Nav Bar Disappear

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When the Chips are Down

I don't know if you'll remember this, but I really don't enjoy being chilly. In fact, I hate it. If I ever met Old Man Winter, we would have Old Man Floods because he would melt under the disdain of my eyeballs.

Oh yeah, I said it. Disdain. I sneer in the face of Winter.

I do this because I freeze up when I get cold. I'm not kidding when I say that I believe I had frostbite in my hands - a brisk wind absolutely paralyzes them and I can't move my fingers. You may laugh, but wait until you get frostbite - you won't be laughing then!

So, after work today, I dutifully trotted over to my window and punched the little button to start my vehicle.  Meanwhile, I thank the Lord God in Heaven for my SUV because the roads here are treacherous. Swishy snow atop ice - perfect driving conditions, no?

Anyway, my beloved White Lightening started and I waited for the kids to finish writing their little tests. Meanwhile, my guts were near-foundered from hunger (aka I was starving, for all of you people not from Newfoundland), and there were major discussions to be had before I left the building.

Discussions - go.

Tests - go.

Food - no go.

: - (

Grrr. Off into the cold Arctic freezer-burn-weather I go to get my mail and possibly something delicious to eat before I go home. I didn't make it very far because I was just too contrary. Chips were on sale for $2 so I bought two bags. Fine.

Chocolate, Ginger Ale, and Plain Wavy Lays for supper. I'm not complaining. Whatever.

If someone thinks I should be eating healthier meals, then someone needs to cook said meals for me. I'm just sayin'...

So I got home, plugged in my vehicle because it's -15 and no doubt it'll end up being -5000 before the night is done, and my hands were immediately frozen into claw-like figures.


This is painful and infuriating.

Why do I have to be Gargoyle Claws?

So I don't sleep all night and I have Owl Eyes, and then I get to have the ole Gargoyle Claws, too.


Beatin' the boys off with the sticks, I'm tellin' you.

(It's funny how phrases have changed so much that the meaning of something in my grandparents' generation has an entirely different meaning in my generation. If you think the above sentence was sexual, it wasn't, and that goes to show you're not old enough to read that sentence, so pretend you didn't see it.)

Back to the Claws... I plugged in the SUV, and grabbed my stuff and trudged off into the house. Well, into the backyard, and over the deck, and to the back door... because you know, I am Fred Penner/Batman, and nothing is ever really simple with me, is it?

When I got to the back door, the old Gargoyle Claws were still going strong, and the Sensor Light kicked in but went out because it was taking me so long to get the key in the lock.


So I would have to walk back a few feet to get the light on. I had to do this a couple of times.

The key was in the lock, but it wouldn't turn.

I would have laid my head against the door and cried, but I thought it might freeze there, and I would be a real whole Gargoyle.

Finally, with my bookbag in one arm, and the bag of chips pinched precariously in my fingertips, I got inside and made it to my door.

And dropped the chips. *sigh*

Frozen solid hands. I couldn't pick anything up - so I gave it a little tap.

With my foot.

Just a little tap, a kick, you might say.

Not a full-on soccer ball kick, but one that I may have used to usher something in the door. Like an unruly bag of chips.

Problem: the chip bag exploded everywhere. It actually gave me a bit of a fright.

In fact, I think the bag exploded in fear before my foot even touched it - a premature explosion, if you will.

Chips were everywhere, as you can see.

I forgot about my hands a little bit then because I was wondering what in the name of God got into those chips.

I knew what was going to get into those chips - a little white furry monster, for sure.

He had a field day. You know the rule, "Take what you touch" ? Well, Harley Barley the Maniac ran around and licked a lot of chips. He was very excited about the bounty on the floor.

When the chips are down, you have to make the best of it. Monster Lips sure did.

I saved what was left in the bag for my Party Lunch (aka not a real meal but I'm too lazy to make one so I'll pretend I am celebrating something) and scooped up the rest to throw away in order to save myself the trouble of scooping them up in the various other forms they would take as they digested through the Maniac's body.

So, now... chips, chocolate, coffee, liquer, and a collection of psychological essays on Dexter.

Makin' the best of it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jeepers, Creepers, Where'd You Get Those Squeakers?

I lost my mind before about Harley's toys, especially the rubber squeaky ones. He doesn't have many toys.

Harley's toybox

The squeaky rubber ones always manage to get under my bare feet and get snaggled up, somehow. Then I have squishy rubber squeaking on bare feet, and the constant squeak noise drives me nuts. Meanwhile, the toys are usually bulky, so I always slip on them and nearly crash into walls or fall to the floor.

At times, this also causes some toe problems, which causes me to lie down for awhile from stress.

Between him running around gleefully stomping on the squeakers to make noise, and me inadvertently stomping on them, it's just too much.

I took one of the worst offenders - the yellow one - and took out his squeaker.

His lookalike friend, the green one, is still going strong. I hate his little squeaky guts. Harley loves him.

look closely, see the squeakster

Harley loves all the smelly, noisy things.

But seriously, look at that toybox ^ . Over half of the toys, despite being covered in cloth, are noisy. A limb, the face, or the entire thing squeaks. Once, I walked on a toy, nearly fell, tried to recover and in the process almost walked on Harley, and HE squeaked!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas in the Woods

Ah, Christmas.

Candy Canes, Santa, Jingle Bells, Stockings, Shiny Ornaments, and Turkey Dinner.

Mmmm. Sounds like Love to me.

Wait, I forgot about Traveling.

To the Woods.

If you read any of these blogs about my childhood, you might remember that I grew up in the woods. Wait, I mean The Woods. My Mom and Nan still live there. So, every now and then, I fly or drive across the continent to visit the girls in The Woods.

This Christmas, Harley and I are flying. Harley's such a good little traveler.

He has been across this vast, broad, great, wide, days-long-if-your-dog-gets-sick country a few times now.

