23.12.11

Peace Out, Twenties. It's Been a Slice!


I knew it was coming and now it's here.


I'm thirty.


As friggin if.


I think it's been established in past posts that the latter part of my twenties wasn't all I'd hoped they'd be but the ten years of my Twenties were pretty awesome. I attended one university program here in Fredericton and made a couple of life-long friends (some of the best girls ever, in my opinion). After four ridiculously-fun years, I graduated and moved to Ottawa for my master's degree. It wasn't the best time but I managed to finish. I also met one of the funniest guys ever who made it bearable to live in the worst place ever (Yes, I'm aware that I'm referring to my Nation's capital but Ottawa and I did not get along. Like, at all).


The summer of the first year of my Master's, I spent the summer in France, thanks to my wonderfully generous mother. I travelled around the country taking French classes, tennis lessons and learned how to surf. 



Ballin'. Oh so ballin'. 


To date, it was the best summer of my life. When I came back, I'd never been tanner. Thanks to all of the upper-body-centered sports, I was also super toned. Not quite Jillian Michaels territory, but still pretty good.


That's when I met Marc.


Going back to school wasn't so bad with Marc coming to visit and a short few months later, I graduated and moved back to Aurora.


Then it was downtown Toronto, into the coolest condo ever. Wow, did I have a lot of fun there.



Best view of all time.



A lot. Of fun.


Parties, nights out, never ending walks. Oh how I miss it. When Marc moved in, though, it was a countdown to getting another place. It just wasn't big enough for two people. There were two closets in the entire place. As soon as we got The Pickle we had stuff piled in corners.




I spent some time volunteering at a local rape crisis centre and felt like I'd finally figured out what I wanted to do. A few months later, I was a full-fledged crisis counsellor and court advocate. Deciding that I eventually want to open my own counselling practice, I went back to school for certification. In the meantime, we did a little bit of traveling around the States. 






Marc and I got engaged later that summer and I got the most amazing ring of all time. (I can't wait till it fits again). 





With our focus shifting from fur-babies to human-babies, we sold the condo and moved out of the city waaaaay up north.




The following May, we got married on a beach in St. Lucia. It was bananas.



Then things kinda fell apart...but you already know all of that. 


So goodbye, twenties. We had a good ten-year run. There's no sense in holding on. It's time part ways.


*waves*


What up, thirties? Where's the party?


*shakes champagne* 


19.12.11

The 2011 Pelican Cup

Ahh! How have I not blogged about this?!


Seriously. I don't know how this slipped by me but as I mulled over the things I've done this year, it occurred to me that I hadn't shared any info about The Cup.


Specifically, The Pelican Cup


It all started years ago, when The Hubby and I lived in a condo in downtown Toronto. One night, a gal pal and I ended up going to the Dollar Store and inventing games based on the cheap toys we found there. We invited a few people over and called the night: The Condo Cup. We had two of those.


Then we had one up in Collingwood, where we moved. It was called The Collingwood Country Cup.


When we moved here, it became The Pelican Cup (we live on Pelican Court). The first year here, we just didn't have enough time to do it, but THIS year, we DID! YAY!!


Yeah. That's a real trophy. As I've said before: when we do it, we do it.



So the deal is that you need a team name and uniform. From the left: Team Arrrrr!, Happypants Heros, Deck The Halls With Boy Band Fever and TeamTeam. This is the group shot before things got started.



It was raining, but we didn't let that stop us. First event: Obstacle Course! This was a timed event and therefore somewhat stressful.



The three-legged race part was a bit tricky as we didn't have anything aside from torn-up leis to tie our legs together. Logistics, logistics.



There was also a tie-breaker between Team Arrr! and Deck The Halls With Boy Band Fever because of a timing mis-hap. DTHWBBF were the victors.



Event 2: Just Dance


Deck The Halls With Boy Band Fever dominated on the song, Maniac. Obviously.



Event 3: Just Shove It In My Mouth



Blind taste-testing. Is there anything funnier?



Not really. Especially when you add sequinned Mexican wrestling masks with taped-over eye slots.



Event 4: Colour Blind



Each team was assigned a colour to pick out - blindfolded. The other team member wasn't allowed to touch their partner or the coloured numbers. I'm not going to lie. It got wet.



And the final group shot! The big winners were us!! YAY for Happypants Heros! It was nice, though, because everyone won an event!



Then Team Arrr's moustaches were turned into eyebrows.



And things went downhill after that...


