Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The (almost) International Edition

I had sort of hoped to write a post while I was away, but it turns out that when you’re visiting a city as big as London for the first time, there is no time for sleeping, much less writing. Particularly since I was jet lagged enough (but in serious denial) to be suffering from unpredictable bouts of crankiness, violent restless leg syndrome and suffering from short term narcolepsy, which has yet to leave me.

In the meanwhile, watch the video, because I love it. And if I love it, you shall love it! Go Rusty!!

A bientot, Anna

Monday, March 22, 2010

Posts from Last Week

What Just Happened?

I’ve had a bit of a whirlwind week so far. And I think it will continue until the end of the month. In fact I know it will continue until the end of the month, because I am going to London. Just bought the tickets yesterday, we leave in exactly one week to the hour. The hour!*

I’m sure that this isn’t cause for celebration for a lot of people, but this girl, this one right here, typing her excited little heart out, she’s never been. I’ve been through Heathrow a handful of times, but have never stepped out of the airport boundaries, ever ever ever. And I’m 96% confident that I am going to lurve it.

What about the 4% internet? I’ll tell you about the 4%:

1% - Rick. I'm missing out on seeing a really good friend, one that I haven’t seen in far too long by 6 days. Six days, universe! What a cruel mistress you are. As much as I would like to curse karma, or whoever it is in charge of shitty schedules (also responsible for public transit, I am confident that one day, when we’re grey and wrinkly that we’ll manage to organise a real life date. It is now officially on my bucket list. or would be, if I had one. I will start one today and ammend to list. Can a bucket list have only one item??

1% - Hodge’s friends. To be absolutely clear, I am not too concerned at all about meeting his friends. They seem like a cool bunch and I’m really looking forward to meeting them. What I am concerned about is my liver. I have been told three times since we booked the tickets 12 hours ago to make sure I pack my drinking boots, ‘cause we’re going to see the inside of a lot of pubs. I like pubs, but I like not drinking too. But, once I'm in a pub, I am incapable of ordering a non alcoholic beverage. It's the rules.

1% - Hodge’s sister. They’re really close and I think that if I don’t get the stamp of approval from her, then we’re done. So, that’s exciting! I don’t think any part of my future has ever been held in the palm of a peer, particularly someone I’ve yet to meet. Kill me now!

1% - Sleeping arrangements. They have an apartment in London where we’ll be staying. The spare bedroom, has two single (!) beds, is where the kids will be sleeping – Hodge, his sister and myself - …huh? Is that weird? It’s really his sisters bedroom, because she lives there full time, so we’re really invading her space, but Hodge thinks that we’ll put an air mattress in between them and he’ll sleep on that. I’m stuck on the idea that people still use single beds. I thought they stopped making them years ago, when the collective realised that the bigger the bed, the happier the soul. I don’t know if I will fully realise the dorm room-ness of bed-time will be fully realised until then.

So that’s that. I’ve genuinely given myself pause by writing that last paragraph and will require a very stiff drink to come to terms with that whole birds nest. (anxiety level up at least 5%).

The Mothership…

…has returned to her own neck of the woods and I am surprised and happy to report that she had a great time. This means, of course, that she wants to come back very soon, but I suppose there are worse things in life (like sharing bedrooms with strangers…what if I fart in my sleep? Anxiety +7 points).

During the weekend, I hosted not one, but two very successful dinner parties catered by Mama. They were delicious, I’m told – they were meat heavy, so I opted for vegetables – and well lubricated. Thankfully!!

I’ve also realised that by having friends over, I have increased my wine rack occupancy by 50%. I think if I were a good hostess, I would return the wine to it’s respective owners, BUT, I now consider the bottles abandoned and will do my duty as a surrogate parent to make sure they are well digested. Just give me time!

Birthday week!!

I had an early celebration on Friday, because everyone in the office is travelling for my (very important) birthday week. Since all of us are always up for eating lunch and drinking beer, we went to the pub.