The first time we went, I wasn't sure what to expect, so I went to the vet and asked for some doggie sleep meds, just in case Harley went nuts. Well, I wasn't sure what 'doggie nuts' (sorry, couldn't resist) meant, so I waited, and waited, and waited.

Well, Harley wasn't used to being squished into a little bag. Ah, Harley and bags... remember the blog about poop in a bag? Good times all around, there.

He didn't poop in this bag, but he was antsy. He wanted out. He was well-behaved on the plane for awhile. Everyone 'oohed' and 'aahed' over the cute, little, Teddy-Bear-looking puppy. "Such a sweet little guy, and so well-behaved!"

And then his little teeth would come out, and his legs would start kicking and thrashing against the side of the bag. It looked like a little earthquake in the soft-sided doggy carrier, or at the very least, like I was kidnapping something that really objected to being in a bag.

I was sad because I wasn't sure if this warranted giving him a pill. I called my cousin, and asked if I should give him one. He's so little, I was actually afraid I would kill him. It was actually a quarter of a pill, but I was nervous nonetheless. Between us, we decided that Harley got the pill. After an hour or so, the pill kind of kicked in. He was so wound up, it took awhile for the meds to really take effect.

A guy came over and talked to me for a long time and in retrospect, despite the story about being military on holiday, he was probably airport security, checking out the drugs I was feeding my dog.

We boarded the plane to Toronto, and Harley settled in for the trip. He didn't move for the entire flight. My heart was so heavy in my chest because I actually thought I had killed him, and the flight attendant would not let me pick him up off the floor to check. She was so mean to me.

The guy next to me told me he would keep watch while I checked on him, and I could actually lift his limbs but he wouldn't move on his own. I was so scared.

When we landed, he was groggy but I made him get up and walk around. I was terrified that I was killing him. He was so out of it for the entire rest of the day and evening, it was like he was drunk.

I didn't have to drug him on the way back, so maybe he remembered the meds and thought I punished him for being a savage on the first flight. He behaved perfectly on the way back (but the savage kids next to us wouldn't leave him alone until the nice flight attendant moved us away from them). All the 'oohs' and 'aahs' were deserved at that point.

His little black eyes would stare at me as if to say, "Mama... I'll be a good boy. No more funny-head stuff, please!"

Anyway, this year we are flying again. I am worried that Harley will repeat his baby-wolverine-trapped-in-a-bag performance. Should I drug him?

Meanwhile, I have to catch 3 flights, then drive 3 hours into The Woods after I stay at a friend's house for the remainder of the night once I get off the last plane. It's quite a trek. It's between a mountain and a bay, quite remote. When I say I'm going on vacation, I mean it. See ya.

The last time I went home in the winter, it took me about 5 or 6 hours to make the 3 hour drive back to the airport because the weather was so bad. The snow was drifting onto the road so that I could barely see out the windshield, and I certainly would not have been able to see the road had a transport truck not come up behind me and stayed there the entire way.

Nerve-wracking? Only a tiny bit.

Some people love traveling to an island for Christmas. Newfoundland is an island, and some people love traveling there. In the summer, it isn't so bad. In the winter, it's really hectic and worrisome. I told Mom the other day that she needs to move somewhere where I don't need to drive 3 hours into the Woods just to see her. She just laughed. "I like the woods," she said, "I'm never leaving Newfoundland!"

That's what she thinks. One day, she may find herself like Harley: all drunk-feeling, stumbling around, and in Fort McMurray.

And I'll say, "Oh... I must have given you Harley's meds by accident. Sorry 'bout it. Welcome to the city!"

A Favourite Writer & A Favourite Subject

Read this, please:

Welcome to Fort McMurray

picture courtesy of Welcome to Fort McMurray

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Insomnia: O Hello, Inner Rock Star, You Don't Wanna Sleep?

It's December 1.

I have had an insomnia for a awhile now. My body shuts down only when absolutely necessary.

It's 3am and I'm still awake. I have to get up for work in no less than 4 hours.

This is what I call fun times.

My dog sits on the floor, crying, because he apparently cannot go to bed alone. He walks morosely back and forth to the bedroom, as if to say, "We are missing a vital part of our routine, here."

I changed around my furniture because I thought I had too much energy. Nope, that wasn't it.

I worked on writing my novel - piecing together stories I began years ago.

I could paint the house.

I could finish decorating my Christmas tree and wreath.

If I was in a big city, I could go get groceries or go to a movie.

But then, I would have all my chores done.

And really, I'm kind of easy-going: I don't care that I have all these projects laying around. It's all good.

Insomnia: a procrastinator's nightmare.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm so hungry, my stomach is making a blister on my backbone

So the Chug-a-Lug diet is tough, at times.

I'm from Newfoundland, and a staple food on our table is bread. White bread, to be exact. Hearty, carbohydrate-rich, fluffy, thick, white bread. When I was growing up, I liked bread, but I didn't crave it. I merely enjoyed having it, especially as toast with Tetley tea in the morning. Mmmmmm, good!

Well, since I became a Chug-a-Lugger,  I have been craving bread. I dream about it.

Abnormal? I think so.

Sugar was the initial bit of business that I had trouble with - giving up chocolate was tough. I have eaten less chocolate over the past two weeks than I usually had in 3 days previously.

Who am I kidding? I love food. I even eat things that I never ate when I was a kid. I figure I may be missing out on something wonderful, so I kept trying them in case someday they might grow on me. My reasoning is that eventually I, too, would understand the love of those things, whatever it was I didn't like at the time, such as turnips, rutabaga, cabbage and brussel sprouts. I still hate cooked raisins, celery and parsnip, though. Yuck.

Tell you what - if I ever truly want to lose all kinds of weight, I'm going into the woods for a month with nothing but squishy cooked raisins, celery and parsnip to eat. I'll come back looking like a damn skeleton because I will guarantee you that I would eat tree bark and grass before those items of "food" ever passed over these lips.

