September 30, 2006

Feeling frumpy

So I am sitting here on a Saturday afternoon, feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself. Probably premenstral - but regardless.

I am on holls, stuck at home with no car (the boy's car is in the shop, hence he is using mine)...but come to think of it even if I had the car today there is nothing to do and nowhere to go ...unless one goes shopping that is ...and I think I detest crowded weekend shops only slightly less than the idea of a root add to that I am technically supposed to be saving like mad for my first ever house, so shopping really is out of the question. So even if I had the car I would probably still be sat here on my arse feeling ....h'mmm...what exactly am I feeling? Not down perse...or blue..just kinda "blah".

I woke up this morning and was disappointed to learn I have only lost 2lbs this week...after being pretty damn good if I say so myself. Still I have another two days before the official "Monday morning weigh-in". It's maddening how one can gain 5 lbs just at the sight of a box of Milk Tray ...but it takes a bloody fortnight to lose it again. So I treated myself to a luxurious shower. I had picked up a couple of new hair products yesterday at the drug store and was eager to try them out. One promised to make my hair shine like no other and the other promised to make my hair frizz free.

After careful washing and styling I had to admit both products had done exactly as they had promised - I was just horrified to realised I am currently sporting what was known back in the day as a cross between a pageboy and a bob. Add to that it's the same hairstyle more or less as my mother. Don't they warn chaps that all girls turn into their mother's? Seems they were right. This is around the time my daytime blah's settled in. Not that there is anything wrong with mum. Far from it...lovely lady, intelligent, fantastic sense of humour, very independant - to the point of being stubborn....omg I am describing myself....devoted to family (rode 2 buses both ways twice a week to visit her ageing parents), hard working, single mum....ahhhh, yes another thing mum and I share...our singledom. Problem is she's dead. Died at 49. Snuffed out in what was supposed to be the prime of her life. Bugger. So as I am looking in the bathroom mirror at the shiney frizz free hair - looking very Joanna Lumley in a redheaded chubby kind of way and on the verge of turning 40 a cross between Marion Cunningham and Carol Brady...just without all the cutsie husband and happy family stuff ...I wondered is this all there is? I am not ready for sensible shoes and twin-sets I? Feck...who'd date a woman in what my grandmother would call "sensible knickers"? (Despite how comfy they are).

I take my thoughts to the livingroom...after all there's not much else to do today...laundry done, house as clean as it's gonna be and I have already taken a couple of chops out of the freezer for tonight's dinner. A quick perusal of the TV guide shows sod all on... well it is Saturday morning afterall....most normal people - read couples - are out driving their perfect suburban children to their hockey games, or ballet practise...they are doing grocery shopping or browsing the malls. Me? I decide to dig out a few DVD's.

Today's line up includes, Bridget Jones's Diary, The Wedding Date, Hitch, Love Actually and Shall We Dance. Admittedly all chick flicks, all guaranteed to throw me into the depths of ...well let's not go there. Suffice to say it's best not to leave any sharp edged objects nearby at the moment.

So time to settle in with my endless supply of coffee, cats who insist on sitting on my lap and digging in their claws and my latest crochet project. I am not actually any good at crochet - marginally better than I am at knitting...but if I say that all I have actually crochetted so far in my entire life are 4 afghans of varying sizes, you will hopefully realise that my skill level is practically non existant. I once knitted a baby cardigan for my half-sister's first born. The arms were orangutang-ish, armholes so tiny and tight it would have cut off circulation within 20 seconds and I am not 100% certain if the lovely "holey" pattern was exactly pattern perse or dropped stitches. My cousins were wonderful knitters. All three of them. I remember seeing them wearing their creations proudly, wonderfully complex Aran cable patterns. I think I managed a scarf at one point...or rather an over large doiley because it certainly was too short to be draped around anyone's neck.

I get stuck into Bridget Jones, with the marvelous, Renee Zellweger - who has probably never had a "fuck my life sucks" moment in her entire life - when I suddenly realise the entire movie is set on Pride and Prejudice (that classic Jane Austen novel, which I have never actually read, but I saw the movie - god how lame is that?) I actually laugh out loud at a scene where the main character muses that she may end up an ageing, fat, spinster, living with cats, whose only serious relationship is with a bottle of wine and when she dies her body will be discovered in her flat weeks later, half eaten by wild dogs. Yeah, Brig and I share the same flair for the dramatic at times.

