Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Puzzle

I'm just hanging out listening to a little Beyonce, you know getting into the Christmas spirit? I'm already fully in vacation mode. I should be showering and prepping to look festive for tonight's celebration. Instead I'm still in my bathrobe, aimlessly surfing the interwebs. I just spent the last half hour reading posts about spending the holidays with your own family vs. the in-laws.

And what is the conclusion I have come to? I am a selfish girl and Santa should not be so good to me this year. Mr. Rose and I have been married for 7 years now and we have only spent 1 Christmas entirely with his family (and that was the year they paid for us to go somewhere tropical!).

His family used to split their time evenly between here and Victoria. In these past 7 years they have only gone to Victoria once. We actually went that year but we flew on Christmas Day so that I wouldn't have to miss Christmas morning with my family. There is something unspoken there and they seem to just sense that I won't choose to be without my family.

Admittedly, Mr. Rose is not exactly brimming with opinions about what we should and where we should go. He's a go with the flow kind of guy who is generally happy for me to steam along making all of our decisions.

Sometimes this bothers me but I realize now that at Christmas I just let it happen so that things work out for my benefit. This was actually the first year they directly asked us to with them for Christmas. There are actually good reasons on both sides for why we should have gone or why we should stay here.

Ultimately I won and here we are. I thought it was because my reasons were better but now that I'm ruminating on it, I wonder if I wasn't just being entirely selfish.

But I can only be so funked out about it. It is Christmas Eve after all! :) I've got to get showered and styled and then there's a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and a glass of nog calling my name.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas: scary religious holiday?

Allow me to preface this by saying that I don’t prescribe to a set of religious beliefs. Organized religion in general makes me a bit queasy as I find humans in large groups rarely act in an ethical manner.

My family isn’t religious at all. And yet, at midnight on Christmas Eve the youngest member of the family present puts Jesus in his place in the nativity scene and we sing a heartwarming a cappella version of Away in a Manger or Silent Night (just depending on where our groove is at that year). After we all hug every other person and wish them a Merry Christmas.

This is one of my fondest Christmas memories and the only time during the season when a whiff of Christianity enters our celebrations. So, if you take that out, are we really celebrating the birth of Christ or are we celebrating a Canadian holiday that involves turkey, booze and family gatherings?

Just because something is a religious holiday does that mean that the only way to celebrate it is to subscribe to it’s doctrine? I mean, wasn’t Christmas originally placed where it was to make it easier for the pagans to switch over to being Christian? (C’mon guys, our celebrations are at the same time…why not make a change this holiday season?) And I thought that people don’t even think that Jesus was born in December.

I have been told that I can’t have the Christmas without the Christ. Bully to that I say. Can’t Christmas just be an end of year celebration? Or just a cultural celebration? Who cares if we stole it from the Christians? I mean, they stole it from someone else in the first place.

Christmas: the non-denominational holiday. Gingerbread men and women a must, angel shaped sugar cookies optional. Either that or I guess I have to start celebrating Festivus. And I don’t think I’m up for the feats of strength.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ennnnnnnnnnnui

It's suddenly December 16th and I find myself remiss in my Christmas duties. Cookies and cards sit unmailed! Presents for the challenging family members remain unbought (damn you brother! and 17-year old cousin!). And let's not even get into the wrapping. Many a ribbon lies uncurled in my festive gift wrap supply bag.


The latest cold snap has brought on a serious case of the winter lazies. Every day or two I lament(to anyone who will listen)..."December X! Oh woe, I am so behind!"

To be honest, I'm having a bit of life ennui right now. And some serious blog ennui! I recognize that some of this is being caused by a medication I'm on that is causing some serious all day drowsiness but it's more than just that. I'm just un-pumped about the same-same-ness of life.

I have this niggling feeling that nothing we do matters. I have been trying to read motivational e-books to counteract this but I am having a hard time believing that one person can actually make a difference.

Excuse while I go mope and grouse for a bit now. Perhaps I'll do a bit of reading about the state of politics in Alberta right now. That might light a fire under me!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ruminations on Winter Driving

Oh no, I have slipped into my poor blogging habits of yore. I sense one of those resolutions coming on. And now, on to more important things...my musings on winter driving.
  1. Seriously Calgarians, you are surprised by this fluffy white stuff falling from the sky? I don't see how it's possible since much of it has been laying on the ground for many weeks now. And yet, the way you drive it is as if you are experiencing snow for the very first time.
  2. Here's a quick lesson for you: hot things are hot, cold things are cold, and ice is slippery. I thought that was basic knowledge gained by the age of 2 but once again I appear to have overestimated the intellectual capacity of the vast majority of humans.
  3. Snow tires. I suggest you look into them. Yes, I realize they are expensive but, frankly, driving a car is expensive. If you drive a small, light, Japanese made human mover, just do it. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.
  4. If you can't do it, don't. Look, I know that public transit is a real pain the ass at the best of times but if you are not capable of handling your vehicle after a light dusting of festive powder, just don't. Don't drive if you can't handle winter roads.
  5. "The person in front of me stopped so quickly, what was I supposed to do?" is not an excuse for rear ending someone. Sometimes a quick stop is required. Again, I thought safe following distance was a pretty straight forward concept. Apparently not so much.

In the end, I made it home accident free. But I was reminded why I avoid winter driving like the plague. I am not the best winter driver but I can certainly handle myself safely on the roads. Unlike what appeared to be 50% of my fellow drivers here in Calgary where winter driving conditions can be the norm for up to 4 months a year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life Could Be a Dream...

I recently read the book and watched the movie, Revolutionary Road. I enjoyed both and it got to me to thinking about why women are always portrayed to be so unhappy in marriages in the 50’s.

There are a few reasons that I have seen posed for why married women in the 50’s were so unhappy with their lives:

1. Money - I have a job and I make my own money but really everything I make gets swallowed up into a joint account that pays for our lives. Mr. Rose and I each get an allowance for discretionary spending and everything else falls into budgeted categories.

If I stopped working, would I somehow feel different about the money in our account? I really don’t think I would. If I wasn’t working it would be because I was staying at home and raising kids. That and keeping a house is just as much work as trudging off every day to push papers in a cubicle.

2. Career – I have got to say that I think raising kids can be way more fulfilling than some soulless desk job. Would you rather be an admin assistant fetching and scheduling or an active mom shaping the minds of the next generation? If you’re not challenged by raising your kids, you are not doing it right. They are little sponges that you can pour infinite amounts of time and creativity and knowledge into.

3. Social Networks – C’mon! I know that not every suburban housewife will be to your taste but there have got to be some like-minded souls in your neighbourhood that you want to get the occasional Friday two-martini lunch buzz on with. Oh, and have you considered living in a college town instead of burying yourself in the boonies?

You know what I think it is? These women never had a chance to sow their wild oats. People have oats and they need to be sowed. Men get to go away to war and live this different, exciting reality. I’m not saying that war is pleasant but it’s certainly a change of scenery and seems to involve a lot of drinking, whoring, and playing with guns.

I think way more women would have been satisfied to settle down and raise a family if they were actually settling down from something. Your entire life can’t be played on the same note. You need variety. And what’s more, when you are young you need to indulge. You need to explore. You need to experiment.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Wish you lived in the 50’s just for the cute dresses?

Talking Whilst Peeing

Where do you stand on talking while peeing? I myself am not bothered by it, but several people in my life are extremely averse to it.

Admittedly, in the home bathroom, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth. It’s a solid door and the toilet is as far away from the door as possible (which I hate, by the way. I like being close to the door so that if somebody tries to walk in I can reach out and hold the door closed. I once had a random stranger walk in on me in a single stall bathroom and I have never quite recovered from the embarrassment).

Anyways, home bathroom involves a lot of shouting. But what about the multi-stalled public washrooms? We have a three-stall number at work and in an office full of women, we encounter each other in the washroom fairly regularly. I’ve noticed that most people will lapse into an awkward silence as they head into their respective stalls. These are the people who don’t like to talk while they pee.

I don’t get it. Doesn’t the silence make it worse? Then all you can hear is the sound of two people peeing? Doesn’t it make you even more self-conscious? Or is it something other than self-consciousness that causes you to fall silent?

I understand being self-conscious about, say, ‘reading a magazine’ (if you don’t watch HIMYM, that’s code for taking a poo. Also, watch HIMYM immediately!!). But let’s be honest, if a woman approaches the bathroom and enters a stall at the same time as a co-worker (even if she is armed with Poo-Pourri) there is very little chance that she will actually read that magazine.

So, what’s the deal? I’ve never had a problem talking while peeing. What is about pee talking that causes others so much anguish?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stuff

I'm swimming in a pile of stuff right now. The great office move of '09 has been going on for two months now. When I started working from home on a semi-regular basis I decided that we needed to move the office into the downstairs room that we always intended to be an office. I gleefully said goodbye to the old broken desk with it's uncomfortable and decidedly un-ergonomic setup. Although, by goodbye I don't mean to imply that it isn't still lurking around in the upstairs no longer an office and thus purposeless room upstairs.

