Thursday, 31 December 2009

Yes I Am Blind But I Do See

I can't actually see what I'm typing right now - the words are one big blur on my laptop screen. I'm hoping that my keyboard skills have kicked in and I'm typing real words and not a load of gibberish.

I haven't been able to read any blogs for days so I feel very removed from everything and everyone. It's a bit odd, actually. I go months without speaking to my little sister and that's normal but I go a few days without reading my favourite blogs and I feel discombobulated. I hope that everything is well and everyone has a fabulous, drama-free New Years Eve. I will be spending New Years Eve in bed with my rockstar husband (I cannot even tell you how good to me he has been since the surgery) and my crazy puppies and a large wheel of brie. Jealous? I would be. It's a really large wheel of cheese :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

You Got To Burn To Shine

So. The laser eye surgery. I did it. Well, I didn't perform the surgery but I did lie there without crying and/or screaming. It was ... successful? I guess? I don't know. I'm feeling very desperate today. My world is blurry and burny and all I want to do is itch my eyeballs but I can't. The nurse taught me more than I ever wanted to know about infection so I've been even more neurotic than usual about washing my hands and not touching my face.

I've been trying to read blogs but it's difficult to read my computer screen (it's taken me fifteen minutes to type this.) I attempted to finish my book (I'm 20 pages away from finishing a murder mystery and it is KILLING ME that I can't see the words on the page) but I failed. Daytime television is mind-numbingly dull. I'm very complainy. I'm sorry. I know that in a week I will be laughing at how wimpy I'm being right now.

Things aren't all bad. Shawn is being a giant sweetheart. I ate ice cream for breakfast. My puppies know something is wrong so they're being less jumpy and more cuddley. Things are okay. They will be better later but for now they're okay.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Jumping Music Swift D.J.s Smoke Machines And Laser Rays

I'm having laser eye surgery in two hours. I am feeling a bit ... jittery. I didn't sleep much last night so I'm relying on caffeine to keep me awake this morning. My coffee/stress diet is always a bad plan but I always resort to it when I'm in survival mode. It's silly but I am in survival mode right now. I feel like I can't tell anyone how scared I am for this surgery because it's something I've chosen to do. It's not necessary. I don't have to do it. Perfect vision is something that I want. I just ... don't want to have to have surgery to get it.

So I'm here. Watching the clock. Wishing away the minutes so that I can go get it over with. Trying not to cry when Shawn makes the "bzzzzz" noise and points at my eyes because he really does think that I'm stronger than I am and that I'm not scared. Which is ridiculous because I'm the lady who hasn't been to the dentist in over two years because of the anxiety attacks that hit as soon as the dentist chair reclines.

The good news it that I went Boxing Day shopping and splurged on new bed stuff. I got a pillow-top mattress pad and new king-sized pillows and a fluffy new duvet and duvet cover. Paired with the new Egyptian-cotton sheets and soft, flannel pyjamas that my mom gave me for Christmas, our bed is somewhere that I'm looking forward to spending the next few days in. Plus there are two kinds of ice cream in my freezer. And a nine-hour audiobook (The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley) and thirty-five podcasts (You Look Nice Today) on my ipod. I'm as prepared as I can be, is what I'm saying.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Main Thing That We Do Is To Rock Your Socks Off

Dear Shawn,

Twenty nine pairs of socks. What did you expect when you told everyone that you wanted new socks for Christmas?

Love Hillary

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Just Beat It Beat It Beat It Beat It No One Wants To Be Defeated - Take 12

Operation: Cook a Salmonella-Free Turkey Dinner was a huge success. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by all of your suggestions; I didn't know which recipes to choose. I ended up using Nigella's method for cooking the turkey because Nigella can do no wrong. The turkey was delicious but to be honest, I'm more of a side dish kind of gal.

My dinner, in all of its gluttonous glory:

Clockwise from the top:
turkey with cranberry orange sauce, garlic smashed potatoes with gravy, Meg's brussel sprouts (steamed and then sautéed in butter, brown sugar, and pecans), maple balsamic roasted beets (ewww beets but also yay! December beets!), sweet potato mash with an unfortunate topping of burnt-ass (why yes, that is the technical term) marshmallows, and not-cooked-in-the-bird stuffing of my own recipe that featured bacon (heck yes), dried cranberries, apples, and caramelized onions (which is just a fancy way of saying that I burned the onions and was too lazy to chop more so I used the burnt ones.)

For dessert (because we weren't already bursting at the seams) we had pecan bourbon pie with bourbon caramel sauce and pumpkin chiffon pie. It was ridiculous.

The pups were being irresistibly cute so more than one person slipped them a few morsels of turkey, resulting in what may be the cutest thing I've ever seen, the Puppy Turkey Coma:

Tryptophan Overdose


I'm glad that I attempted the full turkey dinner but I seriously doubt I'll do it again. It took two full days of cooking to finish everything and I still ended up an hour behind schedule, forcing my dad to make the gravy and carve the turkey while I drank bubbly wine and set the fire alarm off with my unfortunate marshmallow / broiler incident. It was a tad stressful. I had leftover pumpkin pie for dinner last night though, so I'm not complaining.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Licence Plate Said Fresh And It Had Dice In The Mirror

I had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist today. He's fairly confident that I've got a sleep disorder so he's put me on a waiting list for a sleep study. He also reinstated my driving privileges, which is a huge relief. I don't need to drive because we live (and I work) on a transit line but not having my driver's licence was very inconvenient at times. To be honest, I ended up driving whenever I really needed to go somewhere but I spent a lot of time and energy fretting that I'd be pulled over and penalized. It wasn't worth it. Now I don't have to worry; I can drive whenever and wherever I want. It's like I'm the 16-year old, newly-licenced Hillary all over again. I feel like I should go celebrate with some wine coolers in my parents' basement or something.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

I Can See So Far With My Poison Eye

I didn't expect the air freshener debate to be so divided (team Vanilla Tiger!) The only solution, obviously, is to buy both.

