6:58 PM

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation (And the Weeks Preceding It)

Gads, has it really been two weeks? Okay, here's a quick rundown of what happened since I posted last:

(1) Studied for then wrote exams. Macro and stats. Two classes, same professor. Nearly effing knocked his head off after the first, wanted to kiss him after the second. Made it through both alive.

(2) Went to Tremblant. Left at midnight to arrive at 7AM. Actually arrived at 3PM due to weather issues. Stayed at lodge on bottom of hill. Despite strike, managed to learn to snowboard on the bunny hill. Looked damn adorable in Burton gear. Ate delicious lamb and had creme brulee for the first time. Stopped using people's names, right hand, and numbers all at once. Enjoyed lots of beverages. Fell even more. Hands, knees, and jaw terribly bruised. All worth it.

(3) Finished up insane amount of pre-vacation work in hopes that nobody would be burdened during holidays. Miraculously completed commercial that should've taken three weeks in just over seven days. Removed the word Olympic from more phrases than seemed possible. Crashed into a non-work frenzy. Gossiped with the receptionist.

(4) Went to work holiday party. Gambled on the ponies. Came up even. Ate salmon and pate. Enjoyed more drinks.

(5) Flew to Montreal for a night. Ate incredible sushi at astonishingly empty restaurant. Went to bed early.

(6) Hit the airways for Barbados. Landed in jeans and a sweater, nearly passed out within fifteen seconds. Saw how the proverbial other half live. Hung out with sister-in-law's family. Dropped jaw at grocery prices. Ate way too much heavenly food. Understood the meaning of chichi while sadly dressed in Gap shorts and Tshirt. Cracked up at adorable niece. Slept in a bedroom whose French doors should never be shut. Fell in love with Banks Beer and rom-ponch (nutmeg!). Took too many self-portraits (note: see below for exhibit A). Ate heaviest sweet bread of all time. Learned what jug-jug was. Went wild for fan-say boats (note: see above view from patio for prime reason). Read a bunch of books. Saw an incredible number of British mummies in bikinis with flat stomachs and Chanel sunglasses. Befriended both locals and fellow visitors. Theoretically high-fived voice on radio saying parents should search kids' rooms. Told boss I would be happy to run international office (yes, in jest -- for now). Babysat. Swam. Snorkelled. Kayaked. Surely gained ten pounds. Vowed to never do White Christmas again.

And there's still a week to go. Sometimes, a girl just can't really complain.

9:36 PM

He's a Machine

A machine freak, that is.

I love a boy who's a total nut for stuff. Gadgets, doodads, toys. He loves them all with the fire of a thousand suns. Every time he gets into a new hobby, I find myself wondering if it's the subject he loves or the stuff related to it. In the past few years, I've witnessed the madness for:

(1) Music. He's played in bands forever (and even once toured with The Inbreds -- if you're a Canadian rock and roll kid, you'll know why I always giggle when my nineteen year old self thinks about this). He's had a gajillion guitars, four-tracks, pedals, mics, and amps. He bought a bass. He bought a drum kit. He took the drums apart and deskinned them. He had a guitar body that he designed built so he could buy all custom parts and make his own guitar. He's even bought guitars for friends so he could be in charge of renovating them from garbage to perfection. I don't even know how many pieces of musical equipment are in our house right now, as they're all over the place. He now whispers here and there about wanting an electronic drum kit for practice. I pretend I can't hear.

(2) Golf. He's golfed with his dad since he was a teenager. I don't even know how many sets of clubs he's had, but in our three years of marriage, he's on his fifth. He'll buy a set, take them apart, fix them up, then give them away or sell them or trade them in for his new set. I even apparently have my own set of clubs -- an old set of his, you would think, but no... he really bought them to fix them up for me, who's golfed all of once in her life. Right.

(3) Biking. There's no doubt that he's been biking since childhood -- he was that kid who was riding his bike off makeshift ramps in the early 80s. He had a great BMX when we first got together and used to do tricks around our little apartment, but then decided he was too old for BMXing and sold it. A few years later, we're on a nice summer walk, step into a riding shop, and end up home with a top of the line mountain bike. And everything that had to be bought with it. The bell, the lights, the good lock, the thing that holds stuff... he couldn't have been happier.

