Friday, January 29, 2010

Great Ball of Light-Energy

Friday, January 29, 2010
This afternoon I went for a massage.

I was never a person who liked to be touched. I'm still not a hugger, unless you're in my inner-circle of hugdom. I like my personal space, and two years ago, the idea of stripping naked and having a stranger rub me down with oil would have made me throw up.

It still makes me panic, a little bit, when I think about it. But I try to focus on the good, the relaxation, the physical working out of kinks, and by some miracle of God, I don't hurl on the massage table.

That's progress.

But anyway, I've been going to a massage therapist to work on some back and neck pain I've been experiencing.

Today, as the excruciating pain of having really firm pressure applied to really tense hip muscles seared through my body, I tried to imagine the pain as a great big glowing ball. I focused on my breathing to relax my muscles and I let go of the glowing pain-ball.

(Okay, I totally got that off someone's annoying mommyblog as a description of labour pains. But whatev, I stored it in my mental file and pulled it out when it seemed appropriate. Don't judge me for using random knowledge to my advantage!)

This is when I realized that for the first time in my life, I was experiencing, and not ignoring, the actual physical pain of stress, and that I was letting the great glowing stress ball go.

And so I inhaled more heeby-jeeby aromatherapy hippy oils, breathed in deeply through my nose, and let go of that ball. That ball of guilt, of indecision, of self-doubt and pity and "feeling bad" and caring too much about an entity that would, given the opportunity, use me up and spit me out without a second thought.

Aaaaaaahhhhh.

And wouldn't you know it - I feel miles better. I bet I'll feel even better after a cold, frosty beer.

Massages, holistic therapies and mild alcohol abuse. That, my friends, is the best Friday-night therapy money can buy. Though I'm a bit concerned that the black spruce oil might have gotten to me brains a little bit.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Likes and Dislikes of a Megan

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This weekend in Vancouver I discovered that I'm really, really not fond of sassy restaurant servers.

I don't need colour commentary about the fact that I'm dining alone, wry quips about whether or not I'll be able to consume an entire plate of pancakes (I can, for what it's worth) and attitude about the amount of coffee I drink.

I was never a waitress, and I'm sure it's a rough gig, but seriously. Shut up, bring me my eggs, leave me alone. I'm clearly busy enjoying my own company and reading the Arts and Leisure section of the paper.

I do, however, appreciate the energy and humour of WestJet Flight Attendants.

Let's get this Boeing going. Hilarious.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Enable me

Monday, January 25, 2010
A liquor store is opening across the street from our apartment building.

I've never lived across the street from a liquor store. I've lived beside gas stations and a half block from coffee shops and for 18 years, 57 footsteps from the school I attended from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

This new business could not open at a more opportune time. The past week saw acceptance of a job offer, resignation from my current position, a flight across the country to handle our production and a major VIP event - being the opening night of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad - and struggles with a swirling mess of emotions unlike anything I've ever encountered in my life.

While the responsible thing to do would be rise from the ashes, shake myself off, pull my personal relationships and life back together and move on in shining, relieved, stable glory, the realistic thing I'll be doing for the next 2 and a half weeks is collapsing on the couch in exhaustion, catching my breath and unwinding with the assistance of a few bottles of pinot noir.

That I no longer need to actually put on shoes to go purchase. Hallelujah! I'm finally becoming that crazy person in the bottle-o wearing bedroom slippers. My parents are so proud.

Monday, January 18, 2010

NoMoo!

Monday, January 18, 2010
Tonight sirens, flashing lights and crowds cheered as I served dinner.

Well, actually, they cheered as the Olympic torch passed our apartment - a total surprise, because without tv we miss out on most of the crazy on-goings in the city, unless we seek them out. It was really cool to watch the torch pass by, standing on the balcony in our bare feet while spinach wilted in peanut sauce on the stove.

The first time I ever heard of tofu I was in grade four. I had to ask what it was, and it remained a mysterious substance until I left Bugtussle for the big city.

Of course, I promptly went out and purchased some to prove that I was a BIG CITY GIRL. And then I had no idea what to do with it. So I let it go bad, and threw it out.

But tonight I bit the bullet. Tofu-free no more.

