Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm back in full effect y'all

I've been back from vacation for like 36 hours, and I already miss the sunshine. And the rum. We had an amazing time, with tons of relaxing and lounging and eating and drinking. My skin is very close to Raisin Bran colored - actually between Raisin Bran and Vector - and I only burned a few spots due to careless sunscreen application. I don't think it will peel, though, so that's good.

Our resort was gorgeous. We arrived and were whisked into a little hall-like room with cocktails and snacks - this is where they checked us in and it took about two minutes. Then they put our bags on a 6 seat golf cart and took us for a spin around the resort to show us where restaurants were, the pool, the bars, etc., and after that was done the bell boy drove us to our little complex and brought our bags up to our room. The room had a mini-fridge that they stocked with beer, cola and water every day, a coffee maker with coffee packets, a big beautiful bathroom with a separate shower, tiled vanity, and super-deep tub, and a big walk-in closet with drawers and a safe. Although we were at the end of the resort furthest from the beach, it ended up being awesome. We could pack up for the day and go to the beach, but all the "errand" type stuff was super close: the front desk, restaurants, two bars, the money exchange lady, etc.

The lobby bar had a piano/sax combo every night that played popular American standards, so we sat there a few nights enjoying that - there was also a table every night with chilled champagne, in case the bar line-up was too long you could have a nice little glass of bubbly. It was actually quite good.

We had some windy days, but even though it made it cool it was still very sunny and we could still lay out and read. The food was good, with lots of choices at the buffet and a really good Italian restaurant. On Saturday we visited Havana - we joined our friends who stayed at another resort on a tour. It was really interesting and fun, and I didn't have to feel bad about wasting a beach day since it was windy again.

I could go on for days about how fantastic everything was, but there is one thing that ended up sucky. Our camera was stolen out of our baggage. Or at least we think it was. The night before we left I asked SB where he had put the camera. He told me he put it in one of the suitcases we planned on checking. I said "Don't put it there, put it in the carry-on so that we always have it with us." Now he can't remember if he took it out of the checked bag or not, but it wasn't with us when we arrived in Cuba and now that we're back we can't find it anywhere. I'm so pissed cause I loved that camera - my mummy bought it for us last Christmas and since then I have been a complete digital convert (I used to be hard-core 35mm SLR). So now I'm trying to check with all our credit cards to see if any of them have a baggage coverage, or if they are just for cancellations. We're also in search mode to see if we actually did leave it behind and now it's hiding from us. I've already gone over the usual hiding spots a half dozen times, so I'm starting to lose hope that it's around here anywhere. We bought a crappy Cuban disposable camera, so we'll see how those pictures turn out. Hopefully we will get at least one great shot of us all crispy and brown.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Super quick post about lots of stuff

So many things to cover and so little time since we are in the middle of packing and preparing a small dinner get together with SB's bro and his girlfriend.

The Waxing: went really well. She did half my legs, bikini, and underarms. Nothing really hurt super bad, although my pits are pretty itchy today. I can't say my legs feel as smooth as when I shave, but apparently it won't grow back as fast. As long as it lasts a week, for vacation, I will be happy. Still, I have packed an emergency razor just in case.

The Streak has ended: after posting a semi-scathing (okay, it was pretty tame, but whatever) commentary on the state of Montreal police, who gets pulled over last night. Oh, yeah, I did. And who got their first ticket ever, in ten and a half years of driving? Yeah, that was me too. I'm more burned about the fact that my ten year driving record now has a blemish than I am about the $150 I have to pay for running a red light.

And Lastly: we are leaving on vacation in less than 12 hours and I am SOOOOO STOKED!!! (and if you know me at all, you know I do not use the word stoked, ever, so that should indicate how stoked I really am). Am I packed? Not quite - almost, but not quite. Is SB packed? Not even close. Does our house look good? Yeah, it's actually clean and relatively tidy. I can't wait to get my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand.

