Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fooooocus, my wee right brain

Sunday night phone conversations:

Hannah: Hey Jen, wanna come to a Christmas caroling event thing at 7:00?
Jen: No, I know the next week or so will be busy so I think I'm going to clean my room hardcore for an hour. I really need to focus. Otherwise I'll have no clean clothes to wear. Come over after, I'll be done by then. (*****epic lie, will obviously not be done but am secretly hoping Hannah will see I'm hopeless and will keep me company during my internal struggles*****)
Hannah: Okaaaaaay.

Sheena: Blah blah blah, I'm home! blah blah blah
Jen: Blah blah blah, yay! Blah blah blah.
Sheena: What are you up to?
Jen: I'm trying really hard to clean my room. So far I am making piles of recyclables with two paper piles: to be shredded and not to be shredded.
Sheena: Have you ever actually finished cleaning your room?
Jen: Yes, once, when I subletted while I was in France.

Sheena used to sit in my room and watch my lame attempts at organisation and structure (comparable to watching a single ant attempt to carry a concrete slab - painful). But at least I had company so didn't wander off looking for attention or socialisation.

After an intense almost two hours, this is what my bedroom looked like (and to give myself some credit I had cleaned the kitchen earlier):

First thing to note is that my ceiling is slanty and awesome. Second is that I have a skylight. Both of these features combined make my room suited for royalty of the most purest, bluest bloodline.

You will also notice that my room is still "a smidgen" messy. But looks can be deceiving. Since I took that photo I have removed TWO piles of stuff to recycling bags downstairs. If you are my family, I suggest you save the image and zoom in to see your Christmas presents. HINT: it is NOT the can of chickpeas which is residing under my laundry rack. Those are there because they were hiding in my backpack when I was unloading groceries into my cupboard. Wee bastards tricked me and eventually ended up upstairs! Oh, you crazy chickpeas! Hearty laughter!

My room would look much less cluttered were the laundry rack not there, but I'm saving the world (and my clothes) by hanging my clothes to dry. Your future, currently unfertilised grandchildren can write letters of gratitude to my estate in 95 years.

Notes of success: my garbage can, which you can see part of, is getting full, but is not quite full. Once I asked an at-the-time-on-good-terms ex-boyfriend what I sucked at. I like constructive criticism. He gave me some crap about being perfect and beautiful (yaaaaawn - clearly I'm not perfect, I eat the inside of my mouth and bite my nails off until they sting in throbbing pain - but other than that and the odd comma splice...) Eventually I pulled out from him that I would let my garbage in my room get overly full (very true) and leave empty food boxes in my cupboard (also very true).

Success no. 2 comes with a space you cannot see in the photo, between my bed and nightstand. The wee space was full of books and miscellaneous papers. It's all cleaned out now, though some still on the floor - but different areas of floor than before. Really important things, like my $7.00 "The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail". Clearly I need this right on hand while laying in my bedroom in Charlotte-not-Boston-town, PEI.

But why are you telling us this? We don't care!

This is actually a public service announcement in support of right-brained individuals who can't accomplish large tasks. Small is okay. Breaking up large tasks into small tasks is also good. Saying, "Jennifer, do your laundry," or, "Ms. Maki, put your books on your bookshelf," is good. Saying, "Clean you room!" makes the cogs in my right brain grind to an overwhelmed hault. Particularly with PEI's waste management program. In my childhood my parents would shut me in my room with a giant garbage bag. This was actually a poor idea because they would always want me to go through old magazines and throw out the ones I didn't want. They eventually realised I am physically incapable of doing that because I just neeeeeed to read them in order to determine if they should be thrown out - all 195 issues. Flash forward (weeeeeeeeeeeee! - that was fun!) to present day PEI, and not only do I struggle with the distractions of the wonderful, magical things I have in my room (I found a Bahama Breeze billfold I stole out of LOVE!), but I have to SORT all rubbish into compost, waste, recycling bag no. 1, and recycling bag no. 2.

Frickin' impossible, aye?

In other non-related news, I took apart bits and pieces of one of my bikes yesterday to clean a season of grime off wee bitty parts. They are sparklin', but there is a good chance foreign curse words and mass frustration will erupt from my soul when I try to reassemble. Wish me luck.

