Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Winner Announced (Plus a Story for the Weekend)

I was supposed to announce the winner of this week's contest yesterday. As it turns out, all blogging duties get put on the proverbial back burner when one is preparing for Girls' Camp.

That "one" would be me and L. We're doing a spoof on the BBC television programme "How Clean is Your House", which is ironic, figure out the irony.

So I will take a moment to announce the winner now:

I liked that Joel wrote, "Men in Need of Camille's Honest Everyday Ramblings," but it didn't make me laugh hard enough. Honourable Mention, Joel.

I also liked SparklieSunshine's clever and extended definition of "Mincher," but alas, I needed more of a laugh. Honourable Mention, and nice to meet you, SparklieSunshine.

The real winner of the contest would have been my anonymous friend--who could have won by sheer volume of votes alone--but the contest did require a blog link. So though I appreciate your input, I'm sorry to say that you didn't win. [Same goes for you, RatalieNose!]

And so, partly by default and partly by sheer humour, the winner of the word verification contest is...

...Loralee! Her comment was just the sort of absurdity I needed this week. Check it out in Tuesday's comment list. Loralee, send me an email with your address [and don't forget to include the retailer of your choice], and I'll get the $25.00 gift card in the mail next week.

As soon as I get back from Girls' Camp. If I get back from camp, that is.

Thank you to everyone for your entries, and welcome to anyone new who's stopping by. I wish I could give you a better welcoming, but I'm heading out of town this weekend (to Girls' Camp, in case you didn't pick up on that already). I'll be back by Tuesday, posting updates on the hilarity of my weekend, to be sure.

But before I leave, here's a story for the weekend:

I pulled into my local QT to fuel up Tamra Camry before tomorrow's long drive to Girls' Camp. Lindsey, my partner in Girls' Camp Crime, was sitting shotgun, and thank heavens. Just as I was about to open my car door, Lindsey shouted, "Camille! Is that Leroy* and Ken*?"

I looked, and it was indeed Leroy and Ken. They were parked in front of the doors to QT, leaning against the vehicle that Lindsey had so shrewdly identified. Leroy was my summertime boy a few years ago, and Ken is his partner in crime. Things with Leroy ended rather abruptly that summer when I packed up my belongings and moved to Canada. And we haven't really talked since.

This is because I avoid Leroy at all costs. I have a deeply entrenched fear of all things awkward, you see, and I just have a feeling that any conversation I could possibly have with Leroy would be immensely awkward.

On account of me being married now [to a Canadian I met the summer after I left Leroy to move to Canada].

On top of which, it's no secret that since getting married, I've really let myself go:

And while it's fine and dandy to hear the advice, "Camille, you should really exercise. And get your hair fixed," there's not really anything I could do about it right there in the QT parking lot.

So instead, without a second thought, I started Tamra Camry, threw her into drive, and--as inconspicuously as possible--squealed out to the next closest QT.

And Lindsey didn't even question my decision--we're one like that.

*Names changed for privacy (and prideful) purposes.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

{What I Really Need Is a Chicken Wing and a Good Hair Cut}

In most cases, I jump on any bandwagon that looks like fun; in today's case (i.e. The Case of Typing "(Your Name) Needs" Into the Google Search Bar and Hitting Enter), I'm really glad I did. Because evidently...

-Camille needs bodyguards because too many people hate her.
-Camille needs men.
-Camille needs issues addressed on the level of feelings.
-Camille needs to change her horizons.
-Camille needs to negotiate with the manager to get an EDIFACT order process.
-Camille needs to get a backbone.

{How about a chicken bone and a good cut 'n colour?? That's what I say.}

-Camille needs a duck to keep her company.
-Camille needs an experienced dog owner that is willing to work with her and train her with consistency.
-Camille needs to watch his words ("Camille" can be a man's name in French, you know--it's pronounced "Camee").
-Camille needs a little more Prozac™, and...
-Camille needs an ice water enema administered with a 3" fire hose fitted with a wide-angle nozzle [goodness gracious--Poor Other Camille!].

Try it--it's fun. It's like cracking open a whole bunch of fortune cookies all at once.

Also, you have until 10 p.m. tonight to enter yesterday's contest. Winners of the $25.00 gift card will be announced Thursday morning.

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I've Got $25 That Say You Can't Make Me Laugh

**UPDATE: Thank you for all the entries thus far. Keep them coming! This contest will run until Wednesday night, May 28 2008 at 10 p.m. Arizona time.**

Is it just me, or are these things getting harder?

