Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Words to ban from my vocabulary

I've been working at this job for three and half years, and have realized that giving five months' notice that I am quitting was probably a bad idea. I have had five months to come to terms with the fact that I am leaving, and part of me just doesn't want to make the effort anymore. I'm getting sick and tired of it - as if my previous posts about "Things I'd love to tell a customer someday" wasn't enough of a hint for you all! - and at this point I can't wait to leave.

When I finish, there are two words in particular that I truly hope I can successfully wipe from my brain.

"inconvenience" : I detest this word. It demeans the person's experience until it is merely a triviality, but what else can you say? You don't want to inflate the situation, but you don't want to make it seem like it's barely worth your time.


"marketing" : This is such a broad f*cking term that can mean anything from donations and sponsorship to corporate buyers to advertising to who knows what else. So when someone says, "the marketing department", I wish to god people would remember that there are about seventeen different uses for that word in today's business world, and to specify what the hell they're talking about.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


"Take it every half-hour or so," the doctor who showed up around 5:30 said, "as long as you need to. Should clear things up in no time." After he left, I promptly called up my husband (!) and asked him to pick up some on his way home from work.

I've heard people say how yummy Pepto-Bismol is. "It's like pink marshmallow stuff," they say, "or cinnamon hearts or something." And other such insipid commentary.

All said with a fond smile - which I can only assume is caused by the memory of the relief it brought more than of the taste of the noxious, gooey, mouth-coating slime. Pepto-Bismol tastes vile. I almost spat it out. *bleagh* My husband couldn't believe I didn't lick the inside of the little measuring cup to get the rest of the medicine, and almost looked a little disappointed that he couldn't since he wasn't sick.

I have to give the stuff credit, though. Other than witnessing a variety of rumbles and noises emanating from my entire torso over the past 16 hours, (rumbles and noises which have ranged from the interesting to hilarious to highly embarrassing, I might add), I have only had to visit the necessary once since then. I am finally able to slowly replenish my body's fluids and slowly eat some food, of which I have had almost none over the past few days.

So if anyone tells you liquid Pepto-Bismol tastes good, they're lying. It just makes you feel better. Go with the pills or the chewables instead.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Well, all it took was one glass of Parisian tap water to cause me to be violently ill since Saturday. As I unfortunately cannot stray far from the facilities long enough to get to a clinic, I was forced this morning at 8:24 to call the Doctors House Call service, where the receptionist told me in a bored voice, "The doctor will be there anytime between now and seven."

"Seven?" I replied, in as disbelieving tone as I could weakly muster.

"Seven." (After we hung up I realized my health card expired two weeks ago. Oops. Well, I have a credit card.)

So it's nearly eleven AM and I've just escaped for the seventh time since midnight and I honestly don't know if I'm going to survive the day. I'm so dehydrated and I can't keep any fluid in me long enough to make up what seems to be the gallon or so of water I've left behind since we arrived back in Toronto Sunday night. I really hope the doctor arrives with an IV drip or something, because as my friends and family know, I am not good at drinking anything fast, much less water. It's just so...boring. And yet I find myself vastly interested once I'm missing about 10% of it from my body.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Voyage à Paris - Day 3

Nine hours of sleep. We slept in like lazy sacks of turd. The hotel room's curtains, when fully drawn, completely blocked the light and my internal chronometer is all dizzy so we ended up scratching plans for the Louvre since it would be close to noon by the time we got there. We decided instead to hit the Musée de la Marine.

Learning from yesterday, we bought 2 demi baguettes for breakfast (total cost 1/10th of yesterday's meagre breakfast and caustic service) and ate them as we walked. We walked across the Pont de Bir Hakeim, which has a giant statue of someone on a raging horse, I think. The bridge was built to commemorate a ridiculous number of soldiers who either triumphed or perished, I don't recall, when marching across a desert or a city, I'm not certain which, named Bir Hakeim. Don't know what that has to do with horses. Then again, maybe it was a giant goddesse on a sea creature. My memory is kind of foggy.

The Musée de la Marine and the adjoining building, which together form the old Palais de Chaillon, are very white and extremely bright when one has left one's sunglasses at the hotel. It was very hot and very uphill. I was not in the best of moods. But, the sight of the Eiffel Tower from across the river, what a sight worthy of many photos. It really does lean away from the sun, it's weird!

The Musée de la Marine was stupendous. HUGE models of monster square-rigged warships at 1:18 or even 1:12 scale! Nadine composed some wicked pictures of the models.

One model described how some Egyptian decided to give France an obelisk, leaving it up to the French to get it to Paris. So the French built a special barge, sailed over, cut down the obelisk, levered and pullied it over to the barge which they had pulled up onto a beach, sawed the end off the barge, pulled the obelisk in, sewed the boat back up, and took it home. This is the big spike that sits in the middle of Place Concorde, and inspired us to check it out later that day.

Next up, the Arc de Triomphe - but lunch first. We had pasta and a burger and a demi bouteille of red wine that went straight to our heads as we looked out over the sidewalk patio. With a lot of giggling we continued to the Arc de Triomphe. We were first struck by the madcap traffic circle around the Arc. I can see that the rule is for traffic in the circle to yield to traffic entering, and the policy is to do so begrudgingly. I counted about two near misses in a handful of seconds as cars and scooters threw themselves across multiple lanes. Lanes that were of course only perceived, not painted.

Nadine found a bench and wrote a postcard (a drunken postcard, I might add, to my dear friend and maid of honor Stephanie) while I gaped at the traffic. Two people came to ask us where the tunnel was to go underneath, but we hadn't found it at that point. I began to wonder how many Frenchmen were actually in Paris.

Good great view from the top of the Arc, man, oh man. We reversed Nadine's trick of taking photos through the pay telescope by getting ultra-close pics of the Eiffel Tower.

We picture-bombed the underside and outside of the Arc, and then decided we would walk down the Champs Elysées straight to the Place Concorde to marvel at the spike. ("Real Egyptian sh**!" Nadine enthused.)

We finally found some shade and liquids along the Champs Elysées, photo-noting the Louis Vuitton store with a long line-up.

The spike was very Egyptian, and like the Arc de Triomphe, ringed by a Paris-style accolade of madcap motorists.

Our next stop was decided to be the Gardens around the Louvre (Jardin des Tuileries) as the sun settled and we strolled along eating sorbet cones. We took a whole photo-journal of our approach to the glass pyramid. We had a nice sit by the pyramid.

We took the bus home to save an hour's walk in the dark. Bought two bottles of wine at a corner market, and then struck another item off our list by getting dinner at duhn duhn daa... McDonalds. I had a Royale with bacon and got miffed when the silly wench at the counter wouldn't accept my French. I was saying, "Quoi?" because she was speaking at 2 decibels in a noisy environment, not because I don't know what "Coke? Coke? Coke? Coke?" means. I just kept forging ahead with my order but had to repeat it all because she never progressed to the subroutine after "Coke?". I have two bottles of wine and it's ten o'clock. No Coke! The McDonalds tasted funny. No diarrhea though, praise be.

I wanted more fries, though. I can never get enough of McDonald's fries. The wine wasn't the greatest; I guess our expectations of French standards were a little high. That, or just not the right meal to eat with it. ;-P Found two English channels - CNN and something else. Tried to watch French TV but they spoke way too fast, even for me. And so to bed..

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Voyage à Paris - Day 2

Twelve. Hours. Of SLEEP. AWESOME. Reveille at 9:00AM and on the street by 10:00AM. Looking for a hearty breakfast we found only 2 fried eggs and 2 razor thin slices of ham and 4 pieces of toast for 20 euros!!! Holy Crap!

I decided I needed a new jacket as I felt very shabby in the city of fashion, so I kept my eye out as we headed toward Notre Dame, via Rue Sevres.

We sidetracked from our beeline to Notre Dame so we could check out Eglise Saint Sulpice. Very nice, as you'd expect. Lots of arches, lots of stones, pretty dark inside. Got lots of photos of the Rose Line featured in the Da Vinci Code, which is accompanied by several posters entitled: "The Danger of the Da Vinci Code: Lost Faith!" More savvy business practice would have been to have a stand of those cool spiked leg-torturing things that the albino monk wore. You mean the cilice.

I found my jacket in a little mall, and scored a complimentary gym bag and matching kit bag that may help us bring home lots of wine. Now when people ask where you got that awesome jacket, you can say you got it from "Somewhere", as that was the name of the store. Clever, no?

We had an emergency lunch at a pasta place. Grimbergen beer - nicht gut. I had a 7Up. I think it was the best 7Up I ever had. 25 centilitres of sugary goodness.

On to Notre Dame, at something like 2:30. We started our visit with the "crypts" underneath the spot were the Hotel Dieu stood before it burned down. Roman and medeival French sewers and cellars are intermingled, superimposed, and intertwined in something that now looks like Escher's staircases. It smells bad too. It smells like dried seaweed, like in my grandfather's basement, which is a smell I noticed first and immediately said it smelled familiar. It's because the docks of the Seine used to be further north of where they are now. On to the cathedral!

