Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bonne Annee!


You know you've been out of the blogging world for awhile when you finally go to sign in and you realize you have to do it under the title of "Old Blogger."

Well, this Old Blogger is alive and well, in case you were wondering that my leave of abscence meant more than the fact that I am just having a really great time over in Bonnie Scotland and Belle France. So much fun that I just haven't had the time nor the energy nor the urge to blog about a single thing. Sounds a little unfair, but at the moment I prefer to be living it rather than blogging it. Of course, when I return to Vancouver and my boring Canadian life, I will be reliving every sweet foreign moment on this wee outlet of mine.

That said, I will keep this short. I am currently back in Lyon, after 6 glorious days in Scotland. I know that Ross wasn't the only one sad to leave today, I had a hard time saying goodbye to his wonderful family, friends and homeland (it was the best Christmas ever!). Oddly enough, I was most excited about Paris for New Years (tomorrow) and yet I'm not really looking forward to it anymore. I just really want to go back to Scotland! Sigh. Oh well, I know we'll have a smashing few days in Paris before we really have to leave.

Anyway, it's late and we've been on the go all day so I think I best leave you for now, go curl up with a beer and watch Season 2 of BBC's The Office.

Au revoir et bonne annee! See you in the New Year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Vive la hangover!

Even backpackers are stylish in Paris

I do not know if this blog will make any sense or how long this post will be because I am not only using the new Windows Vista but I am also at the mercy of a brutal hangover. Despite the copious ingestion of Tylenol and Gravol, the 10 hours of sleep, the hair of the dog which I just chugged down a moment ago, and the fact that it is 9 o'clock at night all seem to do nothing for my aching head, my pukey stomach and my overall sense of death and defeat.

Of course I should have seen this coming, suffering from jetlag and arriving just the other day from an extremely long journey of 25 hours or so. Thankfully, I am not the only one hungover. We are staying in Ross's sister Cat and her husband Chris's 300-year old flat in Lyon that overlooks the river Soane, and all of us are suffering under the mighty spell of way too much vino, rich Lyonaisse cuisine and unsuppresable Scottish spirit.

Anyway, as much as I would love to blog about what has happened to me in the last few days, my body tells me to quit in and go dig into the pizza that will be arriving downstairs at any moment. So instead I will break things down easily and quickly by the numbers:

Number of flights: 2
Number of times I wanted to kill the kids sitting in front of us on the plane: uncountable
Number of hours Ross went without a cigarette: 17 hours
Number of cigarettes Ross has had since then: one billion
Hours spent traveling without proper sleep: 32 hours
Jet-Lag pills consumed: 8
Number of train rides: 1
Speed of train ride: 300 km an hour
Cities visited thus far: 4 (Seattle, New York, Paris, Lyon)
Curses mumbled while carrying my heavy pack combined with sore tootsies: unmesurable
Number of times I've snapped at Ross because my feet hurt: way too many
Ross smiles due to the nictotine in his system

Hours spent in Paris: 6
Drinks while there: 5
Number of berets spotted on Frenchmen: 5
Number of police sirens heard so far: too many to count
Number of semi-automatic machine guns seen: 10
Number of times I tucked my skirt into my thong and paraded my bare ass for all in the bar to see: 1 (and it was enough)
Times I've thought that I prefer Lyon to Paris: several
Attempts made to order delivery pizza in French: 2
Times we've visted the Wallace pub in Lyon: 4 (and all in one day)
Number of snails I've eaten: 8
Glasses of wine consumed last night: 9

No sleep for 35 hours does crazy things to you


Times I've uttered the phrase "Desole, je parle seulement un petit peu de francais": 5
Amount of goat cheese I have inadvertently ingested: 5 kilos
Times I've eaten duck so far: 3
Macarons eaten: 5 Restaurants visited: 4
Times I was mistaken for Paris Hilton: 1 (and it was enough)
Pictures taken: over 100
Times Cat has phoned the police about the noisy piano bar below us: 2
Articles of clothing bought: 1 pair of really cool boots
Articles of clothing lost: 1 (my scarf)
Times I've admired the chic and simple style of the French: every five minutes or so
Hours of sleep we will get tonight before we have to catch our plane to Amsterdam: 4
Hangovers: 1


Number of times I have to pinch myself in order to realize where I am: a million

Defiling Paris property

Monday, December 18, 2006

Typically me


As you all know by now, I am an experienced world traveler. What you may not know is that being an experienced world traveler does not mean you are any good at it. In fact, most of the valuable "experience" I have received while traveling was due to some negative situation that could have only occured because I am such a fucking moron. Don't believe me? See below.

Case(s) in point:

*In Auckland, NZ, many years ago, I went to a Singles Party I had won because I called up the local radio station and bitched about New Zealand men. Prior to this party I got loaded beyond relief, as did Kiwi and her brother. Kiwi got so loaded that she smartly stayed behind at puked at home while her brother and I reveled in debauchary. Did I mention that I had my passport with me? That I drunkly knocked my bag under the table? That after searching half-assedly and blindly for my passport and purse contents for about 5 seconds, I gave up and proceeded to go "Meh. It'll turn up." Well, it didn't. And I had the exciting task of trying to get a new passport while in another country. Fun, fun.

*Also in New Zealand...I got viciously drugged one night at a club and lost my cell phone. Even though I never stepped foot in a cab that night, it turned up in one a week later.

