Monday, August 31, 2009

FREAKING OUT

My passport is expired. I can't explain it any simpler than that. My passport is expired and I'm scheduled to get on a flight to San Francisco in 36 hours. I AM FREAKING OUT. Not only am I freaking out, but I'm also baffled at this uncharacteristically disorganized move on my part. This is very unlike me and if I manage to make it to San Francisco, I'm going to have to have a little pep talk with myself when I get back about how stupid this was. I'm going to motor to the passport office for opening tomorrow morning and hope that I can sort this out. And when they ask me (and they WILL) why I didn't renew my expired passport earlier, I'm not even going to have a legitimate excuse...."I don't know, because I'm dumb?" I guess all I can say now is, at least I remembered tonight and not at the airport on Wednesday morning...wish me luck!

Thoughts

Because Luc and I are caucasian, does that mean that we're not allowed to have a week long crazy party of an Indian wedding? Because I kinda want one now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

35 - A toast to my temporary freedom and many other things!

#35: Celebrate something with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot

Thursday was my last day at my job, a day that I had been anticipating for the past 5 months when I was accepted into my masters program. I had wanted to quit ages ago, but because of the difficult job market I figured it wasn't worth the risk. For once in my life, practicality overruled my emotions and I stayed in that position much longer than I could withstand, resulting in many tears of frustration and too many venting sessions on the drive home. Now I've got one week of complete freedom before school starts, so this champagne celebration was a toast to a few things in my life. First and most importantly we toasted my emancipation from my emotionally draining administrative assistant position, because I will never again have to deal with someone asking me, "where was that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday?" Secondly, leaving my job also meant one week of vacation time before school starts - one action packed week of friends, wedding celebrations, birthdays, traveling and some deep breaths of relief! And thirdly, we celebrated the start of my school year, a year that is going to be stressful, but the kind of stress that I signed up for! And of course, one of my best friends got married this weekend (a 3-day celebration that will be capped off by a reception in Vancouver this evening), so we drank to the start of her new life with her husband. Cheers!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Because it's my last day I...

...took an extra long break and didn't care.
...looked at pictures of lol cats when I knew my boss could see my computer screen.
...took sandwiches from a platter before it went into a lunch meeting.
...was treated to a full gossip session from the receptionist complete with all the office scandals and whispers.
...ate a double chocolate chunk brownie.
...gave out more awkward hugs than I care to mention.
...took a bunch of tupperware from the kitchen (people just leave it there....we have 4 cupboards full!)
...will get drunk on champagne tonight!

Please open your books to the next chapter

Today is my last day at my job. Tomorrow I will sleep in, this weekend I will go to a 3-day wedding, the week after that I will be in San Francisco and the week after that I start my Masters of Publishing. No more job. To be honest, I don't even know what I'm doing here today. I've trained the new girl, cleaned out my desk, deleted my files, said most of my goodbyes....this may just be longest, most boring day I've ever had here. Worse than the time I had to come in on a holiday to answer the phones....on a holiday....when nobody else was in the office....to answer the phones....so that I could transfer the calls to....voicemail? Oh how I yearn to tell work stories, to talk about the time I had to drive to speedy auto glass to get a windshield repaired, or when I had to arrange a 25 year wedding anniversary, or the afternoon I spent trying to figure out how to fix a ham radio. Those administrative duties, they sure are broad. But no, I can't talk about those and it's probably for the best.

I'm excited to move on to new things; new challenges, new achievements, new stresses, new excitement. This next year will be busy but will involve more things that I love - working on a new degree where I will be studying something I love, planning a wedding with the man whom I love....and a later start time in the morning, and who doesn't love that? It hasn't quite set in yet that I'm making a really big step here by leaving my job and going back to school, and subsequently starting my real career. It hasn't even set in yet that I'll be a married woman next year. We've been doing lots of planning, it's occurred to me that all of these plans will morph into one big party celebrating our marriage, but it just doesn't feel real yet. I'm sure it will feel very real when I'm up to my waist in seating arrangements and food choices and all that fun stuff, but right now this feels a bit surreal, like I'm just going to be back at this desk on Monday doing the same old thing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I've opened a floodgate

I recently mentioned how I don't blog enough about my upcoming wedding, and now, it's all I'm writing about! I had an idea for centrepieces last night and it involves birdcages. Since we've already got the birdie theme going on with the stationary that I've designed, I think that birdcage centrepieces would fit in nicely. I envision a whimsical bed of white roses with a birdcage nestled in the centre. Inside the birdcage I would put either an aubergine candle holder or a pillar candle (whichever looks best).

I like the vintage feel of a wrought-iron birdcage, and coupled with a bed of white roses, I think it would turn out quite elegant and interesting. I'm HOPING that it will turn out quite elegant and interesting! So now the search is on - I need approximately 10-12 cool-looking birdcages....that don't cost an arm and a leg.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The wedding factory

Sunday afternoon was spent finalizing the guest list and prepping our save the dates. I had to type out every single address and print them onto the envelopes one by one....by one....by one.....it was tedious and nearly drove me insane. Almost as tedious as cutting out, by hand, 90 stamps, 90 return address stickers and 90 save the date cards. Don't even get me started on the numerous paper cutter debacles or the issues with placing a finicky jpeg into an avery return address template, or the non-functionality of a mail merge using custom sized envelopes, OR the anger that can be brought on by a printer that just DOES NOT want to print things centered like they should be! Don't get me started!!! I bitch and complain, but I still love it.

