Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I trick or treated well into high school, and not just a hockey jersey or a pair of bunny ears either. I went all out. My last year my brother and I went as ballroom ghosts. I had a beautiful (well, ugly) ballroom gown and my brother had a tux and we painted our faces white and has these blood capsules that would make our mouths gush blood. Whenever someone said "Aren't you a little old...?" I would smile with blood-coated teeth. I miss trick or treating.

I still dress up every year. I'm one to get into the spirit of things. Much to my annoyance, however, noone threw a halloween party this year (I know, I could have thrown one. But, darn it, I just threw a housewarming party!) I have my costume sort of ready. I'm going to be Raven from the Teen Titans. I sewed a purple cape and little purple boots out of an old robe. (note I said "I sewed". Normally I'd rather buy a new shirt than sew a button on, but this is how much I get into halloween. There are other things I need to make me actually look like Raven (a black leotard, some grey tights, black gloves (sans digits), some jewels for my forehead, gloves, cape and belt). I sort of gave up on the rest of it for two important reasons: 1. Noone except me, my brother, and boys under the age of ten, knows who the Teen Titans are. 2. I have nowhere appropriate to wear this costume.

I would feel quite comfy wearing this outfit around the house whilst I hand out candy to the childers. Unfortunately, I have class this evening. Noone else will dress up and I'll feel like a doofus. Of course I'll still dress up. I'm not that self conscious.

Maybe I'll get my non-costume-wearing hubby to take my picture tonight and post it for you all. Have a spooky day.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Badlands


It turns out that Alberta isn't the only place with badlands. There's some in Mississauga too! Today my husband, Adam, got it in his head that he needed to take pictures of them, so we and our friend Becca went to check them out.

According to the signage, back in the 30s some farmers cleared the land and sort of ruined it. Everything eroded and now it looks cool. Every year this bit of land gets bigger from erosion. There are only one or two sad-looking trees attemping to grow from it. Also despite rumours, it does not lead to the Delta quadrant.

After we checked out the badlands we went for a hike at Fork of the Credit (or something like that) Provincial Park. It had lotsa milkweeds, a railway, and a nice waterfall. That was a long hike and it make me tired (me being an out-of-shape computer nerd with the shortest legs of the trio).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Upload Image Thingie Not Working

I think maybe blogger is trying to tell me something. Like, if I put another post in about my pigs I might be in danger of becoming one of those animal nerds who create websites devoted to their pets. I've been noticing distinct differences in personality between Lokai and Bele and was going to give them each a post of their own.

Today's post was going to be about Bele, the jitterier of the two. He peed on me today by the way (in such an expert way as to wet both my shirt and my pants). Everyone knows that you can't post about an animal without posting a picture of how cute he is.

So I picked out an ultra cute picture of Bele. I clickety clicked the little picture of a landscape to "add image". I browsed. I found. I clicked upload image. "The following images have not been posted: bele.jpg", said blogger cheerfully. As if I had asked it to post eight hundred pictures and this was the only one it hadn't gotten around to. I tried to post a different pic (in case my bele photo was somehow corrupt). No workie. I tried to close the browser and open it again. No workie.

Another day I'll give you a Bele post. Then a Lokai post. But today I'll just wait for my laundry to be done so I can get out of these uriney clothes.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Big Secret

For years I've fooled people, even close friends, into thinking I'm outgoing. This is because I've been practicing my good-humoured out-there personality since I was eleven or twelve. I remember the day when I decided ENOUGH with shyness.

My mom came with me to school one day. I love my mother dearly but she is loud and outspoken.* Actually, I admire her for that. It was early morning and my class was sort of lined up, sort of still playing. At home I had no problem speaking my mind but as I got closer to my classmates I clammed up.

I wished my mother would leave. I knew she would never understand why I just couldn't talk to the people at school. Shyness doesn't just make you afraid to say what you think; it erases your thoughts so that you don't have anything to say.

One of my classmates, Ceri**, small for her age, with short brown hair, glasses, and a face full of freckles, cheerfully greeted me as I approached. "Hi Jennifer!"

I smiled at her.

"Aren't you going to say hi to your friend?" Mom boomed.

"I smiled at her," I replied softly.

"You can't talk?" My Mom got louder, if that was possible.

