Canadian Down Under

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Scads of Money

That's what I've been spending lately: scads of money.

No joke. I've already blown through my credit card budget for the month and I still have two weeks to go! And to top it off I just went and bought myself an mp3 player.....and I'm not done yet!

I just can't seem to stop. Usually I'm pretty good, maybe go a little over budget, but it's been a while since I've been this bad. So I knew I was already over budget, but I booked myself a day at the spa on Saturday anyway. And that's going to cheap.....


But you know, why not? I may be 2 weeks away from my vacation but it looks like I've decided to start the treating myself early - you know the kind of treating yourself that you can really only justify while on vacation?

Not that I need to justify it - after all, I only have myself to answer to - but it's been a tough year and things are really starting to turn around, so I think a little self-celebration is in order.

Yeah me!!

(note - I may need reminding of this post when my Visa bill comes in...)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What was in my kitchen

An Unwelcome Visitor Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cockroaches - I just can't cope..

They're beasts in Sydney. Seriously huge mother fuckers. (Profanity is necessary. Trust me.)

It doesn't matter how clean you keep your place - they're everywhere. At night, the sidewalks are littered with them. It's hard not to step on one. They're so common that people know if it's a big one, it's just a visitor, but if it's a small one, it's a infestation. (Big - as in bigger than a June beetle kind of big. Seriously.)

So my current flat has been bug free (unlike my first one that had so many cockroaches and Huntsman spiders I nearly became friends with them). Well, bug free until today.

I know it sounds awful, but it so much worse than that. See, I'm terrified of bugs, but what's worse, I can't kill them. I once called a flat mate home from a bar to deal with a very strange bug (it was scorpionish like - still haven't figured out what it was...). Yes, I did buy her a drink later that evening for rescuing me - okay, maybe a few drinks...

Tonight it happened. One big mother of a cockroach on my kitchen floor. I don't know how it happened (can you hear how panicky it's making me even in the re-telling???) I always do my dishes, take my garbage out religiously but I guess the odds were against me. It had to happen sometime.

The stupid bug even had the audacity to hang out near my shoe with its little antennas swirling around ... (yuck!). It was like it was asking for it. And still I dawdled.... Eventually it got to the point where it really had to be dealt with so I took my shoe and threw it at it. Miraculously it landed right on top and no bug scurried out from underneath. So there I was with a shoe in the middle of my kitchen floor, a presumably squashed bug underneath and me with no one to help clean up the mess.

After a few weak attempts at removing the shoe, I finally managed it. And yes it was squashed. I got some toilet paper so I could flush the remnants down the toilet, but all I could manage was to throw the toilet paper down so it covered the dead bug.

Then I proceeded to say "I can't cope" about a million times and I then spent about thirty minutes nervously pacing around my flat trying to summon up the courage to deal with it.

In the end, I don't know how long it took, but I do know it took an extra wad of toilet paper to 'protect' myself before I cleaned it up and my gag reflex has gotten a full workout. I then had to sterilize the floor and my shoe to prevent any further contamination.

Let's hope it worked.

I hate to say this - but really, I am such a girl when it comes to bugs.

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to start seriously looking for a boyfriend....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Australia - my home but not native land

A friend sent me the following - I loved it so I had to share....

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the girting sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory, but they can't spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other land masses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep. It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However, there are curiously few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them all. But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on) under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that are more dangerous. The creature that kills the most people each year is the common Wombat. It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and spends its life
out to eat worms and grubs.

The wombat kills people in two ways: First, the animal is indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles that outclass Olympic weightlifters. At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers (Road Trains) have hit them at high speed, with all 9 wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed. They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away. Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes an asymmetrical launching pad, with results that can be imagined,but not adequately described. The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour. If a person happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the Wombat will feel the disturbance and think "Ho! My hole is collapsing!" at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents him from seeking assistance. This is considered the third most embarrassing known way to die, and Australians don't talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel, and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. First, a short history: Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and lot of them died. The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in, and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in Autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died. About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since. It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.

There is also the matter of the beaches.

Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world.

Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock, and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach at sunset is worth the risk.

