dreaminghope: (Confused Zoey)
I'm in an abs class at my gym, and I've finally achieved a stable plank with my feet on the ball:

Plank on the Ball

I've held it for about half of the minute the instructor is counting down when I realize that I'm not sure how to get back down. How did I get myself into this position?

I tried a step class once, and it was a complete mess. I am very uncoordinated, and I couldn't figure most of the moves. Mostly, I jumped around waving my arms and laughing at myself until class ended. I vowed to never take another step class.

Nash 360: This class covers all your fitness bases with Nash intensity! Three 20 minute segments of challenging cardio, muscle conditioning, and core training will get you total body results.

Sounds good, and it is on a Friday morning, which I have off of work. I wasn't even alarmed when we all started setting up steps; I'd been to a "Strength and Stretch" class where we used the step as a bench for doing chest presses. But what followed was an hour long step class, sometimes with weights. I'm still very, very bad at step class. I bounced, and flailed, and sweated - even done badly, step is a good workout - and shook my head at myself. I accidentally took a step class: How do I get myself into these positions?

Hatha Yoga: Experience a meditative, calm, yet strong practice. Perfect for beginners or advanced students who seek mind-body awareness and flexibility.

Before today, I'd been to about four yoga classes, all Hatha Yoga, with two different teachers. I'd found them to be challenging in some parts, but mostly relaxing, refreshing, and good for stretching. Today I went to my fifth class, with yet another teacher. Exact same class description as the others, but this was different. I guess the rest of the students are all regulars, so I suddenly find myself in an advanced yoga class for which I was very poorly prepared. As the people around me are balancing on one foot, tying their arms into knots, and pushing themselves into headstands, I hold the last pose I am able to get into and ask myself: How do I get into those positions?

At the end of the minute, my exit from the plank wasn't very graceful - a sort of controlled fall to one side - but it got me down and ready to get into the next challenge.
dreaminghope: (Paisley Hat)
Every morning, the crows of Vancouver fly from one end of the city to the other. At the end of the day, they fly back. The exact times vary seasonally - crows fly by the sun, not the clock - but for at least a couple of weeks in the winter, their evening commute coincides with my walk home.

At the height of the commute, you can see a river of crows that stretches across the sky, from horizon to horizon. This picture doesn't capture it adequately, but every dot is a bird:

Crow Commute

I don't know which is more fascinating: the periods when hundreds of crows are sitting on the trees and power lines, still and nearly silent, or when the hundreds of crows nearly simultaneously take off in huge swooping flocks.

At least none of them are attacking me.

There's a crow in my neighbourhood that hates me. Or maybe it just hates my summer hat (the one in my userpic); I haven't been willing to run the tests necessary to know. I was walking to work one morning when a crow started swooping at my head, screaming. It didn't hit me, but flew at me over and over as I dodged. I ran across the street, the crow still following, still screaming, and hide under some trees. An old man already on that side of the street laughed at me and said something that sounded sympathetically amused in Chinese. I kept close to trees and sprinted down the sidewalk until I was apparently out of the crow's territory. No crows attacked the old man.

A couple of mornings later, I had decided to myself that it was just a one-time occurrence and I walked along that same route wearing the same hat. I got to the same intersection and then a crow started swooping at my head, screaming. I assume it was the same crow, but I can't be completely sure. If it wasn't the same one, it hated me just as much as the other crow did.

This time, I ran to an industrial building and flattened myself along the wall. It was a two story building with no windows and a flat roof. The crow wheeled above me, repeatedly diving as steeply as it could from the edge of the roof down the side of the building. As I edged along the base of the building, the crow kept following and kept screaming and diving. It couldn't get to me, but it sure seemed to want to try. It gave up after about three-quarters of a block and I speed-walked to work, hugging the edge of buildings and keeping under trees whenever possible.

I don't walk that way to work anymore.

I like the crow commute, but a little bit like someone likes scary movies; I get a little adrenalin rush just hearing the crows cawing.
dreaminghope: (Sunspot)
A week ago, Russ, Craig, and I went to Nova Scotia for paragliding. We had a wonderful time, fell in love with the Maritimes, and even got in a bit of flying towards the end of our vacation, despite some weather issues.

The sites we were flying in Nova Scotia were different than we are used to. We're mountain flyers: flying with the eagles, seeking thermals, being 2000 feet up. This was coastal ridge flying: soaring with seagulls, hugging the landscape, only launching from 100 feet up. The launches were also different, and the winds were higher. This led to the silliest launch I've ever had... or even seen.

If you want to understand why it happened... )

On Friday morning, we went to West Bay. The winds felt calm until we got to the edge of the launch, when we discovered that they were actually about 25 km/hour, with some higher gusts. Still, that's the kind of winds you need to make ridge soaring work, so we set up. Russ and Craig both had good launches, and then it was my turn. I was nervous. Reverse launches, which you need to do in stronger winds, are not my strong point, and these winds are much higher than we ever use at home. Still, I had done a high wind launch the day before at Fox River and we had Brian, an assistant instructor from Pegasus Paragliding, with us to give advice and keep an eye on me.

Because the winds were so much lower at ground level, Brian helped by lifting the edge of my wing up. I pulled up with good control, got the wing stabilized, turned around to do my run, and launched with one step. The only problem was, I launched to where my feet were about two feet off the ground, but I had no forward momentum. Being light on my wing, my trim speed matched the wind speed so closely that I was going neither forward nor back, but just hanging in the air trying vainly to run, like Wile Coyote off a cliff. It must have looked hilarious: I'm in my launch posture - leaning way forward and hands all the way up behind me to keep brakes all the way off - running in the air about two feet off the flat part of launch. Brian managed not to laugh at me, somehow, and had time to walk up behind me while I hung there and started pushing on the back of my harness. He pushed me off the edge to where I could turn so I wasn't flying directly into the wind and could finally fly free.

Yup, that's me: the push-start paraglider!

The lessons I learned... )
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Just take your clothing off, stand in a circle with other naked people, and the magic starts.

On Friday night at The Gathering for Life on Earth, there's traditionally a skyclad (nude) ritual. I go to it most years; I ran it once.

The Gathering is a lot of people's first experience being naked with other people in a non-sexual context. Sometimes it is the casual nudity of the clothing-optional site, sometimes it is dancing around the fire, sometimes it is skinny-dipping, and sometimes it is the ritual on the first night of the event.

When you go to a nude ritual with people who have done it many times before, it can be very comfortable. As they undress, they take care to fold their clothing neatly, they chat about the room's and floor's temperature, and they tease each other about footwear choices (when naked, slippers look good; gum boots, not so much). Everyone takes off all their clothing the way people usually take off shoes. No one's looking at each other's nudity, but we're not not-looking either.

I went to this year's skyclad ritual. It had a good energy, it was a lot of fun, and it started a bit of a meme for the weekend ("my legs are strong like the trunks of ancient trees"). However, I did find myself with a bit of a dilemma: I couldn't figure out what to do with my hands and arms. I couldn't remember what I usually do when I'm clothed. Clasped behind my back seemed too exposed; in front seemed like I was trying to hide. Hands at my side felt forced. Crossed over my breasts was right out as being too defensive; crossed under my breasts was rejected as an option for pushing everything up too much. I try to figure out what other people are doing, but that leads to looking at areas not normally seen, which quickly leads to not-looking.

The concern ceased to be an issue when it came time to join hands and chant and dance, but I have to remember that for future skyclad rituals I run: give people something to do with their hands. Otherwise: awkward!
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I know, I know; everyone's kid is the most talented, the most adorable, the most intelligent... but, seriously, my nephew is brilliant.

My sister is very modest about the obvious genius of her first-born. In conversation, she tends to focus on how rapidly he is changing, comparing what he can do today to what he could do a week or a month ago. This provides plenty of conversation fodder, as two-and-a-half year olds do change almost daily, but she does miss out on a lot of opportunities to brag.

We were at my sister's place yesterday for a family dinner. Towards the end of the evening, I was telling William, my nephew, that I was getting tired. My Mom laughed that Russ was going to have to carry me from the car if I fell asleep on the drive home. William ran up to Russ: "Uncle Russ, are you ready to carry Aunt 'Lissa? If she's asleep, you have to carry her!"

Russ did scoop me up and teasingly carried me towards the front hall. William ran ahead and unlocked and opened the front door - a new trick he has only acquired in the last week or so, to my sister's consternation.

Setting aside his acute listening skills and ability to carry through on ideas, I think art is where his best talents may lie. I received my first nephew-made birthday card this year. Here's the outside of the card, which I flattened and scanned:



Observe the colour choices, the freedom of the movement of the lines, and the placement of the art relative to the page. I think he has perfectly captured that elusive thing about childhood: the way joy can so easily turn into angst, and how chaotic, yet contained, life must seem from a toddler's perspective.

Here's the inside of the card:



Such a joyful spill of stickers, with such delightful placement. Observe the choice to put just one sticker upside down: such whimsy!

Clearly, William is an artist ahead of his time. Just wait to see his first pieces to appear in the Museum of Modern Art in eighteen to twenty years.
dreaminghope: (Flying)
We're grounded again this weekend – more rain – so I'm thinking about paragliding instead of flying.

Even when I'm not flying, I love watching it. I watch a lot of videos on the Internet. I've watched a lot of landings from the shade of the one tree on the landing zone (the "LZ"). While waiting for my turn to launch, I've seen some beautiful forward and reverse launches, some tandem launches, some hang glider launches, and a couple of top landings. I even love hanging out while people kite their wings, especially hearing the sound as the wing rises into the air and snaps into stability.

A couple of weeks ago, I was left alone on the launch for twenty minutes or so when our instructor from iParaglide went to pick up other pilots while the weather settled down a little. As I was sitting out in the sun, enjoying the quiet and scenery, a beat-up truck rumbled into the parking lot. A bunch of young men with sturdy builds piled out, beer cans in hand, and clambered up on to the launch. Being a female alone at the top of a logging road... I stood up and tried to look friendly and confident.

"You flying?" one asked me.

"Not yet. The wind's too strong still and I'm waiting for my teacher to come back with the other students. Hopefully I'll be launching before the sun starts to go down."

"This is perfect wind for me," a guy with helmet hair says. Turns out, he's a hang glider who flew earlier and just caught a ride back up to his truck with these guys. There was no reason to walk up to launch with them, but maybe he was being a bit cautious about leaving a woman alone with these strangers. The hang gliders I've met so far have been very mannerly; two of them supplied rags and clean water and helped mop me off after I fell into some mud upon landing last year.

"Did you fly earlier?" a guy asks.

"Not yet. Two other pilots from my class did; they are stronger than I am, so they could launch in more wind."

"Cool. So, this is where you jump off?" a guy with a beer asks, peering over the edge a bit.

"They don't jump; they fly," the first guy says to him, and then to me: "This is the first time he has come up with us."

The guys, apparently, come up all the time to watch paragliders and hang gliders launch. It's a thing to do on a sunny day: drive up the mountain, drink some beers, watch people fly. I told the new guy a little bit about how paragliding works and answered everyone's questions. It was all pretty friendly, except when I got a bit annoyed with them when they set off a firecracker on launch while my wing was bundled just off to the side.

They got tired of waiting and drove off before my teacher got back, which was good because the wind never did mellow and no one got to fly again that day. Driving down from launch is kind of depressing.

The next week, as we were packing our wings on the LZ, an old man came roaring through the field on a motorcycle. When he saw us, he stopped and greeted our teacher, Dion, warmly. The guy on the bike is Joe, the owner of the land we have to pass through to drive to our LZ. He doesn't fly himself, but he is a huge fan of paragliders and hang gliders. Before his stroke, he used to drive people up to the launch for free, just to hear their stories. Now, he is looking at buying the LZ land from his neighbour to make sure it continues to be available to us.

Dion has offered many times to teach Joe to fly or to take him on a tandem flight, but Joe's too worried about breaking a hip. He is happy to just watch:

"I can just spend hours watching you all fly. It's the ultimate in beauty and relaxation. It's like a ballet. When a bunch of gliders and some hangies are up there, it's like paradise to me."

I plan to quote Joe when trying to convince a nearby city to let us launch and land in some municipal parks. What a sales pitch!
dreaminghope: (Confused Zoey)
I wear a little gold pentacle necklace - a gift from Russ for our first Christmas together - every day from the moment I get out of the shower until I go to bed, taking it off during the day only to work out. I have worn this necklace this way for over thirteen years now. I knew that I checked for its presence several times a day: just before getting on and off buses, just before leaving home or work, and in the bathroom. Those checks stem from the day that the chain broke unexpectedly and I didn't notice right away. I was lucky that day; the pendent and chain got caught inside my shirt. But now I check for my pendent before doing anything where I wouldn't be able to find it again if it broke.

What I didn't realize is that I touch that necklace through my shirt about four times an hour besides those checks. I am realizing that today because this morning, in my chaotic rush to get to the gym before work, I forgot to put my necklace on. Even though I realized this when I got out of the gym, I've still been checking and having a micro-moment of panic before I remember why it isn't there. Finally, I had to stick a safety pin to my shirt about where the pendent would normally be. Now I diddle a safety pin every 15 minutes, but I'm feeling much less anxious.

Fridge fun

Feb. 9th, 2011 09:18 pm
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
Russ is putting the rice on to cook for dinner and I'm ranting about my gym.

I interrupt myself: "Toby, Pete, Stephanie?" I point at the names written on the white board we usually use for a grocery list.

"Oh, those are the kids next door; I finally got the other two's names. I put Toby's name on there so I'd remember why the other two names are there. That other guy moved out and Pete replaced him. He has big glasses and like, hair. And Stephanie's the girl... and I'm glad to finally have her name, 'cause I never wanted to say 'hey, I know we've lived next to each other for years, but what's your name?', you know?"

"Now we just need to get the names of the couple on the other side of the garden again. I feel so bad that I keep forgetting."

"I think one of them is Dave. Probably the guy."

"Probably."

Russ starts pulling vegetables out of the fridge for the stirfry. He turns to me holding a paper bag.

"These are mushrooms," he declares with great certainty and authority.

Of course, by that he meant: "I found these delicious mushrooms in the crisper, but before I add them to the stirfry, I feel that I should inquire as to whether or not you have another meal planned for this week that would require these particular fungi."

All I could do was laugh and keep saying "these are mushrooms", "these are mushrooms", "these are mushrooms".

And my gym-related anger was nicely disrupted. But I'm still probably going to change gyms.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
When I tell people about my little cat Zoey (pictured in icon), I always describe her as sweet but not very bright. As Russ says, the light in her eyes is coming in through a hole in the back of her head... there's no brain to speak of. When people ask about what makes her seem so dumb, I tell different stories: the time she got stuck on top of the shower curtain rod, how she gets lost in the hallway and yells for help, how she will eat the houseplants sprayed with bitter orange over and over, shaking her head and sticking out her tongue in disgust after each bite, but always going back for more. However, fall and winter brings me the best silly Zoey story.

Zoey doesn't really understand windows. The first couple of years we had her, we lived in a basement suite. The windows were quite high, the window sills were inaccessible due to bars, and the few windows she could see out of looked out on the house next door, only a meter or two away. When we moved to this house, she was agoraphobic. If you carried her into the living room, which has a giant window overlooking the street, she would panic and scramble over you to jump down and flee. She was fine walking into the living room on her own, so she was obviously reacting to the huge amount of space beyond the window.

She has since overcome her fear and spends a lot of time on the window sill. She gets very excited when leaves fall off the tree outside or when it starts to snow with big fat flakes. Without fail, she will be in someone's lap when she'll see a leaf come down. Her thinking seems to then go as follows:

Moving thing! Get it! Jump! Run! Jump!

~Bonk! Nose first into the glass.~ Huh?

Moving thing! Get it!

~Bonk! Nose first into the glass again.~ Huh?

Moving thing! Look! ~Now realizing that the glass is solid, plants front paws on window to get a better look.~

Moving thing going down! ~Jumps down and stares at wall below window.~ Where is it?

~Jumps back on to window sill.~ Moving thing! ~Jumps down and stares at wall.~ Where did it go?

~Forgets what she was doing and wanders away. Glances back at window.~

Moving thing! Jump!

~Bonk~
dreaminghope: (Corset)
My partner, Russ, talks to people easily, and people like him. He flirts almost without meaning to in a way that is flattering without being creepy. I've teased my friends that if they are ever worried about their partner's ability to be faithful, they should always send them out with Russ: he has blocked many a single male friend from getting a phone number by accidentally out-charming them.

Russ also loves to talk up things he loves, which means that he is often selling his latest hobby or gadget to his friends and family. This and his charm makes him the perfect salesperson for Felix and Kitty, who make and sell corsets.

This weekend, Russ is in Calgary at the Taboo Show, lacing ladies into corsets and fitting gentlemen with tail coats. He packed on Thursday night: knee-high boots, vest, silk shirt, toothbrush, book, etc. As he was getting ready, I caught him trying a couple of his Celtic rings on the ring finger of his left hand. I raised an eyebrow.

"It's just easier..." he mumbled, turning a little pink when I grinned at him.

I hear some people worry that their partner will remove their wedding ring when they're out of town and try to pick someone else up. My partner wears a fake wedding ring in case he accidentally picks someone up.

Damn good thing, as he is really sexy in his black silk shirt and silver tail coat.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I love listening to the stories people tell about themselves and their lives. My favourites are the short stories that somehow manage to say so much about a person.

When my Grandma went into the hospital with pneumonia last week, they found the lung cancer and she wasn't responding to the antibiotics, so the doctor told her that she probably wouldn't be able to leave the hospital again.

"I had hoped I'd have a couple of days to put my affairs in order," Grandma said.

"Oh, Marion, I'm sure everything's organized," the doctor has known my Grandma for years.

The next day, my Dad and his siblings arrived. Grandma immediately put them to work. Her "affairs" that had to be ordered didn't include her will or locating important paperwork. That's all done. What was worrying Grandma was the bananas that were on her kitchen counter. She wanted that couple of days to make sure that the bananas and the milk in her fridge wouldn't go to waste, to let someone know that there were freshly shelled walnuts in her freezer to be divided up amongst her kids and grandkids, and to rehydrate her new batch of raisins.

That's Grandma. Bless her.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
The facts were these...

To add to my list of little quirks*, I've developed a minor fear of the light bulb in the bathroom at work exploding and somehow electrifying the drippy faucet and electrocuting me when I go to wash my hands. I do wash my hands anyway, because I hate dirty hands more than I fear death by soap, hot water, and bad electrical wiring.

Despite my zinc lozenge regiment, which usually prevents me from getting sick, I succumbed to a nasty cold this weekend (at 3 AM on Friday; it woke me up), which meant accomplishing little and watching a marathon of Bryan Fuller's Pushing Daisies. I've owned the DVDs since they came out, but never watched them because watching the last episode - which I missed when it aired on TV - meant that there were no more episodes to look forward to.

Two days of "Pushing Daisies" let me get lost in the world, including the always present possibility of bizarre death. The same thing happened when I watched a marathon of Dead Like Me (also created by Bryan Fuller), after which I developed a minor fear of tripping at the top of the basement stairs while wrestling a full laundry basket through the narrow doorway, tumbling to the bottom, and getting impaled on some of the old venetian blinds we keep stored at the bottom.

I'm still very careful descending the basement stairs, especially if my hands are full, and I'm pretty careful about what media I consume, especially in binge forms.

*Quirks that include, but are not limited to: An inability to sleep in a room with a mirror because something might come through from Mirror World; a deep reluctance to read new books by my favourite authors because I can only read them once for the first time, to the point where I have two Charles de Lint books on my bedside table, both unopened; a physical inability to blow my nose; and a disturbing fascination-revulsion relationship to rotting food.
dreaminghope: (Clueless)
Oxam's Razor: The simplest explanation is usually the truth.

I've got this pair of jeans that are made of stretch denim. They don't have a fly, so getting into them involves no small amount of twisting and bouncing. On Wednesday morning, I wiggle into them, but they don't seem to be fitting correctly.

Did they shrink in the wash? Nah, they're still the same length.

Did I gain some weight? But I just wore these pants yesterday.

Am I bloated? Is there something wrong with me? What could cause overnight weight gain?


I stare down at my jeans, tug at the waistband, trying to figure out why they don't feel right. Then I clue into something odd: there are flaps on my front pockets.

My pants are on backwards.

As tricky as it can be to get into the pants, it's actually even harder to get them off while laughing. My only witness, the cat Puck, looks up from his breakfast to glare briefly: my silliness is disrupting his enjoyment of his gooshy food.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
Dear countries of the world,

Do us a favour, and keep the noise down a little, OK? We've got a hangover.

Thanks,
Canada

*****

Hey everybody, where're you going? What do you mean, it's over? Stay a couple of days; we've got the Paralympics! And good weather; have you seen our cherry blossoms? Nice, huh?

Sorry about the line-ups at the airport today. We're a little busy. But, hey, you're all good at doing line-ups by now, right? This'll be a breeze after eight hours to see the Olympic medals.

Wanna buy a hoodie before you go? Or maybe some of these lovely red mittens?

Come back soon!
Vancouver

*****

Dear military,

The helicopter's leaving, right?

Sincerely,
me
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
We wish to offer our congratulations and support to all Canadian athletes, especially those participating in an international cold-weather-sports competition on the west coast in the year between 2009 and 2011.

If you aren't an official sponsor, you can't say "Olympics". You can't say "Vancouver 2010". You definitely can't use the Olympic rings, and using the rings' colours is risky.

Those who've never lived under the rule of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) may not know what goes into protecting the Olympic brand. It's quite the process to prevent ambush marketing, including demanding family restaurants change their names (sorry, Olympia Pizza), forcing banks to take down pro-Canada ads (naughty Scotiabank), and accidentally creating strange new alliances (what do Roots and MasterCard have in common except that they both aren't Olympic sponsors?).

This has led to a new hobby of mine: spotting the "not-Olympic" ads. That consists of carefully scrutinizing the ad for the official marks that mean it's an approved ad, then squealing "it's not an Olympic ad!" and making Russ take a picture of it.

Sears welcomes the world... for no reason at all. I haven't got a picture of it (yet), but Shell Gas also welcomes the world, also for no reason at all.












Scotiabank was forced to remove the phrase "Show Your Colours" from their posters, but they were allowed to keep their expression of "random" patriotism.











(Left) Despite their claims to the contrary, Lulumon's "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011" clothing line seems like a big "Take That" to the IOC after Lululemon lost their bid to become the official clothing outfitter of the Canadian Olympic team from 2006 to 2012 to HBC.



(Right) Waves Coffee... I wonder what that could that be a reference to?










This one's my favourite, though. In case it's too small, it reads: "Welcome to Vancouver, a world class city. We wish all athletes successful performance in their pursuit of golden dreams."



After taking the picture, we noticed something odd. The ad had been modified with flaps pasted on the original banner. We could make out the original ad from the back:



"Welcome to Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. We wish all athletes successful performance in their pursuit of Olympics Dreams."

Well, can't have that! After all, this is not an Olympic ad.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
Pedestrian Cross: A game played when you've got a place to get to that's on the other side of the downtown mobs. Like ski or snowboard cross, the goal is to get to the finish line first. The obstacles aren't jumps and drops, but randomly wandering crowds, as well as photo shoots, curbs, mailboxes, street lamps, and street performers. Falls are possible, especially if you lose focus, distracted by your colourful surroundings. A strategy of crowd drafting - following in the wake of a larger person heading in your desired direction - can be very helpful.

Team Pedestrian Cross: Similar to the regular Pedestrian Cross, but in order to win, the whole team must cross the finish line together. This can be facilitated by matching funny hats. Team Cross is more challenging than the solo sport due to the need to keep an eye on your team mates both ahead and behind you as well as on all the obstacles, but a team with a strong leader and a determined group presence can literally stop traffic.

Line Standing: A game of endurance and strategy. Best played as a team, but if you are outgoing and charming, you can create a team as play proceeds. There are several ways to earn points in Line Standing: boredom avoiding, opportunity-to-sit spotting, food fetching, and the bathroom break relay. Points can be deducted for controversial conversational choices, such as protesters, politics, and ticket scalping. For an additional challenge, bring along one or more small children.

Freestyle Whining: Note: Expressing valid concerns about the cost of the Olympic games - financial, social, or other - will not count towards your Freestyle Whining score. The best way to win at this sport is to combine entitled beliefs with loud and obnoxious behaviour. The gold medalist in Whining is expected to be able to complete a quadruple whine: insulting an innocent volunteer about a temporary problem at a free event while making everyone else in the vicinity uncomfortable too.

Women's Speed Peeing: A cooperative rather than competitive sport, as the goal is not so much to pee the fastest, but rather to get women through the bathroom line as quickly as possible. Women who wear easy-to-remove clothing - fewer layers; no belts or pantyhose - are a decided asset. Women with a lot of bags can be slow to get in and out of the stalls. Of course, environmental conditions also influence this sport: number of stalls, arrangement of stalls, and amount of toilet paper available.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
My birthday is three weeks from today, making now an excellent time to start thinking about what I might ask for. I do have lots of wishes. I wish for a violence-free Olympics for my city. I wish for my friend to find permanent relief from her five month long migraine headache. I wish for healthy, happy, bouncing babies for all my friends who want them. I wish for the whiners in my spiritual community to either start helping or to just shut up. Ahem... so, not all my wishes are nice. And none of those are likely birthday presents. There's just nothing I am lacking.

Actually, there is one thing I would really like for myself. It's a frivolous thing; a pure and simple luxury. What I'd really like for myself is a warm toilet seat.

That I don't have this is partially my fault. Our house is old and heated with electric baseboard heaters, which means that it's unevenly heated at best. I'm also a bit frugal (cheap), so I keep the temperature low (I turn down the thermostat anytime I don't need to wear a sweater). The result is a cool bathroom and a cold toilet seat, especially first thing in the morning.

It's worse at work, though. I work in a closet of an office at the back of a cement warehouse. Because we deal with fruits and vegetables, we don't put the heat on in the warehouse very often. In the summer, the warehouse is pleasantly cool. In the winter, it is bloody cold. Sometimes the walk-in refrigerator is warmer. The bathroom is located in the warehouse, and it is also unheated. I bite my lip when I sit down so I don't squeak when my warm skin hits the icy plastic.

It's still not a practical birthday wish, but I am so blessed that the only thing left to want is a warm place to sit my bare bum.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I think Zoey's considering taking up reading.

Zoey is my cat. She's the little black and white cat in many of my icons. She is quite possibly the sweetest cat in the world, but she does lack a certain... acumen. Once, while I was in the shower, she decided that she really wanted to see me right-the-heck-now. Rather than bat aside the edge of the shower curtain or try to climb under the edge, and rather than trying our other cat's preferred method of yelling until someone comes to him, Zoey tried something a little different. She jumped on to the sink and then took a mighty leap on to the shower curtain rod. I was startled from my shower meditations by a cat scream just above my head. She had no idea what she'd gotten herself into and my wet naked self had to get a panicked cat down from a very precarious perch.

Recently, for no apparent reason, Zoey has taken to jumping up on a bookshelf that has been in the same place, ignored by both cats, for years. She sits there for awhile, examining the spines. Sometimes she climbs on top of the books, but so far she's been unable to figure out how to get a book out. This is just as well, as there is a very old copy of "The Scout Manual" there, and I'm sure she could get into some ill-advised situations involving fire-starting techniques. There's also a copy of "Beautiful Joe", which would probably make her cry, and "Wild Animals I Have Known" would probably give her nightmares.

Zoey quickly forgets why she's on the bookshelf and she'll start bathing herself or will jump down and wander off. Her short attention span is another obstacle in her path to becoming a reader of classic books.

So if Zoey sits on the bookshelf because she wants to read, I wonder why Puck now insists on sleeping on top of the pile of towels on the top shelf in the bathroom?
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
My partner, Russ, is one of those people with a natural charm and good humour; people remember him.

We had a meeting at our house back in September for the board of directors I serve on. Russ isn't on the board right now, but he was around the house, so he graciously offered to make espresso-based drinks for all who wanted them. He created some sort of fancy raspberry-mocha creation for our childcare facilitator, Lisa, who made very happy - orgasmic, in fact - noises. Upon hearing these happy noises, her 6-foot-plus husband jokingly stormed into the kitchen: "Russell, I hear you've been orally pleasuring my wife!"

Now, for some reason, the wife had reason to talk of this particular anecdote at her work. Her supervisor embraced the spirit of the story and there's a new office tradition: whenever Lisa is dealing with one of those customers that just makes you want to reach through the phone and beat them with their own phone receiver, her supervisor writes "Russell" on a post-it note and puts it on Lisa's computer screen.

Russ is someone people remember; sometimes they remember him even if they've never met him.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
If you glance in someone's window as you walk by and find someone looking back at you...

If you look up and happen to meet someone's eyes across the gym...

If you are gazing out the bus window and make eye contact with someone in the car in the next lane...

Do you ask yourself: "Were they staring at me?" or "Do they think I was staring at them?"

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dreaminghope

February 2014

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