Sunday, 31 July 2011

All The Rest

Waking up on the Sunday morning of a long weekend is a wonderful feeling.

You wake up and instead of having to start thinking about the work week, you realize, with a smile, that you get to sleep in all over again tomorrow.

Or maybe you won't sleep in tomorrow. Maybe you'll get up at a decent hour, but you won't have to do anything or go anywhere.

Unless you want to.

And somehow, that knowing that you get today and tomorrow off to rest even after just having had yesterday? Makes the morning that much sweeter.

Happy long weekend to those of us lucky enough to have one.

Happy Summer.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Keep Going

I had a rough day yesterday. Emotional struggle after mental struggle after relational struggle, it was just a lot.

I'm proud of myself though. Told a couple of friends I was having a rough go and talking to them helped. And then I just holed up. Went for a walk in the amazing summer air, took some photos, came home and just did nothing.

Just be-ed (which is not a word but should be) by myself.

I thought tonight's SYTYCD results show was pretty amazing and a couple of amazing performances helped make me feel calmer and better. A lot.

I love dance and music and, well, yeah.

I can tell that this summer is going to continue to be a forging for me and I'm proud of myself for handling it all.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

I Just Died From All The Cute



Mini Warbler Performing to Teenage Dream 

Seriously.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Seul

One of the harsh truths I learned while in Vancouver for my Dad's surgery was that when it comes right down to it, I am all alone.

Very much.

My parents are there for each other and when it's a bottom line, life or death, high stress situation like we were in, that should be their only concern.

And as much as my friends reached out to support and be there for me, they all have their families and husbands or children as their main concern.

Same goes for everyone else in my life, my brother, my co-workers, my acquaintances. At the end of the day when it comes right down to it, I am the only one who's looking out for me first.

There really only was one day where this hit me hard, and I had a good cry over it and then packed my feelings back up and went back to where I'd chosen to place myself; next to my mother, to support her, and I'm grateful that I was strong enough to be there for her.

It was just an enlightening experience to be going through all that and to realize that no one was looking out for me.

Except for me.

And that that's how it is and that's maybe how it's always going to be.

Were the world to fall apart right now, right this moment, there'd be no one looking out for me, coming to rescue me. I'm going to have to do that for myself.

And I guess I already do. Just haven't ever had it lain out before me quite so clearly before.

I'm on my own here, and that's all there is to it.

I'm grateful for the love and support of my family and friends, but I've also learned I have to take care of me because that's the only way it's going to happen.

I haven't quite put it properly here, and I'm sure a lot of you will say tut tut, you're just feeling down, but it's not like that. This is not some sort of self-pitying complaint and if it's come across that way it wasn't meant to. I just mean to say that when things get really really bad, things boil down very quickly to what's real and what's truth, and harsh as it may sound and as harsh as it was to go through, I learned the truth of being a single woman in a very different way last month.

And it's made me different.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rootless

Even In The Darkest Moments by foundimagination
I've been feeling sort of wierdly homeless since my Dad's surgery.

Or maybe un-rooted is more like it.

See, I grew up on the lower mainland, near (enough) Vancouver for those of you not from this area. I spent my formative years there and it was home.

Then I planned to move over here for school and my parents decided to move over here to retire. And in a lot of ways wherever my parents are is home, but I fell in love with this town and its pace and I didn't want to go back to the mainland.

I needed a break from the person I'd become over there and I didn't have any friends keeping me there and my brother had already left too, so Victoria became my home.

I've got my parents here and I have friends here now and it's coming close to the time when I'll have lived here almost as long as I lived over there, but where you come from is still somehow your home.

Spending a highly stressful week and a half in Vancouver for my Dad's surgery didn't make me want to move back to the mainland although I did very much enjoy Vancouver's public transit system and the multitude of handsome men I saw.

Coming back here though I've felt unsettled.

I don't have roots anywhere. Or that's what it feels like.

This isn't my hometown. The house I grew up in isn't here. I can't drive by my elementary school or drop by and see my old high school hangouts.

I can't drive along the strip and laugh at the teenagers doing what I used to do. I don't have a past here.

My friends here are all in relationships, most of them with young kids or babies, they're at different places in their lives than I am and I feel a little lost.

I'm not quite sure where to call home anymore, and for the first time in my life I'm feeling like I don't know where I belong. Things feel foreign here, but I don't know where else to go. I can't go back, things wouldn't be the same there either. My friends from home have kids and babies too and are married with mortgages and someone else has bought the house I grew up in and there's no longer the same streets or trees or people.