I am always trying to comment on blogs, and I have to go through two or three of these "guess what letters these are" games. Only they aren't the kind of games that are fun--they're the kind that make me want to throw away my laptop and forget technology ever existed. And I swear, they're getting harder. Maybe I just have poor vision, but I really struggle with these things. I can't even tell "i" from "j" half the time. They remind me of the eye exam place, and I hate eye exams--they stress me out:

"Ummm...P! No, F! No...argh..." [By the way--the last eye exam I took was for immigration purposes a few weeks ago, and Poor Kyle did NOT help me cheat. He did NOT shake his head when I called an "F" a "P," and he did NOT subtly nod when I correctly identified an "O." He did no such thing.]

Anyway, I read a blog some time ago whose author held a contest for the most clever made-up definition of one of these "words." (As a side note, you may or may not know that about 50% of all bloggers use these types of word identification applications to ensure their readers are not robots or aliens or something called a phish. But now you know for sure. I myself simply choose to trust that the 100 people in the world who read Archives of Our Lives are, in fact, human.)

So of course I entered, because I'm always entering blog giveaways (and consequently always reeling from the sting of failure when I am not givenaway anything). And I always secretly figured I would hold the same sort of contest. So I've been "collecting" some examples over the past few months, and today I decided to post the giveaway.

Rules and Regulations:

1. For any of the pictured word-identification sets, think of a clever could-be definition. Or, for sets that don't seem like word, make up an acronym with the random letters. Good luck--some of them look like they make use of the dollar sign. I'm very interested to see how you might incorporate the dollar sign into an acronym.

2. There is no limit to the amount of times you may enter. I know I personally get funnier later in the day, when the reality of getting out of bed is far behind me. So go ahead! Feel free to enter two, three, or 20 times. But do remember that this competition is based solely on cleverness and wit.

3. Link to my blog in a post on your blog. I know this rule makes a lot of people (ahem. Kayleen) uncomfortable, but if you don't do it, you don't get to win. You can still enter, of course, because I love a good laugh. But you won't win. You might come close, but you won't win.

The prize is a $25.00 gift card to the retail location of the winner's choice (i.e. Border',,, or even QT. Whatever tickles your fancy.)

Also, I may or may not give away a second gift card at random, so even if you don't have a blog to use for linking purposes, you may as well still enter.

*Special thanks to Poor Kyle, who knows nothing of this recent family expenditure. He's a real gem. [I love you, dear.]*

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Let Me Tell You About the Time I Faced Death in a Pristine Bathroom

Ah, yes. I'm back.

I'm happy to say that my meeting with "The Yates Family" went splendidly. I met Joel, Aimee, and their two sweet kids--and not one of them tried to kill me!

Getting to the meeting was a bit of a trial, though. I almost died of my own accord. Here's what happened:

I was just sitting around at my sister's house, contemplating how that might be my last day on Earth, and out of nowhere, I got a bloody nose. Now, I've had bloody noses before, and I know they don't usually start "out of nowhere." Usually, they start out of "I was just sitting there picking my nose like my life depended on it," but this time, I really wasn't picking my nose. (I would admit it if I was.)

So anyway...there I was, minding my own business, when suddenly I feel a trickle of liquid inching its way down my left nostril toward my lip. Assuming it was snot, I reached up to wipe it with my bare hand (because I'm so dignified like that), and saw immediately that it was...the dreaded "B" word: blood.

And if my bloody nose was trickling at first, by the time I had a strip of toilet paper ready to shove up there (to curb the flow), it was a torrential downpour. I couldn't prepare wads of TP fast enough. I've never seen blood like that. It was coming so fast that it had time to drip all the way down my chin before I could get a new wad of paper in its place.

Of course, you know my history with blood: my history with blood is bad. Very, very bad. And seeing it in was pretty scary. I positioned myself in front of the bathroom mirror, because somehow, despite my aversion to blood, I can't resist an occasional bit of gore and macabre. And since I knew I was going to die, I figured I might as well watch my own undoing. How many people can say they get to do that?

Before long, the gush started on down my throat, where I promptly spit it out into the bathroom sink. But evidently if you're bending over to spit out mouthfuls of blood, you aren't in a good position to be stopping the problem...because a few moments later, my right nostril also started bleeding. I have had my fair share of bloody noses in my life...but never out of both nostrils at the same time.

It was at this point that I realised I could do nothing to save myself. Crying out in despair (amidst spitting up entire mouthfuls of blood [into Adell's once-pristine bathroom sink {which was at this point virtually covered in my blood}]), I stood there shaking, waiting to die. Because I was dying--I had already lost more than enough blood for a hundred blood work tests, and I was dying from the loss.

My first thought in the face of the trial was, "I have Alberta Health Care, but I don't think I have travel insurance down here. Only USAA, and that's just for Tamra Camry. So if, after I die, Adell finds me and calls 911 and they try and revive me at the hospital, it will cost Poor Kyle thousands."