And to tell you the truth, I actually enjoyed it. Despite the fact that this entree contained no meat, it was satisfying, tasty, and the texture didn't make me gag. It's not going to become a favourite, but it's worth a try if you're looking for something new that won't blow your mind on a post-work Monday evening.

Oh, and it's heaaaalthy.


(Recipe from Chatelaine, Jan 2010 issue. Yes, I read Chatelaine. Sod off.)

Spicy Peanut Tofu and Spinach Stir-fry

1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice
1/3 cup (75 mL) smooth all-natural peanut butter
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable broth or teriyaki sauce, preferably low-sodium
2 tbsp (30 mL) hot chili-garlic sauce
454-g pkg extra-firm tofu
1 red pepper
6-oz (170-g) bag baby spinach

In a small bowl, whisk juice with peanut butter, broth and chili-garlic sauce until mixed. Set aside. Slice tofu into thin, french-fry-sized sticks. Slice pepper into thick strips.

Lightly coat a large frying pan with oil (or if you've got a non-stick wok, skip it) and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add tofu and pepper. Gently stir-fry until tofu is hot and pepper is tender, 3 to 5 min. Don’t worry if tofu breaks a bit. Stir in sauce and spinach. Remove from heat and stir until spinach is just wilted. Serve over cooked couscous or rice.

Kids today?

At Chapters on Sunday morning I purchased a new paperback and a bookmark I found particularly inspiring.

Usually I use one of my business cards as a bookmark, though lately I've been using one from the Women's Health Clinic on 17th avenue to mark my spot in whatever frothy romance novel I've been reading.

But this slim wooden bookmark with a quote that manages to be inspiriational but not"hang in there, baby!" caught my fancy. It has a dangly little bead on it I like the texture of it, it's soothing and calming and not bulky to warp the pages.

But when I took it out of its little package, I noticed the warning on the back.

Not for children under the age of 12.

And it made me wonder...do 11 year olds still put small objects in their mouths and noses?

Or is it the somewhat depressing "our greatest glory is not in never falling, but getting up when we do" that is pre-teen inappropriate?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rom-Vom, or, Let Me Save You a Few Bucks on that Next Rental

Sunday, January 17, 2010
This week I had the pleasure of watching two films with two friends. Because a cliche is nothing but the honest truth most of the time, both of these chick-flick outings involved eating a meal comprised solely of junk food - specifically, a salty carby treat and something made entirely of sugar.

Over a scrumptious dinner of buttered popcorn and plain M&M's, my friend Dana and I caught a Thursday night showing of the new Amy Adams film, Leap Year.

Skip it.

Unless, of course, you like pretty pictures of Ireland, drool-worthy shoes, Boston condo porn, total and utterly predictable 'plot twists' and hot Irish dudes who work in a pub.

Now that I think of it like that, it was pretty satisfying.

But yesterday. Whooo, yesterday.

Amanda and I went out for a pub lunch and then settled in on couch island for a ripple-chip and gummi pig matinee of the new Alexis Bledel feature, Post Grad.

SERIOUSLY SKIP IT.

There's nothing more depressing than a movie about a quarter-life crisis than a BAD movie about a quarter-life crisis, wherein I found myself watching the STORY OF MY OWN NAIVE LIFE circa 2006-2008.

Unfortunately, this movie also featured several disjointed subplots that taught us life lessons like "eating your feelings solves your problems!"; "sure, that cute guy friend you've felt nothing but platonic about will wait around for like, a decade, for you to pull your head out of your ass and realize he's about the best thing going"; "just wait, your dreams really WILL come true, with minimum effort and compromise on your part, if you just BELIEVE in yourself" and "over-the-top romantic gestures (like, say, flying across the country unannounced to profess your undying love) always, and I mean, ALWAYS, turn out well!"

Great.

Now I'm all worked up about it.

I'm going to go eat my feelings now. And then I'm going to watch some TRUSTED chick flickery. And eat something made entirely of sugar.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Trying again.

Friday, January 15, 2010
This morning the alarm rang again at 6:15. I grumbled and tossed and hit snooze twice, and then I tried to convince Gary that he should come back to bed and that we should build a fort and stay inside all day eating cookies and watching cartoons.

