Thursday, September 1, 2011

Heartfelt beauty tips, from the bottom of my brain.

I had plenty of pimples as a kid. One day I fell asleep in the library. When I woke up, a blind man was reading my face.
Rodney Dangerfield

Believe it or not, I actually do other things in life beside chase my dog around the neighborhood.

I own a business, and I actually spend some time trying to improve on that business.

So when I found out about this amazing system called "Zeno Hot Spot" I decided I had to try it to see what all the fuss is about.

Now I would like to take this opportunity to mention that this is not an official review of a product. This is simply my experience with it, and all comments should be taken with a grain of salt.

(Should you fell like adding a little lime and tequila to that grain of salt while reading, go right ahead, my wit increases with alcohol consumption)

I first read about Zeno about a year ago, some magazine recommended it somewhere as the newest greatest beauty tool.

It is supposed to clear unpleasant blemishes within 24hrs of them first developing.

What woman doesn't want that? To clear up a problem zit with the push of a button. Seems too good to be true!! So of course, I wanted one.

If it actually could do what it claimed, think how much more my clients would love me if they came in with that annoying pimple and I could get rid of it with a quick treatment.

So like all things that seem like a good idea but aren't life-threateningly necessary, I put it on my "To Buy" list.

This list includes things like, Air conditioner, Jessica Simpson Hair-Do clip in bangs, new sneakers, Air brush machine...

The list gets a little lengthy, as I barely ever break down and actually spend money on things unless it's is pried from my hands with a crowbar.

But I had a spurt this spring and bought the Zeno. (In hind sight, perhaps I should have went with the air-conditioner.)

My first obstacle was just getting my hands on one. It's not available in Canada, and can't be shipped from, so I had to find it on some unknown site and pray not to be hacked.

I wasn't (hacked-as far as I know) but I was charged an insane amount for shipping, and then some customs fees (Dammit)

So my little $39 machine wound up costing me somewhere around $80.

And took about 3 weeks to get here.

By this time I've lost interest in trying new things.

So when the box arrives I say "Yea!! It's here!!" then I promptly put it in a drawer and forget about it.

A few weeks later I decide it's time to haul it out. PMS days are coming and so are the inevitable blotchy breakouts that come with them.

It's a tiny little device with no buttons or switches, just a few LED lights, a metal circle, and a book of instructions.

The book reads a little something like this...

"Zeno is not intended for use on, ingrown hairs, hormonal breakouts, blackheads, whiteheads, red pimples, bumpy pimples, pimples that are forming, or that have already formed and are starting to go away.

"Zeno is not really guaranteed to do anything, but we think it clears up pimples faster than if you don't use it.

"We can claim this fact, only because there is no conceivable way to ever prove, or disprove it."

Now that's a good disclaimer if I've ever read one. (Okay, I'll admit, I am paraphrasing a little, but that was the general idea of it.)

Oh yea, and it's got a little computer chip that turns it off after eighty uses, for "your own safety". (Um, just in case multiple zappings by the same machine casues cancer or something?)

In other words, please choose carefully which pimples you would like to clear up faster than others, because after eighty zaps, this little piece of crap becomes a useless piece of crap.

I threw all caution into the wind though, and just started zapping every pimple I could find...

Here are my results...

It gets hot.

Not so hot that it leaves a burn mark, but hot enough to make you think it will.

It also takes a full 2 1/2 minutes to work. For someone with my ADD, that is a very long time.

They even try to break it up by making it beep every 30 seconds, but after the first two beeps this just leaves you wondering if you've lost count.

And then it leaves a nice red circle on your skin.

So now not only do you have a pimple that people can spot from 20 paces, but you have a big red mark around it to make it visible from 40 paces!

Nice of them to publish a novel of "to-do's" (i.e. hold it on your skin for the full 2 1/2 minutes) and "not-to-do's" ( i.e. don't hold it on your eyeball), yet forget to mention a big "not-to-do" as in, don't do this 24 hrs before you go out in public!

But thankfully a few hours later this red spot goes away. And you are left with just the pimple.

Maybe it's some sort of reverse psychology effect, that once you get rid of the big red spot around the pimple you realize the pimple really isn't' that bad in the first place?

Kind of the equivalent to someone complaining that they have a splinter in the finger, so you kick them in the shin, to remind them there are things that hurt more?

I must say, if that is the case, it is quite effective, because since my first time using it I have not found a pimple that has bothered me enough to try it again.

Although I should also mention that I think holding a hot poker against your skin for two minutes would have the same effect.

In fact, I actually recommend you go buy a curling iron at Crappy T's next time they come on sale.

They usually run you about 20 bucks and when you're done clearing your skin you can give yourself a stylish new 'do to detract the attention from the burn welts on your face as they heal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A world of change

Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. ~Benjamin Disraeli

We travel the world over to find ourselves and come home to realize we are as we always should have been.

Or some crap like that.

Although I have to say that's not exactly true.

I have definitely been changed by my travels.

My idea of a good rate a nights sleep is $8.

Anything over that seems a bit steep.

Even downtown Toronto I grumble that a private room costs $35

Granted the actual hotel down the street costs around $250 a night, but any hostel over $20 just seems extravagant to me no matter how close to the CN Tower you are.

Traveling has also change my opinion on "street meat".

I am slightly ashamed to admit that back in my early days (say around the age of 19) I turned up my nose at most any food served on the street.

Especially if that food was largely consumed by drunk people.

I kind of thought that if the majority of your customer base is too inebriated to know who they're going home with, then they are probably too inebriated to care about basic hygiene.

I was just never convinced that these street vendors really ever followed any proper food handling guidelines.

Same goes for Pizza Corner... I simply didn't trust multiple pizza joints all located on one corner of downtown Halifax.

Somewhere along the past ten years, I got over all that.

In fact, I am now the type of person who turns up her nose at a Carlos and Charlies in Mexico, and walks three blocks past the giant Deparment-of-Food-and-Safety-regulated chain restaurants in search of a little street meat vendor.

I'm not saying that I have somehow come to believe that these street vendors actually wash their hands, I've just come to appreciate the taste of authentic dirt.

Although I have to admit, your general idea of "clean" is always subjective to what country you are in and how long you've been away from your own shower and laundry room.

Spending one night in a hotel in Halifax you generally do your normal routine- shower, make-up, fresh clothes, I've even been known to spoil myself with some room service.

After sleeping on the ground in a dessert in Egypt, your morning routine consists of trying not to throw up your cold boiled egg and pita, and roaming to find a rock far enough away from other group members to squat behind without accidentally ending up in someones panoramic photo of the wonderful scenery.

I even spent three days on a sailboat without going above deck once. When the weather finally cleared, I put on a clean shirt to celebrate the end of the storm.

Everything else I was wearing had been on my body for three days straight, but my shirt was clean, and I felt like I was in heaven.

But it's not just my standards for hygiene that are effected by my travels, it's also my language.

No, I don't speak any more fluently in french or spanish than I did back when I was 17, but boy can I swear in a lot of languages. Putant, Madre, Bloody Hell, and Hellll-naw, are some of my regulars.

(I may not be able to spell them, and I can't tell you what most of them mean, but they do fly out of my out of my mouth faster than your traditional four letter words.)

I also noticed this weekend I can't seem to say the word "oi" (as in ouch) without then muttering.. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi.....

The colour of my tan may not be as deep, and my out of focus photos may be lost in some old scrapbook, but the world has left an impression on me.

That impression seems to be cheap, dirty, and full of cuss words, but I am changed none the less.

Shelley and I, sitting on the dirty ground, in clothes that are probably dirty as well, drinking tea made from what is most likely water from a mud puddle.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Swallow your pride occasionally, it's non-fattening! 

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. ~Don Herold

Ever have one of those days that goes eternally wrong before you even get in the shower?

Welcome to my life.

7am I get up to take the dog for our usual bike ride.

Things actually run quite smoothly for the first 2 minutes or so.

Then we run into Hannah. Nothing disastrous happens, but I spend the rest of he bike ride feeling guilty that the dog loves us so much and I never let Bandit off to play with her.

So on the way back home, I do.

And of course I loose him.

I realize that this is the point where everybody rolls their eyes and says "Doesn't she ever learn?" and the answer to that is "No, I don't"

So it's 7:40 am and I've already screwed up for the day.

Haven't even brushed my teeth yet.

As I bike back home alone, I imagine what my stronger half is going to say when I tell him I've managed to loose the dog before he's even gotten out of bed for the day.

It turns into one of those imaginary conversations that take on a life of their own in you head.

Imaginary Me " I lost the dog"

Imaginary Him (With imaginary condescending look on his face) "Of course you did, you need to learn you can't trust him off leash"

Imaginary Me (Getting a little imaginarily condescending myself) "Oh yea, well maybe I wouldn't be the only one who ever lost him if it wasn't always my responsibility to take him in the mornings!"