So I am killing time watching movies, Jen and I are going to a concert this evening to see Terri Clark. I am not actually a Terri Clark fan, but when Jen phoned me all excited several months ago to say the tickets had gone on sale I agreed to go with her, basically because I had/have nothing better to do. It will actually be my first night out in months, and it beats sitting home all night watching the telly.

September 25, 2006

Oh to have been a fly on the wall...

I don't normally tell work stories...there are enough emergency services and police blogs out there...but please forgive me for sharing this story from today.

I took a 911 call today from a 16 year old young man who had just been swarmed and robbed on the street. A gang of local degenerates demanded his wallet and taken off with it right out front of his school around the lunch hour. As I was getting the police on the way to see him, I was getting further information, descriptions, direction the suspects fled etc. trying to calm him and getting some more of his story.

He explained how a police car had driven past him whilst he was in the process of being robbed. The group surrounding him had already taken his wallet, and the ringleader had already pulled the cash from it. When they saw the police car they reacted by giving him back his property and acting in a friendly chummy manner so as not to arouse suspicions. Once the police car had driven by however, they once again snatched our poor young school boy's wallet. They didn't hang around this time and took off running.

It was about this time that the first officer arrived on scene, I still had the victim on the phone as he pointed in the direction that the gang had run off and offered a few more pieces of information regarding their description. The officer assured my victim that he would be back, but was just going to spin the area quickly to see if he could locate the suspects.

Feeling a little more relaxed now, as the officer drove away, my victim suddenly exclaimed "Oh my god, I still have my money!" In his panic to call police after he had been robbed, he hadn't realized that he still had his money clenched in his hand. When the bandits had hurriedly given him back his wallet and cash as the police drove by they had been already separated. When the gang snatched the wallet a second time, all they got was the empty wallet. A pretty large sum for a teenager to be carrying on a school day - $215 - his registration fee for the school hockey team (oh yes, how well I remember the huge fees from when my own son was playing team sports at school).

You could hear the relief flood into his voice, as he went on to tell me how hard his mother had worked for that money. Suddenly all I could think of was that there was a group of very pissed of gangbangers out there ...who undoubtedly knew by now that the wallet was police officer was checking the local streets looking for them, and here was my victim standing alone on the street corner waiting for police to come back...a sitting duck. I hoped the gang didn't think to come back for their cash. Needless to say I stayed on the line with him until we got another officer over to him.

Lordy, I would have loved to have seen the look on their faces when they finally opened that wallet and found it empty!!

....and I hope this boy's mother now thinks to write a personal cheque for these kinds of items instead of sending cash.

Autographs later, dahhhhhlinks

This morning arrived far too early and I was stumbling from the coffee shop, heading into work when I was stopped in the parking lot by a radio reporter armed with a tape recorder, who was looking for public reaction to a local scandal. Actually it was a news item that I hadn't heard - apparently there is a plaza, an apartment building and a group of residential houses locally where they have discovered their waste is not hooked up to the sewer system but has been pouring directly into a local doubt for years. Gross. I honestly don't remember what I said to him, I remember being suitably alarmed and concerned blah blah blah. Whatever I did say however must have given the reporter a few good sound bites as he thanked me profusely, telling me I was a "total doll". Knowing my luck in my caffeine deprived state I probably screamed to march on city hall and stringing up the chief engineer...who knows! Fortunately I was working all day and I don't listen to this particular local radio station. Hopefully very few people that know me or may recognize my voice do either.

September 24, 2006

House news update

My field is still a field and has yet to progress to mound of dirt status - but the builder has indicated that they will be breaking ground - putting in service roads etc - this fall, before the snow flies and the ground freezes. I am not an expert in construction obviously, but I doubt there will be anything much to see before next spring, when the ice and snow are finally gone.

