Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Tuesday Timewasters: 14 BEST Tweets from No Name Brands

No, you read that correctly. No Name Brands. The Brand.

So my obsession with all things Twitter continues with @nonamebrands.

I love them!

For those who don’t know, No Name Brands is a line of generic grocery items owned by the Loblaw Company in Canada. They’re sold in a bunch of stores around the country, the nearest one to me being Real Canadian Superstore.

They have quite distinctive packaging: black font on yellow background, and have very very generic product names.

BUT, their Twitter account is where they really shine. Here are some of my favorite Tweets of theirs for you to enjoy!

And of course, they’ve been posting helpful tweets such as:

They also live-Tweeted the Emmys and Oscars!! WHICH. WAS. AMAZING. Here’s a taster, read from bottom to top. Head to their Twitter for more!

ending paragraph.

signing off.

Categories
Canada humor

Would You Walk a Plank 80 Stories Above the Ground for Cake or Kittens?

Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in a trial of some new virtual reality software being created by a company called Hone, here in Calgary.

Hone uses virtual reality and augmented reality to help train people in how to deal with high-risk, high-stress environments. Using a combination of psychology and technology, Hone hopes to have a positive influence on how people approach stress management in the future.

It was through my work – which has nothing to do with VR – that I ended up in a boardroom at 8:25am on a Friday morning pondering what exactly I had signed up for.

Back in December, Hone came in and had ten of our staff members take part in round one of testing. One of those staff members was my boss. I was highly interested in what was happening and mentioned that I would like to be considered if they ever come back. My boss, true to her word, volunteered me and BOOM, I was in.

I was super excited. I’d never experienced virtual reality before. It looked awesome! I knew nothing about it or about VR in general or Hone or what time it was at or how long it would take or what I would need.

So I blocked off the whole day and began hoping it was a game.

It was not a game.

The session was called Applied Stress Management. This is a topic I am highly interested in. I’m apparently a super stressed individual however I don’t always realize it. The first person to point this out to me was my dentist after I cracked and/or broke several teeth though clenching in my sleep – not even kidding – …and then a TMJ specialist who took all of five minutes to diagnose me with TMJ. What a waste of an afternoon off work.

However, this was back in Jan 2018, 18 months after my mother had died and right amid the three months where we had bought a house, got a puppy that seemed allergic to sleep, I changed jobs, it was winter and life was a sleepless, -30 degree, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing jumble.

Things being better now, I was curious to what my stress levels would be in an unknown situation.

The main thing I was hoping to get out of the session was to learn techniques to stop myself from freaking out during my biggest fear: driving.

I hate driving. I have always hated driving. When I first learned how to drive in Ireland, I got stuck on a roundabout because I refused to leave it. Another time, I created a traffic jam on the street, panicked, stalled the (manual) car too much and had to get out – in the MIDDLE OF THE TRAFFIC JAM I CAUSED – to let my mother drive.

Here in Calgary, I relearned how to drive 4 years ago, got my license and then drove 1-2 times a year after that. Usually to the airport or the mechanics and back. Or sometimes just back. Why drive there when the person I’m dropping off can do that?!

Just thinking about makes me panic. When I sit in the driver’s seat I immediately get all hot and flustered. I sweat a lot. If I have to drive somewhere, I used to have to bring a change of cardigan or shirt….Too much information? Incidentally, after 20+ years, I finally found a deodorant that works for me! No Pong (bicarb free version) – All natural, comes in a cute little pot that sometimes annoyingly difficult to open when it’s 6:30am, not an ad, I just really love it! It doesn’t help with stress but it does help my clothing. #thelittlethings

Moving on.

So, I go into this session thinking this can maybe help with my fear. Or at least help me not spend an entire day panicking about having to drive somewhere when I know I have to drive somewhere.

First up was a presentation by Alex Jackson. And let me tell you, Alex is awesome. A very calming individual. Bit like a living Ted Talk. There were graphs and things to look at and none of it was confusing. Alex’s presentation was informative, engaging and slightly terrifying when he described what we would be doing.

We would be donning our super awesome VR googles and some other techy things that monitor skin and heart rate.

Not so bad.

Then we would be getting into a virtual reality elevator which opens onto a rooftop.

So far so good.

Then we would be walking along a plank 80 stories above the ground to get a piece of cake and bring it back into the elevator.

Cool.

Cool, cool, cool.

Cool.

I should mention in addition to the virtual cake there was also real cake available baked by Alex’s sister. She felt bad that Alex was potentially going to traumatize us all by making us walk a plank to get virtual cake while there was no real cake there to sooth us.

No, I’m serious.

Suggestion for Hone: Kittens. I woulda bounced along that plank if there were kittens available to play with. #justsayin

So here I am, standing in a small room with Alex, Phil – also from Hone who I’d just met – and two other guys at computer monitors whose names I didn’t get. Alex is explaining to me how it’s going to work.

In front of me, a guy is setting up a real wooden plank on the carpet. This thing is about 2-3 inches from the ground maybe. I’m looking at it and looking at Alex thinking I can totally walk along this. My only fear was twisting an ankle in my heels cos I 100% ignored the ‘wear tennis shoes’ part of the email.

Alex has me clip a small sensor to my ear and puts little cotton and Velcro finger sensor thingys on the first two fingers on my left hand.

He then lowers the goggles on to my face and HOLY SH*T.

I was transported to a busy city street. I was opposite a park. There was a butterfly. I was fascinated by the butterfly. It seemed so real. I almost wanted to touch it.

It sounded real. I could hear people and traffic and nature.

I immediately felt hot and flustered and I hadn’t even done anything yet!

I started looking around and completely missed some of my instructions.

Dammit.

I get into the elevator behind me, press a button and wait. The elevator goes up. I can see a gap in the door that shows we are moving up but I don’t focus on it. Instead I look around the elevator. There’s a small warning sign, some buttons for other floors and no mirror. I am listening to the elevator music. It’s quite soothing and not so bad, I can do this, this is….

…the doors open.

‘Ou wind…’ I say out loud. I didn’t actually realize I’d said this aloud until Phil told me later.

It legitimately looked like I was 80 stories up. I was suddenly terrified. And I’m not scared of heights!

What am I doing? The cake. Right.

Where’s the cake? Oh…there. Right in front of me. At the end of the plank.

I walk forward a little, hit the real plank and almost trip.

Good start.

As I take a step up onto the real plank, VR me steps onto the VR plank. The calibration was just the slightest bit off so I was half on the VR plank, half on nothing on my VR screen. It was surreal.

The real plank wobbles.

Awesome.

I shuffle along the plank. Shuuuuuufffle. Slowly. Slooooowly. When I got as close as I was willing to get to the cake I waved the wand I was given. Nothing happened. I’d have to get closer.

Then I heard ‘Push the trigger button’….and stopped shuffling. I bent down, waved the wand dramatically in the cake’s general direction, grabbed the cake, shuffled backwards and back into the elevator.

Let’s remember, I am still in a carpeted boardroom in an auditorium in my work building on a plank two inches off the ground.

It felt like that scene in Ant Man where this hugely dramatic thing is happening on screen and then we pan out and it’s just a little train going around.

Alex asks if I want to try again but this time ignore the cake and jump off the plank.

Do. I. Want. To…What?

Why would I want to do that?

How would I…? No. No I do not.

No.

Of course, I said yes because I was already here and I’d gotten the cake and…ugh, why not?

Back into the elevator I go. Up to the roof I go. The music drowns out Alex’s instructions so I hear nothing until I reach the top. I look through the gap in the elevator this time. I ask what happens when I jump. Do I land? #validquestion

No. I don’t land. It all goes white and angelic music plays. I burst into laughter. I start feeling better. Alex talks me through breathing and visualising my goal: Jumping off the plank.

Why couldn’t there be kittens?

I stepped out onto the plank. It was re-calibrated this time and was in line with me.

IT. WAS. SO. REAL.

I was nervous. This was a fear that I didn’t think I needed to overcome! But alas, there I was, knowing logically where I was, that this wasn’t real, I was just stepping onto carpet not an 80 story drop.

I scrunched up into defensive mode, the clenched hands against my chest move I do when someone startles me or that time I watched IT, the new one. Still not sure about that movie. I mean, did I like it enough to watch the sequel? It’s hard to tell.

Back to the plank.

It’s one step.

Just a step. Onto carpet. Not off a building.

I ask if I have to keep my eyes open as I fall.

No.

OK. I can do this. I nervously giggle at the absurdity of me being scared by this. Yet I STILL DIDN’T MOVE.

Alex explained where he was in the room and I instinctually prepared to jump/step off towards his voice.

I am not doing it. Or am I doing it? Should I do it? I can’t be scared by this. It’s not real. It feels real. But it’s not real. I should just jump. Should I jump? I mean, what if…f*ck it.

I stepped off.

My foot hit the not-plushy-cos-it’s-a-boardroom carpet while my VR self plummeted 80 stories to the white screen and angelic music. I watched the whole time. It was freaky, exhilarating and then very funny. The angelic music. It was just such an absurd ending.

Then I respawned.

I was on the ground. I took off the googles.

Next up was a check on my stress levels on a readout.

As you can see, I was slightly freaked out the entire way through it would seem, peaking at several specific points:

  1. When I put the headset on
  2. When I was looking through the elevator crack
  3. When I exited the elevator
  4. While making decisions on what to do
  5. RIGHT before I jumped (that one was obvious)

Overall, it was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again without question. I’m already wondering if they plan to come back for a third round of needing volunteers.

I even recommended to The Canadian One that he should try it as – even though I did get him up into a hot air balloon last summer – he is terrified of heights and this may help him.

In terms of driving, I still haven’t gotten back behind the wheel but it’s winter and snow driving is not the time to overcome that fear. It seems more like a summer fear-busting task, no?

Incidentally, during the debrief we were asked if we think anything else would motivate us more than cake.

I immediately thought of kittens however opted not to suggest that as others seems happy to walk a plank for cake.

Then the planner in me gets involved and it’s like, where would you get the kittens? You’d need litter boxes. And food. And someone could be allergic. And would you rent them or adopt kittens for this task? And how many kittens? And would the owners of the boardroom you are renting allow animals? And what if someone got scratched? Would it be an OH&S problem? There’d be reports and paperwork. It would be a whole thing.

It wouldn’t work.

Or would it?

What do you guys think?

Would you walk a plank 80 stories up for cake or kittens?

Categories
Canada funny health humor leep

That time I almost had surgery, then didn’t….and then did….

So remember a few months back I told you about how I was convinced my foo was trying to kill me and the doctors thought they were wrong but I was going back for a retest anyway…you know, because doctors like to make sure everything is cool?

Well. 

They weren’t wrong. 

Everything is not cool. 

F*ck. 

So now instead of being the friend who got the dreaded-bad-results-PAP only for it to turn out to be incorrect and perfectly fine, I’m the friend who had the dreaded-bad-results-PAP was told actually you’re fine and then told not quite and then…oh people, it’s a story. 

Bring wine. 

The day after this post was published, I went back for my retest biopsy. Same routine. Vinegar on foo, sting sting sting because I shaved the night before – don’t do that – then snip snip snip, then wait wait wait. It was during this waiting period, I ended up at a walk-in clinic for an unrelated reason and SAW my results on the computer. It said HSIL and the word ‘sarcoma’…

I mentioned the results to the doctor. She turned and said ‘Oh, they are going to need to talk to you.’ – referring to the colposcopy clinic. 

Now, if you ever have results you are unsure of and your walk-in doctor advises you to call your actual doctor, you should do that and not do what I did.

Which was Google it.

And then cry.

And drink vodka.

And cry some more. 

There are no oat cookies in this story. Just vodka. 

The biopsy was on November 8th and after what seemed like an entire lifetime – like we literally decided to buy a house, bought a house, went to Disneyland on vacation and then moved into said house by the time they called on November 30th. It was a weird month. After some minor chitchat about results, they quickly scheduled me for LEEP surgery a week later Dec 8th.

Ugh. 

Like….

Ugh. 

I get a pre-surgery call from the nurse to talk me through things. 

Her: ‘And then they will inject you with numbing agent, just like at the dentist.” 

Me: ‘That’s not where they inject me at the dentist….’ 

And

Her: ‘Do you have your pamphlet?’ 

Me: ‘The yellow pamphlet?’ 

Her: ‘Yeah! The yellow pamphlet.’ 

ME: ‘No…I lost the yellow pamphlet.’ 

My nurse was done with me before I even went to the hospital! 

Skip forward to a week later, The Canadian One takes the day off work and we both head into the hospital for the ol’ LEEP. I get there, sign the consent forms, quickly decline The Canadian One viewing the surgery because, again, NO ONE needs to see their foo on the ‘big screen’, and I’m whisked into the room with the stirrups. 

The nurse had shown me several pictures of what will happen – cartoon style. The last picture had the woman’s cervix looking completely normal. 

Me: ‘Oh, it grows back? I didn’t know that. That’s cool.” 

Her: ‘Oh, no. It doesn’t. That’s…just a picture.’ 

Me: ‘That’s misleading.’ 

Nurse: ‘You’re not the first person to say that….’ 

She hates me. 

I get into my gown, my phone starts to ring, I accidentally answer it and then hang up. I found out later it was my family doctor trying to call another Jennifer and called me by accident. I shake like a leaf as I get up on the table and have some kinda grounding sticker stuck to my ass. Another nurse tries to talk to me. She’s all soothing and nice until….

Her: ‘You know sometimes, we work ourselves up and it’s really not that bad.’ 

Me: ‘Or you Google it.” 

Her, dead serious: ‘Yeah, that was stupid.’ 

I laughed so hard I almost peed. 

The doctor comes in, stirrups, vinegar, iodine, looks around inside the foo-dome and THEN TURNS the big screen towards me. 

What? 

No. 

Why? 

What are we…Why is…WOW, I missed a lot of areas when I shaved…is that…hmmm, so that’s what it looks like in there…that’s….why are we looking at this? 

Doctor: ‘You see this area?’ – pointing at an area of my cervix…I assume. God, it was all so pink and…pink…but there was a largish area of white. I assume that’s the bit that’s actively trying to kill me. 

Me: ‘..yes?’ 

Doctor: ‘It is too large to be removed. We need to refer you to the cancer ward for general anesthetic.’ 

Me: ‘The….What?’ 

Head. Desk. Now. 

Turns out the area that was mistakenly diagnosed as bad then fine then bad now needed more extensive surgery than me being awake would allow. 

Someone will call you in around 8-10 weeks to schedule the appointment, they said. If they don’t, call us back. 

Yep. 

Like….

Yep.

Ugh. 

F*ck. 

Although, having not had surgery, we decided to go Christmas shopping at the mall. As soon as we got there, I realized I would have rathered have the surgery.

Daisy, our new puppy!

#alltheregrets

So Christmas comes and goes. We got a puppy, I got a new job – a promotion, it’s awesome – and life kinda meanders along, me waiting for the phone, the 7 month old lab retriever thinking 2am on a work night is party time. 

Smash cut to Monday of this week – today is Thursday for anyone reading this not on the day it’s published. I call the clinic to find out if there’s any updates on my surgery. I have a new job, I want to give plenty of notice that I will betaking a few days off. I call and leave a voicemail and they call me back. 

And here’s where my full-on complaint to AHS kicks in. I spoke to the rudest woman I have ever spoken to in my life. She started off telling me she doesn’t know who I am despite me leaving my full name, spelling of my name and phone number and reason for calling on the voicemail – I explain again and she says ‘well, I don’t have your chart and I don’t know where it is’. I’ve been to this clinic 5 times for biopsies and once for an aborted LEEP, this clinic has a file on me. She said doesn’t know why I would call her, I should call my surgeon for my OR time. MY. SURGEON. Like…ugh. I explain I don’t have a surgeon – cos who does – and that her clinic was supposed to give me my OR date and if they didn’t I was to call in 8-10 weeks. It had been 10 weeks. She said I was a ‘non-priority’, she, again, ‘didn’t understand why I was even calling’ and that she thought ‘LEEP in the OR shouldn’t even be an option for people’. I explained it wasn’t really MY choice to have this done and I initially had been scheduled for being awake…you know, writing this is just making me mad again. Basically she didn’t have my chart, didn’t know who I was and made me sit on the phone and defend a diagnosis she didn’t agree with that a doctor at her clinic made. I cried after that phone call. It was awful. 

She also spend a lot of time on the phone repeatedly asking why I was calling her. BECAUSE. YOUR. CLINIC. TOLD. ME. TO. 

Also who chooses to have a LEEP?!

Who? 

Like you know what would be fun to do today, a LEEP?! YES, OMG YAY, LET’S DO THAT. 

Bitch.

I wrote a complaint to AHS because no adult should be made to feel bad about their diagnosis and for following a clinic’s instructions. 

I await their response. 

As it turns out, she didn’t have my chart because I was already transferred to the cancer centre so I called them instead. The nurse wasn’t available until Tuesday so I waited until the next day. 

9am, she calls. I’m scheduled for the next day. Valentine’s day. 

No, really. 

The. Very. Next. Day.

Like, yesterday. 

Yesterday, I had a LEEP, cone biopsy and LASER surgery in the OR.

Yesterday. 

With less than 24 hours notice. 