I was considering asking my bridesmaids over one night this week so we could tag-team this save the date project, but I didn't want their first big bridesmaid task to be so lame! And unfortunately, these are not tasks that can be completed after consuming the requisite 5 glasses of wine involved in bridesmaid get-togethers. I'm still not done; we have yet to gather up every last address and I have about 30 more save the date cards to cut out. But here's a peek:






Monday, August 24, 2009

#44 - Short and sweet

44: Write the story of how Luc and I met

I'm thick in the middle of sending out our save the dates - which means I have to finish our wedding website since it's listed on the cards. Some things can wait (registry, hotel bookings) and have been noted as such on the site, but some things had to be tended to (the homepage banner which will be done next week and "our story"). Here is a succinct version of how Luc and I met going to school in Quebec in May 2005.

---

In 2005, Kristen signed up for a French-study program but was put on the waiting list. Disappointed, she made other plans for the summer and got on with her life.

Over in Saskatoon, Luc had signed up for the same program, and upon only getting his 3rd choice of school, decided that he would not participate. The students were chosen through a lottery, and Luc and Kristen had both drawn the short straw...at first, that is.

A few days prior to the start of the program, Kristen got a call from the administrators informing her that a spot had opened (only her 3rd choice of school) and it was hers for the taking. She was remiss to accept the spot at first, but decided that it was an opportunity that would not come around again, so she bought a plane ticket, said goodbye to her friends, and 3 days later arrived in the Montreal airport.

Luc was also grappling with a similar decision; do I stay or do I go? In the final days, Luc changed his mind and took a chance, abandoning Saskatoon for 5 weeks of school in Trois Rivieres. He was settling for his third choice of school, but he had heard that the program was just one big party anyway and thought it beat 5 weeks of working.

During the first week of the program, Luc and Kristen met at a party in the residence buildings. She was misinformed and thought he was a Newfie, and he thought she was cute for showing up to a party in sweatpants. (editor’s note: had she known it was a party she was going to, she would have donned the proper apparel).

Lookout readers because here come the clich├ęs! They hit it off, sparks flew, it was love at first sight, and the two were inseparable. Excuse the cheese, but Kristen and Luc really are best friends in love. The two were smitten – they spent every day together for the remainder of the program; whispering grammatically incorrect sweet nothings into each other’s ears (en francais! But of course!), holding hands on the midnight streets outside of the residence buildings and sharing muslix in the cafeteria. They had the Quebecois version of a French love story.

Facing the final days of the program, they began to make plans to see each other again that summer. What followed were countless flights back and forth, snail mail, e-mail, text messages, phone calls, messenger pigeons…anything to bridge the gaps between seeing each other. In April 2006, Kristen got on her last solo flight to Saskatoon and returned with a green Sunfire packed to the ceiling with boxes and the love of her life behind the wheel.

Four years, one week and 2 days after Luc and Kristen’s first kiss, Luc got down on one knee with a stunning diamond ring and asked Kristen if she would be his wife. Through happy tears she said “yes” and fell into Luc’s arms where she would stay forever.

Reach out and touch someone!!

Over at Chelsea Talks Smack I came across her most recent post and I was so inspired. Everyone is getting lost and tangled in technology that we can no longer see the real people standing all around us! Drop the blackberry and hug a friend!!

I constantly see people out together but they're all ignoring each other and making sweet love to their hand held devices. Yes, technology is WONDERFUL - I blog, I text, I call, I email - but face time is even BETTER! Sometimes it's nice to put the tweets, the texts and the telephone aside and connect with someone who is right in front of you. Eye contact, conversation, physical contact...it's all good! While we're on the topic, PLEASE watch this.....please watch it, you'll love it...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

#61 - You CRAZY, Vancouver!!

61: Do the Grouse Grind

Bright and early on Saturday morning, I dragged my lethargic ass out of bed and downed a bowl of fiber-licious cereal. Today was the day that I would FINALLY follow in the steps of every other Vancouverite and do the Grouse Grind. For those unfamiliar, the "Grouse Grind" is a strenuous hike from the foot of Grouse Mountain to the very top. The total hike is 2.9km (1.8 miles) with the base at 274 metres (900 feet) above sea level and the summit at 1,127 metres (3,700 feet). I don't know how the hell this thing got so popular, or why the parking lot was already PACKED at 9:00am, because it was freaking torture!!! At the bottom you say your farewells to your friends, plug in your earphones and haul ass until you can't possibly lift your tired, shaking leg onto one more rock or stair.
It was my first time so I didn't know how to pace myself, which is why I was on the heels of the guys for the first 12 minutes before realizing that if I kept it up, my heart would beat right out of my puffing chest and explode. I slowed down significantly, cranked the volume on my ipod and went on my merry way. I figured that if I kept the upbeat tunes going and maintained a moderate pace, it would be challenging, yet TOTALLY easy at the same time. So...was it challenging? Incredibly. Entirely. An overwhelming challenge. It was a challenge in every sense of the word. It was a battle against the mountain and a one hour struggle with myself. It was a literal and figurative uphill battle of mental and physical strength. I think the biggest issue for me was that it was just not at all enjoyable. It wasn't like when you're working out really hard at the gym, sweating your ass off, you're exhausted, your mind keeps saying, "ok...ok...that's enough, that was a good workout, it's been fun but let's go home," and you say FUCK YOU MIND this is tough but I feel AWESOME and I'm going to power through. No...nothing like that. My mind kept saying, "shit...this is NOT FUN," and I was all, "I KNOW!!! Let's get the hell out of here! Where's the escalator??" I didn't feel that rewarding feeling you get while suffering through an intense workout. It just didn't feel good.