This at least is giving me loads of time to save my money, make a few plans and make a few decisions. With all the overtime I have been working lately we are halfway to the bathroom upgrade. I'm technically on holidays from work (again) this coming week, although after signing up for 5 overtime shifts you'd be forgiven for not realizing it. I worked a 7 hour shift yesterday, with another one lined up for today and then 3 x 8-hour shifts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My aim is to have the "Oasis" fully paid for in cash by the end of October. Fingers crossed - we are well on target at the moment.

I dropped by Home Depot to check out prices on stoves and fridges the other day. Doesn't hurt to daydream a little and see what's available out there. I am mulling over the idea of getting a natural gas cooker. I always cooked with gas back home, but since I have been in Canada we've only ever had electric. In fact to be honest, I don't even know anyone who uses gas here. It's a decision I will need to make soon though, because the builder will need to include a gas line in the kitchen for stove hook up. It's not considered a "standard" - more money, more money.

September 21, 2006

You could eat off the kitchen floor

I have discovered when I am upset, angry and generally p*ssed off, I become a house cleaning demon. The place looks and smells amazing. Make me almost want to pre-arrange "bad mood days" on a weekly basis.

September 18, 2006

Oh my aching feet

Tonight was my first ballroom class - what a frickin' fiasco ('scuse my language). I expected the ratio of men to women to be somewhat pathetic - but 1:6? Good grief. Anyways, that can't be helped - sigh. The instructors inform us that seeing as we don't have enough men for couples dancing, instead we are going to perform the steps as a line dance and later couple up together taking turns to lead. (This should have been my cue to leave).

I assumed that we would start with something simple, like the waltz and move up. Our instructors however decided that given the popularity of Latin dancing in the last few years, we would start with the merengue.

If I have never mentioned this before I should at this point make mention of the fact that I have 2 left feet at the best of times, can't remember steps to save my life - and this dance has 46 separate steps.

I need not have worried however about not remembering the steps, because our lead instructor couldn't remember them either! LOL His assistant stood at the back of the class prompting him with what came next from her "cheat sheet" - and even then every time he "took it from the top" he'd forget a complete sequence...the whole class would go left...he'd go right. It was laughable. We had all started exchanging looks amongst ourselves, rolling our eyes. At one point one of our more outspoken classmates actually stopped him and asked him what his training and qualifications were. Hysterical! After messing up repeatedly he finally walked out saying that he needed a break and a drink of water (it's only a 90 minute class) - leaving his assistant to take over. She was better at least, but her steps were slightly different again. By the end of the evening I was so confused, I doubt if I could even manage the macarena or the birdy dance properly.

I read my confirmation letter over, I can only get a cancellation refund if I can provide a medical note.'s worse than trying to get out of a cross country run in school. I could just swallow the fees and chalk it up to bad experience - but the sado-masochist in me can't tear my eyes away from the comedy of errors on the dance floor that this whole experience is turning out to be. I must still be suffering from the remnants of my flu from last week - surely I am delirious.

We'll see what class holds for me next the meantime I am off to soak my feet.

September 17, 2006

Finally...a chief of Police to be proud of

A colleague from work sent me the following link for a press conference attended by the Chief of the San Francisco Police Dept.

Finally here is someone in authority who isn't afraid to say what we all have been thinking of what we laughingly call the justice system. Finally here is someone who isn't a tree hugging liberal too busy kissing up to City Hall to actually do us any real good.

When I heard this I seriously wanted to stand up and cheer. I would work for this man in a heart beat.

September 16, 2006

Just when you think no-one is listening...

Overheard on the operational floor today:

Male colleague on the phone: Madam, just because he plays 'pocket pool' does not make him a suspicious or shady character. I play 'pocket pool' myself all the time!

I swear you could hear a pin drop in the room as we all turned to look at him.

September 13, 2006


Forgive me friends, for I have sinned....

I started my Christmas shopping yesterday.

In twenty-five words or less...

I watched a cable-tv movie this evening called The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. I was struck how we don't have contests anymore that actually use skill. I remember being a horse-mad 9 year old, back home in England, and entering the WH Smith "Win a Pony" contest (numerous times). For one whole summer my spare time was filled with schoolgirl dreams of my very own pony...and trying to find the words to complete a catchy phrase "in twenty-five words or less". Something to attract the attention of the judges, something that would say "This little girl deserves to win the pony, with a year's supply of feed..."

