Friday, October 29, 2004

Who's That Girl?

I have wore eyewear since the age of 3.

My mother tells stories of her heart breaking when we would go to the eye doctor and he would put the "fuzzy drops" in my eyes.

The eye doctor said this helped him to see my pupils better. I think that's just something they make up in eye school so that they can get a chuckle out of people having fuzzy vision for 4 hours.

At 3 or 4, I didn't understand what was happening. I would grab my mom's arm, cuddle my face into her arm, while clutching at her elbow with my little hands. I would look up at her, clearly trying to focus but unable to, and then mash my face back into her arms in the hopes that when I surfaced again, things would stop being fuzzy.

Four hours later, it would be over, but to hear my mom tell it, it sounds like it was an eternity. Now that I'm older she laughs at it but I'm sure going through it, she remembers feeling like I thought she was torturing me.

I just remember the ice cream.

I also remember going to pick out glasses. I would always find the frame that was the most expensive and proceed to not want to try on any other. Considering my persecription should actually read "thick coke bottles" instead of the eye-dude language, the expense of the actual lenses were what the majority of the money was spent on.

I always bought coloured rimmed glasses. My first pair was an Annie pair - how cool was I? There were a couple of navy blue rims, a couple of maroon rims and the ultimate in funky, pastel pink. I think those years put me off pastels all together.

My childhood best friend L came up with the idea to paint her rimmed glasses. She used nail polish and would change them weekly. She was always so cool. All I had were my Pink Ladies.

When I hit highschool, my mom would tell me how much her work insurance would cover and I would go and pick them myself. I ended up only doing this once and probably made the biggest style choice of all.
The problem started when I invited my high school sweetheart A to come along and help. The intention was good - he would be able to tell me what looked nice.

What I should have also banked on was his stomach or more specifically his hunger.

By the time we got to the shop, he was starving but conceded to stop by to pick the glasses so that we could leave them at the one hour place while we ate and then pick them up afterwards.

I decided on a change - I would try wire frames.

I don't even remember trying that many on but I do remember A saying, "Ya, they look great, get them".

At this point in my life, I was wearing contacts on a regular basis so the glasses were purely for "emergencies".

I picked them up an hour later, put them on during the drive home and asked him what he thought.

"Uh, well, they don't really look that good".

I was stunned.

"YOU HELPED ME PICK THEM OUT??!!!??"

And there it appeared, his little whoops-i-did-it-again grin

"Well, I was hungry".

One of the many reasons we never made it past university. That and the fact he frequently walked into my work place and asked if I had any money for him. What was I thinking??!!

(we are still good friends but just more proof two Geminis can be disasterous)

And so, these were the glasses that I was stuck with. Not for just two years, but 10 years. 10 YEARS.

I just never got around to ordering any more. And all of the allocated money for eye wear, I would spend on my contacts.

Until this year.

D has always said how ugly the glasses are and he's right. They're big. Clunky. Make my eyes look like saucers.

And this year I decided I would splurge on a trendy pair of frames with the best lenses for my eyes.

I just got the lenses fitted last Saturday and picked them up last night.

I'm wearing them right now.

Frames from Canada, lenses from Belfast - worlds colliding one might think. Funky square rimmed, back to my maroon-style colour and very...well, very book publicist, if I do say so myself.


Now, I just need a few more outfits...


Thursday, October 28, 2004

This Sucks

Listen Fair-and-Equal Gods, I need your help.

It is a travesty that I, being so picky and precise, have found my dream job when D, who is open to any industry, is having such difficulty finding something.

The irony, I suppose, makes you chuckle in your Fair-and-Equal homes in the sky.

I need you to sprinkle some of your vibes down on the owners of establishements in Belfast. He is a smart, dedicated, extremely fast worker who deserves a break - any break - here in this fine city.

I will have trouble singing its praises much longer if all the doors that seem open to him continue to close.

It is very hard, Fair-and-Equal-Gods, to watch someone you love put themselves out there only to be disappointed again and again.

It hurts my heart to see him struggle, especially when he has come so far and done so much since the moment I met him.

Find it in your heart of hearts to help him figure something out.

I know you Gods help those who help themselves and considering the effort he is putting in, he is certainly following the God-helping criteria.

You are not just crushing one spirit - you are beginning to crush two.

Belfast Bits

There is a tower clock by the waterfront that has stood for years and years. It was built by Queen Victoria for her husband Prince Albert (I think). It is Belfast's leaning tower. Built on what used to be underwater, the soil is not very good for a large tower like statue. They spent millions of dollars to fix it. It will no longer sink into the ocean. But it still leans.

