Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I read it, so you don't have to: The Goddess Test

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Before we begin, a big heads up: I'm going to ruin this book for you. This "review" is breaking all the rules of book reviews, wherein I'm going to spoil all the parts of this book, including the ending. So if you have any desire in your giant beating heart to read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, I suggest you look away.

Maybe go read this. Look at this.

Or watch this, or this.

Or just go read the damn book. I'll wait.


**

The Goddess Test is one of the books I've recently picked up at the library. I've heard a lot of buzz about this book, but I would not be surprised if you haven't. Because after all, I might be the only one in my circle who frequently keeps tabs on what the various Harlequin imprints are publishing and follows trends in YA fantasy/romance. Because hypothetically, if one is considering writing a sweeping series of fiction about, say, a girl's unrequited love for her stepbrother who is ACTUALLY a mythical unicorn, you might be inclined to keep tabs on those sort of things. Hypothetically.

The Goddess Test, and the two sequels, and the two additional bonus-reel novellas set in the same world, are written by Aimee Carter, who is younger than me and I'm pretty bitter about it.

To make myself feel better about the fact that I'm twenty-eight years old and haven't even published a SINGLE novel yet (sigh), I decided I would read The Goddess Test and decide for myself what this publishing wunderkind has that I don't.

Turns out, what she has is an uncanny knack for making greek and roman mythology really after-school-specially and a big ol' imagination that appeals to tweens. I'm not saying she's not a good writer. Her ability to write is not what this is about. Good for you, Aimee Carter. If I were you I would stop reading this right now, and just go pop another bottle o' bubbly, because Giiiiirl, you wrote some books and people masses of teenage girls obviously loved them and you should be proud, and plus, I'm just a bitter husk of a woman who hasn't actually finished a draft and who might be a little bit drunk right now because it's 4.99 Keiths night at the pub down the block, and who can resist that?

So, to save those of you who aren't teenage girls some time, here is my review.

The Goddess Test. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:


EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.


NOW IT'S KATE'S TURN. 



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.



Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.



Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.



IF SHE FAILS..


Dramalicious, right? Well, here's where the problem starts.

This book has a prologue which kills the entire thread of suspense running through it. There's a big reveal at the end, but the answer to the big reveal is given in the first 2 pages. What?! Kate's mom isn't actually dying of cancer? She's a Goddess? And this whole thing is rigged? No. You don't say.

So the book is basically a play off the Hades-Persephone myth. Without doing any fact checking and simply referencing what's rattling around in my mind from that degree I took that I'm still paying for, the gist of it is that Hades, Lord of the Underworld, traps Persephone into marrying him, her mother loses her shit, they work out a deal that Persephone can hang out up here for half the year, but for the other half, she has to rule the Underworld with Hades, and that's what we call Winter. (Did you see that Kate's last name is Winters? Clever. Oh, wait, that's not clever at all, that's offensively obvious. My bad!)

One of my favourite story concepts is "tell me a story I already know in a different way." Well, that's sort of what happens in this book. But less awesome.

Kate strikes a bargain with old Hades and gives up her life to save the life of a friend. A stupid, selfish, obnoxious friend she met minutes earlier. But teenage girls frequently bond quickly, and she has a hero complex and doesn't like it when people die, so ok. We can get past that.

She agrees to submit to The Goddess Test, seven tests that, if she passes, she'll become immortal and spends her winters for the rest of time with Hades, ruling the Underworld with him, side by side, as his child bride wife. Except instead of calling him Hades and him being a badass Lord of the Underworld, we call him Henry and he's a pasty, wimpy emo boy. Which is pretty annoying, and we all know that I am a sucker for pasty, wimpy emo boys.

Greek Myths are really big on the concept of the test. Heracles and his Labours, for example. But instead of doing awesome things like stealing cool stuff from important scary people and beheading three-headed dogs (who, by the way, makes an appearance in this book as a big and cuddly dog with only one head) and impregnating 50 virgins in one night, our heroine has to pass 7 tests based on the Christian concept of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Here are a few of the tests that Kate passes. (SHOCK! SHE PASSES!)

