Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Fear of LASIK and the Dream of Vision

On Friday, my friend Eireann got her eyeballs lasered. Her perscription used to be worse than mine (mine being a rather wimpy prescription) but now she can see without her contacts and she says her eyesight is getting better every day. I'm so jealous.

It isn't that I'm blind or anything. I can see stuff without my glasses, except everything looks like a post-impressionist painting. If I hold a book a few inches from my nose, I can even read without them. But the dependancy on glasses and contacts is a constant irritant.

Contacts dry out my eyeballs. And glasses? Well, it's about as easy for me to keep them clean for more than three seconds as it would be for me to single handedly repair the hole in the ozone layer.

Unfortunately, despite it's apparent benefits, laser eye surgery deals with two of my worst fears: 1. spending large quantities of money and 2. blindness (in that order).

The more you try to appease fear #1 by going to the discount quack doctor who advertises using Bob Marley songs on K Lite fm, the less paranoid and unlikely fear #2 becomes. Now you're thinking, come on now, blindness? But you forget I watch Star Trek. I've seen phasers (which rhyme with and look like lasers) vaporize people, blow up large starships, and even destroy cities. There's also the voice of some random elementary school teacher in my head yelling "Don't aim that laser pointer at your eye or you'll go blind!"

The other thing that sucks is that you could go, pay your sheckles, laser your peepers, and end up still needing glasses! Only this time you'll have a whole different prescription and so you'll need to buy all new eyewear. How lame is that?

From what I've read I'd be a good candidate for the procedure, being only mildly myopic. So there's a good chance I could see good enough after without my glasses. For now I'll just keep dreaming about it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Our First Tree

It took some shopping, but we were able to get a tree for $30 at Zeller's. Then we bought some of those fancy schmancy LED lights that are super bright but (apparently) use hardly any electricity. The lights looked swell and cost almost (but not quite) as much as the tree.

Anyway if you saw this tree in person you might notice that it actually only has one genuine made-for-a-tree Christmas ornament. That ornament is a very classy yellow chillie pepper with a nativity scene carved into it that we bought in Mexico on our honeymoon. The other "decorations" include action figures, Star Trek cards, and a feathered boa (that's the purple blob in the picture).

I'm really very proud of this tree. Happy Xmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Piggies in the Oven

I dreamt that for whatever reason my mother was cooking dinner for us in our apatment. When I looked in the oven window to check out the food, I was shocked to find that my Guinea pigs were running around inside the oven. "Mommy! Get my pigs out of the oven". I opened the oven and Lokai immediately jumped into my arms. Bele was timid about it. It took a lot of coaxing "Come on Bele. Jump Bele," but he eventually jumped.

I took them back to the cage only to find that Lokai and Bele had been in their cage all along and the pigs I'd retreived from the oven were not my pigs at all. I put them in the cage anyway, which freaked out Lokai and Bele. In the dream, Lokai and Bele were full grown and I remarked at how large they were compared to the babies I'd found in the oven. I mentioned that I was going to call the pet store.

Suddenly I thought that I should check the sex of the pigs to make sure we didn't get a whole litter. So I looked at their bums and saw that they were girls (Lokai and Bele are boys). So I took them out of the cage and was kind of holding them against the plastic so they could see inside but not do any nooky. And that was sort of the end of the dream (or at least all I remember).

Friday, November 18, 2005

The price of identity: $137

I tracked down my record of solemnization, sort of a temporary marriage certificate until the real one comes in, and I set off to change my name. My husband and I had already decided, after much deliberation, that I would keep my maiden name as a middle name and add his name as a last name.

So my name would change from: Jennifer Meghan McNicoll to Jennifer Meghan McNicoll Filipowicz. First name: Jennifer; Middle name: Meghan McNicoll; Last name: Filipowicz. Seems logical enough doesn't it? This way I can keep my identity as a McNicoll without breaking tradition or having a last name as long as my arm.

According to the good people at the licensing place, however, you can change your last name for free when you get married, but not your middle name.

There are therefore only four options:

  • dorky hyphenating (McNicoll-Filipowicz, or Filipowicz-McNicoll)
  • keeping the status quo (McNicoll)
  • conforming to tradition (Filipowicz)
  • paying $137 to change my name to whatever I darn well please

Since I'd planned to go with Filipowicz most of the time anyway, I went with the third choice (though the fourth is still tempting). I agree with the whole feminist philosophy about name changes. There's really no reason why women should have to absorb their husband's identity. On the other hand, we're a family now and I want us both to have to same family name.