No wait, that’s a lie, I had 26hrs and 20mins of notice. Which is fine, my work was cool about it and 26hrs is enough time to shave your legs but still…

It was all very simple. Check in. Meet some very nice nurses. Befriended the girl waiting next to me. Both wallow in the fact that it was 2:20pm and, having fasted since midnight, we were both starving. I was promised a sandwich after by my nurse. 

I got into my gown and booties and was sent back out into the waiting area to The Canadian One. I ran back out to him: “LOOK AT MY BOOTIES!!!! Gimme your phone!!!” They had taken my phone from me. 

My super sexy surgery booties!

Eventually, after 4 hours of waiting and convincing myself I was going to die from starvation – and messing up parking so we ended up paying $29 – I got called into the OR for my surgery. I chitchatted with the nurse about my puppy, she showed me pictures of her puppy and poof, I was in recovery. 

I was dizzy and confused. It was like falling asleep during a movie and waking up during the end credits like…wait…what happened. I still don’t know what happened at the end of American Made. I should really just Google it. 

I was soon offered my sandwich but couldn’t eat it as ya know, the gluten and dairy thing but the nurses found me an apple juice. After peeing, going through one and half baggies of liquid in my IV and then getting the IV out, I was free to go home. 

Nurse: ‘How’s your pain?’

Me: ‘My hand hurts.’

Nurse: ‘That doesn’t count.’ 

Me: ‘Then it’s ok.’

Nurse: ‘Do you want a barf bag for the ride home?’

Me: ‘No. I am starving. I don’t think I’ll be throwing up.’

Me, post surgery and lookin’ slightly more than regular-Irish-girl pale

I made The Canadian One drive me straight to Five Guys from the hospital for an after-surgery burger in a lettuce wrap and fries. It was glorious. Then he picked up the puppy from daycare and we binge watched Shameless US for the night. 

Six more months until my follow-up biopsy and the all-clear….

Back to #waiting for me.

And vodka. 

Waiting and vodka. 

And cramping. 

Waiting and vodka and cramping. 

Quick poll: It’s almost 3pm in the afternoon, can one sustain themselves post-surgery on gummy bears and vodka?

#askingforafriend

Categories
Canada comedy funny health humor

You know how I’m convinced my foo is trying to kill me…

So I talk a lot about how I am convinced my foo is trying to kill me. Every month, my period rolls ’round and I tell this website, Facebook, Twitter, my friends, my cats, The Canadian One, anyone who’ll listen that I am convinced that my foo and all it’s connecting parts including but not limited to the main foo-dome (or uterus if you’re a doctor) is actively trying to kill me.

Sure, I dull it with heat pads and vodka and painkillers and, did I mention Vodka, but yet still, it downs me each month and costs me a valuable sick day I could be using as vacation time.

It tries to kill me. Snuff me out. Steal my energy and make me eat all the oat cookies.

THEN it makes me cry because there are no more oat cookies.

And then I feel sick because you’re not supposed to bake and eat 12 oat cookies in 30 minutes.

To sum up, I was/am/will forever be convinced my foo wants me dead.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that that might actually be true.

I’m not nuts.

It IS trying to kill me.

Ok, lemme back up.

So about 3 years ago, I had a serious of failed PAP tests – always a fun time – and I was sent off to the colposcopy clinic where I had a series of biopsies. These fun lil let’s-rinse-you-out-with-vinegar-and-cut-off-slivers-of-your-skin tests resulted in a ‘low grade changes’ result. Other than ‘You’re 100% healthy’, one would assume that’s the next best thing.

I was sent home and told to return in 6 months.

I returned.

We vinegared up the foo and got to snipping. THIS time I remembered to take Motrin before the test so it went muuuuuch better than the first one. The results were the same as the first so I waited another 6 months.

Again, I returned. Motrined up. We biopsied. We got the same results. However as it was my third visit, I was offered the chance to watch the foo biopsy on the big screen.

I politely declined.

No one wants to see their foo magnified up on the big screen.

No. One.

This time, since there were no changes in results from the first time, I was released back to my family doctor.

FREEDOM!

I was told I needed 3 more all-clear PAPs in 18 months to be considered fine.

Over the next year, I collected 2 fully fledged perfectly healthy PAP tests (and a yeast infection from some ear infection medicine because….ugh…life).

And then came the third.

‘You have HSIL. You need to return to colposcopy.’ 

Like…COME ON!! #soclose

I was told what this meant. There was a possibility of ‘pre-cancer’ and a LEEP. I would need time off work. I had a wedding coming up in the USA. This was seriously going to interfere with all this. I cried on the train and began to miss my sunglasses. My face seriously puffs up when I cry. I can’t watch puppy videos at work. Ever.

Now here is where I went wrong.

I Googled.

I literally cannot stress this enough: DO. NOT. GOOGLE. LEEP. SURGERY. And then hit images. Don’t. Just…don’t.

The Canadian One threatened to confiscate my phone. He, at regular intervals, would send me gifs of Michael Scott yelling NOOOOOO.

The only thing that calmed me down was a Reddit thread where people explained it actually wasn’t that bad and that you shouldn’t Google it.

Reddit.

Reddit, the place I turned to last year when there was a Red Bull shortage in Calgary. (That’s true, you can probably still find my question. I have no idea how to log into Reddit so it must still be there)

Two weeks later, I find myself in the colposcopy clinic again. Feet cold in the stirrups, happy I remembered a pad and took the Motrin, staring at the ceiling, the big screen, declining the offer to watch, chitchatting with the nurse about summer plans (it was my fourth, I knew the drill).

The doctor said she saw some HSIL, we talked about my trip to the USA, when my LEEP would be, when the biopsy results would be back to see how deep the abnormal cells go.

Two weeks later I get the call.

Results are in.

That was quick. The last time I had to call them.

‘Oh my God, it’s bad.’ I say.

‘You don’t know that. We said we would call either way.’ said the nurse, no air of emotion in her voice. I had no idea if she was calling with good or bad news.

She confirmed I am who I say I am and then said it.

All the biopsies were perfectly normal. The PAP was wrong.

What the sh*t?! – Actual Quote

After swearing at her a few more times and then apologizing several times and making her explain again…and again what she meant by ‘all clear’…I thanked her, arranged my 6 month follow up to check that the biopsy results were consistent and hung up.

So now I’m left in this position: Either my PAP was wrong and I’m that friend you get to tell all your other friends about who’s PAP was wrong and she was fine.

Or I’m not fine, the biopsy was wrong and I am f*cked.

My 6 month follow up is tomorrow…

Ugh, I need an oat cookie.

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

‘I’m a bee!!’ – Halloween Memories

While trying to explain Halloween in Ireland to The Canadian One I was remembering all sorts of different traditions we have that are different from his.

For one, in my family we never carved a Jack-O’-Lantern (or Pumpkin). People in Ireland did but in my family we just didn’t do it.

Pumpkin Spiced PicklesOur pumpkin…with our cat…dressed as a pumpkin. Note: Only one of us is excited in this photo. And it’s not her. 

As child, we would dress up, go trick-or-treating, drop all our candy at home and hit the bonfire for some staring at fire and watching of fireworks. Other side-traditions that may have been more my-family-centric included finding the cat, coaxing the cat indoors, locking the cat in the living room, hiding all the wood in the weeks leading up to the bonfire night (for fear of it being stolen) and, of course, no Halloween was complete without the eating of the Halloween Brack.

Barmbrack

Oddly, The Canadian One actually already knows about barmbrack. A few months ago, he excitedly told me about this Irish fruitcake that was baked on an episode of Deadwood he’d seen the night before. He said there were items baked into the fruit cake and…

I stopped him there.

“Like a ring and whatnot?” I asked.

“YES!! You know about this cake? Is it a thing?” he exclaimed.

‘Is it a thing?’ is an often asked question in our house.

“Yeah, it’s called brack. Like Halloween brack. Or barmbrack. We eat it at Halloween. It’s got stuff inside it. You know, I was always so excited to get the ring from the brack when I was little. You buy it at Dunnes.”

He stared at me. It was the same expression he had on his face when I was acting out the game ‘conkers’ to him. I often forget when I’m explaining things to people who didn’t grow up with this being normalcy, they may find it fascinating.

I almost told him about bobbing for apples but opted out of it. Also thinking about bobbing for apples now. I mean, you get one kid with a cold playing that game and everyone is wiped out! 

It’s strange to think back on some of the things we did as kids on Halloween. As a child the only rules were be home before dark (and ‘stop slamming the frikkin’ door on your way in and out’). My mother never really knew where we were or what we were doing. We went out unsupervised trick-or-treating. We would wander too close to the bonfire which was basically a pile of wood in the middle of a grassy community area set alight. My brother said there was a shopping trolley on it this year. We ate our candy without thinking twice about if it could be dangerous. Is wasn’t so much, ‘was there poison in our apples?’ it was more ‘why did someone give us apples? Which house was that, let’s never visit again.’

And why were there always so many peanuts in shells. 

So. Many. 

No one ever worried about allergies. Or gluten. Or dairy. 

Me as Julia

Me, as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, aged 7 or 8

As for costumes, I’ve dressed as a plethora of different things growing up including, but not limited to, my hooker outfit above. I wanted to be Pretty Woman. I went around telling people I was a hooker until my mother told me I should probably just tell people I was Julia Roberts.

My mother would make all my costumes (yes, including the one above). I was a robot one year in a cardboard box covered in tin foil and remember being sad I couldn’t pee most of the night. People used me as a candy table for a bit. I was the World Cup another year with a gold covered lampshade on my head. I won a costume competition. I was a witch. A ghost. I dressed all in white once and stuck a glowing star to my chest and was the Star of Bethlehem (the curse of attending an all-girls catholic school). 

Witch

Me as a witch

As an adult I’ve been a snowman…

Snowman

With Stan looking dapper as a cat. 

…and Minnie Mouse in the same weekend. This is me (a mere 24 hours after the above photo was taken in a 2am McDonald’s dance-off with Spiderman…that ended in a song because of course…). Poor Stan looking embarrassed in the background:

Minnie

Last year I decided to be a bee. 

In Canada I’ve been a bee twice. Once while working at a call center a bunch of us dressed as worker bees.

Get it. 

Worker Bees. 

Hahahahahaha. 

No? 

Nevermind. 

But last year, I made the whole family get in on the bee theme: 

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Only one of us is truly happy in this photo

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I would later get drunk and yell excitedly ‘I’m a bee!!!” at a Calgary police officer sitting in a truck as we were leaving a Halloween party. ‘He’s a beekeeper!!!’ I would continue to yell across the sidewalk to him as I pointed at The Canadian One. The cop waved to me and yelled back, ‘I KNOW!! WE MET YOU EARLIER!” 

Oh yeah. That’s right. 

He was the same cop who complemented The Canadian One on his beekeeper outfit and suggested we round up all the many bees at the party and take a picture with them. 

We didn’t. 

But dammit, we should have! 

It was only later when I was looking at old pictures to find the one of me as a witch, I remembered this: I was a bee before. In Spain. With my brother. 

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Again, one of us is way more excited than the other. 

I’ve now dressed as a bee three times in my lifetime. 

None of them were in Ireland. 

Go figure. 

What are some of your Halloween memories or traditions? Got a funny childhood costume you want to share? 

Categories
Canada

Six Months Ago Today, My Mother Died…

December 14th 2013 – just before she got on the plane

The last time I saw my mother was December 14th 2013, the day before her birthday. She was crying as we parted at Calgary Airport. As I watched her go through the gated area and head to the line for security, her head suddenly popped back behind the security agent so she could wave to me one more time. For a moment, a thought enveloped my head, ‘What if this is the last time I ever see my mother?’. 

Of course, there was no reason to think this. She was 54 at the time (turning 55 the next day). She was planning to come visit me in Canada again. The Canadian One, my mother and I had just spend a week celebrating a mini Christmas. We chose a day. We celebrated Christmas. We woke up early. We had gifts. We ate turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings all cooked by her. We drank a lot and ate too much and I tried to figure out how to make my new food processor work.

I successfully chopped a carrot.

I was very excited. 

***

380377_10150512266681346_149031057_nThe last time I spoke to my mother was January 1st 2015. 

It’s a story not worth going into now. 

We argued. 

It was one of many and it had come to a boiling point of no return. 

It happened. 

It’s done. 

And I’m positive neither of us thought it would be forever. 

***

On the morning of June 13th 2016 at 6:55am my brother called me just as I was arriving at work.

He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

I live in Calgary, Canada.

He never calls me.

Our mother, who’d recently had hip surgery but had already been released from hospital earlier that week, was taken back into hospital less than 24 hours previously suffering from pneumonia, my brother told me. The doctors have said it’s 50/50, my brother explained. If copy-of-holiday-176the antibiotics don’t work, it’s game over, he continued. 

Will she die? Tell me exactly what the doctors said. Should I come home? I asked, sinking into a soft couch in the lobby of the tower that houses my office. 

No. No, he said. Let’s wait. The doctors say they will update me at this time tomorrow. But if this doesn’t work, that’s it. Game over. 

He said it again. 

Game over. 

I agreed not to come back. He didn’t seem overly panicked and seemed to have things in hand so I headed up to work and said I would check in with him in a few hours. I told my manager what was happening and started to make arrangements in case I had to leave with short notice. Transferred files onto a shared drive. Finished off some pending work that needed to be done that week. Made a list of all the things I needed to bring in case I was in a state of panic when I got the call and needed The Canadian One to pack for me. 

Middle of the day, no updates. My brother had left the hospital and due to the time difference was asleep most of the time I was awake. I assured my manager that the doctor’s update was at 7am the following morning and that I would be in work (as I work at 7am) the next day. 

At 2.43am on June 14th 2016 my phone rang. I thought it was my alarm and turned the ringing off.

And that’s when I heard it. 

The Canadian’s One’s phone. 

It started to ring. 

I knew right away.

I knew it was not good.

I knew I was getting on a plane. 

A friend once told me ‘In the middle of the night, if one phone rings, it could be anything. If both phone rings, it’s an emergency.’ 

My brother called my phone again and told me when he got to the hospital three doctors took him into a room and sat him down. It was at that moment he knew things were f*cked. He went on to explain she was on life support. The antibiotics didn’t work. She had anywhere between 24 hours and a week left. 

He was alone at the hospital. 

I was the only person he had called. 

Promising to call back with my flight details shortly, I hung up the phone, grabbed my computer, woke The Canadian One and sent a message to my mother’s sister to get her to call me. I didn’t know her phone number. By 3:40am I was booked on a one-way 10am Westjet flight to Dublin from Calgary via Ottawa and St. John’s, had spoken to my aunt who called her two brothers and they were all on their way to the hospital to be with my mother and brother. 

168655_181943268509766_8371819_nThe Canadian One took my packing list and started finding stuff. I located all the credit cards, took every piece of ID I could find, I text my manager and was trying to get in contact with my friend in Ireland to get a ride home from the airport. I was due to arrive at 7:15am. She said she’d pick me up. 

“Should I take a black dress and shoes?…I should take a black dress and shoes.” I said, asking and answering my own question. 

It was decided The Canadian One would stay and care for the cats and follow me if she died. There was no use both of us being off work for the next however-long. 

At 6am, there were no new updates and I had checked into my flight online and picked my seat. I was in the middle seat for my first flight but the aisle for my next two.

I could live with that.

I planned to nap. 

By 7am, I was at the door, ready to go. There was an eerie calmness that came with my extreme panic. I had stopped processing new information and the only task was the task in front of me. 

We needed petrol for the car. 

Done. 

Where do I leave my bag at check-in? 

Done. 

Am I hungry? 

No. 

Is that my gate? 

I waited in line for security, the same security I had bid goodbye to my mother at exactly 2.5 years earlier. I wondered if I should be crying. I wasn’t.

Should I be crying?

Should I be more panicked?

How am I supposed to feel? 

The security agent said to go to the left but the right looks shorter. What do I do? 

I went right. 

Am I hungry? 

Still no. 

Should I be? 

Am I doing this right? I feel like I should be more panicked. 

Is that my gate? 

Oh, I remember this place. There’s a Starbucks here. Isn’t there? Do I want coffee? Maybe I should have a Jugo Juice. 

Should I have a Jugo Juice? 

Do I need to pee? 

I should call the bank and tell them I was going to be in Ireland with my cards. 

Am I hungry? 

I bought some glucose tablets and ate one. 

I wasn’t hungry but I also didn’t want to deal with a low-blood sugar migraine. 

At 9:13am, my brother sent an update that she only had a few minutes left. He was in the hospital room. I didn’t call him. It seemed inappropriate. If he could have called, he would have. 

I waited for another update. 

I paced around. 

I boarded my plane.

I found my seat. 

In the middle between two people. 

I stared at my phone.

I waited. 

I sent a text at 9:31am to tell him I was on the plane and I had to turn off my phone. 

I put my phone into airplane mode. 

I stared at it. 

I took it back out of airplane mode. 

Should I put it back into airplane mode? 

What if something happens? 

What if I need…

…It lit up and started to ring. 

It was my brother. 

She was gone. 

I looked out the window. 

He was still talking.

I started talking. 

I didn’t know what to say. 

I think I said ‘OK’.

I think I asked if he was OK.

I had to turn off my phone.

I said once I’m in the air I would email him. 

I hung up. 

I text The Canadian One and then turned my phone back into airplane mode. 

I stared at my tray table. 

I stared at the back of the seat in front of me. 

We started down the runway. 

I had no idea what to do. 