I continue with the imaginary argument as I drive around the abandon railway tracks looking for the dog. Expanding the situation to include the damage to my car, wasted gas, and even the morning fog as things that can be attributed to his penchant for sleeping in.

A little voice of reason does pipe up about this time,"But hey, you like getting up early, that's why you do it"

I shove that voice of reason as far back down into the depths of my mind as I can, so I can continue irrationally seething as I go home dog-less.

As I enter the house I realize he's not even out of bed yet.

My blood boils.

I have managed to get up, bike the dog, loose the dog, waste 20 minutes looking for the mutt that I am now considering giving away or just taking out back and shooting and he ISN'T EVEN OUT OF BED YET??!!!!

I stomp downstairs to do my ten minutes of Jiggle Machine.

Which just inflames the anger as I think about how I COULD have time to do hour and a half work-outs like he does, if I didn't have to spend my entire LIFE trying to tire out the dog.

Maybe there should be a study done, if your temper is already through the roof, the effects of getting the crap shaken out of you for ten minutes not only increases circulation, and muscle mass, but also irrational thoughts.

A pip-squeak voice in the back of my mind manages to mention that I really barely ever make it through my ten minutes without getting bored, why the hell would I ever WANT to lift weights for an hour and a half?

I manage to drown it out with thoughts of "He damn well better not get in that shower before I get back up stairs"

"If he thinks he can just laze around all morning and then get in the shower just at the exact moment I NEED to get in the shower I'll kill him!! I swear I will."

As I was formulating a plan to go into the OTHER shower and turn on all the cold water so he boiled to death for taking a shower just when I needed to, a thought occurred to me.

He's not up yet because he doesn't have to work until 5pm.

Annoying voice of reason mentions not only the fact that he told me this last night, but also how nicely it works out that I get the bathroom all to myself all morning.

I silence it with a good irrational "Well why the hell didn't he tell me that this morning instead of letting me get up and bike the dog!!"

If he just had of reminded me of that at 7am I wouldn't have gotten up at all, therefor I wouldn't have lost the dog and I wouldn't be in such a bad mood and we wouldn't be on our fifth imaginary argument already!!

Look how he's managed to screw up so badly without even lifting his head off the pillow.

Ten minutes later and my brains are just about shaken out of my skull, my muscles have become jelly, yet my bad mood hasn't softened a bit.

As I stomp past him into the unoccupied bathroom, he wakes and says "Good Morning"


That's all I could manage. I realized at this point that I was being absolutely insane, but I still wasn't ready to come back to the realm of normal emotions.

So instead I shut the door to let the bad mood simmer down a little.

When I am finally ready for work, (and ready to face the consequences of my unleashing actions) I come out.

He's still in bed. (To his defense, it really only takes me about 15 minutes to get ready for work).

I'm no longer mad at him for this. I sit on the edge of the bed and confess my sins.

"I lost the dog"

I brace for the argument that comes next, fully prepared to take nearly all the responsibility for being a bad dog owner.

"Well, he'll come back"

That was it.

That was the only response he had for me.

I managed to have an entire nervous breakdown before 8:30am and SH doesn't even bat an eye.

That's why he is my stronger half, and usually also my saner half.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The devil is in the details

Someone asked someone who was about my age: "How are you?" The answer was, "Fine. If you don't ask for details.
Katharine Hepburn

The German proverb says "The devil is in the details"

Then again Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (whoever he is) once said "God is in the details.”

And far too many people to name have mentioned "Life is in the details."

All I know for sure is that sometimes the details just don't enter my life.

I wrote a blog post three or four weeks ago. As you may have noticed, it hasn't been posted yet.

Mainly because I keep forgetting the small detail of bringing my computer home so I can spell check (yes I know it's sad, I actually spell check and I still post with this many errors) and then post it.

So someday, when I get the energy, and the brain space, I will post that entry.

Today, I simply must rant about other details that have slipped my mind lately.

I drove to town last week to pay my car and house insurance.

I was missing one small detail, the location of my check-book.

I wrote out a list (in detail) of all of the things I wanted to accomplish over the long weekend.

I forgot the one important detail of bringing the list home with me.

(That missing detail did serve a greater purpose. I was able to procrastinate on everything and fully enjoy the sunshine because I had no stupid list staring me down all day telling me I was being unproductive)

It's not just the little things I screw up, and it's not just recently that I've been doing things like this.

I've sent rent checks without signing them. (Ones that I actually had the bank balance to back up)

I've ordered and paid for pizza and then drove out of town without it. (All the while trying to figure out what I had at home to have for supper)

I own a pair of pants that are two inches too short for me, purely because I forgot to change out of my pyjama bottoms before leaving for work. (I'd say that was a low point)

I even dated a guy once without being totally sure if his name with Richard or Robert. ( He even sent me flowers... the card was signed "R" I thought maybe he was just trying to mess with my head)

Now generally these small details (or lack there of) come and go without any big production.

The unsigned checks get returned, the pizza makes it home slightly colder then intended, they sell pants at The Bargain Shop, and who really needs to know the name of a guy you plan on avoiding the rest of your life anyway?

It's just when these little minor detail slips come in succession that things get kind of screwy.

Take this gift I was planning on sending to a friend recently.

First, I thought I had her address.

Turns out I had direction to her mother's house in New Brunswick. (My friend lives in Alberta)

While searching further I found I did indeed have an address for her in Alberta.

It just so happened to be her business address.

Minor detail, but the major detail was this was a gift for her baby and she was heading on maternity leave any minute, and wouldn't be at work to receive said gift.

I finally broke down and asked her for her address.

Meanwhile, in other peoples lives there was this rumour of a postal strike.

I do online banking, so not a detail I needed to pay attention to.

That is, until I finally had the right address, and no post office to send it.

All's well now though, the strike has ended.

I just seem to have forgotten where the gift is.

So in truth this isn't just a blog entry, it's also a cry for help.

Sweet little Remi was born yesterday.

But until I happen across where ever the hell I deemed a proper place to store an un-postable package, all I can send is my love.

And, my apologies for being so non-detail oriented.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ~Mother Theresa

"Isn't it a little ironic here?  We pick politicians by how they look on TV and Miss America on where she stands on the issues.  Isn't that a little backwards?"-- Jay Leno

Every little girl dreams at one point or another of being crowned queen or princess at a pageant.

Okay... I realize that statement isn't exactly true.

If I were writing a nationally syndicated column I would be hounded, with thousands upon thousands of nasty comments and hate mail. About how politically incorrect I am to group all little girls together and how outrageously demeaning pageants are to little girls

But thankfully I'm not.

I'm just my tiny little rant in my corner of the world, and that sentence, though littered with fallacy and assumptions, sounded like a good way to start today's post.

Besides you should all just be happy that this isn't another story about my dog.

So back to where I started.... as a child I dreamt of being in my small town's Exhibition pageant just like my sister.

( I never was, Exhibition week seemed to always fall conveniently on the same week I went to visit my aunts in another town. Kudos to my mother for pulling that one over on me three years in a row)

I watched on the edge of my seat as Darva Conger was crowned to marry a millionaire when I was seventeen.

(Who knew that show could cause so much controversy, yet ten years later the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows are beloved prime time must-sees.)

And if I had cable TV I can say with absolute certainty I would be addicted to the "Little Miss Perfect" shows.

(No matter how much they make my stomach turn, I have to admit it is about 50% curiosity, 48% disdain, and 2% jealousy that keeps my from looking away.)

So when asked to be a judge for the First Annual "Real Lobsterman of Shelburne County" pageant, I could hardly resist.

Six men would compete to prove worthy of the title and all I had to do was sit and watch and pick which one I liked best.

Sounds easy right?

Yes, I could sit down in the darkened audience and watch these men do all the hard work, then maybe hold up a little card that said my score on it for each one.

Should I mention I'm not actually the competitive type so I was planning on giving them all a 9.5 anyway?

The pageant started a 7pm... like a diligent judge I was having some pre-pageant coffee (to stay alert just in case I felt the need to vary the scores or anything) and getting ready to show up by about 6:45.

This is where my preconceived notions of the night started to go a little hairy.

I got a call from my sister asking me to be there by 6pm to go over the judging rules.

Oooppss... I could tell right then that one of those rules would be "Please don't be apathetic about this and just give them all the same scores, leaving the other judges to do all the work"

So I show up an hour early, still thinking this would be a fairly laid back evening on my part. What could be so hard about actually deciding who deserves the 7 and who deserves a 10?

As I walk towards the stage, and notice all the people running around doing what looked like official setting up things, I realized that maybe this was going to be a little more involved than previously expected.

Then as I neared the stage I realized that the table ON the stage had three seats for the judges.

So much for sitting with the audience, was my first thought.

Glad I brushed my hair, was my second.

As it turns out the judges were also a part of the show.

As a diligent supporter of community events, I didn't complain.

