Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Year in Review

To Number 1:

Thank you for reintroducing myself to myself. I had forgotten. Also, thank you for introducing me to Malbec wines.

To Number 2:

Thank you for reminding me of simple activities that can bring me inner peace. I had been missin' that fishin'.

To Number 3:

Thank you for letting me be me. And for teaching me the trick to napping. I am now a napping whore who naps on the weekends all the time. It's delightful.

Fingers crossed that next year there is only a Number 1. And that I will not be inspired to write a silly little year in review to remind myself that more than 1 is ok, even if it's not ideal.

I meant for this to sound nice, not annoyed. I think I diverted from my intent.


Friday, December 9, 2011

My Favourite Driving Technique

I wouldn't say that I am a terrific driver, but I'm certainly not a bad driver. Perhaps I feel that I am a better driver than many people out there on the road.

I would definitely say that I am a confident driver.

I would also say that I am a driver who happens to experience road rage on the odd occasion. And by odd occasion I mean quite often. *averted gaze*

Yesterday as I was driving to work, the car behind me was driving precariously close to my tail end. So close, in fact, that I could determine the colour of the driver's eyeshadow by looking my rear view mirror. As we encroached a small town I dropped my speed accordingly, as did the driver behind me.

Yet she did not ease off. My road rage started to simmer at the surface. I muttered at her to get off my tail. Obviously, she did not hear me asking her to give some space between us. I tapped my brakes a couple times, in the hope that this little signal would relay the message.

No such luck.

The simmer turned to boil.

I pursed my lips. I flared my nostrils.

I employed my favourite driving technique for tailgaters.

I slammed on my brakes enough to decrease my speed 20 kms/hr in an flash.

Tee hee.

I saw the look of surprise cross the face of the driver behind me as she came even closer to my tail lights, her eyes widen with panic at the thought of hitting me.

I sped back up to my 55 kms/hr, and watched her slow her pace, growing the gap between us to a more than reasonable distance.

Sigh. My road rage started to subside. I happily motored on.

It's a great trick, I tell ya. Of course, I'm sure one day it will backfire on me and I'll actually get rear ended, but until's so much fun to see those faces of shock in my rear view mirror!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Since when is 12 the magic number?

I heard on the radio the other week that the average North American woman has 12 relationships before she gets married.


Seven down, five to go. I'm more than halfway there now. Score for me.

*rolls eyes*

I'm hoping this definition of relationship includes these little blips of 'relationships' that I tend to find myself involved in. You know, the ones that last only a couple months, where you're not sure if the guy is your boyfriend or not.

Otherwise I'm two down, and ten to go. Man, I'll be like 70 by the time I get married. Can't wait. I think I'll just marry myself. Send out little cards saying I'm registered at shoe stores and makeup counters, and buy myself a nice dress. Throw a party for me and me. It will be a good time. You should come.

*with sarcasm dripping from my fingertips, I hit the 'publish post' button...*

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Rural Compromise

Throughout my wanderings across Southwestern Ontario, as I am sure you have realised, I have landed myself in both urban and rural places to live.

As I currently live in an urban centre (not Toronto...don't worry, I won't put myself through that again!), I still find that I yearn for the small town loveliness. (Just like when I lived in the small town, I yearned for the city. It's like I just can't be satisfied. Pfft.) Well, I may have recently found a good compromise. Live in the city, but work in the small town. I know, I know, most people do this the other way around. I like to be different, what can I say??

It's only been a few weeks of the switch up with work, but it's off to an excellent start. I spend my mornings driving through the countryside, enjoying the horse paddocks to the right, and the patches of forest on the left. Traffic is minimal, a tractor or two on the road to slow us down, but that's about it. I mean, it's not as ideal as my two minute roll to work when I was working at the city office, but I really can't complain.

One of the projects I am working on right now is setting up an event. This really defines why I love small towns. I stroll on into the Legion to scout out their hall as a potential venue. As I look around the hall, an older gentleman walks through. He stops.

"You looking to get married here?" he asks me.

A little startled at the question, I hastily answer "Uh, no, sir."

He raises his eyebrows in wonderment as to why I am there.

I think quick. "Can't find anyone to agree yet!" I exclaimed, whilst snapping my fingers and doing the classic finger gun.

He chuckles and carries on to the bar side.

See, in a small town, this is a funny, friendly old man. In the city...he would be classified as a creepy old man.

Small town charm seeps into everyone. You just can't help it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sleep Tight

I am 31 and a half. Recently I've taken to sleeping with my teddy bear again. He's 30 and a half. We've been in it together for the long haul. But seriously. Like I am physically falling asleep with my teddy bear tucked up in the crook of my arm. What am I, 5??

What the hell is up with that???

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ten Years

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly 10 whole years since 9/11. Less than a month away now.

