Happy Not-So-New Year

Have you noticed winter kicks my ass much? As soon as the temperature drops, my brain seems to freeze along with the pipes, and it becomes a struggle just to roll my unmotivated and generally winter-blah’d self off the futon first thing in the morning. It’s dark when I get up, it’s dark when I get off work; it’s cold, slushy, and all around miserable. Fuck winter, man. Fuck it.

The only good thing about winter so far was that I flew south to spend Christmas with Josh. Unfortunately, that merriment ended as soon as my return flight touched down in Buffalo – in the middle of a blizzard. But wait, it gets better.

One delayed hour on the frozen tarmac later, I shoved my way past throngs of snowbirding elderly (who should NOT be allowed to travel with ‘carry-ons’ they can’t lift out of the overhead compartments without assistance), ELEVEN people blocking the aisles waiting for wheelchairs, three screaming toddlers and a fat guy with a cat. My luggage took even longer. I was also starving, having only brought ten dollars for travel-food without realizing that a 9am airport breakfast of yogurt and O.J. would cost eight bucks (you’d think I’d have this figured out by now, it being my third trip), or that all the delays would bring me well past 4pm before I could get to a bank machine. Said bank machine promptly rejected my card. Turns out the last machine I had used before my vacation was of the sketchy variety, and my card had been frozen as protection against card copying fraud. In retrospect, I’m quite grateful – but try telling that to me when I’m starving, tired, and pissed.

Good thing my mom was there to pick me up, or I might have kicked something and broken toes again. She had agreed to drive me to/from Buffalo since it’s loads cheaper to fly within the U.S. than across the Can-Am border. It’s also not that long of a drive, and we’ve got fun family along the way, so she was happy to oblige. She’s also got better luck with technology – her bank card worked just fine, so off we left with a few extra bucks and the intent of stopping for a quick bite to eat before hitting the border.

And then we got outside. Ohhhh, the outside.

I’m not going to describe the outside. But it looked something like this:

static snowstorm

got snow?

And sounded something like this:

What exit do we take? Nine, nine, the map says nine. Yeah, but where is nine? I don’t know, I can hardly see anything! Oh my god, it’s getting worse! This isn’t safe, we need to pull over! I can’t see the road! There is no over to pull to! Just watch the signs, can you see them!? I’ll lean my head out the window – ack, blargh, spit, cough! – I think that’s exit…three! Exit three! So we still have…crap, a long ass way to go. Shit, this is a total white out, I can’t even see the car in front of me! From now on trips to Buffalo are only for good weather! This is so not safe, this is SO! NOT! SAFE! I think that’s a truck up there, careful. Is that a truck? I think that’s a truck. Oh fuck, that’s a truck! It’s on it’s side, it’s flipped! Swerve, swerve!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!

Soooo, yeah. That sucked. By the time I got home and into bed I was already counting down until my next vacation.

On the plus side, Southwest Airlines gave me a spiffy credit for the whole ordeal, enough to cover a flight! Totally worth the hassle, I’d say, especially since within-US flights not around Christmas are pretty reasonably priced, so as soon as I’ve got time saved up at work again I’m getting my ass back on a plane.

In the meantime, here’s some highlights from the holidays:

kiss love woot!

Lovin' up on my man.

manly construction

Josh being manly with his tools. Haha. Tools.

dogs rage against the removal of the carpet

The dogs were less than thrilled with the decision to reno out the carpeting.

dog wood flooring

New wood floors are confusing!

rad kitchen friends

Visiting rad friends in their rad kitchen

the puppy and the boyfriend

Not our puppy ūüė¶

hockey night in...NC

My dad sent a Leafs jersey down as a Christmas gift - woot!

Scrapbook

Josh took me out to choose a scrapbook for our photos...

scrapbook

...and even helped me put it together!

cute shirts much?

I got us matching paw-holding otter shirts! (Which other than this one photo op, will not be worn simultaneously - because there's cute and then there's revolting.)

What’s the deal with the otter shirts? I saw them on icanhascheezburger as a shirt-of-the-day just before I left Toronto and HAD to have them. So I bought them on the spot and had them shipped down to us to arrive just before Christmas as a surprise! Why otters? Because Josh had sent me this video a while earlier to make me smile:

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Rocky Horror at the Body Shop

I do refer to ‘The Holidays’ instead of Christmas sometimes. It’s somewhat PC, since my environment surrounds me with many different strokes of folks and when the season is upon us I like to hope everyone enjoys whatever the hell they’re doing. But this is only half the motivation. Since my birthday is slightly before Christmas, a month prior to be precise, and since ‘Christmas’ starts earlier and earlier every year, I have come to refer to my own¬†fete¬†as part of ‘the holidays’. Yes, I am fantastic enough to look at all the glittery lights and snowflakes and assume that they are there in celebration of me. I think someone, somewhere once (probably in University) got offended by that, but where I come from Christmas is nothing more than a reminder to spend money. So fuck it, it’s my damn birthday.

