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Thursday, December 22, 2005
One milestone, forgotten. Whoops. Forgot to mention that yesterday was the 6-month anniversary of my bypass operation. The magic number: 77. I'm not expecting to drop much over the next week and a bit, but then I said the same thing when I went to California in September, and still managed to shed a few grams. Back in June I had intended, when the six-month mark rolled around, to publish before and after pictures of my face. So of course I forgot all about it. I may manage to get a picture taken tonight, but my track record for posting images is hardly stellar. However, there is a noticeable difference, so I suppose for posterity that I ought to make the effort.
Spent 10 minutes explaining the difference between "e.g." and "i.e." to a colleague this morning. Blew the dust off my remaining Latin synapses and everything. This is one of my favourite pedantic lectures--another is the difference between hyphens, en dashes and em dashes, and I can't forget the classic: restrictive vs. non-restrictive clauses. Guaranteed to have coworkers glazed over in under 5 minutes. I rule!
This is my last day at the office before the Christmas thing, so smooches to you all. There aren't many people at work today, and those of us who are here are working, well, fitfully. [As in I have a fit every time I'm asked to write something, badum-ching! Don't forget to tip your waitperson!] Drive safely, don't leave the turkey out overnight, and don't listen to what the department store people say: socks really ARE the best gift of all.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I'm really glad today is the shortest day of the year. I'm really glad tomorrow is my last day of work before the holidays. I'm really, really glad I went to the Sing-Along Messiah this past Sunday. I'm really glad I got to play trivia with der Kreg on Friday night, even though we were appallingly bad. I'm really glad I got to ride Spartacus, the gigantic Hanoverian gelding, at my riding lesson last Saturday morning. I'm also glad that my riding balance has improved to the point where I didn't fall off Splash when he spooked on me last Saturday afternoon. I'm really glad I went and sang Christmas carols in the pub afterwards, as John Leeder and his Celtic sidekicks played away merrily.
I'm not so glad that I have such a big goddamned mouth these days.
Friday, December 16, 2005
One monster, created. After a lifetime of wishing I was better at sticking up for myself and not afraid of making a scene or getting into a fight, I've finally turned the corner. In fact, I've gone past the corner and straight around the building. It's early days yet, but I think I need to choose my battles a little better. Case in point: Last night I was at the off-leash park with the mutt, wandering along on the grass, when a cyclist came by on the pathway. Piper chose that moment to belt across the pathway and the cyclist had to brake to avoid her. "You should have that dog on a leash!" he snapped at me. Did I apologize? Did I remember that the world is full of other-people's-business-minding jerks, and it would be wise to ignore this one?
I did neither. Rather, I said "It's an off-leash park, asshole," which launched me into a loud and impressive argument with this rather pompous and very officious man. He informed me that he WORKED FOR THE CITY and DEMANDED MY NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER IMMEDIATELY. Summoning all the grace and tact of my forebears, I told him to go fuck himself. He told me that he would have the bylaw officers at the park the next evening. I told him that I would be there to welcome them, yes, with my little dog, too.
The problem is, it was at that stage that I really started to enjoy myself, and was purposely egging this man on. He was in quite a lather by this time, and starting to make personal remarks. By the letter of the law, yes, dogs are supposed to be on leash within 3 metres of the pathway on either side, and cyclists are never supposed to cut across the grass, and all motorists are supposed to wait 3 seconds at each stop sign. However, I live in the real world.
"Do you honestly think at an off-leash park that any time my dog gets within 3 metres of the pathway that I'm going to run over and clip on her leash just to walk to the other side?" I asked. He told me that if I weren't such an idiot I could check the actual by-laws online at I said perhaps he should log on to As you might have guessed, we were quite philosophical at this stage.
Although I wasn't raised to get into haranguing matches with complete strangers, I've had it with officious tin gods. The man finally rode off after telling me that next time he would just go ahead and run over my dog. I told him that yes, he probably would do that, and it would probably make him feel good. Also that I felt sorry for him. Anyway: it'll be interesting to see if he managed to get the by-law officers to the park tonight, or if they just laughed in his face. A dog off-leash at the off-leash park? Whatever next?
Thursday, December 15, 2005
From the puritanical, detail-obsessed point of view, the party at the Ronald McDonald House was a disaster. Too much food and drink bought, too many dishes to be heated up prior to serving, unexpected kids showing up, no real organization in the kitchen. And yet, from the point of view of the guests, it was a great dinner and Santa visit. And the Karo crew did have a lot of fun getting the dinner served on the night, even if the shopping and food prep beforehand was a tad stressful. Verdict: success, overall.