(Secret PS: I would like rubber boots for Christmas but would like to get them early - like in 7.5 hrs when I go to work - because it is raining lots and I forgot my boots at work and they have holes in them anyway. Thanks, Santa! I LOOOOOOVE YOU!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Help yourself to a piece of Mac Pie, please

I was Googling myself just mere moments ago to see what bits and pieces of information people could find out about me easily on the Internet. For full name + PEI the first three results are work related, the following two are biking related (fist pump for having an Internet-noted hobby!), then a piece I wrote on our now defunct work blog, and then Summerside's newspaper when I was unknowingly, but happily, quoted in an article. Result eleven is something I wrote on an online form about working at Disney World a few months prior to Florida departure.

But Jen, what does this mean??!!

Well, inquisitive reader, it doesn't really mean anything. It means I work, ride bikes, and speak to reporters on the phone sometimes. Oh, and, like, one time I worked at Disney World for a year. Have I mentioned that?

Jen, did you truly believe this discovery was worth writing a blog about?

That depends how we define "worth", really. The actual subject which made me excited enough to start a blog instead of reading the book sitting by my side... UPDATE: apparently I forgot the book downstairs? FAILURE.... right, is what happens when you make a typo and accidentally search "jen mac pie". First search result: Big Island of Hawai'i Adventure Guide. I'm taking it as a sign that Hawai'i is where I'm meant to be.

A "mac pie" is apparently similar to a pecan pie, but made with macadamia nuts instead. It absolutely sounds like something I would eat. I'm also more than open to marrying someone with the last name Adamia and we can combine family names. MacAdamia! Also looks similar to Academia, which I think will give potential children a huge adventure in school. Or at least our pet zebra will be easier to train. ("No, Matizza, don't eat the newspaper, bring it to us!")

MacMobile - I'm a big girl now!
Over the summer someone implied that my awesome, ghetto Nokia made me seem unprofessional. (The actual quote was more similar to, "Get a Blackberry man, be a professional.") I don't recall my response, but it was probably something mature like pointing out the very useful flashlight feature on Wee Baby Nokia and encouraging shadow puppet fun.

Sexy Nokia 2521i, babyAlas, the sturdy Nokia was not meant to last forever. It still does work, but the buttons are requiring more pressure, the phone randomly shuts off when places on a hard surface, such as one where one might place the phone when not in a purse or backpack. I activated a new phone a couple of weeks ago that a friend gave me. This phone is a slight upgrade and, like Baby Nokia, also features a colour screen, a battery, and buttons.

So far we are getting along well. We have some problems with International texting and the buttons are small so I can't wear mittens or gloves and text, but the fact that it doesn't randomly shut off and is about 38.6 lightyears ahead of ol' Baby Nokia is kind of nice. So I'm all set at least for a wee while. That being said, I still feel compelled to look at all mobile phone displays in every store I'm in. And not just look at, but if my hands aren't full I don't even bother surpressing the burning urge to touch every single phone. The silly things don't even turn on! Yet I pick up the display phone and always do the same thing: type my name using the keypad. Doesn't matter what type of keypad or that it's not actually doing anything - muuuuust... type... naaaaaaaame.

Oh, and my new phone also has a flashlight function. Nokia? You are gooooood.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

PEI's Indentity Crisis as the Disappointing Child

Oh, PEI. I ragged on you pretty hard when I first moved back to Canada four years ago. (Yikes - time flies. That was supposed to be for only two months.) But I eventually grew to like you again. It took awhile, but summers, some time apart, cheap ice cream, and improved flight schedules from the Charlottetown Airport helped re-cement our bond.

I was about to go to bed, thinking, "Wow, nothing on the internet is interesting me right now. Will I be a grown up and fall asleep before 1:15am?" Then something caught my eye on CBC PEI: PEI students score low in international tests. Poor PEI. Are we the disappointing, underachiever child?

PEI gets sucker punched. We don't ever seem to claw our way to top of any positive list, other than population density. (Yay. Break out your pompoms!) We have the highest PST rate (or GST + PST when compared to HST) of all provinces and territories - though Nova Scotia has almost caught up. Only PEI and Quebec has the quirky practice of taxing GST with PST. Taxing tax! Robin Hood - help us!

But that's not the point of this. Sometimes I wonder how PEI and its residents would be if we didn't hear about how terrible we are so frequently. It starts to dull your reaction. We have the highest unemployment rate again? Shrug. You kind of just don't expect things to improve. So, perhaps, we don't try? Our children doing poorly in math again? Well, we've always been bad at math. We expect it thus accept it as the norm.

I think we need a kick in the pants.

