Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Know you're Engaged When

That's right, Internet! I done got me a diamond

So you may have been wondering where I've been the past two months or so. And that is it, that is where I've been: engaged! Living happily in Engagement Land, a world filled with champagne cocktail parties and rose bouquets and tasteful serenades.

Lawl. Not really. I've actually been away on two vacations, hunting for a wedding venue, and dealing with the ensuing jet-lag as a result of one of said vacations. So I may have taken a two-month hiatus, but I'm back!

And as it turns out, being recently engaged is ripe for blogging topics! So here we go, You Know You're Engaged When, inspired by the lovely Alice's recent musings on pregnancy.*

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Accidental Missionary

I have been trying to think of an appropriately holiday-themed topic for my blog post this week, but I couldn't come up with anything. I was writing about the stupid War on Christmas bullshit that is the most useless movement in the history of life (people, saying Happy Holidays is not an insult to Christians) but it was getting long and preachy and not very exciting.

As I was writing it, though, I remembered a funny little story from my childhood. And what's more Christmassy than a story about childlike curiosity, youthful naivety and friendship? I can't help but chuckle to myself as I'm writing it, so I hope you think it's funny too.

When I was a kid, around nine or ten years old, I got a pen pal through one of those Let's All Be Friends and Hold Hands With Kids Around The World type programs. It didn't last long - maybe two letters each - before we stopped caring about each other. My pen pal was a little girl from New York who I'm sure was a very nice person despite our general indifference to continue the letter-writing friendship after the novelty wore off.

I don't remember her name, but I'll pretend it is Hannah. One of the first things Hannah told me about herself in her initial letter to me was that she was Jewish. I found that very exotic and exciting. I didn't know many Jewish people and, because I was nine and stupid, I figured that she probably didn't know many Christians or much about Christianity.

I was curious about Judaism. I knew that Jews celebrated some sort of weeklong holiday called Hannukah around the same time that us Gentiles were waiting for Santa, but I didn't know anything about Hannukah or what Jewish holiday traditions were like.

I wanted to ask her, but I thought it would be rude to just ask her for information and not give her any of my own. We were pen pals, after all; it was all about getting to know one another, and sharing parts of you with someone else in the name of cultural harmony and yada yada yada. So I figured that, if I was going to ask her what Hannukah was like, I should tell her about Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Partial Hearing Loss

Warning (to most people) and/or selling point (for ten-year-old boys and people who have the mentality of ten-year-old boys): There are gross medical pictures in this post.

I've mentioned a couple of times now that I am hard of hearing. When I was a little kid - three or four - I started developping chronic, really bad ear infections. Ear infections are bad news bears, guys; they should never be neglected. Sadly, no one told my family doctor this, so despite my parents's repeated concerns that this wasn't normal, the doctor kept brushing it off and refusing to do anything about it. He is awful. So very awful. I will call him Dr. Awful. Eventually, my infections were so bad that even Dr. Awful finally acknowledged that maybe I needed to see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist. But it was too late: the problems has progressed beyond the point of antibiotics and bedrest.

My new ENT doctor, who I will call Dr. Awesome, determined that I had a condition called cholesteatoma. (Yes, I definitely spelled that wrong at first.)Cholesteatoma is a specific type of skin cyst that forms on the eardrum. It's a fucking asshole and should probably die.

If you want to learn more about cholesteatoma, here you go, but unless you are a doctor, biologist, or Trekkie, that Wikipedia page might as well be written in Klingon. I'll try and dumb it down, although I am not a doctor myself and most of this went on when I was too young to really get it, so my own interpretation is probably a bit off.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Remembering Kids' Books

I've mentioned before that I am something of a big reader, and that I always have been.

I wasn't kidding. I learned to read at a young age, and was tested to read at a high-school level when I was just in grade five. I've won several awards and contests for my reading and writing, including a special medal for reading in kindergarten. And I'm not telling you this to brag - well, okay, I'm bragging a little. (How many of you got reading awards when you were five, bitches?) But I'm mostly just highlighting that reading and writing is kind of my thing. We all have certain skills that are natural to us, or certain hobbies that mean a lot to us; reading is mine. I can't explain why I've always been good at it, or why it's always been a favourite pastime. It's like breathing to me. I don't even remember learning how - it's like I was born knowing - and I can't imagine my life without books. My range in book tastes is pretty diverse: political non-fiction, epic adventure stories, mysteries, celebrated Canadian literature, pop horror, postmodernism, and, finally, comic books all have a home on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Am A Happy Atheist

Whoa, Caterpillar.


The title of this post makes no sense! An atheist is, by definition, a person who is miserable and downtrodden and suffocating in a cloud of pain. How can an atheist find joy? Isn't an atheist a person whose hard life has led them down the path of cynicism and hate?

That's how I imagine you would have read the above title if you are a TV writer. You see, TV writers hate atheists. Or, more accurately, they hate their atheist characters. It doesn't matter if they themselves are atheists, since I'm sure atheist TV writers exist. But they must be really self-loathing! Because I have yet to come across a positive portrayal of atheism on television.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Things That Shouldn't Terrify Me but Do

It's Halloween!

I missed all the rad parties this weekend, because I was at an even-radder party: Alice's wedding to Dawson!