It sidesteps Christmas like a bantamweight! I love it when I can escape from the Yuletide folderol without wounding anybody's delicate feelings. This Christmas will see me happily farm-sitting for Jean's dad, dog-sitting for my brother, and cooking a jolly jolly roast beef dinner with my aunt Nick. No stack of presents to buy, no baking to do, ah...bliss.
This week's lessons learned the hard way:
  1. Wearing too-large sweatpants while sitting in a too-large saddle over a two-hour ride equals chafing.
  2. Do not hold the takeout coffee in the same hand that is holding the leash that is attached to the dog.
  3. For God's sake, look in the mirror before you leave the house. Toothpaste is not a cosmetic.
  4. Just because the yoga instructor's leg bends that way does not mean yours will.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Early Sunday morning Epiphany:
I am through apologizing for who I am.

Friday, December 09, 2005
A "trusted" document, you say. Time to renew the old passport, time to do the old bureaucratic hokey-pokey between photo studio, Craig the guarantor, and the nightmarishly obtuse federal building downtown. The photo is the funniest yet, a balding Muppet me with a rumpled collar. I made Craig sign two copies of the guarantor form, since I was taking no chances with the overly officious federal employees this time. Back in 1999 a horrible clerk/bitch rejected my passport photos because they had been taken exactly 365 days previously (when I was thinking of sending a resumé to the UN, long story), and according to The Rules, they had to be taken "within" a year. I remember arguing the nuances of the word "within," to no avail. This time I just assumed my first form would be rejected, so brought along a second. So of course everything went off without a hitch, and I was back outside in under 30 minutes. I did get quite a giggle from reading the Foreign Office's descriptions of the Canadian passport, referring to it several times as a "trusted" and "respected" document.
Anyway, there is a reason to all the above, and it is all Jean's fault. She went and found an irresistible all-inclusive package to Cuba in late January. I have always wanted to go to Cuba, damn her. So I am going for a week. Aside from a side trip to Havana, which I consider mandatory, I'll be spending most of my time on the beach, reading, since I don't have a lot of coin to fling about. It just occurred to me that the current baldness situation will keep the hair-braiding beach vendors away. Jean's going to be in trouble, though, with her long tresses, heh heh heh.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
It took the combined forces of Cephalexin, Glenfiddich and Bin 555, but AT LAST the damn lungs are better. Yes yes yes, I know I'm not supposed to mix antibiotics and alcohol, and for 6 days out of the 7 I was very good indeed. It's Fearless's fault, since she casually mentioned that she had a jesus big bottle of Glenfiddich in the cupboard on the night we were practising Christmas Carols. That's just asking for it. By the way, happy birthday, Fearless.
Why Janey will not be attending the company Christmas fête: It's not that Karo doesn't throw great Christmas parties. Quite the opposite. Karo parties are Bacchanalian revels of fine food, fabulous music, and shared cheer. However, for the last four years I've noticed that because I attend on my own, I tend to drink/eat too much, sit around, and leave early. I don't know my colleague's spouses/partners, and I'm terrible at small talk, so there are often awkward little silences when I'm introduced to wives and husbands. The point is, though, that while Karo parties are great, I'm not a great partygoer. So this year, though I feel a bit like an ingrate for doing so, I've declined my invitation. It does make me long for the old Carswellian Christmas raves. They had the right kind of party for me: spouses and partners came in for the last third of the party, so the first two-thirds involved colleagues only. By the time the outsiders showed up, I was usually well-oiled and getting ready to go home. Anyway, I promise that as soon as I have a date for such, I will attend the Karo Christmas parties again.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Interesting. Tonight's the last Meisner class, and I'm partnered with a woman named Jill, who I haven't worked with yet. She's very charming and very talented, and I've been envying her for her easygoing nature. This morning I saw her on a local TV show, where she was talking about her own TV program that airs on Saturday nights. Well, that would explain her lack of nerves in front of an audience, I guess.
Another silly election looms in my fair and frozen country, the result of a non-confidence vote in Parliament, and the race is on to see which candidate can show the most leg to the public first. Will it be the conservatives who promise to lower the Goods & Services Tax? The liberals who promise to lower income tax? The new democrats who promise to spend more on health care? Predictably stupid things have been said, most notably from Stephen Harper, who has said he'll do away with gay marriage. Nice, Steverino, but you might have noticed that you already have the rural vote, you bonehead.
As fearless predictor of political outcomes (I was sadly right about the 2004 US Election, after all), I will say this: we'll just end up with another minority Liberal government, which is the Canadian way of going with the devil you know.