Thursday, October 30, 2008

It could be the one...

This time, I wonder what it feels like
To find the one in this life, the one we all dream of
But dreams just aren’t enough
So I’ll be waiting for the real thing, I’ll know it by the feeling
The moment when we’re meeting, will play out like a scene
Straight off the silver screen
So I’ll be holding my own breath, right up ’til the end
Until that moment when, I find the one that I’ll spend forever with

Cause nobody wants to be the last one there
Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares
Someone to love with my life in their hands
There’s gotta be somebody for me like that
Cause nobody wants to do it all on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone
There’s somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there --Nickelback "Gotta Be Somebody"

I hear this song on the radio all the time these days. I had to look up the lyrics since I am terrible at remembering lyrics. It's a very catchy song, one of those songs that you can sing along to without even really knowing it.

Lately I've been thinking about love and life and how to get all of my single friends matched up. Just kidding. Really just kidding. I only think about matching SOME of my single friends up. Um, anyway, where were we. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I hadn't met the hubby. Would I be out there, trying to meet people? Where would I even go to meet people? If I met someone with "potential", would I make the first move?

I have often been the nosy spectator on the sidelines of my friends' almost-relationships and have thought, "Hmm, if only s/he made some sort of first move, I bet it would all work out." And then it baffles me as to why someone doesn't make any move at all. And then I say to the hubby, "Don't you think [whoever] and [whoever else] would make a great couple?" And then he shrugs. Or says "Absolutely not." Or "I already thought of that months ago." But then nothing happens.

So I am putting this out there: GRAB THE BRASS RING, PEOPLE. Take a chance, make the first move, and see whether the person you are interested in is also interested in you. (Caveat: if you or your friends are fairly certain that the other person is NOT interested - don't jump the gun.) Be a risk taker! There's gotta be somebody out there for you. Even Nickelback says so!

Topic for discussion: why DON'T people make the first move more often?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

America the hateful

I'm not much for politics, but the American election is by far more captivating than the Canadian election ever was. I saw this video today on another blog and I couldn't turn it off despite the sickening feeling in my stomach. I know that Americans aren't all like this and neither are all Republicans, but the idea that so many can gather together and spew hatred and lies publicly, with their children nearby - that is beyond upsetting. So much vitriol toward Obama because they think he's Muslim. Even assuming he was Muslim, which he obviously is not, why would that matter? And calling him a baby-killer because of a party stance on abortion... how is that appropriate?

There's so much more to say, but it's just so upsetting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mr. Thrifty

That's actually the name of the model skeleton we have in our office...

But this post is actually about saving money.

Last week, I watched an episode of Oprah wherein she promised to show us how the thriftiest family in America could help a struggling family climb out of debt. Judging from blogs I've read, tons of people watched this episode (unsurprising.) I don't think that family offered anything too earth-shattering in terms of money-saving tips. For example, the mom talked about how she rarely ever uses her cell phone, so she managed to find some plan (probably pay-as-you-go where she only has to spend $5/month.) Fine for her, but I actually need my cell phone for more than emergencies. Another tip was to clip as many coupons as possible. Maybe it's just a problem with Canadian stores nowadays, but I find that coupon clipping is challenging. Either only brand-name products have coupons, or the coupons are instead tied to those annoying club cards they make you sign up for (so that they can spy on your shopping habits.)

So instead of rehashing those tips, here are MY money-saving tips, many of which I am still trying to put into practice.

1. Stock up on sale items that you'll need eventually. I am a bit of a hoarder of drugstore type items. Toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. There will always be TP at my house!

2. Break the Starbucks habit. This is a really obvious one that everyone and their dog mentions. Blah blah, if you get a latte a day you'll spend a gazillion dollars by the end of the year. I am not that much of an addict so my solution is to limit myself to one Starbucks visit a week; less if I can help it. In addition I am trying to bring my own cup to save on paper cups. Starbucks should really offer more than a 5 cent discount for this.

3. Force yourself to save money. We contribute to RRSPs on a monthly basis so that when the end of the year rolls around, it isn't all about scraping together a suitable lump sum for the year.

4. Always put God first. Not specifically a money-saving tip, but still important. My mom always taught me to put in my offering/tithes at the beginning of the month, not with the idea that God will bless you more if you are faithful with your offering, but in recognition of all He has done for you. In so doing, I have found that God always provides just what we need. And in times when I have forgotten, things just don't feel right. Hard to explain. But there you go.