As I burst into tears uncontrollably I suddenly remembered that although I had had the foresight to bring tissues onto the plane with me, I did not think to keep them with me. I looked up at the overhead storage above me, remembering my bag is up there. 

I started wiping my face on my cardigan, soaking it. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the woman next to me start frantically searching in her bag. She’s pulling things out. She’s moving things around. She finds a little packet of tissues with two left and silently gives me one and then the other. 

I sat on the plane with four hours ahead of me, drying my face and clutching my phone.

I stared at the tray table in front of me again. 

I tried to calm down. 

I tried to stop crying. 

I tried breath normally and to focus but it was useless.

All I could think was…

…well….

…now what…

spa50349

 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

The Road To 5K: Injured Runner

The road to 5k copy-2

It’s been a few weeks since my last update on how my Road to 5K is going and…

…it’s not been going well.

In my second week of training, I started to get these twinges in my right knee. I didn’t think much of it. Maybe it was from suddenly starting to do an exercise that didn’t involve Netflix and the couch. Or from having an inability to run in a straight line.

Why is that so difficult?  

The first time it happened, I ignored it. Meh, it’s nothing. Just the usual muscle pain associated with new exercise. It soon wore off and I was fine. The second time, it took longer for me to get over it. I sat around my house, my knee feeling hot and puffy but generally looking fine. Normal. Like a normal knee should look.

No swelling. 

No redness. 

No bruising.

Again, I thought, maybe it’s normal.

It was not.

I jogged again two days later – keeping with my every-second-day schedule – and quit midway through. The pain was shooting through me and I worried I would become stranded a 15 minute jog from home unable to walk. I briefly considered locating a Car2Go and then realized I should probably just continue walking.

I went home and lay on the couch, sad.

Then it hurt when I walked. Or when I stood. Or when I was just sitting around at my desk.

It had become a problem.

I put heat on it.

You should not put heat on it.

I called my regular physiotherapist thinking that may be the solution but she was out of town. I quickly acquired a new one and set up an appointment for the following week.

I happened to be seeing my regular doctor for completely unrelated issue (renewing a migraine meds prescription) and casually asked if I should be using heat or ice. We established no heat. Heat makes it worse and I got a prescription for some kinda, I don’t know, like gloopy gel you rub on your knee. It’s sort of the consistency of Vaseline. It’s weird. I’m not sure I like it. And I’m not sure it does anything.

And also I lost it somewhere.

My appointment with the physio came and poof, I was quickly diagnosed with patellofemoral injury aka Runner’s Knee.

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Seriously. Was there ever a more apt name for an injury?

I got all taped up, got given my set of exercises to do and was ordered to jog a little on Sunday…which I failed to do. It was raining.

And I was hungover.

But mainly, the rain thing.

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I returned to physio on Monday and, having been through a year of physio before and knowing these lovely magical people don’t take kindly to bullshit, I trailing my ‘Hi, how are you?’ with ‘I have done minimum exercise and didn’t jog’.

Just wanted to admit that right off the bat.

We did a little physio, some ultrasounding, some stretches and I was sent home with the same exercises and schedule I had failed to follow the previous week. We also discovered pain in my left knee and things started to look bleak for the marathon.

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Between my second and third appointment, the following Monday, I managed 2 short jogs (I did Week 1: Day 1 again, twice) and got through some of the exercises I was given.

Yes yes, I know, you should follow your physio’s advice, blah blah blah.

You try it.

Moving on.

The pain was hovering around a 1 on the 1 to stabbed-in-the-eyeball scale and I was feeling pretty good. At my third, and last, appointment (13 days from Race Day), my left knee had healed and my right knee was doing so much better I was given new exercises, the go-ahead to at least attempt the race and a doctor’s note to excuse me from the fire drill that was due in my building. I work on the 40th floor. Evacuating during a fire drill from that height is bad enough when you are completely fine (hot, pissed off, and wishing you’d brought your coffee doesn’t count here), but with an injured knee, a 5K race looming and 3 physio appointments behind you, it’s not a good idea.

Which brings me to 6 days ago. I set out, sans Couch25K app, to just generally get a feel for what the distance of 5K felt like. I miscalculated the yellow ball in the sky and overheated almost as soon as I left the apartment. I made it to 4.16km before I genuinely thought the sun would kill me and I needed to wear less clothing.

Two days later it snowed (welcome to Calgary), so I waited until the following day. It was rainy and windy so I dressed appropriately in long pants, a t-shirt and sweater. About 20 minutes in I felt ill. I was hot, nauseous, a little dizzy and winded and, let’s be fair, I wasn’t really going that fast I should not have felt like that.

Then it happened.

I got itchy.

All over my legs.

I was overheating and itchy and my chest started to hurt. My breathing, however, was fine and I quickly worked out this was not an emergency situation. I slowed to a snail pace and meandered home hitting 4.06km

Once in the door, without the distraction of the outside, the itching intensified. I took off my sweater and pants and stared at my legs.

Hives.

FRIKKIN HIVES!

EVERYWHERE!

My legs looked like bubble wrap.

I grabbed an ice pack for me knee and a glass of cold water and sat down…then did what any normal person would do in this situation. I took a picture of my legs and sent it to The Canadian One.

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This a picture of my matching ice pack, dress and knee tape. Not the hives. Sorry. 

I do enjoy co-ordination. 

The hives disappeared within 40 minutes and I narrowed the cause down to:

  1. Allergy to exercise – which is a real thing according to the Internet
  2. Some freak allergic reaction to spending too much time outdoors (freak allergic reactions are not too uncommon for me…remember that throat closing incident?) 
  3. The migraine medication I took before I left the house to jog triggered a reaction

Now, while it is most likely that last one, I did seriously consider the first one as the answer.

Not giving up, I jogged 2.5km yesterday and, though my different-pants-I-wore-a-lot-when-training were itchy, they did not produce any hives leading to believe perhaps the itching was imaginary this second time. 

Tomorrow I’ll attempt another 4-5km (today I’m taking a break) and I’ll update you on #HiveGate. And yes, I carry my EpiPen on my runs now…it’s in my cellphone holder belt…and is super inconvenient! Where am I suppose to put my phone now?!

Remember 6 weeks ago when I was like ‘Oh, hey, you know what might be fun, running a marathon. Yes, I know I’ve never run or even exercised before but how hard can it be?!’….A hurt knee, $50 worth of running clothes, 3 physiotherapy appointments and an outbreak of hives later and I think my brother may have put it best:

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And yes, it routinely takes him 24 hours to respond to my texts. 

However, I am still determined to do this 5K. If it takes me an hour to wander through the thing, I will do it. I set out on this mission and I am going to achieve it.

I WANT MY MEDAL!

Wait……do I get a medal? I should look that up.

OR The Canadian One can just get arts and craftsy and fashion one out of gold foil and Sharpies.

I would say ‘out of tin foil’ but I want a gold one goddammit.


Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The Road To 5K: Day 3

The Road To 5K: The End of Week Two

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

I Provide A Running Commentary For A Baseball Game….

I have only recently taken to baseball.

Three years ago, a week into living in Canada-land, my father-in-law took us to see a Blue Jays game with my brother-in-law and his kids. I had never seen a baseball game before which is surprising given its prevalence in Korea. I spent the game mostly having no idea what was going on and no idea when it would end. The thing I was most excited about, and excited about the entire month leading up to the game…and in the car ride to the game…and at dinner before the game was the FOAM MITTEN!!

IMG_6591

FOAM MITTEN!!!

My father-in-law bought me a foam mitten after listening to me talk about it for days. I had always wanted a foam mitten as growing up I’d always seen them on American TV shows and thought they were the epitome of Americana. Or rather, Canada-ana…?

Or well, technically it would be Americana since Canada is part of North America…right?

Right?!

And before anyone starts kicking off on my Facebook, it is not the same as the ‘Republic of Ireland is part of the UK’ debate.

Because that is wrong.

And Canada actually is part of the continent of North America.

Geographically.

Boom.

Moving on.

Now I understood the basic rules from playing rounders at home, a game very similar to baseball but with less intricate rules. Of course, we would play using our sweaters as bases and a tennis racket as a bat but still, same concept. You hit the ball. You run. You stop at a base. Someone can tag you out while you’re running about or before you get to a base. The other team runs around the field like maniacs with no formal position other than ‘over there on the left’, ‘over there on the right – mind the STOP sign there next to you’ and ‘somewhere around this kinda middle area’. Also there are no baseball gloves in rounders 

Last year, around the same time the Jays started to get good, The Canadian One got really into baseball.

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I have no idea what’s happening here. None. At all.

And since we still had the Sports package from Telus which I hadn’t cancelled after hockey season (because their hold time is ridiculous!) we caught a few games. 

By the time we lost and were knocked out, I came away from the season knowing three things:

  1. Bautista rides a scooter home from work.
  2. The Jays really like throwing champagne on each other.
  3. And I really liked the Japanese fella. 

This year, I aimed to come away with a bit more information. I learned his name was Kawasaki. I learned he was traded to the Cubs. And I learned that I had learned pointless information. 

And so, I have been diligently asking questions about the games the past month. But since I am struggling with names, I have just renamed the players and it’s up to The Canadian One to remember who is who.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, The Canadian One got stuck at work during the baseball game. Now, usually I would record the baseball game and we would watch it when he gets home at 8pm however this was an early game, it started at 1pm, so we both missed it.

At about 5pm, he text me to find out the score and I discovered the game was still afoot. I spent the next 90 minutes providing commentary of the game while he was working. (FYI I knew in this particular game the pitcher bats as it was explained to me both the day before and the day before that. Also I can spell nobody’s name…just the general gist of their name is usually sufficient for The Canadian One.)

screenshot_2016-05-12-13-21-5222.jpg.jpg

screenshot_2016-05-12-13-21-592.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-052.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-122.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-232.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-302.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-413.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-12-13-22-472.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-50-372.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-242.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-332.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-17-45-442.jpg.jpgscreenshot_2016-05-13-12-51-122.jpg.jpgI feel like I might have a little more to learn.

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The End Of Week Two

The road to 5k copy-2

And so I come to the end of week 2 and get my nifty new app skin to not even pay attention to other that when I press ‘Start Workout’ and bitch about why my Spotify isn’t working. 

screenshot_2016-04-18-17-05-43.pngSpending two weeks jogging around my neighbourhood has made me realize that a lot of people use our quiet little area for learning how to drive. Hell, it’s where I learned how to drive. It only gets a little weird when I’m jogging faster than they are driving. Or when they stop randomly thinking I’m going to jump out onto the road and become a risk to them. 

I think this with every pedestrian I come across. 

Week 2: Workout 1 started off just like all the other workouts and when the jog beep kicked in and said I would be jogging for 90 seconds instead of 1 minute, I swore. 

Aloud. 

In my nice quiet neighbourhood. 

It was not my finest moment.

I did, however, make it up the small incline (the mini hill, if you will) while jogging without stopping. OK so I wanted to stop. I needed to stop. I thought I was going to keel over on someone’s pristine lawn. But alas, I did not. And I made it up the top of the ‘hill’ before the walk beep went off.

Going back to the lawn for a second, I feel like we are barely out of the depths of winter and people are already out gardening. I mean, come on, it’s Calgary. There could be a snowstorm next week and yet a few days of sunshine and everyone’s lawns look freshly mowed and green. 

…ish.

Greenish. More of a browny green.

Week 2: Workout 3 had several things going against it: 

  1. It was Monday afternoon.
  2. It was hot.
  3. It was Monday afternoon.

I was technically supposed to jog every 2nd day so Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday BUT I missed Sunday because it was our wedding anniversary on Saturday and well….I didn’t feel like it. For our anniversary, we spent some time at the park playing badminton. We quickly discovered our shuttlecock wasn’t very good so we ventured off to a nearby Sportchek, picked up better shuttlecocks and returned to the park. Then we went out and ended up at a trivia night at a local bar drinking half priced vodka and whiskey. We cleverly named our team (of two people) ‘Anniversary1′ and bagged free drinks from the bar and from a neighbouring table. 

Needless to say I was in no shape to jog on Sunday when I woke up. Unless tired, hungover and preferring to lie on the cold, hardwood floors of the apartment is considered a ‘shape’.

Around 2pm, feeling guilty about not jogging, we decided to venture out. After pumping up our tires and squishing our bikes into the car, we hit the park trail and went biking along a trail instead. 

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View on the trail

And then it was suddenly Monday. 

And hot.

So. Hot.

And I had to jog.

Dammit. 

As it turns out, I was actually fine. More than fine. I was super fine. OK, no, like somewhere in between fine and super fine.

I jogged around during the last workout of the Week 2 training session and was pleasantly surprised when the jog beep told me I was on jog 6 of 6.

I have discovered with the arrival of the sunshine, I have a new jogging nemisis other than the out of breathness, overheating and general achiness that’s become my default setting. Sprinklers. I almost got attacked by a wayward sprinkler on Monday. I narrowly avoided it after briefly considering running through it, arms spread out, soaring like a deranged sweaty eagle regretting some of its most recent life decisions. 

Namely, jogging at 4pm in the afternoon heat.

Oh well, onto Week 3. 

Also, on a side note and unrelated to jogging: I saw this bird in the park, it’s not a goose…what is it?!!! He looks like he’s wearing a little tuxedo. 

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Edit: It’s a pheasant! Thanks Courtney!!

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The Road To 5K: Day 3

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor Korea South Korea

How I Met The Canadian One

April 16th 2015

People always ask me ‘How did you and The Canadian One meet?’, ‘Why is your blog called The Ketchup War?’ and ‘Why is the printer beeping? Can you come fix it?”

To answer that last question first, I have no idea. I’ll turn it off and turn it on and if that doesn’t work, I’ll call IT.

Except it always works. And then people think I know how to fix the printer.

Looking at our beginning, if how The Canadian One and I met was a TV show, it would be full of annoying near-misses that keep the storyline alive and almost-meet-cutes around sweeps week.

How I Met Your Mother The Canadian One

3871_99952386345_2340153_nSeason 1: Spring 2008 – 12 Days In And Still Jetlagged

My second weekend in Korea back in May 2008, I got invited to a poker game at my supervising teacher’s home and it was there that I met a long-haired guy we shall dub Drummer-Boy. He had lived in my apartment and worked at my school the year before and was swiftly beating me at poker. I’ve covered my skills (or lack thereof) at poker previously but the fact that he took all my money is not the point here. I liked Drummer-Boy. He was my first new friend outside of my workmates that I had made, he lived an hour and a half away in Seoul and the subject of how his mother made Teletubbies quickly came up.

Teletubbies!

TELE-TUBBIES!

Moving on.

After a brief chat, we discovered we’d both worked in the same chain of betting shops in the UK around the same time a few years prior. We even figured we may have even spoken on the phone a handful of times as it was often required to call other branches to verify information.

Unstoppable Trio
H, Patrick and Me: An Unstoppable Trio

While living in Cheonan, an hour and a half south of Seoul, I had somehow managed to live in a three bedroom apartment alone for the first few months until Em arrived. Drummer-Boy would often come visit old friends (and new friends) in my town and crash in one of my spare rooms.

We would go on to become firm friends, hanging out in his town (Seoul) and my town (Cheonan). He introduced me to his friend H, from Scotland, who would go on to become my travel and touring buddy (and partner-in-crime) in the years to come.

I, meanwhile, would visit Seoul a lot over the next 2 years, sleeping on H’s floor and spending our evenings watching Drummer-Boy’s band, Angry Bear, play in local bars and clubs.

And that, kids, is how I met…your Uncle Patrick. 

Christmas Tree
My 2009 Christmas Tree

Season 2: Christmas 2009 – A Trip Back To Cheonan

In 2009, Patrick brought his British friend, Sam, to Christmas dinner at our poker buddy’s home. Both Em and I had moved out of Cheonan by this time – having completed our year-long contracts there – and were living separately up nearer to Seoul. We met up and journeyed down to our old home town together, stopping in at a Burger King for a pre-dinner lunch of burgers and fries.

Now, Sam was memorable for three things:

1. He was also drummer but in a different band

2. He was also British, like Patrick

And 3. He insisted on calling me British for the entire night. 

Some weeks later, as I’m leaving a magazine launch party with Em not paying a bit of attention to the band on stage, I suddenly spot my British nemesis from Christmas dinner on stage playing drums with the band. A passing “Hey, isn’t that Sam from Christmas dinner?” and a confirmation that yes it is and we were whisked out of the club and onto somewhere else.

The band Sam was playing with was Bedroom States…

It was their first live show…

And The Canadian One was their lead singer.

MountainSeason 3: Spring 2010: An Album and a Retreat

Between March 2010 and April 2010, I would move back to Cheonan and The Canadian One and I would attend two Angry Bear events in small venues and never meet. 

The first was the Angry Bear first album launch that I attended with H, maybe Em and my date from speed dating a few weeks before. Yes, I went speed dating. Yes, it was awesome. I’ll tell you about it sometime. Actually, there’s a picture of me attached to an article online written by the guy I went on the date with. However, due to a dispute I had with that publication, I’m not linking to it. The guy was nice though. He was there covering the event for an article he was writing and I ended up dating him for a short period of time. For the record, my dispute with the publication and the non-successful continuation of my dates with my speed-date date were unconnected. That ridiculousness would come years later.

