Sunday, April 30, 2006

We definitely don't live in Grecoville

In the Maritimes, there is a chain of pizza places called Greco pizza. You can see their website here.

I can't remember exactly when I had my first taste of Greco pizza, but I do remember that they were part of our Hot Lunch program in elementary school. We didn't have a cafeteria at my school, but they had Hot Lunch, where they would prepare or order in food that you could pick up at the home ec kitchen and bring back to your classroom. I believe that Thursday was pizza day for the longest time, and for $2 you got two slices out of the Greco Party pizza. At some point we started having Greco sub day, where you could buy one of their small oven subs (basically all their pizza ingredients, inside of a sub slathered in garlic butter, topped in cheese). I have fond memories of waiting in line for my paper plate, napkin, and two slices of pizza. I'm not even sure I liked that pizza more than any other pizza I had at home, but it really kindles feelings of belonging and a warm nostalgia for the third grade.

Greco had two great jingles that I can remember. One was their phone number, and went "three ten thirty thirty - GRECO! three ten thirty thirty - GRECO!" and played on the radio quite often. The other campaign had a song that asked the question "Do you live in Grecoville?" implying that Greco is everywhere, and everyone lives in Grecoville, we are all in one big happy pepperoni eating community, and to be part of it, all you have to do is call three ten thirty thirty and you're part of Grecoville too. I haven't lived in the Maritimes for nine years now, and I still remember the jingles vividly.

Cut to a few months ago, when my friend Ems, who lives on an island outside the city, mentioned Greco to me. Her boyfriend is from Newfoundland (herein he will be referred to as The Newf), where they are also part of Grecoville, and he went psycho when one day they received a flyer saying they had opened a Greco Express on their island, right up the street from their house. The Newf is a big fan of the Greco Donair, which I was never partial to, but to each his own. Anyway, she said he made the whole family pack up and drive to this tiny gas station, which had a tiny Greco station set up inside, but that it was indeed the real thing and tastes just as good.

So, yesterday Sexy Boyfriend and I got it in our heads that we wanted Greco. We had to have Greco, no matter what. We left the house at seven pm, and by the time we drove to Greco, waited for the lady to make our OvenSubs, then drove all the way back home (because the tiny gas station didn't have anywhere that you could sit down to eat your OvenSubs) it was nine o'clock. Two hours! For OvenSubs! I almost starved to death.

But holy shit they were good.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Big Thing

I think it's okay for me to talk about the Big Thing now.

We are thinking about buying the company that I work for. My bosses, who started the dog walking company, and who are sisters, are looking to sell and approached me to see if I was interested. One of them is moving back to Nova Scotia to start a family, and the other one would like to take the opportunity to try something new. The business is thriving, they are turning customers away because they are uncertain about the future and don't want to take on too much with everything kind of up in the air.

So, we've been going over some of their stuff, figuring out how we could work it logistically, what changes we could make, what it would take to expand, how much could we make from it, and whether it could actually just work. Everything is looking very good, and I think we're about ready to make an offer to them, but the whole thing is hung up because they signed on with a dodgy business broker who has them locked into some kind of contract which says they owe him a ton of money whether he finds them the buyer or not. I was putting off talking about the Big Thing because we were exploring ways that we could get around the dodgy broker, but it looks like the direct approach will be the best, and it also looks like legally the contract is a piece of crap, so finally I can get it off my chest and write about the Big Thing without being cryptic and tedious.

I really hope this works out. I love my job. I have never been happier, actually, in my entire adult life in any work I have ever done. Also, I think it is significant that one of my life's dreams has always been to run a doggie daycare, and this is as close as you can get without owning any property, I think. I feel really good about this, so good that it doesn't stress me out at all to think about it. I just feel like it will work out, and I haven't lost any sleep at all. When I think to myself "but how will we...." whatever the issue is, it's like the answers are just there, waiting for me, and I'm like "oh, of course that's how it will work." If any of that makes any sense.

Anyway, so that's what's happening, and it's all very exciting, and very big, but surprisingly not scary at all and I really hope it works out, and quickly, because I'm very excited and have tons of great ideas that I would love to get started on.