We got a lovely new Ikea desk, so pleasingly large and providing of wondrous work space. But then we had to buy more stuff to store our office stuff. This new office room does have two closets but they are already tasked for storing our basement stuff. And other shelves store our DVD's, photo albums, books, CD's, sewing paraphernalia, etc, etc, etc.

So, now we have a lovely Ikea shelf (in black brown to match our Ikea desk and bookshelves) that's holding our office stuff and oh my god I have so much stuff!!!!

I threw out an entire box of cassette tapes. Why have I been holding on to cassette tapes?? Am I really going to pop the New Kids on the Block Christmas album into my Walkman and go for a stroll around the neighbourhood? Nay! I will pirate that album and download it onto my iPod. I mean, electronic stuff is totally different right?

So, yes, some stuff is useless and I'm working Mr. Rose pretty hard to rid ourselves of it (seriously, we own 4 coffee tables and have no room in our house for even one coffee table!!). But this other stuff, well, it seems necessary. Three different sizes of envelopes seems excessive but Mr. Rose mails out scripts and letters so they get used (albeit quite slowly). You don't just throw away hundreds of dollars of Philosophy texts (okay, I don't quite get this because I sold all my school books back at the end of every semester) because you may want to read or refer to them later. The Orson Scott Card collection? I've read all of those books at least twice and will probably read them again later in life.

But still, I'm drowning in stuff here people!! How do you deal with your stuff? How do you keep it from overwhelming you? If you live a stuffless existence, please tell me how do you do it?!?!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vacation

I have a little notebook with a half dozen ideas for blog posts. I have had the entire week off. I have accomplished almost nothing.

I have a hard time being productive when I have time off work. Normally I would go on vacation which would keep me busy and active but this was a (shudder) 'staycation'. I was using up some overtime and a very jealous Mr. Rose didn't have any vacation days to take (he may make more money but I get more time. It works out very well for me actually!).

Now, I'm normally a getting shit done kind of person. I work hard at work (when there's work to do!), I volunteer anywhere from 10 - 25 hours a month, I read obsessively, and I have a few other hobbies that fill up my time. I'm not one of those crazy energizer bunny people but I have been known to be very productive.

For some reason though, when I have a stretch of time off work with no ostensible purpose I slide down into being this lazy blob-like creature. If I manage to shower, put on pants and heat up my own soup for lunch it has been a good day.

I mean, I do things. I read, I watch movies, I bake. But I'm certainly not making the most of my time. Unless slothing about is making the most of your time? Is it?

It's weird because on the one hand I find it enjoyable but on the other hand I kind of loathe myself at the end of the day.

Also, I hate the word staycation and I can't believe I stooped to using it in a blog post. And now I have to get Mr. Rose up and going. There's only two days left before work and I have to get things done!!!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Making a Real Difference

I’m just sitting here innocently, cruising through my Google Reader (product placement) and listening to Mr. Rose shout incomprehensible football language at the TV, when all of a sudden Tim Horton's launches a attack on my soul.

It was a commercial telling me all about the wonderful work Tim Horton's is doing with South American coffee growers. Training these hard working young men so that they can one day be successful business men. These men assured us that they were working as hard as they could so that they could one day be successful coffee growers.

I’m sorry, but has Tim Horton's started buying fair trade coffee? At $1.50 a cup I don’t think so. (admission: I don’t know how much coffee at Timmy’s costs as I don’t drink it, but I do get the feeling from others that it’s more than 7-11 and less than Starbucks)

I looked into Timmy’s “Coffee Partnership” and what it appears to be is teaching poor Colombian farmers how to grow higher quality crops. Of course, unless I am mistaken, these small farmers have to turn their product over to a market that is no more motivated to pay those farmers any more for their higher quality crops.

Of course, this is the system. Those producing the raw natural resources are at the bottom of the food chain. They do the most amount of heavy, difficult labour and reap the smallest amount of the products. Bloated corporations reap the majority off the fat, privileged citizens of Western society. We can’t grow coffee here but we must have exactly what we want, when we want and we have the means to make that happen. Never mind that 80% of the population is scraping by to find the basic necessities for life, we want a piping hot double double and we want it now!

Do you want to talk about actually making a difference Tim Horton's? Let’s have a chat about paying a ‘fair’ price for your coffee. Let’s talk about how a corporation can create partnerships that actually benefit other human beings. If you’re not going to actually sell fair trade coffee the least you can do is not push your bullshit Coffee Partnership on us as if you’re doing anything to actually make a difference.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Slutty (insert anything here)

I'm not the biggest fan of the word slut but I just can't think of a better word to describe the costumes we'll be surrounded with in the coming week. I'm not saying that these girls are engaging with multiple sexual partners, nor that their number of sex partners is too high...I'm not commenting on their sex lives at all.

But daaaaamn, the slut comes out for Halloween.

So far (and we're still a full week away) I have seen the slutty bar wench, the slutty devil (real original), the slutty bunny, the slutty viking, the slutty princess (not Disney approved), and what can only be described as a slutty slut.

I know it's been said before but when did all women's Halloween costumes standardize at the slut setting?

I know that it's an opportunity for women to bust out of their shells and break free from the shackles of the form-hiding business suit. I know that costumes allow people a measure of freedom (it's not me, it's my crazy costume!).

But is that really what all of our inner selves want to bust out into? Slut? Oh, how I long for the creative costumes of yore. Pregnant zombie bride...where are you now? Cutesy literary couples...do you not wish to show your booky nerdery any longer?

Frankly, even a fairy princess with concealed nipples would satisfy me now. And that's just a sad, sad statement.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Standing Ovation

Have I ranted to you yet about how much I despise standing ovations? I hate that every travelling Broadway performance at the Jubilee gets one. I have that opening nights apparently have a mandatory ovation. But most of all, I hate the expectation that once 51% percent of the crowd is on their feet everyone else will follow.

I stand for great theatre. Now, I won't lie, I have stood for those travelling big box shows because otherwise I'm sitting down all alone and can't even see the people on stage I'm clapping for. But I do not stand for anything else unless it actually compels me to leap to my feet once the show is done. Which means that I've given about 5 genuine standing ovations in my life.

We went to see I, Claudia at ATP last week and it was a good little show. It's been travelling already for three years so it was polished. It was also a one-woman show, with mask work (high ovation potential). It was good, maybe even great, but it wasn't fantastic. I enjoyed it, I would recommend it, I did not stand for it. About half the audience got to their feet sluggishly and patchily at the end (a sure sign of an obligation ovation).

As we were walking out, the chatty Cathys who have subscription ticket seats behind ours were commenting about how Mr. Rose and I obviously didn't like the show very much. In a slightly disparaging way. I almost, ALMOST, turned around to inform them of my standing ovation philosophy and the ask them why they have ruined the power of the ovation for the rest of us(and ask them to, for the love of god, please be quiet during the play. yes, even when there is a scene transition. I do not care how many schools Sarah is applying to this year. Intermissions are for your chatting!! (shut up, shut up, shut up).

Is this really the place we have come to? If you don't stand, you don't like it? And why are you taking away the thing that says not just 'I liked it' but 'I loved it'.

So, I'm looking for suggestions. The sheep have taken away my ovation so I need to replace it with something else. I was thinking of bringing back that Aresenio Hall 'woof, woof' arm movement. I'm not sure how that will go over at some of the classier joints in town though. Any thoughts?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pursetopia

eeps! I have been very remiss in my blogging. The weight of the world is upon this month. My usual November grumps have been bumped up by this endless gloomy weather we've been having. Global warming, you are messing with my seasons!

But I did the great clothing swap this week. Putting away all those cute summer sandals and tee's. Pulling out the cozy sweaters and winter boots. So while I was at it, I pulled out all my purses and did a little photo shoot. I know that I need to reduce my collection as I don't carry some of these anymore but I struggle more with cleansing purses than anything. Whether I bought it for 500 baht or 50 euros I have a peculiar attachment to my purses.

But I need to upgrade my collection. I need a truly grown-up lady, leather handbag. And when a bag like that finally gets added, some of my younger days cloth bags will have to go. But not my new flannel, plaid bag. Because I love it. A little too much.


It's a little hard to see in detail on this picture but my personal favorites are the plaid bag (right), the little maroon velvet bag (in front of plaid bag), the woven beach bag with bow (hanging in middle), and the black bag with adorable red ribbon (left).

Also, I just realized that this is 16 bags! I can see 4 that I can lose which should free up enough room on my shelves for that grown-up lady purse. Now if only I hadn't already spent my clothing allowance for October and November.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Gloomy Fall Days

This morning I awoke and threw open my curtains with that special Saturday morning glee. I was greeted by heavy gray skies and a weather forecast that's calling for snow.

Outwardly I'm grumpy as all heck about this. Secretly, on the inside, I'm as satisfied as a napping cat. By 3:30 today I will have finished all my weekend commitments and can spend the rest of my time lounging and shopping.

