Thursday, October 9, 2008

He has no home.

When I work late, I run into our office cleaning lady. I look forward to these encounters. Despite initial communication problems, we've learned that we speak the common language of BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks, and we've done just fine since then. This woman is hilarious. If you took my mother's dedication to the CFL, Lucky's loyalty to the Canucks, and threw that in the blender with a strange red dye job and an unidentifiable but kind of south asian accent, you'd get her. Or maybe she's actually spanish. I don't know.

At least once a week, I can count on a conversation through the stall door in the bathroom while she wipes down the counters, and I take care of my own business, if you will. I don't understand everything she says, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't get all of my responses, but we share "Geroy," and "Buck Pierce," and we lots of headshaking mutters about Mats Sundin. She never fails to crack up when I tell her that we just need to get the coaches on the phone and tell them how it should be.

Tonight, on my way out, I ran into her in the hall where she just might have been waiting for me. She was almost too excited to speak, but through a series of gestures at the radio that is always strapped to her cart, and eyes wide with anticipation, she let me know that she was very excited about tonight's season opener for the Canucks. She asked if I was going to watch the game, and I said "Of course!" not telling her that I would miss part of it for yoga. I want to stay on good terms with her. She's small, but fierce. In fact, her fierceness came out when I told her with mock indignation that Lucky had a ticket to tonight's game but hadn't given it to me. Either the "mock" part was lost in translation, or she didn't care. Eyes wide, head shaking: "Ohhhhh... no. You can't let him come home. He has no home."

Friday, October 3, 2008

You choose.

So, Hey! Hi! Right! I haven't updated in ages! Whoops. It's that thing I've said about self-inflicted pressure: when I've let it go this long, it really feels like I should be coming back with something momentous. Instead, I'm coming back to tell you about a cool way to part with your money.

This writer, Sarah Bunting, has a blog called Tomato Nation. She's a good writer. She's got an amusing advice column, a brilliant definition of feminism, and an account of September 11th that brings me to tears when I read it each year. Besides all that, she has motivated her readers to donate over $150,000 to low-income schools in the states over 4 years, all through a program called Donors Choose. As an amusing aside, she rewards the readers with things like this crazy tomato dance posted to youtube, but the real thrill of the drive comes from being part of something so big and hopeful.

This year, she's set a goal of $100,000 from October 1st to the 31st. Considering that we were past $29,000 on the third day, I think we're going to make it. I'm telling you about this not to guilt you into donating, but because I feel so good right now. I gave $20.00 to help a school teacher in Georgia buy blocks to teach her third graders about fractions. My Mom taught me the same way: with popsicle sticks and coloured cubes. As a kid for whom math just did not come naturally, those kinds of tools were key in helping me grow up without a fear of learning, and I'm so happy to pay that forward. These are American schools, and while I would have loved to donate to some Canadians, I got over the border divide when I read about classrooms that literally do not have crayons. No crayons. Seriously. I was also sorely tempted by a project that focused on teaching high school kids about world geography and current events, because goddamn, we need a generations of Americans that know their Iran from the Afghanistan.

I feel like I'm part of something big right now - something exciting, productive, and fast-moving. I know I won't feel nearly this charged when I cast my vote next Tuesday, but I will feel better, knowing that there are projects like this to choose to support. And knowing that those kid in Georgia got their blocks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ninja Cat!

This blog is in danger of turning into my list of youtube favourites, but I could not resist sharing the love of the Ninja Cat. Ninja Cat knows that sneakiness is all in the head cock. Not like that, you dirty dirtface.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When in drought, make a list.

In the last few days, my body has been waging the last battle of its campaign against me (dear God, let it be the last, and not just the latest) so I haven't felt like writing much, which makes me feel guilty, which makes me feel bad, so then I really don't feel like writing much. See that circle? And how it's vicious? Stupid circle. Since it's taken me so long to get my sorry butt moving, I figured a lame step was better than no step at all, so I'm going to go ahead and leech off of the fine work and actions of others by making a

List of Things That Make Me Happy Even When My Insides Hate Me.

1. The guy who walks down the block outside my office once a day singing Italian opera so loudly and so beautifully that I can hear him on the 5th floor.

2. My boss, who has been telling me for the last two years that he is going to hire said guy for my wedding/ anniversary/ birthday/ bat mitsvah and delivering said joke in his unchanging and possibly unintended deadpan style which is deader than any pan ever to walk the face of this earth, and then die.

3. People who shout thank-you's to their bus drivers as they disembark.

4. The recipe for chocolate chip peanutbutter marshmallow bananas that I'm planning to make on Friday.

5. This laughing baby.

6. My sister-in-law's recent engagement to a lovely young gentleman who makes her happy as a clam with OCD.

7. Successfully completing an epic and heartwrenching quest spanning many months and lady's clothing stores by finding the perfect grey cardigan last weekend, and making it mine.

8. The only bee in my bonnet.

Take that, uterus. Take that and suck it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How I freaked out Frontalot

Lucky and I spent last weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. For those of you who are not giant gaming nerds, let me explain that this is the annual expo put on by the Penny Arcade guys for gamers all over the west coast to come out and sample the goods of the massive gaming world, from table top games, to role playing, to consoles, and everything in between. It's also a time for gamers to get together and interact face to face, in the real world, and I have to admit that this anthropological gold mine of opportunities was part of the reason I was so excited to go.

So, this was kind of a big deal. A 58,000 nerds in downtown Seattle kind of big deal. Lucky's game was nominated as one of the PAX 10, which was a pretty big deal in itself. The Penny Arcade guys are cool, see, and they support indie gamers who struggle in the world of all those massive gaming companies taking up all the sweet spots in Wii Ware, and LiveArcade, and blah blah blah don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about? That there is what they call osmosis, friends. So anyway, 80 independent game companies submitted their games, and 10 were chosen as the PAX 10, to be displayed in the exhibition hall, alongside all that Halo and Rock Band and World of Warcraft juiciness. I tagged along with Lucky for those three exhausting and superfun days, and explained the gist of the game to approximately eleventy billion nerds per day. Not only did I get really good at showing people how to play the demo, but I gained an eye for discerning which guys could handle me striking up a conversation, and which would turn tail and dart into the crowd (omg, the crowds) at the interaction with a girl! who was real! and not in a pikachu costume! Seriously, this little pikachu girl who was bopping around? So cute.

I loved seeing Lucky in that environment, since there's never been another conference that I could go along to. It was great to meet some of his friends from that world, and I was proud in that embarrassingly squishy way to see him take questions on a panel with the other PAX 10 and be funny and informative and professional, all on way too little sleep. Did I mention that it was exhausting? Part of the reason we were so beat was because we forced ourselves to return to the Expo each night around 10:00 to go to the concerts. See, my nerdiness is more about books and music than games, so musicians who are well-read and sing or rap about nerdy things really turn my crank. One of my favourites is a guy considered to be the founding father of Nerdcore, MC Frontalot. I'll wait while you go check this out.

You're back? Awesome, no? And then I freaked him out.

I've been having really vivid dreams lately. Combine that with the fact that we went to bed on Friday night after the first day at PAX, submersed in all things nerdy all day, with me excited about seeing MC Frontalot's show the next night, and it shouldn't be a surprise that I had a really odd dream about him. In my dream, I went up to the little booth at the Expo where he was signing autographs and selling merch, only to find that he was not doing those things at all, so much as operating a jewellry consignment. On top of that, he didn't want my jewellry. He said it wouldn't sell. As you can imagine, I was displeased with the whole interaction. When I woke up in the morning, I told Lucky about it, along with the other dream I'd had about Barack Obama coming by our booth and admiring the game, but he was more amused by the Frontalot one, and said that I absolutely had to go tell him about it at the Expo that day. I wasn't sure, but I warmed up to the idea, thinking that Frontalot had to be a pretty open-minded guy with a good sense of humour, and that the least I could do was give a chuckle to a guy whose music I had enjoyed on many occasions.

