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Words To Live By [23 Aug 2011|09:47am]
The news of Jack Layton's passing hit me harder than I expected. The weather which, a day ago, had been in full blue-skyed summer mode, took a turn for the dreary and stormy - an appropriate foil for the somber news stories that detailed Jack's swift fall to cancer.


Even though I never really sided with Jack's politics, I couldn't help but admire his passion, tenacity and enduring spirit. When his "Orange Crush" - his tidal wave of supporters carried him to an unprecedented victory in the last election, his elation was contagious.


When he last appeared in public, looking like a shadow of his former self - gaunt and strikingly skeletal, everyone knew that cancer, once again, was taking its toll. It seemed unfair - to beat one cancer only to fall victim to another. But still, he fought. He promised only a brief hiatus before returning to the political forum, but the pain behind his brave words was evident.


He knew that his time on this earth was limited, but still he remained unswervingly dedicated to his people - to his Canada. Even when cancer's shadow loomed large, he put the fear and pain and anger aside and wrote this beautiful and haunting letter.


I read that letter yesterday, curled up on the couch, and I could not stop the tears. The last few lines, now oft-quoted, truly resonated within me:


"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."


Those are words to live by. Written by a man who knew that his time was running short. The words are simple, but the idea behind them is monumental.


In a time when sorrow and hatred and anger dominate the landscape, these words are a touchstone, a reminder and a call to arms. Those words speak volumes and I hope that we're all ready to listen.



RIP Jack.
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Turning 29 or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Moment [30 Sep 2010|07:32pm]
So, I'm officially one year from 30. One year away from being halfway to 60. And I think I found my first grey hair. But I quickly buried it beneath my other hair, as to keep it from glinting under the harsh overhead lighting.

Honestly, I don't feel much different. I look at myself in the mirror and still see myself as a high school student, as a university student, and as someone still in their early 20s. I haven't quite acknowledged that I'm supposed to be an adult.

I mean, I go to work, Monday to Friday, and work a responsible job, just like a grown up, but I often don't feel like I really belong in that world.

Part of it is my constant, forever longing to go back to school. Nothing would make me happier than to be a full time student, fully engaged in learning and challenging my brain.

The one way that I know I'm growing up is that the "worry wrinkle" in my forehead is constantly engaged. I worry about money, about my future, about my loved ones, etc. I have a laundry list of things that concern me, and these are things that I didn't really give much thought to earlier in my life.

I try to live more in the moment, but I seem to be firmly entrenched in my own future, thinking and thinking and spending so much energy on wondering how things will turn out, that I forget to pay attention to the way things are now.

I'm trying, as part of my "29th year resolution", to centre myself more. To be more present and to stop either dwelling in the past, or fixating on the future. I'm going to try and just....be.

I'm sure my limited brain space could be better used. For instance, I have several novels half started, but none put to paper. And that needs to change. And the only way for me to really tap into my creative potential, is to stop worrying.

That's way easier said than done, as worrying has become a habit, and habits are hard to break (just ask me how many times I've failed to stop biting my nails...)

But I really want to stop spending time fixating on things I either cannot change or that are beyond my immediate control. These things aren't worth the prime real estate they're taking up in my brain.

Instead, I want to channel all that nervous energy into writing. If I was half as productive at writing as I am at worrying, I'd be a best selling author by now.

So that's what this 29th year will be. It will be a year of learning how to stop worrying and live in the present. It will be a year of re-directing my energy and a year of living in the moment.

And if my 29th year also turns into the year that I write my novel and find my path, then I'm not complaining.

But I'm not going to worry about it.
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Surprise! [13 Sep 2010|12:28pm]
Eeep. It's been a good long while since I've last posted, so I thought I would remedy that situation.

Please excuse any tangential ramblings and other nonsense - I'm functioning at about 67% capacity right now, due to lack of sleep.

But, that lack of sleep was for a good reason.

Adam and I traveled "overseas" to Victoria on Saturday and returned early (VERY EALY) Sunday morning.

Why the short trip? We went to surprise my mom and help her celebrate her birthday in style.

Dad first approached me with this idea one hot day in July when I was visiting Nanoose Bay. I believe I was basking in the early morning sun like a lizard when he approached, all sly-like.

He told me that this birthday was a big one for mom and he told me, very earnestly, that he wanted to make this year's celebration truly memorable.

As I've hinted to before, my family has been braving some figurative storms for a while now, and dad told me that he wanted this trip to be a nice and welcome distraction for the whole family. He wanted us to concentrate on love and family and togetherness, and not on the negatives that have been at the forefront for far too long.

And, so, as the months progressed in their steady march towards the fall, dad's plans began to take shape.

He planned a trip to Victoria for himself and mom, including reservations for dinner at a very chic restaurant and an overnight stay in a beautiful hotel suite.

He also arranged animal care for the dog and cat - all behind mom's back.

Meanwhile, as the day approached, Mike, Adam and I all fostered and perfected our excuses as to what we were doing that weekend. We figured that if the three of us invented complicated weekend plans, mom would be less suspicious that we had anything to do with dad's master plan.

Dad broke the news that mom and he would be going on a trip on her actual birthday (September 7). He gave her no more hints and I did my part by feigning surprise when mom called to tell me about dad's plan.

I talked to her on the eve of the surprise weekend and put my theatre degree to work.

"Do you know where you're going yet?" I asked mom, trying to gauge if she was cluing in to anything.

She responded in the negative and then asked what I was doing this weekend.

"Oh", I said, putting a tinge of sorrow and weariness into my voice, "I have to work. I have to go to Chilliwack and put on an investor education seminar". I think I played things up by sighing loudly at this point.