My second thought was, "And then he'll remarry, that uncaring man. How dare he remind me of such a thing, on my deathbed??"

And my third thought was, "I made such a fuss about 'Joel and Aimee Yates' that they'll think I've chickened out when I don't show up. My final day alive, and I can't even go out looking like a brave sort of girl."

And then the black--the dark, unanswered black that had been lingering in the periphery of my mind through the whole ordeal--closed in and overtook.

...Okay, not really. I didn't pass out or die, thanks to some quick thinking by my sister who normally would have freaked out more than me in such a situation. I did, however, cough up a few clots the size of egg yolks (I know. Go throw up now, at the thought) and ruin a couple of towels. But in the end, it stopped.

And I made lunch with the Yates family, who, by allowing me to live, earned the right to have the quotation marks dropped. They're legit. And very nice.

I didn't take pictures, though. I brought my camera, even took it into the restaurant, but I was too chicken. I thought if I suggested it they'd think I was weird...

...too much loss of blood, I guess.


Friday, May 23, 2008

If I Die Today, I Hope at Least I Get Salsa as My Last Meal

I have heard of some people reading my blog, who live in constant fear that they will make me angry and I will in turn blog about them. Like I'm some sort of holy terror who could wreak havoc upon their lives at any given moment. I don't know what gave them that idea...

And for one family, that nightmare has become a reality.

Okay, not really. Nobody's made me angry, and I'm not trying to settle any scores--just cover all my bases. But I do want to publicly announce that Friday May 23, 2008, at 12:30 p.m., I am meeting "Aimee and Joel Yates" at Rosa's on Mesa Drive and University in Mesa, Arizona.

I use quotation marks around "Aimee and Joel Yates" because, according to friends and family (only one friend and one family member), these people will kill me, and kill me good.

The alleged "Yates" family consists of a mom, a dad, and two children. Natives of Arizona, but immigrants to the mid-west, I immediately trusted this family when I read their blog. Perhaps it was because I was flattered that perfect strangers found my blog, and even better: found me funny. Or maybe I immediately trusted them because of their angelic-looking son with bright, colourful blueberry eyes. At any rate, I have been reading their blog for the past several months, and they mine; I feel like I know them.

So when they realised we would each, respectively, be visiting our native land of AZ this week, I was thrilled and flattered to be invited to meet them for lunch.

Not giving it another thought (aside for the niggling worry that I will somehow stick my foot in my mouth and act like the terrible social idiot I am [which isn't exactly an unwarranted fear, might I add]), I agreed to the rendezvous.

And now, according to one friend and one sister, I am walking straight into a trap of certain death and despair.

"You could be kidnapped."

"You could be attacked."

"You could be blankety-blankety blanketed."

Good heavens, I never thought of that. But...they "Yateses" seem so nice! Surely they are legit--I mean, they have their own blog. With pictures. And kids. And one of them attended a high school right around the corner from mine--and it wasn't even Mountain View! Surely they're good people. Right?

"Anyone can start a blog."

"Anyone can kidnap children and post photos on a fake blog."

"Anyone can claim to attend a high school right around the corner from yours."


Well, I still think they seem nice, and plus--plus! they think I'm funny. So they must be good people.

Therefore, I am indeed going to meet them at 12:30 at Rosa's on Mesa Drive and University, and if I don't publish an update post tomorrow night, you'll know I've been horribly mauled--killed, even--by this fraudulent family.

...At least my last meal will have been Rosa's chips and tomatillo salsa. If I go out, I'm goin' out in the very thralls of joy.

*p.s. Aimee and Joel, please don't kill me tomorrow--I'm so looking forward to meeting you and enjoying Rosa's tomatillo salsa. Dying would put a real damper on my day.*


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tamra Camry Drives From Canada to Arizona and Lives to Tell the Tale.

Tamra Camry would like to announce that she is back in Arizona.

She left Canada on a whim Tuesday at 4 p.m. She drove. She drove and she drove and she drove. She didn't get tired, not once (okay...maybe she got tired once. Or twice.). She kept going, for nine whole hours, all by herself, because she's a trucker--er...a sedan-er.

Finally she stopped at a motel in Pocatello, ID. She only slept for four hours, though, because Pocatello, ID is eight hours closer to Arizona than Mayberry, Canada. So Tamra Camry started driving again at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday. She drove. She drove and she drove and she drove.

She stopped. She stopped for a snack of regular unleaded for $3.79 a gallon. She blanched. At $3.79 a gallon, she ought to have been sipping the liquid gold, not guzzling it. She assuaged her guilt by reminding herself that she was an Asian import, and thus far superior to every other car on the road. Except the Mini Cooper (because what car wouldn't rather be British than Asian?).

