Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monthly Update

It's quarter to 12 (midnight) on a work night. What better time to blog, right?

1. It's been far too long without a vehicle lesson for me. I feel the eerie silence before a storm. I did forget to write about the time when I was filling up with gas in Ann Arbor before driving home. I had been reading my car's owner's manual and it said that when filling the tank, you can let the nozzle click off twice before needing to stop. So I was happily pouring liquid gold into my car (sorry, I mean gas) and it clicked off. I, so responsibly having read the manual and knowing I could keep going, gripped the nozzle again. All of a sudden, gas started leaking out the bottom of the car. That's when I discovered there's a trap door in gas tanks to prevent them from over-filling. I wasn't happy seeing like 75 cents of gas on the cement and not you know, in my gas tank.

Other than that, the Fiesta's been smooth sailing.


2. I have joined the legions of people who jog outside. I started about 2 weeks ago and I absolutely love it. I've been running on a treadmill since 2007. In 2009 I got really good, but fell off the wagon in 2010. Now that I'm back at it, I find it depressing constantly comparing my runs to 2009. Outside, I don't care. I'm distracted and there's a breeze and I can't just get off the treadmill and stop, I at least have to walk home. My knees also don't hurt as much (which isn't how it's supposed to work) and I can actually keep a faster pace than I can on a treadmill. I'm glad something exciting came along to my running, because I was starting to give up and assume I'll never get back to where I used to be in 2009. Ten minute miles seem like a lifetime ago.


3. This summer has been insanely busy. I've been to 2 weddings already (including one in Hawaii!) and have 2 more to go. I've decided that "open bar" is the best phrase in the English language.

Aside from weddings, last weekend I drove to Ottawa for Canada Day and to visit an old friend. I don't see this friend very often; the second-last time we hung out was December 2009. After 2 bottles of wine, we decided we wanted tattoos. Nothing in Ottawa was open at the time but we vowed to get those tattoos. A year and a half later, we finally got them.

This weekend I drove to Toronto for another friend's birthday. I told myself in Nunavut that whenever I moved down south, I would start wearing cuter shoes and clothes. I've succeeded, but it comes at a price. The price of blisters on my toes. As someone who wore sneakers and loafers until the age of 24, this is all new to me. I bought a pair of like 6 inch wedges today. I feel like I am officially a woman.

4. Everything else is going very well. The car (as I mentioned), the job, the boyfriend, the personal training. I've been playing road hockey this summer too, though my hectic schedule seems to always get in the way. I have discovered I quite enjoy hockey and that I want to continue with ice hockey in the winter. It's about time, I probably win the award for Oldest Canadian to Pick Up a Hockey Stick for the First Time.

5. Oh yes, Hawaii. Amazing. Spectacular. Relaxing. Fragrant. What I loved about Hawaii the most is how happy everyone is. Runner-up is how great everything smells. It literally is paradise.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blah

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I've been busy brooding over the future of this blog. I've been leaning toward just ending it and starting a Tumblr instead. But then I remember all the nice comments people have left and I feel guilty. Honestly, I just don't have a lot to say these days. There's only so many posts I can make about things going well. For the sake of my own privacy, I'd rather not write more personal entries.

I guess I have some thinking to do. And to rub it in, just 'cause I can, next week I may or may not be thinking about my blog as I sip pina coladas on the shore of Maui. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boringness

Sorry folks, not a lot has been going on here lately. I'm keeping busy with the gym 6 times a week, eating like it's going out of style, sleeping like it's going out of style, working, and visiting Anthony and friends.

1. I've been doing personal training for over a month now and I already feel like I'm further than I was when I worked out by myself all the time in 2009. I'm really enjoying going but I am so tired by the time I get home at the end of the day. Waking up at 5:30am makes for long days. I've lost a bit of weight and hope to lose about 10 more pounds by June (probably wishful thinking).

2. Anthony booked our tickets to Hawaii today. WOOOOOOOOOOOO. I can't tell you how excited I am to spend a whole week in Hawaii (Maui and Honolulu) with Anthony. Starting in May (3 days, yikes) I'm going to start tanning. I'm so pale, I don't want to burn to a crisp when I'm there.

3. The car continues to be great. It's nice to have the whole process over with.

4. My iPhone is in the shop right now as the battery died for the last time yesterday. I've been whining a lot about not having my phone, haha. It's weird not to know the SECOND someone is trying to contact you whether via email, text, Twitter or Facebook. I feel so out of the loop even though I'm really not.

That's about it. See, it wasn't very interesting, was it?

