AWOL

•April 7, 2008 • 10 Comments

SO.  Busy.

SO. Sorry.

School is ALMOST over.  ALMOST.  I can TASTE it.

I am SO sorry everyone – I have a tendency to disappear when school becomes my slave task master, like a jealous boyfriend that I’m paying for.

Please accept these pictures (as soon as they load) as a peace offering; my last day of class is Friday so I will be catching up on everyones wonderful lives SOON!!

Danni Heatley!

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show time

•March 17, 2008 • 21 Comments

So I may have mentioned once or twice that I am a diplobrat; the child of diplomats (aka ambassadors when we’re out of the country/ commissioners when the country is of the British Commonwealth).  As such, I have been lucky to be my father’s back-up date to various fancy-schmancy events here in Ottawa, such as the Prime Ministers Christmas Reception (2 funny stories that I can tell later), concerts, recitals, shows, and the ever popular cocktail parties full of schmoozers and utterly boring people but fabulous food and even more fabulous drinks.

Its the only perk I can think of – besides travelling on a diplomatic passport – of being a diplobrat.  We’re just civil servants serving in another country, but either way we are the property of Canada: everywhere we go we represent Canadians, and more often than not we defend our home and native land against the horror stories of stupid tourists who lack the pride of Canada because they’ve never truly lived in another country that has significantly less than Canada.

After a restless and drug induced sleep and a morning/afternoon battling a headache, I am gussied up and ready to go to an evening full of banter and who knows what else at tonight’s Senators hockey game.  I get to watch the game from a booth with some local celebrates (not on the ice, mind you) and enjoy their company.That is, if they even acknowledge me beyond the initial introduction as so-and-so’s daughter, the nursing student.

You know, these kind of functions aren’t as fun as one may think.  Some illusions of grandeur place the lucky little ‘princess’ in ball gowns and princes in tuxes, a live band playing while the floor is full of dancers, exotic dishes are served by men in vests and the quiet gossip of the crowd centers on who will next grab a dance with the daughter of the diplomat.

WRONG.

In most cases my dad has to leave me to schmooze and I am mearely the entertainment for the other ladies-in-waiting; as in, waiting for this night to be over.  If not then I get to stand around and listen to topics of no interest to me and receive pitiful looks of quiet displeasure over my choice of career.  I’ve had doctors, lawyers, politicians, bankers, even trophy wives look down on me with a little ‘oh’ when I answer the question ‘so are you in school? what for?’  I swear that question (in its entirety) NEVER changes, although my answer does… depending on the person.

See, as a diplobrat, I’ve gained some essential people skills that I believe my 3rd year community health nursing course and yearly ‘professionalism’ courses are trying to teach me.  I find them laughable.  You can’t learn how to deal with a variety, multitude of people by reading books or attending lectures or researching.  Those people haven’t touched a patient in years let alone had a NORMAL conversation with NORMAL people.  Not to say that this so-called upper-elite crowd is NORMAL but… at least you’re talking TO someone and not highlighting what they may or may not respond to you with scripted words coming from the under-utilized imagination of a scholar.

There are times when I am an integral part of the conversation, where by-standers look and laugh along with my witty jokes and sweet and honest answers.  And there are times when I don’t speak unless I am spoken to.  How do I know the difference?  After 23 years of living this way, I think I’ve got a handle on it.  Sure there are times when I am mistaken, when I give the wrong people the benefit of the doubt… but that comes with more time.

I write this because of all the press the Canadian in Mexico is getting: although she has been in a Mexican prison for 2 years, and as far as we know her sentence has already been decided by the judge PRE-trial.  I’m sure people like my father are being shit on for not doing enough to safe-guard Canada’s citizens from the tyrrany that is the rest of the world… however, because there is always a however, it’s way more intricate than what the public knows.

For example; have you ever tried to deal with a person from a third world country? One that is SO set in his or her ways that there is NO way in hell of you getting them to see another perspective of things?  Ok; so imagine an entire COUNTRY like that.  Not so easy, is it?  It takes a LOT of tact to get ANYTHING done, and unfortunately what IS done is so minute that 1/2 of the population doesn’t even consider it a victory.