*New Zealand AGAIN: My mother and were traveling on a bus to the ferry station, heading over to the South Island. We were seated near the back of the bus. Behind us was a sketchy man who did not look like he could afford to take the ferry anywere. After I got of the bus and gathered my things, I realized I left my Louis Vuitton purse (a fake thank God, but new nonetheless) on the seat. And then the man bolted past us with my purse. We barely had time to board the ferry, let alone catch him. Purse, gone. Wallet with money and credit cards gone. New makeup, gone (Boo hoo hoo).

*Australia; Airlie Beach - Whilst leaning against a wall in reading a newspaper and grinning at Russel Crowe's win for Gladiator that I witnessed on the Academy Awards show the night before, I notice a sketchy man (yes another sketchy man) hovering about. Freaked, I take off down the road, only to leave my wallet behind. Thankfully, this man was actually an angel in disguise and I got my wallet back, money and everything intact.

*Australia, Townsville - I purposely sleep at the backpackers above the bus station so I won't miss my greyhound bus the next morning, which I have already paid for. I go down to the station early and wander off into a gift shop. I wonder when they are going to call my bus to board. Eventually I wander up to the counter and inquire about the bus leaving for Katherine (yesh, it's about 24 hours away by bus. Yesh I am nuts). The man behind the counter tells me that the bus left 10 minutes ago.
I'm about to freak. I'm about to cry. But this other angel in disguise tells me to get in his car and we can catch him. While the other clerk at the desk is radioing the bus to stop, I jump in his ute with my backpack and we race against time. Five minutes later we catch up to the greyhound which is pulled over on the side of the highway on the outskirts of town. I thank the man profusely and chagrined as hell, get on the bus. I think a few people clapped.

*Going to Disneyland - Poor Kiwi. How much of my insanity have you witnessed? This was no exception. I bought tickets to Disneyland online and they were shipped to my house. We were set to fly to LA in a week.
The time comes, we go to the airport. I have my plane tickets in hand. Kiwi asks "Got the tickets" I wave them at her.
Later, in the cab over, she asks again, "You sure you have the tickets?" "Yes!" I yell at her. Can't she see? I'm not a complete moron.
A wee bit later we are lining up to check-in.
"Got the tickets?"
"FUCK!" I cry and cram the tickets in her hand.
"No, not the plane tickets. The Disneyland tickets."
FUCK.
So I find a cab, tell him my story, he drives off like a rocket and gets me home to get my tickets and back to the airport, all in the nick of time.

*Mexico, Cabo San Lucas - You know the story. I arrive at the airport with no money, no way of getting to the hotel, no way of knowing where my parents are and no way of getting in contact with them. Sigh. Again, thank GOD for Angels among us (as cheesey as that may sound).

*Mexico - A few years ago I flew back from Puerto Vallarta by myself. It took awhile since ALL the computers in the terminal were down and tickets had to be issued manually. Which meant we would have to recheck in at LAX (the stop before Vancouver). Thank God for that because, guess what I did? I left my plane ticket from LA to Vancouver in the seat pocket of the plane. Yup. Thankfully because the last checkin was done manually, the ticket was void and they were going to issue me a new one anyway. Sigh.

(As I am typing this and more and more instances flood my head...I'm amazed people let me travel at all. Amazed and ashamed.)

*Norway - Staying at my aunts, I leave a pair of black pants in her closet. I go away for a few days and come back. She didn't know the pants were mine and gave them to the poor. Now this seems laughable BUT THEY WERE MY FAVOURITE PANTS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! Do you know how hard it is for me to find good pants? Needless to say, I think I cried and my aunt felt really really bad. Oh and bought me a new pair.

*France; Cannes - I have a hostel room all to myself. But despite this, I am still cautious of others (I'm a careful traveler, :P) so I hide my leg wallet, with passport inside, under my mattress. Next day I check out and head over to this island before I catch the night train later that evening. While I'm sunning myself on the island's rocky shores I realize "Fuck me, my passport is still under the bed!" Or at least I hoped it was still there. It was.

*France; Menton - I run out of money. I spend an arduous day searching the town for a money exchange place or a bank that will allow me to extract money from my visa. Never find one...there isn't one. Not in Menton, not in Ventimiglia, Italy (next store) and not in Monaco (next door, otherside). Spend a few days having a nervous breakdown and not understand why I don't have money. Realize I was taking money from the wrong account.

France; Carcassone - I run out of money. Again. This time it was no accident. Funds that were to be transfered are delayed because of a Canadian holiday. So I arrive at the backpackers, broke and penniless. Luckily the people were super swell, gave me free food, lent me money and even gave me a bottle of champagne upon arrival.

*Germany; Koln - I stay at my friend T's house before I am to take the train to Brussels and then the Eurostar to London (which I was 2 seconds from missing because my train to Brussels was late. It was me and some Indian family running through the terminal while Eurostar employees on the sides cheer us on "Hurry up! You're gonna miss it! It's pulling away from the station! You have 1 minute! The doors are closing! No refunds!"). But I did make the train. Only I didn't have everything with me. You see, a few days later while I was leaving London for the Gatwick airport, I realize I do not have my Air Transat ticket.
Oh well, I think to myself. I'm in the computer.
So I get to the check-in counter and yes, I am in the computer. I even have a seat assigned. But I still need the paper ticket. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I don't know why exactly I need the ticket but I do, so says the snotty bitch at the counter.
So she gives me my options. Either buy a new ticket right there. Or dont go home. I explain that I don't have any money, let alone the 300 quid (over $600!!!) to buy the ticket. She basically says tough luck. Tough luck or I can use a credit card number. "Any number," she says, encouraging fraud. Luckily I memorized my dad's Visa number off the top of my head and away I went. Paid for a ticket I already paid for. I was just so grateful to get out of there though, especially since the London Bombings happened 4 days later.