(4) Gaming. Started with a computer. Moved to a Playstation. Now it's an XBox. There was even a skateboarding game involved -- he claimed that it was so I could dress a character up in a cute outfit and play along. I claimed it was so he wouldn't feel like he was a nerd on his own.

(5) Snowboarding. This is still fresh, but he was out walking downtown one day and went into the snowboard shop. He saw a familiar board on the wall. He asked the guy if it was for sale, and the guy said, "Dude, that's for show. It's an antique!" It was the model he'd started on way back in the day. Never one to give up the dream, he learned everything he possibly could about the latest and greatest in boarding that he's missed over the last ten years and bought a crapload of gear for both himself and me. Again, do I board? No. But I am charmed to be included in the obsession.

(6) Technology. The obsession of all obsessions, this crazy love involves everything related to computers, MP3 players, monitors, televisions, printers, PDAs, cell phones, and all other make-my-life-easier gadgetry. The man just can't get enough. In our house (and keep in mind that there are two of us), we have his main computer, his rendering computer, the computer attached to the TV that has music on it, and the laptop (he claims to need all of these things for business). We have a huge TV, speakers all over the freakin' place (they have to be set up just so, you see), an upconversion DVD player, and the PVR. If it's new and it's cool? I'm going to be hearing about those two facts until there's one in our very wee apartment.

And tonight, I am sitting her blogging away while my boytoy gets his jollies from the latest and greatest gadget in his little marketplace. A DVD duplication machine. Okay, this one really was for work. But it's hilariously huge (picture a sideways microwave from the 80s) and I feel like I'm watching How It's Made when it's running. It's like a little robot, pulling DVDs from this enormous naked stack into its guts, spitting it out, moving it with the arm of a grabby teenaged boy, swallowing it again, then grabbing and dropping it into the dressed stack. Hilarious. And the kid is in heaven, examining and testing like a bloody machine.

But, um, I think we need a bigger place.

8:02 PM

Sensitivity Training

So I decided to go to the dentist a few months ago. I had a dream of whitening these otherwise dreamy teeth (thank you, braces) so that there would be no turning back. The dentist was actually insistent that (a) laser whitening was "bullshit", (b) professional whitening should be a last resort, and (c) Crest White Strips were great and are a cost-effective alternative that generally works pretty much as well as the pro treatments for most people. However, she also discovered my extreme level of dental sensitivity. She recommended a course of action: use at least one entire tube of Sensodyne F (and continue using it forever), then give the strips another shot before booking an appointment for the pricey whitening treatment. So after finishing the tube of paste a week ago, I started trying to get up the nerve to do it again.

Well, I got up the nerve. And now the nerves of my teeth want me dead. No, the pain isn't life-threatening, but it sure seems like a lot to go through just to pretty up. I'm only on day two of seven, and I've only done one of today's two treatments. That's only 3/14 of the way through! I have to do one more today and am avoiding it like the bloody plague. It's just so... gads, gads, gads, I have to press on them to stop the ouchness. I have to stop thinking about it. I have to train myself to stop listening to these icky signals. I desperately want to get through three days of this crap so that I can start seeing results and then maybe switch to just one treatment a day, but I don't know if I have the will power.

9:19 PM

A Little Sunshine

I don't know what happened today, but I clearly took a little stop on my trip towards Nervous Breakdown Alley and decided to turn back to Good Times Ville. There's still a crapload of work to be done and lord only knows what madness will ensue as I try every trick in my book to perfect this little world I keep trying to make myself, but whatever happened, I am back to me.

I had the best time at class tonight. I have been totally stressed over school, as the crazy-busy with work has been causing me to be consistently late or in another country. Har. In any case, tonight we had a big exchange rate discussion, chatting about whether we should be fixing ours to the US. Clearly, there are benefits to this, most of which come from the fact that the US is our top trade partner, to the tune of 80+%. And, according to today's discussion, at some optimal point, the costs of having a fixed exchange rate are outweighed by the benefits. In the opinion of our professor (and he is truly the most delightful of professors I've encountered in grad school this far -- the joy and excitement he finds in statistics has made me finally really get it), we're past that point. I, on the other hand, believe it's totally wacko to fix our exchange rate and thus make our own monetary policy makers utterly impotent. We lose all power to control our own destiny -- because, much as we're loathe to admit it, money makes the world go 'round, and inflation and interest rates affect every single one of us.