So, I picked my moment, when there was no one at his booth, just him and his Mom staffing the table (Yes, I'm pretty sure that was his Mom selling merch with him. If that doesn't give you cred, I don't know what does. Although, you do have to wonder what she makes of the Pr0n Song when I can't even handle telling my Mom that our softball team is called Balls Deep.) I approached, and launched into the explanation and story I had rehearsed in my head, "Ok, so I'm not a crazed fan... but I do like your stuff... I mean, I have one album, that I bought, because piracy is bad, right? Yeah, so anyways, don't be freaked out, but I had this dream about you last night..." And I told him, and he laughed, but it was nervous laughter, and I don't think it was my imagination that he backed away just a bit. I totally freaked out Frontalot. That night, at the show, I had to wonder if it occurred to him that the weird girl with the jewellry issues might be in the crowd, watching. When he came by our booth the next day to briefly admire the game (so cool!) I wondered if he recognized me, but I was redeemed by the fact that he said the game looked awesome. So, I think Frontalot and I are ok. Now I can go dream about Jonathan Coulton.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spalicious! Spatacular? Sorry. Both horrible.

So, Tuesday evening, I'm on my way home from work, and I am cranky. I'm thinking about writing in my blog, but I'm also thinking that my least favourite entries in other blogs are the ones where the writers complain about bad days. Unfortunately, I had mostly grumpy things to report: frustrating work stuff that I am too smart to write about here, the fact that I was trudging home in the rain because non-regular bus riders all crawl out of the woodwork and clog the buses on even slightly wet days (Seriously. Where do they come from?), all exacerbated by the fact that my hormones are STILL RAGING OH MY GOD. So: crap mood, not wanting to whine about it. That there? That wasn't whining, that was just background.

Anyhow, I get home, drop my crap, and start to dread heading back out into the rain to pick up dinner as planned. There's a message on the phone. I check it. It's from the awesome spa that I've been to a few times in the past few years. I think: "Hmm. This can't be bad." More background: my lovely mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to said spa for my birthday last year. When I headed in six months later to redeem the gift, they told me that there was no such credit on file. I wracked my brain to sort out whether or not I had really spent it already, and I decided that it was unlikely, but possible. After getting numerous spa girls to check their records, and coming up short each time, I gave up, because really, what can you do? Anyways, back to the phone call. It seems that yet another spa girl (there are lots) was going through their pile of gift certificates, and found that there was an un-redeemed one for me from 2007. She wanted to let me know, and encourage me to come in and spend it. Well, hello awesome! The coolness of them reminding people to make use of services rather than just pocketing the payment mitigates the fact that they lost the gift in the first place. Also, the coolness of this turn of events overshadowed the grumpy day leading up to it, resulting in a happy Kat, and potential blog entry! All's well that ends with a Baltic sea salt rub, right? Right!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

As sickly sweet as this well ever get, cross my heart.

This past Monday, Lucky and I celebrated one year of marital bliss. You may ask me why I didn't post this then, and to that, I say: shut it. He loves me for my flexible conception of time and punctuality, and you should too. (Lucky will surely try to amend that to say that he loves me despite those flexible ideas, to which I will say to him: shut it. But I'll say it with love.)

I still get asked pretty often how I like being married, and how it's different than our pre-married state. To that, I always answer "I love it," and "not very." Sure, we've got a nicer toaster (with polka dots!) and I still squirm a bit whenever anyone refers to us as husband and wife, and the poor Safeway girl doesn't understand why I look like I wanted to hug her when she hands back my Visa card and says "Here you go, Mrs. Lucky!" but other than that, it's not been that different than the years that preceded it. Which is to say, it's pretty awesome.

On the very scientific scale of up's and down's, this year has been heavily weighted on the up. That's my convoluted way of saying that it's been really good. A person might think that the events of the last few weeks would have pulled it down significantly, but I would argue that there's been so much to outweigh that, particularly the huge joy of knowing that we can get pregnant, and the very pleasant process of trying. And trying some more. Then a few more times just to be safe. Throw in Japan, and joint family holidays, and Rock Band parties with the buddies, and all those quiet nights of sitting on the couch and doing our own things while being so happy to just be in the same room while we do them, and there's just no contest.

We've actually got another anniversary coming up as well. August 26th will mark eight years since my brother married my sister-in-law, and because I like to frame everything in terms of what it has to do with me, I think of that as the day that Lucky and I truly set this in motion, and hooked each other, for better or for worse. It was at their wedding that I saw this boy that I'd first met three years earlier, when I was a 15 year old girl with lofty romantic ambitions. I remember standing at the podium in the church, reading aloud the bible passage my brother had chosen for me, and having very un-Catholic thoughts about him, watching me from one of the pews, giving me just as many butterflies as he had three years before. At the reception, I did my very best, and used all my not-so subtle charms, but the jerk just wouldn't ask me to dance. If I hadn't stepped up as the brave one, where would we be? I like to point that out, and he offers some lame excuse about the dangers of asking the groom's little sister to dance, and blah blah blah, my other brother is scary, and yeah yeah whatever he's chicken. Thankfully, he manned up enough to accept my request, and so it began, to the sound of Gord Downie, explaining that New Orleans was sinking. By the time the bride and groom came around to jokingly remind us to leave some room for the Holy Ghost, it was far too late.

Eight years later, and one year married, I've still got those butterflies. Happy anniversary, Honey.

Friday, August 15, 2008

We're ok.

Last Thursday, at 8:30 am, we found out I wasn't pregnant any more. My stupid body didn't get the message for awhile, even thought the poor ultrasound tech laid the news on us pretty clearly before he beat a hasty retreat.

I had had a bad feeling for a few days, and hadn't been sleeping or focusing on anything else very well. The ultrasound confirmed my fears. The baby was gone. I was about to have a miscarriage. We went home and had a pretty horrible day. Poor Lucky had to go to work, but I was able to stay on our couch and do what I had to do for hours (that is: cry, try to watch a movie, cry some more, ask myself unanswerable questions, cry.) I spoke to my midwives, who were absolutely fantastic, and they gave me just the right mix of empathy and information. They confirmed that this is far, far more common than people accept (1 in 5 pregnancies end in the first trimester) but we just don't talk about it. For the pregnancy to end at this stage, the loss could be attributed pretty confidently to a chromosomal problem that stopped the embryo from thriving, and caused the little life to shut itself off, as it wasn't meant to be. They also assured me that this says nothing about the viability of future pregnancies, but you can go ahead and remind me of that the next time we're two months along.

As of Friday, we started to pick ourselves up. On Thursday night, I slept better than I had in weeks, and on Friday, I had a remarkably productive day at work, even though I broke down a bit when my boss tried to ask me how I was doing. Over the weekend, we really did make peace with this, although I had twinges of guilt for enjoying things, and a big feeling of dread hanging over me for the physical process still to come. My body still hadn't let go, although the ultrasound showed that this had already been over for weeks. I thought we could wait it out, and let my body take care of it eventually, but my midwives flexed their loving but tough muscles and, pointing out the risk of infection, and the need for closure, made an appointment for me at a clinic that takes care of these sorts of things.

That happened yesterday. It wasn't pleasant, but it's done. Really really, we're ok. Our family and friends have been so great about supporting us from the sidelines while respecting our requests to deal with this on our own. Lucky has been a champ as always, and although I never need a reminder of his awesomeness, the article we were given by one of the nurses on the subject of helping each other heal made it pretty clear that other women are dealing with some serious douchebags.

This is worth quoting:
"A husband often encourages his wife to "keep busy," and may react with frustration and concern at her frequent inability to do anything but sit, think, and cry. He fears that this outpouring of grief means his wife is "falling apart," and he may be frightened by her difficulty in coping with everyday."

Another gem:
" 'I guess I did blame my wife for awhile. We never knew why our baby died, and I thought she should have taken better care of herself.' "

Ok, one more:
"Mourning can create a tremendous pull toward anything that feels new and unblemished. It is not unusual for a father or mother to turn to another relationship, perhaps even to begin an affair."

