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    Do you ever continue to do something that by all logic, you should have quit a long time ago?

    Oh hai! How's it going with you? Good to here. How's it been going over here? Good, I guess. There has been Stuff happening, although it seems to happen at a rate that I can't blog about it. And then 5 minutes later it doesn't seem blog-worthy anyway. But I'm sure there has been Stuff.

    All those spammy comments on my blog, for one thing. I get email notifications and think, "Oh, I should delete that Stuff," and then promptly forget 20 seconds later. 

    (Apparently I've turned into a goldfish?)

    And, I don't know, other Stuff. I can't think of it right now. I'm running again, now that there's no roller derby, and I've just completed the C25K program. Go me! I can maintain running a few times a week as long as I pay attention to my form, stretch extensively and roll out muscle tightness, go for a massage once a week, and now that I've written that all out I realize how insane it sounds. 

    To make it crazier I'm getting up super early to run. Voluntarily. Without an alarm. I mean, I like a lot of things about running early in the morning. I get my workout out of the way for the day, I can have a shower immediately afterwards so I'm not stinky for too long, I don't feel guilty about bacon, I feel like I accomplished something. I occasionally get impressive views:

    The mist rising off the lake made it look like King Arthur was going to come riding along. It's cooler in the morning, and I think I get that "runner's high". There are a couple of things I don't like about getting up early to run, though:

    1. Running.

    2. Getting up early.

    I'm a study in conflict.

    What kind of Stuff have you guys been up to?


    This post is about childhood dreams and also apparently about how Canadian I am.

    When I was a kid, I desperately wanted an Easy Bake Oven.

    I’m not even sure how I discovered that they exist. We didn’t watch much television; we had what I, later in life, lovingly referred to as “PeasantVision” – the 3 channels you could pick up with rabbit ears. One of which was in French.

    We were allowed to watch some Saturday morning cartoons, if CBC chose to show some. They were often pre-empted by hockey, or the Olympics, or news about farming, or Stompin’ Tom Conners. You know, whatever the CBC thought was important at the time. I don’t remember Saturday morning cartoons as any kind of reliable feature of my childhood landscape.

    Sunday evenings, however, we religiously tuned in to watch The Wonderful World of Disney, and the Beachcombers. Then it was bath and bed and start our week back at the one-room log schoolhouse with our spinster schoolteacher.

    (Or that’s how I just realized I was making it sound.)

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure there was never any advertisements for Easy Bake Ovens, so for once television is not to blame.

    And I know that I didn’t have any friends that had Easy Bake Ovens, because I wasn’t sure exactly how they operated. I didn’t realize that in actuality they used a crappy 40-watt light bulb to harden chemically powders into something resembling brownies. In my head, an Easy Bake Oven would sit in the corner of my room, and I could close the door to my room and it would produce wonderful-smelling, sugary baked treats on demand that were mine, all mine.

    It’s possible that I was a bit deprived of sugar as a child, too.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I think the culprit was the Consumers Distributing catalog, or possibly the Sears catalog. I wasted many pleasurable hours flipping through those two bibles of childhood, coveting things that had no real purpose and were probably cheap plastic but were wondrous to me.

    (Also, wondering what the hell a Personal Massager was, why it was shaped like a cucumber and why the lady in the picture was holding it against her face and looking agonized.)

    The Easy Bake Oven was at the top of my wish list, followed closely by a Cabbage Patch Doll (a girl, not a boy, and when I got her I would send away my certificate to rename her Sally Rainbow). The Cabbage Patch Doll never materialized because they were insanely hard to get, but the Easy Bake Oven never became mine either. In retrospect I’m sure it had to do with not encouraging traditionally ‘female’ roles, not filling me with unauthorized sugar/chemicals, and the fact that I’d probably lose interest in it in about 3 minutes, blah blah. Parenting logic that I now, sadly, understand.

    But oh…how I wanted that oven.

    I wonder if they still make them?


    (Edit: Oh. My. God.)



    Write what you know

    The other day my mother forwarded me some Writer's Guild stuff. "You should consider submitting something," she wrote. "And write more. You're SUCH a good writer."

    I think she's a little biased, being my mom and all. I mean, I notice this myself; I congratulate my kid on being SO AWESOME at something when what I'm really complimenting is his progress, not necessarily his skill from an objective perspective. He's 6, so that's acceptable. My mom has been reading my stuff since I was an angsty teenager, so she's seen a fair bit of improvement...but that doesn't make me Shakespeare.