And there is nothing I like more than lounging with gray skies outside. I go to a lot of effort in the winter to make sure that I'm still getting out and doing things. I hate the way people hibernate so completely as soon as the snow falls. We live in an arctic desert here people. If you hibernate all winter, you're giving up a third of your year!!

But I do understand. Bundling up inside is somehow more acceptable in winter than summer. In the summer you're always trying to get outside and enjoy the weather while you can! Suddenly it's not okay to just sit and read a book for 4 hours, even if you do it outside. You need to be hiking and gardening and home reno-ing. There's very little acceptable sitting time when you have 15 hours of sun.

Fall hibernating is where it's at. It still feels novel and luxurious after all that forced outdoorsyness of the summer. Fleecy pants and warm blankets, long baths and hot cocoa, thick books and movie marathons, I love it all!

Now all I have to remember to do is to poke my head out come November so I don't fall into a winter rut. But for this afternoon/tonight it's World Without End, Sense and Sensibility (the movie) and a warm vanilla sugar scented bath. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Walking the Walk

My heart isn't in it peeps. I have had an exhausting and truly trying week. Life is busy, tummy's have been nauseous and exercise goals have been abandoned. But I realized that this is week 26 of my attempt at blogging once a week for 6 months. And if I failed tonight I would have to start all over again. So I'm blogging it out, half assed Sunday night style.

Today was the AIDS Walk so I was up disgustingly early for a Sunday. When I'm really nervous about waking up on time my body does this amazing thing where it wakes me up 20 minutes before the alarm goes off and I'm incapable of falling back asleep. Helpful for early morning uni exams, also helpful but not so necessary for 5:40 wake up times when really 6:15 would have done me. I really felt the loss of those extra minutes this morning.

I actually did the walk last week with our organizing committee since we're working on the day of the event. I wrangle media which involves twiddling my thumbs for hours and then running at full tilt for the longest 45 minutes ever. Dealing with media is actually the least favorite part of my job. I don't know why because when you break it down it's a fairly simple task but it's one of the only things in my work that causes me stress.

Anyways, I beat my fundraising goal! Hurrah! My target was $1,000. I actually raised $1,100 last year but economic climate blah blah blah, I thought I should be a bit more conservative this year. I finished off at $1,255 which I'm quite proud of.

I am glad that it's done and that life at the office will settle back down. Oh wait, there's that conference we're putting on next month, and then our holiday events. dangit.

Is it Christmas break yet??

Monday, September 07, 2009

Scooter mechanic extraordinaire!

Well, it's official. I am now a certified scooter mechanic. I can call myself that after I learn how to perform basic maintenance right? right?

Alright, maybe not. But I am still pretty darned proud of myself for having serviced my own scooter. I used to take Gracie into the hoity toity mechanic attached to the Vespa dealership. It was close to my house and despite their hoit and toit the staff were actually pretty friendly. When ye olde Vespa dealership closed down I had to resort to taking the scoot-sccot into the mechanics attached to the place where I bought Gracie.

A motorcycle shop.

I hate the motorcycle shop. The motorcycle people poo-poo me. And the mechanics are not nearly so friendly. They're all "what do you just need an oil change?" and I'm all "no, dude I need you to look at whatever needs to get looked at. and, yes, also change the oil."

They totally judge me for my lack of bike fixing skills. So I cracked open my manual, watched a couple You Tube videos and learned how to do it myself. I checked my brake pads (still good), tires (also, good), decreased the front and back brake freeplay, noted that the crankcase breather tube needed to be drained (though forgot to actually drain it. oops!), and my piece de resistance: changed the oil.

I bought and wielded a torque wrench. I am woman, see my torque! (let's ignore the fact that Mr. Rose had to help because I didn't have enough strength to turn the damn bolt)

Now to balance out the extremely manly display of mechanical skill I put on this afternoon I think I shall spend the evening reading O Magazine, watching a rom-com and painting my fingernails bright pink.

Happy Labour Day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My attempt to fundraise (pretty successful actually!)

Last year was the first time I ever participated in a fundraising event. My original goal for my AIDS Walk participation last year was $50. I figured if all else failed that my mom would probably cough that up. I ended up raising over $1,100.

I'm not actually too comfortable asking people for money so I was totally amazed at myself. I didn't do a lot of in person asks but went the email/facebook route.

I really wasn't sure this year if I would be able to match what I did last year. Economic blah blah blah and all that. My approach this year was to try and get more small donors. People who would give $10 or $20. I'm still trying to play that card but I must admit that it feels to me like it is actually more difficult to get $10 from someone than $100.

I've had a number of large donations but only two small ones. Why is that, I wonder? I actually tend to give smaller donations for my friends causes because my larger sums are already allocated to my charities of choice.

I wonder if my ask email is too heavy-handed? Does it seem like you would be cheating me if you gave a small amount?

So, for your feedback, here is the email that I sent out to entice my friends and loved ones to sponsor me. I still have time to make my goal so please let me know if you think it's a good approach. Or share any fabulous tips you have for raising money for your cause of choice.

Hello Everyone,

It's that time of year again. The time when I ask you to dig into those pockets and donate generously to the AIDS Walk. I'm not ashamed to admit that before I started my job at AIDS Calgary, HIV wasn't something I ever gave too much thought to. I had never known anyone who was personally affected and in the scope of negative things in this world HIV had never worked it's way onto my radar.

My research when applying for the job, and of course the continual learning I do there now, really brought home to me what a serious issue HIV is today. Rates of transmission in Canada are not nearly as severe as those in sub-sarahan Africa but ask yourself, what is an acceptable rate of infection? Why are aboriginal women so over-represented in rates of new infections? Why has the rate of new infections rose nearly 30% in Alberta over the past 3 years? Why is it okay for someone who is HIV positive to experience stigma and discrimination in their everyday lives?

I won't preach too much at you, just enough for you to understand why I raise money for this cause. I believe in the work that I do every day, I believe that AIDS Calgary makes a difference in the lives of our clients, and I believe that every dollar I raise has an impact.

It doesn't have to be much. I am grateful for every single dollar that I raise. If you can only give $10, I appreciate those $10 from the bottom of my heart. Though I will point out that $25 gets you a tax receipt. :)

I hope that you find yourself in a position to make a donation towards my goal of $1,000 this year. If you find yourself unable to give financially I hope that you will send your positive vibes my way on September 20th.

Click here to make your donation: http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=694587

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Wore a Hat!

This past weekend I received an award. Which I had to accept in front of a crowd of 200 (ish). I was so nervous all night (of course it was almost at the end of a 2 hour awards ceremony) that I both felt like vomiting and peeing my pants for most of the evening (the nervous pee's are the worst).

The oh so talented Mr. Rose helped me craft my acceptance speech and I practiced it twice in the car and yet when I was on stage I was still so nervous that my entire body was vibrating.

On the car ride home I was musing about why on earth I get so nervous on stage. I speak in front of people all the time. I deliver presentations to groups of strangers, I do media interviews (print, radio, tv, pre-recorded, live, you name it), I just don't have a problem with public speaking.

But being on stage is horrifying for me. I have acted in a show once. I was a last minute replacement in a 5 minute sketch and I didn't stop being vomitously nervous until the final performance.

After much musing I did finally figure it out. The difference is stage lights. When I deliver workshops or presentations, I can see the people I'm talking to. I can make eye contact and alter my delivery to suit the mood of the crowd. In a media interview I'm ultimately talking to the person interviewing me. And a camera lens is different than a crowd because it's more like talking to a piece of furniture.

But there is something about the indiscernible crowd that completely wigs me out. I know that there are people out there but I have no idea how they're reacting to me. And for some reason I find that terrifying.

Most people with public speaking issues are the other way around. They can talk to a crowd with lights in their eyes exactly because they can't see the people.

The gist? I have no gist. Just sharing a little Lady Rose moment with y'all. And I wanted the opportunity to share this photo with you. I think I finally managed to pull off the wearing of a hat:


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pantyhose are from the Devil

The real reason that I could never be a 50's housewife (like, actually in the 50's) is pantyhose. I freaking hate pantyhose. But I hate my bare, chubby, glowingly white legs more. So on the rare occasion that wrangle myself into the ONE dress that I own, I also pull out my ONE pair of pantyhose.

Monday night was the annual theatre awards show that I attend with members of the theatre board that I sit on. I found myself with a serious lack of dressy pants and decided that since it had been two years I could wear said ONE dress again without anyone noticing. One person noticed. Drat! I even accessorized in turquoise instead of red!

Anyways, if all the fashionistas out there are done cringing (done ladies?) I will now regale you with my tale of pantyhose horrors.

sidebar: I actually own two dresses. But one looks so hideous on me I don't know why I keep it. And I guess my wedding dress counts. So three dresses. And a number of long skirts not appropriate for a formal event (but can be worn with knee high hose, which I hate slightly less than a full hose).

Being a petite plus sized girl comes with a variety of challenges. Basically, nothing fits. Pantyhose are no exception. They are either so big that I have to roll them up into my armpits or not wide enough to accommodate my generous behind and thus fall prey to the worst of hose horrors, slippage.

