Archive for March, 2008

Can’t Git Theah Frum Heah

“Well, way up north where the air gets cold,
There’s a tale about Christmas that you’ve all been told.”

~Beach Boys (Little Saint Nick)

Well, doncha know, they tell me it’s springtime ag’in. An’ By Gory! I think they be on to sumthin’. Why jus’ yestaday, I seen a whole mess of them rawbins. Red breasts shinin’ bright, hoppin’ an’ flittin’. Don’t know jus’ what they be feedin’ on, though; it snowed all day Friday.

My gud buddy frum wuk has bin seein’ deah evry mornin’ up to his place. They sure do look sum skinny, though; theah’s not much to feed on with all this heah snow still on tha grund. The deah sure do get sum crazy this time of yeah; guess it be matin’ season an’ all. Couple yeahs back one of them deahs go an’ runed right out in fron’a my veehickle. Dead befoah it hit the grund. A fishahman drivin’ behind me jus’ heaved it up inta his truck an’ took off. Dinnah, doncha know. It’s not huntin’ season no moah, so them boys git them deah any which way theah can. Yep, they tell me it’s springtime ag’in, an’ By Gory! I think they be on to sumthin’.

Mud season be jus’ aroun’ the cornah, bettah dig out my hip wadeahs. The boys still go ice fishin’ though. Nevah catch much, though, ‘cept a hangovah. Sum drunk kids wen’ through tha ice a couple weeks back. Jus’ left tha truck, half in, half out, and hightail’d it outtah theah. Course, you git fined when youse truck or youse shack goes through tha ice. You know, plution, and such. By Gory! It must be springtime if tha ice is stawtin’ to melt off.

Them roads be thawin’ out too now. Half of them shawtcuts aren’t suited for drivin’ on no moah what with tha potholes and frawst heaves. They all gawt those huntin’ orange-culahed signs speelin’ out “HEAVY LOADS LIMITED”, so those big trucks don’t go breakin’ up tha tah any moah than it alridy is. Tha state’s gawt no money fer fixin’ the roads though, so we drive ’em at owah own risk. Makes fer a long slow trip so you don’t do no damage to youse truck.

Ayuh, it sure must be springtime heah. By Gory!

I Enjoy Being a Girl

~Rogers and Hammerstein (from Flower Drum Song)

At work, I dress like a boy. I wear t-shirts and sweatshirts, baggy (usually men’s) jeans, sneakers, and a hat or bandana to cover my hair. This is a necessity, as I am always filthy and comfortable cheap clothes definitely trump style and fashion for this occupation. I also work with 50+ guys and only 2 other females, and this has to be one of the least fashionable states in the whole country.

I dress differently on evenings and weekends. I don’t even like to stop by the grocery store on my way home from work in my stained and tattered work clothes. I am female, and I suppress it only for the reality of my (temporary – I hope) job. On weekends, I like to wear skirts and makeup and actually even brush my hair! Dare I say it? I might even be considered attractive.

When I run into coworkers after hours they have comments such as ‘Why are you dressed up?’ or, ‘You look different’. Well, yes, thankfully, I do look different, but it’s not ‘dressed up’ so much as work is ‘dressing down’, and why must it be phrased as an insult? Speaking of insults, the other day a coworker asked me ‘Are you sick? You look terrible’. Um no, I’m not sick, but thanks anyway.

So the other day I stopped by TJ Maxx. I don’t love TJ Maxx – it is very hit or miss – but the only other options in this town are a decrepit JC Penny, a GoodWill, and a Wal-Mart. I tried on a pair of shoes, black, 4-inch stiletto, peep-toes. They looked good on my feet, and they were so comfortable with cushioning under the foot, and the edge of the peep-toe didn’t cut into me. But sadly, and my inner woman is ashamed to admit it, I don’t wear heels like this very often, and I absolutely could not walk in them. Not five steps. Nope. No way. I put the shoes back on the shelf, and pulled out another pair. These were red sandals; isn’t red a sexy shoe color? They fit, and I could walk in them just fine. The heel was probably two inches high and had a wide sturdy base. These shoes just didn’t have the same magic as the black ones, so they too went back on the shelf.

I’ve had lousy skin since I was a teenager. Isn’t that supposed to *poof* disappear the day you turn twenty? I’ve tried most everything in the drugstore. I’ve been to dermatologists. I’ve been on prescription creams, pills, scrubs, you name it. Except Accutane and the one that Jessica Simpson endorses on infomercials. A couple months back I started using a toner; I’m still not sure what toner does. Boyfriend could smell it on my face one night and wanted to know why I smelled like denatured alcohol, a chemical we use at work to clean up epoxy. We frequently wear gloves, other protective gear, and respirators because of the harsh chemicals we are exposed to, most of which are known to cause premature aging, nerve damage, and brain tumors. It was also around this time that I started noticing some lines around my mouth. The toner went in the trash. I’m on a new skin plan regiment now. I’m using several Aveeno products, including a “face brightening” scrub, a day moisturizer with salicylic acid (the only thing that seems like it does something), a “calming” night moisturizer, and an eye cream. An eye cream! I feel so old. I’ll have to get back to you on how well this stuff works.