Anyway, back to the carbs & sugar... apparently carbs turn into sugar when you eat it, therefore bread transforms itself into sugar - no wonder I'm not worrying so much about the chocolate - I have bread! Wooo!

Chug-a-Lugging does not allow sugar or carbs, so I have a problem.

*dramatically leans back on the couch with hand over eyes* 

It's so tough.

So here I sit tonite, eating Lays crinkly plain chips with Philadelphia dill pickle dip and drinking a homemade Spicy Eggnog Latte.  How in the love of God can I take myself seriously?

My iPad is ready to go with Solitaire, while I sit here, watching the movie Inside Job on Netflix and spitting up words for the blog. Better than spitting up food, right?

Meanwhile, I still eat all my veggie meals on time and take my vitamins and eat the Chug-a-Lug pudding packs. The puddings, by the way, are fantastic. I love them, especially banana, lemon and vanilla. When frozen, they taste like pudding pops. Remember those?

Pudding Pops

Hellz, yeah. What could be wrong with that? Oh, I'll tell you. They make you hungry because the protein helps speed up your metabolism (or something). I don't understand it all. I just know that every two hours, I'm just about dying of starvation.

I get so hungry, my stomach makes a blister on my backbone from all the moving around and caving into my body.

And that's when I think about bread. I haven't thought about crackers in awhile. I think bread might be worse. Isn't it?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lazy As A Cut Dog

Over the past few days I wrote a few blog posts that I ended up saving in the drafts pile. I wrote more about the Occupy movement, I wrote a review on Aquila Theatre's Macbeth (which we had the good fortune to have here in Fort McMurray from NYC for a few days), and I got started on a couple of posts about haircuts and Christmas trees but I deleted them completely.

I'm lazy. I vomited out all these words, and now I don't want to go through even the basic editing so the post would be legible enough to read. Ever feel like that? "Lazy as a cut dog," as we Newfoundlanders would say.

So instead, I sit here eating grapes because I am currently cheating on the Chug Life diet, and I wonder what I am going to say in my review about J. Edgar.

I wonder what I will eat for dinner and supper tomorrow. I'm like my Poppy when I think about those things. Pop used to be eating supper and ask what we would have for breakfast the next day.

I think that's just smart 'planning ahead.'

I feel accomplished because I made chicken soup tonite. 4 hours sitting on the couch and I managed to watch a movie and a TV show, make a pot of soup, and played a few hands of Solitaire. And by a few, I mean a lot.

I didn't finish decorating my tree, I didn't wash my dishes, I didn't take out the garbage, I didn't clean up all the shopping bags, I didn't tidy the books... I didn't... I didn't... I didn't.

Whatever, it'll all be here tomorrow.

OH! You know what I did do? I got an email today.

The email read:

Can you take a look at this and give me feedback please and draft a script  (NO PROBLEM CUZ I AM SHAKESPEARE-A-RONI) for us? I think we have to cardboard cutout puppets because nobody can stop laughing long enough to get any words out.


Yeah, no problem... give feedback... draft a script... not a big difference there.

Obviously, I put all the letters in huge writing when I replied, and I added in the words in brackets.

That was from my cousin, who apparently thinks I am Shakespeare. So after calling and telling her that I'm not a playwright, I got down to business and wrote a script for her.

Any excuse to procrastinate from housework.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Macbeth: Where does YOUR moral compass lie?

I love literature and the theatre. This isn't surprising, considering my career choice. And yes, I'm long-winded. Essentially I liked the play and I wrote a lot about it.

In a previous life, I was probably a rat crawling through the streets of London, carrying the bubonic plague and infecting everyone in the squished, cramped public theatres because I was desperately trying to get a glimpse of Shakespeare at work.

I wonder about Shakespeare: was he a crazy, eccentric man who was OCD and had a penchant for the number 10, or just multiples of 2 or 5? What was up with Shakespeare?

I have a few Shakespearean favourites, and Macbeth is at the top of that list. In Fort McMurray, we were recently treated with Aquila Theatre's Macbeth:

Ambition.  Corruption.  Betrayal.  Guilt.  Insanity.  Pride.  Vengeance.

Oh, I love this play. I love the characters. I love the plot. I love the language and the imagery.

It is a classic; any one of us could find ourselves in a situation where we have the opportunity to do something wrong to get something we want: how far would you go? In which direction does your moral compass lie?

"I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on th' other." (1.7)

Are you like the Macbeths? Does ambition course through your veins? ... corruption? ... guilt?

I had high hopes for this production, and I was not disappointed. Due to cost, traveling companies often present pared down, bareboards shows and this was no exception. This puts the onus on the entire creative team to keep the audience engaged with the acting and the minimalist design elements. The bare stage itself was a great metaphor for the lives of the Macbeths: an empty, barren wasteland, eventually devoid of trust, beauty and all that is natural.

A Success

Macbeth's words (easily some of my favourites),

"The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear." (5.2)

are a far cry from his more humble beginnings. He has made his choices and is standing by them. He is who he is, he has done what he has done and he cannot change the past so he will move forward as the strong soldier for which he was once praised.

Macbeth says he will not shake with fear.

Aquila's promise is to make "The greatest works for the greatest number" ensuring that many will get to see works like Macbeth through their company's tours, etc.

Shakespeare, without fear. Shakespeare, being understood and appreciated by many.

Aquila certainly succeeded in achieving this in Fort McMurray.

The Characters I Adored

Macbeth: Guy Oliver-Watts has a beautiful voice and looks a little bit like an older Heath Ledger. His shaggy hair and basic, military style clothing worked well in portraying him as a real man, not a slickster, Hollywood guy, or shady character.