Many photo ops in front. Inside is very dark. Even on a really sunny day. We discovered the difficulties of taking pictures of dark things, and bright things, in the dark with a camera that automatically adjusts the shutter speed. No matter how steady you hold it your heart still has to beat, so it ends up fuzzy. Maybe it will make everything seem ghostly or bathed in a spiritual radiance.

Looked at the "treasures" of France and was not impressed. Everything was copies! Not so breathtaking with cubic zirconia, dudes.

We tried to get to the top of Notre Dame but the steps had been closed for the day. We made a solemn vow to return. We walked instead around the south side of the cathedral, snapping pictures of the flying buttresses. There's an awesome park with rows of trees trimmed into square hedges behind Notre Dame, filled with people sucking each other's tonsils out. Like those parks back home where people play chess, except for people who suck face. I think we have pictures.

We walked home, stopping for sushi at a place that only had pre-made maki in plastic trays. I was able to communicate my order entirely in French, though. It's nice having Nadine there, like a batter on deck, ready to jump in when the conversation goes badly for me.

Snapped some photos of L'Hotel des Invalides in the dark, and of the Eiffel Tower with epileptic strobes flashing all over it.
The postcards can't really do it justice because the shutter speed is slower in the dark, so when you see a picture of the Eiffel tower all lit up--and I mean bright-white lit up--it's only because all the lights flashed once in the time it took for the shutter to close. Try to picture it with only about a quarter of the lights on, and that's what a half-second of that time is like.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Voyage à Paris, Day/Night 1

[Note: Nadine's text in peach, Andrew's in blue.]

We have had about five hours between the two of us...oh, of sleep, I mean. See? Can't even string a sentence. Together. Arg.

Another five hour sleep stretched out on two plane seats. Felt refreshed for about twenty minutes. Not at all impressed with the subway system that was so lauded by our advisors. But I am just tired and very easily frustrated right now, so I hope to rebound tomorrow. I'm beginning to feat that I'm incapable of relaxing in foreign environments, that I can only function with routine life. It's just so demeaning to be standing in front of a multicolored wall map designed to be understood by preschoolers while native citizens jostle and zoom by with ease. I got chewed up by recalcitrant turnstiles, bleeped at by indifferent red LEDs, and trapped inside the subway system, unable to leave through the "Sortie". How can you call it a "Sortie" if you can't sort? It should be called a "Peut-être sortie".

It's much, much warmer than I expected it to be here. My legs swelled on the plane from the pressure in the cabin and the tiny amount of leg room. Now I'm wearing my wrap dress sans leggings, and my legs look fat.

We went out to dîner at this restaurant which served a teensy French steak with a heaping pile of fries (made with French potatoes) and a single leaf of lettuce. No veggies. We went to the Eiffel Tower after, which we found when we switched tables at the restaurant. Just behind me. Andrew took a picture. Then at the Tower we took about 50 more, including two from the telescope machines. Got our first glimpse of Notre Dame de Paris!!! It got cold so we went back to the hot3el. The elevator is more like a dubwaiter so we took the stairs. Did I mention we took the stairs down - and UP - the entire Tower???*

*Okay, up to the midpoint deck. Still, 668 feet!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Four days

...and I'm feeling thoroughly nauseated. I have all this nervous energy that I need to burn off or I'm going to have a heart attack or something. We're meeting with our minister tonight to write our vows, four days before the event. I can't believe it.

*covers her head and screams*

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bad dreams

I tossed and turned all last night... too warm, too cold, brain racing at a million miles an hour, and when I did dream it was of brides-in-training failing all their tests. The Trailer Park Boys also featured at some point for a completely unfathomable reason. Very violent, they were.

I will be very happy when the day is underway.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Twenty days...

...until the day of the wedding. This was brought to my attention just a few minutes ago and is completely freaking me out.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

To the asshole at Mr. Sub

I know it's frustrating to not be able to get what you want when there's a giant poster advertising it.

But when someone apologizes and tells you it's not available because that's a breakfast item and not available in the afternoon, your options are:

a) leave.
b) order something else.

The following option, which you exercised, should be deleted from the list of possibilities:

c) scowl, badger the employee for five minutes straight - while a line forms behind you - until she makes up a reason why what you want is unavailable, force her to make a meatball sub with only meatballs and cheese (and they have different cheeses, so naturally you get angrier when she asks you to specify what kind *gasp* THE NERVE!), then when she goes to ring up your order, you shove the sub back at her and say, "HERE! I'm not going to eat this SHIT anyway because YOU didn't have what I wanted so YOU eat it!" then slam down your tray on the counter and stalk over to another food stand and glower at their employee, who has no idea what's going on.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stitches in my time

Nothing seems to occasions comment or sidelong glance - or outright stares - so much as a young woman doing cross-stitch.

Cross-stitch, you say? As in needlepoint? How utterly bizarre. How antiquated. How very domestic and crafty.

I have had complete strangers on the subway ask me about my hobby. A nice Jamaican man saw me working on an Asian-themed pattern a few years ago and asked me lots of questions about it. A Russian woman once saw me working on my current pattern of sunflowers in a green-and-white-striped pot, and told me it was lovely.

Last week an Asian girl sat across from me on the train, while another Asian girl sat next to me. The one next to me was practically hovering over my shoulder as I worked on one of the sunflowers, while chattering to the girl across from me. In the middle of the train ride, they both got up abruptly and switched seats, whereupon the first Asian girl started chattering excitedly back to the other as she started peering over my shoulder. Oddly gratifying but a little weird. Not to mention completely unsubtle.

One wince-worthy moment: one of my co-workers, who is five years younger than me, said to me, "That's so pretty. My grandmother does those things." Talk about making be feel old. Yeesh.

It's relaxing, though. Just me, the needle, the thread, and the diagram. The focus must be completely on the tiny patterns made by the different colors in order for the picture to come out properly. Each set of symbols on the diagram, marking the various hues, must be mapped to ensure minimum waste of the thread. It's terribly satisfying to finally finish using a particular color. (It is, however, very unsatisfying being distracted once and then later seeing that you've missed one teensy stitch in a color trail. Most annoying.)

It's funny, though, since I've only ever finished two cross-stitch patterns. I remember my first pattern, a Christmas angel pattern I was given by my cousin during a "Bitch'n'Stitch" session with her girlfriends, when I was living with her in university. I never did finish it. It was far beyond what my novice fingers could have handled: various beads, 3/4 stitches; slippery gold thread; French knots; some three-strand stitching; some two-strand.

The first pattern I finished was quite well done, if I do say so myself. It's done on black fabric, instead of the usual white or beige, and when it is done you realize it's a tiger's eyes staring at you. I've always meant to get it framed. Maybe I will once we move into our new house.

The second pattern I finished was the Asian design I mentioned, a large character in Chinese script which means "Good Fortune". I gave that to someone who I once considered a friend but we've grown so far apart I don't think we could be again. It was a sort of 'thanks-and-have-a-good-life' gift, but not as snotty as I just made it sound.

I have almost finished my sunflowers pattern. When it's done I'll post a picture. Maybe a nice green frame with a red and gold matte...

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I get this... feeling, I suppose, but it's more than a feeling, on occasion. I can never predict when it's going to happen or when it's going to end, but it's the strangest, most uncomfortable sensation.

It's like there is a presence hovering over my right shoulder, sort of tingly but not on my skin, just in the area above it. Like a cloud of flies that you want to wave away, only there's nothing there. Or like standing with your back to a bonfire and feeling the heat but not hearing the noise, just sensing the crackling going on behind you. It's just a very wrong sort of feeling.

When this happens, I can't stand being around electronics. Having to sit in front of a computer with this feeling now going on its fourth hour sets my teeth on edge. Turning on the TV this morning caused a shiver to run down my spine and I only left it on long enough to check the temperature. Even the radio hurt my ears this morning.

I want to go outside and get away from this mass of electricity and run or walk through the grass or something!!!!!! Just to escape it. It's driving me crazy, particularly because I don't what sets it off or when it ends.

Friday, July 14, 2006

In which we buy a house (aka "In which we become poor")

So we went down to Ottawa this past weekend and stayed with my future in-laws to seek a house. And seek we did. It was practically a hunt. ;)

Very long weekend summarized shortly, we found a house which is perfect for us!!! It also happens to currently belong to my future brother-in-law and his wife. Now they have to find a house.

We could help them. We're old hands at this point.

Friday, June 30, 2006

My privacy complaint - Xentel's response

Dear Ms. Mealey:

Thank-you for contacting us about your concerns with Xentel's do not call system. Xentel has operated its own do not call registry since 1988, recognizing that some Canadians do not want us to call them for our non-profit clients. [With harassment three times a day, who can blame them?] What you have described is of great concern to us and we are investigating the specifics to determine what has to change to ensure no one else has a similar experience.