******

I'm embarassed to admit that there actually are more instances of my incompetence, but that would require me to think about them which I would rather not do. Instead, I will entertain you with a tale of recent woes. Specifically, what moronic thing I did today and how I narrowly averted becoming another walking disaster.

Today I decided to pack. I leave tomorrow for the drive down to Seattle, and early on Wednesday, Ross and I fly to Paris, so I know I'm leaving it a bit late but anyway.

So, as I am packing my backpack I realize something...I have never backpacked in the winter. In the summer, my bag is full enough but in the winter you have to take wintery things such as Xmas presents, sweaters, pants, coats, scarves, hats, boots, etc. These things not only take up a lot of space, but also way a ton. So there I am trying to stuff everything in my burgeoning pack (keep in mind that I will be buying stuff there as well) and it's not going anywhere. I stop my efforts and sit down, thinking about how to streamline the whole thing.

Another thought entered my mind. My mother's voice which, last week, instructed me to locate my passport and important documents. She knows me, knows my knack of losing things, and doesn't trust me with important documents (as no one in their right mind should).

So I think to myself, I better get my passport. I open the drawer where I thought it was. Nope. Hmmmm. I open another drawer. Hmmm.

Twenty-minutes later I am thrashing apart my studio, emptying the cutlery tray, looking underneath the toilet, searching the oven, opening DVD covers. I'm looking in the strangest places because I've already looked everywhere else, while crying, yelling, praying, screaming and tearing out my hair.

I try and retrace my steps. When did I have it last? 18 days ago, when I got off the plane from Mexico. What happened after that? Ross met me at the airport and had hired a limo to take us back to my place (yes, he's a sweetie). Good Lord, did I leave it in the limo? Does the Russian Limo driver have it? Is he gonna try and be Canadian? Where else could it be? Did I have a bag with me? Yes! Is it in there? No! What about the Duty Free bag? The one that I put all my magazines in. Didn't I throw that bag out?

And so on and so on. So, after about an hour of panick attacks and hyperventilating and ripping open kleenex boxes (the low point of my insanity) I start to accept that my passport is gone. That it's probably too late to get an emergency one (it takes at least 24 hours and you have to still fill out the form, file a police report, get photos, get a gaurantor to sign it, produce your birth certificate and stand in line for hours). And that Ross is probably going to France and Scotland by himself. And I'm gonna be stuck in Canada, left behind and alone at Xmas.

The thought induces more hyperventilating. Then one beacon of reasonable thought enters my mind. You threw out the duty free bag, but you did not throw out the magazines. I start to think of what magazines at had bought at the airport. The People magazine with Prince William on the cover has been sitting underneath the covers of my bed for weeks (its not what you think ;). I race over to it, open the magazine and out plops my passport.

Sigh.

Now all I have to do is clean up the mess I made.

And now after re-reading this post, I wonder what's going to happen to me next. Meh. I'll be sure to blog about it, whatever it is.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's beginning to feel 'not' like Christmas

It was a strange feeling to come back from Mexico 14 days ago and find myself suddenly immersed in the Christmas spirit. I've had Christmas in Mexico before and was looking forward to some Catholic celebrations and Feliz Navidad cheer but oddly enough I didn't encounter anything remotely Christmasy until I came back to Canada. That's when I was hit with Xmas songs, red and white decorations, crazy shoppers, long lines at the post office, nose-freezing tempatures and quickly melting snow. Suddenly it's holiday time.

And yet, it's not. The snow which I heard so much about while I was cruising down south disappeared within a few days of being back. And snow is a powerful Xmas Mood Enhancer. Instead we have been hit with huge rain and wind storms, such as the one that hit us last night. The headline on the paper today read "Hurricane Force Winds" and this morning I could see they weren't kidding as I drove through rush hour for 45 minutes, while almost every traffic light in the city was out. Thankfully people were obeying the 4-way stop procedure but it did mess a lot of things up. Not as much as in Washington State though, where four people were actually killed by the storm.

Then I got to my apartment, only to not be able to get in since the keys are electronic, and oh, all the power downtown was out. So I stood outside in the freezing wind and waited for someone to let me in. Eventually the apartment Manager's (i.e, the Old Bitch's) husband came to the door. Only he wouldn't let me in despite my shopping bags at my feet and showing him my keys. Finally he believed I lived there and practically followed me up to my floor (elevators didn't work with the no power thing). Then when I got in, my food in the freezer was melting, there was no heat, I couldn't recharge my phone and the computer didn't work. So I just passed out until the comforting buzz of the fridge signified that the power was back on.

This doesn't really have much to do with not feeling like Xmas; I just felt like complaining. But later on as I forced myself to go for a walk and get excercise in the blustery weather (big mistake since I think I made myself sick) I couldn't help but notice the scenery. Does this look like Xmas weather to you?




No, I didn't think so.

