Thursday, December 31, 2009


There, I said it. This has been the loneliest, most UN-Christmas-y holiday I can remember having. I have tried (and failed miserably for the most part) to fake it till I made it for my partner's sake (and my mother's, because I know it bothers her to know I'm unhappy this time of year), but to no avail. I think the stats speak for themselves:

Number of friends/family seen: 0
Number of parties/get togethers attended: 0
Number of Christmas activities participated in: 1 (Candlelight service with my partner on Christmas Eve in the hopes of gaining an infusion of Christmas spirit and good cheer and fighting off the demons of loneliness and depression...which feeling like a total outsider at the church did nothing to alleviate)
Level of Christmas spirit achieved: next to none, and sporadic at best (maybe I spent it all up in October when I was buying and wrapping gifts?)

I am actually at the point where I am totally disillusioned with the whole thing this year. I am ashamed to admit it, but I spent 80% of my time this holiday season sitting around feeling sorry for myself (either alone or with my live-in partner...who is the only other person I've seen this Christmas other than my chiropractor and his secretary) and stuffing my face with junk food (totally counterproductive to becoming more healthy and fit). The other 20% was spent roaming the stores and spending money on things we probably could have mostly done without. I have spent hours on facebook looking at other people's holiday snapshots and feeling glad for them, but lonelier myself and more than a tad jealous I'm sad to say.

Today I was tempted to just pull the covers over my head and stay in bed until tomorrow this time, but I guess there is one last chance to redeem Christmas/New Year's 2009 tonight. We shall see what happens...

I am honestly not sorry to see 2009 go at this point. I guess there must have been some highlights throughout the year worth remembering and mentioning, but I'll be damned if I can conjure them up right now with this storm cloud hanging over my head. The only one that comes to mind at the moment is my musical theatre debut, which was an awesome experience in many ways. Other than that, this year has brought me a lot of anguish and uncertainty and a huge mess to sort out in 2010.

So, in lieu of listing all my Resolutions that may or may not be adhered to in the New Year, I will simply say that it is my wish for it to bring much peace, love, happiness, and success to everyone around me. And for myself...well, a little clarity and forward momentum in all areas would certainly not go astray...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conversations at Christmas

Brother: So Mom was saying she can't figure out what you gave her for Christmas.

Me: What do you mean?

Brother: Yeah, she said she doesn't understand because all she got was a Bounty bar wrapped up in paper towels in a little box...

Me: Oh my! Don't tell me [the stepdad] forgot to put her gift under the tree! Didn't he tell her what was going on?

Brother: No, I don't think so...she said she looked all over the place to see if she misplaced her gift when she unpacked the parcel, but she couldn't find anything.

Me: Great.

(ring, picks up...)

Me: Hi. So did you figure out what your Christmas gift was yet?

Mom: No...I was sitting there watching [the stepdad] open his gifts thinking, "well I must have been a really bad Mom this year"

Me: Put your husband on the phone please...

(Stepfather picks up)

Me: Ummmm did you not think it was a little odd when you were sitting there opening your gifts from us that all Mom had was a bar?

Stepfather: Yeah, I thought it was a bit strange. I helped her look all over the house though and we couldn't find any other presents, and she looked in here too (his parents house) figuring maybe she sent it in by accident but there's nothing here....

Me: Where is the gift certificate your sister picked up for me back in November? You were supposed to put it under the tree?!?!?

Stepfather: (laughing very hard) Oh, s#&*! Well, that's a good one...I forgot all about that! (calling over his shoulder) I know where your gift is! I'll get it for you when we go home! (hahaha)

Me: SIGH...put Mom back on the phone...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a man who hides various cards all around the house, forgets, picks up more, and then finds them the following year when he is looking to stash a new set, forgot to put something he didn't purchase under the tree for someone else. The sad thing is that not only did my stepfather completely forget our conversation about how I was going to send that bar in wrapping paper as a decoy and help Mom look for her missing gift, but when they were visiting his family (who all knew what her gift was), she told them about her confusion and not ONE of them piped up and told her the difference because it didn't dawn on ANY of them!

Ah well, I'm not sure what that says about their memories (or lack of), but it makes for some good comic relief anyway...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Classics

A quick update, and then on to the good stuff...

Canada Post pulled it off by the skin of their teeth and my family got the rest of their presents and cards. Again - PHEW! The surprise wedding gift went over well - I put together a brochure for a mini-honeymoon and had a gift certificate sent out from The Leaside Manor in St. John's. Apparently I timed it perfectly...the only thing is, they got the certificate in the morning and had to go back to the post office later in the day to get their parcel because they hadn't been sorted yet when they made their ritual daily trip to pick up the mail. Of course, all that did was provide a little mystery and intrigue (since it was unsigned) before the brochure arrived to set things straight so it's all good. My brother and his girlfriend are going to chip in and pay for whatever dining and entertainment or relaxation options they select from the brochure as well, so it should be a good time for them (and I'm quite happy with myself for having such a bright idea in the first place :D).

Ok, so my partner and I have been in the midst of our annual Christmas DVD marathon for the past few days and I figured I would scour You Tube for some clips of our favourites to share on here (in no particular order)


1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the original is my fave, but I guess the updated Jim Carrey version is ok too)

2. A Muppet Family Christmas

(the Fraggles sing "Pass it On" about 3 minutes in)

3. A Muppet Christmas Carol

4. Rudolph


1. The Nutcracker (live...not on DVD...and we don't get to see it this year :()

2. Scrooge

3. It's A Wonderful Life

Oh, and FYI, the only Christmas movie I can honestly say I can't stand (although I've never been able to sit through the whole thing because that kid with the glasses annoys the crap out of me):

A Christmas Story (Blech!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 Days to Christmas

I finally received the parcel containing all our Christmas gifts yesterday (after getting two expressed ones with cakes, homemade white and raisin bread and Rodrigues blueberry wine - YUM! Thank you mommy :D). Phew! However, the jury is still out on whether my mother will get the one I sent her on the 7th (with the rest of their presents in it) on time :s I have been dying with anticipation for them to get theirs because there is a surprise for my parents in there. I cannot divulge any more information than that until they have opened it, but I am uber excited for their reactions!

Our Christmas plans for this year seem to be tanking...the aunt and uncle living on the lower mainland decided to spend the holidays on the Rock, the annual invite for Christmas dinner hasn't come through yet (we bought our own holiday grub for a quiet dinner at home to be safe) and we just can't seem to make a trip to Alberta to see a couple of friends (which requires 9 hours of driving each way) work time wise. We have been invited to a New Year's Eve pajama party, however (which I am hoping is not a code name for 'orgy' ha ha), so that could be interesting if we decide to go.

My significant other found some frozen dough at the grocery store last week, so we made toutons over the weekend (or tiffins, if you are from Central/Bonavista Bay and possibly other parts of the province). A little taste of home (sort of) before the holidays. Fish and brewis will be on the menu at some point as well. Not exactly heart - or waistline - healthy fare, but 'some shockin good' nonetheless. However, I am feeling a little guilty for eating Lindor chocolates with my breakfast today, followed by a mid-morning snack of Ferrero Rochers. That was perhaps a bit too decadent. I shudder to think what the scale has in store for me after the holidays! ...aaaaaand I just provided myself with the motivation to work out when I finish writing this!

I also took the time to mosey over to Product of Newfoundland earlier and discovered some links and videos in regard to mummering. I was actually searching for some of this stuff online a few years ago to show some people here and was unable to find what I was looking for (of course, I was also not familiar with You Tube at that point).

