Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hambone Cooper

Unless you were at my pub trivia night last night, you may not be aware of this, but there is a name for getting 4 strikes in a row in bowling. You know about the turkey for 3, but since it's such a rarity that you might actually get 4 in a row yourself, I should tell you, from personal experience, it's called a hambone or a 4-bagger. Originally, I didn't find any of these names appealing so I was going to rename it The Winnie. However, the more I toy around with 'hambone', the better I think it is. It reminds me of when George Costanza tried to get T-Bone to stick as his nickname. I had better be careful, he ended up with Koko.

It turns out I am a terrific bowler. At least for the first game. And possibly only in Niagara Falls - there's something about the air out there. There was vodka involved, but that was likely a hurdle to overcome and should in no way be credited with my extraordinary display of skillz.

Look closely, there are four "x" marks - as of yet, there is no symbol or cartoon to flash across the screen to represent a hambone. Doesn't seem that hard though, the bowling powers that be should get on that.

Despite the grimy film on your hands and having to wear other people's shoes, I'm a big fan of bowling. Usually no more than 4 or 5 times a year though - and that's a good year. I have some friends in a league, actually just the one but I wanted him to feel part of a burgeoning movement among 20-somethings. One of his teammates is named Taco. There's no way to not have a fun Tuesday night with someone named Taco.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Music Monday

New feature for 2011 - Music Monday

While I have no shame telling you that my musical library consists of mostly pop bands, every album Mariah Carey has ever produced, anything with the word 'Spice' or 'Girls' in it (this is how I ended up with a salsa CD) and the lone Beatles CD, I can see the value in expanding my musical horizons. As an aside, am I the last person on the planet who still buys CDs? Really? How did this happen? I have an IPOD thing, but I haven't found it to be convenient for listening in my car or in my house. Have I missed an entire sector of the technology arena? Hmm, maybe it's the same arena that gives people Internet connections at home.

In any event, I have decided that each Saturday, during my weekly library visit, I will pick up 4 or 5 CDs of musicians/bands that I have never listened to before or anything that is new to me.

This is what I uncovered this week:
I'm not a stranger to Bette Midler, but I hadn't heard this album before. It's no Beaches soundtrack, but it has some great tracks - you have to be in the mood. And I'll be honest I sort of gave up on this one early as it kept skipping. Damn library patrons. Maybe this is why you people do this downloading.

There is one Jason Mraz song I love from years ago so I gave him a shot. Loved it! Track 3 and 4 were on constant repeat the entire week. He's sort of a mix between Jack Johnson and Jamiroquai and he does some didly boop boop style scatting. There was one uncomfortable instance where I was driving with my boss somewhere and Track 3 is all sweet and lovely and she liked it. Then Track 4 talks about using his body as a stripper pole and undoing his pants - awkward. Like the dirty karaoke with underage cousins or watching movies with your parents.

Morrissey holds the same place in my head as Rage Against The Machine and Miles Davis - I've heard of them, but haven't ever heard them and wasn't sure I was cool enough to be a fan. Turns out he's pretty good, actually. Sort of rock-y and he's got a great voice.

This is a joke. Scarlett, just stick to being a sex symbol and acting vacant in your movie roles. This CD is awful. Awful. She sounds like she's falling asleep - I'm sure this is part of her goal to sound sultry but she gets a big FAIL.

I know as much about Wynton Marsalis as I know about, say, the national budget or Louis Armstrong. I don't think Wynton has an airport named after him. He was good for in-the-background blaring while I made nanaimo bars. I'm not gaga.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seven Letter Word for Awesome

I like crosswords. I like them even more when I can finish them. The New York Times crossword gets progressively harder as the week goes by, so Monday is a breeze and makes me feel like I belong in the gifted class, but by Sunday, I feel like I can't even spell 'gifted'.

One of my goals for 2011 is to complete a Sunday NYT crossword. Here is the first Sunday crossword of the year. Abysmal. To my defence, I only write in pen so if I'm not 100% sure of an answer, I don't fill it in. Still, this is embarrassing.