I've always made a big deal about how I'd never leave Victoria, but maybe facing the fact that my parents won't always be here makes me wonder what, exactly, I call home.

I hope this is just another passing effect of my Dad's illness and I hope in time I feel settled here again, because this is an odd sensation.

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Good and the Bad

Sigh.

Yes, that's right, I started this post with a sigh.

A dramatic one if you need it to be, but a sigh nonetheless.

After my weight upset last week, I decided to kick things back into gear and one of the things I did was head back to the gym.

For those of you who've been around here forever, you'll know that I used to go to the gym a lot. It was a regular thing and I was happy with it.

Fast forward (or rewing, depending on how your brain works) to about two years ago when C-Dawg and I were in a crazy nasty accident and all workout bets were off.

I went to exercise rehab (which I highly recommend) and they eventually got me on a program to head back to the gym, but when I got back to the gym things hurt even worse again and I got scared.

Then I decided to turn to walking for a while and that was great to get me back into a regular exercise routine, but it also allowed me to have an occasional easy out. "Well, I EXERCISED today, that should count!" And my time at the gym fell away again.

Then C-Dawg moved away and we decided we'd join run clinics together on our separate sides of the country and I got a massive sense of accomplishment and pride from going from a non-runner to a "holy cow I just ran for an hour!" runner.

But the next couple of run clinic sessions I joined, I found it more difficult to find the motivation to run on my own and then I fell and injured myself running and that slowed me down again. And so I went from not going to the gym but running to not going to the gym and not really running much.

So last week I decided enough was enough and I was going to put the gym back into my regular routine if it killed me.

And I did.

I went four times last week. And you guys? I'd forgotten how much I like it.

When there's a place like that that you've been going to for years it becomes so comfortable and safe. It's a familiar place and just walking in there calms me and I feel better.

And I forgot about all the good looking guys who're there. HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN?

I mean, sure, you see people when you're out running, but you're all going so fast (guffaw) that you get a glance and that's about it. But at the gym? They're there for a while and they're so cute! SO!

But more than that, it's just a good place and I'm happy there.

And as a major bonus, I can now add "running on the treadmill" to my list of activities I do at the gym. (Seriously, I remember when I first started at the gym, I emailed B to tell him how excited I was that I ran for three minutes straight! Which is so cool, since now I can do so much more.)

That's the good news.

The bad news? Whence comes the dramatic sigh?

I've hurt myself.

Hurt myself or re-injured something or re-irritated something that running and walking didn't annoy.

I'm thinking it's the recumbent bike, if you can believe that, so hopefully a week or so away from that will let me know if that's what did it, but let me tell you, there were a couple of days this week where I was so super upset.

I really don't want to go back to a place of being constantly in pain, but I struggled with that at the end of the week for sure.

I managed to manage it (ooh, good sentence Victoria, well done!) and am down to just twinges now, but it was disheartening and upsetting for sure.

I'm going to remind myself to take it a bit easier this week and that I don't have to go from zero to sixty. I can ease up to it and it's not an all or nothing deal. I'm just looking to get my routine back and to remind myself that there's more to my workout life than where I've been for the last year.

Hmmm... this post is kind of getting away from me.

Let me summarize.

Last week good? Back at the gym, hot guys and good workout and comfortable and familiar.

Last week bad? Hurt self, ow very much, sad, worried, ow is bad.

Hopefully this week will be a better one.

The end.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Or Any MONEY!

If this doesn't make you laugh, or at least smile, you may want to make sure you're not a zombie.


Jack and the Beanstalk- As Told by a Two Year Old

Friday, 22 July 2011

Tele-thoughts

I'm so happy to say that a month after coming back from my Dad's surgery he's starting to get better.

And I'm equally happy to say that I'm feeling a lot better too.

Which is highlighted by the fact that I can even think about the following silly things. I'm so happy to be back to thinking about silly things, I really am, I can't tell you.

So here you go... silly television related thoughts.

-I still adore Cat Deeley, really truly in all ways.

-Everyone on True Blood is really really good looking.

-And I love forgot-ted Eric. I knew I would because I've read all the books and liked them together better than Sookie and Bill, but still, I really really like him. Doesn't hurt that he's so super hunky.

-I'm not really sure why everyone was so mad at the finale of The Killing. Although maybe it didn't bother me because I watched it over a week's span and already knew the ending was "different"

-I'm really really glad I ended up watching Game of Thrones. Really.

-Everyone on True Blood is really really good looking.

(What? I'm not allowed to repeat myself? It's very true!)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Because I Love You

I have some presents for you.

