Friday, October 29, 2010

tricked into treating

So it may not come as a surprise that I have a sweet tooth. So much so that every once and a while I try to give up sugar for a certain period of time so that I can get the sweetness out of my system. So then it also may not come as a surprise that I like Halloween. Any holiday that encourages me to eat sugary sweets and consume chocolate bars is certainly a-okay in my book! While dressing up may not be my strong suit, indulging in the tiny treats is one part of Halloween that I’m really good at.
Trick-or-treating was always something I looked forward to when I was younger. Considering my household was the healthiest on the block, having a chance to stock up on sweets was literally such a treat. Filling a pillowcase with enough sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth for months on end certainly seemed like a holiday made for me. However, as I grow up a bit, I’ve got to say that Halloween is a pretty strange celebration. Throughout most of our young lives, we'd told not to talk to strangers and especially not to accept anything from anyone unknown...but then all of a sudden, for one night of the year, not only are those rules thrown out the door but the opposite is actually encouraged. Your parents send you out the door, dressed up as ghosts and goblins and encourage you to accept candy from anyone and everyone who seems to be in the spirit of the evening. I’m certainly not complaining – holidays like these are my chance to break all my health rules…and I don't know whose idea the ‘treat’ part was but I like it! So as I spoil myself silly with small Snickers and tiny Twix, I tell myself that because they’re small, it’s okay. And while I know there’s really no logic behind my miniature meals, I’ll continue to chomp down on my candy corn because come November 1st, Christmas cookies will seem so far away.

What do you like about Halloween? Do the tiny treats tempt you?

Monday, October 25, 2010

what not to wear

Every year around this time, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I get anxious, self conscious and worried about what the week’s end will bring. Yes, I’m afraid of haunted houses and things that go bump in the night (I’m a wimp!), but what really gets me is the all important pressure of finding the perfect persona to duplicate on the eve of Halloween. With how many homemade horrors and do-it-yourself disguises make the Hall of Fame every year, it’s hard to compete with costumes that will always seem cooler than any I could create.
I tend to take the easy way out when it comes to costumes. Something that involves a small amount of effort and little money spent is usually how I dress up by default. Don’t get me wrong, I think dressing up is a lot of fun and I love seeing the creative costumes of more gifted individuals, but I tend to crumble under the pressure of creating a crafty, clever and recognizable costume. My past get-ups have always been easy, like a flight attendant or a rugby player, and I’ve yet to go above and beyond by turning myself into anything that would make others envy my attire. I tend to blend into the crowd as opposed to standing out, ogling the outfits of all the others that clearly didn’t wait until the last minute to whip up their wardrobe. And even though Halloween arrives at the same time every year, there’s something inside of me that won’t commit to a costume in time to make it a masterpiece. Sure, I’ve had some good ideas, but dishing out some dough, showing too much skin or taking the time to scout out the right materials seem to be my stumbling blocks when it comes to dressing for success. Or maybe the fact that I'm still taunted by my siblings for being a fat ballerina when I was 6 has put a damper on my costume-creating you know how hard it is to be anything skinny when you grow up in Canada and have to fit a snowsuit under your costume?! I know there will eventually be a 31st of October when my creative and crafty side will conquer my fears of not being good enough and I’ll create a costume worthy of being considered cool. Until that day comes though, dressing all in white, borrowing some wings and calling myself an angel just might be as good as it gets.

Are you dressing up this year? What the best costume you’ve ever seen?

Friday, October 22, 2010

everything's amazing, nobody's happy

I know we’ve all been there…wearily working away at our computers when all of a sudden we are no longer wired to the World Wide Web. We become frustrated, short-tempered and angry that the machine in front of us is not doing what we want it to, like it’s the computer’s fault that the connection failed or the document disappeared. And I know as soon as I say this it is going to make me sound old or out of date but the extent to which we depend on technology is astonishing at times. Our dependence on the tech world has increased so rapidly in the past decade that without it, we often don’t know what to do.
We depend so heavily on our phones, the internet and our computers in general to do so much for us that it’s no wonder that as soon as something goes wrong with any of our devices or our access is limited, we feel stranded. At the beginning of this year, the province of British Columbia, where I live, introduced a law that made it illegal to operate any hand held device while driving. They recently reported that almost 20,000 drivers have been ticketed and I can’t tell you the countless more I’ve seen that didn’t get caught. We’re so dependant on instant interactions, that making a call or answering a text seems more essential than the safety of yourself and those around you. It’s just one of the many examples of how chained we are to the technologies that make our world work these days. And while I’m innocent when it comes to texting behind the wheel (I’m not good enough at texting while walking, let alone driving!), I’m guilty of living a life full of dependence on devices… without my phone I wouldn’t know my friends phone numbers and without an internet connection at work I wouldn’t have much to do. After spending hours fixing up a file yesterday, only to have it magically go missing, I lost all motivation. If my moods are going to depend on how good Google is or whether or not I’ve got Facebook friends, I feel like I’m going to be let down more often than I’d like. Lately, with several technological failures affecting my productivity, I’ve found reflecting on the fact that phones and Facebook may rule my life makes me want to find other ways to function. Instead of fussing over the fact that the internet is slow or I forgot my phone at a friend’s, I want to continue to be in awe over all that we can do instead of the things we can’t. Because really, as Louis CK says, everything is amazing…and I’m going to do my best to be happy about it.

