Archive for April, 2010

(I can’t resist a good Cake reference! The “cutting through Jell-o with a very sharp knife” makes me smile every time.)

The first bed I ever slept in was a small mahogany single.

I did not like it.

My mother speculates that this was because I was afraid of the bed. I slept in a crib up for a long time, but when I hit two, I had kicked a good number of the bars out and they had to replace it with an actual bed. Apparently, I was fine during the entire set up process and even trotted around trying to help, but about ten minutes after they put me to sleep in it, I climbed out of my new bed, went down to where they were sitting in the living room and told them I wanted to “go home.”

I remember my dad used to say that I would curl up into a ball when I slept. Pristine looking sheets all across the bed except for a little Girl sized bump at the edge. This lead to me earning the nickname of “Lumpy” as a kid which I hated with a passion. I mean, really, what girl wants to be called “Lumpy”? So I changed my sleeping style a bit. I still curled slightly, bringing my knees up to my stomach but I was more like a partially opened potato bug than a fully closed or dead one.

I slept in the same bed for 14 years. The bed frame had to be replaced when I was about 6 (it snapped in the night and I woke up on an incline) but I made it all the way into high school snoozing on that single. However, by then, it was really obvious that I needed a new bed. Being as tall as I was (which at the time was about 5’9″), I’d had to revert to my “Lumpy” sleeping position to get any rest, otherwise my feet would hang over the edge/smack against the metal frame.

So we went bed shopping. We mulled daybeds and doubles for a while before finally settling on a gold coloured boxspring and mattress set which seemed long enough to accomodate me. I remember being really excited when I got home from school the day it arrived. I couldn’t wait to see it and to sleep in it for the first time. However, when I got up to my tiny bedroom, I realized that aside from maybe a foot or so on either side, my new bed took up the entire space.

My dad and I stood in the door frame and stared at it.

“It’s really . . .” he said.
“I know.” I said.

That first night, sleeping was strange. I knew I had the space to move around but it didn’t feel right to hog it all myself. Even though I wasn’t expecting company, it seemed greedy somehow. So, I stretched out a bit but stayed staunchly on the right side. Any other way felt too weird.

A  year or so later, we sold the house with the tiny bedroom and moved into a smaller house where I somehow managed to snag a bigger one. Living in the basement was weird, since I had only ever slept on the same floor as my parents, but it gave me a little more freedom. I could watch tv in bed as late as I wanted without disturbing anyone. I could bounce around to music on it when I got home from school. I could even stand on it when I climbed out the window to go joyriding with the boy who lived down the street*. And then later, when I was grounded, I could lie on my bed and think about what I’d done wrong.

The following Christmas, I met a boy I liked. He wasn’t the boy from down the street, but another one, a friend of a friend. We met at a holiday party and stared at each other across the table the entire night. I resolved to throw a New Years Party, specifically so I could have this boy over to my house. And he came. And when the clock struck twelve, he kissed me Happy New Years in a way that made my stomach twist into a million knots. He ended up staying over after everyone had left to watch a movie. Lying on my bed, instead of watching the movie, I watched his face in the blue glow of the television and thought about how content I was in that moment. I fell asleep that way and held onto that feeling as I said goodbye to him the next morning.

This is going to be a good year, I thought to myself as I smiled and watched him walk down the street to catch his bus.

A few weeks later, I saw him at a party. He was sitting on a couch and holding hands with the girl sitting next to him. His girlfriend, someone told me.

This is the worst year ever, I thought to myself as I sobbed and cried myself to sleep.

A few months later, I got into a serious accident. I was in pain, I was weak, but mostly, I felt ashamed. My body was different now, and the idea of anyone looking at it or seeing the new version of me made me anxious, so I stayed in my room by myself. Sometimes, friends would come over and cuddle in bed with me to watch movies, but most of the time, I slept. I slept at night. I slept during the day. Sometimes I would wake up, have no idea what time it was and go right back to sleep. I slept hard and deep and dreamlessly for days at a time. It took a long couple of months before I felt ready to rejoin the world and get out of the cozy cocoon that was my bed.

My senior year of college, the bed moved with me to my first apartment where I lived with my roommate Buffy. Buffy, it turned out, was kind of a crazy deadbeat, so I would often spend time in my bedroom napping to get away from her. At least in my dreams I could pretend I wasn’t living with someone who ate my food, stole my money and brought weird men from the internet home.