"Jennifer hardly ever says anything," Ceri piped in helpfully.

I cringed, terrified my mother would make a big deal out of it. She didn't. At least she didn't say anything. The look on her face was one of shock, worry, and disappointment. Later, I would hear her talking (loudly) to my Dad about the incident. I'm pretty sure she also talked to my teachers about it that day, too.

I knew that their "help" would only give me more attention and make it worse. But I didn't want to disappoint my mother. And I definitely didn't want to be shy. So I decided I wasn't going to be. I forced myself to talk to people. If I couldn't think what to say, instead of staying silent, I would say something totally out there. This sometimes gave me the reputation of being an airhead, but at least I wasn't the girl who "hardly ever says anything."

Over the years I made out-going Jen my dominant personality. I don't have to fake being her; I am her. I'm comfortable in the skin of out-going Jen. She's funny and people like her. Deep down, though, I'm still shy. Shyness rears its ugly head often when:
  • I have to call someone on the telephone that I don't know.
  • I'm at a job interview***
  • I try to small talk with people who are older than me. Like at a wine and cheese party.
  • I'm in any situation where being a little goofy feels inappropriate
  • In a large group situation.
Yesterday I was so mad at myself. I was in my writing class. I have this great prof who really makes the class interesting by getting discussions going. This often gives me a great deal of anxiety. I'm waiting for my turn to speak, or formulating a thought, and someone else jumps in and the moment's gone. In that class I hardly ever say anything. Yesterday I had a definite opportunity to speak. We were planning out interviews in small group and had to pick one of us to interview the teacher in front of everyone. I could have done it. Noone in the group was super keen on it. The girl who went was voluntold. I should have done it. I didn't force myself past the shyness barrier (something I've been doing since I was eleven years old!) I feel like such a coward.

*Some time later my mother would take me to a bra store and mortify me, while I was in the changeroom, by exclaiming loudly to a sales person "my daughter is self-conscious about her large breasts!"

**I don't actually remember if it was Ceri who played this pivotal role in my life, but I like to think it was. About eight years later, Ceri died of cancer. We weren't that close (we'd gone to different high schools) and I didn't go to her funeral. If I believed in angels I would say that there is one, small for her age, with short brown hair, glasses, and a face full of freckles, who looks out for me.

***I forgive myself for that one. Who doesn't get nervous in interviews? Wonder Woman that's who.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pigs!




I am now the proud mommy of two male guinea pigs. Aren't they cute? Lokai is the caramel coloured one with the white nose and the other one is Bele. They'll grow to be about the size of a small rabbit. I just got them today and I love them already.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dead Bodies Rule!

My husband and I went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. The bodies are actually real humans who had all their fluids replaced with plastic (so they don't rot and smell while on display). They are opened up and dissected in various ways so we can all learn some fascinating stuff about the body. One part of the exhibit shows a pregnant woman and some fetuses at various stages of development. Because of the crowds, and the coolness factor, the exhibit took about 2 hours to go through.

On the way out there was a guestbook to sign. One of the comments left before us said (and I quote) "What the f**k is with the fetuses? NO MORE FETUSES!" Now I know the exhibit sparked controversy and I understand some of it. People are uncomfortable about the fact that these are real dead bodies. With many religions you even need a proper burial or no heaven for you. (Though these people checked the "do whatever you want with my organs" box on their driver's license.) Okay. What I don't understand is what problem is there with fetuses specifically?

Was the writer of the comment worried that the exhibit condoned abortion? Was he/she worried that the fetuses couldn't possibly have given consent to be plasticized? Did he/she have an awkward moment explaining where babies come from to the rugrats? Perhaps if the comment had been more articulate we would understand what exactly this person's problem was. As it is, he/she has been labeled in my mind as a big stupidhead. So there!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Never try to make a fondue dinner and send a package in the same day

In my on-going quest to use all my wedding-gift appliances, I decided that tonight was the night for a fondue dinner. Yes, it was going to be a great day. I just had two little errands to run:

1. Mail a framed 8x10 family wedding photo to my grandmother in Montréal
2. Buy all the stuff I need to make a delicious fondue dinner, including fuel.