As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst, and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful, and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger, unless they are an American. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth." The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt. Religion and Politics are safe topics of conversation (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield. The only correct answer to "So, howdya' like our country, eh?" is "Best {insert your own regional swear word here} country in the world!" .

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt'you, and on your first night, and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul-taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to thesure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage, and noting how strong the beer was. Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.Typical Australian sayings:
  • "G'Day!"
  • "It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."
  • "She'll be right."
  • "And down from Kosciusko, where the pine clad ridges raise their torn and rugged battlements on high, where the air is clear is crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze at midnight in the cold and frosty sky. And where, around the overflow, the reed beds sweep and sway to the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide. The Man from Snowy River is a household word today, and the stockmen tell the story of his ride."

Tips to Surviving Australia

  • Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever. We mean it.
  • The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.
  • Always carry a stick.
  • Air-conditioning.
  • Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and good in a fistfight.
  • Thick socks.
  • Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.
  • If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.
  • Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

See Also: "Deserts: How to die in them", "The Stick: Second most useful thing ever" and "Poisonous and Venomous arachnids, insects, animals, trees, shrubs, fish and sheep of Australia, volumes 1-42"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Blast from the Past - The Sequel

Technology has it pros and cons - but at the moment - having just received an email from my first serious boyfriend, a relationship that ended over a decade ago!! - I can only think of one con: you can never move out of reach....

So there I am checking my email hoping for a message from a guy (not realising that I needed to be much more specific to the email fairies......) when I see I have a new message in my spam folder. Checked to make sure it wasn't the one I was waiting on - and I gotta tell ya- I certainly wasn't expecting, let alone waiting for this one.

It was from my old boyfriend. The one I dated for almost seven years, who could never hold a job, stole money from me when I was penniless in university (despite the fact he was working), sent me threatening letters when we broke up, tried to turn all my friends against me since I was in a different town going to school, asked to get together again when I finally agreed to meet him for coffee a year and a half later after having admitted to having cheated on me. That boyfriend.

You know what he wanted? To see if we could get together when I was in Toronto in a few weeks. (I don't normally name people in my blog, but Bri - you are in so much trouble for giving him my email address and telling him anything about me). You know the trip - the one that's so jam packed with family stuff that I'm having trouble organising to see my three closest friends.

As if.

Tell me - is this another time where I'm going to have to be the bigger person and answer him politely?

Spam folder. ...... Fitting really.

Bargain Shopper Extraordinaire!

You won't believe what I pulled off this time. I'm so good, I even amaze myself!!

5 burner barbecue plus a nearly new patio table with four chairs in BLUE!!! (My favourite colour) All for 1/4 of what a tiny barbecue would have cost me new in a store. And to top it off - I actually needed them!!!!!!

I rock.

Email Hell

I need to stop doing this.

I need to stop meeting men of interest that live in different countries....alright, on different continents.

It makes me mental, because how do you communicate (and I use the word loosely....)? Email. It's not my forte. I mean, I don't mind writing, but I do mind waiting. Waiting for an answer that is. And the longer I have to wait the more sure I am that I've said something wrong - well, not really said something wrong, but that a sarcastic joke has been taken the wrong way.... how do you know?

So everybody's different. I've known guys who answer the second you send them anything and then there are others that seem to take forever to write. Although it's most likely the former is obsessive and the latter is disinterested, it's also possible that the former is polite and the latter is just busy, but how is one to know via email?

I've written about this before - wondering how long you should wait to write back and my difficulties with figuring out the balance between too eager and rude - my upbringing taught me to answer straight away - which is fine for communicating with friends, but not so fine with dealing with men because they view that as too eager - but I think waiting weeks is rude. So what's the right time frame to answer? And even more importantly, what's the right time frame for a response?

The current emailing that's going on was initially me answering within a day or two and him taking 4-5 days to answer. It got to the point where it annoyed me (rational? probably not) so one time I didn't answer him straight away and by day 5 I got a follow-up email - which didn't explicitly ask why I wasn't answering but the message was in there. So feeling remorseful, I answered straight away and then so did he and a few days later I wrote back (is anyone getting sick of this yet?) and now it's been over a week since I've heard from him. Yesterday I even sent a follow-up mentioning how cold it was here and that I thought it was the cold breeze coming from where he lived (trying to make a joke) and was it something I said (see earlier paragraph about worrying if sarcastic joke goes wrong..)