When Duncan says, "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face" (1.4), we see how easy it is to fall for a well-presented man, too, because Macbeth initially is not a con-man. He is a hardworking soldier, has always been loyal, and is grateful for Duncan's favour.

It seemed like Watts felt and believed what he was saying, which goes a long way in relating a character like Macbeth to your audience. Having the audience align themselves with you as an actor creates empathy and catharsis in the audience. It makes us care when Macbeth faces his wife's death, even while we hate his cocky attitude.

A couple of times, he almost brought tears to my eyes. By the end, I had witnessed this man win favour, lose friends, align himself with demons, murder his King and friends, love his wife and be hounded mercilessly by her, compromise his beliefs, fall victim to his own faults, and face death.

Oliver-Watts' voice seemed to grow tired and older by the time his wife was dead and he was facing his own mortality. It was as though I had watched Macbeth age in front of me.

By the time I heard "Life's but a walking shadow ... it is a tale / Told by an idiot... Signifying nothing." (5.1), I felt sad for this poor creature in front of me and I wished I could rewind his life, before he had ever taken the advice of his wife to act upon his own vaulting ambition.

God, I love Macbeth, both the character and the play.

Lady Macbeth: Rebecca Reaney did a fabulous job of portraying the Lady.

I have a soft spot for this character: I don't buy into the 'she made me do it' philosophy, and as much as I want to scream at her to leave her husband alone, I understand the ambition and desire to have more than what you have, I understand wanting promises made to be promises kept, and I understand guilt driving you nuts. Hey, I was raised Catholic.

Her guilt gets the better of her before long, and she questions herself even during sleep, "What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?" (5.1)

Who is the Lady trying to convince - herself? ... her husband? ... us? This point of the play was at once sad and vindicating. Lady Macbeth has come this far, she is beside herself with the guilt of what she has done and the unhappiness of the instability of her place in the world. Looking over your shoulder for someone to stab you in the back is really no way to live.

Reaney did a great job at portraying Lady M as a multi-faceted human.

Duncan / Macduff: Kern Falconer: Wow. This guy brought tears to my eyes. I felt his pain. During the Macduff / Malcolm exchange

"Fit to govern?
No, not to live.
... Thy royal father
Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived." (4.3)

Macduff's physical reaction to Malcolm's claims of a terrible personality was heartbreaking. In addition, when Macduff claimed he has to feel the deaths of his family as a man (4.3), I wanted to throw up. The realization of just how far Macbeth had gone to destroy the people of Scotland was unbelievable and infuriating. The emotions that ran over his face were overwhelming.

Colour & Costume

Duncan and Macduff were played by an older-looking man with white hair. Think of white being indicative of purity and goodness. Macduff restoring order as it should be, to the rightful heir, and he is the bright light of the play, just as Duncan was. Same guy playing the roles... making things right...

Lady Macbeth: dressed all in grey for the majority of the scenes, we see her in a bright white nightgown before the action at the beginning of the play (losing a child - the end of her happiness?) and directly after the death of Duncan.

Not only is it a subtle hint to all the people in the castle that she is a 'good' person (white symbolizes good, remember!), it also foreshadows an upward turn of events for her - the Macbeths' fortune is about to rise immensely. She, as Queen, is dressed in black - odd colour for the Queen, isn't it? Like Macbeth and the rest of Scotland, she is displaced, unstable and unsafe. Her current situation means little in this regard, "To be thus is nothing..." (3.1).

I liked that the initial image of Lady M was of her in childbirth. I love that Catholicism was presented so strongly onstage through her, and the only major gold she had was when that crucifix was around her neck. She lost her true worth when she threw away the value she placed in her God.

Macbeth's crown was black despite being called, "the golden round" (1.5)... tarnished in the eyes of the beholder because he wasn't the true king. The Macbeths have dressed themselves in black royal garb, when purple is normally the colour for royalty. Granted, Duncan, too, was dressed in black, but we saw him in the midst of war and he had the white hair happening. We saw Macbeth at a banquet... the all black was a great statement for him: his soul and mind are rotting.

Good Stuff

Keep in mind, I know this play well. This is what good acting does: it opens up the text and makes things new.

Oh, the text is beautiful. There are so many layers.

Macbeth: Read it. See it. Appreciate it. 

And ask yourself, "If I were in their shoes, what would I do?"

Technorati Blog Claim

This isn't really a blog to read & enjoy. It's just one for me to publish a code for syndication purposes... V759HG9S8CH4

So, unless you like those types of numbers & letters, this blog is boring. But, if you like those things, I guess this may have been the highlight of your day. Woo!

*screams wildly*

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Pooper Dog

Jenny always brings out the best in Harley.

She bought a new little puppy this week, and she named her new little girlie dog 'Jax.'

Jax, the Jackapoo-py

Harley and I went to visit Jenny & Jax. "It'll be a nice visit," I thought, "Harley will get to meet a new little girlfriend!"

Yeah, well, Harley growled at Jax and then he ignored her.

Jax desperately tried to get his attention, even going to the extreme measures of throwing herself under his feet during the walk. She is two pounds; he is seven. It was more a battle of wills than anything.

But it was all to no avail - when she got close to him, he would walk directly over her, as if she were nothing but a snowflake under his freezing little paws.

When I forced him to stop and sit so she could get near him, he growled and twisted his little body away from her. He wouldn't even look at her.

Harley, the Maltese poopy dog

He would cry if I tried to make him pay attention. She cried when she couldn't get him to pay attention.

He is jealous. That was his Jenny, and now there is a squiggly, little wiggly body taking over and it's name is Jax. And she wants to play. She wants him to notice her.

So we brought them into the house after the walk, and Harley pooped. Because you know, that's what Harley does. He's earning a bad reputation for himself. His little feet were frozen outside so we brought him in, and while his paws thawed, so did his hind end. Of course, I was not thinking that he would have to poop because we just came inside. Why would Harley do that?

