26 Nov 2008

Out of Sight and Out of My Mind

Several months ago, my husband discovered we had a mouse in our home. When he told me he had seen one, I howled with ridiculous girly terror. I was hor-rif-ied and stupidly scared to walk around the home without underwear (for fear of being snatch-bitten. For reals.).

Determined to get me back into my pantie-free glory, Patrick promptly went out and got snap traps. Within two days, the traps did their job and Patrick regained his title of Man of the House (he had previously lost it by spending a weekend watching movies on the Diva Channel). When I saw Mickey post-mortem and realized how itty-bitty he was, I actually felt rather bad. Poor little thing. He was much smaller and cuter than my mind led me to first believe (except for having his neck smashed in, of course). When I was first confronted with the idea of a mouse in our house, I had imagined this big, horrible dirty rat that could spring out from a bag and bite my cooter at any moment ... or crawl into the bed and nip my bum (why I thought this mouse would be so hostile toward my nether regions is for Freudians to figure out). But the little mouse in our snap trap wasn't anything like that. He was a Beatrix Potter-like mouse. All little and darling. I imagined him shyly giving cookie crumbs to his little mouse sweetheart and accepting invitations to delightful afternoon tea parties with rabbits and hedgehogs. Sipping mulled wine out of thimbles. But not any more. Because WE killed the shit out of him.

But despite feeling bad, we kept traps around for a month and a half and ... nothing. So we figured our problem was solved and I went about drinking my feelings away.

Cue last week. Construction in the building has resulted in some moving and shaking that has clearly not only aggravated the human residents, but also whatever's been living in the walls. Mickey 2.0 has been spotted.

Patrick has been too busy with work to go get new traps, and I've been too guilt-ridden to play that active a role in the whole thing ... so mousy is presumably still with us (haven't seen him since the initial spotting). Even though I now *know* it's probably another cute one, I'm still oddly afraid of being surprised by it. In other words, I'm scared of getting scared.

My solution has been to scare it before it can scare me. So, all day, I walk as loud as I can, smacking tables, slapping counters and knocking on walls and doors. My life has become a lamer, paranoid, unchoreographed version of Stomp Out Loud.

But Stomp has got to stop (in my home. And around the world, actually). When you feel ridiculous even when you’re all by yourself, you know you’ve gone over the crazy line. My options are to refuse to be scared of seeing the mouse, getting some traps or buying one of those hilarious hamster balls and finding a way lure Mickey 2.0 inside it.

I’ll let you know how the hamster ball goes.

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11 Nov 2008

Better Than I Can Say It

Happy Remembrance Day.

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10 Nov 2008

Because I Could Use More Vapid In My Life

In the summer, Siobhan and Patrick (mentioned in the last post) moved into our building. It's been awesome having a friend just a few floors away - it's like residence except we have more money to spend on booze. As the cooler weather sets in, so has our tendency to hermit, so having an insta-friend that I don't even need to put on a coat (or, you know, non-yoga pants) to see has been GREAT.

Recently, Siobhan and I decided that we needed to feel more youthful and in touch with "what's happening" ... so rather than actually going outside, talking to people and experiencing life, we had her husband download all the episodes of Gossip Girl for us. Wee!

We quickly realized that Gossip Girl was missing something ... and when you're watching, like, six episodes at a time, it's good to keep hydrated. So without further ado, I bring you Siobhan and Jen's Gossip Girl Drinking Game:

Have a drink every time:

  1. Chuck is wearing a bow-tie.
  2. Waffles are served for breakfast. Double drink if they're being served at Chez Humphrey.
  3. A teenager is drinking a martini at the bar (what ever happened to siphoning booze from your parent's liquor cabinet?).
  4. A parent has a totally inappropriate conversation with their child.
  5. Dan or Rufus reference their own last name (ie: "The Humphrey men sure have a way with being self-absorbed artsy douche nozzles!").
  6. The teens (see: Serena) are somehow allowed out of the house despite wearing an outfit that shows a whole lotta chesticle. Degrassi’s Stephanie Kaye and her bathroom-stall makeovers are practically matronly in comparison.
  7. Chuck delivers a pouty, nostril-flaring sneer that reminds you of an angry drag queen.
  8. Serena sounds as if her jaw has been wired shut when she talks - more so than usual.
  9. Your nearby husband / boyfriend makes a judgmental grunt mid-episode.
  10. Rufus desperately fishes for reassurance and cool-cred compliments by making a comment about being an aging rocker dad.
  11. Little J creates a dress that has crinoline and a dropped waistline (revolutionary!).
  12. Serena gets insecure when she realizes her boy-of-interest knows another female.
  13. A parent discovers their child has decided to jet off to another country and their expression doesn't change.
  14. You’ve lost track of whether Serena-Blair, Nate-Chuck, Blair-Chuck, Nate-Dan or Dan-Serena are fighting or friendly with each other.
  15. Dorota is forced into planning a party in less than a day.
  16. Vanessa is wearing something horrible that involves either a citrus, sherbet or PiƱata-inspired shade.
  17. You find yourself wanting to fast forward the parts of the episode that are about Serena in order to get to the scenes that feature Chuck Bass.
  18. Gossip Girl Non-Subtle Product Placement Whore, Vitamin Water™, is shown.
  19. Rufus makes a reference to a grunge band that you can tell the actor playing him has never heard of.
  20. You get rudely reminded that the star characters of the show were BORN in the NINETIES and you are officially OLD and PERVY.