Well, not until was informed I had to write a bio on my self to be introduced.

Then I wined a little.

You may think that because I write these things that make people chuckle I'm actually quite witty.

Au Contraire Mon Frére. Not in the least. At least not on demand. I'm not so great at writing under pressure.

I read the bios for the other judges for some inspiration. But all that did was intimidate me.

Little did I know that finding a way to describe myself in six short entertaining sentences was actually the easiest duty I would have for a night.

I then had to come up with my own questions to ask the contestants!

About lobstering!!

All I know about lobstering is how much it hurts to get pinched and that I get a little nauseous before sunrise.

This is when I started flat out complaining that my sister hadn't prepared me for anything. She looked a little horrified as she tried to assure me that she had no idea I would have to do public speaking.

I think she thought I was going to quit or something.

Sometimes I just like to whine. It helps with my creative process.

And so there I sat, through the Opening Ceremonies, with my "I'm paying attention and fully enjoying this" face. Thinking about how similar being a bridesmaid and a pageant judge really are.

First you think it's an honour, then you realize there is real work involved, and to top it all off you have to get up in front of everyone and behave yourself so as not to steel the spotlight from what they actually came to see.

As the pageant starts they call the men up to the stage.

I look at line of six strong, macho, fisherman walking to their own rhythm of "How the hell did we get talked into this?" and I start to feel a little less sorry for myself and a little more proud of them.

Then the judging officially starts and I have no time to actually think of anything else.

They modeled their outfits, answered their questions, and their hands flew as they completed their rope coiling, splicing and lobster banding tasks.

There were points to be given out for creativity and originality. Not to mention I gave out extra points just for them being entertaining.

But I kept having to adjust scores, because I would give one guy a 45 out of 50, then the next guy would be way better.. so I'd have to down grade the 45 to a 42 to be able to give the next one a 48.... it was a complicated system I had going. I'm not sure if it would pass a pageantry review board.

Nothing was scored out of ten. I felt a little bit like I was being given a public math exam.

We had three stop watches, but not a calculator in sight.

By the end of the night, my score sheet looked like this.

My fellow judges and I tallied everything up individually. Then we added all of our scores together, only to find that out of a possible 450 points, two guys had the exact same score.

We couldn't have done that if we had tried.

So we went back for a tie-breaker. A Band-0ff. Ten lobsters each, first one done takes the grad prize.

It was a nail biter to the end. But finally we crowned ourselves a "Real Lobsterman of Shelburne County", and two "Men in Waiting".

And despite all my complaints I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hope to be asked back next year (hint hint Suzy).

I will be prepared with my caculator, and my white-out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Every day is a new opportunity for failure.

"Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee" Stephanie Piro

I am a magnet for things just plain old not working out.

Other people can go through day to day life without really doing anything spectacular, and still not having anything disastrous go on either.

I can usually only manage to accomplish the former.

Take this past Sunday for example.

All I really wanted was a simple cup of coffee.

I couldn't make it at home, as the last time I bought coffee I mistakenly got some French Vanilla crap.

Instant coffee is pretty bad on it's own, but flavoured instant coffee tastes like liquified rubber.

Old rubber.

Like the kind that is on a boot that you let your dog chew.

And then the dog buries it in the back yard and you grow old and get put in a home, and a new family moves in and THEIR dog digs up the old boot that has been rotting underground for thirty years and starts chewing on it.

Take that taste and liquify it.

You will have a gold mine if you happen to be in the dog treat flavour business.

But if you are me, all you have is a rubber boot tasting coffee.

So I dump it out and head to town for groceries.

Last week I convinced my Stronger Half to go for ice-cream after shopping.

This week we were too damn early and the Dairy Treat wasn't open.

( Why??!! Why don't they open until 1pm??!! Am I the only person in the world that craves a Reses Pieces Flurry at 10 am??)

On the way out of town I have a brilliant idea to get SH to stop for Circle K Coffee.

I'm addicted to their Cafe Mochas.

Nobody else that I know actually likes Circle K Coffee.

I generally either have to trick people into going by asking them out for coffee, sort of insinuating I mean for Tim's or perhaps The Beandock, and then just pulling into Circle K.

Or I have to bribe them.

Since "SH" could also usually stand for "Smarter Half" I knew trickery was out of the question.

Thankfully I had a stock pile of Irving Gas coupons with me.

And my coffee deprived mind decided they were worth sacrificing for such a bribe.

I had to work quickly as our town is only twice the size of a postage stamp and we were already halfway to the gas stations.

It took almost three blocks to convince him to use the coupons.

I am generally the beneficiary of this Sobeys/Irving marketing scam because I make next to nothing, and drive two hours a day to do so. Therefor it is deemed that I deserve 3 cents off my gas purchases.

It's true, I do need them. But in the heat of the moment, like a genuine crack addict, I decided I needed my Cafe Mocha more.

So knowing the the quickest way to SH's heart is through his wallet, I explained how the coupons were more valuable the more liters you pump. His tank is bigger, so he should be using them.

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I knew I was potentially giving up every future gas coupon that came into our possession.

Just to ensure he understood that this offer was a one time only deal, I managed to coyly slip in the real reason for going to Irving

" maybe I could like get a coffee or something"

Slick I know.

He's not generally easily persuaded, so he must just really love me.

Or perhaps he was just didn't like the way I was white knuckling it as we neared closer and closer.

At any rate, he pulled into Irving and I made a bee-line for the coffee machines.

Here I found the other four people in the world that like Circle K coffee. They all took their sweet time getting theirs.

When It was my turn I pressed my magic sequence of buttons

"Columbian" "CafeMocha" "16oz" "Start"

and waited for my caffeinated chalky goodness to fill my cup.

And it almost did.

Except the Chocolate was empty in the machine. Which meant I had to find someone to change it.

I corner a lost looking blonde girl with a Circle K Shirt on and tell her I need more chocolate.

She looks at me like I have three heads.

I explain to her that the cup didn't fill up and the usually means that the machine is out of chocolate.

SH at this point has finished filling both his truck with gas, and his own coffee cup and is waiting for me to go.

Blondie is trying to explain to me that there are different cup sizes and I must have pressed the 12 oz.

I've already thrown my bad coffee out, so I can't make her taste it, so I run it through the machine again.

She walks away, apparently thinking that she has satisfied a customer.

I wrangle her back over, and explain again that the machine is out of chocolate, as SH pays for the gas and coffees.

She thinks I'm a new customer, and yet again tells me that I've pressed 12oz, and put in a 16oz cup.

At which point I inform her in my best "get your stoner ass in gear" voice, that I purchase a coffee every single day and press the same buttons every single time, which makes me infinitely more qualified than her in the goings on of the coffee machine.

And this machine is most definitely out of Chocolate.

She then admits that she can't find the key. As she admits this she walks over to the storage counter and finds the key right where it probably always is.

She then turns around and says "I think we're out of Chocolate for the machines"

What I should have done was taken the key from her, opened the stupid cupboard door, found the new chocolate and replaced it in the machine.

Instead, I drop kicked her.

Well no I didn't. I wanted to, but without my caffeine/crack-cociane-chocolate high, I really didn't have the energy.

So I just gave up, and I walked out after twenty minutes of trying without my coffee.

Like I said, I seem to excel at getting into situations where things screw up. Nobody dies, nothing is destroyed, yet still my day is slightly crappier than if I hadn't of tried to do anything at all.

Not only did I give up my gas coupons and not get a coffee for it, but I then had to drive home to the sound of SH contentedly sipping HIS coffee, that he never wanted in the first place.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ten minutes to inner peace...

Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.
Saul Bellow

This past weekend I took a fitness course.

We were asked to describe a fitness activity and how it effects us holistically.

One woman's answer was about mountain biking.

It was poetic, and thoughtful, and made you just want to jump on a bike and head out to the mountains.

I don't remember the exact wording, but it went a little something like this...

"You jump on your bike, and head out onto the trail. Your heart starts pumping and you legs start burning, and for the first ten minutes your only thought is ~ I just want to go home and sit on the couch~

Then you start to get into a rhythm, your mind falls into a zone of peace and you feel connected to the earth and the wind and the trees.

You feel one with your bike and can continue on for hours. Your soul feels restored."

Again I'm paraphrasing, but that was the general idea of it.

She did such a good job at describing the bike ride, and all the emotions that come with exercise that the instructor referenced her little speech two or three times through-out the weekend.

She also did such a good job at romanticizing the bike ride that I started to wonder why I don't enjoy my morning rides more...

Why don't I wake up an extra half hour early to spend that time, bonding with my dog and the earth and replenishing my spirt and nourishing my soul.

Hell, why don't I wake up an hour early to really get a good long bike in, since apparently after the first gruesome ten minutes you hit a point where you feel like a cycling goddess who can continue forever!

This morning, on my regular bike ride I realized why.