Finally, it got to be too much and after an $800 cheque of rent and backlog utilities bounced, I called my parents and begged them to get me out of my horrible living situation.

“She eats all my crackers and the last boyfriend genuinely thought he was a vampire!” I cried into the phone.

So they came to get me, loading my bed and personal effects into a big moving truck. However, when they brought them back to their house to bring them into one of the bedrooms upstairs (my old room had been converted into a library), part of my bed, the boxspring, couldn’t get up the stairs.

“We can push all we want, but it’s not going to go,” my dad said after measuring the hallway. So instead, I slept on a mattress on the floor. At least, I did until about six months later when my back started hurting. There was no give with things set up like that, so it was like sleeping on a plank. I needed to figure out a temporary fix to give me a little more comfort until I could move out.  The solution? An airmattress on top of the mattress. It was bouncy, but easier on my back so I felt pretty good about it. Aside from the strange plasticy smell . . . and the fact that my boyfriend at the time didn’t like it.

“What is your problem?” I asked him one day when we were fooling around on it.
“It’s your bed!” He told me. “I feel like we’re in a bouncy castle and that any big movements will pop it! I don’t want to pop your bed!”

Needless to say, things didn’t work out with him.

A couple of months later, my dad got some wood and fit it into the bottom of my old bedframe. It wasn’t as comfortable as it was with the boxspring, but it was more comfortable than the floor and it kind of felt like a real bed again which was great.

A few months after that, I met Boy. We chatted online for a while before he finally got the nerve to ask me out for coffee. Sitting on the edge of the bed, adjusting my skirt, applying my make up and getting ready for our first date, I felt incredibly nervous. Would he be funny? Would he be nice? Would he like me? With the accident and the roommate situation and the lame pop-phobic boyfriend breakup, I wasn’t sure I could deal with another disappointment. But when I got there and saw him sitting at a table waiting for me, I felt immediately relaxed. The conversation was easy and he made me laugh.

“You are delightful and I definitely want to see you again,” he told me when he dropped me back at my parents’ house that night. I practically reverberated that night as I drifted off to sleep, I was so excited.

When we’d been dating for about two months, Boy called me in a panic. “My dad is having people at the house all weekend and I don’t want to be here. Do you mind if I stay over at your place?” Because I liked him so much, I agreed, but I still felt kind of reluctant about the whole thing. I wasn’t sure to expect. What would it be like having a boyfriend stay over? And what would he think of my crazy bed?

As it turned out, Boy didn’t even seem to notice. He just climbed into bed with me that night (a left side sleeper to my right – woohoo!) and wrapped his arm around me as we drifted off. Not only that, but he was a courteous sleeper. Appropriately snuggly and rolled when I rolled. It felt good. It felt comfortable. It felt right.

It’s been a few years now, but Boy and I still sleep in my same bed. We’re no longer the courteous sleepers we once were. I have a tendency to snore when I’m sick or really exhausted and when my back hurts, I sprawl so far across the bed, Boy has to shove me aside to climb in. As for Boy, when he falls into a deep sleep, he’ll often crowd us to the edge of my side or snap his jaw like he’s chewing something.

But it still feels good. It still feels comfortable. It still feels right.

It feels like home.

*Funny sidenote about the joyriding: I only had my permit, but the boy from down the street let me drive his mother’s Old Crown Victoria around the city at night which I loved. I didn’t know it at the time, but what we were doing was kind of illegal because I needed to have licensed driver of five years in the car with me (the boy was 19 so he was not) and his mother apparently didn’t know we were taking her car. One time in particular, we could have gotten into some serious trouble because my mom woke up at four am, discovered I was not in my room, called the boy’s mother and then called the police. Whoops! Sorry Ontario government (and sorry Mrs. M for unknowingly stealing your car)!

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Recently, I found a bunch of music CDs I burned off the hard drive of my old computer so I’ve been adding them slowing to my iTunes to jazz up my music library. When listening to those songs, I came across some stuff from this band called Laptop. I hadn’t heard this album in a long time and it reminded me of a friend I used to have.

