Friday, 29 April 2011

I'm nuts.

I am, to put it mildly, a nervous girl. I have all sorts of anxieties about all sorts of things, and I don’t mind telling you, dear reader, that I’ve had more therapists than long term relationships.

So sad. So pathetic. Me. At least I’m pretty.

Anyway, so one of my anxieties is that I have a fear of vomiting, and specifically vomiting in public.  It’s actually gotten a bit better, because about two years ago I was out for dinner with “The Sisters” (more about them in the future)  and I did indeed vomit in public. Out in the street in front of the restaurant. It was CafĂ© California on Church Street, in case you’re wondering. Finding that the world didn’t end when I gave my guts to the gutter, I have since been less freaked out about the possibility of public displays of semi-digested dinner.

That has not always been the case.

One of my very favourite people on earth can attest to my madness. Her name is Bettina and she is more awesome than anything and if I had to choose between having Bettina in my life and having bread products in my life, I would choose Bettina.

Bettina and I lived together for 4 years in the early 1990’s. This is what she looked like then only with more teeth, but otherwise, it’s EXACTLY what she looked like:

Once I was so sick with a violent flu, Vesuvius at both ends, and couldn’t make it out of bed. Bettina changed the towels. That’s right. She changed the towels.

Once I woke Bettina up in the middle of the night because I was feeling a little nauseus and didn’t know what to do.

“Bettina, wake up. I think I ate Tinactin”.

I think she may have laughed after her initial shock of being awoken out of a perfectly deep sleep. But then she calmed me down and said that even if I did eat Tinactin, that I’d probably have to eat a whole lot of it in order to be sick, and not just accidentally lick a tiny film of it from my finger after applying some to my horrific feet. I went back to sleep and I’m sure Bettina stayed up the rest of the night wondering how she’d ended up as a roommate to neurosis personified.

Bettina has written 3 books and is almost finished her 4th.  Here are links to them.

Go buy all of her books and read them. She’ll be happy if you do, but I don’t think she’ll change your towels. I was special.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Beats Per Minute

When I run, I prefer to listen to music. It passes the time and is energizing. However, I have to be able to run in time to the music, so I need to ensure that songs have the appropriate tempo, or beats per minute, to keep me running at my desired pace.

My iPod is loaded with songs that range between 155-175 BPM, allowing for a pace of 5.5-6.5 mph. This playlist keeps me running further than I might otherwise (just one more song…) but is, ultimately, humiliating.

My running playlist is to music what KFC’s Double Down is to food: something you don’t admit to wanting or consuming in fear of looking like the worst Jerry Springer audience member. My playlist is high fat, low quality, and I love it.

It includes Brittney Spears, Journey, Ricky Martin and Rihanna. To be fair, there are some less embarrassing songs peppered in there as well – some Fleetwood Mac, Billy Idol, Bloc Party. But they only made the cut because the songs were the right BPM. Quantity of beats wins over quality of beats.

With having to be able to run to a particular beat, it follows that I also find I need to walk to the beat of a particular drummer. For the past 3 years, whenever I walk anywhere with purpose, I am internally humming the theme song from “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. Three years is a long time. Once in awhile it changes up to the East Side Mario’s jingle, but the majority of the time, it’s “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch…”. It’s kind of crazy making. I even hum the instrument augmentations thusly:

I’ve tried to willfully replace it with other songs, but nothing sticks. I’ve even tried the “never-fail audio palate cleanser” that Brian told me about. If you have a song stuck in your head, just start singing a Neil Diamond song. Any Neil Diamond song will do. The cling-on song will be replaced by the Neil Diamond song, which, in due course, will evaporate effervescently into the ether and your internal boom box will be a clean slate. So far, resistance appears to be futile.

Grinch Theme: 1       Sweet Caroline: 0.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


I have a complicated relationship with Vector cereal.

Vector cereal (by Kelloggs) is marketed as a meal replacement cereal and their TV ads show lots of athletes doing super energetic things, things they are able to do because they have replaced their meals with Vector. They run faster, bike faster, jump higher. They are so fast they don’t have time to make a sandwich, they have to have Vector, instead.  I guess they are trying to tell us that if we replace meals with Vector, we, too, can be super athletes who look all intense and hardcore and sweat in a sexy manner.

I’ve tried this and I can tell you it doesn’t work.

Now, I love Vector, let me be clear. I love it so much, it’s wrong. I love it so much that I will eat Vector crumbs off of the counter top after Brian has poured himself a bowl. Sometimes I discover too late that the crumbs are actually dried up cat food. All for Vector. It’s a dangerous love. If I was not already married, I’d marry Vector and then divorce Vector because Vector and I just can’t live together.

Yet we can’t live apart.

I can eat more Vector than is scientifically possible.

They say a serving size of Vector is 1.25 cups. Who in hell has 1.25 cups of cereal, only, at a time? Come on.

I’d say 4 cups a serving is probably more accurate. And I can have multiple servings in one sitting. Easy.

