Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boyo says Happy Canada Day!!!

(Kao has the Gene Simmons' of tongues)

Happy Canada Day, Biatches!

(Roughly translated Ruff, ru-ruff, ruff. Woof).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trading my stapler for an uzi

I wrote this short story about a month ago for the salesperson I work with. He had been on holiday and in his absence I was ordered to clean up his cubicle. It did look like a bomb had gone off in there.

So, I did. Clean it up, that is, not set off a bomb. It took three boxes and a vat of general purpose spray to get the desk and filing cabinet to an acceptable standard.

I knew he would be pissed. I knew I would get the brunt of it. So, to ease the tension I wrote him a story. The fact that I'm still alive and still gainfully employed today goes to show how a little creativity can get you out of some tough spots. Names have been changed to save my own hide.

An Uzi-doozy of a day

She dressed in battle fatigues that Wednesday morning, lacing up her combat boots, affixing her helmet and crossing her fingers for no casualties that day. It was D-Day. Black Wednesday. And, it was expected the cloud above her work station would disperse only with the weekend’s approach. Battle ready, she stepped from her porch toward her car, wishing it a tank to take out the enemy.

“I think I just threw up in my mouth."

It was the commander’s return that had her poised for attack, and there was bound to be backlash for her week’s activity – a general’s order to clean up his work station in his absence.


She could hear him from the parking lot. He’d seen the desk.

“I think I just threw up in my mouth,” she said to her co-worker as she entered the office.

“Get ready for it. He’s on a rampage and you’re top on the list. But remember, you couldn’t disobey an order. You had to do it.”

“Yeah, he should be pleased that I kept it organized,” she said, pointing to the tabbed file folders. “If General Golden had his way everything would be swept off into the trash.”

But she knew he would not even see past the sparkling, barren desk, drinking glass washed and catalogues neat and tidy.

“It’s too late to phone in sick, isn’t it,” she asked.

“Given his mood today, you will be able to call in dead tomorrow,” her co-worker answered with a grin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gym rats unite!

Gym rat: A person who spends every day at the gym, pumping weights, hitting the cardio and partaking in every group class the gym offers; a person who has only gym friends, drinks power protein drinks and in the hours not filled with gym activities, she plans what she's going to do when she gets there.

Yes, that was me not so long ago (okay, maybe it was longer than I care to admit). I would work out Monday to Thursday with a day break in between, only to hit the gym twice on the weekend. It didn't help that I worked there too. I would wake up at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings, grab a coffee at Tim Horton's and then hit the bikes, treadmill or eliptical, whatever was free, before hitting the weights.
You could bounce a quarter off of my ass, I was so proud.
I was so obsessed that my ex-husband and his friends considered hosting an intervention. They couldn't understand my love of the gym. It was my sanctuary, my solace.

I haven't been as obsessed in the last few years, much to the detriment of my ass. But as of last night at 10 p.m., I again walked through the hallowed halls of the workout elite. I don't come in the same package as I did when I first set foot in the gym and I don't have the same "workout 'til I puke" mindset. Don't laugh - after a brutal leg workout with my friend Josh, I actually did heave. He laughed and told me to go do another set. The bastard. But that is another story for another time.

I actually don't mind that I've discarded that old package. I'm a little bit softer and certainly more understanding, and I know there is more to life than planning the next big back and bicep workout. Times have changed; I have changed. Don't get me wrong, I still miss the cameraderie found at my old gym. It was an instant family, and for those privy to the inner workings and the foresight of the gym's two owners, it's a lesson in how a gym should be run - with a constant reinvestment in its members. Profits went into upgrades, replacing old equipment with new and in securing the top classes and instructors. Money from a commercial shoot went to a whole new ladies' free weight section. And, there was a hello and goodbye to anyone who passed through their doors. I was in a good place.

I'm getting back to that place, in a new gym setting (my sanctuary was sold to a U.S. chain and has since gone downhill - hell, I left!). The equipment is different but the exhileration is the same - focusing on goals, on hitting that next kilometre, that next hill, that next set.

The only thing I won't miss is the smell of Rub-A535, the gym rats' odour of choice. But even that brings back memories. Perhaps I'll put a little behind my ears for old times' sake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things that make me go GRRRR!

