Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well, I guess it's that time again, isn't it?

2011, amirite??

I really don't have whole lot to say about the past year, to be honest. I spent most of it just kind of laying low and enjoying life. There were a few high points, such as my trip to the Dominican with two girlfriends back in January and my trip to quebec with my girls in September. I got to go to a few concerts, including Finger Eleven, A Primitive Evolution and a few more from The Schomberg Fair - two in one week from those guys.

Although, I did date a bit, and had fun while I was at it, I spent 2011 pretty much single. I've spent a lot of time sorting out my issues in the aftermath of most-recent-ex, whom I had made one final attempt at friendship with before deciding it was best for everyone involved if we just cut off all contact. Not easy, but I'm working on it.

My car got written off but it was a situation that ended up working out well for me as it allowed me to get out of my car loan.

Compared to last year, spent most of this year on the periphery of other people's excitement - some good, some bad. For myself, in retrospect, the year was kind of mundane and uneventful.

Maybe that's a good thing.

2012 looks like it could potentially be quite the roller coaster. That is, if we aren't all blinked out of existence by mid-December. However, I'm sure that much like Harold Camping's prophecies of doom this Mayan calendar issue will likely turn out to be just a lot of hooey.

Please feel free to make fun of me for using the word 'hooey'.

As I was saying, the coming year already holds a lot of promise for excitement and/or crippling anxiety... Wheee!

This year's to-do list includes:
  • Buy a house. Yup, that's a big 'un
  • learn my ukulele
  • compete in the Warrior Dash
  • find a way to make some money with all this writing
  • keep working on staying in shape
  • My kickboxing instructor has thrown around the idea of holding some demos, in which case I want in on that. Yeah, I've been doing this for over a year now, and still love it

So I guess that's my year end wrap-up. Time to start getting myself dolled up for this evening's festivities. Cheers, y'all.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Music Lurve: The Mountain Goats

So the comp is pretty much pooched at this point. My boxing day miracle was short-lived as a software update required me to restart and it just never came back. So after 6ish years I am faced with the prospect of computer shopping. Those who know me well know that big-ticket purchases generally make me itch and/or hyperventilate. I can put it off for a bit because my company was nice enough to gift us iPads for Christmas this year. A friend of mine came over to finally set up the router I was given, after I spent a few weeks struggling to figure out the bloody thing myself. So I'm all wifi'd and working from the iPad. I feel like I should name it. Maybe Jerry.

So onward and upward. I've been listening obsessively to The Mountain Goats for the last week or two, as those on my Facebook and my cubicle neighbors at work already know. I became aware of them a year or two ago after hearing 'Cubs In Five'. I thought it a quirky lo-fi tune and a great little passive-aggressive fuck you.

And the Chicago cubs will beat every team in the league
And the Tampa bay bucks will take it all the way to the top
And I will love you again
I will love you like I used to

Now, I'm no expert on baseball, but I'm pretty sure this is the equivalent of saying "yeah and monkeys might fly out of my butt."

(I really wanted to include a picture of Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell here but I haven't figured out how to scam pictures with this thing. Use your imagination. )

I started listening to them more this year as I discovered tracks off of The Sunset Tree and Talahassee. The last couple of days I've been setting up playlists of five or six albums and just listening for hours at work. I love the themes of encompassing passion and self-destructive love that seems to pop up. I don't know who writes the bulk of the lyrics but there's a feeling of not-quite-impotent rage that pops up again and again... The feeling of someone about to burst out of their shell and go absolutely apeshit on the place.

As someone who fancies herself both a bit of a musician and a bit of a writer, I've always been drawn to powerful lyrics. Here's a few samples of lines that have been running through my head.

From 'Up the Wolves'

I'm going to get myself in fighting trim
Scope out every angle of unfair advantage
I'm gonna bribe the officials
I'm gonna kill all the judges
It's going to take you people years to recover from all of the damage

From 'No Children'

I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can't find one good thing to say
And I hope if I find the strength to walk out
You'll stay the hell out of my way

From 'This Year'

Then Kathy showed up and we hung out
Trading swigs from the bottle all bitter and clean
Locking eyes, holding hands
Twin high-maintenance machines

Again, still getting used to this iPad. I wanted to link to all these songs, but i'm sure all my readers are savvy enough to know how to go to YouTube and look them up.

I highly recommend you do.

I almost forgot. This is super-cute.

Mountain Goats sing The Mountain Goats

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post X-mas Round Up

My computer is pretty hit-and-miss right now.  I was able to get it started up and it's not freezing on my every 15 seconds.  It's a Boxing Day miracle.

A quick run-down on Christmas this year:

Both my grandmother's are in decent health after a pretty rough year, one having recently had hip replacement surgery and a weird intestinal thing that caused her to drop 30 lbs but has gone away as mysteriously as it started, and the other having fallen while cleaning her refrigerator last spring, breaking herself in many places.

Picture me knocking on the nearest piece of trim.

For all their weirdness and foibles and pre-adolescent moodiness my kids are pretty damn awesome.  They were gracious receiving their gifts and remembered all their pleases and thank-yous.  They are also coming to the age where they are thinking of others and made hand-made gifts for both grandmothers, my parents and I'm guessing they must have asked their dad for a little money because they got me a cute little necklace.  It has Snoopy on it.
They also got me a DVD player, as my Playstation has been doing a fine job of destroying most of my movies, but I have a hunch that *may* have actually been from my parents.

Quite honestly, all the kids were well behaved.. my sisters' kids are all pretty nice kids as well.  They all seemed to like their gifts as well. 

My haul included the aforementioned DVD player, necklace and... a Ukelele! So I have a new instrument to learn, as I was not aware that the Uke works on entirely different tuning and chord patterns.  I love getting stuff for Christmas that I would have a hard time justifying for myself.  I know other people like practical stuff, but my thing with practical gifts is, if I haven't already bought it for myself it's probably because I don't feel like I really need it.  So this was an awesome gift.  (In all fairness, the DVD player was pretty cool too, because that was on my list of things I WAS going to buy for myself, out of necessity, and now I don't have too).

Today consisted of some visiting/procrastination as I took my cousin back over to my parents (they were short on room and she loves spending time with my girls) and then stopped by my sister's place.  My youngest nephew is absolutely adorable and starting to speak in full sentences.  Amusing as all get out.  Coming home I got on taking down the tree, as my house is entirely too small to keep it up for long.  There was also the matter of putting away gifts and doing about two and a half weeks worth of laundry. 

We set up the newish Wii that was gifted to the kids from Nanny.  Well, technically.  December 1st my Nan usually sends me a check for each of the girls and instructions to get something for them from her, because God love her, she's getting old and has a hard time getting around and quite frankly, has better things to do with her remaining years than shop for kids, especially when she doesn't know what to get them anyway.

What this has resulted in is that in our house, Santa doesn't bring the really cool gifts... Nanny does.  I can picture the day when we finally have the Santa talk (which won't be long now, I think) and the question will be "Okay.. but Nanny's still real, right?"

I've mentioned a few times today that I count myself lucky that I don't dread family time.  My biggest worry when we all get together is.. "Oh man.. it's gonna get so LOUD".  Because it does.  Get loud, that is.  But if that's worst that happens, I think we're doing okay.

Hope everyone else had a lovely Christmas, or a satisfying secular Sunday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Someone get me a priest, I have a Grinch that needs exorcising...

*sigh*

I love Christmas.  I really do.  I love spending time with my family.  I love spoiling my kids (within reason, anyway).  I like watching A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation over and over again.  I love relearning O Holy Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on the guitar.  I love playing Euchre with my dad and sister and grandma and uncle.  I even love washing dishes after dinner.