* * * * *

I broke a board last night. With my force. First, though, I punched it and it did not break. Then I cried because, holy fuck do you know how much it hurts to punch a board as hard as you can? A lot. I ended up breaking it with an axe kick. Yeah, I do stuff like axe kicks. I'm pretty much the badassest (totally a word - don't question me, I will axe kick you) blogger around.

* * * * *

I bought my turkey a few nights ago. I couldn't find a fresh turkey so I had to buy a frozen one. I suspect that I couldn't find a fresh one because I refused to go to the butcher shop (so expensive! so ... meaty!) I moved the turkey from the freezer to the fridge today to start defrosting but I ran into a bit of a dilemma ... do you unwrap the turkey to defrost it? It's in some sort of turkey condom right now, which I like because it's keeping all the scary turkey germs from flying around the inside of my fridge, but I'm afraid that if I don't unwrap it I will end up with a still-frozen turkey on Sunday morning when I go to cook it. Suggestions? Advice? Offers to come cook my turkey? All welcome!

* * * * *

I am having laser eye surgery in 11 days. I booked it months ago but I didn't blog about it because I was fairly certain that I would back out like the giant scaredy pants that I am. I'm past the point of being able to get my $400 deposit back, though, so I need to tell as many people about the surgery as possible so I will feel like a wiener if I back out. Dudes, if I do not blog about my successful laser eye surgery on December 29th, I fully expect you all to call me names and put me in the shame corner.

* * * * *

Georgia is a fucking rockstar. Head over to her blog today and give her a high five, please and thanks!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Don't You Think I'm So Sexy I'm Dressed So Fresh So Clean


I saw these Ed Hardy car air fresheners in the drugstore and couldn't resist snapping a photo. (I apologize for the poor picture quality; my blackberry has a horrible camera.)

I'm pretty sure you're only allowed to buy these if you drive a Hummer. It won't stop me from trying though. So my question is: do I buy Shawn a vanilla Ed Hardy car air freshener for Christmas or a peach Ed Hardy car air freshener?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Dinner At Eight Was Okay Before The Toast Full Of Gleams

Last week in a fit of "I hate family drama, we're getting the fuck out of here for Christmas"-induced rage, I went online and looked up plane tickets. I didn't know where we were going to go, I just knew that I couldn't stay here (and yes, I do realize that I am a bit of a hypocrite for hating my family's drama when I so clearly embrace drama as a way of life.)

It didn't take long for me to realize that Shawn's work schedule plus two rambunctious puppies means that we have to stay in town. My furious searching did lead me to a cheap flight from Montreal to Vancouver, though, proving that rage isn't always unproductive. Shawn called his dad and a few clicks later, his flight was booked. Shawn's dad will be here from December 19th to the 28th.

Which leads me to my next bit of crazy: I decided that I would have my parents over for dinner so they could spend time with Shawn's dad (well, my dad wants to spend time with Shawn's dad, my mom wants to spend time with the puppies.) Due to family drama, my parents aren't having a turkey dinner this year and because Shawn's dad is in Vancouver instead of Montreal, he isn't having a turkey dinner. You can see where this is headed, right? I decided (because I am insane) that I would make a turkey dinner. On Sunday. Six days from now. I have never cooked a turkey before. I need help, peeps, and I'm hoping you will all share your wisdom.

How big should my turkey be? There will be 6 adults eating it.

I don't have a roasting pan so I was just going to buy a disposable aluminum pan. Is this a bad idea?

How long and at what temperature does the turkey need to cook? I have a meat thermometer but I never know where to stick it so I'm not sure that it's completely accurate.

Does anyone have a good stuffing recipe? I've never really eaten stuffing before because it creeps me out that it's cooked inside the turkey but it has recently come to my attention that you can make stuffing outside of the turkey. So I need a recipe for cooked-outside-the-bird stuffing. Also, what is the difference between stuffing and dressing?

I am making garlic smashed potatoes but I need a few more side dishes - what is your favourite Christmas dinner side dish? (Shawn is allergic to carrots and I hate mushrooms. Bonus points if it's a beet recipe!) I was thinking of doing sweet potato mash smothered in mini marshmallows and a green salad but I'm not sure. Is it okay to serve sweet potatoes and regular potatoes? Is green salad lame? I feel like I need a green vegetable and I'm kind of bored of broccoli. Does anyone have a kickass brussel sprout recipe?

For dessert I'm planning to do a bourbon pecan pie and my grandma's pumpkin chiffon pie. I don't have any questions about dessert, I'm just bragging.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

I Say Love It Is A Flower And You Its Only Seed

Last night was my company Christmas party.

I think my favourite part of the night was when the wife of one of my coworkers asked Shawn when we were going to have babies (because, you know, we've been married for a year and that's why people get married ... to have the babies.) He told her (and our entire table of twelve people) that I looked so good in my party dress that he was planning to go straight home to plant his seed.

That wasn't awkward at all.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

And I Get What I Want My Name Is My Credit Card Don't Try To Hate Me Because I Am So Popular

I was not one of the sparkly popular kids in school. My family didn't have a lot of money; I wore my sister's hand-me-down clothes; my parents drove a 15-year-old station wagon (with imitation wood panelling!); we lived in a neighbourhood of families who took annual vacations to places like Palm Springs and Hawaii. It wasn't just my family's financial situation that made me an easy target, though. I was quiet; I got good grades in school; teachers liked me because I did my homework and didn't create any problems. I was a nerd, is what I'm saying. I was a nerd without trendy clothes or exotic vacation stories. I was a nerd before being a nerd was cool. Most of the time I was able to stay under the radar of the beautiful people but occasionally one of the Wretched would take notice of me and make my life miserable. It made me a little mistrustful of the beautiful people. The anxiety doesn't help, of course, but I'm fairly certain that the root of my social awkwardness can be traced back to my angst-ridden days in elementary school. I live my life stumbling from one awkward encounter to the next, relying on my core group of people to provide my comfort zone.