I need a shower before I head over to dinner with boyfriend (his place only has a tub, and no shower!), but for some odd reason, the hot water is off again in my building. Looks like I’ll have to make a stop at the gym to wash off the day’s filth. Sigh.

Happy Easter

“Bunnies are brown.
Bunnies are white.
Bunnies are always
An Easter delight.

Bunnies are cuddly,
The large and the small.
I like the chocolate ones
Best of them all.”
~an Easter poem (Bunnies)

Apparently Easter is a huge religious holiday. To me, it only means that everything is closed today (and damn, I didn’t go to the grocery store yesterday), and all the extra Cadbury Crème Eggs will be on sale tomorrow. I love those things!!

My parents are not religious people; their own parents even questioned their desire to be married in a church. One of my grandfathers was religious and attended services regularly. His brother attended services at a different church in the same town. I have no idea what variation of Christianity I am “supposed” to be. And I don’t much care. I don’t know a whole lot about any religions, but I would guess that my thoughts more closely resemble a religion(s) from Asia, not Europe. Or perhaps Animalism, Mother-Nature-ism, or Ocean-ism.

Sometimes I do wonder if I missed out by not going to church, because I don’t even know the stories of the Bible. I’ve missed one of the most widely read – perhaps the most widely read – pieces of literature. But does anyone actually read the Bible? Maybe I should just get the Cliff’s Notes version

Ugh. Cliff’s Notes. What a horrendous invention for the slacker masses. I bought one, once, in high school, although I can’t recall which book it was for. I just remember that the Cliff’s Notes contained the exact same discussion of meanings and symbolism as the teacher drilled into our heads in class. It was almost as if the teacher was using Cliff’s Notes as our textbook for the class. What’s wrong with reading a book for its own enjoyment? Why must we find hidden meanings? And did the author really intend all those meanings? I’ve long had my doubts (yes, of course, the Bible is the obvious exception).

I like to read. My current favorite author is Rick Bass who has written about life in the wilderness of Montana. I prefer his non-fiction, and his Winter has helped inspire a recent obsession with wanting to live in the rugged Rockies. I’ve also recently read What Color is Your Parachute, a book about job searching. Although filled with lots of good tips and information, I’m never going to find motivation while sitting on my butt reading a book. I also have two (unopened) library books about career opportunities in scientific fields sitting on my couch.

A Confession

“Just call me supasonic.
Too much for eyes to see.
A freaky workaholic.
Can you keep up with me?”

~Beverly Knight (Supasonic)

Hello. My name is Ihaveasong. (Hello Ihaveasong!) And I am a workaholic.

As of today, the company I work for is officially in ‘spring rush’. Winters are long around here, but it’s time to start gearing up for all the tourists and summer residents. YAY!! This means it is now open season on racking up the overtime hours and pay. I don’t need sleep so much, but I’m psyched about the extra money coming my way. I will be staying late most evenings (1 hour tonight). Tomorrow I will be getting up at 5am to make it to work by 6 (sunrise? huh? Who cares!). I will be working Saturdays. And my paycheck will be huge! And I’ll be so exhausted that I won’t be out spending much of my check either.

My brother works for another company in the same industry. His employer had him down to working only 15 hours a week, but has recently demanded all employees to do 40. Winter is a tough time of year to be broke. I am thankful that at least my company keeps us going full-time year-round. Although, we do go through the annual rumors of layoffs right after the spring rush.

There are two sides to every coin though. Guaranteed burnout hits everyone in a month or two. We all get grumpy and hard to deal with around the time that the managers really start to panic.

Home Sweet Home

“I don’t regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I’m going home.
Well, I’m going home,

~Chris Daughtry (Home)

Today is my anniversary, the first anniversary of my life in this apartment. In all the rest of my prior life I had never spent any 12 consecutive months at one address. So, welcome home, to me.

Growing up, my family split life between two houses in different states. My brother and I went to school and my parents worked in one state, and we visited the other every single weekend, school vacation, and summer. As a side note, this really stunted my social development and affects how I (don’t?) connect with people today. Jumping around led to a discontinuity in my relationships with others. I vow not to do this to my children. My Dad is, and his dad was, a wanderer. Perhaps it is a rebellion against my family, and I bucked this for a long time, but I am not a wanderer. I’m a content-with-home&hearth kind of person.

