Jan 31, 2010

Kick Ass!


Geof over at Enter the Man-Cave was so awesomely kind as to award me with the Kick Ass Blogger award.  Umm..how cool is that?! Geof's blog is what the title says it is, and if you are into entering man caves (and I am!) then his is the blog for you.  Sports, video games, movies, and whatever cool thing might be floating around the interwebs, he's got it.  It's like a one-stop shop for ultimate cool.  And the best part about it?  He makes you feel as if you are in charge of the remote while you are visiting.  I always knew I was a greasy man trapped in a woman's body, and he allows that side of me to come out.  So thanks for the awesome reading and the awesome award!

Now, it is my pleasure to hand this award out to 8 folks whom I think are kick ass bloggers.  This is going to be hard because everyone I follow is kick ass.  So as not to sound too repetitive in my choices, I am just going to link to their sites without a description.  Just know that all these blogs were chosen for a reason, because they are all ridiculously amazing, and they all rock my socks.  There is a reason why I am always choosing these blogs!  Here they are in no particular order:

Blueviolet over at A Nut in A Nutshell


Indigo over at IndigoWrath


Joanna over at The Painter's Studio



JenJen over at Jen's Voices

All wonderful blogs and I am feeling a bit bad about not adding descriptions about each one, but they honestly all stand strong as amazing writers and wonderful blogs.  I am leaving it to you to go and find out for yourself how awesome they really are.  You'll see.

Thank you again Geof! You are the one that's kick ass!

This Award Comes Easy


This week I was wonderfully surprised with two awards.  I am going to separate them into different posts because this one is a long one!

My very good friend Indigo over at IndigoWrath has awarded me with the Best Follower Award!  This one makes me very happy because well, with all of the amazing blogs that I read daily, this comes easy to me.  Especially with him.  His blog never, ever fails to entertain.  He is a truly gifted writer in a world where everyone is an artist, and he most certainly shines through and above with his intelligent and witty pieces.  You really should go and check him out.

So, with this award comes a little work.  I have to pass this along to a few other lovely followers and amazing writers, and then I have to answer some questions.  A whole whack of them to be precise.  I am hoping that with my new found love of really finding out who everyone is in this crazy blogosphere that everyone else will find this stuff about me just as interesting.  If not, that's okay too.  I sometimes think I can be quite boring myself, so I really don't mind!

And here are the questions.  The whole whack of them:

1.  What is your current obsession?

The Sims 3.  That's embarrassing for me to admit.

2.  What are you wearing today?

Jeans, a long sleeved shirt and zip up hoodie.

3.  What's for dinner?

Leftover pizza.

4.  What's the last thing you bought?

Breakfast!

5.  What are you listening to right now?

Dave talking business on the phone.

6.  What do you think about the person who tagged you?

Indigo?  He is amazing!

7.  If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Manchester, England.

8.  What are your must-have pieces for summer?

Water.  And an oxygen mask.  It gets VERY hot here in the summer.

9.  If you could go anywhere in the word for the next hour, where would you go?

I would go have a cocktail with my parents in Panama.

10.  Which language do you want to learn?

Macedonian, since it's my background.  I knew it once, but it has since been lost.

11.  What's your favourite quote?

"Hope for the best but prepare for the worst".  From a fortune cookie a long time ago.  Am I a pessimist or what?

12.  Who do you want to meet right now?

Me when I am 50.  I have a few questions.

13.  What is your favourite colour?

Green and brown! I know that's two, but I love them both the same.

14.  Give us three styling tips that work for you.

Brush your teeth, hair, and act like you look good.

15.  What is your dream job?

To be a bestselling novelist.

16.  What's your favourite magazine?

Hmmm.   I don;t read magazine's much.  Anything video game related?

17.  If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

A DVD shelf.  They are currently tucked away in my closet (what with the ghetto family room and all) and this is making me sad.

18.  What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

Well, this is just a personal preference but I don't love tight clothing.  I am talking painted on tight.  I don't need to see every nook and cranny, know what I mean?

19.  Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?

*Ahem* A who in the what now?

20.  What kind of haircut do you prefer?

One that makes me look hot.

21.  What are you going to do after this?

Feed my cats.

22.  What are your favourite movies?

Save the Green Planet, Ju-On, Stand By Me.  To name a few.

23.  What inspires you?

Beauty.  Nature.  Kindness.

24.  What do your friends call you most commonly?

Kato.  Or Donks.  As in donkey.

25.  Would you prefer coffee or tea?

Tea please!

26.  What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Put on my pajamas, wrap a blanket around myself and get lost in a movie or video game.

27.  What makes you go wild?

A good beat.  

28.  Which other blogs do you love visiting?

All of the ones that I follow!

29.  Favourite dessert/ sweet?

Cheesecake.  It will be my demise.

30.  How many tabs are turned on in your browser right now?

Two!

31.  Favourite season?

Winter.  It's a love/ hate relationship though.

32.  If I come to your house now, what would you cook for me?

Some kind of casserole.  They have become my specialty as of late.  And it's winter!  So it would be comfort food for sure.

33.  What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

I have not learned that yet.  I usually complain and swear a bit and then get over it.  Never confront the person though.

34.  What are you afraid of the most?

The people I love getting hurt or dying.

35.  When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what is the first thing you thought?

I don't want to brush my teeth.  Sigh.

36.  What brings a smile to your face instantly?

Dave.

37.  A word you say a lot?

UMMM

38.  What would you do if you were made president for one day?

Legalize gay marriage everywhere.  What's the big friggin' deal already?

39.  What is the one thing that keeps you going?

My family.  The promise of fame and fortune.

40.  What word drives you crazy when you hear it?

BOOERNS.  I don't even know if I spelled it correctly.  THAT'S how much I hate it.  I refuse to look it up.

41.  What's your least favourite character trait?

I am a huge grump in the morning.

