3 Scoops of Vanilla

A while ago I was having a conversation with my friend. We randomly started talking about Hugh Hefner, and his 3 girlfriends, who star in the show, “The Girls Next Door.” My friend commented that all 3 girls look very similar. We both agreed that this was a bit odd. If you could have any girl, or as many as you want, would you want a whole bunch of the same type or a variety of types? Why doesn’t Hugh have one blonde, one brunette, and one redhead? Is it possible to find only one “brand” of girl attractive? If someone told you they were giving you 3 types of ice cream, and you knew you loved vanilla and that was your favourite, would you order 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream? Or would you order one scoop of vanilla, one of strawberry and one of chocolate? Fuck it, wouldn’t you ask for one scoop of vanilla, a slice of cheesecake and a tiramisu to go with that?

Student Discount at Loblaws

Today was an interesting one. At the end of my long, boring day of pretending to work, I booked some holidays. Australia for 2 weeks! I know it’s a short time but trying to get more holidays than that at once is like playing darts with spaghetti. So I booked my flight, emailed my girlfriend in Sydney to tell her I need a place to crash for 2 weeks, and bought some hawked floor tickets for us to see The Lumineers in Sydney (EEEEE!). So, all in all, great afternoon.  Later on in the evening I was supposed to meet someone for coffee- an internet person that I had never met before. Let’s not call this a date (first meetings are not “dates”), it was merely a meeting. Well, this meeting was short one person. As in, I got ditched. This is the first time this has ever happened to me. I think it was bound to happen, simply based on the number of dates (meetings) I go on. Anyway, once I realized he wasn’t showing up I drank my Starbucks and left. I decided that since I had make-up on this would be a good time to go get some groceries. Living in BC with the hippies for 4 years has made me immune to the idea of dressing up and wearing makeup to the grocery store, so this was a new thing for me. I walked into Loblaws to see it relatively busy for late evening shopping. It was actually full of dressed-up 20 somethings. Not all of them were dressed up, some of the girls were wearing sweatpants with Uggs  *shudders* but most were dressed nicely. I can proudly admit that there were definitely some young men checking out the Michelle in Aisle 4. I swear the Asian girl in produce was giving me looks too. Anyway, I went to check out my stuff and the young cashier fellow asked me if I had a student card. “No, why?” He explained that Tuesday nights were student discount nights. “Oh. I’m 30.” He didn’t believe me. Then he proceeded to shamelessly flirt with me (while the couple behind me tapped the conveyor belt and rolled their eyes waiting for him to finish). He had no game. I mean, he couldn’t get a girl if he had a hundred dollar bill sticking out of his zipper. Then he told me that since I was so pretty he would give me the student discount anyway, and that I should go see him there every Tuesday for the discount. I saved $3.30. More importantly, I felt great about myself and forgot about being ditched by my date, er, coffee meeting earlier.

Once home I unpacked and realized all of the things I had forgotten to buy, as usual. I then baked some kale and watched How I Met Your Mother, while contemplating mean texts to send to the coffee-meeting-no-show guy. I didn’t send anything and decided to write this instead. I also had another coffee so I may be awake all night.

The point of this story is Tuesday night is student night at Loblaws. Check them, I mean it, out.

100 Little Elephants

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I was visiting my mom on the West Coast last week. My parents had recently moved to Victoria from Winnipeg to enjoy their retirement in a warmer climate. They sold a lot of what they owned prior to moving, as to not have to lug everything across the country. One day while my mom and I were spending time together, I noticed something: her old china cabinet. It was a lovely older china cabinet, made of cherry oak. I was not surprised that she had brought this lovely piece of furniture with her, but what did surprise me was what was in it. There, inside the cabinet, were 100 miniature elephants, of all shapes, colour, and sizes. My dad had started collecting these when I was young. Every place they had gone to visit, he would bring back a little elephant. Some were wooden, some glass, some ceramic. Now, I am not someone who collects souvenirs, so I don’t understand the draw of this. Sure, I own a few pieces of art from places I’ve visited, but I never buy something just to buy it. I’ve always felt that the memories I collect when I visit a place are all I need to bring home. I’m guilty of traveling great distances and not taking any pictures at all. I’m always just too occupied having a wild time and taking it all in, rather than making sure I have a picture with a particular site behind me and a keychain with the name of the country on it. But, to each their own. My dad likes elephants. So I told my mom that I was surprised that they had brought all of the little elephants with them. She responded to me, “Your dad loves those things, so I wrapped each one of them up in tissue very carefully. They all made it here without breaking.” The odd thing was when she said, “Your dad loves those things,” the tone was very plain, clearly showing that she had no emotional attachment to the elephants. However, she made it clear that she understood my dad’s love for them. She added, “That’s the kind of thing you do when you love someone.” Aside from this being a very sweet and thoughtful gesture, it made me think about relationships, compromise, and personal growth. One of my stronger reasons for not being in a relationship is I feel it often stunts personal growth and development of personal identity i.e. moving from “me” to “we.” There is a quote I love that goes, “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” I believe this to be true- you are not the same person today you were 5 years ago, and you will be different in another 5 years. This example of my mom wrapping the elephants was a wake-up call to me: as long as you are with someone who allows you the space to grow into who you want to be, and do the things you want to do, then being in a relationship may not be the “end” I’ve been dreading for so long.