If you've ever been really intensely hungover where you get to the point that you're about to throw up, you feel like a wave of nausea is washing over and drowning you, you're on the brink of vomiting....that feeling, that crippling feeling sustained itself for the entire second quarter of the hike. To make matters worse, when I saw the first sign on the trail I thought to myself, "wow, half way...not bad, I can do this, let's crank it up," only to realize that it said "1/4 Mark", not "1/2 Mark"!! Devastating!! 

I resisted the temptation to peek at my stopwatch, took a few swigs of water, blew my runny nose all over my tank top (yes...and that certainly wasn't the first or last time), lifted my heavy legs one after the other, and blew through the mental barrier that I had built up in my head. Don't get me wrong though, I still detested every strained, sweaty second of it. I thought about a few things over and over on the way up: Why does everyone do this? How can I communicate my utter displeasure with this hike accurately in a blog post? When the hell did I get so out of shape?

I was wearing a really cool fanny pack (I won it at a charity brunch and never thought I would use it...who knew!) so I had room to pack my camera. I indulged in a few breaks here and there, taking some pictures of the beautiful, steamy forest. I'm still convinced that the "fog" you see is just everyone's hot, tired breath. During the nauseous phase, I took my earphones out (they were making me feel worse, like puke was going to come out my ears and the earphones would plug it up into my brain) and listened to my own feverish panting. It was a fascinating silence, because I could still hear everyone breathing, but I was constantly staring at the path ahead so it was almost like nobody else was around and the trees
were alive. Then again, maybe I was just hallucinating? Your body does some pretty strange things when you're at the brink of collapse. 

Upon reaching the 1/2 Mark I was semi-revitalized. I don't want to mislead and say that I was "revitalized" because that would insinuate that I got a second wind or became somewhat lively. The 1/2 Mark inspired me to keep going, because now I knew that turning around and going back was just as far as continuing to the top. In all honestly though, I would never have given up, but at times, I really felt like I wanted to. I'm too competitive to let my initial efforts go to waste - if I start something, you'd bet your ass that I'm going to finish it. Even though I can clearly remember how painfully boring and torturous I found this hike, I'm already contemplating doing it again to beat my time. Insanity peppers...I must have eaten insanity peppers for dinner because I can't even believe that I'm writing that. I was going to title this blog post "The worst hour of my life" and I'm already making tentative plans to relive that hour of unpleasantness. Granted, I am getting sick (yep...here come the excuses!!) and I've been more sloth-like in my workout regimen than usual, so I think if I were to relive this horror show, it might be a little less painful of an experience. 

By the time I hit the 3/4 Mark I had conquered my mental road blocks completely and I was almost getting into it and enjoying the "great workout" aspect of the hike.....OK, not really, but by the time I could see the sun shining down from the opening at the top of the trail I broke out into a kind of bizarre looking gallop/prance. I sprung from step to step, losing my steam after about five. I learned that lesson earlier (but I guess forgot) when I had wanted to pass someone. I ran up about 10 stairs in a very poorly thought out burst of false energy. After that foolish sprint I had to stop and compose myself, and you guessed it, the person I had passed was now passing me at their slow and steady pace. Total dumbass move. Below you can see the final short stretch to the top of the trail. The only thing that could have looked sweeter was if an edible chocolate bunny was standing at the opening with my school tuition in his arms.
Reaching the top of the trail was triumphant, yet not as rewarding as I had thought it would be. As you can already tell, I didn't enjoy it! And I'm the kind of masochistic person who gets pleasure out of brutal workouts and strenuous physical activity, so this surprised me. I'm not one to judge something (or someone) too harshly on first impressions, so I think I'll get my butt back to the gym and give the grind another solid effort. I'm also hoping that next time, the city isn't blocked by an annoying layer of clouds! On the gondola ride down we broke through the cloud cover, but I had really been looking forward to the view from the very top. I guess that's nature's way of telling me that I've got to come back and give it another try. 

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Friday night

Me: sitting, hunched over the dining room table, cutting out save-the-dates, return address stickers, stamps...
"You know....I wouldn't stop you if you came and helped me cut out some of this crap..."

Luc: standing 6 inches from the TV, playing video games...
"I'm saving the universe though..."

Me: "Well then, by all means, continue!"

Confessions

I eat junk food to comfort myself when I'm feeling bad about my body image and then I complain about gaining weight.

My last Friday at my job

Today is my last Friday, and next week will be my last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I've been mulling over some things in my head regarding work stories- to blog, or not to blog? Pretty much everyone who blogs knows who Dooce is, and is familiar with her story. In short: she blogged about work, got fired for it, got press coverage for that, now she's one of the biggest bloggers out there and lives off her site. I've had some people who insist that I shouldn't blog about work, even long after my departure; I've had others who are eagerly awaiting my last day so that I can start up with the stories already.