And then a night like tonight happens. Kyla Roma came to Vancouver and asked if I wanted to meet. Kyla Roma is one of the sparkly popular kids of my bloggy world. Her writing is honest and beautiful. Her soul shines through her words. She ... scares me. Seriously. I was excited to meet her but also anxious. Tummy-clenching, speak-too-quickly, forget-to-breathe anxious. Which is silly because obviously she was lovely and sweet and I had a fabulous time. We drank winter ale and ate yam fries and talked about blogging and this may just be the 9% beer talking but I feel like tonight I managed to be kinda sorta un-awkward (Kyla, if you don't agree, please be a darling and pretend that you do!) Nights like tonight make me feel like maybe I can do blogger meet-ups without dying inside. Not anytime soon, mind you, but I'm getting there. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

His Smile's Your Rope So Wrap It Tight Around Your Throat

I had a fabulous weekend, running from one thing to the next; baby kisses here, tequila shots there, with no rest in between. Instead of paring down my weekend's festivities when I started to feel overwhelmed, I added to the craziness whenever a new opportunity arose. When Shawn called at 6 on Saturday evening and said he'd been invited to play a show, I didn't tell him that I was hungover and in my pyjamas and attempting to motivate myself to do my accounting homework. I got dressed and went to the shady bar and held the video camera while simultaneously keeping a death grip on my bag because it seemed like the sort of place where muggings are not uncommon.


(The audio will not sync with the video and I cannot be arsed to sort it out. Sorry.)
(Shawn's playing the bass.)

My body protested when I forced it out into the cold on Sunday, almost as loudly as Robin protested when I forced her to attend the BlogHer Holiday party with me. I can't meet lovely, sparkly people on my own though (especially when I am hungover and so far from sparkly that I cannot even muster a single twinkle,) so she agreed to be my wingwoman. The party was lovely and everyone I spoke to was wonderful and I will definitely be returning to Tempest.

I'm paying for my fantastic weekend now, as I lie in bed dying of the Throat of Doom. I don't want to be home from work; I'm actually feeling quite twitchy as I picture the mounds of paperwork piling up. I'm determined to be better by tomorrow so I can get caught up. I'm meeting Kyla on Thursday and I'll be anxious enough about that without worrying about invoices and germs too.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Coffee Shop With A Cause Then I'll Freak You Out

It took me much longer than it should have for me to figure out how to set up my etsy shop but I think I'm finally there. If you love moose-tashes, check it out!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Twisted Diamond Heart I'm The Weekend Warrior

This weekend I will:

nibble on tiny little baby fingers when a good friend visits with her 7-month old bundle of love.

quell my ovaries' treacherous longing by spending time with her almost-3-year old bundle of piss and vinegar.

bake Angella's whipped shortbread (and hopefully whip up some Christmas spirit while I'm at it.)

finish the Christmas stockings I'm making for Shawn's and my stocking stuffer gift exchange.

set up an etsy shop so I can sell my moose-tash keychains.

party like a rockstar to celebrate a lovely lady's birthday.

recuperate from said partying with a Special Ladies' Christmas Brunch and Book Exchange (which is being held at my place. Tomorrow morning. Even though I have not yet cleaned my messy kitchen or bought any food. Eh, details.)

try not to spill anything on myself or swear too much at the Vancouver BlogHer Christmas party. If you're planning to be there, say hi! I will be the socially awkward one with bad hair.

What's on the agenda for your weekend?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

If We Were Children I Would Bake You A Mud Pie

Things currently making my heart sing:

* * * * *

All of the sweet comments and emails you guys have sent regarding my last post. You are all rockstars. I hadn't written about the seizures because there wasn't much to say about it. It sucks. It's kind of scary. It's extremely inconvenient (my driver's licence has been suspended until I have a clear brain scan.) And it feels slightly less scary today after writing about it. Thank you for reminding me why I love blogging.

* * * * *

Fantastic Mr. Fox. I rarely go to the movies but last night Shawn convinced me to go see Fantastic Mr. Fox with him and a few friends. It blew my mind. I spent half the movie grinning like a fool, not because the movie was particularly funny but because it made me so happy.

* * * * *

One of my favourite feelings in the world: the clean sheets, clean pyjamas, clean Hillary amalgam. I am currently in bed after a brutal workout. I came home and put clean linens on the bed, took a hot shower, and put on my comfiest pyjamas. I am a happy bunny.

* * * * *

The Them Crooked Vultures album. Dudes. It rocks my effing world.

* * * * *


* * * * *

What's putting a spring in your step and a smile on your face today?

If Your Head Is High You'll Never Fear At All

The week before I saw my horrid doctor I punched Stella. It was accidental and was actually what prompted me to get over myself and make the damn appointment.

I am not a good sleeper. I talk in my sleep, I wake up multiple times a night, sometimes I sit up in my sleep, sometimes I walk in my sleep, and a few weeks ago I punched my puppy.

For the last few years, I've had seizures while I sleep. My doctor said it was either a sleep disorder or a stress disorder but since it only happened a few times a month on average, it didn't affect me any more than my other sleep issues did.

Until it started happening more regularly. I had ten seizures in the two weeks before I worked up the courage to see my wretched doctor. Then I punched my poor pup and that sealed the deal for me. I made the appointment and saw my doctor.