Anyway...about mummering...the last time I remember seeing real live mummers was when I was in high school. It was a nice, quiet night at my house that was suddenly disrupted by loud knocking at the door. My step-dad answered and found two mummers (looking a tad like distorted shepherds or wise men) on the doorstep. My parents were delighted and we all went downstairs, plying them with chocolates and other treats and trying to figure out who they were. Since they were a little on the "slight" side in build, my stepfather made sure to ask them if they were legal before offering drinks. They assured him they were and so he poured up some rum. It turned out they were a couple of grade 12 guys from my high school (who may or may not have been drinking age), which was a little awkward for the teenaged me at the time of unveiling, but had been great fun otherwise. Come to think of it, that was probably the only close encounter with mummers that I can remember. How sad is that? Although, I do recall seeing pictures of family members mummering in years gone by and it looked like they had a ton of fun...and apparently last year my oldest aunt saw fit to dress up and visit her sisters (or was that for Halloween?). If I wasn't aware of her youthful spirit and thirst for mischief, I might have been worried about Alzheimer's or other aspects of her it is, I am just sorry I missed it - according to my mother she actually managed to fool my nan (her mother) and everyone had a good laugh afterwards (I wonder how many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians actually still take part in that particular tradition?).

So, for your enjoyment, entertainment, or education, I give to you:

...which is taken from:

The Mummer's Show/Fortune Bay Christmas , which is a Land and Sea Newfoundland classic (side note: I have stumbled upon various Land and Sea programs from time to time on the tube up here and man do they ever make me well up with homesickness).

I am also including this little tidbit which, according to Robert at Product of Newfoundland, was tres popular but somehow missed my inbox, because I think it's worth a listen:

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And No Sooner Had She Said the Words...

OK seriously, it was a bit much it is just downright ridiculous. The phone and Internet were down again all day yesterday. The phone miraculously came back today and the Internet followed suit tonight. I am keeping my fingers crossed they will stay up and running until we make the switch at the end of the month and am hoping with all my might that we will have reliable service again then...

On the upside, there are only 10 days left until Christmas (well, 9 I guess if you consider that this one is almost gone). However, my Christmas spirit seems to be on the fritz again this year. I am not the Grinchy type, so perhaps it is the absence of family that makes it a little harder...or maybe it is just not close enough to the day in question for the holly jollies to kick in for me - who knows. For now they come and go and I will say again: It's a good thing my partner has enough holiday spirit for the two of us!

OOOh I almost forgot...I got two bundles of cheer in the mail yesterday - one from a very dear friend and one from my momma containing Christmas cakes and other goodies. Yes, I admit that I am very much spoiled (and it's some good, too)!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back in Touch

I just finished posting two entries I had previously started and am now posting an update that covers what's been going on since then...

So, as previously noted, I've been disconnected from the world for a bit. Things are finally coming together at the new place (between sickness and work and a couple of days out of town, not a lot has been happening except on the weekends) and after a long and frustrating battle with phone and cable companies, we have been finally been hooked back up.

It all started back on the 29th...I called in to request that our services all be moved to the new address and, seeing how it was a little more last minute than we had intended, expected that it would probably be a few days' wait until everything was up and running. I was surprised on two counts...

Firstly, I was pleased to be informed by the phone company that the move would be implemented the following day and we would be good to go right away. Secondly, the cable company said we would have to wait until the 8th to get our service transferred, which I found kind of irritating and disappointing.

Of course, as it turned out, there were several problems with the phone company while the cable crew stayed true to their word. When we awoke on the 30th to find that the phone was cut at our old apartment, we assumed it had been reconnected at our new one, as per the information we were given. Not so. We waited until Monday afternoon(December 1st) and when there was still no service, I called to inquire as to what was going on. Long story short, 11 days later, after several phone calls and countless hours on the phone with customer service repeating the same information and detailing the problem over and over and over again, a tech was finally dispatched to our place and rewired our jacks because he couldn't figure out what was wrong and we got a dial tone. Apparently, while our phone was down, people had been calling and leaving messages on our voicemail and assuming that we weren't returning their calls and our mailbox, since we couldn't access it at all, was full. Great. Meaning that anyone who called after those first 10 messages was not able to leave us a message and our phone - which wasn't connected - was unable to pick up their phone numbers on the display. Let's hope we didn't miss anything too important! Anyway, thinking that would solve the problem, we were very excited to try the Internet again and very annoyed when it still did not work.....which meant yet another round of calls to the phone company by me. SIGH....

Then next day, all necessary lights were illuminated on our modem and we gave it another go. A self set up screen popped up and I attempted to go through the steps...but got a message telling me it wasn't set up properly. However, I was - and am - still able to get online through our home network and so that's all that matters to me at this point.

We decided after all of this inconvenience and shoddy service that we are going to switch our phone and Internet service to the cable company, which will take effect on the 30th I am told. Financially, this will save us somewhere in the neighbourhood of $40 a month (with the bundle savings, downgrading the long distance plan I have been paying for and not using up, and upgrading the cable) - which was a bit of a shock but definitely a bonus! In the meantime, I have been in contact with the phone company again and managed - on three separate occasions through dealing with three different agents - to get a bunch of money knocked off our last bill - which is also great, but too little too late.

Now...if I can only figure out how to shave some costs off the cell phone bills...and, of course, find a place for all of the things that are still floating around this place without a home...

Again on the upside, I have finished all my Christmas shopping (stocking stuffers included) and there is a light at the end of the card-making tunnel :-) I had gotten a fierce start on all of this back in October, of course, when I shipped the first parcel of presents and whatnot back to Newfoundland, but there was a definite lull in holiday preparations while other aspects of life took centre stage for a bit. The tree has also been assembled and decorated - which my partner began during the first wave of unpacking...good thing one of us is in the spirit (hoping mine will make an appearance soon)!

Ah well, back to it then...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Out of Commission/The Big Move

I am currently sitting in a hotel room, taking advantage of their complimentary Internet service on my laptop while I wait for my recently indispensible BlackBerry and iPod to both charge. Since our recent move, I have had time to contemplate society's in general and my in particular reliance on modern communication and media devices. In short, the cable and phone companies have been slacking and we still don't have a home phone, Internet, or cable at our new apartment and I have been majorly feeling the isolation.

Let me backtrack a bit, because the move itself is worthy of description.

We moved into our old apartment after arriving in town and spending three nights in a motel with a U-Haul in the parking lot, scouring the place for rentals during the days and coming up empty. Finally, on the third day, one of the buildings we had contacted notified us that a couple who had applied to live there had been turned down during the screening process and they now had one unit available if we wished to rent it (there was apparently a wait list that she decided to let us bypass due to our dire circumstances and the fact that I was due to start work the following day). Our apartment wasn't bad, but we essentially moved in out of desperation for a place to live and we weren't really sold on it from the start. It is on the third floor of the building, but due to the surrounding landscape, felt more rather basement/jail-esque. In the summer there were far too many bugs and no balcony to grill on and in the winter there was too much moisture (and, we discovered, mold cropping up underneath the paint that we surmise had been slathered over it prior to our move in unbeknownst to us, and despite the steps we took to fight it afterwards) and no sunlight. We had been wanting to move out of there since the first year, but the timing was never quite right. When there were apartments and houses available for rent, we lacked either the time or the money to relocate and when we had time and money, there was nothing available to rent again. This went on for three long years until finally, this fall, we had truly come to the end of our ropes and decided we had had enough. We viewed three other apartments in our complex and chose the one we just moved into as the best available and agreed to take the plunge. No matter that we have no idea how long we will be residing here, the tenancy is month to month and I, for one, had no intention of spending another month in that mold infested dungeon if I could at all prevent it. And so it began.

We paid our damage deposit around the middle of the month and slowly began moving our belongings to our new digs. We thought we were doing great and that it would be a relatively easy move given the time frame in which we had to accomplish it and that we were only moving to another unit in our current building. However, towards the end of November, that view began to change. We both had prior extra-curricular commitments to honour and the countdown was on. Come the last weekend of the month, it was panic city for me (I tend to be a little more prone to stress than my partner). So, on Saturday night, in the midst of the hockey tournament, social outing, and volunteering we were engaged in, I realized that we had not checked the mail on Friday. I went downstairs in a break from packing and toting stuff and found an envelope from the landlady informing us that, after we had removed our possessions and cleaned the apartment as per the checklist we were given, we were booked to do a walk-through of our old apartment upon check out at 1pm on November 30th and that, if this was not convenient, we were to contact her and schedule a time prior to then.