Besides the reminder that Lucky and I have such a great relationship, and that we are surrounded by friends and family that love us very much, we're also acutely aware of how fortunate we are to be able to conceive, and have this reassurance that our parts do fit together. There are other couples that would give anything to have gone through what we've just dealt with, because it means that we have the potential to do it again, and have a baby. There is a couple that we love very much who are in that exact position, and we have thought of them every time we've felt too sad, and remembered that this is really just part of the process. We're ok, I promise.

Monday, August 4, 2008

An Olive in the Oven

I have a really good reason for not having written in two weeks, I swear. There's been something on my mind. It's a little, tiny something, but it's taken up a disproportionate amount of energy. In fact, it's only the size of a big grape, or a cocktail olive, and it hasn't been on my mind, so much as in my belly. If you're following along, and not jumping to conclusions about some kind of dreaded, super-rare grapesickness or olivepox, you may have guessed it: I'm pregnant. Here's Steggy with the proof:

Holy crap, right? Lucky and I have been on this mission since March, and after three months of no dice, we put the bun in the oven in early June. At least, that's when we got the positive test result (see above). The ovening must actually have happened about two weeks earlier, but since pregnancy week-counting is whack, it was already considered week 4 at the time of testing. Now, I am officially 8.5 weeks along, or just over 2 months. I'm still plop in the middle of the stealth trimester, so if you are one of the few people from my real life who knows about this blog, please keep this firmly on the DL. (That means "down low," for those of you even whiter than me. Is that possible? I am scared for you.)

So, here we are. If Eggy Jr. (tm Lucky) holds on, and all goes according to plan, we will have a mini-us in mid-March. I'm in an odd place, in that I don't want to lose touch with the fact that this could still go wrong, but I do want to embrace the process and give in to some healthy, squirmy hope. I had a very good talk with a friend of mine who happens to be a midwife a few weeks ago, and I was reminded that not only is she super hot, she's also pretty wise. She pointed out that when things go bad in the first trimester, it is almost always because the little life had something quite wrong off the get-go, and just wasn't going to thrive. The goal is to find some peace in being proud of what we've made so far (and we are) and being aware that it's now up to the little one to take root. So basically, it's day to day. And it's pretty much all I'm thinking about.

This is why I haven't written. I originally didn't want to commit it to virtual paper until it got a bit more solid, but since we met with the midwife last week, and have an ultrasound scheduled for this Thursday, and I realized that I just wasn't going to write very much unless I could write about this, I thought it was time to sack up. Get ready to hear about my boobs. Which are HUGE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A very bad, no good day.

One year ago last Wednesday, I had a seizure on the 17 on the way home from work, which is something I'd never before done in in public, much less by myself. I'm not talking about one of my little mini-seizures. Over the years, I've had those in all kind of places. Those are easy enough to hide: just a bit of speech mess-up and some memory problems, sometimes with a headache to follow - no big deal. In fact, it always gives me a bit of a charge to be able to sneak it by. It's kind of a shout out to my roots, from those days before diagnosis, before meds, before knowing what was wrong with me. Those little ones aren't fun, but most of the time I can handle them, and they play a part in who I am.

This was one different. This one was a reminder that epilepsy is about unpredictability, and a lack of control. It was one of those really big ones, formerly known as grand mal, now more correctly called tonic-clonic. "Tonic" means stiffening, and "clonic" means shaking. Anyway you label it, it blows, and it's pretty impossible to hide.

So, I was on the bus, it was a hot day, I was reading a book I didn't really like, and a little seizure started up. I was a bit surprised and disoriented, which might be why I didn't shake it off. I think I've actually been spoiled by Lucky's skill in snapping me out of these. Now, it seems that I'm a bit lost on my own. I was aware of what was going on until we turned onto Broadway, and drove a few more blocks. At that point, I lost about two minutes. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the same spot, but the people around me all looked horribly uncomfortable, and they were staring at anything but me. The only person paying attention was a woman who sat beside me, rubbing my hand and speaking in a low voice. I couldn't understand her, but I knew that she cared, and that she was very, very worried. It was at about that time that I saw some men in uniforms boarding the bus, and it was obvious that they were coming for me. Since I couldn't understand what was being said to me, and since I couldn't seem to get myself to talk, I based my analysis of the situation on the reactions of the people around me. With that, I assumed that the men in uniforms were police, and the woman beside me was trying to tell me as gently as possible that I was being taken away to jail, forever. It's funny what your brain will do.

Over the next half hour, as they got me off the bus, loaded me into the ambulance, and took me to VGH, I gradually came back to myself, and I realized that I'd had a seizure, which was slightly better than being mistakenly arrested and locked away for a crime I did not commit. Even as my head cleared, I was stuck with some of the guilt and misunderstanding, which is why, when I called Lucky to tell him where I was, I mistook his panic for anger, and immediately started to apologize for dragging him to the ER. I'm still sorry.

I'm being a bit harsh on all those people on the bus. A seizure is a scary thing to see, I know. I found out from the paramedics that the woman beside me was a nurse from Britain who was sight-seeing with her husband, and took charge when someone yelled for medical help. I wish I could thank her. Someone else wrapped up my iPod and put it back in my purse, and that same person was probably also the one who slipped my bookmark into my book, before putting it away as well. I thought about those things when I got back on the same bus, with the same commuters a week later.

I started trying to write this down the Monday before last, and it's taken me this long. I don't like to think about these things, but they are in my head - literally, I guess.

Friday, July 4, 2008

You say black tea, I say crack tea.

At 2:00 this afternoon, when my regular post-lunch droopiness was compounded by the fatigue resulting from my body's pathetic attempts to keep core temperature at a survivable level against the odds of my office's goddamn building manager and his goddamn trigger-happy a.c. levels as soon as it turns to goddamn June, I broke down and had a mug of tea. My fleece blanket wasn't cutting it, and my co worker and I had already tripped the fuse with our dueling space heaters (I am not shitting you) so I had no option but to turn to the kettle, and oh; it was glorious. So warm and bitter, orange pekoe rushed to my numb fingers and sad toes and said "Hey, I'm here. It's ok. Amputation has been averted." I was grateful. Then I was wired. Here's the thing: I quit caffeine 4 months ago. I am friggin buzzing. Hence the sentences longer and more complicated than Tyra Bank's musings on the importance of a model's neck. You can't spell "opiate" without "OP," which is also known as ORANGE PEKOE.

Yeah, I'm going to crash.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yes, of course.

Tee shirt on the tiny Asian girl across from me on the bus yesterday afternoon:

"Cute the face you love smile!"

Well, obviously. And that was just the back. The front? A huge happy face with the text "I [heart] Smile!" So do I, tiny Asian girl. So do I.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Relationship Evolves

A couple weeks ago on a Wednesday night, I was riding the ferry home from Victoria, and I was cranky, with a capital crank. The only seats available were just a few rows away from a huge, throbbing mass of teenagers, and their shrieking self-consciousness made it awfully hard to focus on my Jane Austen and listen to my Coldplay. Ok, so I was in a whiny place to begin with, but still, I did not deserve this. I decided that just the thing to sooth my battered nerves would be a little cup of the delicious-looking soft serve being waved around by all those obnoxious teenagers as part of their communication system or mating ritual or whatever.

I headed off to stalk around the ferry and deduce the source of the ice creamy goodness, sure that this would be just the thing to perk me up, or at least make the next hour bearable. I zeroed in on my target after freaking out some 9 year old boy and his mother by grasping his arm, gesturing at his ice cream and saying "That. The ice cream. Where did you get it?" They pointed me towards a little nook selling coffee and chips and most importantly, housing a big silver machine with a magical lever promising a swirl of chocolaty-vanilla goodness for deserving folks, such as I. I suddenly felt calm, even charitable. Luckily for that 9 year old boy and his mom, they had disappeared to Car Level One by the time I tried the lever, and realized that the machine would be giving me nothing but a slightly lewd, sputtering cough. Dude behind the counter: "Yeah... I think it's empty." Kat: "[rage]"

The fact that I'm not writing this from a women's detention centre means that I didn't give in to my instincts and return to the scene of the teenagers, distract them by busting their DS's and PSP's and ABC's and XYZ's in order to confiscate their cups of ice cream and consume them, secure in the knowledge that I deserved it, dammit. No, I stopped myself. Partly because teenagers are gross and not yet practiced in the arts of hygeine, but also because I am a bigger person than that.