That said, I am generally a big fan of the market and its mechanisms -- I think it's cool as hell how we generally move to equilibrium where things are pretty much optimal for consumers and buyers alike -- but I don't believe that it is perfect. All social issues aside (and, believe me, I hardly take these lightsly, but it's too much for one conversation with people who all think politically differently), we can surely all agree that anti-trust issues alone are a perfect example of why the government sometimes needs to intervene. Look at monopolies and collusion and all those little market-imperfections that allow specific companies' profits to be maximized but don't allow the consumer to experience optimal efficiency. It's just a fact -- while it's totally dreamy and, as a rule, allows profits to consistently to be maximized, is it always forward-thinking?

For example -- if we are to believe that we're indeed in the position where my professor (and a certain Canadian Nobel Prize winner) says we are, and the benefits to fixed exchange are surpassing the risks, will we always be in that position? This situation may maximize our national profits for the time being -- and clearly, it does, or businesses would be trading with other countries -- but what about in twenty years? We've fixed our rates in the past, only to have to break off when our political differences caused major economic differences (see Vietnam for details) and suffer the consequences of getting back on our own. We've spent the last crapload of years getting through the tough times of managing monetary policy to bring our zero-inflation dream to life in the long term, you're saying that now we're going to just give up our controls because the US happens to be our top trading partner? To be sure, it's been that way for a long time -- but no-no-no-nothing lasts forever.

Theoretically, having one trading partner take up four fifths of our business is risky to begin with -- and that's something we need to address for the long-term implications. Perhaps the dollars would dictate that, at this time, the cost of encouraging economic integration with the US is exorbitant and unnecessary. After all, if it's more efficient to trade with others in the long run, won't that happen anyway? Doesn't the market fix itself? Sure. But don't we want to temper the blow of that transition? Isn't intervention worth it if, in the long run, it causes economic positives by reducing the economic negatives? And isn't this why we have to care about politics? Because there are so many bloody crazy questions and no one really knows the answer but it's so insane to imagine that we might figure it out or make it better?

So clearly, I got into a little frenzy of curiosity and begin with the question-asking, and next thing I know, we're having the most fun conversation! Anyway, I left and I still had a million questions in my head. And the fun just keeps on coming.

11:15 PM

Did I Mention...?

So this week has been nuts. Did I mention that last week, my I hired a customer service person and she left the job after ten hours? Right. It was too crazy. So I hired another one, and she made it through the whole week 'til today at around noon.

Between the loss of another customer service person, the firing, the client-facing short-staffedness already caused by the fact that I need a new account person, and the gazillion things that my girl-who-is-fired mixed up before getting the old heave-ho, I am losing my effing mind. Actually, I was losing my effing mind. Did I mention that I came home at 8-ish, vented to Dave for fifteen minutes, chatted with my sister on ICQ, then I had a beer with frozen pizza and watched PVRed TV? This worked for me.

I didn't get to the passport office this week. I have vowed that I will go on Monday. It's an appointment. (Did I mention that I have a hair appointment on Saturday and a doctor's appointment on the 12th?) I need it to go to Barbados. (Did I mention I have two weeks there now?)

On the other downside, I was working so late every day that I didn't get to help my group much on this stats project we're doing, so I'm now responsible for making the presentation spectacular and, well, presenting. Did I mention that I have to work on the weekend to make sure everything is ready for invoicing the client by end of day Wednesday? I have to go to school for a meeting tomorrow morning, then get my hair cut and blondified at 11:30, then go to work. I guess I'll do the presentation stuff when I'm at home.

Did I mention that I was supposed to do my Christmas shopping this week because I have that presentation next week, then maybe Dallas, then exams, then Montreal, then last-week-before-vacation, then Barbados? I didn't go yet. I was thinking maybe I could go on Sunday if I got most everything else done on Saturday...

Holy crap, I am babbling. Did I mention that I'm exhausted?

10:08 AM

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful...

But if we had a fire, it would be ever-so-delightful.