I'll take lots of pictures!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

She hates my children

My friend Sam is terrified of animals. All animals. Cats and dogs included. No exceptions. I'm pretty sure she even hates fish in tanks.

She has told me tons of stories about various animals who have tried to kill her. There's the one about dogs in Athens - a rabid pack of dirty city dogs came hurtling around the corner and singled her out of a crowd, and tried to attack her, but luckily were distracted by something and ran away. (If you've ever been to Athens, you know that in general, the dirty city dogs there really couldn't give to shits about the people or vehicles around them, unless you are trying to eat them). Then there was the time she was at a resort in Cuba and a cat tried to attack her (?), and also a crab tried to get into her room (???) And another time at a resort when a pelican came up to her on a beach, but instead of trying to kill her, it tried to carry her friend away.

About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to witness one of Sam's near-death experiences. We were at a housewarming party for our friends with a new apartment. Someone had just arrived, so the door was open, and suddenly a dog rushed in (it belonged to a neighbor downstairs, and had just barged his way in). The dog was excited about all the people and was smelling all around. Simultaneously, Sam could hear the dog barge through the door, screamed out "is there a dog in here? Who brought a dog?" and actually totally jumped into the lap of our friend Ems. Screaming. Of course, this makes the dog excited, and he now more than ever wants to meet this mysterious human who is so into playing games with him. So he tries to run up and smell her. Finally someone removed the dog and we all had a good laugh while Sam chain-smoked for about half an hour to calm herself down. Last night, Sam was relaying her account of this incident. In her version, the dog headed straight for her, tried to jump on her, and then started barking.

I'm trying to convince her that she needs to conquer her fears, but she won't hear any of it. So, she will never be able to come to my house for dinner parties, movie nights, pyjama parties. Luckily for her I have no life and never do any of these things, but one day I might, and she will be missing out.

For now, my only revenge is blogging about her when she said "you better not write about this in your blog".

Monday, January 16, 2006

We need Sipowicz

For anyone who is interested - I made an appointment for a waxing Friday morning. I'll keep you updated.

Lately, on my travels through this fair city, I have noticed an abundance of police cars. At certain points in my life I would have been paranoid and run as far as I could in the opposite direction. At other times in my life I would have felt safe and secure that they are always around. But now, I fear I have become jaded to those who uphold the law. Now, all I can think when I see a police officer in the middle of the day, sitting in their car is "What the hell are they up to, exactly?"

Where are the police officers when someone zooms down Rene-Levesque doing like 150? They can find Sexy Boyfriend when he's doing like 140 in a 100, why can't they find that guy having a mid-life crisis doing 150 in a 50?

And I don't think I have EVER seen a police officer not in a vehicle. There are no "beat cops" here - when you are downtown after seeing a movie, you are walking back to your car in the dark under the watchful eye of no one. Well, maybe thieves and rapists, but not cops.

But, lately, I have been seeing a lot of cop cars around. Part of me wants to think "finally, a police presence, they are doing something". But when I really think about it, the ratio of cop cars I have seen to the ratio of cop cars I've seen actually doing something (ie pulling someone over, or with the cops actually out of the vehicle) has been like 40:1. And believe me, it's not because people are just being good out there.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

uuuurrghhh Kelly Clarkson

In 8 days and approximately 40 hours, I will be on a beach in Varadero. I love Varadero. I love the beach, I love the heat, I love the drinks. I cannot wait to get there.

So, that means I have about a week to get prepared. I have purchased a couple of easy-read novels (Diana Gabaldon and James Patterson) in paperback format for the beach. I have my new swimsuits (which are fitting a little better). I have all the sunscreen/tanning oil/aftersun/aloe that can fit in our two small suitcases. But, I still have a list of "to-dos" and not a lot of cash to do it with.

