Monday, December 15, 2008

Survivor Gabon

I've been a fan of Survivor for the majority of it's seasons on the air. The production quality is high, and the basic formula of picturesque vignettes interspersed throughout false drama punctuated by interview confessionals--all makes for interesting TV. Combine this with seeing reality show contestants suffer at the hands of the writers and producers of the show, add the contestants general lack of knowledge and preparedness for living outdoors in less than ideal conditions, and you get a recipe for success which has kept me and millions of other viewers coming back season after season.

By these standards, Survivor Gabon was no less captivating. What I realized after this season, however, is this particular grouping of contestants epitomizes everything failing and despicable in humanity. Luckily the right contestant won in the end, and by "right"--I mean someone with character, intelligence, fortitude and decency. Compare this contestant to the people he played against and you'll see a variety of nasty character traits in their purest forms.

Corrine Kaplan -- a wretched individual with antisocial personality disorder who actually thrives in the face of public scorn (see her self created public profile on Facebook and the collage of hate spewed out by "fans"). Her defining television moment was when she denounced another contestant as needing antidepressants after expressing too much emotion over a recently deceased parent. When asked by Jeff Probst at the finale if she regretted her comments, "I don't regret any of my actions in the game." *loosely quoted as it's hell getting onto the Survivor website today.

Look farther into the cast of cretins and you'll find Randy Bailey, a vile racist who is actually a wedding photographer of all things. Bailey had no single defining moment on the show, as every time he appeared he was shallow, ignorant, rude--the list goes on and on; as another contestant put it, "He is a troll." I pity anyone who has ever had the misfortune to have this foul man take part in their day of matrimonial bliss. He has so few friends, he brought a group of strangers to the Gabon finale.

When I saw the video of a contestant who was voted off and sent to the Ponderosa compound to wait out the end of the show, I was disgusted at the display of childhood antics from grown professionals. You'll see Randy and others at their finest ostracizing a fellow contestant, and playing out a high school clique to the point where a member is afraid to be nice to the outcast for fear of being punted by the "popular" group. It's truly sad.

You have to wonder, exactly what did any one person do to another on Survivor Gabon to deserve open scorn? You have to come back to the group of individuals as a whole, and how nasty and shallow they clearly are by nature.

Take Marcus Lehman, an elitist who also had little sympathy for the contestant who'd lost her father. Lehman was the self righteous leader of the clique, and very deserving of the public mockery made of him and his puppetry of the penis (his johnson slipped out during a challenge in one of the earlier episodes). I have one thing to say to Marcus, HA HA (in the key of Nelson). He is proof a man should be judged by the company he keeps.

All in all the show was an open display of what is despicable about human nature. Most of the contestants represented everything that is unfortunate and vile in humanity, and I'm sorry I took part in the rubber necking of watching as the crash unfolded on Survivor Gabon.

I may actually have to rethink my television viewing habits.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Rob and I have been having a discussion about the above snowman (which was built down the street from us within the past week). Prior to this snowman showing up, the thing next to it was a smaller snowman. Once the second icy giant was created, the smaller snow guy was turned into what you see now.

Today as we drove past them, Rob wondered aloud what the smaller ice sculpture was supposed to be. He thinks it could be a snow version of the Stanley Cup. I think it represents a snowman whose head was blown off.

"So you think the other guy is smiling because he blew his head off? Or do you think his arms are in the air because he thought it was a stick up?" Rob asked.

"No," I replied. "I think the two are entirely separate."

"But he looks so happy...I think it's the Stanley Cup."

"It can't be the Stanley Cup," I responded. "It doesn't even look like it. It has a big hole at the top!"

"Well, a little kid couldn't sculpt it to look exactly like the Stanley Cup." Rob looked back at the sculptures. "Little kids have small hands."

"No," I shook my head. "It's got to be a snowman with his head blown off, it's the only thing that makes sense."

Friday, December 12, 2008


Something I envy about my sweet Robert is how easily he laughs. And not just the odd chuckle, but full on laugh out loud, head thrown back guffaws. Most of the time I'm watching the same show. Then I wonder, am I really so lacking in humor or is he just more simple than I am? ; )

I don't find the Simpsons amusing in the slightest. The odd time I find Family Guy funny, and I didn't think much of Tropic Thunder (which Rob LOVED).

Regardless, I am envious none the less. While I don't long to find everything funny, it would be nice to laugh just a little bit more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have been busy!

Busy trying to come to terms with the overhwhelming disillusionment of my effed up family having indeed no hope of sustaining meaningful relationships (triggered by my brother saying he was "inspired" by my wedding and instigating a divorce--which isn't half the story). Added to that is my mom unceremoniously quitting her job of 20 years (or something), only to have the company lay off many long term employees a few weeks later, and trying to make her understand that no, when you voluntarily leave a job, you are not eligible for EI. Sigh.

I've also taken on a new position at work, which has been a challenge to say the least, and seems to be sapping all my excess energy (of which I generally have none). Probably good, because then I'd be lamenting about how sad my family is. I guess that's what therapy is for. : )

Alas... all of these things have left me with very little creative energy for things like writing!

A co-worker is tring to convince me to register for "Detective fiction" this Winter. Which might be interesting.