I can only hope that the last one of the year has a lot more ink.

As an aside, I once created my own crossword for my friend Katy as it was a favourite pastime of ours. Let me tell you, they are really hard to make!! Nearly impossible. In fact, several clues read like this: "Uh, sorry, I can't come up with a clue" or "Yikes! Sorry, Katy, it's too hard - what is a clue for Nrx?" Some of the 'words' didn't really work out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Resolutions

**Wow, this year in review stuff is taking up a lot of posts. I am nothing if not thorough.**

As you can deduce, I enjoy a good list and I usually love to make many resolutions, most of which I will never keep. In fact, every year since I was 15, I have written “FLOSS EVERY DAY” and “DRINK MORE WATER” on my goal lists and not one year have I ever followed through.

Going back into my old diaries, here are some actual resolutions I made when I was younger.

- Smile more – I guess I was pretty scowly as a teenager.
- Be more discreet at work – I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, everyone knew my business, my crushes, the new shoes I bought…open book. Mostly because I really thought my life was so great that everyone would want to know about it. “Thank goodness I got that out of my system,” she typed on her blog.
- Reduce snacking between meals – I’ve actually managed to cut out meals altogether this year. They were really getting in the way of my snacking.
- Read War and Peace – I actually wrote “This may be too ambitious” beside it. Turns out I was right.
- Wear more accessories – I really had a clear perception of what was important in life when I was 21.
- Cut out mayonnaise – ha!
- Become ambidextrous
- Don’t lock my keys in the car this year – from 1999 – 2001 that was a bi-monthly occurrence.
- NO parking or speeding tickets – I should have put some specific parameters on that one, because it proved to be pretty difficult. How about no tickets that result in demerit points? How about no tickets from male police officers?
- Pick up dropped change – This one makes me laugh out loud. How cheap am I?! I actually put this on a goal list to focus on that year? Ridiculous.

For 2011, I am going to change things up a bit and admit to myself that I usually don’t have much success with these lists, so I am going to simplify. A couple years ago, I decided to focus on one word and concept to steer my day-to-day actions. In 2007, that word was PRECISION. It is not a co-incidence that I was studying to be a librarian at the time. But I found it helpful to just run that word over in my head from time to time. I’ll tell you what – the numbers of things I forgot dropped drastically that year.

This year, I think it might be time to focus on PATIENCE. This is a very difficult thing for me to commit to and it seems to go against my entire personality. I’m a fast-paced gal. I talk fast, I walk fast, I sometimes can’t fathom why people would do things in a way that is opposite to the way I do things, I despise lateness and I am easily frustrated sometimes.

However, I’ve heard that patience is a virtue and I can see how it would be kinder to be more patient. When I’m impatient to people in my life, it doesn’t mean I don’t love them, but it may look that way, so I should change that. PATIENCE. Ok, I can do this. Just think ‘PATIENCE’. One day at a time. Oh, come on! Why is my internet so slow!?! Oh, one more thing, just because I am trying to be a better person, this is not a free pass for you to be late because I can’t yell at you anymore. I’m looking at you, Paul. Let’s meet halfway here, people.

Not Only Older, But Wiser

Things I have learned this past year:

- Life is too short to eat inexpensive, thin, lifeless bacon. I will splurge on $8.99 bacon. I deserve better. My sandwich deserves better. To this, I have committed, and my whole life is surely set to change.

- Dating seems to be about double standards. I didn’t realize it at first, but it’s become irritatingly clear in 2010. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed my single life the best way I know how and have mostly focused on my happiness. I wouldn’t say I’ve been malicious or insensitive towards anyone really (aren’t I glad I have the power to moderate the blog comments!) but I’ve just maneuvered my way through with myself as a priority (that’s the luxury of being a single girl).