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Car

Okay I lied. I didn't end up buying my mom's car. She decided it was probably better for her just to keep it. I then decided that because I want something I can keep a long time, I should buy something new. Ford had 0% financing and up to $1000 in cash back on new cars so I bought...


(That is my actual car.)

A 2011 Ford Fiesta. I picked it up yesterday and so far I love it. It's advertised to get 41mpg in the city and 55mpg on the highway. I can't complain about that! It's fun to drive and it's nice to have something that suits me a little better than a family sedan. I've been driving large vehicles most of my driving life so it's fun to have something a little small and sportier.

There's also this awesome interior lighting thing going on that I never knew about until I was driving it last night.





I thought the lighting was only around the cup holders and along the glove compartment, but it's on the floor too. You can pick between 2 shades of blue, white/clear, orange, purple, pink, and red. I can't decide which colour I like the best. Fun!

I'm so happy the search for a car is finally over. Now I can get back to important things like sleeping, eating, and sleeping.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winning

Well, I'm happy to say I have found my new car. My mom is going to sell me her Ford Fusion. It's actually a great win-win situation for both of us. I started to gear my search towards sedans (I'm oh so practical) and having a driven my own (leased) Fusion for 7 months, I knew the Fusion would be very ideal. My mom recently bought a fully-loaded 2007 Fusion with the highest trim level (V6 engine, heated leather seats, moon roof!). She also just bought a house and she's been stressed about being able to afford all her bills, mainly the car loan. A few weeks ago I was debating about whether to ask her if she'd sell the car to me, but wasn't sure. Two weeks ago the lease on my Fusion matured and my mom agreed to let me drive hers until I bought something. This week I started really getting serious about buying a car. I realized if I wanted a good price, I was going to have to go to Toronto to buy something. I have neither the time nor the desire to go to such trouble. So I asked her if she wanted to sell her car to me and I'd help her find something cheaper, and she agreed it was a good idea.

I'm really happy about it and look forward to transferring the ownership. Anthony's response about it was, "Dude, you're 24 and you're going to have a car with heated leather seats. Congrats."

--

In other news, these past 2 days I was in London for work. Although it doesn't faze my coworkers, to me getting to go out of town for work is a huge treat. I never got to do these things up north so I just soak it all in now.

This was the second time I've had to go to London for work. It's kind of a strange experience being back in London. As you may know, I lived there for a year before moving to Nunavut. I absolutely hated living there. At the time I was working a crappy call centre job, taking the bus, living paycheque to paycheque. Life was dismal to say the least, and I felt like London was chewing me up and spitting me out. I felt like life was a game I was losing and honestly, most of the time I was there I was in a state of depression. I'm not exaggerating when I say I used to pray I'd get hit by a car so I wouldn't have to go to work (or come home). When I'd be crossing the street and a car came near me, I'd think, "Hit me hit me hit me hit me!" When I left, I never wanted to step foot in London again.

But now, much to my surprise, I'm back and my life isn't a losing battle anymore. Driving downtown to go to a meeting with other federal employees, I can't help but feel like I won the battle against London. Instead of the cold bus, I have my own car (with heated leather seats!). There's no minimum wage, instead I have a cushy unionized job. To be in London and everything in my life has done a 180 for the better is a pretty cool feeling. Yesterday during a boring point in the meeting, I took stock of the situation. Dress pants, loafers, a coffee in one hand and a pen in the other. Listening to people talk about government policy as it relates to our work. A stark difference from the days when I'd peel unwashed clothes off my bedroom floor, gather my dirty hair into a ponytail, head out for the bus and go to my crap job. Somehow I got pretty darn lucky. I feel really fortunate that I can come back as a successful person. I've come a long, long way and it makes me realize that even though my life sucked for awhile, I came out ahead and without that crap time, I wouldn't be where I am now. It's a great feeling.

The other cool part about going to London was I got to stay with Jen and her family for the night. She made a yummy dinner and then we had a few rounds of Carcassonne and Catan. Thanks again, Jen! It was fun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unupdate

I see my page hits have been up the last few days so clearly you want to read something from me. Nothing really noteworthy has happened, hence the lack of entries in the last 10 days. However, I would be happy to tell you about all the things going on with me lately.

1. I'm sick, for the second time in 30 days. I went from December 2008 to February 2011 without so much as a runny nose so I'm pretty irritated. I was doing a lot of running around in February and hardly had any days off so it was understandable then, but what about now? Lame. On Monday, everyone who was at work was sick, it was almost entertaining. Every time someone came in, we had this exchange:
Me: Good morning! How was your weekend?
Coworker: Meh, I came down with something.
Me: Yeah, me too.

