Thursday, January 31, 2008

Childhood epidemic

You have to hate winter... when all those bugs such as the flu, colds, pink eye, chicken pox, hand and foot (nasty!) and the dreaded lice outbreak. When I worked in children's programming, I hated the days when a mom would call me to tell me that their child had gotten sick a few hours after programs with a contagious illness. side note: I appreciated the Mom calling me (hugely) but hated that other kidos would be getting sick soon. I have a coworker who has let me in on another epidemic that is spreading pretty quickly. I am glad that I'm out of children's programming now. You might want to watch to see if this is something that your child has gotten.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cross border ambassador

It is SO cold right now! I mean, it's really, really, really cold outside. When the radio announcer calmly announces that with windchill it's -50C, you know that it's dangerously cold. Thankfully I'm a knitter. Yesterday I wore my Tilted Duster that was perfect for keeping me warm. I have options of scarfs and wool sweaters. No worries about cooking in them like our Californian friends would. I have been wiling away the cold evening hours (knitting group was even cancelled last night due to the cold and we're pretty hard core!) on Bloggy Giveaways. I am so excited about everyone's generosity and have entered as many contests that will allow Canadians in. I even have my own contest just for Canadians that you should enter if you haven't already. However, in the spirit of building cross border relations, I am viewing myself as a bit of an ambassador of good will (note to my family: stop laughing!). I am going to run another contest for both Canadians and Americans.

  1. The Canadians have to say their favorite part of the States and a place that they'd love to visit in the States.
  2. The Americans have to say their favorite part about Canada and a place that they'd love to visit. If you are an American who has never wanted to visit here... you should. It truly warms up and we have some of the best sightseeing here.
  3. Enter before Saturday, February 2nd at 7:00 am MT. My mom, Bargainista, will be visiting me this weekend and will draw names from a big mixing bowl (trust me, this is as techie as I want to be on the weekend!)

I will pick randomly out of the best responses and they will be the proud owner of hand knit Baby Uggs. I'll do them in the 3-6 month or 9-12 month size... whichever one you want. Ok go! Come back later on and I'll start posting about some of my favorite Canadian haunts and American shopping destinations and loves as well in the next few days!

This contest is now closed... Thanks to all of you for entering. Picesco is the lucky winner unless she doesn't respond. Thank you for all saying beautiful things about my country. You've made me want to fall in love with Canada all over again! Please continue to come back and build my self esteen by seeing my hit counter go up!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It truly is the small things!

SO... sometimes the small things are important... more than we think they are. My personality type is ENFJ. Apart from being the best personality type-these people are the types who love the big picture, vision casting, teaching and inspiring. This is actually a good type of personality to have (if I must say so myself) and Oprah shares this personality type as well-because everything you read on the internet is true! I think that it's served her fairly well. The small detail-y details are often a challenge because they are not all that important and are 'inside the box.' I've noticed lately that I might need to pay more attention to the small details though. Here are a few reasons:

  1. I spent over half an hour driving around when I was TWO blocks away from friends house. I had even mapquested them but didn't look close enough. I kept on looking for a landmark that would help out with my directional lack-of-focus! 90% of the time my philosophy of follow your nose works fabulously.... the other 10% is disaster.
  2. I made a detailed list the other day for my errand running focus. It would be a helpful detail to remember it and take it along with me.
  3. Returned all my dvds to the library to avoid late fees but left one of the dvds in the tv. I only noticed three days overdue. The lady who called from the library sounded apologetic like, "We noticed that you didn't have the dvd in the cover." However, I think that her inside voice was, "I don't know if you noticed that there are only about ten massive signs around the drop box reminding you to check inside your package before dropping it."
  4. The last one is illustrated with a picture. You might be able to figure out what problem was with my lack of details...

My Mom (Bargainista) thought that I should title it "My Big Head" This truly was as far as the sweater would go over my head. I might have decreased a few two (or ten) many times. Back to the rippin' pond. Did I mention that this is a sweater that I have knit for myself making adaptations for a shorter body and some 1950s curves that I sport? Next time I'll remember the smallish detail of getting it over my head..

Maybe I'll remember to take my list with me next time! And remember to head over to Bloggy Giveaways to check out the more than 500!!! giveaways. If you haven't entered my contest, make sure you do!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Free stuff!

Don't you love free stuff? I certainly do! There is a fantabulous carnival going on right now at Bloggy Giveaways where you can win free stuff. I'm in like... "A dirty shirt!" "A rat on a cheeto" "Someone who desperately wants to win something as well!" Since I am a blogger who loves my slow cooker (I know it doesn't sound glamorous but it is not much more work than a Wendy's drive through) and knitting (it truly makes you cool!) I thought that I'd have two books about my two loves. The Knitting book is not a pattern book but rather a great story of Crazy Aunt Purl who started knitting as a way of recuperating from a heartbreak. You'll love her perspective-laughing and maybe being even tempted to cry. I love anyone who can laugh at themselves.

