Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Driving in LA

Since moving to LA 5 months ago, I have never feared for my life on the roads as much as I have since we inhabited our little boat here. I'm sure my husbands truck has permanent kristi-sized finger dents, finger prints and all in the door handle, and I'm pretty sure holey-shit-handles were invented by some non-local who was subjected to the drivers in LA.

My trips down the 405, 110, etc. have not come without shouted curses like, C*%K-SUCKER, MOTHER-F%$KER, DICK-HEAD etc. flying out of my husband's mouth. You might be thinking: "Maybe it's your husband," or "Maybe your husband needs some anger management." Normally that would be my first thought as well, however, since driving with him and witnessing the poor manners and rude drivers myself, I have been proven wrong. And when I was blessed with a car about a month ago, even my husband turns to give his overly-calm, overly-polite--basically, overly-Canadian wife a shocked glance when I scream "You stupid (insert profanity here)________, why don't you just (insert driving action to be completed)________.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that California has the worst drivers I have ever come across. It's never been a common occurrence for me to have a car speed up when I try and put my blinker on, or cut me off for no reason except they didn't want to wait for all the open space behind me--they'd rather be wedged between me and the semi in front of me (which I intentionally got behind because I know they'll drive slowly and rationally'ish). I thought it was common courtesy to put your blinker on if you want to get over, and if I have to slam on my breaks while you swerve in front of me, a polite 'thank you' wave would be appreciated, but apparently not many people--so far no people--know how to do that.
If the lane I'm in is coming to an end, please speed up or slow down to accommodate my vehicle; trying to stay up to speed with me so I don't cut you off doesn't help..why? Because the person behind you is doing the same thing.

Pedestrians and bikers are no better. In the 5 months I've been here, I've had a child run out onto the street in front of me (on a busy street), at least 3 people J-walk without looking to see if there's a car coming. This past weekend a biker swerved left in front of us without looking and my husband slammed on the brakes, the back tires fishtailing and tires screeching, then HE yelled at US.

Please people, help me to lower my heart rate when I get in my vehicle; Allow me to enjoy driving again and stop fearing for my life. If we all start being more polite on the roads and stop saying "well they don't, so why should I?" maybe, just maybe, we can make the roads a better place to be on. No?

sheesh, my heart is beating just thinking about all this.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Think Love is:

I think that Love is complicated and so I've decided to make a list of what i think love is:

I think Love is:

*Counting down and still getting excited for them to get off work.

*Offering a helping hand, knowing that they won't need it... &... saying you don't need it because you know they don't want to help.

*Support them like a good bra and telling them when they're headed towards the ground.

*Being the big spoon... and... not flinching when your 'big spoon' leg gets flatulated on.

*Getting angry when I don't say "I love you" first before hanging up the phone.

*Being able to honestly tell the person what you think about them and their outfit... &...being able to take it.

*Being able to sit in a room for minutes or hours, not saying a word but feeling the need for that person to be there.

*Speaking highly of the other person to others-- even when they're not around.

*Glowing with happiness that radiates the love for the other person.

*Lancing a newly discovered back pimple that's been growing for an unknown amount of time... &... finding it secretly satisfying.

*Wanting to hug the person just because they are there.

*Being able to drive 1/2 way across the USA--twice-- spending 16+ hours in a car, 3 ft away from each other, talking about and listening to nonsense... still holding hands along the way and falling asleep in each other's arms.

*Giving up your own wants and needs for the other person's-- and not complaining about it.

*Being the cheerleader of their life.

*Realizing you drunk texted the night before and finding out it was to them.

*Getting offended when they use the terms 'I' or 'Mine' instead of 'we' or 'our'.

*Being attracted to the person just as much as you were the first time you saw them.

*Sacrificing your career for them.

*Moving to another country for them.

*Kissing them despite the ingested cup of coffee and garlic flavored onion they just ate (unknowingly of course)...& telling them they should probably brush their teeth...& being able to take it.

Basically Love is a lot of give and take. I look forward to giving and taking in my upcoming marriage! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sex and the City review.

Last night was MY premier to Sex and the City. I went with six girls, each representing one or more of the characters; Pregnant with kids, married with kids, and just getting married-- me. We were only missing the over the hill, outspoken, overly promiscuous, single woman known as Samantha.

