Friday, November 26, 2010

My New Tango Shoes

It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
Robert W. Service

Next week, I will be lobstering. There will be no post....

Sure I will have plenty of time, an average of 14 hours a day of nothing to do but think. I'm sure I could dream up many posts.

But seeing as my hands will be occupied banding thousands of lobsters, I will not have the time, nor the co-ordination to type them up.

Don't set your hearts on a post lobstering week wrap up either.

Banding is kind of like childbirth. You feel a little acid-refluxy nervous anticipation for it. You get through it. You enjoy the rewards after. Then you forget every detail so as to be able to someday go through it all again.

It's indescribable anyway.

In fact I tried to describe it this weekend to a sales man, and I'm pretty sure he thinks he was being punked.

He's probably still checking for hidden cameras in the display racks.

Last year my boots disintegrated off my feet on the second day.

So I had to spend the remaining 5 days in second rate non-insulated rubber boots.

Not only was I sad to no longer own a pair of size 13 hand-me down "Lego-Boots" but my feet were also cold.

So this year, I decided to sacrifice a day's pay to purchase my very own pair of good lobstering quality boots.

No more digging in the basement for a pair of matching rubber boots my father no longer wants...I am a grown up, I will buy my own pair.

I wanted a fancy comfy pair like my boyfriend has for work. No dice, they are $250+ and have to be ordered online.

So he takes me to Atlantic Workwear. The window display is camo gear, and orange stuff you see construction workers wear.

Inside there is a sign, promoting a percentage off hunting boots, big oil gear, safety hats, and black steel-toed police boots.

I fit right in in my leggings, 80's inspired t-shirt dress, and fur lined boots with decorative buckles.

Maybe that's why I didn't get waited on right away.

I pick out a big pair of clunky boots and flag down a store clerk.

When I ask to try some on he tells me they don't come in womens sizes.

He is obviously very flustered by the fact that he is waiting on the 150-pound-woman-with make-up-on, and not the 230-pound-man-with-arms-the-size-of-a-dumptrucks that he assumed would be buying something.

He quickly goes back to find the smallest pair that he has. I try on the men's size 9 I took off display.

It's too small.

Not in the normal sense, of my toes a scrunched up and I can't get my heel in. But in Lobsterbander terms, size 9 is a bit snug for me.

The look on his face was priceless when he comes back out with the 7 and I tell him no way.

I then start to explain to him why I need boots in the first place.

I say it will be cold... he helpfully informs me that they are insulated boots.

I re-explain cold as "Ill be standing still fro 12 hours on a boat, I need to fit three pairs of wool socks on"

He shows me the girlie rubber boots he still thinks I am looking for, something light weight and you can fit the fancy liners in side.

These are in fact the exact type of boots that I wore for five days last season, which brought me to the conclusion that it was worth it to spend more money on my very own pair of boots.

There is something about "12 hours of cold" that this man is not understanding.

As I explain to him that I need to be able to wiggle my toes inside my boots, mainly to keep warm, but also as a form entertainment between sets. (Wiggling your toes is as close to dancing as your body can pull off during the first week.)

When I tell him that I usually wear size 13, he starts looking at my boyfriend for some sign that I'm an escaped lunatic who just needs to be corralled into a corner so they can straight-jacket me and put me back in my cell.

I finally convince him to let me buy the size nines. (I asked for size tens and he said he didn't have any... I think he was lying, but I didn't bother to call him on it.)

I then drop the final bomb on him and tell him it doesn't matter since I'll only be wearing them for a week anyway.

I realize now that I failed to mention that I would be wearing them for one week out of the year, not one week my entire life.

I will continue to wear them after that, but most likely all they will be really useful for, is that one week. These boots should last me the rest of my life, one week at a time

I would have tried to clear that up, but he actually gave me a discount. It may have been because he felt sorry for me.

Or it may have been he was afraid I would freak out at the price and he would have to go through the whole "choosing a pair" process with me again.