I don't know why it just doesn't feel like Xmas this year. I was in Palm Springs last Xmas and it didn't feel like that then either. That could have been because I was in a relatively warm place. But I've noticed that it seems to be growing trend with each passing year. The older I get, the less fun Xmas becomes, the less excited I get about it and the more it seems to just come and go. The same goes for Halloween too, which is a real shame because Xmas and Halloween are my favourite holidays.

In fact, I remember the last time I had Christmas at home, I was forcing myself to listen to Xmas music each night, turning on the fireplace, playing Xmas tunes on my computer, staring at my lit up tree for hours, baking cookies and generally trying to absorb the spirit of the season. But despite this, the holiday just never sank in and before I knew it, it was New Years day.

Of course this year I think I have a few reasons why it doesn't feel like Xmas. One is that my family isn't here. My brother and his friend and my dog are in Texas somewhere. My parents are in Mexico somewhere. I am here all alone.

Two is that because I am not actually spending Xmas here, I haven't gotten a tree or bought decorations or an advent calendar or any other mood-enhancing things.

Which leads to Three...the fact that I won't be here for Xmas. I will be in Scotland. In fact, as crazy as it seems to me, I will be in France this time next week. In fact, I will be flying over to The Continent on Wednesday.

Yeah. That's 5 days (AHHHHHHHHH!). A two-week whirlwind trip that has suddenly caught up with me and now all I can think about it all the things I have to do in such a short time before we leave. No wonder I don't have time for Xmas.

The only saving grace is that I will be spending Xmas with Ross's family in Aberdeen and I've always wanted to have a proper British Xmas. Even the few days before Xmas that we spend in Lyon, France should sweep us up in the European holiday of Saint Nick, roasted chestnuts and fatty geese.

Maybe Xmas is really just a frame of mind. Hopefully by the time the 25th rolls around, I'll be in the right one. If not, there's another Xmas next year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Absinthe + Birthday = Barf


Thus is the equation I figured out last night and on through today. But hell, it was my birthday and I could drink if I wanted to. Although the fiery green potion may have been taking it a little too far.





Anyway, my birthday party ended up being a success, even though it got off to a bit of a rough start. Something shitty or crappy always happens to me on Bdays so I wasn't too surprised to find out at the last minute that there was no reservation made for me. Even though I was in contact via email with the restaurant manager who said she would make the reservation.

So, not only was my party of ten possibly facing a bday at Mcdonalds (and it would have been a McDicks without a playground) because I had no back-up plan but we were also informed that it was "comedy" night (groan) and that everyone would have to pay $5 cover. If I had known that when I made my reservation I wouldn't have bothered. Of course, according to them, I never made a reservation anyway.


What followed was a bit of cursing and hair-pulling on my behalf while I stomped around my apartment, my dress billowing behind me, while I screamed "Don't they know it's my birthday? HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY TO ME!" and then wrote the restaurant a scathing email (which thankfully contained less profanity than what I was spewing outloud).


In the end, we went down to the restaurant and Ross had a little talking to with one of the managers (assertiveness in a guy = sexy). I don't know if the manager found Scots to be threatening or if they had actually gotten my email but in the end we were comfortably seated in a little lounge area, didn't have to pay cover and my first drink, a Kir Royale, was bought for me by the bartender.



Of course the comedians sucked (though the MC was surprisingly funny), the bill was huge and the waiter refused to split it (I don't know why) and after John and Leanne left (it was Monday night and most mortals have to work in the morning) Ross was the only guy there. Despite us being together for over 10 months there were quite a few of my friends who never properly got a chance to meet him. It was quite a funny sight to see five of my girlfriends crowded around him, giggling at his accent and trying to get him to say "aye." And then I started to try and get him to say "aye" too, despite hearing it everyday. He probably didn't appreciate that.





After way too many drinks, the party split up but Ross, Susan, Savannah and I bravely continued into the night by going to the Freehouse bar on the corner of Denman and Davie.




This was a classy little bar, expensive of course since classy and cheap don't go together (though I like to think of myself as classy and cheap). This is where we encountered Tennents beer (The Pride of Scotland) which made Ross happy and the absinthe, bought for me by those wicked Tsawassen girls (see below) which made me happy. Well, it made me pretty fucked up if I must say. Apparently I was grinning at Ross like an idiot but he doesn't even know if I knew I was smiling at him.


Left: Don't chew with your mouth open leads to..

Right: Don't pick your nose (or demonstrate how you injured your nostril while play fighting)



Left: Absinthe leads to...
Right: Absinthe face


Anyway, I woke up today with a mother of a hangover. Thankfully I spent most of the day in a coma. But hey, if you can't get wasted on your bday, when can you?




Left: One silly face leads to...
Right: Another silly face


But to all those who came out to see me (and I know Downtown is far for a lot of you) thanks so much. It was so nice to have my dearest and oldest friends (I've known Amanda N and her sister Jessica -below; right- since I was 6, Savannah and Susan since I was 15...wow, 19 years...ten years. Holy Crap we're old!) with me on my unspecial day, especially since I haven't seen a lot of you as much as I should.



All in all, I would have to say that my Birthday was wonderful. The only dissapointment was that no one bought me THIS as present. Or this. But don't worry.

There is always Xmas! ;)


Monday, December 11, 2006

Lisa it's your birthday, happy birthday Lisa

Yup. The rumours are true. My name is Lisa. Actually, that's a lie, but it is my birthday today.