I'll ship anywhere in Canada and all you have to do is leave your blog address or email address if you are not a blogger in the comments section. The contest closes at 7:00 on Friday night (MT) and I'll be randomly drawing a name for the winner. This contest is now closed and the winner has been notified by email. Unfortunately, my first winner was in the States and to ship books to the States is akin to taking out a second mortgage. Now my second winner is a Canadian and hopefully I hear from her before Sunday night. If not, you might have a chance:-)

Good luck!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Saturdays and Sundays are all about keeping it simple, right? So... I've decided that I will be sharing my ideas with you about keeping Simple, Stressless Saturdays and Sundays-S4! This weekend brings you:

  1. Beef Dip. Pull out your slow cooker, put in a 3-4 pound chuck roast (cheap is good here!), put two cans of consumme, 1/2 cup of water and soy sauce along with a bit of crushed garlic, 1 tsp rosemary and thyme and some pepper. Turn on low for 12 hours. Pull the beef out and pull apart (it basically does this by looking at it), put out some buns and small bowls for dipping and a simple salad. Trust me... everyone loves it and you are not stressed!
  2. Buying ahead. Hit the stores that have all their toys on sale right now. You will almost be paid for taking it off their hands (after all this is still from Christmas) and you'll have great little games for baby showers, kids' birthdays and for being the Best Auntie Ever! Case in point: little gifts for Tenderheart Niece and Mischief Magic Niece as well. $1.44 each.

Christmas flannel jammies are all on sale too. Why not pick up a couple pairs for Christmas next year along with a pair of cashmere blends socks for $2!!! The only problem is that you'll be tempted to take them out of the gift drawer for yourself.

So... go now, have a S4 weekend and make sure that you take time to keep it simple!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jr. High Brain

I worked in children's programming for so many years that I think that it might have permanently damaged me. Here a few examples from the past few days that probably illustrate this!

  • I was thinking about a children's networking event that I went to when someone showed their promo video for summer camp. They did it in an old-fashioned b&w movie style for their Super Heroes In Training camp. They had shortened this to an acrostic and every time it flashed through the screen (several times!) I got the giggles. What grade four or five boy wouldn't have the same thing happen to him? It still makes me giggle thinking about a summer camp like that.
  • I was buying groceries the other day and decided that I was going to be bad and buy Honey Nut Cheerioes and eat them on a weekday instead of a Sunday morning-the only day we were allowed 'naughty' cereals growing up. (I guess you aren't all that bad when you think that cereal is pushing the limits!) It made me feel rebellious and carefree. I am only 32 and have been living on my own for how many years?
  • Every time I hear the "Zaccheus was a wee little man" song, I can't take it seriously. If you've ever been around 4 year old boys for any period of time, you'll be ruined for this song.

I don't know if there's much hope for me. If you hang around too many boys in children's programming, there might not be too much hope for you either!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

If I was queen of the world!

I know that you are rolling your eyes at this thought but I've decided about some rules that I'd initiate if I was Queen of the World.

  1. No one would ever be allowed to park in two prime parking spaces by just parking over the line. This big vehicles that are all worried about their paint jobs would just get a little zap when they tried to pull this.
  2. People would have to leave short and succinct voice mail messages. That way anyone who struggles with slight ADD won't fall asleep during a long message.
  3. Property taxes wouldn't be allowed to rise by $200 each year... but your value of the home would keep on rising.
  4. Sidewalks would have to be heated so they would never have to shovel snow in the winter. It would just melt right off.
  5. People would not be allowed to serve lame and weak coffee. Everyone would like theirs strong with a bit of cream... and instant coffee would evaporate into thin air.

Why is no one asking me to be queen of the world? I think that we'd have perky (due to the caffeine), happy (because of finding a parking lot) and productive people (because they wouldn't be spending their time on messages and shoveling their walks)! Come on... ask me what my other rules would be... I bet you really want to know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Secret Smiles

Don't you love it when you have a simple thing that makes only you smile? I have things that make me smile when I need a lift and no one else will know. I have something new to add to my list of Secret Smiles. Today's Secret Smiles is provided to you by my friend, Stud. I was telling a friend who is three years old the other night that my favorite pj's are red fleece ones with little Scottie dogs all over them. Her mom told me that they were just like Stud! Inside your head voice, "Do I tell her that pjs are not studly... at all. They're more along the lines of wearing at home when no one else is coming over?" Outside voice: "Stud!?! Hmmm. Interesting" Apparently they used to have a Scottie dog that was called Stud. So... last night I was at home after a perfectly relaxing day off and wanted to celebrate... along the lines of big time celebrations. I pulled out my pjs that are now affectionately called Stud and I wore them around the house with a secret smile all evening long.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Confession time... again!