So, our first Pelican Cup was a resounding success. I believe we're going to throw a Winter Edition sometime in February. The weather's just miserable by then and it's nice to have something to look forward to!





18.12.11

The Glam Fab-biest Gals I Know



Best. Party. Ever.


Yup, those three words pretty much sum up my 30th birthday party.


Although, how can things NOT go well when you start the night with some of this:


I'd never had such fancy tequila before but I figured if I was gonna do it....I was gonna do it, right.


After a few shots, the Glab-Fab Photo Shoot Party got underway and we stormed my dressing room in search of pretty dresses and sparkly accessories. A few smoky eyes and little bit of gloss later, we were ready to rock.


Here's some of the pics (edited with befunky.com - oh how I love that site)


To protect the professional lives of my gal-pals, NO NAMES have been used. Haha (but I'm serious). Since I don't have a professional life, I don't really care. 


Here I am at the bottom of a star spin. Yeah. That's how I do.


Some other solo shots:


Mah-velously Mod


Pop Princess




Flirty Flapper



We had a seriously good time wearing as much jewelry as possible.


This one reminds me of Earth Girls Are Easy, which is quite fitting for this gal.



After the individual ones, we threw on wigs for some group ones.

Oh Befunky.com. How I love you. Here we are as a watercolour. 



And this one just happened like this! I LOVE IT. 



I really do have some glam-fab friends. And they're hilarious! It was my first glamour shots party but definitely not my last. It was epic and one of the funnest nights I've had in a while.



Yay for birthdays!








16.12.11

The Final Dirty Countdown


So in SEVEN days I will officially be entering another box. A box that The Hubby has been waiting for me to get into so he feels like less of a perv. 


Yup, you guessed it. 


I'm turning thirty.


THIRTY!


Oh the humanity!


I'd originally intended on throwing myself a lovely fancy-pants 20s-themed party but my health craziness made that pretty impossible to plan. But don't despair, my lovely internet buddies, for I came up with an EQUALLY awesome idea. 



Remember the Glamor Shot craze of the late 80s/early 90s? Well I do and I'd always envied those who got to tease their hair, throw on too much blush and ham it up for a soft-lighted camera lens.


Just in case you don't remember, here are some examples:

Now, I've introduced you to my basement of wonder before...





so it seemed like a natural idea for a party with my ladies. Although, I'm not so much going to the original Glamor Shot look as much as this:



YES, you read that right. 


Tonight, in celebration of my turning THIRTY next week, I shall be channeling RuPaul in all of her/his (she/he doesn't care about the pronoun) drag glory. Lashes, huge hair, extreme face contouring - everything!! I have a special outfit all picked out and I've been playing with my makeup options all week.


My ah-mazing hubby will also be transforming himself, into Marc-La-Merde - a semi-professional photographer who once was the runner-up for the back-up spot for Cycle 1 of Canada's Next Top Model. I'm VERY excited that such a renowned photographer will be capturing our beauty and can't WAIT to see how everything turns out.


It's been an interesting year where I've learned a lot things about myself. One being the acceptance of the change in my appearance. So what that I've gained a ton of weight, my face is swollen and I don't have a neck. I've seen what those performers can do and they start out as men. With an expansive natural bosom, I feel like I'm halfway there already. Plus, it's confidence that makes people take notice. Confidence and a whole lotta glitter. Luckily, I have reserves of both. 


So I'll spend today cleaning up downstairs and setting up a table with my costume jewellery so my pals and I can share and swap. Between my oversized baubles and collection of technicolour wigs, I think we're gonna have a grand old time...


And not just because I'm old.


(Don't worry, when I've recovered from the best night ever, I'll post some pics!)


*sets up Mariah fan*



14.12.11

Gutting My Great Expectations


Are you guilty of balls-to-the-wall optimism? Do you constantly hope for the best, sometimes to the point of absurdity?

Join the club.


*hands membership pin*


I'm an eternal half-full-glass kinda gal and that's how I like it. I think it's awesome that I can pretty much take any bad situation and polish it up to a blinding shine. That being said, sometimes that ability comes back to ninja chop me right in the throat.

Why?


Because sometimes my optimism leads to expectations. And those expectations, when not fulfilled, leave me cursing the world in the fetal position at the bottom of my closet. 


Case in point - my health. For years, I kept telling myself that it'll get better:


In just another few months, I'll be able to get a job. 

By next year, I'll be able to have babies. 