This was news to me. firstly, I had received no check list, and secondly, I was under the impression that we had the whole of the 30th to finish everything. Then of course there was the matter of work. How were we to meet with her and walk through when we were both working at that time? My initial reaction was, as I said, panic. How on earth were we going to meet the new deadline with all the crap on our plates? Then I sprung into action and got a checklist from the lady who works weekends and busted my ass to do more packing. When my partner got home, I informed him of the new developments and the next day I continued on while he played hockey. When he got home the two of us slugged all our remaining stuff to the new apartment and then finished gutting and scrubbing the place from top to bottom to ensure we got our damage deposit back.

We bought chemical cleaners with the hopes of cutting down on cleaning time. Big mistake. As a result of exposrue to them, I got sick. After a very long night (it took longer than we expected to finish the move and the final cleaning, etc.) the two of us walked down the hall dragging the last of our gear, picked our way through the rubble and collapsed into bed. The next day, I went to work and was exposed to a bunch of dust when the new heating system was turned on for the first time and I've been sick ever since. The up side is that gives me lots of time to be unpacking. The downside is I'm sick and I don't want to be unpacking or crawling over crap all day long (nor looking at it either). And I have no means of contact with the outside world except my and the company of my iPod being my only sources of entertainment as well.

Anyway, we have to finish unpacking and putting stuff away over the next few days and then dig out the holiday decorations. I am hoping I will be feeling well soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movie Night

We went to see New Moon tonight and it was sold out. Instead we took in A Christmas Carol. It was my first experience with 3D and it was enjoyable. I'm glad I don't do drugs because I was thinking if someone came to one of these stoned it probably wouldn't go down well...then again there are probably millions of people who do just that everyday...I'm just the type of person who would be freaking out instead of being awed by the heightened coolness.

Since the lady in front of us was rather scented, we hurried to switch seats while she was taking her daughter to the washroom before the movie began to lessen the embarrassment factor. The irony is that she came back and sat behind us with a bunch of her friends who had showed up. Sigh. Let the suffering begin. However, I was lucky because she sat furthest from me and I just had sniffles, a sore throat, congestion and some coughing. The teens behind us, on the other hand, drove my partner crazy with all their texting and talking.

At the end of the movie I was going to take a picture of us in our goofy glasses but we got kicked out of the theatre because the guy cleaning up was all stressed out about the people waiting outside the building to come in for the next round of shows. He was rather rude about it though and there was no need of that.

On another note, we moved some stuff today and I did some cleaning at the new apartment but we still have tons to go. Bit by bit it is all trickling down there...good thing we have some time to complete the move instead of having to do it all in one day!

And one last tidbit: my family threw a surprise congratulatory bash in response to my parents surprise wedding and I missed it. These are the times when it sucks to be away from home.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Change is Coming

....well more than one to be precise, some of which have already cropped up, blindsided me, and taken effect on their own.

I realized after I posted the last entry mere seconds ago that I had neglected to write about the more exciting things taking place in favour of the more routine everyday annoyances.

I will attempt to remedy that without being too incredibly long-winded...which, incidentally, will probably take me much longer than if I were to just ramble freely. Go figure.

OK, so here are the highlights of my week so far....

There was an unfortunate incident involving keys and a late night text composed of the word "help" that ended in a 3am trip to the front door in order to stare like a sleep-deprived deer into unfamiliar halogen headlights and hand over my own set so that my partner could regain our mode of transportation.

My mother and the man I have been referring to as my "step-father" for the past few years have, after 22 years, made it official. They quietly went and got married on Monday and didn't tell anyone (except their parents, who practically found out on the way to church to serve as witnesses....luckily, no heart attacks were sustained) until after the deed was done. Shocking and unexpected much? Still trying to wrap my head around that would think nothing much would change except on paper - and you'd be right - but there is still something a little unsettling about being taken by surprise like that. Anyway, good for them. They seem rather happy about it, and I'm happy for them too.

We are moving. Down the hall. It seems a little stupid and pointless when you say it like that. Especially since we don't know how long we will be here still. However, we have had enough of this apartment and some well lit and mold free digs with complimentary balcony were too enticing to pass up.

I have started working on an "Action Plan" to find a new career path. It sounds more exciting than it is, trust me. I'm just glad to finally have some wheels in motion to get me out of this confused indecision I seem to be mired in, however slowly they may be turning. Oh, and I also finally got a nibble on one of the resumes I threw out to the general workforce and almost caught an interview, which was encouraging.

I am beginning to re-emerge from my latest stint as a hermit and regain some semblance of a social life. Which is good. Still working on that one, but it's a start that I have been out of my apartment on a non-work or errand related venture this week with someone other than my partner and have plans to do so again over the next little while. Anyway, better not jinx myself by saying too much on that score. Suffice it to say that it is one more thing that makes me happy.

And that's it for now, in a nutshell. You are officially up to date.

Dem's the Brakes

So I have been getting a lot less sleep than I am used to functioning on for the past week or two due to a lot of changes, a few unexpected incidents, some job-related stress, and an inability to shut my brain off from thinking about them all. My body is telling me it's had enough. However, I dragged my butt out of bed this morning at 6:30am to wake myself up and start getting ready in case I was called to work. I even went the extra mile and did my hair and makeup and packed my lunch in advance...just in case. And wouldn't you know it...this looks like it is going to be the first day in a while that I will not be getting called in. I suppose in a way it's like a gift - an unexpected day off, who wouldn't love that?! On the other hand, I happen to love sleep and I am seriously jealous that my partner (who is a shift worker and currently working the "afternoon" shift) is still sleeping while I've been up for 2 1/2 hours. That's just not right.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just For Shits and Giggles

Y'ave probably seen um all before but what odds, right? We all could use a good laugh an' dese ere all made me smile or laugh out loud ;)...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Generation Gap

While I was home this summer, I convinced my parents to get new cell phones. Previously, they had shared an old cast off from my brother and it had long since had its day. My mother and I went and picked them out and got them signed up for a new plan, which included texting. They are now the owners of cells that will easily make them the envy of all the teens in town. After a brief tutorial for each of them, I left them to it to play with their new toys and once in a while I even get a text from one of them.

Such was the case a few days ago when they were out of town and my mother chose texting as an avenue to touch base with me. I read her message and was a little surprised to see it signed "lol Mom." Hmmm, I thought, God love her for trying but I don't think she thinks that means what I think it means. When I talked to them on the phone the following day, I asked my mother what lol means. Her response: Lots of love. I broke the news that I have always known those three letters to signify "laugh out loud," but I guess that explains why my aunt always signs her emails to me that way. And here I thought she was just easily amused...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

A collection of videos in honour of the fallen, as well as those who are still standing. Thank you.

The Last Post:

Terry Kelly - A Pittance of Time:

Bryan Adams - Never Let Go:

...and lastly, this one. I looked and looked but could not find the original video that I remember watching on Much Music each year when I was younger, so this one will have to do. At least the song is the same.

Bryan Adams - Remembrance Day:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Insert Letter Here

So I got to do something different and interesting today...I job shadowed somebody for part of their day. It was a nice change of pace and gave me some insight and things to think about. It's part of my "what do I want to be when I grow up" campaign. I am hoping to job shadow others in the near future and am considering a trip to the local employment service center on a quest for enlightenment...or at the very least, some help with my resume.