I feel like I just got the biggest stresser off my chest, which was holding it all in. Aaaahhhh.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Like Cher's farewell tour....

it just never ends. And when you think you finally got rid of it, there it is again. In all of its unknown origin, itchy wonderfulness.

I'm talking, of course, about The Rash. The Rash is back, yet again. I believe this time I have really nabbed the culprit. I have been staying away from all perfumed soaps and stuff that I started using around the time of the first breakout, and my skin has been fine. Then today it started raining at around noon, so, logically, I put on my slicker for my one hour group walk. And when I got back in the car, lo and behold, my arms were covered in The Rash. As I drove to my next client, I was rubbing my arms on any surface I could get to to scratch them. My next walk was half an hour, and it was still raining, so back on with the slicker, and afterwards The Rash was running rampant all the way up my arm. Yuck. I have had this slicker for about, oh, nine years, and it has never caused this problem. I am so sad.

So, I've put my slicker in the wash, even though you're not supposed to. You're only supposed to wipe it clean with a cloth - no machine wash, no dry cleaning. It's a rubbery material slicker, and hopefully the wash won't ruin it, but I have a feeling that some kind of irritant has taken up residence in the nylon lining. Double Yuck. What if it's some kind of mold or fungus? Ew.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Saturday!

I'm not sure what's going on with my site right now, and I don't have time to get to it. So, listeners, you will have to do without the trippy little graphic at the top of the screen. Sorry.

In other news, as if my life is not occupied enough right now with the Thing We Do Not Speak Of (which looks like we may be able to speak of it soon, so YAY!), and the stupid Websudoku page that has been eating my spare moments away for months thanks to Sarah, I had to have the misfortune of stumbling across this little evil piece of the internet compliments of Alice. With things like this out there, how does anyone have time for internet porn?

So, aside from boggling my brains out and buying birthday gifts for my sister and working through the Big Thing, not much is going on. I had dinner with some friends last weekend, and would love to post about it and put up a nice picture that I took, but one of the friends has a secret that she is slowly surprising everyone with, so it has become another Thing I Cannot Talk About. Hmpf.

The new dishwasher is here, and it is also better than internet porn. Who knew glasses could be so squeaky and shiny? Who knew buying JetDry could be so fun? Who knew a sausage-shaped dog could run so fast when startled by the dishwasher suddenly draining into the sink?

Oh, the good times we're having this weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

And I thought the bra thing was bad.....

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while - I know it's something that happens to all bloggers from time to time, but I still feel guilty.

I have been eyebrows deep in a spreadsheet for the past three days trying to figure out whether the hell our BIG thing is feasible. And when all I'm thinking about is the thing, but I can't talk about the thing, then that doesn't leave much to write about, now does it?

I officially started running today. It was pretty rough, to tell the truth. I ran with the Goosinator, which was definitely very interesting, and also a godsend. I am used to running with a dog who knows how to run, who trots along steadily at my side and keeps their eyes on the road (eventually, by about 3/4 of the way into the run I start to have delusions that the doggie is mocking me, which makes me even more determined to finish the run). Goosie is not a dog like this. Goosie is only interested in looking at me, even on a normal day, he seems mesmerized by me and it's kinda creepy sometimes. He also thinks that this running thing is a game, not a means of getting to a destination, so he spent half the run leaping in the air trying to get me to play tug with his leash. This was at once exhausting and great - it was tiring when he pulled on the leash, but it also gave me the opportunity to stop, scold him, and simultaneously take a breather without looking like a total out of shape loser. About halfway into my intended run time Goosie caught on to what the real goal was and calmed down. I ended up falling short of my goal time, but think I did pretty well nonetheless. It takes a few outings to really get into that rhythm, when it actually feels good. For now I felt like a giant fist was hammering me into the sidewalk with everystep, while squeezing the life out of me.

So that's what's going on. Exciting, huh? Oh, also we bought a dishwasher, but it only arrives next week, so expect fun posts about housework from the eyes of someone who has NEVER owned a dishwasher before. Ever. In my whole life. Tune in soon, kids.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How do you know you are seriously out of shape?