I then went on to weave my tragic tale about having to figure out directions to the Chilliwack Rotary club and having to do the presentation myself and telling mom that I was nervous, etc.

Adam was on the chair next to me smirking quite distractedly.

Truly, it was an award winning bit of lying.

And, with that, I told mom to have a good time and to call on Sunday and give me all the details about the trip.

I must admit that I was excited to hear that dad planned to take mom to Victoria. I love Victoria and will pretty much come up with any excuse to wander around that city.

I'm not sure if I would have been able to muster the same kind of enthusiasm if dad had been like "Hey! I'm surprising your mom with a trip to Winnipeg."

Victoria is my heart city. It lives in me and I feel more at home there than I do in Vancouver. I was proposed to there, I was married there, I have lived there and I hope to live there again in the not so distant future. But until then, I have to content myself with small trips to get my fill.

So Adam and I took off on a morning ferry and met up with a friend for lunch. After that, we drove leisurely through the different neighbourhoods of the city and basically reiterated to each other our great love for Victoria.

We stayed at the James Bay Inn, a purportedly haunted establishment that will be celebrating its centennial next year. I think I should demand a refund, as we didn't experience any other worldly visits that night. Not even any suspicious noises! It was a perfectly corporeal room.

We retired to our hotel room after lunch for a brief rest, where I subjected Adam to approximately an hour of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" television show. As evening drew closer we got ready to go and meet my parents and brother at Vista 18 atop the Chateau Victoria hotel.

The plan was that Mike, Adam and I would be at the table at 6:45 and be waiting there for when dad and mom arrived for their 7:00 reservation. There was a kink in these plans, as the table wasn't actually ready until well after 7:15. So we ended up surprising mom in the lobby of the restaurant, right near the elevators! But it still had the desired effect.

We all sat down in the bar area and our table was finally ready. But not before mom had made friends with approximately everyone in the restaurant. I think as she ages, mom just gets friendlier and friendlier. Next year, I'll probably have to keep her from giving out random hugs to strangers.

The meal was...amazing. We stuffed ourselves on fantastic food and mom peer pressured me into having two cocktails. Steph + cocktails = loud, inappropriate laughing.

After dinner, I gave mom her gifts. I had two wedding pictures printed out and framed. One of Adam and I (see below) and one of Mike and I. I also wrote her a wee poem.

As dinner wound down, I looked around and was struck by the realization that I was so lucky. Lucky to have such a wonderful family. Our family may be small, but we make up for it with the size of our hearts. I feel so safe with my family because I know that I'm kept buoyant by their love and support.

I wanted to crystallize that moment and hold it close to me forever, because it was just so indicative of the kindness that we all feel for one another. And how we could pull off this amazing present for mom, despite dealing with setbacks that might have pulled apart a lesser family.

I'm truly blessed to be part of the Butler clan.

Happy birthday, mom. I love you.
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Knock, knock [24 Aug 2010|09:46am]
Oh, readers, I really have THINGS TO SAY about many subjects, but I think I'll stick with discussing my slightly awkward and tenuously inappropriate social behaviors while in the workplace.

For some reason, I trend towards being the "class clown" at work. At any work. It's strange. Not that it's strange because I'm lacking in humor. On the contrary. I find myself quite amusing and I know that my cats appreciate my jokes and impeccable comedic timing.

But at work....something happens.

It's like the transformation between Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk (+1 for Geek Reference). I'll be going about my daily routine and suddenly have this irresistible urge to free style rap. Or to come up with ridiculous (and awesome) nicknames for my co-workers. Or to engage in a one-woman version of charades.

So instead of turning green and rending my clothing, I just collapse my brain/mouth filter and revel in the humorous results.

It's really quite unstoppable.

It's a good thing I work with a pretty relaxed and laid back team. Otherwise I'm pretty sure I would spend more time up in human resources than at my own desk.

The extent of my at-work shenanigans really hit home when I was reminiscing with another co-worker.

Me: Hey, remember the other day when I was wildly inappropriate at work, but it had hilarious consequences?
Them: Oh, you mean when you were re-enacting how to use a plunger when the executive director walked by?
Me: ...no
Them: The time that you talked really loudly about hot dog eating contests?
Me: ...no
Them: When you did that impression of your husband and ended up spilling tea all over the place?
Me:....no
Them: Steph, there are just too many instances of you being inappropriate. I can't narrow them down.

So then I called her a euphemism for "lady of the night" and went on my way.

Most days, I manage to hold on to the slippery slope of professionalism at least until the afternoon (or until I've ingested enough caffeine - whichever comes first), and then all bets are off.

And this isn't even touching the expounded ridiculousness that happens when I start drinking around my co-workers.

Good lord. That's when the small part of my brain that keeps my ~secrets~ gets unlocked and I say all the things that no one should really ever say.

But I think I must just be so adorable that I'm forgiven, even when I'm drunkenly professing my undying love to peach schnapps and laughing like a manic hyena.

I think it's a good personality trait to have, this ability to find humor and to make other people laugh. But it's possible that I might have to start being more sensible about when I start talking about why "T-Bone" is a perfectly good nickname for a co-worker. And I should probably stop telling people that I'll fire them if they don't bring me food.

But if people would only bring me cookies of their own volition, we wouldn't have this problem.

Uh oh. I'm up to 2 cups of tea and it's only 9:30. I sense an early start for Hulk-like hilarity today.

Batten down the hatches, we're headed for hilarity!
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SO VERY HOT [14 Aug 2010|11:11am]
You guys. YOU GUYS.