On a completely different note, I glanced at my moniker a little while ago and it inspired me to share a little story... One of my favourite comfy t-shirts is one that I purchased at Living Planet while home on vacation a couple of years ago. On it is printed the word "Baygirl." This word needs no explanation to any Newfoundlander, but its definition is not exactly blatant to British Columbians. I have joked to others who have been to Newfoundland and know the meaning behind the term that other people here probably think it is a type of perfume or cologne or something. However, what I didn't account for is how the human brain works...An acquaintance of mine here remarked to me a while ago that certain colours look good on me and happened to mention my t-shirt..."you know, the one with 'Baby Girl' written on it..." I wonder how many people are seeing that when they look at my shirt?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Still Kicking

After a whole lot of burning and freezing this week, I am happy to report that I have been fever free for 2 days now and both my arms are once again fully functional with only a scatter twinge of soreness left. The coughing, aching, headache, and fatigue are taking a little longer to go away, but I think I am definitely on the mend. Yippee!

I have to admit, I am quite the sook when I am sick. I blame it on some seriously intense spoiling when I was younger.

My grandmother's routine when one of us was under the weather was to come around and check on us at least once a day and at least once during the illness she would bring a "lunch" of store-bought treats with her. I loved to hear her coming. Nan laid her hand on our foreheads to check our temperatures, stroked our hair and doled out all kinds of sympathy. She always had recommendations for whatever ailed us, and if we were suffering from respiratory issues, that included rubbing Vick's Vaporub on our chests and backs and covering it with swatches of flannel.

It also sometimes meant that she would make us homemade molasses candy....I can't remember the exact ingredients or proportions, but I know that the process involved butter and molasses in a "dipper" on the stove top and it was a very sticky, messy business. I know that when she was done, she would grease her hands and roll the concoction into little balls, put them on a plate and stick them in the fridge to harden. I know that I loved them dearly and attempted to make them on my own a couple of times when I got sick at university and was particularly sooky (just not the same)....I also know that she mixed in a dollop of Vick's and/or Minard's liniment...both of which I'm pretty sure you are not supposed to ingest. In any case, they made me feel better and I never had any run-ins with poison control, so it's all good.

I was telling my beau about this and he was quite amused. God love him, he does bear up well to the tall order of taking care of me when I'm sick. My Mom (who I usually talk to on a daily basis anyway since I landed myself in BC) has been checking in from Newfoundland a couple of times a day to make sure I'm still breathing, and a few of my friends have let me know they are thinking of me, so I'm definitely raking in the attention and feeling loved...I still miss Nan's molasses candy and flannel though.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bonfire Night

November 5th in Newfoundland (a.k.a. Bonfire Night) was always a big deal when I was younger. Us youngsters would spend weeks preparing; roaming the ridge in our rubber boots with tomahawks in hand, cutting up boughs that we dragged home and piled high, continually scouting the woods for the treasured "blassy" ones that would add some pizazz to our fires. It was a fierce competition with a huge team effort and we never missed an opportunity to brag to our friends about our stash.

There was always a community bonfire held in town, but up until my late teenage years, I always attended the cozier family bonfire that took place in the rocky, gravelly, no man's land between our yard and the bog. Since several generations of my extended family lived close by, there was always a crowd composed of aunts, uncles, and cousins, along with my grandmother, my immediate family, and sometimes a various assortment of great aunts and uncles as well as the neighbours who stopped by from time to time.

Our excitement would build for days until we could barely contain ourselves, counting the hours until we could bundle up in our winter gear and head out after supper at some point. There was usually a big fire for warmth, which the adults generally sat around, closely watching and helping us while having a few beers, and then there was a smaller one for us to take turns roasting wieners and marshmallows in, using spears cut from alder branches that one of my uncles would carve for us each year.

Invariably, as we talked and laughed, sang, and looked around at the smoke and flames of our neighbours' fires licking at the night sky, we all gradually ended up with a gooey mess of melted goodies and soot all over our faces and hands (adults included). Most often someone ate so much they got sick. But it was a grand ole time, nonetheless.

When I got older, it became a time to celebrate with my friends in different locations around town more-so than hanging out with my family, but the premise was still largely the same (minus the little kids and the grown-ups who would spoil our fun).

I first started to miss Bonfire Night during my university years, because often I stayed in St. John's, where you can't just light a fire wherever you want. However, I missed it more terribly the first couple of years I was away from The Rock and realized that it doesn't exist here or anywhere else in Canada or the rest of the world, for the most part.

Why would anyone still care enough to celebrate the downfall of some guy who tried to blow up the Parliament buildings in London back in the 1600's anyway, right? one, if you ask me. But it really has nothing to do with Guy Fawkes anymore. It is just another deep-rooted Newfoundland tradition, leftover from our days as a British colony, that gives us one more excuse to have a good time and enjoy our freedom with the people in our lives (and I have always found myself entranced by the dancing flames of a burning fire regardless - no matter where I am or who I am with). God, how I miss the Island sometimes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

All Shot Up

I've taken a little bit of an unplanned hiatus from my newborn blog - mostly due to lack of inspiration and tiredness. However, I ventured out today to get vaccinated and am returning with lots of blog fodder.

Here is a rundown of my experience:

Arrived at clinic site at approximately 9:20 am, read the sign stating eligibility criteria and walked to the end of the line. Senses promptly assaulted by the scent of very overpowering perfume. Attempted to put some space between myself and said smell to alleviate negative allergic reactions without losing my spot.

9:25ish saw an elderly lady walk out of the clinic and inform her husband (standing in front of me) that he is not eligible for the vaccine today because he is over 65 - no matter that he is diabetic, as long as he has gotten his seasonal flu shot already - and that they turned her away after an hour wait.

9:45ish witnessed a lady with a young boy park her truck and jump into the lineup about 3 people ahead of me next to a lady she apparently knew, followed by the man who had been conversing with the elderly gentleman who left with his wife now shuffling to a place further up the line.

Around 10:00, listened as the woman in front of me called over a health care worker and asked if he could tell her who was eligible for the clinic today and what shot was being offered.

10:15ish, two people proceeded to light cigarettes and smoke while standing in line (one of whom was the same lady the one with the kid had went to stand beside). Saw a man come over and ask the health care worker at the entrance if people over 65 were allowed to get inoculated today, as that was what he heard at the coffee shop this morning.

10:30ish, entered the building, read the sign requesting that clients have their Care Cards ready, and was entertained by a group of obviously extroverted mothers who were chasing their toddlers around and hollering at them, basking in the attention they were generating. Watched a nurse doling out shots to moms and kids and mentally gave her a pat on the back for the job she was doing and being able to stand up to all the crying with a smile. Coughed into my sleeve a few times after running out of Bentasil and noticed various nervous glances being shot my way accompanied by expressions informing me that I was a pariah in their midst.

Moved to the registration table, handed over my Care Card, and assured the lady doing the paper work that I have asthma and was advised by my doctor to show up and get both vaccines. Continued on to the seating section with my papers in hand and was hustled into the second row of chairs. Shuffled over several times as seats became vacant until I reached the end of the row and was pointed in the direction of a free injection station. Informed the nurse that I am already sick and had a fever last night, answered some questions, told her I had an allergy shot in my left arm yesterday and am scheduled for one in my right arm Monday, and listened as she told me that the H1N1 shot would hurt less going in but that the flu shot shouldn't make my arm as sore afterwards and to be prepared to get sicker before I get better (which I was expecting anyway but which still wasn't good to hear considering last night's fever was already an uncomfortable and scary 102.4 degrees).

11:00 The main event! Got jabbed in both arms, and then directed to another seating section and told to wait 15 minutes to make sure I was OK before leaving. Overheard an elderly lady speaking with a health care worker who was telling her that she is not eligible for the shot today, asking whether she was already informed of that by the workers patrolling the lineup outside, and that no, there were no exceptions being made. Left the clinic at 11:15 and drove home.

And now, the commentary/rant...

1. I cannot believe how inconsiderate some people are. Who in their right mind shows up at a vaccination clinic coated in perfume to stand in line with a bunch of asthmatics? Hello! Great way to set everyone coughing and rushing for their inhalers! Likewise to the up in the midst of a group of people with lung issues as well as young children and infants. Smart. Thanks for that. Not to mention the couple who came out with their son, who was upset and had been crying after getting vaccinated, put him in their car and stood around smoking. When he tapped on the window and asked for a drink, the father replied "You can have a drink after. Dad is having a 'moke first." Good of them to not smoke in the vehicle with him for sure, but I was still a little put off by the display and thinking perhaps they had gotten their priorities mixed up a little along the way.