By the third time it felt like I was in some kind of Abbott and Costello sketch.

2. I'm pretty much preoccupied with thoughts of buying a vehicle. I haven't been sleeping well lately and I've been waking myself up obsessing about buying a car. The whole process is stressing me out. I'm really trying to put a lot of thought into it but there are so many options and decisions to make, and I'm getting sick of thinking about it. Yesterday I noticed a Nissan X-Trail in our parking lot. I'd never seen one before but physically, it's exactly like what I'm looking for. Then I found out they don't sell them in the USA and there goes that idea. I need something that will accompany me to Michigan, and if something ever goes wrong with it and it requires X-Trail parts, it'll have to be brought back to Canada. That and the newer ones aren't even sold in Canada anymore, they've been replaced by the (somewhat ugly) Rogue.

This is basically how it's been. I'll think I've turned a corner into making somewhat of a decision, and then it blows up in my face.

On the plus side, I am becoming quite familiar with all the SUVs on the market. I've always liked cars so it helps a bit being genuinely interested in all the research I'm doing.

3. Hopefully starting next week, I'll be volunteering with the Host Program. I'll be paired up with a family who recently immigrated to Canada and would like some help getting acclimatized to life here. I'm a little nervous that I don't have much to offer, other than a keen desire to help.

4. I started my personal training sessions and it's pretty awesome. Having a personal trainer makes me feel rich and spoiled, none of which are true, but it's fun to pretend.

5. I'm not reading anything right now, but technically I have 3 books on the go. I should probably get around to finishing something. Still Alice by Lisa Genova was REALLY good but REALLY sad. The quote on the cover is correct; it's not a book I'll forget.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Livin' the Dream

In case you were wondering, my first REAL weekend was great. This was the first weekend I didn't have to book off work. Do you want to know how I spent the weekend? You won't be surprised: I slept. Saturday and Sunday (today) I woke up at 11:30 and both yesterday and today I took 2 long naps in the afternoon. It was marvelous.

Anyway, I had a very busy week!

I went out for dinner 4 times, 2 of which were for my sister's birthday. She's now the big 2-0 which is pretty crazy considering I was married and living in Nunavut when I was 20.

On Thursday, I woke up very early (6am!) and went to the gym. I just joined GoodLife and they have something called the TRX system. It costs extra to use it, but they're doing 1-hour trial sessions so you can see if you like it. The only appointment they had was for 6:30am and I decided it was a good idea. I was of course, really irritated with myself the night before and at 6am, but once I was at the gym, I was so glad I went. I really want to make pre-work workouts a regular thing, but it's incredibly difficult to get out of bed when you don't have to. I decided to buy a set of 6 personal training sessions and I told them I want to do them all at 6am. Having an appointment is the only way I'll get out of bed. I wish you could get gyms to give you wake-up and/or harassment calls. YMCA members used to tell me the same thing when I worked there. "Can I pay you to call me and tell me to get my butt here?" I would always just laugh, but it's so true.

After work on Thursday, I donated blood for the very first time. If you remember, donating blood was my new year's resolution. The nurses/volunteers all asked me why I decided to donate blood, and I told them it was my resolution for 2011. They all thought that was wonderful. All in all, an awesome experience and I will go back! It didn't really hurt and I didn't have any side effects at all. In the past when I've had to give blood samples at the doctor, I've felt sick and dizzy. I think it was probably all in my head before, because donating a pint of blood was nothing.

On Friday, I had to drive out to London for some training on software I use at work. It was a neat experience going into the headquarters office there and meeting people.

Of course, I can hardly go a month without another vehicle lesson. I wonder when I'll stop doing dumb things, but I have a good feeling it's never.

After my course, I went across the street to the other office we have in London. When I left, I came back and went into the parking garage where I parked. Although I lived in downtown London for a year, our offices aren't on blocks I used to frequent. I kept getting disoriented and not knowing which direction I was going. So anyway, I mindlessly went into the garage and went up to the third floor, where I had parked. After walking around the entire perimeter of the third floor, I realized my car wasn't there. I'm currently reading Still Alice, about a woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. So I was a little freaked out I was having some kind of neural episode. I went down to the second floor and walked around, now sweating and heart pounding, and still didn't see my car. I had visions of going to my lease-end appointment at the dealership on Friday and having no car to give back. "I lost it somewhere, but I'm sure it'll turn up!"