IMG_2050The second event both The Canadian One and I attended at the same time was the following month. H and I had signed ourselves up for a Buddhist Temple Retreat and I was up in Seoul to catch the bus with her early the next morning. The retreat seemed like a really good idea at the time however Patrick’s band was playing a gig the night before and since I was up in Seoul for the retreat anyway, we figured, meh, let’s go.

They were playing in a bar behind a coffee shop with a man dressed as a clown tending bar. I want to say it was 80’s night but it was Korea so it’s entirely possible it was just a regular Friday.

As we were early we went off to play darts in the corner and take advantage of the cheap shots that were on offer that night. The band arrived, we stood around with them for a bit, then went off and danced and hung out by ourselves. We were working on drumming up support for our cause to pressure the band into playing an old song of theirs. We loved the song but they rarely played it anymore as it was several years old (although it would be the last song I heard them play live at our leaving-Korea party). Our plan that night basically consisted of us gathering a small crowd to yell the name of the song at the band during every song interval until our plan worked.

After several rounds of drunk people yelling ‘Clementine’ at them, they caved.

Hours before our tour bus left and we were still at the party. Or rather, we were outside the party on the street with one of us throwing up (H) and the other not helping at all (me). At this point the Buddhist retreat was seeming like one of those plans you make for a Saturday night on a Tuesday but when Saturday rolls ‘round you’re thinking ‘Someone cancel, SOMEONE CANCEL, GOOD GOD PLEASE!!’ so you can just stay home.

But we still made it.

I remember being hungover, wearing inappropriate shoes for a hike I wasn’t warned about and ultimately becoming upset and frustrated during a ‘relaxing’ lotus flower making session. 

IMG_2049
My mouth is smiling but my eyes say ‘Kill me’

 

I also recall eating flower pancakes and no, that’s not a misspelling. I do mean flower.

IMG_2051
Flower pancakes…literally. Flowers. 

As it turned out, in that very same bar on that very same night was The Canadian One. He was at the same clown-man-behind-the-bar-show as us and had we hung out with the band more and not been off downing colourful shots and gathering a posse, we would have met.

Season 4: Summer 2010 – The Almost Meet

At the end of July 2010, I had a week off work which coincided with the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon. H, Em and I all decided we would go and camp for all three days of the festival. We bought our tickets, planned our weekend and I jetted off to Jeju-do for the few days prior and did exciting things like beach drinking and visiting sex parks

sex park
This is the least graphic photo I could find that I took at the sex park

 

When I got back, I was dying of a cold (probably due to the massive amounts of beach drinking I did) and not feeling the tent-sleeping aspect of the trip. I eventually turned up two days late but had missed meeting The Canadian One who’d been there hanging out with Patrick and left a few hours prior to my arrival.

This would also become the weekend everyone referred to as ‘Remember that time Jenny was 2 days late for the musical festival?’

IMG_2045Season 5: Fall 2010 – A Train of Wine & Dance

Skipping forward to November 2010 and Patrick’s band had acquired a fourth member. The fourth member actually joined prior to summer but this was the first opportunity we would have to see them as a new four-piece. When Patrick called to tell me about adding a guitar player, I made fun of him.

“Why would you need two guitar players?”, I said. “Get a keyboard player. Keyboard players are cool.”

H and I were invited to their show and planned to go, however, it did clash with a Wine Train we were going on for H’s birthday. 

‘What’s a Wine Train?’, you say.  

Well, let me tell you.

A Wine Train is tour-guided day of drinking wine on a train, in a vineyard, at some kinda museum type place and then some arts and crafts to round out the day. It ends with more wine and bad dancing on the train home.

IMG_2046
Fairly certain I’m drunk here

 

I found out later that in preparation for us perhaps actually turning up for the show, the band had practiced the song H and I loved with the new guitar player. They had fully explaining our peer pressure antics and general ‘play our goddamn song’ mentality to him.

Patrick, however, theorized that we would not make it due to an overabundance of wine and merriment. 

Patrick knew us very well.

We didn’t make it anywhere near the gig.

In fact, I’m surprised we all made it home at a decent hour.

Season 6: Winter 2010 – Six Seasons and A Movie

Days after the Wine Train, Patrick announced his band would be coming to my town, Cheonan, and playing at our local hangout. I busied myself promoting the band’s gig. First I made my own tiny poster:

angry Bear poster
This was about the size of a large Post-It

 

And then Patrick mailed me some ‘official’ posters.

H was coming down too and we quickly made dinner plans for his band and us and another friend. December 3rd rolls around and I arrived to dinner.

Late.

Meh.

At least I wasn’t two days late for a musical festival kinda late.

When I got there, no food had been ordered, only drinks. I sat down next to Patrick, who was sitting next to their new guitarist:

The Canadian One.

I struck up a conversation with the little information I had: He was a guitarist. He was in a different band. Then he joined Patrick’s band. I was disappointed he was not a keyboard player. I thought perhaps I shouldn’t open with that. And that was literally it.

Our first conversation went something like:

Me: “So, I hear they stole you from another band?”

The Canadian One: “Well, no. I’m still in the other band. And in this band.”

Me: “What’s the other band?”

TCO: “Bedroom States.”

Me: “SAM’S BAND?!!”

TCO: “You know Sam?”

Me: “Yeah, he came to Christmas dinner last year. He kept calling me British.”

TCO: “You’re not British.”

Me: “No.”

We chatted a little about his other band and this new band and then he says: “I was in a band before Bedroom States called Animal Dads.”

And I stopped.

Me: “Wait…what?! I have your album on my iPod….”

And that was true.

As it turns out, waaaaaay back in March 2009 (so over a year and a half prior) Patrick had invited H and I to his friend’s band’s album launch. We went because we’re supportive like that and the bar had a great happy hour deal. Let’s be fair, we were probably more leaning towards the latter reasoning.

We paid to get in, got our albums, drank our drinks, danced our little hearts out and went home. We paid zero attention to the band on stage and moved on with our lives. Back at my apartment the following day, I put my CD into my laptop which automatically copied albums onto my iPod.

And thus I ended up with this album on my iPod.

The band: Animal Dads.

The lead singer: The Canadian One.

After the gig in Cheonan, he offered to buy me a drink for my wonderful ‘postering’ and promoting of the gig. I explained how, due to a misunderstanding, the barman actually bought me flowers as he thought we were promoting my birthday.

I also told him about how I was unimpressed that he wasn’t a keyboard player.

He spoke to Patrick about if I was single and if it was OK if he asked me out.

We chatted some more…

And then later that night….

He asked me out aaaaaaaanddddddd….

I said…

No.

2010 tree
My 2010 Christmas Tree

Series Finale – Part 1: Winter 2010 – Seoul-Mates

Our series finale, 2-parter episode opens on December 4th 2010 at a train station in Cheonan a mere 12 hours after I declined The Canadian One’s date offer.

Patrick, The Bass Player and I are all catching the same train up to Seoul as I was going work at a music festival for the most of the day and night and they lived there. The Canadian One and The Other Guitarist had left earlier in the morning.   

While The Bass Player watched over the guitars, Patrick and I ventured to the ticket line. We were standing in line…waiting…waiting….waiting…and when we got to being the next to be served, an old man cut in front of us like a ninja and was at the ticket desk.

Patrick exchanged some words in Korean with the old man and then sighed, looking forlorn and defeated. He looked down at me: 

“I said ‘no, it’s ok, you can go first, that’s fiiiine’ to him but clearly I don’t do sarcasm very well in Korean because he just thanked me.” – Patrick

IMG_2047The next 12 hours would be a montage of me working at the Rubber Seoul 2010 World AIDS Day Music Festival (a festival I would later go on to run for two years). Included would be: 

My friend and I modelling the small beaded doll pins we were selling.

Being paid to stop trying to sell tickets to a group of people:

“Stickers are $1? If we pay you $5 and take no stickers, will you go away?” – Guys

“YES!” – Us

Me dressing as a condom and trying desperately not to be knocked over by drunk people. 

No seriously. 

I can’t find a picture. 

But drunk people are mean. They kept trying to trip me up! 

I had memorable conversation while handing out free condoms (dressed in normal clothes, my condom-costume hour was up). I hand one to a girl, who turns to look at her date, looks back at me and says:

“No, thanks.” 

And hands me the condom back.

And then finally, I vividly remember dancing with my friend to ‘We No Speak Americano’ by Yolanda Be Cool at the after-party and spotting The Canadian One and Patrick standing nearby. The Canadian One asked if he could buy me a drink and I said yes. I told him about my speed dating adventure from earlier in the year and we decided to pretend we were speed dating. 

We sat opposite each other at a table.

We took it seriously.

And then we got kicked out of the bar because it was 3am and they were closing so we all headed home in our different directions.

To be continued….  

xmas eve
Christmas Eve dinner at a friend’s

Season Finale – Part 2: Christmas Day 2010 – First Date? 

We montage through the next few weeks. 

Given the 1.5 hour distance between us, The Canadian One and I would chat briefly and intermittently on Facebook and via text. Then it became less intermittent and more frequent. And then it was no longer brief and no longer intermittent and was pretty much taking up all of our spare time.

And here’s where the coincidental only-on-TV thing happens: The Canadian One was supposed to head to Ireland – where I am from and where he had never been – for a wedding over Christmas while I was off to sunny Malaysia with H for some winter beach time. A misspelling in his name ended with his ticket being cancelled last minute and he ended up spending Christmas in Seoul (while his friends jetted off for the wedding). Meanwhile I found myself in Seoul on Christmas Day to see a ballet and to fly out to Malaysia with H early on Boxing Day morning.

maylasia bound
Me and H, Malaysia 2010

The Canadian One and I had arranged to meet for a drink near where he lived after I had said goodbye to my friends. After a miscommunication about which train station to meet at, we eventually located each other and headed to a bar and then to his place to watch a Christmas movie we’d earlier voted on.

He’d said Gremlins.

I’d said Die Hard.

Clearly we both have the same idea of what a Christmas movie is.

But we watched Gremlins.

He gave me a one half of a small penguin magnet set as a Christmas gift as I’d mentioned my favourite animals were penguins. I put it in my purse and it travelled to Malaysia with me as I flew out the very next morning with H.

He kept the matching one on his fridge.

A year and a half later, it would be reunited with The Canadian One’s penguin and now they live together on our fridge holding up our wedding photo from exactly a year ago today. 

20160415_202515
Our Wedding Day: April 16th 2015 – Held up by penguin magnets and a fluffy pineapple

It’s funny how some things just work out. 

Categories
Canada funny humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 3

The road to 5k copy-2

And so I come to the end of my first week of training. In a mere 6 days, I’ve gone from a couch-loving, Netflix-watching Irish girl to a couch-loving, Netflix-watching Irish girl who can also jog a 3.5km without dying.

Much.

Dying much. 

“I hate healthy living. There’s no alcohol and you have to jog.” – Me, deciding to only drink on weekends while doing this jogging malarkey.

Week 1: Workout 3 was actually easier than the rest. I managed to get through Jogs 1-4 without begging for it to end. There was no feeling like I might throw up. No feeling like I won’t make it. There was a lot of out of breathness and chest pain but oddly no leg pain and the trusty side stitch didn’t appear until Jog 7. I drank a smoothie an hour before my jog having learned from Workout 2 not to eat right before a jog or bad things can happen.

The workout, though void of drama, was full of many firsts and Moosh’s dad drove up alongside me at one point, cheering me on as I sailed through the neighbourhood in the sun.

With the end of my period nearing, it was my first time jogging while wearing a mini Lunapad, a material pad you use instead of a pantyliner at the end of your period or on ‘light’ days. Unlike disposable pads, they aren’t sticky so a main worry was that they would slip about. I switched over to them for daily pantyliner usage a while back as I’m not a fan of the disposable ones they sell in stores. I did not switch over to Lunapads for period usage so I had done Workouts 1 and 2 wearing a regular Kotex pad. Now, I figured jogging with a Lunapad would be uncomfortable as it took me a while to get used to wearing them in general but it was actually fine. I forgot about it the moment I got outside and any concern I had regarding chafing or slippage disappeared the moment the first Jog Beep started and I realized that I would have to actually jog now.

Workout 3 also marked the first time I went jogging after a full day of work. Workouts 1 and 2 were on a half day and a day off respectively. However getting up at 5:20am, working all day and then jogging at 5pm as soon as I got home hadn’t made me even more tired like I thought. Instead I found I was full of energy and ended up cooking Irish Stew, writing and then cleaning the kitchen. 

Unfortunately, the workout was the first time I actually slowed to a walk during one of my jogs. I’d accidentally reached the hill quicker than usual and 10 seconds before the Walk Beep went off, I just began walking up the hill. Hill Jogging I am not ready for. 

My trip to Winners resulted in some cheap but pretty essentials and, let me tell you, a proper fitted sports bra to hold my tiny muffins in place lead to a much more comfortable session this time around. I ran with my new little waist strap to hold my phone and keys and it made all the difference. The freedom to swing my arms around without care was a nice novelty for about 10 minutes. 

To figure out my distance, I downloaded the Map My Run app and had a few minutes of trial and error trying to get C25K, Map My Run and Spotify to all work at the same time. Tip: Open C25K first. Turns out my house to Moosh’s and back is 3.5km. 

Showing The Canadian One my little running map upon my return he pointed out how I was zigzagging all over the place while going straight. It looked like a small child freehand drew a straight line from point A to point B. At one point I zigzagged across the street and then back again. I was trying not to scare a walking-lady by jogging up behind her…and then randomly slowing down right in front of her when the Walk Beep kicked in.

Tomorrow kicks off Week 2:Workout 1 and rain. It’s supposed to rain. But I’m Irish. A little rain has never stopped me from going outside before. 

Although any threat of snow, and I refuse to even get into the car!

And on to Week 2!

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 2

The road to 5k copy-2

Previously on The Road To 5K: The Prelude and Day 1.

Yesterday morning, I breathlessly completed Week 1: Workout 2 on the C25K app and, though I had figured it would be easier than Workout 1, I was wrong. It was not.

It was much harder.

My body was still sore from the first workout two days before and as soon as I hit the pavement, I knew it was going to be rough.

I got through the 5 minute warmup walk, passed the playground and realized I was incorrect in my last post, it was not a hippo the baby was on, it was a purple dinosaur.

During Jog 1, I was almost immediately out of breath and my throat started to burn. The jogging minute felt like an eternity and I almost quit right there and then. I reached a stop sign and almost considered heeding its warning but kept going.

I used Walk 1 to slow down and catch my breath before the next Jog Beep kicked in.

Jog 2 was awful. My chest burned, my mouth was filling with hot saliva, I was overheating already. I was not going to make it.

During Jogs 3 and 4 I was starting to get into a little bit of a stride. I made it to my turning point, Moosh’s House, and was on the way back to my house.

I had crossed the halfway point. Things were going well. Things were looking up!

Then I started to feel like I might throw up. I started jogging slow enough you could almost call it a fast, bouncy walk. My brother had told me to try to jog slow like if I was going any slow I could consider it a fast walk, but not quite. I was trying to aim for that speed. As I didn’t want to actually  physically stop, I alternated between fast and slow as I bounced along the sidewalk.

I began to realize eating a cereal bar right before I left the house was not a good idea and began to panic about what would happen if I really did throw up.

A while back, I got sent home from work ill. I was sweating, pale (more pale than usual for an Irish girl) and visibly hot. My manager called a cab (the company paid for it) and sent me home. Midway though the journey, I asked the cabbie to pull over as I was going to vomit. He stopped in the middle of the road in a suburban neighbourhood, I jumped out and threw up several times on an apartment building lawn. A shirtless man watched me from his balcony as a row of cars began to pile up behind my cab. It was a very classy moment for me.

It was noonish, I was wearing an office outfit and nice shoes (I was very concerned about getting puke on my shoes) and there I was, throwing up several times on a pristine lawn.

I got back into the cab, the cabbie thanked me for telling him advance that I was ill (apparently most people don’t) and off we went to my apartment.

Good times.

I imagined throwing up in my own neighbourhood to be like that, except it would be a house lawn not an apartment building, which is somehow so much worse!

And as I jogged past the now-completed trampoline I started taking deep breaths which didn’t help and I started coughing.

I managed to fumble through the rest of the workout, ending at my house at the exact moment the workout ended. The first time I had to go around the block on more time as I was a little faster.

The pain afterwards was less intense, however, and today I feel absolutely fine. I headed to Winners to pick up a sports bra and a belt to keep my phone in so I don’t have to carry it during my next workout and am overall more positive about this whole thing.

I’m not longer looking at this as a larger goal of ‘Running 5K’, but more of a smaller, achievable goal of ‘Running Jogs 1-4 without thinking I’m dying’.

Once I do that, I’ll up it to ‘Running Jogs 1-6 without death’.

Then it’s just a quick hop, skip and a job to the 5k!

Right…?

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The Road To 5K: Day 1 

 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment humor running

The Road To 5K: Day 1

The road to 5k copy-2

For ‘The Road To 5K: The Prelude’, click here

So it’s the morning after the first training session the night before and….ouch! Had I written this post last night, I would have replaced ‘ouch’ with ‘OH GOD WHYYYYY?!’. But alas, I waited.  All that lying on the floor overheating, downing water and eating Chickpea Curry Soup kinda took up a lot of my afternoon.

At the end of Day 1 I came out of the workout knowing one thing: my favourite part of the entire thing was the cool down 5 minute walk at the end.