I love the fact that my family is pretty functional and my kids are usually grateful for whatever little things I can scrounge up for them.

But I'm so stressed out right now.  The weeks leading up to Christmas, with all the shopping and running around and constant barrage of consumerism can fuck right off.  I feel like I haven't been able to take a breath for a week.  

If I had my way, I'd sleep from December 1st up to the 23rd, only waking for the occasional Christmas party and concert.

I can't wait until tomorrow when I can just relax and actually enjoy the holiday. I'll snap out of it.

This may be the last post for a bit.  The comp is on the fritz again.

Merry Christmas, folks.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the subject of boundaries and courtesy.

Read a post on Feministe today about an advice column on Slate.com that questioned what to do when your seat-mate on a flight pulls out a lap-top and starts watching hard-core porn during the flight.  The letter-writer in this case was a grandmother travelling with her daughter and small grandchild.

Not surprisingly, a lot of people's response was "Oh hell, no.  Call the flight attendant on that shit," because that's a pretty blatant broach of other passengers' personal boundaries, natch.  Regardless of the age of your seatmates, I would think it's safe to say this is never cool.

If you're ever wondering if it's appropriate to watch porn on an airplane, well, unless you are chartering your own private jet, one should usually err on the side of "Porn on an airplane? What the hell is wrong with you?"

A few people asked the question 'Okay, well where do you draw the line? What if it's not porn per se, but a movie or show the occasional scene of graphic sex or violence such as Dexter (which I use as an example, because it generally has a fair amount of both and I'm not really familiar with a lot of other shows).

It's hard to draw a line in the sand, because different people have different tolerance levels and are triggered by different things - imagine if you will, having trauma-related PTSD and finding  yourself with a seatmate watching a movie with a graphic rape scenes like The Accused or Precious.

I'm not sure about everyone else, but if it were me, I'd rather go a couple hours on a plane keeping my viewing at a PG-13 level or lower, than ask someone who may be easily triggered to just get the hell over it and let me watch my movie in peace, especially when considering that in most economy flights, you're practically sitting on your seat-mate's lap.

But where to draw the line?  What can be considered acceptable and what is not?  It's virtually impossible to tell these days what one may find acceptable for public viewing and what one may not.. especially if you get kids involved.  (Again, if it's porn on a plane, just don't.)

What surprises me is how few people consider simply asking their seat mate "Hey, I was thinking of watching this movie but it's kind of graphic in parts.  Would it bother you if I watched it?"  Worst case scenario,  seat-mate might actually say "Actually I'd really appreciate if you didn't."  Or they may say it's okay but decide since you have spoken to them that they want to be your bestie now and chat you up when all you want to do is watch your movie.

In the name of courtesy though, I'd be willing to take that risk.

As a society we seem to be developing a phobia of actually talking to people and creating dialogue.  We'd rather draw hard and fast lines of etiquette in the sand than actually reaching out to each other and creating dialogues around personal boundaries.  Respecting one's boundaries is a way of being empathetic.. to say "Hey, I get it, you're not cool with this and I respect that."

Another post having to do with boundaries I found interesting was in regards to not forcing children to hug and kiss relatives and friends at Christmastime or other gatherings.  We've all known a kid that doesn't like to hug or be hugged, and it's common for such a child to be admonished for being rude to not accept hugs and kisses from family members.  However, in trying to prevent abuse it is important to teach a child that their body is their own and that no one is allowed to touch it without permission.  So I think it would stand to reason that it might be confusing to a child to encourage bodily autonomy while simultaneously say 'but you still have to kiss Grandma'.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think rudeness is acceptable and if my kid refused to hug or kiss someone, I'd let them know that they still have to say hello or thank you or the appropriate acknowledgement.. but if they don't want to be hugged, that's okay.  Some people are very uncomfortable being touched.. whether it is tied into psychological issue or a physical issue - some are very sensitive to touch and it can be over-stimulating.

Respecting a kids boundaries also teaches them to understand and respect the boundaries of others.  Paying attention and respecting a child's boundaries can also help a parent be aware of issues.  My oldest daughter, as a toddler/preschooler was ridiculously affectionate.. WITH EVERYBODY.  She even wanted hugs from strangers.. anyone who made eye contact with her, pretty much.

I remember her running up to an elderly lady pushing a walker and exclaiming 'Up! up!'.  Another time in a bank, she ran up to a young boy who was probably no older than eleven or twelve and threw her little arms around his legs.  This poor kid looked like he was going to die of embarassment on the spot.

Being such an affectionate little thing, I paid attention when she didn't want someone to hug her.

There was a time when the ex-hub and now-wife had some company over including one or two people they didn't know.  My usually exuberantly affectionate preschooler refused to give this one guy the time of day. Instead of vying to have attention lavished on her, she quietly guided her sisters into another room, away from the company.  I don't know the details, but this one guest ended up later saying things to now-wife that had crossed a few of her boundaries and left her quite upset.  I have little doubt that T. picked up some kind of vibe from this guy.

I think small kids can have the ability to read adults better than we can of each other, because they have not yet been socialized into prejudices about different people, and may be able to better follow their instincts when it comes to getting 'bad vibes' from someone.

Just like we should listen to those around us in order to show courtesy and respect boundaries, with kids while there are times to teach, there are also times to listen.

Sorry.  Couldn't Resist.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Titus, I am disappoint.

Some of you may remember a short-lived but hilarious (if you share my own sick sense of humour) sit-com a few years back by the name of Titus, based on the real life upbringing of comedian Christopher Titus.

So I'm a fan of his page on Facebook and I came across this post.  When I first read it, I honestly thought it was satire but as I read on I realized that it was written in seriousness.  I think.  I'm not sure, actually, the whole thing is kind of muddled and incoherent.  I don't even know where to start with the whole 'Negro Greetings' thing... I'm pretty sure I'd find it offensive if I could figure out what the fuck his point is on that one.

Anyway, I'll let you read the post for yourself.


Transcription:

This is a repost.
I'm getting tired of atheists bitching about Christmas, first of all you're an atheist, why do you care who believes what? How can someone who believes nothing believe in nothing so much that you want everyone else to believe in nothing or make fun of the non non-believers. Sounds like a cult. I believe that Jesus Christ walked the earth and he was a good man, like I believe that Ghandi walked the earth and Martin Luther King also. That's why it's called Martin Luther king day not "Negro greetings". Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ which is why it's called Christmas and a manger scene has people dressed in robes of the time and lambs and whatever.Theres no aliens. (I'm looking at you Scientology.) Guess what there is a ton of mythology about Ghandi and MLK too so step the hell off atheists and keep your believing in nothing to yourselves. I'm tired of you forcing your non beliefs on me. I love how people bitch about their civil rights until they start infringing on others. You think I'm pissed? Listen to blah blah blah shameless self-promotions etc etc etc...
Really what?

I read some of the comments but then stopped after I found that the stupid was beginning to burn, so I went on to post this response:
I've never heard an atheist bitch about Christmas. I've never heard a Muslim bitch about Christmas. I've never heard a jew bitch about Christmas. I've never heard a Hindu bitch about Christmas. I've never heard a Pagan bitch about Christmas. I've heard a lot of Christians bitch about a war on Christmas, which could be true if you consider war to mean 'the suggestion that one might acknowledge that there are other holidays in the month of December.' But myself, I've always thought 'war' involved a lot of guns and death and stuff. That I've yet to see, outside of Weird Al Yankovic's "The Night Santa Went Crazy."

Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that I have very little patience for the "War on Christmas" crowd and that personally I find the idea that by simply acknowledging the varying beliefs of people living in North America we're contributing to the downfall of Western Civilization to be at worst, a xenophobic and dangerously bigoted idea and at best, just fucking ridiculous.  Saying Happy Holidays to someone instead of Merry Christmas isn't a big slap in the face to Jesus Christ.. in fact, from what I know of him, he would have encouraged it.  It's my understanding that J.C. was very into all that "Goodwill toward man" and "Loving thy Neighbour" stuff.

Take a look around you... the only people waging a war on Christmas and it's true meaning are the advertisers, the corporations and the grinding gears in the machine of greed.  If anyone forgets the 'true' meaning of Christmas, it won't be because a few people say Happy Holidays.

As for the original rant, I think Titus needs to do some research on Atheism and what it entails.  It's not a belief in nothing.  It's a movement toward rational thought and critical thinking instead of blind faith.  A lot of Atheists still celebrate Christmas, but may center it around celebrating family.  Hell, I consider myself an Atheist but I still think that it's possible that Jesus Christ existed, and I celebrate Christmas because I have respect for the ideas that Jesus espoused (that stuff that I mentioned above.  Love, and such).  No, I don't believe in the Resurrection.  I don't believe he was the Son of God.  But I respect his ideas.

I wish more people would.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure June Cleaver Never Dealt with This Kind of Self-Doubt.

It starts with a phone call or a paper invitation sent home in a school backpack.  The birthday party.  Some small child in your own progeny's class has decided that your kid needs to be at their birthday party.

And it's good.  Who doesn't love knowing their kid isn't a social pariah?

I sometimes wonder if maybe I'm a bad parent because I don't immediately wonder if the parents of these children are derelicts or Satan-worshippers or sociopaths.  You want to take my kid for 3-4 hours and feed them sweets and pizza?  Is it bad that I'm totally okay with that?

Whether one is prone to excessive paranoia or not, etiquette and basic safety rules dictate that you meet the adults to whom you will be entrusting the life of your little one.

There is little in the world to make a parent feel more inadequate than the prospect of meeting another child's parents.

I'm lucky in that I have a few close friends who are in similar situations as myself and have kids in my girls' age cohort.  But meeting parents outside of my social circle.. it's harrowing.  You may have been there, yourself.

It starts with a phone call.  An invitation.  A time and an address.

Dropping your child off at the address provided and realizing it's in a rather posh area of town.  These parents, they aren't renting an apartment in that sprawling century home.  They live in, and may even own the whole thing.

As you're invited to come in, suddenly you become hyper aware of your own tiny dwelling, and even though you're not there, you feel a little ashamed of the dust in the corners and the old futon on the front porch and the dirt and gravel driveway, as though each dust bunny, each unmade bed, each fingerprint is written on your face.  Walking into an immaculate kitchen, you think of the unwashed dishes in your own sink.

Was her coat that dirty when we left? you wonder as you try to casually run your fingers through your child's hair, using a seemingly-affectionate gesture to hide the fact that you're really just trying to get it to look neat as suddenly it seems impossibly messy.  And in need of a trim. You find yourself wishing you had some scissors.

You see the fridge with the professional portraits of each child taped neatly to the door and think of your own fridge, with pictures of your kids from five years ago and a number of magnets with off-color jokes and advertisements for fast-food restaurants.

You make idle chit chat with this parent who is the same age as you, looks five years younger, but seems so much older, so much more put together, so much more... grown-up and you take off your hat and realize.. holy shit, I'm standing here talking to this totally-put-together parent who is making fruit smoothies for her kids SNACK  - meanwhile your kids had a handful of goldfish crackers in the car -  and I have pink hair.  Pink fucking hair.  What am I, 15?


Feeling ridiculously uncomfortable, you just thank Gord that your Shut Your Whore Mouth or equally inappropriate T-Shirt was in the laundry today.  Standing there in your coat, you wonder when you should excuse yourself.. too short, and you might appear rude.. overstay and you might appear.. well... still rude, not to mention over-protective.  This is part is especially fun for the socially inept like myself.


You find yourself comforted when you realize that Ms. Other Mom is talking a mile a minute and it dawns on you that perhaps, just maybe, they are just as intimidated meeting you.  After all, you're entrusting your child's well-being to them.

Maybe one day I'll get over the nerve-wracking experience of meeting other parents.   More likely is that I'll be that parent who has a near-coronary when one of the girls wants to introduce me to the parents of their significant other.  Such is life.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Conversations with my Kid: Deprivation, and the Grass is Always Greener.

I'm pick a chocolate chip of my oldest daughter's cookie while she grabs a glass of milk.  There were just enough cookies left for each kid to have three (or each of us to have two, but I really don't need them).

T: Hey!
Me: What?
T: Are you picking a chocolate chip off my cookie?
Me: Yeah, of course.  Hey, Wait! Are there any in the bottom of the cookie jar?  Sweet, one.. *nom*  two *nom*
T:  Aww.. Lucky!
Me: Says the kid with three cookies to the woman who just fished errant chocolate chips out of the jar.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Lady, Are You On Glue?"

Cross-Posted at MyFitnessPal.com

"Are you on Glue?"

That is what my inner sloth said to me when I decided yesterday that I was going to sign up for this year's Warrior Dash.

I'm laaaazy. And I'm not in awesome shape. Oh, I'm in better shape than I used to be (I can do pushups! and FULL SIT-UPS!) but on the whole I don't tend to think of myself as athletic, or even particularly fit. Hell, at time I've revelled in my own non-athleticism.

In high school, those who took phys ed had to, twice a year, run a 2400m race. At the beginning of grade nine, I was the kid who half-ran, half-walked, red-faced, huffing and puffing and in tears by the end of the run. At the end of grade nine, I was the kid who stolidly refused to run, and walked, head high and throwing glares at the Phys Ed. teacher, the entire distance to finish dead last with a time of roughly 23 minutes and 18 seconds.

I had my compusory gym credit, and I never took it again after that.

So needless to say, signing up for something like this is rather out of character for me. I mean, seriously? climbing? Fire-jumping? CLIMBING? (I have a wee fear of heights.. and climbing)

I don't know. I feel like challenging myself.

I can't actually register until the 13th, when I get my baby bonus so I have time to back out, if I want to. But really, what do I have to lose? I have two friends interested in signing as well, one a mom who has taken up running and wants to get in (better) shape, and another who will be roughly 17 months post-transplant when the race comes around and is also looking for a challenge. Not to mention my kick-boxing instructor and some women from that class may be signing up as well.

This could get interesting.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Tip of my Tongue.

When I was growing up in Aurora there was a restaurant down the street from my uncle's place, in a plaza (some may know them as strip-malls) on the Southeast corner of Murray Avenue and Yonge Street, at one point the longest street in the world and the eventual route that would take my family on our short but life-altering pilgrimage from Aurora to our current home on the Georgian Bay.

My memories of this establishment are fuzzy yet curiously vivid as well.  Glaring yellow signage ran the length of the outer end of the building - it was the last unit and faced the traffic of Yonge street.  I recall caricatures of old comedy acts such as Laurel and Hardy and W.C. Fields gracing either end of the stylized lettering, now blurred in my mind's eye.

It was a fairly large, licensed establishment, specializing in Italian fare - a family restaurant, before we became inundated with proto-family-cookie cutter chain eateries.  Upon entering, one would walk into a sparsley furnished, harshly lit entranceway with a small counter for picking up takeout orders.  In contrast, the main dining room was lush and romantically lit, a sea of dark wood, leather and tiffany lamps.  As a small child I would swing my feet from the huge bench seats of the booths and look around curiously, in my own world, ignoring the chatter of my parents and sister.

