Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things that are good to know in advance

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Say one day you come home, all inspired by the blog post you write, and decide to go for a rather brisk swim.

It might have been nice to discover that the backside of your old one-piece athletic-style swimsuit was *completely* see through before you hit the pool, instead of after your 30 lengths in the pool with other people and a crowded elevator ride.

No wonder that hipster guy was looking at me funny. I thought it was just the goggle marks on my face.

*facepalm*

Pump it.

I am pretty sure that if I don't start exercising regularly, I will die.

That is pretty dramatic. I know. But really, I need to start sweating on a regular basis. And not just because short-sleeved-shirt season is upon us; for the general good of my health and well-being.

The major problem I have: laziness. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy exercising, but it's not going to win in a fun contest. Between, say, window shopping or reading or even (lame) surfing on the internets, exercise isn't going to win.

The second major problem I have: it is difficult to make myself do something, even when I know I really should, when I have zero motivation and the results don't appear magically in the short term. I'm results driven in pretty much everything I do - when I work, I want to get to the end of the project. When I knit, I knit to get to the end of the project. I'm a destination lady, not a journey lady.

And maybe that's something I need to address in all areas of my life.

But anyway. So. How do I motivate myself to spend a measly 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times a week doing something I know is good for me, that I know I will eventually enjoy, and that will assist me in continuing to be hotter than...uh...some people. Who shall remain nameless. But may have also dated my boyfriend at one time or another.

ahem.

I made a list of ways to not motivate myself. Spending the money on a gym membership doesn't seem to do it for me - which sounds pathetic, but eventually it works into my list of fixed expenses and I forget about it. Then the guilt is gone.

Plus, we have a free gym in our apartment building.

Gary and several of my friends have seen great success working with a personal trainer. I'm cheap, and that one-on-one time is mighty spendy. Ultimately, I do not respond well to military style instruction and someone who is much fitter than I standing over me yelling at me to move my fat arse. I spend the entire time hating that person and what I'm doing and not looking forward to it at all. I'm not sure silently calling someone a miserable 'see-you-next-tuesday' (which I would NEVER DO because I'm a lady, and ladies don't use that word, and neither should anyone else, but that's an example of exactly how much I would hate that experience) in my head and wishing that I was dead is not the type of motivation that will keep me going.

Group classes have kept me interested before, but at the same time, I'm kind of a lone gym soldier. I like to use that time to think, ponder, and sweat in solitary silence. Going to the gym with a friend is a great way to ensure that you'll actually go to the gym, but I think if I want to see any real results, I have to keep my 'socializing' time and my 'sweating' time separate.

I have a small collection of workout DVDs that I use at home - some of them 'legit' workouts involving weights and traditional aerobic moves or yoga, and others that involve aerobic striptease, go-go dancing, and cardio routines inspired by the classic film Dirty Dancing. But as fun as it is to shake the maracas that god gave me and pretend that nobody is putting meggie in a corner, they aren't really a solid workout.

So this leads me to here. I want to sweat, but I don't want to hurt (that much). I want to do something that isn't going to be too intense, so that I burn out. And I want to enjoy it. I want to de-stress, get that rush o' endorphins, and be healthy. But I don't want to go all insane MUSTGOTOGYM7DAYSAWEEK
about it, either.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When the apocalypse comes, you will be glad to know me

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I KNIT A SOCK.

(This isn't a big deal to those of you who don't knit, but dude. Socks are intimidating!)

Crazy in so many different ways

Back in, oh, January, I blogged about our ongoing quest to find the perfect zen-inspired decor accessory. Yeah, you thought we'd dropped that, but here it is, almost April, and it's still on.

It's on like "let's go to ikea and construct our own because NOTHING available for purchase is perfect!" ON.

Several weeks ago (also in January...) Gary picked out a bamboo salad bowl. It has a flat bottom and flat-walled sides, and is, oh, maybe 6 or 8 inches deep. We debated on ways to fill said bowl - sand, seashells, candles, rocks, voodoo bones of our enemeies. We've ultimately settled on 6 bamboo stems - two curly, four straight; white sand, and a handfull of relatively large river rocks.