How dependant are you on technology? What devices can't you go without?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

so much to do, so little time

I know it can be argued that time is relative or that time is absolute and while I can’t seem to wrap my head around what either one really means, what I can wrap my head around is that time is a funny thing. It goes fast when you need it to slow down and when you want it to hurry up, it takes forever to get to where you want it to be. This past week I’ve been so much busier than I thought I would be and there just haven’t been enough hours in the day to get done all that I had hoped.
Whether it’s minutes, hours, days or years, it’s amazing the mind games time can play. When you’re counting down to a vacation or an exciting event, the days seem to drag on and getting from 10 days down to 1 day seems like an eternity. But then all of a sudden, once you’re kicking back on the beach or trekking through the rainforest, 10 days goes by in the blink of an eye and, before you know it, you’re back at your desk counting down the hours until the work day ends. The saying “time flies” never seems to be wrong!

I once worked at a library wholesaler where I often had to pack and ship books. While not the most stimulating work, it became necessary to fight boredom by having a little fun with the time…like seeing how many boxes we could pack before taking a break or guessing how long it would take to do large orders. What really became a challenge was trying not to look at the clock until we thought 10, 15 or 30 minutes had passed – a task more challenging than one would think and all the more exciting when your guess was right on! And now, there are days like today, when I wish I could take all those wasted minutes and tack them on to the time I’ve got left in the night ahead of me. So whether I’m killing time, wasting time or saving time, I’ll take every moment in time that I can get...if it's 10 more minutes of sleep, 5 more minutes until a deadline or 1 more minute watching TV with my husband, I want to make the most of every minute.

How do you make more time in your day? Do you wish time would speed up or slow down?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

jumping into action

This weekend, my husband received a generous, and if I do say so myself, frightening birthday gift from one of his closest friends. While not something you can unwrap and be surprised by, the gift of a bungee jump certainly has the shock value that one can hope accompanies good gift giving. I am happy to report that he, along with the four others that were much braver than I, survived the 150 foot jump. And not only did they survive but they all survived with smiles on their faces, full of adrenaline and excitement and the desire to do it all over again. My fear of bridges combined with my lack of interest in throwing myself off of one had me with my feet planted firmly on the ground.
Bungee jumping isn’t on my list of things ‘to do’ in my life but I, like most people, do have a list of several things that I hope to accomplish or experience in my lifetime. While I haven’t actually created a bucket list or 101 things to do in 1001 days, I definitely dream of being able to put checkmarks next to some exciting, scary or adventurous personal goals. Jumping out of a plane with a parachute appealed to me much more than jumping off a bridge with a bungee cord so skydiving is something I can now proudly say I’ve done… and would highly recommend! And now that I have a couple half marathons under my belt, running the full 26.2 miles will be next on my list of activities to complete. It’s satisfying to know that I’m going through life accomplishing my goals and completing tasks no matter how scary, unattainable, crazy or physically demanding they may seem. While some items can be fun, some can be serious and some can be good for humanity, taking the time to decide what you want out of life and what you want to be able to say you accomplished can be such a motivating exercise that once it’s down on paper, it’s hard to ignore. And that may be why I have such a strong desire to see the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve, swim with dolphins in crystal clear water and have an exhibition dedicated solely to my own artwork…because looking back on my life, I hope to be happy with all that I’ve done and hope I never have to say “I wish I’d done that…”.

What’s on your list? Would you ever go bungee jumping?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ready to run

This weekend, along with 15,000 other fierce and determined runners, I will be pushing my way through the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon with a goal of getting to the end. It will be my second time running a half marathon and while my speed may not be my strength, I will certainly be giving it my all as I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement for 21 kilometers of jogging joy. And I may not have followed my training program to the letter (it's hard to get out running when the couch is calling your name!) but I am ready to see how fast my legs will carry me throughout the streets of downtown Victoria.
I wouldn’t call myself a runner by any means but I can now say, after several years, that I truly enjoy running. That’s something I never thought I’d say, especially growing up with a mother who is most definitely a runner, having completed 23 marathons and countless other races, but my attitude towards the activity has certainly changed. We always joked that my mom was crazy, running for hours only to end up where she started…taking the car seemed much more efficient. But now that I’m one of those crazies, I find myself at peace when I hit the trails or the treadmill and the fact that I’m running in circles (or nowhere at all!) doesn’t seem so silly. It clears my head, activates my endorphins and continues to keep me healthy. And while my motivation to get going isn’t always there, once I’m out and about and jogging through the streets, I’m happy. My face may not show it as it goes bright red and I huff and puff and look as though I might blow my house down but there is something so satisfying about setting out to run a certain distance and completing that goal. And while this Sunday’s goal of completing 13 miles is one of my more ambitious objectives, I hope to get through it knowing that that sense of satisfaction will be waiting for me at the finish line.