That's right, on December 11th, 1981 I was born onto this Earth for some reason I am not sure of yet but hope to figure out one day.

In other words, I am 25. And I am old.

Yes, yes I know that 25 isn't that old...although I just got off the phone with my mother who said (with all sincerity) "Yup, you are getting up there." And I know once I get to 30 (AHHHHHH) I'll probably say "Why didn't I appreciate how young 25 really is." And I'll probably say that every birthday after that until the day I die. Unless they some how find out a way to reverse the aging process and my birthdays will start going backwards instead of forwards.

It could happen.

One of the weirdest things I'm finding about turning 25, or just getting older in general, is that I am still the same person. I mean, when I was 15 and looking ten years into the future, I imagined that I would act differently, think differently...that I wouldn't be me. And though I know I have changed a million times over, I still don't feel any different.

Anyway, it's not so much the fact that I am 25 but that I am 25 and nothing to show for it. Years ago, while looking towards my 25 birthday, I always thought I would be a published author (well, I have had articles published but that doesn't count...I'm talking more in a novely sense) or would have finally sold my first script. Or at least been in a career that was going somewhere. Or at least been in a career.

But alas, I am 25, unemployed and trying to force myself to finish my corespondance so I can recieve my damn Bachelor of Journalism sometime soon. I did have a "promising" job while I worked at the IFA and was the company's writer/editor and on camera "personality" but that turned out to be too good to be true and I quit/got laid off because my boss was a wretched human being. I did get a lot of experience out of it and for that I am thankful but how odd was it for me to follow it up with a temp job at EA Games working on NBA Live for Playstation 3. Not exactly a career-furthering move but I enjoyed it.

Still, I suppose another way to look at this is just to say my career is on hiatus. After all, there was no way I could get a job when I went to Mexico for 16 days, PLUS the fact that in ten days I am going to Europe for two weeks. Then when I get back, I have to study like a madwoman in order to finish my correspondance. After that though, I will be ready to re-enter the job market. Considering I am a slacker, getting a job is something I am oddly looking forward to.

Another thing is, most 25-year olds are already moving up the career-ladder and all that stuff. But when you think of it, they probably went to University straight outta high school and then went on to work a few "starter" jobs before finding their career grove.

What did I do?

I did one year of college and then said "Fuck this shit! I'm off to see the world!"

I backpacked, by myself, at the innocent age of 18 around New Zealand and Australia for 6 life-changing months. When I got back, I took up my first full-time job at a department store downtown and started going to Vancouver Film School for Make-up Artistry, Film Production and Screenwriting. The screenwriting bit stuck with me so much that I continued on my studies in that field and actually had a wee bit of a promising career going.

But after being slightly screwed over by a movie producer (the bastards), I decided a secondary career might be needed. Thus I was off to Auckland, New Zealand to obtain a Communications degree over a three-year period. But despite having the best year of my life and meeting some of the greatest people I will ever meet (Kelly, Titus, Meag I love you guys), I felt like it was time to go home. I hightailed it back to Canada on a whim and went to Journalism school in Craploops, BC. After slacking and procrastinating my way through the course (and taking a three month solo backpacking trip through Europe), I finally finished.

Or at least I should have, if only the stupid chairperson didn't tell me at the last minute "Oh, by the way, you are four classes short of graduating, not all your credits from New Zealand transfered through." The bastards.

So here I am. I guess when you look at it, if I had gone straight to University after high school, I probably would have a career, yes. But it would be a career I hate because, let's face it, who knows what they truly want to be straight outta high school? I still don't know. So in the long run, I'm probably better off just entering the "real world" now, because if I did it any sooner, I would have missed out on all my travels and adventures. And that is something I couldn't live without.

So to sum this long-winded post up? It's my birthday and I can cry if I want to. I wish I had something to show for these 25 years (aside from a wonderful boyfriend, fabulous friends, insane parents, amazing travels and owning my apartment)...but on the other hand, I wouldn't change anything for the world.


Awww, isn't this sweet? Someone from Post Secret wished me a happy birthday!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to tonight because I'm having a birthday dinner/drinks thing at Balthazaar tonight and am seeing some friends I haven't seen for a very long time. And, if any of you are reading this, I promise to buck up but only if you ply me with Kir Royales and get a fat, white Michael Jackson to sing me a song.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who is the Lord of the Ring(s)?

I'm not surprised the marriage between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline ended. I mean, ignoring all the obvious reasons, I always thought it was bad karma or something that it was Britney who first proposed to Kevin.

The story goes they were on an airplane. Britney asked him to marry her. He said no ("I thought the guy was supposed to ask") and then later asked her.

Call me old-fashioned but I just don't get this whole "women proposing" thing. I guess I'm not much of a feminist (I'm not burning my pretty bras) cuz I do believe that it is the man's job to propose. Plain and simple.

Of course I am sure there are happily-ever after stories about women proposing to men and so on. But I don't know. Why can't there still be somethings that a man has to do? I would personally be worried that by a woman proposing, the man may just say yes cuz he doesn't want to humiliate or upset her. Of course, this is probably what every proposing guy fears as well.

Anyway, the point of all this is: If the woman proposes to the man, does she have to give him a ring?