And stayed there.

To the tune of 50,000 pints. Or near enough. I was quite drunk by 2.30 pm and took an early day, convinced my friends that we should go drink mojitos by the ocean, which led into a few other drinking dens of various repute as they night went on. And I had a great time. I think of it as my unofficial birthday party, because I have been equal parts lazy/busy/disinterested in planning an actual event, and I much prefer spontaneous happenings! They always turn out much better, don’t they??

Late last night

My super sweet and cool cousin T broke up with her long distance boyfriend yesterday. If it were anyone else, I’m sure that I would be complaining about how late it was and how long we spoke for, heartbreak and breakups, etc, but, it’s T and I’m crying with her.

The story is:

He lives in Seattle, she’s in Vancouver, which makes him an American and she a Canadian. Though they’re only separated by a 2 hour drive, the limitations on them making a further commitment to each other is hindered by the ugly beast called Immigration. T can’t work there unless she gets sponsored by a company, which is a big ask in ordinary circumstances, but is a huge ask in a flailing economy. S has a really great job and doesn’t really want to leave, because it’s what he’s always wanted to do for a career and he’s got a really good set up.

So where do they go from here? Personally, I think they’ll get back together and work out a solution together. That’s my hope, anyway. They’re really good people and so good together that I can’t help but want the best for them both, as a duo or separately, if that's how it's supposed to be. Watch this space.

And to lighten things up

I have joined a rowing club and I couldn’t be more excited!! I’ve wanted to learn to row for years, but it’s always slipped to the periphery of what I’ve been doing, until Bobo mentioned it to me a few weeks ago. He joined up and will be starting in May (in 5 short weeks) and I will be in the boat with him. Gold star to him for inspiration and motivation!!

This leaves me just enough time to hit the gym and use the rowing machine, because I will be damned if I am going to be the weakest link on the boat. I would simply die of shame, turn into a fish and get caught in trawler nets. It would be the WORST.THING.EVER. If I was the slowest kid.

I joined a boot camp class last year, and it was the worst thing ever. The class was heavy on cardio and light on circuit training, and my soul was crushed every Tuesday and Thursday morning when I practiced what I signed up for. Each class, we’d do a 2 km run to a destination, do some squats, lunges and planks and then jog 2 kms back to the gym, uphill**.

The thing with the running is, I don’t like it. I’ve earnestly tried and re-tried to give it a chance. I even went for a jog two weeks ago to see if I’d like it yet (I didn’t). I always get shin splints and there isn’t much that I dislike more than having sore shins for days following a run. And on the motivation front, I hated being the slowest in the class. There wasn’t much support for the slow ones, aside from occasional shouts of encouragement from an instructor who’d run back to cheer us on. So, after 4 classes, I stopped going.

I don’t want the rowing to turn into boot camp. But, I am pretty sure that there is a certain level of fitness that I should reach before I can be competent in pulling those oars for 90 minutes, twice a week. Fingers crossed that I can make that happen. Send me fit thoughts!

-Leaving on a jet plane (countdown is 32 hours…god…laundry…empty the fridge…take the trash out…) Anna

*I began writing this post last week, as the timeline suggests, so I thought to add a simple postscript, largely due to the lack of time I have to re-write. So make due with this sloppy post, internet.

*Not in the, 'in my day, we walked 40kms to school backwards, up hill, in the snow!' kind of way but in the, run to the park down hill, and finish with a 40% grade up hill run. Because that's a fun way to end classes. Jogging Fail!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They Want Brains...

…which is unfortunate, since mine seem to be absent.

I am tired today. There is a reason for this tiredness that causes my body to involuntarily stop, stretch, no reaaaaally stretch, before trying to resume what it was doing before it interrupted itself, only to find that my entire self has forgotten what it was doing previously.

I suspect that this is my body’s natural defence mechanism of distraction until nap/bed time. Eventually, I suppose, I will have no choice but to throw up my hands in frustration and acquiesce to its demands. It is, after all, holding my hands for a ransom I’m only too happy to pay: the sweetness of oblivion in the arms of my pillow top.