She is given a room full of fancy fancy ballgowns and shares them with her dumb friend, because she'd really rather wear jeans and sweaters anyway! (greed)
She stops eating because her boyfriend tells her to!
She studies very hard for a written examination, but doesn't manage to score above the minimum grade! (sloth)

And my favourite, the test she doesn't pass: Girlfriend gets roofied, but oh-oh...she can't resist the charms of her milquetoast mopey Underlord boyfriend and they do it. (lust)

But it ends well, because "they" decide, well, meh, good enough, and they make the broad immortal anyway.

Now, to my recollection, Greek Mythology is rife with violence, rape, murder, incest, and general bad behaviour. The gods certainly wouldn't be testing people based on a belief system much, much more recent than them, that doesn't define their values anyway. So that didn't really make sense.

And, there was not a lot of smut in this book. I was expecting more smut. Our heroine does get roofied, and she does apparently do the no-pants dance with the hero, but it happens behind closed doors. And she refers to sex as "that" (ie: I don't want to do that; you'll have to earn that; I wasn't thinking about that) which is even more obnoxious than the 50 Shades of Grey "inner goddess" business.

AND THEN they reveal that Henry, Oh Whiny Love God of the Underworld, was a virgin. Despite the fact that he's spent the last hundred years auditioning nubile young things for the role of Wife.

There is only one character in this book who is even remotely trampy in the Greek tradition, and she gets punished big time for having two boyfriends on the go, and then, to add insult to injury, one of them dies. It's not even like she has both of them in the bed with her at the same time, nope, just dates two of them. But then one must die. Because, well...consequences are important.

The Goddess Test has taken a concept that is pretty awesome and washed out all the potential things that would make it awesome: the lust, the backstabbing, the greed, the lust, the incest and the violence. Those things are not things I want to happen to me in real life, or to anyone else for that matter, but I sure want to read about hot young gods doing them to each other.

Kate was annoyingly self-aware, made responsible decisions and accepted the consequences of her actions. She was about as un-Bella Swan as they come, but she was still basically just a soggy cardboard cutout. She gets half marks as a likeable Heroine.

Henry was boring and mopey and quasi-British, and I would have been AAALLLL over that when I was 14, so we'll give him a pass in the Hero category.

The rest of the characters were bland and forgettable and I'm really glad the author provided a cheat sheet at the back to explain which god or goddess each character represented, because I could not figure it out on my own and I resented being outsmarted by a book published for teenagers.

 And seriously, who would rename Zeus - Lightning bolt tossing, raping while disguised as pretty much every animal on the planet, child-killing, maiden impregnating Zeus - Walter. Walter. Walter is a fine name but it is not the name of the head god. Or whatever they call him, King God? Big God? Head God? Oldest God?

But, all things considered, I burned my dinner while I was reading this book because I couldn't put it down and stop to feed myself, so it held my attention. I will probably read the rest of the books, all nine hundred and eighty seven of them (I think there's going to be 3, but who knows? I smell a cash cow!), so I guess I didn't hate it.

I just hate myself.

I give this book: three stars out of five.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Позвони Мне, Может Быть

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Yesterday, like most days, I took the bus home at the end of the day. Unlike most days, yesterday's ride, instead of taking about 20 minutes, took a hell of a lot longer.

 I was trapped on that bus for a lifetime. Young couples fell in and out of love during that bus ride. Children were born, grew up, and moved away during that bus ride. I got off the bus and a whole new version of Windows was being used. I had been on the bus so long that I really and truly was the only person left in the world without an iphone. It was an eternity. I know how astronauts on a long-haul intergalactic mission would feel now, returning unaffected by time to an Earth that had moved on without them.

If astronauts were real, of course. Moon landing. Hah.

But I digress.

So I am trapped on the bus, with the seething masses of humanity, sure that I would never again see the smiles of my loved ones, and I'll admit I was feeling sorry for myself. And to really salt that wound, for the entire bus ride, the top-heavy woman in the short, boxy leopard print faux fur coat in front of me screamed into her cell phone.

In Russian.

Just because I couldn't understand you, Lady, doesn't mean that I couldn't HEAR YOU.

But on the upside, I'm  pretty sure that I spent enough time immersed in that conversation that now I'm fluent in Russian.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

On "We"

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I'm sure this isn't something that happened the moment we exchanged wedding rings.