I would say yes. I mean, the guy isn't going to give one to her. He didn't ask! She can't get down on one knee with nothing to show for it and say "Will you marry me? "Sure" "Great! Now go buy me a ring!"

And if the girl doesn't get a ring, then surely the man must. You can't have an engagement without someone getting an engagement ring (and on top of that, why don't men get to wear engagement rings? You have all these fiancees out there running around with big rocks on their fingers while the men have to wait until their wedding day to get any kind of cool jewlery. Is it because they want to "maximize" their last months as a bachelor?).

So yeah. If anyone has any insights into whether the girl has to give the guy a ring, I would like to know about it.

My boyfriend and I have a bet going.


****Afterthought**** I have done a bit of research myself and so far found this (according to USA Today):

So, is there a protocol for women bent on getting down on bended knee? The good news: No diamond (or, as I call it, the engage-man ring) is required. The bad news: No diamond for you, either.

So I guess that answers the whole "Does the man have to buy a ring if the woman proposes" question as well as the "Does the woman have to buy the guy a ring" question. As Aspen noted in the comments already, a special token, such as a watch, bracelet, cufflinks etc, may be used in place of a ring.

But the article also brought up another interesting question from one woman:

""I asked my fiancé to marry me several months ago, and he said yes. Since then, several people have hinted that 'a woman proposing is a woman desperate.' Are they right?""

Hmmmm. What do you think?

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Need Help...

It's no secret to those who know me, that I have a lot of clothes. Some may even say I have too many clothes, but I really think that's impossible. How can you have too many clothes?

I mean, I am aware that I've run out of hangers and my drawers don't shut and are literally overflowing and the coat closet door doesn't close and that one day clothes will smother my studio apartment until it exists no more.

But I still need more clothes.

Sure, I may have a lot, but do I wear them? No. Some have been worn to death, some I am bored of, some only look good when I'm skinny (I'm waiting for that to happen), some I bought when I was a club girl/bar star, some are stretched out, some have weird stains that don't wash out and some are victims of past trends.

My problem is that I don't throw them out. I've learned my lesson there since every item of clothing that I have ever chucked I have mourned over in the end. It may happen a few years down the line, but I will never cease to go "what ever happened to that dress? I need that dress! Why the hell did I toss it out? I don't care that the slip dresses over babydoll tees went out in 1996, I want it back! Why oh why oh why...."etc.

Plus, when I buy an item, it's permenant (it is now, anyway). It's not $25 bucks I could have wasted on dinner that's gone in a moment (and upsetting my tummy) but a shirt that I will always have. Even better is when I buy the pieces on my travels. Nothing is more thrilling than to have a skirt that people ask "Where did you get it?" "Oh this old thing? I got it in Oslo. Yup." (I can tell you on any given day, my outfit reads a little like this: boots-Ebay, skirt-Palm Springs, shirt-Germany, coat-Ebay, bag-Ioffer.com, cardigan-Vancouver) .

So to prevent "Thrift Bin Remorse" I keep all my clothes. And gone are the days when I would lend clothes. In fact, I know there are a few people out there with items of mine (Ross, I would like my underwear back), of course I can't remember what the items are or what they look like but I know they have them. You know who you are (even if I don't).

Anyway, despite having more clothes than my humble abode can handle, I still go out and buy stuff (seriously, I have like no sweaters!). And in order to be a little bit more original than the chain stores in Vancouver, I am an occasional slave to Ebay. I've been known to get really good bargains, like my pink and brown tweed Bebe coat with pink fur trim that was worth $365 and I bought for $80.

In fact, though I buy a lot of clothes, I have problems spending over $30 on one item. Aside from bags (which I will get into later) I would rather buy lots of cheap things than one big expensive thing. Quantity over quality. Plus, I have a hard time buying things that aren't on sale. Full-price ain't for me. I guess that's the only reason I'm not in any financial ruin than I already am...not yet, anyway..

My latest bargain is this lovely looking coat you see to the right. It's from the UK Ebay and I snapped it up for $22, the original price being $130 (it has a dark smudge on the back of the collar). It's from Topshop (which I adore but can't usually afford...stupid exchange rate), it's in a swinging 60's bell coat shape, has cute 3/4 length sleeves and a wonderful sheen to it. It's perfect for dipping in and out of bars and cabs (it's not the warmest thing in the world) and it stands out in a sea of black.

The only trick now is to keep it white, something that I find challenging (wish I wasn't so clutzy/messy). Also wish I didn't have the habit of smudging my makeup with hands and accidently smearing it on my clothes.

But while clothes are something I continue to acquire, so are bags.

I am not afraid to admit it. I am a bag whore (and a boot whore, but more on that at a later time).

There is something about bags, purses, clutches, totes that tickle my fancy. Whether gazing longingly at this wonderful bag found on Lilac Stripe's Boutique or at this Paris purse on Carol's Paris Breakfasts blog, I always crave the "perfect bag."

But at least with bags, I know my limit. I mean, I know it now...

I had so many bags in my apartment, I didn't know what to do with them. Then I went back to my parent's house, was rumaging through their storage space for a suitcase and came across a whole garbage bag full of like 15 of my purses! I didn't even realize that they were missing from my collection. How sad is that?

After I scooped up the bag and took it back to my apartment, I crammed all the bags into the only free shelves I had left. Then I stood back and realized..."Fuck me, I have a lot of shit."