The new drug is just around the corner. Just keep holding on.


Well, those timelines came and went and all I was left with was devastating disapointment. Not because they didn't happen - well, kinda - but because I'd believed them so much that I truly expected them to.  Perhaps it's one of my life lessons: to learn how to balance optimism and realism. 


So for the last little while, I've consciously been trying to separate optimism from expectation. Now, that doesn't mean that I've turned into a Whining Witney. Oh no. Not a chance.


It simply means that I'm working on removing expectations for things I have no control over.


Using my health as an example again, I recently learned that I won't be able to pursue compassionate grounds for early access to a drug that could cure me. If I hadn't already accepted that I might not qualify, then the news would have been a much bigger blow than it was. Instead of being sent to the depths of despair, I was able to accept the news and that I would have to wait. A stark contrast to how I've taken health setbacks in the past.


Then, I realized that I'd actually been using my expectation-removal-process for a while. In fact, it was something that I did when I first got sick (being as my energy level plummeted). 


Just as there are situations you have no control over, there are also people who you have no control over. Even if you're the nicest person on the planet, there'll always be one person who makes it their life mission to cut you down. It doesn't feel good. In fact, it feels awful...


BUT here's what I've learned


...and this is BIG, so you might want to sit down.


Their actions have little to nothing to do with you.



More times than not, if someone has it out for you, they just do. Granted, there are times where we all unwittingly push another's buttons but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the people in your life who purposefully try to hurt you. Sure, it'd be easy to just cut them out, but as I've matured, it's become clear that there are certain people that you can't just cut out. Social ties get mighty strong as time moves forward and when you add in work friends, family and your partner's family, it's impossible to completely surround yourself with positive people. No matter how hard you try. After moaning to Marc about why they'll never change, it hit me.


*cue harp*



By removing the expectation that people who make me cringe will someday become class-acts, I was able to leave social gatherings relatively unscathed. At first, it took a whole lot of effort to not lash  back, but after a while, I'd just smile and nod and then laugh at their ridiculous remarks. Not only did that make my experience better, but it also made the haters lighten up a bit. Probably because they weren't getting the reaction from me that they were looking for.  


Now, a few years later, I see that it's the same with my health. I will continue to hope that things will get better, but I have to stop expecting it. The disappointment just isn't worth it.


So, maybe this post will make sense to you, maybe not. But I figured that since having a sequel successful experience with removing my expectations, I'd share it with the world. To be honest, I've rewritten this post about a thousand times so I hope that I've been able to articulate my life-shifting choice. And it is a choice, by the way. A choice that takes a lot of work to become natural, but it's something that I'm more than happy to put the work into. The payoff at the end is worth it. So very worth it.






13.12.11

30% Gamer, 100% Foot-in-Mouth-er.


(Yes, I'm aware the math's a little off).


So a glorious thing happened about a month ago. After years of waiting, it was finally released. My world hasn't been the same since. 


What was this life-changing event, you ask?


The release of the new Zelda: Skyward Sword, for Wii.


I know, I know, I'm a little old and terribly too cool to be into a role-playing adventure game but pretending that I have a SWORD by swinging my arm is AWESOME! Not quite as awesome as the Harry Potter game (super fun) but there's a certain something about beating the crap out of evil red dudes. I also LOVE that I live in a time where there's "walkthrough" sites to tell you how to get through the levels. Like the post title says, I'm really only 30% of a gamer. When it gets too hard, I'm not interested. 


So when I was in Future Shop in the summer, I saw a tag that I could take to the cash and pay a $10 deposit for when the new Zelda came out. They had no idea when it would be but I didn't care. There was no question that I was going to want it, so I figured I might as well be on the pre-order list. Many many months later, I saw on TV that the game had been released.


Slightly miffed that Future Shop hadn't called to let me know, I went in the next day. As I walked in the front door, I had a whispering memory of the cashier saying "you'll need to hang on to your receipt." Opening my wallet to the "special things" slot, there was nothing.


Crap.


I was already there so I decided to just go in. Walking to the gaming department, I found a tall dude with a huge afro. Awesome. I told him that I'd pre-ordered the game but didn't have my receipt. He said that someone had tried to do the same thing the day before (when it actually came out) and they didn't let him. When he saw my fallen face, which was beneath my spirit hood 

I wasn't quite making this expression....


Anyway, moving on. 


He offered to get his manager. After waiting FOREVER, the manager appeared. He asked me when I thought I put down the deposit. 


