Archive for November, 2007

Dear co-worker across the aisle, 

I appreciate cleanliness and neatness of appearance and feel that everyone around us does, or at least should, as well.  After all, if no one took the care or time to keep themselves neat and tidy, we would look like a bunch of dishevelled cavemen and women.  Or perhaps frenchmen * (no offense to the Geico caveman). 

However, while I appreciate that the instinct to keep oneself neatly groomed is just that … instinct … I feel I must disagree with one task in particular that can be overheard, and occasionally felt, from my cubicle. 

If you are having a difficult time completing your grooming duties at home, I do know several lovely women that would be willing to babysit your children and I would be happy to introduce you.  If it is boredom that compels you, I would gladly speak to our manager and ask that he assign more work to you.  If you do not have the appropriate implements or grooming tools at home, consider this my offer to venture to the dollar store to purchase some for you.  Hell, I would even splurge and go to Walmart for a good pair if it makes the offer more attractive. 

With those offers on the table, I beseech you… urgently and with every fiber of my being… please cut your fingernails at home. 

If I have to listen to the *clip!*, *clip!*, *clip!* sound of your fingernails again, the possibility that I will jump the two walls separating our cubicles is very great indeed.  If ever again I have to imagine where the fragments of your fingernails are landing, I will quietly raise out of my chair, walk to your cubicle, and throw up in your lap.  In either case, I can not be responsible for where the clippers are upon my exit of your cubicle.  This is my disclaimer. 

Please consider this a friendly plea from one co-worker to another. 

Your co-worker,


* Relax.  It is a joke.  C’est drole. 

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What’s On Your List?


Has anyone seen that new show, No Opportunity Wasted or NOW?  Me neither but I’m going to check it out.  I absolutely love the premise and, historically, putting people in situations where they feel awkward makes for great television. 

The premise is that people take 72 hours to face a lifelong fear or to do something they have always wanted to do, throwing all excuses aside.  Previous shows include Fear of Heights, Fear of Sharks, Fear of Water, and Fear of Change, in which city slickers were put on a ranch. 

But it isn’t just about fear.  This week’s show follows two women to Kenya to build a well for a community and find inner peace.  One woman’s daughter died of cancer at 15 years old, after telling The Wish Foundation to use her wish money to build a school for an African community.  That’s pretty hardcore. 

The show makes me think about what I would do if I was given the opportunity.  There isn’t much that I am truly afraid of but I have thought for a while about what would be on my life list.  The life list isn’t just fears.  It is  more about what things I want to accomplish or overcome or become, big or small, in my lifetime. 

There are many things, but here are a few that have been in mind recently. 

  • Bungee jump from a bridge. 
  • Learn to play the violin. 
  • Travel across Canada by train or car. 
  • Practice for and complete a Royal Conservatory examination. 
  • Swing in the canopy of a jungle. 
  • Eat authentic Italian food.  In Italy. 
  • Visit an olive grove and eat olives right off the branch. 
  • White water rafting. 
  • Become perfectly comfortable with public speaking. 
  • Visit Greece. 
  • Go on an African Safari and photograph an elephant. 
  • Go to a Broadway show. 
  • Swim with dolphins. 
  • Visit Vienna. 
  • Hike Mount Katahdin. 
  • Learn Italian.  And Spanish.  Greek would be cool too. 
  • Kayak in B.C. 

There are so many things; the list is always evolving and that is one of the cool things about it.  I think listing them is such a great idea.  Somehow it solidifies it.  It isn’t rolling around in your head anymore with the rest of the nonsense; it is actually written down somewhere.  You have stated it.  Somehow, it is more real that way and more likely that it will get done.  Who doesn’t like checking things off of lists?! 

So, what is on yours? 


On a smoking note (or should I say non-smoking note?) …

Day #17 and I am hanging in there.  No slips. 

The last few days I have noticed that I am finally able to smell better.  I expected it to happen over a week ago but better late than never.  It isn’t just that things smell better, it’s that they smell more.  Sometimes a smell is so strong that it stops me up in the hall.  Sometimes I have to stop and think about what it is because the intensity of it even makes it smell different.  Sometimes I wonder how people stand it! 

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I must confess. 

After writing an entire blog entry on the dread I was feeling for Brian’s office party, I ate my words on Saturday night.  Along with a bottle of wine and a number of beers.  The exact number escapes me. 