I think it's safe to say that I had an epiphany about my excessive lust for bags and I will no longer* be purchasing them.


Pathetically, there is about ten purses missing from these photos. Excessive much?

*Ignoring the bag I bought at the Puerto Vallarta airport. Hey, I had 500 Pesos, what else was I gonna do with it?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Retro Whore

That got your attention didn't it?

A few years ago I really got into the whole retro look. This is when my love affair with classic films started, which then led me on to reading retro books (like Raymond Chandler and Daphne Du Maurier...so good), listening to retro music (who doesn't like Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra?), idolizing retro people (hello Rita Hayworth), purchasing retro photographs and artwork (just take a look around my apartment) and wearing retro clothes.

Being a curvy woman myself, I found comfort in harking back to the Golden Era, when women were aloud to be women and not stick figures. The hourglass shape was revered and women were encouraged to dress feminine, to enhance their womanly figure. Cute pumps, fitted dresses, rhinestone jewlery, vintage handbags...these were all the things I coveted and I spent a good part of my paycheck on them.

But one thing I didn't buy into at the time was lingerie.

Not just any lingerie, but thigh-high stockings, garter belts and corsets. The whole shebang.

Of course, back then I was single and a bit younger, so the lure of lingerie wasn't really calling me.

But now, all that has changed.

Every year I go through a bit of an Ebay binge and last month was no exception. Aside from getting some primo bargains (which I will blog about later), I decided to embrace the retro whore look.

I bought corsets...and not the ones you would wear out to the club (Lord knows I have those too). I bought garter belts in black, red, white with matching undies. And I bought black thigh highs to attach to my garters.

Today I went out to run some errands wearing a wrap dress. Little did people know that underneath that dress (and underneath the huge coat) my black stockings were held up by a garter belt. It made me feel sexy and mysterious. And very, very ladylike.

Garter belts are an amazing invention. Personally, I hate stockings because the control top usually sucks the life out of you, leaves you with lumps and bumps and it's a pain to get off. I know all you women will agree but it's not very, erm, "accessible" if you want to get busy (if you know what I mean, and I think you do). Strike while the iron's hot, I always say, and when it takes you five minutes to wiggle out of your hose (and in the most unflattering way) the iron is usually cold.

The only complaint I have about garter belts is that sometimes you have to constantly adjust the belts in order to hold your stockings up.

Which is why I purchashed this brilliant invention that you see to your right:
This pair of rocking fishnet stockings come with the garter attached, so you just slip them on and forget about them.

I bought two pairs, the one shown and one sheer black with a seam running up the back.

Of course the minute I tried on the sheer pair I snagged the darn things on a raspy fingernail and now I can't wear them.

The stockings may make me look like a lady but my nails say otherwise.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Secret Sephora Codes and "Sorry Mum!"

Considering the Xmas season is upon us, I figured I would further help out those beauty junkies who are online buying presents. Sephora (which is a great gift site for you men out there who don't know what to get your woman or sisters or mums) has the cutest gift sets, free samples and by entering the following codes while checking out, you can score some awesome free gifts.

The promotion code CIRQUE or CIRQUE2 will yeild you a bag full of goodies (and would make a cool gift for someone too).

The promo code SCENTED2 will give you a choice between deluxe samples of Dr. Brandt's Poreless Face Wash, Makeup Forever Blue Waterproof Eyeliner, Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub, Laura Geller Spackle Under Makeup Primer or a huge sample of Dior's Miss Dior Cherie perfume.

Finally, the promo code GORGEOUS (which is only valid after December 26th) gets you a deluxe sample of either Philosophy's Makeup Optional Skincare Pack, Aquolina Pink Sugar Perfume, Fresh Supernova Mascara, Dior Capture Totale Creme or Murad Body Wash.

Sadly you can only use one promo code at a time. But if you are crafty like I am, you can just make several small orders and get all the freebies. Yay!

*Addendum* This just in. Type in the code SUGARCOOKIE and recieve a free 4 oz. Philosophy Powdered Sugar Cookie 3-in-1 shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath (while supplies last). That's huge! If you read my other blog you may notice that the sample is of the Travel Wonder Product I blogged about here.

****

Whilst in Mexico and updating my blog on the boat, my mother became more and more interested in my blog. Now, she doesn't read my blog yet....but she might. Because she wants to read up on my life and such as I go to Scotland and Paris and whatever (and I think she likes the minor fame that comes with being mentioned in the blogs) she begged me to give her the address of my other blog, the travel one.

Now, I have a link to this blog from that blog but since she is so completely computer and internet inept I don't think she knows what links are or realizes what they can do. However, I said that about DVD's and digital cameras before and she has surprised me. So therefore there is a chance that she can get to my blog. Which sucks cuz this was my last sacred ground where I could do things without them knowing. Such as ordering obscene amounts from Ebay and Sephora.

Regardless, in case she does comes across this, she is gonna freak out since I published a not so flattering photograph of her in the previous post (but hey, I don't look so good either...it looks like I have no boobs. Seriously!).

To make amends I have published much better photos of my mum below. This is what she looks like when she's not stuck on a boat in Mexico:


Despite my hair going from long to short, these photos were taken only days apart, last Xmas.