SATC has always been (but not to some) an exaggerated and somewhat sought after version of real life. For years, women all over have been relating their lives to specific episodes of SATC and the characters saying: “I’m more like Charlotte or Carrie, or Miranda…” Not often do you hear someone compare themselves to Samantha. That’s what makes her such a lovable character; she brings the vicariousness to the shows and movies.

Walking into the theatre last night was like walking into a club where everyone sits and doesn’t talk for two hours; there was a noticeable division between the SATC2 viewers and everyone else. Girls there to see the movie were dressed up nicely, definitely in heels (except me), make-up done and hair did. It was comical: some of those same people, albeit a slightly different genre, would never dress up for the blockbusters Harry Potter or Twilight.

The girls I went with all had different opinions on which movie was better, but the majority of the consensus was that they were equally good in different ways.
The 1st SATC stayed true to the characters and their drama, finally forming who they are for the rest of their lives—finally grown up in a sense. It appealed to the audience because it was similar to a normal episode, not straying from the same story. I personally enjoyed the second movie more because it acknowledged that the characters are already established and despite trying to deal with their lives now: married with kids, or aging uncontrollably, it was time to have some fun with the characters and that’s exactly what they did. It was unanimously more humorous that the 1st that’s something everyone could agree on.

Since I spent a few months in Dubai, the cultural scenes like the ones in the souk tickled me. They represented the culture very well and there wasn’t a lot of false information portrayed—if any. I’m sure with enough money, or in their case: a bottomless one, you could have tents set up in the middle of the desert and changes of extravagant clothing on hand. Otherwise companies that offer Arabian dinners will have belly dancers and sheesha pipes set up in the tents when you return from a Dune Buggy excursion. And all you have to do is pay a small price to experience ‘true’ Arabia—Sans the change of clothing. I’m glad they touched on the life of Carrie’s Butler Guarau. It’s incredibly overlooked that the average worker in the Middle East is not in fact Arabic; they are usually from the Philippines, Japan or India. They work excruciating hours making less than minimum wage, which they send back to their families for support. Luckily, in India, minimum wage is quite luxurious. The families can usually keep a nice house, with a nanny and a decent lifestyle.

This movie despite the difference from the episodes was still relatable-- Mostly to married women with kids—but was tuned for over-all entertainment. The one thing I did find a little disappointing was that it was filmed in Morocco, not Abu Dhabi, or even Dubai. Still it could have fooled me—and it did.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The gift of a memory.

Memories are probably the first natural gift given to everyone (other than the obvious gift of life). If the memories are not happy ones to cheer you up, then they are given for the same reason Historians believe history is recorded to learn and grow from. Luckily most of my memories are great.
I remember my 1st bike: sitting pretty in pink in our living room. It was my birthday. My parents holding a video camera; filming me sliding down the stairs on my bum, using my small fist to rub the sleep out of my eyes. I was trying not to smile incase for some reason the bike wasn’t mine or it was just some cruel joke.
I remember how mom walked my bike to my school one day to pick me up. I rode it home as she kept pace with me. I might have been too little to express appreciativeness, but I remember feeling it: I was excited to see her waiting for me, and with my bike!
I remember learning to ride the bike without training wheels. Everyone tried to teach me, even grandpa. Finally the small hill in our front yard was the successor when I rolled down it and took off. But from then on, every time I would take off, it would have to be down a small hill. Very similar to push-starting a car.
I remember our garden. Like amateur farmers, we dabbled in carrots, rhubarb, peas and strawberries. All of which are the best I’ve had to this day.
With the garden came friendly, plump bumblebees. One was not so friendly when it attacked while I was defenseless, eating a hot dog.
I remember building the blue deck with lattice walls.
I remember the slip’n’slide on my birthday.
I remember frequently playing in the park that had the big red barn. That was the same place I lost the “kids’ Easter hat-making contest”. I suspect because my mom helped me make the hat—it was the best.
I remember my friends that lived on my block: Amy and Megan (sisters), Kelsey, Chelsea and ‘little’ Megan. Even at 5 I had acquaintances and ‘little’ Megan was it. One day we “ran away”. We walked through our alley (about ½ a block). It was a consensual decision. Every time we passed a family having a barbeque we would complain of hunger. We had been gone 5 minutes. When we rounded the corner back onto our street, Megan’s babysitter was frantic in the front yard with the massive white cordless phone in her hand. My parents rushed over to me. The sun was in the golden stages of setting and my mom told me I was grounded. “What’s ‘grounded’?” I asked.