I am so hot. And I mean that in the literal "I sweat when I move" kind of way, not in the "check out my nice bum" kind of way.

Not that I don't have a nice bum, because I really do.

But right now the urge to lie prone under a fan trumps my need to do anything else.

I have basically lost the urge to eat. And if you know me, you know that food and I have a very special relationship. As in, I eat it and it repays the kindness by giving me love handles.

And I can't even partake in my second favorite past time, which is engaging my cats in "gentle harassment" (ie: chasing them around the townhouse and talking to them in a high pitched voice).

I can't do this because both of my cats have melted and have formed feline-shaped puddles on my floor.

I was going to spend some time blogging about my propensity to be the class clown at work and how this is likely to land me up in HR, but I'm simply too hot to engage my brain meats.

So you will all just have to wait to hear the story of "Steph and the Awkward Silence", which will be coming when I don't feel like I'm about to spontaneously combust.

Ugh.

I am very much looking forward to autumn.
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Das Ist Gud [11 Aug 2010|09:40am]
Ok then.

I just (read: yesterday) got back from a wondrous trip to N-Bay, which spanned from Thursday evening until Monday afternoon.

The purpose of my visit was threefold:

1. To visit with my family (including my aunt Ingrid from Germany)
2. To eat lots of food
3. To attend a bonafide N-Bay party, hosted by my parents.

I definitely accomplished all three objectives. And the state of my pants today is making me think that I maybe over achieved on objective number two.

It's hard being so ambitious, I tell you.

The visiting of the family was great. I hadn't seen Ingrid for many years, so when she came to N-Bay my family took the opportunity to catch her up to all the recent happenings (translation: force her to look at 8343989038 of my wedding photos).

My aunt's presence also helped me achieve objectives two and three. In other words, Ingrid was a catalyst for my increased carbohydrate intake over the weekend.

I have to say that I'm quite suspicious of the German drinking water. Ingrid simply does. not. age. It's quite eerie. I'd like to conduct an experiment to see if everyone in Germany remains in a constant form of stasis or if my aunt is just lucky. If anyone would like to help me conduct this important "research", send me an email and I'll tell you where to deposit the funds.

And Ingrid does not just look young. As my dad remarked on Monday morning when Ingrid was flitting around the kitchen, "You don't act like a regular granny". And it's true. For a mother of two, grandmother of five, Ingrid seems to have boundless stores of both enthusiasm and impishness.

Ingrid is definitely not one to sit quietly in the corner and call everyone "Dear". Well, I think she called me "Dear", but she was probably busy giving me a noogie at the same time.

Ingrid is like a bundle of effervescence, personality and happiness all wrapped up in one exuberant package.

And it's wonderful to see her and my dad interact. They've maintained a tight sibling bond across oceans and I know my dad just delights in her presence. They have an easy familiarity that's so nice to observe.

I have the same kind of relationship with my own brother and I hope that our closeness will grow and intensify over time.

(I apologize in advance, because this entry is all over the place. I blame the 23 cups of tea I've had today)

The N-Bay party is a phenomenon unlike any other. It's like a neighbourhood get-together on steroids.

I think, when the party was in full swing, just over 55 people were chattering away on the balcony of my parent's house.

After eating my fill of the appetizers spread all over the house, I managed to flit my way through several conversational clusters.

Here are some of the things I talked about that evening:

1. Cats
2. Fishing
3. Growing tobacco
4. Hash brownies

Good times, good times.

The party this weekend made me think about my own neighbourhood and how, in some ways, we really don't fit the demographic of the area. We don't have kids and we don't have dogs.

What does everyone talk about? Kids and dogs.

I think I tried, once, to assimilate and talk about my cats and I was met with blank, uncomprehending stares.

It went something like this:

Them: Blah blah dogs and blah kids and haha blah kids!
Me: Sometimes, my giant striped cat rolls over on his back and I pet his belly.
Them: ....
Me: That's kind of dog-like behaviour!
Them:...
Me:...

FIN

After that one awkward interjection, I mostly keep to myself. I'm friendly and I don't actively throw rocks at any children (although I've been tempted...), but I don't make much of a concerted effort to interact on any meaningful level.

So, here is what we've learned from this post:

1. I like food (a lot)
2. I like Ingrid (a lot)
3. I've talked about hash brownies with a bunch of oldies
4. I am a bit of a neighbourhood hermit

PS: Ingrid, dad and I also went to Jedediah Island this weekend. On the way back, we checked our crab and prawn traps and actually caught stuff!

And I got over my fear of eating things that look the same dead as they did in life (ie: all manner of crustaceans).
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Sojourn to Sunshine [25 Jul 2010|05:47pm]
Oh my. Did we ever have a vacation saga. Our five day sojourn to the Sunshine Coast was like the Odyssey. I'm in talks with Homer right now to see if he's willing to translate our story into dactylic hexameters.

For ease of reading, I'll break the tale into sections.

Day 1

We began our journey bright eyed and eager to see the famed Sunshine Coast. Having lived in BC for over five years, we were slightly ashamed of the fact that we had never once rode the 40 minute ferry to Langdale. We decided to remedy this sad fact and go camping all in the same trip! We are nothing if not efficient.

Here's some foreshadowing for you: the ferry right was the highlight of the first day.



We reserved a camp site at a place called "Bayside", which sounds quite pleasant and unassuming. It should have been called "Bayside: Camping Purgatory".

We had trepidations from the outset. We followed a convoy of big rigs down to the campsite and started to notice that Bayside was suspiciously close to:

a) an industrial truck site
b) a landfill

Huh.

