A Stitch in Time

First off, I’m kind of ashamed of myself. It’s been a bloody long time since I even sat down with the intention to write. I’m so sorry to my precious little bloggy. It’s terrible, I’ve been neglecting you again. But it’s hurting me more than it’s hurting you, believe me. And, even worse still, I’ve been neglecting all of my wonderful blogging chums who I love and adore ever more. I’m sorry dudes! I haven’t been around making my usual cheeky comments on all of your wonderful posts. I’m sorry. I’m a self-involved asshole. Send R.O.T.O.R. to collect on my bounty. And don’t let the execution be a swift one, because I certainly don’t deserve it.

I miss you guys. A lot.

For a long while the best part of my day was connecting over all of our posts. Logging on and having a laugh at EI’s latest cinematic adventure or another one of Brian’s witty comments. I don’t even know who T9 has been crushing on these days, or what Zoe has been reading. Is Mikey still churning out those hilarious podcasts? And Dee, that gentleman across the pond who makes me smile, I miss being enlightened and delighted by your posts. I haven’t been around so much, but trust me when I say that you are all in my heart and thoughts every day.

I don’t want to make excuses for my absence, so let’s just call this an explanation and hope it charming enough that you’ll let it slide, just this one time. There just isn’t enough time, like ever. I have no idea how I’m keeping my head above water these days. It feels like I’m doing a desperate doggy-paddle in the middle of the ocean, no shoreline in sight and I’m gulping down more and more water as I struggle to stay afloat. But I keep struggling, because I’m not ready to give up yet, even though it’s so very very tempting some days.

In short: I’m working like a dog, I’m deep into the wedding planning, I’m trying to keep up with my social life, and there’s just no goddamn time to excel at everything all at once. But I want to, so desperately. I’m a shitty juggler, but there’s a big part of me that just belligerently refuses to accept that. With so much on the go, some aspect of my life was bound to suffer. So blogging and writing have taken this hit. And it’s funny, because one of the things that I do to stay sane when my life is a hectic disaster is write. It helps me find my way. I write to escape. I write for reprieve. I write because it feels good and it makes me whole.

I love writing. It matters and it makes a difference in my life. But if I’m being totally honest here, there has also been a major shift in my creative focus these past months and that will certainly shoulder some of this blame. I’ve been escaping all of my stresses with something else, something other than writing. A demanding an insatiable hobby, a jealous and possessive new mistress in my life. I’ve been doing an absolute fuckload of embroidery projects. Yep, you read that right. In the spare time that I do have for creative pursuits I’ve been putting the thread to the needle like a badass motherfucker and I’ve been stitching until my fingers are throbbing sore.

…and it’s been a super fun time.

I fucking love embroidery. There, I said it. But I do still love writing, too.

I’m creative and I’m zany. My imagination is an ogre. I have to focus it on something to survive, my very life depends on it. Sometimes I feel like I’ll die if I don’t find something for the ogre to do. She’ll crumple my cranium and toss it in the bin like an old grocery list if I don’t. I am compelled to create. Something, anything. A piece of writing, a kitschy craft, a silly doodle, making a killer mix CD, or even the shitty ass job I do of wrapping gifts. All just a bunch of ways that I package little bits of my imagination and send them out into the world so I can live. Really live.

The embroidery thing is something my friend The Magpie showed me. Back in the spring, she sent me a wonderful surprise birthday package and it was filled with supplies to jump-start this new hobby.

embroidery supplies

I was excited, but a little too busy to dig into them until the summer. That’s when this embroidery thing really took off. I started out small, trying something simple at first. A little gift for my darling Joce-force.

star wars embroidery

Then, inspired by those wicked pillowcases The Magpie made me last Christmas, I made myself an awesome little robot buddy. He’s since been framed and now lives on my desk at work.

robot and dog

And then, because I really wanted thank The Magpie for showing me this awesome new hobby, and because I wanted to up the ante a little with my newly evolving skills, I made her a birthday gift.

cheeseburger

It took a lot of time, and my craft still wasn’t perfect. But I loved making this weird little cheeseburger for her. I did it on a canvas, another great inspiration from The Magpie herself.

cheeseburger again

And then when that was done, I was feeling so confident and proud of myself that I decided I was really going to put my new-found embroidery skills to the test. I decided to stitch all of the table numbers for my wedding!

I found some beautiful fabric, bought a bunch of frames to put the finished pieces into, and then got to work.

I spent an entire long weekend stitching tirelessly to get them done.

my table numbers

number 8

nine nine nine nine

It was so much work, but I poured my whole self into every single one. And I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

And now I’m tackling another canvas project, larger scale than the last. The cheeseburger for my friend was an 8 x 8 and this one is a 12 x 12, which is much more challenging. I can’t stitch at this one for very long periods of time because my hand and arm ache if I do it for too long.

peacock

But it is really coming along, slowly but surely. I think I’m going to raffle this piece off at our stag ‘n’ doe party next month. People like that sort of thing, right? They’d want to spend a bunch of money trying to take this bad boy home, yeah? I hope so. Otherwise all of that aching has been in vain.