When trying on sports bras is a challenge.

Or maybe it's that difficult for everyone.

Yesterday I stopped in at Lululemon on my lunch break. I adore all of their stuff, and if I was more active I would own tons of it. But spending $100 on a full-zip, and $90 on matching yoga pants is not that economical considering how much I would wear them. However, investing in their sports bras is definitely wise, since they are fantastic, comfy, cute, and I wear a sports bra every day.

So, they had a bunch on sale, and the fun colors and styles were mesmerizing, and before I knew it there I was in the change room with four bras, plus the one I had on. I have to say that at least their fitting rooms are a decent size, so I wasn't bouncing off the walls, banging my elbows and ass as I flailed in and out of each one.

The very mechanics of the sports bra really blow my mind. Not only to squeeze a giant elastic band over your torso, but also to have the straps that you have to maneuver through. The straps seem easy enough when you are pulling the bra on, but when you are practically on your knees in the fitting room, trying to reach one arm behind your back to pull it off over your head while your other arm is sticking straight up in the air, and you are kneeling down so that people outside won't see your arm swinging around over the top of the door - that's when you realize that this task is not for the faint of heart. And why can't you just pull the bra over your head from the front, like a T-shirt? Well, because then the giant elastic band gets stuck like a yoke around your arms and head and then both of your arms are flailing around trying to grasp some piece of fabric to get this thing off.

After two bras, I was doing okay. The first one was the pirouette. It was easy enough, like a tank top. Then I tried on the Sunshine. Because of the sliding back straps, it was also reasonable. I should have known it was all too easy, and that I should quit while I was ahead, but noooooo, I had to try on this, and its evil cousin, this. Suddenly I was perspiring and pulling muscles I never knew existed. And then you don't want to emerge from the fitting room all flushed and damp, so you have to wait a few minutes half naked, fanning yourself with your T-shirt. Or something like that.

Needless to say, I did not purchase either of the Y-backs. I got two of the Sunshines, since they were on sale, and super comfy. Now I hope I don't have to buy anymore sports bras until I am actually in good enough shape to make it through the trying on process.

Monday, April 10, 2006

How Gabby got her groove back

Okay, so I'm sorry that I'm leaving everybody hanging with this BIG news thing - I know it's driving people crazy, but there are some legal issues about why I can't talk about it specifically on the web. We have not bought a house. I am not pregnant. We have not set a wedding date. That should clear up a lot of inferences people may have had when I said BIG news.

All I can say is that it involves my career path, (not the writing one, although that has been going really well and taking this job was the best decision I've made to further my writing goals since taking my BA in Creative Writing), and taking on a lot more risk and responsibility, while making more money. I think those are all safe things to say for now. We (SB and I) are in the process of evaluating whether or not it's a good move to make, and if it is a good move, how we can get around a contract that could either cost us a lot of money to do this, cost the people we're dealing with a lot of money to do it, or cost us the chance of being able to do it at all. I know it's cryptic, but when things are concrete, I'll be able to post specifics.

My weekend was pretty fabulous. We watched Memoirs of a Geisha, which was good, although I think for people who didn't read the book it may have been confusing. I also did a bit of shopping yesterday all by myself, which was really relaxing, and I didn't even buy anything! I just browsed and perused, and bought a smoothie - I felt so fresh when I left.

On Saturday afternoon, we took the dogs to the dog park, which was pretty fun. Our dogs are super friendly, but not really that socialized with other dogs, so they are kinda overwhelmed at the dog park. They have no problem fighting and playing with each other, but at the dog park they seem kinda stumped as to how to proceed to make friends, and where the boundaries are about what's play and what's aggressive. Gabby spent most of the time getting close to dogs who were playing and sniffing, but not close enough, and then whining like she was saying "Hey - hey there - um, do you think I could play? Um, excuse me? Um, hi I'm Gabby, and um. Oh, um hey there." There was one dog that she like a lot and sniffed around a few times, but he was a pretty hyper bull mastiff, so he was really big and kept outrunning her. Also, a young Golden Retriever who was obviously not fixed or had been fixed too late took a liking to her - he kept mounting her to the point that his owner had to take him out of the park. He was absolutely fixated on her, and no other dogs in the park. I congratulated her for snagging such a youngin'.