{Photo swiped from here, because Tamra Camry doesn't know any Mini Coopers in real life.}

She drove more, occupying her thoughts with an audiobook on her iPod, and getting lost despite the "help" of her GPS (who she secretly thought was trying to sabotage her. Sneaky traitor.).

And finally, 23 hours after leaving Mayberry, Tamra Camry rolled into the Granny's driveway. She's happy to be in Arizona. She likes driving on asphalt that doesn't have a layer of snow or ice covering it. She likes knowing she can drive through any drive-through she wants--Super Burrito, Sonic: America's Drive Through™, Pete's Fish & Chips... She likes being back in the land where she was born and raised (or at least raised, anyway).

She is happy to be home.

The only thing she's sad about is that, in driving, she missed both Tuesday and Wednesday episodes of the season finale of American Idol, and wonders if anyone she knows in Arizona Tivoed them?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

{I Fancy Myself a Gardener}

I've got a strawberry, see?

It's not quite ripe yet, but I'm very hopeful. Isn't it beautiful?

But it's very small--about the size of a pea. Here are a few photos for perspective of its scale:

Thus, it is with sweet yet sorrowful emotions that I leave for Arizona this week: sweet because I've missed home and family so much, yet sorrowful with the knowledge that I will be absent for this little strawberry's entire life cycle--I'll be gone for several weeks, naturally. One doesn't drive 24 hours (all by oneself!) only to turn right around and drive back. If only I didn't have to abandon my tender transplants...

...This only confirms that I would make a terrible mother--I'd probably be the kind to give birth to the little thing, and then turn around and frolic my days away at Disneyland or something, leaving Poor Kyle to figure out parenting all by his lonesome.

Poor little strawberry. I hope my husband can find it in his heart to water our garden in my absence.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

If Only There Were "Apple Z" For My Life

Every time I make snickerdoodles, I misread the recipe and mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon (when, in fact, I should only add two teaspoons of cinnamon to the sugar). This I do without fail. And every time, I look at my mixture and think, "This looks awfully dark for cinnamon-sugar. Did I use too much cinnamon?" Then I re-read the recipe, silently berate myself for making the same mistake as the last time I made snickerdoodles, and debate whether I should add more sugar (which would be wasteful because I'd end up with excess cinnamon sugar), or dump it out and start over (which would be wasteful because I'd be dumping it out and starting over).

Wouldn't it be nice to have an "Apple Z" ["Control Z" for PC typers {or "Edit-Undo," if you want to get technical}] command for the program of our lives?

There are so many moments throughout my days when I wish I could just type "Apple Z" and undo a thoughtless error. An error like using a dish cloth to dry my dishes before sniffing it for foul odors (because there's nothing I hate more than a stinky dish cloth). Or like starting the front-loading washing machine (which locks and stays locked until the cycle is finished) before checking all the hoodie pockets for loose change. Or leaving the house to run errands before checking that I have my cell phone with me. All of these things would be easily remedied, if only I had "Apple Z" programmed into my life.

It would be handy in more than just menial daily tasks, though. Social encounters, for example.

I'm so dumb in social situations. I think my problem is that I try too hard to act like I'm not trying very hard. It's exhausting, maintaining this blasé outlook on life. I never knew it would take so much effort to seem effortless.

Case in point: Aside from my very dear friends and family, I don't make phone calls. When I was in high school, I decided that talking on the phone was so immensely awkward, I would only make calls if I had a purpose for doing so. In other words, I'd never call someone just to chat. Unfortunately, I also had a few boys I liked very much, and so I was always coming up with reasons to call them. Usually they were very legitimate reasons ("We need to work on our Physics project," or "We're kidnapping Tessa for her birthday breakfast at Denny's"), but if the phone calls ever morphed into casual chats, I would cease and desist immediately. Because chatting can lead to running out of things to chat about...and that always leads to awkward pauses.

And I will do absolutely anything in my power to avoid awkward pauses.

Having an "Apple Z" feature to help me undo sticking my foot in my mouth--that would be nifty. I wish I'd had "Apple Z" the time I found out my manager at work was pregnant, and I said, "Really? I've been working with you for six months, and I had no idea you were pregnant!" Which, evidently, to a pregnant woman, means I just thought for six months that she was fat.

Am I alone in this principle? (I know I'm not totally alone, because it was my sister's idea in the first place [I give credit where credit is due.].) And even though I think it's a splendid idea to be able to instantly right any wrong with a simple press of a button, I can also see the argument that we learn from our mistakes, etc. So what do you think? Are there times you wish you could just "Apple Z" it? If I ever start a world of my own, should I add the "Apple Z" feature, or make my worlds' citizens suffer through the pain of making mistakes? It's important to think these things through, you know, so as to avoid any regrets later.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

{Tsk, Tsk. Some Childrens Parents...}

I am an excellent traveller. Plane rides, train rides, boat rides or float rides--it is a skill I have.