What stands out in my memory, clearer than anything is the Pac-Man game.  The PacMan game sat in the entryway, close to but not quite in the dining area.  It was one of those table-top arcade games where two players could sit on either end and play head-to-head games of Pac-Man.  Occasionally I was lucky enough to be given a shiny quarter to play while we waited to be seated, but even when no quarters were available I was content to sit hunched over the bright flat screen and trace my fingers along the plexiglass, following Pac-Man's gluttonous feast.  My little brain, just then learning to read, would watch as the screen flickered and switched from the demo to the menu screen and mouth along as the rival ghosts were introduces.. Inky, Blinky, Pinky and...

and...

What was the last one's name?  I can never remember.

The last time I was there, I was seventeen.  My friends and I had embarked on a road trip to the city for some reason or another and I, being full of ideas, suggested going to Aurora and driving by my old house.  We stopped there for lunch and it was as I remembered it, mostly.  I don't recall now if the game was still there, but the food and the atmosphere was as I remembered.

That was nearly fifteen years ago.  The restaurant has since been shut down, re-named, under new management.  It's funny though, that with all that I can remember of that place, of the details in the decor and the food and how my child-mind perceived eating in a  big, grown-up fancy-pants restaurant with china and cloth napkins and where I was even allowed to order a Shirley Temple and felt very grown-up doing so... well, with all that, to this day I cannot recall it's name.

Funny, that.

UPDATE:  So, I was at work and standing in the bathroom washing my hands and out of nowhere, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Barrel Pizza.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A rare MFP Monday post

So not much to report on the MFP front.  Progress, as previously mentioned, has been slow going.

This week I decided to try something new.  In the years I was in Weight Watchers, I refused to weigh more often than once a week.  Even if I had to go to the doctors office, if they wanted my weight they got what I had recorded at that week's meetings.  I also didn't own a scale at the time so it was easy to stick to.  I always figured that it was better than weighing every day, as daily fluctuations would drive me nuts.  Since roughly Tuesday, I HAVE been weighing in every morning. And it's been good. I have recorded at least some loss every day this week, up until this morning. I actually have a number on my ticker again!  This morning's gain was a mere 0.6 lbs.  Manageable, definitely not worth melting down over.

For gains (which fortunately there haven't been any, but this IS the weekend) I figure this.. It may be less frustrating to have a good day and record a gain of 0.2 or 0.3 lbs than to go a whole week and find I'm up 1 or 1.5 or even 2 lbs. A fraction of a pound is easier to deal with, psychologically, and in the course of a day it is easier to pinpoint what may have been the weak point of the day. When it comes to my period (which always results in a major fluctuation) I may be able to 'head it off at the pass' as it were, as I'll notice the gain earlier as it starts to come on.

I'm also finding that it fits in with the 'one day at a time' and 'every little bit counts' philosophies. I wake up, weigh-in and see where my day is going to go from there.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I hope this isn't what they meant by 'Seven Year Itch'.

I'm irritated as all hell right now.

Quite literally.

Over the last week I've developed some kind of allergic reaction that at first had all the look and appearance of run of the mill poison ivy.  And if ANYONE is going to get poison ivy at the tail end of November you can bet it's me.

You know that wive's tail about how if you get poison ivy seven years in a row you become immune?

Possibly the most enormous pile of steaming hot bullshit ever served.  I'm going on 20 straight seasons now and dammit, if there was every a qualification for some kind of poison ivy immunity idol, then I should have won that challenge ages ago.

This has been a rather sadistic case and for the last week I've been living on cortizone cream and antihistamines.   I had already been using a cream my friend gave me.  The cortizone cream was a slightly stronger one recommended by the ER doctor when I decided to go because I couldn't face a day of work when even wearing pants was difficult.

There was light at the end of the tunnel as poison-ivy itch turned to 'Holy-fuck-my-skin-is-dry-as-hell-from-this-cream' itch.  But as I weaned off the antihistamines the rash is coming back as more of a heat-or-excema type thing.  I think the culprit may be cheap laundry detergent.  My brother-in-law Frank suspects airborne chemicals.

(That link isn't actually about airborne chemicals, I'm just doing some pimping like good-sisters-in-law do)

All I know is I would cut a bitch to immerse myself in a giant vat of aloe vera right now.  I'd wear a gown of aloe vera leaves.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tucker Max, You'll be Happy to Know They DO Serve Beer in Hell, I've Been There - OR - Texts from Last Night: Legion Karaoke Edition

(705):  God help me.  So drunk guy tells me his friend likes me* and wants to dance... I say sure if he wants to come ask me I will dance.  No, dude is 'too shy' and won't come ask**. End up dancing w/ drunk dude who is currently sporting a pretty wicked asscrack.  I'm in hell.

(705): Oh and now drunk dude has requested I sing "18 and Life" by Skid Row.  I can't even make this shit up.

My milkshake totally brings all the drunks to the fucking yard.

*having never previously met, spoken or seen me.
**I'm expected to go ask him.  Apparently I'm in grade seven.   

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crying the Ugly Cry

I woke in a terrible mood this morning.

Actually, that's not entirely true.  I woke up in a half-decent mood, having had a fun-filled night of music with an awesome group of people, and a new prospect of some fun people to jam with.  The girls had stayed the night at their dad's so I woke to a quiet house and no one I had to worry about getting out the door but myself.

Since it had been about a week since I had done so, I decided to step on the scale and immediately my mood went to SHIT.  You see, I've been keeping fairly vigilant over the last week or two and aside from a slip-up with an order of cheese wontons and some toaster strudels, I figured I've done rather well.  My scale disagrees, the bastard.

Some people allow themselves a 'cheat day'.  I, apparently, cannot have a cheat MEAL without thoroughly fucking up my progress.

You know how sometimes one thing will set off a domino-effect of hating everything in the world and ignite a desire to kick puppies and tell small children that there is no Santa Claus just because why should they live in a world of happy innocence when everything around you so clearly sucks?

Anyway, the immense frustration of making no progress in spite of over a month and a half of effort (and being very good the last three weeks, Wonton day notwithstanding) snowballed into a spiral of loathing and general resentfulness of all the things in my life that are not as I would have them... being consistently broke, not having clothes that fit and refusing to give in to the recent gain and buying new ones, being perpetually single.  For the first time in five years I RSVP'd to my staff Xmas party as one, hoping to avoid the yearly conundrum of trying to figure out who I can bribe with a free meal to be my date (I used to be able to bribe with a free meal and an open bar, but after last year's Xmas party, I'm not sure that I wouldn't be lying about that).

I got thinking about people who are no longer in my life, and about hurts that people have inflicted on me in the past and I found myself getting very, very bitter.  It was all I had in me not to call in sick and stay home all day, mournfully playing my guitar, feeling sorry for myself and crying the ugly cry.

Yeah, I have one of those.  The puffy-eyed, red-faced, scrunched-mouth couldn't-possibly-hide-that-I'd-been-crying-if-my-life-depended-on-it ugly cries.  It's kind of like this sketch below, but with less Adele and more Neutral Milk Hotel.  And no damn ice cream.



I have nothing against Adele, she's great. I just can't reach the same notes she does.

Anyway, as one does in these days of social media I reached out via the Facebook and posted a (rare I think, anyway) poor-me post in search of support.

And I got it, in droves.

Usually I like to think I have a fairly positive outlook on life, albeit wrapped in a vaguely cynical and sarcastic candy shell.   However, I'm not half the pessimist I used to be, and on a good day I can usually count my blessings and run out of toes.

Sometimes, for a moment, when things like the upcoming holiday season, get overwhelming I lose sight of these things and focus on what is wrong.

