a wonderful day: bright, sunny, and full of fresh air and exercise. Also our group had a little apres-ski gathering so it was fun to catch up with others.

I remember last Valentines Day when Rob and I got completely drunk with a friend of mine, and then Rob and I went back to his place and had the most debauched, wild, drunken sex. It was a blast. I was worried that V-Day was going to hit me badly this year.

It didn't.

Two of my coworkers were planning big Valentine's celebrations this year: one is a newlywed and the other is getting married in June. I was so happy for them and suggested ideas for them. It in no way made me feel bitter or sad. Relationships have so many ups and downs - I was happy that they were enjoying the happy moments. At the same time, I know several friends who are in relationships which are either ending or in troubled times. My heart went out to them as even knowing that V-day is a commercial fabrication, you can't help but feel sad if your relationship isn't going well on the 14th.

The only time I began to feel weird was when a friend invited to a fun massage workshop event he was hosting. At that point I did feel like that would be too much for me - surrounded mainly by couples and having to pay someone to massage me on Valentines when last year I had so much 'touch' with someone I loved. I also wasn't sure who would be there and I don't like strangers touching me at all. If I were dating someone right now, it would have been ideal, but I thought the last thing I [or anyone else at the event needed] was to burst into tears at a party. Especially not when I otherwise was feeling great. It was at that point that I suddenly decided to take control of the situation and plan to do something I loved. That's where the snowboarding came in. I think I have finally found a group where I feel like I belong.

So, I hope that no one was down this past Valentines. If you are in a relationship and enjoying it, I hope that despite the 14th being a cheesy holiday, that you had fun together or just went for the fun of having a holiday where you can enjoy being a complete romantic sap! If you're in a bad patch or in a relationship that's ending, please don't make more of the day than is necessary. Don't feel pressured to be loving, but do remember to try and be kind to those around you - even an ex. And for those of you who like me are single, I do hope you didn't feel lonely.

Much love to everyone who reads this and contributes - you have given me so much strength virtually and on down days when getting out and interacting in real life was beyond me.

xo

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nothing to see here.

Back in a week and a bit.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The furry spawn of satan

Dear Fur,

I understand that my pill box looks like a cute cat toy to you but it is not. As such, please discontinue from knocking it off my desk. I did not appreciate returning from a day of snowboarding yesterday and finding the pill box knocked to the floor, open, with one pill remaining. I had no idea where the other eight happy pills had gone to, and initially worried that you had eaten them. Then I looked around the floor.

Appreciate that although it may be a fun game for you to bat the little white pills all over the hardwood floor, it is not fun for me to have to crawl around picking them up. This was made even more unpleasant due to the fact that both knees were bruised, scratched, and swollen from falling on icy hills. It was especially not fun hunting for the pills given that I hadn't swept that floor in ages, and might I just mention that although it is a highlight of yours to dig so violently in your litter box that piles of cat litter scatter in the vicinity, having to rescue one of the pills from one such pile was not appealing to me?

I now have all the pills back in the box and please leave them there. Content yourself to playing with your scratching post, walking on my head in the morning, and terrorizing Tasha. And never forget, as the human in this house, I'm the one who is able to work the can opener.

You need me. I need my happy pills.

Much love.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When American politics looks so much better

Thank you to my workplace which encouraged us all to go watch the inauguration of US President Obama. That was cool.

It's odd because most Canadians have this arrogant and very tiresome superiority complex to Americans. Yet now, now that it's President Obama, Canadians are all over the inauguration. It's like: We were part of this!

Meanwhile, we have a moralistic nutjob as Prime Minister and the most idiotic coalition of three parties, NONE of which the Canadian public resoundingly endorsed [well, maybe the Bloc Quebecois got many votes in Quebec - I can't remember, but as they don't run anywhere except Quebec and their goal is to separate from Canada, it's kind of silly that they are supposed to be part of a national coalition). And our parliament has been prorogued while the whole mess simmers down. The only upside is that all of us in Canada learned what "prorogued" meant.

There is no voice of the people here! My parliamentary representative is a well-respected politician in her own right, and also is the wife of the leader of the NDP [socialist] party. I sent an email to the party office stating [as one of her consituents]: No to Stephen Harper, but no to the Coalition. In the body of my email I noted that although I hadn't voted for Harper, I was not in support of the Coalition and wanted the chance to vote. Not to just have them overthrow the minority government and assume power.

The whole spin of the Coalition was that 64% -or something like that - of the Canadian population didn't vote for Stephen Harper. Yes, agreed, but I CERTAINLY didn't vote for the Coalition. Holy crap, faced with that freak show on the ballot, I would have voted for the Marxist Lennonist party. Anyhow, my email was pretty clear.

Now, I know that staff for an MP have no time to individually respond to constituent emails, but apparently they can't read either. I got back a form letter thanking me for my support of the coalition. It then went on to tell me to attend a rally for said Coalition, and listed every single online poll about the Coalition, and encouraged me to click the links and vote in support of the Coalition.