I was researching a few things for writing this (I originally started almost a week ago and never finished) as I originally wanted to support my now bland thesis with some fantastic facts. Sadly, I slightly lost my mojo for writing this as my monkey brain has hopped onto other bananas. However, I invite you to look at these charts by Manitoba Hydro depicting electricity bills across Canada. We have the highest bills (with one exception of high usage rates in Englehart, Ontario)! Yaaaaay! However, I am very pleased to report that obesity rates for Islanders are on par with the National average. For men. Women don't fare so well: 30% compared to 23%. Whoops. Any hypothesis on why our men are average but not our women are welcomed. Feel free to reference the delicious amount of cheese I ate this evening within your statement.

That's all. I need to go to bed.

Monday, December 06, 2010

You have been approved for 28

I'm older soon! Well, I'm always getting older [so are you]. We age in microscopic units of time that can't even be measured. It's my birthday on Wednesday. In traditional birthday fashion, I spent one or two days last week concerned about getting older and then kind of snapped out of it. (Apologies to anyone who saw/spoke to me those few days.)

It's not so much that getting older is the problem, as I'm about one minute older now than when I started this post. I can feel the extra wisdom I developed during that time starting to pump through my aorta - it feels sooo good. I feel when a birthday, or end of the year comes, one should be able to look back and say, "Wow! That was good, look at the great things I accomplished!" but I couldn't quite piece that together for the year I turned 27. So I moped. Then I stopped after I got my new-to-me mobile to work and was forced to get a new phone number. I suspect most people would be a bit annoyed to get a new phone number, but I was excited for some reason. So symbolic!

Good Things of this Year
I celebrated my birthday a few days early in Edinburgh. I was visiting a friend doing a residency rotation there and had a ball visiting her (and her flatmate) and being in Edinburgh. They gave me a lovely b'day celebration, and la vie was belle. Real birthday was uneventful with me working on something all day/evening long. I think I went on a bike ride and, as South France doesn't seem to understand the concept of birthday cake (which is fine), had a tarte a framboise, which was, shock, delicious.

And fa la la. The reason I had to work a lot on my birthday (on a Tuesday!) was because I was departing for Paris on Friday, the last leg of my French adventure. There I was reunited avec ma soeur francaise (aka French roommate from Disney World dates) for a few days prior to flying to my Ohana in Ottawa.

More good things: coming home right before Christmas to bunches of friends and fun, starting the year off by plunging into the icy harbour (this makes me more fun than you! Sorry.) Then played at the levees all day.

Other highlights of being 27:

  • January: Trying to reach the peak of PEI and failing due to poor preparations. Got a haircut.

  • February: Jared, who eventually became one of my most favourite housemates ever, moved in. BONUS: Culinary student. Olympics! Both them being on tv, and my last minute decision that I JUST HAD TO BE IN VANCOUVER for the rest of the event.

  • March: Had fun in Victoria, BC, just before returning to PEI. Break my left ear and live three weeks in awkward silence.

  • April: Went to Florida and visited friends I had not seen in far too long. Also went to San Fransisco, for free! Frosty Treat opens. Summer explorations begin.

  • May: DANNY BHOY. Hire new person at work, use his smoke breaks as excuses to sit in sun and drink slushies. (Omitted on rainy days.) Enter the Red Island Relay, blow my rear tube on the road portion, rock out on the trail section. Learn to canoe on-the-fly. Have a nap. People start to move home!

  • June: Dune's fashion show! Meet new people! Wine Festival (RIP stain-free dress. See previous, tragic post for details.) Start finding myself spending, possibly, a bit too much time at the Globe. Soft Stranger (the neighbour's cat) moves in!

  • July: More people come home for visits!!! Have parties! Welcome visitor from my Disney days! Souris Relay! (Notice how everything in the summer has explanation marks?)

  • August: More fun! Bike 175 km in one day! Jump in the Charlottetown Harbour! (Whoops, was that supposed to be a secret?) Beach! Cape Breton! Lose my keys. (No explanation mark.)..... people start to drift away...

  • September: more people leave.. WAIT! This is supposed to be record of good things. Umm....? Hurricane Party! Donkey on the beach! FIND MY KEYS!! I find a large, stuffed horse at the end of a friend's drive-way and take it home! (Soft Stranger replacement - she got hit by a car. Epic sad.) Saw Hairspray and spent the next three days listening to the music over and over again.

