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!
Sometime last year, I became obsessed with the Lawrence PD Twitter account. Someone in my feed reposted something of theirs and in typical fashion on a 1 hour bus ride, I went down a rabbit hole of reading ALL. THEIR. TWEETS.
Things I know about them:
They have two dogs: Cheeseburger….
Cheeseburger is more popular though. It causes….problems….
They encourage people not to crime.
And encourage people to help them solve crimes – both were found. #yaytwitter
They also give helpful life tips:
Here are some more of my favorites:
This same Tweet-a-long went a little off topic for a bit:
Officer Inman’s mom also made a appearance and later cupcakes did indeed arrive at the station!
If you want more, I highly recommend this thread:
Thanks Lawrence PD, for both keeping the residences of Lawrence safe and everyone else amusing.
One can never have too many honey recipes. Although, if anyone has any hints on how to stop my honey hardening, requiring a soak in hot water and then…well, it explodes. Ugh. Honey on the floor. Why? (Bonus points for the awesome URL with this one! ‘those donuts tho’!)
*Rabbit Hole Alert* Ok, so this I became every so slightly obsessed with one day and wasted a lot of data on my phone watching You Tube videos of magical magnetic marbles doing their own version of Rube Goldberg Machines.
*This was written 6 years ago, a year before I left Korea for Canada*
I get asked this question a lot and so here…here is how I ended up in Korea:
Recently, I called a lawyer.
A lawyer in Canada, no less. This lawyer I called was very polite and helpful, apparently it’s the Maple Leaf disposition. He asked how I found out about his company as I was calling all the way from South Korea (‘South Korea, wow!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot when I call overseas from here.’). I explained I googled what I was looking for and clicked the first one I found with a Facebook page. Although it is also worth noting I was drinking a vodka and orange in an Irish bar on a school night while calling him….
This morning, I had a visa medical exam. A pretty standard test. One I’ve had a few times for my Korean visa so I knew the drill. Blood, chest x-ray, pee in paper cup, see doctor, deny knowing what an illegal drug is, the usual. On one of the stack of forms I had to fill in to give permission for them to view my medical records, test me for a wide varity of diseases, declare I wasn’t lying in any of my statements, give them custody of my first-born and the rights to name him Bob (one those is not true), it asked for my future occupation in my intended country of residence. Pointing out I wasn’t moving for another 12 months and hadn’t planned that yet, I was told to put ‘housewife’.
And so I did.
I laughed and shook my head and wrote the word on the page.
In a mere 48 hours, I’d called a lawyer, had a visa medical and declared myself a future housewife.
My entire life I’ve just kinda fallen into thing. Not really making conscious life decisions. I’ve just been presented with an opportunity and going with it, confident in the knowledge that it’ll all be fine. It’s no coincidence one of my favourite phrases is ‘Let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?’
I stumbled into going to university in England. I was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life and unwilling to choose computing suggested by one career counsellor and to ‘give up the idea of directing a movie because my teeth were not straight enough. So when I talk or give direction people will not understand me and HOW can I direct a movie if people can’t understand me’ (direct quote that will stay with me for life) by another career counsellor after I said I wanted to write movies.
To the UK I went, to study writing and film (a completely useless degree in hindsight). Unlike universities in the US where you can study many different things in the lead up to your eventual degree, in Ireland and the UK at 17 we have to choose our path and stick to it. Every course I took lead directly to the degree I applied for. I applied to ten universities, got into four, picked the one with the open day that was soon, flew over, looked around and signed up to attend in September.
Graduating at 20, I fell into working as a project supervisor at my previous job.
I was there when the previous project supervisor quit. That’s it. That’s all it took. I just happened to be there in the building. Later, when I moved into human resources, again, it was because I was there when the previous HR girl quit. For a while I was doing project supervising, HR, interviewing potential staff, running training seminars, doing wages (a terrifying month) and flying to Germany to brief new center managers. I took a two week holiday and went to Washington DC. It took three people to do my job while I was gone.
Having gone to Salzburg on a Sound of Music tour with my mother for her 50th birthday, I returned to my job bored and unhappy. I didn’t like it. It was depressing and I could do it drunk, hungover, half asleep, on the tail end of a bar hopping pub crawl (I kid you not!) and could coordinate client documents while talking on the phone, supervising staff and playing on the Internet all at the same time. The challenge was gone and thus I put in for a transfer. To London. My transfer approved, my contract drawn up and ready to be signed, apartment hunting was a go-go and I was packing my house up.
Six weeks later I was on a flight to Korea to start a new life.
It’s funny how these things just….happen.
So what happened?
Nothing at all.
Nothing major or dramatic or life changing. Nothing I can pinpoint on my life map and say ‘this was the event that caused it’. I just woke up one day and realised if I don’t leave now, now, this very second….if I don’t make the decision to leave when I get the chance, when my current contract is up, I’ll never leave. And then I’ll stay. I’ll stay here in a job I don’t like. In a country I really have no reason to be. With a car I can’t drive and a lethargic attitude towards work that ranks it just barely above ‘napping’. I’ll stay and be that person in the bar who stayed too long.
I needed a change. I needed to leave. And I needed to do it now while the idea was new and fresh and I was suddenly motivated. My contract at work was up for renewel. My current landlord was looking into selling off his house and thus, I’d have to move anyway. The stars were aligning and it was my shot!
A quick phone call later and i was offered a chance to either move to Korea the following month or Japan in 6 months. I choose Korea, because it was sooner and hanging around for 6 months would lead to a change of heart, second guessing and I have a short attention span. Left for 6 months to stew and think, I’d back out. I told my job. (‘I moving to Korea.’ ‘Korea…where’s that?’ ‘KOREA.’ ‘Ohhhhhh KOREA….I seeeeee.’) I sold everything that wouldn’t fit in my Opel Corsa on eBay and my mother drove me back to Dublin to await my Korean visa.
A few weeks later, visa and one way plane ticket in hand, large suitcase borrowed from my mother, and a world of opportunity ahead of me, I left on a plane to start anew. It would be a few weeks before I got around to reading the Lonely Planet guide I’d brought with me and a few more before I discovered what ‘Skype’ is…and I worked for eBay when they acquired Skype which made that so much worse.
Oh, how badly prepared I’d been when I arrived.
But alas how could I know that one decision, that decision to pack everything up and start again would change my life the way it did.
I took a shot.
And now, as I prepare for yet another country move, people keep asking if I’m scared, apprehensive, what if it all goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work out…etc.
To them I say, maybe it will. Maybe it will go wrong. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll be the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I don’t want the ‘maybes’ to rule my life. For every ‘maybe yes’, there’s a ‘maybe no’. For every person that says ‘Maybe it’s a good idea’ there’s another saying ‘Maybe it’s a terrible idea. You should stay here’.
When I moved to England, people said I’d be back within a month. I said ‘Maybe.’ I returned 6 years later.
When I moved to Korea, people said, ‘Ohhh it’s so dangerous there! You won’t be safe!’. I said ‘Maybe.’ I’ve been here 3 years and 4 months. The most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me was almost being hit by a taxi cab when I walked out in front of it.
In less than a year, I move to Canada. People say it may not work out. That couples who meet in Korea and leave together don’t last. That we’ll regret it. That we won’t find jobs. That we’ll have no money. That it’s cold. That I’ll hate it. That it’s a risk.
To them, I say ‘Maybe.’
But for now, let’s just agree on one thing, let’s all sit back, relax and see how this all plays out, shall we?
(Oh and that’s The Canadian One with my Pingu the Penguin in his backpack in the pictures above on the day we moved me from my apartment into his!)
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.
Our 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.
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.
No one ever worried about allergies. Or gluten. Or dairy.
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).
Me as a witch
As an adult I’ve been a 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:
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.
But last year, I made the whole family get in on the bee theme:
Only one of us is truly happy in this photo
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.
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.
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.
What are some of your Halloween memories or traditions? Got a funny childhood costume you want to share?
I discovered that my phone had been recording every phone call made on my phone from Feb 2015-Jan 2016.
Every phone call.
Now, while you may be thinking, ‘HOLY SHIT!! WTF?!!! SPIES!!! MALWARE!! OMG!’. I immediately thought, ‘Ohhhh…so that app did work.’
See here’s what happened, I downloaded an app back in February 2015 to record my voicemails separately as my phone will only save three and then starts deleting them. I had the bright idea that if I could record the voicemails separately, if I needed the information later, I could retrieve it.
It was a solid plan.
I would run the app, call the voicemail and the app would automatically record it.
However, I couldn’t figure out how to use the app and quickly abandoned it. Then, while cleaning out my apps in January because I had run out of memory (there’s that mystery solved), I deleted the call recording app.
Over the year, I had updated my phone. Turned off and on my phone. Closed all apps hundreds of times. Had a battery problem where it kept shutting off (a problem that just kinda went away by itself…). And still, this app kept on chugging away.
Until, when testing out my new C25K app’s in-app music, it pulled from my ‘music’ folder a call The Canadian One made to me on his first night in Hamilton for work.
Not a great soundbite to workout to.
As strange as it was to discover it did record all my calls, I also realized 95% of the calls were from The Canadian One…at a grocery store…mostly regarding the shopping list. Things like:
“They have no onions.”
“HOW CAN THEY NOT HAVE RUFFLES?!! THERE’S BEEN A SPIKE IN RUFFLE SALES.”
“The toilet roll is not on sale…what do I do?”
“I’m going to Safeway. Your bread isn’t here.”
And the other 5% were my doctor and dentist confirming appointments.
I do not lead a very exciting phone call life.
I listened to maybe 10 to get the gist of them – they were so clear it was like I had recorded it in the room with both people – and then I deleted them.
I deleted the HUNDREDS of calls my phone had been saving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Allergy to exercise – which is a real thing according to the Internet
Some freak allergic reaction to spending too much time outdoors (freak allergic reactions are not too uncommon for me…remember that throat closing incident?)
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:
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.
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 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.
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?!!
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.
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.
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.
1. St. Patrick was actually British. The Irish kidnapped him and forced him to work alone on a mountain as a shepherd. One day, he escaped and returned to Britain where he studied Christianity for many years. He later returned to Ireland to teach the small island about Christianity and spread the word of the Holy Trinity.
2. He is widely believed to have gotten rid of all the snakes from Ireland.
3. Though now associated with the colour green, St. Patrick’s colour actually used to be blue.
4. Until 1970, as it was declared a public holiday, no pub was allowed to open in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.
5. In 1903, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in Ireland.
6. It’s St. Paddy’s Day not St. Patty’s Day. Patty is a girl’s name. And the name of a hamburger. And something you would get decked for if you called a guy it in Ireland.
7. March 17th is the day of his death, not birth.
8. It was St. Patrick who granted permission to St. Brigid to allow women to propose to men on Feb 29th.
9. Other than also being Irish, leprechauns have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. There is, however, a museum dedicated to them in Dublin.
10. Despite many depictions to the contrary, the four-leaf clover also has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland and thus making it a constant symbol of Ireland.
11. The shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world happens in Dripsey, Co. Cork and travels between two of the town’s pubs.
I know a lot of girls who could’ve written this article.
