Canadian Down Under

Friday, December 30, 2005

Random Thoughts

Canadians are really nice. In the stores (yes, I've been shopping) they're friendly, in the internet places they're helpful - or maybe that's just Vancouver. Random people blessed me because I sneezed in a coffee shop. It's the little things that make it nice to be home.

Caught up with tomama (oops, sorry Gwyneth Paltrow look-alike) before Christmas and it was really nice to see her. She personifies one of the things I love most about Canadians: dry, biting sarcasm. She so makes me laugh with stories told from her perspective. (I know you don't write specifics about your kids, but I have to say it - they really are adorable!)

Which reminds me of another thing I so miss about home: not having to explain that it's a joke. People here get it. There's no need to say: it's a joke. There's is no 10 second pause while the comment is processed - there's just an instantaneous chuckle (or in the case of my mother: the instantaneous "brat" retort).

I bought the best shirt in Beaver Canoe on Boxing Day. It's white with Canada written across the front in silver, with "True, Strong & Free" on the sleeve. Wearing it right now. Perfect!

I am an idiot some days. Forgot to write down my friends' and cousins' phone numbers, which is why I'm in an internet cafe right now looking them up. Now I'm procrastinating on Sometimes it's just one of those days....

Christmas day was fun this year. No fights. Not a one. We're half Irish. See - miracles can happen!!

I must admit - I was disappointed it wasn't colder. Hovering around zero was great and all - but was really hoping for one day of bitter cold. Who'da thought I'd ever miss that?

I like being in an unfamiliar city on my own. I really need to travel more. Stop using all my vacation to go to Canada.....

"Merry Christmas to me" has been officially open since Boxing Day (okay, may have started a little earlier than that...) Happy New Year season is only going to last until I get my Visa bill - which will also bring an end to the "Merry Christmas to me" season. Hmmm, enjoying it while it lasts though!

See! I told you they were random thoughts! Better go though. Will be offline until the New Year now, when I undoubtedly will have plenty to post (17 hours on a plane gives you plenty of time to write....)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

You know your Christmas gift is going to be shit when..

Your brother comes by Christmas Eve to gift you a 'pre' Christmas gift.

The same brother who has no cash.

Yup, his wife must have picked a doozy.

Overheard at the Ryan house on Christmas Eve

"I don't see why we put all these decorations up for only a few days. Waste of time really."

"These Christmas songs on the radio are a little too much for me. Sentimental crap."

And no, that wasn't me. Seems I have not been cast in the role of Grinch this year, I have been usurped by my Mom. The same woman who loves Christmas so much she got married then just to spread the joy.

Too funny.

So, being the adaptable person I am - I have re-cast myself in the role of Cindy Lou Hoo.

So Merry Christmas everyone. Have a great day full of laughter, good food and great gifts. (Not necessarily in that order....)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Who is Santa?

Another classic conversation with my mother:

Mom: "So dear - are we doing stockings this year?"
Me: "Of course - where else will I - I mean Santa - put your stocking gifts?"
Mom: "Who is Santa?"

Sigh. This from the woman who used to make such a big deal about Santa and used to say that if you didn't believe in Santa, you didn't get any presents from him. You need to know who he is to believe, don't you?

With every day, I chalk up a little more evidence to put her in that home. Really - not much of a fight after that one.....

When going home goes bad

You know, I'd like to write something positive about going home. I'd like to - just for once - write how great it is to be back, how wonderful it is to be home, but this trip is just not going to make the cut. Maybe that's just the life of an ex-pat. Or maybe I'm just beginning to understand the saying: you can never go home again.

Don't get me wrong - I really love Canada, I think it's a beautiful country. I really love my Mom, I really love my friends. But coming here either mentally unhinges me a week before I make the trip, or I get sad and depressed once I'm here - or both.

I have such trouble expressing myself to my friends. I really don't know why, I used to have no problem articulating what was going on. But this year it's been a struggle. Our lives are so vastly different, that I'm almost afraid the difference is so vast a gap that it can't be bridged. I'm in my mid-thirties and single without children whereas most of my friends are married with a bunch of kids. The thing is, I can get how their lives are because I can see it. I can see them running after the kids getting tired, having to be home to nurture and care for them. I can see how the focus of their lives have changed. The problem is I don't think they can get mine. How can they see single?

They've been in relationships for so long (in some cases since they were old enough to date) that they have no concept what it's like to be alone. They have no idea how it feels for people to constantly ask things like: "Why aren't you married?" "Is something wrong with you?" "Don't you want children?". Or make comments like: "You're just too picky." "It's alright if you're gay."