After about 10-15 minutes of frantic searching, I suddenly looked around me. I wasn't in the right parking garage. I looked out the side of the building and saw the parking garage I HAD parked in. Twelve dollars later I was on my way, and feeling a little more dumb than when I had arrived in London.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Some Days, Life is Just Good

Things are great here in Jaimeland! My and Anthony's trip to Traverse City was very relaxing, but we did get stuck in a blizzard on the way back which delayed us by about an hour. All in all a fun trip. I just love Traverse City. I need to get in the habit of taking more photos. Anthony and I have done a lot of cool stuff together, but we both aren't photo taking people.

In other news, my new job is going very well. It's everything I could want in a job, plus more. And by "more" I mean I have my own parking spot. The type of classification I have within the federal government means I will never have my own office, but I will sure as hell take a parking spot!

When I tell everybody where I'm working now, they tell me they didn't realize this particular federal office had a branch in Sarnia. When I first learned of it a few years ago, I was also surprised and curious, so it's pretty awesome I work there now. I never would have guessed I'd be lucky enough to do my job right here in my hometown.

Speaking of my hometown, part of me is shocked that I have coworkers. Who decided to transfer here to Sarnia. And some of them have been here for several years! And they like it here! I guess in a way, it flatters me because I'm from Sarnia and I love Sarnia. So when I meet people who desired a move to Sarnia, I'm like, "Really? You wanted to come here?!" One of my coworkers has been here for 10 years and he says he loves it here. I thought that was pretty awesome, it made me really happy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TGIF (tomorrow)

Tomorrow is Friday and it's the first time in 7 months that I'm actually looking forward to the weekend, a REAL weekend! And a long weekend to boot! The first of many to come. It's too good to be true.

Anthony and I are headed to Traverse City for a belated Valentine's Day rendezvous. I'm really hoping the weather stays warm because I nearly froze to death in Traverse City in 2009.

In other news, I am currently obsessed with "Stereo Love" by Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina. If you're into dance/house/electronica even remotely, you should give it a listen. I heard it on my drive to work yesterday. I immediately Shazam'ed it, downloaded it, and have been listening to it on repeat since.

See you on the other side, folks! The other side of what? The weekend of course. The next time I write, I'll have started my new job. Life is way too awesome.

Edit: I forgot to mention, more or less for my own purposes, that I took a little detour while I was reading Atlas Shrugged. A detour as in, I read an entirely different book this week. As soon as I read the back of 3096 Days by Natascha Kampusche, I had to get home and read it immediately. It did not disappoint.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Finish the Sentence Meme

While I wait for my cold pills to kick in, how about another entry to bore you to tears? I thought so. Jen said she wanted to read about her favourite bloggers. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and call myself one of her favourites. Muahaha.

Maybe I should… Clean my room and do some laundry, only I feel like my head is going to explode because my sinuses are jam-packed with mucous-y goodness right now.

I love… Valentine's Day. I don't generally like holidays but as I'm getting older, I'm appreciating them more. I'm a total girl, so I love anything with pink and hearts. Valentine's Day is a pink and hearts free for all.

People would say that I’m… Chatty. Quick, don't make eye contact, she's about to open her mouth and ask if I want to hear a funny story!

I don’t understand… Why some people think it's okay to treat customer service people like crap. Work a day in their job. I've been working 7 days a week, sometimes up to 12 hours a day, making sacrifices in my personal life to be there, earning minimum wage, for a boss who probably doesn't care. Then I get to be snapped at all day long by people who think I'm beneath them because I'm behind a counter. That is not okay. Maybe some people have crappy jobs because they ARE stupid, but I'm not and neither are any of my coworkers, and I don't need you to assume I am and treat me accordingly. You don't know why I have this job, and no one is better than anyone else.

When I wake up in the morning… I immediately calculate how many hours until I can sleep again. It's a habit I wish I could break, but I can only get myself out of bed with a promise to nap again as soon as humanly possible.

I lost… a really big part of myself by moving back to Ontario, and I'm still grieving that loss. Some days are harder than others but I think the shock is finally out of my system. My stomach doesn't turn when I remember I'm not a Nunavummiuq anymore, but it did for a long time.

Life is… your own journey and nobody else's. Follow your own path, and don't let other people decide it for you. Let your innermost thoughts be your guide and you will never have regrets. I know I'm cheesy but it's true!

My past is… a series of mistakes, bad luck, good luck, and triumphs. But most of all, it's over. Yayyyy! I think the anti-histamines are kicking in, I'm starting to lose coherence here.