In the end I have a brand new pair of Arctic, green, cushiony, insulated rubber boots. And I'm getting used to the fact that you can't fit a Ford Explorer in the space between my actual toe and the end of the boot.

You can probably still fit a good mid-size family sedan though, so I'm happy.

And as I brag about my new boots to anyone who will listen (or read), I realize that an expensive pair of new shoes makes me excited, no matter what they look like :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

People in glass houses, shouldn't throw cantelopes.

Learn all you can from the mistakes of others.  You won't have time to make them all yourself.  ~Alfred Sheinwold

This week my niece learnt a very important lesson.

Not to throw rocks.

She actually learnt it with the least amount of damage. There was no broken glass, no dented car, no bloodshed, chipped teeth, or trips to the emergency room.

She threw a rock across to road about two seconds before the school bus passed by. The family dog ran after it. My sister screamed bloody murder at the dog, and he did stop.

Then she continued to scream bloody murder at my niece.

(Okay as I write that I realize child services might start to take interest.. but you know what I mean).

My niece was quickly put in "time-out" to think about what just happened.

I think my sisters intention was to let her sit and imagine how horrible and guilty she would feel if she had of been the cause of the demise of the beloved family dog.

My niece is four. She didn't really grasp that concept.

Instead, for two minutes she sat and thought "oh, my Mommy is MAD at me... she did not want me to throw that rock, I wonder how long she'll be mad at me?? I wish she wasn't so mad at me.... what can I do to make her not mad"

So in her little four year old mind she devised a plan to fix things.

"But Mommy, I didn't throw the rock... Magnum did"

Second lesson of the day, don' t lie to your mother. Or at least don't always try to pin it on the dog.

This story (after the fact) was quite entertaining, (although I think traumatizing in general for my niece).

And it got me thinking about some lessons I learnt as a child without ever meaning to.

Nail Polish and Barbie Dolls don't mix.

I decided my Barbies would get in a car accident. And then need surgery. I used lipstick for the blood.

When that ran out, I used Covergirl Valentine Red #076 Nail Polish.

Looking back, perhaps this was the first sign of my resourcefulness as a make-up artist.

At the time my mother didn't quite see it as an act of a budding artist. I can still remember sitting on the kitchen counter, watching her try to scrub the polish off all the barbies, some of them loosing their eyes and their lips with the acetone.

Our one and only African American Barbie contracted Michael Jackson's skin bleaching disease.

Not all lessons have to be learnt from the destruction of property.I also learnt early on that Older brothers really are good for some things

One day I decided to follow my cat while she went exploring through the woods.

I chased her around the well, and over rocks, and finally up a tree, only to have my foot caught between two branches and get stuck.

As the malicious feline sat and watched me cry for awhile, then simply got up and trotted off as if to say "Ha, that's what you get for pestering"

(she was a cranky cat, this incident should have ended our friendship. But one lesson I've never learnt is when to let people out of my life who are only going to hurt me)

Hours later dusk was settling. (Or perhaps 20 or 30 minutes... the drama of it all kind of skews my memory... but in 5 year old time it was hours) My brother wandered through the woods and informed me that Mom was looking for me.

He probably could have left me there if he wanted to be as heartless as dear sweet Kitty. But his conscience couldn't escape my hyperventilating wails and he broke the other branches to help free me from my captivity.

And you aren't done learning lessons once you pass the age of innocence.

I learnt that Bus schedules aren't just decorations at the bus stops

No they actually mean something. And should you choose to take a bus, you should probably learn how to read them.

Figured that one out somewhere in England. I say "somewhere" because I honestly don't know where I was when I did figure that out.

I got on at my host parents bus stop... and just kept going. No one else from the Academy was on the bus, but I didn't really notice.

In fact I never really noticed anything until I realized we had gone into the country side, and back into another town, without ever passing anything that looked like the Steiner Training Academy.

It was 30 minutes before classes started. And it would be another 15 minutes back to where I started, and 15 minutes from there to the Academy.