No answer.

To tell the truth, I'm not really worried. For a couple of reasons: 1. I can't actually think of anything I've done/said that is cause for ex-communication and 2. I'm not really that fussed whether this works out or not. It's kind of an impossible thing anyway, but I won't go into that... It's just I hate not knowing what's going on.

I think I need to stop this stuff. These impossible long-distance ?? (can't really call them relationships...) have no long-term payoff and in the short-term they're making me mental. All this anguish for one weekend...having trouble seeing how its worth it.....

Saturday, July 23, 2005


What is it with Australians and the word 'darling'?

Everywhere I go people are calling me darling: the supermarket, the dentist, the mall and most recently the video store.

I don't get it, because I'm certainly no 'darling'.....

A Mother Classic

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet or not, but in just a few short weeks, I'm doing the long trek home for a bit of a visit. (3 weeks! How awesome is that?) And it looks like I'll be bringing a few extra things with me....

See, it all started when my friend who had come out to visit earlier this year asked me if I'd bring her a different coloured pair of flip flops to the ones she bought when she was here because she loves her current pair so much. (Phew! Was that the longest sentence ever or what?)

When she asked, I remembered last summer that a few of my friends had really liked my flip flops. (Now some of you may be wondering what I'm going on about - but seriously - these flip flops are SO comfortable because they're cushy and the straps are thin and don't dig into your feet. Billabong. Can't go wrong.) Tangenting again - sorry. So since I was already bringing home one pair, I expanded the offer to include my other girlfriends who had liked them last summer (I think I got everyone...)

Then I started to feel guilty. I hadn't asked my mother. And she LOVESSSS shoes.

So I forwarded the original email to her and told her to pick out a colour.

In the end I had to call her today. (The funny thing is that my mom has all the latest technological gadgets and doesn't know how to work any of them. She has my old laptop, the latest broadband wireless and has to ask her neighbour over to help her get her email. This has been going on for over 2 years and still she can't do it by herself. This two years beginning after the 2 year training stint with my computer programmer brother ended after finally having to wave the white flag and the 3 year training stint with myself that ended up with my having to move to Australia..... God love my neighbour - she obviously has more patience than either my brother or I....)

Now that I think about it - why do I worry about her reading my blog? Oh right. Murphy's law. You and I both know she'd find it......

Ahhhh, I digress AGAIN!! I can't even remember my original story now, so hold on while I re-read what I wrote........

So right, talking to my mom today and I ask her if she got the email. She starts talking about one I sent months ago (I haven't sent one since, I just call now... it's much easier...) So I explain to her what I'm talking about: flip flops.

A few pardon's and what's later coupled with my screaming flip flops into the phone (my mother's losing her hearing...) and I can actually hear the mental click and the conversation goes like this:

Mom: "Oooooh, I loved your flip flops. Yes, I'll have a pair."
Me: "What colour do you want?"
Mom: "You mean I have a choice?"
Me: "Well yes, I'm not asking just for the fun of it..."
Mom: "Oooh, okay. Well, what are my options?"
Me: "It's a very long list, maybe you should just check your email." I say envisioning me shouting 'guava', 'lime green', 'lilac' et cetera at the top of my lungs to either the amusement/annoyance of my neighbours for 20 minutes before Mom understands me. But no...
Mom: "Just tell me the colours dear..."
Me: Sighing deepely, "Light blue,turquoise blue, orange, yellow, bright pink, light pink, guava"
Mom: "Ooh, I like the pink." (Note - there are three pinks listed, but whatever...)
Me: "Okay" but I continue with the list anyway, knowing if she sees some of the other colours I'm bringing home and didn't have the option of choosing them, I'll hear about it....
Me: "Light green, jade green, lime green, white, black, brown..."
Mom: "Hmm, the light blue sounds nice. (Funny how good her hearing is when it's about a gift for her...)
Me: "Okay, so it's the light blue?"
Mom: "Did you say they had a deep blue."
Me: "Nope. Just light blue and turquoise blue."

