Friday, January 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

" I suppose I like free time best. It's the only time I feel free." - Kelby, grade 2 genius

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bits & Pieces

I had a conversation today that went something like this:

Me: I don’t really like nuts in salad. It seems wrong. Like putting relish on birthday cake.

T: Oh relish, I haven’t been able to have it since…

Me: Since when?

T: It’s a long story, but let’s just say I walked home missing my socks.

My everlasting fascination (re: prying obsession) into other peoples lives wanted to hear the story but time ran out (I was at work after all) and I missed hearing how one goes from underrated condiment to shoeless and hitchhiking. (Left to fill in the blanks, my mind imagined a story involving a plastic pool, donkeys, a pirate named Lubby and fireworks.) I realized that if I thought about my life, there were a million random bits and pieces- places, numbers, sayings and songs that reminded me of a stand-out, character shaping story that no one knew but me.

Quiche, tin foil, crazy carpeting, Davos, card games, fortune cookies, Charles Dickens, and a love for Russia each reminded me of good friends and insane activities- most of which would make my mother flush, or at least wring her hands like a dishtowel. I think the crazy carpeting tales would result in not only blushing, but also the asking “for the love of goodness, why?” repeatedly while wondering how it’s possible that we share DNA.

Filed under the category of “stupidity that still makes me blush”, I find the sharp memories of a paper hole punch, calamine lotion, my views on the ocean and Susan Sarandon. Dusty bottles of cooking wine, lemonade and my obsession with radio volume also make the cut and leave me shaking my head in both awe and amazement that I survived my youth in pursuit of misguided attempts at fun.

If I dig into the bank of “love or it’s cousins- lust and like”, I find myself immediately drawn to the thought of a math assignment. (Some memories fade, but I’m entirely convinced that one will stick with me forever.) My favourite pink sneakers, leather jackets, the smell of my mom’s laundry room and how it feels to wake up with the beach as your pillow, each also make me sigh with happiness.

Sorting through these bits and pieces and putting them in a category makes me understand why oatmeal cookies make me wistful, paper crowns still make me proud, and why I have a sneaking suspicion Seattle will always make me sad. The story I have of each, or more accurately- the story influenced by each, is more memorable than the actual item,- or place.

I glance around my office and wonder what random item found in here, what word I could say or song the radio could play that would prompt the people I know to divulge their own secret stories. Ones centered around relish and chaos, or South Bend Alabama and falling in love or a game of cricket and a sadness you’re not sure you will ever get over.

I imagine every story involves a pirate.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bush League

Life Lesson #139: It's probably not the best idea to alienate yourself at work because you strongly disagree with a lot of George W. Bush's policies and all the narrow-minded people you work with who like him only because their parents live in Phoenix. (I know. It doen't make sense) Stony silences and dirty looks due to arguing over a president who rules a country you don't live in is never the path to upper management.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hittin' it like a lady

So I was at the bank today and saw a girl wearing a shirt that said:

"i fuck like a girl"

I couldn't help but think that it would have been funny if it said "tiger" instead of "girl". I mean, that would be a t-shirt I would throw down for. Plus, it would (finally) give me something to wear on a first date.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Garbage day with the Hendersons

I woke up this morning with the kind of start that only comes when your body is trying frantically to remind you of something your head has forgotten. I realized that today was garbage day. Bleary eyed and rocking serious bed-head I scrambled around the house trying to collect two weeks worth of garbage. I threw on a fleece coat over my pajamas and trudged through knee deep snow, grumbling the entire way in the still dark morning.

At the end of the drive I dropped my bag. Despite the -30 temperature, I stopped to dump out the snow that had began to numb my sock-less foot and saw that I wasn't the only person who was out. Next door an elderly man and woman were emerging from their home with trash bag in hand. She grabbed his arm to prevent a fall and they walked leisurely towards the street. The spectacled man waved me over.

He said good morning, introduced himself as Ray and explained that he lived next door. He offered his services if I needed help with anything and told me that his wife Audrey made excellent chicken soup- if I was ever interested.

I expressed thanks through chattering teeth and made a joke about how nice it would be to have an escort to take the garbage out with.

Audrey looked at me and explained that her and her husband always took the garbage out together. "It's silly, but it's something we always do. It's our thing, I guess you could say."

I nodded like the idea of designating 6am cold January mornings outdoors lugging trash as "couple time" made perfect sense. It didn't- it was insane. I said my goodbyes and turned to retrace my deep footsteps back to a warm home. I reached the door and turned to wave at the Hendersons and saw they weren't looking at me. They were looking at the sky. Audrey said something and they both laughed. Then Ray kissed Audrey and they began their walk inside together, linked together through puffy coats and knitted mittens.