Do you exercise? Or run? What do you do to stay in shape?

happy birthday shoes

Today is my husband’s birthday. Happy birthday to my baby, my best friend, my actor, my comedian, my chef, my salesman, my partner in crime, my pillow and my favourite face to come home to after a day away at work. His birthday is one of my favourite days of the year because it gives me a reason to celebrate having him in my life and reminisce about all the ways he makes me smile – like how he hates to wear socks and throws them off every single day into the exact same spot by the fireplace. Or the way he spoils all the sad parts in movies with a silly joke or a ridiculous comment. I love the look on his face when he knows he’s eaten one too many sweet treats or shouldn’t have had that second helping. And I love how he gets as giddy as little kids do when it comes to birthdays, Christmas or opening presents.
This year, I got lucky and knew my guy really wanted to improve his golf game so some lessons for the links were the obvious birthday gift of choice. However, husbands, fathers, brothers, and boys in general always seem to stump me when it comes to buying presents. What do you get for someone who doesn’t accessorize or beautify, doesn’t care about cute creations or pretty pillows and certainly wouldn’t want a new book or piece of artwork? I know not all men are the same but my dad’s tie collection grows with each celebration and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind a surprise every once and a while. And even though my husband says he’d always be happy with tools or electronics, what do I really know about either of those? In my opinion, a wrench doesn’t really say I love you and I’m so happy to be celebrating with you. If any guy in my life mentions something he sorta, kinda, might want, I’ve got to write it down because chances are, that’s what they’re going to be ripping the wrapping paper off of when it comes time to celebrate their special day. Thankfully, my birthday boy’s memory (or lack there of!) seems to save me and his suggestions for gifts easily become surprises! Thanks, babe...and happy birthday!

What do you buy for the guys in your life? Do you find it easier to shop for men or women?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

imagine the freedom

I don’t think I’m alone when I tell you that I’ve always dreamed of winning the lottery. Don’t get me wrong, I put a lot of value on working hard for what you want but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about money for a while? Or for the rest of your life? There have been several stories in the news recently about lottery winners who have won more than once and I can’t help but picture myself accepting that oversized cheque with open arms.
Every so often, there seems to be a conversation about what I would do if I held the winning ticket. Sometimes I dream about being sensible – putting my money away for my future children, for retirement, for a rainy day; giving money to my family so my brother can pay off his law school loans, my sister can get a place of her own while she goes to school, my parents can take the trips they’ve always dreamed of; and the long list of charities that would be deserving of donations seems to grow along with the amount of money I dream of winning. And other times, I dream of all the luxuries that I would splurge on...spending serious amounts of cash on silly purchases. A shopping spree would certainly be first on the list along with beautiful houses in all the holiday spots I dream of visiting and enough shoes to fill the dream closet I’ll one day build. My list of material possessions and purchases seems to grow along with the rising jackpot. I’m not holding my breath that my bank account will rise from the few figures it’s at now to the eight figures I’m currently hoping for (buying tickets would help!) but a girl can dream, right?! Most of all, I want to win the lottery to just live life. To experience all there is to experience without the limitations of my bank account. To conquer all my fears and achieve all my dreams without worrying about where the funds will come from. To have the time and money to just be would be living the life of luxury I dream of.

What would you do with your winnings? Do you buy lottery tickets?

Friday, October 1, 2010

one film, four words

I really enjoy going to the movies. On top of the entertainment it provides and the yummy snacks I fill up on, going to the movies gives me the opportunity to be a movie critic - expressing my honest opinion about what characters I liked, what plot twists were unnecessary or why I can’t wait to hear what others will think of the casting. So what would I do if I only had four words to sum up my feelings about what I’d just seen on the screen? I’d probably think it was impossible but that’s exactly what users at The Four Word Film Review struggle to do on a daily basis. The challenge not only comes from having to sum up your thoughts in such few words, a tough task in itself, but the most creative reviews are both informative and humourous – not an easy assignment if you ask me.
Summing up a movie in only four words would be a challenge to say the least. Usually, after watching a movie (or during a movie!), you can’t keep me quiet. Whether I’m raving about the perfect plot or making suggestions so it’s not a snoozefest, I’ve got some kind of critique for the makers of the movie. Keeping it short, clever and with some hint of what the movie is about with a limited amount of words seems cruel at first. But once you take a look through the thousands of reviews posted by users from all around the world, it suddenly seems intriguing (My personal fave so far? Superbad: “Not super, not bad.”). So how would I describe a movie in four words or less? I haven’t been able to come up with a good one yet but now that I’m trying, I think it will be hard to stop. The next time I’m in the theatre or curled up on my couch watching a movie, I know what I’ll be doing – training my brain to think in four word increments and trying to come up with the best critique that I can. Easy? I think not.

Can you sum up a movie in four words or less?