In some ways I feel I was born with this skill (like how naturally level-headed I am...ahem), but in other ways, I'm sure it's a practised quality. My parents worked very hard to provide our family with experiences. We were taught to value moments over...stuff.

In the end, my parents might be regretting that code of ethics, though...on account of the fact that my travels took me hundreds of miles away, across international borders and right into the arms of the love of my life:

But it's too late, in any event, because now I love to travel. And I'm good at it.

I once navigated myself from Brussels, Belgium on the RER-B train to the metro station which took me to a bus stop where I caught a ride to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport with little knowledge of the language, three large suitcases, a duffel bag, a laptop tote, a carry on, and a four-foot umbrella wrapped in cardboard (my dad worked for an airline and I was allowed unlimited luggage space, you see) and 100 Euros to my name. I did it all by myself, and I was not seduced by any Europeans in the process [despite the warnings to the contrary from my Aunt Linda].

Is keeping track of a kid really that much more difficult? I wouldn't think so, but I must be wrong, at least according to one frazzled family emigrating to Canada from the Philippines.

Imagine if you were a two year-old kid stuck--lost and alone--in Vancouver. Vancouver! I've heard of kids getting lost in Disneyland, where the fun and churros never end, but Vancouver? In the Vancouver airport, no less. It absolutely baffles me. A mother, a father, and two grandparents were evidently so busy getting themselves onto a connecting flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg, that they up and left their two year-old somewhere after getting through security. They each assumed one of the others had the child.

Can you believe that? These four adults (two of whom were grandparents and may have been elderly, in which case I forgive them) handed in their boarding passes, walked down the ramp, onto the plane and down the aisles to their seats. They then settled themselves in, possibly even asking a fellow passenger to trade for the window seat (as bartering is wont to happen on commercial plane rides), cozied up with a nice book or maybe a copy of SkyMall™, and prepared for takeoff. The plane departed, the passengers were served complimentary drinks and peanuts, and still these four adults noticed nothing amiss.

Back in Vancouver, AirCanada™ employees had stumbled upon the abandoned child (who had no identification, since his parents were holding onto it for safe keeping, no doubt). Children his age do not require a boarding pass for flights, so AirCanada™ had no way of knowing what flight he'd missed, or what imbeciles could have left him behind. Finally, with the help of a Tagalog translator and some in-depth searching of the passenger listings, Vancouver employees tracked down the child's family, who were by then halfway to Winnipeg.

Can you imagine being the airline stewardess chosen to break that news to the parents?

"Umm...excuse me, sir? Ma'am? Are you...forgetting anything? A kid, maybe? Would you like another ginger-ale to calm your nerves while you wait out this flight, and another one back to where you left him? Or maybe this month's edition of Parenting Magazine? Idiot."

I suppose it's a good thing I'm not working for the airlines. I'd be fired on charges of customer mocking.

In the end, Air Canada™ paid for the kid's father to be flown back to Vancouver and then on to Winnipeg...together, the second time.

The father told a reporter, "The staff at Air Canada™ took good care of him."

Uh...yeah. Which is more than you can say of yourself, buddy.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This is the Kind of Day That Engaged Couples Dream Married Life Will Be Like...

Poor Kyle got to sleep in. I had my errands to run. And when we got back together, we had a cookout.

One day, over a year ago, I stood next to Poor Kyle on the back deck of his newly purchased home in Mayberry. It was Autumn, we'd just gotten engaged, the weather was nice, and we had great expectations of all the bonfires we'd host in our fire pit...once we were married.

Who'd have thought we'd actually arrive at this point? The point where we're starting fires of our own free will, and not just to collect homeowners' insurance. But because we're so inclined. To look at them. And cook with them. And burn our trash.

And I feel sorry for you, since none of you were invited to our impromptu dinner. So I'll give you a recap, in photos:

The Day We Envisioned We'd Have as Married People, Back When We Were Not Married:

Poor Kyle was there (looking not unlike Napoleon Dynamite, in my opinion). My husband is a stud...

...see any resemblances?

Poor Kyle wasn't happy when I pointed out the uncanny coincidence. I don't suppose I can blame him.

The fire pit--well on its way to becoming our favourite place to cook.

The Log. The Log is for food preparation and extra seating. The Log is not for burning, despite common thought processes.

These may look like wieners, but in fact they are pepperoni sticks. Just a little appetizer while the coals got hot. Because when we cook out, we do it in style. Appetizers, cocktails, palate cleansers...the whole shebang.