I hope you like them.



Mumford & Sons - Timshel



City and Colour - The Grand Optimist



Ray Lamontagne &Damien Rice - To love somebody


Alexi Murdoch -- Orange Sky

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Stormy

I'm going to start with an aside, which is probably a sign that this post is not necessarily going to be the most bestest ever ever!!!!! but you know how they say something's a "perfect storm"?

Well, isn't that kind of a misnomer? Because wouldn't a "perfect" storm be one that rained bunnies and butterflies and unicorns? And/or Skittles and gold coins?

Or maybe a perfect storm would be one where you're sitting on a tropical beach holding your favourite slushy drink and a handsome, yet single, man is thrown ashore dripping and half naked in front of you by a freak storm that merely ruffled your hair?

So, yeah, I was going to talk about how this whole weight thing was a perfect storm of events but I just got myself all distracted so I'm going to have to come back to it tomorrow.

Cuz now all I can think about is my tropical beach and my new imaginary boyfriend and how he might need mouth to mouth if you know what I mean and I think you do!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

In Which I Say "Which" A Lot

Hanging Trees Make Me Think Of Louisiana by foundimagination
This blog is nothing if not therapeutic for me. See, things will rumble around in my brain bothering me for a while and then when they get to a point where I can't stand it any more I throw it out here and then that serves the dual purpose of having it out of my head and allowing me to think about it, but in a clearer way.

So while I'm certainly not done talking about my food and weight concerns yet, it has helped to talk about it a bit.

But that's not what this post is about, actually. This post is about books.

Not about how very much I love them, because that would just be a post filled with the word very repeated a hundred thousand times, but about my most excellent book dilemma.

I just finished a great series I became rather obsessed with; the Tomorrow Series. If you want to know just how obsessed I became, let me tell you what I did when I found out that you couldn't get three of the seven books in North America.

I asked my friend's parents who were travelling to Australia if they'd mind going to a bookstore there to pick me up the other three!

Which they did.

Which meant I could read the series one book after another and then follow up with the spin off series.

Which I did.

So I finished up that series and went through another book (Mr.Popper's Penguins, which I read for C-Dawg because she looked at me really funny when I told her I'd never read it.) And now I'm in the middle of reading something else that I'm quite enjoying, but am also wishing I wasn't enjoying so that I could skip it and get to the main course.

Which I think..... is going to be Divergent.

Linda (Sundry) posted about Divergent and I always love her post-apocalyptic recommendations so I figured I'd pick it up.

Funny thing though. When I picked up the book, every single salesperson who saw me with it told me how awesome the book is.

"Better than Hunger Games!" one said, to which I raised a suspicious eyebrow.

So you'd think that'd be my next read, right?

Except that I just recently watched the entire delicious first series of Game of Thrones and ordered the book and it just arrived, so now I have these two big juicy thick books I'm waiting to read and I don't know where to start or how to wait!

My thinking is that since both of them are bigger books, but I'm imagining Divergent will be slightly less dense since it's aimed at a youth audience primarily, I'll start with it and, from what I've heard, I won't be able to put it down and so will get through it fairly quickly.

And then I can go to Game of Thrones.

Except, I'm wondering if it's maybe more of a fall/winter read.

Oh, how I love that books can cause me such delightful torment.

I love me some books.

Very very very very very very much.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Twenty Five

This was kind of a weird weekend for me.

I weighed myself and my BMI shows me to be right at the start of overweight and this clouded a lot of my thoughts this weekend.

Food and weight are so much more for me (and for lots of others I'm sure) than just "food" and "weight". In fact, I'm not sure I have the mental power right now to explain what all this means for me, but I'll sum it up like this for now...

I don't feel like I have anything to look forward to anymore.

Reducing the amount of junk food I let myself eat and going back to watching what I eat? Sucks.

I don't know what I have to look forward to now.

So I kind of feel like I'm mourning the freedom and ease and lightness I've had around food lately and the knowledge that I'm technically overweight has left me feeling unattractive and seeing myself as unattractive when I look in the mirror is not cheering.

So I'm bummed and I'm disappointed and I'm scared.

You'd never know it to look at me, and my friends would probably yell at me for thinking I'm overweight, but my clothes and my weight and my BMI are telling me otherwise.

And I'm not happy about it.

But I'm also not happy about having to go without.

Food's a complex issue.

Weight's a complex issue.

Throw body image in there and it's a confusing mess.

I know everyone struggles with these things to some extent, I just wish I wasn't one of them.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Now What's In Your Head?

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday night's alright!