Or maybe this is a better example:  Imagine someone coming in to YOUR country, breaks YOUR rules, and then demands clemency because of the fact that they are not a citizen.  Of course, in Canada and the US it is highly unlikely (well, maybe moreso in Canada) that we’d just jail someone for no reason, but who knows.  It’s kind of like immigrants who refuse to let go of their identity to a point where they demand the country that they have immigrated to to change on their behalf.   Imagine: Christmas being taken away as a holiday because of 10% of the population celebrating Ramadan.  Can I get a collective HELL NO?  Because if a group of Christians went to the Middle East and demanded such a change… safe to say that it would NEVER happen.  When you go into another persons country, you have to have to HAVE to obey their rules, no matter how ridiculous they may seem.  If you truly feel that the country’s rules are against your moral standards, then DON’T GO THERE.  Show your disproval by not pumping your hard earned money into their economy.  Go somewhere else, somewhere where they respect you. Don’t go in all maverick-like, thinking you’re going to save the poor citizens with your minute amount of money that really, won’t ever make it into the hands of those who need it most.  

Anyway, this diplobrat has to get back to class. Happy Monday!

Kung Fu Carrie

•March 7, 2008 • 17 Comments

I may have mentioned before that in January of this year I joined a Kung Fu club here in lovely Ottawa.  Back in the 8th and 9th grade, and even a little bit of 10th grade, I was a member of another club in Ottawa that taught a less-known form of martial art; and got to the 6th level (out of 8).  I had to stop for various reasons – my ankle was giving out, my school was getting in the way, my dad couldn’t drive the 20+ minutes out there right after work, etc etc… but my love of martial arts never faltered through my off years.

Of course, looking at me you wouldn’t guess that I – a 5’2 124 lb girl would be interested in the sport; especially the re-surgance of it through programs like UFC’s Ultimate Fighter and the UFC’s octagon pay per view fights and whatnot.  Plus movies like “Never Back Down” (which I don’t mind watching since it’s the hot sweaty fit half nakedness of the men that also attracts me to the sport… ahem) has drawn back the attention to a semi- hidden art, mostly reserved for men.I say that because in the 3 months I’ve been a student at this club, I’ve seen 4 women; myself included.  Ladies; if you want to spend some time with the opposite sex, join a martial arts club.  Seriously.  Not only that, you will get a KILLER work out and some killer skills, pardon the pun.  Every time I finish a session – and they are intense, mind you – I feel on TOP of the world.  I am sweaty, I am gross, I am breathless, I am tired, I am thirsty, and I smell.  Of VICTORY.

I’m writing this to share the love I’ve found of learning a skill like martial arts.  It teaches discipline over the body and the mind, and of the mind over the body.  During the last 10 or so minutes of the class there are MANY times when I think that my heart will literally explode out of my chest but get trapped in my awesome lululemon bra and then my goodness what a mess that would be to clean up… but then I keep going from a positive thought in my head or a positive word from an instructor, a Sifu, or a classmate (again, probably a guy).  So I keep going – and keep getting better.

Who wouldn’t want to do that, not just in this class, but in life?

Plus every so often you move up to a coloured sash, and they are quite pretty.  But don’t tell my Sifu that… he’d kick my ass.

Happy Friday!

 

Gender Bender

•March 2, 2008 • 23 Comments

I was hoping for a boy.  A little boy – named George Michael – that I would take home the first weekend of May all bundled up with love and care on the flight home from Toronto.  A little boy who would be affectionate and cuddly (as owners have told me), intelligent and strong, amusing and charming, and nip and the ankles of any other male in his presence.

I was hoping for a boy.  I was planning for a boy.  I was ready for a boy.

And then I saw her.  Cute as a button, melt your heart ‘aaawww’, enough cute to last a lifetime.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be.  Little Houdini had to go to her forever home that very weekend, and no matter what I did I couldn’t convince Corporate to come to Ottawa, get his car, drive 1 hour outside of the GTA, meet Houdini, get Houdini, drive back to Ottawa, go home to Toronto.  Obviously… especially when he’s not 100% sold on a kitty, even one as cute as Houdini.  But his voice was tender when I asked ‘Can I keep her?’ so I knew I just had to wait a little longer.

Of course having a girl means having to think of a new name.  I wasn’t expecting a girl and as such I had no idea what to call her.  My brother Greg suggested still calling her George Michael, but he forgets that I’m not giving up on getting George Michael.  After spending a class debating girl names with my friend, let’s call her Nat, I left dejected wondering what exactly to name her; I mean, George Michael is such a brilliant name, how could I ever top that?

Of course, Nat thinks George Michael is a ridiculous name.  She commented – a fateful comment if ever one was made – that “Carrie, you’re so ridiculous that you’re probably going to end up naming her, like, Dany Heatley.”