Isn't he cute? But, piss him off and he'll give you what for! This little guy reminds me of my Boy Wonder, looking insolent and giving attitude when he's told he can't do something. That pisses him off. The following is a little list, a Top 5 if you will, of what gets my goat. Here's Kao to introduce the Grrr! List(there are more but I didn't want to win the gargantuan blog post contest...):

Take it away, Boyo.

Grrr #1: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Everyone deserves it, not everyone gets it. I'm a firm believer in treating others how you wish to be treated and that goes for all members of the human race. The person serving you coffee at Tim Horton's does not deserve a sneering of the nose while he fixes your coffee and he deserves a please and a thank you, thank you very much. There should be no snapping of fingers, no whistles or cat-calls. A simple "may I have a double-double with milk please" will be suffice. 'Nuff said.

Grrr #2: Walking the green walk

If you're going to advertise the fact that you recycle and you respect the earth, at least have the decency of passing your Drive Clean tests. For those of you who live in other parts of the world, Canadians and Ontarians in particular have had to take their cars in for vehicle emissions testing, to make sure we are making as small a dent on our environment as possible. Today, while driving home from work, I noticed a recycling truck for a local rcompany heading onto the highway. Sure, it had recycling in the truck's belly, but it was hacking out plumes of the blackest exhaust I've ever had the chance to see. Think you're all about the environment? Think again, jackass.

Grrr #3: Close talkers

I'm all about space. Wide open space and that includes the space between me and you. Get up in my grill and I'll start to growl like the little Georgie Forman boxer there. Don't take the hint when I step back to give both of us a wider berth and I'm sure I'll bark a little louder, howl even. I'm a lover not a fighter, so I don't think it will come to fisticuffs but I'm not going to be held responsible. And don't get me started if you ever breathe on me while practising "close talking." I'll slap you. Really, I will.

Grrr #4: Re-inventing the English language

Now I'm all for progress. If there is a word that should be in the dictionary and there is a solid argument as to why it should be in there, then by all means. But if it's a non-word word, like. oh, I don't know... irregardless, then that's just plain assinine. Regardless or irregardless, it's the same thing. I think people thought of adding the "ir" to elongate the word and make them appear smarter. It doesn't. It's like fingernails down the chalkboard, just like when someone says "I don't know nothing." Apparently, you know something... that it pisses me off. Stop it. And don't get me started on your, you're, its, it's, there, their and they're. I can understand that some people may not thrive in English class. I get that, but it seems in this instant, email world it's laziness that prevails.

Grrr #5: You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar
My grandma always used to say this to me and I thought it was pretty bang on. I used to work at a gym as weekend manager, where I'd have anywhere from five to 10 people working with me that day - on the floor, in maintenance, on the front desk and juice bar. Most were students in their first job and they tended to socialize more than work. There were some exceptions, but for the most part, they needed a gentle reminder that they were there to serve the members. There were some daytime managers who did not subscribe to the honey method. They snapped their fingers, barked orders and talked down to the staff. With little results and no respect. Start with something positive, highlight a negative or a goal you'd like them to attain and thank them for doing it. It's simple. Respect. It all comes down to respect in any position or job you acquire. You give it, you receive it and it's a happy working relationship. Tempers and attitudes should not live here. Sadly, too often they do.

Compassion is my new religion

*** I apologize in advance for the seriousness of this post. I was reading an article about religion online and that got me thinking. ***

I was asked not too long ago whether I was religious or not. My response? "I'm spiritual." The answer was not good enough for the questioner. He was asking a specific question and expected a specific answer: yes or no. The thing is, I couldn't really answer it definitively.

I grew up in a household where you could choose your own religion. My dad was a non-practising Anglican and my mum was brought up in the United Church in Scotland. My brother is now a converted Catholic and I'm living with a non-practising Catholic and a practising Buddhist monk. I've visited many a church and read up on a variety of religions, including the Mormons, Buddhism and Muslim faiths. All have their own gods, their own rules and their own rules for exclusion.

In college, I was exposed to the evangelicals. A friend of mine had joined a specific group. She was adamant that her church, her practices, her god was the law and anyone outside of that circle was wrong, that they were not worthy of an after-life. It was her job to "save" me, to bring me into her fold and secure my spot in heaven. She used trickery to have me attend a "party" with her, only to find out it was a bible reading and I was fresh meat.