One thing on my "to-do" list is still kind of a maybe. I'm thinking about getting waxed. Before Christmas, I did an at-home test kit on one of my calves, and the hair stayed away for like three weeks. I think that would be fabulous for vacation - not to have to worry about shaving, missing spots, nicks, those weird red bumps that show up sometimes. I would do the whole thing myself, except I found it hard to reach the back of my calf so I can only imagine how hard the thigh would be. I think I would prefer to have a professional do it correctly, and maybe more importantly, quickly.

I asked a friend what she thought, and she said she would never do it because of the pain. But I didn't find the pain that bad. My sister says I should go for it. I'm just not sure if it's worth the expense. The spa I usually go to can do the whole leg and bikini area for like $60. I'm not sure if that's a good price, if it's worth it, anything. So, if any of you internets have any advice or council, please offer it up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You Are Always On My Mind

I love people who talk to themselves. When I'm on a bus, or in my car, and we drive by a pedestrian who is obviously talking to themself, I get quite a chuckle out of it. I think this might be because I used to talk to myself. When I was little I was constantly talking to myself, making up stories, playing out little dramadies, making up game shows stuff like that. Maybe it's because I grew up with no siblings until I was seven, and on practically a farm with no kids my age around. Maybe it's because I'm uber smart and creative. My Papa used to say that it meant I would make lots of money one day. I'm still waiting.

Anyway, so I find it funny when I see people talking to themselves. I usually don't laugh when the person is obviously having a mental issue, because I don't want to go straight to hell, but others are fair game. Maybe these people are practicing a speech - for a job interview, or maybe they're going to propose to someone later. Maybe they are trying to keep track of a list in their head, and don't want to forget anything. Maybe they are making up dramadies and playing them out while the world goes on around them. I don't really care - I just think it's funny.

Today I experienced something that gave me even more amusement than people talking to themselves. Across the street from a client's house there is a small antiques shop. It looks more like a junk store, but whatever. Anyway, today it was extremely mild in Montreal, and the door to the shop was open. Whoever was inside was playing Willy Nelson really loud, but not loud enough to drown out the sound of their voice singing along at full blast. It's one thing to sing in the privacy of you car, or at a karaoke bar, but at an antiques shop? It was damn funny.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My job is awesome

Week #2 of the new job has begun - and I am so still LOVING it!

Every day I fall in love with my little buddies more and more. We service a lot of cats - people who go on vacation and want their cats checked up on regularly. I'm surprised how many cat clients we have, and also how attached I'm growing to these little guys. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE cats (although none can compare to my snooky little man), but I kind of pictured running in the house, changing their food, water and litter, then trying to coax them out from under the bed so I can give them pills or at least make sure they are still alive. Usually this is exactly how my first visit goes, but then the little sweeties come out of their shells.

I'm surprised how many kitties are affectionate and cuddly - they crawl right up on my lap purring and one even gives kisses. This kitty is a Himalayan, grey and super soft. I sit on the sofa and play with the other cat using a ribbon on a stick while the Himalayan lays in my lap purring. He's a bit cross-eyed, but not so much that it's creepy, but the funniest thing is that one of his fang teeth overbites way too much and sticks out over his lip. SO CUTE! I only have two more days with these guys, so I'll try to take some photos.

In other, non-job related news, I had an extremely relaxing weekend. I also purchased some new swimsuits for our trip, and I love them tons, but one of them has a low-rise bottom so I really need to lose the last of my roll before we go. I'm by no means a thin girl, but when we go on vacation, it's no holds barred. Sexy Boyfriend convinced me last year that we don't know anyone there, and I should just wear what I want, get the tan that I want, and not spend our whole vacation trying to hide my body or worrying about what other people think. I did just what he suggested, and I had the best time. So, I'm psyching myself up to do the same thing again this year - but I still really would like to get rid of that last little roll.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gone to the dogs

On Wednesday, I started my new job as a dog-walker.


It is so fun, and relaxing, and refreshing and FUN!