I had to climb what felt like an unusually large number of stairs which then required no less than 5 seperate bathroom trips to attempt to correct my wayward hose. To no effect. Basically every time I took a step my hose started the move towards my knees.

Maybe I shouldn't have shaved my legs. That way the hose would have had something to grip to.

Let's just say that by the end of the night I was wearing a crotchless pair of hose with no less than 3 runs. I pulled those babies off the second we hit the parking garage, security cameras be damned.

The worst part of this tragedy? Another awards show this coming Saturday. Methinks I need to make a trip to the dressy pants department of the local mall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 4

and the long road home. Well, not long so much as dull.

Breaking the trend of the past 4 days, the first show we see is excellent. Edmund is sharp and clever, well crafted and well acted. Our friends from the rainy city are in attendance and we catch up on what we've seen the last two days. (they are seeing even more shows than we are!)An excellent start to our last day. 4 stars.

One green onion cake break later and we're in line for Ryan Paulson: I'm Uncomfortable. The magic of fringe brings another chance encounter and we while away 30 pleasant minutes (for me anyways) waiting for the show to start. Ryan is funny and sweet and genuine. His show is really stand-up and therefore not entirely what I'm looking for in a fringe experience but he finishes with a very catchy musical number. You know how I love a catchy musical number. 3 stars.

We dash off to buy a purse and retrieve rain gear from the car (picture of purse to follow in later post). Afterlife is our final show of the fringe and sends us out on a high note. The first of the three stories is my favorite, featuring an old-timey lady who becomes the Dr. Kevorkian of her community. An interesting concept and well executed. 4 stars.

I'm sorry to leave the Fringe (though my ass is supremely thankful for the end of uncomfortable metal chairs) and I can already sense those post-fringe blues sinking in. But I am sitting here typing this entry with a purring cat in my lap and I do love being home.

In total: 18 shows (only one of which was truly awful), 2 bags of mini-donuts (I cracked today and had another), 1 cute new purse, encounters with 3 genuine friends, run-ins with 5 friendly acquaintances (including one in Red Deer at our dinner stop on the way home), and head-ducking to avoid 3 not so friendly acquaintances.

A satisfying fringe indeed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 3

Day 3 at the Fringe and we decide to skip free breakfast for a sleep in. You spend so much time at the Fringe standing (in line) or sitting (in uncomfortable seats) that it’s glorious to spend some time lying down.

We rearranged our schedule to see Space and ultimately wish we hadn’t. One day someone will produce a funny sci-fi show. We’ll probably end up missing that one and just have memories of poorly done sci-fi humour. My lowest ranking yet. 1 star.

We decided to mix things up even further and do some walking around. At the mall!! West Edmonton Mall is like every other mall you’ve been to. But bigger. And with a sea lion. And a sloth. And a water park. And an amusement park. All those stores and all those purchasing options, where do we end up making a purchase? HMV. In my defence, in this enormous 2-floor HMV I found a tv show that I’ve been looking for to give to my mom for nearly 5 years. Score!

Battling my questionable navigation and rush hour traffic we barely squeak in to nggrfg. Fortunately the thinner Monday crowds mean that we still get a great seat. I really liked some individual bits in this show and some of his stories are genuinely touching. To be perfectly honest though I feel like this show is well received because it is a gay black man talking about being black and gay. 3 stars.

A 2-hour break in our schedule (crazy!) and we meet up with Sterling for dinner. Remember the Tao? We bumped into him earlier in the day and confirmed our meeting time. Still no cell phones! I eat vegetables for the first time in 3 days. My body thanks me.

Back to the stiflingly hot venue, Chaotica starts out with a ton of promise. A neat concept and an energetic performance keep my beer sleepies at bay. Ultimately though the show doesn’t build to any sort of climax, it just…ends. 2.5 stars.

We finish off the day with some classic Fringe sketch comedy as The Skinny Presents… Adventures in X-Ray Theatre. Hit and miss as all sketch seems to be, this isn’t the most polished performance I’ve ever seen. But they generate a few genuine laughs out of me with Star Wars references and Sylvia Plath jokes. 3 stars.

Tomorrow is our last day at the fringe. 3 shows and then the boring drive back to Calgary. Fortunately I still have the donut place in Red Deer to look forward to.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 2

The pleasant words would be something like well organized or focused. Less generous would be anal retentive or controlling. Like all vacations, my fringe experience is guided by a spreadsheet detailing activities I will engage in each day.

When Fringing, I do make a heartfelt attempt to adapt to Mr. Rose’s Taoist approach to life. Go with the flow and all that. The spreadsheet is still with me at all times but I will not be a slave to it. Plans change and I attempt to bend to the will of the universe.

Despite a complete lack of a cell phone we manage to make plans with Sterling for the next day. The universe provided a chance encounter. Clearly I was meant to dine with Sterling tomorrow night. Stay centered in the Tao and the world comes to you.

Our opening show of the day leaves something to be desired. While I enjoyed the talented performance and physical movement in this piece, ultimately there wasn’t enough drive or build for my taste. A low energy start to me day. 2.5 stars.

We have to drive to the next venue which is a fair distance away from the main grounds. We make it in time and I thoroughly enjoy the world created for us in Grimmer than Grim. Fucked up fairy tales so disturbing that you have to laugh. 3.5 stars.

The venue for The Accident is so hot that I feel close to passing out 30 minutes in. The air is immobile and stifling and reeks of human. I try hard to focus on what I think is a great show. Another one that does a great job of combining physical movement and prose. 3.5 stars. And I think the venue cost this show at least .5 of a star.

A quick jaunt over to Pitch Blond where we meet up with a few friends from the rainy city. A lovely performance that would be fantastic for fans of Judy Holiday. An interesting snapshot of the period. 3 stars.

Belly full of all day breakfast we head over to our second viewing of Gordon’s Big Bald Head. The 7 Lives of Louis Riel provide the fodder for their improv tonight. Yesterday’s was better but I still almost peed myself at the scene done entirely in French by two men who have only Grade 4 french. Ou est le bibliotecque? 4.5 stars.

Our sixth show of the day and I’m starting to get a little punchy. Fringe days stretch out like taffy. Fruitcake is funnier than I thought it would be. The individual bits are very well delivered, a mix of verse and prose and beat spoken word. The overarching concept is weak but it ends with a musical number so who am I to complain? 3.5 stars.

Tomorrow we head to the mall in the morning for a bit of a break. Don’t worry, we’ll still manage to squeeze in at least 4 shows. I flow on.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 1

Calgary to Edmonton. Easily the most boring and ugliest stretch of highway I have ever driven. With no Meatloaf to kick off our road trip I feel an emptiness inside of me. 5 minutes of car dancing to Madonna ultimately soothes my spirit. Edmonton Fringe, we have been too long apart.

Tickets secured we head off to our first show, Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid. A low energy beginning to our fringe, this show is just not my cup of tea. Too many characters and too little action leave me feeling napish. 2.5 stars.

After a Diet Coke pit stop we head in for G-Men. I want to laugh and I am not disappointed. I haven’t seen Sterling in a show for 9 years (or thereabout) and it was great to see him on stage again. I always thought he was a talented artist. I give the show 3.5 stars. They lost .5 of a star when they involved me in an audience participation bit. shudder.

A quick zip over to our next show, Teaching Shakespeare. We scored a coveted plastic lawn chair in this venue that features benches on the stage as seating (just as awful as audience participation. shudder.). An hour of nerdtacular iambic pentameter jokes left me surprisingly satisfied. 3 stars.

Dinner break leaves me with a satisfied belly full of taco and mini donuts. A tweed purse caught my eye at one of the many handicraft stands. I was lured in with their one-of-a-kind patter but I shall not blow my clothing budget without checking out all the purses available to me at this fringe.

Gordon’s Big Bald Head have never let me down. This year’s Grand Theft Improv was exactly as good as I thought it would be. These guys are masters of long form improv and I was laughing hard from start to finish. 4.5 stars and we’re trying to rearrange our schedule so that we can go see it again.

The downside of seeing two long form improv shows back to back? It’s hard to live up to the standard that Gordon’s Big Bald Head sets. SCRATCH had several laugh out loud moments but ultimately I was thinking about a shower and hotel bed by the mid-point. 3 stars.

15 (ish) more shows and 1 mall visit still to come. But it’s safe to say that I’m already having a fringing good time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scooter Love

I want this:










I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, but Lady Rose, you already have this:


Yes, it's true. I do already have it in blue. But think of all the outfits I could coordinate to a pink one! You know how really rich people have a garage filled with snazzy sports cars? Well, I could be a middle class person with a garage full of scooters!

