Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shirley, Baby, We Had Us Some Times!

It was kind of bittersweet getting my new car. Granted, the old one didn't basically didn't run, and was capable of blowing up at any given second, but the fact of the matter is, we had some history.

My 1992, Grey Honda Civic, Shirley for those who knew her, or Shirley Feronda Lafonda Chewbacca the Honda if we are going to get technical, was my very first car. I didn't buy her or anything, I just kind of inherited her. It used to be my grandmothers, which was evident from the "CAT" sticker in the window, and the broken sideview mirror that happened when she backed out of the garage wrong. It was the car I drove all through high school, all through university, and for a large portion of my life after all schooling was said and done.

Shirley was always dependable...up until her last days. She helped us escape from the Junkman, she drove us back and forth past an old teachers house, who we were NOT stocking. She was there during many wrong turns which resulted in very alternative ways of getting places. She made it through a road trip that consisted of driving all the way to Boston, New York City, then back. She drove me back and forth from London more times than I want to count. Many air fresheners, hood ornaments, and general decorations have graced her dashboard and rearview mirror.

Her look changed over the years...she went from being sleek and pretty, to rusting and falling apart, with rusted parts being covered by a very clever paint job by my dad. Her bumper was falling off, but it was nothing a little crazy glue and duct tape couldn't fix. She started to grunt and moan like an elderly person every time you climbed in and out of her. Driving her on the highway became a, "I'm taking my life in my hands" kind of experience. Will she break down, will she not? It all became part of the thrill. Towards the end of her days, she developed a hole in her gas tank, which was an unfortunate development, because everywhere we went, we were surrounded by the lovely aroma of gas station. Even my clothes became permeated. I could smell it everywhere. Nonetheless.

Shirley drove me away when I needed to escape, and got me home when that was all I really wanted. She provided my friends and I, especially in high school, a freedom that might not have been possible otherwise. Up until she abandoned me at the humane society a month ago, she was a great friend. Even then, I couldn't really be annoyed, she was old, she was tired, and I think she just wanted to chill out for a while.

So now, Shirley has been replaced, and she has moved on to a new stage in her life. Who knows what that will be. Bought by a mechanic and fixed up like new? Drag racing? Disassembled for her various still good parts? Time shall tell. She's moved on and so have I.

What is really left to say? Shirley, baby, we sure had us some times! Thanks old girl.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Writing Sample

Here's another click to make it bigger writing sample. This is another Niagara Voice article, and it is about if St. Catharines really deserves the title of "The Garden City". I also make mention of this decorative rockpile we have in St. Catharines, which serves as a kind of gateway to the downtown. It should be noted that I have since changed my opinion of the may not be the most attractive thing ever, but I have grown to love it. It's just so...St. Catharines.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Lovely Way to Start the Morning

I can already tell today is going to be a good know how you just get that feeling sometimes? Not that I expect anything spectacular to happen, but it's sunny out, I've gotten some good news, and decisions are becoming clearer. And that all makes for a great day.

I found out this morning by my routine checking of the humane society website, that Ms. Frankie and Ms. Shorty got adopted! Together! So to whoever that person is who is opening up their home and heart, thank you! You have two lovely dogs to chill with now. Love them, and take them for long walks together! I will miss them, and it kind of make me sad that I won't be seeing them again, but I've got to suck it up, because this is so very exciting for them. And it's what I have been wishing for. And any sadness is eclipsed by my extreme happiness that they have found a new home. Good luck sistas.

Also, I've come to the conclusion that this big "decision" wasn't really ever a decision. I had basically made up my mind as soon as I got that email. I thought that it should be this issue I should be brooding over, wondering what it is I should do, when really, I already knew what I was going to do. Goodbye money, hello writing room. Well...for now, the writing room is basically a table in the cluttered kitchen, but soon, it will be wonderful. Now I just have to politely decline my old co-workers offer, endure her looking at me as though I am crazed, and that will be that! Yay for making decisions that weren't really decisions to begin with! I have a terrible habit of creating stress for myself, when there is really no stress necessary.

And oh the weather, the weather. Not much is nicer than a nice sunny day. This summer, I am never ever going to say, "ohhh, it's soooo hooottttt", because I will remember this winter, and that will shut me up.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to the rest of the day. It has started off pretty damn great.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Photo Shoot with the Girls

When I started volunteering at the humane society, everyone said, "careful, you are going to want to take them all home". Clearly, I had considered this before I started, and decided that if I ended up with 7 dogs, then so be it. Now that I have been there for several months, I find that it's not true. I don't want to take them all home. I love them all, and want them to be adopted into loving families...but, well, I get along better with some then with others.