Sweet or Creepy? Nice gestures could be either.

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About a year ago I was on Match.com. I began speaking with a guy and we decided to meet for lunch. We met on a Saturday afternoon, which just happened to be the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. He was mature, polite, and handsome. During this date we learned where each other worked. We had both been fairly elusive online. We were both surprised to learn that we worked for the same organization (albeit very far away from one another). He mentioned that he had to come by my workplace on Monday to do something (it was legitimate and preplanned – I checked). Anyway, we had a nice time together, but I can’t say I was really excited to see him again. Not just because there wasn’t a spark, but I just felt that our energies didn’t match well. I was still undecided when he texted me the next morning and asked what I was doing that day. “Uh, cleaning,” I said quickly. It seemed like a normal Sunday task, and we weren’t yet at a level where I could tell him I was hungover as shit and was going to order a pizza as soon as Dominos opened. He told me he was baking apple dumplings. He mentioned that he would like to see me again. I found myself making excuses. The next morning at work, he came to my office to conduct business (again, legitimately). He brought me an apple dumpling he had baked. It was a nice gesture. We chatted a bit and he mentioned that he liked my office. I started complaining about the dirty windows and how they never clean the seagull shit off of them. After he left I shared the apple dumpling with some of the girls in the office, who were all ogling him and convincing me to marry this sweet, thoughtful baker man. I felt that I needed to think about all of this a bit more. He just seemed so ready for something serious. I was still getting over my last broken heart. I wasn’t ready for serious. That night he called me and asked me to go out for dinner the next night. The next night happened to be Valentine’s Day. Now I’m not a Valentine’s Day person even when I’m in a relationship. And this would have been our second date (technically the first, as the first face-to-face meeting doesn’t count as a date). Who asks someone out for V-Day as a FIRST DATE?! I politely declined and told him I’d rather stay home and iron on V-Day.

The next day I was very busy at work. He called me at my desk at around 3. “Oh, you’re at work?” “Yes.” “Oh. Did you notice anything different in your office?” Panic struck me. My eyes darted around looking for flowers or chocolates or some other cheesy gift which would probably guilt me into seeing him again. “No..” nothing was there. “Ok. Nevermind, forget about it. I’ll talk to you later.” Click. I was annoyed and curious.

That night I was lounging in my Roots Sweatpants and Popeye shirt having a beer and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm when I got a phone call from him. “Are you sure you don’t want to go for supper?” “No thank you.” I had already eaten leftover pizza anyway. “Can I come over?” “WHAT? NO! WHY?” “I just need to tell you something. I have to tell you in person.” The guy was sweet and harmless. I warned him of my dress state and told him I wasn’t changing, and that he could come by “for a cup of tea.” So buddy shows up at my place dressed to the tens, roses and wine. Awkward. Now, here is what he said: “I guess you’re wondering about what I was talking about earlier. Last night I went to your work and washed the outside of your windows. It wasn’t easy. Since you work on the 3rd floor I had to borrow my friends van and buy a squeegee with an extendable handle and run to the gym nearby to get a bucket of soapy water and also borrow a patrol vest so that if the police were wondering what I was doing I would look like someone who worked there….anyway i washed the windows and then took a valentine card that I made for you and stuck it on the outside of your window.” It then occurred to me that I was in meetings all day and hadn’t even opened the curtains in my office.
I thanked him for washing my windows, had a cup of tea with him and sent him home.

The next day I was telling people the story and the funny thing was, every girl thought it was so sweet, and every guy called it creepy. So that’s when I invented the “Sweet or Creepy” game. Generally when someone does something sweet we all have a tendency to think it’s strange or somehow inappropriate. I mean, this guy is acting like Guido from Life is Beautiful and I have everyone around me telling me to give him a chance, but even I wasn’t sure if it was sweet or creepy. He felt the need to do something big to catch my attention. Men used to do those things. Our generation is lazier, with lower expectations, and we have a general dislike for anyone who raises the bar. I can see why other guys called it creepy… they didn’t want this guy upping the standard for what women should expect.