I'm reading a book right now and there is a reference to one of the characters working in the south tower of the World Trade Towers - it's just 1999 for them. As I was reading it, I wondered if it was a pre-emptive hint that this character was going to be taken out of the story, because I know what is coming along in just two years for them.

I remember the first time I experienced 9/11 to be woven into pop culture. I can't even remember what book I was reading, but I was half way through it and there it was. September 11 on the news and the characters in the book were stunned, speechless, at a loss what to do.

I had to put the book down and I walked away from it for a couple days. I didn't like that it had found it's way into contemporary fiction. I didn't like that such horrific reality was now accepted reality in the world we live in. That I had to read fake people were experiencing the real thing we did.

I guess 10 years down the road it's still as fresh as it was then, but it's a real part of the everyday now.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eight Arms to Hold You

So I've been finding a rather high number of spiders in my apartment this past while. Really, I live in a basement apartment, so what can I expect? I am generally ok with spiders, they don't give me the heebie jeebies, and I don't desire to squash them every time I see them.

I pretend that spiders know what I am saying to them. I tell them we have an agreement. You stay out of my way, and I'll stay out of yours. Don't scuttle across the living room floor when the lights are on, and don't creep up the legs of the bed to where I am sleeping. Up until last week, this understanding, as far as I was concerned, had been met.

Once or twice over the past few months I had spotted a huge mother of a spider zip along the floor when the lights were on. Big and black and hairy (ok, I am am making the hairy part up) and fast like lightening.

Maybe it looked like this. (There are too many spider pictures to choose from, and not enough time.) I'd say it was less brown and more black.

Anyways, point being, the big spider broke the rules, but since it quickly dashed under the bookshelf it was safe.

My crazy thinking makes me have weird notions. Some spiders, well I don't mind them at all. You know those smaller ones, with the yellowish bodies and spindly legs, and they generally stay up along the ceiling corners? They don't seem to want to bring any harm at all, so when I see them, I tell them to scoot off to where I can't see them. I don't mind sharing my living space with them.

But these big guys who are so obvious in their whereabouts...not so much. I had noticed a little yellow spindly spider had taken up residence in the bathroom. She had started a web in a corner beside my standing cupboard. I had a notion to be a homewrecker, but decided to let it be. Really, what was the harm? Two days later I notice that another spider - big ol' spider - had taken over the web. The little one was no where to be seen!!! What? Spider homicide?? I was irked that this big spider had bullied the little spider out of it's home OR that it killed it. Yikes. The world of the arachnids is a brutal one. I reflected in my heart and only found a stone cold answer. Yup. I did away with it. All I could think of was it was big and it was going to get me somehow.

Imagine my chagrin when the very next day I am blow drying my hair and I spotted an even bigger spider!!! This was the mother of all spiders!!!! You know on Harry Potter, the big spider Aragog...yeah, we're talking big here. Ok, obviously not that big. But a big spider on the terms of a house spider in Canada. It's body might have been equivalent to the length of a nickel, but more oblong. Ick. My cold heart told me what to do. All I could think about was this big ol' spider having free reign of my apartment and running all over. I took care of business.

I pulled aside my laundry basket, tissue in hand (that's right, I'm tough, I can handle the killings with a kleenex) and got to task. As I move the basket further to make sure that there wasn't another huge mofo waiting for me I see this wee little one come running out in a jagged little path.

My heart panged for a moment. What if I just killed it's mother!?!?!? This spider who really wasn't going to do me any harm who just lost it's life because I'm a nut has little babies who now have to grow up without a mom.

Uhhh...and then I remembered oh right, we're talking about spiders here. I don't think they have the same bond I have with my mom. And for Pete's sake, if there is one baby there is bound to be a hundred. Crap. That's a lot of spider killing coming my way.

Why can't they just listen and stay out of sight?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Can't Buy Me Love (And Happy Mother's Day!!)

It's been a good nine hours since the words were uttered, but I am still appalled. Today I attended a conference with prominent speakers from the Canadian business world. They discussed integrity, passion, motivation, self confidence. The things that would make you a great entrepreneur. My intention of attending was to gain some insights into networking. A little study I'm doing. Understanding the nuances of relationship building, of networking, of remembering things about a gazillion people. You know the stuff I'm talking about.

It seemed like a good place to be. These people in the room were network hungry. And apparently, many of them were money hungry. I understand that the point of the business world is to generate money, to get a little green in your pocket to make your life a little easier. I know there are people out there who think money really makes the world go 'round and that money makes you a better person. I just didn't expect to hear one of the presenters say that. That's right, SAY THAT. Not insinuate that. He actually said that having wealth made him a better parent.

Excuse me!?!?!?!?