I remember my brother ‘Mikey’ and the mullet he had for a year or 2. He was cool with that Mikey-Mullet combo. Even at 2 years old.
Before/after the mullet, when he was learning to walk, I remember out of boredom, lifting him by the head and putting him back down. If I wasn’t doing that, I was pushing my fist through the bottom of his bottle forcing the bag of milk to squirt in his face. The result was similar to blowing air into a dogs face: a lot of head shaking and mouth opening. He didn’t know what was going on. I do feel terrible about that. It pangs me with regret every time I think of it. He got me back at a young age when he hit me on the arm with a wooden spoon. He didn’t know what he was doing then either, but it made me cry.

I remember winters in Calgary, learning to skate. I had lots of trouble. One day dad took me to an outdoor rink. It was nighttime and there had just been a snowfall and there was snow on the rink. I had been struggling to learn for a while. I thought “I don’t see why I cant just skate like Wayne Gretsky!” and off I went. I could skate ever since. However, skating is not like riding a bike and I’m not so good at it anymore. Or never was really.
I remember our yearly trips to Mara lake with friends, family and fresh peaches from the Okanogan B.C. Jet Ski’s, swimming, and getting a fat lip from fold-out bed when my dad didn’t realize I was inspecting the mechanics of how it worked.
I remember the annual stop at the Enchanted Forest and castle-- Always on the way home. It was something to look forward to when leaving our beloved summer vacation.
I remember Saturday morning cartoons and on Christmas day waking up too soon. Christmas will always be one of my fondest memories and the one that effects my emotions more than any other. Thinking of past Christmases pulls at my heart strings the hardest.
I remember our 1st dog Tex and how I married her to my stuffed bear I called Barney.
I remember listening to vinyl records and doing the ‘chicken dance’ to ‘La Bamba.
I remember being able to tell the difference between Nirvana and Rolling stones. And how my dad would show his friends like it was a neat trick. I was proud.
I used to remember all the words to most of the Beach Boys’ songs
I remember listening to my dad play guitar—still one of my favorite things.
I remember roast beef sandwiches for school and sometimes tuna too.
I remember going to the Stampede as a little one and begging my dad for $5.00 to make my own (multi-colored) sand filled bottle. After much-ado, I got it and I think to this day I still have it—somewhere—refusing to throw it out because I know how much I went through to get it.
I remember things, so many things, some of which people probably didn’t think I would, like driving in my uncle’s jeep without the doors or the top on. We were discussing the different consistencies of boogers.Then I gave him a visual of one of the ‘types’. Sometimes I wonder if HE remembers. I was 5.
I remember getting presents like cabbage patch dolls, a Ghostbuster’s cassette, and many more when my dad came back from business trips.
I remember a green velvet outfit I had for a Christmas concert in elementary. And how I wished I played the bells instead of singing.
I remember when my aunt came to town it meant we got to see a movie together and I would sometimes get a new ring. It was ritual.

Each memory has a specific impact on my emotions as if I’m going through it all over again. About harassing my brother, I think about how that could have affected our future relationship. I still feel bad about bothering my dad about the little sand bottle. Every memory has a weight on my heart and equally reminds me that I will no longer be receiving memories as great, but rather giving them and making my own. Not to say the memories I’m receiving now aren’t as good. They are just different; more analyzed. I can only hope I can give memories like gifts just how they were given to me.
And remember: that little kid you’re influencing may remember too. It’s amazing what they won’t forget.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Random boat living.