There have been very few dogs I have seriously considered taking home with me. Usually someone else adopts them first, and I don't have to worry about it anymore. But there are two there now that I adore. It breaks my heart every time I go in back to the adoption area, and see them still in their cage.

Frankie and Shorty are eight years old, sisters, and they are best buddies. They live at the Lincoln County Humane Society. They do everything together, and they totally have each others backs. They don't like other dogs...but that is because whoever it was that had them before trained them not too. They would be great guard dogs. Oh, and they are rottweiler/german shepherds. They spend all day chilling with each other, and they want to be adopted to the same home. Two for the price of one. It makes me sad that they are still there every week, but it also gives me hope, that the right person is just out there waiting. Whoever is going to bring these girls into their home needs a big heart. And a big home. Let's face it, these dogs are huge, and they sound a little ferocious when they bark. But they are lovely girls, who are so loving, and just want a place to hang their leashes. It's been my experience several times when I take them out for walks, that people say "whooooa, you are brave, they are huge!" I always, always reply, "but they are so nice. They are great dogs!" I implore them to look beyond the fact that they are huge dogs, and happen to be a breed that many people have put in a "too scary to have" category.

It's like pitbulls. All pitbulls aren't bad dogs, in fact, the pitbulls I have met at the shelter have been some of the sweetest dogs ever. They just have this stigma attached to them now, that makes most people stay far far away. Let's face it people.....pitbulls, rottweilers, etc, etc aren't born bad, horrible, mean dogs. It's the owners that are the problem, not the dogs. Plain and simple. You can't ostracize an entire breed of dog, and tell people they aren't allowed to own them. Doesn't that seem backwards? Shouldn't it just be that certain PEOPLE shouldn't be allowed to have dogs? Good lord, sometimes people let misguided opinions and fear go way way too far. You can't group one whole breed of dog together and say they are all bad, just like you can't group together whole countries and races of people. Pitbill and rottweiler puppies come into this world just like every other puppy, wanting to find a nice home and a nice family to belong to. Next thing you know, they have some crazy asshole for an owner, who is training them to attack other dogs to the death. Then they have to get muzzled everywhere they go, and are being banned from provinces. All they wanted was a nice squeaky toy, occasional belly rubs, and a bed to sleep in, and instead...this.

Anyway, back to Frankie and Shorty, the loves of my humane society life. My whole point is, don't judge a book by it's cover. Don't judge a shelter dog by it's previous owner. You know. Just look at these faces:

Shorty's all winking like, "yup, I'm as cool as she says!" . These lovely ladies are my buds, and I would love for them to find a nice place to call home. I would take them in a heartbeat, but my apartment is no place for two dogs like that. My parents, everyone else in my family, and most of the other people I have mentioned it to have said "umm, no way". Which, I can understand, because they are huge, and there are two of them. But they are sticking together like sisters oughta do, and I am confident that one of these days, someone is going to take a look at my girls, and say, "Frankie, Shorty...where have you been all my life??"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Sometimes, life moves along splendidly, allowing you to settle in, and kind of take a breather. It has never been my experience that these breather moments last too long. Something ALWAYS happens that puts me in a state again. If something talked, it would sound something like this: "you think you are soooo cool, trying to get a handle on your life. How dare you try to figure things out. Life wasn't meant to run smoothly!! Have you ever thought about this???"

Here's the thing. Approximately one month ago, I left a job that I loved loved loved. The work was interesting, but what intrigued me more was the people I got to work with. Smart, brilliant, lovely people. My contract ended for that job, and I was distraught. "How could this be ending so soon" I thought, "I'm not done learning here yet". But end it did.

Then I got another job. And I love it too. I love all the things I get to be involved in, and I love the people I get to work with. This job is putting me right smack dab in the centre of my community, and not much, I've discovered, is better than that. I miss the people I used to work with, but I don't miss the work I used to do. That kind of makes me think that maybe I was done learning at my old job, but I just didn't want to let go of the idea of being surrounded by so much brilliance.

In addition, I've also recently started another job, which I like, but I think might grow to love. This is adding to the problem.

Today my boss asked me if I would be interested in increasing my hours, "yes!" I said, "of course!!". So depending on the increase in hours, my week is going to start to be pretty damn full.

ONE hour after my boss asks me this, I get an email from one of the aforementioned brilliant people I used to work with. "Would you be interested", it said, "in potentially job sharing with me? Two days a week?" And in those two days a week, I would be making a whole lotta money.

The problem is, I can't do it all.


