Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rip-snortin' ass-kickin' Sunday Round-up

Pretty darn good.  That's probably my best way to describe this weekend.  No complaints here.

Friday night I picked up some Sushi for dinner at the local RCSS, and since they've changed the delivery day to Friday, it was very very fresh.  I really want to go out for actual restaurant sushi but I'm good with grocery store grade in the meantime.

Headed down to the Legion for karaoke with mom and Sharon.  Dad was already there for darts.  I haven't been out since before Christmas so I was having some withdrawal.  Ended up having a blast and getting some work out of the deal.  Looks like I might have a gig hosting the karaoke night on my kid-free Fridays.  I go in on the 11th so that Lance, our current KJ can train me on the equipment.  Pretty awesome.  Some extra cash to go towards my house-downpayment-fund for two nights work a month, for being where I might already be any given Friday.  Can't beat that.

Speaking of house hunting, mortgage calculators of the ilk that you find on real estate sites are bullshit, and depressing as hell.  According to the mortgage calculator, I can afford roughly $278 a month for a mortgage (which puts me at about $38,000 for a house.  I can't get a mobile home for that little around here).  I pay $700 bucks a month rent, plus hydro and I am not behind on my bills, and I'm managing to pay down my debt so CLEARLY I can afford more than $278 a month for a mortgage.

So eat me, mortgage calculator.

Back to happier things.  While at the Legion a group of about 10 snowmobilers/cottagers from Strathroy come walking in, most of them around my age (couple older dudes, and at least one paperboy).  My first thought, as one of the youngest available women in the Legion was "Oh! Hello Boys! Happy Birthday to Me!"

Normally I'm about as socially awkward as they come but on Friday, whether it was the beer or just a general sense of well-being and oneness with the world coupled with just feeling like holy-shit-I-am-one-hawt-mamma I was kind of on that night and lapping up the attention, especially from one of the cuter guys, who bought me a beer and asked for a dance.  He was a riot, and we spun and twirled and made clumsy attempts at dipping while his friends hooted and hollered and we all sang along to any given songs.  What a fun bunch they were, and I was feeling full of confidence.

Saturday I got up and went into town to take some clothes to the Salvation army and attempted to find a plain wood frame I to use for this print that I bought at the craft sale I did a few weeks back.  I can't for the life of me remember the photographer's name but if I remember it I will link back. In the meantime, please, no one steal this image, kay?  I'd feel really bad if you did.   'preciate it.  I just want a plain wood frame so I can paint it.  I'm thinking either red with white polka dots, or black with white polka dots.

Got a source now - Corey Ramsbottom Photography

Saturday afternoon I went ice skating with my friend Tessa and her boyfriend and her kids.  My ankles felt like jelly and I think I need to invest in some hockey skates.  I think they'd be more conducive to my skating style than the figure skates I currently have.   We left soon after Tess fell and bruised her arm pretty good, which was unfortunate and quite surprising since Vegas odds would be on me being the one that wiped out, but I miraculously didn't fall once.

Saturday night I grabbed my guitar and headed to the local church for their coffee house night.  I showed up a bit late so as a result I was dead-last on the roster, but I held out and managed to get a few songs in.

Here's what I played:

When I Come Back - NQ Arbuckle and Carolyn Mark (I posted a vid of myself playing this a while back.  You can see it here)

I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory - Kathleen Edwards (I've always kind of considered her a poor-man's Sarah Harmer, but I enjoy this tune a lot.)

Tina's Glorious Comeback - Dan Mangan (Future Husband and Stepfather to my children.  I wish.)

If You're Gonna Be Dumb You Gotta Be Tough - Karen O (This song is fun as hell to play)

Just a little Open Mic Ettiquette 101.  Everyone wants a chance to play.  If the mode number of songs people are playing is four, it might be poor form to play seven,  you know?

Because I was very last on the bill, I was a little late to catch the free show being put on by Run With The Kittens at one of the local restaurants, but I did manage to make it about halfway through their first set.  I've never actually heard of them before, but I found them enjoyable.  Their sound is an odd mix of experimental sounds and blues-based rock.  When I listened to them, all I could think of was the Moldy Peaches tune Downloading Porn with Davo (NSFW people).  Later I found a similarity to catl as well.

Sadly, although a great restaurant, I found the Explorer's Cafe lacking as a live music venue.  Lacking space to move, that is, so I left at the intermission as my claustrophobic tendencies were making me a bit twitchy.

Today was laundry and grocery shopping day.  I met up with my mom and sister at the seventh circle of hell and promtly informed them that I was totally compromising my principles just to hang out with them, because I rarely shop at Wal-Mart if I can avoid it.

Feeling accomplished as I managed to make both Jello and Rice Krispie Squares for the girls lunches. Making them homemade is way cheaper than buying these things. A box of Jello costs about 69 cents and makes around six servings.. a pack of jello cups is about 2.99 and they have four.

With a box of Rice Krispies (4.99), three bags of marshmallows (@1.27 each, so $3.75 let's say) and a half pound of butter (1.50) you can make 4-6 dozen rice Krispie squares.  A box of 8 individually wrapped ones are about 2.99.  Plus by making the stuff, you get around the litterless lunch manifesto of the schools.

Don't get me wrong,  I love the idea of a litterless lunch, and we should all do our parts to cut down on garbage.  But telling a kid to take a granola bar out of it's wrapper and bring it in a container is bullshit.  And I doubt the school is going to come to my house and wash all my bloody plastic containers.  So I tell the girls "No, it's not litterless, but it's still less litter."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who is Snoop Dogg and Why is he hanging around my dog house?

Today, over at Simple Dude in a Complex World, SD posted a blog about internet porn, which reminded me of a story from my convenience store days.

For most of my early 20's I worked off and on for a independently run Convenience store (as opposed to a chain like 7-11 or Mac's).  Our magazine rack was topped off by what was possibly the largest collection of porn to be found outside of any adults-only shop.  We also had a wide array of X-rated video-cassettes for sale, well out of reach of any young shoppers.

In SD's post he questions why anyone still buys porn when it's readily available on the internet.  I maintain that some people would rather shell out cash for DVD's than to pay someone to clean their hard-drive once a month.  Much like in real-life, the cheaper and easier porn is to acquire, the better chance of picking up a virus.

I have two stories related to the giant porno-fest that was the top-shelf of our magazine racks that stick out in my mind to this day.  One day, a girl about my own age comes in, and furtively starts checking through the tapes.  After picking one out, she approaches the counter, eyes down.  I ring it up, trying my damnedest not to smirk, but I'm kind of a child so I'm not doing a great job.

"It's not for me."
"Okay." It's none of my business, you know?
"It's my friend's birthday and we want to get him a gag gift.  My asshole friends made me buy it so they don't look like perv's."
"No worries.  That'll be [book value of VHS porn circa 2001], please"

She pays, takes the tape and skulks out.  I allow myself a bit of a giggle.  A few minutes later, the door jingles and she comes back in, beet red in the face.

"Hello, can I help you?"
"I can't fucking believe I'm asking you this...", she says, grumbling.  "Do you have anything with more lesbians?  Apparently I picked the wrong one because it doesn't have enough friggin' LESBIANS."
"I.. uh.. um.. don't really know what the um.. lesbian ratio is on any of these movies.  I haven't seen them.  Sorry."
"*sigh* it's okay.  gah. Idiots."