"Uhh, well it was hot out, so some time in July or August?"


A few clicks later, it was clear to both of us that the computer system had crashed. The biggest hint being the black screen. A flash later, everything snapped back on. Filling out the form request for a second time, he pressed "send" and the screen went black, again. Twenty minutes later, he prevailed at another computer terminal. However, his persistence didn't pay off as nothing came up.


I'd now been in Future Shop for 35 minutes. 


I was sad that the deposit was gone but still wanted the game. Wal-Mart was selling it for a dollar less, so I asked them if they price matched. They did, but it involved having them call the store to see that they have it in stock. Then they'd meet the price and beat the difference by 10%. So, we're talking about a whopping dollar and ten cent difference but I'd already lost ten so I was trying to avoid any further ones. 


The manager came back at this point and saw that I was standing with the first guy, who was on hold on the phone. When he asked me what he was doing, I explained the price match. The manager laughed and said that for that small of a difference, he'd just do it. He led me over to another kiosk, where there was a stapled bundle of paper with different highlighted names. Lo and behold, my eyes wandered down the list and - BAM - there was my name!


"Look! Look! It's me, IT'S ME!!" I said gleefully. My spirit hood falling to my shoulders. 


"You mean that guy didn't look at the list before coming and getting me?" The manager asked.


"Nope, but now it'll work, right?! AND you'll price match?"


"Of course. Sorry that it took so much longer than it should have. The seasonal staff here aren't trained well. And wow, it says here that you were the first person to pre-order it here. In June."


*manic-al laughter* "Oh, well isn't that funny. I just love Zelda, I guess."


He smiled at my enthusiasm like he'd found a cool and unexpected gamer-buddy.


We chatted as we walked to the cash, armed with the copy of my deposit and the manager's price-match form. He were waiting in line when he told me that the deluxe edition included a CD of all the Zelda music. 


Me: "What, so I can relive all of my Zelda glory while driving?"


The very helpful and nice manager who'd spent forever with me because I was a jackass who didn't remember my receipt: "Uh....well you can." *Immediate tomato face* Not that I do..." *stutter* "but some people like it".


Me: "Errr...sorry."


So there you have it. Why I'm a 30% gamer but 100% foot-in-mouth-er. 


To make up for my insensitive remark, I gave him a shout-out on Twitter AND filled out the questionnaire on the back of my receipt. Hopefully Santa views that as an even-out situation.


6.12.11

It's Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas


Well it certainly isn't LOOKING like Christmas


*peers outside at pouring rain*


*sighs*


But at least is SMELLS like Christmas and that's because we got our tree!!


*sniff sniff snnnnnnifffffff*


YAY!!


Here's where we bought it. I know some of you are thinking: Hey, don't you live in the country? Why aren't you cutting down your own tree?

Well, the ones on our property aren't that lush and there are a few places in town that sell trees for charity. Last year we bought one from the Shriners so this year we decided to give to Kiwanis. It's like a good deed AND a holiday decoration at the same time (do you hear that, Santa? DO YOU?).

'Nuff said. 



There were SO many trees to choose from! 


After seeing what a "blue level" tree looked like (mid-price), it was clear that we wanted a "red level" tree (top price, at $30). 


We walked around for a long time in the "red aisle." Not that Marc got impatient at my scrutiny (much, anyway). Finally though, we found it! THIS IS THE ONE!


Just to be sure, we got the very technically sophisticated measuring plank to make sure it'd fit in our house.


Then it was wrapped in a blanket and shoved into the back of our car. I had to sit in the back because of it's enormous awesomeness.


Getting a bound tree this year was a freaking genius idea as there was almost no needle shedding!


Then it was time to trim the bottom. Just look how adorably happy Marc is because he gets to use the chainsaw.


Way easier than an axe. Louder, but easier. 


In the fancy-pants stand it went!


And then we let it stand overnight. Marc's kind of obsessive about vacuuming the needles. It's a battle I choose not to fight, myself. 


Tah-dah!! We still can't get the timer to work properly, but it sure does look good all lit up!


I love this ornament. It's like 16 spikes of sparkly happiness. 


This guy makes me laugh every time I see him. I think it's the springy legs. Or the lack of arms.


Our favourite ornament from traveling. It makes me smile because it's funny but also because it makes me remember that everyone in Arizona puts santa hats on their cacti. Awesome.

Finally, would any self-respecting Canadian NOT have a Timmies ornament?