Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, and one more thing

I was standing in line in the grocery store this afternoon, the clerk was making small talk with the customer ahead of me.

"Cold enough for you?"

The twenty-something year old man laughed and explained he was only visiting our area, he serves in the Forces out of a base in Cold Lake, Alberta, and if you REALLY want to talk about cold....

I had to jump in. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt, but thank you."

Quizzical look towards weirdo lady behind him.

I explained again. "Thank you for what you do. It's important. It lets me live the way I do." Slowly, like talking to a child, knowing full well that the only real issue is that this CHILD has never had someone say this to him before.

He suddenly understood me. "Shit. I mean, you're welcome. It's my pleasure." And a shy smile.

"No, I doubt that, but you do it anyway."

And then he grabbed his bags of bread and oregano and green beans, and walked out of my life forever.

But I will remember him.

And I bet he will remember me.

What would YOU do?

Let's assume you live in my basement. You come upstairs to the kitchen, and see a huge note on top of the stove. "I am cleaning the oven, DO NOT TURN IT ON." Let's also assume there are newspapers spilling out of the oven (placed at the bottom of the door to keep oven cleaner from dripping on to the baking sheets in the drawer.) Let's also assume the baking racks from the oven are sitting on the counter.

What would YOU do?

Well, if you ACTUALLY lived in my basement, what you would do is this: Wait until I come home from a half day at work and then, as soon as I enter the door, I get on the phone to set up an appointment to get winter tires put on the car. While I was on the phone, you would silently turn on the oven to 450 degrees. And when I hung up the phone, you would say, "Irma, what's wrong with the oven, why is it doing this?"

And when I smelled the gaseous odour of DEATH eminating from the kitchen, and started yelling, "Turn it iff, TURN IT OFF", you would look at me like I was a lunatic. Don't let the fact that there is actual acrid smoke POURING out of the venting burner give you a clue.

"I told you not to turn on the oven!!"

"Well, yeah, but that sign was from yesterday."

"I. KNOW."

So instead of gently wiping off the oven cleaner, I then had wait til the oven cooled down, the ventilation fan at FULL blast, to scrub off the chemicals my TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD step son had baked in to the metal, all the while hoping the fumes don't give me brain cancer.

His reply, "look, don't worry about it, I'll make my lunch in the microwave instead."

Kill, kill, kill.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Royal Wedding

I have this friend at work. She appears very serious on the surface (and, sadly, the "surface" is what she shows at work most of the time, only pulling out her silly side with certain people like me who have grown to love and adore her over a long getting-to-know-you period.)

She burst in to my office today, somewhat shellshocked, and said, "I don't know how it happened, but I'm going to London for the Royal Wedding!"

She is a very well travelled woman, and has been to London many times, so the location is not the attraction in this case.

And as much as she is a patriot, it wasn't some loyalist fever that gripped her to see the marriage of the future king.

No, it's simpler than that: she has another girlfriend who searches the globe for the "Great Party". Said girlfriend planned, among other memorable voyages, a trip to the Vancouver Olympics, not because of the sports, but because of the incredible community spirit she knew would evolve.

So when this woman said, "Let's go to London for the Royal Wedding!", my friend still somehow thought it was a joke and said, "Of course, let's do it!"

And then, umm, apparently realized today she had just agreed to a REAL trip.

I could not be more thrilled for her, what a once-in-a-lifetime thing, to be ANY part of a royal wedding, even if it ends up just watching it on TV in some sketchy London bar while wearing a questionable Union Jack top hat, listening to the noise of the crowd outside (Please note: that's not what I think will happen.) The point is she'll be a part of it. And I love her for it, I love her being excited but still asking, "Do you think I did the right thing?"


Monday, November 22, 2010

My own private summer

I have to say that this menopause stuff is knocking me on my ass. Please don't tell me that being forty one makes me "too young" to be going through the change. It happens.

I go to bed at night, all comfy in my nightgown. About once a week, I wake up at 2 a.m. covered in a thick layer of sweat. Except it's not normal sweat, it is somehow sweatier.

So I peel off the nightgown, use it to wipe most of the foul sweat from my body, and get back in to bed naked. At 3 a.m., I wake up covered in the same nasty fluid, so hot I want to cry....except now I have no more clothing to take off. So I grab the nightgown off the floor, wipe down again, and now I'm cold. I am cold because I am not 100% dry, and I don't dare snuggle with Husbandly One because, ewww, I'm GROSS.

I have not yet had the dubious pleasure of having a hot flash during the day, but I know it's coming soon. Part of me is sad to have my departing youth pointed out so succinctly, but the other part of me just wants this ordeal OVER as soon as possible.

I need to get some sleep, after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I got nothin

1. after my last morose "oh poor me" post, I went to the ballet, but then ducked out early. Something that pissed off my general manager (as he made clear on Monday) BUT I made it home in time to receive phone calls from all the people I love. YAY for me, I felt so much better, and he can cram my "work responsbilities" directly up his ass.

2. Am going to my aunt's 80th birthday party on Saturday, in another city. I am the only remaining person in the area from my immediate family (my brother in Toronto, my sister in Vancouver, my Mum in Beijing, my Daddy cremated and on the shelf in front of me) so I am going to Represent for "David's family".

I have no date. Husbandly One has to work, Son has plans with his it's just me. Just me, my knitting, and a film canister of my Daddy's ashes so I can get pictures with him in them.

You may think I'm kidding. I assure you I am not.