He kindly and gently reminded me that we are not 7 years old and that just doesn't fly in a world full of bills.

So I waited until he left for work, and got out of bed, and did my 40 minutes of yoga, and made a smoothie, and got dressed and checked my email and put on makeup and left for my own office.

Which was probably the best plan, because I got to work feeling slightly less frazzled and depressed than I did yesterday.

And so we keep trying, keep moving, keep going. Until tomorrow, which is Saturday, which means I'm not getting out of bed until at least 9:00.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Breakfast

Thursday, January 14, 2010
This morning I woke up craving a warm pain au chocolat and a cup of milky coffee served in a white china cup and saucer. I wanted to curl up in my crisp white sheets and do the crossword. In ink. And not spill on anything.

I also wanted to wake up with perfect hair.

It's 10:00 am and so far I've guzzled back two cups of office drip with flavoured coffee whitener. And my hair? Catastrophe.

Don't even get me started on spilling.

This is the key to most of my unhappiness. My expectations and reality so often do not meet. The trick, I guess, is to figure out how to manage my expectations without crushing my dreams.

Any advice?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Note to self

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Don't stop at the Starbucks beside the big high school on 17th at 8:45 thinking you'll still be early for work.

Also, can someone explain why is there a Starbucks beside the high school? And why it is chockablock full of tweens?! And why the tweens are dressed like vampire tarts?!

AND, FURTHERMORE, Childrens, didn't anyone tell you that you're not allowed to drink coffee UNTIL YOU ARE A BEATEN DOWN, HAGGARD ADULT?

Or at the very least, a desperate college student who is looking for something to get you through the day that has a vague adultness about it but isn't a cigarette!

Seriously, kids. Coffee stunts your growth. And we all know that vampires/goths/werewolves/girls that love them/etc are tall. Really tall.

Stay out of coffee shops. It's for your own good.

Monday, January 11, 2010

whites

Monday, January 11, 2010
I hate the smell of bleach.

When I was a young lass, I spent my summers working at what would come about if 7-11 and Dairy Queen had a lovechild that they sent to live with an estranged great aunt in rural Saskatchewan.

After a few years, I was 'sent upstairs' to work in the food prep/ice cream service area. This was a real promotion. I was thrilled.

Except that I smelled like deep fryer grease and bleach ALL THE TIME. That bleach smell still makes my nostrils twitch and lights a strange urge within my soul to write angsty poetry about how no one understands my plight. Oh, how strongly our memories are attached to our sense of smell.

I try to avoid those two particular aromas these days, and lean more towards soft orientals and vanillas in my personal perfume use.

Last weekend - not like, two days ago, but the weekend that came before - we bought new bedding. I was delighted by the crisp, clean white sheets and duvet cover and pillowcases.

10 days later, I am not so much delighted by the concept that white linens means washing them ALL THE TIME. With bleach, if I really want to keep them white-white-white!

We don't have a washer and dryer, so I have to haul my pretty self and my smalls down 24 floors to the basement, where, if I'm lucky, I'll pay $2.75 a load to wash and $1.75 a load to mostly-dry.

Weekends, as you can imagine, are not a great time to try to do laundry. And it's so darn hot in our apartment that hauling out an ironing board to press a set of queen-sized bed linens = not so much fun.

But here we are, clean white sheets for another week. I guess it's worth it to feel like I'm living in a fancy hotel - if only they came with laundry service.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ready your pencil skirts!

Thursday, January 07, 2010
Why is it socially inappropriate to drink at work? I'm not saying that I do, but we've been watching season one of Mad Men and hoo, boy.

Maybe working with typewriters and intercoms and phones instead of email and blackberries drove people to drink. I had a typewriter when I was a kid, and I recall getting caught up in the ribbons more than once.

But the pace of life in Mad Men seems so much more doable. The meetings those advertising executives have are more laid back, and they all involve scotch. Or vodka, if it's the morning.

Maybe that's the problem with society these days. We're so wrapped up in our (non-irish) designer lattes and multitasking to increase productivity (HA!) that we've actually forgotten how to get work done.