And the thing is, I do want to have a relationship, have a good marriage and possibly have children, but I won't do it at any price. I won't hook up with just anyone. I won't marry just so I have a ring to show off. And it may mean that I never have kids. But I can't make it happen through sheer wanting. And while it's not happening? I wish people would stop rubbing my face in it or insinuating there's something 'wrong' with me or that my sexual orientation has suddenly changed from what it's been for the last 20 years.

I feel alone and I feel isolated from my friends even when I'm with them. And sometimes it's their fault. Their smugness about their lives; how their lives are so much better than mine because of everything they have. And sometimes it's my fault. By withdrawing to protect against the anticipated snubs, I end up isolating myself.

Maybe the Christmas season brings it on more. But it's awful to be lonely when in a group of people. But it's even worse to be lonely when surrounded by a group of your friends.

I won't do this again. I won't come home alone again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best Moment so far....

I may have forgot to mention that I'm home for Christmas this year. Oh wait, I did mention the dreaded open house, which actually has provided the best moment so far:

Somebody tells me how my one and a half year old niece is a real 'Grandma's girl' so I see my mom (Grandma) holding her and say to my niece:

"I hear you really love Grandma."
Blank stare
"Grandma's pretty cool huh?"
Blank stare
"You know, when I was your age, I liked Grandma too!"
Continued blank stare from my niece.
Steely whisper from my mom "You are such a brat."

Just making sure my presence isn't required next year!

The above exchange gave me something to chuckle about all through the open house. Who's kidding who - I'm still laughing!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm trying something new

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I need to learn to say fuck off

Fuck off to the person who thinks that apologising for volatile, erratic behaviour is an appropriate remedy to the problem instead of changing the underlying behaviour.

Fuck off to the person who thinks that it's other people's problem to deal with that person's volatile behaviour.

Fuck off to the person who decided they needed 3 hash browns instead of 2 at the last moment so there were none left for me and I had to board the ferry hungry.

Fuck off to the guy who says he's coming up to visit in Canada and then goes AWOL for 3 weeks.

Fuck off to the person who complains about my work to my boss' boss and then realises 30 minutes later - after finally talking to me - that they were wrong.

Fuck off to the person who says I'm doing a good job for the last two weeks, insinuating that I did shit my first two months? Anybody hear of learning curve in a new job????

Fuck off to the person who's junior to me but tries to order me to do their work anyway.

Fuck off to the pilates instructor who makes me feel like I'm a beginner in an advanced class (okay, that's me doing it to myself, but I'm on a roll here....)

Hmmmm, I'm sure there are still other people I want to tell to fuck off, but I'm coming up empty at the moment.

Gotta tell you though - I feel soooooo much better.

Stuck in the Lift

at work.


In an elevator.


Me very unhappy when stuck. Me terrified as the lift became unstuck and started hurtling to the ground.

As I was relating my horror story back to some work colleagues, I didn't get the sympathy I expected/hoped for, instead what I got were the following comments:

"Why didn't you just sit down and have a nap?"

"You know there's big springs at the bottom, you wouldn't have crashed and died."

"Even if the elevator were crashing, there are big hooks that get activated and stick into the walls so you don't crash and die."

"Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster? Those technicians have no training, whereas elevator technicians need some serious qualifications."

Serious qualifications? Really? So explain to me how that's supposed to give me comfort when it was this supposedly highly trained expert technician that caused the lifts to freeze and drop because he forgot to take his keys out of the control elevator.

Serious qualifications, my ass!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

To Melanie

I have not forgotten your request of a picture of Fairy Bower. I will post as soon as I return from Canada after New Year's.

See, I have it on good authority that I'm getting a new digital camera at Christmas (My brother called me at 5:am while shopping in Canada to find out what camera I wanted. I think it's a sure thing.)

Promise when I get back. Any angle you prefer View of the water? or the restaurant?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm so full I could puke.

Seriously full.

I went from not eating anything till 1 pm to not stopping eating until now: 9:30 pm

Went for a run this morning in the gray weather (was supposed to be sunny but since it was crummy actually exercised - go figure!). Behaved myself foodwise - even underbehaved because all I had all morning was a cup of tea. But that was more due to my lack of organisational skills rather than by design..

Went to my boss' for a Christmas afternoon dinner. One of the girls from the office had car trouble so we had snack food until she arrived. (Who knew that four people could eat a whole wheel of brie?) Followed by a really scrumptious meal and then a home baked cake. Then we started into the rocky road - and basically we sat talking long enough to eat an entire plateful. (Pigs!)