I'm not surprised that so many people were part of this group: it practised inclusion to those invited, and for a girl searching for her acceptance, her place in life, it can be an alluring prospect. But what this group failed to do was to practise acceptance of all people, of all creeds, religions and orientation. Opinions are accepted only if it's the status quo of the group.

I have a picture on my fridge. It's a card from my cousin's Catholic church for a donation that I made almost a year ago. It came in the mail and I thought it was a joke, forgetting the $50 that I donated to the church in lieu of a gift. It was at my cousin's request and didn't think anything of it. Jesus now has a spot on my fridge, but that same "savior" now wears glasses. Sunglasses, and he wears them at night. I think every diety can enjoy a little levity.

In answer to the religion question: I am not Catholic, I'm not Anglican, I'm not Muslim or Seik. I am not Agnostic, and as much as I joke, I am not Pagan and my Catholic brother and boyfriend both joke that I may burst into flames if I set foot across the threshold of their church.

I don't think I'll ever choose one religion, as my parents, in their wisdom, have granted me that right. Those are limits I don't want to even consider. Compassion is my new religion and if that makes me an outsider, so be it. I'll have an open mind, devoid of any misconceptions or nuances, and that to me, holds a lot more weight than a membership in any club.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bell bottoms and feathers were my uniform

When I was six, I wanted to be a disco dancer when I grew up. When most of my friends were playing at nurse, giving shots and checking reflexes, I was strutting my stuff in my wood-paneled basement, music coming from the ceiling speakers my dad had installed. A flip of a switch was all it took and my basement sanctuary was filled with the Bee Gees, Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band, with me lip-synching and groovin' to the tunes.

A shy girl who used to hide behind my dad's legs at a stranger's approach (and sometimes even someone I knew), I was not one to seek out centre stage. Unless that stage had a mic or space to do the funky chicken.

After the cancelation of Solid Gold (gasp!) and the death of Disco (a dark era in my childhood, plus I realized that "Disco Dancer" looked a little out of place on a resume), I traded my polyester bell-bottoms and air band paraphenalia for a Barbie head and a pair of scissors. I was to be a hair dresser and Barbie was to be my first client. It was a short-lived hair dresser-client relationship. You see, I thought Barbie rocked the New Wave-Thompson Twins look; Ken did not and promptly dumped Barbie's sorry ass. She was so cutting edge that Ken cut her loose. I also didn't realize that Barbie's hair was not like mine and would not, with any cajoling or special products, grow back.

A few years and many pimples later, I would enter the world of writing, in which I currently reside. Back then it was bad poetry that enveloped my world, full of teenage angst and run-on stanzas. Now, it's blogging and freelance writing, and for over 15 years it was business - all business - working as editor of two trade magazines and a community newspaper. But alas, that is now my night job. While I still relate more to the writing career part of me, it's my day job as an account coordinator for a promotions company that pays most of the bills. It's said that you will change careers three to four times during your lifetime. If I count the disco dancing and hairdresser stints, I'm onto my fourth career. Is it my ideal one? No. That's an emphatic NO.

I've discovered that while it was nice to have a break from the 18-hour days I was putting in at the community newspaper, I still crave the interaction between the subject, the writer and the audience. I miss the creativity, the deadlines (it's a different type of deadline now) and the joy of headline writing at 3 a.m. Okay, maybe not those, but I definitely miss the creativity.

I've also discovered that it's a different world out there for writers. Gone are the traditional newspapers roles (thanks blogs!) and everyone must think outside of the box. And that means looking outside of the box for jobs too. That's what I'm aiming to do with this whole blogging thing and perhaps I'll glean some suggestions for new paths to take on my writing journey. Web content? Sure. Travel writer? Duh! That would be ideal.

What I miss most from my childhood career aspirations is the unlimited possibilities where a disco dancer had just as much merit as a nurse, lawyer or doctor. Where a cowboy could play street hockey with a would-be accountant, or where my cousin, who wanted to be a duck when he grew up, was allowed to aspire to such a post. He did, however, eventually trade his webbed feet in for a spot on a sailing crew. Now that would look rad on a resume!

Monday, June 8, 2009

I love you, man!

I have a friend who is an addiction counsellor. A really good one. He heads up a national addiction support group called CAST Canada. He counsels addicts and he trains the professionals that counsel the addicts and he's learned this because he knows how they feel. He's been there - he's an addict too. What set him straight was what he calls countless "I love you sandwiches." Hey, listen man, I love you but you're screwing up royally. You're abusing yourself and we don't like what drugs do to you. But, we still love you.