Also, because I realized that I was carrying in my bag the last of the Milk Duds. Our relationship may be rocky, but they're there when I need them, that's for sure.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blocked by Chewy Deliciousness.

So, I feel really silly saying this, but I've kind of had a bit of blogger's block for the last week or two, which is why I haven't posted anything. I've opened the site up a bunch of times, stared at the empty field, thought about interesting things that have happened of late, had trouble thinking of interesting ways to write about them, got discouraged, and gone off to eat some Milk Duds. The box of Milk Duds is almost gone, so their siren song will soon have no control. In the meantime, I think they deserve a haiku. Am I right? I'm right.

Caramel goodness,
Chocolate coating: Lure me,
You crafty vixens.

Alright, this bodes well. I'm back on the haiku horse. Let's go for one more, for good measure.

Brought home from movie,
To sit on coffee table,
Bad for my fillings.

The block, she is broken.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In the immortal words of Kirsten Dunst: Bring it On.

Remember that time I had bed bugs? No? Oh! Silly me... You weren't there! Of course! You should have seen it. Wait.. not that I'm wishing it upon you, dear lord in heaven, no. Even if you are a horrible, terrible person who has found this blog; indeed, even if you are Dick Cheney (Hey, you!); heck, even if you are [deep breath] Geddy Lee, I do not wish that trial of physical and psychological misery upon you. Gak! Wait! What was that? On my skirt! Get it off! GET IT OFF! Oh... heh... silly me... just some fluff... you'll have to excuse me... just the thought of that.. God, it was horrible.

So, as I was saying, that was way worse than all the mosquito bites I currently have on my legs, strategically placed by the little buggers to be rubbed and tickled by my pants when I walk, making me want to stop on the way to the bus to scratch frantically at my kneepit. I was not aware they had that kind of capacity for planning, but my hat is off to them. Look at me: appreciating their skills, but moving on with my life, unscathed, because they cannot break me. I've dealt with worse. Remember the bed bugs? Oh god, I do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maggie is just as lovely as she seems.

Last Friday, I impressed myself very much by manning up and attending a meet and greet with two of my favourite writers, all by my little self. When I saw that Dooce and MightyGirl (aka Heather Armstrong and Maggie Mason) were coming to Vancouver, my first reaction was to be very excited that they were going to see this great city. When I saw that they would be holding a meet and greet at Granville Island, I thought "Huh. That's neat. Too bad I don't have anyone to go with, because it would have been super cool to meet them." Then I thought, "I am a Lame-o McWimperson, and this should not be so difficult." Some loving but harsh encouragement from Lucky may have also tipped the scales (him: "How lame and wimpy are you? You will regret not doing this." me: "Shut up. How come you're so right?")

Anyhow, I realized that I had no excuse. Granville Island is a half hour walk from my office, and the meet and greet was a half hour after my work day ends. I've been meaning to send each of them a copy of Lucky's latest game as a token of my appreciation for their writing, which I enjoy every week, and this was a great chance to deliver - not in concrete form, because that's impossible, you silly pants, but at least with a head's up to expect a url in an email. So, I bought pretty cards, scrupulously picked an outfit, and tried to find a copy of Heather's book, which was sadly sold out all over the city. As an alternative, Lucky told me to get her to sign my boobs, but darn it, I forgot. Next time!

The event was low-key and comfortable, just as you might expect. There was quite a line up of fans to meet Heather, so I chatted with her and Jon for just a few minutes, which was long enough to wish them happy times in our city, thank them for all their great writing, and see that they are even more striking in real life than you might imagine. That's pretty striking. I also got some pictures with the two of them.

In that first one with Heather, the reason it looks like I have lockjaw and she looks totally normal is because she backed out of the silly face at the last minute, I swear. In that second one with Jon, the reason it looks like he's sucking out my brain is because he's cool.

After meeting Heather and Jon, I spent the next hour or so chatting with Maggie and a few other girls, which was even more fun that you might guess. Maggie is a lovely host, even when it's not her restaurant, or even her city, and the conversation jumped from pedicures, to brains, to shoes, which was quite alright with me. She also graciously saved my pride when I told her about the lockjaw situation with Heather, and she felt compelled to rectify the situation by taking one for the team.

That would be why I'm smiling, and she's looking goofy, which proves that a person really can go from classy to crazy in the blink of an eye. Now, if only I could work that in the other direction. Maggie also prettied up for a few more shots, and showed off that wicked red dress.

As a final bit of goodness, she dragged me back to Heather for a sandwich shot with the two of them, which makes a Kat C feel quite special, and kind of short.

I should mention that Maggie's husband Bryan is also a neat fellow, and it makes me want to have multiple dinner parties/ double dates with the two of them. Hopefully, the fantastic weather over the weekend convinced them to pack up their baby and move on up here. I'm always ready to discuss brains over pedicures, then hit the streets for some hot shoe shopping.

Friday, May 23, 2008

An Unholy Trinity of Grossness (Potentially)

At this point, it's still just a duo, but I'm watching my back.

On Monday, Dad and I had our annual annual day (gardening joke! watch out!), and it was great. I look forward to it every year. We made our trip down to the garden store for all of our supplies, and I had the requisite visit with my old boss, jokes about me coming back, and inevitable questions from customers who either recognize me from years ago, or think that I look like I know what I'm doing. This year, it was exacerbated by the fact that I was wearing my garden store logo hoodie. I am pleased to say that I still knew where the clematis was, still recommended a hardy sun-loving perennial, and still knew that it was not too late to seed cilantro. Who's still got it? I've still got it.

Anyhow, plants were procured, embarrassing jokes were made by Dad, and we headed back to the house to plant up flower pots and baskets. Three hours later, working away in the off and on rain but enjoying the day as I always do, I heard the thump of something falling out of the sky right beside me. "Hmmm," I thought. "That is odd." Come to think of it, that's pretty close to the reaction I upon finding the money in the bathroom a few months ago. I took a look around me, on the ground and under the table, and didn't see anything. Even though it didn't sound quite right, I decided that it must have been a plant falling over, and went back to my planting. A few minutes later, Dad came over to visit, and pretend to crack the whip, when he suddenly stopped and said "What the hell is this?" as he pulled a bone out of the pot right beside me. A bone about six inches long, from a pot about one foot away from me. It was picked completely clean, and was big enough that it had to come from a small animal which I would like to think was a rabbit, and not someone's cat. I guess a chihuahua would be ok as well, but most other small dogs do not bear thinking about, because I have a friend with a little moppet named Oreo who has thawed my heart with her endearing head tilt and delightfully entertaining stupidness. Anyhow, one foot to the left, and that fresh bone, likely from the beak of an eagle or other big bird would have hit my head. Ew. That is gross.

One day later, as I was getting ready for work in the morning, I noticed that there was some water on the bathroom counter that I ought to wipe up. Now, I do not pretend to be a stellar housekeeper, but I swear that I cleaned that bathroom just a week (or two?) before, and that I am not in the habit of cultivating mold, in any location, much less in such close proximity to things I regularly put in my mouth, on my hands, and on my face. But there it was, when I lifted my little wicker makeup basket to wipe up some of the brownish water (which was gross enough) in which it was sitting. I picked it up, took a peek at the bottom, and discovered some happy, fuzzy little mold bits grinning back at me, no doubt grateful for their cozy little home in such a prestigious place, millimeters away from things like my eyeshadow, make up brushes, and mascara. Things I regularly touch to my face. Obviously, I set about spraying everything down with a strong cleaner until I could get home at night to burn or boil the remaining bits.