Looking back over all of these projects, I can really see how much I’ve improved since I started a few months ago. Persistence goes a long way. Also, looking back on how I’ve spent my creative energies this past summer I feel really happy. Because even though I haven’t been writing I’ve still been channeling my creativity somehow. I might be stressed as fuck at work and at home, but I do have an outlet for all of it. I’m not going to suddenly and unexpectedly implode because of all the pent-up pressures. I haven’t been letting them pent. I’ve been releasing my daily anguish in steady streams through my relentless embroidery projects.

So know this, dear readers and friends: Even though I haven’t been around a whole lot lately, I’m still here. I’m still insane. And I’m still every bit as zany and ridiculous as I ever was.

And I’ve still got lots of writing in me yet. My creative focus is just temporarily shifted. Sometimes there are words in my heart just dying to be put to page, and other times there’s a vision in my head that only the needle and thread can bring to life.

It’s hard to strike a comfortable balance sometimes. All summer long I was feeling really fucked up and stressed out. And maybe my feelings were just too tedious to try to pin down. I’m just glad that I’ve been given a really frigging rad alternative means of expressing myself. It helped a lot, especially during all those times this summer when writing just wouldn’t do.

Embroidery rules!

The Strongest Man in the Whole Wide World

I’ve always known that my dad is strong. All dads are. Every dad is the strongest man in the world to their kids when they’re young. He can lift you right up over his head and everything! It makes you laugh, it makes you squeal, and you feel light as a feather, swooping through the air in his powerful grasp. It’s a wonderful, but fleeting feeling. You’ve got to come down eventually, he can’t hold you up forever. But he is still the strongest man in the whole wide world. Until one day when he isn’t…

Eventually, you get older and you realize that it’s just your own silly little misbelief. But that’s okay. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t literally the strongest man in the whole wide world, he’s your dad and he’s still plenty strong for you. He might not be able to lift you right up over his head anymore, you’re too old for that now anyways, but you’ll always cherish those days when he could.

Dad and I, back when I was at the perfect weight to be hoisted up over his head

Dad and I, back when I was at the perfect weight to be hoisted up over his head

I got to watch my dad compete in a power-lifting competition this weekend, and I felt an overwhelming pang of nostalgia for those days when I was young and my dad was undoubtedly the strongest man in the whole wide world. Where did all of that time go? How did it slip away so quickly? Somehow, during that frantic dash to adulthood, I’d forgotten all about what it was like to believe in Dad. But thankfully for me, he’s constantly fanning the flames of belief in my heart, even when I’m out playing “adulthood” and am too caught up in myself to notice.

My dad has always been into weight training, he started doing it back in the ’70’s when he was only sixteen years old and it became a lifelong passion of his. You wouldn’t know it to look at his average height and build, but he’s a very powerful man. He’s totally unassuming in that regard. And he loves pouncing on an opportunity to show someone what he can really do with a set of weights. He’s used to being grossly underestimated by those that so wrongly assume that only “built” or “big” men can lift anything remotely impressive. When I tell people that my dad is a power-lifter they immediately ask me how big he is or they’ll remark that he must be HUGE. But power doesn’t come from having stupidly gigantic muscles. It comes from an unyielding will to conquer the impossible and a relentless pursuit of ever greater challenges.

a very old photo of my dad on his journey to greatness

a very old photo of my dad while on his journey to greatness

Although power-lifting has been a great passion of his for many years, he only recently started competing. He’s been competing for a few years now, but I’d never had the opportunity to go and see him in competition until now. And though I’m quite familiar with what my dad can do–I’ve seen him lift mind-boggling amounts of weight while growing up–he totally floored me. At 57 years old he was the oldest man in the competition by a mile. All of the other competitors were anywhere from 20 to 30 years younger than him. But that didn’t faze him one bit, it never does.

My dad, showing off the deadlift tattoo that I drew for him over ten years ago

My dad, suited up and showing off the deadlift tattoo that I drew for him over ten years ago

Dad gets out there and pushes all of the bullshit preconceived notions about his age and his build completely out of his mind. His only thought is about the lift. I watched as he stepped up to the bar, all determination and focus. I watched with unbearable pride as he shattered every expectation with every successful lift. And just like that, I believed again. I never stopped believing, I just forgot that you have to keep doing it if you want to keep the magic alive.

A power-lifting competition comprises three different lifts: the squat, the bench, and the deadlift. Each competitor will get three attempts at each lift, with the weight increasing progressively for each lift. My dad’s favourite lift is the deadlift. The announcer at the competition stated that it was her favourite too, because “it’s an act of defiance”. Defying odds and defying gravity. For his final lift of the day, my dad did a deadlift of an astounding 402 pounds. I know that’s not a record and it’s not the most that anyone will ever lift. But in that final moment when he dug into every last reserve of strength and snapped the weight into position, my dad was the strongest man in the whole wide world again.

My dad is a remarkable man and I admire him. He’s inspiring and he’s brave and he’s amazing. And I get to have all of the joy in telling people that he’s MY dad. I’m going to hold on to my silly little misbelief awhile longer yet and cherish it. He’s earned it.

My dad is the strongest man in the whole wide world. Everything is exactly as it should be.

Another Year of Awesome!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my beloved blog, Smashing Through Life!

It's a snake in a party fez!

It’s a snake in a party fez!

First off, welcome back Vincent the Viper, who proudly celebrated last year’s blog birthday with me while wearing a more traditional party hat. This year, Vincent is sporting a decidedly flamboyant party fez instead and I think he looks fabulous. During more lackadaisical times, my friend The Magpie and I entertained the notion of starting a business manufacturing and selling one-of-a-kind hats for fake snakes, but then real life got a lot more interesting in a hurry and we’ve since shelved that idea for the time being. Maybe we’ll come back to it again, when we’ve got some decent seed money pulled together. But anyways, that’s not what we’re here for today.

IT’S MY BLOG BIRTHDAY AND I’M REALLY FUCKING EXCITED ABOUT IT!

That’s why we’re here. Keep yourself on point, girl.

A lot can happen in a year, and I’m not saying that to be cliché. A lot really did happen to me in this past year. Some good, some bad, and some ugly too. I made some stunning 3-pointers, but I also spent a lot of time warming the bench, too. I genuinely enjoy looking back over a specific period of time and reflecting on the things that have happened in my life. It’s good for me, and it motivates me to keep reaching ever higher. I believe that my personal and professional development should never reach a plateau; I won’t let that happen. Not while I’m at the helm. If I’m learning and challenging myself on a consistent basis, then I’m growing and becoming a better me all the time. There is always room for improvement, and I’ve got an insatiable hunger for more. I’m always so eager to keep forging ahead, so it helps to look back once in a while. I need to make sure that I’m cutting the right path. That I’m living the life I’ve always wanted.

This blog’s mission, initially, was to act as an outlet for my frustrations and disappointments. It was an exercise in perpetual positivity. It was a place of refuge, an altar of optimism at which I could worship when I needed it the most. I was in a very dark place when it began, and this blog was my lifeline. It was a connection to the trademark brightness within, the brightness I’ve always been known for, but which was dimming more and more every day at an alarming rate. But it has since evolved, the aim has shifted. I don’t need to search for the positives in my life quite so desperately anymore because I’m surrounded by them.

This blog is continually evolving, just like me, and I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve made together so far. It’s a place where I can chronicle my life, my adventures, and my many dreams in the most positive terms possible.

So, what have I done this year that’s so whoop-de-fucking-doo great, you ask? I’ll tell you!

Smash’s Top 5 Awesomes This Year

1.) I went on the vacation of a lifetime

I've never been this happy to be awake at 6:30am in my life

I’ve never been this happy to be awake at 6:30am in my life

D and I dropped everything and went on our first ever vacation together. And we made it memorable as hell by saving up the extra bucks and flying the extra miles to get ourselves a slice of Hawaii. It was unreal! The food, the adventures, the beach, the ocean, the people, the sites. We loved every minute of it. Going all out for our first trip together was definitely the right call.

2.) I Got Engaged (and set the date, too!)

 An old shot, from about 5 years ago

An old shot, from about 5 years ago. Super Retro Disco Party, obviously.

D and I have been together a long time. We’re coming up on eight years this summer, if you can believe it. I loved him from the first moment I drunkenly gazed into his sweet blue eyes, and there was never any doubt. But there was never any rush to get to the paperwork either, and he caught me completely unawares when he proposed during our aforementioned vacation. I tease him sometimes about being totally devoid of emotion, but he really surprised me that time. I don’t even question this decision at all. We go together.

3.) I Won Shitfest 2013: Fall

I fuckin' love this trophy!

I fuckin’ love this trophy!

Some of you will remember my graceful acceptance of the award from this wonderful post that our dear friend, The IPC, allowed me to share with you on his site. I don’t write a movie blog, but I love movies so I read a lot of movie blogs. And I love the movie blogging community that I’ve stumbled into on WordPress. I loved reading the posts that were entered in the first Shitfest, and when a fall fest was announced I knew I had to get involved this time. I knew a shitty movie that I could write about. A real fucking shitty movie. I just wanted to have some fun, and it proved to be an experience that I will cherish forever. I’ve got the trophy to prove it.

4.) I Started a New Blog

The Kingdom

I miss writing essays. I miss feeling scholarly. I long for my undergrad, on rainy days mostly. So I decided to start a blog to review the works of Stephen King, to sort of keep in touch with that part of myself that so loved turning in assignments. I’m just hanging out over there, doing book reports basically. But it’s a fun hobby, and I enjoy it. I’m not rolling out the reviews quite as quickly as when I first started the blog, but I am still trucking along and reviews get posted at least once a month. It’s a way for me to explore other facets of my writing, too, and that’s important to me.

And finally, saving the biggest for last…

5.) I Got Promoted

Always the consummate professional, jumping on the bed in my suite during a work trip 3 years ago

Always the consummate professional, that’s me jumping on the bed in my suite during a work trip 3 years ago

I’ve been waiting for this a long time. It was an exciting, albeit painful journey at times, but I’m finally moving in the direction that I want to go. I had never realized how deeply ambitious I was until I joined the workforce. Procrastination and indifference were my MO whenever I pondered that almighty “What are you going to do when you grow up?” question that seems to haunt us from birth. But once I started carving out my own way in the world, I found myself immediately hooked on ambition. It’s a heady device, man. I made the choice to significantly alter my career path a couple of years ago, and it’s all starting to come together now. The sky really is the limit, and I thoroughly enjoy reaching for it with all of my might. I’ve got plans and ideas aplenty, and I’m going to make a splash in a big way. Greatness abounds, when you’re willing to work hard for it. I love how it feels to earn my living, and being rewarded professionally for my efforts feels divine.

I’m not kidding around, you guys. I truly am kicking the shit out of life every day. And I hope to continue doing so, right here on this bizarre little blog of mine, for a long while yet.

Here’s to yet another year of awesome. Cheers!

Just Like Phoebe Caulfield Would

I love my desk. I just love it so much for what it is and how it makes me feel. I’ve been madly in love with it ever since I saved it from impending landfill doom six years ago…

Just another muggy summer afternoon. The air was thick with humidity and I could feel beads of sweat rolling down my back as I walked home from the bus stop. I was living at home with my parents again for the summer, working the same crummy minimum wage job at the salon. Finishing a rare morning shift–usually I had to work nights and close the joint up–I was looking forward to an evening unburdened by that responsibility. As I walked home, pondering possible ways to spend my free time that night, I noticed a big brown rectangle up ahead. Something past it’s prime that had been put out to curb, but I couldn’t make out what it was. I suspected an old dining room table, but couldn’t be sure. I kept walking toward my house, I’d be able to see it more clearly once I got close. Sure enough, it turned out to be a desk. Just sitting on the curb in front of a house up the street from ours.

I needed a desk for my room, so maybe I could have this one. I tossed my backpack on our front lawn and wandered up the street to check it out. I wasn’t getting my hopes up, furniture that’s been sent to the curb is usually busted, disgusting, or horribly outdated. But once in a while you can rummage something good up at the curb, and it was in my broke student nature at the time to salvage things instead of buy them if I could. So, maybe it would be worth a look.

My jaw-dropped and my heart fluttered in breathless unity when I finally got a good look at it. It was absolutely perfect in every way. Not perfect in the pristine sense; I saw its perfection in both its remarkable size and in my immediate attraction to it. It had a couple of minor dings, but that was fine by me. Those little scratches and bumps only lent it more appeal. My eyes gorged themselves on the enormous fake wood panelled monstrosity before me. It was everything I’d always dreamed of in a desk. Ever since the first time I read The Catcher in the Rye I dreamed of having a ludicrously big desk, just like Phoebe Caulfield did. So I could spread out.

I must have stood there marvelling at it for a full five minutes before my brain kicked into overdrive. A million fragments of thought, all revolving around the desk, raced around inside my head: OMG! Desk. Need desk. Good desk. Want desk. Have to get desk. Fuckin’ great desk, man. DESK!

I hurried home, running down the street like a maniac. I burst through the front door, frantically looking for someone to help with the heavy lifting. I knew I’d never be able to cart a desk this big home all by myself, no matter how determined I was. I needed more muscle. My step-dad was at work and my mom was out shopping with my youngest siblings in tow. The only person home was my sister Erika. At four-foot-eleven and weighing in at 90 pounds soaking wet, she just wasn’t enough muscle for the job. I grabbed the phone and called our friend Phil who lived close by, hoping desperately that he was home. Phil is big and strong, the right kind of fellow for this sort of job. As luck would have it, he was home. I begged him to rush over and help immediately. And being the good friend that he is, he did. With a handy helper solidified, I wasted no time getting back across the street to guard my new treasure. Because, you know, clearly I have impeccable taste when it comes to curb-side cast-offs and an item of such unique beauty is bound ensnare the hearts of a thousand greedy rivals. It was a situation requiring extreme action, get or get got.

I sat on the desk, guarding it jealously and waiting for Phil, he would be along soon. And then all of my wildest desk-related dreams could come true.

It was gruelling work, but together we managed to manoeuvre the desk across the street, up the driveway and into my room. It was heavy and awkward, like trying to carry a piece of Stonehenge home. A desk from the days of yore, when backbreaking weight guaranteed the buyer quality and longevity. No lightweight modern bullshit here. This desk is a wood panelled boulder capable of withstanding a nuclear blast and requiring no less than three people to move it. Well, maybe two exceptionally strapping people could manage. Like Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But then you’d have to buy them pizza for helping with the move, and they can eat a lot of pizza. But you don’t like to share… Ah well, it was never meant to be.

So, we had to make do moving the desk without the help of Ah-nuld and Hulk, and I had to shelve that daydream to focus on the task at hand. It was challenging, but worth every bit of strain. A thunderous thud onto the carpet announced the desk’s arrival in our home. And in that instant, my dream of owning an invasively large desk became a reality.

My mom hated my new desk almost immediately upon first sight. My step-dad did too. I don’t know why they hated it. The only semblance of a reason for their hatred that I can remember is an arbitrary claim that it was “too big” for my room. Which it wasn’t, at all, so their claim made no sense. I got relocated to the old master bedroom after they completed renovations on our house, and it was plenty spacious. I think they just hated it for the sake of hating. Their hatred was accompanied by threats to get rid of it when I went back to school, much to my chagrin. Empty threats, but nonetheless, worthy of inciting hysterics. Every threat to turn my precious desk into refuse was met with one of the following desperate pleas on its behalf:

  1. “You know how much I love this desk, so if you throw it out then you do so knowing that I will NEVER speak to you again!”
  2. “I’m going to pen an epic tome from this desk one day, so if you throw it out you’re basically throwing out my future.”
  3. “The only thing worth living for is that desk, don’t take it from me or you’ll be sorry”

Option number one, usually shouted instead of spoken, was used when I was feeling agitated or annoyed. Option two was a nugget of pure guilting gold. And option number three relied on the perfect amount of pitiable menace to convey my distress. Which isn’t always easy to muster in the heat of the moment, so I resorted to it less frequently than the others.

As it turns out, my parents aren’t total monsters and they didn’t do away with my beloved desk. It stayed exactly as it was, year after year, until I finally moved out on my own for good. And you can be damn sure I moved that desk right along with me. We’ll never part abodes again. Wherever it is that I decide to hang my hat for the remainder of my meager life, the Phoebe Caulfield desk will be there too. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love it so much. It’s my sanctuary. I clock some solid hours at this desk every week. Writing, brainstorming, watching Netflix, colouring, making mixed CDs, having FaceTime chats with my BFF on the other side of the world. I do everything at this desk. Nay, I do everything with this desk. We’re a team, we’re destined for greatness, and we’re in it for the long haul.

The Phoebe Caulfield desk has allowed me to spread out farther than I ever could have imagined possible. There’s something about this big clunky lug that has become a part of me. Sometimes you’ll put on a coat or a shirt or a fucking toupee, whatever, and the people you know will be all like “Oh blah blah, that whatever that you’re wearing is just so you!” Well that’s how it is for me and my desk. We go together.

my desk

Man, that Caulfield chick sure knew what she was talking about.

The Best Innovation Ever

I’m always coming up with ideas for inventions, gadgets, and all sorts of what-have-yous that would make life better. I get these visions of how one day I’ll have an idea so revolutionary that it will have me firmly ensconced in the history books forever. Or it could just as easily make me the face of the next great infomercial on the home shopping network. Either way, however it goes down is fine with me. I see all of my ideas resulting in greatness.

The only hitch is that I’m not one for the logistical side of things. What I need is an epic partnership with some sort of tinkerer or crafter. Someone who can take my zany ideas and translate them into actual real life things. I’m still searching for my equally brilliant other half, that elusive craftsman. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we stumble upon each other one fateful day.

Maybe it’ll happen one morning when I’m waiting in line for a bagel. I’ll see some tool struggling with some sort of hindrance and I’ll mutter under my breath about how there really should be a blah blah for that. An eccentric fellow sitting nearby overhears me, feeling instantaneous inspiration. I feel a prickle on the back of my neck, and sense that I should turn around. Destiny is animating my body now, making me glance over my shoulder in the direction of my life’s true purpose. I do glance, and lock eyes with that curious chap, a knowing look rife with meaning passes between us. This is meant to be. And from that humble chance meeting the course for our sure to be illustrious partnership is charted.

But obviously that’s not going to happen overnight. I’ll have to wait a bit longer I think. But maybe soon, you never know. Until that glorious chance meeting of the minds does happen, I’ll keep the cogs turning on my hamster wheel by spending my time appreciating the innovations all around me. That’s how you keep your skills sharp. If you want to be a good writer, you should be reading a shit-ton of books, all the time. If you want to be a dancer, then you have to dance. You can’t stand there on the sidelines eating bologna. You have to fully immerse yourself in that burning passion of yours to understand how you can be great with it.

Innovation is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I like how innovation feels. Innovation feels like you’ve just conquered the fuck out of everything. Whenever we rent a fancy car for the weekend, sometimes we’ll spring for a fancy one and it has leather seats with ass warmers, it makes me feel exultant. That’s the kind of innovation that makes you feel like a bad motherfucker. That’s right, this car is warming my ass up right now while you wait for the bus, sucka! It just feels good to stop and marvel at the progress sometimes. Especially unexpected progress.

The Snuggie, for instance. Someone probably sewed a fucked up sweater one time that was five sizes too big in a dreadfully unfashionable fleece fabric and they saw an opportunity instead of a disappointment. They turned that shit into an ingenious innovation. They’re probably making residual fat stacks hand-over-fist as I type this sentence. And now, thanks to that wonderful addition of sleeves on a blanket, we as a people have a much better method for sitting on the couch and being cozy while we cram delicious junk food down our gullets. You say you want a revolution, well you know.

I didn’t think life could get any better than The Snuggie. Until recently.

Friday night: D was out with his cronies and I’d been out shopping all friggin’ day trying to find the perfect dress for his upcoming work holiday party. I finally get home and I am FAMISHED. I need some goddamned dinner, stat. Right fucking now, man. I opt for the fastest, most satisfying option. Pizza.

But it’s Friday night and all the pizza joints are going to be super busy because nobody cooks on Friday night, really. Guuuuh, so it’s going to take forever. And all I want is a piping hot ooey gooey slice right fucking now, man. But it’s my shitballs luck that a pizza teleportation device hasn’t been invented yet. (I’ll just pop that one on my ongoing list of fantastic ideas while I’m thinking about it.) So I’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way: order it and pace around impatiently for the next forty-five minutes.

I place my order online. Dominos, medium pan pizza with double pepperoni and extra cheese. But something different happens after the order is entered. Instead of some boring old confirmation page a new, special page loads in its place.

pizza tracking bar

It’s some sort of order tracking visual. It’s beautiful. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I simply cannot take my eyes off of it. I stare at it for a while, waiting for it to change. When Stage 2 “Prep” starts flashing, I’m euphoric. Gopi, you magnificent bastard, I think I love you.

I open a bottle of wine, and come back to sit in front of the computer for a little while, marvelling at this tremendous advancement in the field of fast food delivery. They took all the anxiety out of waiting for my pizza. Instead of pacing around like a raving lunatic wondering where the hell my food is, worrying that there was some inexplicable glitch that prevented the order from actually being placed, which will surely send me into a murderous rampage when I discover it too late and too hungry to be stopped, I find myself actually enjoying the wait. I can trust again. My food is on it’s way. Why, Gopi just put it in the oven. What a revelation. I believe in Gopi. He knows I’m waiting, and he’s doing the best damn job he can. Because Gopi cares. He cares about pizza and he cares about me.

And then, an even more beautiful sight than when I first discovered the tracker, Stage 5 “Out For Delivery” happened.

pizza tracker 2

Elation! Jubilation! Adulation!

I feel all of these things and so much more. I have never been happier in my whole entire life. Not even when I got engaged in Hawaii this past year. My pizza is on it’s way and I KNOW THAT FOR A FACT! Yong just left the store and I can’t wait to greet him when he gets here. Whoa, if I don’t calm down I might just wind up frenching Yong’s face right off when he does get here with the pizza. My pizza. My precious pizza.

The Domino’s Tracker is hands down the greatest innovation I have ever encountered and I can honestly say that it has changed my life. I can’t even order pizza from anywhere else now. If they don’t have the tracker, I’m not going down that road, it’s just too difficult for me. I have to have the tracker. It has become an absolute necessity. It’s essential. And more importantly, it’s accurate. Yong was knocking on my door within ten minutes of the status changing to Stage 5 “Our For Delivery”.

That’s what makes me love invention and innovation. If I could invent something that would illicit an emotional response this insane… that’s the dream.

And for those of you wondering, yes, the pizza was fucking delicious.

A Weekend of Solitude

It’s been a hard go for me lately peeps, you know. Busted up that arm something rotten. Missed out on a whopper of a goal for this year. Been stressing about work. Feels like I’ve been a lot harder on myself lately. But by the end of last week, I felt the tide starting to turn in my favour again.

D went away this weekend. He left Friday afternoon before I even got home from work. And he didn’t come back until Sunday afternoon. I had the whole weekend all to myself.

SCORE!

No offense D, obviously you’re totally rad and I like having you around, but I was excited for this weekend. I can’t even remember the last time I had such an abundance of alone time. A whole weekend. All me, all weekend long. Totally awesome. I needed this.

Some people don’t like to be alone. Which is fine, to each their own. But I fucking love alone time. I would gladly venture that I love alone time even more than I love pizza. Yeah. Let that sink in for a minute. Those of you who’ve been around for a while know how deeply my love for pizza goes, so you know what a hefty statement that is for me to make.

I’ve always been a very independent person. When I was little people used to call me a loner and I thought that was a bad thing. I suspected that word was synonymous with defective in some way. Maybe some of my wires were loose, or I was missing a crucial part needed in order to be normal. Some people are born with stumps where their hands should be, right? So maybe there was a stumpy little place in my brain that made me be a loner. That was the first impression I ever formed of that word, having heard it often enough in a seemingly grim context, that a loner was someone who formed a little differently in the mould than expected. My sisters and I had a bunch of little chums that we played with growing up. And I’m one of five kids, so I had plenty of socialization all around me. But I just preferred being on my own.

If I was a loner and there was something wrong with that, well, it didn’t feel wrong to me. I liked it just fine that way. But what the fuck did I know, I was six the first time I heard that word for chrissakes. I also thought that the Power Rangers were real and that Vanilla Ice’s parents sure did pick a weird name for him. C’mon guys, if you wanted his rap career to have momentum that lasted longer than one crummy song then Black Ice was the obvious choice there. Der.

One of my best memories is when I got my acceptance package to post-secondary school and I found out that I’d been assigned to a single room. Fuck yeah, no roommate. FINALLY. I always had to share a bedroom with my little sister growing up and my biggest dream was to one day have my own room. Hallelujah! It was a frigging miracle. And I only had to shell out an extra $2000.00 bucks for the privilege, but it was worth every penny. Do you know how great it feels to jump on your own bed while doing a killer ABBA hairbrush lip sync without the fear of someone busting it on you and making you feel ashamed for being so goddamned rad all the time? I repeat: it was a frigging miracle when I got that single room. Space and time for days to kick out your jams in complete unabashed splendour. What’s not to love about that? And when you stumbled and fell awkwardly into the wall while you worked out the timing on your show-stopping twirls there was nobody there to see and laugh at you scornfully. Furthermore, there was nobody around to laugh at you for being a weird kid who enjoyed listening to ABBA in 2005. And who will admit to still thoroughly enjoying those magnificent Swedes in 2013.

I had all this wonderful freedom for the five years that followed. But then I stupidly fell in love and blah blah blah moved in with D. Again, I don’t want this to come off the wrong way because I love living with D. But when you live with your significant other certain quirky things that you used to enjoy doing on your own get tucked away into a dark little corner. Only ever to be seen again when gifted with an ever so elusive bundle of alone time. So you have to maximize it when you get it. You have to cram as many of those ridiculous things that are best done alone as you possibly can into your allotted alone time. You know, those things that you prefer doing without the ever-present shame land mines that lurk around every corner when you’ve got a cohabitant.

Here are the top 10 things I did with mine this weekend:

  1. Ordered enough Chinese food to feed six extremely hungry people on Friday night, but didn’t have anyone over and ate it for every single meal for the entire weekend
  2. Watched a Queen Latifah Rom-Com that D and I had been making fun of all week whenever we saw the commercials for it
  3. Pissed money away on a bunch of shitty gossip magazines that I read while watching the Queen Latifah Rom-Com and doing an at home facial
  4. Went on a five-hour long shopping spree and tried on no less than twenty party dresses
  5. Did extreme high-kicks while listening to The Ramones Greatest Hits at maximum volume
  6. Cried at the America’s Next Top Model finale because I was so happy for the person who won. She really wanted it bad you guys, okay?
  7. Laughed uproariously while watching Top Secret for the first time ever and then spent a solid 15 minutes after it was over imagining what it would be like to make out with Val Kilmer. Young hot Val Kilmer, not old fat Val Kilmer of course
  8. Sorted out my underwear drawer and finally threw some of the oldies away after realizing I possessed an unfathomable amount of underwear
  9. Bought new underwear
  10. Consumed an entire pint of Cherry Garcia and loved not having to share one single bite of it

free as a bird

Everything on this list is 100% accurate and honest. I may not wish to be seen doing these things, but I’m comfortable enough with my bad self to fess up to ’em. And remember, that’s only the top shelf stuff I did. There was plenty of other stuff I did that only gets more and more ridiculous to list. My wacky sense of imagination knows no bounds and it is a freaking delight when I really get to run with it. D grounds me. He’s good at pumping the brakes when the crazy train in my brain really starts to ramp itself up. But sometimes I’m curious to see how far it will take me if we just cut those damn brakes altogether…

I missed D, and I was happy to see him when he finally got back from a weekend of his own adventures. The occasional absence ain’t such a bad thing for a relationship. Looking back over my fantastically impressive itinerary from last weekend, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I lived like a god, a master of my own destiny. All alone, just me calling every single shot all day long. And it was glorious.

Alone time is ever so precious to me. If you really want to treat yourself right, I assure you it’s worth it to go be with yourself for an extended period of time doing only the things that make you happy. Shed the shame and indulge in your quirks for a while. Dream big dreams that wholly revolve around you, the kind of dreams that hectic every day life doesn’t tolerate. Push the limits of your whims. Soar. And when you come back out on the other side, don’t forget to stick the landing.

You’re gunna be alright after all, kid.

Overcoming a Bad Day

I’m positive, in general. Always looking for a silver lining to wrap around the bullshit. It’s not often that I falter in doing so. I’m resilient and strong, I can overcome my obstacles.

But sometimes, I have bad days too. Days when my heart hurts too much to try because seeing the good is damn near impossible for all the shit obstructing my view. When it feels like nothing makes sense. When it feels like every option will result in a loss. When my gut does falter because the negativity is overwhelming.

What do you at a time like that? What can you do?

Well, this is what I do:

1. Vent or Wallow 

When the weight of something truly awful presses down on my heart, the first thing I do is react in one of these ways. Maybe I’m so frustrated that I need to scream until my lungs  feel like they’ll burst right out of my chest. Or launch a venomous tirade against whatever it was that sparked my ire. I might need to sob because too many mixed and mangled emotions are struggling to surface all at once. Venting is good for that, releasing all the mounted pressures. But maybe venting isn’t a good option in some instances though, because I’m scared that such an overt reaction will leave consequences in its wake. Revealing those raw emotions to anyone before I’ve worked through them could be dangerous. It could be damaging to a relationship that I value or to my own reputation. In that case, I might need to wallow instead. Run away, shut down, freeze out, isolate. I need to allow myself to feel intense feelings, alone. I have to wallow.

2. Identify

I have to concentrate on the why of it all. Why do I feel this way? What about this situation upsets me the most? I let myself get lost in my thoughts. If I can figure out what it is specifically that I find upsetting, then I can confront it. If I can’t see the hurdle, I can’t ever leap over it, and I’ll just keep stumbling into it. So I need to afford myself the luxury of introspection. What did I do to cause the problem? Does a particular situation that arose impact me directly or does it merely include me? I know what happened that upset me or pissed me off, but I have to understand why it does if I expect to work through it. I’ll replay what went down over and over in my head, trying to see it from multiple angles. From that process, I can decide if this is something that I should address or something that I should internalize for the time being.

3. Confront

Now that I’ve gained some perspective, I have a more whole understanding of the problem and its causes. I can start to resolve it. I can talk to someone, maybe to explain my viewpoint or maybe to apologize for a wrong I’ve committed. I might just need to be heard and acknowledged. Or I might just need to have a moment of recognition for something I did and why it was bad. Denying my involvement in my own unhappiness is a disservice to myself. When I think about the greatest upsets I’ve experienced, most of which in the last three years have been in the work place, I recognize things that I could have or should have done differently to effect a more desirable end result. I can’t change the past, but I can prepare myself for tackling similar struggles more aptly in the future.

4. Accept

I’m very hard on myself. There are missteps I’ve made in my life that I still haven’t forgiven myself for. And it might take a very long time before I ever do. There’s no tongue lashing I could receive from another that would ever parallel the severity of the internal one that I will inevitably give myself when I fuck up. That’s because I expect so much from me. I have exacting standards for the kind of person I hope to be. I’m not hoping for perfection, that would be boring as hell. I’m just hoping that one day I can serve as an example for someone else. That my beliefs, actions, and experiences will be valued. I want to be valued as deeply as I value the core people in my life. This is the hardest step of the whole process, the one that trips me up the most because of how hard I am on myself. But I do my best to come out on the other side, making peace with myself and any current entanglement I face. I can forgive others, that’s easy. Forgiving myself is the hardest thing to do and I’m still learning how to do it.

5. Get Over It

Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day. An accumulation of crappy moments, conversations, interactions, and situations that just bring you down. Stubbed toes, rainy days, being belittled or insulted, having to eat salad, making a mistake on something important at work, jerks shoving me around on the subway, not getting along with D, Harvey ripping up my favourite shirt: if all of those things happened to me in one day I’d probably want to fling myself off the roof. But some days are going to be like that. So doing things that purge yourself of all the negativity helps. I like to laugh with D, or belt out my favourite tunes at maximum shitty singing volume while I jump on the bed, or down a few beers with my cronies. I try to find something wonderful about the right now that I can immerse myself in. Doing stuff like that reminds me that I’ll be on the upswing again in no time, because the bad can always be vanquished by the good. And I believe that, unequivocally, with ever fibre of my being.

I’m happy and positive most of the time, but shit pisses me off and upsets me too. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always shine as brightly as I’d like to. So, if it’s something serious then I need to deal with it. And if it’s just a bunch of crappy stuff that’s dimming my shine, then I need to get over it so I can shine through it. Shake it off and move on, girl! You can’t control everything that happens to you in this life. Good and bad things will happen, most assuredly. But you can figure out the best way for you to deal with the shit so you can move on.

I had a really bad couple of days this week, and I had to face down a very disheartening reality yesterday. Surprised and hurt by the unexpected, I’ve been letting the negativity I feel overpower me. But something much larger than me and my desires is in motion, something that can’t be stopped or changed. So I’ll do the work, following the steps outlined above, because it will help eventually. I’ll come out of this okay, albeit a little sad, because I know that I have the power to overcome the shittiest of days.

And I know that the sadness won’t last for long once I’ve found it within myself to shine again.

retro prom

Smash will shine this brightly again, in time.