I move that we stop using the internets between the hours of 9 - 5, rock more matte lipstick, and drink. Profusely. It seemed to work back then.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Early Morning Inspiration

Monday, January 04, 2010
I'm not making New Years Resolutions this year.

My partner puts a lot of stock in goal setting. He finds it motivating, and rightfully so. I'm also a big fan of putting dreams into realistic, achievable chunks on a to-do list, but this year I'm just not feeling it.

So instead I'm just trying to live "better".

This vague, loosey-goosey approach to life in this new decade might not work, and I accept that now. But I'd like to be a morning person. I'd like to be more in control of my stress levels, at home and at work. I'd like to make choices, conscious ones, that are better for me, my health, my career and my relationships.

So this morning I got up at 6:55 and did 40 minutes of really ridiculously easy yoga.

I might not lose 25 lbs in 30 days, I might not organize the linen closet, I might not save 10K this year. But I did start the day with calm reflection, a few good shoulder stretches, and a smoothie. And then I watched the sun come up on the first workday of the new decade.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Zen Art of the 50 Cent Hot Dog

Saturday, January 02, 2010
I am so not ready to go back to work. I should have borrowed a move from a wise friend and taken an extra week off, but I know myself and I know that a week off when everyone else is back in the office does not equal relaxing Megan time. It equals paranoid email checking, cabin fever and frantic stress time.

I am doing something wrong, clearly.

With only two days left of my awesome 12 day vacation, today was a fifty-fifty split of doing and not doing. Cleaning, washing dishes, tidying up old magazines, napping.

And then Gary came home from the gym and we decided to set out in search of three things:

Food
New Bedsheets
Zen-like, asian-inspired decor item

We received a new rug from Gary's mom for Christmas, to go with our new sofa. It's black, it's jazzy, it has a crazy bamboo pattern on it. If it wasn't midnight I'd take a photo for you, but I don't know where my camera to computer cord is.

(On the UPSIDE, I finally found my DVD with all my vacation photos from 2008 on it, which I had 'misplaced' in the Great Cohabitation Move! Photo albums here we come!)

Gary thinks that a zen-like room decor accessory thing would really play up the quasi-oriental theme we've got going, so off to find the perfect zen-ish table water fountain/glass dish full of sand/bamboo in vase/Buddha head we go.

We wanted new bedding because I don't particularly dig what we've got now, it's starting to get this dingy look to it, and it has a giant, feather-escaping hole.

And it was nearly 3:30 and neither of us had consumed any food or food-like substances since getting out of bed earlier that day.

The only place we could think of where we could purchase asian-inspired home decor, food and bed linens:

IKEA.


Did you know that the restaurant in Ikea does not serve hot dogs?

Even if you climb up the stairs, ride down the elevator (what is wrong with us?! it's one floor!) then back up the stairs, and then back down the other side?

But the Bistro does.

Five hot dogs, one soda and one bag of chips in tummy between the two of us and $4.20 lighter about the wallet, our food needs were met. White sheets and a white duvet cover were purchased.

But the quest for the ultimate home accessory? Continues. We went to Ikea, Pier One, Michaels, JYSK and Urban Barn, but with no luck. The perfect harmonious home accent piece is out there, I know it. I can feel it in my bones. Once we have it, our Karma and chi and ying and yang will be balanced, and all will be well with the world.

Plus, our apartment will look cooler.

I know you are all just dyyying to hear how our decor adventure unfurls! Personally, it's what's getting me through the cold, early months of 2010. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010, ole!

Friday, January 01, 2010
Last night the new year was rung in with carnitas, enchiladas, delicious homemade salsa (kudos to Amanda!) and the discovery that even though he had never played a trick-taking card game before, Gary will still manage to beat me at every.single.game we ever play, no matter what.

Oh, and we had chocolate fondue.

Today I woke up, had a shower, went back to bed for a nap and watched Sherlock Holmes. It was a delightful movie, full of manic Robert Downey Jr-ness and a quite likable Jude Law (I hate Jude Law, normally). On the unfortunate side, someone turned the 3:00 matinee into their own private nap and snore like a freight train time.

Seriously, some people should be publicly shamed.