So I'm reaching out to my readers...what do you guys think? I can't get fired because I'm going to be gone anyway...I know it's naive, but I don't think anyone I work with will be coming across my little blog...the stories I would be writing aren't terrible, but they do make certain people look maybe kind of unreasonable or maybe even a bit daft, BUT they're just the truth...and as for a reference letter, my work here is so unrelated to what I'll be doing post-grad, that I don't think I'll ever be coming back for any favours. My masters program has an internship, so I would expect that to be the only reference letter a future employer would consider valuable.

What a conundrum.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts

I have 5 more days left at work and I don't know what I'm more excited about - not having to come in here every day, or finally being able to blog about my ridiculous work stories.

Because I don't indulge in wedding talk enough!

I've been thinking lately that I don't write about my wedding nearly as often as I should. When I visit other blogs and discover that the owner is engaged or has recently wed, my frenetic searching for wedding content is something to behold. My eyes glaze over, I hunch over the keyboard and begin delving into archives for anything about flowers, dresses, invitations....basically, anything to quench my relentless thirst for wedding inspiration. I want to be inspired but I don't want to outright steal other people's ideas! I think what makes weddings really fascinating is all of the personal touches from the bride and groom. I would love to make the entire thing DIY, but one has to work....and do other things in life besides cut out stamps and obsess over fonts. Although my wedding planning will span over a year, in the big picture of life, it's ephemeral. I'm trying to relish every minute of it and read as many wedding magazines as I can while they're still relevant to my life.

My penchant for organization and planning has made this process, thus far, a pleasure. My friends and family know that a week after being engaged, I had already created a wedding book to store vendor info and collect inspirational pictures. It may surprise you (and even my friends and family) to know that I never grew up dreaming about my wedding day. I've had people say things like, "well you must already have the whole thing planned in your head!", but the truth is, I hadn't spent nights dreaming about my table linens or even the cut of my dress. I really had no clue what I wanted! However, now, after immersing myself in wedding mania for the past few months, I know what my dream wedding is...but that's not always realistic! Enough talk though...check out some of my wedding fantasies....some that will make an appearance on the big day, and some that will be forever trapped in my head and subsequently pushed on my daughter when she gets married!

Simple chandeliers


Things in threes




A fusion of whimsy and elegance



DIY save-the-dates



Vermeer calla lilies



Stunning yet subtle makeup


The amazing photography of Gucio




Too many gowns to choose from!


Reading

Bitter Chocolate - Lesley Lokko

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dressing like we're 18 again

My weekend started with a bout of embarrassment, which involved me, running, arms full of bags, hollering jubilantly on a busy downtown street, only to discover that I'm prancing with excitement toward the wrong car. The wrong car, full of the wrong people. Whoops! There was really no way to play that one cool, so I just stopped mid-prance, looked down at the pavement and shuffled back to where I had been standing 10 seconds earlier. When my friends rolled up (for real this time), I was timid at first, and only began to bounce up and down when I recognized that it was the right faces in the right vehicle this time. Success. The bride-to-be had been away in Boston for too many months, and seeing her, combined with my other two awesome girlfriends, on top of my second-to-last Friday at my job sent me into a state of euphoria. The only thing that could have pushed me over the edge, was if I got into the vehicle and the entire trunk was filled with chocolate and candy. Oh wait...IT WAS! Literally...boxes upon boxes. One of my friends works as a sales rep, and that is why our fifth passenger was a mountain of chocolates and candies. MOUNTAIN.

So with sugar rushing through our veins, the four of us headed to Whistler for a stagette weekend full of jello shooters, mini-skirts, late-night lasagna and inappropriate tank-tops. I promised that I would post pictures of our stagette tops, so without further ado, do not recoil in horror as I unveil what we wore out to the bar that night.

























We got a lot of compliments on our tops and maybe even a few unwanted bum pinches due to the skirts. I say "unwanted" because my fiance reads this, but come on, who doesn't like a good bum pinch? Who doesn't? ME!! Seriously...bum pinching and wrist grabbing. Are men devolving or was there a particularly lame crowd out that night? What's this...you grabbed my wrist as I was walking by, we should like, totally hook up. Some people are rolling their eyes thinking, "well, you wore a tiny, tight top and a mini-skirt, you have to expect it." And yes, I did, but I expected more creativity, but what we got was flat out caveman pickup moves. Me like girl. Me grab girl. Girl no like? No understand...try other girl now. Yeah....that about sums it up. Despite the silly boys on the sideline, we managed to have a great time. We even went ATV-ing in the mountains the next afternoon, but that's a story of its own, and you'll know why when I tell it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The incident

Last week I spoke about an "incident", something that I didn't feel the need to share on my blog. I didn't want to make a huge deal about it, but I think by being all weird and secretive about it, that's making it more of a big deal than by just writing about it! Besides, this is a forum where I can share what's going on in my life, and this is something bizarre that people would probably be interested in hearing, so here's the "incident" in all its creepiness.

I was walking back to my office building after running some errands in the middle of the afternoon. Beside me on the sidewalk was a scruffy looking man, walking slightly slower than me. As I passed him, I noticed that he quickly filed in right behind me....very close...nearly stepping on my heels as I walked. His proximity made me uncomfortable so I picked up the pace to create some much needed personal space. As I sped up, so did he. I found it odd that he was walking so close, so I began to walk very quickly, knowing that if he was still on my tail, then something was definitely going on.