I swear to god, if we ever buy a place, decorating it is going to take us 30 years. We'll have just finished it when we start collecting our pensions.

On Sunday we decided to go purchase the items required to complete the Zen Accessory.

Except that Ikea was out of white sand. They only had gray sand. And that just won't do.

So we checked out the new patio furniture, bought 50 cent hot dogs and went home.

The saga continues!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Division of Territory

Monday, March 29, 2010

This weekend I decided to pick through my bookshelf and swap out some of the trashy paperbacks for other trashy paperbacks at ye olde local chain of used book shoppes.

I have a large collection of books. It may not be as large as yours, but keep in mind that I live in a 600 square foot apartment with a man who has a significant collection of probably close to 1000 dvds and blurays that must be displayed at all times. The perimeter of our living room is lined with shelving for our various forms of media.

My friends have a gorgeous bookcase in their living room. Not a smutty paperback in sight. It's all hardbound books filled with worldy knowledge, classical tales and impressive learnings. They are well-educated, brilliant people, who are smart enough to hide their trashy pulp in the basement.
 
 I, on the other hand, have a ramshackle collection of vampire smut, CanLit, cookbooks, old favourites and romantic brain candy on full public display. Curating a book collection seems like something I'd do, to show off just the 'impressive' books and convince everyone that I'm well-read, but for the time being, I'm short on space and high on smut.

So it's off to the used book exchange I go.

I packed up two large bags full of books, dropped them in my trunk and trekked over to the nearest Fair's Fair, the Inglewood location.

Or rather, I intended to go to the Inglewood location.

When you end a relationship, you go through the awkward division of assets. Friends, furniture, cd's, sweatshirts - anything that may have been purchased jointly or shared and swapped during the time you were dating gets divided up, bargained over, or lost forever to the custody gods. I've only been in one significant relationship - the one I'm currently in - but I've dated a lot of dudes who were either nice enough, but missing something, or were not nice at all.

When you date someone and then break up with someone and then want to spend the rest of your earthly existence avoiding that someone, you take extreme measures.

This includes avoiding entire neighbourhoods. For me, I got Kensington. I got the theatre district, the McNally Robinson that is now closed, and the coffee shop Higher Ground. He got comic book stores, the side of Kensington Rd west of Crowchild Trail, and Inglewood.

I turned off the main road to pull into the used book store parking lot, when I realized that the used book store is directly across the street from said dude's apartment. Or at the very least, where he used to live. Whatever. Several years have passed, he probably doesn't even remember my name because I was mighty insignificant in his life story, and I still break out in an angry, angsty sweat.

I panicked. I was unable to make a left hand turn, there was a train coming, there were people honking. I panicked, and instead of turning into the stupid book store parking lot, I zipped straight ahead, took a roughly 70 block detour to a different used book store, and exchanged my smut.

Even though I have NO interest in this dude, and I only "dated" said individual for a matter of weeks, and I'm blissfully happy in my current relationship - I have absolutely no desire to run into said ex.

Especially lugging around roughly 20 lbs of romance novels.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lunch at my desk

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Taking my lunch to work is always a struggle for me. I get the benefits- it's cheaper, it's healthier than eating fast food from the food court every day, and it makes me more mindful of what I'm eating. I've tried coming up with ways to eliminate the 'barriers' or excuses to not bring my lunch since I started my new job, and I'm happy to say that I've packed a lunch at least 4 times a week since the middle of February. In fact, there's been only 3 days that I've bought lunches.
 
I like to sleep in, so I've started making lunches at night.
I bought a cute lunch bag and some practical-sized reusable containers.
I mark my calendar with a little pink dot for every day that I bring lunch. It's like a gold star.
 
The only problem is that I'm bored with my lunches. I usually bring either a frozen dinner, leftovers, or canned soup. Last week I had a 'nibbly' lunch with pita and hummus, fruit and some crackers - but I am totally out of insipiration.
 
Does anyone have any great lunch ideas?
 