I get annoyed when… I'm woken up within an hour of my alarm going off, especially if it's within 10 minutes of my alarm. My dad tends to get up in the middle of the night and start doing dishes or watching something on TV. Yeah, these pills are working. I can't even tell if that sentence makes grammatical sense. Oops?

Parties are… not something I enjoy at all. I have a hard time functioning around large groups of people (excluding at work, obviously) and when there is pressure on me to be chatting and making jokes and seem sociable, I clam up.

I wish… there was no border between the USA and Canada. My life would be a million times easier.

Dogs… No.

Cats… are something I have had and will have for my entire life. It has been suggested many, many times that I will grow up to become a crazy cat lady. I love cats, but I just wish that people didn't use that as a theme for every gift for every occasion. Yes I like cats, but I don't need cat calendars, cat mugs, cat socks, cat everything. If you're going to get me something cat related, get Leah (my torti) a toy or treats or something. I don't need to live, breathe, eat, sleep cat cat cat.

Tomorrow… I work at 4:45am. I work these morning shifts so often that every time I greet a customer at work, I instinctively say, "Good morning!" no matter what time it is.

I have a low tolerance… for badly behaved children. And I don't mean when kids are just being kids (I tend to be pretty patient in that case). I mean kids who act out and know better. And what's with kids throwing money at me at my jobs? That's not cool, and it's only kids who do that. Adults don't fling a 20 on the counter and expect me to reach across and grab it. Oh oh oh...and when parents bring their kids into one of my jobs (I won't name which one), plop their kid on the counter, and get the toddler to complete the entire transaction with me. Umm...why do you do that? I'm not paid to entertain your child and be all cutesy and pretend like I'm enjoying it. It's not fun for me or your kid. And trust me on that last part, I can tell.

Whoa...these cold pills are making me edgy.

If I had a million dollars… I'd buy you a green dress, but not a real green dress, that's cruel! (Ughhh I hate the Barenaked Ladies but I do like that song).

I’m totally terrified… of getting into a car accident. When I drive on the highway, every time I hit a curve in the road, I completely freak out that someone is going to drift into my lane and side-swipe me. I don't know why it scares me so much, but I guess I just don't trust other drivers.


Spelling/grammatical mistakes and incoherent sentences are not my fault. I'm going to go lie down for an hour or 2 or 12 now.

The Food (+ Jaime = Bad Mood) Network

I have a confession to make, and you probably won't like me for it. I hate the Food Network.

My tastes and preferences have a tendency to border on the opposite of everyone else. This ranges from big things (like the fact you couldn't have forced me to go to prom) all the way down to the little things (I love black licorice). I am no stranger to crinkled noses and proclamations of, "You're weird!" I was born different and I'll die different.

I've noticed that most of the people I'm close to enjoy, for one reason or another, the Food Network. I think I get it; the food looks good and one can fool themselves into believing they're actually absorbing the advice being offered through the TV. I learned in school that babies don't learn English from watching TV, and I'm sure no one is becoming an amazing cook by watching Guy Fieri take ginormous bites of burgers. I don't know if it's true, but I read that your brain is more active while you're sleeping than it is while you're watching TV. If that's true, no one is remembering those 12 ingredients Jamie Oliver just dumped into a pot to make soup.

My friends don't seem to care what's showing on the Food Network; they just turn it on and watch. For me, I guess it's like watching informercials. I don't care what's being hawked, I'll watch it just the same.

Unfortunately, I'm subjected to the Food Network more than I'd like. I think it's Anthony's favourite channel, second only to ESPN.

So why, you ask, do I hate the Food Network? Easy: because it makes me hungry. Maybe my brain hasn't evolved to current levels of cognizance because when I watch the Food Network, I'm transformed into a starved dog, watching a juicy steak waved in front of my face, only to be taken away. I like what I see, and I want to eat it, but I can't. And that frustrates my brain and in turn, me. Perhaps my problem is that I don't zone out while watching TV so my engaged brain is concentrating on every detail.

Anthony once turned on the Food Network a night I was in Ann Arbor and was really hungry (I don't remember why). Watching delicious dishes of whatever-the-heck on a 50" screen right in front of me only served to put me in a bad mood. When Anthony finally agreed to get up and make something to eat, he gave me a dried up, leftover piece of chicken. After watching the Food Network for an hour, my taste buds were a little disappointed. Each time since then, I've hated the Food Network with a growing intensity.

I don't know why I can't watch the Food Network without getting ravenous and irritable, but I just can't. I don't know how other people can stand it. It's not like I keep myself in a perpetual state of starvation, but I'm sorry: if I see food, I want to eat it (I'm on a "seafood diet" HA HA HA).