Either you "get" the way my family thinks, and our sense of humour, or you don't.

3. My national company of 45 hotels employees more than six hundred sales people...Every quarter, they announce the top 25 sales managers (think bedrooms, they are judged on how many bedrooms they book) and the top 25 CSMs (think food and beverage, we are judged by how much revenue we generate.)

For the first time in my six years as a CSM, I am on the list. I have no real concept of how this happened, but apparently, in the third quarter of 2010? I rocked the house. My response from my director? An email to everyone in the sales dept which simply said, "Please see third quarter results attached. Good job."

I feel soooooooo good about being a top producer for my national corporation. Please pass the gun.

4. Harry Potter movie on Friday!

5. My first knitted sock is AWESOME. It has a few mistakes in it, and a few things I would do differently, but the point is I DID IT. I took five sticks and some yarn and I made something that will keep my left foot warm. To me, that's amazing.

Now I have to keep knitting and make something to keep my right foot warm.

6. Shouldn't be a problem, seeing how "my birthday gift to me" was to buy a ridiculous amount of sock yarn (six pairs worth!). Seeing how I didn't receive a birthday gift or card from Husbandly One, I feel ZERO amount of guilt.

Wait....we have separate bank accounts...I think there may be a flaw in my logic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy birthday to me

My Mum emailed me to wish me a happy birthday, I emailed her back. (The woman lives in China, after all)

Husbandly One had ZERO idea it was my birthday until 11 am, I think a co-worker pointed it out to him, he then came zooming in to my office to wish me a happy birthday and kiss me on the cheek. Yeah, that was great.

I called my son an hour ago, he is looking forward to seeing me tomorrow (FINALLY, we have had weird schedules) and he clearly knows it's my birthday seeing how we are planning a celebration between the two of us for tomorrow...but he didn't say the words.

Have not heard from my brother, sister, or step father. Granted it is early, but I have to go out tonight for a work thing, and I could really use some validation right now.


Fuck it. I'm awesome. I am a good mother, a good wife, a good beekeeper, a good knitter, a good baker, a good friend, a good person. I deserve someone to say "Happy Birthday."

So happy birthday to me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Three things

1. The sock I was knitting? The fabulous sock of perfection? My FIRST sock? I managed to turn the heel (read: "the scary part") and I was doing great. Tonight I ran out to the grocery store to get some sushi, and on my return realized I either put it down wrong, or my pets decided to screw with me, because I had dropped like ten stitches. They were off the needle, just sitting there. I tried to pick them back up but I frigged it up, so I started tink'ing ("Knit" backwards....which is exactly as horrid as you are imagining, pulling back your knitting one stitch at a time) Anyway, I tink'ed three rows, I still couldn't figure out where I was or how many stitiches I should have on my I pulled the whole thing off the needles.

No, I didn't unravel ("frog") it, but that doesn't mean I won't. What it DOES mean is that I have almost eight inches of beautiful sock that I screwed up and is lying abandoned on the desk in my craft room. I don't even want to look at it.

So I cast on for Sock Nummber Two. Sigh.

2. The Hallowe'en themed wedding last Saturday was awesome, I will post a photo of me and my man as soon as I get my hands on one. Big shout out to my makeup artist Sister in Vancouver, who sent us the zombie makeup. I used sponges and tried to follow her directions....and ended up looking like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" (which is a good thing!) Husbandly One, on the other hand, couldn't waste time with things like instructions or sponges, and just DOVE in to the purple foundation with his fingers. He ended up looking....well, he ended up looking freaking fabulous, I must say.

3. We're headed to a Grand Wine Tasting tomorrow afternoon and I am excited. There will be just under 500 wines to could never taste them all, we'll probably end up tasting about 25 plus whatever ports they have.

Not sure what our "goal" is with the tasting this year: one year we only tasted things we could add to our wine list at work. One year we only tasted wines that were under $20, and therefore something we would reasonably serve in our home. And one memorable year, I went with my Mum, we got silly (read: "drunk") and we decided to only taste wines that were over $100 a bottle. We didn't like most of them, for the record, but man we had fun.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

That loser I'm in love with

You need to understand that Husbandly One doesn't actually enjoy having fun.

That's as clearly as I can state it, and I know that my family members just read the preceding sentence and said, "That's right, Husbandly One does NOT enjoy having fun." He enjoys being serious, he enjoys being stoic....but FUN? Sooooo not on his radar.

We are going to a wedding tonight. A Hallowe'en wedding, complete with costumes.

I have been working on the costumes for weeks. My sister, the make-up artist on the other side of the country, sent me a "crash kit" of make-up. (Knowing full well I have ZERO idea what to do with any of this shit....I suspect she is in Vancouver laughing at me.)

But whatever, the point is that all of this has been up to me, my husband Chuckles contributed nothing. I bought his suit and my dress. I went out in the garden to mix a batch of mud to stain said clothing. I packed the cold cream to remove Sister's bizarre make-up later. It's all me, all the time. Chuckles is NO FUN. WHATSOEVER.

He just tore our front closet apart, looking for an old pair of shoes, then went in to the kitchen and mixed a new batch of mud so he could apply it to the shoes. And he had this tiny little smile the whole time. "Well dear, a zombie wouldn't have shiny shoes."

No, dear. No he wouldn't.

And I remember why I love you so much.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Today - then and now

A year ago today, I was somewhere in Spain, walking my pilgrimage, my Camino. Without looking at my journal, I can't tell you where exactly I was, but I can tell you that I had already injured myself by this point. I walked in pain, but by God, I WALKED, up to 30 kms a day. I made myself do things that I knew were impossible, I just convinced myself I could do it.