I've used my crockpot on the weekend to make a week's worth of chili before, and that was handy, but I'm kind of sick of chili.
 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Powerpoint Slides for this gal!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As I previously mentioned, last week I was invited to speak at the University of Calgary. The faculty I'm a graduate of, the Haskayne School of Business (fancy) has a variety of student clubs that I was not involved with in any way when I was a student, so the irony of this rang pretty loudly for my friend Frank.

These student clubs do, if memory serves, all kinds of fun and valuable things, like organize golf tournaments and networking events and midterm study guides, et cetera. The Marketing Club also organizes an Industry night every semester or so and invites people working in Marketing to come speak to students about their careers.

My career is a DOOZY.

I was really thrilled to be asked. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and I especially like to talk about myself in front of a captive audience. My career path after graduation has been a bumpy, windy, goat path of a road, distinctly contrasting with those of my uber-successful classmates who have great jobs in Oil and Gas, Finance, and Marketing Research with big, well-respected companies.

I spend hours debating whether or not to send the newspaper images from our feature exhibit about the Nude with nipples in them.

I don't make a ton of money, I don't negotiate on a golf course, I've been laid off (more than once) and I've job-hopped a fair share. Why should I feel like I have anything to offer to a group of students?

Well, I love my job. I LOVE my career, even though a lot of the time it makes me physically want to hurt myself. In the past four years, I've gotten bruises from banging my forehead against my desk. I've cried in the bathroom. I've ran out of money long before payday and subsided on canned mystery foods I find in the cupboard. (Peaches or kidney beans? Surprise Dinner Yay!) I've fought with artists, I've fought with designers, I've fought with executive directors and CEOs.

But I still love what I do. I've made massive, messy, colossal mistakes- for example, did you know that if you load 5000 snowglobes on a truck in December and ship them to Edmonton, you should probably spring for the heated truck, even if your budget doesn't allow, because it's often -40 in Edmonton in December and snow globes explode when they freeze.

I've learned that you should not, under any circumstance, touch sacred Blackfoot objects while menstruating.

I've learned that googling 'bestiality support groups' in a lot of jobs would get you fired, but likely not mine.

I've learned, from all this crazy, how to make calm decisions and solve problems under conditions that may include screaming and yelling and throwing of filing cabinets. I've also learned that I'm quite good at it.

I shared all of these anectodes, and a few more, with the students last week. 10 minutes in front of 60 students is nerveracking, but I've never been afraid of public speaking.

And after my presentation, I was mobbed by students who told me that they didn't believe they could actually make a living doing something that they loved. That they didn't know jobs like mine existed. That no one had ever told them that it was okay to fail.

Trying to figure out what you're going to do with your life is hard. If listening to my blathering for 10 minutes helped anyone, even a little - I'd be thrilled. But selfishly- it turns out that this was so important to me because it helped me realize that it's okay to do what I love. To have left it and come back to it and taken risks and made mistakes.

And hey. I get paid to talk about nipples.

Wednesday Haiku Break

elastic waist jean
even though Gary hates you
my favourite pant

all the laundry done
dishes washed and put away
drug-fuelled fantasy

nyquil helps you sleep
but waking up the next day?
starbucks helps with that

maybe tomorrow
I'll get out of bed early
but don't count on it

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gingerale and Peanut Butter Toast

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I remember the first time I got sick after moving to Calgary. (not "oopsie, too many Candy Apples and Vodka Slimes!" sick, but legitimately ill)

I phoned my Mommy to whine. I think my dorm-mates brought me some gingerale and saltines from the Dining Centre. It wasn't pretty being sick and far away from the comforts of a non-communal couch and tv.

Through the years, I've always called home to whine when I'm sick. When my brother moved to Calgary, I phoned home and my mom called him to bring me saltines and gingerale. Despite the long-distance caring and sympathy, I always felt like my parents didn't really buy my complaints of sickitude. (Did they ever that summer I came home, nearly OD'ed on Tylenol Flu, got rushed to the hospital and admitted IMMEDIATELY for what they thought was leukemia but turned out to be strep throat and tonsillitis. Take that, accusations of 'faking it'!)