The good thing about my meany-pants doctor is that she's a well-connected meany-pants doctor. Within a week of seeing her she got me in to see a neurologist.

So that was pretty much the longest introduction to this, the shortest story:
I had the appointment with the neurologist. Not just any neurologist, mind you. A prominent neurologist who runs impressive neurology programs at the university and who has a fancy office in a state-of-the-art medical building. So I go to the exam thinking it will be a quick little head exam (side note: for some reason I thought neurology was about the head not the nervous system) except that when I show up, the neurologist tells me to put on a hospital gown. This would not have been an issue, had I been wearing underpants instead of a tiny little lacy thong (what? I hadn't done laundry in a while.) So I put on the hospital gown and we start the exam and things are going fine. Until I have to walk in a straight line away from the neurologist and do this balancing thing and my gown flaps open and I show my bare ass to the fancy neurologist.

So basically I'm all about showing my bum now. It's kind of my thing.


Monday, 30 November 2009

Dye Your Hair Suicide Blonde

I'm very unsure about my hair. I don't know what looks good or what doesn't look good; the only thing I'm sure of is that I do not love my natural hair colour and have never loved my natural hair colour. Over the years, this dislike has made me susceptible to wily hair stylists.
Admittedly, I am usually quite pleased with the results after I've agreed to highlights or lowlights or deep-conditioning or whatever it is the stylist is pushing. After the initial buzz wears off though (usually about the time I've washed away the blow-out and have been unable to recreate the salon results,) I'm left feeling sick at the amount of money I've spent. Yes, I loved my hair. But did I love my hair that much? Two hundred dollars' worth? Even one hundred dollars' worth?

I have a hair appointment on Thursday (I'm debating a Kyla Roma fringe ... stay tuned) and in an effort to prevent spending my grocery money on my hair, yesterday I coloured my hair at home. I spent $8 on a box of non-permanent hair dye and went nuts. One ruined tank top later (note to self: a wee tea towel is not large enough to protect your clothes from hair dye, especially when you are a clumsy oaf) I'm quite pleased with myself. My hair doesn't look as good as it does after a day at the salon and the colour is a bit darker than I hoped it would be, but I kind of don't care.

Before


After


(Wow. I just realized that in my before photo I'm not wearing a lick of makeup. This is why I should wear mascara and blush every day.)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

There's A Woman With A Mustache Who Won't Let Me Be

In an effort to pull myself out of a truly foul mood, I decided to spend some time being silly instead of angsty. What's more silly then a mustache key chain? (I say "moose-tash" instead of "must-ash" and it drives Shawn crazy. This made my mustache key chain even more fun than it already was.)


A mustache key chain is extremely useful. Not only is it a fun place to keep your keys, it also serves as a disguise for secret agents.

In unrelated news, I'm quite embarrassed by how filthy the mirror is, not to mention the amount of dirty dishes piled in the background. Eh. Who has time for menial chores when there are moose-tashes to play with.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

And I Feel Anxious Sleeping Inches From Me

I spent the entire trip to my doctor's office feeling more and more surly, composing withering monologues in my head. I arrived for my appointment five minutes early and then sat in the exam room for twenty minutes, my resolve fading every time I heard footsteps outside the closed door. By the time my doctor entered the room any desire to confront her had been suppressed by my extreme anxiety at seeing her again. I spent the first five minutes of the appointment reminding myself to breathe.

Everything turned out to be fine. My doctor didn't mention what happened the last time I saw her so neither did I. It was rather anticlimactic, actually. I was so affected by her words and spent so much time and energy worrying about my situation with disliking my doctor so strongly and not being able to find a new doctor, and in the end it was completely unnecessary. I am so neurotic sometimes, it's ridiculous.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Who's Getting Scared Now

I'm going to see my doctor today. The same doctor who I swore I would never see again.

My search for a new doctor has been completely unsuccessful. After whittling away at my list of deal breakers, I was left with just one: I will not travel for more than half an hour to see my doctor. I cannot find a doctor within half an hour's travel time from either my home or my office, so I'm left with my doctor who made me cry.

I'm trying to be positive. I haven't seen her in over a year. Maybe she won't remember our last appointment.

I'm putting this on the internet for accountability. I've spent the morning trying to come up with valid reasons why I should not go to this appointment. I need the internet to kick my ass if I don't go.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

We Have One Chance One Chance To Get Everything Right

I'm feeling a bit random today.

* * * * *

Robin gave Burt another chance and ... it went well. So well that they've got another date planned for this weekend. I reckon that Robin should start her own blog so she can keep us updated on the story (hint hint, Robin.)
* * * * *

I am excited for the Christmas card swap! I ordered some kickass Christmas cards in my attempt to love Christmas this year. They feature my puppies because, well, what else would I buy when it comes to Christmas cards? Peeps who left a comment saying they want to participate in the swap should email me their address at ninjahills at gmail dot com. I'll mix up the addresses and get them out the first week of December.

* * * * *

I love So You Think You Can Dance (though Mary Murphy's voice and the shrieking and the "woooooo"ing make my head melt.) Ryan and Ellenore's routine this week made me extra happy because they danced to a song by one of my favourite bands, Stars.

* * * * *

After months of having an assortment of red, orange, green, brown, and taupe paint chips taped to our bedroom walls, I have finally decided that I want to paint the bedroom blue and grey. Maybe.

* * * * *

Wolfgang is a fan of the facebook.

* * * * *

What bits of randomness are floating around your brain?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Help

Don't Give Up The Fight I Saw You Dance Tonight

My adorable puppies, having a cuddle:

The cuddle lasted for approximately 2.3 seconds before this happened:





And then Wolfgang was all "you want on my couch? I don't think so!"