Her experience involves a personal challenge, combined with independence and freedom, mixed with a little adventure and remote woods paths.

Her bike is her ticket away from reality and the stress of the real world for awhile.

My experience involves a 2yr old husky.

My morning ride starts with strapping everything together.

My helmet to my head, my gloves to my hands, my pant legs inside boots so as not to get caught in the chain.

I then strap my dog to my handle bars and say the first of my morning prayers.

As we speed down the first little hill of our driveway my heart is always somewhere in my throat.

I have no thoughts of wishing I were back on the couch eating a bag of chips... I have no time for thoughts at all other than "Please please please stay upright"

This first moment of fear lasts for about 20 seconds, or until I get past the dreaded spot where I fell off the bike a few months ago.

I start to calm down as we round the first corner and head up hill.

Which is promptly where my dog stops pulling like a mad animal and lets me pedal up the hill with my own power.

It is heading down this second hill that I start my second round of prayers for the morning. My Hail Mary's are perfectly in rhythm with the pace of the dog.

It is also where I realize how un-awake, and un-co-ordonated I am as I try to avoid the ever changing potholes.

Should the cute little rabbit that lives halfway down the lane decide to peek out of the bushes and dart it's hoppy little butt across the lane, my morning prayers become interrupted by general Tourettes like hysteria.

Once I have survived the rabbit run, I have about 10 seconds to prepare for Hannah.

Our neighbours dog who is extremely friendly.

She loves people and Bandit.

Unfortunately she has not quite figure out yet that she can't actually get to me without causing a near death experience for all of us involved.

Sometimes she comes from the back of the house, sometimes from under the doorstep.

You never know.

So as I approach the house I do a mad scan of the entire yard searching for a blonde ball of furry potentially fatal energy.

It's like Where's Waldo for thrill seekers.

She's not usually out in the mornings. So these encounters are actually few and far between. I can generally pass by this house without incident.

But I am just like the American border patrol, constantly ready for an unsuspected attack.

Thinking that an attack (even a friendly one) is less than probable, is just the kind of thinking that puts you in the hospital.

Finally we come to the main road. The entire ride has lasted about a minute and a half so far... so you can see why it's so hard to actually get past that anaerobic ten minute stage to where life is bliss and you love exercising.

Choosing carefully at this moment which direction you decide to take is important for the rest of the ride.

To the right lies straight roads with a few hills, that the dog in his excitement, will actually pull you up.

The only draw back is the fifteen dogs that are roaming around their yard untied at such wee hours of the morning, that all happen to live in that direction.

Or you can turn to the left.

Dog-less and flat, it seems like the obvious choice.

Yet full of twists and turns.

The blind corners combined with foggy conditions actually make this direction as periled as being chased into the ditch by two German Shepards.

The decision is usually determined by the wind direction.

Going with the wind will leave you with the false idea that biking is easy, as the dog loves running downwind, and will take you quite far with little to no effort.

Oh, how life likes to slap you in the face when you realize as you turn around to come home that the dog hates running upwind almost as much as he hates running towards home.

You are left with no choice but to drag a 45 pound dog that wants to go in the opposite direction back the 3 kms he just ran so effortlessly.

So if you are awake enough to remember this fact (I probably remember 5 out of 7 days a week, it's hard to think before morning coffee) you head upwind.

I never hit the wondrous "life is bliss" ten minute mark.

That's not to say I don't bike for ten minutes... I'm usually gone for about a half hour at least.

But the connection to the earth portion of the ride gets drowned out by the fear of my head actually connecting with the earth, and I somehow never reach that Zen state.

Perhaps if I didn't have the dog, I could bike on my own and enjoy the bliss that must come with a ride not peppered with near death experiences.

But then, who are we kidding here... If I had no dog I still wouldn't be biking off road trails somewhere with a Buddah-like grin on my face.

I would still be in bed, enjoying that extra half hour of blissful sleep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I suspect the company may be run by the Cheshire Cat

'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where - ' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
' - so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'

Ode to Bell-Aliant

" Oh Bell Aliant, how do I love thee, let me count the ways....

Okay, so I was really going to write an Ode, but upon finding out that it is actually a poem with 3 parts, consisting of 10 rhyming lines that is supposed to be sung by a choir, I've decided instead to just do a general rant about Bell- Aliant.

I have a Pay-As-You-Go phone, that I don't like. My brother has a contract on a phone that he no longer uses, yet is still paying for.

I got the cockamamy idea that I would take over his phone contract, and switch my phone number to simple.

Save him $40 a month, and give me a phone that works more than 35% of the time, all without giving Bell-Aliant any more money than the universe was already giving to it.

What could be so hard about that?

First we do our due diligence. My brother provides me with his phone, and all the information that comes with it... account numbers, ID numbers.

We change the email address, and password. I print of the last bill, which he pays in full, and sends me on my merry way to the local Bell Aliant store.

At this point I am shining my pride up... you know making sure it is ready for the fall.

I go to the Bell Store. They tell me what I want is impossible. At this point my patience is still intact, so I explain again.

And again.

And again.

And finally the representative and I come to a conclusion.

That maybe what I'm asking for is not the equivalent of walking on water. It is simply switching some names and numbers around.

Yes she believes it can be done. But not by her, and not for me.

My brother must call Bell and put me on his account.

Then I can call Bell and tell them what I want and they can give it to me.

Not a simple solution. A few hoops to jump through, but none of them seem to be on fire, so I'm still blindly believing that this process is close to over.

My brother calls to put my name on his account, explaining the situation.

This is when they get out the gas and light the hoops.

They pretty much tell him that what we want to do is possible, but Hell will freeze over before all the stars align to make it so.

Or maybe we would just have to sacrifice a virgin or something.

Or maybe it's not even possible at all. They aren't really sure.

He did manage to get them to put my name on the account. And they said they would waive the transfer fee for the number swap just to be nice to us.

He then came up with a better plan.

"I think your best bet is to write your phone number down on a piece of paper, take the paper and the phones in to the store, and state very plainly that you will give them money on a recurring basis if they can make that ( point to the new phone ) ring when people call that ( point to your phone number ) number."

I thought he was just being sarcastic at the time, but now I see it was actually the best option.

At any rate, my name was on the account, and I now call to finally have the numbers switched.

I am told it is impossible to do over the phone. I must go to the Bell Representative in my area.

Off I trot.

Un-aware that they are lining up the hungry lions on the other side of the flaming hoops.

At the store, I am told that no, it can't be done. I don't have to have my NAME on the account... I have to OWN the account.

Yup you guessed it, I have to go call Bell.

She's not really sure if I can call or if my brother has to call, but she can do nothing for me until I get an elusive thing called "Transfer of Responsibility"

Now the fact that this is different from what she told me three days earlier, would surprise most people. But I was past the point of caring enough to bother to be surprised.

Also I was starting to discern that maybe Bell changes their policies on an hourly basis just for sh#ts and giggles.

I call Bell.

YES!! She can help me!!

Well, she thinks she can, could I hold please.

For 15 minutes.

Nope, sorry she can't really help me that much. She is happy to report that there is a $20 fee, but that has been waived. And she can do the Transfer of Responsibilities. She just needs to do a credit check.

As someone who already holds two accounts with Bell, and has been a customer who has never had a late payment in 7 years, I should have been insulted.

Instead I said "Sure thing."

Another 15 minutes of asking me for everything from my mother's maiden name to my shoe size and she tried to put me on hold again.

At which point I am nearly in tears as I say, I'm sorry, but I can't wait any longer, I am late for work.

She rambles off a new account number for me to use when I call back and I hang up. My soul is crushed a little with the disappointment that I've spent half an hour on the phone for no good reason at all.

That night after work I try again.

I get a very helpful woman that tells me she can't find the account number.

My head explodes.

As I wipe the brains off the wall and shove them back in my skull I tell her, that I don't mind giving all my information all over again.

Instead she puts me on hold to try and find the account.

My rising blood pressure correlates with the numbers on the phone display counting the minutes that I am on hold.

She does return, and has found the account number. She then takes twenty minutes verifying all of the information already keyed in, by reading it all back to me at the pace of snail on sedatives.

I'm pretty sure I could hear her flipping through the plastic pages of her training manual through out the entire call.

If I could have been face to face with her I might have ripped the "THIS IS MY FIRST DAY! :)" pin right off of her and stabbed her with it.

Finally I am put on hold for the actual credit check.

Five minutes later Miss Cheerful Employee of the Month gets back to me with the excitement of a kid who just found out there are three Christmases

"Good news and Great news!!"

She was ecstatic to report that my credit check came through clean.

The great news was not, as I had hoped, that they would give me some sort of compensation for all the B-S they had put me through.

The great news was that I did not need a $250 retainer to have the phone in my name.

That is probably why the people at the store send you back home to call someone. Because if that woman had of been with-in striking distance, I would be up for manslaughter right now.

I calmly thank her for the good news and great news and hang up.

