Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hump Day Round-up

Weird week so far.

Put on one of my many fall coats - by far the favourites in my coat collection - and felt some money in the pocket. I usually like to surprise myself by putting $20 in coat pockets at the end of each season to get when I wear them again. It's like a mini lottery! Hurrah!

However, Spring Winnie Cooper played a cruel joke on Fall Winnie Cooper for instead of a $20 bill, it was a bank receipt from a time when I had a lot more money. Or some money. Such a slap in the face. To get back at Spring Winnie Cooper, I think I'll put a lump of coal or a library due date receipt in the pocket.

My doctor has recommended that I get 4 consecutive weekly B12 shots. Everyone I tell this to has many questions and wonders why he would suggest this. To be honest, I'm the naive patient here, but I really trust my doctor. He's got a South African accent - it's very assuring. Also, as much as I hate needles, this seems a lot more convenient and cheaper than eating properly.

I got my first shot and was told that these shots would give me increased energy. I consider myself a fairly energetic person, not often plagued by fatigue (except for Monday night when I slept 12 hours - hmmm). But just imagine me after these 4 shots! I'm going to be a superhuman - pumped up full of insatiable energy! What will I do with it all? I think I'll rearrange my photo albums. Or start walking the escarpment stairs. Or both!

The funny part about these shots is that my friend's cat is currently pretty ill and the vet is trying all sorts of remedies to bring Kobi back to full health. One thing the vet has recommended - is 4 consecutive weekly B12 shots! Ummm....

I just stepped out of my office to go to the bank and was accosted by two smartly dressed men shilling for some financial company. They just saw me leave my current place of employment but still had the gall to try and recruit me for whatever it is they do. It felt bad but really easy to fake number this guy. On the street. In the middle of the day. My standard fake works anywhere, I guess.

What a deal!

This just makes me smile. At least it's honest!

Mum's the word

The other day the most unsettling thing happened - my mother discovered my online dating profile. Oh, before I start this awful story, I should warn my readers that because the next two weeks are filled solely with work and sleeping, I expect the majority of my blog posts to be about online dating. I know, it could get boring, but I don't have time to have an actual life this week. Blerg.

Ok, so my mother calls after reading this blog and says she is on Lavalife and wants to read my profile. She is prepared to create a profile for herself if that's what it takes to log on. Once I threatened to tell my dad that she is entering the world of online dating, she backed down. Then she just switched to another site and finds my profile quite easily.

What follows is an (almost) exact transcript of our conversation. I only allowed it to continue because I was at my friend Tracy's house and it was really cracking us up.

- Thin? Melissa, why didn't you put 'slender'? That sounds much more appealing. Can you put 'slender'? - No, Mother, it is selected from a drop down menu. No.

- Are you really 5'9"? Are you sure?

- Can you lie about your age? Do people do that? - *gasp* Mother! What was all the Happy Birthday nonsense a few weeks ago then!?

- Why didn't you put that you are reflective? I think you're very reflective. Are you listening to me?

- What is DIY?

- Why is there a pair of virtual panties attached to your profile? DID YOU PUT THAT??? What do you mean someone sent them to you? Who would do such a thing? It's just vulgar. Well, I never...

- You'd better tell me when you go on these dates in case something happens - we should always know where you are at all times. By the way, where are you right now? Who's laughing with you? Is that Tracy? How are her parents doing?

- It says one of your interests is throwing dinner parties - that sounds a little wild, don't you think?

- Can people take your picture and put your head on *whispers this part* nude bodies? Would someone do that? Yes?? They can? Oh, Melissa, I don't know about this.

- What about drugs Melissa? - I don't know Mom, what about drugs? - Well, why didn't you select no to drugs?

- Why are there pictures of other girls at the top of your profile? - They're ads. - Well, they look very loose, those girls. You don't want them associated with your profile.

And, that, dear readers, is the moment I lost the small scraps of interest I had in online dating. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last Hurrah Garage Sale!

Last Saturday was one of my favourite days of the year. Every year about this time it is the United Way garage sale at Mohawk College - it is the BEST. No, seriously, the BEST. The posse and I got up early and all scored amazing things. Dru and I went in together to purchase the most amazing dollhouse. I can't really recall why we decided to share it, but we're working out a custody arrangement. I can visit on weekends and I get every other holiday. My only concern is that her child will think it's a toy and ruin it. Chet, it is NOT a toy!

Once you see this dollhouse in person you will know why it's so special. It's from the 1960s and came with a whole box full of miniature, impeccable furniture. So detailed and beautiful. The house has French doors, a working light, hardwood floors, balcony - this is almost more than my real house has!