I’ve been cornered in bars, been called a tease for being friendly, been yelled at in the street, felt uneasy about walking past a group of men, just last month a guy yelled out his car window at me while I was walking to the train station on my way to stampede – I was wearing a denim skirt from the gap, a nice shirt from H & M, converse shoes and a cowboy hat…clearly that was an invitation to yell at me while I waited to cross to road.
Not that it actually matters what I was wearing.
When it came to the first guy I slept with I was reluctant, nervous, and unsure but still went through with it. A few weeks later his friend announced to a room full of my friends and theirs, ‘Hey, isn’t that the girl whose virginity you took and she got blood on your bed?’. He was pointing at me and I immediately gathered my things and walked out. The guy I’d slept with said nothing and was staring at his shoes as I went by.
I never saw him again.
One of his friends, who witnessed the announcement incident, would later go on to punch him in the face over it a few months later.
When I was 12, an old man walked up to me in a crowded HMV store and asked where he could find ‘Sex on the Beach’ and then smiled at me. I pointed to the singles chart on the opposite side of the store where the CD was and where he would’ve had to walk by to get to me.
When I was in Italy, a guy spent a portion of the night banging on my locked hostel door, yelling he wanted to have sex with me. I was sharing a room with three other girls I didn’t know and we were all in bed with the lights out trying to sleep. It was awkward.
In Paris, while sitting with my mother, her boyfriend and my best friend at a bar (on high bar stools), the guy sitting behind to me continually brushed his hand against my ass and back. It was lunch time and the bar was practically empty. When my friend and I announced we were going to look at art in a store across the street to my mother, the man slowly trailed behind us as we left. As I looked at the art, I could feel his stare burning into me. We stayed in the store so long, the man finally got bored and left just as my mother burst in looking for us. The bartender had become concerned when he saw the man get up and follow us, had watched him enter the art store after us and had mentioned it to my mother that she should go get us before anything happened.
I had a guy once walk up to me in a bar while I was sitting with my friends, look me up and down and ask me ‘who I was trying to f*ck’ because I was wearing a nice sweater, shorts and tights.
I’ve been followed by a cab driver yelling prices he would pay to have sex with me at me while I was walking home from a bar alone. I’ve had a guy walk up to me and ask for a massage…while I was in a mall waiting for The Canadian One to come out of the washroom. I was once in a class with an older male instructor who had a penchant for touching girls on the shoulder or lower back when speaking to them. And at X-Fest last year, I had my ass grabbed by a guy walking past me for no other reason other than I was standing there talking to my friend and he was walking past.
I know girls who’ve been raped.
I know girls who’ve been dragged into dark alleys and managed to escape.
I know a lot of girls who could’ve written this article…
I recently came across an article on the dangers of wearing skinny jeans while perusing the People.com website. I’m obsessed with that website. I know way more about the Kardashians than one should having never watched their show. The Canadian One has watched more of their reality show than I have.
Me, reading People.com: “Oh, Kim Kardashian is pregant again.”
Him, nonchalantly: “Oh, she was getting fertility treatment in the episode I saw. It must have worked.”
I should point out he was on a plane at the time and it was the best of bad TV options. Apparently.
Now, I am not avid skinny jean wearer. I am more of a dress-wearing girl all year round. Snowing? Lemme just grab an extra pair of tights for the journey. I have dresses for work, dresses for nights out, dresses for fancy events, dresses for casual events, dresses designated for doing housework in, beach dresses, this-dress-can-withstand-any-washing-machine-at-any-temperature dresses and dresses that can go from day to night in a flash.
I do own two pairs though. A pair of black and a pair of grey. But I find them constricting. I wriggle into them. I do the skinny jean dance to get out of them. A piece of penne can cause waistband issues for hours. And as for a first date outfit…or a third date outfit depending on your…eh, view of what’s appropriate on first dates, it’s a no-go. It’s taken me ten minutes, no lie, to think of a way to word that sentence in a PC way that won’t trigger emails. I have a friend who would purposely not shave her legs on a first date so she wouldn’t be ‘tempted’. This later turned out to be not such a foolproof plan when she bought a razor from a 24hr 7-11 and shaved her legs in the bathroom of a bar with the help of another friend.
The article on People.com did entice me however, not to look into whether or not a pair of skinny jeans could potentially damage your health, but how this small one-off event of the woman helping a family member move and suddenly found herself the subject of a skinny jean study, was covered by the mainstream media. You know how you sometimes read something on the Internet and then suddenly need to know every single thing about it, then 6 hours go by and you look up and wonder why it’s dark outside?
It was like that.
It took all of 1.7 seconds to locate my answer in a stream of panic-inducing headlines.
First on the list was Business Insider with a report on a June 22nd 2015 study by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry titled “Fashion victim: rhabdomyolysis and bilateral peroneal and tibial neuropathies as a result of squatting in ‘skinny jeans,’”…no, seriously, that was the title of the study.
The article mainly recounts how the woman, while both wearing skinny jeans and squatting while emptying cupboards, began to feel pain and discomfort in her legs which turned out to be nerve and muscle damage in her calves caused by the skinny jeans. She couldn’t walk and crawled to a cab and landed herself in hospital. She’s fine now. The study did, however, mention it may not have been the skinny jeans but the squatting that caused the problem. I’m not a scientist, but I guess with a study sample of one it can be hard to come up with any definites.
ABC News had Dr. Thomas Kimber of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, who does not wear skinny jeans himself ( – it states this in the article) quoted as saying, “I think it’s the non-stretchy nature of jeans that might be the problem.”
The BBC went with: ‘Skinny jeans and other hidden health risks in your wardrobe’
In case you’re wondering, the other ‘health risks’ the BBC outs in the article include heels, zip flies – which resulted in 17,616 genital injuries between 2002 and 2010 in the US – tight shirts, earrings, g-strings, and tight underwear, which they state can cause heartburn and acid reflux…I wanna read the study on that.
Can we go back to 17,616 people injuring themselves with zip flies for a second? Zip. Flies. From jeans in general. Not just skinny jeans.
Seventeen thousand six hundred and sixteen people.
The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Yahoo, CBC, CNBC, NBCNews, The National Post, Live Science, CTV, The Today Show, they all had something to say to add to the panic.
Over at Gizmodo, they went with the very definitive ‘Skinny Jeans Are Bad For Your Health’ headline while Medical News Today had ‘Skinny Jeans Cause Health Problems For Men’ as their article header and CBS had ‘Warning: Tight pants, skinny jeans and Spanx may be hazardous to your health’.
What’s the difference in those last three articles you may wonder? Well, those three articles were published way back in 2012. CBS’s made mention of the heartburn and food digestion problems and Gizmondo’s focused on women suffering lower legs pain while Medical News Today talked about men with UTIs, low sperm counts and, good God this sounds horrible, twisted testicles. 1 in 5 men have experienced a twisted testicle due to skinny jeans wear.
I don’t know, I feel like men have it worse in the jeans-injury department than women. Penises in zippers and twisted testicles…
1 IN 5!
Turns out the dangers of wearing skinny jeans have been around long enough for hipsters to consider adopting a different form of fashion statement. (I’m kidding, Hipsters, I’m kidding. No emails.)
It was when I came across the UK’s National Health Service website that I found my favorite article about the whole event however. Their article reads like your rational BFF sitting you down and telling you ‘The guy you’re dating is an idiot, look at the signs and dump his ass’, imagining, of course, your BFF is the NHS and your boyfriend is skinny jeans articles.
The NHS helpfully points out that the ensuing media frenzy regarding the dangers of skinny jeans have all been started by the ONE Australia patient who suffered leg pain while emptying cupboards, an injury that may not have even been caused by the skinny jeans. They also pointed out that the only reason most media outlets covered the story was because it gave them an excuse to publish lots of pictures of skinny jean wearing celebrities.
I went back to the original People article that kicked off my distracting Googling of ‘skinny jeans danger’ to see if this was true and sure enough, the first thing that popped up was a picture of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in her skinny jeans.
What a waste of several hours of my life. All that time I spent reading medical articles about nerve damage and bladder problems when I could have been reading something much more newsworthy, like Scott Disick falling off the wagon and speculation about Cameron Diaz possibly, maybe, at some point in the future but not now, having a baby. You know, the important things in life.
And although I may have nothing to do with it, I’m taking the credit. Some of the credit. Just a teeny bit. Also, I’m entirely positive both my friends and The Canadian One are happy my tirade against 7-11 and their math ability is over and we can move onto more pressing issues. Like what the hell was with all the ginormous hail today? No, seriously, it was nuts.
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.
We 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.
Fleelo 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!
Settle in, friends, this is a long story. Get yourself some snacks and wine. I’ll wait here.
Ok, so I can’t eat chocolate. I know! When I tell people that, they’re all ‘WTF’ and ‘OMG I’d die!’ but in reality, I’ve known this for eight years so I’m pretty over it by now. Struck down with debilitating migraines at 21, chocolate, mature cheese, red wine and pink wine were all axed from my diet, eventually after rounds and rounds of the ‘is could be this’ game. Slowly, I got over it. Declining red wine at parties, accepting then regifting boxes of chocolates from friends, carefully calculating how much chocolate I could tolerate (the tiniest amount), eating some (way more that I’m supposed to) and lying on the floor in pain holding a pillow over my face like I was practicing to suffocate myself (this actually doesn’t help a migraine).
And then came May 2014.
Ah, May, the month when pizza got taken away from me forever. And ice cream. And Starbucks Frappucchios. Less than a week after the Caramel Ribbon Crunch returned and Frappy Hour kicked off.
Here I am with my last ever Frappy less than twenty minutes after my diagnosis. You can’t see it, but there’s also a Buttermilk Blueberry Muffin there too.
You know, I feel like May was one of those months I’ll look back on a half a year down the road and think, ‘wait, what?!’
So I had this lactose intolerance test…no wait, lemme go back a bit because it’s important to understand why I was having this test.
All this stupidity kicked off 18 months ago, just after we moved here, when I started to get weird pains in my right abdomen. Nothing crazy. Just run-of-the-mill, oh-that’s-probably-just-period-pains…in my right side…when I’m not on my period…OK, fine, when I look back on it now it was perhaps not as not-weird as I initially thought and I shoulda really thought ‘appendix’ and not ‘right-sided period pain’. BUT I’d just spend five years living in Korea being ill Every. Single. Day. so this pain was a welcome break after a sea of cramping pain, nausea and diarrhea every single day. Did I mention it was every single day? They couldn’t figure it out in Korea. I had tests. And more tests. And blood tests. And an endoscopy. And took drugs. And more drugs. And antibiotics…for months at a time…and destroyed my immune system…and still, I didn’t get better. Until one day, 3 weeks into living in Canada, I realised I wasn’t sick every single day anymore. I was sick maybe one day. Out of 21. It was suggested it was soy and / or sesame causing my illness and eating a western diet I was just naturally avoiding these. I test this theory out, I had some soy sauce. Next day I got ill. Soy was eliminated from my diet. But yet I was still getting this weird side pain and random cramping/diarrhea every so often with no discernible reason.
So fast-forward a year later, May 2014, and I’ve had the pleasure of five abdominal ultrasounds, three pelvic ultrasounds (there’s a difference boys, Google it), a CT scan which really does make you feel like you’ve peed. Funny story, the male doctor who did my CT scan told me I had ‘women’s problems’ and needed to see a ‘women’s doctor’ without going into too much detail other than a scientific explanation as to how eggs are released from ovaries and then discharged me and sent me home. I was livid. I was more livid that I thought possible. A few weeks later I saw on the news my doctor’s house had sadly burned to the ground.