The reason for sleepy time is this nugget. I watched a film yesterday that was awesome! Someone recommended Watcher in the Woods, because of Ms. Bette Davis, and I cannot tell you how excited I was to watch an old school horror* movie. ‘Natch, when I asked the shop assistant where I could find this movie (that is supposed to rawk) I was met with silence and the blinking eyes of a stunned deer. But, since I promised myself that I would watch a scary movie, I picked up Paranormal Activity. It’s freaking awesome, even though the guy in it is a bit of a d-bag. I heartily recommend and it has the official AM seal of approval.

I digress, back to the full body and mind burn out. Post film, Hodge, being very tough, informed me that I needed a protector and that he would be sleeping at mine to “battle the demons” while I slept.** Since we were in a bit of a state post movie, we needed to dissect it to undermine its scariness quotient and laid awake chatting for hours and hours, probably waking up the neighbours with nervous giggling and squeals as we tried to out-spook each other. Effectively, it was the grown up version of a sleepover, minus the sleeping bags on the floor with parents yelling at half hour intervals to shut up and go to sleep – which I would have benefitted from.

*I hate saying 'horror films', since with a Canadian accent, it sounds very much like 'whore films'. When I was 15, one of the elderlyish uncles of a friend of a friend of mine was stepping out to pick up some films for us at New Year. “You like horrors?” was what he said, but what I heard was “You like whores?” I was well and truly horrified (HA!) and avoided him for the rest of the evening, thinking he was the most lecherous man alive. He probably was.

**Firstly, the only ‘demons’ Hodge would be protecting me from are the three queens that share the hallway with me, and I assure you, they have absolutely zero interest in what I’m packing around. It would be, in fact, me protecting Hodge’s honour. Secondly, … I can’t remember what my other point was except that it was a gooder, and now my fatigued mind has let it slip into the ether. Dammit, brain, smarten up!

Holiday for Whom?

The mother ship is coming to visit tomorrow, and has gotten off to a bad start. How can it be, dear internet, that she hasn’t landed, or even boarded the departing plane and already she’s shitty with me and I with her?

It’s one of lifes great mysteries and science is nowhere near close to figuring mother daughter relationships out. And this exchange decidedly did not help with M/D relations:

Call 1 - (8.10 am – Getting ready to leave for work)

Me – Hi Mum, what’s up?
Mum – I’m at the AMA website, I’m going to rent a car.
Me – Uh, ok.
Mum – It’s a really great price, so I’m doing it.
Me – Are you renting it for the whole time?
Mum – Yeah, I think so, why?
Me – Dunno, seems a bit silly to rent a car for five days and only use it once.
Mum – But, it’s a good price.***
Me – So get the car.
Mum – But you don’t think it’s a good idea.
Me – Who cares what I think? I’m just getting dressed at the moment, can I call you from the office?
Mum – Fine – click.

Following this is three more calls in quick succession, (I’ll spare the transcripts) where she wanted to discuss the merits of hiring a car at the airport vs. hiring a car in town, location of pick ups, what kind of car to hire, etc.

My patience reserve is very limited on a good day, and is appallingly low on a bad day and non existent on a grumpy-haven’t-had-coffee-yet day. I reached my limit on the last call. I have no time to figure out the minutiae of car rentals at 8.15 in the morning, and frankly I don’t care. Especially since the person in question (Mother dearest) wanted to get into a philosophical discussion about cars and related car things, but mostly why she’s right and I’m wrong. I had to tell her to do what she wanted and that I was, in fact, busy and it wasn't a good time for me.

It’s going to be a great visit. Can I call in sick for that?