It was the most ignorant, asinine, self inflated thing I have ever heard someone say. To over two thousand people in an audience. I mean, yes, I agree that having money can alleviate certain hard situations and open the door of some opportunity. But make you a better parent? I don't think so. Life is what you make it, with or without money. Would I say that if my mother had been rich she'd have been a better mother? Of course not. I think the fact that she experienced hardships and struggled made her a strong woman who set an excellent example of integrity for her children.

Money shmoney. What does he know? I bet his mother didn't raise him to think that. Mine certainly didn't. The audacity to actually say that money makes you a better person. Pfft.

Mom, I think you are a better parent for not having money. Thank you for instilling good morals into my being!

Monday, April 18, 2011

In person or bust.

The continuing trend of online shopping just irks me. In what I am sure is not surprising news to you, I like going out to buy things. Much like I enjoy going to the bank in person, I enjoy going to the store in person. I want to hold the item in my hands before making a purchase decision. I want to check out the packaging, open it up if I can; I want to see it first. And on top of that, I want to get out of my apartment and have a little excursion in order to make the purchase, and see a friendly face or two.

As much as I love Chapter's, I also hate that I will come across a book that I want, only to discover it is not in stock in any of the nearby Chapter's. Meaning I should buy it online. But you know what??? I don't want to buy it online. So I'd rather not buy it at all.

Take that, online shopping. I'm not relenting. I'd rather suffer and be uninformed about my topic of interest. That's right. Self induced ignorance just to make my point. I'm that kind of person. An in-person kind of person.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hindsight is more than 20/20. It's like Superman vision.

It's interesting. In November I felt that I could once again reassemble myself to the full glory of completeness. Getting my footing back has certainly made headway for that progress, I'm pleased to announce. I can't express properly the delight I arrive at now when I feel myself becoming excited about doing things that in the past couple years I felt I could do with or without. The indifference hung over me like a saturated cloud ready to burst, but now the brisk breeze of pleasure is gently ushering it away. At the time, I didn't really see what was going on. I just knew that a part of me was taking a nap, all curled up in a warm duvet with 600 thread count sheets, and wasn't so keen on waking up. No one offered to wake me up for dinner though. A mild tap on the shoulder here and there, but nothing to really rouse me. I slept way past midnight. I remember saying to my close friends "I think I've lost my funny." I kept feeling that way but wasn't so sure what to do about it. That should have been my red flag. They still laughed at my jokes and my silly antics, because, let's be honest here, I'm always funny, though sometimes to a much lesser degree. Their laughter was, and will always be music in my soul. It helps to keep me going. I kind of felt like I was just going through the motions of my life. But I did not ever address the worry. I just kept going and told myself I'd get myself back on track. Perhaps I hid things pretty well too. Smiling when I should, laughing as I could, and running away every chance I had to not draw attention. And then November came. I finally realized I needed to do something. I don't really know if anyone gets it, if anyone understands that collecting myself and being on my own again and having all of my things in the land of Melissa put in the right spots makes me feel good, makes me feel like me. But it does. Notably, the first three months of this year were hilarious and fun. I know that I would not have been able to enjoy myself quite so much if I hadn't realized last fall that I needed to collect myself up and put me back together. Regardless of anything, I am just so happy to know that I was me, one hundred percent me, for the first time in a long time. That is what I call progress. That is the glue that is binding me together. Knowing that I still exist. *Apologies for the serious and cryptic nature of this post. Very out of the ordinary, I know! *Son of a crap! Why won't this format into proper paragraphs!!!! Pfft. Here I felt all nice and mellow from writing this post, and now the anger of poor formatting makes my blood boil!!!! Kidding. Mostly... ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farewell Dinner

As I graciously transition from 30 to 31, I was inspired to treat myself to a delectable dinner I have not indulged in for quite some time.

I poured myself a glass of red wine. A nice 2009 Malbec.

Sorted out Moulin Rouge from my DVD collection

Sighed dreamily over Ewan McGregor

I toasted up a few slices of ciabatta, spread on a nice creamy goat cheese and topped it off with smoked salmon.

So good...I ate too much.

Barely had room for my Petite Four!

Just. So. Delicious.

Goodbye 30. You were Spectacular Spectacular. No words in the vernacular can describe this great event. You'll be dumb with wonderment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Every year....

Remember when I was about to turn 27? Impending doom and bull elephants and all that?

Yeah. And now 31 is just days away.

The good news is that now I don't drink nearly so much beer. If you can actually call that good news.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Addiction

Well. I found myself at Chapters again today. I really should not be allowed to go in there. I just can't help it though. Chapters is to me what an opiate dealer is to Keith Richards. Ok, maybe that was mean and a little extreme. But you get the gist. I am a bibliophile. After an hour and a half of browsing and sipping on my Starbucks, I had four books tucked under my arm and a few funny little clearance rack items.

A little too much. I needed to reconsider.

You know those people who wander around a public space in their own little word and act like no one else is around? Well, that can be me. In this moment, it was me. Like a seven year old trying to make a decision, I found a clear space on the floor and laid out all the items in front of me. Crouching down, I put my coffee aside and gently touched each book, each item. As if a simple touch was going to determine it's worth. I picked each one up and read the relevant information.

Sigh. Michael Ondaatje. I adore his writing. Goes in the purchase list.

Ella. Good ol' Ella. I don't own any Ella. 50 songs for $10. Now that's a deal.

Velveteen Rabbit for James. Well, it's an Easter present, so of course I should get it now. I mean, if I don't buy it now, I'll buy him something else later. Might as well be this.

The Glass Castle. I've been itching to read this for months!!

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I mean, c'mon. How could I not? It will be a youthful inspiration.

I hummed and hawed with my final decisions. Nothing went back on the shelves.

As I walked towards the bank of cashiers, I claimed ownership of my addiction. I thought about how much this was going to cost me. I thought about how many times I have been in Chapters over the past few months. I kept telling myself in the past that I didn't have a problem. That I should not sign up for an iRewards card, it wasn't worth it. For a fleeting moment a light shone down on me that sang a heavenly tune confirming that this addiction is ok, and an iRewards card is something useful, not something to scoff at every time the cashier asks me if I want one. I approached the till, and like an AA member, I said, "I'm Melissa, and I buy too many books. I'd like an iRewards card, please."

After saving a nice $18, I arrived at home and pulled my goodies out of the bag. I thought about which one I was going to read next. I am currently working my way through Doctor Zhivago. I sat in front of my bookshelf and pulled out the book I've already designated as my next read. I skimmed over other titles and realized I had others on there that I had forgotten about. Huh. Interesting. Including the new ones, there are seven. Oy. I have a problem. My goal now is to read them all and get them taken care of. I will not sweep them under the rug.

I am not a speedy reader. I want to absorb each word, get caught in the beauty of the scene of the author has painted with lyrical words. I want to connect to the characters and know them inside out. I like to curl up in bed with my book and have a relaxing moment. I am, however, pretty excited about these seven books, so I just might pick up the pace...excuse me now, if you will, I must go and read.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Simple Transaction

I blog. I facebook. I email. I am LinkedIn. I love the internet for many things. I do not, however, love it for banking and other personal things that could secrete my life's savings.

I am that girl who loves going to the bank. Face to face banking will never be replaced in my opinion. Who doesn't love bank tellers? They are always so friendly. And when you keep going to the same bank, you get to know these ladies (and the few men) and it's just plain nice. Going to the bank is warm and fuzzy.

Every trip to the bank reveals that I am not the only one who loves real life banking. (Though I note that it's usually me and a bunch of old folks, but that's besides the point.) I stand in line waiting for my turn to arrive. I sway a little to the music in my head, or hum to the radio playing in the building. Overall, it's a peaceful activity for me.

Until I am in a rush. Like yesterday. My lunch was chalk full of errands that needed to be run. The most important errand was picking up lunch for my growling belly. What can I say, my priorities revolve around food? I had decided to swing by the Italian deli for a delectable dish, but knew I had to be there by 12:30 in order to get back to my desk in time for my 1:00 appointment.

With only one person in front of me, I figured this would not be an issue. Until a few minutes later when I started to 'accidentally eavesdrop' on the people up at the teller. Wow. They were telling her their life story. And she was soaking it up like a good romance novel. (Is there such a thing? A good romance novel. Maybe I used the wrong example.) She was soaking it up like a good Timothy Findley novel. (Much better!). Crap. I looked at the time. 12:16. Still had to go to the other bank AND go to Shopper's Drug Mart AND drive up to the deli.

The woman in front of me had about 4 different bank books with her. She was here for some serious business. The other teller opened and I made my way to the front of the line. Life story still going on to my left, serious banking going on to my right. 12:20. My tummy growled angrily at me.

Sigh. Depression sank. I was not going to get the tremendously tasty lunch I had hoped for.

A third teller opened up her station and called me over. Can I tell you that she was the most pleasant lady? We joked around, she told me granddaughter was moving down here for school and she was excited. We shared tidbits of positive information in a timely and efficient manner. My banking was complete. It was both a functional and jovial banking transaction.

This, my fellow bankgoers, is how you do in-person banking. Be respectful of the line behind you! We all have places to be, but we shouldn't have to suffer just because we actually like going to the bank and you are a chattypants!!! Keep your chit chat limited to the transaction time. These people behind the counters are professionals. They know how it rolls. Just follow their lead, exchange your pleasantries and get out of the way.

Simple as that.

Even though I had to suffer through potato wedges and chicken bites for lunch from the Valu-Mart, I still love the bank...