A huge cybercongratulations goes out to Alice and Dawson, who I am sure are going to be deliriously happy together when they're not trying to avoid a mental breakdown dealing with their adorable little hellraiser. So I hope you'll join me in wishing them a very happy life together. If their wedding was any indication of how happy they'll be, then they certainly don't need any luck in that department - they've got all the love they're going to need. Anyone who knows Alice will know what a big deal it was that she managed to bag a man who was willing to participate in not one, not two, but three choreographed dance routines. These two are made for each other. <3 Cheers to the happy couple!

But, back to Halloween. I have a rather short and silly post today. I figured in the spirit of everyone's favourite scary day, I would post a few of the weirdest things that terrify me. I wonder if any of the following makes anyone else nervous?

1. Escalators

I don't know why but I always get a minor, but real, thrill when stepping on/off an escalator. Remember when you were a kid and you believed that if you didn't time your step properly, you'd get sucked into the crack that separates the escalator from the regular floor and your feet would get sliced off at the ankles and your bones would be slowly and agonizingly crushed to leave your parents weeping over your lifeless flattened body? Well, as a grown-up, those fears have been replaced by the much more reasonable "I might trip and look like a jackass" fear. But still. It's scary.

2. Stairs with holes in them

Stairs with gaps between each step should not exist. Because people who are afraid of heights (which, as I've mentioned, is an entirely legitimate fear) will believe that they will slip and fall through the cracks and die. It does not matter if I am far too large to fit through a three-inch crack. The holes also serve to remind me how high up I am, and every time I walk up those stairs (seriously, every fucking time) I grip the railing tightly and hyperventilate a little bit because I am mentally picturing the stairs crumbling under my weight and I crash to the floor beneath me with a shriek of doom.

3. Going through customs/airport security

I am fully aware that I have not packed any drugs, weapons, or foreign animals with my luggage. I know. I packed it. I'm also aware that I don't actually own any weapons or drugs, and I don't intend on bringing my cats on an airplane. But every time I go through security - every time - there's that tiny part of me that worries I forgot to take my nail file out of my purse and the security guards are going to beat me down and question me for suspected manicure terrorism, or that I somehow have an old joint from seven years ago that for some reason was in my purse I only use infrequently and I'm going to get whisked away to a Thai prison like in Brokedown Palace. It doesn't matter that I've never even been to Thailand. That's always the prison I picture.

4. That scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I where the snake in Bathilda's house jumps up and snaps at the camera

I'm not including horror movies, because those are supposed to be scary (and rarely are). But this is Harry Potter! I didn't sign up for this. It's a scary part, guys. Makes me jump every time, however-many viewings later.

5. Ordering food when stoned

I think I want to order a cheeseburger. But I don't want mustard because I don't like mustard and if the cheeseburger comes with mustard it will ruin the experience for me because I am ravenous but also suffering from hyper-sensitive taste buds at present. I am pretty sure if the cheeseburger has mustard I will throw up all over the table, even though I don't actually hate mustard all that much. But I don't even know whether the combo # 7 comes with mustard so I guess I should probably ask the counter staff whether it does. But how? Do you just say "Does the cheeseburger in combo # 7 have mustard on it?" That doesn't sound right. That can't be right. Is that really how you ask a question? Maybe I'll just say "I'd like a combo # 7 without mustard," whether or not it comes with mustard. But then the counter staff will think I'm a moron for not knowing how to order food. I should totally know whether the cheeseburger has mustard, shouldn't I? Is that a thing a person should know? Oh holy crap, it's my turn next. Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit. Wait. What am I ordering again? Mustard? Mustard had something to do with it. Why would I just order mustard? I don't even like mustard. Mustard is a funny word. MUSStard. MusTERRRRRD. Oh my god the counter staff is looking at me. Where am I? What do I do? I'm just going to leave the restaurant or I think I might have a heart attack, and not from this greasy-ass food. I can make some toast at home. Mmm, toast.

Now, time to go home and scare the beejesus out of myself even further with some cheesy old movie. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tattoos and the Usual Questions

I'm back, internet!

I have been seriously neglecting my blogging duties for quite a while now, haven't I? But I'm not going to apologize for that. It's my blog. I blog when I want to blog. I OWN YOU.

But seriously, I do actually have a good reason for being so unbloggy lately. I have a very seasonal job. I work in communications for the national office of an education-centered charity. The summer months are slower, the winter months get a little more action, but the fall and the spring - COMMUNICATIONS INSANITY. I just returned from a work conference out in the lovely province of Prince Edward Island, and the past month or so has been nuts leading up to it. But now it's done! Behind me! And I can breathe a little more easily knowing I didn't spill red wine all over our board of directors or accidentally trip my boss into the Atlantic Ocean or anything like that. I still have a job, guys!

One of the helpful things about these national conferences is that the (provincial) branch representatives and national board and staff all come together face-to-face. When you live in Ottawa but have colleagues in Victoria, Halifax, and everywhere in between, these face-to-face meetings are really valuable for recognizing your colleagues as living, breathing human beings. So get-to-know-each-other icebreaker activities are almost always a part of these conferences, and this weekend, everyone learned something about me: I have 3 tattoos.