I am assured by our do not call system manager that we have placed your telephone number on Xentel's do not call list. It will be purged from all calling lists Xentel creates for the next three years.
[I guess it doesn't matter since I'm moving, but what if I wasn't? After three years, I would get called again?]

Again, thank-you for contacting us about this.

Len Wolstenholme
for Xentel DM Incorporated

My privacy complaint - update

I must mention that I received three calls yesterday from this accursed company, XENTEL. One at 10AM for Rameses Shriners. One around 12:30 for the Toronto Police Association. Another at 1:49 for the Rameses Shriners. The last call I received after sending my e-mail, and I pretty much lost it with the rep. Guy got off the phone with me pretty quickly.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Privacy violation - my e-mail


I have requested at least twenty times or more within the last two years to be put on your "do not call" lists for the five organizations for whom I am solicited through your call centres. The calls stop for a week or two, and then begin again.

It has reached the point that I cut off the representative right at the beginning of the call and reiterate that I have made this request. Some have been understanding ("I'm sorry, I'll speak with my supervisor right away") and some have been less so ("Well, what did we ever do to you?" - Yes, I have actually had a rep say this to me). I am -thisclose- to simply screaming, "STOP CALLING ME!" when I pick up the phone and then immediately hanging up. Sadly, the calls continue.

Once, within the last three months I believe, I had a discussion about this 'do not call' service with a female representative who was calling. I explained, as I often do, that it is nothing personal against her, I know she's just doing her job, etc, but that I was truly sick and tired of receiving these calls and that I want them to stop. I rattled off the few organizations I remembered offhand, and she proceeded to explain to me - off the record (!) - that my information would never be truly removed from the system, since it was in a country-wide database that just cycled from call centre to call centre. But she dutifully noted my request not to be called for the five organizations that are in my 'profile', but said this request would only last for a few months.

I believe I got another call again within three weeks.

I am called on a regular basis, sometimes several times a day from different call centres, be asked to make a donation for one of the following organizations:

- Rameses Shriners
- Toronto Police Association, for whatever event they happen to be hosting
- Canadian Council for the Blind
- Battle of the Bands
- another event/organization whose name escapes me

I work in a call centre too. But when a customer makes a request to not be contacted - either by phone, mail or otherwise - we honor that request. It may take a few weeks to cycle out their information, but it gets done. If they call us again later because they've been contacted again, we apologize and make restitution as the situation demands.

I simply request a written statement from your organization, indicating the steps you have taken to either remove my contact information from your database (and please don't give me a 'random dialler' excuse; it's not random if it's always the same five organizations that call me) or to indicate a permanent 'DO NOT CALL' note on my 'profile'. If anything, the fact that I haven't donated any money to any of those organizations in over two years should strongly indicate my disinterest. I simply choose to donate to other causes with whom I feel more connected. I am tired of this harassment and I want it to stop.

I look forward to your reponse.

Nadine (with all my other info)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

House hunting : v. - 1. to look to purchase a permanent lodging. 2. tramp through the forest with a spear to wrangle a big hairy house.

My husband-to-be and I will be moving to Ottawa later this year. We are considering, seriously, purchasing a house. If we can't find one in our budget, we will, of course, rent until we find find one that does. But in two weeks, we will be going on a house-hunting expedition.

Who came up with the term "house hunting", anyway? It almost brings to mind straggly-haired barbarians dressed in furs and carrying spears, tramping through the forest seeking to wrangle a big, hairy, scared house and subjugating it so they can camp in it (until they find a bigger or better house).

I prefer to think of it as "house-seeking". The implication is that it's almost a quest, and that you're looking for a match; a partner, if you will. I mean, you're going to be spending a fair amount of your time with your house. It's definitely worth it to seek something with which you're comfortable. It's a very personal relationship, that of you and your house.

You must ask yourself important philosopical questions while seeking. Do I like the feel of the space? Could I do the things I normally do here (cook, entertain, walk around naked without curtains, whatever), i.e. be myself? Will I have to drastically change what I own to fit the space, or worse, drastically change the space to fit what I own?

Then there's the traditional house-related questions, like 'how old is the house' and 'when was the roof last shingled' and 'does it have southern exposure', blah, blah, blah. But those are all facts that can be verified within a few minutes of speaking with the realtor. Finding out how you feel with the house takes more time. You're like strangers at first, and you have to make friends, get to know each other, learn each other's foibles... and eventually become part of the family.

I know there's lots of work involved in any case: there's the obvious painting of rooms--which is still very exciting for me because I have always lived in houses or apartments where painting wasn't permitted, and I have a trillion ideas about what colors I might pick--the possible buying of appliances, and moving your meager apartmentful of belongings into two or more floors of space and saying, "Geez, we need more stuff." But that's half the fun!

So I'm getting excited, and honestly a little bit scared, at the prospect of actually finding and buying a house, one in which we can Begin Our Life Together (never mind that we've been living together for over three years already), with our family a little bit closer than it is in Toronto. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Une grande visite de mon petit frère

I'm so excited! My baby brother (who's 21), whom I haven't seen in about a year and a half, will be here, in my apartment, tonight!!! He's moving to Alberta to be with his girlfriend, and he's driving down with her sister, across most of Canada, to do so. He's stopping here in the big T-Dot (as one of my friends - you know who you are *wink* - likes to call it) for the night. From what I gather, they'll push on to Thunder Bay for tomorrow night, Regina the next night, I guess Edmonton or Calgary Saturday, and arrive in Cold Lake on Sunday. Funny, I thought there was another day in there somewhere. Or two. Huh.

So, naturally, my fiancé and I have been cleaning like demons since last night. I couldn't sleep and I woke up early, I'm so excited. I pretty much just have to vacuum and get some groceries.

This is gonna be great!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006


The big surprise was complimentary dance classes at a studio not far from our old apartment. It was very warm there (no AC, just fans), but nice and open.

Unfortunately, the instructor was kind of a bitch.

I must begin by saying that my fiancé hates to dance. Could happily live his entire life without dancing, ever. So for him to set this up for me is surely a testament to his love, right?

And an instructor who is worth her salt should surely recognize that, in a man who blushes and gets sweaty palms at the very mention of the word "dance" in the context of him enacting said verb, is probably already very nervous and doesn't need to be told, "If you don't do what I tell you, I will make your life a living hell", should she not?

Have I mentioned that it is costing us less per hour for our wedding photographer than it would cost for one 45-minute class from this studio? Being at the mercy of the hands and feet of this abrasive woman for the minimum 8 classes she suggested would not only a complete act of financial drainage, but also of deep-seated masochism.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Waiting for a surprise

My fiancé has been bugging me for days, asking me if I'm working June 17th. I told him repeatedly, I don't know, the schedule's not posted yet. When I asked why, I'd get the ever-maddening, "No reason."

So this morning I called my girl at work and asked if the schedule was posted yet (which I was about to say had damn well better be posted because it starts Monday). She happily told me that I have all next weekend off.

From: Nadine Mealey
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 12:08 PM
To: Fiancé
Subject: June 17
I have the whole weekend off. Can you give me a hint?


-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Nadine
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:02 PM
To: Fiancé
Subject: FW: June 17

And can you buy me a steak and stuff?
(This is related to the dinner party we're going to tonight.)

From: Fiancé
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 3:51 PM
To: Nadine
Subject: FW: June 17

The hint is that you won't want to be weighed down by a steak. You'll like it very much, though, don't worry.
(This is him not realizing the two statements are not related.)

So of course, I start to ask him if he's taking me out of town. Out to dinner? On a helicopter ride, hence the need to shed excess baggage or food? Airplane lessons? All I can think about now is sky-related events.

Curiouser and curioser...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bike butt

My darling fiancé bought me a bike yesterday. And a matching helmet. And a lock. And a kickstand. And new brakes, but we'll be taking them back. The brakes on the bike have been adjusted so that I can actually reach them.

My butt hurts. A friend of mine says I need to re-develop Bikers Butt. I haven't riden a bike on a regular basis in over ten years. You never forget how to ride a bike, but oh, how you easily forget about the pain in your ass when you get on one again after all the snow melts.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

They say that...

...people who can get through making wedding invitations together will be together forever. Well, it'll be a near thing, I think.

We've, ahem, debated about the color of the invitation backing. We weighed the wording of one invitation over another, and whether we should make room at the bottom for a rubber stamp imprint.We argued about how to figure out how wide the border of the dark blue rice paper should be so that it was consistent all around. (Okay, I flipped out when my calculations wouldn't work and then yelled at him and tore up the paper I was using to calculate. And yet, we somehow arrived at the same answers. Huh.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

discipula astrologiae suum

I am taking an astrology course right now. It's so much fun!!! I almost hate to say more fun than any other class I took in university. (Well, "Introduction to Ancient Egyptian" comes in at a close second.)