Craic (crack) has nothing to do with white powedery stuff and I partake in good craic quite frequently. A Belfast boy we met learned a hard lesson when visiting Canada when he asked a Canadian policeman "What's the craic?" sadly, in front of an actual crack house. Thrown against a wall and searched, he was able to mumble out the meaning. And learned the lesson "When in Rome..."

The sky may be gray to the left and it will be pissing on you but you can see blue sky to your right and the sun peaking out.

If you are a lad it's not cool to bring a brolly. Many many soaked rats wandering the streets of the city.

Saturday is shopping-for-going-out-outfits - especially with your 7 children, in strollers or holding onto handles as you bark loud "Shut it" and "You'll get a smack" while trying to keep them under of control. I sit on my couch on Saturdays, with a nice cup of tea, my book and classical music.

Sunday shopping has only been around for a couple of years and the shops don't open until 1pm and close at 4pm.

Belfast has the lowest petty crime rate in the UK and is said to have the 2nd lowest crime rate in the world. Translation: Tourists, never fear. This is a city for you to enjoy, not worry about security.

By the time winter hits, people in Belfast will be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I am already having trouble getting up at 7:20 am.

If you are a pedestrian, be very very afraid. Cars..do..not..care. You..are..actually..in..their..way. Can I TELL you how much this bothers me??? Unfortunately for me, this also falls under the "When in Rome..." category. Crossing a regular street at in intersection is like taking your life into your hands. You are only safe at "zebra" (say zEbra not zEEbra) crossing - with lights and large white lines. This is a pedestrian's revenge because a car can be speeding at 100 mph towards you and will screech on the brakes as soon as you step one foot on the white lines. And yet, everywhere else, the drive as though they don't even see you there.

Its "quarter past" not "quarter after". It is "half 12" not "12:30".

If you can't wait at a bar for 5 minutes waiting for your Guiness to settle, you don't deserve the Guiness.

It is time for me to get back to the blissful chaos.


Monday, October 25, 2004

It's a Canadian Thing, Eh?

My mind was wandering this morning as I was cleaning the house. Partly procrastinating, partly disinfecting a much needed rat hole which had not been cleaned in...well..I confess I've turned into a neat freak and it probably could have gone a couple more weeks my old standards but this morning, well, it was just driving me nuts.

I'm not sure whether it was a train of thought that started with me thinking of D out with Australian friends - because he was today and I have found LOADS of things to keep me busy, many of which involved talking to myself but this, you see, is really nothing new.

Or, it could have simply been a train of thought of holiday because housework makes my mind wander and the first thing I'd rather be doing is probably being on holiday.

But I was suddenly thinking again of an extrodinary week that would not have been had it not been for one simple decision.

To be honest, it was pure laziness. We had arrived in Faro, Portugal, around 9 pm, after sitting on a bus from 2:30. We were trying to get ourselves to Lagos, what we had been told was one of the most romantic, relaxing places in the south of Europe.

We had just finished off 4 nights in Seville, which were spectacular unto themselves but now, we were gearing up for a much anticipated visit to the seaside.

When we piled off the bus, so too did a few other tourists. One set was a couple from British Columbia. They had their Spain and Portugal book and were taking 3 weeks to travel around. She must have been 6 months pregnant and I couldn't help but thank the fertility gods that they had spared me the strain of lugging a backpack around with a KID IN MY GUT.

There were also 4 young, blonde, cute and friendly Aussies who were geared up to get themselves to the final destination - Lagos.

From where the bus dropped us off, it was a 2 minute walk to the other bus station which would provide buses that would take us to Lagos.

D and I pondered. Should we or shouldn't we? Pregnant couple was finding a place for the night. The Aussie girlies were heading to Lagos - hell or high water, they would be hammered with other young tourists in the sea side town by midnight.

We decided that we would see if there looked a suitable hotel along the way and if not, then, get on the bus and head to Lagos.

It was dark and nothing was really going on in the city at this time but in the short walk - about halfway - we saw a hotel. I went up to the deskman, got a good rate and our fate was sealed. With two little beds - extrememly comfy I may add - a TV WITH CABLE!!!! and an DIVINE showerhead, we decided this had been the right decision.

And so, up in the morning, we took the first train to Lagos. It was pissing rain.

Perhaps that was why, when this slim, tiny Porteguese woman - with a car, I might add - approached with "ah Canadians!" and offered us a room at her hostel, we had no choice but to accept.

Being a bit apprehensive about going with a stranger, it eased my mind a bit when a Kiwi decided to join us.

The car ride, she went on about Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis, how she loved to have them stay at her place and that at the moment, there were a ton of Canadians staying there.

It only struck me later on one of the most important things she said. There had been an Australian couple, who had ended up staying for a month, that had only just left that morning and that is why we were able to have their room.

The "hostel" ended up being a room in a condo building, with a kitchen, bathroom and four rooms with various capacities. One room was a single with an ensuite, two had 4 beds - one for boys, one for girls and the final room was a double bed for couples.

The majority of the visitors were Canadian. We hadn't yet met any Canadians on our travels. It was already starting off to be a good one.
We went drinking together. Wandered the beaches together. Swam in the freezing-night water together. Even had our own wine and cheese party together. We were from all parts of the country. British Columbia. Alberta. Ontario. Nova Scotia. We had all come from different walks of life and yet, being Canadian was the one thing we had in common.

It was the American couple that pointed it out.

"You Canadians have a weird sense of humour."

We all kinda looked at them and then looked at each other. There were knowing nods and small smiles. It was like they had pointed out something we hadn't even thought about but made so much sense. Why was it that after 4 days, we were still getting along? There were still things to joke about? There was this comfort level between all of us, for no real reason at all.

That was the best social time we had on that first trip. It was also the first time I really understood what it was like to be Canadian. That there is a subtle difference, from us and the rest of the world. That as much as we go on and on about wondering what Canadian culture is, it's simply deep in who we are. Perhaps it was the sense of humour, I don't know. But we did all fit in together. Some how.

It was only because there was a hotel in Faro that was on our way to the bus stop. If we had arrived in Lagos that night, we wouldn't have been able to stay at the hostel with all the Canadians - our room would have been full.

Another lesson, taught by fate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Calling all Boys

Girls: Please do not be offended. I am a girl and know how I can takes things too much to heart, misinterpret people's meanings, go a little overboard on my reactions. But please please don't. Just hear me out.

Boys: If you're out there, use this to open your minds.

For most of my adult, independent, from-university-until-now life I have had either male friendships or female ones that felt like male ones.

I would usually get together one on one with my female friends, frequently discussing how we would fix the world if we were elected president. That or how many countries we would travel to and what type of things would be the best to pack.

I have not ventured out in big groups for girlie nights, discussing shoes and jewelry and lip balm. I have never been one to dress up and take 3 hours to get ready and go dancing.

So, realistically, I shouldn't expect to go out with the above company and a) have anything to talk about or b) have a good time.

I like conversation. The girls that have taken me here and taken me out are lovely people. Sweet, funny. They may even being interesting conversationalists. But it just seems we never go out for chatty events.

My old work ladies rocked. But getting all 12 of them together for a chatty night out is proving to be more difficult then moving across the ocean.

There are girls that I know - mostly those that are NOT single - who I find I have something in common with. But at this stage in their lives, they have their own friends. I don't think it's that they don't enjoy my company, it's simply that I'm not on their radar when they're organizing an evening out.

Which brings me to my most comfortable situation - chillin with the boys.
My dilemma is this: the boys I meet are either D's friends or want to get in my pants.

As a girl, I cannot meet new boys on my own without them wanting to go further. And it's not the same hanging out with boys D knows because then I'm just the tagging along girlfriend.

My "boys" back home would make puking noises if anyone suggested I might actually be dating one of them. This is what I'm looking for. And sad to say I know this is not possible.

It's hard to explain to boys that I am actually used to their conversations about how hot that chick is that just walked by or do-you-think-Brittany's-are-real? type debates.

Boys are straightforward. I have never wondered what they thought. They will tell me if I look stupid, said something ridiculous or am being a drunk crying girl idiot.

I like this honesty. Girls - myself included - have difficulty being honest face to face. In some twisted way, we don't want to hurt people's feelings. We think that by keeping our emotions from them or talking behind their backs, they will be "less-hurt".

This is not really meant to be a complaining post. More an observational one. More a coming-to-terms-with-the-moving-away-from-everything-you're-used-to type post.

I remember going through this in first year university. Dating D and chatting to guys in bars. I thought I was making friends. He had to explain that boys don't go to bars to make new friends.

I have to decide whether I can put up with the somewhat superficial entertainment I have partaken in as of late or I can put up with not going out.

Both make me feel lonely. One saves me more money.

But if you're a boy in the Belfast area and don't want to snog me or use me to hang out with my boyfriend, I do hope we meet someday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Little Mr. D - Letter to the Kid #2

(readers: do not be confused. not MY D but E's D)
Well mister, aren't you cute? Your mom sent me the second picture I've seen of you today. Pretty sharp looking.

It was a bit surreal when your dad jumped out at the page. I kinda wondered who I would think you looked like when I first saw a picture of but your birth-day picture just didn't show either of them.

This one - you're definitely your father's son. Oh dear. I knew it - you are totally NEVER getting in trouble! Just give a smile and a wink and she'll melt...for sure...

It's a good thing your dad practised telling me to "Go to your room" and "Get a job" when I stayed with them. He'll be all set to tell himself where to go.

You were even smiling a little bit in the second picture. Was that because of all the fun fresh air you get up at the cottage? You know, I love the cottage too. Your mom and I sat for a couple of days planning my Europe trip, talking about life, dreaming about the future. And look at that, there you are.

I heard you chatting to me in the background when I talked to your mom a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, I know you may be pissed we haven't met. And no, I hadn't yet sent you your present but it's on its way now...as long as Royal Mail doesn't lose it, which I have no control over and one day you'll learn that when you grow up that sometimes, you are at the mercy of the postal system. And yes, I WILL be calling again and you will have to be patient in the background while me and your mom catch up. Be sure to give me another shout out.

Tyeger - I can't wait to meet you. I won't be offended, however, if you cry when I try to hold you because that just happens to me when I hold kids for the first time. I inherited it from my mother.

I also think it's kinda cool that when I get into work, you are probably waking up for one of your early morning meals. Be nice to your mom that early. It's WAY TO EARLY for your Aunt A and you're a lucky dude someone will get up in the wee hours of the morning just to make sure you get food in your gut.

I know you will be getting cuter and cuter over the following months. You will also be getting bigger, turning into a real person.

Crunch on my heart, I know I will miss all this. But hey, you won't remember anyway will you?

Perhaps I'll be better at teaching you the "in-your-20s" stuff anyway. You're gonna need a place to stay when you decide to travel the world aren't you?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Rage

The people that have known you the longest can make you rage more then you ever imagined possible.

Perhaps intentionally. Perhaps unintentionally.

But it is so hard not to react. Especially when you know what's coming.

And you are helpless to stop the actions. And you're helpless to stop the way you are going to react.

At least I am. But sitting with this rage is much better then expressing it because the outcome will end up worse then the one I have right now.

It's still annoying. The control some people can actually have over your emotions.

Nothing a glass of merlot can't fix.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Perspective

The internet cafe I frequent happens also to have a shop in the front.

I never really pay attention to what kind of stuff is sold but most of it is electronics hence, the internet cafe theme.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that, yes, they also sell guns. I assumed they were BB guns. Not being American, I am not used to seeing guns in my local Wal-Mart.

You see, I have never actually held a gun. I have never seen someone hold a gun, except on TV and in movies but that doesn't count because it's on a little box and not live, not real.

Today, as I was tapping away on the machine I'm sitting at, I heard this clicking.

I turned to see a kid - probably in his late teens - sqinting his eye, looking down the barrel, straightening his arm and shooting a gun. No bullets in the gun but shooting it none the less.

Right. At. Me.

Pointing it right at my face, about 15 yards away, testing his 'piece'.

In. My. Face.

I didn't do anything but I think my face said it all. That disgusted, shocked, nose scrunching, eye bulging look that I get when I can't believe my eyes.

His friends laughed, noticing my contored face was obviously not enjoying have a gun it in.

And I just was more disgusted. I turned my head back to the screen, but all I could do was hear the clicking.

I looked again, he was showing off. Point at bits to his friends, who were now doing a bit of a nervous giggle thing.

I tried to focus on anything else but the clicking. I just couldn't believe the ignorance. The arrogance. Because he was obviously quite proud that he could not only shoot a gun, but shoot it many times, and point out its pieces and also not even be aware that he was pointing it in someone's direction and maybe, JUST MAYBE, pointing an unloaded gun in someone's face, even 15 yards away, may actually just make them feel uncomfortable.

And suddenly I felt very lucky. That I made it to 28 years of age without a gun in my face.

Because there are people all over this planet that hardly make it to their first year in general, let alone without seeing a gun.

And so I stop grimacing. Because, really, it's not that bad

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Writing

I have written three separate long winded blog entries in the last week but have not posted any of them.

I get these ideas for short, quirky, mild interesting thoughts to share and suddenly they turn into the War and Peace of the electronic diary world.

As much as I always complain about being hormonal, I find that much of my soul searching words are written during a period (no pun intended) of pure reflection.

I need to perhaps go back to words and do a bit of editing.

I like having the option of simply writing at home. What's even better is that I'm not scrambling in an internet cafe to post something that is completely out to lunch.

Of course, that seems to be what I'm doing now. And so, this is short. And not at all inspired. And really, more just procrastinating.

Because there are other things I need to be doing at home today.

Off I go. Losing more and more readers by the minute, I know I know.

Be patient. I'll get back into my groove.

I promise.