Goes over to shelf, grumbling to herself.  Comes back and slams another tape down on the counter and proclaims "I'm getting this one and if they don't like they can bloody well come back here and pick one themselves!!"

My other story involves a group of about 3 college aged guys that came in one day.   I smiled and giggled to myself as they were very loudly talking about the selection and I got the impression that this was another gag gift purchase.  They made no bones about being in a small-town convenience store buying porn, and I was having a hard time hiding my amusement.

Now, although I was fully aware that we had a well-stocked porn selection, I can't say I was real familiar with the specific titles we carried.  So I was totally unprepared when they came up and put this on the counter:

I lost my shit, right then and there.  At that point in time I was complete unaware that Snoop Dogg had even produced porn, let alone that we had this little nugget right in our little convenience store.

I lost it.  In a completely uncompromising professional manner,  I started laughing hysterically and could not stop.  I tried to duck down behind the counter, but that was a completely pointless pursuit, so between giants gulps of air in an attempt to catch my breath, tears streaming down my face, I attempted to apologize.

"I'm sorry... hahah... I just... I mean I didn't know... SNOOP DOGG... BWAHHAHAHAH... omg.. don't mean to... *gasp* ... just didn't know... *giggle*  ....I'm so sorry.. *gasp*.... heheheheheh"

The guys, being in the jovial mood that they were, took my embarrassment from my outburst and just ran with it, feigning great indignance.

"Well, I never!"
"Where's your sense of professionalism?"
"They wouldn't have treated us like this at the Triple-X store!"

Finally I managed to catch my breath and ring them through, but I continued to giggle like an idiot for a good hour after they left.


In other news, my friend Sean who blogs over at SeansJeep got called last night for the lung transplant he's been waiting on.  Last update was that he had come out of surgery with no complications.  So, although he's not completely out of the woods, that is very very good news indeed.  He's got a great support system and we've all be sending our thoughts, prayers, hoodoo and whatnot out for a good recovery.

Karaokeing tonight, haven't been down to the Legion since before Christmas I believe.  Feel like having some beers and belting some tunes.  There's a coffeehouse tomorrow night as well at a local church so I'll be packing the guitar up  and playing some songs there as well.

Enjoy your weekend, all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Indie Crush of the Moment Danny Michel

Hello Folks!  Welcome once again to Reverse Objectification Thursday!

A friend of mine, upon returning to Ontario for a visit home (she current resides in San Diego) commented to me that Canadian guys are just a lot cuter than guys in California.  Maybe it's a combination of  a more laid-back and relaxed attitude, along a certain ruggedness I've found, but without the hyper-masculine neanderthalness.

Right now, right here, this moment, I'm harbouring a huge crush on singer/songwriter Danny Michel.

There's something sexy about a man and his accordian. Source
Cute, no? Looks a little like Robert Downey Jr. in this pic.  And I loves me some RDJ.

I'm not entirely sure where Danny Michel hails from, but I always like to imagine he's from somewhere in Quebec.  The name screams Quebecois and I'll be honest, I have a bit of a weakness for the Quebecois accent. Ohm.

I'm not a big fan of the European French accent.  I don't know, but the times I've heard it - and working customer service for a company with an international user-base I come across it from time to time - it just always sounds.. I don't know.  Fake.  Stereotypical.  I always want to laugh because every time someone speaks Parisian French to me, it sounds like they're channeling Pepe LePew.  Sorry, people from France.  It's not you, it's that stereotypical imitations are so bang on, that I always think that you all are playing it up for laughs.

I never said I was a good person.

But French Canadian accents?  Yum.  Friends can attest, they have an.. *koff* effect on me.


Anyway, where was I?  Yeah... so, cute in a laid-back indie-folk way, way talented, imaginary sexy Quebec accent (can't find a home town on the bio, so my fantasy gets to live on another day).  Can't ask for much more for Reverse Objectification Thursday.

He has a song called Maybe You Can Find It In Your Heart, and if I listen to this song in the car, the intro sequence always makes me feel like I'm starring in the opening credits of some kind of  romantic comedy, or possibly a family comedy.  I think if they ever made a movie of my life, I'd have to insist that the film open with me getting my car and pulling out of my driveway with this song as the soundtrack.

Incidentally, the end credits of the movie of my life would roll out to Mike Ness' cover of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright."

In case you were interested.

So yeah, go check him out.  


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Margaret Atwood can't roll in her grave, as she's not even dead yet.

In other news, but related on the war on reproductive rights front, I just read an article that almost made me spit pop all over my bloody computer screen.

Georgia anti-abortion bill would require investigations of miscarriages

I don't even know what to say about this.  I'm fucking fuming.  It's like these state governments are not even TRYING to hide their contempt for women's autonomy over their own body.

Like I said previously:  ProLife=Pro-Fetus=Anti-Choice=Fuck Women, Who Gives a Shit.

The bill was apparently introduced by Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin and would "...classify the removal of a fetus from a woman for any reason other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus as 'prenatal murder.'"and that it would "it would require miscarriages to be reported by hospitals and other medical institutions, and a fetal death certificate issued."

What.  The.  Hell.

Of course, this is the same genius that introduced a bill mandating that victims of rape, stalking, harassment, and family violence be re-classified as "accusers."

As others have pointed out, if your car gets stolen, or your house gets broken into, or you have the shit kicked out of you, or you're murdered, then you're a victim.  Get raped, and report it, and you're an accuser.

Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin
I'm curious to know if Bobby F's dear wife (assuming he's married) has ever suffered a miscarriage.  I haven't, but I know people who have, and that shit can be downright traumatizing.  Even without being investigated to make sure it really was a miscarriage and not "prenatal murder".  I can't even begin to imagine how invasive such an investigation would be.  It's mortifying.

Has Franklin any daughters, I wonder?  If something happened to one of them, would he be comfortable with them being referred to as accusers rather than victims?

I was being facetious the other day when I referred to Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid's Tale.  I'm not finding it quite so funny now.  If you've read it, you know what I mean.

This is downright scary.

On her Facebook page, Anne Rice posted this link for anyone who wants to contact this guy and tell him what-for.

My cat issue as a metaphor for family planning

Hey!  Guess what I learned today!  Cats have no natural aversion to incest.  Isn't that lovely?  Do you know what that means for me?  It means that my remaining kittens have spent the last day or so trying to bugger their mother.  Gross.  So I've sequestered poor Chloe to the bathroom until I can A) find homes for the boys and/or B) set her up an appointment to get fixed.

I've got ads in Craigslist, Kijiji and on Facebook to find the not-so-little ones homes, because frankly, four cats in this tiny house is too many.  Going to make a poster tonight as well.  I've kicked the boys outside for an hour or two so Mama Chloe can actually roam the house in peace until i decide to go to bed.

