Monday, August 8, 2016

Weight Watchers and a new dog.

I've decided to drink my Weight Watchers points tonight.  Several glasses in, I remembered that I have/had a blog.  It's been awhile; is this awkward?  I suspect it would be awkward if I had readers. Just kidding, I have readers.  Hello to both of you.

Picking up where I left off, there is still a lovely man in my life!  Sadly, his wonderful dog, Merlin has passed away. Merlin was between 13 and 15 years old, and was a beautiful beagle.  I think about him frequently, and I know the other half thinks of him every day.  We ended up being very lucky, we had one last great night with him before he was put down.  We fed him steak, took him to a park with deer and geese, and bought him as many fancy dog cookies as he could eat.

Several months later, we got another dog.
This is Gordie.  Don't let the cuteness fool you.

He's great. He has lots of energy.

As hinted previously in the post, I've joined Weight Watchers.  I had an opportunity to join at a (slight) discount through my workplace, and thought it was a good idea.  Since February 4, I've lost 45 pounds.  When I was at my heaviest (235 pounds, for those of you keeping score at home),  I was absolutely miserable.  I had no energy, heartburn more than not, and my knees were starting to get little twinges of pain in them (no big deal of course, they could handle it!).  It was time to make a change.   I still have a long ways to go, but even after the first week, the heartburn disappeared and I felt much better.  The amount of energy I have is fantastic.  The dog helps, he takes me for walks twice a day.

Late last summer, the other half (I gotta come up with a better name than that, I know I've called him Martin in a past post, but that's his actual name... expect all of this to be edited in the future), took me to see a band at Call the Office called The Sadies.  I'd heard of them, but never heard them before. They blew me away, not even kidding.  I remember leaving thinking it was this great injustice that they weren't more popular.  Why was I only hearing them now, they should have been played all over the place!  When I hear them now on recordings, the bluegrass/country influence is very clear, but when they first started playing live, the surf rock sound was so clear to me.  I hadn't heard that sound fresh in a long time, Part of it is this perfect blend of hollow-bodied electric and telecaster sound, I don't know (man, I must be drunk, trying to talk about specific guitars), backed by solid, brilliant bass and drums (I hate saying "backed" it makes the sound itself feel secondary when it isn't).  I saw them play a couple of times this year.  If I didn't have pesky obligations, I'd have followed them all around Ontario this summer.

At any rate, it's now time for me to go to bed.  I'll leave with a video from The Sadies (directed by Rick White.  Don't get me started on Rick White, that's a whole other post):

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I'm back, baby! Sorta.

Bless me, Blogger, for I have sinned.  It has been well over a year since my last blog post.

A lot has changed since my last entry.   I'm still seeing the gentleman I mentioned in my last blog post; in fact, he's moved in and sleeping in the next room as I type this.  His name is Martin.

His dog moved in, too. I love this dog.
Martin is a manager in the restaurant industry.  Martin plays bass, guitar, and piano.  Martin wishes he wrote more.  Martin loves puns.  Martin is the only person I've ever been able to stand sleeping beside for several nights on end.  All the nights, now.

A lot of the important things haven't changed.  I still hate most of my neighbours, I still feel bad for not reading enough, and work is still bullshit (but it's work, so I would expect nothing less). I'll be going on vacation again soon, but this time I won't be setting any writing goals, and finishing out my vacation feeling like I've wasted it by doing nothing.

On the neighbour front:  the very trashy building next to me went through a lot of changes.  On a very cold day last January or February, the city came to the building and kicked everyone out.  No one who lived there paid any rent.  All the weirdos I'd been seeing were squatters.  Great.  For a little while, the building looked like this:

It was in the papers and on the evening news.   Someone has put a lot of work into the place (they had to gut it; there were needles all over the place, holes in the wall, and even the banisters in the hallway were ruined), and it has new people in it.   I'm really grateful something's been done.  I was worried about my car at times, worried about being approached, and always worried I would be woken up by an altercation outside.

At one point shortly after it had closed, I was heading to work, and a guy on a bicycle was just outside the door to my building.  Like, just waiting for someone to come out.