Or, if you're up for a mellower evening....


Cat Stevens - Another Saturday Night (live)

Or, maybe you're more of a speller? S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y?

I'm going out with C-Dawg tonight!

Don't wait up!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mine

I realized something today... the women I call my friends? The women I choose to surround myself with? Are amazing.

And this says something about me, that I'm surrounded by such amazing female friends.

I guess I've always sort of known this about my friends, but it really struck me the other day.

I was out after work with a former co-worker of mine, a new friend I'd guess you'd say, and we were in a sports store looking at run gear.

"I'm not sure if I like these shorts, I think they'll make my thighs look big" I said.

And my friend stopped and looked at me. "So?" she said.

"Well," I said, "then when you're running a 10K and they take your picture you look horrible because your run shorts make your thighs look really big!" (I know this from experience, the 10K photo they caught of me this year was really unflattering)

And she cocked her head and me and said "Yeah, but you're running a 10K, so who cares? I've never run a 10K, so who gives what you might look like, you're running a frigging 10K!"

Now this girl is fit. She played soccer in University, she still plays soccer now so it blew my mind a little that she'd say that.

"But you're super fit, you run" I said.

"Yeah, but short bursts," she replied, "I could never run a 10K. Give yourself some credit. Buy the shorts. Be comfortable."

I didn't get the shorts in the end, but as I sat at home that night thinking about what she'd said I was struck by just how awesome my friends are. They're strong, beautiful, kind, dynamic, supportive, fun, good people.

I think what I came to realize that night is that my friendships with these amazing women are more than just co-incidence. They are conscious choices.

So while I've been lucky to have met them in the first place, I'm proud that I've chosen to keep them in my lives. I have great women as my friends and I'm proud that I can say that.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Collection

Melancholy by foundimagination
This may sound like a random selection of questions but here's what's rattling around in my brain at the moment.

What do you miss about last year?

What song moves you every time you hear it?

What book should I really try reading?

If you could have any one relationship back just for a moment, which would it be?

What have you always wanted to do and what's stopping you from doing it?

For me?

365,
The Rain Song,
If I knew I'd have read it already,
Paul,
Create/Fear.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Suspension of Disbelief

I don't like it when different tv shows reuse sets that are so iconic, you can't help but recognize them.

First it was Scrub's hospital entrance way on Parenthood, and now it's the glass Caprica house from Battlestar Gallactica on The Killing.

My problem with when this happens is that all of a sudden I'm reminded that this, what I'm watching, isn't actually real at all, I'm *not* actually following along in someone's life, it's just a made up, well produced television show.

And that's no fun. I miss me my pretend friends and stories. I prefer my disbelief to remain suspended.

So tv people? Please only reuse sets that aren't so totally recognizable. Kay?

Kay.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Me So Sexy

Beauty by foundimagination
When I first moved into my apartment, I had the idea that people would be knocking on my door all the time. I figured neighbours would be stopping by or friends or relatives or mailmen, I don't know, just people.

Plus, I'd watched a lot of tv and that seemed to be the thing that happened, so I made sure I had cute (read: just a little sexy) outfits to relax in.

Problem is, cute outfits are so not comfortable and me? I like me my comfort. Especially in my own home where, as it turns out, no one ever knocks on my door.

Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but because I buzz my friends or relatives or mailmen into the building, there's rarely a knock on my door I'm not expecting.

So a couple of weekends ago, utterly exhausted from my Dad's surgery and being back at work, I was completely relieved to find myself with a three day weekend.

So relieved was I, I had a shower and decided I was too tired to even bother combing my hair. I mean, I didn't have plans for the weekend, so it's not like anyone was going to see me so I didn't even do my bangs, which I usually take the time to fix.

(Do you feel the foreshadowing here my friends?)

The weather had just started turning warm which meant the local family of ants had decided to check out my apartment for any findings. I lay on my couch in my comfiest pj bottoms, baggy old t-shirt and uncombed hair and emailed my lovely resident manager to ask her what I should do about the ants. Did she want me to handle them and put out bait or traps or whatever, or should I let her handle it?

Then, I sat back and dialed up some really bad tv on my computer and vegged out.

An episode and half into whatever show I was watching (ok, I know exactly what show I was watching, but I'm pretty embarrassed to admit it) when there was a knock on my door.

Now, usually if I don't know who's at the door, I take the time to throw on a jacket or blanket over my tshirt since I don't wear a bra when I'm relaxing and it's....er... obvious, but I figured it was Michelle, my landlady with some ant traps for me, so I didn't bother.