My friend wrote to me to ask if it was me.
It wasn’t. And no one died.
Following on from that, I’ve had too many blood tests to count (I have fantastically healthy blood apparently), a HIDA scan ( – where one is LITERALLY strapped down to a table unable to move while being injected with a radioactive tracer and put into a scanner machine for an hour…AN HOUR…), two colposcopies, a hysterosalpingography ( – it was so painful I don’t want to relive it by talking about it – I sweated through the hospital gown I was wearing it was so painful – although I’ll give credit to a girl at work who warned me to take the full day off and not attempt to come to work after), took pointless antibiotics, had an argument with a gynecologist who refused to do a laparoscopy for endometriosis despite it being the only reason I was referred to her in the first place. This was after a six month wait to actually see her. She referred me to the Regional Fertility Center to get the laparoscopy done ignoring the fact that I was showing zero fertility problems and back on a waiting list we went to see a doctor there.
I got misdiagnosed with IBS after one appointment with a family doctor and changed clinics, got jabbed in the butt with an injection (“This will hurt.” – my nurse), experienced morphine for the first time, had a lactose intolerance test, a celiac test, a test that involves the collection of…um, bodily waste…and putting it into a very small (WTF?!) tube…TWICE! It was so much worse that this. Honestly, you have no idea how ridiculous your life has gotten until you’re asked to collect poop that has not touched water and put it into a small tube…the first time I was all ‘is this something I really want in my Google history?’ and the second time I was all ‘I got this! Gimme the test tube’. And I thought that time in Korea when I had to stick a cotton swab up my butt was bad. And then finally it was all capped off with an eventual laparoscopy and some endometriosis removal by the fertility clinic. The Canadian One had some fun wheeling me around the hospital in a wheelchair after the surgery.
So, lemme get back to the lactose test. For weeks beforehand I’d maintained I was not, under any circumstances whatsoever, absolutely, positively NOT lactose intolerant and this test was a GIANT. WASTE. OF. MY. TIME. I told everyone. I told friends. I told Facebook. I had to get up early. I had to fast. I had to drink a stupid drink and get four blood tests and live at the blood clinic lab on a Saturday for three hours with all the other impatient, annoyed people. IT. WAS. POINTLESS.
Then the results came back.
I’m lactose intolerant.
First thought: ‘Pizza!’
First thing I said to my doctor: “But…pizza…”
I also have endometriosis but let’s not dwell on that, it’s the pizza thing that really hurt.
Now, I’ve realized when I tell people I’m lactose intolerant they think ‘oh, you can’t have milk’. No. No no. I can also not have cheese. Cheese. CHEESE. Cheese is on pizza.
I cannot have pizza.
Or Starbucks Frappucchinos. I mean I do realize that this is not really a problem in the grand scheme of things. The Canadian One is diabetic and gave up everything and eats lots of salad.
Although, looking back, May was also the month my friend discovered she has an extra rib in her body that’s been causing her an incredible amount of pain so in hindsight it could be…no, no, the pizza thing is so much worse.
I love pizza.
Now, since May, I’ve learned how to make my own pizza. Lactose free. With no cheese. The first time I had no cheese pizza, I didn’t get ill, I didn’t throw up (I’ve done that twice literally in pizza places, never put two and two together), it was glorious and it was the way forward.
Despite all this, none of these tests has actually solved the pain-in-right-side problem just the stomach cramping / illness side of things. I was still in pain. And lots of pain. I couldn’t walk properly, pick things up, carry heavy objects or stand for long periods of time without pain. It was causing stress, headaches and sleeplessness not to mention despair as no one could figure it out.
At my next doctor’s appointment in June, my doctor suddenly asked if I’d ever injured my back. I told her about moving to Canada, how I ended up in the hospital my second day in Ontario with back pain suspected to be kidney pain. I told her how I’d taken antibiotics. That sometimes my back hurts periodically but I’ve always been told by many doctors that it would go away and to wait. That ‘patience is the key’ and ‘here, take these Percocet’. Here I am my second day as a Canadian paying for healthcare as I was in the wrong province:
My family doctor suddenly had a theory and a friend who she thought could help me. I immediately left her office and called her friend who said she would see me 48 hours later. I turned up promptly at 5:30pm for my first meeting with my physiotherapist, a lovely, brilliant, funny Irish woman who’s so full of smiles and optimism you just want to kidnap her and take her home with you. After a 10 minute conversation and medical history, she announced she knew what was wrong and how to fix it. I must have looked skeptical because she went off and got a medical book and showed me diagrams of what happened to me and why I’m in pain. I almost cried.
When moving here, I’d torn and damaged the muscles in my back with the twisting and turning and carrying of heavy boxes (for weeks beforehand as we moved twice before we actually left Korea) and bags (as we moved here, with a stopover in Ontario) and it was all compounded by the fact that I sat at a desk all day and it was causing referred pain my lower right quadrant.
Within an hour of physio involving massage, electrotherapy and ultrasound therapy I felt a billion times better. Better than any of the painkillers, heat pads or muscle relaxants ever did. This little AMAZING Irish woman had found and solved my 14 month-long problem in less than two hours. Well, not solved, I still see her every two weeks and follow a strict daily physio regime, but we are on our way. And my pain? Ohhhh my pain. That spends its days either being non-existent or it comes along and I know exactly how to get rid of it in a timely manner. No more afraid to stand at concerts. No more oh-my-god-the-pain-is-so-bad-I-might-die days. None.
So, at this point, I bet you’re thinking, so where does the EpiPen come in?
August 4th, the Monday holiday in Canada, I was at work as I’d volunteered to do overtime in lieu of a day off and a day and a half’s pay – not a bad compromise for working one day. Things were going fine. We were a little busy but not overly so and I was working on some online courses I had on the go in my spare time. Lunch rolled round and I took my homemade lunch out to the couch to eat alone. I usually never eat alone but it was a holiday day and there was maybe twenty people in the building. My lunch was rice, tomatoes, white beans, sage, beef sausage from Safeway and onion. All food I’d have previously many times, except the sausage, which I’d only ever had once before. After the first two bites, I started sneezing uncontrollably. My eyes felt itchy and like they were on fire and my ears felt hot. I suddenly realised I was having trouble breathing. I was wheezing. I text The Canadian One to tell him what was happening and while waiting for his reply, I went to pee because 1. I needed to pee and 2. I was fairly certain this wasn’t going to end in anything other than a hospital trip and so I didn’t want to need to pee that whole time. As I left the bathroom, I got dizzy. Really really dizzy. And my breathing was slowing. I began to realise I might be dying. That this was it. I was going to die alone on the couch at work surrounded by strip lighting and my half eaten lunch and lonely fork. I called The Canadian One who told me to go find my supervisor as at this point I was struggling to talk. In hindsight, that’s what I should have done first before calling him but anyway…
I bolted back to my supervisor’s desk, flailing about in a panic, explained I was having an allergic reaction and was marched over to the manger on-duty’s desk. I sat, wheezing, not allowing them call 911 as I felt it was ‘too dramatic’ but as we were right next to a hospital, I agreed to being driven there by the manager. I was making weird wheezing noises but my throat had stopped closing at this point, although my nose was blocked and all puffed up at the back. I called The Canadian One who was with our vet neighbor and both got in the car and headed to the hospital to meet me.
An hour in the ER and, although I had yet to be seen by a doctor, I was feeling fine but couldn’t talk properly. I was diagnosed with an allergic reaction, (obviously) given two Benadryl (which knocked me out) and was told to follow-up with my family doctor.
Honestly, you should have seen her face when I went back and explained all this to her.
I would later be diagnosed with a mystery ‘preservative’ allergic, issued an EpiPen for safety and made see a dietitian as all my foods were being taken from me and I was running out of things to eat.
My Family Doc: “Do you know what an EpiPen is?”
Me: “Yes, I’ve seen the ads on TV.”
Doc: “Ah, yes, with the little girl.”
Me: “Yes…but I’m not allergic to anything. I’ve never been allergic to anything.”
Doc: “Yes, you are. You’re getting an EpiPen.”
And so I did. I got two.
For more information on food allergies or anaphylaxis, check out Anaphylaxis Canadaor Anaphylaxis Campaign UK. The Canadian site has the option to sign up for a Food Allergy Alert service oddly enough sponsored by where I work!
For more information on living dairy-free, check out Go Dairy Free for hints, tips and recipes. Also I recommendDaiya as a preferred cheese alternative, although it does take some getting used to and also almond milk for coffee is quite nice if you are also soy-free. My addiction to Veganaise soy-free ‘Mayo’ is outta control too. It really is so much better than mayo! And Earth Balance produce a really good line of vegan alternatives.
I originally started this day-by-day breakdown of my wisdom teeth removal and week of recovery because:
I wanted to give myself something to do that was still writing but didn’t require a lot of work as I was fairly certain I’d be on painkillers most of the week.
I found, when Googling about wisdom teeth removal prep and recovery, there wasn’t a lot of information other than ‘how to not get a dry socket’, horror stories and clinical prep of what to do and not to do. Oh and eat soft foods, like yogurt.
Because wisdom teeth removal can be terrifying and it’s not something one should Google. I know this. You know this and if you’re reading this and you’re about to get your wisdom teeth out, you already know this…but yet here you are…hello! I just wanted to explain to prep and recovery in an easy, non-scary, but very honest way.
Considering the last three days of my life (and bear in mind, I thought today was Wednesday for the majority of the day) were filled with lying around the house in bed, on the floor, on the couch (delete as appropriate) complaining about my toothache, stomachache, headache (again, delete as appropriate), today was, by comparison, filled with action and adventure! I left the house and went to Safeway. OK, so yes I did only make it as far as Safeway BUT I didn’t have my bus pass in my possession and I don’t have a car so really, there wasn’t too far I could go. And Safeway has a Starbucks. And ice-cream.
Having been awake last night until 1:30am eating bananas and reading Pinterest, I opted to take Tylenol Night as oppose to regular Tylenol in a bid to get more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. I’d never taken Tylenol Night before and had bought them months ago when they first came out and were on sale for $2 a bottle. I threw them in the medicine drawer and forgot about them until last night. I took two, went back to bed and suddenly it’s 11am. I awoke refreshed and painless and bouncy further proving a good night’ sleep solves everything. I needed to leave the house and do something. It was sunny. The snow was melting. The house wasn’t too cold. I allowed Louie experience snow for the first time:
Then he got stuck and upset so I built him a path in my pjs with a cooking spoon.
Then I made myself some mashed potatoes with lactose-free margarine, almond milk and garlic salt (I put that on everything) and gravy for breakfast, bid The New Roomie good luck on his job interview and text The Canadian One to tell him I was venturing out of the house and to ask his opinion on my Starbucks order.