Anyways, I tend to get much in the way of gift cards and the like throughout the holidays. I’m not the kind of person to be offended by the “it’s so impersonal” approach. I do¬†enjoy a random¬†thoughtful gift, something small and inexpensive that demonstrates a close knowledge of my life and loves, a reminder that I’m liked. A surprise Starbucks on a bad day, a nice pen or other desktop knick-knack.¬†But for the mandatory gift-giving seasons, where I feel we do no more than exchange money instead of time, hit me up with gift cards. I’m all over that. I’m sure you’ve got enough people in your own life that are difficult enough to buy for and I’m not going to be one of them. I don’t need stuff.

This year the cards were Winners, Lululemon, and the Body Shop. They procured, respectively,¬†the Mom Purse (seriously, when the fuck did I start carrying around a big-ass, doubles-as-a-laptop-case, knocks over old people behemoth of a purse?), a yoga dvd (as yet unopened…) and some Mandarin Orange Orchid perfume.

Let me tell you about the perfume. It’s not much, simple and fun. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. I do wish I had been able to actually shop around and purchase something I really wanted, but I unfortunately got sucked into the consumerism mind trick that says “YOU HAVE ENTERED A STORE. YOU MAY NOT LEAVE UNLESS YOU PURCHASE SOMETHING. YOU HAVE A GIFT CARD, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST MAKE UP YOUR STUPID MIND???”

I really wish I had just turned on my heels and left the store. My poor dad who was with me just shook his head and stayed out by the fountain¬†– no way in hell kiddo, you’re on your own in there.

Tell me, what comes to mind when you think of ‘The Body Shop,’ hmm?

It Used To Be For Hippies

Do you, much like myself, still think of ‘non-animal testing’ and ‘natural’ and ‘fresh’ and other familiar, somewhat hippie terms? Oatmeal scrubs and raspberry soaps? Body butters, surely!

Natural Looking Faces - A Good Thing!

Well. I’m sorry if I haven’t made a trek into one of these little hovels of hippiedom anytime recently. I now live in an area of the city in which it is far easier to go to the indie natural store up the street whenever I have the urge to buy something environmentally friendly. So yes, it has been a while since my presence has graced this formerly fresh-faced facility, I will admit. However, given that the last time I checked they’re still all yay-environment, I was a little surprised to be not just greeted, but accosted, by this face:

What. The. Ass.

 

When did The Body Shop start competing with MAC and failing terribly? Have you never heard of image branding? What the hell? If I wanted to be blind sided by glaring liner and oonksha-oonksha-oonksha-wikki-wikki-whiirrr music I would have gone into Stitches or wherever the hell young skinny people shop for saran-wrap pants these days. I want earthy! I want clear skin and cotton shirts! I sure as hell don’t want some Kelly Osbourne sans-rehab done up a la Rocky Horror getting between me and the shelving within thirty seconds of my crossing the threshold!

After telling Body Shop Barrista #1 that I’m more than capable of browsing without having my upper lip waxed, I did a quick circle of the premises to investigate the sale items, the new items, the smelliest items. It seems we’ve lost the way of the granola, but at least the place still smells fantastic – perhaps all is not lost. This may be why I ended up at the perfume section in the first place, it’s not like I’m an otherwise frequent user.

This is where Barrista #2 showed up.

YOU MUST BUY THE GIFT SET!!!

My hand had not yet touched a sample bottle or even reached for the little paper tabs intended for test sprays when a glaring flowery head accessory came dashing towards me, all in a flurry about gift sets. Don’t buy the single bottle! My name is Anna and we’ve got gift sets! Yes, oh yes, you can get not just a bottle of the scent you need to live, but powders and creams and matching little boxes that will go gloriously moldy in that unvented bathroom of yours! Oh, but not in that scent. Or that scent. How about the lavender? I know you seem to be interested in Mandarin Orange Orchid, but if you simply decide to like what I like, you can get more of what I like!

Hey Anna? Fuck off.

So this is probably why I grabbed the Mandarin Orange Orchid, to show Anna that I was so intent on my desired purchase that I would forgo all offers of extras in order to claim my prize. I covet this little bottle, and not you or Dr. Frankenberry Lipliner who got me at the door will stop me! Get out of my way, I’m headed for the cash!

I got my perfume. I went back into the mall, shaking the music and lights and anger from my head. My dad greeted me at the Starbucks, marvelled over the noise I¬†had just faced (remember, a year ago I¬†probably would have cried)¬†and waited patiently while I poured enough honey into my rooibos tea to sugar-shock myself into a nice daze for the ride home. It took me a week to bust out with the first spray, and if it hadn’t been at least remotely pleasant I probably would have just bombed someone with it out my back window instead of making the return trek to have it exchanged.

The perfume was about $20. The gift card was $25. I won’t be spending the remainder any time soon, so uh…yeah. Let me know if you want $5 in Body Shop Bucks.

 Stupid Body Shop.

Christmastime, & The Livin’s Easy

Hey there my jolly little ho ho ho’s, this is Josh, the lesser seen coauthor of 800 Miles. I’m here to do a little collaborative XXX-mas recap with uh, stories, and … pictures I guess. Lot’s of recappery and what have you. And if you have a problem with a Christmas post in the middle of January, kiss my pearly white ass, we have stuff going on, and real lives tend to interfere with bloggin.