But isn't it typical that I have to lock the girl away so she doesn't get knocked up?  Of course, it is easier when the males out number her 3-1 (although Spartacus isn't a problem, having long parted ways with his wee baby-makers before he joined this household) but yeah... She suffers cause the boys 'just can't control themselves'.  Typical.  Of course, they ARE just cats.  Not people.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

home made is nice but sometimes I like to leave food prep to the professionals

I'm at the grocery store, and I'm looking for guacamole.  This is a FoodBasics, so it's not like a high-end grocery store.  I check the aisle with all the dips and such and find nothing.  So I head to produce because sometimes they have dressings and stuff.

Me:  Do you know where I might find guacamole?
Stockboy #1: Hmm.. i'm just produce, so I'm not really sure, but I can ask someone.  We do have avocadoes if you want to make your own.

I've made my own guacamole before, and it turns out I'm not very good at it.

Me: I've made my own, I'm pretty bad at it.  Rather just buy it pre-mixed.

I follow the guy about 6 aisles over to another guy.  They discuss.

Stockboy #2:  Are you the lady that needs help?
Me: Yup, sure am.
Stockboy #2:  Here, follow me.

I follow him back to the first aisle that I check.  He scans the shelves.  Looks perplexed. 

Stockboy #2:  *sighs dramatically* They've moved it.  Hold on a second.

Leaves, coverses with a woman in the bread section.  Returns.

Stockboy #2:  So it turns out we don't carry guacamole anymore.  We used to but now we don't.  We have avocados though, if you want to make your own.
Me: I've made my own, I'm pretty bad at it.  Okay, thanks anyway.

Take the girls to the check out.  Explain that we'll be going to another store after this.

Me: We'll go to Foodland after this, they'll have some.
Cashier:  Was there something you weren't able to find.
Me:  Yeah, guacamole.  You guys don't carry it apparently.
Cashier:  Oh.


Cashier:  We have avocados.

Me:  ....

Half-assed Sunday. No, it really is.

I feel out of sorts today.  I guess it's a combination of cabin fever, a few disconcerting conversations and just.. I don't know... February blahs.  There's something odd in the air I suppose.

Yesterday I made a giant pot of spaghetti sauce and while I was cooking it I was struck with the urge to put out a mass-dinner invite via the Facebook.  Sadly about 80% of my R.S.V.P's were from people who live 12 hours away or further.  I had fun imagining how awesome it would be if they had all showed up.  I think this spring and summer I'm going to make a point to entertain more.  As it was, Kay and her daughter came over for dinner, so that was fun.

After not talking since before Christmas, I contacted the most recent ex just to say hi and see how he's doing.  After a few minutes I kind of regretted it and wished I had left well enough alone.  It wasn't really anything that was said, it was just kind of awkward.  Maybe this means I'm getting over it.  Hrmph.

For reasons unknown, a completely random post that I wrote back in September, has been getting a number of hits today.. according to the rather vague analytics that Blogger gives us, they seem to be coming from Facebook.  14 hits today, which is a lot in one day, when you look in proportion to the traffic this little blog generally gets, and when you consider that as far as posts go, it was a bit of a non-entity.  Just a few random thoughts that were in my head that day.

We had a spell of warm weather this week but now the snow and wind seems to be back with a vengeance.  Blargh.  This weekend has been all down-time, just organizing my closet, doing a ton of laundry and yeah.  It's nice but I'm kind of bored now.

Well, I'm off to check the dryer, which has been taking a stupidly long time to, you know, dry things even though I've cleaned the lint thing. 

I think one of my stitches from my wisdom teeth is coming out.  That's lovely.

This has been a

Go visit the Simple Dude.  What do you have to lose?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm not sure I like the view from up on this soapbox...

I'm seeing a lot of stuff going down in the American media concerning the apparent war that the religious right seems to be waging on women's reproductive rights and all I can say is:

"What the fucking fuck, America?"

It's becoming pretty damn obvious to me that the term Pro-life is a misnomer and would be more correctly referred to as Pro-Fetus, since if you are a woman, or low-income, or both life suddenly becomes pretty friggin' neglible.

And this isn't one of those situations where I can sit back and feel smug in my Canadian-ness like I did when it came to the Social healthcare debate in the U.S. (and I did, I admit it).  Because, let's face it, as America's hat the stuff that's been going on could happen here too.  Think back a bit.. Our own PM, Steve Harper, cut funding to womens groups focused on women's health in developing nations who wouldn't "...shut the fuck up" on the abortion issue.  If old Steve-O is willing to cut funding to developing nations over a conservative ideology, well, it's just a small step before cuts start here in our own country, which is what basically happened in the U.S. today when the House voted to cut funding to Planned Parenthood because they provide abortion services, even though the funding provided cancer screening and access to contraceptives to thousands of low-income families.

As my brother-in-law, Frank, is usually quick to point out, what happens in the States stands a good chance of affecting Canada in the long run, which is why the House's decision has my panties in a bunch.

I'm sure Margaret Atwood never really thought she'd see this kind of Handmaid's Tale stuff played out in her lifetime.

First there was the issue of the nun getting ex-communicated for allowing a woman to receive a life-saving abortion in a catholic hospital, because clearly the merciful thing to do would have been to let the woman die on the off-chance the fetus might have been viable, which to my understanding, it likely would not have been.  Very Pro-Life indeed.  This story was disturbing enough, but because the situation was so entrenched in the inner workings of the Catholic church, the level of threat was not the same, because a simple solution to someone whose life hung in the balance would be don't go to a Catholic hospital.

Last week I heard a story that a law is on the table in South Dakota that would allow killing in the defense of a fetus to be considered justifiable homocide.  Now, unless it is worded very carefully this could leave a lot of holes for the killing of doctors and nurses who perform abortions.  It's my understanding that the idea is that it would protect pregnant women from being attacked in domestic disputes, but let's be realistic and admit that this law would have more than likely been used in the former situation rather than the latter.  For now, it looks as though the law has been shelved, thankfully.

This latest news about the defunding of Planned Parenthood is upsetting at best, as it presents a huge step backwards in reproductive rights and in access to healthcare for low-income people.  Jill at Feministe puts it well in saying that this goes well beyond just being about abortion and has become an all out war on our reproductive rights, as well as a war on the working class and those below the poverty line:

This isn’t about abortion — it’s about cutting access to health care for women. One in five American women has used Planned Parenthood’s services. The vast majority of care — more than 90% — offered at Planned Parenthood health centers is preventative. Every year, Planned Parenthood carries out nearly one million screenings for cervical cancer — screenings which save lives. Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses give more than 830,000 breast exams — exams which save lives. Every year, nearly 2.5 million patients receive contraception from Planned Parenthood — a service which prevents enormous numbers of unintended pregnancies and, by extension, an enormous number of abortions. Every year, Planned Parenthood administers nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV — tests and treatments which save lives, extend lives, preserve fertility, and maintain reproductive health.
What the anti-choicer's are not realizing here (or perhaps they are fully aware of) is that cutting funding to Planned Parenthood is not going to save any significant number of lives, even those of the unborn.  This will not reduce the number of abortions being performed - it could even increase the number, when you consider the fallout is reduced access to contraceptives and family planning information.  What it will reduce is the number of safe abortions being perfomed.  But of course, as we touched on earlier, Pro-Life is really just Pro-Fetus, and the life of the evil, bad, dirty secks-lovin' woman is neglible, as is the rape victim, or the married couple whose condom broke.