I had a barista at Starbucks get confused last week by the fact that I didn’t want milk in my iced coffee but I did want two (not the three they usually put in) of caramel…it was a kerfuffle for him and another barista got involved after he tried to get me an iced coffee no milk two shots of espresso. Today, I was aiming for, while not being able to speak properly, ordering an iced coffee no milk with caramel in a hot white cup with lid as oppose to an ice drink cup due to the fact that I can’t have a straw. I puttered around the empty Starbucks counter nervous to approach in case I was greeted with a teenager who hates their job and has no time for me. BUT instead I got a lovely lady who not only apologised for not initially understanding me and then apologised for not having any iced coffee, made me a huge normal coffee with lots of ice (to make it cold – it worked), in a hot coffee cup with lid and caramel – no milk – charged me a small coffee price and gave me a discount.
My iced coffee and I wandered around Safeway unable to find almond milk for a while until The Canadian One text EXACTLY where it was in Safeway and I realised I send him to Safeway waaaaay too often.
As I walked home and began to feel the familiar cramping and start of my period (a week early) I realised the world was f*cking with me. Although a car tearing out of a church carpark like it was on fire, rounding a corner and almost knocking over a yellow tripod thingy in the middle of the road (no idea) and then rounding another corner and disappearing was momentarily distracting. As was my landlord’s son talking loudly in Greek on his cellphone in our lawn while hacking down trees with a small handsaw just as I arrived back.
Once home (and confirming, yes the world is f*cking with me, I wasn’t imagining it) I laid out all my loot for scanning.
We’re part of the Neilsen Homescan Consumer Panel Program. Honestly, I have no idea why I signed up, I think I just wanted to play with the scanner. But they did recently send me a $15 Neilsen pre-loaded Visa card in the mail…which I then lost…so I guess there was that. Anywoo, so as part of the program we use the little scanner…
…to scan the barcodes on everything we buy (everything) and the little scanner transmits it to Neilsen all by itself each Saturday as long as I remember to put it back on its little stand. I call him Scanny and I find him highly annoying when we shop anywhere other than Safeway as Safeway populates the price by itself. Nowhere else does and have you ever come home from a huge shopping trip at Walmart and had to scan everything one-by-one, find it on your receipt, punch in the price and then move on to the next item? No? Then you do not know how annoying this little thing is. And yet I do it. I have no idea why.
I did a little icecream eating – I would highly highly recommend Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Vanilla Ice-cream Bars (no soy, no dairy, no gluten) – followed by some internet shopping at diabetesdepot.org and roasted some chicken legs for The Canadian One’s dinner, which turned out aweeeeesome. Well, they looked awesome. I had mashed potato and carrot soup for dinner but he swears it was lovely!
I modified a Bittman recipe for Roasted Chicken Parts from How To Cook Everything. I took two chicken legs with back attached (on sale at Walmart), cleaned ’em, patted ’em dry and plonked them on the cutting board. I preheated the oven to 450F, put a lump of lactose-free margarine (though you could and should use butter) into a roasting pan along with some chili flakes and placed it in the oven for 5 minutes. When I took the roasting pan out, the margarine was all melted and liquidy so I put the chicken into it, flipping it around to get it all covered in fake-butteriness. Then I placed it skin-side down (because I didn’t read the recipe correctly), sprinkled some cut up onion around it and whacked it all in the oven for 15 minutes. Then I took it out, sprinkled St-Laurent Steak Spice on it, flipped it skin-side up, and sprinkled Steak Spice all over the top of it too, patting it with the tongs a little to make sure it really stuck on there. Back in the oven it went for 10 minutes, then some basting, then 5 more minutes, more basting, then 5-10 more minutes until it was done. At this point, if you’re making it, stab it with a thermometer in the thickest part and if it reads 175F or more, it’s all good. Baste it again. Then serve.
Tomorrow, lemme tell about how I ended up owning an EpiPen and what it took to diagnose me as lactose intolerant. It’s the most ridiculous long-winded story I’ll probably ever tell you.
Come with wine.
For more information on my Wisdom Teeth Journey, check out:
I awoke this morning to the sound of a weird alarm going off for a split second. Deciding to go pee, as one does when they wake up at 6am all of a sudden, I putter to the bathroom in complete darkness. I flip the light switch. Nothing. I wander to the kitchen. Nothing. I look outside. No street lights. I open the fridge. Nothing. Dammit. The power is out. Completely.
I immediately think about the safety of my freezer meals. And then almost straight away got upset at the thought of their demise. I was tired, the painkillers I’d taken the night before had worn off and I was facing all my meals being destroyed. I grabbed my phone and did the thing I do whenever something major happens, I checked Twitter. It led me to the Enmax website which said they were aware our power went out around 4am and were working on it.
Which was unhelpful. But oddly comforting.
Then I took one look outside…
…And wisely I decided to stay in bed until the power came back on after having a mushed banana and honey and two painkillers for breakfast. Our landlord has yet to turn on the heat in our apartment – even though it’s -7 outside and she has a legal responsibility to ensure her apartments stay 22c or above at all times – so I resorted to two blankets in lieu of the space heater not working. Louie and I snuggled in bed reading old copies of magazines and trying not to play on Pinterest
Although we did do a little Tweeting too:
My friend sent me a picture of a weather warning for Calgary to cheer me up:
Incidentally on Twitter, #yycsnomg is in full effect!
Around noon, The Canadian One text to say he wasn’t coming home from work as his power had just come on and as he was telling me, OUR power miraculously came back on! I rushed to the freezer to check on my food and everything was still rock solid. The New Roomie celebrated with some coffee making while I jumped in the shower to wash my hair, FINALLY!
With the freezer food out of danger, I turned my attention to my teeth. Though the pain has lessened significantly (although I still can’t open my mouth too wide) the taste and weird smell is still there. Another quick look with a flashlight revealed a whiteish yellow coating covering the wounds. I panicked. My mind immediately jumped to infection, dry socket, pain, death. I jump to extremes a lot.
I padded about the house thinking about my teeth. I consulted The New Roomie, The Canadian One, my mother, the Internet and eventually got around to calling my dentist who told me it was completely normal and it meant the wounds were healing correctly. Having calmed down, I opted for some coffee and soup. Once I turned on the heater, Louie immediately abandoned me.
Just a note about the Red Lentil Curry Soup, if you’re eating it during wisdom tooth extraction, you want to blend it well until smooth and creamy so no lentils get stuck in your extraction holes. The Potato Soupis working out well too but if you freeze it and defrost it, you want to add a little water when reheating and blend it one more time before eating it. Always make sure you eat them lukewarm during wisdom tooth healing.
Finding it getting colder and colder and I made a quick call to my landlord – after two texts went ignored – and she answered on the second ring. We talked a bit about how she is, how I am, how I just got my wisdom teeth out and subsequently how painful it is until she paused and finally said ‘WHO IS THIS?!!’…After literally giving her my address and explaining I wanted her to turn on the heat, she agreed.
I’m still waiting.
This is me waiting:
I’ve been keeping my tongue like that because when my mouth is fully closed, the swelling touches the top gums and teeth and hurts so my tongue is playing barrier. And my face! Look at my face!…It’s squirrelling! But isn’t my hat awesome? I love my hat.
In times like these frozen oat baggies are your friend.
To make an oat bag simply cut two pieces of material 7inx7in each. Pin together pattern side down and sew around the edges. If using a sewing machine, you’re all good. If hand sewing, you may want to sew over it twice. Nobody likes an oat bag that pops open…spilling oats all over the place…especially The Canadian One…for example. Leave a small opening at the top to pour in your oats. You want to fill the back maybe just over half full with oats. Half full plus half a cup let’s say and then seal it. Shake it about, make sure it doesn’t leak oats, and then either pop it in the freezer or pop it in the microwave. Freezer is pretty self-explanatory. It takes about an hour to get cold. For the microwave, the first time you do it, you want to put it in for 30 seconds, then check it. Then maybe another 20 seconds, then check it. Max 60 seconds altogether or else the oats will burn. Each time you use it, it will retain more and more heat so the first few times it may get colder quicker but then it will start to remain hotter for longer. BE CAREFUL. It can get pretty hot. Consider yourself warned. Never give hot packs to babies while they are super hot, I would recommend a 30 second microwave stint for a small child…or pet…Louie LOVES the heat pack. LOVES. IT. I only ever let him near it while it’s lukewarm though. He’s not too bright and will burn himself. I use the heat pads mainly during my period. They’re like magic. So much better than Google’s advice of ‘time’, remember that?!
Eating lots of jelly. I know, I know, you people call it Jell-O but my mother sends it from Ireland so it’s jelly. And it’s glorious.
Finally getting to take a shower.
Watching the last 5 episodes of season 5 of White Collar. Notes: A: Neal reads Danielle Steel books?! And B: OMG what’s gonna happen him?!!!
Things I Failed At Today:
Stopping the pain.
Taking my painkillers on time. The battery-powered clock stopped. Yes, you read that correctly. In the power cut, the BATTERY-POWERED clock stopped. I just…there are no words….
Leaving the house. It’s -7. Maybe tomorrow.
Getting the landlord to turn on the heat.
In other, unrelated news, a website called DailyPotatoNews has liked some of my previous posts. Their mascot is a potato. A happy smiley potato. Remember when I became obsessed with the dancing potato? It’s a bit like that. Too Irish?
Well…onto the next day…
For more information on my Wisdom Teeth Journey, check out:
A few months ago, after eating in a local restaurant by my house, I awoke in the middle of the night with crippling stomach pains. For next 12 hours, I would intermittently lie on the bed and the floor flat on my back barely breathing due to the pain and then several times an hour rushing to the bathroom to throw up and / or poop blood. Just blood. Nothin’ but blood. I eventually got it together enough to go to the hospital who pumped me full of medication, including Morphine, and it was only at about 3pm I realised I should call my manager at work to let her know I wasn’t coming in…I text my friend instead and got her to tell her, I didn’t trust myself not to say something stupid on the phone.
THIS pain, today, has been worse.
I woke up at 3:29am and was wide awake in zero pain and spent my morning playing with the cat and reading Next Issue.
At around 5am, I napped a bit and at 6am, I took more painkillers. I hung out in bed reading and looking at wedding invitation templates for a while (and emailing them to The Canadian One) and eventually got up at 11am, in a bid to have some soup. And threw up.
Then I ate the soup and threw up all over the floor, twice. I mean, for anyone who’s actually been to our apartment is probably wondering how on earth this happened as our apartment is tiny and you literally can’t make it to the bathroom in less than 3 seconds but meh, I’m as confused as you.
And The Poor New Roomie rushed to my aid and cleaned up the puke from the floor. That was probably the worst part…watching someone else clean up your puke…and the action of throwing up with stitches in my mouth. I would not say positive things about that either.
Deciding it was maybe the blood swallowing in my sleep or the masses amounts of painkillers I’ve been taking, I stopped taking the painkillers as I technically felt fine. I know what you’re thinking, ‘because of the painkillers’….I’ll give you a moment to roll your eyes and predict how the rest of my day went.
Anyway, so I’m looking at my mouth with a flashlight, because that’s what you do right, you want to look at it, and I realise, holy sh*t, my crown is missing from one of my other teeth…and it all comes back to me why my dentist was explaining to me about my crown while I was high on sedatives yesterday. He took it. He took my crown! A quick call later, and I’d explained that my pain is ok (because it was at this point), that I have weird taste and smell from my mouth which I was assured may be normal but if I want I can pop into the dentist anytime tomorrow for a checkup and I booked an appointment to reclaim my crown. If Game of Thrones was this easy, I probably wouldn’t watch.