My life is never quiet.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Just Beat It Beat It Beat It Beat It No One Wants To Be Defeated - Take 11

Random Tuesday Tidbits

Robin loved all of your comments. Miel et Cannelle brought up the point that we don't know Burt's financial situation, which is true and totally valid. It's possible that I'm being an insensitive douche (it's been known to happen.) The thing is, he chose the restaurant for their first date. He took her to a trendy oyster bar in one of the fancier downtown neighbourhoods. He set the tone. Anyway, Robin hasn't fully decided what to do about Burt yet but I will keep you posted.

* * * * *

My family got together on Sunday to celebrate my mom's birthday. We were all in charge of bringing something to contribute to dinner. They should have been suspicious when I offered to bring the salad course.


Why yes, those are my November beets atop the salads. Suckers!

* * * * *

We have had nothing but rain for days. I try to walk the pups but it only takes a few minutes of precipitation before Wolfgang decides he has had enough and starts to cry. He is such a delicate flower. He'd much rather curl up in bed and hibernate until it's sunny and warm again. I don't blame him.

Monday, 16 November 2009

One More Cheap Suit In The Loop More Chlorine In The Pool

I met Robin and Cat for breakfast yesterday to dissect Robin's dating life. Robin is very smart, has an awesome job, is gorgeous, has a great apartment downtown, is very witty ... and finds the douchiest guys to date. She probably wouldn't say that she dates the douchiest guys; however, as her best friend, I feel I have the right to be protective of her. I met Robin when I was 7 years old so it's possible that I have unrealistically high standards for the guys she dates.

So. Robin's dating life. She is facing a dilemma and has given me permission to share it in the hopes that someone can shed some light on the situation.

Robin started dating "Burt" a few weeks ago. They have no history together; they met through work (though they don't work together) a few weeks ago and he asked her out. He took her to a nice restaurant (which he chose) and then when the bill came, he asked her to split it with him.

Here's where Robin and I disagree.

I am a fan of splitting the bill on the first date. I feel like it removes any pressure and/or expectations from the person who isn't paying. Robin feels like the person who does the asking should do the paying.

Anyway. She split the bill with him.

Her dilemma is that every time she's seen him since (a few dinners and lunches) he has made an issue of the bill. Either asking her outright to split the bill with him or making a big deal out of the fact that he paid the bill (one time. He has paid the entire bill one time and was really ungracious about it.)

Here's where Robin and I agree.

Robin doesn't feel like the guy she's dating should pick up the bill every single time. She's more than capable of paying her own way. She's a very generous person and loves to treat people. Her issue is that Burt has removed that aspect of treating each other from their relationship. (Not that they have a relationship relationship yet but "courtship" sounded douchey.) She likes to feel wooed. She likes to be treated and she likes to treat the people she cares about.

Robin was undecided about Burt. She liked him alright but money can be a really big issue in relationships. It seemed like a bad sign that money was already an issue. I had advised Robin to give Burt a chance. He seems like a good guy on paper. And then ... Friday happened.

Burt asked Robin out for lunch but she was really busy so she suggested they meet for a quick coffee. She grabbed a handful of change on the way out of the office but when she went to pay for the coffees she was $1 short. She asked Burt if he had any change and he said no, he would pay for the coffees with his debit card. And then he took $4 from Robin's hand (she had her hand out because she was sorting the change.) The 2 coffees came to $8 and he took $4 in change from Robin. Exactly half. He split the bill. For coffee.

This is the last straw, right? She should give Burt the axe, yes? I mean, he's either extremely cheap or he's setting some pretty firm "friend" boundaries.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, advice all welcome!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Lilac Wine I Feel Unsteady Like My Love

Every summer since before I was born, my family has spent a week in the Okanagan with two other families. The core group started when my dad was in university with his buddies and expanded as they got married and then had kids. Five years ago his buddy's kids started having kids, meaning the group has grown to 21 adults and 3 children. That's a lot of people in one cabin.

Happy hour is legendary during this week. I have so many good memories of the adults acting like complete and utter jackasses when I was still too young to realize that they were just hammered.

With all the drinking and the many wine glasses, one tends to forget which glass belongs to whom (who? Dammit, someone please explain who/whom to me.) We've tried different varieties of wine charms (the little trinkets you attach to your wine glass to identify it as yours) but that mainly led to confusion. After a few drinks, how can you be expected to remember if your charm is the martini glass or the champagne flute? Drinking should not involve thinking is what I'm saying.

The wine glass mix-up, combined with my hatred of other people's saliva, prompted me to make these:

Personalized wine charms! Colour-coded personalized wine charms. I cannot tell you how much I love these.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

This Ordinary Mind Is Broken

Various events have left me feeling ... discombobulated. Just when I think I've fought my way back to centre, something happens to make me realize that things are still a bit off-kilter. Like when I searched for my lost wallet all day and then, after giving up hope of ever seeing it again, found it on a stack of old books on my bookshelf. Or like how I knocked a knife off the counter and then tried to catch it mid-air, slicing my thumb in three places in the process. My brain is working at half-speed, it seems. I blame it on the rain.

Bringing a massive smile to my face today is Ben and his tit-o-grams (don't blame Ben for the crassness, please. I couldn't resist.) Please, if you have a moment or two, read Ben's entry and help out if you can. I wish I lived in Halifax so I could eat one of Ben's boobies. Yeah. I went there.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Gonna Find Myself A Duck And Legally Do Something Awful

Garfunkel and Oates (the same ladies who did Pregnant Women are Smug) made this video in response to Pat Robertson's comment that legalizing gay marriage would lead to sex with ducks.



Garfunkel and Oates make me smile.

Friday, 6 November 2009

I Wrapped Up All Your Presents Wrote My Name On Every Card

I have a lot of negative feelings about Christmas. I spend a large portion of every December (and November if I'm being completely honest) feeling blue, then feeling guilty for feeling blue because I have a lot of good things in my life that I should be happy about, and then feeling sad about feeling guilty about feeling blue. Feel free to pity Shawn; I do.