Silence for a moment. (She's obviously thinking - this is a very big decision after all.)

Mom: "I think I prefer the light blue."
Me: "Okay. Light blue it.."
Mom: "But you know, the pink sounds nice."
Me: "So, pink then?" I ask, but before I can finish.
Mom: "Jade. Hmmm, just the name sounds nice. Yes definitely jade."
Me: "So, just to be sure - you want me to get you a jade pair?"
Mom: "Hmmm, not sure that I have anything that will match. But I really love the colour jade."
Me: "So jade then?"
Mom: "And the pink and the light blue."

Me: "All three?" I ask increduously, thinking that yeah, they're great flip flops, but three?
Mom: "Yes three." She answers decisively. "Thank you dear." Topic closed.


So now that I'm bringing a small suitcase of flip flops home in a few weeks - anybody else want a pair?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blame Canada

Or should I say, blame the Canadian blogger tomama ..... she's the one who tagged me.

It's all about me, me, me !

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life? (Note: That I will admit to on my blog)

What? Only 3? That'll be tough....
i. Stopping my bike by slamming my head against a metal tetherball pole instead of using my brakes (2 days in the hospital for that one...)
ii. Dating Craig.
iii. Not dating Wade.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
For the first time ever: me.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up five people to dine with, who would you pick?
i. Winston Churchill, because I find him fascinating.
ii. Mackenzie King - just to see if he was as crazy and as smelly as the history books say he was...
iii. George Clooney to see if he is as gorgeous and charismatic in person as he is on the big screen.
iv. Abraham Lincoln - because I just briefly skimmed a piece in Time about him - and I'd like to learn more about how depression fueled his brilliance (a quote from the article) and find out how he came up with such progressive thoughts (equality and liberty) so far ahead of his compatriots.
v. My dad - because it'd be nice to talk to him again.

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?
i. That I could once and for all, stop worrying about whether I'm fat or not.
ii. That I could share my life with a man I loved and who loved me.
iii.That my mom could figure out how to be happier.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.
Sydney doesn't have a Tim Horton's or a Shopsy's hot dog stand. Krispy Kreme should be avoided at all costs (not only is it gross - it has the hugest line-ups!) and Manly Beach on a busy Sunday afternoon because its packed with tourist who leave the trash behind as opposed to throwing it out! Sorry -
pet peeve of mine.

6. Name one event that has changed your life.
Moving from Toronto to Sydney. It changed everything except my friends.

7. Tag 3 people.

Rants, Raves, Reviews of a Proud Canadian Surfer
Angry Little Lady
outlaw liss

How Rude!!!

I'm not sure what to do about this one.......

So I'm in my last few weeks of work and with every passing day, I feel better and better about my decision.

I don't know what they put in the water where I work - but whatever it is it makes people extremely rude. It almost seems like it's a prerequisite that you have little to no respect for your co-workers as human beings, let alone as colleagues, if you want a job where I work.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. With the exception of two people.

In the last two days, these two people have been so awful that in one instance, I simply had to walk away while she was talking so I didn't slap her for being rude. And in another instance, another woman was so rude to me that I said... wait, let me recap for you.

One evening my boss requested that I provide a document to a co-worker as soon as it was available the next morning. Upon arriving the next day, I was able to download the required document, but my email was down so I could not email to my co-worker it for the report she needed to finish within the next 60 minutes. So, I posted the document to a shared drive on the company network and walked over to where my co-worker sat to inform her the document was now available. Conversation went as follows:

Me: "Hi co-worker (won't use her name). Just wanted to let you know that..."

Co-Worker (CW): "I don't have time for this" she interrupted very curtly

Me: "The document you wanted......" but before I could finish I was interrupted again

CW: "I told you I don't have time for this. I have a report due." said in a very dismissive tone, followed by her turning her back to me and facing her computer screen.

Me: "The document your boss requested that I give you for your 10 0'clock meeting is on the shared drive."