And then I have to add my own.  Hmm.  That's a hard one.  I am going to have to ask:

42.  What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

A no-brainer.  Quit my effing job.


And there you have it!  And now I have to tag a few people in return for this award.  Please feel free to do with it as you wish my friends.  You can accept it and make your blog that much prettier and that's that, or you can follow the above format.  Whatever you wish!  

I would love to pass this award on to:

Kristy over at This Train of Thought Has Been Derailed- How much do I heart Kristy? She was one of my first followers and one who is very encouraging and lovely.  Her blog is ALWAYS an interesting read, and I am never bored when I am visiting.  Go and check her out folks, you won't be disappointed!

Ian over at The Daily Dose of Reality-  I always love what he has to say.  Always.  And I love reading his comments too! Truly an entertaining read, he has an opinion about everything and I love that.  Check him out!

Ally over at Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing-  Her blog is wonderful to read.  She is honest, true and hilarious.  And you are guaranteed a walk down memory lane with almost every post.  I love this about her!  We are Judy Blume sisters!

Liz over at the The Butterfly Effect- Truly one of my favourite people on this planet, her blog is one I am always anticipating to read! She is a true writer, and she does it honestly.  This is what I love about her.  Among other things!

Billy at "Why", "How", And Other Abstract Questions-  Ok so this guy? Amazing.  His blog is so intelligently funny that I believe a laugh track sounds out of his butt every time he speaks.  If ever I need a loooong, good laugh, I know where to go.  You should go there also.

Whew!  I told you this one was work!  My goodness! I hope you all enjoyed! I know I did!

Jan 30, 2010

I Just Wanna Dance

I feel as if I have not been around much lately.  I blame it on the weather.  January and February are usually the worst months for seasonal affective disorder, at least for me, so I can say that reading and writing have been a struggle for me as of late.  

I mentioned to Dave the other day that I wanted Spring.  I wanted to take off the layers and feel the sun on my face.  Let my hair down and dance around like I just don't care!  And this statement made me remember a story from my youth where I did JUST that.  And embarrassed the shit out of myself.

The year was 1993.  I was 13-years-old and desperately into grunge.  Punk came a little later, but grunge and I were like plaid on lumber jackets at that time.  So it was a bit surprising to most of my friends that I fell in LOVE with The Counting Crows song, Mr. Jones.  In my circle of friends, army pants and chain wallets were considered fashion.  Greasy hair or none at all was couture.  And songs that did not contain all the dripping, teenage angst of our generation were NOT COOL.  Hence, the desire to keep my love of this song a secret.  

But man, once those opening chords started, I couldn't help myself.  I would want to explode out of my seat and just be free, let the song take me away with it's up-beat, happy tempo.  When no one else was around I jumped around my room, chains flying every which way, and my pants lifting off my hips and gaining air to my upper waist on account of how high I would jump and twist.  I realized that the song lyrics might not have been so happy, but they were not in the same realm as say, Nirvana.  My favourite band (then and now).  But the two were like night and day, and where I was broody and sullen most of the time, this song made me want to buy myself a grey guitar and play.

So, one day when I was visiting my best friend Ciara in Collingwood, the skater/ snowboard/ punk capital of my life, she let me know that we would be attending a dance that night.  This was laughable because  just two years before that we would stroll into dance halls together, one side of our overalls hanging down, and let our backbone's slide.  Not this dance.  This dance we stood around with the rest of the crowd who was WAY too cool to dance at a dance, and drank vodka out of our McDonald's cups.  The only dancing that went on that night was either slam dancing or the kind of zombie shuffle step that was popular back then.  And I was looking my best, standing sullen and dark over in the corner, drinking my alcohol and pretending like I cared for nothing, no one.  I was the epitome of cool.  Until the DJ decided to play THAT song.  

"Sha la la la la la la...".  And that was my brain's cue.  All of a sudden my limbs were shaking and moving of their own accord, and I was being dragged out onto the dance floor against my will.  Right to the centre of the room where everyone had a fantastic view of me.  I fought for a few seconds.  But then:  I just didn't care anymore.  I found myself being carried away, to a place where everything is beautiful and full of music.  I was bouncing around like a Jack-in-the-Box, waving my arms wildly, swooping my head and hands from one note to the other.  I realized that something was happening to my mouth.  It was moving.  I was SINGING.  Out loud.  Trying to be heard over the music.  My eyes were closed and I just danced.  I was like a hippie on peyote in the desert.  Nothing else mattered.

I carried on like a fish out of water for most of the song.  And then just before it ended I opened my eyes.  And came back to earth, HARD.  No one was dancing.  Everyone had moved to the furthest corners of the big room, out of reach of my flailing limbs, and everyone was just STARING at me.  All the blood rushed into my head and I saw stars.  The stars of extreme mortification.  I felt my cheeks get warm.  What do I do?  Finish the song knowing that people think I am a gigantic loser?  Or walk off the floor in shame, letting them see my embarrassment so they would have fuel for the fire that was bound to come later?  I walked off the floor, nonchalantly, pretending like I was DONE bitches, I decide when I am happy or not and right now?  Well, I am pissed off and the world can go and fuck itself.  And that charade back there?  That wasn't me dancing OK?  That was me trying to show all of you with no brains how it's NOT done.  It was an art piece.  Get over yourselves.  

I slunk into the nearest dark recess.  My best friend was no where to be found.  I wouldn't have blamed her for leaving, I  had tarnished her reputation in her own town.  Just then she was at my side, telling me this party was lame and we had to go.  People were starting to fight outside and the cops were being called.  Thank god for that.  Thank you, fighting dudes, for taking a punch in the face and saving me from crawling under a rock in embarrassment.

I think they were all just jealous.  They all wanted to join me, they just had more control over their own limbs.  At least, that's what I told myself to get through the horror.  The HORROR. 

Jan 27, 2010

All I Want For Wednesday Is...