The wrong stuff still sucks.  Being poorish sucks, and so does the loneliness. I have a lot to be happy about as well.  I'll get back to that place, at some point.  Today was a low day, admittedly, and I'm not entirely over it, but at least I know that when I find myself in a dark place I have people in my life to hold a match for me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A post in honor of Movember or "Dirty Porn-staches Abound"

Oh Movember.  So many dirty pornstaches.  Secretly, or not so secretly, I love it.  Last Thursday, a group of mustachioed men at karaoke lipsynched at my friend Tess and I and it was the greatest, funniest thing ever.

I'm reminded of a story of a few years back.  A co-worker of mine had grown out a rather nice goatee.  It was working for him, until he shaved off the ... um.. the 'tee and left the goat?  Is that a terrible way of putting it?  Okay well, the beard was gone, and just a mustache left.

It was distracting.

I had to say something, in the name of the public good.  "Dude," I said, being awesome and definitely not a dork and never EVER too old to use the word dude. "What is the deal with your porn-stache?"

"I beg your pardon?"
"The porn-stache.  What is up with that?"

My friend looked rather indignant.  "That's a little personal, don't you think?"

I thoroughly confused by his indignance.  Okay so my question wasn't exactly tactful, but I didn't think asking what possessed someone into a particular style statement was overly personal.  I asked him what he meant.

"I don't see that my reading material is your business, and besides that's hardly suitable conversation for work."

Light bulb.

"NO!! no no.. PORNSTACHE.  Like, Mustache?"
"Oh.. oh Jesus."

This why you choose your words carefully folks, or you may accidentally out co-workers on their questionable reading material.

If you're reading this now, I still apologize.

On that note, with Movember almost over, I leave you with this classic clip from The Tick

Sunday, November 20, 2011

HEAS Rhetoric: Understanding how weight =/= health

Cross-posted at MyFitnessPal.com

In response to a blog post I recently read from Balancing Jane, I wanted to hash out how to reconcile the idea of the "Healthy At Every Size" (HEAS) philosophy by reframing how we look at weight loss in relation to health.

Many have pointed out that the correlation between weight and health is not as direct as the media would have us believe. Being overweight is not always an indicator of poor health, just as being average or underweight is not an indicator of good health.

In my comments on the post I proposed a simple change in framing to kind of articulate how the rhetoric around weight loss can be reconciled with the HEAS principles by focusing not on size but on choices.

For example, one might say something to the effect of:
"My friend recently lost 100 lbs. As a result, her blood pressure and insulin levels have evened out."
This phrasing indicates a direct correlation between weight loss and health and implies that it was the loss of 100 lbs that directly contributed to an increase in the friend's health.

Now, what if we worded it as the following:
"My friend recently started making changes in her eating habits. She's been watching her portions and choosing more fruits and vegetables and less processed junk. As a result, her blood pressure and insulin levels have evened out. She's also lost 100 lbs."
In this phrasing, the change in the friend's health is not correlated with her weight, but with her food choices and activity level. The weight loss is treated as an additional benefit of her choices rather than the causal factor. If we left out the last sentence, and did not mention the weight loss, one could reasonably argue that by changing habits one could achieve better overall health, without weight playing into it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm gonna let you in on a little something.

It's probably thoroughly un-progressive of me to say this, but I have a confession.

I kind of want to be the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Go ahead.  Laugh.

I would.

It's true, though.

I want to be a muse.  I want to inspire someone to live life to their fullest.

I'd like to be that crazy, quirky, fascinating girl who breathes life into someone who has otherwise lost all interest.  Destroyer of the Cynical.

I'd like to be the object of undying affection, fascination, adoration.

I'd like to be the person who changes someone's whole outlook on life.

I'd like to choose who would be that person.  Which is where the fantasy falls apart, I guess.

Meh.

I've had a couple glasses of wine tonight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Avatar Generators, Body and Gender Normativity

So, having too much time on my hands and possibly some bizarre form of narcissism, one of the things I like to do is make cartoon avatars of myself.  If I stumble across a cartoon generator, I have to make a version of myself.  I just have to.

And since I am somewhat of a chameleon, changing looks fairly often, I sometimes have to update them.  But some examples:







Myself, as a Pickle. 

Sadly, there's more where that came from.  I'm not sure why the need to cartoonize myself.  Maybe it's because I see myself as vaguely cartoonish to begin with. Maybe, like I said previously, it's some bizarre manifestation of a narcissistic personality disorder.  More than likely, I'm just bored and spend too much time on the intertubes.

What I've found that irks me somewhat is that, with the exception of the Simpsons generator and the South Park generator, it's very difficult to find my body type represented in these generators, so a certain suspension of disbelief is required.  I'm sure it just comes across that I totally see myself as some skinny broad but no, truth is, the cartoon generators don't give me much choice but to be some skinny broad.  The Simpsons generator, if I recall, did allow for a choice of two female body types.. a slim build, and a slightly thicker build (as shown in my own av above).  The South Park generator is the only one (that does a full-body av) that I found that doesn't default to a slim female body, mainly because it defaults to the short, dumpy form that everyone in South Park Colorado is blessed with.

Being recently shorn, I found it less difficult to find my hairstyle represented as well.. Most generators have a wide assortment of long hairstyles for female-presented characters, but not so much for the short styles.

I'm also perturbed that one generator, called Rebel Girl, didn't have an option for glasses.

Anyway, that's a few observations I found.  In all honesty, I'm sure a book could be written on the ways some of these sites, like girlsgogames.com and dressup247.com enforce a whole whack of gender and heteronormative crap onto the young, web-savvy preteen girls which seems to be their market.  Likewise, generators like the Marvel Make-Your-Own Superhero enforce their own ideals on boys and girls (when you choose your initial character shape, you have three choices.. a huge muscly dude, a grotesquely huge and muscly dude or a slim, large-breasted woman).

It'd be kind of awesome to see avatar generators that are capable of incorporating a wide array of body types, shapes, colours, hair types and less gender-normative options as well.  Does anyone have any examples of good sites like that?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

They'll give anyone a license to teach these days.

First off, let me say that I agree with the idea that by constantly shielding our children from all and any type of conflict we are not providing them with the coping skills that become necessary when one gets out into the 'real world' and learns that ... *gasp* you are NOT a special and unique snowflake and not everyone will like you.

However, it's important that we not forget.. children are PEOPLE and deserving of respect just as are adults. I don't subscribe to the idea that any show of childhood aggression is bullying.  But I won't deny that it definitely happens more than it should.  I also believe that kids learn aggression from adults around them and that one of the ways  to combat it is to teach kids not that they are a special and unique snowflake, but they ARE a human being and worthy of respect, of both their peers and adults around them.

Case in point:

I let out a pretty good string of obscenities when I read a story about a Phys. Ed. teacher in Wyoming who handed out 'Hurt-Feeling' reports that asked those filling out the report if they were 'thin-skinned, a pussy, a little bitch' and so forth.  Not only did these report use a wide plethora of extremely misogynist and homophobic language to describe the kid reporting the incident (because, you know.. only girls and gays have feelings... feelings that get hurt) he refers to the person being complained against as a 'Real Man'.

Of course, because Real Men taunt and torment and tease others in their constant quest to be the Alpha, the manliest of manly men.


And they're letting this guy teach?

Stuff like this is why I get my panties in a bunch sometimes when people discuss childhood bullying and abuse - and make no mistake, THIS is a bullying tactic, through and through. It's hard to break through the idea that adults just don't give a shit when there are assholes like this in the teaching profession.  I was bullied as a kid, for a good year at least, and later in other instances and I never told anyone.  If a kid like me, with a supportive family and half-decent teachers wouldn't seek out adult intervention, what hope do kids have who have to depend on this jackhole?