It’s got to the point that Brian, my husband (because that’s his name), has to put the Vector on a high up shelf in the kitchen to deter me from depleting all his supply. It’s so close, yet sooo far away. It’s on that shelf taunting me, singing it’s Vector siren call. Waiting.

Waiting for me to, I don’t know, get a stool and stand on it so I can reach the Vector. Or get out a spatula and flick it down with a single reach.

Once in a while, I succumb to the lure of the call and get me some Vector (It’s pretty easy Brian). According to I can burn off one serving of Vector by laying linoleum for 42 minutes. I can do that.  Linoleum can’t be that hard to put down.  Alternatively I can do “theatre work” for 63 minutes. That sounds like fun! And I really want that Vector. I figure I can keep it to one of their serving sizes and enjoy some of that Vector Nectar without losing it.

Well, we all knew how that was going to end.

For now, I’ll just try to keep it together as best I can. I’m hoping, maybe, Jillian Michaels will write a self help book on how to beat the Vector habit. She’ll use her no nonsense, tough love, therapy-speak, and I’ll feel all better.
And then I’ll move on.

To Mini Wheats.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Hairy Beast

I am a hairy hairy beast. I have to be very diligent about shaving my legs and waxing my face, or I very soon look not unlike Sasquatch in penny loafers.

I have the eyebrows of a grandfather, or a lot like Andy Rooney.

Sad, really.

Fortunately, I have been blessed with the small mercy of that facial hair being light coloured and fine, instead of what it could be, dark and coarse. This is good, except in bright sunlight, when, at certain angles, I look like a thousand tiny spiders have spun webs all over my face and are perhaps waiting to crawl out of my facial orifices. It's plain creepy.

I was born this way. My mom says that when I was born, a full month early, I was covered in downy hair, like a baby monkey. I wonder if she was disappointed when she was told she'd given birth to a healthy baby girl, and not an adorable shit-slinging monkey baby. Monkey babies are cuter than human babies, hands down. Yes, even yours.

That birth hair fell out, but over the course of the next decades, I re-grew a bountiful pelt hither and yon. And now I spend a lot of time and money trying to keep it from swallowing me whole.

I had my arms waxed yesterday. Here's the before:

And the results:

Just so you know, the yellow stuff is wax, not my skin.

And before you bring it up, I will never get one of those "Brazilian" waxes. I'm not Brazilian and life can only handle so much horror. And I've seen the entire movie "Coyote Ugly". I know horror.

Monday, 18 April 2011


I love yarn.

I come by this love honestly. My mother also loves yarn and instilled in me a respect for yarn that borders on worship.

My mother is a knitter and crocheter, while I am a needlepointer. She, at one time, had about 15 garbage bags full of wool in our front porch/storage room. Most of it was beige, which she would buy in bulk if she found it on sale, in case she "ever wanted to make another beige afghan". She had enough beige wool to make about 10 extra large afghans. She also had bags of crocheted granny squares, waiting to be sewn together into afghans. She had quantities of sock yarn, baby yarn, variegated yarn, cotton yarn, itchy wool yarn, acrylic yarn, novelty yarn.

When mom downsized to an apartment, she got rid of most her wool, which I think was more difficult for her than selling her house. Still, she has devoted a good portion of her present closet space to wool, and continues to buy it. It's a sickness. And she passed it on to me.

I love needlepointing. It's very calming. I used to work in a needlepoint store for the discount and just to be near all those scrummy colours of wool. When the shop closed down, my boss sold me, at very very deep discount, all of her remaining Paternayan Persian wool. Sometimes I take it out of the pillow cases I store it in, just to look at it.

I also love my pyjamas, as you can see from the photo. My pyjamas have cup cakes on them.

I have more wool on backorder from a couple different needlepoint outlets in order to finish a couple of large projects I've started. It's hard to get certain colours sometimes.

It's hard to be me.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pee rant

I travel a lot. A shop a lot. So I have a lot of experience with public restrooms.

So riddle me this. Why is it that quite often, in women's bathrooms there is always at least one toilet that has been completely splattered in urine?

I understand a dribble here, a drip there, that one might miss. People wipe that up when they see what they've done, right? Right? But how is it that people can basically stand 2 feet above the seat and pee hither and yon, and then just leave it there for some poor sot (me) to find and be horrified by? It's like they took a beaker full of urine, held it aloft and poured it over the toilet seat. Were there incantations? Curses spelled?  Have they no shame? Are they that lazy?

I'm sorry you have to see this. But you do.

See what I mean? What the hell!

Perhaps, you might suggest, that it is children or ill persons who are the offenders. There aren't that many children or ill persons in all of the malls, department stores, truck stops, restaurants and night clubs in the world.  It just doesn't add up.

And why is it that the bathroom in The Bay basement always smells like a urine soaked wool sock. Well, you don't have to answer that.