I know that I've confessed to you before but I have another confession to share with you. I have Mondays as my full day off along with basically no one. So you learn to be independent and do things by yourself. For years, I have had this guilty pleasure of occasionally going to matinees solo on Mondays afternoons. This was started because the big box movie theatres used to knock a few bucks off the $12!!!! movie entrance fee. Anything to make it come down to $9 or a bit less. I have a few pieces of advice to make the solo matinee experience a good one for you:

  1. Matinees are no longer cheaper at the big box theatres. Keep your eye out for the coupons that sometimes come in the Coke boxes or cereal boxes. It makes a huge difference.
  2. Matinees are fun at the cheap theatre... only $3/person which works out to be cheaper than a new release rental if you are a party of one.
  3. Eat lunch before you go. You don't want to eat their food-for one thing they charge you $4 for a pop that cost them $0.10 and it is laden with yucky stuff that doesn't even taste all that great. I've even been known to crack open an 'emergency' granola bar in my purse if I get the munchies.
  4. Go to the movies that your friends will not want to go to with you. This usually includes chick flicks or a comedy that you want to see but don't want anyone to let you know that you saw.
  5. If you only pay $3 for a movie and it is boring you, you can walk out and not feel guilty. Your time is more valuable than the last 30 minutes of the movie.
  6. Don't dress up in your coolest and most stylish outfits. Instead, wear an old pair of jeans and a hoodie. You can wear a toque through the movie as well if you didn't style your hair. It's not the classiest crowd there. Keep a bit of space between you and the next person. There is usually only ten others in the theatre as well.

The last and most important part-embrace this experience as being an independent solo traveler through life vs. feeling like you've just embraced geekiness to the level where it's taken over your life. And if you think that you see someone who looks pretty independent wearing her ipod before the movie and avoiding eye contact it probably isn't me. It's just an imposter who didn't stress about her outfit, is wearing a ratty hoodie and quite honestly didn't do her hair. I probably won't respond to my name anyways!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold days

So... it hasn't been all that cold here this winter and I have not missed the cold. Last night the temperature dropped significantly assisted by a nasty wind chill. I was feeling so cold and rather whiny (at least in my inside voice). At work, this was not assisted by our custodians couldn't turn up the heat because the controls company hadn't made an onsite call to fix the controls. However, I was reminded of when I was in my first year of college and we went up north to do an aboriginal awareness program and it was a fabulous experience and stretched a prairie girl's world perspective. Some of the things that we did included beading, meeting some of the most resourceful people, eating bear and caribou and being stunned speechless by the most incredible show of the Northern Lights one night. I thought that the trip's most humbling moment was the fact that I failed the orienteering portion of the class. Every time I held the compass, it went crazy all over the place. I would put it on the floor to try and figure it out but every time I touched it... disaster. Maybe I do have a metal plate in my head. No, I am not being overly dramatic. This was the real deal. One of the other things that we got to do was ice fishing. We sat on the open ice with an incredible windchill (think -30C... pushing to that point where Fahrenheit and Celsius align at -40). A little hole with a fishing line and a bit of bait jigging it up and down. No sign of any little huts or fires to keep you warm. This was Bible college so the thought of a 'warm' drink wasn't a part of the agenda either. How do we spell boredom and disillusionment with all those mentally insane people who think ice fishing is fun? The next day we went ice fishing but with large nets. So they would drill big holes in the ice, put nets underneath and someone would walk quietly along the ice listening to where the piece of wood was knocking along. At the end, you'd drill another hole and pull up the nets. We did it the same way that people have fished for centuries. Truly, what an adventure! As we were leaving, the group was kicking snow over the hole so it wouldn't freeze as thick for the next time they needed to go fishing. Our leader firmly told us where to not go and I promptly obeyed him by walking right ... into the hole! Thankfully the leader grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and I only fell down to my waist. He saved my life. It was about -40C out that day and I could only get rid of so many layers before we got home. I had never been so cold in my life. We went winter camping the next night (even the locals thought we were insane to camp at -50C) and I couldn't get enough layers on me. I was so grateful that I hadn't died but I was also a sick chick and couldn't warm up. Side note: this story has gone down in this program's folklore and every year the students were warned to be safe by my story of 'blond roots'. Every year they are told of the tale of the girl who didn't listen. I left that couple weeks of my life with a great respect for northern dwellers, an appreciation for aboriginal art and culture and a love of warm toques, socks, mittens, long underwear, Sorel boots and anything that keeps you warm in the cold. Wool sweaters aren't so much itchy as a fashion statement now. If you have a nice group of people going winter camping, ice fishing or sitting on open ice on a -30C day, don't worry about me. I'm planning on organizing my sock drawer, washing my hair, getting sick, rolling bandages for the Red Cross and praying for you! Excuse me while I go make another cup of tea and pick up my knitting.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

KISSing it!

For all of my family who got excited because you're so happily married and spending all your time kissing (because being married with toddlers in the house is commonly known as the most romantic season of your life-lol) or thinking that I've met Prince Charming... sorry! What I'm talking about is the KISS strategy... Keep it simple stupid! I used to think that I kept life simple but post-burnout I have taken this to a new level. I thought that I'd share a couple of my ideas for you to get to the level that I've taken it. You can determine whether I've taken it to a lower or higher level.