Just as I was leaving to head home I was thinking that I wouldn't need to eat dinner when a guy I used to work with text me to find out if we were still on for dinner. Seeing as I'm heading off for the holidays in a few short days, I couldn't very well cancel at the last hour.

Dinner I managed to pick at a Greek salad (which I must say, was extremely yummy....) and almost got out without doing too much damage until the guy I was with asked for the dessert menu. It had a dessert called Chocoholics Anonymous.

I was done.

I basically rolled home.

Did you know...

that if you empty the bad in your vacuum cleaner, your vacuum will actually start to pick up crap again?

And to the unspoken question - it's be about 11 months......

I am so never going to marry a rich man and stay at home and be a housewife! I'm so underqualified: I can't cook (I mean I REALLY can't cook), I can't clean and I'm bad in bed (parting words from an ex-boyfriend..)

Well, there's always the lottery....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Meet my Monkey"

You think I'm talking about porn, don't you?

That was the in the subject line of an email I just received. From an address I didn't recognise. I thought it was porn - or some other kind of spam that contained a virus or something...

Almost deleted it without reading it, but decided at work today I'd open it there. That way if it was a virus I'd infect work instead of my own computer.

Know what it was? My friend who lives in Africa just bought a pet monkey and sent me some pictures. A monkey. A real monkey.

He really just wanted me to meet his monkey. Life is never dull.

I may get in trouble for this, but I must confess

I'm not looking forward to going home for Christmas. Some reasons?
  • It may be because it's 2 am and I have to get up in 5 hours to go to work, which doesn't thrill me (the 5 hours part more than the going to work part).
  • Or maybe it's because I've spent most of my evening vomiting due to a migraine (hey - I made it a week - that's a recent record!)
  • Or maybe it's because I've just found out that the American boy who was going to come visit me while I was in Canada likely won't make it
  • Or maybe it's because none of my friends are coming to the Dreaded Open House and it means I am now defenseless against the church lady questions and comments that range from: "Aren't you married yet?" "You know your mother is so disappointed you don't have any children." "When are you having children" to "You know, you're not getting any younger, there's only so much time left!:" (Now you know why I was begging my friends....)
  • Or maybe it's because Christmas is a family time of year - which means my friends will be busy with their families and I'll have to hang out with mine - or more specifically my mother. She's great and all - but sometimes the two of us are like oil and water when there's no one else in the mix.
  • Or maybe because it looks like I'm going to freeze my ass off. (-8 in Toronto today whereas it was +43 in Sydney. Try that while in a suit... Might explain the migraine...)

Sigh. Poor me. Aren't you glad I invited you to the pity party? You did bring me gifts right?

P.S. I will post the whole story about the boy soon, I'm still mulling it over at the moment.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Hmmmm. You be the judge.

Remember just recently I blogged about the Dreaded (yes it needs to be capitalised) Ryan Christmas Open House and I was cajoling/begging some of my friends to attend? Well, it's turned out even worse than I thought - only one has responded affirmatively - and that was a pretty sketchy maybe (no, I'm not mad - Christening your baby really should take priority over rescuing me from this horrendous annual family event)

My response to them all? An email informing them that no one was coming. Oh yeah, and a statement saying I was never coming home at Christmas again.

Is it childish if you spit the dummy?
Is it childish if spitting the dummy makes you feel better?
Is it childish if you really mean what you said during the dummy spit?
Or is it just childish when you believe you meant what you said?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Near Melt Down Averted!


I finally remembered to bring back a very cherished, sentimental photograph of my father and me when I was a baby when I came back from Melbourne the other weekend. I'm not sure if I've made mention of this before, but my Dad died when I was in high school (many, many years ago now....). And despite the fact that I was a teenager when that happened, the only photograph I have of him is the one from when I was a toddler.

I love it. It always makes me smile, because you can tell, even as a baby, I had my dad totally wrapped around my little finger.

It's an original with no negative so my brother refused to entrust it to Australia Post. (Sometimes the boy shows real flashes of brilliance...) Hence the three year wait until I got the picture back. Needed to be settled, but more importantly, needed to remember to bring it back with me. (If it's not on a list, the chances of me remembering are limited..)

As I was leaving though, my brother stopped me and asked if I was leaving him a copy. I was dumbfounded.

Now - if I didn't tell you my Dad was no longer alive, I'm sure I didn't give all the background as to why a request like this would stop me in my tracks. To say that my older two brothers had a strained relationship with my father would be.... ummmm..... accurate.

Nevertheless, I was more than happy to offer to make a copy and mail one back to him.