I looked at them and realized that if they were insane, I wanted to be too.

I walked inside alone.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Snow Day!

Snow Days feel like free money. They come out of nowhere, leave me ridiculously excited and dangerously ambitious.

The howling winds, zero visibility and freezer-like temperatures sparked school bus cancellations and ended my commitment to teach grade five math today. I considered going back to sleep, but like all good children (at heart, anyway) with a day off from school, I realized that sleeping would waste this day.

Instead, I attempted snow shoeing. While walking a dog. Who hates walking.

Fully encased in layers of fleece and thermal, I trudged into the backyard- reluctant dog firmly in tow. I will spare you all the details of falling down a hill and almost being dragged when the dog spotted deer, but needless to say it was fun. As much fun as you can have with snow packed into your ears and down your right pant leg. I'm not sure if I will ever feel my toes again and I wasn't aware that powdered snow could cut you- but it was entertaining.

I'm so excited about today.

Up next: making smores in the fireplace.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

"What the hell!" moment #293

Outside looks like a shaken snow-globe, with big fat flakes falling everywhere. It's the kind of weather that promotes high hot chocolate consumption, all day cuddling and the abandonment of high heels for boots with tire like treads. I had the urge to hibernate but I needed a fix that could only be remedied by a trip to the local video store.

After paying for more Jack Bauer time, I stood inside beside a wall of Will Ferrell disappointments and looked for my keys. I searched for my remote car starter on my keychain and couldn't find it. Had my remote car starter fallen off? I then searched my pockets, my bag and still it was no where to be found. There was a panic that crept up my throat as I watched the other customers leave and smugly push a button to pre-heat their vehicles already encased with icy snow. With each person leaving I felt the gust of wind enter the store leaving me cold right down to my toes despite my layers of fleece. My worry increased and my search became more frantic. I dug through old receipts and bubble gum, phone numbers and leaking pens. I came up empty handed. I had lost my car starter.

Then I realized, I don't have a remote car starter.

Painful life lesson #293: Thinking that you should have something doesn't mean that you actually have it.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Minus the Papercuts

"The Perfect Saturday"- (n): a extended period of time following a 'madcap Friday' but before a 'lazy Sunday'. "The Perfect Saturday" consists of sleeping in late (and therefore missing the marmalade smear of morning sky- that's a Sunday activity), followed by reading the paper in bed (it's vital that newsprint gets on you) and eating fruit you can catch in your mouth ( I suggest grapes- pineapple gets messy) while trying to get comfortable laying on hardwood floor. When enough food has been caught to satisfy, "The Perfect Saturday" turns to it's main event- reading by a fireplace, or any other indoor heat source that has comfortable seating near it. If no fireplace is available, I suggest turning on a blowdryer and lighting a candle (for atmosphere), or turning on the stove- furnace room reading gets claustrophobic. (Reading selection is a matter of choice, but "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" left my heart full and beating quickly.)

After reading till full of envy and similes, "The Perfect Saturday" must include something outside. I suggest snowshoeing, pc snowgroup making or (if your 'boots are feeling heavy') a lay down in the snow while you search a blank sky for answers to questions that keep you up at night (such as "how old is Vanna White?" or "will I always make bad choices or am I just on some 'bad choice making streak' that is sure to end soon with much fanfare and applause?"). After you have built the politically correct snowfamily complete with 2.3 children, or have become soaked from snow (and have begrudgingly realized that the answer to life's small questions are not going to be found in the lone cumulus cloud hanging like a chandelier directly above you), it's time to return inside and drink apple cider tartier than your cousin who used to be a hooker (I do not kid). For reasons unknown to me, it's imperative that your favourite toque stays on while you burn your throat drinking your favourite beverage in a mug that says " Everybody loves a friendly cheetah".

After you've consumed your little mug of heaven, a movie needs to be watched. I suggest forgoing anything heartbreaking (Andre, Shindler's List, Little Man Tate), extremely violent (No Tarantino) or any moving picture that includes Jessica Biel (oh wait, I can't even remember a movie she's been in). The perfect movie for "The Perfect Saturday" needs to be one you've seen before (the why of this will soon be explained). Perhaps "Good Will Hunting" or "Bottle Rocket" or "Casablanca" (the last has an astounding number of funny lines). After settling into the movie with a blanket, kleenex (if it's Casablanca) and Sunkist Vitamin C tablets (better than candy), it's important that you promptly fall asleep. (A good sleep while movie watching is only acceptable when it's a movie you've already seen, otherwise you should feel full of guilt sleeping through someones lifelong dream on screen).