2. How is it that we expect children to abide by the unwritten rules of lining up and yet there are adults out there who still have not mastered the concept. Rude and bursting with self-importance and a false sense of entitlement much? What makes you any more special than the rest of us out there freezing our butts off that you think you can just prance on up to any place in line you feel like standing?

3. Why do people not read signs? They are not plastered all over the place to pretty things up, people! Conversely, the first time I saw anything about Care Cards was once I was inside the building. While it is probably a no-brainer anyways, prior signage wouldn't hurt - as I did hear some people say they had forgotten theirs, and I had to check and make sure I had mine at that point as well...

4. Why would you show up at a vaccination clinic and stand in line if you don't even know which shot is being offered? Wouldn't it make more sense to find that out FIRST? Or at the very least, ask someone when you arrived (like the man from the coffee shop who was using his brain)? Ditto for the people who ignored the signs and the patrolling workers only to get inside and be rejected.

5. What is the need of purposely making a public spectacle of yourself outside of the expected venues? Much as it provides entertainment, it does tend to become a tad obnoxious and annoying after a while...

6. Kudos to the nurses shooting up the infants and toddlers. Don't think I could do it. I did notice though that most of the infants didn't bat an eyelash, versus those who were older who almost all bawled. Makes me think that perhaps it is a chain reaction for the ones who are old enough to cries, scares the others, and sets them all off when it is their turn.

7. I feel bad for showing up sick and needing to cough...but honestly I hadn't coughed this morning and probably would have been coughing from the perfume anyway even if I wasn't sick...and I DID use my sleeve. Perhaps people would have felt better if I had been wearing a mask, like a couple of other people I saw at the clinic? Although I have a hunch those masks were more about protecting themselves from airborne viruses than those around them...

8. I am relieved and glad that I didn't have to endure one of the horror stories that have been on the news lately in relation to flu clinics. I was kind of worried and not sure what to expect when I left the apartment this morning, but I thought it was relatively quick, efficient, and painless - minus the other people who showed up and caused some irritation and discomfort but that had nothing to do with the people running the clinic....although I do wonder if there are/will be rules around smoking and scents at these sorts of things. It would make sense, if you ask me...

I am starting to question my own sanity injecting all this crap into my body and I am really hoping I made the right choice getting these two shots today. Part of me was thinking I should really hold off until I was better and maybe go for it then. There was also an odd mixture of thoughts and images floating through my mind at various points as I watched and waited. Predominantly, I couldn't stop myself from thinking we were just like a bunch of cows being herded inside, treated, and then released into the holding pen before being sent out to pasture to graze again (I apologize if I used incorrect terminology or odd imagery there...I am not an expert on cows and pastures by any means, but I haven't quite been able to absorb, digest, process, and put my finger on what exactly I would compare it to what with the muddied thoughts and all from the various drugs and injections over the past couple of days...I probably shouldn't even be writing right now...God only knows what drivel I am spouting at the moment) and wondering if I was being smart and prudent or stupidly succumbing to what the fear-mongers have been shoving down my throat.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I am beginning to feel like a pincushion between this and the allergy shots and am not enjoying the sore arms and matching bruises, but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end...

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Visit to the Doctor's Office

Today I went to see my doctor for yet another in the series of allergy shots I have committed to getting over a three year period (previously discussed in "Scent Sensitive"). These shots have been designed to build my body's immunity to environmental allergies in the hopes that lessening its' burden will allow it to better cope with the ensuing reactions after coming into contact with certain unidentified chemicals and fragrances - for which there are no current treatments except avoidance since there are so many thousands of them used (go here for an indication in such a plethora of combinations that allergy treatments targeting them specifically are deemed impossible at this point. Check these out for an idea of the effects of some of those toxins and information on how to minimize exposure to them (should've included them in the previous rant I suppose, but that's it)...

....alas, I digress....

Something quite different was brought to my attention when I reported to the receptionist seems the waiting room has now become a segregated space: flu patients on one side and non-flu patients on the other. In addition, the waiting room is now adorned with several strategically placed large pump bottles of hand sanitizer, accompanied by signs advising that they should be used. During my wait, I also noticed that one of the patients sitting on the "flu" side was sporting a mask over his mouth - I can only assume he was doing his best to avoid infecting anyone else with a possible case of H1N1...? Thoughtful, to be sure, but also more excessive than anything I have previously encountered.

Speaking of H1N1, I let you in on my dirty little secret yesterday: I haven't made up my mind whether or not to get vaccinated - GASP! Anyway, I figured I would capitalize on the opportunity presented to converse with my doctor on said subject while she was sticking a different needle in my arm. In a nutshell, she agrees that there is a lot of hype, she says people are scared because H1N1 is unpredictable (you may experience mild symptoms only and get better on your own, but it has also been known to kill otherwise healthy individuals that would not have been expected to react so violently to the virus). She advised me that there are cases in our city and that people have been hospitalized for it. She said that if the regular flu shot doesn't bother me then this one shouldn't either, as it is prepared in the same way, recommended that I get it, and informed me that she and her children would all be getting vaccinated (if that made me feel any better). Which makes me wonder, why is it that the online poll conducted by the local paper found that, of 174 votes, 59% are NOT planning on getting the vaccine while 40% say they will? And then there are statements like these on the BC government's website claiming that the "safety [of the vaccines] will be carefully monitored during their use in Canada and internationally" - gotta observe the scientific method after all; observe and report on those guinea pigs! - and that of the two varieties available, only one is recommended for pregnant women. Why is that? What makes it OK for the rest of us if it is not OK for them?

I left the doctor's office still feeling uncertain and hesitant and I'm not sure why....but I did take a squirt of that sanitizer on the way out just in case ;)

Random Thoughts

1. I am so proud of myself today. I am almost finished my Christmas shopping, I worked out for the first time in ages (so wanting to get back into the routine, and so have not been able to since the decadent summer I enjoyed in Newfoundland), I took care of some stuff I have been wanting to do around the apartment, and I cooked and baked a bunch of stuff for the week. Yay me! (and that is my attempt at - to quote a dear friend of mine "shooting rainbows out my ass" today.)

2. H1N1 shot...indecision reigns. I have been doing a little research on the web and polling for opinions in other blogs and still have not come to any conclusions, except that the people who believe we should all be vaccinated really do express themselves quite vehemently! The thing is, I find it a little hard to separate the reality from the hype about this situation at times and, like all things, you could probably interpret the information several different ways depending on what you want to draw from it. One article I read had virtually convinced me to head out and have a needle jabbed in my arm and what I read from another had me thinking that there really was no need to do that, as H1N1's stats and behaviour are not a whole lot different than your garden variety seasonal flu. For those who are also still undecided, here are a couple of links to information dealing with the issue (I won't include all of the subjective blog posts I have perused):

3. Sigh...I am still playing the waiting game while searching for answers and exploring other avenues for jobs and locations. I am someone who likes to be prepared (halt! before those who know me can protest - procrastination and preparedness need not be mutually exclusive in my humble opinion!) and it is getting really annoying going from day to day and not knowing WHAT I am preparing for...I have packed up a bunch of stuff in case of a possible move, but I have no idea when and where we are going as of yet. We have been considering the north, but have not had any luck finding suitable jobs so far and we haven't been able to come up with a solid back up plan if that falls through. We just know that we don't plan on staying here forever and as much as it didn't make sense to move before when we didn't know where else we wanted to be, it also doesn't really make sense to stay here much longer if we don't intend to set down roots.