Last week Nilsa wrote that holiday traditions don't need to be traditional. It was an aha! moment for me. Every year I feel like I fail at Christmas because we don't have (or want) a Christmas tree, or decorate every available space with assorted Christmas bric-a-brac like my mother does, or enjoy listening to Christmas carols. Nilsa's post, along with all of the lovely suggestions you made on my "woe is me, Christmas is so haaaard" post, made me understand that Shawn and I don't need to have a cookie cutter Christmas. Last year we barbecued hamburgers in the snow on Christmas Eve. It is officially our very own Christmas tradition (the hamburger part; I could do without the snow part.) I'm (tentatively) excited about Christmas this year. Sure there will be family drama - there always is - and frustration. But there will also be hamburgers. And ... what else? What are your non-traditional holiday traditions? I need to poach some new traditions for Kickass Christmas '09.

In other Christmas news (look at me go! I'm all about the Christmas this year) I am thinking of putting together a card exchange if I can drum up some interest. I'm thinking anyone who wanted to participate could email me their mailing address (ninjahills at gmail dot com) by a certain date and then I would distribute the addresses so everyone who sent a card would receive a card. I love receiving snail mail and finding new blogs and this seems like a cool (holiday-themed! Kickass Christmas '09!) way to do it. Is this something you would want to participate in? I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas and I'm trying to not be exclusive so let's call this the Holiday Card Swap. Open to everyone!

Idiot Wind Blowing Through The Buttons Of Our Coats

Living in Vancouver means that from October until April my wardrobe is dictated by the rain. Wearing a dress on a rainy day and then sitting at my desk with wet tights/nylons is one of my least favourite feelings. Yesterday, after a cursory glance out the window to ensure the absence of rain, I put on a dress and left for work.

It's important to note that my dress was a bit floaty. It's a summery, cotton dress that I autumn-ized by wearing with a long-sleeved tee and wool tights.

I got outside and immediately noticed that it was a bit breezy. So. Floaty dress + wind. Bad plan, right? I thought about changing but I was already running late and changing meant waiting for the elevator, going through the "you're home! I love you! let's play!" shenanigans with the puppies, changing (I was wearing tights people - it would not be a quick change,) going through the "don't leeeeeave meeeeee" shenanigans with Wolfgang, and then waiting for the elevator again. I couldn't afford the time.

Everything was fine until I left the office at lunch. I didn't take my purse; I grabbed my wallet and my phone and ran across the street to grab some food. As I made my way back to the office, the wind started to blow again. I had my wallet, my phone, and a bagel in one hand and a giant cup of tea in the other. And was wearing a floaty dress.

And that is how I ended up showing my bum to a street full of people. I was wearing tights (grace in small things ... or not so small things in my case) but still, a bum squished into tights is still a bum.

Dear Hillary,
When it comes to being a few minutes late for work or showing your ample behind to a street full of strangers, you can always afford the time.
Love,
Exposed and Ashamed

Thursday, 5 November 2009

All That I Know Is I'm Breathing Now

I've had an extremely negative attitude all week, to the point where even I have become sick of all my griping and groaning. In an effort to remove myself from this cycle of bitch, I'm taking inspiration from all of you Grace in Small Things people and making a list of things (some small, some not so small) that are making me happy (or at least less-bitchy) today.

Healthy friends. My friend had her surgery on Friday and it was a complete success. Not only was the surgery successful, the results she received from the tests were the best possible she could have received. She's got a long recovery in front of her but she's the toughest broad I know so I'm sure she'll be just fine.

Wearing Slippers at work. Why have I not thought of this before? I wear high-heeled pinchy shoes pretty much every day. I sit at a desk pretty much all day long. Where is the logic in that? Right now I'm wearing comfy slippers and feeling quite blissful. My high-heeled pinchy shoes are sitting under my desk for when I need to act like a grownup but for now my toes are un-pinched and toasty warm.

My body. I have spent a lot of years hating my body; it's a strange feeling to actually kinda sorta maybe like it a little now. Last night at karate I was shocked to discover strength I've never had before. I pushed myself so hard that I thought I might vomit and today it hurts to breathe but I feel pretty fucking proud of myself.

Discount Hallowe'en candy. Reese peanut butter cups and Oh Henry! bars for 50% off? Yes please!

That's all I've got. What's making you happy today? Or, if you need to rant, what's making you punchy today?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

'Cause You're Doing In My Nut And Do You Think I Care?

I have the throat of death again, which means that my diet has been reduced to liquids and viscous substances. I'm all about the scrambled eggs and rice pudding right now. My mom is a firm believer in the healing properties of homemade soup so I decided to make myself a giant pot of butternut squash soup. I love squash but I don't often buy it because Shawn doesn't eat it and then I'm stuck eating squash leftovers for a week. I've never prepared a butternut squash before, is what I'm saying. I was completely unprepared for all the burning and crying. Butternut squash is evil. Butternut squash can be a moody bitch . Butternut squash should come with a warning label. My left hand (the hand that held the squash as I peeled it) was swollen and painful. The skin was chapped and reddish-orange. My skin was so tight that it ripped when I tried to straighten my fingers.

Dr. Google told me that I was suffering from "cucurbita moschata dermatitis" which is just a fancy name for "wtf, nature, wtf?"