But! It was our first day of vacation and we were still optimistic. We drove around the campsite several times, trying to muster some enthusiasm for the place and we managed to convince ourselves that the truck noises and horrible traffic noise would stop in the evening (foreshadowing: HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA).

We went to the campsite office and confirmed our reservation. When the lady in the office asked if we were sure we wanted to pay for all four nights in advance, we should have taken it as a sign. Instead, we smiled through our doubts, and paid up.

And then we set up camp.









While we (ie: Adam) were setting up the camp, we stopped grumbling at the industrial noises long enough to admire the fact that the majority of the tenting sites were empty. At least we had some space to ourselves! (foreshadowing: Not for long...)

After the site was set up, we found ourselves a nice beach and played frisbee. It's a little known fact, but I'm a pretty damn fierce frisbee champion.






So, after some frisbee and some ocean swimming, we were all "la la la, camping is great!1" and we skipped back (down the scary industrial road) to our campsite.

And then, as our campsite came into view, I uttered these infamous words:

"Hey...do we have neighbours?!"

I squinted into the sunlight and saw a soccer-mom vehicle parked in the spot right next to ours.

We kind of stumbled in disbelief and just...stared at this family who had moved in next door.

Literally an hour ago, we were marveling at the emptiness of the campsite. It wasn't as if there were no other spots available. And these tedious people, drawn inexplicably to our animal magnetism, picked the spot right beside us.

RIGHT. BESIDE. US.

I don't know about you, but I go camping so that I can hopefully try and get away from having neighbours for a few days.

I would understand the family moving next to us under the following circumstances:

1. Every other campsite in the place was on fire
2. Every other campsite in the place was under water
3. Every other campsite in the place is over run by zombies

Seeing as none of these contingencies were in effect, we were more than a little put out by these people and their shrieking three year old.

In a fit of madness borne of desperation and heat, we collapsed our tent and dismantled our campsite in about two minutes flat.

We then hauled everything five campsites down.

I'm sure we looked incredibly insane with our air mattress inflated and shoved onto the roof of our SUV, driving slowly and ragefully down the road.

So, we (ie: Adam), set up another campsite and settled down for dinner, a campfire and some intense Scrabble.





One thing we noticed, as the sun began to set on our first (foreshadowing: and last) night of camp, was that the traffic noise really didn't cease. What did happen was that it became more sporadic, so we'd be enjoying the natural sounds of camping when a gigantic truck would come out of nowhere and belch all over our serenity.

Adam and I packed it in early because we were kind of weary of everything by this point.

It's at this point in the story where I have to profess my profound thankfulness at the fact that I wear earplugs to bed.

So, while I drifted off to a nicely muffled sleep, Adam was kept awake by the fact that we were practically camping on a highway. It was like trying to take a nap in a ditch.

So, I slept soundly while Adam seethed and grew slowly insane thanks to a combination of truck fumes and broken dreams.

Day 2

And because of this, he was up at four in the morning chopping wood. Because, that's what you do when you are running on about two hours worth of sleep. Luckily, he did not lose any fingers or other appendages.

When I crawled out of the tent several hours later, he turned to me with seething, blood shot eyes and said "Get me out of here".

I looked at him, and then I looked at the hatchet he was gripping, and I decided that the best thing to do under the circumstances was to eat several marshmallows for breakfast.

After the sugar kicked in, I made the best decision of the whole trip. I decided to find us somewhere else to lay our weary heads for the remainder of our time on the Coast.

I refused to let this mockery of a campsite defeat us!

I called several places. I did not call any campsites, because Adam gave me A LOOK when I suggested that we might need to put the tent up for a third time in two days.

Lady Luck smiled down on me and there was a cancellation at a place called Fisherman's Resort.

We secured a cabin for the remainder of our trip. With this bit of serendipity on our side, we packed up the campsite and tried to bid a hasty retreat out of Bayside.

Tried to.

It turns out, that from all of the packing and unpacking we'd been doing, we left the doors to the SUV open too long, and our battery had died.

Sigh.

We managed to convince one of the Bayside workers to give us a boost, and then we bid a hasty retreat.

And we never did get a refund on the other three days that we booked at Bayside. But, by this time, it was worth it to eat the money and get the hell out.

So we hit the road and made our way north, away from Sechelt to the area of Pender Harbour. Specifically, we traveled to Garden Bay, which became our home for the remainder of our vacation.

The resort (which was really just a wee cabin, perched at the ocean's edge near a marina), was a breath of fresh air. It was quiet, beautiful and serene. It absolutely redeemed the trip. Also, our cabin was named "Mussel Beach", which just amused the heck out of us.









We spent the second half of the day in a happiness coma, enjoying our cabin and watching the boats in the marina.

Day 3

Waking up to the waves lapping the shore, we had our breakfast outside and watched the marina stir to life.

This was the day that we explored Skookumchuk Rapids, which is an area of very fast, very narrow tidal flows. As a result, the tidal changes are spectacular and incredibly dramatic. Skookumchuk is a haven for thrill seeking sea kayakers and we watched a few of them in action.







The hike to and from Skookumchuk left us feeling hot and tired, so on our way back to our cabin, we stopped for a swim at beautiful Ruby Lake.

Back home, we took the Pub Path to the Garden Bay Restaurant, where we dined on west coast food while taking in the sunset over the ocean.



As we retired for the night, listening to a loon call out in the growing darkness, I didn't think our trip could get any better (foreshadowing: I was wrong).

Day 4

Adam works with a guy named Scott whose parents have a summer home near the area of Halfmoon Bay. Scott happened to be heading to his parents place the same time we were on the Coast, so he kindly invited us for a visit.