Let me briefly tell my Christmas experience, and then we’ll ask Emerald how it went down with her. I spent Christmas eve with my family, and my grandparents came over. We did all our gift exchanging then, cause Christmas day is always so hectic. (Hectic means they now have accepted that I like to get drunk with my brother and hate family functions.) I got money mostly, and some weird knick knacks, none worth mentioning really. After that we watched Prince Caspian, which is a really cool movie for my family cause my mom used to read the Chronicles of Narnia to us over and over when we were just little kids. It was done pretty well, not awesome, but pretty good. I can’t wait for the Voyage of the Dawntreader.

Then me and my brother and sister in law all headed over to Nate and Sami’s house and got drunked up. LP was house sitting for one of his friends, so he borrowed his Xbox 360 and brought it over. I got him Gears of War and Fallout 3, but he hadn’t gotten his game console yet, it was coming in a week or so. Then we pretty much just sat around and drank beer and tequila sunrises blowing up mutant alien things for a few days. It was a pretty awesome Christmas. Also, Nate introduced me to a game called Combat Arms. It’s a multiplayer online FPS with modern warfare, and it’s free, as in, you don’t have to pay ANY money at all to download or play it, so that pretty much rocks. If I had made a new years resolution to become a gaming junkie and spend waaaaaaay too much time doing geeky shit like playing on the same team as my brother and kicking n00b ass, then I would be doing very well for the year indeed.

(Emerald will henceforth be in italics.)

I spent Christmas eve at May’s house. I figure this is going to be my last Christmas in Canada for a bit, and it seems kind of pointless if there aren’t kids around to be excited by Santa. So Talea and I went there and hung out with the kids and exchanged gifts. Talea got a fun set of wrist warmers from May, and I got a knitted pair of socks although May hadn’t finished them¬† yet. I got them this weekend. Talea knitted May and apron that she also just finished, and it’s super cute. We got the kids some cool stuff too, though the funnest part for me were these customized Santa videos I did up for the kids. You just go to this link and type in the names, age, blah blah blah and it creates a video of Santa talking to you. It was fun times. Christmas morning I woke up by myself and enjoyed a quiet morning with a nice view and an awesome breakfast. I made eggs on English muffins with hollondaise sauce, and I forgot the orange juice part of my mimosa idea, so I just drank a bottle of champagne.

Christmas Breakfast - Giggity

Christmas Breakfast - Giggity

View from the back window - South!

View from the back window - South!

Well that’s really the important part anyway.

Ha, totally. I was very okay with it.

Why do you think Santa was so jolly, and Rudolph’s nose was so red?

Because Mrs Clause bitches a lot?¬†¬† Anyways, I didn’t see my actual family until boxing day. Thats because every year we all rush out to the suburbs for this big noisy affair that I’m tired of pretending to care about. Apparently it was very nice this year because my grandparents have moved to Quebec. My grandmother is totally awesome and everything, but, well….she has her charms.

Heh, lucky charms?

Well, did I ever tell you about the time my grandfather broke his arm?

No. The word charms just makes me think of three lesbian hottie witches eating cereal off of each other.

Right. Well, he was a maitre d’ at the Royal York here in Toronto for almost 50 years. One day years and years ago, he was training a new guy who I guess didn’t like his style or whatever. They got in a fight and my grandfather ended up with a broken arm. Which is a big deal because back then it meant he couldn’t work, and a righteous pain in the ass for my grandmother with a bunch of kids to feed.

Don’t you guys have like, free mansions for people who break their arms and stuff? Isn’t that how Canada works?

Not back then. So not that it accomplishes much, but every night until he could go back to work, she would go down to the hotel and wait for the guy that broke her husbands arm. And every night, before letting him pass out the door to leave, she would get right up in his grill and say “If you touch my husband again I’m going to kill you dead, you sonofabitch.” Every night, for weeks she would tell him every night she was going to kill him until the kid finally quit. Ha, I love my grandma, but anyways, she can be feisty and well, noisy. But I did call her on Christmas and I sent her some picture frames that she really liked. Anyways, I got mostly money from my dad and stepmom, and her parents were over for a visit as well. Then my mom picked me up and we went to her mothers for dinner. She has a nice house backing onto a sweet park.¬†Mom got me mostly yoga related stuff.

Backyard

Backyard

Wishin’, and hopin’, and thinkin’, and prayin’.

Um, what?

Sorry, it just came on Pandora Radio.

Haha, loser. That’s okay, I listen to Journey.

You’re the loser, I’m totally rockin out to Dusty Springfield, beyotch. Journey is good though, better than those Rush assholes.

Whatever, it’s not my fault that lame ass DJ down there keeps overplaying them in awe of their genius or whatevs. Anyways, that’s pretty much what I did for Christmas, and I’ve been sick most of the time since then.

Sure, we’ll go with that. So anything else for your Christmas story?

Well of course there’s our Christmas. ūüėČ Even though we did celebrate it about a week late.