So there you have it. Another chapter in the book of Things Everyone Loves That I Can't Stand.

Maybe I'll make this a regular thing since it's such a vast topic.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Deep Thoughts

1. It seems I have found myself with a head cold for the first time since 2008. That's right; I went all of 2009 and 2010 without ever getting sick (excluding hangovers, obviously). For someone who used to get sick 4-5 times a year, 2 years being cold- and influenza-free was awesome. I tend to be a bit of a hand-washing and Purell fiend which I think is a big part of why I didn't get sick for over 2 years. But I knew that eventually, working 7 days a week -- with the public and money no less -- and the go-go-go lifestyle I've had since December, a cold would be waiting for me as soon as I slowed down. Granted, I'm hardly sick. I have a sore throat, a cough, and a bit of an upset stomach. I don't feel like a truck ran me over which was usual fare with colds I got prior to moving up north.

2. I have ordered myself a pair of YogaToes after debating it for the last year or so. I was born with hammertoe on my 3 outer toes of both feet and thus hate going barefoot. Don't do a Google Images search of hammertoe because as I just discovered, there are people with feet that look way worse than mine. I'm really hoping they help straighten out my toes but only time will tell.

3. If you've been reading my babbles for awhile now, you know that when it comes to me and driving, something ridiculous is always happening to me. In November I had 2 flat tires (including a blow out on the freeway). In December I drove through that crazy blizzard and it took me 3 hours to drive 100 miles, and then on Christmas, 3 deer almost greeted me through my windshield.

I thought the thing with 3 deer was bad, until Superbowl Sunday happened. I drove to Ann Arbor after work to surprise Anthony by showing up to his Superbowl party. Unfortunately I had to drive back as soon as the game was done so I could squeeze in 4 hours of shuteye before starting work at 4:45am. All was well and I was cruising along until I hit the Willow Run area (just outside of Ann Arbor). I was in the furthest left lane when without warning, my car started veering left. I realized I was basically skating on a highway of ice, and my car resisted any kind of feeble control I tried to force upon it. My car started sliding into the centre of the freeway, while still spinning left. At one point I was ass-backward, staring at cars quickly approaching me. Still spinning left, my car eventually slid over to the right shoulder, facing the proper direction, and stopped just short of the ditch. Leprechauns aren't that lucky. I don't know how long the whole spin lasted, but it felt like an hour. I am so incredibly lucky that nobody hit me. I was of course, in tears, grateful to be spared from yet another accident on that damned highway.

That's when I decided that screw what everyone else keeps saying, I'm buying a f$&*ing SUV with 4WD if it's the last thing I do.

The highway was icy for the next 5 or 10 miles (it felt like hours) and I witnessed many, many cars in the ditch or spinning out of control. Later, in Grosse Point, the SUV behind me spun out of control, hit the middle barrier, then bounced off and hit the right barrier, getting stuck in the adjacent snowbank, blocking the furthest right lane. If I had been a few seconds behind, it would have taken me with it.

So to everyone who has turned up their nose at my plans to buy an SUV and sneered, "Why do YOU need an SUV?! You don't need 4-wheel-drive!" I implore you...start driving me to Ann Arbor and back each week, mmkay? Good luck!

Oh and by the way, I got home at 1am but was still shaken up. I fell asleep around 1:30am, woke up at 4:20am, and was at my desk for 4:45am, just in time for all the regulars to come in, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and asking how my weekend was. What weekend? I haven't had 2 or more days off in a row since November.

4. On a much, much better note, I've pretty much decided to take myself on a Caribbean vacation sometime in the next few months. However, my plan is that I can't book it until I get down to the weight I was in December 2009. That's only 8-9lbs from where I am now, so it shouldn't be too hard. Once I start my new job and am on a normal schedule, it'll be easy to get back into going to the gym all the time. As long as I don't injure myself yet again, which is almost definite.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Books and Work

So I can finally spill the beans! I got a job with the federal government here in Sarnia! I've never been a fan of discussing job specifics on here, so all I'll say is it's with the same government "department" I used to work for.

I'm beyond excited; however, it's thrown a wrench in my plans to move stateside. It would be a terrible mistake to pass up this opportunity to further my career and pay off my debts, so we've decided to postpone my visa for the next few years. It's hard to imagine being here for a few more years but I know it's the best thing in the long run.

I'm going to hang onto my bookstore job for the meantime, though I probably will give it up eventually. I've been reading so much lately, it'll be difficult to quit!

I've been really slow lately, because I didn't have much time off last month. Here's what I've read since I last blogged about books.