Sure enough, I was speed walking and so was he, still directly behind me. He began to make some loud noises, as though he was hocking a loogie or something, and I was all, "oh hell no, this weirdo is NOT going to spit on me." I took a furtive glance over my left shoulder only to realize that he was even closer than I had realized. It frightened me. I didn't know why he would be walking this close behind me and I began to worry. I could see the front door of my office building and broke into a half-run, arms outstretched toward the front doors. The guy behind me followed suit and began to half-run behind me. I lunged toward the doors and he lunged, pushing himself up against me, and me against the door. He said a few things that I can't even remember now. My heart was beating rapidly and my hands were shaking. I couldn't pull the door open with him pushed up behind me so I quickly slid over to the second set of doors, immediately to the left of the first set. Of course, he followed and once more pushed himself up against me and tried to reach around and grab my arms. I was already trying to pull open the door and he had me pinned up against it. He was holding me from behind when he said, "you know you're not strong enough for me." He clearly underestimated my willpower to get out of this situation, because at that moment I pulled the door open and slipped through, sprinting straight for the security desk in the lobby.

The guard had seen through the glass that I was in some sort of trouble and was already up and coming toward the front doors of the building. I looked back to see my assailant, thinking that he was about to run for it. Despite the presence of the security guard, the man came charging into the building toward me. I was already shaking and completely freaked out. He was hollering something but I was too distracted and confused to even listen; I just ran behind the security desk. The guard got him out of the building and I stood there, shaking, crying, wondering what the hell had just happened and why.

The scariest part for me, was that this all happened at 2:30pm in the afternoon on a fairly busy street. It made me feel so vulnerable. It did more than catch me off guard - it made me think about how easy it is for something like this to happen at any time in any area of the city. I work downtown, but not the "bad" area of town, so this isn't something that I would ever expect, yet it happened. This wasn't something that I was "ready" for, and it also made me realize that I really don't know what to do in that sort of situation. I vaguely remember my high school self defence course, but it all happened so fast, and you can't really knee someone in the balls when he's got you pinned from behind.

That night I started playing the "what if" game in my head....what if it was at night time...what if he had a knife...what if nobody else had been there...what if I couldn't have gotten the door open...what if...what if...it nearly drove me crazy. Sometimes I love my overactive imagination, and sometimes it scares the shit out of me. I'm trying not to think about what happened, but at the same time, I'm certainly not going to forget it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly blow-up penis

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday; there was an incident (the details of which I don't think are blog-appropriate) which has left me quite shaken up. The unsettling feelings following the aforementioned incident were further compounded by the discovery of Simon's dead fish corpse bobbing around at the bottom of his bowl last night. Upon arriving home from work yesterday, we found Simon dead and without his tail...because he ate it. What a strange bird (fish, actually) that guy was. Luc and I were equally saddened at his passing, and we're contemplating buying another to replace him, but without insulting his legacy (by purchasing said fish too soon).

On the happier side of things, I'm taking off to spend the weekend with a few of my closest girlfriends. One of them is getting married in two weeks so we're doing the whole stagette thing. It's going to be nice to let loose and have fun with the girls, but I will miss Luc, because as my mom pointed out to me today, he and I don't spend much time apart. As for the "stagette" aspect of the weekend - we've got lots of champagne and junk food and matching outfits for tonight. No penis theme though. I've never been a huge fan of the penis theme. Oh my god you're getting married and your husband is totally going to have a PENIS!!! AAAHHH!!! Let's party and put penises on EVERYTHING!!! But yes, things will get a bit crazy, but not penis-crazy. Penis. There, I said it again. When I return, I'll post pictures of the tank tops I made for the occasion.

For now, I just want to get through the day at work (which I'm pleased to say includes Luc taking me out for lunch!) and get out of town! I'll be back on Sunday night, and until then, may your weekends be full of fun and like mine, completely void of penis-paraphernalia!

**Just a note to add to this post: I was chatting with Luc at lunch about the "incident" and how I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it, so I wasn't going to write a post about it...but I write about everything else in my life, so I've decided I will write about it when I get back.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

#30 - Something the whole family can enjoy

30: Come up with 12 healthy "go to" dinner recipes (4/12)

This is definitely one of my favourite recipes, not only because it's easy, healthy and deliciously mouth-watering, but because you can take the finished product and do whatever you want with it. Don't feel like eating healthy? Smother it in mozzarella and mayo and cheddar and as many condiments as you can stand to put on one bun. Or eat it open faced, eat it on bread, eat it with no bread at all, just a naked burger on your plate, begging to be eaten and spared the humiliation of sitting undressed in front of all the other burgers with the nice buns. And FYI, they heat up really well the next day for lunch at 
work. You can take my word on that one. I even had one for dinner tonight that was left over from last night. Just now. I literally just finished eating it, and that's why I'm writing this because I remembered, "oh yeah, I was going to post this recipe..." sooooo, here we go!

Tarragon Turkey Burgers

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp fresh (or dried...I use dried) tarragon leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
3 grinds black pepper
2 large eggs

Preheat broiler or grill.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and shape mixture into patties.
Cook 5 minutes per side or until browned. 


I like to cook for 5 mins on each side, then flip for one minute, then flip again and add a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese. Once the cheese is melted, I take them off and eat them on whole wheat hamburger buns with mayo and iceberg lettuce.



