Thursday, May 31, 2007

Link: Little Boy Ruins Sand Mandala

If it were my kid... Oh hell, I'd probably just slink away in embarrassment, too.

But I'd LIKE to think I would make my boy sit and watch the monks finish the piece, even if it takes three whole days. He could go on coffee runs for them, or whatever.

Then again, it appears this was a toddler. So I, as the parent, should have to sit there for three days, cursing my child....

Link.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

File Under 'H'

Happy things:

Students At Christian Colleges Have Eyes Opened To Green Movement

and

Flight Of The Conchords
(you can catch their first episode on the HBO site. I quite like it)

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Old Friends

Today I’m thinking about the friends I’ve lost. No, they didn’t die, they just aren’t my friends anymore. Most often we simply drifted away from each other. Other times it was all dramatic.

The first friend I ever lost was likely due to class difference. We were in Grade Three. She had real cabbage patch dolls, I did not. She was an only kid, I was one of five. I used to sneak to her house after school to watch Video Hits. We didn’t even have a TV. I mean, it never could have worked, right? That one drifted.

Fast-forward a couple of decades. I lost a very good friend because I didn’t know the ‘nod rule’, the rule that states, “ye shall check with your girlfriend before hitting on that guy.” Yes, I should have known better. I blame it on poor judgment and Buck-A-Draft at Checker’s. That shit was trippy.

Then I lost a series of guy friends. I’ve always had really great guy friends. Maybe it was being raised by my dad, I dunno, but I’m often far more comfortable around guys.

In the case of my two closest guy friends, events unfolded that I still do NOT understand. Men aren’t very clear about those things. They fight differently. I think there was a wife involved in one instance. It still irritates me that I don’t really understand why I lost these good friends.

More recently, I’ve lost friends due to work politics, which really pisses me off. The job wasn’t worth it. Lines didn’t need to be drawn. I totally should have been invited to that party and yes, my feelings are still hurt. You know who you are! And it's a safe bet you don’t read this blog.

Still, I can think of every single one of these people and smile. I thought they were great people. In some cases, we shared brutal experiences and I wouldn’t have made it through without them. Never mind how it ended up.

So here’s a toast to all the friends I’ve had and lost. I’m thinking of you today.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Link: What Happens When You Drink A Coke

In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
Link

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Coccyx Update

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m sick of my couch. Reclining is the only way to alleviate the coccyx situation and it’s still only moderately effective. But trying to work whilst reclining is a royal pain in the, er, ass.

I’m grumpy about it.

In other news… there is no other news. I’m obsessed with the condition of my ass.

I’ll be back when I have something more interesting than this.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Link: Caution re Soft Drinks

Article.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Six Super Serious Proposals

1. I think the verb “to dialogue”, as in “we need to dialogue about the issues”, needs to be met with a rolling of eyes and a firm suspension from the next five office potlucks.

2. I think if the description “cutting edge” is found in pitch documents, Television executives have the right to pour sticky, cold lattes down the back of your pants.

3. I think the next politician to say “Canadians want” should be slapped in the face with a dead fish.

4. I think the next person to start a sentence with “I’m sorry but-“ should be gently reminded that if they were really sorry, they wouldn’t bother saying it in the first place.*

5. I think the next person who refers semi-seriously to his / her dog as “my baby” should be tied to the baggie dispenser stand in the dog park. That one that all of the dogs pee on.**

6. Lots more that I can’t remember right now. I’ll be back.


* gently for now because I still do this.
** not to be applied retroactively or I’d be tied to the stake.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Spring Ought-Seven

It must be spring because Trevor and I are having this conversation.

We must be married now because this time 'round, he told me to screw off. He'll mow whatever he wants to mow.

In other words, 8 months after witnessed peace talks, diplomacy has deteriorated and violence has escalated.

Send food aid. Preferably in the form of Old Dutch brand Popcorn Twists.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Link: A Review of The Secret

Of course it has occurred to me that I might be attracting all of the strange things that are happening to me. Even if it's simply a case of being very distracted, that's still a state of being that is getting me into trouble.