So imagine my surprise when I opened the door to a rather cute young man, a tattoo just peeking out from under his green tshirt and a friendly smile on his face.

"Urgh?" I said, my brain frozen.

"Hey!" said this cute young thing, "I'm Steve, your new neighbour, I'm moving in next door and just wanted to say hi."

At this point most of my brain was still going "urgh?" but the better part of me kicked into gear and struck up a conversation with him.

"So, I hear you're a spy too, where is your spy cave located?" I chirped, cheerfully, while trying to hide myself behind the door while simultaneously cursing how I must look and realizing that if I tried to hide myself behind the door I would make myself look crazier than I must already look.

So we chatted a bit about I don't even know what, and I jokingly referred to the fact that I was in my "Sunday best" guffaw, guffaw, and I'd love to invite him in to chat but wouldn't you know it I was watching this terrible tv show had he ever heard of it.... at which point the rest of my brain woke up and started shouting ABORT, ABORT! RETREAT! IMMEDIATE RETREAT! And so he went back to his place to unpack and I closed and locked the door and then turned around to see the mirror I have in my entrance.

Which was a bad idea.

Because then I shrivelled up and tried to melt into the floor.

You guys, no one should have had to see me looking like that. It was bad.

Like, the outfit alone was barely forgivable, but combined with ratty hair and poofy bangs? I looked really. Really. Bad.

I don't think I could have been more embarrassed.

I mean really. Why couldn't this guy have shown up five years ago, when I still wore cute outfits around the place? Or why couldn't he have shown up last weekend, when I was wandering around in nothing but a sarong because it was so damn hot?

Oh well. I guess next time I see him I'll look surprisingly awesome right?

Sigh.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Unamused

I am so so grumpy right now.

And "grumpy" is putting it mildly.

I haven't been sleeping that great lately and last night I got none at all and I guess it's all my fault but it's not! It's the fault of A GIANT MOTH!

See, I had my windows thrown open all yesterday as I was cleaning and I guess I forgot to close them because when I went in for bed there was a (seriously) giant dark brown moth in my bedroom.

Now, if you know me, you know I can't/don't like to kill these things and usually just politely escort them out of my apartment, but this guy would have none of it.

I'm usually able to trick them with my "disappearing lights" trick out into the hallway but this moth refused to leave my bedroom. It refused to do anything!

I was pretty tired, so I got into bed and read for a while, having gotten Mr Giant Moth to settle in the overhead light. I figured if he didn't bother flapping his way out to my bedside lamp maybe he was dead or something.

Except my book was really really good and I kept on reading probably until 1 and then when I turned the light on HE STARTED FLYING AROUND!

So of course I had to turn the lights on and then he flapped at me and then I had to do the heebie jeebie dance but I couldn't get him or swat at him or anything and then he disappeared into the light again.

But I didn't want to deal with him anymore so I went into the other room to try and sleep but the wind kept blowing on my face which was nice at first and then cold and it was by this time two in the morning and I wasn't thinking straight and the clock was too loud and my fridge kept buzzing and by three am I gave up and went back to bed.

Where I kind of half lay there all night expecting to hear that effing giant moth trying to attack my brains or something.

So I'm totally in a foul mood this morning and I got no sleep and to make matters worse? I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN I GO TO BED TONIGHT BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHERE THE MOTH IS ANYMORE!

You should probably avoid me if you see me today.

It's not pretty.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Overdue (Part 2)

And Off They Go by foundimagination
We took a day's trip to Havana and hired a local guide to show us around and help us:

We're driving at 100 clicks down a rickety highway in a green Lada from 1980 and the wind's whipping my hair.

There's a breeze at the top of the hotel where Hemmingway lived for 7 years and I'm drinking a Mohito looking out at Habana.

The market was amazing, there was so much stuff, from percussion instruments to jewellery, these large rings, and paintings. It was so hot, there was no breeze. There is an entire square of books for sale. It feels like,Paris, Montmartre.

So many old buildings, there are fewer "old, old" cars here, but the ones that are American are old beauties. There are a lot of Ladas and Fiats. Russian cars.

We found out that "pingo" means "penis" (I have no idea how or why we discovered this!) There are slogans on all the billboards as you're rattling down the freeway.

Our next few days:

Today was the perfect day: woke up and had bacon. Walked and saw locals, a mama cow feeding a baby cow, a baby goat a baby boy, I had sugar cane from a sugar cane farmer and watched as he squeezed the juice out for us to drink. We walked back and went straight into the pool and then into the ocean for a swim. Then I kayaked. In the Carribean ocean! Then back into the pool, then out for lunch....mmmm hot dog! Then a nap on the beach followed by snacks and drinks. I bought Che pins and chocolate and had a funny joke with Mom. Then it was back to the beach for swimming and reading. Perfect.