By the way, Baldy McScaryPants was reprimanded for the forms and ... um.. demoted, I guess?... from Phys Ed. coach to...

... get this...

A MOTHERLOVING GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR.

"HELP ME HELP YOU.. TO NOT BE SUCH A WHINY LITTLE BITCH!!"  Dear Gord, send it back to Hell.
I'm not sure what bugs me more about this:  The fact that this guy who is supposed to be in a position of trust and authority is waving a flag stating "I don't give a shit about you or your precious fee-fees" or that he's also reinforcing the idea that if you speak up about someone hurting them, you are not a Man.  You are a sissy or worse, a girl. (subtext: No one wants to be a girl.  Girls are icky.  So are gays.  Because they are like girls and have girly-hormones).  Men Don't Have Feelings.  Only Girls and Sissy Gay Boys Have Feelings.

God help the kid that comes for guidance who happens to be a girl, or gay, or both.

It makes me sad that there are dedicated honest people waiting for teaching jobs while this dude is probably setting up a whole new generation of Columbine kids with apathy and hatred.

Photo Credit: Jezebel.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holding myself accountable.. that's what this is about, right?

So, I haven't done an MFP monday (formerly WWWednesday) post in a while.  Mainly because I figured that after a few weeks of "Gained xxx number of lbs." or "Stayed the same.  I don't want to talk about it." would get old after a while.

The progress has been slow going, to say the least.  Although my ticker says I'm down 2lbs, as of two or three days ago, I was pretty much where I started.  I've just not been tracking gains, only losses.  Once I'm down below my recorded weight, I'll start updating again.  It just got so frustrating seeing that 0 on my ticker.

I had a week that I thought I did well, and stayed the same.  Then I had a pretty good week but fell apart on the weekend and ended up gaining two pounds.  Then I kind of went off the rails and said 'fuck it!' for a few days.  As you may guess, this was pretty easy considering it was halloween and I had all sorts of candy and chips at my disposal.  However I think hormones played into my fluctuations because then I was down 4lbs.. then up 2 and so on..

So now I'm thinking of weighing in tomorrow morning but I know I'm going to be frustrated as fuck if there is no happy change in the numbers. How the hell did I deal with all this the first time around?  I had so much more to lose then, but it seemed to come off much easier, then.

Oh well.

In other news, my NaNoWriMo progress is.. well.. stilted I guess.  I'm up to 2600ish words and at this point I think I'm supposed to be somewhere in five digits.  But every time I sit down to write I find I'd rather write here.  The story I'm writing is semi-autobiographical and through it I'm trying to work out a lot of shit in my head, mainly regarding some past relationships.

I'm getting in the mood to be crafty again, even in spite of the sewing machine disaster of this past weekend.  Through Freecycle I was able to procure some old cuckoo clocks and parts which means lots of GEARS and SPRINGS!! I plan to try and play around with some Steampunk type stuff.. frames and such.

The downside of these clocks is that they smell like they've spent the last 20 years in an unventilated room with someone who insisted on chain-smoking and exhaling directly into the box where they were being stored.  I think I'll be sure to avoid offerings from this user in the future.  Should be pretty easy, his emails were covered in crucifix images and Biblical verses.  I won't miss that.

The girls want me to fix one of them up as an actual clock.  I may try it.  There's one that has the yodelling guys that come out and walk around in a circle and then go back into the clock again.

I tried to take some pictures with my phone, but it's a loaner that I got from Rogers while they fix mine and I'm having trouble figuring out how to send pics.  Oh and the kids broke MY camera.  So y'all may have to just use your imagination on this one.

Little freakin' heathens.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In the span of 12 hours I vanquished a fear and had it realized again.

I don't go around saying it very often, but I'm pretty smart.  With the standardized tests to prove it.  So it's frustrating when there's something I really want to master but I JUST.  CAN'T.  FACKING. DO IT.

For a long time now, I've wanted to learn to sew.  I can do simple things like hemming pants or repair a split seam, but I really want to learn to design and create things.  Thing is, sewing by hand is slow and bullshit.

I have a sewing machine that was given to me by my mother, which was given to her in turn by her mother which was bought as a gift by my grandfather and has been used maybe 8 times in total.

This would be the monstrosity right here.
My Nanny wasn't much of a seamstress and my mother always preferred to used the old Singer that was given to her by.. oh.. hrm.  Some female relation or another.  I think it was my great grandmothers.  Anyway, she likes to use that one (probably because unlike this one, it doesn't have a whole table attached to it).

Sewing machines elude me.  My mother was still making my halloween costumes when I was 24 because I would get this lofty idea that I would sew my own costume, I'd borrow her Singer, sit down in front of it and promptly forget the method for setting up the machine, despite Mom having shown me 47,000 times before.  Gord forbid I'd have to change a bobbin.  Forget it, not happening.  I'd get all flustered and it wouldn't be long before Mom was sewing my costume for me.



Pathetic.

So when I got this one, I had every intention of learning to use it.  I took it out on one or two occasions and would do a few test runs.  My first attempt resulted in this:


That was enough to scare me off for oh say... a good year and a half.  Meanwhile though, I kept hanging on to old T-shirts with dreams of making them into pillows and quilts and such.  Today I braved the machine again.  I threaded it, got the bobbin set up with the help of the 50 year old instruction booklet and much to my delight I managed to mend a couch cushion and two of the girls shirts.

I was on a roll.  I went into town that afternoon and excitedly told my friend Lori about how I had braved the sewing machine and that I was going to learn to make shit, starting slow with simple things like pillows.

I guess I got too big for my britches because tonight I cut up some fabric and pinned it and set to work.  I decided to try the zig-zag setting, but for some reason everything kept getting tangled, so I played with some settings and tried to adjust the tension.

I fucking broke it.

I have barely touched this thing over the last 2 years because of my intense fear that I would somehow break it and would end up with a very heavy side table.  I broke the goddamned tension dial.  As I was turning it, the dial popped off and springs went flying everywhere.

And I don't know how to put it back together.

You said it, Natalie Dee.
I'm not dealing well.  I'm not good at feeling stupid and this epic failure on my part is way more upsetting than it should be.  

*sigh*  Faaaaack.  Anyone have any expertise on how to fix a 50-year-old sewing machine?

Photo Credit:  www.nataliedee.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am a Pacifist, this is why I remember

*Originally Posted November 11, 2009

November 11th is not a celebration of war.

It is a solemn reminder of the devastation that can occur when apathy and ignorance allows oppression to spread like a disease.


It is a reminder that all these things we take for granted, our freedoms, our comfort, can be snatched away in a moment.

Now with two generations of whom most of us have never known the fear or the loss of loved ones through war, it is more important that ever that our young be educated, and that those of my own generation educate ourselves. By forgetting our past, we are destined to repeat it.

I choose to acknowledge that we cannot fully appreciate peace without recognizing the atrocities of war.

I wear the red poppy out of respect and to educate. I wear it for my grandmother who lost not one but essentially two brothers in battle - one never returned, one returned, never the same. I will wear it ever November 11th so long as our battles are fought in defense, never in offence. In the name of freedom, not in gain.

I don't know if it's in poor taste to post this video, as it is satire but I've always felt humour was something that helps people cope with horrific things they may not otherwise be able to wrap their head around.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

There's about 1000 Penn State Students that need a good hearty Throat-punch and a number of staff that need way worse than that...

SEVERE EFFIN' TRIGGER WARNING LIKE WHOA FOR SEXUAL ABUSE.


I've never cared much for football.  The only things I care less about than college football are NFL Football and to an even lesser extent, CFL football.