Charlie spent most of the time just wandering around alone, then approaching random humans. There was also a six month old Basset named Boris at the park with all the same colorings as Charlie. They looked exactly the same, except the little guy was about half his size. Anyway, while Charlie isn't super social, he still let other dogs sniff him and investigate and stuff - but not this little guy. Everytime Boris came near him Charlie would bark in his face and run away. It was as though he was saying "I will not be traded in for a younger model - get away from me so they can't compare us." It was adorable.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Take my word for it - it's BIG

So, something REALLY BIG has come up, and it's not something I can really talk about right now. I really want to talk about it, but part of me knows I can't because a) I might get my hopes up too high for it and jinx it, and b) this thing has just come up, and it's literally just up there, in the air, with nothing really concrete to it yet. But take my word for it. It's BIG.

Now, along with this big thing comes a lot of excitement, but also a lot of anxiety. I'm surprised that I slept last night. I have this problem where when I get to really thinking about something, my mind just won't turn off. It just keeps going and going and there is no way it will turn off for something silly like say, sleep. And it's not even like what I'm thinking about necessarily involves whatever is causing the anxiety. I'll start making lists of things I need to do the following day - make a lunch, take out the trash, stop at the ATM so I'll have money for coffee, get gas, maybe switch two of my dogs around so that I can take a longer lunch. It can go on for hours. Then I start obsessing about how I will never be able to get up in the morning, and how I need to GET TO SLEEP get to sleep get to sleep now. It's really a problem.

Last night I slept fine. But I spent all day obsessing about this BIG THING, and I have a whole bunch of things to look up on the internet, and I'm sure that tonight when I lay down to sleep I will be caught up weighing all the information I found, and thinking of lists of things I forgot to research. Ugh. Maybe I will just get drunk and pass out. Or take some Benadryl.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One Prius, Two Prii?

Before the accident, we were talking about selling my beloved Jetta and leasing a new car. A new car with payments preferably close to what we are paying for Jetta, but without the headaches of a five year old car, and with better gas mileage since I only use it for work. Now the accident has delayed these plans for a bit, but I've nonetheless been noticing what's out there on the road.

I've been seeing a lot of those Prius cars. Sleek, kinda weird hind end, but the whole hybrid thing is really attractive. I would love to own a hybrid - not only is it good for the environment, (which I have to admit, I'm not exactly the "greenest" person in the world, but if it's convenient, why not?), but it is also super fuel-efficient thus less cost to the owner. Too bad the cost of this car is like twice the monthly payment for other compacts.

For example, I was looking at the Yaris (two Yarii? Okay, enough). The website lists the monthly lease, including taxes, with all the options I want, for like $340/month. The Prius, base model, is listed at $670/month!!!! Obviously some people who have the money for it, and are into the novelty of it are willing to pay that. But what kind of incentive is there for people like me, who would love to drive something socially responsible, since I do have to drive for my job, but can't afford the equivalent of a rent payment to do so?

I wish the government would step in and offer a special tax benefit, or a rebate, or maybe free gas for a certain term. I can understand that right now it costs more to manufacture these cars, therefore they must cost more, but in order to get the cost down, more people need to be able to purchase the cars so they can produce them in larger numbers. (Impressed by my analysis of this economic situation? Probably not, right?) So if the government offered some kind of benefit, people might be more apt to buy them, and before long, the benefit could be abolished, or maintained for a certain percentage of the purchase price, and more people would buy them and soon the whole world would be driving ecologically friendlier vehicles.

The chances of that happening are between 0 and 0.5, so I will maybe get a Yaris, because they are cute, small, fuel-efficient, and cute. And small, for parking. But mostly cute.

But first Jetta needs to go to the car doctor for a little reconstructive surgery, and maybe a boob job since she'll be there anyway.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The rash came back, the very next day....