I remind myself of Ralphie and his desire for a Red Ryder BB Gun (the one with the real sights and a compass in the stock).

Needless to say I didn't win - my hat is off to my mother who was suitably disappointed to my face, although no doubt privately rejoicing. Well, c'mon - I was 9 years old, she knew who would have been the one "mucking out" but didn't stand in the way of my daydreams.

I entered again the following year, and this time my entry won one of the runner-up prizes. It was a one of first ever television game consoles that played such classics as "Pong" and a half dozen other games. I was thrilled! I never did learn which of my entries was the actual winning slogan - but it was a prize I had actually worked for...and earned at least. By comparison today's contests seem to be merely ballots filled in with name, address and telephone number (oh how the telemarketing companies love them!) - occasionally there is a "skill testing" mathematical question - but other than that, the only skill needed is knowing which side of the stamp to lick...and even those are self-adhesive these days.

September 12, 2006

I need a maid

Night shift is finally over - thank heavens - my cold appears to have dried up - double thank heavens and now life can hopefully get somewhat back to normal.

I have a couple of days off before I have to start day shift, but as of right now, I haven't decided what to do with my day. There is laundry to put through the washer, carpets to hoover and toilets to scrub - but I am still summoning the enthusiasm.

Alternatively my new contacts are ready for pick-up at the optician's, and I still have yet to pick out frames for a new pair of glasses. I have papers to drop off at the lawyer's office, and hopefully set up an appointment to draw up my will. And if I am out at the lawyer's office that means driving by the building site (unavoidable I am afraid) to see if there is any sign of work starting yet.

H'mmm decisions, decisions.

I am definitely in the mood to be outdoors today, not cooped up inside pushing a vacuum cleaner around that's for sure. (surprise, surprise) The final few days of summer have intermingled with the first few days of autumn. The nights are much cooler with temperatures dropping into single digits - for the first time in months I have turned off the fan in the bedroom. The days are still warm with watery sunshine; definitely time to start pulling out the old cardigan. My garden is in a final blaze of glory, but if you look closely the signs of autumn decay are already starting to show.

Screw the housework. Decision made.

September 4, 2006

Confessions of a slack- jawed mouth-breather

Tuesday I had the startings of a sore throat. Wednesday the sore throat invited a very, very mild grade fever to move in. By Saturday tickly cough had dropped by and decided to join the party. Sunday sneezing evolved into runny nose and yours truly playing the trumpet at 4am with le monster box of Kleenex.

Now I am no medical doctor, but I think I have a cold.

Invariably this time of year I come down with my annual hum-dinger of a cold. Normally it waits to appear until around Canadian Thanksgiving (first week of October) - but this year it's decided an early surprise visit is called for. Typically it lingers, goes to my chest and becomes bronchitis. I end up literally coughing and barking like a seal, ribs in agony and in my doctor's waiting room by the end of week 2 - where he prescribes his usual steroid inhalers and I am back to normal generally by week 3.

At the moment however it's just a cold, with all the wonderful symptoms that go along with it. I ache, I am tired, I am breathing through my mouth (which I hate), I have no sense of smell, no tastebuds left to speak of, my eyes are dry and my sinuses ache. Normally I would take to my bed (or the couch), consume endless cups of tea, watch bad cable-tv movies, and wallow for at least 24 hours...

...Unfortunately I am scheduled to work tonight. The start of a 7 day stint of midnight shift. If I call in sick I am sure there will be many raised eyebrows and snide comments. How I was "well enough" to do overtime on the weekend, but not well enough for my regular shift. Or how I have perhaps run myself down from working too many hours. That comment in itself raises my ire. Since when did doing a sedentary job bring on the cold virus? I have still managed to get plenty of sleep (7 hours/night) over the past two weeks and have been eating regularly. The only things that have suffered as a result of my working extra hours are my housework and my couch time watching tv. (I totally missed Canadian Idol this week). So I don't see how the "working myself sick" argument works. I would put more stock in my grandmother's warnings about leaving the house with my hair wet and catching my death, than I would with the overwork argument. And we all know Grandma was talking a load of tosh about the wet hair issue.