Yes... I could clearly see how this Coalition was going to be the voice of the people...

You know, many Americans were considering moving to Canada during the last of the Bush era. Can I go to the States now?

Update from the dating world

A is for adultery: for me and Hester Prynne
B is for the Bible that tells me it’s a sin
C is for the cheating, that causes much tumult
D is for divorce proceedings, that surely will result


And of course, S is for Sue who doesn’t give a crap about any of this because I’m not the one who took any sort of vow of fidelity. Also because nothing has happened yet except for a brief email exchange.

I’m slow, but I’m not a complete moron. When a guy is mainly only available during the day, you know it’s because he is in a relationship. I called him on it and asked if he was married, and yes, he is. He’s also apparently separated, and it’s mutual. I’ll see. I appreciate his candour though. I can decide now how to proceed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Confessions

I love pizza.

I had fries tonight and am over my fries fixation. I'm even over my -*gasp* - mocha fixation at Starbucks. It's way too sweet for me, and that's after asking for with only two pumps of syrup. But pizza still makes my heart beat faster.

Here are my fave toppings:

In a restaurant: Pizza margherita - just sauce, cheese and basil. Sometimes I like black olives (provided they aren't canned), and anchovies. Regardless, it has to be a thin crust pizza.

Homemade: I love cauliflower on pizza. Such a delight. I also love a pizza smothered in green olives - it has to be the ones which come pre-sliced in a jar. Sheer bliss.


Tonight I had homemade pizza with cauliflower and red peppers. The base was a cilantro/parsley pesto I had made in the summer, and the crust was whole wheat dough from Whole Foods. Their dough is delicious! I used plain old mozzarella for the topping, but it was perfect. Now tomorrow I can have my all-time fave breakfast: hot coffee with cold pizza.

What are your favourite toppings and is it different between take-out/restaurant pizza and homemade?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why 2009 is okay so far

First of all, 2008 sucked.

I had a complete breakdown. Finally all those years of being depressed and dealing with it became too much. Partly crazy hormones as I get older, partly stress increases, and partly never really having had true depression. Instead I think what I've had my whole life is a major form of PMS, otherwise known as PMDD. I'm not going to bore you with details, but this is a public service announcement so that women can be aware of yet another condition we can all be subject to, and because it's basically a state that leaves you 'normal' for two weeks and then moody, irritated, and distraught for the other two weeks. Every single month. In other words, you seem bat-shit crazy to everyone around you.

So after crying for three months straight and going every lunch hour to the park near my work and crying my eyes out, I finally saw my doctor. By this point I did have true depression. I ignored every friend who suggested therapy [been there, done that - and although invaluable, if it's your hormones that are making you crazy, talking about your relationships is no going to help], and went and got a prescription.

6 months later and this is the first time in my adult life that suicide is not a viable option for me. I've never been actively suicidal, but I've always kept it as a good option. I don't even think of it now. My life is no better or worse than it was last year (ah hell, it's probably a bit worse), but mentally, I'm coping.

This is why I had to blog the small successes of 2009 so far. Up until mid-December last year, I was struggling to cope and faking my way through almost every social situation for about five months. Not that I didn't have some good moments, but over-all I was lost.

I so hope that this continues.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bad body! bad, bad, bad...

I ate apples. I ate oatmeal. I had a salad for the love of god. Yet my body still stubbornly clings to the five pounds I gained over the holidays. Does my body not realize what an effort I am making for it? I should be rewarded!

Okay, I broke down and had a chocolate bar today, but it was dark chocolate! And it had raisins in it! That's health food. Tomorrow morning when I step on the scales my body had better show some appreciation.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Note to self: stop booking vacations when drunk















In my sorrow over turning 40, I decided to spoil myself and book a snowboarding trip. So, I went on my ski/snowboarding group's website and saw that there was still space on the Jackson Hole trip. A few glasses of wine and a credit card number, I'm contacting the trip leader saying, "Sign me up!"

All I knew about Jackson Hole was that it was supposed to be gorgeous and apparently has a lot of hot men. This was told to me by a friend who had been there with the [very wealthy] family she had been a nanny for. Notably, this friend does not ski or snowboard. But I figured that every place has beginner runs and never thought more about it.

This past Saturday I went snowboarding and during lessons, the instructor mentioned that Jackson Hole was known for its steep inclines and expert runs. I blanched.

Although my snowboarding has VASTLY improved, I still can only rarely do two turns in a row without falling. Me going down the small hills in Ontario consists of the following steps:
1. Dismount from chairlift. Glide forward and fall. Crawl out of the way quickly before next group of people dismounts.
2. Get bindings fully adjusted. Start to edge down the hill. Accept the fact that I need to try to do a turn. Fall on my ass.
3. Get up and try again. This time have one successful turn, followed by another, and then fall forward landing on my shoulder.
4. Get up and start another turn. Fall.
5. Get up and start again. Have a pretty good groove going. Realize that thighs are so sore I can no longer stand upright. Stop and sit on hill, to the complete annoyance of all the skiers.
6. Summon up the strength to complete steps 3-5 again until I reach the end of the run.