In a rather moving speech given to the House, Rep. Jackie Speier made a bold move and spoke about her own experience in having an abortion for health-related reasons.

Speier hits the nail on the head. Most times, this is not a decision that anyone takes lightly.  And for the few who do, that is unfortunate, but the idea of choice is that we have choice, whether or not we use that choice responsibly.   I used to rail against women that used abortion as a form of birth control, and you know, it still bugs me.  But it is not my body.

I'm going to get a little personal here.  I've always maintained that being Pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion.   The idea of being Pro-choice is that a woman has a right to decide what happens to her body, under any circumstances.  It is our right to decide whether we are physically and emotionally ready, willing and capable to carry a child to term.  And this is something close to my heart because I've been there.  My ex left when I was six-weeks pregnant with my youngest daughter.  And I faced that choice.  In my heart of hearts I know I made the right choice and I wouldn't trade my baby girl for anything in the world, but the point is that is the choice I made was my own and what was good for me, is not always good for others.

It's also close to me because I know there's a possibility down the road that I could face that decision again.  After I had Reegs (and I might add I will always be glad to be able to look her in the eye and tell her she is here because I WANTED to have her..) my OB told me that carrying another child could and would likely kill me.  On that warning I took the precaution of having my tubes tied because A) dying is bullshit and B) Two kids is more than enough for the less-than-maternal type.  But even though tubal ligation is considered 99% effective against pregnancy, well, simple math states that 99% is not 100%.  There is a chance, albeit ridiculous slim, that down the road I could find myself in the position of having to choose between terminating a pregnancy or trying to carry to term and possibly leaving my children motherless.

I cannot fathom what I would do if a lack of resources, or my beliefs, or a piece of legislation were to force my hand in such a situation.

I've been frustrated as hell over the last day or two because I've been seeing all these calls-to-action to support Planned Parenthood, but being in Canada I generally have been unable to sign petitions, so all I can do is talk about it.  Access to family planning is important to everyone.  If you are able, please show your support.

Isla de Encanta - Day Eight, Apparently. Momma, I'm coming home.

I was not ready to fly home Thursday.  I missed the girls, and I missed my guitar and beyond that.. well, I would have made do.  I would have forged the girls some passports, and had them and the axe shipped to me if it meant I could stay on the beach for just a little while longer.

Nonetheless, I got up early, packed up all my shit and headed down to breakfast.  You know how you can never seem to pack everything up the same way you did when you arrived somewhere?  Yeah, I'm really glad I'm not big on buying souvenirs for people.  I had a drum, a chess set, and a flute and a plinky-plunky weird instrument to bring home.. somehow, someway, I got it all into my suitcase, oddly enough, and ended up with LESS in my carry-on bag even.  The plan was to check out and then take all my stuff to Kaylee and Mindy's room since check out time was 1pm, but my bus for the airport didn't leave until 8pm.  This would save me either paying for late-checkout, or storing or lugging my shit around for the rest of the day.

A few times I was close to tears, I did NOT WANT TO LEAVE.  All I could think of was having to go right back to work on Monday, and snow.  Holy crap, I did NOT want to see snow.  Especially knowing that we were supposedly supposed to get a giant mother of all snow-storms here, and knowing that my car would be sitting at the Park N Fly for a week in all that B.S.

Really, would you want to leave this...

...for this?  Photo Credit

So I spent the morning on the beach, guerilla-tanning because to my naked eye, I still looked Irish as all hell.  Go SPF 30.  I set my phone alarm so I would know when it was time to go check out.  When I went to the check out desk, I ran into Alain the Quebecois taxguy and his friend at the front desk heading out for an excursion.  In the name of keeping what happens in the tropics, in the tropics, I chit chatted, told them I was checking out and wished him a pleasant remainder of his holiday but did not ask for contact info.  He kissed me good bye and wished me well and that was that.

I just shared a rather awkward lunch with an elderly German by the name of Fritz who spoke not a work of English.  After a stilted introduction, we chewed in silence for a good ten minutes.  Upon finishing, I didn't want to just walk away so I said a quick "Guten Tag, Fritz," as it's the only German I know.  "Ah, Danke Shen (sp?)" he replied.
I think I've hit my weirdness threshold for this trip.  -
Vacation Journal, 02/04/2011
Yup, the lunch with the elderly German man was an interesting point to the trip.  For the remainder of the day we kind of took it easy, sat on the beach some more, then went back to the plaza for a while as we still had not completed our souvenir shopping.  We spent a good amount of time in one store that was being run by two friendly local girls, one of whom was fascinated with both mine and Kaylee's facial piercings and expressed a wish to get something of her own done.  The music they were playing was killing me, in a good way.. they were playing bossa nova type covers of Guns 'N' Roses songs by an unknown (to me) female singer.  Most other GNR fans might kill me for this, but man, they were AWESOME and I wanted to find out where I could get the CD, because I would have played the hell out of that at home.

I made a mistake in my last post and it was actually the last night while we were waiting for the buffet to open up that we ran into our family from Listowel and had our pictures taken.

About five minutes before the bus for the airport showed up, I realized I didn't have my travel documents in my purse and I pretty much lost my shit.  After rifling through my bags near tears and muttering 'ohshitohshitohshitohshit' I ran like the devil back to the girls' suite and lo and behold there they were, on the kitchen table, so I grabbed them and ran like the devil back to the lobby.

Getting on the bus I struck up conversation with my seatmate, whose name escapes me now, and it struck me how comfortable I got over the week with just talking to strangers.  A week previously I had sat silent and awkward and not talking or making eye contact.  One week later I was telling this guy from Newmarket my life story.

Vacations make you friendly.

I narrowly escaped an awkward three and a half hour plane ride when I misread my boarding pass and sat myself down in row 11, seat H only to discover 10 minutes later that J, one of the young hamilton boys who had been systematically avoiding and/or being vaguely awkward with me since things had gotten a bit hot'n'heavy at the beginning of the trip came and sat down in seat J.  Hoo boy, yes that would only happen to me.  Weird.  However, one of the other guys came up and made the discovery that I was in HIS seat, to which I had to ask "Well, where the hell am I sitting?" to which I replied to myself "Oh, you're sitting another ten rows back, you jackass."

So I suffered 5 or so minutes of awkwardness of looking creepy in exchange for 3 hours of awkwardness sitting one seat away from my holiday booty call.  I'll take looking like an idiot who can't read a boarding pass, thanks.

However, these guys were not to get rid of me so easily, because after the flight, and customs and such I got my stuff and got on the shuttle bus to the Park N Fly, and all bloody twelve of them were on the bus.. and as it turns out, were parked about six spaces away from me.  Oh, and the good news is that my car had maybe 2 cups of snow on it, so there was no digging to be done, which is good because I had a 3 hour drive to Mildmay to embark on so that I could attend the wedding of one of my best friends that day.

That's right, I de-planed, drove out to farm country in the middle of the night and went to a wedding the next day, because I am hard-core like that.  It was a beautiful wedding too, small but very elegant, and pulled together in a very short period of time.  Krys and her new hubby Dean seemed ridiculously happy, and I am happy for them.  Warms this cynical jaded heart of mine.