Turns out, as they say, karma is a bitch. There have been a couple instances this year where the look of indignation and shock on my face at the actions of some men is likely identical to how others have felt about my treatment of them. In fact, on more than one occasion, I had to be reminded that I did the exact same thing to Bachelor X and I am only now having it done to me. It’s all double standards. Oh well, it’s part of the deal, I suppose. Forces humility, my favourite.

- The perfect sandwich or sitting down to a sushi meal makes me so happy. Really, so, so happy. Probably more than a meal should, but I’m not going to fight it.
- Let it go! It’s really easy to get caught up in stressing about my life, how it compares to the norm, how much money I have, my Brilliant Career, what I’m ‘doing with my life’ and all the pressures that can bog anyone down. But I’ve learned to just relax. Frankie Says Relax! There will always be more money, there will be decades ahead of me for settling into the lovely life that most people strive for, there will always be comparisons and there will always be things that can have the power to overwhelm me.

More importantly, I’ve been able to remind myself that being a twenty-something is a pretty sweet spot in the overall life journey. This is the time when I can come home at 4am several nights in a row and not have any repercussions (besides perhaps a hangover), this is the time when I have freedom to live as I choose, this is the time to wear the high heels and mini-skirts, this is the time when we’re supposed to be making the stupid decisions and creating hilarious stories that we can relive our entire lives. (Ok, so maybe the stupid decisions thing will have to fall by the wayside, especially because I’m often plagued with being such a sensible girl.)

We are so lucky to be in the position we’re in right now and we are so fortunate to have all the opportunities, people, love and abilities that we have. There is no reason to wish this time away by looking to others and longing for the ‘proper’ pathway of life. Ok, this is getting too faux-deep, but it’s just really become clear to me how happy I am and how lucky I am to be living the life I am. Right now. It’s a gift.

- Bags of milk freeze very well.

- Pinot grigio and gewürztraminer are my favourite varieties of wine, and not only because they’re popular. And not only because gewürztraminer is really fun to say.

- Cheese makes me really happy.

- Turns out I like the nice guys. I guess I had an epiphany this year - the jerky, selfish guys aren't actually that much fun. To be clear, I wasn't that after-school special wimpy girl who liked to be treated poorly by guys, it's just that I thought I preferred someone with some edge and sharp wit to someone so saccharine sweet and kind. What was up with that? How did 'kind' become a liability? I'm very pleased to be reminded that there are people that reside somewhere wonderfully in the middle. Their niceness doesn't give me cavities but they're not assholes either. Rereading this, it may not be coming out exactly as I had hoped, but I'm at work and really should get back to it.

- Monterey Jack isn't actually a cheese. According to Chef, it's a McCreation produced by fast food restaurants. That doesn't mean it isn't delicious though.

2010 Year in Review

Looking back on 2010, quite a bit has happened in my life. As I sit and reflect, I like to list what I’ve done, what I’ve gained, lost, loved and most importantly, what I ate:

- aerobics classes: 2 (With names like Yogilates Chisel and Rhythmic Rockbody Power they should consider themselves lucky I even showed up to two. I hate the classes, I just don’t have the co-ordination to master moving my right knee in tandem with my left arm. Don’t believe me? Here is a video from 2007 where my friends were trying to help me.)