It's not as if I want change my name to Candy K. Flossbottom. In that case I would gladly dole out 137 bucks. But go through the whole official name change rigmarole just to move my maiden name one slot the left? Come on now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mom's side of the story.

So yesterday I blogged about Bruce Wayne's untimely demise and kind of made my mother sound like an evil fish-murderer. In an e-mail about the incident, Mom had this to say:

"I read your blog on Bruce Wayne. I didn’t find it entirely fair. I can assure you I cleaned his bowl more often than you did.*

Beta fish like small spaces (says the box) Bruce came lethargic and never recovered. The only time he showed any activity was when I tried to scoop him back in his bowl. Each time would be a close brush with death as he’d leap into ladles or on the floor or anything besides his bowl. Yesterday, nobody was sadder than I about Bruce’s demise.

Robin rushed out and bought two beautiful (way more active) beta fish named Mommy and Hunter.** They live it a split bowl and race each other along the side.

I think for a retarded fish Bruce lived a good life. Yesterday 20 kids wrote stories about him so he has some immortality.***"

* This is true. Though I did clean his bowl often, Mom usually beat me to the punch. I didn't mean to suggest I was Bruce's sole caregiver, only that it was important to me that he be taken care of. When he first came home I did internet research on Betas to make sure we knew the proper way to care for him.

** Naming the fish after my sister and nephew seems like a bad omen considering what happened to Bruce.

***It's nice to know that even Bruce Wayne the Beta fish gets his fifteen minutes of fame.

And later:
"In other news, I also confessed to the children who were there that Bruce died. One girl apologized to me twice because she remembered she’d suggested using the jar to catch Bruce. That class was never so excited or motivated. Now on the staff room there’s a wall of fame, full of quotes and such that happened over the month.

They have a picture of a fractured fish on one with “memorable events in room 2 November 17”. All the teachers are saying hello to me and chuckling. It’s pretty funny if you don’t love the fish. But I do feel bad for Brucey. "

Since Mom keeps coming back to this in e-mails, I'm guessing she's all guilt ridden and believes herself to be an evil fish-murderer. Accidents happen Mommy. Just don't try to catch Mommy and Hunter with a jar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bruce Wayne is Dead

I just got a message from my sister saying that my nephew's fish, Bruce Wayne, has been brutally killed. Bruce was a fighting fish, a black one with blueish fins.

Apparently my mother (and I'm still trying to work out the logistics of this) took Bruce to a school visit so he could help her with an exercise. There, she put him in the sink for some unknown reason. While attempting to retrieve the fish using a drinking glass, she accidentally squished him.

Last week I was all worried Mom was going to starve Bruce to death because she told me that she couldn't find his food and, as a result, noone had fed him for 2 days. Gah! "If you can't find the food, buy new food," said I. When she told me she'd found the food, I was so relieved. Little did I know that Bruce's days were numbered.

Back when I lived at home, I used to make sure Bruce was fed. If his bowl was dirty, I cleaned it. (And never killed him doing it. although I never once put him in the sink). It saddens me that the poor guy is gone, that he wasn't taken care of. Sure, he's just a fish, but he was a good fish.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me?

I woke up this morning and found even after 26 years of being alive I am still not a grown-up. You'd think I'd have stuff figured out other than what action figures, stuffed toys, and DVDs I want (I can't even really figure THAT out). Since I have a husband, I realize I am the envy of a lot of people, some seemingly more grown up than I, but I feel that four years shy of 30 I should have more going for me. I've become a shut in. Look, I'm in my PJs still and it's noon.

Anyway yesterday I had a day. So I have class at 6:30 in Toronto on Wednesdays, so I usually take the 4:45 train. Yesterday however, in anticipation of my supposed upcoming grownupness, I decided to finally register for my program (Magazine Publishing Certificate, which let's face it, will take forever to complete and likely won't lead anywhere). So I checked the good ol' internet for the early train time and buddy said 4:15 and life was good. The GO station is a convenient 5-minute walk from my apartment. Surprisingly less convenient with water poring from the sky. The only umbrella I could find was all bent and full of holes (yes, there were actually HOLES in my UMBRELLA) so I threw it on the ground in disgust like three steps away from my building. The rain soaked through 2 jackets (I'm currently layering a series of spring jackets until I remember to get my winter ones from my parents' house). I arrived at the GO station, Captain Damp of the starship Monsoon, at 4:08ish, only to find that my trusty net had failed me and that the train left at 4:04. GAH! I had to wait around for the train I normally take.

