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.