- Parisian travel dreams realized: 1
- haircuts: 1
- houses purchased: 1
- souls sold to the mortgage powers that be: 0.5
- friendships lost: 1 (C’est la vie.)
- friendships gained or rekindled: 6 (This is a wonderful figure, especially as it’s harder to bring new people into the fold as you get older.)
- number of times I slept on the floor: 3 (This is an improvement on last year, as it should be – I’m almost 30 for Pete’s sake!)
- drunken blog posts: 1
- drunken texts: Ha!
- drunken leaf raking: 1
- number of times I have fallen: 15 – 25 (Conservative estimate. Includes the time I fell on the ice while carrying a mirror. Most recently, I have been discovering a plethora of bruises the morning after a big night out – what is that about? New Year’s Eve revealed bruises in very strange locations, like the top of my foot, palm of my hand and, of course, my spirit.)
- collective sports games I have viewed (including hockey, soccer and basketball): 3
- first dates: 5, I think? – this figure does not include recurrences
- first dates at Milestone’s: 2
- funerals attended: 3
- times my face graced the pages of the local newspaper: 3
- 30th birthdays celebrated: 3 (none of which were mine, luckily)
- sushi eaten, in ounces: 478, approximate figure, and not nearly enough
- concerts attended: 1 (This number is really low – must remedy this in 2011. Surely Aqua will be planning a reunion tour this year, right?)
- beach days: 2 (Dismal, but alleviated by the number of poolside and park days.)
- needles: 6
- mice killed: 2
- Thai food eaten: practically none since I allowed myself to admit that I don’t like it. The truth has set me free.
- ‘Book Club’ joined: 1
- number of books our ‘Book Club’ has actually read: 0
- hours of hilarity spent with dear 'Book Club' friends: 50 (This has been one of my favourite things of 2010 – the laughs, the tears, the men discussed – couldn’t imagine a better way to spend countless Tuesday nights and Sunday brunches.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The last needle has fallen. It's over, people. Looks like a murder investigation in my living room.
I learned a lesson this year - trees, dead or not, need water.

New Year's Eve Recap

New Year’s Eve was a fabulous time followed by an even more fabulous New Year’s Day. I think I’ve mentioned before that a fitting New Year’s Eve celebration is a big deal to me – it can’t just be like any other night and I hope I don’t ever spend one in sweatpants (we have to have goals, right?).

So, I’m extremely grateful that there is still a small faction of my friends who will join me in the debauchery that involves $60 party tickets, waiting in vain for cabs, and, if I’m to be honest, occasionally some sickness. This year, Ryan, Julie, Paul and myself did it up in Toronto and although I was worried the gig at a downtown hotel would be full of parents and ‘grown-ups’ wearing furs, it turned out to be a pretty fun party.

Our 2nd New Year’s Eve in this fashion included sushi, free pizza (21 minutes?!? I don’t think so!), champagne, Hypnotiq, a combination of both, and Julie and I trying new things to our hair and eye make-up. Needless to say, it didn’t all work out the way we had hoped. This is the length I went to for some volume. It didn't work at all.
We had a great time and it was certainly another memorable way to ring in the New Year. The next day, we eschewed any schedule or responsibilities whatsoever and laid around from1:30pm, when we awoke, until 2:30am the following day. Prone and sprawled out in the living room, we watched movies, YouTube videos, a break-up that occurred in the driveway and the day slip away. We ordered in food, talked and generally enjoyed the sloth among friends. I wouldn’t change a thing. I wish more morning-afters could be that way.

Amy, Grant Me Serenity

Ok, listen. I am a reasonable person. But even reasonable people have their limits and I have reached mine – mark it down: Monday January 10 2011 at 7:20pm is the exact time I went stark raving mad. This may also be useful in the police report that will surely follow. There is a bloody cur that has been barking in my neighbourhood for the last 3 nights.

It starts up around 5pm and goes until I leave the house screaming. Tonight I came home a bit early from work, cozied up in an all flannel outfit, fixed myself a dinner of triple crème cheese and red wine and watched the snow fall outside. Somehow, (the red wine?) I fell asleep and was awoken at 7pm by this incessant barking. Ok, so I know I sound like a bit of a wino weirdo, but it was a lovely way to spend the first part of a snowy evening.

This dog. It has a clear pattern – 8 loud, sharp barks in a row followed by a pause of no more than 1 second. It’s really close too, I can sense it. I’m thinking maybe one or two backyards over. I could get it if I really want to. I’m not afraid of pulling an Elaine Benes on this one. I really like dogs though. I do. Dogs like this one are lovely.
But I’m not convinced this barker is actually a dog. It seems more likely that it is a weapon of mass frustration or a really oratorically skilled possum.