It's 5pm. I've got a glass of wine, my iPod, My journal (and a pen), and a magazine: Women's Health. Which honestly, despite the health information, I wonder why I read anymore. I don't exercise and even Yoga has become a challenge on this boat we call home. Any bending poses are fine, but as soon as I have to do mountain pose with hands reaching to the sky, I have to do flat palms with a slight back-bend so I don't hit the ceiling. Improvisation. The other day I printed off a running program from Women's Health and went on my way. I walked until I was out of sight, then went into jog mode. Only to take 2 running steps before my right-foot caught the flare of my left pant leg, thrusting me towards the pavement face-first. My knees skidded along first before my hands hit the ground, breaking my stone ring and scraping up my engagement ring then rolling onto my back (so, don't wear nice jewelery while running). A guy in a truck stopped, rolled down his window and asked if I was OK. I gave him the thumbs up, my palms burning. I turned around and started runnning until I was FOR-SURE out of sight and could assess my hands and knees. Hands: OK, Knees: bleeding-- even through my pants. Thanks Lulu Lemon. Smart choice on the flared pants. So we're avoiding running until at least tomorrow... or until my knee stops pussing from under the scab. ;-)
But for this moment, the cushioned settee, and a nice day; aka. no wind and an clear California sunset equals a relaxing moment on this Moody 64', Breeze.
That is if you don't count the broken freezer we discovered last night when I was trying to convince Adam to eat OUR pre-paid hamburgers instead of In'n'Out burgers. Now he has to eat them all in a week. That'll show him Bwa ha ha ha. I suppose if I really wanted to complain, having (temporary non-HD-TV) TV in the bedroom only (since we switched out Direct TV box) kind of sucks. But I'll be thankful we have TV at all! At least I have something to do when I'm not doing yoga. I keep reminding myself: "this could all still happen if we were not living on a boat".

1 Glass of wine is all I'm allowed tonight. Not because I'm restricting myself, but because that's all that was left in the bottle. The sunset could have been a lot more interesting... But, I'm extending my glass of wine with the slow-melting hunk of ice I jammed in the glass after I saved it from it's watery-doom at the bottom of the "freezer".
I think once we have the space, we will have a micro wine cellar. There's nothing wrong with that right? Grapes are good for you, they have heart-disease-fighting antioxidants. I learned THAT in Women's Health.

Behind me, slowly, silently and rather stealth-like, my new hobby: plants are sprouting and growing. All but the chives. I still have faith in them though.
Okra was my first to sprout, followed closely by Basil and not without a scare of impotence: Dill, who just sprouted through the soil yesterday. You would never guess it's only a day old by the height of the healthy green, grass-like sprouts.
Is it weird that they're like my little babies, my pride and joy? People get pets before children, I get plants before pets before children!
I practically attacked Adam yesterday morning when I saw Dill had come out of it's shell: "Guess what popped up?!" I think he was probably scared at that moment. "DILL" I shouted and jumped into bed. Adam had very little faith in Dill, so I think he was pleasantly surprised. His "REALLY?" showed it.
I do take pride in their growth, knowing that it was me who waters them, puts them in the sun all day and brings them inside at night so they don't get cold. If it's windy outside I shelter them behind the "dash" windows so the UV rays can still ravish them. When I first planted them, I told them: I love you little herbs, now grow, grow, GROW! I send them positive vibes, holding their little pots. Soon I'll have to move them into a big pot with each other. Oh the day.
But my wine is done and I must go watch non-HD "Tori and Dean" before yoga'ing it up!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why you shouldn't get your hair done in Thailand

I don't know what compelled me to get my hair done. I'm on vacation in probably one of the most remote spots of Thailand. The type of spot where all the roads are dirt, and the main road is called " Main Road". Their gas station (singular), are mainly for the scooters & are large cans attached by a hose and a handle. The only thing stopping it from exploding is a thatched roof shack and a sign that reads: no 'smokeing'.

Sitting at lunch, I saw my motivation shining up from the magazine page. RED. That's what I wanted, bright red streaks that could only be seen when my hair is pulled back. Easy I thought. Then I remembered that I had seen a hair salon/ Laundromat behind our hut on 'Not-Quite-Main-road'. Really, how bad could it be. I walked up to the small building, not much bigger than the hut we're staying in. I read the services off the window. They do "champoos", highlights, color, cut, head massage and Thai massage . The only girl/stylist there was sitting in the doorway eating fruit out of a bag. It was an interesting fruit, round with soft, red, spiny things protruding out of it. It made me more scared than hungry. I nearly expected it to jump out of her hands and attack her face. Before it had a chance, she dug her nails into it and pulled off the skin to reveal a white fleshy inside-- similar to a lychee.