I'm taking the class through the
Canadian Association for Astrological Education. I have my fourth class this evening, and I still haven't done my homework. Okay, okay, so some things haven't changed. ;)

Although I understand many of the mathematical priciples involved in drawing up a natal chart, it's the actual interpretation that I have difficulty with. This is what I'm learning, and it's fabulous. There are only five people in my class, so it's great that my teacher isn't swamped.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy place

After an amazingly long and boring wait at the "RapidClinic", the doctor declared me fine. Just a headache to remind me for the next few days that I should always wear my seatbelt.

*whew* Glad that's over.

belated birthday greetings to my dear friend

Well, U No Hoo, I would like to publicly and humbly offer my deepest apologies for forgetting your birthday. I really hope that you had a kick-ass time even though I, your one and only little waif, neglected to express birthday wishes on the day in question.

Here is a lovely cake for you. Make a wish! ;) Luv ya.
***i i i i
**(~ ~ ~ ~)
*(* * * * *)
(: : : : : :)

Hospitals suck.

So one of my coworkers has freaked me out sufficiently to spur me to go to the hospital for a checkup. (She said her brother had been a car accident years ago and had a head injury, which only caused him problems several years after the fact, due to an incomplete checkup.)

Even though I'm convinced I'm fine, the thought and the anticipation of being in a hospital has made my belly clench with dread. I now have a small bruise on my knuckle in lieu of a scrape, and although the skin of my forehead still hurts, there is no visible bruising and a bump only detectable by touch, not by sight.

My innards are clenched very tightly. I am not in a happy place right now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

One way to get out of work

So, on the one day that I don't wear my seat belt in a cab and wear mascara, I get into an accident and then cry my eyes out later. Just peachy.

Don't worry, I'm fine, everyone involved is fine - well, the drivers were angry, but unhurt - and I survived with only a scraped knuckle and a little egg on my forehead where I hit the roof. My fault for not wearing a seat belt.

It is not the cabbie's fault, I'm saying this right now. It's the fault of the f*cker driving the silver SUV that screeched in front of us from the left lane with us only about three car lengths from the stop line. The rain, the suddenness of the asshole's lane change...smashy, smashy!

Leaving the SUV with only a few little scratches and dents in about a square foot area of his bumper, and the cabbie with a smashed headlight, folded hood, and apparently some damage to the front driver's side that left him unable to open his door so that he had to crawl out of the passeger side door.

I can't help feeling like a complete idiot. I always wear my seat belt.


Well, that'll teach me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Contrary to popular belief, Mercury is NOT retrograde right now...

I called my maman this morning to wish her a happy Mother's Day. Good thing she asks how wedding plans are going and I reciprocate by asking her how travel plans to my wedding are coming along. She tells me how she's getting ready to book their flights and how they're hoping to leave on the 19th of September. As in leave Labrador to come to Toronto.

At which point I remind her that I'm getting married on the 17th. She argues that no, I'm getting married on the 23rd, and I say that's the date we wanted but not the date we got. Slightly panicked hysteria ensues.

Long story short, we have successfully headed off the possibility of my entire immediate family showing up two days after my wedding. *whew*

Sunday, May 07, 2006


No, I can't change information for your spouse. Grow a spine and tell them to call in themselves!

Even if we did send out product samples, we can't e-mail them to you. Dumb-ass.

Why are you so freaking perfect that there is absolutely no way that you could have switched a numbered card with no name on it with your husband/wife/child/sibling/friend? No, my information is not wrong. YOU SWITCHED. THE CARD. Yes, you moron, you switched the card.
You saw one of our employees in a bar drinking and dancing and making faces? And you don't think we should have people like this in our store? Well, what were you doing at the bar?

Okay, I can't find your account under this phone number. Have you moved or changed your phone number? No? Are you sure? Alright, may I have your name then please? ...okay, I have you here with phone number 382-5968 ... so that's your old phone number is it? So you did move. Why do you think I asked you that in the first place? You clearly knew it, you recited the phone number along with me. Can't you answer a simple question?

Wonderful Day

Yesterday was such a fantastic day! I woke up on my own with the sun streaming on my face (as opposed to hubby booting my lazy ass out of bed at the crack of dawn), and had a lovely breakfast with my darling man.

We went to Mark's Work Wearhouse where he bought a new pair of pants and a sweater, and I bought this flirty gypsy skirt. I've never owned such a fun garment in my life. It's black and goes to just around my knees and it flips most airily. It almost feels like a flamenco skirt or something.

The best part is, when I wear it with my pirate boots (as I am today), I feel like River Tam from Firefly, specifically in the episode "Safe", when the emotionally distraught girl hears music for the first time since her escape from the Alliance, she begins to dance. She has black boots sort of like mine, and a pretty flowing skirt (hers is pink, though). I don't know, I just feel like a gypsy; no other way to explain it.

Anyway, after breakfast hubby and I went to Loomis, this great art store, and picked out stuff with which to make wedding invitations. Then we went shopping at another store, and went to dinner where I had the heartiest vegetarian chili I've ever eaten.

We went home and watched The Replacements on TV, and later began to watch Dumb and Dumber - I had forgotten how ridiculous that movie was. In between boring parts, I tried working on the invitations. Let's just say I wasn't at my most patient and loving when trying to calculate how to properly calculate the dimensions of the multiple layers of paper we had purchased and how to center them. Oh, and ribbon tying was a complete fiasco.

All in all, though, yesterday was a fabulous day off. Hooray for free time in fabulous weather!

Friday, April 28, 2006

The joy of taxes

Wow, I've never had such a non-problem filing my taxes before this year. For the first time, I have purchased income-tax software. For 2005. (And for, uh, 2004 too... But it's okay!!! They owe me!) Now I just have to wait for this 2004 return to be processed so I can continue with 2005.

In the past, nothing could transform me into a blubbering pile of jelly worse than doing my taxes. I vividly remember the year I had had three jobs, leftover tuition claims, charity receipts, investments and employment insurance claims to tabulate into what was hopefully going to be refund. (I think in the end it was even.) I wound up sitting on the futon in my voluminous bathrobe, wanting to tear all my receipts to shreds along with my hair, while I sobbed about how f*cking confusing the whole thing was and why didn't I just sell everything I had and buy a tiny island and live there Survivor-style away from the rest of the planet where taxes didn't matter. So my hubby took over for me, the darlingest sweetheart-peach-pie that ever was.

But you've gotta love
QuickTax. It's so stupidly easy. No need to calculate at all. It's all done for you. I had a minor problem trying to figure out when hubby and I became common-law, but left it out in the end since we weren't common-law in 2004 anyway. Oh, and the fire alarm went off while I was on the phone with the QuickTax people, but that wasn't my fault. Damn annoying, though, when a wicked A sharp that is slightly flat is piercing your eardrums while you're talking to someone who's getting more freaked out the longer the alarm goes on and is urging me to leave the building. ( I assured her it was probably not a real fire alarm; as it turns out, the alarm went silent about two minutes after I hung up.)

Here's to wondrous tax-eriffic technology and to a refund that is going directly to a honeymoon savings fund!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Stupid water

Water main break just outside our building... no water means no shower. Lucky we have an aquarium and therefore a big bucket of tap water to use. The fish can survive a few more days without a cleaning. Also lucky that there's still water in the toilet (or was when we left for work this morning), and a brand new bottle of hand sanitizer.

Current update from City of Toronto says it's going to take the better part of the day to dig up the 24" main. Radio report from this morning freaked me out by saying, "Repairs could take a long time."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Short memory

It's amazing, isn't it, what short memories we have, especially when we're sick. You long for the days when you weren't [fill in the blank], and yet can barely remember what is was like to not be [whatever it was you suffered from in the previous blank].

Although I have recovered from my cough, the medications have left lasting effects on my poor body with which I will not bore you. Let's just say I'm not at my best and I don't want to talk about it.

I can't even remember what it was like to not be [my own blank - I said I wasn't going to talk about it!].

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Crazy instructions

My fiancé recently purchased a brand-spanking new watch that has a radio transistor that connects to the Atomic Clock In Fort Collins Somewhere In America. He delights in telling me each day at what time the watch "acquires the signal", which takes place anytime between 11PM and 4AM each morning. It will automatically update the watch if it's behind by even a few microseconds, display the date, and update for Daylight Savings. Only three buttons on the thing. Very schmancy.

It comes with a detailed instruction manual in English, French and Spanish. On page 24, it tells you you can manually adjust the date and time (presumably if you are in an area where you cannot "acquire the signal"). It also has this warning:
  • If you become confused and lose your way during the following procedures, simply put the watch down and do not perform any button for about three minutes. This will cause the watch to enter Timekeeping Mode (indicated by the normal one-second movement of the second hand) automatically. After that, you can try performing the manual setting procedure from the beginning.

I mean, can you get any more obvious? Of course you put the watch down. Unless you're like me and you get so frustrated you throw it across the room, but that's not going to help things, now, is it? (I didn't throw anything, by the way, I'm just saying what would have happened if I had gotten confused and frustrated.)

Got a kick out of that, thought I'd share.

P.S. Belated happy birthday to my friend who hopefully received her e-card today!