She was right.

Everyone, without further adue, meet Danni (because she’s a girl!) Heatley.  She’s due to be mine in May 2008.

 danni.jpg

Spice Up Your Life!

•February 22, 2008 • 29 Comments

On Monday night my cousin – let’s call her April – and I are going to Toronto to see the Spice Girls last concert in Canada.  For one night she and I get to be 13 years old again and rock out to the familiar pop songs of yester-year and remember what it meant to have ‘girl power’.

Now, some of my friends have rolled their eyes at me, wondering why the hell I would shell out almost 200$ to see the Spice Girls – or Spice Moms, as my dad calls them – when I could very easily spend it on something else.  Well… there are a lot of reasons why I’ve chosen to go to the concert.  Not because of their vocal talents – oh no.  Between the 5 of them I’d say they’re average – but I really liked what they represented: friendship and girl power – which is a hell of a lot more than what 2000 onward singer-starlets have come to represent.

Let me elaborate; Britney Spears.  She is more of an icon to synthesizers and dancing.  Don’t get me wrong; she is an amazing performer and showgirl… but if given the chance to see her or any other concert; I’d go to any other concert.  And what is she saying to little girls?  “I’m not that innocent” – clearly.  Thanks for showing us that – pardon the pun.  Ahem. But please do get better; you definitely need some time to heal. Moving on.

Lindsay Lohan.  Umm… well she was good in Mean Girls.  ‘Rumors’ got sufficiently stuck in my head, but so did Ace of Bases ‘Cruel Summer’.   Ah fack – it’s back.  And I never heard anything else from her album – thank God. Anyway she’s more of a gong show than a performer, a tribute to those horror stories your parents used to tell you about what would happen if you didn’t eat your vegetables or listen to your mother… or if you DID listen to your mother if she was as much of a gong show as Lindsay’s.  You too need some time to heal, and as far away from the prying eyes of strangers the better.

Paris Hilton.  For the love of God woman; I don’t know who bought your album but I think your cut of your family’s fortune will be just enough to refund them plus interest.  I’m not even going to GO there girlfriend.  Don’t get me wrong; you’re beautiful and picture well – stick to modeling.  You’re fabulous at it.

Heidi Montag.  Holy shit.  First of all, who are you?  Second of all, why are you on the cover of so many magazines?  Did you win a Nobel Prize or something? Doubtful, but moving on. Third of all, who told you that you could sing?  They’re wrong.  Fourth of all, who told you that a music video consisted of you naked writhing on a beach was a good idea?  They too are wrong – unless you’re interested in another kind of video.  Hey, you have the body for it.

Sure, you could probably say the same things (and more) about the Spice Girls, but think about it.  They’re like my generations version of The Monkees, i.e. artists that didn’t take themselves seriously and just had fun, knowing that they weren’t bigger than Jesus or entitled to movie rolls, Oscar invites or reality shows that nowadays plug up the airwaves of TV, radio and the internet.  They know it, we know it, so let’s just party and have a good time.

I got to thinking about this yesterday when a co-worker asked her team lead about the music I was playing.  I was alone in my pod listening to the likes of Elizabeth Schwartzkopf and Rene Fleming – specifically her Song to the Moon (click it; it’s AMAZING) and my unsuspecting co-worker, let’s call her Kali, asked if the woman I was listening to was in pain.  Doubled over in laughter, my other co-worker, let’s call him Stan, and I explained to Kali that opera was in fact very challenging and that it is just her voice (especially Elizabeth), nothing else.  That started the conversation on how compared to other ‘artist’ of the day, you can truly appreciate (or not appreciate) the sound of a pure voice without lip-synching or resorting to nudity.

Sure, the artists I speak of are nowhere near as infamous famous as other artists aforementioned and not mentioned, with the exception of the Spice Girls, however I feel much more comfortable listening to, purchasing, and attending their music than anyone else.

Now if you’ll excuse me; I’m rockin out to some Metric vs Gorillaz!

Happy Friday!  

love, always

•February 19, 2008 • 30 Comments

It’s safe to say that until Corporate came back into my life I haven’t had the best luck with guys.  The first guy I dated, well we didn’t’ really date but he ended up ditching me at semi-formal to dance with the girl who eventually became his girlfriend while we were still an item… or not, honestly I don’t remember…. The second guy I dated – Duke – was amazing for the 2 months we were together… if he just didn’t keep pushing for sex or other sexually related actions! (Point of fact: I was 15). After Corporate and I separated for the first time Small-Town I dated turned out to be a possessive manipulative controlling stalker, even though I had seen him for 1.5 months.  The fifth guy I dated – Brunswick – turned out to be a possessive manipulative controlling lying stalker… hmm, didn’t I just say that?