I also....want to be a writer. I've spent the last several years trying to convince myself that that is a dumb idea, and I'm not good enough, I can't make any money, yada yada yada, so I always push it away. But it still kept popping into my brain. "ever since you were in grade 4, and you wrote your first story, you've wanted to do it....why can't you at least try??"

So this year, I told myself, Okay, I'll try. If only to stop me from having this same argument with myself year after bloody year. So now that I"ve decided this, it consumes a lot of my free thinking time. An amount of time that is bordering on ridiculous. I want a room, with a desk, with books scattered everywhere, with maps on the wall, a huge globe, and pictures of my family and friends, and I want to write.

But I know for a fact, that if I decide to yes, take this job share, that I won't do it. I just won't. The job share job will take up a huge amount of my free time, and I will be stressed about it. It will consume days, and it will consume nights. I will dread going in some days because all I'll want to do is stay home in my comfy pants, and a write a lovely story. So why would I take it? That's the conundrum. I need some stones to drop on a scale.

On the one hand, there is the money. God knows I need money, and I could buy a lot more shoes. And clothes. And there are the brilliant people again...I would be surrounded by them, learning from them. Plus, can I ever really be a successful writer?

On the other hand. Money smoney. That is the worst reason to take a job ever, and I'm not that motivated by shoes and clothes. Sure I"d like more, but when it comes right down to it, I don't care about them that much. And I would love to be surrounded by those people again, but maybe the time has come that being surrounded by them in a work capacity is just not meant to be. Perhaps I can learn from them by eating lunch with them on occasion. And maybe I can be a successful writer, if I really do try.

I have this thing about moving backwards in life. If I have been there, done that, I don't usually want to go there, and do that again (this applies only to certain situations). I also have an odd relationship with fate. What's meant to be is meant to be. Lord knows my mother has drilled that into my head enough. "Everything will work out the way it's supposed too". Every time she says it, I just want to roll my eyes, and be like 'yesss, but what if??" The thing is....things always have worked out. But I can't decide if things work out because they were meant too, or if life just has a pay it forward thing going on. I generally try and be the most decent human being I can, and sometimes I think things that go my way are just the result of the universe's appreciation that I'm a kind individual. Or maybe that is ridiculous. I don't know.

Anyway, that is the conundrum. I have approximately 3 days to make a decision on this. I honestly just don't know what to do.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm an Old Lady

So, it is 10 to 10 on Tuesday night. I am tired. I have been up since early this morning, and haven't been sleeping too well because my upstairs neighbour has decided that 12:30 am is a good time to construct a bookshelf (or whatever the heck she is doing up there with a hammer). Despite all this, it strikes as odd and a little bit worrisome that I am so extremely tired. When did I become an old lady? I told myself I"m going to attempt to stay up and watch Boston Legal, which is on till 11. 11 is not late. Yet the thought of not being in bed before 11 is leaving a little bit apprehensive. I really am a old lady.

I've been noticing many things lately that have indicated that I better take drastic measures, or I'll be screwed by the time I"m actually 80.

First off, I have such a nighttime routine for myself, I'm shocked it doesn't include taking out and cleaning my dentures. It is a routine that ends in reading for a half an hour at least. Don't read? Can't sleep. Oy.

I've also been noticing an influx of grey hair lately. That is scary, and I become completely panicked every time I see one. I rip it out of my head, not caring how many other hairs come out with it. Is this normal when you are 24? It could be stress related, but even then, I don't think I'm stressed enough that my hair should be turning white mid strand.

Maybe my hair is just reacting how it sees fit. "Clearly, we are on the head of a 80 year old...why else is she yawning at 9:30 at night? She also makes a noise like "argggg" when she stands up sometimes "ohh my back, my knee". We should be turning white right about now"

Also, at work the other day, my boss said, "I have officially joined the old farts club, I now take my garbage out the night before garbage day". If taking out your garbage on the night before garbage day means an instant pass into the old farts club, I apparently joined a long, long time ago. Is taking out the garbage early something only old people do, and I haven't even noticed?

The thing that worries me the most out of all this is the grey hair.'s just not right.

Alright, I've made it until 10 o' more hour, and I'll be snooooozing away. Provided the upstairs neighbour doesn't continue with her Bob Villa ways.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Morning...Well, afternoon ponderings

I was thinking this morning about irrational fears. Those completely redonkulous things that happen that make you want to all of a sudden scream at the top of your lungs and run away? I don't know about other people, but this happens to me more often then I'd like.