I don’t understand why no one else has freaked out about this yet. Are the owners not home? I have come so close to standing on my back porch and screaming “Shuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttttttttt uuuuuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppp!!!” if for no other reason than to rally the troops. Is everyone else inside their homes quietly seething too? Why aren’t we doing something? Pitchforks and torches, beating down the door, muzzling the mongrel? That’s what they would do in the good old days. I swear, I’ve had it.

The most annoying thing about this whole ordeal (yep, in sharp contrast to my sleepy cheese night, this is now being referred to as an ordeal) is that I was so desperate to quiet the barking and the evil plotting in my head that I needed to drown it out with anything. I grabbed the first CD I could find and blasted it. You know what CD it was? Amy Grant. Yeah. I didn’t even know I had an Amy Grant CD and now it’s the lesser of two evils and I’m humming some lilty song about Mario Andretti all night. Sanity is shot.

Ok, luckily I have to be somewhere at 7:30 so I will not let go of social decency tonight, but mark my words, if this continues when I return or tomorrow night, I will do something. I don’t know what that is yet, but I will report on it. They can take me down, I don’t care. I won’t stand for this anymore. I think I can get my next door neighbour in on it with me. Look out beast.

They're Getting Restless...

....well, just one or two, in particular.

It is time. It is time to finally post a blog entry. The past 3 ‘unplugged’ weeks have been blissful, but it’s time to rejoin the world. The online world of my own making, that is. No work for 2 straight weeks was amazing and I haven’t been that lazy since university or that weekend there was a Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency marathon on TV. But I have returned to work and as a result, I have an internet connection again.

I had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Some highlights:

- a couple days of 3 party pile-ups – nothing makes me feel more like a Hamilton socialite than flitting from fete to fete. One Saturday night I decided to photograph the transition throughout the evening.

Here I am on the way to Party #1 - 7:30pm:

Here I am on the way home after Party #3 - 3:30am:
Hmmm, I look pretty much the same – that make-up must be industrial strength.

- Sleepy Cheese Night 2010 – this is what I have dubbed my friend Ashley’s birthday because each year, despite all efforts to the contrary, I end up eating more cheese than is probably safe for a girl my size and cuddling up in a Snuggie – the most despicable, yet irresistible invention. This year, a cardboard cutout of Legolas joined us again and there was some sort of magic wand involved. Honestly, this party reads like a 9 year old boy’s bar mitzvah (with alcohol) and if I didn’t think Ashley is as sweet as peach pie, well….

- Two babies were born! Two of my favourite friends continued the legacy of their awesomeness and everyone is happy and healthy. The joy I felt for them is inexplicable, especially because as a sector of the population, I’m not really crazy about kids. But these aren’t just any kids, they’re YOUR kids and that’s why I love them. Gosh, I hope that doesn’t read as rude – not at all intended.

- 12 Pubs of Christmas with 8 financial sector drones. Wow – somehow it was actually pretty fun – I made it to all 12, bolstered by nachos and mozzarella sticks.

- An eye doctor appointment – first one in 3 years – revealed that I now have better than 20/20 vision. It’s true – I am one step closer to being a superhuman specimen. And I’m watching you.

- Baking, baking, baking
- The best mashed potatoes I’ve had in a long time at my aunt’s house on Christmas Day

- Annual installment of family karaoke – it gets more hilarious each year. My mom has mastered “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer and it usually also includes a kicky dance number. Karaoke is one of those things I automatically balk at, but always succumb to an amazing time (much like the blasted Snuggie).

My hits this year: “I Think We’re Alone Now” – Tiffany, “Bust A Move” – Young MC (this was a bad idea – we can’t ‘sing’ that fast), “Jack & Diane” – John Mellencamp and “Do You Want To Dance” – Whitney Houston. I should warn you all that it is a good idea to be familiar with the songs you’re going to sing with your family members. It’s pretty awkward when you get to the verses of “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters and there you are singing about female orgasms with your 16 year old cousin. Word to the wise.

- Spending time with new and old people in my life – I’m a lucky girl.