My hand is almost back to normal now, two days later, but the psychological scars remain. I think the moral of this story is that trying to be healthy is not worth the pain and agony it can cause. From now on I'm eating cheeseburgers.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

So Be My Devil Angel Be My Shooting Star


Wolfgang can't pull off "angelic"

More realistic

Oh the shame

Friday, 30 October 2009

I'd Fix It If I Could

There is no faff today - just twisty thoughts as one of my favourite people in the world has a scary and significant surgery today. Happy, healing thoughts are much appreciated, as are distracting stories about your Hallowe'en plans.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

With A Twelve Pack From 12th & Porter With Billy 4:30am At Night

Dear Lovely Peeps Who Commented On Yesterday's Angsty Post,

Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I was lost in my own head yesterday and you helped me find my way back out. You rock, dudes.

Love,
Trying To Be Less Crazy

* * * * *

Dear Stella,

I'm sorry for not realizing it was your 2nd birthday yesterday until Facebook told me. Also, happy birthday!

Love,
The Lady Who Feels Guilty Even Though She Realizes That You Don't Even Know It Was Your Birthday

* * * * *

Dear Wolfgang,

Thanks for the 4:30 wake up call this morning, buddy. Was it really necessary to continue to whine for half an hour after I took you out for a pee and gave you a drink of water and a handful of biscuits?

Sincerely,
The Lady Who Wants To Punch You

* * * * *

Dear Shawn,

You didn't get up because you didn't hear Wolfgang? Really? Really?

Sincerely,
The Lady Who Really Wants To Punch You

* * * * *

Dear A Most Wanted Man By John Le Carre,

Please do not end.

Love,
The Lady Who Is Attempting to Pace Herself

* * * * *

Dear Ryan Johnson,

Watching you plow into the boards during last night's hockey game was horrifying; I cried when they wheeled you off the ice on a stretcher. I am very happy that you are going to be okay.

Love,
A Hockey Fan Who May Be A Tad Too Emotionally Invested In Her Canucks

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

When That Blue Heartache Starts Hurtin'

I remember family excursions to the Christmas tree farm. My siblings and I hunt for the perfect tree (we want height while my mom goes for fullness. She always wins.) My dad cuts the tree down with a hacksaw while we drink watery hot chocolate. My parents bind the tree to the roof of our station wagon - my mom flitting about with excessive amounts of yellow rope, my dad trying not to swear too much.

* * * * *

When I am eleven, my dad is living in Germany. My mom, attempting a return to normalcy, makes the trek out to the Christmas tree farm. I go with her, not out of love or respect for tradition but because she bribes me with a sundae from McDonalds. We manage to find a tree and cut it down and attach it to the roof of the car by ourselves - we are women, hear us roar. That night after we have screwed the tree into the stand and set it up in the family room and decorated it with years' worth of accumulated trinkets, the tree falls over onto the piano.

* * * * *

I remember Christmas dinner at my aunt's house. My mom's family is back east so we spend every holiday dinner at my dad's sister's house, avoiding her abusive husband and
dodging our maniacal cousin. We eat piles of ambrosia salad - the night's only redeeming quality and my first memory of emotional eating. When I am 20 my cousin dies and we start eating Christmas dinner at my parents' house, immediate family only.

* * * * *

It's a tired subject, but it seems that Christmas hits the stores earlier than the year before. Hallowe'en isn't over yet but Christmas paraphernalia already runs rampant and I can feel my Christmas Funk beginning. I don't know how to prevent it.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Just Beat It Beat It Beat It Beat It No One Wants To Be Defeated - Take 10

So I'm all caught up on the road trip shenanigans and I haven't faffed in a while. Let's faff, shall we? We'll call this one Friday Faff: The Catch Up Edition.

* * * * *

The puppies came home the day after we arrived home from the road trip. They had been separated for a week (our families can only handle one pup each. Amateurs!) We brought Stella home first and it was adorable / heartbreaking to watch her race around the condo looking for Wolfgang. I have never seen the puppies so happy as they were when we reunited them. They practically vibrated with joy.

Wolfgang has become a bit clingy since we've been home. We've started calling him the stage five clinger (which is only funny if you've seen Wedding Crashers and if you haven't seen Wedding Crashers you probably should because it is hilarious.) He follows me from room to room, not letting me out of his sight. He has started jumping into my lap if I'm sitting at the kitchen table (which is impressive because our table is bar-height so it's quite the leap for him.) I got out of the shower yesterday and saw tiny little Wolfgang paws reaching under the bathroom door. It's funny but on the brink of becoming very annoying.

* * * * *

Turtle made me a chocolate / beet cake for my birthday. I don't have any pictures to prove it but I totally ate a giant slice of it and it's counting for my October beets. Chocolate / beet cake is not awesome (sorry, lady) because once someone tells you that it's beet cake you can totally taste the beets, but it's not as gross as it sounds. You wouldn't know about the beets if you weren't told.

* * * * *

I went out last Friday for some birthday shenanigans. Cat's birthday is the date after mine so we gathered a group of friends and went out for a civilized dinner. Which quickly turned into a not-so-civilized dinner when the pub we wanted to go to was full (a pub where I would have been drinking pumpkin beer, which means that I would have had 2 drinks because I can only manage to drink 2 pints of pumpkin beer and then I'm over it) and we ended up at a restaurant we'd never been to before and they had pitchers of cocktails on special and they had a special Pimm's cocktail on the menu and I love Pimm's and then someone started buying tequila shots. My head was very hurty the next morning. It was big fun, though. If you can't act like a drunken ass on your birthday, when can you act like a drunken ass?

* * * * *

Last weekend was birthday shenanigans and two family dinners to make up for missing Thanksgiving while we were road tripping and a massive hangover and puppy love. This weekend will be vacuuming and homework and cleaning out my closet to donate old clothes. The old lady in me is really looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend, peeps! See you Monday.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

I Don't Care If Monday's Blue

I spent the morning of my 27th birthday in Bandon, Oregon, eating chocolate cake on the beach.

I could live in Bandon. I said that about pretty much every town we visited on our road trip but I really meant it about Bandon.