So I'm nicely medicated now, taking industrial-strength cough syrup that the pharmacy warns me has addictive properties. I'm on antibiotics too. I wonder how many times I've been on antibiotics in my life. I easily remember a handful of ear infections as a child, with the yummy pink or yellow creamy syrup that I almost couldn't wait to take.

I can talk properly now, with only a little hoarseness. I'm still coughing a little bit, mostly when I change position (lying down to sitting up, for example) or if I haven't had a drink in a while.

See, the thing with codeine, they tell you, is that it makes you constipated. Well, I assume it does that through ridiculously intense dehydration (which halts proper bowel function, is my guess), because I have drunk more liquid in the last two days than I think in the last week combined. I'm not a big drinker; ask any of my friends. The only thing I can usually consume in copious amounts is tonic water or grapefruit juice. But in the past 48 hours I feel like I've drunk about a million little cups of water. And lemonade. And more water. I need to bring my own mug in to work, I think. Oh, and I need to eat some lentils or something.

On the plus side, I can now kiss my wonderfully supportive fiancé without worrying that I'm going to cough in his ear or accidentally blow snot onto his neck. And I can sleep. Underrated commodity, that. Wonderful, glorious sleep.

Friday, March 31, 2006


I find myself having largely lost my voice due to my persistent cough, which, as previously mentioned, presents somewhat of a problem when working in a call centre. I have been fortunate enough to have understanding supervisors who are perfectly happy to let me respond to e-mails, instead of having me try to hit the mute button at justtherighttime when talking to someone on the phone so they don't hear my dry-but-sometimes-rattling cough.

I have a wall of phlegm in my throat that will not be melted, no matter what I drink, and will not be dislodged, no matter how much I hack or try to clear my throat. I have found a wondrous cough syrup, Neo-Citran for Cough and Flu, which is the only product I have found which lets me sleep most of the night. Like most yellow medicinal syrups, it tastes like ass, but hey, if it'll let me catch a few glorious hours of sleep like I wasn't getting earlier this week, I'll take it.

My fiancé has been wonderful throughout this mess. I came home from tutoring a friend late Tuesday night - the same friend who introduced me to the miracle medicine - and found a mound of pillows on my side of the bed (where only one lay before) so that I could sleep sitting up to help prevent more coughing. Instead of waking up about 15 times to cough or drink or blow my nose, I only woke up twice. It's been the trend for the past few days. I go to bed around 10ish and wake up with the sun.

I have told my boss I won't be in tomorrow as scheduled, because on the weekends I no longer have the luxury of working on e-mails; seeing as I can't say five words without tearing my throat apart... I'll finally be going to a doctor. Hubby has very sweetly offered to come with me.

According to Google, I apparently do not have strep throat. One of my colleagues has semi-freaked me out by implying I might have bronchitis. However, as all my congestion is in my throat and not in my chest, the sane part of me doesn't believe it. But... the part that's been sick for six days is going, "Omigod, bronchitis? I had bronchitis. When I was five. I had to stay in the hospital. In a bubble. I ate popsicles and didn't like the other food. The bathroom smelled like alcohol. I don't wanna go to the hospital again! [This last part said in a whiny, cranky, verge-of-tears way]"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

La Laryngite

I can't talk properly right now, which is useful in a way as it allows me to expand my writing skills during this (hopefully) short period where my voice is useless.

I have a bad cough right now that has lasted about two and a half days. As a result, I am very hoarse. When you work for a call centre, this has the potential to be a Bad Thing.

Not only am I paid to talk to people, I am also in a building which, like most office buildings, operates on 50-90% recycled air. Which means my icky cold germs are being spread around the workplace like so many dandelion seeds, and likewise those of my colleagues make their way to me now. Someone's germs are roaring in glee at the success of their propagation experiment.

On a tangential note, I find it hard to believe that the manufacturer of a cough suppressant has no information for the public to advise why people with asthma are recommened not to use the product. Just a wee bit unprofessional. Talk to my doctor? What doctor? This is Canada, we have no family doctors, ask anyone.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Crazy Harry Potter Dream

Even I am astounded at how much detail I recall from this dream.

It didn't start off with Harry Potter characters. I was driving to this base or something, in a beat-up old car. Went inside this building and there were trapeze artists. No nets. My friend from work was there and we both climbed up this 15' stepladder (one of us on either side). She grabbed a trapeze that was just a bit higher than the top step you're not supposed to step on. She went first, just swinging back and forth in a lavender bathing suit she'd worn just for this event. I was embarrassed because I was just wearing jeans and my lumberjack jacket (big, baggy, and blue), blue and green stripy socks (the same ones I was actually wearing yesterday in real life). She didn't do anything fancy, just swung back and forth, but fairly high up, almost in a complete semicircle. Everyone was applauding (there was an audience somewhere but we couldn't see them); then it was my turn.

She got back on the ladder, and steadied me as I climbed up. I was afraid that the bar would be crazy smooth plastic and that my hands would be all sweaty and I would slip. I grabbed the closest end of the bar (it was blue with big red stars on it) with my left hand, then had to let go of the ladder and grab further out on the bar with my right, then shift around. No net, remember. I began to swing, and after a few moments of terror, I realized the bar, although smooth, was very cool to the touch, and I began to swing higher. I realized my jeans were too long and baggy, and kept catching on something at the front end of my swing trajectory (another trapeze?) so because they were suddenly big and baggy, I just shook my hips a bit and they fell off. The cheers swelled in my ears, and I realized I hadn't shaved my legs in weeks; I was mortified. It was finally time for me to get off the trapeze, but with no net I had to gradually slow my swing so I could grab back on to the ladder; no way was I going to try to grab onto the ladder in mid-swing. It took forever, and I could tell the audience was getting bored, and my friend was getting impatient. I finally slowed down enough that I was able to gently hook my leg around one of the ladder's legs, and my friend helped me back onto the ladder. She stood above me on the second-highest step in all her lavender-suited glory, waving and smiling to the cheers, while I stood four steps below shaking in relief and embarrassment, buttoning my jacket up and squatting as low as I could to hide my hairy legs. Suddenly the audience was gone (though I had never really seen them, just heard them). I climbed down the ladder, my friend ran ahead of me and vanished. I walked over the dirt floor to where I thought my jeans had fallen, and a tall, dour-looking man glared at me and said, "They're over there." Maybe he just pointed, I'm not sure; you know how dreams are. He somehow conveyed to me that my pants were not where I thought they were. I looked over to where he indicated and there they were. I ran over and put them on, feeling much better as I did so.

Then I'm walking around the inside of the now empty trapeze building, which has yellow walls with many doors, and a high black ceiling like a warehouse. Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley, and other unidentifiable Harry Potter characters are there with me; I think there are five of us in total. Am I Harry? I don't know. My identity is always completely mutable in my dreams. I've been male, female, but I'm always Me, just in a different shell. I sense that I'm a male now, instead of the embarrassed female that was on the trapeze just a few minutes ago. I don't feel like Harry, though. We are looking for something, but I'm not sure what.

Then we are walking around in the crisp outdoors that looks like morning but feels like afternoon, cool like early spring but looks like early fall; all the foliage has yellow leaves. We occasionally see brown bears, and we stop talking (though I do not recall anything we ever said to each other), and sometimes hide behind rocks or in the underbrush; the underbrush smells nice and is unnaturally quiet, like it would if it had just rained and your steps would be muffled, but the air feels moderately dry and yet there is very little crunching underfoot. Sometimes we think the bears see us and we run away as quietly as possible, going in a different direction.

At one point we are escaping the bears (which always seem to be in groups of four or more), walking through the brush, and we see something on a dirt road down the hill from where we are. I think it is a car, black and curvy, like something you'd see in a 1940's movie. We all shush each other without making any sound, and make sure to stay out of sight. I know we have found what we are looking for, but I don't know or understand why we're looking for it or why we don't want the car's occupants to see us. We back away after it passes, and run across the dirt road behind us, at the top of the hill.

There is an enormous field of sunflowers, and there is a building in the distance. We know that for some reason we need to get to that building as soon as possible. We start to wade through field, which is very difficult to navigate as the sunflowers are at about armpit-height and grow very close together. All of a sudden, We look to our respective rights and see another group of people also trying to wade through the field of orange and yellow and brown. It is Future Us, our group, but from the future, and for some reason there are multiple Harry Potters; the one closest to me is Harry dressed as he was during the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament - black and red shirt, black cape with red lettering. He has his wand in his hand but doesn't use it to magically clear a path or blast me out of the way.

The sunflowers are thick, and it is impossible to run in the field; I think for a moment about trying to get down and crawl but the stems too thick. I see the Harry Potter closest to me beating us to the yellow building. The dour-looking man from the trapeze building is there, holding us back at gunpoint, while he lets the others in through a lone green door; the door has no handle. The Harry who was closest to me looks somewhat regretful that we have to be held back at gunpoint, but doesn't say anything. The Dour man slinks into the building, and the door shuts.