After I finished Still Missing by Chevy Stevens was:

-An Amish Gathering by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Barbara Cameron. I had no idea that Amish fiction was even a genre but since I picked up this book, I noticed we have WAY more where that came from. I enjoyed it because they tell simple, feel-good, conventional stories of love and morality.

-Out of My Head (retitled Unknown) by Didier van Cauwelaert. The cover said it was "now a major motion picture." I figured it was an old movie, but it's apparently coming out February 18th. I might just have to see it. The premise is that a man awakes from a coma and comes home to discover there's a man living as him and his wife doesn't recognize him. The whole book, I kept trying to figure out what was going on. I swore I had it right, only to be totally shocked at the end. A good, quick read!

-The Impact of a Single Event by RL Prendergast. A few of the girls at work were raving about it, as were customers. The plot is that a couple with a failing marriage discover a car accident on the side of the road. They find an old journal, which various people have written in, spanning 2 centuries. The story was interesting but I don't get the hype. I was happy when the protagonist unknowingly geocaches at the end! The geocache mentioned in the book is real so that was the most exciting part for me, ha.

As soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going to start reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I have a bad feeling it's going to take me until 2013 to finish. The Fountainhead took me nearly a year!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vroom Vroom Choices

I hate not being able to write what's going on with me! I have really awesome news but alas, it must be kept semi-secret until it's all confirmed.

I can say, however, that I'm trying to pick an SUV to buy (probably new). These are the ones I'm thinking about (in order of preference):

#1. Honda CRV
#2. Subaru Forester
#3. Ford Escape
#4. Nissan Rogue
#5. Suzuki Grand Vitara (I miss my XL-7!)
#6. Honda Element
#7. Ford Edge
#8. Hyundai Tuscon

As you can see, I really need to narrow it down to one or two so I can actively pursue the best deal. I find it hard to find good advice on the Internet about which car to buy, since you can find basically every opinion about everything on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Big Book List

Working at a bookstore has had an intense effect on my level of reading. It's January 12th and I just finished my third book. My third book! Historically unheard of for me.

I've been on an abduction/hostage kick. It started with Room by Emma Donoghue. Amazing book, can't recommend it enough. It'll change the way you think about everything. It's also a Canadian book, which I think is great. On Wikipedia, it said that Room was loosely based on the Fritzl case. Having liked the book so much, I decided to buy a book from our store about that case. It was called Secrets in the Cellar and was written by John Glatt. It was the first true crime I've ever read. My mom reads true crime exclusively so it cued a little, "I'm turning into my mom!" panic that us ladies tend to have sometimes, haha. I think I would read more true crime in the future, but it would have to be a case I find particularly interesting.

After that, everyone at work was talking about Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (also a Canadian novel). Also about a girl who was abducted, I decided to continue on the theme. I didn't like it as much because I found the narrator kind of annoying. That wrecks a lot of books for me.

Anyway, here's what I would like to read in the future, since I seem to be reading so much.

1. The Impact of a Single Event by R.L. Prendergast. This is next in line and it's supposed to be really good.

2. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I started it about a week ago but decided to go with Still Missing instead.

3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Been meaning to read it forever.

4. Anything by Chuck Palahniuk. Fight Club is my favourite book.

5. House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

6. Anything by James Patterson. I figure I should start trying to read at least one book from such famous authors. It's kind of pathetic when I can't even carry on a conversation about such well-known authors.

7. Anything by Danielle Steel. Reading something like this will be takin' one for the team. I'm not a chick lit fan.

8. The bridal quartet books by Nora Roberts. I'll try. Again, not a chick lit kinda girl.

9. Crank by Ellen Hopkins. I suppose I should read some of the famous teen books, too.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

11. Something tolerable in the sci-fi/fantasy genre (no JRR Tolkien, no Star Wars, no Star Trek, no Halo). Thinking maybe something by Terry Goodkind.

12. A book in the Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton (kids' book).

13. A book in the Candy Apple series by Laura Dower (kids' book).

14. Something by Mauve Binchy.

15. The Amish novellas book I picked up.

16. One pro-Christianity/religion book.

17. One anti-Christianity/religion book (probably something by Richard Dawkins).

18. "A" is for Alibi by Susan Grafton. I can't believe I actually remembered the author's name and which books she writes. You can't imagine the madhouse that is my brain these days. Start working at a bookstore a few weeks before Christmas and watch how your brain explodes with names and titles. I once had a nightmare about Jodi Picoult books and I've never even read one of her before.