We shall see.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fall Ahead

Here's what I did with my "extra hour" due to daylight savings:

Rob and I were up at a decent hour (Okay, he was up early, and I thought I was getting up late at 9am). Our initial plan was to take the recycling in, get groceries and come home and take a nap (Okay, that was my plan). After we took in the recycling, we were headed for a coffee when we saw a guy on a crane attaching a "store closing" sign to Linens n Things.

I mentioned to Rob I had a few "large" gift cards from the wedding which I'd not spent yet and we immediately drove home to get them (in a bit of a panic, imagining the store closing completely and us being left with useless cards burning a hole in our pockets).

In reality, the store had just put up the signs and there was plenty of inventory to spend our "love" money on.

We ended up with a number of handy things, and in the end still had $12 remaining on one of the cards, which Rob asked if he could have. Once we unloaded the car, he immediately went back into the store and spent the rest on candy. Chocolate for me and a container of sour patch kids for him. : )

With the groceries put away, I spent the afternoon on my finances. Yipee. We recently put together a financial plan and this is the first month of implementation. It's a little distressing seeing exactly how much money I do and do not have all laid out nice and neat on an excel spreadsheet. But Rob was at least excited by the whole project, so that helped.

Now my Robert is making a lovely spaghetti and I'm pleased it's not even six o'clock yet. That gives me plenty of time for doing the rest of my laundry and preparing for an interview in the morning.

Oh, and having a bath and watching the Halloween Simpsons episode. That's gotta fit in there somewhere. : )

I wish I could gain an extra hour every Sunday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MM mm mm mm...

I periodically agnonize about why I'm not more motivated to blog, write, journal, you name it. Because of what feels like an innate lack of desire, I wonder if I'm somehow less of a writer. I am simply not inclined to write every single day. If anything, I've noticed when things are either going really well, or really poorly, I have a tendency to write less, when I would have thought the natural reaction would be to write more.

Looking back through the past couple of years on my blog, I've noticed a few things: in 2006 I was writing fairly consistently up until it was revealed in late April that the pastor at my old church was sleeping around on his wife (not with members of the congregation, everyone was quick to point out, as though that actually made a difference); in 2007, I was blogging regularly up until my nephew committed suicide in mid May and I was notified by text message while on holiday.

I suppose I could also chalk up the blog drop off to summer, and being naturally busy out in the sun, or to how crazy it gets at work in the Fall which leaves me exhausted the months before and after September, and lastly, being enrolled in a full year creative writing class (for credit)--which proved very time consuming, but worthwhile to say the least.

Regardless, I can't seem to stop the self persecution about how often I do or don't write!

Lately I've been noticing that if I could just stop the self persecution altogether, I'd be a lot happier. But how does one do that exactly? Like walking by "my room" and seeing clothes all over the bed doesn't spur me to clean it up. Instead, I feel bad I'm not more motivated to clean! Sometimes I think of my brother Kyle, who cleans every weekend without fail, and I wonder why I'm not inclined to do the same?

Is it seriously just laziness? I often wonder if there isn't something wrong with me on a larger level.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's in a name

There are all kinds of debates on the rationale behind a woman changing her name after she gets married. Some women believe it's the equivalent of giving up your identity, others think it makes sense for the whole family to have the one name only, and still others go out of their way to hyphenate--determined for their children to bear witness to who they were before, but still be marked by "who they have become."

My first time 'round the altar, I exerted the grueling effort to change my name immediately, and was happy to do it--excited even. Changing it back a mere four years later was less than a picnic, however, and I swore if I was ever married again, I would NOT under any circumstances give up my family name. Which I believed right up until it came time to send out the wedding invitations, and I made the conscious decision to exclude all of my extended family of the same last name.

Let me clarify my maiden name is only my Dad's name legally (not by birth), and the people in my extended family of the same last name are nothing less than white trash (who have chosen to ostracize me). I could tell stories of stripper cousins managed by fathers, and of the relatives who had a child by every man they "dated", and I could describe the conditions under which they live, and the lack of character from which they all operate, and I could go on and on.

If anything, I'm upset I've now fully realized the meaning of my maiden name and everything it's associated with (my immediate family not withstanding). I like the sound of my maiden name but that's where it ends.

So, despite the effort, I have changed my name and will go through and painstakingly change all of my id (sigh).

I admit going through the process again is a little unsettling because the last time I did it, it wasn't permanent and I can't stop that thought from crossing my mind.

Onwards and upwards.

I'll try and focus on the change as the opportunity it is for a better life, one that I hoped was possible from the first moment I met my sweet Robert O. : )

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hey, where we going today...

A more beautiful day could not have been had.

I wasn't really nervous as I had my hair done with Suzy by my side. There were only a few butterflies while the ladies and Jorge buzzed about me as my makeup was applied. And when we left on time, I felt relatively calm during the hour ride to the chapel at Rafter Six Ranch.

My first bit of excitement came when I saw people through a side window arriving at the Ranch. The bridal party was off in a little room waiting for the horse drawn carriage to come pick up us up for the ceremony at 1pm. I checked and re-checked my make-up in a little compact Amanda had given me in my "Bride survival kit" -- complete with a little engagement photo of Rob and I, which I made sure to set up while I did my pre-ceremony primping. Suzy made sure I had a snack, Jorge was busy at my beck and call, and I remember feeling genuinely cared for by these supportive and wonderful people I'm so blessed to call my friends.