Of course I should take a photo of my husband's bottom. I like it.

I was there, too, of course. But the only evidence you'll get are the photos of my garden. Which, given all the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into my garden lately, it might as well be me.

But just in case you wanted solid proof, there I am. (I'm skinnier in my shadow, which is a blessing, given all the chocolate-covered strawberries I ate for breakfast. And lunch.) My skinny-ish shadow is covering the corn. Only you can't see anything but dirt because I only planted a few days ago. And evidently, it takes longer than two days for corn to grow. What a rip-off.

If you look closely, you can see the word "CORN" etched laboriously into this copper marker. That's where I planted corn. Clever, I know.

And this can is what I use to water my tender little transplants. Not that it's doing any good at all, since I think I already killed the basil:

It's looking a little peakish.

Then again, that could be because of my weeds. They're pretty monstrous. I've gotten a lot, though. A quad trailer full, anyway:


Die, monster weeds!

But I've digressed haven't I? The point of this post is that..., being married was fun. We have a fire pit. We have a garden. And we're going camping this weekend, because that's what ambitious newlyweds do with their first long weekend of Spring.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

{My Worst Nightmare: Permanently Dilated to a 10}

Pardon me for the tardy post. While Poor Kyle is gone (having commandeered my laptop for use on the open road), I have been forced to do my daily computions (computations?) on his desktop iMac. Which is a lovely machine, only the office chair isn't very comfortable. And his keyboard is stiff and consequently an un-inspiring piece of equipment; I have to push really firmly on e-a-c-h a-n-d e-v-e-r-y k-e-y to get the letters up on the screen. It's hard.

On top of which, I have dedicated 15 of the past 30 hours to planting a garden. Sowing the seeds of summertime savours. [The 15 hours of solitary labour have left me waxing rather poetic, no?] At any rate, I was far too sore to sit at a desk for any extended period of time this morning--the only place I could have typed was from the comfort of my own bed. But without my laptop, that would have proven rather difficult. So I didn't post.

But I have had a lot of time to think about today's topic, and I'm pretty sure I'm right on the mark with this one.

The Duggar Family. Who here has heard of these 19 people, 17 of whom have exited one (read: 1) solitary woman's body (with baby #18 on the way)? Anyone? I watched a two-hour special about them on Discovery Channel a few months ago one midnight when Poor Kyle was grinding his teeth so loudly I couldn't sleep. I don't know what I was trying to accomplish, though, because when the program was finished, I really couldn't sleep. Kept waking up with horrible nightmares of myself being permanently dilated to a 10.

*Photo from here.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I saw recaps of this same family giving an interview on TODAY. I was reminded of my permanently-dilated nightmares, and after 15 hours of stewing over the Duggars, they've very nearly become a full-blown fascination.

There's so much I would delightfully criticise about this family. Like the husband, Jim Bob, who goes by Jim Bob. Seriously. Why not scratch the "Bob?" Or heck, go crazy and lose the "Jim?" Of course, Jim Bob couldn't drop the "Jim," because then his name wouldn't match all 17 of his childrens' names: Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, and Jennifer.

The sad thing (well, one of many, I suppose), is that the mother's name is...brace yourselves...Michelle. Michelle! I don't know about you, but for me, being the only "M" in a sea of "Js" would be bothersome. Call me obsessive, but that dadgum "M" really gets on my nerves. If I were her, I'd probably need major Prozac™, for one. And also, I would go ahead and change my name to "Jichelle." I mean, since they're already taking so many other liberties. After all, they changed a "T" to a "J" to make up Jessa's name, and a "G" to a "J" for poor Jinger, who must be awfully confused right about now.

Jichelle got married when she was 16 or 17 (I forget which, but one's as bad as the other), and has been pregnant an estimated 135 months since then. One hundred thirty-five months. I cannot even imagine. They are a very spiritual bunch of people, praising God for his 17 blessings. That's respectable, of course--it's certainly not what I would be saying to the Good Lord if He saw fit to "bless" me so generously. But that's beside the point.

I could have a field day with all of this. I could. I would like to say all these mean things about the Duggar family, but it's difficult, because they seem like truly good people. They seem to value family matters and proper manners. They seem too decent to be criticised for their vast existence. They seem so...on national television, anyway, and we know how easily T.V. can be digitally remastered and formatted to fit your screen...