I care a shit-load about kids though.  Which is evidently more than I can say about the jackholes at Penn State that were rioting in protest over the sacking of long-time coach Joe Paterno after he was fired for helping cover up for a former player after the player was caught raping a small child in the locker room.  TWICE.  Over ten years ago.

Let's let that sink in for a moment, shall we?

Mike McQuery, assistant coach, walked into a locker room sometime in 2002 and found Jerry Sandusky sodomizing what looked like a 10-year-old boy.

Again, take a second and think about the build of your average football player.  Now think about the size of the average 10-year-old boy.

Yeah.

McQuery, in all his wisdom, turned around and walked out.  Now, call me crazy, but I think the proper response in this situation may have been a physical intervention in the 'GETOFFTHATLITTLEBOYYOUTWISTEDFUCK' vein.  That's just me.  Seems a little more pro-active than 'Oh.. hrm.  I need to go think, but as you were, gentlemen.'

Instead he walked into Paterno's office, told him and was effectively told "No, we're not going to call the cops.  We'll let the administration take care of it."  Then both he and McQuery washed their hands of the situation while the administration handled it to the effect of telling Sandusky "Hey, Jerry.. if you're going to rape little boys, can you please not do it on campus.  Mmmkay, thanks."

It gets even better when you consider that this was NOT the first report of Sandusky's misdeeds.  In 1998 a janitor stumbled across Sandusky performing oral sex on another small boy in the locker room.  And again, walked out.

What the fucking fuck?

Now it seems that Sandusky took his dirty work somewhere off Penn State campus and got caught.  Someone decided NOT to sit on their hands and in the wake, the dirty details of the other children he victimized have come to light and Penn State University is in a world of shit, because they've been covering up for Sandusky all these years.  Because football, you know.  Way more important than preventing child-rape.  Clearly.

*swallows bile*

So the President stepped down, and Paterno has been fired, as he should be.  Penn State students are rioting.

Are they rioting because it took so goddamned long to bring these allegations to light, and fire some of the people responsible for covering up?  No, it's because their precious coach got fired and who's going to coach the big game now?  Each one of the kids crying over Paterno and the good name of Penn State being ruined should be punched in the throat.

Fucking hell.

A commenter on Feministe's article tried to paint Paterno as sympathetic and torn between conflicting ethical dilemmas.  Protect the school's good name or potentially put a child-rapist behind bars.
"We all have to balance competing ethical obligations all the time, let’s at least do each other the courtesy of admitting that it’s difficult.  I’m not saying what Paterno did was right, I’m saying it was understandable."
Um. No.

Full Stop.

There is no way that not calling the police after witnessing a child rape, or not INSISTING on calling the police after someone else witnesses a child rape, does not make you the worst person in the whole fucking world (outside of the rapist themselves).  There is no 'competing ethical obligation' here.  The only ethical obligation was to those kids who were victimized by Sandusky.  Not to the University, not to the team and definitely not to Sandusky.

To the Penn State rioters:  Paterno is NOT the victim here.  He is culpable, just as the school president is culpable, just as McQueary is culpable as they KNEW that Sandusky was a predator and they looked the other way to protect the 'good name of the school'.

Every time you whine about the 'witch hunt' you are figuratively slapping a nameless little boy in the face and saying "We don't care about you.  You mean nothing.  We only care about the game."

Disgusting.

Edit:  For future reference, other universities or organizations may want to use this handy, simple flowchart for reference, care of Adulting:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Going to get all 'mommy-blog' on you because this was so cute I could have died..

So, while I was cleaning my kids room this weekend, I came across a writing assignment belonging to mine youngest child.

Authors Note:  I was going to scan the pages and transcribe them, but then I realized that when my computer crashed a few months ago, forcing me to install a new OS, I lost a lot of my programs, including all the drivers for my scanner.  That being said, when I get off my lazy ass and find the drivers and reinstall them, I will include photos but for now I'm just going to transcribe what i found.

I may have 'awwwwhhhhh'ed out loud to myself.  I won't deny it.

All About Guitars
Dedicated to My Mom
By: Reagan.
All About Guitars. 
#1 Strings Guitars have Six strings.  They go dark, lighter, lighter, lighter, light and the last one is the lightest.  It also gets skinnier.  There's also these little bulbs on the top and on the bottom.  Six on each top and bottom.
#2 Kinds There are two kinds of guitars.  An electric guitar and a rock guitar.  The sound on a rock guitar comes from the hole on the guitar but the sound on an electric guitar doesn't come from a hole it comes from a stereo because there is no hole on it. 
#3 body Last I'm going to you about the body of the guitar.  There's a head, long neck, and the hips, arms, stomach, and back all together.  There is no legs, hair or butt cause it would look silly.


Once again, I really wish I had my shit for my scanner hooked up but I'm ass-tired and last time it took me DAYS to figure out how to install all the drivers on this bloody Mac, so for now, you'll have to use your imagination.  But as soon as I get it set up, I'll update this post with pictures.  I couldn't even manage to find a good child-like font that could be applied to random blocks of text.

I'm doing it wrong.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Of bars and bunk beds

A quiet but relatively busy weekend this weekend.  Friday night was spent moving furniture and cleaning the disaster area that is my children's room to prepare for new bunk beds.  

Back when we had the house fire we were fortunate to receive a great number of donations to replace the furniture we lost, including a beautiful set of metal bunk beds, the kind that sleeps double on the bottom and single on top.  The younger kid, about 20 months old at the time, was forced to make the transition into a 'big girl' bed rather quickly as who wants to buy a brand new crib for a kid who will likely be out of it in three months anyway?  

These bunks served us well for the last 6 years but about 8 months ago I started looking out for a set of twin bunks either for sale or by barter.  You see, the bedrooms in our little cottage are rather small, and for two growing girls, I figured I could free up a lot of floor space this way.  Plus the mattresses were getting old and the children were complaining of discomfort sleeping.  It was pretty ridiculous, but I was holding off on buying new mattresses because I still hoped for new beds  - no use buying a new double when I wasn't going to use it.  

It got to the point where the kids would rather sleep on the couch or on an easy chair than in their beds.  I'm the only person I know who still - quite reluctantly because Gawd knows, I LOVE having my bed TO MYSELF - had 'the family bed' with a 10 and 8 year old.  I was about to break down this week and buy new mattresses just so EVERYONE could get a good night's sleep when one of my dearest friends texted me to let me know she had located some bunks that would well suit my needs.  So being the Amazon I am, I dismantled the old bunks and carried the damn things out to the shed all on my own and then set to work cleaning the room, including what was once 'under the bed' - aka where socks, Webkins, spare earrings, books, more socks and barbie clothes go to die.
You know it.  Amazon.
My friend, her significant other and another friend of ours made it out to my place with the beds after having to fashion some hardware that was missing from the set.  After everything was set up I attempted to make conversation while surreptitiously gazing at my children's bedroom, in awe of all the extra floorspace.

Saturday was a day of laundry and yardwork and removing Halloween decorations, as there comes a time sometime after November where it is no longer fashionable nor socially acceptable to have dead babies on your front lawn.  Philistines.  Also, the yard was getting jungly and the freaky mysterious 'Where-the-hell-did-they-come-from' Morning Glories had long ago taken over the front porch.  They were, by this time, quite dead though so I decided maybe it was time to take my porch back.

Seriously, though.  I don't know where they came from.  I have not in my history planted Morning Glories.  My sister did when she lived there, but that was four years ago and to the best of my knowledge they are not perennials by any means.