Any recommendations from genres other than general fiction would be appreciated. Or if it's general fiction, it has to be REALLY, REALLY good. The waiting list is getting long! I'd like to read some good books in the children or teen age brackets. No vampires, no Percy Jackson (though I probably should, since both of those sell like crazy). I get a lot of questions from parents who want book recommendations for their kids. I didn't read a whole lot as a kid and really only read famous stuff like the Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley, and the Box Car children. I feel so old school.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Music

I'm still trying to decide how I want to change my blog to give me more privacy but yet not be completely closed down for business, so to speak. A few people suggested I change it so only registered members can read my blog. However, then you'd have to go the trouble of requesting permission from me, and I'd have to go to the trouble of trying to figure out if you're someone who has been stalking me or not. If I've learned anything about the internet, it's that people don't surf the net with an expectation of needing patience. We don't Google something and wait 24 hours for our search results. Who would use it if that's how it worked? Anytime I've stumbled upon a blog requiring a login, I immediately delete it from my bookmarks as I'm generally not interested in going to such measures to read something I don't really care about anyway. It's one thing if you know me personally, but for those of you who probably just scan my entries and move onto the next blog, you probably aren't interested in doing the whole "Can I read your blog?" dance.

So all this to say, I'm still mulling it over.

In the meantime, I wanted to provide you with something I am sure you will no doubt find utterly unfascinating. I don't usually talk about my artistic tastes but I thought it was nice neutral ground. I discovered some great music and movies during 2010 and I wanted to share. I'll just share music in this entry so we're not here all night.

Firstly, this is what I discovered and was listening to in 2010:

1. Freelance Whales. I'd classify them as indie pop-rock but what they really are is AMAZING. Start with "Location" if you're interested. Every time this song comes up on shuffle, I involuntarily sigh with pleasure or say something cheesy like, "Awwww yeeeeahhh!"

2. She & Him. A fairly new discovery (December 2010), I am kicking myself for not having discovered them sooner. More indie pop, sounds like a lighter, happier version of Rilo Kiley (one of my faves).

3. Breathe Electric. I'm a techno/electronica junkie. Breathe Electric is similar to Owl City but harder pop, more dance-y.

4. Public Enemy vs Benny Benassi "Bring the Noise Remix." Arguably my favourite song of the year. Benny Benassi is one of my all-time favourites. Benny Benassi is the only person who could collaborate with an artist horrible enough as Justin Bieber and I would actually pay money for it.

5. Plug In Stereo. Getting into fairly obscure indie pop now, Trevor Dahl is the 17 year old prodigy behind Plug In Stereo. Smooth guitar pop. I'm trying to think of someone to compare him to. Last.FM only recommends other equally obscure indie pop singers.

6. La Roux. You've probably heard "Bulletproof" but the great thing is, her whole album is that catchy.

Honorable mentions: Stephen Jerzak, Romance on a Rocketship, and Nickasaur.

To sum it up, I listened to a lot of obscure indie pop and indie electronica music in 2010. I listened to more common stuff too (Metric, Rilo Kiley, Owl City) but the above list was strictly music I discovered in 2010. Most of my musical taste lies in pop and electronica so if we have similar taste, check out my list. I don't usually like to pawn off musical suggestions on people, but it's always nice to hear new good music.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Ideas

Happy 2011! Like many others it seems, I am extremely glad 2010 is over. Though many good things happened, the year was ripe with stress and disappointment.

On New Year's Eve, I drove out to Ann Arbor as Anthony throws an annual party at his house. His friend Margot, an amazing cook/baker/chef/whatever, makes all of the hor d'oeuvres from scratch for the party every year. Nothing she has made that I've ever tasted has been anything less than utterly phenomenal. So I had been excited about that, and she definitely didn't disappoint. However, I was feeling pretty sleepy and worn out from working so much and promptly fell asleep shortly after midnight. It was a well-deserved sleep, I assure you.

Anyway, I have to admit I'm having some thoughts about ending this blog. I never talk about it, but I've been having problems with stalkers (yes, plural), harassment, and privacy concerns. Last night was pretty much the last straw. Although I love that people can and want to read what I say, there are a few people who I'd rather just kept away from me (on the Internet), and they clearly refuse to. I'm sick and tired of the drama caused by my blogs, my Twitter, and Facebook. I made some major changes to my privacy levels on Facebook and am now debating the next step: not publishing information about myself on this blog anymore. It's sad that a few people can wreck something I enjoy, but frankly, I'm fed up with it.

So while I mull it over, I may not post for awhile. It's not a decision I want to make quickly.
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