A giant cake with fondant icing.  Like this one:



I need to be honest here: this is how a cake would turn out if I tried to bake one.  I am sure the artist over at The Cake Ninja did her very best to MAKE it look this way.  I wouldn't need to try because it would fall over and that would be that.  I am sure it would taste great though!

I love that cake decorating has become such an art.  What I don't love are all the shows on the Food Network (and elsewhere), all the 'reality' shows about cake decoarating.  They are taking something fun and pretty and turning it into a laughing stock what with their lame shenanigans (I am talking about you Cake Boss). 

When I was a kid I HATED cake.  I hated that soft buttercream icing that all bakeries seem to use, it was so gross.  So when I learned about fondant it seemed too good to be true!  Just a few month ago I was able to partake in the beauty of one of these cakes and it was....OK.  Not great. 

So I am determined that this V-Day, I will make my own fondant cupcakes and they will be SUPERB.  If they end up being good, I will virtually share one with all of you lovely people. 

Have one on me anyway.  I am sure these ones are delicious:


Jan 25, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

Oh Monday.  Usually I do not mind you.  In fact, as far as days go, I like you.  I have had a two day break before I have to face you, so it's never a chore to get through you.  Another thing that is good about you, is that you are fast.  When it comes to the first day of the work week?  The faster the better.  The other days of the week are a little too virginal for me, a little too chaste if you will, but you never disappoint in going straight from point A to point B.  My kind of day; you don't like to fuck around.

But WTF happened to you today, Monday?  Not only did you brutally kick my ass out of bed this morning, but you made it rain.  You know how much I hate rain on Monday mornings.  And then you made Dave and I get into an argument.  About HAND TOWELS.  And the proper use of them.  An ARGUMENT.  Holy eff Monday, you woke up on the wrong side of life today and you took us with you.

Because I am hurting so badly today from all the weekend workouts, you went ahead and tilted the hills I have to walk up to a steeper incline.  I know you did.  You can't lie to me like that.  Normally those hills and I have an understanding.  They let me walk up with minimal discomfort, and I keep my insults about their shitty hilly ways to myself.  But not today!

Once I got to work I thought I could breath a sigh of relief.  I was looking forward to my usual cup of tea, and yoghurt and granola breakfast.  But to get those things I had to go upstairs into the glaring lights of an insane asylum.  Someone went ahead and changed all the light bulbs on the second floor to the 30,000 watt, glare-into-your-soul-and-display-all-the-deep-dark-secrets-I-didn't-even-know-I-had kind.  What gives Monday?  You know I only work in the dark.

Not only that, but I remembered two minutes before the first one started that I had TWO meetings today.  No one schedules two meetings on Monday unless they are trying to test a person's breaking point.  And good job Monday, it was tested.

And then once the work day was over, you made it so that when I fell over onto my couch and could not move a single muscle, I would not be able to reach the remote.  And the TYRA BANKS SHOW was on.

I HATE YOU, Monday.

Jan 24, 2010

Slow, Lazy Day

I am listening to the rain fall on the skylight and it makes me happy.  There is currently a huge snow storm rolling across the Prairies right now, and we are also being affected by it here in Ontario, only with very heavy rain.  They are also calling for strong winds overnight so I have my flashlight handy in case the power goes out.  I love days like today.  Dave and I went and took care of all of our errands yesterday because I knew this storm front was rolling in today.  You could say that I am a bit obsessed with the weather.  But because of my planning ahead we are able to stay in all day, enjoy a lovely leisurely breakfast, with a casserole on the menu for later, and we can enjoy a warm and cozy night in.

I also just started a new video game (Ghostbusters for XBox 360) and when I start a new game it's all I can think about.  I beat Tomb Raider last night (not as frustrating as the first time I attempted it) and was a bit disappointed with the ending.  I am also on the fence about Ghostbusters as well.  I want to carry on about how cool it really is.  I mean, Atari, Sony Computer Entertainment, Columbia Pictures and many more cool folks all had a hand in producing this game.  Also, the movies (1 and 2) are both my all time favourite movies and it's cool that the original cast wrote and star in the video game.  The original score is present, and many of the same sound affects were used which makes the game pretty rock solid in that sense.  But I don't know...something is falling flat with me.  Perhaps I will play it all the way through and feel differently, but until then, I am not sure if I love it.

I also started exercising again because of all you awesome folks and your inspiration to make me do so.  And I just want to tell you one thing: I. HURT.  Oh man, do I ever.  Every part of my body aches, and I am dreading having to do it all again tonight.  But I will persevere because "if 400 pound people can do it, so can you!".  That bitch Jillian Michaels is kicking my ass.  But I love her.

So, that's it for me today.  A light post, and now I shall go and do what I am dreading, just to get it over with.  Maybe by day five it will feel better?  Kristy?  Josh?  Ian?  Tell me it feels better!

Remembering

"Hurry, they are coming".

She ran.  Looking behind her only once, at her home, her animals, her life.  Word had spread fast through the village that they were coming.  Coming to kill all the women and children.  The only ones left.  They had taken their men, weeks, some even months before, and they had not heard from them since.  Most assumed they were dead, while others held out hope.  There was no hope for her.  Her true love was dead and she knew it in her soul.

"Quickly, we have to run".  Her two sons, a one year old on her hip and a three year old running as fast as his little legs would carry him.  Their only chance for survival was to make it into the cover of the mountains and hide.  She could almost hear the sounds of hundreds of heavy boots, men coming to kill them as brutally as their minds could imagine.

She followed the other women, hoping they were right in the path they chose to escape.  She could not help but notice old women on their knees on the side of the road, crying out not to be left behind.  She wanted to help them, but knew that she couldn't.  Emptying her mind was all she could do to stop the images of what was to come for these women, these lost souls.  Her friends.  They disappeared into the dust, but never from her heart.