So here, in this strange town, was where the bus decided to park for a 20 min break. It was also in this strange town that I vowed never to take a bus by myself again.

Trust me, it does no good to explain to your future employers how you can completely competent in every single way, except at understanding a simple bus schedule.

I refuse to talk about the reasons why You should always wear underwear when in a strange country. But trust me... I had not intended to learn that lesson that day either.

The one thing that does come from learning things the "unexpected way" is that they really stick with you.

I never played "ambulance" with my Barbies again. I've always appreciated my brother, and know I can count on him in an emergency.

And you can always pick me out in a foreign country...

I'm the tourist paying 10 times as much to take a cab instead of the bus, who has panty lines.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something Worth Mentioning

Now that it's all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning?  ~Coleman Cox

Nothing.. that is what I did yesterday (I apologize to any clients that I had yesterday... but nothing came to mind)

Okay now that I think about it, I did have a very good conversation with one of my clients yesterday.

She had a problem, and although I couldn't offer her a solution I did assure her that she wasn't the only one who had a teenager who was driving her to the looney bin.

See... like I said.. not really anything worth mentioning.

So today I changed that.

Today I signed up for "Bust-A-Move". A fundraising campaign for a breast cancer clinic being built at the IWK in Halifax.

I need to raise $1000 by March 27th 2011.


No problem.

And tomorrow when I wake up I will be able to say... "Hey guess what I did yesterday, something worth mentioning"

And then I'm fairly certain that I will say "WTF??? I Hate Fundraising!!!"

I mostly blame a certain period of time in my life that most like to call "Sr. Year"

Also known as the year I lost my mind and decided to become Grad/Prom minister.

I fundraised my a$$ off, only to have half girls in the Sr. Class come to me a month before prom and beg me not to spend any money on decorations just to give it all to families in Africa to by pigs and goats.

Thank You Oprah.

And Mrs.Walsh for showing that episode in class..... and then turning around and using the hard-raised money to pay for a flat screen TV for the new school.

Oh yeah, and don' t forget to give the credit to the next graduating class.

So yes, you might say I'm a little bitter from my last fundraising experience.

But the chance to shake my booty with Paula Abdul is just too good to pass up.

So I'm dusting off my pledge sheets and practising my "please help my cause" smile.

But this time I'm not doing it alone.

When I saw that you had to raise $1000 a few things came to mind... mostly time, and money, and my lack of both.

As someone who is three weeks away from moving into a brand new home, I am actually closer to a Pollyanna character than I am to the benevolent Aunt Polly...

And as most of my friends well readily point out, I don't have time for a coffee or a phone call most days, let alone hours on end to beg, borrow, or steal my way to "strait up' glory.

So I decided to get someone to do it with me.

Since I don' t actually have any rich friends, with extensive ticket selling experience and nothing to do with their time but wish someone would ask them to make some cold calls, I roped my sister into the deal.

You know.. cause she's got nothing better to do.

Well yea, she's a mother, and runs a business, and volunteers for every tourism event that happens in the county.

But I thought in between teaching her daughter to skate, checking guests in, creating a giant leg lamp for a parade float, and having a life of her own she could squeeze in some time for breast cancer too.

I actually thought I would have to twist her arm, didn't take much, guess it must be a hereditary thing, taking on so much that you wake up with panic attacks.

But we're a good team I think... she's good at getting people excited about things, and I'm good at managing my panic attacks.

All we have to do now is think of a better name than "Team Shannon and Beth". And figure out how to work the donation site. And exercise for 6 hrs strait come Mach 27th.

As Jimmy Johnson said "The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."

Unfortunately for us that little extra describes the difference between a $25  registration fee and a $1000 donation collection.

If I sound a little worried about this mountain of a goal we have in front of us (yes it is a mountain... in no world is $2000 between 2 people in 4 months a mole hill) that is because I am.

I'm also terrified.