Scott's parents home is beautifully situated with panoramic ocean views of the bay. We met up with Scott and he took us out on his boat for a tour of the waterways, including Secret Cove and Smuggler's Cove. Fun Fact: Smuggler's Cove was used by rum-runners during the prohibition!





Scott also took us to a beach that's a favorite with locals. It's a sand spit with campsites. We should have stayed here!



After a brief stopover back at Scott's parents place, we went back out on the boat to journey a little farther into the inlets and coves around the area. We saw seals! And lighthouses!







So, we were out on the water for a while and then the waves started getting a bit too choppy for comfort, so we headed back.

Almost as soon as we turned the boat around, I heard Scott exclaim "What was that?!". I turned to where he was pointing and I saw it. A magnificent, 17 metre grey whale. And it was swimming and feeding about 100 feet from the boat.

It was, in all honesty, one of the most amazing sights I've witnessed. Seeing the sheer size of this creature and watching it move in front of me was enough to give me goosebumps.

Adam, Scott and I watched the whale feed and swim for several minutes and we felt incredibly privileged to have witnessed it. We were the only boat in proximity and it felt like we alone were watching this whale.

After getting pictures and a video, we left the whale in peace and proceeded back to the house.




After telling Scott's family about our whale siting, we settled down for a fantastic dinner.

Here's the sunset view from their balcony.



Day 5


On Day 5, we sadly had to say goodbye to our cabin and start the journey home.

We left early and headed to Gibsons, home of the famous CBC television series "The Beachcombers".

The town was a cute tourist destination and made for an excellent end to our Sunshine Coast trip.









I have to say that, despite a horrible first day, our vacation was fantastic. I emerged from it a little sunburned, but with a definite appreciation for Pender Harbour and the beauty of the Sunshine Coast.

We'll definitely be returning, but not to Bayside.
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Shaggy mop head [03 Jul 2010|06:05pm]
So I just cut off literally a foot of my hair. I think I spontaneously lost about 20 pounds!

I had grown my hair out for my wedding last September and endured long hair through the humid climes of Belize, but for the last few weeks I had been feeling a nagging desire to chop off my locks.

I had to convince the hair dresser that, yes, I wanted a hair cut and, no, I did not just want a trim.

"But you have such nice hair!" she said.

"Yes, but it attacks my husband and cats. It is also sentient and quite malevolent", is what I thought about saying in return.

Instead I just told her that I was tired of wearing it up all the time and needed a change. But I think she got a taste of how terrifying my hair can be when halfway through the hair cut she paused and said "I think your hair is pouting. Why is your hair pouting?".

It was pouting because she was snipping away its ability to strangle people.

I think she was afraid I was one of those people who are fundamentally attached to their hair and freak out once its gone.

I am not one of these people. I have had pixie hair, long hair, medium hair, red and black hair, red and blond hair and very VERY red hair (so red that my nickname at work became "Howdy Doody").

I'm off the opinion that since hair grows back, you should do what you want with it. If you hate it, you only really have to suffer the shame for a few weeks at most.

So the hair dresser started cutting. And cutting. And cutting. SO MUCH CUTTING.

I tipped her extra because I'm sure she developed a hand cramp.

My hair is now just below my ears and cut into a shaggy, messy bob. I even have some bangs! And my hair dresser dyed it a deep, shiny red.

I'm still getting used to it. I'm not sure if I look like I have strategic bed head or if I just look I've taken a nap in a tornado.

But I must say that feeling air on the nape of my neck is very novel right now.

I would take pictures, but I can't find the camera and I can't be arsed to find it right now. I'll have Adam take some snaps when I see him tomorrow morning.

I have to say that no one screamed in horror when I went grocery shopping and my cats recognized me when I returned, so that's good news.

In non-hair related news, I'm excited because I found the perfect present for my brother Mike's 25th birthday. It's from the internet, so it won't be here for a few weeks, but it's seriously awesome. I love the internet. It provides such easy access to ridiculous items.
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Stupid Lungs [22 Jun 2010|02:37pm]
Here I sit, hacking away and cursing my lungs.

I've managed to develop a full-fledged summer cold. Summer colds are so much more indignant than winter colds because human beings are supposed to be sick in the winter time. That's when it's ok to hibernate and live in a blanket fort from November to January.

But summer time is when people are supposed to be all hail and hearty and whatnot.

And even though our "summer" has been filled with middling, grey-skyed days, I still feel as though my immune system has betrayed me.

At first, I tried the patented "just pretend that there is no cold" strategy to see if I could fool my body into ignoring the cold.

I did this by partaking in an evening 5k run in honour of the Summer Solstice. I wheezed my way through the race, wolfed down a celebratory hot dog and stumbled into bed a little after midnight.

I was all excited because I thought that the mixture of running + greasy food had cured my lingering sore throat.

ha.

haha.

ha.

The next morning I woke up in a pile of pain. I felt like I had swallowed an entire porcupine and it was bristling with rage inside my throat.

Oh, and I sounded both husky and stuffed up. Which is a super sexy combination.

I basically spent the weekend moaning around the house and coughing like someone in line for an iron lung.

I wisely avoided work on Monday.

I not so wisely braved work today. I was promptly sent home. I suppose my protestations of "I'm FINE" coupled with deep, horrible coughs did not actually convince anyone.

So, now I'm back home feeling vaguely sorry for myself and trying not to be utterly distracted by own wheezy breathing patterns.

Ugh. UGH.

At least Adam's been distracting me with Season 1 of "True Blood". Saucy southern vampires make convalescence a little easier to handle.
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Of Two Minds [15 Jun 2010|09:03pm]
Oh lord.