I asked her if she could do highlights "this color": pointing to the red hair advertisement I had ripped out of the magazine.

She giggled. "Yes…no... [something in Thai I didn't understand]"

"No?" I asked.


I laughed. "OK…"

She grabbed the paper and studied it carefully. "Highlie?"

"Yes, Highlights." We were finally getting somewhere. Somewhere I would soon regret I was going. "How much?"

"500 Baht ($15)."



We walked into the room which had 1 chair, a mirror, and a sink. The floor was Tiled and the walls were a brown stained plywood with posters (color advertisements) of happy girls who have just had their hair died. The room was being cooled by a fan in the corner.

I picked a color out of the color book: RED. They don't have it…

"This?" she pointed to a dark red/brown color.

"OK that's fine" If anything, it won't look much different than my hair now. I have to die my hair when I get back home anyways, so for $15.00 she could do just about anything. Apparently, she had the same idea.

She mixed the color and went to work with the foils. She didn't die to the roots and I had to show her where I wanted each highlight. She smiled and nodded.
When she finished, she rolled over the hair dryer. She plugged it in and the whole wall bent inward. I made sure nothing on my body was touching the dryer, as to not get electrocuted. I waited, nothing happened…nothing…nothing…Then STEAM….hot steam. I wasn't sure what to think at this point. It's already so humid here, the last thing anyone needs here is a facial. Me and my fluorescent green bonnet were starting to get a very bad idea about this.

I looked at her through the mirror. She was eating her fruit again. I asked her what it was. She gave one to me. I didn't really want to touch it. Then--again--she dug her nails in and ripped off the scary flesh. She handed me the inside and motioned for me not to eat the pit. She used the universal sign for throwing up. I got it. "don't eat the pit-- OK". It tasted similar to a lychee as well.

We sat and waited. She rinsed the highlights out. I had never seen highlights like this before; I literally couldn't see them!

I thought I would pay her the 500 baht and pretend everything was fine. I was wrong. She prided herself on customer service.

She blow dried my hair damp. Then she put a highlighting cap on me again.
I realized we were about to embark on this journey again. Good for her, not giving up! Because my hair was damp, it was similar to a 20 minute form of Thai torture getting the 6 pieces of hair through the pin-point size holes. when she went to the other side of my head it was less easy and became very afraid. She tried to pull the wet hair through, it knotted and got stuck. She pulled the bonnet back and tried again. After about 15 tries per hole, I started to imagine the room bursting into flames, she grew a tail and horns and used the small pick to rip my hair out through the bonnet. Her Thai laugh (Which they all seem to have) mocking me: "you stupeed toureest!" Yes, she had a french accent.

"You would make a better torture artist that stylist" I thought. I glanced at her in the mirror and smiled. She smiled back and giggled.

I tried to explain to her that it will come through better if it's dry. She laughed. SO, I pointed to the blow dryer and pretended I was blow-drying my hair. I even made a "brzzzzzzz" sound. She just laughed hysterically. I gave up and decided now might be a good time to stop drinking my water since I already had a full bladder when I arrived and there was no bathroom.

She finally got about 4 different strands out and by this point I was too tired and sore to complain. I looked in the mirrors and saw a funny resemblance the scary fruit I consumed earlier.

She came back and started lathering a bluish color gunk on the few strands protruding out of the cap. Then, It hit me: BLEACH. As much as I wanted to run, it was too late-- I did not want blonde streaks! Before I knew it, me and my green cap were under the sauna contraption. She said something to the 12 year old fixing the air conditioning. He looked back at me, screwdriver in hand, smoke hanging out of his mouth. Smile, nod, Thai giggle.

That's exactly what I was thinking.

I looked out the window. One of the tourists that's been here awhile was walking by outside. I turned my face into the steam machine. The LAST thing I wanted was to be known as was "The nutter girl who got her hair done in Thailand."

After about 15 minutes under the machine, she came and unplugged it. She had to brace the wall with one hand so she didn't collapse the building. She wiped off the bleach with a wet cloth. Now, any ideas of running away were shot to hell: my hair was leopard print.

She came back to lather on the red. Again. Steam machine. Again. I looked at the poster of the girl with a huge smile on her face. Bitch!