This morning I went to the Bell store again, to have the numbers swapped. I was informed of a $20 fee.

They found no record anywhere of the memo that had been made earlier that this fee would be waived for me.

I'm pretty sure I swore about that one. Out loud. In public. With no remorse.

Bell has a way of bringing out the best in people.

After a half hour or so, I was finally told that it may or may not have worked, something somewhere was backed up and I wouldn't be able to actually use the phone for a few hours.

It was dead anyway.

I was told that if it didn't work by the afternoon, to come back to the store.

And that if I wanted to try and get the $20 fee waived, that I should call Bell.

I wouldn't call Bell again if you offered to have the next 20 months waived from my account.

My tale of woe should end here. But I have one more thing to add.

After three weeks of dealing with this company to finally get everything sorted out, you would think that I would be on the phone right this minute. Maybe even talking all night long.

Instead, I am blogging about it, because I plugged my phone in at work today and forgot to take it home with me.

Excuse me while I go hang myself with my phone charger.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bad excuses are worse than none. ~Thomas Fuller

The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude. ~Voltaire

So I just gave up....

It happens sometimes.

No nervous breakdown.

No earth shattering life crises.

Not even a good ol 'howthahelldidthathappen?? event" to throw me off course.

I literally just couldn't do every thing I normally do in life, so something had to be eliminated.

(I considered briefly giving up showering but apparently lack of personal hygiene can be bad for business.)

Blogging brings me a certain amount of happiness and sense of accomplishment in life. But it doesn't bring in any cold hard cash, and something had to give.

So here's a short list of what I've been up to... you know things I could have been blogging about but never really got around to doing.

Consider it the "CliffsNotes" to the blogs that should have been.

Most importantly, I've been working on my business.

I haven't done any formal sort of advertising since Mother's Day 2009.

That's kind of scary. What was even scarier was the look I got from the woman who sets up the ads at the paper when I told her I wasn't really sure if the local paper was a good form of advertising.

She told me point blank I couldn't really say that, since in my three years of business I had only run one ad.

Touche my dear... of course, with that kind of reasoning she sold me on six ads.

(Somewhere in the back of my head, a little Steiner voice was going off saying "Hey! You know that trick!! We taught you that one! Don't fall for that!!!)

~My Sister and I did Bust-A-Move. In total we raised $2,306! That's a lot of generosity from our small community.

The entire fundraiser raised $863,500 hopefully that adds up to a lot of healthy boobs down the road.

(I just had a client in today who has informed me that they have started construction. All it has really added up to so far, is a loss of 82 parking spaces. So now all the sick people have to walk two blocks to get to the much for improving the quality of a patients life.)

I've exercised twice since then... six hours strait kind of takes the fun out of it.

~My dog ate my neighbours chickens, and we had to buy more.

You would think me picking up seven live chickens would be a good post, but alas, it was entirely uneventful... I drove to Milton, they put the chickens in the crate, and I drove home.

Who knew I could spend an afternoon with live squawking animals and have no tales of woe to go with it?!

My only tale of woe is the fact that I had to buy a $500 zapper fence that we haven't had the time to train him with yet.

~And I planted flowers (see??? you see why I haven't blogged??.. I haven't actually done anything worth writing about)

For those of you on the edge of your seat to know what I discovered on that adventure...

1. A lobster pot full of mud is too damn heavy to lift by myself.

2. The pointy end goes up.

(I found that out after only twenty minutes of Google searching Although I can't confirm it one hundred percent yet, as I'm still waiting to see if my box produces some beautiful blue lilies, or a tangle of roots... or nothing at all.. in which case I'm buying one of those roll-out mats of flower seeds to plant next year...)


3. My dog loves to dig in fresh mud almost as much as he likes chasing chickens.

(So I actually got the practice of planting twice, and after yelling at him for a good five minutes I then gave him the silent treatment for the rest of the night... those are fine parenting skills I am honing.)

And that's long and the short of it... my life this past month has not consisted of blogging, but it has consisted dirt, sweat and dead chickens. I promise to resume my weekly updates just as soon as the next big thing blows up in my face.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Carefull what you wish for...

"Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant."

This past sunday.. I was in a particularly lazy mood.

It had snowed all morning, I was on my fifth episode of Angel for the weekend, and I had defiantly decided that I would not get off the couch until weather conditions improved.

Then I got bored.

I had two choices, get some new songs ready for Bust-a-Move class that evening, or walk the dog.

These are always my two choices... exercise myself, or my dog. I have never been able to have both.

When the dog doesn't get his exercise he pounces around the house like a wanna be Mexican jumping bean and howls until you go insane.

When I don't get my exercise, my ass just grows.... and I don't really see it that much, so I don't really care.

Therefor the dog usually wins out, and instead of doing something constructive or creative with my body, I wind up doing something to tire him out.

I have had to get a little more creative since the biking accident that I'm still not ready to speak of...

So for the past week our "walks" involve me walking him on leash until we are out of the dreaded "chicken zone".

(Our neighbour has a chicken coop, and it is the dog's life mission to get into it, which makes one of my life missions keeping him away from it).

I then remind him I have a tupperware container full of gravy soaked treats in my pocket (the rest of Nova Scotia is terrified of coyotes, I on the other hand enjoy walking around the woods smelling like bait)

And I let him go.

And pray he comes back.

There have been moments, say the morning he decided to make friends with a grey seal.... the seal did not want to make friends back... fortunately everyone got away from that situation with no scars.

(If you don't count my throat and the amount of screaming I did- to no avail- that could have rivaled an Aerosmith concert).

But all in all it's been a successful week.

So I got a little braver.

I got dressed, loaded my I-pod with new possible songs, and made a choice to exercise both the dog, and my self.

Please note, that I live in the middle of no where... other than Sonny and his chicken coop, there is no one but my parents within a 4 or 5 acre distance.

And they've already seen me make and ass of myself a million times.

So that is why I felt comfortable heading to the beach to practice dance routines.

Well I will admit, at first I wasn't so comfortable.

I found a clear spot on a path, and tried to warm up to "Rompe", but couldn't, because I was too busy checking over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching me.

But eventually I got to our wide open beach, and decided to go all in.

Remember it's still mid-winter here, and it was in fact still snowing, but it wasn't windy so it wasn't cold.

I took off some layers and went from looking like this

to this

you can judge yourself if that's any improvement.

The dog by the way was behaving excellently. He was pouncing all over the grass, chasing imaginary mice or birds.

(I pretend they are imaginary, and just pray he never gets one. He's not very focused, so I don't believe he ever will,the ADD does not make Huskies very good predators)

And I was full on into choreography, Beyonce and J-Lo blasting from the I-Pod.

If someone had of happened to spy on that secluded beach they would have seen me, in my bright yellow "don't run me over" hat my Mom bought me. Punching and grapevining and petit battementing like I'm auditioning for some sort of cross between Rocky VII and Black Swan.

As I take a break, and call for the dog he comes barreling towards me from the far and of the beach. And I start to have visions of being able to do this all the time.

How great!! A chance to workout, and a dog that listens (at least to the word "treat") all at once!!

I'm a normal dog owner!!

No more 30 foot ropes that wrap around my niece at the beach and almost scar her ( literally) for life.

No more tying 20 pound weights to his leash to slow him down and tire him out.

No more driving around the neighbourhood with half a steak out the window hoping he'll come home.

(I simply need to keep that half a steak in my right hand pocket)

As he draws nearer, I have visions of having a new songs every week for class and at the same time a dog that is calm and happy .

As those visions clear, I get a clearer vision of my dog.

And the half of an animal carcass hanging out of his mouth.

As I try to convince him that he wants a stupid half a piece of Milkbone, smothered in turkey gravy instead of half a frozen seabird he found out on the marsh I realize.

I'm a normal dog owner.

Whose dog will roll in stinky things, run through swampy mud puddles and bring me back 6 month old carcasses he finds along the way.

Some times the grass seems greener on the other side, usually all you find when you get over there is they use stronger smelling manure to fertilize it with.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't read me, read this...

So my post isn't ready yet.. because I need photos to go with it and I wasn't "with it" enough this morning to take the camera with me... so you'll just have to hold your knickers until I get organized.

In the meantime, I have been spending an awful lot of time reading this blog

Butts and Ashes

She's funny, she's real, and she has a life story that is worth hearing about.

Not to mention she's working on this "List" that has me completely hooked.

Take some time, and a box of Kleenex for the week she posts about adoption, and listen to this woman as she spits sarcastic rants about the people she loves, and those that love her back.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Once upon an accident....

Falling down became second nature and it really didn't bother me.
Nancy Kerrigan

So last week I fell off my Bicycle.

One second I was upright, the next I was facing the ground with the dog dragging me across the driveway.

A friend told me I should blog about it.

The only problem with that idea is, the wounds are still a little too fresh.