The furniture is to die for - cast iron patio set, four poster bed, armoire with hangers, desk with newspapers, bowls of fruit, full kitchen. It's amazing. I didn't know I was still such a dollhouse person, but I just had to have it. We may have pushed some children aside in our pursuit.

I haven't been so excited since my 7th birthday when my dad presented me with my very own massive dollhouse (albeit not finished).

We used to go to this specialty shop to get the amazing furniture. It's currently finished and in my parents' attic, but I think I'd like to get it out and on display.

I didn't think I was such a girly girl, but I'm pretty sure I was squealing while I pawed through the box of furniture. I can't wait to play with it. Dru, can I come over and play?

These pictures don't do it justice. I really need to get a new camera.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My driveway is STEEP!

All summer I wanted to try out my "new" roller skates that I bought a year ago and on Sunday, what I expect to be one of the last nice days, I decided I had better hop to it. This is really something that should have been attempted with a friend.

This is me contemplating which friend I should call: (btw, those are my fingers, not breakfast sausages)

Proximity was key as I was losing the light, but closest friend wasn't home and I don't think my tenants really want to be that kind of neighbour. So, I soldiered on myself.

I made it once around the car grasping to windshield wipers, door handles, antenna. Then I fell.

And that was the end of the rollerskates. Back to the bottom of the closet with my ice skates (which I actually use) and skipping rope (which I only used one summer in Ottawa and only because I was friends with a really athletic, exercise-y girl).


Goodbye Summer

Lovely way to spend one of the last warm days of summer...reading on the grass in the park. Sure, there was a couple sucking face a few metres away, but I was able to drown it out with Ray Charles and The Beautiful South. All I needed was a glass of lemonade and it would be perfection. And a sandwich. With bacon. Then, perfection.


It's taken all summer, but I have finally given my house's front a facelift. Increased the curb appeal, if you will.

I find that when I'm tackling a project, I just want to jump right in and get it done. I do NOT want to listen attentively to the Home Depot expert about how to strip the chipping paint properly or to sand everything down beforehand. No, no, no. What I want to do is maybe give the porch a sweep and then start throwing paint around. Sure, it may not last into October, but it was much quicker than the Home Depot way. Besides, have you ever peeled paint before? It's the worst of the worst.

I added my wicker, some plants, the runner carpet last week, cast iron urn and the nod to patriotism. Just like small town....Canada.

Before - 3 or 4 different colours going on

After: Ok, so it might just be a subtle change to you, but it's monumental to me. I love driving in my driveway now and it's definitely in the top 40% of nice houses on the street. 'Fo 'sho.

Hmmm, it seems that the tree has gotten smaller? The front porch has become a welcoming place for all the neighbourhood wildlife. Sadly, this guy didn't make it. I didn't know what to do with it so I left it. The next morning it was gone. Those cats are evil.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I’m thinking of getting driving signs made up (you know, with my own Sharpie) that say “You’re on the highway. Drive like it!” Or another that says “I think you owe me a thank you wave”. Sort of like flash cards. I think it would take a lot of the stress out of it. No more yelling, just flash the card and be on your way. This is not the worst idea I’ve ever had. Someone would tell you that my worst idea was either:

1) An air mattress for drunken nights that is filled with water (I guess a waterbed, essentially) but that has a straw near your head that you can drink from. No more having to stumble to the bathroom for dire rehydration. Just roll over and take a sip. Manufacturer warning – if you are really thirsty, I mean, REALLY thirsty, you may experience a slow sinking feeling.

2) A cab service that you subscribe to so that when everyone is leaving the club district at 2am on a Saturday night you don’t have to scour the streets in vain for a ride. You simply call the hotline and they will tell you where the cabs are ‘hidden’ nearby. No one else will know. You just walk a street over or something and jump in – flashing your membership card, of course. They could even be unmarked cars!

As you may be able to tell I came up with these ideas during the throes of my clubbing and partying phase and I may or may not have been drunk when they were concocted. However, I think they both have merit. Suck it, naysayers. You can walk home!
There is a bite in the air. Fall is my favourite season – it’s so crisp and the clothes are the absolute best. How I can tell fall is coming:
- when I get in my car in the mornings, I switch the temperature gauge to warm
- I wear a blanket while watching TV (this could be because I refuse to put my heat on until I’m legally required to for my tenants. I think it’s sometime in October, however, with my track record, I should really confirm this.)
- I wear socks to bed. I know, it’s sexy.
- I don’t have to mow my lawn every week!
- I get to start wearing scarves again – my absolute favourite accessory
Did you know there is now a feature on Google mail that allows you to retract a sent email within 30 seconds? This would have been really, really helpful during my early twenties. Or last week.