***What she’s really doing here with ‘the bargain’ is this: She feels like getting a lower daily rate is a good thing, and $400/5 days trumps paying $140/1 day because it’s better value. And it is better value, if you’re using it. Every day. I wonder if this is but a $400 safety blanket…

Etiquette avec Mme. Mac

When asking for coins, cigarettes, lighters and/or liquor on the streets, do not interrupt the person you wish to beg from when they are on the phone. This is unseemly behaviour and will not result in a positive outcome.

Instead, you should wait, at a respectful distance, until that person is available to make your request.

Be prepared for them to decline the offer, in any case, and take this in stride.

Respectfully Yours,

-Anna Mac

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Things I have learned today

Home Edition:

Reminding someone of their drunken obnoxious behaviour rarely has the outcome anticipated. Say it with me…anticlimactic and unsatisfying.

Wine is a cure all. And if it can’t be a cure all, it will be a can’t-be-assed all.

Dreams of obscure actors whilst sleeping lead to unnecessary internet stalking and imaginary celebrity boyfriends. Jonathan Rhys Meyers…I don’t even know if I find him attractive, but since I had a dream last night, I am obsessed.

Cleaning my house in anticipation of zombie mothership visits sucks old hairy balls. Additional lesson…don’t leave pancake batter to harden in bowl because washing that shit is on par with finding a cure for cancer.


Office Edition:

Subway sandwiches don’t age well. They become soggy, sticky and slimy in a mysterious and decidedly unnatural manner. I ate it anyway.

Meetings are for chumps. I, therefore, am a chump.

Washing coffee mug and leaving it to dry on the counter leads to mug theft. This results in mug/colleague stalking to retrieve it, and this is a travesty that is best avoided.

Ordering office supplies is more effort than its worth, as I discovered when I received the rolodex for fuller figured girls today. Seriously supersized rolodex.*

Yeah, that old saying that a messy desk means an organized mind…I disproved that theory today. If I’m being honest, I’ve been disproving it for years.

Forgetting what day it is and thinking you have no time leads to RESULTS! At least until I realised that I still had twenty four hours to complete the tasks at hand. Now I’m writing.

I can’t find everything on the internet. There are still some mysteries in the world. Shipping industry, I’m looking at you.

When in doubt, make it up!

*American Rolodex! Ha!

In Conclusion:

Thank you for all the wonderful lessons, life. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to lovingly coach and guide me into being a better, if slightly demented and increasingly hysterical, person.

Now piss off.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Bad Decisions

Gumdrops and Lollypops

I am guilty of many things. Among those, and certainly most pertinent to today’s post (brought to you by the letters F and I – as in effing idiot) is idealism.

Internet, I imagined a world where past and present collide, shake hands, do the hokey pokey and managed to coexist peacefully. A world filled with gummy bears and chocolate frogs, with fountains pouring forth Coke Zero and muscled demi-god masseurs insist on soothing the aching muscles of backs for eternity.

Instead, I’m sitting with a warmish cup of coffee, filled with grounds and prepared to drink it as penance (since my cilice is at the cleaners) for doing a Bad Thing. To be honest, I’m being lazy and cannot be bothered making another cup of coffee to replace it and, really, grind coffee seems like an apt punishment*.

This post is perhaps more confessional than I would like it to be, but I think I just want someone on my side to tell me that I am doing something nice and, if not exactly the right thing, certainly not the wrong thing.

KB phoned awhile ago to say that he was moving back to Vancouver for the summer and would I mind if he stayed with me, to which I replied, of course not. You’re still a friend and you’ll always be welcome in my home. Particularly since I am intimately aware of his financial situation and the ever rising cost of tuition.

Then, last week while having a glass of wine with Hodge, I mentioned this to him. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I certainly did not anticipate his reaction (or non reaction) of shutting down. We quietly finished our drinks, forced some conversation on the walk home and parted ways in the corridor as he went up to his and I went into mine.

At lunch Friday, Hodge very clearly stated, when pressed, that he was in no way comfortable with this arrangement. He asked me how I’d feel if he told me that his ex girlfriend was coming to stay for three months and live at his place. I understand where he is at and why he objects to this arrangement, I really do.