Here are some factors which transformed my great day, with easy errands, into a sucky day, with not-so-easy errands:
  • Longo's does not carry fondue fuel
  • No Frills only carries liquid fondue fuel, not the gel kind that I needed.
  • None of the three variety stores near my house carries fondue fuel. Although it was pretty funny trying to explain what it was. Go into a convenience store and try to ask for fondue fuel. I dare you. It's hillarious.
  • At the UPS store near Longo's, it costs $36 to pack a frame the size I have into a box in such a way that it doesn't break.
  • Plus $27 for shipping to MontrĂ©al.
  • The woman at the Post Office has 26 years experience so she knows she doesn't sell anything that will protect a picture frame from breaking while in the mail.
  • One package of sponges, bought at the No Frills plaza, is not good enough to package the frame. You need 3 more.
  • It takes 5 minutes to walk from my apartment to the Post Office.
  • It takes 15 minutes to walk from the Post Office to No Frills and back.
  • The Post Office closes at 5pm
  • Longo's and the UPS store is 20 minutes walk from my apartment in the other direction.
  • I don't have a car.
  • I never did mail the picture frame.
  • The cheese fondue burned.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Criminals get field trips to Wonderland

You may have noticed that my blog entries of late have been either non-existant or mind-numbingly boring. This is because as an unemployed person, I do not much all day beyond playing computer games and picking my nose. But now I subscribe to the paper. The Spectator, to be exact, so I can regail you with my opinions on various news articles.

Today's article talks about how criminals in prison can take field trips to places like Canada's Wonderland*. ( This brings to mind a vision of Paul Bernardo** riding the Drop Zone***. ) Most of the article consists of a policeman complaining about how the justice system has gone to heck in a handbasket. He seems to think that if criminals are allowed to visit amusement parks, then potential criminals will think, I might as well molest little children, I'll still get to go to Wonderland.

The point of view from the other side says "We give this sort of permit all the time" but doesn't explain much about why they do it, or what security measures are in place. So either the people at the correctional facilities are twits or, more likely, the article is overly biased. They do give the example that if a criminal is not allowed to drink alcohol, he won't be sent to a winery. I assume this means that child molesters wouldn't be allowed near an amusement park, but perhaps they're just concerned with binge drinking.

I'm not of the mind that prison needs to be equal to the depths of hell in terms of punishment. I think the focus should be on keeping the public safe from violent offenders. Like I said before the reporter didn't say much about security measures, though he gave the vague statement that "sometimes they're escorted, sometimes they're not". The hell??? That one, me thinks, requires a bit more explanation.

In any case the cop seemed more concerned with prison not being a deterrent, than he was about people getting their throats cut while in line for the Minebuster****. Since I have never heard of any such things happening, I really have no problem sharing the Swing of the Century***** with the criminally insane. I might be less trusting, though, when Alliance comes out with CSI: Wonderland******.

*A popular amusement park outside of Toronto
**This guy who tortured and killed a bunch of teenage girls in Burlington (my town) and St. Catharines, and is often held up as a symbol of all that is gross and evil.
***A ride at Wonderland in which they just drop you from really high altitudes.
**** One of those old school wooden rollar coasters, and a favourite of mine. Though this is kind of a joke because there's not usually much of a lineup for it.
***** Another one of my favourites. Just a bunch of swings attached to this twirlie thing. Definitely no lineup.
****** This is of course a reference to the popular show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and its spinoffs CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. BTW, I heard somewhere that they're trying to make CSI: New York more "upbeat". Tee hee.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I think that went well

Me and Adam hosted our first house-warming extravaganza at our apartment. I made some yummy goodies, because I figure if the party was a bust, at least people would like the food. Lots of my friends came and we talked and laughed and a good time was had by all.

So I made a cookie pizza and some bruschetta, Eireann brought some cinnamon squares, my mom sent over some spinach dip with my brother, my sweet husband made some nacho dip, and we still had some mother-in-law cran-apple squares left from thanksgiving. It's all about the food for me, as you can tell. That and drinks. I tried to learn how to make a whisky sour (to use up all the whiskey that nobody will drink) but my trusty internet steered me wrong (it was a bit too sour and whiskeyish for anybody's liking).

Our friend Val had someone parked behind her in our parking lot so she had to stay over night. Poor girl was being good not drinking all night because she has to study for an exam on Monday. She was going to be a designated driver but, alas, twas not to be. My pjs looked good on her though.