As I ducked out of work that afternoon to buy new makeup, and a new makeup-holder in the form of a ceramic bowl which could be tossed in the damn dishwasher every few weeks, I contemplated this new grossness, so close to the bony ickyness of the day before. Too close for comfort, if you ask me. They say things come like this come in threes, so I'm wondering: what's next? A slug in my shoe? R. Kelly sitting next to me on the bus? Whatever it is, I'm on the look out. As for Lucky, wicker is on the list of things he really hates, for reasons about which he is passionate, that he will happily list to any of our friends who bring up the subjects, either unwittingly, or knowing full well that the next few minutes at a pub or party will be entertaining, as his voice rises and his blood pressure goes up, thinking about Salmon Arm, wicker, or synchronized swimming. I'm not kidding. So anyways, if you regularly stand or sit close to me, you might want to pack some disinfectant. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I donated it!

Last week, I finally wrote up the awesome story of our crazy money-finding, casino-winning, Japan-tripping February, and it was long overdue. I was denying you, poor little blog, of a pretty great story. I had been meaning to do it, I swear, but as with many things in my life, it just didn't happen until I had a deadline. "But what could be the deadline?" you ask. Well, it was for work. "Whaaaat?" I know. And I don't even work for a casino-advertising company.

I spent last Saturday at a workshop on storytelling with my coworkers and all of our Board. It turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated, but I have to say that I am still far happier today, holding up my end of the LuckyKat weekend bargain by plunking my unshowered, fleece-robed self on our couch, exploring the depths of my complex and rewarding relationship with the internets while Lucky does "market research" on games. I know it's sunny, I know I should be outside, don't judge me. It is glorious. Next, I will toast bagels .

Anyway. Workshop. Office. Follow along. So, I had to write up a story to share with all my fellow workshoppers, and I had the choice of relaying a tale of a season, a sport, or a holiday. I don't have anything too gripping to say about spring, and goodness knows I don't have a wealth of sports experiences to mine, so the holiday was the easy choice. I thought of all the fantastic stories I could share about our trip to the UK last year, foremost among them the time that BF's husband whacked me in the face with an oar while punting on the River Cam, and against all odds, and all swollen noses, it was super fun (only possible with BF), but those stories are all a little heavy on the debauch, so that choice was quickly discarded.

Instead, I settled on the story of Japan, and how we got there. Since that fantastical experience, despite the number of times I've talked about it, I hadn't really settled on a good way of telling the story that truly captured the timeline, and shock, and wonder of the whole experience. That's not to say that people weren't shocked, and they didn't wonder at the whole thing, it's just that it could have been better. It can always be better. So, I didn't really mind having the impetus to flesh it out, and lay it down, and I had a day or two to rehearse it and make sure I hadn't forgotten anything before I took advantage of some valuable Board impression-making time.

So, we got to Saturday, and after a day of good stories and good bonding, it got to be my turn to share a story. I got up there, and I got it all out. I allowed myself a happy sigh as I sat down, my job fulfilled. Then, I remembered that I had forgotten to share a key bit of information: information that grounds the story, bringing an aspect of social responsibility and karmic balance to what could otherwise be seen as somewhat wild spontaneity and frivolity. The thing is, I donated that first $100.00 to an addictions charity that I care about. While it wasn't quite rolled into a little tube, I felt that it was somewhat suspect to find a 100 dollar bill on the floor of a restaurant bathroom, and I wanted to give it back to a group that would use it well. It was hardly a breakthrough of philanthropic generosity, but being that I was sharing the story with our Board, all of whom are hardworking volunteers, and ultimately, my 7 bosses, and being that I work for a non-profit that depends on public donations to survive, it might have been a nice touch.

As the next participant got up to tell their story, and I mulled over my unfortunate omission, I bit back the urge to blurt "I donated it! I donated the money! I'm not completely self-centered!" but a more reasonable part of me was resigned to the fact that that would go against my aim at character improvement. I'll just have to work it into my next Board Report, somewhere between website updates, and community networking. That's totally doable.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Domo Arigoto, Mr. Boston Pizza.

In February, Lucky and I spent a week in Tokyo. It was our overdue honeymoon, and it was perfect, from start to finish. Actually, it was perfect from before it even started.

When Lucky and I went to the UK in 2007, we planned that trip for 6 months. We're not big on setting itineraries, but if we had wanted to, we could have, and as it was, we had more than enough time work up manic levels of excitement about seeing my best buddy and her lovely man in England. Ok, so I had the lion's share of the mania, but Lucky might have had some mini-mania. Minia?

Anyhow, what I'm saying is that even if we're not big planners, Lucky and I tend to schedule a vacation to the other side of the world with more than two weeks notice. Not so, this time! The crazy chain of events that led up to our taxi and takeoff from YVR, and our landing in Narita Airport didn't even start until January 15th. That was a Wednesday, and Lucky and I were celebrating a win with the rest of his hockey team at a Boston Pizza in Richmond. As the night wound down, and we started to head for home, I made my requisite dash to the washroom that has to happen before I get into a car for anything more than a 5 minute drive. In the washroom, I found a one hundred dollar bill on the floor of my stall. I remember thinking "Huh." It seems that I am not particularly eloquent when I am shocked by lucky finds in restaurant washrooms. I brought my fresh new wealth back to show my friends, and they were appropriately tickled. Lucky, being an action-oriented kind of guy, was more than tickled. He was inspired. In three days, on Saturday night, we were headed out for a once-in-a-blue-moon casino night with our buddies, for his birthday. To him it was obvious: I had to put the whole hundred dollars down on one number on roulette, for his birthday. Specifically, I had to put it on 16, for January 16th, which is, of course, his real birthday. I scoffed at his plan. "There are many things we could do with one hundred dollars." I reminded him, emphasizing just the syllables necessary to illustrate that I, Kat, was the mature one, despite his greater years, focused on practical things and savings and such, and blah blah blah boringness.

Nevertheless, he won. Three days later, we were at the casino, at the end of a great birthday party, and I found myself surrounded by our friends, all supporting Lucky in his pressure campaign to get that hundred dollars down on red 16. I finally relented, and suggested that we watch a few spins before we put it down. It was his turn to scoff, and the money went down right away, which is fortuitous, because I would have had to throw myself off the fake grape trellis on the balcony overlooking the casino floor, had we been standing there to see red 16 hit, with the money still in my bra. Instead, we stood in shock, staring at each other, while our friends started the celebration, and Lucky pointed out that the chips being pushed towards me didn't look like much, but were worth $3500.

Our friends immediately started to ask us what we would do with the money, and the first thing that came to my mind was that we would use it for a trip to Tokyo, which was our planned honeymoon destination (I say 'planned' in the loosest sense of the word, as in, we had talked about how cool it would be to go). Lucky picked that up immediately (remember the action-orientation), and asked "Why not?" He told me that his work schedule was fairly clear in the next few weeks, and that the $3500 would likely cover hotel and flight.

Cashing out and heading home were a bit of a blur, but I do remember our friends giggling, as they surrounded us like body guards as we waited for our cab. When we got home, we couldn't sleep, and I was grateful for the monster time change to England, since it meant that I could call aforementioned best friend over there, and tell this story for the first of many, many times. Somehow, I'm still not sick of it.

Two days later, we made our reservations. I had just enough time to tie a few things up at work, download a few Japanese podcasts from iTunes, and think to myself "I'm going to Japan. I'm going to Japan. I'm going to Japan." while I rode the bus, brushed my teeth, tried to sleep, and generally operated at a constant level of "squeeee!"