Next up was a call to my manager to ask for the crown-day off work, some accidental swearing and a quick apology (for swearing) followed and then my assurance to her I would be sending out an email about The Amazing Race Canada tomorrow. I was on a roll. I was getting things done. My work sponsors The Amazing Race Canada and so we’re running some employee games revolving around it. I’m the chief get-people-enthusiastic-about-it person for my team. I’m sure there’s a better title for it than that. I’ll ask my manager. But I basically just send out reviews of each episode and remind people to vote for their favorite to win next week. And then remind them again. And then stalk them until I know they’ve done it.
And no, I don’t work for Mentos.
But wouldn’t that be awesome?!!
After all this, I was feeling good. I feel like I could eat. Which is what I did.
Then I threw up again. And again. And then again. In the bathroom this time though, GO ME!
I gave up on eating, being awake and my planning viewing of the last 5 episodes of season 5 of White Collar (yay, they got six more!) and went back to bed. I stayed there (with Louie for company) in ungodly pain, having taken no more painkillers, until about 1 hour ago when The New Roomie and The Canadian One convinced me to take some painkillers…and brought me ginger ale….then The Canadian One had to shake the ginger ale in a jar to get all the bubbles out because I very quickly realised why my dentist said no carbonated drinks.
And so here I am, still in my pajamas, at 8:41pm, still sitting next to Louie (who’s been with me all day and had to be coerced not to walk in the puke…or lick the blood pool off the bed…) having only had a 1/4 mason jar of ginger ale in the past three hours and waiting for The Amazing Race to come on.
Lessons learned today:
Take your painkillers. DO it. Do it even if you don’t want to. Do it. At one point I was in so much pain I started sweating. SWEATING. Our heat isn’t on and there’s a snowstorm outside (for God’s sake Calgary!) and I’m lying in bed sweating. It went away. I’m normal temperature now. But my cheeks have puffed up. I’m starting to look a little squirrel-like.
Do not trust that being on painkillers means you don’t have to take painkillers because you’re no longer in pain. That’s stupid.
Always look in your mouth after oral surgery, someone may have stolen something! My crown. They stole my crown. Now it’s just a weird looking tooth with no lid and I still don’t know if it’s safe to touch. But if I touch it, I’ll let you know.
The discovery that there are stitches in your mouth will be momentarily odd for you until you realise, logically, they should be there. Resist the urge to poke them with your tongue. They say not to. I did. I couldn’t help it.
They tell you not to drink carbonated drinks for a reason. If you don’t believe me, try it.
Whatever you do, always, ALWAYS try your best not to puke on your very fluffy cat. ALWAYS.
Switch with salt water a lot. Swish swish swish. Gently. Swish gently.
Hopefully tomorrow’s update will include the words ‘I finally had a shower’ and ‘I no longer look like I had cotton balls stuck in my cheeks’. Wish me luck!
For more information on my Wisdom Teeth Journey, check out:
After yesterday’s preparations, the day had finally come. The day that’s been on my calendar for over a month. The day in which my wisdom teeth finally get evicted from my mouth to go live…somewhere else, actually I have no idea where they keep pulled out teeth.
All three of us, me, The Canadian One and The New Roomie arrived at the clinic promptly at 7:15 in the pouring rain. After a coffee run, for them, and some paperwork signing and a payment made, for me, I dutifully swallowed 2 tiny blue pills along with a tiny cup of water and was told I was in ‘my room’ I would be in for the surgery. I asked about why I couldn’t wear nail polish – it interferes with the heart monitor in my finger – and also if I would get to watch TV during the surgery. I then asked if I could go back out to hang out with the boys in the waiting room and was told I could go ‘socialize’ but had to come back when I felt like I wanted to sleep. The lovely Dr. Lee and I agreed we would take out all three remaining wisdom teeth, something I still disagreed with but the thought of having to return to get yet another one out outweighed my desire to keep the tooth.
I hung out with the boys watching the Global news report on the terrible traffic in the area until I started staring randomly at things, at which point The Canadian One panicked and brought me back into my room to lie down. I was covered with a fluffy blanket and next thing I know, my dentist is hovering above me, injecting me with a needle. After what seemed like ten minutes of me listening to them and watching them put things in my mouth and scold me for moving my head…and then holding my head steady, we were all done and I was free to go. It was told I only had two taken out and was allowed to keep the fourth (in my mouth…in case that’s not clear…not like in a Ziploc baggie) and that also something had happened my crown…it was explained to me…twice…and then my dentist decided he would just call me tomorrow as I clearly wasn’t getting it.
The New Roomie has waited in the waiting room for me and rushed to my side to help me with my coat and to re-sign some paperwork after it ended in a two-tooth extraction and not actually a three-tooth extraction. I have no idea how we got outside. Or into a taxi. Or where the taxi came from. The New Roomie did put my seatbelt on me, I remember that bit.
I mentioned I’d been in there a short time, it felt like ten minutes only to be told it’d been three hours, up from the original hour allotted to me, as there were complications with numbing me and getting the teeth out. Three hours?! THREE?! I still can’t believe that.
So now I’m home and it’s several hours later. I’ve changed the gauze, I took the painkillers using a measuring spoon to spoon water into my mouth, I napped, I woke in a puddle of blood and freaked out a little, I changed the gauze to a tea bag, I took my homemade barely bags outta the freezer and held them to my face, I watched six episodes of The Mindy Show and ate some Carrot Soup.
Overall, I’m doing pretty well. This was me about 45 minutes after surgery, proving my inability to take a selfie while still under sedation:
Things I was not warned about:
The blood. The masses and masses of blood. It was like my mouth had a period, I’m not even kidding you.
The sleep. I was told I would sleep after, that I would sleep until the next day, that I would not feel much pain as I ‘would be asleep’. I am wide awake.
The pain. I was told the worst part was the needles. It was not. Now it the worst part. Right now. In real time, as I’m writing this. The afterwards pain. It sucks.
The sore throat. Probably because they literally injected me in my throat. I would imagine that’s it.
When I awoke from my nap, there was a snowstorm outside. A. SNOWSTORM. It’s September. It’s barely even fall. And there’s snow?! Honestly, at this point I don’t know which is more upsetting, that yesterday I wore a summer dress, sunglasses, flip flops, no cardigan and went to an outdoor BBQ and that today there’s a snowstorm outside and it’s minus who-cares, it’s not hot OR the pain in my mouth.
LOOK AT IT:
For more information on my Wisdom Teeth Journey, check out:
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’
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.
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.
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:
And then a week later with this:
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.
The 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.
Next 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.
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:
Exactly 10 years ago I worked for the Asthma society in Dublin. Each morning, we would all pile into a car or a van and get dropped off, one by one, in various locations around Dublin city to sell scratch cards to raise money. A different location everyday, I met a vast range of strange and unusual people.
During the time I worked there (roughly three weeks), I got two free tickets to see Red Hot Chilli Peppers from a guy who said his friends weren’t coming and did I want to sell them to raise money, I almost got hit by a car who hit the curb on the sidewalk a little too hard and bounced the car into my just-jumped-out-of spot (he donated $10 to me as he ‘almost killed’ me) and I spent many a time hiding in department store doorways with the security guard sheltering from the rain and chitchatting about the weather.
But the one thing that I remember the most and that I will forever remember is the homeless man I met outside the convenience store I was stationed at one afternoon.
He sat on the ground on the busy main street with his Styrofoam cup, jingling it slightly as people exited the store. He had long shaggy hair and a scruffy beard and was nestled among a backpack and a blanket. I stood diagonal to him, sporting a summer dress, an ID badge, my official vest, my scratch cards in hand and my big white money-collecting bucket at my feet.
People would walk by, ignore him, ignore me, go on with their day. We would smile at each other occasionally, he’d wave to me, watch me if a crowd came and they seemed to be getting to close to me. There’d been a rash of white buckets being stolen recently and I was worried in the busy street someone would steal my bucket, maybe he could sense that.
He’d talk to me a little, ask about my day, make comments about the street, the people. Nothing rude. Just general talk. He seemed kind and gentle, gregarious even, and I found myself sad people were ignoring him.
At the end of the day, it was time for me to pack up what little I had raised and head back to base but as I took off my vest the homeless man vacated his nest of worldly belongings and made his way over to me. As it turns out, he was equally sad people were ignoring me and with a gentle, knowing voice told me that he wants to help. He extended his weathered hand to mine and handed me some change from his Styrofoam cup. I stood staring in disbelief that this man, who has almost nothing would give me money for charity. He settled himself back into his spot on the opposite side of the sidewalk, nodded at me and smiled.
Welcome to Flashback Friday: A look back at some of the most popular posts in the archive
This Quote Friday from June 15th 2012 (original link) proved to be one of the most read Quote Friday’s on the entire site:
For anyone who wasn’t following Quote Friday, it was a weekly round-up of the funniest things my elementary school students said to me that week. They were all aged 6-12 and were in my English class in South Korea.
First up, a non-school quote:
Girl at party last weekend: ‘Where are you from?’
Girl: ‘Oh, Ireland, Texas?’
Me: ‘No, Ireland the country.’
Girl: ‘You must think I’m really stupid.’
Me: ‘Actually, I’ve been asked that exact question before.’
In the middle of repeating vocabulary:
Kid: ‘Teacher, I’m hungry.’
Me: ‘That’s nice. I don’t care.’
Kid: ‘You don’t have food??’
Me: ‘I’m not giving you food!’
Suddenly, a piece of candy hits him on the side of the head. We all turn to see one little boy has throw a candy at him. The kid picks it up and throws it back at kid 2. I take it away from them both and put it on my desk.
Kid 2 has a funny look on his face. I look at him, quizzically. He lifts his hand to reveal a second candy, smiles and then bursts out laughing.
Me: ‘What’s skipping?”
Entire class, breaking into The Smurfs theme song: ‘La la la la la la la la la la la!!’
Me: ‘What? That’s The Smurfs! Skipping is this.’
I skip across the classroom.
Kid: ‘Yes, you look like a Smurf.’
Me: ‘Did you just call me a Smurf?’
Kid: ‘Yes, look.’
He gets up and skips across the classroom just like I did.
Me: ‘What does your mommy like?’ (options on the page include a variation of fruits and vegetables)
Kid: ‘My mom likes money.’
Kid 2: ‘My mom doesn’t like dad.’
Two boys are hitting each other with pencils.
Me: “What are you doing?!’
Kid: ‘We’re swordfighting!!’
There is paper ALL over my floor.
Me: “What the hell is all this on my floor?!!’
Kid 1: ‘Oh my God, you said a bad word!!’
Me: ‘No, I didn’t.’
Kid 1: ‘Yes, you did! You said ‘what the hell’!’
Me: ‘No, I didn’t!!’
Kid 1: ‘I hear you!!!’
Kid 2: ‘The fan and the paper and whoooosh and paper on floor.’
Kid 1: ‘YOU SAID A BAD WORD!!’
From The Canadian One and his Kindergarten students:
I was teaching my students can and will.
One wrote ‘I can ride a bike’ and then, ‘Soon I will smoke.’
That’s a good goal!