I feel faced with the decision of helping a friend, at the potential cost of my relationship, which is a crummy place to have landed myself. Way to go, nerd.

On a lighter note:

The Strange, The Hilarious and The Unexpected

I was waiting for the cash machine at the local 7-11 (or the Sev, as we say on the dirty side of town) behind 3 of the slowest possible ATM users, one of whom I suspect has never used a cash point ever, ever, ever,** when lady who had been yelling at passerby on the street, entered the shop, walked behind me and grabbed a Coke from the cooler and began to walk in circles (as you do when you’re jazzed up on *ahem* coke [big or little c]). Mid circle, I think she forgot what she was doing, swaggered over and asked me for spare change, which I declined, and then hot foots it out of the store with a 2L jug tucked somewhere in her voluminous coat. “I ain’t stolen nothing”, she bellowed at the store person who noticed the theft and very casually crossed the road into oblivion. It was satisfyingly surreal and boosted my mood immediately, particularly since oblivion, to her, meant just the other side of the road.

*As does sitting in my ‘climate’ controlled office with no coat on. It’s March and the air conditioning has turned on, insistent on making my personal space rival the temperature of a Siberian winter. Naturally, my efforts to disable the fan and air conditioning mechanisms have been met with snorts of derision from inanimate objects.

**seriously.annoying. Honest attempts at inserting card in various ways, all of them wrong; one withdrawing cash with four, FOUR different cards; another apparently low on cash, but high on hope, repeatedly trying to make that ATM sing.

-Head in the Sand, Anna

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Which I Sleep and Wonder About Dog

Sleep of the innocent?

I am a very deep sleeper. Once I am out, there isn’t much in this world that will wake me. Storms, parties, snoring (lucky for all those boyfriends present and past). It is a fear of mine that Ed Mundy will somehow find his way into my apartment and murder me in my sleep. Silver lining of that scenario*: I’ll never know since there isn’t much, aside from a bomb (not sure as this one is currently untested), that will rouse me from my slumber.

*uhhh, is there ever a silver lining to a homicide?

Hodge suggested that I try a sleep cycle alarm clock, and wouldn’t you know…there’s an app for that.

I downloaded it last night onto my iPhone and slept with it under my pillow, in spite of the warnings to not do that….but, I remain a rebel at heart and rules be damned – take that phone, you're not the boss of me! The idea behind the clock is that it monitors your sleep by movement, since we all (that is, you and I, internet) move differently at different phases of sleep, and purports to wake you up when you’re the least asleep so you’ll be more refreshed. Sounds good right?

I still woke up like a bag of ass this morning. It was rough and much the same as most mornings. Punishment for having slept on the phone despite manufacturers warnings?

No, this is the reason:

I have two issues with this situation:

1. That I was, in essence, in a coma for most of the night.

2. That this app provides daily (ahem, nightly) statistics so you can monitor your sleep. This in itself is not a problem, because I’m sure the designers of this wanted to prove that we were getting our $0.99 worth from the alarm clock, and super geeks can totally compare and contrast each others sleep patterns in the night**. The problem that I have, and I realise that this is specific to me and me alone, is that it’s so disheartening to know that I will wake up groggy for the rest of my working days.

**Dating compatibility by sleep cycles?? Next new thing? Yes? No?

And yet another that offends:

I did a career ‘test’ a couple of days ago and it’s still irritating me. My results were that I was an organiser and that my ideal profession was being an administrator/accountant/boring. Whaaat?

When I was in junior high school, my classmates and I all had to take one of these tests and it was meant to give you an idea of what you were meant to studying toward. It was pretty exciting, mainly because we were excused from an afternoon of regular classes and anything that I got out of regular classes for seemed illicit and exciting and dangerous.

That was true right up to the moment I got the results back… Holy mother of Sean! My would-be professional goal in life, my ideal career, the job that would make me the happiest: Director of a summer bible camp. Seriously. I couldn’t make that up, my imagination stretches only so far.