5. Cell phones - look for retention plans if you want more minutes but don't want to spend more. I spent days researching better plans when I wanted to get out of my Bell plan and then poor hubby had to spend at least an hour or two on the phone negotiating new plans. But we came out of that with a great plan with a ridiculous amount of minutes and a low, low price. If you don't use your phone much, try a pay-as-you-go plan like 7-11's Speakout Wireless where your minutes last up to one year.

6. Borrow movies from the library instead of renting. Our library has lots of almost-new releases and older movies. Bonus - a cool DVD dispenser with a little man inside who shoves your DVD at you. No, not really.

7. Borrow books instead of buying. Okay, this is just me - I cannot stand to buy books because I find that I read them quickly and then I don't often read them again. (Exception: my Harry Potter books.) I much prefer borrowing books at the library, reading them, then ditching them. My only concern is that the books are probably covered in germs. Yuck. Wash your hands!

8. Wear more sweaters. Every year we hold out as long as we can before turning on the heat, preferring to keep the house at a cool 16 degrees. This year we have turned the heat on about three times, and then only to 18 degrees. Why would you turn on the heat when you can put on an extra sweatshirt and some warm slippers?

9. Change your lightbulbs to CFLs or LED bulbs. Actually I haven't seen many LED bulbs for sale but CFLs are plentiful. They are often on sale; we bought boxes of 6 for $9 at Canadian Tire in the summer. Saving energy is always a challenge, since it's so much more convenient not to!

10. Eat less. Heh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mrs. Poburko

You were my kindergarten teacher and everyone was scared of you. I don't know why they were scared of you, but I know why I was scared.... one day, my friend had a loose tooth and you said you would help her pull it. To my horror, you tied one end of a piece of dental floss to the tooth, and the other end to the closet doorknob. Then you slammed the closet door. The tooth came out. I think I screamed.


Now that the election is over, I can tell you who I voted for. In our riding, the incumbent is a Liberal and it was expected to be a hot contest between the incumbent and the Conservative candidate. Well, at least everyone thought it would be a hot contest. I've never met either candidate, although I noticed one's campaign strategy was to stand on busy streets in a suit, waving to commuters, and the other recruited several Chinese people to help phone other Chinese people to sway their vote.

In the week before the election, both the NDP and the Green Party candidate were hinting strongly (or saying outright?) that strategic voting would be, at the least, not a bad thing. You know how it goes - vote Liberal even if you normally vote NDP or Green so that we'll have a chance of defeating the Conservatives. Actually, I considered the opposite - voting Conservative to keep out the incumbent, who I don't particularly like, and who I thought would win. Strategic voting is somewhat controversial. To me, it doesn't represent true democracy, because you'd be voting for someone you didn't really want in office, just to prevent someone you REALLY REALLY didn't want from coming to power. It requires holding your nose when voting, and is that the picture we want to paint during an election in a first world country?

So up until I got to the voting booth (if you could call the cardboard science fair display a "booth"), I wasn't fully decided on how to vote. I eventually went with my gut and voted NDP. I know next to nothing about the NDP candidate, but I like what the NDP stands for, generally. I then fretted over whether I should have voted strategically. Fortunately in the end, it didn't really matter because the Conservative won by a comfortable margin.

Of course, what this reinforces is that proportional representation through a single transferable vote system would resolve the problems seen in a multi-party system like our own. I looked for a site that explained the STV system the best and here is what I found. It has pictures! Though I think their picture of chocolate could have been a little better. Anyway. No doubt at some point, some person much smarter than me will be able to analyze what just happened in our election and tell us roughly who might be sitting in Parliament if we had an STV system. That'll be interesting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Squishy or spacious?

Just finished reading this article about families who have eschewed the suburban sprawl and larger homes with yards for small apartments in the heart of their cities. This article reminded me of the difference between my brother and I. I have never really desired to live in downtown, although I can see the attraction of living there (that is, if I also worked downtown.) My brother, on the other hand, would love to live in the city, or maybe a bigger city than our own. (No doubt he'll contradict me at some point during this post.)