Brian and I enjoyed some pre-party mirth at our place and then headed over for the social hour and appetizers.  We were just in time for the door prizes and to find out that we did not win one (although everyone walking in behind and ahead of us seemed to win … damn you, fake Santa!). 

I did come out a winner though.  After claiming his new portable DVD player, my friend Ken handed me his three drink tickets as he walked out the door.  How excellent!  They were put to very good use.  What would I do with a portable DVD player anyway?! 

After some chit-chat, much dancing ensued.  First it was Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” (don’t bust my balls, alright? … I didn’t request it, it was just on, and it’s nostalgic for me!).  Then there was “Play That Funky Music, White Boy”.  There would have been no convincing me that I was not something right out of Flashdance for that one.  “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was played at some point, at my request (wish you were there for that one, Joe). 

The ultimate tip-off that I was enjoying the Christmas “cheer” a little on the heavy side:  As we were walking out the door, I remember thinking, “Oooh!  Sexxy Back!  I should be dancing!”

Somebody gag me with that mistletoe over there. 

I was only asked “How’s your job?” once and was so “cheerful” by that point that I thought of my blog entry, laughed out loud and kept going.  Truthfully, I was on the dance floor so much that no one really had the chance to ask me. 

On my way to work this morning, Bob & Sheri had a list of 5 things that people in their 20s just should not do anymore.  One of them was “drinking to excess” and I thought, “Wha?!”.  I was just starting to play the “I can shoot tequila all night!” game when I turned 20! 

Anyway, it got me thinking… am I too old for this?  I wasn’t sloppy, falling-over, puking-in-the-bushes drunk but I drank enough that there was no hiding it.  When do people get to an age when partying means a couple of beer?  And how do they dance after that?  What do you do all night?  Sit around and talk?  I just can’t imagine that being as fun as shaking my ass to Queen. 

I am guessing that you just get tired of it.  When it isn’t fun anymore or when the day-after is so painful that it negates the fun … then you stop, right? 

Really … I want to know because I still have lots of fun with a good beat and some drinks into me. 

In the meantime, I think I will go confess my sins to the rock ‘n’ roll gods:  I promise, Sexxy Back is forever off of the list of songs I will dance to … full of “cheer” or not. 

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Christmas Part-ay

This weekend is Brian’s office Christmas party.  I used to work there too and the party is always a fun time.  Food, socializing, dancing until the wee hours.  Good times. 

But this year is different.  I’m not looking forward to it like I have in the past. 

See, I’m not a co-worker this year.  Of course, I still know many people and there are a few that I still talk to regularly and look forward to seeing.  Most, though, I will not have seen since this time last year. 

The inevitable question from nearly everyone will be, “How do you like your job?”.  (If you have changed jobs in the last 5 years, I would really like to know … how long does this goes on?).  I don’t mind answering the question when the person asking genuinely wants to know the answer.  Most people really don’t care though:  whether it is a former manager that smugly scans my face for any twinge of unhappiness or a former co-worker that is asking because a) they are wondering about the work environment because they are considering a change or b) they just don’t know what else to say. 

Then there is the type that you find yourself standing beside at the bar.  You know the ones… they see you there but pretend they don’t see you there and, because you know they saw you there, you call them out and receive the wide-eyed, high-pitched, and oh-so-fake, “Well hi!  How are yooouuuuu?  How is the new job?”.  Fakeness gets under my skin.  I have no patience for it.  I do, however, take great pleasure in calling them out and making them squirm.  I’m evil. 

Anyway, I’m sure it will be fine but neither Brian or I seem to be in the Christmas partying mood yet this year so we will just sit back and spend our drink tickets while making fun of the jokers that can’t hold their liquor and figure that’s the perfect time to strike up a conversation with their boss.  These things are planned by and for those that intend on getting sloppy drunk and doing embarassing things anyway … they’re just asking for it, right? 

Ahh … good times. 


On another note, this is Day 12 and I’m still feeling good about it.  I am still having daily cravings but they are to be expected and are being dealt with.  I am being told those could go on for a month so I guess I will have to refill my sucker stash. 

Every couple of days I battle the little voice in my head that tells me I’ve done so well that I deserve a reward. 

“Well that’s a good idea!  What did you have in mind?”

“Why, a cigarette of course!”

I know it sounds dumb but that’s the way the mind works.  I really do have to be careful because I am quite good at justifying anything.  And that includes justifying it to myself. 