Yes mum, you are welcome.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Survive the Savage Sea: Part Two


Brrrrr. I want to say more than that but I can't cuz I'm too cold. But rather than get into the fact that I am back home in Vancouver and freezing my tanned buns off, I want to go back to last week and continue my rambling about the crossing of the Sea of Cortez. Perhaps the pictures will conjure up the wonderful heat that I was just complaining about a few days ago.


Setting the scene: The 50 foot Jeanneau sailboat Norfinn is sailing Southeast towards Puerto Vallarta, just having take off from Cabo San Lucas at 3AM that morning. As the sun begins to slowly lower itself on the horizon, the crew of four are visited by a frigate* bird who has decided that rather than flying to Puerto Vallarta, it would be much easier to just hitch a ride. I liked this lazy bastard already. I filmed a wee bit of it which you can view here.



The only problem with the bird was the fact that it couldn't sit up there and behave himself. No, the bastard shit on us. This bird did not want to ride politely, instead he decided to lift up his tail and hail a white spray of bird poo down on us below. Well, luckily we are animal lovers and forgiving people so we overlooked this incident which coated the cockpit in a smelly paste. But my dad shook his fist up at the bird and promised that if he shit again, he would be out of there.

Ten minutes later the bird shit again.

My dad got into action. Of course, we weren't exactly sure what the course of action would be since the bird is way up on the mast and we were way below. But my dad seemed to think that if he waved the halyards (ropes on mast) back and forth it might hit and/or scare the bird.



The problem is that it eventually worked (you can view that footage here) and the bird flew away. Then, out of nowhere, a second bird appeared. Do note that during this time, a few birds were swooping in from across the sea, flying past and staring incredulously at the lazy bastard on the mast. But this second bird had the same idea as the first. He wanted a free ride too.

So now we had two birds circling around the boat. Eventually one of them made a try for the mast again, only this time he went for the top. Not a good idea, since that is where the weathervane, GPS and other boaty crap is and can be easily damaged. It didn't matter though because the bird landed and sat there, much to the anger of my father. It was at this point that he turned a little Captain Ahab and made it his life mission to get the bird off the mast again. Nevermind the fact that if he had just let the bird sit there and poop to begin with, everything would be fine.

Soon, the sun went down, a brilliant Pacfic Sunset...



Yet my dad continued his fight into the darkness. This lasted for about an hour, him hooting and hollering at the bird like a madman, waving ropes at it, throwing stuff up it, steering the boat sharply left and right in an attempt to knock the bird off (at the expense of the meal my mum was cooking on the stove), flashing a high-power rescue light in the birds eyes. Nothing worked and he was this close to shooting a flare at it. But apparently shooting flares at birds is illegal.

So my father gave up and relaxed as the night came. Sorta. He did keep shining the flashlight up at him every 10 minutes or so.

We all were on night watch, which meant every 3 hours, two of us had to be awake and on deck looking for ships while the other two slept. I had the watch with my dad from 9-12AM and 3AM-6AM. You would think this would have given us time to bond but it didn't. We kept our mouths shut and enjoyed the silence...maybe that was our own way of bonding.



It was the most eerie, awesome experience to sail at night. For three hours, you would just sit there, watching for other ships, even though there never were any. Instead you would gaze at the stars that filled the sky. Because there was no moon, no city lights, no land for hundreds of miles, there was nothing to prevent the stars from coming through at their brightest. I have been in the Australian Outback under a canopy like this but even that couldn't hold a candle to what I saw that night.

Not to mention the shooting stars. I saw about 20 of them and wished the same wish upon every single one. What did I wish for? Sorry, I'm not telling (it won't come true otherwise).

Aside from the stars, the waves were magical too. The water was lightly lit up with phospheresence, so it sparkled with each splash.

Then an even more magical thing happened. Dolphins began swimming beside the boat. Now, my dad says it was all in my head but I know it wasn't because it was on my side of the boat and it happened a few times. But in the darkness I could make out dark creatures swimming alongside, than occasionally jumping out of the water with a sparkling splash. Come to think of it, since all I saw were dark shapes, I can only assume they were dolphins. At least, I hope they were dolphins.

Did I mention that the darkness, the stars, the waves and sleep-deprivation at 4 AM can also play tricks with your mind?

At 530AM, just before my shift was over, we checked up on the bird in the early morning light. It was still there, having stayed the night.



I suppose the light and promise of a new day also filled my dad with new power, for he started back with his mission to get rid of the bird. This time he came up with what he thought was a genius idea. He would attach a bumper to the halyard and then pull the bumper all the way up to the top and knock scare the bird off. It was his final attempt and, as you can see here, it didn't work. That damn bird was stubborn as hell and a bumper to the bum wasn't going to do it.



My dad gave up, defeated. Though I was tired as hell, I waited till the sun rose before going to bed.



Then I went and passed out until noon, as my mum took over my watch.

When I did get up and go back on deck, the air was suddenly humid and warm, a sign that we were in fact in the Tropics now. The bird was gone, my father said he left a few hours after dawn. That kind of saddened me, he was a great comfort to have up there in those wee hours of the night, but I guess he knew where he was going.

A little while later, we spotted the first scrap of land in over 30 hours and celebrated with hearty "Land Ho!" and a beer.



And then several more beers.


*For the longest time I kept on wanting to call the bird a Blue Footed Boobie, even though it didn't have blue feet and Mike kept saying it was a Frigate. Well, guess what? After doing some investigating I found out that the bird in question is indeed a Boobie (though not blue-footed). Ha...Boobie.