So with time to think at my office this morning I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to significant others I am a very poor judge of character.  Perhaps I see something in these guys that isn’t really there; perhaps I see something in these guys that CAN be there and become disappointed when they fail to reach their potential and my expectations; perhaps I hold too high expectations and because of that I am bound to be disappointed; perhaps I’m even more gullible then I thought; perhaps I just suck; perhaps I attract more wrong guys than right guys, and when there is a choice between a right guy and a wrong guy I always go for the wrong guy; perhaps I still just suck.Problem is I know better.  I should know better, I know I know better; my body says it, my mind says it, my conscience says it, my FRIENDS say it, my family sometimes says it… and yet despite all the intelligence that surrounds me I STILL end up with the freaks, the assholes, the morons, the stalkers, the-you-name-it… basically the people in my life – be it co-workers, colleagues, family members, strangers… people that think they can walk into my life and shit all over me.

So what does a girl do?  The answer is obvious: she marries herself.

HEAR me out on this one;  this is about more than just getting a 485$ pair of Manolo Blahniks.  I was thinking about commitment in general lately… some people say that a relationship gets harder as it goes on, some people say it gets easier, some people say neither and refuse to categorize relationships as hard or easy and as a dynamic, ever changing entity that requires love, understanding and an open mind.  The people that fall into the first category never really make it into a committed relationship because they fear the work required to sustain it and if it doesn’t work out, they fear the failure… or in some cases they fear success.  The people that fall into the second category are the eternal optimists, but they are just so happy and excited and believe that the relationship should “just work” without effort and change… The people that fall into the third category need no explanation.

(Oh, and this isn’t based on research or statistics or other crap… just on the few observations I’ve made in my brief existence thus far. I’m probably totally wrong but hey; it’s just my blog.)

I then got to thinking about the effort I was putting into the relationship I have with myself.  I was re-reading a few private entries I had written what I had written when things between me and my boyfriend or me and my family weren’t too hot and thinking back “did I really believe this about myself?”.  Yes I admit I am notorious for being extra hard on myself and demanding more than I can sometimes handle, but seriously… there is a difference between putting yourself down and burying yourself into the ground.  And you know what?  I should probably stop doing that.  I really shouldn’t let someone as sick and twisted as Brunswick, as SmallTown, or hell as Greg sometimes (there are no ‘anonymous’ comments on this post) convince me that I am anything less than a decent person.

At the end of the day, there is me.  I don’t have to answer to anyone but me, with the exception of the universe seeing as how I’ve been answering to it for the past 4 months for some karmic boo-boo that I must have committed during a previous life… I’ll always have me simply because I can’t run away or hide from me, I’ve automatically got my back, I automatically take my side (.. well that’s not true but I’d like to change to when I’m right), I’ll always be there to take care of me…

But I write this NOT to downplay the importance of people in my life.  My friends ARE indeed the loves of my life; my family gave me life; my VERY best friends are my link to life and my link to the obvious when I’m being blind or stupid or both… this isn’t about taking a “me against the world mothafucka!” stance;  this is about taking a vow to not treat myself like shit.  Maybe then I’ll find someone who won’t step in and do that for me.

Hence the idea of marriage.  The first words that popped into my head when I was contemplating this was “to love, honour and obey..” even though I am sure it’s changed to “love, honour and cherish”… anyway the point is what better way to solidify a vow then to “marry” yourself to it?  And I’m not talking about one of those 5-years-tops Hollywood marriages; I’m stuck with me for life as it is, might as well set some ground rules.

I, Carrie, take me, to be myself. My constant friend, my faithful partner-in-crime and my love from this day forward.  In the presence of my INTERNET and real life friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and ESPECIALLY in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally irregardless of what stupid things you’ll do, what you (may accidentally) do to someone else, to support you in your goals instead of chew you out when you don’t always achieve them, to honour and respect you by sleeping, eating, exercising, socializing and having fun, to laugh with you and at you and cry with you, and to cherish you, ie actually LIKE you. I will trust your intuition and respect it, I will trust the opinions of my true friends, and I will never quit regardless of the obstacles I’m going to find myself and put myself in.  I promise to stop beating myself stupid when I don’t succeed, and I promise to celebrate properly when I do succeed. This I promise to you for as long as we live because damnit, we’re stuck together! 

So now the question remains… where should I register?

{Editors note: I will show you the ring I got myself – from ebay, no doubt! – that I wear on my right hand’s ring finger as soon as I find my cord to upload pictures from my camera.  Hey; the left hand says ‘we’, the right hand says ‘me’.} 

beauty and her beast

•February 15, 2008 • 21 Comments

The men in my life – past, present and future – have always looked at me funny when I confess that I am truly ignorant to the perceptions of others about who I am.  To me, I am just Carrie.  A 5’2, 120-something 20 something with brown hair and honey-brown eyes, olive skin and an athletic build.  Sure I’m top-heavy, but that’s neither here nor there.  I have small eyes and even smaller lips, braces on my tiny teeth and a voice to match the body; light, sweet, and with the potential to be piercingly high (think high E given the training).  I am as I am; not overly beautiful, but not ugly.  I think I’m average.

Here me out: it’s that damned bell curve statistic we learned about in research.  The majority of the population will fall in the bell portion – some -1 or some +1 of the standard deviation.  So it is for intelligence and other measurable skill.  You’ll always get those out-lyers who are either brilliant or not, talented beyond understanding or not, and the rest of us?  Well… we’re somewhere in the middle. And happily so; as our faults are just as beautiful as our strengths.But with beauty… it truly lies in the eyes of the beholder. While some may swoon over Angelina Jolie, others go ga-ga for Kate Bekinsale.  My girl friends simply adore Colin Farrell while I tend to ponder over Christian Bale.  Beauty is so subjective that I find it hard to rate or put on a scale, because each persons vision of beauty is so unique that it’s quite impossible to standardize such a personal choice.

And I don’t see anything wrong with that.

So do I think I’m pretty?  I don’t know; who’s asking?

Maybe it’s because I went to a school for 2 years where beauty lay in the make up bags of each girl; where I’d arrive for my early morning class to see the ‘hottest’ chicks applying their faces since 7:00 am.  Where those same girls wouldn’t even acknowledge your existence and when they did … boy did you ever feel like an outsider; like you were below the dirt on their 200$ shoes.

Maybe because when I was 9-12 I had ezcema on my face from October until April and all of my classmates, even my teachers, treated me like a monster.  It was right along my lips, it was red, itchy, swollen, and my parents made me put vaseline to ‘treat’ it, and assumed that it was my fault for licking my lips when they were dry.  Now we know that ezcema is genetic/idiopathic and not at all related, and it’s been over 3 years since my last flare-up, but those memories are still burned in my mind and my soul – so far that when I see people looking at me for extended periods of time my thoughts automatically go to ‘what’s on my face’ as my hand reaches for my lips.

 Maybe because of all that… for the longest time I thought I was ugly.  And not ugly in the cute sense, like Ugly Betty. Truly, honestly,  ridiculously ugly.  The kind you read about in books of haunted souls and lonely lives lost to society’s cruel intentions.  The kind that follows you around for the rest of your life.

So when I get solicited by men, like The American, the Fireman (who gave me his number on a wedge; sketchy!), the Giant (I swear he is 6’7; I have to crane my neck to look at him!), the Tech-Support man, and other random strangers I meet in my day-to-day life; I’m confused as fuck.  And when my friends have to point it out to me that ‘he likes you, I’m even more confused.   My first response?  “What? No…”Like it doesn’t make sense.  Like they’re wrong.  Like they don’t know what they are talking about.  Like they are talking about someone else.

Corporate finds this both frustrating and amusing.  Frustrating in the fact that I don’t realize that I am being hit on (but neither does he so we’re even) because I don’t see myself the way he sees me.  My defense?  Not every man in the world is attracted to me.  And it’s true.  I once had a friend who thought every man who looked at her wanted her; this may be true or this may not be true; I don’t know.  And that is the whole point, isn’t it?   We don’t ever really know what goes on in someone else’s head, let alone a strangers. So just because a man talks to me doesn’t mean he wants in my pants.  Maybe he just wants directions.

I know that this is an inner beast I’ll have to struggle with from time to time.  But I don’t think that it’s all bad.  I’d hate to become one of those girls I described above, or to lose myself in complete and utter self-adoration that gorgeous people often fall into.  Because I am not one of them; I am just me. 

And that’s the way I like it.