    But, I think about it a lot. I want to write, I replied. But I don't have time, I'm busy, my head is crowded. In a year maybe, when this thing is done, when that thing is done. When my kid is in high school, when I can take time off, when I'm retired.

    You know the drill.

    My mom responded with an oft-cited nugget of wisdom from a local writer: Just write 15 minutes a day, she said. Commit to that 15 minutes, that's all, but maybe sometimes you'll write more.

    I want to write, I said again, but I don't know what to write. I need mental white space to come up with ideas. I need less stress, more time. My 15 minutes of writing would be nothing but complaining and crappy haikus. What would I write?

    Write what you know, she said promptly. Finish the complaining and then write what you know.

    (My mom can be really annoying when I'm trying to be lazy.)

    Okay. Write what you know. So I'm writing what I know....which is writing about not writing.



    And now the Van Halen song is in your head too

    Remember how I said Mother Nature is taking my simple purchase of a proper coat as a personal challenge? Yeah, that hasn't let up. I think everyone is getting hammered with it. They're calling it an arctic vortex, which sounds pretty doom and gloom. As if we weren't depressed enough about living in darkness and having to wear long underwear everywhere.

    I mean, that shit flatters no one.

    But with excellent timing, I have planned a trip in a few weeks to Panama. Where it's really warm, I hear.

    I'm going with my cohorts from high school, the Four Horsewomen of the Wine-Induced Apocalypse. Except we're losing a Horsewoman, so there's only three, but I'm pretty sure that's enough for a few apocalypses.

    We all turn the same age within about a year and a half. When we turned 30, we did something special for each person's birthday. We went on road trips, we went to the spa. I am the last one to celebrate, so my friends were out of ideas and just rented a limo and tried to kill me with liquor.

    Speaking of apocalypses.

    This time we figured we'd just do one BIG trip, and hopefully the liquor assassination attempts would all be mutual. Originally we thought Costa Rica, which got nixed due to finances, and after a lot of 'reply all' email chains we settled on Panama. Which has spiders, but I'm willing to overlook them if my friends are willing to stand between them and me.

    They promised me they were. That's true friendship, folks.

    I've traveled a fair bit in the past couple of years but rarely for pure pleasure, and I have suffered through every single bone ass cold January here since moving home from Vancouver over 15 years ago. So a hot weather vacation is due. I even bought a new bathing suit that makes me look like a super hero.

    A slightly pudgy super hero, but hollywood is totally ripe for one of those, amirite?

    Omg, it's going to be so fun. Sun, sand, booze, water, booze, two recently divorced friends.

    What could possibly go wrong?



    Touche. Bitch.

    Last winter was fucking miserable.

    We got so much snow that when this winter began, the dump site from snow removal still had snow from last year. I am not even making this up. There were giant piles of snow that survived all goddamn summer.

    I'm pretty sure that's how Ice Ages get started.

    Anyway, for someone who lives in a province where it gets really fucking cold, every single year, and who has lived there the majority of her life, I am woefully underprepared. I own but one pair of long underwear, stolen inherited from my mother, and one pair of gloves that would keep my hands warm longer than 20 seconds. I have coats which, on a scale of 1-10 for protecting against the elements, rate a "WTF". My boots are fashionable but wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice a toe to frostbite.

    I really don't know how I've survived this long. It certainly explains why I bitch so much.

    So this year I declared my intent to buy a big, fuck-off-mother-nature, down-filled full length coat. And a pair of giant boots made from animals that had sacrificed their lives to keep my feet warm. Neither of these things is a thrifty endeavour, but I was determined to just make the investment and be warm for once.

    "You know," my mom said when I told her my plan, "That pretty much guarantees we'll have the warmest winter on record."

    "I know," I gloated. If my life has taught me anything, it's that things always work like that for me. (And, apparently, my mom, since she was familiar with the phenomenon.) Get prepared for once? Totally unnecessary. Unprepared as usual? Here's 16 feet of snow. 

    I was ready to tell everyone, you're welcome. I bought my coat and boots and some extra mitts and made a "bring it" hand gesture towards Winter.

    That was kind of stupid. It's been at least as cold as -20C (-4F for you 'merican folks) ever since. Mostly -40 with the wind chill. 

    (To everyone: I am so sorry. So, so sorry.)

    Occasionally it warms up abruptly for a day, I'm pretty sure only because it has a debilitating effect on my sinuses. 

    You know, so I have something ELSE to bitch about for a while.