Right right, and I think we should tell the people about that right now, how about in the order they were opened?

Ooh, good idea. Who went first? I think you did.

Um, well you got some yarn from my mom right? And then my folks got some candles or something from you. (My folks opened the box for ME while I was in jail without my permission, so technically they opened their presents first and should come first on this list)

Oh right, the yarn! That’s awesome. Your mom sent me a box of yarn for Christmas, with two skeins of each type, which is perfect for most of my projects. And I sent your parents candles and a lavender scent satchel thingie from an organic store called Pistachio.

And convenient, because I can never remember the word skein, but I can remember the word stien, so I just say that and you know what I mean.

Whatever works for you. I don’t expect you to care about my knitting projects. ūüėČ

I totally do care, but in a man way. I try and show interest, anyway, I think I opened the Guk sauce first then. The Guk sauce is some kind of Canadian concoction, a real arctic witches brew for burgers and what not. it tastes pretty good, kind of like thousand island dressing, but more tangy and with something else I couldn’t quite place. The thing that really got me, the label is hilarious. First the company name is Licks, the most sexual company name since Dick’s. Also, it says “Canadian Eh” down at the bottom. And It also makes a big deal out of having no trans fatty acids, when it’s basically glorified mayo, the most unhealthy of all sauces.

Mmmmm...guk

Mmmmm...guk

Haha you have Dick’s we have Licks. (Put em together, hey-oh!) Oh yeah, we’re on a super health kick in Canada.

I think the first thing I opened from you was the bikini and the t-shirt. We’ll have to cut and sexify the shirt though, cause you can’t wear something that says ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk without having it show off your boobage.

I think Josh wants me to dress like this...

I think Josh wants me to dress like this...

Yeah, absolutely, I love the cleavage. But unfortunately at Mule Day’s they only have one size, and that’s fat.

Haha, yeah. See, if you avoid those trans fatty acids… The bikini is awesome, but that will be for indoors only. ūüėČ

Ummmmm....

Ummmmm....

I still don’t get that. I think you look banging in the bikini. I mean bikini’s are supposed to be revealing and sexy right?

Yeah, but generally speaking only very fit people wear them outdoors. It’s this modesty thing that I frankly wish more girls had. I don’t want to see jigglage, and I’m sure nobody but you wants to see mine.

You might be surprised, and I for one am proud to show off my fine ass woman’s body, but whatever makes you feel comfortable. You can wear a one piece or whatever. As long as I get to see you in the rebel flag two piece. (Thrusts pelvis and makes obscene facial gestures.)

I do not wear bathing suits generally speaking, mostly cause I don’t go swimming generally speaking. It’s rather pointless when you’re half blind. But I will wear the top around the house in jeans and you can take advantage of whatever situation you wish. ūüėČ

Next you can see I opened my two new shirts. These are SO me, it’s unbelievable. They are fairly self explanatory, but for anyone who doesn’t know, I would say 99% of my wardrobe consists of t-shirts with some kind of comedy printed on the front. What can I say, rednecks like shirts you can laugh at.

That's MY Captain Awesome!

That's MY Captain Awesome!

 

heheheh...

heheheh...

I think cool people like shirts you can laugh at, they’re definitely part of the trendy scene hipster life up here. Are you listening to Bon Jovi?

I am NOT a hipster, for the record. And yes I am listening to Bon Jovi.

I know, hence the Bon Jovi. ūüėõ I’m only teasing, I bought a copy of Slippery When Wet back in the day.

Emerald, I’ve been shot through the heart,and you’re too late. Darlin, you give love, a boner! Mwahahahahahahaha!

I thought it was “and you’re to blame,” but I won’t admit to reading lyrics, so I won’t argue.

You give love a bad name, except you don’t really, so it’s a boner now.

No, I meant “and you’re too late” should be “and you’re to blame” (Em was right)

Okay, so the next thing I opened took me another week at actually open because it was a frigging alligator head.

seriously, wtf?

seriously, wtf?

Yeah, that alligator head cracked me up. Nothing says I love you like sending a decapitated animal head to your vegetarian girlfriend. I laughed so hard.

I bet you did. Jerk. It was funny though. I’ve got it on my bookshelf now. It’s name is Larry.

Larry huh? Like the pickle?

I don’t know of a pickle named Larry, but I figure it goes well with Snippy the Squirrel and Wally the Garden Gnome. Larry the Decapitated Alligator.


Next up I opened the first season of the Office, which is not going to do anything but drastically increase my “that’s what she said” usage. I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy it, because I really like the characters, and Pam’s face/sexyness. Speaking of which, I wonder if there’s any rule 34 for Pam from the office. I’m hesitant to look it up for fear of finding some rule 34 for Dwight instead.

That's what she said

That's what she said

I would be incredibly surprised if there wasn’t one for each of them.

Turns out there are sexy pics of Jenna Fischer. Here, here, and here, and a lookalike here, but no full fledged fake Jenna Fischer porn to be found with a brief search. I will look harder next time.  4chan needs a search option.

Next I opened up the locket you got me, which I love to death.