 

Making little decisions that lead to an unhealthier lifestyle

I used to drink green tea every morning but I've recently returned to drinking coffee. In university I drank a lot of coffee every day....a lot....every day....I got a few free cups each week from filling so many of those stamp cards. I fell asleep in class with my eyes open on several occasions. It's a delicate balance between utter exhaustion and extreme levels of coffee consumption to cause one to sleep with his or her eyes open. However, my coffee drinking motivation was never really due to its wakefulness factor, I just like the way it tastes. Most people say that I remind them a lot of my Dad (I'm going somewhere with this), and I'm discovering this more and more as time goes on. My Dad once told me that he goes to sleep each night excited about his cup of coffee the next morning. He falls asleep in gleeful anticipation, dreaming about a hot cup of delicious coffee to start his day. I do the same thing; now that I'm back on coffee, I fall asleep each night thinking about whether I'm going to use 2% milk or maybe coffee cream, try the hazelnut vanilla or stick with Colombian and generally just thinking about how much I enjoy sitting down and drinking a cup of coffee.


My office has a gym on the second floor, which I used to go to daily on my lunch break. I know that some people read at the gym - they work away on the elliptical and simultaneously, with ease, read medical text books and novels and plays and magazines...I'm not that person. If I'm working out, I need to just work out. Reading is a non-option when I'm bouncing up and down and beads of sweat are rolling down my face. When I skip the gym on my lunch break I end up finding a quiet spot to read - and so, I have been skipping the gym every day and have found multiple quiet spots and have read multiple books. It's kind of like my last hurrah before school starts, since when it does, I won't have much time to read my own books, just assigned readings. Yup, things are getting wild and crazy around here. Damn the gym, I'm going to read! I choose literature over rock hard abs!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Those crafty capitalist bastards

While out and about on my lunch break this afternoon I found a nice looking pair of sunglasses. They're actually the exact same ones that I already have (which I cracked...nice work Kristen) but for some reason, they had a different brand name on them. Tres bizarre. Also, these replicas of my existing shades were $18 more expensive!! Everyone's thinking to themselves right now..."wow, she's really cheap...that's really not that bad." However, it would do my point well to mention that the originals themselves cost barely more than $18. I so badly wanted to buy a new pair since these are one of the only pairs of sunglasses that I actually like (and now they're cracked and useless), but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's not really the $18, it's the principle. I will not buy something for $38 when I know that it's only worth $20 (probably less, actually!) Damn the man and his prices! Besides...we've only got a few more weeks of sunny weather left in Vancouver anyway.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

IT WAS ALL WORTH IT, PEOPLE!

Today's events have made me see that working this job that I loathe for the past two and a half years has been worth it. Every second of it was worth it, because today, because of my job here, I got row 2 tickets to the Pearl Jam concert that's coming in September! We have club seats at the arena so we get first crack at those tickets before they go on sale to the public. I got the email this morning and my heart jumped into my throat and screamed, "OH MY GOD, PEARL JAM!" (or maybe that was just me who screamed that?). The timing was perfect because I only have 14 more days in this place. Hello Pearl Jam, goodbye stupid job that I hate! And the icing on the cake? Ben Harper is opening.

FAN-demonium

I like heckling people at sporting events. My friends know this. It's fun to heckle the opposing team's fans....stir up some rivalry, get everyone more into the game and have some laughs. I like heckling, but in a fun, non-offensive, sometimes drunk, non-fist fighting, non-mouth full of swear words kind of way. I guess not everyone is like me, though. Some people like to get as drunk as they can then go shit-crazy on your ass and try to start a fight. Some fans like to make inappropriate gestures in front of old women and children, simultaneously spouting off half-coherent comments so rude that I actually don't even want to write them on my blog. It was our distinct pleasure to be sitting behind these loser-drunk, belligerent assholes on Friday night at the football game.

Luc's sister and her fiance were staying in town with us on Friday night, and since there was a Saskatchewan vs. BC football game on, we decided it would be fun to attend. We all donned our green Saskatchewan Roughrider gear (call me a traitor if you will, but I have good reason for being a Rider fan) and headed to the stadium. Two rows ahead of us sat a group of 20-something guys, sucking back the Mike's Hard Lemonade like it was the air they were breathing. At one point I thought of trying to count how many they were drinking, but I'm actually not sure I can count that high. The two directly in front of us were the wannabe ring-leaders. One had trouble keeping his shorts up and every time he stood, we had the privilege of getting a glimpse at his big, hairy bum-crack. Very hairy. The other had both ears pierced with diamond studs, super-cool frosted tips, tacky designer jeans, an over sized Ed Hardy hoodie and a Mike's Hard in each hand. It was this guy's middle finger that was being waved in my face half way through the second quarter. Our (um...my?) heckling had elicited an invitation to "take this shit outside right NOW". His aggressive badgering and threats were so uncalled for and hilarious, but my heart was still beating out of my chest. He had already thrown back enough Mike's Hard to flood the stadium and he was obviously the kind of idiot who felt he had something to prove. The kind of idiot who has no inhibitions (what self-respecting man drinks Mike's Hard Lemonade? And at a FOOTBALL GAME, no less). The kind of idiot who wouldn't think twice before punching someone in the face, be it man, woman or child.

He and his paunchy friend were turned around, yelling obscenities in our faces and taunting the guys, trying to start a fight. We weren't interested in sinking to his level (and we didn't), but at the same time, we were no more interested in just standing there and taking this shit from a guy like him. At one point (when he probably realized that we weren't going to let him holler at us without any retort), he made a feeble appeal to the rest of his friends to join in, but they weren't having it. Frosted Tips realized he was on his own, so like a true coward, he walked up the stadium stairs with Mr. Chubby trailing behind him, looking back and yelling "let's do this, outside, right now....", but then he disappeared.