We rush to the door, which has closed, and somehow, quickly, we pry it open. We enter the building but they're already gone; the building feels eerily empty. There are many metal doors painted dark green, and they have flaps where we assume food is slipped through, like in a prison. The glasses I am wearing making it hard to see through the cat-flap, blurry, but I don't take the glasses off (wrong prescription maybe? Harry's instead of mine?). We move through the cool concrete corridor, and all the rooms are empty except one. We find one room with many bears in it, many of them standing up like people. We avoid the door, though the bears look at us through the bars. No physical menace, they're quiet, but just the implication of potential violence makes us nervous. All the walls and doors are either dark green or dark grey. It feels like dead ends are everywhere, but we must find Future Us.

We walk out into stark outdoor courtyard which feels enclosed but somehow isn't. Concrete pillars, metal picnic tables, white roof. White partitions. Very cold.

Suddenly we are in a clearing; there are many tall trees with leaves only at the very top, which block much of the sunlight with their canopy; what little sunlight there is shows a winding country dirt road and an old house in the distance, also covered by the thick canopy. We are standing next to a beat-up old car - maybe the same one I drove in the beginning, I'm not sure. We are looking at reflections in driver's side windows. (I realize now the reflections shouldn't have been so clear, since sun was about thirty degrees to the right of us, early morning.) I, ever the mutable one, am reflecting a male adult (James Potter? Nervous driving instructor?). I'm tall, messy brown hair, glasses, brown pants with suspenders, blue shirt, grey/brown sweater.) To my right, Harry from book five (who I guess was with me before) reflects Harry from Book 4 with movie Triwizard garb. To his right, Harry from Book 6 reflects Harry from Book 5 (but dressed like Harry from the movie of book 3). Neville reflects Ron, which I know doesn't make sense because Ron was with us, not Neville. Finally at the end, Ginny is reflecting an older Harry, who has a thin mustache and no glasses, wearing a grey hoodie sweater. Looks like a lazy teenager. We laugh at her when we realize who she is now. Then we realize the real Neville is in the car waiting for his first driving lesson, but for some reason can only see me, tall professorial male, laughing at the car window.

I get in the car, and realize I don't know how to drive (and in real life I really don't know how), but must somehow perpetuate the idea that I can and demonstrate it to Neville. I can't find keys, there's just this strange little worn-out button where the ignition should be, and I start the car. In short, I drive like a maniac - I always do in my dreams - and I drive down this country road that I know now to be the same country road I've driven in other dreams (though I don't recall this at the time). It stops being a first person and I see it from the outside. I see the car driving away, and then from another angle I see the car crash through fences, smash through sheds, bump over rocks, etc.

The dream sort of fades off at this point. I think the car eventually stopped and Neville and I stumbled out, completely disoriented. Then I woke up.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sweet, sweet sleep

I have learned the hard way in the past two weeks that I become a cranky bitch when I don't get enough sleep. I miss it. A lot.

I've been working 8-4 shifts for the past four weeks. Not only am I switching to 12-8 shifts for the next two weeks (before going right back to 8-4 for another two), I am working BOTH days this weekend due to forced overtime, which is only legal because apparently during my job interview three years ago they asked me if I could work overtime as necessary and I said yes.

Mr. Garrison, of South Park, once said, "I don't trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn't die." Well, I'm exhausted from two weeks of 5-6 hours of sleep per night instead of my usual 8-9, weak from blood loss, and someone has heated up what smells like a big hearty can of Campbell's Beef Soup and the smell is making my mouth water. Well, it would water if I wasn't so dehydrated.

I am not in a good mood.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I love Katamari

A friend of mine came to visit this weekend, and he got me hooked on this PS2 game, Katamari Damacy. Your father, the King of the Cosmos, has a bad experience with Ecstasy (that's what it sounds like when he describes it, anyway) and knocks all the stars out of the sky. You, the little Prince, must create new ones with your katamari, which is a big sticky ball that you roll around. You start off very small, picking up pushpins, matches, and caramels, and slowly get bigger and bigger, eventually picking up things like cars, people, animals and trees. The bigger you make your katamari in the time limit subscribed, the happier the King becomes. Each level is the same map, just at a different scale: First a room, then two, then the whole house, then the house and the yard, then the neighborhood, then the city. Then the world!!!!!

Very addictive. Naturally, the music sticks in your head worse than a telephone pole to the katamari. Luckily,
there is a cure. ;-)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Le Bigliete della Cinema Sola

I don't know about you, but I always watch a movie with someone. At the theater, I mean; watching a movie on TV is different. I haven't been to a movie by myself in years. Actually, I think it was six or seven years ago, when I was in university, and I made a day and half of it of it: I watched The Matrix, La Vita E Bella, and Shrek. (I think it was Shrek, though maybe it was another kids' movie. I'll have to check my ticket stubs.) (Yes, I keep my ticket stubs. I have for the last 12 years. Doesn't everybody?)

I always seem to feel more...empty, I guess, when I go to the theatre alone. I like to be absorbed by the movie, but I also like to hear and watch the reactions of the people around me. Is it an anthropological desire to study human behaviour? Is it more an issue of behavioural acceptance, where I watch other people so that I know how to react myself? I don't know.

I see previews for so many movies (which I painstakingly write on the back of each ticket stub). More often than not, they are not movies I would really like to see. I abhor horror (no Saw II or House of Wax for me, thank you very much), and mysteries are not usually my cup of tea. I like science fiction (like Serenity or Star Trek), I like romance (like The
Notebook or The Princess Bride), I like intelligent comedies (The Aristocrats comes to mind). I also like some alternative/indie movies, like Run Lola Run (aka Lola Rennt), and Strictly Ballroom.

Below is a shortlist of movies I would really like to see, but that have a low probability rate of being seen by me, either because the people I know don't want to watch them, or because they've already seen them and don't feel like watching them again. Does this make me sound like a pussy?

- Brokeback Mountain (Heath Ledger being a fabulous(ly gorgeous) actor is the main reason I want to see this movie - plus Jake Gyllenhal doesn't really do it for me)
- Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron, but all the guys I know are horrified at the warping of the classic comic, even though Theron is a goddess)
- Casanova (again, Heath Ledger being devastatingly romantic, but less tragic this time)
- Eve and the Fire Horse (I like movies where religion is challenged, like Stigmata and Dogma)
- Nanny McPhee (I also like movies where kids are made to realize what terrors they are and smarten up)

Then there are the movies that I have watched on my own, like...

- The Notebook (good thing I didn't watch it in the theater because I sobbed throughout the whole last half of the movie, which would have scared everyone)
- I, Robot (my fiancé hates seeing any movie with Will Smith in it, because at some point, the phrase, "Aw, hell no!" will come out of Will's mouth)

Last and definitely least, The Chronicles of Narnia. This is a movie I will not watch, simply on principle. I read the entire story only a few years ago, while working in a library; I checked out this beautiful hardcover edition with all six (seven?) stories in it, color illustrations, glossy paper. And then I read the end. "The Last Battle". Lewis used a classic literary cop-out (which I will not elaborate on just in case someone wants to read the story eventually) which pissed me off royally. You might argue that hey, it was written fifty years ago, so maybe he was the one who made that type of "ending" classic, but it still pisses me off. I know it's probably a beautiful movie, but I can't bring myself to watch it, knowing how the story ends.

Social Leprosy

It's weird, isn't it, how hard we try to isolate ourselves. I realized this a few days ago, as I got off the bus with a few other people and ran ahead a few meters, so I wouldn't feel the discomfort of walking with other people and not be a part of them. I see them, but we are not a part of each other's lives, not really. And I, like many people, will probably try hard to keep it that way.

I was at a mall the other day with my fiancé, in the food court. Before even getting our food, we saw that there was nowhere to sit. My fiancé hates crowds, and looked at me beseechingly. "Are you sure you can't wait to eat?" I plowed on steadfastly to Subway while he got some barbecued thing.

We looked around, and miraculously saw a little table for two just on the other side of the section in which we were standing. We walked as quickly as we could with our trays, each going around in a separate direction, and I got to the table just as this older woman sat down. My fiancé looked at her pointedly while she studiously avoided his gaze, then looked at me standing about ten feet behind her. He walked over to me and in a low voice swore he was going to launch his tray over the railing onto the escalator below. Like I said, he hates crowds.

I ignored him, and after a few harrowing minutes we saw another table, wedged between two others. We squeezed ourselves in and, disconcertingly, both sets of people on either side of us gave us disgusted looks, as if to say how dare we invade the empty chairs between them.

We began to eat in silence, giving each other significant Looks indicating we should eat quickly to get out of this animal madhouse. About two minutes into our meal the woman to his left said to her two companions, "Let's move this table." They partially stood up and moved the table about six inches away. I glanced to my left at the two surly teenaged girls on our other side, who kept sneaking looks at us as if mortified to be sitting next to two people wearing winter coats and not talking. I think they were upset because I noticed a minute or two later that the table at which we were sitting was connected to theirs, so there was no chance of them moving away.