Awwwwwww

Awwwwwww

Yeah, and I found it really adorable, but also funny as hell because your reaction was just so intrinsically female. I knew it would strike that feminine romance and emotion chord with you, but I never in a million years would have considered that it could be an heirloom, and you were all over that right away.

Well duh, that’s what us girls do. I can be extra girly at times. Besides, everyone around me is getting married and having kids, so I’m a little more extra girly than usual. And that’s like prime heirloom material, the first piece of jewelry you got me, for our first Christmas together. I think it’s sweet.

I thought it was sweet too, in fact I was counting on it. People think guys just pick gifts haphazardly, but we really do put thought into your reactions to them. That would have been guaranteed poon had we been celebrating together.

I’m sure our readers are thankful for that mental picture.

I’m sure they are, Merry Christmas everyone!

Next I got a bad ass razor thingy. It’s got like, twelve billion blades, and one on the side for detail trim work, and a hair trimmer on the end, and it pretty much rocks my balls off. I had been shaving with this archaic Mach3 Turbo, (stupid three blades is stupid) that I had run out of blades for three months ago, and so it was pretty much just scraping the hair off, and when I went to shave with the new one, well let’s just say it didn’t feel like I shaved anything, but my face totally felt like a really really, extra soft babies ass, made of chiseled iron of course.

I’m glad you like it. Next from you I got an iHome. It’s so awesome, I brought it to work so I can have Jazz Day at my desk.

Super Bad Ass

Yeah, I thought it was really bad ass, and it’s the kind of gift I would get myself, so I know it totally rocks. Plus I imagine that it’s really really loud, but I didn’t try it out because at that point I did not have an iPod. I guess your work is a little different than mine though. We play System of a Down and David Allen Co. at top volume, you have quiet jazz day so as not to bother your clients or coworkers.

Yeah, I already pissed my boss off once playing opera too loudly while he was on the phone. I didn’t realize at first that when you turn it on it starts quietly and turns up gradually. So I had cranked the volume and then left my desk. Ooops. That’s what happens when I don’t read manuals. Speaking of work, I got a lot of rad stuff from clients too. Especially chocolate, I’m going to do a post just on chocolate. I would say most of my holidays were spent knitting and eating chocolate.

My desk! I'm busy and important!

My desk! I'm busy and important!

 

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis.

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis.

Fuck him, next Christmas we can get him a sense of humor. We purposely do loud and sexual things when my boss answers the phone.

My boss has a plenty good sense of humour. His bosses, not so much

Yeah same here, they got mad at us for bringing a playstation to work. We didn’t get rid of it or anything, but they weren’t happy.

And last of all, I opened the gift that Jesus sent to me. An iPod shuffle. Did you know those things are smaller than a matchbox? For reals for reals! My last MP3 player was cool and all, but it was kind of huge, imagine something between a tricorder and an eighties cell phone. This one is sleek and sexy, and it even makes my dick look big. I’m totally going to be iPod shuffling all over the place. Congratulations Apple, you finally impressed me with one of your devices.

w00t! iPod!

w00t! iPod!

Haha, I was totally worried you’d find baby blue unmanly.

No way man, techno gadgets are totally manly, and Blue is a guy color. Besides it’s so small I can just hide it in my chub rub or something, and nobody will ever see it.

Um….chub rub?

You know, when your dunlop rubs against the front of your pants and causes chaffing, cause you’re too fat and your pants are too tight?

Dunlop? oh god, these terms! we don’t have these fat terms up here!

You know, when your belly dun lopped over your pecker.

Haha, okay, so then what’s the chub rub part? And you don’t have a dunlop by the way.

It’s when the chubby part of your belly, the chub, rubs against the top of your jeans creating chub rub.

I see. Well you might have slight chub, but I would not say a full out dunlop.

Anyway, the point is that the iPod is really really small and can be hidden anywhere. (One more pointless joke choked to death by a literal interpretation.)

Sorry, I do that a lot. Eventually I will get all these jokes when my brain stops doing that thing it does with words. ūüėõ I like that we both got each other something iPod related.

I know right, I heard that four out of the top ten gifts this year were made by Apple. That brings me up to a grand total of one Apple device, all the rest can kiss my shiny metal ass. Especially Macs. Macs are only good with cheese.

I’m so getting a Mac next computer. Vista can bite me.¬†

Fuck that shit, Vista is for people who aren’t assholes. Mac’s are lame as hell and if you have troubles on it, you have to figure them out on your own because trying to use them makes me want to skewer people alive, with a Mac.

On that note, Merry Christmas baby!¬† ‚̧

Merry Christmas darlin. ‚̧

Christmas Kiss

Christmas Kiss

Pre-Christmas Hype for the Post-Christmas Blahs!

Well it’s been nearly a week and I’m just now crawling out of the slight but constant head daze that seems to have resulted from whatever strain of flu settled in my ears shortly after Christmas. I worked up the courage to open the bottle of Buckley’s – even the guy at my corner store made ‘the face’ when I asked him if it works – and still¬†coughed my way through the weekend. I’ve got that really scary deep cough that makes me sound like a¬†creepy old man offering candy and rides to playgrounds.