But let’s start at the beginning.

My brother had given me advice of don’t jog too quickly on the first one, keep an eye on what I eat beforehand and how it affects me (Does it make me ill? Lethargic? Give me energy?) and if I start to feel sick or waver, I should slow down and just walk, get that distance in.  

The first hurdle I hit was my phone battery was dying so 1.5 hours and two laundry loads later, I was finally ready to at least leave the house. 

The next hurdle was what to wear. I quickly located my short yoga pants, a sports bra, t-shirt and light sweater. Most of this had been purchased and never worn when I had aspirations to do yoga some months back. I bought the clothes. I bought the Groupon. The Groupon expired. No yoga was done. The clothes sat pristine in the wardrobe. 

After that was the location. I had decided to run around my neighborhood as it’s quiet and not too hilly. I opted to run in a rectangular shape starting and ending at my home as I wanted to avoid zigzagging all over the place and getting myself lost in the suburban maze of pointy houses, bungalows and trees. I picked a location that would be roughly midway through my session and dubbed that my turning point. We could also call it Moosh’s House. 

Moosh
Moosh at my house

He lives at my turning point, the point in which I should head back towards my house in order to end the workout there on time.

I was using the C25K app and once I worked out how to get Spotify to play at the same time as the training app (open C25K, open Spotify, play Spotify, start workout), I was off. The workout instructions were pretty easy to follow and the trainer’s voice was not nearly as annoying as my GPS’s voice.

God, that GPS I just…Nevermind. A rant for another time.

Running race
Photo by Sergis Blog

Workout 1: Day 1 basically consists of a 5 minute warm-up walk followed by 1 minute of jogging then 90 seconds of walking then 1 minute of jogging, then walking, and so on for 20 minutes. Then there’s another 5 minute cool down walk. It tells you how many jogging sessions you have left, 3 of 8, and so on. It also tells you when you are halfway done which was nice to hear.

Jog 1 of 8 went ok. I kept a nice pace and thought to myself I could do this, I can do seven more of these, it’s all good. I jogged past a playground where a woman was taking off her shoes and unclipping a small child from her stroller. She stood to survey the empty playground as I went by.  

Jog 2 was a little harder. There was a slight incline to the road. My chest started to burn. I was keeping a ‘conversational pace’ (pace in which you could still carry a conversation) but I was still getting out of breath. It was day 2 of my period and I already needed to pee which was elevating my discomfort.

Jogs 3 and 4 were awful. My legs started to hurt. I became convinced I wouldn’t even make it to my halfway point. I could see Moosh’s House in the distance and it helped a little but it wasn’t enough to make me not start to panic and doubt that this was a bad idea. Me? Running? 5K? WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!

running 2
Photo by Jordan Fischer

On the walk after Jog 4, having made it to Moosh’s and turned around, my app congratulating me on making it to the halfway point and I felt a little better. I was spurred on. If I could do half, maybe I can do three-quarters, right? I sped up my walk to get over a hill before the jog beep and during Jog 5 realized running downhill was actually quite nice and also one of my neighbors has a really pretty porch.

I was beginning to overheat at this point and carrying my phone and keys in my hand were becoming inconvenient. I originally had them in my pocket, but the keys jangled and the phone kept tapping against me. I need to come up with a better storage system for them. The distracting feeling of needing to pee was diminishing, replaced with a cramping feeling I couldn’t distinguish as period pain or workout death, I mean related…workout related.

It was during Walk 6/Jog 6 I began to return my thoughts to the seemingly insurmountable task of running an entire 5K. I mean, I couldn’t even run for 1 minute without my legs burning, a stabbing pain in my rib cage and a general feeling of ‘WHY THE FUCK AM I DOING THIS?’ washing over me with each escaping bead of sweat! Then I passed by a yard with three guys in it trying to assemble a trampoline while small, impatient kids crowded them and was instantly enthralled. One stood with, what I imagine to be, an instruction sheet while the other two men stared at the half completed trampoline. Their confused faces made me flashback to trying to put the Cat Tower together or anytime we’ve bought anything from IKEA.  A safety net lay strewn on the grass nearby and a kid was bouncing his hands on the side of the trampoline itching to climb onto it as I panted past. 

For the entire of Jog 7 I kept repeating ‘I can do this, I can do this’. In my head. Not aloud. I didn’t want to be that weird jogger talking to herself. I was already not exactly jogging in a straight line and I had awkwardly caught up to an orange-jacketed walker and didn’t know what to do. I crossed the street and heard the walk beep. 

Jog 8 actually went OK. It was the last one so it had that going for it. I passed by the playground again where the woman was now perching her 1 year old-ish (too small to walk) child on a bouncy hippo type thing. She was cooing and talking to the baby while the baby just kinda stared at her with almost the same expression as the trampoline-constructors.

During the 5 minute cool down, I recapped my first workout. I noted the cereal bar and handful of All-Dressed Ruffles I’d eaten beforehand had no negative effects on me…although I can’t say for sure they had a positive effect.

Then it was done and I got my virtual trophy.

screenshot_2016-04-07-14-37-55.png

The entire 30 minutes felt a lot shorter once it was over, however each jogging minute felt like an eternity. My Spotify playlist served me well, Classic Rock Workout by Spotify UK, and as ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ blared through my little headphones during the cool down, I felt victorious.

And today, with my legs hurting and my stomach muscles feeling like they have been awoken from a life-long hibernation, I can’t help but think now I just have to do this three times a week for seven more weeks. 

Easy, right?

RIGHT?! 

Follow along with me as I go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 5K in the Calgary Marathon in the space of 7 weeks supporting Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). Feel free to sponsor me here or just laugh along at my running journey.

Previously:

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

Next: 

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Apps Canada comedy funny humor

The Road To 5K: The Prelude

The road to 5k copy-2

I’ve never run in my life.

Not once.

Not ever.

I used to see kids running around on the playground when I worked in Korea and think, ‘I couldn’t run like that if a bear was chasing me’. And now that I live in Alberta and the chances of an actual bear chasing me is significantly more likely than on the streets of Seoul, I STILL think the exact same thing.

‘I couldn’t run if a fucking bear was chasing me. I would just get eaten.’

So, on Sunday, with The Canadian One at work, I decided to change all that and take up running.

I downloaded the C25K app on my phone (because it was free) and…well, that’s all I did that day apart from the three episodes of Scandal I watched. Oh and that one episode of Law & Order: SVU.

On Monday I was ill and home from work and by the time Tuesday rolled around, I’d kinda abandoned my spur of the moment idea only to have it reawakened on Wednesday.

I saw an ad for the Calgary Marathon and, though at the time I was struggling to breathe due to period pain at the time, I decided I would sign up.

So basically, in a nutshell, I’ve decided to run a marathon.

The Calgary Marathon.

Ok, not the full marathon.

Just the 5K.

But come on, I’m planning to go from binge-watching Scandal with gummie bears and Ruffles to running 3.1 miles in the space of 7 weeks.

If anything, this is going to be entertaining to witness.

When I texted my brother to tell him I was going to run a 5K, he laughed. And laughed. And laughed a bit more. And then gave me some advice.

He’s run the full Dublin, London and Paris marathons and the advice he gave seemed sound.

Training starts today so I’ll update you on how it goes. I’ve decided to add a little incentive to it so I actually do it so I signed up to the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. I chose to support the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), who, not only do fantastic work in animal rescue, they are also the people we adopted Pickles from a year ago!

img_20160120_181530.jpg

(You can see more pictures of her on her Instagram: @picklesatnoon if you’re into cute cat pictures)

Feel free to sponsor me HERE or just follow along on my progress/downfall (we’ll delete as appropriate later) here.

‘This should be interesting’, she says, typing on her laptop, eating a handful of Ruffles and contemplating rum, ‘Very interesting.’

Read More: 

The Road To 5K: Day 1

The Road To 5K: Day 2

Categories
Canada comedy diet funny humor internet

The Energy Crisis Is Over!

You will all be happy to know the energy crisis of 2016 has been resolved.

The Red Bull energy crisis that is.

You see, I eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sesame-free and preservative-free diet (not by choice) and, because The Canadian One is diabetic, we also eat low-carb. Salad. Lots of colorful vegetables. Salad. Fruit. Grains. Salad. Chickpeas. Lentils. Did I mention salad?

Given this, I do not feel bad about my 2 Red Bull a week habit.

Not at all.

Not one little bit.  

The Canadian One: “Do you want a coffee?”

Me: “No. I don’t. I wish coffee came cold…and carbonated…and came in a tropical flavor.”

The Canadian: “That’s a completely different drink you are describing. That’s not coffee.”

Me: “No. It’s Red Bull. I want a Red Bull.”

Now, a few weeks ago, I started to noticed stock of Yellow Red Bull dwindling in the local Walmart. Thinking nothing of it except maybe Wally’s was not stocking it anymore, I wandered to the 7-11 across the street to discover they were sporting just the original and no-sugar versions.

A week later, I noticed the convenience store in my work building had only original flavor and a few color flavors and Shoppers had ONLY colored flavors.

I mentioned to The Canadian One I thought something was going on in Calgary with the Red Bull and I started to get suspicious.

A few days later, I mentioned it again.

And then again.

And then last week, I went into full ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING THE RED BULL??’ mode when Shoppers’ designated Red Bull fridge was completely empty and Safeway only had 8 Green Red Bulls in stock.

Green.

Like seriously, what bullshit.

Green.

Who drinks Green Red Bull? Nobody. That’s why it was the only flavor in stock. It’s like Blue flavor. Why does it exist?

So The Canadian suggested asking Reddit. He loves Reddit. My only interaction with Reddit has been him showing me things on Reddit on his phone.

A quick tutorial on Reddit later and my question is up online.

Lo and behold, within 10 hours, I had heard from someone who works in the building of the old distributors and someone who works for the new distributors, someone who got suspicious like me and emailed Red Bull HQ, several people who had noticed it but not to the point of investigating it, and a bunch of usual suspects complaining about Red Bull in general (bad taste, unhealthy, blah blah blah) that I kinda just glossed over.
 
Turns out the changeover to the new distributors did not go as smoothly as hoped and there was a supply problem in the west of Canada. The problem has since been resolved and Red Bull shall be winging its way back into stores very shortly.

My excitement at solving this mystery was slightly dampened when The Canadian One pointed out that at any point in the past three weeks, I could have solved this with one question to any of the staff members of any of those stores by asking:

‘Hey, so what’s going on with the Red Bull shortage?’

But my way was more fun.

Now to solve the next mystery: Why were there 4 police cars and an ambulance outside the Wendy’s yesterday?!!

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

The Twelve Steps of Christmas Shopping by The Ketchup War

The Twelve Steps of Christmas ShoppingStep 1: Search and find gifts online.

Step 2: Order gifts…and wait.

Step 3: Discover UPS is on the way to your home with your gifts. YAY!mail-box-1190160-1600x1200

Step 4: Return home from work to find NO UPS tag on door.

Step 5: Log into UPS and discover someone REFUSED your package. At your home. While you were at work.

Step 6: UPS reschedule delivery to your home against their protocol and without you calling them.

Step 7: 24 hours later discover your item has been damaged, then refused by someone at your home while you weren’t there, then the damaged parts discarded, then the rest mailed back to the sender and an investigation opened.UPS

Step 8: Call UPS while hungry, tired, in period pain, lacking vodka and bananas and feeling ill from too many gummy bears.

Step 9: Call UPS to apologise for behavior and swear you are not usually like that.

Step 10: Discover sender is closed for the weekend and has DISCONTINUED the items you ordered so you can’t reorder them…EVER…Go drinking on 17th Ave with visiting friend. THIS STEP IS ESSENTIAL.

Step 11: Opt not to call – as it didn’t work out with UPS – and instead send nicely worded email to sender to explain UPS issue ending email with ‘Although this does not reflect on my feelings towards your company nor will it have an impact on me ordering from you in the future, it will, however, lead me to never use UPS for personal use. I expect my refund in full within a business day.’

Step 12: Receive full refund and apology 24 hours later. Celebrate by beginning Step 1 again.

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Learning to Drive, the Calgarian Way

Photo by: depositphotos.com/razvanphoto

Here’s the thing about being a pedestrian in Calgary, it takes forever to get anywhere. For example, I had a physiotherapy appointment on Fridays after work and while it would only take 13 minutes in a car to get there, it takes me a 15 minute walk, plus a 48 minute bus ride and then another 10 minute walk and so I had to leave work an hour early to make it on time. Now, that’s not to say Calgary doesn’t have a good transit system, it does, and you can get pretty much anywhere…although it may take a bus, a train, some walking and another bus, you will get there. Plus all of Calgary Transit workers are, without a doubt, lovely, but there gets to the point where you’re walking from the bus stop to IKEA along an unpaved road in the snow, uphill and you think, I’ve gotta learn how to drive.

The Canadian One and I don’t drive. He never learned and I have had lessons, owned a car and held the different learner’s permits in two different countries and yet still, I never got my full license.

And so we started.

1389680_87339321We quickly obtained our learner’s permits (my third in a different country in 10 years, I feel like I’m collecting them!) and set about signing up to driving school. We started with our classroom lessons (surrounded by children who weren’t old enough to drink) back in February and then  hit the road with spring-time positivity.

My first time out I almost hit a pedestrian. Like came-so-close-we-could-almost-say-I-did-hit-him. We were driving along and I stopped suddenly. ‘Suddenly’ as in I jammed on the brake, the car made a horrible eeeeeeeeeeeek sound and jolted to a stop. Thing flew off the back seat and landing with a thump on the floor. I looked up and there was the pedestrian, on the pedestrian crossing with the lights flashing, staring at me. He did not look happy, to say the least. And I, well, I was alive, he was alive, ok so I was stopped in the middle of a crossroads, my tires barely touching the white lines painted on the road but still, an achievement in not hitting the pedestrian.

I’m now obsessed with pedestrians. What are they doing? Where are they going? Even the ones just walking along the sidewalk with no intentions of crossing the road, I stare at them, their minds could change at any moment. Like the cars on the highway that don’t signal. What are they thinking?

Having been a pedestrian all my life, I’m used to cars not giving much of an indication of their intention. Take for example recently, when crossing the street on a red light, two cars from a perpendicular road took a fast left on their red light, almost running me over and when I jumped out of the way, I found a woman, on my side of the road, pulling up onto my pedestrian crossing and trying to do a lane change to the right lane by pulling forward and backing into the other lane in front of the car stopped before the pedestrian crossing. I walked back to my side of the road and waited for the next red light go around, I wanted no part in this madness as I felt there was a good chance I might actually be killed by one of these people.

But driving almost makes me miss being a pedestrian. Cars lane change, turn, cut in front all without signalling. They beep at me for going the correct speed on a highway even though I’m in a car with a giant STUDENT DRIVER sign on the top. There are a minute few who show patience and understanding toward me. They wait for me. They stop for me. They keep their distance from me and don’t panic me with their cutting across two lanes of traffic and appearing like magic in front of me. They slow to allow me to merge but of course, then I panic and wonder why they’re slowing and so I slow down too.

I can parallel park, but can’t turn into a parking lot space. I can drive in a straight line but slow when I have to change lanes. I stop for stop signs, yield signs, bunnies on the road, pedestrians half a mile away and expensive cars that look like they have stupid drivers in them. I can back out of a parking space like a pro but have trouble figuring out how to start the car. I can turn right but not left and it took me a full hour to stop turning into the wrong side of the road in my first lessons. It’s not my fault Canadians drive on the wrong side of the road!

The one thing I do like about driving in Canada though: automatic cars. Having learned in both Ireland and England in manual cars, and spent more time causing small traffic jams on tiny residential roads, the ability to just stop and go as you please is reason in itself to learn here. My mother still regales people with the story of how, when I was 23, I stalled the car so many times on our residential street with a plethora of cars building up behind us that in the end I just stopped the car, got out and she had to shuffle into the driver’s seat and take over.

I do miss my manual car a bit though. It was a white Opal Corsa I’d named Fleelo, after my inability to pronounce the word ‘phyllo’. My brother had a blue car called The Escape From Fleelo.

1390189_28082882Fleelo was dented on both sides. Once from me misjudging the distance between the pillar in my mother’s driveway and the side of my car and the other was caused by my brother. He denies it. But there was a dent where there was no dent before. There was a blue streak of paint inside the dent. There was a white smattering of flakes sprinkled on the left back bumper of his car. I’m not a CSI expert but…well, you can guess where my thinking went.

I’d forgotten about my car when I moved to Korea, having given it to my mother to look after. She had, after all, driven it to England for me and then come back and got it and drove it back to Ireland after I decided to embark to the Land of the Morning Calm. I was walking home from the mall one day after my return to Ireland 4 years ago and saw Fleelo drive past me, an unfamiliar driver steering her wheels.

I walked into my mother’s house, demanding to know how Fleelo got into the hands of this person to be told she’d been sold to a guy down the road for 100 Euros. Shocked and saddened that Fleelo was gone, my mother couldn’t help but point out:

“You’ve been home for a week…didn’t you notice your car not here?”

No. No I did not.

Hopefully things go a little better with my second car!

