Saturday, 27 August 2011
Yesterday I was having lunch with Jana, and we were plotting plots for this Sunday when we'll wrangle up her four munchkins and make them smile for the camera (or look at the camera, or hopefully glance at the camera). As we chowed down on Mediterranean chicken wraps, Jana was trying to figure out the time logistics of our intended meet-up.
"I think it will be better if we can get together in the afternoon," Jana told me. "Colt naps in the morning around nine, and then again..."
I can't finish her sentence because I stopped listening once I heard that her baby goes down for a nap at nine o'clock in the morning. So I did what I do best and I interrupted her.
"What?! He naps at nine in the morning?"
[Insert the smell of burning, as my brain tried to comprehend this].
"But that would mean...holy cow...garblegarblegarble.....WHAT TIME DO YOU HAVE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING?"
Then Jana chortled that secret laugh that all parents develop when they are inducted into that exclusive club called the No Sleep Hall of Fame. Parents who have been inducted into this hall of fame have no use for their self-centered friends who sit across the table from them, complaining that the cat wakes them up at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if these parents wanted to drop kick this friend into next week. Instead, they give a little chuckle over their idiot friend's incredulity and that chuckle translates to this: Oh you just wait. Just wait. I can hardly wait to remind you about when 9 a.m. was an inconvenient wake-up.
And you see Internet, this is my number one--shallow as a kiddy pool--reason for being leery about having kids: when will I sleep? Not getting eight hours of sleep is more concerning to me than potentially raising a psychopath, and according to this month's Reader's Digest there are a lot of high functioning psychopaths out there and WE SHOULD BE WORRIED.
According to the completely non-sensationalist article, everyone can take internet tests to find out if their spouses are psychopaths; if their bosses are psychopaths; if their hairdressers are psychopaths. I mean, thank goodness I didn't waste two minutes of my life reading this article! It's such a relief to have it in print that if someone tries to swindle you out of money or gets pleasure out of publicly humiliating you, that really means they're just a big pile of shit and you should avoid them at all cost. I would never have guessed that on my own. Whew! Thanks Reader's Digest for not spreading fear and worry!
That just wouldn't do, you see I already have enough stuff to be worried about: Are my highlights growing out too fast? How do they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar? Is the rule about the belt matching the shoes iron clad? On a scale of one to ten, how hard am I supposed to care about the current political climate...anywhere?
You see? I really do carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. And when one has such important worries to fret over, can one really afford to be sleep deprived?
I think I'll go rest my head and ponder this weighty dilemma. If you don't hear from me for awhile, it's possible that my wonderful friend might have perfected the kick that is really going to do the trick and get me into next week. I won't be able to correspond, as I'll have to wait for technology to catch-up to me.
But will it ever catch up? What if it never does? Oh dear. What if I'm alone. Always living a week in the future? Will there be other shallow drones to keep me company? Do I have to learn morse code? Or find a lake house to try and correspond with Keanu Reeves via letters posted in a magic mailbox? There are no lake houses around here. WHAT DO I DO?
This is worrisome.
Jana if you only permit me to stay in the present I promise to be on my best behaviour on Sunday. I'll even get up early.
Like say around 8:45...ish.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
I've been back in Kamloops for just over a week, and it feels good to be home. Some particular highlights for me are that my mom has been packing my lunch everyday, which is pretty sweet because my mom always makes awesome lunches (though, I'm not sure my coworkers appreciate the garlicky hummus I've been indulging in. Yo Trident, make a gum that can deal with hummus breath); I've gone out for lunch once with a good friend, and have plans for many more lunch dates; yesterday I was whisked away on a birthday road trip to Kelowna, then afterwards I went swimming in the Okanagan lake with my dad and sisters; I got my hair cut by a girl who not only understood me, but made me look just like the picture; I've eaten kettle cooked potato chips; I've played with our dog; I've watched movies with my sisters, and sat out on the patio with Mom and Dad, chatting away the twilight hours until candle flames are all we see.
It's nice to know that home is always so home-y.
A few things I've noticed though:
(1) I think I have Spiderman hearing now. I am having a really hard time focusing on conversations with friends when we're out in public, because I can understand EVERYONE around me and these conversations seem really amplified and loud (even though they're normal decibels). So far I cannot filter out the noise and focus just on the person I'm talking with. It's weird and probably frustrating for the person I'm talking to because I'm definitely not a 100% present.
(2) Last night I went to the grocery store with my sister--at 10:00 p.m. Guys, I totally skulked in there and felt guilty I was shopping so late. Then I picked up some peaches and felt really confused why I couldn't find the price scale so I could weigh the fruit and get the bar code needed for the cashier. Then I remembered: oh yeah, I wasn't at Migros. This was further proven by the hysterical giggling I erupted into when I entered the potato chip aisle and remembered how big it was. I felt out of proportion with my surroundings as everything was so huge and I felt really small. Aislinn had to practically drag me out of the dairy aisle I was so shocked by the size and the selection, and just stood in one place staring at everything. Let me clarify to you all, we were in a grocery store I used to frequent with regularity when I lived here.
(3) Everything is so cheap! Mom and Dad were mentioning that they'd considered taking me to The Keg for lobster fest when I first landed (a treat that always lands around my birthday), but decided against it because it was too expensive.
"A lobster tail and steak is going to cost about $45," Mom said as she shook her head in disbelief.
I burst out laughing. A steak AND lobster tail AND the side potato all for $45 Canadian? That is freaking cheap! Yesterday in the grocery store I could have purchased an entire log of extra lean local ground beef for $17. I mean seriously, it's amazing! I've been stocking up on personal necessities like new p.j.'s and socks, etc..., and every time I go to the register I feel like I'm stealing when I get my total. It's so great!
(4) People are so chatty. I don't like going into stores and being greeted as soon as I walk in, being asked if I need anything as I'm browsing, and what I'm doing for the rest of the day as I pay. I don't like this at all. I want people to leave me alone to shop in peace. Also, a complete and total stranger leaned over the fence of the restaurant patio last weekend as I was having lunch, and commented on how great lunch looked. Weirdness!
(Can you tell that lunch is a really big deal to me at the moment? Probably because I can eat lunch...FOR UNDER TEN DOLLARS.)
(5) I miss driving more than I thought I did. Mom and Dad have let me drive their car twice (this is a big deal, and anyone who knows our family is feeling quite surprised right now) and I miss the freedom of not being shackled to the schedule of public transit. I like coming and going as I please, singing in the car.
(6) Right now, as I type this, a City employee is working on a Sunday in my parent's house installing a meter(and swearing and cursing over the job). Let me repeat: he's working on a Sunday. I feel bad for him. Our banks are also starting to be open on Sundays here, and that blows my mind. How much longer until all professions are expected to be available seven days a week? That makes me uncomfortable because when do people have time to be with their families if everyone is on different schedules?
(7) The open space. I missed it, and today my sister and I are going for a walk in those fields.
My laptop battery pack fried and died, so hopefully I can get up to the store to get it replaced sooner than later. When I do, pictures to follow.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Friday, 12 August 2011
I stand in the Calgary airport book shop while I wait for the seconds to tick by so I can catch my last flight of the day that will bring me to Kamloops. I am standing alone in front of the giant 'New Releases' wall of fiction, just staring up at all the titles in open mouthed awe while my sleep deprived brain starts to smell like burning as I comprehend what I see.
Books? Books. Books! YIPPPPEEEEEE.
I continue to stand a respectful distance away from this throne of stories when a young man (so you know, probably 28--not thirty *sniff*) walks towards me.
"Oh, sorry. Sorry...I just...sorry about this, eh!" he says brightly.
And the reason for his profuse apology? Well, it wasn't because he spilled his Starbucks all over me. It was because he had to walk in front of me.
I know! Not once was there ever a bursting of the personal space bubble; I was not jostled, stepped on, nor did my skirt whisper in the breeze of a passing that was too close. He just...had to walk in front of me. So really what his apology can be translated to is: "Sorry about this, but I have to enter into your line of vision! Sorry about that! I'll try to get out of your sight as soon as possible. I apologize for this huge inconvenience of having to be seen."
With a little smile I proved that I am a good troll, and I let him pass through my line of vision without requesting a toll or a rhyme.
Oh Canada, it's good me be home.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Maybe it's not so bad....
Does everyone remember last summer when Dan and I were handed the weighty responsibility of caring for Dan's aunt and uncle's menagerie of animals and plant life? Oh, you don't. Well, just go searching through the archives. I did some Pulitzer worthy recaps of all the animals we looked after. Not a big deal. I know you're all a little anxious to read the bio's of the dogs, horses, and The Teenager.
Are you back?
Excellent. Did you remember to read up on Jony the co-dependant miniature pony? So the deal with Jony is that he is old, and I was nervous to be looking after him for obvious reasons, ifyaknowwhatImean.
(Death! I mean capital 'D' Death! For the love of hay he was 32 years old!)
Dan's aunt assured me that in all the years Jony had been in their family, he had nary even cracked a hoof. He was a fit little dude, and as long as he continually had a buddy with him he would be fine. At the time, Jony's regular pal was Orania Z, but she was off holidaying at an equestrian centre so Dan's aunt and uncle brought in a pony to keep Jony company until Ms. Z returned. The timing was such that Orania was returning to our place the day that our family left on their holiday; so Ms. Z was returning, the little pony was going home, and Jony remained completely oblivious to how much planning had to go into ensuring his 32 year old self was catered to.
The night before the pony left, there was an ENORMOUS fight between Jony and the pony who was supposed to be his buddy. I mean, if these two had been kids at a sleepover that shit would have been shut down--no more movies, popcorn, or truth or dare--and parents would be arriving at 3 a.m. to pick up their crying kids. The fight was busted up and Jony went into his stall, pony in the other, and I thought all was well.
Well, all was not fine because Jony had actually been kicked in the head during that fight, and two days into our stay he went down and could not get up on his own. I was actually at the stables when he went down, and it was a Sunday so Dan was home. I yelled at Dan to call the vet, got Jony up and against the fence to stabilize him, and clutched his halter with shaking hands as I waited for the vet. Jony had been fine at breakfast and lunch, so luckily whatever was going on had been caught immediately, and the vet was to our side in less than an hour. I had my suspicions that whatever was going on had to do with the fight, so I had Dan relay this and after some tests (wherein Jony couldn't even walk over a broom that was lying on the ground) the vet deduced brain swelling, and Jony was given a shot. If the swelling hadn't gone down in 24 hours well....
Thank goodness the swelling did go down and he was okay the rest of the time we were there, and today he is still a frisky little geriatric. But of course, I watched him like a hawk for those two weeks, and I refrained from writing about this terrible day because it was awful. The stress of this was not lost on Dan's family and in gratitude for looking after the animals and for Jony getting the quickest care possible, they gave Dan and I a luxury night away at a hotel in Kandersteg.
This gift has been sitting unused since last July, and truthfully I'd forgotten about it.
On Monday Dan told me that I had to be finished my work day by noon on Tuesday; I was a little confused because this didn't leave much notice, but hot damn I was excited because Tuesday was the day before today! My birthday! Birthday surprises!
We got to Kandersteg yesterday afternoon, and according to Dan this getaway wasn't my birthday present, he just thought it would be a classy way to say good-bye to a decade I didn't want to let go of, and use up the gift certificate that was fast expiring. The room we stayed in was...not what we expected; the luxury stay was actually a package deal for a night of ROMANCE. If you read my 'about me' tab you will understand that I am a girl who lacks the DNA code for liking typical romantic gestures, and so walking into a room strewn with rose petals caused me to feel itchy. And trapped.
Dan found my shallow, nervous breathing to be highly entertaining.
When the valet had left the room, I found a mix CD the hotel had provided called 'Love Songs'. Dan put it on and guess what started playing? As Long As You Love Me. By the Backstreet Boys! Backstreet was back! We started laughing. And then we couldn't stop. And then every once in awhile in between gasps of laughter one of us would hold up a stray rose petal and fling it at the other. Like it was something terrible and disgusting. Like a bug. Or a suggestive rose petal. So even though it was my last day of being in my twenties, it was still nice to know that at my very core I am still just an emotionally stunted juvenile.
What a relief.
But seriously though, this was free. It was a gorgeous room with a king size bed, a view, there was a whirlpool that wheeled onto the balcony, and our stay came with a gourmet meal and exclusive use of the swimming pool. So what if Dan's aunt and uncle bought us a night at the love shack? And that contraceptives were carefully nestled amongst the rose petals?
That's not funny at all, right?
Anyhow, we got ourselves together, told ourselves to act our age and not our shoe size, and went for a swim then we got ready for a dinner that was absolutely amazing. It was a four course meal with champagne and wine, and it was the sort of delicious you never want to end. Over our trio of desserts, Dan asked me to reflect on what I'd been doing on my twentieth birthday? How far had ten years taken me?
On my twentieth birthday I had been working a late shift at a stinky fast-food restaurant because I was knee deep in operation "Save Money For Tuition." I came home, went to bed, and got up the next day to work the opening shift.
There was no champagne. There was no salmon cream cannolis; no spicy pepper soup; no almond crusted tenderloin served on a bed of wilted spinach, spooned with a deep aus jus, and served with tomatoes poached in garlic oil. There also wasn't white chocolate mousse, raspberry crepes, and vanilla ice cream.
There was also no Dan.
So we toasted a decade that brought me more than I could ever have imagined, and today, the day of my thirtieth year--after a deluxe breakfast in bed--we walked in the sunshine beneath the glacial beauty of the alps, making notes to call his family and thank them for their generosity, and promising each other that we would return to this hotel...for dinner.
What? The love shack room creeped us out.
Friday, 5 August 2011
Today I feel like a Red Bull addict going through withdrawal.
Where's ma juice? I need ma juice! Ma heart's racin' all funny!
I can't explain it.
So this picture I took in Adelboden is keeping me calm.
I hate Red Bull, by the way. It's disgusting and tastes like medicine.
Also, I swear I can feel my teeth rotting as that sugary adrenaline passes by them.
Obviously this post was not sponsored by Red Bull.
Maybe I'll make sense on Monday.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
I know that I never talk about my cats. That I'm not one of those bloggers who interrupts travel recaps just to shout MY CAT IS SO CUTE! That I'm definitely just one of those chill pet-owners who treat their animals like animals and who would never dream of dressing up the cat like a Christmas elf.
It's hard being perfect like that. Hard, but rewarding. Therefore, today I will not end my long streak of never ever ever talking about my cats ever and I will not brag about our little Cosmo.
Now here's the deal: everyone who meets Cosmo thinks he's unique. Since I am obviously blinded by his sheer awesomeness, I choose to interpret 'unique' as god-like, whereas most people are using the term in a genial fashion because truthfully they really would rather label our cat as 'weird' and 'unhinged' and/or 'odd'.
Once when Dan's family was over for dinner, Cosmo was reclining in the crook of my arm like a baby, just watching everyone. Finally Dan's aunt couldn't take it anymore: "That is the strangest cat I've ever seen! He thinks he's a person!"
Dan gave a hearty laugh and told her that she should just be glad she didn't meet Cosmo five years ago, because holy catnip Batman but our little grey barn cat was...okay, I still thought he was perfection, but I concede he was crazy.
If he was a person, he probably would have ended up in juvy.
He split the vet's chin once.
He scratched my sister's friend in the eye.
He broke into the neighbour's apartment. Not their house, their apartment.
If people even looked at him, he would hiss at them.
Once my dad was sitting on Cosmo's spot on the couch, so Cosmo jumped from the floor and went sailing over my dad's head just to hiss and spit his displeasure over his spot being taken.
But over the years he has mellowed, and I think now he's quite sweet (though, I've always thought he was sweet). Last Christmas friends came over who had little kids, and we were worried about how Cosmo would behave around them, but he was great as long as he was sitting in his chair. He didn't like being down on the floor with the kids, but he never hissed at them; instead, he would get back up on the chair or jump up onto my lap where he surveyed those little creatures in bewilderment and wondered what their deal was.
(Poppy was in hiding, of course).
So cut to yesterday, and over lunch I took Cosmo outside so he could run around (we live in an apartment building) and since it was sunny of course I took some pictures of the little guy.
(Poppy hates being outside, in case you think this isn't an equal cat household.)
Oh the sweetness.
I love it outside!
As I was lounging in the grass while Cosmo was eating the grass, I heard the frantic pummeling of tiny feet on cement, and as the footsteps got closer, the sound of excited breathing escaping around a pacifier. Turning around, there was the neighbour's little blonde two year old running full speed ahead right at Cosmo.
I tried to get to Cosmo before the kid could, but hot damn are two year olds ever fast. Like, they are crazy quick. The little boy fell onto Cosmo where he ran his hands all over Cosmo's ears and planted pacifier kisses onto Cosmo's head.
The parents were finally catching up to their kid at this point, and I had reached Cosmo who definitely looked alarmed. I picked up Cosmo and crouched down so the little boy could pet him, and Cosmo...didn't do anything! He just swallowed his grass and stared at everyone like, "Dudes, I was right in the middle of eating grass. Come on. You know I only get out here once a day. Everyone be cool. I'll be cool. Just let me get back to my grass."
Since I'm a cat whisperer and could clearly understand him, I put him down where he went back over to the grass and rolled around while the little boy crouched next to him and slapped 'gentle' pats onto Cosmo's belly. It was so cute, and the parents and I had a really fragmented conversation (them Swiss-German, me Germenglish) over what a beautiful cat Cosmo was, and how gentle he was. Now if that is one description I never thought I'd hear about Cosmo, it's that he's gentle.
Not going to lie, I felt immensely proud.
Afterall, this is the same cat who tried to climb my legs once and left so many scratches that at my next doctor's appointment my doctor surveyed my legs and gently enquired if I was alright. If everything was okay with me.
"Oh, god! No, I'm fine. I have a cat. A great cat, just...crazy."
But as of yesterday, and according to my neighbours and their two year old son, it's been announced that not only is Cosmo a great cat, he's also a gentle cat.
My little juvy is growing up.
(Though, I on the other hand might need to work on how to factually title my blog posts.)
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Monday was the national holiday in Switzerland, and we had a lovely day swimming at the local outdoor pool, sitting in Bern and soaking up the sun, drinking cold beer, eating a tasty dinner, and blowing shit up.
It was so relaxing.
I already mentioned this last year, but when the national holiday rolls around everyone and their dog (as long as the dog is over twelve years old) stocks up on fireworks and explosive crackers. We didn't buy any fireworks last year, so instead we spent the whole day listening to the machine-gun exploding of little red crackers, the popping of noise-rockets bursting above our heads, and in the evening, the sounds of pyrotechnic lava spilling from backyard volcanoes.
We were disappointed that we hadn't seized our own opportunity to put a match to gunpowder and run like hell, so it was decided that we weren't going to let that chance pass by us this year. If you couldn't find us on Saturday it was because we were spending a very intense afternoon at the store ensuring that the fireworks we were buying were the perfect mix of colour, variation, and noise; that we were getting maximum explosive entertainment for our money.
Monday dawned to the sweet warmth of sunshine and the sound of some kids (who definitely didn't have a twelve year old dog supervising them) tossing lit crackers into sandpits, and waiting for the expected TNT boom to rattle their teeth. Since Dan had made sure to buy his own box of 'Lady Crackers', we went out after dinner--walking through sound walls of noise-rockets--to add our own symphony of noise to that thunderous cacophony.
"Lady Crackers" is actually the polite English translation.
People around Bern refer to these in conversation as "Lady Farts".
Note the lady crackers in Dan's hand.
I think that these are the perfect size of dynamite to go with Trapped In A Hole Barbie.
Along with her pink brush and cute shoes, of course.
Dan is burying the Barbie ammo under twigs and rocks.
So that they will fly in the air when the crackers explode.
Such a boy.
Let's do this thing!
Let's blow shit UP.
The background really helps put in perspective the ghetto fun we were having.
It is worth mentioning that the first time we lit these I was way too close and ended up covering my ears and running away from the scene, yelping in terror as my camera swung around my neck. The perils of being a photo-journalist, I tell you.
When it got dark, our neighbour came over and we trooped up to a nearby field to set off our fireworks.
This moth has nothing to do with that.
He was just hanging out on a light post, looking wicked bad.
The coolest pyro you've ever met.
And the awesome trail of light.
Now I do not own a tripod, so all my photos are shaky which I think gives you a nice idea of the adrenaline coursing through my Nerdus Nolifeus veins, because as we set off ten different rockets and two volcanoes, I kept thinking with glee: "This should be illegal! It's too much fun to be legal! Someone's going to yell at us! BRING IT ON."
Uh, obviously no one did yell at us because it's not illegal here and also it appeared as though every person in our village was too busy getting their pyro on to pay attention to us.
Little volcano becomes a big volcano...
...then becomes a blue volcano.
After we'd lit all our fireworks we headed up to the village bonfire to watch the professional show.
A shaky view from the top of our village of people's private fireworks going off.
The village bonfire with a couple of volcanoes.
The beer tent and a little lantern.
What's that, you ask?
Oh yes, beer was being served a mere hot dog stick away from a giant bonfire.
And people who were lighting pyrotechnics were consuming it.
Let's have a moment of silence to let it sink in how great that is.
We had to wait about twenty minutes, but then the City of Bern's firework show off the Gurten started up. At our village bonfire a radio and speakers were hooked up so that the music the fireworks were synced to, could be heard.
Dan had me in a bear hug while we watched the thirty minute show.
I felt sparks.
Monday, 1 August 2011
Today is the national holiday in Die Schweiz.
I don't have a lot of time for blogging with pictures because I'm busy being ultra-fab, crazy adored (by my cats...THAT COUNTS), and spending a lot time contemplating the fireworks that Dan and I will be blowing up tonight.
But just so that there's not a gaping hole in your life today, here's a little story to entertain you.
Or at the very least, something to read.
I was in the Migros late on Thursday night (so you know, around six) and I got sidetracked by the make-up department. Quite honestly, this rarely happens to me because I don't know what to do with make-up, even though I wish I did. Sometimes I do wander into that department and stare up at the many shelves of lotions of potions, but the choice gets a bit overwhelming, my brain short circuits, and then I forget to buy milk--the only reason I'm at the Migros to begin with.
Except this Thursday I already had the milk in my hot little hands, so I ventured into the department with the intention of buying...something. Some sort of make-up item because I'm a girl and dammit sometimes girls buy make-up!
But what should I get?
What does one get when one has absolutely no make-up knowledge beyond mascara, and usually relies on military make-up counter personnel to make executive decisions for her.
"You will get this."
"It's a hot look."
"Okay....the bottom of my bathroom drawer was just asking for a new eyeshadow palette to grow dusty within its depths. I'll take it!"
So I'm in the Migros assessing their make-up selection and it's predictably a tad overwhelming. I keep an eye out for a fashionable group of girls who might be making a purchase I could copy, or maybe just a really metro-sexual guy who's got eyeliner figured out. But there were no girls to copy or metros to get tips from, so my short circuiting brain just finally shouted: LIPSTICK. FOR GOD'S SAKE BUY A LIPSTICK AND END THIS TORTUROUS TASK.
But what colour of lipstick? What matches with my face? I'm freckly. And sort of red. And my lips are thin. Do I want to draw attention to my thin lips? What colour do I get?!
I went with no colour. Which is to say, I bought a nude coloured lipstick. Yes, that's correct: I spent money on a lipstick that is supposed to make it look like you're not wearing lipstick. Though, I didn't spend a lot of money on it, which might have been the problem.
The shade I went for is called 'In The Nude', except that's a giant marketing lie. On Friday I slashed that no-colour-colour onto my thin and freckly lips and hit Bern over lunch to run some errands, which is when I caught a glimpse of myself in natural light. You know, the real light that can't lie to you.
Women of the Internet (or any metro-sexual men), do not make my same mistake. Steer clear of cheap nudes (which really, that's just good advise on so many levels). That lipstick would be more aptly named 'CSI Cadaver' because for the love of MAC I looked like a floater. A frostbitten floater, to be precise. Any lipstick that seems to have a hint of blue in it should not be classified as 'nude'!
So annoying. And dammit! Don't you hate it when you just want to feel like a 'got it going on' girl, but instead you end up looking like a victim of some tragic arctic accident. Or, likewise, a five year old who's been hitting the Blue Berry Blast Kool-Aid a little too hard.
There's CHF 1.20 I'll never get back.
Man, talk about having to learn the hard way that cheap nudes are the worst.