Thursday, December 31, 2009

Taking Stock

To say this year has been difficult is an understatement of infinite proportions. It started with a painful whimper and went downhill from there. Sitting here recalling all the shit I've witnessed over the last 365 days is depressing but also weirdly empowering. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you don't know how strong you are until you're tested. This year has been quite the test.

The Defeats:

-my stepfather's near heart attack followed by quadruple bypass surgery

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can remember the many happy events of the past year.

The Victories:

-Holy crap! I was in a karaoke contest!
-my step-father made a full and speedy recovery from his quadruple bypass surgery
-I had the opportunity to take 3 months off work to spend with my Mom, sharing her journey with cancer and in the process growing a strong bond with my nieces

In spite of all the adversity I've faced this past year, I am ultimately incredibly lucky; lucky to have wonderful friends and family, a good job, a loving and supportive partner, an affectionate (if not a little crazy) cat, and a strong and miraculous mother who continues to amaze us every day. I can't linger on the negative--I choose to embrace the positive and look forward to the new wonders and joys I will face in the new year. The challenges I face will undoubtedly compare to or even surpass what I've already seen, but I know now that out of negatives come positives that make the negatives seem worth it in the end. So I will go forward, happy in the knowledge that my journey is far from over and holds surprises beyond imagination.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lucky Doesn't Even Begin To Cover It

The weather held and I had the good fortune to enjoy a wonderful, whirlwind visit back home for Christmas. My amazing mother hung in there for yet another milestone--who would have believed back in August when we were told she might have 3 weeks to live that she'd be opening presents with her family on Christmas Day?! Best. Christmas present. Ever.

My other wonderful gift this year is My Honey flying back on Christmas Day for a week-long visit. Woo Hoo! We went straight from the airport to The Kenly's for an absolutely fantastic Christmas dinner--ham and turkey with all the trimmings including homemade cranberry sauce. Mmmmm! I think I'm still full...

I also was introduced to a new family member--my step-father's new dog, Neo. He's a cutie patootie and just what Fred needs. I'm sure they'll be wonderful for each other.

I hope all of you had a wonderful and life-affirming Christmas, and that all your Christmas wishes came true--mine certainly did!



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Seriously Losing My Shit

Do you realize Christmas is less than a week away!?

HOLY CRAP!!!

How did this happen? I stopped paying attention for one second and BAM! WTF?

I do this every year--I wait until the last minute (and by "wait" I mean I procrastinate) to do my shopping and then freak out when I realize how much shopping I have to do in far too little time. And then I come to the realization that if I go to the mall I'll probably kill somebody. Because I hate the mall. With a passion like that of a million hot, burning suns.

So I try to come up with creative places to shop that don't involve me getting all stabby on the five teenage girls walking abreast while texting down the mall corridor or the person carrying too many bags filled with sharp, hard objects who suddenly and without warning changes direction right in front of me and takes me out at the kneecaps. You can assume that since you don't hear any stories of a woman going on a bloody, murderous rampage the weekend before Christmas that I am usually successful.

I'm a lucky person--opportunities just seem to present themselves to me on a silver platter on a pretty reliable basis. Just when a need becomes urgent, the solution is dropped into my lap (figuratively, not literally...usually). Anyway, yesterday there was a flyer posted in the elevator of my building advising that a few of the residents will be holding a sale of their knitted and crocheted creations today and these creations are rumored to include kids sweaters, mitts, scarves and toques. Hmmmm, kid's sweaters you say? Toques? There just happen to be two adorable nieces on my Christmas list who could probably use a couple of sweaters and toques since they're covered in about a meter of snow right now (literally, not figuratively--well, their house is covered).

So once again disaster is averted and I'll come through the holidays unscathed and without a criminal record. Peace on Earth.

And I mean that!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's a Marshmallow World In the Winter

These videos were taken Saturday around 2pm near Bracebridge, Ontario. Isn't it purty? Apparently about a meter of snow fell over the course of 36 hours. Fortunately only a couple of kilometers were like the nasty driving conditions you can see in the first video--I didn't film the worst of it as I need both hands to drive (good call!). Sadly the trip took about two hours more than it should have due to the highway being closed for an overturned tractor trailer. But overall the driving wasn't bad and with the sun shining out of a bright blue sky I actually enjoyed all the snow. Shocking, I know!


video video

By the way, that's a 4-lane divided highway. It's hard to tell with all that snow...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Need Another Hobby Like I Need Another Hole in My Head

I now have access to a digital SLR camera (courtesy of my late father-in-law) which has enabled me to fulfill a long-standing desire to learn how to take a decent picture. I've signed up for a photography course starting in January and to commemorate I have started a new photoblog. Feel free to check on my progress at http://kendall-worthathousandwords.blogspot.com.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Murphy




I found out today that my parent's dog was hit by a car yesterday morning and was killed. My step-father is absolutely devastated--Murphy was his constant companion and provided him with much comfort after my Mom had to go into the hospital and Fred found himself alone in the house. Also, a large part of his successful recovery from his quadruple bypass last June was having to get out and walk the dog twice a day. I'm worried that not having Murphy to look after is going to throw Fred into a downward spiral--he's already struggling with my Mom's situation and this is a set-back he may not recover from.

My Mom seems to be handling it a little better, although I haven't actually spoken to her directly--email correspondence is often lacking when it comes to such emotional circumstances. I'm afraid it hasn't really sunken in yet and that over the next few days the full brunt of the tragedy will hit her and she'll be blindsided by it.

When is this shit-storm going to be over? When will we have a reprieve from this incessant barrage of grief and heartache? It just keeps coming and coming; just when you think you've started to recover from the last one you're hit with the next. I've gotten to the point now where I'm not asking "Why us?" Now I'm terrified of "What next?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

Yesterday was my first day back at work, but it didn't really count because I spent almost the whole day sorting through the 1391 emails I received over the last 3 months. It sounds like a lot but I actually expected there to be a lot more. About 75% got deleted immediately ("Does anyone have any Tums?") and the rest gradually got filed away into their respective folders. The whole exercise was very satisfying and didn't require a whole lot of concentration which was a good thing because I was frequently interrupted by well-wishers and the curious wanting to know how I was and how my mom was, etc.

Today was another story. The morning saw me communicating frequently via both email and phone with our help desk trying to get my systems in order. Of course I had forgotten all my passwords but on top of that my access to some systems had been revoked due to the length of time I had been away. This meant sending an email to my manager asking her to provide authorization, yadda yadda yadda. Lots of bureaucratic red tape. I was scheduled to actually go on the phones and start doing my job at 12:30--I got access to the last outstanding system at 12:45. Phew!

Then came the calls--how could I have forgotten how to do my job in only 3 months? How do women coming back from maternity leave do it? That's a whole year, for crying out loud! I don't think I told anybody the wrong thing, but to be honest I'm not entirely sure. By the time 4:30 rolled around I was more than ready to get the hell out of there. And I probably only took about 20 calls!

So here I sit, glass of wine in hand, trying not to worry too much about how stressful the rest of the week will surely be. Whose brilliant idea was this again? Oh yeah, mine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Internet May Never Recover

Thanks to the efforts of David at Huntsville Online, my Mom now has a laptop at her disposal to help her keep in touch with the world outside of her hospital room. David felt it was cruel and unusual punishment to force her to live without the interwebs, but the irony here is my Mom has never even had a personal email address let alone an Internet connection in her home!

She isn't exactly technophobic--although she's the only person I know who honestly and truly has never even tried to figure out how to set the time on her VCR--it's more like technology has never been a priority in her life. My Mom is a letter writer (you remember those people?) not an emailer; she calls you on the phone instead of sending an IM; she will never understand the concept behind Twitter or Facebook or blogging. She's an anachronism--she doesn't belong "now."