I'm sure, if I really thought about it, the 'we' permeated our vocabulary as soon as Gary and I officially became a couple. Maybe it was a few months into our relationship, or maybe it was even after our addresses merged. I'm sure that some of you could even harass me about the endless "we"-ing that occurred in late 2008, and I hope we'd all laugh about it instead of muttering bitterly under our breaths about how much more awesome I was when I was in my promiscuity and jagermeister phase.

(Mom: Hypothetically. That phase was hypothetical. I have embellished for dramatic effect.)

But I digress.

But since our wedding day, I've noticed that "WE" is used in an entirely different way in the Geyer household.

We have become a unit. And sometimes, it feels like it's no longer Gary and I as individuals, it's that we've become a gelatinous combined marital unit.

These are OUR new plates. WE're hosting Christmas Eve dinner. WE were so happy to see you last weekend. WE love Apothic Red!

These are valid statements.

WE're cooking a turkey. WE're patching drywall and re-sealing the bathtub this weekend.

Those statements, my friends, are erroneous.

Because let's be honest. While it might actually be easier if two people shared that work, it's one person doing the work in those situations, and one person basking in the glory.

One of us is wrestling the innards out of the fowl and stuffing their hand up a turkey butt, while the other criticizes the lumps in the gravy and pours more malbec.

One of us is crouched on the cold hard tile, holding the silicone gun and begging for a future knee replacement and one person is leaning on the counter making absolutely hilarious and well-timed caulk jokes.

But there you go. When one of us tells our Mother over the phone about what we did last weekend, we'll say that WE did it TOGETHER, as a united front. Because lest we forget: we are a united force. We are the Newlyweds. We accomplished this herculean task TOGETHER.

At least - that's what we want you to believe.


(COME ON! Who can resist a good caulk joke?)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A conversation about work-appropriate outfits

Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Scene: 5:30 pm. Downtown apartment. Rain, threatening to become snow, falls from the dark sky.
The Husband arrives home from work.

Husband: There's my beautiful wife!

Wife: Aww, you still think I'm beautiful.

Husband: Of course!

Wife: ....even when I wear this sweater cape?

Husband: Wait a second, did you wear that to work today?

Wife: Yes, of course I did. Look, it's ok, because I put on a pair of earrings.

Husband: Oh, yeah. That's just like saying I'm going to wear these jogging pants to work, but it's ok, I'll put on a belt.



Friday, August 24, 2012

The more, the same

Friday, August 24, 2012
If you had sat me down and told me ten years ago, my boxes and bags packed and ready to move into my new dorm room in the big city, where I'd be in 2012...I'm not sure I'd believe you.

A university degree, a mortgage, 5 different sets of business cards, a new last name, 8 different postal codes and a new licence plate number to remember is a lot of change for one little country mouse to process.

But despite all that, I'm pleased to report that I still think that one of the best ways to spend a Friday night is on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching What Not to Wear.

We grow up, we move on, we stretch and we leap and we change - but sometimes, not as much as we think. And ten years on, I still can't find a pair of  Stacy and Clinton approved wide-legged trousers that fit, damn it.




Friday, July 20, 2012

Friends

Friday, July 20, 2012
I've seen the same article pop up on my friends' facebook feeds several times this week, all about how hard it is to make friends after 30.

This isn't earth-shattering news to anyone who has done any combination of finishing school, mating, moving cities, procreating or starting a career. Making friends can be hard, this is true. New friends are especially hard to come by, and I'd agree with the article (go ahead, read it, I'll give you time...) - most, if not all, of the friends I've made since finishing university have been situational. Work friends. Friends-of-work friends. Book club friends. Couple friends.

But that's ok. 

This past weekend, we got hitched, and it was freaking awesome. And it was freaking awesome because we were surrounded by our friends.

The friends who stood up for me are 3 of my oldest friends in Calgary, the people I met when I was a tender green shoot of small-town Saskatchewan. For a decade they've been the three people I've turned to when I need to be slapped back to sense, told that my new haircut isn't actually that flattering, and the people who listened to me cry. 

But I've also made some new friends in my late-twenties, these so-called situational friends, and they've turned out to be some of the best people I know.