CW: "I'm busy." Her voice nearing a shriek, followed by a very curt," I need 9 copies. Colour." And again, she turned her back to me.

My response?

Me: "The word is please." I then waited for her to turn around and face me again, then said "And yes, I will help you."

Her response?

Nothing. She was speechless.

Seriously out of line. Seriously unprofessionally. Seriously rude. That happened two days ago and she hasn't spoken to me since.

I'm not quite sure what to do. Her boss is my boss and I'm thinking I should say something because although I'm leaving - I still have three weeks left and I just don't think I should be subjected to that kind of rudeness and disrespect from my co-workers. These two women are unbelievably condescending and talk to down to me frequently and often try to order me around. And the funny thing is, although we have the same boss - I am senior to both of them.

Where they get off, I don't know. What I do know is that they do this frequently to many (so it's not just me) and no one ever says anything. Although it's not my responsibility to solve other people's issues with them, my issues with them have grown to the point where if they continue with their current behaviour - I might give in to temptation and actually smack one of them.

In speaking to my boss though, it may mean permanently burning bridges - and the one thing I've realised is Sydney a very small community in the financial sector.

Sigh. Decisions. Decisions.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


That's what my physio called me today: hopeless.

And weak.

I don't like being called weak.

Okay, so he only called my ankle weak - but I'm still miffed.

I know physio is potentially tough on you physically - but I never expected it to be tough on my self-esteem!! The only bright light out of all of this is that the physio said my ankles are so weak (how did that happen??) that he's surprised I didn't sprain my ankle earlier.

Therefore - I didn't sprain my ankle because of my drunken behaviour, I sprained it because I have weak ankles.

Which means.... I only need to strengthen my ankles, not change my drinking habits.....

Phew. What a relief!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"Are you married yet?

Asked the little 3 year old boy on the other end of the phone.

"No, I'm not." I answer patiently - and then before I could say anything else, I hear:


"Well, because no one's asked, little bud. Now put your daddy on the phone."

The next sound I hear is hysterical laughter of an adult male with the maturity level of a 5 year old (I'm being generous...)

Just a short example of what happens when you call your girlfriends when they're out and have left their husbands babysitting.....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Doing your taxes CAN be fun!

I realise that statement may sound like I'm on hallucinogenic drugs, but bear with me....

It's July - and as every North American wouldn't know - it's tax time in Australia. The timing's hard to get used to, but seeing as I'm getting a refund just as my VISA bill just arrived with my flight to Canada on it - I'm not complaining.

I even got myself organised/educated enough to do them myself on-line (Sounds simple enough to others - but I usually manage to screw them up somehow....) on the government website. It's actually pretty user-friendly; asking you question along the way to help guide you and make sure you don't miss any deductions et cetera.....

It even helps you fill out your personal details with option lists....Like on choosing your occupation - the list is SOOOOOO long - but this is where the fun starts.... As I was scrolling down the list looking for my particular occupation (which is never easy, cause I can't find the appropriate title for a job role that involves money for nothing...) I came across the following options:
  • prostitute
  • stripper

You know, I was sooooo tempted... I considered putting down my occupation as a prostitute just to see if it affected my rebate but then I had visions of getting hit by a truck and my mom having to go through my papers while sorting out my stuff and coming across paperwork that said her daughter was a prostitute and I just couldn't do it....

Though it'd kinda be funny....

Sunday, July 17, 2005

You know you have bad skin when....

You're at a friends' dinner party and one of the other guests asks you if that mark on your nose is a nose piercing that hasn't healed yet.

..and a deep abiding sense of honesty compels you to answer: no, it's just a zit I did a poor job of covering up...

We're Not Afraid

I just saw a story about this website on the news. You have to check it out.

The guy who created this website was affected by what happened in London - remember that guy on the train who was taking pictures with his mobile phone? - well, the web page owner is his friend. They felt they needed to verbally respond to the attacks so the same guy who was on the train posted a picture saying he wasn't afraid.

Word has got out and now they apparently have over 5 pictures per minute being submitted - all with the same message - from all over the world.