4. I was reading some articles from the local paper online and the comments that follow some of them are disgusting. I have to say, I was definitely not prepared for the level of racism that exists here. When I first moved to BC, I was expecting to find communities that appreciated the diversity of their citizens and excited to have an opportunity to learn about other cultures myself. The reality, I am finding, is much different. Specifically, I was - and still am - shocked at the tension that exists between natives and non-natives (on both sides), and have been in a few situations where it has made me more than a little uncomfortable. I am sure people with those types of mentalities exist throughout Canada and the world, but I got my first real exposure to it 4 years ago when I moved here and being hit in the face by it several times since has done nothing but disturb me more.

5. Just because a list of 4 things doesn't seem quite right...I am a little perplexed at my inability to produce a decent graham cracker crust....

Friday, October 23, 2009


In light of scrolling through my posts and realizing that on the surface they all seem to be expressiong complaints about one thing or another, I think perhaps I will shoot for some positivity the next time my fingers dance on my laptop ;)

Grey Foggy Days

We are at the midpoint of fall, and it's no trouble to tell. Not because of the changing and falling leaves, the cooler weather or the warmer clothing, but because of the drop off in communication that always occurs at this time of year. Summers are full of fun in the sun with friends - road trips, boat trips, barbecues and general get togethers...then comes fall. People settle back into the work groove instead of rebelling against it, teachers and students head back to school, families work on their nesting skills for the oncoming winter (and try to repair the holes in their bank accounts depending on how good a time was had), and friends generally don't have as much to talk about now that the excitement of the past season has ground to a halt. That is my theory at least. How else can I explain the disappearance of a vibrant social life?

Perhaps it is because I (like many other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living away) usually head home in the summertime to catch up with all my relations and have a great time. There is a resounding shock to my system that occurs when I come back to the west and what feels like, in comparison, social isolation - and it seems to be amplified in the fall. Maybe it is not the same for those people who actually live and work in familiar surroundings and circulate amongst their social network year round. Perhaps they don't experience the same feeling of withdrawal or disconnection from the outside world at this time of year. However, being an outsider does not make it easy. Sure, I have lots of acquaintances here, and even a few I would venture so far as to call friends...but I never get to see them or spend time with them much. And I do still have my friends and family back on The Rock (as well as those who have dispersed themselves to the four corners of the earth much like myself)...but they are busy getting back into their own routines as well and our topics of conversation have become limited now that we are not residing in the same place and interacting with the same people on a daily basis.

Then again, maybe it is because of the particular spot in which I have landed. After all, I do know of plenty of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have made a go of it in their new locations, surrounding themselves with new friends and immersing themselves in the local social scene (of course it also helps that many of them network through other ex-pats in the same locale. I have heard that some exist here, but so far as I can determine those stories are the stuff of urban legends and old wives tales, so it has been a tad difficult, to say the least, for me to accomplish the same feat).

Whether it is that people just don't operate the same way here or that it is very much a place that is reliant upon becoming part of a clique to obtain true social interaction I haven't been able to figure out yet. However, much of a fish out of water as I find myself at times, the uniqueness inherent to being a Newf doesn't seem to be the driving force behind the circumstances in which I find myself, either way...I have talked to others who have moved here and almost all of them have gone through the same thing and come to a point where they simply accepted that that's the way it is. Personally, I find it very strange and more than a little lonely at times to be confined to such an existence.

I don't know, perhaps I am just a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder or suffering from the boredom that ensues after the bottom drops out of living the life of a social butterfly. Whatever the case may be, I suppose I should just haul myself up by my bootstraps and trudge on through til the holiday season arrives and things pick back up again (which for me will be limited to the single invite out we have gotten for the past 3 years, due to the previously mentioned stunted network, in addition, perhaps, to another trip to see the extended fam 6 hours away for a couple of days)...ah, well...I suppose I can dream and live vicariously anyway...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Sad Truth

I heard a sad story the other day. It came from a 5 year old who said to me, "My dad was always sleeping but now he's gone. He was in the cop car." Naturally, my heart ached for the child, who I later found out has 3 siblings - and all of whom were recently placed in foster care; two in one household and the other two in separate homes.

The unfortunate truth - which we all know - is that situations like this are, regrettably, far too common. There are entirely too many harsh realities that permeate our society and, whether or not we still feel for others or have become desensitized to their plights, that still doesn't make it okay.

I realize that, once they pass a certain point, some things can simply be out of a person's control. Maybe. However, that doesn't excuse the trail of decisions leading up to the predicament in question, does it? I don't know. Perhaps it's just a by-product of a sheltered upbringing, but having a child tell you about their dad being taken away in a cop car so innocently and matter-of-factly like it is an everyday, normal occurrence, is just not right. I would think it impossible to be uncaring in the face of so bald a truth and I simply cannot understand how a person with children depending on them could make decisions that compromise their ability to parent those children. Yet, it DOES happen everyday. In a multitude of families and in a multitude of ways.

I cannot fathom what that must feel like and I am so thankful that I have never had to find out. Moreover, I am amazed at what some people can overcome to become happy, successful, adults against the odds. I just wish that the opposite was not also (understandable as it is) true; that even more of those children with troubled lives end up perpetuating the same dysfunctional cycles, unable to break free. Imagine what a world it would be if all children were nourished with love, security, structure, and support and given the freedom, encouragement, and space to grow...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Coffee is the Enemy of Sleep

I should definitely know better than to drink coffee. It is 2am and I am wide awake after indulging in a homemade cafe mocha at 5pm. What was I thinking?!?! I honestly cannot comprehend drinking cups upon cups of the stuff during the day and not being a total insomniac. How do people's bodies handle caffeine like that? Or perhaps it's one of those things where if I drank it enough I would build up a tolerance...? Either way, I wish I had refrained from indulging today. Guess I should just be thankful it's not a work night. My significant other, on the other hand, who is currently slumbering on the floor in the guise of watching a movie, has had at least twice as much as me today and maybe more. Funny how that works.

On a completely different note, I did manage to get a bunch of Christmas shopping out of the way today. Bonus. I am discovering that it is usually one of two extremes with me...two years ago I ended up having to ship my bundle of gifts home express, which meant coughing up a bigger chunk of change than I would have liked at the post office. Lucky for me, the parcel was late getting there but still in time for the holidays...which meant that my friends and family members were not disappointed and my shipment was free in the end (I complained and Canada Post sent me a cheque...I wish Air Canada was as obliging). This year, purchases, wrapping, and cards to be made, and I can send it to my mother to distribute when the time comes. You definitely have to plan ahead when you are nowhere near the recipients of your gifting...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scent Sensitive

I am currently suffering from yet another one of the sinus infections that have plagued me since moving to my current location. Did I ever have them before coming west? Yes. Yes I did. Did I have them as often or to such a bad degree? By and large, no - I did not. What appears to be the culprit? Well, as far as I can tell they are mostly due to the repeated exacerbation of my allergies, which creates an overload on my immune system and in turn results in one of these nasty little episodes. I won't bother grossing you out with the details, but suffice it to say it ain't pretty and it ain't fun.

On the surface, I suppose I could blame some of these symptoms on my exposure to the daily allergens I come in contact with...namely, "western trees and grasses (whatever that is supposed to encompass), dust, and mold." However, pollen levels vary and dust and mold are not ever-present in levels that would cause my body to go into meltdown mode. Perhaps if I was under stress at the time my immune system would be compromised that could be a contributing factor...And I have also blamed the air quality in my present locale, as it is definitely not the stuff of pristine wilderness.

But I am inside this body and have realized that it reacts rather strongly and rather quickly to a multitude of scents...specifically, the chemicals used to create those scents. I am not sure if I am becoming more sensitive as I get older or if I am just subjected to more irritants out here than I was back home and my system can't handle it anymore. Either way, it can be hellish.

It can happen anywhere, at any time. Much as I practice making decisions to protect myself in my immediate surroundings (i.e. at home or in my specific work environment to the best of my ability), I cannot control what I come into contact with during any given day. It is extremely frustrating. I have had to change seats during plays, leave movie theatres frantically searching for my inhaler (yeah I have asthma, too, which is also sometimes affected), run out of stores gasping for air, and avoid certain cashiers when I shop for groceries, among countless other inconveniences. And much of a nuisance as that is, and as embarrassing as it is for me to have to go to those measures for my own comfort and safety, I can somewhat understand. Obviously in our society I will never be free of every dangerous and allergy-inducing chemical known to man.