But seriously, have I ever told you how much I love Gracie? She is truly a fine vehicle. Not only is she extremely cost efficient...hold up. Let me tell you how cost efficient she is. When I bought her 4 years ago I worked out the difference in cost between Gracie and the bus. We are a one car family and as Mr. Rose is a horrible transit snob I am the one bussing it to work. Anyways, as long as I rode her for three years (for at least 8 months of the year) she would work out to be the same cost as a bus pass. We've been going steady for 4 years now so I'm saving literally tens of dollars a month!!

And on top of her positive economic impact on my life (ready for this car drivers? $6 a month in gas. And that's with today's crazy gas prices! Used to be $4 a month) she is way, way, way better than the bus. The bus does not come and go exactly on my schedule. The bus is filled with crazy, smelly people. I frequently cannot get a seat on the bus.

The only crazy, smelly person on Gracie is me. And I always get the best seat. Plus, people think it's cool to drive a scooter. That's pretty much the only cool thing about me. I milk it a bit.

The only downside? For some reason people think it's okay to talk to me when I'm on her. But why? Do you talk to people in cars next to you if they have their windows rolled down? No, you do not. And it's always the same questions: what's the gas mileage on that? aren't you afraid to drive that on Calgary roads? what are you doing later tonight? Seriously, it wears on me.

Next weekend I'm going to learn how to change her oil. If I learn how to do the maintenance on her that's even more tens of dollars I'll save every year! Plus I'm considering become one of those snooty scooter people who ride in scooter rallies and talk about stuff like changing our own oil.

If that fails I may just bedazzle my jean jacket. Mostly because I like saying bedazzle. Surely that will continue to up my cool factor, no?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shake Hands With the Devil

...or Why I read books that I don't really like.

SHWTD is a perfect example of why I always slog on, slog on with a book I'm not truly enjoying. I have been reading this book for...well...for longer than I like to admit. I noticed that the book mark I was using in it was from two jobs ago. yipes.

To be fair, I always struggle with non-fiction. I read, primarily, for entertainment. But I get these pangs of conscience sometimes where I feel like I should know more about the world.

If you're not familiar, SHWTD is the story of the 1994 UN peacekeeping mission in Rawanda. The mission leader dude (that's his official military title) was a Canadian General (actually a Lieutenant General - what is the difference??).

The problem with the book is that Romeo Dallaire is a military guy and not a writer. So huge sections of the book are just facts about where he went and who he talked to and who tried to kill him.

In the end though, I found that I rather enjoyed that style. He wasn't trying to tug my heartstrings or manipulate my emotions. Dude just tells it like it is. I came away with an understanding of how a peacekeeping mission works and what, in fact, those peacekeepers DO.

sidebar: I often struggle with understanding what it is people DO. "Well, I'm the regional VP for Information Technologies." "Yes, so what do you dooooo?" "Well I supervise the regional implementation of information and technologies." "Uh-huh, uh-huh. So, again...what does that mean? What do you actually dooooooo in your office all day?" Other people's jobs are a mystery.

So, it turns out that it's really hard to be a peacekeeper. In fact, I don't think that the UN really knows what they're doing. How do you commit to a mission when you don't actually have any resources to guarantee?

This book was good for one thing. Making me angry. Not quite Naomi Klein angry but at least Eric Schlosser angry. Did I just compare the UN with MacDonalds? I don't think that even makes sense.

So, would I recommend this book? I would say...no. I want to say yes. But unless you're someone who's really into dry non-fiction you probably won't be too into this book. And there's probably just a Wiki entry you can read about the Rwandan genocide. :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

iTunes Revelations

When I find a song I like I am prone to listening to it over and over and over (much to Mr. Rose's chagrin). My most recent discovery is Lady GaGa whose perky tunes about getting drunk and having rough sex have been cheering me during this odd spate of gloomy weather we've been having.

So I realized that I have spent (according to iTunes) 60 minutes of my life funking out to Just Dance. With some hesitation I sorted my library by play count and I must admit that I was a bit horrified to discover what my most listened to songs are. Here are my top 10 songs in iTunes:
  1. Release - Timbaland
  2. The Way You Are - Timbaland
  3. Circus - Britney Spears
  4. Crash the Party - OK GO
  5. Hip Hop Thighs - Ike Reilly
  6. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! - ABBA
  7. Womanizer - Britney Spears
  8. Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen
  9. A Million Ways - OK GO
  10. Still Rock and Roll To Me - Billy Joel

When people ask me what kind of music I like I always have trouble answering the question. I'm not embarrassed that I lean towards top 40. I like music that is easy and pop-y. I also like more complex pieces and have been known, on several occasions, to groove out to Chopin.

But two Britney songs in my top 10? Timbaland?

Truly peeps, this is not my finest moment. I can only hope that someone else out there shares an equally embarrassing top 10.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Fringing Good Time

It's just a theatre festival kind of summer for me. Magnetic North in Ottawa, Fringe in Montreal, Fringe in Calgary and next weekend, Fringe in Edmonton.

Unless Edmonton really lets me down, the tragic truth is that my most disappointing festival will have been the one in my very own hometown.

I feel like the Calgary Fringe has been struggling to gain traction for about 10 years and while it's made leaps and bounds in the last two years it still feels like a small-town fringe. But without the charm of actually being in a small town. Everything feels low rent, low budget, and to be honest, low effort.

I mean, seriously, opening and closing the door to the venue to execute the 'light' cues? Said cues being turning the overhead fluorescents on or off. Is that really, really the best we can do Calgary?

I mean, c'mon. I'm starting to get Edmonton envy over here. And that is just not right.

Closing Note: If you live in Calgary, go see Drunken Fucker at said Fringe. But only go if you're willing to cry a little bit. And if you don't cry, your heart is probably made of stone. In which case you might go just to enjoy the balls. If you're into that sort of thing. Balls, I mean.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Scrutiny of Mr. Rose

I often tease Mr. Rose (lovingly, of course) about what a girl he is. This usually comes up when he wants to snuggle on hot summer nights or talk about life. I shut that hot summer night shit down but I’m much more amenable to his talking. So he’ll talk about life and his job and his writing and challenges he’s facing, etc. I immediately roll up my sleeves and start talking solutions, here’s what you can do to fix this, have you thought about trying this approach, let’s do some research here and here. When I ask him if he’s going to follow up on my problem solving activity list he responds, no. He just wanted someone to listen.

What a girl!! What’s the point of that?!? Let’s talk solutions here people!! Let’s fix this problem and get back down to business.

Now, Mr. Rose has suggested several things that prove his manliness: season tickets for the Calgary Stampeders, long pauses on TSN whilst flipping channels, membership on a soccer team (I pointed out that the real men played forward), cultivated appreciation for boobs (okay, I just made that up. If Mr. Rose actually said something like that I would choke on my single serving lunch-time Crystal Light), inability to see the messy kitchen.

Now, I’ll grant that several of those are very manly characteristics, in the stereotypical sense in which I gauge which are and are not ‘manly’ activities (geez, I hope Lady B doesn’t kill me). But none of those things ever sat perfectly with me. None of them were the perfect morsel that explains and illustrates that yes, Mr. Rose is indeed a MAN.

Until recently.

Whilst on vacation last month Mr. Rose was walking a bit more awkwardly than his naturally awkward gait. I inquired as to said walking impediment and was informed that he thinks he may have broken a bone in his foot while playing with the aforementioned soccer team.

The other day he made the comment again. Ongoing pain in the foot in addition to the original bruising and swelling have him quite convinced that, yes, in fact a bone in there somewhere is broken.

When I inquired when he would be going to the doctor I received a rather blank look. Why would he go to the doctor, there’s probably nothing they can do.

Okay, so you might have a broken bone in your foot? You definitely have ongoing discomfort and pain. But you won’t go to the doctor because there’s probably nothing he can do?

Signed, sealed and delivered. I am hitched to a bona fide man.

And guess who’s not looking forward to convincing that man to get an annual prostate exam?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Working From Home

Working From Home: a pro/con list

Cons
  1. The temptation to nip into the kitchen and just get those dishes done. At work distractions come in the form of social interactions and the interwebs not chores.
  2. Lack of air conditioning. It's kinda hot today.
  3. A windowless office. The window in our home office opens out onto my neighbours window and I can't even look out on that 'view' whilst working at my computer.
  4. No humans! While I don't like humans very much on a large scale, I do enjoy individual humans very much.
  5. No delicious, cool, unlimited source of filtered water.

Pros

  1. I work a 7 hour day. When I work at home I can get the same amount of work done in 4 - 5 hours. Leaving 2 - 3 extra hours to get even more done!!
  2. iTunes. I can listen to Disney's Greatest Hits Volume 3 at top volume while sorting that donor list without getting earbud pain. ("Up where they walk. Up where they run. Up where they stay all day in the sun. Wandering free, wish I could be...part of that wooooorld.")
  3. The relaxed dress code. I don't think my employer would appreciate the tank top/underwear combo I've been rocking today.
  4. Watching Peep Show on my lunch break. It's not porn. I swear. Though I guess I could watch porn if I wanted to!
  5. After completing the vast majority of an Annual Report I can switch over to Lady Gaga and dance my heart out in said messy kitchen in celebration. Just Dance!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Alberta Politics - This one's a real nail biter!!

Remember when I ranted about that Alberta MLA who was a total jackass? So, the premier thought that his having to make an apology was punishment enough.

So now this other Alberta MLA, Boutilier...hold on

Boutilier is such a cool sounding name. I've been saying almost nothing but Boutilier all night!! aaaand back to the gist...

so, Boutilier comes out and publicly criticizes his party for putting on hold a project that his community has been anticipating for 20 years. A project that was approved a year ago. The project? To build a long-term care facility for old folks. In a town that currently has no such facility. Where old people are staying in what was supposed to be a temporary section of the hospital.

Now, without even getting into a cost-benefit analysis of a hospital stay vs. a long-term care facility stay, the dude kind of has a point. The health care system in Alberta is in complete upheaval and a project that's been on the books for 18 months now isn't looking like it's ever going to get built. 'cause they just keep pushing those projects back and back and back and south Calgary hospital what now?

So, what does our illustrious premier do? Fires the guy.

So one MLA proudly displays his disgusting sexism and complete lack of respect for a woman's right for equality and he doesn't even get a slap on the wrist.

Another MLA vocally opposes the cancellation of project that his constituency has been clamouring for and he gets fired. The next day. No warning, no discipline, no quiet shunning. Nope. Fired.

And why am I supposed to feel involved in the political process again? Voter apathy, what now? I mean, what's the freaking point?!?!

Politicians!!!!! Rage!!!!!

Who came up with this system? I don't even understand how that is a fire-able offense when being a misogynist doesn't even get you a reprimand.

Bah!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A rather dull one I'm afraid

What do you like to do on your lunch hour?

I'm talking to you employed peeps here. Unemployed peeps are basically living a life of long lunch hours and extended weekends. I hate you. But not really because I'm a weirdo who actually enjoys working and gets restless with too much unstructured time.

I had a rather glorious lunch hour today. I took myself out to the Co-op. For those unfamiliar, the Co-op is a grocery store. And the downtown Calgary Co-op is like the grocery store mecca for yuppies. More than one aisle of produce? Produce that looks fresh and delicious? A salad bar? What?? Is that an actual meat counter with meat dudes working behind it??

I love it's faux marketplace set up and decor because it's the closest I can actually get to a marketplace. And also, um, I'm a yuppie.

Anyways, I took myself out to the Co-op. I mixed up a big, 'delicious' salad, picked up a frosty Diet Coke and went upstairs to the sad cafeteria style eating zone looking out over a bland road. I sat in the corner and read Love in a Time of Cholera for 45 minutes whilst munching my 'tasty' greens.

I was perfectly content and went back to work feeling happy and refreshed. It really felt like the perfect lunch hour. Sitting by myself, eating a salad and reading a book. I'm not quite sure what that says about me. I don't like salad! I don't like being alone! I don't really like Gabriel Garcia Marquez!

Inexplicable! Clearly I need to...do...something...

...

Friday, July 10, 2009

p.s.

Alone in my office, eating some beef on a bun and, honestly, feeling a little maudlin this sunny Friday afternoon.

If I didn’t feel committed to an awkward social outing this evening I would definitely be settling in with a guaranteed to make you cry chick flick. I find that one of the best remedies, for me, for medium level blueness is to have a good, solid cry.

I don’t mean a squeeze out a few manly tears at your favorite aunt’s funeral cry, I mean a solid cry that starts right from the bottom of your toes. No need to go overboard and get too snotty with it but wailing is definitely encouraged. But not so loud that your neighbours think your husband is beating you. Because I imagine that would be awkward.

With a deep blue I don’t need any prompting, the tears just come. But the medium level blueness generally requires a bit of a prompt. It’s not really blue enough to warrant tears, I just find tears an effective way of clearing it out of my system.

I’ve had a few go-to’s in years gone by. The song River as sung by Joni Mitchell can usually do it, Little Women (the Winona Ryder version) always gets me at the scene where Beth dies, and the scene in Return of the King where they bow to the Hobbits (though that’s a mighty commitment to make just to start a good cry).

My latest discovery is the movie P.S. I Love You. The first time I saw this movie I was expecting it to be overwrought with emotion and just so obvious in its attempts to pull my heartstrings. I mean, it’s a movie about a guy who dies young and sends his wife a series of letters and gifts posthumously that ultimately guide her through the grieving process.

I’m sure this movie is just as manipulative as many others in its genre. But for some reason P.S. I Love You works like magic for me. Maybe it’s the hot, shirtlessness of the singing, Irish husband or the equally hot shirtlessness of the other singing, Irish dude she hooks up with, but it just does it for me. I cry, I wail, I mope and then once it’s over I feel better.

Life just keeps going on and on and on and in my experience, everything somehow works out in the end.

p.s. I love you.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Men! Feh.

We’re all friends here, right? Let’s get intimate now. Come into my little circle, I have a confession to make. If I liked eating pussy, I would totally be a lesbian. And that is because…yes, I’ll admit it…I don’t like men.

This is a wild generalization of course because obviously I do have a few men in my life that I have very positive feelings about. But indulge me for a few hundred words.

What has brought on this man hate you ask? Recently an Edmonton MLA was quoted saying:

"Men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don't give me that 'treated equal' stuff, if you want Equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks."

What the fuck?!?!

That was a piece of advice he wrote on his blog, intended for junior high school girls. At the time there was a small hullabaloo about his comment in the media here in Alberta. Ultimately the MLA apologized for his comment. Our illustrious premier felt that making a public apology was punishment enough.

Seriously? This guy gets to keep his job? This guy’s wife stays with him? There is just nothing funny about this comment. This comment is bald, brassy, blatant sexism.

Can you imagine what would have happened if this guy came out and said:

"White people don't like it when you smile too much. So all you black people stop trying to be so friendly. We know that you're just looking for a chance to mug us. ps. we're white and therefore better than you."

How fast would that guy have lost his job if he had insulted: immigrants, Jews, Christians, Muslims, white people, rich people, old people, etc, etc, etc.

Because it's not like this is an isolated incident. It's not like I read about this and thought to myself "what? I'm shocked! I've never heard a man treat equality as a joke before. This guy is clearly an independent crackpot who is in no way a representative sample of men I could find locally, nationally or internationally."

Why are women and gays two groups that it is still okay to publicly degrade in Canada?!

I had actually forgotten about this for a few weeks and something twigged it in my brain today. And I have now worked myself up to a fuming rage over it, again. It's really interfering with my quest for a witty ending to this post.

Men. Feh.

Middle-aged, white, male politicians? Double-Feh!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twilight: An Obsession

Have I talked with you about Twilight before? I have a feminist rant all worked up but I haven't had breakfast yet so I'm going to start with Twilight.

I first read the Twilight books at a very fragile time in my life. During periods of unemployment I find that I am increasingly susceptible to celebrity crushes, general infatuations, and media obsessions. Escapism, right?

Anyways, the books ultimately disappoint. The first one is fraught with tension and adolescent longing and I fell headlong into a world of gorgeous vampires and very light petting. Of course, every book after that gets a little worse until the end of book 4 where you're left with an unsavory (and Mormon-tinged) flavour in your mouth. Of course the problem is, once you've been sucked into a story (or fallen in love with a character) you have to keep going. And no matter how many times you tell someone to stop a book series or tv series at X time, they never do. "How bad can it be?" they think. Or "Who the hell does she think she is? Cornering me at the video store and prying Heroes Season 2 out of my hands?"

Anyways, that's the books, and I'm here to talk to you about my obsession with the movie Twilight. No excuses this time as I was gainfully employed when this one came out.

I actually went to this movie in the theatre with lovely Meg. We proceeded to mock it mercilessly because, believe me, it is entirely mockable. It goes so far over the line several times it can be hard to take it seriously. And, Robert Pattinson? Cedric Diggory? Please! Edward is supposed to be gorgeous.

And yet, I watched again last night. Admittedly it helps to be in a certain state while watching it. Lowered expectations, generally more relaxed, etc. Ultimately, I like Twilight the movie because it reminds me of my first love. It's got a whole Romeo and Juliet quality to it where they figure out, as Shakespeare did, that the only believable way to portray a consuming love is to have teenage characters. (Though there's also a bit of magic about it in Twilight as well, which you know if you have read the books)

Those loves you had as teens really stick with you. They were emotional roller coasters. Because you had about 20 pounds of hormones racing through your body.

My first love was a boy named Tyler. I was 13. He was tall and gawky and adorably geeky. He was smart (almost as smart as me) and he played several sports. We wrote notes back and forth in class. He was a nice, Christian boy who didn't actually fully hit puberty until the next year. I have a vivid memory of being in class where we were doing presentations or something, for some reason we weren't sitting at our desks but scattered about the room on the floor. We sat very close to each other for a very electric 30 minutes, inconspicuously holding hands behind the cover of a backpack. I believe I floated home on a cloud that day.

Holding hands. And that is why I love Twilight (or the first book and the first movie anyways). It is all about possibility and anticipation. The calm before the storm. The breathless pause before the first kiss.

Ah, first loves.

Edward! Swoon!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Longest Week

Today was the longest day ever so I assume the week will follow suit. You see dear readers, I am waiting for something. Something so rare, so thrilling, so deliciously decadent...well, I can barely keep my pants on!

This weekend, Mr. Rose is flying off to California to attend a reading of a play he's been shopping around to pro companies. Hopefully the schmoozing and networking opportunities will lead to a professional production.

But is this important career opportunity what has my knickers in a joyful knot? No my friends, it is not.

This weekend, while my spouse enjoys some sweet California sunshine I will have...the house to myself. That's right, 2 days and 3 nights of blissful, unencumbered puttering will be mine, all mine. After 7 years of marriage I look forward to these brief breaks where I can eat toast and brussel sprouts for dinner, starfish out in the bed and listen to any song I want on repeat for 30 minutes.

I know that I test out as wildly extroverted on the old Myers-Briggs but sometimes baby needs to be a quiet little hermit. I plan to shun all humans, though I do have a social engagement to attend on Saturday evening which, honestly, is really for the best. Because I'm not actually very good at shunning all humans and have about a 24 hour limit before I start feeling the need to interact with somebody. So, admittedly, I'm not a great hermit.

I already have my Friday night planned! I will come home from work and putter aimlessly about the house for half an hour before making a delicious taco salad. I will proceed to eat said taco salad while watching Fellowship of the Ring (my favorite of the trilogy. and more importantly, impossible to do when Mr. Rose is around because he wants to then watch all the rest of the trilogy!). I may also drink an entire bottle of wine (there's still a bottle of white that's been kicking around in my fridge foreva). Then I will read a fashion magazine whilst watching bad late night tv. I will put fresh sheets on the bed and climb in and spread myself out so I occupy the maximum amount of space. A deep and blissful sleep is sure to follow.

I can't wait!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity Jig.

Where it smells like lilacs, I sleep in a supremely comfortable bed, and even after it rains the air is deliciously dry. Though there is less two kind swirly ice cream here.

A Montreal overview:
  1. A failure to purchase cute shoes!?! I guess my shoe mojo just wasn't working for me on this particular trip. But don't worry, I still got my shop on. A new wallet, 2 tops, 4 scarves, one necklace and a kick ass piece of art later, Montreal has left it's mark on my life.
  2. Montreal Fringe! We didn't know the fringe was on until our last day but we managed to catch two shows. The Secret Love Life of Ophelia and Fucking Stephen Harper. Neither were particularly good but it was still a fringing good time.
  3. Montreal smoked meat! At the famous (?) Schwartz's Deli. I still don't like smoked meat but I did enjoy a delicious pickle!
  4. More bakery failures! When we were in Paris a couple of years ago I had a list of 5 specific patisseries I wanted to visit. All 5 has already closed for the summer, one the day before we made it there. Apparently bakeries in Montreal are closed on Mondays. D'oh! I still managed to find a delicious pain au chocolat though so all was well.
  5. I would live there. The city is beautiful and lively and friendly and easy to navigate. If not for my loathing of humidity I'd be all over this place.

All in all, a fairly enjoyable Canadian vacation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blogging - Ottawa Style

Tomorrow I leave for another exciting Canadian city but I thought I should do an Ottawa overview for your reading pleasure.

1. I have 7 blisters on my feet. I bought new shoes. And then walked to a different province in them! That's a total rookie traveler mistake and one I should be old enough to know better to avoid. It has put a bit of a damper on things for me because I mostly want to lie on benches and whine now.

2. I ate at The Works (and I had to take 2 buses to get there)! It was pretty good, but probably only 1 bus good.

3. I popped into the Chateau Laurier to poo (because when you need to do a #2 on the road, don't you want to do it at a 4 star Fairmont hotel?). Aside from it being a nice hotel I got to see my MP in action. He was nattering to some media dudes about the environment or something. I don't really know, I couldn't really hear him. It was just exciting to see my elected official doing something.

4. I saw 2 mediocre shows and 1 really great show at Magnetic North. Not bad for a festival by my standards. We managed to get an extra show in because I forgot we were actually here for 4 nights, not 3.

5. I got to stay in a boy apartment. It's interesting seeing how the other half live. There's less comfortable furniture but more beer. A fair trade I think.

I think I'll give Ottawa 3.5 stars out of 5. But the blisters may be unfairly skewing my ranking. I may have to revise that once my tender tootsies have healed.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My summer horoscope

I signed up for a free subscription to Elle Canada with a coupon in a box of Cheerios. It is truly an astoundingly bad magazine with some of the worst writing I have ever seen in a magazine. But today, I would like to do a critique of the special summer horoscope.

I hate horoscopes with a fierce and blinding passion. This particular horoscope nearly sent me into a frenzy last night.

Some years are memorable: consider 1989/1990, 1996/1997 and 2003/2004. These have meaning for you.

Who can't find something memorable in a six year time span?? I was 11/12, 18/19 and 25/26 in that date range. I can pick out several memorable things that happened in those years. But who couldn't?!?!? Memorable things probably happen every year for people, if you stop to think about it.

Similarly, 2009/2010 is another turning point. This year wields a double-edged sword: in one way, it's fabulous! Love affairs, romance and opportunities for exciting vacations, plus playful, rewarding times with children, are sources of joy. Your social scene is wired! Parties, fun invitations and events in the arts or sports are a bonus and will continue into 2010. (yay me!)

What? My life is fabulous and awesome and I'm popular and do lots of things?! Well, this must be the truth! Let's look past the bad grammar and just say, again with the really long time frame? I mean, who doesn't get invited to at least one social event in the span of a calendar year? Who doesn't have the opportunity for vacations? We're talking about people with the financial wherewithal to purchase a magazine and isn't an opportunity just something that might happen?

However, since 2007 you've had to give up people, places and possessions; it has been a sobering experience. Some important relationships have ended; some losses were major and painful. For some of you, it has been a journey through the dark night of the soul.

I have made sacrifices this year! And yes, in a two year period, inevitably some thing has changed. How ever did they know that my life is not exactly what it was like over two years ago?

By the end of October you will slowly enter a huge new era of your life. November and December are the debut to what lies ahead between now and 2018.

Wait a second. What exactly do you mean by slowly? And what exactly do you mean by debut? And, well, it just seems obvious that something lies between now and 2018. I mean, that's a 9 year time span.

In this stretch of time, you will redefine your values, your relationships, probably your job and even where you live. It's all up for grabs.

It's all up for grabs, eh? So I might do those things, but I might decide not to grab. Aren't we always refining our values as new information becomes available and we have new experiences? Don't relationships evolve over time? Don't people change their jobs every 5 years nowadays??? Hold on a second! This horoscope is maddeningly vague!!!

It's time for the birth of the new - and improved - you.

Oh, but I do want to be a better person and do more fabulous things. I'm so sorry I doubted you horoscope. You're right. In 9 short years, I will be a better person, just you wait and see!

Mantra: I will never again be as young as I am today

uh, yeah. Thanks Elle Canada. Thanks for that glib piece of advice. Fortunately, for us all, I doubt that you'll be around 9 years from now to see if I have indeed succeeded in becoming a new - and improved - me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Is that a green thumb?

So the truth is that I've never managed to keep a plant alive for longer than a plant will stay alive whilst being utterly neglected. In fact, I normally think of houseplants the same way I think of flowers. I buy them, they look pretty for awhile, they die, I replace them. And really, a houseplant will stay alive with hardly any care for months sometimes so financially I feel it works out for me. Though I guess it doesn't work out so well for the plants.

But I am a homeowner now. And thus I must do homeowner-y things like actually change the furnace filter and scrub in those obnoxious corners between the toilet and the tub in the bathroom.

This summer I decided that I would try planting things outside! Of course, as you can see, I don't really have a backyard per se.


I have a lovely deck, a strip of pine trees and evergreen bushes (to the right) growing out of a mountain of woodchips and then a little stubby patch of grass (to the left) where nothing will grow due to the large tree adjacent to the deck.

Neither Mr. Rose or myself are particularly interested in doing a lot of yard work so this set up is perfect for us. And one day we will be extra homeowner-y and put a patio down on that scrubby patch of grass thereby eliminating the need to mow any sort of lawn. Then we'll be living the dream.

Anyways, I decided to plant things in pots on the deck. Seems more low maintenance anyways. So, the point of this somewhat rambly post, is....ta da! Here is my garden:

In my mind it seemed so much more epic. It was a lot of work to plant those six little pots of flowers. Two trips to a garden centre, numerous strings of curse words, one dead bee incident, one slipper throwing incident, and a very sore back.
I think my only question is, how long do the plants have to live for me to be considered a gardener?

Monday, May 25, 2009

One of Those Days

You know when you have those days where everything clicks and life is like a tampon commercial? You know, you're spinning around in a green meadow or climbing a mountain, but most of all you feel that you have achieved something, lived life, made your mark on the world!