Not to my pride, that's used to being bruised by dumbass accidents.

But my actual wounds still hurt.. my knee still bleeds if I bend it too much, I can't do anything more strenuous than walking to the bathroom with out a knee brace, and the bruises, although not as bright, are still covering 85% of my lower body.

so needless to say, all I can think to write about the situation is....

I went for a bike ride. I fell. It sucked.

Perhaps with a little time it will get funnier, and I can blog about it. For now it's just a story about how everything in life this week has been slightly more difficult than need be.

On the other hand... I have fallen off things before, and those wounds have healed nicely.. so let me tell you about the time I fell off the horse....

It was a few years ago in in the Dominican Republic. A group of us decided to go horseback riding.

Now let me just clarify, that I don't actually know the first thing about riding a horse, other than it is simply something I feel the urge to do every single vacation.

It's like drinking one of those kamikaze drinks, it's not something you do on your average weekend, or something that is necessarily a good idea, or even something you particularly enjoyed the last time you did it.

Yet still you think you should since you are on vacation. It's time to do something stupid.

This rodeo ranch actually come up and above par for Caribbean horseback riding. The horses are strong and healthy looking, well groomed, most of them seem to be under the age of 75.

And the trail we are taking is a nice ride along a beach.

This goes far beyond a shorter horse back ride that we had taken earlier in the vacation with another tour group.

That "trail" involved the driveway to the ranch, and a back road. We rode on horses that aren't much bigger than your standard size poodle... and I'm pretty sure one of them whispered to me that he was the original "Silver" from the Lone Ranger.

Add to that, the fact that the workers rode mopeds and zipped back and forth up and down the road yelling to the horses to get moving and you get a not so very enjoyable ride.

That what happened when you pay $15 in the DR.

When you pay $65 you get healthy horses and a beautiful beach. You get tour guides who are so good at riding they actually stand up on their saddles to check on everyone. Quite impressive.

Before we head out on the trail we all pose for photo ops on our strong healthy horses, and Rachel mentions that I look lopsided... I checked my bathing suit top and then thought nothing more of it...

(Just kidding, I don't think I actually checked anything... I was on a horse!! Life was Awesome!!!! Who cares if I'm crooked???)

Apparently the horse does.

A half hour into the ride, we have made it the entire way down the beach. Some horses are taking their own sweet time (mine) and some are full tilt running.

It looks really cool..... everyone who is not running, is trying to urge their horse on to run. We all want to be having as much fun as Lee and Carla, who have the horses trying to race each other to be in front.

We can tell it's fun because of their shouts of joy.

Suddenly, just like on the bike, I am one second upright, and then I am sideways.

My horse does not enjoy this, so he rears up and I fall flat on my back.

I'm not really hurt, because we are on sand dunes, but I'm petrified I did something wrong to piss it off.

(The saddle had actually come loose, and scared the horse. No one figured that out at the time, which is why the next series of events unfolded as they did).

One of the trail leaders comes over with a "Please don't sue our ass" look on his face, asking if I'm alright.

I'm fine and I'm just asking if the horse is mad. I really don't want to get back on a horse that hates me.

(While I fully believe if you fall off a horse you should get back on, I do think there is a loophole there somewhere for horses that are having a slight case of PMS.)

So since we are an hours walk back from the ranch, the leader tells me I can have his horse, and he'll take mine.

What a plan.

I stupidly agree. And so instead of falling off a little horse and getting back on it, I fall off a little horse and get back on one that is twice as big.

After heaving myself into the saddle I realize the mistake.

And as I open my mouth to mention that maybe I am a little more afraid on the big horse and I'd rather take the little angry guy... my horses instincts kick in.

He is a horse that is usually only rode by one of those Dominican cowboy leaders that can do things like handstands on the saddle.

He is also used to being in front of the group... you know, leading everyone.

So that's what he decides to do. Go from the back of the group... to the front a half mile ahead of us.

And since I actually have no idea wtf to do on a horse, I can do nothing but hold on for dear life, as we run the entire length of the beach.

People cheer me on as I pass them.

As I pull closer to Lee and Carla, I realize their shouts of joy, are actually screams of terror.

I know this because they sound exactly like mine.

My most valuable lesson learned from this experience, is that I am a fast healer.

The scars I have on my shins from the saddle are pretty much non existent now, three years later.

So that give me hope, that even those I look like a six year old these days, with Band-Aids covering my knees by the time I'm thirty I'll have adult legs again.

That is if I can manage not to fall off anything between now and then.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I've been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog.

"A man on a date often wonders if he'll get lucky, a woman already knows"

So the other day my Stronger Half and I had the inevitable conversation that happens between couples this time of year....

SH- "So are we supposed to be doing something for Valentines Day?"

A hard question to answer, because neither of us really enjoy spending money, and we've done an awful lot of that in the past year, so blowing 200 bucks on dinner and a hotel seems kind of frivolous.

Especially since we've only been living in our house for 6 weeks, so it still feels a little bit like a hotel anyway.

Add to that in the fact that the Saturday before was our fundraising dance for Bust-a-Move, leaving me no time or energy for any weekend fun.

He's was informed that yes he had to come, and no attending a dance that I am organizing and working at all night does not count as a Valentines Day date.

Although it would top our previous attempts.

Last year I made a big deal out of wanting to go see a certain cheesy movie, and then at the last minute told him we didn't have to.

I meant we could go see something else. He thought I meant I didn't want to do anything at all.

So Feb 14th we wound up on his brothers couch watching a random episode of Amazing Race.

As most know, I'm not a fan of TV being a part of a relationship in general.

But worse, they have a wide screen that squishes people and makes them distorted, and it's hung above their fireplace, which for some reason makes me a little motion sick to watch it at that angle.

I was not pleased.

But I will assume half the responsibility for that failed day for my lack of communication.

The year before we were in Cuba.

Your typical beach day shenanigans ensued, and to make a long story short, I wound up at V-day dinner solo.

I'm only assuming 10% of the responsibility for that failed day, because I did supply him with the Bubba Keg, but he's a grown man and it was his choice to fill it up so many times.

So we don' t have a great record for celebrating this Hallmark holiday... but for some reason I feel the social pressure to celebrate it, so this year I feel we should try again.

I'm not one for following traditions just because everyone else does it, but perhaps it's because we don' t have an official anniversary, that I'm so fixated on celebrating our relationship at least once a year.

( We simply don' t know when our first date was, sometime at the end of June, that's all we can remember)

Although when he asked what I would like to do, my only reply I could come up with was.

"Eat Chocolate. Real Chocolate"

(This eating clean is starting to get to me.)

So short of overdosing on sugar, I couldn't really think of anything I wanted to do to mark the occasion.

Until I read this from Free Flying

Her man is awesome. I am so proud of him for his effort and creativity.

And I got very excited... that sounds like fun... then I tried to find other great ideas.

If you Google "valentines day dates" you get a lot of cheesy "I give my heart to you" type ideas of rose petals and hidden love notes.

That generally makes me want to throw up. But I pushed past that and found my top five date ideas.

(I was going for a top ten list, but my gag reflex wouldn't hold out. I could hardly find anything that didn't make me want to murder a Cherub. It is honestly why I didn't post last week, I just couldn't find anything worth laughing at.)

5.Play with Fireworks
How could you not love someone who planned a romantic evening that involved explosives??
(The only exception to this rule that I can think of is igniting flatulence. I am country, but I don't live in a barn.)

4. Go Ice Blocking
"Ice blocks can be purchased from a supermarket or (obviously) made with very little effort. Grab one of these babies and head to your nearest grassy (that’s important) hill and turn it in to a giant slide! It’s a good idea to bring a towel so you don’t have to sit directly on the ice block. And it gets old fast, so have something else planned."

hahah I had never heard of this... it is the opposite of sledding. I'm impressed that the person actually thought to point out that "grassy" is important as opposed to what? A paved hill??

And they also are kind enough to mention that it is really only fun once or twice, so you better have something else in your back pocket to entertain the girl ( May I suggest fireworks?)

3. Build and shoot a potato gun

"Again, a date that’s probably more for the guy than the girl. You can buy all of the parts you need to build a potato gun for less than 20 bucks (ammunition included!) which is a couple of PVC pipes and an ignition source (like a lantern lighter and hairspray). Good fun — a decent potato gun will go 50 yards. You can find instructions all over the internet."

This is truly a great date, he is making something with his hands ( always a turn on) and again we have playing with explosives component. Not to mention, we're doing the cleanse and can't eat potatoes anyway!! what a great way to not waste that 50pd bag we have in the bin!

2. Mini Golf

I hope at this point in our relationship he understands my love for all things miniature. Appetizers, small spoons, short dresses, and mini golf all fit on that list.

He could score extra point by creating his own course, the cheesier the better.

1. Treasure Hunt/ Relay Race

Competition gets the blood pumping and team work would strengthen your bond. Screw watching Amazing race, I want to actually DO Amazing Race...