As she was checking to see if the color was set in, I was sure my hair was going to disintegrate in her hands. I was begging her (in my head) to just rinse it out. I smiled at her. She giggled.

Rinsed out…She placed a towel over my forehead. "How thoughtful; she knew I was sweating from part nervousness and part steam machine." Then, she smacked me on the forehead 4 times with something wooden that clinked. At this point I'm taciturn; I Didn't know what to say.

I knew I had to at least wait until she was finished rinsing my hair before I escaped. I was going to leave without a blow-dry. But then I wouldn't have lived the full experience and she would be offended.
After she blew, my hair dried and I checked it hadn't fallen out, I paid her 600 baht, just for her good effort.
I walked back to the hut like nothing happened. In a few days, the red will fade or fall out. Not so bad.

Moral of the story if you choose to get your hair done in Thailand, pick a place that can spell "shampoo"!

Skiing on our jets in Fiji

Jet Ski Tour

On the day of the Jet Ski tour, six of us waited to be picked up in the lobby of our hotel. A skinny German man collected us and squished us into his van with another waiting couple. The 8 of us would be embarking on what ended up being an ‘I hate Jet Skiing’ turning point in my life.
When we got to his office, we signed a contract or rather waiving our parent’s right to sue him when we were tragically killed in a et ski accident. He briefed us on etiquette and on we went.
When we launched our Jet skis, we all paired up for a total of 5 jet skis, including the guide. Away we skied on our jets. Our first stop was a small beach, half way up a river on the island across from us: Beqa (the actual island).
We stopped for the men to stretch their legs and the women to get theirs to stop from shaking commencing the polite ignoring of their spouses.
The ride there was less than amusing for me; we were going at speeds that would scare me on a dead lake. When the water was choppy, the spray was so intense it was hard to keep our eyes open. Adam drove while I held on for dear life. In about out 15 min, we were ½ way. Between kung fu attacks from the salt water spray to my eyeballs, I noticed the water turned a beautiful dark blue. the water turned into rolling waves and we drove up 1 side at full speed, it took longer than necessary to come down… after being airborn for a good minute or so. If this is an adrenaline rush, I don’t want it!
Adam asked me if I wanted to drive. I did, but at the same time, I knew damn well that I would NOT drive at the same speed as everyone else. So, I set my fingers back into the dents I had made in Adam’s life jacket and we were on our way again.

As we were rounding the island, the fear had subsided and I realized I was annoyed; the constant splashing in our faces and the non-stop bouncing and bobbing. When we saw the color of the water in the distance, I was starting to become less irritated. The water underneath us turned from a clear aqua blue to aqua green to light green until we reached the Barrier reef where it was crystal clear. That was when I became aware of my full bladder. I couldn't pee here; not because of the sharks (well kinda), but because it was so clear people would be able to see a stream which follow while I swam.
The water was just as clear underneath with white sand below. The reefs were everywhere, teaming with fish. I had a few problems with my mask and my bladder was fighting my keigel muscles. Tt was a less than ideal situation.
I finished and swam back to the jet ski with the other 'wives'. When Jason motioned for the boys to come see the shark, I knew it was a good time to pee since the shark was already over there.

Our next stop is where we ate lunch. By the time we reached the beach I was ultra-annoyed and my nerves just wanted to get off the Jet Ski. I stood by myself for awhile.

The trip home, like the White Squall became pure torture! We came around Beqa to the evil side of the island. The skies became grey and the ocean turned into 3-4 ft swells. The way back felt like an hour. All the drivers were fighting to keep the jet skis in between the swells. Carrie was not so lucky when she was bucked off the back of her jetski like cowboy. Adam managed to keep his cool despite all my ‘UUUUGGGHH’ing’, ‘AAAARGH’ing’ and ‘THE WATER IS PISSING ME OFF!’. He got us back to safety, eyes fully disinfected. As land got closer, I got happier and when we handed over control to the guides, I jumped off, went running towards the shore yelling ‘LAAAAAND!!!’
The guide handed out certificates of completion to all the survivors and we went back to our rooms where we showered and got ready to drink copious amounts of alcohol.
I have never been so emotionally and somewhat physically exhausted!