What I can't understand is having to deal with it in the workplace...which I do, on a continual basis. To my knowledge, quite a few work places back on The Rock have become scent free in recent years. I was under the impression that this was the case nationwide. Not so. At my last job, I questioned the scent policy and was told that it was the decision of each particular workforce to decide whether or not their building was scent free in this area and that, while my boss sympathized with my situation, he was not inclined to implement a policy for all employees as a solution (which left me feeling rather slighted in comparison to those with peanut or other allergies, which are taken more seriously - and yes, I do realize that some of those are life threatening. However, asthma can be too and while I am not afflicted with a condition that severe, who is to say there aren't others who are? And while I am on this side rant, if the airlines can stop serving peanuts then why can't they restrict passengers' use of scent? Isn't it the same premise? Prevent anaphylactic shock vs. prevent potentially life threatening asthma attack...I dunno, seems rational to me...). Alas, I had no other option but to single myself out as the lone shit disturber and start bringing it up at meetings and requesting some changes on my own (with my employer's support).

I resorted to this after being forced to take countless sick days due to my encounters with people, products, and objects of the scented variety while at work. And was it effective? No, ladies and gentlemen, it was not. While there was, eventually, some effort put into limiting workplace scents for my benefit (not to mention everyone elses, whether they realized it or not) by certain individuals, I was also promoted to the position of scratch and sniff lady, expected to test and pass judgment on their chosen scents. I'm sure they meant well, but seriously, what an awkward position to be put in and a surefire way to make myself a bigger target - and sick, to boot.

Now I am in a casual position which requires me to work in a few different buildings - and guess what? Most of them are not scent free either. Which means I am breathing in a different set of floating chemical cocktails from cleaners and personal care products all day long nearly every day, with no control over or protection from what I am exposed to. It's becoming quite annoying as well, because I can usually feel within a few minutes (sometimes less if I experience a more violent reaction) whether or not I'm going to be OK in a given place. But, like anyone else, when I am scheduled to be somewhere for the day, I have no choice but to stay there and work it, regardless of my condition (unless of course, God forbid, I am unfortunate enough one day to have to be hospitalized or something I suppose).

Some days are great. Nothing triggers me and I am fine from the time I arrive until I get home. Most days, I come into contact with something somewhere that irritates my respiratory system in some way, shape or form, makes me nauseous, gives me a headache, or any other of a host of negative reactions. If I am lucky, it will be something that I can limit my exposure to, choosing to avoid it for the majority of the day, and hopefully not feel its effects too badly. If I am not, I usually suffer in silence for fear of injuring someones feelings, causing a scene, embarrassing myself, etc, etc, etc. And after a few of those days of becoming more and more impaired, my body hits full rebel mode and I am no longer a fully functioning human being capable of living my life normally and getting through the work day.

Like I said, I get it that I am probably going to be confronted with this every day for the rest of my life, but I am hoping it will lessen with time - perhaps society will change for the better, perhaps I will eventually build up an immunity, or whatever else would improve the situation. In the meantime, I can't help comparing the whole thing to the ongoing fight between smokers and non-smokers...Individuals have the right to choose whether or not they use/wear certain products and fragrances, just like individuals have the right to choose whether or not they smoke. The difference is, non-smokers have recognized rights and are winning the battle to keep themselves free from pollutants (i.e. second-hand smoke generated from smokers).

Smokers cannot smoke in or around public buildings, workplaces, or even in their own vehicle if they have child passengers...but as a person who is sensitive to scents and chemicals, I have no recourse much of the time. For the most part, there are no widespread laws governing the use of fragrance. It is everywhere...public washrooms, laundromats, theatres, restaurants.....While I don't think it is a crime to want to smell good nor do I wish to implement a worldwide ban, I think it would be nice to promote increased awareness and consideration at the very least. It might also be nice to put some more pressure on the industry responsible for creating these monstrosities and forcing them to adhere to more strict regulations...I bet a lot of people would be surprised to know that there are ingredients used in personal care products and cleaners in North America that have been banned in Europe....

I have to insert here that I do, obviously, have close connections (friends, relatives, coworkers) that utilize their free will to employ scented products and that's fine by me as long as I am not around. And God love 'em, they do make changes to their regular routines to accommodate my extreme sensitivity, which I absolutely do sincerely appreciate. Words cannot express how grateful I am for that - truly. I guess it's different when it's someone you know well, eh? Although you would think common courtesy would dictate better treatment to anyone -stranger or no...Anyway, I digress...the point is there ARE safer/less toxic alternatives out there and -seriously -clean, fresh, and well groomed does not have to equal slathered in chemicals (although there are chemical laden scent free options on the market, too if you prefer). There are so many natural products on the market nowadays - both scented and non - and a lot of simple, tried and true solutions as close as your kitchen when it comes to cleaning. Of course, what you choose to use in your own space is completely up to you and all the power to you to do as you please. However, bear in mind that there are many people out there who suffer as I do and I think we deserve the freedom to breathe easily and free of pollutants (i.e. airborne fragrance particles)just as much as everyone else when we are out in public, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I have been at a loss recently as to what to write on here, but it seems almost obligatory to write something in relation to Thanksgiving. So, following, naturally, is a list of some of the things I am thankful for...

First of all, the usuals - which are too often taken for granted:

A roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, people who love me...and the fact that I am lucky/blessed enough to live in a society where freedom is a fact of life.

You see, when I began writing this post (it's been on hold for a couple of days and it is now currently the 14th...shhhhhh.....) I had just finished watching Afghan Star, a documentary detailing the experiences of a group of Afghans who attempted to create their own version of the popular Idol series that airs in many different countries. This film drove home for me yet again the circumstances in which so many people are forced to exist and I cannot imagine what it must be like to be unable to express yourself freely and display your talents without risking your life by doing so - literally. The contestants, and even the host, of Afghan Star were subjected to a wealth of repercussions for their behaviour, which was deemed by their fellow countrymen to be inappropriate and sinful. These negative consequences included death threats, eviction, stigmatization for their families, and the inability to return to their hometowns, amongst others. Some of the people involved in the TV production were actually forced to flee the country once religious leaders had determined that their actions were in violation of Islamic laws.

However, apparently self expression through various forms of art are not equally repulsive. According to random citizens polled in the streets, song and dance are judged separately...while some are of the opinion that they are both taboo, others say that "singing is fine - anyone can sing, " but for a contestant to dance or "move" on the stage is scandalous. It also lets the public know that they are "loose" and deserving of scorn.

Silly and pointless as many reality TV/contests are, I find it unfathomable that there are people in the world who have to live in fear for displaying their artistic talents. I mean, obviously I am aware of this alternate reality, but just thinking of the opposite ends of the spectrum from all the outrageous ways our society encourages (or at least tolerates/allows) self expression, in comparison to the restrictiveness of the current Afghan culture, which prohibits such - generally demure, in contrast (unless you include some of the more pornographic music videos aired daily) - actions as public singing and dancing, is hard for me to wrap my head around. Yes...I have lived a relatively sheltered life, and prior to my move out west, even more so...

So, I reiterate: in addition to being incredibly thankful that I live close enough to some extended family to have been able to visit them and sit down to Thanksgiving dinner together, I am also infinitely grateful that I have the freedom to express myself any way I choose and to practice any art form my little heart desires.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

From the East to the West

So I got to thinking the other day about various stuff I have encountered since I've been "Out West," and while there are some things that I have totally appreciated, there are others that I truly just don't get. I decided to short list a few for shits and giggles...

Things I enjoy:

1. The different landscapes. Love 'em. They're beautiful, and I have a bijillion pictures from all over the place to prove it. The mountains have become a part of me, just like the ocean always has been.