The actual trip? It was awesome. We spent a week in Tokyo, loving the food, bowing back at the people, and wandering the alleys that are busier than our busiest streets. We found a whole neighbourhood, the size of some northern towns, full of artists who render the silicon models of food for every restaurant window. We made friends with two business men at a yakitori bar in our hotel, one of whom serenaded Lucky with some heartfelt, Japanese music-love. I found kitchen goodies to satisfy my lunch-making obsessions, and Lucky reveled in the culture of robots, video games, and robot video games. The people were all so lovely that they were thrilled to help get by the whole week with nothing but the two phrases I had gleaned from the podcasts: Oeeshee (delicious!) and Sumi Masan (excuse me!). Of course, we also had Domo Arigoto, but that credit is due to Styx.

All in all, it was the honeymoon we would have wished for, had we taken the time to wish. Even thought we're young, and our marriage is still new, I have a hard time believing that we'll ever top it. The thing that made it that much more wonderful, that just tipped it over the point of unrealness what the way we kept stopping, a few times a day, to remind each other that we were there due to a stroke of pure luck. Well, multiple strokes, really. You could also credit Lucky's action-orientation, but if you go there, you also have to thank my puny little bladder. The trip is over, but that glow of 'omg, how did that happen to us' lives on. That must be why it feels like we're still on our honeymoon.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Baby, don't be like that.

Before you say anything, look: I brought you these flowers. They are a sign of my love for you. Shhhh..... don't say that. How could you think that I would have another blog on the side? You are the only one for me. It's just, I've been busy. No! No! I'm not saying that you aren't a priority! You are the only priority! I'm just out there working, riding the bus, bringing back stories to share with you. What's that? Where are the stories? They're coming, I swear! It's not you, it's me. Really. I am so ashamed of myself. You are too good for me. That's right... come here, baby. Is that a little smile? You're so beautiful when you smile. I swear, I will never hurt you again. Let me hold you. That's right... I'll just slip in this K-Ci and JoJo, and we'll feel that groove. Sway with me. Awwwwww yeah.

So, since we're good, I've got news. Really, it's what we need to mend our love. See, Lucky's got a new game out! Isn't that great? Wait, what? How could you suggest that? Of course I'm not coming back just to use you to spread the word! How could you think that of me? I would never be like that! You are my everything! Listen to K-Ci lay it down: "I will never find another lover, more sweeter than you (sweeter than you). And I will never find another lover, more precious than you (more precious than you)." Baby, I mean it. Ok, so you're mad. I get that. I feel you. But maybe you should stop saying all those things you don't mean. Shhhhh... I forgive you. No, no, I know that's not what you're asking for right now, but I know you better than you know yourself, and you will get there. I know this. Listen: "close to me, you're like my mother, close to me, you're like my father, close to me, you're like my sister, close to me, you're like my brother." I mean that. Wait, what? Incestuous? How can you say that about JoJo?! Now thats.. ok, now I'm feeling angry, but I will not go there. I love you too much. I know you are only lashing out because your feelings for me are that strong.

I know you will want to know this later, so I will tell you, because that's the way I love you. Check out the latest adventures of Professor Fizzwizzle as he boards his Amazing Brain Train! Try an hour long demo for free, then buy the game, no risk, with a 60 day money-back guarantee. You'll be glad you did! Not only will it build your brain, but it will calm hot tempers, and I will be here for you, waiting, because my love is that strong. In the meantime, "I promise to not fall in love with a stranger."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And she was sure they'd be robbed, killed, and poisoned.

My parents are in the middle of a month long vacation, which started with a week in Mexico at a cousin's wedding. Never has the change in my Mom's outlook on life been more evident, than in the first email that came out of that visit. With it, I learned that:

1. She went crazy enough at the wedding to take off her pantyhose and dance in bare feet (In 30 C heat. But still! Scandal!);

2. Boys in Mariachi bands wear very tight pants;

3. Tequila is good if you have it with a lime.

You go, Mom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just don't touch the barrel.

If you knew my family, you would understand why it warmed my heart to listen to my oldest brother describing in detail, with relish, the love his llama harbours for its feed barrel, as expressed through its ceaseless, energetic humping.

This tale was shared over dinner last Thursday night, with his wife, Lucky and I, plus a friend from PEI, and my Dad and Mom. We were in a medium to high-end restaurant in my parents' neighbourhood, and my brother is not quiet. Supplemented by his wife's helpful sound effects, we got a great lesson in the language of llama love, and my brother and I got the chance to make sure we've still got it: that back and forth rhythm, that complimentary wit, that way of winding a theme through a whole meal, and picking up where the other left off. More than that, we've still got that ability to make our mother laugh at our badness, even as she's kicking him under the table, telling me to stop encouraging, and invoking the name of my other butter-wouldn't-melt brother. Even with all that, her real thoughts are transparent. She was just thrilled to see us doing what we do when things are at their best. When we're on, we're really on.

Even as we bantered back and forth about the neighbour's grandchildren getting a graphic lesson in the birds and the bees ("When a llama and a barrel love each other very much...") and I laughed so hard I thought I would choke on my stuffed prawns, something in the back of my head kept interrupting the revelry to remind me to grab on, enjoy this, file it all away, keep it for a rainy day.

My brother is a study in extremes. His life, for at least the last 15 years, has been full of very high highs, and very devastating lows. The relationships of all the people who love him the most (a high percentage of whom were at that dinner table) have been tested and twisted in more ways than should be allowed. There have been many times over these years when I have not wanted to see his face, hear his tales, deal with his crap, or pick up the pieces when my parents needed me. He evokes my strongest emotions, and I've always said that it was due to our differences: red neck and feminist, oldest and youngest, lawbreaker and social worker, musket owner and non-musket owner. In truth, times like last Thursday make it hard for me to deny that all those flare ups and fights have a lot more to do with what we have in common, than what we don't share.

It may seem cynical or petty of me to have those wary thoughts in the back of my head, even as I was enjoying his company, but this is what making peace with the situation looks like for me. I love my brother, I love that he's in a good place right now, and I am comforted by the fact that this doesn't seem to be the kind of manic high that normally precedes a crushing blow. As much as time and experience warn me to proceed with caution, I can't help but hope that he's finally through those woods, and out of that cycle, even though I know some things are hard to change. For one, I will always be there to pick up the pieces. After all, we've got a lot in common. If I tell a good story, it's all because of him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pining for Podcasts

My ipod and I, like any healthy couple, are always on the look out for fresh ideas and activities that we can share, bringing new depth to our relationship, and keeping the fire alive. Since there are no key-parties for the portable mp3 community (YET) we fill the void in other ways. One of the best *ahem* plugs I've found in a long time (earplugs, you sicko) comes in the form of all the awesomely free podcasts on iTunes.

Don't worry, I am aware that the podcast things have been around for an internet eon, but short of a few CBC radio 3 shows, which are unavoidable if you are a faithful Canadian indie-lover, I've never been too swept up.

Before we left for Japan, since we had only two weeks notice, I didn't exactly have time to take any classes, or study any books on tape. Instead, I frantically downloaded a ton of ten minute lessons on the basics: oeeshee means delicious! sumi masan means excuse me! And those two phrases got us surprisingly far. Since I was in that department, I also downloaded a few other podcasts for the sake of layovers and long flights. I immediately set upon This American Life, by NPR, entirely because David Sedaris writes about contributing to the program. As far as I'm concerned, there can be no better endorsement. I am happy to say, it has not disappointed. Ira Glass is an astute and engaging host, actually more of a guide, or editor, I suppose. The themes are the right mix of poignant and flippant, and the essays chosen to flesh out the ideas are surprisingly successful at doing justice to themes like "No One's Family is Going to Change." Wow, right? Right.

So, check it out. It makes for a good commute. Also, check out Great Speeches in American History. I've never had such a meaningful bus ride as my Monday morning trip down 25th, listening to Martin Luther King's Dream.

On a (much) less inspirational front, I've also been known to peruse the Midwest Teen Sex Show, but before you judge, remember: good relationships are about compromise, and my ipod just loves that shit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm a survivor.