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Throughout my childhood, there was always a small television sitting between the kitchen and the dining room.  Although my mom often spoke of having a “nice, quiet meal”, it always played over supper (or “dinner” for the more civilized). 

Supper was always right around 5:30 pm, just after Dad walked through the door.  Some of my favorite shows were on in that time slot.  Looking back, I really don’t think it would have mattered what particular show was on; sitting around the table and laughing with the family are memories that I will have forever. 

Before we begin, keep in mind that I grew up in rural New Brunswick.  We had what people now refer to as “country cable”.  Four channels:  WAGM (local CBS) being beamed in from Maine, ATV (maritime CTV), CBC, and PBS.  I never saw an episode of Punky Brewster or Beverly Hills 90210 which was, at the time, quite a damper on the social life. 

Also keep in mind that 5:30 pm is not prime time and I am only 28 years old so these shows were all re-runs by the time I was seeing them. 


I’m reaching way back for this one.  I have hazy memories of people dressed in costumes, rifling through their purses for some obscure object that was asked for.  I know the premise of the show and remember liking it (but then, I have always loved game shows) but I was really young.  I wish someone would resurrect it because I think the concept of it is quite entertaining. 


Who among us does not love The Muppets?  This was an early one too but I do remember some things:  real people performing with The Muppets; laughing hysterically at Statler and Waldorf (although I think I was laughing more at my dad cracking up); not liking Miss Piggy because she just wouldn’t leave Kermit along (despite the fact that she was one of the only female characters); and loving the Swedish Chef.  For me The Muppets represent childhood, pure innocence, unequaled creativity, and just plain old-fashioned good comedy.  Jim Henson was brilliant.  My children might not know the show but they will know The Muppets. 


Three’s Company.  I remember all combinations of roommates and both landlords (because these were reruns, remember).  I remember my sister and I, years later, impersonating Mr. Furley’s “Smoooooth” after shooting some sort of hard liquor.  There is no doubt that much of the comedy in this show went over my head.  There is also no doubt that that fact was to my parents’ liking.  At my age, the sexual jokes took a back seat to Mr. Furley’s and Jack’s physical comedy. 


Ahh … The Golden Girls.  Did you know Estelle Getty, who played Sophia (left), was actually the youngest of the four actors?  It’s true!  Rose’s stories about Saint Olaf (sp?), Sophia’s stories about Italy, Dorothy’s what-seemed-like-constant stern face, and Blanche’s stories of trapezes and eye-opening sluttiness.  Oh, and Dorothy’s ex… that dead-beat, Stan!  As a kid, I was a little puzzled at those big, flowing shirts that they always seemed to wear.  Was that the style for adults in the mid-eighties to early nineties? 

If mom and dad were unconcerned about sexual innuendo on Three’s Company, they more than made up for it with The Golden Girls.  My sister and I were not quite teenagers and very impressionable when this came on.  In truth we knew way more than mom and dad wanted to admit.  Mom would gasp at some of the lines and innuendo and then glance sheepishly at us, trying to decide if we understood it or not.  Sometimes she would laugh but try to stifle it, likely so we wouldn’t ask why she was laughing.  I remember more than one night when mom got disgusted at Blanche’s perversion, shut the television off, and claimed that we were never watching tv during supper again. 

Sure, mom. 


Last but not least was The Fresh Prince of Belair.  If you knew him, you wouldn’t expect my father to like this show but he laughed and laughed.  Even today, dad will put on a rerun or spew out a quote and take us all off guard.  It was only a matter of time before the talent and beauty that is Will Smith was given an opportunity to shine and I think we should all be grateful that it was this show.  But then, all of the actors fit their characters perfectly.  It was clever and fresh.  We couldn’t relate to the characters because we were neither Belair residents or poor kids from the city but the situations were so hilarious, we had to feel for them.  It seemed they would never run out of situations to put Will in. 

It has to be the original Vivian (pictured) though… has to be. 

Much to Brian’s chagrine, I sometimes feel the pull of nostalgia when I come across these shows in the satellite guide.  He really is a good sport about it … but draws the line at The Golden Girls. 

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What a lazy weekend.  It was wonderful. 

We had friends and my sister over for supper Saturday night.  I spent all of Saturday afternoon baking focaccia bread, making filling for two kinds of homemade ravioli, and making salad and mini cheesecakes.  This was our first time making ravioli from scratch and it turned out quite well.  It was topped with a spinach cream sauce that tasted fantastic. 