Today I woke up and felt crummy - but I have a big project coming to deadline at work and needed to finish a few things today. So I hauled myself out of bed, got dressed, got to the office, finished it, and turned around and came home.

Then I skyped my parents to whine.

The great thing about Skype? The future, and its video-phone technology means that I can PROVE that I'm sick.

See?



Totally sick. I'm even wearing my Sick Day outfit - teen girl squad t-shirt and ugly yoga pants.

We don't have any saltines, though. Peanut Butter toast is a reasonable substitute.


say hi to Hugo the House Hippo! He's my favourite pillow with a face.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Before and After

Monday, March 22, 2010
Before:


I don't put on my face before a early-morning haircut, so I'll spare you. Especially one where I wake up a mere 20 minutes before it starts and yet, am compelled to take a photo in my horribly disorganized closet.

Somewhere, Martha is crying.

After:


Hey! Cute hat.

I WIN.

This weekend I broke the heart of a man working at the Build a Bear Workshop.

Saturday. 11:45 am. Local shopping mall. I've already been up, showered, had my hair cut, and scoured the giagantor Chinook Centre for a teddy bear that would fit the specifications Gary outlined.

See, we were going to a first birthday party at 1:00 that afternoon, and this bear needed to be PERFECT. Usually yes, I am crazy psychotic about finding the perfect gift for everyone in my life, but this gift came with newer, higher, Karate-Kid-Tournament style stakes.

Because this gift needed to be WAY, WAY better than the gift of someone else attending that party: Gary's ex-girlfriend.

So here I am, in the Stufed Bear Shopping Olympics, frazzled OUT OF MY MIND because I cannot, for the life of me, find a stuffed toy that costs less than $40 (WHO SPENDS THAT MUCH ON A STUFFED TOY?!), is soft, cuddly, and brightly coloured. This baby must fall in love with this toy immediately upon opening it. This toy must become this child's constant companion for the REST OF HER LIFE. This is the toy that she will have imaginary tea parties with. This is the toy that she will clutch to her chest and sob her pre-teen angsty tears into when that cute boy in math class that she tooootally loves makes out with her best friend under the bleachers during soccer practice. This is the toy that she will wistfully hold up when packing to move away for University, and then gingerly place back on her bed in her childhood bedroom. This is the toy that her mother will sneak back into the packing boxes to make sure that her little girl has a familiar friend that first scary night in the dorm.

This was a big deal, people.

Rapidly running out of time, I rush into my last resort: the Build a Bear workshop.

Inside there are groups of tykes running around with half-stuffed bears covered in sparkle, making wishes on little hearts and singing little chanty songs and picking out tutus and football jerseys and hats for their new best friends.

And I march in, grab a bear of the display stand, dash to the counter and start loudly shrieking "excuse me! excuse me!" over the din.

I catch the attention of a middle aged sales clerk. (aside: I'm sure he's lovely, but that's sort of a creepy job for a middle aged man...)

I tell him that I'm not interested in making wishes or stuffing kisses or chanty songs. I don't want to hop around in a circle and give my bear a name and print out a birth certificate. I don't want to build the damn thing, I just want to buy it.

He's shocked.

Softly, he whispers, "don't you even want to dress him up?"

NO. I DO NOT. HERE IS MY MASTERCARD.

Making polite conversation, he asks me if this is a gift. I reply, yes. For a first birthday.

I saw his soul shriver, people. Right there in front of me, I watched a man's heart break.

But man, the baby LOVED that bear.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Wednesday, and that means...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
sorry these are late
I have been sort of busy
lurking on facebook
 
have you ever thought
hey! this is great, now I can
skip that reunion
 
isn't it funny
that I moved away and you
still live with your mom
 
i say i am free
to judge because I can admit
I'm far from perfect
 

Monday, March 15, 2010

it's not like it fell off the back of a truck.

Monday, March 15, 2010
Internets, I am nervous. The University I graduated from is having an Industry Night on Thursday and I am speaking at it.

To several (supposedly dozens, maybe even 80 or so, but I'm telling myself it's 9) impressionable young minds who want to do what I do. Who may or may not respect that 4 short years ago, I was exactly where they are, with similar hopes and fears and questions.