There were many things inherently wrong with this career path, the most obvious being that I did not attend any church, and I was moderately aware that I was well on my way to being a slightly agnostic, mostly atheistic person that is highly critical of any organised religion.

The second being that I was never baptised into any faith, because my mother had a fight with the pastor/minster/whoever was in charge of doling out G-D and walked out, tiny me in arms, before I could be baptised and surely no bible camp worth it’s salt would let someone doomed to purgatory*** run a bible camp.

There are many more reasons, that in the name of tact, I have decided to omit from this pious b-log.

The point, which has gotten away from me, is that these career tests can be so limiting. I’m still faced with the same dilemma at 29 as I was at 13: I don’t know what to do with my life. Or rather, I haven’t been able to find a job that will pay me to sleep, read and eat yet, but I’m looking. I’m in love with possibilities and think that most things (astrophysics, neurosurgery and dentistry excluded) can be attempted and attained by anyone, should they desire only to try.

***Though I am confident now that there have been reservations made in my name in all the circles of hell. It’s how I roll.

-Bedfordshire bound Anna

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where I Accidentally Share Too Much With Everybody (Including You!)

In Which I am Utterly Alone

All of my colleagues have flown the coop that we typically call the office*. They’ve gone to drink beer and champagne in other (warmer) parts of the world, leaving me to languish here, alone, bored and disinterested in anything that even remotely resembles work. As such, I have seemingly exhausted my usual supply of interesting internet fodder and decided to write to you, fine internet.

*Collectively, it’s called the office, I generally refer to it as ‘that place’.

This is the point where I curl up and die, right?

Sooo, last night Hug came by bearing a borrowed plate and some news.

The Plate:

Randomly, and quite charmingly, he returned my plate with a box of crème brulee mix and a tube of garlic bread crumbs. Crème brulee I get, because, honestly, who doesn’t like being the recipient of boxed tasty goodness**? That was a really sweet gesture. But, bread crumbs? In a lifetime of strange gifts, garlic breadcrumbs take top (odd) spot.

I gave him a look that was meant to impart, ‘thank you, but what the fuck’? He said, well, I know you like cooking with bread crumbs. Err, I admit to having a conversation with your friend about bread crumbs, but I have never, ever cooked anything with bread crumbs. But, thank you for the very sweet, if bizarre, gesture.

The News (or Oh Sweet Jesus, take me now):

Hug is moving next month into another apartment in our building and the layout of his apartment is exactly the same as mine, just two floors up. Naturally, in preparation for doing a serious purge of A-Lot*** of stuff he asked if he could take a look around mine to get a feel for space.

In a move that I hadn’t anticipated, though on reflection makes sense for a gay man (priorities!), he headed straight for my bedroom. As soon as he was at the door, I realised that it was a mess; there was a mountain of clothes rivalling Mt Kilimanjaro in size, bras hanging off lamps, a layer of dust covering my chest of drawers. .

I did what any person would do and beelined it to the bedroom, attempted to sneakily remove undergarments from light fixtures while pushing mounds of dirty clothes under the bed. Until… I noticed the industrial sized box of condoms beside my bed with a bottle of lube on the window sill. Oh man! I tried to usher him out without being too obvious and even shut the lights off while he was still in there (subtlety, thy name is Anna) – perhaps to distract him with my strange behaviour so he wouldn’t notice the Costco amounts of sex I’ve been having.

He didn’t mention it, nor did I. I hope in five years or so, we can share a belly laugh about that awkwardness. Or not.

**upon reading the packet, I think I have been gifted a white elephant. It takes milk AND cream AND time to prepare it. Please note: next time, bring wine.

***Hug is an amateur hoarder. He currently owns no less than four coffee makers, various once used kitchen gadgets and tons of food. It will be great for when the apocalypse comes, but not so much for moving this month.

Til later, internet. In the meantime, I'll be flaunting my sexual life in front of all of my celibate friends! Yay!