Part of me loves to assign MEANING to every little thing. I attracted the best things in my life when I was in that so-called 'higher state of energy'. Trevor is at the top of the list.

Accordingly, I am interested in the Law of Attraction. I know, I know, most of you are rolling your eyes and muttering "Oprah".

Look, I liked parts of The Secret. But many of us heard about the concept long before that movie ever came along.

I'm certainly not an evangelist of the concept. I think some parts of the concept have been misunderstood, misrepresented. Making us all look like idiots, unfortunately.

Basically, I echo this gentleman's sentiments.

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Universe Smackdown: Day 20

I tripped in a hole at the dog park.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe - Television vs Viral Video

Careful - there's some cussing. But it's British so it sounds proper.

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The Luck Keeps On A Pourin' In

In latest news, I fell down my basement stairs this morning. Arse right over teakettle. I'm really feeling it. I'm thinking about getting one of those donuts that women sit on when they've just had babies.

This is the latest in a sting of medically related incidents the last couple of weeks, only some of which I've shared with you. I'm bruised and battered and not too attractive.

Trevor says he's going to get me one of those medical call buttons. You know, "help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" I think he's also programmed 9-1-1 into his speed dial.

We're out of band-aids again.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Link: Passive Aggressive

Oh yeah. I've been one of those people.

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Damn The Luck


Montreal was a disappointment. I should say, I was a disappointment to Montreal.

M. and A. were wonderful hosts (they even sewed a curtain just for us!) and Charlie was ecstatic to see Percy, her Lord and Master.

We did the kind of great things you do in Montreal; we sat on a lilac coloured balcony and drank tea. We went for really great pasta, had fresh bagels and cheese for breakfast. We stuffed our faces at Schwartz’s. We ate amazing Spanish tapas at a place that only artists and club members seem to know about so far. We consumed excellent beer bought at the local depanneur (God, how I love Quebec).

And I was sick the entire time.

Every muscle in my neck screamed at me. My stomach heaved and rumbled. And in the presence of some of Montreal’s finest fare, I could only turn away and lament the sheer unfairness of it all.

And try not to throw up.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sorry. It's About Facebook Again.

The other thing about Facebook is the content. (Last post about Facebook, I PROMISE)

(Unless something really good happens)

According to my Facebook page, I’ve spent all of these years traipsing to exotic locations and I have a great job in Canada’s largest city and I’m off to Montreal for the weekend and I married a great guy in a rather unique wedding. We haven’t had kids yet because we’re too busy going to various functions with our loads of creative friends.

That’s a rather, um, compressed picture. Yes, all of those things made up the past decade. Reality is a bit more mundane. Really, I struggle with housework and sometimes I don’t like working from home because I miss people.

I also oscillate between periods of hyper joyous creativity and navel gazing depression. I think waaaaay too much about things that don’t deserve my time and not enough about the things I really want to do.

Trevor and I bicker about really stupid things, like wrapping our heads around the next level of money concepts (the Project is going amazingly well. I should talk about that more one of these days).

We also talk way too much about our animals. Oh sure, we went out with wonderful people to Auld Spot this week, proving we do have a social life. But Trev and I told that story about getting our cat off. I mean, would you invite us to your next function?

Then again, Facebook is a way to tally all of the best things of my life. I’m spectacularly blessed. Maybe it’s time to focus more on the good. Enjoy it.

The Montreal thing is happening in... shit. Half an hour. And I'm sitting here typing! I need my head examined.

We’re going for some much needed R&R with our good friends M. and A.. Charlie gets to reunite with the love of her life, Master Percy.

We saved up for this and hot damn if I'm not totally excited to wrap my fingers around a cold pint and maybe something smoked and meaty....

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blood Letting

The Filipino technician snaps the rubber band around my arm and taps the vein. I look away. It pinches more than usual. I breathe deeply.
"Thank God,” she says after a moment, “you almost gave me a heart attack. I poke, no blood. You just have slow circulation.”
“Oh,” I reply, thinking this isn’t particularly good news. “So you like celebrities?” I ask, looking at the cut outs on the wall. Brangelina Give Big Donation. Only my head has started swimming. I know what’s coming next and I can’t speak in time so I tap her arm.