Almost one year exactly has passed since that day. Part of me wonders what would have happened if I gave him a chance.

The day after that Valentine’s Day I told my co-workers what had happened. Everyone came into my office to see the windows. They still seemed dirty. Then I went into the office of my co-worker next door. Her windows were immaculately clean and she had a big heart stuck to her window that said, “You’re awesome.” Sweet or creepy? In my mind, I’ll remember him as the sweet guy that I wasn’t ready to meet yet. And he deserves a sweet girl, that’s ready.

Living Life in a Temporary Manner

Many things in our world are meant to be permanent. Take, for example, tattoos. When a person gets a tattoo they get it with the intention of it being there forever. That’s why it’s considered an “extreme” decision, and people are encouraged to think about the meaning behind the tattoo and consider whether they’ll feel the same way about it in 50 years. Marriage, like tattoos, are meant to be permanent. Many of us know how that doesn’t always work out. In reality, with a little money and a bit of pain, we can rid ourselves of  tattoos and spouses alike.

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When people get to know me they usually consider me to be impulsive. In a general sense, I can’t argue with that label. I have a genuine curiosity that harbors deep within my psyche which drives me to explore, investigate, and test everything that life has to offer. Often this leads to endings that some would consider negative, or an “un-doing” of what has been done. My Mom has finally, after 30 years, began to accept this quality of mine and understands how it drives my behavior. She explained to me that it wasn’t the decisions I was making that bothered her, it was the fact that I didn’t consult with her first before making some fairly life-changing decisions. I’ve gotten married, tattoos, elective surgeries, and purchased vehicles and real estate without asking her for an opinion. I’ve also gotten divorced, tattoos removed, and more surgery to change the first surgery without discussing these choices with her. Most of these actions took place within one month of the initial thought entering my head. That doesn’t make them irrational decisions, they are just made quickly. And I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve ever made.

In the Broadway musical “Avenue Q” (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) the ending of the play had the most profound moral. The cast of muppets reminds Princeton that in the real world many people never find their purpose; but life goes on, and everything—both good and bad, is “only for now” (followed by the song “for now”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJdcROXeaWc This musical/song really struck a chord with me. I think that all too often people live with grandiose expectations of permanency in so many ways. I will admit that being in the military has only made me much more open to a temporary way of living. Changing jobs every 2 years and the possibility of changing geographic locations has given me a taste of change and adventure. And bygosh does it taste sweet. Sure things happen that don’t always work out perfectly but everything is temporary. It’s only for now.

I do have something to admit. A year and a half ago I bought a bird. A  little green-cheeked conure. I named him Loco. He was a very sweet pet. Sure there were some annoying things about him (he was messy and he was loud in the morning) but I dealt with it fine. Lately I’ve been away from home a lot more and since moving to Ottawa I didn’t have a support network that were willing to take care of him while I was away. Nor should they have to. So, I sent Loco away. Found him a good home with a stay at home mom who has 2 other birds. And yes, I cried. This was a difficult decision. Yet I know it was the right one. Writing about it right now is therapy and helps bring me closure. Getting rid of a pet was difficult. I felt guilty and ashamed. Ashamed for making a bad decision in the first place. Luckily birds have pea-sized brains and he’s probably already forgotten about me. But I’ll always remember him, and the lesson he taught me.Image

There is one thing that I consider to be permanent. Having children. This is one thing that you can’t reverse. I mean, sure you could give them away but that’s not common practice. Once you have kids, they are with you for the next 18 years. Sometimes longer.

Sometimes when I’m analyzing the way I think I try to diagnose myself based on my beliefs. With respect to this topic I think, Michelle, you live a life full of temporariness <- I was fully expecting that to be spell-checked but alas, it’s a word! Because you live a life of thin layers (props to Cory for that metaphor), full of snap decisions that can later be reversed, fast friends that don’t confide in you because they feel there is no deepness to your relationship, and bachelorhood (I don’t need to explain the amazing details of those benefits) without one person to share everything with… because of these thin layers and temporary everything, you can’t comprehend having a child. It’s too permanent for you.

Maybe Dr. Michelle is right. But maybe not. Maybe my temporary manner of living life is just a phase, or a crisis of sorts. But what if it is permanent? Will I have regrets one day? I have none yet. I don’t think I’m capable of feeling regret. Everything is just an experience. I don’t regret buying Loco. I don’t regret getting married. The tattoos… well I guess I could’ve gone without those. But they were who I was then. So not having gotten them at the time would have been me denying myself of pleasure at that time.

Overall, I like the way I live. I love the independence. I like the exploring. And I like visiting my friends’ kids and not having my own. For now, anyway. Maybe one day that will change. I’ve been known to change things up now and then. It adds some spice to life, don’t ya think?