The restaurant where they had the reception was attached by a small corridor to a sports lounge so after all the family went home, we went to the lounge and in all our wedding finery had some beers and did some karaoke.  I ran into the ex-girlfriend of one of my online friends who lives in the area.  After I introduced myself she rang him up to let him know I was in the area.  Unfortunately our ride ended up leaving before he got there so we were thwarted on meeting in person once again.  Such is life.

Sunday we all went out for breakfast in Walkerton before I headed out to see my Grandma Ruth.  We had a nice visit, then I headed home as I was having dinner at my other friend Tessa's place that night, which was a good time, I met a friend of hers and we've been chatting since.  Tess also packed me leftovers for lunch the next day and it was kick ass.  So all told, I didn't get home until 8:30 sunday night, just in time to have to work Monday.

Okay, phew.  Done.  On to other topics now....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Isla de Encanta - Day Seven - Last night in Puerto Plata

Yup, so apparently the day I flew in did NOT count as one of my days, so my seven day trip actually had eight days.

Author's note:  I had two wisdom teeth extracted yesterday.  I apparently have the healing abilities of friggin' Deadpool because I was able to go to work today and have taken maybe three T3's in the last 36 hours for pain.  Or fun.  Whatever.

Photo Credit
"Hankering for a Spankering."  Heh.

So Thursday morning I got up and hopped on the hotel interwebs once again to try and get a hold of Karen, but with little luck.  After depositing some towels and bags on some beach chairs, I tried calling out, and got a hold of Ryan who informed me that she was on a bus on her way to Puerto Plata as we spoke.  Since we weren't sure where exactly the bus was going to drop her off, I sent out a series of text messages, and eventually figured out that the bus had dropped her off just outside of the Playa Dorada compound.   The three of us set out on foot to find her, which we eventually did, wandering around out near the shopping center. 

Not having seen each other for about 8 months, we did a comedic slow motion Chariots of Fire run at each other as a means of saying "Hi".  As we made our way back to the hotel we decided to hire a cab to take us into Puerto Plata proper for a few hours so we could shop for souvenirs for the kiddies and get some lunch.  Karen negotiated the cab for us.  It was quite a sight to see my very blonde, Irish/scandinavian looking friend speaking fluent Spanish with the cab driver, while negotiating as well as through most of the ride to town.

Note on Dominican traffic.. holy hell am I glad I never followed through with my plan to rent a car to go to Santo Domingo, because drivers there are friggin' NUTS.  I'm pretty sure there's no posted speed limit, and people actually honk to communicate to other drivers, rather than as a mere expression of road rage.  Oh and we saw a couple carrying a barbecue.  On a frickin' MOTORBIKE.  Yeah.

The driver took us to a flea market type place, where we explored the various stalls that mostly had a lot of the same stuff that we had seen in the other flea market, and in the mall and being sold by the wandering beach vendors.  There was one stall that had a lot of potions and powders and voodoo-ish type stuff, including baby dolls hanging from the ceiling with blood-stains (fake or real, I don't know).  It looked kind of like my house at halloween, and I finally understood what some people meant when they said that dead baby dolls were disturbing.

We had lunch at a local restaurant, but still tourist-board approved so as to avoid all that pesky cholera and whatnot.  I attempted to order off the menu in Spanish but probably came off like kind of a dink.  The restaurant had a neat atmosphere.. it appears run down, but when you look closely, the chipped plaster and exposed brick is all painted on.  I had some fried chicken, but the meat portion was huge and I couldn't finish it all.  Over lunch we all got caught up on what had been going on in our lives and Kiki told of her varying adventures in academia abroad.

After lunch we went to a large department store which was basically the Dominican equivalent to Zellers or Wal-Mart.  They had shirts on for super cheap and I thought about adding to the collection, but instead bought a lovely tramp-top to wear out for my last night on the island.  Oddly, the large box store was the only place we went where they would NOT accept U.S. dollars, which I found odd.

We came back to the hotel afterwards but were informed that without paying upwards of 60 bucks for a day pass we wouldn't be able to bring Karen into the hotel.  Fortunately Reynaldo, a friend we made at the hotel informed us of a public access to the beach that we could get to by crossing this huge empty field.  while we were making our way across I kept getting struck with the idea that snipers were going to start shooting at us from nearby buildings.  Weird, I know.

After chilling out on the beach for an hour or two, we walked Karen back to the bus so she could head over to another resort to visit her cousin who was also in the country that week.  We got caught in a rainstorm on the way out, only the second instance of rain we had the whole week (the first being a light mist the day we went on the Runners excursion). 

I may have napped.  I am not sure.  Maybe that was the day before.  We may have gone straight to dinner.  No, no, that's not right.  We ran into our "Family" and insisted on having a family portrait taken, then ran into some of our H-town buddies who would be leaving on the same flight the next day, then we got dressed for dinner one last time at Michaelangelos, and one last awesome canneloni.

After dinner we sat out by the pool bar and attempted to play some cards until the disco opened but we discovered the card pack had two Jacks of spades so our three-handed Euchre game was thwarted and we were left with crazy eights, which gets old fast.  We watched one of the live shows which was pretty cool, and we danced with a couple of the animators, one of which took a shine to K, but would prove to be a giant ass-hat later in the evening.  While at the disco I met up with Alain from Quebec again who invited us to come to Coco Bongo, but at the time it didn't look like we were going to go.  After we started chatting with one of the couples who had been on our excursion, Paul and Katherine, a lovely couple from Quebec as well, said they were going to go check it out, we all changed our minds and decided to go.

At Coco Bongo's K's wee admirer started being a douchehat and had her really upset, to the point where when our Hamilton friends showed up, they were called into do damage control, as this guy had her freaked right out.   They were good guys and helped her out.  Later we told our friend Reynaldo about it, and asked if this was just a cultural thing we didn't pick up on and he pretty much confirmed, "No, that guy's just a dick."  While at the bar I had run into my friend the Quebecker, who after some conversation asked if he could come by my room to say hi.  For reasons unknown I said sure (and no, it actually had little to do with alchohol).  After the awkward situtation with the sketchy douchehat Kaylee and I had gone back to the hotel and talked for quite sometime, so I was surprised when Mindy showed up (she had left the bar earlier due to back issues) and told me that he had been looking for me.  More surprised I was when about half an hour after I got back to my room there was a knock at my door.  So I let him in and we visited (okay, shit, made out) for a bit, before I sent him back to his room.  Hey, the deal was just to say hi.  Amiright?  Yeah, thought so.  Hey, it was my last night there.  Sue me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quick post then I'll finish the vacay blog.

My children are cute.  Reagan wrote this story last night.  It's based on true events.
Two Cats Eyes on Valentines Eve.
Once Two cats went out on Valentines eve.  The Two Kittens eyes met and they're names were Spartakuss and an unknown name.  They almost kissed.  One cat went in and the other left and he went back out and she was gone.

My inner elitist is laughing and pointing..

I am very defensive when it comes to the reputation of the Canadian music industry.  I admit it.  In my online journey's I have encountered numerous (mostly American) folks who seem to regard Canadian music as all Anne Murray, Celine Dion and Nickelback, and allow the success of these particular 'artists' to paint a pretty grim picture of our industry.

I've always maintained that their success is more a reflection of the listening tastes of the U.S. listeners, because time and time again some of our most talented musicians are consistently overlooked.