I've deepened friendships with acquaintances I made in University, I've gracefully exited friendships that were really just a drag. I've been lucky enough to have a mostly email-based "hey, we have the same career!" correspondence bloom into a full-fledged friendship of confidence and support. I have truly incredible friends, and as I flip through photos from last Saturday night, I can see how lucky I am.

Friends are important. I'm someone's wife now, and I can see how it can be so easy to smugly cleave together, ignoring the world, one united front of we-have-the-same-last-name. But I've gotta tell you, it's the friends that, after 3 bottles of wine and a whole schwack of cheese, that confess that they too have to poo every.single.time they go to Chapters - those are special relationships. And they're worth the "inconvenience" of getting off the couch, pressing pause on the Covert Affairs marathon and putting on some outside-the-house pants.

Friends are great. I sincerely hope I can work very, very hard to cherish and maintain them, even after I ride out the turbulent changes of the next decade. You with me, buddies?

And seriously, you have no idea how relieved (ba-dum-ch!) I was to learn that I'm not the only one who can't spend more than 7 minutes in a book store without hearing the call of nature.

Monday, July 02, 2012

not quite single digits, less than a fortnight

Monday, July 02, 2012
Whoa. This is a totally behind-the-scenes observation, but I haven't blogged in so long that the whole Blogger interface has changed and it's a whole new world going on back here.

I woke up this morning and realized that the epic wedding countdown I've been running in my head for a year and a half has reached 12. Twelve days.

 I swing from being completely ecstatic to all-out mad panic.

Yesterday I was making dinner and couldn't get the pizza I made off the back of the cookie sheet onto the 500 degree pizza stone in the oven. I ended up burning myself, sticking the pizza completely to the stone, slamming two doors and throwing a full-on 10 minute hyperventilating tantrum.

 Not even an hour later I was gleefully practicing my new signature with my soon-to-be new last name.

 It's a wild ride, honestly, and I can't wait to party it up and wear my pretty dress and see everyone I love and celebrate our relationship and never, ever do this again.

 I don't know what's going to happen to this blog. I disappeared mostly because I hate reading wedding planning blogs, and I'm pretty sure that if I'd blogged honestly about my feelings and the last 6 months, I would have been taken away in a windowless van to somewhere safe and quiet, and you never would have heard from me again.

 But maybe I'll blog about random newly-wed adventures. But do you really want to read about how depressed I am that we finished the last episode of Sherlock and an analysis of Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones? Maybe you do. Who am I to judge?

 I started blogging so long ago, before blogs were a commodity filled with perfect photoshop masterpieces and bright shiny ideals of home and wife and fitness and family and crafting.

 I take shitty photos with my cellphone.

 I'm not sure where I fit in anymore.

 But I guess I'll keep going - because I know that Carolyn and Frank check here often, and if there's one thing I've learned lately, it's that friends are important, because few people will listen to an hour-long rant about imported cornmeal and resumes and colour-matching red tissue to red napkins, so when you find those people, HOLD ON TO THEM.

 So for now, I'm going to go clean my bathroom, ready for the impending arrival of my father-in-law (who is staying with us in our one-bedroom condo for far more days than my usual overnight-guest policy allows), continue my search for the perfect non-transferable, non-whorish lipstick, and then I'm going to go see that movie about the male strippers.

 That's how I'm spending my last days as Ms. Bailey. See you on the other side...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Argument Against Long Engagements

Saturday, March 03, 2012
By the time Gary and I actually get married, we will have been engaged for over 600 days. That's a long, long time.

But it's not like we've actually really done any wedding planning, other than booking the hall, church and caterer. I sent out some save the date cards. I have a dress. Everything else? Well, who gives a damn, right? I had a ton of time and so I didn't worry about anything.

And then I woke up and realized that it's about four months away. And the details that make weddings fun and memorable? WHO CAN PLAN THAT IN FOUR MONTHS!? What was the point of being engaged for so damn long, again? It's not like we managed to save up twenty grand to pay for the wedding of my dreams. Maybe we should have just done what some people wanted and just gone to city hall.