I see all sorts of scenes. Comforting and playful. Images playing around me.

Then I am being pulled away from it. Too bad! I see the Tech. The East Indian girl I was talking to earlier is handing her wet towels. There’s already a band-aid on my arm. The old Greek ladies are chattering nervously, all standing up to look around the wall of the cubicle. Even the people waiting in the hallway had come in to take a look.
“What happened?” I ask.
“You passed out.”
“Oh.”
They help me to a chair. I hunt in my bag for trail mix and the Greek ladies cluck, "no eat,” as though it explains everything.

I wasn’t supposed to eat. It was a fasting blood test. I probably should have drunk more water, though. That’s what the Tech said. I didn't mention the beer at the Auld Spot last night....

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Morning Walk

It was such a beautiful walk this morning. Everything smelled like rain, wet dirt and new leaves. I rolled up my cuffs and they still got soaked.

Charlie inevitably went after a duck, only she underestimated the current of the flooded river. She made it back to the bank, thanks to her paddle-sized paws, and then clung to it by her armpits. I was just about to get on my knees and army crawl across the loose mud to rescue her when she finally pulled herself up, claw by claw.

Then we carried on, trying not to step on snails and worms. She discovered rabbits.

Every once in awhile, I walk to the soundtrack of a really good podcast. This is an excerpt from today’s:
“I think when you get very depressed and you get serious about changing your life and pulling yourself out of it… you almost have to do a cat scan on yourself every day and ask, you know, is there any cluster of cells here that is not corroded with grief? Is there any part of me that can still receive light, that can still expand, that can still be excited and delighted by the world? And then you feed those healthy clusters and hope that they’ll grow.”
Source: Elizabeth Gilbert on Tapestry

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Facebook That Haunts

I love the Facebook. Seeing all of those people. Who’s getting married, who's being born, who’s getting completely drunk and giving the camera the finger.

Who loves shoes, who loves fast food; who, like me, thought The Departed blew chunks (not many of you, apparently).

It's fascinating seeing how we of the DML High School Graduating Class of ’94 all look about 30, now. Some of us holding kids up to the camera. Some of us in really cool, far away places. Some of us holding kids up to the camera in really cool far away places.

Some of us are still using expressions like “blew chunks”.

I'm also surprised at how my life in Toronto is starting to take form. So many opportunities to let myself fall in like with this city.

What I didn’t predict, perhaps naively, was this: "Holy crap. It's you. I remember that horrible situation that I will forever associate with you. And now you've sent me a friend request."

I thought that I had packed my suitcase and really moved on from my youth, figuratively and literally, but Facebook throws it in my, er, face. I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach that proves that I haven’t gone as far as I thought.

On the other hand, deciding between the "accept as friend" and "decline" is an interesting self-examination. What are my motivations?

Which are really kind of worth exploring.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

News That's Not Really News

In true Budget Nerd style, Trevor and I crunched the numbers and decided to start trying to get pregnant in 18.5 months.

I’m not kidding.

Okay, well, maybe about the .5 part.

Now that the money’s figured out, there’s The How. Oh, I know The How (learned that on my wedding night, of course). I'm talking about Science. 30 may be the new 20 but that means nothing biologically. I am only 31, but according to my Doctor my eggs are playing Bridge these days.

(Too much info?)

Like anyone my age, it’s occurred to me that Trevor and I may face issues of infertility. Or maybe that is down to all the two weeks of infertility-centered specials the CBC Toronto has blessed us with. In truth, there have been some mild signs that I could have trouble.

But if I do, that’s okay. Trevor and I have decided we’re not interested in the long and expensive road of IVF, etc.. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we’re okay with that, too.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Fat Rant.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Angus

Today, my parents-in-law had to make the hardest decision a pet owner can ever have to make. Angus was a beautiful dog, one of the most enormous German Shepherds I've ever seen.