Seriously, check it out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Final Chapter

Now, I previously menioned my involvement with the Big Sisters' program - and I always said I wouldn't write about my little sister, but that I might about the program and my involvement. Well, a few things have transpired lately which have brought about some major changes.

Even though the mother was the one to originally contact the program, there has been little support from that arena and in fact, quite a lot of resistance. The parents had issues about the length of time I'd spend with her (they thought three hours was long enough), the distance of the places we went to (usually within half an hour of their house - but definitely within city limits - but mom was hoping for us to stay in the house or just go to a nearby park), and scheduling (Little only had a 4 hour window on the weekend and little to no room for flexibility if I had other commitments).

From the get go, there were problems - with them cancelling last minute, not being there when I showed up, or phoning last minute and changing times (well, at least they phoned...) or not having time at all due to family/church/extra-curricular activity commitments.

So today - our caseworker went and met with the family and the Little and although Little was insistent upon seeing me, the family was ambivalent at best, soooo...... due to the lack of interest (on the parents' part) plus the relative little time the Little has in her schedule for the program, our caseworker pulled the plug.

We have a 'goodbye' meeting on Monday. It will be good to see her again - and I intend to get her a funky little necklace as a keepsake (my Little loves jewellery) and as a distraction of sorts. I'm not really looking forward to it, but I think it's the right thing. My Little has lots of extra-curricular activities and quite a few friends, so she'll be alright. Truthfully? She probably never should have been part of the program to begin with, but it was still nice to meet her.

Looks like I soon be back in the pool of Big's waiting for a match, but I haven't given up. I still have the time and the energy and the desire to do it, so hopefully I don't have to wait a long time to be a part of it again.

Monday, July 11, 2005


I'm not talking about a recent argument I had...
Nor am I talking about any old relationships (though I could probably talk for hours on the one-sidedness of those....)

I'm talking about me (my favourite subject..).

Me. I'm one-sided. Everything happens to my one-side. For example:
  • When I fell off my bike and dislocated my shoulder, it was the left
  • When my foot got twisted in a pot-hole playing Ultimate and I tore the cartilage in my knee, it was the left
  • When my brothers dislocated my elbow, it was the left
  • When I get ear infections, it's the left
  • When I cracked a bunch of teeth on a sailboat (don't ask..), it was the molars on the left
  • When I slipped a disc in my back while running, it was the left side
  • And now - when I fall down drunk on Canada Day and tear the ligaments in my ankle (though it took me 10 days to see a doctor because I was so embarrassed....) it's the left yet again.

Aside from the fact that I'm obviously very accident prone - or getting so old that every little bump and bruise is turning into a major injury - I am intrigued by the fact that it's always the one side.

Chinese medicine always talks about balance - so are these accidents putting me out of balance? or are my imbalances causing the accidents to happen on one side? Or is a just a fluke?


Friday, July 08, 2005

Calling London

It's a tragedy what happened in London yesterday. Words are inadequate in the face of such senseless violence.

Watching the news reports, I was completely amazed by the response of Londoners. What seemed to come through from Prime Minister Tony Blair to the average man on the street was a calmness, a matter-of-factness and a resilience in response to the crisis.

Comments from injured survivors were striking:
"We won't let these cowards win"
"I feel pity for the people responsible"

Amazing attitudes - and so different from initial responses in the US after September 11, where anger and revenge seemed to dominate - but perhaps this is due to London's previous experience with bombings and terrorism. However it transpired, it's admirable.

So far away - yet so close to home. One of my brothers lives and works in the heart of London and it took many hours before the phone lines worked and I was able to get a hold of him. When I did , he sounded very English: he was dismayed by the tragedy, yet not truly surprised. Our family's not very emotive with one another, but it was good to hear his voice and he was touched that I called.

Events like what happened in London are tragic - and they can be tough on those with family and loved ones abroad. But they cannot change how we live or indeed, the terrorists will win. They serve as a reminder to appreciate and value life on a daily basis. I usually joke about how I dread family vacations, but not this time. This time I have to admit, I'm very much looking forward to seeing my brother when we're both in Canada this August.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Out of the Blue

Some kind of subliminal message has been sent out into the atmosphere. To whom it's intended for or what was actually said - I have no idea - but the end result is that I've had an influx of messages from long lost friends.