Saturday night my other friend and her SO and I headed to Collingwood to see the Schomberg Fair... again.  This is my fourth show now so I imagine that puts me into some kind of weirdo Dead-head category now.  Truth be told, I'm going to be a little sad when these guys make it really big (which I am pretty certain is bound to happen).  I'll miss that recognition and appreciation one gets for showing up and supporting a pretty awesome trio of local musicians.

A great show, even with a smaller than usual crowd - then again, it's Collingwood and I didn't gather that the downtown had a thriving nightlife.  They played pretty much every song off the new EP, Mercy  as well as a number of older tunes I had not heard played live before.  Even "Dark was the night, Cold was the ground" which had been requested by myself at previous shows, so I was stupidly excited over that one.

Sunday the girls came home to their surprise and were quite happy with the new beds and their newish mattresses.  I haven't had any company for the last two nights and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sometimes the way into a girls heart is through her record collection.

Before I get into the topic at hand, I want to mention that this morning I opened my email to the following:


Vindication at last.

Some of you may remember last December I waged a brief campaign to have Joel Plaskett follow me on Twitter after being unceremoniously Twitted and dumped.  It was a spectacular failure of epic proportions, although I do thank all two of you who helped me try to get #comebackjoelplaskett trending.

Delayed gratification is still gratification in my books.

Anyway...

I came across the following article on Jezebel the other day and if I had been drinking any liquids at the time, I guarantee they would have been snarfed all over my computer screen.

Shockingly, Liking Nickelback Will Not Get You Laid

Chalk that down as my FAVORITE HEADLINE EVER.  I know, making fun of Nickelback is pretty cliche by now, but frankly I find it well-deserved for continually making a mockery of our home-grown music industry.

Oh, full Disclosure:  I have owned one album, and seen them in concert.  And it was okay for a while.  Then there was Photograph.  After that... well, I don't want to talk about it.  Let's just say, when the only local rock station  has a playlist of roughly 15 songs, and 8 of them are by Nickelback, and each song is starting to sound more like the one before it except that the lyrics get more douchey and mysogynistic than the one before, well it's enough to make you yearn for the day when they were just mildly annoyingly introspective.

But I'm not here to rag on them.  At least that's not my primary reason for being here.  I got to thinking about how music had affected my relationships.  As someone to whom music is a large part of life, the article made sense.  I could see myself judging someone if they told me Nickelback was, like, their favorite band EVER.

I don't think I have ever actually rejected a guy over music.. although I have judged guys I've dated over their enjoyment of the movie Hard Core Logo.  And their have been guys whose musical tastes have made me like them more.

I'm not sure if I could ever love someone who didn't at least have a passing enjoyment of the Tragically Hip, who couldn't appreciate them on even the smallest level.

I will however, judge you if you like Papa Roach.  True story, this band makes me violently angry.  The ex-hub used to play them and it got to the point where I begged him to NEVER EVER play them while I was within earshot, after one day I ended up in the back bedroom with a pillow over my head while I cried.  I'm still to this day not sure what it is about them that triggers me, but holy shit.  Remember the scene in BioDome where the National Guard came and tried to get Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin to come out of the dome by blaring The Safety Dance?  I'd probably react the same way, and just dance my ass off and enjoy the party (because, you know.. if your friends don't dance they're no friends of mine).
Tell me this shit wouldn't set you off as well.
But if I was in a hostage situation and the National Guard (or the RCMP, I guess) came and starting playing Papa Roach, I'd likely surrender, throw myself on their mercy and possibly beg them to shoot me.

I don't like them.

The ex-hub and I had similar tastes but they diverged after a while.  Once, as I was getting into a very mellow folkish phase, he was getting into Korn and the like, this being the late 90's and very early Oughts.  Sometimes when you hear a song you like enough times you will eventually start to hate it.  We all know this.  Thing is, it works the other way as well.  Despite absolutely loathing them (but without the same violent reaction as to Papa Roach) I had eventually heard them enough that I started to hum along to a few tunes.  One day the ex came home and went to put a CD on, and eyed me rather suspiciously as he pulled "Follow the Leader" out of the stereo.  His eyes had widened and he pointed an accusing finger at me and cried "YOU WERE LISTENING TO KORN!!"

I was caught.  I had no recourse but to shrug and grin sheepishly.

Nu-Metal.  Kind of like New Coke.  Look how well that turned out.
In the midst of our split (years later... we didn't split because I started liking Korn), during one of the many "What the hell happened to us?" conversations, he tried claiming that I had 'changed' and that he couldn't even handle the kind of music I listened to anymore.  This from a guy who had started playing in a fucking country band.

*sigh*  Such is life, amirite?

I find nowadays an eclectic taste in music intrigues me.  I dated a guy briefly whose musical tastes played like a game of "One of these things is not like the other."  His favorite artists had included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Doors, The Rolling Stones and...

Lady Gaga?

"Rly?"  "Ya Rly."
I kid you not.  He even had Pokerface as his ringtone.  For the longest time I associated that song with him.

One of the things that really got me with the most recent ex was upon going to his house for dinner the first time, he went to put on some music and asked if I preferred "Radiohead, Neil Young or Sinatra?"  Now, I'm not a devoted fan of any of these performers, but the sheer juxtaposition of these three seemingly unrelated acts resulted in my heart going aflutter.

Neil Young=Sexytimes.
Although I'm fond of guys with an enthusiasm for music, I'm not sure I would date a serious musician.  Having spent time as a band-wife I can tell you it sucks, especially if you're someone who would rather be on the other side of the footlights.  It ends up being like a really unfunny episode of I Love Lucy.

My jealousy was never had this kind of awesome result.
I could still handle being sang to.  Call me hokey, but especially so if it was this:



I still think this is one of the sweetest songs ever.  Sounding like Brad Roberts isn't even necessary.

Photo Sources:
www.100XR.com
www.graphicshunt.com
unrealityshout.com
yvettecandraw.blogspot.com

Oh, and by the way.  I went and signed up for NaNoWriMo because I'm a masochist like that.  If anyone else is participating, please feel free to be my 'buddy'.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick Halloween Breakdown...

Crazy busy Halloween weekend, between parties and getting the kids ready.  I'll share a few pics:

For my costume I stole an idea from an article on The Hairpin and went as an Un-Ladybug

Yeah, this pretty much sums up what I was going for.
Oh, that's right.  Last Thursday night I coloured my hair this insane shade of pink.  I was going for fire-engine red (and it kind of looks as such in this picture) but no, it's pink.  I'm kind of in lust with it, and may keep it for a while.  I like my hair so much right now I want to make dirty sweet love to it.

My children, being my children and thus the children of an insufferable hipster, decided they wanted to go as cartoon characters that were relevant 15-20 years ago.  Not just that, but supporting characters.  To the best of my knowledge, outside of a handful of 20-something gamers, no one cares about Sonic the Hedgehog but my kids.

I see many fan conventions in my children's future and I wouldn't be surprised if they end up being active cosplayers.

In the meantime I managed to put together some pretty decent interpretations of Amy the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat.

... they TOTALLY look like animated characters, don't they?
In the case of the Rouge costume, it almost feels weird to take a costume idea and make it less slutty.  Seems to go against what this holiday seems to be all about lately.  I'm not complaining because A) it's refreshing and B) this is my freakin' ten-year-old KID, so of course I'm gonna G-rate it up a bit!  Otherwise there would have been no way my kid was going to go out looking like an anthropomorphized bat-prostitute.  I think it turned out well, though, don't you?

It was cold for trick-or-treating tonight, but compared to other years it was still a pretty decent night.  No rain, no heavy winds, no snow (!).  This weekend I've eaten too much candy and drank too much wine.  And I've discovered prosciutto and all it's nummy bacon-likeness.

I hope everyone has had a safe and Happy Halloween.

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