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!"