In university, I split my life between two different countries, school in Canada, work/summer in the US. In each of these two situations, yes, I did return to the same address year after year, but I was never there for 12 months in a row.  Since leaving university, I’ve had a couple leases that just didn’t work out.

About a year ago, I mentioned this phenomenon as a reason why I didn’t want to move, again (I was constructively evicted by a landlord who turned out to be a crook and and asshole…I later sued and won, but never collected…the legal system let me down, but that story’s a whole post in itself). My boyfriend asked of all the places I’ve lived, which one felt like ‘home’? Initially, I didn’t have an answer. I’ve long said that “home is where your favorite pillow lies”, but I never stopped to compare my various addresses. Eventually, I decided that my tiny, dark studio apartment in Montreal was the most like ‘home’. I spent three winters in that cave; it contained all my worldly possessions (I didn’t keep a car in the city), and it’s where I took significant steps toward becoming an adult. I learned to cook in that apartment. The first winter I lost 15 pounds because I was so bad at cooking, but I worked it out; I like to cook, now. I had to take on the responsibility of keeping the whole place clean. All right! I confess, I still don’t do my dishes every day. Actually, that apartment had few redeeming qualities, but it was all mine.

The place I live now is huge by comparison. It is a 1 bedroom (separate living/dining room, so not a studio) with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and westward facing windows that let in tons of afternoon sunlight. Boyfriend bought me some artwork for Christmas (Ansel Adams, I love b&w photography) to go with all my mismatched random furniture and strange tall empty walls. It overlooks the main northbound street in my town, and it does get a little noisy in the summer when the motorcycles spend all night drag racing down the street. It’s an old building with old plumbing fixtures and radiators for heat. There is even an elevator shaft, but no elevator. When the building was constructed, they planned to put in an elevator but didn’t have the money, so the shaft was built anyway so one could be installed later. When later arrived, they couldn’t purchase a system that would fit in the dimensions of the shaft! But the best thing of all? I don’t pay for heat! This was the first winter in three that I was actually warm.

I’ve waited a long time for this moment. But I still don’t feel like I’m quite home yet. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the place (town, state, coast) where I belong. I wonder if I’ll ever find that home, or if I really am just the next generation of a wanderer family.

Girl Envy: A Catty Post

“But I’m insanely jealous of the people that you know
And I’m insanely jealous of the places that you go
And I’m insanely jealous of you
Yeah, I’m insanely jealous of you”

~Soft Boys (Insanely Jealous)

Every gym has one, and my little hick-ville gym is no exception. Just thinking about her makes you sneer. You know who I’m talking about: the Girl You’ll Never Be (GYNB). Or, for my male readers, the girl you’ll never get with, so please stop hitting on her already. It makes me ill.

At my gym, GYNB and I have some things in common: we both run on the treadmill; we both do lots of sit-ups; we are both about the same age and height; and we both have blonde hair. But that is where the similarities end. I’m the girl with the glasses and non-ear-bud headphones (I can’t make those things stay in!) and all that stuff on my head doesn’t like to stay put! GYNB looks like:

kw.jpg(Yes, her, but I will not name her or admit to watching that television show.)

GYNB’s blonde hair came straight out of a bottle of peroxide, while mine is a warm dark shade. Her tan is much too dark considering our latitude and the month (sadly, I’m pale year-round). Her skin tone is also a funny shade of orange, so I suppose that color came out of a bottle, too!

GYNB dresses in a matching outfit! Yes, matching, as in color-coordinated. For me, matching gym clothes is simply a matter of grabbing something comfy that doesn’t stink. She wears black spandex pants (ugh, *shudder*, spandex) with pink and white side stripes. Anyone else ever noticed how those side stripes call attention to the outer curve of the leg? So if one isn’t a size 2 or is somewhat knock-kneed, the thighs look massive? Not that this is GYNB’s problem, though. GYNB sneakers are pretty and pink and white. My sneakers are absolutely hideous – Asics must have been crazy to think that florescent green was a cool color, but I didn’t buy them for the look, I bought them for the feel. Her sports bra is also pink and white. Actually, I can’t complain about this too much, it has a really cool-looking cris-cross back. She tops off the attire with a black cami. Pink, black and white. Head to toe. I see GYNB at the gym frequently, and she is always dressed like this. Her clothes must stink!