Snow has finally started to hit Toronto. I am not snow's biggest fan. I like it when it involves fun outdoorsy activities, but generally despise the winter. Personally, I find Toronto much colder than Halifax, and I'm not a fan of this at all. Making it all the worse is the Neighbour Situation. Let's discuss.

We live in a semi-detached rental -- the downstairs of a gorgeous old home. As such, our flat is darling, but we have no control of our heat.

At the time that we first moved in, we had the house to ourselves -- nobody seemed interested in renting out the upstairs. Dave played his drums a lot, we could listen to music as loudly as we wanted, etc. It was quite lovely. However, within a few months an older couple moved in upstairs. We naturally quit it with the noise, would chat with them often, and would go pick up coffee for them in the morning on a daily basis, as they were older and we generally love the oldies.

All was well 'til one day, we're peacefully sitting in our flat, watching some bad TV, and suddenly there's mad stomping and screaming and running about happening over our heads. After this goes on for a couple of hours, Dave politely knocks on the door and lets them know that it's quite loud, the walls and floors must be thin, we understand, but would they mind just trying to be a little quieter, etc. They go instantly from friendly neighbours to defensive jackasses.

From that point forward, things only got worse. Turns out it's their grandchildren and "children just make noise and you're going to have to get used to it!" However, now they've moved forward to getting into screaming matches themselves at 9AM on Saturdays, complete with plenty of door-slamming. Even if they are just going outside, they will ensure they slam the main door, which they well know is directly beside our bedroom, at 6:45AM on weekdays.

The whole thing is a fiasco. And what's their power card? They control our heat. And they get a big kick out of withholding it.

I can't effing wait 'til we get a place of our own. Only a few more months...

12:12 PM

All Over the Place

I was informed this week that I'm probably going to Barbados for Christmas. My beloved work has a condo there and one of my bosses had booked it for the holidays, but apparently he has changed his plans, thus it opened up. They offered us a trip there as a nice end-of-year thank you. (Did I mention they are the best? Right. Because they are.) Of course, this is all under the assumption that said boss has changed his plans, something that no one can yet confirm. In any case, they said that even if he didn't change his plans and we won't be there for the holidays, they'll send us down whenever we like. Whoolala.

We had actually imagined that our trip to Montreal in mid-December would be our fun winter trip. Dave and I went shopping yesterday for my snowboard ensemble for said event and, boy oh boy, did I have fun. As you may or may not know, that crazy man bought me a snowboard for my birthday. Do I snowboard? No. But he feels compelled to teach me. In any case, one cannot hit the slopes on board alone, so I spent some time at Sporting Life in anticipation. I will be that girl on this trip -- I will be this little doll to the left. Totally put-together but no functionality. Buaha. I care not. It will be too much fun just the same.

What is my point with all of this? I am truly anticipating getting the heck outta Dodge.

6:27 PM

Late Nights, Early Mornings, and Hitting the Sack

Leaving work early rules.

Jen and I stayed late last night to fix up this insane mess of a project. I got home at 11:30 and had to continue being awake, waiting for my logistics girl to send me the final files (she reported for duty at approximately 10:30). I didn't get to sleep 'til about 2:30 (after much waiting and hemming and hawing) and woke up at 3 to her phone call that she was ready to send me the file. I told her to send it and I'd review it first thing in the morning.

So I wake up at 8-ish in a complete tizzy -- did she finish the file? Did she send it to me? Did my boss get it? Oh, the sheer terror of the morning. In any case, I got to the files, reviewed her work, and spent the morning fixing everything up.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I am so bloody exhausted, it's not even cool.

Despite the utter madness, good things have happened. Good things I shouln't say quite yet, but good things I'm thrilled to be thinking about right now. Good enough things that I felt I was quite okay to leave work at 4:30 today, do my grocery shopping, come home and have a nice dinner with the boy.

I am so going to bed early tonight. But wait. The new Martha Apprentice is on tonight...

9:00 PM

The Kids are Alright.

I have a paper to finish for tomorrow. Am I done?


I am so bloody tired. I feel like I am in a constant frenzy of work and school and all I want to do right now is hang out in yoga pants eating Indian food (yep, that's what I had for dinner -- good god, it was divine) and watching Degrassi. I'll get back to that paper soon enough, but in the meantime...