Categories
Canada comedy Cooking entertainment food funny humor random

Day 0 – Preparing for Wisdom Tooth Removal

So in less than 24 hours, I’m going in for oral surgery to get all my remaining wisdom teeth removed, all three of them. Which is, incidentally, something I don’t quite understand as I was originally under the impression that I would only be getting the bottom two out, the top right one having been removed previously and the top left one not doin’ anything exciting other than being a fully grown, popped out tooth. The bottom two are not popped out thus some cutting will be involved in this endeavour. I’ve been told no, however, I will indeed get all three out. I argued and was told by the receptionist that she’s the receptionist…which pretty much ended the debate.

I’ve spent the last few days preparing myself. As I have to be there at 7:30am, The Canadian One can drop me off but as I’m having conscious sedation, I am required to have an adult pick me up. When I was told this I thought ‘An adult? Who else would pick me up? A child? Oh hey, this is my two year old, he’ll be accompanying me home…No no, he knows how to call 911 if I choke on my own blood, we have him well-trained’

Moving on.

Luckily, one of our Korean friends (we met him in Korea, he, himself, is not Korean. He’s Canadian) has ventured to Cow-Town in search of work and fortune and has moved in with us while he gets on his feet. Unemployed and literally already at my house, The New Roomie’s job will be making sure I don’t die, choke or try to swallow the gauze in my mouth while suffering the after-effects of the sedation.

When I first made the appointment, I had figured they’d put me to sleep but alas, no, that was not an option. It was conscious sedation or nothing. And conscious sedation is $70 extra I was told. It was kinda like the time I had an endoscopy and was asked if I wanted to be knocked out or not. You mean, do I want to be WIDE AWAKE when you shove a camera down my throat and make a small movie in my stomach? No, no I do not. $150 for sedation you say? Would you like cash, credit or debit, where do I sign?

For my laparoscopy earlier this year I wasn’t given a choice. They knocked me out. But right beforehand made some amusingly inappropriate jokes about Cape Bretoners which I told The Canadian One about when I came to.

The past few days have been whiled away trying to avoid Googling ‘Wisdom teeth removal’ (…again…I looked at pictures. I should not have looked at pictures), seeking out advice from anyone I could about the procedure and recovery (my friends, my dentist’s receptionist, my physio’s receptionist, The New Roomie, my manager at work…who made a scrunchy face when I told her I wasn’t being put to sleep) and cooking up some homemade soups. So far, the soups have been my favorite part…and I’ve already started eating them, even though nothing has happened yet. Just practicing, you know. It’s always good to practice your soup eating. I also had one of my smoothies for breakfast this morning.

I made a large batch of five soups, each consisting of 4-5 servings each. I don’t know how long I won’t be able to eat solid food for so I figured 20 soups would be enough to survive on and I don’t want to risk getting hungry and eating carton or canned soup. Being dairy-free, soy-free and sesame-free, life can be a little challenging when you have to rely on store-bought food for survival. Currently housed in my freezer are:

Curried Zucchini Soup: A mass of zucchini, curry powder, potato, garlic and onion blended together to create…well, a slightly odd curried green soup. It’s not bad. I made it because I found myself with a lot of zucchini in my house after a co-worker said, ‘Hey, my boyfriend’s parents own a zucchini farm, do you want a zucchini?’. I’m thinking, tiny Walmart-type zucchini so I say ‘Sure, I like zucchini, I eat it every day’. That’s not an exaggeration, I do. I grate it and add it to my sandwiches at work. Or I add it in strips to lasagna to cut out some carbs.

Zucchini Lasagna

Or I make Zucchini Chips out of it. Or I make Zucchini Spaghetti and serve it with some Garden Lentil Bolognese – which also has zucchini in it.

1375197_10151899822341346_143966974_n

Or it gets thrown into a Thai Vegetable Curry or a Spicy Vegetable Curry. So when my co-worker arrives in the next day with these:

Two Large Zucchinis

And then a week later with this:

Large Zucchini

I’m at home with all this zucchini wondering, what the hell do I do with all this zucchini?!! The cat started sleeping next to one. I think he was upset when I killed and ate his friend.

Louie and the Zucchini

potatoes 2The second soup I made was Potato Soup. I’m Irish, it’s almost mandatory I have a potato soup recipe up my sleeve. All the potato soup recipes I found all had milk or butter in them so I had to improvise. I grabbed 5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced, 3 diced onions, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast, a pinch of Cajun spice, salt and pepper and tablespoon of dried parsley and threw them all into a pot and brought it to the boil. I simmered it for an hour. THEN I added 2 tablespoons of plain flour mixed with 4 tablespoons of water to the pot and allowed it to simmer and thicken for 5 more minutes. I took it off the heat and blended it in batches in the blender – NEVER filling the blender more than halfway full – and boom, Dairy-Free Potato Soup. It’s like Ireland in a bowl…almost.

tomatoNext up was Pasta Soup. Now, in my hunt for soups to make, I wanted to make sure that I was eating well-balanced…ish…soups. If I was going to survive on soup for a week and not lose any weight I would need to make sure they all contained enough carbs to help me power through. Also, apparently, nourishment is the key to healing. Not losing weight, was the main goal though as up until recently – and we’ll talk about this another time – I was sick for maybe 5 years, stomach sick…and all that entails. The 6-9 months has been a whirlwind of tests and medication and the accidental loss of 4-5kgs (9-11lbs) in weight. Bear in mind, I was tiny to begin with at just over 49kg (110lbs) so losing a bunch of weight without wanted to was not ideal. Luckily, I eventually found a family doctor who figured it out – again, we shall discuss at a later time…if this is a blue link NOW is that time…. – and I started eating properly again. I puffed back up to my original weight pretty quickly and mourned the loss of Frappy Hour at Starbucks. Oh God, it’s all coming back to me now, I feel like I need a moment. Frappy Hour, I miss you.

Moving on.

Pasta Soup was something I thought up while eating my Homemade Pizza Sauce with a spoon out of a pot…what, I swear I am not the only one who does that! I gathered a handful of cooked minced beef (like maybe a cup, it was a large handful. Let’s agree on 1 1/2 cups), a large can of whole tomatoes (Unico brand if we’re being specific), 2 tbs of tomato puree, 1 tbs of Italian seasoning, 1 tsp of oregano, 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast, 3 cups of beef stock, 1 diced onion, 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 1/2 cups of broken uncooked spaghetti pasta (both the stock and the pasta are approx, if you add more pasta, add more stock) and then some salt and pepper. I literally just threw it all in a large pot, brought it to the boil, simmered it for 30 minutes with the lid on, then for 20 minutes with no lid to thicken and then took it off the heat and blended it all in batches into a smooth, easy-to-swallow meal in a cup.

The last two I made were Carrot Soup with some added ginger and zucchini because obviously, we have a lot of zucchini and Red Lentil Curry Soup, which was finished off in the blender to get a smoother consistency. I also added a potato to it for extra carbs and because I have found myself with a lot of leftover potatoes.

I feel ready. I feel prepared. I feel like 6am on a Monday morning is definitely not too early for a vodka-shot-of-courage. Hell, ten years ago, 6am woulda been still-at-the-party-playing-drinking-games time so it’s all good.

The only thing helping my nerves is that by this time tomorrow, it’ll all be over. Heck, in 20 hours it’ll all be over and I’ll be on my couch with The New Roomie eating soup and watching The Mindy Project high on painkillers, him poised with his iPhone camera ready in case I act stupid while still sedated…so also we have that to look forward to!

Bring on Day 1!! Any advice, hit up the comments below!

For more information on my Wisdom Teeth Journey, check out:

Categories
Canada comedy humor random

The Wolf of Work Street

So, on Monday, I’m outside work waiting at the bus stop. It’s about 6:15pm and it’s a little chilly but I opt not to go into the little glass bus hut.

During a discussion on the phone with The Canadian One regarding what we were having for dinner (a Betty Crocker Home-Made Beef, Zucchini and Cheddar Pie with Salad in case you’re interested), I say:

“I think I see a wolf. Or a big dog. But it kinda looks like a wolf.”

The Canadian One reacts the way one would when his fiancée says she sees a wolf and you’re 99.99% sure it’s just a dog. He doesn’t react. I tell him to heat the oven to 350 degrees and I hang up the phone to await the bus.

Having forgotten my headphones and my book, I had nothing to do but stare into the abyss, i.e. the car park of my building. I slowly start to realise the ‘wolf’ is zigzagging his way through the stationary cars in the car park. It’s looking more and more ‘wolfy’ as it stalks it’s way down the pathway of snow. A security guard appears at the doorway of my building in an orange reflector jacket, too far for me to make out what he’s doing but not too far away for me to come to the conclusion that he was doing nothing. Nothing at all. Not a Goddamn thing.

There was a wolf in the car park.

A. Wolf.

A. Mother. Fu…

You know what, I’m gonna let that go. Moving on.

So, I’m standing there in my giant winter jacket staring at this wolf. I’m across the street. I think, it’s not going to cross the car park, cross a busy street and attack me….until it starts to cross the car park and cross the busy street.

At this point, there’s one other pedestrian on the pavement far ahead and me, standing at a bus stop, next to a glass, enclosed shelter with an open door. It occurred to me briefly to enter the shelter…then it occurred to me the wolf could also come join me in the glass hut in which case, I’d have no escape.

Glass hut out.

Running?

Doesn’t running agitate wolves?

Didn’t I read that somewhere?

Or possibly seen it in Twilight? Which is, incidentally, the only reason I know what a wolf looks like.

Running was out.

Walking?

Walking fast?

WALKING FAST.

Definitely moving from the bus stop. Walking fast it is.

I started walking with the intention of making it to a nearby bookstore for safety.

I walked. Wolfy followed.

I walked faster and Wolfy was across the street, stalking me on my side of the road.

I walked so fast one could almost call it a ‘small run’, fast enough to escape a wolf but not fast enough that it would realise you were running and chase you. And then eat you. Which is what I was fast becoming convinced would happen to me.

This is it. This is how I die. Eaten outside a Chapters by a rogue wolf.

I came to a stop light and had a decision to make. There was a car and a truck on the opposite side of the road making a right turn. Do I cross or do I stop?

Hit by truck or eaten by wolf?

I was not enjoying how my Monday was progressing so far.

Luckily, as I my foot hit the road and off the pavement, the light turned in my favor and the truck (not the car, mind you) stopped and I ran across the road while Wolfy veered into a bush. I panted my way to the bus stop, hailed the oncoming bus and hopped on. Five seconds between road decision and seat on the bus, not bad.

12 minutes later I receive a text from a friend who’d left work an hour before me:

‘Did u leave yet! I left and there was a wolf outside.’

AN. HOUR. LATER.

I COULD HAVE BEEN EATEN.

EATEN!!

Turns out she was chased by Wolfy to her car where, while on the phone to her mother, she dropped the phone while scrambling to get her car open. Naturally, her mother thought she’d been attacked but luckily, there was a bunny nearby that caught the wolf’s attention.

Obviously I mean lucky for my friend.

Not the bunny.

Shortly after, from the safety of her car, she snapped a picture of it:

photo (13)
Photo by Carah Gibson

I showed the picture to The Canadian One and he admitted he thought I was joking on the phone.

Just goes to show, when your fiancée says she sees a wolf in the car park of the building where she works, you should believe her.

This isn’t the girl who cried wolf!

And no, I have no idea what happened to the wolf but I did eagerly check the Metro on Tuesday and there was no reported Wolfy activity as of yet.

Today, The Canadian One texts me to make sure I made it onto the bus safely. I don’t text back as my phone is still in ‘moon mode’ and doesn’t alert me to the text. When I finally check it there are two texts, sent a few moments apart reading:

‘On your way or did a wolf get u?’

and then:

‘OMG a wolf got u!’

Categories
Canada comedy funny humor

I really hope CSI NEVER goes through my handbag…

So, The Canadian One asked me earlier for some lip balm and I root out my Nivea stick (he bought me) from my bag and hand it over. It’s then that I realise I have a lot of random cr@p in my handbag and really, do I need all that stuff?

 

photo (54)

 

To do an inventory, I have:

 

1 x Readers Digest, which came in the mail a few weeks ago from a free-due-to-Airmiles points subscription I signed up to and that I took to read while sitting around in the ER recently (long story, they ended up doing a CT Scan on me, have you ever have a CT Scan, OMG, lemme tell you…actually I’m getting off topic, back to my handbag…)

 

1 x Wallet, containing cards, money, receipts, a tiny penguin magnet, business cards, bank cards, September’s transit ticket, notes from The Canadian One and some Korean cards I refuse to give up.

 

1 x Umbrella, I’m Irish, we’re raised that way.

 

1 x half a packet of sugar-free Polo mints. I love Polo mints and I buy them whenever I can as I like mints but hate chewing gum. I once swallowed it and now think I’ll swallow it everytime which makes me look super-awkward when I do actually chew gum. Which I don’t. Ever. I don’t like putting things in my mouth that I can’t swallow.

 

I’ll wait while you say ‘that’s what she said’.

 

Moving on.

 

1 x Bag of JuJubes. The Canadian One packs our lunches every night. Last night he packed me an assortment of healthy nuts. (Do I need to pause again or can we continue?) This morning, I took out the healthy nuts and replaced them with an entire bag of Jujubes.

 

Why?

 

Because I’m an adult and I can.

 

1 x Bag of Lego Candy. I work at a call center, one never knows when one may be either peckish or bored or both.

 

1 x Bag of Almonds. To balance things out.

 

5 x Emergency Ketchup. That’s a thing, right? You just never know when you may need Emergency Ketchup.

 

1 x Bach’s Rescue Remedy. For those ‘of-course-let-me-just-place-you-on-mute-while-you-yell-swear-words-at-me-for-five-minutes’ moments.

 

1 x Nivea Lip Balm. That should be self-explanatory but if not…Google it.

 

English: A Swingline-brand Stapler
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 x Pens. I was at my manager’s desk the other day and here’s what happened, she pulls open a drawer to get me a Post-it note:

 

Me: “Wow, you have a lot of stationary. I have one pen. Just one pen. And for two days last week, I lost my pen! So technically, for two days, I had nothing.”

 

And

 

Me: “Do you have a stapler?”

 

Her: ‘Yes…Do you?”

 

Me: “No. Can I borrow your stapler?”

 

Her: “Yes.” (handing me the stapler) “One day you’ll have your own stapler.”

 

So now I have two pens in my bag in case the work one ever ‘disappears’ again. It’s also useful for crossing off items on my shopping list.

 

1 x New iPhone earphones. I broke my old ones and paid a crazy amount for these ones. I swore I’d protect them with my life and store them as I would a tiny kitten or my last Rolo. Three weeks late, I find them stuffed into the bottom of my bag. Best laid plans…

 

…lead to buying new earphones.

 

This image shows two whole and a cut green Hay...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 x Body Shop perfume sample. It’s glorious but we’re not allowed to wear perfume at work due to allergies. We’re also not allowed nuts, onions or kiwis.

 

KIWIS.

 

All fruit I understand but specifically kiwis? There’s a picture on the door too reminding us NOT to bring a kiwi to work. A picture. It’s almost like ‘Don’t bring kiwis. This is a kiwi. Also this is an onion. Don’t bring those either. Like your drama and your problems, leave them at the door when you come to work.’ It doesn’t say that. But it should.

 

1 x Small cosmetic mirror my friend got me in Spain. The pink disk on the front fell off and it kinda broke but it was a gift and I refuse to toss it.

 

Random paper. I dunno. I get bored at work and doodle.

 

1 x Imigran migraine medicine. I suffer from horrible migraines. I should take Zomig but I ran out so I take it’s not so smart, not so fast, occasionally completely useless cousin Imigran.

 

1 x Contact Lens Case. I wear contacts but at work I wear glasses because I stare at a screen all day in air conditioning. I’m not sure why this is in my bag.

 

2 x Always Infinity Pads. Because they are awesome. And handy. And I’ve had waaaaay too many it’s-been-three-weeks-already?! moments.

 

1 x Motrin. Life is too long NOT to carry painkillers in your handbag.

 

1 x Keys. Without my keys I can’t leave the house, access my desk at work to do my job or…actually I have no idea what the third set of keys is for. Maybe The Canadian One’s friend’s old apartment?…So I guess without my keys I can’t randomly break into someone I don’t know’s apartment. Or should that be someone I’ve not met yet?

 

1 x Tissue. I’m actually surprised that was still in my bag. Usually Louie is all over my bag and pulls the tissue out.

 

And finally,

 

1 x Transit Pass. I don’t drive.

 

Not pictured: My phone (being used to take the picture), my ID badge for work (for obvious reasons) and my Kindle (which is charging).

 

How about you? What’s in your handbag? Hit up the comments below and lemme know!

 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor

Adults playing Monopoly (Game Night No. 3)

Monopoly
Monopoly (Photo credit: Mike_fleming)

I’ve never finished a game of Monopoly. Not once. Not ever. I’ve not even ever come close to finishing a game, since most games have ended in crossed arms, pouted faces and claims of ‘that’s not how you play!’ and ‘NO, you can’t trade a beer for the Water Works!!’.

Last weekend, we headed off to The Canadian One’s friend’s house to have a few drinks and play a few board games like civilized adults. Due to an overwhelming vote of no Killer Bunnies (dammit!), South Park Monopoly won out and we soon found ourselves wondering if the game will actually end or will it be another one of those times The Canadian One and his friends find the game has come to an abrupt halt with a hockey puck being thrown into a wall / a person being thrown into a wall / an adult-sized tantrum being thrown, delete as appropriate.