My schedule is relaxed, as long as I get all the clients in their preferred times if possible. I don't have to deal with any aggrevating people getting in my face about what they feel like they're entitled to. Traffic isn't even that bad. My car is my office, and since I eat lunch there it's forcing me to bring food with me instead of fast food (no drive thrus or food courts in the city!). Between eating better and all the walking I'll probably lose a ton of weight. Hopefully my mini love-handles will be gone by the time we leave on vacation (two weeks).

I'm falling in love with all the doggies and kitties I'm meeting. They all have such funny personalities, and are all pretty different from each other. I walk a Great Dane - today I gave her a cookie at the end of the walk. I made her sit to take the cookie, which she did, and then to ask for the cookie she pawed me and her paw reached past my belly button. And she was sitting!

There are also two Akitas that we walk. I have never met an Akita, but I have fallen head over heels for these dogs. One is only a few years old and is funny and hyper, and the other is like ten and is relaxed and sweet. They are really beautiful dogs, and remind me of big teddy bears.

I'm going to bring my camera to work so I can take pictures of all my sweeties. They make my day go by so quickly, and I have so much fun with them. I feel so good that I'm doing something that I LOVE doing, that gives me a regular schedule (I'm home by six every night - SIX O'CLOCK!), with weekends off - I feel like no one can be this lucky. I've been putting some ideas together, and hopefully will get some writing done within the next week or so.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Our Engagement - his version

He started shopping for the ring in January, and received his bonus in February, at which point he started planning.

He found the perfect ring a few weeks before our anniversary. Around the same time, he decided that he really wanted to ask my mother and my grandfather for permission. So, he made a plan where he would be able to travel home, using someone else's car, while I was working so that a)I wouldn't be upset he was traveling home on a weekend off and b)I wouldn't be upset that he left me without a car. He didn't really count on c) me freaking out because he wanted to take a trip on a weekend I was working when he was already working practically 24/7 and we never got to see each other and how could he possibly justify taking any time off of work when he can't even make it home for dinner.

So, instead of driving home to ask my mom and grandfather for permission, he arranged a dinner with them, and his parents, at a restaurant in Moncton. He then conference called my mom and grandfather and asked that way. His dad took a little video of the whole thing.

Next, he arranged the whole weekend away thing. He told me his bosses were paying, but really he was. Then, when we arrived at the inn, it turns out that his bosses had played a little trick on him and called ahead and taken care of everything. They are super great guys!

At dinner he was really nervous, and he even got up and went to the washroom while we were waiting for dessert so he could shake off the anxiousness.

As soon as he had asked, and we sat back down, he could barely sit still as he told me all the scheming and planning, plotting and deception that had gone on to make this happen.

You wouldn't believe how many people said to me "Just remember, you said yes to him even though you knew how good of a liar he is."

I think it was more like fibbing.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Our Engagement - my version

In 2004, I became very focused on getting this marriage thing rolling. I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, but don't get me wrong I'm in no hurry to walk down the aisle - when we do it, I want to do it right. But, after six years of being together, I felt that it was at least time for the engagement part of the whole process to take place. I began by dropping hints, then by making those hints a little less subtle, and finally an full-on discussion of "please just give me some reassurance that this will happen someday."

Sexy Boyfriend was very patient with me, and acknowledged that this was something that was very important to him as well. He told me that he was anticipating getting his bonus in July of 2005, and that getting engaged was one of his priorities. We started looking online at ring styles that I liked, and visiting jewelry stores to see how big a carat really is and things like that. This appeased me.

After we returned from Cuba in January, SB began working very long hours. He goes to work for 8am at the latest every day, and he was regularly staying until 11pm. Every weekend that I would work, he would also go in to work, and on my weekends off he would often go to work in the morning and come back around 1 or 2. It was a trying time, very difficult since we rarely saw each other. It was also frustrating to know that in June he would be going home to New Brunswick for two weeks for some weddings and a graduation - and that I would be staying in Montreal, working because I had to take another, separate vacation from his for my sister's graduation.