Marco finally came out to his dad!

3:19 PM

The Saga Continues...

So after hearing the weird body part thing last night, it took me forever to get to sleep. Today, the police popped by for an inquisition. They showed me a picture of the lady's bracelet, asked if I'd seen anyone wearing a tensor bandage on her foot, checked our tools and garbage bags, and searched the yard for body parts. Totally understand that this is protocol, and I was more than willing to help, but man was it creepy. I felt like I was in an awful episode of L&O and was all nervous -- I accidentally showed them guitar pedals in my frenzy to try to find the tools. Le sigh.

In other news, I scrubbed the house clean today. My kitchen smells delightfully of Pine-Sol and my bathroom is sparkling. Why does this thrill me so? I am a terrible domestic.

Cooking? The last time I made dinner was probably in the summer. Laundry? I drop it off, as I can't bear doing it myself. Cleaning? Let's just say there was still black hairspray from Halloween on the floor when I hit the bathroom. Bad Foxy. In any case, when I actually do get up the gumption to scrub, my favourite product is, without a doubt, Comet. I love the texture and the smell is divine. I've tried a gazillion bathroom products, but Comet continues to win my heart. Those ones that claim to not scratch your tile surfaces? Meh. Surfaces don't stay perfect forever anyway, right? So, yes, when it comes to cleaning, I prefer tubs and toilets to bookcases and rugs.

Anyway, at least my house was clean when the police came to interrogate the neighbourhood. I'd hate to disgrace myself before the city's finest.

11:57 PM


So, as I mentioned, the boy is at the cottage. I am home alone. I'm watching the news while waiting for SNL to start, and they announce that they found a bloody freaking female body part. Down the street. Like, 60 seconds from my house. Oh yeah, and another piece of the poor woman was found in the north end. I am so disturbed and creeped out. I tried to ICQ my sister to un-creep-ify, but she's not online. I'm watching SNL and they just did a stupid serial killer skit.

Le sob. I'm not usually such a chicken, but random body parts? Gahhh.

7:42 PM

Moving On...

You will see to the right (I actually wrote left at first and had to change it -- I'm not good with left/right things), I note my love of minty lip gloss.

I bought this stuff at Bath and Body Works when I was in Dallas last week. It is a bloody dream. The reddish colour is super sheer in the most glossy way, and the flavour? All mint, all the time. The brand is C.O. Bigelow and the wee $9 gems are called Mentha Lip Tints. I bought colour #1139. I was actually led to the purchase while in New York last weekend. I was out seeing shops with two friends and they each bought one. They tried to convince me to do so as well but, bah, my resistant ass was convinced that I would never use it. Sure I wouldn't. The stuff is likely creating a new lining on the inside of my stomach by now, as I can't stop licking the deliciously Christmas-y flavour off my lips. Awesome.

So today, I slept in a little late, then headed to school for a seminar. Afterwards, I came home, worked on a paper, and watched some bad TV. I love sleeping in more than anything in the world. Some people think me rather teenaged in this habit (case in point: my husband), but I am so bloody wiped out after a week of insanity that sleeping in completely rejuvenates me. As always, said husband tries to tell me that you can't "bank" sleep, but I'm still pretty convinced that I do. I don't get enough during the week, but am back to my energetic self without fail on Sunday.

The boy is away. I missed him last night -- I can't remember the last time I've slept in our apartment by myself. I go away on a semi-regular basis for work (he doesn't ever have to) and sleeping alone in a hotel bed seems far less bizarre than sleeping alone in my own bed. Odd, it never occurred to me that it would be different at all.

In any case, I've just ordered some sushi -- spicy salmon and dynamic rolls and edamame, while not exactly calorie free, work out to be way better than getting chips and dip, which is my current temptation. I will spend the balance of the evening doing little-to-nothing. I'm delighted by this prospect.

6:43 PM

And the Vanity Kills Me...

Okay, I am truly sorry, as this is about the most vain thing I've ever done. I realize that I'm self-indulgent. And, yes, I realize that there are people dying around the world every day and, yes, I am suitably shamed by my horrid vanity.

I promise it won't be too embarrassing. For you, anyway.