  • October: People left. Wham BAM. Three people moved away in the same week. It was like the sequel to August 30, 2008, when three good friends moved away in the same week. Dune's closing party! Spent oodles of money on plane tickets! Body paint! (Hallowe'en.)

  • November: Vacation! Saw people I haven't seen in months/years! Got new boots! (Yes, a highlight. Hmph.) Won "Best Costume" at a friend's murder mystery party at her house. I think that's it. Found my mysteriously vanished cell phone that I "lost" in Ottawa.

  • December: You know... stuff. (Notice the difference between summer months and winter months.) Road my bike yesterday...? Went to the library and geeked out?

Also, I'm not even going to bother fixing it, notice how I called them explanation marks? (!) I always thought that's what they were called up until a sadly recent year. Playing the deaf card on that. And it's habit to keep calling them that.

So yes, 27 may had not been my best year, but it was still pretty good. But this year shall be better, because I like to constantly one-up myself.

One housemate said once he doesn't like birthdays because it's basically being closer to the end of life. But I think it's nice to celebrate with people, we celebrate out of the excitement of people being happy you're still around.

One random goal this year is to say lovely nice things to people about themselves. I realised that you don't very often recognise the impact you may have made in someone's life. The stories come out so very rarely - weddings and funerals.

Dear readers: I like you because you make me feel like I could possibly be a writer someday and not starve, e.g., make a few dollars and be happy. I also like how many of you apparently keep coming back and keep reading. Apparently I like you for selfish reasons. But I hope I make you smile, chuckle, and maybe brighten your day.

les biz,

Friday, December 03, 2010

Wardrobe Fail of the Day

I felt very productive this morning. I got up, showered, pulled out handfuls of hair (I am a sexy shedding beast), figured out what I would wear to our work Christmas party this evening, figured out what I would wear to work, seemed to get everything in my backpack, and happily pranced out the door after a strong shot of orange juice. (Note: I don't advocate skipping breakfast and had plans to eat breakfast at work.)

I arrive to work, change, and go about my day in a regular fashion. I hang up work party dress on the back of my door, feeling very adult-like that I remembered to take it out and not allow it to become a wrinkled, frumpled glabbered piece of fabric. Later in the day I was maquillaging (variation on French verb for putting on make-up that I like better than the English word) and needed my eyeliner sharper. Yes, I wait til I get to work to put on make-up. The colder air and the Uni's winds make my eyes water, resulting in a make-up DISASTOR! AHHHHH! I thought I had tossed the sharpener in my coat pocket and was searching in it. My dress was hung on top of my coat and I noticed a wee speck of wine on my dress. Not a big deal, one wee speck of red wine on the side of a red ruffly dress isn't very noticeable. THEN the fluorescent lights of my office illuminate my dress in a different way.

The one speck of red wine was foreshadowing. Wine alllllll over. Well, not allllll, but more than ten splashes. The last (and first!) time I wore this darling dress was at the wine festival in June. So the stains have been coiling around each individual strand of fabric for FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS. Me thinks dabbing water on each one and lightly blowing is not going to help. Putting it in a trough of bleach and letting red dress slowly turn white all over may be the only means of having a stain free dress again. Except it's weird fabric, and I think the bleach would actually eat the fabric with a gentle fierce-ocity previously seen only when I find the leftover cream cheese icing in my parents' fridge after Mother makes carrot cake for holiday dinners. *droooool x infinity*

You probably find yourself scolding me mentally, how foolish she is to be spilling wine all over herself! However, I am very careful with red wine, and I was not the only person at the event. Proof exists that not all (perhaps most!) were not caused by me: the stains on the BACK OF THE DRESS. There is only one hypothesis fore there need be no more...

...someone was trying to sabotage my beauty.

Or it could had been Charlottetown staying classy and teetering about with alcohol at the festival. Or it could had been going to The Globe after the wine festival. Sometimes people spill their drinks at clubs, or drops of liquor splash over the sides or tiny tumblers. I know, shocking. Why we all don't wear smocks is beyond me.

So now the dilemma is to wear the dress, or wear my work clothes and be stuck wearing them until 2:00am when I expect to arrive home. Long-sleeved, lime green dress shirts may not be bar appropriate. Plus, history shows that someone (65 of my closest and dearest friends!) will likely splash booze all over me. SO (!) may as well wear the already stained dress rather than ruin more clothes?

Next year I wear a dress fashioned of saran wrap to the wine festival. Sexy factor = +7