...but I'm intrigued. Here's what I think: I think the Duggars need someone unbiased in their house (what's one more human being, right?) for a few weeks--maybe even a month--to properly assess the situation. No film crew, just a single outsider to live like a Duggar, and then report to the rest of the world what it's really like in there. And I think I'm just the person to do it. I am a spiritual person and would respect their beliefs, dig in and carry my weight around the house, befriend Jichelle (though I would have to schedule my one-on-one time with her, just like everybody else), and write about it. That way, the minds of Americans all across the country can be put to rest. People can decide, once and for all, if the Jim Bob, Jichelle, and their 17+ children are stalwart enough to make up for their astronomical carbon footprint.

Any newspapers looking for an ace field reporter to join the ranks? I'm ready for action, as long as the Duggars allow laptops into their barracks.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Faking it for the Whole Wide World

What do you do when your hair, which--once upon a time--looked like this...

...suddenly morphs into a swamp-thing version of its past life (like this:)?

I'll tell you what I do. First, I realise that the reason my hair looks so awful is because in my Junior year of high school (Grade 11, Canadians!), I decided to turn my mousy, undescriptive hair into a luscious blond, and have never looked back.

Second, I come to terms with the fact that I am now married and someone in the world (read: Poor Kyle) actually notices where my (read: his) money goes.

Thirdly, I realise that perhaps the reason I was so poor as a single gal was because I spent so much money on the upkeep of my hair.

Fourthly, I scratch the "thirdly," because I realise that for the past five years, I have only spent money to have my hair done twice. All the other times, my dear friends Raygon or Lindsey have done it. For free.

Fifthly, I curl up in a writhing ball at the thought of where all my money actually did go all those years. Carne Asada burritos and QT Taquitos, that's where...

And sixthly, I invest in a whole lot of these...

[And, okay...I didn't actually buy them recently. I collected them when I was single and friv-o-less. But it's handy to have them now that I'm too cheap to get my hair done again...]

...And cross my fingers that the rest of the world won't realise how I'm trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

p.s. See my window treatments in the background? I made them all by myself:

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Friday, May 9, 2008

His Actions Speak Very, Very Loudly.

I wake with a start.

"What day is it?"

Tuesday? Wednesday? Wednesday, I think.

"I am forgetting something....what is it? Think, think, think. Wednesday..."


"Oh, shoot--Wednesday! This is the day Chelsie can use the internet, and I haven't written her an email for the week. Crap. Wait, what time is it?"

Time...time...what time is it? Of course, I have to reach for my glasses, because even though our clock projects the current time on our ceiling with bright red digital numbers, I nevertheless cannot see what time it is without some form of optical aid. [Nobody should ever lie on the eye exam as a kid. Not that I did, or anything...] And anyway, it's morning now--bright enough that the vibrant red digits probably wouldn't be visible on the popcorn ceiling.

Glasses located, I reach for my cell phone. It's 7:45 a.m. (Who am I kidding? It's totally 9:30. But leave me alone--I don't have kids or a job. [Or a life, I guess.])

"Nine-thirty. I bet I still have time to write Chelsie a quick email and send it to Brazil."

Ten minutes later, I close my laptop and lay back down--I still have 20 minutes before ten a.m., and why get up before ten? I mean...really...and I'm so tired...


...I start awake again, sitting up in my bed immediately. I'm still forgetting something.
"What day is it again? Oh, Wednesday--I remember now. Wednesdays are miserable. What's with that silent 'N,' anyway? I guess it isn't really silent--it's just that everybody pronounces it before the 'D.' We should change the spelling of Wednesday. I've always thought so. Either that, or start pronouncing it 'wed-nez-day.' But wait--I was trying to remember something else. What was that? Let's's Wednesday. I already wrote Chelsie... Wednesday... Wednesday..."

Trash day. That was what woke me--I've heard the truck on our street.

"Nooooooooooooooooo," I cried mournfully, my voice low as though in slow motion. But I'm not in slow motion--I'm motion. I leap out of bed wearing only my unmentionables, and quickly--lightning quick, even--throw on a hoodie and sweatpants.

"The truck can't be far. It's getting closer. I swear, if I miss trash day again, I will rub my nose our growing pile. That's what we did to Sampson whenever he relieved himself on the new carpet. Dadgum dog."

As I swing open the bedroom door, I have a prime view through the hall and out the front window. I can see our neighbor's house. The neighbor to the right of us. And the trash man is already there.

I'm too late. Again.

I really hate Wed-nez-days.

Dejected. Defeated. Disheartened.

I trudged (To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on--Geoffrey Chaucer [thank you, A Knight's Tale, and may you rest in peace, Heath Ledger. You were very attractive. Not that I noticed...because I'm married. But before I got married--when I was still in high school and that movie was released--I may have noticed.]) into the kitchen, forlorn.

Walking past the barstools towards the fridge--where I hopefully find some orange juice to nurse my aching heart--I catch a glimpse of brown from the corner of my eye.