When Work and Social Media Collide

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The other day I saw something interesting on Facebook. Someone had posted pictures of a woman… well it was a collage of 4 photos actually… and she was scantily clad in these photos. I can’t remember them all exactly but in one she was doing a headstand in nothing but underwear. No private parts were showing. The caption under the photo read something like, “What would you do if this were your kid’s teacher?” or something along those lines. There were thousands of “likes” on this photo and countless comments, mostly from men stating things like, “When is parent teacher interviews?” Now I have no idea if this was a real teacher or not. But it certainly had me thinking about some things: How much influence should your employer have over who you are on the internet? Which occupations have these unwritten moral rules and which do not? If that woman was a nurse would anyone have cared?

I discussed this with a friend of mine who told me about an RCMP officer who was investigated for posting bondage photos on a fetish website. You can read more about that here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/07/05/bc-rcmp-sex-photos.html I don’t know the details of the pictures but I suppose if he was posing in them with his uniform boots on that would be a no-no. Also if he were doing things that were dangerous and imitated hurting someone I can see why that would disturb people. This is a man that the public has hired to investigate crimes, that may include rape or murder. Having him posing as a rapist on the internet is going to cause discomfort for many people. Then again, the website he was on was a “dating” site… so he was merely sharing his interests with others who have similar interests.

So the questions remain: Where do we draw the line? Who are these rules applicable to? I certainly don’t have the answer to these but I am curious to hear what others have to think.
Please comment below by telling me your thoughts on how much say your employer should have regarding your online activity.

Cheers!

The Discomfort with Nudity

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A few years ago BBC Horizon filmed a documentary called, “What’s the Problem with Nudity?” They took a group of volunteers and subjected them to a series of psychological and physical tests to challenge attitudes to the naked human form. The questions raised strike at the heart of human physical and social evolution. I have to admit, this documentary changed my views on nudity. We have these self-imposed rules in our society about what is acceptable and what isn’t, and often there is no rhyme or reason to these rules. Of course, these rules differ from country to country, religion to religion, and even male to female. Why do we have these rules? Why do we impose them upon ourselves? What do we really think about naturism, when we put aside our own insecure, self-conscious thoughts about our bodies?

I recently vacationed at a resort in Cancun Mexico called Temptation. I knew in advance that this was a topless resort. It is not a nude resort, however, there are some instances where there is some nudity (both males and females) during the sexy pool games. Before I left for this vacation, I knew I’d go topless (no tan lines!), but never considered that there may be the option to be nude on occasion. Now that being said, being in an environment where things are totally acceptable can change my comfort level in an instant. People, when surrounded by fully or half-naked people become much more comfortable with their own bodies, mostly because we see each others perceived flaws and relate to them, and begin feeling less shame about our own bodies. It’s our own silly, preconceived notions that we are supposed to look like models and athletes, and if we don’t people will assume we are lazy and/or eat McDonald’s everyday. This is ludicrous. If we start realizing what is normal, we will stop striving for what is abnormal and nearly impossible for most. Then again, the $900 billion dollar a year fashion industry wouldn’t be worth a hoot if we were all naturists. And us Northerners may get a little cold.

Why the big fuss? It’s 2013 and Canadians (compared to our European brethren) are scared about nip-slips. Even something as silly as changing on the beach must be done behind closed doors, else one be called an exhibitionist or a pervert. I don’t want to even begin to rant about how nudism does not equate to sex. It is generally agreed by naturists that eroticism and blatant sexuality have no place in naturism and are, in fact, antithetical to its ideals.

When we were children our parents and teachers taught us to hide our privates, because that is what is generally accepted as normal in our society. In fact, females (more often than males) as children are rarely taught the proper names for their genitalia (no thanks to Oprah for talking about the va-jay-jay). We live in a society that considers these very real things perverted and/or inappropriate.

I saw a news clip today about naked yoga. The feeling I got when hearing about an all-male class (some of which were less than ideal size/weight) getting together for their weekly free-spirit class was… pride. Pride that there are people out there that want to challenge the norm and do what they are comfortable with, regardless of society’s expectations.

Life is short. A little too short to never run around naked on a beach. Or in a bathhouse. Or the steam room at the YMCA (well don’t run there, you may slip and hurt yourself). So while you may not wish that for yourself, there are totally sane people out there who just want to chill in their birthday suits. We shouldn’t be shaming them for it.

I don’t expect people to change. We are creatures of habit and those values we are taught at a young age seem to seep deep into our sub-conscious. All I ask is that the next time you see someone choosing to go topless or nude (in an appropriate setting), you take your judgement hat off, put your iPad camera away, and silently praise their bare ass for the balls they have. Pun intended.