So I'm indulging in a good giggle from the uproar over the Grammy upset last night with the Arcade Fire and their win for Album of the Year.  In my opinion, they are an innovative, talented group of musicians and a pretty well-kept-secret.  When you put them up next to their co-nominees, well, let's just say Lady Antebellum is destined for the One-Hit-Wonder bin, Eminem is played out, the Gag is overhyped (although admittedly talented, I'm sick of hearing about her.. an EGG?  seriously?) and Katy Perry.. yeesh.  So it warms me in the cockles of my heart to see an album win on merit rather than hype, for a change.  Way to go, Grammys.

Who are these guys?
On their Twitter feed, CBCRadio2 linked to a site dedicated to this upset called Who Is the Arcade Fire and it's chalk-full of the confused reactions of the Grammy-watching public.  The confusion is delicious and seems to prove my point that a whole lot of good music is being overlooked in a country that somehow made Justin Beiber famous.  We just birthed him, we didn't give him a recording contract (okay, we probably did, but Beiber-fever isn't isolated to Canada).

Congratulations on your win, Arcade Fire.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Isla de Encanta - Day Six. Sweet sweet eff-all.

"could totally handle a Bill Murray-esque Groundhog day, under the circumstances." - Facebook Status Update - 02/02/11

I feel like I've done my math wrong somewhere, because this post will bring us to day six and there is still two more days.  Maybe the first day when I caught the flight into Puerto Plata doesn't count.  ~shrug~

Wednesday was beach day, all the way.  I had hopped onto a computer just after breakfast because I was expecting to hear if my friend Karen, who lives in Santo Domingo with her hubby and child, was heading up to Puerto Plata that day.  I jumped on the Facebook to try and send messages of love and hugs to my kids via their stepmom, since I had been having a bitch of a time trying to reach them by phone.  Sunday night I kept getting their voicemail, Monday night I couldn't get through to the front desk of the hotel, and Tuesday night I had gotten through to the desk but kept getting a "Spanish spanish spanish, all circuits are busy" message.  So I went the techno route via the hotel interwebs.

It was while on the Facebook that I got word from my friend Mike that his brother and my other friend Sean had gotten the call for the double-lung transplant that he's been listed for.  I went 'Oh shit' at first because I was on Sean's 'to-call' list in case of the pager going off, but our other friend Dan was ready and available to take him down to TGH.  The odd part though was that the previous night when Sean had got the call, the girls and I had been discussing him at dinner.  Spooky, no?  Sadly none of the harvested organs were viable, but this does mean that the real call is that much closer.

So Kiki told me she wouldn't be able to make it up until Thursday so we decided that Wednesday would be an awesome 'Lay-on-the-beach-and-do-fuck-all' day.  And that is what we did.

It.  Was.  Grand.

Okay so at one point we did wander up to a flea market one or two kilometers up the beach.  Once again, I could not handle the uber-aggressive vendors.  THERE IS NO BROWSING.  You cannot express even a modicum of interest in something because then the vendors are ON YOU LIKE FLIES ON SHIT.  Seriously.  One of the vendors who sold under the name "Mr. 100 % Off" (yes, and dude, I'm TOTALLY going to hold you to that) gave each of us free anklets. We were going to buy some fancy wraps, but the day or so previously, Kay and Min had bought paintings from this guy, and upon browsing the other vendors and seeing the same painting and being offered it for five dollars less than what they had bargained down too, we decided to take business elsewhere, as the guy was a con.

But yeah, the over-enthusiastic vendors really made me miss shitty North American customer service.

We created a fun little game of "Horrifying Beach Bingo" which consisted of spotting the following beach Don't's:
  • Leather Tan
  • Giant floppy hats
  • Mankini/Speedo (These are never a good idea. NEVER A GOOD IDEA.  I don't care WHO the hell you are.  Just Don't.  Don't Do It.)  Fortunately we never saw any honest-to-God Borat-inspired mankinis' but Speedos' abounded.
  • Thongs (male OR female)
  • Sweaterback
  • Manboobs
  • Blacksocks with sandals
  • Gold Chains
I was determined to locate some kind of Perfect Storm of all of these factors, but thankfully it never happened.

Feeling profoundly lame after Sallying out the previous night I was determined that my game face would be ON for that night.  We went to the poolside bar to listen to the entertainment but I found it lacking in excitement.  The band played all the hits from 1986-1994, but I'm pretty sure the singer was making it up as she went along.  Let me put it this way:  Lady In Red was a horrible preachy song back then, and it still is now.

During the intermission they had a 'sexy dance' competition for the men to participate in.  Oddly, something like 7 out of 8 guys who participated were from Quebec, yet they weren't all there together as I suspected (the 8th guy was from Manchester).  To reiterate my second day post:  "It's January.  Canada is Cold.  We don't want to be there."

While poolside we made the acquaintance of a 40-something Revenue Canada worker from Quebec City, and his friend who had arrived the previous night.  Friendly and somewhat charming, we chatted with them for a while before we decided to head to the disco.

I love the DJ.  Here's something about me.  I am a DJ's worst nightmare, because I generally request songs that are A) unknown or B) not really appropriate for the occasion (I've gotten better on the second one though.  Even on my birthday I couldn't get a song played for me.   But when I requested a fairly well-known song (La Roux's Bulletproof) I noticed that this DJ was pretty much just YouTubing videos for the playlist so I took the chance and requested a song that's been absolutely, turn-it-up-to-30, kicking-my-ass lately, Best Est 2019 by Times Neu Roman.

I heard the opening bits, and I tell you, I LOST MY SHIT.  This would never happen in Canada.  I made Kaylee and Mindy stay to dance, because dammit, I was going to effin' DANCE MY EVERLOVING ASS OFF to that shit.  Oh.  Hells.  Yes.  I may have made a spectacle of myself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Isla de Encanta - Day Four, and maybe Five

So, vacation blogging is HARD.  as time goes on, details of the trip get fuzzy and frankly, as my tan fades, I'm ready to talk about other things.  Trying to keep a detailed, day-to-day record, is daunting at best.  For the sake of not leaving my loyal readers hanging (because, I know, you're all waiting with baited breath *rolls eyes*) I'll try to run down the last 3-4 days for you.

Monday was another beach day, where Kaylee and Mindy proceeded to get burned like crispy critters.  I remained relatively unscathed by the sun and all it's cancerous rays.  We've come to a conclusion that this may be attributed to them using a continuous spray type sunblock, which can be sketchy in it's coverage at best, whereas I had a lotiony type.  During the afternoon we took to the local plaza in search of souvenirs.. it was here we discovered that the plaza is a shopping experience much more similar to the North American experience.. pricing is still negotiable, but you can tell the difference between people working for a wage and people who are living strictly off their sales.  Wage-earners, while still enthusiastic sales people, are a little more willing to leave you alone.  We went to one store with a parrot and a monkey, and the monkey peed on Kaylee's shoulder while the shopkeeper walked away and pretty much ignored the scene.

We did our second A La carte dinner at Michelangelo's, the Italian place, and we all got nice and dressed up for the occasion.  There was a black-with-white-flowers and red flowers theme.  Cannelloni was awesome.