So now I am sitting having the internal debate. Do I call in sick, risk the gossip of the platoon and hopefully nip this baby in the bud before it becomes a full fledged case of bronchitis. Or do I drag my ass in, feeling like crap and work. Either way my monster sized box of Kleenex will be my closest friend over the next few days.

September 1, 2006

Blogger ate my post...

...or at least that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Needless to say there would have been a wondrous post in this very spot 12 hours ago had I a) remembered to save as draft periodically and b) if I hadn't ballsed it up. Oh well.

[well bugger me, I just saw that "recover post" icon on my edit screen...I wonder if that would have...? No, I wont torment myself with the thought.]

So yesterday was my first day off - no work, no overtime and no demands on my time. It was truly luxurious to be able to lounge in bed, waking up without the alarm clock screeching in my ear. My feline alarm clock however was persistent. She didn't care what day of the week it was - all that mattered was her dish was empty. She doesn't miaow disdainfully at me, on the contrary she has learned that if she wants something the best method is to be overly affectionate. (A true female in every sense of the word). She has developed a habit of walking across the top of my pillow, purring loudly and nuzzling. This whole nuzzling thing is very new behaviour for her, but she seems to have developed a thing for my hair and will nuzzle her whole head against mine, pressing her furry face into my hair for extended periods of time. Purring non-stop. I have taken it as a sign of affection. The first time the boy saw her do it, he suggested it was a failed homicide attempt. With a wicked grin, he told her that she just needed to move her entire body 6 inches lower. Brat!

First stop of the morning was to pick up a few groceries. I had stubbornly refused to make a list, as usual, my habit of phoning home from the middle of the cereal aisle to check on our need for certain items was of no use seeing as the boy was at this time I had to rely entirely on memory. This may explain why we now have duplicate jars of unopened jam, no fresh kitty litter and we're almost out of peanut butter. Guess I will be hitting the store again today.

Next stop was the builders to pick up my copy of the signed amendment to the purchase agreement - which in turn was dropped off at the lawyer's office. I took the time to pick up forms for a Will and Power of Attorney whilst I was there. Something I have procrastinated over for more years than I care to remember. I guess we are all in denial when it comes to our own mortality. We feel we are as bulletproof as the 9 year old wearing the Superman cape standing on the shed roof. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can see how irresponsible it was of me, as a single mum, to not have had a Will in place all these years. Better late than never, it looks like I may finally be growing up.

Home via Blockbuster, I picked up "Take the Lead" with the very yummy Antonio Banderas - and home to prepare dinner.

Here we come to the interesting part. Ballroom dancing and cooking - two things I am unable to do (or do well) and two things I am actually signing up for classes for. This past Monday I registered for a 10 week class for ballroom. It's something I have long had an interest in - and never had the time or nerve to pursue (long story I will save for a future blog), suffice to say come mid-September you will all be treated to weekly updates on my progress (or lack thereof) in the waltz, quickstep, tango and swing. As far as cooking is concerned...well all I can say is that I used to be quite good in the kitchen. Passed my O'level in Home Economics, used to make everything from scratch, pastries, cakes, soups, you name it. It seems however to be a skill that hasn't aged well. Years of convenience meals that go from the freezer to the oven to the table in under 45 minutes (curse you frozen lasagne) have dulled my culinary artistic bent shall we say. Suffice to say, this evening's meatloaf, lovingly prepared from scratch wasn't exactly burnt, but it did have some interestingly crunchy bits. My local grocery superstore runs evening cooking classes covering everything from Italian to French cuisine. Now I am not suggesting that with these courses I am about to become the next Ginger Rogers or Delia Smith, but it gets me out of the house, meeting new people (new people who are also lousy cooks with two left feet), and it's something I am interested in.

The boy - obviously equipped with "OMG Mother is cooking" radar - called home to advise me that he was heading out straight after work to help a friend move apartments - and would probably "grab a bite" whilst he was out. That's fine, the left-overs are in the fridge in case he needs something to crunch on later - thankfully he has a dental plan.