"Is Ben there?" he said.
"There's no one named Ben in this building."
"Can I just..."
"No, I'm not letting you in."
"I'm supposed to meet Ben, he said he'd be in the building next to his old building."
"I don't know what to tell you, but I'm not letting you in, and I have to get to work."

I was really rattled after that conversation. On that delightful note:hi ho.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Writer's Block

I would have written this post 20 minutes ago, but I decided I needed ice cream, and had to go to the store. I wish I were kidding.  That's what the last month or so has been like.

My vacation is over.  The original plan for the vacation was to write.  This is not quite go as planned.  The setting was fine, the chairs were fine (see previous entry), the computer worked fine, but I just sat in front of it and stared.  The cursor on the blank page would wink at me, mock me until I would cave and watch just one more episode of Seinfeld.  This happened for days before I walked away, having decided that agonizing over it would just ruin my vacation and make me more miserable. 

I've been so out of practice with the act that I didn't know how to handle writer's block.  Quite frankly, I didn't even recognize it for what it was when it happened.  Writer's block was something that happened to other people, to real writers.  It didn't happen to a girl like me, someone who just taps out their thoughts and frustrations on the weekend.  It doesn't happen to me*.  If I had seen it for what it was, I could have googled and read a bunch of garbage other people had written about it.  I could easily have wasted an afternoon doing that.  It would have felt more productive than what I was doing.

It was a good vacation, not a great one.  The end of the vacation was marked by a remarkable first date. We met for drinks, followed by coffee and a stroll in the park.  The date lasted 5 hours, with promises to see each other again.  We had our fourth date last night, which included just sitting together and listening to Mike Oldfield. 

Our musical tastes overlap so much, it's frightening.  At one point, I thought he was pulling my leg when he told me Death Cab for Cutie** was one of his favourites.  There's still a lot of great stuff we can show each other, not just in music, but in general as well.  I could go on and on about him, but I've probably said too much.  He makes me smile.  We might go camping this weekend.  

Everything's been going well enough in my life that I almost feel I've had little to write about.  I have stepped back a little. There's a brilliant moment in the 1937 movie Lost Horizon, where Edward Everett Horton is trying to write, but the writing is awful, because he only has nice things to write about Shangri-La (for context: they've crash landed their plane in paradise).  It's a delicious problem to have, really.  

*mad libs moment: leading up to the asterisk in this paragraph, replace "writer's block" with your choice of STI.  For example: "I've been so out of practice with the act that I didn't know how to handle genital warts."
**Last week, Chris Walla announced he's leaving Death Cab.  I was gutted, honestly, but he's still young (they all are), and his best work may still be in front of him. It will be interesting to see how Death Cab's sound changes as well. Not only are they losing a great songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, but I'm not sure if he'll continue producing for them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vacation post 1

Well, I'm on my holidays now.  Those of you who know me, know that these days are much needed.  It's like there's a buildup of baloney in my system, and I need to spit it out.  That's not an "I dislike my job" comment, I think it comes from doing something a number of days in a  row.  In my case, since Christmas.

Last year, for my vacation, I booked two nights at a bed and breakfast to sit and write.  I booked in at lovely B&B.   Now, in order to properly sit and write, one must have the first to achieve the second.  For the life of me, I could not find a comfortable place to sit.  The room even boasted a desk and chair. and I thought I was set for the visit.  The chair left much to be desired.

The desk chair was hard, a molded piece of plastic attached to a wire frame.  That was all it was.  The construction was mostly this cold metal tubing, rounded and shiny.  The seat itself was a hard and not welcoming of my ample bottom.  The hardness of the seat was ridiculous, I can't imagine how someone with less padding on their posterior would feel about it. The "armrests" were more cold tubing.  I would not be surprised to find that this is the design Satan commissioned for Hitler's arrival in the spring of 1945.  Satan knew he wouldn't able to write another shitty book in that chair.  I certainly couldn't.

This year, my holidays coincide with my brother's, and I'm able to house-sit.  There is no shortage of chairs here, and I already know there are a number of cozy places to sit.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm stifling laughter...

This has me giggling and kind of in tears:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's an okay day...