Ok, so maybe I’m not too jealous of her skin, hair, and wardrobe choices. But I am jealous of GYNB’s workouts and the physique that resulted from such workouts. The other day I was shuffling along at my 10-minute mile pace on the treadmill and glanced over at hers. She had an incline at level 2.5 and a pace of 8.5 miles/hr. That is a seven minute mile uphill…a pace I will probably only ever dream of. I was bent over, huffing and puffing, while she maintained a good posture and relaxed breathing. I later noticed GYNB on the incline bench doing sit-ups with a very large dumbbell – certainly larger than anything I’ve ever picked up, and I don’t use extra weight for crunches.

I learned long ago that competitive sports weren’t really my gig; I simply do not have the must.kill.everything. drive necessary in a good athlete. I did team sports in high school, but without the same passion as my teammates. So what if I just liked to run around on the field and get to hang out with my friends? I also do not consider myself an ‘athlete’. I’m strong, yes, and I like to play, but a 10-minute mile is pretty darn good for me.

I am drawn to the sport of triathlon. To me, it seems an extreme measure of physical fitness. Similarly, I also hope to run a marathon someday. Or, dare I say it, an Ironman Tri (the final leg is a full marathon). But I digress. Baby steps, people! I had hoped this summer I would finally run a couple 5K’s, maybe a 10K and a sprint distance tri (typically a 500-750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run). I know I’ll never win, but it would be fantastic to say ‘I did it, I finished’.

Most individuals come to the sport of triathlon with a background in cycling or running. Training guides, coaches, and those more experienced than I, all say that the race is never won in the swim, but those who go out too hard will fail in later sections. I am a swimmer, first and foremost; the swim would be my best section, and things would go downhill from there. Hell, I don’t even own a bike! And I was hoping to use my tax refund to buy a bike (See here why this won’t happen). I also have crappy knees, so the clock is ticking to complete these goals. Oh, and my tendinitis has kept me out of the pool for almost two months.

So I’m off to the gym, now. Maybe someday I’ll show up at your gym, and you’ll sneer at the Girl You’ll Never Be.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day

“A barrel of malt, a bushel of hops, you stir it around with a stick,
the kind of lubrication to make your engine tick.
40 pints of wallop a day will keep away the quacks.
Its only eight pence hapenny and one and six in tax.

He must have been an admiral a sultan or a king,
and to his praises we shall always sing.
Look what he has done for us he’s filled us up with cheer!
Lord bless Charlie Mops, the man who invented beer beer beer
tiddly beer beer beer.”

~Traditional Irish Drinking Song (Beer, Beer, Beer)

I went out last night. Truthfully, I wasn’t looking forward to it. The party host, my Red-Headed Friend (RHF) has two roommates, who host a few huge drunken costumey ordeals a year. I am an introvert and a non-drinker, so these parties tend to be a little too much for me.

But last night I was pleasantly surprised. RHF had St. Paddy’s Party with lots of Guinness, beef stew, and a large collection of musicians (fiddle, guitar, drums, whistle, banjo) in attendance. The musically-inclined friends were fantastic. They had a large repertoire of fast and tricky Irish tunes. I never even knew some of them played, and they certainly had never all played together before. I’m a musician, too. I play the tenor saxophone, but compared to these guys, not very well. I can’t play without sheet music and nobody ever taught me how to improvise or solo properly. But anyway…

The party was more laid back and quieter than what I was expecting, with was more than okay by me! I got the chance to have real conversations with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and meet some new people. I even got a job offer from one of the new peeps if I wanted to drive all over and teach CPR classes. Actually, it doesn’t sound like a bad deal; I’m going to think about it. RHF and I even had some one-on-one conversation while setting up Irish Car Bombs. He and I work for the same company and used to be very close to a couple friends who have since moved away, but we’ve never really known each other well. He’s cool; he marches to the beat of his own drum and really knows who he is.

And then, a little later, a whole bunch of other people showed up. Several of these people work for my former employer; most of the others work in the same industry as my former employer. All conversation turned to that industry because some loudmouths made it so. This seems to happen a lot. This industry is the foundation of most of my friendships, even though most of us have moved on. We have gotten to the point in our lives/friendships where we are starting to have diverse interests. I like this; it makes us more multi-dimensional. Although we have our equivalent of “and this one time, at band camp” reminiscing stories, we’ve grown. And then these children show up. I don’t care about them or their stories. I’ve been there; I’ve done that. I’m so sick of meeting these people, and judging by the look on RHF’s roommate’s face, I’m not alone.

I need space. My former employer helped make me who I am, but I wish that wasn’t all that defined me. I love many of my friends, but I need to branch out. I need to find people who share other interests and create new memories. I don’t want to be stuck and pulled back into my past. There is a future, out there, somewhere. I just don’t know how to get there. I can’t even find the rainbow that leads to the pot o’ gold.

Oh. Interesting fact I learned last night: St Patrick is honored because he eradicated the snakes from Ireland. I am terrified of snakes. St. Paddy is my new hero.