  1. Shopping bags. We all want to get more eco-friendly in not using plastic bags and having these litter up our homes but I have this challenge... remembering them. I have a few cloth bags and a couple bins but that would require me to be much more organized and I can remember them for the big monthly grocery store trip but little errands never get this level of planning. Enter this ingenious idea... canvas bags that fold up easily in a little carrying case and can be carried in your purse. I love these because I never forget them and they are strong. Happily purchased for $4/piece in a little store in Toronto. They are worth the expense as they don't cause you to discover not-so-glamorous parts of your personality when your big cloth bags drive you crazy.
  2. Crock pot meals. The other night (when I cooked my instructions) I made pulled pork sandwiches and they were fabulous. Want to hear how hard they were? Ok... hold on. Put two lbs of pork tenderloin in the bottom of your crock pot, pour one can of root beer over it, cook on low for six hours, drain and then pour a bottle of bbq sauce over it. I left it on warm for a bit longer while I made the salad. SO yummy. Might not be the authentic southern bbq but I live in Canada... no one knows the difference here.
  3. Feigned ignorance. This works wonders for staff potlucks, baby or bridal showers, New Year's Eve parties or whatever needs to have people bring yummies or goodies or downright difficult recipes. If people don't think that you can cook or bake, you'll get asked to bring chocolate sauce, the punch, crackers, a bag of chips or something Idiot proof. Trust me on this... people will put up with lots in order to avoid food poisoning. However, if you bring along something that requires skill once, your cover will be blown. I still have a few groups of people that I know that are in the dark... and they don't read this blog.

Keep your eyes peeled on this blog. I'll provide much more wisdom on keeping your life simple that will inspire you to sink to the lower depths that I have sunk to!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Traumatic memories

Yesterday Happy Geek talked about rescuing a quilt rack from the curb that Mr. Garbage Man refused to take away. I was feeling happy that I don't do that until I had several moments of memories flooding back to me from the years that I worked with children. Children's programming always wants chi-chi (cheap and cheerful) items. I've provided some of them for your entertainment:

  1. There was the year that we had a western themed summer camp. Kids love cowboys and we are in Alberta so it all works, right? One of the crafts was a rattler snake made out of old ties and the plastic film containers-it was really cool. We won't have an issue getting people to donate 120 old ties and plastic film containers, right? A photoshop provided two large bags of film containers.... now onto the ties. We were getting so close to the wire and we only had about 40 ties. One of my coworkers' wives came to my rescue and provided two full garbage bags of them-they had received many from widows as they cleaned out their late husband's clothing. Try begging people for old ties and you learn humility.
  2. For this same camp, we wanted to build a 'fence' of authentic outer edges of wood. Isn't that cool? In an effort to not pay for this stuff and be able to find it, my intern, volunteer and I drove about 90 minutes to her grampa's saw mill (conveniently located in the middle of nowhere in the mountains) and we went through all the scraps and filled the back of the half ton with all that stuff. Try driving down the freeway with little chips of wood flying off at all the people during rush hour. How do we spell hick? And I can't tell you how long it took me to pull the slivers out of my hands because I forgot to take work gloves.
  3. Often theme decorating would need large pieces of cardboard. Another staff member and I called so many furniture stores for big fridge boxes. However, we were desperate and I was driving down a couple of back alleys and then reversed half way back to dumpster dive for large pieces of cardboard! eBay hasn't been known to sell too many large pieces of cardboard.

I just want you to know that I am happy make a living in another challenge these days and will never 'bless' someone who works with children by dumping old Christmas cards, egg cartons, sour cream containers, bakery plastic containers on their desk on a Monday morning unless they ask for them. And I promise not to laugh at them when they request wierd things ... at least not to their face.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Julia Child I am not!

So we were chatting last night at knitting group and I was killing myself laughing about a couple funny baking stories-someone had lit a paper towel on fire trying to pick up something in the oven (yes, she agreed that she is truly an engineer) and someone else had put a hot 8x11 pan on a cork hotpad when she was checking it and then threw it back into the oven and had cooked cork. I was thinking about some of my less-than-successful cooking experiments after I got home. There was the time when I burnt some popcorn when I was trying to show my brother how to pop popcorn on the stove. It's so much better after all... except for the black smoke that emerged and could be seen all the way down the back alley when my parents were driving home. But I was only 14 at the time. My brother wisely bought me a popcorn popper for my high school grad gift. I only use that one... fifteen years later it's still a favorite appliance. I have seen people light popcorn on fire in the microwave so I don't believe in my popping skills there. So... I was feeling pretty happy that I hadn't had any knitting-group-esque cooking escapades. I was making pulled pork sandwiches today in my beloved new crock pot for good friends. I looked all through the house for the directions for my new crock pot but realized that I had thrown them out along with the box when I went on a recycling cleaning fury last week. I work today, I make two lovely salads, go for a skate (we won't talk about my wipeout) and am pulling out the pot out of the slow cooker appliance and what do I see? The directions for my slow cooker. I COOKED my directions between the crockery and the appliance. (No one was hurt in the development of this story but please do not try this at home...) Somehow the burnt cork hotpad doesn't look all that wierd now... who cooks INSTRUCTIONS?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