She knew the hard road that was ahead of them in the mountains.  They had no food, no extra clothing, and no way of knowing exactly where they were going.  They had to make it across the summit and down the other side.  The soldiers were not stupid.  They would know that the women had taken their children and run to the mountains, and they would be coming after them.  Thankfully the journey was only a few days.  A hard journey, but she had faith she could do it.  She looked down at her sons and knew she would do it for them.

Many people were lost in that journey.  Some went the wrong direction and died of starvation, some were too old to survive the journey.  Some too young.  Some just gave up and laid down to die.  To let the mountains take them, forever swallowing them up with the elements.  Years would pass and bodies would turn to dust, but her memory of them would never fade.

But some made it.  My grandmother forged through, never giving up and never letting her sons think she was anywhere close to doing so.  She did it for them.  My father and uncle were able to grow up and flourish because of her.  Without her I wouldn't be here, and because of that I thank her with all the love in my heart.

I love you Baba.  I miss you.

August 14 1922- January 24 2002

Jan 22, 2010

I Want To Throw Up Thinking About It

Something you may not know about me.  I do not like insects.  I mean, I LOVE them because they were here first and they make the world go around and all that stuff (just vying for some good insect-y karma), but I do not want them to come anywhere near me.  EVER.  I will not kill them because I feel mean doing so.  So you can see my dilemma with this world because well, they are kind of everywhere. 

Just recently I learned what a cicada looks like.  You know those lovely humming sounds you hear on a balmy summer evening? 



Picture hundreds of them making this sound at one time.  It really is beautfiul.  It brings back so many wonderful memories of childhood summers.  Hearing that sound makes me so happy deep down in my heart of hearts.  And then I found out they look like this: 



Ok for real.  Just looking at this makes me cringe and never want to leave the house again.  So hundreds of these huge beasts are above my head at any given time in the summer months?  Lord have mercy on my fragile girly soul.

Now, there is ONE insect out there that really sets my teeth on edge.  You might think I am going to say a cockroach, but no.  Or even a house centipede, which live in my own house, but not that one either.  The insect I despise the most is your common, everyday house fly.  That's right.  A fly.  They gross me out so much that the hair is standing up on the back of my neck and I have a case of the willy's as I type this.

Oddly enough, the 1986 remake of The Fly was one of my favorite movies growing up.  I even felt bad for Jeff Goldblum's character at the end when he holds the gun up to this head and wants Geena Davis to kill him, therefore ending his ever buzzing, barfing misery.  Ugh.  I don't blame him.  So I am not sure why I despise them so much.  Maybe it's the barfing, I don't know.  Maybe it's the fact that they are pretty much non-discriminating with what they will consume.  Poo, dead bodies, all the stuff that we find revolting is a five star meal to them.  And this is why I know they are good, but I just can't get past it.

Of course, what would happen to the girl who hates flies the most on this planet? This is what would happen:

When I was 14-years-old, my best friend's family was super kind enough to invite me along with them when they went on a trip to the Bahamas.  I had never been anywhere before (outside of Canada) and this was so exciting for me.  The first few days were spent swimming in the salty ocean, lying on the white sand, and dancing up a storm in the evenings.  The locals were very kind and wished to make our visit wonderful: tiny trinkets, free fruit, and fresh coconuts just fallen from the tree were given with a smile and a laugh.  My friend's step mom was given a beautiful gift of a pale pink shell, a large one that only helped us to hear the ocean more clearly.  A wonderful first few days. 

After a little while, it began to smell awful in the apartment we were staying in.  No one could find the source of the smell.  For days we suffered through the yuckiest, fishiest odor premeating every room.  Finally I found it:  floating in it's own dead juices was a fish that had become trapped inside the pretty shell.  How we did not notice it before is beyond me.  I gleefully announced that I had found the slimy monster that was fouling up our home for the time being, so therefore I was given the job of getting rid of it.  WAIT. WHAT?  But I found it!  My work here is done.  No such luck.  

I picked up the shell and put it out on the stoop.  I figured that on my way to the beach I would carry it to the dumpster across the lot and dispose of it there.  I went about my morning, getting ready for another day of fun in the sun.  By the time I was ready to leave, I could hear a strange sound coming from the front door area.  I made my way down the hall to take a peek and OH. MY. GOD.  Hundreds, no, thousands of flies were covering the area where I had placed the shell.  They were covering the screen door, the stoop, everywhere.  My heart fell.  No one was left in the apartment but me.  My only way out was that front door.  I wanted to cry. 

I scrambled towards the kitchen to see if there was anything I could do to save myself from what was about to occur.  There was no way I would be able to retain my sanity if I had to deal with this.  I found a can of bug spray under the sink.  Thank goodness!  I felt bad but I had no choice.  I sprayed them through the screen door.  It seemed to work as they dispersed.  I breathed a sigh of relief and took the brief window of opportunity to sprint outside and grab the shell before they came back.  I thought I would have enough time to run to the dumpster and throw it away, and they could follow the smell there and be happy in all their gross glory. 

About halfway across the lot, IT happened.  The single most disgusting moment in all my years of life at the time.  My luck ran out and they came back.  Only it was me they landed on to try and get to the shell.  I almost fainted.  I raised the shell high in the air to get them away from me.  Only more space was created for them to land.  By the time I was a few feet from the dumpster, I had a SLEEVE of scurrying, hungry flies covering my entire arm.  From fingertip to shoulder.  I am pretty sure my mind shut down, and if there was a tub of hot lava beside me at that moment, I most likely would have flung myself into it, arm first.

Why didn't I just drop the stupid thing and run away?  Like I said, I was not thinking straight.  I finally made it to the dumpster and I flung it inside.  About 90% of the flies followed.  By the time I got back to the stoop, they were all gone.  My brain?  Also gone. 

It was only restored after a very hot shower, and a sneaky cocktail later that night via begging a very cute bartender for one.  I told him my sanity depended on it. 