While I’m checking off a name, a kid grabs a marker and proceeds to write on the board. She’s written the first letter, a ‘C’, when I grab her hand.
The kid looks down to see she’s holding a permanent marker.
Kid: ‘Oh no!!’
Me: ‘Oh my God!’
Kid: ‘Wait, I can fix.’
The kid grabs a normal board marker, colors in the ‘C’ and erases the whole thing off the board. It’s spotless and no trace is left.
Me: ‘Wow, that’s magic!!’
Kid 2: ‘It’s no magic, it’s SCIENCE!!’ (shaking her head at me!)
A kid is looking under the desk and making a disgusted face. She puts up her hand.
Kid: ‘Teacher, come here. Look.’ (pointing under the desk)
I look at her skeptically.
Kid: ‘It’s ok. No bug.’
A kid speaks Korean in my class several times so as punishment I make her stand up with one hand on her head and the other over her mouth. She’s wearing a green sweater. Her friend next to her bursts into laughter.
I love Shepherd’s Pie. A classic, English dish, it’s so easy to make and assemble and it lends itself quite well to a freezer cooking rotation. This recipe is based on one I saw on the back of an OXO box years and years ago.
1 tbs vegetable oil
500g minced beef
1-2 tsp garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
A handful of peas
2 tbs plain flour / GF flour
2 tbs tomato puree / paste
2 cups of beef stock
1 tbs butter (or dairy-free alternative)
1-2 tsp Worchestershire sauce – make sure it’s gluten free if needed
1/2 tsp thyme and / or marjoram
4-6 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
Salt and Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200C / 395F.
2. Heat oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic until soft. Add meat and brown, draining fat. Add carrots fry for another few moments.
3. Add flour and stir well.
4. Add tomato puree, stock, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, salt, pepper and peas. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened.
5. Pour meat mixture into ovenproof dish and top with mashed potatoes. Dot with butter.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
***If you’re freezer cooking, prepare the meat until step 4 and allow to cool then freeze. Proceed with step 5 after defrosting meat.***
I grew up in a piano-playing household. Primarily due to the fact that my mother is a piano teacher and my brother and I were always surrounded by a piano, sheet music and pupils who struggled to play their scales. Each year we would be bombarded with differing renditions of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’, all played at different speeds, some in a stop-start jingle and some with so many wrong notes, I’d sit in my bedroom thinking ‘Is that Rudolf they’re trying to play or some unknown Christmas tune I’m about to be introduced to…Nope, no, it’s Rudolf.’
There was one memorable year when I returned home to visit during exam time and all the students seemed to be studying ‘My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean’…I still can’t listen to that song without shuddering. Hours after hours of listening to kids play it over and over again. I feel like I could play it through sheer osmosis.
My mother taught us how to read sheet music as children. I learned the right hand and some of the left and mastered most of the nursery rhymes before I quit. My brother, however, went on to absorb music as an exponential rate. He could read a piece, play it, read it, play it, have it memorised. Whenever I would return to Ireland to visit, he would play me the most recent pieces he learned plus some oldies I liked too. He moved onto a ragtime phase where a favorites of mine came to include almost anything by Scott Joplin. He doesn’t play much anymore, preferring to focus on art and woodwork but I have never, in all my life, never ever wanted to force him to learn a piece and play it via Skype to me so badly:
For those of you who have never heard the Mario theme tune, (honestly, I’m surprise you know what the Internet is, but anyway), here it is:
My obsession with Mario dates back to my owning a N64 and every Mario game (and yes, Goldeneye) that was released. Now, we own a WII and the obsession continues with Mario Kart. This month at work we’re even having a Mario-themed staff incentive program running…no, seriously. I spent an entire day cutting out those tiny Mario flowers, Bowser, bananas (I hate them) and shells. Lest we forgot, I still work at a bank.
Mario has dotted my life in random unexpected places here and there as an adult. I once found myself dancing to a disco version of the song at a basement nightclub in Seoul with The Canadian One. My friend and I once stayed at a hostel in South Korea and one of the girls sharing our room had gone out for the night, while my friend and I stayed in. The girl’s phone kept alerting her to a text every so often with a ring that reminded us of ‘It’s a Mario!’…We spent the rest of the trip saying ‘It’s a Mario!’ over and over again each time her phone went off. We were beyond annoying. Now and then, I’d find myself humming the Mario theme tune at work, much to the amusement of my 10 year students who would break into song with me occasionally, surprised I, a 26-year-old teacher, would know who Mario is.
I mean, please, I know no one (NO ONE) my age who does not know who Mario is. NO ONE.
NOW, all I gotta do is find someone who can play the piano, is almost my age and who I can convince to learn to play this piece for me…
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?’
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,
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.
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?
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.
My response to the text was immediate:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
Every once in a while, I come across an ad I just LOVE. It moves me, it makes me think, it elicits some kinda emotional response in me and then I promptly watch it 15 times on YouTube.
Below I’m sharing these three with you and before you start to watch, just a small disclaimer, neither I nor The Ketchup War is responsible for any tears that may be produced during the watching of these videos.
First up, an ad that would put any Hollywood movie to shame:
Next, proof that changing your words really will change your world:
And lastly, Go Guinness, Go Guinness:
What do you think? Got a different favorite? Link it below.
People often ask me ‘what it’s like to move to Canada?’ and ‘is is any different to Ireland?’ and to them I respond with ‘yes, it is very different but it’s also very similar.’
The thing about moving to Korea was I expected things to be different. It’s a different language, different culture, different food, different hierarchy and social structure but with Canada, I had expected it to be pretty much the same as Ireland. Only colder, obviously. And with more snow. A lot more snow. I cannot stress enough how much snow I think we’re going to get. It’s like all the snow in the world…you know, I’ll stop there, there’s a high chance this post may just turn into you witnessing me freak out about the snow.
Some of the differences I have discovered so far:
1. Three Ring Binders
Why does it need three rings? In Ireland we have two. And our hole punching devices are smaller. Here they’re ginormous and heavy and expensive.
2. Cars Not Trying To Kill Me
This isn’t so much an Irish thing as a Korean thing but the cars stop here. Lemme tell you a story, my first two weeks here, I never went anywhere without The Canadian One. Then we both got jobs, but his started the week before mine. On his first day at work, I decided to venture to the local Sobeys in search of food. I came to a crossing that had two small turning lanes. To describe it in more detail for those who are thinking, ‘what?!’, there was a tiny turning road, small island of pavement, main road, small island of pavement and then another tiny turning road.
I stood and waited by the first tiny turning road for the lights to change for me to cross. A car slowed down. I didn’t cross. He kept driving. Another slowed then drove on, then another, then another and still I didn’t cross. I noticed all the cars were backing up into a small traffic jam when one of the guys in a pick-up truck rolls down his window and yells out: “Why don’t you cross now? Go on.”
He stopped and I crossed.
I didn’t realize the cars just stop for me all by themselves without any light situation happening.
Also, while we’re talking about the lights, a red hand and a white man are confusing.
3. The Language
For some reason, at work, people just don’t understand my name sometimes:
Me: “Hi, thank you for calling ***, my name is Jenny, how can I help you?”
Me: “No, Jenny.”
Me: “Thank you for calling ***. My name is Jenny, how can I help?”
Man: “Hello Sandy.”
Woman: “What’s your name? Debbie?”
Woman: “I had a friend named Debbie.”
Me: “…That’s nice…”
There also differences in words I use versus words Canadians use:
Me: “We need clingfilm.”
The Canadian One: “What?”
Me: “Clingfilm. Like…it’s…you know, the plastic stuff, we put it on food, it sticks…clingfilm!!”
Him: “Ohhhh, Saran Wrap.”
Me: “That’s stupid. Mine makes more sense.”
Me, while discussing vegetables with The Canadian One: “You know we don’t call snow peas snow peas in Ireland. We call them mangetout.”
There are others, like:
Black Sacks v Garbage Bags
Crazy Golf v Mini Golf
A Dollar v A Loonie
Two Dollars v A Toonie
ANY Fizzy Drink – Pop
Calgary v Cowtown
Beanie v Toque (I just flat out refuse to say that…)
Two Creams, Two Sugars at Tim Hortons v Double Double
Bathroom v Washroom
Zed v Zee
Police v Mountie (but not ALL police are called Mounties, just the actual Mounties, all the others are just called the police…)
Petrol v Gas
Ladybird v Ladybug
Me: “Louie is hunting a ladybird!”
The Canadian One: “You mean a ladybug? Was that a mistake or do you really call it that?”
Me: “It’s a ladybird!”
The Canadian One: “Ours makes more sense.”
Electricity v Hydro (this one took me a while to figure out but I managed to avoid asking anyone, I just kinda got it from context)
Canadian Revenue Agency was another one I didn’t get.
Lady: “I’d like to pay my CRA bill.”
Me: “I don’t know what that is. What’s CRA?”
Lady: “Like, my taxes.”
Me :”Ohhh, I’m not Canadian, sorry, I didn’t know what that was.”
Lady: “Ohhhh, I would be like the IRS in America.”
Me: “I’m not American.”
Lady: “Well, I’m sure they have something like that where you’re from.”
And then she went on to explain in more detail about the CRA. I didn’t have the heart to tell her in Ireland we don’t submit our taxes like they do here. It’s a whole new concept for me. I once had the British government send me a cheque to Ireland for $12 because they owed me tax. I had no idea. In Ireland and the UK, it’s automatic. We don’t touch it. It’s all done for us. Here, well, here I’m gonna have to hire someone cos really, I just have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not even sure when the tax year ends!
4. The Phone Number Situation
When I first started work, three weeks after getting to Canada, I didn’t realize that to call out of my own city, I needed to dial long distance. Neither, it turns out, did my trainer realize it would be important to teach me this information.
Me, while trying to dial a number on the screen: “How do you dial not Calgary?”
My Trainer: “Dial 9.”
Me: “I know but how do I dial the number?”
Her: “You press 9 then the number.”
Me: “No, not Calgary.”
My Trainer looks confused.
Me: “How do I dial this number? 416?”
Her: “You dial 9 then 1 then the number…”
Her: “OOhhhhh yeah, you’re not from Canada. For long distance, you dial 1…sorry! I forget you’re not from here!”
I read out a number to a customer. After I hang up the phone, my trainer comes up to me.
Her, really awkwardly: “In Canada or North America rather, when we read out a phone number, we usually read it 3 numbers, 3 then 4. To sound more Canadian…you…should read it out like that.”
Me, later to The Canadian One: “Do Canadian’s really read out numbers 3-3-4?”
Him: “Yes. Why, how were you reading it out?”
Me: “In blocks of two.”
5. Some People Have No Idea Where I’m From
Woman: “You don’t sound like you’re from PEI.”
Me: “No, I’m Irish.”
Me: “From Ireland.”
Me: “The country.”
Me: “I’m from Ireland.”
Girl: “Oh, Texas?”
6. The Obsession with Tim Hortons
I don’t get it. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
7. People Are Really Nice
I’d heard, before moving here, that people were really nice in Canada. Really friendly and open. When I got here and realised that was true, I immediately became suspicious that the nice people were secretly out to get me. So far so good but I’m still on-guard.
8. People On Public Transport Are Weird All Around The World
It doesn’t matter where I’ve been to, what mode of transportation I’m on, or what language anyone is speaking, there will always be at least one person on every train/plane/bus that is just plain freaky.