Upon waking, it's imperative that you play, watch or coach something that involves cheering. A good cheer revitalizes the senses and gets the blood flowing (in a way that watching Shindler's List clearly cannot). In March I find this task especially exhausting but rewarding (staring at the creepy facial hair of Adam Morrison always gives me shivers), but one must find something to cheer for each Saturday in order for it to reach 'perfection'. I suggest college basketball, street hockey with illegal sticks and/or gluten free bake-offs. (Feel free to send the completed baking results to me).

What happens next is undecided and fully determined by personal choice, attitude and color of parachute. (Because clearly everything else is determined by fact). "The Pefect Saturday evening" is up for debate. Dinner, dancing, smoking cigars. Boardgames, cold drinks and victory dances. Cow-tipping, running and aliases. The rest is up to you, like a "choose your own adventure" minus the papercuts.

Friday, January 5, 2007

I shall....

I love the idea of New Year's resolutions. I love the idea of lists. I love the idea of using 'shall' in many sentences. Thus, this seems not only a good idea, but a necessity.

My 2007 To-Do List

1. I shall continue rocking my new bangs, my favourite jeans (complete with hole) and my side ponytail with complete abandon.

2. I shall make continue making Nancy Regan proud and "just say no" to: half hearted attempts at friendships with people who are jackpot tragedies, re-joining the Grey's Anatomy bandwagon and succumbing to the tasty (albeit dangerous) lure of The Olive Garden.

3. I shall eat more ants on a log. Peanut butter! Celery! Almonds! So good!

4. I shall start watching "The Wire", finish a Sudoku puzzle and will stop apologizing for loudly singing along to "Life is a Highway" any time it plays.

5. I shall not feel bad for needing confirmation that I will not die alone. I will also stop putting myself in a position where that thought even crosses my mind.

6. I shall stop worrying about Reese's happiness and consider my own. Unless of course, damning photos come out of Ryan and his rumored love Abby Cornish. Then, naturally, Reese's happiness will become a top priority.

7. I shall consider the possibility that me standing on one foot for 20 minutes, cheering with a toothbrush in my mouth is NOT the reason for Canada's world champion hockey victory.

8. I shall start memorizing all 1014 3-letter Scrabble words, but will also work on 'toning down' my obnoxious victory dance. (It's getting a bit.. out of hand)

9. According to my friends I have a problem with actually 'answering' my phone. So, I shall work on improving my 3/27 pick-up rate. That's just for you Darci.

10. I shall do more things that are good for me and less that are not. ( And I shall continue being as vague as possible when I'm too tired to go into details)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A Sidewinder Season

The last two weeks have included more ups and downs than the Sidewinder roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm (which happens to be my favourite roller coaster ever, f.y.i). I realized why I hate flying, why I love crossword puzzles and how to correctly pronounce the word 'romoarita'. I cried so hard I laughed, laughed so hard I cried and discovered I'm an aggressive Jenga player (and could probably go pro if I could get the time off). I spent a lot of money, lost a little pride and became aware of all the reasons I do not drink Red Bull. I found out my mom is the best actor I know (" I love getting 8 mini jars of jam!") lotion kleenex makes all the difference and how to win at Sports Scene It (tip: be on my brothers team). I discovered that I'm getting old, found out what makes me feel scarily young and who to talk to when I'm unhappy about either. I learned that I can't peel my eyes away from Flavor Flav, that I can keep a secret and how to take on 43.6% of blame.

I've learned that 'unmuddling' everything that feels muddled in my life brings me more happiness than I would get discovering the last digit of pi. And my attempt to feng shui my life didn't come from one choice or one realization but from two weeks of serious thinking, a pay phone phone call with my sensai, a quote that's stalking me and of course- my mom.

I'm exhausted but to the surprise of the Westjet flight attendants (especially the overly peppy "Kyle" who has a serious hate on for GP) and my friends who must listen to me rant- I'm happy.

And methinks that being happy, coupled with the knowledge of what happens after drinking Red Bull in the backseat alone on long car rides is possibly the best way to start 2007.

(Update: 2 hours and one cut knee later, I've decided that I need to feng shui my truck and move to Bali where there is no ice to slip on or trucks to unearth from 8 inches of ice)