So the ultimate date that would guaranteed to land me in the bedroom (or perhaps the hospital)

Starting with a little ice blocking, we would slid down to the balloon area.

We would then use blow darts to release the potato gun assembly instructions (learning from Free Flying's mistakes, there would be no bed jumping involved).

After assembling the potato gun, we'd have a good round of "Potato Gun Golf".

At the last hole you would have to light a series of fireworks to win the challenge.

Throw in a cup or two of hot chocolate to celebrate our win

(we would win, of course, as we would only invite other couples that we knew we could beat)

and you have yourself a masterpiece date of epic (redneck) proportions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble. ~Raymond Hull

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner

I meant for last weeks blog to have a quick little memo at the top about what I should call SH, and then I could move on to a real post.

But the memo kind of turned into a mission statement (oh Jerry MaGuire, I know how you fell down that slippery slope). So it just become last weeks post.

So now, on to this weeks, post, which is, in fact last weeks, re-heated.

I do believe, I may be a little bit difficult to live with.

Every once in a while I have one of those moments, when you step out side your body and float about yourself and see whats really going on in the world from someone else's point of view.

Every time I have a moment like that I jump right back in my self and start thanking the Powers That Be that people actually put up with me.

Some times I'm amazed I have anyone left in my life who is sane.

SH is on the top of that list.

Take our latest excursion together.

I am dragging him to "Simply For Life".

No we don't want to loose weight, please stop attacking me for making my family be healthy.

I work with the owner, I like the program and what it stands for, and I believe we could all use a little wake up call sometimes.

Since I'm a wimp and seem unable to do anything on my own any more (note the fact that my sister is doing Bust-A-Move, I wouldn't sign up for Belly Dancing until Michelle agreed to go, and I seem unable to make any sort of decision on anything without polling clients about it for three weeks first) I some how convinced him to do it with me.

Actually I tried to trick him into doing it with me.

The radio announced that Blue Cross gave a Two-for-One special with SFL, last fall. I somehow managed to convince him that we could still get that deal. (My complete inability to lie will be saved for another post, but I promise you, this little white lie was a lot of stress for me)

I should also note that I have spent the past year pestering him to do it, talking about everyone else I know that's done it, having dinner parties with friends who are on it and making him eat weird vegetables to prove to him they taste good....

Add an entire year of me nagging, to the promise that it's actually free for him to do it, and that is how I convinced him to do this with me. ( I'm not mean, I just know it's a waste of time for me to cut up carrot sticks if he's going to be sitting on the couch beside me eating double fudge brownies and whipped cream)

Monday morning comes, and we need to drive an hour to our initial appointment. We don't do early mornings well, especially ones we aren't getting paid for.

So I'm in a general disorganized mood, thinking I can do fifteen more things than is actually humanly possible before we leave, and he is pestering me with silly questions like "So what is it that we're actually going to have to do for this first appointment" and "Is this like a ten minute appointment, or an hour and a half?"

Hell I've only worked with Kim for a year, and promoted her business to every client that walked through my door, how am I supposed to know the answers to these questions??

We get on the road, and about halfway there, we hit a white out.... that's right... there's no snow falling from the sky, or in the forecast, yet I can't seem to see more than six inches in front of my windshield.

It's just yesterdays snow conveniently blowing all over the highway.

That's okay, all this driving at 40km/h gives us a chance to sit and think, and talk....

SH "So it's still two for the price of one right?"

All I had to say was "Yes" I'm driving bumper to bumper in a line of cars in white out conditions.

He would not have found it suspicious if I didn't give him a detailed answer on how the company manages to stay in the black while offering 50% discounts year round.

But no... I just can't seem to form the words.... so instead... I slip out the truth, and try to spin it into a lie.

"No they've changed it to a percentage off... but I think it works out to just the same anyway... something about I think they're cheating the system....mumble....kinda the least close...mumble...don't know...cumquats....."

Yea... I really can't lie......

"So is it fifty percent off?"

"I uh.. I don't know really exactly, but it's not that much....really.."

At this point I trail off and turn the radio up a little.... we both have a silent understanding that I have been caught in a lie, and that there is nothing to be done about it now. Trying to get the truth out of me will only result in more random mumbling that will just be waste of energy for both of us.

So we drive on, and I try to think of something to change the subject.. like what else we're going to do in Yarmouth while we're there... plan our day, Kent, Canadian Tire, Maritime, and we'll head to our appointment.....oh....

Me "Uh did you bring your phone?"

SH "Why"

Me "Cause I need to call Alayne"

Turns out I work with Kim in her satelight location, and we're going to her main office.

I have no clue where that I have to call one of her other clients for directions.

(no I don't have the number for the SFL office... why would I have that??)

I'm pretty sure if it was legal he would have thrown me from the moving car at that point, but since it's not, and he's generally a law abiding citizen, I am alive to tell the tale.

Fast forward to finally getting to the appointment, it's nothing scary, a bunch of questions about our health and habits, things are running smoothly, I'm starting to congratulate myself on the inside for pushing so hard to do this.

Then she says it...

"And, since your Blue Cross members you get a 10% discount!!!"

She says it like it's a good thing.

Like it's an announcement we should celebrate. And normally you would, if you thought you had to pay full price, you would be happy to see 10% off.

However, if you were expecting something more like a close-to-almost-50% discount, you might be a little shocked.

He shot a look at me, I barely kept myself from crawling under the table and hiding beneath the high blood pressure pamphlets.

I couldn't make eye contact. If I did he would know for certain that the 10% was not a surprise to me at all.

He also knows I'm fairly good at math, so I couldn't tell him I didn't realize two-for-one, and 10% off weren't actually different... by about 40-freakin-percent.

He has the patience of a saint, so again, I live to tell the tale.

Then we head out to pay. My only saving grace is, he doesn't actually know how much this all costs. But as we stand there together, and the receptionist starts inputing our stuff into the computer and asking if we'd like to pay by cheque or credit card I start to sweat bullets.

It was seriously the first phase of my detox, I lost about 3 pounds of toxins just at the counter worrying about what would come out of his mouth when she said the grand total for today, plus the monthly membership fee.

Then, just like a three pointer thrown as the buzzer goes off in the fourth quarter to tie the game, I get my Hail Mary.

He goes to the bathroom.

I grab my wallet, throw $350 cash at the poor receptionist, and hiss "He has no idea how much this costs!! Don't tell him!!!!"

To her credit she barely even flinched. She just calmly picked up the fluttering tens and fives and continued about her work, (Makes me wonder how many other wives have duped their husbands in her presence).

And finally to his credit, we have both survived one week of no coffee, or white sugar, or grains as a 10pm snack. (Harder than quitting smoking was giving up my 10pm Cheerios).

I have not once stabbed him with my fork at supper because he gets 3/4 cup of brown rice while I get nothing but a pile of vegetables and something I like to call Starch Envy.

He has not once looked at me while I have wined about how I miss toast, or hate salad, or that tea makes me sea sick, and said "You got us into this healthy mess in the first place"

Now that we're on this "being healthy" track, he can look forward to a much longer life of putting up with me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A rose by any other name would make Valentines Day confusing...

"But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I'm beginning to run into a small problem when It comes to writing this blog.

While I choose to air my life and dirty laundry for anyone to read for the sake of a healthy dose of humour, the man that I share my life with does not in-fact, want me to share HIS life, with the world.

Fair enough.

I do not post his photo on Facebook, I even patrol for him and ask people who have posted his picture to take them down.

(On a side note, if you ever feel like finding out who your true friends are, ask them to take a photo off their profile.

It's insane how many people choose to keep that embarrassing/ugly/unflattering/ job endangering photo up over respecting your privacy/general sense of decency)

I don't post our address, home phone number (well if we had one I wouldn't), or where we keep the spare keys.

I do not even add his name and a million hearts in my status when I'm feeling extra gooey.

(Okay, I know most of you figure that I never feel gooey anyway... so that one I don't get credit for...)

And with the exception of this one right here, my blogs never actually focus on him.

But going back to the "share my life with" I can't help but have him as a re-occurring character in most of my stories.

And in trying to respect his privacy I have not ever posted his name.

This gets increasingly difficult.

I do not like to call him "My Husband", I let other people call him that, because I get tired of correcting them and the conversation that ensues said correction, but I don't actually call him Husband.

Mostly out of respect for all the people out there who have gone through the whole wedding thing, I get it, they put in the work, they should get a little credit.

But also, I don't want to confuse him, if he starts hearing me use that term he may think I want a ring and then we have the opening scene to "The Strangers" all over again... and we all know that movie didn't end well.

But speaking of credit, I don't like to call him "My Boyfriend". We are not Seniors in high school. I live with the man, we share bills and a bed, I plan on being the mother of his kids.

The term boyfriend feels like one step up from "that guy I'm seeing" and I feel in the past few years, we've managed to take things farther than that one step.