After finishing our hasty meals, we pushed our chairs back - inadvertently making lots of noise, and once again both sets of eaters glared at us - and walked away. While dumping our garbage, I asked him, "Okay, was it just me, or did you feel like a complete leper too?" He gave me another Look and we hustled out of the feeding trough.

What is it now about this city that you feel like you're doing something wrong when you are just sitting down to eat?

Ugh, Ugg! (and Other Fashion Crimes)

I must say that the most ridiculous thing I've seen today was on TV about an hour ago. A high-end fashion show, Chloe Spring/Summer 2006, featuring maternity wear. Worn on girls six feet tall with no breasts and certainly no buns in their respective ovens (or even on their back ends, for that matter).

Maternity wear. On painfully skinny, non-pregnant women. In case you can't tell, I'm shaking my head in disbelief.

True to my astrological sign, I am a tremendously picky Virgo, and my choices of clothing and footwear are no exception. I detest shopping, because everything I like either doesn't actually look good on me, is too long (i.e. pants) or too narrow (i.e shoulder breadth in shirts), or is very complicated to size (bras).

I went shopping for a bra yesterday, and if the so-called "over bust - (underbust + five inches) = cup size" formula was accurate, then I wouldn't need a bra. Because, boys and girls, 36 - 36 = nothing, and last time I checked I did indeed have boobs needing support. Plus, for reasons of comfort and health I do not wear underwire brassieres, which makes it that much more difficult to find something that fits properly. Sure, I could mould my chest into two perfect hemispheres within a stiff wire and fake lace cage, but can you run in that? I don't think so. Wires poking you in the armpits do not make one feel very sexy.

Being five foot two, I am largely required to shop for bottoms in the petites section. One thing that really galls me is the price of "petite" clothing. In many stores, it is substantially higher than in a regularly-sized section. Given that much less fabric is being used, you'd think the opposite would be true, but then I'm sure you'd get the "I'm being penalized for being bigger than five foot four" lecture from the Amazon camp and anarchy would ensue. *sigh* So I try to avoid the petites section, find I pair I like while ignoring the number on the tag, and pin up the extra six to eight inches they've added to the leg until I can get it hemmed.

Shirts are another pet peeve of mine. I am short. But I have broad shoulders for my size. In order to accomodate my shoulders and prevent the shoulder seam from starting at my collarbone, I need to buy larger shirt sizes. However, 90% of the time this translates into a longer torso which will reach to my hips, very long sleeves that reach to or past the ends of my fingers, and not much difference in shoulder breadth. As a result I tend to opt for tank tops (which I'm not permitted to wear at work anyway) or stretch v-neck t-shirts (which I can get away with at work). Oh, and always solid colors, no patterns, unless they are almost indetectable.

Finally, shoes. I almost want to start a new post just about this.

I love shoes. Men reading this are saying, 'yeah, what woman doesn't,' and looking pointedly at their hall closet where their lady friend's footwear has taken over all available space. I can honestly say I have only six pairs of footwear: one pair of sneakers (white), one pair of highheeled mules (black), one pair of high heels which have only been worn once (deep red to match the dress I bought them for), one pair of tough winter boots (black), one pair high-heeled calf-height leather boots (black), and my most recent purchase... Pirate Boots. Black suede, mid-calf height, black flat-soled Airwalk boots with straps and buckles. I feel like a pirate when I wear them. Arrr! The best thing is, I can run in them. I'm not a runner, but if I have to boot it (no pun nintended), I don't like to be paralysed by the possibility of my shoes falling off or causing me to break my neck.

I look at every woman's shoes, and am mentally very critical of some footwear creations. One brand that I love to hate is Ugg. I hate the rounded toe, I hate the way you're supposed to half-stuff your jeans into the leg, I hate that weird seam that goes over the rise of your foot, and I hate the way they look like sixties space boots. Ugh. The part that kills me: they'd probably fit me better than most boots, because I have cursèd wide French peasant feet. Oh, and long toes. One of my friends once said I have gorilla toes. I prefer to think of them as elegant.

Comfort is a big factor for me in footwear, and it's always a challenge to find that. With today's kitten heels and pointed toes being all the rage I'm surprised it hasn't become fashionable to have bunion surgery instead of a facelift.

"Oh, Diane, your feet look wonderful. Did you get some work done? [this is always said coyly]"
"Thank you, Bernie, but don't tell anyone. You wouldn't believe what an artist this man is with a scalpel and a saw!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The miracle of "Tom's Diner"

Ever get a song stuck in your head? I often do.

It's always worse when you don't know all the words, and the same four lines just play ad infinitum in your brain, taking over all adspace and causing you to sit virtually motionless at your computer while you mentally sing the song yourself, trying in vain to reach past the end of the last sentence you know and reach into the rest of the song. Sometimes there's mental video accompaniment, and it's even more maddening watching the singer's lips move and you can't remember what they're supposed to be singing.

But there is a cure. The cure is "Tom's Diner".

For those of you who prefer to forget the eighties, "Tom's Diner" is a song by Suzanne Vega. You know, the "Doo doo doo doo, doo da-doo doo" song. You don't need to know any of the
lyrics, just sing the catchy chorus.

I discovered in university that when I sing this song, the song I have in my head magically disappears, and I don't even get this replacement song stuck in my head. It's the 'Getting a Song Out of Your Head' Song. Try it. It really works!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Things I'd love to say to a customer someday, Part 2

Yes, we're absolutely going to change this policy right away. Just. For. You.

Of course I need your damned account number. Why didn't you look for it during the 15-minute wait that you've whined about so much?

No, I'm not going to compensate you for the gas you wasted going back to the store. You have not called a gas station.

If today you got the biggest shock of your life because of this change in procedure, then I'm afraid for you; if something really big happens, you're going to fall apart!

No, sir, we can change our program legally without notification because it is in our Terms & Conditions. No, it is not the same as deliberately hitting someone when they are jaywalking. (Note: The customer said that if he takes this to court, even though it's in the rules, it won't stand up. Just like you can't hit someone when they are jaywalking even though what they're doing is illegal. Yeah, doesn’t really make sense, does it?)

I'm sorry, you think waiting seven whole minutes is a long time to wait for your photos? I could understand if your photos had been lost for three months and were suddenly recovered and when you finally went to the store to pick them up there was a little mild hysteria because someone had put them in the manager's office as a precaution instead of in the drawer; then seven minutes might be a little maddening. But that's not what happened. Hell, some people's photos are never recovered. Count yourself lucky.

On a similar note, do you think that if you e-mail us several times over the space of a few days we're going to respond to your first e-mail any faster? We're a nation-wide company, we get literally hundreds of e-mails a day. Hold your frigging horses.

Okay, so you had a problem with one of our stores, is that right? How bad was it? I mean, on a scale of one-to-ten, ten being really bad, how bad was it? No, I don't really need to know what happened, I just need a number. Nine, huh, that's pretty bad, I guess. So what's your address? No, I don't need your name, I just want to send you a gift card. How much? Well, you said your problem was a Nine so, let's see...multiply by...and carry, a million dollars, is that okay with you?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Vote for Pink

I love Pink. She is such a bitchin' singer. Amazing body, amazing voice, and I don't know if she writes her own songs but, great lyrics.

I just yesterday saw the video for "Stupid Girl", and it was hilarious. She makes fun of Jessica Simpson, Loni Anderson, Paris Hilton, I think Lindsey Lohan (in the vomiting scene, which is pretty gross), someone from Nip/Tuck, and the chick from Black Eyed Peas. I don't know if the girl on the treadmill is supposed to be "someone", or the bowling chick either. Oh, and Britany Murphy's in there too, slamming into doors and buying chihuahuas and hitting people with her car.

I especially like the Jessica Simpson car-washing scene where she falls off the car while trying to look "sexy". And the scene where she asking where are the girls who want to be president; she looks so put-together and professional, hell, I'd vote for her. Vote for Pink!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


My fiancé made fun of me when we went to the art store the other day to look at invitation-making materials, because I tried to show him what color the dress is .

"It's sort of this color." I'm pointing to a sheet of fine art paper. It's sort of a beige-y color with golden tones.
He looks at it. "Oh. That's nice. It's not white, though."
"No, I told you it's not white, it's like a champagne color. Well, actually, " I pause and look at another sheet nearby, "It's more like this color, only lighter."
Then I point to a ribbon holding up the sign that says, 'DO NOT TOUCH THE PAPER. PLEASE ASK FOR ASSISTANCE.' "It's actually more like this color, only not as bright."
He looks scandalized. "It's yellow?"
"No, it's like a golden color. It's paler than this, has more brown tone in it."
He stops and looks at me. "You don't really know what color it is, do you?"
I look at the floor. "No."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

San Valentino

There are different stories about Valentinus; the one I learned, as a wee lass in grade two, was that Valentinus was a man from Italy who lived in the first century AD. He helped men and women who fell in love elope, and also acted as their messenger, carrying their secret love notes to and fro. He was put to death for it later. Silly, unromantic Romans.