Like the Korean man that does yoga on my train in the mornings.
The Vietnamese man that gets on and yells at other commuters for the full three stops it takes for him to get to his destination. Every. Day.
The woman who sat near me, opened a can of spaghetti (and not a pull-ring type either), pulled out a metal fork and ate it all.
The man who sat opposite me while he and his wife shared a yogurt with their fingers and then threw the empty carton on the floor.
A man who sat next to a guy in front of me with a hot dog and told him how much he liked his (the other passenger’s) hot dog.
The guy who sat in front of me, turned in his seat and stared directly at me for the entire 10 minute train ride.
The time The Canadian One had to get off the train and fill in a witness statement about a punch-up he witnessed between a group of kids and an old man who started on them.
I find I’m more willing to complain a lot more to companies about their behavior here. Maybe it’s because I expect more of a customer service experience from them or maybe it’s because they just don’t do what they say they will and when I know I’m right I make sure I tell them!
For example, last week, I read that if we bought 100 Aviva Strips for The Canadian One’s diabetic monitor, we’d get 150 Airmile points and a free monitor…and I would in turn be able to use those points to claim my free year’s subscription to Reader’s Digest, my ultimate goal.
Off he went with his Airmiles card, Safeway card and shopping list.
He returns with 21 Airmiles, no monitor and 100 Aviva Strips.
The following day, I send him back down to show them the flyer and claim our points.
They tell him he needs to BUY the monitor AND the strips to get the points.
BUY the monitor?
BUY the FREE monitor?!
I called their customer service HQ after failing to come to an agreement with the store’s customer service.
Customer service HQ called the store, then called me back to tell me it was on a different brand. I responded with “No no, that is also a promotion. MY promotion I’M referring to is underneath that promotion on the same page.” The guy called the store again then called me back to tell me I was correct and I’ve to go back down to the store and claim my free monitor and 150 points.
Off The Canadian One went and back he came triumphant with 161 Airmile points and a free monitor.
Other examples of companies that annoyed me:
Brita – who sent me a $10 voucher as the Brita jug we bought was faulty and kept spilling water everywhere.
P&G – who sent me a free razor and other assorted goodies after my experience of buying a faulty razor from them that I couldn’t return to the store.
10. Points Cards mean Free Sh*t
In Korea, they love love LOVE their points cards but they’re all in Korean and we couldn’t take advantage of them. Here, however, I’m all over this points card situation. I collect Airmiles, Starbucks stars, Plum Rewards, Shopper’s Optimum points, Sobey’s points, whatever it is that Safeway have a card for and Scene points. I like free stuff and Canada is the LAND of free stuff.
As a side note, The Canadian One says my job is also all about free stuff and is kinda like a Kindergarten. We get Ice Cream Days when we have bad weeks, they give us free coffee throughout the day (a new initiative), points when were are good that we can use to buy things with from a catalogue (The Canadian One tells me it’s akin to giving stars to young children), we have things like Pizza Friday or BBQ Day, we go on field trips to mini golf and get prizes for just showing up (a $25 gift card for a mall!) and there’s a person who dresses as a fluffy bear and hands out gifts each month.
Ok, when you look at it like that, he may be correct…but I still stand by my ‘cling film’ word. As The Canadian One says, sometimes words in British English are just more literal…and make a lot more sense.
The Canadian One, having proofread this article: “A punch-up? Is that a fight? You should add that to your list too.”
Working in customer service at a contact center, I know how frustrating it can be to suddenly get a customer on the line that was a) pi**ed off to begin with, b) would rather be doing anything else that call you and c) is NOW pi**ed off that they just hate to wait 10 minutes in a queue to speak to you. So imagine how delighted I was when, having played a game of ping pong with The Canadian One when we needed call Telus earlier today, neither of us had much success.
The basics of my issue was, they wrote to us telling us we should switch over to paperless billing to receive a $5 credit to our account. That very day, I switched and then waited. I got my Enmax bill, my Bell bill, The Canadian One’s Bell bill and our credit card bills but no Telus.
Today I got my Telus bill dated August 16th and due August 18th.
Now, I work at the bank, I know it takes 2-3 business days to post a bill to an account and payment via credit card will trigger a cash advance fee. It’s Friday. August 18th is Sunday.
Also, where was my $5 credit?
Now, my issues with Telus stem back to when we first arrived in Canada four months ago when I called them for information and they convinced us to sign up to a three year deal to get a free TV to save ourselves ‘buying a new TV’. We agreed. A free TV is always better than no TV and we signed up.
They came. They installed. They said our TV would arrive in six weeks.
Soooooo we had cable but no TV….o.O…YEP….
Now, they proved themselves very helpful in this instance so I assumed they’d be just as helpful this time if they answered their phones!
Tonight, I came home, heated up my stew and sat down to wait for Telus to answer their phone.
In the midst of listening to bad pop songs blaring through the speakerphone of the iPhone, I was batting back and forth with Chrisof 2KoB on Twitter when I decided to write a Twitter rant…and got a reply…:
THEN I finally got through to a super helpful agent who helped me set up a pre-authorized debit, sort the issue of the late bill arrival and had a general happiness about him for someone working a Friday night.
Among the things said in the conversation:
Me: “Telus are writing to me on Twitter! How did they find me?!!”
Me: “In the letter it says I’d get $2 if I signed up for e-billing. Where’s my $2?”
Him, laughing: “Actually it’s $5.”
Me: “Where’s my $5?!!”
Lol! He laughed and promised me my $5.
Then I posted this:
And then I got this:
I guess we’re friends now.
At my work, we get candy and reward point if we get customer commendations, I hope the dude I talked to gets candy and rewards!
So, four months ago we moved to Canadaland from Seoul and, almost two months ago, we added to our family in the form of a very small, astronomically fluffy, likes-to-steal-and-eat-people’s-croissants Kijiji kitten. And oh, how my life has changed. I’m now the girl who sneaks ninja-like down the hallway so as not to alert the cat to my awoken presence in the middle of the night. I can’t leave food for more than five seconds without it being commandeered by Captain Louie and everything I own has been reclassified as a ‘toy’.
As for writing, there’s one very important thing you need to remember about writing with a kitten in the house:
You can’t. You won’t. You can try but you won’t success.
And here’s why:
Cats. Don’t. Care.
They don’t care that you want to write or that you want to watch TV or lie on the couch. They don’t notice that you would love to sleep in longer than 6am in the morning on a Sunday or eat dinner without the background of constant meowing becoming the new white noise in your apartment.
And most of all, they don’t care when you want to write. This article took far longer to write than it should have. Why?
So far this morning, Louie (my five month old kitten) and I played the Ping-Pong game of sit on laptop, get picked up and placed on floor, jump on laptop, get placed on the floor, try to eat laptop, get placed on floor and around and around we went until he spotted a piece fluff that held his interest for more than five seconds.
In his first few days of living with us, he was afraid of everything.
Those pretty little jingle balls cats love?
Terrified of them.
Scampers from the room like it was the end of the world.
A tiny ant on the floor?
Don’t even get me started.
And the bathtub?
To be fair, look at what we did to him. If that’s not a ‘you wait til I grow up I will kill you in your sleep’ look, I dunno what is.
Being thrown onto the bed doesn’t suit him either. Check out his best WTF look he constantly gives me:
What’s he NOT scared of? I hear you ask.
The water bottle. The lamps. My handbag. The printer. He could be anywhere in the apartment, doing anything and as soon as the printer whirrs to life, he’s next to it examining it like it’s a crime scene. Oh, and the screen door, his obsession with the screen door is growing by the day. Here he is doing his daily impression of Spiderman:
He’s also gotten pretty nifty at hide-and-seek:
As for cooking…well, it’s a little hard when he insists on doing this in the middle of the kitchen:
And he cries. Oh my goodness, has he nailed the crying malarkey. At the beginning he was so quiet, I though there was something wrong with him. Now, like a two-year-old who’s discovered the word ‘no’, he’s learned can cry and wants to practice as much as possible. I can’t pee without a scratching on the door followed by a high-pitched whine. At night, he screams so loudly, you’d swear he was being stabbed right there in the comfort of our living room.
Don’t get me wrong, when he sleeps, he sleeps. And sleeps. And sleeps. One minute he’s playing, the next he’s out, but don’t start thinking when they sleep it’s easier to write.
It’s just more challenging.
In saying all that, before we had a cat, when I heard a noise in the middle of the night, I’d immediately think ‘murderer’!
Now when I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I think ‘I really hope that wasn’t my laptop hitting the hardwood floor’.
A serialistion of the popular Quote Friday book: Watch Out For The Hedgehog, four years of hilarious kids’ quotes from the ESL elementary school classroom in South Korea.
Chapter One: On Love & Relationships
In every school I’ve ever worked at the kids have always been a little more interested in my life than in anything they study in class. Usually after dispensing with pleasantries, names, where I’m from, etc, the kids undoubtedly wander upon the most asked question in Korea: ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
Some kids ask it before they even find out where I’m from.
I was working in a private school for a while where the kids took extra lessons outside of elementary school. It was across the road from the elementary school. Two eleven-year-old boy students tried to set me up on a date with their elementary school’s native teacher:
Kid 1: “Teacher, Smith, very nice. You 26. He 27. Perfect. I will give you his phone number. Marry?”
Kid 1: “You can be dating then. I will bring you his picture.”
Kid 2: “Oh yes teacher, it’s a romantic story….”
Kid 1: “You can write a love letter to him.”
Practicing conversations about letters and mail in class:
Boy 1: “Yes, I write letter. To my friend. She move to another land. She write to me ‘love me’. I was scared.”
Boy 2: “I write bottle letter. I throw at my friend’s house. It broke his window. Our friendship exploded. We are not friends.”
Kid: “Teacher, Irish tradition, get married where?”
Me: “In a church usually.”
Kid: “Ahhhh, Christian country…I see.”
Kid 2: “When you marry Smith Teacher, in church, yes?”
Me: “I am not marrying Smith Teacher.”
Kid: “But why?!!!”
Kid 1: “Teacher, you have boyfriend?”
Kid 2: “He Korean?”
Me: “No, he’s Canadian.”
Kid 1: “Ou Teacher! He is handsome? Like a singer? His skin is bling bling?”
Me: “Ha, yes, he is very handsome.”
Kid 2: “REALLY??”
Me: “Of course!”
Kid 1: “Ou, you are lucky girl!”
Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend, he will you marry me, you, ok??”
Kid 1: “Teacher…you like….boys….um….big arms?”
She makes a muscle gesture with arms.
Me: “Eh…no…not really.”
Kid 2: “Teacher, you like…boys…they….ou, chocolate chest?!” She looks to her friend for help.
Kid 1: “SIX-PACK!!”
I was laughing so much and I couldn’t speak!
Diary quote: “When I 30 years old, I will wedding. I hope my bride will be beautiful” (He’s 10!)
Kid 1: “Teacher, your boyfriend name?”
One kid looks at me, then stands up, walks across the room to where I keep all the Grade One workbooks and starts sifting through them. He pulls one out of the stack and holds it up.
Kid 1: “Like this?”
I look at the book. It belongs to one of the little boys in the Grade One class named Ian.