So that's easy... I just start calling him "My Partner". And everyone starts to envision Rosie O'Donnell with some camping gear and a gun.

( On another side note, go ahead and google Rosie, it's been awhile, say 1996, since I've seen her... wow)

Why don't I just call him "The man I love and share my life and future with" well....quite frankly that's a hell of a lot to type, and I try to keep your interest in these little posts. I think if I get that politically correct I not only loose my edge, but also my audience.

So I need to stick him with a nickname. Something like "Better Half".... only I have to much pride to admit that much defeat.

"Ball and Chain" doesn't fit either, as he has never tried to tie me down, nor do I consider him a drag (unless we were at a Basketball game, then I will admit, he is a pessimist and a complete downer, but save our differing cheering styles for another time).

Asking him for help doesn't do me any good... I just did, and gave him "ball and chain" and "better half" and asked him for examples like that... he said "what's wrong with those ones?"

(In his defence this post is still a work in progress and hasn't been published yet.)

I try to recall other nicknames I had for guys I wanted to remain anonymous (some for their sake, some for mine).... Rat Teeth, Peru, Touch Feet, Hairy Guy, Your-Not-Done-Yet.....Turns out, looking back on them I'm not very good ( or nice) when it comes to nicknames.

But I guess typically, you need to describe someone, and I will describe him as strong. Physically, (as in his arms are the size of my thighs) and mentally (he does share his life with me, that takes true strength).

Not to mention emotionally, he seems to be the one holding it together while I sometimes have a nervous breakdown over folding laundry.

So While I won't concede to him being "better" per say, I will admit to him being the stronger one in our fully-committed-but-not-ceremoniously-sanctified relationship.

Therefor, from this point of my blog on, he shall be referred as my "Stronger Half"... or more likely just SH... as again, I get a little lazy typing things out.

Feel free to imagine someone putting their fingers to their lips with the universal sign for "Be Quiet" every time I mention him, as I know that is what I will picture every time I type it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Applied Sciences of Appliances

"His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son."

We are nearly settled into our new home.

Well, we live here at least. Half of our stuff is still stored at the last house, but in general, we're here.

Remember back in the fifties, when a new house filled with brand new shiny appliances was a dream come true?

(Well no me either, I was born in the 80's, but I've heard stories of cooking with ease, after walking home barefoot from the market, up hills both ways with a dragon under the toll bridge, um or something like that)

Well dream no more, because the modern day updated kitchen, with their electronic clocks blinking 12:00, and their installation manuals rivalling the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is an invariable nightmare.

They come completely computerized. Everything is digital, you know to make things easier.

Now when I want fry an egg, instead of doing it the laborious old fashioned way (turning the dial to 4).

I get to do it electronically.

Press "on", select size of burner, select Hi- Med- or Low, then adjust down to four with a series of beep-beep-beeps. Yes that's right, I can cook an egg just as easily as a 70yr old can text "The quick fox jumped over the lazy dog"

Wow, I can't believe we went for so long doing it the old way.

Then we move on to learning the oven.

Prior to owning this appliance I knew two ways to heat things,make it soggy in a microwave, or crunchy in the oven. Now apparently I have 16 different settings in my oven.

I can control where the heat comes from like the greek god Eurus controls a hurricane. I have no idea what any of the settings do, but I have found the secret code for crispy french fries.

If I manage to hit "convection", "preheat", "start", "4-2-5", "start","time on", "1-5", "start", I can enjoy the most delicious fries (Well, I can enjoy them in between the six times I get up to try and turn the timer off, because we never seem to be able to do it right the first time).

Do I need to mention the timer on the stove??

The other day I put potatoes on and set the timer for five minutes. Fifteen minutes later they were turned off, with the timer reading 4 hours and 45 mins.

Well, has all that cooking has made you thirsty?? How about a glass of ice water from the door in the fridge.

First stick your glass under there and press a button.

When nothing happens press another, and then a third… you're pressing them blindly because as soon as the LED lights come on you can't see the writing on any of these "buttons"

(I use the term "button" very loosely, as there is no actual button. It is just an area that has some print on the surface that you are supposed to magically hit every time. )

You will eventually realize ( i.e. as someone else explains it to you) that although there are five "buttons" on our fridge, only one is useful, you must press it once for ice cubes, again for crushed and again for water.

All those other buttons you pressed actually control our fridge door alarm, fridge temperature, freezer temperature, and the stock value for oil overseas.

So every time we have guests over and we get lazy and make them get their own drinks, we end up with frozen milk, thawed chicken and an oil crises in Istanbul.

Moving on to the dishwasher… all I have to say is gawd knows.

I jam everything in, put in dissolvable tab, and hope for the best. There are 13 buttons ( I'm not actually exaggerating, I know I sometimes do, but I just got up and counted.. 13) of those buttons some of them can be pressed together, so you can make a combination of about 45 cycles…. pots and pans, turbo zone, smart, wash, heat dry, licked clean by trolls.

All I know is I turn it on and anywhere between 1 hour and 4 hours later (depending on how slap happy I got with the settings)I have clean dishes.

And lastly there is our microwave. seemingly harmless (well unless you're a bag of popcorn, then it can really do a number on you).

I understand that some appliances all have their kinks, little tricks you need to master.

Our kink was that #4 "button" was stuck. (I know, how does it get stuck when it's not a button??)

One morning it just decided it liked four minutes... no reason at all, we were in bed, asleep (as you should be at 5 am) when I heard the microwave going.

I got up and unplugged it, trying to silence my Angel watching brain that was warning me it was possessed.

Actually we had just watched "Evan Almighty" and all morning as we plugged and unplugged the stupid thing I kept having this nagging feeling that we were supposed to find chapter four in the bible and sacrifice a goat or something.

We wound up sacrificing the microwave, right back to the Walmart where it came from, and now we have a new one, which means another three weeks of re-programing ourselves just to be able to heat up some left overs.

Maybe we've watched The Terminator a few to many times in this household, but all I know is if one more appliance becomes smarter than I am in this house, I am going to go back to flint and steel.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Office Experience

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was having some trouble thinking of a blog post for this week.

Mainly because I wanted to be able to write something other than "Today I had a bad day and hurt myself"

Unfortunately when I look back on this week, the only thing I seem to have accomplished is acquiring a new bruise each day.

And I refuse to make an entire blog about how klutzy I am (although I'm fairly certain I would never run out of content if I did).

So instead I'm going to give you a little break from your regularly scheduled work day to try and imagine what it's lifework as a bander on a lobster boat for the day.

It's very easy to simulate, and then you will know exactly how I feel one week a year.

Since your not really doing any thing productive at the moment (come on, you're reading my blog.. I know you have more important things to do) you can start right now.

First, find your heat source to your office, and shut it off.

Spin in your chair till slightly nauseous.

Know that if you are going to throw up, your only choice is your own work space. Getting up to go throw up in an appropriate place, will only put you life in danger.

(Noah saved me my first year by pretty much picking me up as I was leaning over the side and putting me back in my safe little "zone" where traps would not knock me over as they flew off the boat.)

Now splash a little salt water on you face.


Now remove two screws from the bottom of your office chair to simulate rouge waves.

Throw some more salt water on your face.

(It's actually surprisingly refreshing the first time, plus the salt water gives you that sexy beach hair -you just can't see it under your fish gutsy toque hair.)

In fact, ask a co-worker to just randomly throw water at you during the day, no rhyme or reason.

Also ask them to attack you with a stapler if you get tired. (That is the worst part, just when you think you've got the hang of things a lobster nabs you with their little bastard claws)

Now that you're in the spirit of things, time to get to work.

Pick a random mundane tedious job, make sure it involves contorting your body in some way.

Lets say you choose to pick the staples out of paper.

Place the stapled sheets on the left side of your chair... twist towards them, pick them out, place in basket on right side of chair... repeat.

As fast as possible.

Ask that helpful co-worker to keep throwing more stapled sheets on top of your pile. (He's not really doing anything that important either.)

The proper ratio is 2 to 3 sheets in for every one sheet out, just enough to make you feel like it is all helpless and it will never stop.

Keep going for about 12 hours or so.

(See previous blog about lobstering if you feel like you need a bathroom break…)

Now at the end of your day, just when you feel like you are about to pass out from exhaustion, take all of the un-stapled papers, and start filing them away.

As fast as possible.

You can't go home until they are all filed.

File them into 100 pound boxes, then drag them around for awhile.

Once you get the hang of how things are going, turn the lights off and continue in the dark. (Be sure to get your co-worker to attack you a few more times with the stapler, as this is extremely helpful at keeping you awake.)

Now go home, and go to bed for four hours, and get back up and do it all again.

If you can keep this up for a week straight, you will receive amazing benefits, toned arms from all the lifting, sore hands an aching back and best of all a new found appreciation for your actual job.