I used to tell the hubby that I always dreamed about living in an apartment. I have no idea why I wanted to live in an apartment. Maybe it was a Seinfeld or Friends or Mad About You influenced idea. Of course, nobody in New York has apartments as big as on TV. Every time I go to Ikea, I marvel over the showrooms that proclaim, "Live comfortably in 455 square feet!" and display an entire family's life, squeezed into every nook and cranny of a small space. Chairs are folded and hang on the walls, beds are one step away from the kitchen, and the bathroom is right beside the fridge. Part of me is always tempted to try out living in a small space just to see if I can do it.

Of course, the problem is, I don't mind suburban sprawl. We live in a spacious part of the world where people can live in houses that have yards. And once you have a yard, and a BBQ, and maybe a few chairs to sit on outside - well then - why wouldn't you want that?

I can definitely understand that one reason for living in the city would be a commuting issue. I don't work in downtown, but when I have to go there, it does make me curse the traffic situation getting out of the burbs. (That is partly a problem with how the city and its outlying areas are designed.)

Maybe I am a little claustrophobic. In our old place, I didn't like how there wasn't much separation in the common areas, such that if hubby was on the phone, I'd have to turn down the TV (or turn up, if I wanted him to get off the phone!) I can't imagine sleeping in a closet just to make more room in the apartment for my kids, or sending my laundry out just to accommodate living in a smaller space. I am a homebody at heart; I think relaxing is best done at home rather than out at some restaurant or club or theatre. (I make exceptions for vacations. Those can only be done away from home. Preferably in some hot, sunny, tropical location.) Besides, it's hard to have a 60 lb dog in an apartment.

I hope this post doesn't come off as "la la la, I love my giant house"* ... instead, I think it's pretty amazing that many of us have the ability to choose our living circumstances. Whether it's living in a basement suite, an apartment, a townhouse, or a house, or with family or in-laws, many of us are fortunate to have a place to live at all. This is just my perspective. Sometimes I think it'd be awesome to live closer to the "action", to be in a more culturally and socially diverse area of the city. Other days, I think living in the suburbs is really pretty good.

Your thoughts?

*I don't have a giant house!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


We are often asked who we're going to vote for ... in the past week the hubby even received emails urging him to vote for one candidate (Conservative, of course.... the reasoning was that we need a strong Christian voice in Parliament.) Sometimes I wish the politics in Canada were more... polarized. I read an article that described Canada's politicians as "beige" and frankly I think that really fits. I feel like I know way more about the US election than I do about the Canadian one. (That's probably my fault, but I'll just blame the media. Just like Palin!)

I will tell you that I usually don't vote based on religious beliefs, either mine or the candidate's. I tend to think it isn't really relevant what a person believes if they are in political office. Separation of church and state, I guess.

This post has no real point ... but tell me ... how do you vote?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tara W.

You were a roommate for a short time and it is because of you that I think having a roommate sucks. You took our other roommate's car and put a dent in it, then you "fixed" it, hoping she wouldn't notice. You left your bras lying around the kitchen and living room, you didn't like to clean, and you overcharged us on rent. Then, you tried to evict us even though you weren't even allowed to be subletting to us. I unplugged your telephone every single day just to irritate you. Childish, I know. Oh well.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Yesterday morning as I drove to work, I passed by a pile of shoes near the centre median of the highway. The shoes were strewn over a distance of probably 20-30 feet or so. As far as I could tell, they were mostly women's shoes, and included several pairs of Crocs (pink) and canvas Keds-like shoes (green and white). Have I ever mentioned my dislike for Crocs? I think it is because they make feet look super wide and I have a thing about how feet should never look wide. Also, they remind me of a hospital nurse's very sturdy/ugly work shoes... but with holes!

This morning, many of the Keds-like shoes were still there... but all of the Crocs were gone.

Could it be that someone crossed a busy highway just to snag those pink Crocs!?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I met you in Montreal the summer after high school. We were both there to learn French, although somehow I got put into some sort of advanced class where half the students were Francophones, which I found kind of unfair. You were in a more normal class, so maybe you actually learned something. I lent you my jacket one night when you were cold and you somehow got blood on it... I don't really want to know. We spent our evenings hanging out at the 24-hour Second Cup and you were a great friend. Apparently you also hated your name, since I later learned that you changed it to something totally different - like Jennifer or some name like that.