We started off slowly. There were the usual Monopoly related problems such as:

‘Do we play house-rules or follow the book?’

‘Do we put the money from Community Chest in the middle and get it when we land on Free Parking or no?’

Tradesies allowed for beer and favors?’ It was important to establish that right at the start. It was voted ‘no’ but I later traded The Canadian One one of my red properties for a glass of water, a vodka and orange, one of his blue properties and some cash.

‘Is buying allowed after you’ve gone around the board once or right now?’

Monopoly
Monopoly (Photo credit: urbanwide)

And then, since some at the table don’t watch South Park, there were the less traditional questions of:

‘Who’s Butters? I don’t know who he is.’

‘Wait, who am I again?’

‘We have two Kyles? Someone needs to change.’

‘Wait, I got moved. I’m Kyle. Someone moved me!’

‘Who’s the SD card?’

‘Ah, Chef. I know who he is. He sings all those racist songs.’

‘I don’t know who Butters is!!’ ‘You wanna be my engagement ring instead?’

As some points in the game, as there were six of us playing, there were long lags between turns and I felt like bursting into some:

It is the game that never ends,

It just goes on and on my friends,

Some people started playing it not knowing what it was,

And they’ll continue playing it forever just because,

It is the game that never ends,

It just goes on and on my friends…

Until it ended.

And it ended in the spectacularly traditional way of accusations of cheating, money stealing, swearing,

Monopoly
Monopoly (Photo credit: Mike_fleming)

name calling and threats of ‘I’ll flip this board, I’ll flip it right now!’. A quick toss of some money into the pile on the board and the game was done.

I won.

I’m kidding.

No one won. We’re adults who fight over Monopoly, none of us deserved to win.

The last time I played Monopoly was at home in my mother’s house at Christmas in Ireland. The Canadian One and I were visiting and my brother and I decided to break out the Monopoly game. My mother, brother, Canadian One and I all sat down for a game and a drink. Two hours later, with no clear winners in sight, my mother making up her own rules and me stealing money from The Canadian One while he wasn’t watching, the game ended in a four-way tie.

Although my mother will probably swear she won.

Like mother, like daughter, eh?

Have you ever finished a game of Monopoly? What other games have you had end in craziness?

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment humor

It’s here…The Snow…It’s finally here…

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So I wake up this morning to this text from a friend from work:

‘Did you look outside yet??’

I had not, although given that she had texted me I had assumed that my iPhone app was not incorrect and it had indeed snowed last night. Having spent some of my still-in-bed-yet-awake morning listening to the cat meowing loudly at the window for several minutes in sporadic bursts for about an hour, I had come to the conclusion that he’d spotted a fly / bird / fluff / a person walking half a mile away and was wanting freedom to give chase.

I was wrong.

I had also thought when my friend text me that it was just going to be a little snow. A small smattering of flakes here and there causing a fluffy white yet still specks of green visible on the ground.

I was wrong.

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My response to the text was immediate:

‘OMFG!’

I’d been obsessing about the snow coming for  a few weeks. In the form of ‘Winter is Coming‘ terror, it’s been almost three weeks since I busted out my hat and gloves to start wearing daily. When people were wearing flip-flops on the train, I was next to them in my fluffy Costco coat, blue hat and gloves. One day my supervisor at work told me it’d been snowing near where he lives, but I didn’t believe him. The Canadian One came home from band practice one afternoon to proclaim it was snowing, but I could see no evidence of such in the outside world.

I returned to waiting. Checking the weather each day at work. No snow. Hot weather. I began to wonder about the Chinooks, those mystical winds everyone told me about before I moved to Calgary.

‘Oh, you’re moving to Calgary? You’ll be fine, they have Chinooks.’ – said EVERY. CANADIAN. I. MET. IN. KOREA.

Was I in a big Chinook? Was this a Chinook?

Me: “How hot is it during Chinooks?”

Girl who sits next to me: “People wear t-shirts.”

Me: “Would I wear a t-shirt?”

Girl: “You’d probably take off your coat.”

People were wearing t-shirts and shorts on Thursday, I thought. Maybe it was exaggerated. Maybe there was no snow in October.

And then it happened.

The snow came.

Does anyone remember EXACTLY seven months ago (plus a day) when we moved here and it snowed and it was The Most Snow I’d Ever Seen?! This is almost the same amount of snow.

I posted a picture of this morning’s snow on Facebook and immediately got:

‘Oh no Jenny, your greatest fear realised.’ – My Irish Friend in Korea (the one with the Leprechaun baby!)

BUT alas, The Canadian One returned from Wal-Mart and announced that a) we needed to get our driver’s licenses and b) it’s not that cold outside and we should go outside and play. Quickly followed by him asking several times if I was sure I wanted to go outside and yes, I do need to wear gloves.

Before we ventured into the outside world
Before we ventured into the outside world, Louie’s obsession with paper alive and well in the background

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We made a snowman!
We made a snowman!

SNOW!
SNOW!

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We introduce Louie to the snow...he hates it!
We introduce Louie to the snow…he hates it!

Also this week, I survived my first six months at work (celebrating the six-month-mark with breaking a federal law), discovered Louie likes pom-poms and pipe cleaners, Nenshi is still mayor, I learned why one should never ever, not ever, not even once in their lifetime make caramel apples in the slow cooker and I decided no Nanowrimo for me this year. Well, maybe….

Any advice for an Irish girl’s first winter in Canada? Someone’s already suggested vodka…It’s top of the list of survival tactics so far!

Categories
Canada Cooking entertainment food humor random

My First Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Background
Thanksgiving Background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So all week I’ve been battling a probably-not-pink-eye-but-definitely-some-kind-of-eye-infection in both eyes. Well, it started in one eye and then spread to the other. The girl who sits next to me at work had an eye infection and the girl on the other side of me threw up in the middle of the work day so really, there was no hope for me. After four days of pondering and wearing glasses (I hate wearing glasses), I relented and went to the pharmacy while The Canadian One was in the ER…different story, he’s fine. The pharmacist told me ‘it’s not pink eye but it’s some kinda infection so we’ll treat it like pink eye’.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to last Sunday, My First Canadian Thanksgiving. I’d spent most of my day Freezer Cooking while The Canadian One was at band practice.

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In the evening, we headed off to dinner at The Canadian One’s co-worker’s house for a glorious Thanksgiving dinner. We met his co-worker’s lovely wife, fluffy dog (no seriously, I say fluffy but  what I actually mean is more-fluffy-than-anything-I’ve-ever-seen), his parents, his aunts, his uncle, his cousins and his adorable grandmother. This was the first time I’d met any of these people and opted to remember how they were related to each other as opposite to remembering their actual names.

His grandmother: “It’s easy to remember my name, everyone just calls me grandma.”

I’d spent some time googling Thanksgiving and learning what is traditional and what is not. Sitting down at the table after two glasses of wine with my mason jar of water, I surveyed the colorful table with glee. There was everything I’d read about online. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy the color of apples (I didn’t understand it, our gravy in Ireland is brown but meh, it tasted great) and cranberry sauce. The sweet potatoes were mashed in a square dish with melted marshmallows on top and had a sugary taste. There was a small debate over calling them yams or sweet potatoes and I realized that a ‘yam’ and a ‘sweet potato’ are the same thing. Earlier in the day, I’d sent The Canadian One to Safeway with a list for my day’s Freezer Cooking bonanza and he came back with a yam and not a sweet potato. I’d made fun of him. I’d always though sweet potatoes were purple. Yams are white. Eggs here are white too. Canada’s weird.

Moving on.

The best part of the dinner was the pie and drinking water from mason jars. I’ll come back to the mason jar thing in a moment, lemme tell you about the pie. It was pumpkin pie. And ohhhh it was glorious. Soft and delicious, without an overabundance of ‘pumpkinness‘. I‘ve not have much experience with pumpkin. I’ve never carved a pumpkin. We don’t eat pumpkin at home. The only pie I’d ever eaten is apple (and blueberry, but that was only recently and because I’d baked it).

The stuffing is also worth an honorary mention. I maintain my grandmother made The Best Stuffing In The World, and I would bet you my cat that everyone else in the world thinks the same thing about their own grandmother’s stuffing, but this stuffing was pretty good too.

English: My own file, freely available
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On to the mason jars, living in Ireland, England and South Korea, I’d never come across a mason jar in my lifetime up until this summer in Wal-Mart. I saw all these jars in a crate for $10 (or something like that) and made The Canadian One buy them and carry them home. Throughout the summer I’ve been using them to store dry ingredients and random coins for the laundry machine. Some Splenda here, some baking soda there, a bunch of quarters in one jar, a couple of dollar coins in the other. Since my discovery of drinking from a mason jar, I’ve been using them as cocktail shakers, which seems like a natural progression from drinking water. My drink of choice: Lime Vodka: three shots of vodka, three shots of lime juice, a few ice cubes and fill the rest of the jar with water (about three more shotfuls), shake, shake, shake and pour into a small glass with ice. You should get three drinks out of it. In theory. I got two as the second time I went back to the fridge to pour my drink, I just stuck the straw in the mason jar and abandoned my glass.

On Monday, I had my second Thanksgiving dinner. I’m told it’s a usual thing to have two, one on the Sunday and one on the Monday. We hit up The Canadian One’s childhood-friends-we-lived-with-when-we-first-moved-here’s house to enjoy the second turkey coma of the weekend. I regaled stories from my first Thanksgiving the day before and asked if certain things were typically ‘Canadian’. There was no comparison between Sunday and Monday’s dinners. Both were unique and full of new and unusual yumminess. Monday’s featured a stuffing made from what looked like bread rolls of some kind (you know what, I’ll ask and report back), a pink beetroot and carrot side dish, purple cabbage, garlic mashed potatoes that were creamy and delicious with delicate hints of garlic as opposite to an overpowering taste I had expected when told they were garlic flavored, and a wonderful oh-my-god baked acorn squash with sugar and butter (only butter for The Canadian One).

Acorn squash
I Acorn squash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best part of the dinner was the acorn squash and the second pumpkin pie in 24 hours. This pumpkin pie was slightly different this time with a pecan topping and a slightly sweeter taste. I slid off as pecans are one of those nuts that remind me of beondegi (silkworm pupae, a popular snack in Korea I was once forced to try while out drinking with my friend’s not-a-date friend, his father and his father’s business associates…that in itself is a story for another day) and I just can’t eat them. By ‘can’t’, I mean ‘won’t’.

And the acorn squash. It was sugary like a dessert but eaten for dinner. Like. A. Dessert. But. Dinner.

As far as I know, it was just sugar, butter and squash baked in the oven. Maybe when I’m asking about the stuffing, I’ll ask about that too.

Just for you.

Also, as an add-on, I had my reservations about eating the beetroot. Lemme tell you why: a few months ago, I ate beetroot at a French dinner in South Korea (!) for the first time in five years and the following day my pee turned pink. I thought I was dying. That this was death. In the form of pink pee. To make a long story short, beetroot makes your pee pink. And vitamin B tablets make your pee bright day-glow yellow. And an antibiotic I was on once made my pee green. No s%*t, frikkin’ green!

Moving on.

Green!

Moving on for real.

Anyone else do anything interesting last weekend? What did you eat for Thanksgiving dinner? And what do you do with your mason jars?!

UPDATE 10/21: So, I got a text regarding the stuffing and the acorn squash. I was correct, the stuffing was made with sour dough bread (and kale…I did not guess kale) and the acorn squash is all butter and sugar goodness. Recipe: Half squash, bake for 40 minutes at 400F, add butter and brown sugar (or no sugar if you’re The Canadian One) and pop back into the oven until melted.

Categories
Canada random

Sooooo, this happened…

Sooooo, I turned 29 at the weekend and this happened:

My Ring

And I said YES!!

 

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor timewasters

Tuesday Timewasters: The Update – 05/14

1117095_18716019So some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been for two weeks…and some of you may not have noticed at all that I’ve been gone…but alas, I have been gone…

And you know who I blame?

The Bank.

Uh huh, that’s right, I’ve been going to Bank School.

Uh huh.

Me.

The girl who got an A in Math at school but whose mother thought she cheated on the exam. Still to this day I have no idea how I managed to even pass the exam. I mean, just today at Bank School I added $6 and $7.50 together using my fingers.

And yet still, I landed a job at a bank and am working my way through the four weeks of intensive, rigorous training on all things Bank.

It’s been all computer-this and credit cards-that, interest rates-this and account fees-that, blah blah blah. There’ve been exams, three in fact (90%, 100% and 77%…frikkin‘ 77%…urgh I was so annoyed…even as I write this I feel like I’m reliving seeing my grade…argh, though a ‘pass’ was 75% so at least I didn’t fail). There’s been booklets to read at home. Online exercises to complete. Compliance courses with fancy names like ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ and ‘Privacy Code’ to do and receive a certificate in. My certificates promise I won’t launder money or discuss bank-like stuff outside of the bank.

I will say this, man, having access to people’s accounts , it’s lead to me believe one thing: People spend their money on weird sh*t…and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Also the only time I miss being a teacher is when I’m sitting a test.

Tests suck.

Moving on.

So, to give you a quick, 14-day run down of what I’ve been up to, here are some helpful photos…as words are boring and pictures are awesome!

I discovered Canada has a wide range of vodkas on offer and decide I’m gonna like living here:

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And I also discover there’s a drive thru for everything (even banking!):

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We stumbled upon this and I started to get concerned…

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Then the snow hit and I made my first snow angel:

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While The Canadian One got trapped on some ice on a playground:

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I drank raspberry beer…Raspbeery…I made that up, I have no idea what the name of this beer was:

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I tried Ketchup Chips…(and root beer…)…No…no…no no no….

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I released a book…and having broken my nail yesterday, I mourn its loss…it’s so pretty in this photo!

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I made steak and roast potatoes and asparagus and we thought it was awesome…

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We stayed with friends with cats…And The Canadian One dubbed himself The Cat King…he just lies down and they come to him…it’s weird.

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I found this at Walmart and promptly ate the entire thing…cold…with a fork…from the tin…while sitting on the floor…

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The impending house-move prompted our first ever trip to IKEA…Now I understand that 30 Rock episode soooo much better: (oh and don’t buy IKEA knives…don’t say I didn’t warn you)

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We finally moved into our new apartment…and discovered some issues…

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But then we pulled it all together and now it’s starting to feel more like home…

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And that’s what you missed on ME!

UPDATE: Having JUST posted this to our Facebook, my newsfeed, when refreshed, looked like this:

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Something looks terribly familiar…don’tcha think?

Still got time to waste? For more Timewasters, check out:

Categories
Canada humor Photography

10 Days in T-Dot – Quote Friday – 03/05

Ten days ago, I moved to Canadaland and became a permanent resident.

Our first stop: Toronto to visit The Canadian One’s dad and then today, we’re off to our new town, Calgary, Alberta.

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It was Goodbye Land of the Morning Calm:

And Hello Land of the Maple Leaf:

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At security in Seoul:

The guy takes my handbag and looks at it.

Him: “Can I look through this?”

Me: “Of course.”

He opens it, looks at the mess inside, looks at me and says: “Do you have a pencil case in there? Can you just take it out for me?”

And he pushes the bag back towards me.

***

At immigration in Vancouver:

The first immigration guy when I approached him: “Aren’t you pretty?” and then he took my passport.

The security scanner dude upon scanning my bag for the second flight, pointed at my bag: “That’s pretty. Did you fly with that?”

I approach customer service to ask which gate our flight is going out of.

Customer Service guy: “Oh, you have plenty of time before your flight to get there. You could go have a coffee. There’s a place just around there.”

Me: “Oh, I already had a coffee.”

Guy: “You could have another one.”

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My first Tim Hortons….I’m smiling because in the picture before hand I wasn’t and The Canadian One said I should look happy in my new country…and get used to Tim Hortons.

As part of the immigration process, we had to hand in B4 forms to declare all our items we’re importing at customs. I’d read that the more specific you are, the less likely customs are to open all your suitcases. Not that I was hiding anything, but it would have been a pain in the a$$ to repack everything after a 10 hour flight.

Everyone was searched before us so all hope that we wouldn’t be searched went out the window pretty quickly.

We were called to the desk, I handed in my color coded, perfectly organised, meticulously written paperwork I’d done for both myself and The Canadian One. Guy looks at the stack of papers, looks at us and then our bags.

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I point to the copy of paperwork from our doctors to say we’re allowed to bring a stack of insulin (him) and migraine medication (me) into the country. He glances at it, looks back at us and says:

“This is all personal stuff. You can keep these. I could write up paperwork for you but really, there’s no point. This looks fine. You don’t have anything over $10,000 in here, do you?”

Us: “NO!”

Me: “The most expensive is a guitar at $500.”

Guy: “That’s not expensive. We’re looking for things like art or things like that. Great. (hands me back all the paperwork) You have a connecting flight? This is the way out.”

And off we went.

***

Immigration gave me a booklet to help me integrate and learn the Canadian way. I get started:

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***

I begin to think: ‘Canadians are so nice. I feel like they have an evil agenda….’

***

Me, on day one: “Holy sh*t! Snow!”

Then moments later: Me: “CHIRSTMAS TREES!!!!”

Christmas trees next to The Canadian One's dad's house
Christmas trees next to The Canadian One’s dad’s house

***

Me, on day two: “Yes, I’m in pain but doesn’t the ER seem a little…drastic…?”