Basically, me and this girl grew up together. Because our families were friends, we hung out all the time and we were friends. Unfortunately, it was kind of like we were friends with an asterisk because our friendship was really dysfunctional. 

1. She pretty much bullied me into doing what she wanted a lot of the time. On my birthday, we’d go to restaraunts she wanted to go to. When we went to the movies, we’d see stuff she wanted to see. When we hung out at all, it had to be where she wanted to hang out when she wanted to hang out, otherwise we wouldn’t hang out at all. It was her way or the highway.

2. She kind of set up these roles for us in which she was the smart academic one and I was the ditzy creative one and they were never to be changed. If I did well on a test or an assignment, she didn’t want to hear about it.

3. The only time she really had any use for me was when I was in a crisis, and even then, if my crisis didn’t wrap itself up quickly enough, she would get bored and either harangue me about it or hang up on me altogether.

We had been “friends” for about 20 years when Boy and I got together. About two years in, he and I started discussing the hypotheticals of getting married. When I e-mailed her about this, I received no response. It was only months later that I received a rage filled e-mail from her, laundry listing everything she felt I had ever done wrong in the two decades and change we had been friends. I hadn’t supported her enough. I hadn’t made enough of an effort to come visit her at school. I had bragged about my own scholastic achievements. I had messed up the name of her new boyfriend one time. Any nasty thing she had ever thought about me was there in black and white. She then concluded the e-mail by telling me we could no longer be friends if I was going to be “a boring old suburban housewife” and that I “wasn’t the kind of person who deserved an amazing friend like (her) anyway.”

At the time, I was really devastated by this and spent the next two days slipping in and out of crying jags. I couldn’t believe I had lost the person I considered my best friend.

Looking back on it now, I have a little more clarity about the situation. Was it all her fault the friendship ended? No. I could have (and really should have) said something and stuck up for myself over the years we were friends. Instead, I accepted the dysfunctional dynamic as okay and things went too far. Would I want to be friends again? Hell no. In spite of my not blaming her for the end of the friendship (I know I had some lacklustre moments myself because no one in a friendship is perfect), I also came to realize that being friends with someone who is actively pissed off by your being happy is MESSED UP.

At this point, it’s been about four years since we last spoke. I e-mailed her about a month before I got married and said I hope she was doing well, but never received a response. I don’t think I would have wanted one anyway.

We all have to learn to deal with a failed friendship at some point and this was one of mine. It was a painful experience, but I got through it and I feel smarter and more prepared to deal with people in the future. Being a friend doesn’t mean being spineless, it doesn’t mean keeping secrets from the other person and it definitely doesn’t mean trying to make the other person feel like crap.

So, on that note, here is the Laptop song. May you have a chuckle over it (it’s called “I’m So Happy You Failed” and it’s actually pretty funny) and then do everything you can to be the opposite of this person in real life.

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I Am A Gift Nerd

Something you ought to know about me – I love buying people presents. Sure, it’s nice getting them, but I love the feeling I get when I walk into a store and I see the EXACT RIGHT thing for someone I know and love in front of me. It’s like I can’t stop myself because the idea of making them happy makes me so giddy, I have to go for it.

As I have mentioned before several times, I’ve been big on buying my unborn niece presents. I’d bought her 4 presents even before my lovely Sister in Law’s baby shower, so when the baby shower hit, I could legitimately unleash some more of my present love on Smee. Yes, I know I’m going to be the mega-spoiling aunt, but I’m an only child and this is the first baby in our family, so I can’t help it.

In any case, these are the presents that I bought for Smee for the shower that happened yesterday. Check ’em out and ooh and aaw along at their adorableness!

Present 1: Iris Flutter Sleeve Dress by Tea
When people are having a girl, it’s like some crazy unwritten law that you have to buy them a dress. But I wanted to go a little more on the practical side which is why I went with Tea because their stuff is all soft, easy to wash cotton. As for the print, my Sister and Brother in Law have said before that they hope the baby has soft curly hair and when I saw this dress, I was instantly smitten with the idea of a curly headed little girl wearing it.

Present 2: Hummingbird Wrap Romper by Tea
The baby is being born in May, so with the summer stretching out ahead, I thought it was a good idea to pick something that let her little legs feel the sun and get some air. Plus, hummingbirds have a special meaning for me and I love the colour blue, so this seemed like a good choice.