In late April, on a Friday while driving to work SB said to me "my friend and I decided to do something stupid this weekend" (this was a weekend that I had to work, which would usually mean he would be working as well)
"Oh ya, what?"
"We're going to take his car and drive to the Maritimes - he has a client in Halifax, and he's going to drop me in Moncton to visit my family"

I stewed over this information all day, and asked for advice from several of my friends. When he finally got home that night at around eleven I basically tore him a new one. I yelled that for months he has been spending every waking moment working, and that soon he would be going away for a two week vacation without me, and that the least he could do is try to work while I'm working, and spend the time we're not working together, instead of travelling to see his family while I'm at work. I yelled and cried for hours. He finally called his friend at 2 in the morning and cancelled the trip (they were supposed to leave at 6am).

A week or so later, he called me at work and told me to do everything I could to get the weekend of our anniversary off (May 14). Actually, first he called my work (a call center for telephone orders) to try and get in touch with one of my colleagues and get her to switch it as a surprise, but then it got too complicated. He told me that his bosses had noticed how hard he had been working, and when he told them about our little tiff, they decided to send us to a five star inn for our anniversary. I was pretty stoked - they will often send us out for dinner, and things like that, but this was the coolest gift ever.

When we arrived at the inn, there was a card and chilled champagne in the room waiting for us. I took a bath in the jacuzzi tub, got dressed and we relaxed in front of the fireplace drinking champagne. Then we opened our anniversary gifts - actually I just opened mine, since I had already given SB his a few days before. He got me a cheese knife set and a cutting board, and we used them to eat some cheese we picked up before. He said there would be something else to open later, but that he wanted to open this one so we could use it.

We went down for dinner, which was amazing. We had a table by the window, overlooking the lake. Through dinner we talked about getting engaged, and how great it will be. We also talked about how annoying it is when people take photos in such a nice dining room.

When our dessert arrived, SB gave the waiter our camera and asked him to take a picture since it was our anniversary. I groaned loudly, but he insisted. The guy took a few pictures, then showed us the camera - SB asked him to take a few more. Then he stood up, clinked his fork on his glass, and addressed the whole room. At this point I pretty much figured what was happening, and I started bawling. I barely remember anything he said, and then he got down on his knee and asked the question. Of course I said yes, and the whole room went crazy. People were congratulating us all night. At first I was nervous to look at the ring, but then I finally did and it was GORGEOUS.

When we sat back down at the table he told me his version of the story, which I'll blog about in another post.

After dinner, we called our families, drank more champagne, and all that stuff. It was really incredible. By far the best surprise ever.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006!

Sometimes expectations can be overwhelming. Sometimes you can put so much thought and care and anticipation into something, that it is doomed to become one of the biggest let-downs of your life. Or at the very least regrettable.

This year, we decided to do a quiet New Year's Eve. We bought lots of food, and wine, and we hunkered down in our living room, just the two of us, and watched the Sopranos. Then we watched the ball drop. We didn't eat the lobster and scallops we bought in the late afternoon (an hour and a half of running around like chickens with our heads cut off to try and get all our stuff bought before the stores closed), and we only drank one bottle of wine. We were in bed, snoring, by 12:30. But it was perfect in its own way. Our own, quiet time together. Not forcing anything, just being together.

This year has been really big. We spent some time over dinner tonight (yesterday's lobster and scallops - yum!) looking back over all the stuff we did this year.

- We took our first real vacation together. We went to Cuba and had an incredible time, and we're going back in a few weeks.

- We got engaged, which was an amazingly planned event masterminded by Sexy Boyfriend.

- We each had a sibling who graduated (my sister from high school, his brother from university).

- I quit my job.

- I went through a severe depression.

- I quit another job.

I'm starting 2006 with a great outlook on things. I think we both are, actually, but Sexy Boyfriend is usually more optomistic about things. I think we're in a really great place, where we've been through a lot together, we see how good our life is together, and we can't wait to make it even better. I'm excited to have a regular schedule, and to have our time together be more regular. I'm excited to have time to write. There is nothing but possibility. It feels so good.