White trash neighborhood

Well, I never thought that I'd be where I am living... a single girl living in suburbia and enjoying it for the most part. While I miss living next door to the Farmer's Market, within walking distance of fabulous consignment stores and independent coffee shops, I have a safe neighborhood. However, we've turned a bit trashy. Last night there were Wizard of Oz windstorms (80mile/hour winds) that woke up most of the city and I could feel the wind outside blowing up a storm. My beautiful neighborhood that everyone takes good care of and is fairly decent turned trashy last night during the storm. There was garbage EVERYWHERE. I was wondering why someone had put garbage bags right by my car, there were empties rolling on the road and driving into the local coffee shop, I had to swerve to avoid being hit by a rolling garbage can. Then I realized that my neighborhood hasn't gone to seed-today's garbage day! Oh, I'll have to remember to pray a little prayer of blessing for those fabulous city sanitation workers today. Note to self: I love my job. I don't have their job.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today's favorite store

I made a trip to the local mall and found my favourite place there. I know that you are rapidly thinking about the places that would be my favourite there. There are many places that make it towards the top. Here are today's runner-ups:

  1. Starbucks-need I say more other than Long Americano with room for cream? Nothing like a bit of perk in your step!
  2. Makeup counter-place to go twice a year when I want to feel girly and try different colours and get free samples.

But my favorite is a small little store that is hidden on a not-so-popular part of the mall where Mr. Cobbler works fixing shoes and boots. For $15, he fixed my $60 Consignment Store (that gets brand new shoes) Hush Puppies boots (originally $150) and gave me a couple more years of wear on my three year old boots. You might want to check out Mr. Cobbler and he might reinvent something that you love and don't want to say goodbye to!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why did I say yes?

For those of you who know me... I tend to have a problem with saying yes. Like as in... "Oh, that sounds cool, count me in." "I'm in like a rat on a cheeto." "That's a need... I bet I can help out with that." "I've always wanted to do something like that." You get the picture. However, I'm learning to say no or not jump in with yes and ask if I can get back to people with my answer. Hopefully this learned reticence (in a good way) will protect me from getting roped into doing all the work for a shower that I'm not even hosting, doing the dish pit for a banquet of 250 after a 12 hour day or doing childcare in the toddler room (full body shudder) on Easter weekend when everyone with a toddler who has significant separation issues and anxiety decides to show up at church. But I may not be there yet. I got talked into teaching people to knit, which I love to do. After I realized that I had said yes, I realized that I had said yes to teaching people who are at a conversation cafe to learn English. Ok... why didn't I think about what I saying? I talk fast and am always having to consciously tell myself to slow down. And I start talking faster when I am excited, passionate or nervous. Did I mention that I always test as being high on the Big Picture skills vs. minutia details-which happen to be very important in knitting. See where this is heading? So... if you see a group of new Canadians wandering out of a conversation club with wierdly cast on knitting, lost looks and tears in your eyes, you'll know that all my fears have come true. Why don't I think before I say yes?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Confession time

I hate to admit it but you won't tell anyone this, will you? I have a little dirty secret that I need to get off my chest. Lately, I've found myself having the country radio station among the two or three stations that I troll through for listening pleasure while I'm battling it out in traffic or hitting the open freeway! A bit of background: Growing up in rural Saskatchewan had lots of good things to it: fresh air (except near the barns), lack of fear about riding my bike down the street, garden fresh produce (oh yeah... child labour harvesting in the cold falls!), a sense of community and friendly neighbors (trust me, we could never get away with anything due to the 'interested' neighbors when my parents were out for the night.) However, there are lots of things about growing up in rural SK that might leave you a bit scarred. Wrangler jeans being considered stylish which only look good on people who are incredibly fit or slim. The high school guys fostering cancer through chew... you know the little puck sized Copenhagen tobacco in their back pocket... put it in your mouth, chew for a while and then spit out black grossness-eww! Pick up trucks driving by you blowing loose straw in your face as the wind picks up. An inability to cut class because if anyone saw you, they'd tell your parents before you got home. Shopping at the local SAAN store for your first training bra with your mom and knowing the cute high school guy who is stocking an aisle over from you... PTSD, anyone? AND people would listen to country music ALL the time and think that it was good. Not all of it is good. A lot of it is twangy. It tends to be depressing. It is about loss and life. Boo hoo! Going away to college and falling in love with ABBA was the start of my enjoyment of happy music. I'd happily leave jumpin' out of the way of black chew hittin' the sidewalk, rather 'fresh' barn air and sad country music behind. Until this summer, when I ended a relationship and battled significant burnout. All the sudden country music writers seem like the most insightful people. They didn't sugar coat things and told it like it was. I could get into that more. I played the latest Martina McBride cd and Dixie Chicks would be cause for the radio to get cranked. While I would usually only last a couple of songs until it seemed to get too country for me, I found comfort in people singing about heart break and disappointment... that was the season that my life was in. I could agree with those people. Thankfully, this season is lifting and sunshine has returned to my life. I'm going back to listening to the rock station but I will still have nostalgic moments when I hit the button for country music to see what they're saying now. If you'll excuse me, I need to do a clean sweep of my house to insure that it's a bit more rock 'n roll than a little bit country!