Although not nearly as terrified as someone who has just found out that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

So I am going to swallow my fear and bust my booty to contribute a small portion towards a huge goal of having a state of the art, all inclusive center to help make that experience even a little bit easier for them.

To donate please go to my donation page

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.

~Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~From Scooby-Doo~

I do not enjoy scary movies

I spent the first three minutes of the previews of "the Strangers" wringing my hands and muttering things like "Maybe I'll just go hang out with the ticket taker for an hour and a half.. he seemed bored.."

I actually should get a percentage of my money back from "The Hills Have Eyes" since I only really watched the top right hand corner of the screen.

(It's hard to plug your ears and cover your eyes with your own hands at the same time. Plus you have to know when it's safe to watch again)

I'm also not a fan of surprises, I don't like the stress of planning surprise parties.

I don' t like my day to be thrown off from what I planned to do.

I'm not afraid of any bug or animal if I know I'll being presented with it.

Make me wear a boa constrictor as a pashmina? Sure!!

But show me a harmless green snake hidden under a rock and I'll scream for the heavens.

That all being stated, one thing I enjoy every year is creating a haunted house for the trick or treaters :)

(Yes it was pointed out to me how cruel it is that I plot to traumatize people under the age of eight, yet whine if a slasher movie comes on TV.)

But Halloween isn't about me. It's about the kids.

This year, I enlisted some help.

I asked for a pulley device to raise and lower a spider to scare the kids as they got their candy.

Be careful what you wish for.

What I got was described as this...

"Picture a spider as tall as a kitchen table with eight 8 foot long legs. I feel bad because if it works like it's supposed to, if everything goes RIGHT, children will be scarred for life"

We spent a solid 24 hours preparing the house and setting the stage. (well except for that silly 10 hours that I slept... it was Sunday people, of course I slept in.)

At any rate, by 3:30 p.m. the house was enveloped in fake cotton/polyester webbing, scattered with plastic skulls and few real ones and I was ready....

Donning my best "Orkin Man" costume, with my story of infestation all worked out we answered the door to every cute little dressed up kid in the neighbour hood.

The script went a little like this...

Answer the door, explain that the owners of the house had left because of a spider infestation.

Invite them in to pick up the candy scattered through out the house.

Get them past the spider, and finally ask them to pose for a photo, at which point I would video them as we dropped the spider behind them.

Then watch them scream and run for their lives

Yes that was the plan...

This is what really happened.

Answer the door, explain there has been some spiders.

Offer them candy and anti-snake venom medicine.

Remember our theme is spiders.

Tell them about the chewable Benadryl (aka gum-balls) in case of a bite.

Get nervous that people will think I'm actually handing out medication to 4 year olds, so I break character and actually say the "aka gum-balls" part.

Lure them into the kitchen and ask them to pose for the "photo".

Watch through the unfocused screen as the black shadows do not move.

Seriously... if you want kids to behave these days, get them to pose for a photo,

They DO NOT MOVE until the flash has gone off.

Even if a giant 6 foot spider is screaming it's mandibles off as it descends upon them.

They just stand there and smile until the flash happens.

So we add more smoke, and more flashy lights.

I try to convince Mr. Anti-Holiday to hide under the table and grab at the kids feet as they reach for their candy (No dice).

And we perfected the sales pitch.

"Smile for the photo"

Cue spider.

Cue me screaming bloody murder and demanding Adam get it under control. We figure if the kids saw me panic about something, they too would panic.

Unfortunately this also makes me wave the camera around wildly, which in turns creates a useless video.

But it did encourage some kids to jump a little farther and higher.

And then when I realized the kids were actually afraid I would break character again and tell them "Don't worry, it's not real."

(I wouldn't have believed that I did this if there wasn't blurry badly lit video evidence of it. But it does makes sense, I hate being scared, why would I like to scare them?)

All in all I believe they enjoyed it. And we managed to retouch the video to go from black and blurry shadows to slightly less black yet still kinda blurry.

The plans for next year are already being discussed.

No part of those plans involve me being in charge of the camera.