Andie got shit-tanked drunk that night.  Oh yeah.  It's a little blurry, honestly.  There was some dancing.  There was a midnight buffet.  There was a calling out of an Ontario boy for pulling the awkward act over the previous couple of days, then an agreement to be friends.  I wanted to swim in the ocean.  So I did.  In my underwear, which in fairness could have passed for a bathing suit on any given day.  With two women I'd never met before, but one was a kick boxer and I think I told her a few times that we should spar.  I don't think I tried to roundhouse her, but I wouldn't put it past me at that point.  I do remember saying "I'm glad you guys are here, in case I drown.  If I drown, you will save me, correct?"
Two words.  Shit-TANKED.

I was shaking a lot of sand and salt out of that dress the next day, this much is true.

Which was great because the next day, nice and hungover, we left on the Puerto Plata Runners expedition the next day.  On this particular expedition, they take you to the local school, and to the home of one of the locals so you can see how they live.  You also get to go to a cigar makers (I had to leave the hut, it smelled terrible.  Ex-smokers are extra sensitive to the smell I think).  They gave us coconut milk straight from the coconut.  I didn't much care for it.  It tasted like that stuff they give me before a colonoscopy to make me poop.  Unpleasant.

The tour guide took a shine to me and would randomly call out 'An-dray-ah' during the trip, to which I could only respond 'Hola!' He was cool, though and a very fun guide.  I was concerned at the beginning because he made some jesus-freak references, and one regarding marriage that got my back up, but turned out to be okay during the rest of the trip.

During this excursion we were adopted by a lovely family from Listowel who were on holiday with the oldest four of their seven children.  Seven, seriously.  I am not kidding.  By the end of the holiday we were referring to them as mom and dad and had 'family' pictures taken (which are on Mindy's camera and not mine! *shakes fist*).  We also had the fun of informing 'Mom' and 'Dad' that they were now grandparents to four beautiful little girls.

I had some stuff I wanted to say about the tourism industry and the commodification of poverty and 'real-life' experiences, but I'm tired, I have a craft sale in the morning, and I've been making coasters and inhaling glaze.  So that may be a blog for another day.

We did Michelangelos' for a second night in a row, and during this time a cold, or an allergy or something was driving me up a frickin' wall.. Despite my best efforts, at around 10:30 I apologized and told the girls I was Sallying out for the night.  Apparently while I had gone to bed early, I missed some excitement at the disco.  A girl was taken to the hospital with a broken wrist/arm.  Shit-tanked, she decided it would be fun to chest-bump one of the guys.  However, she must have ricocheted off him too fast because she fell back and landed on her wrist.  First night at the resort.

This, children, is why we use alcohol responsibly.  *hic*

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Isla de Encanta - Day Three. I HAVE A MOOOONKEEYYYYY

"I can hardly fathom a breakfast buffet that does not have BACON." - Vacation journal 01/30/11
Yeah.  Breakfast buffet and NO BACON.  Little sleep as well.  We were in fine shape on Sunday morning after being out until 5 am.  I am told that the morning after I left, there was bacon at breakfast.  Kaylee even took pictures to prove it.  But all week, no bacon.  Half decent potatoes, half decent eggs.. soggy french toast and coffee that is a very small step down from Espresso. And no bacon.

Had orientation 2.0 since I went with the girls to theirs then we tried to get the room situation all sorted out.  Since there were no double-occupancy rooms left, they gave the girls a suite (yeah, kitchen, sitting room etc) across the way from me.  It was pretty sweet.  Nyuk.

I didn't even bother taking pictures of my room.  I probably spent more time in theirs.

Sunday was a beach day, so we got some drinks and headed for the sand.  I was approached by the vendor, Elsa who had offered to braid my hair the previous day.  I did kinda want to get it done, so I got it over with and ended up saving myself a lot of harassment for the rest of the week.  The beach vendors are so aggressive.  It's all you can do to just stop making eye contact.  However there was one guy that consistently made us giggle over the course of the week.  He was selling stuffies and as he came down the beach he'd call out

Holy hell.. I just found a video of the monkey man!  Sweet Jesus!!

(unrelated note.. I now have Tweeter and the Monkey Man in my head. Headstones version as opposed to the Wilburys. I've been thinking about Hugh Dillon a lot lately.)

We threw around a joke that we could bastardize the monkey call into a dating call-to-action (" I have a Vagina!!" but never really put that theory to test.  Yes, we're pretty much nuts.

After the beach, we got ourselves all gussied up and hit Edens' Grill for dinner in honor of Miss K's birthday.  As mentioned, I had pre-arranged a cake and when we showed up they had put balloons on the chairs and rose petals on the table.  Out of the two a la carte restaurants we only ended up eating at the grill the one night.  When they brought out the cake, it was.. well, interesting, to say the least.

First, I wrote down her name.  Second, I love how you can tell by the smeared chocolate that this was actually the second (or maybe third?) attempt at writing the message.  Guess what's getting sent to

We disco'd again that night, but all in all it was a fairly early evening.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Poetic Interlude

An Arms Length

An arm's length is where you keep me
An arm's length could be a mile
Unyielding you hold me, with elbows locked
The space between us constant
Still you hold on without letting go
An arm's length is where you keep me
An arm's length could be a mile
Try to get close but those elbows stay locked
But hold me close, as close as you desire
I broke free from your grip
But what I wouldn't give
to fall into your trap again
floating free I can't feel
the ground below me
Hold tightly but don't hold me
at arm's length.

Copyright Andrea Lyn Cole 2011

Isla De Encanta Day Two. FYI, Canada is cold.

"I swam in the ocean and once again had that lost-in-time feeling.  The ocean water was so calm that for a moment I could have been at home on Georgian Bay, perhaps on the beach at Wasaga.  I ventured into the water that was green under the tropical sun.  When I tasted the salt of the Atlantic, I knew where I was." - Vacation Journal 01-29-11
Saturday morning I woke up to the sunlight streaming into my room and promptly made myself a pot of coffee with the coffee maker provided.  No milk.  Dammit.  No matter, I thought as I wandered towards the breakfast buffet.  I have time to get a coffee and something to eat before the 10am orientation, I thought to myself not realizing that Dominican time is an hour ahead of Eastern Standard time, so rather than an hour, I had roughly two minutes.  No breakfast for me.  We were given a lot of information about various amenities of the resort, some warnings, ie. don't drink the tap water, don't convert your money to Pesos unless you plan to spend all of it, because the banks won't take those back, no way.

By the time orientation was over, I had missed breakfast.  No breakfast, no coffee.  I was not off to a good start.  I went to guest services to book one of our a la carte meals for the next night, as it was Kaylee's birthday. The guest services woman was an unholy bitch who instructed me to go to the front desk if I wanted to order a cake.  Front Desk told me I had to go to Guest Services who told me to go to the front desk.  No food, no coffee and I am dealing with the most unfriendly woman on the planet.  I lost my shit and was like "Seriously, can I not just get a frickin' cake for my friend?  For the love of God and all that is holy!."  We got it all sorted out but not without some tears of frustration on my end.