I am doing a lot of school this month. A lot.

One of my courses makes my brain hurt every week with its scary assignments and tests. And my other course creeps and lurks in the background, like a stalker. This course rears up every once in a while and says things like "DO THIS BIG SCARY WRITTEN TEST RIGHT NOW BEFORE YOU FAIL HAHAH HA".

Last weekend gave me heart palpitations because I my two courses converged and I had to basically chain myself to my laptop for several hours.

And the worst thing is that these courses are so drastically different, that my brain literally has to clunk into a different gear when I'm switching back and forth. Otherwise, I get confused and write about how to motivate people who are guilty of securities fraud.

Ugh.

In other news, Adam would like you to know that he is a meatatarian. The man love meat. He basically looks at an animal and parses it into cuts of meat. I often catch him eyeing our cats and I'm pretty sure he's wondering if he can fit them in the crock pot.

I, on the other hand, would be a happy vegetarian. If I could have bacon. If bacon was re-classified as a vegetable, I would embrace vegetarianism with open arms (which would be full of bacon).

I'm very conflicted when it comes to eating meat. I know, in theory, where meat comes from, but I'm more comfortable thinking that meat comes from:

a) trees
b) the grocery store

I don't like to think that my meat once had eyelashes. It makes me sad.

But, I know that I'm omnivorous and I need the protein that comes from meat. But it doesn't mean that I don't feel guilty when I tuck into a pork chop.

So, in conclusion, I am torn apart all over the place this week.

My homework is driving me crazy, and I'm fighting a moral and ethical battle with meat products.

I think I need to relax in a bath. With a glass of wine.

And a handful of bacon.
6 comments|post comment

Come rifle through my sad belongings [30 May 2010|09:43pm]
So, every year our townhouse community holds a weekend garage sale, wherein we all try and foist our crap onto our unsuspecting neighbours.

This year, the weather was...less than conducive to puttering about people's carports. It was misting passive aggressively and we were forced to sit outside on awkward folding chairs, desperately clutching warm drinks.

It was like camping, but without the nice campfire.

Garage sales are an interesting glimpse into the human psyche.

People will come in, cast their eyes over your paltry offerings and suddenly swoop down and grab something random, like a George Forman Grill and screech "WHAT'S THE LOWEST YOU'LL TAKE FOR THIS". And their eyes turn all wild, like they're fundamentally torn between needing this precious treasure and not paying more than $1.50 for it.

And the bargaining. OH THE BARGAINING.

I mean, I love bargaining as much as the next person, but when the item's already free...there's not much more I can do. Except throw in more crap. Which I gladly did.

I'm happy to say that, despite the gloomy weather, we got rid of a hefty pile of stuff and made a decent profit.

I have to say, that's it takes a lot of self-restraint to not push the hard sell on people wandering by.

I really had to work at not yelling things like "HEY! YOU IN THE HAT! YOU LOOK LIKE A GUY WHO NEEDS A CROCKPOT!"

Surprisingly, this did not help me sell the crockpot. Which is still looming at me, just sitting there smugly on its squat little legs.

Yes, I did just anthropomorphize a cooking appliance.

I blame the madness that comes from sitting in a carport for two full days.

Does anyone want a crockpot?
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Sea-to-Sky highway [25 May 2010|08:07pm]
SO.

In a rare bout of spontaneity, Adam and I decided to bolt off to Whistler for a portion of the long weekend.

We didn't commit to the full three days, because:

1) Crowds make us insane
2) We didn't want to spend mad cash
3) I had lamesauce homework to do

My Friday was spent boozing it up at a co-worker's retirement party. I didn't make that much of a fool of myself (I think...), but I did stumble out of there smelling like I poured every alcohol in the world on my shirt. Poor Adam. He dutifully picked me up and drove me home. Apparently, I started talking about a shirt made out of "baby owl fur". Yeah, I don't know.

So he put me to bed and I tried to pretend that the bed wasn't tilting from side to side.

My Saturday was spent doing horrible homework for my Forensic Investigator course(WOW FUN)and returning the 32342 library books I took out the week before. I was also sweating out all of the debauchery from the night before, so I decided to soak up the remaining alcohol with some carbohydrates in the form of pizza.

Yum.

After laying pretty low on Saturday, I was ready to go get my long weekend on!

So after visiting the most dis-organized Tim Hortons in the history of ever, we hit the road for a beautiful drive along the Sea-to-Sky highway to our destination.

Whistler wasn't as crowded as we feared and we happily wandered around the village. We spent that first day basically eating and taking pictures.

And, speaking of eating, I had the best caramel apple of my life there. Oh god, it was sublime.

I wish I was eating it right now.

Damn.

That night, we had dinner at the literally-named "21 Steps". I gnawed on some prime rib, at creme brulee and basically rolled myself back to the lodge.

Speaking of which, the place we stayed was...eccentric.

It was a loft set up, with a living room, kitchen and bathroom on the main floor and a bed up stairs.

And I mean Up. Stairs.

Seriously, you basically had to get out rock climbing gear to get up there. I was terrified to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because I didn't want to break my legs. Because then I would have broken legs and a full bladder. Which would suck.

The suite also had a fireplace and we skeptically purchased one of those ~easy fire logs~ from the front desk. It was essentially wood chips and glue.

And it refused to burn. It would halfheartedly ignite on one side and then Adam I would watch it fizzle out in about three minutes.

Our dreams of cuddling beside a roaring fire were not to be. Instead, we read our respective books and drank tea.

The next morning, we ascended BlackComb mountain via two chair lifts and rode the "Peak to Peak" gondola to Whistler mountain.

The Peak to Peak was both scary and interesting. And also scary.

I'm always vaguely suspicion of technology that cradles my life in its cold, metallic hands.

And this was no exception.

And Adam totally helped ease my fears by saying things like "If we fall now, we're plummeting over 600 feet!"

Gee, thanks.

But the views were pretty! And it totally made me want to ski again.

I figured that I had just risked my life on the gondola, so I could totally handle strapping myself to two skinny boards and going hurtling down a mountainside.

PikchurzCollapse )
5 comments|post comment

Wounded Duck Impression [18 May 2010|05:39pm]
I have another injury.

From the state of my recent blog postings, you would think I need to be secured in bubble wrap to protect me from myself. And you would probably be right.

This injury involves the soft, helpless underside of my left foot. And because there are no obvious shattered bones sticking out, the doctor diagnosed me with the ambiguously named "soft tissue damage". Which could really mean anything from a bruise to a torn ligament.

I wish I could be as general at my job and still get paid for it.

"Sir, it appears to me that you may or may not need to disclose that information, that may or may not be material in nature. Oh, and you may or may not be in default"

Actually, that's pretty on the mark.

Anyway, back to the injury.

As part in parcel with my soft tissue diagnosis, I was also given crutches and painkillers.

The painkillers are more fun.

The crutches are a lesson in faulty limb co-ordination and awkward flailing. And that's just trying to get down a hallway.

If you add doors and other elements (like tea) into the equation, you're met with embarrassment of the most epic proportions. And tea-stained clothing.

But, my foot is healing. But don't tell Adam. Because I'm rather enjoying bossing him around and making him fetch me things.

Here is how our conversation goes:

Me: Adam!
Him: ..yes?
Me: I need a snack!
Him: But you just ate dinner.
Me: I NEED A SNACK TO HELP ME HEAL
Him:...
Me: *puts on sad eyes and points to foot*
Him:...
Me: *puts on even sadder eyes*
Him: Sigh. Fine. What do you want?
Me: Nothing - I was just testing you. Congrats! You passed. If this had not been a drill, I would be eating pretzels right now.

All I need is a little bell that I can ring. To get Adam's attention if he's hiding out in the basement.
4 comments|post comment

Circle beats Triangle [16 May 2010|05:41pm]
I have a bruise.

It's quite a spectacular bruise, with colors like a Mediterranean sunset. It's all purple and blue and green. I'd call it pretty, if it didn't hurt so dang much.

I acquired this bruise at work and, no, it wasn't because I hip checked my co-workers in a fit of rage.

Essentially, it came to the fact that:

a) I only have two hands
b) I was trying to carry four things (including tea)
c) I have all the spatial awareness of a horse with blinders on
d) I was talking AND walking at the same time

This, my dear reader(s), is a recipe for disaster.

Basically, my tea was looming at a dangerous angle, so instead of being smart and putting something down, I tried to do a creative juggling maneuver and ended up maneuvering my thigh right into the corner of my co-worker's desk.

Ow.

Ow. ow. ow.

I made a dignified noise (like a stuck pig) and limped off to the bathroom to examine the damage.

Nothing looked out of place so I was all "Oh, it's not that bad...".

HA.

And then the bruise came.

And boy, was it a doozy.

I would take a picture, but I don't want to offend the delicate sensibilities of my reader(s).

The sad thing is, this sort of thing has happened before.

In fact, I've actually managed to bruise the heck out of my arm because, get this, I tried to crawl into bed sans glasses and...

I MISSED THE BED.

Oh yes. I mistook the deep shadow around the bed for the bed itself and put my hand...on nothing.

And fell. Onto my bedside table.

Sigh.

I think I need to move to a world where there are no sharp edges or corners.

For my own safety.
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Oh Captain... [30 Apr 2010|05:43pm]
May 21 marks a very strange and bittersweet date for me at work. That Friday, the oldest, most experienced and sassiest member of my work team is retiring. After working at the Commission for over 30 years, her split with this job is well deserved.

After she leaves, it will vault me into the position of the most experienced on our team. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. One of the reassuring things about my job was the understanding that if I was ever unsure or unclear on an inquiry, I could turn to my team mate and get the answer I needed.

Now I'm turning into that person. I'm becoming the expert that my other team members rely on, and I find myself providing the answers that I used to ask for.

It's a strange role reversal and my instinct is to fear the change that's coming and try to ignore the inevitable.

I call this "The Ostrich" and I'm very good at it.

But there's also a part of me that is excited about being the true, indisputable leader of the group. A part of me that's confident and sees the road ahead with clear eyes.

I'm finding, as I'm growing long in the tooth, that the ambition and drive that's been sitting dormant within me is coming to the surface.

I finding myself wanting more opportunities, more education, more experience, more, more, more.

And I want it all now.

Apparently, as my ambition increases, my patience decreases.

I would draw a graph, but, alas, my math skills have not grown stronger with age.

When I look back at the person I was when I first started this position, I can truly see how far I've come. From being green and eager to taking a leadership position in three short years, I'm quite proud of myself.

Plus, my retiring team mate promised to give me her home phone number so I can call her at home and disrupt her retirement with my inane questions.

It's good to have a lifeline - especially when you're steering the ship.

Just because I'm the boss, doesn't mean I've stopped mixing my metaphors.
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Flirting with Academia [01 Apr 2010|05:44pm]
I sometimes wonder if I'm a wee bit masochistic.

Not in any kind of scandalous way, but in a "I must take as many classes as humanly possible" kind of way.

I like to torture my brain meats.

From April - July, I'll be involved in three full time courses. Three courses that all demand essays, exams and various assignments.

I also, apparently, have to continue to work full time as well.

I feel I may need to invent some kind of time halting device in order to cram in all of the demands of these courses.

Or, you know, I could stop watching trashy TV shows in the evenings.

...nah.

I think the time halting device sounds more fun. Plus, maybe I can go on Dragon's Den and get money for inventing it.

If I were to psycho-analyze myself about my propensity to take as many classes as possible, I would say that I am pining for the days of full time academia.

And it's true.

I miss bemoaning the "earliness" of a 10 AM class. I miss cramming for an impossible number of exams. I miss writing lecture notes while half asleep and then trying to decipher them later on.

I miss school.

If I could afford it, I would definitely be a full time student. I would throw myself back into university and stay there until they dragged me out.

Ideally, I'd become one of those mad, old professors who is covered with chalk dust from insane chalkboard scribblings and who wears loud clothing that's 5 years out of style.

This isn't actually too much of a stretch for me. I basically resemble that remark, minus the chalk dust.

I know that I'm idealizing academics, and it's more than brilliantly minded people sitting around debating interesting issues, but I think I would still gladly drop my job like a hot potato if the opportunity for scholastic study was offered to me.

I think I need to win the lottery.

After buying myself a unicorn and a hover car, the next item on my agenda would be to fling wads of money at a university for the pleasure of being locked up in that academic ivory tower.

But, for now, I temper this desire for school with courses that are of vague relevance to my job.

So instead of taking a class called "Zeus - The Formative Years", I have to take classes called "How To Motivate Employees Without Violence" and "Organizational Behavior - Like Herding Cats, Only Harder".

Sigh.

One day I hope to be able to happily ensconce myself in school. For now, I will just continue to teach my cats about Greek Mythology.

They're star pupils, my cats are. Except we need to work on their essay writing skills...
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Feel the Burn [25 Nov 2009|08:11pm]
I write this post with fingers that are attached to two very shaky arms.

In light of our upcoming trip to Belize, I'm trying to force the jiggly bits of my body to become...less jiggly.

Every second day, I furtively close my blinds and put in a DVD entitled "50 Ways To Sweat Like An Overheated Donkey". Or something.

And then I wheeze and plank and jumping jack my way through a horrifying combination of strength/cardio/abs. The end result leaves me lying on the floor in a pool of my own perspiration while the cats sniff me and wonder if they can start gnawing on my flesh yet.

I haven't seen any visible results yet, but the spokesperson/head torturer on the DVD purports that I should feel and look "shredded" in 30 days. So far, I feel like I've been put through a shredder, but I don't think that's what she means.

But I'll keep at it. God as my witness, I will continue to perform horrible and mildly embarrassing maneuvers such as "The Thrust Squat Oblique Twist Punch" in hopes of achieving less jiggle.

I really want to walk up to someone (probably a hapless co-worker)and say "HAVE YOU SEEN THE GUN SHOW?" and then show them my magnificent bicep muscles.

A girl has to have dreams.

xposted to Stephopolis
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Belizean Bound [13 Nov 2009|10:14am]
So, we're going to this wonderful eco-resort in Belize for our honeymoon (http://hamanasi.com/). I am fulfilling at least three childhood dreams with this trip:

1. I get to sleep in a fancy treehouse
2. I get to see Eagle Rays up close (Adam has warned me not to try and hug them. I think I may ignore him)
3. I get to ride horses through the jungle

And I think Adam is fulfilling his childhood dreams to go schlepping through ancient caves and geeking out about Mayan ruins.

After the horrible "Thursday That Felt Like A Monday" and now the "Friday That Feels Like Another Monday", I am clinging to the fact that our Belize trip happens in less than one month.

THIS TIME NEXT MONTH I WILL BE IN BELIZE AND I WILL PROBABLY BE PETTING AN EAGLE RAY.

Ok.

This gives me the strength to carry on and deal with cranky people, who are probably only cranky because they aren't going to Belize.

PS: It's currently 27 degrees and sunny in Belize. Here? It's passive aggressively raining.

X-Posted to Stephopolis
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A Deep Well of Thanks [07 Nov 2009|09:16am]
We received the thank you cards we had printed by our photographer. It's my job this weekend to write these notes of gratitude and thanks and love. And it's overwhelming. I'm not concerned about the inevitable case of writer's cramp that I'm going to get, I'm concerned because I don't think I can fit the magnitude of my appreciation on these little cards.

When I think back to the people who came together, from the ends of the earth, to witness our marriage, it makes my breath catch in my throat.

And I'm not just talking about the day of the wedding. I'm talking about the family who cried happy tears right along with me as I shared my proposal story. I'm talking about the friends who made it their personal mission to find me corset ribbon and to accompany me to dress fittings. And friends who stood with me on that day to share and witness my love.

Everyone who attended the wedding (and those who were there in spirit) deserve more thanks than I can possibly write. I don't think putting pen to paper can quite convey the sense of love I feel when I think about the small and big things that were done to help make the wedding a success.

And it goes deeper. How do I think my parents for showing me what to look for in a marriage. For showing me what deep, true love looks like? How do I thank a family of in laws who have all but adopted me as their own?

So, even though all of these people will receive thank you cards, I hope they all know that the gratitude I hold for them goes far, far deeper than what I can ever possible hope to write.

xposted to Stephopolis
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Post Wedding Slideshow! [01 Oct 2009|12:58pm]
Here's what our photographers sent us as a teaser for our wedding photos.


http://bigshow.bigfolio.com/?s=000014485&t=cc241f9ee3d49a6b91f811f25ba10239
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