The carriage was a cute thing, all white, complete with a little heart shaped window that peeked out the back. As we slowly made our way through the field to the chapel, I was focused on the beauty of the mountains around us so I would be able to vividly recall the moment. As the chapel came into view, I became teary eyed seeing people lined along its steps to catch a glimpse of us as we came up.

When the chapel doors opened and the ladies and Jorge filed in, my dad was a bit nervous as he took my arm to lead me. I remember Rob's expression when he first saw me and how he had to look away because he was so filled with emotion. I forgot to go "slow" down the aisle and carry my "bouquet low" as Amanda had previously advised. : ) I was bursting with happiness to finally be there and see everyone smiling around me. The love and support surrounding us was uplifting.

Looking across from my sweet Robert at the alter, I tried to absorb every word and be completely present throughout our vows. I rarely stopped smiling. When we signed the registry and Rob's best man Rod stepped in as a witness, I noticed a few of his tears hit the table as he struggled to compose himself. When we finally faced our friends and family as Mr and Mrs, "Rocket Girl" swelled up from our musicians, Dolce and Amante, on flute and acoustic guitar. That's when I was overcome with emotion.

"Dream your dreams in my ear, just get me out of here, fly me around this world, Rocket Girl..." The flute acted as the vocals.

Outside we were flitting about getting in place for the receiving line when the chapel bells started ringing out above. I looked to the blue sky where the cross was illuminated among white clouds, and it was as though God was pronouncing us husband and wife. It was magical.

We made our way slowly through the fields and along the ranch property to get the remainder of our photos taken before heading back to the city as the rain came. Rob, Warren and I checked into the Sheraton, where Rob and I would make our own honeymoon suite--most of it thanks to Vicki who put together a little package with rose scented petals, and champagne and glasses. I simply added the music and little bride and groom duckies for the jacuzzi tub--not to mention all the fun lingerie I'd already been given at my bridal shower! ; )

The reception itself was absolutely lovely. The Rotary House still had its Stampede decorations up, so the log cabin had more country accents then normal which added a classy touch to the natural beauty of the venue. The ceiling was twined with twinkling white lights, and pseudo candle chandeliers hung all around. The centerpieces were charming square vases filled with clear rocks alit by orange immersible LED lights, and were topped with white Gerber daisies surrounded by delightful greenery (which poor Vicki and Kyle essentially assembled prior to cocktails starting).

Our MC was my close friend, Sean, a former broadcasting classmate who carried the evening off brilliantly with wonderful "he said, she said" snippets from Rob and I, which captured the essence of both our relationship and our personalities. My brother Darrin said grace before the meal, a "Cowboy buffet" complete with slow roasted ribs, steak, coleslaw, western Caesar salad and a warm apple berry crisp for dessert. We decided to have cupcakes instead of wedding cake and served those as more of a late night snack. The topper was a little cowboy groom dancing with a cowgirl bride. Our favors were orange and white M&M's which had "Tiffany & Robert" on one and our wedding date on the other.

Our first dance was as meaningful as I anticipated it would be. I was able to block out everyone around us and just feel the lyrics of "Should I fall behind" while Rob and I swayed to the music.

We danced, we sang, and we were full. Full of happiness, love and each other. Full of gratitude for the people who made the day a success and who came out to genuinely celebrate with us.

It was perfect.

On our last Anniversary, I wrote in Rob's card, "I always hoped a love like this was possible. Thank you for making that dream a reality every day."

I love hearing Rob call me his wife, and I feel a thrill each time I see his wedding ring catch the light. I feel different as his wife and I'm thankful for it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A couple in love

A year ago today, my sweet Robert proposed. The above photo is from our recent engagement session (we found our photographer on a local message board, and clearly the wedding pictures will be fabulous). Today we go and pick up our marriage license. In less than a month I will get to say, "This is my husband, Robert." : )

As much as I generally do not like wedding planning, it's been alright. I'm excited about the fun details, things like our bouquets, the wedding favors, our cupcake topper--unfortunatley none of which I can be more specific, so I don't spoil any of the surprise.

I'm excited for our day to arrive!

I really don't have much else to add. I've more than captured from blog to blog how much Rob means to me, and just how grateful and happy I am to share a life with him. We are partners in a grand lifelong adventure. Thank God.

I am truly blessed.

This photo took my breath away. : )

Thank God all the other photographers I was considering didn't bother getting back to me.

Friday, July 04, 2008

How do you comfort a friend?

When a soul is in anguish, the distance separating you from another is unbearably vast. Life presses against us--bruises us from the inside out. You wonder if anyone can reach you to give you the comfort desperately needed.

We want to comfort. Try to. But some of us don't know how, or where to begin.

When words are not enough and gestures seem meaningless because you don't honestly know what someone is going through, what then?

My reaction is to keep away. Be respectful and not continue reminding someone of their pain with my sad face or tears. And saying how sorry I am sounds trite and hollow.

When you're consumed with devastating emotions, everyone around you appears in a shadow. And you wonder at the cruelty of feeling the sun warming your face when inside you are cold all over.

That's when I pray. : ) My eyes close and I pray for God's healing love to wash over my friend in a white glow--sometimes for a person I've never met. I focus on surrounding them with loving energy and hope they feel the sense of comfort and peace I don't know how to give. And I pray for them to feel hope--to know they will come through, and on the other side of pain will be happiness once again.

I pray when you fall to your knees you realize you are in the position to pray.

Friday, June 27, 2008

From the desk of:

Zac Stashko


In co-operation with the Calgary Sport and Social Club, the ownership of Slo-pitch team Reasonably Sober is pleased to announce the changing of the teams' name to Tommy John Arms for the upcoming Summer 2008 season.

Along with the change of name, the club would also like to announce other personnel changes:

After the disappointing performance in Thursday night's final Spring playoff game, President and General Manager Jason LaRose has been relieved of his duties. Mr. LaRose will remain with the team as Assistant To The Batboy.

Replacing Mr. LaRose in the President and General Manager position will be Matteo Picone. Mr. Picone is known for his reckless abandon on the softball field, and the ownership believes he will bring new life to the organization. Mr. Picone has hired Zac Stashko as Head of Player Personnel and Chief Bat Whore--Bat, Equipment Manger. Mr. Stashko brings a wealth of experience to the position, and the ownership believes he was born for this role.

The ownership would also like to announce the following players being added to the injured reserve list until further notice:

Zac Stashko – Severe case of whiplash from snapping his neck watching all those home runs fly by him

Desirae Lynch - Bad ankle from tripping over the imaginary line at home plate

Matteo Picone – Bad ankle because he wants to be just like Des, and tries to turn singles into triples

David “NutzLanglois – Sore foot from kicking a fire pit, then washing the cut in a dirty lake

Other roster notes: Three players have currently been added to the summer roster. The current lineup for Tommy John Arms is (scouts notes appear in red):

His flip flop rallies always fall short -- Cut
Can’t breast feed and bat at the same time
-- Totally cut
Dave 1
Has potential -- Still cut
Dave 2
Uses a girl's bat
-- Therefore cut
Works with LaRose and has a bum knee -- Cut
Missed the game sending us to Spring finals and we lost
-- Gotta be cut
Kid thinks he can play the whole outfield by himself, selfish player
-- Cut, Cut, and then Cut again. Probably going to be cut from the little league farm team as well
Where do I start
-- CUT-- I’ve never seen an ERA in the triple digits before, this kid couldn’t strike out a two year old
Choosing to do wedding stuff over ball -- Poor excuse, so cut
Nothing bad to say about VW -- Unfortunately she is still cut
Learned to play field from Matteo -- Nobody should have to bear that pain, therefore cut
Only saw him at a couple games
-- Can’t make a fair assessment, but he’s cut
Great guy, good all around athlete -- Drives a ford ranger--cut him loose
Kara (when possible)
Another wedding planner who would "be there if we needed her"
-- Gotta say cut
Is an unknown talent scouted by Dave 1
-- probably is a superstar, cut
The other unknown talent scouted by Dave 1
-- once again probably going to be the star of the team, and that is why he must be cut


Saturday, June 14, 2008

35 years old and never kissed a girl

A substantial sinus headache was pulsing on the right side of my face when I woke up this morning. Swinging my feet to the carpet, they were so sore I nearly fell off the bed trying to stand, and I'm limping occassionaly as I walk. My wrist also hurts along with my index finger on my left hand.

Granted, some of these pains are from a recent game of softball, but I can't help wonder how much my physical discomfort relates to me being 35.


I'm officially old. "Five years from 40" as I was fond of reminding Rob when he turned 35 (on our second date). : )

Now, I'm not a person who typically feels bad on a birthday, but turning 35 feels a little different. When I was younger I said I'd be married by 25 and have children by 27.

In reality, by 35 I've been divorced, lived in four cities, one other country, and had one major career change. I could bemoan how little or much I've accomplished compared to anyone else in the same time span, but I really don't have that kind of energy. : D My path is my own and I remind myself not to waste any mental effort feeling bad over what I think I "should" have accomplished by now.

And counting back over my 35 years there are many things I'm grateful for: my divorce, first and foremost, because without it I wouldn't be engaged to the true love of my life and planning a wonderful wedding for this year;

I have many friends and family helping me out with said wedding, and that day we will be surrounded by people I'm thankful to not only share the day but my life with;

My job profile is changing at work for the better and I work with truly fabulous people;

I live in a country that allows me many freedoms, like going to a bookstore and having the salesclerk be so helpful we actually track down the short story my Dad really wanted to read in a Farley Mowat book--which will be a gift to him for Father's Day;

I have the physical ability to play softball--something which makes me feel happy to be alive--although I whine and complain how much I hurt the next day (or week);

We can afford silly luxuries like the Wii, even though it says I'm so over-weight my little computer t-shirt won't fit over my little computer belly. : O

Every day I wake up next to my sweet Robert and thank God for keeping Rob happy, healthy and safe. Who always gives me lovely presents, most importantly his love, and fun things like, "I love Jim" (from The Office) post-it notes and stationary, and "love lottery" scratch-and-wins good for "dinner for 2". : ) Who is a person of such depth, feels something like Tim Russert passing away two days before Father's day as a keen loss, compelling me to sit with him through a tribute to Tim Russert on NBC, which ended with a song by Bruce Springsteen--You're missing--only to discover both Rob and Tim shared the same love of the artist.

I can only conclude turning 35 really isn't that bad at all.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Coming Together

The wedding details are coming together. Last weekend my Mom and sister-in-law Vicki helped pick out the flower girl dresses. The Bay happened to have a decent section of little girl's dresses. We ended up with the brand Thy Thy--if that means anything to anyone. Regardless, the dresses themselves are quite cute. They're gold and ivory with a princess puffy skirt speckled with tiny ivory flowers across the outer layer. The bodice is covered in gold beads and iredescent sequins and has a sheer patch of fabric running up to the neck, which is surrounded by little fake crystals. Very charming! Emma couldn't stand still long enough for me to get a proper look. She twirled and jumped and kept running around the store in it.

And it so happened there were only two of those dresses, a size ten and four, so we bought both. I express mailed the second one to Mercedes (Rob's niece) and it fits. : ) On Saturday my mom, my other sister-in-law Debbie, and my niece, Autumn, and I picked out her junior bridesmaid dress--which is also quite charming. It's a solid satin black, and has a black satin bow running around the waist. In the midst of all that, Debbie and I also both ended up with a dress! Mine is basically a black, evening wedding dress, which is bloody phenomenal, and will be lovely to wear for the dinner being held in our honor at the National Golf Club in Toronto (hosted by Rob's parents) a week after our wedding.

Rob even called his mom in the middle of the dress shop to ask her opinion of the dress. She said, "If you love the dress, buy it. Nevermind what anyone else thinks." Who can argue with logic like that? It was quite fun. A huge family bonding moment, for sure. Rob said afterwards that would have made his mom happy, as she must be missing out on the planning. But she and his Dad are busy co-ordinating the parties out in Toronto, so that's got to be keeping them busy.

This is where the fun begins.

Yesterday I went to Ikea with Rob and Jorge, and his little guy Saul (our ring bearer), to look at vases for our center pieces. I've purchased orange submersible LED lights to sit at the bottom of every vase. The lights will be covered in clear rocks, water, and will feature white Gerber daisies sprouting out the tops. I bought two different vases and will try two different styles.

The shawls for the bridesmaids were ordered online from an Ebay "boutique" and just came in. The person hand-dyed them to match a photo which I hope approximates the color of the groomsmen's vests (a specific shade of orange). I was going to head down to Moores today and check how well they really match the vests, but I was distracted and had a nap instead. Wedding planning can be very tiring. : D

Plus, I had to save energy to play the last softball game of the season tonight--a double header in the rain--where I managed to hit three doubles in the second game. I'm feeling rather satisfied at this moment (though exhausted and terribly sore). Luckily I took tomorrow off, so that should aid in my recovery.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Under Pressure

I'm really starting to feel the stress of planning a wedding. I wonder how people with intense and demanding jobs manage it at the same time? I'm also wondering how the day could possibly hold up to expectations because of the amount of planning going into it. To a certain degree, it seems as though it has to be anti-climatic on a few levels because of the yearlong effort required for creating the one day. People always say more planning goes into the wedding than the marriage, but I don't see how that can be avoided when you consider everything necessary to pull off a wedding (big or small).


I'm also highly sensitive about the family drama arising out of the planning. Very few of my extended family are invited for many, many reasons. With my first wedding, the cousins I invited called my friend's Mother to decline the invitation at the last minute (don't ask me--clearly they're people with poor to no social skills, and chickenshits). No surprise I'm not sending an invitation to them this time. They also couldn't be bothered to attend the funeral for my brother's stepson, yet he still hangs out with them.

Does having standards that include not putting up with people's crap mean I'm always going to be standing alone with nothing but my principles and values as companions? Am I not forgiving, or am I simply upholding a clear set of standards?

Dr Phil says, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" Well, happiness for me does not include being treated poorly by people and turning a blind eye. Forgiveness to me includes someone asking for forgiveness. To me the equation for forgiveness involves a person being accountable for their actions, recognizing their poor behavior, and then taking responsibility through an apology. This is clearly unique in the face of the family I'm unfortunatley related to.

Normally I can manage these feelings, but the wedding is bringing them to the forefront because I'm making a conscious effort to not include people for the sake of familial obligation (which I don't believe anyone should indulge if they are being treated poorly by their so-called relatives). Doesn't it make sense to not invite a family member if I know they dislike me and truly do not wish me well? Am I really expected to take a chance by including them in an invitation only for them to show up with the intention of ruining this special day? Or wait for them to pull some drama at the last minute to draw attention to themselves? I strongly believe if someone can not show up for you during one of the biggest celebrations in your life, then why show up at all.

After the wedding I'm cutting all the dead weight from my life.

And I expect nothing less from anyone who knows me, which is maybe why I'm ostracized by my extended family to begin with.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whatever Works

I bought this Gerber Daisy to cheer myself up. It could be the weather, or hormones, or my job, or all of these things, but I'm in a foul mood--depressed, confrontational, emotional. Happy times. When I'm in a mood that's hard to shake, I struggle to find ways to pull myself out.

I'm working "out front" all day (dealing with students face to face), and I've brought the flower out with me, back to my desk for lunch, and it'll be coming along with me for the rest of the afternoon.

What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures. So, flower power it is. The daisy reminds me spring and summer will eventually arrive (and the snow MUST leave). Also, I'll be using orange Gerber Daisies in my bridal bouquet, which makes me picture our wedding day and how happy I'll feel standing across from my Sweet Robert.

Plus, I got an A- in my writing class.

Like I say, whatever works.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This too shall pass

And it does. You never feel when it's a bad day, or week (or Easter dinner) that it's going to end, but it does. And what a difference a week makes.

I had my ipod on while I was walking to work this morning. "If I should fall behind", by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band was playing. This is the first song Rob and I will dance to on our wedding day. : ) Since we got engaged, we've been pondering what that first dance song should be. We share many meaningful songs, but with both of us being so into music we wanted the lyrics to be just right.

The first time Rob showed me the video for this song (from the Springsteen video anthology) it was sometime early in the relationship, and I cried. The lyrics made me sad because that's how I imagined marriage to be and that's clearly not how my first marriage was.

"We said we'd walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walkin a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me."

A year and a half later, current day: Rob was playing another video concert by Bruce Springsteen which featured a live version of this song (if you haven't figured it out, Bruce is Rob's favourite artist). Hearing the lyrics again, they sounded like wedding vows to me. I thought it would be the perfect first song and Rob agreed.

Back to this morning, the sun was out and the air was crisp as I walked to work. While the song played, I imagined what it would feel like dancing with Rob on our wedding day. He and I have a history of dancing together. : ) We slow danced on our first date to Doc Walker, as mentioned many times, and it was this first dance which captivated me. During our two-step lessons at Ranchman's, I fell in love with Rob, and it was standing across from him on the dance floor when I thought, "This is what it will feel like when we stand across from one another to get married." Then Rob proposed to me on the dance floor during a Doc Walker concert.

I was smiling and filled with love when I got to work. I thanked God for bringing Rob into my life and for blessing me in so many other ways.

This Friday marks our two year Anniversary. While we were at the Flames game on Saturday night, Rob had a pleasant surprise for me:

Need I say more?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Get Over It

The University decided to stop accepting credit card payments. I heard the news through a dinner radio report and brought it up in the next morning's meeting. We were initally told not to get worked up about it, they didn't even know if it was true. Within hours we were given "key messaging" on how to respond to inquiries from the public. By mid-afternoon our website was publishing this sparse announcement with no details. Now we know it will go into effect July 1st.

The Student's Union is outraged. Students have created a group on Facebook. Some of the wall posts are quite articulate. Of the others, I've "reported" three people for personally attacking other posters by calling them names, and such. Why is it so hard to just disagree? I've also reported one "spam abuse".

I'm a student and would love to comment, but I don't think it would be advisable. Though I was sent an email from our Student Union president asking for feedback, and I did respond (no, not from my work email).

There was a larger meeting held at work a few days later where staff were told to "get over it" (I actually felt my eye twitch), followed up by, "this is your time to vent". Indeed. I said something like, "working here is like being an alien away from the mothership. We're told from this far away place there's going to be a some big change to process or policy, and there's no consultation, no communication and no plan for implementation. Just do it and make it work." Sigh.

Easter was a real treat at my Mom's this year. My sister-in-law ignored me from the outset, which is actually harder than you'd think. It takes a concerted energy not to look at someone, or acknowledge them, and simply pretend they don't exist. But I was determined. Once the tone was set, I made the effort.

My family celebrates Easter similar to Christmas in that the kids get a bunch of presents and they sit around opening them like it's Christmas morning. It's a little unsettling. My oldest niece tried to give away some of her chocolate (the expensive kind, too--a gold wrapped chocolate bunny from Lindt). Then she broke a chocolate Easter egg on the carpet, which if my Mom would have saw, would have wigged. She was going around giving away tiny little pieces of it(she's 10). When I expressed an interest in the bunny, she decided she'd keep it.

I did get in an emotional confrontation with my oldest brother, so all was not completely lost.

The evening's highlight was Guitar Hero on PS2. It's not much different than on the Wii, it just proved to be the best distraction from all that tension.

Now that the long weekend is over, Rob and I are getting back into the wedding planning. We're at the financial stage. Whee. I'm trying to decide if there should be a marriage contract. With this being my second marriage, and those statistics staring me in the face, and me owning nothing other than some crap furniture and a car--perhaps a contract is in order.

Which only serves to remind me how poorly my first marriage went. The guy's now married to the woman he cheated on me with. No, her name is not Angelina. And I'm certain she's not giving all her money to charity, either. These are people who should not be parents, wouldn't you say?

Which reminds me of my family and all the shit they keep passing down from generation to generation.

How much energy is it going to take to get over it?

I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I'm being slowly bitten by the baby bug. God help me, God help us all.

It scares the hell out of me.

I'm not sure if I'm ready. I'm sure my body isn't ready. And I wish the clock wasn't ticking so loudly it's drowning out the rest of the alone time I have with my Sweet Robert.

How will I have enough energy to deal with a baby when I barely have the energy to plan a wedding and complete one stupid writing class? How will I give up Advil and Sinutab?

Will it all be worth it? My Mom complains none of us children see her enough, or call her enough, or think of her enough. How will I make sure to give my children everything they need and still nourish and develop my own interests? How will I separate my role as a mother from my own sense of self?

Do you think other women truly comprehend what it means to have a baby? Or do you think most people stumble blindly down the procreation path guided by little more than a Winnie The Poo nightlight?

Does my Mom look around at her three children and feel blessed and proud she brought us into this world? Do my parents feel like the sacrifices were worth it?

I wonder how many people really think about their reasons for wanting children before the sperm hits the egg.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ski Pants and Snow Angels

I'm fascinated with the english language, and constantly in awe of how everyone has the ability to express eloquence through writing randomly distinct and touching images. My sister in-law Vicki and I have been exchanging emails over the past few days and she couldn't help but comment on the ever-changing weather from a few days back: "Yesterday Emma was sitting outside on the steps in a spring jacket blowing bubbles all over our snow free yard. Today, ski pants and snow angels."

More than just the language though, I'm inspired by the adaptability of children and how they experience wonder under any circumstance. While one child might sit at the window looking forlorn over nature's snowy mood swing, my Emma Lou was outside taking advantage of a day designed for "ski pants and snow angels".

There is the possibility my Norman Rockwellian image attributes more to the moment than is warranted, but for a memory, I live vicariously through my niece's expanding experience of winter.

My cousin's back landing housed clumps of our shoes and skates, wet from afternoons and evenings of hockey and ice skating. I remember shoving blistered feet into stiff unforgiving skate boots, wiping left over ice from sharp blades, and hoping cheap bandaids would hold as we raced repeatedly up and down the ice.

I had a red hockey stick and quick legs as one of the few girls in a rink full of boys and flying pucks. There were cheap chips and hot chocolate from the nearby snack shop. And through the dark walk home away from the fading glow of rink lights, my feet felt flat and cold in my shoes. I walked slowly to minimize the pain from the hours spent in a Canadian winter.

I'm sure Emma's experience will differ vastly from my own, but the image of her lying in the snow, face to the sky, nose growing pinker by the minute...

Is there anything more perfect than a snow angel in ski pants? : )

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thank God

I don't know what it is about today, but I feel grateful for everything. Maybe I'm high. : D

Walking out our loading dock door into the sunshine at lunch felt wonderful. For a brief moment before the chill of the February air hit my cheeks, I felt warmth on my face. A prelude to spring and summer, this kind of weather is a promise of the seasons to come. All is not winter, thank God!

Standing in line at Subway, I was thankful to even have the option to buy my lunch. And when I found PMS pills in my desk, I was thrilled.

Seriously, thank God for PMS pills. I don't care if they are placebos because sometimes I just want to take something which has even a possibility of making me feel better.

Thank God for my 99 cent Honey Roasted Almonds (normally around $5-$6, which I really need to stop eating right now).

Thank God for my Sweet Robert, and for my Sweet friends.

Thank God.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day One

I woke up every few hours afraid to check the clock and see it being 4:55 am, only to actually wake up at 4:57 and sigh that I had only mere moments left in bed.

Rob had me lay out all my stuff the night before, so I wouldn't be wandering around in the morning gathering everything up, and we arrived a few minutes before the gym even opened at 5:15 am. There was the odd person waiting with us, but by the time I was half way into my cardio, the area was pretty much full. The weight and stretching sections weren't congested, and what's nice about this gym is it's really spread out, with a track that runs outside each of the area's and down and around large picture windows.

It's 6:38 now, and I feel pretty good. Not once during the workout did I feel tired, or cranky, I was just wide eyed with wonder at how many people actually get up at this time for fitness sake. The absolute best part though? It's done for the day! I don't have to mentally prep myself all day for going to the gym, there's no "should I, I know I should" argument as I make the weary walk to my car after work--it's done! DONE! I can't believe how cheerful that alone makes me feel.

I was a little sleepy when I got home, though I think mainly from needing some protein, but now that I've had my sugar free yoghurt, I'm good. I'm even planning what I should make for dinner tonight. : )

Let's see if I can carry this trend for a few weeks, and what I'll be like further into it.

A definite key is going to bed on time. I made sure I was in bed by 9 last night, and sleeping by 9:30 at the latest. As long as I manage that, I should be able to manage actually getting up.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Running in heels, Tim Horton's and working out

I was being silly at work running with my filing cabinet in precariously heeled shoes when I skidded onto my ass, narrowly missing a co-worker in the process. The black marks are from the heels of my shoes, and there is an actual dent in the floor. One of my co-workers commented she couldn't believe how far apart my legs had spread.

Why was I running with my filing cabinet? Well, any morning we work out front, the staff all wheel out their filing cabinets so our resources are close at hand. This particular morning was a Friday and I think I was happy the end of the day would mark the beginning of a long weekend. Obviously Karma took the opportunity to kick me in the ass, so I guess I won't be doing that again.


Perhaps I thought of Tim Horton's as a healthy alternative to fast food. Not so after picking up the Nutrition Guide at my nearest TH. Even though I didn't expect to see really healthy listings, I'm not sure I was prepared for what I did find:

Chocolate Chip muffin: 430 calories, 16 g of fat, 580 mg of sodium and 69 carbs.
Twelve Grain Bagel: 330 calories, 9 g of fat (the highest of all bagels), 580mg of sodium, and 52 carbs.
Herb and Garlic cream cheese: 141 calories, 13 g of fat, 228 mg of sodium, and 2 carbs.
Iced Cappucino: 250 calories, 11 g of fat, 50 mg of sodium and 33 carbs.

For a grand total of: (not including the muffin, I just threw that in there because it shocked me) 721 calories, 33 g of fat, 891 mg of sodium and 87 carbs. For BREAKFAST.

Wow. Nevermind if you happen to add a donut or God forbid the chocolate chip muffin (which is obviously some sort of meal replacement). It is clear that Tim Horton's should be classified along with all the other fast food outlets.

What really boggles me, though, is how the twelve grain bagel is the worst of all bagels offered at Tim Horton's. I would choose this bagel thinking it to be the healthiest when in reality, it's the worst. It has the most calories, fat, and ties for the most sodium. The only thing it's comparable on is the carbs, which after everything else is said and done--who cares. In reality, when I shop for bagels, or bread (which are all really quite unhealthy), I'm always scanning the nutrition labels to pick the one lowest in everything important to me and one that's marked "whole wheat" as the very first ingredient.

Still, so much for thinking Tim Horton's is the lesser of fast food evils.


I just joined Rob's gym, which is a 2 minute walk from our place. Tomorrow is our first 5am workout together. Here's hoping that after 22 sessions (the number it apparently takes to develope a habit), I can call myself an early bird exerciser.

The obvious advantages are not just health related. I would have the work out done for the day, so when I come home tired and cranky from work, I can relax and have my dinner with Robert (instead of going off to work out and coming home by 6:30 or 7 to then begin dinner). Because I'll be up earlier in the morning, I'll have some extra time before actually having to get ready for work, which also might make the early morning rising a bit easier to take (instead of getting up groggy, rushing off to workout, and rushing back to get ready).

Rob has his doubts as to whether I'll be able to pull off this a.m. health revolution, but because I'm currently struggling with the motivation for going to my own gym, anything that might help is better than nothing. : )

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How often

How often do I thank God for Rob being in my life?

At least once a day.
Usually when we hug in the morning before he goes off to work.
Whenever I'm showering him with kisses.
Early in the morning when he comes over to gently kiss me and tell me he loves me because it's 4am and we're getting up to catch an early flight.
When he spilled 7-up on me during a flight and wrote "I love you" on a napkin to try and make it better.
Whenever I hear Doc Walker.
When I'm sad and Rob is concerned and trying to cheer me up.
When Rob says, "How are you?" in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent.
When Rob tells me he loves me in his sleep, and when I say, "You even love me in your dreams!" he responds, "I love you everywhere."
Whenever he expresses he's looking forward to getting married and calling me his wife.
Whenever we dance together.
Whenever he's excited about Rocky or Bruce Springsteen.
When I feel him tense up with emotion while he's watching a movie during a emotional scene.
When he falls asleep with his arm around me.
When I received his secret message Valentine last year (which had a decorder pen and was a puzzle).
When he placed Rascal Flatts' concert tickets in my hand as a surprise for Valentine's day this year.
When he also gave me a chocolate filled heart from Bernard Callebaut.
When I read his Valentine card featuring Rocky Balboa on the front and the line "You won my heart." Which we both agreed should have said, "Yo, Valentine!"

I love you, Robert.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First time in T.O.

When we arrived at Pearson airport, we were met by Rob's best friend Rod who greeted me with a big hug and 2 dozen roses. : )

The Toronto welcome wagon brought us a half hour of shoveling snow out of Rob's parent's driveway before we could park our loaner sports car from Rod. Even though we were both exhausted from being up at 4 am to catch our flight, I was the only one who napped in the afternoon, after trying to convince Rob to postpone my surprise dinner for that evening until around 8:30 (which would have been dinner time in Calgary).

Rob maintained this was not an option, so around 7 we headed out the door for a laborious one hour drive to downtown Toronto, which found Rob somewhat stressed about the traffic and parking, and me agitated by the whole joyride. Rob had to keep me focussed by providing snippets of information regarding my surprise dinner without really giving anything away. "The surprise will be worth it," he said, his knuckles white against the steering wheel.

After walking several frigid blocks, we approached what I didn't know then was the Air Canada center. Clusters of women in cowboy boots surrounded us as we all headed indoors. By this time I knew I wasn't being treated to dinner, but still didn't know the full nature of what Rob had in store for me--until he placed the Rascal Flatts' concert tickets in my hand!

The stage was lit up from below, with a long panel screen running the length behind it, and huge picture cubes hung high over the floor seating area. A smaller circle stage was set up near the back of the floor seating, and a bridge was suspended up in the air which would later lower to temporarily join the two stages together while band members sang as they "crossed over".

Video played behind the band during the show, and the stage itself gyrated with color from song to song. Close to two hours of music rang out, with the pinnacle for me being, "He ain't the leaving kind", a song off their last album I kept wishing was performed during the previous album tour. As I stumbled through slush and snow, tired and grinning back to the car, I told Rob the rest of the trip could be absolute crap and it wouldn't matter because the concert was such a fabulous surprise.

Luckily the rest of the trip was not crap, although Rob did leave sick by the end with a cold bordering on bronchitis. The wedding itself was lovely (the reason for the trip to begin with), Rob's friends were wonderful, and our visit to the CN tower and the Hockey Hall of Fame proved entertaining--I was able to touch the original "lucky loonie" embedded at center ice during the 2002 Winter Olympic Ice Hockey games, and I also managed two goals out of five in the interactive shoot out, beating the young punks who cut in line ahead of us with a score of nil each who then complained about the "accuracy" of the game.

Did you know the CN tower gets struck by lightening an average of 75 times a year?

There were only a few stops we didn't make due to weather conditions and such, but I'm looking forward to covering more of T.O. when we head there for what will be part two of our wedding. :D