So, the rash came back today, although ten times less nasty than yesterday thanks to some fabulous Benedryl which provided me with the best sleep I've had in weeks, and also some Reactine this morning. I am starting to think that I was quick to condemn this little guy:

Why would I jump to this conclusion? Perhaps because I did not want to believe that the evil-doer was this little guy:

This is Che, and he's 5 months old. He is sweet and gentle and calm, and is learning his training quickly. He's pretty much the perfect puppy. He makes me want to have a puppy. Even when he poops and it's green and runny, it still doesn't seem that bad cause he's just so damn sweet. Today, after walking him, was when I started to get my little red splotches again. I had been down on the floor playing fetch with him and cuddling him because who can resist a cuddle with a puppy? Who? Not me, that's who. And for a little guy who is being crate trained, it's important that he gets to do fun things like play fetch and cuddle so that he doesn't develop the urge to get back at whoever puts him in the crate. But I think he is already revolting against me, and we've only known each other a little over a month.

I have never in my life been allergic to any dog, ever. Or cat for that matter. Never. Not even a little sniffle. So I'm kind of traumatized that i might be allergic to an animal. I talked to my mom about it and she said that rashes can take days to fully go away, and can still flare up even if you haven't had contact with the offensive item (or doggie) for days. Since I only walk Che on Mondays and Tuesdays, we will see if my rash goes away by next week, and then if it comes back when I walk him again. Also, I'm pretty sure it's not Che himself that is giving me hives, but maybe whatever shampoo they're usingon him, or something else in the apartment. I'm pretty sad that if it's something to do with him I will have to give him up to one of my colleagues. I (heart) Che.

In other news, non-related to my disgusting skin issues, I was walking in the park yesterday when I saw this:

I know it's hard to see, but that's a guy running a metal detector-type machine in a baseball field. Now, if the guy looked a little sloppy, or if he was pursuing this endeavor alone, I would think it was just some guy looking for change lost during the winter. But there were three people with detectors, all dressed decently, all in the same corner of the field. One guy was on his hands and knees digging in the dirt. It made me think they were CSI or something looking for a body on a tip. Then that made me think that maybe I should watch less TV.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm 99.99% sure it's not herpes

Last week, my hands broke out in a disgusting mess of splotchy, itchy redness. I freaked out because I've never had hives or a rash before, and of course I called my mother, who is a nurse, and who I consult during all of my medical emergencies. She told me to take some Benedryl, and try to find out what caused the rash. I poured through my memory cache (my physical one, in my brain, not the one in my iBook) and decided that the offensive compound must be either my cucumber melon hand sanitizer or my new pear hand soap. I had been using both products for a few weeks, but they seemed to be the only things I had introduced to my skin recently. If it was the sanitizer, I could go and buy some not so fun unscented stuff, and it would still do the trick. If it was the soap, I would be very sad because it's a new pear scented one and it is ultra-yummy, but again, I could substitute for another, less fragrant soap. So I cut these two items out of my life.

Then, this afternoon, I noticed some small splotches on my hand.

I picked up two doggies, and we went up on The Mountain, and for an hour I kinda forgot about the splotches. I dropped my doggies off and got in my car and felt an over-whelming need to scratch. When I looked down at my hand, this is what I found:

Then the itching spread. By the end of my day, I had splotches all over my arms and my legs - basically all of my skin touching my jeans and sweatshirt. Right now, after two Benedryls, I still have a splotch about two inches square on my arm. I'm not that itchy anymore, except for the ones around my ankles. I have come to the following conclusion:

Snuggle Bear is trying to kill me.

Last autumn we switched to Snuggle liquid fabric softener for those times I hang the clothes out on the line. Because it was autumn, I barely had a chance to use it and probably only did like two loads using this product. During the past week, I've done two loads of laundry with the intention of hanging them on the line, and I'm pretty sure I was wearing clothes from these loads both times I broke out. Thank goodness I hadn't washed my underwear in it, but to be on the safe side I'm going to re-wash every pair in my drawer. I can just see Snuggle giggling his little ass off watching me scratch and wriggle.

Well, no more - I will be switching back to Downey. And I'm also going back to washing and sanitizing my hands. So take that Snuggle Bear.