I finally got to the school. Luckily I still made it to the registrar. I hate lining up for the registrar. Most of the stuff you can do online now. You can find courses, register for courses, pay for courses, anything you like except register for the program. This is to keep the administrative turtles employed. So I have to line up behind a bunch a people who can't figure out how to click on the pretty button marked "register for this course" while they ask stupid questions like "Duh, what's a computer?" and the admin turtles help them by taking long minutes to look up things and register for things that would literally take me two seconds if I did it at home. The turtles always have some comment about how much they hate computers, too. Anyhoo. I finally get there, give the lady my filled out form, complete with my VISA number so they can charge my $25 for no reason. She says I should receive a letter in 8 to 10 weeks. 8 to 10 weeks, come on now.

I go to the washroom just before class and discover that I have a surprise visit from (sorry guys)the period fairy. I knew it was coming but forgot because I was having a bad day. But really, when is the first day of your period ever a good day? Long ago I vowed to always have maxi pads in my purse so I would never be caught unawares. So much for vows. No time to go to the drugstore, I checked the washrooms on three different floors looking for one of those machines that sell crappy maxies for 50 cents. No such luck. So I created a pad by expertly wrapping wads of toilet paper around my undies. Ladies, has anyone else ever done this? You'd be surprised at how well it works. (You can come out from under the desk now guys, I'm done talking about my period).

My sweet husband took me out for dinner yesterday to Jack Astor's, the only restaurant that's open when I got home at 11:00 pm (closes at midnight). So we went there at 11:30 and annoyed the staff. They were gracious and did their best not to act annoyed though and there were other patrons. I had a veggies stirfry and a baked potato with everything on it and ate until I was 26. Nice. And luckily I was dry by then and wearing a store-bought maxi with wings and dry weave and everything.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I laughed, I felt stuff

So I just got back from seeing Real Estate at Theatre Aquarius. I was a good play. Sort of a romantic comedy about a guy who's selling the house he grew up in, while going through a divorce, and dealing with a dying Dad. The real estate agent he gets is quirky. I enjoyed it. There's something about plays though isn't there?

Like everyone born after the 1920s, I grew up with movies. Characters in movies go outside and have car chases. You'll never have a whole movie play out in the same living room with only four characters (unless, of course, it's based on a play). And yet, somehow that same set up is popular on stage.

My favourite kind is a musical. Nothing beats two characters singing a seemingly impromptu duet about how much they love each other, or hate each other, or wish there wasn't a crazy person living under their opera house. The kind of song that makes your heart explode with beautiful melodrama. The kind that would make you switch stations if you heard it on the radio.

Why are musical movies always cheesey, when they work so well on stage? I think it's because the stage reminds you that it's just a fantasy, a facsimile of real life. Singing in the stage world is like thinking, or talking, or yelling, because the people in the back can't see your facial expressions. The best movie musicals kept that stage fantasy in the flick, and never tried to make it seem more real.

Of course Real Estate was not a musical. But it was a good flick, er, I mean play.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Quarter Ritual

Today, while my darling husband babysat a hundred rotating loads of our drying clothes at the laundromat, I travelled to the nearby No Frills to pick up some groceries.

Like many fine shopping establishments, the carts at No Frills require a 25 cent deposit, which you get back as soon as you attach your cart to another cart. This brings rise to an odd ritual.

Rather than getting a buggy from the group of them near the store, it is the custom charge up to an empy-carted stranger, quarter held out in front of you like a fencing foil. Just as the stranger surrenders the rolling yellow treasure, the attacker hands over the 25-cent weapon.

Okay, I get it. This process saves you having to walk all the way back to the store with your cart. Fine. But consider this: After unloading my groceries in my car, on the other side of the parking lot, I walked all the way back to the grocery store to return my buggy. It wasn't until I was mere centimetres away from the cart return area that a gentlemen initiated the quarter ritual with me. That really takes a load off. Thanks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Trick or Treater upset by condom

So this 15-year-old, Jennifer (no relation), finds a condom in her halloween candy and freaks out. Calls her mom. Mom is so freaked out she calls the newspaper. Jennifer tells reporters she wonders what might have happened if a small child swallowed it.

Come on now.

Even though I still give out the traditional fun-sized chocolate bars, I can see the humour and wisdom in giving a 15-year-old a condom. I'm willing to bet that the evil-doer responsible for giving Jen the immoral device had a separate stash of "goodies" to give to older kids. A joke.

Even perhaps a community service. I may be a naive nerd, but I've spent enough time in high schools to know that teenagers have sex, but don't always want to ask their guidance counselors for protection. If all the trick-or-treating teens in the neighbourhood are getting condoms I'm sure some are being put to good use.

Okay, so more likely a joke. But then she did say trick or treat.
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