The other BC Lions fans were evidently embarrassed by Frosted Tips, as many of them told us that he "doesn't represent BC" and we even got a few guys saying they would jump in if this guy did come back and try to start a fight. Our guys weren't too worried though; he could barely speak in complete sentences and when they found him again at halftime, he backed down saying, "hey man....hey, what...whatever...you know, I'm drunk, like....yeah, so....like, I'm just drunk you know? So whatever man....just tryin' to have a good time." I was relieved at this outcome, because I don't think Luc wanted to get in a fight any more than I wanted to watch him get in a fight. I think fist-fights are for morons who can't use their words like big boys.

The game went on, and so did the heckling. His friends were just as drunk, but them asking "what's up now, Saskatchewan?" every two minutes was much less annoying (and much funnier) than the string of messy expletives flying out of Frosted Tips' mouth earlier on. They engaged in the playful heckling that didn't involve mass groupings of swear words. One really drunk guy did drop a few F-bombs at Luc, but it was just kind of funny.

Drunk Guy: "Hey....hey...HEY...HEY.."
Me: "What???"
DG: "Are you guys married?"
Me: "No, we're engaged."
DG: (looks at Luc) "Fuck you man....FUCK YOU!"
DG: "Hey...."
Me: "What??"
DG: (drunken grin, squinted eyes) "You should get yourself a BC boy." (pointing at himself)
1 min later....
DG: "Hey...you guys are all losers!! Except you" (pointing at me)..."I like your smile." (still grinning like an idiot, nearly falling over in his drunken stupor)

The fun didn't stop there though; by the end of the night, there were Rider fans outside the stadium burning a Lions jersey and Lions fans threatening Rider fans. Fortunately, we weren't involved in this mayhem. We made it safely to the bus stop and home in one piece.

Our Engagement Story

Shaba over at A Blog of Her Own is doing a proposal story project, wherein women send her their stories so she can post them all on her blog. Since I wrote out my story for her, I figured I should post it here as well!

-----

Luc and I had been dating for over 4 years when he proposed to me - prior to this, friends and family loved to poke and prod him with comments about whether we would ever get married. All in good fun, of course! We met when I was 20 and he was 21 so we've never been in a rush to tie the knot. Although I was excited for the day when he would propose, I wouldn't say I was in constant anticipation. I never snooped around our apartment in the hopes of finding a ring box, which is a good thing, because he had been hiding it for 5 months under his bedside table! He had bought the ring in January 2009 and soon afterwards our best friends got engaged. After the initial excitement from that engagement wore off, his sister got engaged! Although it was hard to wait (and probably even harder for his poor parents who knew that he had already bought the ring!!), he decided on proposing in May when we would be going on a holiday.

The weekend before our holiday was our 4 year anniversary, and along with my gift, Luc had ordered me a book online (I'm book obsessed...I'm doing my masters in publishing and books are probably the only thing that could rival my love for Luc...OK not really, but I just really love books is what I'm trying to say). The book didn't arrive on time and I never thought anything of it.

On the second day of our holiday we were doing wine tours and tastings, hopping from winery to winery all day. That morning we packed a picnic lunch and after a tasting at Soaring Eagle winery, we grabbed a table on their picturesque patio and brought out the picnic lunch and some wine.

It was a perfect afternoon - warm, light breeze, great wine, great view and great company. After finishing lunch, Luc mentioned that the book he had ordered online for our anniversary had finally arrived, pulling it out of his backpack.

It never occurred to me as strange that he had hauled this massive book around all day rather than giving it to me at home or in the hotel room! Along with the book, he gave me an anniversary card, which I read, which was beautiful and cute and sweet and charming, just like Luc. Obviously, I started to tear up when I read the card. After collecting myself (sort of), I marveled at the book, telling Luc how fun it would be to pick random pages and plan trips to these places. With his encouragement, I opened the book to a page he had already marked, thinking to myself, "aha, he must have marked something here in Penticton, that's why he brought the book...", and when I opened the pages, I noticed that the centre of the book was carved out into a deep square. I was confused. My heart started beating rapidly. I was catching on. I looked up at Luc and he was down on one knee. He reached into the book, took out the ring box that was sitting in the carved out space and asked me if I would marry him. Ohhhh the tears! I fell down onto my knees, wrapped my arms around him and said "yes" about a hundred times. "The ring, put on the ring!" he reminded me. "OH MY GOD THERE'S A RING!!" I shouted! I was pretty excited.


It was all incredibly perfect. We’re planning our wedding for September 5, 2010.



Friday, August 7, 2009

Monthly Photo - August 2009

Furry Murray looking rather terrified

That homeless guy might be your dentist

I really enjoy meeting people whose appearance don't match their vocation. I was out walking this afternoon while my mind went through one of its usual spasms of thought, jumping from one idea to another like a monkey in the forest. Maybe even faster. One of those really small, furry, agile monkeys who jumps around and swings from vines, so fast that when they land on one tree their long, spindly fingers are already grasping a new vine, ready to move on to the next. You see how easily I can be sidetracked. Anyway, I was remembering the doctor at the walk-in clinic near our apartment and how if I saw her in passing right now, I would be more inclined to label her as a tattoo artist or a poli-sci PhD student. It's terrible that I label her in this way, but somewhere along the line we've all been hardwired with ideas of what certain people should look like (even though we're taught not to 'judge a book by its cover').