Jan 20, 2010

And The Award For Most Grateful Goes To...



Me.

Because Ally over at Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing (I believe we were meant to be with that title.  I was a Judy Blume FREAK in elementary school), has handed me such a lovely delectable, yummy award.  It's the Happy 101 Award!

If you haven't already checked her out, you need to.  She is such a a lovely writer and PERSON, and I enjoy reading her blog daily.  Inspiring and fun, honest and heartfelt, she does not disappoint whether she is tugging on your heart strings or tickling your funny bone.  Love her!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart Ally!

And not to be outdone in greatness, Lisa Marie over at The Domestication of A Party Girl  honoured me with the same award!  Wow! This girl is my sister-from-another-mister, and her blog is so INTERESTING, always.  I am blown away by her writing, not only the style but the content.  I feel like I am sitting at her kitchen table drinking a warm cup of caramel-flavored coffee with her when I read her blog.  She never fails to keep me hooked.  Thank you Lisa Marie!

So, along with this award comes the great responsibility of awarding it to ten others.  This part is easy.  But first I must list ten things that make me happy.  Here they are:

1.  Dave- the love of my life, my partner, my teammate.  I am an independent woman ladies and gentlemen, but everything really is better when he is around.

2.  My kitties- I have three, and they are all different.  I love each of them equally for their different personalities, and when we all go to bed together at the same time every night, it's like one big, happy family.  One very furry, sprawled out, happy family.

3.  Books- If someone told me tomorrow that books were soon to be obsolete, I would cry a thousand tears.  No, more than that.  Enough to drown the world.  They are like a warm shoulder.  Definitely got me through many, MANY years of my life where I was too much of a 'nerd' to have any friends.  My books were my friends back then, and my oldest friends now.

4.  Writing- I went through a few years where I didn't write.  And then when I started again it felt like I was waking up from a dark sleep.  Something I now do everyday, and couldn't live without doing just that.

5.  Video games- I am surprised that this only made number 5 on the list.  I don't get to play enough.  My dream is to be the guy from South Park: The WOW episode.

6.  Over-stuffed couches- What's to explain? The more pillows the better, and there really has to be a ratio of sinkage you know?  Like a sinkage to me ratio would look like 20,000:1.

7.  Food- Since we need it to survive (TECHNICALLY speaking), I figured I would enjoy it.  I spent the first 25 years of my life being lazy to the point of loathing having to chew, and I am glad that has changed.  Food is delicious!

8.  MacBook Pro- Yeah, I am not sure why this is so far down the list.  I would hog tie a person if they came near mine with any sudden movements.  I make people wash their hands before they touch it.  I am not kidding.

9.  My family and friends- Obviously obvious.  My love is too much to write about here.

10.  Having my own two feet to walk me everywhere-  It seems silly I know, but I really am grateful that I am able to walk everywhere.  I hope this seemingly simple motor skill that we take for granted never leaves me.  Even when I am 100 years old.  It makes me happy!

And there you have it!  And now my list of ten ridiculously awesome bloggers I wish to award tonight, in no particular order:

1.  Mimi Charmante- Her blog is beautiful.  A much needed breath of fresh air whenever I am visiting.  She is beautiful.  And her writing will do nothing but inspire you.  What are you waiting for?

2.  A Nut in a Nutshell- blueviolet makes me laugh, makes me think, and always has THE COOLEST contests and giveaways.  I am not kidding.  She makes it easy to love her.  Check her out!

3.  IndigoWrath- It's not a secret how much I love this guy's blog.  His writing style is unlike ANYTHING you will ever come across and I love it.  Totally has my sense of humour written all over it.  Well, maybe a little more sophisticated than me.  A wonderful read always!

4.  Jen's Voices- Jen makes me LAAUUGH.  I am talking holding your stomach, bent over double, laughter.  Her writing is genius.  I cannot tell you enough to pay her a visit.

5.  The Butterfly Effect- I LOVE her.  An old friend, a lovely friend, she is a true writer.  I love her words, I love her style, I love her honesty.  A newer blogger, so let's all go over and give her a friendly welcome to the blogosphere!

6.  This Train of Thought Has Been Derailed- How many times can I write 'Love' on this page in reference to Kristy, before I am kicked off the block for good?  Honestly, I know a lot of you follow her but for those of you who don't, I suggest paying her a visit.  Your life will instantly feel complete.

7.  The Technical Parent- Josh is brilliant, and I have grown to respect him as a person.  Not only is he a genius, but he is a beautiful writer as well.  This is another blog where it's no secret how much I love it!

8.  Kitty Tells It As It Is- Kitty has made me laugh, and she has made me cry.  EVERY. SINGLE. post is a work of art.  I love her blog as much as I love my own mother.  And that's A LOT.

9.  Secret Office Confessions-  Kate makes me laugh.  The kind of laughter where you shoot chocolate milk out of your nose.  She never fails to entice me with her story-telling, and I find myself eagerly anticipating the next instalment.  For a lovely read about office (and life) shenanigans, visit her! You will not be disappointed!

10.  Milkmoon- One of the first blogs I began following.  Ciara was given the Blog of Note prestige, and she is one of the few who especially deserve it.  She is beautiful, lovely, and her blog never fails to inspire the dickens out of me.  Go and check her out.  She is a lovely lady and soon to be friend, I guarantee.

Of course a humble thank you and shout out goes to Ally at Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, and Lisa Marie at The Domestication of A Party Girl.  If you hadn't already received this award ladies, it would be going out to you too!

Whew! This was a long one! But a grateful one.  Eternally grateful.

And now Lara Croft, she of the pouty lips and ample bosom, is calling my name.


All I Want For Wednesday Is...