Like the other day. I went to take out the garbage. We live in an apartment building, so there is a communal garbage area. It is contained to several covered garbage bins in a fenced in area. Back I go, garbage in hand. I open the door, lift up the lid to throw in my garbage, and there is a giant rat. It was one of those moments where I wanted to run like a mofo, screaming at the top of my lungs, but at the same time, the logical part of my brain was going "ummm it's a garbage area, and it's a rat. These two things go together. The rat is not hurting you in anyway, nor is the rat even trying to scare you. He/she is just trying to eat." Still, an urgent need to scream. I managed to hold the scream in, and compromised by just chucking the garbage and running like a mofo. The whole thing was silly, but that's just my point. Some fears are so completely irrational, and I can acknowledge this, yet that doesn't stop them from being scary.

Which leads me to another fear. Kathy Bates.

I'm sure Kathy Bates is a lovely lady, and my fear of her is clearly a testament to her calibre as an actress, but holy lord, if I ever ran into Kathy Bates on the street somewhere, there is no doubt in my mind, that I would take one look at her, and run screaming in the opposite direction. Something about the movie Misery, will haunt me for the rest of my life. I'm sure the fact that my mother suggested it as a scary movie idea, when me and my best friend were like...11, did not help matters. And I sure haven't watched it again since then. Now, anytime I see Kathy Bates in anything, regardless if she is playing the nicest, little old lady you ever did see, I picture the scene above, and it is all shot to hell. Congrats Kathy Bates, on what might possibly be the best acting job ever.

Other irrational fears include: random objects falling on my head from far up above me, being pecked in the eye by a bird, and sneezing when I'm all alone in the house and hearing someone say "Bless you" (I don't know where this one came from, but I thought of it one day several years ago in a "wouldn't that be scary" kind of way, and now, every time I sneeze when I'm alone, I have to listen intently to hear if anyone says anything before I can continue with my life).

I realize all this makes me a little crazy. And I've come to terms with that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yup, I like pondering things.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of being able to walk to work everyday. Who knew such a simple thing could be so very enjoyable? It starts my day out in such a lovely way. I mean, instead of getting in my car, and getting annoyed at other people's inability to drive well, I can simply put on my Ipod, and lalala all the way to work.

This daily jaunt makes me happy for several reasons:

1) The crossing guard lady I pass on the corner everyday. She is so friendly, and she just makes me happy. I have started not putting my Ipod on until I have passed her, so that I can say a daily "hello, how are you?" Friendly people are lovely, and seen as there are so few of them around these days, I appreciate the friendliness immensely.

2) I get to be in the sun. A large portion of my day is still spent in front of a computer screen, or hunched over a desk, so the walk to work, soaking in the vitamin D, is quite nice. Even when it was cold and snowy, that little bit of fresh air everyday, did wonders to clear the head.

3) The same people are always walking. It's not like I know these people, or likely that I ever will know them, but there is some amount of comfort in seeing them everyday. They create a kind of balance. "Ahhh guy in sunglasses with skinny jeans...there you are". I never necessarily say "hi" to them, nor do they to me, but there is a kind of connection in a, "isn't walking great?" kinda way.

4) I notice things. Some things I"m glad I'm noticing, some things I'm not, but nevertheless, it's lovely to just be aware of what is in this world. Whether it's, "oh, that tree got trimmed", or "the construction on the gazebo is almost done", I like that I have the time to notice and take it all in.

Walking around in my community every day makes me feel more a part of it, and something I have come to realize lately is just how important a sense of community is to feeling like you belong somewhere. The more and more I become a part of that community, the more and more I realize just how lovely it actually is.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Lately, I've been feeling kinda....conflicted. I feel like I want to be anywhere but here, yet at the same time, I feel like I want to be nowhere but here. I am starting to carve out a kind of lovely existence for myself here, after much hammering and chiseling. In many ways, I feel like this is where I am meant to be. But parts of me still crave adventure. I want to take off, go anywhere, and just roam free for a while. Discover new things, meet new people...learn some new lessons about life. It is these two extremes, and I haven't figured out yet if somewhere in there, there is a happy medium, or if I have to choose one or the other. Can I be a homebody and a nomad at the same time? Can I go out, have an adventure, then come back here and have everything be the same as when I left? I suppose somewhere along the line, something has to give. I just haven't figured out what that something is yet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Writing Sample # 2

Click it to make it bigger!

I was a "Niagara Voice" during my last year of high school, and I got to write six opinion pieces for the local paper. It was a really great experience...although I will be forever haunted by that horrid picture.

Writing Sample

Click to make it bigger and readable!

This is an article I wrote when I was working at the Western Gazette. It was the very first interview I ever did, and I was so nervous. But the interviewee (Gail Bowen), was incredible nice, and the whole thing went really, really well!

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