Since I have a tendency to blurt out whatever I’m saying sometimes and inadvertently hurt people’s feelings, I’ve taken to saying things over in my head before I utter them. Only in certain situations and to be honest, it’s a big waste of time. Can I just say a disclaimer like “I’m always sorry and am always joking” and leave it at that? No? Ok, fine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Online and Hating It

There’s no pretty way to say it. I have joined the legions of singletons and entered the world of online dating. Initially forced upon me by a lost bet with a friend and a creeping boredom due to culling the herd of randoms in my life, online dating was something I’ve always resisted. To me, despite what anyone says and despite all the success stories, it seems like a failure – an inability to meet someone or like someone that you meet in real life. I don’t like it. And although I’m trying to go into it with an open mind, I still don’t like it.

First there is the profile creation – the key to any sort of success here. Did you guys know that 95% of people consider working out to be a major hobby? Or that everyone likes movies, music and sports? Oh, and also, NO ONE does drugs. There is a template to fill out and then space for your own words. Having to select my hobbies and interests from a drop down menu really sucks. There isn’t even an ‘Other’ or ‘Complaining on my Blog’ option!

So, I have to review my life and pick out the things that will make me sound interesting and exciting. I haven’t lied at all, but I also didn’t say that some days I like to read magazines, watch TV or go shopping. These activities sound like I’m stupid, lazy and materialistic. Give me a break. Trying to sum myself up in a paragraph is lunacy. I might have tried to get in there that I’m looking for a guy who still knows how to write in complete sentences. From some of the responses I’ve received, I don’t think many of these guys are able to even read complete sentences.

Then there’s the part where you can list your perfect first date. Ugh. Half the profiles I read want to go for a walk. The other half want to go for coffee. Now, in actuality, these are fine, but give me something a little more fun. I guess that’s the thing about online – if I met a guy in real life, it would be more likely that we could have fun first date as chemistry has already been established. What these walks and coffees are really for is to suss out if we are at all attracted to each other. Really, they could last 5 minutes and it would be so much easier. I guess this is the premise behind speed dating…but I think I’m more of an acquired taste.

So, fine. I have a profile. I managed to select a couple pictures – most of which have me wearing a party hat, oddly enough. I am online. Not so much online dating, but it’s only been a week. Mostly so far, I’ve been doing defence. I log on and am bombarded by randoms messaging me, emailing me, ‘smiling’ at me (*roll eyes*) and it takes so much time to read their message, then look at their picture, then read their profile and decide if I want to write them back. Usually I don’t. Delete. Delete. Delete.

And that’s another thing – if you’re going to message me (and v.v. – I hold myself to these same rules) try to make it funny or relevant or at least seem like you’ve read my profile. The following openers are not appreciated:

- Hello
- Your pic is awesome – wat u up to
- :)
- “ih” then followed by another message where they spelled it correctly “hi”
- Hi beautiful

Seriously. Give me something I can work with. Some guys at least made a joke about my screen name or mentioned something I said in my profile. Make fun of me! Make me smile! Even be cheesy! I don’t care – just don’t be dull. If ever you can go out on a limb and be something it’s online. “Hi” is the worst.

Certain friends think I’m being too picky. But I know what I want and I know the type of person I deserve. I know how great I am and why would I settle for a mediocre conversation with someone I’m not attracted to and who can’t spell or make me laugh? Just so I can prove I’m “out there” giving it my all? Lame-o. I know what I like and who I like and I message and respond to those people only. The others I will recount here for you for the laughs.

- 42 year old man who looks 63 emailed me an began “Hello dear”
- User name – LionChili, Pounder7, Here Comes The Warrior
- Someone who suggested an eating contest as a first date – actually that one was pretty funny
- Guy who puts the lamest quote in his profile “Dance like no one is watching, love like you've never been hurt, live like there's no tomorrow" - how about 'Update your profile like no one will respond"?

- Guy who listed “building character” as a hobby
- So many guys love to “work hard and play harder”

I hate this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Paris: The Food

Ok, as expected, this was the best part. I decided to photograph everything I ate, but most times I dove in and forgot. However, I didn't end up eating as much as I wanted to. If ever I were to take up bulimia, Paris is the place. So much delicious food, not enough hunger.

I know I shouldn't even mention airplane food in the same breath as Paris food, but seriously, what are they doing up there? I mistakenly ordered the beef because I have made a personal vow to never order chicken from a menu as it's usually the most deathly boring option.