Despite this, she does seem pretty excited about this new window that's being opened for her. Maybe it's the meds, but she seems not to be intimidated at all by the scary interwebs. I hope she gets something out of it, but even more I hope the interwebs learns something from her.

If you'd like to send along emails of encouragement, she can be reached at gloriasjourney@gmail.com.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Decision

I've decided to go back to work. It was not an easy decision, and I'm still not sure it's the right decision, but it's the one I've made. One week from this coming Monday I'll be sitting at my desk answering the thousands of emails I've received over the course of the last three months.

There were many reasons behind this decision: My Honey and I are hemorrhaging money right now and I feel it's my responsibility to stop leaching and resume contributing; I think it'll be good for me to get some structure back in my life; my Mom really thinks I should go back.

The last one might surprise you, but it's typical of my Mom--she feels guilty that she's keeping me from "getting on with my life" and earning an income. She hung on a lot longer than any of us expected and I think she has a little guilt about that, too. My Mom doesn't like to be a 'burden' and sometimes feels like we resent the fact she's still alive and hasn't died quickly enough. Of course this is completely insane and I'd like to blame the morphine for her skewed view of reality, but sadly she's always been this way.

To be honest I have no desire whatsoever to go back to work. I've so valued these last few months spent with my Mom and the rest of my family--it saddens and worries me to leave that cradle of comfort and strength. I'll try and come up to visit as many weekends as possible and hopefully that will be enough for all of us. I also hope that I'll be able to focus on my job and give my employer the quality of work they expect and deserve. They've been so understanding through this whole thing, I really want to do a good job for them and not be distracted by things outside of my control. It's going to be hard--I think about my Mom all the time.

Only time will tell if I've done the right thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Enough Already

Just when my family could really use some good news, we get kicked again. My sister-in-law's brother, Richie, suffered from a brain tumour many years ago when he was a teenager. He had an operation and radiation and was deemed "cured" however he was left with partial paralysis and other health issues. Now in his late twenties, it seems the cancer has returned in the exact same spot.

It was discovered only last week after his doctors became concerned enough about bleeding on his brain to perform an MRI. But before the results of the MRI were available he began vomiting and was very lethargic to the point of being almost unresponsive. His parents took him to the hospital in Huntsville and then he was rushed by ambulance to Toronto where he is undergoing surgery to remove the tumour as I write this. We don't know what shape he will be in when he gets out of surgery; we don't know how much of the tumour they'll be able to remove. We're all very scared and feel very powerless.

My heart goes out to Ritchie and his family. Having to go through this once was almost unbearable--I'm not sure how they're going to get through it again. I adore Ritchie--he has an awesome sense of humour and is so incredibly positive, I don't think I've ever seen him in a bad mood. Getting through the surgery is only the first step--since he's already had radiation once he likely won't be able to have it again. He'll probably have to have chemotherapy to treat the cancer this time around. I've seen what chemo can do and I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy. He's gonna need all the positivity he can muster over the next while.

How much more are we going to have to endure? Just when I think my family can't take any more bad news, more of it comes--My Honey's aunt recently had an MRI to help solve the mystery of her own health problems, and her daughter is facing a potential health crisis as well. My own aunt has ridiculously high blood pressure and I'm very worried about her--she hasn't done a very good job of taking care of herself and she's paying the price now when she can least afford to. There's just too much to deal with all at once and none of us knows how to handle it.

I've forgotten what if feels like to not have knots of anxiety in my stomach. I just want life to be normal again. I want to wake up from this bad dream.

***UPDATE***

Got word from my brother that Richie came through the operation with flying colours! They managed to get most of the tumour, which is great news. So very relieved, I can't even tell you :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down


My Mom is turning 63 on Saturday--it goes without saying we never thought she'd make it--and in celebration she has dyed her hair pink. Not coincidentally, pink is also the colour of Breast Cancer Awareness. My Mom was never a person to do things subtly.

Happy Birthday Mom! I'm proud of you and I love you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Her Special Day



Congratulations, Kelly. You are a beautiful bride and an even more beautiful person. I am so lucky to have your friendship.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jax Goes to the Vet **UPDATED**

This morning I took my cat to the vet for the first time in our acquaintance. Not his first time--his previous owners were diligent and did all the dirty work for me (ie. declawing and neutering)--but our first time together. I took him to the same vet I took Speedy to since they gave her such excellent care. The vet, Dr. Burrows, has a very relaxing way about her and I feel comfortable there. I was nervous enough about this excursion so being comfortable with the vet was a high priority.

Jax is a naturally skittish cat--the expression in his eyes is permanently set to "surprise." It's hard to tell if he's actually scared or not by just looking at his face. He got into the carrier easily enough--he's done that before and isn't afraid of it--and even the car trip wasn't too traumatic. However, the fun began as soon as we got in the door of the clinic.

He psyched me out by not coming out of the carrier right away. This turned out to be his way of lulling me into a false sense of security. As soon as he saw an opportunity he was off like a shot, taking off into parts of the building that scream "Employees Only." Fortunately one of the vet techs tracked him down before he could find the perfect hiding place, but that didn't stop him from escaping 3 more times within the first 10 minutes we were there!

Finally, after being weighed (18 1/2 pounds!) and taking off and being caught for the last time, we were ushered into an examining room where we were left to our own devices until the vet arrived. Jax's devices turned out to be hiding under the only chair in the small, spartan room. I spent the next several minutes trying to coax him out until the vet came in and then we got to work on it together.

After much gentle persuasion on her part, we got him up on the examination table and got started. My job was to keep him up there (which was taking pretty much all my concentration) but I was able to pay enough attention to notice he was taking the examination surprisingly well, allowing the vet to handle him in ways he would have taken great exception to had it been me doing the handling. She determined he didn't have a fever, that his heart and lungs sounded good, that his ears, nose and eyes were fine, but that his teeth need a good cleaning because he has tarter buildup which is causing gingivitis.

He's a bit overweight, but not alarmingly so--you can feels his backbone and his ribs so it's not too bad. He does need to lose a few pounds though, so part of the $200+ I spent today was on some new diet food. He also got some booster vaccinations and I've got some pills to give him for worms, just in case. On the whole, he's healthy and normal and we have nothing to worry about. Which is great news 'cause frankly, I don't think I have the energy to worry about anything else right now.

Now we're back home and Jax is no worse for wear. He's fully recovered and seems entirely unfazed by the experience. I however, need a nap.




**UPDATE**

Okay, my cat is totally sulking today. I tried to explain to him that I didn't want to take him to the vet but that daddy made me, but he's not buying it. He's giving me the "My tummy hurts, I'm tired and I hate you" look and refuses to eat his new diet food that cost a fortune and is more nutritious than anything I've ever eaten. He won't snuggle with me--heck, he won't even look at me! He didn't meow his face off when I got up this morning, he didn't throw himself at my empty cereal bowl...I hope he feels better soon 'cause I miss my kitty :(

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happiness Is...



...snuggling with a warm, fuzzy kitty. After all he's been through these last few weeks (and will be going through for who knows how much longer) My Honey deserves all the warm, fuzzy snuggling he can get.

I love you, Honey.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Drained

I can't think too much about what my life has been over the last couple of weeks, and will continue to be for the next several, because it tires me out. I no longer think--I just "do". So much has to be done, so many commitments to people have to be kept, so much I need to do for my own self and yet, so little time. Why does it all have to come at once? Any one of these things on their own would be stressful and trying enough--why do we have to deal with them all at the same time?