So yesterday I took my picture and entrusted it to the local photo shop for copying. I mentioned that there were a couple of marks on the original and it's slightly yellowed. They agreed to touch up the marks on the copy and brighten the photograph.

I went to pick it up today and, you guessed it, near melt down! Nothing's ruined, but it's just not right. They blew it up too big so the faces are blurry and the colours have been changed, not brightened.

I must be maturing because although I felt like melting into tears out of sheer frustration, I mostly kept it together and calmly explained why it wasn't okay. Well, calmly might be an overstatement. My voice was a slightly higher pitch than normal and when I explained it was a very important photograph my eyes started misting and my voice started to quiver.

Amazingly, the woman in the shop seemed to get it and she quietly reassured me that they would do another copy and I could come in and check it - which if it wasn't right, they would do again until it was.

Crisis averted. That woman deserves a bonus.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Desperate times...

call for desperate measure....

It was absolutely gorgeous here today. Sunny. Hot. VERY hot. Beach weather. Yahoo!!

Since I already had plans for the afternoon, I got up extra early so I could go to the beach. Wasn't hard with the amount of sun pouring in this morning - a very welcome sight after weekends upon weekends of rain...

So up I get, pack my stuff in my beach bag - you know the essentials: sarong, sunglasses, water bottle, book, sunscreen - and start to head out. But then I thought - why put on sunscreen on the beach and get your hands all sandy when I could just do it here? Good idea right? Well, kinda... but not without its problems.

See, I know I do pilates and all that crap - but that has done nothing to increase my flexibility where sunscreen needs it most: I cannot touch the middle of my back. In fact, there is approximately an 8 inch gap when I do the behind the back reach - you know the one: one hand over your shoulder the other, elbow down, hand behind the back one? Yeah, well, try getting sunscreen on when the middle of your back is essentially a no man's zone.

Ooooh, poor choice of words. It definitely is a no man's zone, but that has nothing to do with how unreachable it is, but more to do with there's been no man to touch it in, like forever. Mind you, I'm not against the idea... would probably welcome the attention.....

But I digress.

This morning I realised how much I rely on others for my sunscreen protection. I did the best I could - with the aid of some spray sunscreen and a mirror, I ended up doing a fairly decent job (only have a very small patch of red tonight...). But the whole event made me wish for a better solution; a solution that didn't require the assistance of another human being.

Then it hit me: a spatula. Okay, it didn't actually hit me, but the idea struck me. Okay, it didn't strike me either, but you know what I'm saying.... A spatula. I could spread sunscreen on it, then reach over my shoulder and apply to my back. Brilliant idea!!! I wouldn't necessarily be able to rub it in, but I could kind of smear it and then wait for it to soak in.

Three guesses what I picked up while doing my groceries tonight? First two don't count. (Yeah, I know most people probably own a spatula, but this is me we're talking about.)

As I said before: desperate times....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Dreaded Ryan Christmas Open House

I just sent this email to my Canadian friends:


Just got off the phone with my mother and I have been informed that my presence is required at the Ryan Open House on Sunday the 18th...the day after I get home..... so I will be in the country.

Coincidence? I think not.

So, yes, you may be laughing - but I haven't finished yet. You're all invited too. However, in my mother's (and the Ryan's) usual fashion, she hasn't quite made up the invitations yet - let alone mailed them.... so it should be a packed house because I'm SURE no one has any other plans around the Christmas holidays.

Anyway - this email contains a little bit of a warning and a little bit of begging. See, this does indeed give you the opportunity to come up with a reason why you CAN'T attend - but just by playing the odds - there is no way ALL of you will dream up an acceptable excuse to leave me stranded with my crazy mother, the neighbours and her church friends.

I kid you not: church friends.

P.S. - Not having directions is not an acceptable excuse...

Think I've convinced any of them to attend?

Bad Books

He's in them.

You know who you are.... Well, if you read this blog, you'd know who you are... I should clarify - if you knew this blog existed and you read it, you'd know who you are.

He's got one week to redeem himself. If he doesn't? Then I'll come clean.

To quote the quotable Mitch:

Enough said.

The Christmas Spirit

Stumbled across this post on a fellow ex-pat's site and had to share:

I too, believe in Santa Claus.

Things the make you go "hmmmm"

  • Why do some hard boiled eggs peel easily while others are just a shell crumbling/sticking mess?
  • Why do women slap their own asses in porn films (am I missing something?)

Friday, December 02, 2005


That's me.

I think I need to go off this stupid medication.

On the upside, my headache is gone. Only took two weeks......

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Day 3

of no chocolate and only healthy eating.


Go figure.

Mind you, I'm on headache day 7. Oh well, can't win em all.