Ever heard of Well, in one of my previous jobs when I was bored out of my skull, I registered under my old high school. This week (years later) I got an email from someone who was there the same time as me - just wanting to say hi. Apparently he'd seen me in the Toronto underground last summer and it took him a whole year to screw up the courage to say hi (I SWEAR I'm not that scary...) The only bad thing is I can't place him.... the name is familiar, but nothing's clicked yet....

Then out of the blue, I heard from Maureen.

Quite a few years ago, while I was backpacking around Australia, I met two quite fabulous Irish sisters, Maggie & Maureen. I was travelling on my own then and they were kind enough to let me hang with them for a while - and out of that act of kindness, a friendship grew. We kept in touch for a while (thanks to the wonders of the Internet...) but after they moved, and then I moved, we kind of lost touch....until yesterday!! It's great to hear from her again - and although I haven't seen her in ages - while reading her email it just seemed like she was right there talking to me.

But the piece de resistance was the email I got yesterday from Brian. He's one of those people that have that 'je ne sais quoi'; that spark that brightens up all those around him. He's my best friend's ex-boyfriend and my ex-boyfriend's good friend - so it's not hard to figure out why we kind of lost touch. I did see him once - right after his first son was born - but then I moved and we lost touch. Occasionally I heard about him through mutual friends or sometimes from my best friend, who hears about him sometimes - but sadly, just little snippets.

I was so surprised to see his email and even more surprised at the lengths he went to to find me. He talked to my best friend who gave him the wrong number (classic! more on that later, but suffice to say we continually lose each other's phone numbers or dial the wrong ones because we both seem to move too much.... Thank God our parents never move so we're able to track each other down...). So then he triedthe internet - which actually gave him the right information (how unnerving is that? that someone from Canada can track me down here in Austrlia..) but called my Mom to make sure he had it right.

And then last night he called. He sounded so different at first (mind you, it's been about seven years...) but within a few minutes it was like old times. So much has happened in both our lives; so much time has passed - you'd think that would affect our relationship - but it hasn't. So now, my trip home not only includes catching up with family and close friends - it also includes a reunion. One I'm very much looking forward to.

It's nice to be reminded that time and distance can temporarily keep people apart, but it won't separate good friends forever. Especially nice to remember when living this far away from home.

Living in Limbo

The boredom is stifling.

Why of why did I agree to six weeks???

I know I was trying to do the right thing by my old company, but really, this is excrutiating! I should learn to be less conscientious.

I mean, I do have stuff to do, but I'm rather uninspired/unmotivated to do it, because:
  1. deadlines are too far away
  2. it's really boring shit

The one thing I'm happy about is my decision to leave - and I have to say the last few days have only solidified that. The 'new regime' (as I now like to call it) really doesn't fit well with my style. Or I guess the proper way to say it would be that I don't fit in with the new regime. Seems they only like 'yes' people and don't want anybody to actually think.

Good think I'm getting out now.....

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quitting is easy to do!

And in this situation - it's a good thing to do!!

Since I officially resigned from my job last Friday, I've had to inform the various project teams I've been working with that I'm leaving. And you know what? The people have been amazing - and amazing to me. Uniformly across the board people have said that they're sorry to see me go, that they've enjoyed working with me. AND it was genuine!

The thing is - ever since I arrived in Australia, I've never quite been sure whether I'll ever fit in or belong. Working in a couple jobs that probably weren't quite the best fit for me probably did little to ease that feeling, but the last few days have done wonders to make me feel at home. Even though it's because I'm leaving.... Is that what they call irony?

In my recent round of interviews, I got one question a lot: how is it working in Australia compared to Canada? You know, I've discovered many differences, but none of them are very easy to verbalise (and especially not to Australians because they're not always favourable comparisons....). However, one thing that really stands out in the companies I've worked in is the quality of caring and compassion on a personal level from colleagues. I am amazed, flattered and very appreciative of how thoughtful and kind people can be in the workplace. It's not the I haven't met people who are equally as wonderful while working in Canada, but it just seems a little more pervasive here.