Today is not one of those days.

No, friends. Today is a day when I realize that it is 15 long days until I am on vacation. And that vacation is only 7 days long. And after that very brief interlude I will be back in this same exact place.

I have too much to do. That is what it boils down to. And I'm at the point where I have so much to do I have trouble getting anything done (hello mid-day blog post!).

I always wonder what it is that pushes people over the edge. Right now I am seriously considering just burying myself under my blankets and trying to nap my problem away. So much time has already been wasted, how can I possibly recover from this? Best not to try, perhaps after waking up from said nap I will be superhumanly productive and will magically get 7 hours of work done in only 2 hours!

I won't do that of course. I'm much too responsible. But lots of people do do that. Just crawl into bed and refuse to get up again. So what is it that allows them to snap like that? Do you think there's some advance warning that goes off?

Excuse me while I go make myself some lists. Lists make everything more manageable don't they?

barefoot and pregnant never looked so good...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What a slog!

Ugh. I just finished reading Earth by David Brin. I have read and ejoyed Mr. Brin's sci-fi stylings before (I swear to you. I do not only read and watch sci-fi/fantasy.) but this book was just a slog. It had too many boring characters and was way too excited about it's physics for my liking. Seriously, I did not like that book from start to finish. It took me three weeks to read that 600 page paperback. (In comparison, after I finished that book I read 100 pages of the next book on my list whilst taking a bath. I'm no Megan but I'm a pretty fast reader.)

The real question is, why can't I stop reading books I don't like?

I have been reading Shake Hands with the Devil for over a year now. I perservere on that book because a) it has actually been improving and b) I think it's subject matter is important.

But Earth by David Brin did not improve at any point nor was it's subject matter important. There is a long list of "oh my god! the world is ending!" entertainment for me to choose from and Earth did not live up to most of those choices.

So why can't I just give up a move on? Do you know how many books there are in the world?!?!? I don't have time to read them all! Especially if I waste precious weeks on books I don't even like.

I have given up on reading just 3 books in my entire life. One was a book that turned out to be the second in a series. I didn't really like it so I didn't bother getting the first in the series. I secretly don't count that one since it was nigh impossible to understand without having read the first book.

So really, I have given up on reading 2 books in my entire life. The Simarillion (Tolkein other than Lord of the Rings? Just don't go there) and Naked Lunch (I feel like giving up on Naked Lunch is almost like a rite of passage).

I give up on other things all the time! I write off people, places, things...why not books???? why???

(this Tuesday really feels like a Monday. a gloomy depressing Monday. Where did the sun go??? where??????)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Get it Together, College-Aged Men

So, I'm casually reading this article how french kissing increases risk of transmission for HPV and it throws out this stat:

"For the 28 percent of college-aged men who reported never having performed oral sex, having at least 10 lifetime or at least five recent open-mouthed kissing partners was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing oral HPV infection."

Hold up there. 28% of the 210 college-aged men in this study have never performed oral sex?! Um, dudes, what's up with that?

Now I'm sure that one or two of the women those men have been with were of the 'oh, my vagina's so gross' camp. Or stupid girls as I like to call them. Because while your va-jay-jay might not actually resemble a beautiful rose, it's not gross. (assumption: regular bathing)

No, most of those guys are in the 'ugh, eating pussy is so gross' camp. Douchebags as I like to call them.

Sterling has some really elaborate theories about tribes and who is accepted and what it takes to reach certain levels of hierarchy in a tribe. I'm not sure exactly how sexual performance fits into that though.

In my opinion oral sex is far more important than status in the tribe, money, good looks, you name it. Because while good looks and money can be fleeting, good oral sex lasts forever.

So I plead with you, college aged men who participate in HPV studies, for the sake of college aged women (and high school aged girls) everywhere, please reconsider your stance on oral sex.

Because oral sex should be a right, not a privilege.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Switch Flipping

I think I might have found the thing. The thing that will flip the switch. The thing that will finally make me feel like an adult.

Before I continue, I would like to say that I’m not actually dying to feel like an adult. I don’t want to be a glassy eyed morning commuter. But there’s a difference between that and feeling like you’ve come into your own, neh?

We have a very young (meaning anyone under 29) and extremely bubbly (meaning anyone who can utter more than 10 words in the first half hour of the day) student with us for the summer. I was once one of those bright eyed summer students. Though probably never quite as bubbly, bubbly has just never looked right on me.

Anyways, the other day he was sucking up to me. And I was totally thrown. I believe he even referred to me as ‘cool’. Admittedly this was before he saw the Doctor Who action figurine on my desk (which he mistook for GI Joe…seriously?).

There’s not a speck of doubt in my mind that this guy might possibly think that I was ‘cool’. I may be many things, but cool, I’m pretty sure, is not one of them. What I am is: competent at what I do, established in the career field he wants to enter and obviously well-liked in the workplace.

I’m totally suckup-able. It’s like I’m on a whole new rung of the ladder. I feel so grown-up!
Alright, that’s a lie. I want to feel grown up. Instead it feels like I’m wearing someone else’s skin. Someone else’s cooler skin. So maybe I’m doomed to feel like the kid at the grown-ups table for the rest of my life.

And that’s it! I promise! No more musings on my adult/non-adult status!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Non-Urgent/Non-Important

Who leaves working on a strategic communications plan to a Friday afternoon? Chumps, that’s who. Chumps like me. I’m quite certain that I have a brain, though I have no proof of that on this particular afternoon. Rather than managing to get any actual work done this afternoon I have:
  1. Fiddled around with different reports in Google Analytics.
  2. Worked on today’s Sudoku puzzle
  3. Checked some blogs
  4. Cleaned my desk
  5. Stared at a list of target audiences as if it was written in a foreign language
  6. Flossed
  7. Responded to 2 non-urgent, non-important emails
  8. Edited a blog article (important but not urgent, look at me hitting the right square)
  9. Filed a chipped nail
  10. Regretted my lunch choice

Dudes. Is it 4:30 yet? It is finally summer…or at least spring…and I want to sit on my deck and have a beer already!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Movie/Book Review

ooooo. I came close to failing this 101 task. I movie and book review per month! I have time if I had to start all over again but I'm already 25% complete and I don't want to start over.

So, this past weekend I watched Marley and Me. I do not recommend it. I'll admit that it would be a good one to put on the "I need a good cry" list. But there are better/more cryable movies out there. You know you're going to cry when the dog dies. You also know that won't happen until the end of the movie. So you spend 2 hours watching a disgusting portrait of "the ideal American life" just waiting for your dog tears.

If you want a good dead animal cry, I would recommend King Kong.

I also finished reading a set of books recently by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Both prequels to a book that I loved called Mists of Avalon.

Yeah, that's right. I read trashy fantasy novels based on Arthur mythology.

My verdict? Skip the appetizers and just read the delightfully trashy main course.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Being an Adult

What exactly is it that classifies you as an adult? Is it owning a home? Spending a tax return on extra mortgage payments? Pursuing a career? Contemplating procreation?

I have been 30 years old for most of my life. As the older sibling in a single parent family I definitely had to be more responsible than other 12 year olds. But then not nearly as responsible as my own mother had to be in an essential parent-less family when she was 12.

Helping take care of my brother and being self-sufficient myself were never really a problem for me. Babysitting him was way better than babysitting other, brattier children that I wouldn't be allowed to smack upside the head. And I'm just naturally self-sufficient (my Sunday morning breakfast mopes aside).

It's not my actions that make me adult. Because my actions are supportive of who I am. And who I have been since well before anyone could have mistaken me for an adult. I make extra mortgage payments and think responsibly about the future because that makes me happy. If I didn't do those things I would be stressed out and unhappy.

So is it a state of mind? Maintaining the ability to have a liberal mindset? Continuing to be open to new experiences? A willingness to take risks?

I used to think that the best thing about being an 'adult' would be workplace respect. Assuming competence, of course. Well, I have comptence in spades and I still find myself being treated like a child. Rules, regulations, monitoring of social activities. At 20 I expected that, at 25 I tolerated it, at 30 it's really starting to piss me off.

I need to know the secret. At the very least so I can get other adults off my case.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love/Hate

Bah!! Real Life!!

I totally hate being a grown up sometimes. Admittedly I can stay up late and eat all the chocolate I want. But I just spent my entire tax return on making an extra mortgage payment and paying off my line of credit.

Boo!! Boring.

And it was all over so fast. 6 clicks and bye-bye tax return. I have spent you wisely, it's true. But remember those days before bills and RRSP contributions and a myriad of other financial responsibilities? You could take all your babysitting money to the mall and buy tacos and hair clips and CD's. I miss the days of having 100% disposable income.

I will try to cheer myself up with a list of 5 reasons why I love being a grown up.
  1. Sex
  2. Being able to listen to my music as loud as I want
  3. Increased proficiency at Trivial Pursuit
  4. Sleeping on high thread count sheets
  5. Fake sick days (my mom did not fall for the Ferris Bueller even once)