Leftover ravioli filling = baked manicotti for tonight.  Yum. 

Our new favorite thing to do with salad is add cherry tomatoes that have been drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven … just until they are a little bit wrinkly.  They are super packed with flavor and delicious. 

On Sunday I was invited to perform in a church concert fundraiser for their missions support group.  I was slightly hungover and had only feebly prepared for it so I spent the morning really dreading it.  It was just what you are expecting when I say “church concert” but the variety amongst the performers was interesting… amid the normal guitar-toting drawling cowboys, old-lady quartets, and piano players (me included), there was a two-woman comedy act (the older woman had to have been 85 years old), an 8-year-old violinist that didn’t flinch at standing in front of the crowd (that will warm your heart any day), and another little girl that sang a song from Sesame Street. 

It ended up being a fun, heartwarming afternoon. 

I crashed when I got home, though.  The rest of my day consisted of the couch and an interesting array of movies, all of which I managed to stay awake for. 

I finally watched Gone With the Wind.  I know, it’s a little sad that it has taken me this long.  This is such a classic … am I allowed to say that I was disappointed?  I had really high hopes for it.  All of those famous quotes and movie scenes and parodies that I have seen over the years had this movie built up into such a frenzy in my mind.  I thought I would be so enlightened that Brian would have to slap common sense into me.  I thought the love story would be so intense that romance would be oozing out of every orifice of my body. 

Not so.  Not one speck of romance oozed out of any part of me. 


It was a good movie, don’t get me wrong… it just wasn’t the movie I was expecting.  Instead of it being about Scarlett and Rhett’s romance, it was more about her chasing after the guy that rejected her and married another woman.  Is it just me or is that just a little pathetic?!  And selfish … yeah, she went through a lot with being a nurse and delivering the baby during the war and making it back home … but every move she made was centered around Ashley and wanting him for herself.  I kept waiting for Scarlett to turn and tell Rhett she loved him, especially when he was stepping out to join the war, but it never happened… she pulled away from him!  When it was over, I double-checked to make sure it was the end because I felt gilted that they didn’t get together and I didn’t know what happened to Rhett. 

It just wasn’t what I expected. 

Brian and I watched The Prestige, about a rivalry between magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman).  I really liked this one.  If you liked The Illusionist, this is even better.  It’s one of those movies with several twists at the end that I didn’t guess.  I like being surprised.  Rent it. 

I also watched Freedom Writers last night.  It was a feel-good story.  Heartwarming.  A struggle through adversity.  It is everything you expect about a first-time teacher walking into a classroom of ne’er-do-well teenagers.  It is based on a true story, which is neat.  It was a good movie but it just wasn’t that surprising. 

On Saturday I watched Running With Scissors.  I love these types of movies.  It is about a mother who is an unsuccessful writer and starts therapy with a doctor whose unusual treatments push her further down as he adopts her son.  It is so delightfully odd and awkward and uncomfortable.  Sometimes I like a movie that gets under my skin a little. 

For a Through the Haze update, continue reading…


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Recovery “tag”

I was tagged me today by another wordpress blogger at The road to recovery.  I have become part of a wordpress game where bloggers in recovery from all sorts of addictions tag each other and pass on a few sobriety lessons to each other. Here are the rules of the game:

1: link to the person’s blog who tagged you

2: post these rules on your blog

3: list seven facts you have learned in recovery

4: tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs

5: let each person know they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog

So, here are seven things that I have learned while kicking my habit:

1: I am stronger than I ever imagined.  And you are too.  We might have to dig for it but it is there. 

2: Even though you have to cross the finish line by yourself, there are always people to nudge you toward it along the way. 

3: Drink lots and LOTS of water.  It can only be a good thing.  Anytime. 

4: I might feel like I’m giving up part of myself by quitting but the part that moves in can only be better

5: Expect that there will be people out there to hamper your progress, whether it be outright tempting you or simply not giving you support.  Expect it and decide how you will deal with it before you quit. 

6: Progress should be the aim; perfection is impossible. 

7:  Look forward to your new self but never forget who you were before quitting. 

And here are the seven bloggers I would like to link to…


Anonymous Alcoholic

ValentineReindeer’s Weblog 

Marinade Dave

Sober Chick

My Chantix Quit

Tammy’s Quit Smoking Blog

It’s kind of neat to participate in something so large!  It is interesting and inspiring to find so many people out there that are fighting addiction.  I wish the best of luck to all of them. 

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