Funny it takes until I'm leaving to find that out though...

Good thing I quit so often...

Tour de France

I'm obsessed. I should be in bed - I have one of the worst colds ever and have been too tired to do much of anything, including cooking a proper meal to combat my stupid cold - but no, I'm staying up, on-line (actually on theTour de France website) tracking what's happening in the race.

Now - although I do like sports - I've never been a huge cycling fan, until Lance Armstrong. I don't what it is - I'm usually not one of those types of people that fixates on famous people/famous athletes - but for some reason Lance Armstrong really intrigues me. I think the thing is - I really admire him. I mean, I know he's not perfect - but I find it amazing the obstacles he's overcome just to stay alive - and then he's surpassed all expectations by not only staying alive, but by becoming a world class athlete.

I just recently finished reading his autobiography - which has probably helped fuel my interest in the Tour de France this year - but I did watch last year as well. Anyway, I was so impressed by his frankness and honesty. He says (and I'm hugely paraphrasing and probably not accurately at that...) that he doesn't know why he survived when so many others didn't - but the impression I got from the book was that this was a man with supreme willpower and if anyone was meant to beat the odds, its him.

So, here I am, it's well past midnight and I'm a Canadian in Australia cheering on an American riding in France. (I feel very United Nations-ish at the moment....) Time zones are killing me!!! Will the lunacy never end???

Monday, July 04, 2005

An update from the weekend

I did survive - somehow - but not unscathed.

My ankle still hurts - but that's what happens when you sprain it...
I have fewer brain cells - but that's what happens when you drink alcohol.....

But I had so much fun - and for the first time in years I got to celebrate Canada Day with some fellow Canadians!!! It's all good.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy Canada Day!!!!

I fall down and go boom.

My ankle hurt.

My friend move back to Canada.

Happy Canada Day!!!!!

(Tomorrow going to be ugly.....)

Friday, July 01, 2005

I love my friends!!!

Seriously – I have some great friends. (Too bad all of them live in Canada whereas I live in Australia…. Damn…..)

The last few weeks there’s been a lot going on. Trying to organise my life – in the sense that I’ve been looking for a new job – which has finally come through – YEAH ME!!!!! – and then trying to figure out the appropriate start date. Why this matters so much is my trip home.

I have planned a trip to Canada for Christmas this year – mostly because I was so homesick last year I thought I’d never make it through another so I booked tickets early. Funnily enough – I was in 35 degree+ weather but absolutely yearning for snow….. So that was it. Booked. I was going home.

Then a bunch of other stuff happened and it seemed – mostly for family reasons – that going home in August was a good idea. My oldest brother would be home and I would get to meet his girlfriend and her kids…. see my mother…. see my best friends… spend time at the cottage….. Yeah, August became a done deal.

Since then – so many things have been going on. This whole job change thing has become a bit of a soap opera. Never being able to confirm dates is not only tough on me to plan – but makes it virtually impossible to set up things with friends at home – and it’s their summer – so I’m trying not to ruin their plans. But they've been so great about it - all of them just saying I should let them know when I'm home and they'll make themselves available.

How great are they?

But it looks like today it’s been finalised. I’ve got an end date. I’ve got a start date. And I thought I had a departure date until I looked at my tickets and realised they had the WRONG DATE!! My cheap tickets are no longer cheap – as it’s now costing me $500 to change the departure date – but hey – I seem to no longer care – I’m just excited about being able to go home a little earlier and spend a little more time with my friends.


Because I have great friends and I’ve missed them a lot over the last year. Last time I was home I brought a guy with me – and it became such a whirlwind tour that it was impossible to fit in some quality girlfriend time.

Not this trip.

My first whole week is going to be devoted to my girlfriends and I can’t wait.Two of my girlfriends are going to be very pregnant while I’m there so it’s going to be great fun. Long chats without looking at the clock figuring out how much the phone call is costing. undivided attention and facial expressions to go with the comments. It’s all good!! And it’s been sorely missed…..

Six weeks! I can barely contain myself!!!!!!!