It's at times like this, I suppose, that you test and learn the limits of your own endurance. We are infinitely capable; or at least far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. If I had known what was coming, I don't think I would have been able to deal with it as well. I believe that if I had known, I would have decided I wasn't strong enough to handle it and wouldn't have even tried. By having it sprung on me with no time to assess my ability to make it all happen, I've had to just jump in and do it--no time to ask myself if I'm up to the challenge.

I don't want to give you the impression I'm doing this all on my own. I have had all the resources I need to rise to these challenges. I'm so grateful to my employer for allowing me to extend my leave of absence. I'm grateful to my friends who have been such a support. I'm grateful for my Mom who has encouraged me to be with My Honey in spite of her own illness and needs.

I am especially grateful for My Honey. He has still managed to provide me with support in his own time of need. When he asks me, "How are you doing?" I know he really means it. How can this man who just lost his father still have the emotional energy to care so much about my well-being? I can only hope I will have the same concern and compassion for him when I'm consumed with grief over my Mom's death. He's incredible and continues to amaze me every day.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mourning

A week ago today, My Honey got the phone call we all dread--his father had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Incredibly (and luckily), My Honey was home with me when he got the call instead of being alone in California. What has followed has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions and surprisingly organized, from meeting with the funeral home director to the visitation to the funeral to meeting with the lawyer to being on the verge of filing for probate.

My Honey's dad never threw anything out. This has been a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, he was far more organized than I ever gave him credit for, so we have (so far) been able to locate all the vital documents we've needed to locate, and in a timely manner. We found a will, we found bank statements, we found tax assessments on his two properties, we figured out who his insurance broker was, we (finally!) found the mail key...it's like a scavenger hunt with a partially complete list of items.

I can't help but draw comparisons between My Honey's experience in dealing with his dad's affairs and what mine will be like when the time comes for me and my brother to deal with my mom's. In the majority of ways, the experiences are completely opposite: she's already arranged and paid for her cremation; she has organized her finances down to the last minute detail; I know who her lawyer and accountant are; we don't have to dispose of any assets because her husband will continue to live in the house. By contrast, My Honey has to make some very important decisions about what to do with the two houses he now owns in a northern Ontario city several thousand kilometers from his current residence.

One thing these two people will have in common in death is that they will have touched the lives of countless people in ways one only learns about after their passing. Hearing the stories this week about My Honey's dad has been wonderful and insightful. You know a person usually only in one or two slices of their life--when they die you get the opportunity to connect with people from the other slices and see that person in a whole new way. This is what I look forward to when my mom has gone--hearing people's stories about her and knowing that she had an impact on so many people in such a diversity of ways.

My grieving process for my mom started 3 years ago; My Honey's started 7 days ago. In spite of this, his strength and desire to do what was right for his dad have humbled and impressed me. I am also impressed by his family and how they have deferred to him on nearly every decision and gave him the support he needed without hijacking the proceeding to pursue their own agendas or further the strife that has existed within the family for the last several years. Again, I didn't give enough credit.

My Honey has a monumental task ahead of him, and I hope and plan to be there for him every step of the way. I have the utmost confidence in him and his ability to make the right decisions for himself because he knows who he is and what he needs and wants to get out of this tragedy. He said to me the other day, "When you have a child the only certainty is that there will be one of two outcomes--either he will mourn you or you will mourn him." In some respects, I think My Honey has been preparing for this his whole life.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gloria's Story


Please click on this link and read this article about my Mom, written by her family doctor. The article also includes a letter my Mom wrote to the local paper about Hospice Huntsville and their plan to build a palliative home in Huntsville.
I'm so thankful to Dr. Trenholm and David Harris at Huntsville Online for helping to tell my Mom's story. Her story is an important one, not because it is unique but because it is so heartbreakingly common.


I am so proud of my Mother and her indomitable spirit. I cherish these last few weeks we have together and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to walk by her side on her final journey. It has been a wonderful gift for all of us.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tinsletown Comes to Our Town

A very unexpected thing is happening in my parent's town--"The Fonz" is filming a movie. That's right, just down the street from their house Henry Winkler is chewing the scenery along with Graham Greene some guy named DJ Qualls whom I've never heard of but is apparently pretty famous. The town is obviously excited and the shoot is attracting large (by small town standards) crowds who are hoping to catch a glimpse of our favourite, cuddly little rebel.



But the story doesn't end there--a little over a month ago, my parents were approached by the production company to use their house as a main location for the shoot. The woman (whose name escapes me at the moment) fed them some line about how the director/writer grew up in a house just like theirs,* that they loved what they've done with the landscaping, yadda yadda yadda. Long story short, turns out they were only going to offer my parents $200 for what could have been multiple days of shooting which could have resulted in untold damage to the property and premises. Now, we may be small town, but we're not stupid. Despite initial excitement, the $200 up for grabs just didn't justify the potential disaster this could have become.

Don't worry! Our failure to cooperate in no way disrupted or derailed the filming of what is surely to become a Canadian independent film classic. Amazingly there is another brick bungalow in town that worked in a pinch and I'm sure the film crew is down there as we speak turning that guy's front lawn into mud and hoping to hell that all these hicks in Hicksville will (golly gee!) be honoured to let them drag their Klieg lights and cables all over their hard-earned homes for the princely sum of 200 bucks (which is pretty much all an independent film can afford to pay for a location) and the privilege of basking in the glow of Hollywood glamour.

*This house doesn't belong to either my parents or Thomas Michael, but as you can see it is hardly unique. (My parent's house is prettier though!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Downtime

I'm back at home until Thanksgiving (that's the Canadian Thanksgiving to my millions of American readers) and I have mixed feelings about that. I really need to be here--for me and for my sorely neglected cat--but I can't help but feel anxious about leaving my Mom. She seems to be doing well on the outside, but inside they have discovered a new tumour on her chest wall, tumours on her orbital bones and some small tumours in her neck. The tumour in her chest is partially cutting off arterial blood flow to her lungs, which is obviously not good, and the tumours on her orbital bones are pressing against her eyeballs which makes her eyes water and affects her vision. She's probably legally blind at this point; it's that bad. I keep waiting for the phone call that tells me she's taken a turn for the worse and I better get my ass back there.

But for better or for worse, I'm here and trying to make the best of it. My cat has missed me desperately, evidenced by the fact that he won't let me out of his sight. Truth be told, I missed him too. He's a pain in the ass, but he's also warm and cuddly and very reassuring. And he loves me. Almost as much as he loves food.

I've also been thinking a lot about the future, what it might hold and where it will be spent. It's becoming more and more important to me to find a way to be in California with My Honey. There will be a lot to work out, but it's been too long this way and I just can't do it anymore. When Mom is gone, my most compelling reason for staying will be gone too. I have other very good reasons for staying--friends, family, universal healthcare--but weighed against being with the man I love there's no contest. Sorry guys! You'll just have to come visit me in sunny California!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Farrah Flip and the Nut Huggers

I am the best aunt in the world. Seriously. Just ask my niece, Hayden. She will happily show you the "stuffy" (Hayden for stuffed animal) I bought for her, then she'll tell you about the crafts we made, the banana chocolate chip muffins we baked and our visit to the pet store to play with the kittens and look at the bird with the funny name.

She will confirm I gamely played "doggy goes to the vet" and pushed her endlessly on the swings. She'll giggle when I mention how she got my pants all wet when we paused to splash our feet in the water during our walk along the docks, and she might even remember that I took her for ice cream and let her drink almost a whole can of orange pop.