This house:



Located on Cambridge Street in Manchester (ENGLAND!!! I just fainted), this 3 bedroom house can be purchased for a cool 235k (Canadian).  Ummm really?  Am I reading this right?  I have ALWAYS heard/ been told that purchasing real estate in the UK is crazy expensive.  This makes no sense to me.  For that kind of money you can buy a box in an alley in Toronto.  I am not even kidding.  And look how cute! And I would LIVE in England.  Blimey!

So along with my new, perfect abode, hopefully one right beside the local chippie shop, I would need a new job.  And since I have a severe love for libraries, almost to a fault, this could be my job:


Library Assistant


Employer
The Kings School
Posted
14 Jan 2010
Contact
Head of Foundation
Location
Macclesfield,
Contract Type
Permanent
Hours
Part Time
Job role
Secretary & admin
Industry Sector
Support Services, Public
Position
Library Assistant
Salary
£7.73-£8.84 per hour

Oh my.  I could make just enough money to consume as many bangers as I wished.  Not enough for the mash though.  But who cares? I would be happier than a Kato on a comfy couch, drinking a big glass of wine and playing GTA 4.

Ah yes.  And since my post here is done, I will end with a 'Bob's your uncle' and leave it at that.

Jan 19, 2010

Did We Really Do That?

As a young teenager growing up in a VERY small town, my best friend Chrissy and I spent a lot of time doing typical teenager things:  giggling over boys, trying to look cool at ALL times, writing every detail of that oh!so!amazing!night! in our diaries and then reading them back to each other.

Don't be fooled people.  We were a couple of trouble-making boys. 

Giggling over the male species (and I use that word for a reason) usually meant we were talking about how douche-y they were, all the while pontificating with swear words that only seasoned war veterans used in the trenches.  Looking good at all times meant wearing our dads' over-sized sweaters and trying to find the best pair of brown bell-bottom corduroys from the discount clothing store.  Writing in our diaries...well, we really did do that.  Achingly detailed, were those diaries.  Throw in trying to find the most shockingly loud music, and the craziest hairstyles we could manage, and you essentially have your worst nightmare as a parent. 

Man, we were COOL.

Our favorite pasttime, just like any other teenager, was hanging out at the mall.  Even though we never had any money.  But it was fun to browse the record store.  They had one of those posters that described all the different ways to shit.  Know the one I am talking about?  That one kept us coming back again and again to bust our guts with such intelligent humour.  We also enjoyed slinking through the department store so we could stare at a boy who worked there.  He was dreamy.  He had a BEARD.  A BEARD!  That meant he was crazy unattainable and way too old for us, but we could lurk right?  And lurk we did.  And giggle.  We did a lot of that too.  Now that I think of it, we really only had one setting, the two of us: WARP SPEED GIGGLE.

Along with hanging out at the mall, Chrissy and I enjoyed expressing ourselves through acting.  What a lovely acitivity! What team players!  Again, don't be fooled.  Our form of 'acting' was another way of trying to shock the public.  We were not satisfied with just torturing our parents; innocent people also needed to feel VERY uncomfortable when we were around.  We acted like brats.  In essence, we were BRACT-ing. 

Here are some scenarios that we would play out:

One of us (or both) would act as if we were pregnant while browsing the baby section at the department store.  We made sure to waddle when we walked (um, we were 100 pounds soaking wet so this was just silly), and to yell obnoxiously loud how far along we were when the other asked.  Being a pregnant teenager was still a shocker 15 years ago.  We found this hilarious.  Of course we had to make sure the BEARDED one wasn't looking or he really would have thought we were mental.

One of us would pretend we were blind while the other lead.  Why did we find this funny? I don't know.  Obviously we were not thinking of people who actually suffer from blindness, no, we were self-absorbed teenagers who could not emote that kind of compassion, so realizing that this might actually be pretty mean did not compute in our meager brains.  Hence pretending to be blind.  Always given away by the fact that the 'blind' one would grab an article of clothing or a movie off a shelf and exclaim loudly that "this one looks cool!".  The other would realize the error of the 'blind' person's statement and would burst out laughing. We would run out of the store barely able to contain ourselves, feeling the store employee's glare searing through our dirty flannel shirts.

We also would pretend that we were British.  We would talk very loudly in horrible, HORRIBLE English accents, and we would dare each other to go and ask the store clerk for something.  The watcher would stand back, eyes wide in anticipation of the train wreck about to occur,  while the other would ask, "May aye saie thowrse paunce?".  Of course the watcher wouldn't even make it through the first word without braying like a donkey in laughter, therefore giving away the authenticity of the actor, who would also be doubled up in hearty guffaws.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  In the above case anyway.

Seriously though? Weren't we ANNOYING?  But I have to tell you, we always had SO MUCH FUN.

Kept us off those dangerous, quaint, little tree-lined streets. 

Jan 17, 2010

A Footnote for the Evening

I wanted to post again because I feel like the last post wasn't personal enough.  Isn't that funny?  I also wanted to commemorate that it was my 200th post!  Egads!  I'm electric!  Someone needs to go full stream on my ass! (Points for those who can tell me where the term 'full stream' is from).

This weekend went by WAY too fast, once again.  Yesterday Dave and I decided to walk all over the city since it was a nice day and the sun, that bastard who never comes out anymore, decided to show it's hungover face to the world.  A rare occurrence.  So we walked.  Everywhere.  And it was a great day.  I bought some books and a video game.  Can you say awesome?  I can!  Any day that is spent buying books and video games is a day that should be remembered forever and ever.  Agreed?

All that walking made me HURT.  The WALKING.  How embarrassing is that?  Here you have Kristy and Ian being absolutely amazing in their respective weight loss journeys, and I am a baby about walking.  Does anyone know that I walk to and from work everyday?  That's about at least an hour and a half of walking daily.  But since I walked for three and a half hours yesterday, stepping it up a notch (oh what a saying), stuff started to hurt.  Just goes to show me how out of shape I really am.  Good thing I have people like Josh over at The Technical Parent who inspire me to get active with stuff like this.  Oh, and the cookies.  Those inspire me too.  Thanks for the double batch friend!