Present 3: I’d Really Like To Eat A Child by Slviane Donnio
I wrote about this one before, but I still really love it. The sulky little face he makes when his parents try to get him to eat bananas is awesome. Love it!

Present 4: Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
A story about a lion that loves books. I was won over almost immediately by the drawing of the lion sitting patiently listening to children’s storytime.

Present 5: Always by Anne Stott
I know people are all gaga about the book I Love You Forever, but I’ve never really been into that because I feel like it goes a bit overboard with adorableness (plus what is with the mom breaking into her son’s house in the middle of the night to rock him in his sleep? If my Mother-in-Law did that, I would be freaked out!). I liked the fact that this one had a great element of sweetness to it, but that it was not too crazy sentimental, because I think that’s more how I tend to be in life.

Present 6: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
This was Boy’s pick. We were in the store looking for a couple more books for Smee and he said this was a must have. I have never read it (shame on me!) but the second I took a look at it, I knew why Boy liked it. The pissed off little face on the cover is pretty what he looks like when I try to drag him out of bed on the weekend.

Present 7: The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman
Growing up, I had some serious love for Phoebe Gilman. I owned the Jillian Jiggs books* and loved them, but this one was probably my favourite. I love how gorgeous and colourful the illustrations were and if I had had the option, I definitely would have wanted a balloon tree of my very own.

Anyway, that is everything for now. I already have Smee’s next gift picked out, but I am trying to pace myself. Is anyone else out there a gift nerd? What kind of stuff do you like buying for people and why?

*One of my most heart breaking moments as a little kid was in the first grade when, just after I got it from my school’s book order, my friend Melody dropped my brand new copy of The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs on the slush covered floor of her mother’s car, ruining it forever. So sad!

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So it’s been almost a week since we got the news about my husband’s layoff and things are starting to normalize a little bit. The weekend had some tough moments as the news hit us a little more, but overall it was enjoyable and we managed to make the most of it.

On Saturday, I went and got my haircut (I look like one stylish chick if I do say so myself) and then we got dressed up and hit the town! Some friends of ours from downtown had told us about an event being thrown by Circus Without Borders called Lunacy Cabaret so we grabbed some tickets and headed out to the East End. Basically, it was a variety show with various types of dancers, comedians and circus acts, so it got us to laugh which was what we both needed. And as a special treat, the show we went to also featured a bunch of giant balloon sculptures which was amazing to see. During an audience participation segment I was actually given a little yellow balloon fish which I took a shining to since I am attracted to cute brightly coloured things. 😛 I named him “Gill” and he currently resides in our apartment over our lightup PacMan sign.

On Sunday, we took it much easier. I made cinammon buns and fresh coffee for Boy for breakfast and after much lollygagging and watching of Animal Planet, we walked up into town and ran some minor errands, including a supply run for my Sister-in-Law’s baby shower which is this upcoming weekend.

As I mentioned in my “Keeping Positive” blog post the other week, I have been working on helping put together Erin’s shower since the beginning of the year.  Originally, I tried to sell Erin on the idea of a Peter Pan themed shower (everyone wears paper pirate hats!), but she wasn’t feeling it. However, when we found out that Smee was a girl, inspiration struck – why not do an Alice in Wonderland tea party themed Unbirthday Party for Smee? This idea was met with a gold star, so we hit the ground running and pretty much since then, it’s been all about Alice. In addition to the shower, I have also been working on a top secret project for Smee that I began in December and then finally completed this morning at 1am (what can I say? I was on a roll!).

With the shower only three days away and the baby (hopefully) less than a month away from being born, we are all hitting extreme levels of excitement. Almost every time I talk to my Brother-in-Law we lament the wait and speak about my niece’s arrival with both enthusiasm and disbelief. “Can you believe there’s only X number of weeks before the baby gets here? Can you believe you’re going to be someone’s Dad?” As for Boy, he is stoked about the idea of having a niece. He’s been talking non-stop about growing a mustache and being the cool urban uncle. With the nine month waiting period almost up, I’ve got to say, it’s a little bit mind-blowing, even from a distance. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like when we have kids . . . in a few years.