Starving, I bought some three dollar Pringles in the gift shop (yeah, I'm talking the single-serving can, not the full-stack) and headed to the pool with my book to kill some time and read.  This past summer marked the first time since I was roughly 16 that I have dared to don a bikini.  I was kind of nervous heading out (as I mentioned in my previous post, I was unable to find a decent one-piece) but all told, the trip did a lot of good in the name of my own personal body acceptance.  Were there a lot of people who looked a hell of a lot better than I did?  Yeah, I suppose so.  People whose stomachs haven't been ravaged by carrying two children.  At any rate, I was surprised at my own comfort level.  I didn't feel like people were staring at me going 'What is she thinking??'

Okay, I felt like ONE person did that, but she looked like kind of a bitch anyway.

"I've met some people.  Hoorah! I'm not completely socially retarded!" - Vacation Journal 01-29-11

There should be more bars that you can swim to.  For real.  The Swim-Up bar allowed me my first opportunity for meeting and talking to people.  It was there that I met Joe and Bruce from Long Island, who broke the ice with "Don't worry, I'm buying." Incredibly witty in the context of an all-inclusive, don't you think?  Nah, they were all right.  They played a guessing game at my age, and then commented on the vast number of Canadians in the Dominican.  I explained to them "It's frickin' cold.  We don't want to be there."

Here I also made the acquaintance of a number of the young gentlemen that had boarded the plane the previous day.  One of them called me out on my little piece of home, the Tim Hortons traveller I was using to carry my drinks in.  The plastic cups they pour your drinks in at the bar are little better than glorified shot glasses, so bringing a traveller means less waste and less trips to the bar.  And if you have a nice one, your drink stays cold.  I ran out of conversation quickly though, so after a quick water aerobics class I went and changed for dinner, hit the buffet and then killed some time until Kaylee and Mindy's bus from the airport was due to arrive.

About this time I started missing my guitar and really wished I had packed as my carry-on, since the thought of sitting on the beach and playing some tunes was sounding not only like a great way to relax, but I have always found it to be quite the icebreaker.  There was a beach party after dark and I got up the guts to volunteer for a competition for best reggaeton dancer.  It was fun and embarrassing.  I came in third and got a lot of compliments over the next day or two.

Finally Kaylee and Mindy got there.  Our rooms were messed up but we couldn't really do anything about it until the next day.  We were supposed to have adjoining, ocean-view rooms, theirs a double occupancy, mine a single.  I got a single occupancy, with the slightest view of the ocean and they got a room with a double bed.  On the opposite side of the hotel.  Anyway they got there, unpacked their bags and our game faces were ON!

Coco Bongo in the daytime
We hit the hotel discotheque and met up with our buddies from the plane, who were a fun bunch of guys.  We heard of another dance club just outside of the hotel by the name of Coco Bongo so after the hotel disco closed we headed out that way.  I ended up sharing a drink on the patio with one of the Ontario boys until we decided to walk back to the hotel.  This confused the hell out of the girls, as this guy had a twin who showed up after.. so they're all "Um.. where's Andie?" and he's all "Who?"  Yeah.  Awkward but funny. 

During the walk back to the hotel, J. and I got horrendously lost and ended up going full circle, right back to where we started.  It ended up being a long walk back to the hotel.  The second trip around afforded me the chance during a bathroom run to check out a pretty cool looking rock club I hadn't noticed before.  Sadly I never got to check out more than the bathroom at this particular establishment, and they never had any live music during the week.

I got woken up at roughly 5am by drunken silly giggles and banging at my door.

"What are you dooooing???"
"Who's there???"

With one of the other ontario boys in tow, the girls decided to pay me a visit and wake my ass up.  I'm sure my neighboring guests LOVED that.  The whole scene was pretty funny though, once i got my friggin' pajamas on.

Conversations with my kid: You can't fight logic.

Me:  Did you make your bed?
T: *grumbling and sniffling*
Me: What's the matter?
T: I don't wanna make my bed!!
Me:  I don't want to make your dinner.


T: Fine.  I'll make my bed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Isla de Encanta - Day one

"Arriving in a foreign country by the dark of night is a disconcerting experience.  It's as if no time, no space has passed.  As we taxied to a stop over ground that glittered like snow I laboured under the delusion that we had not moved at all, we'd merely been hovering for the last four hours only to land where we started." - Vacation journal 01/28/11

Well as promised, over the next few days I'm going to give a run down of the happenings of my trip to the Dominican with two of my besties.  I should just interject here that although I use the word 'Bestie' I invariably want to punch myself in the face when I do.  Yet, I insist on using this term.  That, dear folks, is friendship. 

Having dropped my ladies off to school in the morning last Friday I decided a haircut and an eyebrow wax were in order before I left for the airport.  My flight was leaving at 4:30, which meant to get to the airport for the recommended three hours previous, I had a good four-hour window in which to make an hour-and-a-drive to Pearson International.  Needless to say, I was leisurely.

One Eyebrow wax, One haircut and a last-ditch, failed attempt to find a reasonably priced, attractive one piece swimsuit in the dead of winter later I was on my way, this time managing to not get too lost on the way to the airport.  After getting my luggage checked and making my way through security I tried texting my friend Jay, a self-described baggage monkey for the airline we were taking, to see if he wanted to hook up for a coffee since it'd been a good two years since I've seen the guy.  I got a response to my text this past Saturday morning.  Such is life.  So not to be thwarted, I started looking around for the special lounge that they were promoting but trying to find the lounge in such a huge airport is a little like trying to make your way through Hogwart's.  So I eventually gave up, and wandered some bookstores before getting a rather delicious fish and chip meal from one of the restaurants.

Does no one outside of specialty shops actually sell comic books anymore?  I found myself really craving a good one to read but none of the magazine shops had any.  Lame.

After eating I made my way to my gate, and killed some time people watching.  As I observed the folks lining up for my flight, I texted Kaylee and Mindy:

There's about a dozen 20-something guys getting on my flight to Puerto Plata.  This is going to be a good vacation.
The film playing on the flight was Eat Pray Love, which was ironic in a way, although in retrospect, mine would be more like "Eat, Drink, Lust".  Not a whole lot of prayer involved.  Except maybe negotiating the Dominican traffic on our day trips, but that's another story for another day.
"The airport is dark and the air is fragrant.  Although the night is cool there is a humidity that sneaks under my jeans within minutes, rendering them heavy and oppressive.  I am still wearing my winter boots." - Vacation Journal 01-28-11
 I felt awkward on the bus to the resort from the airport.  At this time, I was there by myself as due to previous engagements I had left a day earlier so I could depart a day earlier.  By the time I got to the hotel and settled into my room I only wanted to have a bath and go to bed.  Vacation could start the next morning.  This meant I missed out on karaoke, which was unfortunate, but at that point I had not quite reached the comfort level to venture out by myself. I would wait until daylight.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The prodigal daughter returns.

Sweet jesus I am freakin' tired.

I do plan on blogging about my holidays at length, as there are many many stories to be told (and a few stories that will not be tole, muahahaha... ) but after flying into Pearson at 2am saturday, driving to Mildmay in the dead of night, attending a friends wedding, visiting my grandma today driving home and having dinner my friend's place, I'm ready to drop.

I came home to a lot of snow, but lots plowed out of my driveway care of an awesome brother in law. 

Work tomorrow.  I gha.