All of this we accomplished in one day, the day we got to spend together, just the two of us with no parents and no little sister. It was an awesome day that I hope we'll both remember for a long time.


And with respect to the title of this post:

The next morning, while my brother made us all pancakes for breakfast, an episode of "The Littlest Hobo" came on. The episode was called "Boy on Wheels" and it featured a very young nobody from Scarborough in the role of "Tommy." Tommy sported an awesome Farrah flip (even 17 year old boys couldn't resist it's allure) and some very tight short-shorts. So the title of this post is the name of my new band, in honour of a native son who will hopefully never forget his roots.

Sing along everyone!



Addendum:

Sadly, I couldn't find video footage of Mr. Myers and his iconic look, but here and here are some stills from the episode I located through Google Images. Ah internets, I think I love you <3

Friday, September 11, 2009

Holding Court From Her Hospital Bed

Just a quick update you let you know my Mom's doing great! She's been outside a few times in her wheelchair--the physio ladies, Sue and Jane, have perfected the system for getting Mom out of bed and into the chair so that Mom's not even anxious about breaking anything anymore. The first time was nerve-wracking and more than a few tears were shed, but now she's doing it like a champ and is even teaching the nurses how to move her!

She's getting lots of visitors and phone calls--so much so that we've had to make up a schedule so everyone gets a chance to do some "one-on-one" private time with her. The grandkids have been making lots of wall art to decorate her room, and the flowers on the windowsill are so jam-packed you can hardly see outside.

She and I have had some wonderful conversations about all sorts of things--I'm so glad to have this time with her where she's lucid, in minimal pain and able to enjoy herself. There's lots of laughter, a few tears, but always a feeling of well-being and genuine happiness radiating from her room at the end of the hall. I hope it's rubbing off on some of the other patients (and nurses, too!)

Two months ago, my Mom was given two months to live. They shoulda known she wouldn't give up that easily!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"It's hard for me to be in a bad mood when you're being so nice to me."

One of my co-workers said this to me yesterday, and it got me thinking. I guess I am a pretty upbeat person, which I realize can be annoying to some people at times, especially when they're having a bad day and have a low tolerance for cheefulness. I come by this trait honestly--my Mother is perhaps the most cheerful and upbeat person I know, so apparently that apple didn't fall far from the tree.

I sometimes feel it's my job to bring up the mood of those around me--be the "cheerleader", if you will. I know my Mother has felt this way throughout her illness and she always makes sure no one sees her having a bad day. Even when her pain is almost beyond the limits of human tolerance, she'll struggle to put a smile on her face and do her best to reassure you that she's "just fine."

Last Saturday, my Mom had an operation to stabilize her fractured femur with some pins. The operation was a success and she had no troubles at all coming out of the anesthetic. By Sunday morning, she was her usual chipper self, joking with the nurses and other women on the ward. Another patient on the ward was evidently annoyed by my Mom's cheerfulness and complained to her nurse about it. Okay, I get it--some people are not "morning people", especially when they're in the hospital and probably feeling pretty shitty. No problem. Here's my problem--the nurse actually told my Mom to be less cheerful.

Are you fucking kidding me?

That really pissed me off. No health professional worth his/her salt should be telling any terminally ill patient that they're too happy and need to be less happy because their positive attitude--which is painstakingly constructed each day in order to make the specter of looming death less scary--is annoying someone else who lacks the same positive outlook.

My Mother's positive attitude is the reason she's still here. When she was first diagnosed, she was given 3 months to live--that was 3 years ago. She has defied every doctor's expectation and continues to do so. So forgive me if I get a little angry when someone suggests she should "tone it down" because it's like saying we, and she, aren't worth living for.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Difficult

It's been a while since I've posted an update on how my Mom is doing. I'm sorry for that--I know a lot of you deserve to know what's been going on because you care about me and want to be supportive in "my time of need" but it's difficult for me to bring it into this forum. I'm getting really good at talking about it and not crying, but for some reason I want my blog to be separate--"uncontaminated" if you will. Despite this somewhat irrational need, I'm going to give you an update because things have changed and I think you all should know. I'm gonna give it to you straight, people--so don't say you haven't been warned.

My Mom has broken her left arm and her left leg. As a result of this (read: our inability to care for her adequately at home) she is now in the hospital and will be there until she dies, which the doctors say will happen within the next 2 months. Her primary care physician has provided me with a letter for my employer which will allow me 8 weeks of unpaid compassionate leave to go "home" and be with my Mom. I'm probably going to go by August 31st at the latest, and will periodically come back here for some respite from the stress and to make sure things are okay at my place.

Jax will have to be farmed out, and Guy has offered to take him in. I'm unsure of that working as he and Max (Guy's cat and Jax's former "roommate") don't really get along all that well, but Guy has a 3 storey townhouse so he can separate them if need be. I guess (as with everything) I'll have to be flexible and make other arrangements if necessary. I also have several social commitments over the next several weeks (Kiki's wedding shower, S&M bookclub, etc) that I really want and need to be able to keep--for my own sanity I need some semblance of normalcy--but I may not have a choice and I know all of you will be understanding if I'm unable to attend one or more of these events.

I also want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my friends and family who have been such a wonderful support to me throughout this excruciatingly difficult time. I really have the best people in my life and I couldn't have remained as strong as I have without you. I love you all so much and I have no idea if I'll ever be able to adequately express how much your presence, both physical and emotional, has meant to me. I'm (ironically) not a "sharer" when it comes to emotional expression, and I appreciate that you have all allowed me to come to you for support when I need it in my own time and in my own way. Your quiet compassion has been exactly what I needed and I thank you for it. It's only going to get harder from here, but I know I have all the support I need and that is more comforting to me than you can ever know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe It's a Sign

I pulled a muscle in my back on Saturday while putting on my bra. You may recall a similar incident a while ago. These two events have led me to the conclusion that I should stop wearing undergarments.


I went to the chiropractor yesterday to see what could be done and he beat me up pretty good. Is it weird that I really liked it? He practices something called Active Release Therapy which hurts like Hell but seems to have been extremely effective. Not to mention the tremendous rush I got from all those endorphines--nature's way of getting you high to take your mind off of excruciating pain.

He also gave me a crap-load of really strenuous excercises which looked misleadingly easy when he did them. These are meant to strengthen my core and will replace the damaging crunches I've been religiously doing at the gym which he explained have been worse than useless, even contributing to my problem by weakening the tendons that hold my spine together. Isn't nice to know your efforts to get in better shape are actually causing more harm than good?

This would all be so much easier if I could just exchange this lemon of a body for a new one. If anyone is deserving of a "cash for clunkers" incentive it's me.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I Swear This is Not a Food Blog

I could never be mistaken for Julia Child, but I know my way around a kitchen well enough to ensure I don't starve. I live and die by "The Joy of Cooking" which is an encyclopedia for the culinary illiterate. I'm not afraid to experiment which is probably why my best "recipes" really have no recipe to speak of.

A staple in my diet is my signature chickpea salad. It's undergone many a variation in it's day, and the last incarnation was a combination of chickpeas, black beans, cucumber, green onion, grape tomatoes, feta cheese and my favourite balsamic salad dressing. Today, however, I changed things up a bit and decided to incorporate quinoa (pron. KEEN-wah).

I have never used quinoa before, so a little digging on the internet schooled me on proper preparation. Tip: it expands. A lot. After cooking way more quinoa than I really needed, I let it sit and cool for a few minutes before incoporating it into my salad. The results are spectacular, if I do say so myself, so I've decided to share my secret and embarrassingly easy recipe with y'all.