Another story says he actually fell in love himself and signed his letters to his sweetheart, "From Your Valentine".

So to all my friends and loved ones, buon giorno di San Valentino!


P.S. My fiancé got mad last night when I guessed where he wanted to take me for dinner tonight. Hasn't he learned by now that I can read his mind? *giggle*

Thursday, February 09, 2006

No Bridezilla yet

So, I have a wedding dress now. It only took me three hours to find. It fits me perfectly, and it's a beautiful champagne color (though the store called it "Expresso"; I don't know about you, but I though expresso was a type of coffee, and hence, a dark brown, but who am I to argue?).

The dress only needs to be hemmed, and the straps put on properly. I'm hoping to make a purse out of the acres of fabric left over, as the dress currently has a train about three feet long, and I just want it to be floor length.

So, due to the color change from off-white to a more golden tone, peach likely no longer a viable color option. Though blue is still a go. We'll see what happens.

Oh, and I can't post a picture because my fiancé will see it, and that just wouldn't do.

My Harry Potter Story - Take IV

This is my version of events to come, which I am now publishing for the fourth time due to issues with Blogger last week. I may or may not continue to write it while Jo writes her little version. I suppose hers will be a "bestseller" and all, but I don't think I'm small potatoes. (Well, I'm bigger than baby potatoes, at least.) Presenting, "Harry Potter and the [something something]" (title subject to change), Chapter One - Return to Privet Drive. Copyright 2005.

It was nearly ten o’clock at night. The faint noise of an engine, and what looked to be the vanishing ghost of a violently purple double-decker bus, accompanied the sudden appearance of a young man with tousled black hair and round spectacles. He looked around cautiously and kept his right hand in his jacket pocket, absently patting his chest with the left, as if reassuring himself that whatever he carried in his jacket was still there.
His trainers made very little noise on the damp pavement as he approached the mouth of Privet Drive. The sixteen-year-old walked slowly up the street and approached Number Four with what appeared to be trepidation, like he didn’t want to be there in the first place. He took a deep breath, took his empty right hand out of his pocket, and for the first time in his life, knocked on the front door.
A few moments passed before he heard a gruff voice muttering, and several metallic clicks, as locks were undone. The door opened to reveal a portly man with a bushy mustache. The man’s eyes opened wide, and his mouth worked mechanically for a few seconds before he found his voice. “You!” he hissed.
Harry Potter looked his uncle in the eye. He had been half-hoping that his aunt would answer the door. Instead, Vernon Dursley was turning purple with suppressed rage, as he did every time Harry returned for the summer; it was as if he preferred to forget his nephew even existed and was always furious that he deigned to come back and remind him of the fact. Harry steeled himself and said politely, “Hello, Uncle Vernon. May I come in?”
Uncle Vernon’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Why bother asking? What do you care whether I want you here or not, you ungrateful little brat? You’re a menace to this house and to this family, and I want you to leave and never come back!” He began to close the door as swiftly as he could.
Harry stuck his left foot in the doorjamb, and winced when the door banged his toes repeatedly as his uncle tried desperately to shut it. He leaned into the crack, and said quietly, “You’re not safe, Uncle, not on your own.”
The banging stopped and part of his uncle’s face appeared in the crack. “What the devil do you mean by that, boy? Are you threatening us? Because if you are…” His eyes searched Harry frantically, looking for the wand he knew Harry would have, though Uncle Vernon knew he had no defense against it.
Harry withdrew his foot, resisting the urge to hop in response to the throbbing ache that began. “It’s not safe for anyone right now, and if you let me in I’ll explain. Look.“ He waved his two empty hands in an attempt to appear unthreatening.
“Vernon? Who is it?” A woman’s voice called from kitchen. Before his uncle could say anything, Harry cut in.“It’s me, Aunt Petunia. I’d like to talk to you both. And Dudley too.”
The expression on Petunia’s face was fearful as she approached the door that Vernon had begun to open again. Harry could almost hear the mental workings of his uncle’s mind, as he weighed the consequences of having the neighbors see him kick his own nephew off the property, and Harry winced once again when his arm was grabbed forcefully and he was yanked inside, the door slamming shut behind him.
“Fine, you’re inside now, so tell us why it’s not safe and then you can leave.” The purple hue of his uncle’s face had faded to the slightly less bilious shade of red, but Harry could still see the vein throbbing in his temple.
Harry sighed and said, “Could we sit down? Please,” he added, trying to diffuse the tension. Without waiting for an answer, he walked, nursing his foot slightly, into the sitting room and sat down in the same armchair the late Headmaster had briefly occupied the year before. His aunt and uncle followed cautiously, as if waiting for an attack, and Harry spied his cousin staring at him in shock from the kitchen, a large sandwich in his hands. Dudley had grown taller and beefier-looking in Harry’s absence, though it was clear he still feared his magical cousin.
He watched as Dudley put down his sandwich and entered the sitting room. The Dursleys all sat down on the sofa, and Harry took a deep breath. This wasn’t going to be easy. He gazed squarely at his aunt. “You remember what Dumbledore said last summer. Well, that’s why I’m here. I only need to stay until my birthday; it’s just over a month. I’ll be out during the day, so I won’t bother any of you at all.” He bit his tongue to keep from saying he’d rather be anywhere but Privet Drive anyway.
Uncle Vernon looked down at Harry haughtily. “So, you think you can just waltz back in here and demand room and board? Does this look like a hotel?” Dudley, as ever, too scared to say much, nodded automatically in agreement with his father.
Aunt Petunia looked at her husband. “That, that man… He said he had to. We don’t really have a choice in the matter. Do we?” She glared at Harry.
Harry glanced at the floor before returning his gaze to his aunt’s horsy face, and said quietly, “Well, actually, you do have a choice. But I’m asking.” He mentally crossed his fingers. “Please, Aunt Petunia. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but if you don’t let me stay, I could die tomorrow. Dumbledore said the protection in this house, of your – well, our – blood – “ Petunia shivered “– is all I have to keep me safe from Voldemort until my birthday. As much we both hate to admit it, you are part of my family.” He took another breath. “One month, and then you’ll never have to see me again.”
He had only ever seen his aunt look this discomfited once before, two summers ago when she had received a Howler from the late Headmaster. “One month?” she asked uncertainly.
Harry nodded. “And I can protect you from, well, whatever may come around in the meantime.”
Dudley finally spoke up. “But you’re not allowed to use magic outside of school.” He looked angry at the thought that his cousin might possibly usurp his position as big man of the house.
The young wizard shook his head. “We’re not. But they’re probably shutting down the school anyway. You see, Dumbledore is…” Harry swallowed as a lump came, unbidden, to his throat. “He was killed last week, by one of the teachers. Hogwarts isn’t safe anymore. And I don’t really care if the Ministry comes after me for using magic between now and my birthday. But you need me right now as much as I need you.”
“And just what do you mean, ‘whatever may come around’? What sort of riff-raff are you drawing here, anyway? Besides, we can take care of ourselves. We don’t need you.” Vernon’s high color had been fading, but flared scarlet again; it crossed Harry’s mind briefly that it was like watching a Remembrall. He turned to his aunt, ignoring his uncle’s huffs for the moment.
“Look, Aunt Petunia, it’s your decision. You know I’ve never asked you for anything. And I saved Dudley’s life once. That has to count for something.” His heart was beating fast, and he felt somewhat nauseated. What if she said no?
He looked at his uncle. “The fact is, Voldemort knows that this house is protecting me. After that protection ends on my birthday, you’ll be free of me. But until then, you’re all in danger, because he may try to kill you to eliminate that protection. I can help to defend you, and my friends will help too.”
Aunt Petunia looked at Harry, then at Vernon and Dudley, and looked at Harry again. “You may stay,” she said shakily. She hesitated. “Is he really dead? Dumbledore… can’t help us?” She looked like she didn’t want to believe it.
Harry nodded. “I saw it happen. So I can really stay?” he asked abruptly. Petunia nodded, but appeared to have regretted her family weakness.
Harry stood up suddenly, and his aunt, uncle and cousin all jerked back, startled. He strode over to the window, opened it, and drew his wand. A silver stag erupted from the tip and streaked into the night.
A few seconds later, there was a flash inside the foyer and a battered brown trunk appeared. He stowed his wand back in his pocket, left the sitting room and began to drag the trunk upstairs. He stopped in the middle of the stairwell and looked at his relatives, who were staring at him with varying degrees of shock and dismay. “Thanks,” he said, and continued up the stairs to the smallest bedroom. He shut the door, pointed his wand at the cat-flap that had been installed several years prior, and murmured, “Reparo.” Instantly the cat-flap disappeared and the door was restored to its normal form. Harry couldn’t believe the weight that had been relieved from his shoulders. He collapsed on the bed, patted the locket that was under his shirt, and took a final deep breath of relief before he fell immediately into a dreamless sleep.