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5 Nov 2008

America The Beautiful

Last month, Canada had a federal election. Patrick and I marked the occasion unceremoniously by dragging ourselves over to the nearby polling station. We had no line in front of us, so it was quick and painless. We sighed, voted (for different candidates, as it turns out) and returned home to eat leftovers and obligatorily watch election coverage on CBC and Twitter. When the numbers were in, we turned to each other, shrugged and said “well, that was a waste” and went to bed. And the next day, we didn't think anything of it. Election done, business as usual, pass me a beer.

We acknowledged the American election quite differently. Last night, in anticipation of Barack Obama becoming the next US President, we hosted Siobhan and Patrick (her husband) to watch the coverage. I had decorated the place in Democrat blue, printed and hung Obama posters in the window and made gourmet hot dogs, Freedom Fries and apple pie. We even bought some bubbly for the occasion. We joyously screamed, hooted, danced and lit sparklers when Obama's success was made official and then cheered loudly through our window in the direction of the ultra-conservatives streaming out of the Albany Club. We felt energized, relieved and thankful. I’ve spent the better part of today warmly looking at footage of people all over the world who were also swept into the emotion of this moment.

Now, I love Canada. Love, love, love, love, love. In fact, this election probably gave me extra fuel for my sense of patriotism and confirmed how proud being a citizen of this country makes me. I like that our politics rest in the rational centre. I love that there’s no need for Proposition 8 here. I adore that people realize that contributing to a system that provides affordable health care for all its citizens is just as – if not more – patriotic than fighting for the right to own a gun. I love that if someone accused a candidate of being Muslim during an election, the first reaction would be to ask ‘what the eff is wrong with being a Muslim?’, and not simply deny the fabrication.

So my Canadacrush aside, I’m feeling the love for the USA today, which is a bit of a rarity. Ok, it’s a lot of a rarity (although Prop 8 passing still gets a huge, judgey thumbs down from me). The election of Barack Obama and the outpouring of positively-driven passion among the everyday citizen is genuinely inspiring.

Yes, the election of an African American for President is an important moment in the nation’s history in itself. But more than than this, for me, his campaign and election symbolized America finally turning a sharp and sinister corner. The old fear fog was lifted in favour of the massive, unabashed feelings of hope, change and a need for better.

Despite the best efforts of some campaigners, media and small-minded voters, The People didn’t give in to the time-honoured American tradition of fear-mongering, bullying and labeling that has made the rest of the world so disturbed by this once great nation. It’s not for lack of trying. They screamed and screamed: Commie! Terrorist! Anti-American! Godless! Corrupt! Un-Patriotic! Muslim! Anti-Semite! Illegal Alien!

And despite the continued barrage of these tactics in this election, The People finally, FINALLY turned away from the filth and looked toward a light of someone refusing to leave the high road. And when they looked, they started believing in doing better. In playing their part. In working with others. In grasping hold of the truth that they had the power. It caused people to vote for the first time in their lives. To volunteer to help the Obama campaign. To show up, en-mass to public places to celebrate with complete strangers. To cry with joy.

Last night was one of the first times I’ve ever felt that we Canadians could take a cue from our neighbours to the south. No, we don’t have the same dark veil of fear to lift from our eyes, but we certainly have one of apathy. Our country is a wonderful place – but just imagine how fantastic it could be if we chose to be invigorated by a need and a drive and a spirit to make it better. To dream bigger, feel deeper and actually WORK toward the advancement of The People.

I love my country, but today America has my applause and respect. It also has my gratitude for showing us exactly what we’re lacking. I never want to feel so dismissively hollow about the future of my nation again.

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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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