Friday, January 11, 2008

This chick has sticks!

So... last Christmas I was one of those crazed knitters who was foaming at the mouth, rushing around and trying to get all my Christmas knits done in time (as in most before Dec 25 and one by Dec 31). This year is going to be different. I will not be the one who is knitting during lunch appointments, when waiting for appointments, choosing to rent movies instead of going to the theatre (they turn off the light there!), eating pretty simply (cheese and crackers for dinner are a good idea, right?), while on the phone talking to friends (that's why you heard me saying different numbers during our phone conversation), or staying in your pjs in the morning just a little too late in order to get some knitting done before showering (2:00 in the afternoon isn't late is it?). This year I have a big list and I'm working it. No more craziness! However, my big list is reminding me that I have a big list. And yet another coworker is pregnant-oh my! And now I want to do cool knitting. I signed up for a year long knitting group (with prizes!!!!) to inspire and encourage me to be organized. If you finish off a few projects before the deadline, you get one entry for each project. I so want to win something cool (seeing as my last prize was a David Meece cassette tape in the 1980s). And each finished projct is an entry... I want lots of entries! (well maybe more than one) Winning will give me more cachet with the 20 somethings at work(who am I kidding?). So if you see someone knitting in a committee meeting, on her lunch hour and always having sticks peeking over the edge of her purse... it might be me! What happened to avoiding the craziness?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Get this girl some help!

I know that you're glad that I am seeking professional help... but no, I'm not getting as much as you probably think that I need. The other day I went to a naturopath to seek some help with energy, digestion and a couple other things but mostly energy issues. SO... I'd never been in there before and didn't know what to expect but one of my good friends, Designin' Girl, highly recommended her. I had braced myself for incense burning, hemp furniture, wind chimes by the outside door, the naturopath to be wearing a long flowing mumu. I was also keeping an eye out for any crystals swinging around. I also stopped beforehand at Opa! for caesar salad and calamari in case I couldn't eat normal food again. Oh yes, I didn't wear my leather jacket there either in case that would be offensive. I used my most natural, unscented hair shampoo as well (you never know!) I do recycle but I'm not the most trendily green person. More like suburbia green. Imagine my relief when I met the nicest professionally trained doctor who listened to me, pegged me as being a people rescuer and fixer and she got me on natural supplements to help with all the issues. I'm a fan. And she encouraged me to eat nourishing foods for the next month-lasagnas, mashed potatoes, hamburger soup that would get my immunity up. Now I think that she might have a Wonder Woman outfit underneath her nice and stylish black pants and sweater. Now... don't worry. I have not become a vegan, soy drinking, hemp wearing person who wears tie-dyed t-shirts and says peace out all the time. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find some beef for lunch.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ever have 'those' moments?

Like when you ...have been walking around the office for almost two hours with your fly undone? ...realize that you have actually laughed out loud while you're skating and listening to a funny podcast and realize that the hockey guys are looking at you with subtle smiles? ...check out a renovation site (related to work) and feel tugging at your legs and realize that the generator cord is between your legs and is crawling up your legs? ...are tired and have a tough time ordering a simple skinny latte at the Starbucks at 7:00 pm and see the 19 year old barista staring at you? Neither have I! Just checking to see if anything like this happened to you yesterday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Searching for supper?

I know that many of you are probably hitting that time of day when you are wondering what to cook for your hungry, appreciative and genuinely courageous children and spouses. Here's some creative ideas for you inspired by my trip to Africa this summer: Have them catch their own dinner. This little guy was pulling the nets on the Congo river and had the family's dinner and then tried to sell us some of it.

Get some potassium in their diet by purchasing something from a roadside seller (this is not me... I am more of the doing dishes afterwards than preparing the meal when traveling kind of gal!). Kind of like a produce stand but more like someone banging on your window trying to be more competitive than the other ten people with them. If you want to purchase kleenex, bread or gum, they offer those as well (at every street corner.)
Or the personal favorite, buy nature fresh viande sauvage (wild meat). This is taken by me in the van before the vendor moved closer to the window to show the meat. This anteater was still alive which was shown by it starting to have some bodily functions engage and slowly turning its head with its beady eyes to stare at me. I must admit that all my bravery and courage that I had shown took a break as I started shrieking at the little creature who was probably more scared than I was.
If you have boys, they'd probably appreciate this. All you do is chase these slow creatures up the tree, grab them by the tail and put them in boiling water to remove the scales and roast them. (the anteaters... not the boys! I am truly a child lover not hater.) Suddenly, your dinner looks all that much better, doesn't it?