My heart is with you tonight, R. and S..

Love,
Working

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Plumber's Daughter


  1. Be seriously annoyed by dripping kitchen faucet.
  2. Look up “fix leaking tap” on Internet.
  3. Decide it looks like the “compression faucet” in the picture. Say “compression faucet” over and over because it sounds fun. “Compression faucet.” Totally fun!
  4. Get down on hands and knees. Realize there’s no freakin' under-sink shut off valve.
  5. Wander around the house looking for main shut off valve.
  6. Enthusiastically dismantle faucet.
  7. Race to basement to find hot water heater shut off valve.
  8. Fiddle around with faucet trying to get the freakin’ piece off the freakin’ other piece.
  9. Fiddle around with massive pipe wrench trying to get freakin’ connector pipes apart. Freakin’ rusted freakin’ nut thingy.
  10. Step back to assess. Water and parts everywhere. Still seems to be leaking but there are no other valves to shut off.
  11. Determine that a couple of washers have indeed loosened and rotted. Commend self for being so darned smart.
  12. Realize should have foreseen need for water. The dog looks thirsty. Seriously gotta hurry.
  13. Run to hardware store. Successfully choose the most stoned guy in the city to assist with complicated plumbing problem.
  14. Throw down words like “spout sleeve,” “retainer clip,” “vice grip,” and “plumber’s putty”. Stoner stares blankly.
  15. Stoner uses limited vocabulary to ask other guy about replacement part. Part doesn’t exist on this planet.
  16. 15 minutes later, emerge from store with $100 worth of parts, including brand new faucet.
  17. Return to slightly flooded kitchen. Hope there is such a thing as residual water pressure in pipes and that's all it is.
  18. Use awkward combination of vice grip, pipe wrench and scissors (and at one point, teeth) to separate old faucet from faucet cradle. Do a little dance that water pressure is low, so must therefore be residual. So smart!
  19. Run downstairs for flashlight. Discover water dripping into basement.
  20. Race around looking for towels.
  21. Consider leaving the whole mess for Trevor to fix tonight (Conveniently, I have to work)
  22. Decide there’s only going forward at this point.
  23. Successfully manage to secure new faucet using plumber’s tape, putty, vice grip, pipe wrench and scissors (and again, teeth),
  24. Try to clean excess putty squishing out from edges of faucet.
  25. Apply "DO NOT GET ON SKIN" type of silicon.
  26. Try to wipe putty from forehead, remembering too late about glob of silicon still on finger.
  27. Turn water back on.
  28. Pray.
  29. Activate faucet.
  30. Reward self with very, very large mug of tea. Make note to buy more band-aids.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

List of Smart and Not-So-Smart

Stupid things I’ve done recently:
  • Today I chose a banana to go with my vitamins. Result: banana helped the fish oil capsule go down particularly smoothly but you cannot imagine the flavour of my burps.
  • Charlie killed two baby squirrels yesterday. I was so mad at her. Until I remembered that it’s me who counts her down for the daily squirrel chase (“readyyyy…set… GO!”). Thing is, she’s never really caught one until the babies showed up. I’m going to a kind of hell where squirrel toddlers take turns screeching at me for all eternity.
  • I sent my iPod careening down the basement steps one too many times.
  • At the dog park, I told people in detail about the baby squirrels. They were suddenly late for things and had to leave.
  • I introduced Boomer to Outside and now she howls constantly at the door to be let out. If I give in, she makes directly for Lucky-the-raccoon-killer's yard. Lucky is big. Boomer's just little. And very, very naive.
Some Slightly Redeeming Things I’ve done recently:
  • I started reading Anne Lamott.
  • We just completely paid off our credit cards. Zero. Halfway there.
  • We also paid our taxes. We're freelancers and tax time has always reduced us to sad, repentant, "next year we can't let this happen," pathetic heaps. Repeat. Until this year! Yay budget!
  • Having done so well on taxes, I bought a Nano. Seriously, I can survive debt but not without an mp3 player. There are limits.
  • And just in time, as I found CBC's retro podcasts. Oh Basic Black, how I loved thee.
  • I’ve had actual over-the-fence conversations with the neighbours. We’ve never really spoken before. The dead squirrel thing helped. They're helping me make sure their dog doesn't eat my silly little cat.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Link: Not So Dead

Fascinating.