Instant regret. And, if judging by this picture, jaundice.
Ok, into Paris. I found this city to be the land of sandwiches - heavenly. If I had to pick my last meal, it would be, hands down, a sandwich. On any street, at any time you could get a sandwich. On fresh baguette with great cheese - so simple, yet so phenomenal. They don't call Paris the City of Love for nothing. Or wait, is it City of Light? Well, these sandwiches lit up my life.

This bakery was right around the corner and had the most amazing macarons. I spent much time here.
This was one of our dinner meals and it is all so simple: pork with a mustard sauce, potatoes and salad, but every element was the best I've ever tasted. The best pork. The best potatoes. I even ate the salad! The French just know how to do it. I'm still thinking about that meal.

Crêpes. They are everywhere and are fun to watch being made. Everyone kept telling me to try them with Nutella and every stand had huge vats of the stuff. I really don't see the appeal. I don't like Nutella - not even in France. Meh.

This was one of my last meals and I ordered a croque madame - which is the croque monsieur with the addition of the egg. I was mostly pleased that I ordered everything on the table in French. Including a new fork because I dropped mine. In fact, by the end of my time there I was speaking solely in French. Poorly, by solely. It was really fun. Turns out, OAC French will come rushing back.

On my last night I put on a pretty dress - and a blazer and scarf because it was frickin' freezing - and went to one of the last places on my list. Hemingway Bar in the Hotel Ritz. Somehow I still had plenty of money left and I knew it was going to be an expensive evening but I was sick of walking around on flat feet with a boyish messenger bag.

So, I spent the evening there conversing with other patrons, the friendly and knowledgeable bartender and eventually a couple my age from New York. Each cocktail was 30 Euro. I had 2. This is an enormous amount of money to me back home - I could buy approximately 4 chairs at a thrift shop to recover, groceries for a couple weeks and a whole outfit at Joe Fresh, including a coat. But I was in Paris and had a laissez faire attitude. If the couple and I weren't going to flit off to the next bar, I would have had a third cocktail. It was fun.Of all the food I ate, something didn't agree with me on my last morning. Since I don't yet know how to say "over-hard", I think it was the eggs. It was pretty embarrassing and technically difficult to ask the cab driver to pull over on the side of the French highway so that I could be sick. He pitifully handed me a tissue when I got back in as I profusely said, "Je suis desoleé" which I hope means, "I'm so sorry! And did you stop the meter?" After that it was the worst travel day ever.

I got stuck beside this lovey dovey couple who were about 19. They kept saying really annoying things that were made worse by my sickness. Like, pausing their movie to debate the merits and "message" of Up In The Air with George Clooney. Or, worrying that their wool sweaters would be considered animal product on their customs form. They were the worst. But they were so wrapped up in themselves the dude didn't seem to notice that I borrowed his pillow and snatched his pretzels. Take that, Love!

Ok, I didn't intend to end this post about food with a story about vomiting and nauseating love, but whaddaya gonna do?

Paris: The Company

I have not travelled with my brothers before without my parents. They were doing the whole Europe thing and we crossed paths in Paris. They bunked with me and luckily were nice enough to not make me take a turn on the floor. It was great to see them there, especially Jaret who I haven't seen since May as he is deployed overseas.

We were adults. No kicking the back of the seat in a cross Canada road trip. No fighting over who gets the sugar cereal. No hitting. It was nice. We talked about our lives, the future, where to get the best wireless on the block - les Starbucks, as it turned out.

Every time I tried to get a picture with the three of us for posterity and parentals they always looked like they weren't even with me. Like this shot:

My face shows that I can tell they're not paying attention.

I said that it looked like they were menacing weirdos that were trying to pick-pocket me and smarten up! So, in the next one, they pretended to do just that. However, I ended up missing 20 Euro.....

I can't really recall what he looks like without a weird face. And, yes, we took a tour bus. Just for 2 stops and shut up, it was free. We treated it like a cab with an added rain bonus.
The next generation....

Paris: The Sights

I kept telling people I wasn't going to make a big list of what I wanted to do/see while there because I had such a short time that I didn't want to feel the pressure. Even as I said it, I knew it was a lie. Me not making a huge list is like me not bringing 6 pairs of shoes for 4 days (and YES, I wore each pair!), or me not pretending to be an anonymous spy in the airport (which you can only do when you travel alone - try it, it's fun), or me not finding a favourite bakery near my hotel within 20 minutes of check-in.

I even made a list for writing this post.

From the list, I pretty much hit everything, mostly because I didn't put the Louvre on there so I didn't have to waste an entire day waiting in the entry line-up. But of all the touristy, arty things I saw, I think I enjoyed the architecture the most. Every other picture was of random ordinary buildings. They're so beautiful.