Monday, January 7, 2008

The little gnomes

I've decided that gnomes have moved into my basement. (No, I haven't become a Waldorf Astorian person.) They come in during the night and move things around. That infamous wok can end up under piles of things. Suitcases that were neatly stacked in Martha Stewart fashion have tumbled into a rather Courtney Love fashion. Cardboard boxes and dust bunnies reproduce at a rate that gives the bunnies that hop through my neighborhood a run for thir money. Clothes that were as fashionable as this chiquita ever gets have all of the sudden become an eyesore. Stuff from my past relationship that I was sure was happily on its way out the house to a new home has come back through the basement windows when I was out and reappear at places that catch me off guard when I'm searching for the wok. My little gnomes decide that the one serving dish that I am sure is in there will become invisible when I need it but then they move it there a day later to taunt me as I transfer a load of laundry. I think that gnomey friends are laughing from their little heads off at me right now. I'd tell you what I'm going to do with my day off but I think you know... I'm going on a gnomey hunt.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Is it just me or is it crowded in here?

I don't know if you're like me (I can hear all of you shouting back at the computers-we're not like you, thank goodness for small miracles!... hush) but sometimes crowds get to me and they can slow me down. I know lots of people due to my work and I often run into people I know. Most of the people that I know are fabulous and I quite enjoy this but often get caught up in conversations that take a bit of time. It can take an hour to get a 2L milk and some bread (and no, I'm not exaggerating). This isn't a problem if you have all the time in the world but often I have allotted less time than I should have for the simple task. Like having your car loaded up with all your recycling and you need to go somewhere where people won't think that you are hip and green rather that your car is a bit trashy. However, I've come up with some handy dandy little survival tips that I'd share with you.

  1. Go shopping at wierd hours. Right when the store opens or on Saturday night when everyone else is having a cool life like going to the movies, you can go and basically have the store to yourself.
  2. Don't do any makeup or hair and wear a toque. This can be your decoy or costume but be warned, if you are recognized, then you will have this tactic backfire significantly... not that I know from personal experience or anything.
  3. Pull out your cell phone and start having a conversation that is quite intense. Throw in words like "Will I make my mortgage payment this month?" "How is he? Is he going to recuperate from that male problem?" It helps if you lower your voice on the words male problem.
  4. Look at some awkward item such as feminine items if it is a guy and he'll probably keep right on walking on. However, you might want to know that if you are truly purchasing them along with salad greens at a big box retailer, you'll probably run into at least two or three people that you know.
  5. Wear your ipod in the store and tune out the noise of the shopping carts, loudspeaker announcements and people talking to one another. It's usually best if you don't agree with the podcaster out loud by saying, "You go girl!" or singing out loud along to the latest heartbreaker song that Martina McBride wrote. Tends to get wierd looks and eyebrows raised.

Or you could have fabulous one-liner conversations about things such as the weather, the local sports teams and people's vacation plans (people love this in the middle of a cold winter). This tends to make you more popular.

If you'll excuse me, I have some cardboard boxes sitting in my car waiting for me that make me look like I'm a woman on the move.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Asking for directions

I would like to have a bit of rant (and you poor people have to listen). Since I am single, I am the one who needs to go to the big box home building stores for things that need purchasing for my home. I am happy to ask for help and directions-no shame at all. This past summer I was landscaping my back yard and needed to be at the local HD store quite a few times. One day I was there four times and the staff were starting to greet me as a long lost friend. I'd rather be that well known at the LYS (local yarn store) than about bags of rather 'aromatic' fertilizer and gravel. But they were usually quite helpful once I was fortunate enough to find a staff who wasn't being run off their feet, this being a new construction neighborhood. Yesterday I went to the store on my lunch break to try and pick up a programmable thermostat. I asked three different staff people, in the section where the last person had directed me, and was given different directions. However, after I was able to find the thermostats, there was no programmable ones left for natural gas but rather for the electric baseboard heaters. Once I was in the right area, the last two male sales associates came by and looked at me with something like pity or disdain. They could obviously tell that I was searching for the right thing and wasn't having any success. Seriously, do they think that I don't know what raised eyebrows, whispering between themselves and lack of eye contact mean? Hah! I work with people and know what those not-so-subtle signs mean. The thing that gets to me is that women are the ones who spend almost 80% of the family's budget-has no one ever read their yahoo websites with all those helpful tips? Usually I go right up to them and ask again and again until they see the value in helping me. (It's really hard to ignore a positive but persistent female who keeps on asking!) I decided that I couldn't be bothered to ask these guys again and will be taking my business to another big box retailer today before going into work. A big box home store on a Saturday. Oh the blissful thought of those crowds purchasing all the shelves and organizers to fulfill their January organizing resolutions. Excuse me while I go to drink copious amounts of coffee and knit a few rounds on my latest knitting project to calm my heart and give me the bravery to go through the ordeal again.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The people that you meet