Sometimes I wonder what kind of assumptions people make about me. However, I don't think my "look" is distinctive enough in one way or another to elicit a strong upfront judgement. That is to say, I don't think people look at me and immediately think, "musician", or "is totally into vampires", or "will live at home until the age of 40". I think I still have the ability to surprise though. I think we all do. I like it when people surprise me - like when I think that the quiet girl who makes the perfect lattes at the coffee shop is one way, and then I see her at a concert flashing the band...and all of my preconceived ideas fly right out the window. I love that.

#30: Winging it

30 - Come up with 12 healthy “go to” dinner recipes (3/12)

The past two recipes were my slightly modified versions of other recipes that I found. The recipe that I am posting today is my own creation. It's called: making something with all the shit in my fridge. Enjoy!

1 spaghetti squash

1 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tsp rosemary
2 red peppers coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 handfuls of green beans cut into 1 inch sections
salt to taste

Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp dill weed
1 tsp lemon juice

Cut the squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Put both halves (open side facing up) in a casserole dish with an inch of water and microwave on high for 10-15 mins (my feeble microwave needs 15 mins). Remove from microwave, cover and let stand for 5 mins.

Saute the chicken in half the olive oil (1/2 tbsp) until it is almost fully cooked (about 10-12 mins). Drain some of the liquid from the cooked chicken and add the other 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, rosemary, green beans, red pepper and garlic. Salt to taste and cook for another 10 mins, or until the green beans are tender. I like to cover the pan with a lid to speed up the cooking process of the green beans.

Sauce:
Melt the butter on med-high in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring for 1 min. Gradually whisk in the milk, whipping cream, white wine and salt, stirring until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the mozzarella and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the dill weed and lemon juice, mixing well. Sauce is ready to serve once thick.

Run a fork across the flesh of the squash, pulling up the strings. Pile spaghetti squash strings on a plate and top with chicken mixture and desired amount of sauce. Voila! This will serve 3 hungry people. Or as I prefer, it will serve 2 and the remainder will wrap up nicely in Tupperware for lunch at work the next day.

*I made this last night and completely spaced out and didn't take any pictures. So if you're curious to know what it looks like in the end...I'll make it again next week and post the results!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh the things you'll see

Everywhere you turn in the city there is always something interesting - on a walk to the drugstore today I saw a business man run straight into a bike courier going full speed, a protest outside the US embassy, a girl wearing a dress so short I could see her underwear, another business man walk straight into closed elevator doors (that was my favourite) and seagull try to steal someone's hot dog right out of their hand. Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obsessed with

Watching movie trailers.

Makes me smile

...and laugh pretty hard.

Someone found my blog by searching "hairy moth faces" in google. Awesome.

The sun's still shining, people

I'm slowly adjusting to post-vacation life. It's always a drag, but there are a few things that lift my spirits...like the fact that in another 3 weeks we have another week of vacation! And after that vacation I don't even have to go back to work. Sure, I have to go back to school, but that's a welcome change and something that I've been looking forward to for months now. Maybe Luc will take me back to school shopping? I need Microsoft Office for my mac, some coloured pens would be fun, and maybe some stretchy pants? Are the cool kids still wearing stretchy pants?

Despite my eagerness to start classes, I don't want to think too much about September just yet. The back-to-school commercials are springing up on TV but I'm not done with summer. My mindset is firmly planted on the beach and I refuse to get caught up in the brouhaha of "oh my god, it's August, the summer's almost over....let's all be really sad." It's tough though, because when a September issue of a magazine arrived in our mailbox yesterday I was all, "what the hell, don't be showing me trench coats and wellies, I'm not done yet with my flip-flops."

It's amazing how fast the summer flies by when you work full time. We live for the weekends, so when you're constantly hoping that Monday-Friday go by like a flash of light, a month can sometimes feel like a week. Fellow full-timers can surely relate. However, this month, I am determined to fill as many weeknights as possible with summer activities, breathing new life into Mondays and making Thursday evenings more than just "the day before Friday". Weeknights will be just as fun as weekends, doing things that I will look back on in the fall, sighing with a reminiscent grin on my face. I'm not going to bitch about summer ending! I'm going to celebrate what's still left of it!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?

The ring tone on my cell phone is just a standard cell phone ring - not one of those ones that sounds like a house phone, not some poor version of a classical song and not a downloaded ring tone. I recognize that personalizing things is great fun, but I find that people who personalize their cell phone ring tone generally seem more embarrassed than proud when it sounds off in public. You'll be riding the bus when "thunderstruck" by AC/DC blares loudly from some girl's purse; a few people turn to see whose phone is ringing, the girl's face turns red and her eyes widen in panic as she fumbles to find her phone and click the silent button. What I would like to know is, if these people are so mortified by their ring tone, why do they download it in the first place? 

The woman next to us at the baggage carousel last night had an obnoxiously loud ring tone- I don't remember which song it was, but I can still see her plunging her arm deep into her purse, awkwardly glancing side to side at the people with a shocked and embarrassed look on her face, as if to say, "oh my god I am SO SORRY....I had NO IDEA this thing was in here. And that song....my word, I certainly didn't choose that!" Clearly some stranger put their cell phone into her purse. Clearly. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009