Anyways, there has been at least one rad thing about this past week. While all the stores are taking down the decorations and the trees are lined up on the sidewalk, I got to open my gifts from Josh!

Woot!

I really wanted our first Christmas post to be written together, however, but his weekends are…otherwise occupied until April. We didn’t get to work on it until¬†last night and I still have to put the pictures in. But it’s almost done! So you’ll hear from both of us really soon, but in the meantime, here’s a quick peek.

Josh sent me a few things, but my favourite is now kept right here in this little box.

Ooooh, suspense!

And yes, the fish-craft reveal is on the way ūüėČ

necklace-box

Winter Wonderland

Okay, it’s not *quite* Wonderland out there, especially because to us Southern Ontarians, Wonderland is a place with a lot of fun rides and over priced chili fries.

This would suck covered in ice

This would suck covered in ice

But somehow, I’m not super pissed about the snow this year. I’m actually sort of….well I’m afraid that if I say I’m enjoying it I’ll get skewered by a foot long icicle – ’tis the way of the winter justice. I am surprised, however, by how minimally pissed I am at this most recent dumping of chilly, frozen flaked water all over my city.

It could be for a number of reasons:

– I have purchased, for the first time in many years, a ‘sensible’ pair of boots. Wedge heel. Fuzzy. Muklukish without being ugly. On sale. None of this ‘winter heel’ business for me anymore.

Fashionable, yet not retarded

– I have a nice coat. Not just a warm coat, but a nice, long, extremely¬†pretty and in-style¬†coat that makes me feel like I’m in Casablanca. Except, you know, with ice.

coat

Not this nice, but pretty close

РUp until this morning when I had to take a $5 taxi ride two blocks to the subway station, I had the transit schedule all figured out. This one might take some readjusting, but generally speaking I am able to leave my apartment right before the bus pulls up to the stop just across the street. Less than five minutes outside in the mornings? I can dig it.

Boourns!

– Indoor shopping. Toronto is used to the cold, and so there are a myriad of ways to get your shopping done, even grocery shopping, without ever having to step foot outside. Malls connect to the subway system, and once you get right into the core of the city, the PATH winds through most of the major buildings and transit, all without even looking towards the doors outside. Now if I can just find an indoor laundromat…

This is indoors, suckers! Mahahaha!

Toronto's PATH system: because the outdoors is for losers

– In the event that I do not find an indoor laundromat, I have discovered one that is even closer to my apartment than the one I’ve been using hitherto. I don’t even have to cross any intersections, which can be kind of dicey on my street. It’s a little more expensive and frankly not as nice, but it’s smaller, not as busy, plays classical music, and has no attendant. You’d think that would be a downside, but I prefer to not have people around when I’m out running errands or washing my undergarments.

– Toronto does have some rad winter stuff going on. And by the time I’m back here I’ll have someone who’ll actually be excited to attend such events even though we do, as Josh puts it, “turn everything into some weird abstract art thing.”

Cavalcade of Lights

Weird abstract art - still pretty!

¬†– I have a new weapon against the frozen, treacherous tundra that will be my sidewalks within a few weeks. It’s a phone number. You call it and tattle on all the lazy fucktards that didn’t shovel their snow, letting it instead be compounded into frozen footprints that are out to break my ankles every year. Seriously, I have developed this ridiculous fear of breaking my ankles. I will call that number fifteen times a day if I have to. I’ll call it on my own damn landlords. My ankles are grateful for my city’s well-spent tax dollars.

OW MY ANKLES!!! AND POSSIBLY KNEES!!!

– It’s a white Christmas! Surprisingly enough, we almost never get snow in time for Christmas. It shows up right at the beginning of January and clobbers our asses until Easter. And given that with a little luck this should be my last Canadian Christmas for a couple of years, I’m very pleased that the weather is going all storybook for me this time around.

My place does not look like this...but up the street it does!

– Money has been okay this year. I didn’t have to carefully plan each and every¬†gift according to how many groceries I’d have to knock off the list. I was able to go out and buy exactly what I wanted without a second thought. Which does wonders for those last minute items, especially when Christmas is distressingly close to the rent cheque.

Damn expensive holiday!

And now the big reason:

– I told the Family to fuck off this year. Well not really, but I’ve never enjoyed the whole family holiday thing. And this year I said so.

Last year was a big deal. It was the last year my grandparents would be around before moving to Quebec, and my long lost cousin flew in with his fiancee from Vancouver. So for the first time in….possibly ever, that entire side of the family was together for Christmas. I went, even though I was ridiculously medicated and probably an embarassment. It was a big deal to me, and I went out of my way to get a little something for everybody, even the fiancee I’d never met. This year, I’m doing my own thing.

This year, I am going to a friends house for a Christmas Eve visit with her and the wee ones. I’ll wake up by myself – seriously, how is this some kind of tragedy? I don’t get it. I’m going to make sure I have a super clean kitchen the night before, and will make myself a really nice breakfast with mimosas and eggs florentine. I’ll say Merry Christmas to Josh if he’s around, and then make my way to the same friends house for a big gathering with her and her awesomely Greek family for what she is dubbing “Orphan Christmas.” There will be food, drink, and a related assortment of merriment. And since they’re Greek there will be more festivities for Orthodox Christmas later on. I’ll see my actual family in small, quiet doses on Boxing Day.