I learned this while working as editor-in-chief of a community newspaper. It was an afternoon of revelations. The intent was to learn about his journey and what got him to a place where he could understand himself, his addiction, and in turn, others' addictions. And while I haven't talked to him in what seems like ages, his message always stuck and it made me realize that I've had people deliver that same "I love you sandwich" to me.

In my life, I've been lucky to call three people best friend - my Scottish best friend, my adolescent best friend and my high school best friend. I wish there were other names that I could use that would adequately describe what they mean to me. Where is the rule that you can have only one best friend? I'm happy that I choose not to fit that rule. Otherwise, I'd be missing three different servings of these sandwiches.

The first set of "I love you sandwiches" was served piping hot to me when I was visiting my Scottish best friend. I was busy feeling sorry for myself and my lot in life to realize that it was up to me to make the best life possible, not my parents and their version of who I should be. At 16, my friend liked me for me, for my quirkiness, my sense of humour, not to mention my incredible great taste in friends. Seriously, she taught me that I should love myself because if I didn't then I was showing her that she was a liar and that she was stupid for holding me in such high regard. She delivered another one the night before my wedding - again piping hot - that I was marrying for the wrong reason. This one she delivered a little gentler. It was my wedding day, after all. Two years and a divorce later and I heard her message loud and clear. That I was too good to accept second best.

This past weekend, I was delivered two sandwiches by my two here-and-now best friends. These girls each have their own stash of dirt on me, and those secrets will go to their grave with them (much to the disappointment of my man). They also know the person I am and that's why they both sat me down and told me that they were worried about me. Now, I'm not saying that I've booked the train to the funny farm. Normally, I'm a well-adjusted person, but like everyone, I've got my demons. Mine comes in the matriarchal form and can be evidenced in one of last month's posts. It's a demon that I've struggled with all my life and it's not an easy demon to eradicate. It's had years to set up shop. What is ironic is that the "I love you sandwiches" came on the same weekend, by two separate people. These are people who love me for all of my foibles. They see my true essence and know that even though I might not share their opinion of me 100 per cent of the time, they tell me time and time again that in their eyes, I don't come up short.

Sure, I may piss them off. I'm notoriously vague on my arrival time. They know if I say I'll be there in half-an-hour, they can tack on 5 to 15 minutes. I'm anal about grammar and people using non-word words. I also tend to put others' needs and wants above my own and lose myself and my needs in the process. These are my issues and they tease me because they love me, foibles and all.

This past weekend, I was scheduled to dance my ass off for a girls' night/birthday party. I hadn't been out dancing in what seemed like years. And, how I love to dance! Two hours before heading out, however, I was debating on whether to go. I was nervous about putting myself out there, extra weight and warts, to dance among the beautiful people. Younger, more svelte beautiful people. Okay, so I don't have warts, but I have the extra weight and for that I am more than a bit self-conscious. I'm also angry at myself for letting me get to the point where I feel self-conscious. Best friends Mags and Anasatan (names have been changed to protect what Mags describes as the innocents - ha!) both said, in their own words, get over yourself and get out there. So what if you've gained a few extra pounds. Pick yourself up, shave those legs and get on your dancing shoes. The fun will follow. And follow it did. Sure, I felt a little out of place but once I closed my eyes and started to move, the insecurities and Margaret's voice faded away. I was again the Dancing Queen. For four hours.

It's now two days later and I'm still on a high. I went out. I saw, I danced and I conquered, and I have the best three best friends one could ever find. My physical self is still there. That will change over time, with exercise and eating healthy, but my mental state is in a different realm, a realm that can only be reached if I listen to my heart and hold myself in the same high regard as my three kemosabes do. I must be smart if I chose them as my friends.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Put on the tea, Hun, I'm cummin' home

I've been reading a lot about farts, penis farts, cha-cha farts and about farts in general, of the posterior kind. Living with three males (two human, one canine), I know a thing or two about farts. I know that the word fart is not an entirely pleasant noun or verb, in whichever context you choose to use it. "Momma, I have to fart" is a legitimate use of the word, though it would have many moms cringing. A cell phone ring entitled Juicy Fart was regularly requested by my neice and nephew, who not only enjoyed the sound, but the name also had them in stitches.

You see, we were not allowed to use "fart" in our household. Nor did we say "toot," which is a favourite of my boyfriend. "Kao, did you toot? Oh no, that was me." To me, the word "toot" is a little too PG-13. My mum chose an equally inappropriate (and uncommon) substitute. I'm not entirely sure why but, while she used the correct term for taking a crap - bowel movements - she chose the word "pomp" to acknowledge the act of flatulence. Pomp. Pomp and circumstance. Pomp. Pomp-pomp-de-pomp-pomp.

Fart explains everything: the intent, the sound, the smell. Fart is a repulsive word, often said with distaste. A long-time friend loves her farts. She loves saying the word, she loves the act of farting and she likes sharing her farts. In a closed car, six hours, on the way home from Montreal with one traveler recovering from food poisoning (yes, that was me). She farted. I vomited. It was a lovely trip. But, I did manage to buy a purse and a pair of shoes. I have my priorities.

I also have a list of words that are created as they should sound. Shart. Yes, it's a combined word - fart and shit: shart. It it is spelled exactly as it must. As it sounds. It explains everything without the use of a dictionary.

Sperm is a weird word. If you hadn't already gotten the 4-1-1 from your sex ed class, would you get an idea of what sperm is just by hearing the word? I prefer splooge. I'm not entirely sure how it's spelled or if anyone really knows so we can find an expert opinion on the spelling. But splooge sounds exactly as it must.

You must be asking what in the hell led to this most random post. Besides the vast array of fart stories courtesy of my fellow bloggers, it was a mere grocery list and a short-form that had me doing a double-take. My tenant had run out of Spearmint tea. He wrote it down on a piece of paper and tacked it to the fridge to remind himself. A seemingly innocent and regular act, but not when I'm around. Spearm tea. Sperm tea, I thought? Ick.

And then my mind expanded to the intricacies of creating sperm tea. And how to keep the sperm in the teabag and not free swimming in your china tea cup, the ones that you take out only for special occasions, like when the euchre ladies come to play a hand or two. And then I thought about my mother's euchre friends drinking tea. Splooge tea. Reading their fortunes in the bottom of a teacup. Sperm reading. And then I vomited. Puked. Talked to Huey on the big, white telephone. Hurled. Ralphed. You get the picture.

Now, if only I can find a nice tea to settle my stomach.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Jurassic Park Mission

My backyard looks like a trailer park - the kind you'd see on Trailer Park Boys, full of weeds, little grass and yes, an old propane barbecue circa 1980. The only thing missing is the old washer and dryer left out to rust in the sunlight. Oh, and Julian holding his ever-present Rum and Coke and a plethora of shopping carts.

The backyard is supposed to be your oasis, a place to unwind, relax and crack open a cold one after a long day at work. Mine is a landmine of beer bottles. Sure they are corralled and set aside for the next jaunt to The Beer Store, but until they grow their own legs and feet and motor under their own power, those bottles will probably remain there until the next house party.

And, the weeds. Oh my christ, the weeds. About seven years ago, my first tenant thought it would be wise to use the soil provided by the townhouse complex instead of forking over the $14 for legitimate (and weed-free) topsoil. Now, it's Jurassic Park where I fear the 12-ft. dandelions will wrap their tenticles around Kao's legs and drag him away. If it was a jungle look I was going for, I hit the jackpot.

The funny thing is that this is actually improvement. It was worse. I had an ornamental grass planting in one of the gardens with a root system that would have attracted the attention of the Discovery Channel. Three back-breaking days later and we have an empty plot, now ready for new soil and plants. The root system had gone down as far as three feet, and in order to ensure the grass' certain demise, we removed it all. I say "we" but my task was to hold the garbage bags and try not to swim in the sea of mud that did not make it into the bag.

I don't know why I'm admitting to this horticultural downfall. Maybe it's so if I go MIA from Scribing Life for a week that you, my bloggers, will send out a search party, arrange for overhead surveillance and organize a covert mission to get me the hell out. To save me from myself and my garden.

With the "ornamental" grass gone, the next mission is to tackle the weeds so Kao can do his business without fear. God help Bella if she ever decides to explore. Wish me luck, bloggers. And if I don't make it back, don't forget the Scribe. Otherwise, I'll throw weed seeds at you and plant Jurassic-like grasses in your garden beds. So there.