Kendall's Keen Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

1 19oz/540mL can of chickpeas
1 19oz/540mL can of black beans
1-2 cups of cooked quinoa (1/2 - 1 cup uncooked)
1/3 of a large English cucumber
most of a quart container of grape tomatoes
2-4 green onions (2 if large, 4 if small)
100 grams feta cheese (or to taste)
1/4 cup of your favourite salad dressing (vinaigrette works best)

After preparing too much quinoa, set aside to cool and try to figure out what you're going to do with the extra. Drain the chickpeas, rinse well and put in a large bowl. Drain the black beans, rinse well and add to the chickpeas. Add quinoa to the chickpeas and black beans until it looks like a good balance. Slice the cucumber into half-inch sections, then quarter the sections. Add to the chickpea/black bean/quinoa concoction. Slice each grape tomato in half and keep adding them to the chickpea/black bean/quinoa/cucumber almost-salad until you like what you see. Chop the green onions into small pieces and throw them in there, too. Drain the feta and crumble into the nearly-there salad. Give it a good stir (mix it up really well) and if it looks good, add the salad dressing a little bit at a time, stirring in between additions. Feel free to taste your wonderful creation to ensure the right amount has been added. Once you're satisfied, it's done!

I seriously tried hard to make this as easy to follow as possible, but feel free to make any changes/additions/etc. These measurements provide me with probably 7 to 10 servings and this will last about a week in the fridge.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Getting Some Action

Well I'm back in sunny California visiting My Honey and so far things are going swimmingly--and by "swimmingly" I mean I've seen a lot of fish! Thursday night we went to Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences where we toured the rainforest, were stared down by fish that looked like they came out of Jim Henson's imagination, were ignored by pretentious penguins and creeped out by taxidermied African wildlife. Oh, and we got to watch two geckos "do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."



All in all, a successful outing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Life and Death Are Balanced on the Edge of a Razor"

Early Sunday morning, a friend and colleague of mine was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident. He was 31 years old. The perpetrator has not yet been caught.

He was a wonderful person who touched the lives of many.

Jason, we love you and we miss you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Without Music, Life Would be a Mistake"*

Last night was my first "practice" with the Kitchener Musical Society Band, and really there are no words to describe how much I sucked. My biggest fear was passing out from lack of oxygen (I play the flute--it's an occupational hazard when you're new to the instrument or just really out of practice, as I am) but I need not have worried because in order to pass out you actually need to be playing which I hardly did at all. I had forgotten how much I had forgotten, if you know what I mean. Not to mention my embouchure is so pathetically out of shape that I was flat the whole night. This is what one gets when one has not been playing the flute regularly (or kissing one's boyfriend regularly--either one) so it's time to strengthen those lips, my friends.

On the plus side, everyone was really nice and didn't make me feel bad at all about how much I sucked. One of the other flautists is going to email me PDFs of all the music pieces because we're not allowed to take the original copies home to practice with. I mean really--what's a little copyright infringement among bandmates? I'm gonna need to really work hard to be able to play in the Christmas concerts, but I'm up for the challenge and I know I can do it. As My Honey pointed out, "At one point you were an excellent flautist... why would you think you couldn't be again?"

See why I love him?

*In case you're wondering, it's Frederch Nietzsche.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Me? Dust? You're Funny!

I'm hosting my book club tomorrow night and frankly the anxiety is killing me. I'm the epitome of an extravert--I need to be around people on a fairly regular basis or I will lose my shit--but having people over is beyond stressful. I always feel like people will judge me (and find me wanting) for the state of my apartment.

Now I'm going to be very upfront here--I am not a "Domestic Goddess." I hate housework. Some people find vacuuming, mopping, dusting, ironing, etc., to be relaxing or even (gasp!) enjoyable. These people are crazy. Reading a book is relaxing. Having a beer on a sunny patio in July is enjoyable. Housework resembles neither of these things--housework is a necesary evil.

I have made an effort over the last couple of days to make my apartment "acceptable". This has involved removing copious quantities of cat hair from furniture, putting clean towels in the bathroom, washing dishes, dismantling my "monument to procrastination" (also know as my pile-o-recycling) and finding new homes for all the crap I've allowed to collect in various piles throughout my abode. But despite all this, I know in my heart it's in vain because no amount of last minute cleaning is going to disguise the fact that I just don't give a shit. Really. And I feel bad about that.

I feel bad because I know that many people (perhaps even most people) do give a shit. They keep a clean house that's organized and smells fresh and is all the things mine isn't. And they will walk into my house and be appalled. They'll try hard not to show it--they'll sit stiffly on my funiture, trying not to come into too much contact with the fabric, and they'll pretend they don't see the cat hair in their drinking glass when I serve them their Pina Coladas, and when they go to the bathroom they'll hover over the toilet seat while trying not to look at the less-than-white grout between my tiles. I know this as surely as I know my own shortcomings as a homemaker. And yet, I want to say to these people (and myself)--get over it. Life is too short for getting down on your hands and knees to scrub grout with a toothbrush. Go out and seize the day. Spend time with your family. Read that book you've been too busy to pick up. Go treat yourself to a nice meal at the new restaurant downtown. Leave that plate on the counter to wash another day--it'll still be there.

But maybe you won't be.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Mother's Crazy Dog

I know, I know. Where the Hell have I been? Let's just say I've been living by the motto, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Things have been rough lately, as most of you know. I made a conscious decision to leave the negativity out of my blog, but that's made it a lot harder to post. It's nearly impossible to have happy thoughts when all you can think about is horrible, awful, negative shit.

But I finally have something super awesome to blog about! My Honey gave me the most awesomest, bestest birthday present ever which I've had a ball playing with all weekend! No it's not a dildo--get your minds out of the gutter! It's about the size of a deck of cards, fits in my hand and isn't a digital camera. Bet you can't guess what it is!

It's an HD digital video recorder! So I guess it is technically a digital camera, but it doesn't take stills, although you can isolate individual frames in the video and make them into pictures. I guess what I'm saying is I'm full of crap and if you guessed "digital camera" you guessed correctly.

I have had the best time filming my family this past weekend! Really! Especially my Mom's crazy dog, Murphy. So without further ado, here I present my first feature film--ok, I guess it's more of a "short"--"Crazy Time" starring Murphy the Dog!






I apologize if the video seems really choppy--I'm new to this whole thing so it's a work in progress. I think the .mp4 format is perhaps the problem, but I'm not sure. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy snickering at my laugh which is loud and abundant.

Stay tuned for more videos and pictures!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Anything to Avoid Doing Dishes

I've been an absent blogger all week, but I had a good excuse: my life was boring and I felt like a sack of shit. However the last two days were much more eventful, and I'm mostly over the cold I developed on Sunday night and am now just plagued by my agonizing allergies.

Friday I got my Birthday Haircut ('cause Monday's my birthday...hint hint) which I'm very happy with. It's still a bob but he cut it nice and short in the back to keep my neck cool in the heat of summer--if it ever gets here. At around 8pm or so I went out with Kiki, Randy, Katie and Guy for a much anticipated "Evening in Paris." Sadly not Paris, France (or even Paris, Ontario) more like a bar with cardboard Eiffel Towers on the tables and an annoying (but hot!) mime. It was an event hosted by the staff association at work, so our expectations weren't high. Tickets were $15 each and for that you got 2 free drinks, all the deep-fried pickles you could eat, and a shot at some sweet prizes which (not unsurprisingly) none of us managed to win. Despite the lack of prize winning, we had a good time and didn't leave until the music stopped and we were nearly forcibly removed.