We decided to get married in my hometown in (very) rural Saskatchewan for a number of reasons. It's sentimental and traditional. Never again would we have the opportunity to show of my hometown to all of our friends and loved ones. Oh, and it's super, ridiculously cheap, as weddings go. I'm pretty sure that by the time we're all in on this thing, we will have spent less than a third of what the average wedding in Calgary costs. Maybe even a quarter. It's very possible that a lot of brides will spent more on their wedding gown than we will on our caterer.

But here's the thing I guess I didn't consider, aside from my inherent procrastinatory nature - that doing ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING on the cheap would really suck the fun out of the whole thing.

Oh, and when you're getting hitched in a town of 500, there's really only one option for everything. If you're lucky.

So far, we have no florist (the only one in the area had no work samples to show us and had absurd prices). No cake (no bakery in the area...), no DJ (ditto). No makeup artist. One hair dresser to do four updo's, two mothers, and maybe a flower girl. No restaurant for a rehearsal dinner. No hotel in the same town, and no taxis to ferry our guests safely home at the end of the night.

But we will have beer. And food. I've got a dress. And we'll be married.

So, whatever. I'm sure the people (my dear friends) who rented the motorhome for the trek out to SK will have a good time. I'm pretty sure they're mostly concerned about having enough beer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

superstar

Thursday, January 19, 2012
I had to shoot a promo spot for a local TV station today. I had one line in this 10-second spot, and I'm proud to say I hit it on every take. That's right, I'm a genius and obviously I'm headed straight for a big-time telebroadcasting career. Do they still say telebroadcasting? I should know this. I work in media relations.

I wore my lucky brooch, the one my Grandma Olga gave me. I wear it every time I have to go on TV, when I have more than 10 minutes of advance notice. Luckily today was one of those days where I knew about the spot in advance, otherwise, I would have gone on-air in fleece pants and a really sad half-ponytail.



See? I clean up pretty nicely.

No one has ever noticed that I always wear this brooch on TV days. I think that means no one ever sees me on TV, which is likely for the best. I am roughly 3 times the size of all the female television personalities in Calgary. One never wants to slouch on television, but dude, there's like 9 inches of height difference between the interviewer and myself.

In other news, if you've ever wondered what kind of art graces the staff bathrooms at my illustrious museum workplace, it's this. After two years of pee breaks, I've pretty much memorized every single detail of this poster.



Also, people give you weird looks when you carry your blackberry into the bathroom at work, just fyi.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

twenty-twelve

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
This morning, standing outside on the cold sidewalk, waiting for the ever-loving bus to arrive, I marvelled at the notion that we're almost three weeks into the year.

On one hand: ALREADY? Where did the time go? What have I done to show for it?

On the other hand: oh my god, it's only been two and a half weeks since the holidays? I feel like crying. And dying. I need another vacation, stat, and Family Day Weekend is still over a month away.

Gary's really big on resolutions and goals and all that stuff. I'll admit that I'm feeling kind of lost this year. 2012 is a big one. We're getting married. I'm changing my last name. We're renovating our condo. We want to start a family, and sooner rather than later - but possibly not this year. I'm turning 28, which was kind of the year in my head where I guess I'd have it all figured out.

On paper I do have it figured out. See above paragraph. But in my head? Oh, not so much.

I understand now why people set goals at the beginning of January. It's not just the metaphorical clean sheet of life - it's because it's really dang hard to make it through January without a real sense of purpose.

When Gary asked me what my resolutions were, the look of expectation and anticipation and straight-up-pure-joy (seriously, the man loves setting and realizing goals. It's what drives him!) made me feel somewhat guilty, so I muttered something about losing weight and eating more vegetarian food and finishing revisions on my novel and getting it ready to submit for publication.

And then I promptly forgot that I said I was going to do those things and kept eating cheesies and surfing the internet.

But now I've realized that not putting any actual, measurable, specific goals down on paper has kind of screwed me over, and I've drifted through the last three weeks without really knowing what the eff was going on. I've watched Gary head to the gym while I head to the cough meds and the couch. I've aimlessly opened, then closed, then opened again the manuscript file on my computer. And I've made a few lists of things we have to do in advance of the wedding and then lost them.