Easter Sunday: the Easter bunny found us! (wink wink) and did a good job hiding the eggs. We watched the sun rising over the hills and through the palm trees, golden orange, next to the hill. We went and got bacon to feed the mommy and baby cat and the wee kitten was so sweet. We went out in the kayak and had a beautiful view of the rolling fading green hills. We left eggs for the made who left us three cute towel swans. There were lots of Cubans on the beach today. I think in Mexico, they must keep the locals off. For lunch, I like rice, black beans and corn, oh, and the other night they had cream puff swans! I went out snorkelling a wee bit, it was pretty cool, the ocean floor looked really cool and wavy up shallow in the sand and I saw some fish. Later, we went out in the kayak again and I took Mom way out over the reef and she snorkelled and kept saying how amazing it was. Later, I went out with Dad in the kayak and got out over the deep trench edge of the reef and saw so many fish, big blue ones, stripey black and white ones, one little guy who has half bright blue and half yellow and a big guy trying to eat a bunch of little guys and longish ones and sandy ones and black ones and stripey ones. Yesterday we saw "pipe fish" right in the shallows. Then at noon, we went out on the Hobie Cat with Manuel. The sailing was great, but then he was "Wow! Look! Fish!" I couldn't see what he was looking at, but he let Dad sail and when we got closer, we saw this massive school of tuna churning up this huge strip of water. It looked like waves breaking and it was noisy like churning and they were wild. A feeding frenzy? And then it just stopped. Went perfectly quiet and calm. And then we turned around and found another group and then another and then a flying fish went out in front of our boat. Wow! As we came in, we saw the "White Rock", this massive thing sticking out of the hill - Pina Blanca. Yellow Beach, Playa Marilla, where the camping was and Santa Cruz with the oil refinery. The countryside is so beautiful and verdant and hilly and treed and so pretty and so nice. And Manuel was nice - a big guy who took over the sailing from Dad because sometimes when there are that many fish, there are sharks! EEEEK!

Watching little brown skinned kids roll themselves in the sand and become little sand coloured kids. We're all the same really... from my friend from Port Alberni, to my friend from Saskatchewan, to this little brown skinned baby taking his first steps in the Cuban sand. We're all the same.

The Canadians here have been so nice and friendly and it's been awesome.

Everyone smiles in the same language. Children play the same. Babies laugh at the same things regardless of race. There's a woman sitting on the beach in front of me whose skin is the polar opposite of mine. I am pale, nearly white, (I really am) she is dark, nearly black.

A rust coloured Lada shows up down the jungle path at 5 to take everyone home and they drive back home past the horses and palm trees and "beach" trees. And every afternoon the wind kicks up. Some days it's so strong and fierce that the sand would bite.

And there goes Mario home again. He who met us on his scooter to tell us the car was just 5 minutes away. Mario. And now another car has shown up, down the two tracked sand path road from who knows where.

The last half of the trip:

And even the breeze is like humid breath, pushing rather than blowing. And I'll remember that tiny kitten this morning, putting its paws up on my leg hoping for food.

There's a very vocal cat by the pool "talking" for her baby. And these great black birds, turkey vultures they tell me, circling the skies in lazy circles. And the sky over my left shoulder's turning grey, but up above it's blue with puffy clouds.

Yesterday, I sat at the pool in a rain sun shower. Big fat drops.

Somebody's dog came running up the beach earlier today, stopped and and found the shade of the palapa and flopped down. Before that, he sheltered under Mom's chair.

When you don't hear or listen, everyone's just as beautiful. The Cubans at the beach are so lively and vibrant, very like the countryside they come from.

And what is "cold" here is balmy at home. Can only be dreamed of at home!

We've had thunder the last two evenings.

(And there ends my notes from my Cuba trip. I'm glad I took these notes when I was there, there are small details I might not have remembered otherwise, and re-reading them brought back the whole trip. Like the photos do. Thanks for coming on my memory lane trip with me.)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Overdue (Part 1)

Brahman by foundimagination
(I've been doing a lot of Spring cleaning this past week or so. Well, I suppose if we're being technical, I've been doing Summer cleaning, but still. I've been cleaning. Purging maybe, but I've just felt the urge since I've been back from my Dad's surgery to get rid of things that have been sitting there doing nothing. So I've sorted out my main hallway closet and medicine cabinet and thrown out/recycled the things that were out of date and I've put things into a bag to take to charity and doing this has made me feel lighter and cleaner and has gotten rid of some "I should really" guilt.