Me: “Yes…How…did…you know that I have a student called Ian?”
Kid 1: “I don’t know.”
He puts the book back.
Kid 2: “I…An.”
I write it on the board.
Kid 2: “Hahahahaha Teacher, change ‘n’ to ‘m’ and write one more time, I AM IAN.”
Then she laughed for a full 30 seconds.
Kid: “Today is my mom and dad wedding anniversary but I’m not give my present but my parents say ‘we’re precious in your and be born’. That time my heart is moved and my heart happy cry.”
While watching a video about Koko, the talking Gorilla, and her owner, who’s a woman, Koko and the owner hug.
Kid 1, pointing at the TV: “They married?”
Kid 2: “She’s old.”
Like that’s the ONLY reason the woman and the gorilla aren’t married.
Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend?”
Me: “Of course.”
Kid looks at me skeptically.
Rumors spread through the school that the school had hired a ‘hot, Chinese-American boy’ as the new official school English teacher. This is two days later:
Kid 1: “Oh teacher, we have new English teacher.”
Kid 1: “Yes, Haley Teacher.”
Me: “Oh, a girl?”
Kid 1: “No, a boy.”
Me: “Haley’s a girl’s name.”
Kid 2: “No, it’s not.”
Kid 1: “Oh, teacher, you and Haley teacher, together, love.”
It’s break time and I’m sitting at my desk on the computer, writing school reports and drinking coffee. A kid stands in front of my desk. She’s not doing anything; she’s just standing there. The kids do that a lot. Just stand there and stare at me. Sometimes it’s weird. Other times, I just ignore them.
Kid: “Why you sadly?”
Me: “I’m not sad. I’m tired.”
Kid: “Why you tired?” She scrunches up her face and nods understandingly. “Teaching the kids?”
Me: “No, I’m just tired, that’s all.”
Kid: “No, bed early?”
Me: “No, get up very early.”
She nods and goes quiet. I return to writing my reports.
Kid: “Teacher, you boyfriend?”
Kid: “You dangdangdada?” (the wedding song)
Kid: “When the dangdangdada?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Kid: “How long you boyfriend?”
Me: “Two years.”
Kid: “Two years? Really? You lovely?”
Kid: “You boyfriend many many love?”
Kid: “Boyfriend look like?”
Kid: “Jenny teacher…tall…?”
Me: “Taller than me, yes.”
Me: “Short hair.”
Me: “Brown hair.”
Me: “Go away.”
Kid: “Just one more..and?”
Me: “And, I don’t know.”
Kid: “Handsome eyes?”
Kid: “Why no dangdangdada?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Kid: “But ring.” (pointing at the ring on my right hand)
Me: “Not wedding ring.”
She goes quiet.
Kid: “In December, you went to Canada.”
Me: “No, I didn’t.”
Kid: “YES!! You vacation!!”
Me: “No, no, I went to Ireland.”
Kid: “Ohhhh yeah, I think boyfriend Canada, you go to Canada…in my head…You go to Canada?”
Me: “Yes. In March.”
Kid: “Visit boyfriend parents?”
Me: “No, to live.”
Kid: “WHAT?! WHY?! HOW?! Jenny teacher no English class???”
Me: “No. I’m leaving.”
Me: “February 28.”
Kid: “Show me.”
Me: “Look, here, this day.” I show her the calendar.
Kid: “You go to Canada?”
Kid: “With boyfriend.”
Kid: “To live?”
Kid: “Teacher, boyfriend meeting parents?”
Kid: “THEN WHY NO DANGDANGDADA?!!”
Kid: “Teacher, me go to Canada and to you dangdangdada?”
I run into the school’s male foreign teacher on my way back from the bathroom and we were chatting. I come to class.
Entire class: “You and Haley teacher friends?”
One Kid: “LOVE!!”
Entire class: “NO!! Friends!”
Another boy pointing at the boy who said ‘love’: “He’s crazy!!”
Two kids are having a conversation while I’m correcting homework.
Kid 1: “I like tiger.”
Kid 2: “You like Tyler?” (Tyler is a kid in the class)
Kid 1: “No, tiger.”
Kid 2: “Tyler?!”
Kid 1: “TIGER!!”
Kid 2, turning to Tyler: “Oh Tyler, fantastic!!”
We read a role-play where a little girl calls a little boy and asks him to go to the park. I read the first line.
It’s often around early August I start to wonder ‘What happened to my favorite TV show? Did it get cancelled? Is it back on? I should really check that out!’.
While living in Korea, I watched a lot of TV but not actually on the TV itself. As most who live in K-Town will attest to, a majority of us watched TV by getting our hands on entire seasons of the TV show and watching them all over the course of a week..then comes the depression you feel after the show ends and there’s no more to watch.
We are the Netflix, binge-watching generation and Korea was made for those type of people.
As this is the first year I’ve lived in an English-speaking country in over five years, it’s going to be weird watching my shows and waiting an entire week like normal people! I’ve been watching ‘Under The Dome’ and that’s proved quite difficult. I’ve not actually managed to watch it on live TV yet and we’re six episodes in. I do watch it on the Telus On Demand and it’s usually the day after it airs as I can never remember if it’s on a Monday or a Tuesday. It might be tonight. It might be tomorrow. It’s most likely tonight. I should Google that.
Now, I’ll admit it, I watch a lot of TV. But unless it’s with The Canadian One, I generally don’t sit down and watch TV. I have it on in the background while I’m doing other things. For example, right now, I have season four of The Mentalist playing in the background. As a result of this way of watching TV, I once watched the same episode of The Mentalist twice and didn’t realize until the end of the episode.
I rotate my shows throughout the year. A lot of the time, I wait until the season is over and then watch a whole bunch of them together. But now…now I’ve learned, it’s one week in September, one glorious week in September when everything returns almost at once and I’m gonna have to learn how use the ‘record TV’ button on the Telus box!
Over the past few years, these shows have been in my rotation:
Shows The Canadian One and I watch together:
Modern Family Season 5: Sept 25th
The Canadian One and I started watching this show last year after 30 Rock ended and we were in need of a short TV show replacement. I love Phil. Words cannot describe how much I love Phil and his Philosophies.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 5: Sept 24th
OMG the kiss! I need to know what happens after the kiss. Even The Canadian One gasped when it happened. Does Deeks survive? Do him and Kensi become Densi?! Is Sam’s wife dead?
Elementary Season 2: Sept 26th
Lucy Lu as Watson? WHAT?! But it actually works. We started watching this show after watching the British Sherlock when we wanted something to quell the Sherlock-hunger and hold us over until the British version came back on. It’s actually quite good. Not as good as the British one but then again, when Americans remake British shows…you know what, I’ll save that argument for another day.
Homeland Season 3: Sept 29th
Does anyone else hope the daughter is written out this year? Anyone? Speaking of Homeland, for anyone who missed it, Aziz Ansari for a brief time last year was tweeting as SergeantBrody and it was awesome…until he got outed and stopped but still!
And just today, someone asked if it’ll be resurrection anytime soon…looks like a ‘no’ for now! Booooo!
Hawaii Five-0 Season 4: Sept 27th
There was a prison break in the last episode? Or an attempted prison break? Or something like that? Wo-Fat was in it. I recall that much!
Shows I watch alone:
Castle Season 6: Sept 23rd
When we last left our hero, he was proposing to the woman who’s hairstyles change each season, Kate Beckett (SP) (I gotta say the last season was her best hairstyle yet) while she was offered a career-making job in Washington, DC.
Revenge Season 3: Sept 29th
I think I got halfway through season one with this show, then they took a break and I forgot about it until I started writing this post. I should really catch up on it, I found it mildly intriguing although evidently not enough to remember it existed when it came back on.
Criminal Minds Season 9: Sept 25th
I haven’t seen the last four episodes of season 8 yet but I’m getting around to it. I’ve been a fan of this show since the beginning when it was the first show to beat Lost in the ratings. It was then that I thought ‘Perhaps I should check it out’. It’s like a darker CSI that I can’t watch at night alone. Some of the episodes just freak me out too much.
How I Met Your Mother Season 9: Sept 23rd
We met the mother! And apparently season 9 focuses entirely on the wedding weekend so this should be interesting…
The Mentalist Season 6: Sept 29th
I’m currently on Season 4 of this show. I started watching it after it was recommended to me by some readers after I wrote this. I’m enjoying it. I though Robin Tunney would be more annoying when I started watching it as she was a little annoying in Prison Break but alas, I was proved incorrect and Simon Baker’s suave turn as a former psychic turned detective is excellent. It’s the suits. He looks good in a suit.
Bones Season 9: Sept 16th
I stopped watching this after she popped out the baby, went on the run and then reappeared but it’s included her because it’s one of my friend’s favorite shows.
The Canadian One’s Shows:
Breaking Bad Season 5 Part 2: August 11th
The Walking Dead Season 4: Oct 13th
Sons of Anarchy Season 6: Sept 10th
There are countless new shows also starting this year but as with any new show, I always like to wait and see if they get renewed for a second season and then start watching. I hate it when a show ends on a cliffhanger and then you just never find out the ending. Then again, the irony of my not watching the first season when it airs is that perhaps other people do that and then they get very low ratings and thus the show gets cancelled…it’s a conundrum!
What’s your favorite TV show? Sound off below and let us know!
My mother calls from Ireland. I’m in Canada. We had this conversation while I was getting ready to go out to dinner.
Me: “Ou, did I tell you my plant has started to grow?”
Her: “No. A plant on your balcony?”
Her: “Is it a cocaine plant?”
Me: “No. It’s a spinach plant.”
Her: “Oh, I thought you were growing drugs.” (she’s kidding at this point)
Me: “No…also I don’t think people grow cocaine.”
Her: “Yes, they do!”
Me: “No, I don’t think it’s cocaine you’re thinking of.”
Her: “It is! They grow cocaine. Or heroin. Maybe it’s heroin.”
Me: “I don’t think people grow heroine. Do they? I’d Google that but I don’t want ‘How to make cocaine’ in my Google history. Wait…” To The Canadian One “Do people grow heroin?”
Him: “It’s an opiate.”
Me, relaying information: “He says it’s an opiate.”
Him: “It’s made from a poppy.”
Me: “It’s made from a…wait…no…a poppy? That doesn’t sound right.”
Mam: “No no, I think people grow cocaine here.” (in Ireland)
Me: “I think it’s marijuana.”
Mam: “People round here don’t call it that. They call it cocaine.”
Me: “No, cocaine is different. People grow marijuana.”
Mam: “They must grow cocaine too. No one calls it marijuana.”
Me: “I don’t think people in Ireland grow cocaine.”
Mam: “They do.”
The Canadian One’s phone beeps indicating we were leaving.
Me: “I gotta go to dinner.”
After a brief discussion of how I’m going to eat dinner at a patio restaurant and how I’d confused her by saying originally ‘We’re going to eat on a patio’ and hadn’t made it clear that we were actually going out to dinner and not eating on our own patio, I said goodbye to my mother and went to dinner.
Moments into the meal I get this text from my mother:
NOW it all makes a lot more sense…
…But now leads me to wonder who exactly my mother’s friends are!
Just to note: The original title for this post was ‘My Mother on Drugs’, but I thought that gave the wrong impression of her!