It’s not that I don’t like my family. I just don’t understand why every year we all rush through our Christmas mornings to haul our asses out to the suburbs in ridiculous holiday traffic to get¬†to The Big Family Event¬†by 2pm. Everyone bitches every year because the same aunt/uncle always show up late. I adore this aunt/uncle because they do their holidays their way. They open their gifts slowly and take the time to appreciate them,¬†and show up to The Big Family Event when it suits them. The rest of us are usually in mid-crisis by this point. There is screaming and frantic organizing, paper thrown to and fro, gifts exchanged between cousins who don’t even know each other in ‘real life’. Food shovelled onto plates. I usually fill up on carrots and potatos. Every year I leave exhausted, cranky, shaky, carrying buckets of stuff that someone less fortunate could use far more than I, and I usually don’t remember who got me what. Then we all drive further into the frozen suburbs to visit even more extended family and stand around awkwardly. Everyone else seems to know how to do this, but I’m still lacking the ability to care about people I only see once a year. So I leave even more cranky, sleep deprived, with the general feeling of having been poked and prodded unpleasantly, and the lingering fear of “am I the only one who doesn’t know how to do this shit?”¬†I do not enjoy these excursions.

Like this but with more panic and no Cousin Eddie

Also,¬†I know you don’t really have to be religious these days, but what is this need to cram ourselves together in a room to celebrate what amounts to not much more than a giant shopping spree?

a christmas exegesis

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not into the¬†religious aspect of it, then the spirit of Christmas is more about little kids. Seeing them get all excited, hear stories about reindeer and gingerbread things. I’ve got one¬†age-appropriate cousin that I never see, and all other cousins/siblings/etc. are well past the age of Santa. So I don’t see the point, especially when the little one has no idea who I am. My friends kids, on the other hand, run to the door when I visit! “Auntie Em, yaaaaay!!!” I am so all about that this year.

So!

I’m thinking that Christmas and winter in general is stressing me out far less this year because I finally feel like a grown up. I’ve got my shit together, I know what I’m doing, and I’m not overly concerned with how I’m expected to celebrate. I’ve got awesome friends this year and an awesome boyfriend next year (and this year, but especially next year.) The coming¬†months are¬†already filled with plans of adventure and I’m really looking forward to it. 2008 started off a bit rough but is ending fantastically. 2009 should kick even further ass.

I’ll see y’all there! And until then, I’m going to keep doing it my way.

Holiday Hootenanny

Ok, so we weren’t supposed to have any kind of¬†‘Holiday’ gathering at the office this year, over-PC’d or otherwise. Economy blah blah blah. It’s not as huge a deal as one might think¬†– the nature of our business requires a very small staff. The majority of those around us are clients renting space. So while you’d be miffed if your roommates didn’t invite you to a Christmas party, it’s no big deal if your landlord skimps on the Seasons Greetings, dig?

Still, I was having none of it. To hell with my clients, I want a day or two to revel in my emerging domestic tendencies. I do a little breakfast thing once a month for the office. Its generally a thankless job but it provides a creative outlet and a break from the humdrum of complaints and photocopying. So I convinced the Boss Man and his cohort Talea to let me spend a little more of the company cash this month and holiday it up, yo!

So yeah, I slaved over an oven for a few thank yous, but I also got to take a day off work and bake all day. That means sampling all day.

Peep what I can do!

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Almost There

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Done!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

Sugar Cookies - Lots!

I made several dozen Sugar and Brown Sugar Cookies and used up the last of my sprinkles on the plain sugar ones for decoration.¬† They’re colourful and¬†take up space – and who doesn’t love eating cookie bears head first?

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

My lemon squares are awesome if I do say so myself. I got basic recipe on AllRecipes.com somewhere, and made a few adjustments by adding tons of vanilla and almond. I’m starting to think I can spike them with rum too, but I’d like to remember Christmas this year. These are addictive.

By this point I’d been baking for about four hours. Break time!

chillin1

Chilling with my sexy man

Yeah, this is how Josh and I spend quality time together. Over MSN with a not-always-functioning webcam. Stupid technology. Thankfully the cams were working well on this particular night so I could chat with him while being able to actually step away and use my hands for baking instead of typing.

Here’s my other recreational activity:

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

Eventually, they approved of the cranberries

The bunnies! They turned their wiggly noses up at the dried¬†cranberries at first, but eventually when I wasn’t looking they decided to like them.

Back to work!

I spent all of Wednesday running back and forth between my kitchen, Honest Ed’s for bakeware, and the local Metro for a ridiculous amount of baking ingredients. I lugged so much sugar and flour up my ridiculous winding stairs that my ass literally hurts. I’m baking, and my ass hurts. Fantastic.