Oh, I dunno, because he's Harley.

Harley's thoughts:
1. Who is this little girl dog that keeps getting in my face?
2. Why aren't Mama and Jenny paying all the attention to me?
3. It's so cold.
4. What other dog?
5. I gotta poop.
6. Are there are any snacks?
7. Thanks for inviting us over!

Harley Barley

Monday, November 21, 2011

I don't need your war...

(please click the links for basic info on each topic)

Current news is filled with stories about Occupy Wall Street and its various supporting Occupations around the globe, and how people are becoming seriously injured in first world countries simply by standing up for their rights in a passive, nonviolent way. 

Of course, I wasn't there and can only go by news accounts.

One of the most recent stories from a California university detailed a group of university students being pepper sprayed and jabbed with batons by police during their nonviolent protest. A Google search will turn up many results about this interview and this very topic.

Students being pepper-sprayed, 2011

The university chancellor has granted interviews and the university is taking action, according to various news sources, including this one.

In Canada and the United States, our rights (Charter and Constitutional, respectively) are legally secured because we live in democratic countries. Or, they are supposed to be.

We have the right to free speech. Can't we criticize our governments without fearing for our safety?

I thought we could.

That's supposed to be a benefit of living in a place where we are free - where our ancestors spilled their blood so we could be free to think, to speak, to live.

* * *
In high school, when I was 15 years old, I had to write a position paper for English class and I had no idea what to write about. My English teacher sent me off to my Social teacher because I was interested in free speech and music. That was his forte.

My Social teacher discussed that with me because he cared about it, too. In particular, he told me about the Vietnam War, Kent State and the Tiananmen Square protests. He told me all about antiestablishmentarianism and Woodstock

(PS: If I had the internet and Google back in the 90s, I don't know if I ever would have left the house... I would have always been 'researching').

The 1970 Kent State Massacre really stuck with me - I can't get that one out of my head, and it's been about 20 years since I first heard about it. It was brutal. People were killed on a university campus just for standing up for their beliefs in America. 

Kent State, 1970

We don't live in a third world country - we are in North America! Things shouldn't be / don't have to be like this!

And yes, that was 1970... but people, it's still happening. How long before 'shooting someone with pepper spray' turns into 'shooting someone with bullets'? If you were standing up for your rights, wouldn't you want support, and wouldn't you want the pepper spray and bullets to be holstered?

My teacher and I talked about people fighting for their rights and how important it is to stand up for what you want and what you believe in, no matter what the cost... if you truly believe in it and you want it badly enough. I believed him. I still do.

Tiananmen Square, 1989

My grandfather fought in WW2 and I knew he had been deeply affected by it. He didn't like to talk about it, ever. It was traumatic. That was my only reference point for war.

RIP 1917-1999

Because our grandparents had gone to fight for our rights, it didn't seem like we could be forced to do these things anymore. Canada didn't have the draft like the US. I couldn't (and still can't) imagine what a generation of people felt like when they were forced to go to war, for something they didn't believe in, for something they didn't have any control over, for something they didn't want to do. How do you fight for something you don't want?

I listened to a lot of CCR growing up. "Fortunate Son" (LOVE this song!) sums up how I feel about a lot of those issues between the privileged and those who have to work harder for what they want. It's a great protest song for the 60's but still applicable yet today. We're not all 'fortunate sons.'

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they're red, white and blue
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief"
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no

We are still protesting, today. It's 40+ years later and we're still fighting the same fight. 

People are 'fighting' because they want to. It's nonviolent 'fighting' because these people seem to believe that talking can help. Isn't that what mature adults do? I'm not saying anything new here. There are too many layers, too deep, too entangled, to figure this out in a few minutes in a blog. 

Learning history is supposed to help us to not make the same mistakes.

Flower Power, 1967

We haven't really changed that much, have we?

Guns N Roses' "Civil War"
(LOVE this!)

"What we've got here is failure to communicate.
Some men you just can't reach...
So, you get what we had here last week,
which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
N' I don't like it any more than you men." *

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D'you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said "Peace could last forever"
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can't trust freedom
When it's not in your hands
When everybody's fightin'
For their promised land

And I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war

Look at the shoes your filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before
Look in the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

"We practice selective annihilation of mayors
And government officials
For example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
As popular war advances
Peace is closer" **

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
And I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war
I don't need one more war

Life may not be fair, but it can be better.

Toe Jam

There's a lot going on this week.

I always say, "There's only a few things that bother me..." and then launch into a big rant about something, but I'm going to be honest: lots of stuff drives me nuts. I just forget about them until they drive me up the wall, and then whatever it is at the time just frustrates the life out of me.

Just now, for example, while walking from the bathroom to the living room, I hooked my little toe in the door frame.

> : - [

Picture how small your smallest toe is, and picture how big a doorway is... what are the chances that you would hook the tiniest toe (not half of your foot, or the last two toes even, but the very last toe only) and nearly rip the whole thing off of your foot?

And of course you don't know that you have snagged the little bugger until it's already half wrenched off, and by then, the pain shooting up your foot and through your leg, almost making your heart stop, is enough to scare the life out of you and you almost wish the toe was ripped off because it would probably hurt less.

So you either get weak and fall to the floor, or stick your leg straight out while holding the tortured foot up in the air, as if staring at it will make the pain go away (that doesn't work, by the way).

Yeah, I just did that hook-the-toe-&-almost-tear-it-off-thing. I got that heat wave of sickness and kind of hung on to the door frame for a second while the world got really hot and sickly, then I got enraged at the fact that the stupid little toe that is very nearly tucked UNDER the one next to it was hanging out far enough to nearly be decapitated.

It's not like this was my first time - I've been a victim/survivor of Toe Jam-Into-Walls my whole life. If I ever have to get my foot x-rayed, it will probably show that each of my feet are supposed to be an inch longer than they are.

Both of my littlest toes do this. They are little drama toes, always hitch-hiking and peeking around corners, and look what happens when things get out of place - you could get your head ripped off.

I have a bunch of busy-toes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sure as There's Sh!t in a Cat...

... people will find something to complain about.

The one I hear most often: "You treat that dog like it's your kid!"

"It's" a male and his name is Harlequin. He isn't a child but he is 'my little guy.'

I don't treat him like a child:
- I don't send him to school.
- I leave him home alone, penned into the bedroom and bathroom with only a couple of toys to play with for hours at a time... do this with a kid, and you should get jail time.
- I neutered him (not really something you should do to a child, just sayin')

I do treat him better than some people treat their children. Is that the problem?
- I feed him decent food & treats.
- I put clothes on his skinny pink dog body when it's chilly.
- I take him to the vet when he needs to go.
- I take him to different places with me and don't expect a sitter to keep him unless absolutely necessary.

I assumed, when I bought him (another thing I wouldn't do to a child), that owning an animal meant I would be responsible for his care. I don't expect others to do my work.

And why does the way I treat my dog bother anyone? If I had kids, would you complain about the way I was raising them? Yes, you would. 'Cause as sure as there's sh!t in a cat, you are chatting about how I don't have kids. Gotcha there, don't I?

I might have a kid or two stashed away somewhere. And maybe I don't. What's it worth to you? {dance, gossipers, dance!!}

(and upon rereading that paragraph, I meant 'stashed away' as in I was hiding the fact that I had my own children already, and by 'worth to you' I meant 'what's it to you'... not that I was holding random kids for ransom.... sheesh!)

I figured if I could keep a plant alive, I could move on to an animal. I always had pets growing up, so I skipped the plant part. Plants are boring, anyway.

So far, I have kept Harley alive, despite some scares. On our first cross-Canada journey, he ended up with a bad belly and I had to give him Pepto-Bismol:

notice the pink-stained beard

He wasn't a happy camper (literally) but he survived. 

In NL, I then subjected him to lobsters from the Atlantic Ocean. He was wary of them:




Driving to the opposite end of the country, he ended up getting a sunburned belly because I didn't know that a Maltese dog needed sunscreen - who would have thought that? 

Just relaxin'

Maltese have very pink skin with white fur. He was in the back seat with shaded windows, and I thought that was ok. He earned freckles all over, for that one.

When we got to the Pacific Ocean, we dunked him in for a dip. He was not impressed:

Pacific Ocean 2010

But he survived. He's traveled the entire country 3 or 4 times now. For a furball, he has it pretty good. 

In fact, traveling isn't easy with Mr. Spoiled Rotten. Harley has caused a few ruckuses in his time. Just look back through the blogs - you'll see. Read about PooPaws.

Yeah, I treat my dog well. If I have kids, I'll treat them well, too. Until then, leave Harley-Barley-Big-Boy-Bowser alone. He is all of 7lbs and has to wear shirts to stay warm, so pick on someone your own size.

No, he doesn't run around in the woods and wrestle squirrels and coyotes or chew on tree bark. He doesn't growl at the mailman or fight other dogs. He doesn't help save lives or haul sleds.

He doesn't wear leather collars with spikes (although it would be cute, he can't lift them). He can't hang out at the dog park because the other dogs think he is the toy they get to chase.  He doesn't get mad when you come to my door, instead he runs around until he almost passes out from excitement. Then he stands on his back legs and tries to jump to get you to notice him - being ankle height does nothing to help your self confidence.

He waits with insane excitement at the promise of 'cheese' or 'chicken supper.' He will even bark when you tell him to 'say please.'

So until kids happen, I will buy doggie shirts and doggie snacks and go on trips where Harley will sometimes join me and other times stay at home.

Life doesn't stop just because you have pets or don't have kids.

I treat him like I love him, 'cuz I do.

Chug Life

So... I wrote a great blog last night, in my head at around 2am, when I couldn't sleep but wouldn't chance getting out of bed for fear that I would actually stay awake all night.

I didn't get to sleep until after 4am, and had to get up at 6 to meet a friend for breakfast. I had to prop my eyeballs open with toothpicks at work today. I'll tell you about that shortly.

The 2am blog was witty and actually made me laugh so hard that I had a stomach cramp which turned into a back cramp, which made Harley jump up and bark at me because I was moving around so much. I don't remember what was so funny, though. It was something about this whole Ideal Protein Life, i.e., what I now call the Chug Life.

I call it that because Jenny (my partner in crime) and I have to chug down the contents of our packets as quickly as possible. And while we have both found things that we like, you can't just leisurely eat them, you get it done.

My puddings taste like cake mix - which I like. Problem: I now want to eat all of them immediately.

The Morning: Seagull Breakfast

At 6am, my iPhone started blaring "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy. I used to love Loverboy. Now I hate their guts because they wake me up every morning. Poor dudes, it isn't their fault but I'm blaming them anyway.

I found myself almost hating John Lennon for awhile, and realized it was due to "Imagine" being in rotation on my alarm, so I quickly switched it out. That's too cozy of a song, anyway, to be trying to open my eyes to... 'imagine'... alright *snooze*

I pressed the snooze so often that I eventually heard Loverboy, Rihanna and Lady Gaga before I could get up. That was at 6:35. I had to meet my friend at 7, and still had to feed Harley, as well as shower & dress then drive myself to breakfast. No worries: I'm skilled at getting out the door in 30 minutes or less.

I got to my door and realized how cold it was: -27 or something. And it was dark. Cold and dark. So, while I try to be patient and remember all the good things about FM, the one thing that absolutely drives me through the roof is the cold. And I can handle one (darkness) or the other (cold) by itself, but both at the same time nearly gives me an apoplectic fit. It makes me want to scream/yell from the very bottom of my guts. *curse words*

We finally got our plates of food. I had eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausages, none of which I am supposed to have on the Chug Life plan. Jenny texts at 7:45, approximately 5 minutes after we start eating..."You know this thing starts at 8:00 right?"

I nearly swallowed my entire pancake whole. "WHAT? I thought it started at 8:30!"

Waitress returns 5 minutes after dropping off food: "How is everything?"
Me: "Can we have our bills?"
Waitress: "Oh. OK." *walks away in dejected silence*
Me: *folds a pancake and puts it in my purse*

haha I'm just kidding about the pancake - I finished my strip of bacon, the pancake and an egg while I was waiting for her, then gulped down half a glass of water and we were out the door, off to Jenny's house.

We paid before we left but Lindsay said, "I always wanted to do a dine & dash - we totally could have just done that. But we never could have went for breakfast ever again. Plus I would have felt guilty and would have gone back to pay."

Meanwhile, I was still chewing eggs and bacon and nodding in agreement.

Why do I always have to eat like a seagull: gulping everything, never chewing? For the love of all that is Holy, no wonder I have to go on a liquid protein diet - everything in my guts is all in lumps. Instead of digesting, my stomach is just storing stuff in huge chunks in various places. An egg here, pancake there. Bacon strip tucked behind the spinal cord... that might come in handy later.

As Jenny said, because we were going to be late, I was trying to beat it to her door and then across the world to Timberlea to get to Trinity, and Jenny asked if I had winter tires.

"All season, I think, why?" I asked in return.

"Well, since we are Ricky-Bobbying it the whole way there, I am hoping we are safe."

We were safe. We arrived alive, and in time for work.

The Work Day

It was a long day. We were starving. Our arses hurt from sitting on hard chairs. We didn't get to drink a coffee first so it was rough going for awhile.

At one point, Jenny (unintentionally) almost kicked a woman sitting in front of us in the back of the head. First, she leaned over and head butted the woman as she was trying to get something out of her purse, for which she apologized but sounded so damned sarcastic that it made me laugh and I just had to point it out. I was trying so hard not to giggle.

Then Jenny was trying to get comfy in the hard chairs, so she whipped her right ankle up on her left knee, and it slipped. And her UGG boot went whipping forward at MACH 3 toward the woman's neck. Everything kind of slowed down for a moment and after the, "Oh, sorry." in that tone of voice, I could only imagine what a kick to the back of the neck would be like. I was frozen.

Then, like an old-school Patrick Roy, her hand shot out and saved the day. She snatched her ankle before the foot could do any damage. I thought for sure we were going out of there in cuffs today.

And then I got the giggles as we stared at each for a few seconds in terrified, ecstatic horror.

How bad would that have been?

... WHACK!

"Oh, sorry. Again. I didn't mean to head butt you from behind or kick you in the neck."

Like seriously, who ARE you? A savage ninja who wants to attack in secret and then deny it.

AND... why in the love of God is it so difficult to be normal in Church? I KNOW I'm not supposed to laugh, I know it's an important ceremony, I know, I know, I know. I served on the altar, I read for years, so I know! But as soon as church starts, the Cheshire grin starts, too. If Jesus himself walked in and ripped apart every fiber of my being, every little one would have "Won't laugh in church" stamped on it... then put me back together and BAM: Cheshire grin.

The Weigh-In

I wanted to go to the Chug a Lug Shack and get weighed in as soon as possible because I figured going home would put me into a narcoleptic coma and I wouldn't come out to get weighed if I went home first. Whenever I sit still for too long, I have to fight off the Sandman. I need to keep moving around or there is a very good chance that I am going to fall asleep.

So we went to get weighed in. The lady thought we were insane.

I lost 4 & 1/2 inches BUT gained 3 pounds (seriously - too many crackers and ginger ale). I have to lay off the crackers. They are getting locked away. Crackers are only for birthdays and special occasions now.

Best news of the day, though: the lady there thought Jenny and I were 23-24 years old. She almost lost her glasses when I told her I was 34.

We told her we loved her. I think she just thought we were immature. Whatever. It's all good.

Chug Life

So, this evening I did really well on Chug Life. Had chicken salad and pudding for the old din-din. It's gonna work. Harley wants to fight me for my chicken and puddings. He even wants the spinach. What a savage.

Yesterday, I fell asleep in the bathtub while reading. I wrecked another book. It was floating around and woke me up. This evening, I woke when my arm started hurting - I fell asleep playing solitaire on my iPad, scrunched into the side of the couch. Harley was wrapped around the side of my neck, much like a neck pillow, and my hand was twisted sideways under the iPad.

Tomorrow morning:

Setting the alarm clock only so I can have the satisfaction of turning it off and going back for a nap

Yeah I'll be snoozin' on the weekend!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm a Rock Star, Oh... Wait, I'm in a... Routine?

This weekend, I decided to try to change my lifestyle by starting a new routine. And by "routine," I mean another overhaul of my life: getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, reading stuff I want to read, working nonstop during the day, leaving work at 4:30 instead of 5:30 or 6:00 but leaving work at work rather than taking it home, eating meals on time, and oh yeah, also trying the Ideal Protein diet.

First, I don't diet. I eat what I want, when I want, and I have the body to prove it. Hell, yeah.

So I am looking at this "diet" as a lifestyle change, the same way I viewed Try-Club. We haven't been back to Try yet this semester (or at least, I haven't) because (a) I'm really busy and (b) I'm really lazy.

I'm actually truly concerned about diabetes, pancreatitus and pancreatic cancer. All three run in my family, and coupled with my friend's continuous, ominous doomsday warnings about eating too many chicken wings, pizzas and donuts (none of which I do, despite her beliefs), I know I have to do more than just work out a few times a week.

If you have read any of my other posts, you might know a little something about some of my other endeavours this year, mainly having to do with this other girl and "My Fitness." She told me not to talk about her so until she changes her mind, I won't mention her name here, but she can change her mind at any time to become part of this and I will gladly write her into the story.

Routines are tough for me because some inner part of my brain thinks I am a Rock Star, and can stay awake all night. Then real life takes over at about 6am but my inner Rock Star still doesn't fully understand that it is part of the same body, and all that fighting inside one body is stressful. It's like all my internal organs are asleep while my outer body is functioning. So I'm here, but not really working on all cylinders.

I started the whole IP thing on Sunday evening. I was going to start on Sunday morning but I woke at 4am, thinking I had to go to work and I wasn't feeling so great. Around 7am, I figured out it was Sun and not Mon, so my spirits brightened a bit. I couldn't eat because I was nauseous, so I figured that was a sign that I should not start right away. I figured I should eat some crackers and tea. I love crackers.

So I ate some.

Then I had one of the IP puddings. YUUUMMMM-MMMMY! Wow, can't figure out why everyone isn't just gulping down protein all the time! I made my lunch for Mon and figured it was time to call it a night.

I then had a panic attack, thinking I had inadvertently started the whole thing and didn't even get to say goodbye to chocolate, so then I had half a chocolate bar just to say goodbye. Whew.

Then I had a cup of coffee. Coffee is ok, but I'm sure the eggnog latte part wasn't.

I was exhausted by 10:30, after getting a bunch of stuff graded, and figured if I ate or drank anything else, I would be past the point of no return, so I drank some water and went to bed.

In bed, I lay awake and thought about all the beautiful crackers out in my cupboard, and how many more crackers in the world there were that I would not get to eat. I was so sad. Eventually, I got a heartburn so I got up and came out to get crackers. With butter. So me-n-Harley trudged off to bed with our plate of crackers-n-butter and we had a fine lunch. Funny, I was eating crackers and water and happier than anything. That's jail food.

I got up this morning, fed Harley his chicken breakfast and made myself a yogurt smoothie. It was alright, I have been eating smoothies for breakfast for awhile, so all was good.

I felt like my eyeballs had opened to twice their size. Did I have more energy or was it just in my  mind?

At work, I was famished by 10am, and could not stop thinking about eating, so I had an IP snack. At lunch, I was so excited to eat a chicken and veggie salad that I could have cried. The thing is, all of this stuff is not new to me. My mother used to cook like this for me, but I'm just too lazy to cook for myself.

I think the while point of IP is to force you to organize and properly portion your meals. To me, it's very similar to how regular mealtimes go, with the exception of the protein packs. Anyway, I think it's good so far.

I find that if I don't space out my snacks, then I get kind of lightheaded because all of the recommended food at one time is too much, and spacing it out is better for me.

At 4:10pm, my last student had left my class and I was closing up shop for the day. My car wouldn't start with the remote so I was flabbergasted and infuriated - so much so, that I forgot my mittens and walked outside without my boots (just my regular shoes) on my feet.

Then, when I got to my car, I went to the bank and had to wait in the drive-thru line. When I got to the ATM, my window was frozen shut. Meanwhile, I was FAMISHED and all I could think about was busting open one of those protein packs and spitting into the package to make pudding or something. That made me contrary.

I stomped into the bank, got cash, and went to Safeway. On the outside, I was very civil, but on the inside where my Rock Star lives, I was screaming and yelling and stomping all around Safeway. I just wanted to eat and have a nap.

My adult person knew I was just tired and hungry, and knew I had to be normal, so I was. Then I got to the line. It snaked down the aisle. It was my lesson in patience. I was being punished for eating crackers, I just knew it. Rock Star vowed I was eating more crackers tonite.

So I got in line, and waited. Waited. Waited.

Finally, I got to leave, even after my club card wouldn't work and give me discounts. At that point, I was ready to rip the raw hamburger meat and frozen shrimp out of the packages and eat them, so I didn't care. I smiled, said 'see ya' to the kid, and left. And cursed out the shrimp (the frozen meat, not the kid) the whole way home.

I got in the door, let Harley out of his doggie area and busted out the crackers. I sat on the floor, and we ate crackers until I felt better. Harley feels good anytime I share food, so all was good in his world.

I realized then, that dog guides always say that your dog should know that you are the alpha, that you are allowing him to eat, and that he only gets food because you allow it. Harley is a good boy and he might cry if I ignore him too long but he usually waits patiently and does whatever I say for food. He rolls over, stands up, sits, does high-fives, whatever (and sometimes tries to do all of it at the same time). But I wondered how bad it must be when you are hungry and don't know when your alpha is going to feed you.

I just about went out of my head because I was on a food routine and I'm doing this to myself. Those little guys really don't know when they are being fed until the food actually comes out. I know where my food is, and I'm restricting it for health reasons. They don't know where it is or when it's coming. They think you are a food magician or the best hunter ever.

After all of that, I had salmon and veggies for dinner because it was the fastest thing I could cook. I cooked everything for the week this evening because I cannot wait like I had to do today. It could get dangerous for me - the Rock Star might get whiney or start shouting. That's not good. I could be arrested.

If I am limiting food, the food needs to be available now.

When I say 'suppertime!' Harley flings his arse around so that he spins (I call those his 'cartwheels'), and he rolls over. The poor dog doesn't know if he is getting his chicken supper, crackers or cheese.

This 'diet' aka lifestyle change will work. The first couple of days are difficult for anything. Routine is REALLY difficult for me, no matter what the routine is. Set times for meals and sleeping/waking really gets under my skin. I feel like I am 7 years old.

But I don't want to die due to bad choices, and I don't want diabetes, so it's time to change. If I get diabetes anyway, I'm eating chocolate and crackers and the fattiest latte I can think of, all at the same time. I don't even care.