I'm having an alright day.  Surprisingly, considering I dreamt a lot last night.  Each dream was a showcase of what my life would have been like had I married one of my exes.  So, there's that.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Differing Opinions

For those of you unfamiliar with me in my personal life, I have a strong sense of skepticism with regards to a number of things.  When I was in high school (grade 10 or 11, it was 1998), we were given an assignment to write in detail about three different science articles. My dad took me to Chapters (which was very new then), to grab a couple of magazines, and among them was a copy of the Skeptical Inquirer with Harry Houdini on the cover.  "A magician on the cover of a science magazine?" I thought.

I still have it.
I'd never really read anything like it before.  It's not in the shape it once was (for one, the article on Spontaneous Human Combustion has been torn out so I could hand it in with my paper*), but it's still really special to me.  Throughout the rest of high school, it was almost a religious fervor; Skepticism with a capital S.  That calmed down over time.  It introduced me to a way of thinking to which I keep returning, and recently my interest and convictions are quite strong**.

I told you that story, so I could tell you this one.

I'm experiencing a fair bit of cognitive dissonance lately.  Despite the above, I still hold out hope on one silly notion: the idea that there is one single person out there for me, and I just haven't met them yet.  As though I'm just sitting here, believing all the baloney I was ever fed about the "it'll happen when you least expect it," or "I know he's out there for you, and he's going to be awesome."  It can be comforting, but ya'll don't know that shit any more than I do.

As with any number of us, I turn into a moron when thinking about love.  This has probably done more damage on me than I'd like to admit.  In numerous instances, I'm sure I've not given someone a proper chance at dating me, and - on at least one occasion so far, I've given up on a relationship too soon. I'm constantly plagued with this: how can I know anything about my ideal partner, when I don't know what my life is supposed to look like?  The inverse could be true as well.  How do I build a life when I'm not sure what kind of a mess**** they're bringing to the table?

I know, in my brain of brains, that you don't need to believe in love as some magical woo-woo thing in order to experience it, I just don't think my heart of hearts knows it.  I had a fantastic conversation***** with a good friend the other day, and she told me (for the 5th or 6th time), that she didn't believe there was only one person for everyone.  She said this despite having a delightful husband, who is perfect for her.  I briefly wondered to myself (drunk, remember), if he would feel hurt to hear her say this, and then I remembered that he's as logical and no nonsense as she is.  A good match.

And those are two nice, warm people.  Imagine two calculating scientists together.  Is there an awkward moment during post-coital bliss, staring into each others eyes, holding each others faces, and they realize their souls have fully merged.  This, in spite of the fact they originally bonded over the dismissal of the idea of a soul, let alone one soul merging with another.

They're not allowed to be happy. Those bastards.

As mentioned, this way of thinking does me a disservice.  Being a veteran of the online dating world certainly doesn't help with the cynicism.  I've grown really tired of all forms of online dating, but I can't seem to give it up.  I go out and do activities, and all my friends are on the lookout for suitable gentlemen, but I'm just getting no bites that way. I'm still having conversations on the sites, but there majority of the messages are all "hi how r u" type things.  It's hard not to picture a guy loading the phrase "hi how r u" into a gatling gun and firing at everything on the site with a vagina, like resumes when you're looking for retail work.

"Um, dad said to drop off a resume here because I have poor taste?"

*the second article I'd written about was the rapidly declining numbers of the Orange Roughy, a deep sea fish that, since it's a deep sea fish, takes over 20 years reach sexual maturity.  The result of this is that a lot of them aren't having wee little roughians quickly enough to satiate the demand of human yuppies.  It's still pretty close to my heart.  I don't remember the third article.
**people responsible for this include, but are not limited to: Susan J. Blackmore, A.R. Wallace, Brian Cox, Neil Peart, Stephen Fry, Charlie Brooker, Penn & Teller, James Randi, Stephen Hawking (did you know he's friends with Jimmy Carr?), Ray Hyman...the list goes on.
***it's very comforting, but y'all don't know that shit.
****educated guess that he'll have some sort of neurotic tendencies.
*****I was so stinkin' drunk.