A funny note about the video game I bought.  I bought Tomb Raider Underworld.  I rented this game when it first came out and was ten minutes away from beating it.  It ended up frustrating me SO MUCH that I yanked it out of my Xbox, threw it back into the case, yelled at it about how much I hated it, and promptly returned it to Blockbuster.  At least I didn't throw the controller around, which I have sometimes been known to do, all the while stating a simple yet effective "Fuck you" to the television screen.  Yes, I am one of those people.  I try to keep it to a minimum, but what can I say?

Anyway, the game was on sale at EB Games for fifteen dollars so I figured why not?  I went to a get together at my best friend's house last night and all I could think about was getting home to play the game (love you Jessi!).  Damn.  So now the beast has been unleashed and I have forgotten how much it has seduced me in the past.  I have spent so much time focusing on writing and dreaming up the different projects I will be undertaking this year that my old friend the video game has fallen by the wayside.  I can't let that happen anymore.  Not with all the good games coming out this year!

So really all I have told myself in this post is that I am going to need to find even more time in my already busy day to play video games.  Also, I need to stop being a wussy walker.  That's right.  That's just embarrassing.

10 Simple Ways to Naturally Fight the Winter Blues

If any of you are like me, you suffer from mild to moderate winter depression, otherwise known as the winter blues.  I have written about this before on my blog.  Since I do not subscribe to the book of modern medicine (nothing wrong with it though!) I thought I would share some of my own known natural ways to keep the blues away this winter:
  1. Light therapy- These attractive light boxes are small enough to sit on your desk while you write, read, or surf the internet.  Sit under one for up to an hour a day, and the simulated sunlight will give your mood a much needed boost this winter.  Don't be swayed, these have become quite affordable in recent years.  Still can't afford it?  Make it a priority to leave your desk at work, or leave your house on those rare sunny days and take a short brisk walk.  Any little bit helps.

  2. Exercise- Exercise works wonders for lifting your spirits.  Believe me, I know it's hard to get into when you have the doldrums, but start off slow.  Don't push yourself too hard, and only do what you are comfortable with.  Eventually you will feel stronger, fit, and the natural endorphins your brain releases will stay with you all day.  The best part though?  Fitting into your Spring clothes once the snow all leaves and the birds start singing again!

  3. Water- While most people reach for a coffee or a tea to keep them awake, water is the most important liquid you can drink to stay alert and fight fatigue.  As mostly everyone knows, caffeine only works against you in this regard, dehydrating you and making you more tired once the kick has worn off.  If you absolutely cannot stay away from your favourite coffee drink, try to limit your intake in the dreary months and instead replace the caffeine with water.  I promise you it works.

  4. Plenty of sleep- As we all know, I have a hard time paying attention to this rule, but it is one that you owe it to yourself to do.  With all the craziness that we have to face on a daily basis, our body's need plenty of rest in order to restore, recharge, and rejuvenate ourselves for each and every day.  If you find it difficult to get a decent amount of sleep, try going to bed 20-30 minutes earlier every night for a week, and work your way up to a respectable bedtime.  It makes all the difference in the world.

  5. Nighttime Routine-  Along with getting more sleep, creating a nighttime routine for yourself not only helps you to feel more at ease and able to relax your mind on a nightly basis, it can also help with getting you to bed that extra hour or two earlier.  Create a routine that will be difficult to break.  Only do enjoyable, relaxing things that are planned in advance and stick to this schedule.  It will feel forced at first, but eventually it will come as second nature.  Ladies (and gents if you so wish), create a bath or shower routine right before bed.  It is suggested that a half hour before bed, a hot shower and a bar of natural lavender soap will have you off to dreamland in no time.  Try to use a natural moisturizer (I recommend Green Beaver's Hand and Body Lotion in Cranberry) and drink some herbal tea, such as chamomile or sleepy time tea.  No time to do any of this?  Throw a satchel of lavender into your pillow case, or use a lavender moisturizer on your face.  Works like a charm.

  6. Fish oil- I HIGHLY recommend the capsules my friends.  Drinking this stuff is NOT pleasant, and the lemon they try to incorporate into the liquid does not help the taste one bit.  Thankfully the capsules are taste free and easy!  Buy a bottle and pop them in your freezer and they will last forever.  They will help give you radiant skin, hair, and are known to combat depression.

  7. Gentle Cleanse-  Doing a gentle cleanse over the winter months is key in helping to fight the winter blues.  I strongly suggest staying away from any cleanse that asks you only to drink a liquid for a week, or to starve yourself in any way.  Renew Life First Cleanse is a wonderful baby step into the world of cleansing.  And best of all, it only promotes a healthy lifestyle, asking that you only TRY to give up alcohol, greasy and junky foods for one month.  Eradicating those things from your diet will give you a new lease on life, and you will feel like a million bucks.  I have personally taken this cleanse and can state firmly that I love it.  Two organic herbal pills in the morning, and two at night.  And best of all, all the ingredients are written boldly on the box!

  8. Add colour to your life- Buy a painting, change a room around, throw a bright square of fabric across the back of your couch.  Colourful vases will make you want to buy colourful flowers, and your mood will improve by ten mood points instantly.  Try things you have not tried before, you might like it!  Browse indoor flea markets and auctions on those cold weekend days and you might come home with a happy treasure to brighten your home.

  9. Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C- These two important vitamins are your trusty sidekicks in the fight against the blahs.  Maybe THE most important.  Vitamin C will help boost your immunity to anything nasty trying to penetrate your system, and will help you to have an overall feeling of well being.  A quick way to test of you are Vitamin C deficient?  Look at your fingernails closely.  If you notice any bright white spots or indents near the middle of or bottom of the nail, chances are you need some Vitamin C stat!  Vitamin B complex helps boost your nervous system and provides what you need to fight lethargy and fatigue.  I love this killer combination.