So, the move happened. I owe some big ups to the sweet baby Buddha, or someone. The packing was pretty well finished by Friday night, and final touches were in place Saturday morning, before our loyal band of moving buddies showed up. There were a few glitches (Like that time when Lucky insisted on wearing sandals on moving day, and he wouldn't listen to me about that being a bad idea, and someone rolled a dresser over his foot and bent his toenail back all the way, and I vomited a little? That was awesome.) but over all, it was a good day, as much as that kind of labour and orchestration can be good. I was reminded that our friends are fantastic, and that it's always exciting to watch a group of engineering buddies get way too jazzed about lowering a massive hide-a-bed couch over a second floor balcony. It wasn't quite as suspenseful as when they moved it in, which involved stepping up on chairs while they bench pressed the behemoth up to more guys who leaned precariously over the railing, the strength of which was untested, but we'll always have the memories. This time, they used ropes and a ladder, and blah blah blah safety precautions, and it took some of the spice away. Anyhoodle, the couch was moved, and I am sitting on it right now. Shout out!

So now, the major job is unpacking, and figuring out where the hell my Mom put things in the kitchen when she was "helping" by bopping around in there while the rest of us were moaning a little and eating pizza. I love her, but why would you stack all of the heavy pots together on the bottom shelf so that my already damaged back dies a little more when I haul them out?

Nevertheless, this is the (relatively) fun part. I can find some enjoyment in setting up our new home, and exploring our new neighbourhood. As for Lucky, he is content to cuddle with the dishwasher and whisper sweet nothings in its detergent space. Thankfully, I'm not the jealous type.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Moving Sucks, part 2

When a girl desperately needs a mug of tea to calm her nerves and help her immune system find the strength to repair her bruised shins, battered against strategically placed boxes full of crap (WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?) in her flight from dust bunnies, nay dust MAMMOTHS, emerging from under her bed like a well-organized army of anger against two and a half years of less-than-diligent vacuuming habits, it is just TOO MUCH for her to discover that the lid of her pretty kitty kettle has been packed, in God knows which box. You're thinking, "The water will still boil eventually." And I'm thinking, "Yes, but that is not the POINT."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I don't understand.

Why do newspaper headlines have to be puns? It makes me angry. I can't imagine that the journalists love it; they seem like a pretty jaded, un-cute kind of bunch to me. Example: can you imagine that Sharon Lem from the Toronto Sun wanted to name her article on the growth-stunting properties of cigarettes "Teen Smokers Fall Short?" I cannot imagine that she did. Although, the paper that she writes for also has a headline with the word "Perv" in it, so maybe she knew what she was in for.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Things that will make me miss this place

1. South facing sunlight
2. The quietness of a corner apartment
3. Sage green walls that perfectly match our stuff
4. Hearing my coffee perk in the morning
5. The Meat Shoppe around the corner
6. Coming home in my wedding dress and finding the rose petals
7. Fitting far more friends in than should have been possible, far more times than was wise
8. Bocce on the beach
9. Quick stumbles uphill from the Kingshead
10. Perfect tomato-growing space on the deck
11. Making our first home together in the city we love

There are also things I won't miss. The friggin crows outside the window that have been cawing since 7 am come to mind. (Lucky: "Do they think that sounds good? Seriously? I don't understand.") And I know I'm likely to have an even longer list at the new place in no time at all, but right now I'm in the mood for nostalgia. Humour me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Moving Sucks

Did you know? It is true. Although I'm sure I could easily expound upon this subject on any given day, I have plenty of material at the moment, because Lucky and I are in the middle of a relocation, and all the crapulence that tags along with these otherwise exciting times.

See, we've got a good reason to go. As much as I love our current place and our current neighbourhood, I knew this day had to come, sooner rather than later. We've been in this cozy little one bedroom for two and a half years, since we came back home from the East Coast. Lots of good memories, but not much storage space. About a month ago, after our spontaneous trip to Tokyo, closely followed by Lucky's trip to the GDC in San Francisco, he came home, obviously ready to deal with all the things that had been put off for about a month, or even since before the busy holidays. He paid some bills, wrote some emails, then fell into bed with me, exhausted, ready to deal with one more bit of business before sleep. "What do we have to do to have a baby?" At first it was awkward, because I really would have expected his parents to have that talk with him a good 20 years ago, but thankfully that thought was fleeting, and I considered the practical concerns to which he was actually referring. I also considered how cool it is that I have a husband who is so decisive, and so invested in the same things as me, but that's a whole other blog entry, and I'm already straying pretty close to the border of my favourite vacation destination: Off Topic Land. I pretty much have citizenship there.

Focus! Ok.

So, getting back to his question, I thought about it for a minute, then told him that I would need some really good sushi, some really good wine, and some really good caffeine before being asked to live like a healthy baby vessel for a year. To those requests he went "Check," "Check," and "Well, if you must." The very last requirement was the biggie: "We need another bedroom." He argued weakly for a minute, something about hanging a crib from the ceiling, then he gave in.

Being Lucky, he was on Craigslist the next morning, considering likely locations and doable price ranges. The day after that, we had a new place, and a busy month in front of us. This time next week, we will have left this happy little home behind, and will be starting to settle into another home, a little less little, and hopefully just as happy, if not more. We've been pretty happy, so that's a lot.

So, we've had sushi at Tojos, we've opened some of our wedding wine, and I've weaned off coffee, onto swiss water decaf. The second bedroom is not too big, not too small, just right. I guess it's my turn to deliver. (geddit? GEDDIT?) Crap. I have to go pack.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Blog's out of the Bag. (tm Lucky)

So, I finally told someone that I have a blog: Lucky knows. I figure that that's in the spirit of an open and trusting marriage, but it still makes me squirm. If you are reading this, and you are not Lucky, I have no idea how you got here. It's not that you aren't welcome (Come! Sit! Help yourself to anything in the fridge!), it's just that I am discovering levels of shyness I never knew I possessed. I'm shocking myself, really. My friends would tell you that I have absolutely no problem being the centre of attention and sharing my opinions with anyone who will listen, or even pretend to listen. I have a lot of opinions. Like, a lot. So, this is hard to explain.

I was at a blogging conference a few years ago (I know, that's weird, since I didn't have a blog, but it was for work) and I strongly identified with the only guy there who did not care whether or not anyone read his blog. He was doing it for his granddaughter. He challenged himself to post one entry a day, for the sake of storytelling and family connections. He became such a prolific blogger, and wrote such engaging pieces that he became a bit of an icon without even meaning to. I don't mean to say that this shyness is my sneaky, backdoor way of scoring a speaker's spot at the next Vancouver Blog Conference, I mean to say that I liked his motives. Likewise, my favourite thing about Dooce's blog is, hands down, her series of monthly newsletters to Leta. I also like a good story about applying her OCD fueled cleaning powers to tracking a tell-tale trail of dog crap through her house, but that's only natural. I challenge you to resist. You can't. You just left to search her archives.

So, back to the question: why am I doing this? I don't have any generational legacy to leave, and we've established that I'm not in it for lucrative conference giftbags. The admittedly crap-out answer is that I am not entirely sure. If it was just for the writing practice, I could choose a private medium, like those little journals that everyone used to keep before the internets came along. I think you can still get them on Antique Roadshow. They are called diaries. Rather, I am here because it is hard for me. I read so many blogs, every day, and I get a lot out of them. I respect their writers not just because they tell good stories, and tell them well, but because I see them as brave, in the way that they put themselves out there, permanent and vulnerable. I want a piece of that.