"Brown...brown...our trash can is brown. But our liners! Then why did I see only brown?"

Taking a careful step backward, I cautiously peer down... the empty bin.

"How is this even possible? Were we robbed in the night? No, I locked all the doors and windows... Could it be? Poor Kyle? He took out the...the...the trash?? Oh, this is too much. I'm touched. Overwhelmed, even. That dear, dear man. He loves me. He really, truly loves me."

Tears are now streaming down my face with this realisation. And also with the realisation that I will not, in fact, have to trash-train myself with my nose in the refuse this week.

Some might say I've lowered my expectations.

But I will tell you one thing--I love that man. I love him with a love that is fierce. And strong. And that is exactly how I always expected to feel about the man I would eventually marry. So I'd say my expectations are met...

...and...very possibly exceeded.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

{Get Real}

At the health clinic today, where I was given a thorough examination so the government of Canada can decide whether I will be a nuisance to their health-care system (and consequently whether I will be allowed to stay here), I read a sign on the wall. It explained the symptoms of Alzheimer's, and it struck me that I am prone to every single one of those symptoms. Forgetfulness, difficulty completing menial tasks, short-tempered, irritable, and un-motivated were the ones I particularly recall.

When I pointed out to Poor Kyle that I think I have Alzheimer's, he smugly replied, "No you don't. You're 21. What you have is PMS."

[Okay, he didn't really say that. I made it up for comedic purposes. But he did disagree that I don't actually have Alzheimer's.]

I got to thinking about how un-motivated I have been, of late. I realised today I can't remember the last time I mopped the kitchen floor.

"Well, it's annoying to mop the kitchen while I'm in the process of painting the cabinets, because it'll be dirty again in an hour, what with my traipsing in-and-out all day," I rationalised.

And, "My kitchen is going to look like this:

whether I mop or not, so why does it matter if my floors look like this:

I mean, What's the point?"

Excuses, excuses.

Maybe I can rationalise the state of the kitchen, because I do have all the drawers emptied out on my counter top while they're being refinished.

But that mess has expanded into the entryway...

...down the hall...

...into our bedroom...

It has also extended the opposite direction, attacking the laundry room...

sewing room...

back deck...

and garage.

In other words, my life is a mess.

But at least my towels are folded.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

{It's My Own Fault I Am the Way I Am}

I have always followed in my older sister's footsteps. We aren't really anything alike in personality (she's organised, I'm a cluttered mess; she's an exercise person, I'm a sleep-in type; she's kind-hearted, I'm the crotchety neighbor who hates children), but nevertheless, we do a lot of things similarly. This is mostly because I copy her. I'm a copycat.

She was two grades ahead of me in school, and she joined orchestra in the 4th grade, which I did two years later. She got glasses when she was 8 or nine, and it wasn't long before I got a pair of my own (I may or may not have lied on the eye exam just to score a pair--I'm not confessing anything. You'll never make me talk.). She ran for student council in seventh grade (Grade 7, Canadians!), remaining in office for the next five years of her life, and I followed suit. She tried out for the volleyball team as a Freshman, get the idea.

At this rate, I am due to have my first kid in about 18 months. Which means I would have to get pregnant next February. Horrors.

Anyway, being the copycat lame-o that I am, I also adopted her queasiness around blood and needles. And the strange thing? It was absolutely, 100% a conscious decision. Honestly. I remember the exact day I decided to loathe the idea of blood--it was when my sister passed out at our high school's blood drive. I thought it was so cool--I have no idea why. At any rate, a few weeks later I had to get Tuberculosis test for some extracurricular activity, and I got myself all worked up about it for days in advance. Sure enough, when I arrived at the clinic and watched the needle seep under my skin (and the consequential puff of protein that bubbled all the way up my arm, which nobody warned me would happen during a TB shot), I heard a ringing in my ears.

And really, can you blame me?*

The nurse suddenly sounded light-years away, and before I knew it, I was having the most fantastical dream that I was in a fun-house at a carnival and there were crazy flashing lights all around me.

And I've had that same strange dream every time I've passed out since that day--which has been every time I've had to get blood work done, or immunizations completed, or plasma donated. (Okay, I didn't pass out for the plasma, but only because the blood bank was paying me $200 for my plasma, and they told me if I passed out, they wouldn't let me finish. [I told you: it's totally mental.])

And evidently this mental illness of mine is only getting worse--evidently I now faint at even the thought of the sight of blood. I don't even have to see it to drop unconscious.

Which is why I am so stressed out about the blood work I'm getting tomorrow (Tuesday) for my immunization papers. Oops! Not "immunization papers." Does such paperwork even exist? I meant "my immigration papers."

That's how stressed I am.

*Photo from*

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