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RIP

The baby squirrel is no more, thanks to my dog Charlie. I'm not speaking to her right now. The mother squirrel is saying enough for us all, anyway.

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The Catholic Thing

As mentioned, I’m on speaking terms with Catholicism these days. This guy helps. I’m listening to him on a Tapestry podcast.

The way he explains celibacy is great; it sucks. It's meant to. The poorest of the poor are the lonely, so how better to be in solidarity? To be utterly lonely and still keep your energy positive, keep giving to the world. Now that's a gift.

An excerpt from the interview:
A normal person, you’re going to want to drink the world in. You’re gonna want to make love to the planet. And you should want that. You know you can’t do it. If you try to do it you’re going to kill yourself like Janis Joplin did. But if you’re healthy, that’s the fire that’s pumping inside yourself. And what you do with that fire is your spirituality.

So spirituality, it’s not a luxury that’s added on. It’s not something you just do in church. Or something you decide I’m going to go on a spiritual quest or follow these spiritual disciplines; we’re doing it all the time.

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Pork

Last night I watched Ira Glass’ This American Life* about the pork industry. I love that show. They started out doing a story on pork farming and then ended up turning the camera on themselves because the effect on the crew was the most interesting part. The sound guy turned permanently vegetarian.

So did I.

I like meat. When I was growing up I ate a lot of farm-grown meat. My dad hunted and butchered white tail deer. I once saw him shoot one in the head with his rifle because we’d hit it with the car and it was suffering.

In Africa, I ate pig intestines (and maggots and locusts and probably a lot of other things). I watched a steer get slaughtered in a pen with nothing more than a knife. I watched my pet chickens get their heads chopped off.

None of this bothered me. (Okay, the chicken thing did. The German neighbour showed up angry, clutching my dead pets. He'd wrung their necks as punishment for letting them escape into his garden. Particularly traumatizing. I was 10).

But for the most part, I have a tough skin when it comes to animals and death.

What bothered me about the show was that this is not farming. It’s factory production. They even made that point that farmers are more factory workers then anything. This one farmer said that when he was a kid they’d break for lunch, have a nap, then get back to work with the pigs, who were all kept outside.

Now he works too much to nap because he's so far in debt and the pigs can’t go outside because they’re too weak. You have to be sterilized before you even go in to see them because they’re so susceptible to illness. It’s a meat factory. The animals have a horrifying existence.

This has to be bad karma, for lack of a better word. You are what you eat, right? I avoid processed food. I should avoid processed meat. And this industry is so manipulated it can't be called otherwise.

There are excellent farmers and hunters out there. If I know the source and can feel that it was treated with care up until its death, then killed as humanely as possible, then I’ll partake in that delicious, meaty meal. It'd be even better if it could be slaughtered with gratitude (farmers in the house roll your eyes!). Yum yum yum. Good karma meat.

I know that means a serious decrease in my meat intake but we've been cutting back for budget purposes anyway. And hell, it’s better for the environment.

*Did you notice you can't get into Showtime's site unless you're in the States? That's bologna.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Entry That Made No Sense

“I’d give my left nut for decent radio station.”
“You don’t have balls.”
“True.”
I have balls,
And you don’t!
You’re so jealous
Of my balls!”
“That’s not right. It should be like this:
I have balls
And you don’t!
You’re so jealous
Of my scroat!”
“Scroat doesn’t rhyme with don’t.”
“It does so.”
“We have no eggs! How am I supposed to make muffins?!”
“It's not my fault. Don’t blame me.”
“I blame you, you blame me.”
We’re a proper family…!”
I’m sorry doctor, she just kept rhyming.”
“No, more like, I’m sorry Detective, she just kept rhyming. I couldn’t help myself.”
“I’m running to buy eggs.”
On your great big Scottish legs!

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