Which brings me to this post.

In one of the drawers I started to empty, sort and tidy yesterday I found a collection of notes from my trip to Cuba three years ago that I'd promised myself (and you) I'd turn into a blog post or ten. Well I guess that just always seemed too overwhelming a task to take on because I've put it off for three years now. So here's my compromise. I'm going to type out those notes. They're very free-form and some of them are diary form and some of them are just mental notes, but I'm going to put them out here. Partly so that I have those thoughts and memories recorded, but also so that I can relive the trip again and so that there's another task tidied and so the papers can be recycled and not take up room in my soon to be clean apartment.

So, here's my long overdue tales of my amazing and wonderful trip to Cuba.)


On our ride from the airport to the hotel, about an hour's drive, my first impressions of Cuba:

It's so lush and verdant here (this was surprisingly unexpected for me) I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't so much green. It's so very green. Here's a guy walking his cow home across the park and now we're further down the road and there's a horse there grazing, tethered to the side of the road.

Along the road (highway?) next to us there are two girls riding on a bike at a nice easy speed, they don't seem to be bothered about how fast they need to get wherever it is they're going.

We just passed the Universidad and it reminded me of the residence building I lived in in my first year of University. There are two guys pushing a sidecar (no, I'm not sure what I meant by this anymore... a motorcycle with sidecar maybe?) along the road there.

The fee of it is similar to Mexico, but with perhaps more visible military presence? There are these awesome one level houses with "old" cards sat out front. I knew we'd see these awesome old cars and there they are, right there!

There are these big black wheeling birds just circling in the sky...don't forget to write about that sunrise with the strip of orange that opened up to light in the airplane on the way (I can almost imagine it now-beautiful.)

The big difference I see from here and home is people standing around or sitting out. We all tend to stay inside. Here, they're out. Things have a ramshackle feel but it doesn't seem out of place. It just fits. There are bars on many windows and clothes are hanging on decks. I have to ask "where am I?" it is such a different place. The houses are pastel, that faded awesome pastel of the warm climates. There are some older houses that seem to be in disrepair. I can't tell if they're lived in or not.

There's a beach park.

The Cuban flag makes me feel proud.

There are signs as we drive through Matanzas:
-Cuba. Dignity is not for sale!
-Defend Socialism

The river or maybe the ocean is right there. Right there!
Matanzas seems poor.
I think that's a wild dog.
I feel like we're driving through a city of unkept houses that are falling down on the outside.

And then we're back into the country again, the city just...ended.

There are glass transformers on power lines, amazing. There's a donkey (or horse or mule) pulling a cart along the highway and there are these distant grey/green rolling hills. And valleys. Why didn't I expect valleys? I hadn't realized it was so hilly, right where we are driving and off in the distance too.

There are lots of goats.

La Habana! We're driving through Havana!

The first days at our hotel/resort:

We're sitting on the beach this morning and this fellow came buy with his dog, and he was on his horse leading a donkey along behind them. The horses here seem small. We follow them to the beach where they're announced as performers from "all the way from near here!" which we think is hilarious. It's our new favourite thing to say. The horse does tricks like counting.

At the show tonight they played "The Good Old Hockey Game." Yay Canada!

The wind blows up the sand into razor sprinkles that tickle like sharp pins.

For dinner I had pina et hamon pizza and mojitos. Mom and I decided that the hot wind here is "the world's most efficient hair dryer"

Dad's beach chair collapsed on him today. Mom and I found this hilarious. This bodes badly karmically for the two of us! We learned the cha cha poolside today. Mom and I found it hilarious when I pretended to "fall" over in the pool. (I still find this funny. If we ever go swimming, I'll show you what I mean.)

The grounds crew came round this morning and pulled down the coconuts from the trees. We thought it was so they wouldn't fall and bash people on the head (as it's quite windy today) but they took them to the beach and in a barrow full of watermelons, pineapples, coconuts and oranges, they cut them up with a machete and served them with rum!

The busboy who took us to our room yesterday was super friendly and funny.

Today, Dad walked up the mountain/hill and brought me back some sugar cane, which was so juicy, a lovely bone ring, and two maracas dressed as Cubans!

Mom and I had a giggle fit last night and we laughed so hard we were crying and it woke Dad up which made us laugh even more.

The tv here gest CTV (Canadian Television) Vancouver Island's Victoria feed! CRAZY!