I went on the website for the resort and the pic I have at the top of this post is what greeted me. I suppose this is supposed to be a big selling point for their clientele, but for me it signified a complete loss of bowel control. I hurriedly looked up their trail map and scanned for beginner runs. There was one. There are several novice runs so I hope I at least manage a few of those. I can do the novice runs in Ontario, but you know, Ontario's 'expert' runs don't exactly look like that death drop in the promo pic.

My plan is to find a hot snowboarding cowboy who will give me private lessons. Maybe I'll come back knowing how to do the half pipe. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to sit my ass in the heated indoor/outdoor pool at the hotel and fully relax for the week.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The problem with skinny jeans

It's Friday so I wore my skinny jeans to work with a professional looking sweater. I'm comfortable enough in them but there is a new emerging problem: they fit so snugly that I am now constantly turned on at my desk.

Oh how I wish I had a boyfriend to greet me at home after work. Now I'm not only turned on, I'm depressed. I must get a boyfriend. In the interim, my solution to never, ever wear these to the office again or any other situation where I'm sitting for an extended period of time.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Here's to 2009!

So far, touch wood, 2009 has been great. Here are the highlights:


EATING
- I held a small dinner party on New Year's Day. It is so important to me to start the year off with people I care deeply for and the people around my table fit in that category. I made steak pie which is the traditional New Year's meal in Scotland, and also made chicken for my sister-in-law and me [not to mention pasta for my oldest niece and congee for the little one]. However, I did not make enough veggies and poor D. didn't get any - neither did my brother but he doesn't eat veggies. I had a medley that included tons of Brussels sprouts and as D. doesn't like those [I didn't realize beforehand] I didn't put any on his plate. However, there were other veggies there so by the time he asked for some, the medley was gone. I should have picked out the Brussels sprouts to begin with. Normally I have WAY too much food. Bad hostess...

I got to spend time with my nieces, D., my bff and his charming partner, and my snowboarding buddy - not to mention getting to see my brother R. and my sister-in-law. That was a lovely start to 2009.

SHOPPING
- I had my awesome friend B. and her partner Ian over for waffles on Saturday. Then we all went on a shopping excursion to outlets north of Toronto. We didn't stay long there, but drove to the other end of the city to check out J-Town - a Japanese shopping centre B. had heard about. Apparently it had a bakery, a butcher shop, and a fish monger. When we got there they were all closed. It turns out that the shopping complex shut for five days over new year's. B. was undeterred though and walked around until we found one store that was open. It had an aisle of cheaper looking goods (think of some type of Japanese Dollar Store), and a centre table covered in nice looking dishes.

I grabbed a box of two cute bowls from the centre table and went to the cash to pay. The guy at the cash immediately told me that I couldn't buy them. I was a bit confused as I hadn't grabbed the ones on display. But then the guy added that I couldn't buy any of the items from the centre table. He explained that we could only buy from the first aisle (ie. the Japanese Dollarama) and that the guy who sold the stuff on the centre table wasn't in that day. I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld, or perhaps Candid Camera.

I think B. was having an even harder time accepting the news. She started asking the guy, "What if we give you exact cash?"

I wandered over to a selection of bowls and asked, "So, I can buy these?"

That was approved, so I picked up a bowl and wandered with it for a while. But I didn't really like it. I only felt guilty that I didn't like the dude's goods and only wanted the stuff that wasn't for sale that day. The three of us kept wandering up and down the same freaking aisles. At one point Ian and I started giggling in front of one display of particularly lame looking goods. It's like we were all desperately trying to find something of interest to make our trip worthwhile. I ended up leaving with a pair of sandals with fake wooden soles. They are cute to wear around the house.

Ian I almost died laughing as soon as we got outside. We couldn't believe that everything was closed. What made it even more unbelievable was that the Chinese mega grocery store had been open on New Year's Day (from 9am to 10pm no less) so this started endless jokes about how the Japanese were lazy but the Chinese were hard workers (B. has Chinese heritage and my nieces are Chinese so we were just making lame jokes. None of us actually has anything against Japanese people). We all decided that sashimi meant "too lazy to cook" in English.

So then we ended up at Congee Queen which is a great Chinese restaurant. Lots of laughs and lots of good food with good friends. What could be better?

EXERCISING
I rented a car on the 2nd and my snowboarding buddy and I (let's call her SG for Snowbird Girl) went off to a nearby hill. I fell. A lot. But they were controlled falls and over-all we both had a great day. Lessons start this Saturday so we wanted to get in a run or two at first. Even better, although I still have a good deal of lower back pain, it isn't affected in the least by snowboarding. In fact my back was a little bit better after snowboarding. Yay!

NEXT...
Who knows? I'm very grateful that so far the first days of the year have been kind to me.