A year exotic local, no reason to keep a journal. I am sitting in my livingroom, knitting a sock.

I am forty years old. I have been a knitter for almost thirty of those years, and have knit more sweaters than I can even remember. Sweaters, knit on two needles, are easy. But dude, SOCKS? Socks knit on five needles? That shit is HARD.

About six months ago, I decided I wanted to learn to knit socks. My Mum spent 20 minutes trying to teach me how to work with soooo many needles, and then we got distracted and moved on to something else. I came home, tried, and failed.

Five months ago, I decided to learn how to spin my own yarn out of fleece. Turns out I have (so my teacher said) a natural hand for it, my yarn is uniform and (quite frankly) gorgeous. I decided to tackle the socks again, FAIL.

Three months ago, I taught a total "virgin" how to knit in less than an hour. Encouraged by my knitterly genius, I picked up all the scary sock needles again. MAJOR FAIL.

I just didn't get it, I mean I understood in theory what should be happening but I couldn't make my hands, the needles, and the wool do what I wanted, damn it.

I kept trying, and I kept failing. I do not enjoy failing at ANYTHING, by the way, never mind failing at anything as "stupid" as knitting. I mean, come on, there are hundreds of thousands of six year olds all over the planet who can knit socks. But me? Not so much.

Yesterday I got angry. I was pissed off at myself and at the universe over my inability to create something so basic. I decided that, no matter how ugly or uneven or even totally UNWEARABLE the end product might be, TODAY was the day I was going to knit socks, goddamn it.

Twenty four hours later, I have four inches of the most beautiful, perfect sock on my needles. I mean, I want to rub this bad boy all over my lady parts, it's THAT perfect.

Turns out all it took for me to have my break-through was for me to get really angry at it, and decide it wasn't stronger than me.

And if you think this post is really about socks then you're not paying attention.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A year ago yesterday, I set off on my Camino. I knew walking that pilgrim trail would change me, and it did. I knew it would show me things about myself I didn't want to face, and it did. I knew it would show me things about myself that I never even dreamed were possible, and it did.

But I did not anticipate how the Camino would get under my skin like a lover, make me crave it in ways I can not even articulate to myself. It is truly like a sickness, this desire that never goes away.

I need to go back. I need to.

And I will.

I don't know when, I don't know how, but I will walk the Camino again.

Mark my words.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy birthday, baby

So here you are, 59 years old. Meh, I don't give a shit about the number. Hope you don't, either.

Over the last eight years, you have been told that I am too young for you. And over the last eight years, I have been told that you are too old for me.

The central point in all of that being "over the last eight YEARS". Despite what many people thought would happen, we are not some quick May-December romance that ignites in passion and flames out when reality hits.

We are a couple. We are a family. We are us.

And I love you in ways I could never explain.

Come to bed.


Monday, October 18, 2010

I am the Greatest Mother in the WORLD

Yes. It's me.

I know this is true because I freaked the $%#*@% out on Son Saturday afternoon. I get the fact that he is fourteen, and that he needs to push boundaries, and that it is my job to push back.

So we're in the grocery store. Normally I get the "little" cart because all I'm usally buying is a few items; this particular day I wanted dog food, sushi, and English muffins.

But of course there were no little carts available, so I ended up with this cart the size of my car. With a bad wheel.

Son has never changed his habit of putting one hand on the cart while I'm steering (which I love about him) but this stupid cart was pulling to the side and he wasn't really helping the situation.

Finally I said, "Honey, take your hand off. This thing is massive and hard to control."

His response?

"That's what she said."

I went nine kinds of crazy all over his ass. "How DARE you speak to me like that, I'm your MOTHER, you should be ASHAMED of yourself, you little creep."

Now go over to the next aisle so I can laugh my ass off. Because, dude? That was funny.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Enviro Laundry

I have previously written about my environmentally-neutral home made laundry detergent... which I swear by, but which is NOT appropriate at all times and frankly needs to be used with caution -- it kicks the SHIT out of wool and therefore needs to be used with a gentle and discriminating hand.

But here's something else I know, something that works ALL THE TIME.

Do not use stupid fabric softener!!

I gave up on "Bounce" and other similar products almost five years ago...honestly, because I ran out one day and had a pile of laundry to do. It wasn't a conscious decision to let fabric softeners go, but here's what I have learned over the last five years:


Yeah, you're going to take your stuff out of the dryer, and it IS all going to stick together. But you're going to peel off one shirt (taking the socks out of the sleeves), shake it out, and hang it up. Repeat.


The static electricity, through you beating your hands on it and then placing the garment on a hanger, disappears. I SWEAR.

Please please please please please please please please PLEASE stop using fabric softener. Just trust me and see what a quick shake of the garment-in-question will do.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

See, THIS is why I hate social networks

So a few years ago, I got on the popular bandwagon and joined this social network thing on-line. Everybody was doing it so I figured why not, this could be fun.

And it was.

For a while.

A year later, I was being bombarded by emails, requests, postings, emails, requests, postings, requests, requests, hurt emails asking why requests were ignored.... it was creepy and invasive and I hated it, so I closed my account. Bye bye forever to Irma, because she is sooooooo out of here.

Two months ago, my mum moved to a whole different continent. She is a member of this social network, and it is there that she posts her amazing photos, so I knew I had to rejoin.