2. The fresh mountain air (which does NOT exist everywhere - read: mills galore - and will never replace the salty tang of the air in the North Atlantic). I am not sure how to describe it at the moment, but it is quite refreshing and rejuvenating in a way I've not experienced elsewhere.

3. The attitude that anything is possible (for the most part). There just seems to be a different kind of reality here. Instead of the pervasive, ingrained belief that things are unrealistic and unattainable, people see opportunities and possibilities, grab them and go for it!

4. There are four seasons and they actually occur when they are supposed to. It's a nice change to go through the cycle of winter, spring, summer, fall and experience each during the time frame in which it is supposed to come and go (instead of 3/4 of the year being winter, with a touch of the other three seasons thrown in just for appearances sake).

5. The increased ability to travel. Obviously, being on the Mainland offers advantages in this area...immediately, you eliminate the need to get off an island to go anywhere which makes things infinitely less complicated and more accessibile. You can reach more places by driving, and flights, in general, are cheaper (unless you are flying back east for a visit, that is...)

And now for the things that befuddle me:

1. I do not and will not ever understand what would drive someone to put sliced/chopped up mystery deli sandwich meat on top of Chinese food and serve it. However, I have encountered it in several places in BC and after several disappointing trial and error sessions and having to frown at my food, screw up my face, tutt, sigh, and pick it all off, I decided to boycott Chinese restaurants anywhere north of Vancouver (unless specifically recommended, in which case I may cautiously take a deep breath and give it a go) just in case...

2. I fail to comprehend why so many people feel the need to possess a dually or any other huge truck for that matter. I'm sorry, but there is no way THAT MANY people own and/or help operate a ranch/farm or have some other job-related issue that requires them to drive one of those gas-guzzling, atmosphere polluting beasts (which also apparently entitles the owner to monopolize the road at all times). Why else would you need one? It just irks me.

3. Passing lane etiquette in BC. 'Nough said (...but for the "Easterners" - read: anyone who resides anywhere past Saskatchewan - who may not know what I am talking about, I will briefly explain that when you see a passing lane, no matter how slow you are going beforehand, it means "GIVE 'ER!!!!!" If you see someone who looks like they may be attempting to pass you, stamp down on the gas until the passing lane ends, at which time you can slam on the brakes again and agitate them by forcing them to stay behind and follow you. Do this repeatedly). In Alberta, the issue seems to be an inability to drive below 140 or merge in traffic.

4. Newfoundland = Nova Scotia = New Brunswick. Yep, they're all the same place, and all included in "The Maritimes"...along with PEI of course - didn't you know? Totally interchangeable! The Annapolis Valley? Right next to St. John's, of course! ...and a person who is from Nova Scotia is called a Newfie, just like a Newfoundlander must be from Nova Scotia, right? Unless New Brunswick comes to mind first, that is...

5. The widespread inability to pronounce "Newfoundland" correctly...even when provided with repeated examples from a native Newfoundlander. Rhymes with "understand." Is it really that hard? I mean seriously, do I walk around calling this place "BRIGHT-ish Column-BEE-ah???" Honestly!!!

Now, in all fairness, I know there are things about Eastern Canadians that throw westerners off too (I personally find it makes my life easier to neutralize my accent and delete certain words and phrases from my speech when I am not at home, as a preventative measure, for starters). Hell, there are things that boggle my mind and I am from there!

Yes, there's no doubt those who have ventured east have probably been smacked in the face by our quirks just as much as we are by theirs (although I do think the eastern provinces offer up more fodder as they are more diverse than the western ones in my humble opinion. I can't really speak for central or the territories). However, I am also sure our western visitors have taken away things that have pleasantly surprised and enlightened them, just like I have out here.

Anyway - no matter how you slice it - easterners and westerners are just DIFFERENT. It's important to be aware of those differences (let's face it - some people are just plain oblivious), and celebrate that diversity and uniqueness as much as possible while remembering to afford others our respect...even if we do feel the need to walk away shaking our heads and rolling our eyes sometimes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

At The Crossroads

Being an adult truly blows goats sometimes. There are a bunch of changes coming down the tubes lately (mostly intertwined, which tends to complicate matters), and I'm not sure if I am prepared for any of them. In fact, I am not even sure I can separate them enough to formulate a coherent account of the issues I am currently attempting to navigate my way around - either here OR at the personal sorting station inside my brain :s Nevertheless, I will attempt to outline a few in this entry (if only to wrap my own head around it once more)...It's all pretty basic stuff, I'm sure, but with my knack for making things more complicated and worrisome than they need to be, it's no wonder I feel like I am weaving my way through a beast-ridden jungle right now...

First and foremost, 29 is a few days away - which means 30 is lurking just around the corner, waiting to pounce on me. I'm not sure it is something I could ever be ready for, but it boggles my mind to no end to contemplate all the things I wanted to see/do/accomplish before that benchmark age. Following that up with an attempt to figure out the logistics of checking them off my list and facing the dawning reality of how much time I actually have left in which to realize those dreams with an expiry date is rather daunting in itself, all other considerations aside.

Secondly, I am seriously debating my chosen career (have been for a while) and am currently weighing my options. It's a confusing and frustrating process at times, needless to say, and I really fail to see an endless stream of possibilities outside my door. Not to mention that when an adult contemplates these things, he/she not only has to figure out "what do I want?" and "how much time do I have?," but also take into consideration "what can I afford?," which will dictate what is acceptable in terms of salary, further schooling/training, etc. when weighed against current finances as well as present and future quality of life. In the meantime, said adult (in this case, moi) needs to keep afloat financially...which in my case means a continuation/waiting game of sorts in my current career coupled with an intensive job search on the side for solutions unknown.

Which brings us to the third conundrum...where does one find the solutions to all those ponderings? There is a ceaseless brain wracking, question asking, information seeking and running around in circles that follows these questions around in the adult world (or in my brain anyway). I am searching for ways to work these things into a (preferably better than) satisfactory outcome, but also have to factor in the fact that I am, at the moment, far away from my entire social network and not wanting to set down permanent roots in the place in which I have been residing for the past 3 years (although I have been working on a few temporary ones in the past year or so). I am debating a move...but where? I have been focusing on one place in particular at present. A place which I have never visited, is also far away from familiar surroundings and devoid of all present social connections but one, and poses many other definite challenges of its own.

I'm sure by now you get my drift...I'm a freak and I think things to death. I'll shut up now. In the meantime, I am continuing to float around restlessly in limbo, wishing for psychic abilities that would allow me to explore all the possibilities presented by each path I could take, risk free!

That's some pretty freaky shit right much simpler was life when I was half my age?

On another (related or unrelated - depending on how you look at it) note, I am experiencing a wave of homesickness tonight and spent hours scouring YouTube for videos of familiar and comforting sights and sounds. It's tough being a fish out of water sometimes, even if you do adapt to life on land...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slap Happy

I'm a little irate with the Slap Chop guy. Fettuccine, linguine, martini, bikini....what IS that?!?!?!? Between the verbal diarrhea, the eyebrow olympics and the slimy salesman sneer - I mean smile - (to which I always mentally add a little cartoon sparkle on the teeth, not unlike the ones they use to enhance shots of the product in the commercial), I am ready to slap and chop HIS that wrong to say? I mean seriously, "you're gonna love my nuts"??? Does no one edit these things? Anyway, that's my rant for this morning. Not exactly mind-shattering stuff, but that's it. Eventually my brain will function again...

The First Attempt

Well, here first attempt to post something on my brand spankin' new blog. How exciting! The only thing is...I, the wordy one herself, am drawing a blank! How can this be! I always have something to say (just ask anyone who knows me)! Am I experiencing a strange form of performance anxiety? This is beyond odd... Le sigh... I guess it is one of those "tune in next time..." which time something great (or at least a little more substantial) will magically flow from my brain to my hands, roll off of my fingers, and appear on this screen, of course ;)