I am shaking in my red patent pumps, people. The only tale I know how to tell is a cautionary one. I've had so many jobs and so many experiences that the only thing I can think of to put on my powerpoint slides are stupid stories about business travel, what not to say to a C-Suite Executive and reasons why you shouldn't get drunk at your corporate Christmas party.

And these little gems, while entertaining, aren't exactly what the kids are looking for.

Help me, internets. I have three days until I present, with a group of my "peers" who are all Marketing Directors and VP's. Put yourself into the shoes of an undergrad. What do YOU want to know about working in Arts Marketing?

Oh. The subject line. Yeah, well, I acquired this case of free beer today at work, and drank one, and now I've broken out in a red rashy hive thing that itches and feels sort of like a sunburn. It's currently limited to my face, thank goodness...but, uh...suspicious.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Haiku

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
oh beige cardigan
lightweight, but so frumpy
wear you all the time

I need a haircut
this ponytail, not so chic
maybe a buzz cut?

blinking message light
please - I have real work to do
get me more coffee

free in the kitchen
lukewarm cup of murky joe
oh, crap. Coffemate.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tomat-oh my god.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010
On Sunday night I made this tomato sauce for dinner.

3 ingredients: a can of whole tomatoes, a thick slice of butter and an onion, peeled and halved and later removed from the sauce.

45 minutes later? Ohmygod. It was possibly the most delicious thing I've ever put on a plate. Seriously. I devoured it with hearty gusto. I had sauce on my face. I refused dinner conversation that wasn't focused on 1. how good it was 2. muttering "mmmmmmmm".

It's Tuesday and I'm still thinking about it, and how delicious and easy it was.

What happened to the Fraggles?

Roughly every other Monday, Gary and I have a standing dinner date with another couple. A year ago they had a baby girl, so we usually have dinner at their tot-friendly abode and then watch a few episodes of The Sopranos.

It's never too early to school your child in Gangster Lore.

When we got their last night, the TV was set to Treehouse. We don't have TV and aren't frequently exposed to it (I like bars without screens EVERYFRICKIGNWHERE) so I am often mesmerized by commercials.

Anyway, what I learned last night is that television aimed at toddlers will MELT YOUR BRAIN.

Also, it enforces behaviours like lying about whether you ruined your friend's painting, yelling at your little brother that he's doing everything wrong, and mysterious puppets.

But the colours are sooo pretty.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A case for going commando

Tuesday, March 02, 2010
This morning I woke up late (as usual). I rushed through a shower that usually wakes me up, but not today.
 
While getting dressed, I tripped, fell sideways, cracked my head on my dresser and managed to rip my underwear completely in half.
 
Geez. Thank god I did laundry last week and wasn't down to the bottom of the drawer.
 
 

Monday, March 01, 2010

Double Chocolate Fu....oh, what's the point?

Monday, March 01, 2010
At the end of January I was in Vancouver for the opening of Cultural Olympiad, rocking out to some Joni Mitchell Ballet Beats and crossing people off a massive VIP guest list. I had already resigned from my job but it hadn't been announced yet, and I promised I wouldn't breathe a word of it to anyone.

We were understaffed, under stress and under the intense pressure of being the opening act that kicked off a 6 week festival of Canadian Cultural Delights. (Sadly, no giant inflatable moose or stripping Mounties were involved)

Well, I spent that weekend wishing I was drunk. I will admit that I managed to fail at holding myself together in a pressure cooker of Olympic proportions. This failure included not eating for an entire day and then rapidly downing several glasses of BC's finest Merlot after not recognizing Sarah McLaughlin and making a complete tool of myself by pulling the classic "...and you are?" when she asked me for her tickets.

But at least I looked hot in my swishy red cocktail dress and 50s pinup hair.

At any rate, the only reason I survived that weekend, and the three weeks that followed, was a lunch date with my friend Robert.

Over waffles and lavender lattes, he presented me with these:



The ladies at the table beside us called them tasteless. But I love them. And now when I feel like it's all just too much, I open the oven, reach far in and pull out some cupcakes. And perspective.

Thanks, Robert!