Let me be clear: I did not rejoin to socialize, I rejoined so I could have access to pictures my mother had taken.

When I created my new account,I did not want to be "found". I used a fake name. I used a fake age. I used a fake location. And, as required, I entered my email address.

The same email address I had before, and LUCKY FOR ME, the social network knew that! And helpfully posted my real name, from my original account!! And posted the picture of me that I had used years ago!!AND alerted all of those people from before that I was back!! Isn't that great SERVICE??

So now I am being inundated with unwanted messages from the same people I tried to get away from two years ago, and I have to go in and figure out how to use the super efficient "security" (HA) settings to make it all stop. Either that or I need to cancel my account AGIAN, get myself a brand new email address and then start over.

But with my luck, the helpful people at th social network would recognize my IP address and default to my real name anyway.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where were you?

Whn JFK was shot?
When Apollo 13 landed safely?
When the Iranian hostages were released?
When John Lennon was killed?
When the shuttle exploded?
When the Wall came down?
When Princess Diana died?
When JFK Jr's plane went down?
When the Pope died?

Now, in a list dominated by sad events, add another joyous question.

Where were you when the first Chilean miner came up?

I watched breathless as the first man emerged last night just past midnight. And, less than 24 hours later, I am about to see the thirty third man come out.

GOD IS GOOD. The human spirit is good. Love is good. Being stubborn is good.

And sure, after the thirty third miner emerges, the focus will turn away from the five rescuers still in the mine, but they are also heroes, who have done what no one else has done in history.

Here comes Number 33, Luis.

God is good.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Camino

In just a few days, it will be one year since I started on my Camino. I took three weeks to walk this holy path, I learned so much about myself and about the world.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I haven't unpacked my backpack yet. Yeah yeah, the dirty panties and granola bars were unpacked as soon as I got back, but the first aid kit, the sleeping bag, the rain gear are still in there, waiting for me to start out again.

And I want sooooooo badly to go back.

Like, maybe at the end of June.

Anybody want to come with me???

Friday, October 1, 2010

Modern Families

My step-father, my mother's widower, is getting ready for a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Cape Breton with a new lady.

My step-mother, my father's widow, is currently in Egypt, about to get in to a hot air balloon ride over the Pyramids.

My sister is in film school in Vancouver.

My brother is in a rock band in Toronto.

I have a normal, middle class, suburban, professional life.

How come I feel like the weirdo in this situation??

Monday, September 27, 2010

This is your ass. Let me hand it to you.

Yesterday, my Atlantic Canadian city hosted a CFL game.

This was truly sports history: the Canadian Football League has held "exhibition" games in Atlantic Canada in the past, but this was an honest to goodness game: IT COUNTED. Like, what happened yesterday actually will ultimately affect who ends up in the Grey Cup. Big, big, BIG freaking deal if you are in to Canadian football.

In addition to being the host hotel of the CFL and Argos, we did all of the Stadium catering, we fed and watered 22,000 people.

Please understand that when we do large scale entertainment catering, it means us essentially picking up our hotel and plopping it in to the middle of a field. We do not have full scale cooking equipment, and we can only cook and serve whatever we brought with us. It is literally impossible to simply pop back to the hotel to get more food. So let me give you a brief rundown on the hugely successful entertainment catering we have done in the last few years:

Rolling Stones concert, 2005, VIP sections only, 6000 people (NOT number of ticket holders, number we were responsible to feed)
Brooks and Dunn, 2006, VIP and corporate tents, 3000 people (same caveat as above)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, 2007, 3000 people (as above)
Eagles concert, 2008, 50,000 people, we fed them ALL.
Bon Jovi, 2009, 15,000 people, we fed them all.
AC/DC, 2009, 80,000 people, we fed them all.
World Track and Field Championships, 2010, 10,000 per day for six days, we fed them all.

We are USED to large cater-outs, we are experts at it. But at the same time, a Stones concert isn't the same thing as a country concert isn't the same thing as a track and field event, isn't the same as....

Canadian Football League, Argos vs Eskimos, 2010, 22,000 people. We got FUCKED.

Yes, we know a lot about large scale catering, but we had never worked on a FOOTBALL game before. We used the info we have from all those past events and decided on our plan for this event....where we would operate to maximize sales, how many people it would take, how much beer and food to prepare.

And you know what? We got everything right. Except the food.

We ran out of food, ALL food, BEFORE half time. You know, that 20 minute period when we expected to be busiest. (And hey, we were right about that, too, ha ha!)

Before the game even broke for half time, we had no burgers, hot dogs, chili, popcorn, sandwiches. NO FOOD, not one single thing.

Bad, bad, bad, BAD day. When I think about all the money we could have made that we missed out on it makes me shiver. But at the same time, we sincerely DID believe we were set to feed the masses and it tore at all of us to turn to the crowd and tell all those hungry people that we had nothing for them. Yeah, we were the exclusive caterers. NICE.

There is talk of bringing the CFL back to our city next year. And next year? We will probably be the offcial caterers again. But I swear to you, football-loving-public, we will NOT run out of food again.

Who knew you people were so frigging hungry???

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Too much information?

About 12 years ago, when I was 28, all of a sudden this weird hair (just one) began growing out my jaw on the left hand side, just below my ear. It was coarse and when I discovered it the first time, it was almost an inch long. Grooooooooooooooooss. I made with the tweezers right quick, believe me. I mean, who wants a pubic hair growing out of the side of their face??

Of course it keeps coming back, but thank GOD it hasn't been joined by any friends. I have a bad habit of touching my face while I am reading, sort of a nervous habit or a self soothing thing, who knows. So tonight I was reading and my left hand was wandering around my jaw line, and bingo! We have an interloper! Time to go contort in to weird postures in front of the mirror.

I plucked the stupid thing out....and it was pure white.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

High school and the Plague

This morning Son started (you guessed it) high school.

How did that happen, I swear it was only a year or two ago that I gave birth to him, that he was gurgling up at me in his adoring and adorable baby way.

High school. Wow. Sigh.

And....he didn't like it. He was a bit vague about WHY, but I can tell you he is very awkward in new situations, not the highest amount of self esteem, and makes friends only with difficulty.


Not sure who hurts more at these moments, the kids or thier parents who want only the very, very best for them.

IN THE MEAN TIME, nothing extraordinary happened at our house this weekend. I mean, Husbandly One and I are not partiers under most (read: ALL) circumstances, so this Tuesday morning, even after a Long Weekend, should have been totally normal.

Last night, I went to bed all perfectly happy at 10pm. I got up at midnight to say, basically, "Uh oh"."

SICK??? Takes someone with a more flamboyant vocabulary than I posess to explain what happened to my body next. At 12:30am, Husbandly One wiped my brow (said brow was currently lying on our bed, panting) and then said, "Sweetie, I'm just going to take a quick shower and I'll be back."

And I was all, "SHOWER??? You are NOT taking a shower, you are NOT getting between me and The Throne, you bastard. Get the hell out of my way!!"

Today I worked up the courage to go in to work, I had appointments this morning, after all. But at 12:30 I made Husbandly One bring me the fuck home, it was NOT pretty.

And then about an hour ago I realized I just missed the first choir practice of the year. I DON'T CARE.

THAT'S how sick I am.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

NOT comparing the two

My favourite song, of all time, is Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". He himself has said that kd lang's version is the Definitive One... even though she skips verses. Whatever. She is a goddess. The End.

But see, then I joined this choir. This amazing, amazing choir. So here's something totally different but totally the same. Let it load before watching, because it's worth waiting a few minutes.

(And I am the brunette blob at the far left end of the third row. In case you cared.)

Thought for the day

"Parents put way too much empahasis on teaching their kids to read. Who cares? A kid who wants to learn how to read, will learn how to read. And that's what we hire teachers for, teach Johnny to read! Instead of focussing on teaching their kids to read, parents should teach their children to question what they read."

George Carlin

Friday, September 3, 2010

Please make it stop

I am watching Larry King Live! simply because the guest is Wanda Sykes, and I love her.

The conversation just came around to the fact that she is a legally married lesbian. His question??? "So, what do we call her? Your husband?"

"Umm, no, she's my wife. I'm her wife. We're both wives."

His next question. "Your 'wife' recently had twins. Were you present for the birth?"

I admire Wanda Sykes even more now, for not launching her body across the desk and punching his lights out.

WHEN will this neanderthal go away??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pretty feet

Tonight I went to a lovely barbeque for my immediate department. There were ten of us there, eight women and two men. Because of the lovely summer weather, I had ample opportunity to look at assorted sandal-clad feet.

All, on the women at least, were soft. Pretty. Pearly polish in soft, summer shades.
Perfect. You could serve meals on them.

Then there's me. I ruin my feet on purpose, swab them with rubbing alcohol to toughen the skin and reduce the occurrence of blisters. Remove dry skin patches only when it seems I must do so to avoid callous. I have ugly, ugly feet.

I have feet that climb mountains. I have feet that slog through puddles at 6:00 am. I have feet that totter sexily in four inch heels at work, and feet that pound the trail in boots once work is done. I have feet that take me places I haven't seen before. I have feet that are not afraid.

(and yeah, I haven't blogged in five months, and now I want to talk about FEET? Whatever, at least I feel like blogging again....)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Can I just say

that I am disappointed and bewildered by the fact that my brother's band, , was signed by Sony more than a year ago and there is apparently still not one corporately produced video or official ANYTHING out there.

Ok, I get it, they don't want to spend huge amounts of cash on a "new" band. But dudes are opening for Iron Maiden at the end of June, clearly SOMEONE has confidence in them.

My brother will freaking kill me for writing this, but he will also call me to point out how the music business works and that I shouldn't get my knickers in a knot, that this is all just the Way It Works.

But GAAAAAAAAAH, give me some love already!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Well, as of late this afternoon, it's official: my Mum is moving to China in August for at least a year. Mum is a highly accomplished teacher, and has accepted a position teaching French at an embassy school in Beijing.

So first? GO MUM!

And second?

FAAAAACK, now I need to pay for a trip for my little family to China. BAH.

China has figured large in our family for at least thirty years. During the 80's, when "Chinese" cooking became all the rage, my father turned away from electric woks and crappy North American ingredients, and chose to pursue the lonely road which involved rusting cleavers, perfectly rounded woks, cuts of meat no one else would eat, and ingredients in our pantry that no one could read the labels of. Your family might have gone through the Chinese food phase, but my family went through CHINA.

And still does today.

My mum currently has a perfectly normal "Canadian" home. Well, except for the fact that her house is decorated in a Chinese style. And disregard the framed pieces of Chinese embroidery. And please don't mention the teas in her cupboard, or the chop (name seal) sitting on her desk.

In MY house, we won't talk about the small riverstone that has the character "Forever" handcarved in to it (once upon time, a stone I gave my father to explain to him how much I loved him.) We won't talk about the pens, or the linens, or the inkstands which are all very definitely Chinese and all occupy places of honour in my home.

My name is Irma.

I am Canadian Scots Ukranian English Catholic Anglican Jewish.

And I can't wait to go home to China.

(please send money)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Too much going on to explain properly

1. I have embarked on a huge, daunting, impossible journey: turning a VERY sunny third floor roof at work in to a lush, verdant garden. I am not alone in this journey, I have five fellow FREAKS who are all itching to turn this nasty, shingled space into something beautiful and productive.

2.And, hellooooo? We are going to have bees. BEES. Although we will be contracting real beekeeper to mind our hive, I hve been reading about the topic obsessively, I want to understand these wonderful creatures and prepare myself for the day my Lottery Winnings (snort!) enable me to do whatever the hell I want.

3. Getting back in to Geocaching, a sport I truly love and yet neglect for (literally) years at a time. Tomorrow, Son and I are taking a group of virgins ("Muggles") out to teach them how to play. Can't wait.

4. Choir continues. I'm sorry, we are frigging fabulous. No really, we are. With each and every practice, I fall in love a little bit more. God, I love these women I spend every Tuesday with. I have no idea what any of their nmes are (except for one childhood friend I was delighted to find in the soprano section with me) but every Tuesday gets better and better, my enjoyment seems to expand exponentionally.

Our director....another friend from childhood, who welcomed me (and actively recruited me) with open arms. She is talented and funny and delightful on so many levels. She tried to recruit me as much as three years ago (I have the emails to prove it!) and I kick myself pretty much daily for waiting so long to join.

This bio of our amazing director is several years out of date, but at least sets the stage..

She then went on to form the choir Vocc' del Anima, the choir I am in. It is only three and a half years old, but has been judged to be the best women's choir in Canada TWICE in that time. We begin the competition season of 2009 in 11 days, I can't wait!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This is embarrassing to look at

It is Sunday night, we are about 12 minutes in to the Oscars.

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are not only not funny, they are offensive.

That is all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Full Circle

Indulge me for a moment, let's all take a look at a post I wrote in August 2008.

My ex-husband and I have brought Son up as well as we can. I'm sure we have made mistakes, the same way all parents do, but we also know we have imprinted our deepest values on him.

Son and I are currently staying in a hotel. This evening, I sent him down to the vending machine to get himself a Diet Coke. Before he got back to our room, I could hear his footsteps thundering down the hall as he ran back. (Running in hotels is something he knows not to do.)

"Amah," he panted when he arrived, "I put in the money for my Diet Coke but THREE came out. I only took one, I left the other two because I'm honest."

I told him to go back immediately and GET the other two, otherwise his honesty would be wasted by the next person to walk by. When he returned to our room, I called the front desk and explained the situation to the manager: my son had paid for one Coke, he had received three, and he wanted to return the other two to the appropriate department. The manager (who happens to be a good friend of mine, and knows Son's moral character very well) thought this was wonderful, and offered the suggestion that the hotel was so impressed by his honesty that they wanted to give him the other two Cokes as a reward for reporting this.

And I was all, "Dude, but then what the hell am I going to do with three Diet Cokes??" And, really? Why should he get a reward for doing the right thing, the obvious thing?

My child may not have had the benefit of a religious education in his life, but he does know the Cardinal Rule: Don't take anything that isn't yours.

Don't steal, because it's not yours. Don't defame someone's name, because it's not yours. Don't write graffiti on rocks, or carve things on trees, because it's not yours. Don't lie, as anything that happens because of that lie is not yours.

It's really not such a difficult concept.

But I am still filled with such, such pride when Son lives as he has been taught to live.

So, back to 2010. About two weeks ago, I strolled in to the grocery store to get a cart, immediately saw a folded wad of money on the floor, scooped it up without changing my stride, and took it to the Customer Service desk.

"Here, I found this on the floor by the carts."

"Oh, thank you, how much is it?"

Me, literally bewildered, "I don't know."

Her, counting, "Wow, it's $90.00"

"Yes, and I bet the person who lost it will be glad someone found it."

And she looked at me funny.

She said that if no one claimed it, the money would be mine, and asked for my name and phone number, which I provided, all the while hoping a phone call would never come. I mean, c'mon, ninety dollars is a lot of money.

And so here I sit on March 5, I have ignored three separate voice mails from the grocery store, all saying, "Hey, the cash is yours,come get it."


That ninety dollars might have been nothing to the person who lost it, but it might have been a lot. And in MY experience, people who aren't worried about money tend to carry debit or credit cards, not bills folded tightly in to a small rectangle.

Could I use an extra $90 that suddenly fell out of the sky and landed in my lap? Damn right I could.

But for me to keep this particular $90 would be a curse.

I do not believe that every day honesty and courtesy should be rewarded. It should be an EXPECTATION we have of each other, and NOTHING MORE.

And so, to ensure I live by my beliefs, tomorrow I will go to the grocery store, and I will claim "my" money, and I will immediately place it in whatever "please give" box they have by the cash register. Money which would be cursed in my life will become a blessing in theirs.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome to Canada

I am watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics as I type. Typical Canadian, I am self deprecating about both myself and my country, always feeling like I should apologize. "Gee, I'm sorry it's not quite good enough", that kind of thing.

Well, I TAKE IT BACK. Two hours in to it, I am amazed and humbled and brought to tears by these ceremonies. "I" have nothing to apologize for, you are looking at some of the finest talent my country has to offer the world, you are being moved by my First Nations brothers and sisters, you are somehow seeing on your TV screen my deepest patriotism brought to life.

Well done, Canada. Well done.

(But hey, I do still need to mention: if you ever go to a Bryan Adams concert? You can be guaranteed he isn't lip-synching, because he doesn't know HOW. I know this based on his horrifying "performance" tonight. He and Nelly Furtado opened the show, and it was sooo obvious they weren't singing live. My favourite part was when he started "singing", and his microphone was still at his waist. The look of horror on his face when he realized he had totally busted the illusion was priceless.)

And umm, Ashley MacIsaac just performed. Ashley Freaking MacIsaac. ASHLEY MACISAAC.

I need to go now...

EDITED TO NOTE: Jesus Christ, kd lang, people. kd lang.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting back to it

I have to admit, since I got back from Spain three months ago I have been somewhat indifferent to blogging, as evidenced by my sporadic posting.

I really DO want to get back in to it, but I don't feel like I have anything to say. Maybe if I just post Inspiration will show up....? Who knows.

I have tentative and very fluid plans to hook up with Gina some time this summer. (I'd link to her blog but it's only open to invited readers....if you would like to read about a modern day homesteader, let me know; I'm pretty sure I can get you "invited".)

I went shopping in the US last weekend. One of the things I brought home was a set of flannel sheets. I have never slept on flannel in my life. And all I can think how is, "WHY NOT???" Holy moly I love tem, they are so warm and scrunchy and delicious.

Time to go make dinner....and I certainly acknowledge this post is lame to the Nth degree...but this is my life right now.

Looking forward to meeting Gina.
Hungry for casserole.
Watching CNN.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Boys are such....boys

Two weeks ago, Husbandly One gave up on the snowblower we "acquired" last winter. In case you weren't here:

We needed a snowblower.
Someone High Up at work said, "Hey, give him the one the company bought ten years ago and we used ONCE."
Husbandly One and I thought, "Score!!"
Turns out the company bought it second (cough cough) hand, and the thing was at least thirty years old, probably more.
We took it to a re-furbisher, or whatever people who deal with old snowblowers are called, and he said, "I can fix this for three hundred dollars."
We paid the three hundred dollars.
It snowed.
Machine did not work.
We took it back, to be fair the guy did not charge us more, and then said, "Ok, NOW it works."
We brought it home.
It snowed.
It did not work.


Here's me, watching out the livingroom window at Husbandly One once again weilding a shovel...watching in case I have to call 911 and adminisiter CPR.

Three weeks ago, he realized that the"free" machine would never work, and
that he needed to buy something whose model year began with "20..."

(Quick aside: the snow has never been his exclusive domain, I have always gone out and shovelled when I could, in his stead, but the fact remains that I AM a small woman and shovelling isn't exactly easy for me, either. We won't discuss my strapping 24 year old step son, in the picture of health, who continues to live in the basement without contributing anything to the family dynamic. No, we won't go there...)

Anyway, so off Husbandly One went to purchase a new machine. Fifteen hundred dollars later, he was so proud of his new toy that he pulled me by the hand in to the garage, just so I could admire its fabulosity.

And then it didn't snow!

Three weeks. Nothing.

I am NOT making this up, two days ago he stood wistfully at our picture window, looking down on our bare driveway, and sighed, "I just wish it would snow...." About a half hour later, without saying a word, he walked down in to our garage, and I heard him START THE MACHINE, for no reason other than to listen to it.

Tonight he got his wish. There are ten centimetres down (four inches??Not sure) and the plow has been by twice, creating that nasty hump at the end of the driveway. He is currently out there with his new love, pushing his precious machine along in thin corridors, excavating the place where our cars live.

He is happy.

He's a MORON, but he's happy. Who am I to complain.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just sing, sing a song

So as mentioned, two weeks ago I joined a choir.

This past Tuesday was my first practice, and I must admit I was scared out of my mind. I am actually a very shy person...the idea of walking in to a group of people who already knew each other, and where I knew NO ONE....well, let's just say it took all of my resolve to walk in to the practice.

The director, Monette, immediately gave me a huge smile, a hug, a binder full of music, and a gentle push over to where the other sopranos were. I found a place to sit at the very end of the very back row, trying to both blend in and disappear.

After a few minutes of warm ups, she passed out a new piece of music to the choir. I could hear apprehensive moans and groans from the women around me, clearly something really difficult was coming my way. Eeeep.

Wir Eilen. A beautiful and technically difficult piece of music, never mind the fact that the words are German and most of the women in the room had never tried to pronounce German in their lives. They were scared, both by the funny looking words and by the score with its unending trills.

I learned this song when I was twelve years old. As Monette clearly remembers.

"Irma, I want you to get right in the middle of the sopranos and sing LOUD, you can help them learn."

Heads swivelled to look at me, the unknown New Girl. It was an awkward feeling, but also quite comfortably vain at the same time. Here, ladies, I'll help you.

And so I moved to the centre, and I sang loudly, and I helped the ladies around me with their pronounciation, and was just generally an overall STAR. I rocked the house.

And after almost an hour of being the star, we moved on to a different piece of music. A piece I did not know in any way, shape, or form. I thought I remembered how to read music, but other than being able to time the silences properly? Apprarently NOT. Oh man, I sucked sooooo hard, and was quickly removed from my position of honour, ha ha. Am mere mortal after all, dammit.

The whole practice was wonderful and confusing and chaotic and holy CRAP I'm out of shape vocally and I didn't really get a friendly vibe out of anybody and so maybe I will never know anyone's name and I will always be the chick at the end of the back row with no friends but I don't care because I had fun and it's a way for me to get out of the house once a week and I think I'm going to really like it.

(Nice run on sentence!)

In other news, I saw Jon Lajoie in concert Thursday, it was AWESOME. Granted, Jon Lajoie's comedy is filthy and sophmoric....but sometimes you just gotta. If you're not familiar, check him out on YouTube. Please remember that I DID warn you that it's filthy.

That's all I've got for tonight... I really must get back to telling you about my Camino soon, seeing how I've been back for two months!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Greenest Loser - HELP ME

Things you must know...

1) in the past, our hotel has held our own Biggest Loser competitions, we have held up teams of three to the whole "percentage of weight lost" challenge.

2) this TOTALLY discriminates against people like me joining. For example, if I , as a 5'3" woman who weighs 130 lbs? If I lose 13 lbs, ie, 10% of my body weight, I end up at 117 lbs. And I think we can all agree I should NOT weigh any less than that. EVER.

3) So obviously nobody would ever want me on their team, especially if you have at least one REALLY heavy person on your team who can AFFORD to lose 30% or MORE of their body weight.

4) so, once again? I have no friends.


What if, in addition to weight loss, you included a Local Diet Challenge? Say maybe, you would earn one point for every percentage of weight lost, PLUS you could also earn a point (half a point? I'm still working this out in my head...) for every pound of meat or produce you could prove you bought locally?

What I'm thinking is that we could issue our employees some kind of card, that they could take to the local farmers' market. And the vendors could sign off on anything you bought, record the amount of produce purchased. And you could get points for the Food Miles Saved.

Using myself as an example, I can't lose much more than 15 lbs (14% of my body weight) before it KILLS ME. As opposed to some of my more generously endowed colleagues, who could probably lose 100 lbs ( or 30% or more of their weight) and beat the crap out of me, even though the idea of me losing 30% would mean me ending up at 74 lbs. Sorry, that's just not fair.)

But add in the food miles thing? All of sudden, the playing field is equal. YOU can lose 100 lbs eating things that come from California. But If I lost ten lbs eating things that are local? I WIN.

Please please PLEASE point out the good points and the pitfalls in the above. Please, DO, seeing how I am trying to get my head around a program I can suggest to forty four hotels all across Canada.

(And yeah, I may potentially get some official work recognition for this...please help me!!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What did I just do??

I received an email from an old, old friend. (think: when I was twelve) She is now an accomplished singer, and a highly lauded university professor, teaching voice.

So she sent out a blanket email to people she knows know how to sing, myself included.

She is recruiting for her choir.

And I-- omigod, I -- responded, saying I would love to be part of the choir.

And, umm, now she is expecting me to show up at their next practice, on Tuesday. You know, two days from now.

What did I just do???

New Year

So here it is, somehow 2010, somehow a new decade.

Last night, we experienced an extended power outtage. From 6 pm until just past midnight, we only had each other and the soft light of candles. I managed to get Husbandly One talking about his time in th army, his service during the Portuguese Revolution in the Seventies, story after story after story. When our house became too cold to continue sitting in te livingroom, we cuddled together in bed, but he did not stop talking.

I love those times, the times when he tells me who he really is, who he really was.

Power came back on at 1:00 am. We both got out of our warm bed, he so he could check his on-line soccer league, me so I could get something to eat. I then went to bed.

He woke me at 5:00 am to you know....(sorry, family members) And when we were done, when neither one of us could think rationally anymore, I flung my arm around him and said, "I love you."

He pulled me closer to him, pushed his cold feet against mine, and sighed, "I love you,too."

Is there anything better than lying in bed in a warm house, with the person you love, knowing nothing can hurt you?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Last night I dreamed

I was among women friends, women I do not know in real life. We were all preparing for our weddings, on the side of a cliff. I could see down to my left, see the waves not crashing, but gently lapping at the hill.

Three or four of them went in to a bridal salon, to re-emerge in white glory. I then worked up the courage to go inside myself. I saw many wedding dresses I wanted, dresses that I thought would set off my figure to best advantage. But the only dress put apon me? My dress from my wedding to my first husband, fifteen years ago.

"No", I cried. "This isn't right, I don't want this." But still, the long tight sleeves envelopped my wrists, I looked down on the pointed lace on my hands. I craned my head back and saw in the mirror the way the bodice hugged me, saw in a clear light the beads, the pattern it made on my body.

I recognized that it fit me in a way nothing ever could, but at the same time it all felt slightly wrong, like I had failed to check off some elusive step on my way to greeting my second husband-to be.

I remember saying, "I don't WANT this, make it STOP", and then somehow I was out of the sleeved and stifling gown, and in a strapless dress. My hair was no longer loose and free, but held out of my vision by a loose braid.

And there was Husbandly One.

He didn't seem exceptionally happy to see me, but he wasn't turning away, either. He clasped my hand and laughed quietly. Without me wishing it, most of my wedding to my First Husband flashed before my eyes.

But at the last minute, that moment before I repeated what My First Husband had said? Husbandly One chuckled, and somehow got ahold of my hand. And then it was nothing but him. I knew I was experiencing many things at once, knew I was both marrying First Husband AND declaring vows to the Second... but only the Second Husband mattered in that moment.

I hope that, someday, I will have the honour of pledging myself to him for real.