Anyway, that’s everything that is going on with us right now. I’ll do a proper post about the shower and my Secret Smee Project after the festivities on Sunday. As for Boy’s job situation, I’ll update once we have more news. The man is a serious work horse, pulling together a whole new beautiful portfolio and resume in like two days! Even if I weren’t married to the guy, I’d be impressed by his drive and his enthusiasm. 🙂

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Well That Sucks

Since Boy and I have been together, I have been laid off not once, but twice. I also quit a job once because I was verbally abused by my employer. So we’ve experienced my being unemployed a few times as a couple and I’ve dealt with it as an individual. As anyone who’s ever been there can tell you, even if you know it’s coming, it throws you for one helluva loop because you’re suddenly scrambling to figure out what the hell you’re going to do with your life.

Today, unfortunately, it was Boy’s turn to be thrown.

We are doing our best to look on the bright side. One of Boy’s employers has secured him some freelance work so there will be money coming in for a few more weeks. We don’t live an extravagent lifestyle and we have some savings so we’re not in dire straits. This frees Boy up to investigate some of the other employment opportunities he’s been thinking about. We have a great network of friends and family to support us emotionally through this sucky time.

But on top of all of that, we have each other. Yeah, it sounds kinda cutesy and vomit-inducing to say that – “We have each other” – but it is actually true. Part of deciding to get married is committing to being on the other person’s side. It’s like saying “Hey, I love you so much that I want to join forces with you. I want to work with you, to fight with you and to cheer you on through all the crazy $h!t that’ll be coming down the road at us. We’ll enjoy the good stuff together and when the not-so-good stuff happens, we’ll work on making it better together.”

So tonight I’m going home, and instead of freaking out/crying/worrying, Boy and I going to go out and have a nice dinner to celebrate the fact that when times get tough, it’s good to have have an ally.

And we’re going to drink. A whole lot.

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Okay, so this band doesn’t actually exist anymore but this song is one of my favourites. I can’t remember exactly when I first came across it, but I believe it was sometime during my third year of college when I was going through some major emotional stuff. You know, adjusting to the idea of being an adult, reveling in my independence, and of course, being genuinely smitten with a dude (who seemed to be smitten back!*) for the first time kind of stuff. Thinking back to it now makes me want to smile and shudder at how ridiculously earnest I was.

Anyway, it’s Friday and it’s beautiful out, so I figured it was a good day to post a sweet song like this. Take a listen and think back to your first love while you do.

*Believe me, this was a red letter experience for me since, but until that point, I had a tendency to secretly fall for people who didn’t know that I existed. I was cripplingly shy as a teenager and it took a while for me to come out of my shell.

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I’ve gone through a period of time recently where, aside from Scott Pilgrim, I haven’t been all that psyched about some of the movies on the horizon. I like having things to look forward to cinematically, but nothing has quite tickled my fancy recently. Iron Man 2? Eh. Sex and the City 2? Don’t even get me started as to why this is wrong*. But then, I came across a couple of trailers for some French movies that looked kind of  fun and they sparked my interest again.

Trailer #1: MicMacs

The director of Amelie does a movie where a guy gets shot in the head and joins a family of misfits to track down the people who almost killed him. Colourful circus antics abound!

Trailer #2: Les Aventures Extraordinaire d’Adele Blanc-Sec

The director of Leon brings us a movie where a female novelist/journalist investigates the occult, the walking dead and apparently a large pterodactyl.

I’m not certain they will be cinematic masterpieces, but they both have original stories and beautiful art direction that make me want to see what they’re about.

Ah, those wacky French people, is there anything they can’t do?

*Okay, here’s the thing. I liked the show as a girly guilty pleasure and the first movie was okay, but it really needs to stop now. If they’re trying to convince me that Big is the love of Carrie’s life, why is he always being such a dickbag to her? He’s ditched her for Paris. He’s broken up with her and quickly married someone else after saying he couldn’t get married again. When she had something good going on with Aiden, he swept in to screw up the relationship. Then, he left her at the alter and she still married him! And now he’s cheating? Really people? Is a grown man this big of a basket case? And if he is, why am I supposed to find him appealing? Can’t you just leave well enough alone? And why do you have to drag poor John Corbett into this again? Just let him live a peaceful life recording voice overs on his ranch with Bo Derek already! Bah!

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