Friday, 8 July 2011

How Long Has It Been

I was watching a tv show the other day and the main character went into her garage and dug out a bike she hadn't been on in years.

And all of a sudden I wanted nothing more than to go for a bike ride.

I don't have a bike anymore, but I think I might have to find one and take it out for a spin.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Drift Away

In The Crowd by foundimagination
One of the things that is always a bit of a letdown (and a year or two ago was absolutely devastating, so yay me for getting stronger in some ways I guess) is when an online dating conversation just kind of... fades.

See, I get how it works now, I didn't at first, but I do now. A guy chats with you because they think they might be interested in you and it's a way to see if you maybe have things in common or if you're smart or funny or interesting enough for the two of you to want to meet.

And if you do want to meet, you arrange that, usually pretty soon, but sometimes up to a week or two after you've first started "talking."

But what also happens and is almost always a bummer is when the guy who'd been answering your messages right away or that same day starts taking a couple of days to answer, or maybe just doesn't answer at all.

I used to wonder what it was that was keeping the guy so busy he wasn't able to send me a message back but I've come to realize it just means his interest has been moved to someone else.

Someone more intriguing or attractive (to them) or younger (a lot of guys have age hangups it seems) or just someone they're clicking with more.

And so instead of messaging you back they're talking to them.

A few guys are good about it and say right up front "hey, I've been seeing someone else and won't continue talking to you." And I imagine one day if I meet a boyfriend via this medium I'll have to say the same to someone, but most guys just kind of...stop talking to you.

As I said, I used to be devastated by it but now I just kind of let it go. I don't know if it's just a matter of getting used to the fact that this is how it seems to work on this site or if I don't really have any hopes anymore anyway or what.

But yeah, I was going to tell you about a nice guy I'd been talking to but he just kind of drifted away, so there's nothing much really to tell.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Nom

There are a lot of things in life I don't understand, but one of them is how people can prepare strawberries and not eat them all right then and there.

Like, I try to wash and cut up strawberries for the next day's lunch, but then I sit there knowing they're in the fridge and I have to just go and eat them.

I don't know how anyone else doesn't just do the same.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Awkward

Caught In It by foundimagination
People always say that Victoria is a small town, but I didn't grow up here, so I've never quite had that experience. I mean, we don't have family friends here and my parents didn't grow up here either so the only people I know are the people I've met since I've moved here.

But I did find myself having a rather awkward "small town" moment this weekend.

I don't know how it works with your job, but in the spy world, there does tend to be a sense of everyone knowing someone and therefore we all kind of know each other. Probably. I mean, more often than not if you meet a spy in this town you know another spy that knows them in that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way.

I usually allow this to work in my favour when I come across a fellow spy on an online dating site, but it ended up being a little bit uncomfortable this weekend.

See, one of my best friends used to date a spy. In fact, she very nearly married this spy and while I've never met him, I, of course, know a lot about him as this friend and I met right around the time their relationship was breaking up.

In fact, I know more about him than would ever be appropriate to tell him. And not that any of the information is mean or damaging, but... well, I just know stuff.

Which meant I didn't know what to say when this guy randomly messaged me this weekend.

"Hey!" he said. "The spy world is pretty small, I'd be surprised if I don't know you and I'd love to chat!"

Which, really, is very nice and all, but... um.... how am I supposed to say "Well actually, Steve, I know YOU because I'm best friends with one of your exes and let me tell you I think you should have let her keep the furniture when you guys split up. So really, I think it's probably not the best plan for us to chat, but hey, good luck!"

Awk. Ward.

So, yeah, my first real experience of small town syndrome has left me feeling like rather a creep. Or maybe a stalker. Or something. D'oh!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Whew

I think that may have been the longest long weekend ever!

And man, did I ever need it.

Last week at work was exhausting, and I only worked a few days of it, but still. This long weekend couldn't have come at a better time and although I know I'll probably never quite be who I was three weeks ago, I am feeling slightly closer to normal.

Or, as C-Dawg might say, as "normal" as I can get.

Normal-ish.

Maybe I'm just feeling a bit better and less stressed.

So happy holidays to all my friends from the US and back to work for the rest of us!

Hope your weekend was a good one.

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Most Needed Surprise (To Me) Holiday Day Ever!

I went to bed last night nearly in tears with relief that today's Canada Day and therefore a holiday and therefore knowing that I could sleep in a bit and rest and relax for the day. So Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and a happy long weekend to my 'Merican friends too!


Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song
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P.P.S. All this stuff is copyright from then til now (Like, 2006-2017 and then some.) Kay? Kay.