  10. Eat the right kinds of foods- It is known that there are some foods out there that help stave away winter melancholy.  Almonds, green leafy vegetables, salmon, bananas, yoghurt, plain popcorn, egg yolks (plenty of protein over the winter months is key), lentils, oranges, and sunflower seeds are just a few that will help enhance your mood.  The next time you go grocery shopping, try incorporating some of these things into your diet if you don't already.  Play around with the food that is available to you over the winter, have some fun!
Unfortunately for most of us, the one thing we can be sure of is that winter comes every year.  And most likely it will overstay it's welcome.  But armed with the knowledge and a few simple rules for the winter months, there is no excuse to be just as energetic and productive as you are over the sunnier days if summer.  It's all about investing in your own well-being and taking a pro-active approach to the winter season.

Stop mourning winter and start enjoying all it has to offer.  It can be a lovely thing if you love it back.

Jan 16, 2010

Colourful, Happy Things

To lighten the mood around here at Pandorah's Box, I thought I would showcase some colour!  I figured since it is winter for most of us, what a lovely way to brighten up our lives by adding splashes of colour to our home decor.

Now, I tend to go for more neutral tones, but I want to break out of my norm and add perfect pieces of radiance into my everyday life.  And since Dave and I are currently living it up ghetto styles before we decide on what major pieces of furniture to purchase, I am finding it very fun to browse the interwebs and find some lovely ideas for a beautiful home.



I love all of these.  I only wish I knew how to incorporate stuff like this into my home.  I guess the only way to know is to just do it.  Look at that pantry!




I love these rooms.  Particularly the second one.  It may just be filed away into the folder in my mind labelled 'Pretty Things That Kato Wants'.  

All photos taken from countryliving.com and apartmenttherapy.com

Jan 15, 2010

A Silent Killer

I remember when I was a little girl, I always tried to stick my finger through the smoke rings my grandfather blew into the air.  But they always fell apart.  Now, I cannot smell the scent of vanilla without thinking of things falling apart.

That was a long time ago, and now I am a grandmother.  I never took up the habit of smoking, but today things are different.  Standing on this pier, coughing like a teenager, and giggling like one as well.  The boats in the fog move slowly in the distance, gliding smoothly over the grey water.  And what else?  What else lies under this watery blanket?  How many ships?  How many piles of bones have been swept under the carpet of sand and silt that make up the bed of the sea?

My cigarette is done and I flick it into the water, pulling my coat tighter around my body.  It is a dismal day to be standing here contemplating the secrets of the sea when I have a secret of my own.  It is a secret that has been eating at me for over a month now.  A silent killer.  It darts around my brain and it feeds on my thoughts and ideas, and then they are gone for good.  I have thought about telling my secret, but no one would benefit from the knowledge, not one single person.  So I let it eat me in silence.  Not that I can stop it.  They say it's too late.  It will start with my brain and ravage the rest of me.

I step out of my shoes and place them neatly off to the side.  This way will be quicker, and then I will just be another pile of bones for the sea to sweep away, hiding my remains forever under it's wet, heavy blanket.

Jan 14, 2010

Oh My Word

It's been a busy few days.  I have not had much time to myself in the evenings, and therefore no time to write.  I don't like that.  But, I love my friends and figure I shouldn't hole up like a troll all the time.  So I visited around a bit.  And then went to the symphony which was lovely.  And tonight was my first class in intermediate sewing.  Yeah, I know what intermediate means: we sit around and drink coffee and whiskey and talk too much, not getting anything done, and in turn have to bring our work home.  Like homework.  Only this is rad homework.

Just a few highlights of my day:

1.  I remembered at around 9PM that I took a shower this morning.  My eyes lit up and a huge smile crossed my face.  I proudly exclaimed "YESSSS! I took a shower this morning, which means I don't have to think about doing that for a while yet!"

2.  I washed the dinner dishes tonight, and at one point noticed that Dave was keenly interested in my technique.  He was particularly interested in a few items I did not scrub, but instead squished the sponge against.  He asked, "So those don't need to be scrubbed?  Just squished, I see".  Well, duh.    It's the squish wash technique.

3.  While talking to Jess about a song that was stuck in my head, I told her about some of the crass lyrics that explain just exactly what the man is going to do the lady's nether regions.  Umm...he uses the word 'whistle', let's just leave it at that.  Jessica's indignant reply?  "Uhhh...if that is happening to her down there then there is something INCREDIBLY WRONG".

But the ultimate thing that happened today was one of those things that make you wonder about humankind, and what went wrong.  Kind of great really, when you think about it long enough.  A little background:

Jess asked me if it would be alright to stop at the corner store.  I said of course.  We stepped inside and there was a middle aged man standing at the counter paying for his purchases.  He turns to look at us when we come in, and I can't help but notice his lingering gaze.

He pays for his goods.  He then proceeds to turn to us and say the most inappropriate thing you can say to two woman:

Douche:  Soooo, which one is the mother and which one is the daughter?

Me:  UMMM...

Douche: (Points at me) Mother.  (Points at Jess) Daughter.

Jess:  Uh yeah, thannnkkksss.

Me: UMM...you do not get my thanks on that one FRIEND.

Douche: (Points at me)  You look like Tom Cruise's wife, uh what's her name? Katie Holmes.

Me: Wow.

Douche: (Pointing at Jess)  And you look like Mother Teresa.

Woah.  Now I love me some Mother T, but in all my memory of this woman, and I went to a Catholic school for 20 years, she was not a looker.  He brushed passed us muttering "Bye Katie Holmes" under his breath, leaving us open mouthed and in awe.  And we didn't even get his phone number.  Dammit.

And I was all set to have a good old fashion three way with Katie Hardon, Mother Trollop , and this guy: