Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Revisiting Weird.

My friend Ian from 'Or So I Thought' tagged me with a list to do.

Those of you have read my blog for a while know that I did a blog dedicated to the fact that I'm NOT weird.


I'm re-thinking that.

So here's something weird.

1) My family had no phone while I was a child/teenager. How is it possible that I survived, you may be asking yourself. Sheer luck. Mind, that wasn't exactly something that I did that was/is strange. But it sure explains a lot of things about me, now doesn't it!

Here's two things that are weird about me (though I prefer 'quirky') and they both pertain to my car.

2) I have both a mini-disco ball AND a skull and crossbones air freshener hanging from my rear view mirror.

Here is the pictorial evidence:

I can explain the skull and crossbones. I can't explain the disco ball.

3) I have a menagerie of small rubber animals also in my car. This study in wildlife (picture shown) includes 3 tiger cubs (1 is missing from the picture at this time due to the fact that I had it on my person and was carrying it around. Because I am 7.) a bat and a lizard. And there used to be a playmobile vampire in there too. Oh. And a very small rock.

Okay. So I'm half way there.


4) I can eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks, nay, months without tiring of it. Recently it 's been an English muffin with a scrape of peanut butter and a banana. And a cup of tea. Of course.

5) I like transformers. Because I am still 7. Again, I have pictorial evidence of a mangled transformer that I bought for myself and then failed to correctly 'transform'. Please say hello to 'Snarl' the two headed, pigeon toed autobot.
Don't laugh. He's sensitive.

AND! At last!
6) whew! I didn't think I'd make it this far. But I have to tell you, I'm really scraping the bottom of the barrel here.
How bout this.
I've met many very famous people over the years and I don't have a single autograph to show for it.
I won't ask for one.
In fact, I generally introduce myself and ask them their name. Just to see what kind of reaction I'll get.
Interestingly, none of them ever rolled their eyes and asked me what rock I just emerged from under.
And that's my list. I'm tagging Spider Girl, Kimber and Pol. If they include their friendship with me as one of their 'weird' things, I'd be flattered. (I think.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pardon me while I lose my mind.

I went for a half an hour walk at lunch at came back to work a whole different person.

I have no clue who I am.

What an indescribable feeling; there's a dream-like quality to my life at this moment that I just can't quite bring into focus.

The edges are blurry and uncertain.

Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if I suddenly found myself on a ocean bound frigate, astride a great black horse galloping around the deck.
I would, of course, still be answering a phone trying to explain to someone named Pete that the door into summer doesn't really exist.

Oops! Where was I.

For one thing, this job I find myself at perplexes me.

How the hell did I get here?
It feels like an older woman named Hazel or Sally or perhaps Mavis should be sitting where I'm sitting, looking at the bright yellow tulips and occasionally staring at the computer screen with a slightly concerned look on her kindly face.

I am sure I don't know how I got here in her place.
Must be a mistake in human resources or something.
I'll have to look into that.

It's as if the last thing I remember was doing a brake stand at the local gas station in my old Charger when I was 17, then suddenly being woken up to life as an adult in an adult job doing adult things.
Paying car insurance, eating healthy foods...saving for the 'future'.
Exercising regularly.


I didn't suddenly just 'grow up' did I?
I thought that this was supposed to be gradual thing! I wanted to have time to get used to the idea.
Nobody mentioned to me that my 'adulthood' would occur at 12:38pm on a Thursday in late January!
What a surreal feeling!

Well, perhaps I'll wake up now and find myself 17 years old, wondering where my life is going to take me.

On the other hand, it could just be the fresh air going to my head.
During my sleep hazed morning today, I accidentally slid my work pants on without undoing them first.
Drycleaner must have stretched them out.
Tsk tsk.
Guess I'll have to speak to him about that!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I could smell it in the air today...spring!

As early as it is, the scent of warm earth was wafting about on the breeze today.
And my snowdrops have emerged!
Hard to imagine how such a delicate flower finds the strength to emerge in the middle of winter, but they do, and boy-howdy am I ever glad for it.
To my mind, they're the harbingers of a new season, even if it does mean another 3 months of slogging rain.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Camille's Restaurant - Victoria

This is what I had for dinner on Saturday!

Lemon, ginger and prawn bisque - thick, rich delicately flavored with an intriguing heat to it...there was a oil drizzled over which was the source of the heat but I forgot to ask exactly what it was

Warm duck confit salad (baby organic greens, sweet peppers, mandarins, sesame citrus vinaigrette - I LOVE duck. And I love it in tender little slices dressed with citrus and nestled on fresh greens

Rack of venison with a Sambaar spice rub, red wine jus, curried potato and spinach ragout, orange mint and mango relish. - This was by far one of the best pieces of meat that I have had. I hate to get all cliche about it, but it simply melted in the mouth. The spice added a depth of flavour without overwhelming the meat, and the meat was cooked as per the chef's recommendation...rare

Cheese plate - Natural Pastures Comox Camembert, Blue D'Auvergne, Parmigianno Reggiano, dried fruit brioche (balsamic vinegar reduction) - What a nice 'in-between dish', just a few bitefuls of very good cheese. The Blue D'Auvergne was wonderful; creamy and pungent. The flavour just filled the mouth, but didn't demolish the palate in the way that a too heavy blue can do

Burnt honey ice cream served with tulle cookies and fresh fruit - This was an interesting ice cream. It wasn't served 'freezing', so the layers of flavour really had a chance to show off. The honey was predominant, but underneath was a carmel taste (the 'burnt' aspect) I don't love ice cream, but it was a small portion and so unusually flavoured that I ate it all up happily

Each dish was paired with a wine from British Columbia, except for the port with dessert, which was Australian (and it was fabulous!).

What a great way to experience a new restaurant at it's finest.
By selecting the 'tasting menu', you hand over your heart (and paycheck sometimes!) to the chef and let him feed you.
At a great restaurant like Camille's, you're guaranteed to eat well and for a long time. WhatHisFace and I sat at dinner for two and a half hours of relaxed, delicious luxury.
Worth every penny.

One of the other nice things about this restaurant is the fact that they are seasonally inspired; the waiter said that their menu changes as much as once a week, as well.
I really can't wait to see what their spring offerings entail!

(And by spring I shall have saved enough money to go back!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Heavy shoes.

This going to the gym regularly (and right now, vying for precious gym equipment...what a bunch of treadmill vultures we are at this time of the year!) and eating healthy, nutritious foods in correctly sized portions certainly has it's draw backs.

One of these drawbacks is that I haven't lost a single pound.
Not a one.
In fact, I seem to be gaining them willy-nilly! ('Willy-nilly'. If anyone can tell me where that little phrase derives from I'd be mightily impressed!)

Squinting at the scale out of one eye and hoping that the last 8 is actually a 1 doesn't seem to be working very well for me at all.
Even subtracting the required 10* lbs** to allow for clothing weight doesn't seem to help in the way I wish it would, and I doubt very much that the gym would encourage me to strip down to get a more accurate reading.
(I don't own a bathroom scale. It saves scads of money. Just think of all the money I've saved by not having to continually repair the bathroom window each time I fling the scale through it! Always thinking ahead, I am.)

Anyway, this is annoying and distressful and counter productive and makes me want to throw my hands up in despair but I can't because my arms are sooo stiff and sore from lifting the heavy heavy weights eleventy times in a row.

My clothes no longer fit me properly. Skirts threaten to slip off...jeans hang in unattractive sags.
Bloody hell! I can't afford a new wardrobe!
(Guess I should have thought of this little side affect before I let Spider Girl drag me to the gym that gray day last November.)

So to sum up:
- I continue to weigh the same, if not more, despite frequent excursions to the torture cham...gym. To the gym.
- Am now financially strapped due to new clothing purchases to fit a body that, while it hasn't lost any weight, seems to be going through some sort of unorganized metamorphosis.


Oh! And I thought quitting smoking was a good idea too, until I learned that people who smoke are less susceptible to Parkinson's. What if I get Parkinson's!?! Gosh, then I'll regret quitting smoking, won't I!
(Funny, I was never that concerned about Parkinson's before.)

So this is how my future looks, huh?
I'll be this weight forever, dressed in ill-fitting clothes 'cus I can't afford to buy new ones AND I'll be shaking uncontrollably.

And I signed UP for this?

Actually, I don't recall signing anything...not even a waiver. (Really, a gym should make you sign a waiver. They're so susceptible to litigation, don't you think? In fact, I think I feel a definate but undefined training injury caused by facility carelessness coming on right. now.)

I guess I could lapse back into sloth and corpulence. (mmm, corpulence)
But the last drawback of all this damned exercising is that part of me actually feels good about doing it.

Bring on the endorphins...I'm gonna need 'em!

*It is 10lbs, right?
I've been sorely tempted to allow for 12 or even 15lbs as I believe that my running shoes are tragically heavy.

**Yes. I use pounds, despite living in a metric country. I also use inches, feet and miles. Buck the system, I say!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ah. Sweet, sweet dreams.

My subconscious self certainly likes to mess with my mind.

Here, for instance, is a little message whispered into my ear during a battle * scene from my dreams last night:

"Better to go quickly than to die slowly in some friends bathroom."


Thanks, brain, for that warm and delightful thought delivered to me as I slumbered.
I surely needed to be reminded not to die in any of my friends' bathrooms, and instead ought to try opting for a quick death.
On a battlefield, say.


*In truth, it was more of a skirmish than a full-blown battle.
We were preparing for a siege when the first wave of invaders hit.
Some of the enemy managed to make it through our first line of defense...squeezing through as our huge metal gates crashed shut.
It was at this point, with enemy forces rounding the corner, that the man in charge bellowed, "Ah, I can feel it in my gut this is the right thing." Then he dropped his voice to a whisper as he leaned toward my ear, "Better to go quickly...."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Gosh, I'm SO glad to talk to you!"

In the course of my work day today, I just happened to speak to someone that I haven't talked to for years.

She and her friends been my (and my friends) mortal enemies since elementary school.
The constant humiliation only ceased, I suspect, because grade 12 came and went and they no longer had easy access to us due to life moving on.

And of course, life did move on.

I left and moved far away for years; my other friends married and moved and grew up and matured as we are all want to do.

And then today:

"Hi. This is Tai calling from MenWearingTies Inc. I'm trying to get some information on community plans, is there anything available?" I asked.

"Sure, I can e-mail you the updated version if you like, what's your e-mail address?" She replied.

"It's Tai (insert last name here)@MenWearingTies.com" I answered.

"Did you go to (insert name of small town where we grew up)?" I can hear her sound surprised at the other end of the line.

"Yes. Is this Becky Smith?" I sort of knew that she worked where I was calling, but I didn't at all suspect that I would have to talk with her.

So, the surprise 're-union' concluded with a 5 minute catch up on the last 15 years of our lives and a sweet, "Take care" at the end of the conversation.

It just gives me the willies.

I'm all for moving on and growing up and getting better with age, but some of the stuff from back then feels less than 'resolved'.
The fakeness of the congenial inquiries bothered me.
We didn't like each other back then, and in between now and then there has been no occasion where we re-connected on a friendly level. *

I felt deceitful and disconnected as I chatted with her.
I can still feel my own sticky smile pulling uncomfortably back from my teeth while listening to her speak about the home she and her husband had built.

I wonder if she was sneering and laughing at me from the other end of the phone line.

Probably not.

But 12 year old Tai still cringes at the thought.

* I had to come back and add something, lest I be misunderstood.
I don't dislike who she is today, I don't even know her.
But truth be told though, I think that even should the opportunity arise, I wouldn't want to engage her (or any of them) in friendship as adults.
The old playing ground is too uneven and sullied.

Forgive and forget, certainly.
But that doesn't mean I have to play with them any more.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Books and birds and time for more coffee.

I've been a slightly less than proficient blogger these past days, and for that I do apologize.

Hopefully, I have a valid set of excuses...the least of which isn't my reading list.

I have (and I truly mean this literally) a stack up to my kneecaps of books that are just demanding my attention.
Shall I list them?
Oh, alright...just because you asked!

"The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History" - Stephen Jay Gould

"War" - Gwynne Dyer (I'm right in the middle of this book and I'm finding it very well written and very interesting. Mr. Dyer doesn't seem to be overly fond of war, nor does he argue against it; instead, he offers an intriguing history of why war exists today in the manner that it does.)

"Night Watch" - Sergei Lukyanenko

"Guns, Germs, and Steel" - Jared Diamond (I read one of his other books, "Collapse", and it was riveting. He has an ability to take a subject and paint it in such a manner that even the layperson can relate to and understand the concepts and principles in an informed and intelligent manner.)

"The Kingdom of the Cults" - Walter Martin

"Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths" - Karen Armstrong

"Time Lord" - Clark Blaise (This looks very intriguing! All about a Candian who came up with the concept of universal time zones back in 1884.)

"The Perfect Heresy" - Stephen O'Shea

"Dinosaur in a Haystack" - Stephen Jay Gould

"Steal This Book" - Abbie Hoffman (I read this when I was about 16. I probably shouldn't have. I suspect it's worth reading again just because I am twice that age now!)

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" - Bill Bryson (Bill Bryson. What can one say. He's funny, entertaining, intelligent, substantial and informed. He writes great books.)

"Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology" - Kenneth L. Feder

"The Head of God: The Lost Treasures of the Templars" - Keith Laidler

"House of Stairs" - William Sleator (This is another book I read when I was in my mid-teens. I remember it as being rather 'anti-teen'. While the premise is not really plausible, it seemed terribly disturbing given how I felt about adults at the time!)

"On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years" - Stevie Cameron (Who doesn't love a little Canadian muckraking now and then!)

Most of these books I borrowed from my dad.
He has a huge and varied collection of books; I rather suspect that he would like me to read them all in one go!

When I visit, we sit and talk for hours over several cups of (very) strong coffee and watch the Chickadees and Stellar Jays at his bird feeder vying for the peanut butter he's scraped into the cut away bottom of a milk container.

As the afternoon/evening winds on, and the more topics we discuss, the bigger the stack of reference books grows in front of me.

In the end, I generally have 20 or more books to choose from and I must restrain myself.
My car can only sustain so much extra weight, and hardcover books are very heavy.

These kind of afternoons are good.
The last time I was there, the snow was drifting down past the kitchen window; I could hear the church bells ringing from a few blocks away, all clouded and dense sounding because of the heavy snow dampening the air.

My dad turned the front burner of the stove on and stood warming his hands as we discussed modern political agendas and viewed pictures of the skulls of caribou, moose and deer whose antlers clashed together in an unrelenting tangle until death.

Whatever our discusion, there are books to be had. I think we each find comfort in the conversation and the fact that we have our books to back us up and fortify us.

So that's where I am.
My stack of books calls.