Ok... I have to tell you. I have a Wierd People Magnet that was inserted into my head when I was under massive drugs getting my wisdom teeth pulled. This magnet attracts all sorts of people and creates the most interesting moments at times. You can't see it until you've been with me at interesting moments and I've had friends turn to me afterwards and tell me that I was not lying to them. (Why would I lie about these things?) Case in point: Before Christmas, I was shopping for Bargainista at Mark's Work Wearhouse for a Carhart jacket for my dear brother. I was on my cell phone talking to a friend who I thought could help me but that was unsuccessful. I saw Trucker Guy looking at me while I was on the phone and didn't think anything of it until I was off the phone. He started following me around the men's work wear section trying to be helpful in my purchasing options. This guy had the most interesting and bushy beard (combed up to the chin and then down towards the chin) and told me all about his encounters with the police (!?!), his daughter totalling a vehicle and all the jobs that he has had in his life. Trust me, I did NOTHING to encourage this. This went on for a good ten minutes. Finally, I was able to shake him by popping into the women's unmentionables section but when I went to pay for my purchases, there he was again. He started talking to me again like we were long lost friends now!!! Wow! I must be the Bermuda Triangle for awkward moments with my magnet. Now for me to figure out how to rig this magnet to attract single, rich men without tons of baggage, who don't live with their moms and definitely don't wear white athletic socks with dress pants.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Getting to the bottom of things

I'd say that I'm sharing a secret but all of you who know me are aware that this little 'secret' reveals itself to everyone. I've been blessed with a booty, a bottom, or a butt! However, you want to say it, there is junk in this chick's trunk-no matter how toned I am. I have the perfect 1950's hourglass body but for all of you that haven't noticed lately, we are not in the 1950s. This isn't such an issue on the top but on the bottom... short legs, small waist and big bottom means major belt bunching along with careful bending so not to reveal my Costco undies. For all of my family and friends who have rather slim, trim, athletic bodies... as in not having butts, I don't know that you can identify with me. Can you imagine buying pants to make you look like you have MORE of a butt? You can imagine my joy when I came home and saw an Oprah encore presentation about buying jeans to fit you. My assets have been on display... as in "Wow, you've sure been blessed with lots of bootylisciousness"... not as in "I wish I had those assets." Yeah, a new day has dawned! So I sat down with my post-its and marker (all I could find) and faithfully took notes. I'm almost ready to do the happy dance because they had jeans for women with a generous padding on their seats. So I went online to window shop for the jeans-Michael Kors at $100ish (and not in a petite length), Emery Pants by Theory at $230, and AG jeans at $198. And you'll want to tailor these jeans as well by removing pockets, getting it tucked in at the waist etc. These are all available at Macy's, Nordstroms and fine department stores. Or you can get the perfect Akris black pants at (drum roll, please) $700. I figure that if I make a trip to the States for the weekend, spend $1000 on one pair of jeans and a pair of black pants, come back and take them to the tailor's, I'll be set. Excuse me while I go get a moonlighting job to earn $1500 for a couple pairs of pants. Talk about investing in your assets!

My library is the greatest!

I know that I have cheap moments but there are times when I really take it to the next level-high or low depending on your perspective. Case in point: I hate spending money on books, audio books, dvds or cds. Did you know that purchasing audiobooks usually costs about $30-$40? Hah! I spend $12/year on my library card (along with the ever-rising property owners' taxes) and get my books, audiobooks, dvds-you name it... for FREE! However, I had a day not too long ago when they had a sale at the library and did a 2-4-1 sale. And the books were $1 each!!! So... I pulled out all the stops and grabbed the toonie in my pocket and went shopping. Here's what I got: Went home and priced it out on and realized that I got $99 worth of books for a toonie. Oh and did I mention that I went all crazy and went back to the library and bought more? Don't worry, it didn't happen. I was so excited about getting some really great knitting books for baby stuff for all my friends who keep on getting pregnant (you know who you are...). So... I went to my stash of previously purchased yarn and did some shopping in there while dreaming/fantasizing/delusioning about the cool patterns that I could now do with my new books.

Eat your heart out big book box retailers. I am going back to my library for not only free borrowing but shopping!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A love letter

To my dear crock-pot:
I want to thank you for always being there for me. You know that when I've been at work all day, I want to come home to a warm meal. As there is no wife or housekeeper at home cooking for me, you know that a house that smells fabulous and is ready, nutritious and low-fat is a nice way to welcome me home.
You know that true love is something that needs time to simmer. Good things take time and you live that fully. Everything does not need to be done in a flash. You know that I appreciate someone who will take time to let things develop into what they are meant to be. You've been there over the years for when groups of people come over and you quietly take care of cider, chowder, chili, sesame chicken or stuffing for the turkey-whatever I need!
However, I don't want you to feel threatened but I want to let you know that you'll have to share my love now. People's hearts grow and expand to allow others into their hearts. You have been so faithful for just me and for smaller groups but I do love roasts, large feeds of chili and even lemon poppyseed bread. You just can't do those things and I want you to be relieved of trying. I will not forget you but save you for nights when it's just us. The other will be just for groups after events, cider after skating and soups for snowy and rainy days.,21770,1693334,00.html