Oh, and Amy, that plant from your mom, I put one of the roots in another vase we have in the bathroom. Is there any reason it can't live in the shower? There's a window (only at my neck, so noone rush over to my house to catch a glimpse of nakedness).

Thanks to all who came, and sorry to all those who couldn't come. This will not be the last Filipowicz extravaganza, I assure you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So long and thanks for all the fish

I dreamt last night that we were rescuing a dolphin.

I was at my friend Mel's house. At least I think it was her house because Mel's mom and Mel's dad were there. They had a kind of zoo in there house. All kinds of animals were roaming around the yard. The dolphin was in a small pool coming off of the sink. The pool was full of leaves and it was raining into it. I didn't think this was healthy or safe for the dolphin.

I was in the yard talking to Adam about the dolphin. Unfortunately the lioness overheard me. "There's a dolphin in the kitchen?" She said. I knelt beside her, grabbed hold of her fir and begged her not to hurt the dolphin. Then I saw her talking to the lion in lion-language (growling and purring) and I knew they were going to eat the poor dolphin.

We had to act quickly. Adam and I caught the dolphin in a plastic bag (like the kind you get at the grocery store only obviously much bigger). I instructed Adam to take her to the car. "You need salt and water right?" I asked the dolphin. When I looked at her I could see she was already getting white blotches all over her. "Salt water," she moaned.

I went to the kitchen and looked through a bunch of dishes and found a big jug. For some reason, I had to full a small jug in order to fill the big jug. Then I grabbed a container of salt and was disappointed to find that it was half empty. I knew I was taking too long.

I asked this girl (not Mel, but I think she stood in for her in the dream) where the closest place was that had a salt water tank. She didn't really answer me but asked me while I was there to pick her up a stuffed dolphin. I was mad because it was like she didn't care that the dolphin would die. Mel's dad was standing in the doorway and kept interrupting. And worse, when I turned around I saw that someone had washed the dishes and I couldn't find the jug I'd filled.

I don't know what happened to that poor dolphin.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Half a kilometre in what?

In the middle of the night my darling husband says: "Oh, pretty far. About a kilometre in." I, being half asleep, did not clue in at first that he was talking in his sleep and probably rambling about nothing. Instead I thought I had missed some crutial part of an important conversation. So I woke up and said "I'm sorry WHAT? Half a kilometre into what?"

My husband just rolled over.

That's when I clued in. But I still wondered. What was he dreaming about? Halfway a kilometre in what? Half a kilometre into the corona of the sun? Half a kilometre into town? Half a kilometre into the haunted forest?

If I'd been more awake I would of tried to have a conversation with him (something that has worked in the past with my sister). My "What!?" probably jolted him out of the dream, but if I'd attempted to stay in the context of the dream I could learn what the dream was about. So the conversation might have gone like this:

"Oh, pretty far. About half a kilometre in."
"That is pretty far. Can you drive me?"
"Drive you? What's wrong with your ship?"
"The engine's broken."
"I can fix it for you. But you'd miss the eclipse."
"That's okay. I'll just try to jump start my space ship so I can fly into the sun's corona"
"Good. Carry on."

When I asked Adam about it in the morning he could not recall the incident at all. He thought it was cool that he talks in his sleep but wasn't able to tell me what half a kilometre in referred to. "I was probably giving someone directions," said he. He would be the type to dream about giving someone directions , while I would probably be the only one to dream about flying into the sun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Giving the Apartment a Little Class

So I was walking down Yonge Street on the way to class (magasine editing at Ryerson), casually glancing in the shops as I went. That's when I saw the beaded curtains in this funky Chinese shop. They were made of real wooden beads, none of this plastic shenanigans. And, perhaps more importantly, they were 30% off.

It has always been my dream to have a real wooden beaded curtain at a reasonable price! (No, really, I've always wanted a beaded curtain). My darling husband worries the beads might become annoying after a while (and for him, I'm sure they will, or already have, after three seconds of the thing being up), but he's such a sweetheart he hung it for me anyway. Yes, feminists, I could have put it up myself but Adam's tall and knows where the tools are and is less lazy.

Now I will enrich your life with a pic of my fabulous new beaded curtain. Can you look at this thing without being happy? Of course not.

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