* I added the pee photo weeks after this post was originally put up. It makes more sense now if you know the horror of which I speak.

Monday, 11 April 2011


Currently, my legs feel like two cement cylinders, and not in a good way.
About a year and a half ago I took up running on a regular basis. It has been one of the hardest things I've done, but one of the most beneficial in a number of ways. I'd always wanted to be a runner, even when I was a kid. When I was in grade 7, I invited my friends over for breakfast and a run. My mom allowed this, bless her. We had some sort of breakfast, of which, I am sure, I ate too much, being a rotund bugger of a pre-teen. I'd seen actresses on TV jogging for fitness and I figured if they could do it, I could, too.
I had no idea.

I got about a half a block before I had to stop, lungs laughing and screaming at me at the same time. My friends, not the most forgiving of pals, ran ahead, disgusted by my ability to carbo load but not walk the walk, as it were. I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed.

In later years, in attempts to lose weight, I'd taken up running, but always injured myself and figured I was one of those people who just "couldn't run" because I had "bad knees" or I was somehow "misaligned". I was just going about it all the wrong way, going to fast, pushing through pain and wearing improper runners.

So in August of 2009 I began another attempt at weight loss Because my husband is a runner, I was encouraged to give it another shot. He motivated me and assured me that it would be worth the effort. I read up on how to start up jogging and started slowly this time, with proper footwear.

It was still really, really hard, but this time, down on the boardwalk where many people do their daily run in my area, I noticed that other people out running were having a hard time, too. They weren't all like the actresses on TV in the early 80's or like my skinny legged friends in school. No one looked thrilled to be out. No one looked like Bo Derek down at the beach. Even when people nodded in greeting to me, it was a grim faced acknowledgement that we were in a club that had great benefits, but a lengthy and arduous initiation process. There was even more silent commiseration in inclement weather. We were out in rain and snow and cold. We were an elite hard-assed league. Suffering, slogging and smug.

Eventually it did get easier. I ran my first 30 minutes without stopping within a couple weeks. And by the time month 4 had rolled around I was banging off sub 60 minute 10Ks with no problems. I had lost 30 pounds, too. In my first year, I ran just short of 1700 miles.

I am not one of those people who feels lousy if they don't run. I don't bounce out of bed in the morning and think, "Holy Crap, I get to  run for over an hour today". I whine and bitch and complain about it. Every. Single. Time. But if I don't do it, I feel like I'd be disappointing some fat 12 year old somewhere.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


I’ve always struggled with my weight. I was a fat kid growing up, who developed into a fat teenager and an overweight adult. Seems I was/am always on a diet.

In school, I was, typically, the last person chosen for teams, the last person to cross the finish line in track and field day races (to this day, I feel slightly ill when I even see a hurdle on a track) and most likely to fake a sore knee in order to avoid any kind of exertion. I didn’t like being fat, but didn’t like going without Nestle Quik in quantity more.

But there have been times that I’ve stuck to various diets and exercise programs and have been able to lose weight and feel healthier. The first time I lost a significant amount of weight, I was in junior high school.

I can’t remember the exact numbers, but I must have lost about 30 pounds over the course of about 8 months. I gained confidence and even did better academically. Of course, as a teenaged girl, I was focused mainly on looking better. But one of the best parts of having lost that weight was being able to physically do things I’d never thought I could.

One day, in gym class, I did a headstand.

I never would have attempted it when I was overweight. So the thrill I felt when I realized that I had tried the headstand, and had achieved it, was indescribable. If I could do that headstand, I could do anything. I was lithe, I was a feather, I was Nadia Comanechi.

My pride was a bright little flame.

Monday, 4 April 2011


I think it's important to get this out of the way as soon as possible.

I love the word poo.

I'm not into looking at poo or checking out websites that have pictures of people's poo, nor do I want to "rate" said poos.

I just think the word is hilarious and try to use the word as many times a day as I can.


There. Just added to the quota.

I have a lot of excellent poo stories that I'd love to share with you. The first is one that my friends have heard a thousand times, but now I feel it is essential that the tale be shared with the greater population. You're welcome in advance.

I was traveling, as I do a fair bit for my work, with a colleague. We were waiting in a hotel lounge area to meet some people who would be interviewing us. My friend left me waiting for a few moments to use the facilities, and when he returned he asked me if I had a match because he just delivered the most impressive poop. I ran back to my hotel room, delighted and procured a small flashlight that happened to be attached to my keychain at the time. Was his poop so amazing that I would go from just loving the word "poo" to not being horrified by seeing it? It was time to take that step. Time to grow.

When I returned and met my friend at the restroom, he looked perplexed. And then I became confused.

The toilet bowl was empty. And the lights were working, so why would he need a light?

When he'd asked for a match, I assumed he meant that it was too dark to show me his impressive poop and that he needed a light to illuminate the masterpiece, not a match to mask the smell of his epic creation. I thought he'd been proud, not ashamed.

I was disappointed, yet relieved.