Joe Blow French gets to work and live in these buildings! Well, I presume so anyway. We just don't get these here.

I liked how the city was really accessible and it was easy to walk to everything, criss-crossing over the Seine. And yes, like everyone kept saying, the Metro was pretty easy to understand. I only went in the wrong direction once and managed to make it from the airport unscathed. I love the gag where you can ride the subway for free because "I'm not from here! I didn't know I couldn't just walk through that gate! Je ne comprende pas! Bibliotheque!" This also works well in NYC. Well, not so much the French part unless you pretend you're a Quebecois.

Things I saw that weren't in the guidebooks:

- how they keep those perfect topiary trees in the Jardin de Tuileries so perfectly round - it's a wooden form thing that one guy holds while the other guy cuts

- a man kick the foot of a homeless woman who was sitting in the street cradling her child. He first kicked her with his cane, then his own foot and muttered something in French. Likely something rude.

- advertisement on the subway for a course that will teach you English. But not any regular English - Wall Street English! To be honest, this is probably a course I could use. Does anyone know what a 401K is?

Obviously, I saw these:

I really have to come up with a better tourist pose. To be fair though, I was in the middle of the crazy road on a median not much wider than my smile here and I was teetering. From the wine.

You can tell I only have one 'travel' bag that I wore everywhere. It looks like it could really be holding my bow and arrows behind me. Even though I tried to seem cool, I was constantly checking to see if I'd been pick-pursed. Aha! Foiled again, crime!

Paris: The Room

Paris. Apparently the one pic with my brothers is not sufficing for my voracious readers. I went to Paris for a quick jaunt (I like to call it a jaunt as it sounds more European) and found it to be a city that grew on me. I remember being in a pissy mood the first night due to the rude Parisians, jet-lag, shitty room, rain and the fact that I hadn't had a croissant yet. By the end, I wanted to stay longer.

The room. You may recall a few posts ago I joked about the kind of room I was expecting. Turns out, it wasn't a joke. This hotel kept boasting 4 stars and a great location. Yes, to the location, but these stars must mean something else in Paris. Number of celebrity stars who would never deign to stay there even if their rooms were comped? Number of stars you will be able to see from your window view - approximate number based on 2'x2' sky portion actually visible? Number of stars you will see when you hit your head on the stupid low shower rod?

What was simply depressing for one person became downright miserable when my two brothers crashed, complete with backpacks bigger than me. One pillow was definitely made from plastic bags, paint was peeling off the walls, there was no hair dryer, iron or any comforts of home. The room was taller than it was wide. I'm sure this is just what Europe is like, but harumph!

Oh, and the view - don't forget the view. If you look closely you can see the Eiffel Tower! (in a guide book that belongs to a hotel guest across the air shaft):
Things I did like:

- the huge windows that opened up with no screen - it felt like birds would come and greet me in the morning. You know, if they were able to get past the air shaft.

- shower pressure - it was intense. WAY better than at my house - it sorta felt like this:

- the grand red staircase to my second floor hovel - made me feel like Scarlett O'Hara or you know, Rouge O'Ihavenowaytodrymyhair-a.

Ok, Ok!

The natives are getting restless. I know, I know, it's been way too long since I've written a proper post, but I have reasons! Well, I have excuses.

1) Away on sophisticated European vacation. That is obviously a lie when you see pictures of the "4 star" hole I was staying in.

2) Melebration and associated preparation. As it was my birthday I really should have been sitting on a lilypad all day while people hand fed me and did all my bidding. However, since I was having a party, the Birthday Girl hat was replaced with a Hostess apron and I went a little crazy with the food spread. Each night last week was filled with rasping limes for key lime pie, shelling shrimp (which I found out is sort of satisfying, but much easier to do before you cook them), and gathering ingredients for the other 124 dishes and cocktails I had planned.

3) Hangover/clean-up/general fatigue from Melebration. This is a sure sign of age. The party and the work tuckered me out and I was in a prone position all of Saturday. Don't get me wrong, it was worth every second and I had a great time, but coming upstairs to my obliterated kitchen the next morning and almost gagging on the mango rum stench was a lot to take. :)

4) Work. Work. Work. Is crazy. Very stressful time and very frustrating time because I'm not in complete control and have to often react instead of....whatever the other one is. This month promises to be brutal and it makes me tired just thinking of it. When will my brilliant career kick in?

So, I'm back (again) and will try to be more diligent in posting. I have random notes scratched everywhere and some bad pics to post so I promise to get to it all.

But first, some "work".