I need some direction. Anyone else out there with me? Is it too late? Can I make January 21st Resolutions?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Nightmares

Tuesday, January 03, 2012
I am a very vivid dreamer. I talk in my sleep, I scream in my sleep, I flail about and have such incredibly realistic, vivid, outrageous dreams that sometimes, it feels like I actually didn't sleep at all. I wake up exhausted more often than not. I blame my overactive imagination that will one day lead me to writing a series of bestselling novels.

This isn't a new phenomenon, but lately - as in, since Christmas - I've noticed a common theme. Gone are the dreams about eating onion rings with sparkly vampire boyfriends from the TV and solving murder mystery crimes with Robert Downey Junior while my teeth fall out in the car that's parked in front of my friend Amanda's house. All of my wacky, unsettling dreams seem to have one common theme:

Things That Will go Horribly Horribly Wrong at Our Wedding.

I'm up to a handful of dreams about walking down the aisle with a wrinkled, dirty dress and veil. I've dreamed about one certain witchy girl I went to High School with showing up with her stupid smug face in a wedding gown and attempting to underhandedly replace me in the starring role of Bride by resetting the clocks in my house and then shoving me in a broom closet.

But mostly, I've had several really awful dreams about my hair. Bad hair. Poodle hair. We've all decided to wear our hair in topsy-tailed ponies. I've shaved half of my head. I've cut it into the Beiber 'Do I was rocking in March. It's all fallen out. I walk down the aisle with it soaking wet. I've run the gamut of bad hair wedding dreams, and frankly, it's freaking me out.

But I have come to a conclusion.

Apparently, what I'm telling myself when I'm totally unawares, is that I should manage my expectations. I'll get down that aisle, damn it, wrinkled dress or smug faced cheating bride impostors aside. This is me we're talking about - I wouldn't be surprised if on that day, I ended up with a mysterious yogurt stain somewhere on the train of that gown (that may or may not have a train, Gary nevermind that last sentence). But these things, they are not important. I will learn to be zen and let all of those things go, because wrinkled satin (or not satin, maybe it's chiffon, or taffeta, see above statement Gary) or not, at the end of it, we shall be married.

But damn it, I have got to do something about my current haircut.

Monday, January 02, 2012

another year over, a new one just begun

Monday, January 02, 2012
Tomorrow I have to head back into the office, and I'm so not ready to emerge from my snuggly holiday cocoon.

This is the first year in a very long time that I've had the entire stretch of days between Christmas and New Year's off - totally off, not a "I'll be on-call and check in regularly in case anything comes up" off. Nope. I haven't checked my work email or voicemail and I've even managed to put all thoughts of doomed design projects and bad copy written hastily between appearances at advertiser Christmas parties out of my head.

Except now they're creeping back in.

I'm not ready to go back. I'm pleased to announce that yes, I achieved my goal of being employed in the same place on January 1, 2012 as I was a year earlier, but I'm going to be straight up honest and admit that it really hasn't been easy.

I love where I work, I like my job function and tasks, and most of the people I work with. Emphasis on most. But sometimes, I want to wrap my hands around the throat of my career and squeeze, and shake the last breath out of it, Homer-to-Bart style.

And I don't know what that means.

Five years ago, I would have taken that as a sign that this wasn't the right career for me. And you know, maybe it isn't. Because obviously the right career for me is googling random shit, eating bonbons and memorizing useless trivia, but only a rare few are actually able to do that for a living. But I do like my job, most of the time. I think that it's a good fit for my skills, I'm pretty good at it and I have the right personality for it, and honestly - what else am I going to do with my life?

What I've learned in the last six years, through five jobs, is that it can always be worse. Because you know, I have actually worked in an office where someone wrapped their hands around someone else's throat Homer-style, and it was not pleasant.

I keep that in mind when I want to slap certain people across the face with a chewed-on corncob.

2011 was a big, eventful year, full of mortgages and floods and property tax mix-ups and maternity leave fallout and births and deaths and anniversaries; arguments and concessions, forgiveness and fear and honesty and humility.

2012 is going to be a big year too - but here's hoping that this year, I find a little more pleasure in the routine, find a little more challenge from within, and that maybe this year will be the year I learn to just close my office door, turn on CBC radio 3 and learn to let go of my favourite four little words:

"I told you so."