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With severe back pain that made me cry in front of other people (I don’t cry in front of other people), I was frogmarched waddled to the hospital to await a diagnosis. My health insurance hasn’t kicked in as I’m not in my ‘home’ province that I’m moving to so $400, 3 hours and a dose of antibiotics later, I’m told I ‘maybe’ have a bladder infection. We worked out a few days later that perhaps I just injured myself dragging bags around. I switched from Tylenol and codeine to ibuprofen and codeine (all prescribed, don’t panic) and religiously rubbed hot cream (it heats up) onto my back. I’m feeling better. I did feel like I was gonna die / pass out / throw up from the pain (delete according to what day it was).

Here I am, pointin' at my hospital bracelet!
Here I am, pointin‘ at my hospital bracelet!

My mother has pointed out an interesting trend though. Day after I moved to England, landed myself in the doctor’s with severe food poisoning. First weekend in Korea, landed myself in a clinic with a severe chest infection. Second day after moving to Canada, in the ER. Wtf?

***

Me, on day three, watching home movies on VHS: “Mini The Canadian One!!”

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I also try poutine for the first time. Om nom nom!

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***

Day five, trip into Toronto central to see the Frightened Rabbits play:

Mam: “What’s the name of the band you’re going to see tomorrow?”

Me: “Frightened Rabbit.”

Mam: “What?!”

Me: “Frightened Rabbit.”

Pause

Mam: “You’re going to see a band called Frightened Rabbit on Easter Bunny Sunday?!”

Pause

Me: “Yes…”

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***

Later: Me: “I waved at a Frabbit! He waved back!! I need to tell Facebook!”

Then this happened:

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***

At the hotel:

Me, to the guy behind reception: “You sound very British.”

Guy: “I am very British.”

Me: “Where are you from?”

Guy: “Cheltenham.”

Me: “Ou, horse racing.”

Guy, without even pausing: “You must be Irish.”

***

Me, in a bar: “I don’t know what Jolly Ranchers are. Or Lifesavers. It’s like everything is the same but not the same at all.”

The Canadian One: “The same as what?”

Me: “My country. I think I’m having culture shock. This is what you read about in books. This is it. I don’t know what a Reese’s Pieces is!! This is culture shock. It’s happening.”

***

Me, on day six, in Tim Hortons: “I hate Tim Hortons. I’ll never integrate into this country.”

Meanwhile, The Canadian One wins another coffee:

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***

Me, on day seven: “I went to a Bulk Barn. It was….magic.”

***

Day eight: I learn what a Wal-Mart is….

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And try Boiled Dinner for the first time:

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***

On day nine, it was Take Me Out To The Ballgame time for my first ever baseball game.

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We lost 3-2 but still, I got a foam finger.

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Me: “I feel like I’m on TV!” (- I’d never seen a foam finger in real life!)

And of course, looked at the CN Tower!

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Bought a $10 beer (that’s not a typo!):

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And then The Canadian One knocked it over…

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And we’re in the town all our visa paperwork went to all those months and months (and months) ago.

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***

Upon getting our food at the restaurant, I’d ordered an Italian Sausage Pasta.

The Canadian One’s Little Nephew: “Have you ever had weiner before?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Don’t eat mine!!!” ( – referring to a weiner of a different kind…)

***

The Canadian One’s Little Nephew: “Do you want to see a dead pigeon before you go to Calgary?”

We opted for no. Apparently The Canadian One’s brother has ‘found’ a dead pigeon next to the wheel of his car. The Canadian One got an email the following morning titled ‘I did not kill that pigeon’ and a picture of the dead pigeon.

I remain skeptical.

***

Me, to The Canadian One’s father: “So this is what it’s come to, drinking moonshine out of a pill bottle in a shed.”

***

 The Canadian One hits me on the leg in a bid to get me out of bed.

Me: “OW! What the hell?”

Him: “Motivational love tap.”

…o.O

***

Do you love Quote Friday? Sad to see it come to an endeventually? Who really knows at this point?! I keep saying ‘It’s the last one’ and then I do one more….

OUT NOW: The QUOTE FRIDAY book, the best of four years of quotes including some never before published ones:Watch Out for the Hedgehog’.

 

hedgehog (4)

For more Quote Fridays, check out:

Categories
Canada funny humor

And The Land of the Maple Leaf lets me in!!

national Flag of Canada

So remember I told you about how The Canadian One and I drank beer and filled in paperwork while applying for my Permanent Residence Visa so we can move to Canada together as a couple?

‘It’ll take 13 months’, they said.

‘You’ll have to go for an interview’, they said.

‘You most probably won’t be in Canada by March’, they said.

And BOOM, they were wrooooooooooong!!!

FROM THIS: Sent April 24th 2012

TO THIS: Arrived November 24th 2012…EXACTLY 7 MONTHS LATER!

Uh huh, goodbye Land of the Morning Calm and HELLO Land of the Maple Leaf!!

Well, now that I have my visa, watch out for the full story of ‘The Road to Canada is paved with Patience’ coming in December. Including stories of how I ended up submitting four criminal background checks for myself (and I’ve never ever committed a crime), my conversation with Canadian Immigration in Canada despite being told I couldn’t call them from here (and them demanding to speak to my husband. Them: ‘What are you?’ Me: ‘I’m a tourist?’ Pause. Them: ‘Is your husband there?’) and of course, immigration sending me a letter asking for my address…o.O!

HAPPY SATURDAY EVERYONE!!

Any advice for a future Canada dweller? Winter, people, I need advice for surviving winter!! I’ve heard rumors about the snow…

Categories
Canada comedy entertainment funny humor random

Happy Science Saturday!

Some sunny Saturday science for you!

16% of couples met in a bar….?

It’s worth noting, The Canadian One and I met in a bar. Well, technically, we met in a meat restaurant but we were in a bar 30 minutes later. The second and third times we met were both in bars (different bars in a different city no less).

And our first official date?

Happened on Christmas Day (awwwwww!) in a bar…A bar we returned to on our first anniversary to celebrate. Don’t knock meeting people in bars. You never know, you may end up living with a wonderfully awesome guy (who disappointingly does not say ‘aboot’ but I’ll eventually let that go) and fretting over where your visa to move to the Land of the Maple Leaf with him is!

Have an awesome weekend!

Categories
Canada humor Korea South Korea

‘Let’s drink beer and fill in very important paperwork.’

Recently, The Canadian One and I took up a new hobby: Filling in Paperwork…and, as a by-product of that, Re-Filling in Paperwork became our next hobby.

But this week, our hobby ended.

Our paperwork got checked, rechecked, checked again, checked just the one-more-time….OK-let’s-just-to-put-my-mind-at-ease checked again, packaged up in a giant envelope, taken out of the giant envelope and put into a plastic document protector package, addressed…readdressed using the correct form this time, weighed and then finally sent.

Exhale and relax.

Wait…Did I check it enough times?!!

Oh yes, it’s IMMIGRATION TIME!!

The Canadian One and I are emigrating. Well, actually, I’M emigrating. He’s just moving home.

Comparatively, the decision to move to Canada was easy. He managed to convince me it wasn’t THAT snowy there and I swear, if one more person mentions the Chinook Winds to me, I may hit them. I know how to use my iPhone weather app!

The paperwork, on the other hand, was a whole different ballgame.

Having briefly considered getting all the paperwork together and filled in correctly to be immigration’s first test of your relationship (‘If they can survive the paperwork, they can survive Canada’ – The Canadian One), we set about the task of locating every form, piece of paper, photocopied document, original document and every last shred of evidence that The Canadian One and I really were a couple over the past six months. By the end of it, I’d felt like I’d destroyed a forest.

We spent two days filling in a form that was only needed if applying from Paris. My bad.

We filled in the barcoded forms incorrectly TWICE and then ran outta ink during the printing stage and had to fill them in and print them out again as the barcode didn’t match the website sample.

I needed a criminal background check from the UK, Ireland and Korea which took time, patience and money (although I know a GREAT place to get UK ones done if you’re abroad, email me and I’ll send the details). The Korean one was the most interesting. Unlike other countries where it’s a 6 weeks or more process, Korea is more of a hand over your ID, wait 10 minutes and get it type of deal. Of course, being in Korea, it wasn’t THAT simple. The check was in Korean, which, by immigration rules, MUST be officially translated into English and then notarized.

To the Google-mobile.

‘Translators in Seoul’

9am the next morning, I headed across Seoul to a church where I’d hired a Christian translator to translate my document. During the hour I spent with him in his old dilapidated building where he explained to me ‘women don’t like to come here’, we discussed religion, Jesus, how I don’t attend church….much (well, ‘ever’, but I didn’t tell him that). We conversed about sights I should see around Korea and about how Ireland and Scotland should join to become one super-country. Then we visited a lawyer together with a very smiley receptionist. I got my translation, stamp and was on my way.

I also needed a full medical check to be done by a specific hospital in Seoul, another morning mission.

And the Canadian One needed a new passport, a morning mission for him.

Together we needed 10 statutory declarations from friends and family as to the fact that we were in a genuine loving and long-lasting relationship. I lied and gave everyone a due date that was three weeks before the ACTUAL submission date going on the theory that at least two will be late. None were late but they cut it close. Real close. Like mere hours before the deadline.

We needed two letters notarized. Not something that’s easy to do in Korea. We hit the Irish bar, got some drinks and I started looking on the iPhone for lawyers in Canada that do notarizations. Found one on Facebook, called him (‘Wow, you’re calling from Korea?!!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot.’)and hooked The Canadian One’s friend up with him. Two weeks later, our notarized letter arrived. My mother took care of the other one.

My next obsession became the visa photos. Hair up? Hair down? Is this top too colorful to be in the photo? Should I get changed? Is my hair too fluffy? Wait, lemme brush it just one more time. Is this photo the right size? My head is too big! LOOK, my head is bigger than the example!! OH MY GOD, my head is giant!!! I have a giant head. They’re never gonna give us a visa!

Next problem were the staples. No staples allowed. Only paperclips. Dammit. The Canadian One got tasked with de-stapling all the paperwork while I made a helpful Table of Contents for each section. Then re-made the Table of Contents as I’d both put the wrong name of the visa AND spelled ‘sponsorship’ incorrectly….stupid Word programme on my computer and it’s non-ability to pick up my spelling errors.

My head still looks giant. Do I have a giant head??!

Next up was finding all the evidence that we were actually a couple. THIS was my favorite part. The Canadian One and I have a box FULL of stuff charting our relationship: notes, letters, tickets to things we’ve been to and places we’ve gone, a shamrock he made me for St. Patrick’s day, gifts we’ve given each other, post-it messages we’ve left each other. We gathered it all together, read through everything to make sure nothing that could make us blush was included and put the rest aside to be photocopied.

‘Hey, I’m funny. I’m really funny.’ – The Canadian One, reading a note he left me one morning.

We gathered photos of us together with other people. We gathered our proof of address (his bank statements, phone bills and student loan stuff, my bank statements, mail from friends and magazine subscriptions). We gathered everything that could possibly prove we are a couple.

We sat in Kinko’s photocopying everything.

We rechecked the forms.

We printed our photos.

I labelled the photos.

We bid goodbye to all our paperwork.

And now we wait…

Now we wait up to 13-14 months to find out if I’ve been approved to exchange The Land of the Morning Calm for The Land of the Maple Leaf.

And we wait…

And we wait……….

And we wait……………….

Categories
Canada conversations funny humor random Uncategorized

‘But then how do you pay your strippers?!’ – Conversations with TCO Part 1

Recently, The Canadian One and I were having a conversation in which he pointed out that I say ridiculous things….ALL. THE. TIME. If I were on a reality TV show, I’d come off as the stupidest person in the world. Seriously. The amount of things I say, without thinking, are insane. For example:

Me: ‘God, you’re like that ten year old who outsmarted me last week!!’ (I don’t think any context is needed but it was said during the recent poker game featured here.)

Then he says, ‘You’re writing down all the things other people say, who’s writing down all the things YOU say?!’

So here, for your amusement, are some of the most ridiculous things I’ve said recently. I’m sure The Canadian One can add more…a lot more! These mainly focus on The Land of the Maple Leaf as we’ll be moving there and I’m learning all about it.

First up, The Canadian One and I discuss where to live in Canada: (Now, at this point, I’d just like to say I got straight A’s in Geography but unfortunately knowing how a river was formed, how coastal erosion happened and the difference between and stalagmite and a stalactite serves me no real purpose in the real world)

TCO: ‘If we move to Northern Canada, I’ll earn more money but it’s really REALLY cold.’

Me: ‘Why would it be more cold? Isn’t it closer to Hawaii?’

TCO: ‘What? Hawaii?’

Me: ‘Yeah, it’s like right next to Canada, right? Why would is be colder?’

TCO: ‘Hawaii’s an island in the middle of the ocean!!’

Me: ‘It’s not next to Canada? At the top?’

TCO: ‘That’s ALASKA!!!!’

Me: ‘Ahhhh, I always wondered why it never snows on Hawaii 5-O.’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Me: ‘If we go live in Calgary, can we go to the giant waterfall?’

TCO: ‘Niagara Falls? Sure. But it’s quite far away.’

Me: ‘Like a really long drive?’

TCO: ‘No, we’d have to fly there.’

Me: ‘Fly? Really? It’s that far?’

TCO: ‘You have no idea how big Canada is, do you?’

Me: ‘I really don’t think I do!’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Me: ‘What’s T-Dot?’

TCO: ‘Toronto.’

Me: ‘Can we move to T-Dot?’

TCO: ‘No. I have no family there. Or friends. Or job. Why do you wanna move to Toronto?’

Me: ‘So I can say I live in T-DOT!!’

TCO: ‘No. You’ll just have to tell people you live in Cow-Town.’

Me: ‘Cow-Town? There are cows? In Calgary?’

TCO: ‘Yes. Lots.’

Me: ‘Can I get a cowboy hat?’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

And finally: TCO quizzes me on my knowledge so far.

TCO: ‘What’s a loonie?’

Me: ‘A dollar coin.’

TCO: ‘Good. What’s a toonie?’

Me: ‘A two dollar coin.’

TCO: ‘Very good.’

Me: ‘You guys don’t have paper dollars?’

TCO: ‘No. We have one dollar and two dollar coins and then 5 dollar bills.’

Pause.

Me: ‘But then how do you pay your strippers?!’

For more posts, check out:

Categories
Canada conversations funny humor random Uncategorized

‘But then how do you pay your strippers?!’ – Conversations with TCO Part 1

Recently, The Canadian One and I were having a conversation in which he pointed out that I say ridiculous things….ALL. THE. TIME. If I were on a reality TV show, I’d come off as the stupidest person in the world. Seriously. The amount of things I say, without thinking, are insane. For example:

Me: ‘God, you’re like that ten year old who outsmarted me last week!!’ (I don’t think any context is needed but it was said during the recent poker game featured here.)

Then he says, ‘You’re writing down all the things other people say, who’s writing down all the things YOU say?!’

So here, for your amusement, are some of the most ridiculous things I’ve said recently. I’m sure The Canadian One can add more…a lot more! These mainly focus on The Land of the Maple Leaf as we’ll be moving there and I’m learning all about it.

First up, The Canadian One and I discuss where to live in Canada: (Now, at this point, I’d just like to say I got straight A’s in Geography but unfortunately knowing how a river was formed, how coastal erosion happened and the difference between and stalagmite and a stalactite serves me no real purpose in the real world)

TCO: ‘If we move to Northern Canada, I’ll earn more money but it’s really REALLY cold.’

Me: ‘Why would it be more cold? Isn’t it closer to Hawaii?’

TCO: ‘What? Hawaii?’

Me: ‘Yeah, it’s like right next to Canada, right? Why would is be colder?’

TCO: ‘Hawaii’s an island in the middle of the ocean!!’

Me: ‘It’s not next to Canada? At the top?’

TCO: ‘That’s ALASKA!!!!’

Me: ‘Ahhhh, I always wondered why it never snows on Hawaii 5-O.’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Me: ‘If we go live in Calgary, can we go to the giant waterfall?’

TCO: ‘Niagara Falls? Sure. But it’s quite far away.’

Me: ‘Like a really long drive?’

TCO: ‘No, we’d have to fly there.’

Me: ‘Fly? Really? It’s that far?’

TCO: ‘You have no idea how big Canada is, do you?’

Me: ‘I really don’t think I do!’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Me: ‘What’s T-Dot?’

TCO: ‘Toronto.’

Me: ‘Can we move to T-Dot?’

TCO: ‘No. I have no family there. Or friends. Or job. Why do you wanna move to Toronto?’

Me: ‘So I can say I live in T-DOT!!’

TCO: ‘No. You’ll just have to tell people you live in Cow-Town.’

Me: ‘Cow-Town? There are cows? In Calgary?’

TCO: ‘Yes. Lots.’

Me: ‘Can I get a cowboy hat?’

____________________________________________________________________________________________

And finally: TCO quizzes me on my knowledge so far.

TCO: ‘What’s a loonie?’

Me: ‘A dollar coin.’

TCO: ‘Good. What’s a toonie?’

Me: ‘A two dollar coin.’

TCO: ‘Very good.’

Me: ‘You guys don’t have paper dollars?’

TCO: ‘No. We have one dollar and two dollar coins and then 5 dollar bills.’

Pause.

Me: ‘But then how do you pay your strippers?!’

For more posts, check out: