Tuesday, June 24, 2014

European inspired root canals

So the boyfriend and I went to Europe for three weeks. We booked our flights and a couple of nights at a hotel in Frankfurt, where we were landing, and that's it. The remaining 19 nights were not booked, nor destinations planned. We were just gonna wing it. We had an idea of the general geographic area we wanted to stick to (Central Europe) but no more thought was really put into it than that.

Strangely, leading up to the trip, we didn't think about it much. I guess we were busy with our daily lives and since we had decided on relatively little planning, it really wasn't front of mind. It only started sinking in about a week before we were leaving when I drew up my "pre-trip" to-do list. Then it was like, holy shit, we're going overseas for three weeks. WTF.

Now, you might be thinking, big deal. Everyone goes to Europe. A lot of people don't really plan their trip. So what? And I would say, yes, that's true. I would also say there is truth to the old adage that people go to Europe to "find themselves", because I found myself. At 39. Racked with anxiety and wonderment.

That first night in Frankfurt, I couldn't sleep because our idea was finally hitting me. We're on this continent for three weeks and I have no idea where we're going or what we'll be doing. A complete blank slate. Sheer panic started to set in, and I was hit with a sharp pang of homesickness.

You see, I plan for a living. I'm always thinking of the future, booking things in advance, organizing, and I have a very stable lifestyle, i.e. my ass is on the couch most nights watching TV, after a day of work. I also have a touch of the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and the specter of the unknown for three weeks hit me like an abusive husband on a bender.

I guess you're supposed to work this shit out in your late teens / early twenties when most people go backpacking across Europe. I've always been a late bloomer. We ended up going to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and at 39, I discovered that major urban centres, although stimulating, stress me out a bit, especially when I don't speak the language and we're trying to use public transportation to get around cities we're unfamiliar with. As the boyfriend put it, I earned my orienteering badge on this trip.

I realized I'm a nester, and just as I was getting comfortable feathering my nest in one city, we would up and leave for the next. I guess I've always known this about myself but nowhere was it more evident than on this trip. Wow, I'm really not a gypsy. Ok. Except that "nester" doesn't sound as cool as "gypsy". "Nester" sounds like generic suburban housewife, which I am most definitely not. I think.

Then, on day 4 of 21, I developed a very mild toothache which I consequently, at varying degrees, on different days, obsessed about. I mean, it didn't hurt or anything but I knew something was amiss. Again, with the unknown. What's causing this? Should I see a dentist right away? Can it wait? It can wait. I mean, I'm in a foreign country, and it's not an emergency. But can it wait another two and half weeks? I've had a root canal before. What if this is indicative of another one? What if my tooth is rotting from the inside right now? Or maybe it's just my gum that's inflamed. I DON'T KNOW. The idea of not getting any answers for at least a couple weeks was somewhat traumatic. I don't cope well with uncertainty, and yet it's the basic condition of human life. Go figure.

It was a deeply profound experience in that I remained on my edges for 21 days, without the comfort of the familiar, constantly exposed to new cities, languages and cultures, and ultimately reminded that we all resemble each other so much more than we differ from each other. All our unplanned logistics fell into place beautifully and helpful, friendly people always seemed to show up when we needed them. I guess I realized it's ok to not know, and the world "out there" is nothing to be afraid of. Unless you're traveling to Somalia. Then, you should probably be afraid.

I did have to get a second root canal when we returned home. Both of my canine teeth are now dead. It's a matching set. I wonder if that makes me kind of a vampire.

Friday, May 2, 2014

They like big butts and they cannot lie

I read a Runner's World article yesterday stating that stretching, either before or after running, is actually not recommended. I know. Very surprising considering we've been told the opposite. I was quite pleased because I do run but I'm lazy. If I don't have to stretch afterwards, great. Workout done. On to couch potatoism that much sooner.

I also read a great article recently stating that, contrary to what the vast majority of women think, men are mostly attracted to visibly healthy, athletic-looking women. Women with curves, and muscles, not skinny bitches who look like they couldn't lift a toothpick. 

It was so refreshing to read - an article actually encouraging women to build strength and muscle, get some curves, pack on a caboose (with strength training, not doughnuts) because a big ass and a muscular ass are two entirely different things. The article stated something I found very interesting: most media are trying to sell women's bodies to other women, not men. So all those super skinny fashion models appeal to some men but not the majority of men.

Most women think the opposite. They exercise to stay skinny or get skinnier, not to maintain an average weight, and stay healthy and strong. They try to emulate fashion models they see in mainstream media but guess what? That's not what guys find crazy hot. If you put a fashion model next to say, a Gabrielle Reece (beach volleyball super hot athlete chick), the fashion model wouldn't stand a chance.

Apparently, guys go gaga over chicks who look like they could scale the side of a mountain or go on a hiking trek through the Amazon forest, babes who look like they're game for anything, not skinny twigs obsessed with calorie-counting who might break something on a light walk around the block.

So ladies, instead of trying to figure out how to get rid of your curves, go pump some iron, and eat real food. Celery sticks only count if they're part of a complete meal, i.e. accompanied by healthy sources of lean protein and complex carbohydrates.

And the next time you read a fashion mag, remember, their only goal is to sell you shit, not to keep you healthy and happy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pavement and my ass: two things that should never meet unexpectedly

I recently caught a severe case of fallis on assis on a busy street in front of a gaggle of pedestrians. There's nothing quite like public embarrassment to keep it real, you know? The culprit was a patch of black ice. I know what you're thinking: "Why is there ice to contend with in April?" Well, this winter has been particularly harsh, the kind of winter they're referring to in Game of Thrones when they say "Winter is coming."

I've started commuting via bicyclette and it's still colder than a witch's titty out there. I know, WTF right? So, I'm riding my bike down a busy street, all proud of myself for paying attention to parked cars and people coming out of them (as a cyclist, parked cars can be a menace if a door opens and you're unprepared) but what I fail to notice is a light turning red at a pedestrian crosswalk.

I keep going merrily on my way when I realize I'm about to run over someone innocently crossing the street. Shit. Slam on the brakes. Except, double shit, ice. Back wheel fishtails forward and gains serious momentum due to frozen water underfoot. So much momentum it drags the rest of the bike and me along with it until I find myself flat on my ass. WTF just happened.

Then I hear tidbits of conversation among the onlookers: "What the f*ck! Look, there's ice. Are you ok?" Once I realized I hadn't run over anyone, I felt marginally better, except when I tried to get up. My left knee hurt like a mother f*cker. But my ego was already severely bruised so I pretended like everything was ok, and rode off to continue my trek to the office.

I was shaken up by the sudden trauma of public embarrassment but I managed to arrive at work in one piece. However, I realized my knee had sustained some kind of injury. But I was a trooper. I wasn't gonna sit around all day, feeling sorry for myself. I went to the gym over lunch and realized that my knee actually felt better when in motion and worse when static for long periods of time. Weird.

I was really bummed out when I thought I might not be able to run for a while because of my sore knee but the boyfriend said I should probably keep moving it, so I did, and realized I can still run. Good thing too because I just started up again after being unable to run due to my frankenvein (aka vericose vein) treatments over the last three months. At first, I was all like: "Universe, what up yo?" but now I'm like:" Ok, it's cool, everything still works".

So the moral of the story is: there shouldn't be any ice left in April. (global warming my ass...)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gravy mix and cigarettes cause muffin tops

We bought some gravy mix at the grocery store the other day. My boyfriend stuffed the packets in his coat pocket since we didn't get any other groceries at the time (after paying of course - we're not hooligans). Once we got home, he asked me to get the gravy from his coat because he had forgotten. I did as he requested and, once in the kitchen with said packets of gravy, I said: "Is that gravy in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

I really like low-rise pants because I have a short torso and my waist is fairly close to my boobs. I also have really square hips so I look like a... well, like a big square. I like to think of my figure as more "athletic" than "hourglass".

The problem with low risers is that they give me a muffin top when I sit down. I find this strange because I'm of perfectly normal weight so nothing should be hanging over my pants, you know? If the pants have a somewhat higher waist, I can just tuck my tummy under the pants and pouf! flat abs.

I can only conclude that I need a personal seamstress since mainstream fashion cannot possibly begin to address my unique body shape which I have aptly named "the square", as shown in this lovely illustration:
I came across some old Johnny Carson interviews on TV the other night and immediately got the warm fuzzies. I used to watch the Tonight Show back in the day, before I became a soulless peon engulfed in what Henry David Thoreau described as "lives of quiet desperation". The interviews were mainly from the 70s and 80s, when I was young and my greatest worry was missing an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard on Friday nights. 

I couldn't help but feel nostalgic and long for the days when one could smoke on television. I mean, when George C. Scott lit up a cigarette and recited a monologue from a play he'd done 25 years prior, he personified cool. But I'm a reasonable adult, and I get that the whole cancer / death thing put a kaibosh on that. 

Another hallmark of the 80s for me was getting away with wearing the same clothes every day at school. If I came across a piece of clothing I found particularly comfortable, I would wear it all the time, like my black harem pants in grade 6, or my favorite sweatshirt in grade 4:
 
I think I won a prize for that hat
The stripes, the ruffles - that thing killed. Somehow, I don't think my office attire could consist solely of pajama pants and sweatshirts which is unfortunate because I would be much more productive in flannel than hosiery.

A few days ago, I was complaining about something or other and the boyfriend says: Crimea river. 

We were at the grocery store, once again, and the boyfriend orders a prosciutto and pear panini but he pronounced it "pros-kiutto". I said: "Honey, it's pronounced proshiutto. The "s" and the "c" make a "sh" sound." His response: I'll "sh" you.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How corn dogs blew up my blog

So I kind of, accidentally, completely redesigned my blog. All I wanted to do was replace a few old pictures with new ones. Then, somehow, as a result of my technical ineptitude, I ended up deleting my super-cool background, which clearly was not my intention. I tried to restore it, but alas, it would not work. It was in the attempted restoration process, however, that the website where I got said super-cool background suggested it would work better with one of the newer Blogger templates. So...

I was perusing some templates and clicked on one which I guess meant "apply". Holy. Shit. So yeah, guess what? Whole new look. I was seized with panic when I realized I had forever altered the look of my blog. It kind of felt like jumping off being pushed off a cliff. However, I'm warming to the new look, although quite unexpected, and somewhat traumatic.

Perhaps this laps in judgment was caused by my frequent ingestion of corn dogs and mayo for breakfast this week. I'd like to think I have a refined palate and prioritize healthy foods over synthetic junk but every time I spot them corn dogs in the grocery store, I can't help myself. I must have them. This surprises me because I've never lived in a trailer park. 

I feel equally guilty about adding flavoured coffee cream to my morning joe to give it that authentic fancy coffee house, foamy, non-fat, hold the whip, latté flavour. It's so bourgeois. Or do hipsters still occupy coffee houses? In which case, I'm too hip to care.

I vowed not to purchase one piece of clothing this year so I could start to address my tiny debt problem and the lack of space in my closet. I then proceeded to buy a very expensive purse. I'm not sure what it means. Sublimation via Italian leather? I do, however, use this purse everyday, so I did need it.

The final season of Mad Men starts in April. I'm concerned about this since I fear the end of this great series will stymy my campaign to have hard liquor readily available in offices across the country. I believe it will increase productivity while lowering stress levels. If you have statistics to support this hypothesis, please send them to me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chicken soup is a bad influence on asymmetrical ears

Can I still eat my salad if a few flakes of dandruff fell into it when I scratched my head?

The boyfriend and I watched some of the special features on our Season 3 Game of Thrones DVDs after finishing the season. We realized we should have done this sooner since we now finally understood what was going on. It's a testament, however, to the quality of the show that we keep watching even though, most of the time, we're thoroughly confused. But the characters are engaging and the stories compelling, and we seem to know enough to piece together some kind of incomplete, yet coherent narrative.

I suspect some Walking Dead writers must have recently read a volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul because the latest episode was surprisingly schmaltzy. Teen girl looking for her first drink in a post-apocalyptic Zombie nightmare; her white trash adult caretaker refusing to let her drink Peach Schnapps in favour of good 'ol Moonshine. If you're gonna do it, do it right. Then they got into some real movie-of-the-week crap with "Let's heal our past wounds by setting fire to this house as a symbol of rebirth." Puke. More zombies please. Or bring back the Governor.

I recently realized my skull is not smooth but quite ripple-y. This surprised and perturbed me. What if I'm deformed? What if my skull is gradually caving in on itself? I asked my boyfriend if I could feel his skull. Also ripple-y. Is this a biological fact I simply wasn't aware of? I guess I always figured my head was spherical, and I suppose it kind of is, in the way the moon is round but has craters.

I also realized my ears are not symmetrical. One of them sticks out more than the other. When I pressed my finger into the side of my left ear (why? who knows), I felt a tiny piece of cartilage that isn't on the side of my right ear. I never knew this until now. I had to stop pressing my finger into my ear though because I was getting a headache, and I was in a shopping mall.  

I had a unicorn once. I named it Horny.

So we're watching the Bachelor finale and the host, Chris Harrison, who's always been my fave, is gettin' all up in Juan Pablo's grill because the dude didn't want to propose to his chosen one but instead wanted to date her. Chris was completely flummoxed by the fact that Juan Pablo wouldn't say he was in love with Nikki (his winning contestant). He even enlisted the help of last season's Bachelor, Sean, and his new wife, Catherine, a saintly couple if there ever was one, to validate his ire. Bewildered, I watched this glaring display of American puritanism which so proudly showed little to no tolerance for alternatives.

I mean, think about it. Not everyone is ready to get married after knowing each other for 10 weeks, AND, all the while one of you is dating other people. So Juan wants to date Nikki and see where that leads, now that it's just the two of them. He likes her a whole lot but he's not sure he's in love with her. That sounds like a perfectly honest and reasonable situation to me. Shame on The Bachelor. Maybe your next season should air on the Christian Television Network - a more appropriate home for ill-founded dogma.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Arctic madness (also known as "It's bloody cold and I'm losing my sh*t.")

Do you know what a long, cold winter (think like, -40C with wind chill for like, a few weeks in a row) does to a person? It f*cks your shit up. I think I may have read somewhere that there's a disorder in the Arctic that makes people act crazy, like taking an ax to your blow-up doll and making broccoli explode.

I kicked off 2014 by doing some alpine skiing in Vermont in -20C weather with a bad cold, something only powerful pharmaceuticals make possible. Was this a harbinger of the year to come?

I came back to work sick after our Christmas vacation, then I felt better for a couple weeks, then this crazy ass frigid weather hit again, and my cold came back for an encore. If this is global warming, I don't like it anymore. Warm weather when it should be winter = totally acceptable. Weather that only belongs in either the North or South poles = unacceptable.

Now I'm supposed to be all excited about the Olympics. The figure skating is fixed. NHL-player stacked teams make Olympic men's hockey a joke. Only the Dutch seem to be winning speed skating events. (Don't get me wrong, I love the Dutch, but is this the '72 East German women's swim team all over again?) And they keep showing those "How we raised an Olympian" montages with sappy, Hallmark movie of the week background music that gets me every time. Damn you national broadcasters and your emotional manipulation!

It's only mid-February and I'm exhausted. I sensed 2014 would be a year of "growth". Sure, growth can be good but it usually doesn't feel good and you have to go through stuff that "stretches" you, metaphorically speaking, and keeps you perpetually uncomfortable with your "status quo self". I'm starting to think growth is overrated. What's wrong with ignorance and a bottle of wine to numb those pesky emotions? Growth and maturity are for suckers.

On a bright note, I got a mystery Valentine at the office with a picture of Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) with the caption "You Rock".  #totallyawesome

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