These are the last two pictures I managed to take before I fell into a sugar-based daze that I’m only now coming out of:

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious...

mmmmmmm delicious side view

mmmmmmm delicious side view

These. Are.¬†SO good. I’m not quite sure of their name, but they shall henceforth be known as Fantasmic. Fantasmic in bar form. Super buttery shortbread on the bottom, brown sugary caramel ooey gooey oh-fuck-its-melting-everywhere-gimme-a-spoon deliciousness in the middle, and chocolate-peanut-butter-cranberry goodness on top. You can’t eat more than two of these. Well, you can eat as many as you want, but chances are the paramedics will find you twenty minutes later huddled in a corner with drool and butter all over your silly face.

And um, yeah. I ate several. Not to mention I was under a bit of a time constraint, because everything always takes three times longer than you think it will. So I spaced out at this point and forgot to document the shortbread topped with hand whipped cream and berries. As well as the cranberry walnut cookies and the rice krispie squares.

Anyways, it was a magnificent spread. I threw it all in the boardroom and topped it off with a nice assortment of fruit and cheese to lighten the sugar-shock a bit.¬†I wanted to throw on a Christmas movie at the last minute, but Shoppers across the street with those $9.99 dvd’s didn’t have anything even remotely holiday-oriented. Littlest Hobo something or other, and that just wouldn’t do.¬†So the shindig was held to the soundtrack of “Oooh, yes I’ll try one of those, I – oh wow. These are SOOOOOO good!” Which was the only thing I needed to hear amidst the occasional “What, no wine?”¬† (“Um, it’s noon.”) and “Where’s the burgers?” to keep me happy.

Also, my uber boss showed up. He’s quite nice but very nerve wracking because while being¬† nice he’ll discretely brush up against a wall and judge you based on its cleanliness. If he picks up a piece of marketing propaganda placed on a table and asks “Why is this here?” the answer is always “It’s not!” *toss*¬†You know the type. So I was out to impress and impress I did. He ate enough of those Fantasmic things that the sugar sent him into the most hilarious state I’ve ever seen. Very concerned with his appearance he rarely indulges in sugar – hadn’t, he confessed, for about six months. That he took seconds, thirds, and then some for the road was a compliment indeed. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the day he thought he was a hummingbird.

And now, at the end of a week long stretch of prepping, baking, hauling and coordinating, after being up until 1am Thursday/Friday to get the last of the shortbread done and spending all¬†of Friday¬†fussing and organizing (eating various forms of sugar because I forgot to feed myself real food) rushing and cleaning, and then attending an impromptu family-friend art event (What? Where the hell did that come from? That was this week? Who am I? What’s a hypotenuse?) followed by a Stitch n’ Bitch today, I am finally home and I’m starting to think that I’m the hummingbird.

I.

Am.

Pooped!

I go now. I go to the couch and the tv and the bed. I sleep. Then I wake up and clean like a madwoman – but I shall pay that no mind tonight! Tonight I kick my feet up with some reheated pizza, and I don’t want to see any more shortbread for a good long time.

By which I mean probably tomorrow night.

A Very Crafty Update

Word to my internet peeps, yo!

So what’s been going on with my crafty endeavours that I was oh so gung-ho about? I haven’t forgotten! Remember my lime green basket weave scarf? That miserable cotton yarn that turned out so pretty but wreaked havoc on my poor fingers? Yeah, that one. Well someone at work bought it to give as a Christmas gift! He just so happened to be looking for a lime green accessory for someone who is very into lime this season. Worked out well for me! Take that cotton yarn! Not to be outdone, I picked up a robin’s egg blue version of the same yarn and have been proceeding to kick its ass just as hard as the first project kicked mine.

I present, my weeks-in-the-making attempt (and fairly succesful I think) at a lacey twist on entrellac. I got the pattern here and just had to make it. It’s also inspired me to try my own hand at writing a pattern, hopefully you’ll see it soon. As for this number, I am a little beyond ridiculously excited to wear it around Christmas shopping cause it looks fan-fricking-tastic.

Pretty!

fauxentrellac2

faux-entrelac-1

Seriously, once I finish this thing, I’m going to be known across the city as “that crazy girl who keeps talking to strangers about how she knitted that goddamned scarf.” I care not. I love it.

In other news, I did not have time or real desire to do anything crazy creative for Hallowe’en. I’ll save that for next year, when I’ll – fingers crossed! – be with Josh. Dudes, can you just imagine what sick creations the two of us will come up with? But as for this year, I was quite thrilled to go trick-or-treating with Talea, May, and the wee ones.

Check out the rad pumpkins I carved for them!

pumpkin1

pumpkin22

pumpkin3

Hehe, that’s my signature.

Next up on the crafty agenda:

A stockinette stitch scarf made of this very pretty stuff:

green-wool

A seedstitch scarf made out of this yarn, and I’m going to try to figure out a way to do star-shaped cutouts. A perfect Christmas scarf! Woot!

white-yarn

I wish I could knit faster!

Less typing, more knitting! I’m off to get crafty folks, I’ll be back in a few days with a story about a douchebag. It’s a good one! Mahahaha, suspense.