But the weekend was just getting warmed up! A special woman in my life takes me every year for my birthday to see a play in Stratford and to either lunch or dinner at a nice restaurant. Yesterday that day finally came and it did not disappoint. We saw Colm Feore star in MacBeth at the Festival Theatre and it was really well done. It was set in Mid-century, civil-war torn Africa which seems strange but was oddly fitting.

Feore is one of my favourite Canadian actors, but he wasn't my favourite player in this--I really enjoyed the actress who played Lady MacBeth, Yanna McIntosh, and I was impressed with the short but effective performance of Kolton Stewart who played the young son of MacDuff. In his final scene he's murdered by having his throat cut by MacBeth's henchmen. It was done in a very realistic and visceral way and it was quite disturbing, as was all of the violence in the play.

I found in general the performances were very subtle, not overblown in the way Shakespearean theatre can sometimes be. The modern military setting served to enhance the feeling of tyranny and control MacBeth tried to exert over his domain, with the ever-present soldiers in army fatigues standing watch from towers equipped with searchlights and machine guns. The use of television screens in most of the second half of the play conjured up comparisons to an Orwellian "1984"-like state. It was an interesting and effective interpretation of a play that's difficult to execute in a modern setting.

For dinner, we went to Charbries, a local fine dining establishment and one of my special friend's favourites but one I have never visited. I had a lovely spring salad with chevre to start and beer-battered pickerel with sweet potato for my main. I somehow found room for strawberry rhubarb pie flambeed table-side for dessert. My friend and our other dining companion (a childhood friend of hers visiting from Arizona) each had crab cakes and pizza Provencal--a flatbread crust with "spicy garlic sausage, roasted sweet pepper & red onion ... layered between mozzarella, parmesan & goat cheese ... drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette." I had a bite of it and it was as delicious as it sounds!

Today I'm recovering from the food coma by doing dishes, making Father's Day cards and throwing together some chocolate peanut butter squares for my co-workers for tomorrow--it's tradition to bring a "treat" to work on your birthday. My rule is you don't get a treat until you wish me a happy birthday. What?! It's my birthday, my rules! Who's gonna argue? These squares are awesome!

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Wonder If They'll March in This Year's Gay Pride Parade?

Get it? "March?" Gay Pride parade? They're penguins?

Never mind.

We can learn a lot from these birds. Whoever says homosexuality is "unnatural" has obviously never watched Animal Planet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Bad and the Good

I just found out that my supervisor has been "let go." This really sucks for her since she's been with the company for something like 15 years, but also for me because I really liked my supervisor and she really liked me. She was my champion and mentor and now I'm feeling kinda lost and adrift.

Change is afoot and I'm still a little unsure of how it's all gonna turn out. I'm still not really worried about my own job, but there's a definite sense of unease around here. Two supervisors have been let go in as many weeks--not a good omen.

On the bright side, I was chosen to be a contributor for a newsletter that has been developed by our investment processing services area to be distributed all through the wealth management division, so that's pretty cool! I'll be responsible for the CSR perspective I guess--we meet on June 10th to plan the July newsletter so I'll know more about my responsibilities then. I'm really excited to do this--it'll look good on a resume and on my performance evaluation, but it'll also give me an opportunity to meet people that work in other areas and give me another perspective on my position within the company and where I could be headed. This is just the boost I needed after the disappointment of not getting the trainer job!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello? Are You Still There?

I know, I know--I suck. Apparently my little ol' blog that I thought nobody cared about actually has a loyal following that's clamouring for a post. Who knew?! So here goes:

I had a busy week last week! My friend Jenn has recently become a Mary Kay representative so Shara (among those clamouring) hosted a party on Wednesday to help get her started. It was lots of fun, got to see some people I haven't seen in a while and even managed to spend a little money on a couple of items I couldn't live without--hello lipgloss!

On Friday I went to dinner and symphony with a close friend. We enjoyed Beethoven's Ninth which I had never heard performed live before--the choir was awesome! Then on Saturday I got to see even more friends (who knew I had so many?) that I hadn't seen in a long while. I finally got to meet (just about) 10 month old Evan and had my ass handed to me by his (not even) 4 year old brother Joshua when we faced off over Wii bowling.

Saturday night I was initiated into the S&M Bookclub (is it even still called that?) where we discussed (among many, many other things) The Book of Negroes which is this year's One Community, One Book selection and I highly recommend it. I will host the next one--which we'll be doing in July--and chose The Red Tent as my book selection. This is one of my absolute favourite books and I'm looking forward to hearing what the other's think.

So are we square now? I promise I'll keep posting so long as you all keep providing me with an active social life ;)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bang a Drum

I have always had this dream of learning how to play drums. The closest I ever got was playing the crash cymbals and the triangle in the high school band. I did have a huge crush on a drummer in said band, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

I finally got the opportunity to live my drummer rock-God fantasy on Thursday night when Kiki and Randy had me over for dinner. After a few glasses of wine it occurred to us (okay, I sort of insisted) that it would be a splendid idea to play Rock Band 2. I didn't really give either of them the chance to pick the drums--look, I'm the guest so don't I get first pick? I've played with My Honey before, but I was always too intimidated to attempt the drums. It's amazing how wine will turn that kind of thinking on it's head!

Now I have a good sense of rhythm, but I'm not very coordinated which probably helps to explain my complete lack of success in activities requiring the ability to do one thing with one body part and a different thing with another--like basketball or the "sixty-nine" position. So imagine my surprise when I turned out to be not only competent but, dare I say, moderately talented! I managed a score of 87% on my very first song! Okay, so I was on the "easy" setting but still--87% That's not sucky at all! Especially after 3 or 4 glasses of wine--hey, I'd like to see you try it!

Next time I'm at their place I'm totally making them play with me again so I can see if it was a fluke. If I can master the drums in Rock Band I can do anything! Maybe I'll even try walking-while-chewing-gum again...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette for Dummies

I had a very interesting (no, really--it was) conversation the other day with a couple of coworkers about bathroom etiquette. The two of them were "pee shy"--they won't go if there's someone else already using the restroom. They also had rules about what stall a new comer should choose based on which one they had already occupied (hint: the farther away, the better) and how much conversation is acceptable between restroom users (in case you can't guess, none.)

I nodded and smiled in something resembling agreement because I could see they were somewhat passionate about the topic, but I'm afraid I could only partially relate. I couldn't care less whether there's someone peeing next to me in a stall or whether they can hear me pee. I'd prefer to keep the conversation to a minimum, especially while in the act of peeing, but if someone initiated I wouldn't snub them or anything.

I have some modesty--I won't drop trou in front of just anyone and void my bladder--but I have peed in front of My Honey. I guess what it boils down to is I just don't see it as that big a deal. We all do it (unless you're on dialysis or have a catheter or something) but yet we seem to need to pretend we don't. When I announce to my group of friends/coworkers/random strangers in a restaurant that I need to pee, I'm met with embarrassed snickers and cries of "TMI." Why are we so obsessed with making a show of denying our bodily functions?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here's Something to Make My Problems Seem Insignificant

The day I left California for home, my train to the airport was delayed because someone walked in front of a Caltrain in a successful bid to end his life. It happened to be the train that left right before the one I was scheduled to take. I had even thought about taking this earlier train, just to be sure I wouldn't miss my flight.

As my train slowly passed by the site of the "incident," I saw his body covered by a yellow tarp. It was more disturbing than I expected it to be.

Today I decided to search Google news to see if they had anything on the incident--they did, but in looking I discovered someone else had done much the same thing the day before. This one disturbed me even more since there was a possibility I had may have interacted with this individual as I and My Honey have been to her place of work on more than one occassion.

I guess I'm posting this to reassure you all that despite the fact that I'm down right now, I am no where near where these two poor souls had to have been to do what they did.

My heart goes out to those they left behind.

I Can Hear a Pinot Noir Calling to Me...

Made it back safe and sound from California! No Swine Flu--oops sorry, H1N1 or whatever the heck it's called. No emergency landings on the Hudson River, the air line didn't lose my luggage and my parking shuttle was waiting for me when I exited the terminal. All this might suggest I'm in fabulous mood, but sadly I am not.

I came back to work on Wednesday to discover I didn't get the trainer position I applied and interviewed for and desperately wanted more than anything in the whole world. This seriously bummed me out.

I tried to not get my hopes up, but I really should know better--I always let myself get all hopeful and worked up about stuff like this and then when it doesn't happen I crash like a Steinway Baby Grand off a 30 storey building.

It is a small consolation that my supervisor thinks I was the better candidate and that the wrong person was chosen for the job. I understand why this person was picked, but that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

I'm just going to wallow in self-pity/red wine for a few days until I either fell better or feel nothing. I predict that will take until Sunday.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Greeting from Rainy Cold Shitty California

Got here okay, reasonably pleasant flight with the smoothest, softest landing in the history of aviation. I didn't even realize we were on the ground until we started to slow down! Anyway, My Honey is sick (no, it's not the Swine Flu) so we're gonna stick close to home for now, but I'm hoping to get to the California Academy of Sciences at some point while I'm here.

Had to bring a whole crap load of clothes with me because the weather is supposed to be all over the frickin' place with rain more often than sun. Regardless it's just nice to be here with My Honey--we hadn't seen each other since my karaoke awesomeness in February!

Cross your fingers that we see the sun at some point over the next 5 days and that I get to wear the capri pants I brought with me at least once. I shaved my legs in preparation and everything and I really don't want to waste that.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

I've been having some anxiety lately and it seems to have developed into a mild depression. Nothing to worry about folks, I'm not suicidal (thus the "mild" part) but it has reduced my enthusiasm for blogging and twitting as well as socializing in the "real" world. Depression's funny that way--it makes you want to shut off from the world which only deepens the depression. Sneaky bastard.

What am I anxious about you ask? In descending order:

Mom's not doing so well. She got through all her radiation but it took a lot more out of her than she anticipated and so I'm worried about her. I'm suffering a bit of a money crunch lately what with the car costing me a fair amount last month and with booking the flight to Cali and with a wedding invite in June and and and. Money (or should I say a lack thereof) has always stressed me out. I'm worried about this stupid Swine Flu shit--not because I'm afraid I'm going to get it but because I'm worried it might cut-short (or stop altogether) my upcoming trip to see My Honey and I really need this trip. Lastly, I applied for and was interviewed for a trainer position at work to fill a year-long mat leave. I really want it, so I'm allowing myself to get all freaked out over it and that's just not cool.

Basically, all this shit happening all at once is just bringing me down and I know it'll pass but until then I'm gonna be off the radar for a little while and I just don't want y'all to worry about me . Hopefully cool stuff will happen in Cali this weekend and I'll make an nice shiny, happy post about it so y'all can envy me. ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic. I Said, "Shop"

I don't ordinarily order from the Sears catalogue, despite it being a fixture of my childhood. My Mom ordered from it frequently in the past, although that seems to have waned somewhat. Since we lived north of nowhere with few affordable clothing stores, the Sears catalogue was pretty much the only way to get anything even remotely fashionable.

I did say "remotely."

I recently ordered three items from the catalogue (well, I ordered online, but whatever--it was still from the catalogue). I picked up two of these items today and let me tell you--"epic fail." One of the items was so much too small I couldn't even get it on, and the other item (which ironically was labeled a size smaller) did fit but was really unflattering. I still have hope for the third item which is on backorder--that means it's popular therefore good, right? Either way, I'm returning stuff and it kinda makes me feel like a failure. On the bright side, it means I'll have more money to spend on clothes in California. And I'll need it--my summer wardrobe is lacking, to say the least.

I particularly enjoy how much farther my dollar goes in the US. I no longer buy bras and underwear here because they're about half the price there. I got a shirt for $2 at Ross. Two freaking dollars!! I don't even get deals like that at Winners! So really, having this stuff not work out is a blessing in disguise. For the $110 I spent on two things here I could have practically a whole new wardrobe from Target. Sweet! Okay, I feel better now.

Does My Back Looked Humped in This Outfit?

Canada-hatin' Billy Bob Thornton's recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live continues to add insult to injury by not only allowing Kimmel to mention his (apparently no longer) taboo acting career, but by referring to hard-working bloggers everywere as "humpback geeks."

Fuck you, Billy Bob.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Embarrass Yourself in Public Without Really Trying

1: Agree to meet a co-worker for beer after work so you can both enjoy the fabulous patio weather after a long, tiring week and then have said co-worker stand you up so you end up sitting alone on the patio surrounded by people enviously eyeing your table and chairs for their own large groups of happy co-workers who didn't stand them up.

2: Spill an entire pint of beer--a beer you really needed and decided to order anyway even though your co-worker is more than 30 minutes late and is likely not showing up so you'll be sitting there alone with your spilled beer and shredded dignity while sympathetic strangers provide you with paper napkins from their dispenser because for some reason there aren't any at your table.

3: Make sure you say "Shit!" really loudly when you spill the beer because just spilling the beer didn't draw enough attention to your pathetic situation, you had to compound your embarrassment by making sure people two tables away now know you're alone and just spilled your beer.


On the bright side, the weather was fantastic and I didn't get charged for the beer I spilled so I still count last evening as a win. I ordered a burger and graciously allowed a few of the chairs to go to better, more crowded homes and generally enjoyed myself while people-watching the other patrons, sipping my beer and watching the sunset.

Just as I asked for my bill, a couple of women came out onto the patio in search of a table. None were free, so I flagged them down and told them they could pull up a chair if they wanted as I was leaving shortly. They accepted and there were introductions all around. We made small talk and it came out that they belong to a roller derby league and their team is recruiting. Roller derby you say? Hmmm. Intriguing.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Love My Friends

The following is an excerpt from a 4-way email communication last Thursday between myself, Guy, Kiki and Katie. How did I get so lucky to have such awesome friends?

Kiki: So where does everybody want to go? Did we decide? I have a weird headache behind my eye that says it's been too long since alcohol.

Me: You had suggested Ethel's yesterday. That's fine with me, but I'm easy...

Guy: And cheap too. Ethel's I mean, not you. So, Ethel's it is then? Since Kendall gets off (heh heh) at 6:30 we can just meet there at 6:45. I'm picking Kiki up at work--Katie, let me know if you need a ride too from Laurier if that's where you are...

Katie: ummm....i'm not sure if i am going to my afternoon class, so i will email (i am still in class right now...on break)...SO ....i will email after lunch ...my thesis presentation went well!....at least i think it did..we'll see.
i counted the number of times i said vagina/vaginal, so that was cool.

Me: I haven't been able to convincingly use the words vagina or vaginal in conversation today. Although it hasn't stopped me from trying.

Guy: I would assume it comes up lots when discussing people's investments...I know I use both ALL THE TIME when talking about life insurance policies!


Kiki: Not to put a damper on all the joking...but I actually did have to use the word vaginal a couple of times when preparing an underwriting quote. I didn't feel right about it though...I felt icky inside.

Me: I'm so jealous--your job (and Guy's apparenlty) is way better than mine. I only get to say penis.

Kiki: Yeah, but that's just when you're sexually harassing your co-workers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

There Are Somethings Money Can't Buy. For Everything Else There's Mastercard

Oil change and Engine System Flush: $75
Transmission Fluid Change and Flush: $170
Power Steering Fluid Change and Flush: $80
Coolant Change and Flush: $100
Full Tank of Gas and Car Wash: $33

Not having my 12 year old car break down on me during this weekend's roadtrip: Priceless.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Billy Bob Thornton is Off His Meds (Again)

Who'd of thunk a little interview on CBC radio would become the talk of the internets?

Someone came of as a dick in this interview and it wasn't the Canadian. Manners triumph over rudeness yet again!

It'll make you squirm, but it's totally worth it. For the squeamish, here's a partial transcript.

Wow. Just...wow.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

Mom Update:

She convinced her doctor to ditch the morphine pump and now she's on a patch which is a huge relief and has improved her mood immeasurably. Her latest test results show a very small (like millimeters small) increase in her tumour growth (which is better than we had expected) however there is bad news--a larger more aggressive tumour on her spine near her tailbone/small of her back is threatening to cause permanent nerve damage which will lead to paralysis, incontinence and other nasty and unbearable things.

So the doctors have suggested (and my Mom has agreed to) radiation therapy on the tumour to shrink it and avert these problems (hopefully.) She starts a week from Monday and will get treatments every week day for two weeks. I guess at that point they'll see how effective it was and will decide what to do from there. The best part? Mom's now got a tattoo! Four of them in fact--they had to tattoo little dots on her tummy to guide the radiation techs to get the aim right. I was hoping it'd be a 'tramp stamp' but you can't have everything.

My New Hairdo!

I love my hair again! I've spent the last year or so not really loving my hair which is hard for me to admit because I'm very hair vain. Historically I've loved my hair most when it was cut in a bob and (probably not coincidentally) it's also the style I get the most compliments on. My Honey and my hair stylist both prefer my hair longer so I have been giving it the old college try, but no matter how great the hair cut I just couldn't really embrace longer hair. I hate the feel of it on the back of my neck, I hate how hot is seems and how it's always getting in the way. And don't start with the "Why don't you just put it up?" If I wanted my hair up I'd have it short. Not to mention I feel like I look terrible with my hair back in a ponytail.

The final nail in the coffin of my long hair came last Sunday when Kiki said to me from across the room, "I miss your bob." That was all the validity I needed. So last night I instructed my loyal and long-suffering hair stylist to "take it all off" which he did and it looks and feels fantastic! I think it might be the best bob I've ever had. It's an angled bob (longer in the front, shorter in the back) with a subtle stacked back that I can add major volume to if I want a more Vamp-y look. The front comes just below the chin and the back is just above collar height. The reason I'm going into such great detail with the description is because you're not likely to see a picture of it posted to this blog any time soon. And did I mention I'm vain about my hair?

Miscellaneous

It was Randy's birthday on Thursday and tonight's the big celebration. Don't know exactly when it's all starting but I know the festivities will include dinner and drinks at a local pub, probably hangin' and prezzies at Katie's and then dancing our figurative asses off at our preferred dance club. Katie and I got the best gift ever for him--he better like it or we'll kick his ungrateful, skinny little 'O'Nasty' ass! Actually, Kiki's gift was better--she got him Rock Star for his XBox360. Their neighbours are gonna hate us...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"I am a Deeply Superficial Person"

Today I went to see a showing of Andy Warhol's work in what could be one of the least expected places you could imagine--the Children's Museum in Kitchener, Ontario. It's been there for weeks now and I finally got around to going--and boy, am I glad I did!

I'll be honest--my expectations weren't very high. I mean really--Kitchener? How much Andy Warhol stuff could they possibly get?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

Marilyn was there in all her glory, and Mick. And of course the ubiquitous Campbell's soup can. But so was Venus. And Santa Claus. And stuff he did for kids that I'd never even heard of.

In addition to a surprisingly large and comprehensive collection of his work, there were black and white photographs taken of the goings on at his famous Factory featuring all the regulars and their shinannigans. The museum had also re-created the Factory for kids to make their own screenprinted Warhol-inspired works of "art."

So the moral of this story is this; great things can happen in K-W and if you find yourself in this backwater I strongly urge you to check this out. You'll be glad (and pleasantly surprised) you did.

P.S. The Children's Museum also has a fabulous organic cafe called eXhibit. I recommend the grilled cheese.

Friday, March 20, 2009

All Right, Mr DeMille, I'm Ready for My Close-up

I have had unhappy skin for the last week and a half. I ran out of my favourite facial moisturizer and I've had to use my backup moisturizer and while it is adequate, it just isn't nearly as wonderful as my usual stuff.

When I discovered this particular moisturizer it was as though a whole new world opened up to me. I don't mean to hyperbolize here, but you don't understand how much money I've wasted trying to find something that my sensitive skin would not only tolerate, but embrace like a long-lost relative. This stuff makes my skin soft as a baby's bottom and it evens and smooths my skin like nothing else I've tried (and I've tried a lot of stuff!)

For the last week and a half I've looked on helplessly as my skin began to betray me. I started noticing it's texture losing it's smoothness, variations in colour becoming more apparent and even a little (gasp!) acne showing up and it's not even my period!

This morning all that changed. Last night after work I visited the drug store to finally pick up a new bottle and lo and behold the stuff was on sale! Ten bucks off! So I lavished my poor face with attention, applying both last night before bed and this morning after my shower and it was like the last 10 days had never happened!

Well, to my face anyway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Any Excuse to Celebrate!

Today marked the day I had my 3000th visitor to my blog! This anonymous individual arrived at my blog via Mindy's and lives somewhere in Canada and accesses the interwebs via Roger's. How do I know all this? I'm psychic!

Actually, that's not true. It's because I subscribe to a stat counter. See that little green icon at the very bottom left of my blog? Waaaaaay down, all the way down at the bottom? It says, "sitemeter." Click on that and you'll see how many visitors have been on my blog and if you click on the "recent visitors, by location" link on the left hand side you'll see where these visitors come from. It's pretty fucking cool!

I love my site counter--it's cool to see the strange Google searches that bring people to my blog (and I also like to know if My Honey has been to check it out recently--hellooo cyber stalking!) It also serves as a great ego boost when I get to feeling like nobody cares about what I have to say and I start to question my value as a human being in general. I like when I see new people coming along and spending 5 minutes browsing my posts, but I like even more that all you regulars (you know who you are) keep coming back to read me time after time even though most of my posts are rambling crap. Yes, I am fishing for compliments.

Anywhoo, I just wanted to share this little success with you and thank you all for your continued support of my self-indulgent dream of become famous on the interwebs. 3000 visitors can't be wrong!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Someone's Trying to Justify My Rent Increase

They're painting the unit doors in my apartment building this week (they being the ubiquitous "they" who are responsible for making decisions about these types of things.) Well, doors and "frs" to be exact. I was a little confused by the sign, partly because I didn't know what "frs" were and also because I couldn't understand why (assuming "frs" is a shortened form of something) the entire word wasn't spelled out as there was ample room on the sign for more than 3 letters.

So then I started thinking maybe "frs" was actually an extremely abbreviated version of a much longer word that wouldn't fit on the sign, like "furnitures" or "fornicators" or "forefathers." But none of these really made any sense so I assumed, probably like everyone else, that "frs" was "frames." Doors and frames.

Three days into the exercise someone finally cleared the whole thing up once and for all by writing in pen "floors" below "frs" on the sign in the elevator. Well there you go then.

So far I haven't seen any paint on the floors, but maybe they're just covering their bases in case they spill some.

Thank goodness they're not painting the fornicators! How would I explain coming into work covered in gray paint?