I do not mean to say that I'm about to put a link to this blog on my facebook page, because that thought horrifies me. Just yesterday, I found my way to the blog of an old high school friend through those channels and was treated to an account of her recent colonoscopy, beside snapshots of the baking she did for her kid's ballet class. I shudder to think that I would ever get to that point, but I think I could sack up enough to share an amusing anecdote about the blood test I had done last week: As the tech admired my luscious, available veins, I commented that I hadn't had a compliment on them since I worked at the women's addiction centre in Whalley. The rest of our time together was awkward.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Been Caught Peeking

I'm standing at the bus stop, Friday evening in the rain, cheerleading myself into the last commute of the week. A teenage boy is pacing around the steps up to Red Robin. He sees her coming. Face lights up, then is quickly composed back to detached, post-punk, hoodie-wearing cool guy. It's the greeting that gets me: it's not a hug, because then he couldn't look at her. It's not a handhold, because he's too caught up. It's one hand on either side of her waist, leaning away, holding on, but also taking a step back to savour. When he looked around self-consciously, he caught me peeking. He lifted his chin, looked proud, so that I was the one who blushed. The 17 pulled up, and I headed for home, thinking tender little thoughts that held strong in the rain, the rush hour, and all kinds of other things that don't matter at all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Crow Pose

Do crows have something to do with St. Patrick's day? I ask, because I just got home from my yoga class at the community centre, and the room that we always use was decked out with some streamers and cut-outs and pictures and such. It took a minute to pick out a theme, but the shiny pink shamrocks twinged something in my Irish heritage and the pieces fell into place.

It still didn't make sense of everything, though. Some of the doodads were obviously just there for their shininess, like the random cds taped to the windows (good use of a relic of an extinct medium), but one "decoration" left us in a bit of a muddle - a life size model of a crow, wired to the light on the wall right above my friend's head, complete with attack pose and claws out. Freaky, right? Kind of throws a predatory bird-sized wrench in your half back twist when you glance over your shoulder on the exhale and catch a glimpse of a flying rabies-carrier. At the very least, it's tough to hold downward dog while your mischievous buddy is whispering "nevermore!" My friend could tell you: she fell over.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Wall of Stink

I am glad that Lucky plays hockey. I am not glad that his gear considers itself a full-fledged member of the team, which is the only explanation I can think of as to why it feels comfortable enough to lounge around in our apartment all day, then welcome me home after work with an enthusiastic high-five of funk. Lucky says "airing out." I say "squatting."

What I am saying, in the most complicated way possible, is that his hockey gear smells terrible, to the point I am currently huddled on the couch under a blanket since I prefer the cold to closing our back door, which is supplying life-giving fresh air. In an apartment this small, options are limited.

This calls for a haiku....

Pads, helmet, and gloves,
Your combined stock of B.O.

Strains my young marriage.

...Or two.

Hard-won hockey game
While I cheer, I sigh deeply

Much sweat to "air out."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mormons and my Mom are Very Offended

Kraft Foods has stopped production of Postum as of this past January. I am displeased. You may be asking yourself "But Kat C, why in the world do you care?" but I have a my reasons.

First off, my Gamma used to drink it every night. I'm pretty sure she got hooked during the early 1940's when war conditions made people turn to coffee substitutes, and she was doing her bit in a country full of tough times.

This sentimental memory likely made it easier for my own Mom to pick it up instead of coffee every morning as one of the many changes she has made to improve her life. Although that seems like a small thing, taken in addition to all of her other efforts that have added up to a happier, healthier Mom, it means a lot. Over the past year, the difference has been evident in good times and bad, from taking on an unexpectedly giant Christmas dinner guest list with grace and good humour, to rolling with the regular drama of my brother with reasonable concern, versus the anxiety and despair of the past. Not all of this is due to a mug of tasty toasted grain, but it's the principle of the thing.

As for me, I've spent the last month slowly giving up my own morning coffee habit. Lucky and I are making pre-baby preparations with diligence befitting our combined aptitude for paranoid internet research and need for control, so we are dedicated to grooming the (hopefully) fertile plains of my womb to meet the most stringent standards of things that could possibly, maybe, perhaps affect a baby's development. Considering the fact that we can do nothing to cut out my daily meds, (well, we could, but the alternative is not attractive) we are set to make all the other concessions we can, to buy ourselves as much peace as possible while visions of potential complications dance through our heads. To that end, I was set to give postum a try. The upcoming unavailability is hardly tragic, as I will surely find some other fix for my hot, morning needs (I wish I meant something dirtier by that) but I guess I am a bit put off by the end to three generations worth of making a choice for the sake of something bigger.

I'm not one of those crazies who is going to suggest that Kraft is HORRIBLE for putting PROFITS above the needs of a very, very, very small population, as if they are a BUSINESS or something, but I do wish they'd put a bit more into marketing and availability. Heck, if William Shatner can be signed on to advertise an aid for digestive regularity, surely they could have scooped Mr. T or something to make this happen.

So, it's not the end of the world, but it is the end of an era. As a temporary fix, Mom has bought Superstore out of their remaining stock, prompting the cashier to think that she's got either a really weird fetish or a really sad social life, and causing my Dad to send me some very dirty looks for encouraging her food-hording habits. What can I say? It's hereditary.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

All of a sudden, I love the Arcade Fire. I've been kind of resisting them for a few years, showing my disapproval of their fans' pretentiousness by being pretentious, but a few songs snuck through my defenses. Rebellion, Wake Up - I had to admit that those were pretty ok, I guess, if you like that kind of thing. I could not be convinced, however, to sit down and listen to the whole album. I say it like the band sent some kind of emissary, seeking my vaunted opinion, but dude, they've got David Bowie on their side. They want for nothing. Maybe if it was just Yoko Ono or something they'd be seeking more coolness, but David Bowie? Come on.

Anyway, as a result of a friendly inter-buddy music exchange I ended up with the Neon Bible. I left it to stew on my ipod for months before breaking down and giving it a shot one rainy bus ride last week. At first, it didn't grab me. At least, I didn't think it did. Then I found myself humming some accordion melody and muttering about a black mirror. A week later, I've gone so far as to make my poor Lucky listen to it on the way to bowling "But the ACCORDION! Are you listening? SERIOUSLY!" "Yeah. It's great..... Is that french? Why are you listening to french?")

So, you win this one, Arcade Fire. You may join Wolf Parade in the ranks of Montreal bands that force me to agree with the super annoying, hyper self-conscious music reviewers in places like Zulu. You're welcome.

Monday, March 3, 2008


It’s taken me so long to start a blog. I read my first one in 1998. At that time, the internet was new, I was on dial-up in Kitimat, and I was fascinated by the semi-weekly musings of this college student in Michigan who loved squirrels, was prouldly straight edge, and battled depression. She was a great writer, and she was describing a time in her life that I could hardly wait to experience: university.

My fascination with the site went beyond the style and content, however. The real draw is harder to pin down. It had something to do with her bravery in putting herself out there, and a lot to do with the thrill of being party to something that should have been so mundane, in the form of a stranger’s personal musings. Public personalities in other formats, like TV, radio, even my beloved books, had been packaged to meet what were supposed to be my interests, and my engagement as a young consumer. To be engrossed in a character who didn’t even know she was aiming at me, well, that was a thrill, and I was hooked. The thrill of the choice, I guess you could say.

I couldn’t have known it at the time, but the things that made that website irresistible offered a tiny taste of the attachment that would blossom into one of the most complex and important loves of my life: the internet.

That original writer still maintains her site, but she has discarded the open, engaging tone, and exchanged it for a grudging, curmudgeony kind of style, as when she states “This is not a blog,” and you feel like she's saying "Get off my lawn." She has become more guarded, and it seems to me that she might be a bit squicked out to think that although I only check in every 6 months or so these days, I’ve still been following her progress for over 9 years. That’s a long time. I hope the squick would be somewhat tempered by the fact that her musings meant a lot to me when I was lonely, 16, and not very nice to myself. Besides that unknowing emotional support, her website was also my door to a brave new online world, and a very steep learning curve.

All these years later, I’m not sure what I would read, who I would be in touch with, or what I would listen to (in terms of music or opinions) if it wasn’t for the internet. Sometimes I feel guilty that I give very little back. I know the internet is hardly lacking for content, but still: my ego says it misses me. Also, I know I should be writing more.

So, here’s the challenge. Two entries a week. Something besides what I had for lunch. Something besides these grandiose musings. Something in between, even if it’s moot.