We didn't have much time to spend there (Bandon is over 500 miles from the Canadian border) so we couldn't do much exploring, but we will definitely go back one day (and when we do, we'll be staying at the Best Western Inn at Face Rock and eating at Bandon Bill's Grill again because we received excellent customer service at both. Seriously, best customer service I have encountered in a long time (and not just because they gave us free chocolate cake when Shawn told them it was my birthday.))

I could have stayed on the beach and listened to the waves crash all day long.


From Bandon we made our way to the Oregon sand dunes. Back in the planning stages of our road trip, the guys were quite adamant that we atv on the sand dunes. I was less enthusiastic. I was assured that if I did not want to participate I wouldn't have to. Fast forward to the bullshit guilt trip I got from Shawn in front of our road trippin' peeps and the owner of the atv rental guy about how atv-ing wouldn't be any fun without me and how could I ditch the group when we'd done everything as a group so far. Bullshit! So I went atv-ing on the sand dunes on my birthday. (Do you know what we did on Shawn's birthday this year? We went on a boat trip in the Dominican Republic and drank rum all day. Just sayin'.)

So it turns out that the dunes are actually quite pretty. I'm not an atv convert now or anything like that but it was ... kind of fun. Not fun like "oh I want to do that again!" but fun like "eh. We went fast. No one died."


The rest of the day was spent driving (oh, so much driving) and stimulating Oregon's economy at the outlet stores (Dear J.Crew: I love you. Come to Canada. Kisses, Hillary)

We arrived home at 3am Tuesday morning. And then I died a little because I had to be up for work in 4 short hours and we had no clean laundry and someone (whose name starts with an 'S' and end with a 'hawn') left the bathroom light on before we left and we got home too late to pick up the puppies so I had no one to cuddle with except for Shawn and that wasn't happening (did I mention the atv-ing? on my birthday.) However. The road trip was an awesome experience. I saw places and things I've always wanted to see (and some that I never wanted to see. sand dunes. ahem.) I got to spend many consecutive days with Shawn which is a difficult thing to co-ordinate with our busy schedules. I'm not saying I'm up for another road trip any time soon but I'm not ruling it out in the future. As long as there are no atv's involved.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

You Came In With The Breeze On Sunday Morning

Sunday morning we ate sourdough toast at Boudin (my new happy place) and then drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and away from San Francisco. Spending less than 24 hours in San Francisco for our first visit to the city was ridiculous. We will definitely visit again.

Many hours in the Charger ensued. Many, many hours. My head was so fried that at one point I forgot that I was driving an automatic and I stomped on the brake pedal with my left foot. You know, to hit the clutch so I could shift. I was pulling out of a gas station so I was going very slowly. It could have been worse; I could have stomped on the brake pedal while on the highway or something. I conceded defeat and gave up the drivers' seat after that.

Finally we hit the redwoods. Out of everything on the trip, I was most looking forward to seeing the redwoods. We didn't get to spend much time there but we had enough time to drive through the hollow tree and feed crackers to a cranky goose and eat hot dogs cooked by a lady who looked as though she would stab someone with her bbq fork if she had to answer one more question about trees.

It's so thick! (that's what she said)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Come To The City On A Saturday Night

Saturday morning we headed to the beach. The manager at our hotel told us that cars were allowed on the beach and for some reason, driving on a beach seemed like a cool idea. And it was, right up until Shawn veered off the beaten track and we ended up stuck in soft sand. Things looked grim for a few minutes until the laughing started. Em jumped behind the wheel and the boys and I got out to push. It took a few tries but we managed to get the car back onto the packed sand.

We left Grover Beach and headed for San Francisco. We were making good time until we ran into horrific traffic (courtesy of a Fleet Week / Blue Angels / 49ers combo.) It was at this point with our hotel in sight, as it took minutes to move inches, after we'd been stuck in the car for hours, as our bladders simultaneously threatened to burst, that we had the first meltdown of the road trip.

The meltdown blew over as soon as we saw the snugly, stinky sea lions (the ones cuddling in the lower left side of the photo are my favourite.)


After the sea lions, we made out way over to Pier 33 to catch our boat out to Alcatraz.

The setting sun and fog combined to give everything an eerie glow as we sailed across the bay.

By the time we reached Alcatraz, it was dark and very spooky.

It felt like we were walking through a movie set. It was difficult to reconcile in my mind that this was a real place where real people lived.

We stood on a cliff as our tour guide told us stories of convicts desperate enough to try to escape Alcatraz by swimming to freedom and we tried to find some relief from the icy wind whipping around us.

Looking out across the dark water at the sparkling lights of San Francisco is something I will never forget.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Friday Night Last Orders At The Pub

Friday we awoke from our steak coma bright and early so we would make it to Magic Mountain when the gates opened. Something you should know about me: I'm not a huge fan of roller coasters. Something you should know about the three other road trippers: they are roller coaster junkies.

this photo makes me clenchy (though I did manage to ride this coaster)

I was determined to keep up with the junkies so I spent pretty much all of Friday in a state of fear/hysteria/shock/exhilaration. Roller coasters are fun, I'll admit it. The Magic Mountain roller coasters? Are over the top.

Example A:
The Goliath. Hits speeds of 85 mph, 255 feet tall, 61-degree drop, zero-gravity floating hills and drops. A twenty-five storey building would fit under the rise of Goliath.

I rode it twice

The park was not busy at all which meant that we didn't wait for long to ride each coaster. All day long, coaster after coaster after coaster. Which resulted in this:

Shortly after this photo was taken, I puked my guts out. Fun times. I then ate a churro and a frozen lemonade and went on more roller coasters (I was trying to keep up with my hardcore roller coaster junkie husband.)

We stayed at the park for ten hours. Ten hours! I was jelly by the end of the night.